Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winter's Coming

The past few days have been cold, windy, icy and generally unpleasant. Luckily, I have pictures like this one of Kate to remind me that winter is not all that bad. This photo was taken by Todd a few years ago but Kate is still eager to help us shovel whenever there's a snowfall.

Layout credits: Papers and snowflakes from "Winter Wonderland Paper Pack". Frame from "Frostbitten Frames Brushes-n-Stamps". All items, including grungy alphabet, by Katie Pertiet,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Weekend Away

I can think of 21, maybe 22, things I'd rather do than go shopping in a mall. I do the majority of my shopping on-line these days, thus avoiding the Musak and aggressive sales clerks. However, Julia had been asking for a shopping trip to Toronto and the thought of going away for the weekend was rather appealing.

So we headed to Toronto on Saturday for our shopping weekend. However, the idea of going anywhere for the sole purpose of shopping is so offensive to me that I insisted the trip include a cultural component. Thus, we paid a visit to the ROM and saw, among other things, a very impressive glass paperweight exhibit and a collection of antique typewriters . Of course, walking down Queen Street is in itself a cultural experience.

Julia doesn't like the big city much. She's an outdoors girl (didn't get my urban genes obviously) . However, she loved the Eaton Centre and took us to all her favourite stores. Against my better judgement, I even bought a couple of items, on her recommendation, from a store I'd normally never enter. I fell for the "You're not too old to wear this, Mom" line, knowing full well that Julia was really looking to expand her borrowing options. On the other hand, she also convinced Todd to get some trendy items, and there's no chance she'll be able to borrow any of those. Above is a photo of Julia modelling some of her new purchases. Kate loved shopping also (scary thought, that ...) and we found her several nice new items too.

We had a terrific sushi dinner, a passable dim sum (we're spoiled by the Furama in Montreal), and enjoyable long walks through the downtown. It made me realize how much I miss the variety of people, buildings, sights and sounds in a big city, though I'm happy at this time in my life not to live there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Julia: Then and Now

This week's dare from Circle of Scrapping Friends is to use wallet-sized photos and at least three tags in a layout. This challenge inspired me to finally organize all the kids' leftover school photos and scan them into my computer. Julia is reluctant to have her photo taken or displayed these days but didn't seem totally horrified when I told her I was going to post this layout on my blog.

For this layout, I used papers from June 24, 2007 Web Challenge Freebie by Kellie Mize. For the "tags", I used date tabs from the "Tuckables No. 02" Kit by Kellie Mize. I also added a grunge overlay by Katie Pertiet. All materials are from

Sunday Craft Update -- November 25

I worked on Todd's sweater this week. After the marathon knitting sessions with the red and gold yarn, it was nice to knit with some other colours. (As you've probably guessed, I am not making a Gryffindor sweater for Todd.) I'm also making good progress on the Christmas ornament for Jill, though I have fears it will not get to Singapore in time for Christmas. The final news is that I was very pleased to have received a letter from St John Ambulance thanking me for the three tea cosies I sent to England, even if they didn't make it onto the Tea Cosy of the Week page.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lady Writer

I'm been listening to old Dire Straits tunes in the car, especially Lady Writer. Don't know why I like that one so much. It's not their most popular. It doesn't have the best lyrics or melody. But something appeals to me. Maybe it's that distinctively melancholy Mark Knopfler feel to the song or the nod to Bob Dylan when he drawls, "Plus your mother was a jaaaazz sing-ah." Maybe it's the guitar solos. (I'll bet Todd never thought I'd say this.) Anyhow, here are my top 5 Dire Straits songs:
  • Lady Writer
  • Your Latest Trick
  • Tunnel of Love
  • Why Worry
  • Romeo and Juliet

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Violin Recital

Kate participated in her string school's Autumn Recital on Sunday. She played very well the Lully Gavotte by Marin Marais, from Suzuki Book 2, and even added a tiny bit of vibrato!

We all went out for dinner afterwards to celebrate, though the real reward, as far as Kate's concerned, is not having to practice that piece anymore.

This photo was actually taken a couple of months ago by Todd at the school's opening play-in, where all the students played selections from the Suzuki repertoire together.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Craft Update -- November 18

I finally used up all the Gryffindor yarn. I made a hat and mittens for Kate, and a little sweater for her Webkinz. I had to do some reverse engineering based on a Webkinz sweater I saw at the mall, but there was no way I was going to pay $12.99 for something I can make with a dollar's worth of scrap yarn. (This mentality comes from living for two decades with a very practical engineer.) Actually, I do have a very little bit of red and gold yarn left, and Kate asked for a toque for her Webkinz. We'll see. I have to first figure out how to stuff the ears in.

In other news, my INTJ layout got a mention in the November 9 Weekly Digest on the Creating Keepsakes blog. Most of you probably have no clue what this is, but for scrapbookers (those who bother to upload to on-line galleries anyhow), this is a reasonably nice honour.

I also took the girls to a friend's annual card-making party for our little scrapbooking circle. We had a great time, ate good food, participated in a card exchange and came home with a lovely assortment of holiday cards.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A New Beginning

This week's dare at Circle of Scrapping Friends, from guest designer Renee McCloskey, is to do a layout on someone you remember. This photo is one of the few I have of my parents and grandparents together.

Layout credits: Paper from "Monoblendz Paperie Origins" kit by Anna Aspnes. Flowers (recoloured) from "Silk Road" kit by Lynn Grieveson. Journaling lines from "Ledger Grids" kit and brush around photo from "On the Edge Flourishes No. 2" kit, both by Katie Pertiet. Brush from "A la Mode" kit by MaryAnn Wise. All products from

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Experiment

I'm experimenting with creating my own digital papers and embellishments. Here's the first attempt, consisting of four papers, a striped ribbon and "frosted" snowflakes. Not quite as nice as the beautiful kits from, but I was able to match the papers to the girls' snowsuits. And I was even willing to admit how pathetic I am at skiing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Word Lists

Last week's 30-minute challenge in Jessica Sprague's Photoshop course was to do a layout on some "geeky little secret". Since Scrabble has been on my mind lately, I did one on studying word lists. Well, this isn't really a secret, though it's not something I bring up in conversation with normal folk ... and I really don't study word lists much anymore ... but I should. (Speaking of Scrabble, Nigel Richards of New Zealand won the World Championship.)

Here are the layout credits. Background paper is from the "MonoBlendz Paperie" kit by Anna Aspnes and the patterned papers are from the 2007/10/13 Ad Challenge freebie by Andrea Victoria, both from Word list (which doesn't include the new OSPD4 words) is from

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Craft Update -- November 11

St John Ambulance is holding their BIG Tea Cosy event and asking knitters to send donated tea cosies. They are hoping to collect 5000 by November 30. So I spent the last couple of weeks knitting three cosies using the free pattern from their Web site and I sent them off to England a few days ago. I used the yarns left over from Kate's Gryffindor hat-and-mittens set, which I'll show in a future blog post. The first cosy is in the Gryffindor colours. The other two each have a happy face on the front, and a grumpy or winking face on the back. Couples can choose the orientation of their teapot on the breakfast table depending on who is the grumpier person in the mornings.

Friday, November 9, 2007

World Scrabble Championship

The World Scrabble Championship has started. This tournament has been held every two years since 1991 and this year it is in Mumbai. Canada has an impressive roster containing three former world champions. You can see current standings and live coverage of selected games at the WSC Web site.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Computer Background

This week's dare from Circle of Scrapping Friends is to create a layout of an unusual size, something different from the standard 12"x12" size that most scrapbookers use. I decided to do a 1280 pixels by 1050 pixels layout, as I thought it was time for a new background on my computer monitor. All materials are from Lynn Grieveson's "Silk Road" kit, available at

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


So what is your Myers-Briggs type? You can do a self-test at this site. I won't vouch for its reliability, but there are worse ways to spend 10 minutes than answering 72 binary-valued questions about yourself.

This test tells me I am an INTJ (Introvert- iNtuitive-Thinking-Judging), and a number of other Web sites tell me what personality traits I ought to have as a consequence. All this self-knowledge led to a new scrapbook layout, done in response to a challenge given in Jessica Sprague's Photoshop course. The layout uses papers from the "Carnival Collaboration Kit" from, a circle template from Jessica Sprague and notepaper from Katie Pertiet.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Birthday to Joe

It's my little brother's birthday today! Happy Birthday, Joe! I hope Joe won't curse me too loudly for posting this old photo from 35 years ago, in celebration of this special day. I decided to convert the photo to a nice warm sepia tone, to hide the fact that Joe was wearing a polyester burgundy suit that clashed terribly with my bright red tights.

If you would like to leave birthday greetings, you can do it here.

Sunday Craft Update -- November 3

Made lots of progress on all my knitting projects this week. Even worked on Todd's sweater, but instead of just uploading a progress pic, why not make a layout about it? I did this for a 30-minute challenge given in Jessica Sprague's Photoshop course. It actually took me 45 minutes from taking the first photo to saving the final version of the layout. Jessica posted the challenge on her blog, so you can try it for yourself if you like the idea of doing something totally frivolous under an insane amount of time pressure. For this layout, I used a freebie paper pack from Katie Pertiet at and a brush from the "Circle of Life Brush Set" by Mary Ann Wise, also from DesignerDigitals.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Using large pictures in a layout

This week's dare at Circle of Scrapping Friends is to use a large picture in a layout. So I figured I'd go big and cover the entire layout. This is one thing I love about digital scrapbooking -- I can make the photos any size I like.

It was a bit tricky finding a photo with "whitespace" in the right areas but I found this one from our summer vacation in England. I used a "grungy" overlay and the "Snap Frame Alphabet", both from Katie Pertiet at The brush is a freebie I got from Jessica Sprague's Up and Running with Photoshop course.