Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Me On My Soapbox

I don't usually like to use my blog as a soapbox, especially for the little things in life. Having said that, I need to say something that has been on my mind a lot -- and has actually become a problem around here (and maybe the rest of the country, I don't know!) lately. Ticket scalping. Even the phrase gets my dander up. (I'm trying to be nice about this -- not easy!)
I never understood the call to watch sports...that is, until my kids started playing. My little man, 6 year old Curtis, started playing hockey this year. He wanted to try and so we signed him up. Somewhere mid-season, he fell in love with the game. He lived it and breathed it -- playing, practicing, and watching the NHL on TV.
I can't even count how many times I've said: "Hey you -- no raising the puck in the kitchen!"

Relatives of ours live in Edmonton, so Curtis started watching Oilers' games with his dad and grandpa in the evenings. (This is despite the fact that Grandpa loves Toronto -- it's sweet to watch this little rivalry in progress!)
Well -- now the Edmonton Oilers are THE team to watch. He has Oilers sponge pucks to play with. Oilers pyjamas. An Oilers jersey and track pants. (A great deal from Zellers at $20!) A Sam Gagner hockey card that his sister found in a cereal box. And all of these are his prize possessions. Every time we go to the mall, he has to go to the sports collectible store to see what's new in Oilers gear. He dreams of having his room painted in Navy and Gold and a big Oilers flag hanging on the wall.
So when I heard that the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders were coming to play an exhibition game in Saskatoon in September, my heart just leaped! The game is scheduled for a week after Curtis' 7th birthday. What an absolutely perfect birthday gift -- sending him to the game with his dad. I can just imagine the look on his face when the puck is dropped!

Guess what? The game sold out immediately. And I wasn't able to get tickets...not even nosebleed ones.

Here's the part that just ticks me off. The most expensive tickets were $77.50 from Ticketmaster. I've been watching Ebay, the newspaper AND Kijiji. Tickets are NOW selling for a minimum of $150 EACH! And that is for nosebleed ones! I just contacted a guy who was selling two lower level seats for $200 -- at that price I would have gone for it, even though the seats were a fair bit out of the way. Today he called back and he wants $300 instead. Jeez!

This is happening for almost every concert here I've seen advertised in the last little while. The Oilers-New York game. The New York-Calgary game. Nickelback. The latest one is AC/DC -- for this one, tickets have been advertised at $5000! Seriously? That means that real fans have NO chance just because some guy with a fast computer selfishly buys them all, inflates the price at least 100% and sells them off to make a fast buck. Either that, or Ticketmaster is cheating by holding back tickets to sell at an inflated price. (Have you seen how many "ticket resale" websites there are? This one, TicketsNow, is run by Ticketmaster themselves!) Absolute absurdity!

One more thing...I am not going to support outrageous ticket scalping. I'd rather drive my little man 6 hours to Edmonton and fork out for the hotel, food, and $100 regular price ticket. He WILL see an Oilers game, but not by handing over my money to someone who has bought tickets only for the purpose of selling them at a ridiculous price to someone who really, really, really wants them, like my son:

And related to this subject, HUGE cheers to a friend of a friend from Saskatoon, Saucy. Her blog is HERE. She found herself with 2 extra tickets to a Jonas Brothers concert. Is she selling them at an inflated price? Nope! Is she selling them at cost? Nope! She's giving them away! Yes! To a complete stranger! Seriously! This is the kind of person there should be more of in this world -- generous and caring. 'Nuff said.
If you've gotten this far, thanks for listening to me vent. It's amazing what a little blog-vent-therapy can do. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts for today

Unbelieveable! The last couple of weeks have just flown by, and I have no idea where they went! There is a saying that time is a thief -- and it's so true. It just steals away when you aren't paying attention.

Seems like things have been so busy. With spring comes a lot of things that demand attention, and the transition time between winter and spring is even busier. We've wrapped up all of our winter activities now, with the kids' piano recital on the weekend. We are also starting to work on the house again now that the weather is nice.

I can finally see ahead to the finished renovations in our home. We added on an attached garage two years ago, and part of it is planned to be a new entrance way, dining room, and an office for DH. He and I framed up the wall last weekend and we are going to be working on the suspended floor soon. It's exciting, though, to see the framework of what will soon be inside the house!

Soccer starts this week with the kids' first practises. Hopefully the weather will cooperate! We had snow on Friday. Snow! The roads got quite icy and it was a bit dangerous on the highway, but it didn't last very long thank goodness. Spring? It wants to come, but is not quite here yet.

We're busy planning at Just Cre8...for a couple of things! The June Sneak Peek is up and looks fantastic. Can't wait to get my hands on this one!

And we're gearing up for an online crop too. If you haven't been part of one at Just Cre8, mark it down on your calendars...May 22-24 is the date for our Happy-Be-Scrappy Spring Crop. Tons of prizes to be won, lots of mojo-inspiring challenges, tutorials, classes, and some games thrown in for good measure. Go to the forum and register if you haven't yet, and then tune in to the forum on that weekend. That's all you have to do to take part!

I have some new photos to share...I'll be posting them tomorrow. Until then, happy scrapping!

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Eye Candy Photos!

In the last couple of weeks, I have been blessed with a handful of photo opps, great lighting, and (mostly) willing subjects -- which make for awesome pictures! I wanted to share some of my faves from the last little while, and I'd love to hear what you think!

First, these photos are of two girls I absolutely adore. I have permission to post their pics on my blog and in my scrapbook pages (thank you parents!) as long as I don't use their names -- so we'll call them Z and R. So, to make a long story short, these two are like my nieces and their mom, G, is like a sister to me. You could never ask for better friends! I had Z and R at my house the other day while G was working and we had a little photo shoot. The girls are just beautiful inside and out -- and the photos captured exactly what I wanted them to!

Z is the oldest of the two -- she's the same age as my daughter, Renee, and they have been best best friends since they were in diapers together. She has gentle, kind eyes and a smile that lights up a room!

Z also has a very infectious giggle...

R is a doll...she has a sweet voice and her face is so expressive. You can always see what she is feeling in her face.

I love this look -- it is so characteristic of R!

Z and R have a very special sister relationship. They play together way better than any other siblings I know. G says they do have their spats...but I will believe it when I see it! LOL

Sister Secrets...love it...

This is G, their mom. My neighbour, my friend, and she's family to me.

And, of course, I have to throw in a couple of pics of my kids -- since they are my favorite subjects. This smiling, non-silly one of my daughter Renee is rare. I think G convinced her to smile nicely for me that day.

And my boy...he is the handsomest little man I know...but that's because I am his mother. ;)

Thanks for looking! Happy Scrapping!

We Have A Winner!

Gooood Friday morning!
OK, so first, thanks for the comments! I made a list of all the comments and then generated a random number to pick the winner.

1. Cheryl
2. Nathalie
3. Audrey
4. Suz
5. Betsy
6. Lydia
7. Janet B
8. Bamm-ela
9. Mrs. Wizzle
10. Sarah

And the winner of this Cosmo Cricket Blackboard Album:
Comment #5....Betsy!

Betsy please email me at amandalepage (at) canada (dot) com with your full snail mail address and I will send it out right away. Congrats!

Thanks for playing, everybody!

Next giveaway is at 2000 hits, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's the Day!

It's up! The Just Cre8 May 2009 kit is revealed today in the gallery and in the store -- and it is a good one! Bright, springy colours and cheerful embellishments to match. It has variety from a dozen different manufacturers and it all coordinates for perfect layouts!

You can see the kit HERE and the Cre8ive Crew designs HERE.

Here are my designs from this kit so far:

I realized, after organizing my photos, that I'd never scrapped Curty's first birthday. So here he is in all his cake-smushing glory:

This is one of my favorite photos of my nephew, Nick. I love how this LO turned out -- it's so crisp, like a bright cartoon:

This month, the kit includes a 4x4 canvas. I made mine into a "happy list" magnet to put on my fridge.
I've posted closeups of these layouts in my gallery at Just Cre8, so if you want to see more head on over there.

I'd love to hear what you think! Leave me a comment!

Oh...and we are at 1000 posts, aren't we? Time for a giveaway! Leave me a comment telling me if you've ever ordered a kit and what you loved about it on this post and I have a Cosmo Cricket blackboard album to send to one lucky winner. I'll draw for the winner on Friday morning, so get your comments in!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Buzzing with the Beaver

Energy drinks are an important ingredient of a lively scrapbooking evening or crop. However, you should be aware that certain Canadian energy drinks, consumed under questionable adult supervision may induce bizarre behavior, illusions of sophistication, and episodes of extreme creativity.

Evidence of such strange and unexpected conduct of scrapbooking professionals is demonstrated (for purely scientific reasons, of course) by this experiment observed at the Saskatchewan Scraps weekend earlier this year. Two very docile, quiet individuals were given several doses of Beaver Buzz (It's Dam Good!) Energy Drink while attending this event, and the following results were observed:
Yes, we would be glad to assist in this experiment...we are two very docile and shy scrapbookers, willing to help contribute to the study...

Cheers...to the science of scrapbooking...

Bottoms up...

Wait...I am beginning to feel a bit silly...

Is that a camera???? I hope they don't see me!

Look at me! I'm a beaver...

Look at us! We're both beavers!

Beaver Buzz...the only energy drink for creativity....

The opinions in this blog post are solely those of the scrapbookers that appear in these photographs. No beavers were harmed in the filming of this experiment.

And by the way, it is Dam Good! ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Saskatchewan Scraps!

OK, so I've put off this post for a while but I wanted to blog a little about the fantastic, holy-smokes scrapbooking fun we had a couple of weeks ago!

Canada Crop And Cruise sponsored a land-based scrapbooking weekend in Saskatoon a couple of weeks ago. One of my friends and fellow Just Cre8ive Crew designers, Leica Forrest, organized the whole shebang because she instructs on the cruise.

It was a weekend so full of fun! My best scrapbooking friends -- The Bad Girls -- were there, plus a handful of others I know from Saskatoon and around. Sue Sykes and Lori Mancini FLEW all the way here to spend the weekend with us. A handful of Just Cre8 girls drove or flew to make it to the event. Jackie and Heather were here from Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine. And I met Allison Orthner, Jill Hildebrandt, and a bunch of other ladies that were no neat to meet!

Here's our table -- we had a HUGE table in the center with all the Just Cre8 girls (and then some!) sitting at it. Needless to say, I spent very little time sitting and scrapping at this table. I did mostly talking and visiting...oy!

These are the fabulous shirts that Melissa Buhler designed for us -- I just adore my shirt. It makes me feel uber-cre8ive!

Here's my friend Kate Kading and I. She's one of the most bubbly, friendly people I know.

Here's Sue at the Just Cre8 table. She brought a whole suitcase of kits and Skribblz and stamps for the Saskatoon ladies to enjoy...and I really think they enjoyed them!

Mmmmmm....Skribblz! Gotta love them! And Just Cre8 stamps are just fabulous...if you want some, you can find them here!

Here's a pic of the whole Just Cre8 gang that was there, plus our guests from Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine.

And here's some of the Just Cre8 design team with Jackie, Heather, and Allison.

This lady is one of my loveliest friends...Corinne Braun. We've been scrapbooking together for a long time, and she has a kind, creative, generous heart. This is the girl who is responsible for over 1100 cards sent overseas to the Canadian Troops last year, and is working on more this year. This is the girl who spent her entire SaskScraps weekend making 8x8 layouts for children in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit and the Pediatric Care Unit in Saskatoon hospitals. This is the girl who always is honest, true, and kind -- and she is one of my favorite scrapbookers. Ever!

One of the highlights of my weekend was the layout contest! I won last year, so I chose not to enter this year. But I was SOOOOOOOOO excited when two of my best scrapbooking friends won! For both of them, this is their first publication and I am so happy for them.

Here's Sheryl with Jackie Ludlage!

And Andrea with Jackie too!

One of the most fun things that happened that weekend was a visit from Rambling Dave from C95, our local rock radio station. It started the week before when Dave made a comment about scrapbookers being "glorified sticker collectors." Well, it turned into a big tease-fest all week, and Dave was dared to come learn to scrap with us at the convention. Dawn, trying to change his opinion of us frivolous hobbyists, presented him with a book of his puppy who had to be put down a few weeks before. It worked...he cried! He also formally apologized on the air -- Dawn has the radio clips on her blog here.

And, of course, I had tons of laughs introducing Sue and Lori, my southern-Ontario friends to the joys of small town Saskatchewan. Because we live in the middle of nowhere. Yes, Sue -- this IS a store! ;)

Anyhoo -- lots and lots of fun. Next time, though, we'd like to go on the actual cruise. Fall 2010! Mark your calendars!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ready, Set, Live!

You know, I didn't go skiing until I was 30, because I was afraid I'd fall down and break something. I don't care for activities like windsurfing, waterskiing, scuba diving -- they just freak me out too much. And, to tell you the truth, I haven't put myself out in the scrap industry too much because I always am worried that the "No"s I'll encounter will damper what I so love to do.
This kind of explains the LO I want to share -- I was super pleased with the way it turned out. I've never actually posted a One Little Word challenge before, and maybe this time I will take a risk and throw my hat in the ring.

It was inspired by the current OLW challenge, the free Daisy Bucket rub on that I found in a goodie bag, and by my Slice! It's a layout about how, even though I tend to be afraid of a lot, I have decided to take risks and enjoy the things in life I may be afraid of.

The layered flowers were all cut with the Slice Noteworthy cartridge and embellished with a decorative brad and Sticklez:
I applied the poem rubon onto white cardstock and cut out each line...I didn't want to use it in a block shape:The key is from a MR chipboard keychain, painted with metallic silver paint:The title is Thickers, accented with Sticklez:


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Photos :)

My camera makes me happy. :) Last spring I splurged and bought a Nikon D40 with a couple of lenses. I'd been wanting a DSLR for a very very long time and finally had the cashola to pick one up. I know it's not top of the line, but I'm just a budding photographer so I figured that my camera technology could grow with me, KWIM?

One of things I've been trying to do since then is to improve my photography skills. And NOT because I want to be a professional (My Goodness! If I ever decide to put myself out there as a pro, someone shoot me!) but because I want to capture the way I see the world without having to spend hours in Photoshop before I print the pics.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a photography class with Allison Orthner...this lady is awesome! She's funny and engaging and knows how to explain good camera tips in plain ol' english -- which is exactly what I needed to hear.
This past weekend, I brought my camera to my parents place and shot some pics, trying to concentrate on "Quality" and not "Quantity". I am pretty happy with the results...here are some of my faves.

OK, so these ones aren't on my "top quality" list, but I love taking pics of my little man in action. He wanted to pull out the Quad and toodle around the yard, and because it was above zero we could! So this is the first ride of the year, and if you look closely you can see a teeny bit f action in the pics.

This one is one of my faves...my hubby and my daughter. Now if I could just get that girl to stop making silly faces when the camera comes out, I'd be a really happy camper!

This is my mom's sweetie -- her Cookie. Mom's been asking me to take good pics of the Cooksters so she can scrap them. Hope she likes them!

I rarely take pics of my little sister. Here she is with her hubby, who is a great guy. He wouldn't do the "turkey neck" for the photo, tho! LOL

I think this is my fave photo of my sister to date...

And I love this one of my mom...because she is honestly, truly laughing. And she's not making funny faces. Gee...I wonder where my daughter gets it from. Watch out, mom! Someday there is going to be a "Silly Faces" photo post and YOU are going to star in it. (Insert evil laugh here...Muahahaha!)

Anyhoo -- thanks for looking. Any photo tips for me? What's your best one? Please comment and let me know -- I love hearing what other people do!

Happy Scrapping!