Dec 3, 2013

Check one off the bucket list!

For the past few years I've been nurturing a little notion that I would love to build a house. I felt a little bit hesitant about putting it out into the world because I have hippy corners in my heart and the thought just seemed so extravagant. Tentatively, however, I dragged my husband along to check out show homes and initiated discussions on 'What if....'

We made lists. We set up our criteria. We decided that if the right set of circumstances came about we would take the leap.

And rather surprisingly and sweetly, it all came together. The perfect for us lot. A builder we feel good about. A home design that although is not finalized, has all that we need and a lot of what we want. And it fits into the budget we set for ourselves.

The bank, the equity in our house and our hearts all said yes!  The ducks lined up smartly and on the first of December it became official: we are building a house!

The cheque that seals the deal! We've gotten ourselves into a relationship with Alquinn Homes. Here's to an exciting and smooth process.

Estimates at this time are that we will be in our new house mid-June, 2014. Pretty awesome!

Here is our lot. I am standing on the road, and we think Mark is standing at the far corner.  What we love about the lot is the fact that we have green space to the south and east- only one fence neighbour! And that it is centrally located so we can walk to many places (4 months of the year- who am I kidding?)

Yes! That is a farm in the background. This is what our view will be out our patio door.

You can't see me, because I am taking the picture, but I am equally as stinkin' happy as Mark!

On the east side of our lot a bike path goes by. On the other side of the bike path is a toboggan hill, a playground and a storm pond. Avery is on top of the hill.

Avery is somewhat less excited about this whole idea-become-reality. We try to involve her so she can get excited about the new house too. Except she says she would like things like a purple and pink garage door. And a dumbwaiter in the kitchen. Can you see a few bumps ahead? I am sure she will come around...

One last look at our lot. Soon to have a hole!

Here is the development plan. We are on lot 7 and we think it is perfect for us! Mark even has plans to go guerrilla gardening and plant trees in the green space to the south. I am hoping for fruit trees.

Here is a bigger picture of where we are in the city. We are moving from Linkside to the little 'X' between Westgrove and Heatherglen.
Stay tuned! All progress will be documented on this here blog....

Nov 8, 2013

Sketchy Fun!

November's sketch is up at Canadian Scrapbooker magazine, and I shocked even myself by getting to the sketch before the last day of the month!

Isn't this fun?

 I decided to step out of my usual scrappy territory and visit 'boy-boy' land, if there is such a thing. My nephew stayed with us a few weeks last summer to take swimming lessons and while he was here, he made a goal that he would also learn to ride his bike. He is naturally a cautious sort and does not feel comfortable exploring physically. After his heart surgery this spring, he became even more defensive of his self. So to say that it took patience on his part (as well as my husband's) to get him to a place where he could risk falling and being unstable is a bit of an understatement. Big kudos to them both for turning Zxayven into a "Biker Dude!"

Supplies Used: Patterned Paper and Chipboard- Fabscraps; Dies- Sizzix; Ink- Clearsnap; Glitter and Embossing Powder- Clearsnap, Ranger, Gel-a-Tins; Metal Embellishment- Maya Road; Letter Stickers- Basic Grey
To create this layout, I took the 6x6 chipboard piece and cut it in half so I could use it the length of the page (after spraying it with 'black velvet' spritz). I covered cardstock with Be Creative tape before cutting out the dies. Once cut out, I used an assortment of glitters and embossing powders on the dies to give a metallic look to each piece.

The stuff!
Funny thing about the photos I used- I kind of had everything planned in my head for the layout and ordered what I needed from Scrapbooking Fanatics but I didn't check that we actually had pictures! We didn't!!!  Mark made a little video for my nephew, so I just took some screen shots from that!

Oct 14, 2013

I'm not Bragging, but....

Actually there is no 'but', other than my fear that you might think that I am bragging. I am not. I don't think that your life is any less wonderful than mine because of our differences. I don't want to give the impression that I think less of you and your experiences even as I embrace and celebrate the multitude of people, experiences and things that I am grateful for. Is that clear? Good! You may read on...

As Thanksgiving weekend winds up, I have been thinking of all the many things that I am truly, deeply grateful for. There are many things, and I am not even going to attempt to touch on them all in a meagre blog post. But I will share how we celebrated this weekend, and a few things related to how we spent our time that I am quieted to the core of my soul because of gratitude.

As I have done the past few years, I offered to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I do love having everyone over, choosing the menu, organizing the meal and having a few adventures along the way. But as Thanksgiving weekend got closer and closer, I found I was not up to my usual enthusiasm for the task. I am not sure why, other than I just came out of a few busy weekends and the fact that the start up of school year schedules is always an adjustment. So with a week remaining before the holiday I decided to plead to with my mom and see if she would do it. Without batting an eye, or a hint of a sigh, she said she would host. I agreed to bring a mango salad. End of story. Let me now insert one of the things I am thankful for this weekend!

MY MOM! For the reason listed above and so many others! Anytime I need a willing accomplice or support, she is there. She keeps the home fires burning, and a pot of tea warm. She is amazing.

I was relieved, and knew that things were in more than competent hands. Mom figured that since my dad's sister was now moved back in the area, and my uncle harvesting that it would work out just fine, and maybe even better than fine!

I talked to Mom a few days before we came out and learned that we were going to have Thanksgiving dinner in my uncle's field. This is something we have done only once before, that I can remember. But it was memorable, if you know what I mean. I love all the holidays that bring our family together but for me, they can blend together. There is a comfort in that predictability, that sameness, the same cast of characters etc, but all the events blend together in a way and each holiday does not always have it's own distinct memory. Except the years when we do something completely different. Like the time we held Thanksgiving dinner out at the lake, on the deck celebrating in some astounding fall weather. Like the time mom and dad deep-fryed the turkey. Most times my aunt and uncle come (my dad's sister and brother-in-law), even if it is brief as they are in the middle of harvest and don't get off their tractors until they can't see anymore. Once we decided to bring dinner to the field, and despite the fact that the neighbour was spreading manure on his field, it was one of our more memorable Thanksgiving get togethers. I was pleased to be doing this again, so this time my daughter could experience it too! Cue another thing I am grateful for:

This scene! As we were driving into the field laden with coolers filled with ham, mashed potatoes and salad, in a truck pulling the trailer that was to be our table, I was bursting full of wonder that this is how I get to celebrate Thanksgiving. Right in the middle of a harvest. Never mind that the bales are for cows... Who gets to do this????  Am I not incredibly lucky?

The feast! 

The feasters....

The kids busied themselves with climbing the bales, and the rest of us set about feasting and visiting. My one cousin, who now lives in a suburb, was baling on the field and stopped to join us. My other cousin, who is a farmer, was out with my uncle rounding up his escaped cows and got home just in time to eat. My aunt came with the turkey, gravy and stuffing. It was a wonderful meeting!

That leads me to the final thing I am grateful for as expressed in this post, but certainly not all, or even close to all that I appreciate!!!! My Cousins! 

I am sure they would be embarrassed to see this, but I am going to say it anyway. We don't really get together outside of big family gatherings, but to me it does not matter. I suffered childhood with these guys telling me what  a brat I was, scrapping with them all the time, trying to keep up with them and be accepted by them- young enough to be a nuisance, but not as small as my sister to be accommodated because of an age difference. But it was these guys who kept an eye on who I dated in high school, who watched over my well being in a gruff kind of way even into university. Its funny the things we don't talk about- I don't know how they vote, how they feel about religion or any other typically divisive topic and it does not matter. But I do know that they are in my corner, as I am in theirs. And I love that time and distance don't diminish those feelings!

I am not bragging when I say that I feel incredibly grateful for this life! I just am, and I would be grateful to hear about the things you appreciate in your life...

Sep 15, 2013

Layouts that are laying around....

These have been posted here and there. Now they are curated all together!

These first few were posted on the Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine's blog on the "Tuesday with the Team" feature:

Supplies used: Patterned Papper, stickers and chipboard: Grapgic 45 Bohemian Bazaar; Cardstock: Bazzil; Chipboard letters: American Crafts; Trim: May Arts; Letter Stickers: Basic Grey; Gems; Bo Bunny and Basic Grey; Ink: Clearsnap

Supplies used:
Bo Bunny “C’est la Vie” patterned papers and stickers, May Arts trim, Prima embellishments and American Crafts & Prima fonts.

The following few layouts were posted on the "Let's Get Sketchy" board at CS:

Bird Love (June 2013)

Patterned Papers: Bo Bunny
Stickers: Bo Bunny
Doily: unknown
Butterfly: Fab Scraps (I think!!!!)
Chipboard: Harmonie
Border Punch: Fiskars
Chipboard: Harmonie

I flew (September 2013)

Supplies used:
Patterned Paper: Magenta
Die cuts: Magenta
Ink: Clearsnap (smooch spritz), ranger (distress paint)
Letters: Maya Road
Butterfly: Prima 

Lucy-Fur (May 2013)

Patterned paper, brads, trim: S.E.I.
Letter stickers: Basic Grey
Border Punch: Fiskars 

Pile of Cousins (August 2013)

All supplies Webster's Pages except Harmonie tiles 

Turning 42 (April 2013)

Patterned paper/ card stock/stickers/journaling spot: Basic Grey
Flowers/chipboard numbers: Prima
Stencil: Magenta
Edge Punch: Fiskars
Stamp: Stampin' Up!
Ink: Clearsnap 
And this one was published in the magazine quite a while ago, but I don't think I ever put it up here!

Supplies used: Quick Quotes patterned paper; Webster's Pages trim, flowers and gems; Robin's Nest Dew Drops; October Afternoon and Jillibean Soup letters; pages ripped from a dictionary, painted over with a thin gesso layer
I think that is all for now. I am pretty sure there are more, but they are not photographed and ready to post! So I will save that for another day:0) Have a fabulous week!

Sep 3, 2013

I want to remember this forever!!!!!!!

*This is your warning that some strong language is embedded into this post. I wanted to keep this one real, and actually reflect what was going on in my head. Now you know*

There is something to be said for not having time to think about and over-think about and worry about things.

A few days ago I was given the opportunity to go skydiving- a tandem skydive. Now, this is something that has never been on my bucket list in any form. Not that I held any scorn towards people who have gone- the opposite is true actually. It's just not something that I ever pictured as right for me. I mean, my hobbies include scrapbooking, cooking and yoga for heaven's sake! Not much of an adrenaline chaser, am I.

My immediate thought was:
Or even possibly, "Hell no!"
But then I had to look at it this from another perspective. This was an amazing, generous, incredible gift that was being offered to me. Just because I had never considered jumping out of an airplane before did not mean that I couldn't consider it. And always I have stood at crossroads and said to myself- "Will I regret doing this? Or not doing this?" But still. This is jumping out of an airplane I was considering. This is not one big-ass roller coaster, or buying a scrapbook store. This is borderline insane.

You can guess what I decided. "Hell, yes!" I came to the conclusion that it scaring the crap out of me was not a good enough reason to not do this. (Full disclosure: it was more of a "Okay." The end result is the same, right?)

On Friday,  I contacted 'Hippie', who is in charge of this adventure, (and the person who will be attached to my backside) to find out when this is going to take place. This weekend, was the answer (aka the next day!!!!!!!) In the frenzy of back to school preparations the whole business was pushed to the back of my mind. 24 hours really is not enough time to work yourself up into a good worry.

This morning we woke up after a good sleep in, had a leisurely breakfast, and although my nerves were starting to ramp up, I dressed in my super girl shirt and we were outta here!  Off to Eden North!

I'm gonna fly!!!!!

We got to Eden North just a group of parachuters were coming in for a landing. It was incredible to look up and see that colourful parade overhead.

I was greeted right away by Hippie, and he quelled my nerves immediately by wrapping me in a big bear hug. That doesn't often happen when you first meet a person, but considering what we were about to do, it was absolutely settling. His enthusiasm and not-a-care-in-the-worldishness was contagious.  "Let's do this!!!!" my soul screamed!

We watched a video on what to expect, signed all kinds of waivers, and I got suited up!
Heh, heh! This is what I posted to my Facebook...
We had a bit of time to wait as Hippie had another dive scheduled before ours. We took up a spot outside and watched the people on the ground and in the air. There was only one person in a back brace; I figured that put good odds in my favour. Mark ran into some of his students; we pretty much expect that wherever we go. We watched a group land (on purpose) in a nearby pond. One of the landings seemed a bit crashy and the experienced looking people stood up to observe, but calmness remained. (For a place overrun with adrenaline junkies, it was surreally un-chaotic and unexpectedly mundane, but with a weird anticipatory vibe.) All was well...

And then. It was time. Hippie was back, the next plane was ready and the videographer/photographer was ready to go too! The following photos are all Aidan's.

Just walking towards the plane. Cool as a cucumber....

Wasn't that nice of them to catch this photo? I am now looking at the plane and the horror of my situation just got real.
 On the plane we went. Hippie was so good at keeping me moving and not thinking and just talking calmly with me as if we were choosing a wine for dinner. Not potentially climbing into the clouds to our certain death...

I am totally faking this smile.
The plane took off. The calmness in the cabin was not enough to counter the holyshitwhathaveIdone feeling that was welling up in me. I had a minor freak out. Hippie told me to quit it, because Aidan was about to take a picture. You'd never know unless I told you, hey?

We finally reached altitude, and the pilot gave the signal to open the doors. The experienced people eagerly moved to the exit in whatever formation they were going to be jumping in. Hippie was also eager, and since I was literally attached to his hip (maybe thats how he got his name?) I went where he went. He calmly, but firmly edged us to the door, and nary a moment was given to pause and think. I was told to hang on to the holders on my sleeves so I couldn't get in the way of the parachute deploying. I think this is a lie. I think my hands needed to be there so I couldn't cling to the plane as we exited. There is no feeling that I know the name of that could describe what it feels like to stick your head out of a moving airplane. It's not what I would call a 'good' one. All bravado is now gone and my soul is no longer chanting encouragements to me. No greater good is being served by this madness...

This is what pure terror looks like. I am so glad I wasn't doing a solo jump, because this is where the story would have ended. 
So here is how I describe Hippie. A calm, mellow person who pushes people out of airplanes.....

I had one job to do as we exited the plane, and that was to push my hips forward and lift my legs up, in a lovely arch. I pretty much lost my beans and went into a fetal position. Poor Hippie had to steer us unaided.

We jumped at 12,500 feet, and fell through space to about 7000, (or 5000- I can't remember which) feet before opening the parachute. Which is a long way. Which is a lot of air rushing up your nostrils. Intrepid Aidan is trying to get me to smile, or look his way or do anything interesting for the camera. This is pretty much my thought process as this was going on:


And we hurtled towards Earth. In theory, all that upward push could be like a little facelift. In reality we were turned into wrinkle dogs!

You can tell Hippie has experience! I finally got my hands into a thumbs up position, and there I remained frozen for another 50 photos. Frozen in stone, I was a parachuting gargoyle! And I don't know how I managed that smile...

Lol! I need to tie my shoes! The parachute opened up, and this is where the magic starts...
 Parachute open, we slow down enough that I can breathe again. And the beauty took my breath away.  Pure magic. I am struggling to find the language to describe this experience. Hippie was talking to me now, and telling me about the landscape etc, and I had to tell him to stop talking now and LOOK! Just look!!!!!  There are so few perfect moments in the world where you want to just be. Just BE. Just let every sense you have soak up the awe and wonder and perfection and crystal blueness of this big sky and this shimmering landscape and this peace and this piece of wholeness and just be. in. the. moment. before. it. all. slips. away. A-fucking-mazing!

Greater good is up here!!!  If everyone did this, peace would flow to all corners of the earth because you cannot help but see the world in a bigger way.

This doesn't even begin to show what it's like. You can't feel the sunshine, or the breeze. You can't hear the ripple of the parachute. You can feel the pull of gravity and the push of wind resistance existing in harmony. You can't see light dancing playfully across the earth. You can't hear what peace sounds like.  
 It was over way too fast. I never want to forget this ever.

Too soon, too soon, we are coming in for a landing.

I have one job here, and that is to lift my feet and let Hippie handle this. I think I got a gold star for this one!

Yeah. It was okay.

Nope! It wasn't okay. It was overthetop amazing!!!!!!!
Safe and sound on solid footing, it was overwhelming to see my family there waiting. 

Today I flew and touched the heavens, but my heart and soul are right here.