Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for visiting my blog. As the title suggests, I love to scrapbook, stamp, and sing! I will share cards and scrapbook pages I create, as well as information about my music - Barbershop harmony.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's been a while!

As usual, I'm slow to post - it's been a busy Fall!  I sing in the City of Lakes Chorus and we recently returned from Baltimore where we competed in the Sweet Adelines International Chorus Competition.  I'm thrilled and proud to report we came in 6th (we were 7th in 2012; we couldn't compete in 2013 since you have to "sit out" a year).  For our semi finals round we performed "My Foolish Heart" and "That's How You Jazz & The Jazz Jam Medley".  See it here.  If you watch the video, I'm in the fourth row, a couple people to the right of center from the audience viewpoint.

Here's a photo of me with my former quartet members in our chorus rehearsal room wearing our semi-finals costume.
xChords in Baltimore
After landing in the top 10, the chorus was eligible to perform a 12 - 15 minute finals package to determine the final standings.  Our package revolved around the story of Rosie the Riveter, doing that song plus two contest songs and a reprise.  The cast included Rosie and her two friends and Harvey, the factory boss (played by director Scott).  We had a lot of fun with this package.  See it here.

Here's a photo of me with my friend Connie as we were leaving for the finals.
2 Rosies
In the video you will find me in the same place in the chorus.  My friend Connie's former quartet 4-Star Collection (the 1997 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions) has a cameo in the reprise.

We had such fun in Baltimore!  We stayed at the "headquarters" hotel, the Hilton which is attached to the convention center - so convenient!  Other than rehearsing and competition, we don't have time for too much else but we walked around the harbor, did a bit of shopping, and ate at a wonderful family restaurant in Little Italian called Sabatino's.  We all ordered 1/2 size portions and they were still too much to eat for one meal!  Of course, that was after we shared an order of garlic bread - to die for!!

The Melodeers of Chicago won the chorus contest and the quartet champions are Bling! - both were amazing and will represent our organization well over the next year!

Well, back to reality of work and getting Christmas cards made!  Yesterday, I participated in a Scramble on the Hero Arts Flickr group.  The theme offered by Theresa, the host of the event, was Snow.  Perfect - a chance to make another Christmas card!  Here's my card:

Snow and snowflake

I used the Hero Arts Tiny Ink Dots background, inked in white, as snow behind my white embossed snow flake.  This Dazzling Snowflake isn't being sold on the Hero Arts website right now, but I do see it here at Simon Says Stamp.  The sentiment is from a fun current Hero Arts clear set "Friends and Family" - just love the trees on that one!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Personal Scramble - Frosty Snowman

About every two weeks, over on the Hero Arts Flickr Group, we have Scrambles.  These 90 minutes sessions can bring a spark to one's creativity; you have no time to overthink a design - just go for it.  Well, I've tried having "personal" Scrambles when I need a jump start to get a card done.  I think of a theme and off I go!

Today is a regular day off work and I decided to have such a Scramble.  My theme - to use an embossed background I just received from my friend Heather.  It's a beautiful snowflake background on a soft blue card stock - thanks again, Heather!  I just received an order from Hero Arts which included three of their Special Bundles.  The one I used today contained a clear stamp set CL800 Frosty Wishes and a die set DI105 Snowman Die Cuts.  I just love this darling snowman and the dies made it super simple to put together.  This card was made in less than an hour.  I must admit the Stickles on my snowbank weren't totally dry when I took the photograph... And if I was Scrambling for real, I would've had a problem because my photo software wasn't cooperating!

Here's my card:

Frosty Snowman
I stamped the snowman on Copic paper and added a light border inside the black stamping using Copic Marker B00.  I stamped the scarf using Salty Ocean Distress Ink, then added some B00 over it.  The Stickles on the snowbank photographed a bit pink, but it's really Diamond white.  The holly embellishment is by Jolie.
Heather and I were trying to make 2 Christmas cards per month throughout the year so we wouldn't be so pressed and stressed come December.  Well, I got behind immediately but managed to catch up a bit - I now have 14 cards made including this one - Woo Hoo!  Just 4 more and I'll be caught up through September.  How are you doing on your Christmas cards?  Do you wait until a certain month or do you try to do a few at a time throughout the year?  Whichever way you work - hope it's going well for you! 
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July and an OWH Virtual Card Making Party

Happy 4th of July to all celebrating!  I can hear the fireworks going off at the park about a mile from my house.  But where I am?  Blogging about the OWH Virtual Card Making Party!!

I stopped over at the Hero Arts Flickr Group and spotted a comment about the OWH party.  Off I went to check it out.  The party page listed some challenges by times so I picked the time closest to when I actually visited.  This brought me to JoAnn Ross's blog - a new one for me.  Besides being a talented card maker, JoAnn is a best selling author!  Will definitely have to check out her books, especially the ones set in Ireland - given my recent visit there!!

JoAnn's challenge - to make 2 winter cards, one with traditional holiday colors and another for use any time during the season.  This was a great challenge for me, given that Heather and I decided to make a few holiday cards a month (oops - I'm way behind, but now I have 2 for July!!).  Here are my cards:

Holiday duo

For the card on the left I used the OWH sketch #191 mentioned in JoAnn's challenge.  I stamped the card base with Hero Arts Envelope Liner Background (CG361) using Pine Needles Distress Ink.  The patterned papers are fromTeresa Collins' 6x6 paper pad Santa's List; I stamped the Santa rectangle with Ho! Ho! Ho! from a Hero Arts clear set Holiday Sayings (CL343), a favorite of mine.

For the card on the right I cut a Hero Arts design (Snowflake card) for the Silhouette.  I put one of HA's snowflake gems in the center and matted the panel in white.  I white embossed the sentiment, also from Holiday Sayings.  All three blue dots are Hero Arts metal decor - love them!!

And speaking of Ireland, I still have more to share about the trip Heather and I took into the countryside.  No time for that today but I'll pick up later from when we left our little B&B in Adare.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some birthday cards and a bit of Adare, Co Limerick, Ireland

Well, I'm back again after some busy weeks, including one without my Internet service.  Can you believe I fixed it myself by switching out a bad cord?!  I cheered and did a little happy dance in my family room!

Anyway - once back online, I headed off to the Silhouette online store to search for fish images.  Yes, fish - my uncle likes to fish so I wanted one for his birthday card.  A real fish, not a cutesy fish, and I found one in the Hero Arts portfolio.  Here's my card:


I cut the fish (Design ID 17454) on Hero Arts Grass Layering paper, then cut an offset of the image on Pine Layering paper, then flipped the offset and cut it for the back. The back piece is scored by the tail.  I stamped the happy birthday using Versamark and white embossing powder, then overstamped the Envelope Liner Background (a Hero Arts cling stamp) to simulate the scaly texture.  Then I inked the edges and some of the cuts with distress markers for a bit more definition.  Popped it with foam dots onto the card base - done!  Since it was for a guy, I resisted adding pearls, sequins or stickles - it was hard not to do it!!

Here's another birthday card using a Lori Whitlock Silhouette file (Design ID #60412).    Made it for my sweet 16 niece, Abby:

Birthday flower Abby

Just loved mixing all the fun Hero Arts flowers and gems!  Sentiment is from Hero Arts too - a clear set called Circles (CL674).

And now for the next installment of my trip to Ireland back in May.  Heather & I headed from Killarney to Adare County Limerick on Day 3 of our junket into the countryside.  What a sweet little town featuring some quaint thatched roofs (fire hazard, anyone?).  Here's a photo I took in the evening after our long day of travels:

Thatched buildings Adare

We walked into town after checking in at the Coatesland House B&B, where Mr. & Mrs. Hogan made us comfortable.  Here's my room:


Heather had a similar one in different colors on the other side of the staircase.  Heather's tea pot didn't work so I fired up mine and popped down the hall with it; we had tea and biscuits before calling it a day.  Here we are eating breakfast the next morning:

Breakfast in Adare

Mrs. Hogan was disappointed that her garden wasn't nice yet - they'd had a hard winter.  But the food was divine and so elegant!  Well, there was a lot more of Adare but I'll save that for a later post!

Thanks for stopping!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More from my Ireland trip

Sorry it's been a while since my last post.  I had some catching up to do following my fabulous trip to Ireland in May.  Just tuning in?   This is post #4 about my trip to visit Heather.  I'm relating all the fun of a little junket Heather and I took into the countryside.  On day 3 of this trip we started out with a lovely breakfast at The Harp B&B.  The Harp, like other B&Bs, offers "the full Irish breakfast" but I asked for scrambled eggs on toast, receiving quite a mound of eggs!  Of course, there was tea aplenty.  While I'm a decaf espresso drinker typically, I grew to enjoy a cuppa with Heather. 

We packed up and headed back to Killarney National Park where we were rained out the previous day.  While it sprinkled rain on us off and on, it was so much better weather!  Due to the recent rains, Torc Waterfall was gushing water.  Here's my shot of it:

Torc Waterfall

It's a short walk from a parking lot up to the falls via a crushed rock path.  The foliage was amazing - so many ferns and tree trunks covered with moss.  Then we headed up the road to Moll's Gap, a pass on the R71 road between Killarney and Kenmare.  Across the way, Ladies' View - a jaw dropping view of the lakes of Killarney National Park, so named because Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting were brought here for a view of the lakes.  Heather took my photo and I took hers at this overlook:

Ladies view Ladies view Heather

Then we head up the road, walked out onto some rocks, and I zoomed in a bit on the lakes for this photo:
Another lake view

With the rainy weather, we decided not to make the entire drive of the Ring of Kerry, a 179 km trip along narrow, winding roads.  Instead we just drove to Sneem, on Kenmare Bay just off the Atlantic Ocean.  We walked around quite a bit in Sneem, known as the knot in the Ring of Kerry.  I just loved this little cottage we spotted on our rambles:

sneem cottage

On the way back to Killarney we stopped at the Avoca Shop and Café at Moll's Gap where we had a Rocky Road bar and I tried the vegetable soup (not as delicious as in Ardmore but still quite good) and yummy brown bread.  Then we headed over to Ross Castle; here's  one of my shots of it:

Ross Castle

Thank goodness it wasn't raining and we got some great views of the lower lake, including this one:

Killarney lower lake
Then we headed up the road to Adare, a Tidy Towns winner and a a quaint little spot.  Since this post is getting rather long, I'll save talking about Adare for the next installment :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More fun on the Emerald Isle!

Fáilte - welcome!  Back again for pt 3 of my trip to Ireland....

I'm picking up with the "into the countryside" trip Heather and I began Monday 5/19.  We stayed at a B&B in Cork that night, had a wonderful breakfast on Tuesday and headed off for Killarney.  What a gorgeous morning - sunny with blue sky!!  Our first stop, just northwest of Cork - Blarney Castle (no, we didn't kiss the Blarney Stone) built in 1446.  What impressed me about this attraction (their word) were the grounds - so green, lush with flowers, and well-kept.  Here's a favorite photo taken as we approached the castle:

Blarney Castle

Besides the Castle, there are extensive walking paths, gardens, and a manor house.  Here are some favorite foliage shots:

Blarney Castle grounds Blarney Castle fern garden

After leaving Blarney Castle, we continued northwest to Killarney. Our beautiful sunny day left us for heavy rain showers as we visited part of Killarney National Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the world, not that I could tell through a thunder storm!!  We took refuge from the storm on a tour of the Muckross House, a 19th century manor where Queen Victoria spent a couple nights (after weeks of preparation) back in 1861.  You can't take photos of the interior so visit the website to see some of the grand rooms.  Here's a shot of the exterior:

Muckross House

We stayed at the lovely The Harp B&B in Killarney.  After settling in, we headed back out in the rain to have dinner at the Sika Restaurant, fine dining adjacent to the Victoria House Hotel in Killarney.   They also served the typical stuffed ham/chicken dish Heather had the previous night so I tried it - delicious!!  It came with a side dish containing mashed carrots, potatoes and peas. 

Thanks for stopping by to read more about my wonderful trip to Ireland!  More to come....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Ireland adventures

So, I've been recounting my trip last week to Ireland.  In my previous post I told about arriving and Scrambling with Heather on my first day there, then going to Wicklow National Park the next day.  I know I surprised Heather with how quickly I adapted to the 6 hr time difference - I think the trick was sleeping very little on the planes over.

A bit on that - I flew from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, leaving at 7:22 pm on Friday the 16th.  I spent most of that 8 hr trip watching movies on my little viewer.  My layover in Amsterdam was nearly three hrs; I basically sat like a zombie and tried to read a book!  Then I hopped an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin - by this time I was quite tired and slept away most of the 70 minute flight!!  Arrived in Dublin airport at 1:40 pm and zipped right through customs.  Heather and her hubby were waiting for me in the "Arrivals" area - I knew ahead of time from Heather that it was by a little shop named Spar.  I recognized Heather right away and was delighted to meet her and Philip.  Then we traveled down the "motorway" to Heather's house in a town southwest of Dublin.  I met Heather's two boys, Mark and Adam, and the dog Toby - my new buddy.  After stashing my suitcases, we sat and visited, then had dinner - dinner at the Doran home is a family affair.  Everyone gathers around the table and actually dines - I typically don't do that so it was refreshing.  We did a quick clean up and got ready to Scramble.  After the Scramble Heather prompted me to email my family back in the US to say I arrived safely - I was totally not thinking by this point and had forgotten them.  Oh well....  I slept pretty well and got up bright and early for our trip to Wicklow on Sunday (see previous post).

Picking up with Monday the 19th, Heather and I began our travels out into the country.  I teased Adam, asking him if he was going to make dinner while we were gone.  He was quick to say, "no, that would be Mark" - LOL.  Heather drove her car - with me calling it driving on the "wrong" side of the road; I'm so politically incorrect - it should be the "left hand side" of the road.  They have a lot of roundabouts in Ireland - you really have to pay attention to the signs posted everywhere.  A side note on that - everything is listed in English and in Irish.  My knowledge of Irish is zero, and my accent is terrible (but not as bad as others, I'm told).  Anyway, as navigator I was supposed to keep us on the right road; Heather always had her little crib notes though, just in case I screwed up.  Heather's car has a stick shift so that guaranteed I wouldn't be driving (I was a stick shift drop out in driving class).  Probably a good thing not to have me forgetting and going onto the right hand side!!

Our first stop - Waterford, Ireland's oldest city and home of Waterford crystal.  The city was established by the Vikings, possibly some of my ancestors - LOL.  We visited the House of Waterford Crystal Visitors' Center and got a demo of how the pieces are made.  The guide explained that 95% of the cut work is done by hand we got to see an artisan at work - amazing!!  We also saw some machines doing bits of the more intricate work on heavy pieces.  I took this photo for Philip who loves American football (I brought him a Green Bay Packer t-shirt; sorry Vikings - I'm from Wisconsin originally):


Just look at all those intricate cuts - so gorgeous!!  Well, I didn't buy anything since even a paper weight was a bit "dear" as they say over there - I'd say pricey.  Really wanted that purple vase though - maybe, next time! 

Waterford has its round tower, Reginald's Tower.  Ugh - the photo of Heather impersonating a Viking didn't turn out so great so I won't share it; she has a similar one of me - maybe she'll share... An aside - Heather doesn't like her photo taken.  My nickname for her is going to be Aunt Marie because my aunt is the same way!  Anyway, by the end of my week Heather was getting used to my camera in her face!!  So here's a photo of the Reginald's tower that I took from across the street along the waterfront:

Reginalds tower

There is so much history in Ireland - I'm glad I have little brochures from the places we visited as I'll never remember it all!  Our destination for the day was Cork where Heather had arranged spots in Decie's B&B but I saw that the town of Ardmore wasn't too far off the route.  Anyone who knows me well knows I love anything written by Nora Roberts.  She has set many novels in Ireland and one series, Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy, is set in Ardmore.  Off we went to see the town!  Oh my, how lovely - we walked all around and saw yet another round tower and the ruins of the Ardmore Cathedral with its serene cemetery.  Here's my favorite view from the corner of the cemetery looking towards the sea:

Ardmore round tower

We also had a lovely lunch of the best pureed vegetable soup with brown bread in a sweet little cafe with art gallery.  The server made a delicious latte too!  Then we headed on down the road to Cork to our little B&B.  After dumping our luggage we went off to find dinner in a pub - yummy food!  Heather had a traditional meal of a piece of ham with stuffing on top, topped with a slice of chicken and gravy.  I had a burger and some chips (fries).  Another great day in Ireland and I'll share more of our adventures later.  Thanks for stopping by!!