Sunday, 23 June 2013

Scrapfriends Yummy Palette Challenge #14

This is a photo of our granddaughter; my youngest son works a twelve hour, six day on three day off shift driving road trains so sometimes the only way I can see him and his family together is if they come into town to my work and have lunch with me. I was relieving at reception for a few minutes when they arrived; I took the little one for a cuddle behind the desk while I waited for the receptionist to return. She asked to get down so I stood and sat her on the chair I had vacated. She was so funny; she sat up looking terribly important, started tapping on the computer and chatty away looking for all the world as though that was were she belonged! It will be interesting to see where her career takes her but I will always have this photo to remind her of where she began.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.

Bird is the Word - Courage

When I saw the Word this month I thought the subject would be too hard but I got to thinking; I work in a section of the health industry and have, over the years come into contact with some very courageous people. Young children living with cancer who insisted on doing a photo shoot for the brochures and calendars that would encourage people to give something more valuable than money. Adults that have given in ways that so few do, volunteers that give up precious time to assist those less fortunate. I have friends that have fought cancer and other serious conditions with dignity and strength I could only hope for should I find myself in the same situation. 
Closer to home is my brother who, as a serving member of the police force received a medal for bravery that I didn't know about for many years as he 'only did what was right'. My middle sister who will not allow her terror of flying to stop her travelling to different parts of the world; my youngest sister, who has worked hard to recover from a serious skiing accident which almost claimed her leg and returned to work as a nurse saving lives every day even though she is in constant pain.
I can assure you I do not put myself in the same category as those above and many more like them; I don't have photos of them and their story is not really mine to tell. This is a photo of me and I guess this is the most courageous thing I have done and even then I needed help to achieve it. I used to have a dreadful fear of heights, just watching a movie of people doing some thing high up would make my legs tingle and I would find those scenes difficult to watch. My eldest son, in his absence, has given me the courage to conquer this fear. Just after his 1st anniversary I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge; the highest point at 134 m (440 ft) above sea level. Just after his 2nd anniversary I climbed the Gloucester Tree in the south of our state; it is 72m high and the climb is on steel rods hammered into the tree. I have never been able to rise above the third wrung before even though the boys have been clambering up and down the tree for years. I can now cross suspension bridges, go up ski lifts and ladders are no longer an issue. Late last year we went to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and I was able to stand on the edge with no fear of the height. It was not my courage that helped me to overcome my fears; my son loved to climb and abseil; I did these things with the courage I received from him.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.

Friday, 14 June 2013

It's About the Boys - June: Favourite Activity

This is my first time on this challenge blog and although this might not be quite what you are looking for I hope to be able to explain; 'stirring' in Australia can also mean teasing... I could have used teasing in my title but it is not what my boys would say!
Every five years or so we have a professional photo shoot of our family; it is important to me that I capture the changes in ourselves and our family and the boys know how important this is to me. It is the one time they are not allowed to complain, not allowed to do silly things and are asked to just relax, smile and get on with it; I don't think once in five or so years is too much to ask. As I am also a little OCD the family is asked to dress in certain colours so everything coordinates. The fact that they look wonderful in blue and denim and these colours also go well with my interior decor are all important to me. The boys had all left home by this stage and two were married, the other two engaged, we also had two little grandsons; two and 6 months. This photo was taken in a park near our home; although it was summer, there was an easterly wind blowing so it was cold.
I was surprised to see each of the boys follow one another into the car park; all opened the car door at the same time and all got out at the same time; I thought it strange until I saw how they were dressed. Denim shorts, 'wife beater' (trucker) singlets and 'double plugger' thongs (flip flops for our international visitors) and their dark glasses. They had all gotten together the night before and decided to 'stir' Mum and had coordinated the whole thing. The two babies were supposed to be dressed the same way but it was far too cold. They didn't know if I would laugh or cry. I laughed; I thought it was so sweet that they would go to so much trouble to have some fun with me! I made them stay dressed that way until photo's were taken and then they changed, they were sooo cold!
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

123 Challenge Blog - June

Every five years or so we have professional family photos taken; it is something I started when we realised we had to go back through many years of photos to find one of my father-in-law when he passed away thirty two years ago. It became important to me to have really good photos of all of us. I don't like studio portraits, they do not suit my family of boys who have always loved being outside and particular in the Australian bush. This photo was one of many taken in 2001 in a park near our home. I didn't buy all the prints at the time but after losing our son in an accident all photos have become even more important to me. I was able to locate the photographer only a few weeks ago and she was good enough to give me all the negatives at no cost; you have no idea how much I appreciated her still having them. I had them printed immediately and have enjoyed going through them again.
My beautiful family; all I ever wanted in life and these wonderful men, my husband and all four of our awesome young men are my life. I have been blessed since these photos were taken; we now have four wonderful daughters-in-law and seven of the cutest grandchildren. I used to worry that having a child and then a second etc. would mean that they all got a little less love, I did not realise as a young woman that the more people you add to your family the bigger your heart grows to accommodate all of them.
This year, in a just a few weeks, we are due for our next photo shoot; I am looking forward to it as the family has grown so much in the years between; it will also be just a little sad as there is now one of us missing. I know he will be there with us in spirit.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.

The sketch is from the wonderful Becky Fleck -

Zeus and Zoe - June Challenge

I was quite taken by the song behind the challenge; I have loved watching the Sound of Music since seeing it on the big screen at the cinemas as a girl, I still have it on my iPhone play list and sing along (badly) when I am in the car alone.
There are so many things I could list here; my children, grandchildren and extended family obviously, friends, my photos and capturing those moments over the years and being able to look back, my scrapbooking tools, paper, equipment, embellishments, my jewellery pieces that hold meaning and some household items that hold special memories. I decided though that I wanted to have a full day at home so had to use a photo from my stash and not go out and print something new.
This page holds one of my favourite things to do, places to go, times of day and affirmations all in one photo on one page; the lake near my home. The lake was just a muddy hole for the first 25 years of our living here; it was used as a bit of a dumping ground and some unsavoury activities and was to be avoided by law abiding citizens. An extension to a local highway was built nearby and things began to change. The lake was dug and widened and turned into a world class rowing facility with plenty of public access and space and a small village at one end. A walk and cycling trail was built around the circumference and all were opened to the public.
Our family held our first picnic there just days before our eldest son was taken from us in an accident. This is where I go to reflect and remember, to find peace but also to enjoy the surroundings. We now walk, ride and canoe here regularly. I find being near water restful and calming, I find sunrise and sunset awe inspiring and feel as though my son is showing me the beauty of where he waits for me. I began using the affirmation 'something good will happen today' when I struggled after losing my beautiful boy.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Scrap Around The World - Challenge 2

Mood Board inspiration: the aged and country look to the colours in the upper left image, naturals and that aged blue with a hint of green, the books in the lower right also speak to me of wisdom.
Sketch inspiration: I sponged bricks instead of the splatters and side and base strips, a string of pearl loops instead of the banner and lace instead of the strips below the photo.
This challenge was made a little more difficult by a self imposed family challenge; my niece Bel Woods and I, with my sister Catherine who lives in the USA, decided to challenge each other to use the next mood board and sketch to scrap a photo of our maternal Grandmother Mary Jane. We thought it would be interesting to see how different our interpretations were using the same photo, mood board and sketch. This is my take on it.
This photo was taken at my wedding thirty five years ago. She came from Ireland as a 12 year old girl and her family settled in a farming district in the south and slightly east of our state. Grandma became a farmers wife so the field image worked for me. She had a large very loving home and through our troubled childhood became our safe haven; with her, we knew we were loved and cared for. She was never seen without a necklace so I have used the pearl loops at the top of the page. I have ink rubbed bricks onto the page to show not only the strength and stability that she gave us but also our love of her home. She had a large garden which she cared for until she was almost ninety and always had flowers in the house so I have also surrounded her with flowers and these are spilling out of a picture frame of which there were many in her home; photos of her very large and ever expanding family. The title is obvious, she had the most wonderful smile; I love that smile.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes, Susan Scrapzones


Scrap Around the World - Challenge #2

Mood Board inspiration: predominately the colours were my inspiration. I loved the soft pink and teal blue green together. The floral paper in my layout carries both those colours. I have included the theme of camera's by using Tim Holtz film strips and the prima wood icon antique camera. It was mainly the colours that stood out and I was guided by the sepia photo I was given. It all seemed to talk to me of lace and old world vintage look.
Sketch inspiration: I utilised a beautiful frame was on the paper, and used lace instead of the strips below the sketch, otherwise I have followed the sketch fairly closely. 
The photo is of my Grandmother who was a wonderful strong independent woman. An inspiration in herself. I was asked by my sister, Susan, who lives in Western Australia to join in a family challenge which included my niece Belinda, who lives on the east coast of Australia, and myself if Colorado, to use the same photo, and see how different we each created a layout. I think my sister Susan was very smart to come up with the idea of using a photo of someone we all loved, doing something we all love that unites us as a family, even though we are in different parts of the world.
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes, Catherine AussieBeer

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Let's Get Shabby #46

Regular visitors to this blog will already know we lost a beautiful eldest son in an accident just over four years ago; the following months were very difficult with different issues arising from his passing as well as some illness which caused concern. We had three happy events in that 12 months too with the birth of his son and two of our sons being married. We had hoped the worst was behind us but in May 2011 our second son and his wife lost their baby, their third son who was 20 weeks in gestation. They had gone to have the 20 week scan and were told there was no heartbeat to be found. The sad parents were sent away to deal with their news while a decision was made as to when the baby would be brought on. Our daughter-in-law went into natural labour the next day and the little one was born and named. The hospital were wonderful with them and gave them lots of time, care and support while they held their little man and said their final goodbyes; they were encouraged to take photos which they treasure.
The rest of our grand children have their own album; I promised my son this little one would have his own page, there is a pocket under the border punch with a journaling tag for them to put the photos and his details.
They have since been blessed with another child, their fourth son, and the healing continues. My faith tells me, and my heart believes that my son and his nephew, our smallest angel, are together and will take care of each other and watch over us until we meet again.  
Thank you for looking and any comments you may leave, best wishes.