A question asked of me on facebook last night:
So that's it for you and scrapbooking Nic?
And my answer:
A question asked of me on facebook last night:
So that's it for you and scrapbooking Nic?
And my answer:
I've been writing this blog for years. And years. And years.
While I still hope you'll visit my 'Class Kits for sale" page, this blog for now, is retiring.
It's seen me through toddler times, teen times, teaching times and everything inbetween. It's come time to retire now though - my energy is taken up elsewhere. Those that know me will know where to find me. Those that have stuck with me for years of ramblings and posts, thank you. I truly appreciated your company.
There’s life in the old girl yet. I say old girl not because I am, (we’re only as old as we feel, right?), but because that’s what one says when they find renewed energy. Kinda like when I say it’s bedtime to a certain extremely tired 10 year old and she suddenly finds the energy to cartwheel around the room.
It’s been 3 months since I blogged and in that time I’ve achieved the most weird and wonderful things. I’ve filled each day with work from the businesses my hubby & I run, I’ve successfully held another amazing retreat hosting 140 ladies during April, I’ve completed monthly taxes on time, I’ve attended rugby games, hockey matches, hiphop rehearsals and not panicked that I don’t have enough time if friends want to come over at the weekend AND I’ve completed some scrapbooking as well.
My personal scrapbooking is still in the form of a handwritten journal with doodled drawings and home printed photos.
Occasionally I draw on other stuff too. Like this envelope that held some money I owed someone.
And so it’s fabulous to find peace. You know the kind. Like when you reeeeally want that chocolate fix and stumble across not one but THREE Whittakers blocks of chocolate. And then realise they’d been in your home for the past 2 months. How it managed to stay undetected for so long I have no idea. It doesn’t matter, the point is, I’ve found that kind of peace.
Actually although peaceful, the past 3 months have been some of the most trying of my life. You know that thing that’s going around facebook at the moment saying how you never know the dirt someone’s being dragged through by their rosy appearance on facebook? Yea that’s me. It’s lucky I decided to set my travelling/teaching aside because I swear the big guy is dealing out all the crap to us right now. We all have times like I’m going through at the moment it’s just nice I can dedicate some time to dealing with it.
But then inbetween the shite, there is this.
My family watching my brother at Dirt Track late in April. Rough times have bought us all closer together.
and then there is some of this.
There were 22 of us that day including my grandparents, hanging out on Kariotahi beach.
And then of course, there is still some of this.
A sneaky peek at one of the kits I released last week.
So although a little quieter on facebook and the active scrapbooking front, I’m still here. I’m still hitting the gym hard, working during the day, (I admit a little bit of hayday play in there too – addicted much?), scrapbooking in the quiet times and doodling random pictures on envelopes. My goal is to keep the balance while blogging occasionally and keeping you up to date with new kits as they release.
Like these two… (click the link for details of my 2 new kits) .. enjoy.
"What will you do if you lose your scrapbooking job?" - out of the mouth of babes this morning. "Why is that, Abby?" I ask - avoid the question by answering with another question, great parenting tip, that one. "Because I want to be like you when I grow up and if you don't do scrapbooking, I don't know what I will be. Unless you are a florist. Yea, you could be a florist and I think I could do that".
She's a good kid with a heart of gold and has always been the first one there to help me cut, tie, pack orders, price or organise during these crazy years of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time. She's been around just as long as I've worked in the industry and I realised with that little conversation, as well as some rumors I have heard circling the internet, that I probably owe her an explanation.
And perhaps you as well.
It's true - I am retiring from teaching and I'm stepping back from scrapbooking. I've scrapbooked for 15 years, worked in the industry for 10 years and taught internationally for 8 of them. I've travelled to Canada, South Africa, the USA, Australia and all over New Zealand. It's been a great ride, but I've made the choice to step away and have slowly done so over the past year.
It was a decision that almost made itself. I started to turn down teaching jobs about a year ago - just after I was in the USA and a family tragedy at home meant I had to get an emergency flight back to my family. The fact that something tragic happened at home, a family member passed away and I wasn't there to comfort my kids and my hubby, to give them the support a strong family bond provides, the fact I was missing, I wasn't there when they needed me, that was the start. Yes, they survived. Yes, they are okay. But like any one of you, I would rather have been with them.
Not long afterwards I turned down a job in Vietnam. And then Malaysia. And then Australia and the USA. My friends and my family (including my hubby) all asked if I was crazy.
Nope, I just want to enjoy more of this:
And maybe even this:
The scrapbooking world has been fabulous to me, I have met an amazing amount of wonderful people (and that seems like an incredibly cliche thing to say but it's true). I adore so many people in this industry and the cool thing is that I'm giving up teaching and my heavy involvement in the industry, not the friends I have made. Can't get rid of me that easily.
I am at peace with the new enjoyment of my surroundings, embracing more time at home and investing a lot more time in the other businesses I run (my husband and I have other businesses too, it's ok, I have plenty of things to do - the beauty is that I have time to do it now). I have time to complete my other jobs, my hobbies, look after my dodgy health issues AND hug my family at night. Because my kids are growing up far too fast. It's all very well saying I need to appreciate them while they are young but until I took the step back and said "I'm doing this for you", I wasn't truly embracing that. I wasn't giving them what they deserved. I'm doing it now.
I realised I should have said something on my blog earlier when I started to receive emails asking where I was - I got some pretty cool emails though - some people were concerned, some people wondered if I was locked in a gym somewhere and couldn't get out, one person even offered their sadness that I wasn't requested so much to teach anymore... stepping back from scrapbooking was a choice, I promise you, the requests are only slowing now that I've made it fairly public I'm stepping down... here's a few answers to the questions I'm being asked.
1. It's true I no longer travel to teach. I'd still love to create kits and and sell them via my blog. There is still a market there, right? (Please tell me there is because I have THREE amazing kits to release over the next two months).
2. My facebook & my blog have gone a little quiet because I'm hugging my kids more. And spending time at their after-school activities instead of dropping them off and running back to work. And spending organised time doing other work. (and making some amazing dinners and I don't even fall asleep in movies anymore. Actually I lie. I slept through Cloudy with Meatballs 2 recently).
3. Yes this was a choice. No I didn't just become 'unpopular'. I did this. it. was. a. choice. I'm happy.
4. Is Autumn Escape for sale? Yes it is, infact we have a sales contract in the works, but sorry no I can't tell you who it is with. I can tell you I am EXCITED that it is someone that is taking something Lucy & I have nutured and loved since 2008 and is going to continue it on the way it has always been.
4. Do I still have creative time? Yep, I have the kits AND I also adore the time I spend working with new Prima products, creating tradeshow booth artwork, turning them into Prima kits etc. Yes I still love getting arty-creative with it. I still create stuff. When I want, though. What a concept.
5. Do I still scrapbook? If scrapbooking to you is keeping a record of times we want to remember through photos and writing, then yes. I do. These days it is a Visual Art Diary from Warehouse Stationery, a pen, some coloured pencils and home printed photos stapled in a book.
And that makes me happy too. I hope you'll be happy for me.
At this late stage of January if I was a judge in a court of blog-crimes, I think I'd find myself guilty of not posting regularly AND instead taking advantage of the quick-fix that facebook offers. Information lacks on this blog because it's far easier to facebook from the couch, or the beach, or you know, the kitchen while I'm waiting for that pot to come to the boil or something.
It's been a mixed bag of a summer, I've not scrapbooked a lot except for some CHA work I did for Prima. Instead I've been keeping a journal with a photo a day, I've consumed far too many QF shots at the beach and I've become the Howard Rummikub champion. That's an actual game, it's nothing to do with Rum, which I know is a surprise to some of you.
I've also been in hospital, played tag with a silly heart condition (or two), been told I need to take heart meds for life and gained a pretty bit of jewellry in the way of a medic-alert bracelet. All par for the course, no-one's perfect, right? My heart is one of the most healthiest out there, it's just a pity it's confused about what it should do. In more than one way.
So anyway, the creating part - I created layouts for Prima, for CHA (the tradeshow just passed). It was very cool, very relaxed creating which I enjoyed. I don't take a lot of pics these days (i'm Ok with that) so I turned to some old favourites. You've seen these pics before but there is nothing wrong with using them again and being reminded of one my favourite happy places. With my hubby. Awwww altogether now, sweet.
Ironic thing is that I know in this pic I was incredibly ill, this was taken in Sth Africa. I ended up in hospital not long after this pic too. Didn't know then what it'd all lead to.
We built a pool yesterday. The whole process probably took about 20 minutes from start to finish and it was the biggest hit since New Zealand invented Pavlova.
I should start from the start. We had 27 degrees, burn-your-feet-even-thinking-about-walking-barefoot kinda 27 degrees. Can-I-have-an-Icie kinda 27 degrees. (The this-is-not_Fahrenheit-it’s-celcius-and-that’s-lots 27 degrees). Actually in the scheme of things it wasn’t the hottest day but it was paired with about 95% humidity so I’m calling that hot enough to demand a pool.
As ya do.
So I say to my husband “I’m done, we need a pool”. The kids are hot, I’m grumpy and we need a pool. In his best condescending, let-me-get-that-for-you voice he promises to get me one.
Nek Minnit…. (I can’t believe there is a Wikipedia definition for that…)
In case it’s not so clear, this is a trailer, hooked on to the back of his work-van. That is a tarpaulin, usually in his work van. Those are my sons filling the make-shift trailer-pool thing with water.
And then this happened
Yep, said pool was in use within minutes. Abby looks on while our neighbour attempts backstroke. The backstroke wasn’t entirely successful but she did do more lengths than she has ever done before.
Standing looking important at the back of his work-van is my hubby. The mastermind of the pool. “Wife want pool, man provide”.
The pool sat hitched to the van for a few days when sadly the trailer needed using for, well, … work purposes. AND the van needed a WOF and my hubby didn’t think it’d be so smart to drive it through a Vehicle Testing Station to get a warrant with a pool attached. Smart Guy.
So *someone* declared the pool needed emptying.
And this happened.
And then this happened.
And then it was gone. The pool became a trailer and life down our street returned to normal again.
Until the next time, of course.
Christmas is cool,I especially love the copious amounts of giving that goes on, the majority of it being treats that we eat with less guilt than usual. I join in on that fun, baking Christmas goodies and giving them away to anyone that hesitates long enough for me to hand them some. White Christmas, chocolates, shortbread and oreo balls have already been made in the Howard home this year, but the favourite has to be this one:
I originally saw Jen Hall create these little packets of goodness, adding a picture on facebook and making more than just me exclaim outloud how cool they looked. I couldn’t get to the supermarket quickly enough after that, there were reindeer noses to package.
Any excuse to buy Jaffas and Maltesers, really. Actually I need about 4 packets of Maltesers to the one packet of Jaffas. There is only one Rudolf nose in each little pack of noses, after all.
And THEN I visited this site, the original download place of the topper for the bags: Thanks so much to Kate Hadfield Designs for making this available. It was easy enough to download, change the image size to suit my cello bags and print out. If I’d thought about it long enough I might have added “From the Howard Family” to the topper before printing it out but I was too keen to get the Jaffas packet open, if I’m telling the truth.
(Visit the website here for the real PDF download).
And so many, many gorgeous little packets of giveaway goodness were created. They were given to Abby’s friends, attached to Christmas presents, sent with courier packages and Uncle Vaughan seems to be getting more than his fair share too – (Nanc, are any even getting home to you?!)
Enjoy this easy gift. (Love this time of year!)
I’m always in search of the perfect gift, my bestie (poor Lucy, bless her) always ends up with the most naff of gifts because I always have the best of intentions but they never work out. This year she really is going to get the best gift. If I can find it. It’s hard to find someone that’ll sell me a whole pallet of cider.
So with that in mind (not the pallet of cider, I don’t think I’ll have anything in mind after drinking that much), I created this class kit. I’ve been wanting to create a take-the-pressure-off-by-creating-layouts-ahead-of-time kit. Or a I’ll-do-the-layouts-after-Christmas-with-this-kit-from-Nic kit. Or even a this-is-a-great-Christmas-pressie kit.
Or all of the above.
So without further ado (one would think I’d started that cider already), here is my latest Prima kit. All packaged, all ready to send your way.
A Joy Filled Christmas:
$42.00 + postage.
A Two x single layout class kit, created December 2013. (Retail value of products included is $45+)
Concentrating on making the most out of a large range of different Prima products, “Joy Filled Christmas” is a new 2-layout kit full of Prima gorgeousness. In good old fashioned Nic Howard style, these layouts are detailed to look at but easy to create. Layers, borders, banners, intricate cutting and gorgeous festive colouring, piece by piece you’ll create two different Christmas layouts ready for the festive season ahead.
This kit includes products from many different paper ranges, all combined into a pretty cool Christmas Collection. This kit would be perfect to prepare ahead for favourite Christmas photos, or to scrapbook some favourite photos after the Christmas season. Better yet, it’d be a really easy present for your favourite crafty friend – get them to scrapbook the photos!
Kit includes: 7 full sheets paper, 3 half sheets paper, 2 cardstock, 3 full packets of Prima flowers, a half packet flowers and some gorgeous little Prima buds. Full colour step-by step instructions are also included. You will need: Kit, corner rounder, dimensional adhesive, dark ink such as charcoal, water pen or favourite way to distress edges.
Special: Buy one ‘Joy Filled Christmas’ and one ‘Engraver’ kit
for the combined price of $79 plus postage.
Want a class kit delivered before Christmas?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org stating which kit/s you’d like.
Flat rate courier price for up to 3 kits is $8.00 within New Zealand.
1-3 kits to Australia $14.00 NZD flat rate p+p *
1-3 kits to the USA $22.00 NZD flat rate p+p
Cut off to order for Christmas is Tuesday 17th December within NZ, the earlier the better, kits are limited!
Right, back to that Christmas shopping – only 14 sleeps to go
I’ll be honest, scrapbooking is a rare thing in my house these days but when it happens there’s a big old “well, that was fun” that happens afterwards. Then I pack it away to do some menial task, like the GST, and I lose the mojo.
The most inspiring thing for me at the moment are the challenges and assignments given to me by Prima Marketing, like this one. The assignment was to create a Christmas card using one of their chalkboard cards. I’m still in love with chalkboard and I love red, anyone remember the layout I created years ago about how much I hated red? How times have changed, so I loved creating this card.
Lots of layering of wooden embellishments, flowers & gems.
813413 Everyday Vintage Chalkboard Cards
960728 Finnabair paper pad
569877 Wood Icons Gears
572471 Wood Icons Optimist
570262 SIIC Arrows
561420 Interlude Red flowers
552473 North Country Avon Rose
300500 E-line pearls
And so I created. Then I packed my stuff away and haven’t created again. I’ve spent plenty of time organising all the creative bits and pieces for Autumn Escape in April though. Good times, good times.
It’s November – strawberries are in season, the sun is (usually) out, the days are really long and best of all I get a whole day to myself. Many people are shy of celebrating their birthdays. Not me. Bring it, I say.
November BAP is out at the Prima blog, such a gorgeous sketch I couldn’t wait to give this one a go.
I loved everything about this one, the colours, the swirls, a few small photos, just gorgeous. I also loved that it was the kind of sketch just begging for masks & texture paste. Some of my favourite stuff right now.
Out came the pile of masks, the texture pastes and the coloured glimmermists. Out came some of my favourite photos, transparencies, different flowers.
And this layout was born :)
Totally enjoyable process. This is the layout I created and then stood back and said to myself “why don’t I scrapbook more often?”
This sketch was fun. Why not give it a go? You can see it here – enjoy your week :)