Friday, September 30, 2011

Stuck? Sketches

My final update for today is for the Stuck? Sketch Challenge Blog.
This is the sketch for September 1st:

And this is what I did with it:

Just a layout about Connor's race at this year's school Sports Day - I was so happy I could go, just loved being a part of the day :)  I used Echo Park "Happy Days" the bright colours, don't you?

Next, was the 15th September sketch:

This is my take on it, using Echo "Splash" range.

Well, that's it from me, time for this little black duck to get to bed - it's waaayyy past my bedtime.
Looking forward to seeing a new months lot of challenges tomorrow - are you??
Thanks for popping by.

White With One

This month's White With One challenge was to use pale pink and journalling on the photos....
Not one I would normally go for, being mainly a boy scrapper - hehe.
I do, however, adore pink in any shades, and I'd just found some photos I took at a wedding of a very close friend of mine - I also had some beautiful MME Lost and Found 2 papers that I needed an excuse to use - hehe...
This is what I came up with - like I said, very very PINK!!  I love it!!

The quote on the photo is one of my favourite ever - from the letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.  I actually love the whole verse - always brings little pricks of tears to my eyes....
I used some tulle on the layout as well - loving tulle/organza bows at the moment.... and I thought the tulle went well with the photo.
Here is a close up - the chippy doily is a Dusty Attic - which I paint, and then put on some Glimmer Glam.

September Kraft It Up

Well this month's Kraft it Up was a goodie - to use fabric and stitching, as well as the Kraft cardstock background.
Here is my entry - I used denim scalloped border and circle, and blanket stitched around them. 
I have used Crate Paper's Random range - which is just so yummy, and at first look seems quite girly, but there is plenty of boy goodness there too.

Here is a close up of the top cluster - also the stitching and denim. I also sprayed some doily borders with the Studio Calico Huey's mist.

Thanks for the fabulous challenge ladies at Kraft It Up, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with this.

Get Picky

This challenge for Get Picky was a sketch challenge.  I have, however, just realised that I should have uploaded my entry by yesterday - ooopppss....
Oh, well - never mind.  I actually had it ready yesterday, but because I was in Bundy, I couldn't upload...
Anyway,  here is the sketch given:

This is what I did with it, using Pink Paislee Nantucket - it is a gorgeous range.
I love all the bits and pieces that comes with it too....  I also used some muslin, corrugated card, paint and shells - just wanted to give a lovely rustic beachy feel.

Here are some close ups:

I used some glossy accents on the crab to make it look like a shiny shell - if you know what I mean...
That's it for me for now - I have done heaps of challenges while I've been away, so I'll be doing lots of uploading today...
Cheers, and thank you for popping by my blog:)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Mind's Eye Sketch Challenge

I love participating in the My Mind's Eye Sketch Challenge over on their blog.  Somehow, I always get mixed up with the dates and don't seem to pop them up in time
This month though, I made sure I did it in time to share.
We were given this sketch:

With the added theme of "Back to"
This is what I created:

A layout about our regular visits to the little trains at a local park.  I'm not sure who enjoys it the most - Connor or
As you can see I've also gone back to one of my all time favourite ranges - MME Lost and Found Two You are My Sunshine Range...  Love love love the gorgeous golds, yellows and blacks...  It is a stunning range, and as you know, I've used it frequently...hahahaha!!
The only "non MME" products on this layout are the paint (Tim Holtz Daubers) Stamp (Tim Holtz) Prima ribbon edging on the circle, and the American Craft Alphas.
Thanks for popping by my blog - don't forget to leave some comments...I love to hear from you all...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Passion 4 Fashion at Scrapboutique

I am playing along at Scrapboutique's Passion for Fashion competion.  This week we had to use the Dramatic Fashion Style....
It all seemed too tricky for me, I really wasn't sure how to represent this style.

 DRAMATIC (or Theatrical)- This style creates a glamorous and glitzy impact.

Colour- Strong, vivid, and contrasting (black is a favorite color).
Lines - Severe, sharp and usually asymmetrical. Bold and often overwhelmingly fitted with open slits.
Textures - Rare and trendy.
Effects - Confident, chic, sexy and catchy.
Needs of Customer - makes a statement, garments made or altered to fit.
Favourite Accessory - Bold statement usually metallic (gold, silver, bronzes, etc).
Note: Notice the fit, its impact and its open slits. Sometimes open back design or see-through materials are used. You'll know when you see one.

I also took a leaf out of Sonia Thomason's book and googled this picture, which I thought could provide some inspiration.

So, I created this layout:

OK, so black is a prominant feature in my layout, I slit open the paper to reveal the paper underneath.
Made a silver frame out of 2 Crafty chipboard, painted in silver paint.  Also used some organze to tie a bow, and used it as a feature of the embie cluster.
I've used the new Pink Paislee Vintage Vogue range - very striking colours in that range, just love it!
Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


I will never forget the day 25 March 2000.  It was the day my whole world as I knew it came crashing down.
It started out normally enough.  It was a Saturday, and council elections were on in Mt Isa, where I lived.  I was working at the electoral booth at my school.  I had to go there early and open up, and prepare the voting booths etc....anyway, everything was going along smoothly until about 1.00, when I received the phone call.  It was my the boyfriend, who later became my husband, Mark.
"Hun, you have to come home. Now."  I was starting to make excuses when he said, "I have something to tell you, and I have to tell you in person.  Come home, NOW"
So I organised a replacement and drove the 10 minutes home, horrible thoughts going through me mind.  My grandfather had been sick, so naturally I thought it was bad news about him....
But it was worse, much much worse.
Mark waited until I was inside, before he hugged me tight, I was bracing myself with news about Pa.  Then he said. "It's Nathan, he has passed away"  I let out the most gut wrenching wail, and I remember feeling my legs crumbling underneath me, Mark supported my weight.  I had so many questions, which all came babbling out.  Then I got the message.

Suicide.  My brother had hung himself.  He was 28.

My thoughts raced to my would they be feeling now???  I phoned them, and spoke to Mum, she was still sobbing quietly.  She had been out shopping when Dad found him.  She had come home to find ambulances parked in the driveway and knew.  She had just known. I spoke to Dad, he was doing the typical male thing of hiding his emotions, but his voice just sounded so hard, so hollow.
I had to be with them.  As soon as possible.  A plane flight to Brisbane was arranged, then a train trip to Bundaberg.  I left the first thing the next morning.  Everything just felt so surreal, so unbeleivable.  Mark stayed because he was just starting a new job, and he also had to look after our dogs. During the whole trip, I couldn't help but replay what was to be the last conversation my brother and I had had.  We were travelling to the Gold Coast from Ipswich.  He was talking about how down he was, how he just couldn't get his life back on track....he said "Nique, I sometimes think about killing myself"  I was taken aback,  but not that worried, I said something like - Oh, Nathan, please don't think that way, think of your  gorgoeus chidren who need you, think about what it would do to Mum and Dad.....  I so wish, to this day, I had done more, I had said more, if I somehow could have know the "right" thing to say to get him help.  But I didn't, and the guilt still racks me.
 I didn't get to Bundaberg until night, but both Mum and Dad were waiting for me on the station.
 We hugged each other tight and all started sobbing.  After a while, we left and went back to the motel Mum and Dad owned at the time.
Over a cuppa, we talked and talked until late, I had so many questions, but I also knew they probably didn't even have the answers.  He had done it through the night, after a particularly ugly row with Mum and Dad.  He wanted money for drugs, they wouldn't give it to him.  We were very very sad, but we weren't really surprised.
Nathan had been troubled for a long long time.  He had taken a heap of Dad's anti depression medication at 15.  He went through the charcoal treatment, got assessed by a mental health professional, and somehow managed to convince them that he was fine, he was just "attention seeking" and he was sent home after a couple of days.  Mum and Dad didn't want to let everyone know what had happened, so it was decided the official line would be that Nathan had had an asthma attack.  But nothing went back to normal, Nathan's behaviour was erratic, he quit school, left home at 16,  moved back, left again.....drank way too much frequently.....  I didn't realise it then, but I do now, that all this was a symptom of severe depression....Then at 19, just weeks before my first wedding, he did it again.  He was living in a flat next door with his girlfriend and we thought he was starting to get himself together....I'm not sure what he took this time,  I just know he washed it down with a heap of alcohol this was worse, much much worse, and he was in ICU for 3 days - in an induced coma......still, no-one in the mental health system thought it was worth keeping him in hospital to get treatment....the mental health system has an awful lot to answer for, if you ask me.  No counselling for our family which by now was unravelling at great speed.  This time at least, Mum and Dad let everyone know what happened - I think it was an attempt to get as much help as they could, for Nathan, as well as themselves.
About 6 months later,  Nathan revealed to me he was suffering with an addiction to Speed.  He showed me the needle marks on his arms, and begged for help, and also begged for me not to tell Mum and Dad.  I rang the appropriate people, but they all told me that Mum and Dad would have to be in the process to get him hospitalised for treatment.  I convinced him to tell them, which to his credit he did.  He was hospitalised at the Royal Brisbane Drugs and Alcohol unit.  He spent 2 weeks there.  About the same time I went to a seminar about the "new" disorder called ADHD...OMG the symptoms were Nathan, Nathan as a child, and as an adult...  Then the professor in charge of the RBH unit phoned Mum, he asked to speak to her in a meeting.  He asked about all sorts of things - Nathan's schooling, Nathan as a child, what he was like orgainising himself, could he keep a job..(he couldn't)...finally he told Mum he beleived Nathan had ADHD - because Nathan's reaction to Speed was the total opposite of what it should be.  You see, Ritalin is a pure form of Speed...and Nathan was in fact self medicating....  His self esteem was so low,  and his depression was so bad he was willing to do anything to feel "normal."
Anyway, Nathan was discharged, and he was put on Ritalin, but that was just way way too hard - Nathan was an addict, and he kept taking more Ritalin than he should.  Mum and Dad would hide it, and he would rip the house apart looking for it, physically abuse Mum and Dad to get was a very ugly scene, and Mum and Dad tried so hard to help him, they gave him so much, supported him so much.....but Nathan stayed addicted to Speed right up until his death 5 years later..... This was so far away from the sweet, quiet, loving boy I grew up with... Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Ritalin,  my own son is now on it, as he has been diagnosed with ADHD - and I have to say, when used properly, on someone diagnosed early, it is very effective in allowing Connor to concentrate and stay focussed at school.
The crunch came March 24 2000 - there was a particularly bad scene which involved violence, and Mum calling the police.  Everything eventually calmed down - or so they thought, and everyone went to bed.  It is thought Nathan hung himself sometime between 1 and 5 am.  Dad found him at 11am.  By then it was much much too late....
The following week would be one of the hardest to bear in my life.  The funeral, the wake - Mum had way way to much to drink and just started sobbing and wailing - I will never forget those gut wrenching sobs, but it wasn't until I had my own child years later that I truely understand her pain.

It wasn't just that week though, the nightmare is ongoing.  Both Mum and Dad have suffered terribly,  I think there was just so much anger and pain there, their relationship crumbled, and they very nearly divorced.  They lost nearly everything - all of Dad's super, the motel business, both houses they owned......Fortunately they have now worked through the problems.  They are both still getting treated for depression, and with the help of kind, generous, sympathetic and loyal friends and family they have their lives back on track.  For me, the pain is still there.  I have been suffering anxiety and depression for years, and I believe this was one impetus for my illness.  There is still an empty hole at family gatherings, and I have sadly lost touch with some of my nephews and nieces.  Thankfully, we have connected with Nathan's first child, Nick.  I know he brings Mum and Dad so much joy, and the resemblence he has to his father is just uncanny.  I truely value his place in our family.

It's been 11 and a half years, and I have never fully recounted this story to anybody, only bits and peices to close friends - and it as taken a long long time to write this, many tears have been shed, believe me.  I apologise for the long post, but I felt the whole story needed to be told.  I wanted to paint the ugly scene of pain for the people left behind.  It is a living nightmare.
If you are contemplating suicide - Please, reach out for help. Ask someone to go with you to a hospital, a the help you deserve.
Your family love you more than you will ever know.  I know you are not going to think about it, but please,  consider them.
The are not better off without you - the anger, grief, remorse and guilt they will feel will eat away at them and impact on every aspect of their lives - for always. They won't get over it.  Ever.  I know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Get Picky

I decided to play along with the challenge at Get Picky this week - I've been lurking there for a while, and just love the challenges and what the creative team do - and finally decided to give it a go!
We had to use this picture as inspiration:

This is what I came up with - using MME Lost and Found 2 "Sunshine" range.  I adore this range, and have used it to create several layouts already - so look out for more from me using it, because I love love LOVE

Decided to tie a big organza bow on this layout - I love how it turned out - think I will use it more, just love the effect...
Anyway, I am going to go to bed now,