Friday, 30 December 2011

The Holiday lens| A visit to the Military Museum

I'm way behind with my December Daily posts, I know, but I want to interject here with a trip we had today. Want to just get the words down so that I can scrapbook it when I have the time (one day...) We are currently having a little holiday in and around our own City. Yesterday, after visiting the Monkey Sanctuary (hope to write about that soon), I asked my 4 year old if he enjoyed it. The answer was something along the lines of no, boring (he actually did enjoy it, but that's beside the point). I asked him what kind of outing he would enjoy, and the reply was: an army one. So off to the Military museum we went today...

To be honest, I did not have high expectations of the visit. I envisaged a biggish hall filled with a few tanks and other Border memorabalia. Well, was I pleasantly surprised... We walked into a well organised, well kept HUGE museum. There were several halls covering a number of wars South Africa was involved in, including the Aglo Boer war, WWi, WWii, and the War in Angola. It is actually a bit too much to absorb in one visit. They had very interesting themes too, eg. how the uniforms changed over the course of a century. How prisoners of war tried to escape etc.

So many absorbing PHOTO's and STORIES. So many people that cared to document stories and keep stuff! Stories and memorabalia that was really touching. Like the lantern retrieved from the Battle at Delville wood (South Africans fought there too) in the entrance hall. It had the original candle in it that was extinguished during the battle. The quote below the list of fallen Parabats: "When you go home today, tell them about us and say, That for your tomorrow, we gave our today". Graphic poems of injuries and horror. Stories of heroes and bravery. Beautiful wooden guns and planes. Detailed old uniforms. A postcard wishing for and describing Christmas in a time of peace. So many layers to this thing called War.

So grateful that we never experienced war first hand. Grateful to all those who fought for our today. Including my own great grandfather who carved a beautiful little book out of stone while he was a POW in St Helena. And again inspired to record our stories. Especially when I see how much things changed in a mere 100 years, and how easy it can be to forget. Project Life, I'm looking forward!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

December Daily | Day 5

The kids are daily unwrapping a book as a countdown to Christmas. I'll still create a page about that. But on Day Five they unwrapped a Thomas Tank Engine Letter writing kit. I asked Reuben (6) if he wanted to write a letter to Santa. He decided that he rather wanted to write us some letters. So with little help from me, he wrote me and his Dad the most wonderful letters. Then, as an added surprise, Liam (4) also volunteered to write us letters. I dotted out the words for him, and he patiently sat and traced over the dots. He did get a little tired halfway through, but that was a good enough keepsake for me!
I added text (Claire hand) onto the photo (using Microsofts digital editing program). The envelope I created using a transparent page. All their letters are placed in the envelope. I just measured it a little tight.
I photocopied Liams "letter" , cut out each word, and hand sewed it to the photo on the left before I adhered it to the cardstock. The idea was actually Ali inspired.
I was happy to find a nice train sticker in the kit with a number "Five" on it. The train border were also made with a stampset in the kit. I cut a star out of the photo on the right and added some glitter dotted paper underneath, allowing it to create a border on the other side.  Love day 5.

December Daily | Day 4

On Day Four we attended a Thanksgiving feast at church. We don't traditionally celebrate "Thanksgiving" in South Africa, it is just something our church does on a yearly basis. I just wanted to express some gratitude to God on this page. For the good He's done to us this year. And for the amazing people He's added to our lives. I couldn't nearly include all of them on this page, nor the lovely feast tables with candle lit chandliers, but I love it anyway.

I wrote out most of the words with a black gel ink pen, and painted in some with  poster paint.  The star was cut from an old canvas, and then hand sewn around the edges.
    Here they are, happy shiny people! I might still add some text (in the shape of a star) to the spot where my thumb rests. The stitching was added digitally (Designer Digitals). The word art on this page is from Ali at Designer Digitals. Oh, and I also added a little silver star to this page afterwards. Day four done...

December Daily | Day 3

Life feels really hectic here right now. I've had a few of moments where I wanted to press the escape button on this December Daily project. Choose more sleep instead of a family heirloom! I'm just not used to paperscrapping anymore I guess. I've relaxed a lot about the whole thing now, and the fact that I'm not able to stay up to date. And I am enjoying my pages as imperfect as they may be. So,without much further ado, here's Day 3:

I've since upgraded to a smaller on the outside, thicker on the inside file. It still needs to be spray painted etc.
Day Three tells the story of what December in South Africa feels like. Summer & swimming. I especially wanted to capture all the sparkle on the water. And I love that I got a photo of my youngest doing a "whale" with his pool noodle. I included some art that I downloaded for free one December from Wilna Furstenburg's blog ( she is origanally from South Africa). The Protea is our national flower, so I included it on my photo page on top of some sparkling paper. I again played a little with glitter glue and coloured pens on the printed images and journaling.

It is not very clear on the photo's, but the transparency had a strip of Worldmap printed on it. I placed a little blue blinker on the spot where we live.
And that was day three...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

December Daily | Day two

Day two records two little friends sleeping over at our house. A first for my kids. They had an awesome time making their own pizzas, swimming, making icecream snowmen, swimming... Unfortunately the text I added got trimmed off a little at the photoplace I'm printing at. The transparancy is "Travel Ledger, Travel clocks" by Teresa Collins. The stick on tape, not sure, I discarded the packaging. I print all my photo's in the template frames, and then cut them out and adhere them to a cardboard copy of the template. Here I also cut out the photopaper "2" and adhered it over the cardstock "2" with little foam squares.

For the word strip next to the "2" I used some "Tiny Text" stickers from Cosmo Cricket. I just cut out a block full , removed the backing and stuck them in place. The snowflakes and wordstrips are from Designer Digitals., as is the December Daily Template by Ali Edwards. I also again added some glitter glue to the snowflakes. The days of the week were typed in (before printing) using a free font called "Claire Hand".

I am so admiring the albums of Ali Edwards and Wilna Furstenburg. Will still go have a look on Flickr at the rest.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December Daily | Day One.

Hello December, and hello December Daily!

I decided rather last minute to do a paper December Daily this year (iso the Digital albums I've done for the last two years). Being a digital scrapper, I wasn't in touch with the scrapbooking industry in South Africa. So then followed a saga of first trying to get stuff on-line from Capetown, and there-after physically in Jo'burg.
I was amazed that there's apparently no big scrapbooking supplier in my half of the city. Things like printed transparancies and divided page protectors doesn't seem to be of much use for scrapbookers around here either. Rather essential if you're following an Ali DD!

Anyway.. long story short, this (picture above) is what my album looked liked as of 1 December. Pause and take a deep breath...Some stuff were found at a fabric shop, others at a large plastic shop...On top of that it was also basically impossible for me to do the on-line transaction to purchase the latest DD templates from Designer Digitals (I've never had that porblem before). In the end I had to adjust the square templates from last year to use for this year. I further realized that printing my photo's A4 size was just going to work out too expensive, so decided on a somewhat small album, each page being half an A4. A lot of perseverance and counting the cost alas!

That all said, my album is finally (still coverless) underway, and I'm really enjoying working with paper again. I love the freedom to apply things like glitterglue (loving glitter glue right now) and raised areas etc. right onto the page.

SO..Here is DAY ONE:

I'll probably have the file it's in cut down and sprayed silver or something (loving Wilna Furstenburg's album). I applied some glitter glue inside the "one". The photo printed much lighter than the one I originally printed on A4, so the "Hello December" title, in white, wasn't really visible. I went over the words with glitter glue. It doesn't really show up in the photo's, but looks quite nice in real life.

I apologise for the photo quality not being great. My DSLR's lense is too long to take close-ups, and I just used my smaller camera for these. Day one celebrates the fact that my husband started at a new company (on December 1st), and because of a much shorter traveling distance, and finishing earlier, has more family time. This is him relaxing at home at a time when he previously still would have been at work.

My album is far from perfect, but I'm already glad I joined in the fun and documenting!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


On Sunday a friend and I had a conversation that went something like this: Friend: "Hi, I saw your photo in the Paper!". Me: (totally confused) "My photo in the paper??". Friend: "Yes, of your boys!" Me (suddenly remembering & jaw dropping) "I've won!"

So there we are in the paper... I entered the photo a week or so ago, and actually forgot about it. So happy that some-one liked my photo enough to let me win! And so happy that the prize is an A2 print on canvas!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Project Life, 3rd week of November

Is it really Wednesday already? Time is flying towards the year-end. This morning we had a Cookie-exchange at Womensgroup. So fun. The baking and the exchanging. Today really feels like a relief after a rather pressurized time. We also had some really great news today as my husband was offered a new contract. He will be working 5 min. away from home now iso 45min one way. God is just so amazing! And I'm so thankful that I also had the opportunity to share some of this at Womensgroup this morning.

Anyway, here is last week's PL:

I saw the idea of blocking out certain images and info you might not want published, on Ali's Project Life this week. I think a good idea to implement this in future on my PL posts. I simply opened the digital lay-out in Microsoft Editing, went to "insert shape" on the toolbar, selected a shape and placed it over the area in question. In some cases I added transparency. Another option is to highlight an area and just blur it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Concert night

On Tuesday night I attended my first school concert as a Mama! I got to see all the pre-performance excitement as a caleidoscope of little people were bundling in and out of classrooms...

And in the midst of them was my little soldier. Loving every minute in his cool calm and collected way. Posing with his best friend, who was a bear.

I wasn't quite prepared for the scale of this performance. About 75 kids in a variety of costumes, all trained to the tee. They performed "The Glass Palace". A story about two spoilt children who find themselves in Storyland with horns on their foreheads. They go through various groups of characters on their way to finding the Princess who teach them about friendship. I spotted Reuben sitting on the stairs, waiting for his turn on stage, sitting perfectly still in his huge hat, singing all the words of every song.  He was singing these songs over and over at home. The other day in the car, after the how many-th rendition, Liam, still a bit weary from his bug, dryly commented : "It's a NO from me, but thank you.." (yes, a la America's got talent!)

Then it was his turn on stage. Love that salute. He was right next to the Princess when she arrived...

After the concert they quickly changed into their "graduation" robes. They entered  carrying (safe) candles, and to the intro music of none other than Lion King. Quite a moment. Reuben was very stern throughout it all. But it was funny when his pre-school teacher adjusted his hat from sitting on the back of his head, before handing over his certificate.
So so very proud of him, so thankful to the special teachers at his school, and so amazed that this pre-school phase is almost over...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Thinking about Christmas...

I recently read Ali's "Thinking about Christmas" post. This got me very inspired to start pulling together my own plans for Christmas. I love how she has with her December Daily inspiration helped transform our December into a big build-up to Christmas Day.

So far we have already added to the Christmas book selection. We have a number of Christmas books that we take out every December. We also get a few new and library ones every year. This is one from Tiger Press, called "A long way from home" (by Elizabeth Baguley and Jane Chapman). We picked up ours at Readers' Warehouse.

We are also looking at ordering some online, like Richard Scarry's Best Christmas book , a Christmas doodle book , and Father Christmas goes on holiday looks like fun too. Here in South Africa I like to use Jump to direct me to an online book store. They also compare prices. (Just move your mouse over to find the links if they're not highlighted).

Still on books, I'll probably get myself another Elize Grey diary for next year.

Hoping to get to a maket with unique handcrafted gifts ,and the Parkview (day & night) Christmas market (with an icerink). And Carols by Candle light at the Zoo. Then there is also our church's Thanksgiving feast... But we will try to get to fewer things than last year's hectic schedule.

These Christmas labels are quite cute - you get to select faces, hair colour, and other features for each family member. They also have a great selection of school labels.

There's also a whole lot of ideas in my Pinterest Christmas board I'd like to try out. Like making some joy, peace & love pillows, etc etc etc!

And then I'm happy to say that our Christmas cake is baked and in the tin. Just need to remember to give it brandy every two weeks. (This is a during the process photo off-course!)

Mmm...Christmas is coming!

Project Life: 2nd week of November

I'm currently doing a Digital Project life. I you'd like to read more about Project Life, please have a look at my other related posts.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Doing the Mommy thing...

This week, like most, I'm doing the Mommy thing. Looking after a sick child, feeling a hot forehead, running him a daytime bath, putting out fresh pajamas, making jelly, making soup, soothing him...

Playing chess with a six year old. Teaching him to lose graciously. Being excited about Pre-school graduation photo's (they came out so well!). Trying to make a little soldier's concert costume fit him better. Hearing my own Mom's voice as I ask him to please stand still while I pin it smaller on him. Realizing that he is now at the age where my childhood memories starts.

Enjoying the peacefulness of our home... I love home. I love creating it. And enjoying everyday days here. I love savouring the moments that make up the quilt pieces of our life.

I know I can't catch them all. And I'm still learning to find the balance between capturing and fully living the moments...

But I am reminded of this quote, found years ago on Ali's blog:
(It's by Anna Quinden)

"...but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is paticularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photograph. There is one picture of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting done a little less."

Happy doing today.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Project Life | 1st week of November

The Project Life community on the internet is abuzz with the great post by Gluestickgirl. Have a look at  Lisa's approach to Project Life . It has me so excited I can hardly wait to start with next year's paper PL album.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ahhh Avianto...

This week-end we were blessed with a little get-away to a Wedding & Conference venue in Muldersdrift, called Avainto. The name means "a village made in heaven". We were defnitely happy to try a place suggesting anything like that!

So this week-end we relaxed about our kids sleeping over (with good & trusted friends) for the first time in three years. We allowed our imaginations to transport us to a little Tuscan village (with a healthy measure of authenticity and African flavour thrown in)...

We walked cobbled streets, looked up at the earth coated towers and arches. We saw outstretched blue skies. We stood on our balcony and smelled potted jasmin. We watched many swallows in flight. We walked some more- lavender lined paths...past a pond, over a river... we danced all alone, in broad daylight, to the sound of a nearby saxaphone (playing at a wedding)...

We sat and had good conversations, we agreed that we wanted a lot more just me&him dates, we dreamed of thrawling through real Italian villages...

We bathed in bubbles, we dined under the stars, we listened to Eros Ramazotti and Micheal Bubble on the sound system, we made slow love, we slept naked, we had breakfast in a cellar...

We lunched on white linnen tables under a maple tree, we saw a good guitarist perform live, we enjoyed the friendly staff, we drank red wine...

We smelled lots of pine trees, we laughed and joked, we breathed, we smiled...

We felt so thankful for 13 years, and for right now, and for this week-end.
And we took many photographs...

 Avianto.... You can look them up here . They also do Sunday lunches (3 course with live entertainment) and are only about 30 min drive from Jo'burg.

(Click on any of the images if you'd like to see them larger).

Monday, 7 November 2011


Today marks our 13th wedding anniversary. 7/11. I only recently realized that that happens to be our shoe sizes too. Perhaps that was why the date felt just right when we booked it. But there were too many things that were just right for anything to be co-incidence...

The venue for example: We found it in the beautiful street, winding through an indigenous forest, that I always wanted to drive to our wedding. A large residential property that did wedding functions. We were finding it hard to find a venue available on the date that just felt right. We drove past this place, and I saw a rooftop amongst the trees. Something (there were no advertisement) made us stop and have a look. As we walked in, the sweet lady that did the catering was walking out (or else we would not have been able to get in). She booked us as her very last function. We walked down the forest path, past the gorgeous function hall (the rooftop I saw) to a little clearing, with a wrought iron wedding canopy. I just stood in awe at how perfect it was.

And looking back on that day, the sun breaking through the clouds and shining on our heads as we were saying our vows, I just think about how it was made for us as we were made for each other.  The kind of perfection you cannot order from a wedding planner...

Don't get me wrong, everything around our wedding didn't go perfectly smooth. Like my dressmaker that moved (with no new address) and disappeared for weeks (because she misplaced my dress with the move). She only re-emerged on the scene the Thursday before the wedding (when she accidently found the dress in a box).

This weekend we stayed over at a lovely venue (more about that tomorrow). There was a wedding and I wondered about what they might still face as a couple. Like anybody else we also had our share of losses: 2 Dads, one long awaited pregnancy, a home, a car, income, joy.. to name a few. But we never lost God and He never lost us. He is a God of turn-around situations and there is nothing He cannot redeem and make good. Today I count an abundance of blessings and many many good memories. Today we are still perfect for each other and our days are still ordained by God.

I was wondering how I would advise a newly married couple. This week-end we talked about choices.
I think I would tell them:

Choose God first
Choose love
Choose commitment
Choose integrity
Choose respect
Choose maturity
Choose wisdom
Choose honesty
Choose generosity towards each other
Choose building your marraige
Choose time together (quality and quantity)
Choose sensuality
Choose fun and laughter
Choose to be best friends
Choose sharing & openness
Choose vulnerability
Choose to listen
Choose grace
Choose forgiveness
Choose endurance
Choose gratitude and appreciation
And Choose to make good memories...

Friday, 4 November 2011


Downloading freebies can be so uplifting, you know, he he. I spent quite a bit of time over the past two days doing just that.

I found tons of free downloadable labels, journaling cards, and tags, which I think would be ideal for Project Life albums, or schoolbooks or whatever else.

Then there's a blog hop with downloadable freebies now on at Design House Digital. I wasn't able to download from all the Designer's sites, but the ones I got is really cool.

I also found this stunning free downloadable kit (via pinterest) here .

Oh, and I'm so proud of myself to know how to "link" now. I'm still very new in Blogging and learning as I go. Just don't know how I never saw that link button before!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Right now...

Enjoying:: Art projects w/ the kids.
Discovering:: Great croissants at a nearby store (chocolate and hazelnut praline fillings)
Feeling:: The Joburg sun burn.
Harvesting:: Red onions that I planted (from a shop bought onion)
Wanting:: To get to the sea again.
Excited:: That we're ordering Project Life.
Holding:: On to the last term before my youngest start pre-school.
Thinking:: That I'll never get to do half the ideas I pinned on Pinterest.
Grateful:: For my husband, the blessing of kids and friends.
Anticipating:: December and all that goes with it.
Believing:: That Theunis will get that dream job.
Wondering:: What next year holds.
Loving:: Pinterest
Remembering:: The different homes we lived in.
Appreciating:: A clean house on Tracy days.
Hearing:: Liam saying :" My tummy is crying for icecream".
Smiling:: At Reuben learning to be a graceful loser at chess.
Being:: Fully in the wonderful moments when we swim and they're loving it so much that they can
            doggypaddle. Liam kissing me when when he swam right across. Reuben turning round and round
            before he swims away.
Eating:: Lindt blueberry intense, homemade icelollies.
Drinking:: All the exciting new flavours from Halls: Berry, Strawberries & cream, Paw-paw & mango..
Trying:: Charcoal sessions w/ friends.
Going:: A shade or so lighter with my hair.
Downloading:: Blog hop freebies from Design House Digitals.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

December Daily soon

Ali Edwards, the creative mind behind the December Daily concept, has me all excited about this year's project. I've done DD for about 4 years in a row now, 2 paper projects and 2 digital albums that haven't been print yet. Here's the 1st page from my album last year. (I used Ali's templates available at Designer Digitals.)

I'm still undecided about what I'll be doing this year. But if you would like to read more about this project, you can check out this post by Ali (with further links to more DD posts) :

And it is also absolutely worth it to check out Molly Irwin's December Daily posts:

I'm so grateful for them for inspiring me to make my albums. They are precious homes for our Christmas memories now. A highly recommendable way to spend your free time over December!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Art today

Ok, I'm still not sure how it happened, but today I started "teaching" Charcoal classes to two of my friends. I do remember that it took my very organised friend to be the one to set a date to go actually buy the artsupplies, or else we would still have been at the "yes, we must get together and start drawing" phase.

What I know about art: VERY LITTLE. The total of my art exposure at school was an easter colouring-in competition I won somewhere in the early grades. I think it is from there that "being able to draw" has been part of my identity. In my adult life I've attended two very basic art classes and created about a handful of pictures. I haven't drawn anything serious in say 5 years (and the last one was an incomplete charcoal on a fridge with a baby needing my attention), and I'm still subconciously going, OK, I'm scatterbrained and a lot of other shortcomings, but I CAN draw. So, it was time to start drawing again...

I ended up doing a charcoal of one of my sons' softies. Currently I'm not feeling the intense need to draw as I did when I was at artclass, but I felt some of the focus return towards the end of the class when I saw my friends off, forgetting to really look at their final products, being too zoomed in on getting my own drawing right. hehe!

Afterwards I was relating what I was experiencing to how we worship God. Sometimes we want to work at it (and do it all right) instead of flowing with it and enjoying it. A bit of revelation there.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Project Life | Last week of October

This week was photo rich and I had difficulty choosing / leaving out images. I tried to go with what best tells the story, but some days have many everyday stories to choose from.

I don't usually do much editing (beyond brightening and sharpening) to my photo's. But I was recently inspired by the dreamy images in this photobook: (found via Ali Edward's twitter updates. She takes her pictures on film. I love the grainy look. Just something about it. Then I stumbled upon this tutorial (while downloading a christmas printable actually): . I wasn't motivated to go and figure it out on Photoshop, but - for the left page/ main photo- tried some of the suggestions in my Microsoft Editing program. Not perfect, but I enjoy the effect.

Happy Monday!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Double the bubble

We are really into paint at the moment. Me and my youngest, my "last term to stay at home in the mornings" son. But I know that he can tire of drawing and brushwork, so we looked at a really fun art project today. Something that had the wow factor for him.

We discovered this project, via Pinterest (where else!), at Familfun (a great site for things to do with the kids), and here's the link for the homemade recipy: I wasn't sure that I knew corn syrup (I live in South Africa), so just used Golden syrup and it worked just as well.

And here is what the artworks look like:

I'm not sure what he enjoyed more, the bubble blowing or the artworks he proudly created, or the excitement of printing them before the bubbles goes. But it was a great project.

PS: You need a lot of liquid to get good bubbles. We ended up saving the remaining in glass bottles.

Wishing you a good weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bestest easiest chocolate cake

I just love this recipy because it is so easy to make and requires such basic on-hand ingredients. It is really a huge brownie, and can defnitely be made as such. People always think it contains chocolate, (and you can certainly add some chunks, but it is not neccessary. I either make it with the heart stencil icing sugared on the in or outside (just remember not to knife-test the middle of the cake if your icingsugar is going on the outside! I have, when we just moved into a new home with a "new" built in oven, doubled this recipy and made it twice, creating a 4 layer cake for my son's 4th Birthday. So. easy.

Here's the link: