Saturday, May 26, 2012

Betsye, did you get that?

For Christmas this year, my big present was a new camera. I knew that it would be the most practical item for our vacation of a lifetime. Mary Rose had her i-phone, Donna had her mother-in-law’s camera, and Sharon had a nice point and shoot. I was not Able to afford a DSLR, but was able to get a very nice upgrade from my previous camera. It’s a Fuji Finepix S3280 with 14 Mega pixels and a 24x optical zoom. It has many different settings, including a panoramic setting that I used a lot in Scotland because there was just too much to fit on one picture! On skye, there was an incredible view around every curve, and the roads were very winding. Most of the pictures I took as Sharon was driving down the road, but she occasionally stopped or slowed if the opportunity presented and the scene was particularly incredible. She did say if she stopped every time I wanted to take a picture, we’d never get anywhere, lol. I tried to be considerate of the schedule we had worked out and was still able to get some incredible shots! Mary Rose and Donna were very good about pointing things out to me to make sure we got the necessary pictures! By the time we got home, there were almost 4,000 pictures between the 4 cameras. The layout that I lifted for this page is in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 Issue 6 Page 31

Hogwart's Express

Mary Rose is a big Harry Potter fan, so one of the items on the wish list was to make a connection to Harry Potter. Not only did we see where J.K. Rowlings wrote parts of the first Harry Potter book in Edinburgh, but we also went to the Glenfinnan Viaduct which is famous for the scenes of the Hogwarts Express. If we had gone a week later, we would have been able to ride the train, but we had to go when spring break was. The monument across the road from the visitor’s center is a monument to the memory of the clansmen who fought, and died, in the Jacobite cause and the raising of the standard.

Nevis Range

We all have favorite memories of the Nevis Range. Donna’s favorite was the hot chocolate, it was the best! the girl was definitely an expert! And the shortbread we had brought along from the car boot was the perfect compliment. Mary Rose was just blown away by the scenery. I remember climbing on top of the picnic tables outside in order to set the tripod high enough to get a group picture of us with the background. Sharon remembers the bicycle trails, and nervous that her brother will find out about them, lol. We all remember the gondola ride, the views from it were incredible, and Donna was nervous about it and didn’t like it when we rocked it or when it paused during the trip. The layout that inspired this can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 Issue 3 Page 68

Skye Bridge

A short pit stop for a photo op, shopping in a small souvenir shop where Sharon got a new scarf and Donna found a postcard of a map of Scotland; But we didn’t find anyone with hot chocolate!

Croft Houses

If anyone had asked me before this trip what a typical house in a small village in Scotland would look like, I probably would have described a croft house. But we saw very few of them. Almost all of them were on the Isle of Skye, and 85% were part of museums which were closed until the following week. The layout that this was lifted from can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 Issue 4 Page 37

Faerie Glen

This was a wonderful little secret we wouldn’t have known about except for! The little gravel road that leads to it isn’t marked, and it isn’t publicized in the brochures. It is a beautiful place where sheep are free to roam about, the hills have a unique texture, and it’s easy to believe in fairies. There are some ruins in the valley, and in the picture with Sharon on the hill below me, the close white things are sheep, the white things in the distance are houses. It was so windy Mary Rose had to hold her hat on! I cut the fairies out of glossy card stock with my Silhouette and then used alcohol inks on them.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Sharon scheduled short 15 min stops along the way for us to get out of the car, stretch our legs, and use facilities if necessary. One of these was at Tarbet. I was surprised to see Canadian geese there, and I’m not sure what the other birds we saw were. We walked down to the boat dock and I was able to get some gorgeous pictures from there on the water. I was wishing I had a few hours and a fishing pole… The other picture I had printed to go with these of the other birds was just out of I just have to omit it.

Surprise Surprise Surprise!

ok, so I know the title is Gomer Pile'ish', but it makes me smile. There were several things that surprised me in Scotland, but they make sense. Bus stops and telephone booths beside the road in the middle of no where! Paying to use the toilet! And most of the time if there’s a garbage bin, beside it are recycling bins for bottles, papers, glass, and aluminum. I think all of these are great concepts and we should put phones in places where there isn't cell phone reception, bus stops in the middle of hiking country, and recycling bins next to the garbage bins!

Kilt Rock

When we went back to Kilt Rock, (we had totally missed the unmarked turn off), it was raining and we decided to not get out of the car, but go to dinner; to come back later wasn’t much back tracking because it was close to Beinn Edra. Upon returning, Mary Rose and Donna decided they were too tired and it was too cold and wet so they stayed in the car while Sharon and I went to see it. The gate had a difficult closure and we almost came to the conclusion that it was closed for the night, but I finally got it open! It was beautiful! It is named kilt rock because the rocks on the cliffs are different colors and look like a tartan with pleats. When leaving, we saw this picturesque view of a typical Scottish house by a small loch. I really used my distress inks on here. I used the ink pads on a tartan stamp by fiskars, then the distress stain on the title letters and the circle matting the picture, and of course on the celtic embellishments. I love the way it brings it all together.

Highland Coos

We were almost to Skye when we saw these cows by the road next to a pull by. Mary Rose even petted one, so when we got back to the states, she marked on her re-entry form that she had contact with livestock! I needed an embellishment for this page, but have run out of the generic ones I've bought, so I decided to make my own. I cut the celtic symbol out with my silhouette, inked it with distress stain, and then dipped it in melted UTEE. I love the way it came out so much that I immediately made a few more to go on other pages. Am thinking I might go back and add some to pages I've already finished...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Eliean Donan

I love that I'm reaching for my distress inks more now that I have created the tags and know ahead of time that I'm getting the correct color! I think we had the most fun at this castle, the tour guide really interacted with us. I was even offered a ‘full tour’ if I were to come back later. There were so many wonderful photo ops here even though pictures are not allowed inside; Perhaps because this is still a home to the clan McRae. Along with the ancestral paintings , there are current day family photos. There is a letter from Bonnie Prince Charlie along with a lock of his hair on display in the banqueting room where my favorite tour guide was weaving tales

Beinn Edra

Our Third night In Scotland, we stayed At Benin Edra Bed & Breakfast on The isle of Skye. It was a beautiful, clean, nicely Decorated, homey Place.complete With clothes on a line that looked Ready to blow out to sea. We Passed the entrance once or twice, but finally saw the sign. The bathrooms Were something I would have expected in An up-scale hotel with richly painted walls, Towel warmers, and fancy glass showers That seemed like something from a star trek Show. Rachel’s husband built the house and is Building another one next door. When we Arrived, he was on the roof and his little dog Was on the roof with him. Rachel cooked us A full Scottish breakfast in the morning, Including black pudding. There were sheep in the Front yard and that was the close-up View. But when you look across the Water, you can see the moutnains On the other side of Scotland. Simply breathtaking. If I were to get to go back to Scotland. I would definitely stay Here again!

Dashing Through the Snow

One of the first things Sharon did when we got up at Morag’s lodge was check the weather and road conditions. She was assured that the roads to the north where we were headed were better than they were to the south, so we ate breakfast, got a lunch, and headed out. About 10-15 min up the road, we came to the realization that it got worse before it would get better. Most of the time, the road conditions were fine, but there were a couple of spots where Sharon was thinking she was going to have to turn around and drive back through the snow. We decided that if we could just get to Benin Edra, we’d just skip the other things on the Isle of skye we had planned on seeing and just relax and watch the snow and hope that we could leave tomorrow. Fortunately, it had not snowed on Skye and we were able to see everything we had planned, and had time for more because it was so cold we weren’t lingering to enjoy the scenery as we had planned.


I tried to capture the beauty and majesty of these mountains in these photos, and utterly failed. It was almost like looking at a movie through the car window, but they were right there, huge, majestic, and wonderful. I envy everyone who gets to live here. I’ve seen these mountains in the Highlander and almost every other Scottish movie, but they’re definitely better in real life. It’s easy to imagine my ancestors fighting for the right to live here, to die here. If I could live anywhere and money were not an issue, I’d live here in the highlands where many of my ancestors were born, fought, and died.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 issue 8 page 38 We saw gorse all over Scotland. It was by the side of the roads, in fields, on the mountains, at the castles, and along fence lines. It took us a couple of days to find out what that yellow flower was, but we finally ran into someone who knew when we stopped at the WWII memorial. I’d had an idea to bring a piece of it home, but Mary Rose informed me at the memorial that the only way we could do that is if I had some hedge clippers and heavy duty gloves because there were huge thorns all over the bush!

Glasgow Cathedral

The architecture in Glasgow cathedral is absolutely breathtaking. Each room we went into was stunning. It is unfathomable how many hours it would take to construct such a building with today’s technology and tools, which makes it even more amazing that this building has stood for over 800 years!!! It is also incredible that Below the main sanctuary is yet another sanctuary with architectural details which mimic the one above. There are also some fantastic post war stained glass windows in this church, and it is still a place of worship. One thing that did surprise me was to see a skull and crossbones on archbishop Law’s tomb. It was actually a little bit of a reality check to be in a church with tombs inside of it. We don’t have any churches with dead people inside at home.

Scottish Road Trip

The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 16 issue 8 page 28-29 1 Car + 4 Women + 6 days + almost 1,000 miles = the road trip of a lifetime! Sharon rented a Meriva Turbo and picked it up the day before she picked us up at the airport. The car with suicide doors, was very spacious. and had a display on the dash which told us how cold it was outside, what road we were on, the time, and what was playing on the radio. Wish I had a Meriva! I sat in the front with the camera; Donna and Mary Rose in the back seat with the luggage that wouldn’t fit in the boot. There were a lot of things that stand out about the trip. The road signs, round-abouts instead of 4 way stops. The one lane 2 way roads with ‘lay by’s, the gas is bought by the liter instead of the gallon, (and with the conversion rate, they pay about $10 a gallon, but the car had excellent gas mileage!) There were several things that I think America would be wise to adopt. When they have road construction, they have portable redlights! Instead of paying for someone to stand in the road to let people by, they have red lights with sensors on them. Another thing about their red lights; before it turns green, the yellow light comes on with the red light so that you know before it happens that it’s about to turn green.

Stirling Castle

The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 16 issue 6 page 53 Our first stop was Stirling Castle which was built on top of a volcanic crag. It was the first real royal castle I’ve ever seen. King Robert I was here, but it wasn’t his residence. He Captured it and destroyed much of it after leading 8,000 scots to defeat 17,000 English. Mary, Queen of Scots was born here. Her mother was a princess from France and James V built many of the buildings seen today and decorated them in a Grand European style that she was accustomed to. Amazingly, the wooden ceiling in the great hall doesn’t have any nails or screws, it’s all tongue & groove! The tour guide was a great actor.! James V had wooden heads carved of prominent people and mythological figures and put them on the ceiling in his bedroom. They have statues and realistic looking food in the middle of preparation in the Great Kitchens. Donna pointed out that most of the people cooking were men! This was the closest we got to the Wallace Monument, we just didn’t have enough time to see everything, but we tried. :) I had never realized before that the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.


The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 issue 8 page 30 Glasgow is Sharon’s stomping grounds…where she shops. We didn’t have much time to explore, but took a bus tour to see the highlights and then walk around the cathedral. On the way to where the bus tour begins we walked down this huge street where cars don’t drive, it’s purely pedestrian! I was surprised to hear it’s the largest city in Scotland. The police box dates back to the time when policeman walked their beats and needed a place to escape a rain storm or rest their feet occasionally.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Loch Lomond

What could be better than sleeping in a castle while in Scotland? The closest I could find in our price range the week we were there was a youth Hostel in Loch Lomond. It’s actually a manor built by a tobacco baron in the late 1800’s on the site of Robert The Bruce’s hunting lodge. It was very beautiful in its day, but it has been a youth hostel for 60 years. After 2012, it will not be a youth hostel any more. I hope that someone restores it to its former glory. The room we had was very simple with two basic bunk beds, but after being awake 24 hours, I didn’t care. Sharon said that the people in the room next door kept her up after 2 in the morning. The next morning while we were getting ready, they knocked on our door asking us to keep it down because it was quite early, 6 o’clock in the morning! :) Little did they know that we had a schedule to adhere to, and we had to be up and on the road at a certain time. But we scheduled time for a few photo shots. :) I was even seen lying down in the stairwell to take a picture of the ceiling. Mary Rose actually told me that she hoped I knew they were not going to pose like that every day. I told her we wouldn’t be staying in such a place again. The layout that inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 issue 4 page 39.

Scotland or Bust

Can you tell that we hadn’t slept much the night before from the excitement, but were still giddy with anticipation? Sharon and I started planning this trip ten months before we got to this point, The planning was finally over and it was time to GO. Mary Rose and I got our first passports for this trip, and we exchanged all our dollars for pounds. It was almost too good to be true. I planned to sleep on the plane, but only managed a couple of hours. It was daylight almost the whole way. Donna knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep and came prepared with a Kindle Fire. The airplane food was surprisingly good, and I was surprised at how thirsty I was. I drank a lot of water while on the plane. Each seat on the plane had its own screen where you could play games, listen to music, or watch movies or watch where the plane was on the route, how fast it was going, how long it had been in the air and how long until it arrived. The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 16 issue 8 page 38

The 3 Sisters

When we found out that we were passing by a group of mountains in Glencoe called “The Three Sisters” it was a foregone conclusion that we would be having a photo stop. When Sharon asked Russell where we’d stop, he simply told her that she’d know. We stopped at a couple of places, but when we got there, there wasn’t any more doubt, she knew, lol. The layout which inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 16 issue 4 on page 60.


One of the places Sharon wanted to see was Greyfriar’s kirk. She told me about the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby, and I found the book on the kindle, so Mary Rose, Donna, and I all read the book about the little dog who faithfully guarded his master, even after he was buried. The church was gorgeous with amazing stained glass windows and a huge pipe organ! The church has a room about the world’s most famous dog complete with a painting created when Bobby was still alive. We were able to visit Auld Jock’s grave, and ate lunch in the tavern which Bobby used to visit. The layout that inspired this one can be found in Creative Keepsakes Volume 16 Issue 7 on page 41.

Clava Cairns

When planning the trip, I asked each of my sisters what they wanted to do and see. One of Mary Rose’s main request was to see a stone circle. Most of the stone circles are up along the east coast or on the islands where we weren’t going. Sharon found these cairns just for her. The openings to the cairns point directly to the winter solstice. Only two of the cairns have openings. When we got there, it was apparently time for the cattle to eat because they were slowly headed to a barn. This layout was inspired by another on Creative Keepsakes Volume 14 Issue 8 Page 28

Morag's Lodge

The second night in Scotland, we stayed at Morag’s lodge in Fort Augustus. It was another Youth Hostel; not as ostentatious as the hostel at Loch Lomond, but the bedroom and bathroom was nicer, the workers more friendly, and the atmosphere more festive. In fact, there was live music right there in the lodge. While updating my facebook page and listening to the singer, someone came in and said it was snowing outside! I went out, and sure enough, there were large flakes coming down. When I went in, and the snow melted, my cloak shimmered where the snow had been. I made a comment about how they have special Sparkly snow in Scotland! This was lifted from Creative Memories Volume 16 Issue 7, page 27.

Distress Inks

Yes, I have all 45 distress ink pads. :) It took me several months to find a storage solution that I was happy with that didn't cost as much as the ink pads themselves. :S But the Media Stix from Target for $12 was the perfect solution for me! And yes, I have some OCD tendencies; all of the ink pads are in alphabetical order. I bought a label maker from Office Depot just for the ink pads. I tried to be more frugal and printed labels, inked them, and put them on the sides, but they soon started peeling off, and I couldn't stand that.
I have a blending foam for each of the colors. I didn't want them to dry out between uses, so I bought some small jewelry baggies to put them in; used my crop-a-dile to punch a small hole in the top above the closure, and put them on a ring. So far, the labels I printed still work fine on these so maybe I won't have to redo them.
Today I took the time to create a color chart for each of the ink pads. I cut tags with my Silhouette, then I cut one on a slant and used that as a mask for all of the other tags. I used the blending foam on the lower part, then used the same stamp on all of the tags so that I could see what the colors look like stamped on white and on the blended color. Then I rubbed the edges of the top part on the ink pad itself so I can have a sense of how each color will look on edges when using that technique. I am now better at using the blending tool and have a better knowledge of how the colors fall on the color wheel. I thought I was pretty good at knowing the colors, but there were a few surprises. who knew that dried marigold is more of an orange than a yellow? Next, I need to figure a way to label my refills so I can tell at a glance from the top without pulling out the bottles which color is which. I can easily see the front row, but not the others.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Edinburgh Castle

The layout which I lifted for this one is in Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 Issue 4 Page 94. Today's LOAD prompt is about sound. I had anticipated hearing bagpipes all over Scotland, but didn't until I was here on the 5th day. The journaling reads, "The first thing we did when getting to Edinburgh after eating lunch was take a taxi up to the Castle. I had been looking forward to hearing the one o’clock gun while in Edinburgh the next day, but it was Good Friday, one of the two days of the year that it isn’t sounded. But I did get to hear Bagpipes for the first time that week while touring the castle!" There were so many things that I could have scrapped about this castle. I have some great pictures of the hall of arms, it's the birthplace of King James IV of Scotland aka King James I of England, but I had to choose. The castle diecut I got from the Silhouette online store. The stickers came from 3 different sets I have for Scotland, and I FINALLY used my dymo label maker on a layout!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today's layout was lifted from Creative Keepsakes Volume 15 issue 6 page 80. Near the Cairngorm mountains ins is the village of Aviemore. We all wished we had more time to spend there. When we arrived at the guest house, Peter greeted us and showed us to our room and offered a bit of cake which turned out to be slightly sweet dry bread. Then we were going to take a walk to find a restaurant. It turned out to be not much of a walk because just three or four houses from the guest house, we discovered International Starters. It was a nice restaurant with a posh feel, but reasonable price. I had melted brie with cranberry relish for an appetizer and when my prawn (shrimp) and scallop pasta arrived with prawn crackers, you should have seen the look on the waitress’ face when I asked her how I was supposed to eat the crackers. Donna had bread with melted cheese and then seared prawns. Mary Rose had skink soup and steak pie. Sharon had magic Mushrooms and fajitas. In the morning when Gail found out we were going to the Meigle museum because we were interested in stones, she told us about a circle of stones that was only a few blocks away. They aren’t very big, but it was quite a good circle. We had not found them on our internet searches and were excited to find this out, so we took a quick detour out of town. other notes: The bathrooms at this B&B were wonderful, the breakfast delicious, and the sun room wonderful. Sharon was enjoying a wee cup of tea at breakfast.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Culloden might not look like much to someone who doesn’t know their Scottish history, but it’s a very emotional place for someone who knows that about 2,000 Highlanders died in one hour here fighting for their land. We didn’t go to the visitor’s center, but walked around the field a little. On the way back to the car, Donna threw a snowball at me. I caught it in the photo; and it only hit my shoes. This was based on a layout in Creative Keepsakes: Volume 15 issue 6 page 16. A couple of years ago, my sister had someone doodle some Celtic borders and symbols for me to use in my scrapbooking. Tonight I rediscovered them in my stash and cut them out using my fiskars fingertip knife and pieced them together...they were on 8 1/2 x 11 pp, so they would not have worked the way they were created. I love the look they gave to this page! The parenthesis around the journaling came from a Scotland sticker set. I used my coluzzle to cut the picture of Sharon and the mat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I am so excited about doing another LOAD (LayOut A Day) challenge that I woke up at 3, and couldn't go back to sleep no matter how much I tried to tell myself that I needed to get some more sleep to be alert for work today. I hope I'm as wide awake at 4 pm as I am at 4 am. I've done a little preparation for this LOAD and even have sketches chosen and pictures printed for a week's worth of layouts. But there are still decisions to be made. You see, I'm going to scrapbook my trip to Scotland this month. I've decided to do all of my layouts based on other layouts I've seen and liked in the CK magazines. For the layouts I've planned so far, I have a list (love the android app "listmaster") of the layout and which magazine and which page using the volume and issue listed on the spine of each magazine. For instance: Urquhart Castle CK 15 4 101. I had to keep up with it somehow! Other decisions that I'll be making today, but subject to change this month: Do I use a cool Celtic font for all of the titles to narrow down that decision? Is there a specific ribbon or paper I want to use throughout the book? Will I want to use those Celtic stamps I bought a few years ago on every page or just some of them? Off to see which pictures I had printed yesterday and make the first decision!
Using a plaid ribbon is a definite possible thread, using the font for the journaling instead of the title is a possible thread, using the stamps is quite possible...I used them to make a design on the yellow cardstock, and I love this pp, but don't think I have enough for the whole album, and can't get any more. The journaling strips say: Urquhart castle is known as the Jewel of the Loch Ness. In fact, most of the sightings of the Loch Ness monster have occurred from the grant tower which was last built in 1509. Visitors can still climb up the stairs and look over the loch. In ancient times, this was a location of major strategic significance because it was the key to the ‘spine of Britain’.