Thursday, August 19, 2010


Holy cow.  I just glanced over at the calendar and realized that I have only 5 more days until my next semester starts.  I have so been enjoying the last two weeks of slacking that it's going to take a little effort to get psyched up again for buckling down and being all school-y.  Of course, I could mention that last semester was barely over before I was out buying new sprial notebooks, #2 pencils (which I don't need) and a CUTE Harajuku Lovers pencil case from Target to keep them in.  Always thinkin'...    Now, if I could only remember exactly what courses I'm signed up for. Seriously, can't remember and I can't find any confirmation emails or anything.  Am I panicked?  No, but I guess I have some work ahead of me.

So, in honor of my FIVE days of remaining freedom, things that I've been obsessing about:



Hyperbole: I haven't wanted anything this badly since my 4th grade birthday when I was getting a new bike. 
Reality: I haven't wanted anything this badly since my last camera purchase.  And this is reallyreallyreally close.

Too bad they're sold out EVERYWHERE.  Did you even watch that video?  So cool! 



I am not certain what it is about this that so has my attention.  His prison tattoos?  Her Hellen Keller bang job?  The total lack of underwear?  The fact that DJ Hi Tech rocks it on a PC computah?  Or maybe that this guy, who reminds me so much of Vanilla Ice, thinks he's "gangsta".  I'm willing to wager that South Africaan gansters are quite a bit different than those we think of in Jersey and LA.  The lyrics are foul at best, but there's something infectious about it.  I think I've watched this ten times in the last week.


Just picked up the Jeremy Fisher CD from the library the other day.  Some really good folksy/acoustic stuff, but I keep playing this track over and over.  I can't sing to save my life, but I've been having great fun hollering along with the chorus. 



Actually, THE ENTIRE "WHIP IT" SOUNDTRACK ROCKS.  The movie was incredible, a coming of age movie with so many layers, not the least of which is the mother-daughter relationship...  If I were a movie-buying kind of person, I'd plunk down money for it, but I'm not so I'll just settle for putting it on my library queue over and over and over again.  And in the meantime, my commutes are a less stressful as I rock out and try not to look stupid to other drivers.  Try.  Mostly unsuccessfully.


I can't believe I'm even admitting to this one.  But when I was taking my classes this summer, I "hated" my one class so much that watching this show was the carrot that I had to dangle  in order to get my homework done.  "Just finish the stupid (&#$@&!!) assignment by 10 and you can watch RHNJ!"  That's what the cool people call it....the cool, procrastinating, perfectionist, chip-on-their-shoulders people.  You know them.  They go by Caroline.  And talk about themselves in the third person.  And plural.  Sheesh.  Anyway, season finale's on this Monday, so I better find another carrot...

This is by no means a complete list.  A complete list would include Bella Blvd, Silhouette, The Next Food Network Star, Rolling Rock,  Keen sneakers, magic bananas, tattoos, money, and my bed.  But in the interest of "celebrating" (she says while making sarcastic air quotes and rolling her eyes) we'll keep the list to just five. 

Here's to five more days without homework.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Molly's Birthday

Molly's birthday is July 15th.  I think we always have the most fun on her birthday.  Everyone is out of school and it ends up being a whole day celebration for her, instead of just an evening thing.  This year we celebrated by going out to lunch at Steak'n'Shake (because she wanted chicken fingers), went to the Southpark Mall in Strongsville where we played Firefly Golf, saw a movie and then headed to Legacy Village to have dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

Sadly, the layout only showcases pictures from lunch at Steak'n'Shake.  I can't quite figure out how to incorporate the rest of the day in a cohesive that stuff is just going on a separate page.  At least theoretically.  At this pace those pictures may never see cardstock.

The die cuts are all Silhouette.  The striped paper is Fancy Pants, the blue and yellow paper is Heidi Swapp - I love those papers, I've used them again and again and again.  The little tag-y thing is Creative Imaginations - just snagged at 50% off at 2Peas.  There's a Basic Gray covered brad, and the rub-ons are BG and Doodlebug.

I have to say...not loving this.  I don't know exactly why.  Is it because I really prefer single photo layouts?  Is it because the green mat ended up cut wonky and I had to place the tag on it to make it less obvious?  Is it the total discordance of papers?  Is it the overall flow?  I don't know...  But not every page is going to be a winner right?  So we'll just accept that this is a B layout and not an A layout.  We'll live.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Boy's Birthdays

Ted springs on me that he's going to a birthday party on Sunday.  Not "Hey mom, I got invited to a party.  Can I go?"  but rather "I'm going to a party on Sunday afternoon."  He cleared with his dad and arranged his own ride, so it's not like I'm upset, but as The Mom, I spiral into what-to-buy-yet-another-12-year-old-who-has-everything mode.  I ask Ted for input, and he says "I don't know...they have about a gift card to WalMart?"  Um. How about not.  I don't mean to sound snotty, but working in a small shop whose biggest competor is (sadly) WalMart and knowing that WalMart's stated business objective is to undercut the local I said....Um. No.

Now, because Target has had the good sense to keep their animosity of local small businesses to themselves, I'm all for a Target gift card.  So off I go to pick one up.  But of course, I enter the store...and get SUCKED into the dollar spot.  And worse, into the $2.50 spot. :P  Black handled bucket?  For $2.50?  I'll take it!!  I'll fill it with Twinkies!  I'll put a skull sticker on it!  I'll be the most hated mother on Bama (this kid plays on Ted's football team)!  Ok. Pause.  Rethink.  But I'm still taking the bucket! 

Aside: what is it about scrapbookers that make us so stubborn about just putting a gift card in a greeting card and handing it over?  I feel like everytime I give a gift card I'm challenged to engineer some presentation device...

Today is no different.

In an attempt to not bring on the hate from Tyler's mother, the bucket is filled with Rice Krispie Treats (c'mon! At least they're better than Twinkies!), Trident Gum, Target fruit snacks and a bag of Goldfish snacks.  When I got home I asked Ted if he was okay with my doing the monster and even let him pick which monster.  And I asked him "Are you sure this is ok?" about 6 times, and he enthusiastically said "I'd love to get this!  I'd take it downstairs and play video games with it all day." Um. Yeah.  Feeling the hate. (In my defense, at least it doesn't make noise or come apart to 200 tiny pieces that hurt when stepped on)

And then there's the gift card holder.  Cute, no?  I love the skinny monster, and I'm glad I finally had an excuse to use the talk bubble....kinda cute.  The googly eyes? Yeah. I dig 'em.

And I want to take a minute to talk about flash.

Poor, maligned flash.  Everyone hates him.  Especially everyone in the scrapbook world.  Heavy hitters like Karen Russell, Erin Terrell Clarkson, Maggie Holmes, Erin Cobb, Tara Whitney...etc, etc, etc...  they ALL say FLASH IS BAD.  Most even go so far as to say they don't even own a flash.  Seriously? 

And I am NOT saying that I am a better photographer or know more than the aforementioned heavy hitters.  They're ALL amazing shooters, and I wish I had half the talent any one of them has. 

But I just want to stick up for the poor, maligned flash.  He's not all bad.  He's just misunderstood.  You can't just use the one on your camera and expect it to do a good job.   Because aside from using it outside on a sunny day to fill in shadows, the on-camera flash just can't do a great job.  Why is it even there then?  Well, near as I can tell, it ads enough light to boost shutter speeds in order to avoid blurry shots.  Hopefully we can all agree that blurry shots are decidedly worse than shots with flash.   And really, if you're shooting with a point and shoot camera, your only option is flash on or flash off.  (Mostly...there are a couple of excpetions, but I'm not going there right now)

But if you're using an SLR you have another option.  A dedicated flash that slides into your hot shoe solves a myriad of problems: No red eye.  No harsh shadows.  No blurry pictures.  No whacked out color shifts.  The joy of the dedicated flash is that 9 times out of 10, the flash head can be aimed at the ceiling, and in so doing, the light bounces off the large white plane of the ceiling where it gets diffused, and rains back down on the subject.  It wraps around the subject - so the harsh shadows are eliminated.  The light is softer, which is really pleasing.  You can still set your camera to a very low f-stop so if you want a shallow depth of feild, you don't have give that up.   And it's not like you have be some tech-no whiz.  You put it on, aim it at the ceiling and fire.  The camera pretty much takes care of the rest.  Yeah, if you turn the camera sideways to get a portrait shot, you do have to have a flash that both swivels and bounces, but most flashes do that anyway.  (Let's say 7 out of 10 flashes can both swivel and bounce) As an added point, bouncing the flash keeps you from having that harsh shadow that just plain yucky, but it also prevents the flash glare that happens on shiney, reflective surfaces.  For instance, shooting the metal bucket with the flash aimed right at it would have  giant white spot, totally devoid of detail.  Not. Good.  Bring on the bounce.

At any rate, the shots above were taken at 10 o'clock at night.  No way could I have taken those without flash.  Even if I had boosted my ISO to 3200 and turned on the room lights, it still would have been iffy.  And I'd have to have made a custom white balance reading - there's no way that the three light sources in my kitchen would have come across cleanly in any of the pre-set white balance settings.  The joy of flash is that the camera knows EXACTLY what the flash is doing, and knows exactly how to deal with the white balance when you're using it (unless, you, the user, set the white balance to something funky - but under Auto or Flash, the light will be pure and whites will be white).   

Blah blah blah.  Too much lecturing.  Maybe I should do some before and after/good and bad shots to really illustrate why flash is so damn functional.  Next time the heavy hitter's voices ring in your head that FLASH IS BAD, say gently back NO. HE'S JUST MISUNDERSTOOD.

And that's what I'm working on.  I may finish sometime this month...
(also taken with flash.  :)  Just sayin...)