Thursday, September 29, 2016

Towel Talk

 ooo, ooooh, pick my room next!
Raise your hand if you've been on a cruise and were delighted each night by the hand folded towel animals left amongst the once scattered but now nicely arranged items in your cabin? These small creations are such a highlight for many, including me. Including our two girls, and actually, including Ray as well. He even found a very old brochure of how to fancy fold napkins  from a cruise taken in his previous life for me after our return from Alaska in 2012.
Who's my little Polar Bear? Sunny -despite the cold
When we saw the listing in our daily itinerary for the towel folding demonstration onboard the Amsterdam, we ran around trying to locate the theatre, breathlessly arriving to sit on the edge of our seats to see how the magic...unfolded :-) The demo did not disappoint, featured a swan, jelly fish, elephant, dog, and monkey, and also managed to put hubby in a state of needing a nap lol.
 No bother, Rainie got to play with her peers under the supervision of Miss Paula in Club Hal, and Sunny and I explored the ship, splashed our toes in the pool, and then jumped in wholeheartedly after obtaining permission to swim from dad, who cares so much about us as to regulate the amount of chlorine we are exposed to <3  And was it cold, swimming in the frigid waters of Stephen's Passage towards Juneau? YES! But, don't we make the cutest little blue popsicles you ever did see?!
Interestingly enough, the next day there was listed on the itinerary... "Polar Plunging." Been there, done that, or, oooh we can get a certificate saying what we did yesterday was exemplary...
You know we earned the right to be called certifiable with another dip in the glacial, floating ice berg filled waters of Alaska's Inside Passage!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Table Talk

I'm big fan of what comes from, and this September she is guiding subscribers through a series of prompts that have allowed me to ponder, what New Thing I have learned each day. I sincerely enjoyed using her daily prompts last year to start conversations with my family about what I was learning, as well as what they have or have yet to learn. There are so many stories I have heard as an older person that may have been quite influential had they been told to me as a younger person...but, then again, maybe not! After all, don't most teenagers think they have an edge over "old people?" Hmmm. Anyway, I enjoyed the process of talking at the table with our children about lessons learned and committed to doing the same this year, once the course, open through and to the month of September, opened up.
Committed... that's what I should be, for thinking that I would be able to follow an even more rigid system of recording thoughts and topics, when even last year's section of spiraled notebook paper fell short of capturing the full 30 days. I mean, how many times have I taken a very simple, effective process and transformed it into a completely uninteresting, utterly avoidable task? The answer reader, is MANY. So yeah, I placed divided page protectors in my working scrapbook album, labeled each one with a easy-peel-off label, and even sectioned off a special spot for our trip to Alaska pictures taken last week. All this was done days before the class even started!
And then, I didn't write down more than two or three of the subjects. In a notebook, on in my planner. Not even on the pretty pieces of patterned paper I specifically put in my planner with which I intended to record upon. 'Cause I didn't write out a single story shared. And, truth be told, I hardly shared a bit of what I read in my emailed PDF's nearly every day (I did read the prompt most every day. Well, more days than not) with anyone else, let alone my family members.
All this not doing kind of, bothered me. I started to do the, why did I even do all that work in my album, mumbo jumbo. Creative process interferers are what those sentences are. My month didn't go the way I wanted it to and the intentions I had fell somewhat short. And that's okay. I've learned that every project, even a repeated one, can be unlike another. I didn't stop looking for lessons, I just didn't validate them with recorded verbiage. I felt them occur, more than made them happen, I guess.
My cardmaking is a perfect example of when this works well in my life; not only can I hardly create two very similar cards, two made to be exactly alike is practically unfathomable. That's actually what makes them valuable to me... each one is made with a person or story in mind at the time. I want each recipient and or sender to feel they have the perfect thing in their hand, to feel reached for, remembered. Which brings me to another great example of creating without standards of exactitude; my scrapbook pages. I can follow the exact same pattern/template/sketch or what have you, but depending on which photo, patterns of papers, color schemes, and embellishments are combined, the feeling of the writing, the wording of the title, etc- they will all work towards a new look that is unique to the layout and not the sketch followed.
So, back to my not following the "rules" for Learning Something New Everyday, which Shimelle repeats, are not in existence. Sitting at the breakfast table with my family on our second day at sea, cruising toward the capital city of Alaska (pictured in the previous post), I laughed when I realized the East Indian family sitting behind me had their very own "Food Saver" brought from home being dished onto the husband's meal.
"Food Saver," you ask? Well, most of know someone who just has to have some Thing on their food to make it palatable- be it black pepper, salt, tobacco sauce, ketchup, etc. My honey has constantly changing add-it-to-all; past inclusions being ginger, nutmeg, Dijon mustard(s), and, for this trip, the cayenne pepper. The food saver! For any meat not spiced well or at all, for the eggs cooked any which way, for a dash of hot lemon water cleansing, or maybe even for fake on the spot tearing up of the eyes! Okay, the last two were just things I thought of :-)

I shared this story of following along in the class, attempting to learn something new each day, the food saver moniker, the laugh I had as I pondered the opportunity to share this very post's contents as I had hoped to do... at the breakfast table, with my family, learning with each other, that sometimes, a simple taste from home can make you feel as if you've not left it.
Then we shared the tale with the subjects, and our new friend Raj's delectable addition was, (wait for it)
 Pickled Mangoes, made from scratch and brought home from he and wife Sheila's most recent trip to their ancestral home of India. Sometimes, a lesson to be learned is right where you are! I might mention, I also learned in speaking with this most delightful couple, that unlike English, or French, their native language is, for the most part, pronounced phonetically. Interesting, AND handy to know!
So, do you know the capital city of the great big state of Alaska? Comment below!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Couple of Costs

Cruise for 4 to Alaska with an unobstructed, Oceanside window...$3000

Tacky tourist trinkets to take home...$98.70

Cocktails for a Happier Hour or two (or four)...$42

Printed pictures of your vacation waiting at Walgreens on your way home...$11.59

Posted greetings mailed home from ports of call... $2.90

Time not spent cooking, cleaning, driving, performing manual labor or caring for animals, and instead simply enjoying the company of your family ... Priceless


Thursday, September 22, 2016

New School Field Trip

This week, I have the pleasure of vacationing with my family aboard Holland America's Amsterdam on a cruise through Southeastern Alaskan waters. Our destinations so far have included Stephen's Passage and the capitol city of Juneau, where we walked about town and happened upon this incredible spot just waiting for a #CraftWithAnna event to take place.
Ok, so I didn't break out my to-go-stamping kit and teach a class to the strangers out walking past our photo op? Well, no, but you can bet I thought about it! Because, when you see a desk marked "free" beckoning from a hotel parking lot, you take advantage of it, right?!
This is our second voyage with HA over Alaskan waters, and this time I brought along a few items that have certainly made waiting around watching scenery pass by with little ones a whole lot more pleasant. Not just for them, but for me too, I freely admit. We have amongst our generous helping if supplies in tow a set of watercolor pencils, pre-cut sheets of watercolor paper, assorted other papers collected along the way being repurposed for painting-on materials and a spritzer bottle for water.
Experiments of pencil on wet paper, penciled pigment being picked up and applied by brush, and even finger painting may or may not have taken place. Subjects such as waterfront views, tabletop floral still lifes, and even carpet designs have thus far been studied as inspiration for our creativie passions.We are having fun passing the time and capturing a bit of Alaska to take home as well.
I must say, though, as much as I love our little canvases, seeing Rainier being so generous and thoughtful while gifting away her original artworks to our good natured servers has been a gentle reminder that, as much as we cherish the moments that make memories, if we do not share them, they remain only with us. So, thank you, dear reader, for allowing me to share a bit of my mothering, teacher's joy with you in this post...
Now, who's interested in a REAL CraftWithAnna on location amongst Alaska experience?! Leave a comment below and let me know where your "bucket-list" cruise would go, and for bear's sake,
Stay Crafty!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Open Roads

Ventured over the pass last weekend to scout out some possible over winter residents. Our destination: somewhere around Cle Elum. I'd only found out the weekend before that all the hotels in the area were booked, so we knew we'd be camping, but where was to be determined.
Growing up, our family often pulled into a more hospitable campground than Mother Nature usually provides... not at all in terms of scenery, but definitely a campground is preferred when small children are about. Nevertheless we took our chances camping off the state land and were pleasantly satisfied with the conditions, site, and view at our camp.
The rushing roar of the river drowned out any noise and provided a blank backdrop for Rainier's guitar and song singing to fill the air. She strummed that thing over rocks, down to the river's edge, from atop a creosote-soaked bridge... I was impressed! "Sixteen Tons" amongst the boulders walking back from a hike was epic.
Soon enough we'll find out if Moe or Stoney, above will be rooming here for the winter. Their friend Rio is a perfect match for our pony Chippy, though, and regardless it'll be fun having them. High Country Outfitters runs trail rides, group overnights, and girl's camp all summer and leases a portion of their well-trained herd mules and horses out to riders from fall to spring. The owners, Stacy and Brian invited us up to peruse their wares so to speak.
It would have been really hard to choose but I had fallen for Stoney before we left after seeing him online, and Moe and Ray bonded- you can guess how that went. We're lucky to be able to afford this opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting more comfortable than I've ever been, riding and just being around the horses in general. Rainie and I have been riding Chippy a bit but I'm learning to recognize my weaknesses.