Monday, June 30, 2014

The Heat Is On

Heat index expected to reach triple digits today !

The local meteorologist is predicting a 105 degree heat index.
Sounds like a perfect day to hide out in my craft dungeon.
I have more than enough projects to work on, that's for sure.

The extended forecast looks wonderful,
cooler temps and LOW humidity - ahhhhhh!
It might feel chilly along the river while
watching the 
Under The Sun Tour 2014 on Wednesday
and the fireworks on the 3rd =)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Three Fawns

As I was coming around the corner of my house today,
I heard noise on the hill so I stopped.
I looked up and saw a momma deer,
 looking right back at me. I noticed movement
in the weeds behind her thinking it was a fawn, 
then I thought no,
I think it is two ! Twins! 

When I got in the house and looked at the photos
I was able to quickly snap since I had my little
pocket camera with me already,
there were THREE fawns !
I've never seen "triplets" ! 

I like how they she chose to stop
by the brown tall weeds, 
camouflaging the three babies.
Or perhaps it was just random since 
it was the area of the terrace where
the growth is shorter.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Embellished Photo Frame

I repurposed an old 18 x 24 wooden frame 
and gave it to my parents!

The old frame was painted with tan suede spray paint.

I cut a piece of burgundy mat board to fit the frame
and added my photos / embellishments directly to it with
super sticky double stick tape and hot glue. 

The photographs were wrapped with scrapbook page protectors
cut to fit and wrapped around the backs because I was
originally going to leave the frame open.
Because they were stuck so well
and I didn't want to risk damaging the photos
trying to remove the wraps which would 
require having them printed again,
I decided to use them as is.

The photos are matted on two pieces
of card stock.

I printed out our names using the Lavendaria font
onto cream Naturals card stock then
hand cut them into banners.

The larger flower is made with a die cut, card stock and inks
from Stampin' Up! 
The tiny flower brad was colored with a Sharpie marker.

The double layer small flower at top was made from two
small flowers gifted to me earlier this year, 
manufacturer unknown.

The bottom printed flower was found at our local
Big Lots store a few years ago. It came complete
with brads. I should have used two of them,
looking at the photo of the completed project that single
layer looks bare. 

The leaves were die cut from Always Artichoke card stock
using Spellbinders dies. I should have added some inking to them, too.

                                                                F A M I L Y pennants:
Chalk Talk dies, Stampin' Up!
Alphabet die, Stampin' Up!
Triple layer flower punch, Stampin' Up!
Silver circle brads (I painted them) , Stampin' Up!
twine, unknown
various card stocks and paper

Because of the embellishments on this piece, I needed to create spacers before adding the glass (I had it custom cut at a local glass shop). The frame had just enough depth to allow me to do this  (sorry, I did not take any photos of that !). I really wanted to use clear acrylic type spacers like I did when I worked at a frame shop many years ago, but had to make do with cutting and gluing thin strips of chipboard. I thought it was odd when I asked at the one and only local frame shop about buying some from them and was told they don't have any. Perhaps they don't sell supplies to the general public so they get our business to pay them to mount items. Anyway, my makeshift spacers worked well enough as did my finishing job = duct tape! Yes, because I made this a sort of shadow box frame but without enough depth to add points/staples/nails to hold the mat board in place (not even enough depth to add the extra backing piece), I cut long 1" wide strips of duct tape and covered the gap between the edge of the mat and frame, holding it in place.

I added two screw eyes and picture wire to mount it and two pieces of foam tape on each lower corner
to protect walls.

Thank for looking =)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Summer !

Are you doing anything special to herald in the official start to summer on this Saturday, the longest day of the year ?   It is going to be one of the hottest we've had so far this summer. The heat and humidity moved in this past week, blech. We've been spoiled with a fairly mild spring. In fact, last weekend the humidity and temps were low and it got kind of chilly overnight. It felt like fall !

I took a walk around the flower beds with my camera yesterday. Several of my plants did not come back after the harsh winter while those that did are behind in blooming. The weeds and the bugs are terrible though, the extreme cold and amount of snow was saw last winter did not but a damper in their populations! 
I haven 't heard how the crops are doing here. 

FINALLY, some cherry tomatoes starting !

A few of the perennials that made it back and are now blooming,
or getting close to. 

I put annuals out in pots two weeks ago.
They were all bought on clearance. 
Here are just a few of them.

These or sooooo pretty ! No tag to know exactly what
type of petunia they are. I paid $3.

These were marked petunia, but I had no idea what color
since there were no blooms. I paid $2.

Another cool looking petunia. 
This particular plant was already blooming when I bought it.
I paid $1.

Zinnias, $1 each. 

Verbena    50c

Not sure what these cute little flowers are. 
They were in a large hanging basket I found on clearance for
just $3 !  I had no idea what they were going to look like
 since there was no tag in the pot and no blooms on the plant.
 Since the plant looked healthy and full and was only $3,
 I took a chance. 

Looking forward to my red, white and blue flowers to fill out!
There are some geraniums that I will be surprised at the color of
(two small but healthy looking plants for 75c each).
I have a few white begonia plants, 6 pack for $5 . I almost didn't get them
since they were such small little plants and "expensive" compared 
to some of the others I came across.
The Impatiens were my most expensive purchase at $5 
for the large pot of fully blooming plants. 

I do NOT have a green thumb an honestly do not care for 
working out in the yard (critters!!!! heat and humidity !!!),
but the front porch always looks nice with some color on it
throughout the summer months. 

Now to keep my eyes out for some new buntings on clearance
at the end of the season; mine are fading :(

Thanks for looking,
enjoy the extra bit of daylight today =) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Swirls and Snowflakes Sketch Challenge Card

I must have colder weather on my mind
because of the extreme heat and humidity our 
area is currently facing (I am NOT a summer person!). 

As soon as I saw the sketch challenge at 
Operation Write Home this week,
I knew what I was going to make.
I finally found the time to make and share it !

Supplies used:
White card stock
Divine Swirls cuttlebug folder
Shimmery lightweight paper
Martha Stewart snowflake punches
5/8" shimmery edged organdy ribbon

I originally took time to paint each swirl with
shimmery paint, but decided not to use it
because the snowflakes really seemed lost on it.
I'll reuse that painted piece for another winter card later.

Thanks for looking =) 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Digi Photos and Albums, Tips

I've done it, I've taken over the dining room table !
The cat has, too !!!! 

Granted, the table is only used a couple times a year.

I've decided it was way past time to work on
getting digital photos printed.
Slowly but surely since the beginning of the year
I have been sorting through photos on my external hard drive.
As many as there are, I still swear there are not nearly enough
and realize there are many things I never photographed,
especially as the kids got older. They just would NOT cooperate
with having photos taken (unless they were taking selfies!).
Not to mention the many failed attempts at photographing events
only to have pictures so blurry they are worthless, memories were not captured.

What a time consuming project this has been
(seriously, it is nearly JULY already !????
where has my time gone???  "wasted" working on photos!)
and I haven't even started putting them into albums yet ! 
What a box full I've had printed so far
and I have 18 more months to go through. 

Note: Many times photos may not print out the way they
look to you on your computer monitor.
This is true of all the different stores I've used,
it never fails that many of my photos come back
far too dark. It's very disappointing and I don't know
a way around it since in the same batch, photos
can come back looking just fine. Sigh.
I've used Shutterfly (I like that you can have words printed on the back),
CVS , Walgreens and Walmart. Walgreens has the best deals
such as 10c prints the most often. I have received a couple of
free print codes to Shutterfly, but once you add in shipping
on those free prints, it is nearly the cost of having them done locally. 

Albums, oh my goodness, once I started really
looking into them I was finding so many options, 
becoming  overwhelmed with the 
pros and cons of different styles.
In the end I chose to go with pocket albums
to store more photos in less space.
The albums themselves are quite large in size,
but they will hold 400 photos in them. 
Because the brand I chose in the end offered refill pages,
I ordered a set for each album so they will now hold 500 photos.
  I searched all over, the best deals for me were found at Adorama.
I have dealt with them before with no issues whatsoever so I 
was going to order from them. In the end I did not since the 
albums they sold did not have refills available and the two
styles I was looking at didn't state the photo safety of them
(surely they are fine, but just in case ....). Plus, there was that issue
of what if there was a problem, I would have to ship it back.
So the new won, although much more expensive
especially when I add in my time/gas driving to the store for an exchange,
over which had the most budget friendly and a nice variety of albums.. 

Here are the albums I bought:

Recollections TREVOR black faux leather photo album from Michael's.
It is a two post bound album that holds 400 photos.
I'll be adding extra posts, I like having three vs two posts
because I know from first hand experience of dropping a two post
album, the pages can tear out easily (this was one of my
cons on my pros and cons list of which albums to buy.....).
Additional pages can be bought and they include post extenders.
Look for sales on them because the albums alone are $24.99 ! 
Refill pages are $3.99.

Measure your shelves first before buying albums!
They are bigger than I wanted (book bound albums are slightly smaller),
but I knew this when I bought them.
I am able adjust the height of my shelves to accommodate how tall they are.
 They will however stick out over the edge as my shelves are not as deep as the albums.

Real stitching detail, textured "leather" , a photo frame 
and a clear plastic protector.

CD pocket in back of album.

This is one of two book bound type albums I already had
and was going to purchase more of but in a 5 photo per page style.
I then decided that the other pocket type may hold up better
(like we are going to be looking at them all that often!)
and the pages can be easily replaced if they become damaged. 
I also had the thought that the cream paper will show dirt, etc easily.
Not that I would have dirty hands looking at them,
but just to be safe.
I read lots of reviews at various websites concerning each type,
both had glowing reviews as well as some negative reviews.
It did seem to me that there were more negative comments
about the book bound style though . Mainly flimsier plastic
and that pages tended to come apart at those little "welds"
causing the photos to slip.

This really is a beautiful photo album.

I already have a small pile of  regular 12x12 scrapbooks
that I bought over the years to put pet photos
in. I have yet to do that! 
I ordered some pocket pages for those as well
to hold more photos. They don't fit perfectly so I will
need to use my Cropadile to punch new holes. 

Now here are some tips:

~Even if a marker/pen says it is 
safe for writing on the backs of photos,
that is not necessarily true. Be sure to check
the ink first before stacking photos on top
of each other if you are writing on the backs.
Also, different photo papers react differently
to the inks, so test all photos first. I've found most
print services include a "photo" that is your order summary
so test out inks on that piece before taking a chance on ruining a photo.

~If you are writing on the backs of the photos with a ball point pen,
be sure to do it in a hard surface and don't press too firmly.
If you use too much pressure or the photo you are writing on is on
something soft, such as a stack of photos, you take the chance of
"embossing" your handwriting onto the front of the photo.
That is, the pressure from your handwriting will cause
raised up areas on the front side if you are not careful.

~As you are printing out your photos, if you are not placing them
into albums right away, be sure to organize them in a way that makes
sense to you then keep them stored safely in photo boxes to avoid damage.
I have mine done chronologically and some special events are in their own envelope.

~ You may want to consider adding the word "printed" 
to the file name of the digital photos you have printed out.
I did this so if I should ever need to replace photos or 
go back through the digital files to think about printing more,
I'll know which ones I have already done.

~ You may want to copy the digital files you've printed to a 
compact disc and insert it in the albums as a backup.
Some albums come with sleeves made into them for this.

~Back up all digital files from the hard drive to discs !
I do this for all of my photos, numbering each disc
and adding the photo folder names and a brief description
in a notebook that I keep with the binder full of discs.
I even made a second set of discs to keep at my parents house
in case of a catastrophe at mine. That way, if something
horrible happened and I lost the computer, discs, photos,
I would still have digital copies at their house. 
This includes old negatives that I scanned.
I don't want to save all of my photos online.

~There are numerous ways to organize your photos on your computer
just as there are many ways to organize your photo albums.
Store all of your photos in one folder on your computer/external hard drive. 
You would then make subfolders as you like; mine are by years.
I simply save my files based on the date shot, 
using the year / month / date file name format.
I haven't taken the time to add tags to them, shame on me. 
I then add on a couple of words to describe the main subject,
such as Christmas, a pet or kids name, birthdays, etc. 
As for my albums ? I'll have one for each pet then pretty much
jumble all the rest of the immediate family photos in chronological order. 
 We took two "big" vacations over the years (yes, sadly, only two!)
that will have their own album as well. 

~ If you are doing any photo editing, be sure to edit copies , not the original.
I've learned this the hard way and yet I still goof up at times!

You can do a search online for hundreds of websites offering 
photo organization tips as well as free software for editing!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Baking Frenzy for Father's Day

I am no master baker, 
not even a mediocre baker ;)

I don't know that I have ever seen a "twin" egg !
There were two yolks in the large egg on the right.
The egg on the left is a regular large egg from the 
same dozen. 

Making muffins (box mix) for breakfast 

I then spent the rest of the morning baking three desserts 
(and making a big ol' mess !) for the dads:

Brownies (box mix) with walnuts and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
I wanted to have the kids sprinkle powdered sugar over 
die cut letters D A D since the brownies were for their dad, 
but they wanted no part of it. I could have done it myself...

Fresh peach pie (Betty Crocker recipe) my brother in law requested.
That was supposed to be a tie on his pie,
but I don't know what I was doing - 
it looks like a fish! 
First time I've made a basic peach pie and it was pretty good! 

My dads slightly burned fresh apple pie
(Betty Crocker recipe).
I felt so bad for burning it and had no time to 
go to the store to get more apples, make another.
Despite it being burned , it tasted great and the apples
didn't get too mushy like they do sometimes !
I cut D A D into the top of it.
Since it was a bit burned, the colors coordinated
with the card I made him =) 

I did make one thing healthy to take to the family dinner: a really large salad with home made dressing,
a family favorite. Here is the recipe; it is a Roman type dressing.

It went well with the beautiful gargantuan sized home made lasagna and cheesy garlic bread my sister made. I think the dads enjoyed their meal and desserts =)

Thanks for looking !

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Card

This card was created based on sketch challenge #226 at Operation Write Home.

Truck image, Hero Arts Past Times
Sanded and Crackling background stamps, Stampin' Up!
Happy Father's Day, All Year Cheer 2 stamp set, Stampin' Up!
Vanilla, Kraft, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Early Espresso card stocks
and inks, Stampin' Up!
Gold embossing powder and Versamark ink
gold mini brads
sponged ink along edge of Kraft card

TIP: Use removable sticky notes to ink portions of a rubber stamp if you do not have a marker to easily put ink where you want it. I cut a sticky note to cover HAPPY and DAY in order to ink FATHER'S with Versamark ink then removed the sticky notes to stamp FATHER'S onto the Chocolate Chip banner. You could do the same thing to ink HAPPY and DAY, but it was easy enough for me to just dab ink from the corner or my ink pad onto each of those words.

Thanks for looking =)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flag Day

My facebook timeline cover I created
using a photo of my front porch, a digital scrapbook kit
by JMC Designs
and Photoshop Elements.
I don't use fb often ,
but I do enjoy making covers !

Thanks for looking =) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Full Moon Friday the 13th

I tried and tried to get a photo of the full moon tonight and no matter what I did (well, I did not use a tripod as I have been unable to locate our old one we used for video camera use), it would not work. Ack! I used the same camera settings, even went to the same window to prop the camera on the sill, no luck.

I guess the few shots I managed to FINALLY get of a full moon (well, nearly full) two nights ago, blow,  are all I will get. SO happy that I did finally get my very own pretty decent photo of a full moon though - and me, having no idea what I am doing, either! I got lucky.

I was so tickled to see the detail in the photo when enlarged on the computer. Granted, it is not perfect, but it is the best, most detailed photo I've ever gotten of the moon ! It's normally just a white blob in photos. I don't think it is too bad for just a "point and shoot" person .

I used a Nikon D5000 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens.

I just kept turning the dial to various settings, both preset and the manual settings. I'm not really sure what one got the photo.

Thanks for looking =)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bright Happy Birthday Cards

I found these premade Happy Birthday card embellishments at my local
Big Lots store a couple of months ago.

Using bright colored card stocks, an embossing folder,
stamps on the last card and polka dot ribbon on the pink cards,
I created a cheery set of cards to donate to 
Operation Write Home.

How many of you have Big Lots stores in your area?
Has your store reorganized their "departments" and
gotten rid of the crafty stuff like ours has ?
Makes me sad that ours no longer carries
crafty things - it was the first department I
went to every time I visited that store.

Thanks for looking =) 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Graduation Card

A fairly quick graduation card. This is the first time I've used the Chevron punch! Because it uses a couple of punches and a die, I'll enter it in the June ODBD Challenge at Operation Write Home to use punches and dies on cards. This card will NOT be sent to OWH, but since I already had it made (not posted yet) and it fits the challenge criteria, I decided to link it up.

Supplies used:
Whisper White card stock
Scrap of blue/gray card stock, unknown
blue/gray organdy ribbon, dollar store find a long time ago
Rectangle die
Chevron and Tag Topper punches, Stampin' Up!
Brocade Blue and Night of Navy markers, Stampin' Up!
Word Play and Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp sets, Stampin' Up!
Alphabet embossed piece was a leftover from another project
Clear drying liquid glue and Martha Stewart glitter for along the edges of the stamped panel
Pop dots/stampin' dimensionals

Thanks for looking =)