Friday, March 30, 2007

Scrapbook Emporium & Open Page...

I arrived in Toronto Wednesday around 5pm & once I figured out how to escape baggage claim, I got picked up by the owner of Scrapbook Emporium & her husband. They took me directly out to their store (about an hour out) where I taught at their store. There was a shipping glitch, so as a result I had no kits & had to redesign the project with all new materials when I hit the door in about 20 minutes, but, amazingly it turned out great and everyone enjoyed it. I love scrapbookers. I'm sure the thrill will wear off eventually, but I saw another slick display with the Circus Rose & Project Essentials product lines on it and I had to take another picture.

After sorting boxes for the retailer event, prepping for morning classes & 32 emails, I fell into bed about 2 am only to teach at 8 am . My saving grace has been Tim Horton's x-large english toffee coffees (running on 2 a day - very strong & delish). I taught from 8-9, set up our warehouse space for the mini-tradeshow til almost 11, then got picked up by the fabulous Vicki Boutin (right) for an adventure that will be a post all of it's own. I laughed, I cried, I was overwhelmed....we had a fab time. She got me back to the hotel just in time to start 6:30 make & takes which went until dinner & started back up afterwards until 10pm. Then I headed to Casey's for margaritas with Stacey, Michelle & Layle. We closed the place down @ 12:30 and now I'm blogging...I must be crazy...

Living with Laura & Angie #2...

Even though Laura no longer works at Imagination Project, I roomed with her on this trip. She is a wonderful person, super talented & funny and we just get along. Next trip though I might be sharing the love & staying with Karin. Looking forward to 80s movie night.

Monday & Tuesday were full of incredibly productive planning meetings in the office. Monday night Ginger took me to Archivers & Scraps, Etc. for some primo scrapbook shopping. Then we met her husband & kids at Toot's for burgers & fried pickles. I love both of Ginger's kids, but am especially close with her oldest Maggie (my Magpie, pictured top right). I brought her slippers with dangly cherries on them. Since I'm her "MiMi" they're now the MiMi slippers. Cool.

Laura's best friend, Angie (pictured in layout on left - layout by Laura) came over Tuesday night and I ended up teaching them how to make chicken cacciatore (pictured) & held an impromptu private scrapbook class for Angie on Laura's living room floor. Since Laura's best friend is Angie & my best friend is also an Angie, I've dubbed my new Cincinnati Angie, "Angie #2". So here's the official shout out - hello Angie-2, you are the coolest.

One of my strikingly dim moments was when I pointed out the "mallard swan" to Morris on the way in to work one day (see left). That was my first real life encounter with a Canadian goose. Go figure.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Catching up from Calgary...

I looked at my blog and was shocked at how much time has passed since I've I thought I'd catch you up in chronological bursts.
I love all the really neat & talented people I meet on these trips. These are some of the girls I had dinner with my last night in Calgary & Lecia, thanks again for dinner!
I also discovered Zoom albums there (wow) and met their Tom Walsh (great slight Irish accent & super nice).
I ended up on the road from 9 am to about 10 pm Sunday, but arrived at my friend Laura's in Cincinnati safe & sound. We stayed up talking past 1 am...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Calgary scoop...

Wow, I’ve had a wonderful time here in Calgary. I didn’t see any sights unless you count the 20 blocks between hotels and the path from the airport, but man, the people here made all the difference! Ever get somewhere & it felt like “home”? Not “I could live here”-home {because it can snow here}, but this is deja-vu-ishly like where I live”. That’s Calgary, feels like a Dallas suburban clone.

The women! The women I met here were AWESOME! I made several new friends who I hope keep in touch {you know who you are – so email me, already}. I could write volumes about all the cool people I’ve met, but I’ve met so many I am afraid I would leave someone important out, and they were all genuinely cool & I don’t want to slight any of them. So Canadian girls {and the “crazy Brit”} rock! Hey – if you have pictures you took of us together at the event, don’t forget to email them to me!

I visited Scrapbooker’s Paradise which is an amazing store & the experience became even more amazing when I saw my product on the shelf. This is the first time I’ve ever seen my products in real packaging & in a store – it was an overwhelming experience – I got a little choked up…

So in my last class today a lady & a man with a camera came in & started setting up in my room & I asked who they were…obviously I don’t live here, because it was the host of their #1 morning television show City TV’s Breakfast Television. They’ve been covering the event for an upcoming segment on the show. I filmed them filming {seemed like the thing to do at the time} since I might not see it air. And, yes – that’s a classroom full of 90 amazing, creative, happy students!

A Bird's Eye view...

Well, there was one aerial shot that I thought was worth sharing from the flight in. It is of the Utah Rockies, on the way into Salt Lake City.

I have grown very comfortable with flying since I've been doing it so often lately. There's something strangely peaceful & comforting looking at the view from out the window of a plane.

Tomorrow I'll be doing it again as I jump from Calgary to Salt Lake City to Cincinnati.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Blending in with the locals...

I'm loving Canada & really blending in like one of the locals. Like my hat?

Not so fancy...

This will not be the long, beautiful, thought-provoking blog entry I intended to write. Today I flew from Dallas to Salt Lake City & from Salt Lake City to Calgary. I started a great new book, The Long Tail and took some (what I hope will be amazing) aerial shots out the window of the plane. I shared a cab with Lisa Bearnson and was so engrossed in talking to her I almost knocked myself out with the cab door.

So here I am, glamorous scrapbooker extraordinaire: frizzy hair in a knot on my head, broken out face, swollen chin (cab door incident), with a watered down Coke from Wendy's huddled in a stairwell of the wrong TravelLodge 20 blocks from the event where I'll be teaching because this is the spot where there's internet connectivity and this is where I booked a room...such is life. And I still love my job. Every weird minute of it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kids from Haiti Cookbook...

The Kids from Haiti Cookbook is finally available & will be on sale through April 6th. This cookbook was compiled by my friends, Mark & Natasha Hixon {see Tasha with her three beautiful soon-to-be children on the right} who have been in the process of adopting these three from Haiti since 2005. They have four of their own all still at home, so this will bring their them to a brave total of seven children! Mark & Tasha have so much love to give - their hearts melted when they went to Haiti and saw the conditions there and knew they had to do something.

If you recognize Tasha's name, you should. She invented the QuicKutz machine and she & her husband Mark run the company. She asked all of her friends in the industry to contribute recipes for this fundraising cookbook. You'll find recipes from Lisa Bearnson, Becky Higgins, Stacy Julian, the entire QuicKutz crew {& me} to name a few. I will be ordering my copy soon & I hope you do the same! At only $20, you might want to order more than one. They will ship in time for Mother's Day & after the printing & shipping costs are covered every cent will go to the Holt Fontana Village where their daughter Katiana is living, awaiting a passport and visa to join her first family.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"New Photo Studio"...

I take a lot of project pictures and they're usually just OK. Well, Matt & I decided we needed to "bump it up a notch" so we went on a mission to figure out the best way to get a studio look with the least amount of money.

See the book on the left? (which is a story in itself, as is the newly made pile of books on my dining room table - but I'm saving that story for another day) I shot it in a light box. It has what's referred to as an "infinity sweep" background. The light's diffused and the project really "pops". It's exactly the look I was going for. My own "macro studio".

After our extensive research we ended up building our own for less than $1. I just needed to buy a sheet of posterboard - we had everything else. I stole the light from my bedside table. Thank heaven for the internet - we found all the instructions online: see build your own studio instructions here. We also found a great guide to improving your product photography (great for any project shots too).

And, I'm sure virtually all of you camera goddesses out there know this - but look at your camera & learn how to set your white balance before you take a picture of your work. I am not camera savvy and have learned by experimenting, but I couldn't believe the difference it made!

Grizzly Adams Makeover...

OK, Matt was on vacation for a week. Not only does he vacation from his job, he takes a vacation from shaving. This year his beard came in a little white on the tip of his chin. I thought he was going to have some kind of a meltdown. Believe it or not, he actually asked me to take before & after pictures this time. He was thinking about shaving it into several combinations (goatee, moustache, etc) and have everyone vote on the best look on the blog...but it's a moot point. Brinks employees can't have facial hair - so off it came & back to my sweet clean shaven man!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Going to the Netherlands...

Well...there's a change in my schedule. Instead of chaperoning Amy & Meg's high school group to an anime con, I'll be teaching at Scrap-a-Ganza in the Netherlands June 1-3. Sweet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First signs of Spring...

I walked into the back yard for a minute to check on Matt {he's on vacation this week, tinkering with his many lawn mowers} and was surprised to see the first signs of Spring creeping into our back yard. We got wee wild baby bluebonnets blooming back there. They must've just come out. I love that I can enjoy them from home. They're dotting the entire yard. Bonus: they're illegal to mow so we have to let them & the grass around them grow until after the season {whoopee}.

The bluebonnets come out every late March - early April depending on the weather, so they don't last long, but they can spread to make such a beautiful carpet of blue! I love my home state & I love that I have a mini field of bluebonnets right off my back porch!
If you're not a native Texan you can *read the Legend of the Bluebonnet here*.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Storm Season...

This is not what you want to look out your window and see during the day - unless you're a storm lover like me and you grab your camera to get a quick pic before the sky explodes. Well, storm season is officially here with a vengeance. We've been enjoying weather in the 70's (and I think we even made it into the low 80's last weekend) and with that warmer air hitting colder air to the north storm season is born once again.

It's raining so hard outside right now it's almost black outside my window & the thunder is rattling the windows. I'm fascinated by how rapidly weather can change here & the way the temperature plummets right before the rain starts - and the way the sky goes kind of green before it gets bad. As long as the hail misses us I'm a happy camper. With our watering ban, the yard really needs it. We're supposed to get waves of this through tomorrow and all of next week...I love the rain.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chalk Board Creation...

Well, this is another piece for the Autism Speaks auction. I am in love with chalk boards right now. On the bottom detail you can see the wee darling eraser & the little chalk holder I made to match the set.

I accented this one with Gin-X heart coasters, some elements from my Playlist collection, MAMBI bling, Hambly Studio's rub-ons and Ranger white acrylic paint. The wings & crowns set that Hambly makes is so in right now - I've been wanting to combine them with coaster hearts from the minute I saw them.

If you're wondering about my crazy walls - the red {ladybug} is my living room and the green {avocado} is my hallway...

Cork Board Creation...

I've been having fun over here. I was asked to do some pieces for a charity auction at CKU Detroit for Autism Speaks in honor of Ali's son, Simon. I actually have a nephew with a form of autism, so I jumped on the chance to help such a worthy cause.

I wanted to do pieces that would be fun to hang in your scrap room. This 11x17 cork board will also come with a set of red & black push pins. I did it up with Gin-X's star and alphabet coasters and coasters & paper from my new Playlist Line.

Reading recommendation of the day...

I love science fiction. I watched another movie adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story last night {unfortunately quite late} and it really reminded me I needed to pick up with some of his short story collections. Philip Dick was such a brilliant writer and forward thinker...he wrote 121 short stories, 67 in 1952 & 53 alone. You've probably seen some of his writing at the movies without even knowing it. His is the mind that brought us: A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Minority Report, Impostor, Paycheck & Screamers. I still marvel at the rich and complex worlds he could create before technology seemed limitless. I love a good short story that I can read in a sitting. He has several collectives out - seek them out.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mission accomplished...

Gar-bage sale is more like it...We piggy backed onto Matt's sister's garage sale today {which did well & had a lot of good stuff, no thanks to us} - however...we didn't take much time to go through our stuff so we brought only the "most obvious" garage sale choices from our house.

A few of the diamonds in the rough of ours that did not sell: an electric hairbrush, a neon pink pacman picture frame, and a handheld karaoke cassette player with built in microphone from 1989 {how could anyone pass that up???}.

Some of our junk that sold first - go figure: $2 used shower curtain, a toy Donkey from the Shrek movie {and every time someone picked it up Matt did his Donkey impression for us}, and a handheld karaoke cassette player from 1991 {yes, I admit it...I am a karaoke queen}.

Everything left at 1PM {that didn't get thrown away from shame} got boxed up for the kidney foundation. We broke $20 for no work other than rolling out of bed so, not too shabby. oooh - and I scored 2 cookbooks! Tracy did well and we had a great morning I need to figure out lunch & take a nap...

Friday, March 09, 2007

St Patrick's Day SWAG...

My friend Angie sent me a link to Ten Two Studio's countdown to St Patrick's Day. Every Day they're offering a free download of a fun printable. So far there's been vintage photos, labels, tickets, etc - all green! Each day a little shamrock turns over & there's a goodie underneath. I have to admit it's a little addictive. So, check it out & download to your heart's content!

Hot Potato Friday...

Today is Hot Potato is every Friday if you subscribe to Polka Dot Potato's newsletter. They run "hot potatoes" - a one day sale every week! I may be a little biased {this is Ashley & Ben's new venture}, but this sure is one rockin' digital site. I go looking around there every Friday morning when my newsletter comes.

Personally I haven't caught the digital bug, but the art over there is inspirational. I do however like all the digi brushes that you can add to your pictures before you print them - it's virtually like stamping. Ash has done some cool video tutorials on there too.

Today's art is a couple of "new finds" for me today. The punk set is by one of my all time favorites there, Bad Candy and the vintage look is actually one of the hot potatoes from the CraftyGirls.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Crafting turn-ons...

I met the Art Girls while I was in the UK & unfortunately I wasn't able to sit in on a class with them. I was fascinated by their little art dolls while I was there, but found their site last night, and ohmygoodness, I'm in trouble. This little girlie on the right is one of theirs made with their fab, whimsical charms and wool felt. If you haven't looked at their stuff before, take a gander & use your imagination!

I also met Leandra from Paper Artsy & had the time to sit in on one of her sessions. Another love at first sight moment with their unmounted stamps (see sample at left).
These companies make me seriously craft happy. I guess it's not so strange...but when I design papers I tend to go cleaner, because I see past that to how I want to alter them, deep down I'm an altered artist at heart.
Who are your favorites? What kind of supplies make you smile?

It's Thursday & you know what that means...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

for ScrapaGoGo...

When I was in the UK, Lorraine from ScrapaGoGo asked me to create a piece for a charity auction they will be doing in conjunction with one of their upcoming kits.

The theme will be black, white & red and they wanted one of my altered clipboard calendars. I built the piece on a regular office clipboard and covered it with the white looseleaf ledger and black great grid from Project Essentials, and added punk polka dot from Circus Rose. I also used red silk flowers, Gin-X, Circus Rose & Project Essentials jumbles, Project Essentials cardstock date stickers, Gin-X coaster rings and doodle rub-ons, Wordsworth & Lil Davis rub-ons, 7Gypsies printed gaffer tape, Ranger paint daubers in black & white, ribbons and MAMBI bling.

I'm really into black, white & red right now -so this was extra fun for me. I'm really thrilled to have been asked to participate & best of luck on the fund-raising!
Lorraine, if you're reading this, hope you like it & it's starting the first leg of it's journey to you today!!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Another RAK???

The Imagination Project blog is doing another RAK. This time they're giving away a copy of a book I just finished working on, Oodles of Doodles. Five of us collaborated through Design Originals to write it and create projects for it, each tackling a section & a doodling style. Not only is IP giving away a book, they've put together a great pack of stuff so you can recreate some of my projects if you want to!

I really am proud of the way this book turned out. If you ever feel like you need somewhere to turn to for freestyle inspiration, this book is for you. Not only does it have tons of layouts and cards, it has page after page of doodles that you can copy or use as a creative springboard to make your own.

So zip over & enter to win! Good luck to you!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Three weekends in one...

Wow, a weekend without getting on the computer or working...what was that? I'm always doing something work related. Not this weekend.

We had our nieces Amy & Haley spend the night on Friday for some good old fashioned uncle & aunt spoiling. We ate Chinese food, curled up under blankets and watched a movie. Saturday morning Matt made us all breakfast and took the girls garage sale-ing while I lazed around the house. They came home with lunch {& another lawnmower, oh joy}. Then we all went to pick up my new glasses {Whoopee!} Back home so Matt could play lawnmower man & we headed off to Half Price Books. Then back home, couched out reading time & then their mom picked them up.
Within an hour I was off to pick up Meg who was going to was going to be odd-man-out since her dad was sick & her mom and sister had a choir dinner to go to. We cooked and just joked, hung out and watched you tube videos {I guess I was on the computer some}. I got Lovefool stuck in her head, which was pretty fun. Unfortunately, it backfired & now it's stuck in my head too. I made us one-eyed Egyptians for breakfast & we headed off to church. Lunch with Aunt Carol & the girls then back to their house to visit. Amy took her language aptitude tests for the army and scored a 120, which means she's a class 4 and an learn even the hard stuff, i.e. she has the capability to learn the languages without alphabets - she's really excited {I just kind of stare at her in awe. I used to play peek-a-boo with her and now she's going to be international's mind boggling}.
So I get home & Matt's in his one-week-left-til-vacation/I-don't feel-like-I've-accomplished-anything-this-weekend funk, even though while I was at church & lunch he "seeded" the front yard with something and treated the weeds and went to Lowe's 3 times and the local nursery twice. We went grocery shopping together and worked on sorting all the junk that's accumulated in our "guest bedroom" {it has been in no state for guests for some time}. Um, he cooked, I cut his hair...sewed buttons on his shirts, we did laundry & dishes, watched Desperate short I feel like I just had three separate weekends in one!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

and the winner is TAKE TWO...

So sad, winner number one never claimed her prize. I took the post down so she won't be sad later. The deadline I posted to claim it came & went, so that means I had to pick a new winner this morning. I'm giving the new winner UNTIL NOON MONDAY to email me her shipping address or I'm going to draw again...ladies (and Devin) your odds are getting better every minute!

So, congratulations
You are the big winner!!!!!

email your address to to claim your prize!!!!!!!