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Monday, March 2, 2015

My best buddy is a.... Mala-Shee-Usky mix?

     Some recent photos of my beloved Dakota, who we believe will be 9 years old this year.  We adopted her 6 years ago ( I can't believe it's been that long!), from our County Animal Control Office.  She was listed as a husky, but as soon as I saw her, even in her thin condition, I knew she was much too large framed to even be a MALE husky.  She is approximately 6 feet long when she stretches out, and currently weighs 96 pounds.  I would like to get her weight down between 80-90 pounds, as I think she looked her healthiest weight at that time.

                          Christmas morning 2013, enjoying her favorite thing...fresh snow!
     Wesley must compete with Dakota for a spot in mom's chair, and on this day, he lost out.  Yes, he managed to sneak in, but only by squeezing himself UNDERNEATH her!  I bought this chair-and-a-half when Wesley was only a few months old, and at that time, both he and I were much smaller.  Eleven years later, add a multicoated "puppy" and it's overflowing.
    Ever since seeing ads about DNA tests for your dog, I have wanted to follow up on that idea.  I never had one done on my previous husky mix, and greatly regret it, as it may have prevented some behavioral issues I had with Orca.  As my birthday gift to myself this year, I finally completed one for Dakota.
     As she gained weight and her beautiful coat filled out about a year after her adoption, my husband began saying that he thought she looked like a collie, due to her 'cowl neck' fur that appeared.  A few years later, others had also mentioned that.  Due to her large skeletal structure, coloration, tail display, and personality, I thought she was a Malusky (Malamute-Husky).  When people commented about her size or beautiful coat and personality, I began telling people we thought she was a Mal-Ollie (Malamute Collie).
    So...the results?  Three generations on one side are Alaskan Malamute-Mix, and the other parentage is 3 generations of..... OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG-HUSKY!  WHAT?????
                                                     Malamute Husky mix sample photo
                                        Old English Sheepdog Husky mix sample photo

      Some people ask why I bothered to spend the money & time to run her DNA samples.... So I and our vets now have a much better idea of what to expect in regards to her possible health issues and behavior/personality.  
     I love my Mala-Shee-Usky mix!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Another winter layout completed with Inspired Inc Top Page Layout kit: Part 4, Mixing & Matching w/ kits by 3 Birds, & LAKE MICHIGAN ICE.

     Last winter the Ludington area received 110"... yes, that's ONE HUNDRED TEN INCHES of snow!  This year, it seems we are getting more wind than snow, at least they are in town.  Wesley & Michael went to the State Park to take part in an evening snow shoe walk on Saturday, with the path lit by mini Coleman lanterns.  Unfortunately, there was so little snow that the snow shoe walk turned into a regular snow BOOT walk to the beach. There was a bonfire before hand, and Wesley & Michael also continued their own walk within the park later in the evening..
      Friday, they were going to head out to 'look for snow', in anticipation of the potential snow shoe walk....  they ended up going down to the beach and bringing back 3" thick pieces of beautifully clear LAKE MICHIGAN ICE.
     On their way home, Wesley told Michael "Let's see mom scrapbook THAT!"  You can BET I will.
     Before they left for one of their adventures, Wesley & Dakota were playing outdoors.  I asked Michael to take a few photos for me (I was in the middle of another project downstairs) because I had a layout I wanted to create.  They were still playing a few minutes later, so I took some can never have TOO many photos to scrap, right?
      I used the Winter Wonderland layout kit by Inspired Inc, using all but 2 pieces of the kit. 

      I ADDED one piece of 3 Birds Sticky Sparkly Glitter & Foil Set, part of their GRACEFUL SEASONS COLLECTION.  The foiled red "Smile" which sits beside the two 2.5 inch photos near the center of the two pages fits those photos and the mood of their activity that afternoon.  I like that the foil not only catches your eye, drawing your attention to the 2 smaller photos, but I like that the foil also helps liven up the page, since there are so many other dark colors within it.  I also layered some pieces cut from banners from an earlier 3 Birds border kit and placed them below the chipboard "winter".  I LOVE to sort through my stash and find things that match the colors in my photos. 
     I also LOVE to mix and match kits as well as collections, so to any of you who are purists in terms of using kits or working with only one company's products, I apologize.  BEWARE:  I DO THIS QUITE OFTEN... You've been warned lol.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Creating layouts with 3 Birds kits at local crops: Part Two.

      This layout was created during the Crop & Craft for Missions fund raiser.  It's rare that I get even one page completed during the local fund raisers, since I'm not only there as a vendor, but I also ESPECIALLY enjoy chatting with friends and walking around throughout the day to see what others are creating.
     Another blast from the past in terms of kits, but here it is combined with 2014 photos and more of the earlier 3D embellishments offered by 3 Birds.
     This Labor Day Michael and Wesley walked the Mackinac Bridge with THOUSANDS of others, as part of the Annual Bridge Walk between the two peninsulas.  I chose not to go, thinking it would take about 3 hours to complete the walk, and I didn't want to hold them back.  Plus, if I went, I wanted to take my beloved Dakota with us.
     It turns out that they completed the walk in under an hour!  I also believe that they said others brought their dogs with them for the walk, so I WOULD be able to take Dakota... I told them that it sounds like we need to go with them next year.
     As usual, Michael & Wesley took a side-trip, this time to Sleeping Bear Dunes.   Wesley had seen the signs for it on their way to the bridge that morning, and since they were done early enough, off they went!
     They got home late, especially when you consider that Wesley's 1st day of school was the next day, but they really enjoyed themselves.

Using Inspired Inc Top Page Layout Kits... installment 3.

     Today's installment covers a different type of walk than Wesley, Dakota and I usually take.  This particular day I decided to take Dakota to our local dog park, 'Bark in the Park'.  Rather than merely going inside the doggy park to roam around and play with others dogs if present AND well behaved, we decided to explore part of the adjacent walking path which winds through the woods between the dog park, local cemetery and the Lincoln River.

    This is another situation where I needed to create a companion page in order to include all or at least most of the photos that I wanted to use.  I searched my stash of papers, cropped corners to match those of the kit pieces, and used some of the remaining kit items to pull the pages together.
     I also had to adapt the layout to fit the number, sizes, and orientation (vertical vs horizontal) of the photos I wanted to work with.
     I'm not crazy with the outcome, due to the fact that the blue camera pattern paper is busier than I usually use, and more of it is exposed therefore making it more visible, but the theme works well with this story, and the blue and black coordinate with Wesley's clothing and Dakota's coat.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creating more layouts by utilizing Top Page Layout kits by Inspired Inc: Part 2

     Hello friends and family.  This will take a while for me complete, but I am working diligently to play 'catch up' on postings of my projects from 2014-2015.
     Below are 2 pages completed with one of the Inspired Inc Top Page layout kits, followed by a companion page that I created in order to include more of the fun photos from an afternoon of family play time in our home town.  The colors of this kit fit really well with the colors of our clothing as well as the BEAUTIFUL blooming tree which is part of the mini golf course.  I used part of another Top Page Layout kit, specifically the rainbow portions, to pull the colors from the prior two pages into the companion page.
     As you can see, I had to alter the layout suggested to fit my photo orientations, number and sizes, but the colors really helped to pull the pages together.

       Wesley joined Cub Scouts this year, and their only fund raiser is their annual popcorn sale which takes place in front of the local hardware store where the scout leader works...brilliant!  When combined with the fees each cub scout pays annually, this fund raiser covers the expenses of some of their activities.   Our favorite popcorn that they sold is the dark and white chocolate popcorn which Wesley is holding in one of the photos... a very popular seller.

    This layout kit featured brown tones along with orange and green accents, which worked well with our annual outdoor chores or activities.  Wesley has been learning to drive our lawn mower on his own, actually enjoying some of the outdoor chores since he's been allowed to drive.  Sometimes Michael lets him just zoom around the yard for fun.... typical kid at this age range.

Completing more projects utilizing kits from 3 Birds: Part One.

     During two of our local fund raising crops, Crop For A Cure & Crop and Craft for Missions, I was able to crank out a few more projects by using some of my huge stash of kits by 3 Birds.
     This is one of the many diecut page kits that 3 Birds has offered since I discovered them around 2009.  Since I am a 3D embellishment lover/hoarder as well, and have so many pieces which coordinate with their color schemes over the years, I took advantage of the situation to create a quick (it usually takes me hours to complete a layout), balanced and fun layout.
     Not only was this our first vegetable garden at this home, it was Wesley's first opportunity to grow his own pumpkins.  We were quite surprised to see that we were able to get not only one or two, but 4 pumpkins.  The pumpkins were small, but it was a nice learning experience for Wesley as well as Michael and I, as we learned a bit about how well some things may or may not grow in relation to its location in our yard, the amount of rain we did NOT receive this year, and the cooler than normal temperatures we also experienced during this odd summer season.
     We planted 3 types of tomatoes, locating them on the West side of the raised bed so that the corn was less likely to shade them out.  What we learned about the tomatoes:  they grew like MAD in relation to the other plants, and therefore are going to have their OWN bed next year!
     The peas tasted WONDERFUL and were the family favorite, with us fighting over the few that we were able to harvest.  The tomatoes growing like weeds shadowed them out, plus we definately need to plant more pea plants next year.
     The corn didn't do diddly.... too little heat as well as rain (yes, we watered the garden almost daily)
caused our corn to only grow a few feet, not being any where near 'knee high by fourth of July'.  Local farmers struggled with the same problem, but we were able to buy a fair amount of locally grown sweet corn from the 'Larsen Girls', granddaughters of my scrapbooking friend, Judee Larsen.
     I accidentally picked one of only 2 peppers that grew this summer, upsetting Michael a bit.  I didn't check the label of that particular plant before picking the lovely green pepper which was calling my name.  When mature, it was supposed to be red....oops.  I got to enjoy it since it never fully ripened, and Michael was no longer interested in it.
    Next year we plan to build at least one more raised bed like this one which Michael and Wesley built for me.  As mentioned above, we will definately be giving the tomatoes their own bed, perhaps with corn getting it's own private 'suite', and lots more peas being planted.

Friday, January 30, 2015

My first shabby chic mirror....

     Over the years my design preferences have evolved into something rather eclectic: from rustic to shabby chic/victorian.
     After seeing some beautiful altered mirrors online, I was inspired to scour my little town for something to work on.  I found the mirror at Wal-Mart, and also bought some more lace, flowers, & other goodies in shades of white and cream to add to my stash of products I already planned to use.
     This is my first attempt at using a fair amount of Mod Podge on a project.  Several layers of white/cream paints, ribbons, straight pins with beads added, a Prima flourish, flowers and lace, and this is what I created.

     Several of the flowers are made from paper, either from my 3 Birds kits, or on my own after practicing with the 3 Birds flower kits.
      It hangs in my scrap 'studio', on an unfinished wall, but wow, does it look nice.  Thanks for reading!