Saturday, August 27, 2011

A New Blog Challenge!

Back at working the night shifts this weekend and that means even more spare time to work on blog posts!

I would say about 2 months ago some scrappy sisters of mine over at Crafty Enablers had mentioned these really great youtube tutorials on Distress Inks. I went over to check them out and proceeded to watch the whole 12 tutorial series in a weekend. Seriously, if you've ever been interested in learning about Distress inks or need to see them in action you have to check out Britta Swiderski's No Stress Distress Inks Tutorials on her youtube channel! I was so anxious to get started and give them a try so I immediately went ahead and ordered some colours from Crafts to Favor. I coulnd't believe that right after seeing these tutorials, CtF had a Distress Ink sale (perfect timing!!) In Canada one of those babies sell for $8.99 at the big box craft stores so to see them on sale down in the States for $3.30 was enough of a bargain for me to order quite a few colours ;)

To cut a long story short, I am now in love with using Distress Inks. I love how the colours blend and how many different ways you can use them! So after watching several more tutorials I then headed over and started reading her blog and finding so much inspiration there for cardmaking! From there I found the Young Crafter's Unite Blog and have just recently started following posts there.

This week they posted their first Blog create a card using an image that you have coloured in.

I decided to make a multi-page funky folded card with some stamped images coloured in using a watercolour technique with Distress Inks:

Colours at the ready on some wax paper I stamped my images with Versamark and then heat embossed them with black powder, then painted/coloured them in.

This is the first time I've ever watercoloured before and I know I will definitely be doing this again! I love how it turned out!

Here's the front cover of the card:

Opened to 1st page:

2nd Page:

And the last page: (I left the very last square blank so I have room to write a message)

Here's what I used to make my card:
-Recollections Cardstock in Grey
-Distress Inks (Tattered Rose, Worn Lipstick, Peeled Paint, Crushed Olive, Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade, Tea Dye, Vintage Photo, Broken China, Stormy Sky)
-Sizzix Texture Boutique with Damask embossing folder
-Hero Arts clear stamps, Everyday Sayings
-We R Memory Keepers Crop-a-dile and eyelets

I had so much fun with this challenge and look forward to what they have in store next! If you get a chance head on over and check out their blog!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Doodlebug Projects

I took it upon myself to apply for the Design Team Call over at Doodlebug Designs. I never in a million years think my work is ever "good" enough to share publicly but I do have fun applying anyways. I'm learning about Design Team Applications and writing out bios and fun things like that so whether I'm chosen for a spot (Oh my goodness that would be an amazing dream come true) or not I am happy to apply and see what happens :)

For my application I have to include 2 greeting cards, 1 layout and 1 home decor item. This is what I came up with:

For Home Decor I made this Wreath made from knotted ribbon. The colours remind me of Fall or Back to School and it was a quick and easy home project to put together.

For the wreath, I used all Doodlebug Ribbon (except the red bow on the top)
-Primary Polka dot Organdy
-Boy o Boy Polka dot Organdy
-Ladybug/Bon Bon Gingham
-Beetle Black/Blue Jean Gingham
-Boy o Boy Striped Grosgrain
-Primary Striped Grosgrain
-Ladybug Rick Rack
-Bumblebee Rick Rack

For the 2 greeting cards I tried to use the same papers but make 2 very different cards. All the paper I have by Doodlebug is from their Cold Spell Line.
The first card I made was a winter card. I used some stickers as masks for the background using inks and then embellished with some snowmen, snowflakes and baker's twine.

My Happy Winter to You Card materials were:
-Doodlebug paper from Cold Spell, Blizzard
-Doodlebug Cold Spell Cardstock Stickers
-Doodlebug Swimming Pool Simply Sweet Mini Rub ons
-Distress Ink in Stormy Sky
-Distress Ink in Chipped Sapphire
-Distress Ink in Dusty Concord
-Baker's Twine from The Twinery in Caribbean

My next card I wanted to do something different so, using my Silhouette SD I cut out quite a few butterfly shapes and made a very simple Get Well Soon Card.

This is what I used:
-Doddlebug paper from Cold Spell, Frosty Dot
-Imaginisce iRock gems
-Hero Arts Everyday Sayings stamps
-Silhouette SD

Last but not least is a scrapbook layout. This layout was for the DT Application but it was also an opportunity to use some new products from Kiwi Lane Designs . Their templates were really easy to use and lots of fun to create with!

The butterfly was an extra that didn't really "go" on the gretting card and the paper flower was made by rolling up strips of cut paper. and I used my Sew Easy tool to add some stitching to the top right corner. The materials I used were:
-Doodlebug Paper from Cold Spell, Frosty Dot
-Doddlebug Paper Cardstock, Swimming Pool Dot Grid
-Pebbles Chips in Baby Blue
-Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Sugar Maple
-Kiwi Lane Design Templates, Cascade Trails
-We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy, Zig Zag Stitch
-Stickles in Diamond

Memories in a Shadow Box

My sister's wedding was quickly approaching and although Dan and I had already picked up the newlywed's wedding present several months ago (Paderno Pots and Pans) I really wanted to make something of my own to give to Rachel and Alex that held some meaning to them.

A group of online scrappers that I'm part of were chatting about wedding presents a week before the wedding and a few creative ladies had mentioned that a decorated shadow box with the wedding invitation inside can be a lovely gift and keepsake. Thank goodness I had kept Rachel and Alex's invitation, what a great idea! With my creative juices flowing I headed to the craft store to pick up the supplies I'd need.

This is the very first shadow box project I've done, so I wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out. I figured because no one knew I was making one, if it didn't turn out pretty then I need not give it away ;)

First I covered the shadow box backing with some sparkly and lacy paper. I'm not sure what kind of paper it is as it wasn't opaque but wasn't really translucent like vellum. It was very fibrous as well, but gorgeous!

Using a piece of green cardstock that very nearly matched the green in the invitation I cut out a piece to use a border.

Once the invitation was adhered to the backing, I started to mess around with some embellishments. At the store I found these Cherry Tree Branches by Jolee's that matched my sister's invites perfectly! After cutting them to suit what I wanted and rearrging them 100 different ways before I was satisfied with how they looked the shadow box was complete!

Here's the final product! I kept it simple and it really didn't take that long to make. I hope the bride and groom will enjoy it :)

New York City - Day 2

Our second day in New York City was just as busy and as exciting as our first. After staying up chatting and laughing until 3 in the morning, Sunday morning had us feeling a little bit tired but still just thrilled to be spending more time in NYC. Our first stop was Battery Park located on the very tip of Manhatten. There we grabbed some breakfast (for me a freshly baked NYC pretzel...yum heaven!!) and we waited to board to the Staten Island Ferry.

We rode the free ferry from Manhatten to Staten Island and back again so that we could cruise past the crown jewel of the city...The Statue of Liberty! Seriously, she is pretty spectacular to see in person and you really do start to appreciate how crazy huge she is!! The fun of the ferry was waiting in line with hundreds of other tourists and then as soon as the gates open make a mad dash onto the boat to find the perfect spot on deck for photos.

Another ferry highlight was one of the ferrymen. I mean for real, they just don't grow 'em like this back in Canada! We still believe that he was probably hired so that crazy Canucks like us on a Girlie Weekend in the Big City would go ga-ga over riding the free ferry and having some eye candy (like the Statue of Liberty isn't enough of a reason to take the boat in the first place) to make the voyage that much better. A huge thank you has to be extended to Jocelyn because she was brassy enough to ask him for a picture (you rock girl!!) I mean all 3 of us are happily married or engaged but on a weekend away we're totally allowed to look! (and take pics! hee hee)

When we arrived back on dry land our next stop was The Bowling Green just above Battery Park so that we could rub some Bull Testicles! The Charging Bull bronze statue now a tourist landmark as a place to ask for Good Luck by rubbing both the Bull's nose and jewels. This huge statue is located on a teeny tiny street corner and you can't see if for the swarms of people all vying for a spot next to the animal's scrotum! So of course we had to join in!! No trip to New York would be complete without it!

Another New York City essential experience is to tackle the NYC Subway System and live to tell about it. Armed with our effing Metro Pass cards that we had loaded up with $20 EACH yesterday (only to find out we couldn't use them on the NJ transit system) we decided that Sunday we would try and use up our credits as much as we could and we took the Subway EVERYWHERE! By the end of the day we had the Yellow Line completely memorized and if it wasn't for me lugging my camera and the map, we proably could have passed off as normal New Yorkers with the ease and comfort we began to use the trains. With the temperature outside reaching the high 30's we were just happy that we didn't have to walk everywhere.

We reached the Rockefellar Centre and in order to skip the high prices and line ups at the Empire State Building, we opted for The Top of The Rock instead. The elevator zipped us up to the 67th floor in under 50 seconds flat. Out on the observation deck we had a really fantastic view of the city only a block away from the Empire, had a great spot to snap some really brilliant photos.

One of our last stops of the day was to get off the subway at 23rd St and 5th Ave to visit the Flatiron Building. Built in 1902 it was at the time one of the tallest buildings in the city. Now, newer skyscrapers tower over the building, but it still remains a well known icon. Just like all the other places we visited over the weekend, the Flatiron Building, really is spectacular to see in person. It feels like you're staring at an optical illusion as you stare up at the seemingly "flat" facade. There's not much else to do in the area other than snap some photos, but I'm so glad we decided to hop off the subway for a few minutes to see another city treasure.

All in all it was the best weekend I've had in a very long time. We all love our families back at home, but it was a rare treat to shake off our responsibilities and enjoy some Girlie Time away for a few days. While we waited for our bus to pick us up and take us back to the hotel for our last night, we had to stop by Times Square one more time to enjoy the lights and see another, newer, NYC tourist attraction.....

Monday morning we boarded our bus for the drive back home, all the while enjoying looking back at our NYC Weekend. I had so much with 2 of the best girls I could have gone travelling with! Rachel, Jocelyn thank you so much for making our New York City Trip the bestest EVER! I love you girls and can't wait to see where we'll go on our next trip ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Right in the Very Heart of It....New York, New York!

Half way through our 2 week stay at the cottage I left for 4 days to go on a Girls Weekend in New York City! The weekend coincided with a few things, First it was a weekend to celebrate my sister Rachel's upcoming marriage to Alex. And when I say celebrate I mean take the girl out to the big city for one last Hooray before tying the knot LOL. Second, the Saturday we were there was my 26th birthday and a birthday present from my husband, Mum and Dad and from myself was a trip to New York, a city I have been dying to visit for years! To top off the weekend my near and dear friend Jocelyn made our group a perfect trio for weekend filled with sight seeing, walking and all around Girlie Fun!

We left bright and early (we left Almonte before 6 in the morning to catch the bus) Friday morning and we had to laugh at our driving itinerary. After about and hour and half on the bus we made our first stop for coffee.....we hadn't even left Canada yet! Seriously?! LOL I guess we had some die hard Timmies lovers that just couldn't make past the border without their morning brew. Back on the bus, coffees in hand we hardly brought the bus up to speed before we were stopping again at the duty free store just outside the border crossing. We absolutely hit up duty free (what would a girls weekend be without wine for the hotel?!) At customs we had a few illegal aliens on the bus (aka travellers from outside of Canada) so we sat parked at the border for nearly an hour and half before we got clearance to enter the US. so you can get a feel for how a 7 hour trip took us nearly 12!

Friday night in the big city was cut short when as we came down to the lobby all dressed ready for a night out a thunder storm hit and decided to stay for several hours. Plans dashed, we hit up the lounge for dinner and then took care of our duty free wine in the hotel room with some chocolate and cheesy rom-coms!

Saturday morning we were buzzing with excitement to finally reaching downtown New York. Although super corny we couldn't help but sing along to Frank Sinatra's New York New YOrk that our tour director blasted from the bus's speakers. Peaking through the trees we could vaguely see the city skyline, the Empire State Building towering over the rest of the city!! So Freakin' Exciting! Once through the Lincoln Tunnel we had made it!

Our morning was spent with Eugene our local tour guide who took us through the highliht reel of New York City. Times Square, the harbour front, Ground Zero, Central Park etc. Our first stop and a dream of mine come true was coffee at Trump Tower. Now Trump Tower has no significant meaning to me, however once we had our coffees in hand it was what was next door that intrigued me......Tiffany's & Co.!!! A la Audrey Hepburn, Jocelyn, Rachel and I drank our coffees while admiring all the sparkly things in the windows. Breakfast at Tiffanys!

A gorgeous walk through Central Park took us through Strawberry Fields, John Lennon's Imagine Memorial Mosaic, past The Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and more. An absolutely beautiful park, you do almost forget that you're in the centre of one of the busiest cities in the world. The shady trees cause the hot summer temperatures to drop and you can even hear birds singing. the only real reminder that you're still in New York is the occasional skyline that peaks over the trees or the hundreds of cyclists that you have to try and dodge!

Saturday night we dressed ourselves up and spent the evening on Broadway! A lifelong dream of mine, especially after spending so many happy years in a Drama/Theatre Group, is to go to Broadway! Just off Times Square in the heart of Manhatten on 45th Street in the Minskoff Theatre. It was there that we went to see The Lion King. A fabulous show, of a story from the Disney movie we grew up with. A Fantastic night, AMAZING show! The music and singing were fantastic, the colour of the costumes were vibrant and you nearly forgot you watching people. They had their movements and mannerisms so finely tuned it was like you really were watching animals. Seriously breathtaking and I will admit I shed a few tears!

After the show we could't resist heading back to Times Square to see all the lights! Once night falls the whole atmosphere of the Square changes. With the millions of lights it still looks like it's day time and it is filled to bursting with people. You can't help but walk down the street with your mouth agape as there's so much to see and take in!

This is starting to be a ton longer than I thought it was going to be....going to break off and make a separate post for Day 2 our trip :)

Born to Be Outdoors

I have been neglecting my blog for ages now and I think it's time for a catch up!

With summer very quickly coming to an end (my heart breaks because I love summertime) I look back and think of everything that we have done as a family over the past couple months.

Dan has been visitng Lake Opinicon since he was 2 years old, every summer and so the tradition continues as we took Oliver to the cottage for 2 weeks for his second summer in a row.
Like a duck takes of water, Oliver seemed to thrive by the lake and he is definitely an "Outside Boy". If it was up to him I'm sure he'd still be there in the woods playing in the dirt and swimming in the lake to his heart's content!

It was fanastic to see him playing with very minimal toys (proof that kids do NOT need every gadget on the planet to keep entertained) Oliver was happy to use his imagination and armed with nothing more than a bucket and a few shovels and boats, he occupied his time for hours making "Mud Stew"

About 15 minutes away from our cottage is Chaffey's, a small village that quadruples in size every summer when a population of boaters and cottagers visiting the Locks arrive. Every summer I look forward to spending time at Chaffey's Locks and heading to the Opinicon Hotel for ice cream. Walking through the hotel grounds I always feel like I've stepped back in time. All the original buildings, the hotel grounds reminds me of what vacationing must have been like in the early 20th century. First a boarding house in the 1890's and then a gentleman's fishing club, the resort has been owned by the same family since 1921 and it is the epitome of old fashioned grande vacationing. I half expect to see little girls running around in pinafores and ladies having tea on the lawn with their parasols. Oliver was a lucky boy and had his very first ice cream cone here this summer! With ice cream in hands we then stroll down to the locks to watch the boats travel by.

Dan spent most mornings and evening out on his boat fishing. Everything he catches that's a 'keeper' gets stored in our freezer so that we can enjoy fish all year round. Oliver was a little too eager to join in, but alas maybe when he is a little older and able to swim ;)

A summer present from Nana and Grandad, Oliver was able to really enjoy cottage country with his very own Adirondak chair and table that was just the perfect size of little boys! every morning he would eat his breakfast on his "big boy" chair and watch the boats passing by. In the evening he would enjoy his dessert after dinner and watch the sun go down with Mummy and Daddy.

Truly another fabulous year at the cottage, this year marks my sixth summer there and I can't imagine not spending a summer there. When we returned home it seemed Oliver was a completely different little boy. He has learned so much and "grown up" so much since spending his time outdoors. He learned so many new words, let his imagination stretch and proved to Dan and I that we have a very clever and very adventurous little boy on our hands!

I coulnd't help but add a photo from last summer to show how much has changed in a year!