Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chilly, Sheldon and 65

Ok!  Raise your hand if you're not sorry to see the end of the 2013!  Raise your other hand if you're hoping that 2014 has more ups and fewer downs.  Yep.  Me too.  Now put your hands down.  You look silly.   :P

I thought I'd sneak in one last post for the year, and it's a two-fer.  Because I was over taken by some nasty malware (which I'm not thoroughly convinced is gone.  If you have a suggestion for an ass-kicking malware detector, by all means, pass it on in the comment section!) -- anyway, because of malware, I was rescheduled on the Silhouette blog and by some fluke I was on both yesterday and today. It feels like all-Caroline-all-the-time over there right now. :P

First up, Chilly:

As is so often the case: I like this in real life more.  IRL it doesn't appear so lopsided - that element at the top looks like it was cut off in the scan here, but it looks more purposeful in person.  That said, I don't love this layout. However, there is one detail that I do swoon over:

I love the way the circles cut from the vellum look.  It reminds me of the snow in the Charlie Brown Christmas special, when all the kids are outside skating.  It just makes me happy.  It didn't show up well in the whole-page shot, but you can see it better in person. And here. ;)

Next up, a goofy layout featuring Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory:

I realize this looks silly and made up, but I promise, this is a memory for us.  Kerig spent a couple of hours shooting our "tree" (really a spider plant with a silver silver ball hanging from it), the Christmas presents, the Christmas lights and other assorted shots with christmas light bokeh as the background.  I will look at this shot and remember him laying on the ground, fussing with his tripod, breaking out different lenses for different effects.

And I love my CAMEO:

There's something about that crisp, clean cut, the red against the white that makes my heart sing a little.  Can you imagine trying to hunt down a store bought title for this goofy picture? I think not.

So there it is.  This is my 65th post this year.  I had sent a pie-in-the-sky goal of 76 (twice what I did in 2012 and 2011) and I honestly didn't think I'd come this close.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that your 2014 is your best year yet!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I had a photographic a-ha! moment today

And I thought I'd share.

I think snow is beautiful.  Now that I don't have to drive Cleveland's scariest highways, my attitude towards snow is: Bring it on. Only, I've never been able to take a decent picture of snow falling.  Now matter how hard it's coming down, how big and fat the flakes are, it just never really translates.

It's Christmas Eve today and snowing big, fat, snowy snowflakes and I can't help being happier because of it.  I wanted to take a picture, but the pessimist in me said "Why bother? It won't show up anyway. :("

And then it dawned on me:



Have you ever seen a picture of an airport that looks deserted, even if you know that place is usually packed?  The photographer used a tripod and a slow shutter speed to make all the people "disappear."  The long exposure means that only the parts that stay constant have a chance to burn in - everything else just fades away.

The same premise is true for falling snow.  Only in this case, the falling snow is like the people who fade away.  Because it's generally a little darker when it's snowing, the camera compensates by holding the shutter open for a longer time.  This allows more light to seep into the camera and get you a proper exposure.  When the shutter stays open for a longer time, anything that's moving shows up as blur.  If there's enough disparity between the shutter speed and the moving object, the object can disappear completely.  That's not usually the case with snow, but it blurs enough to just barely show up.

In order to get the snow to show up, then, we need to dial in a shutter speed that's fast enough to "freeze" the action.  In these examples I jacked the shutter speed all the way up to 1/1250.  That's probably way higher than it needed to be. And to get a decent exposure on this very grey, snowy day I had to up my ISO to 12800.  I was shooting in shutter priority, and the camera dialed in an aperture of f/13 - so obviously I could have brought down the ISO and still had a very workable image.  But it was cold and I'm at work, so I wasn't going to be fussing around too much. ;)

Bottom line: this settings are probably way more drastic than they need to be, but the premise is the same: If you take a snowy day picture and the flakes aren't showing up, you'll want to up your shutter speed (and probably your ISO).  Start by doubling your current shutter speed - if you were shooting at 1/60th, try 1/125th and keep playing until you get where you're going.

I was only about 15 feet away from this wreath when I took it.  The snow shows up, but there's only about 15 feet's worth of snow.  On the other hand, I was across the street from this clock tower:

So there was LOTS of snow between me and my subject and even more behind it.  The cumulative affect is so exciting!  To me anyway.  It might take more to get you excited.  I get it.  To each her own. ;)

Merry Christmas!
And if you don't celebrate: Happy Random Wednesday Off!

Monday, December 23, 2013

One last one...

We're here! Right in the final stretch!  I have 2 more days of work, Maggie comes home from RIT tomorrow today ☺, I'm almost finished shopping, and I'm almost finished wrapping.  One day I dream of having all my ducks in row way earlier, but this year? This year I'm grateful for where I am.

I don't do a lot of baking at holiday time.  I only have two coworkers, and none of us (my coworkers, Kerig, my kids and I included) really need the extra temptation.  But it can't be a week before Christmas and not make some fun treats, right?  

Bring on the Candy Cane Rice Krispie Treats:

I love Rice Krispie treats. Seriously. 
But a doctored RKT can really make me happy.  

I found a recipe online (yes, I'm looking at you, Pintrest) but it wasn't realistic for me. It called for things I couldn't find, like peppermint marshmallows and peppermint Hershey's Kisses.  These things may exist, but not anywhere I'm shopping.  So I reworked the recipe to make it work for me.  And I thought I'd put my tried (twice!) and true recipe here.  Mostly so I can find it again next year, but if you'd like to try, hey, more power to you!

Candy Cane Rice Krispie Treats
1 stick of butter
2 10 oz bags of miniature marshmallows
1½ t. Peppermint Extract
9 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1½ cups white chocolate chips
½ t. vegetable oil
5 candy canes (full size)

In large pot over low heat, melt butter and two bags of marshmallows until soft and lump-free. Stir frequently.  Stir in peppermint extract. Stir in cereal.  When cereal is fully coated with marshmallow, pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Press down to make flat and even.  Let cool for a half hour or more.

Put candy canes in Ziploc bag and crush with rolling pin (or can of soup, or whatever's handy) until you have small chunks.  (But don't crush too much, because the red stripes get lost, and I like them)

Once the treats are cool, cut into even squares.  Microwave white chocolate chips and vegetable in a microwave safe bowl for 40 seconds.  Stir. Microwave at 50% power in 15 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each time. 

Drizzle squares with melted chocolate and sprinkle with candy cane crumbs while hot. Let cool.  Enjoy.  Come back here and tell me what a genius I am. 


Okay, that's it for me. I'm tapping out until after Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ho Ho Ho!

Yesterday was my day up on the Silhouette blog, which means that I'm free to share here. Whoopee!

I bought the Peace Love and Joy paper pack from Lawn Fawn to use on my Advent calendar.  Truth be told, I ordered two of those paper packs, just to be safe.  Turns out one has yet to be touched. Oops.  But I did use more of the paper here.  Because why search through my enormous stash of papers, when I can pick up the pad that never got put away?  The little sequins and plastic snowflakes? They're from an embellishment pack, also Lawn Fawn's Peace Love and Joy collection, purchased for use on the Advent calendar.  And, yep: same reasoning: they were still sitting on the desk.

And it's sort of funny how things unfold in scrapbooking.  I love the background paper.  It's from Elle's Studio and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  It sort of reminds me of a prisoner's jumpsuit, but I'm willing to overlook that because color on gray is my favorite right now.  It did have two sayings typed on it.  And they were very drippy love related.  Nothing that I wanted associated to some random old guy dressed up as Santa. So I'm glad that the piece of washi tape that says "♥ Merry" covers up the saying without looking too out of place.

I love (love, love) the way the huge scroll-y snowflake looks.  I'm not taking credit - I didn't do anything other than pay for it and cut it out big.  Well, that and spend TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES CAREFULLY PRYING IT OFF THE CUTTING MAT.  Which makes me a crafting genius. :P  But that tool in the picture?  That's the Silhouette spatula that I've been raving about.  And this project (done a while ago) is why I'm now totally sold on this tool.  There's no way that I would have gotten that snowflake off the mat in one piece without it.

Now, that said: I do not like Silhouette scrapper. And I feel compelled to say this so that you understand that when I like something I really, genuinely like it. I'm not just a puppet-for-hire. This blog has been rah-rah-Silhouette loooong before they even had a design team, so yes, I'm prone to loving their stuff, but I'm also prone to not holding in my true opinion.

Okay, so that whole paragraph wasn't to bash the scrapper, it's to say this: when I cut something that has lots of negative bits that are left behind I use an old plastic gift or credit card to scrape them off.  At the right angle those little bits pop right off the mat.  It works best if the mat is laying flat - and that's the hardest part.  Frequently I have to take it to the kitchen table to do it because even though I run a tight scrapping ship, in the middle of a project my desk is still a mess.

I hope that your December is filled with joy and merriment, food, laughter, family and love.  I feel so schmaltzy for saying that, but I mean it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kicking and screaming towards the holidays...

I don't mind hearing Christmas music at the grocery store.
I don't care if you put up your tree the weekend before Thanksgiving.
When someone says "I'm finished my Christmas shopping" I'm happy for them and more than a little bit envious.

But, for the most part, I'm not one who gets into the spirit.  I'm not cranky or bah-humbug, I just...I just like routine, and Christmas (holidays in general, in fact) really messes with that.

So you can imagine my reaction when I found out that I had to create a Christmas decoration using Silhouette's Advent Calendar.  I was centered somewhere between a knot of dread in my stomach and full on panic.  And that lasted for days.  Every moment in the shower, driving to work, loading the dishwasher and folding laundry was spent wondering how I was going to pull this off.  Surely, I thought, my Christmas non-spirit would show through, and everyone would know I was a big, fat phony when it comes to Christmas cheer.

And maybe that was true in the beginning.  Maybe I was faking-it-til-you-make-it, but just as that implies, somewhere along the way a switch got flipped, and I started to have fun. Then I started glittering stuff and then I started having a LOT of fun.  And then I noticed glitter in Kerig's beard and, well, you just can't get any more fun than that!

Maybe you're asking yourself "So what did you do with it??"  Or not.  But let's proceed like you were actually curious, shall we?

After all the thinking about how I was going to do this, I finally came up with the idea of combining two of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions.  Our family didn't decorate the tree until Christmas Eve (I know, right?  Ridiculous!) so we didn't have the same level of daily anticipation that "kids these days" have. We did get the cardboard Advent Calendars, and the best part of them was hunting for the day.  What was behind the door was never really all that great, but there was something about looking at all the numbers and finding the right one - that was the exciting part to me.  The other thing that I liked was this thing that my aunt made for us.  It's too hard to explain, but it suffices to say that it had 25 peppermint candies tied to it and every night after dinner we got to untie one and have our mint.  Twofold greatness: candy AND getting to watch the line of mints get shorter every day!

So my thought for this was to combine the two elements I liked best - the hunt for the right day and candy.  On December 1st, this will be nothing but rows of numbered bags. On the first day, we'll find the number 1 bag, and have the Hershey's Nuggets that are inside, and then rehang the bag with the decoration side out.  Every day we'll repeat this process, and as Christmas approaches, it will go from boring rows of numbers to lots and lots of sparkling Christmas and winter scenes.

 Here's a couple of the decorated sides:

Ok. I'm not going to pretend that I don't have favorites.  And this snowman and that penguin? They're the favorites.  You can't tell in the picture, I don't think, but the snowman's eyes and coal buttons are actually black glitter.  Who knew there was an actual use for black glitter??  Well. Now you know! Adorable.  (That is so not humble. But I'm just so pleased with them!)

These are distant runners-up in the favorites category, but it doesn't matter, because the cumulative effect of all these little boxes is sheer Christmasy goodness.  This is going to stay on the shelf behind the sofa, where it'll get seen a lot and is easily accessible to for bag-flipping-and-candy-retrieving.

Be sure to stop by the Silhouette blog to see the other girls' ideas for the Advent Calendar.

And if you're wondering about supplies:
Simple Stories Snowflake-Chevron paper (for the bag)(I *love* this paper and wish I had some left over.  the black/grey chevron is fantastic)
Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love 6x6 paper pad (for the little patterned bits)(except the snowman's and penguin's nose - that's a scrap of BoBunny paper.)
Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love Mixed Sequins  and Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love Snowflake Sequins are the random bits here and there.
The glitter could be from Silhouette or Martha Stewart, and the penguin's hat is glittered using Doodlebug's Sugar Coatin Chunky Glitter
All the shapes except the bag are from the Silhouette online store.  You can see the Silhouette blog post for clickable links for those.
The bag itself is something I made so it would fit perfectly within the structure of the advent calendar and be wide enough to hold a couple of Hershey's Nuggets.  If you're interested, ask for it in the comment section and I'll send it your way.
And, ohmygoodness, is that another aflairforbuttons flair? Why, yes. Yes it is.  And I'll tell you another thing: that link takes you to the set of flair that has the one I used, but I didn't buy that.  I actually did the 12 custom buttons option.  I just didn't have a need for 8 (eight!!) Christmas themed buttons.  So I picked a couple of Christmasy flair and then mixed in some more Caroline-friendly themes.  ;)  (No. I'm not in the aflairforbutton lady's back pocket.  I just love these flair pieces.)

Thanks (as always) for stopping by! I hope your December is off to a great start!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Almost Finished

"Cakes get done, people get finished."  I wonder what little quirky sayings my children will remember about me?  Wow, new world record for digressing.

Last Friday I was heading in to class, walking the long way around to avoid some stairs (giving my knees a rest) and I looked up at exactly the right time.  I usually take the stairs, so I get a different, less photogenic view.  When I looked up and saw the school from this angle, with the tree and the glow of the inside lights - I knew I had to back up a foot or two and get a quick Instagram. 

Sometimes it seems to take forever for Instagram to boot up.  Especially if one is running a little late or if it's chilly (definitely the later for me, I'm usually pretty good about being punctual).  So while I waited I was thinking about I only had 4 more classes in the semester.  That day and one more week.  This is the last math class that I'm taking.  Next semester I'll have one more class, but I'll only have 2 or 3 actual classes - after that we'll be set lose for student teaching.  It'll be a TON of work for certain, but a different kind of work.  More meaningful, more immediate, more urgent, with bigger stakes and more direct feedback.  I'm a little scared and VERY excited.  And yes, all these thoughts ran through my head waiting for Instagram to fire up.

And I wanted to take some time to document this - the excitement, anticipation, nervousness and immediacy - before it was in the past.  

I have a pile of glassine envelopes - I think I picked them up at this weird bulk paper goods place not too far from here.  I've had them forever, and used some and there, oh, and here, too!  (Isn't it great when you have evidence that actually used stuff you bought??)  I also bought a huge box of library cards from a teacher supply store.  I think there were 500 cards in the box and it cost about $11.  I've used a ton of them, too, but barely made a dent in the box.  They've been great for journaling, die cutting and even just making lists or quick notes.  Today I used them for hand journaling.  *Gasp*! I rarely hand journal, for a whole bunch of reasons, but the library cards are liberating, especially in the glassine envelopes - it's easy to start over, the handwriting doesn't have to be perfect since it's pretty well concealed, and I don't have to worry about keeping it short, since I can easily stack lots of the library cards in the pocket. That's a win/win to me.

 Some detail shots.  I don't necessarily think you want or need them, but I'm getting into the habit anyway.  

Some favorites right now:
  • Have I mentioned lately how much I ♥♥♥ aflairforbuttons at Etsy?  Oh, I have, haven't I?? Naughty blogger!
  • I just found the font Grand Hotel at fontsquirrel.com.  Wait.  Wasn't I just talking about them recently, too?  Hmmm.  I'm turning into my grandmother maybe. 
  • The "Math Notebook Washi" blends in too well, which is a crying shame.  It's beautiful.  Freckled Fawn is genius for making it. For me. Let's go with that. I like to feel special, and it's working. 
And there's no link for it, but I do like the swoopy way I did the stitching.  I don't know why I did it, or why I like it so much, but I do.  

And I wonder if I'm the only person who's guilty of using leftover tidbits from recent layouts, even it it might not actually work.  The little star (next to the heart)?  It's a leftover from a recent football layout.  The scalloped circle under the owl is a leftover scrap of paper from that same layout.  The scallop shape is one I just used in a Christmas project I'll share next week.  But when I knew I wanted a scalloped circle to ground the flair, I know exactly which one I wanted to use. And why. (It's the 5 scalloped circles from the Silhouette store.)  The little white tag and the red heart were also in my little bowl of leftover die cuts.  And the aqua blue thread was the thread on sewing machine.  It only just barely works, but it doesn't NOT work, so I wasn't going to go to the effort of changing it out.  I don't know if that's laziness or a sign that I've gone zen in my old age.

I hope that you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are making it through Black Friday untrampled. 

Plan on stopping by Monday afternoon.  We did a fun project for the Silhouette blog and I'm really excited to see what the other girls came up with and I'll have some extra details and thoughts on here. 

See you then!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My day up on the SIlhouette blog

Which means I get to share here and add my 2¢.

So, I talk about most of the Silhouette-y stuff over at their blog, so I'm going to skip that stuff. ;)  Problem is, when I write the post for them I'm thinking "Oh, I want to talk about this on my blog.  And this, too!" But a week and a half later I can't remember doodley.


So, the one thing that I wanted to mention is that I used Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive for this technique and I really think it made a world of difference.  I can't think of another adhesive that would have been this quick and this rock solid.  I gently folded the leaves and had a blob of the Quick Dry on a piece of scrap paper and I just dipped them in and put them on the page.  I was able to scooch them around for maybe 10 or 20 seconds, but then after that they were pretty well stuck.  I was worried that the glue - which is white - would be super obvious.  But it dried clear.  You can see it if there are big globs of it, but fortunately I was tidy. ;)

The other thing that I want to point out is that I LOVE THIS TOOL:

It's the Silhouette Spatula and it's pretty amazing.  I don't get all goo goo about everything that comes my way, and in the interest of full disclosure: this was given to me by Silhouette. And I'm sooo glad they did!  Obviously it's main purpose is to lift things off the cutting mat.  And it does an excellent job at that.  It has saved me from ripping all kinds of intricate cuts.  I can't explain why it's so fantastic, but it is. There's something about the way it curves into a point - it allows you to work it under the thin, delicate parts of the design to gently pry it up.

But it's useful for other things, as well.  For instance, the leaves up there are fairly small.  I couldn't quite bend them easily with my chubby fingers.  I used the spatula tool and bent the leaves around it.  Made life so much easier.  AND, I've been working on another project that will go up next week and there's a TON of glitter involved.  TONS.  Ever notice that when you sprinkle glitter some of it that doesn't land in the glue sticks around? FOREVER? I'm finding this tool very handy for removing glitter that gets stuck in crevices.  I'll point this out when I have a decent example that I can share.  But it's just another reason why I love this tool.

So that's that.  I loved so many pictures from this afternoon, and I hope to do at least two more layouts.  I hope that I can squeeze them in before I love my autumn-mojo.  Does that happen to anyone else??  The two layouts that I want to do are story based and have nothing to do with the time of year, but naturally the color scheme will still reflect that.  But once the season passes, I find it harder and harder to get motivated to do "out of season" layouts. Hmmm.

I think I feel safe in saying that I won't be posting again before Thanksgiving, so I feel comfortable in wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Open on Sunday.

My store is closed 47 Sundays out of 52.  I can't complain.  As far as retail environments go, I'm blessed and I know it.  However, we're open, it's Sunday, and we didn't run an ad, so no one even knows we're here. We've had two customers so far.  I sort of brought something to do, but I couldn't drag it into a 5 hour task.

So here I am.

I made this layout a couple of weeks ago.  I had originally intended it to be a Silhouette blog post but I made layouts that I liked better and were more seasonally appropriate, so this one got benched.

Little shy on the journaling, eh?  I made this shortly after I got the high blood pressure diagnosis.  I had a pity party that lasted for a couple of days, before realizing how lucky I was.  That catching it allowed it to be treated.  And treatment means avoiding ugly surprises, like, oh...say...a stroke. And my treatment is so easy: I take a half of a diuretic pill every morning.  Whoopee.  I am glad that my gynecologist caught it and that my family doctor is testing the easiest treatment first and keeping an eye on me.  I'm watching my salt and caffeine intake and being more conscientious of my body cues.  So yes: Life if good.

I've said that I think the sports pages are challenging.  And they are.  But I also think that super girly pages are not my forte.  I don't think this is "super girly" but it has more pink and pastels than any layout I've done in the recent past.  It was challenging, but also fun to switch out of my color-scheme comfort zone.  The thing that I really like on this layout is the pink line around the edge.  I just used a fine tipped paint brush in Tattered Angles spray mist.  I am often too heavy handed when I try to outline things in pen, so I tend not to attempt that anymore.  But the paint brush was much easier for me to use without making a mess out of it.

Alrighty then! Happy Sunday to you all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Because I'm feeling cheeky...

I thought I'd share a layout I made a while ago that didn't really..uh...go anywhere.
I probably shouldn't show you this very risque shot of my daughter holding a pair of underpants.  But she's 19 years old in this picture (and currently rounding the corner to 20!); she knows about the layout and that I'm going to share it; and lastly, the underwear was purchased from Target, on an endcap where literally thousands of people would have walked past it without having a single untoward thought.

The only point I want to make is this: I have never before used this selective colorization.  While I think (generally) that it can be very cheap and obvious (seriously, no more beautiful women in black and white holding a colorized rose: BLECH), in this case it really worked.  No one really looks their best at 7:30 Christmas morning, and while it doesn't really translate here, that Superman logo is glittery, and in the real life version of this, it looks fantastic.

Hey, thanks for stopping by - AGAIN. :)  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Spoils of "Another Happy Tuesday"

Hello folks! Today is NOT another happy Tuesday.  Heck, it's not even another happy Wednesday. It's more of a sip-your-coffee-and-keep-all-your-angry-thoughts-to-yourself kinda day.   But the good news is, I have a blog post to divert my attention! Yay for blog posts!

I started this layout over the weekend.  I've mentioned before how hard I find scrapping sports layouts.  I've also mentioned that I don't own and can't find a lot of blue that works with the royal blue in his uniform.   So I feel like I'm scrapbooking with one hand tied behind my back.

That said, I knew I wanted the word teamwork in the title, but I also had another die cut and I couldn't make it work.  I'm not in love with the finished page, but after several hours of shoving around titles and embellishments, this was a good compromise.

I'm also finding it difficult to find sports themed embellishments that aren't juvenile.  Even on my beloved Silhouette, the pickin's are slim.  So for this, it's stars (aren't all athletes stars? Even if only in their own minds...) and arrows (to show the forward momentum of the play) and a semi-generic GO! banner that I made.  (If you're interested in that file, let me know and I'll send it your way).  I worked in a little blue with the accents and figured green, brown and grey would work well enough, for the grass, mud and general overall grey quality of northeast Ohio during football season.

And the journaling tells why it was worth it for me to get the page done when I just wanted to abandon it and move onto something more scrap-friendly.  I love this picture.  On the way home from this game Ted and I were talking about the game and he asked it I saw that one play where Sushi was carrying him.  Uh. No.   I have no idea what you're talking about.  He went on excitedly, telling me about how in the one play when they were starting off at the 15 yard line he ran the ball and just as he was about to be tackled by South, Sushi was right there behind him and "he carried me for like 20 seconds!"  Later that today I was scrolling through my pictures and noticed this shot and sure enough, Ted's feet aren't on the ground, and sure enough it was Sushi (#71) and #70 who were hoisting him up by his jersey and carrying him - and the ball - down field.  Judging by the fact that my camera shoots 6 frames per second, he was only off the ground for about 2 seconds, but still: that's teamwork.

These are a few of my favorite things:
Flair: Minimal 1 flair at aflairforbuttons.
Wood veneer: Arrow Wood Chips from Freckled Fawn and they're colored with a dumb ole Sharpie and sanded a bit.
Enamel dots: Ombre Black Enamel Dew Drop Stickers, also from Freckled Fawn.
The washi at the top and bottom is also from Freckled Fawn.
The font on the main title is Blackout Midnight from Font Squirrel - and you know you want to check them out based on the name alone.

So that's that.  Things are probably going to be scarce here for a while.  It's Christmas in retailland, and theoretically we're coming up on final exam time for school, but I'm thinking that's not going to be a big deal this time around.  And no, you won't hear me complaining about that!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to say "Heyyy" in the comment section.  Not gonna lie: I love a comment or 2 here and there. ☺

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Happy Tuesday.

I have Tuesdays off, and I love days off.  Especially since this semester is so much easier than previous years - I feel like I can actually enjoy my away-from-work time.  I usually tutor on Tuesdays, but my tutee had a test today, so we met last night.  This means I don't even have to leave the apartment: Yay!  There's nothing wrong with going out and about, but when it's cold and grey and I'm broke, then staying home and watching Downton Abbey, scrapbooking, blogging and otherwise lounging about on my own terms is absolutely heavenly!

Ted turned 15th last month.  We had a great day - we went bowling, walked around the mall, visited the arcade and had dinner at a new pizza place that was really quite tasty. Afterward we came home and had some cake.  Once again, Kerig came through with the photos!  He did a great job - I love the fact that he thought to get a snap of Molly decorating the cake.

I love the way the layout came together.  Yes, it's even more Silhouette-y than usual, but it works.  I'm fond of the swirly border - both the pen on the right side and the cut on the left.  But it's the candles that make the happiest - they're tall and fun and I love the layers on layers in the flame. The "eat" button is from Kelly Purkey at Simon Says Stamp (as are the letter stickers for the word 'birthday") - and while I love her products and aesthetics, I do prefer the buttons from aflairforbuttons on Etsy.  Kelly's button is bigger, which isn't a plus for me - real estate on an 8.5x11 page is too precious, so even that tiny little bit can make a big difference.  But more than that, the bottom side of the button is concave, so adhering it is much trickier than the flat-backed variety at aflairforbuttons.  It's nit picking, really, but it matters to me.

Okay, it's off to the next phase of DAY OFF TUESDAY!  Thanks for stopping by! ☺

p.s. If you're so inclined, this is the featured layout on Silhouette's (FABULOUS & INSPIRATIONAL) blog, and stopping over there would fill you with great crafty ideas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halloween Prep, y'all.

(I don't know what exactly the "y'all" is about.  I'm feeling sort of punchy at the moment, I guess.)

A couple of weekends ago our big Sunday fun was carving pumpkins.  Here's a little full disclosure for you: I hadn't really planned on carving pumpkins this year.  The kids spend the week with their dad so it seems sort of silly to go to the expense for something they'd see twice.  Plus, they're getting to that age where holidays just aren't as big a deal as they used to be.  Or so I thought.  So when Molly asked if we were carving pumpkins I didn't think to consult Kerig, I just said no.  It was a decision I'd already made.  Although, Kerig had apparently made his own decision about the situation, and as soon as he heard me say no, he chimed in with "Yes, we are."  Well, okay then.  It hadn't occurred to me that maybe he was looking forward to this.  So I was happily overruled.

We went to the local pumpkin patch  nursery garden center and chose our pumpkins. Ted, Kerig and I chose moderate sized pumpkins - something big enough for carving room, but not so large as to be a pain in the neck to carry upstairs.  Molly, on the other hand, bought into BIGGER IS BETTER and picked out one of the biggest ones they had.

At home we washed them off, spread some newspaper, cranked Pandora's Halloween station and went to work.  Molly had already picked out her design from the pattern book that came with the tools - a ghoul at a graveyard spookily raising his hand.  Since I really wasn't super into it, I just went with a standard jack-o-lantern face, with rounded features.  Kerig contemplated his design for quite some time and settled in on a menacing jack-o-lantern face with sizable fangs.

Ted, however, was the man this year.  I don't think of Ted as being super artistic, but he's very good with the fixing/building/figuring out of things.  He decided that he wanted to do Snoopy asleep on his doghouse.  He asked to borrow my laptop and searched google images until he found something suitable to use as a guide.  And I'll be darned if he didn't make it work!

It's really nice having Kerig around.  He's quick to pick up a camera and he's good at it, too.  He stepped right in, made certain there was a picture of everyone working as well as final product shots, and lots of other details.  It was hard to not use all the pictures, but I managed to whittle it down to just 6 pictures and then printed them relatively small.

And then I carefully crammed them all onto one page:

Since I struggle when using more than one picture on a page, I feel rather triumphant that I was able to semi-effectively cram 6 pictures on here.  Go me!

Hey, so, uh, this was up on the Silhouette blog yesterday.  If you're so inclined, you can click this link and check it out again over there.  Cuz yeah. Why not?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lesson learned.

Good grief.  I'm really glad that I cleaned my desk off on Thursday.  This is a tale of before, during and after.  And I'll cut to the moral of the story: Don't be stupid, Stupid :P

So, this is a picture of my desk shortly after we got settled, taken in the beginning of July:

And that's basically the set up I've been running with. I took the Ott light off, because I just didn't need it.  I also don't ever put my laptop on top of the desk anymore.  Real estate is just too precious, so for entertainment I use my Kindle instead, and I put the laptop on a tall chair off to the side for my Silhouetting.

My desk is a vintage drafting table that I got about 18 years ago when we lived in Indiana.  My oldest had sort of taken it over and trashed it, and when we moved I reclaimed it and refinished it.  For weeks I couldn't walk past it without running my hand over the top and asking "Isn't she pretty?"  Yes.  I love it.

BUT, it's a drafting table.  It's meant to have a couple of sheets of paper on it.  NOT all the stuff that I had piled on top of it.  And, as a drafting table, the table can be raised and lowered and the top swings up - drafting is often done  with the table top angled up.  The combined affect of these facts is that the whole dern thing shifts around.

So I've put stuff across the back part, which has probably put more pressure there than it can handle. And over the last couple of weeks I've noticed the whole thing dropping down a little bit at a time.  So I asked Ted and Kerig to lift up the top, and I was going to put some old kid's building blocks under the legs so that top couldn't drop down again.  For whatever reason, I didn't think I needed to take everything off the top.  The good news is, I just cleaned my desk on Thursday so it was very close the way it looks in the picture up there.

The bad news is, this was a stupid decision on my part and everything ended up on the floor:

Oops.  Fortunately nothing broke.  And I would have preferred to just raise and reinforce the desk as we had originally planned.  But instead, I got to reorganize.  Never mind that I had just done this on Thursday.  I did decide that I needed to get a lot of weight off the back side of the desk, so now it looks like this:

One of the things that I love about my table is that it's tall enough for me to scrapbook standing up, which I prefer.  One of the benefits of scrapbooking standing up is that you don't have to have everything right there - walking four feet is no big deal when you're already up.  So tonight I just reevaluated what I needed at my fingertips. The black thing is a lazy Susan thingee (TJ Maxx $10 - l♥ve) and it has scissors (multiple pair, because they're so easy to lose), basic hand punches, tweezers, pokers (like for making a hole for brads), Zig glue pens, my Basic Grey file set and my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.   The red box has current pictures and a my (teeny, tiny, minuscule) collection of acrylic stamps.  They don't need to be at my fingertips, but I hope to remember to use them if they're there.  The round silver thing is my small bucket of flair.  My Fridgebinz box of adhesive is a must-keep-close item for certain.  The white Making Memories thing has all kinds of pens, paint brushes, lens and stamp cleaners, my ATG gun, SEI buttons that rarely get used but make me happy, and then the little drawers hold extra blades for my trimmer, CM circle cutter blades, Tiny Attacher refills, o-rings and teeny bits.

This was not how I had planned to spend my evening.  But that's okay.  I've been meaning to make some adjustments and this helped that.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to have some thing more directly scrapbook related soon. ☺
Have a great week!

And don't forget: Don't be stupid, Stupid ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cameo'd phone case

If you're an iphone user, you've never had to go out of your way to find a phone case that reflects who you are. It doesn't matter if you're at Target, Best Buy or your local she-she boutique: apple cases in dozens of cool/funky/beautiful/sparkly varieties are available to you.

If, however, you use an Android phone... Pffft.  You might be able to get something at your carrier's store.  And they *might* have an Otter Box at Best Buy.  But good luck with that.

I don't want this to dissolve into a my-phone-is-better-than-your-phone debate.  But apple has been very smart in keeping it's shell the same size across multiple generations: this makes it so much easier for third party companies to feel confident about making accessories.  Maybe one day Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc will take a page from Apple's book but I'm not going to hold my breath for that.  They don't make money from those types of accessory sales, so there's no real incentive...

So, what's a girl to do?

Answer: a girl with a Cameo has no problem.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Weeding through about a million shapes to decide which one represents you best poses the tiniest of problems.  Oh, soooo many choices: #firstworldproblems.

Here's what I chose to do with it:

I like owls.  In fact, I think I'm going to use them as my "theme" when (eek: if) I get my own classroom.  They're fun, and smart.

The case was a whopping $7.49 from Amazon.  The owl is from Echo Park and available in the Silhouette Store.  I used the word bubble collection - this worked great because for whatever reason I thought it was really important that the little hangy-downy piece be on the left side.  I honestly don't know why that mattered last night, but it did.  But the collection gives a good variety to choose from.  From there I just added my hokey sentiment using the DJ Groovy font.

I do want to mention that I needed to put down three or four layers of the wings, because the chest feathers showed through until I put multiple layers on.  I happen to like the extra texture it gives, but if that really bothered me it would be easy enough to subtract out the wing shape from the owl's body and then you could lay the wing down directly on the phone case - voila, no chest feathers to worry about!

And yes, I see that the bottom right side of the speech bubble is a little deformed.  The vinyl must've shifted as it went through the machine.  I didn't even notice it until I looked at the picture.  I'll probably fix that later today.  Or not.  Because sometimes imperfection bugs the criminey out of me and sometimes I like a little quirkiness.  We'll see. ;)

As always, thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a very crafty weekend!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sometimes I...

I've mentioned that I listen to Paperclipping Roundtable.  Pretty religiously, in fact.  I think I've missed about 2 episodes of the 180 they've done, and I'm pretty sure they were just topics that didn't apply. One of the things that always cracks me up is when people say "I do [whatever] all the time..." (or "a lot")  I guess maybe I don't scrapbook all that much, so there are only a few things "I do a lot."  I start with a sheet of white cardstock a lot.  I use my Cameo a lot. And then we get into the list of "Sometimes I..."  Sometimes I use 2 or 3 photos.  Sometimes I use letter stickers.  Sometimes I use flair.

And here lately, sometimes I color photo corners. 

Oy.  Some of those examples are mighty soft when cropped down so small.  My apologies.  When I took the original photos I wasn't thinking that I'd be coming back and cropping out such a tiny section of the layout.

It occurred to me recently that I've really embraced using photo corners, especially after coloring them with Sharpie markers.  It's probably not a good idea to admit that I'm using non-acid-free pens in my albums, but as long as we keep this a secret between you and I, I think I'll be fine. One day I'll be rich and I'll "invest" in the entire rainbow of colors of Stampin' Ups brush pens, but until then, I'm gonna live dangerously.  

I've had this package of photo corners since about 2003.  I don't even think I bought them - they came in some box of things that Simple Scrapbook sent me back in the day to use.  I don't even think I opened them until this year.  I just didn't even get why I would bother with them.  Ha. Well, I guess I've ironed that out now, haven't I?

Here's links to the layouts that were shown in the snippets above:

The black photo corners are for a layout that'll be on the Silhouette blog November 6th (next Wednesday)

Did you catch what I did there? ;)

Have a great day!  Thanks again for stopping by!

Friday, October 18, 2013

QB and a number of random thoughts

1) I have NO patterned paper that even remotely matches the royal blue that Ted's team wears. I started poking around looking for papers, and I'm very underwhelmed by the choices.

2) I used the Silhouette print and cut feature for the cluster on the left side.  I need to experiment with different papers to see which types work the best.  I always forget how much I like this feature, and it bailed be out on this layout, because apparently I have no sports themed embellishments.

Which leads me to:

3) Why are sports themed embellishments all so juvenile/schmaltzy?!  This football thing isn't going to go away anytime soon.  I'll have a kid that plays college ball and I'll still have embellishments that are geared for the peewee league. NOT COOL.

Which leads me to:

4) Maybe I'll just do his sports pages digitally and keep with the style I was using with his baseball pages a couple of years ago.

5) Can you tell I'm just not happy with this page?  I've sort of prided myself with how I've managed Ted's sports pages, and I'm just not feeling this one.  Totally lack of appropriate colors and embellishments'll do that to a girl.

6) And this really bugs me, because I'm:
         a) really loving some of the shots I'm getting;
         b) really wanting to document Ted's accomplishments.

7) I'm really feeling hog tied with 8.5x11 lately.  For a very long time I was a one-photo-a-layout gal, so 8.5x11 was perfect for me.  But here lately I've wanted to use more photos. And I'm finding that my journaling has been really truncated because I have to get my point across in such a small area.

8) But I really don't want to go back o 12x12.  Mainly because the albums are HUGE. Ugh

9) Changing gears here: I don't want to jinx anything, but I've been feeling great lately.  After almost a solid month of feeling sluggish, run down, feverish with body aches and weird temperature swings I finally feel like my old self.  I'm so happy to be complaining only about my arthritis instead of all of that other stuff AND the arthritis. It's funny how a bout of ickiness  really makes you grateful once it lifts.  A nice reminder to cherish health.

10) I should have mentioned that those pictures ^^^ where taken on Ted's birthday weekend, so they feel extra special.  SO glad I got the day off to see this game and their amazing win.

Okay, 10 seems like a great place to stop.  Plus, my boss is working on actual work stuff, so maybe I should go help.  Doh.

Thanks for stopping by!  I

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I can finally let the cat out of the bag (officially, that is.)

(because I sort of got so excited reading the first line of my email from Silhouette and announced it to, oh, say, 90 of my closest friends before reading the part that we should keep it a secret until the blog announcement.. Ooops.)

There I go again, putting the cart in front of the horse.  I'm honored to announce that I've been chosen to be on the Silhouette Design Team.  Could not possibly be any happier about this.  As my regular visitors know, I absolutely ADORE my Silhouette and can't imagine crafting without it.

So there she is!  I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


That, my friends, is a pathetic attempt at a Vincent Price-esque scary laugh.  It loses a little in print, no?

At the end of last month we went on the Willhoughby Ghost Walk. I really had fun*.  Which is different than "I had fun!" and even "I had fun."  I would have had more fun if it weren't $15 a person.  I would have had more fun if we got to go into one or two of the creepy places we were hearing about.  I would have had tons of fun if something had tapped me on the shoulder or appeared in misty form.  But alas, the spirits were all well behaved that night.

We did get to go into the local cemetery, which is always spooky fun at night.  We walked down to the Willhoghby Coal Supply store and heard about how one of the owners allegedly killed the other and how the place has had lots of unexplained activity over the years.  It was interesting to listen to the stories and the story teller was great - she acted all scared to stand in front of the windows, as if something might come out and get her.

One of the last stops on the walk was at a bed and breakfast.  She never told the story of how the place got haunted (the initial death story) but had tales of workers renovating it reporting all kinds of weird things happening.  After this tour I'm firmly convinced that ghosts think it's a real hoot to make off with construction worker's tools.  Oh, Casper, you crazy ghost!  I was kind of blowing the place off as being not truly haunted, because none of the activity was that ghostly.  But then she told us that the place is so creepy that the owners moved out after living there only a short time and they don't even spend the night when they have overnight visitors.  The place is beautiful, but even when there are guests the owners make the food and feed them, make sure they're set for the night and then leave them, locking the door behind them.  Guests have reported all manor of unexplained sounds, from foot steps in the hall to doors being scratched on.

After the tour we headed back to the car and I dared Ted and Molly to sit on the stairs of the B&B and have their picture taken.  They didn't seem like it was any big deal, but there was no way I would have sat with my back to the front door.  I'm a bona fide chicken.  And even though I think most of what we heard is just crazy stories with logical explanations, I do sort of believe in ghosts.  And one is better safe than sorry in that regard.

I'm not going to lie: my most favorite thing about this layout is the little spooky fun box!  It was part of the package that Kathleen sent.  It's a wood veneer piece and it was a little too start as naked wood, but I just used a black Sharpie to color it in and then used a sanding block to rough it up a little.  Also, I've never successfully managed to cut vellum on my Silhouette before (and then I quit trying) so I was super excited that this worked out.  The word 'ghost" is cut from the Silhouette (shocker!) using the font LD Petticoat Black, which I got in the Silhouette store. Some months I feel like my subscription money is best spent of fonts that I know will cut well.  The fact that it sort of works with my layout is just a bonus.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just like me.

Not much to say today.  I started this layout a week ago.  I've been super run down lately, so I might walk past my drafting table and fuss for a minute or two, but I'd quickly lose interest. Vegging on the sofa has been so much more appealing lately.  On Sunday we put the movie Jack Reacher in, and I (erroneously) figured that I wouldn't have any interest in it.   This finally gave me the get-up-and-go to finally finish this.  

A post or two ago I mentioned that I was really inspired by the ombre painting effect I saw on twopeasinabucket.com recently.  I actually did the background of this about 15 minutes after posting that.  It was super easy and even though I'll probably never use this technique again, but it's always cool to put another trick in the bag. 

I sort of stink at you using clear acrylic stamps.  I really have a hard time getting a crisp, clean image.  I love the idea of some of the stamps that are coming out, but boy, I just have a hard time diving in when my success rate is so low.  

That said, I really love the frosty blue enamel dot.  It came in a package from my friend Kathleen, by way of Freckled Fawn.  I dig the idea of enamel dots in general, but the frost nature makes these dots especially beautiful.  

Alrighty then! I have a test in the morning, so I suppose I should mosey on to bed soon.  I should have another post up in a day or two.  If the light cooperates, that is.  

Thanks for stopping by!  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's my blog, and I'll whine if I want to.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know that getting old beats the alternative. But damn it, my head is still young.  For pete's sake, on Monday Sr. Jeanne introduced us to "Big O notation" and I had an extremely hard time not giggling.

So, this may get a little TMI-ish, so feel free to turn back now.  But, I use this blog for cathartic reasons, and as a diary.  I scroll bag through old posts and realize how much I'd forget had I not written it down somewhere.  So I'm writing it down here.

About 8 years ago my periods went from on the heavy-normal side to holy-hell-what-the-heck-is-happening-to-me??  I had tests and procedures, including a surgical D and C to spring clean the ol' gal.  I was anemic, perpetually run down and basically hated my reproductive system.  Eventually it was determined that my hormones were wonky.  I would have thought that it would have been more economically efficient to start there, but I guess they were ruling out cancer and aliens.  Turns out that good old fashion birth control pills regulated my hormones and gave me, for the first time in my life, a light/normal cycle.  The dosages have tweaked over the years, accounting for age and more hormone fluctuations, and everything is grand.

Sort of.

My doctor is vigilant about his "older" patients, and makes us come in every six months for a blood pressure check, since high blood pressure and the pill leads to higher incidents of stroke in women over 35.  Last week I went in for my BP check and he wouldn't write me a new prescription.  I don't recall what my first or second reading was, but the final one was 130/100.  Too high for him.  "It has to be 130/90 or lower".  He laid out my options:
Leave the BP unchecked and go off the pill;
Leave the BP unchecked and have an ablation; 
Leave the BP unchecked and get an IUD  inserted;
OR simply see my family doctor and address the BP with medication and call his office when I had a 130/90 or less reading.

I don't know what anyone else would chose, but after a long angry pity party it finally occurred to me that this does come with my genes.  I could ignore the issue, but I'd feel awfully dumb dying of a stroke or heart attack when I had this opportunity to address the situation.  So I went home and called my family doctor and set up an appointment with doctor for two days later.

Maybe letting me sit in an empty waiting room for a half hour after my appointment time was part of their blood pressure check strategy?  It worked. :P  My weight went up 5 pounds in two days and my BP went up to 130/110.

What I thought would be a "yup, your BP is high, here's your Rx. Watch your sodium, and for heaven's sake, lose some weight already" turned to a long talk, an EKG and blood work.  The good news is, my heart is in good shape (according to the EKG) and my sugar level is "beautiful" (according to the blood work).  We discussed my arthritis, my family history and how well I'm sleeping.  Which is curious, because when we moved in June I hurt my right shoulder.  It's gotten better over time, but progress has been sloooow.  And every once in a while I'd do something stupid, like sand a board, that would set me back in the healing process.  We've been settled in for 3 months now, but the pain is still present enough that I have trouble sleeping on my side - and surprisingly,  it hurts almost as to sleep on my left side as it does to sleep on the injured side (because of the way the shoulder curls in this position).  So I've been sleeping on my back, but I'd much prefer to sleep on my side.  I've had several occasions where I've woken myself up because my tongue has lolled back and covered my airway.  I don't know why I don't just breath through my nose at that point, but apparently I'm not.  The doctor sort of grabbed onto this revelation and quickly noted that I had gained 10 pounds since my last visit. What she didn't know what that I had recently lost 20 pounds, and as it goes with many of us who struggle with weight: lose 20, gain 30.  (If you ever wonder what makes a person give up their weight, there's answer.  The fear that you're just going to make it worse.)  I knew that she was headed to sleep apnea as the root cause: elevated blood pressure and weight gain are two prime symptoms.  MYSTERY SOLVED.

Before she could shove me off to a spendy sleep clinic I pointed out that the waking myself up thing only happened on my back, and I was only sleeping on my back because of my shoulder pain.  Have I mentioned that my regular doctor was out of town and I ended up seeing the other doctor in the practice?  Or that I've never really like this particular doctor, who on her best day is "kinda weird" and most days comes across has judge-y and condescending?  Yeah. That. So I mention the shoulder pain is the reason why I'm sleeping on my back and waking myself up never happened on my side, to which she says in a judge-y condescending way "Do you want a pain killer for that??"  The answer, in my head is a cross between "YESSSSS!  I WOULD LOVE ONE!" and "Look, you condescending little twit, I didn't come in here to whine about my arm, so don't treat me like some street urchin in here trying to scam you for Oxycontin. Bitch."  Instead of letting either of those out I calmly said "Well, that's not why I'm here today, but I wouldn't say no."   Not surprisingly, she scowled and said "I'll put you on (whatever), it's non-narcotic."  (apparently my entire "my gyno sent me because I have high blood pressure" was just an elaborate ruse. Right.)(Grrr.)

This is already too long, so I'm not going to outline the rest of the visit - I was in the office from 10:30 to 12:30, so...yeah: you're welcome.  :)

However, I will say this. When you watch medical dramas - ER, Grey's Anatomy, etc. and you see a patient getting an EKG I can guarantee it will ALWAYS be a man.  Why? Because it's a naked from the waist-up procedure that, despite giving you that piece of modesty tissue, leaves your left naked boob hanging out.  Which is my favorite part of everything.  Oh well, at this age, and with my family history, I guess I'm lucky to still have a left boob.

So anyway, I'm on a very low dose of diuretic for the blood pressure, and she did give me the prescription for my shoulder.  She also told me to find omega-3 in a 1000mg dose. Heh. Good luck with that. :P  Easy to find fish oil in 1000mg, but the actual omega 3 is only 300 or 500. Fortunately Amazon saved the day on that one.  The picture at the top of the post if my morning routine, a half a BP pill and two of those horse pills (the omega 3 jobbies). This morning I was convinced I was going to throw up after I took them, they sort of sat in my throat at that spot that says "I could go either way from here.  Better be careful."

I go back for a follow up in two weeks to see if we've brought it down.  In the meantime, I'm "watching my sodium" - which mostly means I'm feeling stunned and overwhelmed at how much is in everything we eat. :(  I'm also resting more comfortably, and back to sleeping on my side.  So one way or another, I'm going to be okay.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

so lucky

Hello! It was a busy two weeks, so I'm happy to have a minute and a layout to share!

"So," I said to myself, "I seem to like those template thingees.  And I like using them 'my' way - where I paint the stencil with the inks and then press it into the paper, rather than laying it on the paper and spraying or painting over the template.   But I probably need to 'invest' in another one or two styles."  

So I did.

"And," I said to myself, "I like the way people are smashing that paste-y looking stuff into the templates.  It looks cool, and texture-y.  I want to try that. BUT, there's no way I'm buying something new.  There's got to be a way to use what I've got to do something fun/cool/new (to me) with these templates.

So put the template at the top of cardstock and used my fingertips to smear in some Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive, and then I sprinkled a little bit of two of my Martha Stewart hairy glitters and a little of my Martha Steward beads into the glue while it was drying.  Sadly, I thought the glue was dry at one point and wiped the damn thing with a paper towel.  Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either.  Up until that point the chevron design was very apparent.  But I decided that the messy look was okay and I was too cheap to abandon another sheet of American Crafts white cardstock.  

Things I like about this layout: that it was created using nothing but scraps from recent layouts.  I like the muted but still-happy colors.  I like the hearts, especially on the newsprint.  I like those hearts on the newsprint so much that I didn't even take off the branding strip.  Thanks, Simple Stories, for a fun and unexpected design element. ;)

Things I don't like about this layout: It's a little light in the journaling area.  But there wasn't too much I wanted to say.  We've been trying to get out and about every Sunday, but other than saying where we were, I was able to narrow it down to three memory joggers: acorns, big snake and chili.  For those of us that were there that day we'll know which walk in the park it was.  I figure that's enough, but I still wish I had something deep and meaningful to say.  

(gratuitous detail shot of "title" and "journaling")(feel free to make exaggerated air quotes while reading that)

Other item to note: friend Kathleen D sent me some Lawn Fawn baubles as well as a gift certificate to Lawn Fawn's site.  I can't thank you enough, Mama Du! While I only managed to use one of the baubles (the YAY fabric covered brad) from the original package, the washi tape, aqua-ish enamel dots and the blue bird at the bottom were from their site.  As it turns out, I may love Lawn Fawn, which is news to me because they hadn't even blipped on my radar screen yet.  You're like the match.com of the scrapbooking world. ;)

And lastly, looking forward: I really want to try this:

It maybe hard to tell from this shot, and if you're curious to see what I'm talking about you can watch the video that shows it better here.

At any rate, she paints spray mist onto the background, right in the center, but then adds a spritz or two of water and paints a little on either side of the original swath and then adds more water and paints on the outside.  The final effect is a subtle ombre wash over the background.  It's so soft and yet adds a nice base.

Ok.  I think that's all I've got and things are starting to get hectic around me.  I guess I should quit goofing off and work a little. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Beginning of the End

I don't generally scrap on days that I work.  As weenie as it sounds, by the time I get home, I'm too spent to think straight so it rarely results in anything worthwhile.  But two things happened this week: I discovered that French vanilla cappuccino isn't disgusting and I put in my notice of resignation.  The combined effect of these two things is that I had something I wanted to say and enough go go juice in me to get it said.

I've been doing this school thing since June 8th, 2010 and I've been very upfront with my boss about the situation. She's been amazingly accommodating with regard to my schedule and random days off for school observations.  In turn, I've tried to mitigate scheduling issues and I told her when I'd be leaving Dodd as soon as I knew for certain.  As in, I found out in February of this year that I'd have to quit in January of next year.  How many people give 11 months notice?

So even though we've both known when I was leaving, I was asked to put it in writing by the company's president.  I'm not certain that I truly understand what was said since I wasn't there, but I think the gist was "She's said she was leaving before, and she hasn't.  If you want me to hire her replacement, you have to get it in writing."  Something about this rubs me the wrong way.  I feel like I've done something wrong, or it's been perceived that I've waffled about when I'd be leaving?  I did move up my leaving date when I found that the school was accepting my undergraduate credits which meant I'd be fulfilling my requirements about a year sooner.  About two years ago he asked me if I was interested in being a store manager, and I thanked him for the consideration and told him that I'd have to pass, since I was going to school to teach math and that I wouldn't be there long term.  Did he interpret that as I was leaving soon?  I didn't say I was leaving soon, I just implied that camera sales wasn't a long term career for me.

So this has been emotional for me.  The future is still too far away to feel excited about, so mostly I'm just dealing with ending something that I've actually really loved.  I can't have my cake and eat it too, I get that.  But right now I'm looking at leaving the only thing I've known for many years. I'm looking at losing my income for the duration of my student teaching and potentially longer - there is no guarantee that I'll be able to move straight into a teaching job or that I'll be able to pick up another retail job once my semester is finished.  So I'm sad and scared.  Excited, yes, but as I said, its too far away to get excited about.

So yeah.  I wanted to scrap it, as sort of a 'remember how scared/sad/worried/excited you were' thing.  That's all in the journaling, but since I wrote all that ^^^ I'm not going to bother sharing it here.

The dates represent when I handed in the notice and when it's effective.
I'm not crazy about photo of me.  I was messing around with an 8mm lens, and the super-wide angle makes me look a little deranged.  And somehow I also manage to mess around like this when I need a haircut very badly.  I'm usually not quite that shaggy.

I'm usually too frugal to put three pieces of flair on a page, but they just seem to fit.  I like the guy with the suitcase.  It seems to say "I'm outta here!"  Which is more defiant/joyful than I feel about the situation, but one day that will be my sentiment!

The journalling is in a glassine envelope.  I like the way the washi tape holds it in place.  I love when functional and cute come together to make the perfect solution!

When I was poking around my embellishments and came across this sticker I thought it was perfect.  Yes, I'm scared.  But this is what I've been working on.  So it's time to put of my big girl panties and make this happen. And I love the wood veneers, too.  (If I don't say so myself)  Just putting them on the page lifted my spirits and made me feel better.  It shifted my focus from what I'm leaving to what I'm becoming.  The glitter on the bird is from Martha Stewart and I got it eons ago at Michael's.  I don't know what it's called, and I just used it for the first time a couple of layouts ago.  It's weird, but I think I like it.

I feel better now that I've got all that out. ☺

Today the kids and the Mr. and I are going for a trail walk at a nearby park.  Chili is in the crock pot and the high for the day is forecast at 70ยบ.  I don't have time to wallow, life is too damn good right now.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Good Times here

So, this is how my day started:

At first I was like "Huh??" then I was like "What??"

Apparently one of our customers had a little problem turning off her car and sort of bumped into our front door.  I had the day off yesterday (I miss all the fun) so imagine my "What the ...???" reaction when I pulled into the parking lot this morning.

The day took several more interesting turns, but those are 'get you in trouble' details that shouldn't be posted on a blog.  But I will say this: I hope that after I am gone, only flattering pictures of me are shared.  I have to imagine that we are all - at some level - a little vain.  I would think that if we could ask those that we've lost "Can I/Should I share this image of you that paints you in a light that is less than flattering?" the answer would be "No."  I would hope that we wouldn't even ask.  I'd thought it was common sense, until recently.

Can you tell that what I've seen has had an affect on me?

Let's shake it off:

These pictures are 2 years old!  I am not at all "up to date" in my scrapping, but I've just sort of swept all the old stuff out of the way and I've mostly been playing with new pictures.  So this is a fun surprise for me.  These may not be the best pictures, but I do love them.  First, I have really enjoyed going to minor league baseball games - the park is intimate with not a bad seat in the house; it's super affordable; and I love watching these kids trying to break into the big leagues.  Right now they're underdogs, and I can get behind that.  Second, I love that the three of them have so much fun together and that they all want to go to these games.

I'm wrestling with some thoughts lately.  I feel like my pages are all starting to look the same.  They're not, but I think that part of my issue is that on an 8.5x11 sheet of cardstock there's only so many ways of arranging elements.  It's crowded, yo.  A suppose the white cardstock that I use constantly doesn't help, either.  But it's just so much easier to lay down a sheet of white cardstock and say "This is what I'm using" than labor over color choices for an hour.  It's exhausting and not in a fun way.  Now there's the layering, and even though you dig through scraps and baubles to find new stuff every time, it sort of feels the same just because it's there.

So part of that wrestle is thinking "Maybe I should switch back to 12x12?"  I only switched to 8.5x11 because I was doing Layout a Day and I wanted the ease of flopping the layout on a scanner bed, because I couldn't commit to taking decent pictures at 11:58 p.m.  But now I don't feel pressed to record a layout the minute I first decide it's finished.  I wonder if that bigger piece of real estate would solve all my problems and make me a truly happy person?  No.  Just kidding.  But I do wonder about the space, and how it would give me more wiggle room.

But that's about where it ends, because I'm just not willing to give up the things that I like about 8.5x11:
The albums aren't enormous.
I can computer journal right on my page.  (Not that I exercise this option a lot, but it's nice to know it's there)
The scraps. Oh, I love me some good scraps.
I don't have to feel guilty about only using one picture on a page.  And I do that alot.

And, I have to believe that it's more economical.  Here's why:  a 12x12 layout has an extra 50 square inches of space.  Even if I didn't embellish more because there's a bigger space to cover, the cardstock would still cost more just because it's bigger.  But the fact of the matter is I would embellish more - I may be comfortable with white space, but I still feel a certain amount of the page has to be used lest it look awkward.  So using a bigger piece of cardstock would cost me more just because I'd motor through supplies faster.

Oh.  That would mean I could justify shopping more.

Might have to rethink this...