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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Sweet Surprise

I went to pick up my things at the Fair and ta-da, I won some categories!  I was surprised.  I entered all 6 categories and came away with 3 first place ribbons and a second.  I didn't get to take a good look at all the entries, but I was happy and proud.  I have never entered any challenges or shown my projects to anyone outside of my network of friends and family. 
The mini album was made with Graphic 45 paper, grunge board and lots of Tim Holtz dies and inks. 
The second place item, was made using an old sewing pattern, paint, Maya mists, Tim Holtz masks and scraps I had laying around.  I also added some TH metal and tissue tape.  I was inspired by a piece that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer did a while ago. 
The journaling piece was the story of our engagement, and I didn't have any pictures for that page, so I used memorabilia from that weekend.  The paper is Basic Grey, the frame is Making Memories and the cardstock is Bazzil.
The 2 smaller pages are from a book I did for Chris about his trip to Hawaii (pre Jen), and I have to say I don't remember the products I used for it, as it was many years ago that I did this layout. 
Overall, I am happy that I entered, just for the experience.  The prizes weren't too bad either ;0.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crafty things

I have spent some time lately doing some crafty things, mostly to take my mind off of the impending school year.  I entered some things into the Fall Fair for the first time.  It was a very hard choice for me, deciding what I would enter.  Many of the projects I do are personal and about Chris and I, so it's putting our lives out there in the community.  I wonder how many parents or people from the community recognized our pictures?  I wonder how many comments I'll get in the upcoming month? 
I have been doing really well using up old stuff that I've had for some time, and surprised at how well the projects have been turning out.  I have really decided that I don't do bright and cheerful very well, but manage grungy and messy almost always.  A project is not complete without some distressed edges, ink and even paint or splatters. 
I'll let you know how I do at the Fair!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm starting to freak out ...

just a little.  I had set myself up for all kinds of professional development this summer, and none of it happened!   I don't know what happened, I had the best of intentions.  I was going to check out all this stuff I'd bookmarked and heard about during the school year.  Then June 30th came and I checked out.  Even now, I am finding it hard to read all the blog posts from education gurus and such.  I haven't done nearly enough readings and explorations.  My days off right now are spent recovering and the last thing I feel like doing is work. 
Hopefully this wears off really soon.  August is spinning away quickly and I have to get into my classroom and get it ready.  I wonder how many other places don't have their classes set for the first week of school?  I find it very irritating that my first week is spent babysitting kids while doing "community building" activities like re-reading school rules or making up new school songs.  There are some things that I am looking forward to like Identity Day.  I'm hoping that we can do it in January or February when the Winter Blues are out and about.  We'll see.  Not having staff meetings will be interesting.  Hmmm....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I was on quite a reading binge earlier in the summer, and have added quite a few to Goodreads on my various lists.  One of my goals this Summer was to take part a little more in the book groups that I joined.  That did not happen as I had planned.  I do lurk on the forums, but I just don't feel like I have that much to say.  Once in a while I'll do a review or comment, but lots of time I forget about the conversations after I've viewed them.  I'll try harder.  I have gotten many good book titles from the site and try to recommend it to everyone.  I have been unsuccessful at adding my book shelf widgit to this blog (I just can't get it to work).  Anyway, here are some titles that I have enjoyed recently.

 This one is being turned into a movie and I can't wait to see it.  There were times when my heart was pounding, wondering what was going to happen next.  I think I went through this one in a day.

This is the third title I've read from this author and I enjoyed it as much as the others.  She uses the same foundations for her books, family, history, mystery but makes it new with each story. 
I am still working my way through this one.  It reads more of a what to do, rather than a story, so I don't feel the need to find out what's going to happen next.

I brought this to work with me to read during my lunch hour.  It is sad.  Well written and engaging, but sad.  I can only do a little bit of sad in a day, so I have not eaten this one up as I would with other books.  I think an hour a day of this book is plenty.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's good so far.

This one I did not finish.  I was very disappointed in this book.  I had read Eat, Pray, Love last year and really enjoyed it.  I was under the impression that this was the sequel to that.  I was wrong.  It is mostly a story of a very insecure woman trying to "figure out" what marriage is all about.  Blech.  You don't "figure out" marriage.  I skipped to the last chapter, read the happy ending and skipped all the whining and questioning. 

I almost forgot about this one!  I mostly enjoyed this one.  The look at Bhutan and the people was fascinating.  The story of the author was confusing and not at all compelling.  She would go off on tangents that had no real connection to what she had just been talking about.  It didn't flow well in places.  I think she should have just left out all the personal bits and stuck with Bhutan.  She would dip into personal back story a little, but then back off like she was scared to go into it.  She could have just left that stuff out and had a really interesting book. 

I have a few more on my shelf that I'm hoping to get to soon, but time is running out....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can you hear it?

Teachers should be hearing it by now.  
The ticking of the clock that is getting louder with each passing day.  It is marking time until the new year begins.  For me, as with a lot of teachers, the "New Year" starts with the new school year, not the traditional January new year.  My teacher brain is starting to wake up a little, winking at the sunshine and wanting to bury it's head under the covers again.  I am giving myself another week before starting to get into planning.  I am still recovering from last year (has it really been almost 2 months?) and I'm just not ready yet.  Soon, just not yet.
I have been dabbling a little in more technology lately.  I have joined Google+, following Twitter, looking at Wikis and my PLN etc., but am finding myself feeling a little overwhelmed at all the options and ideas out there.  I follow links and suggestions from teacher blogs or from Tweets, but I start to get a little overloaded and can't decide what to do next.  One at a time, I've finally decided. Over the next few weeks, I am going to pick one or two things and then work on just those until I am comfortable and have decided whether I want to use them or not.  Then I'll move on.  C and I have also talked about making a list, dividing it between us and then collaborating on the ideas later.  That might be a good way too.
I have to say though, I was reading a blog post by another teacher and was a little offended for her staff when she, after talking about the conference she had taken part in, was wondering where the rest of her colleagues were.  Some teachers want to enjoy their summer, some want to work all the time.  I don't think it's up to any of us to judge one another about what we do in our Summer VACATIONS.  If you choose to do professional development all summer long, that is your choice, but don't slam others because they want to have time off.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gold fever

So on the long weekend, I was pretty tired and decided not to do anything that required any preparation.  The Gold Panning Championships were happening not too far from us, so I decided that would be the destination for the day.  I have always wanted to try gold panning, I don't know why.  It turned out to be a lot like ice fishing.  Really. Boring. 
Anyway, we pulled up to this International event, which amounted to not more than a hundred or so people, and jumped into the action.  After a quick lesson on panning from a loud-mouthed teenager, I got my pan full of sand and rocks and went of into an old trough to try my luck.  They implant a bronze "nugget" and two flakes of real gold into the pile of dirt and it's up to you to find the treasure.  Here's the pictorial evidence.  Unlike the ice fishing, Chris didn't have to step in to take over...

At this point I was not having a good time.
I found my gold!  It took me about 45 mins.  I wouldn't have won any awards.  
 After the gold was found, we went looking around.  Not much to see, but they did have mini doughnuts!  I was so happy to get some, but decided after a couple they were no good so Chris finished them and felt gross for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In my little bits of down time, I have been working on some scrappy stuff.  I have given up doing chronological pages and projects, as it just makes me stressed that I'm "not caught up".  I just generally grab a handful of pictures and start a page or mini album.  Sometimes it starts with the supplies and I make the backgrounds first.  I've been dabbling in art journaling as well, which has been interesting to try different techniques and mixing them with just words instead of pictures.  It's all an experiment.
Here are some pages that I've been working on:

This documents my horse riding adventure from last year.

This is an old picture I found of me and my brother in Texas.

A layout inspired by Julie Balzer

Although it looks pink, it's red.  It's a little more girly than I would have liked.

Random stuff from a trip to Edmonton last summer.

This is the group picture my Ed program had taken in 4th year.

Another random adventure in Prespatou
 I'm still working really hard at using up old supplies, so you will recognize old paper and embellishments.  My idea is to use up what I have instead of buying more stuff.  Hopefully this will get me some more room.... Chris says that I can't have any more rooms in the house.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where are the parents?

So it is 5 am and I am awake.  Wide awake.  Why you might ask?  My neighbours went away and have a young man looking after the house.  Whether he is supposed to be in the house or not, I don't know, but he comes and goes.  For a couple of nights, we have woken in the wee hours to air horns, people having a great time in the back yard and the like.   It's great, especially when I have to work in the morning.  At 4 this morning, the air horns and the cajoling in the back yard started.  When I got up, there were some youths in the back yard having a great time.  Did I mention it was 4 in the morning?  The fun didn't stop there, while I was up, I heard one of the girls(?) say, "Oh so we're going to drive around now?"  I know the neighbours van has been parked for a couple of months, I'm not sure if there's insurance on it.  After more slamming of doors, lights going on and off, the driver decides to carefully pull out of the drive.  I was standing at the front window by this time, and I think they saw me, as they were back in about 10 mins.  Did I also mention that none of them looked old enough to drive?
They came back and there was some more air horn action in the house.  They must have gotten brave, as they took the van out again with much hoopla, and this time I called the cops.  (I am cranky enough in the morning at regular hours and now I knew I wasn't going to be going back to sleep.)  When I called, the dispatcher said to call back if the van came back.  It did and 3 members reported.  Of the 3 kids I saw for sure, only one was escorted from the house. 

Where are the parents?  These kids are out and about at 3, 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning.  Don't they realize that their kids are not at home, let alone in their beds?  I have heard parents complain about the jobs that teachers do in the classroom, but where is the foundation that they are supposed to be getting from home?

Did I do the right thing?  I don't know.  Talking to them directly would have gotten me no where, as it is, the young man in charge has little respect for our property as it is.  I think that youth need to understand that there are consequences for their actions and if they are put in a position of responsibility they need to step up and act appropriately.

It is going to be a very long day today....

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Things are becoming a little more routine at work, which is nice.  Today there was a little excitement when a customer got on the PA and sang the entire store a little song!  It was badly out of tune and you could barely make out the words, but it was a good 15-20 seconds broadcast to the store.  I was laughing and asked "Who's trying to get fired today?"  That's what I thought was going on.  A little laugh helped the rest of my shift go faster.
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