Honoring Bishop Baraga

I’m not Catholic, nor a religious person, but I couldn’t help but to be curious about the final resting place of Bishop Baraga in Marquette, Michigan. The Bishop, a Roman Catholic missionary to the Upper Peninsula, chose the site for St. Peter’s Cathedral way back in 1853.

Baraga taught the Ojibway Indians, while protecting their rights and learning from them at the same time. He even put together a dictionary of their language.

Baraga served throughout the UP, often traveling between communities on snow shoes during the harsh winters. He died in Marquette and is buried in St. Peter’s Cathedral, where a beautiful room with stained-glass windows show some of the works that he did.

To record our visit, and some of the beautiful details of the cathedral, I created this page. The one at the top is the left side, with a pocket to hold the pamphlet from the church. The page above is the right side. I used the arch die repeatedly across the two pages … repeating elements makes for an attractive layout, but it also helps the two pages blend into one layout.

Magic Hour in Williamsburg

Matt and I traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia over Memorial Day weekend for a class with Tami Potter, creator of Mosaic Moments. Budget and time constraints kept the trip shorter than I imagined, but we still enjoyed three amazing days immersed in history.

One of the highlights of our trip was Magic Hour. Magic Hour is that time just before sunset when the lighting is soft and warm. It makes colors pop and everything look spectacular in photos. Kevin and Tami Potter took us on a little tour of some of Tami’s favorite gardens in the historic district and provided photo tips for us along the way.

Since Magic Hour occurs after most of the buildings in Williamsburg are closed, there were few people wandering about and our group practically had the city to ourselves! We went into places that we did not realize were open to the public, learned some tidbits of history from fellow members of our group, and got some amazing photos. It was one of those evenings I never wanted to end.

This is one layout I did showing just a few of the photos Matt and I took …. I wanted to keep the map and tips Tami gave us, so I included it in a pocket on the page. The layering on the pocket was inspired by Matt and the use of a totally different die set — the Postage Stamp Set. I was talking to him about the dies and bouncing ideas off of him for a video. He was thinking literally and thought I should create an envelope and put the stamp on it … I started thinking about how to make the flap and it evolved into this pocket …

I love how it turned out … and it is super easy to create. I made a video to show you how to do it …

 

 

This post is sponsored by Mosaic Moments.

African Graphics

 

My sister went on a trip to Africa last fall and I get to make the scrapbook showing all of her adventures.

This meal was her favorite, but she only had a couple of photos to remember it by, which left plenty of space for embellishments. I took my inspiration from the colorful plate and wall decor and used the new In the Corner Die Set from Mosaic Moments.

Here’s a video to show you how I did it …

This post is sponsored by Mosaic Moments.

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!

It’s Just Awesome

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I love this paper from Pink Fresh Studio. The minute I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for photos of a trip to the city. Fortunately, for me, my daughter went to NYC to visit her brother and I had a chance to use this awesome paper!

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I love how the words and stripes are “cut” from a photo of skyscrapers. It adds such a great touch.

For the right side, I covered up the word awesome with a stack of photos. I like how it gives the illusion that the stripes go completely across the page.

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Because the paper was already so dramatic, I kept the embellishments simple … I added a few wood tiles with gold embossing on them (also from Pink Fresh Studio).

I think this page “totally rocks!”

For more information on products from Pink Fresh Studio, visit Bayview Scrappers.

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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