Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29 - Layouts at Last!

I actually finished these last weekend, but it gets dark so early I just can't get pictures of them ... until today.  Today was sunny and bright, the first snowfall of the year pristine on the trees.  This is what greeted me when I looked out my bedroom window this morning!  And yes, I do live on a steep hill, this is Newfoundland!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

So no more delays, I used Sketch Support 2-Page Sketch #6.

I've used it before, I love it because I can stretch a single picture over 2 pages, for extra impact.  Here's one I did a while ago.  These pictures were taken during our vacation in 2009, while we hiked the rugged shores of Lake Superior.
Exploring Superior

And this is one of my new layouts ... as you see, the picture arrangement is pretty much the same, but I changed up the background ... instead of squares, I used snowflakes.  The snowflakes are all 3-D.  I used tiny pieces of foam to keep all the detail up off the page.
Algonquin farewell
Last year, while we prepared for the big move, and for my departure to Newfoundland, I knew that we had to visit Algonquin Park one last time.  We visited many of our favorite trails and we talked about our adventures.  Algonquin is truly a wonderful place.  These pictures are of our final moments in the park, before we loaded into the van to leave ... an Algonquin farewell!
Snowflake detail.

Layout detail
 OK, again the same sketch but I really made some variations.  I don't know where to start, so ... well, here it is ...

International Cruzin'
 During our 8-week cross Canada vacation in 2008 we stopped at Waterton Lakes National Park, which is also part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  We took a scenic cruise from the Waterton Townsite at the north end of Waterton Lake to a place called Goat Haunt USA.  Rugged mountain vistas surround the lake ... really beautiful!  And to make it perfect, a bald eagle soared overhead.  I used metallic floss in shades of blues and greens to make the waves.

International Cruizin' detail

And then the last one, when I learned that I would have to move everyone to Newfoundland, one of my first thoughts (or worries) was for our cat, Silver. 

When I returned from vacation in 2008, I was informed that my Aunt Marjory was found unconscious in her apartment and was in the hospital.  When I went to see her she was coming to grips with the reality that she would never go home again.  She begged me to go to her apartment and take her cat ... who had been alone for more than a week.  That's how I got Silver ... just like that I had another cat. 

Steve and I took her to the vet and found out that she had a heart condition, and with care she might last another couple of years.  And now more than 5 years later I worried about taking her with us to Newfoundland.  Well, of course she had to come ... I couldn't leave her to anyone else.  She was so old ... I 'd take her on my lap if that's what it took.  She didn't make it.  She died of heart failure a week before the move.  So, this layout is for Silver, my funny, chatty and always sweet girl, she will be missed.

I outlined the "squares" with white and silver sequins and grey seed beads.  I ran squares of photo paper and foil through my cuttlebug for some of the empty squares and finished with pink and silver bling-hearts.  It is SOOOOO Silver!

Silver detail
 I've got 2 more almost done ... using this same sketch, and another two coming along ... using different ideas.  It's still slow going ... but at least it's going!

Update:  Even more Layouts!!!

Rather than put up another entry, I'm just editing this one.  Sunday night and 2 more layouts done!

Again, Sketch Support 2-Page Sketch #6, for the first one.  I called this 'armchair Storm Chasers'.  We were supposed to be camping at Ivanhoe Provincial Park with friends during the summer of 2007, but the sites were pretty much all sand and camping on sand ... in the rain didn't appeal to anyone.  Steve and Jeff headed out to find a better site ... and came back with this ... a small cottage at Red Pines Lodge instead.  We all agreed that our visit would be very comfortable in the cottage!  While we were outside a thunderstorm came up quickly ... big fat blobs of rain forced us inside, where Jeff and Steve pulled chairs to the glass door to watch.

armchair Storm Chasers
And then this one.  OK OK, I admit that this one was mostly done before the move, but now it's all done!

I used another Scrapbook Generation Sketch that I downloaded last year ... it was part of the 5x7 package, but now that I look at it ... the photo arrangement does look like the others ... huh ... just bigger, no squares.

Algonquin Park:  Living Colour
Taken in the Fall of 2012, the autumn displays in Algonquin are always spectacular!

I've got 3 layouts with nice big pictures of whales ... I'm obsessing about them, they have to be perfect!  I hope to post them next week!  Thanks for looking ... Bye for now!


Friday, November 21, 2014

So, a lot can happen in a year!

I'm at home today, sick tummy, you know, the "I'd better not stray too far from home" sorta tummy.  And I thought that I'd spend some time looking through my pictures.  Well I couldn't find what I wanted and I remembered that I'd posted some of those pictures on my blog ... go blog!  I've never really looked around behind the actual posts, and today I see that 41 people have visited my blog, just today.  Whaaaaaaaa?  So I decided to post something new ... actually it's a bit of old and new.

So, it's been a bit of stop and go with my layouts.  Admittedly, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I want to do.  After a bit of messing around I decided to stick with one sketch only and play with it ... so I choose one of my favorites from the old Sketch Support days ... 2 Page Sketch #6.  I've got 6 layouts on the go with some pretty interesting variations.  I'll finish 3 of them on the weekend and post them.

And I've wasted a ton of time looking for stuff ... the electrical cord for my Cricut, the plates for my Cuttlebug, my sanding block.  Then I ran out of adhesives.  I went looking for inspiration at 2Ps and to my horror, it's gone!  So, in time I'd like to have a gallery on my own blog ... that's for another day.  I headed over to Scrapbook to look at their site for sketches and hey, they have a hole new monthly magazine ... CREATE.  That was a very happy surprise.  I have not looked at them all, but I will.  And each month they have free sketches, so I'm going to do some of those soon too.

But right now I'm going to go back a year ... to last fall ...

Oct 2013

Well, as I said in an earlier blog post ... I worked throughout the summer to move our pilot plant, labs and offices to another building.  I took 2 weeks off in October.  On the 2nd, I celebrated my 51st birthday.  Steve gave me different card than the usual, not the flowery, wifey-type birthday card, but this one .....

... I loved it ... but rumours of another deep layoff were circulating at work, and I wondered ...

Well, I enjoyed my vacation at home, spent largely in my gardens.  My order of bulbs came from Vessey’s.  First the garlic, Jean and I worked some organic matter and fertilizers into our old potato patch … and then we planted more than 200 garlic cloves!  Truly a labour of love!  Then I planted more butterfly weed roots, hosta and bee balm into the back gardens.  Finally I planted dozens of tulip bulbs, daffodils, foxtail lilies, crocuses, dwarf  iris, dwarf blue iris and something called glory in the snow into the front garden.  OK, Jean helped.  It was a lot of digging.  We covered the entire garden in chicken wire to protect the bulbs from hungry squirrels. 
And when I returned to work, well … the rumors were raging!  Some went so far as to say that everyone would be let go … and still I wasn’t too worried.  That is, until our Department Head called a meeting to confirm the rumors.  Yes, more layoffs were coming and they would be just as deep as those in June.
After the meeting the speculation began again … who would get chopped this time.   We figured that our department would lose at least 3 more people, out of 9 left. 
You know, I love my job …. I’m good at it, and I work with some really good people, but the constant fear of layoff, it isn’t good for us, it’s not good for productivity either.  I started looking on the internal posting board … something I had never-ever done before.  It was time for me to jump, while there were still jobs to jump to.  But there was nothing.
I worked to get the lab up and running, and then ran some priority lab tests.  My new office was huge, and I had more than enough to fill it … but I had no time to unpack, there was so much to do in the labs.
I let the stress get to me, and having all that Halloween candy around didn’t help!  I started to gain weight …
November, the Next Adventure is Revealed
Well, at least we didn’t have to wait too long; on November 7th the axe fell ... again.  This time, I was on the chopping block … but not really. 
Thankfully I was given a ‘heads-up’ a couple of hours before it actually happened.  My Department Head showed up in the lab and asked to ‘chat’ with me in my office.  I looked up and asked outright, “Are you going to fire me?”, and marched to my office.  We sat down, and he told me that later in the day I would be escorted to the HR offices and that I would be offered a transfer to Long Harbour, Newfoundland.
Whew … dodged that bullet! 
So after he left, I sat in my messy office … unpacked boxes stacked 4 high all around me … and I felt strangely calm.  Eddie, a long-time friend, poked his head in … he had also been given the ‘chat’.   He wanted to know my plans.  It's a funny thing, in just a few minutes I had decided on my path forward.  I had until the end of the year to transfer, and I was going to stay right to the end … December 31st … but with my outstanding vacation my last day of work would be mid-December.  Eddie too had made his plans, he was going to leave in a month for Newfoundland.  We chatted about moving our families and animals.  And we both lamented that our colleague Danijela was terminated, not transferred.
While I waited, I called Steve.  He was shocked, and really angry that I was transferred … and that upset me.
So, as promised I was called into HR, escorted by my Department Head.  It was awful.  All the offices were in use, and a line had formed … A LINE!  Not everyone would be given the chance to transfer and people were upset, and yes there were tears.  Finally I was lead into an office.
Now that the moment was at hand, and even though I thought that I knew what was to come, my heart started pounding, I worried that I would have a heart attack right there!  I didn’t expect the termination letter, but apparently that’s how it’s done!  First the termination, and that was a shock, and then I was given a second letter … an offer to transfer.  I wanted to talk to Steve before I signed, but I left with the promise that I’d get back to them the next day.  Meanwhile, more of our friends were terminated and left that very day. 
I sat in my office … truly it would be a relief to get out from under all the responsibilities, all the crap.  Steve called me … he had given it more thought was he was OK, he understood that it was a good move for me.  I turned to the boxes piled all around and spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting rid of files that I would no longer need and filing the files that would be needed by my replacement.
That night, while the dogs enjoyed the snow outside, I told my friend Jean, she wrapped her arms around me and we both cried and cried.  When she finally released me from her embrace, she laughed and said “What am I going to do with all that garlic!”
Long Harbour Operations … I know many of the people there and I’ve worked with them many times over the years, in fact I had a hand in training some of them.  The Plant Managers were very happy to take me … saving a job in research for someone else.  The next day I signed the offer making it official.
So, we needed to move to Newfoundland … The Next Adventure!  Geez I hated doing that to Steve, and our pets!  Newfoundland … in the winter!  Figures.