Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bugger - I got sick again

Well all, this completely sux. I got the lurgie again and have been under the weather for 3 weeks! Needless to say the doctor is running a gazillion tests to find out the problems (like perhaps I DIDN'T have pneumonia earlier this year after all). Never mind, we shall press on regardless.

Throughout all of this though I have battled on with work... I must change my motto to be "you don't lie on your deathbed and think of the times you spent working late"... perhaps that will enforce a little more balance. This last month or so has been absolutely ridiculous.

Went to Perth for a couple of days for work (despite being sick as a dog) and saw the family on the weekend before Christmas. It was Mum's birthday on the 17th so we went out for lunch on the saturday with Mrs B. I haven't seen her in ages, and it was great to catch up. Here is a photo of Mrs B, my sister Bee and Mum at the restaurant.

Art wise I haven't managed much... I did a little piece for Greta for the ArtyOz Christmas round robin using cream and turquoise (and rust)...

but that has been about it really. I have been super busy with work and being sick so little time for pleasure.

I went to my friends Dom and Ian's house for Christmas day - it was fantastic. There were a few of us there, we had a huge lunch (and yes, there is a change in eating habits in my new year). I didn't manage a photo of everyone at the same time, but did get some great shots on the day. The new camera worked a treat.

The hosts with the most: Ian and Dom

Ian's Mum Alma (visiting from Cairns) and Dom's brother Lloyd (visiting from the UK)

Barry (sneaking ham off the table)

and Rob

(I tidied this shot up for him as he says he never has any good photos of himself)

This is in the evening, and you can see Dom, Rob, Alma and Ian

I even got into the (heated) pool!! (no photos of that thank god). The blowing up of the LiLo (not sure why the poms call it that) was a team effort...

and the compulsory picture of me. (If this doesn't provide incentive to get healthy....)

I am off to the farm this week for new years. I am playing Santa and taking up a bike and a pram - did I mention that the boxing day sales are the epitome of hell on earth...

blog you all later!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

whew - time for reinvigoration

well hello all.

hasn't it been a while since my last post. I survived the viral pneumonia but the personal toll on me was high... and the recovery time was long. It was difficult to juggle work and recovery so the blog has lain fallow since the end of August.

To reinvigorate it's (flagging) life, I have added a new background and colour scheme (rather cute huh!)...

what have I been up to other than work and recovering?

I attended a great workshop organised by Kath and Marg with Judy Wilkenfeld. Great class... Teresa took a photo on the day - here it is:

what a gorgeous bunch! Needless to say, I haven't finished my piece. But as I get a little closer I will post some pics to share.

I participated in a US swap for christmas ornaments hosted by Lenna Andrews. Apparently they are winging their way back as we speak, and here are the ones that I sent over:

I prepared these while I was at camp and they were so popular that I am running a class on them at Beachhouse Boulevard - tentatively on the 6th of December (they are Christmas Ornaments after all).

I also ran the class on the pendants shown on the same blog. It was a subset of a larger class I ran at Little Bits in Keysborough. I will post some photos as soon as I find my camera cord (or buy a new cable alltogether!).

I am off to Hobart for a couple of days' work this afternoon, so will post again later this week..


Thursday, August 28, 2008

I am missed

I got a lovely bunch of flowers from work yesterday, with a sweet note saying that I was missed, and to get well soon.

They are just beautiful.

The cynic in me can't help thinking that it is because they need me back at work desperately... but I shall rise above cynicism, and enjoy the sentiment that comes with receiving beautiful flowers. Thanks everyone!

I have managed to complete another (small) project in the past 2 days - a set of 4 jigsaw pieces. 3 friends and I became enthusiastic over a large jigsaw set and have decided that the 4 of us will do a "colour" themed jigsaw swap. I completed my red set (bottom right) yesterday. I think it looks quite good and it wasn't too hard for me to do as I am very comfortable working in red:

Not much to show for 2 days work, but I am working at about 33% pace at the moment whilst I get better! I went to the chemist yesterday to get more drugs and had to have a lie down afterwards... pathetic!

That's it from me today - I am going to get out of my PJ's now as it is after 12....

blog you later


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

23 days

Hi all,

well, I am being slow - it has been 23 days since my last post. I will excuse myself on the grounds that for the last 10 I have been incapacitated. I have got pneumonia... (queue dramatic music: da da da DAAH)

I thought that this disease died out in the middle ages like bubonic plague, but noo, not in the Aitken household! Too many rats???? who knows what lies beneath the polished floorboards....

Speaking of which, the other reason for my blogging tardiness has been the epic floor polishing... In the week following my last entry, I was living in the back half of my house while my floors were being done - entry, living area and kitchen. They look great:

So the artwork achievements have been a bit minimal during this time... but I have managed to complete my vicstampers collab book covers and page for this year.

a close up of the cover:

and the page. As you can see my verdigris patina run is continuing!

I have also started on my Little Bits class packs - with Harry's help?

The class is scheduled for Sunday October 5th, and I have limited the places to 10. At this stage I think that there are 4 places left, so if you are interested in the "Little Bits at Little Bits" class then contact Leslie for details.

ciao for now


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Helloo strangers

Hi everyone,

Apologies for my blogging tardiness, things have been really hectic this past month...

You will all be pleased to know that my art mojo is back after a great weekend away at Shoreham on camp! I am absolutely exhausted as a result of little sleep, but the guilt of not having posted for so long is forcing me to the computer, especially as I now have something to blog about....

The mojo had slowed down (left the building really) whilst doing the collaborative book for ArtyOz - probably because of the sheer number of pages required (31) and the repetitive nature of doing it. But they look really good - and are ready to be dropped off to Teresa, so here's a sneak peak:
But more of Shoreham. I was PROLIFIC this year, and have a serious amount of stuff going postal over the next couple of days! I have done a set of "twinchies" for ArtyOz... twinchies being two-inch squares. A challenging requirement of black, white, orange and 1 other colour... I have gone with PINK! (man, I was so far out of my comfort zone with this one!). Here they are:
Excitingly (for me anyway - there was a happy dance involved) I have completed my swap obligations for PaperArts for August AND September (yay, yay, yay). So here is the August caught in crystal ATC:
and the August mini hinge book. Outside:
and inside.
It worked so well that Lesley has a asked to teach it at Little Bits in Keysborough. A paid teaching gig at last!

The September PaperArts project I completed was the pages for a Gothic Arch Screen. I did it in Verdigris colours with burgandy highlights... and I think it looks really good!

So that's it from me for today... I am going to lie down! Will speak to you all later...


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Artist Trading Pins, Little Houses and Inspirational Women

Hi all,

Well, I have had a horrible week, down with a nasty cold - feeling miserable, and then a job "blowing up" at work - so I am sick and stressed... in a bizarre in between world of exhausted from the cold and sleepless from anxiety. All in all just terrible.

There's no weigh-in data either because I couldn't get there, but i don't think it will be good - I haven't been well enough to exercise at all....


On a brighter note I received my pin swap back this week, and I am really impressed with the returns. All so great:
These girls are just so clever!

This week (mainly yesterday) I did more little houses (told you that this theme hadn't worked its way through completely) for a swap on Arty International. They have come up fairly well...
Each one is different, so it will be interesting to see which one I get back! I will hand them on to Greta next weekend at a playdate at Gail's house.

I am now down to my last July swap to be completed - YAY!!!! I now have to do 14 ATC's for the Shoreham stamp camp. The theme is empowered / inspirational women, which has set me to thinking about who that that is to me - particularly apt as I am having such a crap time at work!

I thought I might share some of the front-runners I find to be inspirational.

Indira Ghandi: Born into the Nehru dynasty, Indira was always destined for great things. She served as the Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was India's first and to date only female Prime Minister

Margaret Thatcher: She was the first woman to lead a major political party in the UK, and the first of only three women to have held any of the four great offices of state. Among other things, she defiantly opposed the Soviet Union, and her tough-talking rhetoric gained her the nickname the "Iron Lady". She served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and was said to only need four hours sleep per night.

Queen Elizabeth I: Dubbed The Virgin Queen, she reigned from 1558 until her death. Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, Mary I, during whose reign she had been imprisoned on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. Elizabeth is acknowledged by historians as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor, in an age when government was ramshackle and limited and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots whom she imprisoned in 1568 and eventually had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth's brother and sister, her forty-five years on the throne provided stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.

Oprah Winfrey: Oprah is a multiple Emmy Award winning host of her own and the highest-rated talk show in television history, Oprah can also boast being an Academy Award-winning actress, influential book critic and magazine publisher. The richest African American in the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time and some would argue, the single most influential woman in the world.

I must say that Oprah is my current front runner for the ATC swap. The fact that she has been INCREDIBLY influential in getting America to select Obama as the democratic candidate for presideny is absolutely amazing. I am in awe of the fact that she was instrumental in breaking 20th century social taboos in the US and allowed gays, transsexuals, and transgender people to enter the mainstream of American life.

Most importantly to me though, is her incredible work as a philanthropist. Oprah's Angel Network is her charity aimed at encouraging people around the world to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged others. Accordingly, Oprah's Angel Network supports charitable projects and provides grants to nonprofit organizations around the world that share this vision. To date, Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000. Winfrey personally covers all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised go to charity programs. Oprah also personally donates more of her own money to charity than any other show-business celebrity in America. In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America's top 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million. Oprah has also put 250 African-American men through college.

A truly inspirational woman. If you feel in the need for spiritual healing, go to her website:

blog you all later!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

back on the wagon & 3 weeks of catch up

Doctor, its been 3 weeks since since my last blog entry.....

As you can all imagine, its been busy, busy, busy AT WORK! This work life "balance" thing needs to be renamed to work life "imbalance" for me. I have been having a VERY stressful time & not sleeping because of it... damn clients! Oh well, I am doing what I can to redress the issue, we shall see what transpires.

I have gotten back on the weightloss bandwagon, which languished for a while there (4 weeks actually) while all this cr%p was going on. Went back to JC this week and haven't gained / lost any weight at all. Still sitting at 91.5kg, so that is a good thing. I shall recommence the name and shame from next weekend.

I managed to get to Kathy's 1 day last weekend and had a great time with the girls... got a lot of stuff done on my nature collab book page... I blogged the background in my last post (3 weeks ago) ... and managed to complete the prototype. Yesterday I completed all the pages! Today I am backing them and tomorrow they are going postal. YAY!!! and here it is:

I think it came up fairly well. There will be a couple of centimeters of binding on the left, so it won't look so unbalanced once bound. I am supposed to do covers to send as well, but I am SO over it at the moment, that I will send blank ones and wait until it comes back before decorating.

I also managed to get another house chore done last weekend. I have been living here at #29 for 2 years this month (my god time flies), and before I moved in all my stuff, I converted the colour scheme in the main area (that includes the kitchen) from (cool) yellow/bright green to (warm) brown and mocha tones. The problem was that the strip of feature tiles in the kitchen was green - the same green as used on the walls. Boy did it clash!

see! so I got the tile paint to fix it and painted them on Sunday and finished them on the Monday public holiday. I am so pleased with the results - look for yourself....

Much improved... All I need to do now is floors and window treatments and the main room is done! Just need to find time to ring tradies to get them around for a quote..... which could be a challenge in itself.

I am off to see Prince Caspian today - the second of the Narnia series... can't wait. I am such a child - I haven't even had time to see the Sex & the City movie yet, and Narnia ranks above it in my preferences!! Fantasy v Prada, and fantasy wins - although in my life Prada = fantasy anyway!

cheers all

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Making up ground

Hi all,

well with a HIDEOUS week of work travel looming this week (Brisbane and Sydney for 4 days) I am trying to get back on top of my swap commitments this weekend. I have finished my artist trading pins for ArtyOz, and they are winging their way to Ness Henry in QLD as I type. Here's a sneak peak of the finished products....

and a close-up of my pin....

yes, it is MORE houses.... and the house theme has not played out completely as I still have one more house swap to go! Although this next one will be a little more elaborate in 2D. But there is 1 other project to complete before then - one which has had me tearing my hair out because of its restrictive rules.

Some of you may remember my cathartic blog post about the nature themed collaborative book that I am in. Well this is the tearing my hair out, painful, difficult project I am referring to. But this weekend the procrastination is over - I have committed something to paper.... a background!!!! (woo-hoo I hear you all cry). And this is a pretty good background if I do say so myself - lots of impasto with gauze in it, and a couple of greenish, purplish, yellowish washes and colours added. Voila!

Now for the struggle with images, but a structure is forming in my mind... and I think I am close to a title; either "where the sea meets the sky" or "in the horizon".... Stay tuned, and I will post some more as the page develops further. Fortunately I still have some time as they are not due until 31 July, but I do want to get them done and out of my hair as I have 1 very large collab book set to be done for September (30 pages - my god what do I get myself into).

Before I (b) log off for tonight, I wanted to share one more thing. You know those free advertorial postcards you get in cafes? Look at this one for a FREE exhibition currently running at the State Library of Victoria... I managed to clear out my local coffee shop of 13 the other day. They are just fantastic! Grab some if you can - I am certainly on the hunt for some more....

Have fun all - I am off to the Scrappy Hollow birthday sale tomorrow (more shopping), and then to a friends house for the MASSIVE Eurovision final tomorrow night. Can't wait - I am a super sucker for Eurovision, and the cheesier the better!

catch you all soon


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm Baaack (part 2, the delayed telecast)


It has now been 3 weeks since may last blog entry so lets's call this post the long awaited delayed telecast of Part 2. (So much for blogging next day.)

Anyhoo, on to the weightloss stats from the last 2 weeks (valid to last Monday the 12th April)

Weekly Name and Shame: +2kg

damn.... brushing that aside lets get on to other stuff...

Stamp Camp (or as Monika calls it, scramp camp)

It seems like the camp was ages ago now.. so long in fact that I can't remember all the details and I want another one!!!!

New locale this year at Bacchus Marsh - all I can say is GORGEOUS... a bit more upmarket than the guide camp, and the views were stunning. Made having a ciggie outside a very zen experience.

The class I ran seemed to go fairly well, everyone had a good time and made some great little transparency books. (I blogged this one before in march if you want to view the sample). So much for my estimate of 3 hours to make the book - it was more like 5! I must learn how to judge these things a little better....

The card class with Joan was good too - the cards were fairly complex, ones that we had worked on for quite a few hours on the 2007 camp, so it was good to see them recycled as a class. Joan also won the Friday night challenge (be-atch), and got an unmounted plate as a prize.''

I was not as prolific this year as I have been in previous years in getting "stuff" done. All I really managed to do outside classes & challenges was a Gothica ATC swap, and to get impasto onto pages for the nature book swap that is due in July..... and now I am running well behind, but more on current projects later.


In part 1 I mentioned that I was off to a play date at Greta's house, and it was just great fun. I received a farily substantial Collections order that day that Gret's had organised. The result of this is a new-found love of little houses....

I realise that these little houses have been trendy amongst the "papercrafting" community for a little while now, but I am not known for being on the "cutting edge" of fashion - just ask anyone who has met me!

So, instead of doing things I was meant to do, I did lots of little houses with the girls. Here is a pic of them sitting on my tv in the back (craft) room....

cute huh! I would also like to mention that the fabulous Jen Crossley (arbiter of papercrafting fashion that she is) is being published with some great houses she has made in the upcoming (or just arrived) Somerset Gallery. Woohoo Jen - big round of applause!!!

I also caught up with Kath Thompson at Grata's house and paid for my spot in an upcoming Rho Bruhn workshop (13th July). I have never done a class with this talented artist, and am looking forward to it very much. Here is a link to her blog to check out her great work.

General & Other Stuff

In the intervening 2 weeks since Anzac Day (Ok, maybe more, but don't remind me of my blogging tardiness please) I have been SHOPPING! PtP was run weekend before last, and I managed to get this great new bag
Isn't it gorgeous! (My crafting luggage is almost as good as my normal luggage now). I also picked up STACKS of supplies - my credit card has an extra stretchmark on it. Most of it was ongoing stuff, but in addition to the bag I did get some new stamps and some great mags/books to get the creative juices flowing ....

now how to find time to play????

I am off to bake some cakes, and am hoping to get a little bit of time this evening to work on artist trading pin swap due at the end of this month... After I get this swap finished I am focussing on things due in July - a LOT of things due in July!

speak to you all soon.


Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm Baaack (part 1)

Didjya miss me???

Well, a couple of weeks have flown by (almost 3 actually) since my last post... things have been a bit crazy as you can probably guess both personally and at work (next week's travel schedule is a bit punishing.....)

Anyhoo, on to the weightloss stats from the last 2 weeks (valid to last Monday the 21st April)

Weekly Name and Shame: -1.5kg

Not bad, and that included my parents being here with the associated eating out, and going on a stamp camp. This week I am hoping to break through the dreaded 90 kg barrier and get back into the 80's!!!

Visiting with Jan and Al

Janice and Alan visited this side of the country to see moi and to go up to my sister at the farm in Tumbarumba. While they were here on the Melbourne leg of their tour, I decided that we should get out and see something.

My mother has what can only be described as an "unhealthy obsession" with maps. Therefore to give her some Melbourne "context" I decided that we would do the loop - all the way around Port Phillip Bay in a clockwise direction - starting and ending at Footscray.

We got down to the Mornington Peninsula at lunchtime, and went to a great winery called 10 x tractor. the food was TO DIE FOR. My mother had the best fish dish I think I have ever tasted, and I had a sample plate of all the entrees on the menu - divine.... (I also bought them out of their pinot - they only had half a dozen bottles left). This is a photo of us waiting to get a table for lunch.

We then went off to do stuff in the afternoon - and went to the strawberry farm (which was a little disappointing as I was hoping to buy some strawberry plants, not just strawberry products), and then to Cape Schank where we played tourist at the lighthouse.

I must say that the scenery around the lighthouse is just amazing! I can see why hundreds of ships have found their demise along this part of the Australian coastline.... (this is a view from inside the lighthouse looking down the cliff)

The lighthouse itself is also really cool... My penchant for old mechanical things was well and truly met that day inside the lighthouse itself.... they still have all the old working bits, despite the lighthouse functions now being mechanised electrically rather than by a clockwork system.

We stayed at a great guesthouse in Sorrento (Whitehall Guest House) on the Friday night, and on Saturday continued outr explorations. We went to the old fort at Point Nepean. A good 10km walk, and we explored all sorts of stuff!

We finished the trip with a ferry ride across the mouth of the bay to Queenscliff and after coffee in the town and a quick look around headed home up the Princes Highway. Needless to say the next day was spent recovering before Mum and Dad headed up to the farm.

In Part 2 of this update I will fill you in on Stamp Camp last weekend, but right now I am off to a play date at Greta's house..... must make salad and pack something to do!

Blog with you again tomorrow!