February 19, 2014

Phoenicians love books

and so do plenty of other people! Know how I know?? Because we will do this:

The line of people outside the VNSA book sale last weekend, waiting to get in the building at the State Fairgrounds. This line wasn't  too bad; I got there at 11:30 am and got into the building about noon (fire codes, you know- they don't let everyone in at once). People will camp out overnight (even though they're really not 'supposed to') to be first in line- or at least towards the front-- for this sale!! A volunteer told me someone was there since Thursday, staying in his RV, so he could be sure to be first! Why were we waiting, you might ask?? 

For this!! Books, books, and more books, as far as the eye could see! This was looking one direction, and the picture below was looking the other. It takes the volunteers a week or more to get set up, and that's after having everything sorted and priced already. It is truly overwhelming, and you could easily be there all day. I was there for about 3 hours, and spent all my time in the movie, crafting, history, and nature/science sections. I didn't even venture into the Fiction areas, because I knew if I did, I'd never get out of there. 

This charity (originally part of the 'Visiting Nurse Society') collects books all year long and sorts and prices them at a warehouse they have somewhere. According to their website, 150 volunteers work year-round to sort and price books for the largest charity booksale in the Southwest. 'more than 7300 boxes of books' get donated, categorized, sorted, and priced. (hmmmm... I wonder if volunteers get to pre-buy?? probably not...) Their website also says the 2013 sale had more than 500,000 books and book-related items (they also sell CDs, bookmarks, magazines, record albums, sheet music, puzzles, board games, etc.), and had more than 12,000 shoppers. Impressive, isn't it?? It also attracts shoppers from all over the US- a couple years ago I was in line behind some people who came in from California specifically for the sale!

Here's a you-tube video of the sale from a couple years ago, so you can see a bit of it in action. 

my cart after my first-pass: movies, a few craft magazines,
and a huge pile of scrapping and crafting books.
This photo is the 'first-pass' of books in my cart, along with my 'book sale fuel' of Diet Dr. Pepper and a protein bar. (some people have carts brimming to the top; mine was actually pretty puny in comparison.) If it looked interesting at all, I tossed it in my cart to go through later. Get while the getting is good!! I learned a couple years ago (the hard way) not to deliberate too long at the tables, otherwise someone else will grab it while you're still thinking about it. I do all my thinking later, after I know I have it in my grasp, at least.

At the end of my search, I hunkered down in a quiet corner of the exhibit hall to go through my haul-- flip through the crafting books, look at the DVDs, and weed out what I really wanted from what would go back onto the tables. Since Saturday was 'full-price' day, I deliberated more about them than I would have on Sunday, when things would be half-price: i.e., "How much did I want them versus what I was willing to pay for them?" (Deliberating over how much I wanted a $3-$4 DVD could seem a bit silly, but then again, I had 20 or more of them in my cart, and wanted to stick to somewhat of a budget!) Some people will go back on Sunday (half-price day) and shop all over again, too, but I knew I wasn't going to do that, so Saturday's prices were it for me. (and again, they're always super-reasonable, anyway.)

a map of the exhibit hall-- and believe me, you need a map!

My final haul, pared down QUITE a bit from my initial pass. A number of DVDs (a couple of them never even opened!), a selection of books, magazines, and a couple counted-cross stitch patterns. My personal score of the day? A book discussing the history of scrapbooking, with gorgeous photographs of historical scrapbooks- I looked at it in the bookstore, but never wanted to spend $40+ for it. My VNSA price? $4!! (I know; it's great, isn't it?!?!?!!) It all fit into two shopping bags, so not too bad, overall! 

Now, if I could just find the time to read them!!?!? (oh, and a place to put them all, too!!)

February 12, 2014

balloons in the desert (photo heavy)

last October, one long weekend, Tom and me on a a road trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Staying up late, getting up (insanely!) early, standing in the freezing cold dark, waiting for sunrise, and taking well over a thousand (yes, over a thousand!) photos... I still haven't edited most of them (plenty of them really should be deleted, too, but I can't bring myself to do that yet), but here are some that hopefully give you an idea of what it was like to be there.  Most of my pictures aren't 'real-photographer' quality, but they do give a pretty good sense of what it was like to actually be there.

Okay: after looking at and editing some of the pictures, this post is only going to be the Friday afternoon and evening we arrived when we got to see the  'Special Shapes Glowdeo' Balloon Glow, which was the where they featured specially shaped balloons at dusk. Check out pictures of some of the balloons here, on the Balloon Fiesta Website. (you really should click on the link- there are some really fun shaped balloons!) It was Visual Overload, for sure!! (it was visual overload all weekend long, actually.)

(And as usual, click on any of the photos to see them a bit larger!)

just a couple shots to show you how many people were there... It was packed! But the launch field is 78 acres, so it didn't feel too cramped... until the balloons started going up, that is! 

here goes one of the first ones- not sure what it is, yet!

they are sooo much bigger in person! Members of the launch team hold the
opening in the 'envelope' open to fill it with air (with a fan) before turning
on the hot air to make it rise.

here it goes! it's a clown! (see the moon, near the clown's nose?? lol!!)

the 'whoosh' of the flames is really impressive!!

you can just walk around, and they're actually going up all around you-
it was just crazy, and sort of surreal!

here's a longer shot-- the Sandia Mountains can be seen
just along the right-hand side of the photo.

Tom, posing amid a few of the balloons.
Everywhere we turned, there was something interesting to see!

The 'Little Bees' Joey, Lilly, and Joelly. (two of these are from Phoenix, I think)

I was close; I got two of the three while they were glowing!

nope, not that time!


whoops- missed again!

whew- finally!! 

This is Pigasus, or Mr PUWP (for 'Pig Under Wing Protection')

he was happy to be here! (this one was made by a company in Brazil)

an Angry Bird!! (we were happy to see him!)

Ham-let: When Pigs Fly! 
 The Glowdeo was a static event, where they only lit them up; they didn't actually go up at night (I'm guessing that wouldn't actually be very safe). We had to wait for Saturday morning to see the balloons actually lift off- but seeing them glow like that? That was pretty darn cool whether they went up or not!!

A really good fireworks show topped off the night. Then it was off to get a little sleep before getting up at 3 am (yes, I agree that was absolutely crazy!!) in order to see them lift off at dawn the next morning. 

It was an amazingly cool experience, and I really would love to go again! (and I'll definitely take gloves and a hat next time, lol!)

February 11, 2014

my other 12-hour crop pages

Here's photos of the other pages I worked on during the 12-hour crop on Saturday; I didn't think I had that many photos, till I started selecting them-- I'll try not to write so much to hopefully keep the post a bit shorter! 

Here's my Christmas 2013 collage page- we didn't put up any Christmas decorations to speak of, partly because of Zola (kittens + trees + glass ornaments = a disaster in the making!), and partly because there was so little time between Christmas and Thanksgiving. I did get out a couple small decorations, so this page is going to be titled 'a small Christmas.' (the crocheted tree reminds me of crocheted decorations my Grandma made, and the lighted ceramic tree is from Tom's Great-Aunt Marie, if I remember correctly.) The rest of the page is a mosaic composed of various pieces cut from the Christmas cards we received. (I always wonder what to do with the cards once Christmas is over, and this was a good way to keep them by saving 'parts' of them.) I did keep a couple cards whole; they'll get put into a regular 8.5x11 sleeve in the album next to this page.

a detail shot- hexagons are 'trendy' right now, so I thought it would be fun to use my hexagon punches to cut bits out of the card fronts. These particular ones are vellum (punched from part of my sister Judy's handmade card), and are attached using metal brads.
 Again, this layout was inspired by a scrapbook layout I came across on the internet and had pinned for safe-keeping. Mine turned out quite a bit different, but I love that I'm actually using some of them to make things from instead of just pinning more and more! (click here to see the inspiration layout, if you're interested.) 

This next layout was alot of fun to make, and turned out pretty much how I envisioned it would- do you know that feeling, when you know your project is working just like you wanted? I don't have that feeling very often when I craft (sometimes my projects seem to have a mind of their own and take a turn I don't expect), but I had that feeling when I made this one! 
the letters for this page were cut using my Cameo- the font is one I downloaded from the internet, called Airstream. (and yes, I can spell: I just need to cut another exclamation point,
because I lost the 'dot' that went with this one- lol!)
It's a fun, light-hearted subject, but one I knew I wanted to make a layout for. Tom and I both love authentic Chicago-style hot dogs, so when we heard they were building a Portillo's here in the Valley (finally!), we knew we had to go. The decor, the food, and the service were all top-notch, just like we remember from 'back home' in Illinois. I tried to capture that 'vintage diner' feeling of the place with the page layout (which is based on another Scrapbook Generation sketch). The journaling will go in the open space under the photo on the right-hand page, probably typed on a tag or on strips of white cardstock.

Somewhere along the way, I found a piece of scrapbook paper that I knew would be perfect for this layout; the paper design was all diner-style signs, which I cut out and put in that vertical area of embellishments. And the 'hot dog' is the Portillo's logo, which I cut from one of the paper bags our lunch came in! (They will ship their food all over the country, in case you're interested- lol!) 

The (somewhat obvious) page title is letters I cut with my Silhouette Cameo-
the font is one I purchased from their online store, called LD Brown Nose.
It's nice and casual, and I think I'll get a lot of use out of it. 
This layout is one I'm glad I finally got to work on- we did this hike back in early April, 2007!! I'm not a hiker at all (my idea of hiking is strolling through the preserve looking at birds, after all), so this is the first and only actual 'hike' I've been on since we've lived here. It was beautiful and impressive scenery, though, so I am glad we did it. (Only Tom managed the last bit to the very top; I wimped out right at the very end where you had to pull yourself up by cables using pretty much just your arm strength.) Oh, and I also got bitten by that cute squirrel you see, there, too- I need to add another page to this layout to explain that, and to add in the rest of the pictures I chose to include. (I also need to add some embellishments to this layout- with just paper, it looks a bit 'flat' to me, especially looking at it in a photograph.)

This shows the rest of the pictures I still want to include, along with scraps of the papers I used and a piece of coordinating cardstock. It's stored in a bag with the rest of the layout for now, till everything is finished. (I want to keep it all together so I don't accidentally use the patterned paper for some other project!)

And here's an example of a page kit I put together for some photos I didn't get to work on Saturday- but the papers and extras are all together in a gigantic zipper bag, so when I do have the time (and the inspiration) it will be a bit easier to get started. The photos are from a day I when visited the Arizona state Capitol in downtown Phoenix. I never got to visit the Illinois state capitol building when I lived there (Springfield isn't exactly next door to the Chicago suburbs, and I just never got around to traveling down there), so I really wanted to visit the Capitol here since we live so close. (It was pretty neat; I'll show some of the actual photos from the trip in a separate post.) 

Since it's the state capitol building (I'm not sure: are you supposed to capitalize 'Capitol' when you write it?), I chose some red, white, and blue papers, along with some more 'Western-type' papers like the denim patterned paper that I think is a photograph of real denim fabric, with actual sewing on the paper. Not sure which of these I'll use when I make the layouts, but they're all together, so they're easier to get to and part of the decision making is done already. 

One more photograph, that probably only another scrapbooker would 'get' my fascination with, lol! The dome of the Arizona Capitol building is covered in copper, and since copper- and mining in general- is an important part of Arizona state history, I included these two specialty papers in my page kit. It was tough to get a good picture of them, but both of these papers are metallic sheen to them, and the one has a brushed-metal feel to the actual texture of the paper. I don't know how I'll use them exactly, but I definitely will try to get at least one of them in there somehow! 

(apparently I don't know how NOT to be wordy... thanks for reading, if you made it this far- lol!)

February 09, 2014

12-hour crop (okay, slightly less)

So, yesterday I went to a 12-hour crop at the Scrapbook Barn in Gilbert, from 10 am to 10 pm. For once, I put together page-kits ahead of time- a collection of photos and papers that I wanted to use / thought might work well with the photos, and tossed in a few embellishments. Some people do much more 'kitting' than that, down to designing the layout, including letter stickers, pre-cutting papers, borders, etc. but I can't do that much of it ahead of time. 

I didn't finish getting ready till the last minute (what else is new, right?), so I was a bit late getting there- had to buy soda and snacks, of course! I took the page kits, my tool box, a few stamps, and whatever other papers and 'stuff' I could grab at the last minute. So, while I had the papers and photos I wanted, I didn't have some of my other essentials, like my ATG tape gun (!!), scratch paper, or a ruler- lol!! I couldn't work without my tape gun (I was seriously contemplating calling Tom so he could meet me halfway to drop it off-- lol!), so right when I got there, I had to run out to buy an adhesive roller. I figured I might as well get lunch out of the way while I was out, too, so I didn't actually start scrapping till, maybe, noonish?? But, I did get some pages (mostly) done while I was there, had a great time, and already signed up for next month's 12-hour crop (when I will hopefully be a bit better prepared- but don't count on it!). 

I didn't get any layouts totally 'done' (most still need journaling, and some still need titles) but I made a good amount of progress. Enough rambling; on to the photos, right?? 

This is the first layout I worked on, and like usual, it took me quite a while to 'get into' the scrapping process. The photos on the pages aren't the greatest, but I really wanted to include them in my album, since having 'real, live' wild horses around was such a cool thing to me when I first saw them (and still is). The journaling will be based on a news story I found that talks about the history of the horses living on the reservation. And it still needs a title, which I'm going to cut with my Cameo. The layout was based mostly on a Scrapbook Generation sketch from the travel sketches book. 
(as an aside, the red patterned paper is a sort of 'bandanna' print paper; I remember buying it years ago when we drove through Santa Fe on the way back to IL and WI on vacation- crazy that I remember that, right? I'm glad I finally found the perfect layout for it!)


These photos show a bit of my working process- I try out different photo arrangements from the sketches on plain white cardstock, decide which arrangement I like best, and take a picture of it so I don't forget how I wanted them. (This method works great for me, since my memory for this kind of stuff is horrible.)

a close-up of the embellishment cluster on the right-hand page-
I'll put something similar on the left-hand page, probably up near the title. 
This layout was based on one by Lisa Dickinson that I pinned ages ago-
you can see the inspiration layout on her blog, here. 
I've wanted to make this page for quite a while-- it's just a couple pictures I took last fall when we were on a short walk around the neighborhood, but I had a particular reason why I wanted to scrap them. During this walk, a car followed us around the block, pulled up to the curb, and the people inside got out and asked if they could pet our dogs. (To which we said, 'sure!' because they love getting attention!) The woman said they used to have a Sheltie years ago that they really loved, and seeing our dogs brought back good memories of their dog. We love our dogs, of course, but it makes me feel good to know that they could bring back good memories to someone else, so I wanted to document that. (that story will go on the library card.) 

A close up of the upper-left embellishment cluster: a bit of stamping, and a couple small pieces of patterned paper. The heart was popped up with foam tape. (I still need to add the date the photos were taken).  

A closer look at the heart cut-out card. I cut this card with my Cameo to be the same size as the photos (I used the small cut-out hearts on the corner embellishments), and backed it with a piece of patterned paper. To give depth and emphasize the cut-out areas, I added tiny (I mean, tiny!!) bits of foam tape between the card stock and patterned paper so it would cast a bit of shadow. (doing that was a pain, but worth it, I think.)

The letters stickers are foam Thickers, which are raised / dimensional.
I just love this font; it's beautiful! (they have a bit of glitter on, too.)
This was the fastest page I made all day, maybe my fastest page ever. I mean, really, really fast: it only took me about 15 minutes to come up with this layout and put it together! These were the first pictures I took of Zola, when I saw her in the pet store for the first time: I went in at lunchtime on a Friday and happened to see her, took the pictures, and went back to work and immediately e-mailed them to Tom-- 'hey, what do you think about getting another kitten?' Then I went back after work to see her again, and we both went the next day to see her again, ultimately deciding to bring her home! (I mean, really: who could resist that cute pink nose and the gray splotch on top of her head?!? lol!) The journaling will go in the empty 'quadrant' on the pink ledger paper, with a bit of writing on the heart tag at the top. Oh, and I just remembered- I do have a wood veneer heart that I painted white; it will go in the lower right-hand corner, to bring a touch of white to the other side of the page.

I have a couple more layouts mostly done, which I'll post separately. I hope you all had a good (scrappy, and otherwise!) weekend, and thanks for checking out my scrapbook pages!

February 01, 2014

pet pics--

even with all the bird and craft photos, you didn't think I wouldn't post any pet photos now, did you?? I don't take too many of them (not when they're awake, anyway) since they aren't all that keen on posing for me.

Bisbee and Ariel, just hanging out.

Zola barely sits still at all, so she won't pose nice, for sure!

Krista won't pose, either! :D

Butters, though, now- she poses.

And so does Prescott!