Monday, December 27, 2010

Feels so good...

To do a little paper scrapping!

Well, this was a while ago...about 3 weeks, I think. I had just organized my Studio Calico kit (which I am no longer getting, but have plenty to spare!) papers by color, and cleaned out my inspiration binder, so I was ready to rock. I like how this one turned out. A LOT. The mists went on quite dark but dried beautifully. Perfectly, in fact.


I was ready to upload this one at the same time, but it needed something more. There was a big blank spot above the chipmunk in the large photo, and I filled it with a die-cut swirl. Did I tell you I bought myself a Sizzix Big Kick with some birthday money? I am all about the hand-crank, heh.

I had more than one Christmas surprise, when I was not expecting any. Not after the rockin Laptop Gift of 2009. How could E top that? I even said as much to him when he told me he'd bought "something technical" for me this year. I was ready to give him a list (with one thing on it: The Cinch) when he told me that, so I didn't mention it at the time.

Then he headed out to do some "last-minute Christmas shopping," wink wink nudge nudge on CHRISTMAS EVE. Yeah, that's last-minute alright. I had figured his "technical" gift from earlier was a red herring (maybe an origami-folded paper wallet? haha), so I told him about the Cinch wish, but he shook his head and said "I'm not going all the way out there" (to the JoAnn's Etc on the other side of town) even though I had a coupon for him if he wanted to check it out.

Flash forward to Christmas Day: not only did I get the Cinch, but also the promised "technical" gift, which was truly a techie dream: an iPod Touch (which I refer to as simply the "iTouch"...probably incorrectly, since it sounds a little dirty).

The first app I downloaded was the Hipstamatic. I have been drooling over others' photos from this app for a while now...and now I have some of my own.

I've been thinking about participating in another 365 project, starting in January, and the iPod Touch makes it soooo much easier to participate than lugging my DSLR around (both lenses are having focusing problems, to boot...I need to get them to a repair shop). Since I started taking pictures right away, I figured, why not start a 365 right away? So I did.

Now to get a Flickr pro account again. Mine expired in September and I haven't taken the time to renew it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's always darkest...


...just before a little Glimmer arrives...Somehow I won this kit by commenting on Northridge Media's/Scrapbook Trends' blog on Black Friday. I have no memory of entering a comment (or a contest), but I'm not complaining! Oh my no. I noted that they also selected "random" winners from folks who had ordered $50 or more from Northridge that day, but I know for a fact I didn't do that (I was too busy getting freebies from the awesome DigiScrap Addicts blog train rolling that day)! I did pre-order their Christmas Cards magazine back in October, but that was only about $20 worth of stuff. Clueless! Anyway, thank you Northridge Media!

When I got the email saying I'd won, I'd been having a particularly rough day...I don't remember why, probably due to the 2 (count 'em, TWO) last-minute Co-op fundraisers I was compiling...coffee sales & scrip cards (remind me not to do that again, please...not Ways & Means, but 2 fundraisers due at the same time)...yesterday when the package came I'd just finished a day of errands, good errands, but at the expense of completely forgetting the high tea I look forward to attending each month with my Mom...she called to see if I was on my way as I was heading out the door to do those errands. Grr. Then...package! Which made me feel better, if not her. Sorry again, Mom :(

My current daily obsession is the month-long sale going on at Designer Digitals. Stop, I beg of you! Every day they put new things on sale, things on my wishlist and things I hadn't noticed before. One of the first things I downloaded was the Circus Circus paper kit from Jesse Edwards, with my photos from the Ringling Museum eagerly waiting in the wings. I tweaked it a bit every night, especially the titlework, where I taught myself how to cut letters out of a patterned paper using a layer mask (quite proud of myself, I am).

It has been easy enough to avoid buying Ali Edward's handprinted title/word packages (I really should use my *own* handwriting, right?), because I have the (legally!) downloaded Creating Keepsakes version of her handwriting font (which I used here). Still, it's missing the lovely flow of actual handwriting, so I believe a few (ahem) of Ali's lettering packages have made it into my cart in the past week or so.

Here's to hoping I can avoid further temptation...16 more days to go...damn you Designer Digitals! :D

Thursday, December 2, 2010


"I don't want to share this LO! I don't!" (folds arms, stomps, pouts). Well, here it is anyway. The unvarnished truth: I ran today, and paced my mile: 12:38, nearly a minute off my 13:30 time from August! So, I WILL share this LO. It's solid, it's where I'm at, and I finished it today.

Am I happy with my measurements? Well, some surprised me (another quarter inch off my arms, and three (3!!) off my thighs (if I could just get that effect moving up toward my waist...but stopping at my chest. Heh). And that after skipping my training intervals for 3 weeks in September and again in October.

Am I ready for the 1-mile fun run on Saturday? Umm...sort of. I'm actually looking forward to the cold weather, since I sweat like a _____ in ______ (fill it in with your own nasty description...I've got mine...!) when I run. My only concerns are (a) huffing and puffing when I breathe (makes my throat sore) and (b) water (!) I think on that last one I'm just going to have to drink most of it *before* the run...might give me a reason to run FASTER, iykwim...

So that's what I did today. Thanks, as always, for commenting. Remember what Henry James said: "Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aaaaand the LOs just keep on comin'...
This one is pretty much all Designer Digitals schtuff...they are having (yet) another fantastic sale all through the month of December. Finally used those Cozy Crochet pieces! Yum.
Today was a bit emotionally stressful for me. Totally my own Deanna Troi moment...I can't help but feel for friends (and remote acquaintances, even) who are in pain. That's all I can really say.

I'm thankful I have the insurance to keep up my meds; I would not want another December like I had last year, where I was so anxious and depressed that it took me 2 months to figure out it was all hormone-related. Now when a day like today comes along, with a lot on my mind, praying without ceasing (for friends near and far), I can take a deep breath and relax, knowing it is all in the hands of a higher power. Oh, and Zoloft. Heh.
This year I made the conscious decision to *not* do a December daily...in fact, it's a bit of a joke amongst my cropping buddies. When handed a CK with Ali's annual encouragement, I said "UGH!" Thinking I was upset that those pages had been torn out, my friend handed them to me, but I said, "good LORD, no, I don't need *another* thing to keep track of in December!"
However, a daily photo (and perhaps blog entry...don't hold your breath) seemed do-able. After waking up to our first snowfall (and a very soft, pretty one...not much stuck but at least it was sparkley), you'd think I'd be out there getting some snow shots, but no...as if a learned behavior from my (failed) 365 project in 2008, I didn't grab my camera until the evening, when I got out the kids' advent calendars for the first time.
I think this set a record for me...I downloaded Katie Pertiet's Graphic Pop Grunge Frames No. 4 just before finishing up this entry...and I used them on the above photo. Hurry, they're still on sale! ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catch-Up

I haven't been to a crop in almost 3 weeks; it's making me antsy. I took Sunday to work in my studio (haha, I love calling it that, it's just an office area crammed with junk!) but had to let gesso dry on a project before I could do any more work on it :(
I ended up assisting at the co-op yesterday (bound to happen when you're one of two subs on the list) so I didn't get back to my project; today I HAVE to train at the gym a bit after taking last week off (Ben had the sniffles). RACE DAY IS SATURDAY (!!) and while I had to move down to the one-mile fun run, it is now my 3rd mile "race" of the year, so technically (ahem) I have finished 3-one mile races this year, nearly a 5K...anyone? Bueller? Thats what I thought ;)
At times like this, digital scrapbooking comes in handy, although I think E is getting sick of coming home in the evening and seeing me on my laptop every. dang. night.
This one just granted me a prize (not sure what, yet, but Four Hens Photography was the sponsor...) as a "random" winner (always the bridesmaid...LOL) for Digi Dares challenge #205. We were not to use straight lines...quite a challenge. I used a kit from Digital-Crea by Ninie Designs, her part of a collab called Moment of Happiness. Other bits used are masks and edges from Katie Pertiet over at Designer Digitals.
This is a prime example of in-the-moment scrapbooking. I had promised the kids we would make caramel apples, bought the caramels, then LOST them (I'm thinking they fell out of my cart...and I never bought them to begin with...) One month later, another bag of caramels, and boom! a fun afternoon the week of Thanksgiving, when Tess had half days Mon-Wed. I sat right down that evening and scrapped my photos with the iDSD blog train kit from DigiScrapAddicts (once again, too late to enter their International Digital Scrap Day contest, so I've received NO LOVE over there...sniff...feel free!)
It has been near impossible to find a warm and welcoming scrap site since Scrap In Style closed its (digital) doors. Even a subscription to the Digital Scrapbook Artisian Guild (with its inspiring and informative online magazine) did me no good, as hardly anyone posts there. This last layout was a color challenge in their November magazine, using a gorgeous "red" kit from Ruby Rhynne, who retired earlier this year. This is one of my favorite layouts this year, mostly due to the fantastic photo of my bud:
...which was altered with an action from Four Hens...hmm...what goes around!
I need to get back in the swap swing of things...left poor Angie & her wonderful crew hanging with their latest Typography ATC challenge...sorry, m'dears...and I haven't art journaled with Year in the Life since their Ning site closed down (not that that is my excuse, but...definitely made it harder to comment & keep track). Right now I've started a (free) class at Jessica Sprague and the first project is an art journal cover...that should be a big honking clue right there...but again, not a warm and fuzzy group over there either, although Jessica herself rocks.
Until next time...thanks, as always, for your comments. I look forward to them!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy fall, y'all


Ben's preschool has been a real treat for both of us. I had him go to a cooperative preschool this year, more for me than him (although it is an excellent school). As Ways & Means chair, I've already survived our pizza kit sale, now I have to line up grocery store gift cards & coffee sales for a local roaster. In the meantime, I've enjoyed two field trips with his class, one to the Leslie Science Center and this latest one, to a local orchard/berry farm/pumpkin patch.

I forgot to journal about the fourth picture in the top row; our farmer friend is showing us the wax tray from an (empty, phew!) beehive. If you know how terrified I am of bees and wasps, you will understand why this is a special picture! Perhaps I should do my own LO about that.

Best of all, just about everything for this layout was a freebie. Well, the main products were: a free October template from Simple Scrapper and a free kit from Tammy, a lucky participant in Jessica Sprague's Art of Design class. Not only is the class $$$, the software needed for it (Photoshop Creative Suite) is also $$$. Kudos to those learning design; I'm jealous, can you tell? I have a bunch of kit ideas in my head, now to learn how to design them with just (so far) Photoshop Elements 7.

To that end, I'm going to try to participate in Wilma's blogtrain this month...not really sure how that works, but I'm going to at least try to create some papers and possibly some elements from brushes I've downloaded. Patty Knox's digital art journaling class at Get It Scrapped was helpful in learning how to create papers and elements in PSE7. I need to review my notes on that!

I'm thinking of asking for Illustrator for Christmas. Maybe I need to move up to Photoshop CS instead?

I should have the blogtrain info up after the 15th. In the meantime, I need to update more often! ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creative, Inc.

Clever.
And, cute!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Made in Michigan

This is so very cool! Thanks to my friend Kim, whose Bearden Soap Shoppe is located in these stores. What a fantastic idea! (BTW, there is a quick commercial before the story starts. Sorry!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chicago

Ten years and twenty pounds ago...

...this was us, taking off from our reception, headed to a honeymoon on the shores of South Carolina. Ten years later, here we are on the shores of Lake Michigan.

I love auto timers. Even if I do forget to put my camera closer to the edge of the table. At least I remembered to use manual focus. Man, we had a gorgeous day on Friday (our actual anniversary date...not that either one of us is good at remembering it, but 10 years needs a little extra attention, no?)...

After a walk and lunch along Navy Pier, I had the Next Big Tourist Attraction to check off my list. I'm so glad I thought to get an overall photo of The Bean, since every picture I took in its reflection didn't really give you the proper perspective. It is a highly polished reflective surface, after all ;)
We walked up Michigan Ave (E was intent on getting me to Tiffany's, per a friend's advice, but he chickened out when I refused to go in. I am the gal, after all, who requested (1) a new computer when our first child was born and (2) a new camera when the second one came along...I'm just not a diamond kinda gal!)...We took a break at the top of the Golden Mile and had hot cocoas at Ghiardelli's (mmm...sea salt caramel...), then I managed to get E in the door (barely) at American Girl headquarters. Here I posed with my personal favorite character, Julie (because I, too, was 8 years old in 1974. Go ahead, do the math.)
Our first night (Thursday) we had dinner at Gejas, a romantic fondue place in Lincoln Park my sister had suggested (when I called her to thank her for the recommendation, she said, "really? you're at the most romantic restaurant in all of Chicago, and you call your sister?!" to which I gave her a good Bronx cheer. Because we really do love each other). On Friday, we took the recommendation of our B&B owner, who is married to a Mexican, has been to Mexico, and "knows regional cooking, and Frontera Grill is NOT regional," la di dah, so we ended up at the very charming Salpicon, just blocks from the evening's entertainment, Second City ("etc."...not the main stage but still a very good show, called The Absolute Best Friggin' Time of Your Life).

Chilies Rellenos. I probably massacre the spelling of that. This was E's dinner, I also had stuffed chilies, but for some reason my photo was not as appetizing, although I assure you, both meals were incredible. Also, two words: Sipping. Tequila. Mmm...

The blonde kept cracking herself up, which made me laugh. "Bitches and Gravy," hilarious.
Saturday morning we woke up to rain, which did not deter me from walking about 3 blocks down from where we were staying, into the heart of Wicker Park to the Renegade Craft Fair. Handmade goodness = major eye candy. Soooo lucky we got to go!

E stuck around long enough to get a picture of me & Jen at her booth before he took off in search of tennis as the skies cleared.

I bought a super-cute hat from Jen that matches the color of the sweater I'm wearing (what can I say, it's my current fave color). I also swung back around to the beginning of the fair once E took off, and picked up a great collage set from The Found, as well as a clever little teacup necklace from Robo Roku.
Famished, I headed downtown, hoping to visit the Art Institute (I have yet to stand in front of Sunday in the Park like Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off...my sister has lived in Chicago for over 20 years, and each time I visit, either the painting is on loan, or I just. don't. make. it. Lame.) This time my sorry excuse was that my cell phone never changed over to Chicago time, and, thinking it was 2:30p, I thought I'd only have an hour at the AI -- including lunch. Instead I went just down Adams to Russian Tea Time , a place E stubbornly refused to go...he says his mother's cooking is better, and after seeing "Welcome Comrades!" on the front of the menu, I can understand his aversion. Still, someday I'd like a set of teacups like this...

One more go-round at Renegade and I had to head back to meet E at our B&B to pick up our luggage. We were early for the train, but better early than rushing to catch it as it leaves the station. Even one as beautiful as Union Station.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ATC #3 - The Red Queen


I had most of this done within three days of the challenge going up; between school starting, taking over Ways & Means for the Co-op, and going on our 10th anniversary trip, I almost forgot to finish and post it before the 15th!

I got a gift card for Joann's Crafts for my birthday, and did some shopping earlier this month. One of my best finds was the remnant bin at 50% off. I had really wanted some tulle for the first ATC challenge, and found some, as well as TONS of other small pieces of fabric that will work fantastic for ATCs. The red "scrubbie" background and white gauze (it's actually called "papyrus" fabric) were two of my remnant scores.

I spattered Maya Road's Cherry Red mist on the gauze; it's a bit gorey but so is Alice in Wonderland, when you get right down to it :D

I will post more soon: photos and stories from our trip to Chicago, and a report on the Renegade Craft Fair, which was super-cool, as expected ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Alice ATCs

I have been having waaay too much fun making these.

They are for the 2nd challenge over at Angie Backen's new ATC swap site, simply ArTistiC. It's really been helping me move the sludge around and out of my scrap room, which I've been needing to do for a while. I spent Sunday at home cleaning up toys from our family room, and yes -- it took me ALL day to do ONE room. You know the saying, "Cleaning when you have young children is like shoveling when it's still snowing out..." Well, toys have been PUT AWAY, far away, and I am keeping what is out to the bare minimum. That should help (she says, as she steps on another. damn. hot. wheel. car.)
Okay, back to the cards. You make just one, which gets swapped out (eventually), I'm guessing on some kind of lottery system. Yes, I made three for this second challenge. Told ya I found my mojo! Well, that and I love vintage Alice.
I almost don't want to swap these out. Tess wants another top one, the middle one is my favorite, and the last one I printed out the image on watercolor paper, then hand-colored, so it was the most time-intensive of all. I'm just glad I only had to make one!
Check out the fun...you have until September 1st to do this second challenge...the first one was Alice, too, only based on costumes from the Tim Burton movie and quotes from the Avril Lavigne video. As you can see, I dig the vintage stuff more. Can't wait to see what they come up with next; the small canvas is perfect for getting your mojo going.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Girl on the Run


Just back from our first camping trip -- not in the backyard...in a REAL state park (Petoskey State Park...gorgeous!). It rained overnight, so E had to take down a wet tent, but otherwise the kids were troopers and LOVED it (for just the one night). The only thing I wanted was campfire s'mores, and after a last-minute trip to Glen's Market for graham crackers (I've been hoarding marshmallows and Hershey's chocolate since the 4th of July), my wish was granted. Too bad it was too dark to take decent photos; we had GIGANTIC marshmallows.

Speaking of marshmallows...heh...

Don't be fooled, I only look thinner than last month because (a) nice tan and (b) dark top. Although I'm surprised my arms look this good sleeveless...then again, cap sleeves (last month's photo) make my upper arms look worse, somehow. Sigh.



I have barely made a dent in my measurements, so I need to get cranking again. I'm about to start Week 3 of Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcast. I loved Week 2 (90 seconds of running, 2 minutes of brisk walking, x6) so I'm curious to see what's on for Week 3. I have a feeling (especially after more than a week off from running...vacation...my bad) that the even-numbered weeks are going to be my favorites. More about consistency than anything else.


The biggest help has been various stretches from cool running [dot] com. I was experiencing a different twinge every time I ran; first my shins, then my hip, then my knees...warming up with a 5-minute brisk walk and taking time to stretch (with a cool-down walk and stretch at the end of my intervals) has really, really helped. Well, that and Advil.

I am signing up for my first run at the end of August. Just a one-mile run, but Tess might even join me for it, and that would be a blast. One of the reasons I chose running is because in 3rd grade our schools have a Girls on the Run program (a mix of sport and girl support group) but I figured Tess won't try it (much as she loves their 1-mile Turkey Trot every November) unless I prove anyone can do it. Including her marshmallow lump of a Farmville-addicted mom :D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Long summer...long-awaited layout...


Well, here it is...my Glee(k) layout. All I've needed to do for the last MONTH is sew...not sure why it's so hard to turn on my machine & make 3 straight-stitch lines on this, LOL. This one is going in my challenge/All About Me album, even though I only challenged myself to (a) take a Glee photo of myself and (b) scan high school choir photos & follow a Glee theme. I used my Studio Calico stash, mostly Baker's Dozen and Joyland.

I have been wanting to use this Dear Lizzy ribbon ever since I picked it up at Great Lakes Mega Meet in May...I also love the little K&Co. frames from the SC Joyland kit. It was hard to crop photos this small, but it ended up working out perfect for a Mother's Day layout.

It's Art Fair week in Ann Arbor...the kids are off to various quarters later today so I can enjoy a girl's night out with out-of-town company tonight. Not sure if I'll manage dinner at 8p (maybe just a drink) but it will be good to see the F52 gals. I'm on week 2 of the Couch to 5K podcast (so...hot...ugh) so I'll be skipping dessert. Weight loss is going slow, but that's not a bad thing. I am really enjoying running.

Thursday I'm child-free, so I will most likely spend the day down at the Art Fairs. It will either be sweltering, or pouring rain, so I'd better prepare myself. How is your summer going?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Belated 4th and holy crap I've been busy.

Did this patriotic LO just before the holiday and meant to share it here, but plans (dinner at mom & dad's), company (sis & co.), and my new high-powered workout schedule have left me little time to update.

This concert was held mid-May at Tess's school. Local military, police, and firefighters were invited. Her class learned about 15 patriotic songs (as did Ben & I, as Tess practiced them all relentlessly at home!) and speeches (she recited the poem and info about it from the Statue of Liberty) BY MEMORY. So impressive!

This tradition was started almost 20 years ago by a teacher at her school (who recently passed away, making this year's concert especially poignant) during the first Gulf War. She was shocked that her students didn't know the words to our national anthem; well, now several generations do!

(everything on this LO is from Designer Digitals: template by the super-inspiring Cathy Zielske, who is 6 months into her fitness program. Kit is Summer Bright by Lynn G.)

So here's the real reason I've been MIA for the last couple of weeks. Since it's officially Bathing Suit Weather, I've finally found the motivation to get. moving. Since drastic measures were needed, I've tried exercising every day (skipping the weekends, but even those will get in on it, very soon) since about June 28th, when I did a warm-up (weak) 6 laps in the outdoor pool at our gym.

This week I'm up to 24 laps (working toward 36, a full mile, 2 or 3 times a week). I've also started the Couch to 5K podcast program (you can pay for it at coolrunning.com but someone has uploaded a listen-along version for free at iTunes). My only goal with that so far is maybe a 5K run...my village has one in December (brr) called the Holiday Hustle. Ann Arbor is a runnin' town, so I'll have no problem finding 5Ks+ in my neighborhood. But for right now I'm taking it slow, since I've never followed a running program before!

Tess's dance recital was mid-June. The first hairdo I did for her was PERFECTION; too bad the one I did for her actual recital fell out! Eep! She was a trouper, though...she just kept dancing! I used a Summer Night kit from Digitalcrea.fr but also a template from 2peas, not the usual look for a Digitalcrea LO but I had fun with the colors! Still not sure I love it...

This gang of gals has been taking up some of my free time as well. This week I've been a bit of a slacker, though (see workout routine, above, and oh my it's so dang HOT out! Too hot for weeding. Bad virgin!) Everything here -- template and all -- is from Shabby Pickle Designs. LOVE all the kits from As You Wish...here I just went with one, Checkered Apron.

This was a challenge over at ScrapArtist. Everything except the snail is from there. We were to put wings on something unusual...someone had suggest to me, at a fairy tea I attended with my mother, that since I didn't have fairies in my garden, "Just snails, LOTS of snails!" that I should put wings on them and see if they flew away! Then this challenge came up a voila! I made my fantasy come true. Sort of.

Hoping you have lots of strawberries this year, since the snails ate all of ours. Peace out.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Business Time

Sorry about the music in the sidebar...can't resist. I was on a roll with iTunes last night :) looking for favorites. You can always turn it off...and remember...two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven :P



Two Fridays in a row without cropping make me a little crabby. I STILL have my Gleek LO sitting on my desk, waiting for one more photo (of Lowell Everson, our Mr.Shu, circa 1984) and a bit of journaling (you know, we had a Journey song in our repetoire...Open Arms...I still sing the harmony for that when it comes on the radio...)



Lots of digi anniversaries...Jessica Sprague just celebrated 3 years and had quite the blog hop (33 blogs...the majority of them were quickpages, made with the 7 designer kits which were also available on the hop, and now in the shop...heh, that rhymed). I have yet to play with those gifties.



Shabby Pickle Designs has a store-wide sale going on this weekend for their 2nd anniversary. I decided to organize my digi supplies by storefront, since most of the galleries associated with digi stores want at least 50% their product on whatever you post. It didn't keep me from mixing with a template from SPD and a kit from OScraps (Kitty Design's Busy Road...might be retired by now...)

Still love Johnna's actions...this one is Whisper. Sweet.

Until next time...(you'll want to turn off that iPod over there if you haven't already...) ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scrapjacked challenge

I have two LOs sitting near my sewing machine, waiting for that magic touch (including my gleek LO), but in the meantime (read: ultimate laziness when it comes to sewing, but not digi scrapping!) I've played with this challenge.



Finally bought all the Kitschy Digitals on mywish list at JS; the sewing kit was up for One Dollar Wednesday this week, so I added it to my cart along with Granny's Attic and the Vintage Cameras kit (not used here, but still...sigh) I've been crushing on. Fonts used are Cursif and Chicago House Style (one of my current favorites, if you're paying attention), with American Typewriter for the journaling. I wanted to roughen up the look of this...like the paint on DT Beth Perry's take, so I used brushes (by Anna Aspnes, at Designer Digitals: Magic Flares Number 1 and Edges & Punches). The spiral notebook is from Scrap Artist.



It's been a strange week for me; last weekend was Tess's dance recital and, at the same time, my niece's graduation party (we ended up late to that. obviously). Late Friday night, after cropping, I checked email quickly and had a message that a former co-worker (and really good friend, at the time) had passed away after a year-long struggle with colon cancer. Visitation was the same time as both other family events, so I could not attend. Wish I could have...



I hadn't even known Connie was sick -- I last visited my old office about 6 years ago. In 1998, she took my folder of wedding info when I called off my first wedding and told me gently that she would take care of contacting vendors and canceling everything for me.

She created new lyrics to Randy and the Rainbow's (in)famous song, Denise, which went something like this (keep in mind, Connie was accounts receivable where I worked, and hated dealing with petty cash...she sang this whenever I came to her with reciepts:) "Denise Denise/you are a pain to me/Denise Denise/you drive me up a tree/Denise Denise/why do you bother me?" :D



I had a Partylite party in my home once, and Connie cracked all of us up with Reason #3 to Light a Candle (it involved the bathroom...trust me, it was SUPER funny at the time...it was one of those contagious giggle fests that only a group of women can get up to).



When she brought an old photo album into the office with pictures of herself from the early 1970s, we teased her about being a hippie, and she "confessed" that her hippie name had been Rainbow...so when her daughter gave birth to Connie's first grandchild (about 7 years ago), I wrote a congratulatory note to "Grandma Rainbow."



Connie was only 59 when she died last week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting crazy with the cheese whiz...

Seriously. Digital products are probably the best. thing. ever. for getting pictures scrapped. Wish I'd had PSE a little sooner. Still, gotta love the hubs for giving it up for me last Mother's Day (2009...finally). I've been working away on challenges and with new kits since Ben was down for the count yesterday (now he's MUCH better, and playing with a neighborhood girl...at her house! --yes, I warned the mom about his fevers yesterday) :P

First up: I had to play with all my Oscraps goodies right. away. AWESOME textures for photos (blending modes...NOW I get it!).


I used Photology 2 from Emily Powers on the larger photo of me...one called "utopia"...then I didn't have to clone out a recent acne outbreak (getting old sucks as bad as being an adolescent! LOL...) I used a challenge template from Merkeley Designs, and added the photo of clouds to it. Papers and the photo mask (on the cloud photo) are all from The Sunday Edition by Paislee Press, with a couple bits from Busy Road by Kitty Designs.



Next up: hunting through some "vintage" (circa 1994, so...not THAT vintage) photos looking for the one of my mom with long hair playing guitar (circa 1973, so, vintage to some of the whippersnappers out there...more on this photo in a sec!), I found this photo of my dad at work that I love. It's the only photo I have of him at work, since he was a line foreman for Ford, and they generally frowned upon photos being taken inside the factory.


Again with Kitty Design's Busy Road kit + Add-On (only a dollar each at Oscraps...RUN!)...I was thinking of Ben when I bought it (my car hound) but when I found this photo of my dad, I knew I wanted to "man it up" (ha) with some of the fun car & road elements in this collection.



Finally, this morning I wanted to work on the template challenge at Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild. I'm not a template fan, but I'd seen some done without the distracting horizontal paper strip and decided to put my own twist on it.



It seems I've gone from using a lot of browns on my digi LOs to using a lot of blues...change is good. About this LO: I've seen this photo before in our family albums, but never realized it was my MOM playing guitar (which she did on every camping trip we ever took) because I have no memory of her with long hair! She looks so much like my sister, it's spooky. They both have Botticelli's Venus hair...gorgeous, thick, blonde and curly, while I got stuck with the standard white girl stringy mess. Jealous? Hells yeah.

The template is from DSAG, but I used an Oscraps kit by BioGraffiti, one called, oddly enough, Happy Camper. This is the photo I was looking for (it was still in the old family album) when I found the picture of my dad at work. I added two other classic camping photos: my sister & I (gotta love those knee socks with shorts! aaackk! so Brady Bunch...) standing by the Otsego Lake State Park sign (we went there every July for 2 weeks, during Ford shut down), and one of my dad in our old aluminum rowboat. I have very fond memories of quiet afternoons (my dad is the strong silent type) staring at the reflections of lake water, pondering life and waiting for that tug at the end of my fishing line.

Definitely getting old...my memories are getting all gooey and sentimental!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weekend work

Ben has been sleeping all morning after throwing up last night (and last night only, thank goodness!), so I've been sitting in the living room waiting to hear something from his room..but only had blissful silence as he slept.


I took the time this morning to shop the deals at Oscraps...there are plenty of them this week. I keep finding new digi sites and then moving on to the Next Big Thing, but Oscraps has such a huge variety of designers that I think I'll be sticking around there for a while.


I also joined the Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild -- sounds fancy-schmancy, doesn't it? -- $15 for 3 months of access & a monthly online magazine. Apparently they had some spammer issues, so made it a pay-to-play site, but they allow you to upload LOs with supplies from *any* site, which, as you may well know by now, I've been looking for.


I did two paper LOs this weekend -- on Friday, mostly. E was in a tennis tournament this weekend, so I had to chop up my usual crop time. I took Ben with me in the early afternoon (we were cropping at Kelly's), left to meet Tess's bus, then came back after E was done (late) with his tourney (9p-midnight...12:30a, actually...sorry, Kelly!)

The first LO was inspired by another that I could not, for the LIFE of me, find again. But big circle-themed LOs have been everywhere lately, so I just picked up on the trend. I challenged myself to use the Pink Paislee Artisian Tape that came with an SC kit, and it was easy to make a frame with it.

This next LO is a bit of a mess. The original, by DT member Nicole H, is quite a bit "cleaner;" my photos are too busy but I did reach another goal: to get all the ephemera from our trip to Build A Bear on the LO. Tess loves it, that's what really matters ;)

Off to use the supplies I bought at Oscraps this a.m....oh, and my new SC kit came yesterday...I was going to stay up late to play with it, but then had a sick kid to deal with. Maybe while he watches Thomas the Tank Engine ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A leetle behind...

Yeah. Just a little. I am catching up on some promises. This is my first one (due May 15th. so sorry, Amy. hope you haven't sent these off yet)...a 4"x6" ATC swap, the last one I signed up for over at SIStv.



It's for a "Girly" theme...and this quote about Ginger Rogers is one of my favorites. I gesso'd (is that a word?! LOL) 4x6 index cards, let them dry, then stamped a flapper image with embossing ink, sprinkled irridescent powder over her, and hit it with a heat gun. Then I brushed magenta paint (mixed with acrylic glazing medium...the paint was lumpy) over the whole card, waited a moment, then took a baby wipe to smear off the heavier ink...and it turned this lovely neon pink color (as did my fingers).



The teal accents just seemed to bring it all together with the vintage photo, reminding me of the Art Deco hotels along South Beach in Miami. Very appropriate, and a happy mistake.

Not so happy was the result of splattering some Maya Road mist...I had no control over the splatters, then tipped the ENTIRE bottle over as I tried to clean up...making an even worse mess...luckily only one card (now mine, clearly) got ruined in the disaster.



On to Marit's class projects...I am waiting for the gesso to dry. Used my "new" (rummage- "saled") spiral-bound watercolor paper journal, originally marked at $22.00 but picked up for 50 cents (!!) recently. I opened the journal to a random page near the back (starting at the front of a journal is intimidating) and started schmearing...fun.



My last commitment is to a circle journal, also a SIStv swap, born out of last year's Sisiversary with the hopes we'd be finished by *this* year's event; alas, it was not to be. Add a flaker and some slow mailers (ahem...that would be me again, *blush*) and I'm left with one more page to make & send directly to our hostess, whose original CJ was lost along with the flaker.



Why do I do swaps again? Oh, yeah. For the fun of it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New shoes...

...and an old, OLD pair. Just got a new pair of "keds" (they aren't really keds, but that's what I think of them as...so keds they are!) and had to document them alongside the pair I wore through hs and college...yes, I've saved them all these years, because my friend (and Kappa Delta sister) Kate Genter drew some of her fabulous artwork all over them! How could I give them up?!
And how fun, TAAFOMFT is having a "scrap your favorite shoes" 1st Anniversary contest with...wait for it...over 25 prize packages for those who enter. Serendipity!
The one thing that has kept me from buying a new pair for over 20 years, is that pregnancy has really changed my feet (among...ahem...many other body parts. heh). My old pair were a size 9 U.S., the new ones? Size 10 (yikes. mostly for the width...these new ones make a great flopping sound because they are actually a smidge big...and that's how I like them!) Then, there were Crocs...but I haven't been able to find the dark purple pair I'd like this summer. More serendipity...because what is more appropriate for summer wear than a nice crisp new pair of white shoes?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hot hot HOT

I keep scrappin' away...mostly digital but I did make these cards yesterday for Ben's preschool teachers...last day of school for him...These came from the PaperCrafts book, Card A Day, which I purchased in January hoping to make at least a card a week from scraps after cropping, but it didn't work out that way...I picked up the book because the card designs were simple & beautiful (although a lot of them involve sewing...see my Mother's Day cards, also from this book) and I kept saying, "hey! I have that paper!" In fact, the design for these used exactly the Cosmo Cricket paper (handwriting sampler) that I used here. And I knew I saved all those dang pieces of leftover scalloped pieces for something! LOL --The actual card design with a half-circle slot for closing it is from a card I made in a Stampin' Up card club I used to go to each month. A fun and unexpected design...I've been trying to make more of these top-fold styles.


Jessica Sprague has been running Photoshop Friday classes for about a month now; they are regularly $3.99 but on Dollar Wednesdays you can get them for...wait for it...a dollar (didn't see that coming, did you?) In fact, this week's lesson is still a dollar, through Friday 5/28 at midnight. The LO above was done with materials from Lesson #2: Custom Shape Masks. I used a book shape instead of the sun shape she used in her LO sample, and I love how it turned out! The paper is from Nisa Fiin's Splendid Fiin (rhymes with "beans") Sweet Pea papers. I put a Katie Pertiet edge (Letterbox Overlays #2, I believe) around it to rough it up a bit...certainly nothing involving my son is going to be neat & clean! Haha. Finally, here was a LO I did for a 5 year anniversary contest over at Scrap Artist. They were picking 5 winners (DT spots for a month each -- with free access in their store for the month) so I thought I'd have a chance*, plus I liked the "5" theme, and went with my five favorite rummage/junk/antique finds. All of your materials had to be from Scrap Artist; I had quite the wish list going so I went with their incredible Studio Remnants kit...organized by color, so you know it sucked me in. It helped that they were having a store-wide sale (35% off pretty much everything), but my wish list is still pretty big over there...

I'm a little lost when it comes to sharing projects...haven't yet found a gallery to replace good ole SIStv (although it is still up and running...so I'm not sure if J.J. is actually shutting it down, or just not doing webisodes anymore). Especially in the world of digital scrapping, if you don't use their product, you aren't supposed to upload to their galleries. I've also had work disappear from galleries after a period of time, even after following the rules (DigiCrea, I'm looking at you...oh! and also Jessica Sprague's site, which is quite all-inclusive when it comes to posting projects using products that aren't necessarily from her shop).

I'm guessing that is to save server space; I can only imagine how much is on SIStv's servers after 3 years of photo uploads. But it seems pretty cold in this online world, to put up work only to have it deleted after a month or two. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. For now I'll just keep updating to my blog.

*yeah, I didn't. Have a chance ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

I seem to be getting out of doors every day. School wrap-up events are happening fast and furious; Tess participated in her Patriotic Concert this past week and I attended my last (sniff) Creative Play class and last MOPS meeting, both with Ben. He will be a big bad 4 year-old preschooler next fall, and I'm moving my time and talents to the cooperative preschool he will be attending.



I've come to realize I can only take on ONE volunteer activity at a time and keep my sanity; for the last 2 years it's been as Publicity Leader for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). My steering team duties ended this year, and I'm looking forward to getting to know local moms through work with the co-op next year. The MOPS moms, while a FANTASTIC bunch of ladies, are sadly in a different school district, so while it's been a beneficial program for *my* mental health, there's not been a lasting connection made for my kids. I'm hoping that working with the co-op will help me get to know more moms in my town.



I'm "virtually" attending Marit's amazing Creative Art Journey class, but I haven't done any pages for it yet; I'm hoping that will change this weekend!


I have been scrapbooking digitally lately...again, the fastest and easiest way for me to scrap on the go, but I need some paint and glue on my fingers, STAT!



Supplies: Farmer's Market paper and tag, Sandy Kreiger for 2peas (freebie). Template and border courtesy of Jessica Sprague [dot] com...she has some fantastic tutorials called "Photoshop Fridays" -- buy them for $1 on Wednesdays, and watch the video tutorial after downloading the materials...easy & informational! Fonts: Antsy Pants and Pea Jack and Jill.


One of my new spring/summer activities is volunteering as a "Dirty Virgin" at a community garden in my MOPS village. So far the work has not been hard, but we've only done some seed planting; the watering needed has been taken care of for the most part by heavy rains. The only requirement for becoming a DV was that you not have any experience in gardening; I let E start our garden last year (disaster! I've done more for it this year, thanks in part to my DV work).



The food we grow will be served at a one-day-a-week local food harvest, called "Yellow Door" (the private home it is held at has a bright yellow front door). I have been to breakfast there on occasion and the food is amazing -- all of it grown within a 60-mile radius, including the beef, flour, and dairy! It can be done!



I would love to do more canning and hope to harvest enough from the 4 tomato plants in our backyard garden to put up a good crop. Last year was a terrible year for tomatoes...not enough warm nights...hopefully this year we will do better. I did buy cages for our tomatoes, as last year (ahem), hubs left our plants to fall over on the ground, thus most of the fruit rotted away uselessly. I tried helping him set up the garden this year and he is QUITE crabby about it...I think he is planning on me taking it over completely...grr...not my plan but if I want to eat food I've grown, I guess I'll have to.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day




I had some time to myself (!) this morning, when my energy was high (mmm...coffee...) and I shut myself in my scrap room to make cards for my mom as well as my MIL. Pretty much everything is Studio Calico, except for some flowers and ribbon from my collections.


The top one was for my mom, the bottom one for my MIL. Both designs are from a terrific book by Paper Crafts, A Card a Day, which I picked up in January hoping to jump-start my card making. Alas, these are the first and so far only cards I have made, but I am REALLY happy with them. Especially the sewing; I'm always worried that my cheapy Kenmore machine will start smoking whenever I sew on cardstock, but it held up well (a heavy-duty canvas needle helps).

Such a great day...I posted on facebook that some of my favorite things today were sleeping in, Egor making the coffee, emptying the dishwasher, and putting the kids to bed tonight; seeing family (at my SIL's), her mom's (Josephine's) tiramisu and espresso (Best! Italian! Cooking! Ever!), my new mini yellow rose, a tealight holder and adorable butterfly picture from Ben, and a VERY creative clay sculpture ("the nursery monster") by Tess.

Hope you had a blessed and peaceful Mother's Day, whether or not you are a mother, and wherever your mother may be. I always remember my dear friend Terri, whose mother passed away August 23, 2003...so glad she had a chance to meet baby Tess and wish she had more time on this earth. Jan, you are missed and still treasured today and always.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Great Lakes Mega Meet -- video!

Okay, let's see how this goes...sorry for the length, I wanted to get it uploaded tonight.

Please don't laugh at how I say "album"...I try not to honk like a Midwesterner when I say it (and I blame years of reading Mitch Albom's sports column in the Detroit Free Press for my pronounciation of the word! Dang him.)

Also, I apologize if I mispronounce "Copic" (markers). Let me know if I'm saying it right.

Man, I had fun today!!
video

Monday, May 3, 2010

TGIM

Thank God It's May! :)
I realise I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately, so when it started to rain while the kids were playing outside, I grabbed my camera. I thought one of them would be crying at getting wet (Ben is just as likely to get as emotional as Tess right now), but they were both out there dancing away in the downpour!
I had a baby shower this past weekend, and at our Friday night crop I threw together what I've come to call my 4-Hour Year in the Life New Parent's Scrapbook. One two-page LO (8x8) for each month, with instructions to take a photo each month next to a favorite stuffed animal or toy to chart baby's growth (Dad sometimes takes this over, and loves it). Oh, and a 2-pager at the start for hospital/family & friends photos, and a 2-pager Happy Birthday LO at the back. Easy-peasy and the mom-to-be always loves and appreciates it. I try not to worry about whether or not it actually gets used, since they take so little time to put together.
I just signed up for Marit's Creative Art Journey class, which starts May 7th. I love history, and never took an art history class, so this is perfect for me. I haven't decided yet whether I will do it digitally (since I just finished Digital Techniques for Art Journaling over at GIS) or on paper, or a mix of both. There will be multiple prompts for each lesson, so I can take my choice and decide from there.
I still need to catch up on A Year in the Life of an Art Journal prompts (I'm working on February 28th, I believe..."Silence," featuring inchies) but that is definitely paper, something to get me in my "studio" (feels funny calling it that, but that's what it is!) once a week or so.
The Color Room has grown to over 1,000 members, and with a new prompt every week, I haven't been able to keep up at all. The CT seems to like LOTS of layering and frou-frou LOs, not my style at all, although I see that in last week's winners there were at least two more simple, clean LOs (more my style). This week's combo seems very "fall/autumn" to me. I'll have to dig through my photos and see if I can come up with anything...
Very sad that SIStv will be no more as of May 15th. I ended up there thanks to PrairieWillow, via 2peas (again, never my favorite place to post) and stayed because the attitude was so friendly and positive. Some folks in the scrapping world (now-defunct ScrapSmack, I'm looking at you) found it fake, but after meeting so many real "SIStahs" in Franklin last June, I can attest that -- while you can't completely avoid Drama when it comes to a group of creative women -- the majority of gals I met I have stayed in touch with and found great long-distance friendships with.
Scrap in Style TV, you will be missed.