Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Versailles, Paris, Giverny, and Rome- Part 1!

It was a day we had been looking forward to for a VERY long time. Britt, Bill, and I were all packed, checked in at the gate, and just waiting to hop on our first flight of the trip! 

(This is the cutest packing list ever! I had to snap a shot of it. Just because! Compliments of kate spade.)

Bill and I have been blessed to have visited Europe many times (always for work, but we will take it), but Britt had never been there. Her excitement was seriously contagious! I tried really hard to take pics of every single step of the journey. (She probably got REALLY sick of me saying, "SMILE, BRITTY!")

FINALLY it was time to land in Paris! I just kept watching Britt's reactions. I LOVED watching her face as she saw things for the first time. :)

And, yes, I made her pose by the welcome sign in the airport! We were just going to be crazy tourists this trip and that's OKAY! 

All of our luggage arrived (hallelujah!) so we grabbed them, hopped in a taxi, checked in to our hotel, washed up & changed, and took off on the train to Versailles! I kept telling Britt how important it was to try and stay awake the first day to beat the jet lag. (It was mainly a pep talk to myself. UGH. That first day is the worst! Just think of flying all night with no sleep, then trying to stay awake another 12-14 hours. At my age it's a major feat; even if I am in Paris!)

The Palace of Versailles was pure splendor. Not only was it HUGE, every single inch was decorated, from the floors to the ceilings. We could have walked for days and not seen it all. 

Selfie shot in the Hall of Mirrors! Wowza. Total opulence.

See what I mean? Looks just like our house back home. heh!

Even the grounds were vast, impressive, and over-indulgent!

Britt told me I HAD to get a photo of the Queen's bed...cause my girls are all huge readers and were just shocked and disgusted that custom at the time allowed people to watch the French royalty give birth.

So, according to the tour, people could be as close to the bed as the railing allowed. UGH! YEAH, that gold railing right there! (I understand why they did it. I just happen to feel sorry for those women. Although I DID have an audience when Britt was born. She was early and the doc brought in everyone he could think of, just in case. They joked and laughed about stuff. I wanted to slap 'em. And a janitor just walked in and started mopping the floor as I was delivering Bethany. Seriously? The nurse ushered him out pretty quickly, but, yeah. He must have been totally oblivious. So can I get a bit of those French designers to come decorate my home now?)

Back to Versailles....we loved visiting it! The town was beautiful too! We walked back to the train station and then started the miserable job of STAYING awake for the train ride back into Paris. Just for the record...Britt and Bill both fell asleep. :)

Stay tuned for Part 2...Paris sight-seeing!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured on Simon Says Stamp!

I always LOVE getting asked by Stephanie at Simon Says Stamp to make a special project for them! This time I chose a very sparkly, summery Magical Mermaid Layout! You can see the full project, plus step-outs, on their blog right here! But, here are a few peeks just for you!

Come create your own magical vacation layout with sand & water effects, a sparkling custom-colored mermaid, and shimmery golden seashells! I combined a few fabulous Prima products on my summer-filled page, perfectly framing one of my favorite summer vacation photos of my granddaughter, Amariah!

Prima's new paper collection, Sea Shore, makes me feel like I'm on a tropical beach! I wanted to add that same beachy texture to the paper. You'll have to check out SSS for the how-to!

BONUS: I will also be teaching this page, from start to finish, on Live With Prima, April 29th, at 11:00 PT right here! Thanks for letting me hang out with you today! :) Sharon
Prima Products:
813635 Sea Shore Paper-Under The Sea
574987 Sea Shore Flowers
573140 Sea Shore Cling Stamp
573270 Sea Shore Tag Me
573201 Sea Shore SIIC
910655 Julie Nutting Wood Doll Set-Ashley
573300 Resins-In-A-Box
573454 Lace Trim
572952 Wood ATC
573850, 573867, 573829, 573805, 573843 Color Bloom Sprays-Lime Wedge, Summer Sky, Worn Leather, Gold Foil, Antique Gold
891954 Gold Metallic Chalk Edger

Other: Gesso, Gold Sequins, Inka Gold, Glass Bead Gel, Sponge, Foam Squares

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Packing. Packing. Packing.

This isn't my first time to teach. And it isn't my first time to teach in Paris. BUT, I swear I have more stuff to bring this time than ever before. And I've gone through my suitcase twice already. (I am now invading Bill's suitcase with artsy stuff. HAHA. He doesn't need that many clothes, right?) So, you lucky duck students are going to have a blast with everything I bring over!!

I am REALLY looking forward to teaching this week-end! It's one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. I love sharing my love for the hobby. I love meeting people and seeing their amazing creativity. I love experiencing new cultures. And I love French food! Version Scrap is a wonderful event to experience it all! (Isn't that Paris print gorgeous? You can find it on Etsy! I just might have to buy myself one!)

So here is a run-down for those who signed up for my classes and what to bring!

Custom Art Journal:
Photos are optional. You can add them easily later. If you want to include some in your art journal.  (About 6-8 2x3 and 4x6 photos in both orientations will work for the pages we will go over. There are lots of additional pages to finish at home.)

Supplies to bring:
Heat Gun (if possible)
Paper Trimmer
Fancy-Edged Scissors or Edge Punch
Adhesive for sequins, paper, and flowers (I use fabric liquid adhesive- Helmar or Fabri-Tac)
Crop-a-dile or small hole punch
Small paint brush for details
Gold Ink
Wet Wipes
Paper Towel or Towel
Class sponsors include Faber Castell, PanPastel, Prima

Family Mixed-Media Journal
You may bring 3x4 and 4x6 landscape photos, or add them at home. This book holds a lot of photos, but we will be concentrating on the page backgrounds.

Supplies Needed:
Heat Gun (if possible!)
Paper Trimmer or Scissors/ruler
Adhesive for fabric, flowers, paper, ribbon
Decorative scissors or paper edge punch
1 inch foam paintbrush
Water spray bottle
Wet wipes/paper towel
Black or Brown Permanent Ink (Ranger Archival or Staz On)
Class Sponsors: PanPastels, Faber Castell, Stampendous
Blush Project Life Album

Supplies to Bring:
Black Pen
Paper Trimmer
Adhesive for paper
Photos (not required, but you can bring a variety of 4x6 inch (horizontal) & 3x4 inch (vertical) shots. Each page holds two-three photos. There are 40 pages in this album. We will go through 4-5 spreads.)
Sponsors Include: American Crafts, Becky Higgins, Simon Says Stamp

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Praying For Peace

Prima is joining in with people all around the world for a peace blog-hop. It was a wonderful idea brought to we had to jump in and do it! I could not believe how beautiful all the peace tags/cards are. You really need to hop on over to the Prima blog now and check them all out! I have the full blog list below too!

I really do hope and pray for peace. It is hard to see so much turmoil. I feel very blessed to work with people from all over the world and I just care for them so much. We may have different cultures and languages, but the human heart is the same. Please take a few minutes and join in to pray for peace.
Here is the whole blog list, (along with a few special groups joining us in a few days!

 Keren Tamir, Canada
Trina McClune, New Zealand
Tanya Batrak, Ukraine
Evegenia Petzer, South Africa
  Olga Heldwein, Poland
Elena Olinevich, Belarus 
Louise Nelson, Australia
Flo Teixeira, France
Felicity Wilson, Australia
Brit Sviggum, Norway
 Kelly Foster, USA
 Sharon Laakkonen, USA (You are here!)
by Maiko Miwa, Japan

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, March 21, 2014

Look at These Cuties!

I just had to show you the canvases with photos added! I MIGHT be a little bit biased, but these grandbabies sure are cutie-pies!

So just print out a 5x7 photo and add to the canvas with foam tape for a little dimension. (I did de-saturate my photos a tad to match the color scheme better.) Tuck the corners of the photos under a few embellies for a better look. That's it! Easy-peasie and you have custom angelic pieces for your home!

See post below with video link on how to make these yourself!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Custom Home Decor

I love making special pieces for the home! See how I used Pinterest as inspiration to create this sweet canvas for little Amariah's bedroom! (Just change the colors to match your decor. It's fast and easy!) I'm teaching LIVE at 11 AM PT/2 PM ET today!
Gilded Angelic Canvas
 Tuesday, March 18th at 11:00am PT/ 2:00pm ET/ 6:00pm GMT

Combine the latest trends and turn them into a beautiful, sparkling canvas for your home! Sharon will share how she incorporates fun trends and color palettes she loves on to her projects using Color Bloom sprays, stencils, sequins, stamps, chalk edgers, wood, lace and cherub resins! Watch for simple and fast techniques for coloring different mediums to fit your tastes. You might even catch a glimpse of Prima's new metal dies in action! It's going to be a full, fun-packed show.

Prima Products:

573911-Color Bloom Spray-Gilded, 573904-Color Bloom Spray-Peony, 573805 Color Bloom Spray-Gold Foil, 572815 Doily Metal Die, 574666 Luna Gold Flowers, 574680 Talia Gold Flowers, 574826 & 574840 Jute Canvas Flowers, 574628 Ivy Bay Gold Leaves, 564506 Cartographer Vine, 573669 Crochet Icons, 573454 Floral Lace, 573478 Angel Resins, 572921 Wood ATCs, 572235 Tulip Stencil, 891954 Metallic Chalk Edgers, 891053-Raspberry Pie Chalk Edger, 891268-Teak Wall Chalk Edger, 891107-Rusty Keys Chalk Edger, 563097, 961015, 563004 Prima Stamps

Extra Materials: 11x14 Canvas, White Paper, Molding Paste, Sequins, Ranger-Liquid Pearls

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Life at Full Speed Ahead

That's how I feel right now...I've been running to and fro and have just been BUSY! (As you can tell by my poor blog!) First there was the CHA trade show in January held in sunny California. I love creating with new products! Here are a just a few of my projects. (Both feature my daughter Brittany's wedding pics...cause Miss Breanna's were not ready yet!)

This layout uses the new Free Spirit collection by Prima. It's bright and cheery and totally perfect for Britt's wedding pics.
Something Blue is another new collection by Prima and is made for wedding photos! (Like this gorgeous shot by Honey Heart Photography!)

Shortly after CHA Tami and I hopped over to Germany to work another trade show there. I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest, as I had never been there before, but I LOVED Germany! CreativeWorld was fabulous. I love our distributors there. The people I met were just so amazing. And I LOVED the gals I was working with. 

Did I mention the weather? It was SO much warmer than I thought it would be (that's always a win-win in my book!) And the food???? Tami and I found a little restaurant right by our hotel that served authentic German food and we sort of PIGGED out a bit! Haha. We actually ate there three times in one week. Yeah. THAT good! One day after the show the train skipped our stop so we made friends with two other gals, while trying to figure out what to do, and then threw caution to the wind and ended up going shopping downtown with them! They were so fun...and we were quite lost, but it was a grand adventure!
I even found a Starbucks (behind us in the pic) and got my German know how important that is, Cari & Rommel!

After the show we went sightseeing. It was so hard narrowing down where to go and what to see! Seriously, Germany has SO MANY cool things. Being the girly girls that we are we decided Neuschwanstein Castle was a MUST SEE. In America we have the famous Disney castle fashioned after this very castle...thus us poor girls, who cannot pronounce Neuschwanstein to save our lives, just called it Cinderella's castle the whole day. ha.

 Now getting UP to the castle is a whole 'nother story. pant. pant. You think you've paid for drop-at-the-door service and then the carriage actually drops you off WAY far away. With a steep mountain climb in front of you. So we run to make our ticket time. pant. pant, cough. run faster still.
 And we're there and they open the front door with 2 minutes to spare! (Still coughing, but we rocked it!) No pics were allowed INSIDE the castle, so I can't post those. (And I finally stopped coughing near the end of the tour!)  :)
But, isn't it gorgeous? It's so regal and HIGH up in the mountains. (The other side looks more like the Disney castle, but I couldn't GET a good pic of that.)

A few other highlights of the day: Buying Schneeballens

Visiting old cities...

Going down the autobahn at a break-neck speed (146 mph/234 kmh.) Go, Sharon! I videoed it just to show my guys at home, cause I knew they would never believe me. (Secretly I LOVED going that fast! The video proof is on Facebook!)

And, this might rank right up there with one of my most favorite surprises on a trip, our driver took us into Austria! 

I knew we were right on the border, but thought it would be too much to ask him to go off the route. Austria (and Bavaria) were so beautiful...snow-capped mountains and little villages in the valleys. I swear I heard the Sound of Music playing...


So jump forward. Every time I get home from a trip it's mass chaos catching up on everything work-related and family-related! This time my guys did such a fantastic job of cleaning the house. You couldn't REALLY tell they had been living in a man cave for over a week. My hubby & boys did a great job getting rid of the evidence! And I missed them so much! Homecomings are always so sweet.

Being back home meant focusing on the next adventure! All of February...and I mean almost every spare evening and week-end...has been spent working on my Version Scrap classes. 

(I LOVED putting this colorful book together with the gorgeous kit! We also have some cool dies, sequins, and so many other embellies to add to the pages!)

(This class has the BIGGEST kit of all...and has many Mixed-Media pages and photo pages all mixed into one FUN journal! If you love playing with art supplies you will love this class! I even got a few NEW Color Bloom sprays & Nathalie Kalbach's new stamps for ya!)

(I love the colors of this kit, the wonderful selection of pages in the book, and the custom touches each technique will let you add to your art journal.'s gonna be an artsy adventure!)

Whew. I am ALMOST done with everything! Hopefully all kits will ship out next week...and they are very FULL! The box weights this year have gone up from last year, so that means more goodies for those of you signed up for my classes! If you have not signed up HURRY UP!!!! Some dates are sold out already.

These are just some of my amazing sponsors. You are going to LOVE playing with their products!!!