Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Construction on the Coast

When we drove to the Jersey shore, we just stopped at the first beach we came upon. As it so happens, there was construction taking up most of the beach. We skirted around to get to the water, but many of my photos have the tell-tale bright orange marking the construction zone. Made for a few interesting shots:
I like the tracks in the sand.
And the fluttering orange flags.
Here's a large flock of shore birds I couldn't get a very good photo of... but the birds behind the "keep out" sign is pretty great. And so are the soaring birds:
I wish we could have spent more time seeking out different beaches, comparing the rocks & shells collected from each one.
But I'm really glad I can finally say I've seen the ocean!
I have a few more sets of photos from the coast to show you, but I'll keep them in draft mode for those days when I'm at a loss for time or words. I will try to get them up sooner rather than later though - I need the motivation to continue taking more pictures!

(Are you ready for it to be December tomorrow? I'm not!)

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

366Pages Banner

Like I said, you'll be seeing a lot of my 366Pages project in the near future.

Today, I finished up a banner & sidebar ad for the blog. Here they are:
the banner

the sidebar button / ad

You can see the sidebar button in action on my sidebar - right over there -->

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. And I'm getting pretty excited about the start of the new year!

What do you think? Do these make you want to click to find out more?

366Pages Preview

As promised, here's a preview of a daily prompt from 366Pages.

For this prompt, I included "step-by-step" & "rapid fire" examples from my sketchbooks. The former will be an example of a page that's a bit more involved - it may take longer, require drying time or involve a new technique. Often, I'll post some "in progress" photos of these pages. Rapid Fire examples are quick & dirty - they take minimal time & supplies for when you just need to get it out there.

Not all prompts will have both types of examples & sometimes I may refer to previous step-by-step posts.

OK - are you ready?

Tear a page out of a magazine & highlight some words.

You're free to interpret this any way you like: pick any paragraph from any magazine & highlight whichever words you choose however you like! Then get those words onto the page in a way that makes sense to you.

Here's how I did it:


step 1: rip a page out of a magazine
I went with a free magazine I picked up at the liquor store.

step 2: rip that page into smaller pieces
Choose at least one block of text & images / patterns / colours that make you happy. Don't forget to look on both sides of the page you ripped out.

step 3: glue the pieces down
Feel free to be random - let the pieces fall onto the pages & glue them there.

step 4: read the text & pick out some words that jump out at you
You may have already done this & designed the collage around those words. Don't over think this. If there's only one word that you like, go with it.
I chose this block of text because I liked the font. The phrase "marry traditional techniques with new technologies" struck me as particularly relevant to art.

step 5: cover up most of the page with Gesso, white paint or white tissue paper & liquid glue
Keep your chosen words uncovered. Cover as much or as little as you like.
I painted Gesso over the words lightly & then immediately rubbed it off with a paper towel to soften the edges.

step 6: finish the page with permanent marker & your favourite supplies
Feel free to add more colour with paint or pastels. I used some Washi tape & doodled a frame for the words I chose. Then I added some of my own words as a border.

This step-by-step method requires collage & Gesso drying time, something that isn't at all necessary for this prompt. Here are 2 more examples of ways to complete this prompt a little more quickly (but no less effectively):

Rapid Fire

Instead of wet collage, a glue stick is a huge time saver. It's also pretty effective alone, but Washi tape adds a bit of security & colour to loose edges.

A permanent marker is one of my favourite ways to blank out text. The contrasting colour helps to pick out the words of interest.

Why bother with glue & markers when you have pretty tape? Patterned masking tape like Washi tape is perfect for covering text without completely obliterating it.

I'd love to see what you come up with for this prompt!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for 366Pages, please do leave me a comment or send me an email! I'd love to hear from you!


I've hinted a bit about 366Pages, the sketchbook project I have planned for next year, but I haven't really gone into much detail. Since December is nearly here, it's almost time to get started, so I think it's high time to give you a bit more information!

First, the details & then a little preview of what you might expect from the daily prompts.

What (is it)?

366Pages is a year-long sketchbook project, designed to motivate & inspire you to journal every day.

There are no time requirements, so you can follow along at your own pace. Every day a new prompt will be posted, along with examples pulled from my own journals. Participants are encouraged to post photos of their own pages to build a community of inspiration. Comments will be open for questions & discussions.

I will also be following along with the project, creating my own new journal based on the prompts. At least once a week I'll be posting a look at those pages as well. I'll also hopefully be posting a weekly recap of some of my favourite pages from our participants.

How (do I sign up)?

Registration for the project will open December 1st. Spots will be sold in all 3 of my shops. These are unlimited, so if you can't find any for sale, I'll be relisting soon!

How (much)?

Access to 366Pages, including all prompts, comments & supporting posts, will be sold for $20. Spots will be sold for an early bird price of $18 up until December 7th.

Where (do I get the prompts)?

A private blog is set up for 366Pages. You will be given access after you have signed up.

When (does it start)?

The project starts January 1st, 2012 & runs until December 31st, 2012. A prompt will be posted each day for the entire year - a leap year, as it so happens, which gave the project its name. Prior to January, supporting pages will be available for viewing (these include a list of supplies, a tutorial for making your own notebooks & more).

This would make a great holiday gift for that crafty person on your list!

If I'm forgetting anything or if you have any questions, please let me know! You'll be hearing about this project quite a bit in the coming month. You'll also want to keep an eye out for a giveaway or two for a free spot!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mosaic Monday

It's Mosaic Monday! I hope you'll join us - it's really easy! Just make a photo mosaic - you can use whatever photo editing software you like, or a website such as the mosaic maker & photos from Flickr - & then post it on your blog. Go ahead & pick a theme if you want, but don't feel like you have to. Have fun with it!
Make sure to include a link back to my blog so that everyone can participate. Then come back here & submit a link to your blog post (using the "add your link" button at the bottom). I'll be looking at & commenting on each one!

Here's mine for this week: black & white.

Here's the list of mosaics for this week. Once you've blogged, click the button below to add your blog post link.

Cyber Monday

I've decided to go ahead & jump on the bandwagon. I'm offering a Cyber Monday sale - nothing fancy, simply a 10% discount for one day only. To take advantage of my sale, check out in any of my three shops with the discount code: CYBER10.

Happy shopping!

For jewelry: Ulixis
For tags, note cards, notebooks & original art: PaperUlixis
For cozies & fabric gift bags: SewUlixis

Happy Monday

Happy Monday!

Can you believe it's already Monday? And that at the end of the week it'll be December?
Seriously, where has this year gone? It seems like we were ringing in 2011 just yesterday!

I had both a busier & lazier weekend than I had planned. I wanted to get some blogging done, but... I think you can see how that went. I did get some Christmas shopping & much needed laundry done. And I caught up on lots of sleep....

I have big plans for this week though!

Here's a list of some blog posts to look forward to this week:
  • Mosaic Monday (coming up soon)
  • a preview prompt for my 366Pages sketchbook project, along with a bit more information about it
  • more pictures of the Jersey coast
  • a look at my creative space
  • part one of my online Christmas wish list
  • a special "craft it forward" giveaway
I also have some domestic tasks on my plate for this week:
  • start my holiday baking (& plan what I want to make)
  • make some Christmas cards (instead of buying this year)
  • finish a winter wreath
  • organize my craft desk
  • finish preparing the 366Pages blog
  • shorten a table cloth for my mom
  • make some necklaces for my mom to give to my sisters-in-law
  • paint my nails & toenails
Oh yeah - and continue applying to jobs!

Looks like it's going to be busy around here - how's your week shaping up?

Friday, November 25, 2011

On Our Way to Jersey Shore

I don't watch the TV show "Jersey Shore" but I've heard a lot about it (just one reason I don't watch it, haha). From my brothers for one - they even hosted "Jersey Shore Night" - a themed party last spring. So when Pat & I were driving to the Jersey coast, I was on the lookout for some great photo opportunities.

There wasn't much - this was the first sign I saw, just outside our hotel:
Before heading to the coast, we stopped at a rather large shopping centre, Monmouth Mall. That's where I (excitedly) saw this bumper sticker:
In case you can't read it, it says "Jersey Strong." Nice!

After lots of shopping & some lunch, we headed for the ocean. The most direct route brought us to Long Branch:
And straight to Ocean Boulevard, which ran directly along the shore for miles.
We stopped at the first public beach we could find - took a bunch of photos (come back tomorrow for those!) & then continued driving North along Ocean Blvd / Ocean Ave until we hooked back around to the highway & headed home. The drive was beautiful; even though we couldn't see the water for the most part, the giant homes, resorts, condos & private beaches were just as breathtaking. I can't imagine being able to cross the street & arriving at the ocean!

Actually, maybe I can! It can't be that much different from back home, where I just have to cross the dirt road to get to the Veuve River.... right?


When we drove down to New Jersey last weekend, we knew it was going to be a very short trip. I had my convocation on Friday & Pat had to work on Monday. But still, we wanted to make the most of it while we were there. Our 2 main goals besides the shower were to do a little shopping & to see the ocean for the first time.

Since Dorana lives about an hour to an hour and a half from the coast, we wanted to stay in a hotel that was a bit closer. Lucky for us, someone Pat works with has platinum status at the Sheraton, so we booked a room at the one in Eatontown, New Jersey.
Not only was it a great deal, but we were also able to receive an upgrade. Since we were only staying the one night, they put us in a suite for no extra charge.


I was pretty impressed with the room, so here's a little peek. It probably isn't all that special in terms of fancy hotel rooms, but it was the same size, if not larger, than our apartment, so I thought it was downright luxurious! I wish we could have stayed for longer!
When I walked all the way down the hallway & came upon double doors with our room number on them, I was beyond excited! To the immediate left was the bathroom, separated into 2 rooms:
The outer room had a large closet, counter & mirrors, a sink & a little stool.
I'm not going to lie - this jacuzzi was probably the best part:
Just don't ask how long it took 2 university grads to figure out how to get it to work!

As you walked into the suite, this glass wall was to the right:
On the other side - a little kitchenette:
... with more counter space than I have here:
And then here's the rest of the room, to the right of the kitchen & entrance:
The counter is right beside this table, just out of frame.
The walls were lined with big windows (though the scenery wasn't much to look at). And this bed - or rather, these pillows!
Platinum status also granted us access to the club room, with free appetizers in the evenings, free breakfast in the morning (not just on weekdays like the rest of the hotel) & discounted drinks. The breakfast was a little disappointing, but there was juice, water & energy bars that we could take with us as we made our way to the coast. And the club room was lovely. I forgot my bathing suit, so we didn't go check out the pool, not that we really had time anyway.

The only downside was the wake-up call we received at 2:30 in the morning. The fire alarm went off..... and continued for at least 45 minutes. It was chaotic - no one was answering the lobby phone, one announcement said it was a false alarm & the next said to stay outside until the firefighters were done. Pat was nonchalant, he was just going to stay in the room. I was a little frantic - fire is probably one of my biggest fears & I find loud noises disorienting - so we went down to the lobby & waited until things started to settle.

Despite that, I would definitely stay there again. The staff were pleasant & helpful, the room was clean & comfortable, it was easy to get to & close to the coast.

Speaking of which... that's where we're headed next! More photos soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hamilton to New Jersey (Part 2)

Around 10 AM last Saturday, we were making pretty good time. So when we saw an exit for a shopping mall, we decided to stop real quick. It was our first time inside a Macy's (though we didn't really look around much, we went straight into the mall). We shopped for nearly an hour & then continued on our way to New Jersey.

Here are the photos from the second leg of our trip down:

10 AM - shopping break!

11 AM - Pennsylvania

11:30ish AM - gas stop
Driving through Pennsylvania was beautiful - the mountains were stunning:

12 noon - New Jersey!

12:30 PM - neat bridge

1 PM - almost there!
Dorana lives in a very picturesque area, with woods all around:
And then we were there!

The shower was lovely - everyone was very friendly even though no one knew us. Dorana's mom was particularly sweet. She made sure we packed some food & treats with us to take for the drive to the hotel. They played a really fun game too - like the Newlyweds game, Dorana had to answer some (baby-related) questions, but she had to answer what she thought her husband Todd had replied. With every right answer, they revealed a photo of what they thought the baby would look like. It ended up being a hilariously hideous mash-up of their faces. So much fun!

Dorana was beyond surprised that I was there (I hadn't told her we were coming). She arrived a bit late & entered in a rush to go to the washroom. I was practically standing in the doorway & she looked straight at me, but she was in such a hurry that I don't think it really registered. The whole time she was in the bathroom, she was thinking to herself: "I did NOT just see Amanda & Pat! No way!" It was such a great surprise!

I'm angry at myself though - after taking pictures all morning, I didn't take a single one while I was there. I don't have any of the two of us together. So disappointing! I guess I'll just have to make another trip down soon! There's a little person that I'm looking forward to meeting anyway!

I'll tell you more about our sweet suite & the shopping we got done & post more pictures of the ocean later!