I’m back

A couple of weeks ago I had a four-day trip away – to Melbourne. This was my second visit to this city, and I confirmed my impression from last time – this is a great place to visit!

Melb1 - Yarra River by day


Melb3We enjoyed eating out, attending a show and lots and lots of shopping! On the day of our shopping tour (more about this later) there was also a big football game on. We were lucky enough to see the Carlton Brewery Clydesdale team go past the pub where we had lunch, on their way to the Staduim:

Melb4The credit card did take a bit of a hammering, so it will be a while before I can afford to go away again!

Two new layouts

I’m enjoying working through the prompts from the UK Scrappers Class by Shimelle Laine. Here are the layouts I made for weeks 2 and 3:

How It All BeganIt feels good to tell the story of how DH and I got together – and because the prompt said ‘pick paper you really love’ I finally put to use that pretty floral pattern that’s been sitting in my ‘save for something special’ pile.

Only One StitchThe subject prompt for Week 3 was ‘hands’ and at first I couldn’t think of anything – but when I took a look at some old blog posts (in view of the 100th post coming up) I found this one. Perfect! It’s been a long time since I used a monochromatic colour scheme, and I’ve never, ever, used a red one before. While I was making it I managed to cut myself on something and it took me a while to realise not all the red on my hands was actually ink! (The story from the blog post and additional pictures are in the pocket behind the photos).




Yesterday I took this picture on the way to work. Do you know what this is?

View looking south to a big bank of cloudsThat’s a southerly front building up, full of cold wind and rain, straight off the Southern Ocean and Antarctica! It hit us last night and the wind and the rain have been lashing us all day.

Fortunately we have one of these:

Log burner And plenty of this:

FirewoodI hope wherever you are, you are warm and cosy!

One step at a time guided creativity

I’m doing a free class at UK Scrappers, with my favourite tutor, Shimelle Laine. It’s called “Break It Down” and each week day there’s a post with a prompt for one stage of the ‘making a scrapbook layout’ process. Even if you play along only once, you’re sure to have some fun!

Here is the layout I made after the first week’s prompts:

Experiencing-OlivesThe photos along the top are from 1999 and the other is from 2006. The theme for the week was “Before and After” and we were challenged to find photos that could be used to tell the story of something where there was a difference over time. If you look in the UKS Gallery you will see layouts with photos from the same event, and others with photos decades apart. It’s fascinating to see how different people have interpreted the prompt.

Through the week we got more prompts on selecting the colour scheme (with links to some very useful websites), a new technique to try (stamping off), planning the layout, putting it all together and embellishing. I followed along right up until the last one, when I did something different to the suggestion. I was thinking how to decorate my page as I fell asleep, and the idea came to me just as I was dropping off – I’m glad I still remembered it in the morning!

I’m especially pleased with the colour scheme, which is not one I would have come up with by myself. I enjoyed documenting the change in our experience of olives before and after buying and planting an olive grove. The journaling reads:

At the Telecom Christmas Picnic held at the Wellington Zoo in December 1999, the olive trees made a nice background to a photo and easy climbing trees for Edward. This was our experience of olives.
In 2000 we bought land and planted olive trees.
Now we fertilise, prune and harvest our 800 trees every year. We know the different growing habits, harvesting ease and oil flavour for the varieties we grow. We have a business selling the bottles of oil we produce. We have a detailed and intimate experience of olives.


What a day!

Over the past few months our library service has been gearing up for a change in library software. I work in the Greytown Library, one of four libraries that make up the Wairarapa Library Service. The WLS may be unique in New Zealand in that it is a collaboration between two local authorities (the Carterton District Council, and the South Wairarapa District Council). We run the same software and residents of the Wairarapa can join up and use the resource that is distributed over four separate towns. I tell customers that we are one library, it’s just that our rooms are very far apart! They can borrow from, or return a book to, any one of the four libraries – it’s a great service.

The new system we have adopted is Kotui, the National Library-backed New Zealand consortium (using Symphony by Sirsi-Dynex, if you’re a librarian and this means something to you!). I found it very affirming when my SWDC colleagues nominated me to go to Christchurch to be trained as a trainer in the new system (along with a Carterton colleague). We had a busy few days back in February and had to keep our knowledge alive for nearly three months before it was time to train all the staff.

With my Greytown Library colleagues

With my Greytown Library colleagues

Staff training has taken up much of May and then, on Saturday 2 June, we used our old software for the last time. The libraries were shut to the public for two days after the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend and we worked hard with the Kotui Implementation Team over that time, getting up to speed with all the new things we had to know and do. Kotui was ‘live’ by Wednesday afternoon, and they let me do the first ‘discharge’ (the new vocabulary term we have had to learn – it means ‘return a book’!).

Discharging the first book using our new Kotui system

Discharging the first book using our new Kotui system

Phew, it worked!

Today we were open to the public for the first time, and had to put everything we learned into practice with customers! Since our community had been without library service for an unprecedented four days, we were very busy!

kotui_launch_library_w_patrWe learned a few more things and found a few glitches in the data, but survived that all-important first day. It’s good to know the Kotui Implementation Team will be around for tomorrow and that (one way or another) they’ll sort out the glitches!

The Kotui team know what a big deal this is for all the library staff and for the communities they serve, so they insisted we hold a launch party (hooray!).

Greytown's lovely Town Centre Forum (to which the library is attached) - complete with Kotui Launch Party guests

Greytown’s lovely Town Centre Forum (to which the library is attached) – complete with Kotui Launch Party guests

The Kotui team also provided lovely cakes….

kotui_launch_cake…which needed cutting! The Mayor of the South Wairarapa District Council, the Director of the National Library and the Kotui Board representative all jointly ‘cut the cake’ to celebrate the launch of Kotui at the Wairarapa Library Service.

kotui_launch_cutting_cakeAnd then we all enjoyed the party!


Olive harvest time

Ripe olivesI am very aware of seasonal changes since we became involved in a horticultural enterprise. Our lives are governed by the growth, ripening and harvest of our various tree crops, and now it’s the turn of the olives. It may seem strange that anything ripens through autumn – but for olives we usually pick in early June. Last year the olives were not ripe until July and I felt unsettled by the departure from the usual pattern. This year we are back to the usual pattern and I feel much better!

Are there any things in your own life – apart from the weather – that tell you the season has changed?

Grateful for…

I’m very late for Deb’s Listmania this week – but on the basis that it’s better to be late than not to do it at all, here’s my gratitude list:

Life – it may seem trite to say how grateful I am to be alive, but it is true nonetheless. I’ve had at least three close brushes with death and I’ve learned the lesson:  life is good and it’s to be grasped with both hands. I am so grateful to be alive.

just around the cornerMy immediate environment – I get to live on an olive grove, near a pretty town in a beautiful part of one of the loveliest countries on earth. How lucky am I? I am thankful for this every day.

in the groveMy family – my immediate family of DH and DS, DS’s lovely girlfriend, my sister and her family, our Dad,  DH’s family – and they’re all no further than a 2-hour drive away. Your family have to put up with you because you’re related to them – thank goodness for that!

usDH – we’ve been together for nearly 29 years (I think we should do something special next year, for our 30th anniversary). I am grateful to be in a long-standing partnership (although it did freak me out when I realised we have been together for more than half my life!).

on  my bikeHealth – although I have a chronic health condition, I’m managing it OK. I am grateful to live in this century, with on-going advances in medical knowledge. I am grateful to be as well as I am.

There are many, many other things I am grateful for, but those are the ‘big 5’. What tops your list?


Recent creativity

I’m doing a Studio Calico on-line class called Pop Off the Page #2 and I’m learning a lot. The community at Studio Calico seems nice too – it’s always good to get supportive comments and the general scrapbooking forum is full of ideas.

Here are two pages I have just posted in the Studio Calico Gallery:

Fly BoyThis page features a few photos of DS helping to sweep up some of the dreaded Cluster Flies that plague us during March and April if there’s been a damp summer. I loathe the little horrors and the daily ‘sweep up’ of the buzzing hordes of dying insects really gets me down. It was so nice to have the job done for me in my scrapping space one weekend when DS was home. Although the drought this year has been hard on many, at least it’s meant we have been almost Cluster-Fly-free!

A Mother's LoveThis page is about my dear friend Mary’s last sewing project – a quilt she made for her daughter’s 21st birthday. She poured her love into every stitch, so the result was very special indeed. The photos are from 2010 and Mary died at the very beginning of the following year; it’s taken me a while to be able to write what I wanted to say about working with her to create this extra-special gift.

The background to the layout was inspired by one of the POTP#2 videos. It is fabric – first painted with gesso, then misted, stencilled, stamped and stitched. It is very pretty with a shimmer from some of the mists I used, and I think it almost does justice to the quilt.

Favourite Quotes

Deb at Homelife Simplified’s Listmania challenge for this week is favourite quotes. I didn’t think I had very many, but I noticed quite a few stuck to my filing cabinet when I was sitting at my old ‘work from home’ desk today (no longer that, as I don’t work from home any more). The quotes have been collected from a few sources and are either handwritten on memo-cube paper and stuck up there, or they’re on magnets or postcards. Here they are:

Important daily advice:
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
(William James)

Words that are always appropriate, no matter what the circumstances:
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

The next two are from magnets I purchased because I really appreciated the sentiments:
If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.
(Emile Zola)

here’s to opening and upward… and to yourself and up with joy and up with laughing
(e.e. cummings)

This one was a gift from Big Picture Classes – I just love it!
I plan on living forever. So far, so good.
(Dan Zadra)

And finally, words of wisdom to guide all of us who take far too many photographs to ever scrapbook them all:
There’s exactly enough time to scrapbook your most important memories.
(Stacy Julian)

What are your favourite quotes?