Monday, June 30, 2008

Scrapping with Tinkering Ink

Seems like it has been forever since I last blogged. I have a good excuse, though. I have been very busy getting some scrapping done with the new lines from Tinkering Ink that will be debuting at CHA at the end of July. It has been so much fun working with the awesome new papers. Unfortunately, I am not able to post any of my work yet, but keep checking here this week as I will reveal a creation or two from each new line...whoo hoo! I'm pretty excited about my creations, if I do say so myself! I "borrowed" this image from the Tinkering Ink blog of an adorable card made by design team coordinator, Michelle St Clair.

She cut this sweet little flower out of paper from the Beau Jardin collection. You can check out the entire collection on the Tinkering Ink blog.

And, in other scrappy related news, keep your eyes peeled for layouts from the 2008 CK HOF girls on the CK website. Tomorrow, we will be posting our layouts for the HOF Manufacturers challenge. You can play along by creating a layout using products from the manufacturer of the month to win a prize! Very Cool! Hope you enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally taking the plunge....

No, not marriage, sillies! I'm talking about making the big switch from post bound albums to 3-ring albums! I know, I's a big step, and I have to be brave. I do, however, think this change is necessary, and I am ready!

So, I was browsing AC Moore today when I ran into their 40% off sale on all scrapbook and photo albums. Who could pass that up? Not me, of course. I mean I only have about a 6 inch stack of layouts that have yet to find homes in albums. I saw myself as the perfect candidate for this experiment. I bought those albums (2 of them), brought those babies home, and loaded them up...and I could not be happier.

Look how nice the album lies flat! It looks so lovely, right?

And look how nice it looks closed! Not like my post bound albums. No sir! Those things are about ready for the bone yard. I'm too embarrassed to even show you how they look. Their poor spines are all ripped and bulging. Their covers are bending and breaking. They are quite the eyesore might I say. These 3 ring albums, well...they are much sturdier and pretty, too!

Plus, I just adore the little label holders on the spines. This is going to be a great way to label each book with the time spans. I am going to have to design myself a little label to fit in there!

And the best part of all this? The post bound page protectors fit perfectly in the 3 ring albums....AND AC Moore also had a super duper sale on post bound page protectors. They were marked down from $4.99 to $1.00! Can you believe it? I was all over that as you can see.

12 pages, baybee! Keep in mind that when they say 12, they actually mean 6 (12 using both sides). What a bargain!!! So, if you have an AC Moore near you, head on out there for the great deals!

Can you tell that I am excited here? It just makes we want to scrap, scrap, scrap so I can fill my new albums! So, I think I'll just go do that! Enjoy your day!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Playing with pictures

I have some layouts to create using the new goodies from Tinkering Ink (which are yummy, by the way), so I have been doing some photo editing for the past few days. I was always afraid to do any "post camera" photo editing. I am not sure why. I guess because I thought it would be so hard. I am not a photographer, so my photos are not always the best. So, I decided to give it a shot about a year ago. I struggled a bit, taught myself some stuff, and was able to perk up my pictures enough to make myself happy. Then, I discovered actions! Actions are so awesome, but because I use Photoshop Elements, it has been tough finding ones that I can use. So, imagine my excitement when I saw that my friend, Mindy Bush, had created some of her great Photoshop Actions for PSE! I was on cloud nine! I have been hooked ever since...experimenting with different action combinations. It truly is fun, and Mindy's actions are just beautiful. Here is a photo that I edited with Mindy's actions:

For this one, I used her Give Me Color action with Turn the Lights On! action on top of it! Both of these are a part of her Colorful Action set for PSE. Believe me, there are a lot more awesome actions in this set. She also has a few other sets for PSE, too. You can take a look at her blog here to get an idea of how all of the actions look. Her blog is full of gorgeous photography...not to mention that she is a top notch scrapbooker, too. She is one talented lady. I can only hope to have 1/2 of her photography talent one day. Off to do more editing. Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Necklace & a Winner

Been a bit busy around here. I am doing some home improvement, so I have been a little consumed. When I get into something, I feel like I can't quit until I am done. This project involves changing my house from a duplex to a single home, so it will take a while. In the meantime, I bought myself a "end of school year" and "congrats on my new teaching job" gift. I found this great little shop online where she makes the most gorgeous handmade jewelery. Her name is Lisa Leonard, and you can find her site here. I saw this necklace that she designed as a gift for teachers, and I figured I am a teacher, so I should have one.

You can read more about this lovely item on Lisa's blog on this post. I received it in the mail this past week and was thrilled. It is even more gorgeous in person.

I also have a winner of my Tinkering Ink mini book.....Ryan chose number 4 who happens to be Yvette! Yahoo for you, Yvette! I will be shooting you an e-mail. Thank you all for your comments. Sounds like you guys have some fun plans for the summer. Enjoy every moment because it goes by way too fast!

I hope to have some scrappy time tomorrow. It feels like forever since I sat down to create! It was actually only a week ago. It just feels like forever! Enjoy your evening!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Wolf Lodge

Just a reminder that I will be picking a winner of the Tinkering Ink mini book tomorrow, so leave a comment on my last post if you want a chance to win that cute little book!

Now about the Great Wolf Lodge:

First off, let me say that I cannot believe that we waited so long to go there! It is just such a fun place to spend a few days...and doing a waterpark in the winter has to be the best. Note to self: Take time off in the winter to go to Great Wolf.

Okay, so here is my rundown on the Great Wolf Lodge (The one I went to was in the Poconos, PA):
1. Very clean and well taken care of.

2. Convenience all the way. When we arrived and check in, we got our wrist bands to wear into the waterpark. Those handy-dandy little bands opened the door to our room, got us into the park, and made it so we could charge anything right to our room bill. No money or keys or swipecards to carry...PERFECT!

3. Speaking of convenience...Pizza Hot right in the lodge. Starbucks, a restaurant, a gift shop, a snack shop, and a kids club for other activities besides the waterpark. Those activities included arts and crafts, story time, and scavenger hunts.

4. Prices: Okay, I have to say that this could get to be a very expensive trip if you don't plan ahead. My friend had been there before, so she knew exactly what to take along. We took a cooler with us stuffed with hot dogs, drinks, chicken nuggets, etc. There is a refrigerator in the room as well as a microwave. This came in handy in the evening as the kids seemed to be starving all the time. The Snack Shop was nice, but $6.50 for a hot dog and fries could be a bit much. We did eat breakfast in the restaurant, and we did buy some snacks. We, however, took our cooler into the park and drank our own beverages. We also had a bag of goodies like cookies, fruit snacks, chips, etc. I highly recommend this.

5. Magi Quest...I don't know how any parent could get around this. For those of you unfamiliar with this, all around the entire lodge are pictures, boxes, displays, treasure chests, etc. that are activated by special wands.

You must buy these wands at the Magi Shop and have them activated. The wand costs $15 and the activation costs $10. Not too bad, huh? Except the cool "toppers" for the wands cost $15 and the charms to hang from the wands cost $8. Now, mind you, these extras are not necessary, but everyone has them. As a parent, you must decide if your child will or not. From the picture, you might be able to tell that I couldn't say no (it was a vacation, after all.) Anyway, Magi Quest is basically a game that has every child in the lodge running wild throughout trying to complete a quest and slay a dragon. Each display that they activate gives them a challenge to complete or directs them to another display. The kids love it, and it keeps the entire building hopping. In my opinion, it is a nice diversion from all of the swimming that the kids do while there. Our kids flip-flopped between the waterpark and the quest the entire trip.

6. The waterpark: Great fun! In the one that we went to, there were 2 slides that you went down without a tube, 4 that you could either use a single tube or double tube, and 1 where you rode in a canoe. The canoe one was similar to a roller coaster in that it conveyor belts to move you up! There was a lazy river, lily pad hopping, 2 hot tubs, a baby pool area, a wave pool (a favorite of our kids'), tons of stairs to climb with water gadgets located everywhere, a waterfall to soaked by, and pools to swim in. They were supposed to open a family tube ride for 6-8 people, but it seems construction on that was at a halt. In a nutshell...lots to do and it is easy to see why you would stay overnight.

7. Speaking of overnight, you must stay at least one night. This is NOT a day trip to a waterpark and a ride home that night. The good thing about that is that is will keep the numbers of visitors to a maximum to some extent making a more pleasant visit.

8. I also recommend that you keep a look out for deals. This could be a costly trip, and the lodge often has deals to make things a bit cheaper. For example, our stay was a deal that was $99 a night for 2 adults and 1 child. We then paid $30 for each additional child. In the end, with 2 adults and 4 kids, we paid $206 which turned out to be about $35 a person. Not too bad. Otherwise, it could have cost as much as $300 per night depending on the time of year and day of the week. So, you might want to do some research before planning your trip.

9. Last, but not least, keep in mind that you may have a hard time getting good pictures. There is water everywhere! If you are lucky enough to have a waterproof camera...Great! If you don't, like me, it will be tough to have fun while toting your camera and trying to keep it safe. I did my best, but most of my pictures are candids taken while we sat at our table as opposed to action shots from around the park. Here a some that I did manage to get:

In the end, I give the Great Wolf Lodge 2 THUMBS UP! It was fun and worth every penny. You can check out their website for more info or feel free to ask me any questions. I'll be more than happy to answer any of them that I could!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hello Summer & a Giveaway!

First off, the Great Wolf Lodge was awesome! We truly had a blast, and I wish we could have stayed longer. I definitely see another visit there in our future. I have TONS of pictures and a full report coming later today. We arrived home late last night, so I have not even had a chance to get the pictures off of the camera yet. I am swimming in laundry and house work, so that will have to wait a bit. No biggie, though...I do have all summer!

My transition into summer is a bit rough each year. I know, most of my friends think that I am crazy. Who wouldn't want to have summers off, right? Now, believe me, having summers off is wonderful beyond words. I get so much done, and I love it. It is, however, a huge change for me. I miss spending my days with the kids. I love my job, and I go through a sort of withdrawal for about a week or so when school lets out. I get a bit disorganized wondering where to begin and how to plan my days. I go from structured, busy days to unstructured days where I have to plan my own schedule. I do, eventually, get into the swing of things. I sure hope that the transition gets easier each year. So, here I am in my transition period once again.

So, anyway, in the scrapbooking arena, Summer CHA will be on its way from July 18-20. I am honored to be a part of the design team for Tinkering Ink this year and to work with their awesome new products. I would love to head to Chicago to be a part of the festivities, but it just does not fit into my plans this year. I did attend 2 years ago and LOVED it! Chicago is a quick plane ride away, so it is convenient. I hope to attend next year, though. With our Disney trip right on the heels of CHA this year, it is just not in the finances. Anyway, Tinkering Ink has some awesome new stuff for you this year. I just know you will love it. In honor of their new releases, I am going to give away one of their Peekaboo Albums. These adorable little albums are made of chipboard and acrylic. The one I am giving away is a rectangle 6.5 x 4 and looks like this:

There are so many possibilities with these cute little albums, and Tinkering Ink has some great goodies to go along with them.

So, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post with your e-mail address. Tell me about your summer plans, your scrapbooking plans, or about anything else fun. I will pick a winner on Tuesday, June 17th! Sound good? Stay tuned for my Great Wolf Lodge review and pictures!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let The Vacation Begin!

It's official...summer vacation is on! It has been a brutal week for me with school finishing up. The kids were done on Friday, but we teachers had to go until today. No biggie.

The good news is: I am now an official HISTORY Teacher....8th grade Civics to be exact!

Whoo Hoo! Now, don't get me wrong, I really liked my other job. Actually, I liked it a lot. There were days when I would look at my Teacher's Aide and say, "And they actually pay me for this!" In reality, my job was not that easy. In Alternative Education, students who are discipline problems are referred for a sort of rehabilitation. I had kids from grades 7 through 12 throughout the day. Some stayed with me all day. Others were with me for a class or two. In addition to discipline problems, I also received students who had attendance issues, were in danger of dropping out, or were just not functioning well in the regular classroom. This year, I had a total of 50 students coming in during the day. With such a small amount of students, I really got to know them well. It was almost like I was a second Mom to them. They told me things that they would never tell a regular teacher. They opened up and trusted me. It really was kind of nice. We became close. I spent a lot of one on one time helping them with their studies. Some did not want help. I got that. I tried my best, but if they refused my be it. Every one would refer to my students as the "bad" kids. Maybe they were. I guess I had some that I just was not able to get through to. But, for the most part, I kept the peace. Discipline came before studies in my room. It had to be that way. Some said that I was a highly paid babysitter. No offense taken. They had no idea what really went on in my room. There was learning...just not in the traditional classroom style. I did a scrapbook layout about my job for my HOF entry. It was for the "Journal Your Passion" assignment. I am surely hoping it gets published because it is very special to me. I really put my heart into the journaling. Anyway, even though I loved my job, it was time to move on. I went to school to teach, to use my skills to help the kids to learn the importance of History, and I need to do that. History positions in our district are few and far between, so passing this up was not an option. I will miss my job, the closeness with the kids, and my Teacher's Aide very much. I need to do this, though. I believe I was meant to do this. I want to make History fun. So, I guess I have my work cut out for me this summer getting ready for those 8th graders in the fall!

So, now that I have told you way more than you wanted to know, I am off to get packing for our overnight trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. It is our first time visiting there, and our way of kicking off the summer! I can't wait. Not sure if I will have a chance to get any pictures, but I am taking my camera along just in case.

I just finished up a few scrapbook layouts for assignments, and I am looking for some new pictures to scrap. Getting more scrapping time in is one of my goals this summer, too! I've been feeling pretty scrappy lately, too! Oh, and speaking of HOF, I don't think that I ever posted this layout from my entry:

This is the one that Creating Keepsakes chose to display on their website for the HOF announcement. My beautiful nieces. This is the only one that I used a black and white photo for. I liked the soft colors with the black and white..

Hopefully, I will have some kind of pictures to share after our trip to the Lodge! See Ya Thursday!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

HOF Challenge

I forgot to post my other layout for the CK HOF Challenge. The prize is a great package of MAMBI goodies, and I just know the winner will be thrilled. Click the link to join in! They are one generous company! This is the first one I created, and it was so much fun to use all of the MAMBI goodies.

I love using flowers and I often hesitate to use them on boy pages. I see a lot of people doing it, so I don't know what my big hang up is. I just have to get over it. I have yet another MAMBI page in the works just because I love their stuff now. It seems that I get to start a lot of stuff, but I don't often get to finish. Maybe later this week! Tomorrow is the last full day of the school year! Whoo Hoo! Boy, that went by fast! Next year, I will be the 8th grade Civics teacher, so it will be the start of something new for me. I have a busy summer planned....some remodeling, some lesson planning, and a trip to Disney! Ryan's first ever and mine since my Senior trip in High School! Can't wait! Enjoy your night!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Creative Sunday with MAMBI

Long time, no blog...huh? Wow, time just flies by, doesn't it? Good thing for me that I remembered my password...LOL! Today was a very productive day all around. I got the grass cut and the house cleaned. I did a nice workout on the Wii fit, and I got to scrap! My kind of a lot done!

I did a layout today using all of the wonderful goodies that MAMBI contributed to our HOF prize package. As I mentioned several times before, they were super generous! I am loving their papers, and I can't believe the variety of embellishments that they have! I am officially a huge MAMBI fan!
I am into bright colors these days, and MAMBI has a lot of goodies to offer. I also used my Silhouette (once again) for the big peace sign and the title on this layout. I have another MAMBI layout done that I will be sharing tomorrow on the Creating Keepsakes website in their image gallery. All of us 2008 HOF gals will be doing monthly challenges with our goodies at the beginning of each month. CK is offering a prize for the winner of the challenge each month. Check their site tomorrow morning for layouts from all of us. I am sure it will be tons of fun, so think about joining in! Until tomorrow! Peace!