Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New in the Shop...

Lately Jen and I have been busy with needles of various types making things for our Etsy shop - soft, delicate, pretty things...

Jen's tiny cross-stitch needle has created a beautiful tea towel with a crisp Spring design, perfect for this time of year...

And my knitting needles have created a soft blanket, perfect for wrapping a new baby...

We have lots more ideas in the works too.

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Express Yourself! - CSI Case No. 68

Just a quick post today to show you what I created with last week's CSI challenge.  Here's the palette, a great mix of colours and such a fun inspirational image to go along with it!

As this month's theme is "humour" I thought this was the perfect time to do a page that I've been thinking about for quite a while now.  I wanted to document some of the funny expressions that Richard uses.  To understand why he does this requires a little bit of background information.
Richard was born into a French Canadian family and was a total francophone until he was 14.  At that time his father moved the family to Halifax, Nova Scotia - a very different part of Canada and very English.  This was a major change for this young teenager who only knew one word in English - hello.  But as he had no other choice, he learned to speak English.  Somehow though, he never mastered some of the more particular parts of the language, namely the expressions we use.  This has become quite amusing to our family as we never know what might come out of his mouth when he tries to use an expression.
I remember once when I'd only know him for a short time that he was talking about somebody being used as a "kidney pig".  I had no idea what he was talking about at first but then realized he meant "guinea pig".  That was the first of many that I've heard him utter over the years and I think if I'd started keeping a list back then I'd be able to fill a book by now!
We get a lot of amusement from this and regularly use some of his expressions.  We never refer to "the circle of life".  It's "the wheel of life" for us.  I've kept a list over the past while with the aim of documenting some of his funnier sayings and this is the page I created.

The background information of the story is written on a tag and tucked behind the photo and the front of the page contains this list of 9 "Richardisms" with their proper equivalents:

Kidney pig (Guinea pig)
Wheel of Life (Circle of Life)
Simmer Up (Calm Down)
That's All Over the Bridge (It's Water Under the Bridge)
I'm Full of Thumbs (I'm All Thumbs)
Washy Washo (Wishy Washy)
Backstreet Driver (Backseat Driver)
Put a Stick in the Road (Put a Stick in the Spokes)
Copywrite Entrenchment (Copywrite Infringement)

I used this sketch from the French site called Scrap Idees:

On a different note, it seems that Spring is finally coming to Alberta, long overdue and very welcome at this point!  We even got out today for a bit of geocaching.  I hope your weekend was good wherever you are and that the sun has been shining!

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Never Underestimate the Value of a Penny...

In February of this year Canada eliminated the penny from its currency.  No new pennies are being minted.  If you happen to still have some pennies on hand you are free to use them when making cash transactions, but if you've run out of pennies, as we all will eventually, then your transaction is either rounded up or down to the nearest five cents.  This feels like a cheat to me because I wonder who is going to come out on the winning end.  I like things to be exact.  Some people are happy to see the penny disappear because they feel it no longer has a place in this world where the majority of transactions are not carried out in cash, but I felt a bit sad about the whole thing.

I like the penny.  And I like all of the expressions we have that go along with it...
A penny for your thoughts.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
It costs a pretty penny.
And my personal favourite, a little rhyme:
Find a penny
Pick it up
All day long
You'll have good luck!
Because even though my family laughs at me for doing it, I never pass a penny on the street without picking it up!  I am mocked.  They don't understand why I would make the effort to retrieve a coin that holds so little value.  And honestly, in today's world is there really anything you can buy for a penny?  Well, if you're in the right place at the right time and it happens to be your very lucky day then the answer to that question would be, "Yes! You can buy this."
Jen and I stopped into Michaels yesterday because I needed to pick up a skein of floss for stitching on my scrapbook pages.  She suggested that we take a look at the liquidation section of the store. You never know what sort of bargain you might find, so off we went.  Right away I spied a Martha Stewart punch - an interesting all-over design that might be useful for adding some dimension and negative space to my pages.  The regular price was $29.99 and it was marked down to $7.99.  After a quick test to make sure it was working properly I decided to buy it.

The cashier scanned the floss and the punch and told me the total was 53 cents.  "That can't be right," I said, to which she replied, "That's how it scanned, ma'am, so that's what I have to charge you."  And sure enough, I looked at the register screen and there it was - Martha Stewart Punch: 0.01.  One cent!  I quickly paid my 55 cents (my transaction had rounded up but this time it didn't bother me!) then felt like I needed to run from the store before somebody changed their mind about the whole thing.
A Martha Stewart punch for one cent.  Who says you can't buy anything for a penny?  The funny thing is, if the punch had been the only item I'd bought I would have got it for free because the transaction would have rounded down to 0.00.  Even if I only ever use this punch one time I'll still be saying, "That was a penny well spent!"

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Brown Hawk Down - CSI Case No. 67

There was another really fun palette of colours over at the CSI site this past week.  The theme for the month is "funny" and these colours just yell "fun" at you when you look at them.

Unfortunately I had no funny photos to use which fit the colour scheme so I settled on scrapping some photos of the hawk which visited our backyard recently and which I wrote about here and here.  It was a bit of a challenge finding a way to tell the whole story in such a small space but I managed to come up with an abridged version.

Since it was the second challenge of the month, there was a sketch provided for us to use too.

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When a Notebook is No Longer a Notebook...

I've been very busy sleuthing with the CSI (Colors, Stories, Inspiration) site the past couple of months.  These challenges are so inspiring and I always look forward to Friday evening when the new challenge is revealed.  After reading all the details I grab a scrap of paper and jot down the five colours of the palette as well as the Evidence and Testimony requirements.  I like to have this basic information handy as reference when I'm working on my page.
This week as I was making my notes I remarked to Richard that I should get myself a little black notebook, you know, sort of like real detectives have for making notes on the case they're solving. ;-)  Plus, I really like notebooks and can always find a use for a new one.  So next morning off we went to the office supply store.
As soon as we entered the store we were approached by a young boy who asked if we needed help finding anything.  "I'm looking for a small notebook", I said.  "Okay", he said, muttering something to himself about technology and led us off in the total opposite direction of where I was expecting the notebooks to be.  Next thing I know he's waving his arm in the general direction of where the printers and computers are located saying, "You'll find one somewhere in there".  I was confused.  And then it dawned on me that we were from two very different generations and his idea of a notebook was obviously not the same as mine.
"Oh.  Um, no", I said.  "I'm looking for a tiny notebook...like, with pages inside."  And I laughed.  I couldn't help it.  "Ohhhh" he said, with a bit of an embarrassed look on his face, and led me off in the direction I'd originally thought we should be going.  There was a nice assortment of old-fashioned notebooks and I picked out a black one which should fit my sleuthing needs just fine.

The world sure has changed and I'm beginning to feel like a bit of a dinosaur these days but as long as I never walk into the office supply store and have to explain to someone what a piece of paper is I think I'll be okay.  ;-)

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

A couple of weeks ago when I was at Jen's for Scrappy Tuesday we made a quick stop at Home Sense as I was in need of a towel for my  bathroom.  In addition to having some awesome kitchen and home decor products and great deals on towels, there's also a small scrapbooking section where, if you're really lucky and arrive on the right day, you might find something really amazing for an even more amazing price. 
For example, about a month ago we happened upon the entire Crate Paper Restorations paper pack for only $4.99!  I had already owned this collection (thanks to Jen) and have used it over the past couple of years, but at $4.99 who could resist, even though it's an older paper line.  I still love it as much as I originally did!  But back to the more recent find...
I'm not very good when it comes to scrappy shopping.  Even though I've been scrapping now for four years I still tend to get overwhelmed when confronted with an abundance of product.  But Jen has an eagle eye.  She's always up-to-date with what's out there.  She knows what to look for and scans the displays quickly and efficiently.  Within what seemed mere seconds of arriving at the scrapbooking aisle she was already squealing with excitement for this is what she'd found:

...Amy Tangerine's Ready Set Go line and Studio Calico's Yearbook and Hey Day collections complete with stickers and alphas in some of the packs.  And all for only $4.99 each!
Jen told me that she had bought all three lines at full price - one of them about a year ago but two of them around Christmas time.  That's only 3 months ago!  And that drove home the point of why it's not always a good idea to rush out and buy things as soon as they come out.  There's no guarantee of what you might find if you wait but there will always be good deals to be found eventually.  It was very confirming for Jen that she's doing the right thing with her No Buy Challenge because she knows she will still pick up some great product next year and probably at a great price.
As for me, I spent a few minutes debating how much paper I really needed and which of them I should buy but in the end I snatched up all three packs and cradled them lovingly in my arms.  At $4.99 each that's about a 70% saving from full price.  How could I resist? 

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring? What's That?

Like many Canadians, I am really looking forward to spring this year.  Winter hit us full force here in Edmonton on November 1st and hasn't let up since.  It's been a long winter.  We woke up to more snow yesterday and it's still cold today with a wind chill in effect.  I'm beginning to wonder if this might be true...

Good for a laugh but I still really want spring to come!  Please.

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Xmas Elf - CSI Case No. 66

I'm back with another colour challenge from the CSI site.  I have to admit that when I first looked at this colour palette I wondered what I would do with it.

This is not a colour combination that really speaks to me and not one that I would typically use. But that's the beauty of a colour challenge - it gets you doing things outside your norm and when I remembered that I had a cute Christmas photo of my little nephew Thomas, I knew everything would work out okay.

How cute is this little guy in his Santa pyjamas?  Very!  My brother referred to him as the "Christmas Elf".

I used a bit of Christmas green and some turquoise to warm up the page.  The CSI rules say that colours other than what are in the palette can be used as long as they are limited to 10% of the page, and in this case I really felt it was necessary if I was going to be happy with the end result.
Jen had given me that turquoise Studio Calico frame a while back.  Luckily it fit perfectly on the vellum pocket and was an easy way to fancy it up.  The red tag (also Studio Calico) tucked into the pocket contains a few lines of journaling.

I used this sketch from the Scrap Idees blog.

On a sidenote, I am still rocking my favourite package of black Thickers Sunrise alphas, although it's really slim pickins' by now!  This time I did a bit of surgery on a capital "I" to transform it into an "l".  I've got mostly K's, W's and X's left in the pack now so I think my chances of eking out another title are pretty slim.  Had I known how much I would love these alphas I would have bought several packages when they were available.  I don't think I'd ever get tired of seeing this font on my pages.
Until next time...
Susan :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tiny Shiny Sequins (the real story)

If you follow my sister Jen's blog then you already know that she has imposed a No Buy Challenge on herself for 2013.  If you don't follow her blog you can read all about how it's going here, herehere and here.  Now, yesterday at the end of a blog post Jen made brief mention of some sequins which she had acquired.  I'm here to tell you how the whole thing really went down. <wink>

We got together as usual for Scrappy Tuesday (which was actually a Knitting Tuesday, but that's beside the point).  After a nice lunch out at a great sandwich shop we decided to stop into the local thrift store for a look around.  We spent a good while hunting for treasures and toward the end I spied a bag of sequins.  The conversation went something like this:

Susan: Hey, look at this bag of sequins for only a dollar.

Jen (voice slightly raised as tends to happen when she gets excited about scrapbooking possibilities): Wow!!! Those are great!

Susan: Are you going to buy them?

Jen: I can't.  The challenge.  Those sequins are really great!

Susan: But it's only a dollar....how about if I buy them for you?

Jen: No, you can't do that. <pause>  Only if you'd use them too.  Think of what you could do with them!
Susan (weighing the pros and cons as she usually does when making a purchase, even if it's only a dollar):  Well, do you think we'd really use them?  I mean, I already have some sequins that you gave me a long time ago and I still haven't used them on a layout.  I don't know...are the colours really okay?  There's a lot of green and navy in here.
Jen:  Oh they're great!  Just look at them!  There's pale green and pink.  Look at that fuschia!!  I think I might see a turquoise one here too!  Think what you could do with them!

Susan:  Okay, I'll buy them.

Jen: Well, only if YOU really want them.
But inside she was actually crying, "Please...PLEEEEEEASE....BUY THE SEQUINS! They're only a dollar.  A dollar!  They're wonderful!  You'll never find a better deal on sequins.  Pleeeeeeeease!"
So, I bought the sequins.  And the best part is, when I got to the cash I was only charged 50 cents for them.  That's a whole lot of sequins for 50 cents!  We went back to Jen's place and opened the bag and split them between us and Jen was a happy camper...or should I say happy scrapper.
Seriously though, Jen has done so well with her No Buy Challenge that she honestly deserves 25 cents worth of sequins.  Me?  I'm not so big on sequins but who knows, maybe you'll see some on a layout one of these days...Jen was still convincing me of the possibilities as the afternoon went on.   ;-)
Until next time...
Susan :-)
PS: Some portions of this story may or may not have been slightly embellished for reader enjoyment. (Embellished with sequins?  Nah, no sequins.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Royaume du Bonbon - CSI Case No. 65

I have another CSI case file to share.  The palette was loaded with bright, vibrant colours that yelled out "fun" to me!

And what could be more fun than candy?  When we lived in Quebec we had a great little candy store within walking distance from our house.  Sometimes on a nice evening we would go for a walk and get a small bag of penny candy.  When you walked into the store there were shelves that were lined with dozens and dozens of jars of candy.  You'd take a little paper bag and tiny pair of tongs and make your selections.  They had every type of candy you could imagine - the newer types but also all the old stand-bys we were used to when we were kids.  The only thing that had changed was the price.  There wasn't much that could be called "penny" candy anymore because most of it cost anywhere from 5 cents to 25 cents a piece but it was so much fun to pick out exactly what you wanted and fill your bag.  The owner of the store was very trusting too, because it was up to the customer to keep a tally of the total cost of what they'd chosen.  I sometimes wondered how much money they lost to kids who weren't very good with math (or weren't very honest)!  Before we left Quebec we made one last visit to the candy store and I took a photo of what I'd selected.  I do miss that store.

It was so much fun to create this page.  I loved working with the hexagons and I was happy to finally put those whimsical  red alphas to good use.  They're from Cosmo Cricket and were a sale item at my LSS for only $2 quite a while ago.  At that price I couldn't resist buying them, although at the time I couldn't imagine how I might use them.  They were exactly what I needed for this page.  :-)

I used a sketch from Kristine Davidson's eBook "Creating with Sketches".

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Storytelling Sunday...Nesting Dolls

It's Storytelling Sunday once again over at Sian's blog From High in the Sky.  And my contribution this month is my story of how a dream came true for me when my sister gave me a tiny set of nesting dolls.

Long ago, when I was a little girl I knew someone who had a set of wooden nesting dolls.  I seem to remember that it was my cousin, but memories sometimes get mixed up with time and it might have been a friend.  What I do remember is that I loved those dolls.  It was a good-sized set of about seven, and  I was very intrigued with how they fit one inside the other so nicely, down to that smallest one in the center.  I have to admit that I was a tad envious of the person who owned these dolls and I really wished that I had a set too. 

Throughout my life I always remembered those dolls and the way I'd felt about them.  When we lived in Montreal there was a souvenir shop that had many different sets of nesting dolls, in all sorts of colours and sizes, arranged in the display window.  As we'd be passing by the shop I sometimes stopped to look in at them but I could never justify the cost of buying one for myself just to satisfy this yearning I'd had as a child.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010 when I came to visit Jen in Alberta before we moved here.  We spent an afternoon at Fort Edmonton Park and stopped into a gift shop.  Behind the counter was a display of nesting dolls which I stopped to admire.  The sales lady showed us a beautiful set of 5 miniature dolls and I told Jen how I'd always wished I had a set.  We continued looking around the shop and without me knowing it Jen bought them for me.  I was now the proud owner of a set of nesting dolls - and not just any nesting dolls - miniature ones which makes them even better because I love miniature things! A dream come true.

But why are there two sets of dolls in this photo you ask?  Well, that's because during our move to the west I lost my nesting dolls.  Or thought I had.  For months after the move I searched high and low and could not find my precious dolls.  It was a sad thing, indeed.

But my sister is a kind soul and when we visited Fort Edmonton Park once again in the summer of 2011, she bought me another set of dolls (even though I tried my best to talk her out of it because I knew that my dolls had to be somewhere in my house).  This time it was a lovely turquoise set.  And wouldn't you know it, not two days later I found my pink set wrapped in tissue paper, tucked into a tiny tin and placed at the bottom of a storage chest so they wouldn't get damaged during the move. 

I love my little nesting dolls.  The tallest stands about 2 inches and the tiniest one isn't much more than a quarter inch tall.  I like to think that one day some little girl will be in my house and admire them and I'll be able to give her one of the sets so she won't spend half a lifetime pining over them like I did.

And that's the story of another of my precious things. There are lots more stories about precious things linked up on Sian's blog, so go and have a look...

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New in the Shop

Crafty Tuesday took place on Wednesday this week and Jen and I spent some time putting together some embellishments for our Etsy shop.  Hearts and stars layered up on either text paper or kraft cardstock and secured with a tiny staple. 

Spring must be on the way because we were in the mood for bright, happy colours!  They look so cute and would be perfect on scrapbook pages or as part of the design of a greeting card.  We've added one set of 12 to the shop with more to follow.

Until next time...
Susan :-)