Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advent Calendar

I am so behind with everything right now; I really need to clean my house and do some laundry and get some groceries and make Christmas gifts I think I'll do a blog post!

I was a bit sidelined with virus that kept me home alone on Thanksgiving, sent the hubby off to visit our families. I spent a lovely day watching movies and napping.

Then I got to work on a special project over at Lawn Fawn HQ. If you haven't seen the latest People magazine, check out THIS Lawn Fawn post.  We designed a fun little Stampers Starter Kit based on the featured stamp set Critters Ever After. It would make a great gift for anyone who would like to try our little hobby on for size. It comes complete with the stamp set, acrylic blocks, inks, adhesives, pens, Stickles and all the card stock and patterned paper to make the 5 card/tag projects. There is also a sheet of directions.

I did manage to squeeze in a little project of my own last weekend. I've always wanted to make one of these advent calendar boxes and I bought 2 of them way back in August at Stamp Fever. I got this one done just in time to give to my son and DIL this week.  The box measures 8 x 8.5 so it's perfect when space is at a premium.

I used lots of papers from my Christmas supply stash, did some stamping and coloring, used up some hoarded stickers and other embellies. My adhesive of choice for sticking all this goodness on the box was Claudine Helmuth's Matte Multi Medium, it was perfect for laying down the paper layers smoothly.

I even decorated the back of the 8x8 box with some images trimmed from Graphic 45 papers. The ornament is a new Penny Black stamp that fits perfectly with the Spellbinders Heirloom Ornament dies. 
I always include the date on Christmas decorations, I think it adds to the charm and enhances the memories when unpacking stored decorations each year.

Here's a couple of close-ups of the boxes:

The number stickers are included with the box.

Other supplies include: Graphic 45 Christmas Past 8x8 papers; Cosmo Cricket 12x12 paper; Webster's Pages Waiting for Santa Collection Kit, various punches, rub-ons and gems. I used Glossy Accents to anchor the gems and twine so they will last for a few holidays.

And since the weather has finally taken a chilly turn here I'll leave you with a photo of Tia sporting her new winter finery.

blessings my friends,

photos were edited using PicMonkey!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Road Trip on the Big Island

On Tuesday, November 6 we started out early on our trip around the island. The first place we stopped was  a little fishing village called Milolii. It had been wiped out by a lava flow in the 20s and the beach is all volcanic rock. The little village was rebuilt in the lava field with very little vegetation still. The beach was beautiful and we searched for and found some lovely little cowrie shells.

Next stop on our trip was Punaluu where we had our picnic lunch and bought some wonderful donut-like custard filled pastries. They have a name, it escapes me at the moment. Oh there it is in the photo, malasadas, I think.

At this point I was not doing so well as my fragile neck had been battered on an ill-advised trip down to a secluded beach on a really rough dirt road. After 2 of the 6 miles to the beach I was in serious pain and had had enough. I'm still in considerable pain almost 2 weeks live and learn I guess.

Finding Whittington Beach Park made everything so much better, it was glorious! The color of the water was amazing, from clear aqua to turquoise to deep gorgeous blue.

Next stop, black sand beach and a visit with some Green Sea Turtles:
More gorgeous beach scenes, black sand and the turtles enjoying a lazy day at the beach. The photo on the top right is a favorite, I timed my shot to get the waves crashing on the rocks. The white is not low lying clouds but the amazing surf on this part of the island. Al especially liked the sign that read "Turtle Etiquette". The turtles must have read it because they behaved themselves very nicely! :)

At Volcano National Park we took some time to check out the still steaming Kilauea Volcano and take a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube. It's a cave created by the lava boring a whole through the hardened surface of recent lava flows. This one was created hundreds of years ago and was discovered in 1913. This part of the island is usually very cold but this day it was very blustery and just a bit chilly. I picked up a few unwanted souvenirs here....legs full of bites from hungry mosquitoes. They are still red and angry. Apparently I was very tasty because I was the only who was feasted upon in our group. The funny thing is I didn't even notice them until I was on the plane home 3 days later.

On to Hilo:
On arriving in Hilo we stopped at Cafe 100 for a local favorite, Loco Moco. Al enjoyed this concoction of rice, hamburger patty, brown gravy and fried egg, I took a photo then kept my distance.

I think that is the worst photo of me ever (taken at Rainbow Falls, which was barely a trickle)....we didn't get much sleep in our Hilo hotel room. It was election night and a political party had set up a tent across the street for their victory celebration, needless to say it was loud and obnoxious all through the night. I can't blame it all on the revelers though, my neck was very cranky that morning.
What did make me happy was my breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with macadamia nuts and guava syrup, oh so yummy!

On the road back to Kona we stopped in a quaint little town:
I loved the colors on that metal barn, reminded me of a patchwork of worn denim. I had to chuckle at the name of the shop, "Same Same But Different".  Andy and Kellie (our son and DIL) told us that is what the shopkeepers say in Thailand when trying to get customers into their shops.

I took more beach photos at Laupahoehoe:
This beach was the site of a tragedy in 1946 when a tsunami wiped out a whole school and most of the children and teachers. There is monument to those who died and the area is now a park. I found that on this part of the island they don't rebuild after tsunamis destroy towns. The ocean was beautiful and powerful here and we all got quite windblown.

We finished our road trip with a short stop in Waimea (no photos here, I was under the influence of pain meds) and another at a lovely little beach on the Kona side (which we visited the next day and just relaxed). Notice how calm the waves are on this side compared to the Hilo side. The day was capped off with a beautiful view at dinner on the patio of Sam Choy's restaurant in south Kona.

I'll leave you with a couple of last looks:

For all you Iron Man Triathlon fans this sign is on Ali'i Drive just a short walk from where we stayed:

 I know it's everywhere, but I just love the creamy colors of Plumeria blossoms:

And our last beautiful sunset in Kona, aren't those colors amazing?

Thanks for making it to the end of this rather lengthy travelogue. We will be back to our regular programming tomorrow :)

PS- if you are planning a trip to Hawaii in the near future, you may want to check out Hawaiian Airlines. We got an excellent price on our tickets (not direct to Kona from LAX but the airports in the islands aren't a bad place for a short layover) and get this, they actually feed you a meal- a complimentary meal! On the way home we even had a glass of wine with our dinner included. I definitely recommend Hawaiian Airlines and would book a trip with them again. And starting in March 2013 they will be flying to New Zealand and Australia according to their magazine.
(Totally unsolicited opinion, just passing on my thoughts)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

24 Hour Scramble Event with the Hero Arts Flickr Group

Okay so I totally forgot about the 24 Hour Scramble Event until I happened to check out the Hero Arts Flickr Group yesterday morning. I love the 90 Minute Scrambles that involve having a scramble hostess provide the theme for the participants to make a card or project, then photograph and upload to the group all in 90 minutes. I have made some of my favorite cards for scrambles because I don't have time to second guess myself, just keep moving forward and get it done. Of course I've also made some real lemons too.

I managed to play in 3 of the 12 scrambles that had participation from all over the world. For as far flung as this group is around the world we are a pretty tight bunch of stamping crafters. And the mastermind who organized this global event is the youngest in the group, Hannah from My Little Craft Nook.

Here's my card for Karen's Scramble #10; the theme was to use only Cream, Red and Gold:

I got started a little late on this one so I kept it simple. I gold embossed the pretty filigree tree on cream cardstock and over-stamped the script with Antique Linen Distress ink. I added some red to the flowers with a Copic marker and layered this panel on Basic Grey red patterned paper which I gold embossed with the sentiment. This was very quick and easy, so unlike me!

Next up was my sweet friend, Barb's Scramble #11:

Her theme was right in my wheelhouse to use 3 different patterned papers. Since I just received my package from Hero Arts with my Fab Five winnings I had the Aspen Frost paper pack handy. I chose 3 that looked nice together, stamped the frame and sentiment on the lightest paper, cut it out and assembled the 4x4 card with a bit Lawn Trimmings Peppermint twine. This one was done in a flash and I may make several more with different paper combinations.

The final Scramble #12 was hosted by Janet, a really lovely lady whom I recently met at Scrapfest.

Her theme was Time which I have to say threw me for a loop at first. I searched for a sentiment that fit the theme and it took so long that I needed to save some time on the actual card design. I went through my stash of pre-stamped and colored rejects from previous projects and found a bright little number. Thanks to Maria in the Flickr group for reminding me that by using something that I had on hand I was "saving time" so it still fit with the theme!

I wish I had been able to play along with a few more of the Scrambles, each and every Hostess did an outstanding job of coming up with a fabulous theme. A big thanks goes out to Hero Arts for awarding a random winner of each scramble with a Digital Stamp set (I was a lucky winner!) And another big thanks to all of the Scramble Hostesses, your themes were wonderful and you all kept things rolling with your witty banter! And to Hannah for all the work she did organizing and keeping an eye on things over the 24 hours. Big hugs to you all!

You can check out all the fabulous projects at the Hero Arts Flickr Group.

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name."
Hebrews 13:15

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Anybody up for some vacation photos?

We've been home for a week and I'm finally back on California time. Normally I don't adjust to Hawaii time and I'm up at the crack of dawn on vacation, this time I adjusted just fine and continued to sleep in at home.

I spent a couple of busy days at Lawn Fawn HQ and now I can get to the task of sorting through photos to share our little adventure with you.

We did a lot of the Kona Coffee Festival events while making time to relax and visit with our hosts, long time friends, Don and Karen Ellison. We took a 2 day road trip around the island, spending a night in Hilo before heading on back to Kona.

I created photo collages to keep my vacation posts manageable using

Our first day in Kona I captured this gorgeous sunset from the lanai of our friend's condo, it had the most perfect view of the ocean.

We did some relaxing on Thursday; walked on the beach across from the condo complex, the guys made us a fabulous spaghetti dinner (complete with homemade pasta). Then on Friday we took a tour of a chocolate company, got to sample some tasty confections too!

Saturday was a busy day! We started out in the little town Holualoa for the Coffee and Art Stroll. My friend Karen was one of the artists displaying and selling her photography and original art. Her booth was at Inaba's Kona Hotel (calling it a hotel is quite a stretch, it was very rustic and Pepto Bismol pink). Al and Don and I wandered through the town tasting the coffee, checking out the ukulele shop and sampling the best carrot cake ever (well, it was almost as good as my own). Our favorite coffee was from Kona Blue Sky Coffee and we bought some to enjoy at home.

(Just a note for those who follow Dancing with the Stars; judge Carrie Ann Inaba is from the family that runs the rustic little hotel in Holualoa. I had another DWTS encounter on my return when I saw Sabrina Bryan at my favorite little cafe in downtown Orange last Saturday.  She was fresh off her elimination but looked in great spirits. Just a little aside, Sabrina's parents were the real estate brokers who helped Al and I buy our house 32 years ago.)

Saturday night we had a buffet seafood dinner at the King Kamehameha Hotel then headed south to the Sheraton to check out the Rays on the Bay. You can watch the Manta Rays from the balcony at the hotel, it was fascinating but too dark to get any good photos. The photo above is a mural. Then we sneaked in to see Miss Kona Coffee crowned in a very "folksy" pageant.

Sunday was another busy day. I took photos while Don, Karen and Al participated in the Coffee Picking Contest. They didn't win but we had a great time and the view was amazing! We even visited with the newly crowned queens, Miss Kona Coffee-Teen and Miss Aloha Hawaii and Miss Kona Coffee, who will be competing in the Miss Hawaii pageant next summer.
I included a pic (top right) of a coffee bean just removed from the hull, ready to roast. As a fan of coffee I found it very interesting.
Sunday night we took in the music of LT Smooth at Huggos on the Rocks. We enjoyed the requisite "frozen beverage with umbrella", these were Lava Flows and were very yummy and light on the alcohol.

I hope you enjoyed part one of my Big Island vacation, I'll take you on our road trip in the next installment.

"Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His Mercy endures forever."
Psalm 106:1