Monday, December 31, 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of 2012 - A Year in Review

Wow, 2 posts in one day ;)  Well, what can I say?  I've got some catching up to do ;)
So, in true end of the year style, I thought that I would do a bit of a Year in Review.  Not usually one of my favourite things to do, but I thought that I would just reflect on some of the things that happened and things that influenced me this year.
So, without further ado, my Top Ten (warts and all) Highlights and Lowlights of 2012. (in no particular order)

1.  Moving.
This has got to be number one.  We finally moved this year, after being in the same (skanky ;) rental house for 10 years.  It was too small, our boys Connor (13) and Hamish (6) were sharing a very small room together and, let's just say, it wasn't working.  I think poor Connor was feeling very displaced because he had been an only child for 7 years and then Hamish came along. Suddenly, everything was different and his room wasn't his own anymore and frankly, he had nowhere to hide.  Now, the boys have their own separate rooms and have their own space, and we can all breathe a little easier.  The old house was also between 2 main roads, so we would be trying to go to sleep to the sounds of constant traffic, emergency vehicles roaring past or the screech of near misses and crashes when they didn't miss.  Our new house isn't flash or huge, but it has room for the boys, a craft room ;), a bit of a man-land, a garden bit (that I'm cultivating and trying desperately not to kill with my black thumbs) and a little outdoor-ish nook where the frogs are, Dion can hide and where I've also been finding myself spending time doing messy art journalling.  Without sounding like a giant hippie  - this house is old and quirky and has a great, relaxing vibe.

2. Lee.  
2012 also saw the gaining of and losing of a lovely and inspiring friend.  For a too brief time I was privileged enough to meet and become friends with a beautiful woman named Lee Irvine.  When I first met Lee it was like love at first sight.  There is really no other way to describe it, and I wasn't the only one who felt the same.  She was an absolute cracker!  Funny, vibrant, beautiful, energetic and full to the brim with life. Unfortunately, though you wouldn't know it to look at her, Lee had been battling with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma for 5 years.  Lee came to the store (still Stamp and Scrapbook Madness then) and did classes, and was never empty handed.  I swear in those few months none of us had eaten so many Tim Tams in our lives!  Sadly though, after having a set back in her hopes for a new treatment, Lee decided that she didn't have it in her to fight any longer, and she took her life before the Cancer could claim it completely.  She was definitely an Angel and we were blessed to have her for what time we did.  Even now she inspires me, and also helps me to be grateful for what I have.

3. Babies, Babies, Babies! 
Not mine (thank goodness!) but it seems that you shouldn't be drinking the water because so many of my friends and family have either just had, or are about to have, babies!  My good friend Rachel had her beautiful baby Molly, her eldest daughter Amy is about to pop (so to speak;) one of my best friends from high school, Darlene, bashfully revealed that she is expecting her first, my old room mate Sally, gave birth to her first child, Charlotte, only a month or so after finally revealing on Facebook that they were expecting at all and another of my peeps, Krischelle is enciente! (that's french for up the duff ;) I'm sure there are more that I've forgotten..oh yes, one of my Nephews became a father for the first time and my fave Niece (not mentioning any names ;) is preggers again! Phew, it's hard to keep up.

4. Technology. 
This year I finally got a laptop (yay!) something that I had been yearning for for a long time.  I also finally gave in and got a smart phone.  My old phone was not really working anymore, I needed something more reliable and also thought that maybe a smart phone could help me be more organized....well, I don't know if it does or not but, hey, I know when my work shifts are and most of my calender-y things are on also meant that Sharlene was able to get me addicted to Instagram though ;)

5. School.
This year was the only one that Hamish and Connor will spend at the same school, Hamish was in Prep and Connor was in Year 7.  They both went to Norman Park State School, which was great, but with the move we have put Hamish in Bulimba State School as it will be so much easier.  Also, I never bonded with any of the parents at Norman Park, even though Connor was there 5 years.  I'm sure most of it was me, but I just felt really awkward talking to any of the parents.  I'm hoping it will be better at Bulimba.  Already though, my reputation precedes me as some of the staff know me from SSM ;)  Connor will be going to Balmoral High (eek) I still freak out that he is a teenager - let alone about to start High School.

6. Pinterest. 
This has been one of my biggest addictions this year!  As of this moment I have 2731 pins, 75 boards, 234 followers and I follow 312 people. And those numbers just keep on rising everyday.  I just find it a fantastic way to keep all of my inspirations and things in one place and some semblance of order.  I love it.

7. True Blood, Charlaine Harris and Alexander Skarsgard (sigh)
Although I have always loved The Sookie Stackhouse novels and True Blood (the TV adaptation of the books) for some strange reason my obsession reached new heights this year.  I actually love both the books and the TV series equally - strangely it doesn't bother me that they are so different, it's sort of like a choose your own adventure story and it runs along similar lines but at different tangents...or how the story would be in a parallel dimension or something.  Dion, Kylie and I even went to an author event jigger and saw Charlaine Harris in the city and got to listen to her talk about the books, the TV series, her life, writing and ask her some questions.  (Actually the lovely lady I met in the elevator there Heidy is pregnant at the moment - so add that to the tally).  Either way, I love both and this year I become even more enamoured.  Especially with the actor that plays Eric Northman - Alexander Skarsgard.  I mean, once you cop a good look at him it's not hard to see why I would be obsessed by him, but still, I did have a moment there when I became quite stalker-ish.  I'd like to think that I've calmed down a bit now, but still, if True Blood is on and He walks onscreen, I do instantly become quiet and eerily resemble a hypnotized chicken.

ps - did you notice the screen savers for both my laptop and my phone?  Look closely behind the dandelion...

8. Creativity Overload - and meeting Tim Holtz
It couldn't be a list by a crafty person and not include the meeting of the celebrity that is Tim Holtz ;) When I try and explain what all the fuss is about to the non-craft inclined I usually just tell them that he is the equivalent of a Justin Bieber of the craft world ;)  Not sure that Tim would approve of that comparison, but there you go.   Well, when the craft circus that is the June Scrapbook and Papercraft Expo came to town I was fortunate enough to do the Techniques Overload 8 hour class with the man. (and about 40 other women - including Rachel ;)  I also managed to cram in two full days of Copic Certification so that I now have my Beginner and Intermediate certification. Add to that the general chaos of the show, and the fact that it was Phil and Lois' first... and you get the idea.  Let's just say that I was knackered by the end and needed a good lie-down so that it all didn't just leak out of my ear again.

9. Goodbye Stamp and Scrapbook Madness, Hello Papertrenz
Another huge change this year was the ownership change of the shop where I work.  Fiona, who I had worked for for 3 years or so, sold the business at the beginning of the year as she and her family are moving to Perth.  The new owners, Phil and Lois are lovely people.  (I must say that on the whole over the years I have been blessed with quite good bosses.)  The biggest difference I find (and to be honest the hardest) is the fact that they are not crafty people.  They are lovely and savvy and on the whole quite sensible, so as you can imagine, when the Scrapbooking ladies descended amongst them, it was as though they had been invaded by aliens ;)  My biggest challenge is to maintain some semblance of order in the chaos that I create upstairs, but luckily I have the lovely Sharlene and Jeanette to help keep me in line.

10. Project Life
The final thing to mention that has been a big influence on my year would be the whole Project Life concept.  Although I had been dabbling with this concept for a couple of years and by no means kept up to date with the weeks and pages, this year I found I have started using this format for the majority of my scrapbooking.  I have found it hard to be inspired with so much going on (and don't get me started on the state of my craft room since the move) but the pocket pages, the focus on journaling and the ease with which it can all come together is just so appealing for me.  I still love the traditional 12x12 pages and will always continue doing them, but for the day to day, and especially the messy stuff, this format just works for me.

Well, that's about it.  I've tried hard not to mention the black cloud that hung over me for most of the year, shadowing so much that I almost made it number 11.  Instead I'm trying to focus on the events and the happenings.  I am tentatively hopeful for 2013.  The fact that I can still have hope gives me even more, maybe the new year will bring peace and strength and joy.  The main difference I know is that I have finally admitted that I can't do it all myself.  I am trying to not be a martyr in most things, admit I need help and also realise that people can't help me if they don't know that I need help.
So I'm laying it out there in the new year (so to speak).  And I'm going on the record.  I'm Barbara, I'm broken, and I might need a bit of a hand to put some pieces back together.
Bring on the New Year!

New Beginnings and Full Disclosure

Well hello there, Bloggers!
It's the last day of 2012 and I, for one, am not too sad to see it go.
It's been an interesting one.  Full of change.  Full of beginnings and endings.  Some foreseen and some not so much.
I've had a few people ask me why I haven't been blogging as much as I was.  I mostly just put them off but have decided to share a little something about myself that some of you may, or may not, know.
(be warned - this post gets a bit verbose ;)

 For many years now I have suffered chronic depression.  It's not something I like to shout out to the world, but there it is.  For the most part I have been able to manage it with medication and the odd bit of therapy, but for some reason from the very beginning of this year, for the whole of this year, it has been worse.
For those that have never had to deal with mental illness, or depression it is very hard to understand.
Let me just start by saying this - there is not always a rhyme or reason for it.  Being depressed or having a depressive episode is NOT the same as being sad.  If you are sad there is often a very good reason for it. When I am having a 'bad' day I often get so frustrated because a part of my brain is often yelling at me saying 'suck it up!  what have you got to be sad about?  Things aren't nearly as bad as they have been in the past and here you are falling apart!' But that's just the way it is. I hide, away from everyone (usually in my room) unable to answer the phone, go on the computer - whether to check or respond to emails or anything where there might be a person on the other end.  As much as I try and talk myself out of it, I can't. There's no reason, nothing I can pinpoint, and more often than not, no trigger.  Sometimes I just wake up and it's a bad day.  And that bad day can last for many days and then I'll have a good day, or a good couple of days, and then it's back down to the bottom again.
I think the biggest difference this year is I just haven't been able to 'fake it' as much anymore. People often think that if you act happy and funny and quirky then your life it all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops.  Newsflash, it's not.  Often it's a ruse, an act, to function in the real world.  Except lately it's like I've run out of the energy to cover it all up and the cracks are showing a bit too much.  And I didn't want my Blog to be a whingey. whiny arena ;)   (although you may have noticed that the last couple of posts weren't the merriest ;) So, I stopped. Thinking that when I could fake it a bit better, I'd start Blogging again..... Except, I still haven't gotten to that point again.  Lately, though I have been thinking that maybe, I should just come clean.  Get it out there and move on.  I know that the only way that we can reduce the stigma of mental illness is to be open and honest about it, but it is still hard.
So, bear with me.  I want to still share my quirky, creative journey with you, but just wanted to give you the heads up - it might not always be pretty, and happy happy joy joy.  but I'm trying.  And I've decided that if it helps others by my being a bit honest, then that's an added bonus.  I know that it helps me to know that I'm not the only messy and broken one out there, so I guess, I just wanted you guys to know it too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Farewell Hawthorne House

So....It's been awhile ;)  a few things have happened since I've been 'gone'.  I've been settling into the new store, finding my feet, so to speak.  It's a lot more organized, there  I'm not so good with the whole systems concept so it's been interesting.  It's been very much an upstairs vs downstairs scenario.  The crazy, crafty ladies are upstairs and the sensible, organized people are downstairs.  It's almost like moving countries to me - but we are getting there. I am learning their foreign customs and they are getting better at tolerating the madness...or better at faking it, either way we are making progress.

So, now comes the farewell to the Hawthorne house.  For those not in the know, I only live 3 blocks from the old Hawthorne premises (now home to my buddy Tracey's store Side Street Vintage - more on that later) but after 10 YEARS in the same rental property we are finally moving!! Not too far away, just around the corner really to Balmoral but, it's a new house and a new start.  Hooray!!  Hooray for the moving, not so hooray for the packing and the stressing.  I should be packing right now but I hurt my back this morning lugging boxes and I'm trying to not do too much and make it worse (arrrgghh!!) So I thought that I would distract myself with a little blog post ;) and even if I'm just talking (or typing as the case may be ;) to myself right now - I've at least sat down and taken a much needed breather.
So, have fun Bloggers and bare with me as I dip my toe back in the Blogging world.  be gentle with me, it's been a while.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Farewell Hawthorne Store

Well, Bloggers.
The last day at Hawthorne for Stamp and Scrapbook Madness has come and gone without too much of a fuss ;)  A big thanks goes out to all of the customers who (while still sad) said that they would still support the store and follow us 15 minutes down the road to Wynnum.  I understand that the bit further distance will mean a few less visits for some - or a bit more planning ( the beach is nearby and there are lots of fish and chip shops ;).  But after the initial small bit of negative feedback I must admit I was very relieved by the support and (occasionally grudging ;) understanding by our loyal and fabulous customers.
At first I was a little sad, but to be honest, as each day passed I didn't get sadder - I got more and more relieved!  I am looking forward to going to work tomorrow knowing that I can focus my energies 100%  on the one store and not have to worry about what's going on at the other one, or wondering when the next disaster is about to befall me because something is at one store instead of the other.  Not to mention that the customers wont again have to hear me say "yes, we do have that, but it's at our other store..."

So, where to from here?  What's the plan?  Well, first we have to move everything over (fun ;) but apart from that I have grand plans.  I've got some sprucing to do. (Gotta make it pretty ;) Make sure that the class room is ready and raring and up to date.  I've got to go through all the CHA previews and new releases and brainstorm about which stuff to get in or not (I'm open to suggestions and/or bribery ;) I've also got to unpack the latest arrivals - (I heard tell of a Graphic 45 Ladies Diary delivery). The usual.  But the one thing to remember at all times - the new name may be Papertrenz but it's still the home of Stamping...and Scrapbooking...and most of all (especially while I'm around) Madness ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stamp and Scrapbook Madness is on the Move

Good Morning Bloggers!
For those of you in the know and have read your Stamp and Scrapbook Madness/ Papertrenz weekly newsletter you will know by now that the Hawthorne shop is moving very shortly to be merged into the one at Wynnum.

Big news.  I know that there will be a lot of Customers that will be upset by this news.  But I say to them that we have to focus on the positives.  The store will still be open, just 15 minutes down the road.  The hours it will be open will be massively increased (63 hours a week!!).  The stock will all be in one place, the classroom is exponentially bigger, and hey, I'll be there! ;)
Yes it is a bit sad. (Remember, I just live 3 blocks from the shop at Hawthorne ;) but at least it isn't closing! With so many Scrapbook stores having closed down over the last couple of years we are becoming a dying breed, so we have to do what is most sensible to keep going.
 I hope that everyone that shops at Hawthorne will continue to support the store as it moves, and for those that it will just become too far for - the SSM website is in the middle of a major overhaul (well overdue) and will soon be accurate (gasp) and cheaper than in-store, with instant postage calculation and everything!
Now that's flash ;)
So I say, don't be sad.  Rejoice that the store has been given the chance to still stay open, to still be here, and remember, I will still be there, ready to give hugs where they are needed, advice where it is wanted, and incessant nattering where it is tolerated ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weekend Overload

Hey there Bloggers!
You will be pleased to know that I managed to survive the enormously full-on week I just had.
 I have played with Tim, become a  certified Copic Designer, demo-ed for 3 full days at the Scrapbook and Papercraft Expo and generally run around like a head-less chicken.
  It was all good fun though.
I caught up with friends that I hadn't seen for ages and got to make some new ones (like the beautiful La La Land Princesses ;)  I did manage to wrangle today off  (those boxes from the show aren't going anywhere ;) and spend an inordinately long time organizing my ribbons. (What can I say - storage soothes the soul).

So, I'm going to love you and leave you all with a few pics, while I try to sneak off and have a well earned nap.
The Papertrenz Stand
Lois - cute as a button with her stash
The man himself (Kerrie came for moral support)
He's such a cracker
The long suffering Mario
The stunning La La Land Girls
Nat and I with the Queen 
They want me to do WHAT with the Copic Markers?!

My very first attempt at colouring people with Copic Markers

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Technique Overload

Hi there bloggers.
I know that it has been an absolute age since I have posted.  But I'm back in the saddle (so to speak)  I just thought that I would share a few pics of the fantastic class I did today with the great man himself Tim Holtz!!
Yes, that's right, Rachel and I had the honour today to have an all day class with him (along with around 30-40 other ladies).  We had an awesome time and learned an enormous amount.  So exciting!!

Our goodies waiting for us on the tables

What was in the box
I had to take a photo of the huffing demo ;)

Horrendous photo of me (as usual) just wait until you see the hilarious one taken with
Rachel's phone ;)
So, I have another HUGE 5 days ahead - full day of Copic Certification tomorrow, then setting up of the show stand straight after.  3 enormous crazy days of the show and then Copic Intermediate Certification on Tuesday.  Eeek. Then an 8am Parent/Teacher interview at school on Wednesday. And then crawl into bed ;)

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

Hey there Bloggers,
Just thought I'd do a quick post to reassure my invisible friends that I am still alive and kicking.  I have had an interesting few weeks - Fiona went off to CHA and back, I had a birthday, as did quite a few of my friends and family and I had a few days off work (gasp!) and am back to the grind again.  I apologise for the lack of regular witticisms but to be honest I haven't had the energy.  I don't normally approve of getting real on Blogs - to me it's like an alternative reality where everything is all bright and beautiful and the sun is always shining and the birds are always singing and everything is always perfectly photographed.
Basically an edited version of life - with all the bad bits cut out. 
Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that if I kept applying that rule to my blog at the moment I wouldn't be able to post again.  Also, it started to remind me of that scary crazy song from the 70's by Dr Demento  - you know the one -
'...They're coming to take me away, Ha-ha
They're coming to take me away, Ho-ho
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those
Nice young men in their clean white coats and
They're coming to take me away, ha-ha!

To the happy home
With trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket-weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes..."
You get the idea.
Nonetheless I can't bring myself to go the whole hog. As cathartic as the whole process may be.
  So, a compromise. 
Let's just say that it's getting harder to fake the happy smiles.  But I'm trying really hard.  And I hope that you can all bear with me, because I know that the more you fake the smiles eventually more and more of them become real ones.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Word of the Week

Hey there bloggers!
As part of my plan to keep up my blogging momentum I thought I'd try out a (hopefully) fun concept.  I'm sure you've heard of the 'Wordless Wednesday' blog posts, well mine is going to be a 'Word of the Week' Wednesday.  Now, I'm not the most erudite of people but I do like to read an awful lot and English was one of my favourite subjects in High School (Theatre and Art being the others - yes, yes, very surprising ;) Anyhoo, part of my obsession with the english language is a complete despisement of incorrect spelling (drives me INSANE - especially deliberate shortenings such as nite, aaarrrghh, and don't get me started with texting - I use complete words - yes, I am one of those ;) and also secretly wanting to re-expand the repertoire of words that we all use day-to-day.  We need to stop dumbing ourselves down and instead smarten ourselves up!  So, I thought that each Wednesday I could post my favourite word that week, complete with definition, example of use and visual make a card or layout or just find a pic that I think depicts it.  So, bear with me as I embark on this mad mission!
So, without further ado, this weeks word is:


[dir-i-juh-buhl, dih-rij-uh-] 
1. an airship.
2. designed for or capable of being directed, controlled, or steered.
Example of use:  
' "What ho!" said Boots.  "Can I be of any assistance, Lady Maccon?"  The basket-shaped gondola of Lord Akeldama's private dirigible came down out of the sky like some kind of fat and benevolent savior.' - Heartless, Gail Carriger.

'Auto-gyro's rush in where dirigibles fear to tread.' - Dion Shepherd.

Here are a couple of images I found on the web: 

I particularly like the addition of the chicken on top of this one ;)

And here is my card offering:

So, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to work the word dirigible into a  conversation this week - let me know how you use it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 23, 2012

First Day of School

Hey there bloggers!
Well, it was the first day of school for alot of kids today, my boys included.  It's going to be an interesting year this year as Hamish has now started Prep and Connor is now in Grade 7!  Eek! It was like a beautiful back to school miracle today - I woke up and Connor had awoken early, got himself AND HAMISH dressed to shoes AND gotten them both breakfast!!! Now, normally it's a nightmare to get Connor to dress himself on time but it was so wonderful to wake up and he had gotten himself and his brother ready - I nearly cried!
Hamish was so ready to go to school - he told me that he was 'so ascited!' to be going to school.
Dion's mum came this morning to see him and Connor off - she was the only one with separation anxiety, we literally had to drag her away from Hamish's classroom.
Check out the cutie:

No, he's not going to school in the jungle, that's our lawn that desperately needs mowing ;)
Connor - too cool for school?

Mimi not wanting to leave

 Anyway, I'm off to get the scones out of the oven for my starving boys, I hope that if you have kids that went to school today that they enjoyed their first day back!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fun Stuff Friday

So, I've staggered over to the computer (I'm battling a massive headache - I think we've reached an impasse;) because I kept having the idea of 'Fun Stuff Friday'.  I thought I would share any amusing craft-related (mostly) stuff from the week.
This weeks winner, hands down, is the freakin' HILARIOUS book my gal pal Rachel gave me this week.  It's called 'Simple Times - Crafts for Poor People' by Amy Sedaris.  It is a side-splitting tongue-in-cheek book about crafting. It's full of amusing pictures, poems and articles such as crafts for the 'handicraftable' (which includes CUI: Crafting Under the Influence) but I think Rachel's and my favourite chapter so far is the 'Safety Meeting'

Here is a short excerpt:
"The best protection from crafting injuries is to avoid other crafters.  This is not a general dismissal of crafting clubs or a negative judgement about those who choose to craft in pairs, including same-sex crafting or even mulitple-partner crafting known as 'decoupage a trois'.  This just means that when crafting with others, take sensible precautions.  Don't share buttons.  Divvy up felt scraps before crafting.  Never go dutch on the dry flowers."

 The Drug and Alcohol bit (above) is funny if you can read it ;)

There are actually a couple of recipes in the 'Confectioneries' chapter that sound tempting - such as Rich Cocoa Fudge and Ooey Gooey Bars, but considering that a few chapters on it suggests that dried bean pods make wonderful exotic instruments in the bedroom....maybe it's safer if I give the recipes a miss ;)

Meanwhile, I shall leave you with another image from the Safety Meeting chapter - about the importance of Stretching Before Crafting ;)
Happy Friday Bloggers!
B ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hello 2012

Hey there Bloggers!  Did you miss me? ;)
Sorry for the tardiness, but I'm back and raring to go! I've decided that 2012 is the year for taking the bull by the horns!!  So I invite you to join me for the ride!
So, the news so far for 2012...
Shop for Sale.  Yep, just in case you hadn't already heard, Fiona has put the shop (Stamp and Scrapbook Madness) up for sale.  Her husband, Justin, has been given a promotion at his work, unfortunately this involves them moving to Perth. So, if you know of someone that has always dreamed of owning a fabulous and successful Scrapbook shop....complete with kooky staff ;) (I keep telling Fiona that she needs to put a caveat in the sale agreement that I am included (like the stock and the racking ;)
Frankly I'm trying not to think about it too hard.

Meanwhile, it's business as usual at the shop.  Fiona keeps ordering more and more stock like a crazy person (which we love) and is still constantly sourcing new stock and suppliers (which we also love).  She's abandoning me next week to go to CHA so I'm sure she'll come back with lots of goodies that I will covet ;)
(and a signed copy of Compendium of Curiosities 2 for my Birthday if she knows what's good for her ;)

I have 4 classes this schedule - Paradise Cards, Jumbo Stamps Cards, Birthday Book and the upcoming Kaisercraft paper pad class.
Here's some pics:


I've also spent half the day updating the work blog, so if you haven't checked it out yet, the link is here

Anyway, I'm off to read Dr Seuss and brace myself for tomorrow (I've got a BIG day at work tomorrow)
Thanks for dropping by,