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Albums, Layouts, Scrapbooking, Southwest

Southwest Vacation Album

In the fall of 2011, Josie and I surprised Karen with a birthday trip to the Southwest. Almost five years later, I am finally scrapbooking that trip. Many huzzahs!

Southwest 2011 Album

Unfortunately I never really blogged about this trip, which is a shame – we visited some mighty beautiful places. I also can’t find the journal I kept on the trip, so I had to rely on my aging brain for memories. Luckily Jo and Karen were able to fill in a few blanks for me as well as provide me with extra photos. Thank you, ladies!

Now, for the design – we’ve already established that I suck at finishing albums (really, what on earth am I even doing starting another one), so in order for this to become a doable project, I decided on a clean layout (which is yet another variant of one of my go-to designs) that is repeated throughout the album.

Ali Edwards released these handwritten Travel Words this month, and they inspired this whole project! I cut them out with my Silhouette and I’m going to use them as my titles for every section of the trip. As for the rest of my supplies, so far I’ve really only used white cardstock, two old sheets of feather patterned paper, and a pack of wood veneer feathers.

Southwest 2011 Album

Oh, and a sheet of vellum with feathers on it too! And these ancient state dies from Quickutz. Behind this vellum opening page, I added some emails I had printed out – some rather hilarious correspondence between us and Karen’s husband when we were planning the trip behind her back.

Then the introduction page, setting up what would become the theme of the trip:

Southwest 2011 Album

Every highlight of the trip will get its own spread, like this one from White Pocket:

Southwest 2011 Album

(Side note – the photos look so much better in real life, I’ve totally blown them out here in an attempt to make the background look white. Photographing layouts is the worst.)

I’m going to just stick to this design since it’s so easy and quick to put together and adds a nice sense of continuity throughout the album. Here’s the spread from Coyote Gulch – same design, but flipped:

Southwest 2011 Album

In addition to these spreads, I also have a bunch of memorabilia that I want to use. Here’s the adorable prairie dog adoption certificate from Bryce National Park – of course I adopted one, those things are basically marmots:

Southwest 2011 Album

The prairie dog postcard was an actual card that I sent home to JK, so I’m leaving it open on the back so you can read it. Well I can, because it’s in Norwegian…and JK and I are probably the only people in the world who can decipher my horrid writing. This is why I use computer journaling on my pages, people.

Southwest 2011 Album

Josie and I always go bananas collecting park stamps from ranger stations, so here are some of those, keeping with the design of the previous pages:

Southwest 2011 Album

The last page of the album is another printed email thread – a really wonderful thank you note from Karen followed by us gushing about how much fun we had. Aaaw.

So what do I still need to do to finish the album?

– make a bunch more section spreads (from the Narrows, Peek-a-Boo & Spooky Canyons, Bryce, Valley of Fire etc)

– make a pocket that will hold a DVD of this video that Karen made from the trip (and a QR code that will take you to the Vimeo link)

– put together a couple more pocket pages filled with memorabilia

I can totally finish this.

Hiking, Southwest, Travel

Surprise! You have two hours to pack.

Sorry to disappear without a word, but Jo and I whisked Karen away to the Southwest on a surprise birthday trip! We managed to keep it a secret all summer, so I had to make sure I didn’t spill any sort of beans on my blog.

Zion zquishie

We hiked through freezing water and endured the traumatizing smell of wet rental neoprene booties…


…drove down an absolutely mental “road” of deep sand and sharp rocks to see some of the most beautiful rock formations in the world…

She's always got her nose in a book

…slithered (some more gracefully than others) through muddy slot canyons…

K2 Kanyoneers Canyon crud

…and backpacked in the desert with only one minor quicksand incident.

Gulch girls

I’ll write an installment of trip reports when I get all my photos up, but for now I just want to thank mah ladeez for one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on.

Happy birthday Karen!

I’m still smiling.

Albums, Hiking, Scrapbooking, Southwest, Travel

Desert Scrapbook

Alright, so I kept waiting for JK to be able to help me photograph this album, but the only days he came home early enough we were too busy – so here’s a lovely mish-mash of porch photos and scans of the pages I’ve made so far. The album is an 8×8 corduroy album from American Crafts in the most desert-like color I could find. The page protectors are from We R Memory Keepers, but unfortunately they didn’t fit the album – I had to punch two extra holes in each protector.

I wanted the album to really focus on the photos, so I chose white and grey cardstock as my base, no patterned paper (there’s so much color in the photos already!) and minimal embellishments – just those cute butterflies from Quickutz, cut out in different sizes with my Silhouette. This page is from our first hike of the trip, to Cable Mountain in Zion National Park:

Cable Mountain

I’m using the same fonts throughout the album: Century Gothic for journaling, CK Becky for the “handwritten” titles and Modern No. 20 for the rest of the titles.

If you live in St. George (or anywhere in Utah for that matter), you must visit Snow Canyon State Park. We ended up there as a backup when our backpacking trip in Zion got rained out, and we were so happy it happened!

Petrified Dunes

To go with the butterfly theme (ok, so it was just an excuse to finally use them…), I’m adding butterfly transparencies from Hambly between some of the pages. I love those things.

Petrified Dunes

To make the pages easy to put together (since I have yet to actually finish an album…), I’m using a bunch of divided 4×6 page protectors, and a lot of the designs are based on 4×6 or 5×7 photos – the 8×8 size is perfect for this!

This is from Bryce Canyon National Park where we hiked an excellent little loop:

Hiking Among Hoodoos

After Bryce we spent some time in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Again, everyone should visit this place! Lots of little hikes and areas to explore, and the best campground you’ll ever find (free showers!).

White Domes

We avoided Vegas and chose slot canyons over slot machines:

Slot Machines

Valley of Fire was where we saw our favorite animals of the trip (antelope ground squirrels and chuckwallas!) and our absolute least favorite animal (rattlesnake, eep!!):

Life in the Desert

I attached the butterflies to the outside of some of the page protectors because it looked more interesting – let’s see how long it takes before they fall off.

Ephemeral Arch

…and here’s a mushy closing page (for the time being) with a collection of some of our self-portraits.

I <3 You

Happy vacation, happy album, happy me! The full trip report is on

Vacation album in the making

Hiking, Southwest, Travel

Road Trip part six: Goldstrike Hot Springs and the ER

Finally, four months after the fact, here is the final installment of the road trip blog…

After making it back up to Hualapai Hilltop and driving back to Las Vegas, we had a quiet night to recover. The next day we woke up unsure of what to do. Our flight wasn’t until the following day, and none of us could stomach the thought of Las Vegas in the daytime (*shudder*). Solution? Why, go hiking again of course!

I had found some info on some hot springs by Hoover Dam on the intertubes, so off we went. I’ll just copy and paste my trip report from NWHikers because I’m too lazy to write something more interesting:

To get to the trailhead from Vegas, we drive towards the Hoover Dam for about an hour. 0.5 miles or so past the Hacienda Casino, turn right onto a road that passes under the new highway they’re building. When you reach a fork in the road, turn left and drive to the end where there is room for parking.

The new highway

The hike is about 4 miles roundtrip. At first you walk through the canyon looking at all the remnants of car crashes from the old highway above.

One of many old car wrecks along the trail

At around 1.5 miles, you start having to scramble over and around some huge boulders – it’s all good fun though, no really scary parts…even for a wuss like me. I did, however, fall flat on my face and had the pleasure of my bum being photographed with a wide-angle lens.

Big boulders


Jules manouvering down some steps cut into the rock Shuddup, it's a wide-angle lens! JK avec rope

After getting over all those boulders, you get to relax in the hot springs (heaven for our post-Havasu leg muscles). There are three separate pools, but we stayed in the first two since the third one (where, apparently, there is some sort of tunnel you can swim through to get to a little grotto) was full of them thar young’uns drinking beer.

The two upper pools

Lazing in the middle pool

Definitely a hike I would recommend if, like me, you’re allergic to the sight of Las Vegas in daylight and need something to do! :o)

After soaking in the pools for a while, we drove back to Vegas. Somehow, Julia convinced us to eat at the Hooters Hotel (why? whyyyyyy??). A couple hours later I suddenly started feeling weird, so I went to bed…only to wake up the next morning to an inferno of projectile vomiting and (how do I say this delicately), uhm, other excretions. After a couple of hours of this I was so exhausted and dehydrated that JK and Jules had to take me to the ER.

Two bags of IV fluids and several shots in the bum later, I was feeling better but still couldn’t really walk. Lame (literally). We ended up having to postpone our flight one day until I was able to fly back.

A really really bad ending to a very very good vacation. I would totally recommend our whole route and itinerary – but whatever you do, don’t eat at Hooters.

The Trio at Excalibur