Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - out with the old

2011 in review ...

Getting old isn't for wimps, but as my mum says ... it's better than the alternative!  This year my mother reached the grand age of 70 ... she never thought that she'd make it.  Her family is very short lived, but she's going for it ... and aside from arthritis in almost every joint in her body, she's quite healthy.  GO MUM!

Unfortunately, we had to place Steve's mom in a nursing home early this year ... oh how she hated to go, and for us, the guilt was overwhelming.  She was diagnosed with dementia 5 years ago, and she came to live with us for a year.  Medication allowed her to return to her "assisted living" appartment for a while, but well ... some days she doesn't know who we are.  We had a nice visit with her today ... but not all our visits go so well.

Steve's dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's this past summer ... it explained a lot.  He was falling down all the time, and last Christmas he fell in a parking lot and smashed his head on the pavement.  Since he started on his meds he has only fallen a couple of times and seems stronger.

We lost Ruff this year.

We welcomed a puppy into our family ... Alfie.

Our nephews are all getting older and don't have as much time for their "Auntie and Uncle" as they once did.  The buggers are growing like weeds, James is so much taller than I am, and his voice is starting to change!

Steve surprised me with a road trip into Quebec during the spring to see the whales.  We had a wonderful trip and saw lots of minke and beluga whales!  Then in the fall we headed north for a week of peace and quiet in the wilderness.

I've had an amazing year with my scrapbooking!  In April one of my layouts was featured in GingerScrapStreet Ezine.  I was a Guest Member of the Design Team for my favorite scrapbook store, Two Scrapbook Friends, in May.  Some of my work was featured on Sketch Support during their Gallery Week in September.  One of my layouts was published in the winter issue of Canadian Scrapbooker.  Aaaaaaaannd .... wait for it .... I was invited to join the Sketch Support Creative Team for 2012!  It's been an incredible year!  Really, just incredible!

Now to my "day job", the one that pays for all the rest, well .... I've been challenged the entire year.  I've missed some of my deadlines, but looking back I know I did the best that I could.  I never slacked, not once.  I've had a few days to reflect ... and I confess that much of the stress is self-inflicted.  So in 2012 I'm going to strive for more balance ... and relax a bit!  It's going to be tough!  Oh, that sounds like a resolution!

We plan on spending New Year's Eve with friends.  The guys will prepare a sumptuous feast, we'll enjoy some carefully selected wine ... and ring in the new year with champagne and truffles!  YUM!  And no worries, we live right next door, so we'll not be driving anywhere!

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day ... I think that I'll stay home.

Steve is off to work, and I intend to stay at home SCRAPBOOKING!

Yesterday, Christmas Day was even crazier than I thought ... we were up early, the sun weak through the clouds ... chickadees perched on the suet, Juncos skipped across the patio looking for seed beneath the feeder.  We gave the pups some of their new toys ... most of the plush toys are empty skins now ... their stuffing removed and strewn all around the living room.  We got the pups ready ... us too, and headed down to visit family.

First we stopped to see Steve's mom in the nursing home ... but she was not in her room, she was eating her lunch.  She doesn't accept change well, so we left her gifts in her room and moved on ... All the residents who did see us laughed at Syd who was wearing her 'elf hat', she's so cute!

Then up to the house to see the rest of the mob we call family.  The tiny house was almost bursting at the seams.  Tuck and Syd were good as gold, but Alfie went nuts ... dashing around ... his tail cleared the coffee table, sending drinks and a huge bowl of mixed nuts flying!  Unfortunately I ended up in a corner with him on leash.  Even though both sofas were crammed with family, Tuck and Syd managed to worm their way up and snuggled happily with everyone.  I hate to admit it, but I didn't take a single picture.

Naturally I ate too much ... there was so much food.

So today ... and tomorrow ... I'm going to relax at my desk and scrap.  With Christmas behind us I can really relax!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve ... one more sleep to Christmas

Both Steve and I can't help it ... out of nowhere it swamps us ... our first Christmas without Ruffian ... and there it is, the loss, the sadness ... the tears ... ah, we still ache for him.  He was more than a dog, he was our constant companion, our trusted friend ... our sweet natured boy.  We lost him on January 27th 2011 ... cancer.

I love this picture of Ruff ... oh those eyes ...

On the other hand, this will be our first Christmas with Alfie, our goofy, crazy and always endearing puppy.  I love his eyes too ... he's smart, never as smart as Ruff, but I look into his eyes and I know he's thinking.  He makes us cry with laughter!


Hurray! Christmas Break ... it's here at last!

I'm exhausted!  I need this break ... away from the stress of work.  I am so not ready for Christmas, but I can't find the energy to care.  Yesterday, I headed out to do a little shopping ... the last chance before the big day.  We had some freezing rain putting a thin layer of ice on everything, and it was suddenly very cold outside.  As I drove along, the sun burst through the clouds and the branches of the trees that lined the road sparkled brilliantly ... it took my breath away! 

When I returned home, bright sunbeams streamed through the windows, lighting upon my little seed bead Christmas tree.  Each little bead glittered and sparkled, the tiny ornaments gleamed.  I've never seen the little tree look more lovely.  I snatched up my camera ... here it is ...

Little Tree

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy Busy!

What a good weekend!  I feel like a got so much accomplished.  Yesterday we headed into Stratford again to do some shopping before Christmas.  The place was packed with shoppers, but we got some nice things ... including some books for us!  On the way home we decided to head up to 12/4 (an intersection of country roads) to look for snowies.  Apparently they are coming down from the arctic, and there have been sightings just south of Guelph, but nothing in my immediate area ... I was hopping to be the first, but we didn't see one ... lots of hawks, red-tail, roughies.

Then we headed into Heidleburg ... there's a great little place there, farm fresh everything!  We arrived 2 minutes before they closed, but we got everything we needed for a yummy breakfast, eggs and toast AND a nice big roasting chicken for tonight ... I can smell the aroma as I type .... mmmmmm, can't wait!

Today we did some decorating for the holidays ... not much, Alfie just too crazy-puppy, and I can't trust him with a big tree.  I have a sweet little tree made of seed beads, so I dug it out, and put out some candles and mugs ... opps, dinner's ready, gotta go, but I'll be back!

Oh wow, that was gooooood chicken.

So, at least the dining room is festive!  I started working on my first assignment for the creative team .. I like the way it's coming together.  AND I finished 2 layouts that have been on my desk for months.

The first one is ... finally NO FEAR ... I actually had this one finished months ago, but forgot to journal it ... so today I did.  Seven years ago my husband was quite active with a cat rescue in the area, and he met a giant white cat ... this guy had lived a comfortable life with a family for 10 years, when for some unknown reason he was handed over to the rescue.  His life was one of terror after that, he was just too old to adjust to all the changes, he went from foster home to foster home, traumatized by all the changes ... but he bonded instantly with my husband ... so naturally we agreed to foster him.  Well, he hated me ... and our other cats ... I named him Bitey ... cause, well, he was very ready with the teeth.  But he loved Steve ... and got along very well with Ruff and Gem, so we decided to be his 'forever home' and we adopted him.  The adoption papers said that his name had been Frosty, so we called him Frost Bitey ... and he was ours.  It took some time, but he finally fit right in, he was relaxed ... no fear at all.  Sadly it didn't last.  Several months later we lost him to lung cancer.  I'm so happy that his last few moments were spent in peace.

finally NO FEAR

And ... COOL canines ... this past summer was brutally hot, so we took the guys to cool off in the best dog beach anywhere ... George Lake in Killarney Provincial Park.

COOL canines
 I like this layout ... it's bright and fun, but take a look at those waves, I put alot of work into those!  I love George Lake ... the blue-green water is so clear ... Syd and Alf spent hours retrieving their duckie toys. 

Oh, and both layouts are based on sketches by Allison Davis.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Weekend to REST

I'm so zonked ... I'm under so much stress at work that I'm not sleeping well at all.  I just needed to shut down this weekend ... and I did just that ... even though the first 4 sketches arrived from Allison.  But I'm feeling pretty good about that ... I'll have 2 weeks off work when my company shuts down over the holidays ... plus the sketches look like they'll lend themselves very well to some of my ideas.  So, well ... so there.

These short days make it impossible to take pictures of my layouts during the week ... it's dark around 5 in the evening, but I did take a couple of pictures of layouts that I've finished last week.  First up, Autumn Sunset.  This picture was taken during our fall trip to Murray Lake in 2010.  The incredible scarlet colour of the sky, reflecting off the lake was breathtaking.  Steve and I savour our trips north ... the quiet ... the peace, so restful. 

I used metallic paints, flicking crimson and tourquoise flecks over the black cardstock. It reminds me of stars at night.

Murray Lake 2010
And Dock Diving.  When we returned from Murray Lake with these pictures, I could hardly wait to scrap them ... and then Carolyn from Two Scrapbook Friends told me about some great outdoorsy paper that was just released ... Huckleberry Pond by Paper Loft.  When it came in I bought the entire line ... embellishments too.  I love how this layout turned out!  I used the weathered dock paper as the background ... I never do that, I always use cardstock, but in this case it works!

Dock Diving
I still laugh when I look at these pictures!  And now a close-up ...

That's our Alfie.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Eagle among the Swarm

I saw this video and loved it.  It speaks to me ... my very nature.  Just turn up the volume, sit back and let the incredible images and music wash over you.  It's a beautiful video!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2012 Sketch Support Creative Team

I am incredibly happy ... the 2012 Creative Team was announced today ... and my name's on the list!  It is such an honour ... I'm a huge fan of Allison Davis, I use her sketches all the time!  Third time lucky!

Here's a link to Sketch Support

So here are the layouts that I submitted.

First up ... Between the Pipes ... In Feb 2007 my nephew James wanted to be the goalie for his house league team. He worked really hard and got quite good at it!  The page is simple and easy to look at ... I like it.
Between the Pipes
This layout is based on Two-Page Sketch #21.

Second ... bring 'em all HOME ... My nephew Chris is an amazing athlete. Baseball is just one of the sports he excels at.  When the bases are loaded his team can always count on him to bring 'em all home!  I really like this page!

bring 'm all HOME
This layout is based on Two-Page Sketch #21.

And last ... "that BOY'S got some moves" ... Again Chris was playing for his first AAA Hockey team.  Even at the age of 7 he moved like a seasoned pro.  On one occasion, as I stood near the glass watching him expertly moving the puck up the ice, the man next to me whispered to himself  "that boy's got some moves".  I'll always remember that! 

"the BOY'S got some moves"

This layout is based on Card Sketch #11.

Our first set of sketches come tomorrow .... Bring it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's out! Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine

Yep ... it's out, the winter issue of Canadian Scrapbooker just hit the shelves ... and one of my layouts (sketch by Allison Davis) has been published.  It's on page 124 ... but here it is anyway.

biscuit in the basket
 I like this layout ... the clean lines, the simplicity ... it's easy on the eyes.  I love the metal foil in the diamond plate steel design.  I love that the quarter that I adhered to the bottom is a mirror image of my nephew Christopher's pose when he scored the game-winning goal.

Here are some close-ups!

3-D star
Hockey Quarter
It's such a rush to see my layout ... in PRINT!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Layouts ... East and West Coast

Over the past month ... besides the 3 layouts I submitted to Sketch Support, I did manage to complete a few more layouts from vacations on both the east and west coasts of Canada.

North Rustico Harbour, Prince Edward Island.  In 2004 Steve and I headed back east.  We stayed in the small town of North Rustico ... it was lovely to wander down to the Harbour and look around.  Steve was looking for a charter to take him out fishing ... we didn't have luck with that, but we enjoyed our visit.

North Rustico   Prince Edwards Island
The National Park is located near North Rustico, so we headed into the park to wander the beautiful red sand beaches ... the wind blew as we walked down the beach, my hair danced wildly around my face ... but we were forced to observe the beach from the shelter of this lighthouse when the wind blew sand up into Ruff and Gems eyes.

PEI National Park
And clear across the country to British Columbia and another National Park in 2008.  The Pacific Rim is renowned for it's lush rainforests and it's endless beaches.  We rented a tiny cottage just across from Long Beach.  We took the dogs to the beach and played frisbee with Ruff.  This is a very simple layout, even for me, but I'm in love with it ... it's soft and dreamy ... exactly the feeling that I wanted to portray.

Long Beach   Pacific Rim National Park

Last Fall Pics

This fall has been so nice I just had to post a few more pictures!  Just look at our lawn ... it's beautiful!

all the gang
Beautiful Sydney

Syd and Alf - Big Smiles

More Catch-up

We've been enjoying all this beautiful sunny weather.  We loaded the pups into the van and headed to Stratford Ontario.  There was no real plan ... stroll through the park near the river and then do some shopping in some of the lovely shops downtown.  We wandered along the river for almost 2 hours ... this is a dog friendly place, almost everyone had a dog or two ... but no one (but us) had three.  Tucker carried a stick around and threw it at strangers ... really, he threw it, hoping that they would toss it back to him.  People thought it was so cool, one couple tossed it back and forth with him for 10 minutes!

Good Dogs
Then we headed into town ... visiting a tea shop, a cheese shop, a toy shop, a bakery and a chocolate shop.  We'll head back before Christmas!

Halloween 2011

October 31st!

It was another warm autumn day ... the ghosts, ninjas, skeletons and witches didn't even need to wear their jackets.  We were flooded with kids ... and they all adored the pups!  It was Alfie's first Halloween ... and he forgot each and every one of his obedience commands ... talk about over stimulation!  He makes a super skeleton.

Alfie  "Bones"
Steve got Sydney a new costume ... a cutsie witch, all shiny and sparkly.  She's her daddy's girl!

Syd  "Witchie"
And finally Tucker ... last year he was confused ... this year he was much better, but still we had to cut it a little short for him.  He's adorable in his costume ... it was Ruff's, I'm glad that Tuck can use it!

Tucker  "Poisoned Peas"

Catchin up with Fall

Just wanted to catch-up ... it has been an unusually warm autumn.  I love it!  The days are crisp and bright ... our lawn is lush and green and the pups are happy and playful!  We spent many hours with the dogs in the yard. 

An old ... really old ... golden lives just 2 doors down ... his name is Loki.  Some days the poor guy can barely move, but these days he's all frisky.  He wanders over to our back door and barks, "Can Sydney come out to play?"  He has a thing for Syd.


Loki and Syd.  Tuck and Alf in the background

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sketch Support Creative Team Call

So, here I am again, submitting for the Sketch Support Creative Team.  I wish I could say that I'm confident ... I feel like I was too rushed ... I didn't even see the call on the blog until early last week (computer not working).  But I just couldn't let it pass without trying ... you know?

First up ... Between the Pipes ... In Feb 2007 my nephew James wanted to be the goalie for his house league team. He worked really hard and got quite good at it!  The page is simple and easy to look at ... I like it.

Between the Pipes
This layout is based on Two-Page Sketch #21.

Supplies:  The Paper Company, Creative Imaginations, Moxxie, Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper, Stickers: Bella Blvd, Brads: Bazzill Basics, Floss: DMC

First, I changed the sizes of my background pieces. Instead of 3 4x6 blocks I used a 5X6 picture, with 2 paper blocks 3.5 and 2.5 inches wide.

I reduced the number of pictures. Instead of 5 3x3 photos, I used 3.

I moved the embellished area under the title to the second page.

I stitched a random curvy line across the top and placed black brads along it's length to mimic the movement of the puck.

Here's a couple of close-ups ...

Second ... bring 'em all HOME ... My nephew Chris is an amazing athlete. Baseball is just one of the sports he excels at.  When the bases are loaded his team can always count on him to bring 'em all home!  I really like this page!

bring 'm all HOME
This layout is based on Two-Page Sketch #21.

Supplies: Creative Imaginations, Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper

I stayed close to the sketch. I thought the background needed something so I stitched a circle onto the cardstock using baseball stitching.

Instead of a stripped border, I used grass to continue the baseball theme.

I put a 1/4 inch strip of black cardstock along the top of the background blocks to help ground the layout.

I used some old die-cut baseball bats to embellish the title. I popped-up the bats and the word "HOME".

and here are some close-ups ...

And last ... "that BOY'S got some moves" ... Again Chris was playing for his first AAA Hockey team.  Even at the age of 7 he moved like a seasoned pro.  On one occasion, as I stood near the glass watching him expertly moving the puck up the ice, the man next to me whispered to himself  "that boy's got some moves".  I'll always remember that! 

"the BOY'S got some moves"

This layout is based on Card Sketch #11.

Supplies:  Striped paper unknown.  Cardstock Bazzill, gold metallic paper unknown, HP glossy photo paper.  Floss is DMC.

Obviously I used the sketch to create a two-page layout.

Instead of hearts, I used nested gold and white stars using the metallic gold paper and glossy photopaper.  I stiched around the stars with gold and white floss.  I popped-up some of the stars.

And here's some close-ups ...

... and so there they are.  I hope it's three times lucky!

Computer Troubles

We've had some problem with the computer ... I really DO miss the internet when I don't have access to it.  Anyway, I'm back now!  I'll do some catch-up later today, but first there's something important to take care of ...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend at home

We're both zonked ... it's rainy and cold ... and both of us have mild colds ... all stuffed up, sore throats, nothing serious.  I spent some time on my scrapbooking ... so much to do!

So, I finished this one weeks ago, but for some reason didn't post it on my blog.  These pictures were taken in September 2004 during our vacation to the east coast.  The little tour boat circled Perce Rock while northern gannets crashed into the sea all around us!

And this one ... I love this one,  While vacationing on the west coast in 2008 ... I took a whale watching tour out of Victoria, BC.  It was very windy and the whales were frisky ... leaping, cartwheeling, spy hopping ... we saw all of it!  It was a dream come true!

Whale Watching adventure
I did finish a layout for the challenge on Sketch Support ... it was late, but so what ... I already own all her sketch books anyway.  I used the card sketch to make a title page for my Vacation 2003 album.  Steve and I had not had a 'real' vacation in years, so together with some friends we embarked a Road Trip to the East Coast ... 2 weeks, 4 provinces.  I pulled out my distress inks and blending tool and my tattered angels mists for this ... I think that it looks way better in person.

Road Trip 2003
And finally, this one really fought with me.  I got what I wanted, but Murphy was working against me, that's for sure.  In Feb 2010 Steve surprised with a trip to Owl Woods.  It's a private conservation area where owls ... even the rare Boreal Owl winter.  It's located on Amherst Island and to get there you have to take a ferry across the St. Lawrence River ... the frozen St Lawrence.

breaking the ICE
I've got 3 more close to being finished ... a pretty good effort!

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Murray Lake

I love looking through pictures.  I've picked a few more to post.

This year we packed a big bag of sunflower seeds, another bag of shelled peanuts and 4 loaves of bread JUST for me to feed to the birds.  The Blue Jays and Grey Jays visited us every morning and then again in the afternoon to grab some grub to store for the winter!

Grey Jay
We heard the tapping before we saw it.  Although very common, I've only seen a few of these large pileated woodpeckers in my life.

Just outside our cabin!
And finally ... every day we watched the sun set.  Each night the lake lay before us like a mirror ... loons wailed in the distance, or whistled together on the lake.  This year there were no spectacular sunsets, but this was lovely ... very serene

Simply beautiful.
And then we'd watch the stars ... up here there is absolutely zero light pollution.  Billions of stars filled the giant sky ... even the big dipper, pictured here, is hard to find amidst that incredible star filled sky.  Across the lake an owl called, so peaceful, so perfect!

The big dipper.
 And finally, in the end ....


Getting back into it!

Thanks Lynette for your comment on my pictures.  Here's the thing, I've already gone one planned using the new October 2-page sketch on Sketch Support ... and I've got my heart set on the Huckleberry Pond collection to really make the layout pop ... and my local scrapbook store ... the best scrapbook store ... Two Scrapbook Friends has only got a few bits and pieces of the collection in stock ... the rest is on back order.  WHAAAAAAAAA.

But I've got enough to do ... again, I've let things get bogged down.  I've started at least 10 layouts in the last month and have not finished one.  I'm bad for that.  It's the final touches ... I never know if I'm done ... so I take it out and look at it ... push some embellishments around the page ... then put it aside until I'm sure.  I plan on finishing some off this weekend.  We'll see ...

The Sketch Support site had a challenge last week for a layout based on a card sketch.  I really wanted to do it ... I printed out the pictures even.  But I just have no energy after work these days.  Now I see that no one has entered the challenge, and I actually feel guilty about it, like I've let Allison down or something.  But I just can't do it tonight so I'll try tomorrow ... so what if the challenge ends tonight.

Where's Tucker?

I'm so embarassed!  A friend from work asked me if Tucker went to Murray Lake with us ... and that's when it hit me, I had not included any pictures of my sweet boy Tuck on my blog.

So, I've included some pics to show that ... not only was he there, he had a great vacation too!

Handsome Boy!
Tucker's not really a swimmer ... he'll go in after toys or sticks, but he doesn't swim very well at all ... he's gone under on us a few times so we don't push it with him.  Left on his own, he'll play in the shallow water with his frisbee ... too bad this one sinks!

Who NEEDS to swim!
In this picture Alf was dancing and skipping at the end of the dock with all the guys, but he lost his footing and fell in ... I think Tuck may have been laughing at him.
Whenever Steve was down at the boat, all three dogs went to check it out.

Whatcha Doin?

And more pictures including Tucker!

Syd with her duckie and Tuck

The gang's all here!