Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thanks for the cruise to the Inside Passage: Alaska!

Before I go into my cruise experience, I want to sincerely thank my customers and downline for their support (orders, class attendance, and promotions). Without you, I would never have earned this trip for two from Stampin' Up!. Thank you!

Leaving Seattle: Day 1
(Caution - very long post ahead)


Our nice neighbor, Beth, drove us across the ferry and to the cruise terminal on what was a beautiful almost 70-degree day in Seattle. As we boarded the Celebrity Infinity we were greeted by ship employees with hand sanitizer. They were there everytime you got on and off the ship, and walking into dining areas. The first day was spent at sea, acquainting ourselves with where everything was located. Of course we had to check out the Stampin' Up! hospitality lounge on Deck 3. I stood in line to spin the wheel for a prize (grab bag - white gel pen!) and the kids panned for "gold" (big red buttons amidst some 30,000 Button Latte buttons). They received little prizes like a drawstring bag, shaped rubberbands, rubber turtles and faux gold throughout the week.

Sylvie panning for a big red button for a prize
When you earn the SU! incentive trip, you're treated well. Here's the first night's Pillow Gift - a wool purse in a drawstring logo bag:



The purse unsnapped to hold money and cards.
Our room set-up for the four of us. Behind the curtains is a veranda, which provided much appreciated extra space.

Day 2: At Sea

A highlight of the trip is always the General Session. This one was no exception. You see the SU! board members, prizes are given, samples of new stuff shown... all kinds of good stuff. I'll be able to show New Product samples on June 1, and I'll have LOTS, so be sure to come back next week. It's exciting! New catalogs will be available to you June 20. All of my club members will receive one for FREE. Everybody else may reserve their copy by emailing me at ericandterry@comcast.net.

When I spun the prize wheel in the hospitality lounge I landed on Wild Card, meaning I could pick anything. I picked a cool new Decor Element. Once I frame it, I'll show it here. I love it!!! Eric and his buddy Scott (fellow demo Jennifer Cotton's hubby) were at the back of the ship and spotted a couple pods of whales. Cool! They were hard to get photos of, though we saw the mist spewing up from blowholes throughout the trip. Our Pillow Gifts: His and hers sunglasses from Maui Jim. So nice!!!

I'll share a couple of photos from the hospitality lounge, where demos shared some of their favorite projects:

A beautifully decorated scrapbook album

A fun flower gift with lollipops

Day 3: Ketchikan - The Salmon Capital of the World


We woke up early, grabbed breakfast in the Oceanside Grill on Deck 10 and headed into Ketchikan, which is the fifth most populous city in Alaska with approximately 7,400 residents. When we walked into one store, there was hilarious laughing from a couple of stuffed critters. Their laughter was so contagious, it made us laugh! Sylvie got the brown dog that rolls himself over with his tail while chuckling endlessly. It's so cute. Chase wanted a bag of rocks. Go figure with that kid. We walked around Creek Street, visited the Discovery Center, and then attended the fun Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show with a goofy host who juggled axes. Fun stuff!



The lumberjack in the tutu lost in a previous performance and so he wore the tutu throughout this one. He and his teammate (shown above) won the competition on the day we watched the show.
The log rolling competition was incredible to watch. While balancing and rolling the log, they would frequently kick up the cold water in their opponent's face. The water was waist deep.
Here are more memories of Ketchikan:



Some of the jewelry that always seemed to be on sale throughout the cruise.

Creek Street, Ketchikan
I spun the magical wheel when I got back to the ship and received some Smooth Subtles Card Stock! Woo hoo.

Day 4: Tracy Arm Fjord and Juneau


I woke up just after 5 a.m. to see icebergs dotting the water as the ship made its way through Tracy Arm Fjord, with its 3,000-foot high granite walls. It was eerie and silent, but beautiful. With icebergs, you only see 1/8th of them above the surface. The ship was so quiet, and as we cruised by the icebergs, the water would wash over many of them. We spent hours simply taking in the scenery, catching a seal swimming, and a few just hanging out on a 'berg.


We made Juneau by 2 p.m., and took a free shuttle to the not free Mount Roberts Tram, where you could see three cruise ships all docked at the same time, and headed into the clouds. There was snow on the trails, so we couldn't walk too far. We checked out the Junior Raptor Center (just one kinda sad-looking bald eagle that'd been shot a couple of times) and the Mount Roberts Nature Center.







When we got back to the ship, I spun the SU! wheel and got a polka-dotted Espresso brag book album. It's so cute. Tonight's Pillow Gift was a super soft blanket with a SU! logo on it.

Day 5: Skagway

We ventured into town by 8 a.m. (What's up with these early mornings?) after a simple breakfast on Deck 10. The kids have been loving the pancakes, waffles, bacon and fruit offered every day.

We got some great shopping finds at the Alaska Shirt Company - super strong magnets that kept the kids occupied for hours, and Sasquatch Sweat soap. Oh, there was also Beaver Butt soap, Moose Drool soap, you get the idea. We also found a couple of photo ops:




The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad offered us a scenic excursion to White Pass summit. The 3-hour, 40-mile round trip climbs from tidewater at Skagway to the summit of the White Pass - a 2,865 foot elevation. We went through two tunnels and over trestles, and saw numerous waterfalls.

Our train entering a tunnel. The trestle looks rickety, doesn't it?
 Today we're on our way to Victoria, B.C. We all slept in and enjoyed a big brunch on Deck 4 in the dining room. There were plenty of items to put on sticks for the chocolate fountains, sushi, eggs benedict, the regular breakfast staples, fruit and pastries and more. Many people were feeling sick since the ship was pitching and rolling pretty good. I swear by Bonine!
This trestle wasn't connected. It just made for a good photo with the snow all over the ground.

Eric and Chase. They spent the entire way up the mountain outside of our car, taking photos. At times, the rock hillside was just a few inches away from the train.


Day 6: At Sea

I spun the wheel on Deck 3 for a pack of silver brads before leaving my family for make & takes (including a fun new stamp set!) in the dining room at 1:30 p.m. Eric took the kids swimming in the Thassalotherapy Pool (warmer than the hot tubs!) on Deck 10.
 


 
When we had downtime, we also played shuffleboard, ping pong, and games.
 



Day 7: At Sea/Victoria, B.C.

We stayed on the ship all day. Since we live on the Kitsap Peninsula, we've visited Victoria, B.C., many times. It's only a couple of hours away. We've seen the wax museum, the Empress Hotel (and experienced high tea - highly recommended), Miniature Town, and more. So on the ship we played games, went swimming, played basketball, ate a few times, and the kids watched some Cartoon Network. It's exhausting. It's like Fred, the comedian, said one night - we complain about how tired we are on a week-long cruise to the room stewards and other ship employees who are working 12-hour days, 7 days a week! Nevertheless, we're happy to get back home for a few days before returning to school and work.

Now some more lovely demonstrator-made projects to leave you with:








Don't forget - if you want a new 2011-2012 Idea Book & Catalog, please email me at ericandterry@comcast.net. They'll be available to pick up on June 20 at my home and studio. Club members will automatically receive the catalog for FREE. Have a great weekend!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention the last couple of Pillow Gifts - a stamp set from the upcoming catalog (look for samples next week), and a lovely Mickey Mouse charm that says, "Nothing is Impossible if you Believe" (shown below).


Friday, May 27, 2011

Courage for Man Card Monkey Challenge 58


There's a story behind this week's A La Card Monkey challenge card. It's for my nephew, who is a Marine recently injured by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Afghanistan. I only have sketchy information - he was seriously injured on May 22 and went through surgery for internal injuries, he was moved to Germany on May 24, and had another surgery May 26. He is now in Bethesda, MD, and able to joke, which is a great sign. My niece flies out tomorrow morning from California to be with Russell. We're praying he recovers, and we're praying for Jordan to be strong. Both are young, she's 21 and he'll turn 21 next month.

So the stamp set is Courage. I think it fits Russell very well. He is upset about having to leave "his guys" over there. The sentiment is from Occasional Quotes, a Level 3 hostess set. The Man Card theme and sketch come from Monkey Challenge 58 shown below:


Create your own Man Card and upload it to http://alacardmonkey.blogspot.com/.

Touch of Kindness thank-you notecards


 


I keep forgetting to take photos of the variety of thank-you cards I make up for my customers' orders. This one uses some Flower Garden dsp with a large scallop circle out of Cherry Cobbler.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Postage Punch boat on a Poppy Parade sea...


I'm back to boats. This one was CASE'd from Mary Fish. I changed the colors and sentiment. Mine uses Poppy Parade, Not Quite Navy, and Sahara Sand - a Sweet Set on the Color Coach. The boat was created from about half a 1-3/4" Circle Punch, and the Postage Stamp Punch. I hand-cut the little flag and cut a tiny piece of card stock to thread through the Bitty Button. The big Not Quite Navy scallops on the card are from the Tasteful Trim die (still available to order, even though it was in the Holiday Mini). I used the Big Shot to emboss the polka dots on the Sahara Sand card front, and for the 3-inch circle die behind the boat. The sentiment is from the Pretty Postage stamp set. I punched it out with the small tag punch.

Alaska Cruise update: We're spending 6 p.m. to almost midnight in Victoria, B.C. I'm not sure what we'll do, other than walk around. We've got no plans!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Variety of swaps from American Ink downline

Mary Ann's swap uses the Four Frames stamp set
Karen's swap uses Elegant Lines embossing folder, Strength & Hope, and Butterfly Punch
Barb's swap with Just Believe and Elegant Soiree dsp

All in the Family/Best Dad Ever swap by Terry S.
Alaska Cruise update: We'll be at sea all day. There'll be plenty of time for good food, swimming, stamping, taking in a show, and more!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Greetings and Nature Walk swaps by Michelle


One of my downline, Michelle, created these two cards to swap. Above, the card uses the Happy Greetings stamp set, Decorative Label and Eyelet Border punches, and Flower Garden dsp. Below, her card uses Nature Walk and Something to Celebrate stamp sets.


Alaska cruise update: Today I had to eat my friend. Oh, just kidding. We're on Day 5 of the seven-day cruise and will spend the day in Skagway. It's incredible to see how the cruise ship looms over the town, which still has false-fronted buildings and wooden sidewalks. The hot souvenir here is the hand-painted gold-mining pans. I want to get a photo of those!

After 6 p.m., we'll be cruising the Inside Passage. It's prime habitat for bald eagles, sea lions, and whales.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Touch of Kindness button card...


Frankie created this pretty swap with the Touch of Kindness stamp set.

Alaska cruise update: We're drifting among icebergs and waterfalls that cascade 1,000s of feet for the most close-up view of Sawyer Glacier. We'll be in Juneau by 2:30 p.m. The city is often described as America's most unusual state capital because it's the only center of U.S. government with no roads leading in or out of town.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A full day at sea with The Open Sea stamp set


We have a full day at sea today on the Celebrity Infinity ship. Though our ship doesn't look like the Clipper ship on the swap card above, The Open Sea is a really pretty stamp set. You can see how great it looks without any coloring. I love that! We'll arrive at our first port - Ketchikan - tomorrow. We'll have from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to explore, and perhaps take in a lumberjack show. It's supposed to rain. After all, Ketchikan is known as the rainiest town in southeast Alaska!