A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


Some Alaska layouts

I did another layout a few days ago and realised that I had a folder of layouts that needed to be photographed. I’ve now done that and they’ve been placed into their album.

I haven’t managed to do much scrapping lately, as there are now two nosey kittens to interfere, but I have done a bit. The last layout was done while Sammie watched carefully from inside my stash box, on the desk right next to where I was scrapping. It meant I couldn’t get at any more supplies, but it did keep her from walking all over the partly done layout. It’s a compromise 🙂

I’ve been scrapping the cruise that we went on after our few days in Vancouver and am about half-way through. I’m getting a bit bored with double layouts now though so I may give in to temptation and do a few singles of the cats. I do have rather a lot of photos of them…

This is the latest batch of Canada/Alaska layouts, once again in a gallery format.

Why is it that I can never get them to look square when I photograph them? And often manage to make it worse when I attack them in Elements? Just take my word for it – they are square, level and not at all wonky. Sigh.



A few Vancouver layouts

I have been playing with scrapbooking again! Hooray! It’s all down to the craft room clean-up, as I kept seeing stash that I loved and it made me want to play with it again.

While I was re-organising everything, I went through all the scrapbook albums as there were some layouts that needed to be filed. I had a flick through the album that I started last year, when I was attempting to get back into scrapping. That was a themed album of our Vancouver-Alaska-Canadian Rockies trip and I’d used a 6 x 12 album for it.

I’d only done a few layouts for it and then lost interest. It wasn’t working. I had so many photos that I wanted to use and the pages just weren’t big enough. I wasn’t enjoying it so didn’t continue. After looking at what I’d done so far, I made the decision to redo those layouts on 12 x 12.

The links to the Vancouver 6 x 12 layouts are here, here and here, so you can see that they just don’t work. I hadn’t done any theming other than using the same dies to cut out the journalling. The paper was a mis-mash and it all looked a mess.

I’ve now done all the Vancouver layouts again and this time, I tied the pages together a bit more. I’ve used the same die sets for the journalling blocks, but also used the same range of paper – Basic Grey’s Mellow. I also used various shades of brown cardstock for the backgrounds and used the same alpha dies for any titles. I’ve enjoyed scrapping these a lot more. They’re still fairly plain and simple but I was able to have a bit more fun with them.

For some of the layouts I’ve used some old page protectors that I found buried under some other stash. They’re the fold-out type so if you notice a tag saying Open the flap, it’s because I’ve used one of those. I’m also trying to incorporate some of the bits and bobs that we brought back with us, such as tickets or leaflets.

There are a lot of photos so I’ve made them into a gallery. Just click on one to see it full size.

I’d also done about four of the Alaskan Cruise layouts for the 6 x 12 album and will make a start on redoing those next. I’m thinking I’ll use shades of blue cardstock for the backgrounds, a different range of patterned papers and maybe a different alpha die for the titles. I’ll use the same die sets for the journalling blocks though. When I eventually get to the photos from our jaunt over the Rockies, I’ll probably change it up again. It’ll separate the different stages of our adventure nicely.

Hopefully it won’t be years before the next update 🙂



Alaskan Cruise layouts #1

This is great fun reliving our cruise from two years ago.

I started with photos from the day we boarded and saw our beautiful cabin for the first time, and then sailed off towards Alaska.



You may notice that I couldn’t cope with wonky photos any longer and have been playing with Skew in Elements to straighten these up a bit. If only I could get them straighter when I take the photo but whatever the knack of that is, it completely eludes me.

We had two days at sea and rather than do two separate but similar layouts, I’ve done one layout for both days.



When I picked the photos for all the layouts, I had a plan for how each one would be done. If only I’d made better notes as for some of them I’ve been completely at a loss about how I’d planned to squeeze ALL of the photos on plus a title and journalling. I never learn.

Still, it’s been fun playing and I do love puzzles…


Vancouver layouts #2

These are the last two double layouts for Vancouver. For this album at least – I’m finding myself thinking more and more of doing some larger layouts for my Canada album. I need to pluck up the courage though. I’m a bit intimidated by anything larger or more complicated than this at the moment.

This one is a continuation of the day we went to Stanley Park and Vancouver aquarium. We took the HOHO around the city and got off at Canada Place and walked from there to Gastown.




That’s the desk in the background and the layouts are rectangular and not bent like a banana as the photo is suggesting. I’m thinking maybe I should have taken a bit more time in Elements to straighten that out a bit…

Our final day in Vancouver was spent at Capilano Park. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I loved it.



The next lot of photos to be scrapped are from the cruise. They’re already sorted and are sitting in the page protectors. I also have all the Rockies photos back from Photobox now and they are also sorted and in the album. It’s going to be quite thick when it’s finished and I didn’t have quite enough page protectors for it. I’ve cut down six 12×12 PPs as I can’t find any 12×6 online. I don’t think that size is available any more. It is an old album though.

In the recent sale I bought photo credits, partly to save a few pounds, and partly to encourage me to get a move on with the uploading and ordering as they had a 30 day deadline. After putting all the Rockies photos in my basket, I had a few credits left so I’ve ordered a few photos from our Disney 2010 holiday to scrap, to give me a break from this album. I knew I had some good ones from the Halloween party and just fancied doing those. It’ll be a nice change to do some that aren’t blue or green and they might be enough to tempt me onto those larger layouts.


Vancouver layouts

I’ve done a couple more layouts for my Alaska and Rockies album. I’m quite getting into it now and am starting to remember just why I spent so many hours scrapping before. I’m working my way through our adventures in Vancouver at the moment before moving onto the cruise.

I started with a double page of Grouse Mountain.


The Cuttlebug is still getting a good workout and I can’t say how glad I am that I finally replaced my printer with one that actually prints. The new one spits out a piece of text in seconds, and it doesn’t need redoing ten times to get it usable. Marvellous!

Next to be done was Stanley Park.



Even the Sidekick came out to play when the Cuttlebug alpha dies were too large. That one is Playground which I thought was appropriate for a park. I’m happy to be getting so much use from my Spellbinders too. Must stop eyeing up the different shapes that are available now though.

I’ve two more layouts almost ready for photographing. Must give my cross stitch some attention for a few days though. It’s been shamefully neglected while I’ve been scrapping and editing photos.

So many hobbies, so little time…


It’s a start

I have scrapped. I got my photos back from Photobox, enough to take me up to the end of the cruise, and have roughly planned what I want to do with them. Rather than just print a lot of random photos that I like and then try to figure out what to do with them, I’ve done some vague journalling on the laptop, which will need trimming down, and that told me which photos I needed to go with it. I just want this album to tell the story of our holiday. Nothing fancy – I can do fancy for some of the 12×12 albums with larger photos later on if I want to. For now I want to get the memories in an album.

So far, I have the first three pages done, all single page layouts. Most of the rest will be doubles.

I started with why we ended up going to Alaska and the Rockies. Just journalling on this one. I’m making good use of my lovely Cuttlebug. Please ignore the dates on this as they’re slightly wrong and have since been corrected. What was I thinking?!


The journey there – with a photo from the plane.


And a sort of intro to the first stage of our holiday.


I doubt that anything is exactly level as I’ve just been eyeballing it. Not like my former style at all, but I don’t feel the need to measure everything any more. I’m not even spending ages tinkering with the photos of the layouts to straighten them up. The layouts have straight edges, the photos are deceptive and show bits of desk around the edges. I don’t care.

I won’t be bullied into using my own disgraceful handwriting on my layouts just because it’s more ‘heartfelt’ or better in some way. I like printed journalling and that’s what I shall use. So there.

I’ve cut up whole sheets of patterned paper to use strips. They’ve sat there for years so I may as well use them. I was surprised that my chalk inks were still juicy enough to ink the edges of the journalling blocks and a little relieved as I wasn’t planning to buy more. I did hesitate slightly before using my ‘precious’ Places we love cardstock, before giving myself a quick slap round the head. Again, it’s been sitting there unused for years. Better to cut it up and put it in an album.

So there we have it. Three very plain and simple layouts done. Stash has been used. Two more layouts are on my desk and are almost done, with photos ready for a dozen more. I have no expectations, and am putting no pressure on myself and consequently I’m quite enjoying it.

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Bridges and treetops and cliffs

That’d be Capilano park then, and didn’t I do well. Today I went up here.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
In order to get to that, I had to go over on this.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
Yikes, eh? But, I’m afraid to say that I completely and utterly wimped out when it came to this.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
I found my limit, and my limit is apparently bits of metal sticking out from a cliff.

So, backtracking to this morning, we started the day by doing the blue loop on the HoHo to use the second day on our tickets. We really enjoyed going round and seeing some of Vancouver without having to worry about getting lost. The commentary was very entertaining especially as our driver kept going off the prepared script and onto Vancouver economics, politics and general gossip. It was most enlightening. Before getting on the trolley we had a spot of breakfast at a rather nice food court at Canada Place. I was a bit bemused by all the choice and in the end had a slice of pizza. Personally, I see nothing wrong with pizza for breakfast. It’s just like cheese on toast only with other stuff on as well.

After our tour we drove out to Capilano and entered the park. We looked at the bridge. I decided that I needed some coffee before attempting it so we went for a quick sit down and a drink. Then we went and looked at the bridge some more. We walked along and looked at the cliff walk, which you could look down at. It looked very scary. I was being careful not to look at how high the bridge was at this point. Then, I decided that I could dither about all day but the best bet was to just ‘do it’ so I walked over to the bridge and just walked over it.

I say walked over it. I got about halfway and wasn’t doing to badly. The bridge was moving quite a lot as there were some people jumping on it and I started to get a bit panicky. I’d been very careful not to look down but I did make the mistake of stopping and found it quite hard to start again. For about fifteen seconds I thought I might be stuck but then I managed to start walking again and although I wasn’t what you’d call calm, I got over. I was trying not to think about the return journey, as quite frankly I was very happy to have done it. Bridges are one of my big fears so to have gone over a narrow swaying suspension bridge was quite a big thing.

We thought it best to do something calming next so we did the nature walk which takes you by the side of the river, but from a height. It goes under the bridge and the treetops walk and then back round. It’s all on a boardwalk and is very tranquil. At least it was until we came to a bit from where I took the above photo of the bridge, which is where I realised just how high it actually is. 230 ft to be precise and it stretches 450 ft across. Yikes. I still can’t believe that I walked over that. Twice.

After our nice walk round we decided to go up into the trees. They have a Treetops adventure which is seven suspension bridges between the trees. It’s very tame compared to ‘that bridge’ though as it only reaches 100 ft at its highest and doesn’t wobble nearly as much, as the spans are much shorter.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
See? Piece of cake. You can bet I wasn’t doing that on the big bridge, but these treetop bridges were much sturdier. I still didn’t look down on the actual spans, but the bits round the treetops that linked them, I did look down as I was ok on them. And, considering that for a while I was 100 ft up on these smaller bridges, I’m thinking that I did pretty well there. In case you’re thinking that maybe that’s a look of fear on my face there, here’s a better pic.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
See? No fear. Two out of three so far then so not bad. You might notice that for the first time the jacket is on. It was a bit cooler today as the sun was behind a cloud. It was still warm enough, just a bit overcast. The clouds were down over Grouse Mountain though so I’m very glad that we didn’t leave that until today.

We’d done everything we wanted to on this side so it was time to go back over the main bridge. I didn’t have a lot of choice so we waited until some boisterous people had gone over and then I just went for it. I was very, very careful not to look down. I just alternated on focusing on the planks of the bridge and the end of it and walked at a steady pace. It was actually quite difficult to walk on it as it tossed you about a bit. First the left side lifts up and then the right, and not at the same tempo all the time. Stephen said it made you stagger like a drunk.

I got there though and promptly demanded coffee and a honking great cake as a reward. My legs were shaking just a bit, and I was very relieved to have got safely back over.

Next was the cliff walk. We descended the spiral stairs to the first platform and then I stalled. I just couldn’t do it. We stayed there for about ten minutes while I tried to persuade myself down. I had my feet on the steps a couple of times but I’d found my limit. I mean, have you seen it?

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
It’s not quite as high as the bridge but it’s much higher than the treetops adventure. Some of it is glass, but you don’t have to walk on the glass if you don’t want to. I don’t know why it scared me so much more than the treetops but I just could not set foot on it. At least I can say I tried though.

Stephen really enjoyed it and I took a few photos of him down there before he disappeared. Then I had a chat to some people from Manchester while I waited for him. They were waiting for their friends too so at least I wasn’t the only one who opted out.

We’d seen pretty much all we wanted after that, but found time for a couple more photos. There was a nice garden area with some totem poles which was too good a photo op to resist.

Bridges and treetops and cliffs
Then we had a quick look around the obligatory gift shop where I had to purchase the t-shirt that says “I survived The Capilano Suspension Bridge”. Well, I am rather proud of that. Stephen had to go in for some oneupmanship and got the cliffwalk version *grin*

I was a bit weary when we got back with all the fresh air, excitement, and sheer terror so had a little read for an hour before doing the bulk of the packing. Stephen nipped next door to get some McDinner, while I packed. We’re pretty much ready to go now. Just a few last minute things to pack but we should be ready to go bright and early tomorrow.

Tomorrow we take to the high seas and I’ve heard that the internet on board the ship is useless so I don’t expect to be updating my blog again until after the cruise. I’ll no doubt have to give it a try, ‘just to check my email’ you understand, but othewise – see you in a week.

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The Vancouver trolley

Yesterday we were on top of Grouse Mountain looking down on Canada place. We could see the distinctive white sails that marked where we’ll be cruising from on Tuesday. Today we were standing under those sails looking up at Grouse Mountain and marvelling at just how high up we were yesterday. How cool is that, eh?

Once again we were fortunate with the weather as it was another glorious day. At one point we passed a sign that told us that the current temperature was 29 degrees. There was a slight breeze that made that just pleasant.

We were up bright and early this morning, and when I say up, I mean that we were awake but still in bed as we were watching the Grand Prix at 5am. Hey, it’s what we do. Once that had finished, we went down to breakfast, which is included in our room cost. It isn’t bad, there’s toast, bagels, cereal, some pastries and a bit of fruit. And coffee of course. All in a nice little breakfast room.

We took our time getting ready to go out and had done a quick supermarket trip for a few bits and were on the road by 10am. We drove to Stanley Park and pulled in by the aquarium. This was on our list of things that we really wanted to do and we had a nice couple of hours in there. We enjoyed a talk on raptors and watched a display of Beluga whales.

The Vancouver trolley
I’m not sure I’d even heard of Beluga whales before so I found that really interesting. We spent quite a bit of time in the tropical section looking at the fish. They have some huge fish including one gorgeous catfish who came right up to the glass to say hello.

Then we went to visit the famous sea otters. I’d seen them ages ago on the internet. You must have seen the clip on youtube of them holding hands as they float round. They even had that clip showing in the gift shop. That pair wasn’t out this morning but we did see one being fed and he was very cute.

We walked around the Amazon exhibit and looked at the birds and butterfllies and snakes. The snakes were beautiful. Just look at this chap.

The Vancouver trolley
One reason for starting at the aquarium was that it is right by a stop for the Hop On, Hop Off trolley, which we’d got tickets for. After we’d finished looking round, we walked down and got on the next trolley to come along. We enjoyed listening to the commentary as we travelled round Stanley Park and then around Vancouver.

We got off at Canada Place and had a walk round there to see where we’d be sailing from on Tuesday. There were a couple of ships in which we had a nose at as we walked up and down. This one was the larger of the two, although you can’t really tell from this photo as I was trying to be all arty with the white sails.

The Vancouver trolley
After walking round here we wandered round the corner into Gastown and explored that area for a couple of hours. I have a sweet tooth, especially for maple syrup so I was delighted to find a shop that specialised in all things maple. They even did maple cappuccino but I resisted that and just had some maple chunk ice-cream. It was very nice indeed.

We saw the steam clock and heard it strike the quarter hour and further down we saw the statue of Gassy Jack. There were lots of lovely shops to wander in and out of but every time I saw something that I fancied I kept thinking of that 23kg weight limit on the suitcases and found it quite off-putting. Sigh.

We walked back past Canada Place and stopped for a couple more photos.

The Vancouver trolley
Then we got back on the HoHo and went back to Stanley Park to get our car. We drove round Stanley Park’s one-way system, stopping off to admire the view, have a stroll, take photos etc, as we fancied, until we felt we’d had enough for the day.

At Prospect point we watched the two ships head off, along with quite a few other people. Everyone had got their cameras out ready to catch the ship as it came under the bridge. Then a chattering noise was heard and a raccoon appeared from under a bush. Everyone’s camera moved from the big impressive ship that was sailing gracefully beneath the bridge, to the small raccoon. Well, it was kind of cute…

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped off at Safeway and picked up chicken and chips for our dinner. Oh the extravagance.

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Grouse Mountain

It’s pretty well known that I’m scared of heights. So, where have we come on holiday? To a lovely place with mountains and bridges and other high stuff. Of course we have. I’ve come with the attitude that I’m fed up of missing out on the interesting and fun things and am going to try and not be such a scaredy cat. Easier said than done, I know, as fear of heights isn’t logical, but today I have done well.

Today I’ve been on one of these.

Grouse Mountain
And on one of these.

Grouse Mountain
I wasn’t too worried about the Sky Ride as my subconsious seems to perceive cable cars as flying and as I’m not scared of flying, that’s not a problem. I’ve never been on a chair lift before though so I had no idea how I’d be on it. I was fine. Loved it in fact. Stephen on the other hand, the person who isn’t scared of heights, was a bit white-knuckled. I found that quite amusing.

The day got off to a slow start. I’m afraid I woke with a headache. Only one of the vile bangy headaches thankfully and not a migraine but it would not go away. It took until noon before I was fit to leave the room so we didn’t get the early start we wanted. Still, we can work around it as our plans were flexible to accomodate the weather.

The day was beautiful. Hot and sunny with just a few wisps of cloud in the sky. I think it got up to about 27 degrees although it was slightly cooler up the mountain. We took light jackets but didn’t need them. We found our way to Grouse Mountain easily enough with just a map. There was only a small queue to go up and in no time we were in the sky ride for the short trip up. It was amazing. So fast and smooth and the views of Vancouver as you soar up the mountain are spectacular.

Once at the top we went for lunch. There’s a great selection of places to eat up there but we went for something quick. I just had a slice of pizza and Stephen had a burger. Then we went for a walk round and came across the bird show about to start. I love birds of prey so we stopped to watch and take a few photos. It seemed like a good opportunity to try out the sports mode on the camera.

Grouse Mountain
Next we walked round to the chair lift and decided to go all the way up. As I said, I’d never been in one before but I wasn’t even worried about getting on, with it not stopping. It was very easy and the seat was nice and deep so I felt very safe. The views from there as we sailed slowly up were once again absolutely amazing. The ride takes 15 minutes and is so calm and peaceful. It was wonderful.

There wasn’t a great deal to see at the top but there were some lovely views from various points. We could see Canada Place from where we’ll be sailing on Tuesday so we got quite excited about that. We could see snow covered mountains and actually found snow on the ground as we were exploring so that was exciting too. Stephen was enjoying himself taking lots of photos and posing for the odd one.

Grouse Mountain
After walking round the top a while, and watching the zip-liners, we decided to go back down to the lower level. We had the choice of walking or using the chair lift again but there was no competition really. I was very keen to get back in that chair lift. I’m not so sure about Stephen though. You had to stand quite close to the edge to wait for the chair to scoop you up and he was eyeing the drop up a bit nervously. Oddly enough, I was fine.

Grouse Mountain
We had another walk round once we got to the middle level before going down in the Sky Ride to the bottom. It really whooshes down when it leaves the top station. It’s just amazing. Like flying. We were lucky to secure a spot at the front of the ride both times so we had a brilliant view going up and down. We took photos but being through glass, they’re not perfect.

All that walking and fresh air wore us out a bit and it was getting late by then as we’d been up on that mountain for hours, so we came back to the hotel. We’ve had a snack dinner in our room and are having an early night as we hope to get up nice and early to catch the Grand Prix before breakfast.

We’ve had a terrific day today and really enjoyed ourselves. Great start to the holiday.

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It’s Friday night again

It’s a bit like Deja vu. We’ve already had one Friday night on the plane. And now we’re on Vanvcouver time, we’re having another one. My body clock thinks that it might be Saturday morning but isn’t certain as I had about four hours kip while we were in the air. It’s all very confusing but I think I’m tired enough to sleep tonight and hopefully not be awake at 3am. Strewth, and I thought the 5 hour time difference was interesting when we do the East coast.

So, as we’re now safely installed in our hotel, I thought I’d just test the wi-fi and sneak in an extra blog post. Sort of Friday part two if you like, only you’re getting it on Saturday I suppose. This is going to be most confusing isn’t it.

First off, Purple Parking. Once again they were very impressive. We’re confident that the car is in safe hands. They were very efficient, friendly and courteous. And we were very happy to let them do the driving into Heathrow as the traffic was mad.

I wasn’t looking forward to Heathrow as I loathe Gatwick and I was tarring them both with the same brush, possibly unfairly. As it happened, T5 was great. It was quiet and well run and as soon as our time came up for us to drop our bags, we were airside in no time. Airside was like a shopping centre and was rather busier, but it was still ok. We liked the transit system that we had to ride to get over to our gate. It whooshed along. Great fun.

Boarding was fine, and quite funny when the chap made what I hope was a mistake when he tried to board “children with small families” first. We had a small delay so we didn’t take off until 6pm and we were told we would be taking a very northerly route to avoid high winds. Wonder if that was Irene. We went over Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Stephen tells me that at one point half the people on the plane had their cameras out talking photos but I was asleep so I missed it. I did however get a nice photo of the Rockies, and as that’s where we’re going, although maybe not that exact bit, I’m happy with the shot I do have.

It's Friday night again
That was just before we came in to land in Vancouver. The views for about half an hour before landing were lovely and we had a beautiful view of Vancouver itself as we flew over it prior to swinging round for the airport.

Everything went smoothly enough at the airport. We went through it quickly enough. We got upgraded at Alamo as I thought we might, as I’d only booked the smallest car and they rarely have many of those. It would have been fine but I wasn’t going to complain about the slightly larger one. At least Stephen wasn’t. We got a bit confused on the way to the hotel. We lost Knight St. I’ve no idea where the turning for it was but we gave up in the end and came down a different street. It’s all on a grid so I don’t think it made a lot of difference. We got here fine and the room is small, but has everything it’s supposed to have and is clean. It’s cheap and cheerful and has free wi-fi.

So altogether the day was fine. We’ve got here safely and with a bit of luck we’ll sleep well and will be raring to go tomorrow.