Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Day (and an update)

How is your January going?  As you may have guessed by the lack of posts on the blog, ours has been more than usually busy.  Thanks to those of you who have let me know that you are missing my posts and emails.  I want to share some photos of the "epic" blizzard Juno from our house in Concord, MA.  I hope that you are safe and warm and still have power if you are also in the path of this storm.

We actually had quite a bit of snow over the past weekend - about 7 inches - but we managed to get most of that cleared away and the roof raked before "the big one" came to town.  This is the view out our front door around 1 pm on Monday.

The snow started falling lightly around Monday afternoon and by dinner time there was just a light coating.

 For some reason, this one brick in our front walk was rejecting the snow!

There was a good coat of snow at our neighbor's house across the street at 6 p.m. Monday.

Here is the same view today at around 11:30 a.m. - their front steps and most of the wall in front of the house have disappeared!

There was some snow on our back deck on Saturday, but the area under the overhanging roof was totally clear.

Around 6 p.m. Monday, snow was falling lightly and you could still see the bottom of the railings.

In the middle of the night (very early Tuesday a.m.) the snow was piling up.

By mid-day Tuesday, things had changed.  There is too much snow for me to get out on to the deck to take more photos.

The temperature isn't terribly low - but low enough.  This is actually a good thing since it means that the snow is light and fluffy instead of heavy and wet.  However, when the temperatures are colder, the light snow means that there are many more inches of accumulation.

I don't think we'll be doing any grilling tonight!

Our front door sits inside a sheltered entryway.  Usually this gives us a place to stand and look out at the snow but the winds have blown snow in to fill up the steps and the entry.

 Snow is clinging to the door handle.

There are mini snow drifts in the top window of the garage door.

 When I opened the door to the garage I saw a wall of snow and drifts against the house.

The snow is clinging to the door.

The shape of the door is molded into the snow!

These plant pots look like frosted cupcakes.

Our Adirondack chairs in the back yard are almost covered,  The little bit of green behind them is a rhododendron shrub that is nearly buried.  This photo was taken a few hours ago and the shrub is no longer visible!

My mother-in-law shared this photo of their outdoor table.  They are very happy to be living in their condo now and to have someone else responsible for clearing the walks and driveway!  After 35 years in the same house it was a big change, but a good one.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging (I have made lots of things but just haven't had  the time to edit photos and write up directions!) is that we are also in the middle of a relocation.  Most people move away from the snow, but we are headed North.  My husband changed jobs last year and is working in New Hampshire and we have purchased a home that is just a short distance from his office. 

We are getting our Concord house ready to sell and this is a big job!  After almost 15 years here, the task of sorting and choosing what to take and what to give away is massive.  Of course, there is also a lot of "sprucing up" to do.  Isn't it funny how your house always looks best when you are ready to leave it?

I'll be sharing photos and more details about the move as we get things sorted out.  Here is a "sneak peek" at my future craftroom.  I am very excited about planning and organizing this space which was used as a work shop by the prior owners.  There are lots of windows at the far end of the room and even though this is part of the walk out lower level, the ceilings are 9 feet high.  I predict there will be some stacked Expedit/Kallax units from IKEA used here.  I am also very happy to have a sink in my new space - it will be easier to do some of the "messy" projects I have in mind.

Well - it's time to start clearing out.  This is what we saw when we opened the big garage door.

Our neighbors are out with their snowblower - I hope these machines can take on this mass of snow.

If you can't read the measure - there are 26 inches in our driveway (which was clear to the blacktop yesterday). 

And it is still snowing...

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a wonderful December and a lovely holiday season!  You may have noticed that I took some time away from the blog last month.  I was still crafting but we had so many family things going on that I needed to take a break from blogging.  I will be sharing some of the projects, quite a few photos from our celebrations and news about some big changes for our family in the next few days.

I wish you all a most happy, healthy, creative and prosperous 2015!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Free Scrapinar for December

There are just 17 days left until Christmas - every year December seems to go faster and faster.  With the rain and some of our other plans this weekend, I still have not had a chance to put lights up on the outside of the house.  We always put the candles in the windows on the Sunday after Thanksgiving so at least it looks a bit festive!.

I love to see the lights around our area and this decorated tree house is one of my favorite places.  Usually I am driving and I can't take a photo but we stopped on a side street and I tried snapping a few photos in the rain so I would be able to remember how sweet this looks.  Wouldn't you love to climb up there with some hot chocolate or cider?


The free Scrapinar presented by Lain Ehmann this month is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9th.  Layle Koncar of Simple Stories will show how a planner can help to streamline both your schedule and your memory keeping.

Layle will show some of the latest trends in customizable planners and explain how you can combine your stories with your daily planner.  Layle's style is bold and colorful.  You will learn about the newest planners (doesn't it seem like everyone is offering a custom planner these days?) and also find out how you can make your planner do double duty as a memory-keeping aid.

Layle will be working with the new “Life… Documented” planner line from Simple Stories.  However, if you don't have this planner you will still learn a lot from this Scrapinar because Layle will also share ideas that can work with just about any planner or product line. You can use products you already own to customize your planner and pocket pages.  She will also share some time saving tips for using a planner.

There will be time for questions in this live, interactive session.  If the time does not work for you to attend the live session, you will be able to watch a recording of the scrapinar for a limited time after the event.  However, you must register HERE to receive an email with the link to watch the replay.

This scrapinar will help you get off to a good start in the new year so be sure to register right away (click HERE) so you won't miss out on tomorrow's session.

Do you use a paper planner or have you switched to using a device like your phone or tablet to keep your schedule?  I think it is often easier to work with the "old-fashioned" style with pen and paper - especially if I have a lot of things to do.  I love to check things off a list as I get them done!

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sparkle and Shine Christmas Tree Card


This card is full of sparkle and texture with shimmer, glitter and foil cardstocks, Stickles and gold metallic heat embossing for the sentiment.  I love sparkly things at any time of year and for Christmas it seems like you can never have too much sparkle and shine!


The Christmas tree I chose is from the Anna Griffin Winter Wonderland Cricut cartridge.  I made it slightly wider than the original sizing to fill the front of the card.


I wanted to use more traditional colors so I changed the tree to green, the garlands and candles to red and the base and star to gold.  I also eliminated the background layer so the open design of the branches would be featured.

Changing a Cricut image in Design Space

Here you can see the image as it appears from the cartridge on the left and my altered version on the right.  I used the iPad app for the Cricut Explore (I am one of the people previewing the app which is expected to be available in January).  It was very quick and easy to make these changes and I love the convenience of using the iPad with the wireless adapter instead of carrying my laptop up and down the stairs.

Here is the assembled tree.  I cut the base, star and tree from Core'dinations Core Couture glitter cardstock.  The candles and garland are cut from American Crafts foil cardstock.  You may notice that my candles have green "flames" since they are part of the base tree cut.

I added yellow Stickles glitter glue to each candle flame.  After letting it dry, I thought that one coat was not completely covering the green so I put on a second layer of yellow for the final card.

Here are all of the pieces for the card.  The card base is a gold shimmer A2 card from the David Tutera collection.

These card and envelope sets were recently on clearance at Consumer Crafts and I stocked up on them.  I like the lovely gold shimmer and the cards are white inside which saves the step of adding a liner to the card for your message.


I found the perfect sentiment on this stamp set from Close to My Heart called "Yuletide Greetings."  The number for this set is D1553 and you can find it on my friend Joy Tracey's CTMH site HERE.  There are lots of lovely images in this set that can be hand colored - or stamped in a single color if you prefer.

I made the sentiment strip 3 3/4 inches x 3/4 of an inch and attached it at the very bottom of the embossed white layer.

The white layer is embossed with this "Snowfall" Anna Griffin Cuttlebug embossing folder.  I got this as part of the Autoship package when I purchased Anna Griffin Dies and Folders earlier this year.  The folder is part of the Christmas Folders and Dies set which is available individually on the HSN site HERE.

The white layer is cut at 3 3/4 x 5 inches and the dark green layer below is cut at 4 x 5 1/4 inches.  When embossing the white layer I was careful to center the design on the piece of cardstock.  This card just needs to be symmetrical!

The stamped sentiment has very thin and small letters but I was able to emboss it.  After I finished I remembered that I have some fine detail embossing powder and I might try that the next time I emboss with this stamp.

Here are the yellow Stickles and Zing gold metallic embossing powder that I used for this card.  I store my Stickles bottles upside down so they are always ready to apply and the tip does not dry out (that's why the contents are all at the top of the bottle).

I like the effect of the dark border with the sentiment at the bottom of the layered card.  In this case, it created a sort of "floor" for the tree to stand on.

The tree is very thin so I used 1/8 inch ScorTape on the trunk of the tree and some liquid adhesive on the branches and tips of the tree.

Here is a closer view of the candles after the second layer of Stickles was dry.

I was very pleased with the clean cut through the glitter cardstock - The images were perfect on the first try.


There are so many lovely and elegant images on the Anna Griffin Winter Wonderland cartridge - it is definitely one of my favorites.  Click HERE to see more about the cartridge (affiliate links).

I used a couple of the images to make this banner panel last year - you can read about the project HERE.  This cartridge is not included in the Image Library Subscription so you might want to think about adding it to your collection! 

The weather hasn't been very nice so far this weekend - it was cold and rainy here today.  We are getting a lot of projects done around the house, including some painting that we want to finish before everyone arrives home for the holidays.  I hope it all gets done!  Do you start big projects on short deadlines?  I should know better!

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Crucolo Cheese Parade in Concord

Yesterday I walked into town for the Fifth Annual Crucolo Parade sponsored by the Concord Cheese Shop.  The Concord Cheese Shop is very well known for having amazing and delicious cheeses from all over the world.  For the past five years, Peter Lovis, the owner, has brought in a giant (400 pound) wheel of Crucolo cheese from Italy with great ceremony.

The street was blocked off for the arrival of the cheese (one of the great things about a small town - the street is closed fairly often for special events - there is an easy way to detour this block).

Students from Concord Academy perform as the Crucolo Dancers, dressed in red, white and green and waving flags and cheese labels.

It was a chilly and clear day and a crowd of hundreds gathered for the arrival of the cheese.  I stayed near the corner so I could get some photos of the horse drawn wagon when it arrived.

The barricades were moved back as the wagon approached.

Peter waved the large Italian flag and called out the arrival of the Crucolo.

The cheesemaker and other dignitaries arrived in the wagon with the cheese.  The cheese has been made by the Purin family in the mountains of Trentino, Italy for 250 years.

Peter led the procession with a "Crucolo Dance" down Walden Street.

The student dancers followed with great enthusiasm.

The parade continued down Walden street with much flag waving and dancing.

These beautiful horses were very well trained and calm as they drew the wagon down the street.

Peeking through the back of the wagon you can see the huge wheel of cheese.

The crowd moved together in the area in front of the Cheese Shop.  If you look carefully, you can see the Italian flag in the top right of this photo.  This is where the wagon stopped for the proclamations.

The arrival of the cheese was proclaimed with great ceremony.  Everything Peter said was repeated by the student group but I was a bit too far back in the crowd to hear clearly.

Some sections of the cheese were displayed in front of the store and this was the "photo opp" spot for anyone who wanted their picture taken with the cheese.

Miss Crucolo Universe and Miss Crucolo USA posed for photos with people from the crowd.

It was fun to see the excitement of the children in the crowd - it's not everyday that a huge cheese arrives in a small town with such pomp and ceremony!

After all of the proclamations and celebration it was time to cut the cheese for sampling.

Sections of cheese were cut to bite size and loaded on trays to pass through the crowd.

The cheese is delicious and the samples were appreciated by everyone.

It was a great time for townspeople (and some from far away) to see their friends and catch up on holiday plans.

People lingered for quite a while after the cheese was served.

Jason Bond, chef of the Bondir restaurant across the street carried a large piece of cheese back to his kitchen to prepare some special menu items.

As I walked back home, the light in the sky was very pretty and the First Parish Church steeple was glowing.

You can read more about the cheese parade in an article from the Boston Globe HERE and see some more photos of the event from WBUR (Boston's NPR News Station) HERE.

Does your town have any unusual traditions like this?  I really enjoy quirky local celebrations and the stories behind them.  Today I will head back into town and buy some of the cheese for our family to enjoy at Christmas.

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