Monday, May 27, 2013

May Craft Challenge - Link-up your wall art projects

I promised you guys I would post this month's craft challenge linky again this week so that you had time to finish your wall art projects and share them with the rest of the Craft Challenge crew. If you turned up last week then you'll know I am on holiday right fact I might well be enjoying my dinner cruise birthday present on one of the rivers in Budapest. I love my thoughtful boyfriend. Want to chuck up your lunch yet? No?

Well that's good, because next month we are making our crafts 'romantic' and I hope you'll join us too so that I have lots of ideas to romance my boy back again in July.

Here's a quick reminder of the crafts PJ, Anja and I made this month:

I cannot wait to see what you folks have made to put on your walls. You can link up your wall (or ceiling) art projects below. Please be aware that you if you link up anything else (be it food, your shop...something beautiful but not for a wall), then I'll have to delete it from the linky.

I look forward to browsing your projects when I arrive home. Right before I tell you guys all about Budapest.... did I mention I'm on holiday...
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Craft Challenge May: Round-up, Link-up and Vote!

I know what you're going to tell me: I'm a week early - the link-up is not for another week. Well normally you'd be right, but this month we were blessed with more weeks than we needed and I'm going to Budapest on Saturday. I'm so excited! My lovely boyfriend has just surprised me with a dinner cruise as part of my birthday present, and we have tickets for an opera, so I anticipate an epic holiday. If you are not quite ready with your crafts, don't worry - I'll leave the Linky open for two weeks and post it again next Monday so you can find us easily.

I couldn't leave for a week of frivolity without seeing what wall art you guys made. You can link up below the round-up of our attempts. Next month we're making something 'romantic'...and my thinking cap is truly on. I can't think of anything to make! Luckily for me PJ is taking week one this month while I scratch my head and figure out what to do.

In better news, my friend loved the picture I made for her son's nursery - except they've had to take it off the wall because he is so fascinated by it, he keeps trying to play with it! Too cute...

So now it's tie to vote for your favourite project.
I cannot wait to see what you folks have made to put on your walls. You can link up your wall (or ceiling) art projects below. Please be aware that you if you link up anything else (be it food, your shop...something beautiful but not for a wall), then I'll have to delete it from the linky.

Thank you so much for sharing. I will be stealing all of your romantic ideas in June to pack in my suitcase to go and see my boyfriend.  The two months of summer together is so tantalisingly close, I can't wait. Maybe strolling hand in hand through Budapest might help me to feel a bit more romantic!

Until then...
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Place in my Heart Mini Series: Darwin, Australia

In June 2010, I was lost and not in a way which owning a Sat-Nav could cure. I was working 80 hours plus a week, obsessed with work and had zero energy, social life or real perspective. On a flight of whimsy and in need of a break, I booked a flight to Australia to visit a friend. She lives in Darwin, in the Northern Territory, a full eight hour flight away from Sydney and most other typical tourist destinations. Unlike the rest of Australia in winter, Darwin is dry and hot in the summer. So with guaranteed sunshine, and the freeing concept of being over 7000km away from work, I went.

I am thankful 1 million times over that I did.

Most people don't tend to visit Darwin for very long unless a seasonal worker, member of the military, an inhabitant or a freedom loving hippy (Yes they DO exist and in abundance here). There is not much 'to do' per se, but it is a beautiful, unique place.
On setting foot on Australian soil for the first time, however, it appeared to me to be the most terrifying location ever. I spent my whole time in the luggage hall, checking for Huntsman spiders loitering to jump me. The first evening we sat out in a garden, I didn't want to keep my feet on the floor for fear of creepie crawlies and in all honesty, the first time I saw the stunning ocean in front of the Mindl Beach Markets I thought: sharks! Everything was familiar, but altogether different at the same time. Even the chicken things that roamed the streets looked like prehistoric nasties....and don't get me started on the bizarre running-on-two-legs-like-a-human lizards. It was a bit like I had spent so many hours absorbed in work a whole sub-species of crazy creatures had taken over the planet, or everything had evolved in the space of a few years.
Once calmer, I spent a lot of time doing nothing. It's harder than it first appears for someone who is usually busy most minutes of the day. I walked along the beach, into town for a coffee, read books and waited for my friend and her family to return from work. As life became less hectic, and I realised there were no six-foot-tall spiders going to attack me, or crocodiles hiding in drains, I started to chill out. It is that pivotal moment when you walk into a foreign hairdressing salon and ask them to 'do what they think best' that you know a corner is being turned in terms of letting go. When a camp hairdresser called Randy gives you the most epic haircut of your life, then and ONLY then, does the transformation start.
 I also saw a whole family of teachers who were able to work 8 hours a day and then have a life. The concept was revolutionary. After two weeks of Darwin, I was ready to live again - so I did - I went to the outback.

Camping at Kakadu (a National Park the size of Wales people) was an experience I will never forget. It was sweaty, dirty, terrifying, and eye-opening. I saw my first wild croc, a bird that walks on water, swam in waterfalls (with an Iguana once), shared a toilet block with an actual poisonous spider, slept under the stars (with genuine risk of waking up sharing my sleeping bag with a snake or scorpion) and ate real Kangaroo on a campfire.
When I returned, gone was the girl who wouldn't sit on the grass two weeks ago. I was ready to take on the world.

The next couple of weeks were a whirlwind of concerts, dinners, and trips as I tried to devour as much of the life Darwin gave me a taster of. On my last night, dancing in a dodgy bar named Monsoons....I met Andi. And rather than running away from this gorgeous, tall specimen of Germaness, I had found the courage to talk back to him and what's more, I had a lot more to say than the person who had arrived just 5 weeks before. None of it was related to teaching, beyond explaining what I did for a job.
Darwin changed me in ways I could not have imagined, but it gave me courage to embrace the unknown; it reignited my passion for travel; it made me prioritise people over work and it made me change my lifestyle when I arrived home. I will always have a big Darwin-sized chunk of love in my heart for this city and everything it did to save me.....even if it still didn't help me to get a tan!
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Be Kind in Blog Land - Blog Angels June Sign-Up is now OPEN

The sun is shining (some of the time), the blossom is on the trees and you're all hopefully full of the joys of Spring. It's amazing how light and flowers breed positivity in people. Doesn't it just suck though that it is still that tiny bit too cold to go outside and really ENJOY the Spring? (If you are reading from a temperate, gorgeously warm climate right now, then please don't tell me....) Maybe Blog Angels is just the kind of project you need to spread the loveliness in blog land - well at least until it's warm enough to properly leave the house...
Sign-up for June Blog Angels starts today. If you want to shower kindness on another blogger for one month without expecting any help in return then this is YOUR project. When you think about what you appreciate from your readers, you probably love nothing more than those wonderful people who stop by and comment often on your posts; respond to your emails with more than a few words; Pin your projects or feature your writing. If you were a Blog Angel you would perform some, if not all of these tasks for another blog, without them realising it is your project to brighten their day.
Maybe you want to build links with a new follower, deepen an existing relationship or just be more active in the community. Whatever the reason you might want to help, you are very welcome to join in (whatever your blog's size or experience level).
To be a Blog Angel you need to:
1) Find a blog you want to look after. You might browse the little 'supermarket' linky below for bloggers who have requested some help, but I would encourage you to think about engaging with one of your commenters or a new reader.
2) Be nice to the nominated blogger for a whole month, making a minimum of two comments on their posts per week. Remember not to tell them you are their Blog Angel.
3) Write a reveal post to be published on June 30th and linked up here at the big Craftbotic Blog Angel party.
I will confirm your Blog Angel choice by email right up to when sign-up closes on May 24th (earlier this month as I am on holiday!)
If you have signed up to BE a Blog Angel then you can also link your blog up below to advertise for help (if you want it). Please note this requirement has changed slightly. Anybody who links up for help, but is not signed up to BE a Blog Angel will be removed from the list. It really doesn't take much effort to help out another blogger and I like to think the purpose of this community is more about the giving, than the receiving anyhoo.

Any questions then please shoot me an email or check out the Blog Angels page for more information. If you joined in, I love you more than a little bit. :p
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