Cool for the Summer

blog - detail - 28 jan 2016

We’ve be spoiled here in Wellington with a great summer so far. It’s been H.O.T and sunny. And then just to top it off the week before hubby and I go back to work, when we took a week to travel to Whangarei and explore Northland – we got a different kind of summer. One where it’s hot over night, and never seems to stop. This seriously is my kind of weather!

While we based ourselves in Whangarei, we intended to travel around and explore various parts of Northland. It is such a beautiful region of New Zealand, and I have never been there before, I really enjoyed getting to some places. And of course, it made me want to go back and get to other places!

One day trip we did was to Russell, and then over to Waitangi. Both felt familiar and new all at once. And we fell in love.


2016-01-11 12.31.33


On the way up to Russell, we did a wee detour into Kawakawa, and took a visit to the Hundertwasser Toilets. My youngest was perplexed by the fact there were so many people openly carrying cameras inside this public toilet! His mother was among the many!!

2016-01-11 11.13.01

Having enjoyed a paddle in the water, a yummy and relaxed lunch, and a spot of checking out the waterside shops, we then headed over to Waitangi Treaty grounds. This was a simpler and quieter space – and just over the water from the cruise ship you can see in the first photo. I’ve always wanted to visit Waitangi – and having stood on the spot where the treaty was signed, and stepped inside the meeting house, I know Waitangi Day will have a deeper meaning for us now.

Hubby and I got a quick snap as we walked back to the car. The whole concept of selfies – especially those taken by parental units! – is something that generally elicits groans from the boys. But sometimes, you just have to do it even if there is a groaning and impatient teen audience!! And this snap really records how relaxed hubby and I were feeling while in this fabulous spot. I definitely wanted to get a page scrapped using very rare photos of both hubby and I!!

blog - 28 jan 2016


One of the things I really enjoyed about creating this particular layout is the fact I dug into my stash and found these papers in a very old Studio Calico kit. Gosh I miss having a box of happy mail show up every month!! But truthfully, I have ….ahem… many kits and other supplies to rediscover! I was super thrilled to have this photo print really well from my printer here at home. I do prefer the matte look to photos – don’t look too closely at this print as you may see the fingerprints I left! Ha! However, as my local favourite photo printer no longer exists, it’s really good to know I can print some photos at home and be happy to have them in my albums.

Design notes:

There’s a couple of things I like about this layout.

I like that the red of hubby’s shirt is allowed to be the pop of colour – and is reinforced with the red in the patterned paper and the heart. That pop is supported by a colour palette of neutrals: grey, cream and a pale beige. That palette along with the pale teal I used as a contrast speaks of washed out, sun bleached summer days to me!

I also like how there is a vertical line created from the journalling tag, through hubby in the photo and down to the embellishment cluster and spots of mist. That line was more accidental than planned – but I’m pretty happy with that wee accident!

Thanks for popping by – I really appreciate it.


Southern Girls Challenge 126: Anything goes

Oh how I love a challenge along the lines of “Anything Goes”! Or do I….??

A free hand to do whatever I please? It could so go badly in no time flat! Luckily, the start of the year has brought a small amount of mojo. Thanks Santa! So challenge number 126 at Southern Girls Challenge happens to be my very first contribution for the Design Team.

Jan 2016

I’m a scrapbooker mainly, and my first scrappy love is 12×12 layouts. I combine these right alongside my Project Life (PL) albums. For “anything goes”, I thought I’d offer an example of a 12×12 to get things started.

One of the things I love about taking my kids to Saturday sports are the traditions that we create around them. In winter, it usually involves making sure we drop by the Golden Arches in time to collect a hash brown for the player, and a coffee for mum! The hexagon background has been created using a mix of stamped hexagons and hexagons punched from patterned paper. Super simple to do, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to put together. Which is good when you are just back from vacation, and back to your day job after a month of annual leave…. Ahhh, Summer time!! (Confession: my boy does have a face – I’ve just hidden it as he has moved into that phase where I’m not allowed to take photos that often – and if I do, sharing online comes with promises of privacy!)

So my first contribution to the Southern Girls is short and sweet. But you know there will be lots of other goodness being shared on the blog. Go check out what the other girls on Team Lou have produced – and make sure you link up your entry into the challenge.

Thanks for swinging by my little world :)

December memories: album progress



Another Ali Edwards perennial project: December Daily. I mentioned back in December that I was embarking on another album – largely as a result of getting to celebrate Christmas 2015 in our new home.

I have to tell you – 2015 as a year was a tad stressful. Don’t let anyone tell you building a new home, selling your old one, and then actually moving into the new home is a piece of cake. Seriously. And then add into the mix the bright idea of inviting as many of your extended family members as are available to join you in your first ever Christmas in the new place!!

Stressful? Yeah, a wee bit. It involved paving the outdoor area right up to the arrival of the first visitor! Well, that was for hubby. For me, it may have involved less labourious tasks such as deciding to use new recipes. For everything.

Anyway, it gave me the chance to document our slightly crazy first-christmas-in-the-new-house experience.

I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to keep up with the pulling together of the album while the experiences were being experienced. I may be crazy – but I’m not that mad! Huh!! Photos were taken, notes were made, fun was had in December, and then once January hit, the paper, alphas, glue and scissors were pulled out.

Here’s a look at a few of the pages so far.


The boys are now “too big” for Santa photos. Sigh!!


Finding homes for our decorations is a new activity.


Along with photos and stories, there’s also a place for purely fun elements.

I’m hoping to wrap up this project shortly so will be back to share a few more glimpses of the final album.

One Little Word for 2016: Renew

OLW - renew

Anyone else out there working on a One Little Word project this year?

Those familiar with Ali Edwards will know that at the beginning of each year, Ali chooses a word that resonates with her and then explores what that means as the year unfolds. This is instead of making a myriad of resolutions that tend to get largely placed to one side by 2 January!

I took the class back in 2011 when she first launched the concept as a class on the old Big Picture Classes site (man, I miss that platform!). I’ve not taken up the class at any point since then as it was clear that the prompts were largely the same, but presented differently. I have however continued to hold a word close over the course of 12 months in the years since I took that class. Words like focus, nurture – words that were what I needed to hold to in that year.

I didn’t really do this last year. But on 1 January, I was surprised that a word was forming in my head – and doing so rather loudly.


There is an opportunity for us to renew ourselves. There’s an opportunity for us to leave the past behind and present something different for the future.
Jay Weatherill

Possibly as a result of feeling like there are many new beginnings now that we are in our new home. Possibly as a result of thinking of relationships and friendships that I want to make sure remain important to me. Possibly for more reasons that I know of at the moment. But that word feels like a good word for 2016. So that seems like a good thought to work with.

And for the first time in ages, it feels like something to work with in a scrappy way. So I’ve decided to take the class notes from 2011 and work with them again. There is a 2016 workshop that can be done with Ali at the helm again. But for me, I think I’ll be working within the format of my Project Life Album. This means inserting different sized pages right there inside the month I’m working on, along with my PL pockets and my 12×12 pages.

If you are also taking part in the One Little Word (OLW) concept or class for 2016, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your word in the comments below – and be sure to leave me links to how you are documenting it.

Happy crafting,


Introducing a new watermark

KN - Blog watermark - black

I’m hoping that you will soon be seeing a lot more of this wee watermark. It tool me a while to create it (even though it looks crazy simple!) but in doing do, I’ve managed to learn a whole new trick: placing text on a path!

Why is this so exciting? Well, way back when, in Photoshop Elements 6 (when it was the latest and greatest shiny version of PSE), creating on a path just couldn’t be done. Fast forward too many years to count, I’m using PSE 12 (although I think version 14 has now been released!!) and I spotted reference to creating text on a path…. that is – making my text run along in a circular line. Too good to be true – but true story it is!!

I had a devil of a time getting my bottom line – the one letting you know where to find my blog – reading correctly. At first typing, it was upside down. If I rotated, the letters were all back to front. If I flipped it, the whole image went wonky and my name would go upside down…. What to do….??

Google my friends, Google.

I found this very simple and easy to follow YouTube tutorial. Oh. My. Goodness. Choirs of Angels may have sung!!

I really recommend you taking a look if you are also of a mind to be creating text to flow around your shapes. Because, who doesn’t want to do that now?! Thank me in chocolates later *insert winky face*

And on that happy note, thanks for popping by. I hope that your 2016 has begun well, and something crafty is in your future.

December memories

This December I am creating a December album again – in the vein of Ali Edwards’ “December Daily“. I wasn’t planning on working on the project again as I had one completed last year (and ….ahem, at least two incomplete albums from previous years….). I’ve noticed that year on year, activities and traditions in our family run in very similar patterns. So, I was questioning why do yet another mini album of essentially the same kinds of things. However. THIS year we are in our new home. Only the second home that either boy has ever lived in. We’ve only been in here for just on three weeks. And there are many NEW things that we are getting used to. So, I thought it would be fun to create a record of our first Christmas in this new place.

I decided to keep it very simple this year. With moving into a new place, selling the old place AND hosting the extended family this year, I really don’t want to be over complicating the fun stuff. So, I’m using a 4×6 SNAP binder in yellow – because yellow = summer. I’m also using a mix of two collections from Fancy Pants: Happy Place and Wish Season, with a little bit of Pink Fresh thrown in.

I’m enjoying having my crafty gear all at hand again – it was brought over to the new house quite early in the proceedings. Quite possibly, my crafting stuff had a home before anything else did!

Because the format is fairly simple, I’m going with the flow in terms of working on it. Some days I’ve actually documented the story for that day there and then. Other days, I have notes and photos and will pull it together in the days after Christmas, once my family have all finished visiting. I am actually really looking forward to seeing how our 2015 version of December evolves!

I’m likely to share bits and bobs of the album’s progress – and do a final wrap up soon after it is completed. Feel free to link up in the comments if you are also doing a December album – would love to drop by and see your project too!

2015-12-02 22.06.59


Well, hello again!

2015-07-15 13.27.56


I don’t even want to think how long it’s been since I last posted here….

In fact, I actually thought a while back that I should close this place down as I would never come back. It’s been a busy old time, especially this year, as we’ve been building a new house, making the move, and now finally settling into it.

I have been continuing to scrap – mostly Project Life style, along with my all time favourite style of 12×12. I just haven’t been sharing so much – especially online. That’s largely because the boys, now aged 11 and 14.5 (because that .5 means he’s a LOT older than just 14 dontcha know!) are pretty cautious of letting their mum take photos of them, much less actually display them in a public forum. And I think it’s pretty important to listen to that request.

So what on earth has made me resurrect this page? Well, I spotted that the Southern Girls Challenge had a call out for new Design Team members for 2016. I’ve always hankered for a DT spot, but was always a wee bit nervous that I wasn’t good enough, or that I couldn’t commit, but thought, blast it – this time I’ll pop myself forward. And I was granted a spot – very exciting!! And with that spot, I needed to have a public page…. so therein lies the reason for the resurrection of this dear old page of mine!

So – a run down of the last three or so years since I last posted:

  • I quit Stampin Up – after five years as a demo. You may see me selling a few items via here now that I’ve finally got them all into one space at the new house!
  • Boy #1 started intermediate – which is the same school as college (high school) – and he’s just completed his first college year…. yikes!
  • Boy #2 has just completed his first intermediate year
  • Boy #1 has had a great year playing Under 65kg rugby for his school – they got to play their grade final. And played themselves into the ground with so much courage and heart. They didn’t win the match – but I think they won so much in their hearts. It was fab team – and a real pleasure to watch them play week on week.
  • Boy #2 played his first ever cricket season – and did not look out of place among his much more experienced team mates. Season two is under way – kind of. The weather gods have not been particularly great thus far!
  • Our new house was started, completed and we’ve moved into it. We love it – and there is much to be done to finish the yard!
  • I am still working in the same place as I was in 2012: Volunteer Service Abroad. Love it – it has had its ups and downs, but I think things have settled down a good bit and I am enjoying being in my fifth year here. I now work 30 hours per week.
  • 2014 was the first year I actually documented a complete year in Project Life style. 2015…. well, the photos are there!! I need to sort out a good printer place as my favourite one closed at the beginning of this year, and man, that means I haven’t had any photos printed! This is not good.
  • I HAVE still been scrapping however – there’s a chance that I have more than the odd photo printed and around the place from anywhere in the last 10 years so I have been having fun playing with older as well as more recent photos.
  • I completed 2014’s December album – for the first time EVER!


And with that wee update, I’ll say bye for now – and I will be back soon!

southern girls DT


Halloween treats

*** Ooops! I didn’t see that wordpress had changed things a little and posted to the wrong blog!! Still, they are pretty cute little treat bags so I’ll leave them here for now. I will have to get used to the new way of doing things now that I am sporadically updating both blogs!!***

These little treat bags were made by one of the ladies at the monthly community craft night that myself and a friend run. We had a loose theme of Halloween and Thank you cards. The ladies had a great time putting these together, and these were made by one of the ladies for each of her kids. We were using Googly Ghouls which you will find in the “Holiday Mini” catalogue.

Lucky I had my cellphone to get any kind of photo – I think she did a great job!! She made another dozen or so which she planned on taking home and threading with cotton in order to hang from twigs in a vase – super simple halloween decorations!


She lives!!!!!

Wowsa!!!! Over a year since I left word on here! How on earth did that happen??

In a nutshell – Kelly got busy – and happily neglected this wee piece of her life for a bit…. for a year!! I thought about giving it all up. But I quite like having a place to leave some thoughts. I haven’t done much creating and that was the original reason for sharing…. and I guess that’s the main reason why blogging has gone down the old To Do list! Plus facebook has become a replacement for many of the forums and scrapbooking groups that used to be a big part of my day while I was at home with the boys… more than two years ago since those days changed!! Wow!!

I’m not even sure who will be out there reading what I share. I think this will become more of an place for me to pop some thoughts and ramblings as and when I feel like it. So, if anyone is still out there checking up on the goings on in the Nelson household, I say hi!


I’m still at VSA, although I have a new CEO. The incumbent felt it was her time to move on to fresh pastures after 8 years with the organisation and in July our new CEO started. It’s one thing to walk into a job and learn everything on the fly…. it’s another to adjust to a new person’s style as they learn what there new role is to be! My hours of work generally are well above the *official* 20 hours… but that is proving to be a good thing. I get to *bank* time in lieu – and that means I get to schedule time off around the school holidays. Loving that flexibility…. it meant I could take a week and a bit off over these most recent ones…. so family holiday to Ohope… woohooooo!!


Mr11 is in year 6 at the primary and we got a place into a school that starts at intermediate and goes through secondary. I’m thrilled because it’s a good school and it’s NOT the private school that we would have taken another mortgage to get both boys through. In our Mr’s case, I personally think he will really benefit from going to a single sex school… a school specifically catering to teaching boys. Not because he is behind in any way, but more because he loves to be involved in virtually everything going on – and allows himself to be distracted. I know that there are many good co-ed schools out there (I went to one of them!!), but I truly believe that teachers that know how to teach boys will be a good thing. (I really like how girls “can do anything” these days, but it’s been something I’ve been concerned about in general in terms of boys falling behind in overall achievement…. and now we are parents to boys… well, we have to do what we think is best for them…)

Mr8 on the other hand will do well wherever he goes – he’s that kind of kid that just gets on with the task. One of the great things this year has been his involvement in extra activities at school. He was so pleased to come first in the school cross-country at the beginning of the year, and then followed that up with a fourth at the Western zones. Sadly, inter-zones were cancelled after several attempts to re-schedule due to dodgy weather. Even now, he tells me how frustrated he was… and how he plans on finishing 1st and 4th again next year to repeat his selection!

Mr8 did however complete successfully in the BP challenge – a challenge where teams from different schools had to create a project in advance and show their planning and prototypes. This year, the teams in Year 3-4 had to create bird feeders according to various criteria. Mr8’s team were awarded second – woohooo! On the day of the challenge, they had to do another challenge which involved them creating a sling or sled that would carry 5 kg across a certain distance and over and around various obstacles. Both challenges were completed using nothing more than newspaper, string, tape and a few pieces of cardboard or plastic. He loved taking part.


Both Mr’s had great rugby seasons for Petone – different teams to the ones they played in last year due to a change in how junior teams are created. Mr11’s team only had three losses – a couple of which were *character forming* (much of his team was not used to winning and their reaction to the first lost was…… interesting….!) Mr11 had so many losses last year, he was surprised at the general reactions and pointed out that they had played well so they should still be pleased with themselves. This raised a few eyebrows among his coaches, but they backed him and encouraged the other boys to pull themselves together. I have to say, I was a bit stunned at the first reactions from a lot of these other boys, and I was actually quite pleased they had a couple more losses…. In my mind, playing at this level is about doing your absolute best to get that win, but learning how to be both decent winners and gracious losers.

Mr8’s team on the other hand played better and better each week – and got through their season unbeaten. Might have to check their head sizes next season at weigh in!!


For a large chunk of the early part of the year, Hubby and I looked at various sections and new homes. We were investigating building – and we were very excited as we looked through plans and developed a layout in particular. However, in going through the process, we came very quickly to the decision that the sections in the new development or the one around the corner from there were well over-prices and we pulled the plug. We still want to move: our house no longer *fits* the way our family works…. but we’re going to take our time and get it right. The good thing is that when we do move, the intention is to get into a certain set of suburbs where both Hubby and I have wanted to be for a number of years… and that will provide Mr11 with a choice of moving to the boys school out that way, or staying at the one he’ll be starting at next year and taking the train to and from. Wellington’s public transport rocks!!

My weight watchers journey:

I started Weight Watchers almost a year ago exactly. In the first 3 months, I lost 10kg pretty easily. Then it took another 4-5 months to lose another 5. Since then I’ve been going up and down a couple of kilos…. and finding it hard to keep on track. I have another 10 to go in order to make it into my healthy range and become a life-time member. I’m frustrated at the sabotaging I do (I find myself making *those* choices easily)… but the one thing I have been proud of myself and it shows me that this is a life-style change is that I don’t beat up on myself – I make a point of making the next meal a good one… and knowing that my not so great choices aren’t the end of the line for me. Instead they push the goal out. So, the up shot? I’m still determined to make the changes I’ve started with a very permanent part of a healthier way of living for me… and the fact that I’ve only been moving around that 2 kg mark speaks volumes to me… I just need to really knuckle down to keep moving down for another 10kg and make that end target!


As this blog was started originally with the purpose of sharing scrapbook projects and pages with my online friends, I feel I should at least mention what I’ve been working on in terms of creativity this year!! I’m still a Stampin’ Up! demo… although making it fit into my busy-busy kind of schedule means I’m choosing to do workshops as and when I’m asked – so that is becoming a more relaxed model for me and working well.

I’ve been doing Project Life for the first time – and enjoying capturing our life as a family. The routine of printing photos and putting into the album still needs work… but there is quite a bit captured. The whole family enjoys seeing this album come together… and at week 42, there might be a few weeks to be worked on still… but it’s coming together well. I’m also preparing my December Daily album for this year. I’m really excited about this project – I love Christmas and the focus on traditions and family and what it means to us. And as we’re not travelling this year in the lead-up, I’m really looking forward to capturing this part of the year!!

We also have Halloween coming up – and while I know a lot of friends don’t participate in this *festival* for any number of reasons, our friend that was in our street but moved during the year further up our hill, has well and truly got me into the fun of it. I putting together Adventure Time costumes for the boys… Jake the Human and Finn the Dog costumes for the Mr’s. I’m also going to put together something for myself… A pumpkin costume – I intend to crank this out on an annual basis in the manner of Mrs Zielske and her Bee costume!!

Another American style holiday that I love (and wish that more of us would adopt… in principle at least!) is Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago, we got together with extended family and celebrated thanksgiving in lieu of Christmas seeing so many of us were going to be out and away around the country. Not sure if we’ll be doing that again this year (hoping so!!) but I love the vibe of being grateful and thankful – so I might just put together some ideas in a project of that nature. Now, many of you (if you’re still reading these days!!) will now I’m seriously good at making plans. Seriously good! But not so good at delivering. Shhhh… we know how bad I can be at that… Queen of procrastination and all!! Soooo…. in theory I’ve put the thought out there publicly. So I can be held accountable – and do this…. yeeeessssss!! So help me be accountable and check that I’ve put the thinking into reality!! :P

Anyway, that’s all she wrote.

Ooops, I’ve done it again!

Neglected my blog that is!  Well, I’m starting this post at 11pm on Monday night – and because I’m on the laptop rather than the computer upstairs with the photos, I know it’s unlikely this will be a complete post… but while I’m in the mood, I might as well get on with it :)

I’ve been working a few extra hours here and there at work.  With the job I started at the beginning of July, the role is a new one for them – and when I looked at the description when I applied, I had a feeling the role would need more than the 20 hours each week it stated.  It is proving the case.  I was asked if I would consider working a few extra hours just the other day.  I found working 25 hours on a permanent basis meant a stretch of other things and often meant that some of those things didn’t get done.  As always, my procrastination foibles are there, but that extra committed 5 hours really did impact on what I was able to do and what I wasn’t.

So, work and I reached an amicable agreement.  I’ll stick to the formal 20 hours per week arrangement, with the ability to work and be paid the additional 5 hours as and when they are worked.  I’m hoping this means I will get to take on some of the tasks that I am meant to be doing but find I run out of time to even think about, yet keeping the ability to get to the supermarket, have lunch with friends on occasion, sometimes get to the Mr’s open assemblies at school.  I like that work is prepared to work with me on this – it isn’t an either or question


We’ve finished winter sport season – without any of the accolades that were suggested might be coming the Mr’s ways.  Both Mr 10 and Mr 7 have had a really good year.  In one case, I personally found it hard to hear week in, week out about how great one of the Mr’s had improved, how good he was playing – yet every week someone else would be given the player of the day, or finally “most improved”.

I know I’m the mum and I’m biased, but I know how much he had improved – and being told each and every week how good a game he had seemed to back my view.  But week in week out I kept my mouth shut as the kids who got the trophy – again – because they scored x tries. I didn’t want to be seen as being one of “those” mums.  Still, it is a fine line between being proud of my boy’s acheivements and wanting others to acknowledge the same thing, and avoiding the whole pushy stage mum thing!

I’ll be satisfied with the fact that I am proud of how much he improved, how much fun he had, and the fact they both said they loved playing this year.


We got part of our summer holiday plans sorted out.  Great team effort with hubby finding a holdiay home in Momorangi Bay for a week (thanks Marram Trust!) and plans to get to see my Brother, SIL, and new niece in Christchurch.  I found a motel reasonably close to them, so we will be a few days in Christhchurch too…. not nearly as long as I’d like, but probably enough to enjoy a fleeting visit with the fam and hopefully avoid experiencing the aftershocks. For all my bravado, my gallows humour about earthquakes goes OK up here in Welly where we haven’t had to seriously experience things to any serious degree.  I’m not sure I’d be as calm as the rest of the fam have had to be should something out my usual experience actually happen!

Having said that, I’m really looking forward to getting down there – first time anywhere near Christmas time that I’ve been anywhere near the old stomping ground since we got back from Belgium eight years ago!!


And on that note – that’s all for a glimpse of what we’ve been up to.  I was going to tell you about our fun weekend in the city with the navy and all that boys stuff – but as I said… no chance of pics tonight.  Guess that means I need to get back here real fast then, hey?!  :)