Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Great Storage Idea

I've got more to tell you about the weekend classes I took with Julie Balzer but not tonight, I'm too pooped. Just got home from doing some shopping after work. In addition to groceries, I simply had to get myself to Michaels to pick up some scrapbook albums after seeing how Julie stored her stencils. The 12 x 12 size of the albums is perfect for holding 12 inch square stencils and it turns out, they make 8 x 8 inch albums too, which are just right for holding the 6 inch size stencils.  Each album has 10 pages, to hold a minimum of 20 stencils.  You can get either white or black pages, both of which show off the stencil pattern very well.
I think Julie said she uses the Project Life divided pocket pages in her binder, which hold various sizes of stencils and masks, including her cute little "Balzer Bits".  I love how she has labelled the pockets, so she knows exactly what goes where (and can thus easily tell what is missing, which I'm sure is helpful when she is using them for classes).
A glimpse into Julie's stencil binder
I looked at those divided pages but even at 40% off, the PL binders and insert pages seemed a bit pricey so I went with the less expensive Reflections albums.  I thought they might be easier to tote around to play dates than the heavier PL style binders, we'll see.  I've got some 4 x 6 photo album pages I can use to tuck my little bits into in the meantime.  I'm just super excited to have this new storage system in place!

Once again, many thanks to Julie for the inspiration!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carving Stamps With Julie Balzer

I had a very artful weekend, taking 3 classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs at Bizzy B.  The first one, on Friday night, was called "Stamp Carving 101" and totally lived up to its name.

I've carved stamps before; I even have a cute little box full of supplies.
However, I realized last week as I was packing my supplies for class that I haven't actually carved anything since 2012.  I thought taking this course would be a good way to refresh my memory about what to do and how to do it.  Boy, was I surprised.  This class was so informative, I learned a lot more than I expected and certainly a lot that I hadn't known before.  I also had a lot of fun doing it.
Julie is a very energetic teacher. She has a lot of experience and talent for making art and is excited to share what she knows with her students.  The good news is, she starts at the very beginning and walks you through everything step-by-step, and is happy to answer questions at any stage of the process. Here she is showing us how to change the blade on our carving tool.
She also has a great sense of humour, of which her pencil case is just one example.
At the end of class, we all stamped various blank sheets of paper so we could each take a sheet home that had samples of everyone's carvings.  I'm hoping to try my hand at some of these designs, they are all just so fabulous. (Julie's fabulous handmade stamps on the left - check out the ones for the days of the week!! - examples of my fellow students' talent on the right.)
I also picked up a copy of Julie's new book, "Carve Stamp Play" (available on Amazon).

which she kindly autographed for each of us who bought a copy.  There are lots of great techniques in the book for taking your stamp carving to the next level, I can't wait to try them out.  Stay tuned!

The moment I knew Julie's teaching had been successful was when I was playing in my journal on Sunday night after I had come home from class and found myself wishing I could add a row of dots to the page I was working on.  I didn't have a marker the right size or colour for what I wanted but suddenly it occurred to me, why not carve myself what I wanted? So I did, right there and then.  I made this little stamp, with two sizes of dots, and then set about stamping with it in my journal.
I was so excited, both with the fact that I could do it and with the result on my journal page! Thank you, Julie, for the inspiration!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Haiku My Heart Friday: Life Changes

Nothing stays the same
Life changes, we move forward
One day at at time.

After 40 years on this lake, our beloved family cottage has been sold.  We have lots of wonderful memories of happy times with family and friends during our time here.  It was a difficult decision to make but a necessary one.  We'll be spending the next few weeks cleaning out, getting everything ready for the new owner before the mid-November closing date.
And so we turn towards the future, and whatever new adventures might lie ahead.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Sky Tonight

I was planning on working a bit later tonight, until I looked out the window and saw the sky:
Very impressive, but just to the south, you could tell someone was getting wet:
I figured it was best to head home before the stormy weather got any closer.  Down at ground level, the view was equally inspiring.
I got home just as the first raindrops were starting to fall.  It has been raining for the past couple of hours now, with some impressive lighting and thunder thrown in now and again, but I'm warm and dry at home, cuddled up with my cats and my computer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

Okay, I'm a little late, since Thanksgiving here in Canada was two days ago.  I was up at the cottage for the weekend and got home late Monday night, totally forgot to post.  If I had, I might have shared this photo of a wild turkey that I happened to see on Thanksgiving Monday.
It's not unusual to see wild turkeys in the areas around our cottage but we don't see them that often.  I was surprised to actually see one on the very weekend we traditionally celebrate by cooking and eating their domesticated cousins.  This guy quickly strolled into the woods and out of sight once he realized I was nearby. No doubt he was glad I wasn't chasing after him, hoping to pluck his feathers and throw him in the oven!

Which is exactly what happened to this fine fellow:
While it was cooking, my mom and I had some fun taking selfies.
And here is my sister, the cook, carving up the bird.
Thanks for making a fabulous Thanksgiving meal for us again this year, Janine, it was delicious!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Journal Junkies October 2014

I missed tonight's Journal Junkies meeting at Bizzy B as I had to work late.  This month's main theme was the harvest moon but after last month's journal page, when I based my journal page on the secondary theme of "Phases of the Moon", I chose to go with the secondary theme of "trees".

Here is my page:
Very seasonal, of course. Inspired by all the pretty fall colours all around me, especially at our cottage.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Haiku My Heart Friday: A New Path

When I'm feeling lost
I watch for signs to guide me
Along a new path.

Haiku My Heart Fridays is hosted by recuerda_mi_corazon.