the xmas 2011 scrapbooking challenge

Before Xmas last year, I knew Slabs and Juniordwarf had bought me something from the local scrapbooking shop, because Juniordwarf told me they’d been in there. He was supposed to keep it a secret . . . but as there was a 12” square parcel for me under the tree, I think I might have worked it out for myself anyway.
What they got me was a pack of cardstock, some embellishments, a title and some alphabet stickers, together with a note that said:

“When deciding to give you scrapbooking supplies as an Xmas gift we decided we needed to separate ourselves from the rest of the herd/pack. Giving scrapbooking supplies alone, although we were certain they would be used, was not the most exciting or original of ideas. Hence, the challenge concept was born! Juniordwarf and I chose our favourite colours [the cardstock] and Juniordwarf chose yours as well and we went from there. But it wouldn’t be a challenge without rules now would it? 

1.    A page must be created using only the items supplied for the challenge (ink, paint, cutting and adhesive products excepted). 

2.    The page must depict all three members of your immediate family (including yourself). 

3.    There is a time limit of 37 days to complete the challenge i.e. by 1 February 2012.”

Two things about this freaked me out: first, that a picture of me had to be on the page and second, that I had a time limit.
Those people who know me and scrapbooking know that I can take hours fussing about with a layout and then put it away in the too hard basket work in progress file, sometimes for months (possibly years) at a time, occasionally pulling it out, moving things around, not being happy and putting it back in the file.
It took me several weeks to decide which photos I wanted to use, and then I had to convince Lil Sis to alter one of them to match the other one as her Photoshop skills are far superior to mine.
I printed the photos last week, then on Monday decided not to use them and went to the photo lab to print a different one. The photo lab machine had a hissy fit and refused to read my USB drive, so I had no photos and two days to complete the challenge.
I finally got the new photo printed yesterday. I said to Slabs that since there was no time specified in the rules, that meant I had until midnight on 1 February. He agreed, and so I set to work last night to start (and finish) the challenge.
In the end I decided to go with the photos I’d originally planned to use, because I didn’t like the new ones after all, and the whole layout came together quite quickly and easily, which surprised me. I ended up having an hour and a half to spare.
I didn’t use all of the products, which Slabs said was the intention – the idea was to give me a choice – but I used all three pieces of cardstock, as well as one packet of pearls, one packet of rhinestones, one of the title words and some of the alphabet stickers. I think being restricted to those products helped in a way, because I wasn’t able to agonise over which letters to use, or where to find the perfect matching paper or stickers, and all I had to do was put the stuff on the page.
I’m really pleased with it, and I think Slabs and Junoriordwarf were too.
Thanks Slabs and Juniordwarf, it was fun. Maybe next time I want to do a layout quickly, you guys can pick out the stuff for me to use and make me stick to it!

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P365 – Day 358 – getting ready for Santa (and year in review 5/12)

I know I’m a bit ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas, and this year it feels like it’s snuck up on me faster than usual and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t got organised and just haven’t felt very festive at all.

But this hasn’t stopped Juniordwarf, and his excitement has slowly but surely rubbed off on me.
He is so excited and it’s so much fun to see. He’s been talking about it non-stop and he has his heart set on getting a Harry Potter book from Santa.
(We’ve had several chats with him explaining that Santa can’t bring kids everything they want, and suggesting that he not get his hopes up for everything on his list so that he’s not disappointed if everything doesn’t turn up. We’re hoping that the “scary teeth” he wanted, and his big surprise present will make up for the disappointment.)
I even elicited his cooperation to tidy his room (a bit) before he went to bed in case Santa couldn’t get in there to leave his presents. (Yes, I did stoop to that. And I know I’m not the only one who did . . . now it’s just a matter of how to get him to do it on the other 364 days of the year.)
Tonight we hung up his Santa sack (or “Zak” as he calls it, getting confused with the dog that he never knew) for Santa to put his presents in. I asked him if he wanted to put a snack out for Santa, so he left out a couple of biscuits and a cup of water (well, we don’t want Santa to be drink-driving, do we?)

He was just thrilled to be doing all this, and we loved watching him. It’s the first time he’s really gotten into the whole Santa thing, and it really is good fun!
I can’t wait to see his face tomorrow morning.
Year in Review (5/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

My first hand made gifts from Juniordwarf. I was really touched. It still has pride of place on the fridge.

P365 – Day 349 – silly season

According to Juniordwarf’s count-down tree calendar there are 10 days till Xmas.
Normally by this time of the year we’ve finished all our shopping, sent our Xmas cards, and mailed our gifts to our interstate relatives.
As of today we haven’t written in any Xmas cards or even wrapped any presents, much less posted them.
I’m not sure why, because this is one area where I like to be on top of things and get everything out of the way early.
This year, Xmas has kind of snuck up on me and I’m not ready for it. Maybe because I’ve been so busy at work up until now, I haven’t had time to think about it.
It feels even less like Xmas this year than it has done at the same time other years, even though Juniordwarf is the most excited he’s ever been. My lack of interest doesn’t seem to be having any effect on him, which is good. I’d hate to be putting a dampener on his experience. I want to make a bit of an effort to be enthusiastic now, so I can enjoy this time with him.
However, before I put on my enthusiastic face, tonight will be a frenzy of wrapping, writing on cards and packing up boxes.
If you look closely in amongst the cards, you might see some very cool cards by my friend Samedog, who designs some wonderful Xmas cards, and some equally wonderful tshirts. Go and buy some!

P365 – Day 330 – child & family centre

What a busy morning we had!
First up Juniordwarf went to his swimming lesson. 
Then he and I went to an Xmas party at his daycare centre, where he got his face painted and his nails done. 
He went on the jumping castle and went for a train ride.  He saw Santa, somehow ended up getting two bags of lollies, ate sausages and ice cream, and was very reluctant to leave.
But we had to leave, because I wanted to go to the Family Fun Day hosted by the Local Enabling Group for our Child and Family Centre. Today was the official ‘site celebration’ prior to the construction of the centre beginning.
Early last year interested members of our community were asked to nominate for what is called a Local Enabling Group (LEG) to oversee the development of a new Child and Family Centre in our town.
The Tasmanian Government has provided funding for a number of Child and Family Centres to be built across the state to support families with children aged 0-5. The aim is “improve the health and well being, education and care of Tasmania’s very young children by supporting parents and enhancing accessibility of services in the local community”.
Each community established a LEG, under the direction of a Social Inclusion Community Liaison Officer. The LEGs are made up of different community members: parents, representatives from organisations that provides services to children in the area, community members, local council officials – people who are interested in the project and who are prepared to contribute their time to participate.
You can find out more about the Child and Family Centres Project here
Last year Juniordwarf and I participated in the LEG through the initial stages of the project, the main focus on which was selecting the location for the centre to be built, as well as doing a lot of work on the objectives and aims for the centre that suited our community’s needs.
It was a great project to be involved in and a lot of people from our area were keen to participate. Having been involved in some, um, interesting groups through work, I wasn’t sure whether it was all going to come together. But I had no need to be worried at all.  I was really impressed with how such a large number of people – I think we were the largest LEG in the state – worked together over the year, and focused on the primary purpose of the centre – supporting children and their families. For me, as a government employee, it was a fascinating experience to participate in a community engagement process as a community member rather than as a government official. 

The two biggest decisions we made last year were the site for the centre to be built on – which generated a lot of discussion, but after considering all the pros and cons of the other options, it was a very easy decision for me on which site to vote for – and the vision statement for the centre: “Happy healthy children thriving in our community”.
Unfortunately this year I had to go back to work on the days that the meetings were normally held, and I was only able to attend one meeting. I’d hoped I’d be able to juggle working from home at least once a month so I could still go, but it didn’t work out that way.
Even though I haven’t been involved this year, I’m still very excited about this project. I think it will be a great asset for our region, and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next few years.
We missed the official part of the day with all the speeches, and when we arrived it had just started to rain, so some of the activities didn’t go ahead as planned.
This is what we saw when we arrived.
It was a bit wet, and people had run for cover. 
Slabs, Juniordwarf and I presented ourselves at the Kombicam photo booth and had some silly photos taken. 
It was good to catch up with some of our friends from Communities for Children, who have been a valuable source of information, support and friendship for me and Juniordwarf, especially during his first four years.
And I would like to thank Peter (I think that was his name) from Coffee Tasmania for replacing Juniordwarf’s hot chocolate at no charge after the inevitable happened when a small child is carrying a warm drink over uneven terrain.
Thank you also to the LEG members for organising the day. I’ve missed being involved with the group this year, but am eagerly waiting to see what happens next.