#evansfamilyeuropeanadventures


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chris just shared this on his instagram and I thought it was really neat to see a map of the places we went the 4 years we lived in Germany. 
Believe it or not there are still cities on our bucketlist that we didn't make it to such as the Matterhorn, Sicily, Bilbao, Porto, Warsaw, Gdansk, Telč, Český Krumlov... so I guess we'll just have to go back! I miss it so much already!! I blogged about all of our adventures here: http://www.paigetaylorevans.com/p/our-travels.html.
In every city we visited we got a magnet - I didn't take a photo before we took all the frames down, but we filled up all four of these frames plus half of one more. Hunting down and finding a magnet was one our favorite things to do while adventuring and I'm so glad we have a little visual reminder in addition to all the photos and map pins of the places we went.
"Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times."
We really tried to make this our motto while living in Germany. We knew it was only temporary and we had to make the most of our limited time. One of the first things I did when we moved to Europe was print 4 years worth of calendars and penciled in everywhere we wanted to go, then every 3 or 4 months we would plan the trips: book flights, find airbnbs, get pet sitters, and hash out the detailed itinerary so we knew exactly when and where to go so we'd see it all! The Army in Europe has 4 day weekends every single month, sometimes even two a month - we went somewhere nearly every single 4 day. You can see a LOT in 4 days! We swore by Rick Steves travel books for where to go and what to see and LOVE his self-guided walks through town that hit all the major attractions. I often get asked how we could afford to travel so much but the thing is traveling in Europe is so much cheaper than in the US. Budget airlines such as Ryanair had flights for $9.99 round trip sometimes, I kid you not!! Airbnbs are the way to go instead of expensive hotels and we brought our own food. Also... savings... more like what savings?!? Again, we knew this was a limited time in our lives and focused more on seeing and doing than scrimping and saving. Maybe not the wisest choice but we're happy with our decision. Towards the end of our time in Germany I was simply DONE traveling and Chris had to drag me out the door to get to Iceland and Norway, but I'm so very glad he pushed me to go. Now I just want to stay home for the next 4 years to recover! (as I'm simultaneously planning our trip to Mexico City to teach and sightsee, lol). We are so grateful for the time we had in Germany, I can't say it enough!

Summer 2015 Mini Album by Missy Whidden


Friday, July 21, 2017

As you know I've been in a mini-making-mood lately and since Missy Whidden's first mini album was a knock-out, I asked her to make another one! It's another winner!
Hey there, friends! Missy here and I have a fun mini album to share. This week the focus is on flowers, so I made sure to include a lot of them here. I went with a summer theme since I have so many pool photos of my girls. I must say that mini albums don’t come easily for me, so I wasn’t sure where to start. I finally decided to start going through the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad and I chose several bright and summery papers. I had several different sized photos printed, so I knew I’d be mixing and matching things. The size of the album is 4x6" so I cut a few papers in that size. I made a few of them smaller and I punched a few. I liked the look of having different sized and shaped papers.  I also used papers from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad and the 6x6 Paper Pad. I wanted to add some fun die cut elements to the album, so I used the laser die cut sheet from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad. I did lots of machine stitching, especially on the cover. I stitched some of the Take Me Away Thickers for my title.

On the inside cover, I went simple with some fussy cut flowers from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad and Chipboard Stickers. I punched a fun little heart and added a rose gold sticker from the Oh My Heart Sticker Book. The first page is a smaller piece that I tore and then added some watercolor and flowers.

On the back I kept it white with some embellishments: a fussy cut circle from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad, a rose gold phrase from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad, and some Oh My Heart Puffy Stickers. The sequins are from SpiegelMom Scraps and I used them throughout the album. On the right, I watercolored a piece of white cardstock and added two photos. I made this piece a little bit wider so I could use a border punch on the side and fold it in. I held it together with a Take Me Away Epoxy Paper Clip. When you remove it, the photos are visible. I added some of the Oh My Heart Sticker Book washi tape and a puffy sticker.

I used a flower stencil and some watercolors for the back of that piece and added some Oh My Heart Chipboard Stickers, a die cut, and some more sequins. I added in one of the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad die cut pieces and backed it with various patterned papers. On the back, I punched  a lot of circles from a Fancy Free 6x6 Paper Pad paper and created some fun scallops. The page behind that has a longer photo that I embellished. I fussy cut another circle from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad and added an Oh My Heart Chipboard Sticker. That pretty yellow and pink layer is from the Oh My Heart Ephemera. I finished this page off with some metallic gold Take Me Away Foam Phrase Thickers.
For the next page, I kept it simple with just added a few paper strips around the edges, a punched heart, and an Oh My Heart Chipboard Sticker. I mixed in a circle punched piece here just for fun.  The right side is a piece of paper from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad that I watercolored. I added an Oh My Heart Ephemera floral die cut and a fussy cut flower. I layered in some vellum and tissue paper as well as an Oh My Heart Puffy Sticker.

Next up is another die cut piece from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad that I backed with patterned papers. I added an Oh My Heart Ephemera die cut and some Take Me Away Foam Phrase Thickers. On the opposite side I journaled on a cut apart piece from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad and stitched through it. When you flip it, you see a fun photo with some Oh My Heart Puffy Stickers and some Oh My Heart Sticker Book washi tape and alphas. On the right I used another die cut piece and backed it with papers. I kept it simple with just a few ink splatters, the photo, and a fussy cut heart from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad.

The next spread is another fun mix of color.  I used a floral paper on the left from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad and added some tissue paper behind my photo.  I tucked in another fussy cut flower and another rose gold sticker.  The page on the right is a combination of papers from both paper pads and an Oh My Heart Puffy Sticker.

On the back of the pink page, I added in a few smaller pieces just for fun. I fussy cut more large flowers from the Fancy Free 12x12 Paper Pad and paired those with a cut apart from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad and added some thread.  I fussy cut those circles together and threw in another cut apart from Fancy Free. I added in another piece of watercolored cardstock next. I wanted to create a fun sky and sun with sprays. I had this cloud die cut sitting on my desk, so I added that in.  I finished it off with an Oh My Heart Puffy Sticker and a few sequins.
I love how this next page turned out. I had another longer photo so I folded the outer edge and added a punched tab. I hid some Oh My Heart Puffy Stickers underneath the folded part. I sprayed the paper with some bright pink spray and bordered the photo with some washi tape from the Oh My Heart Sticker Book. The right side is another journaling piece. When you flip it over, there’s another photo behind it. Behind that is another die cut piece from the Oh My Heart 12x12 Paper Pad that I stitched on using different color thread.


The final bit here is more watercolored die cut pieces, fussy cut flowers, and puffy stickers. I assembled the entire album using a Cinch machine.

I hope this inspires you to try your hand at a mini album! I struggle with them, but the more I got into it, the more fun it was. I always appreciate a challenge, and this hit the spot!
 photo Missy Whidden.jpg
Blog: littlenuggetcreations.blogspot.com  Instagram: @missywhidden  Pinterest: @missywhidden
Facebook: missy.whidden  YouTube: Missy Whidden
Everything Missy makes is golden! From mini albums and layouts to cards and DIY projects - I'm so lucky to have her on my team and share her projects with you! Thanks for stopping by today, be back soon!

Floral Layout by Steffi Ried


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It's no secret that I have a soft spot for flowers - more often than not they appear somewhere (or EVERYWHERE!) on my layouts and projects! So this week I asked the designers to create layouts with lots of flowers. Stefanie Ried's layout today is out-of-this-world stunning!
I love summer. One of the best things about it are the meadows full of wildflowers here in Germany. In the summer everything is so beautifully colorful in our garden. Pinks, yellows, reds, greens, blues… I can't get enough of all the colors. So I wanted to create a meadow of flowers on my layout.
Paper 06 and Paper 13 with all the flowers from the Oh My Heart collection are so beautiful. I fussy cut the flowers and added them onto the layout. In order to achieve a 3D effect, I layered the flowers together and added mini Buttons from Take Me Away.

I thought for a long time how to make the stems. Then I decided to use my good ol' sewing machine. I just can’t do without it, haha :) First I sketched the stems and then sewed them with threads in different shades of blue.

For this project I didn't use many supplies - only the two printed papers, the small buttons, a chipboard sticker, and some sewing thread. Sometimes you just need less than you think!

If you want to see how the layout was created, check out the video!

I hope you like my page with all the flowers :) Thanks for stopping by!!
 photo Stefanie Ried.jpg
Blog: steffiried.blogspot.com / Instagram: @steffiried / Pinterest: @steffiried / Facebook: stefanie.ried.96 YouTube: Steffi Ried
Please tell me I'm not the only one who wants to scraplift every single layout and project Steffi makes?! WOW!

Turn the Page Collection & Giveaway!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Announcing my 4th collection with Pink Paislee called TURN THE PAGE!



There is also a pack of ribbon, shaped sequins, a layered acrylic stamp set, wood veneer, a whole package of journaling spots, puffy stickers, a 4-page sticker book, cute patterned alpha Thickers, 24 papers, 12x12 paper pad, and 6x6 paper pad!



Want to win a TURN THE PAGE goodie box?! Leave a comment on this post and tell me what product you're most excited about from this collection! I will randomly select a winner and update this post with the winner in one week (Monday July 24th 2017). Open worldwide, please only one comment per person. TURN THE PAGE will be available in stores the first week in August and I can't wait to see what you make with it!

3 Pink Paislee Cards


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Awhile ago I made a trio of cards using Pink Paislee collections (left to right: Oh My Heart, Moonstruck, Take Me Away)!
They were all based on the same sketch and just varied slightly in product and design. I haven't made cards in a long time so this was a fun assignment! I LOVE sending handmade cards in the mail as well as receiving them (hint hint! ;) What about you, are you a cardmaker?

Moving From Germany Back to the USA


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Change is hard. So very hard. But good. But hard.
I've sort of been avoiding writing this post because I've been in denial that we don't actually live in Germany anymore. Just looking through all the photos from the past few weeks literally brings tears to my eyes. I miss EVERYTHING. Even staus (traffic jams).
On the flip side - holy cow it is awesome to be HOME.
So let's recap the last couple crazy weeks shall we?
On Monday June 26th four packers came and started boxing up and hauling away all our stuff. It started getting real from then on out.
Loaner Army furniture (the lovely purple couches seen below and in some of the following photos) was brought in the same day the movers came so it was a bunch of shuffling around and lots of big messes.
This is what I get for trying to be helpful! (I tried taking apart an IKEA expedit unit by myself.) Almost 3 weeks later and my finger still hurts but thankfully doesn't look so bad anymore, I think it might be broken but I don't really want to go through the hassle of going to a doctor so I'll wait a little longer and hope and pray it gets better on its own.
Rachel is the best.
What was once my favorite room in the house became "wide open spaces".
I kept a lot of scrappy stuff with me to keep me sane during all this chaos. Scrapbooking is literally my therapy.

During all this craziness Chris was the best and watched the kids while I went to Amberg to learn how to make a neat style of bookbinding from Stephanie. Can't wait to try it again!
One last date to Nuremberg.

One last time to Edeka to stock up on gummy bears.
I had to take Joey and Rachel to the vet four times to get their shots updated and health certificates for flying. Rachel peed 3 of the 4 times in her crate in the 1/2 hour car ride there so I was very nervous and anxious for her on the flights home.
Why had I never noticed these colorful buildings in Grafenwöhr before?! I LOVE how bold they paint buildings in Europe.

Last sunset view in our home. Man my heart hurts seeing this! I miss it!
By this point, I just wanted to leave and get it all over with. It didn't feel like our home anymore. We still had 5 more nights in a hotel to get through.
 It is difficult logistically to pack for all the many different periods of adjustment and limbo - living in our "home" for 5 days, hotel living for 5 days, a month or so of living with my parents, what to bring with us for the long haul, what to ship that arrives in September, what to ship that arrives in August, what to bring with us that is essential for everyday use, what to carry on the plane, plus thinking about the pets and their short and long term well being on top of all of that. I think I sprouted 53 new gray hairs throughout this process.
I ended up bringing 2 suitcases of scrap stuff - one just had my sewing machine then I filled the rest of it with chocolate for my dad, and then this blue beast below. A lot of the things in this suitcase I ended up putting in boxes and shipped to my parent's house because it was so heavy. I'm happy to report those two boxes made it to me on Thursday! Also somewhere in this suitcase is my Cameo and tripod. Can't live without them! Oh and one more suitcase designated just for my desktop computer wrapped in all our blankets and bedding... 3 suitcases of the 8 we brought were my crap... I love my family for putting up with me!

Then we moved into the hotel. It was surreal walking into it again after 4 years. We had the exact same style room and it was almost like we never left.
Kids playing on the playground in 2017.
Kids playing on the playground in 2013.
Kids in the hotel in 2013 & 2017. Time flies!

One nice thing about the hotel is it has AC which is awesome for the summer months which do get unbearably hot for a few weeks.
5 days went by pretty quick. We shipped our 2nd car so we were then car-less (the first was shipped a few weeks ago). We went bowling together as a family next door for the first time which was fun. I also tried a coconut curry soup at a place on base that has been there for a couple years and it was delicious! I'm so sad I'd been missing out! I would have eaten it all.the.time. I went to my good friend's baby shower. Chris and I took turns walking across the street to see Spider-Man at the Tower Theater. Then it was time to fly!

The day of moving over here was the Worst with a capital W. Reading back through that blog post gives me heart palpitations. It was miserable and pretty much everything that could go wrong, did. So I think I was justified in my anxiety about flying home. Luckily we had a few things going for us like less flights (2 vs 3) and flying back into known territory with family to help and take care of us.

At 5am on the dot (yay for German efficiency!) the taxi came to the airport and we loaded up our 8 suitcases, 2 animals and their crates, 4 humans, 2 carseats, 2 carryons, and 2 handbags. It all fit! We drove about an hour and a half to the Nuremberg airport. There was no line and we checked all the suitcases at the counter, paid the animal fees, then brought Joey and Rachel and the carseats over to bulky baggage where we gave the pets massive hugs and told them it'd be okay and we'd see them on the other side of the world.
I waited by the window until I could see Joey and Rachel getting loaded onto the airplane.
"Christopher Evans" was called over the airport speaker to go to baggage security... apparently they wondered what my sewing machine was but all was good. The flight from Nuremberg to Frankfurt was only 25 minutes. I would have rather skipped this flight all together but the way SATO works we had to go to Nuremberg first. Whatevs. It was fine. One step closer!
When we were checking in at Nuremberg we were told that none of our seats were together on the flight from Frankfurt to Seattle (a 10 hour flight...) and we were like... uhhh... our kids can't not sit with us! We were told to go to the counter at Frankfurt and get help. So Chris did, but the lady was not helpful, she said we'd have to talk to a stewardess once we boarded. About a half hour later "Christopher Evans" was called over the airport speaker (that's twice in a day after never in a lifetime!) and they told him they got us pairs of seats together but they were far away from each other. Better than nothing!

We lounged around the Frankfurt airport for just over an hour and then we boarded and the plane left right on time. We LOVE Lufthansa! About halfway through the flight someone came over the intercom and said "Christopher Evans please contact a member of the flight crew." I freaked out. I thought someone had died. Turns out they just had instructions for us for what to do about the pets once we de-planed. Phew!

Flying over Greenland was cool. Awesome terrain and landscape!

I spy Redmond on the map! Almost there!
Just about to land! Thank goodness! 10 hours is a long time on an airplane amiright?
The sign says it all! Jane's first time in the good ol' US of A since she was 11 months (now she's almost 5) and Fox's first time since he was 2.5 (now he's almost 7)!!
Going through customs was a pain in the buttinsky because it was slow and monotonous and I had to deal with a really super rude customs agent (he said to me so very condescendingly, "Am I talking too fast for you? Do you understand me?" RUDE!). But all-in-all it was painless and easy and shortly thereafter we were blissfully reunited with Rachel and Joey! Miraculously neither had peed in his or her crate and both have adjusted to living in my parent's house marvelously. Joey and Gypsy (my parent's dog) are BFFs and it seems like Rachel remembers living here for the 6 weeks before we moved to Germany. She's not hiding under blankets like she did in the Army hotel for the first few days. Nope, she's happy and healthy and loving life!

My mom/Grandma picked us up at the airport with sandwiches, goldfish, and Mountain Dew in hand  and we drove straight home. Door-to-door in less than 18 hours! WOW!

My brother Eric and his wife Tanya came over and brought their daughter Zoe - my first time meeting her and she's already almost 2! Goodness gracious she is such a little cutie! I'm so glad we'll be living here for at least a year so I can see her more.
Jet lag is serious. We're going on day 6 now and things are finally looking up.
Monday night neither Chris or I could sleep and the kids woke up at 4am.
Tuesday they woke up at 2:30am!
Wednesday they woke up at 3:30am.
Thursday they woke up at 4am.
Friday they woke up at 5:45am which is pretty much normal.
Today they woke up at 5:55am so I'd say they're adjusted!
Whew!

Tuesday morning and where did we go first? Target of course!
Then we got McGriddles at McDonalds (why do they not have these in Europe!? They're delish! Syrup baked right into the pancake buns? GENIUS!). Then we went to the mother of all stores: Costco. We got new membership cards in under 5 minutes and new cell phones and contracts in another few minutes and checked out in a few more minutes. Customer service in America is polar opposite to Germany in a good way. Also we laughed out loud at the size of the shopping carts. They're freaking ginormous! Everything in America is supersized :)
On Wednesday Chris decided he better get started processing into his new work life at Joint Base Lewis McChord (or Ft. Lewis). This is a crappy shot, but the view of Mt. Rainier from the base is incredible.

Mmmm... an everything bagel with cream cheese schmear from the Einstein Bagel on post!
Chris signed in but couldn't start "in-processing" until 5:30am the next day. It takes about 1.5 hours to drive from my parent's house to the base. So he was up again at 3:30am to report for PT (physical training) at 5:30am, finished at 6:30am, only to be told he can't start in-processing (they're too "full" of new people coming in) and to come back the next morning and every morning thereafter until there's space for him to begin his 5 days of "death by powerpoint". The drive is killer, traffic gets ugly (Seattle is ranked #6 of the cities with the worst traffic in the USA. Los Angeles is #1 - we definitely endured our fair share of that during our 4 years living there!). So he's going to stay in a hotel next week. I will miss him :*(

House hunting! We're looking for a place to rent for the year that we are here. Who knows where we'll be next! I was hoping to stay in the PNW but it's too expensive right now so we're tinkering with Colorado. Stay tuned.
Building rockets with Grandpa that we'll launch next week. Also, Fox did exactly what I'd heard other kids who have lived overseas do when they return to the US: he asked how to flush the toilet! HAHAHA!!!! Isn't it funny how little things can be so different?
My parents renovated their kitchen over the past few years and it looks lovely!
Wednesday morning before going to the base we took my mom to the airport so she could fly to Vegas and become a grandma again to my little sister's baby! Daisy made her debut on Wednesday evening weighing almost 9 pounds and she's as cute as can be!

Thursday I took myself to Ben Franklin to window shop and see if I could find my collections, which I did (photo below is of Summer Lights and I also found Oh My Heart and bits of Take Me Away which is still so surreal and fun!)
Thursday and Friday morning I took the kids to swim lessons - we'll go every week day for the next two weeks.
And then we went to Target again (we're 4 for 4 now people!) For lunch we drove to Cafe Rio in Issaquah! Yummy yummy yummy. Just as good as I remembered!
Which brings us to the present.
The next few weeks/months are all up in the air. I don't know where we'll be, what we're doing, how long things will take, when Chris will be here or not, when our cars and stuff will arrive, etc... but I do know that we are a family, we have each other, and all of the crazy is only temporary. Everything will be okay!
It's good to be home even though we're so sad not to be in Germany anymore. I'm excited to "turn the page" in this book called life!
Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN