Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Three New Tools!

Close To My Heart introduced three new tools this fall that I am excited about! I don't have them yet but they are now on my wishlist. Check out this short video to learn how to use the quilling tool, rub-on tool and chalk marker! If you have a Cricut and want a super easy way to make the rolled 3-D flowers then you need to watch this video!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Zoo Trip!

We went to the Zoo way back at the beginning of October and I've been meaning to share pictures of our great day with you ever since! I am actually already working on a scrapbook layout of our day on Studio J (thanks to the inspiration from my sister Janine who said I should work from most current backwards! It is rewarding to see pictures I just took scrapbook and journaled!)

We were able to participate in a Keeper talk at the Elephant enclosure and it was really exciting for me to watch all three of my kids ask great questions of the Keeper!

White lionness

 We were really this close to the Polar Bear - I did not zoom in on my camera - but there was a plexiglass in between us!

I find jellyfish one of God's more fascinating creatures!

Digging for dinosaur bones!

Ending the trip right - with Elephant Ears - one caramel banana and one Nutella! Yum Yum!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas cards

Same layout - two different looks! I chose a layout from "Make It From Your Heart Vol. 1" and used CTMH's new Pear and Partridge paper. I love the sparkle from the self-adhesive Silver Shimmer Trim! The stamp set on the top card is C1510 Merry and Bright  - I stamped it in Olive and then a second time in Cranberry. I cut out the flowers and ribbon and adhered to the Olive wreath. I added a pearl to the ribbon. To make the bird I inked my stamp with sponge daubers using Cranberry pigment ink and in Cashmere pigment ink and then stamped. I added cocoa marker for the eye, beak and legs and cut it out.

For the second card I used D1483 Glory to God - my favourite Christmas stamp! I simply stamped the manager scene in black, the star image in yellow and added sparkles.

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Organizing Tools

If you are like me and have wondered about CTMH's new organizing tools - what size they were, how much they would hold and so on, or if you need to organize your crafting supplies, then check out this short 1:49 video!

I love that the new craft boxes are larger so I can organize more than just brads or eyelets! When my supplies are organized scrapbooking and crafting are even more enjoyable.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Digital scrapbooking even faster!

Close To My Heart has introduced Express Collections that make digital scrapbooking with Studio J even faster! Express Collections are groups of layouts that are designed for you. Examples include "A Year in Review", "Travel", "School Days," Little Miss", "Little Man" and more.

I have been loving these new layouts - I used the Travel collection and within a couple of hours scrapbooked 8 layouts from two of our cross-country trips! I can't do that with classic scrapbooking. Drop in the pictures, edit the titles, add journaling and I was done.

Check out this video to see how Express Collections work:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Week at One-Room School House

We had a chance to experience 1860 pioneer life at Black Creek Pioneer Village at the beginning of September. The kids and I spent four days in school with seven other homeschool families participating in a one-room school house. There were 35 children altogether, ranging in age from 4 to 17  - a true one-room experience!

Jeremy learning how to spin wool

Highlights of the week included a visiting the blacksmith, flour mill, a spelling bee, learning a dance (the girls enjoyed this anyways), and bread, butter and jam sandwiches for our pioneer lunches.

Jeremy during his math lesson

Our group


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inspiration from CTMH

Close To My Heart has come out with quite a few new videos showcasing their latest and greatest new products! Here's two of my favourites:

First, learn about our fantastic new alcohol based markers while making a harvest banner:

and second, discover a super simple new stamping technique to add interest and dimension to your stamping!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 7 - Toronto, ON

We arrived home in Toronto around 8:30 pm Friday night and unpacked the van. The kids were pretty distracted checking out their rooms and toys again though! No pictures from the day - we basically just drove after doing a little bit of shopping in Kalamazoo. We stopped at one park along the way to stretch our legs but it was another hot day so the kids barely played - the swings were the best part! We're looking forward to attending our church on Sunday and worshipping and fellowshipping with our friends there. This week the kids and I will be at Black Creek Pioneer Village attending a one-room school  - I'll share pictures and let you know how it goes!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 6 - Kalamazoo, MI

Here are pictures from our stay at the Kalahari Waterpark Resort:

By the way, the secret to staying at the Kalahari is the "Choose Your Own Adventure" deals - on certain nights in the month (especially on more off season times), you can get this deal where you choose 3 from 7 different choices for one price - we pick the suite upgrade (three beds, two baths, three TVs), $40 coupon for supper at one of their restaurants, and free breakfast for 4! Plus we can use the waterpark from noon the day you check in until noon the day you check out!

Thursday morning, after a great breakfast buffet and three more hours of sliding we were back on the road heading east to Kalamazoo, MI. We know a lovely pastoral couple in Kalamazoo that are always so gracious to offer us a place to stay. We are always well fed and we enjoy their mentoring friendship.

Friday night we'll be back at our home in Toronto!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 5 - Wisconsin Dells, WI

After a long, frustrating day - 7 hours of driving, leaving later than we planned, more stops than we wanted, and grumpy kids we finally reached our destination. We surprised the kids and drove into the Kalahari parking lot! They had no idea that the hotel with a pool they would be staying at tonight would be the same great waterpark hotel that we stayed at in May on our way to Alberta. Noelle kept saying that it was the best surprise ever :) We swam and slid for three hours when we got here and then went for a late supper. Not surprisingly, all the kids fell asleep in minutes tonight.

We could tell it was cooler today - only 33C or 34C most of the day! Although it was more like 39C in South Dakota so we're glad to be moving into cooler country.

Tomorrow is on to Kalamazoo, MI, after swimming and sliding in the morning again of course!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 4 - Sioux Falls, SD

Hot, hot hot! We had a good day of driving but it was hot, another 36C day (near record highs) - heat we are not used to :) We are very grateful for our air conditioning and reliability of our vehicle.

We saw evidence of the drought in the many fields we passed by on our way. After our 6 hour drive and supper at Sioux Falls we drove a short way to visit Falls Park and see the falls that gave the city it's name. It was very evident that the drought has affected the Sioux River too but even with less water there is something about the beauty of waterfalls that is captivating.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 3 - Rapid City, SD

We haven't ever stayed two nights in one place before on our trips back and forth but this trip we took an extra day and enjoyed the Black Hills of South Dakota! Today was a full day of Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Big Thunder Gold Mine and then a Chinese buffet for supper and swimming just before bed.

We took a ton of pictures so I'll let some of them tell our story of today. What you can't see though is how hot it was... 37C!  We just wished we could stay longer in the caves where it was blessedly cool.

Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns

Exploring a small cave with flashlights

Going down, down many steps - about 300 feet underground to the main cave (going backwards was easier for adults on the steep steps!)

Dog-tooth spar crystal

Afterwards, we bought a bag of "dirt" so the kids could sift it and discover gems and crystals to take home  (the kids loved this part and wanted to buy more bags of "dirt" to sift through!)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The proverbial "We were here" photo

A great talk by a park ranger explaining how Gutzon Borglum used his scale models to sculpt the four famous faces. What an amazing story of persistence (this is the 9th scale model version) and flexibility (to keep working within the limits of the rock)!  

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Learning about the persistence of two miners who spent 30 years painfully digging this mine to find only 10 ounces of gold!

Panning for gold - it takes a bit of skill but we came home with a few flecks of gold - and it felt good to "play" in the water!

Tomorrow we're off to Sioux Falls, SD - basically just driving straight across the state!

Day 2 – Rapid City, SD

After attending an early service at 9 am at First Baptist Church in Billings, we started our drive to Rapid City, SD. We had thought we might try and stop at Devils Tower (a unique volcanic formation ) in Wyoming but on our way we saw a sign for Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument and ended up stopping there instead. Two and a half hours later we had listened to a park ranger tell the story of “Custer's Last Stand”, watched a video explaining the battle and looked around the gift shop. We didn't pull into Rapid City until after 7 pm but it was worth it to learn about a piece of US history in a very real way. We also have a few new books to read on the way too!

Teepees at Custer's Last Stand Trading Store

Jeremy rolling down the hill when he got bored of listening to the park ranger talk

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 1 Billings, MT

Our last drive east began today - Vauxhall to Billings - past fields of grain and miles of prairie. It has been probably the best first day of driving with the kids. They were excited to receive their Day 1 bags (daily bags that I stock with "new" books (from a library sale this time), small candies and activities - these bags spread out the excitement and give the kids something to look forward to each day. It also helped that Jeremy had an afternoon nap! It ended up being a nine hour trip with four stops before supper and a swim in an outside pool. Now though, I am sitting on the floor of the bathroom with the doors closed so the kids can fall asleep in the dark. Sigh. The joys of all of us in one room.

Next week Daniel begins his last year of seminary at Toronto Baptist Seminary and the kids and I will get to experience a one room school for 4 days before continuing homeschooling. Life will be full when we get back to Toronto so we'll enjoy our slower life (no laundry or dishes or papers to write) while we drive.

Outside the Great Falls Visitor Center

Overlooking Billings, Montana

Swimming in the outdoor pool in the courtyard

Time for bed!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Red Rock Coulee, AB

A little known secret near Seven Persons, AB is Red Rock Coulee - a unique canyon with large round red rocks. One Sunday in August, we took a road trip with my Mom to see these strange rocks and marvel at God's creation. Mom had been here in June and said that most of the rocks were intact. Sadly, it seems that some of the wild storms we have had this summer broke up many of the rocks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

CTMH Holiday Ornaments Video

I love this stamp set and coordinating Dimensional Elements (chipboard) - they are on my wishlist for my next order so I can make my own ornaments for our Christmas tree and for gifts! This would be a fun project to make with my kids (at least the youngest two :) - they would love stamping them and adding glitter and embellishments.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CTMH Stamping Inspiration Video

The new Autumn/Winter Idea Book is here and with it some great new kits and stamps! Drop me a line if you would like to receive a hard copy of the Catalogue and Idea Book. Check out this 2 minute video to see some great artwork using some new Workshop on the Go stamp sets.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flying a Kite!

One afternoon at the end of June was a perfect kite flying day! Kite flying has never been an activity I've done a lot of but we were given a kite in May and the kids were wanting to try it out. After a few tense moments trying to put together the very cool pirate ship kite we were ready. I'm happy to say the flying was a success! The kite flew, we didn't hit a power line or a tree and we got it back down in one piece. Thank you Simon for sharing one of your kites with us!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cards – Birthday cards

I made these cards for a card workshop I taught the last week of April – in between packing and cleaning! I used a CTMH layout and Lucy paper. I wanted to teach ink distressing and focus on stamping. We stamped the title and the images – either flowers or the cupcake and ice cream cone and then coloured them in with ink and the watercolor brush or blending pen. I also wanted to show how you can make a feminine card or masculine card with the same pieces of patterned paper  – just my using the reverse side of the double-sided cardstock-weight patterned paper!

Stamp set "Card Word Puzzle" coloured in with blush ink and a waterbrush

On this card I used the Lucy glittery rub-ons to show how they work and that you could use them to make a card with little or no stamping.

Stamp set: "Look Who's..." coloured in with blending pen and ink

We embellished with pearls, sparkles, clear or bling buttons! I love to see the beautiful cards people in my classes create with the same supplies. I wish I could show you all the variations. Next time I'll take try to remember to take my camera with me and then post pictures of everyone else's creations!