Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

I read a huge variety of blogs, and one of my favourites is Stephanie Howell. I was initially lured there by her scrapbooking style but now, I continually return for her stories. The way she shares her stories about herself, her soldier husband and her four little girls is amazing; such a unique writing voice. I also love how honest and genuine she is, as reflected by her blog your heart challenge. It’s a simple challenge: just share your heart -authentically. It’s a post which has been on repeat in my brain for a few days and I figure, why not? I’m procrastinating from a few other tasks, so lets take some time out to muse…

1. Yesterday I went out and had lunch in a restaurant on my own. I felt like a sushi and wasabi fix, so I went out to one of my favourite spots and asked for a table for one. It was nice to sit there, read a magazine and also do some diary planning for the upcoming weeks. I do solo outings often; I go shopping, eat out, explore Penang and see movies alone. I’ve even travelled alone before.  I’m quite comfortable with doing this, but yesterday I started thinking how this behaviour may appear to other people. Does dining solo make me look pathetic? Sad? A little weird? Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy hanging out regularly with friends, but I’m also comfortable with my own company. This behaviour seems to baffle a lot of people, and I have been criticized for my quiet, introverted ways in the past. Most of the time I couldn’t give a rip what others think but occasionally…these sorts of thoughts creep in.

2. We’re reaching the end of year two of our posting. One year to go and we head back to Oz… and already, I am freaking out. I don’t want to leave. I love living here in Penang, and the life we enjoy here. I’m freaking out about trying to find a job when I get back; my portfolio for the last two years is virtually non-existant, and in journalism a published body of work is vital for getting a decent job. I haven’t had much luck on the freelancing front and I have no idea what I should do.

3. I had plans to write a book while I was here on this posting. I haven’t done so. I discovered I really can’t write fiction anymore after almost a decade of journalism study and work, and since then… I haven’t done so out of fear. I’d love to write a book about my time living in Malaysia but to be honest… would it be boring? I don’t know many locals, I mostly socialise with ex-pats, and most of that socialising seems to revolve around exercise and trying out as many restaurants as possible. I’m just not sure what angle to take on such a book. While I do believe there is a book (or two) within me, fear and a perfectionist streak is stopping me from taking such a project on. And it’s making me feel like such a failure.

4. I have so many ideas for recipes to bake and share swirling around in my head. But I’m not making them…because I’m really conscious I need to lose some weight and am scared to put the temptation in my way. I’ve had a few rough patches this year, and I’ve used food as a coping mechanism. And it’s definitely showing on my body. I’m doing a pretty good job on the exercise front, but it’s the diet I need to really crack down on…and gosh, that’s hard. I wrestle with the food issue every single day. They say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but it’s been so long since I was slim, I honestly can’t say if that’s true. And cheese sure is good…How can a person slim down but still savour the things they enjoy? And why is “everything in moderation” so darn vague?

5. I don’t think anyone reads this blog other than my mum, and a few of my friends. That can be very discouraging sometimes. I’ve also had a few people make fun of me about the things I post, which I can’t help but take to heart. I know you should just blog for yourself but sometimes I wonder why I am. And my blog is really ugly, quite frankly. I’m hoping to fix it and I have a friend who will help but I wonder…is it worth it when I’m possibly one of five people looking at it? I love blogging, I love reading other blogs, and I do enjoy posting. There’s a lot of effort which goes into writing and putting up photos though and I sometimes wonder if it’s worth the trouble.

So that’s five things. It’s all honest, and authentic. I’m mindful of what I say as I’m part of a small community where anything you say can spread like wildfire, and make you a source of gossip and ridicule. But this is me, blogging my heart…as best as I can do right now. Please don’t judge me for it.


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I’m doing a stackload of card making this afternoon (there’s a lot of birthdays going on at the moment!) and thought I would use the colours from the current Just Add Ink challenge as my inspiration for one of the cards. Since the challenge closes in a few hours I thought I better get it up and posted now.

This is nice and simple, using the cute little Fox and Friends set in the challenge colours of Blushing Bride, Pear Pizzazz, Bashful Blue and Sahara Sand. The ribbon is (sadly) retired Kraft taffetta ribbon, which I have decided is my favourite ribbon to tie bows with (it just feels much easier!) I cut out the number one using my Timeless Type Sizzlits set – great for putting numbers on cards.

If you hadn’t guessed, this one is off to a gorgeous little girl I know who recently clocked up her first year on this planet.

Thanks for a great challenge JAI – nice to get back on and have a play!

PS. I just want to commend JAI on hosting challenges recently which put a spotlight on Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Just Add Pink and Bling) and Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month (Just Add Blue). As someone who has personally experienced depression and watched a relative struggled with breast cancer, it’s important for there to be a public dialogue about both of these conditions. Due to time restrictions I couldn’t take part in the challenges, but I wanted to commend you regardless.

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I haven’t done any challenges for a few weeks (due to illness, organising workshops, etc) but I’m hoping to get back in the groove in coming weeks. I’m starting with an entry to this week’s Just Add Ink challenge. It’s a colour combination challenge (my favourite) using Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive and Always Artichoke. I’ve used the first three together in combination before but throwing in the Artichoke…makes it a challenge! I decided my best tactic was to treat the Artichoke as a neutral, and it seems to have worked for me.

For some reason, I decided it would make a really nice Christmas card combination, so I present to you not one Christmas card…but two!

The card at the top at the post is my favourite, so let’s talk about that one first. It uses the stamp sets Delightful Decorations (with the matching bauble punch!), Lovely as a Tree for the ferns the bauble hangs off, and Many Merry Messages for the Greeting. For extra oomph I ran a sheet of AA through the Big Shot with the Textured Impressions Vintage Wallpaper embossing plate to use as a background, and added a new adhesive rhinestone to the centre for a bit of bling.

The second card was a bit trickier, despite its simplicity; I had to play with it for a while to get the effect I wanted. I cut out some Rose Red with the Top Note Bigz die in the Big Shot, then stamped the snow flake from Winter Post all over to create a background. I coloured the greeting from my new Christmas set, Welcome Christmas, with Old Olive, Rose Red, and Pumpkin Pie markers, then cut out the greeting. I’ve used one of the tags from the Sizzlits Lots of Tags set, cut out in Pumpkin Pie, behind the greeting to add a bit more colour.

Thanks for a great challenge as always JAI. Nice to be playing again!

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I’ve whipped up another simple card using the current challenge at Just Add Ink as my inspiration point. The colour combination is SU’s So Saffron, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery and Crumb Cake (formerly known as Kraft…and still referred to in my head as Kraft, I must admit). It’s a very soft, pretty combination; perfect for baby cards and the like. I made this card while at a craft night with a few ladies on Monday, but left it half finished as I was too busy having a chat! I added some extra embellishments last night and consider it done.

This card uses the grass from the Inspired by Nature set, the blossoms and sentiment from the Apple Blossoms Level 2 hostess set, and the butterflies from Butterfly Prints. I am so glad this set has returned, I love butterflies and this set is excellent value. There’s also a butterfly punch in SU’s range that coordinates with this set, making it a breeze to cut out these shapes…Stampin’ Up think of everything 🙂

This card is very clean and simple but I like it, and am glad I played along. Thanks again for a nice challenge JAI!

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Here’s a card I whipped up as an entry for the Inkspirations Colour Challenge this week.  I love a colour challenge and this one’s a great combination; Baja Breeze, Old Olive, Chocolate Chip and Ruby Red. I didn’t have any Ruby Red so I subbed in some Riding Hood Red; which is basically a deeper, more vibrant version of the retired RR.

This combination made me think of the colours in Stampin’ Up’s Ski Slope DSP for Christmas (sadly, now retired) so I went with a Christmassy theme for my card. As I am a SU demo, I get to be part of an online demonstrators forum, and one of the demo’s, Kerry Bunting, posted up this brilliant idea for using the medallion and crown in the Artistic Etchings set to make a Christmas bauble. Thanks for the great idea Kerry! I love the end result, embossed with silver and using some ribbon leftover from my wedding three years ago! Yes, I am a hoarder resourceful person, I have a few rolls of the stuff!

To make the background, I ran a piece of Baja Breeze cardstock through the Big Shot with the Vintage Wallpaper Textured Impressions embossing folder, and then brayered over the top of the cardstock with Old Olive ink on the negative side (the side of the card stock where the pattern is indented, not raised). Don’t you just love the finished product – it looks like a piece of patterned paper! I’ll definitely be doing this technique again.

Thanks for a great colour challenge Inkspirations team!

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I’m sneaking in an entry for the challenge over at Just Add Ink – I didn’t think I was going to get the time to do anything, but here I am! The challenge is to Just Add Material, and while I could argue that all the things you use to make cards are materials and therefore I can jolly well make any card I want, I stuck to the rules and included something fabric.

I’m still making samples to display at my next card making workshop to launch the new Stampin’ Up catalogue (which is live today, woohoo!) so I wanted to use things that are available in the new catty. So, I used some Very Vanilla ribbon to make a ribbon rose, and went from there. The ribbon rose was very simple to make, I just followed a tutorial from Stamp In Style . Coincidentally, the woman behind this blog is one of the founders of Just Add Ink, so this is an unintentional suck-up job 😛

 Once I’d finished making this card, I realised it was somewhat similar to what I did recently for a challenge but I insist it is, as some locals in my part of my world like to say “same same, but different”. It has a real vintage feel and I actually really love it. Some super-new stuff used includes the Newsprint Designer Series Paper (I’m a sucker for any printed text) and the Artistic Etchings stamp set – a set that I didn’t immediately adore, but now that I own it, I love it.

Enough talking, my stomach’s grumbling and I need some dinner, so enjoy this eye candy and thanks again JAI for a great challenge!

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Here’s a little card I made as an entry in the Inkspirations Sketch Challenge #37, which is being hosted by the incredibly talented Chantelle this week. The challenge was to follow the sketch, and include some polka dots in the design. I added an extra challenge to myself of using a new stamp set from the upcoming Stampin’ Up catalogue to complete the challenge (but really, that bit wasn’t hard!)

Once again, I reached for the Apple Blossoms stamp set – I get the feeling this set is going to be well inked come launch time. My polka dot component is subtle – it uses the spotty background that comes in the set, and I’ve used it as a spotty background on the green cardstock, Wild Wasabi. Wild Wasabi is a former In Color that’s now part of the permanent collection, and I’m so happy to have a little stash!

The other colours used are Whisper White, Chocolate Chip and Real Red. The elements of this card are simple – it’s just cardstock, a few brads and some dimensionals – but I like the clean look of this.

I think this is the first time I have followed a sketch in a challenge and I must say, I found it a challenge (funny that!) I definitely think colour challenges are more my thing, but nevertheless I had a fun time playing along. Thanks for another great challenge Inkspirations team!

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