Monday, December 27, 2010

Just a Minute - December

Here I am again just about squeezing this in at the end of the's time for 'Just a Minute!'  Once a month quick summary of events.  If you are doing this too, or would like to start, please share your posts, I'd love to see!

Reading... Just a little Run around the World by Rosie Swale Pope. This was one of the library books my mum had ready for returning when we arrived, so I renewed it, got stuck in and am really enjoying it. It's so real I almost feel like I have experienced it, but  all without getting out of my warm snuggly bed! ;) Lol!

 Watching... All the English TV we don't get at home! 'Come Fly with me'  and 'Black Adders Christmas Carol' last night were particularly popular with the whole family, giving us all heaps of laughs. 

 Loving...SO much! Being with my parents and sister again!  Seeing my children enjoying the winter, as they  experience real snow, make snowmen, roll around in it, and bury each other. Catching up with old friends, central heating! Coming in from the freezing cold to a wonderfully warm house, roaring fire and hot mugs of tea!

 Craving... Nothing edible thats for sure, unless it's a fruit! We had such a huge traditional Christmas dinner yesterday I don't know whether I will ever want to eat again! 

 Learning... All sorts of new possibilities with this book a friend gave me! Now I just need to take the plunge at get CS5 so that I can make use of the things I'm learning!

 Planning... Fitting in all the things we want to do before we leave England to return home at the end of the month. So many places to go,friends to catch up with, and of course, shopping to be done!

If you’d like to do this on your own blog please leave the link in the comments I'd love to see! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010


A couple of days ago we took the train to London to play at being tourists.
First stop was Buckingham Palace.
 Where we were just in time for the changing of the guards.
Even the Policemen looked cold!
 We walked through Hyde Park, where this little squirrel posed for us, changing position, holding it, then changing again, making us all laugh!
Past Marble Arch  
Then on to the Science Museum, where the kids had great fun pushing buttons, and exploring.
I wanted to take this gorgeous red Beetle home!

By the time we came out it was dark. After an attempt to get a bus, which got stuck in the city rush hour traffic, we jumped off and waked the rest of the way to "Forbidden Planet" a shop my son wanted to visit to check out their Anime selection.
 Past Piccadilly Circus
 and loads of pretty Christmas lights
 To Covent Garden, where Rudolph was standing guard.
 Giant baubles hanging from the ceiling!
Next stop was Trafalgar Square, where some carol Singers were performing under the enormous Christmas Tree. 
. We caught the train home, and found that my parents had got the foot bath out for me! (I could get used to this pampering! ) Perfect end to an exhausting but fun day!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Everything went smoothly with the trip from Auckland to Dubai.
 We spent a wonderful couple of days discovering Dubai and soaking up the last we would see of the sun for a while. Before we left home I had booked tickets for us to go up the Burj Khalifa tower, luckily a friend who used to live in Dubai had advised us to book in advance as if you turn up on the day to buy tickets its 3 or 4 times the price!! Something to remember if you ever visit! 
Burj Khalifa from the ground
The tower is the tallest building in the world, at over 828 metres high. The observation deck, on level 124 is where the high speed lifts whiz you up to from the ground. At a speed of 10m per second, so we were told.  Now I must admit, that as someone who has trouble standing on a chair to put up the Christmas lights, I was slightly nervous about going quite so high! The odd thing is though, that when you get to the top and the lift doors open, the views are more like those from an airplane than from the top of a building, and it was strangely calm and not at all scary. We wandered around, taking photos and video for quite some time before heading back down to solid ground. 
Views from the observation deck 

On our second day we headed for the beach, a free bus from the hotel dropped us off at the gates to the beach park. There is a small fee to enter the park grounds which lead to the beach, all beautifully kept, clean and tidy. Soft white sand, clear blue sea. Bliss!
On our last afternoon we went on a Dune Safari. Jeeps take you out into the desert, and if you try not to think about all the fuel being used, the pollution and the 'tourist trap' side of it, it really is an amazing experience! :) Bouncing over the dunes, the drivers take great delight in showing off their skills tossing their passengers left and right as they skid sideways down dunes covering the car in sand   before flying up the next one. We only saw one car that got stuck, but it was soon free and on it's way again.

 After watching the sunset over the desert we were taken to the company's camp, where tents were set out with cushions and tables for us to sit at to eat. A free bar, henna painting, Shisha or Hubble bubble, camel rides, and belly dancers added to the atmosphere and made for a very enjoyable evening. 

We really enjoyed our time in Dubai, it is such a different place, not like anywhere we have been before. Where else can you find enormous tower blocks and luxury hotels, right beside camels and gazelles gliding past in the desert? Very odd, and strangely compelling, I'd love to return and explore more one day. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just a Minute - November

I have often thought when I spot a good 'summary' type post on a blog, what a great idea it is and that I must try it, but it took this post by Mel of Wildflower to inspire me to try this out. Once a month quick summary of events.   I'm hoping to continue this, why don't you join in?! For now here is my first "Just a Minute"

Reading... A Life on Gorge River by Robert Long. I actually bought this for my dad for Christmas, but made the mistake of reading the first page and now can't put it down!

 Watching... Jo Frost Extreme Parental Guidance. It's probably not right, but you have to admit, seeing kids that make your own seem like little angels is in some smug way quite satisfying! I'm always either in total agreement with her ideas for the family or talking to the TV, telling them what I think they ought to do! Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Love his passion & enthusiasm for teaching kids to make good food choices by getting his menus into schools.

 Loving... Summer! Long warm days, blue sky, open doors and windows with a breeze gently drifting through the house, walks on the beach, swimming in the sea..everything just seems so much calmer, happier and, well, just better now it's summer! I'ts almost enough to make me question why we are leaving summer soon to head to 2 months of winter...almost, but not quite!

 Craving... Strawberries, fruit smoothies, fresh fruit salad ...excuse me I have to go..!

 Learning... NCEA History Science Maths and Chemistry facts as my son revises for exams. It's scary how much I have forgotten/never learnt!
New things in Photoshop thanks to this book by Scott Kelby that I have dug out again.

 Planning... Our trip to UK in 11 days! I had forgotten how much organising/planning/sorting there is to do getting ready for 2 months away from home, and 2 months of other people living in my house! Deciding how far to go on what to leave at friends houses (the computers for a start!) what to pack away in boxes and what to leave out for the family that will be calling our house home. Planning time with special friends and family in UK, Christmas gifts to take with us, places to go, things to do, people to see, how to turn my suitcase into a tardis...

If you’d like to do this on your own blog please leave the link in the comments I'd love to see! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Felt Faves!

I finally updated my Felt Faves today, and seeing as panic seems to be setting in at our house as we try to get organised ready to take off in 3 weeks time, I decided to search for "Christmas" .
As usual there were far too many beautiful items to include all my picks, but here are 8 of them to help you start organizing your Christmas!
A beautiful needle felted Nativity Scene by softearthart to display, personalized Xmas mini stockings by Topography - Little Custom Shirts to hang from the fireplace, cute little felted robin decoration by jinglebugs to hang on the tree, Christmas Card Keeper by Lillypad to organise all those cards in style, a Beautiful heirloom solid timber Christmas Tree by living design, a funky mens BBQ Apron from She-wears shweshwe to give (and drop sublte hints that you want a break from the cooking!) gorgeous Christmas Card with 6 large heart magnet by Tinch Design Studio to send to someone overseas,and a clever little eye-spy bag from Kraftyas to give the preschooler in your life!

Click on any item to get a closer look, and do some shopping from your sofa!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YAY a Winner!!

All in all today has been quite a busy and exciting day! First of all a friend came to collect a couple of boxes I have been storing in my garage. They belong to a friend of ours who moved to Australia, she is going to visit so will take them over.  It was great to catch up over a coffee and take some time out for a bit.

I then headed out to the travel agent to book our Dubai stopovers. I have been pestering a friend who used to live there and she has helped me choose a hotel, so it should have been quite straight forward.  Not so! After 25 mins on hold only to be cut off as soon as it was answered, the travel agent suggested he try again later and call me. While we were waiting I got him to check if I had arranged travel insurance (it was so long ago now that we booked that I had forgotten!) which turned out to be a good move, as yes we did have cover, but for a trip to New Caledonia! Lovely as that would be, that policy is no good to us in Dubai and UK! Needless to say I got him to correct that PDQ as my dad would say!

SO I left him hanging on the phone and headed off to get some mat board for a couple of prints.
On the way I thought how good 'Aroha' might look in a red frame.
As I walked into Factory Frames there right in front of me, the only one in the shop, was a bright red frame, absolutely perfect shade of red, and size for Aroha!!
I couldn't beleive my eyes, snapped it up quick and got a mat cut to fit. I'm really pleased with how it looks framed! I'll be taking this to the market at Parnell this Saturday, if it sells it will be hard to part with! lol!

I got home, and found that my interview is on New Zealand Handmade's blog today! Time for more Big Girl Panties...seeing it there in black and white for all the world to read is a little scary, but a whole lot exciting too! Thank you to the NZ Handmade team for the opportunity to be a part of such an awesome talented group of artists/crafters!

 As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, I did the draw for my 300+ Facebook giveaway tonight.  I loved seeing all the entries and what the choices were, thank you so much to everyone who entered! I'm just sorry you can't all be winners, but watch out, only 78 more 'likers' (don't you just hate that word?!) to go and I'll do another one! :)
This time, chose number 7 - 
which turned out to be no other than the lovely Katherine of  Sleep and her Sisters! 
If you haven't done so already check out her beautiful work, and if you are lucky enough to be in the area I believe she has an exhibition on right now too!
To be completely honest,  I was a bit nervous about such a talented artist winning one of my prints, but after a lovely email reply I put on my big girl panties, and now am quite excited about getting it sent off  tomorrow!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Wooohoooo! Thank you and welcome to all my new 'Likers' on Facebook..I have just passed 300 so decided it might be time for another little Giveaway! :)
SO here we go, this is the bit you want to read...
One Lucky Liker will win ANY unframed PRINT of their choice, at SRA3 size, these are just a bit bigger than A3 size, and easy to find frames for. (If you are in NZ Factory Frames do some awesome ones for this size - no I'm not connected to them at all, just LOVE their frames! ;) )

SO what do you have to do? It's simple, I promise! AND to keep things fair, it's open worldwide.
1. First of all, if you are not already a fan pop over to Fantail Digital Art on Facebook and click Like. I'd love it if you'd like to say hi too, and if you have a business page don't forget to leave me a linkie so I can come and visit you too!
2.Then, take a look at all my prints, either on Felt or my Facebook Albums and decide which you would choose. Remember, even if the one you like is shown as a Canvas, Boxed print, Card etc most can be prints too.
3. Come back here, and leave a comment below telling me of your choice along with your name and email address.
Please remember to leave both so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner! If you are worried about bots getting your email address disguise it in some way, like by writing it with the @ like this (at)  that's fine! ;)

That's it! I'll leave this open for one week, so the winner will be drawn on Thursday 21st October. If you are in other areas of the big wide world, remember I'm in NZ so this may be Wednesday 20th for you...don't want anyone leaving it till the last minute and missing out! ;)

Good luck and have fun! I can't wait to see which you choose!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Felt faves!

Well I have been slack, I know, time has just been flying by and its ages since I did my pick of Faves on Felt so I really enjoyed having good old browse this morning.
Here's some of what I found, the talented artists and crafters are: riverbed, cheekpinchy cattaylor the stitchsmith bobbiepene and zippitydoodah.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Accidents

Don't you just love it when you have a Happy Accident?!
Today I created an image to display the Oyster Catcher silhouettes that I recently finished extracting from my photos taken on the local beach.
This was meant to just be a quick preview to see how they looked all together, and to show people for their ideas and opinions on whether I should go ahead and get them made into wall graphics. BUT you know how it is when you sit down with your craft, things decide their own direction, inspiration takes over and before you know it you have faffed around for ages and created something that you were not expecting. In this case a 'quick preview' which ended up being a little over dressed!
 I posted the preview on Facebook, where Melanie suggested that it become a print...luckily I had created it at a large file size through habit, and saved the layered psd file, so a quick change of the text, a bit of a tweek here and there, and voila!
I must admit, I feel a bit of a cheat to be honest, usually these things take hours, days, weeks often, to get from initial idea to finished artwork, and this was completed in about an hour!
I quite like it though, so I'm going to get a first print done tomorrow to see if any adjustments are needed.

What Happy Accidents have you had recently? I'd love to hear about them! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Freebie template - another view

I have been asked by a couple of people how exactly the free template I linked to in this post works, and also how to unzip it, and then rearrange the photo spaces, so I thought I'd do a little tutorial on it.
Here is the blank template : It is made as a 12x12 inch 200dpi file. 

When you first download the template, it is in a Zip file. Think of a Zip as a bag, if you are carrying some shopping home it is hard to keep it all together without a bag, this is the same with a Zip file, it holds the contents neatly together until you open it and take them out.
To 'unzip' it you may need a program, but if you use Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 these come with their own inbuilt program to unzip files. I 'think' on a mac there is a program already installed, if not you can download one.
Browse to the zip location (if you are not sure where you saved it to or can't find it you can search for it, it is named "")  Right click it, what happens next will vary depending on the program you are using, but it will say something like "extract all files" or you will see an option "extract to". Click that and a box will pop up for you to browse to the location you wish to save the template to. Again depending on the program you are using, you may need to make a folder yourself, or it may do it automatically when you unzip it. In some programs there is an option for you to choose whether it makes a new folder or not, but the default place for the files to be extracted to is the same location as the Zip File.  For this template don't worry too much about it as there are only 2 files, the template and the TOU/instructions so if it pops them down seperately you can always make a folder afterwards to keep them in together. Please keep the TOU with the template so that you can easily find it in a few months time when you can't remember where the template came from or what you can use it for! ;)
Hit OK or Next and the files will extract to your harddrive.  If you are using XP/ Vista/Windows 7 you can choose whether or not you want the extracted files to be automatically displayed when extracted. Otherwise browse to the folder to open them.
Open the template in your photo editing program and follow the instructions included with the template.

I have made it as one template rather than each photo space being a separate file to keep it as easy to use as possible, but you can chop it about and duplicate bits to make the combination of spaces that suits your project best.
For example, from this one template I have made several others to suit different projects, here is one of them:
For this I deleted the smaller square shapes, duplicated the rectangles and re-arranged to get a neater looking square grid.
One of the easiest ways to do this in Photoshop is to use the Rectangular Marquee tool, dragging it out around the area of the blank template that you want to duplicate, then hit CTRL + J this duplicates that area into its own layer. Continue doing this until you have the shapes you want, and move them into place. You can then use the same selection method to select the areas you don't want any more from the original template layer and delete them, or delete the whole layer if you have completely changed it and are not using any areas of it. As they are just shapes you can resize then any way you wish using Free Transform (Ctrl+T) in photoshop.
Here is another template I made by doing just that:
There are endless possibilities! Have fun changing it around to suit your project, and please consider sharing what you have made here, I'd love to see! :)

Credits for layout example "9 June 2009" are: Out Of the Toybox 2 Page Kit by Nicole Young and
DSP Audrey font from November 2008 Club Digital  both from Digital Scrapbook Place Store.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010


When we first moved to New Zealand and came across Pukekos for the first time I was struck by the beautiful tones of their feathers, and the way they somehow manage to be elegant and clumsy at the same time!

Pukekos are also known as Swamp Hens, they are members of the Rail family, which also includes the Weka, Crake and the endangered Takehe, (which looks quite like a big, fat, well fed, lazy Pukeko!)Their chicks are tiny, navy blue fluff balls, that hop along behind the parent Pukeko oblivious to quite how adorable they are.
 My kids were only very young when we saw our first Pukeko, and misheard the name, then proceeded to fall about it fits of giggles at such a silly bird as the "Poo-Kicker" You can imagine all the conversations that followed about why they have such big feet! Anyway, the name stuck and in our house at least these beautiful birds will forever be known as Pookickers.
When I started creating my range of wall graphics, I had to make a Pukeko, and here he is, in my hallway now ready to greet all our visitors!
 To get a better idea of the size, here he is next to my shoes, and yes I know they need a good clean!
And one last photo of him, or is he a her?! I'm really happy with how he has turned out, and also with the quality of the vinyl, it was really super easy to apply, and is so smooth and flat on the wall everyone can't help touching it and stroking it, and saying how they were so sure it was painted on the wall!
If you would like your very own Pukeko leave me a comment here or flick me an email, (fantaildigitalart at yahoo dot co dot nz) prices are in NZD. The special introductory price for this size (400mm tall) is just $30 but that is just for one more week! (That is practically cost price, so they are going to have to go up a little!) Have a look at my other shapes and word art in my album here Wall Graphics all orders placed before 18th September will be at these special reader/follower introductory prices! :)