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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's Get Sketchy Birthday Blog Hop Bash!

Welcome! Are you ready to PARTY?

Let’s Get Sketchy is turning ONE and to celebrate we are having a Birthday Bash Blog hop.  As you make your way along our hop to visit each of our DT blogs you will find lots of birthday inspired projects.   If you have arrived here from Lynn's blog welcome to the LGS blog hop!! If you have stumbled across this by chance and want to play along then you can head back to the Let's Get Sketchy site to start at the beginning and to start collecting your Birthday challenge words. These words should be in bold on each DT member’s pages.

It is Birthday Season in our house right now. Marley was 9 on Tuesday and she starts the birthday parade that culminates in my husband Greg's birthday on May 10th. Four birthdays in ten weeks can be exhausting! Especially when at least 3 of them require parties with all the trimmings!
My project was inspired by my daughter Marley's love of owls. She has been obsessed with owls for several years now and since we live close to O.W.L. (Orphaned WildLife Rehabilitation Society) she regularly raises money for them. Her birthday party is on Saturday and once again she has asked for donations to O.W.L. She also wanted a swimming party with an owl theme. Ummmm ... not sure owls can swim but, okay! We sent out invitations with both a life preserver ring AND an owl on them and I have been tearing my hair out trying to create these ...

I was inspired by several variations I saw on Pinterest - you can see my board here for all my inspiration pieces.

In typical ME fashion, I bit off a bit more than I could chew for this one. Marley's party is 48 hours away and I have exactly ONE of these bags finished. YIKES!!!! I apologize that I do not have more things to share with you today but ... well, life happened!

UPDATED 03/02: They're finished!! Check out my little brood!

Aren't they the cutest?! Okay, now back to your regularly scheduled programming ...

WAY back in November I took advantage of a Black Friday sale to pick up a Silhouette Cameo. Then my laptop died and my new Cameo languished, waiting for me to sort out my laptop so I could load the software and start playing. That finally happened this week ( along with a couple days of bad nausea - life, right?) and I started cutting out feathers. And more feathers. And then I realized I needed even MORE feathers! NOW do you see why I only have one finished? It's a great way to use up a ton of card stock though!!

I need to get this post scheduled as I have to work tonight but if you check back later over the weekend, I promise to update this post with pictures of all the bags and the other owl themed things I've got up my sleeves for this party. Until then, I'd love for YOU (hint, hint, hint!!) to tell me what your best birthday memory is. How old were you? What did you do that made the day so special? Did your parents ever throw you a big themed party? If so, what was the theme? I will pick a winner from my comments to win a little pack of goodies. I think I remember a stamp set and ribbon & brad set that could make some sweet celebratory cards! I'll get a picture uploaded tomorrow for you!

Also, Let's Get Sketchy is having a Birthday Bash Challenge. Create any birthday inspired project from examples you see on any of the DT pages on this hop and upload it to the LGS blog.  If the project you pick is a layout then do a lift of that page, If it’s a different project - like my goody bags - then do that project.  You can pick from ANY DT member’s blog project for the hop. 

Don't forget to collect your clue words as YOU (hint, hint, hint!) hop along. Once you have gathered all the words they will form a quote related to our Birthday. Tell us that quote by emailing us and get your name in the pot for an extra drawing. The winner of the hop will be randomly selected and will win a nice bag of scrap goodies from Lets Get Sketchy.  As always there are rules for playing!

Here are the rules for playing and winning:
1. You MUST be a follower of each LGS team members blog and leave a comment on each blog and;
2. You MUST also be a follower of the LGS blog.

Please make sure you visit the entire team today as some members are hosting additional blog challenges during the hop and offering their own extra goodies for you so the more you play the more chances you win!

All blog hop entries are due by midnight, March 8th, 2013. CST.   
Now hop on over to (Melinda's) blog to see what she has in store for you!
Here is the lineup in case you get lost!

Line up:
Alison --- YOU ARE HERE ---

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LOAD213 Day 27 - Learn Something New

I can hardly believe it is the second to last day of LOAD213 today! My prompt for today was to "learn something new". My techniques and my story are both about learning something new!

When Marley was 4 we signed her up for Blast Ball - a pre T-ball type sport that Ladner was running for 4 year olds. One of the parents at her preschool was heading up the program and a lot of her preschool friends were signing up so we thought " what the heck". Neither Greg nor I particularly like baseball (except for that period in first and second year university I alluded to here :)) but we felt it was important for our outgoing, active little girl to try a variety of things to see if any of them "stuck". Thankfully, Blast Ball did not stick! She had fun and sort of asked about it the following year but that was also her first year of soccer so she never really bugged us about it to the point of us caving!

So that was the "try something new" in the story. As far as the layout goes, I was going through a phase of trying out new multimedia techniques and threw several at this layout to see what would happen. I have several sheets of super bright card stock in my stash (no doubt purchased on sale or something!) and one technique I discovered in LOAD1012 was covering them in white paint to mute the intensity. For this one I used gesso as I wanted to be able to easily add other mediums on top without getting any sort of reaction from the base coat. 

When the gesso was still wet I laid a piece of bubble wrap onto it. This happened to be super sized bubble wrap so the result was a back ground of dots that almost look like soft balls. How serendipitous!

Next I wanted to see if I could create a look of grass along the bottom of my page. I took several shades of green Gelatos and coloured the bottom edge of the card stock. Then I flipped it over and sprayed it liberally with water until the Gelatos dripped down the page. I stopped the drips when I had reached the effect I wanted and dried them with my heat gun. I love the way it looks!

I'll leave you with a couple of close up shots of my title clusters. 

This first one shows you the different layers - paper, journaling tags, stickers on pop dots ... it all adds up to interest and texture.

Here you can see that I added a couple of cute pennants from Pebbles. They seemed to fit the theme!

Well, there you have it. My last layout for LOAD213 (unless by some miracle I find time tomorrow to scrap something other than a DT assignment!!) It has been such a blast creating these layouts for Lain, then seeing them on the videos and hearing my words coming out of Lain's mouth. I did not think she was going to read them verbatim and if I am ever asked to contribute to a future LOAD will definitely chose my words more carefully!! I'd proof read better too!! LOL!
Thank you Lain for giving me this opportunity to showcase my work. It means more to me than words can say! Thank you to all who have stopped by to view my work and were kind enough to leave comments. I appreciate every one of you!!

And now off to figure out Marley's goody bags!! Her birthday party is on Saturday and  am trying to make owls out of paper bags. Yikes!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Playing Along With Let's Get Sketchy - February Week 4

It's Monday once again and I have another layout to show you featuring a fabulous sketch from Let's Get Sketchy

It's by our very own Jenessa Franco and I think it is so cute. 
It's a format I have started using quite a bit - 3 photos in row either portrait as they are in this sketch or, as I ended up doing, landscape stacked on top of each other. I have to give a big shout out to Shimelle Lain  who does this a lot too and is the QUEEN at showing us how easy it is to embellish in a style consistent with the rest of our layouts as well as leaving all the room you need for journaling.

Here's my layout.

These pictures were taken at the birthday of Christine's "boyfriend", Levi. His mother had bid on and won a birthday party visit by the Delta Fire Department at a school fundraiser. The kids loved it!! I think you can tell by Christine's massive grin in the bottom picture that using the big fire hose was a huge hit! 
I was drawn out of our house by seeing the fire truck across the street. (This is where I insert a joke about firemen, right?) 

Flipping the sketch to suit my photos gave me a natural place to journal and enough room that I didn't have to worry about it not fitting in.

I substituted the circles in the sketch for buttons and sewed them down with black thread to pull together the hits of black on the layout.

One final cluster up by the title finished things off.

Well, thanks for stopping by today. Since it is Team B's week (I'm on Team A) I will be linking my layout up on the blog shortly. I hope you will too! This is our final sketch for the month of February which means that if you've been thinking about trying for the prize from Moments of Tranquility you're rapidly running out of time! Get 3 of the 4 sketches completed by the end of the week to be eligible for the prize pack. We've had some truly amazing layouts submitted this month - it's been fantastic to see familiar faces each week as well as new ones. Keep them coming everyone!

One final thing before I sign off. This weekend we at Let's Get Sketchy are celebrating our 1st birthday!! In true LGS style, we are throwing a weekend long blog hop (yikes! better get my projects finalized!!) and I'd LOVE to see you all there. 

Thanks, have a great week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Family Friday Update - Mexico Part II

Before I get to that though, here are some shots of what Valentine's Day looked like around here yesterday last Thursday.

As you can see, I started this last week and then ... hmmm ... what DID happen last Friday? Oh yes. It was a "district wide closure day" or, as I like to call them "we're trying to save money and closing the school for one day every few months seems to work even though it ends up costing family's more in day care and schedule disruptions"! I would have been less bitter about this particular day off school if the district had got its act together and coordinated it with the new Family Day the Monday before. A 4 day weekend would have been more tolerable than 2 3-day weekends with a 3 day week in the middle!

But I digress. Last Friday was also the day I finally picked up my laptop. Since it was like a brand new computer I spent the rest of the day transferring what data I had back onto it and trying to get it back to where I had it before. This blog post got put on the back burner and then forgotten about. Sorry!

Back to last week and Valentine's Day ...

Greg came home Wednesday night with the roses so our table looked very festive first thing in the morning.

Inside the girls Valentines buckets this year were some jelly beans, a Barbie Kinder Surprise egg, a heart shaped York peppermint patty, a cupcake lip gloss from Pier1 and a Valentine's bracelet also from Pier1 (gotta love the staff discount!) Their cards were shared in this post but I didn't show you what I made for Greg. Here it is.

I found my inspiration for this also on Pinterest - you can see it here. I wanted to try and find something more masculine than all the red and pink I'd been collecting before. The original card was in shades of blue but I stuck with traditional red. 

I don't make a ton of cards now that I am no longer selling Stampin' Up products so I've kind of forgotten how fun it can be. And satisfying to get a project done in 30 minutes! Anyway, Thanks for letting me share these with you.

My post title hinted at more Mexico pictures so get ready, get comfy, get a cup of tea ...

In my Mexico Part I post I got through the first half of our vacation, here are some highlights from Days 5 - 8.

Greg took Marley and LC boogie boarding while Paige and I stayed at the kids pool. If I remember correctly, they had been gone a long time so I finally convinced Paige to go down to the beach with me to see what was happening and this is what we found! LC was doing pretty well! I have a couple of short videos that I'll upload to my YouTube channel for you to see.

Marley really has the surfer girl look down pat!

Once they returned the boards we went for a walk along the beach. Greg had a very specific destination in mind but when we were still only half way to it the girls started complaining of being tired so I took them back. Greg kept going - for another hour! The girls had fun trying to find treasures. At one point they found a coconut and Paige gave it a good try to carry it all the way back but it got too heavy in the end and was left behind. 

That night was another beautiful sunset which I finally remembered to grab a picture of! This is the pathway in front of our room. The hut you see is where you can rent the boogie boards and other beach equipment and in front of that there were two petanque pits and two shuffle board mats.

After dinner Marley challenged Greg to a game of Ping Pong and while in the Games Room getting the paddles and ball, an impromptu game of fooze ball was played.

Um, yes. Paige IS a teensy bit sun burnt!! She had pretty much refused to get out of the pool that day except when I dragged her down to the beach. Insistence that she reapply sunscreen was generally met with groans, pouts and sometimes even tears. Sigh. I do believe she learned her lesson though! Us too!! Hats, hats, hats!!

LC and Griffin found a new way to play pool.

Greg and Marley playing ping pong.

Day 6 was Greg and my "day out". Grandma and Grandpa came out to the resort to look after the girls while we headed into Puerto Vallarta for some time alone.

We took the bus into town - it was only 140 pesos (or something like that - I can't remember exactly!)

Here's Greg standing on the Malecon (wide pedestrian path along the beach) looking towards Nuevo Vallarta.

And me on the Malecon, looking up the Malecon. It was a really pretty area with lots of sculptures and the requisite tourist stores and chain restaurants!

After a long HOT walk down the Malecon, over the bridge to this little island in the middle of the city and back again, we made for our lunch destination - Pipi's. Greg's family found this restaurant on their first visit to Puerto Vallarta in the late 90's and have gone there every trip since. When we were there in 2007 Greg and I had a lunch out here after which I managed to get Greg to agree to buy me a $100 serving bowl. Something he doesn't let me forget!! It had a lot to do with the fact that we had two of these margaritas last time!! We learned our lesson and only had one on this trip!!

They are the size of a small lake afterall!!

Another thing we love about Pipi's is the freshly made guacamole. It's made table side and to order! Gotta love that!!

The final thing that we love at Pipi's are the Shrimp fajitas.
I think this picture speaks for itself, no?

Not a cheap lunch but definitely a feast to remember!!

This is Pipi's.

We were all pretty sunburned by this point but the girls had great fun putting aloe on Greg and myself. 

This is our little patio and here the girls are modelling the new dresses I picked up for them in Puerto Vallarta. Not a $100 dollar plate!!

We took the girls out for a "fancy" dinner - a reservation needed, sit down affair at one of the restaurants on the resort instead of the usual buffet affair. Since the girls were all dressed up and Greg had to wear pants, I decided to get dressed up too. Makes for a nice family shot!!

Day 7 - our last full day at the resort.

We decided to take full advantage of the amenities available at the resort so while I kept our reserved chairs company at the kids pool (i.e. sat in the sun and read my book all morning) Greg hung out with the girls at the Kids Club. Because LC isn't 4 yet we weren't able to leave her without parental supervision so we hadn't used the Kids Club much. Next time! On this morning it was Pirate Day so first they painted swords ...

then there was a bit of play time ...

then they got dressed up for their treasure hunt. Paige looks pretty fierce here doesn't she?

Cutest pirate ever!

Our three Buccaneers!!

The treasure hunt led them all through the Club building (even weaving through tables in the main restaurant while people were trying to finish breakfast!)

Once outside they had to find the flags and follow the clues.

Marley led the charge carrying the Jolly Roger!

Reading a clue.

At the main pool they put on a bit of a show for everyone including shuttling the kids across the pool on that dingy.

LC's turn.

Paige making it safely to the other side.

Hello Nielsen's!! They were getting ready to go that day so didn't participate in the fun but did stop by to see what all the noise was about.

Down on the beach the buried treasure was finally discovered.

Chocolate coins!!

After a bit of lunch it was pool time - with new friends.

Paige joined in the kids water aerobics. Greg was more than happy to take pictures of this. I wonder why?!

Marley and I were hanging out in the main pool.


That night the girls "had" to go to the evening show as there was going to be a special kids show before the main performance. In true fashion, our girls were up on stage before things got going dancing and showing off!

Paige is really developing this goofy side!

The girls had been making friends all week and knowing that this was our last night they had exchanged addresses with one particular set of girls. Here is was all about the goodbye hugs! 

And then the festivities got going. Captain Hook (minus his hook!) had lost his hat so the children ran through the theatre trying to find it and then chasing the pirate who had it. The fun ended with a game like "pass the parcel" except it was "pass the hat" to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. Our girls didn't win. :(

Once the children's program finished the entertainment troupe put on a pretty spectacular dance show.  

Marley and LC got their picture taken with the dancers at the end but Paige ...

Paige had fallen asleep! Aw!!

Day 8 - Homeward bound ... eventually!

Marley woke up with the nasty cold that had been plaguing the Nielsen's so she spent the morning chilling on the couch (and hiding from the camera) while I packed and Paige and LC went to the Kids Club. 

I tagged Greg off so he could pack and got pictures of the Iron Chef portion of the activities. Here's LC concentrating on painting her chef's hat - I'm assuming she had fun on the playground before this as her nose is one big dirt smudge!!

Paige takes her art very seriously!!

Getting ready to cook!

LC too - after they all washed their hands first though!

Lining up to make their Iron Chef creations.

Admiring her handiwork!

Pretty soon it was time to leave the Kids Club, have a quick shower and check out of our room.

Paige sitting pretty on the front desk counter!

This was too cute not to photograph. We took the bus into Puerto Vallarta for one last visit with Grandma and Grandpa Day and at one point LC was laying on Paige's lap trying to take a nap. Paige can be very maternal to her sometimes!

Once there we quickly met up with Greg's folks and strolled down the Malecon. Some locals create elaborate sand castles on the beach beneath the Malecon (jars are put out for tips) and this one seemed appropriate to take a picture of. Plus I was in a giving mood - a getting rid of my last pesos mood!

Another frequent sight in Puerto Vallarta was these guys. They are everywhere!

Strolling down the Malecon.

There were plenty of photo ops along the way.

We wanted to get a shot of all three girls - one in each arch - but ... Paige was hungry and tired and in a non-cooperative mood!

This is the whole sculpture. Wouldn't it have been cool with a girl in each arch? Well, 3 out of the 4 arches anyway. Maybe next time!
Grandma put her Spanish and bargaining skills to work in buying each grand daughter a silver bracelet.

Got all 3 to cooperate for this one!!

Wow! Two family shots in one trip! That's pretty amazing!

Well, thanks for hanging in there. We've been back for 2 and a half weeks now and it's starting to feel like a nice dream. Life rapidly returned to normal. School routines. Activity routines. Job juggling. Sigh. I need a holiday! LOL!!

I shared my big news the other day that I am now a Staffer at an online magazine called Scrapbook News and Review. Just to clarify one point - this is not a job that pays me money. I'd love it if it were but I am happy with the recognition, exposure and experience it will give me plus the opportunity to play with new products on occasion. It's still a HUGE deal and I appreciate all the lovely comments from my friends congratulating me. 

Well, this is stacking up to be a busier weekend than normal. Tomorrow means LC's swim lesson, Marley's jazz and a shift for me at Pier1 but it also brings a birthday party for Paige and the PAC Parent Dance. Seeing as I have to be at work for 8:30 on Sunday morning I don't anticipate having as much fun as I did at the Parent dance 2 years ago! Probably a good thing!! Sunday is the usual double soccer game and a shift for me at Pier1 plus we will be taking Marley out for her birthday dinner a couple nights early as Greg is planning on taking her to the Canucks game on Tuesday (her birthday).  See what I mean? Busy, busy, busy!!

Hope your weekend is filled with family and fun too. See you on Monday!