Ribbon for Parrots

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My cousin has five children … all of them are African parrots. There are three I love (I’ve never really bonded with the other two) Ferguson, Rudy and Sydney.

Rudy is my favorite. He’s tiny and adorable and he likes to dance.

Sydney is the most lovable. But, she loves too deeply, so these days, she has to stay behind bars.

Ferguson is the biggest and he is beautiful. He’s shy, but I did get him to eat off of my finger during my last visit!

Anyhow, I put together a page of my three favorite cousins with pictures from Christmas. They are so bright and colorful, it’s hard to find a way to scrapbook them. I finally settled on some simple stickers and made a border as a design element.

Naturally I made a video to show you how to add ribbon to the border … you can watch it here

The Ghostly Lighthouse

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I am so excited to share this layout with you. The story it tells is one of the most important things to have happened to me in a long time.

It is of the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Michigan. It is haunted and you can read of my experience with the ghost in the lighthouse. It was my first encounter with a ghost and had me shaken up for quite a bit, but that is just the sidebar to this story.

The real reason this will always be my favorite lighthouse is because it is here that I learned you can accomplish anything. It is here that I first pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. And it is here that I conquered my fear of heights.

lighthouse-left-by-candy-spiegelA year ago, I was too afraid to climb up on the counter to clean the cabinets. And I was too fat and out of shape to walk up more than one flight of stairs — and I had to take a break halfway up in order to do that. Last June, after I lost 60 pounds and started walking, my husband took me to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to camp, hike and photograph nature and lighthouses. We stopped at this one, located at the tip of a peninsula far from anything but water. It was our first visit and, although eager to explore, we had to set up camp that evening, so we didn’t want to linger.

The lighthouse keepers were nice enough to let us take a shortened tour of the lighthouse and they told us we really needed to go all the way up to the top. At first I was eager, but then I learned it was 96 stairs to the top — and we were already up a flight of stairs from the ground. At first, I let my fears take over and I declined. I knew I couldn’t handle the climb, mentally or physically. But the tour guide kept on me until I gave in. I figured I could go up as far as my legs and fear of heights would let me go and then I would come back down.

lighthouse-right-by-candy-spiegelMy legs handled the steps with ease, but it didn’t take long for my fears to set in. About halfway up, something in me snapped. I suddenly had this urge to push forward. With my husband behind me assuring me I was OK and protecting me from falling backward (the main reason I was afraid of heights), I kept going. My heart was pounding so loudly, I was sure everyone could hear it. I was gasping for air and holding on to that railing for dear life. In full-blown panic attack mode, I climbed step after step after step, winding around and around the lighthouse as I continued my upward journey. I kept telling myself I could do it … chanting over and over in my head. My whole body was shaking and I was nearly in tears, but I made it to the top of that lighthouse and peered outside. I was practically paralyzed with fear and I had to go down the first few steps on my butt, but I did it.

That moment changed my life. Since that day, I have been up and down ladders, escalators and glass-sided elevators with ease. The fear of heights has been conquered.

But, more importantly, there is this new fire in me. I am no longer afraid to try anything new. I’m not afraid of failing. And I know, if I set my mind to it, I can do anything. It’s like I have finally given myself permission to “live” for the first time. And it is all thanks to that haunted lighthouse.

Yes, I did have a paranormal experience during this journey … you can read all about it, here … click on the photos to make them bigger.

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This story was written soon after the experience … before I felt the continued benefits of climbing all of those steps. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think of that journey to the top of that lighthouse. I always say a little thank you to that guide for encouraging me to climb. Had it not been for him, I might not have learned to ice fish, ride a bike, shoot a gun, hike through the woods, kayak, swim in public or do any of the other things I have learned to do since that day at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. And I certainly wouldn’t be thinking of learning to rock climb or taking escalators just to prove to myself they no longer scare me!

Thank you.

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Baby Blue Jays

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Have you ever had one of those magical times in nature where you just happen to witness something spectacular? This was one of those times.

I was sitting on my back deck, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching my chickens play (a favorite pastime of mine). I had filled the bird feeders and given the chickens a little treat and then just sat back and relaxed. I was enjoying the cacophony of sounds from various feathered friends, but the blue jays were definitely the loudest. And then they came. Young jays flew onto my swing, the bird feeder, the shed and into and out of the nearby trees. I’m not sure how many I saw that day, but from the photos, it looked like at least two. They posed for photo after photo (this is about 1/4 of the ones I took) in between calling to friends or mom. Then, they would fly off and another would appear. They didn’t seem at all threatened by the chickens or the crazy lady on the porch. For about 20 minutes they posed and gathered sunflower seeds, while I photographed and studied them. It was incredible.

I, of course, used Mosaic Moments Grid Paper on this page. I find it is the perfect way to scrapbook when you have so many photos you want to use. The different size squares and rectangles allowed me to emphasize the important portions of each photo.

I also used layering dies to make the photo mats on this one. And, I even made a video to show you how I did it!

Workin’ on the Railroad

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I have a strange fascination with trains. I love the sound of them, the way the ground shakes as they go by, and even the clicking of the flashing red lights on the crossing signal. I’m probably one of few people who enjoys being stopped for a train. And, it doesn’t matter the size. I love miniature trains. hobby trains and the ones designed for children at the mall. Heck, even a rubber stamp of a train excites me!

I knew I found the perfect man to marry when, for our second date, he took me to a beautiful depot in a neighboring town I hadn’t known existed. Somehow he knew I loved history and trains and planned accordingly! Nearly 13 years later, he continues to humor me by stopping at every depot and/or train we come near.

This trip, obviously a few years ago by my weight, was to purchase a chicken trailer he found on Craigslist. We were in the middle of nowhere and the only town anywhere around was the tiny town of Pewamo. You can see the entire town in the picture above. About the only thing it had was the head of a rails-to-trails office, bathroom and parking lot dedicated to the town’s train history. The building was a replica of the depot that once stood there; you could climb on old railroad equipment; and turn the signal on. Of course, Matt stopped and I was in train heaven!

I carried the photos around for a long time because I wanted just the right thing for the page.

I found it in a die from Mosaic Moments. The “X” from the X & O Set is the perfect touch. It looks like the railroad crossing sign.

I made a video, here, so you can see how I used it.

The Hippopotamus

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To say I love hippos would be a bit of an understatement. I LOVE them. They are not just my favorite animal; they actually invoke the same sort of breathless, heart-thumping, adrenaline rush most people get when they meet their favorite rock band, superstar or the President of the United States. For me, it’s hippos. (Artists are often a bit eccentric.)

So, when my sister first told me she was planning a trip to Africa, my very first question was, “to see the hippos?!” because why else would anyone go to Africa?? Naturally she had her own agenda, but she did take a few videos and some pictures of the hippos for me, because that’s what sisters do.

Had this been for my scrapbook, I probably would have printed these in 8x10s, but since this one is for her, I kept them all on one page using the Mosaic Moments system. I used the new letter die from Mosaic Moments, but I used just the inside of the letters to make my title look like it was coming out of the mat.

This one is on Pewter Grid Paper, following page pattern #305. I added a bit of cardstock and some patterned paper from We R Memory Keepers as accents. The explanation of the hippo is from a trading card I have been carrying around for a few decades. It was part of a set on animals my kids had when they were little — sort of like animal baseball cards. I knew it would come in handy eventually and thought it was perfect on this page.

You can see how I did it in this video.

 

Adding Ovals to the Grid

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This is my cousin and her family … They live in Ohio, so I don’t get to see them often, but she posts lots of pictures on Facebook and I steal them all.

I’ve “adopted” her and her kids (a baby boy is due in April) to serve as my daughter and grandchildren. This way, I can enjoy the benefits of being a “grandmother” now, since my real grandkids are a long way away. It works for her because it gives her another person to rely on and one more person to spoil her kids, in addition to her mom and her incredible aunt. And it works for my kids because these ones keep me busy enough that I don’t hound my own asking them when they will finally give me a baby! lol

Anyhow, these are pictures she took during Thanksgiving. I paired them with the Oval Frame Set, Mist Grid Paper and Page Pattern #257. I used paper and stickers from Simple Stories to complete the look.

Click here to watch the video and see how easy it is!

Two New Ways to Mosaic

Normally, my blog only shows the work that I do, but I wanted to share with you two new items Mosaic Moments has created to make page making easier.

First, there is an updated version of the mat … one side looks the same as the one you have.

The other side is designed to cut larger photos without any counting of little squares! Check out the video below to see how they work. (this is by the founder/designer/owner of Mosaic Moments, Tami Potter!)

Then, there is another thing I am so excited about …. the basic die sets (Sets A-E and the die that cuts 1″ squares) are now available in colors!

image1485018425Color matching has always been used to make it easier to find the right die. If you look at the page patterns, found here, you will see lots of blocks of colors. These match the colors on the packaging for the dies and make it easy to see what dies you need. For example, if I see a blue square, I know that is from the A die set. If I see a pink rectangle, I know to grab die set C.

When I put my dies on magnetic storage sheets, I labeled each set with the coordinating marker color, because the dies themselves were still the natural metal color. Until now …

Now the entire set is available in color! So, the A dies are all blue, the B dies are purple, the C dies are pink and the 1″ square die is green — just like the blocks of color on the page patterns. I am so excited for the new look, since it will make it so much easier for people new to the system to grab the right dies.

The colored dies have a few pros and cons … first, unlike the rest of the dies, the colored ones are NOT made in the US. They come from China. But, because they are made in China, they are much less expensive than the US-made dies. And, because they are made in China, you do not have to snip them apart. (NOTE: The rest of the dies will continue to be made in the US)

The new dies are only available as an entire set. They retail for $179.99. I’m not sure I’ll keep them in stock, but I will take pre-orders for them and include a couple extra dies as a thank you for paying when you order. Shipping in the US will be free for these, as well.

You can learn about the new dies, here … 

The un-colored, made-in-the-US dies will still be available individually. And I have most of them in stock.

So, there you have it … great news of new products that make it easier than ever to create amazing pages using the Mosaic Moments system!