Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Layouts

I know that a couple of posts ago, I promised I would show off my scrappy Christmas present goodies. But, my scraproom is a mess, I haven't had time to take pics of my new toys, and I have a whopper of a neck-ache the likes of which I haven't had in months. So bear with me ... I'll show them off soon!!

In the meantime, thought I'd share more layouts from my nephew's album ... here's a couple:

That's J and his Mamie (my mom) in the 2nd layout. I started out the album meaning to use only K&Co patterned paper from the paper pad that came with the album. But as I progressed, I realized I would have to use the same patterned paper on more than one layout and also, that it didn't match well with every picture I wanted to include. These two layouts do feature the K&Co paper though. The first LO also features painted chipboard and Kelly Pannaci sticker letters. The second layout features white lace from my stash, as well as a blue lace applique from my Mom's sewing things (and American Crafts rub-ons, a Prima flowr, and a Making Memories brad).

Friday, December 28, 2007

News from the Scrapbooking World

1. I just read that one of my favorite patterned paper makers, Junkitz, has gone out of business. Bummer. You'd think in a $3 Billion+/year industry, there'd be room for everyone! Apparently the owners of Junkitz will now join forces with InkBoutique. I'm not one for scrapbook industry gossip but based on what I've been reading here and there, it would appear that these people have left many creditors, both business and personal, high and dry. One scrapper's blog even lists all the creditors with the amounts owing. I can't believe how seriously some scrappers feel about the industry. Maybe I'm shallow or something ... but the only reaction I had was, "bummer - there goes some of my favorite paper". :oO

2. Have you been wondering what colour will be the most popular in 2008? Well, a company called Pantone, supposedly the world's colour authority for 45 years, has chosen Blue Iris as its 2008 Colour of the Year. Here's what their website has to say: "As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays." I really must go through my stash - not to mention my soul - to see if I have anything in this colour. I better look for "grapes", too (though I might have better luck in the refrigerator). If not, I had better go out shopping right now, or risk using last year's non-trendy colours on my layouts!!! :oP

3. Finding inspiration in everyday objects and art continues to be a trend in the scrapbooking world. Scrapbooking sites such as Two Peas, and tons of blogs, continuously post "Ad Inspiration Challenges". I must admit I haven't really gotten into this trend. However, while perusing the Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine website the other day, I came across an inspiration challenge featuring this piece of artwork, and it kind of piqued my curiosity. The goal of this challenge is to create a scrapbook project (could be a layout, journal, altered item, etc. etc.) using the artwok as inspiration. You can submit your project to the magazine (deadline in January 15). Winning projects will be featured in their summer 2008 issue, and some will be featured on their website as well. I think I'm going to go for it. Anyone want to play along with me? ;o)

Well there you have it. A very scrapbook-focussed post for you. Kind of makes up for all those hockey posts, eh? Speaking of which, it's been a while since I shared my hockey tales with you ... I think we're due sometime soon! :o)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Now that the cat's out of the bag ...

... or more accurately, now that the scrapbook is out of the gift bag ... I thought I'd share some of my most recent layouts with you!

Over the last couple of months I've alluded to a gift album I've been making for Christmas, but I couldn't give any details, given that my sisters read my blog and this album was for one of them (sister M). When we cleaned out our Dad's apartment after he passed away, I brought all of the photo albums home and while I gave many of the photos (especially the older ones) to my sister D, fellow scrapbooker, I kept a photo album full of childhood pictures of sister M's son, who is now almost 25, with the intention of making a scrapbook for my sister and her husband for Christmas.

Here are some of my favorite layouts from this album:

I didn't scan all of the layouts, but I do have a few more to share, so stay tuned! Now that I have finished this album, I plan on getting back to scrapping some of our 2006 and 2007 pictures. I had about 140 of them printed a couple of weeks ago, so I have plenty of inspiration to get me going. I also have plenty of supplies to get going (including some scrappy gifts I received ... which I'll share with you in my next post) - but just in case, I plan on visiting my local scrapbook store this weekend. Rumour has it there's a 3-day 50% off boxing day sale going on starting tomorrow! A girl can never have too many scrapping supplies - especially when the price is right!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!!!

The presents are bought and wrapped. The halls are decked. The stuffing is cooking in the oven, filling the house with a wonderful smell. There's a new dusting of snow outside to cover up all the yucky stuff left over from the rain yesterday. Ds is watching Christmas shows on tv (right now it's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer -one of my personal favorites!) Ready or not, both physically and mentally ... Christmas Eve is here, it's arrived as it does every year; although every year differs from the previous one, there is always a common thread ... this year for me, it was listening to traditional Christmas carols, especially the ones my mother used to love to sing. Here's one of my favorites - a carol by Judy Garland to bid you all a very merry Christmas ...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a
merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to
us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the
Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have
yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas ... may all your wishes come true.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Decor

I think I mentioned that I took advantage of last Sunday's mega storm to put up all of my Christmas decorations. Now "all of my Christmas decorations" has a much different meaning this year than in years past. For a while there, I had Martha Stewart syndrome at Christmastime. I really thought it was absolutely necessary to have multiple trees ... practically one in every room. I had dozens of large boxes filled to the brim with decorations. I put pine garland and mini white lights on just about every surface of my home. I had themed rooms. I just about killed myself every year with hours of work putting up, and hours of work taking down. About 2-3 years ago, I stopped going overboard and last year, I went through my decorations and kept only the ones that I really loved, giving the rest away to Goodwill.

Thought I'd share with you my favorites. First, my tree, which looks odd in my raspberry pink living room, given its red and white theme (but we bought new furniture for the family room last year, and there is no longer room for the tree). I realized something pretty neat the other day - my sister D sent me a picture of her tree, and it is predominantly red & white. My sister M's tree is predominantly red & white too. We didn't plan it that way. I guess it's just genetic or something (although, Mom's tree was not red & white. Maybe it skipped a generation or something!):

Next, my pretty carolers, given to me by my sister M:

And here's what my son humorously refers to as the decapitated Santa. It's a beautiful, richly textured Santa head given to me by my sister D. I think it looks lovely placed in a bowl in my living room, surrounded by pinecones. Ds says "A head in a bowl? That just isn't right, Mom"! But **I** like it!!:

Here's my Christmas village. I hadn't put it up for a couple of years, actually, and I really enjoyed rediscovering all its bits and pieces. I love them all, but my favorites are the church (from dh), the toy shop (from sister M), and the fisherman's cottage, complete with a lake and some fishermen in a boat (also from sister M):

I have lots of snowman-themed decorations, here are a couple of my favorites. The first one is from sister D, the second, from my sister-in-law:

And here is another snowman-themed deco, I love how you can put a tealight in the lantern. But what I really want to show off in this picture is the beautiful Christmas card my sister D sent me. I think it's so neat that she scrapbooks and papercrafts too, and I always love seeing her creations in the gallery of the scrapbook forum we post to, or even better (but unfortunately, more rarely), in person. Now I own one!

So there you have it. The pared down version of Christmas in my home. There are times when I miss pretending I'm Martha. But between pretending I'm Martha and losing my sanity, and keeping it simple and staying sane, I think I'll pick keeping it simple!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back on track

Happy to report the Christmas preparations are on track! If you had asked me a week ago if I was ready for Christmas, I would have told you I hadn't even started yet. But now, four days before the big event, everything is taken care of except for the food. Yippee!

I even found the time to create some gifts for my staff from an idea that had been floating in my head for a while. I purchased some inexpensive glass jars at the dollar store, some Hershey's kisses and some Werther's candy, did some digging in my stash for festive paper, and had myself some creative fun the other night. See the results:

Twenty jars, all nestled into a box ... so pretty (if I may say so myself). I am giving some of these away today to staff who won't be in on Monday ... and then the rest on Monday.

I am so glad that I did a big push and got Christmas preparations out of the way before now. We are going to be very busy over the next few days ... going to a cocktail party at friends' tonight, having some neighbours over tomorrow, having friends over for dinner Sunday, going to my sister's on Monday, and hosting Christmas dinner on Tuesday. Needless to say, I am hitting the grocery store at 7 a.m. tomorrow, followed by a trip to Costco which I am dreading because I know it is going to be a ZOO in there. But at least I won't be frantically searching for last minute gifts ... !

Ciao everyone!

PS - for my scrappy friends - the patterned paper is Making Memories (big polka dots) and SEI Holiday Hoopla (Christmas words). I inked the edges with red ink, used Creative Memories circle punch to make the label for the top, and used up some Stickopotamus alphabets for the initials.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Rush

Just a quick note to say that I'm still alive! Just too busy to blog these days :oP

Random thoughts:

1. The White Christmas dream is turning into a nightmare ... haven't seen this much snow since my childhood! And more coming today!
2. Sunday's massive storm provided me with the time I needed to decorate the entire house, finish some scrap projects, and do 7 loads of laundry.
3. I am about 40% done with the shopping
4. I am so looking forward to being off for a few days
5. Went to see ds perform in the band concert last night and was pleasantly surprised with the sound coming out of the junior band! (He plays trombone)
6. My scrap room (which was already a mess due to - well - scrapping!) is such a mess now that Christmas wrapping supplies have taken over
7. Stocking stuffers are all done
8. Dd got accepted into a high school enrichment program at Ottawa U, she will attend class for one week in May (this will give her some exposure to the school we'd like her to go to; but of course she wants to go out of town for university!)
9. I haven't even thought about what I'll be making dinner for friends on Sunday, or what I'll be serving on Christmas day ... time for another list I think!

That's all the random-ness in my head right now. Have to go wake up ds and start our day. Hoping to do a longer blog post in the next couple of days, complete with pictures to show off my Christmas decorations.

My wish for you today - hope you're more ready for Christmas than I am!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tagged by Robyn

Christmas carols are playing and I'm decorating the family room (after dusting the walls and every other surface...). Progress!!!

I've been tagged by Robyn ... she's getting a two-for-one, tagging both Nathalie 1 and Nathalie 2 (that's me!) at once!

01. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Like Robyn, I do a bit of both. I love the look of beautifully wrapped gifts, but I run out of time and gift wrap the night before Christmas, so out come the recycled-year-after-year bags!

02. Real or artificial tree?

03. When do you put up the tree?
Usually, always by December 6th (St. Nicholas). This year, won't be til Dec 15th or 16th.

04. When do you take the tree down?
Usually after Epiphany (Jan 6th). When I was little we would wait til Jan 6th to add the wise men to the manger ... and then we would take the tree down.

05. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, so long as I don't think about what it's made of.

06. Favorite gift received as a child?
A tent and camping gear for my Barbies. My mother begged the local hardware store to sell them their small scale model of a tent (they had it on display to show what the life-size tent would look like). She made my barbies sleeping bags out of sleeping bag-y material, she made me a campfire out of clay with dyed cotton wool for the was AWESOME.

07. Do you have a nativity scene?
No, not anymore. Had nativity figures, and dh built them a manger. Over the years it fell apart. I never replaced it. That's sad. Maybe I should do something about that this year.

08. Hardest person to buy for?
Dh, but thankfully since last year we don't buy for each other anymore (except for stocking stuffers).

09. Easiest person to buy for?
Ds. This eleven year old boy has a two-page typewritten Christmas gift lists with tons of ideas (and illustrations, and details re price and what stores carry the item).

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
There must have been some bad ones, but I just can't remember!

11. Mail or Email Cards?
Definitely mail.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
A Christmas Story ... you know, the one with the kid who wants a bibi gun for Christmas ("you'll put your eye out"!) ... and his aunt gives him pink footie pajamas ... and his brother is so bundled up for winter, if he falls he can't get up ... it's hilarious! I love how the dog eats the turkey and they spend Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I love everything about that movie.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Soon. Very, very soon.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so; but I've been on the receiving end of several presents I gave to my mother-in-law ... "take this dear, I know you gave it to me, but I'm old and I'll die soon and you need this more than I do...". And that was 20 years ago ... and she's still around! Bet she wishes she'd kept that electric can opener, lol!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My Mom's cookies. Damn. Next favorite thing - illicit bites of turkey while my father in law is carving it in the kitchen and no one's looking. Once again, damn. Ok, I think I need a new favorite thing to eat at Christmas.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
That's so hard because there are so many great ones. I like anything by Bing Crosby ... my fave there has got to be "White Christmas". Also, I like one by Nana Mouskouri (in Greek) but can't remember what it's called...maybe Kalin Imeran?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home!

19. Can you name Santa's reindeer?
A few of 'em. I do recall the most famous reindeer of all, though.

20. Do you have an Angel on top of the tree or a star?
Neither! I have a big red bow.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve with my side of the family; and one present from us for the kids on Christmas Eve; Christmas morning for us and the kids; and later on Christmas Day with dh's side of the family. It's the 24-hour-period-that-keeps-on-giving!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The stress! Christmas should not be this stressful. Yet it is.

Let's see ... who should I tag ... how about stefferqc (if she has any time left on her hands given that she now has a 2.75 year old to go along with her 3 boys including a 2.5 year old!!) and Marlene because she hasn't updated her blog in a looooong time and this (if she sees it!) just might inspire her to do so!

PS - The Christmas ornament featured in the picture is the one dh gave to ds last Christmas. He normally gives him Teddy Bear ornaments ... but this variation on the theme is too cool, and totally age-appropriate!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh, the excitement!

Nope, not Christmas excitement! Hockey excitement! (Yes, here I go again). Ds was in a hockey tournament this weekend involving PeeWee C teams from around the region. His team won both games on Friday (5-0 and 7-2) and he got an assist. Then they played a house league game on Saturday against the only undefeated team in our level, and won 3-1. And then they played a tournament game and lost 6-3, but ds scored an unassisted goal, and their tournament standings were still good enough to move on to the semi-finals on Sunday against another team from our league, who we've beaten every time so far this season.

The assistant coach gave the parents some good-natured heck a couple of weeks ago because we aren't a very loud bunch. Usually every year there's at least one parent who will shame everyone else into yelling their lungs out, who knows all the chants, who gets it going and gets it stopped with just the right timing. But not this year! We are a very reserved and quiet bunch. So to make up for that, I decided to go to Party Mart before the first tourney game to pick up some New Year's noisemakers for the fans. A great $20 investment, since by the end of the weekend, not only were we noisemaking, we were also making noise - yelling and chanting and cheering on our team. Seems someone found their inner hockey parent chant-leader voice ... yup ... that someone was me. Hey, I may not be managing this year, but I can find other ways to contribute, right??

So with our voices found and our noisemakers ready, and about 40 minutes' worth of practice earlier in the day, we hit the ice Sunday morning for the semi-finals. We were up 2-0 when the other team scored a couple of goals and tied it up. The game was fast-paced, exciting, full of shots on goal and awesome saves on both sides. At one point, ds scored but it was disallowed because the ref blew the whistle as the puck was going in because the net got knocked off its moorings (on purpose by the goalie, according to ds!). It would have been the game winner, since we ended the 3rd period with a 2-2 tie and had to go to overtime. First overtime period, 3 minutes and 4 players; no goal. Second overtime period, 3 minutes and 3 players; no goal. Went to shoot-out. 5 players from each team took their turn to shoot - no goal! By this time, the crowd was going wild. Even the most reserved parents were screaming their lungs out. The hockey moms were shaking and in bad need of a medicinal sip of vodka (no such luck). The refs had to read the rule book to see what to do next. We went to sudden death shoot-out - the first team to score, wins. Ds shot; it was blocked. The other team shot; it was blocked. The hockey moms had simultaneous heart attacks. Two more players went out on the ice. Each shot on the opposite goalie. We scored! We went wild!!! We clinched our spot in the championship later Sunday afternoon! When the heck was I supposed to do groceries!!! (that is exactly what went through my mind when they won!).

Took ds home, and he actually napped for a couple of hours. I went to the grocery store and did one of those dash-in dash-out bare-bones groceries. Went home and put them away, got ds up, and off we went again. Wish I could report we won the Championship, but try as we might, we couldn't even score a goal against this winning team. We lost 4-0, but came away with finalist trophies, pride, improved play as a team, and awesome memories.

All told, we were on the ice 7 times from Friday 2 pm to Sunday 5 pm. I am so tired this morning - and my voice is hoarse! But it was well worth it. I wouldn't trade being a hockey mom in for anything. Not even for a well-timed sip of vodka to calm my nerves!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Random Thought Friday

1. Off work today as ds has a hockey tournament
2. Potentially, he could be on the ice 7 times this weekend: 3 guaranteed tourney games, 1 house league game, 1 practice, and depending on how they do in the tourney, 1 semi-final and 1 final! Aye!
3. One Christmas to-do off my list - wrote the non-handmade cards and mailed them Wednesday evening!
4. A thousand more Christmas to dos left
5. Must email my sisters gift ideas for my kids
6. Have been meaning to call my sister D for days now
7. Technically not off work this morning; working from home (I'm on break, lol)
8. Have only 4 layouts left to do and I'll have one gift album completed
9. The dentist is pleased with how my graft is healing but he decided to wait one more week before removing the stitches ... must remember not to smile BIG (cause it aint pretty)
10. Still so busy at work
11. Haven't been to the gym in two weeks
12. The snowbanks look like they normally do in February!
13. I promised the other hockey parents I would buy some noisemakers for the tourney but I haven't done that yet
14. It's snowing again
15. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed
16. I have no idea when I'll find the time to give the house a deep cleaning (dust from renos has taken over) and decorate for Christmas
17. I'll be working between Christmas and New Years but off for a few days after New Years
18. The Santa Christmas decoration in the picture above is a very old one that my parents used to have on their tree. (Took the photo last year - obviously, as my tree isn't up yet this year).
19. Dh has gone into his usual stressed-out Christmas panic, which makes me even more stress out about it than I need to be (I always make it to Christmas with everything done - it may not always be gracefully done a la Martha, but it's done)
20. Ds is actually sweeping the ground floor right now. Didn't ask him to. He's just doing it. Wow

Happy weekend everyone...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Our Christmas Elf

This little guy is a major Christmas tradition in our house. Every year on December 1, he comes back from the North Pole (aka basement storage) and perches up high on the refrigerator in order to keep an eye on the kids for Santa. Some mornings when we come down for breakfast, we find him in the oddest of places - hanging from the telephone cord, in the fruit basket, even perched in the Christmas tree. He moves when we're not looking, you know. When the kids were littler, he would even be found outside their bedroom doors in the morning, a small present in his arms.

He's been on Christmas duty for many years, going back to my early childhood at least, if not earlier. Elf (or "le lutin", as I knew him back then) always kept an eye on me at Christmastime. I always made sure to behave or else le lutin would somehow keep Santa informed. When I had my first child - dd - my mother gave Elf to me so I could carry on the tradition.

Today is December 3, and up until a few minutes ago, Mr. Elf was still up at the North Pole!!! I really am behind on my Christmas preparations!!! The kids have lucked out, with 2.5 days of free misbehaviour. Well, it all ends NOW. I don't care if you're sixteen, or eleven, or forty-one (omg), or even forty-nine (he'll deny it, but that's how old my "oldest" is, lol), this little guy is going to rat you out if you don't behave in the days leading up to Christmas!

Here is a layout I did starring Elf a few years ago:

Christmas traditions have always been very important to me, but over the years I've learned that it's impossible for everything to always stay the same. Four years ago, we lost our oldest sister to cancer on Christmas Day. Two years ago, my kids saw their Mamie for the last time on Boxing Day. I spent last Christmas Eve at the emergency ward with my Dad, and I spent Christmas Day with dh's family, trying to make sense of the fact that my father-in-law was no longer with us. This year at Christmas my kids have only one grandparent left to make presents for. There's no question that Christmas has lost some of its luster, and taken on some new, heavy meaning for our family. Despite this however, it's important to move on. To retain the traditions that work, that make us smile. To put behind us those traditions that we just can't recreate - like my sister donning the Santa hat and handing out the presents on Christmas Eve with her jolly "ho, ho, ho's". Or our mother baking her dozens of different kinds of cookies for each of us, with as much love as flour and sugar. We can remember those traditions fondly, but for our sanity, for our soul, we have to move on.

It's also important to create new traditions for ourselves. I'd love to create the tradition of spending Christmas on a beach down south, but it looks as though this won't be the year where we put that tradition in place, unfortunately! I'll find something else though. Because when my kids grow up, I want them to remember our Christmas traditions fondly, whatever those may be.

If you have some special Christmas traditions you'd like to share, please take a moment to post them in the comments ... because I could surely use a little bit of inspiration this year!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Makeover!

Decided to give the blog a Christmas facelift!!! I have to do something to get in the spirit. I just realized it's December 2 and I'm behind even thinking about Christmas, let alone doing anything about it. The house won't get decorated for a couple of weeks yet (once all the reno work is done and the dust is cleared). So thought I'd decorate the blog instead. Lol!

The Making Memories blog promises to have lots of inspiration for Christmas-themed crafts this year. If you scroll down to the November 27th blog post, you'll see a neat idea for an advent wreath (it's not too late to get started on this - we're only a couple of days behind!). As well, there is a link to an ad for the new Making Memories idea book called "A Season of Joy" which looks like an excellent book which I would be happy to get my hands on.

Another manufacturer that gets into the Christmas spirit is Basic Grey. I like their new Figgy Pudding line of paper, haven't seen it in stores in my area yet. But I have so much Christmas-themed paper in my stash, including almost the whole BG Dasher collection, I really shouldn't get any more right now - should I? To be honest, I shouldn't get any more of ANYTHING until I use up some of my stash. Which is what I should be doing right now, instead of playing on the computer.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Warning: This is going to be one of those whiny posts. The kind where I complain and feel all sorry for myself. Feel free to ignore, lol!!

Had dental surgery again this week. I say "again" because I had peridontal dental surgery back in May - to treat an area of my gums that is receding, the dentist harvested some tissue from my palate and grafted it onto my gums. Unfortunately I had an unusual amount of swelling and then some infection, so one of the stitches popped and it healed funny - made a little pocket of tissue which is not a good thing.

So Thursday, I went in for some no-charge repairs. Thank goodness, there was no need to cut into the palate this time. But there was some flap-cutting and it looks like Frankenstein's neck in there. Thursday also happened to be the day the workers were staining and lacquering our new hardwood stairs, so we had to stay out of the house until late in the evening...I went to my mother-in-law's for the day and dh drove the kids there after school.

I was glad to find myself back in my own bed yesterday (despite all the putting-the-railing-back-on noises the workers were making right outside my door). However, I must have had a reaction to one of the meds the doctor prescribed, because I started throwing up and pretty much continued to do so periodically for the rest of the day. I've eliminated two of the meds (the ones for pain - the irony of life!) and am taking only the antibiotics now. Still feel shaky but at least I'm no longer throwing up. Except now I get to feel the pain. Sigh.

I couldn't sleep anymore and came downstairs to make myself a coffee (which I am in desperate need of, because I wasn't allowed to have anything hot for 24 hours so between that and the nausea yesterday I had NO COFFEE). My plans for today included going to the grand re-opening of my local scrapbook store (yes, the one that shut down, where I spent all that money ... they're re-opening in a smaller location! Don't know whether to be happy or worried!). But I don't think I'm going anywhere or doing anything today. Pout.

If you got this far, thanks for "listening" to my whining. I'll get over it. Look on the bright side - I've got a few days off work!