Sunday, January 31, 2010

book challenge

If you know me by now, or if you have been reading & listening for the past 60-ish posts, I LOVE PATTERN PAPER. And one of my favourite companies that supply the coolest & funkiest pp is American Crafts. Love everything that this company produces and I'm always on the look-out for some new & unique things from them. Someone recently asked me what my dream scrapbooking-related job would be. Top on my list? Designing pages for American Crafts...........definitely!!!

And did you know (fyi) that one of my mostest favouritest scrapbook designers, the one and only Lizzie Kartchner has a fabulous new line {just out!!!!} that she debuted at CHA just last week. It is going to be so necessary to get my hands on all these products and create, Create, CREATE!!!!! They are so cute & inspiring. Cannot wait.................!

So... I, of course, follow the Studio blog (almost everyday) and one of their last posts was a challenge:
Cool, eh?!? So... I started looking through both my photos and my kids' books to see what I wanted to be inspired by. This is what caught my eye:

Now, naturally the title of the book is the story of my life right now. I am knee-deep in children -- in school, out of school, at home, running to hockey, to dance, to basketball practices, to piano -- they rule my life right now. So, of course, I love them.... forever. But it was more than just the title that attracted me to the book. It was the colours used on the cover AND the mischievious look on that little boy's face that got me. I knew I had the perfect photo of Carter to complete this layout.
So, it is with inspiration from Robert Munsch & Sheila McGraw that I share with you...

... Love You Forever:

I love the shades of blues & greys with white that are used on the cover of the book and the hit of orange in the towels {always in love with a "splash" of any colour}. Totally attracted to the colours used here. So I scrounged around in my stash and came up with some great products from AC and other great names.

Supplies used: American Crafts (all pattern paper except background paper; pattern chipboard everyday; felt shapes everyday; black vinyl Thickers Vera), Cut Your Way (grey vinyl rub-ons), Recollections (felt trim gold), Making Memories (green trim), Kaiser Craft (rhinestones), Stampin' Up (Authentic stamp, date stamp, black ink, background dot stamp).

Here are some close-ups:
Inspiration can be found all around you; in the places you visit, the people you speak to, the things you see everyday, even the books you read. I challenge you to look into your everyday & start creating from what you see. You'll be surprised by just how inspired you are.
always lovin' a challenge {from the farm},

Thursday, January 28, 2010

sneaks at CYW

just posting some sneak peeks that you can go view over at this blog.

I'll give you a hint: I used vinyl on all of them. Go take a little looksie.

And check out how I used this photo of my recycled shopping bag as scrapbooking inspiration. love doing this!! makes a layout colour choice a whole lot easier. try it.
just chillin' today {from the farm},

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

totally makes the room

just HAVE to share what I've been up to this morning. my package arrived from my sister yesterday and boy........ what a haul.

Here's the fabulous chandeliers hung over my scrap-space. black, teal, plum & grey. love them all. the big black one I actually purchased from HomeSense (one of my all-time fave stores to shop home decor).

and check out all the EXTRAS that she sent along. i am in vinyl heaven. there will be some serious scrappin' happening VERY soon. does anyone have some extra time i could borrow? anyone?, I'm going to do a little giveaway in the next few posts. check back soon for details. you will be shocked.
And.......I'm searching for the perfect QUOTE to go on my far living room wall (yeah, that dark grey one, between the mirror & the big canvas). Anyone have a great one to share? Nothing too long...........just wanting to fill the space with something cool & creative & edgy.

bracing myself for creativity {from the farm},

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

they're nutz

been having some fun on a couple of great blogs lately. i have some incredibly good friends that are in Cali right now at CHA. they are posting some great stuff from the event -- contests, questions of the day, company sneek peaks, fabulous photos, etc.

head on over to their blogs for some great opportunities to win some goodies from Scrapbook Pantry -- these girls are a hoot!!! They are the ones who are organizing this spectacular event.

Allison Orthner

Christy Riopel

keepin' warm {from the farm},

Thursday, January 21, 2010

a little sparkle & shine

Everyone is heading to CHA in California..............not me. :(
So............i'm getting creative instead -- in my own home.
Wanted to share with you the fabulous chandelier that Ron put up in our office last night. yes was a late night project {sigh} & Ron was a very good sport on this one.
isn't it perty?!?

And guess who didn't make it to my house this morning for coffee {i mean tea}. my little sis is bringing me some goodies soon.
wonder what it'll be...................i'll post once i've got a peek myself.
anticipating the surprises {from the farm},

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

top picks

i was reading all the fabulous blogs just after the new year and everyone was reflecting on their year ('09). some of them showcased some amazing photographs they had taken throughout the year; some highlighted their favourite lo's that were created in '09; while others picked their favourite project of the year.
well ... i couldn't decide on which one to highlight, myself, so I'm givin' you all the goods: photography, layouts AND projects.

Top picks for photography.

#1 for outdoor portrait
(sunlighting hitting subjects face -- thank you, Allison): there was a tie

#1 photo - portrait indoors

(taken right beside a south-facing window - 8:00 in the morning):

#1 pick for close up photo (macro):

#1 photo - action shot (although the angles are a little wanky; i love the colours and the story this photo tells):

Top Picks for Layouts
{some of my personal faves}

Top Pick for Project of the Year (scrapbooking related)
i created this beautiful card using an alcohol ink & stamping technique that my sister-in-law, Heather taught me (i know, Diane; i still have to get you that tutorial!!!!):

Top Pick for Project of the Year (home decorating related):

my favourite addition to our home this past year was this charming barn door that Ron installed as our office door. is it functional? you better believe it -- original hardware and everything. love it so much!!!!

Come back soon to see the newest addition to my scrap-space. hint: my little sister is coming over in the morning to bring me some goodies that she has created. can't wait!!! it will definitely add a little punch to my space.
'til then {from the farm},

Monday, January 18, 2010

M.I.A. .... sorry

Sorry I have been away for so long. On the last night of our fabulous vacation in Costa Rica, I got the stomach flu and spent the whole night on the bathroom floor. You can imagine the next 2 days (travel days home). Wasn't the way I wanted to spend my last day on incredibly glad to finally be home. The flight out of Liberia, rough........., what with all the mountains, volcanoes, etc. in Costa Rica. It was a bit scarey. But we made it home (with no serious airport gliches) and I'm ready to share all about our final day in Langosta.Most of you know by now that we spent the whole afternoon on the Blue Dolphin Catamaran -- sailing and snorkelling. It was Daria's & Carter's FIRST-ever snorkel experience........and boy, did they get a good show!!!!! To be honest, they were a little nervous about the whole experience at first, and we kinda' felt we were forcing them into it. But we KNEW they would love it, once they got their feet wet.
Daria ended up snorkelling with this SUPER-fun 25-ish year old girl named Jessica (who, btw, is originally from MB) and they both went with the snorkel guide, Carlos. They ended up seeing puffer-fish, seasnakes, and tons of other cool fish & sea-life. They were gone the longest of anyone and Dare was soooooooo excited when they finally got back to the boat. We had no idea where they all ended up.

Carter & Ron were together the whole time, snorkelling and finding lots of cool stuff under the water. All I saw were their colourful noodles and two bums floating on the surface of the water. It was soooooo cool to see Carter & his dad enjoying this together. There were lots of great stories when we were back on the boat together.

Asha & I took a ride to the shore and explored the black-sand beach. It was INFESTED with tiny crabs -- which Asha did not appreciate in the slightest way (she screamed almost the whole time) -- but we made the best of it and had some fun in the sun & water. Lots of distractions on mommy's part and some patience as well.

It was nice to get back on the boat to enjoy some more drinks & some snack that the crew had prepared. How did the crew know that Asha loved pepperoni so much?!?
Then the real party began. We all enjoyed a contest of jumping off the front of the catamaran; lots of cool jumps (air guitar by Carter, splits by Ron, etc.)......all egged on by the coolest chick in the world, Jessica. Then........everyone got a little crazy and jumped off the roof of the boat -- yes, right up by the sails. Even Carter & Daria took their turns jumping off the roof -- no lifejackets even. It was a hoot!!!!! The kids all had a blast.........special thanks to a wonderful new friend, Jessica!!!!!
On the way back to the beaches of Tamarindo, we enjoyed our last beautiful Costa Rican sunset -- while Carter enjoyed his 4th Coke of the day.
It was one of the most fun & memorable days in Costa Rica we had spent. The kids ranked it as #1 on their list (Asha's #1 was zip-lining in the end -- figure that).
Highly recommend visiting Costa Rica. If you need a guide, I'd be happy to excort you & your family. :)
be back soon {from the farm},
(i gotta lot of scrap-life catchin' up to do)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NOT off the face of the earth

Don't worry......I'm still here. We are back from a wonderful vacation in Costa Rica, but...........I got incredibly sick on the last day there and spent the whole 2 days of travel feeling, well, not so good. I am still recovering here at home; laying low, sleeping a lot, eating very little & folding a ton of laundry that Ron has graciously done.
I promise I will post pics from our last days in CR very soon. Have lots of stories to share.

good to be home {on the farm},

Saturday, January 9, 2010

i have a smart nephew

So......I put the question out there about our adventures this morning and my 5 year old nephew, Colin guessed correctly. What does he win? Well......Colin, you win a fun-filled evening for 4 at the simple (yet glamourous) Ron Hildebrand household, where you will be awe-struck by the stories of our Zip-line Adventures. But don't think that's it. will also be treated to countless photos taken by the local Crystal City talents of your Auntie Jill. You must be jumping for joy right about now. You are such a lucky kid!!!!!

Yes, it is true people........Ron & I took our children ziplining over the jungle canopy this morning. To sum up this whole experience in one word would be pointless. There was a flood of emotions that went through my body in just a few hours -- from terrified & nervous, to "boy, am I ever a bad mother to make my 5 year old do this", to excitement & excelleration. I was sweating the whole time -- not b/c it was so hot, but b/c my heart was pumping so fast & hard the whole time. It was hard to catch my breath at times and actually realize what we were doing (and what we were putting our kids through). Next to parasailing, it was the wackiest thing that Jill Hildebrand has ever done.

A few facts: There were 7 lines in all. The longest line was about 400 metres in total (the 1st line we did). The shortest line was also the fastest (this was the 2nd line we did). The highest line started at about 125 ft in the air (in which I was standing on a platform at that height for over 2 minutes!!!!!!). We saw about 8-10 monkeys at the end of all the lines, all lazing in the trees above our heads; including a mommy & her baby. We all rode the Tarzan Rope at the end of the lines -- but Auntie Jill had to be pushed off the edge by the instructor, as I wouldn't jump off myself. :)

And don't worry Grandma & Grandpa, Ma & Pa -- we were so incredibly impressed by the instructors and all the safety regulations. We were ALL consistently clipped onto lines on the platforms that we would stand on and if at any point we needed to be unclipped, we were then clipped onto an instructor (who was clipped and harnessed up). It was soooooo safe!!!!!

This is our whole group of 7: our family, a dad & his 6 year old daughter, Lila. She was great for Asha b/c she had gone already the day before. Asha & Lila became best friends very fast and they actually hugged each other at the end of the morning when we dropped off her & her dad at their hotel. Asha was (should I say) -- VERY terrified at first and DID NOT want to be there. But, she did end up doing all 7 lines with us -- her harnessed up with a wonderful female instructor. She was so good to Asha.

Here is Asha & her instructor about 30 ft above the canopy -- about 100 ft from the actual jungle ground. Too high for 9:00 in the morning. :)
Ron would get a little goofy for the camera.
And here, Colin, is Uncle Ron UPSIDE DOWN ziplining through the jungle. Silly, isn't he? Auntie Jill didn't go right upside down, but I did hang from my harness on my back with no hands. Not very relaxing, but FUN none-the-less.

We had a great day today. Tomorrow is our last full day here. We have an afternoon excursion booked again. Come back tomorrow evening to find out what we made our kids do this time.
far away {from the farm},


Yesterday we left our house in Playa Grande :( and ventured onto the busier area of Tamarindo and Langosta. We are staying in a villa in Langosta for the next three nights. The villa is right on the beach (just steps down a sandy path). Below is the view from our balcony and from the window in our bedroom. This photo is taken at low tide. The water will come pretty close to the pathway later on at high tide. Last night, Ron & I had a hard time sleeping as the waves were crashing against the rocks right outside.......tough life, eh?!?In the evening, Carter was the one that humoured his mother and went with me to the rocky beach to give me some "practice" with sunset photos. I literally have dozens of them (some good; some bad -- I'll share more of my faves later, Allison). Carter loves to climb on all the rocks at the beach (such a different beach then that at Playa Grande). It'll be fun to explore today, further to the right & left, to see what we find. More beautiful beach, I would imagine.
I have already warned my family that tonight we WILL be venturing out on the beach to get some family sunset shots -- I find it easier on them when I warn my family. I think they always KNOW it's coming, but they still like to give me a hard time. There is sooooo much more to share, but our wireless here is a lot slower. I'm having difficulty loading more than 2-3 photos. There'll be lots more to share when I get home.
You will NEVER guess what our family did this morning. It involves monkeys, incredible heights & amazing speeds!!!!!!! I still cannot believe it OUT of my element, but still wonderfully enjoyable.
I wonder if Colin will have a guess????!? Betcha' you wouldn't believe what your Auntie Jill did.
I'll post a photo tonight to share.
The beach is calling........hear it?!?
not {from the farm},

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 4 - New Adventures

Today we ventured to the beaches of Playa del Conchal. We had heard that it has gorgeous waters to try snorkeling in and we wanted the kids to experience this. Unfortunately, I don't think we found the right beach, as where we ended up (according to directions from locals & visitors) was a beach that was busy with VERY rough waves. Although the beach was covered with teeny, tiny broken smooth shells, it was not the beach we were hoping for. The closest we got to snorkeling was me trying to swim out over the waves to the better , smoother waters and........ending up getting beached on the sand with my bathing suit FULL of tiny shells. I WILL NOT BE SHOWING THOSE PHOTOS!!!!!!

After a short stint at the beach, we ventured towards our car again and found some souvenirs for the kids. Two sundresses for the girls & a wooden snake for Carter.Lunch time at Outback Jack's was fabulous -- a dingy, little, Aussie restaurant just metres from the beach.

And then we had to find some beach toys for Asha at the local shops.
Back at home, boogie-boarding time again -- a daily occurrance. Won't be the same back home in -30 degree weather -- we'll have to get creative.
And Asha got to play with her new toys.
Carter's find for the day -- he always has at least one spectacular thing he discovers.
And then..........we discovered this beautiful Labyrinth right on the beach. The local yoga instructor (who, by the way, I had not met yet -- if anyone is wondering) and a few others made this HUGE Labyrinth with shovels right on the sand.
After it was completely done, the instructor invited us to "walk the labyrinth". Of course, we did and it was an experience we will never forget. After a few instructions from the "yoga-master", the kids were sooooooo good, walking slowly, in silence, holding their shells as gifts for the offering in the centre of the labyrinth, and saying a quiet prayer or blessing when they got to the middle. The whole walk took about 15 minutes in total. Very relaxing......very calming. Thought about Auntie Dianne the whole ya' girl.

This evening we took a walk on the beach -- this time we went right. Ron got some fun shots of me playing with the kids.

We leave for Playa Langosta -- menana. It will be interesting to see what we discover there.

We will miss Playa Grande........but we'll be back some day.

thinking of all of you {at the farm},