Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baby-shower card

I recently made a card for a baby-shower for my cousin Nacole and her husband Damien. I was unable to go to the afternoon tea but sent along this card. The section on the left is the back of the card once it is folded. I sourced the images from vintage photographs and advertisements (that are past their copyright dates) on the web. Some of the background images (swirls and fancy bits) are from the Graphics Fairy.

I started to make a second card or small printable. I'm not sure if I'll finish this with the baby's name and date of birth once he/she is born, but this is the work in progress.
 There's a bit more tweaking to do before printing, but this is the basis for the design. I chose the colours to tone in with the card. The extra elements are from Design House Digital (link in my sidebar). 

Click on the pics to view the original size. As usual, feel free to use, just backtrack to see my TOU. 

cheerio, Lou

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's in a name?

I've just undergone a change of name for my blog.
Strangely enough, I couldn't work out why my blog had one name and my website address had something completely different. I tried to change the address to suit the original blog name 'L is for...' but that was already taken. Who'd have thought anyone else would be using this? So after trying about ten variations on addresses, I typed in 'Louise was here' and voila! It was available. Seriously? That is available but 'L is for' is not?

Right before this discovery, I was working on a blog header design and had been through a bunch of L-words that I hoped would encompass possible future blog entries:-

Layouts: Part of my background as a musician (which is my field of employment) has meant that I'm also creative in other areas. This has led me to start working on digital layouts in the past year or so. Before this, I've had just about every creative hobby you can think of. For now, I'm sharing just the digital layouts.

Learning: Education- both formal and informal- completely drives me. I believe that we should always be prepared to learn. If we have a teachable heart, we can never stop learning. I am passionate about learning in every situation- from relationships, to new pursuits, to learning to become a better teacher. I love learning how the brain works and how I can best utilise that information when teaching. It really is fascinating.

Losing weight: I'm currently on a major weight-loss plan having just undergone a sleeve gastrectomy operation. (I'll post on that fairly soon, though it will probably become a separate blog.)

Losing the clutter: I've been (very slowly) decluttering my home. That would be a long series of posts with before/after pics although I haven't been too good with the before pics so far! I'm not a great photographer so that is holding me back a little.

Listening: I do love my music (and it is my work as I teach) so I though it would be most fitting to share some of my favourite musicians and music.

Lalala: Okay- not really a word but I had to have something to describe my love for singing and music. I know 'listening' covers some parts of this, but creating and performing are just as important to me. Never know, I might actually get around to sharing some songs I've written or sharing a tip or two on playing an instrument, singing or performing. That's not really the aim of this blog but at this stage, I don't really know where it may lead.

Despite no longer having to stick to words starting with 'L,' I'm sure I'll still get around to posting on these topics. They are all parts of me that I cannot hide. There's no point tip-toeing around subjects which are sure to come to the forefront in one way or another.

For now, the blog is mostly just my ramblings and a place to share some of the digitial designs I've produces.  I did start the blog three years ago with the intent to focus on the workings of life but since having only posted thrice in those three years, my perspective on this has changed.

Thus, I think I'm settled with the new blog title. 'Louise was here' should sum up where I've taken my breaths through life and some of the insignificant memories I will leave imprinted on this planet.

I would have liked to have thought of something which doesn't use my name but I can't think of anything that will be general enough. I don't intend for it to be egotistical- so it's not all about 'Louise' being seen or heard. It's more about where I leave my DNA- what I've dabbled in, impressions I've left behind and experiences I've walked through. It really is more a memoir for myself. If you happen to enjoy reading or using some of my materials, then you are most welcome.

cheerio, Lou

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mother's Day Printables

After my foray into digital design last Christmas, I decided to make a few things for my mother this year for Mothers' Day back in May.

Since the printing had turned out so well on my Christmas cards, I decided to make the whole card, instead of just printing the front and having to hand assemble the rest. Here's a little preview:

My mother is extremely difficult to buy presents for. She has too much stuff already and, if there's anything she wants, she goes right on out and buys it- whether she needs it or not. Another thing- she does not believe in presents for her that are really 'household' presents. Therefore all appliances and gadgets are pretty much out of the running. Added to this, my mother likes to see that she is valued- so nothing can be too cheap. Yikes! She really is hard to buy for.

After years of buying products for her, about ten+ years ago I turned to creating presents for her. Thus, I've made many a hand-made present back in the day when I was into a range of crafts. I've cross-stitched on the edges of hand towels, folk-arted many a picture (front door plaque and a clock with matching pictures are still on display), and quilted placemats.

One year, while they were out and had recently updated their bathroom, I snuck around to her place, got up on a ladder and traced the feature border tile. I then appliqued that pattern, painstakingly I must add, to some new towels. (I saw those towels recently, looking rather tatty, and declared that it really is okay to throw them out by now- I wouldn't be offended.)

Along with those ideas, I've bought her craft items (eg patchwork quilts and tools), tickets to shows, dinner packages and put together many a basket of her favourite foods and wines. You name it- I've most likely done it!

As you can no doubt gather, my mother is very good at focussing on 'things.' Unfortunately, certain words and sentiments are not her forte. Never have we said words in my family such as 'I love you.' Never have hugs and affection been anything more than an awkward moment. If my mother wants to show she loves you, she buys you something. That's always been her way.

Yet I know, that deep down, what my mother really needs, is affection and sentiment. There is a reasoning behind her focus on 'things' and some of it has to do with her growing up without much security that comes from a strong sense of love and good dose of affection.

So what I wanted to do this year is to make something that clearly displayed that she is loved, that she is valued and that she is appreciated. I wanted it to be something that could be seen by all who pass by, and something that she could be reminded of regularly. So I settled on using the phrase "I have a great mum, and I love her." This was to be the basis of my design. Although my present didn't cost a lot financially, I did take about a month (between working and life) to perfect my design. I printed several for her to choose from. The one I liked the most I knew would not be her favourite but I gave them all to her, plus a plain white wooden frame.

This was the one I knew she would like. She has a passion for flower-fairies and likes purple hues.

Here are some of my alternate designs:

These are all ready-to-print A4 sized prints. Click on the image to see the full size, then right-click to save the image if you'd like to use it. (Just don't pass it off as your own or try to sell any of my work.) These are for your personal use only. 

Finally, here is the card I made:

Of course, the left side is the back of the card.
And, as usual, I made the inner part of the card. Here's the one I used:
Let me know if you want a blank insert without my name on it! 

cheerio, Lou

Friday, June 22, 2012

Done is better than perfect

I made this desktop banner to remind me to get on with doing things. 

I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I tend to not 'finish' many projects. I do this at home and at work. That means I've started many a great idea over the years and spent hours and hours working on the project, only to not complete it. This is a problem, as I don't get the recognition or fruits of all that work.

I just can't help myself. I have a constant need to improve material. I've been teaching for over 20 years now and, despite teaching similar classes each year, I'm always expanding material. I barely ever teach a lesson the same way twice. I do like to develop habits in the classroom, so we have our routines. For example, all my students know how to set-up equipment and put it away properly at the end of lessons. The skills I'm teaching are the same every year. But the content has to be updated- both for my sanity and to keep the kiddies engaged. 

The funny thing in teaching teenagers who have wide access to materials every day, is that music that is just a year old, is considered really 'old' to them. This didn't occur 20 years ago. Students didn't have access (via the internet) to such a rapid pace of change in music, therefore I could reuse the same pieces for a few years. Nowadays, anything I drag out that's just a few years old and seems relatively new to me, may have actually been in the charts when they were in early primary school. Therefore, it appears to be from their childhood! Thankfully, most contemporary popular music is built on the same foundations as popular music was from 20 years ago. And- quite often, I can drag out an oldie because it's just been released as a new hit by another artist.

My biggest problem, however, comes in my home. I'm a perfectionist in organising and cleaning. I'm no ten-minute cleaner! I can't handle doing a quick clean of the bathroom and accepting that this is okay. So I end up spending a couple of hours on the one area and make it really, really clean. This then means that I don't have time to clean a bigger area. 

I have, gradually, had to come to accept that a quickie clean is adequate. It's better that I get a lot of area in reasonable shape than to waste time on little things that are barely noticeable to most people. 

Thus my motto for the past year has been 'done is better than perfect.' I'm slowly coming to terms with this and putting it into practise.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Annual blog entry

Once again, an entire year has passed and I'd completely forgotten that I ever had a blog! Surely an annual entry doesn't really class as a blog, does it? Nevermind... at least I now know it's here and I can use it.
I've written on so many other blogs and in forums in the past year. I've also started a blog within a forum for a particular subject. Only thing is, that blog is so slow to upload text and images. Thus, I think I'll move on over here and see how it goes.

Let me take this opportunity to post some of the digital art I've done in the past year. I'm more than happy for anyone who stops by to use my work, save it, print it out, share it. Just one thing: don't claim it as your own or try to sell it.

So here's my first set: my Christmas cards from the end of 2011.

Traditionally I've made my cards by hand, a-la-scrapbooking style, but this was my first foray into digital designing. I've been printing off the inners for my cards for years so it was about time I did something for the outer.

I started by trying to make just ONE design but my anal retentive side of the brain took over and I ended up making ten. Er, correction, I made about 15. But I'm only happy with ten of them.  Once I had designed these, I printed them out on glossy medium-weight card and then 'scrapped' them onto some of my laborious collection of pre-folded cardstock.

The design above was the one I ended up using for 2011. Since Christmas is during the summer months in Australia, this seemed to fit the best. Plus I loved those colours. I have no idea if I'll use one of the other designs this year, or if I'll be inspired (and have the time) to create something new.
I hope you like these. If you want to use them, click on the image for the original size to pop up, then right click and save the picture.

I'm extremely thankful to Karen at The Graphics Fairy for all her wonderful images I've been collecting and experimenting with in the past few years.
I've also collected quite a few freebies (and some paid content) from Design House Digital. All of the content from DHD that I've used is NOT premium content, therefore I have no right to sell these items. That means that you, also, do not have a right to sell these items.

There are quite a few other places around the web where I've collected vintage images or used online tools to create my own 'paper' designs.

I do not intentionally steal anyone else's work. If you see something that belongs to you (ie is still in copyright) please let me know. If not, feel free to use these digital creations for your personal pleasure.