Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Product Review - Travel

As you know along with my scrapbooking & card making obsession

 I also love, love to travel

 One of the reasons Mike wanted me to retire was the fact that he wanted me to travel with him on business trips.  Mike is a software architect and in the geek world he is known on the speaking circuit.   When I was working and he had to be out of town not only did we hate to be apart but a 3 day trip really is 7 days without seeing each other because I was working nights.  

We hated it!

So one of the first chores on my retirement list was to get business casual clothes for myself and to find really good travel gear that could stay packed and ready to go on short notice.  I also bought new luggage for us since it the last time we bought luggage was about 15 years ago and airlines no longer like 33 inch cases.    Now that I look presentable (no scrubs) it was time to get organized.

Not only am I traveling with Mike but I am now traveling with CTMH to conventions and regional events.  After the Boise trip last year I decided that I needed a little bigger than carry on when I travel for scrapbooking events because while I can get my clothes in carry on luggage - security frowns on scrapbooking supplies.  On the bright side: checking my luggage on these events is once less thing for me to drag around the airport when I am alone (ie: no helper).  So after the Boise trip I bought this piece of luggage.


I love that it is hard sided to add extra protection for my scrapbooking supplies.  I put my clothes on one side and supplies on the other side.  Perfect!  It is also a wild pattern so I can find it in baggage claim with no problems.  It is just a little bit taller than my carry on luggage so it is not too big for me to handle on my own.


(other travel carry on bag)

I was also searching Pinterest looking for the best ways to pack the carry on bag.  I found a cute red and black diaper bag that was working ok but I wanted one that was a convertible carry on with backpack straps. 

 I finally found it!


It is a little taller than the red / black diaper bag so I have to slide it sideways under the seat but I love the bright color and backpack straps.  The even weight distribution makes  walking and or running in the airport much easier for me.  Because it is also a diaper bag it has all kinds of pockets on the inside for the little things you will need on the plane. 

 I have a pocket for my first aid stuff (when you walk like a duck - you fall you need a small kit.)  I can get all of my power supplies in one section, camera, laptop (for blogging on the road) In the front pockets I have quick access items and my favorite is a secure section on the inside for wallets and cell phones. It even has side pockets for my water bottle.  

Am I a travel nerd? 

 Yes - but this bag can stay packed with the core items at all time for quick grab and go travel.  I have had to grab and go too many times to count over the years so having core items that are duplicate and stay in the travel bag are a must. 

Core Items:
All power cords / chargers
Power strip / adaptors
Travel documents 
Green Tea 
ear plugs / eye mask
Colgate Wisps 
(easier than toothpaste on the plane)
A small zip bag with mints & a few personal care items
small first aid kit
Travel meds
(This photo was found on Pinterest but I made one for me)

This travel med kit is so handy.  Fill each section with meds that fit your family needs and go.  There is nothing worse than being away from home or at 30,000 feet and you do not have what you need when you feel bad.  

I also keep my "make up"  bag stocked and ready to go at all times.  When I get home I re-stock it before I can forget what I used and put it away.  I love that during the packing process I do not have to worry about packing bathroom supplies at the last minute or risk forgetting something.  A small investment in a few duplicate bathroom items means that I can leave it all in the bag together.  

 I never have to take it out when I use carry on luggage because there are no liquids to declare.  For short trips hotel shampoo works fine and it beats having to drag everything out during the security check.

Speaking of liquids... Water!

One of the best tips I received for travel was to drink tons of water.
You can  not take a full water bottle through security and buying water after security is very expensive but I found a way around that.


Vapur Element Bottle

(Found on Amazon)

Take take it empty through security and fill it up at a water fountain once you are past TSA. 

I have also found that for me, if I drink more water on the trip I am less prone to headaches.  Sure, I run to the ladies room a little more often but that is better than the headache. 

If you are interested in the no liquids in your carry on just do a Pinterest search, there are so many great ideas that work. 

PS:  This method also works great on road trips

Happy Traveling This Summer!



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Color Dare 143

It is that time again... Color Dare time!


This week the colors are:


Black, Gold, & White Daisy

Such elegant colors to work with.  The minute I saw the trio my mind went back to the now retired paper pack "For Always".  I knew that I wanted to do a sympathy card this week and this was just perfect.

I am again using mostly retired product because I am really trying to use up my stash before convention and sometimes it is fun to go back and use papers from years past to create new cards and layouts.  

I like this card so much and I have enough product left over that I may make multiples of this card to put on the card racks to sell.  But if you would like to make this card for yourself here is the list of supplies I used.  

You can always use the design and change up the papers and stamp set  for a fresh new look.

Supplies used:

Originals How to Book (card designs)- 9036 $14.95
For Always paper pack - Retired
Black Cardstock - 1386 $14.50 per pack (used a small section of 1 sheet) 
Black Shimmer Trim - Z1809  $4.95
Long Long Retired Paper Flowers (sorry)
Sequins Assortment - Z2012 $2.95
Stamp Set - 4 My Friend D1510 Retired 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Camping Adventures 101

The first camping trip of the season….

 

IMG 3245

 

We were off to a very late start because Mike was a part of a Microsoft conference on Friday and we did not even leave the house until 8pm.  Thankfully I called the park was told that the office was open until 10:00pm - we pulled in at 9:30.  So that means that once we found our site we were trying to set up at 10:00pm during park quite hours.  Let’s just say we were about as quite as we could be and I am sure our fellow campers were not too happy to see us.  

We  learned during set up that I really have no business getting behind the wheel of this camper.  You would never know that I come from a truck driving family! Driving  large vehicles scare the crap out of me.  Let’s just say that while we were trying to level the camper in this site, I panicked and now we have a small repair to make.  Mike was his usual self and more worried about me than the camper but I think we will stop trying to teach me how to drive this thing.  If it means I have to drive to get there in this 32ft vacation wonder then we just will not go.  (hee hee). 

We try to always have our first camping trip of the season at  Eisenhower State Park because they have full hook up sites and that comes in really handy when it is time to de-winterize the camper.  It takes a bit of water to flush the system and it is a pain in the butt job if we have to keep breaking camping to go to the dump station when the holding tanks get full.  But full hook-up means that we can tie into the septic system right at our campsite and just open our tanks right there and then when they are full.   

We have power (again), we are as level as we can get in this site, and we have full use of our water system.  Can we please eat dinner? I checked the weather forecast  and saw that we have an 80% chance of rain all weekend so I did something that is very rare.  I packed food that can be made INSIDE the camper.  Yep we will not have to worry about cooking in the rain this weekend.   I was singing my mother’s praises big time for dinner.  I raided my deep freeze and found a quart of spicy pinto beans and a quart of broccoli cheese soup.  We had the pinto beans with a loaf of french bread Friday night and it only required the microwave for a quick heat up.  Those beans were fantastic!   I put huge potatoes in the crock pot Saturday morning on low and by 6:00pm they were ready to eat along with the broccoli cheese soup.  Last year when we were here we ran out of food while camping because we decided to stay an extra day so this year I packed a spare meal.  It is just one of those frozen skillet meals and a bag salad but it is easy to make on a rainy day if need be.  We try to do all of our cooking outside unless I am using the crock pot for some reason so that the camper does not pick up any funky smells and it it fun to cook over the fire but when rain is in the forecast you have to roll with the punches.  

Mikes parents drove out yesterday and we had fun sitting by the fire and just talking.  The campsite is about an hour from their house and they just popped over to see what we were up too.  I love when we have campsite visitors.  I was happy that it did not rain while they were here and I even discovered that my knees were a little sunburned later last night.  

Now I am sitting here having coffee and watching the world wake up.  The bunnies are hopping and the birds are trying to catch the bunnies while dogs and their owners make the morning walk around the park.  Mike is still sleeping and I am a little surprised that the smell of coffee has not made him get out of bed.  The storms did roll in around 1am and I know I was awake so I am sure he was too.  I think I will let him sleep in a bit.  I did just open the windows because I want to hear the birds so there is a chance he will wander out soon. 

This is one of those weekends that I just did not want to be behind the lens.

 My camera is on the camper but just not been used this weekend.  Granted the loop that we are on is fairly full so that means less wildlife but it was nice not carrying around the camera.  It has not been a total no tech gear weekend - as you can tell I brought my laptop.  We generally have a no laptop rule for camping because of the Piggly Wiggly incident but now that I can blog off line that means that when inspiration strikes I can get my thoughts down before I forget.  I brought my iPod to listen too if it rained and I have a bunch of Papercrafting Roundtable to listen too.  I am a wee bit behind on that podcast.  They always have great scrapbooking discussions and industry leaders on their panel of guests.  The questions that they pose always seem to be great blogs posts too so I always listen with paper close at hand so I can take notes and pass on some of what I have learned or been thinking about with you.  I think I will use the 12 hour flight to Norway next month to catch up on what they have been up too.  The flight home will most likely be posts with photos from the trip.  Mike will be preparing for his conference so I will entertain myself as much as possible so he can prepare for his speaking engagement.  We will be going to Norway for the Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC) It is a geek thing and Mike has been asked to speak during the conference.  He is beyond happy!  It is going to be a very fast trip and Michelle is staying at the house with the puppies for us.  I have a feeling that when we get home my already messed up body clock is going to be very cranky but remind me that it was worth it when I am a super grouch.  

All in all it has been a great first camping trip of the season.

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Color Dare Challenge 142

This week was  fun for the color challenge.

 Not only were the colors very vibrant to work with but I was able to incorporate some retired products into the card.  Why would I want to use and show retired products?  Because I need to use them. I tend to hoard my embellishments like I used to hoard paper so I am making an effort to use up my stock.


The Glacier rectangle is embossed with the Scallop Embossing folder then I sponged  Lagoon ink on the embossed edges.
I also used the Smoothie ink pad and a sponge dauber to ink the Dimensional  Elements Star.  It is hard to see in the photo but the White Daisy ribbon is behind the "Thank You".


Glacier
Lagoon
Pear
Smoothie
Sunset
White Daisy

Products Used:
Cardstock in required colors
White Daisy ribbon
black brads
Scallop Embossing folder -Z3021
Noted Canvas Shapes - retired
Dimensional  Elements -retired
Finding the Words Stamp set (D1646)

Reminder: National Scrapbooking Month

National Scrapbooking Month


Friday, May 8, 2015

Take 2 - Color Dare 141

I have been a busy girl today.

I entered a blog contest (see below blog post) for the very first time.  I have never entered anything with my artwork so this was a huge step for me.  After posting the card to the Color Dare site I started thinking of ways to improve the card that I entered.

Do I think I will win the challenge with the original card?  

Probably not since I do not consider it my best work but I knew that if I did not hit send right then - that I would never enter.... I would chicken out.   

I decided to do "Take 2" of the same card design but make it the normal card size that I use.  So I scaled down the design from 8x3 to 5 1/2 x 4.  Then for some reason I thought that for the challenge I had to use stamp pad ink so I did.  For the Take 2 card I punched the circles and adhered them onto the card.  

Here are both cards:

Card 1 that I entered

Take 2:


I think that Take 2 is a much better card.  In fact I was texting with Dorothy about this and mentioned that for now on I will make card 1 and enter card 2 into the Color Dare Challenge.

How does it feel stepping out of my box?  

To be honest....

Scary!