Monday, January 31, 2011

The big trifecta

If you have been a Dollies follower, then you are well aware of the trifecta. This is a combination of the colour challenge, the elements challenge and the sketch, always a fun challenge!!

In the new improved Dollies format, this will now occur at the end of the month, combining the previous three weeks challenges - all clear?

This month we had red, white, blue and kraft as the colours, hand sketching as the elements and of course the sketch from last week (see here).

And here is my attempt. This is my little brother and my cute as a pixie, littlest niece, Holly.

Go and check out the other Dollies wonderful Lo's , just lovely. And then come and join in!!

And we are finally back home after a weekend relaxing at the coast. This is at the inlet at Mollymook, just a great place for relaxing - I am not a beach girl so this is a nice compromise.

I finally feel that I am now home finally and hope to get some serious crafting done. I have so many craft books and this year I am determined to make something from all of them, stay tuned..

A week of 30+ degrees this week so we will be here for the week.---
Not huge but fun and refreshing.

Have a great week xxx

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a bit of embossing

is happening over at the latest southern girls challenge. Use some dry embossed paeper or probably cardstock and show us what you've got!

I used some white pre-embossed (is there such a word??) spotty card for my back ground card. I smudged some Tim Holtz ink around to high light the embossing. And i love the chicken wire transparency from Hambly that was in the last Cocoa Daisy Kit.

the image is Henry drinking what was a staple overseas, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice. So yummy (except the time in Vietnam, where they served the lemon juice, warm, with bits of bark and this thing that looked like a soft wrinkled stone - later discovered to be a sweetened prune, we hope...- at the murky bottom).

Oranges are obviously a luxury item as orange juice was rare and expensive (we also managed to get one place that served hot OJ - not that good...).

And there was this delightful concoction, citrus milk. I have had a very sheltered upbringing..

Anyway come and play with us at Southern Girls, some very cool prizes up for grabs and check out the other Dt's fab work, so cute!.

And don't forget to go check out the dollies latest challenge.

Off to the coast for the weekend, weather is turning cooler so not sure what we will be up to.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sketch time!

You know I love a good sketch and this one is a cracker from the Dollhouse!! Such a versatile sketch, just check out the Dt's work here. All very different but wonderful. I think this is one of the better Lo's I have done in ages, what do you think??

I've given our holidays a miss this week (I can here the sighs of relief, you must be bored of hearing about them already..) and gone back to Matt's second formal at the end of last year. He does look very handsome - I think a mother's bias is OK! He is currently half heartedly looking for a job, hopefully he will get something soon, there seems to be a few part time jobs around at the moment. We are also well into his learning to drive, his confidence level is getting better (I think I have a very calm exterior when I am with him, although if he looked hard he would see how hard I am grasping the seatbelt..). Only a hundred or so hours to go - sigh.

Australia day tomorrow - and the hottest day this summer - 37 degrees! We went and bought a kids pool for Henry but I think the parents may be sitting it at some stage!! (the elder two children have other plans of course).

So happy Australia day and I will be back with the latest Southern Girls challenge in the next day or two. xx

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Boy Monks

The town we spent the most time in Laos was a place called Luang Prabang. It is world heritage listed and it literally has a Wat on every block. From the most elaborate Wat that was the old kings' (pre communist era) to much more humble temples. They all have wonderfully over the top decorations and large and numerous Buddhas.

And of course each Wat has it's own monks. So Luang Prabang is packed with the saffron robed monks. They become part of the background, to be respected but left alone.

We visited the highest Wat on Phu Si, a hill in the middle of town. The kids released some birds (another Lo is coming) and then we headed back down the hill (so many steps...). Geoff stopped at the top and asked these monks if he could take their photo.

Well, they had a ball, I'm so sorry we missed it. They posed (in positions very similar to the poses our kids made when presented with the camera) and then they took over and snapped away. It was so cool to see kids being kids.

I have used this weeks Sketchy Thursday sketch, great for multiple photos.

On a positive note, I finally feel as if I'm back to feeling somewhat normal again. After the general tiredness of travel and then picking up some horrible bug that made it a struggle to get out of bed - bluurghh- and also giving me a cough that made it sound like i was a pack a day smoker! (having a week to swim at mum and Dad's was very helpful as well..)

Ok back with another Dollies post tomorrow, not holiday related you'll be pleased to know, stay tuned. Have a great day xx

Sunday, January 16, 2011

latest dollie challenge

Ok, it's the second Monday (Ok technically the third monday this month but there's five mondays this month so give us a break...) so that means it elements challenge at Design Dollies this week. Hooray!

This week is easy. Just give us a doodle or maybe a sketch on your entry. As you can see I am not the most talented of sketchers but I did have fun with this. (You CAN tell they are fish, can't you??)

This was at Singapore zoo. On entry they offered us a bonus. The kids grabbed hand towels and lanyards but Geoff and I went the fish spa...

Ok, we had been at the zoo a couple of hours and were ready to head off. The fish spa was on the way out. there was no one else in there so we thought we might as well use our bonus ticket. After thoroughly scrubbing our feet clean, we sat down and dipped our toes in. EEP. hundreds of little fish attack, apparently ridding your skin of all those nasty dead skin cells. After we got our head in the right space (ie not squirming with horror or falling over laughing because it tickled so much) it wasn't too bad. Sort of like little bubbles around your legs.

Then the very kind lady (who i suspect wanted some amusement) insisted we had enough time left to use the pool with the slightly bigger fish. Geoff went first. I should have known from the half strangulated cries coming from his direction to stay where I was but the lady (and Geoff) were insistent that I try the bigger fish.


It was similar to being scratched all over with steel wool. They have lots of very sharp teeth and obviously hadn't been fed all day (hmm come to think of it, there was a crowd of people - kids especially, watching us through the carefully placed very unprivate window that everyone who walked in or out of the zoo passed by..). Obviously a trap for newcomers.

But we bravely kept our legs in and smiled when the fish lady informed us that we had longer than we were supposed to but that was ok. agghhh- prolonged scratching.

I completely recomend this (ok so I just want others to feel like their legs have been stripped of all skin..)

So go check out the other Dollies versions, they are just lovely. Not sure if mine made it on site as I seem to be having trouble with emails but come and join in!

Off to Mum and Dad's for a few days. Hoping for some warm weather and lack of flooding around there. I hope everyone is safe and well in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, The Philippines, Brazil and Sri Lanka ( Why does it feel like the start of a disaster movie?).

The Premier has set up a flood appeal to help the Queenslander through this awful time so if you want to donate go here. I know lots of people are looking to send stuff through but at the moment it is just clogging the system and they want the money to go back into local communities so money is the best bet at the moment.

Have a great (and safe) week. xx

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elephant riding

On Christmas eve, we ventured out to a small village, very near Luang Prabang, Laos. They have an elephant rescue centre there, where we spent most of the day. They get elephants that have been rescued from logging camps (for various reasons, elephants are no longer really required for the awfully hard logging that they have done historically). Owners aren't able to release elephants back into the wild so they are either left to slowly starve or they are destroyed.

We settled down here to enjoy the views - a hard life sometimes..

This place along with one in Chang Mai in Thailand are using tourism to save these animals. They reassure us that carrying a couple of humans every day is child's play compared to hauling logs, and that the elephants enjoy the interaction, and the stroll through the river a couple of times a day. They are also released back into the nearby jungle every night.

We had three lovely ladies (they only use the calmer female elephants) to walk us around for an hour. The downhill bit were scarier than they looked, only an unsecured pole between you and the ground

The mahout that was guiding our lady hopped down when we reached this mid stream island (leaving Henry and I somewhat helpless) and took some photos. Geoff was getting ready to explain how to use the camera, when the man took off his conical hat, flipped around his cap that was hidden underneath, adjusted the setting himself and rearranged us as professionally as any model shoot - he obviously does this a couple of times a day, ok reassess our superior western attitudes - again..)

Matt and Meaghan's elephant handler offered them a go 'up front'. Matt. surprisingly for us, took up the offer. I think it was getting a bit painful after about 20minutes, and they swapped back. Meaghan wasn't quite as game (nor would I have been to be perfectly honest..)

Using the first sketchy Thursday sketch for the year. Using supplies from my lovely friends, that I have previously mentioned, thank you Julie and Irini.

It was a great way to spend Christmas eve (better than the normal shopping spree and mad rush).

Have a great day and don't forget to check out the new Dollies challenge (featuring our guest designer for January, Amy Beaver) and keep an eye out for Southern Girls challenge, a new one should be up in the next couple of days. xx

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hooray - excting news

I am now am official full time Dollie! I found out that I am part of the new DT last week, luckily the challenges didn't start 'til this week so I could start straight away. I am so very happy. The rest of the team look just great, I have seen some of their future work, something to look forward to, very talented girls!

Design Dollies has kicked off the year with a new format, a little less rushed this year. Instead of three challenges a week, there will be one. First week of the month will be a colour combo, the next week an elements challenge then a sketch (I love the sketches!!). In the last week the trifecta will be up, so a chance to combine all the three previous weeks challenges. There is a lot of fun challenges ahead.

First up is this colour combo, chosen by the very talented Karen B (how many Karen's in the crafting world?? I suspect a never ending number..) I hope she is doing Ok weatherwise, as her part of the world is having a dreadful time with the floods at the moment

Blue, red, white and kraft

I have expressed dismay at a plain red, white and blue combo before but adding the kraft makes a huge difference.

My Lo is still fairly plain as -
a) I am still feeling the after effects of travelling and
b) I reorganised my scrap stash just before I went away and now I can't find anything (doh!)

My Lo is something that still makes me laugh when I think about it. At Singapore zoo they have a kids water park, the highlight being an enormous bucket that fills slowly with water and then tips hundreds of litres down on the kids. Henry had stripped down to his shorts (he was the whitest, scrawniest kid there - his top half never sees the sun - ever... even when swimming he wears his rashie top, I think he glows in the dark he is so translucent..).

Geoff was wading around keeping an eye on Henry, he looked up and thought ' hmm, that bucket is just about full, I best move out of the way..) - too late, he was soaked through! Luckily it was a hot day and his shirt dried quickly, his heavy cargo pants took a bit more drying..

Ok, time to go play, I hope you can join us at the Dollhouse this year. Lots of yummy prizes and some fun challenges.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

the final 36 hours

Ever since we first booked our holiday we knew the last 36 hours were going to be long.

1. Plane leaves Hanoi at 9am, doesn't sound too bad but it takes an hour to get to the city to the airport, hence leaving our hotel by 6:15 - erggh.

2 flight to Kuala Lumpur - 3.5 hours - not too bad. Meaghan and I watch 'Chocolate' - Johnny Depp - mmm

3. Arrive Kl at 1:30 pm local time, our plane back to Melbourne doesn't leave until 11pm. we had planned to drop our luggage off at the luggage storage place (advertised to be open 24/7) and head off to a nearby water/amusement park and get back to the airport by 7 ish. Except luggage storage is closed until 4... Ok stuck in the low cost terminal with half a tonne of luggage for an eternity. Until our brilliant son comes up with the idea of getting a hotel room for the afternoon. genius. Conveniently located on the other side of the carpark is a hotel that rents it's rooms in 3 hour blocks. Best move ever. Although the room is tiny, there is just enough space for us and our luggage. Also have a couple of eating places and a 7/11. Bonus is most comfortable bed for the entire trip and easily the best shower. Luckily we weren't at the water park because an enormous electrical storm rolled in.

4. after a very pleasant meal, we sauntered over to the airport at 9ish, luggage straight into check in and do some last minute souvenir shopping - so far the day has gone better than expected. Then the flight...

5. It was only an 8 hour flight but it took an eternity. They didn't turn the lights off until 1am, there were no little individual air vents (and I need to feel air on my face) and the normally over cooled cabins just weren't cooled at all. As a result Henry over heated and got very stressed (not loudly though). So he didn't sleep until a couple of hours before the flight landed. It meant Meaghan and i who were either side didn't sleep at all. There was a bit of turbulence so the seat belt sign stayed on just about the whole time, so no getting up to stretch your legs. Such a long night.

6. Melbourne airport, just a nightmare. over 2 hours of queuing to get through passports and customs, only to get near the end and have an official pretty much take one look and a couple of questions about dangerous weapons (we would make excellent smugglers) and let us out a side door.

7. Last flight at 3 back home. after pigging out at McDonald's, we discovered that Virgin Blue had been allowing free flight transfers and we could have got an earlier flight if we hadn't had taken time out to eat - damn. But we found a quiet corner of the airport, got the latest edition of Frankie (I was forth in line to get hold of it..) and had some nice down time. Luckily the flight back home was only 45mins and we got ahead of the summernats boys to nab a large cab home. yay.

So lots of ups and downs but will avoid a night flight if possible in the future.

And best of all getting home to a not stressed cat (thank you local friends Jane, Jo and Katie and various offspring of my wonderful friends) and a lovely pilke of goodies (thank you international friends, Julie and Irini for my lovely RAK's that made me smile) and a nice big Cocoa Daisy package, hooray.

Monday, January 3, 2011

two nights plus one nasty night

That's all we have left. Two nights in hanoi and then lots of plane terminals and an overnight flight. I can't remember what it is like to have our own house, it seems an eternity ago. The last week has had some truly awful days but enough nice surprises to keep us going.

Here are a few photos from Laos, loved Laos, Vientiene was just a lovely place to be. There is such hope in that country. the kids all seem to have an opportunity to be educated, always a positive. We were talking to a guide and he told us that up until 6 years ago, the Laotian people live doff the land which meant three months of exceptionally hard work and then 9 months of pretty well doing nothing. Then the foreigners came in and opened Guest houses and hotels, and started applying some marketing techniques. the Laotian's then thought " ahh that's how it is done !" and know we can do it ourselves, we can work hard for most of the year. So now they do.

This was obvious with our first stay in Luang Prabang staying in Bungalows at Khone and Khouns. Just brilliant. We loved it there. They took us every where in an old jeep, so much fun. It was hard to leave and go into town esp as the hotelin twn was pretty crappy, but it was the only one we had prepaid for the entire trip (doh!). We ended up leaving a niight early anyway.

Henry with Khone and Khoun and friend.

We also spent time at an elephant rescue centre and riding elephants, also excellent fun. More of this later.
And riding on long boats down the river on the same day, the look on our face is actually panic as Geoff had turned around to take the photo and the boat was rocking rather precariously...

Enough for now, Matt has just walked in with his latest purchase, a Vietnamese Army outfit...

More when we are back home xx