2016 Asia Travel Journal - Before the Trip

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything that wasn't for an assignment I was working on!  Life is as crazy as ever, but I've also been in a bit of a slump where I haven't worked on much besides what I'd already committed to. Sometimes you just have to wait those out, you know? I'm starting to pull out of it, and what better to get me excited about new projects than a big trip that needs a travel journal? 

I'm getting ready to head out on this year's adventure which I started planning more than two years ago. To think that it's almost time to actually go is a little weird - it hasn't quite sunk in yet, but at the same time I'm very excited! I ran across a word the other day - "resfeber." Sounds like something that someone made up, right? But the definition is "the restless race of the traveler's heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; wanderlust." That's exactly  how I've been feeling lately! But enough of that, on to the journal!

For the last 5-6 vacations I've taken, I've made a travel journal from scratch. I started with the Ali Edwards Scrapbook on the Road approach, using binder rings to hold them all together. I love the three journals I did that way, but I take big trips and save a lot of stuff, and the rings were HUGE - it makes the books a bit unwieldy and it's hard to turn the covers and pages. When I went to Bali last year, I made a case bound book and it worked really well, so that's what I did again this year. 

Here you can see where I've already made the signatures (14 of them!) and started pulling out things I thought I might use to decorate the outside and maybe some of the pages.

Asia Travel Journal - Preparing to Assemble

In case you couldn't guess, China is on the itinerary this year! I had a few bits and pieces I've picked up recently, along with some things saved from when I was there 8 years ago. Also some Russian book pages (because I'll be in Siberia / Russia!) I'll also be in Mongolia - I don't have anything specific to that (go figure,) so I just made do with what I had in my stash. I bound the book - here you can see where I left the end papers to dry overnight. I made the spine bigger than the text block (which is also bound a little loosely) so that I'll have room to add brochures, photos, and other ephemera as I go.

Asia Travel Journal - Gluing Down End Papers

When it was done, I used my Decorative Curvy Repeating Ornament stencil with some molding paste on both covers, leaving room for where I knew I was going to wrap fabric around the spine. I glued down letters for the title, then painted the whole thing gold. When it was dry, I added some color into the decorated area on the front cover, then I clear-coated both front and back and then waxed them lightly. I had a piece of beautiful Chinese silk that I cut to size and wrapped around, then added some dark blue flower trim along the edge.

Asia Travel Journal Covers 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Asia Travel Journal Covers 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the inside! I had some Asian looking wrapping paper in my stash and I used that to cover over the end papers on the inside covers - I clear coated those too to help protect them since the paper wasn't all that durable. Then I started adding a little to the pages. For the front, it needed a title page! I had this awesome stamp of a map of Asia from Studio Calico (it's huge too!) and I stamped that and then added in my route and colored the countries I'll be visiting.

Asia Travel Journal - Title Page and Pre-made Labels - Gwen Lafleur

The title on that page comes from the fact that I will go in a complete circle around the globe on this trip - I'm really excited about that! You can also see all the labels... I've learned through experience that it's much faster, easier, and better for luggage space and weight if I prepare as much as possible in advance, so I take the absolute minimum of supplies with me. I go through my itinerary and make labels for the main things we'll see - cities, countries, points of interest... specific activities that we'll be doing (like sleeping in a yurt in Mongolia!) Then I just tuck them all in an envelope and I don't have to bring stamps, letter stickers, or anything like that. I do throw in a few blank labels so I can add dates or put in something that I did during free time. 

I made a pocket on the back of the title page to tuck in the official itinerary. This is handy, plus it covers up where you can see what I stamped on the front of the page :-P

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 4 - Gwen Lafleur

In the second picture above, you can see where I added a few rubons to one page right at the front where I'll probably put travel info from my flight, add a ticket stub, etc... I also stuck in a fun Chinese envelope from my stash and stamped with a custom designed chop I got in China last time  I was there - it spells out the phonetic sounds of my name in Chinese characters. The third picture just shows a fun piece of paper I had that I stuck in the book to make it interesting.

I had very little to use for the Russia section of the book, so I carved a quick Matryoshka stamp to add into my book.

Handcarved Matryoshka Stamp - Gwen LafleurI mentioned it when I shared this stamp on Instagram / Facebook, but I tried a new kind of rubber for this one (Speedy Cut, ) and I did NOT like it. I keep checking around to see if I find anything new that's really wonderful, but I'll be sticking with my Moo Carve and Speedy Carve for now! I still like the stamp, even if the rubber was too soft for the detail I originally wanted.

Below you can see where I used the stamp along the bottom of one of the pages in my journal:

 

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I also added a few rubons here and there, and I collaged in a piece of a map I happened to have that shows an area of China where we're going to be traveling.

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The above-left photo has a little tipped-in glassine bag for ephemera, and I stenciled it with the 6x6 stencil from the August 2016 StencilClub kit - it's actually taken from a map of the Moscow metro! We're going to ride the metro while we're in Moscow in order to see some of the historic stations, so I tucked that in toward the end of the book for when we'll be there. Above-right, I found this stamp set by Lynne Perella for Paper Artsy and immediately fell in love. I think it's supposed to be Japanese, but I put her in my Mongolia section - I don't know why, but that's what I thought of when looking at her! I colored the image with watercolor pencils.

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few more shots of some of the more interesting spreads in the journal... most don't have anything extra done to them. Top left, I added a layered dragon diecut I've had in my stash for at least 10 years. Anyone remember L'il Davis Designs? Some flocked 7 Gypsies paper I've also had forever that I love... top right, I collaged in some Russian book text on a flap - I'll probably clip something to it. We'll see! Bottom left I've shared before, that uses the July 2016 StencilClub kit - I thought it looked a bit like Russian Folk Art, and since I didn't have much for that section, I just went with it! Bottom right is just the last page of the book.... I have this fun "globe" trotter stamp that I thought was great for the very end - I think that's from Evalicious.

That's it for the interesting (or even sort of interesting) inside pages - they'll hopefully be very cool at the end of the trip! Each signature in the book is made up of patterned paper, a sheet of watercolor paper, drawing paper (mostly for journaling,) and some of the signatures also have manila folders.

Here's what comes with me in my carry-on to work in the journal on the road:

Asia Travel Journal Supply Kit - Gwen Lafleur

I made a travel watercolor palette by cutting off small rectangles from my Peerless watercolors and gluing them inside of a partial file folder - I have a piece of deli paper that I put in to keep them from touching when it's folded. A few sheets of labels and my pocket of pre-made labels, water brushes, a small pair of travel scissors with blunt tips, a mini stapler, some clips and a little twine, a few rolls of washi tape, a glue stick, a tape runner (with a refill,) and a few pens and pencils (plus an eraser and pencil sharpener.) I bring ball-point pens since I've learned from experience that trying to use Microns or similar pens on drawing paper will dry them out quickly - I just use those for sketching. 

Here's the final package of what will come with me:

Asia Travel Journal - Ready to Pack

I also have a pouch with colored pencils that will be dual purpose - I can use them in my journal (since I'm really hoping to be able to add some sketching to this one,) and although I haven't gotten into the adult coloring book fad (despite owning several that I bought for the patterns,) I found one at Michael's recently called Imagimorphia that looks awesome - I figured it would be great for long plane rides when I need some variety to keep me sane.

So that's it! Depending on how much wireless access I have on the road I'll try and post some photos of the trip or maybe do some travel blogging. Hopefully I'll have a cool, bursting at the seams, travel journal when I get back :D Now I just have to get everything packed for a 3 week trip and still under the weight limit with room for souvenirs. Somehow I think I'll manage... I always do!

 


Southeast Asia - Scrapbook on the Road

So I have this big trip coming up... I haven't really talked about it much, but it's been in the works for about a year and I'm going to be crossing a few things off my bucket list with this one! As it gets close, I've started to take care of some of the items on my pre-trip to-do list. For the last few years, I've been making these Scrapbooks on the Road (originally from Ali Edwards - I took her workshop offered on her blog) and I love it. So I had to put it on my list to make another one.

SE Asia SBOTR Cover
The cover is made from bookboard - it's like 1/4" thick chipboard - very sturdy. I used a stencil and modeling paste for the background and then added the title and painted the whole thing with Golden Teal fluid acrylic paint. Then I used some irridescent gold and LOTS of liquid pearls (surprise! lol.) For an idea of size, those are 3" rings (big!!!) and the book itself is about 6.5x9."

The hardest thing about putting together this book was that there aren't a lot of products on the market that are specific to this part of the world. So I went with general Asian (but not Chinese / Japanese) motifs. Some are a little more Indian, but I was going more for an overall feel rather than something that's really specific to the countries I'm visiting. I'm hoping I can collect a few things on the way that will make it a bit more personalized for the area.

SE Asia SBOTR Side ViewThis is what the whole thing looks like prior to the trip... I made sections for each country using plain manila file folders and I covered them with pretty paper and added labels - it's the same thing I did for my BYU Foreign Business Excursion SBOTR in 2011 where we visited several different countries. I really liked how that worked.

Here are some of my favorite inside pages all prepped and ready for journaling, photos, and ephemera from the trip.

  • SE Asia SBOTR 1
  • SE Asia SBOTR 2
  • SE Asia SBOTR 3
  • SE Asia SBOTR 4
  • SE Asia SBOTR 5
  • SE Asia SBOTR 6
  • SE Asia SBOTR 7
  • SE Asia SBOTR 8
  • SE Asia SBOTR 9
  • SE Asia SBOTR 10
  • SE Asia SBOTR 11
  • SE Asia SBOTR 12
  • SE Asia SBOTR 13
  • SE Asia SBOTR 14
  • SE Asia SBOTR 15
  • SE Asia SBOTR 16
  • SE Asia SBOTR 17
  • SE Asia SBOTR 18
  • SE Asia SBOTR 19
  • SE Asia SBOTR 20
  • SE Asia SBOTR 21
  • SE Asia SBOTR 22
  • SE Asia SBOTR 23
  • SE Asia SBOTR 24
  • SE Asia SBOTR 25
SE Asia SBOTR 25

 You can see that I used a lot of gold - gold foiled papers, gold paint, and gold embossing powder. Lots of peacock feathers (just because I love them, really), elephants (because I get to ride them in Thailand), maps from an old atlas, lots of jewels, lots of color and texture. The front "page" is actually a folder I got with information for a workshop I'd signed up for. I added some things to customize it for this trip and then inside of it is my itinerary.

I've done as much as I possibly can before hand so that I can minimize what I take with me - I'm going to be traveling as light as possible on this trip so my travel kit needs to be super compact. I did some stamping on tags, and this time I stamped on some of my lined journaling paper in light colors so that I can write over it but still have a design.

This is what I'm taking with me on the road:

SE Asia SBOTR KitI'm keeping it to basics for adding stuff to the book (travel scissors, small stapler, tape, adhesive, clips, a basic hole punch), a few pens, and some journaling cards. I'll also be carrying my Instax camera and film - I just love the look of those mini photos! This is about 1/3 the size of my previous kits, and that's going to be good, I think. I can't wait to fill this book with all of the memories I'm going to make! The trip is still a bit away, but I'm counting every day and can't wait to be off!


Back from Tahoe!

Okay, so I've actually been back a few days, just busy. There are big changes coming around here... it's going to be quite a challenge if things work out the way I think they will. Cryptic, I know. But hopefully I can share everything soon.

In the meantime, I just got back from my family reunion at Lake Tahoe. It was so fun to see everyone! I need to put photos into an album to share, but for now, here's my finished Scrapbook on the Road. I picked out 48 favorite pictures and had them printed as 5x7s and then used a coupon I had for Persnickety Prints and got a bunch of Instagram prints done (which I loved!)

Here's the cover - I used a Heidi Swapp memory album from a few years ago - the pages are 5x7 and it's a smallish 3-ring binder. I used a lot of the pages that came with it and added some of my own.

Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road Cover 1

And here are the inside pages... there are a lot (and I didn't even take pictures of all of the pages that are just photos or just journaling), so I'm using the thumbnail gallery below. Enjoy!

  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 1
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 2
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 3
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 4
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 5
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 6
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 7
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 9
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 10
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 11
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 12
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 13
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 14
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 15
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 16
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 17
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 18
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 19
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 20
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 21
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 22
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 23
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 24
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 25
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 26
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 27
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 28
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 29
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 30
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 31
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 32
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 33
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 34
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 35
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 36
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 37
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 38
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 39
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 40
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 42
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 43
  • Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41
Tahoe Scrapbook on the Road 41

Now I've got to get caught up on my Project Life. Hopefully I can knock that out soon... I hate not being caught up! But, life comes first, and I've got a lot going on right now so we'll see. If I don't? No biggie, right?


Finished! Peru Scrapbook on the Road

My short list of projects to get done included photographing and posting my Peru Scrapbook on the Road. And today, I finally managed to get it done. I came back from getting my Bountiful Basket (really great stuff this week! Plus, a gallon of extra-virgin olive oil that I can't wait to try) and the light was pretty good so I pulled out my camera and took pictures. I apologize that some of them are a tad blurry... but I'm just too lazy to go back and re-do them. lol.

I didn't take pictures of all of the pages - it was over 3" thick! and a lot of it was writing... but I tried to get a good sampling of what the inside looked like when I had finished and added the 5x7's I got printed before Christmas.

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 1

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 2

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 3

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 4

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

 Peru Scrapbook on the Road - Set 5

And that's it! I love looking back through it. It really was a totally fabulous trip and it's fun to relive the memories. I really love doing these books... coming home with a finished scrapbook is just so lovely! Now I just need to do my photobook :)


T Minus 16 hours...

... give or take.

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Peru... yay! This has been such a long time coming that I can hardly believe I'm really going. I've been slowly getting ready for a while now... I have to start my anti-malaria medication tonight, and I've been piling up things I need... renting movie downloads on my iPad, getting books loaded onto my Kindle, buying extra Instax film and making lists of clothes to take (do you know how hard it is to plan a wardrobe for the Amazon jungle? Yikes!) I've been re-stocking my travel medicine kit and working through the fresh produce in my fridge. But I didn't really start to feel like I was actually going until last night when I was finishing my Scrapbook on the Road for this trip. I've loved doing that for my last two trips, so I had to put one together. It's been crazy getting everything done, but I finished it last night and put together the kit that's going with me. It's gotten smaller with each trip, which is definitely a good thing! Here's my kit for this time around:

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Not too bad! My first one was much bigger, although this album is pretty good-sized. (And not that yellow in real life. I used Golden Indian Yellow which is really more of an ochre, and there are highlights of dark green and red over the raised areas.)

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I loved the modeling paste with stencils on my Myrtle Beach album, so I did something similar with this one. I cut the bookboard and covered the outsides with gesso and then spread the modeling paste using a Crafter's Workshop 6x6 Birds of Paradise stencil. I let that dry and then added the letters - they're old Li'l Davis chipboard letters - colored and kind of glossy. I also added the Tim Holtz Grungeboard hinges,  glued it all down and just painted over the whole thing. I did two coats and then used my brush to just lightly spread the green over the rasied areas, then added a few dots of red and some glitter mica paste because I figured it was already getting over the top, why not go all the way?

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After it all dried, I added some embroidered fabric ribbon along the edges. I liked it because it looks like the fabrics that I always see people bring back from Central and South America. I found a bunch of it mixed in with a lot of vintage lace I picked up at Deseret Industries. As usual, I had tons of fun making the covers. I kept it a lot simpler on the inside, though.

I made a lot of inside pages - 3 sections, separated with thick plastic dividers from an old CK kit. Here are a bunch of them, but by no means all!

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That camera and the paper behind it is from an October Afternoon chipboard mini album. The holes were a perfect fit and I thought it would be fun. We'll see if I keep it in there.

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The calendar is a page from a Hampton Arts journaling set. I stamped on it - I'm going to fill in the dates with where we are each day.

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I used tons of maps in here - maps and butterflies were my theme, so to speak. I've been saving this paper forever... old Collage Press. It's behind one of the plastic dividers (this section is for the Amazon). The wooden butterflies came with a Studio Calico kit and I adhered them with Glossy Accents - works perfectly! Doesn't show through on the back.

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lots of pockets waiting for cards, brochures, ticket stubs and other goodies...

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The transparency is from the old CK Kit (Just for Fun, I think) and I used gel medium to adhere a page from a vintage world atlas to the back of it. It has old facts and figures about Peru.

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Above is the beginning of the second section (for Cusco). The map paper is not adhered but I really like the look of it.

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Above is a map of Peru from my vintage atlas adhered with gel medium to the back of the third plastic divider (for Macchu Picchu), Maya Road butterflies on the top.

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I did say there were lots of maps... lol.

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Another transparency page. This might look a bit familiar... I had the transparency, it was late and I was tired but I wanted to do something cool with it. The stamped / Pan Pastel flowers I did on the vintage dictionary page were sitting right next to me and the page was the exact same size as my transparency. I figured it was fate and whipped out some more gel medium. I love it.

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And a final page for my trip home at the end.

So there's my SOTR for the trip... I've got to charge my electronics, do a load of laundry, pack and stress over the snow we're supposed to get tonight. Then it's off to an early flight to Miami. Cross your fingers that there are no delays and my bag gets there with me! Can I just say that it's kind of stressful to plan things to meet up with a tour group? I gave myself plenty of time in the schedule, but I'm still going to stress until I get my bags, re-check for the flight to Lima and get back through security. But once I hit that point, it's party time :)

I should have wireless for part of the trip, so I'll check in when I can. (Believe it or not, our lodge in the Amazon is the one place I know for sure we have wireless! I'll reserve judgment until I see how fast it is, however. lol.)

TGIF & TTYL!


Myrtle Beach - Scrapbook on the Road

Whew... last post for now! I realized about a week before leaving that I would like to do another SOTR for Myrtle Beach. I happened to pick up a Teresa Collins travel mini album kit with a coupon at Archivers - I thought I might use it for Peru, but it seemed a better fit for this trip since it's a 3-ring album and won't fit as much.

I had a lot of fun playing with the cover - I painted it with Claudine Helmuth paints and then inked the edges. I used Prima stencils with modeling paste for the swirls and then decorated them with Stickles and ink after they were dry. For the sand at the bottom, I had a grainy texture paste that's meant to be mixed with acrylics - it really worked perfectly!

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The large chipboard letters are old ones from Making Memories. The Sept. 2011 are just letter stickers from Basic Grey, and the butterfly is Maya Road. I glued them all down before I started painting and then just painted over all of it and added some Prima jewels to the butterfly when it was dry. I really love how it came out.

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I kept up the journaling and putting little Instax prints, postcards, business cards and other stuff into the album as I went, so when I got home it was pretty much done. I uploaded a bunch of my favorite photos and had them printed at Costco - I get lustre finish with the white border, glue them back to back and just punch holes and put them in. I did about 40 prints, so 20 pages. It filled the book just perfectly.

Here are most of the inside pages - you can see that most of the pictures in my blog posts are the same ones I got printed. I still need to go through the rest of them and delete the bad ones. I took a ton! But with little kids, it's the only way to get a good shot :)

SOTR Inside Pages 1

The album came with 3 divider pages - some I left plain and one I covered with beach paper. Since I wanted to do a divider for each day, I cut off the tabs and then made three more divider pages with kraft cardstock and put KI Memories sticker tabs on all 6 of them. On 2 of the kraft pages I had a lot of fun stamping. That mendhi stamp from Papertrey Ink has to be my new favorite.

The map of the Grand Strand folds out - I tore it out of a tourist guide that we got free at the resort.

SOTR Inside Pages 2

It was a pretty relaxing trip. We didn't do tons of stuff - mostly hung out, ate, swam and hung out some more. So there are a lot more pictures in this one than writing and memorabilia. But I love how it turned out.

SOTR Inside Pages 3

Whew. That's it for now! I have a mostly-done scrapbook layout in my attic that's just waiting for finishing touches before I post it. Hopefully I'll get to that before another 2-3 weeks go by. But, I'm still trying to finish my class yearbook. I'm totally procrastinating. I only have 2 events left to do, but the one that's next on my list requires that I go through lots of photos, do lots of editing (which I loath) and create a LOT of pages. Sigh. It's going to be a sweet book when it's done, though... and I've collected a lot of digital awesomeness to use in future photo books. Anyway... off I go!


Scrapbook on the Road

I seriously can't believe I've been home for almost two weeks. Two very busy and crazy weeks! I came back and jumped right into work and school as if we'd never been gone, and it was overwhelming. Tons of homework as we finished up our last two classes and then catching up on stuff from work has been keeping me totally busy. But yes, classes are done... all that's left is our Capstone project (three weeks and a TON of work) and then our banquet and I'm finished with the program. I can't even believe it's so close. I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself... but I'm sure I'll find something. At this point I'm not going to miss all the projects, presentations, case studies and homework, but I'm going to miss seeing my friends all the time. I think we'll have to make some plans to do something about that :)

In the meantime, I wanted to post a few shots from my completed scrapbook on the road / travel journal. I'm SO glad that I did this. I'll admit that I was laughed at a little (my insistance on gathering all of my ticket stubs was laughingly accomodated), but everyone seemed to think it was actually pretty cool. I tried to keep up daily, but there were a few times when I just pasted in pictures, business cards, etc... and then waited to do the journaling in the airport and on plane rides. It worked really well, actually, and by the time we landed in Atlanta at the end of the trip, the whole thing was basically done. I just ended up printing up a bunch of 5x7s (the way Ali did in her example) and adding them later to completely finish it. I love it. I need bigger rings, but I'm definitely going to do this again for Peru this fall.

Here's the outside now that's it's packed full of memories and trip goodness :) A little worse for the wear, but it adds character, right?

SBOR Cover After

And another view:

SBOR Cover 2 After

And a selection of the types of things I did on the inside. I gathered ticket stubs, pamphlets, business cards, maps and receipts everywhere. I took lots of Instax pictures and also bought postcards wherever I could for places where we couldn't take indoor pictures - that ended up working really well.

SBOR Inside After 1

As you can see, I even threw in some pressed flowers in a few places. I also used hotel stationary from each of the four hotels we stayed in... it was a fun addition, and I definitely needed the extra writing space.

SBOR Inside After 2

It's been so much fun for me to flip through this - and we did so much and were gone so long, I couldn't believe how even when I was still on the trip, looking back at the beginning seemed like so long ago. I don't know how I could have recapped everything if I hadn't done it as we went. This is going to be an awesome treasure and a great help as I document individual things more closely.

Finally, one more photo from Dubai - me riding a camel. So fun.

Blog - camel ride

Now I just need to go through my pictures and start editing and pulling out the ones I need to share with the group. No small task since I took about 1500 or so. Sigh. I'll get there eventually :)


Long catch-up post

Okay, I promised I would post, so here it is :) Just a not so quick catch-up of what I've been working on.

So last week was crazy. We had the final project from our last 12-week class due last Tuesday (Strategic Implementation and the GM's Role). We had to do a 7S analysis for a company and it included a lot of research, compiling stuff, analysis and writing and the six of us spent many an hour on conference calls or working in tiny study rooms to finish this off. It was hard and a total pain but we finished it, that class ended last week, and it was the last assignment with our assigned core teams - kind of bittersweet, really. But we were so ready to be done! Anyway, we got our projects back in class last night and had a very pleasant surprise.

7S Project Grade

Mindy is showing off the grade sheet we got back. What's hard to see is that the circle at the top is around "A" and the arrow just goes all the way down. We ROCKED that sucker. I think there might have been only one other team that did as well so we were psyched.

So after that class ended last Tuesday, my group for Brand Management stayed late to *start* working on our final project / presentation. The presentation was due in class on Thursday. We got a decent start and then quit for the night. The next night, I cooked for the team and they came to my house for dinner and then we were there until 1am working on the project and deciding how to get it all finished before class the next day.

First up, food. I got to braise something! I was dying to do this... I made braised short ribs in my dutch oven. The recipe is way too complicated to post (sorry Melissa!) but it was from Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table" and it was delicious.

Brand Night - Short Ribs

Because you can't have beef without a good starch, I whipped up a batch of potato gnocchi. I've been hit and miss with these - it's hard to get them perfect. But this time I tried the instructions from Cooks Illustrated and then made a brown butter gorgonzola sauce to go with them and they were pretty fabulous.

Brand Night - Gnocchi

Basically, you bake 2 pounds of potatoes for about an hour and then peel them while they're still hot (a silicon holder helps a lot). Put them through a ricer into a bowl and let them sit about 15 minutes to cool down. Throw in a teaspoon of kosher salt and about 1 1/4C of flour and knead it together. You want to keep adding flour a little at a time until the dough isn't sticky. Then you just roll it out in about 3/4" ropes and chop them into pieces about 1" long (I just use a pastry scraper to chop mine.) Cook them in *near* boiling water until they float (a rolling boil can make them float before they're ready - good tip!) and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and finish them in the sauce. The sauce... melt about 2 tbsp of butter in your pan and let it brown - make sure you don't burn it. Then crumble in about 5 oz of a good gorgonzola. I used an Oregonzola that had nice flavor. Stir until the cheese is melted and mixed with the butter. Then I just added enough milk to give it the right consistency. Yum.

I also did one of my favorite things - I usually do some variation of this a few times a week. Just slice up some veggies (parsnips, carrots and asparagus here) and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray it w/ 0 calorie olive oil spray and spread the veggies in a single layer (try to get them about the same thickness). Then spray again with the oil and add a very light sprinkling of kosher salt. Cook on 425 about 25 minutes or so.

Brand Night - Roasted Veggies

And for dessert, I was in the mood for eclairs so I whipped up a batch. This time I used the recipe from the "Flour" bakery cookbook and they were yummy. Again - the recipe is too long to post, but it's a great book if you like baking.

Brand Night - Flour Eclairs

Whew! So that was the food. Then later that night, Brent grabbed my camera off of the counter and caught this very lovely photo of me. I was talking and glanced up and he took the picture. Nice. I think it was around midnight and we were all about to crash. Chad is on the couch and you can see the back of Laura's head. lol.

Brand Night Study Group

We managed to get everything pulled together just before class on Thursday and gave a great presentation. The final paper was due yesterday and we finished it up in the morning and then turned it in after class last night. Whew! Two more classes down! We started Global Management last night (which is a tie-in class with our trip) and some of us are starting a Business Judgment elective tomorrow. Laura, Chad and I are all in that one together - should be fun! I'm looking forward to Global Management - last night we formed up teams with people going on our trips and signed up for a country to do a report both before and then after the trip. I'm on a great team with fun people - Chad and three other friends I haven't had a chance to work with yet - Jen, Scott, & Dave. We're doing Greece :)

And that leads me to...

I realized that I never mentioned what had happened with the scheduling on our trip. We were going to Morocco and Egypt before heading to the UAE, but obviously that's out. So instead, we're going to Spain and Greece. I know. Such poor substitutes. lol. I'm super excited! We'll be visiting Madrid and Athens. (And Mel - I promise to have as little fun in possible in Spain without you. I wish you could come!)

So as I mentioned the other day, I signed up for Ali Edwards' Scrapbook on the Road online class. I just finished up assembling the album I'll take with me along with a small tool kit. I'm also going to be taking my Fuji Instax camera and film to get some little instant photos to stick in the book (but my big camera is coming too, of course! I already ordered extra memory cards and another battery. I plan to take a LOT of photos.) So here's an overview of the album. I made mine a lot more colorful and it has a lot of pages in it. Because I'm going for more than 2 weeks and we're visiting 5 countries (and because I know myself... lol), I put in a lot of space for me to write and for photos and memorabilia. I figure I can always take out anything I don't use.

Some pictures of the outside of the book. I made the covers from book board and then painted them. I added the decorations and then sealed the outsides with gel medium for a little protection.

SBOR Cover

SBOR Cover 2

And the inside - part one. I made all of the country dividers from cut down tabbed manilla folders. There are some extra pages and elements between the sections. I can use those for travel details between countries or just move them where I need them. I also did quite a bit of stamping considering how much of this is going to be covered up. But hey. It was fun and I was excited to be doing it!

SBOR Inside Before 1

And part 2... lots and lots of journaling space. I cut down a bunch of plain notebook paper to fit in the book - I did this for my travel journal in China and filled every page and then some and I loved having it. I figure I can also grab hotel stationary on the road and mix it in if I need it. Or even if I don't!

SBOR Inside Before 2

You can see where I just added a bunch of blank pages at the back that I can intersperse or just remove depending on what I need. I also tried all of the different techniques from the class videos and had a blast with this - I'm really glad I decided to take it because I think it helped me make a better album and do it pretty quickly too.

For most of the elements that I stuck in, I adhered them lightly so I can pull them off or move them. I anticipate that this will look nothing like what I'm starting with by the time I come back. But that's the point, I guess! Plus, the trip is 6 credits and we have to do an individual report plus a trip journal for the entire group (we'll take turns writing it) so I figure I'll have a leg up by doing this :)

It was super fun to put this together... now I'm all ready to go! Too bad it's still a month away. Maybe I got working on this too soon? lol. I'm glad to have it done and ready, though. When I get ready I'll pull my little tool kit together and just stick it in my carry-on.  Plus, it just feels good to do some scrapbooking again. :)


*Interlude*

During one of our scrapbook classes in China, we made a coffee table album where we could just pick one or two pictures from each of the main things we saw and have a quick album that we could share.  Heidi challenged us to have it completed within a few days of getting home.  I've been back for just over a week (but my computer didn't work for two days) and last night I finished the journaling and put the finishing touches on each of the pages.  I'm pretty pleased with it and I'm glad I did it because Heidi was right... I am intimidated by the thought of scrapbooking any of my pictures.  This was a nice way to break into it.  So without further ado, here's a quick overview of the entire album:

China-Coffe-Table-Book---Sm
I tried to keep it pretty simple but I probably still got a bit carried away.  There's journaling on the back side of each of the flaps.  Also, a big thanks to Catherine for the silk scrap and Millie who gave me that gorgeous embroidered panda (she made it herself!)