Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Just don't title your blog post that!"

Sage words of wisdom from the manfriend, since "Yeah, we're swingers" would surely attract an audience that would be nothing but disappointed by the results of their google search.  And I don't mind disappointing people - hell, that's practically my job description - but maybe it's just unwise...given the content of my blog as a whole.

So yeah. We're swingers. As in: can't walk past a swing set at the park without hoping on for a ride.  Now, I would never hog a seat if kids were waiting, but (as was the case on this scrapped about evening) if the seats are largely empty, hells yeah, I can't resist.

This was from Memorial Day weekend.  We had eaten dinner at iHop and decided to try to walk off some of the calories.  It was a gorgeous evening, a light breeze, mid-60s...perfect walking weather.  We both had our cameras with us and when we saw the empty bank of swings I immediately thought of doing a "panning" self portrait.  Panning is a photographic technique where the photographer moves the camera while the shutter is open.  Normally moving a camera while the shutter is open would give you a blurry picture, but with panning, you move the camera smoothly and at the same rate of speed that the subject is moving.  You see panning a lot with race cars - the end result gives you a car that is tack sharp but everything that isn't moving is blurred.  It might be easy to confuse a panned shot with a shallow depth of field, since they have similar looks.  But with a panning shot the roadway under the moving car would be blurred, whereas in a shallow depth of field shot the road would still be sharp.

So my idea was that if we were swinging, we could take self portraits of ourselves using this technique.  Problem is, you need to be able to have a little control over your shutter speed to make this work.  And it requires that you hold the camera as steady as possible within the constraints it actually moving.  So in the race car scenario, your arms are braced at your sides and you swivel at the waist.  In the swing scenario you have to hold the camera out in front of you for the selfie, but it's hard to hold it perfectly steady while you're moving on the swing.  So, my shots didn't pan because my little Nikon S01 has no overrides.  Kerig had the manual overrides, but couldn't get the camera to be absolutely steady - although he had way better luck than I did.

But it almost doesn't matter if the shots worked.  We were cracking up the whole time.  First, trying to swing high with only one hand on the chain? Yeah, sort of fun/scary, but it definitely gives you a little rush.  But also, we'd take a shot and look at what we got and they were funny. And by 'funny' I mean god-awful and terribly unflattering.  Kerig got a good one of him, but sadly I'm in the background looking less than, um, 'with it.'  The bottom line is: we had a lot fun.

This is the best shot of the two of us.  Yes, I realize we're not really interacting.  And I'm not even trying the technique.  But I'm looking at my results, so that counts. ;)

Yes. The sewing on this is a little rough.  We (the sewing machine and I) were having a slight difference of opinion.  It appears the machine won that argument.  C'st la vie.

Also: the washi tape at the top as We R Memory Keepers and it's billed as navy.
Dear We R Memory Keepers: I don't know what you're smoking, but that is NOT navy.

And guess who's finally carrying his own weight around here??  Just kidding.  But Kerig has a degree in photography and LOTS of yummy equipment.  Including a copy stand:

A copy stand was how we recreated artwork (or text) back in the old days before scanners.  It holds the camera perfectly parallel to base so that the image is nice and square instead of all wonky and trapezoidal.  Since taking these pictures is a royal pain in the ass, handing off the picture taking part is really wonderful.

This could be the start of something beautiful.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Escaping to my happy place

As I begin to write this, the store has only been open for about an hour.  We've only had a handful of customers, but the tone is set: It's going to one of those days.  It's not a day where money will change hands.  It'll be a day of "why is this not working the way I think it should."  Which sometimes appeals the problem solver in me, but...sometimes not.

(I just gave the address and a phone number for a school uniform place that's in the next city over.)(Not the kind of thing that appeals to my inner problem solver.)(Although, when I'm in a better mood, I think of the scene in Miracle on 34th street where the Macy's Santa refers someone to Gimble's and the Gimble's exec have a fit.)

I might also mention that many of these posts are written at work.  My boss knows, she's sitting right next to me, so it's not taboo or anything.  So between customers, this is sometimes how I kill time.  This might explain some of the choppiness, dropped words and sentences that look like maybe they were started and finished by two different people. :P  But today, this blog is my escape, my happy place.  My oasis of sanity, where no one will thrust their problems at me and expect a tactful, hand-holding response.    And no one here will call me Charlene.  Ok?


This is sort of all over the place.  I started it, stopped to make dinner, futzed with it a little after dinner, took Molly to her summer band camp concert, watched Project Runway and then finished it late in the evening.  Somehow I lost all my journaling room, but I think that what I ended up sums it up nicely - I love having a kid who's adventuresome enough to try some foods that others in her age bracket (and gene pool) might find to gross to sample.

By the way, the stars are something that I made in the Silhouette software.  It wasn't hard by any means, but I couldn't find anything quite like them in the Silhouette store.  If you want the file feel free to send me an email and I'll send it to you: cnd3167 at yahoo dot com.  I'm sort of half heartedly trying to figure out how to share files from here, but I keep coming across roadblocks.

Alrighty.  That's all I've got for now.  My 'i' key is sticking.  I think I've caught most of the i-less words, but if you spot one or two, that's why.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 15, 2013


It was hot yesterday and I'm broke.  And except for a brief stint where Ian came over for some math help, I was alone for the day.  So I did what any scrapper would do: I broke down and put on the A/C, listened to the latest episode of Paperclipping Roundtable and played with pictures and paper and my Cameo:

I think I'm in love with this whole sewing thing.  Which is ironic, since I spent a good deal of time fishing wadded up bits of thread out of the bobbin casing. I still don't know how to sew worth a damn, but I can sure take apart and reassemble that housing with ease. :P

And even though its a craptastic mess, I like it.  It's funny...in general, I don't care for country-ish stuff.  And the sewn edges reminds me of that primitive/country feel, and yet some how I'm giving it a pass.

That may be the smallest title ever. I didn't realize that I'd sized it so tiny, but it cut cleanly and I decided that I liked the way it looked right on the photo.    The tree is two triangles, the bottom one has inked edges and the top one got run through the cuttlebug with a texture plate.  I dig it.  And the tiny little bird - so cute.

Look how cute Molly is in her braids. She's since chopped off about a foot of her hair and gotten "bangs."  In quotes because they're not traditional bangs, but the new fangled long, side swept bangs.  Which look great if your beauty strategy has more steps than wash, condition, comb, go to bed with wet hair. *sigh*

That's all I've got today.  I'm waiting for another batch of pictures to come in from the printer - any minute now!  And I'm waiting for my Mr. to come home.  He's been gone for two (long, rough) weeks now.  I can't wait for him to walk through the door tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some thoughts on vertical scrapbooking.

(Which seems so less weenie than 'scrapping standing up')

I recently said I had some kinks to work out with my new scrapbook set up.  And that was true.  The major hang ups were that the laptop was taking up too much space on the drafting table, and while the kitchen table chair is the perfect height for the drafting table, it's sort of awkward.

I should really take some other shots to make this make more sense, but I still have some tubs of stuff that need to be hauled to the Salvation Army, and until those get dealt with I'm not taking anymore shots of my space. :P  But just to the left of this set up is a school desk that I bought for $5 (score) that has two white paper cubes from Michael's on top.

I really love these - they're sturdy, hold a ton and not awful looking.  Plus, I really prefer to store my paper flat, and these allow for that.

I used to have my wide format printer on top of two of these positioned side by side.  I'm not 100% certain I'm keeping the printer though.  It prints beautifully, but since switching to 8.5x11 I rarely print anything larger than 4x6.  Of course the wide format printer can do that, but since space is at a premium, I'm sort of lusting after a nice, compact Epson PictureMate.  Because yeah, I have money in my budget for another printer.  I need my head examined.

So anyway, I have two of those things side by side on a child's school desk, and over the weekend I realized that my laptop could easy sit on them.  Having the laptop nearby is necessary for both journaling and designing and cutting dies on the Cameo.

So that's one problem solved.  On to the kitchen chair...  In the photo above, I have it sort of pushed to the side with my FirdgeBinz on it.  I felt hemmed in, and eventually I just wanted to sit down because I was still feeling the effects of the move (i.e. everything hurt like a mo fo).   But the chairs are tall - your feet don't touch the ground in them.  So getting in and out can be a bit of a hassle.  Now that everything feels a little better (courtesy of copious quantities of Advil) I can actually scrapbook standing up.


These are just snippets of the layouts that I posted yesterday.  They're special because each one of them shows something that I used that I've had for-ev-er but wasn't using because it wasn't within arm's reach of my fat ass sitting down while scrapping.  Stamp stuff? I have some, but I'm not a stamper per se, so it's always been stowed away.  But because I was standing up it wasn't any big deal at all to walk over to my shelves, bring the bin of embossing powders and rifle through to find what I want.  Same deal with the stack of sticker labels and photo corners.

It also made cleaning up go more quickly - I was already up, so putting things away didn't feel like any big deal - just grab a load of stuff and put it back on the shelves.  Piece-o-cake.

I'm still lusting over the file cabinets that I shared a couple of days ago - they would really complete the space nicely.  But for now I think it's going to work out.

Now I have to redirect my attention to my bedroom.  This morning I had a dream that I was packing for a trip and I couldn't find my pants.  I think that's my (not-so-)subconscious telling me to get my stuff taken care off.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Trifecta is an overstatement

I had a lot of alone time this weekend.  I suppose that I could have used that time to make my bedroom more appealing (it's still sort of a (huge) mess) but my shoulder is still in a lot of pain, so I'm taking it easy for a couple more days. (wink wink)   Instead, I watched a couple of scrapbooking process videos and got all kinds of inspired to scrap.

In one of the videos, Mercy Tiara sews down chevron bits then pulls the ends up off the page to give it all sorts of extra dimension. I just loved it and wanted to give it a try.

Aside: I have two sewing machines.  I don't really know how to operate either of them.  I could tell you story of how I came to have two machines and absolutely no sewing skills, but it would take forever.  I should mention that the better of the two had been stashed in the back of my closet for the last three years and I only just found it in the move.  In fact, it was in the back of my car until Friday evening...

So yeah, back to being inspired on Friday night...  There was no way in hell I was going down the stairs to get that machine, especially since I had no idea how to use it.  No problem!  I'll just hand stitch the chevrons in place!  No big deal.  Ha. Ha. Ha.  What a hot mess that was!  The holes (and subsequent stitching) were all unevenly spaced  - and not in a quaint, casual sloppy way, but rather in a 2nd grade craft project gone wrong kind of way.  I was also using more of a thin twine than thread, and I was ripping the cardstock in a couple of spots.  I ended up cutting the sheet of cardstock in half, ditching the botching sewing job half and putting the salvaged half in with my scraps.  I abandoned the idea of sewing the chevrons in place and just adhered them down all boring-like.





(Instagram shots by Kerig)
And while I would have prefered to have just a sleek line of thread running through the tips of the chevrons and the ability to bend the ends up off the pages for a little more dimension...maybe this works in a neat and tidy way.  I do like the combo of teal and grey patterned papers and cardstock that I used.  I'm loving both of those colors lately.

By Sunday I had finally hauled up the "good" sewing machine and decided to spend some time trying to remember how to use it.  You know, sometimes I just don't know how we existed as a society before YouTube.  I watched a video that showed me all the basics - threading the bobbin, putting the bobbin in the housing, threading the needle and getting started.  Yay, YouTube!  I still had a bunch of hurdles, including several times when I was just punching holes in the cardstock because the thread had broken 6 inches ago, but with the help of Google and some sewing forums I managed to get it sort of figured out.

Do you SEE ALL THAT CRAZY SEWING??  It's a mess, but sort of a good mess, so I'll take it.

The other thing that I'm pleased about on this layout is the size of the car frame thingee.  It was originally sized at 4x6 - I think it's meant to be for a Project Life journaling card.  (Am I the only one not doing Project Life? Am I the only one sort of sick of hearing about how amazing Project Life is? #grump) Anyway, I managed to use some trickery I learned through one of Kerri Bradford's Silhouette classes to size it  fit my 8.5x11 page.  There are a bunch of those journaling cards in the Silhouette shop...no my brain is working overtime wondering if I could/should use this technique on other shapes.  Hmmm...

After I finished that layout I still had plenty of daylight and I was killing time til the Real Housewives of New Jersey came on.  So I did this:

The jury is still out on this one.  Way out, in fact.  I had watched another process video that inspired me to use the busier background.  Plus, I ♥♥♥ the hexagons, so I impulsively bought the paper.  That was sort of dumb for me, given that I really only feel comfortable using very tight geometric patterns.  But we're seeing vellum tone things down, and I thought I'd be able to add more stuff to cover up the overwhelming pattern and it wouldn't be so...overwhelming...  Ah well, another  memory saved. :P

So that's it for today.  There's actually more that I want to say, but I save that for tomorrow.

Friday, July 5, 2013

hello 12

The move into the new place is nearly complete.  But I think that moving must be a lot like losing weight - that first bit comes easy, but those last 10 pounds/5 boxes take for-ev-er.  It's driving me a little nuts, because I just want a place for everything and everything its place.  Even if that place is the complex dumpster. :P

And even though it's not finished, I needed to take a break and play last night.  Or, as I said on Instagram, I needed to take my new scrap desk for a test drive.

The space needs some serious tweaking.  I used to have two 6 foot tables in an L shape, so I've lost a lot of surface area.  The table is a good size, but the computer takes up too much room (and I need the PC for the Cameo...and, apparently, YouTube videos).  I like the depth of the table, and having the drawers right there helps keep commonly used things at my finger tips.  BUT, the bin of adhesives is heavy, and it sort of crushes the drawers and makes it hard to open them.  I've found a solution:

This is one of the Bisley 5 drawer cabinets in an assortment of kicky colors. I love the idea of this.  They also have drawer organizers, so it would be perfect for all the little itty bitty things that we scrappers love. They're steel and 11x15x13, which would be perfect for my spot.  Two would be even better for my spot, but at $99 a pop, that's not happening anytime soon.  But this is definitely on my Christmas wish-list.  

So yeah.  Anyway...  I did actually do a page last night.  I feel like I lost a little of the momentum that I had built up before the move, but it's a good getting started point:

These pictures are a year old. eek.  I suck at scrapbooking birthdays.  Heck, truth be told, I don't like doing special occasion stuff.  I'm not certain what the hang up is, but I know I'm not alone in this.  However, the birthday-ees tend to feel a little slighted when pictures from their big day sit in an envelope for more than a year. :P  I figured since Molly is turning 13 next week I'd better get my ass in gear. 

I have been hoarding that green Scenic Route paper for a very long time.  I don't know what it is, but I love that green on green wonky dot goodness.  I totally screwed up the top part of this layout.  Originally it was just white cardstock at the top.  I splattered some Mr. Huey's ... and one would think that it's splattering - it's supposed to look messy.  Only, it just looked dumb.  I tried to cover it up and just made it worse.  I ended up screwing up the top so badly that I broke out the scissors and hacked off the top of the page and fitted some Hambly transparency to make up the top portion.  And honestly, I really like the top piece now! Hooray for mistakes! 

Some notes about supplies: the "hello" is from the Silhouette store.  Love it. The "12" is the font SNF Miss Molly (how fitting!) that was purchased from the Silhouette store as well.  And the little letter stickers that spell MOLLY are from Kelly Purkey at Simon Says Stamp.  I love the size.  And I also love that when you pull off the "O" the inside stays on the sticker sheet so you don't have to find something to poke it out with.  I also love the colors they come in.  The downside is I had to pull off 3 Y's because the first 2 didn't have any sticky on them - like somehow I only lifted off the cardstock part and managed to leave the sticky behind.  Not cool.  I hope that was just a one time happening - I'd hate to think they're all defective. :(

So that's it for today.  I still haven't decided on the whole Christmas ornament thing.  Which probably means I'm a week behind already. Oops. Oh well.