Summer’s Here!

I love the start of Summer! The warmer temperatures before it becomes too hot; the longer daylight hours, so you can still garden at the end of the day after work; the excitement of watching the fruit develop and ripen; and the amazing colours in the garden!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.40.36BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.40.27BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.41.26BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.41.36Roses love Summer too! Here are photos of the roses blooming this week :

In the Soho Bed :

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Lolita
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Mr Lincoln
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Fair Bianca
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Alnwick

In the Moon Bed :

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Windermere
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Golden Celebration
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Heritage
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William Morris

By the shed :

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Countess Bertha
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Archiduc Joseph

On the Main Pergola (desperately waiting for its construction and madly growing in the mean time!) :

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Devoniensis
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Devoniensis

And in the rose hedge behind the vegetable garden :

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Mutabilis

I love creating new bouquets from them all!

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Copper Queen, Blue Salvia and Catmint
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Heaven Scent, Copper Queen, Lolita, Just Joey, Icegirl, Dahlias and Salvia
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Alnwick, Windermere, Children’s Rose, Heaven Scent, Verbena and Catmint
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Closeup of first photo
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Calendulas and Cornflowers
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Left to right : Mr Lincoln, Icegirl and Lolita

The dahlias have blasted on to the scene with their eye-catching gold and red.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-22 17.18.07BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.54.02BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.53.47BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.52.32BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.52.05Their magnificent bold display is only matched in intensity by the scarlet pomegranate flower and the bright orange Calendulas. They are paving the way for the orange Monbretia later in the season.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.37.37BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 11.10.32BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.51.03BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.54.30Lily time is almost upon us. I expect these Madonna Lily buds will open next week. The blue and white Agapanthus (also known as ‘Lily of the Nile’) are forming great regiments to supersede the Acanthus, once it finally finishes. It is amazing how their giant heads can be contained within the cases of their tight buds.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 18.00.11BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.58.53BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.39.42Blue and white is also provided in the stocks and cornflowers of the Cutting Garden.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.36.36BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.48.28The growth in the Hydrangea corner is mind-blowing, especially when you consider how heavily we pruned them last Winter!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.58.05Nandina is in full bloom along the back path.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 19.12.41The Buddleias also responded very vigorously to their pruning with many beautiful purple, mauve and pink nectar-laden blooms for bees and butterflies to feast on. The scent in the air is beautiful!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.47.45BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 12.06.21BlogSummers here 30%Reszd2015-11-27 12.04.48 - Copy - CopyBlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 15.29.30BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 15.36.37BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 15.34.59BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 15.38.04The soft pastel blooms complement their grey-green foliage and wave gently against the bright blue sunny skies. However, these same pastel colours can also look very dramatic against a background of navy blue felt, as seen in this cushion cover I recently made for a friend’s birthday.photoBlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-13 08.55.34I based it on a fuchsia design, which I had made in a past lino-cutting class. The following photos show the whole process.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-07 21.10.49BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-13 08.45.07BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-12 22.36.13BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-13 08.54.30BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-13 08.54.38I also made her a matching card from the images, which I had googled and printed out to help me choose the felt colours, then laminated it. Yes, you can laminate an A4 card, so long as you crease it immediately after it has emerged from the laminating machine, while it is still warm and malleable!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-12 11.12.55In the vegie garden, Ross has removed all the old radish and lettuces. The Dutch Cream potatoes are in flower and the tomatoes are setting lots of fruit. Here is some of our fresh produce, which Ross harvested for one of his stir-fry dishes: our own onion, broccoli and silver beet! Not to mention Ross’s fresh home-made bread!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 18.12.51The mulberries have finally finished, so Ross also pruned underneath them and cut back branches, which were shading the rose hedge and inhibiting its growth. He also got rid of all the invasive poplar suckers.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.54.07We are very excited about the amount of fruit in the garden. We tasted our first raspberry the other day. As a good Tassie ex-pat, they really are my favourite fruit and it is so good to be able to grow them again and know that they are permanent. No more moves for us!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 17.46.47We also have 2 different types of plum in the garden and a bumper apple crop.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.50.01BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.49.00We also admire both our neighbours’ fruit trees : pears and apples galore!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 18.01.22BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 18.02.02The sulphur-crested cockatoos are already massing in the gum tree on our laneway, waiting patiently for the apples to ripen, while outdoing each other in their acrobatic wheeling and aerial manouevres. When we were in Geelong, I remember returning home one New Years Eve to discover the local cockatoo gang had stripped the apple trees bare during a drunken raid that same night!!! I wish they would stick to these attractive Duranta berries like the King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-22 19.42.47BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 17.43.51The galahs also love feasting on the Duranta berries.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 19.36.09BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 19.35.55

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in the Mulberry tree

The photogenic visitor below also enjoys our garden- hopefully for the beauty of the blooms, rather than the small birds! We think it is the same cat we saw on our neighbour’s roof, no doubt getting his own birds-eye view of potential feasting sites and a true example of a ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’!!!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-21 16.10.39BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-21 16.10.30BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.59.07BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.59.45Please little blackbird, stay safe! Get Mum to come and feed you in the tree!!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.39.26BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.39.35BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45A final farewell from our flamboyant Peony Poppies, which have entranced us for the last few weeks. Their blooms just about over and their foliage and stems brown and withered, we sadly pulled them out to freshen up the Soho Bed, saving as many of their drying seedheads as I could, despite Ross’s protestations that I only needed an ‘nth’ of what I collected!!! Here are a few final photos for the year! I marvel at the circuitous routes their seed head stems take and wonder why they make so many twists and turns! Life can be a bit like that sometimes!!!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.38.16BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.45.46BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.44.49BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.38.28BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 17.54.42BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.45.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Printemps en Candelo

What a blast! Not just the garden explosion with Spring, but it has been almost a month since I started this blog and I’ve loved every minute of it ! So stimulating writing it and so exciting getting out into the garden every day to report on its progress !!!

It has been a cold week – both outside and in our heads (!) – with a mixture of sun and beautiful soft rain, so perfect for the garden ! We even had a short storm earlier in the week, which smelt of Summer and promised exciting times ahead.Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 09.32.46Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 09.32.51Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 11.04.49The crab apple is in full glorious bloom and has been joined by a wild flowering plum, which is trying ( in vain ) to give the former  a run for its money ! (The plum is shown in the first photo- against the fence in front of the house,  left foreground). The giant poplar is showing tinges of green and the maples all have fine leaf cover.

The Winter Honeysuckle is looking incredibly healthy with its fresh new growth and the Banksia rose is shooting madly, as are the buddleias. All the other bare-rooted roses are well-clothed in leaf and look like they have been in for ages. Some even have little buds forming. The race is on between newcomer Cornelia and our old Soho roses Lolita and Heaven Scent. I think the latter will probably bloom first, but what they don’t realize is that the old early Hybrid Tea rose, Chateau de Clos Vougeot, which is climbing on the side of the house and was one of the few originals here, has actually beaten them to the post!!! See later !

Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1268Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1154‘The Bride’  has arrived (top photo) and even though she is young, her future holds great promise and her bridesmaids, the tiny Virginalis philadelphus and Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’, are developing well. In the Soho Bed, the lavenders, catmint and flowering salvias are all in bud and beside the house, Acanthus mollis spires (bottom photo above) are forming. They open white and a dusky purple-pink, which complements the house colour perfectly!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1153Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 10.59.57The cutting garden has been fantastic, with lots of new anemones forming daily. All the daffodils and my magnificent tulips are out in full force and I think the ranunculas might finally be on their way!!! Even the dahlias are coming to the party! This lovely ,blowsy parrot tulip (above right) has opened out flat, but is remarkably tenacious, retaining all of its petals throughout wind and  storm. The cornflowers are growing madly and the poppies are in head, albeit a little bent and shy ! I look forward to them opening up, once the weather gets a little warmer! Photos below include a new salmon Bokassa Tulip, shy Iceland Poppies, my happy mix of bulbs and the snowball tree gradually coming into leaf.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1170Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1168Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1183Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1246In the vegie patch, the raspberry canes are starting to get their leaves, the tiny blueberries are covered in flowers and everything is growing well. We had our first home-grown salad of lettuce, rocket and radishes the other day !!! I love it when the sun shines through the colourful stems of these chards.Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-24 13.09.46Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1255We haven’t done a lot in the garden this week due to this cold/flu freshening up, but the pergola uprights are up! Ross still has to fix the horizontal beams on top, but he did plant the citrus this last weekend. They will look good behind the moon bed and should grow well there in the full Northern sun The 2nd photo shows the order of planting from the cutting garden to the Main Pergola: a Washington Navel; a Lemonade Tree; an Imperial Mandarin; and a Tahitian Lime. We also planted another Lemonade, which was looking a little less robust than the other, opposite the cumquats, to form a colourful arch in front of the entrance to the Main Pergola. It will also form an arch (over the downhill path from the fernery and house ) with the quince tree, hidden behind Ross in the bottom photo.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1180Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1239Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1252Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-21 13.14.04 We finally planted out the stocks, now that the frosts are in abeyance, to replace the tulips and erlicheers as they make their departure for the year.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1256Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1257

We transplanted the strawberries to the berry section of the vegie garden (just in front of my neighbour’s washing line in bottom photo!) and sweet peas to climb up a feature tripod beside the chard (top photo on left side).Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1263Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1266 - CopyAnd we had visitors…

: a local horse, who slipped his paddock – I’m so glad my neighbour caught him before he munched into my roses and tulips!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0691Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0690

:a flock of acrobatic silvereyes foraging for insects in the new foliage of the maple…Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.41.56Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.41.20: a return visit from the Kings ! This super-quiet pair are obviously very familiar with Candelo verandahs ! I think I might call them ‘Oliver’ and ‘Twist’ !!! We are a bit tough on succumbing to their cadging – when they realize no food is forthcoming, they retreat to feed on the Prunus blossom, which is where they should be !!!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.12.01Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.12.12Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.11.30Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.14.10: The next-door neighbours now have two very cute  sheep to mow their lawn!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1236Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1197: And a very noisy ultralight did a flyover the morning after our late midnight French sojourn! Assuming it was red and navy blue, the colours were appropriate, so we forgave him!!!

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Yes !!!  We went to France at the weekend! My neighbour Anne had always planned to celebrate her 60th birthday in Paris, but plans had changed and so Paris, like Methuselah, came to her instead !!! It was a great night and wonderful for us to meet all the locals. Everyone dressed appropriately from very glam and sophisticated (not me!) to arty and flamboyant. If you click on our photo, then click on his neck, you will see Ross’s concession to dressing up !!! Anne had done a wonderful job with the decor from black cardboard cutout lampposts on the walls to an Eiffel Tower of fairy lights, surrounded by photos of her younger self.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1205Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1207We had a magnificent feast, with everyone taking a plate of food. I made a quintessentially Australian dessert, pavlova, but shaped in a French flag with the tri-couleurs represented by blueberries, cream and strawberries (see ‘The Sweet Spot’ on Thursday ! ) . I couldn’t resist adding our first rose bud (Chateau de Clos Vougeot), even though it is not part of the French Flag ! We very carefully carried the pavlova, down the hill to Anne’s place, on an old, but firm, blue plastic tub lid, then decorated the outside of the tin pavlova tray with flowers (white plum blossom, forget-me-knots and periwinkle) to hide the ugly cooking marks!!!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1188Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-26 19.41.38

We also took along a bottle of Rosé ( albeit Australia’s Jacob’s Creek!) ; a bouquet of red, blue and white anemones in a recycled jar of our favourite delicious imported French jam, St. Dalfour, (blueberry jam of course!), and a gift of one of my hand-embroidered felt cushions, based on French themes, in red, blue and white, with a backing fabric of a Paris street map and wrapped in tricouleur tissue paper, complete with a handmade Eiffel Tower card !!!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.19.29Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.17.22Here is how I made the card :

  1. Google, select and cut-and-paste an image of the Eiffel Tower to a Word Document, resize if necessary and print out.
  2. Fold an A4 black card in half and place on the cutting mat with the card join at the top.  Using a tracing wheel , transfer the pattern onto the black card and cut out.
  3. Open up the card and cut out the negative space on the front of the card only.
  4. Using a silver pen, mark in the girders, as well as the inside window, write your message and put your logo on the back. Voilà !Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0569Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0575

I have always had a love affair with France, so much so that I think, in the interests of getting this post published, as well as not overstepping the mark with the length of my posts (though I am well aware that I already have!!!), I will reserve sharing my passion with you for a Random Thoughts post later this coming month !!! But it is great to know that I have some fellow Francophiles right here in Candelo !!! Especially my front neighbour in her beautiful blue house !  Au revoir !Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0693Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0696P.S. Would you believe it? Our amazingly generous camellia is still blooming. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! She deserves a few more photos in recognition of her wonderful service and generosity !!!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0692Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0695

 

Ambassadors of Spring

September : the month when your spirits start to lift, the days lengthen, the frosts are fewer and the garden starts to slowly wake up ! Every day, it is so exciting to go down to the garden and inspect each plant for new growth. The blackbirds love it too!Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.16.47Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-05 07.50.21All the bare-rooted roses are developing new leaf, the crabapple has opened its first flowers, the Prunus has exploded into full blossom and the Exochorda shows great promise of a fine Spring show.Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.20.51Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-01 15.10.48

The cutting garden is dotted with colour and blue periwinkle romps through the fernery.Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-04 16.02.14Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-29 12.13.17 The Winter stalwarts like this Winter honeysuckle continue to delight.Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-05 08.29.43 We planted a new rhododendron under the Duranta canopy, on the left, behind the love seat, to mark the first day of Spring. ‘Bric-a-Brac’ (top photo)is a very pretty variety and should grow to 90 cm tall and 120cm wide. Later in the week, it was  joined by a ‘White Lace’ azalea in the middle and a Viburnum plicatum tomentosum on the bottom.Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.15.32Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-07 11.38.42Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-09-08 16.03.37I made one of my floral decoupage cards this week. In the past, I have used them for thank you cards, but this one was a condolence card. I was originally inspired to create them after reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s book ‘The Language of Flowers’. You can read a review by the New York Times : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/books/the-language-of-flowers-by-vanessa-diffenbaugh-review.html?_r=0.Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-30 15.23.28Its a delightful read and in the back, she has compiled a compendium of the meanings of all the flowers. I was so entranced with this notion that I decided to choose my card flowers according to their meaning and the message I wanted to convey to their recipient. I loved the way Kate Middleton did a similar thing with her bouquet when she married Prince William. I was also inspired by the exquisite paper mosaic collages  made by  Mrs Mary Delaney back in the 1700s. See http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany  and http://littlegreennotebook.com/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html/.

This is a lovely activity to do when Spring is just around the corner or when Winter makes one last ditch attempt to reassert itself ! Because of the time involved, they are very special cards for special people. And its fun ! So lovely choosing the blooms, then making up the bouquet- it appeals to my love of colour, flowers, beauty and home-made gift giving ! Here is the process involved :

  1. Decide what flowers you want to use in your bouquet for the card. You may choose, like me, to base your decision on the language of flowers or prefer to choose your or your recipient’s favourite flowers/ color scheme etc
  2. Find and cut-and-paste flower images from Google and paste to a Word Document. Resize the blooms in proportion to each other and print out. Alternatively, you could use magazine pictures or coloured papers like Mary Delaney. I usually make two bouquets, so I can decorate both sides of the card exterior, but really its because I can never make up my mind which flowers to use !!!
  3. Using a fine pair of scissors, carefully cut round each flower. It is often easier to use images on a black background if you intend pasting them to a black card. I use an A4 card folded in half and find black card provides dramatic contrast and shows off the flower images well.
  4. Play with the positioning of the flower cutouts in your bouquet on a practice card. This step is all really a matter of feel. I tend to have the dominant flower in the middle or slightly higher and work outwards. It is good to lighten the bouquet with smaller flowers at the top and edges. When you are happy with the result, take a photo. This is really important, as it provides you with a reference when you have to remove pieces to stick them down or if you foolishly turn on the reverse cycle air conditioner like I did !!!

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  1. Rule a thin border 3mm in from each edge of the card exterior with a silver pen and repeat on the inside of the card.
  2. When the ink is dry, glue  the flower pieces to the card. Work in layers from from back to front and keep a rag handy to firm down the glued papers and keep your hands clean. Its sticky work and you don’t want to smudge the paper pieces with black fingers !!
  3. Almost there ! Draw in the stems with silver pen, tie a ribbon bow and attach the latter half way down the stems with a hot glue gun. Don’t forget to sign it!
  4. Print out a list of the flowers used and their meanings and write your message.Your friend will be delighted to receive such a special card !Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-30 15.55.51Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-30 15.55.21 - CopyBlog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-30 15.52.55

Notes :

  1. It is worth printing out a few copies of your card, both in colour and black- and-white ( for tonal contrasts), as you could glue these copies to another black card if you need a  quick card another time.
  2. This technique could be extended to make pictures, paper fans etc. Remember nothing is ever a mistake ! I pasted  my second bouquet to the back of the practice card by mistake, so had to cut out the bouquet and stuck it to the back of the correct gift card. The wonderful advantages of glue !!! It is also great if you are not totally satisfied with the appearance of your bouquet !Blog Ambassadors Spr20%Reszd2015-08-30 14.14.30While we are on the topic of card making, I also recently made a never-ending card for my daughter’s birthday today. Using some lovely Kaiser Craft papers, available from Kaiser Craft : http://www.kaisercraft.com.au/ or Spotlight : http://www.spotlightstores.com , I assembled the card using Veronica Chamber’s technique shown on her clip on : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOSIHIQhjjQ.
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    Never-ending Card

    It should have been so easy ! I watched the clip a number of times and even made the card twice, but every time I went to open it, I ended up producing an empty paper frame and yet I knew I’d made it correctly !

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    The wrong way!

    I felt so stupid, but after fiddling with it the next morning, I finally worked it out ! SUCCESS !!! So its well worth trying, even though I’m still not totally confident with my technique !

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    The right way!