CHA....the end

It's over.  After 3 days of showing, demonstrating, and selling Clear Scraps,  CHA Summer 2011 is over.  I really only spent about an hour checking out other booths - just long enough to walk through the New Vendor section and reconnect with a few people that I hadn't seen since last year. The rest of the time I spent in the booth.  As strange as this may sound to people who have to do this for a was a really, nice vacation for me.  No phones were ringing for me, my dishwasher wasn't needing unloading, I didn't even have to be Mom for a few days....a really nice break.

We finished packing up the booth in less than 3 hours I think....Just Susan & I.  And....we packed it in so nicely that there was room for more stuff....or room for me :)

The ride home from the show today was the funniest though.....we'd been taking this route down Lawrence ave in Chicago every day from the convention center to our condo.  And we'd noticed many hair salons...more than you'd expect to see in this short distance.  Today we counted them.  29.  In probably less than 4 miles.  And that's not counting the ones that would be just a few blocks off of this Avenue.  So strange.  We took a picture of this one and the lady who was standing outside (presumably to drum up business because the competition must be pretty steep), waved at us and gave us this big smile.
 I didn't get a picture of it but the best hair salon we saw (not on Lawrence) was called Nappy Heads.  Their slogan was "Come in Nappy, leave out Happy."  Yes, you heard me.

Also...there was a crazy amount of specialty stores - stores that just sold one or two items....including this:  our favourite that just sold socks, t-shirts and underwear.  I love that they had pictures of the underwear on their big sign outside.
And...I can't tell this story about CHA without telling you a little about this condo that I've stayed in 2 years in a row now with Jim & Susan (owners of Clear Scraps).  It's quite a distance from the convention but very nice to have our own space and get away from the busy-ness.  I'm not sure, even after 2 years of staying here, that I'd find it by myself except that I know we had to look for the Crafty Beaver store and that's where we turned off Lawrence.  Hilarious.  I think every town should have a Crafty Beaver.  And 29 hair salons within a 4 mile strip.

CHA 2011 - set up

Well, we did it.  The booth is set up.
It wasn't nearly as hot as I thought it was going to be in the convention center. I guess I was still having flashbacks from when we set up in Orlando with no A/C...but today wasn't that bad. 

Come on down!!  We'd love to see you :  Clear  Scraps Booth #1539

CHA 2011

After a very early 4am start, and 2 flights (with lovely seatmates placed there by God I'm sure), I'm in Chicago. 
My new Mini laptop was the perfect thing for the trip,

instead of dragging the 17" beast around.  So I can blog and FB every night...assuming I'm not dead tired.  I was yesterday but it wasn't anything a 10-hour sleep couldn't cure :)

 Aside from a Target to buy food and a Subwy for lunch, this is all I've seen of the city....

Oh, and this...step 1 & 2 of setting up the
Clear Scraps  booth.  You can see Susan adjusting curtains and Jim unloading the crate.  We're off this morning to finish the job.  Wait till you see the finished product!!  Booth 1539 of you happen to be coming to CHA!!

ZipLines, Clear Scraps and kittens

My mom & I went Zip-lining today at Hy-Wire Zipline Adventures.  What a fun, fun experience....I'd do it again in a heartbeat and I fully intend to take my kids - all 3 of them would LOVE it.  Here are a few pics:

The 2 of us in our harnesses and beautiful pink helmets 

One of the trails we had to hike up to get to the next zip.  This trip included 5 ziplines (ie: 4 hikes in between) in order to get right back to our starting place.

The view from the very top - the gorgeous Pembina Valley

My Mom....just turned 67 (sorry if I wasn't supposed to let that slip, Mom) zipping across at 1000 ft. zipline.  This was her idea and a present for her birthday from my Dad.  The surprise for me was that they also paid for my trip as a present for my 40th this year (a little early but VERY appreciated!  Thanks Mom & Dad)

Next time I'm totally taking my kids!

OK...change of topic:
Here's another Clear Scraps project that I finished for CHA.
We have these great new acrylic embellishments this year (made from the cast acrylic - so, super hard and amazingly clear).  The ones I got were butterflies, gear wheels, and these dress forms!  

I used one on a card:  
(dress is painted with glitter paint, the bottom is a felt tulip from Creative Impressions, lace from the local thrift store and silver metallic StazOn for the base)

 And, I used the other one on the front of this 8x8 acrylic tabbed album that could be used to document and house pictures of your Prom experience.  Fortunately, my dd is still a little too young for Prom but I have to get used to the idea gradually so it doesn't catch me by surprise.
(Dress is left without paint except silver StazOn on the base, Pink Paislee  and SEI ribbon layers glued on with the always amazing Adhesive Squares from Glue Arts and some thrift store beads applied with Diamond Glaze)

I'll be putting more Clear Scraps projects up all week.
I'm also putting together some extra acrylic I have.....if you'd like some - leave me a comment and I'll pick some names to send a nice little prezzie to :)  
If you happen  to be heading to Chicago in little over a week for CHA - please stop by and say HI at the Clear Scraps booth #1539.

Oh...and on a personal note again...
It appears that Operation-integrate-the-new-rescued-cat-into-the-family has been successful:
Wasabi (our 1-year-old) has taken a liking to his new little sister Soya.  They napped like this for about 3 hours the other day. 

Summer Holidays: Day 7 & 8 "I feel happy of myself"

The kids and I have been watching this Youtube video of a little kid giving an inspirational speech after learning to ride his bike.  You can watch it here

Anyway....the kids have been quoting this line from the video where the kid says,  "I feel happy of myself" (ie: I'm proud of myself).  It's funny all on it's own but it really is how I've felt this past week.  There have been trips before but this is the first big one that I've planned, executed and paid for all on my own.....and having it be such a success makes me, well...."feel happy of myself" :)

I didn't blog Tuesday night because the hotel we stayed at (that boasted free wi-fi) apparently forgot to mention that oh yeah...the wi-fi only reaches to select rooms and not to the rooms by the pool....oops.   So, no blog.  

But, here's a brief glimpse at our last 2 days:

Thanks to the flooding and construction and detours on the I-29, we saw a lot more of Iowa than we'd intended to so on our way back to where we were supposed to be in the first place, we found this rest stop with a lookout tower and we stopped to climb it and take pictures of the countryside.


Flooding and sand-bagged roads by Sioux City, Iowa

 We stopped in Watertown, South Dakota again on our way back up and had lunch one more time at Dempsey's (we had to pick up rootbeer of course).  We also stopped at Target for some snacks for the ride to Fargo.
 Egan's snack - Milk Duds (the last of these met their demise the next day when he left them in the Hot Van while we were shopping).
 Cale's snack:  Reese's PB cups, and licorice.....this from the boy who only decided a year ago that he liked licorice at all.

Mica's snack:  A gigantic box of Cheese Balls.  Go big or go home, right??  Actually....Go big AND go home.  That was her theory.

And my snack....I stuck to simple Starbucks :)

We stayed in a hotel on the border between Fargo & Moorehead - it was good and not good.  Good because when we got there, we realized the pool was 10 ft. deep in the deep end and I have 3 kids who LOVE to swim (and after this hotel stay, also 3 kids who love to DIVE!!!).  We had so much fun.  One glitch was that we forgot the boys swim trunks in Nebraska so we whipped into Target in Moorehead, MN to find a couple of pairs and we were back swimming within 30 minutes.    

 The only downside to the hotel was, like I said before, no wi-fi in our room.  When I asked at the front desk about it (after trying unsuccessfully to get online for hours - even with help from the night clerk), the manager said, "oh yeah....we've had trouble with it  because the hotel has cement walls and the server is in the basement on the far side away from your room."  Oh, really??  Didn't think to tell me that when we checked in?  Didn't think that maybe advertising Free Wi-fi and then having it only reach half the rooms might be a little bit of a mis-advertisement??  So, no blogging last night.  No work done.  I swam instead.

Today, Wednesday, we spent shopping in Fargo & Grand Forks.  It was hot-hot-hot again.  It's been the best weather.
We also had lunch at our favourite rib-place:  Famous Dave's.  Yummmmy.  Finger-licking yummy. 
Our drive home was uneventful....the US border patrol stopped us going into the country with police lights flashing so obviously they were looking for something (or someone trying to get out??) and at the Canadian border, we were 3rd in line and our stop there took about 3 minutes tops.   Very nice.   Aside from the decreased speed limit on our side of the border, it was very nice to be home and we're all very happy to be tucked into our own beds for the night!

The end of our trip.

But not the end of blogging.
I have Clear Scraps to show you soon and I think I'll give some of my excess keep your eyes open for a chance to win some acrylic.  Tell your crafty friends :)

Summer Holidays: Day 6 (the Zoo)

One of the things we were most excited about when planning a trip to Omaha was the Henry Doorly Zoo.  It's amazing.  It was amazing the last time we were here and it is still amazing.  We spent about 7 hours here today and I won't bore you with all 237 pictures I took but here are a few of my favourites:

The Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska

Uncle Randy, Aunt Jan, Serafina, Mica & Cale & Egan

My best photo :)  The blue-tongued Skink

The polar bear was doing laps, frontcrawl to the island, and then back floating all the way along the glass where people were watching him - he must have made about 8 trips while we watched.

Lazy, lazy tigers :)

The black bear at feeding time, eating a sugar-free Kool-aid freezie with some meat in it I think...yum.

 The 4 of us :)

The Gorilla, inviting us to "the gun show"

 Gorgeous birds from everywhere in the world.

Butterflies and insects.

The penguins waiting for lunch.

Feeding frenzy at the Koi pond.

I have a hundred other pictures but for now....that'll have to do.  I need some sleep :)

Summer Holidays: Day 5

A few more pictures for you of the 5th day of our holidays.  Today, Sunday, we had full intentions of going to church with Uncle Randy & Aunt Jan but getting to bed well after midnight last night after a full, full day....we said we'd play it by ear and as it turns out, most of us slept in WAY too late to make it (myself included).  So, we had a leisurely breakfast and really nice devotions with them this morning instead. 
The boys discovered a unicycle in Uncle Randy's garage and also a nice little pink girls bike that they have on hand for their grandchildren.  Even the fact that it was pink and had a basket couldn't deter the boys from trying it out on the hilly streets of Omaha.

We spent the afternoon shopping at a mall here in Omaha....not for anything in particular but just poking around.  I got to go to Archivers which is a treat for me.  It's a great store, for sure....but I have quite a dilemma in Archivers.  There isn't a thing in that store that I couldn't use.....I could use anything and everything in that store.  And, at the same time, there isn't a thing in there that I really need.  I guess this year where I've been challenging myself to 'use-up-my-stash' has been really good for me.  We did buy some school shoes for fall and a few more clothing items at Old Navy & Scheels.  We also rode the ferris wheel in Scheels :)

 We spent a little time at home eating and then we went to my cousin's husband's family's house for a swim in their pool.
 Of course swimming, doesn't just mean means inventing games that require you to jump and slam dunk something at the same time - or something equally as crazy.

 AND, we got to join in on their annual family Fireworks night - a day early for the 4th but that doesn't seem to matter much to most Americans.....the fireworks celebrations here are week-long sometimes I think. This family lives the end of a quiet cul-de-sac and this year a couple families pulled all their fireworks out onto their driveways and lit everything off in the middle of the cul-de-sac.  It was phenomenal.  Dangerous to be sure....but fun!  There was a haze over the area and when fireworks weren't going off in our area, you could see, over the trees, that most of the surrounding neighbourhoods had similar displays going on at the same time too. 

(the stash)

Tomorrow, the plan is the Henry Doorly Zoo.  We are so excited.  Not so much about the 91 degrees that's forecasted but we LOVE the Omaha zoo!!  Hopefully I"ll have lots of great pictures for you tomorrow!!