Monday, July 13, 2020

Diary of a Designer #11

'Tis the Season 🎄

Dear Diary,

It has begun!

Today I walked out of my bedroom to find my 3 youngest girls sitting in eerie silence with a MOUNTAIN of Christmas cards piled in front of them, madly scribbling messages to friends.
Its worth noting that I'm using the term 'friends' VERY loosely here. judging by the 280 or so cards piled on the table (some of which had already fallen on the floor) every person alive, that they actually know the name of, will be the recipient of one of these Christmas cards.

The girls looked up from their epic task as I entered the room wide eyed at the scene before me and all at once started begging me to buy candy canes to put in with their cards. Darling Daughter number 2 stands up and declares
'we just need..... wait.... let me count! one, two, three....'


All I could think of was that I just needed some coffee to make it through!!

As I listened, from the kitchen, to the counting continue, interrupted only by the occasional instruction to move this or that and then everyone groaning as they had to start again because they had lost count, I realised this marked the beginning of the next 6 weeks of my life.

 The silly season had arrived.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it! Our whole house will now descend down into an unending spiral of parties, end of year events, award ceremonies, get togethers, family reunions, gift hunting, gift wrapping, gift giving and gift begging.  

There's nothing for it... I just have to take a deep breath, put on my big girl pants and go and face it!

Filled with courage only a double shot skinny cappuccino can deliver, I headed back to Christmas Card Hell Central where I was informed they just needed me to buy 113 candy canes to finish their monumentally important task. 

I looked at the adorable creatures and told them they could have 10 each to give away, that if I caught them eating any I would cancel Christmas ( yes I'm looking at you Daisy) and that if I heard one complaint about it all I would also cancel Easter. 

They got ready for school and left in a cloud of dark brooding silence. Again I was struck by the sheer irony that children still use silence to punish adults!!?! Bring it on I say.

I happily trotted off to my workshop, I had been planning on doing a layout today but now I couldn't shake the feeling that I should really should be making some Christmas cards myself! 

And here's where my deep dark secret emerges... I loath making Christmas cards :( 

So much effort for cards that get admired for maybe 30 days then tossed out ... it's enough to make a grown craft lady cry. 
It might feel more worth it if you could give them out in about August!?
 And its the same theme over and over and over, year after year!!

I turned over the Christmas papers, chipboards and embellishments for an hour then swept them all aside and ran straight back into the arms of my first love .... a good old fashioned layout. 
I'll try cards again tomorrow, but today....

I got busy with this beautifully Australian Open Road collection from Kaisercraft.

I used a black sharpie pen on these chipboard words then a medium nib white gel pen to add the shine lines to each letter.

Dear Diary,

We had to eat dinner outside on the balcony last night as the great Christmas card ordeal of 2017 continues on the dining room table. Now darling daughter #1 has joined them and Darling Son #2!

 I've never been so pleased DS#1 doesn't ever leave his room and has only online friends, I assume he will send his online mates an online card? Actually thinking about it,  I dont know that he and his gaming mates will even know its Christmas? Probs not. 
I often wonder what my virtual reality, aname grandbabies will look like?

I attempted to sit down and make Christmas cards again today, but no ideas came to me at all, after a while I just gave up and decided to look up ideas on Pinterest.
Talk about going down the rabbit hole ... I was looking for 3 hours... 

and this was the only one I found that really tickled my fancy!!

Lets face it ... I'm just not a christmas card person.

So I did this layout instead...

Again using the Open Road Collection from Kaisercraft.

Dear Diary,

The disease is spreading ... today there are Christmas cards all over the dining table, the coffee table, the kitchen bench, and the end of the lounge .... WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? 
Apparently everyone is trying to 'sort' out their friend groups, or drive me crazy by covering every flat surface in the house!?! honestly I'm not sure which one is actually in play at this point?? 
I can promise you I'm getting over it all though. 

One more day and then I set fire to everything! 🔥

I didnt even attempt Christmas Card making today, I went straight into the comforting embrace of a layout. I have accepted that my Christmas cards this year ( just as they were last year) will be made from whatever is left over on the dining room table after the children finally pick all theirs up!

I did manage to calm down while scrapping though. Today I realised that scrapping is like therapy for me. I become calmer and more focused when I'm enjoying myself crafting, I'm able to let go of my anger and all my pyromaniac tendencies... which, lets face it, is only ever a good thing!

Todays Layout was made using the Wandering Ivy collection from Kaisercraft.

Dear Diary,

I'm happy to report that the Christmas cards are for the most part gone - YAY!

The kids sorted them all into bags last night ( Friends from school bag, friends from kids club bag, friends from the neighbourhood bag, friends from church bag etc) and off they went with them all this morning for delivery. There were just a few left on the dining table after that.

 I decided I would finish up early in the workshop today and write some out myself to send out, since there was a snow balls chance in hell that I was ever going to actually make one!

Today I returned to creating with the new Wandering Ivy papers from Kaisercraft.

After that fabulous crafty adventure, I was just the mood for writing messages to friends so I sat down at the dining table and got to it. But as I worked, I realised more people belonged on the Christmas card list, that I carried around in my head, than I first thought. I mean I cant give a card to that couple and NOT give one to those guys, that would look strange!?
I abandoned writing the cards in favour of writing a list of people I need to send cards to. 
And the list grew and grew.

I was madly scribbling names when my husband walked past and said something to me.
I looked up and asked what he had said?

'I'm going to town, do you need anything?'

From the corner of my eyes I glanced at the remaining cards on the table.

'can you please pick me up 53 Christmas cards and 64 candy canes?'

He turned fully to me then with an ironic look of incredulousness on his face and said flatly.

'I'll buy you 10!'

Then he promptly turned and started to walk away adding just as he exited the room

'and I better not catch you eating them!'

diary of a designer #7

Old dogs and new tricks...

Sunday the 9th July 2017

Dear Diary...

I woke up this morning so nervous it was ridiculous... tomorrow I head back to Uni!!

I applied for and was accepted into a 4 year double degree in Arts/Education at Southern Cross University... I did a degree in Social Science when I first left school twenty....something years ago.
They say it's just like riding a bike ...
You never forget!  And for the most part this is true.

I never have forgotten how to ride a bike... but bike riding has changed over the years ....  it gets SUPER harder to ride as you get older!

I now I need one of those extra wide padded seats and after a mere 4 km, one of those paddled resuscitation devices comes in handy too.

Yeah I can still ride a bike ... but not very well!

What if studying is just like riding a bike ? Sure I can read a text book, but will my brain understand it?? How will I keep up with all those young whipper snappers straight out of high school?

It took 3 seconds for all of these thoughts to pass through my mind when I opened my eyes this morning and by the 5 second mark my heart was jumping out of my chest. There was only one thing I could do after that ....
Avoid thinking about it all together!
So off to my scrap studio I went and picked up photos from our last family holiday ...
and reassured myself that 'today I shall just scap these and try not to think of you-know-what!'

So I used some of the new Maja Road papers to make this romantic layout. I used purple and gold Colour Blast paste with templates, a heap of laces I picked up at Bella Paperie and these divine Imaginarium Chipboards...

 I love to use these complementing chipboard flourishes on layouts

And they come in a set of 2 which is very handy 🙂

As always Imaginarium have the biggest and most beautiful range of Chippie titles
and this is one of my favourites... here I've covered it in Inka gold wax.

Opps... lost that 'be' in this photo

here's what it's suppose to look like...

 So it ended up being a nice day after all ... with all thoughts of my inadequacies successfully avoided

Monday the 10th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
OMGosh .... so I got up early this morning, got the kids organised pronto and on the bus by 7.45am .... my first lecture was not due to start until 12 pm so I has all morning to do the 15 page reading they suggested you do to prep for the lecture. 
The course is called 'Framing Modernity' ... after I googled what this was ... I started the reading. I KID YOU NOT .... if it had been printed in Chinese characters I suspect I would have understood the same amount of the content!!  
And honestly ... I still couldn't work out what this subject was about?
So with a lump in my throat as I held back the tears I put on my big girl pants and marched off to the uni. It took about half an hour of the lecturer speaking before I successfully worked out that this subject was in fact Art History ... what a relief ... I can get a handle on that I thought, as the information progressed .... 'Picasso' this, 'Manet' that etc .... and the best part of the whole lecture was when one girl put up her hand and asked 'What was that assigned reading all about? It was like trying to eat a brick?'  the man beside me added 'A brick covered in toothpaste!'  .... I was stoked ... I have no problems not understand stuff ... just as long as no one can understand it either!! lol

By the time I got home I felt much better, but was mentally exhausted ... will my brain really ever catch up to where it needs to be???

Tuesday the 11th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
I don't have another lecture at uni until Thursday and there are no prescribed readings for that unit anyway so I'm free to scrapbook to my heart's content. 
I've decided creating is the cure for stress of every kind ... I can't worry about anything while I'm cutting, gluing, painting... I get lost in the process, it's so sublime ... unless I cut the wrong thing or drop paint on a photo ... then I scream like a little girl and cuss like a sailor... But you know all the other times it's a calm blue ocean of craft 🙂

This was my layout today ... using more the hand dyed laces from Belle Paperie and papers from Maja Road as well as my Imaginarium chipboards.

I sprayed these words with a fine 'mint twist' mist made by Marker Maniacs
and popped just a bit of Crystalina Kindy Glitz on it to give it a bit of sparkle as I was wanting to create a touch of magic on this page ... not sure if that comes through in the photo, but it worked out perfectly on the actual layout 🙂

Wednesday the 12th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
Another day to kick back and create ... my next lecture is tomorrow, the subject is called 'DESIGN' .... sounds awesome ... exactly what are we designing? Why can't I find a course outline? Half the battle of going back to uni is learning to navigate the online universe where apparently EVERYTHING now exists, and every lecturer uses differently!?! 
On Monday in the tute, after the lecture I was asked if I had checked Black Board to see if this tute conflicted with VAS? I looked at the man next to me and honestly answered ... 
'I haven't seen a black board in 15 years and I don't know what VAS is!'
He just laughed and explained that 'Black Board' is an online resource center for students and VAS was a visual arts unit ... I did look quite stupid... but out of 30 people in that room, he was just one person ... exposing my extreme lack of knowledge to one out of thirty people I reasoned was pretty good odds ... I could live with that!
Uni may turn out to be an excercise in working out what levels of humiliation I am and am not willing to live with ... when I put it like that though .... it sounds A LOT like normal life!!

Anyway ... one thing I can design with confidence is scrapbook pages, so that's what I spent yet another day doing ... this time I got right down to the nitty gritty process of making my own coloured texture paste ... I started with white gesso and added Colour Crush powders until I got this divine matte, teal paste. You could use any pigment powders to create this effect ... Lindy's colours are particularly bright and pure for this purpose.
Then I just used a Kaisercraft leaf stencil to apply the paste to the page in segments,

I treated my Chipboards with purple ink to compliment all the green tones on the page and popped some little flowers on the shapes to pull in the flowers theme in the photo.

This is a divine little chipboard set that gives a funky twist to the 
classic flower look on a layout.

Thursday the 13th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
I was under the impression that my lecture for DESIGN was starting at 2pm today, but just to be sure I ducked into my 'Black Board' resource center to check ... and there in big bold red was an announcement that had been posted on Monday that the Thursday class was being canceled and everyone now had to join the Tuesday 9-12pm class.
Opps ... I missed it!!

the rest of the day was spent in a vicious cycle of self loathing ... 
I've drawn a diagram here so you can understand the big picture ...

Friday the 14th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
 Yet another day spent in self loathing/hissy fit land.

Saturday the 15th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
today I received an email from the Australian Government just letting me know that as of last year they have a new exam that I am required pass before I can be allowed to complete my education degree ... they suggest I sit it next month and it only costs $180 !
In order to pass I must understand the basics of literacy and show competency including, 
but limited to the following areas of numeracy ... proportional reasoning, ratios, fractions, percentages, decimals, scientific notation, interest calculations, and formulae calculations!!!!!

I grabbed my husband and told him I would be ducking into the uni on Monday to withdraw from this degree! Literacy I could handle but I'm dead in the water when it comes to maths ... thats why I want to be Art teacher and NOT a maths teacher!!!!

There was some additional howling ... more hissy fitting... and even a good amount of tears. In the end my husband had to give me the old 
' You can't quit the first time things get hard' speach... one he had long practised on the kids to perfection.

I agreed to try.

Monday the 16th of July 2017

Dear Diary...
While at uni today I found out that I don't have to sit my basic literacy and numeracy exam until the very last prac session of my degree, so it turns out I have almost four years to prep for the test rather than 1 month! Thank goodness!! I may just be able to handle that.🙂
I also managed to get some scrapping in this afternoon ... finishing this layout made with the new 'Lilac Whispers' collection from Kaisercraft and Imaginarium chipboards...

Purple ink and Crystalina kindy glitz were the main ingredients in this layout ...



Tuesday the 17th of July 2017

Dear Diary...

I had the most amazing day today ... things might actually be looking up for me. 
At 9am I FINALLY made it to my 'DESIGN' class ... it turns out to actually be about 'Photoshop' .... I was so stoked ... I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to use Photoshop. Especially when I gain weight - I can see MANY practical application for this program when it comes to weight gain😜 

But the best part of the class was at the beginning when the teacher explains that just before he starts teaching us how to manipulate images using the computer he wants us to experience what its like to use the original tools .... then he hands us magazines, scissors and glue. 
'Make me a picture using these' he says ...

OMGosh ....

it's SCRAPBOOKING!! I think to myself .... YYYEEEESSSSS .... 
well the rest of you can just go home now because I own this .... I WIN this round!!!

.... wait ... did I just say that out loud???

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Excerpts From The Diary of a Designer #10

Excerpts From The Diary of a Designer #10
HSC Horror Stories…


Dear Diary...

I’m currently hiding in my wardrobe typing this.
Hiding may not seem like the bravest strategy but I promise you it’s the smartest one!
Darling Daughter #1 has just started her HSC exams and I swear to you I have never seen a more irrational, emotional and unstable teenage girl in my life. Are they all like this??
Earlier this morning she explained in depth her extreme frustration at the unjust HSC system that requires english students to memorise a ‘ridiculous’ number of quotes. Half an hour later she was in tears sure she would fail no matter what she did. Then she came home after the exam exclaiming that it wasn’t that bad!!?!
Her mood swings are giving me whiplash.
Now she's out in the lounge room stressing over the next exam tomorrow, so I’m staying safely tucked away in this comfy cupboard!
I did manage to get a few hours of peace in the middle of all that today though. I actually finished a whole scrapbook layout… My absolute favourite thing about Imaginarium designs chipboards is that they do the most beautiful and endearing titles, and this is of my favourites 💚

Well the battery on my laptop is almost done so I’m going to have to sign off for tonight. I can still hear DD#1 out there ranting at anyone in earshot so I might just enjoy the peace and quiet a moment longer here.

Dear Diary...

I noticed a distinct lack of people moving through the house this morning, when I did eventually locate several of the children I found out they too are doing their best to avoid their sister and her crazy moods DD#2,3 &4 all said they would rather not eat breakfast at all than have to listen to DD#1 rant even further about the distinct lack of polylogism in today's schooling environment.
I couldn't agree more. I stayed in the bedroom with DD#2 & 3 and we googled what Polylogism is and played some Plants versus Zombies before they snuck off to school and I snuck out to my workshop.
Everyone deals with stress in different ways …
my way is to tuck myself away with some fabulous papercraft supplies and see what is born 🙂
Today’s adventures yielded another scrapbook layout … this time a double! I rarely do doubles, but I was so inspired by these Heartfelt Creations papers that I just couldnt resist this time.


Dear Diary,

I can’t take this any more, there was no exam today but there was a torrent of tears as DD#1 asked me if would still love her if she failed to get into law school and ended up working at McDonalds for the rest of her life?
I have no idea where kids find the pressures they put on themselves … I’ve never asked her to be a human rights lawyer …. that was all her idea … I think the job she had at maccas for the last 3 years is awesome …. But somehow it's the worse-case-life-scenario for her now??
I don't think her teachers put that much pressure on her either, all I’ve ever heard them say is ‘just try your best’ … so what's this question about me not loving her anymore if she doesn't get a HSC mark of 99 or above???
I find empathy in light of my daughters first world problems difficult to muster …. I just think ‘you are a crazy person who cannot be reasoned with, please don’t speak to me anymore’
...but you know ….
Instead I hugged her and said ‘oh baby ….sadly If you don’t get into law school you will actually have to change your last name as your father and I will have no choice but to disown you!’

She rolled her eyes and stormed off to her room….I feel like I effectively made my point.

Shes punished me all day with the silent treatment ….. BEST DAY EVER!!

I got all these cards made thanks to said punishment.
It’s difficult for me to regret my sarcastic streak when it yields such pleasing results.
Just saying.

All the chipboards on these cards were simply coloured with ink and then painted over with crystalina kindy glitz.

Dear diary,

Disaster has struck …. While vacuuming in a very bad ( yet extremely persistent)  mood, DD#1 smashed her wrist and injured her writing hand. This resulted in unparalleled drama, the likes of which has never been seen in this house and I hope shall never be seen again! The tears were epic, the panic tantrum second to none, and my ability to help stave off the torrent non existent.

She went off to her Ancient History exam in considerable pain and did the whole 3 hours of writing with a bag of ice on her wrist. She didn't quite finish which is apparently ( if you are to believe anything DD#1 says these days) a fate WORSE than death!!
So half my day and the whole afternoon was spent chasing our family doctor for a medical ‘misadventure’ certificate. Thank heavens we only have one more exam to go!!

Dear Diary

The weekend saw DD#1 wrist heal quite nicely and this morning she headed off to her final exam like snow white going to greet the forest animals for brunch.
She was so happy we were all a little wary.
Apparently maths is her favorite subject so it attracted none of the usual angst we saw so much of last week. We were all relieved, but Son#2 did point out that she's just acting creepy now. I told him not to worry, if she didn't get into law school via the usual methods her father and I had decided to bribe the one furthest away from home to ensure we are never living with her again when she has to sit an exam. He greatly approve of this plan and offered a substantial amount of his savings to contribute towards it.

DD#4 actually turns 8 today and she loves all things ‘Paris’ themed so I used the Imaginarium Eiffel tower to create this cute card for her. She sternly reminded me this morning that she’s 'not a baby anymore' so I should stop making her all those pink glittery cards ( my favourites of course) so it was with some nostalgia I did my best to keep the little girl themes on the inside while I make this slightly more ‘grown up’ version…

This is the last of my 6 babies … turning 8 today!! When you think about it, only it’s 10 more years and she will be sitting the HSC too …. heaven help me…. may the years pass slowly.