Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trying on an idea...

I have a friend who'll say "I'm going to..." or "I want to..." and sometimes those thoughts get followed through on, and sometimes they get abandoned. After about the 20th time of this happening I came to the conclusion that he was 'trying on' the idea of whatever he was proposing.  Sometimes hearing the words out loud (and maybe seeing other people's reaction to them) makes it easier to figure out what's worth acting on and what we should just let go of.

(I'm quite sure we all do this - it's just so much easier to recognize these trends when we see them repeated from the outside.)

Today I'm going to borrow this and see if it works.

"I'm thinking about attempting to make a Christmas tree ornament every week til Thanksgiving."

Whoa.  That sentence is riddled with commitment issues. I am wrapped up in failure over my abandoned ugly sketch project, so I don't want to get too cocky about this.  And once a week is an awful lot, especially for someone who claims to really dislike Christmas...

But I came across this while packing (and then again while unpacking):

(please excuse the crappy phone picture)

This is not high art.  But it's a perfectly acceptable item to temporarily hang on dead tree in my livingroom.  And here's the thing: I have A LOT of paper crafting supplies.  Nothing like moving to help you really appreciate how much shit you've hoarded over the years.  It's okay to have a lot of stuff, but ONLY IF YOU USE IT.  And I do.  Sort of. But obviously I've acquired at great rate than I've consumed.  So it's time to kill two birds with one stone (that's the Christmas spirit!) and commit to using my products in a delightful way.

I'm not so gung ho that I'm actually going to consult a calendar for this, but we're at the end of June, so we've got about 26 weeks left in the year.  I need to subtract out 4 weeks because come Black Friday I doubt I'll have the emotional wherewithal to actually do anything creative.  So that leaves 22 weeks and 22 Christmas tree ornaments.  I can do that, right??

Maybe.  Keep in mind: I'm just trying this on for size.

*IF* I do this the one ground rule is: NO BUYING ANYTHING for this.  I'm not saying I'm swearing off craft purchases for the rest of the year, I'm just saying that this is not an excuse to purchase brown velveteen paper because that would make the perfect reindeer ornament.

So. Yeah.  We'll let that hang in the air for a day or two and see what comes of it.  Feel free to comment with a yay or nay, or leave a link to your homemade (especially paper-y) Christmas tree ornament pinboards - I'd love to see them. :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Administrative Time Out

For my regular blog readers: In preparation for my move I'm trying to find a good home for some under utilized items.  This is the best way I know to get decent sized pictures for people on craigslist to see what they're buying in better detail.

I'll get back to my usual fascinating self in a week or so. ;)
And if you're interested in anything you see pictured here on the blog in the next couple of days, by all means, let me know!

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Tamrac Adventure 10
Read the full, official description here on Tamrac's website.

This was purchased for a camping trip, then not used - it wasn't the right configuration for the trip.  More non-gear room was needed for what we were doing.

The bag has never been used.  Tags have been removed.  It's been kept in a smoke-free, pet-free home.  The bag has been discontinued, and listings on ebay are asking for $260.  I'd like to find a happy photo enthusiast to give it a good home.  We're asking $100.

Lots of room up top for non-photo gear.

The bottom is equally huge.  Easily fits a 70-200 f/2.8 lens attached to the camera.  Or rearrange the fully-customizable inserts and put your 70-200 f/2.8 just about anywhere you want!  Multiple lenses? An external flash? Or Two? Second body? No problem.  PLENTY of room in here!

Side view.  Nothing to write home about here, but had I been thinking, I would be showing you the other side view, and I could tell you that this bag has a laptop compartment that fits a 17 inch laptop.  17 inch.  Let that sink in for a minute.

I'm bringin' sext back.  Those other bags don't know how to act.
Oops.  Just the view of the back side of the bag.
The straps are well padded.  Lots of places to hook on a cell phone or gps unit.

You can't read the measuring tape, but you can see the red spots that mark each foot.  It's (according the Tamrac) 14 wide x 25 high x 10 deep.

Quick recap:
Never been used.
Tamrac - great quality bags
Smoke-free, Pet-free home.

Cash only.
No shipping (sorry, it's too big)
Mayfield/Willoughby/Mentor area.

Interested?  Email me at cnd3167 at yahoo dot com.

Friday, June 14, 2013

She's Such a B

I'm moving!
Okay, not today - who blogs when they're actually moving?  But I do have stuff in boxes.  I WE get our keys next Saturday and I have a 17 foot UHaul reserved in my name the following Tuesday.  On Wednesday I'll probably be dead, but...thems the breaks, right?

Yesterday was the day I had planned to start packing.  And I had also planned to squeeze in one more layout.  I figured I'd pack for a couple of hours in the morning, and then set aside two hours to play with paper.  Ted had a baseball game scheduled last night, but it rained pretty hard the night before and throughout the morning.  I got a little cocky, thinking that surely the game would be cancelled, which would mean I could pack more and push scrapping to the evening.


No.  Ted's game wasn't cancelled.  But by the time that became apparent I had already extended my packing time into my scrapping time.  Also, last night was the last night for me to make a meal and have "all" of us eat something homemade together. (all = me, Ted and Molly...which is such a tiny 'all' these days!)  The bottom line is, I got to play with paper for about a half hour before we had to head out to the park.  The game was good - the sun was out at the beginning, and it got a little chilly when the sun went down, but at no point was it unpleasant.  The boys won 6-0. (Yay!)

We got home after 10:30, and even though that's long after I prefer to scrapbook, I was going to finish the page I'd started.  I couldn't bear to pack everything up with this picture and this story untold.  I wasn't excited about where this was going at first, my tired brain just wasn't clicking the way I would like it to.  But in the end, I'm very pleased. :)

*GASP*  I cussed on a scrapbook layout! BAD SCRAPBOOKER!

Oops.  I'm not sorry.  This is our life and our story, and this story includes a bad word.

Ted is the most laid back, easy going, helpful kid on the planet.  He rarely complains, and is always willing to lend a hand.  I'd even go so far as to say he's chivalrous.  This past week I worked to spruce up a drafting table.

It went from this:

To this:

This transformation took about 3 hours of scrubbing, power sanding, detail and finish sanding and buffing on several layers of wax.  The point of this is: my arms were like jelly for the following two days, and when I said something in front of my kids, Ted's response was "Mom.  I would have done that for you."  And indeed he could have - he just won the Applied Tech award at school, meaning, of all the kids, the shop teacher thought he was 'the man.'  We had a little talk about how I like getting that sense of "I did it!" pride, too, and that the sore guns were totally worth it.  But Ted would do just about anything to spare me pain.  If he treats his future wife half as well as he treats me, she will be a lucky, lucky woman.

"She's such a bitch!" is our inside joke.  Whenever I ask him to do anything his usual response is "Okay."  Not "Okay." in a "what-ev-er" tone.  He may not be excited to gather the garbage and take it the curb, but his response is positive -  like he's just happy to be of help.  I love that about him.

So when I ask him to do something and he says "Ok" so willingly, I playfully say "I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking: "She's such a bitch!"**  To this Ted earnestly responds "Mom.  I'm NOT thinking that.  I don't EVER think that!"  We tend to go on like this for a bit.  Ted knows that I'm teasing him, that I know that he doesn't think that.  It's just fun.  And it makes him smile at me in an exasperated way.   We've been doing this schtick for a couple of months now, and the other day I said I was going do a scrapbook page with that title. And blog about it.  He smiled, but protested, saying that everyone would think he was mean.  For the record: he's totally not mean at all.

**Yes, I shouldn't set such a terrible example for my kids, but I'm not saying anything their peers don't say, and we've had extensive conversations about what's acceptable and appropriate.  And honestly, they're not big bad word sayers.  I've scrolled through their texts, and their friends cuss like sailors, but I rarely see anything, and even then, it's damn or crap, so I feel like we're doing okay there.

And that's it.  I doubt that I'll scrapbook again until July.  Just thinking about that break makes me sad.  I've had so much fun playing these last couple of weeks.  BUT, I'm SO excited about scrapbooking in my new place, where I get to be in with the rest of my people.  And on my new desk (Have I mentioned how pretty she is??) And standing up, too!  Yeeeee!  It's going to be so great.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I'm having one of those days where the weather is getting to me a little.  It was a struggle to get out of bed this morning - the only reason I managed it was because I had to take Maggie's car to get e-checked so I can take care of getting my stickers for it for the next year.

BTW, thanks State of Ohio, for always giving me a batch of unpleasant errands to run for my birthday.  Blech.  I can't remember how it was done in MD, PA or IN but OH: you suck.

Anyway, once were back it was still a struggle to fight the urge to crawl back into bed.  I'm not generally a napper, and while I hit the snooze once or twice like everyone else, I'm not generally one to lollygag around in bed.  So it's weird.  I'm not sick, I feel fine, I'm just BLAH.

I spent my afternoon making this:

Yeah. Like I said: Meh.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Washington D.C. ....and a wee tutorial

Ted went to Washington D.C. with his 8th grade class last week.  He came home with about 150 images of the places they'd visited and about 5 people shots, including 3 selfies with him wearing someone else's aviator sunglasses and looking pretty badass (for an 8th grader).  The camera that I gave him is waterproof and shockproof, because frankly I just don't trust 14 year olds to really take care of electronics. So it's not the greatest camera (waterproof, shockproof cameras will never be "the greatest camera") but it did okay.

But what really amuses me is that Ted is a Gratuitous Tilter. Roughly half of his pictures were taken at a 30º to 45º tilt.  I have a feeling that he got that from me, but I'd like to think that I used it more sparingly.  ;)    Because the tilted pictures amused me so, I made a collage to share on Facebook and posted it with (what I thought was) a funny caption about alerting the authorities that D.C. was about to slide into the Potomac and wash out to sea.  Once I made the collage it seemed pretty logical to go ahead and print it.  And if I was going to go ahead and print it, I might as well print in a scrapbook friendly size.  When I showed the print to him I prefaced it with "You can't have this one, I'm going to scrapbook it." he got all excited.  No lie he said "My pictures are worthy enough to be scrapbooked?!"  On the one hand, that made me feel really good!  On the other, I felt an enormous pressure to follow through and actually do something with the pictures.  And it's not a matter of worthy or's that I think that scrapbooking someone else's memory is REALLY HARD.  I wasn't there.  I don't know what your take away of the event was.  I don't know what to say.

But the kid wanted the pictures scrapbooked and, by gum it!, I was going to make that happen for him.  I'm not going to drag you through the (un)creative process, or tell you about the printer problems that took me about an hour to conquer.  I'll say that my goal was to treat the pictures with dignity and respect.  They are pictures that are tilted, and that makes me titter a little, but Ted loves history and was very impressed by the things he saw. WIth that in mind, I give you Washington D.C., a layout by Caroline with pictures by Ted:

Now you see why I'm not going to blather on about the creative process. :P

The font that I used for Washington is LainieDaySH.  I think it matches the mood of the photos well, but in all honesty, it's too thin to easily cut from the Silhouette, so I had to modify it.  I had decent success, so I thought I'd just throw up a couple of screenshots to walk through how I changed it to make it what you see here.

So this is the title, as typed into the Sil software.  At this point I zoom in and double check that the letters flow nicely into one another.  This font is pretty good, but I did notice the the n into the g wasn't connected to my liking.

To remedy this, I selected the word and clicked the "ungroup" button in the lower left hand corner (circled in blue).  This changes the word "Washington" from one big file into a series of 'shapes' that can be treated differently.  You could size or rotate each letter individually if you wanted, but today I just need to move them a little.  Since I'm okay with the way the 'gton' flow into each other, I select all four letters and USE THE ARROW KEYS to scootch those letters closer to the 'n'.  Why the caps?  Because if you try to use your mouse or fingerpad invariably you'll cause those letters to move up or down.  Using the arrow keys will prevent them from shifting in unintended directions.

Once everything is lining up the way I want it, I select all the letters, and hit the weld button in the upper right hand corner (circled in blue).  From here I click the  'weld' option from the submenu on the right side (circled in pink).

Next, I'm taking a critical look at the font itself.  From my experience with the Silhouette, I know that cut is just too thin - the loop on the g might cut cleanly, but I'll never be able to get it off the mat without the cardstock tearing apart.

If only this font were a little fatter.
I could feed it a cheese danish.
Maybe if I put it on the sofa with a Real Housewives marathon on?
I know those options have both worked for me.

However, it might be slightly quicker to use the offset feature?  Let's try it.  ;)

To start the process, you click the offset button (upper right, circled in blue) to bring up the submenu.  From there you click the offeset button (right, circled in pink).  The default is .25 inches.  That is too many cheese danishes worth!  Yuck.  We're going for cuttable and instead we turned into the doodlings of a love struck teenager.  From here you can go into the "Offset Distance" box and just type in ".01" or whatever.

Let's try .01:

  Okay!  That's a lot closer to what I'm going for.  But, at this point I have two sets of cutlines, and that's not what I want, either.  Time to go in and carefully remove the inside (original) word.  You'll have to take care of the W and the dot on the i separately.  Here's what we get:

Okay!  Now we've got a cuttable font!  But...wait...that g is causing me some concerns:

I put the blue dot next to where the issue lies.  The way that tail sort of jigs over is going to weaken that area - it's too close to where the g's descender meets the loop.

I'll be completely honest here.  I did not notice this before I cut it.  As it happened, I cut two versions of this.  I cut one exactly as I've shown here, and another where I changed the offset to .02 (ever so slightly fatter than this one at .01)  It wasn't until I peeled them off the mat that I realized there was a problem with the .01 version.  As it happened, I liked the .02 version better.  I'm not going to walk you through doing it, since it's pretty much exactly the same process, but here's the .01 and the .02 together:

Yes, the smaller version has more details, and that's a good thing for sure.  But if those details are so tight that they don't cut well the whole thing falls apart pretty quickly.  I cut them side by side because there wasn't a good enough reason not to.  I'm glad I did, because looking at these on the screen leaves one impression, but the finished product gives an entirely different impression.

I hope that helps you look at your fonts differently.  I've often ruled out gorgeous fonts because I've assumed they were too thin.  Using the offset feature has allowed me to retain the look and mood of the fonts I love, while making them just chubby enough to cut effectively.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Him and Me...and FridgeBinz

Yay! Last night was another scrap opportunity!  We were supposed have a baseball game to attend, but just as we got there it started POURING.  So, oops, it got canceled.  :)  Yes. That's a smiley face.  I love watching Ted's games.  I go whenever I can.  But I don't mind the occasional two hour pocket of time that suddenly opens up when they get canceled.  So we came home and I scrapped:

This is another picture from our walk in the park last week.  It's probably not the most flattering of me, but I do really like this photo.  I think it catches our personalities - Kerig is very serious and focused most of the time.  I vacillate between very serious and focused (usually with regard to schoolwork) and annoyingly juvenile.  This works out well about 92% of the time, because sometimes Kerig needs to lighten the fudge up.  And sometimes I need to behave myself.  He keeps me from getting in trouble.  I keep him from imploding. Win/win.

If you're a regular visitor, you might remember that I went on and on about FridgeBinz from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I spent a couple of days cutting my paper scraps down to 7.5x7.5in and 3.5x4in to store in the two sizes of the bins that I bought.  This is the final set up:

So, I have two of the bigger sizes, one is for my slight minipad addiction.  And two of the smaller size - the second one is for color mists and ink pads.  I can easily see getting several more of these for glitter vials and embellishment packs.  Maybe one more for adhesive... and washi...and dies and embossing folders. :) Love them.

I really dislike hyperbole and most forms of exaggeration.  So I'm not saying this for effect:
These dumb FridgeBinz have changed the way I scrapbook.

I don't think that I'm different than most scrapbookers.  I have paper.  A LOT of paper:

(This is spot for whole, uncut sheets of patterned paper.  And some letter stickers, which I am not addicted to and therefore only have a moderate amount.)

And that's where all that uncut patterned paper is in relation to where I sit to scrap.  And what you don't see is an Iris cart that sort of blocks the way and a chair that also blocks but also serves as a place to rest as you go through stacks and stacks of paper.  (It also serves as a nice place for visitors -i.e. kids- to sit when I'm scrapping or working on homework)  So it's not as easy to get to as I might want, or within arm's reach.  (And that's just the patterned paper.  There's a foot and a half of 12x12 cardstock that's stored behind where I sit, and 8.5x11 in an Iris cart behind me.  A LOT of paper.)

Enter the FridgeBinz:

Okay, these are really crappy shots, showing that I really need to vacuum.  Don't judge. I know you have scrap bits on your floor, too. :P

Anyway, I also have this wooden stool that generally gets tucked in under the side of the table.  It's where my kids sit when they need help with their homework. also gets used for overflow when I scrap.   But since I got all my scraps organized I just pull the bins and put them on the stool.  This is immensely liberating!  Because I have literally dozens upon dozens of scraps of paper to chose from for punching, small dies and even running through my Cameo.  Right there. AT MY FINGERTIPS. And since they're already scraps, I feel absolutely no hesitation about cutting into them.  If I'm not sure if it would look better punched out of this or that, I don't have to try to guess.  I just do it from both and decide that way.  And if I try it out of those two and I'm not in love with either one, I simply flip through my scraps and see if something else might work.  

Clean up is easier, too.
I did bust into one of the whole sheets of patterned paper, but  it was easy to deal with the scraps.  I cut the biggest piece down to 7.5inches wide and put it in with the big scraps.  All the little pieces were cut down to 4inchesxWhatever (3.5 at the biggest) and put into the smaller bin.  Once everything was cut down, the two bins were put away.

Before I switched to these FridgeBinz I was just throwing all my scraps into archival 13x15 boxes.  I didn't cut the scraps down, and the boxes were always threatening to overflow.  Cardstock and paper got bent and creased.  Rifling through it was frustrating, because there was no easy way without being very ginger and going more slowly than I'd want to.  Now, if I need a big scrap, I go to the big bin; if I need a small scrap, well: duh.  But I can pick up a tidy 4 inch stack of papers and flip through them like you might flick through a deck of cards. When I've got what I want, I just bang them on the desk to get them flat-edged and tuck them back into the bin.

I feel less wasteful, more organized, liberated and even inspired, since the color and pattern combos that come out might not have happened otherwise.  

Ok. I'm done with my free advertisement for these things. For now. But I'm getting ready to move this month and when I have a new space to set up there's a distinct possibility that one or two more of these make their way into my setup.  Because they're rectangular they use space much more efficiently than the buckets that I currently have.  Plus, since they're see through, I can see that organizing some other items might make more sense in them.