Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A collab and CT call!!

I haven't had a proper CT before and I thought it would be a good time to have one now. So, in case like my designs and want to apply email me with a link to your gallery and blog (if you have one) and a short description of yourself. I'd like you to create 3 layouts per month using mostly my stuff, post atleast to 3 galleries and to promote my designs on your blog and/or at forums. In return you'd get full access to all my designs. So, if you're interested, email me before February 10th to minsku04(at)yahoo.co.uk.

And, to persuade you to apply, here's a preview of the Valentine's collab kit I made with Brittney. :) It was so much fun to create the kit with her and it probably won't be the last collab we'll do together. The kit turned out sooo cute and is packed full of stuff. So, if you like the kit, it's available here.

Here's a detailed shot of the kit...

... and of the papers.

Since the kit is so big we decided to have it available as separate paper and element packs too. They are also available at Scraphead.

Here's a couple of layouts made with the kit. First is Brittney's super cute LO.

And then Marci's fab LO.

And, to get a sample of what the kit is like, here's a free add-on for you. It all coordinates with the kit. Enjoy! :)

Sorry, the link is gone.

Okay, that's it for now. Don't forget to apply for my CT if you're atleast a bit interested! It's my first CT call ever and I'm so excited to see all the applications (well, hopefully I'll get atleast two.. ;) ).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crocodiles, waves, mud and a sneak peek..

Whoa, it's been really busy at school and even now I should be reading for an exam.. ;) I never had a culture shock while being in Swaziland but coming back to school was a big culture shock. I've been kind of having a vacation for over 7 months so I guess it takes some time to adjust to studying and having loads of tasks again..

But, cuz it's much nicer to design than to study I have some stuff to show you. :) I've been working on a collab kit for the past few weeks and I wanted to show you a sneak peek of it.

I guess you can see it from the preview that it's a Valentine themed kit.. :) It's my first collab ever and it was so much fun to make it. I won't tell you yet who I made the kit with but you'll find out next week when the kit will be available at Scraphead. The kit turned out sooo cute and there's loads of stuff in there so it's definately worth seeing!

Okay, I still have loads of pics from Africa and this time I thought to show you some pics from two beach resorts by Indian Ocean. They are Sodwana Bay and St Lucia in South Africa and we rented a car and drove there on two weekends. The holiday season hadn't started yet while we were there so there was plenty of space on the beach. Sodwana Bay is among the world's top diving places because there's beautiful coral reefs there. We happened to book our accomodation on a hostel called Coral Divers that's a popular place among divers and they were a bit surprised to find out that we weren't there to scuba dive.. ;) We bought snorkels though, but the waves were so big that we couldn't use them, so we didn't get a chance to see all the colorful fish. But, the beaches were awesome anyway and it was so much fun, and a bit scary too, to catch the huge waves.

In St Lucia, there also was a small game park where we drove with our car. We were so excited in spotting all the animals that we barely made it out of the park before they closed the gates in the evening..

This time we didn't got stuck in the mud like we did in another game park in Swaziland.. ;) It was a bizarre situation to be stuck in mud in the middle of elefants, rhinos, hippos and all other wild animals and in addition it was starting to get dark. Luckily, there wasn't any lions in the park and none of the animals decided to come help us pushing the car.. It took us an hour to push the car out of the mud and it was definately a sight to see us afterwards all covered in mud.. :) And of course I happened to be wearing a white shirt.. ;)

There was also a crocodile park in St Lucia with all the different species of crocodiles in there. There was some big old crocodiles and loads of small ones. I even got to hold one of them..

Oh, I almost forgot to show you my latest layout. It's the first LO I've scrapped since coming back from Africa and it was a tough job getting it done. But, after a couple of days I managed to do it.. Credits here.

Okay, that's all for now. Don't forget to come back in a few days to see the collab and maybe to get a freebie too.. ;)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A trip to Maputo and lots of new stuff

First, I want to say thank you so much for your comments on my last post and freebie! It's nice to know that I'm not totally forgotten after being away for three months and that you liked to hear about my trip. :) But okay, I've got lots of new stuff at Scraphead and some photos from Maputo that I'd like to show you.

One weekend we decided to take a minibus and travel to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, since itwas only a few hours drive from where we lived. The drive there was quite an adventure itself as we almost got left behind from the minibus at the Mozambiquean border coz it took a bit longer than we had expected to get a visa from there.. Luckily, the minibus was still waiting for us when we finally got the visa and we didn't have to stay there at the border station for night or hitch-hike back.. ;)

Maputo was quite a big city with a population over a million but the city center itself wasn't too big and we walked almost everywhere. You just had to be careful not to fall into the drains on the streets as there were no lids to cover them. They were also dumped full of garbage, like one cemetery and lots of other places too, so when it was raining the streets were flooding with water as the drains weren't working that well being full of garbage. You could tell that the city had been beautiful before but now it was mostly dingy and shabby everywhere. Also, even though Maputo is located by the Indian Ocean, we were told not to bother going to the beaches as they were quite dirty and so we did some shopping and sightseeing instead. We also were lucky as there were the 120th anniversary of the city and there was a big celebration in front of the city hall in the evening with food, live music, dancing and fireworks. We were pretty much the only white people there in the crowd of thousands of people so I'd have to say we were standing out a bit.. ;) It could have been a bit intimidating hadn't we got to know some nice foreign guys who kind of acted as our bodyguards so it was okay. 

On Saturday, there was a great craft market at the waterfront. I just fell in love with African crafts while being in Africa and the market in Maputo was definately the best and cheapest we saw. We spent almost the entire day there going round the stalls atleast three times and bought our bags full of gorgeous stuff. We were warned before that the vendors would be quite persistent but we didn't realize how persistent they really would be until we had ten of them around us almost fighting who'd get to show their stuff for us and them running many blocks beside us trying to sell us things we had said many times we didn't even like. Some of them even followed us when we went to eat at a restaurant and when we left an hour later they were right back selling the same stuff. It actually got to the point where we couldn't help but laugh about the whole thing.. Even though Maputo didn't get to be my favourite place it was definately something to experience.

And about the new stuff... I just uploaded this fun alpha cut out from newspaper that will add some funkyness to your winter LOs.

And coz I like the look of stickers I created a Sticker Mania Collection that includes the elements in clear and white stickers as well as stamps. I've got four different sets available at Scraphead. First are these fun journal labels

Then there's this alpha. It actually has black and colored versions of the stickers in the set so you'll have 5 different alphas.

There's also some stars...

...and some flowers.

And, if you like them all you can get them as a bundle and save $2.

Well, I think that's all the news from me this time. I still have loads of pics from Africa so I'll definately have some more to show you next time. See ya!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Finally home

So, I've finally managed to get back home from Africa and have time to blog too. It has been an incredible three months living in Swaziland and experiencing life in a totally different kind of culture. Everything went fine, I didn't get homesick even once and somehow I even avoided having a culture shock. Well, returning back to Finland was a bit of a shock with busses leaving on schedule, everything being so quiet and men not asking you to marry them all the time... ;) But, all and all everything went really great and things were even better there than what I had expected.

We did our practical training at five different dental clinics, one preschool, a few orphanages and a maternity ward. We were a bit surprised to see that the equipments and procedures were quite the same at the dental clinics as what we have in Finland. Three of the clinics were private and so only rich people could afford the treatment there. Coz we spent most of the time at those clinics we didn't quite get to see the real picture of the oral health in the country. As Swaziland has the highest HIV rate in the world, 40 %, it also affects the oral health situation but we didn't manage to see that. Other than that our training went fine, the people were really nice and we also got to assist dentists and treat patients by ourselves.

We also got to watch deliveries at the maternity ward in the Government Hospital. Well, the midwives would have made us assist the deliveries as well but with no education for that we chose not to do it. The ward and the delivery room were really ascetic and the midwives seemed to be more interested in chatting with each others than assisting deliveries. So, the women in labour had to climb up to the delivery table by themselves, help the midwife in cleaning themselves after giving birth and also to walk and carry all their stuff to another ward just a short time after the delivery. I had never seen a baby been born before so I wasn't sure how I'd survive seeing the first one but it went quite fine as I didn't pass out or anything.. ;) We saw three babies being born and all the babies were fine and had thick black hair.

We worked at a preschool in a slum area for one week. It was a bit of a shock at first as there were more than 70 kids aged 3-6 years in the same small class room. The two teachers tried to get some order into the room by yelling and whipping the kids with a stick but the kids didn't mind that much. Luckily, it wasn't that bad later during the week as the kids got used to us and could focus better on the teaching. However, the teacher still used the stick every day. The kids learned mainly English, math, singing and traditional dances. After studying in the class room for a few hours in the morning the kids got to go to the playground to eat their lunch and play. That was when we got to play with them and I have to say they were the cutest kids ever! They all wanted to sit on our laps and when we took out our cameras they all wanted to be in the pictures and to see how they looked like in the them. Oh my, I just couldn't help crying when we had to leave them on the last day.. We also checked the teeth of some of the kids and more than half of them had bad teeth with lots of caries. It was because of their high sugar consumption and lack of brushing and it was awful to see. We gave them some instructions about healthy mouth and eating to take home with them so hopefully it'll help them even a little.

We also got invited to a traditional Swazi wedding. Well, it wasn't a real wedding as the couple had been married for a long time, but they were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with a traditional wedding ceremony. It was really exciting and we got to dress the traditional Swazi way too. The relatives and friends of the wedding couple as well as the bride and groom were all dressed traditionally and they were dancing and singing while the guests were watching it. At some point, all the married women who were dancing, took off their scarfs and continued the dance with bare breasts. It's normal in the Swazi tradition and so the only people being a bit surprised were us... :) After the dancing finished four hours later we got to eat. In the same morning the family had slaughtered three cows that had been cooked for the guests and it was delicious. However, I was glad they didn't serve the traditional meal of cow's gizzard.. After we had eaten it was already almost dark and we had to hurry to get home before it was all dark.

Oh, I've still got so many things that I'd like to show, like the pics from our trip to Capetown, but to save you and me I won't show more this time. I took so many pictures and videos that I have two DVDs full of them so I probably won't run out of scrapping material for a few years.. ;)


In the scrapping front, I have some new stuff at Scraphead. I thought I'd have loads of time to scrap and design in Africa in the evenings after it gets dark but actually I didn't manage to scrap even one layout not to mension to design. And I did't even miss scrapping. But now, that I've come home, it's been really nice to be able to design again and I managed to put together a kit even though it was all but easy. I got inspired by a gift paper and had I been designing this kit before Christmas it would have been a Christmas kit. Instead, I made it into a red and white winter kit and put the Christmas themed stuff I made into an add-on.

You can get Winter Glam here at Scraphead.

I really love the papers in this kit. They are full of glitter and glam and will look great on winter or Christmas themed layouts.

I also made a coordinating alpha for the kit and it's available at Scraphead as a freebie for the next week so be sure to get it.

And finally, here's the Xmas add-on freebie for the Winter Glam kit. I know it's a bit late for Chrismas stuff now but hopefully there's still some of you who haven't scrapped all your Christmas photos.

Sorry, the link is gone.

Okay, I think this has got to be the longest post I've ever posted and probably the longest I ever will.. ;) That's why I'll show you the rest of my new stuff next time as well as some more pictures from Africa. So, see you! I promise the next post won't be this long.. ;)