Dec 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a holiday filled with hope, peace, joy and much love.

For my part, I am feeling richly blessed, very loved and deeply content:0) Life is good... And because things are so hectic in December, this is the total Christmas card production for 2011. I am making it my goal to think of cards in November next year when I only think things are crazy, but really have no idea what's going to hit me yet!!!!! Suffice to say that if you got one, you are very extra special (and if you didn't I still love you!!!! Don't fret:D)

It is impossible to tell from this last minute iphone picture I took seconds before gifts and cards were delivered, but the card background is made with the fun stamp/embossing folder combos created by a Sizzix/Hero Arts partnership.  The holly vines were embossed, then stamped with Tsukineko glue and glittered.  Which is backwards from how they recommend using the stamps and folders, but worked out just fine for the technique I was after.  The Joy ornament is a Tim Holtz for SIzzix die and 'mover and shaper'.  Tag dies are from Sizzix as well.

Nov 6, 2011

Celebration of Local Faire

When it comes to food in North America, these are strange times.  The global economy means that the world is literally at our fingertips, and we can buy anything at anytime, regardless of season, distance or long-term effects.  There is great opportunity to try many things, and as food lovers, we have!  It is not unusual for us to bring home something from the grocery store that we have never seen before with the mantra "Let's try it!"

But I have also have a growing uneasiness with all this endless variety, and although we are still prone to regular lapses we are making significant changes in what and how we eat.  Personally, we buy as much of our produce as we can from the organic section and from local farmer's markets.  I am troubled by the lack of labelling required on meat and the fact that a steak (for instance) can be labelled an Alberta product if it was processed in Alberta but raised anywhere else in the world. Not to say that only good growing practices only happen in Alberta and all other places use less than optimal methods.  Of course not.  It's just that I have come to realize that I really do want to know more about my food.  That global competition puts strange pressures on producers and leads to shortcuts with our food.  Did you hear that?  Shortcuts.  With our food.  

I have long been fascinated with the ideal of a so-called 100 mile diet, or the commitment that you eat as much food as possible that is produced as close to you as possible.  Maybe even get to know some of the producers in your area.  Possibly plant a garden of your own, or keep laying hens scratching around the yard...  City and suburban living limits your options, but you certainly are not without any.  I am absolutely not advocating a mango-free lifestyle, but I do think being intentional with the food you eat within your means and abilities can make a difference to the health of yourself, your family and your community.

As my awareness of the local abundance available has grown, so has my desire to capture the exciting options in a community showcase.  How? By hosting a 'Celebration of Local Faire' dinner within my community.

After years of talking about it, I finally jumped in and decided to act on it with great support at St. Andrew's United  Church in Spruce Grove.  Last night I got to live out my little dream, and I loved every minute of it!  I was a little concerned about what would be available in November; how 'good' can a person eat at that time of year? I didn't want to prepare a perfectly adequate meal for people; I wanted to create a meal that wowed people while highlighting the amazing bounty available in the area and supporting many local producers.  My hope is that providing an excellent, locally sourced meal would help get people excited about finding food close to home.  The result was a four course meal that I believe was enjoyed by everyone there; it turns out we can eat very good in November!  The information I learned while researching menu items was a gift to me.


Northern Mushroom Soup
(Local Sources: Prairie Mushrooms, Mo-Na Foods, West Country Herbs, Saxby Creamery, Birds and Bees Organic Winery, The Branch Manager Farm, The Honey House)

Quiche/Fresh Garden Salad
(Local Sources: Rhonda's Eggs, The Cheese Factory, Riverbend Gardens)

Saskatoon Stuffed Roast Pork Loin/Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Carrots/Sauteed Kale/Saskatoon-Rhubarb Chutney

Galettes (Buckwheat Crepes)/Raspberry Coulis/Whipped Cream
(Local Sources: Gold Forest Grains)

Tea, Coffee, Juice and Saskatoon Wine
(Local Sources: Chickadee Farms, Birds and Bees Organic Winery, Homestyle Beverages, Catfish Coffee)

(totally forgot to take pictures until dessert!)

Here are some Reasons to Support Local Producers:

Oct 22, 2011

Scrapbooked Gifts

This layout was created to put into a silent auction.  It is framed and ready for someone else's photos!  I kind of ended up liking it, so might have to make one for me.  The papers are Basic Grey, from one of their page of the month kits.  I never do the pages they send instructions for, but I did copy their accordion flower embellishment this time!  There is also some 7 Gypsies, Prima, Maya Road and Harmonie stuff on this page.

I needed a card to invite some special guests to a 'Local Faire' celebration supper that I am helping to plan.  (Sort of a 100 Mile Dinner, with liberties taken).  I went for inspiration to Twisted Sketches and found their new sketch #82 to be perfect!  It even had a twist of 'orange'- perfect for some fall leaves!  Supplies used: 7 Gypsies paper, Prima gems, Making Memories glittered chipboard, and Pageframe Designs for the card base.

Oct 20, 2011

Wanted: Child Interpreter!

Yesterday at breakfast, my daughter says to me,

"Mom, I think I should stay home from school today.  When I'm at school and Madame asks a question, I always put up my hand.  It just shoots up; I can't even control it!!  Sometimes I don't even know the answer."

Mom (aka Me!) is bemused, bewildered and curious.  "Why do you need to stay home because of that?"  A legitimate question, I think.

"So I can rest my voice," she replies with all the duh-ness her eight year old self can muster.  Which is a lot, actually.

Request denied (whilst stifling a sigh and a giggle).  Off to school she goes.

Shortly after she leaves, a school about a half hour out of town calls with a sub job for me.  I accept it, and hustle my way out to work.  Just as I pull into the parking lot, my cell phone rings.  It's my daughter.

"Mom. I really don't think I should be at school.  I have a sore throat, my head hurts and I feel sick."

Ah. Obvious, really.

Oct 17, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Trimmer

I have been a scrapbooker for roughly 7 years now.  In that time, I have been through many, many trimmers.  Here are their stories.

1. Like many people, my first trimmer was a Fiskars.  Compact, inexpensive and readily accessible, it served me well for many years.  Sure, it didn't cut straight, but my scrappy style does not rely on precise, straight lines.  We co-existed comfortably: without passionate feelings but with a certain understanding of each other and acceptance of one another's flaws.

2. One fine day, I was introduced to the possibility that I wasn't just a crooked-ass paper cutter.  That the askew lines may not have been all my fault, because even when I really really tried to cut straight, things happened.  Like crookedness.  And askewness.  I learned that it just might be my trimmer and not me at all.  After a few years of crooked, this was quite a revelation!!!! And so I invested in a Tonic trimmer.  It had a rotary blade, a pricier price tag and lots of promises of straight lines.
It was still portable, and could easily pop into my bag and accompany me to crops.  It had a cool factor because not the many people had a Tonic trimmer.  I was in love again!  Cue fresh beginnings, endorphin rushes, and slow dances in flower filled fields.  Life was good.... for a while.  Until the rose came off my glasses and I realized that this thing was actually kind of hard to use.  The extension arm didn't lay completely square.  It was unwieldy to get the paper under the paper holder.  The markings were hard to see.  AND! The tab that held the blade loosened up, causing my blade to go flinging off if I wasn't careful in stopping it before it bumped the edge.  I returned to my Fiskars which still cut crooked but was ultimately more cooperative.

3. AND THEN! I heard about the Purple Cow.  Everyone raved about the purple cow.  Two blades on one cutter! There were fancy shaped blades for the rotary end! It could cut up to 10 sheets of paper at one time! It was named the purple cow!  By this time, I was teaching classes and decided that despite it's large size I needed it for quicker class prep. Hel-lo? Cuts 10 sheets of paper at once!!!! And so I invested. I spent more money than ever before on a trimmer.

And quickly learned that 10 sheets at a time actually meant 2.  If you were careful.  If you cut real slow. It made fine, clean cuts.  Straight cuts even.  But functionally only on one sheet of paper at a time. And it was large.  So, it fell out of use and I returned to my aging, crooked but familiar Fiskars.

My craft area looked like a hillbilly junkyard filled with surly and decrepit trimmers.  I was defeated, resolved to invest in no more trimmers.  Until now....

4. Enter Westcott.  And compact trimmers in fun colours.  That work.  Like, as in, cut straight lines. Even for me! I am tickled that I was not too jaded to try another trimmer.  I am so pleased with it that I have even tossed out my good old backup Fiskars.  And my Tonic trimmer.  Like as in, kicked them to the curb!!!! I now have a lilac trimmer, with scissors to match and an attitude of gratitude for the good folks at Westcott who make such great tools.  Compact, affordable and they work!

TaDah! The glorious Westcott TrimAir Trimmer.  Behold it's purpleness:0)

I am so glad they came out to Canadian Scrapbooker's Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnival and gave us a chance to try them out. I am a happy girl!

Oct 10, 2011

Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine's October Sketch

I had some glorious unclaimed time today, and so I dove into some of my scrappy supplies and created a layout based on Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine's "It's a Sketchy Challenge" for October.  Follow the link to find out how you can play too!!!!

I totally enjoyed playing with Harmonie's Shabby Love papers.  So, of course, I had to scrapbook a photo of my sweetheart!

Supplies Used: Patterned Paper- Harmonie, Fancy Pants, Basic Grey, Mark's Paper Company; Letters- Prima; Chipboard, Ribbon & Brads- Harmonie; Flower Die- Spellbinders; Other- Score-it Board, Ranger Ink.

Now I want to see yours!!!!!  

UPDATE: I kept looking at this layout and was bothered by it.  Finally I realized it just wasn't done!!!!  So I added stuff.  NOW it's done:0)


Today I am thankful for....

You. And you.  And you!  I am richly blessed with a wonderful circle of family and friends.  Thank-you for being lights in my life.  For supporting me.  For challenging me to grow and learn and be my best self.

My body.  It allows me to climb mountains. And downward dog. And comfort with hugs. And be creative.  And give a nap spot for purring cats. And feel sunshine or rain, smell flowers- physically appreciate the fullness of life.

My lifestyle.  I have everything I need.  I get some of what I want.  And I have the ability to share with those that may not.  I like that our family has to make choices on how we spend our money. I am grateful that priorities lead us to family activities and extra-curricular enrichment for Avery rather than toys and electronics that keep us separate and insular (although we certainly enjoy a little of that too).

This beautiful fall!  Every drop of sunshine is golden delight to me!

My spirit.  I am grateful that I live in a time and place where I can explore the connectedness of every living thing, how to live in balance and harmony with others and our earth and be given opportunities to grow as a human being. And I can do so with freedom, without oppression in whatever avenue speaks to me.  In fact, I can travel several avenues at once! What an abundance of opportunity!!

Work.  My two jobs offer me an interesting outlet for my creativity, opportunities to make a small difference in the world, an invitation to playfulness and bring many wonderful people into my life.

Panning for 'jewels' at Prairie Gardens!

Avery almost went into the haunted house this year.  Three steps is better than none:0)

Climbing haybales=itchy underwear.  Now you know.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Oct 3, 2011

Cool Toy Alert!!!!

I saw this baby in action at the Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnival this weekend and I have to say that I fell in love!!!!  
This clever little machine is not just a photo frame you can use to display your digital pictures, but a photo printer as well!!!  The print quality was great, the speed of printing was excellent and the process to select and print your photos was pretty easy to figure out.  What a great addition to your scraproom!!!

And (because Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine rocks!!!) they have hooked us up with an exclusive coupon.  Savings, scrapping and cool ideas.... life is grand!

You are welcome:0)

Sep 26, 2011

Contented Sighs...

I have yet to wipe the grin off of my face. This weekend in Calgary with the Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnival hosted by the fabulous team at Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine was simply amazing.  I marvel that I am a small part of such a team of dedicated, down-to-earth and fun loving people.  The commitment and details that go into putting a weekend event like this together would blow your mind and the fact that they are cheerfully and energetically done is even more special.

Some highlights for me:

1. The layout contest.  I LOVE seeing people's creations.  Love it.  There is so much heart involved with this craft, and it touches me every single time I look at someone's work.  And the generosity of scrapbookers warms my soul.  They share their work  and they raise money for local charities (the Children's Hospital in Calgary) with such joy.  Love it.

2. The classes. It is just so special to me to see people creating away with such pride and intensity.  The classes offered at the carnival were filled with so many techniques and lots of intensity and I love how people dive in, soak up information and make projects their own.  And I feel so proud when I watch the instructors at work.  I know the care and detail and passion they put into developing the classes for the carnival, and I love to see them in front of their students sharing, laughing and just being in the moment in their classrooms.

3. The trade show.  How can you not love having such an amazing collection of stores to shop from? But it is more than the goodies on display that I love.  I love the passion these vendors have for scrapbooking and the sense of playfulness they bring to the Carnival.  They are so willing to teach about different tools and products and love interacting with all of the people that come out.  The scrapbooking industry thrives and grows because of the store owners' dedication to the craft.

4. The Canadian Scrapbooker team.  Jackie and Katharina are amazing.  A-MA-ZING! Caring and honest, they draw equally amazing and talented people around them. There was a lot of work involved in putting the weekend together, but even more laughter and camaraderie shared while doing it. My hat is off to them for making it all happen with such style and joie de vivre!

And the very best part?  We get to do it again!!!!! Maybe my still sore cheeks will be recovered by Saturday for Edmonton's show.  Bring it on!!!!

Sep 17, 2011


A few posts ago, I showed you the September Sketch for Canadian Scrapbooker's new "It's a Sketchy Challenge", and now I have my finished creation to show you.  This layout will actually be a gift for the facilitator for the yoga retreat I went to at the end of August- a little something to thank her for her leadership.  It is a very straightforward interpretation, but the sketch fit my layout needs perfectly with the number of photos I wanted to use.

Supplies used: Basic Grey paper, stickers and brads; Making Memories, Maya Road and Prima flowers; Martha Stewart punch; Prism cardstock; Harmonie acrylic shape; Zva Creatives bling; Clearsnap and Ranger inks and mediums; American Crafts letters and journalling pen.

A little detail shot of that cute little acrylic butterfly!

Love my new punch!!  So fun!

So into a frame this will go, and then get sent off to Newfoundland:0)  

By the way, I had to google 'Namaste' to see what it actually means.  I already had it stuck down as the title when I got curious; I had a moment of panic where I feared it didn't mean what I hoped it meant.  I learned that 'Namaste' has many meanings, mostly as a respectful greeting or as a wish-you-well-goodbye.  But my favourite translation was 'the divine in me bows to the divine in you'.  I like that.


Sep 16, 2011

Halloween Planning...

Avery told me that she wants to be a 'Vampire Cheerleader' for Halloween this year. "Like Draculaura from Monster High?" asked I.

"Sort of," Avery replied.  "But not really Draculaura.  She looks really cool and everything, but I would have to faint every time someone said the word 'blood' like she does. I would just end up spending the day falling over and fainting!!!!"

Ah.  So the quest has begun to find pieces to make a vampire cheerleader outfit just like Draculaura's in every way but name...

Speaking of Halloween.  We ordered some meat from an online company (Gourmet Secrets. Groupon made me do it.). It came by UPS and was packed in a cooler with dry ice. "Cool," thought we!  We can save the dry ice and do something with it at Halloween. We packed it into a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer.  Where it promptly puffed up the ziplock bag to it's maximum and beyond.... who else but us would have a dry ice explosion in their freezer?

Happy Friday everyone:0)

Sep 14, 2011

It's a Sketchy Challenge!

Oh yeahhhhhh!!!!!!  Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine has introduced a sketch challenge!  The gallery will be up and running shortly (even people who hold websites together need to take a holiday now and then) so you can share your creation with everyone, and get inspired by everyone else.  The first sketch was created by Guest Designer Jill Sarginson and you have until the end of the month to send your layout to the online gallery.  Anybody, from anywhere in the world!  And even better, if you use product from at least one Canadian scrapbook manufacturer, your layout could be chosen for publication in the magazine.  See more details here on where to send your layout etc.

I know what I am doing today!  How about you?

And.... It's WHY NOT WIN WEDNESDAY!!!!!!  This week's prize has been sponsored by Karen Foster!  It's the line featured in the passport section of the Fall 2011 issue. To win, do this:
1. leave a note here (under the WNWW thread) and
2. leave a note on the Karen Foster Facebook pageThis prize package could be yours eh?!?!?!?!?!??

Sep 13, 2011

Sympathy Card

I took a little bit of time to play today.  I needed a sympathy card, and was at Cathie's earlier in the week.  She was playing around with Clearsnap's smooch inks and her ideas inspired this card!

This is a little something that will be taught in the "Technique Taster" class at the Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnivals in Calgary and Edmonton this fall. Super easy, super cute and kinda messy- just my style!

Supplies Used: Echo Park Paper, Bazzill cardstock, Clearsnap, Ranger and Close to My Heart Inks, Maya Road pin, waaaay old flower- Junkitz maybe?, Clearsnap Design Adhesives and Embossing powder, Harmonie Accent Powder, Close to My Heart stamp, Sizzix die.

A little angled look to see the shimmery happiness going on!

I am pretty happy with the results. Card came together quick, looks pretty good, and I already have more ideas stirring:0) Happiness created in under an hour- even better!  You should be able to see the pictures larger if you click on them.

Sep 8, 2011

Canadian Scrapbooker: Webisode #21

Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine posted a new webisode this week teaching how to make a cute curled flower- a perfect technique to ensure you have a coordinated, unique embellishment for your scrapbook page or project.

Go to the Canadian Scrapbooker website to watch this video, plus all the others filled with great tips, techniques and fun ideas!

Sep 6, 2011

Totally Cool Concept!!!!

I love to read.  Need to read.  Life is sometimes crazy for me, and I don't get to read as much as I would like but I at least have a MacLean's magazine on the go for a few minutes reading before bed.  I read pretty much any genre, any topic and love it when I find something new that intrigues me.  Which brings me to the 10th circle project.

Each of the 10 editions is written by different authors in turn, and it is only available for e-readers.  What a fun collaboration!

ETA: So, as it says in the comments, the three authors work collaboratively on each edition.  I stand corrected! However it works, Eileen Bell, Billie Milholland and Ryan McFadden have created something intriguing!

Sep 5, 2011

Climbing a mountain...

Several weeks ago (already!!!!) I went to Canmore for a yoga retreat hosted by a friend.  I posted about some of the goings on before but I still wanted to say a little about climbing the mountain.

It was on the itinerary- this hike.  I was fully aware that this would be happening.  Aware in the way that you know what the words mean.  Just not what they mean exactly.  On the itinerary was a note to dress in layers for the hike and be prepared for all weather.  Here I am without such said outdoor mountaineering layers, but I figured that I could just see what the weather was before we left, and dress accordingly.  No biggie, right?  We'll see how the logic born of my innocence comes back to haunt me!

Lunches and water bottles packed, weather checked and convoy arranged, we headed out to a trail somewhere near Spray Lakes.  The drive itself took us through some stunning scenery and we parked at one of many nondescript dip-to-the-side parking spots along the lake.  To the left was the lake- that special glacier blue that never fails to take my breath away!  To the right a mountain loomed overhead, covered with thick, impassable brush.  I took in the scenery and tried to discern where along the lake the trail would lead.  No matter where we went, the sights were guaranteed to be stunning!

Imagine my surprise when we were led across the road into what I had previously assessed as impassable brush and vegetation.  It was agreed that we would hike the first portion in silence, contemplatively.  Reverently too, I thought-  impossible not to in a place like this. Once we crossed the road, the trail became apparent and we were off!

The first 5 minutes or so were lovely.  All up, of course, but the trail was comfortable to walk on. We were surrounded by interesting sights and a deep silence that made me feel my smallness magnified.  Yet not in a daunting way; there was a strange power in that feeling.  I may be small, but I am here.  I may be small, but I make ripples in the world.  I may be small, but I am climbing this mountain.

After the first 5 minutes the trail got tougher and a dim realization started to filter through haze to conscious thought.  I am not climbing this mountain with normal people.  I am climbing this mountain with what could possibly be described as centaur-people cleverly disguised as normal people.  I recalled an earlier conversation where one of the members talked of her love of climbing mountain trails and how she made a bit of a competition with herself to make sure no one passed her on her hikes.  I began to struggle, and fell behind a bit.  Okay.  I realized I would have to take this at my own pace and not try to keep up with the centaur-people.  Nor did I want to spoil their enjoyment of the climb with worry for me.  A mental battle ensued amongst myself for awhile...  I trudged along, alternating between feelings of scorn for myself for not being able to hike up a mountain as quickly as the others and a determination to be forgiving of my self and my inexperience.

I am not sure how much longer we had been hiking, but at this point I was quite far behind and had been passed by a few other groups.  Maybe mere minutes, or quite possibly it was decades but I realized that I might not make it all the way to the top!  I sat down to rest.  And the inner dialog stopped.  I became aware of where I was.  I really started to take in the magnificence of this half-mounted mountain.  And a curious sense of peace settled over me along with the depth of the solitude there on the mountainside.  I started to 'get' why people were passionate about this sport.  I started to sense the great truths that live among those silent, solitary trees.

I sat and closed my eyes.  I listened to the call of birds in the distance, the gentle rustling of a breeze in the canopy, the lulling drone of insects going about their work.  I realized then and there that I might not make it to the top.  That I might not see the rest of my group until they were on their descent and in a weird twist had caught up to me!  And I realized that it did not matter one way or the other.  I would make it. Or I would not.  And the point was not that accomplishment or failure.  The point of climbing on this mountain was much higher than it's summit. The point was this feeling of peace.  This quiet acceptance of myself- as a person with strengths and weaknesses, gifts and deficits.  This understanding that this moment alone, separated from the group, was itself a gift as I would not otherwise have had the solitude to just 'be'.

The view from the first 'plateau'.  Our vehicles are by the lake!

The view from 'my' spot.  How can a mere picture capture the majesty?

A member of the humming chorus.

This is me- reunited with my group and acutely aware that I do not love climbing mountains.  I did realize, however, that I love being on mountains!

 In the end, I made it to the top. And it was wonderful.  But not as uplifting as that moment half-way to the top when I wrestled with myself and won.

The alpine meadow at the summit of our climb.  A sunny place for a meal and community.

One last note should you feel the need to find your spot of peace on a mountainside.  Wear layers.  In any weather.  You climb.  You sweat.  You turn a corner and are blasted with a chill mountain breeze.  You turn a corner and find yourself in a sheltered sunny meadow. You need layers- probably the expensive kinds with high tech fabrics.  Not jeans, tank top and hoodie.  And you might want better shoes than round-heeled shape-ups...

And one more last note.  My companions were not really centaurs- just regular humans with more mountain experience than I.

And a for real last note.  It hurts just as much to come down a mountain as it does to go up it.  

Aug 31, 2011

Garden Bliss

How I love our little garden in the side yard.  Only 4 feet wide, we manage to grow ingredients for salsa and other things we love.  This year looks like our best year ever- we've even managed to grow cucumbers, something that has eluded us for 5 years!  We've planted seeds every year, but never grew a plant.  Excepting last year, when we didn't plant any cukes and were surprised when something suspiciously cucumberish popped up.  (It turned out to be a pumpkin plant sprouted from the seeds left to compost.  But the delight we felt was REAL dammit!)

This year the cucumbers are the stars.  Seriously.  We've grown the best tasting cukes on the planet.  Not sure what kind we planted, but I don't think they are the kind you turn into dill pickles.  Maybe a long english or field cucumber?  Of course, we are getting more than we can eat, so it is fun to play cucumber fairy and randomly deliver around to friends and neighbours.

Is there any ode to a cucumber songs?  There should be, cuz I want to sing it to these yummy guys!

These little orange mini tomatoes taste just like sunshine!

Look at my poor tomato plants!  They were so burdened that they actually crushed the tomato cage and fell right over!  This happened last year too, so I was extra careful placing the cages this year.  I guess next year I will stake them as well!!!!

Cucumber plants are well designed to hide their precious babies!  Better fun than a 'Where's Waldo' picture!

We should even get a decent amount of corn this year.