Friday, January 27, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different...

...a blog post related to scrapbooking!  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I signed up for Miss Smith's "Just One Sketch" class which began a couple of weeks ago.  I absolutely love her style and thought this might be a good way to jumpstart my scrapping which seems to have fallen to the wayside since I picked up my knitting needles earlier this fall.  I tend to have a hard time keeping up with the prompts and "assignments" (I swear I was not like this in real school!) and I have finally just managed to complete my first layout.

The sketch which I chose to use throughout the class is from Creative Scrappers.  I love all the white space which leaves lots of room for journaling or paint splattering.  I liked that it includes a circle element which I can choose to include, or not, as I see fit.  And I'm always a big fan of those tiny embellishment clusters you find at the tops of pages.

My layout has actually been 99% finished for the past week.  That's about how long it took me to get brave enough to splatter some paint!  Paint splattering is so random by nature that it seems to stop me in my tracks every time.  You never know how it will look until it's done and by then, if you don't like it, it's too late to make it different.  For this reason there always seems to be a long lead-up time to when the paint leaves the brush and hits paper.  But this morning I finally got it done.  It's very subtle, but I like it and think it adds a bit more interest to the page. 

The other element of this layout that I am very excited about is my faux washi tape.  I love the look of washi tape but it's a bit pricey.  I found an online tutorial on how to create the look of washi tape using paper first aid tape.  I borrowed some chalks from Jen and used a Q-tip to apply a bit of colour to the tape.  Then I stamped the zigzags with grey ink.  Instant washi tape to co-ordinate with my page!  It's slightly more transparent than the authentic stuff and only time will tell how well it stays adhered to the page, but for now I think it's a pretty cool way to have the washi tape effect without spending much money.  

And just in case anyone is wondering what knitting I've been doing - more hats for charity - all of them knit from leftovers and scraps of yarn.  It's fun to come up with various colour combinations to create something truly unique.

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twenty Four Feet for a Good Cause

Yes, twenty four feet of knitting has been completed, resulting in four 6-foot scarves which will be donated to the Canadian Winter Special Olympics.  By the time I got to the end of the fourth scarf I'd definitely had my fill of making these but I'm happy to have been able to help out with this.  Jen also finished four scarves and her mother-in-law, Pat, was able to do five.  That's a lot of stitches!

There has definitely been more knitting going on around here than any other craft, but I did finally venture down to my scrap room last week and have almost finished a layout.  Hopefully I'll get it posted within the next couple of days. 

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Things...for 2012

I skipped doing a "10 Things" post in December.  I'd wanted to show my favourite ten Christmas ornaments from our tree but when December 10th rolled around and the tree and decorations were still all packed away in storage it was obvious that was not going to happen!  I'd like start off the year on a better foot and hopefully be faithful to compiling a 10 Things list every month.

2012 is sort of a big year for me.  It is the year that I will turn 50.  It is the year that we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  I pondered over my January list for a few days, and even though I generally shy away from making new year's resolutions due to the fact that I know I probably won't stick with them, I thought this might be the perfect time to try to come up with a list of ten tiny goals for 2012 to make some small changes in my day to day life and accomplish a few things.

1. Project 365.

No, I don't mean starting Project 365.  I mean finishing the one I took all those photos for during 2010, our big year of change.  With 13 weeks scrapped so far, I'm only one quarter the way through this project and since that was such an important year for us I really do want to finish it eventually.  Although I'd love to think I could get it all done this year, I'm going to be realistic and dedicate two days a month to working on it and if I can stick with this I'll have accomplished a big chunk of it by year's end.

2. Bake.

I love to bake.  I used to bake a lot but have gotten away from it in the past few years, which actually might be a good thing or I'd probably weigh a lot more than I do!  But since it is something that I really enjoy doing, I'd like to spend a few hours each week baking.  Mondays will be Baking Day and that way I can share some of it with Jen on Tuesdays when we get together.    

3. Try New Recipes.

We're in a real rut when it comes to what we eat for supper.  The same old recipes week in and week out.  I'm tired of eating the same things but it always seems like an effort to find new recipes and actually try them.  However, the time has come to make that effort so my aim is to try a new recipe once a week and hopefully discover some new dishes that we'll want to eat again.  I've already made the Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake pictured above (minus the spinach) and it was delicious.  Here's to waking up our taste buds in 2012!

4. Scrapbook More.

My box of photos to be scrapbooked gets fuller with each passing month.  There are so many little stories and moments I want to document and I need to seriously start dedicating some time to this every week in order to get pages done while the memories are still fresh in my mind.   I've reached the point where I have so much paper and so many supplies to be used that I don't even feel the desire or the need to buy anything new and it's been months since I've gone to the LSS.  I'm hoping that Miss Smith's Just One Sketch class, which begins on January 15th, will give me the push I need to get back into scrapbooking.  I'm ready to get started!

5. Give Blood. 
This is something that I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm not quite sure why I can't seem to make that final step to actually donating.  I'm not at all squeamish with needles.  I don't faint at the sight of blood.  I guess there's just something a bit creepy about the thought of draining such a quantity of my very lifeforce.  I signed up to receive Canadian Blood Services newsletters with the hope that reading the stories of donors and recipients will convince me to do this.  I want to do this!

6. Walk & Cycle. 

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when both Richard and I walked - a lot - for exercise.  And we rode our bikes for miles and miles.  We were in better shape for sure.  With me nearing 50 years of age and Richard about to turn 55 next month, we know that we need to exercise more.  When we lived in Quebec we were lucky enough to live just down the street from an amazing bike path which went for miles in all sorts of interesting directions.  We used it a lot.  We haven't found anything quite like that where we live now, but after being here for a whole year we do finally have a couple of ideas of nice places to cycle which we'll be trying in the spring.  We did go for a walk this past weekend.  It felt good but we were both really tired at the end of the day because of it.  That's definitely a sign that it's time to get active!

7. Eat More Fruit.

I eat vegetables with supper.  Mostly.  I don't do so well with fruit.  Weeks at a time can go by where I never eat fruit.  When I want a snack I'm more apt to reach for a different type of sweet - like a cookie (or several!) rather than fruit.  I'd like to eat one fruit each day.  I can't say that I've accomplished this every day of 2012 so far, but I have improved and have certainly eaten more fruit than I normally do.  Bananas are my fruit of choice so far.  No tedious peeling.  No bitter-tasting peel.  I think I will eventually get into the habit of reaching for fruit.  Hopefully.  This would make Matthew happy for although he eats his fair share of sweets and junk, he also consumes large quantities of fruits and vegetables and wishes that everyone in his immediate and extended family would do the same to be healthier.

8. Journal Weekly.

Last year, thanks to Sian, I discovered these amazing fill-in-the-blank journal pages done by Christie at Grace is Overrated.  I don't want to be writing in a journal every day of my life, but I loved the idea of occasionally capturing a little snapshot of what is going on in my life.  I can accomplish this by filling in one of these pages from time to time.  I bought a lovely apple green binder.  I bought markers to colour in the borders in order to make them more personal.  I printed out all of the pages that were available at the time.  And to date I think I've completed a total of four pages.  As much as I want to use these journal sheets on a regular basis, most of the time I simply just don't think to do it.  So, I vow to write up one journal sheet each week.  I've picked  random days and written them down.  I won't forget to do this anymore and with time I'll have a fun collection of documented moments of my life.

9. Phone My Mother More Often.

I don't like to talk on the phone.  I rarely ever just pick up the phone and call someone to talk.  I don't enjoy it.  It's not me.  I use the phone when there's a specific need to call someone; when there's a reason or purpose in making the call.  But I know that my mother would probably like to hear from me more often and a quick phone call to her "just because" might make a difference in her day.  I will do my best to call my mother more often.

10. Organize My Time Better.

I'm a very organized person by nature and while I do accomplish a lot during my days,  I don't always accomplish all of the things (especially little things like filling in a journal page!) I'd wanted to do.  I'll get into bed and then remember.  Or I get to the end of the week and think about those things (like doing a scrapbook page) that I just didn't make time for.  Sometimes I get on a tangent (like knitting) and over-devote my time to it instead of managing my time and accomplishing more.  I function better when I make lists.  There's something satisfying about writing down all the things you need/want to do and then crossing them off as you finish them.  Chris passed along a small date planner to me which he was given at work but doesn't need.  I've started using this to plan out my weeks in a more balanced fashion and by doing this I think I'll be able to accomplish many  of the items on this 10 Things list!

And that's it.  Ten small things.  All very doable.  And assuming that we are all still here come December 21st, 2012, perhaps I'll revisit this list and see how well I did with it.

If you'd like to read more 10 Things lists, check out the links from Shimelle's blog.  It's always interesting to see what others are thinking about.

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Knitting For a Cause...

I'm beginning to think that it might be a good idea to change the name of my blog as it seems I spend a lot of time posting about my recent love of knitting instead of my so-called passion for paper.  Indeed, I may just do that and my brain is busy working on a name that would encompass both of these things.  In the meantime I'll leave things as they are and write once again about knitting...

Jen and I are working on a new charity project, knitting scarves for the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games which will be held here in Alberta in about two months.  The goal is to gift all of the athletes, their families and supporters, coaches and volunteers with unique hand-knit scarves.  That's a lot of scarves!  2500 will be needed, 1500 have been knit so far and the deadline for collection is February 1st.

With this in mind, Jen and I are dedicating our Crafty Tuesdays (and as much other free time as we can manage) to this cause.  And that means that for the moment, Gus' golden dog sweater has been put on hold...

As well as this sock-monkey-to-be...

Not to mention Richard's promised black hat which for the time being will exist as just a ball of yarn full of potential.  We'll dedicate as much time as we can, knitting and knitting as we commit to helping out for this worthy cause...

Until next time...
Susan :-)