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Around the Block, August CKC

Monday, 10 October 2016

That's the way the tomato tumbles.


Guess what I woke up to this morning?

awe, come on......at least one guess.

No, besides Sunday breakfast. Pancakes swimming in maple syrup. Eggs o/e, and a couple of rashers of thick bacon. Yes I agree, I am well spoiled.

Here's a hint:

Did you get it? Did you???

Pigs in snow. 

What does this mean? It means an end to outdoor work. Would you like to know how our summer went?  First, the lawn. Too much rain = too much grass. We cut back on the parameters of  previous years but still, it grew so much that we considered turning it into hay. I took to turning the mower on anytime I was driving the tractor. This resulted in criss-cross swathes of various lengths, but I figured at least some bits of grass were not breeding mosquitoes.

With the rather wet June-August. The weeds in the garden also kept ahead of me. It is my goal to keep weeds from going to seed each year, and thus, over time, reduce the weed "seed bank" . This year it looked like the weeds would win. And they did somewhat. But when a good gardening friend moved back to the area, I hired her immediately, and she saved us from total failure.
NE to SW view
 This is Northeast to Southwest view. Post weeding marathon.

Beginning a peony farm

On the west side of garden are three rows of peonies. Thirty plants in each row. Stay tuned for magnificent blooms in a couple of years.  The green tinge on the soil is moss. Usually it only shows up on a low lying spot on garden. This year is seemed the whole garden was growing a carpet.

And then there were the tomato wars. Robin started his plants too early. Didn't provide them optimum moisture and temperature. I started mine two months after his. Babied the seedlings. Results? Robin had MORE tomatoes. Unfortunately they were in fruit development during weeks of too much rain causing many of them to split which caused them to then spoil.
Robin's tomatoes
 And mine? Well, they were much prettier.
Sherrie's tomatoes

By the time they were picked and sorted, with spoiled ones going to the piggys, production was about even.  So Robin gets a first place for overall volume. And I get a ribbon for bench show worthy beauties. That's the way the tomato tumbles.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Focus on Hope

March. Maddening March!  The edge of season's change. Longer days. Snow recedes. Flies wake up and buzz in the windows. Boots get muddy. Robin and I are both more irritable than normal. Plans are made for "this year." This year, we will have chickens (and eggs presumably) This year we will raise our own pork. This year we will clean up the entrance to the yard and make it more welcoming. This year the old tractor will get fixed. This year the garden will be kept weed free. This year the lawn mowing will not get ahead of us...........hahahahaha. So much ambition. Nothing to do but wait until it warms up and dries up. March is all about hope.
Meanwhile we have both taken a step towards spring. Robin planted some tomato seeds. He is not an expert at it and has been told by someone that is that it is almost a worthless endeavor. "House grown seedlings are leggy and weak." "Just wait until May and you can get a dozen healthy plants for less than you are spending on seed, soil, tray and cover. "
He has a few sprouts. I tried to encourage him by showing him how they can be at a cool window for more light in the day time but want to be covered and sitting away from cold window at night. He is choosing to grow them...his way.
So what's a wife to do, other than step-up and start her own tomatoes? Beginning with a three year old seed package. (My dh is kind of  obstinate about "fresh" seeds). Grabbed a seedling container from last year, a cup or so of the seedling soil and a plastic veggie bag; they are currently sitting in a south (warm) window until they come up. Then they will have to be moved to an optimum spot several times a day, until they have true leaves, at which time they'll be transplanted into individual pots.
Having acquired three little "grow your own tree" kits, we have decided to give them a go. One kit was American Elm, the other two are mystery trees. I am really excited to see if anything comes of these.
You will laugh at with me when I tell you that instead of growing everything I can get my hands on, as we did at the last garden, it is now my goal to focus only on peonies and trees. And on a wildflower garden. And on heritage perennials. And.....and....and......

 The Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog threw us a wonderful curve ball this month. The kit to copy has no patterned paper in it. NONE! 

 It is a "click" story kit by Ali Edwards.
As a traditional scrapper, I wondered what our mentors thought we were supposed to do with this? Scrapbook without paper? As usual the Master Forger's Blog Hop, gave ample ideas in several directions. I chose to embrace the pocket card aspect and pulled from my one Project Live collection, Some CTMH pocket cards I haven't even opened, and a bunch of pocket cards I made in 2014. Back then, when I got to the end of a kit, I would cut down left over pp, into 4x6 and 3x4 and clip the corners. It was my method to "kill the kit" (embellies were returned to the stash) This might be an idea I need to revisit soon. Or I will be singing "Ninety-nine counterfeit kits on the wall. Ninety-nine counterfeit kits!" to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer.  Ok, I am only at ten kits on the wall, so not that bad.

As a way to incorporate lots of these cards into layouts, I will be drawing on design ideas from Scrapbook Generation. I have one sketch idea book of theirs that shows multiple photos on two-page layouts. Looking at the sketches it is easy to consider substituting cards for the photos. Also I have an on-line course of theirs, with advice for using 6x6 paper. My first layout, I cut up 6x6 sheet into strips to create 12" strips. I have the story down. I have yet to take the picture. Also I want to add a fox embellishments (perhaps a stamp) before completion but I share it here to give you the idea of the direction I will go with this. 
But what's in the kit, you ask?
Sorry, I got ahead of myself. This month's kit has all the loopy words I could gather. The stash had a real shortage of that clover leaf green. The one pennant with ribbon was spot on.  I will try to add it in more with ink/stamps.  I will choose from my 6x6 pads as the need arises.
 Rub-ons, a new Sizzex (from LSS closing in Edmonton, boo-hoo) My grey letters like the blue ones were camera shy and hid on me when I was working on these photos.

 Heidi Swapp stencils offer more opportunities for loopy words.
 The little bread pan, holds the many pocket cards I have to work with this month. The punch is to weave ribbon through.
And there you have it. March's kit: Focus on Hope. Thanks for stopping by. Double thanks for comments.

Focus on Joy Round up and Review

Hello dear reader. Here we are together once again. It is time to share the productivity of the kit I made in February. You can read about how I made this kit here.

 Love this View needs some journaling about the tractor on that pull out card.
 Aiming for monochromatic. Lots of textures provide interest. Think of Black and White movies, shadows, lighting and smoke rising form the cigarette of the private investigator.
 Instead of a card, Robin gets a layout for Valentine's Day. Private note on tag.

 A Grandparent's house is where cousins become friends. Splashed too much black ink on the cardstock, before I began, but you would never know it.

The kit is about half done. On the shelf it goes with the others. By the way, I found a way to organize my kit hoard. By printing out a 3x4 picture of each kit, and applying to box, it is easier to recognize which kit I am wanting to work with.
And at the desk, now these cards help coordinate photos to kits.
I am so blessed to have so many creative possibilities at my fingertips.

Thanks for stopping by. Double thanks for comments.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Focus on Valentine's Day

Having finished the paper organization portion of a Spring Organizational Challenge it is time to recognize and reward the accomplishment. Five hours of scrapbooking is a good treat. I didn't time myself but yesterday I enjoyed working with paper.

First it was time to try a couple of forgeries. To hack of the overlay in the Mind The Scrap kit to copy should be fun. If I had transparency paper, would have just printed it off. But didn't so I took a page protector and tried permanent ink and pigment ink with a stamp. Tried painting with acrylic. And tried free hand copying with a Sharpie and then Creative Memories Photo Pen. The last attempt was the winner, although it couldn't mimic the shade gradations. So next, shrunk the jpeg of the product, and printed on regular paper.
Stuck things down with a bit of washi.
 And doodled awhile. Came up with this:
Now that was easy.

Next project was  to recreate the fringed hearts. My internet connection was down so had to rely on what my leaky memory could recall from the blog hop Forgeries on the Fourth. 
 as well as a photo, saved to the desk top.
Out came the sewing machine. Using washie tape for pins, 2" Strips of overlapping paper got sewn together.

A quick heart paper template, a pair of scissors.
Glitter tape added. Then snip, snip, snip, snip........
And moving along, as they were begging to be used right away, a Valentine's layout instead of a card, for my dearheart.
Searched "old couple"  until  this funny photo. showed up in the image roll. Robin and I both like to garden. Put my thoughts on the tag about the "long row that we have been hoeing".  There is a heart paper clip around here, that will replace the arrow, once it surfaces. Lots of alpha saves, as these thickers are going to be done with at the end of this kit. And the red sharpie line around it all is a nod to a most inspiring designer that we all hope will join back at WM soon, the remarkable Pam.

Also submitting this layout for Whimsical Musings #93 Inspired by the everyday.

Thanks for stopping by. Double thanks for comments.


Friday, 5 February 2016

Focus on Joy

Hello dear reader. How is your February going so far?

Last month, Robin went in for some serious surgery, so we are spending a lot of time at home, recuperating.

For Christmas, one of my gifts was "The life changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondon. I have read it twice, already.

At the moment, Totally Tiffany Spring Organizational Challenge is in week three. With all the time we are at home, and my strong objection to going out(side) if I don't have to. I am getting through the challenges at a good pace.

Last week I sorted through all my patterned paper. In KonMarie fashion, I removed all my paper from the shelves. Dusted the back corners. Then one by one, I held each sheet and asked of myself. Is this a paper I want to scrap with? If it was part of a challenge (CKC kit) would I want to work with it? Does it bring me joy? If I got to the third question, the answer was always no. And now I have over 7" of paper to donate to a school/library/hospital.

Back to January. When we were in the city, Robin was stuck in intermediate care, hooked up to wires and tubes and sleeping a lot. I took myself to Treasured Memories a lovely paper craft store that I rarely get to. It was just the day after my birthday, and at the door, on display, was the store's own monthly kit. I swooned and grabbed it, telling myself it was a birthday present.

I liked the idea that there were part pieces of overlays, and packages of emblies are broken down between several kits. I am beginning to understand why people buy monthly kits. Many a time I have looked at a product with 24 paper clips or wood veneers items and not bought it because that is just too many for me to use. After about the 4 or 5th one getting on a layout, I am bored and tired and want something new. So with a kit, there is only a few of this and a couple of that and a whole lot of current trend items at an approachable price.

Then the February Counterfeit Kit Challenge debuted.


Sooo.....with a nod to Lisa and her kit compiling list. I pulled some of the papers from my new kit. Then added some old papers. A couple of old half used sets of Thickers to use up.A new loopy stamp set. Acrylic paints, to try my hand at forging some of the kits elements.
And all the lovely bits that came with the kit. Tags, tickets, glittered stars and hearts, words. I added some arrow washi, teal and black punched shapes made from scraps, and this is what it looks like:
Overlays on left, Patterned paper in middle, cardstock on right

Thickers, stickers and stamps

Pocket card sheet, gold hearts on vellum and start stickers from store kit.
 Acrylics Washie and Stencil from old stock.

From the store kit. What crow could resisit?

Focus on Joy

So have you ever bought a ready made kit? What did you like about it? or was there any disappointment in it? Let me know about your experience. [edit: And post a link, in comments to your favorite kit company.]

Thanks for stopping by. Double thanks for comments.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Round up and Review fpr 2015

Hello friends. Time to report in with completed layouts.

It is a bit embarrassing to say I have 8 counterfeit kits, at my desk.

So I guess my new year's resolution must be to stop running my fingers through all the lovely bits, and start building something with them.

I was in a real stale funk this last while. But I busted thought the brick wall of scrappers block when I found a course at Scrapbook Generation, on using 6x6 paper pads.

And then "BAM!" I was on fire!

 Don't Look Back. This is one of the page kits, I made up last spring. Off cuts of pp, a 12x12 overlay, a pocket card that made me laugh, and some photo copies of old family pictures. Under the overlay, I wrote in the names of the people in each picture.

 Another one of those page kits. I think that is the last of the moustache pictures.

The next few are from my December kit, Good Tidings and they draw from the 6x6 class for their design.

 Sparkle and Shine.  In this case the paper was cut into 1"x3" pieces to make the patchwork, also a 6x6 piece for the title/journal area.

 A Visit With Santa. 2 - 6x6 squares with 6x4 and 4x4 forming the bottom shelf.

Annual Christmas card from my brother. I treated the photo card as a 6x6 and built around it, finishing with a washi border.

The Zombie Plants, used a 6x6 page for the journaling.

Hoar Frost, uses embellis from Good Tidings.

Back to the 6x6 class but now using June's kit Spring Forward for the next three.

I got quotes from Rebecca over Christmas. I just asked her questions and quickly wrote down her answers. Then chose the best for her pages.

 The next two are not from the 6x6 class but both originated from Scrapbook Generation sketches

I am really happy with Home Spa Day as I remembered to use my cuttle bug.

Which Came First is from May kit, Good ol' Days

So that is my November to December completed layouts.
Thanks for dropping by. Double thanks for comments.