Stamps sing to me, Paper whispers my name. Welcome to all who craft--I hope you're glad you came!
Lyssa Griffin Zwolanek, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator and life-long craftin' addict!
Go figure, Mike's first time in Canada, and the first place we arrive is the Yukon Territory, of all places! After our gold mining excursion and lunch in Skagway, we got into a bus and headed up to White Pass, with all its breath-taking, hair-raising scenery. We had an excellent bus driver who really knew his stuff and was very personable.
This is a neat bridge... since it spans a fault line, it is only attached on one side to allow for movement. The other side is just laying on top of a base. Buses can only go over it at five miles an hour, and one at a time. We learned a lot about the unique challenges of construction work in the mountains! We also enjoyed wonderful weather once again... and were thankful for the cloud cover when we got into the snow-covered areas where it might have been blindingly bright.
From this scenic overlook, we spotted a mother and baby mountain goat high on a ridge, but our camera was not zoomy enough to get a good picture. I definitely need to research digital cameras before we go on our next trip. Thankfully we had the small binoculars that Tracy H. loaned me--thanks, Tracy! They came in handy for all kinds of wildlife.
After passing through customs on the U.S./Canadian border, we followed the general route of the Trail of '98, learning about the Klondike gold rush and the hardships the men (and a few women and children) faced in their quest for gold, and the construction of the White Pass & Yukon Railway, completed in 1899 (unfortunately just in time for the gold to peter out). We stopped for a while at the Yukon Suspension Bridge, enjoying the interpretive center, the maple candies and birch syrup, and Yukon Jax, their friendly furry mascot! I wanted to take him home with us SO bad!
The pedestrian suspension bridge was fun and a little frightening, spanning as it does a very rough whitewater. Parts of the Yukon River are classified as Class 6 rapids, meaning they have never been successfully navigated. I can't even begin to think how cold the water must be!
Mike and I had to make an inukshuk of our own after spotting them here and there in the desolate landscape. Inukshuk are little stone roughly-human-shaped monuments originally put up by native Inuit, serving as trail markers and signs of peaceful groups. Mine looks a little on the tubby side... but hey, so did I by that point in the cruise!
We'd had a fantastic time, and the day wasn't over yet. We coasted in to the train depot at Fraser and hopped aboard the train for a two-plus hour ride back down from White Pass and into Skagway. Postcard-perfect scenery in my next post!
There was so much to do in Skagway, we couldn't make up our minds. We ended up taking the "big whammy" tour that combined a gold mining dredge camp, salmon bake, a narrated bus tour, and a train trip. The gold camp was great fun, filled with colorful characters like this guy. Gold panning turned out to be a lot of work! And that was with the knowledge that our pans were "salted" ahead of time--can't imagine doing this day in and day out for months at a time, never sure if you'd have even one flake in your pan.
The water was freezing, and it was very hard to separate the little flecks of gold from the sand and gravel. I was the last one still out there panning out of the entire bus! Mike and I had a little contest going to see who had the most gold dust... turned out we both had the exact same amount--$12.03 worth each. Those little flecks add up!
Unfortunately we didn't come HOME with any gold... they do let you keep it, yes, and we bought a little glass pendant for the flecks, which I attached to my nametag chain. But it was either lost or stolen on the final day of the cruise--bummer!
I'll spare you the zillion pictures of the mining dredge and ancient machinery Mike took : )
Skagway was a very neat little place. It looked like a Wild West town, set down in the middle of the most incredible mountain and ocean setting.
What a fun town! After a yummy picnic lunch of homemade root beer, salmon, BBQ chicken and more, we headed for the bus and started our trek up White Pass. That about two more posts worth!
You know what I discovered today--I stamped a whole bunch of different cards yesterday to show off the upcoming new In Colors, and what do you think I did? Used a stamp set that I'm not allowed to share until July 1st! Silly me! Sorry, guys! I guess they'll keep...
So I just had to share this cutie patootie that I made up for a little impromptu demo gathering I'm having today. My workshop hostess for tonight had to reschedule at the last minute, so I sent out the call and a bunch of us are getting together to ooh and ahh over the new Idea Book & Catalog, and brainstorm all sort of fabulous stampy goodness for our lucky, lucky customers this coming year! I'm so excited by all the fun in store for both you and ME!!
For those who wanted a complete list of the new colors, they are: Island Indigo; Calypso Coral; Lucky Limeade; Wisteria Wonder; and Pool Party (light aqua, not pictured above). They will be available to order on July 1st, and you can pick up your FREE CATALOG during the days and times on the Distribution Daze email I sent out yesterday. Not on my local mailing list? Email me to sign up for the latest news, tips, my event schedule, and special offers!
I was so seasick the day we made these! I would never have gotten them done if it weren't for a great table full of excellent stampers. We stamped "by committee" meaning each person does one part of one project for all of the other seven people, and then we combine and assemble the projects. I was so green around the gills they gave me a really easy part to do, so mostly I sat there eating dry bread, ginger ale, and green apples!
The project shown above was a great little fat photo book. I will be doing a photo tutorial on this one, so you can get all the measurements and scoring marks. The stamp set is called Sweets for the Sweet and it will be in the next Idea Book & Catalog! And all those yummy colors... those are the new In Colors for the next two years! Aren't they gorgeous? wow!
Here's more of that incredible new upcoming ribbon, the ruffly stuff. It will be available in all five of the new In Colors. That makes me really happy! The Make N Takes were just great. This square card folded out, as shown below:
Thanks to my wonderful tablemates, thanks to Stampin' Up, and thanks to YOU, dear customer friends, for making it happen!
Ahhh..... you knew it was coming. I love to take pictures of pretty food! My husband DIED LAUGHING at me when I was taking a picture of a full tray of a certain dessert and a demo came up to me and said "I read your blog! I was wondering if it was you, but when I saw you take pictures of your food, I knew it!" But I'll have you know I wasn't the only one snapping pics before diving in... and no wonder, with glorious goodies like these...
Now, who could blame a girl for trying something called a Chocolate Dome? This was about the most scrumptious thing I have EVER tasted in my entire life. Imagine blissfully eating your way through about 2/3 of a cup of chocolate ganache.... yeah, bay-beeee... s'what I'm talkin' 'bout!!
I had sushi for breakfast! Actually all these photos are from the breakfast buffet on the last full day of the cruise--can you imagine? It was really something. I didn't take pictures of the ordinary buffet lines for eggs, meats, waffles, omelets, etc.
I also was able to indulge my life-long obsession with cheese, with spreads like these!
I have more food pictures than I have of some of our excursions, but you'll just have to wait and drool over the My Digital Studio pages when I get this scrapped. I'm super excited about working on the Alaska album, but I've promised myself I'll finish the South Caribbean one first before I do anything else! So glad summer is here at long last.
Hooray for the new In Colors and for a big boost to my stampin' mojo on the cruise. I once again have ink on my fingers and a BIG smile on my face! One of the fun things I noticed a lot on the cruise projects was the unusual use of the Postage Stamp punch (Summer Mini Catalog, page 10), such as using the corner of it to make pennant or banner pieces as in the sample above.
This is the set we got for our Make N Take projects on the incentive trip (oh, I can show you those now, too!) It's got 12 different stamps, and is called Sweets for the Sweet. This one is going to be terribly fun at Christmas--I can already think of several projects that the candies would be perfect on.
I used FIVE colors plus Whisper White on this card--those of you who know me know thats fairly rare for me! I usually tend towards monochromatic color schemes. The banners are Lucky Limeade and Wisteria Wonder. I also used Lucky Limeade for the lollipop (accented with Crystal Effects). The card base is Pool Party and I used both Concord Crush and Not Quite Navy inks.
Lucky for me, the Pear Pizzazz Seam Binding ribbon coordinates very well with Lucky Limeade. Have you seen that bright intense lime green on practically everything in the stores lately? That's the shade we got! How fun, and right in time for summer. Pool Party is such a nice cool blue with a hint of mint, it goes with all of the new colors plus the older set. You know me and any shade of turquoise! You'll be seeing a bunch of that color for sure.
Ok, got my table cleared off, stuff from Incredible Cards Club on Tuesday cleared away, and ripped open the packaging on all the goodies we got on the Stampin' Up cruise! Since it's past June first and the items are now available for us demonstrators to pre-order, we're allow to show samples made with our goodies. This has been a tough secret to keep!
You are looking at one of the new 2011-12 In Colors, the light purple called Wisteria Wonder, perfectly paired with Concord Crush, one of the 2010-11 In Colors (no, that's not going to be confusing AT ALL). It is a gorgeous color, kind of a subtle version with a lot of gray in it. It goes with Elegant Eggplant, too, but is total perfection with Concord Crush. I did the rock n' roll technique on the flowers, inking first with Wisteria and then rolling the edges in the Concord Crush before stamping on Whisper White and trimming out with my Paper Snips.
I just love this yummy color! Happy as a clam to have a pretty light purple to work with again. I used it here with the Fabulous Florets set from the Summer Mini, and TA DA! Would you believe, I got ink on my Medallion stamp for the very first time today, to stamp this background tone-on-tone. Don't tell anyone, but that great big stamp kind of intimidated me--especially when I saw all the amazing things other demos were doing with it. I actually didn't even order it until last month! But I'm glad I did. It will be showing up here frequently now, I'm sure!
And I'm sure you noticed that gorgeous ruffly Wisteria Wonder ribbon! Just a little peek of what is in store for you in the next Idea Book & Catalog. I can't say anything else just yet!
Ok, couple notes for you all stalking the retirement lists--here are my TOP THREE MUST HAVE ACCESSORIES that are leaving, and you need to hurry because they are already selling out:
Photo Corners Punch (cannot BELIEVE they're getting rid of this!)
Spiral Notebook Punch (ditto--I use this one constantly!)
Silver and Vanilla Hodgepodge Hardware (phooey!!)
Click here to go to my shopping website and see pictures and descriptions! And stay tuned for more of the new In Colors coming up! www.lyssa.stampinup.net
Mike and I agree that one of the best times we had on our trip was on the top of Mount Roberts. It was pretty socked in when we got into port around 2:30 p.m. that day, but we decided to take the tramway anyway just for the ride, even if we couldn't see anything from the top.
One minute we were looking down at the ships in the harbor (ours is the upper one in this photo) and the next we were soaring up into the clouds.
But when we came out at the top, things started to clear and we ended up staying for quite a while. The trails weren't technically closed, although they warned us that parts were unpalatable... we went quite a lot further than most people. It was muddy and there was some snowy areas to cross, but totally worth it! Parts were a tad bit scary. I was glad I'd grabbed a ski pole to use along the way.
The view from the top was so amazing! So worth getting our pants wet and our boots muddy! I said to Michael that this felt like real Alaska at last, away from the noise and bustle of the port, the tourist shops, and all the artificiality of a cruise. It was so quiet except for the sound of the melted-snow creeks, the birds and one cheeky little red squirrel.
You can see we were well bundled in the beginning...We hiked so long and so far that by the time we got back to the ranger station at the top of the tramway, I was down to my t-shirt! Felt good to be out there IN Alaska.
Ok, ok, so this isn't our boat. But I did take this picture, and it helps you visualize a couple of neat things about the Tracy Arm Fjord--first, you're very close to the sides of it! It takes a skilled captain to pilot you in, turn you around and pilot back out, dodging icebergs all the way. Secondly, your truly enormous boat is dwarfed by the immensity of the place. You realize you and your little boat are like a fleck of pepper on a casserole the size of Cleveland. And three, it's COLD!! Those are some of the thoughts we had when we pulled back the curtains on the balcony door that morning and gasped in awe.
This is my first view of a real live glacier! Maybe I saw one as a kid, but I don't rememeber it. We couldn't get very much closer to this one due to the ice. It was cool to see how very bright turquoise the ice is and what funny shapes the natural forces have made it into.
Mike and I were both impressed with the utter stillness. Even our very chatty touristy cruise boat felt practically silent. There was no wind, no waves. Just a gorgeous postcard-worthy view everywhere you turned your eye.
Later we laughed a little at ourselves, being from Wisconsin and being so infatuated with snow here when we were so eager to get away from it this spring.We had better temps in Alaska than they did some of the time back home, I heard!
Here I am on the balcony. Can you imagine??? I can now, thanks to you, dear customer friends! Many thanks for helping make the trip of a lifetime possible. Not sure any other trip will be able to top this one with my honey. How blessed I am!
More wonderful swaps created by demonstrators to share on the cruise! Enjoy these great layouts and cute ideas. I hope to get back in the stamp room tomorrow!
Eastern Blooms, the set used in the card above, is retiring on June 30th! Check it out and make sure you order before it's too late.
LOVE love love this card. It was just announced today that the Star Punch is not carrying over into the next catalog. I think it's a must-have, personally--make sure you order one before they sell out. Accessories are not like stamps, which SU manufactures themselves, so when they're gone, they're really gone!