Exhaustion and Sorrow.

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The bushfire saga continues here in Australia, and here in my beautiful part of the country.
So many people have lost their homes and their livelihoods, so much of our beautiful countryside blackened and so much of our beautiful wildlife killed or maimed.
It truly is heart breaking.
81696924_605402686954852_696378128993353728_nAnd while I know how lucky we have been, we still have our lives, our home, our beloved pets and all our belongings, it is taking a toll.
The exhaustion from being hyper vigilant 24 hours a day.  Of the alerts on my phone going off when new fires start or current fires get worse.  The sorrow of knowing that friends have lost everything and other’s are in danger.  The sorrow of knowing that nothing will be the same. Ever.
This map shows you how we are surrounded by the fires.  The blue binoculars indicate where we live.

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Many people are asking how we will ever recover from this tragedy.  How people can move on and start again.  But we will, people always find a way.
The sad part is, it’s not just in our immediate area that these bushfires are raging.  It’s further north and further south.  There are fires in most parts of Australia.

These are photos taken of a beautiful area we love to go to, before the fires on the left, and after on the right.

And another photo of the amount of burnt debris that has washed up in a similar area.

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With bushfires up and down the coastal area, during our primary holiday time of the year here in Australia, I also wonder how businesses will cope financially.  Today, it all feels too difficult to even comprehend.  But perhaps that’s just because I am so lacking in sleep.
This photo is of the mountain near us with the red glow of fire behind it.
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Today, we have the news that the conditions have eased, and we can relax just a little.  The fires are still out of control, but with better conditions it will be possible for the firefighters to contain the fires and stop them spreading.  In reality, many of these fires are just too big to be put out, for that to happen, we need rain.  Heavy rain over a long period.
This photo, taken by Ben Marden, a local photographer, really says it all, the devastation, the despair, and the question of how and where to start.

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Even for those of us who still have our homes, that despair and feeling of helplessness is still intense.  The recovery from this will be long and hard, and very emotional.

So where does that leave me?  It’s the least of my worries really, but I do have a business as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator which relies on other people coming to my classes or buying product.  But these people are probably not going to be coming to classes for some time to come, and we are all focussing on pulling together and helping those that have lost everything.  Without classes and sales, unfortunately my business may just be one of a number in the area that closes down.
I sincerely hope that’s not the case.
In the meantime, I may have some cards to share with you soon, hopefully I can find a few minutes to relax and be creative.
Please continue sending rain our way, pray if you believe, or do a rain dance.  Anything at all will be appreciated more than you can know.
And thank you to those that have left comments of love and support, your comments mean so much to me.
Keep crafting,
Chris
xx

 

We are Safe!

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You may have heard of the devastating bushfires happening through many parts of Australia.
Over the last few days our own town and surrounding areas have been heavily impacted by what is being described as an apocolypse.
Yes, we are safe.
At the moment we have power and communication.  But for how long, we don’t know.
Many, many people have lost their homes, some have lost the lives of loved ones, many businesses have been burnt.  Entire towns have been completely erased.
We are grateful that the town we live in is ok, that we still have our home and that we are fine.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what has been happening.

This town is about 20 minutes drive away from where we live.  It was a town full of gorgeous old buildings, full of history and the homes, businesses and lives of many people in our area.

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The next photo is of the town we live in, the first photo taken around 9.30am, the second at around 11.30am.  We were surrounded by heavy red smoke for the rest of the day.  It was eerie, we had no vision, couldn’t breathe outside and had no way of knowing what was going on.  Fortunately, today is a little better.

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Our favourite beach, which we go to regularly, was littered with the black leaves and debris which was washed up on the shore line, all burnt by the devastating fires that are still burning, many still out of control.

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These fires are raging up and down our beautiful coast line.  The impact will be massive and long lasting.  And even for those of us who still have our homes, the regional impact will also be long lasting.
The fires are not out yet, things could change in an instant.  However, we are staying positive and now starting to think of ways to help those who have lost everything.

For those of you celebrating the start of 2020, I wish you all the best for this year.
All we can do is hope and pray that it will rain!

I will try to keep a little crafting happening sometimes, and to share that with you here when I can.
In the meantime, your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated more than you could possibly know.

Chris
xx

 

 

 

 

Heart of Christmas Week 13

Heart of Christmas 2019
Welcome back to the Heart of Christmas Blog Hop.

Copper Detailed Bells Dies Christmas 2019 Holiday Catalogue Stampin' UP! Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

This week I have combined the Detailed Bells Dies with the Brightly Gleaming Designer Series Paper.  I love this paper, and it is so versatile, it doesn’t have to be used just for Christmas.  But I have, I’ve made two Christmas cards with this combination.

Brightly Gleaming Designer Series Paper DSP Detailed Bells Dies 2019 Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping (1)

Brightly Gleaming Designer Series Paper DSP Detailed Bells Dies 2019 Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

Did you notice, there’s no stamping on these cards?
I have used the gorgeous Classic Weave Ribbon, instead of stamping.

To see all of the other Christmas inspiration, make sure you hop over the Judy’s blog where you can find links to everyone who is taking part.

Happy Stamping!
Chris

Heart of Christmas Week 11

Heart of Christmas 2019
You may have noticed that I have been missing in action for the past month.
I have been rather unwell and finding it difficult to craft and blog along with everything else I need to do in my life.
Today has been a pretty good day, although I am starting to feel like it’s time to rest, so I will keep my post short and sweet.

My card today features the Let it Snow Designer Series Paper, and all of the cute Christmas trees on my card have been cut from the DSP.

Let it Snow Designer Series Paper by Stampin' Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping Stylish Scroll Embossing Folder Ornate Frames Dies 1

For the background I have used the Stylish Scroll embossing folder which was inked up before putting it through the Big Shot.  And I have also used the versatile Ornate Frames Dies for the sentiment panel.
Let it Snow Christmas Trees Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping 2019 Holiday Catalogue Stampin' Up!

I hope to be back soon with some more creations but in the meantime, you can see all of the inspiration from today’s Heart of Christmas blog hop here.
Happy Stamping!
Chris

Designer Series Paper Blog Hop

Creative Ways to Use Designer Series Paper Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping 2019
Tonight the Art with Heart team are sharing amazing projects featuring Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper, most of which is in the current promotions where you can buy 3 packs of Designer Series Paper and receive a pack for free! Only available until the 30th of September.

All three of my cards today, feature the Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper, and very little stamping.
Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper Card 1 Stampin' Up! 2019 Annual Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
The birds and flowers on my cards have all been cut from the DSP.
Bird Ballad DSP Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

For my second card, I have used some of the Mosaic Mood Specialty DSP, and overlaid a piece of embossed Vellum, making the DSP more subtle.  Again, the bird and flowers were cut from the Bird Ballad DSP.

Mosaic Mood Specialty Designer Series Paper and Bird Ballad DSP Card Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping Stampin' Up! 2019 Annual Catalogue

Bird Ballad DSP by Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping Stampin' Up!

And my third card is one I have shared before in a previous post, but I thought I would go nicely as a set with these two.

Pressed Petals Specialty Designer Series Paper and Bird Ballad DSP Card Stampin' Up! 2019 Annual Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

This is a masculine card which combines the fussy cut bird from the Bird Ballad DSP, with some of the woodgrain and music note DSP from the Pressed Petals Specialty Designer Series Paper.
Bird Ballad DSP Card by Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

Don’t forget, the fantastic promotion is only available until the 30th September 2019.DSP Sept 2019 Stampin Up Promotion Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
For more information about the promotion, contact any of the ladies on the blog hop and we will be happy to help you.

Now it’s time to hop on over to our next participant, the lovely and talented, Vicki Boucher.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stamping,
Chris

If you find a broken link or have come to this blog hop from a different entry point, you can view the participants below:

Christina Barnes

Vicki Boucher

Tina Gillespie

Rachel Woollard

Rebecca Jacovou

Sharon Davern

Kate Morgan

Catherine Proctor

Caroline Manwaring

Sujatha Harding

Heart of Christmas Week 6

Heart of Christmas 2019
Welcome to another Heart of Christmas Blog Hop, I do hope you have been enjoying all the wonderful inspiration from the Art of Heart team.
Night Before Christmas Designer Series Paper Card 2 Stampin' up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
I had a massively busy weekend, last weekend, and in amongst everything else, I ran a Launch party for the 2019 Holiday Catalogue at my home, with some lovely ladies, who wanted some ideas on making cards on a budget, and using up left over bits and pieces.
And what an awesome challenge that is, don’t we all have those left over bits and pieces?
And don’t we all want to find ways to craft on a budget?  Well, I know I have to.

The ladies made two cards at the Catalogue Launch party, but we looked at different ideas and combined different things, depending on what they liked.
I started off showing them just how simple a card can be when it’s made with some gorgeous Designer Series Papers, and some left over scraps of cardstock to stamp a sentiment on.
Night Before Christmas DSP Perfectly Plaid Stamp Set Stampin' Up! Simple Stamping Beginners Card 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
Ok yes, I did add a couple of red rhinestones to the card, just because I like a little something shiny on my Christmas Cards.
A very simple card, great for a beginner cardmaker or stamper.

Next we added some of those pesky leftover strips of cardstock – you know the ones!!

Night Before Christmas Designer Series Paper Card Stampin' Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

This one is a CASE (Copy and Share Everything) of a card on page 24 of the 2019 Stampin’ Up! Holiday catalogue, but using some of the bits and pieces from my stash.

And this next one started out as a CASE from the same page, but we decided to fussy cut some of the Christmas stockings from the papers to add to our card, as well as some strips of leftovers.
Night Before Christmas Designer Series Paper Card 3 Stampin' Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
And last of all, we used some of the Brightly Gleaming Foil Elements over the Designer Series Paper for a different look, and they are another product that makes it so easy to create quick and easy Christmas cards this year.
Night Before Christmas Designer Series Paper Card 4 Stampin' Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
All four of these cards uses just a card base, in this case some of the Thick Very Vanilla Cardstock, then one layer of the Night Before Christmas Designer Series Paper, and we used a star from the Brightly Gleaming Foil Elements.  All of the sentiments on my cards are from the Perfectly Plaid stamp set, although you could use whatever stamps you have on hand.  And, I have only used a Real Red ink pad.

If you would like to see some more Christmas inspiration from the Art with Heart team, you can find all of the participants here.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stamping!
Chris

Trees or Leaves, or Both

Our new challenge at Cardz4Guyz is to create a project featuring Trees, Leaves or both of those.
It’s spring here in Australia, so the leaves are just starting to shoot on the trees, however, for my card, I have used some of the gorgeous Come To Gather Designer Series Paper.
I love the Autumn colours in this paper, and it’s fantastic for masculine cards.

Autumn Card Come To Gather Designer Series Paper 2019 Stampin Up Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
I have also run the Vanilla panel through the Big Shot with the Woodland Embossing Folder, so there are some trees in there behind the leaves.
The leaves have all been fussy cut from the Come To Gather Designer Series Paper.
And the sentiment is from the #Elfie stamp set.

Join us at Cardz4Guyz and share your projects, we love to see what you have been doing.
Happy stamping!
Chris

Heart of Christmas Week 5

Heart of Christmas 2019

Another week of Christmas inspiration with Week 5 of the Heart of Christmas Blog Hop.
Eventually, I will surpise you with a non-traditional coloured Christmas card, but not this week…..
I have used some of the Toile Tidings Designer Series Paper for my card, and have coloured part of it using a Blender pen.
Toile Tidings Designer Series Paper with Heirloom Frames Christmas Card 2019 Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

I have only coloured the part that is inside the frame, made using the Heirloom Frames Dies and Embossing Folders, using the same colours as the DSP, Garden Green and Real Red, with a touch of Soft Suede for the branches.
Toile Tidings Designer Series Paper Coloured Blender Pens Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
I have also used Stampin’ Write markers to colour the finer areas rather than the Blender Pen, which I have used on the larger areas.

The sentiment comes from the #Elfie stamp set which has been die cut using the Ornate Frames Dies….. perfect fit!!
#Elfie stamp set sentiment Christmas Card 2019 Holiday Catalogue Stampin' Up! Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping
And a very small piece of the Real Red Curly Ribbon to finish off, which has been knotted in the centre and the ends frayed.

Real Red Curly Ribbon Christmas Card Stampin' Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

Toile Tidings Christmas Card 2019 Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalogue Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

Tammy is joining us again this week with another of her gorgeous cards, this time a great fancy fold card featuring the Jolly Seasons Dies.
Tammy Prince Jolly Season Dies Fancy Fold Card

I love Santa with his reindeer, such a great die.

Tammy Prince Fancy Fold Card
Did you notice Rudolf, with his red nose?

Tammy Prince Fancy Fold Card Jolly Season

Thanks for sharing again, Tammy. Gorgeous card!!

If you would like to see what the rest of the Heart of Christmas team did for this week’s hop, you can find all the names on Claire’s blog here.

Thanks for dropping in, and happy stamping!
Chris

Butterfly Wishes Colour Challenge

Butterfly Wishes Card Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping 2019 Stampin' Up!

My card today uses the colours of the current Just Add Ink Challenge, which are Rococo Rose, Blackberry Bliss and Mossy Meadow.
Butterfly Wishes Stamp Set Stampin' Up! Card Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping 2019 Annual Catalogue

Gorgeous colour combination!
I have used the Butterfly Wishes stamp set for this card, with a few different techniques.
The branch has been coloured using Stampin’ Write markers in the two different colours, and then stamped off twice before stamping onto the piece of white cardstock.
The flowers, which I am not all that happy with, were stamped in the pink and then coloured using Stampin’ Blends, but I didn’t get as much shading as I wanted.
The butterflies were all stamped in Blackberry Bliss ink, and then lightly coloured with Stampin’ Blends in the Rococo Rose colour.
A touch of Wink of Stella on the flowers and some rhinestones for the centres.
Have to add some shiny stuff!!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stamping!
Chris

Laser-Cut Cards

Magnolia Lane Laser Cut Cards Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping

The Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Card Tin must be one of the most gorgeous products in the Stampin’ Up! catalogue!
Ok, yes, I may have said something similar about a few other products, too.
However, these are just perfect for adding all sorts of other things to, and making beautiful, feminine cards with.
Today I have combined the Laser-Cut Cards with the large magnolia image from the Magnolia Lane Suite.
Magnolia Lane Suite with Bird Ballad Laser Cut Cards Christina Barnes Dot Dot Stamping 1

The magnolia was stamped onto some of the new Stampin’ Up! watercolour paper – a very worthwhile investment if you haven’t tried it yet, using Black Stazon ink, and watercoloured using an Aqua Painter and ink pads.
I have die cut the magnolia and then cut off a couple of the leaves.
For the finishing touches, the sentiment is from the Buttefly Wishes stamp set, and the gorgeous copper coloured leaves come from the Brightly Gleaming Foil Elements which are on Page 31 of the 2019 Holiday Catalogue.

If you would like to try out some of the Watercolour Paper, or grab yourself some of those gorgeous Laser-Cut cards, you can order them through my online store here.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stamping,
Chris