Scrapbook layout: Cousins

When I saw these photos of my niece and her little cousin in our family WhatsApp group, I knew I had to make a traditional layout with them! I followed this past Studio Calico Sunday Sketch to make a fun, colourful page that celebrates family love!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - cousins

I picked this sketch largely because of the use of these bright and bold plastic shapes – I just love the big statement they make on the page!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - cousins

I decided not to include any journalling, and just added a couple of title-style embellishments to highlight the photos. I wasn’t present when these photos were taken, so I didn’t have a specific story to tell with this page – I just wanted to capture the general sentiment.

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - cousins

I sprinkled in some buttons, sequins and stamps among the plastic shapes – it was fun picking out what to include, though also a little difficult to know when to stop! I think I achieved a decent balance, though, and I’m really pleased with how fun and happy this page looks!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - cousins

Supplies used:

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Cherry-print jersey Bettine dress

I tend to go through a big sewing/crafting binge during the summer, as I usually have a few days of leave that I can devote solely to my creative hobbies. During the Christmas holidays, the first thing I made was another version of my favourite pattern – a jersey Bettine dress!

all the little happy things - cherry-print jersey Bettine dress

My grey jersey Bettine is one of my most-worn garments because it’s so comfortable and easy to slip on, so when I found this cute cherry-print cotton jersey on sale at Spotlight, I decided it was time to make a second ‘lazy dress’!

all the little happy things - cherry-print jersey Bettine dress

I love how the print of this fabric makes the dress look a little less casual than my grey version – I think I could definitely get away with wearing this to work on casual Fridays!

all the little happy things - cherry-print jersey Bettine dress

I’m running out of new ways to talk about how much I love this pattern and how easy it is to sew… but seriously, there’s a reason why I keep finding myself coming back to it time after time!

all the little happy things - cherry-print jersey Bettine dress

Scrapbook layout: You & me (two of a kind)

For Christmas, I gave my brother a framed scrapbooking layout featuring some of my favourite photos of him and my niece! I’m glad I remembered to take photos of the layout before I wrapped it up, because I really love it!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - you and me

I went with a grid layout (surprise, surprise) and kept things fairly simple, to keep the focus on the photos.

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - you and me

I also fell back on my favourite design elements for layouts featuring my niece – lots of pink, gold accents, and hearts! Since my embellishments were three dimensional, I picked out a box frame so that there was enough space between the layout and the glass.

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - you and me

This page was a lot of fun to put together, and my brother really loved it!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - you and me

Supplies used:

My favourite books of 2018

all the little happy things - favourite books of 2018
Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Now that the festivities are over and 2019 is rapidly approaching, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and making plans for the year ahead. As part of all of that, today I’m sharing the books that I read in 2018, both novels and non-fiction, and highlighting a few of my favourites!

all the little happy things - novels read in 2018

  • Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
  • The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

all the little happy things - non-fiction books read in 2017

  • Materially Crafted by Victoria Hudgins
  • Care Packages by Michelle Mackintosh
  • The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright
  • Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew
  • Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee
  • How to Invent Everything by Ryan North
  • Tokyo by Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh

all the little happy things - my favourite novels of 2017

1. How to Invent Everything by Ryan North
all the little happy things - How to Invent Everything by Ryan North
From the blurb:
Imagine you are stranded in the past (your time machine has broken) and the only way home is to rebuild all of human civilization, but better and faster this time. In this one book, learn How to Invent Everything. Ryan North provides all the science, engineering, art, music and general know-how you need, no matter how far in the past you’ve gone. Thanks to his detailed blueprint, we can mature quickly and efficiently this time – instead of spending 200,000 years without language or thinking disease was caused by weird smells. Along the way you’ll discover technologies needed at each stage of progress (from writing and farming to buttons and birth control). So if you’ve ever wondered if you could do history better, now is your chance to find out how.

Ryan North is hands down my favourite living writer. I’ve been reading his webcomic Dinosaur Comics for over 10 years, and we even have a dedicated ‘Ryan North’ shelf full of his comics and books in our living room. His latest book, How to Invent Everything, is not only full of interesting information about the various inventions and technologies that humanity developed to survive and thrive over thousands of years, but it’s also presented with a completely hilarious framing story – so you’ve gone back in time and you need to rebuild civilisation. His writing is both informative and funny, and the book itself is full of brilliant little details, from the Pocket Temporal Flowchart to find your place in time on the endpapers, to the metric ruler printed on the book jacket, to the hilarious fine print disclaimer on the copyright information page. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!

2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
all the little happy things - Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
From the blurb:
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace. To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Last year I read another of Maria Semple’s novels, This One Is Mine, and did not like it. That’s why I was so surprised to find that I really enjoyed reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette? The mystery of Bernadette unfolds through emails, notes, and other documents that Bee is reviewing for clues to her mother’s whereabouts, interspersed with Bee’s own commentary and narration about the events described in those documents. I love this unusual style of storytelling, and the way it shows that one’s actions and words can be perceived in a myriad different ways depending on the person who is observing them. The characters are quirky and vibrant, and the story develops at a nice, steady pace. Overall, this book was a pleasure to read, and I’m glad I gave Maria Semple another chance!

3. The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever by Jamie Wright
all the little happy things - The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright
From the blurb:
As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous, punk-ass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a missionary. Yet she is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage push her through the doors of a suburban megachurch and onto a collision course with Jesus.
Before long, Jamie sets off with her family for the green fields of Costa Rica, where they plan to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and others, she soon loses confidence in the entire missionary enterprise.
In the clutches of a dark funk, she decides to take a huge risk. She will tell the whole truth, starting with herself.
She launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, to chronicle the everyday dumbness, hilarious ineptitudes, and downright disasters of a wannabe world-changer who would rather just stay in bed. In a surprising twist, Jamie’s blog wins a large and passionate following, suggesting that maybe a “bad” missionary – awkward, doubtful, and bare-butt honest – is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need. Funny, outrageous, and pitch-perfect, The Very Worst Missionary is a memoir for the frustrated idealist in all of us.

I found Jamie Wright’s blog a couple of years ago, and loved the unflinching, unfiltered, and honest way she took on faith, life, and Christian culture. My husband Dannii bought this book for me as a gift, and I really loved it. It’s written in Jamie’s signature conversational style, making it easy to read, but it’s probably the most searing and real book on faith that I’ve ever read. Jamie doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of being a human in this world, and the different type of ugliness that pervades the modern Western church, and I found myself nodding and thinking “Yes, girl” as I read about her battles with both. This was probably the book that gave me the most to think about this year, and for that I’m very grateful.

That’s it for 2018! I’m looking forward to a new year of reading – the first book I’ve got lined up for 2019 is Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. What were your favourite books of 2018, and what’s on your reading list for 2019?

Miniature Christmas scene in a lantern!

Our Christmas decor this year has been a couple of years in the making, and I’m so excited that I finally pulled it off! I had this idea two years ago, and spent the intervening time slowly gathering all the bits and pieces I needed to make this sweet little miniature Christmas scene in a lantern!

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

The porcelain houses were on sale from Kikki.K a couple of years ago, and the alphabet lights were from Typo… but obviously the main centrepiece is the lantern!

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

I originally wanted to have a bigger living room set-up, with a Christmas tree, but given the limited space inside the lantern, I ended up going with a little sitting-room-inspired layout, complete with a miniature tabletop Christmas tree and a couple of festive garlands! Most things are 1:12 scale (the Christmas card garland being the notable exception, but I wanted the designs to be more visible!). The lantern itself is from IKEA; the gold tinsel around the outside is from Miniature Co, and the 5m copper wire lights were from Typo. The bauble decoration on the front of the lantern was something I had in my gift wrapping box – I attached it to the top of the lantern using twist ties.

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

This little lantern is a mix of purchased miniatures and pieces I made myself. It took me a long, long time to collect all the things I wanted for this scene, and I’m glad I was patient and waited to get the perfect pieces!

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

The mid-century-inspired chair was from M for Miniatures, and was one of the first things I bought! I made the little Christmas cushion by hand-sewing some wide tartan ribbon and stuffing it with tiny scraps of cotton batting left over from a quilting project.

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

The end table and cup and saucer were from Miniature Co – it’s technically a cup of coffee, but I prefer to think of it as a cup of hot chocolate or a tea latte! The tabletop Christmas tree from Dinky World was the most expensive miniature I purchased, but I really love the way it completes the scene. I made the little candle by sandwiching a frayed piece of gold thread between two pieces of white foam, which I cut from some white foam alphabet stickers. Then I glued it all down onto a wooden star that came in a past Studio Calico kit.

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

The Christmas card garland was made by downloading some free Christmas card designs, printing them in miniature, and attaching them to gold thread. The gold garland is just some sequin trim I had leftover from a past project. The curtains were a bit of a labour of love, though – I used some scrap silk that I had from cutting the sleeves off an old silk shirt, then sewed a hem at the bottom and a channel for the curtain rod at the top. Similar to what Mandi Johnson did for her dollhouse living room curtains, I then laid out the curtain panels on some cardboard, gathered the panels using pins to secure, and since I didn’t have any spray starch, I just sprayed the gathered panels with strong hold hairspray and let them dry. You can still see some of the pin pricks because I didn’t use silk pins, but I’m not really bothered by it. The curtain rod is just a skewer that I measured and cut to size.

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

The rug is from Green Gypsies, and I love the pattern and colours on it! I made the wooden floorboards myself out of coffee stirrer sticks. First I carefully cut the stirrer sticks to size using scissors – I tried using an exacto knife, but found that scissors were much easier! To get the colour I wanted, I painted the cut sticks with a bit of black coffee to get them damp and a bit darker, then pressed the tops and the edges into a Versafine ‘vintage sepia’ ink pad. Once they were all dry, I glued them down onto a piece of cardboard cut to size, painted on a layer of ModPodge to seal everything and give it a bit of shine, then popped the flooring into the lantern. I’m so proud of how the floor turned out, even if you can only see a little bit of it around the edges of the rug!

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

My sweet little miniature scene has pride of place in the centre of our huge shelving unit in our lounge room, and I love how it looks all lit up in the evenings! I spent a couple of hours painstakingly winding the copper wire lights in and out of the gaps in the top of the lantern, and I’m glad I took the time to do that – the lights look so good, as if the lantern is lit from inside as well as outside!

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

This is my favourite project of 2018 – it’s so gratifying when you can finally complete something you’ve been planning and imagining for years! I’m looking forward to making this little lantern an official part of our annual Christmas decorating – and the best part is that I can always change up the furniture and accessories to keep it fresh.

all the little happy things - Christmas lantern scene

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday! Merry Christmas!

Project Life – November pages

It’s time for my last Project Life post for 2018 – my November pages! By the time I’m ready to share my December pages, it will already be 2019, and I’m already working on setting up my album for 2019… 2018 has really flown by!

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

Green is not a colour I use very frequently in my Project Life pages, but I love all the pops of green on this title page! It was also fun to use these before/after photos from when I got my hair coloured purple-black.

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

For this page all about things that happened at work, I chose journal cards that complimented my handmade Megan dress – warm colours and geometric prints.

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

This page was a celebration of all the things I bought from independent makers this month. I love buying from local and Australian makers, and it was fun to create a page that brought together some of the business cards and packaging from things I’d purchased this month.

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

I made most of the journal cards on this page using Becky Higgins index cards. Since the photos were pretty busy and bright, I figured it would be better to use more white/negative space in the journal cards. Couldn’t resist adding a few pops of colour with washi tape, though!

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

I think I’m definitely in the ‘less is more’ camp when it comes to embellishments – I’ll generally always opt for a single centred dimensional sticker rather than clusters of different stickers or die cuts, because I like the way that single embellishment will stand out on the page.

all the little happy things - Project Life 2018 - November

For this page, I kept the focus on the words + pictures by choosing fairly simple journal cards and just a couple of chipboard stickers.

And that’s it for November! I hope you enjoyed this little look at last month’s pages – stay tuned for the last of my 2018 Project Life pages, which I’ll post sometime in January!

Scrapbook layout – Everyday magic

It’s time for yet another traditional layout! I had some pictures of my niece that I knew I wanted to use in a layout, but I didn’t have a specific story that I wanted to tell with them. I wasn’t totally sure what to do, so I ended up following this sketch from the Studio Calico blog pretty closely, and used a lot of ‘everyday exploring’-themed stamps and some general sentiments to add words to the page.

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - everyday magic

I haven’t combined stamps all on one page like this before, and I really like the effect – I definitely want to experiment more with my collection of stamps in the future!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - everyday magic

I love how all the white space makes this layout look clean and simple, and allows the colours to stand out. The original layout the sketch is based on layered washi tapes to make a uniquely patterned line to divide the page, and I thought that was a very cool idea so I did the same. I like that the gold foil is repeated on the sentiment strips, and even the edges of the enamel sticker.

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - everyday magic

I’m really happy with how this page turned out! It’s worked out as kind of a love letter to my niece, with the grey and gold sentiment strips being an expression of my hopes for her. One of my favourite layouts to date, for sure!

all the little happy things - scrapbook layout - everyday magic

Supplies used: