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A taste of Morocco

I finally turned on the fans and braved the heat in the attic to do some more scrapbooking!  Another layout from our week in Disney last month... this is from a VERY rainy day at Epcot center.  Erin had decided that it would be fun to have something a little adventurous for lunch and we ended up at a cafe in Morocco.  To our surprise, Eraleigh LOVED the food!  She kept stealing the chicken off of Erin's plate and scarfed down hummus and tabbouleh like a pro.  It was a super proud auntie moment for me.

A Taste of Morocco
It's almost birthday time for this little cutie... if my present didn't get there yesterday it should be there today and I'm really excited to find out how she likes it!  Not to mention seeing pictures of the whole event... I just wish I could be there!  Oh well, maybe next year!

Time for the big reveal...

Okay, the deposit is paid and the next destination is...

South America Collage
I'm way psyched about this.  If you know me, you know that going to Peru and visiting Machu Picchu is one of the top 3 things on my list of stuff to do before I die and this tour combines that with tours of various cities in Peru as well as the Amazon region which I'm super excited about!  I did my tour to China last year with this company and they put together a really wonderful, first class experience so I thought I'd do it again.  Plus since it's with ScrapMap, it's a scrapbooking / photography tour and I get to meet Karen Russell in person!  We sort of know each other from a Chatterbox contest a few years ago but I can't wait to meet her and learn about photography since she's an amazing photographer and a super cool lady.  I also got to meet Jim on the China trip and he's a blast.  I can't wait! 

So there you go!  I always love having an awesome trip to look forward to... and it is, after all, a trip of a lifetime ;)

So what have I been up to?

This... work.  And an addiction.  I try not to post too much about my job lest it somehow get me in trouble, but this is kind of a special exception.  At work these last few months we've had the chance to work on filming the stories of some of our customers and they're being released as commercials today.  My part?  Helping to get the online component set up and it's been keeping me busy!  But these stories are amazing... as many times as I see them I still tear up when I watch them.  Here's one... check it out:

You can go to a page and watch all five stories here. Watching them has made me want to start working on my own family history more and in the last week I've had the thrill of finding a handwritten parish record for a great great grandparent from the 1750s as well as multiple photos of ancestors that lived in the early 1800s.  So that's what I've been doing instead of scrapbooking... spending HOURS on (not counting the hours I spend working on the site as a job) becoming more and more addicted to family history and adding to some of the work that my grandpa passed on to me.  It's like a giant puzzle that I can't walk away from! 

So there you go... I should get back to the layouts this week, though.  I'm starting to get the itch for some scissors and a tape runner!

P.S.  I know some of you are curious about the mystery trip, but I'm still mulling it over... I'll post my next fabulous destination once I decide for sure and put down the deposit. :)

Just call me TOAL

So I had been thinking that I wouldn't do much traveling until after school but I should have known better than to think I could make it that long... lol.  This week I found another tour that just screamed, "Gwen... SIGN UP FOR ME!!!"  So I started to think about it and I couldn't get it out of my head.  When I realized I really wanted to go and the schedule wouldn't be too disruptive for school, I started crunching numbers and the price of the tour turned out to be the exact amount I could afford to spend.  So I started telling my mom about it and she started telling me I was crazy, but the more we emailed back and forth the more she started to want to come with me.  In one email I pulled out the phrase "it's the trip of a lifetime!" and then qualified it by saying it's a different trip of a lifetime from last time, of course, which made her just laugh at me.  She told me that I'm now going to be known as Gwen "Trip of a Lifetime" Lafleur. (Get it?  TOAL? heh.)

So where am I thinking / planning on going this time?  Two hints... it's on a continent I've never been to and it includes a visit to one of the top 3 places on my current list of "things I want to see during my life."  I haven't put down the deposit yet - I'm giving myself the next week to make sure I feel like I can afford it but since I get more excited pretty much every hour, I think there's a good chance I'm going to try and go.  Oh, and now Nicole is thinking SHE wants to come with me too.  lol.  If I'm addicted to traveling, at least I'm not alone!

So, speaking of traveling... I finally managed to get back to the scrapbook room and do another layout!  This is going back to South Africa again from 2 years ago.  While we were up near Hoedspruit on safari we were able to see lots of giraffes.  On our third game drive, we ran across this little family - they were so beautiful!  I'm really pleased with how the pictures turned out.

I love those little bamboo letters from Making Memories... they worked perfectly here!  And with that, it's time to go watch Chopped! on my tivo.  (I'm WAY too addicted to the Food Network right now.)

A day for finishing

It's been a good day for getting stuff done!

1.  I finished (and passed!) my Financial Accounting class... this was the last pre-requisite for my EMBA program.  Now I just need the loan!
2.  My carpet finished drying!  I guess that it's time to call maintenance to come look at the washing machine before my next laundry day :)
3.  I finished the stacker toy!  Let me just say... the pattern was marked "Easy to Intermediate" which leads me to believe I should be shopping in the "remedial" section.  lol.  I think it turned out pretty well, though, and I hope Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh really enjoys it.  Here's a little picture of the finished product...
Fabric Stacker Toy
I love the colors and patterns on this so I'm thrilled that I've got plenty of left-over fabric to use for other projects.  Now I just need to find a way to wrap this and ship it in a box that doesn't make the post office charge me double and get it off in time for Eraleigh's birthday!

Now that all that's done, I'll be back to scrapping soon... I've already got some photos printed out :)

A weekend to remember...

... or not, as the case may be.  Allow me to give a quick (or not so quick) summary.

Friday night - went out with some friends to grab a quick dinner and see The Proposal at the theater.  So funny... we were laughing until we cried.  Loved it.  This movie is now in my official list of top 10 favorite movies.

Saturday - after almost 4.5 years, my iPod died.  sort of.  Somewhat akin to the Windows "blue screen of death," I got the "iPod screen of death."  If you haven't seen it, it's a cartoon drawing of a frowning iPod with a note telling me that I have a serious problem and I should contact customer support.  This would be something I could deal with if it weren't a survival tool for any time spent at the gym.  And, since there's finally a gym near my house and I joined it and I'm going there regularly in an attempt to regain my previous semi-svelte form, the loss of my iPod is detrimental to my success.  Fortunately I can get it working again for decent periods of time but cross your fingers that it hangs on for one more week! 

More Saturday.  Washing machine flooded.  Cleaning it up made for a SUPER fun Saturday night.  But mopping the flooded bathroom across the hall from the laundry closet made it easy to clean while I was at it and my whites did really need a good soak, so it all works out!  The carpet is almost completely dry and next I just need to get someone to come look and make sure that machine isn't broken.

Ring stacker Sunday afternoon.  I thought I'd pull out the project I've been working on for Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh's first birthday which is coming up fast!  A little while ago I bought this pattern and some fabric from Heather Bailey (so cute!)  I had everything cut out and ready to sew but when I got to the part where I had to add the outer gusset to the first ring, I got totally confused.  I was following the directions exactly, but it wasn't working the way the pattern said it should!  After desperately searching the package for the Heather Baily Help Hotline, I pulled the whole thing apart and figured out my own way.  It worked!  I then discovered that either there's a mistake in the directions for the inner gusset or no matter how many times I read it I'm missing something, but it's moving right along now.  I've got the base and the bottom two rings and I'm halfway through the third.  It's going to be so cute!

Finally, I learned to make fried pickles!  Yum.  Since I'm trying to be good I only made a few, but it was delicious.  Must do it again!  I caught the recipe during an episode of the Neeley's while I was at the gym.  Although, seriously?  What is it with watching the Food Network at the gym?  That just seems wrong somehow.

Hopefully my carpet will be dry again soon so I can move my fan back upstairs and get back to the layouts... can't scrapbook without the fan!  The little scrap attic gets too hot this time of year :-P

So yeah.  That's it.  Back to your regularly scheduled Monday!

Where does the time go?

This afternoon when I was packing up to leave at the end of our 2-day Marketing summit meeting, I looked at one of my co-workers and I was like, is it really Thursday?  Time has gone so fast this week I feel like I lost a day somewhere and yet they've all been super busy!  Then I got home and started working on a layout and it's like I managed to lose a few hours as well... lol.  I'm pleased with what I did tonight, though.  The beads made the scan a little off - I promise it's not crooked in real life.

This is from our trip to Costa Rica 3 years ago and Playa Ocotal is the beach that was at the bottom of the hill where we were staying.  We didn't spend any time on the beach, really, so Nicole and I wanted to go and hang out there before we went back home.  As you can see, it was just gorgeous!

Playa Ocotal
I also got to use some of my fun new goodies from the Making Memories Great Escape collection here... so fun to work with! 

And now, it's way past time for bed (I've been saying that a lot lately, haven't I?)

A little quality time with a mouse.

Or maybe I should say THE mouse.  As in Mickey.  Yup, you guessed it!  Another layout from Disney... this is from when Rick and Erin took Eraleigh back to the Magic Kingdom for a second day while I went to Epcot with Nicole and Brian.  I couldn't resist these cute pictures from when Eraleigh met Mickey and Minnie.

Meeting the Mouse
Today has been crazy busy... maybe the busiest day at work in a long time.  I've been working for weeks on a presentation for an idea that I wanted to pitch and today was the big day... after 3 hours of a combo of presenting on my part and discussion and brainstorming as a group, they're all for it!  All of them said that their eyes had totally been opened on the subject and we even assigned action items... that's way more than I was expecting out of this so I'm really pleased.  Now I have to do the work!  First, though, two days at a Marketing department off-site summit.  Should be interesting... I'm presenting for a little while on Thursday and I'm a bit nervous but I think it will go well.  And hey... if nothing else comes out of it, it's five free meals!


It's been a surprisingly busy weekend for me.  But fun busy, you know?  I ran a few errands (aka shopping), watched some good movies and did some crafting experimentation.  I've had the idea for a certain type of mixed media collage for months now and I've never done anything to see if I could create what's in my head.  I played with papier mache this weekend and it's looking good!  Nothing to share so far, but it was fun to get my hands dirty (literally!) with something new.

Yesterday, my LSS had a Make-and-Take / demonstration from Copic Markers and Our Craft Lounge stamps.  I love my Copics and I'm always looking for tips (and excuses to go to the LSS) so I headed out yesterday to participate.  It was lots of fun!  Here's the card we made.  Not my best coloring, but I was trying not to take too much time since there were people waiting for spots at the MITI table.

Copic B-Day Card

I was also able to sneak in a layout... here's a quick one from our Disney trip.  This is from the Safari ride in the Wild Animal Park.  We all loved that ride... it was a lot like a real safari!  And Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh was enthralled by the animals. 

On Safari
And now I'm just in time to watch "The Next Food Network Star" before bed. :)

Friday happy dance!

One of my favorite scrapbooking companies, Making Memories, had a giveaway on their blog the other day... they were looking for suggestions on cool places to send their designers for inspiration and I suggested Turkey.  They picked me as a winner!  I'm totally psyched and I can't wait to play with the awesome scrapbooking travel goodies!  So here's a huge THANK YOU to MM :)

P.S.  I just saw this video on another blog and it was too hysterical to not re-post.  This is the area where I grew up and lived most of my life (aside from college) and I'm dying laughing as I watch it.  The guy's condo looks a LOT like the one I owned in the area as well (I miss my cherry cabinets and granite counters!) As Erin said on her blog, this explains a lot about why I am the way I am.  lol.  It also really highlights how different Utah is :D

Finally. The end of a long week.

I'm so glad it's finally Friday!  This has been a bit of a rough week, but everything's looking up with the weekend in view!  Of course, it's probably going to rain all weekend, but that's a great excuse to curl up on the couch with some hot apple tea and a good book.

Speaking of hot apple tea (see what I did there?) I went back to my pictures from Turkey for another layout... I have to mix it up, you know.  This is from our second full day in Turkey when we flew from Istanbul to Kayseri for a day-trip in Cappadocia.  Our first stop was a caravanseri which is kind of like an ancient hostel.  They were set up about every 40km along the old Silk Road.  This was a pretty cool place, and the first time we tasted apple tea.  An addiction was born!

Deets... the background paper, stamp and stencil are from the Club Scrap Henna kit (which turned out to be perfect for Turkey pictures!)  The red is a cool handmade paper.  I stamped and embossed the CS stamp in gold and then cut out pieces to embellish.  I also stamped and cut around the top of the pull-out journaling card.  Added some Prima Say it in Studs (a frame that I cut into 5 pieces) and then stenciled the swirls and spiced them up with some liquid pearls.  Lots of fun!  I love the rich feeling from the pattern, colors and texture. 

With that, it's waaaay past time to hit the sack so I'm off to bed!

Happy Friday!

Paper crush

I have a total crush on the new  Actopus to Zelephant line from K&Co - mostly because of this one paper that I used on this layout tonight.  I love it.  LOVE it!!!  The colors, pattern, the cute little sea creatures... and I love the smooth kind of glossy texture over some of the pattern.  I also feel great affection for the lovely matching embellishments.  lol.  Conveniently, I had these pictures of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh at the aquarium in Epcot.  The pictures aren't great (I *so* need a tripod) but I still love them... she was totally captivated by the fish.

Okay seriously.  Is that not great paper?  The line was designed by Jenn Ski and funny enough, I've been following her blog since long before this line came out.  She has a really cool style.


It's a small world!

I finally managed to get back in my scrapbook room... I've really been wanting to scrap these pictures since I found this cute little "It's a Small World" sticker set.  Just ignore the fact that I somehow managed to scan the layout slightly crooked... lol.

It's a Small World
And now... it's time to fix dinner, relax and get ready for another busy week :)

Inspiration found!

I know I've mentioned lately that I've been short on scrapbooking inspiration.  So tonight, I was working at home for several hours trading emails back and forth with one of our developers while we worked to get a last minute landing page put together for a PR story that's going out Thursday.  In between waiting for code updates, I started browsing on - I love saving my favorite web images there, and tonight I decided to go through the images tagged with "graphic design."  Jackpot!  I found so much great stuff in there... I was bookmarking right and left!  This one, though, is one of my favorites and I had to start on a layout right away based on the design.

Digging for Dinosaurs
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out!  This is another one from our first day in the Disney parks, we were in the dinosaur kids play area at the Animal Park towards the end of the day.  I love how well these October Afternoon papers matched with Eraleigh's little outfit (green and pink with cherries)!

I'm going to have to go back to this design again... I think it would work great as a template for a mini album or an accordion album.

So now, layout and webpage are both finished so I'm hitting the sack!  Good thing I don't have any early meetings tomorrow :)

The Tree of Life

I finally got back to that layout I started on Sunday... this one is from our first day in the parks at Disney World... we went to the Wild Animal Park (and it rained most of the time, of course).  Erin and I were both excited to see the Tree of Life.  It might be completely man-made, but it doesn't make it any less cool to me!  I think the whole thing is just a work of art... I could have walked around looking at it for hours!  (okay, rain-free hours, anyway.  lol).

Tree of Life
Check out that adorable little baby!  And speaking of... Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh was 11 months old today (or yesterday, technically).  It's going to be time to buy her birthday present before I know it!

I'm gonna say it...

... New Moon was my least favorite book (which doesn't mean I don't like it!), but the movie looks like it's going to be way better than the first one.  This is why I was excited that Chris Weitz is directing... he did awesome special effects in The Golden Compass so this should be great!


I can't wait until this one comes out!

Hopefully more scrappy stuff soon... I started a layout yesterday but I just wasn't feeling inspired so I'm just chilling on the scrapbooking and doing other stuff until I'm feeling it again. Hopefully soon! I have too many awesome pictures to scrap.