Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It was Just One of Those Days

Somehow yesterday was not the day I'd hoped it to be. While I slept well, I fell back asleep after I 'told' my FitBit that I was awake. I WAS awake but apparently fell right back asleep  ... and didn't wake up until 8am. Fortunately, no office or job expects me any time.  But I did have a mammogram appointment at 9am.  Enough time to get dreesed, put on deodorant, remember that I should not have deodorant on, wash it off, and have a cuppa tea and a hardboiled egg before heading out the door.

This was a 6 month follow up on one breast, and after getting the images done, I was called back to get another set. Sigh. While the 2nd set proved to be ok,  I now need a full mammogram in 6 months which is one year since the last full one. I had vowed to stop these after I turned 70 but ...

Since I was actually all done by 9:30 I decided to get some errands done.  Went to Target but realized in the parking lot, I really didn't need anything there. Headed to the $ store mainly for a ceiling fan pull chain. No luck on that item but got a few other things. You know you always do....Then I went to pick up a menu from the new Italian sandwich shop nearby. Bad sign - as soon as I walked in the door I could smell, not a good smell, a stink. I got the menu, realized there was nothing I'd  wanted on it  and chalked it up 'one more fast food place I won't eat in'. 

Finally headed over to Home Goods for a tray for the sugars we have beside our Nespresso machine. I got two and some Halloween cookie cutters and hated to give up my 'right in front' parking space. I don't know that I'll find one of those again for a looong time. The short walk to the store was a blessing for the aching knee.

Across the parking lot to Trader Jo's where they had BIG pumpkins for ...get this...$3.99! I almost needed help getting it out of the bin! Got a bunch of goodies in TJ's, but then isn't all their food goodies?

Finally home, and exhausted. Once again, dh could not figure out which bags to get out of the trunk. Two permanent bags are grocery bags holding other grocery bags, nothing else. The other bags had store names on them and had things inside. I hollered back to him "the bag that has things in it!!!" 13 years of marriage and I still have to point out which bags should be brought in.

I really needed the chiropractor appointment which helped my many aching bones.  He said a lot of people were feeling the change of seasons and the barometric pressure yesterday.  Going home, I was really looking forward to the afternoon espresso but... dh had a friend over who had a myriad of issues and was freaking over a back surgery scheduled for Thursday. So, no espresso, and eventually they both went out to get some things done pre surgery and have dinner.  When dh came home, I asked if he had brought me anything? nope. Fortunately, I'd bought a can of ravioli in the $store.

It really was one of those days. Nothing horrendous for sure, but a lot of little things. Things that I once described as 'fleas'.  Just jumpy little pests. And yes, that plain old canned ravioli tasted darn good!

Today has promised to be a much better day! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

AAM Monday: Project Life Week 33 & 34

Week 33 was an easy going week. I hope to have more of those! It was also a week of mild and dry weather that we don't often get in a Maryland summer.

I'm really enjoying doing the 2nd page as a non-quite PL page. It might be a feeling that seemed to permeate the week or just an event that seemed worthy of a page on its own.

Week 34 seemed to start the roll of doctors' appointments for both me and my son who fell off a ladder. Mine were just the eye doctor while his was the emergency room.

My husband and granddaughter came home from their Alaska fishing trip. Both had a great time and the fish followed shortly afterwards.

While we had planned to go out to dinner with son and family and hear all the memories of the trip that was not to be after the serious accident he had. But Dick and I did have a great TexMex meal in Del Ray VA.  Oh that Tres Leches....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five on Friday: September 26, 2014

Last weekend saw us down south for a quick trip to see a grandson at USC Columbia and then spend a few days at Myrtle Beach, hear a Marriott presentation and collect 100K reward points for our time. Getting mucho reward points makes me happy as my time is something I'm willing to spend these days.

1.  My dh apparently caught a problem knee from me.  We now look like two gimpy geezers.  At least these two geezers are still above ground.

2. The time has definitely come to switch the house decorations. Pumpkins rule.

Yes, that is the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. I've since made myself a few more at home with just Pumpkin Pie Spice in my coffee grounds. Works for me.

3.  I've had my fill of the evangelical signs that are on almost every lawn in parts of SC.  It brought back memories of a woman I worked with back in my 20s. A co-worker always raved about how wonderful her husband was. Daily. The older woman said that when you had to gush so much about how good something was it seemed like what you were really trying to do was convince yourself. Amen.

4. What I also had my share of, well probably more than my share of, was shrimp and grits. The best ones were at Mr. Fish in Myrtle Beach. An appetizer portion that was two servings for me.

5.  Sadly, it appears that the wonderful cool and dry weather we had for our days away has put an end to my herbs. Nearly.  One of my basil plants didn't get the word though and is sending out flowers and new leaves.  That's optimism! That is also the wind blowing that fragile bit of hope as we finally got rain.

I hope you have a great weekend ahead. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Limp can get themselves to a Middle Eastern festival at a nearby Church.  Good food can certainly save this soul way more than lawn signs.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TBT - A WWII Story of 2 and 3 Brothers

My father was the 4th, I believe, of 5 children - my Uncle Jimmy, my Aunt Kathleen, my Uncle Eddie, my father Maurice and my Uncle Tommy. I don't know if there were other children that may have died as infants but considering the times, I suspect there could have been.

Here my father is on the right and my Uncle Tommy on the left. I suspect they may have been in high school as neither of them went to college. My father was 6'4 and my uncle was a good bit shorter so it looks as if Daddy hadn't finished growing.

When WWII came around, three of the brothers entered the Army. My Uncle Eddie never served and I'm not sure why but I suspect it was that he already had a child. In this article it says my Uncle Jimmy enlisted on June 6, 1942. That was my parents wedding day.  My father enlisted later that summer.

Later, my Uncle Tommy and my father met up on Germany. Growing up I never saw an article about that meeting. My Uncle Jimmy was always his parents' favorite and was the only one to go to college. Maybe no one sent the story to the local paper.  Who knows what really went on so many years ago when all the parties are now dead.

My father, on the right, wrote on the back of this image "Rear Echelon" Boyle and his brother "Combat Boyle". I doubt that any of the three brothers had an easy time and none of them ever wanted to talk about their war experience but I know my father certainly saw combat. Sadly, history lost here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Tutorial: Using Lightroom Templates for Scrapping

This is another post on using a tutorial that is already out there for something I wanted to do. WendyZine makes the best actions and other helpers for those of us who scrap digitally. I have heard many times about using templates in Lightroom, watched videos, but it is Wendy who is a digitally scrapper who 'gets' what we want to do in LR.  Here is her Lightroom Tutorial on making and using templates IN Lightroom.

Right off, I'll say that at this moment I don't want to reinvent Wendy's wheel, and so I am using her template. I have a few others that I bought also but still haven't used. You know how that is....

With the sample given, I made this collage from some of my granddaughter's photos from the recent Alaska fishing trip.

Mistake #1 I used a video from the bought set rather than try to read the instructions given.  I then tried to add the overlay. No luck. Went back and listened to the tutorial again. <-- No I still didn't read the written instructions.  Sigh.

While the free Template Says Overlay, I don't see it working quite the same way. If I put it on top of the image file it covered up the photos. If I put it below, and changed the print to a layer, not background, you didn't see it because there is a white fill in the spaces outside the photos. I could not get rid of that. So...

I tried one of the bought templates. I have to confess I have not worked in Print module much at all. I am no way 'fluent' in its use. One thing I tend to do is mess with a template. Not a good idea here.

My print image looks good enough but that group photo on the bottom right was supposed to be in a square cell. I decided to enlarge that cell so the group would be larger. Mistake #2.

When I added the overlay, I realized the shadow overlay was set to squares. I also saw that I must have moved the cells a bit as they did not line up with the shadows. I have to remember to only use the move tool with the cmd button rather than just click on the photo which moves the whole cell. Mistakes #3,4 etc

You can see the cell misalignment in both of these last two images but of course there is also I shadow running through the middle of that group shot.

The concept is good but the user definitely needs more practice! and the user needs to pay attention to the specific instructions given.  I'll be back when I finally get it right! You should try it because seriously, Wendy' instructions are very clear. I apparently have difficulty following instructions.

 eta: I had to take my time and pay attention but now I get it!

With a background paper added in LR and the text and not so strong shadows added in PSE with the overlay. I think with the black stroke from LR it's hard to see the shadows but it's done. I could have added more stuff but I just wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing. What I obviously didn't know how to do was spell.  All of this was corrected and now what I need to do is practice, practice, practice. btw, I didn't do much of editing in the LR develop module but I will from now on. First things first.

Monday, September 22, 2014

5 Autumn or Halloween Ideas That I Could Make

Fall is coming! September 23 is almost here and that is the day. In anticipation here are some ideas that I've enjoyed and hope you will too. Now I'm not saying I'm going to make any of these but I might. I definitely could. But you know I'm really thinking about it ...

1. Fall Banners -  click HERE for link

2. Cutie Pie Mask - click HERE for link

3.  Skeleton Feet - Click HERE for link

4. Edible Mummies - click HERE for link  (and 60+ more healthy Halloween snacks)

5.  Fall lights - click HERE for link

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five on Friday: September 19, 2014

1. One of the sweetest ads I saw on a recent Etsy email was for crocheted hats/scarves etc for little ones. I thought the shop was named The Velveta Corn.  Velveta??? that fake cheese? You try and see what you see - thevelvetacorn.  Well I was reading the letters incorrectly. It is The Velvet Acorn.  For that silly mistake of mine, I'll link her shop up HERE. Go have a look and tell me if those things aren't just precious.

2. Speaking of crocheting, I am volunteering for a group that makes quilts and afghans for a local shelter. This women & children's shelter is one that I've known about for years, but never visited. I don't think I  have the ability to do more than cut the material for the quilts, but I am willing to learn how to crochet.

I hate to say it but seeing the afghans that the group has crocheted made me want to run out the door screaming. They are soooo not to my taste and remind me of the worst items seen at craft shows.  (Yes, this is a judgment and those residents of the shelter are often happy just to have something new and just their own.) I hope I can stick my ground and only make baby/toddler afghans in white and yellow or white and green or something "I" like.  If I'm not enjoying it, I know I won't finish. I want simple clean colors. I am amazed at how some yarn still in the skeins can look so cheap. I guess it's cheap dye, cheap looking yarn.

This might be my first project. I'll even consider 'poy-pul' since that is the color of the Baltimore Ravens and the shelter is in Ravens territory.

3. My tomatoes are done! well, they have been done for a bit, but I wanted to let you know that they didn't get canned, they all got frozen. Washed, blanched, skinned, and mushed up. Believe me, with my two boxes of tomatoes, that was enough. The last bit of room in the one chest freezer not filled with his Alaska fish now has vintage 2014 tomatoes. I hope to enjoy them in January!

4. I've not been one to add QR codes to my scrapping pages, but if you like doing that then these templates look ideal for you.

5. It's getting to be time to start making dinners for my dh and 'the guys'.  I think this is going to be one of the dishes. I plan to test it on himself to see if the heat is up to his taste. Click on the image to see the recipe.

Maybe you'll feel like trying this out and reporting back to me on what you thought. In any case, have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

TBT Back in the 80s

Ok, we now know that the look of the 80s was not the greatest. But back in the day we thought we were pretty good looking for two women in their 40s off to a Cher concert.

MaryEllen rocked the hair and the PURPLE  satin while I had the flowered pants and blazer with pushed up sleeves. I had forgotten that bit about always getting our sleeves pushed up. Weird. Check out my shoulder pads too!

However we looked, we had a great time. Of course once we got to the Cap Center for the concert, it was clear that both of us were dressed pretty conservatively. But hey! we were Moms out for a night!

eta: I checked dates and while we still looked "80s", Cher's Heart of Stone tour played the Capital Center on May 2, 1990.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travel With Them Tuesday: Off to Alaska

This is a trip that I did not go on but rather my dh took my granddaughter to Alaska. Getting to Alaska from the east coast of the US takes more to-ing and fro-ing than I'm up to.  This trip is best left to those who want to see Alaska and/or are interested in fishing for halibut. I've done the former and have no interest in the latter.

This was the 2nd trip my husband made with a grandchild. I'm not sure who enjoys it more! I was also testing out my ability to use a Lightroom Print Template. I finally got it but until I have both my digi supplies and my photos in the same catalog it doesn't save me much time.

I have a good bit to learn about using these templates.

Monday, September 15, 2014

AAM Monday: Project Life and All That Jazz

When August ends and September comes I know we're on the downward slope of the year. Yes, I know that really occurs in the summer but summer always feels like a suspended time to me. I try to keep that time free and easy, though it doesn't always work out that way.

Week 32 was still in the glory days of summer. My son and family went to the beach and I dogsat for them. The weather was delicious and not the horrible heat and humidity that August usually brings. Temperatures in the 80s are great; the 90s gets me feeling cranky.

It was a good week with enough scrapping, enough Netflix, enough fresh food from the Farmers' Market, and enough chocolate. Oh yes, and a new 3T EHD waiting for me at home. Woot Woot!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scrapping Blog Tour

This may be a first for me - a blog tour post. I have done a lot of weekly meme posts in the past and 'met' a lot of wonderful Australian crafters. However, what that did do was make me pretty sure I was going to be a strictly digital scrapper/artist. I never paper scrapped but I do like to play with the toys of the trade. Thus my studio is almost always a mess with things that I can't bear to get rid of. I suspect a kindergarten group could have a field day in here!

But tidy Esther asked me to join this blog tour and if you look at her neat workspace and layouts, you'll see what I still aspire to even if I know it's not going to happen.

1. What am I working on right now - Almost all of my scrapping is made up of Project Life style pages of our daily lives and layouts/books of our travels. For those PL pages, I've often made page one in PL style and page two as a layout with a short story.

I recently finished up a 2008 trip to Spain and Portugal and was fairly disciplined about that. I'd say it was a good month or so to get that done. It helped that I blogged daily about the trip while on it so I had words to go with the images.

On the horizon is scrapping a trip to Italy, mainly Turin, that we took in March of this year. If a trip is just about a week, I'll often put those pages in my Project Life binders which I think will happen with this one. Also on the back burner is a book from a River Cruise we took in 2012.  Other pages happen randomly but not terribly often.

2. How long does it take to create a project - A project? Well when you consider that I lived outside the US for twenty years, and have made 25+ major trips with my 2nd husband in the past thirteen years, I'd say it takes me a loooong time.  For a Project Life week, it's about half a day, once I start with laundry, cooking etc also in that time. While I could sit for hours, I try to get up from the computer a lot - and move.

3. What are my fave things I love to create with at the moment - I'm strictly an iPhone 4s photographer tho I have older images taken with a Nikon Coolpix, and other images taken back in the day with a 35mm. Those and slides are being scanned very slowly by me.

I have supplies from many stores and sources but the majority came from Designer Digitals and Oscraps.  It took me a while to learn to use Anna Aspnes products but I like to mix them with the items I have from Katie Pertiet. I will usually use a plain paper with a patterned one and the patterned one definitely takes 2nd place.

I'm not interested in trendy and it's easier for me to say what I don't use...flowers, wood items, anything 'cute', alphas... I love masks, blendables, transfers and word art to name some things. I learned scrapping with Ali Edwards' templates and I still use templates, but I mainly I now buy ones from Katie or Anna for a good selection of interesting elements that I might not buy in quantity.

Of course, I couldn't do any of this without my beloved 27" iMac, my trinity of EHDs, and my software. I use PSE10 on the iMac and PSE11 on a ancient MacBookPro. Both of them also have Lightroom 5 in which I organize my photos AND my supplies. Lightroom has been a real godsend imho. I think I will be learning more about both of these Adobe products for the rest of my life.
 There's sooo much to each program!

4. How does my writing/creating process work - A lot of the work is done automatically by the auto import of  my iPhone images into iPhoto where they are sorted, automatically (thank you Cathy Zielske!) by week into Smart Albums, and later exported to Lightroom for culling and editing. The edited images go back into folders that I have set up ready for scrapping. Having this basic system of folders set up helps a great deal and I usually add folders in iPhoto and on my computer quarterly so I have them ready to use. Yes, I really like organization in place so when I'm ready to make something I can play with the pretty stuff.

If it's a trip, I'll look over all the images and get an idea of how I want the look, often with a color scheme in mind.  Some time ago, I took Anna Aspnes Album Magic class and it really helped me in getting a visual idea of what I wanted as an end product. A lot of that info can be found in this post of Anna's. Making pages that reflect what I felt and experienced on a trip is what I like to show. I use a lot of photos and if the page then doesn't have enough space for what I want to say I'll make a long journaler as an insert. I've also made some of my own with a mask image on top and journaling below.

That way I can have the best of both worlds. Words are not usually a problem for me; my old journalism training comes back so my journaling will probably be more factual than emotional and I accept that.

5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired  - Since most of my pages are from trips, I know I'll be busy for a lot of years! However, I have to feel like doing it so some trips sit for a while til I get in the right mood for them.  If I don't feel inspired, I stick to my Project Life pages which keeps me busy and still involved. I also get inspiration from learning new techniques. I love software!

6. What is my signature style - I often think this is better answered by others rather than me. What I can say is I have no desire to make pages heavy with product. You may never see a flower on a page of mine and I rarely use alphas. But do I keep them from products I buy? of course!! Things I like on a page are images; I rarely make a one photo page. I used to think I liked clean and simple the most but I realized that I'm not primarily a photographer. For me,  photos are best used with some product around them but not a lot. You can see all my layouts in including albums in my gallery.

Finally, I'll tag a woman who's wending her way across The Pond right now in a big international move. I know she won't have time for a while but she is a wonderful artist in many mediums.  Catherine, Photocat....it's all yours now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

TBT: The Original Cat Eye Frames 1973

It's funny how if you live long enough, the things you saw in your youth come back round again. I've seen a lot of cat eye eyeglass frames these days and most of them are pretty good looking. It's a frame that suits many face shapes. However, I'm glad to see that today's version does not usually include the glitter that was on so many of the earlier versions.

Here is a photo of my dh's mother and her group of AARP members. I don't know what their award was for but I doubt it was for having twins in the group!

Edythe is in the back row, 2nd from left, next to the twins who are the only women whose glass frames are not cat eyes. Can you imagine still dressing like your twin in your 60s? It was a different world or do aging twins still do that? I have no idea.

If all this glitz has you wanting frames with bling, here's a set that can be your entry drug. Not quite up to the originals but a good start.

I also notice in this enlargement that this woman is most likely wearing a wig. These were also quite popular and I recall my mother and grandmother both had wigs as their hair was very fine and thin. The wigs were inexpensive and made of material that kept its shape but had an unusual feel. This is another fad/fashion I'd forgotten about. Again, do women still wear this kind of wig?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Tutorial : Word Art Stickers

I have bookmarked and saved many a tutorial that I've not tried out, so I thought this might be the time to have a go at some and share my experiences. What I often do is email the link to myself but as I try to keep my inbox down to >15 items this became a not-so-good-idea.

Something I thought I knew how to do, but obviously forgot, was how to make sticker art from fonts. I saw this tutorial on the Daily Digi for making Alphas from a font. While I could have made alphas, I rarely use them letter by letter, so I went with what I hoped to make, a word art sticker.  Finally, I tested that tutorial.

Last week, I had wanted to add a sticker to my recent  birthday lunch photos but as I say, I forgot how to do it. Here are the final results from my work with the above tutorial, with things I need to emphasize for my own benefit.  The color blue is just because I felt like it and the gray is because white wouldn't show up so well here. Both can be changed in the final use.
The font is CK Ali's Handwriting. I followed the instructions as given but put the new layer - the gray - UNDER the original writing. I believe that's what the original poster meant also. I linked the layers and kept the .psd file for my own reference. Then I edited that .psd file. I could have saved it as a merged .png at the time but I wanted to be sure I remembered what I'd done the next day! LOL Sometimes I think I'll remember but I don't. Oh well...

Once I merged the layers, I changed the gray to white and the blue to a red by using the Magic Wand to select each color I wanted changed in turn. When you do this, and get your marching ants, go to Edit, Fill Selection, and with the color you want, make sure to Preserve Transparency when you fill.

Here is my phrase, recolored and with a deep shadow.

I added that heavy drop shadow just so you could see the white outline of the red.  Always be sure and save your word art as a .png so you can keep that transparent background. If you save it as a .jpg, you'll get a white background which is not good for word art to use on top of an image.

If Barbie is having a birthday, then you might want this color. (I never would but...)  Feel free to copy this if you like.

So...did it turn out the way I wanted? Yes, it did. Just not in time for last week's post. But I hope I can now remember. If not I have this post to remind me!

Monday, September 8, 2014

AAM Monday: Back to My Project Life

July and August were more or less an intentionally slow, easy months. I had no desire to feel as if I had a Summer Bucket List with Things To DO. Project Life was sorting itself out in its own way with my photos going to iPhoto automatically, and sorting themselves into Weekly Folders, also automatically. My iCal kept the places I went and Day One kept track of my basic notes. I did have to kind of make sure I said something each day, though not as much as in other months. That's just how it is and it's fine.

So let's play a little catch up as I  did making a page a day for a couple of days. If I didn't have enough most of the time for two pages spreads in typical PL format, I made a 2nd page in various ways. That way my pages 'balance' in the album. That IS one thing I'm pretty much a stickler about.

The back ground paper is an old one but every once in a while it just calls to me to use it again. I love that about digital. It's use and use again, and if I 'wore' my jpegs out, I can always make another copy of the file from my saved zip file.  The paper is from KPertiet_Graphic Garden kit.

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