Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Event I Was Waiting For

I am now a Permanent Resident of Canada.

At last.

On the 18th, the date of my flight, I was feeling really tense thinking ahead to security, flying, and all of that. But by the time I got through the VERY simplistic and quiet TSA screening and security in the tiny Roanoke airport, I felt fine. I found my gate, picked up the book I had brought in my carry on, and waited an hour and a half (since United had told me to be at the airport two hours before my flight).

The 30-minute flight from Roanoke to Dulles Airport was uneventful and went quickly. It was amazingly beautiful. Everything beneath me was a sparkling blanket, with the ground and rumpled mountains shining blue from the moonlight on the snow. Once we fully ascended, we were above foggy clouds which gradually faded into the rich ink blue of the night sky and the stars. Mars hung low and the constellations seemed much larger.

At Dulles, I had no idea what gate to go to for my connecting flight to Toronto. My boarding pass said nothing. So I went to Customer Service to see where the flight was leaving from, and I was told Gate A4. Well, that was incorrect. It turned out that my flight left from Gate D2, which was so far across the airport that one had to take a shuttle and then a train to get there. While I was having the most severe panic attack that I had ever had in my life as I tried to reach the D gates in time, my flight was long gone.

I'm not even sure what happened, as far as the panic attack went. All I knew was that the upper parts of my lungs and my windpipe were closing and were burning and I was thinking really overblown thoughts. My throat had also closed and I could barely speak when I finally reached the D2 counter and the lady told me I was far too late, which I already knew. My vision was red and shimmery as I booked the next flight to Toronto, which was leaving at 8am the following morning, and I began having trouble seeing as I slowly made my way back to the shuttle and to the train to return to the A gates, where my flight would definitely be leaving from this time.

I managed to get a few dollars worth changed for quarters so I could use the payphone. There was no free wi-fi available, so I couldn't get on the internet. I called our house in Thornhill, hoping that Trevor hadn't left for the airport yet, but there was no answer. I called my mom and Debbie was there with her, so I spoke to them both as the panic attack quickly subsided. It was a good thing that my sister left a message on Trevor's Facebook, because nearly everyone saw it. Elisa, Trevor's mom, saw it and got in contact with our friends and my sister and mom. So Trevor and his best friend Kent left the airport and crashed at Kent's place for the night.

Meanwhile, I found my specific gate and parked myself near the doors. It was cold in A5, so I put my gloves and trapper hat on and sat alone in one of the uncomfortable chairs, feeling very miserable and aggravated. I kept checking the screens to make sure that I was at the right gate, because at that point I was pretty paranoid. Once I was completely reassured by it, I managed to sleep for about two staggered hours. It was so painful to breathe, I tell you. I don't know what my body did to itself. It felt like when I had bronchitis a few years back. I lay in wait, waiting impatiently for dawn.

By pre-dawn, I had such a severe migraine that I was nauseous. I waited for the coffee shop near my gate to open, and I bought an espresso thinking that it would be great for the migraine. Well, and it was, but I almost got sick and I began shaking so hard that everyone near me could feel it. Oh well, at least I'm no longer an espresso virgin.

When they called my flight number, I felt immense relief and was first in line to board the plane, LOL. Once I was seated and was filling out a customs declaration sheet, I felt so much better. In the air, we quickly ascended over the thick, flat white clouds, and were riding with the morning sun. Above us was pure blue sky, beneath us was an endless sea of white. The sun cast spherical double rainbows onto the bumpy surface of the clouds. When we descended, it seemed we were sinking beneath the surface of a still white ocean. Under this layer of cloud, everything was a dull silver and looked very snowy. Ice began to form on the outsides of the windows. I never saw Lake Ontario or Toronto. When I finally saw Canada under me, we were very close to the airport.

Realizing that I was officially in Canadian airspace felt... I don't even know. The ground was white, and clusters of buildings and winding ribbons of grey road stretched out under me as snow fell around us. I just felt incredible joy at that moment.

The landing process was very quick and smooth, the most anti-climatic moment of immigration! One Canadian immigration officer leaned over to look at the landing papers in my hands as I passed him to go to Immigration, and he said "Ah, looks like you're landing today!" in a really cheerful voice. Everyone was so friendly. But I had to go on a wild goose chase to find my suitcases, so that's what took me so long before I could go to the Arrivals section and find Trevor, Kent and Nicole. I had the most awesome man in the world helping me get to where I needed to go, and he knew all the immigration and customs officers by first name. I don't remember this guy's name, but I'm pretty sure his first name was Hwan-Lee. We found my suitcases, went to Customs where I handed the guard my goods lists; the guard told me how much he appreciated how prepared and organized I was.

After I was done with Customs, Hwan-Lee took hold of one of my suitcases and led me to Arrivals, since I was kind of lost in such a big airport. We were enjoying having conversation, and he told me he knew how hard it was because he and his Malaysian wife went through a long distance relationship for years and then the whole immigration process. As we were talking, I suddenly heard a familiar voice say "There she is!" and I saw Kent and his girlfriend Nicole stand up. Trevor also stood, and our eyes met for the first time in eighteen months. We quickly closed the distance between each other and were reunited.

Hwan-Lee had let me leave my carry-on in an office so it would be safe, since I wasn't allowed to take it through Customs when he led me down there to find my luggage, so we left the luggage with Trevor and our friends and went to retrieve my carry-on. As I left the office and he directed me how to get back down to Arrivals, he grinned and shook my hand. "I'm happy to have seen that moment," he said of the reunion. I thanked him profusely for his help, and he wished me the best of luck in my new life.

I rejoined Trevor, Kent and Nicole, and we left the airport. Snow was flying, sticking to the car windows in huge and beautifully formed flakes, and I felt the deepest of joy. I was back where I belonged, and this time it was forever.

Kent was very generous and treated us to breakfast at the Golden Griddle. We had a really good morning, the four of us together again. Then they dropped Trevor and I off at home, and it was so strange to me. It felt like I had never left. We had a relaxing afternoon and evening and Trevor made us a very nice dinner.

He even apologized for having no candles :) He had met me at the airport with pink flowers; nobody had ever given me flowers before, and I just completely cherish them. I also cherish the pretty holiday arrangement that Kent and Nicole got me.

So I am home, and I can legally call this beautiful country my home.

The sweet maple life has officially begun, dear readers. I hope you continue to follow me on my journey as I truly begin to live.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Landing is imminent!

Hello, dear readers! I apologize for being a bit absent in posting. Things have been a whirlwind for me ever since I received PPR on November 15th and got my passport sent out.

I received my passport, its visa, and my landing papers on December 6th. I had tracked it via USPS and saw that it left Buffalo late at night on the 3rd and arrived in Roanoke about 11 hours later, but then it was a weekend so it didn't arrive here until Monday morning. AAahhh talk about the longest two days of waiting EVER!

To have those papers in my hands and know that it was all official and done and I was free to land as a Canadian resident... It was the most amazing feeling.

I had been a little fearful that Buffalo might reject the photos I sent them, so that was a(nother) sigh of relief!

I'll be landing on the evening of the 18th. That's just one week from today, almost to the hour! I don't have much to do to get ready, but I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken so I made a concise to-do list for this week. Needless to say, I'm relaxing a bit now and not feeling as stressed as I have been. I can't wait to head back north to where I really belong. I'm a bit nervous of the landing experience, as it varies with each individual immigrant and I'm well traumatized by Canadian border officers, but I know there's nothing to worry about now and it's just a matter of signing paperwork when I step off the plane in chilly Toronto. I suppose it's only natural to worry about landing, but I'm looking forward to the emotional rush when they officially welcome me to Canada.

I will update for you all next Sunday. I will share photos, talk about the landing experience and show you all my immigration timeline. Then I'll be able to post what this blog was created for: my new life in Canada, one which I had began in June of 2008 and had been cut short in May of 2009 when I had to return to Virginia.

Please send prayers or good thoughts that my night flight and landing will both go smoothly and without any snags! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Holiday Season Has Begun!

Hi there, friends! I hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend and are pumped for the holidays. I know I am! I didn't go Black Friday shopping like I had intended, and I'm glad for it. I got to sleep in while everyone else was up all night, ha! It's been a surprisingly chilly weekend, and I say surprisingly because southwest Virginia has been notorious for some ridiculously warm Thanksgivings.

Here are some pictures from this past weekend:

My nephew helping his nana make sweet potato casserole.

The turkey and some of the lovely noms behind it. All three of my sister's LARGE kitchen counters were filled with food! Sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, baked mac & cheese, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, corn muffins, crescent rolls and brown & serve rolls, turkey, ham (for those in the family who dislike turkey), gravy, stuffing, and I don't even remember what else!! We also had appetizers beforehand; pepperoni and cheese on crackers plus cheesy salsa and tortilla chips. And of course there were the pies. I really went over my personal rules set for this day, but I didn't even care LOL

I was in the middle of marking my seat with a place marker next to my equally savvy niece...

And there's our VIP seats, LOL

What a pig! Oh wait, that's my plate. Hey, I forgot stuffing! What a dolt.

As I looked around at the joyful chaos around me, I realized that I was really going to miss these huge family gatherings once I return to Canada. I felt bittersweet, but only for a little while, because I didn't want to look back on my final Thanksgiving in Virginia with unhappiness. So I really enjoyed myself and had fun bonding with my nieces and nephews.

The next day, my mom and I made our own mini Thanksgiving feast at home. Because, you know, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without your own leftovers! :)

The next day, Mom and I began to decorate for Christmas. Mom wasn't going to do so since I'm leaving for Canada next month and because it's coming up on a year since Dad passed away, and she just wasn't into it, but somehow she got the holiday spirit.

The tree, almost finished.

The dove in the top of the tree...

Mom's Santa collection, most of which she poured from molds, fired in her own kiln, and painted back in the days when she owned a ceramic shop.

The tree finished and glowing cheerfully in the grey chill of the afternoon. That tree skirt was made by Mom for my very first Christmas and is still pretty much pristine!

Maybe it's just me, but I love seeing Christmas lights when the day is otherwise grey and dismal. It makes me happy!

Have a great week, everyone :) If you're into digital scrapbooking, don't forget to check out my digiscrapping blog tomorrow evening (you can find the button in my sidebar) for THREE free kits I've made for your holiday scrapping pleasure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ramblings of a Nervous Wreck!

I got my passport sent off today, woohoo! It will arrive in Buffalo by noon tomorrow. I hope they begin processing it before Thanksgiving and before the holiday slowing-down-to-a-sludge begins for them. My stupid anxiety and paranoia keep making me feel that I didn't do all the steps correctly, or send the little package off right, and the pessimism in me automatically turns the dial to Worst Case Scenario Thinking.

Getting tired of all that. The anxiety, paranoia, and pessimism have been dramatically warping my life since I was a child. Of course, I get told that I'm simply being stupid and to not think that way, but nobody seems to get that it's just not easy. Believe me, I've tried. I WISH it were that easy.

We started by going to Food Lion so my mother could cash in a container of coins that she had accumulated over time. Then we went to Walmart to pick up Thanksgiving food, check for legal-size print paper (which they didn't have, which means I have to traipse to the other side of Roanoke to the nearest Office Max), and to get photos done for Buffalo.

The guy at the photo lab was bemused when I showed him Appendix B of the region specific form section of Canadian immigrating. I asked him if he could adjust the crown-to-chin measurements to what Buffalo required, and he said he would try his best. He just kept staring at me as though I had asked him to take a picture of me nude. I guess he doesn't get immigrants very often, LOL!

The photos were done in fifteen minutes. I accidentally glanced at them. Can I just say ew? I looked drunk, with a beach ball face and a slight double chin that even stretching my face out a bit to lengthen my neck couldn't hide. Oh well, I'm sure Immigration has seen worse.


After we got all that we needed (and my mother saying she needed a tranquilizer to deal with my "stupid" anxiety), I sat in my niece's car and meticulously trimmed the photos to specification. They ended up a little crooked, which bothered me. I really don't know if Buffalo is going to accept them at all, but if they don't, they don't. I can't do anything about it right now.

Then we drove back to Food Lion to buy the turkey, which was supposed to be 39 cents a pound. The wild turkey chase (lol) and dreams of stuffing a cold carcass came to an end when a stocker informed us that they were sold out of everything but turkey breast. We didn't want to make a pilgrimage (lol) back to Walmart, so we bought a breast (now that just sounds weird).

Then it was off to the post office! At this point, I was so stressed, mushed in the back seat with my younger niece and my carseat-age nephew, trying to pore over my checklist and made last minute corrections to envelopes and stuff while the car was moving... well, my hands were shaking and I wanted to cry. Told you it was bad, LOL. And the guy in the post office was a total grump. I tried to be my usual cheerful self, and he wasn't having any of it. I just KNEW he was thinking "Bah, HUMBUG!" in his head the entire time. In the same bored drone that he used when speaking. I wondered if he had ever smiled in his whole life. Yikes.

So I think I got it all right. There's no use worrying about it. After so many months of worrying and the way my stomach has been acting up lately, I'm afraid that I might have an ulcer or gastritis (I was SO GENEROUSLY given gastritis around this time in 2008 and it was a horrible experience). Yeah, I worry too much. I worry needlessly, stress needlessly, lose sleep needlessly. I can't even summon up joy that I sent this stuff out, because I'm worried about jinxing myself and something going wrong, mainly with the photos.

Yeah, I'm a nervous wreck for no good reason!

But as long as everything goes well, this is the final wait. At this time next month, I'll either be back in Canada or getting ready to head up there. My husband is very excited and has been in an excellent mood lately. I can't wait to be home with him :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 Emotional Bits of News

I got a double whammy when it came to very emotional news today. One was bad, the other was good. I'll go ahead and share the bad.

Our eighteen-year-old cat, Zed, had to be put down today. He loved everyone. When I first arrived at the house in Thornhill in June of 2008, he greeted me at the door and meowed at me. I quickly became close with the old man and adored him.

I wish I had been able to say goodbye to him. Like everything else in Canada, I haven't physically seen him for eighteen months. But now he's without pain, and he finished his long, relatively healthy life in my husband's and mother in law's arms.

After I found out about Zed being put down, well, needless to say I was bawling my eyes out. Then, just minutes later, I received an email from Canadian Immigration.

Here's the good news.

I received my passport request!!! I need to get three recent photos made and mail off my passport to Buffalo, and within a few weeks I'll receive it back and I'm free to land as a Canadian resident!!!!

Talk about an emotional rollercoaster today.

While my heart is heavy because I'm sad that my old man cat is gone, I'm also rejoicing in the fact that I can return to Canada very soon. I've spent the last few hours bawling my eyes out. It's hard to realize just how emotional immigration is until it's over and the fear and the wait are almost completely over.

Sometimes I didn't ever believe that this would be over. It's kind of hard to believe right now! But I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me, and you can bet I'm hopping up and down thanking God right now for blessing me the way He has =)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vote for Kind Over Matter!

Okay guys and girls, I'll just say one thing right now. Kind Over Matter has been an endless source of inspiration for me ever since I became active on Blogger. From amazing printouts that I want to leave everywhere for people to see, to beautifully inspirational pictures and messages, this blog is all about promoting goodness and kindness in a world full of spite, hate, and snarkiness (is that even a word?).

Right now they're seeking more votes for their running in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Here's what Kind Over Matter is planning to do if they win:

"The Kind Over Matter Project is all about feeling good & promoting positivity. We want to help independent artists in the Handmade Community achieve their dreams by awarding them micro-grants to polish off their businesses. Our goal is to turn Kind Over Matter into a non-profit & start selling merchandise that promotes kindness & positivity. We will be using donations & a percentage of the proceeds to fund our grants. These grants will not be awarded by professional curators they will be appointed by YOU. After initiating website upgrades & design changes, we plan to use an interactive voting system so that members of the Handmade Community will be able to vote for their peers."

I think this is an amazing idea and a wonderful opportunity that deserves to come to fruition, which is why I'm sharing this with everyone that I possibly can.

Click here to check out the post and vote!

Have a great Monday, everyone! Yes, I realize that that was an oxymoron to most of you ;)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Blog Hopping

Sunday Strolling Blog Hop

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Not much has been going on this week, except that I've been very busy working on hand-made Christmas presents for my family. Since I've learned to crochet and there's such a clamouring for my open-work scarves and handwarmers, the gals of the family are getting those. I have just about everyone nailed down in terms of creating, and you know what? At first I felt really stressed out about not being able to buy anyone anything this year, but I realized how much I love to create for people. I'll be posting some pics soon!

And I've been scrapbooking. A LOT. I'll be posting a bunch of layouts over on my digiscrapping blog in a little while so you can check them out. I thought that I was starting to get burned out, but that's not so!

I'm so excited for Christmas already, and it's still autumn. Don't get me wrong, autumn is my favourite season and I fall in love with it more each passing year, but this year went right from hot to freezing and the foliage wasn't at all spectacular. It's left me feeling a tad disappointed, so I'm over it.

And besides, winter means that I'll be landing in Canada as a resident! I can't believe I'm saying this, but... HURRY UP, WINTER!

I discovered what is possibly the MOST sinfully easy dessert in the world. It's called a mug cake and you can find out how to make one here.

It takes just a few minutes to make, and it is HEAVENLY. A whole mug full of chocolatey goodness. What person doesn't love that? Well... maybe someone who doesn't like chocolate, but anyway ;)

Have a great week, everyone!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recipe - Creamed Chicken & Biscuits

Creamed Chicken & Biscuits

I absolutely love this recipe. It's perfect for cold weather evenings and is simple to make (and you can bet that I sure as HECK like simple).

1/2 large onion (that's too much onion for me, so I substituted with a generous sprinkling of dried onion flakes and the end result had a distinct onion flavour that wasn't overpowering)
1 1/2 tsp butter
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pimiento (I left this out entirely)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 frozen biscuits, thawed (I made some drop biscuits with Jiffy mix this time)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 11x7-inch baking dish.
Chop the onion. Heat butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high until melted. Stir in onion and saute until tender. (Since I was using dried onion flakes, I just nuked the butter in the microwave until it melted and stirred it together with the flakes.)
Combine onion, chicken, soup, sour cream, milk and pimiento in a medium bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
Sprinkle baked layer with 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Arrange biscuits in single layer over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar.
Bake until biscuits are golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 20 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

OPTIONAL: If you're a rice lover, cook up some minute rice and add it to the mix. Trust me, it's HEAVENLY!

I used more cheddar cheese than the recipe called for. I LOVE cheese, so I couldn't help it. The recipe called for mild cheddar, but I find that it's flavourless in things like this, so I used sharp. It's really all about preference, just like using Jiffy drop biscuits instead of frozen biscuits (I like either of those).


Monday, November 1, 2010

Enter to Win an Apple iPod Touch @ Living on Love and Giveaways!

You gotta follow this blog if you like giveaways!

Ohhhh, shinyy...

Visit Living on Love and Giveaways to enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch!! Yahoo!

1 winner will receive an 8gb Apple iPod Touch, and 3 winners will win a $10 iTunes gift card! How awesome is that?

I just entered and would love to win this to give to my husband (though he'll have to share... LOL).

Open to US only & ends on December 15th, so hurry and get your entries in!

Enter Here

Saturday, October 30, 2010

At the Hop

BWS tips button

Hi there! If you've found me from any of the hops and have decided to follow me, a huge welcome and some hot apple cider & cookies for you :) I hope you enjoy your visit and that you stick around! Things are going to get more exciting very soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chillin' and Waitin'


One of my fellow applicants has FINALLY received her visa today and will be landing as a Canadian resident tomorrow. You can read her blog here, which is full of important information regarding Canadian immigration.

I'm so overjoyed for her that I'm crying. Yes, right at this instant. It might sound silly, because I don't even know her in real life, or really outside Road to Canada, but she's been so fearful and worried (feelings shared by all of us current applicants) and I know that she's soaring sky-high right now.

I prayed so hard that all of us May & June applicants would get residency. So far, we all have, though I'll be the last one to land since I delayed in paying the RPRF (Right to Permanent Residence Fee). But I don't mind; I'm just chillin' and waitin', getting stuff taken care of and tying up the loose ends here.

No more uncertainty.
No more fear.
No more anxiety.
No more being separated from her husband.
A new chapter has begun, and freedom has been attained.

I can't wait until I can take my place among the landed residents.

However, I firmly believe that there was a reason I was supposed to be here for as long as I've been, and others have told me the same thing. Helping Mom take care of Dad when he was so ill... being with Dad in his final days and hours... keeping Mom motivated to get up every morning... It was very hard for me to understand my own strife at first, but after we lost Dad, I slowly began to see the big picture.

These last seventeen months have been an emotional roller coaster that I hope to never, ever experience again in my lifetime. But this roller coaster has made me into a better person, stronger than I would have ever imagined, and it's even strengthened my faith and my marriage.

Immigration isn't for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday

{one} have you ever crawled through a window?

{two} what’s one subject that you wish you knew more about?
Math. I have ALWAYS hated it but I really ought to know more about it :P

{three} who’s your favorite villain?
Definitely Sylar from Heroes. He is SO evil but so delicious!! *drools*

{four} have you ever hit a jackpot on a slot machine?
Ha, nope. I've played slot machines before, in Niagara. My ex-boss won the jackpot on one though, go figure.

{five} what is your favorite disney movie?
Beauty and the Beast!!!!!

{six} if the whole world were listening, what would you say?
Click here to see what I would say.

{seven} if you could choose one song to describe you or your life, what would it be?

Then there's this more upbeat one... and whether you know the language or Google the English translation, you'll see why :)

{eight} your desk: messy or organized?
It stays pretty organized. I really hate for my workspace to be messy in any way. I'd share a pic, but I'm too lazy to take one ;)

{nine} have you ever had surgery?
Not yet, thank goodness. I have to get an errant wisdom tooth removed eventually, though :(

{ten} if you could have any animal as a pet, what would you have?
A gypsy cob pony.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



It's time for another week of questions! Don't forget to click above to go to the blog and do the questions yourself :)

1.What was your favorite meal growing up?
Burgers and fries and pizza! I STILL love these not-so-healthy meals!

2. What's your favorite month?
Hmm, that's pretty hard to answer. I really can't pick one, so here are my four faves.

October - Autumn, Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, and cozy nights.
November - Chilly days, cold nights, Thanksgiving excitement, Black Friday, Christmas decorating! (Yes I really plan on going Black Friday shopping, at least once, in Buffalo after I've gotten Canadian residency... I love Black Friday way too much!)
December - Christmas!
May (in Ontario, as it's way too hot in Virginia and I don't like spring here) - Spring really getting under way and everything blossoming.

3. What store is most represented in your wardrobe?
None. I shop at a wide variety of places. But I REALLY love Forever 21, H&M, and Old Navy, so there will probably be a lot more of that in my closet soon.

4. How many times do you go to the movie theater each month/year?
Here in Virginia, maybe once or twice if people invite me. In Canada, it was getting to be once or twice a month or so. We would usually only go on "Two Toonie Tuesdays" though ;) (that's the day when movie tickets are only $4, or two $2 coins aka toonies)

5. Fill in the blank- I've never been able to ___________________
Permanently stick to a forum and its community :( I just seem to disappear after a couple years. I seem to be doing pretty well with DSP and STS, though!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Love Your Blog

I admit that I got a tad confused as to who, exactly, were my partners in this swap. I apologize to my partners for the confusion! I'm now including buttons and details to ALL FOURTEEN wonderful bloggers, from those who I sent links to and those who sent links to me! It's a blog party!!!

If you have never heard of Swap-Bot, I definitely recommend giving them a try. You can find all kinds of nice folks and fun swaps to take part in! There are even e-swaps, which I've been having a blast with! Right now there is a great swap called I Love Your Blog, and it's coordinated by Jexyland. Here I get to check out other people's awesome blogs, and they get to check out mine! Here are my partners and coordinator!

Jex's blog is lovely! I love all the tutorials on her blog and her sweet personality in her posts. There is the cutest tutorial for a DIY pincushion and I have to try it!

Place this button on your website!

Only in Cambodia is a very interesting blog full of articles, memories, and photos of The blogger's love for the country reminds me of my love for Canada =) After reading a few posts, I feel as though I've actually been to Cambodia.

Memories Through Quilting
Vicki of Memories Through Quilting has a really nice blog here! I love seeing her quilts progress! Quilting is something that I would really like to get into one day, and I am inspired!

Keeping Up with the Joneses is a great blog (and VERY purple, yay!!) that shares bits and pieces of the blogger's life and what she does. Kimberly also shares giveaways as well as a GREAT booklet on scrapbooking tips, and more!

*She's Crafty She's Just my Type... By Amberingz*
Amber's blog is simply lovely! I love the whimsical chic projects she creates, including fanciful rings that I am in LOVE with! She has an Etsy shop here, go check it out. I love blogs with lots of pictures & projects and this is no exception :)

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Rachel is a homeschooling mom (and I have deep respect for homeschooling parents!!) who shares the trials and triumphs of this special job as well as motherhood. She's also a crafter, hooray!!

Amber is a SAHM who loves to read! She has good book reviews on her blog as well as tidbits about her life. She's also a writer and a gamer, which get two thumbs up from me! :)

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This is a fun, newer blog! Not only does it have purple in it, it has some neat projects that Cassandra has done. She also shares fascinating photos of life in general. I love the tiny pincushions she made with fabric and itty bitty coloured pails!

I love MissMuffincake! She's a vegan crafter and shares some great recipes, product reviews, and more. I can't wait to read more of her blog.

Kim's blog is full of cute!! I love the adorable plushies she makes, as well as all the fun and interesting tidbits about this vibrant redhead's life. She also posts some really cute finds & links, so don't miss out if you're a lover of all things kawaii!

* Erica Lee *
Erica's blog is a wonderful concoction of fashion and fashion advice, beauty, and inspiration. I love all of the deep posts that provoke thought and consideration in me, giving me a new perspective on relationships, life, creativity, and even my wardrobe!

Hayley's gorgeously pink blog is loaded with great giveaways, reviews, and all the bits 'n pieces of a mama bear's life.

A relatively new blog, Crea Bloempje666 is a lovely page full of creativity!! I really love the purses she's made for swaps and such, and she also has a Dutch webshop here that you just have to check out!!

This lovely blog focuses mainly on book reviews. These in-depth reviews are very helpful for those (including myself) considering a novel but unsure of whether to actually buy it or not! I love the simplistic but beautiful style of this blog.

How crafty...

Since I've been back in the US, unemployed while waiting for Canadian immigration to progress, I've kept busy by trying my hand at many different crafts. I began to grow surprised by how much I was capable of doing, even if it wasn't GREAT. It was making me gain self-esteem; my own island in the middle of a dark sea of severe anxiety, depression, and grief after my father's passing.

There's been polymer clay sculpting:

Beading (this isn't new to me, though):

Digital Scrapbooking:

(Pssst! Check out my digiscrapping blog here)


This is my Final Fantasy VII fan character, Marina.

The French Language (well that's not really a craft, but it's an art to me!):

Cooking (again, an art! I'll be posting this yummy creamed chicken & biscuits recipe next week):

And now... Crocheting!

Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I made this pink scarf. The pattern is called One-Ball Scarf and is on the Lion Brand website (www.lionbrand.com). For my very first project, it was SUPER easy to make. So easy, in fact, that I made a pair of handwarmers out of the same pattern.

I'm already getting requests to make these for friends! First I'm making a red pair for my mother, probably a pair for my mother in law, and pairs for my two best female friends. These are really snug, but not uncomfortably so. They're great for cool weather, but certainly not for a Canadian winter outdoors. Pahahaa

The more I can learn, it's like a whole new world of opportunities opens for me. What next? Sewing and knitting, to start! =)