Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'm writing this while in Vancouver WA. No snow here! Just rain, wind, clouds, 40 degree weather. Kinda dreary looking for Christmas but a nice warm break from the AK winter. My hubby is down here for work so I thought I'd spend the holiday with him here in the hotel room rather than miles apart : ) Thankfully, Seattle and Portland airports didn't have the holiday or weather delays seen elsewhere.

This past weekend before I came down to WA I gave myself two options... spend the weekend baking holiday goodies to bring to WA, or make Christmas cards to mail out while here (I'm a last minute mailer). I don't bake much except at Christmas so once I started thinking of baking, I really couldn't resist! I made Pumpking bread (with dates & walnuts), Cherry Pecan bread, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Blossums, Pecan Sandies, and Chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. All of these goodies, packed in my luggage, made it to WA safely and with very few broken pieces : ) We're sharing most these sweets with Scott's co-workers who are also away from home during the holidays.

I was able to make a few Christmas cards between Thanksgiving Day and my big travel day (night). I don't have enough made so I will be supplementing them with store bought cards. : ( Some year I hope to start early enough to make one for everyone on my list!

I had seen a sample card at my local stamp store, the Stamp Cache, earlier this month that inspired me to buy this Poinsettia stamp. I mimicked the sample to stamp my flower by using Brilliance Pearlescent ink to give it a bold, shimmery impression and a touch of the Sakura glitter pen on the petals for an extra sparkle! Wanting to keep it flat and easy to mail, I used a gold gel pen on the centers rather than gold jewels.

I didn't have the shade of green I wanted in an ink pad but I did have a marker which I used on the stem and leaves. The green ended up not being as bold this way, nor consistent for each image stamped. On many of the lighter impressions I used the marker to retrace and recolor the leaves to balance them with the deep red flower.

The image and it's background were cut using Nestabilities dies. The trim for the Christmas paper was an after thought, it just needed some more color! I made it using my Fiskars wavy edge scissors, cutting the paper twice to make a thin strip, then glued it along the edge of the Christmas paper using a glue pen. Great way to save on colored cardstock rather than matting the dp and cutting one edge with the wavy scissors tho a challenge to line up the waves to some degree (or not at all as I see on one edge of this particular card).

Stamp: Poinsettia Silhouette-Memory Box; Ink: Brillance Pearlescent Poppy (red), Green marker, Gold Gel pen, Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust-Clear (glitter pen); Paper-DCWV Cardstock and Text Prints Mat Stock; Other: Spellbinders Nestabilities Classic Oval dies, Cuttlebug, Fiskars wavy scissors, Glue pen

This simple card uses Christmas paper from the same set by DCWV. The holly leaves are a Martha Stewart punch and the berries (that you can barely see in this pic) are made with dots of glitter glue. This poinsettia stamp is colored with gel pens and cut out using a Nestabilities die.

Stamp: Stampin'Up!; Ink: Versafine Onyx Black, gel pens; Paper: DCWV Text Prints Matstock and cardstock; Other tools: Holly leaves-Martha Stewart Punch, Stickles glitter glue-Christmas Red, Spellbinders Nestabilities Classic Oval die, Cuttlebug

I better get some of these cards out in the mail, it's almost the New Year! My oldest sister and her husband are coming down from the Seattle area to visit for a few days while I'm here. I'm looking forward to seeing them soon!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snowy day, time to plow!

The snow has tapered off. With over a foot fallen over the past few days, its time to head out and do some clean-up. Maybe a few pictures first : )

Come out already! Come play! Ok Sissy, who can resist!

Time to clean off the plow and get busy! See the face? : )

OK, so plowing over a foot of snow was alittle much for our rig, the battery died. Our neighbor came to the rescue, with his own handy rig!

He would have a long day...

Later, when all was quiet once again in our yard...

an eagle came by to look things over. I just happened to glance up, out the window from my position in front of the computer to catch him.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pink Sky and Flowers

I paused to enjoy the beautiful sunrise this morning. I'm not sure how well you can see the colors here. What a great way to start the day!

Then I had a special delivery!

Scott sent me flowers for my Birthday : ) This small bouquet smells wonderful!

I love Stargazer Oriental Lilies...

...and Pink Roses. I'm not sure what the other white flower is but it smells so pretty, without clashing with the other two scents. I wish I could bottle up this scent to enjoy throughout the year whenever I need a flowery pick-me-up : ) Mmmmmm....

Ahhhh.... The natural beauty that surrounds us. Hope you take time to enjoy it and it brightens your day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Snow walks

I brought the camera on our walk today : )

We both look forward to our walks thru the woods, before the snow gets deep.

That's quite the snow ball hanging off your hind leg Sissy. Long hair, wet snow...

Ahhhh, snoooowwww.

A few leaves are still hanging on.

Hello there, frosty mane! Are we happy now?! : )

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing in the Snow

Scott thought it would be fun to train Sissy to use a harness and pull something, like an old foam sled with a weight on it. Besides, she likes to try pulling me on the leash, why not pull something on the snow. Maybe skijoring is in our future? Scott thought it would be good winter excercise, for Sissy.

Sissy isn't too keen on the idea of it all. The noise the sled makes sliding along, having something trailing her, other than me... She stops alot, jumps around trying to get away from it. When she can't, she lays down and barks at Scott when he trys to coax her to come toward him.

After awhile she get better, once she's started down the drive, heading out toward the road. With Scott beside her she thinks she's going for a walk. There's little resistance in weight and speed on packed snow.

Until now ... not going to happen, jumping from 20 pounds to 100+ pounds on the sled, Nope she says.

The closer she gets to the house the more she's distracted by this THING that's following her! And it starts all over...

After quite a few trips up and down the drive and over to the shop and back, they both had had enough... excercise for Scott and excitement for Sissy that is. : )

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Snow

Wow, we awoke to our first snow accumulation of the season. It's Beautiful!

Covering everything with a white blanket.

Winter is officially here.

Here to stay, for the next 5 months or so.

And then we're reminded of one of the downfalls of playing in the snow - snow balls between the toes and freezing paws!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Wildlife Card

The theme for this October swap card was Outdoor/Wildlife card in fall colors. It's a rather simple layout and I came up with a few other ideas for the right side but I needed something quick and easy to get it on its way. I think this would be a good, quick birthday card for the outdoorsy man or hunter in my family. : )

Stamps: Bear-Stampin' Up!
Ink: Stampin' Up! Chocolate Chip
Paper: DCWV
Other: Maple Leaf brads - Paper Wishes

October summary

Wow, time has flown by! Sorry I haven't taken the time to post! I did take some pics along the way, to help me remember the days past and changing seasons. Instead of one biiiigggg long post, I'll do a monthly summary to catch up on posting pics and such. You'll get the short story format rather than my rambling this way.

Sissy and the fall foliage on the rose bushes edging the garden

The moose have harvested much of the garden for me, leaving weeds and a mess for me to clean up. I did salvage enough beans for a few meals but no blanching and freezing this year. Quite a few zucchini survived (apparently they weren't too keen on them) so I was able to make a few batches of zucchini bread and grate the extra to freeze for baking with throughout the winter, yum! The red potatoes were sparse and small but I was happy to have some this year. By the end of the month, all there was left for the moose were carrot tops. The carrots seemed to be growing rather slow so I was trying to keep them in the ground as long as possible. I did pull a few to give them room to grow and Sissy agreed they are rather tasty. The cold and frost (and laziness on my part) seemed to come suddenly and hard tho it was expected this time of year. The carrots are froze into the ground now. I guess we'll see how they survive the winter.

Sissy has helped to chase more than a few moose out of the garden this season, but one in particular is a little ornery and not at all "frightened" by her or humans enough to run away so we have to watch out for them... We didn't let her out of the house until this guy moved on.

Scott has been wanting to build another greenhouse for me for a few years. He plans to seal it up and heat it so I can grow tomatoes longer and start the seeds earlier and ... oh, the ideas!

Once he got going on it, the building was up within a few days!

But then he headed off to work so the progress on the inside has slowed for now. Brrrrrr, winter is on the way!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moose in the Garden

Here you go! This time I took pictures first before making my presence known in hopes they would meander OUT of my garden, so I can salvage what little I have left!

Yes, they are cute in a large, awkward, moosy way.... : ) And they did leave, not finding the carrot tops quite to their taste.

Momma walked out first, straight toward my struggling little lilac bush (that you can barely see in this pic). It gets trimmed by them annually, also chewed on by other local 4-legged animals for some reason (Sissy, Kona,... guess the bush was just their size.)

OK Little One, follow your Momma out, anytime now... These Moose were also laying out there on the lawn by the garden at 2:30 this morning, which Sissy loudly brought to our attention when she saw them there in the moonlight as she was in the process of pacing around between the window, the stairs and the door trying to quietly (?) wake someone up to let her out. The previous day she had been snacking on some rotten meat she had found, it was messing with her system, and our sleep... I stood out there with her, shushing her as she tried to bark, growl and do her business all at the same time. Quite the challenge for her, and me.

Well, these visitors motivated me to check out the garden after their departure. The frost has killed what was left of the zucchini. I dug up the potatoes but sadly there weren't very many and they were very small, like new potatoes or large marbles. I was really looking forward to having a stash of red potatoes...and carrots this winter. I planted lots of them, proof with all the green tops, but it doesn't look like I'll have many carrots to pull over the next few weeks either. Well, there's always next year to try again!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Fall Cards

Since I love fall colors, I signed up for some fall themed card swaps with a couple of Yahoo groups I'm in. I figured this would help give me a jump start into card making mode with the holidays fast approaching. Here's a few I made this past week.

I used this Mojo Monday Week 96 sketch for inspiration on a couple of the cards below.
I like using their sketches, less time spent on figuring out a layout, tho' more time spent on picking patterned paper and stamps. I tried to keep it simple here and not spend too much time thinking about it : )

Since I don't have any of the Nestabilities or Spellbinders cutting templates for the big shapes, I used my Fiskars Shapetemplate, traced the circles and cut them out by hand. They don't come out as nice but distress the edge alittle and they look fine. For the larger circle I used paper edging scissors to cut it out.

I really liked this argyle patterned paper for some reason when I first saw it. I couldn't resist using my Cuttlebug Diamonds in the Rough embossing folder on the card front. The embossing doesn't quite line up with the pattern on the paper but I think it adds a nice little dimension to the card, on the inside too.

This one was made using some of the leftover pieces from previous cards. Rather than stash the scraps, only to forget about them, I went ahead and made another quick card. I had just enough of the red to glue on the edges of the base card. Even the leaves were punched from the scraps left after cutting out all the circles : )

Off to get these out in the mail by the end of the month!

Stamps: Fall sprig & verse-Stampin'Up, Thank You-Hero Arts
Ink: Fall sprig-Versafine Sepia (brown), Verse-Adirondack Cranberry (Ranger dye ink), Thank You-Colorbox chalk ink Chestnut Roan (brown)
Paper: DCWV Fall Matstack
Other tools: Offray sheer ribbon-gold, Cuttlebug, Diamond in the Rough embossing folder, Fiskars Shapetemplate, Pinking paper edging scissors (Michaels)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snow on the Mountains!

The clouds lifted a bit this morning, the sun glinted off the light frost on the ground. It's nice to see the blue sky along with all the colors of fall. After so much rain and the cooling temps this past week, as everyone expected, there was snow on the mountain tops! 2 ranges surround much of our valley.

The Chugach Mountains to the east/southeast

The Talkeetna Mountains to the north

Ahhhh, the beauty that surrounds us. I feel blessed to see and enjoy God's handiwork, from inside my car with the heat taking the chill off, outside walking around with our dog to keep the blood pumping and back inside our home snuggled in flannel & fleece with fuzzy slippers and a mug of chai tea!

One last pic from today.

These flowers are still going strong, adding their burst of color to the view along the roadside.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roadtrip to Seward AK

I started my Income Tax Class with H&R Block last week. It's where I plan to be on Mondays & Thursdays thru the month of November. Scott's folks are here in AK for about 2.5 weeks so we wanted to get out and be tourists for a bit. Right after my class let out this past Thursday we headed out on a road trip to Seward AK.

Sept 15 is known to be the end or very close to the end of Tourist season in many places of Alaska. Fall is in the air with beautiful colors and cooler temperatures. These temperature changes play a role in determining the "Tourist Season" esp. for those driving from the lower 48 states or cruising in on ships. It was already the 17th when we took off outta here so the travelers on the roads and at the typical stops along the way were rather sparse.

Our transportation & accomodations.

Once we got to Seward, we headed out to Lowell Point to the Campground at Miller's Landing, waaayyy out the end of the road in Seward. We didn't have much company out there other than the day visitors coming to check out the view or to use the boat launch and the 3 Campground Dogs that would come by on their rounds, visiting people and their pets.

The spotted one is Jack, he's the alpha male of the camp pooches. Sissy and Jack got along great, it was nice to have a playmate for her while there.

Kayakers heading out from Millers Landing on Resurrection Bay.

Last Cruise ship of the season heading out of the Harbor.

Besides enjoying the view from the campgound on the Bay, checking out the shops and the boat harbor in town, we also visited the SeaLife Center. Here's a few of the animals we saw.

Sea Lions

Many different kinds of Star Fish

Harbor Seal

We also saw Octopus, jelly fish, and other "under the sea" creature but pics didn't come out very well with the reflective glass cases and the weird lighting inside. Note to self: add polarizer filter, lens hood, and telephoto lens to wish list : )

Scott & his folks

Since the folks were flying out of Anchorage on the red eye Sunday night (Monday morning) we headed for home Saturday afternoon. We made a few stops along the way to stretch our legs and take some pics of the fall colors.

Tern Lake Rec area, at the intersection of the Seward Hwy and Sterling Hwy.

Driving along Turnagain Arm on the Seward Hwy

Railroad bridge crossing the Knik River.

A beautiful close to a short but sweet trip.