April 29, 2014

Kiva - April 2014

Well, another month is quickly drawing to a close so it's time for another micro-loan donation on Kiva.  A quick browse through the listings and this one jumped out at me.

Salome (Kenya)

A loan of $350 helps Salome to purchase an irrigation kit.

Meet Salome, a mother of 10 children, who has been farming for the last 40 years. She comes from Eldoret, home to many famous Kenyan marathon runners. She makes money selling milk, eggs and vegetables from her farm. Her real passion lies in horticulture despite the challenges she faces with the high inputs involved.

Like typical smallholder farmers, Salome cannot access formal financial solutions from the bank. She has teamed up with a couple of local women to form and register a group that might be recognized by some micro finance institutions. With an untamed ambition and a clear path to success, Salome is seeking a loan to buy an irrigation kit to water her vegetables.

The adoption of this kit will ensure a constant provision of water for her plants, even during the dry season. Crop yields are also expected to rise significantly, leading to more income for Salome to cater to her home expenses. With your support, Salome is going to grow into a formidable entrepreneur and raise the living standards of her children.

At the time of this blog entry, Salome's loan has been 57% supported and has $150 USD funds to raise to completion.

If you would like to read the full details of Salome's story and perhaps even add your support, you can read her Kiva loan request here.

April 26, 2014

A Lovely Day for a Wedding

So here's a quirky fact: until today I've not attended a wedding in my adult life.  Weird, right?  I mean, I'm nearly late 30s and have plenty of friends and yet not been at a wedding since living with my parents.  Apparently all of my married friends got married before I entered their lives or have done so after I moved overseas and attending became a bit complicated and especially expensive.

However, today I enjoyed a very close friend's wedding - very simple, done at the city hall and extremely informal but absolutely lovely.  They also loved our wedding gift (which took four of us to finally land on an idea and it was perfect) - hurrah!  And of course, it gave me the opportunity to finally craft a wedding card.

Originally I had the idea to use some pink and red coloured tissue paper to make an overlapping cluster of hearts and layer on some heart stickers and punched hearts, etc.  Only that I discovered my tissue paper stash is pretty picked over and uninspiring so had to ditch that idea.  Also, I think a wedding deserves some extra special glamour so I decided to pull out the free gift from my recent issue (#125) of Papercraft Inspirations magazine.  Now, often free papers like this aren't high quality, either in paper weight or saturation of colour.  However, I was pleasantly impressed with this particular set - it was very nice, perhaps due to the silver foiling.

I settled on this subtle fleur de lis patterned paper with a heart-shaped doily and dove topper.  I wanted to add something that had a luxurious quality about it and added dimension; enter the white organza and satin ribbon in a big puffy bow and softly curling tails.  I had originally intended on including a 'best wishes' sentiment but there just wasn't room so opted to stamp that on the inside.  Then sprinkled some rhinestones and pearls around.

I had been feeling like the edges needed some grounding but once I got the bow wrapped around and done so nicely, I didn't want to take it off to do any sewing or anything else and risk not getting it put back nicely.  It just so happened that I set the card on top of the pink envelope and realised that little border worked perfectly - except that I'd already made the entire card at normal size and again, didn't want to remove the bow to cut it down any.  What to do?  In the end, I cut a new card base that just barely fit inside the envelope, cut the card I'd originally made down the spine fold, layered the front on top of the new and slightly larger pink card and glued the back with the sentiment and writing into the inside of the new card.  Problem solved!  Where there's a will, there's a way.

April 25, 2014

Happy Candles Birthday Card

Happy Friday!

I've slowly been whittling away at my to-make list of cards and nothing motivates me like a suddenly looming deadline (I blame my mum for that trait).  So, the night before we all went out to celebrate Ingrid's birthday, there I was whipping up this little card for her:

I have to say, for a 'quick and dirty' card, I just love how fun and cheery this turned out.  A couple of rows of pretty washi tape layered with some paper straws I had cut down to size and glued twine 'wicks' into; a little splattering of gold lamé mist and probably my favourite part: a sprinkling of coloured rhinestones, which have been sitting in my stash unused for at least two years now, put to good use!  A little stamping at the bottom finished things off.

I must admit, though, I didn't get to this design immediately.  First I thought I'd use some printed acrylic flower and butterfly shapes, layered up on white cardstock.  Then I decided to make a watercolour wash with some gold lamé splatters on the background.  Then I contemplated using some 3D butterflies (as seen here on the purple card at the bottom).  All the while having this design rolling around at the back of my head.  In the end I decided to abandon the acrylic shapes idea because it was becoming too drawn out and fussy and I needed something that would come together quickly and easily (Wednesday was not a good day for me).  Just goes to show you should always go with your gut instinct.

That being said, the bit of craft therapy this little card provided significantly improved the horrendous exhaustion I'd been battling all day - you know the kind that actually hurts and makes you feel like you're going to vomit?  Well, after playing around with my craft supplies for perhaps an hour, I felt worlds better.  So there you go - the next time you're feeling icky, break out your craft goodies, whatever they may be, and see if you don't feel better once you're done.  Beats the heck out of pain killers!

April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Do you ever just have days that floor you before you've even gotten out of bed?  Well, that's been my day today and it's still going (evil, I tell you).  So, I'm going to keep this short and simple.

Having run out of thread, I wasn't able to sew up my next two blocks for the layer cake sampler quilt-along.  Major pout.  However, here is a little preview of the 16 blocks so far:

I still need to do some playing around with block placement but you get the idea.  And, I've finally bought more thread so hopefully I can find time to work on those two blocks soon(ish).

Linking up to Freshly Pieced.


April 19, 2014

WIP Saturday

Since I was sitting on a train enjoying the Irish countryside between Dublin and Belfast on Wednesday, I didn't get around to sharing my most recent two layer cake sampler QAL blocks with you so here we go:

 Block #13

Not much to say about this one; bit of text and floral print paired together.

Block #14

This one is another of my favourites.  When I was a child, my mum told me I could decorate my room in whatever colours I wanted.  I chose pink and orange - together.  My mum refused, saying that those colours don't work together.  Clearly I was well ahead of my time because as we know today, pink and orange most certainly do live happily together and here's further proof.  So Mum, can we revisit that conversation, please?

Sewing these two blocks was something of a nail-biting experience, as I've been running out of my standard ecru Aurifil at an alarming rate.  I just barely made it:

Going to have to wait until next week when the quilt shop is open again before starting my next two blocks, which is thoroughly disappointing as I was really hoping to spend the afternoon sewing today.  But then again, I get to enjoy this instead:

So I really can't (and won't) complain.

April 18, 2014

Back on the Horse

Well, you've probably assumed I've fallen off the face of the planet or something, eh?  Rightly so - I realised last weekend just before going on holiday for the Easter break that I'd forgotten to post my WIP Wednesday - or anything else, for that matter.

Enjoying some tall, dark and handsome...
So where did I go, you ask?  Why, Ireland!  Dublin mostly but I also did a day trip up to Belfast; a great holiday and very relaxing.  Among the highlights included:
  • official certification for whiskey tasting at the Jameson distillery (yum!)
  • a pint of Guinness atop the Gravity Bar
  • a private canal boat tour along the Liffey
  • Irish music/dancing dinner & show
  • Irish fairies and folklore dinner & storytelling
  • touring the Titanic museum
Okay, I won't bore you with further holiday gushing (that's for subjecting to Facebook friends - mwhahahahaa!).

Now since having set up my adorable little sewing corner, I've been totally infatuated with getting back in touch with sewing and quilting - which is good and no complaints there.  However, it has meant that I've not done any scrapbooking or papercrafting for a whole two months!  Can you believe it?

Two months!

To say that I'm a wee bit behind in card-making is something of an understatement.  (I'm never behind in scrapbooking; I refuse to look at it that way.  Or you could argue that I'm always behind in scrapbooking and that's okay with me.)  So since I need to wait until the shops are open to buy more Aurifil thread to continue sewing, I decided today would be a card-making catch-up day.  I made a list and realised I have at least six cards that need making - mostly birthdays (some now much belated - eek!), some thank yous and a wedding (!) card.

First off the press was this thank you card for my friend who came around while I was on holiday to take care of Oskar for me (even though she's allergic to cats - now that's a true friend!).  I'm still crushing on using Pebbles' From Me to You for card-making; it's just so versatile and has beautiful colours.  I paired it with some Dear Lizzy anchor paper and layered up different elements until it felt balanced.  I really liked the little pops of yellow that worked their way in, too.

Next I worked on a belated birthday card for a friend's daughter who turned 4 end of March (yes, I know, don't judge me).  I decided to go with super girlie and thus the copious amounts of pink, the Dear Lizzy horses paper, the puffy hearts and silver glitter, etc.  Incidentally, I liked how this card still conveys the 'happy birthday' idea without using that exact phrase.  I even finally boxed up the card and gift and packaged them all up for posting tomorrow - go me!

Thank You

And finally for today, a super quick and dirty thank you card made with some free gifts from Papercraft Inspirations - the card base was pre-printed and came with these pretty coloured and 3D acetate butterfly embellishments.  A quick stamped sentiment and some rhinestones finishes it off.  This is going to the gal who runs the Stash Busters challenges over on 2Peas, along with a ziplock bag of goodies for all her hard work, time and money she spends on making the challenges and providing prizes and postage costs, etc.  Another item I've been meaning to post for ages and that will finally be going out tomorrow - whew!

April 06, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Hello again!  Yes, I know - I've slacked off on Pinspiration Sunday the last two weeks.  Sorry about that - just busy, tired and up to other stuff.  But I'm back on track today so I'm going to dive in so as not to distract myself.  Go grab your cup of hot beverage and enjoy the photo love.


* listening - radio
* reading - going to start Attachments soon for holiday reading
* making - layer cake sampler quilt-along (just finished block #14)
* eating - dried fruit & nuts mix
* drinking - water
* wearing - jeans & new sequins anchor t-shirt *giddy*
* weather - cloudy, 10C
* feeling - hungry
* wanting - to play Sims
* needing - to make a tonne of cards
* planning - Easter trip to Ireland
* thinking - what to snack on next...
* loving - quiet Sunday 'hermit'ing
* enjoying - discovered I'm getting more tax money back than expected *whoot!*

On to the pins!

So gorgeous!  I love everything about this modern style quilt - the design, the colours, the shape - yup, it's all there.  And the tutorial is free.

Hmm, more triangles - are you sensing a theme?  Clearly I need to get them out of my system and this could help.  I could see this in really pretty melon yellows and oranges with grapefruit pinks.

Super cute tote bag.  I bet if you swapped out the insulation for a thin batting and increased the size a wee bit, it would also make a super cute gym bag, too.

A little something for the kitchen - leaf-shaped trivets or oven grips.  You could even have a whole slew of them in different autumnal colours, too.

I love subway graffiti print papers but their bold design can make them tricky to work with.  That being said, I think Tanya did a fab job of using this as her background paper.  The bold colours in the embellishments really help to lift them off the text.  Awesome.

I'm a bit of a sucker for clustered frames - so many little possibilities for photos, titles, journaling and embellishment.

I know I'm not the only person who has a strange fascination for paint chips.  I love how this simplistic design is lifted by the bold, dynamic rainbow colours used here with a few button accents for extra fun and texture.

Okay, now this is just crazy cute and creative!  I love all of the coloured twine and the little button for the stone.  Great birthday card for a child.

Fancy a little 3D paper play?  These paper balls are perfect and make awesome decorations for any celebration or party.

And speaking of celebrations and parties, perhaps you want to do something a bit different with your Easter eggs this year.  Well, this site will give you plenty of inspiration.

And here's a truly yummy colour palette to tempt you with - those dark fuscia tones are lush!

April 02, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Another two blocks finished for my layer cake sampler quilt-along:

 Block #11

I really like this one - who doesn't feel happy looking at cheery pink, yellow and orange daisies?  And I was so thrilled to get all of the stripes matching.

Block #12

And a nice, sunny yellow and green print (with super cute sunflower print).

Linking up to Freshly Pieced: