Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Little Bit of Scrapping

There has been so much going on in the past few weeks, that I'm going to back up a little and catch up.

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled down to south Louisiana for a scrapbook retreat.  I came down a day early so that I'd have time to visit with Valine a bit.  When I arrived in Baton Rouge, she met me in town and after lunch, we headed to the LSU Rural Life Museum for a walk through the Windrush Gardens.

It was a hot afternoon, but we enjoyed wandering through the gardens, visiting and taking in the flowers, statues, and historic buildings.

The next morning, we drove to Rayne for the Treasured Memories annual scrapbook retreat.  I'd never been to Rayne and our scrapping buddies were not able to come this time (we missed you Vanessa, Pam and Catha!!), so it was a completely new experience for both of us.

I haven't done much scrapbooking lately, but had brought a couple of projects to work on.  The first one was a Summer Mini-book.  Prior to coming, I'd cut out page dividers for both of us and found a couple of fun little albums on sale at Michael's for us to use.

We divided our summer activities into categories and assembled the book with a divider for each one.
We both had a few photos ready to go into the album, but will fill in the rest as the summer continues.

My album is already so full, I may have to switch to a different album, but am hoping I can keep it simple.  I just need to add some journaling here and there to tell the stories.

The other large project we worked on, were the foundation pages for our December Daily albums.  I know!   How's that for being prepared?!?!   After talking about different ideas of how to structure them, we decided that we'd do an "ABC" style album:  Dec. 1st will be "A", Dec. 2nd will be "B", and so forth.

Last year, I bought some wrapping paper on sale to use this year, so I used the same colors in my album.

At this point, I am hoping to keep things very simple---one picture and one journaling block per page--but I may add a few embellishments here and there.   We'll see if I can keep that plan in place once the holiday celebrations begin.

There was a pirate theme to the weekend, so one of the fun things that they did was to have a treasure hunt.  Rayne's official mascot is a frog.  I don't really know why, but they have frog statues all over the city.  Our treasure hunt took us throughout the city, looking for specific frogs that had been marked on a treasure map.

Using photos of the frogs, we then made a 2-page layout that could be entered into a contest.

I spent WAY too much time thinking about the layout, but it was fun.   As the scrappers filed through the classroom, viewing and voting for the layouts, we noticed that people were talking about ours a lot, which we assumed was a good thing.   Once we got to spot where our layout was laying, we saw why:  the "Y" had fallen off of our layout, so that it read "AHO" rather than "Ahoy".    We had a nice giggle over that, but in the end, we ended up winning 4th place.  That meant a $40 certificate to the on-site scrapbook store, so that was a welcome treat.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

29/52 Rich

M4H Project 52 - Rich

Jana and baby B came to visit, and we had an impromptu photo session out in the grass. I accidentally caught this picture while trying to keep Emmi from licking him in the face.  In reality, it appears that Emmi was about to get licked herself!


"Wealth is the ability to fully experience life."
-Henry David Thoreau-

28/52 Taste

M4H Project 52 - Taste

I've gotten way behind in my blogging, but so far, I've been able to keep up with my Project 52 posts.
Baby D loves to nibble on peaches, so, while he was visiting, I put him on a towel to eat this one (just in case there was a mess). Obviously, this one was a bit tarter than he is used to tasting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Little Birthday Backpack

With a birthday on the way, I decided that baby D needed something to hold some of his fun little toys.  He is not yet walking, but it won't be long, I'm sure, and with school just around the corner (we start in early August around here), I looked for a small backpack to make for him.  After searching online, I found the perfect project over at The Ribbon Retreat, the Toddler Backpack.  And it was free!
Rather than an actual pattern, she gives cutting directions via printable drawings with measurements. These were easy to decipher, but I decided to draw a pattern on freezer paper just to be sure that all my pieces were the same.  I picked out these fun fabrics to use for this project.
I began by cutting out all the pieces of the main fabric, the lining and the suggested interfacing. While interfacing is not necessary for the backpack, I was glad that I decided to use some as it helped to give it some body.  I didn't have any iron-on interfacing on hand, so I just basted around all of the edges to hold it into place.  I also decided to add ready-made piping to the edges and I really like the contrast it added.
The only problem I encountered was with the straps---the measurements given are to cut strips that are 6" wide.   Once folded and sewn as directed, the straps measure about 1.5" wide which is too wide for the strap adjusters (which only come in 1" width, locally anyway).  She does address this a bit in her directions, but not clearly, and I already had sewn my straps on before I realized that they wouldn't fit well.  I went ahead and used them anyway, and while it makes them bunch up a bit, I was not bothered by that enough to re-do that part.
Originally, I thought I would embroider baby D's name on a pocket for the front of the backpack.  However, my machine got all wacky while embroidering, so I opted to just turn that part inside and you can't even tell.
It has pockets on the inside (I did my own version of these) and I used a sport zipper for ease in zipping.
I even added a little tag with his name on it (since the pocket embroidery didn't turn out so great).
The one other addition I made was that I added a small "loop" to the straps to contain the dangling part of the straps.
The finished product turned out pretty cute and I can't wait to make one for baby B when he gets a little bigger.



Monday, July 13, 2015

27/52 Morning

27/52 - M4H Project 52

The theme this week was "Morning" and I happened upon a beautiful sunrise on my way home from my Wednesday morning workout.  Since I hadn't planned to take pictures during this time, the only thing I had with me was my phone, but I just went ahead and snapped a picture anyway.  With the Red River still swollen beyond its banks, the glow of the sun was reflected in the water.
I spent the next day with baby D and we went on a morning walk before it got too hot to be outdoors.  While far from a perfect photo, it certainly captured our time together that morning.

"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." 
- Henry David Thoreau -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

26/52 - Magic

26/52 - M4H Project 52

Wow, this is halfway!   I struggled a bit with the theme of "magic", wondering how to capture it.  With Fourth of July celebrations included in the week, however, I loved the MAGIC a slow shutter speed and remote shutter release. It allowed me to finally capture sparkler painting!  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Camping In Big Spring

**I have no idea what happened the first time I posted--none of the photos showed up.  SOOO, let's try it again.

After Michael and Adellelyn went home, Ron, Tyler and I headed up to Missouri for a few days of camping.   When I was a kid, we used to camp at Big Spring, MO and I was anxious to return and see if any of it still looked the same as I remembered.  We stopped to spend the night in Pocahontas, AR on the way up.  We made the reservations over the phone, sight unseen.  Turns out, it was a brand new RV park----nothing but a lot of gravel with hook-ups and a beautiful view of the junk yard next door.  It was fine for our purposes, but I was glad we were just spending the night.
The next day, we arrived at the park and did a little exploring before check-in time.  Our first stop was the Big Spring itself.  It was just beautiful, with cool, bubbling, aqua water spilling over the rocks.
The water was so cold that you could only dip your foot in and the air around it was so cool that you could fell the temperature change as you walked closer.
We spent some time exploring the small caves nearby behind the springs,
and walking up the trail behind the spring.
As we drove around, I didn't see much that reminded me of the images in my memory, but I was pretty young at the time and the memories could be a bit distorted.  The old lodge, which was vaguely familiar to me, was closed for a major renovation this year.  I hope that it will soon be restored to the beauty of the 60's and 70's that I recall.
We found our campsite and got settled in before walking down the trail to the river.
There seemed to be plenty of butterflies and may flies around the park, but thankfully, the mosquitoes held off until the last day.
Early Tuesday morning, I got up really early and went for a walk around the park by myself.  There seemed to be no one else awake and it was so nice and peaceful.
I saw lots of bunnies on my outing,
and enjoyed the cool mist that had settled over the Big Spring during the night.

We went into town to get fishing licenses, groceries and to drop the boys off in their kayaks.
It was the first day for the river to be open since rains had caused such high levels, so the current was swift, but not white-water.  It just meant that their trip down to Big Spring (where I picked them up) went much faster than normal.
While I waited for them, this turtle stopped by to say "hello".
Early Wednesday morning, Ron and I walked down the trail to the Current River with camp chairs in hand.  It was so pretty to watch the sun rise over the treetops and to listen to the birds and frogs as the world awoke.
With no one else around, I even talked Ron into a few jumps on the "beach".
After breakfast, we loaded up and drove up to the Devil's Well, in the northern portion of the Ozark Riverways National park.  Devil's Well is basically an underground lake that was created when a cavern roof containing a lake collapsed, creating a huge sinkhole.  It was discovered in the 1950's by owners of the land.  The road to the Well was steep and rocky and we were glad to be in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  It was very secluded and when we arrived, I was surprised to see a group of men with tents and equipment set up.
We were greeted by a Park Service employee who explained that the Well was closed to tourists for a couple of days while a major cave exploration took place.  He invited us up to watch them prepare for the exploration, although we were not allowed down the staircase to the platform.
There was a reporter there taking photos and documenting the event that she declared was quite historic since no exploration had been undertaken since the early 70's.  It took quite a bit of time to gather just the right team of people that could carry out this exploration safely, since a variety of rappelling, diving and transfer skills were necessary and we watched and listened as these guys discussed the best way to enter the well and drop down into rafts safely.
While we were disappointed we didn't get to see the well itself, it was exciting to see this bit of history unfolding.  If you'd like to read more about the exploration, you can click here and here.
From there, we traveled along the Riverways to Rocky Falls, a steep cascade of water that pours into a small pool of water.
There were lots of people picnicking and enjoying the falls.  Ron and Tyler both climbed up to the top, while I waited below, taking photos and dipping my feet in the water to keep cool.
No one was actually sliding down the falls because it was too dangerous, but many people crawled around on the rocks and swam in the pool beneath.  It was a refreshing break from the summer sun.
If I'd known that Ron was actually going to dive into the pool, I probably would have been hiding my eyes rather than snapping a picture, but he did check it out carefully first and made a very shallow dive.

Our campground was rather small, with only about 15-20 families there at a time.  We cooked outside most evenings since there were few mosquitoes (until the last day when they ate me alive) and enjoyed s'mores a couple of times.
I even tried out a new recipe that called for mini marshmallows and m&m's in a small waffle cone.  I wrapped them each in foil and put them over the fire.
They melted into a gooey, yummy dessert.
Each evening, after taking showers, we drove slowly through the park to look for deer.  And each night, we saw herds of deer grazing on the grass and laying in the grass near the spring.
All week, I hoped to see the otters playing in the Current River, just as they did when I was a little girl, but the only evidence we found were footprints in the sand each morning.
It was such a relaxing week.  We spent most of our days sitting on the shores of the river fishing or wading.




Our evenings were filled with wildlife sightings, dinner over a campfire and poker games in the camper.
It was great to enjoy the outdoors, the wildlife and being with Tyler.