Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Too Scary!

I had this great blog post written for today until I realized it wasn't November 1st. Which is even funnier since they haven't changed the date of Halloween and I know that is today!

Anyhow, thought I'd pop with a photo of me and THE MAN from a recent Halloweenie Party!

I know, nuts! My feet were dying! I wore them heels on a dare I tell ya!

Will not be wearing my Greek Goddess outfit tonight. I will be sitting on my heated seats in my jeep watching small people dart around in the dark begging for candy. Hopefully it won't be raining or snowing, either! The Sheriff will be driving. The upside is we get to collect the Daddy & Mommy tax which means we get to have some candy while they run for it!

Hope your evening involves something sweet and staying warm!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All is Calm here on the Northern Front

We live practically in Canada. Which means of course we get snow and all that jazz when the weather gets crazy. It also means we're used to weather weirdness. We have always owned a generator and have a nice portable device that can charge cell phones if needed. And of course, there is always the small propane lantern as well for throwing lots of light.

Despite what Frumpy* the Your News Now Weather girl said about today and the "unsettled weather" we have a bit of sunshine this am after the storm. Turns out Sandy was just a tease up here. Kids went to school, we're drying out, and have a double rainbow!

New York City which is significantly downstate from here is not so lucky it appears. And the rough part about the city is they are not prepared for weather like us country folk. Keep them in your thoughts & prayers as their city turns into Venice, Italy.

*Oh and Frumpy? She is normally dead nuts on as far as the weather goes, despite her fashion choices. We'll give her a break today. I'll take a rainbow anytime over "unsettled" weather patterns.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

Well, OK, it's not raining here yet from Sandy. Actually it is just calm and overcast, but the animals are getting all twitterpated and the birds are eating seed as fast as possible. I hope they don't get belly aches.

Guess the storm is coming.

Heard from the folks in South East Pa that it is raining sideways.

We at the Pratt Household have stocked up on gas for the generator and removed the last remaining items from the deck. Will be keeping hairy eyeballs on the basement too just in case the foundation drain can't handle all the ground water.

I'll keep you update if anything interesting happens, but kinda hope it doesn't!

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Alcohol Ink Flowers

I own four or five bottles of Tim Holtz/Ranger Alcohol Inks. Originally purchased when I saw a tutorial on their use with metal, it seemed they might have other powerful uses.

On a recent trip to a second hand store, I came across a package of silk flower bodies. I think the intent was you actually make your own silk flower but I saw opportunity. They were very blue, not a color I was looking to use right now, but I figured a bit of alcohol ink and I'd be good to go. I also would think you could take old silk flowers apart and change them up to suit your needs with just a bit of dye.

This ink is very good at dying my hands, so figured it would work top notch on a flower!

Grabbed a plastic baggie and a very old cookie tin.

And smooshed them around in the ink a bit. I used three different colors here. I then lifted them carefully out of the baggie to dry. 

The end result was really metallic and cool. The blue is still there a bit under it, but actually helps I think to make the flower more interesting. 

And my final product? 

Here is a flower on a page I made for Shirley. I did these in straight silver and then cut the black mesh top part using my Tim Holtz tattered die. The button was originally white too, but I used some orange glitter to change that up as well. 

It's always a great feeling when you can get a product to do double duty and customize something just for your needs!

And the gold/reddish brown flower I dyed above? I'll show you that soon. I have it worked into a page! ;-)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Free Range Dogs for the ScrapFriends Color Challenge

One of the most enjoyable parts of Peru was the wide variety of canine friends hanging out. They were on street corners, laying soaking up the sun in the middle of the square, on doggie missions wandering down cobblestone streets...and looked well fed, taken care of, and happy!

When we questioned our Peruvian Girl Guide, Karina said they were like community dogs not street dogs.

Meaning that they go home at night to dog dishes and beds, but hangout during the day doing dog like things.

Now, this concept was difficult for us people from the States.

We have leash laws, pooper scooper laws, biting laws, rabies laws, have to license our dogs with the USDA laws, etc.

We don't have free range anything. The same principle applied to goats and pigs. They normally were hanging out where goats and pigs like to hang out.

Now, don't get me wrong I'd be slightly annoyed if Joe's Oxen were free range and standing in the middle of my flowerbeds. However, he has the nicest dog who is totally OK to wander over here for some head scratching!

So, in a quest to document the cultural differences I made a page! And to help me along, used the cool color challenge over at ScrapFriends.

The great part of a color challenge is digging through your stash. Had forgotten about this pretty spotted black flower and the cream color one I had made ages ago that also worked!

Loved inking up this little heart I found, inking up my white sparkle letters, and also adding some black misting with some pearls.

Happy Thursday, you know what tomorrow is...that fabulous day right before the weekend!

Oh and PS. Lizzy Hill if you think I took that photo 'cause the dog looked like Wally you'd be right. Is it possible he used his super dog powers to visit South America while you were sleeping?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Justice for Garrett

Photo Source & Story found here

A year ago today I was sitting at my desk when an e-mail from our school principal popped into my inbox. 

I cannot recall the exact words, but the gist of the message was:  We have determined it is safe to send your children home from school. 

WTF was the main thing running through my brain as the e-mail really did not say much else.

Nothing happens in Potsdam. Ok, nothing hardly ever happens in Potsdam. 

Through the grapevine I determined that a boy just one class higher than my oldest was brutally killed under mysterious circumstances. Rumors were flying and there were (& still are) many differing versions of what happened. 

She is now 12 and he was 12 when he died. 

Problem is that one year later we are no closer to closure. They have never figured out what happened. His story has never been told. His death never brought to justice. 

The school is having a ceremony of hope today and a moment of silence for this anniversary. I wish the educators strength in explaining the inexplicable to small people who have never thought to question their own mortality. Or the fairness of life. 

Tomorrow I'm back to scrapbooking and happy tales. Today, my small shout out to the universe to ask you all to take a second to hope that this town gets an ending to their story. It might be a sad ending and the story itself will always leave an ache, but to quote Momastery, Life is BRUTIFUL

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dances with Wood

This weekend our woods were magical. The leaves have been steadily changing and falling and the moss soaking up all the moisture and turning bright green.

We were out cutting more wood for our wood pile. This time, we were in a section of woods that hadn't been cut recently so the trees were a bit bigger.

Now, cutting wood isn't always dangerous, but it certainly can be if a tree twists and falls differently than you intend it to.

So, if you are the wife who doesn't have the chainsaw, it's always wise to keep an eye ball on the process and make sure nothing lands on you to smoosh you. Or, equally as bad, falls on THE MAN and you have to get medical assistance.

Typically you get your trees down, cut up into chunks and then the brush hauler (that is my title thank you very much) is free to move in and get the smaller branches piled up.

So, it was at the tree falling part where I was waiting on the trail watching progress.

One tree was twined in with another and was proving to be quite the pain.

It refused to fall despite pushing on it and calling it a bitch. Not sure how the name calling would have worked, but it seemed to make THE MAN feel better.

He called for the maul and wedges and we tried that method to get the tree to fall.

Now at this point, it's not wise to keep working under this tree so we needed to get it down immediately.

THE MAN tried cutting higher and I watched as the first block of wood fell, but the tree managed to stay upright and still wedged in.

He tried another cut and another, while the tree slowly shrank but did not fall. It almost appeared to be doing a slow dance yet maintaining it's up right status. Each cut just moved it around on the ground where it appeared to still be growing.

We shared several sets of eyeballs during this process and I tried to decide if upping THE MAN'S life insurance was a good idea.

It was right about then I felt a tickle. Not a good tickle. Like a OMG there is a wasp in my jeans kind of tickle.

No amount of reason would allow me to not immediately check out the tickle and avoid getting stung, despite the possibility of getting nailed by the dancing tree. So, dropped my drawers, found the offending leaf, and zipped my jeans. It was then I realized that quite possibly I had stupidly distracted THE MAN.

Thankfully when I looked up, he was still hard at work sawing and finally the damn tree fell.

I told him his new Indian name, Dances with Wood and got a playful shove.

Thankfully the rest of the afternoon was uneventful and we got two loads done. After showers, we knew what movie to watch!

P.S. for the record, I had quite a bit of cover for the drawer dropping...I was in the woods...although possibly a squirrel saw me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joe's Hay Wagon Ride Page

Not everyone is as lucky as me and has a neighbor that has Oxen. He also has goats, but I suppose those are a bit more common.

Last year, we watched Joe and his wife lead his two Oxen into his woods and then shortly watched them lead them back out. They did this several times and we were wondering if they were taking them for a walk. Nope, they were skidding logs out. He does have a tractor, but wanted to give them a workout.

Anyhow, a few weeks back we got an invite to hang out over at his house  at a BBQ and go on a Hay Ride. It sounded like fun to me!

I hadn't ever seen our property from that side of things either, so it was cool to see what our house looked like from that direction and what his side of the creek looked like.

I only took a photo or two, mainly of the hay ride.

Normally a hay ride involves horses or a tractor, so it was our first Oxen ride.

I designed this page to be circular in nature. It is of course more oval like due to the shape of the photo, but I also wanted balance on my page which I felt was another meaning of circular.....

This was originally for the Fall in the Circle Challenge over at Our Creative Corner but I didn't get it up- loaded in time on Friday due to rain/good light for photos. No worries on that! However, thanks for the inspiration girls at OCC!

Had a lot of fun making my own leaves out of the Tim Holtz tattered die and also pairing them up with these Prima flowers. Used a bit of alcohol ink to turn the silver centers into burgundy as I felt like it made the page more fall like that way.

Anyhow, happy Monday to you! Hope you are Strong Like Ox like my geology professor used to say. Still don't know why he said that but for some reason it was always funny.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

INKATERRA Scrapbook Page for Orange Paperie & Co.

Spotted this awesome challenge out on Lizzy Hill's blog a while back and wanted to play along!

She got to make a page using these very bright colors and based hers off this image that is part of the challenge out at the Orange Paperie & Co.

I appreciate the fact she hooked me up with a new blog to play along with! Congrats to her too for being their Guest Designer for the month!

Tried to structure my page very similar to their photo. It was easy to find some good photos to use of this awesome hotel we stayed at that was very close to Machu Piccu. It was delightful with little waterfalls flowing here and there, tropical plants, ginormous humming birds, and a train that runs below it along the river. 

Here is a close up of the train & my hand cut title. I printed out their title on paper and then fussy cut the letters, adding some brown glitter and clear spray. 

This train is really the only way into Aquas Calientes which is the town at the base of Machu Piccu. They do say on Wikitravel that this town has officially been renamed Machu Picchu Pueblo but it was totally NOT called that when I was there! They also talked about the rapid development that was happening as a result of tourism. It was very busy with lots of work going on. Strong little Inca guys running everywhere pushing concrete up hills and barking orders. It was a great place to people watch. 

The Inkaterra Peublo Hotel was just off the beaten path enough to really relax you. They really cater to someone who is interested in wildlife and the rainforest. I even took a photo of the little bag they left as a gift and left on my bed to use as a diecut! Can you see it hiding under the awesome chip board bird sent to me by Jean?

Also added some tropical looking flowers in and a leaf full of gems! It is fitting as they even offered orchid tours!

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed my brief journey back to Peru. It seems like almost yesterday when I was there!

Friday is here tomorrow! Hope your week has been awesome!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hippy Chick Costume

So, a couple of weeks ago, I asked both kids what they wanted to be for Halloween.

Lexi waffled. She really wants to still GO trick o' treating, but then she is getting older you know. Just turned 12. Nearly an adult, rolling eyes.

She said, I want to be a hippy chick.

Now, that is a good costume right there. For one thing, you can easily get your hands on things that look semi-hippy like and even better, might be able to wear them again.

Well, not those shoes. I can't imagine she could wear those shoes again, but I've been surprised before.

Basically my Mom just sewed some tie dye ribbon around the bottom of flare leg jeans and we colored the flowers on some shoes that were on sale at the store. Add in a headband and a some kind of flowery flowing shirt, you are golden!

Can you tell those shoes are a SIZE 9? Goodness gracious, she is talking after THE MAN's side of the family. I wear size 7. Yikes, she is going to be tall and have long legs. Daddy will have to keep the shotgun on the porch to keep the boys at bay!

And, I know all of you don't celebrate this holiday. I actually went to look it up a bit ago to see what the origin of Halloween was.

It sounds like Halloween started with pagan harvest festivals. Really here it's just a bunch of kids (and adults) that have an opportunity to get dressed up for fun. Next to Christmas, this is the second largest holiday people spend money on.

Interestingly enough, I spent 8 days in Peru learning how the pagan beliefs of the Incas translated to the Catholic religion.

The theory was to ease them into it slowly and keep things they were used to.

For instance, in this painting of The Last Supper in Cusco Cathedral, that is guinea pig on the table. I know! Crazy huh! It's a huge delicacy of theirs, so only the best could be portrayed. ;-)

Anyhow, hope your Wednesday is treating you well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Braces & Yarn Page for the Miracles Momma Designs Sketch

This was such a fun stop on our way driving from Cusco, Peru to the Urubamba Valley. We visited a family who makes all kinds of lovely scarves, purses, shawls, and hats by hand.

I was also really thankful we got to stop since I had to pee so badly I couldn't see straight!

Let me explain something. They tell you to DRINK lots of water to help with the altitude. Usually I temper my water drinking by how long a drive I have...but in this case I didn't know how long we were going to be on the bus. I tried out my new sneakers in a SPRINT to the bathroom!

Anyhow, this fun family keeps their traditions alive by hand making all sorts of lovely items which are of course for sale.

Their youngest gave us a very good presentation in ENGLISH on the various plants needed to dye all that beautiful yarn you see in the background of my page. I am guessing she is around 12 and also has braces, which was a stark contrast to many of the other kids running around. I am thinking that the tour groups stopping in have brought her family a good income so they could pay for braces!

Two things were very helpful in making my page. First, this awesome sketch from Heather at Miracles Momma Designs. She has this posted on her blog and she'd love for you to give it a whirl!

Secondly, I made my own background paper using this image!

I happen to have a 12 by 12 printer, but really any printer will do if you are trying for a particular feel on your page. I really LOVED these yarn balls, so wanted to make sure I incorporated them into a page. I lightened the photo a bit so it wouldn't overwhelm the rest of my photos. 

Now there were a couple of photos I didn't use on my page, but I will likely use digitally in the travel book I'm making.

Here is an awesome photo showing all the plants they use to dye the yarn. To gross us out, she showed us a beetle that lives on a cactus that can be crushed to make the red dye. It also is used to color lips and your cheeks!

Can you see  a bit of the red on her cheeks there in my close up? She also put it on her lips, which did make me twitch just a bit...

And if that wasn't bad enough, here is one more photo to show you a cultural difference.

Here in the states, these little furry critters are pets. There, food. Now, for the record, I didn't try any guinea pig. They left it off our menus for obvious reasons. However, I did consider it, but there was so much amazing food to pick from, I just didn't get a chance.

And I suppose you want to see a photo of what I got, right!? LOVE LOVE LOVE this Alpaca cape!

And, I got a few scarves too, here is one of my favorite with the knitted coco leave fringe. More about coco leaves later. THAT is a most interesting cultural difference.

Happy Hump Day early! The middle of the week is sneaking up on us already!

Monday, October 15, 2012

a dollar photo: Layout for Another Freaking Scrappy

Amazingly enough, it's half way through the month again.

New Challenge up at Another Freaking Scrappy that you need to check out.

Easy to play along, since it's just a sketch challenge.

I rotated it and added a beautiful tag in the one corner that is not on the sketch mainly because I really wanted to showcase this lovely item sent to me from Jean. I thought the tag with the little girl's face really reflected the photo of the two girls.

And who are these lovely small people dressed in bright colors?

They were hanging out with their parents at this overlook we stopped at on the first day. Their parents were selling things and dressing their small people up for photos was likely another way to make some money.

We were coached nicely that we were expected to pay for any photos we may take of the locals.

Generally rule of thumb seemed to be a dollar.

These two small people were not asking me to buy things but I ran into a lot of small children who were selling small trinkets. It was BRUTAL, lol!

Pretty little faces asking for a few dollars.

The little dolls that are in the picture I bought in a park in Lima from a young girl. I wondered why she was not in school, since she was about my daughter's age!

And here is a close up of that gem leaf that is from Prima. I love them!!

Happy Monday and hope your week is full of creativity!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ying to my Yang

Nice boots, my boss said to me yesterday.

He likely nearly tripped over my feet trying to get back into his chair at the training we were at.

I was personally planning an escape as soon as possible and not paying attention to the training or a boss coming back from a potty break.

A five hour drive back in the dark not being high on my priority list.

What does any this have to do with scrapbooking? Well, two things actually.

FIRST, I love flowers, bling, paper, and all that. But, honestly I don't think I'd ever try to make a career outta it. I need a Ying to my Yang.

My job is my Ying. Or perhaps it's my Yang. But regardless, it's the exact opposite to pretty flowers.

In fact, part of the training yesterday involved talking about silt socks, 70% vegetative cover, and BMPs. (Best Management Practices) I know yawn! I swear that some of the slides in the training I have perhaps seen five times. But, hey, I got to have waffles for breakfast and made a quick stop at a craft store on the way home.

True dedication is pulling into a shopping center an hour and a half from home and MAKING yourself go into a craft store so you can buy gold leaves. All I wanted to do was keep driving.

I managed to find a handful of things to buy in five minutes. That is skill right there.

Yes, everything is sparkly and goldish. I have a project for which those Tim Holtz buttons are an ABSOLUTE necessity that I didn't realize I needed until I saw them.

And today I am dragging at my Yang Job or is it Dang Job due to pulling in the driveway at around 10. It wouldn't have been too bad, but Patti the Freak Dog insisted she needed to sniff my tires, despite THE MAN saying she had just peed recently.

She must have spotted a black kitty and proceeded to get Skunked.

I almost got back in my car to leave.

Thankfully we stock tomato paste since this is perhaps her forth time tangling with a stinky kitty.

And, about the boots? They can stay by the door for a while. I think my trips down South are over for a month or two, thankfully!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nicecrane Design Images and some pages for Shirley

So, the other day I was eyeballing things out on Facebook and I realized that somehow my neighbor's birthday had snuck past me.

NOW Shirley is one of the best neighbors anyone could have. She regularly brings me coffee and a quick chit chat which is GOLD when you work at home all day and your coworkers are dogs.

She mentioned that her scrap room was still in boxes due to a recent renovation.

I thought I should make her a few blank pages to ease her back into scrapbooking!

Had a GREAT kit from Scraptastic to use and also some amazing images from Nicecrane! He has both black and white versions and also one that has color added.

I tried my hand at coloring in the images. I have a set of very old markers that were designed for coloring on photos, so gave them a try. It's not perfect, but I liked how the image turned out!

I did also hand make a flower which I need to do a tutorial for since it was originally blue and the button was white!

Here is the image on the second page. YES, eyeballs on pumpkins should be yellow...small person was talking and I got marker crazy!

And one last shot of the second page and the title. I did not make that accordion decoration, but bought it for these pages. I believe it is by K & Co.

Hanging out in PA today at some training, so hopefully will get to hit a store or two and get some scrappin' supplies on the way home!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flora and Fauna Page for Creative Scrappers

So during our hike up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu  I was entertained by the little air plants and flowers growing on the rock wall on one side of the trail.

In fact, I had a hard time not wanting my own little air plant garden! I only took photos though!

It was taking my mind off the long drop on the other side of the trail.

For most of the hike, there was a smaller drop due to the terraces built by the Incas. So, only breaking your leg a bit not the whole body you know?

Towards the Sun Gate there really was not much between the edge of the trail and a hiker.

How do you like that wee little photo of my Mom at the Sun Gate?

THIS was our destination ultimately. It was fun to sit on the warm rocks for a bit before hiking back down.

THE VIEW was amazing. I have a few more photos to share of that shortly.

This page was based off a sketch from Creative Scrappers. LOVE the buttons. Added the circle above for some extra spice!

And one last close up of my title. I had quite a bit of fun cutting this out of copper and adding some patina paint and crackle glaze!

Happy HUMP day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hike to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

The absolute BEST part of my trip to Peru involved being super sweaty, tired, and convinced I was going to fall off the side of the trail. Isn't that odd?

Glad we opted to hike to the Sun Gate despite the exhaustion at the end though. It truly was the highlight of my trip. 

Keep in mind that at most of higher elevations in Peru, my lungs were getting at least 10% less oxygen than they were used to. Well, that was everyone's lungs but I was paying the most attention to mine.

You didn't notice it at first. Later while walking up a very small incline, I'd think, wow, I am outta shape. I totally should NOT have had that second dessert last night. And then I'd think, oh wow, I keep forgetting, less oxygen!

The trip up of course starts with a bus. You could actually skip the bus and hike, but it looked terribly dusty, dirty and more unsafe than even the bus. See the bus route above? Those hairpin turns all 57 trillion of them? I opted to read during most of the trip up and down because when my bus had to back up when meeting another bus heading the opposite way, I envisioned us plummeting off the edge of the one lane dirt road. I have a VERY good imagination. 

Those drivers had nerves of steel though!

You can see some of those roads in the photo I used of my Mom.

She looked very photo-esque sitting there taking a break.

There are of course a few more pages of this hike. I devoted one page to just the plants we saw on the trail on the way up! I do love plants almost as much as I love rocks and paper.

And, a quick shout out to PageMaps and their awesome sketch that I used. They are still running the contest, so check it out if you are interested.

I opted to skip the butterflies as we didn't run into any on the way up and instead added the condor image flying in my sky. It's a very big symbol for the Incas, so I was happy to incorporate it.

 My flowers were hand made and recycled partially from this very inexpensive water bottle holder my Dad bought me. I thought everyone was crazy with their walking sticks and water bottle holders, but honestly was very happy to have both. If you look at the photo of my Mom above, you can see her red walking stick on the side of her.

Anyhow, happy Tuesday! It's THE MAN's birthday today and he'd kill me for telling you since I think he's trying to forget. Sounds like a good excuse to me to have two desserts though, doesn't it?  ;-)