28 February 2011

Amazing pencil 'painting's

I have always wanted to sketch or paint beautifully.  Sadly it does not come naturally for me.  I can make an okay sketch, but not a wow sketch.  I do believe though that for those of us to whom this skill does not come naturally we can still improve with practice.  It's just a matter of finding the time and the inclination to practice when the results are not that inspiring. 

My friend Sheila (who I met on Etsy... she sells her own clear stamps and copics... see her shop here) makes these amazing pencil 'paintings' of dogs...  When I first saw one on her blog I thought it was a photograph.  I still can't believe it is a pencil drawing.

Here is one of Sheila's drawings...

Isn't is amazing?!!!! Can you believe it is done with coloured pencils?

Sheila has some more pencil 'paintings' on her blog.  They are amazing... please go and have a look and be in awe, like me.

Happy Monday!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

Flying high

Our faith in flying is restored.  A couple of wee adjustments to the sling set up and this 8 hour flight (Dubai - Manila) we ended up with two lovely 40 minute naps, some good eating and with little chick spending the rest of his time trawling up and down the aisles with me or with my chicco and charming the pants off folks here and there.

It FELT like a long flight, particularly that time period of trying to feed him fruits from a jar between my legs whilst seated in the gap between our seats and the bulkhead on the floor, while my chicco ate dinner in first shift, but I smiled and realized we would be unwelcome in Business anyway so this was pretty good space!

Here in Manila and the little chick is zonked after a day of walking EVERYWHERE with his cousins and running from the Jack Russell to avoid kisses (and perhaps avoiding 50% of them).  His cousins have been working for weeks on  a whole toy corner for him with padded flooring, more noise-making toys than even our little Greek baby upstairs has, and are content to help me with fruit cutting, formula container filling, introducing small boys to grass and cuddling and tickling.  It's so lovely to be able to relax my duty a little wee bit and to know he's still enjoying himself immensely and being so thoroughly entertained.
HUGE grin all day.  Sore cheeks for the wee thing!  


27 February 2011

Diamonds and Pearls

That just makes me want to sing!  But no, it's another challenge... the Pollycraft Monday Challenge number 81.  For this challenge I chose one of the cute Moon and Star fairies from Pollycraft Designs and for the first time I actually chose my paper before I coloured the image.

The papers are from October Afternoon (Modern Homemaker), Cosmo Cricket (In the Garden) and Bo Bunny.  The ribbon is from April Blackbird's stash and I have added Stickles to her wings.   The image was coloured with copics (see below). 

I don't know how many times I almost stuck her the wrong way up on my card... but it may have been because I was distracted by singing Diamonds and Pearls the whole time I was making the card!

Here are the copics I used:

Have a lovely day!  I picked up my husband from the airport after midnight last night so we had a wee sleep in this morning.  The house has been very quiet all week with just me and my copics, so it's lovely to have him back again!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece.

26 February 2011

Critters and Cogs

I have had these supercute robots from Pollycraft Designs coloured up for a while now but hadn't gotten around to putting them on a card.  There is a challenge running this week at Tales from Pollycraft (to coincide with a new release of Critters and Cogs images and a sale) to colour up your Critters and Cogs so I thought that was the perfect excuse to use these cuties.

This one is called Spring...

And here is Made with Love...

Both images were coloured with copics (but I don't have the details any more) and the papers are from October Afternoon and Cosmo Cricket.  I have added Stickles to the flower on Spring and the heart on Made with Love and Glossy Accents to both hearts.  I couldn't resist putting googly eyes on Made with Love too.  I made the felt 'flower' with felt circles and blanket stitch.

Happy Saturday!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

Desert velvet sand

So we're back from our drive in the desert - WOW.  The sand was rusty red and superbly fine and soft, like velvet.  We rounded dunes and weaved our way through the sand out to the biggest dune to drink champagne and watch the sun-set.  We were just out of Al Ain, where some friends live and the sun sets in a dusty haze which is most beautiful.  Their boys of 10 and 7 were loving being able to race off across the dunes, complete with turbans, to sneak back around from various directions and try to ambush we relaxing folk.

Al Ain (Arabicالعين‎, al-ʿayn, literally The Spring), also known as the Garden City due to its greenery, is the second largest city in the Abu Dhabi Emirate and the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates. With a population of 374,000[1] (2009), it is located approximately 160 km east of the capital Abu Dhabi and about 120 km south of Dubai. Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, and it has the country's highest number of Emirati nationals. 

Our little chico was able to put his feet in the red sand, and later on golf course grass and a little gravel.  He's met not one but three enormous dogs who have shared more spit than I care to admit, and he has given us our first sleep in ever (if you don't count the 5.25am wake-up for call to prayer) due to his slight jet-lag.  He is smiling and happy with his moves to different houses, time zones and bathing and eating arrangements.

Flying was not taken hugely in his stride, with a fair amount of complaint about being stuck in the Baby Bjorn for sleeping as he's officially too large for the Emirates bassinets... But we managed a nap of an hour in our 5 hour flight and the little bird was wide awake then til the equivalent of 1.30am when we finally got through Dubai airport passport queues and home to Uncle Andrew's.  Phew.  
Here's to lots of entertaining snacks and the discovery of brilliant things like Pro Nutro and Ouma's rusks here in Dubai... new foods mean longer periods of distraction!  I think also a few new small toys to 'discover' en route will be an idea. Tomorrow's is 6 hours to Manila, so we're slowly building up til the 7 hour to Melbourne and then in 2 months, the longer trip Melbourne - Athens.  I have a positive outlook!  (and a very, very supportive husband who is happy to have dinner in shifts).

Here's to little travelling folk.  
Have lovely Friday nights.

25 February 2011

My first shaker card!

This week's challenge at the Tiddly Inks Challenge Blog was to make a shaker card... another first for me!  Unfortunately on the day I went down to our little village craft shop to see what I could find to put inside the card the whole town was on strike (only in Greece)!  So I had to make do with some seed beads that I had on hand.  They actually turned out to be okay though as they do make quite a satisfying rattle.

The image is called Donna's Adventure from Tiddly Inks and the papers are from October Afternoon and Bo Bunny.  The ribbon is from the Ribbon Girl and the sentiment is from Lili of the Valley.  I used copics to colour the image (see below).

It is a horrible windy grey day here... I hope it's nicer where you are.

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

February SFYTT

February's Sketch For You To Try at I {heart} 2 stamp was a tricky one for me.  Here is the sketch:

And here is my card:

This cutie is called Belinda and I bought her from Tiddly Inks.  The papers are from October Afternoon and the ribbon is from The Ribbon Girl.  The sentiment is from the Amy R's Summer Sentiment set.  I whip stitched (I think) around the picture with embroidery thread and coloured her with copics (see below).  I added white dots to Belinda's jacket with my white gel pen.

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece.

Pink Cat Studio Gnomes!

You know how much I love gnomes right?  Well I just won the new release set of digital stamp gnomes over at Pink Cat Studio and they are awesome!  I'll definitely be making some cards with these this weekend!

You can get yours here.

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

24 February 2011

Happy little Anniversary card

I've been working on a couple of cards with great haste as I prepared for our departure to Manila, Dubai and Australia this week so I'm chatting to you from sunny Dubai, where it's HOT.  But so looking forward to exploring. 

We're off into the desert tonight to stay overnight with some friends and our littlest man has survived his first flight of 5 hours and getting to bed at 1.30am with minimal naps. Not sure he's learned how to be an aeroplane sleeper just yet, but we've got some training opps coming up!

I made this card for my folks in law for their anniversary - it's a Mo Manning design called "bunches" .  Very complex to colour but I love the addition of the HOOOOGE felt flowers and the little girl's big smile.

Have lovely days.


Bon Voyage BB and DP2 Challenge

Today I spent a delightful hour playing and laughing with BB's gorgeous wee boy while BB and her hubby packed the car and closed the house up. I dropped the BB family at the airport this afternoon and bid them farewell for a couple of months.  It will be awfully quiet around here without them!

Today's card is for the Mo Manning challenge number 70.  Here is the sketch...

And here is my card...

I have rotated the sketch and flipped it.   This gorgeous wee boy is called "Hanging the Star" and can be purchased here.   I just love Mo's beautiful images.  The papers are from October Afternoon and the sentiment is from Lili of the Valley.

I added Glossy Accents to the star and Distress Inks around the frame (Tumbled Glass and Antique Linen).  The flowers are from Prima.  I used copics to colour the image (see below).

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

23 February 2011

Spring Monster

I know, I know... I was going to take a break from Barbara's monsters for a while, but they are just so versatile!  Here is a card I made for the current challenge at Forgotten Scraps which is spring themed.  I chose Monster Love and coloured him in sepia tones with a touch of red for the flower.  I added googly eyes (of course).

The papers are from October Afternoon (my favourite paper company) and the ribbon is from April Blackbird's stash.  The cute flower button is from Blooming Felt, and the sentiment is a stamp from Amy R's Summer Sentiments (purchased from Funky Kits).  I consider these colours to be spring colours, but maybe that's just me...

These were the copics I used:

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

22 February 2011

Shine and Bling

This week there seem to be a few challenge blogs running with the shine and/or bling theme.  I made a card a few weeks ago for a Mojo Monday sketch challenge, but didn't get it posted in time, so I have added bling and shine to it and I'm going to enter it into the following challenges:
Paperplay Challenges Week 7: Add Shine
Cute Card Thursday Challenge 152: Shiny Happy Cards
Dutch Dare Card Challenge 100: Sparkle/Glitter/Bling

Here is the sketch (From Mojo Monday Sketch challenge 177).

And here is my card:

The image is Annie from Tiddly Inks and the papers are from October Afternoon.  I have added Stickles to the heart, and as a frame around the image and the sentiment and I have added Glossy Accents to the heart (over the Stickles) and to the centre of the flower.  Annie is coloured with copics (see below for details).  The lovely satin ribbon is from The Ribbon Girl.

Happy Tuesday!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

21 February 2011

Crazy hair and corny sentiments...

Well I finally got around to making a card for the current Mad for Markers Challenge which is Crazy hair colour.  I had a bit of trouble with this (being the squary that I am) as I couldn't quite bring myself to 'ruin' a lovely image by giving it crazy coloured hair.  I finally settled on using the Mer Ian digi from The Greeting Farm ('cause it's okay for mermaids and mermen to have blue hair right?).
I also decided to use this card to enter the current Creative CAS challenge for Corny sentiments... This is actually the second card I have made for this challenge as after I finished the first one I realised it might not be clean and simple enough!

I coloured Ian's hair with one copic marker... B000. I just flicked up from the ends leaving white space in the middle for highlights.  Then I added Stickles for some sparkle.

The sentiment is from Amy R Summer Sentiments (I think) and I purchased them from Funky Kits.  The papers are from Cosmo Cricket and October Afternoon.  The ribbon is from Blooming Felt.

I used the following copics to colour Ian...

Have a lovely week!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

Embracing adventures!

In just a little bit (Wednesday), Arabella will take us to the airport and we'll be jetting off to add another few countries to the passport of our wee boy.   Dubai for some desert driving, a few steamy days in Manila for some cousin face-time and where he'll meet Miloe the Jack Russell.  We have hesitated on all the ball toys we were considering packing....

Then off to Australia to see his big family (that leg is going to be an interesting one.... overnight from Manila to Australia with no bassinet seat....Hmm.  The sling will come into its own here!)  I always think the solo leg sounds like it may be challenging, but then I think of doing it when he's two in comparison and breathe a sigh of relief.  

SO excited about him seeing his Grandy family again - all are super excited, and we have our 96 year old Nan staying with us as her house was flooded recently, so it will be like a big European family unit which I've always thought would be beautifully special.  And she'll remember what it was like to be covered with big sloppy kisses, hit with stray kiwi fruit, and to be grinned at with such unconditional love.

Any thoughts on swimming lessons, any of you wise ones?  As in when they should begin?  We were thinking of taking him to one or two while we're there to start the process, as there isn't the option here.  

So that's me, for now.  Off on another adventure.  It truly feels as though we don't sit still!  2010 - Australia for the arrival of a young man, Palma de Mallorca for 4 months, a small Lavrio hotel for 6 weeks, then our lovely apartment for 6 weeks and seventeen trips to Ikea to get it furnished.  We had 7 weeks of gorgeous family visiting us here with a few trips here and there in Greece, a fairly quiet 5 weeks of adjusting back to solo play and relative 'normal', just in time to be ready to go again in a few days for another 7 weeks or so.  Phew.  I like to think I have learned to embrace change.... or at least I'm making a good study of it.

Happy Monday to you all!

Bookie -Bird

Special Day birthdays

The challenge this week at Pollycraft Monday Challenge blog (Challenge number 80) is to make a special occasion birthday card, so this is what I came up with...

This cute robot is from the Cogs and Critters range at Pollycraft designs.  I drew in the balloons for him and covered them with Glossy Accents.   I coloured this one up a little while ago with copics, so I don't remember the colours I used.

Happy Sunday!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

19 February 2011

Happy 4th birthday to our 'big girl' chickie

Time flies when you're having fun!

Four years ago today, my phone rang as I sat at my desk (overlooking a beautiful green park with huge leavy trees and lots of squirrels) on the 10th floor of a building up at Railway Square in Sydney.  Our UK chickies had safely hatched our first grandchild!

I could hear her wailing in protestation in the background as my son shared the news that all was well with mum and baby.  And then we got to have our first ever phone chat!  Tears of joy poured down my face and everyone in our office crowded behind me, faces beaming... they were so very happy for us!  Couldn't wait to see photos!

We've come a long way together in four years!  Last week I heard her telling her mummy (on Skype) that she was not to worry about the long trip over to NZ (mum and kids leave tomorrow morning)... they'd be 'fine' on the plane as long as they had a book to read and some pencils to colour with.  And they'd sleep, they have lovely new 'squishy' neck supports!  She remembers that it's a very long way to this side of the world, but she also remembers the good things about the journey.

Besides, by the time they get onto the plane in Heathrow she will have had two birthday celebrations already and she knows there's another one planned in New Zealand (with her twin cousins, Granma and uncle and aunt), and yet another one planned in Sydney later on.

Fancy that!  A birthday celebrated in 3 different countries!  I've never had one of those before, have you?  Little brother will be sharing in the parties... he had chicken pox when he turned one so he's definitely owed a few big parties now.

April Blackbird

18 February 2011

A Triangle Tri Fold card

The challenge at the Bugaboo Stamps Catch the Bug Challenge blog this week is to make a card with a different kind of fold.  Another challenging challenge!  I must admit I'm not too fond of fancy looking folds and things, but if you hop over to the Catch the Bug challenge blog you will see that the sample cards from the design team are stunning and totally inspirational.  So, feeling inspired, I did a search and found a tutorial for a Triangle Tri Fold from Split Coast Stampers (see here... they have tonnes of other great tutorials too).

This is what the card looks like folded up...

Then, when you untie the ribbon...

Here are a couple of close-ups:

This image is a digital freebie called Clyde from Bugaboo Stamps.  I just realised looking at these photos that I forgot to colour his nostrils in, so I will go and do that now!  The sentiment is from Amy R Sentiments (purchased from Funky Kits). The papers are from October Afternoon and the card itself is quite small (about 10cm square)... it was the largest I could make with an A4 sheet of card.  Next time I might try a bigger card using an A3.  I have just added to my collection of googly eyes from the local craft shop, so I thought these little ones would be perfect for Clyde.  The ribbon is from The Ribbon Girl and the image is coloured with copics (see below for details).

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Yay!  It's Friday!  Have a good one!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece

17 February 2011

Monochromatic card

The challenge this week at the Tiddly Inks challenge blog (Challenge number 38) is to make a totally monochromatic card (including the image).  I was a little bit put off at first, but I decided to try out some sepia tones.  Then I had a bit of a panic moment as I didn't think I had any brown pattern paper to match it with, but don't you just love how most of the paper companies print different coordinating papers on the reverse of the page?  I managed to find about 6 different browns, so I ended up with plenty to choose from.

After I coloured up the image (a digital freebie from Tiddly Inks) my husband was very sceptical.   He was thinking the card would look really bland, meanwhile I was thinking it would be a great boy card, so I was a bit disappointed by his initial reaction to the image.  But when I finished the card he was quite surprised to find it actually looks quite nice.

I coloured the image with copics and added Glossy Accents to the balloons (of course).  I stitched around the papers and dyed my white lace with Distress inks (Walnut).  I also coloured the bling with my copics (E37) to make it tone in.  I think the papers are a mixture of My Mind's Eye, October Afternoon and Cosmo Cricket.

Here are the copics I used (I would have used E50 rather than E0000, but I need to get a re-inker for it):

Happy Thursday!

Arabella Chickie in Lavrio, Greece