Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

An excellent read.  I was enthralled from beginning to end.  And its Canadian.

The main character, Addy, is easy to emotionally connect with.

This is the second book I've read by Lori Lansens.  I will be reading more in the future.

Certain novels recall fairy tales. Their heroes are banished, repeatedly challenged, until finally, foes vanquished, they make their triumphant homecoming. Though it opens in 1978 in a Chatham, Ontario, trailer park, Lansens's poignant debut is just such a novel. At its heart is Adelaide Shadd, a 70-year-old black woman who takes in five-year-old Sharla Cody when Sharla's "white trash" mother abandons her. As Addy turns Sharla from a malnourished, heedless child into a healthy, thoughtful girl, she recollects her own past. Addy grew up in Rusholme, a fictional cousin to the many Ontario communities founded by fugitive slaves brought north by the Underground Railroad. By 1908, when Addy is born, Rusholme is settled almost entirely by black farmers and is close to idyllic. But a rape and subsequent pregnancy force Addy to run away from Rusholme (she thinks of it as a command: "Rush home"), not to return for many years. Addy's life—her marriage, her children, her journey to Detroit and back to Canada—is the rich core of a novel also laden with history: Lansens manages to work in not only the Railroad, but also Prohibition and the Pullman porter movement. This is artfully done, but Lansens doesn't handle the novel's smaller scenes quite as well: she tends to drop narrative threads and confuse chronology. Some readers will resent the repeated plucking of their heartstrings, too, given how much Addy and Sharla suffer. Nonetheless, Lansens has created in Addy a truly noble character, not for what she suffered in the past but for what she does in the novel's present.  --  http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-06902-1

Friday, February 5, 2016

Craft Room Organization Challenge #6

Annual Organization Challenge Week #6

This week's challenge is to organize all those ribbons and fibres.  There is no "right" way to store your ribbons and fibre.  The most important factor is that the system works for YOU.  First, let's make some S.P.A.C.E.

SORT: Gather together all of your ribbons and fiber, and sort them into piles: KEEP, TOSS, SELL, DONATE

PURGE: Throw out the TOSS pile.  Immediately make arrangements for pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.  Bag up, and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile, and immediately put these in your garage sale box.

Assign: Sort your KEEP pile into types/colours of fibre and ribbon.  If your ribbons are in a big wrinkled mess, take time now to give everything a pressing (careful with the heat, some synthetics may melt!)

Containerize: Consider the space that you have, and the way that you work Here are some ideas that work for both ribbons and fibres:

1) on those little cardboard bobbins meant for embroidery floss
2) organized by colour in big clear glass jars on a shelf
3) wound and paper clipped and stored with their coordinating embellishments
4) Cropper Hopper mini embellishment boxes and sorted by colour
5) in small ziploc bags stored in a photo box, or on a big ring
6) in sports cards organizer pages, sorted by colour and in a binder
7) wound on index cards and stored in a photo box
8) loosely tied on a big ring

EQUALIZE: take a few minutes at the end of each scrapping session, when you return from a crop, or return from a shopping trip to put your ribbons and fibres away where they belong.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I spent so much time scrapbooking and art journaling that I neglected my knitting.

Only two finishes in May 2015.

One mystery knit along dishcloth . . .

And one oddball afghan . . . http://inmyworld-pam.blogspot.ca/2015/05/my-oddball-sampler-afghan-is-finished.html

Art Journaling done in May 2015

Flip Flops
2" x 3"
$1.00 per pair

We made these with our grandsons for Mother's Day gifts

I loved taking classes with my buddies.

Apparently I did a lot of scrapbooking in May 2015

Bookworm with A
3" x 4"

Bookworm with Book
5" x 5"

Just a quick note:  Not all of the family reunion layouts are my work . . . but they are so cute I decided to share them all.  Thanks to Mom, Judy, and Terry for helping with this project . . . 


Computer #2
3" x 3"

Friday, January 29, 2016

Craft Space Get Organized Challenge #5

Organizing your stickers, die cuts and rub-ons is the challenge for Week 5

Stickers, diecuts, and rub-ons are some of the hardest things to organize because the different sizes and shapes pose many challenges. Rub-ons present their own challenges because if they aren't stored properly, they stick to each other, damaging precious supplies.

SORT: time to be ruthless. Consider if you are really going to use these items. If you bought a whole sheet of die cut just to use one or two tags, why are you hanging on to the whole sheet? Those stickers you bought in 1999 were adorable then, but definitely not your style now, are they? So, sort into piles: TRASH, SELL, DONATE, TO KEEP

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up, and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile and put them directly into the garage sale box. Make immediate arrangements to rid yourself of the DONATE items.

ASSIGN: The KEEP items need to be divided into categories that make sense to you: by colour, by manufacturer, theme, size, or type.

CONTAINERIZE: Here is an article about storing stickers, diecuts and rub-ons: http://www.clubcreatingkeepsakes.com/blogs/ck_community/archive/2010/04/26/5-easy-ideas-for-storing-your-stickers.aspx

EQUALIZE: take a few minutes at the end of each scrap session, and whenever you return from a crop or a shopping trip to put your stickers, rub-ons and diecuts where they belong.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Craft Space Get Organized Challenge #4

It's Week 4 of the Get Organized Challenge . . . Tools & Adhesives

Gather together all of your tools and adhesives into the Big Box, and let's start S.P.A.C.E.ing them!

: one by one, put each item into piles: FAVOURITES, TRASH, TO SELL, STORE, DONATE.

: For the SELL pile: bag up and assign a price and your initials to tools/adhesives that you don't love/use anymore and put them in your garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Arrange pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.

: Store your most used items in a basket or box or other system right on your desk, within easy reach. Divide the STORE items into categories that make sense to you: cutting tools, pens, punches, templates, etc. 

: This is the time to tidy up your tools. Tools need regular maintenance to keep them efficiently working. As you put your tools away in whatever container (drawers, shelves, boxes, baskets - always ensuring the container is clearly labelled) give them a little maintenance.

scissors - sharpen your scissors using a small scissor sharpener, or have them professionally done. Carefully clean the blades (I like alcohol swabs to remove sticky adhesive)

pens - test pens and throw out the ones that are dry or don't work well.

craft knives - change the blades

trimmers - clean the deck of your trimmers with a damp cloth, and a little cleanser if necessary. Replace dull blades, or cut through fine sandpaper or aluminium foil.

work surface - clean ink, adhesive and paint from the mat.

punches - to prevent punches from sticking, punch through wax paper. Problem punches may need a little lubricating oil such as sewing machine oil, then punch through scrap paper several times to remove oily residue. Dull punches can be sharpened by punching through aluminium foil or fine grade sandpaper (both right side up and upside down)

rubber stamps - stamps should be cleaned after each use, but if there is a build up of ink on your stamps, you should clean them with an alcohol free baby wipe, or paper towels moistened with a mild cleanser (ammonia free/bleach free) Use a soft toothbrush to remove ink stuck in the crevices of a design. Store stamps flat, rubber side down.

: Once you have a system in place for you tools, putting them back in the same place every time will become a reflex, and you will never have to hunt for you scissors again! Take a couple of minutes at the end of each scrap session to put your tools away.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Craft Space Get Organized Challenge #3

Week 3: Organize your photos . . .

So, your paper is beautifully organized, your scraps carefully stashed or purged, and your desk is gleaming! Doesn't it make you feel creative? Don't you want to get cropping? Well, you CAN'T scrapbook without PHOTOS!

Our third challenge is to organize our photos. Here are a few articles to get you thinking about how to organize those precious photos before we S.P.A.C.E. them:

http://www.scrapjazz.com/topics/Organization/Photographs/113.php (this is an excellent article)

Another great article, especially when dealing with old photos . . . http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/07/17/organizing-and-preserving-a-family-photo-collection/

SORT: Gather together all of your photos, and sort them into categories that make sense: TRASH (it's okay to throw out photos with bad colour, expression, composition. Why keep them? You're not going to scrapbook them) TO SCRAPBOOK (the shots you know you are going to use) TO STORE (photos that need to be kept, but aren't necessarily going to be going into your scrapbooks) TO GIVE AWAY (doubles that you want to send to friends and family)

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Put the TO GIVE AWAY photos in envelopes and mail them to friends/family, or put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you visit. Do not leave them in your studio, or they will creep back into your organized space.

ASSIGN: Sort the final two groups of photos into a system that makes sense to you:

CONTAINERIZE: Now it's time to decide how you want to store your photos. Perhaps you want to put your TO STORE photos in acid free envelopes or albums. Perhaps you want to put your TO SCRAPBOOK photos into photo storage boxes, or accordion folders.

EQUALIZE: Next time you get new photos from the photo processor, spend a couple of minutes and put the photos where they belong: throw out the bad shots, give away the extras, put the keepers away in their storage, and sort your photos for scrapbooking into their container.

Please take a moment and read this exerpt from Design Strategies for Scrapbookers:

Photo preservation begins with safe storage.  Remove photos stored in the old magnetic albums immediately.  A magnetic album has cardboard pages with adhesive on them and a plastic sheet to cover the photos.  The adhesives and plastics in these albums are highly acidic and can ruin your photos very quickly.

To safely remove photos from magnetic albums you can use:

1.      Dental floss – Slip a piece of dental floss under one corner of the photo and use a gentle back-and-forth sawing motion to lift the photo.
2.      Blow Dryer – Set your blow dryer on low heat to soften the page’s glue and then carefully lift the photo.
3.      Spatula/pan scraper – Use a thin spatula to slowly pry photos loose. 
4.      Undu Adhesive Remover – Undu neutralizes adhesive’s stickiness, making photos easy to remove.  It dries clear and will not damage photos or smudge most inks.
5.      I have heard about freezing the pages first  but I’ve never tried it so use at your own risk.

Use an acid-free photo box with dividers or an archival quality photo album for storage.  Organize photos chronologically or by theme, event or subject depending on how you scrapbook.  Write notes on the dividers or on the back of the photo for later reference.  Don’t use ballpoint pen to write on backs of photos.  Buy a special photo-marking pen or pencil. 

Always save original photos if they are one of a kind and can’t be replaced.  This is especially important with heritage photos.  Instead, scan and print new copies, storing the original for safe-keeping.  If you are determined to use the original, use photo corners to adhere these precious photos to your layouts so they can be safely removed.

I just had a reminder of this rule recently.  I’ve been working on a family tree album and needed some baby pictures.  I scrapbooked all my baby pictures when I first started scrapbooking many years ago.  And that was the problem.  I had cut them all in shapes and used decorative scissors on them.  Not one was complete enough for me to scan and reprint.  My mom and aunt are going through their old photos in hopes they have some originals.  So I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to save original photos.  Scan the originals and have them reprinted. 

Don’t forget to properly store and organize negatives.  Plastic negative sleeves will old 4-7 negatives, depending on brand and the size of film.  If you have older negatives in smaller sizes (such as 110) you can easily create subdivisions in the sleeves with a sewing machine and clear nylon thread.  You can store negative sleeves in a 3-ring binder or folder.  Label each sleeve with the date and/or subject.

Digital photos have their own set of rules.  Always back up your computer files, including your digital photo files because computers crash and hard drives fail.  Store a back up copy of your photos and important documents to an external hard drive.  You can also download your digital photos to CD’s or USB drives although there is some debate as to how long they last.  There are many online sites that you can save your photos to as well.

When you are looking for a safe place to store your memorabilia, photographs, negatives, supplies and albums, keep in mind that they will do best in a dry, cool place, out of direct sunlight.

 Design Strategies for Scrapbookers - black & white edition
Available in colour, black & white or large print

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Great Pintrest Challenge . . . Apple Chips

Anyone see the video on how to make Apple Chips on Facebook or other social media platforms?  I saw it on Facebook.  Don't they look yummy?


Here's the link:  http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/how-to-make-spiced-apple-chips-video?xid=social_facebook+

Anyway, I had some apples that were starting to get soft so I thought this might be a good idea.  I watched the video and scribbled down the instructions.  (I found out later that there was a link to the recipe . . . sigh.)

I used my brand new Epicure mandolin to cut the apples and I mixed the spices.  I laid out the slices on cookie sheets just like the recipe required.  I baked them in the oven for 1-1/2 hours.

And then I pulled the pan out of the oven to flip the chips.  Yeah, apparently I was so busy scribbling down the recipe that I failed to note the parchment paper.

The ones I managed to get off the sheet were quite tasty.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get the apples off the sheet.  Hubby says I should just throw them out . . . LOL.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Craft Space Get Organized Challenge #2

How did you make out with last week's challenge? Did you find your work table?  Quite a few people sent me photos over Facebook and email.  Thanks so much!  I'm glad you are all enjoying playing along.

Here's this week's challenge:

Week #2 Challenge: Paper . . . and I mean ALL of your paper.

Your challenge this week is to S.P.A.C.E. your paper - - and I mean ALL of your paper: cardstock, patterned paper, specialty papers, and all those SCRAPS!

Step 1
SORT: Bring all of your paper to one area. Sort it all into piles: KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH.

Step 2
PURGE: bag up, and assign a price to paper bundles that you want to SELL at a garage sale or online, and put the bags in the garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up the DONATE pile and immediately make arrangements for drop-off/pick-up or put in your vehicle.

Step 3
ASSIGN: separate your paper into categories that make sense to you. For example, you may want to divide it simply into cardstock and patterned paper. If you have a huge stash of paper, you may want to divide it by colour, theme, or manufacturer.

Another way to sort your paper is in page kits. Package matching patterned papers in a zip lock bag, and add matching cardstocks and embellishments to create kits.

I pack in page kits and store them in bankers boxes right under my work space.

Example of a page kit

Step 4
CONTAINERIZE: store you paper in a way that makes sense to you:
- vertical paper holders
- hanging vertical file folders
- wire cubes
- paper trays
- paper organizers
- bookcases with adjustable shelves
Click here to see lots of different storage ideas.

I store my extra cardstock in vertical holders and my cardstock scraps are stored in a hanging file folder.

Step 5
EQUALIZE: each time you finish a scrap session, return from a crop, or bring home new papers, spend a few minutes putting your paper away where it belongs.  I think this is the most important step.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you decide to store all your paper.  Send me a photo.  Even better, post a link to your photo in the comment section here.

Good luck.

Note:  for the non-scrapbookers in the group, I would think this week is about sorting stationery or whatever paper products you may use for your crafts.