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!