Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's huge!

'bout time I did an update here, which means this is a long one.
This post is backdated because I typed it all up but we went over our internet limit for the month so I couldn't upload this. Now I have my connection back so I'm playing catch up, all over the place.
It's been a busy month creatively speaking.
Firstly though, Alex is well, active, happy and chatty. He is talking all the time now, about everything. As I type he is in bed talking to himself, it sounds like he is discussing chocolate milk with his teddy (he should be asleep, Alex that is not teddy). It's quite amazing some of the things he comes up with and the connections he makes. He spoke to Jim and Elin on the phone on the weekend and said 'Hello Uncle Jim' and 'Heydoor Auntie Elin'. It didn't come out quite like that, Elin was more like Elinlinlin :) He also got to say 'Gday Mate' to some friends who visited from Texas!
We are persisting with toilet training. He is really good at using the potty but not at telling us when he needs to. So I find myself asking him every 10 mins if he needs to go. This may take longer than I expected.
Alex has been doing a lot of this

and some of this

Alex is turning 3 in just a couple of weeks!

Check out the flowers on my coffee plant. Looks like we might be in for a good crop! An unexpected bonus is they smell really nice. I had no idea coffee plants were scented. They even smell good at night!

Alex stayed with my parents on the weekend so Graham and I could go photo hunting. We went to the Australia Day dawn balloon rise. Got there at 5:30am in the dark, in time to watch the balloons being filled before the lift off. We spent a few hours shooting and ended up with
soaking wet shoes and trousers from the dew. There were a lot of people taking photos. I had to laugh at the ones carrying around huge tripods and huge external flashes. I don't know how much of a balloon they expected their flash to light up. I just bumped my ISO up to 1250 to
cope with the low light. A lot of people are afraid to use a high ISO because if noise/grain but as long as you get your exposure right there shouldn't be much noise difference between 100 and 1000 ISO. It's when the photos are underexposed that you get noise problems. Graham and I
traveled light, a camera each, a lens on each and one spare to cover wide, long and mid range, and that was it. Other stuff like spare batteries and memory cards we left in the car. We didn't need the batteries and when I filled my memory card I just took Grahams off him :p
The balloons were stunning, huge and colourful and so beautiful when the sun finally hits them.

We ran into some friends there and went out for breakfast with them afterwards.

It was quite nice to have a meal without a toddler playing with his food. Got home about 9am. Not a bad morning.
Camera club starts again tomorrow. It's a talk though, which we've heard before so we'll skip this week. The first meeting next month is about black and white photography so I'm interested in that one.
Gymbaroo starts next week for Alex. He is doing so much dancing and singing at home now, he will love to get back to Gymbaroo.

OK the creative news.
I'm now actively doing digital scrapbooking. I've been doing the occasional layout for the last few years but never participating in the whole sharing side of the digiscrap world. Now I can't get enough of it. I know some people (Hi Mom) think it's silly and childish but I enjoy the creativity of it and it's something I can do with all my photos. I've also met a great bunch of people online and I'm enjoying my new virtual social life.
I signed up to GDS (a large digital scrapbooking site) a while ago but only ever browsed there but the beginning of the month I jumped in with both feet to compete in their Supreme Team Contest. I didn't expect to get anywhere, wasn't sure I'd even be interested enough to get my first entry in but the offer of a free digital kit was enough to get my attention :) For each round we we given a digital kit from one of the GDS designers and had to make a layout using only that kit and our photos and journaling.
Well I've made it through to round 4 of the competition, the last one. Tomorrow I'll find out if I'm one of the 12 winners. I think we started with 158 contestants from all over the world so I feel pretty privileged to have made it all this way.
Along the way I've been doing every one of their monthly challenges I can. I can't get enough of them. The challenges inspire me. There was even a Queen of the Crop challenge that meant doing 10 layouts in day with a limit of 2 hours to be spent on each. Each one had a theme to
conform to. Quite a challenge but I did it and my layout for the theme 'green' got me a January Queen of the Crop award :)
There also a project 365 going which is a photo a day so I get to keep up the daily photos with themes that make me think outside the box.
There is some amazing work to see in the galleries there and the members are so encouraging in their feedback. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
I've joined 3 Creative Teams! Wont mean much to non-scrappers but to anyone in the scrapping world it's pretty special to be on a designers CT. So I'm now doing layouts for Amy Fenner, ScrapShana and Theresa Borntreger :)
and I have blinkies!

and I've signed up for something called the Amazing Digiscrapping Race (on another site) which starts next month. My partner is from Texas so we are the Tex Aus Coast Girls. It sounds like fun. Here's the official description.

'Teams of two will traverse the digital scrapping world, site by site, completing challenges and collecting prizes along the way. Everyone who completes the week's challenges in the allotted time frame will move on to the next week, where they can collect even MORE prizes! And at the end of the race, everyone who has traveled around the digiworld and completed each and every challenge will be entered into a drawing for the GRAND prize!'

Here's some of my digiscrapping layouts.
I posted my round post entry for the supreme team earlier so here's round 2 using Leslie Emery's Pocketful of Posies kit

Credits here
and round 3 using Theresa Borntreger's My Shining Star kit

Credits here
and the final round using Helen Ehrenhofer's Mom's Diner kit.

Credits here
One I did for the colour challenge. We had a set of pastel colours to work with.

Credits here
This one is using ScrapShana's Blue Jean Baby kit

Credits here
Check this out too. A different look but all from the same kit.

Credits here
and for the previous colour challenge. Much bolder colours.

Credits here
The cover for my legacy book. This is a long term challenge where we will do a page each month.

Credits here.
This one I did using the January Collab kit and it was chosen for the scraplift challenge which means people were challenged to create a layout using mine for inspiration.

Credits here
It's been really interesting to see what everyone came up with. Some layouts are very similar, right down to the same papers and frames, and others are so different I wouldn't have picked them as a scraplift of this. Of course I wanted to do this challenge too so I had to scraplift myself. I kept the basic idea of paper, 2 journaling mats and clustered frames and came up with this one using Amy Fenner's I Heart You kit.

Credits here
and another using the collab kit for a different look.

Credits here
One for the quote challenge. I put the quote on the book cover.

Credits here
The font challenge. Using a set font.

Credits here
The progressive challenge. 4 steps. Every few days we find out what we
have to do for the next step.

Credits here
My green layout for Queen of the Crop

Credits here
These photos were perfect for Amy Fenner's Oh to be a kid again kit.

Credits here
This is a double page layout (so two 12x12" pages) using Theresa Borntreger's Automoplay kit

Credits here
and another double page layout using Theresa Borntreger's Paisley Pistachio kit.

Credits here
Here's a close up of the one of the cute little bees I made using just the elements from this kit.

Monday, January 07, 2008

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to

It's my birthday.
A pretty normal day all 'round. This year is just another number. Next year is the big one and I will need a party!
I got 3 cards, 2 bunches of roses (both from Graham, or maybe one was from Alex) and chocolate.
Saturday the in-laws came over with a cake. Caught me in the middle of painting the laundry, literally up a ladder, so I was not dressed for this and less than impressed at having my photo taken. But it was nice to have my cake and eat it :)
They gave me some money, $1 for each year, a chocolate Christmas bell and a really cool card that plays music when you open it (which Alex loves) and inside are animals with cameras and the cameras flash (which Alex also loves but I do too).
I got also got a card from my Godmother in England and one from Alex and Graham. Alex signed it all over. It looks like he is already trying to copy Grahams signature.
Graham brought me home a bunch of roses at lunch time and again at dinner time. Which either means he is having an affair (joke) or he had no idea what to get me for my birthday. He also brought home take-away from my favourite little local Italian place. We could have eaten out but it's not really relaxing with Alex.
Here's the dreaded shot from Saturday with the cake my MIL made.

and here's my roses and the 'cake' Graham served tonight :)

and here's some recent shots.
I had to wash Teddy again last week (Alex was sick on him). Every time I have to wash Teddy I worry that he wont survive. He is stuffed with some sort of lavender scented filling. Alex has had him since he was a baby and sleeps with him every night. Lately he has become quite clingy to Teddy, wanting to play with him, not just sleep with him. So when I had to wash him I had to be careful to sneak Teddy off to the wash without Alex seeing and then hang him out on the line without him seeing. He asked for Teddy often during the day but I managed to distract him until he spotted Teddy on the line. Then we had a bit of a tantrum but Teddy was wet so had to stay on the line.
Finally at the end of the day Teddy was judged to be dry enough and Alex was so happy to have him back, even with the pegs still on.

He then took Teddy for a ride in a box.

This is what we have all over the house the last few days.
At least they are soft to tread on. Alex is having fun with them which is what counts. He knows most of the letters even though these are lower case and the fridge magnet letters he is used to are upper case.
He surprised me today. I was in the kitchen making his breakfast and the milk bottle was out on the other counter behind me. I wasn't watching him so I was surprised to hear 'm mama eye el kay'. Yep he was reading the label and had just read M i l k. I knew he knew M and K but didn't realise he could recognise the lower case i and l. He then fetched the big rubber K from his floor mats and held it over the k on the label and said 'same' and then fetched the M off the fridge and said 'M mama same'.
I was sooooo impressed.

This is what Graham looked like after removing tiles in the laundry.
The laundry is almost finished so I'll get some photos of it soon. One side of the room is done and the washing machine and dryer are back in. The other side needs a 3rd coat of paint and that's it. I could have finished it today when Alex had his nap but I decided to celebrate my birthday by having a nap myself :)

Some Alex photos, he was watching his newest home movie on TV. I made a DVD of home movies and photos to included in the Christmas parcel to Elin and Jim. Alex has his own copy which he frequently demands to watch.

and here he is having fun with water.

and a digital scrapbook page I made the other day inspired by photos Jim emailed us.
This is using the Winterfrosting kit by Andrea Gold provided to the first round entrants in the GDS supreme team contest.