Stripping the Kayak

I learned to kayak so I could get closer to nature — ducks, swans and turtles, in particular. So, I always have a camera with me when I go. While I haven’t had the courage to take my Cannon out on the water yet, I do bring my iPhone along for the ride.

For this page, I compiled some of the pictures I took, as well as some my husband took of me, into a panorama of sorts. It’s a great technique that is easy with Mosaic Moments.

Naturally, I made a video to show you how to do it …

This post is sponsored by Mosaic Moments.

Signs of Spring

While it feels like August around here, spring was just a few weeks ago. Fortunately, my crazy life has finally calmed down enough for me to share all of the things I have been making and this page showing the signs of spring is one of my favorites.

The pictures were taken at different times over the corse of a few weeks and several of them were those rare opportunities you get to witness a special moment in time. The squirrel, for example, posed for me for several minutes so I could get a series of pictures.

The baby ducks hopped out of their nest and dipped their feet in the water for the first time … I haven’t seen them since, but I’m sure they’ve moved on to another lake.

The little bird behind the fence worked for several minutes to steal that feather from the chicken’s run. It took a few attempts to get it positioned just right in his beak before he could fly off with it for his nest.

And the robin, one of the first I saw this spring, let me get closer than I ever have to take his picture.

I used Mosaic Moments dies and grid paper to create the layout. I love the mixture of close-up photos with those farther away. And I love how the 1-inch square floral photos wrap around the ducks.

I made a video to show you how to make this page.

This page was sponsored by Mosaic Moments.

Back from Boyne Highlands

I’m back from Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. It is one of my favorite events of the year and is by far the largest … there were 389 women this time! I’m there to work, not crop, but I’ve made dozens of friends and I love spending time with them. The rest of the time I was shopping from my favorite vendors (my purchases are still in their bag), having my traditional Thursday night dinner at the bar (grilled whitefish and sweet potato fries, all made gluten free), and teaching others to use Elizabeth Craft Designs and Mosaic Moments products. It’s tiring, but wonderful and it always goes way too fast.

Last fall, one of my customers-turned-friends asked me to make a page kit showing some of the resort. I used Mosaic Moments Grid paper and dies to create the layout and sold every one — including my sample. Fortunately I have the photo so I can make another for myself!

Matt has taken over many of the make-and-take duties during the event — especially since I had so many classes this time. While demonstrating how to use a transfer sheet to use the leftover stickers, he came up with a few new techniques. (Well, either he did or customers did … I never did get the answer, but I came back to this)

And this …

And this …

and this! I was quite impressed.

Another customer worked up an idea with Silk Microfine Glitter that I helped her implement. I thought I took a photo, but I must not have. I will be making a tutorial to show you how she did it soon — it’s that fantastic.

This time, I taught classes for Bayview Scrappers, a new store in Traverse City, Michigan, in addition to teaching my own. One of the classes I taught was on using rubber stamps from Art Impressions to create watercolor art. I was so impressed that even I could watercolor that I came home with several sets of stamps. Stay tuned for more!

I also taught a Mosaic Moments class and worked one-on-one with others showing them how easy this system is. It amazes me when ladies learn and then come back and show me their first page … yes, this is her first page! I love the mix of detail and distant photos and how she mixed in family pics with scenery. This one is going in a frame on the wall in her family’s cottage … she plans to do one each year. What a wonderful idea!

This is another first-time page, believe it or not. Although you can’t see it very well in the photo, she used different depths of dimensional foam adhesive on different squares in the photo. The effect was amazing!

I will admit to helping her decide between lavender and navy grid paper and showing her how to use the Mosaic Moments At-a-Glance-Guide to make sure she didn’t cut the sun, but otherwise, it is all her! An amazing idea I plan to steal and a truly beautiful page.

Each year, there is a layout contest as part of the fun. Ladies submit their favorite works and the other croppers vote on them. I was pretty proud to see three Mosaic Moments pages registered for the contest. And, even more proud to hear the winner of the contest was one of them! She did photos of her trip to Ireland.

We also gave away an Ott-Lite and a box of stamps, inks and card bases. Of course, I forgot to take photos of the winners with their prizes. Going to have to change that for next year!

The ladies totally spoiled us while we were there. They came with hugs for us both (I even heard one of them calling Matt, “honey”) and tons of gifts. My friend from Marquette brought me these dish cloths with the UP knitted right in. I’m not sure how she knew blue was my favorite color. She also brought me jam and Matt the Yooper version of biscotti. yumm

A mother and daughter from Northern Michigan brought Matt and I each a birdhouse filled with candy eggs. And they brought me a “Take-and-Make.” They gave me a great tip for using my tweezers to thread the ribbon and quietly fixed my bag when I did it wrong. lol. I love these ladies!

My friend from Ohio who keeps me laughing until I cry, gave me a copy of this beautiful picture she took last fall at the resort. I told her I was going to put it on my fridge and wanted to show her this proof that I did!

And, my wonderful friends from Canada brought me this adorable chicken to welcome everyone to my house. I love it and I love them!

These ladies make this trip so wonderful for me. I come back with new ideas and techniques and lots of inspiration and I think I actually learn more than I teach. It is such a wonderfully uplifting event. I cannot wait until fall when I see them all again.

Through the Port Hole

This is one of those pages that starts out simply, but ends up amazing. Or at least I think so!

It showcases two places … Whitefish Point State Docks, which features a barn and fishing boats on the shores of Lake Superior; and Whitefish Point Light Station, where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down in 1975. We didn’t have time to do much exploring the day we were there, but we did take a quick peek at the light and the beach. And, I was fortunate enough to see a ship passing in the distance.

One of the reasons I love the Mosaic Moments system so much is that you can use it to enhance your photos. Many times those photos that aren’t good enough to scrapbook, become perfect when cutting just the right way.

In this case, my photo of the ship was a bit hazy because it was so far away. By using the Three Circles Die as a frame, I turned the less-than-steller photo into the focal point.

I created a video to show you to do it …

(I receive compensation for making videos for Mosaic Moments.)

My First Bike (in 39 years)

I know you’ve seen plenty of photos of me with my bike, but I had to do one more …

For a little background info … At 44, I decided I was going to be bedridden if I didn’t get moving. My biggest hurdle was that it hurt to walk. After less than a mile, my right leg tenses up, the muscles contract, my foot goes numb and I lose control of it. It is extremely painful and the pain continues for hours after I stop walking. The first time it happened, more than 20 years ago, I pushed through the pain and actually fell and twisted my ankle. Since then, it has progressively gotten worse.

I didn’t go to a doctor because I didn’t want to hear, “lose weight and it will be fine.” Nor did I want to be one of those people who has an “excuse” for everything they cannot (or don’t want) to do.

So, I was looking for things I could do that wouldn’t hurt my leg and I thought bike riding might be good. Problem is, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 18 and I weighed so much that I was afraid it would be impossible. So, I set myself a goal. I decided that if I lost 50 pounds, I would try it.

That day came on Memorial Day in 2016. While my family hung out on the back deck of my mother-in-law’s house, I quietly slipped away and took her bike for a ride. I’m sure if anyone saw me, they were laughing hysterically at how wobbly I was, but after a few times of nearly hitting the curb before remembering that I had breaks, I figured it out. It’s amazing how the body can remember to do something again after so many years of not doing it!

My husband and I realized that this could be something fun to do together, so we each bought bikes. I selected a cruiser that allowed me to sit upright and put both feet firmly on the ground while sitting on the seat.

These photos were taken on our first official ride on a bike path — at a park in Linden, MI. They are some of the most important photos I have ever taken … Yes, they mark an important spot in my journey to losing weight and feeling great, but they mean so much more to me.

They were just quick snapshots my husband took with my phone, but they are the first pictures I looked at in many, many years where I thought, “I look good!” For the past few decades, whenever I saw my pictures, I always cringed because I was so much heavier than the person I saw in the mirror. I hated my photos. I still took them and scrapbooked them because they were important to me, but they made me depressed — often to the point of tears — every time I saw them. But when I saw these, I just kept looking at my thighs and thinking, “Wow! I look really good!”

It took me several weeks to share my feelings with my husband (and nearly a year to share with the world), but after that, it became a “thing.” Whenever we were riding and I was getting tired or thinking the hill was too hard to climb, I would look at my thighs and remember how good they looked in this photo and how much better they would look if I kept this up and it would push me further. My husband picked up on it and he would remind me to look at my thighs whenever the going got too hard. It was all the motivation I needed.

Yes, these two little pictures are responsible for me losing an additional 30 pounds and going from riding a mile to riding 13 miles in just one summer.

Such special photos need special treatment, so I went a little artsy on this page. I used papers from Authentique, a resin bike from Melissa Frances (accented with a bit of Distress Paint) and the Circle Tiles and Tab Die Set from Mosaic Moments to complete my page.

I made a video to show you how fun it can be to create embellishments with the Circle Tiles using different patterned papers. Check it out.

(I am compensated to create videos for Mosaic Moments).

By the way, I have talked to my doctor about my leg. After several tests, she thinks it is a mineral and amino-acid deficiency. I’ve been taking both for the past year. It’s not perfect yet, but I can walk faster and harder and when the pain does hit, it hurts less and it quits almost immediately after resting. Bike riding doesn’t hurt it one bit. And those are things I can live with.

Happy trails!

One Die, Two Looks

This page, which features photos I took while on a ski lift at Boyne Highlands last fall, features the Triple Diamond Die from Mosaic Moments. I used it to give the eye a break from the busy photographs, while framing the feature photo.

While I love the simplicity of this die, it can also be used to create more complex patterns, like I did below.

Here, I used the same die to create the look of a quilt. Although it looks complex, it really only takes a few sheets of patterned paper (use double-sided to save more time), a single die and a few runs through a die-cutting machine to create it.

I made a video for Mosaic Moments (I am compensated for creating videos for them) to show you how easy it is.

I’m Still Standing

Yes, I’m still here … I’ve been incredibly busy with crops and work and teaching, and well, there are just not enough hours in the day!

Of course, I have still been doing some scrapbooking, mostly Mosaic style, and making videos. And, that means I am way behind in my blog posts! So, I’ll try to get you caught back up …

For starters, this is a page I did featuring the Smile for the Camera die from Mosaic Moments. The die is a lot of fun because it comes with several different pieces you can put in the camera “lens.” I used the “smile” die on this page, but then I also used the heart as an accent. I should tell you, this is also a limited-edition die, so I’m not sure how much longer I can order them. I believe I have one in stock at the moment … just saying!

This page was to celebrate some of the new adventures I have discovered on my pink bike. Sadly, I traded the bike in for a new model yesterday … I LOVED that bike, so it hurt to let it go, but I have a new teal bike with 21 gears that can ride on pavement and dirt and will handle the hills much better. It’s not as stylish as my pink bike was, but it has reflective paint, so it will be safer, and that is always a good thing!