Saturday, December 30, 2017

7102 - 2017 in the mirror (or reflecting on this year)

Well, the end is near.  The end of the year, that is.

I like to reflect on everything that has happened this year.

Quite a lot has happened this year!!

I started the year feeling positive, but uncertain.  The first days of 2017 were strange and feel like they were a lifetime ago.  This past year, I have seen things, learned new things and grown so much.  I have grown up a bit... sad.

8 January 2017: my Dad went to heaven.  He had already outlived the doctors' predictions by more than 6 months.  Typically stubborn.  It was a warm Sunday morning.  I cried and kissed him.  My mother, my aunty and my sister were in the room too.

18 January 2017: we celebrated Dad's life and gave him quite a send off.  I was so blessed by the love and care and wonderful stories people told me.  He touched lives.  It was a good day.

February: I returned to work and struggled with the change of pace.  I survived.  I planned a 13th Birthday party (NERF themed) and it was kind of cool.  Check out this Pinterest Board to see what inspired me.

March: Another party, which was for my niece who turned 5.  There was an 'art' theme with face painting, bubbles, play dough, poster painting and party games.  Click here to read more about how to plan your own Art Themed party.  We also got some difficult news about family struggling with a mental health issue.  Sometimes loving someone is hard work.

April: My first holiday in more than 10 years!  Good for me!   I went to Adelaide all by myself.  It was glorious and I can't wait to go on my next solo adventure! Yes, there are lots of exclamation marks because I want you to understand how sincere I am.

May: My uncle died suddenly.  He went to Heaven too.  There were many comments along the lines of Dad wanting Uncle to keep him company.  They were good mates.  I miss them both.

June: Planned and executed an EPIC Jurassic World Party!  While the whole thing was exhausting and a bit stressful, seeing the smile on my nephew's face was priceless.  He turned 10 and he had a blast.  His friends had fun too.

July: HOLIDAYS!  An aunty came to visit and we spent some time crafting together.  She got me hooked on craft stuff!!!! I am so grateful for her guidance and generosity.  We also celebrated Aunties Day! Go Me!

August: Back to school.  Mum's birthday.  Busy... not sure why?

September: count down to holidays... planning fun for the future.  It was Mum and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary.  We had an interesting weekend.

October: Family!! Mum and I went to Sydney to attend a surprise party for my Uncle and Aunty.  It was nice to attend a party without having to organise anything but myself.  Phew.  That was fun.  We went to the Gold Coast for a weekend during October too.  We caught up with friends and family and that was great.

November: I spent most of November counting down to the school holidays!  All I remember is being tired.  I was late for a couple of posts... but I got there eventually.

December: Dad's birthday was on 07/12 and we celebrated by eating ice cream.  It reminded me how much I missed him.  Also made me realise how many happy memories I have of Dad and ice cream!!! Then there was my birthday and Christmas and more family gatherings.

I made lots of cards this year.
Check them out here...

I added to the How to Be a Carer 'tag' here at AGT.

I set some goals and I reached most of them (check them out here).

What have I learned this year?

I'm not perfect and life isn't perfect and that is what makes us both beautiful!
I love making cards!
I can do almost anything if I really want to do it.  I might need to do it a bit differently so that it works for me, but it's worth the effort.
Life goes on.
Family and Friends are important!
I like spending time with adults... especially older people.
I love to learn!
I need to be quiet.  More on this one next year.
My Mum is amazing.
My Sister is a marvel.
Growth/ Progress comes from small yet consistent choices that we make everyday.

That's that for 2017.  I hope you take some time before Monday (2018) to think about the year that has just passed and start looking towards the year ahead.  I can't wait to see what happens next year! I think it's going to be AWESOME!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kicking Goals!

It's almost New Year's Eve. I can't believe it was a whole year ago that I set these goals for myself. Let's review for the last time this year.  

This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I'm doing very well with this goal. Unfortunately, I think I will have to keep up the habit of considering my emotions before heading for the fridge.  On the bright side, I am more mindful of how I am feeling and I am choosing to deal with my emotions in more productive ways such as exercising, doing craft, or finding another outlet.  I am starting to notice how often people around me claim that they "need" the chocolate cake to help them through an emotional time.  Interesting!  

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

While I have been working on this.... I am not so happy with how I have done with this goal this year.  3 balanced meals and 2 snacks 6 days a week feels really hard sometimes.  When I don't snack I think I'm doing well, only that usually gets me into such a mess that I don't eat a balanced meal.  This one will have to carry over to next year.   

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

Oh Dear.... this one hasn't been going so well at all!  Next year we will try again.  Perhaps I need to look at this goal again and make a plan for meeting it.  

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

I totally nailed it! This year, I have visited with family from all over and spent time with friends as well.  I have made time for family and friends when they were in town.  I have made the effort to catch up with teacher friends who work at different schools now.  I have also been sending messages and cards to friends and family who I can't "visit".  Now that I don't HAVE to stay home and be responsible for another person, I need to appreciate it!  I want to continue doing this next year.  I have found such comfort and joy in spending time with those I love.  I am also appreciating the good times I can have with these people while we are all still alive and well enough to enjoy each others' company. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything.  

Yep... everyday! That is... I remind myself of this everyday.  I accept it everyday.  I give it to God and accept that He is in control.  I have to do that, every single day! 

See…    Melbourne in real life/ Capital Cities.

I'm working on it... this goal kind of changed over the year.  I kind of moved the goal posts.  I saw Adelaide!  I am planning to visit two more of Australia's capital cities next year! :) 

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far

Psalm 4:8
Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7-8
Psalm 90:12
Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 18:10
Matthew 11:28
John 3:30
Romans 8:18
Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians 4:29
Ephesians 4:32
Philippians 2:13
Philippians 4:19
Colossians 1:11
Colossians 3:15
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Hebrews 10:14
Therefore, I'm on track! I'm Loving my memorisation app!  I know that most of these are single verses instead of passages.  I was struggling with some of the passages of scripture.  I decided to work on single verses and tackle longer passages next year.  I have the Beatitudes all set up to start working on them come January 1. 

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I have been continuing with my regular monthly sponsorship of a day care centre overseas.  I have also donated to: the chaplaincy program in local high schools, an orphanage in Cambodia, a health and medical program for ministers in remote areas of Indonesia, and the Salvo's self-denial appeal for Christian Missions in several countries around the world.  I am happy that I have reached this goal.  I am excited that I am able to make a positive difference in the world.  It wasn't even that difficult.  I am looking for more projects to support next year.  

Be…   Quiet

Hhhmmm. I am managing to spend time alone and be quiet.  Perhaps I need to do this more when I'm with others.  You know... I need to keep things to myself when what I want to say isn't helpful.  There is a bible verse I'm working on memorising that goes well with this goal.  The more I look into "being quiet" the more practice I need!  

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

I have not attended church 3 times every month this year.  I have been reading my Bible much more often than in previous years. If you count all the times I sat down and read my Bible (at home and alone), it would round out to 4-5 days each week. I have certainly grown spiritually this year as I have worked towards reaching this goal.  My memorisation goal has also helped me to grow spiritually.  There are moments when I am blown away by how much I have grown this year.  That growth is having a huge impact on every other aspect of my life.  I'm declaring this goal reached... because I have grown.  

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Okay, so some goals have been invested in more than others.   I think, the main reason is that some of them yielded return much faster than others.  Some goals are easier too!  

My goal setting plan for next year is to continue with some of these goals as they are and reset them.  I will be setting some new goals and I will be tweaking up some of the goals I have here with the hope of succeeding next time.  I'm really happy that I set these goals almost 12 months ago.  I'm a bit disappointed with some of the things mentioned above.  On the other hand, I'm over the moon with what I have achieved.  

I don't know what 2018 will bring.  I do know, that I can't wait to find out! :) 

Tune in during January to find out about my new goals.  If you are thinking about 2017 and wanting to plan for success in 2018, you might like to check out this.  

Count Down to 2018 is on!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Surviving Christmas ... Family Gatherings

Only 3 more sleeps until Christmas Day.  Have you finished your Christmas shopping?  Have you wrapped all those gifts?  Do you have social engagements back to back until December 27? What's the plan for the BIG day?

Some people LOVE Christmas.  They love the anticipation, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, unwrapping gifts, baking, cooking, visiting, catching up with friends and family, writing out Christmas cards, hanging lights, organising everyone, setting and decorating the table, cleaning, craft with the kids... they LOVE it all!  Can you believe it?

If you are not THAT girl (or guy), you don't have to be a total Grinch!  You can enjoy the holiday too! Obviously you may have to do a few things that you don't "love" but you don't have to do anything that will actually hurt.  Whether it's Christmas Shopping, Dinner with the In-Laws or a whole weekend with your own family, it doesn't have to be painful.  Here are a few tips for surviving the last few days of the Holidays and maybe have some fun along the way.  

1. Stay Hydrated... 

One of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration.  True Story! So, keep sipping that water.  This is especially important during social gatherings when alcohol, fatty finger foods, sugary foods and drinks are in abundance.  In fact, stay healthy!  Check out this link for Healthy Holiday Eating Tips.  
Click here for the source and for more info

2. Plan Ahead...

Plan for some downtime in between social activities.  Lots of bloggers will tell you it's important to Plan Ahead for everything if you want to cope with the holiday rush! Plan for time to do your shopping and wrapping gifts.  Plan for the costs involved too.  If you are facing the last few days of Christmas and you haven't planned ahead yet, it's not too late! Start now! Remember to plan something really fun to do after Christmas so you have something to look forward to.  Life Hacker has more tips about surviving parties for introverts. 


Don't be afraid to take some time for yourself before, after and even during Family Gatherings.  Head to the Loo for a moment of peace and quiet.  These gatherings will be noisy because when you put more than two or three people in a small space (and then add some kids into the mix), things are going to get loud.  It's a fact.

4. Dress for Success...

Choose something to wear that is comfortable and looks good.  There will be photos, you don't want to be afraid of the selfie-stick.  While you want to look great, you also need to be super comfortable.  These things tend to make for a long day and if that bra isn't your comfiest, you will be desperate to "Free the Girls" by dessert! You will find it easier to relax and have fun with the family if you are feeling comfortable. 

5. Conversate...

I couldn't resist making up a word.  Have some conversation starters prepared and prepare some answers for the common questions that the Aunties will ask.  How is work?  Have you done any travel? What was the last movie you saw? What's new? Have you set a 'date'? Expect that small talk will happen and keep it in the plan.  Also, understand that some conversations may go over your head or be about things you missed.  That's okay.  Ask lots of questions.  Most people are happy to talk about themselves, so you just need to give them an opportunity. 

6. Countdown... 

It's only a day.  You can do this...

7. Stay Positive..

Look for the good.  Don't try to work out the ulterior motive behind that weird Secret Santa Gift or why the other female family members aren't including you in the conversation.  Despite how things appear, everyone else is probably just as tired and uncomfortable on the inside as you are feeling.  Pay people compliments and enjoy the smiles.

8. Play a Game...

There has to be someone at these gatherings that you like... right? Count how many times Aunty Pat offers everyone seconds.  See who can get the most people to yawn.  Play hangman under the table.  Create a scavenger hunt and award points for things like, a photo of uncle Fred asleep.  See who can make the longest paper chain from old wrapping paper.  Don't worry about everyone else, you two will have a blast!

9. When in doubt... find the kids and play baysitter!  

The adults will love you for it.  Kids can be really entertaining when you aren't actually responsible for them!  

I hope your Christmas is absolutely wonderful.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

DIY Christmas Cards

Christmas is well and truly upon us.  Less than a week until the big day.  Most crafters have finished their handmade delights for Christmas by now. If they haven't, they probably don't have time to be reading a BONUS post on AGT.  Whether you are seeking some last minute card making inspiration or you are just putting your feet up and hoping to have some peace and quiet, I think you will like what I have to show you today.

I have handmade all my Christmas cards this year!! I didn't give out a lot... don't get me started about why I don't give a lot.  I made a few gift tags but only because we actually ran out of gift tags.  FINALLY! I am really very proud of what I have made this year.

These were my first batch of Christmas cards.  I started out by creating my own Christmas patterned paper, using the Christmas themed stamps in my stash.  They were made up of two cheap stamp sets and a Christmas magazine giveaway set.  I also used some glitter washi tape from Kaisercraft and some bakers twine that I bought at a dollar store.

This card was among the first of my creations this year.  It was inspired by these cards from Catherine Pooler Designs.

Now for some of my favourites... I created these using die cuts and sentiments that my aunty sent me.  The Joy sentiment and wreath dies came from the Winterhaven SOA by CPD (they are sold out but will be available next year).  The rest came from the Night in Bethlehem stamp and die set by Stampin' Up.  If I have that wrong, please correct me by leaving a comment.  My Aunty stamped these out, die cut them and posted to me so I could make some cards with them. She is awesome!

Take a look.

I watercoloured these wreaths using a combination of green inks and red inks in my stash.  These were Mememto inks, but any green or red dye inks would work. For one of the wreaths I coloured each of the berries with a Wink of Stella clear glitter pen after the red colour had dried.  I'm so happy with how these worked out!  Check out this video from Catherine Pooler to see how it's done.  I fumbled my way through this process and got better after making about 8 of these.

The last Christmas card I made is below.  The gifts were made with a layering stamp set from We R Memory Keepers.  The sentiment was a hand me down from my aunty and the rest of the stamps were from that Magazine giveaway I mentioned earlier.  This one was made for my uncle, who loves horses!  

That's it for this bonus post.  Tomorrow, you will hear more from me.... you can't wait, hey?!

Stay Cool!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Gift Guides Galore

Over the years I have posted a few gift guides and I couldn't decide which was the best.  So, I decided to share all of them with you.  All the guidelines you could ever need for conquering the gift giving gauntlet! Click the links.  

Gift guide for teenagers: save yourself the heartache and give 'em some cash!!

I have given lots more of advice regarding gifts.  Let's get rid of all the noise for you, though.  The most important piece of advice I can give you (and I have said it many times before):

"Consider the individual recipient of the gift.
Imagine them using or enjoying your gift. 
Be thoughtful, practical and fun." 

That's that then. Everything you need to know to Win at gift giving! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Gift Shopping 11 top tips! (updated)

I first published a list of tips for gift shopping in 2011 and I reposted it in 2015.  Now, I'm updating the list.  I have fixed the typos, and a bit of the grammar.  Some of my references are a bit more relevant and I have added some links to other articles that might help you along the way.  Thanks for visiting AGT to meet your need for Christmas Survival Tips. Remember to leave a comment if you have any questions about gift shopping! 

Gift shopping is one of those exhausting, sometimes terrifying, activities that could be classed as an extreme sport! 
Here are some tips to survive the Gift Shopping Gauntlet! 
  1. BE PREPARED  Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for and what you are planning to buy them.  Have alternative gift ideas just in case your plan goes awry.  Consider all possibilities.  There are several apps available to help with this tip, click here to check out a list of them.  If you prefer paper and pencil, check out these printable lists from Amanda ( and Organised Christmas.  
  2. HAVE A PLAN This may sound the same as the first tip, but it isn’t.  Before you go anywhere, answer the following questions and decide on the best plan for your circumstances.
    • Is there a shopping centre or mall that will have all the shops you need?
    • Or will you need to go to various locations?
    • How much time do you have to shop, the whole day, a few hours, no time at all?
    • How big are the gifts? Will they all fit in the car? Do you need to catch the bus?
    • Can you purchase everything online and get it delivered? 
    • How long will it take for online purchases to be delivered? Do you have time for that? 
  3. BE SPECIFIC While bulk gift giving sounds quicker and easier, you definitely run the risk of missing someone (or a bunch of someones).  A personal gift that considers each person will be more appreciated. The apps and printables linked above will help you with this too. 
  4. TAKE TIME Don’t wait until Christmas Eve!  Purchase some items as you see them (another reason it's good to have a list going).  Allow extra time, so if you can’t find something you are not stuck in a gift giving disaster! This is also important if you need to purchase some gifts online. 
  5. EAT FIRST When we are shopping we spend far too much time in the food court.  We are also likely to spend money purchasing unnecessary snack foods or drinks while shopping for gifts.  So eat a proper meal and take some crackers in the handbag.  This applies to the online shoppers as well.  Don't get distracted by hunger when you're browsing amazon for perfect gifts. Nobody want to spill Diet Coke on their keyboard and accidentally purchase 15 identical sets of gold earrings! 
  6. STAY HYDRATED If there is a time you are likely to get a headache, Christmas Shopping is one of them.  Crowds, Christmas Music, Children, Sales, long queues!  AAAHHHH! Take some bottled water along with your list.  Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache and prevention is better than cure!
  7. DITCH THE KIDS If this is one time a babysitter is worth it, it is now.  If you can't get a babysitter, then online shopping might be the way to go. :) 
  8. STAY FOCUSED You are shopping for gifts, not for clothes or shoes or hats or jewellery or craft supplies!  You are not shopping for yourself!  The quicker you get in and tick each item off the list, the quicker you can get home and relax.
  9. SMILE and RELAX Don’t let yourself be sucked into the stress of Christmas Shopping.  Yes, you have set goals and you want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but you can do all this without turning into a Grinch! You have done the hard work by making a list of people and gifts, planning which shops, where and when.  You can afford to relax and enjoy the experience.  Smile at shop assistants and thank them for their help. Be polite to fellow shoppers, no matter how greedy and cranky they may seem.  Remember that Christmas is a time of goodwill and peace on earth. 
  10. WRAP IT UP Know when to call it a day.  If you are starting to get Grinchy, it might be time for a break.  You might even need to go home and save the rest of the list for another day.  It isn't much fun shopping for gifts if all you can think about it your sore feet and aching arms.  
  11. LET IT GO Most importantly... take the stress out of the season by letting go of obligation!  When you make that all important list, cut it in half.  Don't buy gifts for anyone because you feel you have to.  Think carefully about the people in your life who are worth your hard earned money, time, effort and attention.  Many of us have more than enough of what we need.  We even have plenty of what we want.  If you want to show your love and appreciation to someone, some well chosen words are much more appreciated than a silly gift we don't need. Buy gifts for people because you think they will love what you have found for them, don't do it because you think you should. 
More next week. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy 1st of December

There are only a few weeks left in 2017 and there is so much I want to fit into the rest of this year! Right now, I'm focusing on finishing report cards.  Ending the school year is always such a busy time.  There is so much happening.

It's also the beginning of Advent, a time when Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus.  We often get very caught up with preparations of Christmas- parties, sending out cards, carolling, charity drives, family gatherings, gift shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, baking, church activities and more.  The Christmas season is such a busy time too.  That's why Advent is so important to Christians.  It's a time when we need to consciously set aside time and be still before God.  The real preparation we need to do is in our hearts.

Over the next few weeks... I will revisit some of my favourite posts from previous years.  We will look at gift guides, shopping, gift wrapping and more.  I will also have some tips to help you survive all that social activity! We will look at some more card craft.  Finally, we will wrap up the year AND see how I have progressed with my 2017 goals.

Like I said, the year might be nearly over, but the rest of the year will be totally packed.

This time next week, I will be on HOLIDAYS!!!

The countdown is on!

Friday, November 24, 2017

So Much to Say...

Too much to say!

So much to do.

Too much to do!

So little time.  

Too little time!

Late. Very late!

The end is near.  It's coming.

Too soon!

I'm okay.  No time to explain!

Until next week.... 

Friday, November 17, 2017

What is CASEing Anyway?

Hi everyone,
Late again... for good reason.  I was spending time with my uncle this week.  Family comes first.

A few weeks ago, when I shared my latest cards with you (Check it out here), I mentioned that I had CASEd a card.  I promised that I would explain, so here I am, ready to fill you in.  CASE stands for Copy And Share Everything.  CASEing is when you see a card (or a photo of a card) and you use it to inspire your own creations.  The important part of this is that you acknowledge the original card creator.  If you publish your card on a blog or in a video, link to the original card.  Share the love as well as the ideas.  If you want to watch how a stamping expert CASEs a card, check out this video by Catherine Pooler and check out her blog post here.

When CASEing, you can copy anything about a card, copy most of it or just one element.  Change it up using whatever you already have in your stash.  Here are some cards that I have CASEd recently.

My Birthday KISS cards based on some Thank you KISS cards made by Catherine Pooler.  Click here to see her blog post and video.

Catherine's Cards

I love these Birthday Cards...

This next set of cards was CASEd from a card I saw on Pinterest.  I LOVE Pinterest!

Pinterest Card from the Singing Scrapper (click to see her blog)

I made a set of these that I am planning to give as a gift set.

Christmas is coming.... School is nearly finished for the year.  It's a busy time.  Take some time to breathe and look after yourself.  Relax.  

See ya next week... 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Got to be Kitten Me Right Meow

Meowm is doing a terrible job of keeping up around here lately, so I decided to pounce in!

Here are some photos of me...

I'm sooo beautiful!

Okay, hoomans, you're done... see ya later.

Kitties... I know you're out there.  The rest of this post is for you! Meow, meow meeeow... No I'm not translating for the humans.

I want to tell you about the meowst pawsome puurrblication for cats!    It's called Pussweek and it's meowgic!  In fact, I just supuurrvised while Meowm ordered issue #5.  It's FUR kitties BY kitties.

You gotta check it out. Right Meow!

Just in case you need more convincing.  There are some very important issues that are covered in this magazine including types of litter, scratching posts, the addictive propawties of catnip and that's just issue one!  There are stories from real life everyday cats and the latest issue has some tuna-tastic articles about famous cats around the world.

Of course, I know there are some of you hoomans still reading this... because you silly pawple just can't follow directions.  If you are, now you know what to get your kitties for Christmas!  There are some great gift packs available in the Puss Week store, just in time for Cat Prezzie day.

While you're there, you can check out the other meowchandise available.  There are posters, collar pins, stickers and more.  These are just a few of my favourite collar pins that you can buy in the store.

Now, click on one of the links and get shopping.  

Go on! 


Sunday, November 5, 2017


Apologies for the extra lateness of this week's post!  Would you believe that this week was even crazier than last week? Anyway, let's get to it.

I have been really enjoying playing with my stamps and cards and paper and stencils and spray bottle lately.  In fact, having all my card and craft stuff set up in the lounge room has made it so easy to just sit down at the table and play around in between everything else I have to do.  It's also easy to sit down and get inky INSTEAD of all the other things I have to do!  LOL.

Check out these cards!

 The Party Time card was created with some gold foil transfers I bought at the local dollar store.  This was a fun technique to try and I will use the rest of the transfers, but I'm not going to go crazy buying foil and other tools for foiling.

The Chevron 'Happy Birthday' card is one of my favourites!  I made this using a stencil that my aunty sent me.  I love it!!! I used two shades of blue ink and an ink blending tool to colour over the stencil and then I cut it to size and did some offset layering.  The "Happy Birthday" die was cut out on using Denim cardstock from Kaiser.  

The Frog Birthday Card was made using: Chit Chat stamp set from Lawn Fawn.  Hexagon dies, Frog stamp and green polka dot DSP all from Kaiser craft.  The rest of the card stock on this card was generic from a $2 store. 
There's Always a Reason to Smile was one of my attempts at making a batch of KISS cards (Keep It Simple Stamper), using a variation on one of Catherine Pooler's KISS cards.  It did not go nearly as well as things do in her videos.  I make a lot more mistakes than she does! Click here to check out her blog post and video.  You could say I CASE'd this card.  More on CASE'ing another day.  The DSP is another of my favourites from Kaiser craft.  See below for the other two cards that I made in that batch.  I love how versatile this layout is and how easy it is to adapt.  

Pink Balloon 80th card: This next card is extra special. It was a request from a co-worker.  Her Mum turned 80 and she asked me to make the card.  She also paid me! This is the first time that someone (other than Nanny) has paid me for one of my cards. Excited Much! This was a variation on some of the other balloon cards I have made before.  I decided to make two clusters of balloons this time and I really like how it turned out.

The card above right, Celebrate, is a card I made for an extra birthday card to have on hand.  I used two different sized circle punches, some designer series paper with birds.  I just lined up the circles with the birds on the paper - well almost.  I'm happy for a first attempt! 

 Can you tell I love butterflies? The hello die was a gift from my aunty and it looks great in any colour!  The Baby Girl card was made for a colleague at work who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl more than a month ago.  The Butterfly Hello card was my first attempt at inlaid die cutting.  It isn't exactly how it might look in all the tutorials, but it is my spin on it.  I like how clean and simple this card is and how cheerful it looks.  I made it for a different aunty.  She loves gardening and is such a gentle soul.  I had to use this patterned paper to make something for her.

Now for some THANK YOU cards.  I think I have made more thank you cards than birthday cards!! I love to show my appreciation for people and I love making cards for this purpose.

The first card below, Black Cat Thank You Tag card, was made for a friend of mine who kitty sat Shelly over a weekend or two.  I went away two weekends in a row and one of my former students, now a 23 year old, came over to feed and play with Shelly everyday I was away.  She also scooped a bit of poop, so she definitely deserved a card! Shelly left a note inside as well.

Now for the most important card this month.  One of my aunties shares my love of paper crafting and stamping.  She has hundreds of stamps, dies, stencils and all manner of craft supplies.  Over the past few months she has been clearing out her stash and trying to pare back a bit.  So, she has been sending me all sorts of goodies... like stencils, stamps, dies, stickers and stamped images.  She has also taught me so much simply by giving me feedback on my card photos that I send her, sharing links and project guides with me and telling me about YouTube channels to watch.  I have really grown as a crafter and stamper in the past four or five months and all because of her.  So, I decided it was time that I use some of the lovely stamps and dies she has sent me to make her a card.  I used some techniques she showed me too.  The best part was that she wasn't expecting it and she was really impressed with it.  (Insert Giant Grin here!)  If you are wondering, the flower and leaves matching stamps and dies, were a Free Gift in the September Simply Cards magazine.  My aunty bought a copy of it and her daughter bought it too, so they sent one to me! I'm so lucky!

I have made a few other cards this month, but I think you have probably had enough?  I know I have.  You might get to see them another time. By the way, I do my best to acknowledge the designers of stamps, dies and other products that I use when making my cards.  However, much of my stash has been acquired over time, from others giving away things they no longer use, or purchasing from discount stores.  I don't have a lot of money and I try to stretch my crafting dollars as far as possible.  No apologies for that!  My point is, that if I don't know where it came from, I can't tell you.  

We are heading towards Christmas.  Yes, I have started shopping and making cards!  Work is super busy with no sign of letting up.  I have no idea what next week will bring. So, we will all be surprised together! Hopefully, I will finally get to post on time.  

Stay Cool!