Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let me introduce you to Nathalie Kalbach. She's an amazing mixed-media scrap artist and I've known her for almost 2 years. She's from Germany and she was in NYC last weekend to teach a series of workshops. I've watched, with fascination, her technique-teaching videos. Besides her lovely accent and sweet nature, she's just SO talented. And I LOVE watching talented people do their thing. So, when she told me a few months ago (she's also a "SISter" on SIStv) that she was coming to the US of A, I asked Chris about the possibility of planing a little trip to the city so I could take one of Nat's workshops. And he was all for it! YAY! :) So, there she is teaching a workshop featuring an acrylic mini-album using lots of paint techniques. What a great idea for an acrylic album, which is see-through. Wonderful!

I had Chris snap this photo of the two of us after Nat's fabulous workshop. I not only had a blast learning from her and scrapping with her, but I was thrilled to be able to actually meet her in person for the 1st time (and I hope not the last!).

I'm a pretty slow scrapper (but getting better) and so it's no surprise that I didn't finish my mini album while at the workshop. Plus, I added pages to mine, doubling it. BUT - I am now finished and I just wanted to give a little peek of it. Here it is:

I made my book all about a trip to the new Children's Library up in Williamsport - part of the James V. Brown Library that Matthew works at. And, we took Eva up there for the afternoon shortly after it opened. I took a ton a pictures and wanted to scrap them, so thought this mini would be the perfect project for those pictures. Here's a different view where you can see all the layers of the book:

Here's the very first page where you can really see how transparent the pages are. Chris asked me about the little page # stars and they are actually all part of each acrylic page. I just painted them, added numbers and then sealed them with diamond glaze to protect the paint from handling. I know Eva is going to LOVE looking (many times) at this book in which SHE is the star! :) This little book is about 5" x 7" or so - and was just a blast to make.

And here' a shot of the back cover.

I just love all the bright colors. It feels so energetic and fun - just like the time we had at the library! If you'd like to see all the pages up close and personal, just click here to go to the album as posted in my portfolio on SIStv.

Due to the lateness of the hour, that's all I have to say for now! ;)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well, there's two very different pages for you! As always, you can click on the image to see it more closely. Credits for the digi page (the top one) are here. The top one is my layout for One Little Word (the word is "Real"). The bottom one is my submission to a scrapping magazine gallery for their "Make It Yours" challenge.

Oh, um, YAY SPRING! Yes! Today is the day. And although it's quite chilly outside here right now, it's supposed to be gorgeous for the next several days with temps near and into the 50's. Can we take our snow tires off now, do ya think? I'm SO over winter!

Tomorrow we're heading to New York City. I'm super excited to be meeting a long-time SIStv friend of mine, Nat Kalbach. She joined SIStv just 3 days after me and I've been a huge fan of her AND her work ever since. She's from Germany and she's stateside right now to teach some workshops. So Chris and I have made a little NYC trip planned around this workshop that I'm going to take from Nat on Sunday. I'm CAN'T wait!

First on our agenda to the city, though - Saturday evening - will be dinner at Nino's. Chris (and my mom) and I discovered this treasure quite by accident many years ago when we were at The View (top of the Marriott in Times Square) one afternoon and discussing where to have dinner that night. A friendly New Yorker (and I've discovered most are!) recommended Nino's and it's been our very favorite ever since. I've lost count of how many times we've eaten there, but every time I do, I have "the best meal I've ever had". Truly. And the best service. There's NOTHING like fine NYC dining service. Those of us in northeast PA have NO idea what good service really is if we're only eating around here. Sorry, but it's true.

Sunday a.m. we'll get up in time to get me to my class and then after that I think we're gonna tool around in Central Park, since we'll be staying on the west side near there. I haven't seen much of the north part of the park, so that will be cool. I will definitely have my camera with me. We're kind of open for dinner Sunday night, but we're thinking about an Irish Pub. We'll see. I love playing it by ear, but you have to be careful in the city because there's SO much to choose from that you can waste a LOT of time making a decision and then end up rushing around and missing out. The night will be ours, though. We can stay up late and sleep in Monday.

And then Monday we'll head over the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We'll be able to spend a good four hours there - a drop in the bucket, really, but that's about all the museum I can bite off in one chunk anyway. Can we say Ibuprofen?

So tomorrow morning I'll do my packing. Packing for NYC is always sort of a conundrum for me. I don't want to look tourist-y. But, yet, my feet MUST be comfortable. It's hard to look urban in sneakers. Unless they're way cool sneakers, which mine are not. And I need to be careful of what I wear for my workshop because there WILL be paint involved. But I don't want to go in sweats and a tee shirt, which is what I most definitely would be wearing around here if I were scrapping - especially using paint. So that will be a challenge. I think I've got the Nino's outfit figured out. And for the museum, sneakers for SURE! At least we're driving and I don't have to worry too much about hauling a heavy suitcase. My valet (Chris) will be dropping me off and picking me up at the door... :)

Unfortunately, Chris's computer acquired a major virus and so it's being fixed. The guy is very familiar with the bug, but Chris got it bad and the fix will take longer than expected. So we may not be able to take the laptop into the city, which will be a bummer, because it's really handy. And also because I'll be out of touch with SIStv and fb and email and all my "fixes". Hopefully, I can run up and get it Saturday a.m. before we leave.

So, I'm off to squeeze in a little exercising and scrapping before going out to eat with friends tonight. Hope your weekend is great!

Friday, March 13, 2009

We're having a contest over at SIStv and the theme is spring green. Of course, I can't enter the contest because I'm a little to "close" to the management, being on the design team and all. But that doesn't mean I can't make a layout. Plus, I wanted to support my fellow Design Team Sister, Amy Tan(gerine) and incorporate a little stitching into my layout for her challenge at The Creative Type.

I wasn't really liking this layout for part of the day. But then, I put on some music and pulled out some pretties and ended up really loving it! Love it when that happens!

We've been going Wii crazy around here. Oh my gosh - I never thought moving could be so fun! Last night Chris and I were playing tennis and Dustin came up and we did the bowling. SO fun. And frustrating! Just like REAL bowling! :) Chris brought home the dance "game" from Sam's tonight - at my request. I just think it will be lots of fun and I've always wanted to play with that. I also LOVE the balance games on the Wii Fit. It all makes me want to "exercise" and that can't be a bad thing!

BUT - I'm still really yearning to get out walking more. Last weekend - when it was 55-plus degrees, it was such a joy to get out. I'd even like to try getting to bed earlier - gradually - so I can get up and walk when the sun's coming up. That's really my favorite time of day.

Speaking of getting to bed earlier, here I am blogging at 1:07 A.m. Geesh. I must not stop over at the computer on my way to bed! I'm outta here!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Okay, can I just brag for a minute, please? This girl - I'm so proud of her! That's my daughter-in-law, Martha, married to my oldest, Matthew. She's the chef at Old Forge Brewing Company. And there's this guy - a "micro-brewery" or "brewpub" reviewer I guess you could call him. He travels all over PA sampling the beer AND the food of brew pubs. Most brewpubs, for whatever reason, have unusually good food, which is good for me because Chris is, like, magnetically attracted to brewpubs whereEVER we go. We could take a trip to Lower Slovobia and Chris will find a brewpub. He loooooves microbrews. But I can't stand beer. I've tried, but I just do NOT like it no way no how. Period. So, because of this brewpub obsession of Chris's, I get dragged into MANY a brewpub. But never fear because I am always the oh, so happy recipient of (most always) excellent food. So I'm down with the brewpubs. But......I digress.

So, anyway, the reviewer guy, Lew Bryson, has a very well-read blog called "Seen Through a Glass" and he's finally gotten around to reviewing Martha's (well, Damien's) restaurant. Even though I've linked you up to his blog, I'm gonna quote the good part here. Because my Martha is responsible for all the food (and none of the beer) at the restaurant. And Lew says:
One more stop: Old Forge Brewing, in Danville. Wanted to get here for months now, and I have: worth the trip. Great, simple place, well-populated even at 4 on a Wednesday afternoon. I got the alt, and it was good: proper hop bite, not over-alcohol'd, not too much hop aroma; maybe a bit dark, maybe a bit sweet, but Damien said he was aware of that and on top of it, this was the first batch. I did get a glass of Sensessionale, and it was excellent session stuff, a definite all-day sucker.

What really put us both away, though, was the food. I'd been told the menu was simple but well-executed, and man, was that true. Best $6 quesadilla I've ever had, perfectly done, cheesey, chicken, thin-sliced apple, just great. And the soft pretzels are very German, big, soft, chewy-tasty (and made the WaWa 'soft pretzel' I had on the way to Philly Beer Geek last night taste like a hard sponge); made at a Mifflinburg bakery. Great eats.

Is that not the coolest? Like I said - I'm so proud! :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

(Click on image to view larger. Click here to see page credits)

That's my newest digi for the One Little Word prompt - the word this time is "see", though I'm afraid I wrote a little more about "smile" than "see". Can't help it when it comes to Eva. She's just always got a smile for whoever comes her way. Even when we go to church, I'm just amazed at how she'll go up to complete strangers with her lovely smile and adorable friendliness.

Well, we are the new owners of a Wii. And a Wii Fit. So, there I am at 11:30 last night, ski jumping, hula-hooping and doing a step workout. Yeah. Okay, so if I'm feeling like doing that at that hour, I'm hoping this stuff will really inspire me to get moving at a regular hour! I also did an aerobic workout (albeit short) yesterday using the Wii Personal Trainer DVD. The workout part isn't interactive, but you can keep track with the Wii of WHAT you're doing and it also keeps track of how you're progressing. So, for days when I can't get out for a walk, I'm hoping this will really fill the gap and inspire me. Because I hate going downstairs and working out in the basement (even though it's a lovely, finished room). It's just boring and so much work. Hopefully, this will make it fun ENOUGH to keep me going. I'm going downstairs in a minute to show Chris it all works.

Oh, and if it's any consolation to me - even though I haven't been working out for AGES, I did test out at two years younger than my actual age. Just sayin'. I do hope to improve that number! :)

We're having hot tub headaches again. There's a leak and Chris has determined that it's in one of the pumps. Hopefully, it can be repaired for a reasonable price because I'm not ready to let the hot tub go just yet. I still REALLY enjoy it. But I'm not willing to pay tons of $$$ to get it fixed, either, since I'm still reeling from the winter electric bills that the hot tub and the very cold winter are most likely responsible for. Where's that global warming when you need it?

With that, I'm off my duff and up to go get the mail...it's over 40 degrees! Yay!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. What an excellent, inspiring book. I am blown away by the life and vision - and determination - of Greg Mortenson. What a humble and great man. This book follows his amazing story as he falls in love with the people of Pakistan, sees their need for schools and has the vision to understand that education - and reaching out in love - is the only tangible and lasting way to aid a country in need. Greg's experiences made me wonder in awe at his fortitude, his generosity, his perseverence and his tenacity in overwhelming circumstances. More than once I was moved to tears. I learned SO much about Pakistan, Afghanistan and what has been going on over there. I am so turned off by politics and media reports because I just feel I can never believe them. Greg has pulled my head out of the sand with his honest and heartfelt story. My heart and eyes have been opened to his message and his mission. I feel changed because of it. This book should be required reading for all Americans.

View all my reviews.