Friday, August 29, 2008

A wedding, a bird, a layout and a sneak!

As we go into this three day weekend I have so many things to share! First and foremost, look what my littlest sister did on Wednesday in Hawaii:
It was a pre-announced elopement of sorts. They had a wedding planned a year ago, and post-poned indefinitely for some good reasons unrelated to their desire to get married. So, she had the dress already. They managed to arrange a trip to Hawaii almost for free, so then they put two and two together and decided to just do it. It makes sense. I was sad to miss it, but not sad they were doing it. I cried when I got these pictures because she is so beautiful! She's 17 years younger than me, looks a lot like me - but she has blue eyes instead of my green - and is so special to me. She lives 1600 miles away, but still, I think we are pretty close.
But, the exciting thing is that someday she is going to come and visit me and bring that dress and let me do a photo shoot of her! Can you imagine how wonderful that dress will be in my rugged yard? Oh man, I can't wait!
Speaking of my yard, it is full of birds these days. This photo was taken through the front door window, which I realize could use some cleaning. They appear to be juveniles, with all those fluffy feathers on the belly. And their were hundreds of them - no exaggeration!

I finished a layout (finally) yesterday. Here it is:

I will be teaching a class with this one in November. It is a copy of my own design from earlier in the year that I posted here before, but is worth a repeat so you can see:

I had made the original just to show off the Christine Adolph line of paper - and it worked, we sold out of that paper at the store. But a lot of people wanted that layout for a class. Instead of re-ordering the paper, we decided it would be best to make a new one. Obviously, there are some differences - wider strip, different banner, different title configuration. But, the basics are there, so hopefully people will sign up for the class. Will be using a second page with it, using that same Graphic 45's Botanical like of paper (the page I posted a few days ago). And finally, a sneak peek at my contribution to Anne W.'s circle journal:

The theme is "What Inspires You?" and it was a bit of a challenge for me, because I don't know how to define the answer. but I gave it a shot!

Off for some water skiing and fun this weekend. Back Sunday or Monday with an update. Enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Books, Chores, Gardens and Lots of Photos!

We have connections with books. At least with some fantastic children's books. The SanSouci Brothers (Author Robert and Illustrator Daniel) are the brothers of Mike, a friend of ours. Both Robert and Daniel are highly honored and awarded in their respective fields. And Daniel has written a series of books about growing up in the East Bay, across from San Francisco as he expands from illustrating to writing as well. The books are based on true events in their boyhood, and they are funny and very enjoyable! The two books above came to us yesterday as gifts, signed to us by the author and illustrator! If you don't have these books, get them! Amazing. Actually, the first book, "As Luck Would Have It" is not available in stores yet, but will be by Christmas so look for it at better book stores! As mentioned in my last post, this is a day of chores. First on my agenda was to fix the gate. The latch gets askew and then the gate doesn't close without great effort. And yesterday that resulted in the dog getting out, J panicking, and a delay as we were setting out on an adventure. So, I went out and fixed it. And this is the simple implement used: Nothing too fancy for me. Then, I tackled the hall closet, where shoes have been flung all summer. Now it looks like this: And all the extras are in the garage on the "mud room" shelves (built by my brother a couple years ago, and a huge help to keeping things organized!) I also took the time to go through the plastic containers of gloves and hats and sorting and discarding and getting organized, because in about a month we'll be needing these things in the mornings! I also spotted a loose hinge, and on a whim, fixed it too! Feeling kind of proud of myself, can't you tell! Today is cool. 55 degrees at 2 p.m. cool: Makes it seem like fall is upon us already. The apples are getting ripe! The fields are becoming golden:
And even some of the shrubs are showing color in a few places. But, the garden is in it's glory (except for all the weeds I've allowed to invade):
Have a great rest of the day!

An Award

Very sweet Rita, whose blog I met through Studio Calico, and who has awesome layouts and wonderful commentary on the simple things in life left me this:
Here are the rules that come with receiving this award:
1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the girls you nominated.
So here are the blogs I've chosen:
Kristii who always has the most amazing layouts, plus I know her in person and love her and it is fun to see what her grown and almost all grown children are accomplishing! Usually lots!
Elizabeth and again Elizabeth who counts as two because she maintains probably a bazillion blogs, but I visit these two daily. The first is her family blog, and it always has amazing pictures and short little snippets of what her wonderful little girl is up to - I know this family in real life too, and love them dearly. The second blog is her crafting blog, and although she hasn't had much time for that (see snippets about wonderful little girl to understand this), it is always so exciting when there is an update. Creative in every way!
Stephanie is another wonderful woman I know in person, but unfortunately do not get to see very often. She is funny, witty, wise and talented, and all of that shows on her blog!
Denine I do not know in person, but her blog shows a bubbly wonderfully upbeat and very talented person that I would love to meet someday. And I drool over her layouts!
Stacey is another I don't know in person, and I rarely comment because, well, I get shy. She has great layouts and cards. Her blog is just straight forward and good. What more can I say?
Lorrie has a blog I visit through two peas, and let me tell you, she is funny, real, a Christian and it shows, and she takes photos like no body's business! I learn from just looking at her photos! And usually I laugh out loud at her commentary.
There are so many other blogs out there that I love. Many of them have already received this award - I tried to link to folks I don't think have received this honor yet, but should. If I repeated with those who have already received this award the list would be so long you would be asleep.
Hoping to be back later with some photos from around the house today - got some chores to do, and some are a little on the unusual side, so thought I'd share them with you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One week from today

my J will go back to school. While there are certainly good things about this, I will miss him so much! This is his fourth year in school, and I still can't adjust to having an outside force dictate our schedule and our responsibilities! If it weren't for the fact that he wouldn't learn anything from me, I'd consider home schooling. But I know he wouldn't learn anything from me, since I've experienced that as we try to do math refreshers and reading during the summer just to keep his skills up to par.
He is excited to go back and be with his friends. He is excited because his teacher has a pet rat in the classroom - he love all animals. He is excited because yesterday we bought all his back to school supplies (talk about expensive!).
I am fearful because while he is good at math, he is slow at it. Meaning, he gets the answers right, but he does not complete the quizzes in the time allotted. The result is he feels yucky about it, but he still knows his math. We have flash cards. We did flash cards through out the summer. We will continue to do flash cards through the school year. But, as I said before, he is a mosier, and things that are dependent on speed are not things where he excels. We are assured that knowing the math is more important than being fast, but it still hurts that he feels bad about not being fast.
So, we are trying to make the very most possible of this last week before school starts. Yesterday he got to play with his cousin all day. Today we are going back up to Cottonwood Canyon to play in the creek - with three boys from a family at church. I'd like to get him down to have a morning with his grandparents tomorrow or Thursday, as they arrive back in the area tonight, and I think he would love some time with them! And I would love to do a photo shoot with them and him together (not sure that was the proper grammar for expressing that, but oh well!) And on Friday we leave for Flathead Lake for two days with our friends from Church and some ski boats and tons of fun. Then we'll have Monday to regroup and be ready for school.
Ugh! I'm tired already!
I want to thank you all for your encouraging comments yesterday. I really do appreciate them. I picked up some great tips. I have a book on PSE, and am slogging my way through it. I am learning. It is just that sometimes I feel like I want to already know, not be learning. I'm impatient like that, and always have been. But again, thank you for your encouragement!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My "Hackness" is showing!

I'm struggling with photography! I think my standards have gone up, but the quality of my picture taking has not.
And, I'm struggling with PSE because really I know nothing about it, I've always just played around in it, so I don't even know if I can fix some of the things I want to fix. And I'm afraid there are things wrong with my photos that I don't even know about.
And, my printer is not calibrated to my screen, and I can't really see myself affording a calibration system any time soon, so I will continue to be frustrated by this, although the differences between the two are often small, sometimes they are disappointingly significant.
I'm loving it when I get pictures like these:
I note, these are all individual photos, or small groups. And the last one is not perfectly focused.
As noted earlier on this blog, I did a photo shoot (for free, so I could practice) with a family of six last week. Really really struggling with getting good sharp focus in those pictures!

And with getting pictures where everyone has a nice expression, no wind-blown hair in their face, no bra straps showing, no hands in an awkward place. Ugh!

I think my biggest frustration about all of this is that because I am a self-taught hack, never having taken a class in photography or in PSE use, I don't know how to fix the things that are photographer error. I know there is nothing I can do about the whole blinking, eyes looking off in a different direction than every one else errors. Those just come from taking pictures of humans. But the need for sharper focus, the inability to lighten the shadows without destroying all the natural light color, all of that kind of stuff I need to learn how to fix, get right the first time, whatever.

That, dear blog readers, is this day's frustration. And right now it seems like a really big deal to me. Must be hormones!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Camping 101

We need a refresher course in camping, I think. Lesson Number One: With our new car we had to learn how to pack to fit everything in. It was a challenge, and I think we (I as the main packer) learned a few things. Like we need to take less stuff, especially if we ever expect to take anyone with us, which we may be doing when we go to Grand Teton in late September.
Lesson Number Two: You little brother will indeed laugh at you if your husband was the last one to pack the tent, didn't put the poles in with the rest, and you just grabbed the tent bag assuming it was all together. So, this was really two lessons in one: Don't let your husband pack the tent; and always check to make sure all the parts are there, because if you didn't do it yourself, you never know.
Lesson Number Three: Sleeping outside, without a tent is not as bad as you might thing, although the anxiety over it may ruin your evening. And, yes, it is a bit colder.
Lesson Number Four: I think we've mastered this one, but just as a refresher: it is always nice to be by a creek.
Lesson Number Five: Little girls are very cute when they camp, and some of them stay cleaner than little boys.
Lesson Number Six: Night crawlers can be used for general entertainment as well as fishing.
Lesson Number Seven:(And this is one of the most important) Know the attractions in the area. We didn't realize we were going camping by a natural hot springs, but when we found out, we wisely decided to go early in the morning, before breakfast. I know the natural instinct is to go in the evening, just before bed, but if you don't have a tent, the idea of 34 inches of hair being wet as you crawl into your sleeping bag is just not a good one - and yes, I have about 34 inches of hair, as does my sister-in-law, who was with us, so this is important! However, if you bundle up and hike to it in the morning nobody else will be there, and by the time you are all wet and ready to hike back for breakfast the sun will be further in the sky and warming you along the way. Worked out great!

Lesson Number Eight: Going into third grade boys who have already studied Montana history, have got the Lewis and Clark pose down pat - we saw a lot of this!

Lesson Number Nine: Going into Kindergarten girls are photogenic most of the time, so keep the camera close at hand!

Lesson Number Ten: The creek is not as warm as the hot springs. In fact, if you keep a body part in there longer than oh, say ten seconds, you will not be able to feel it anymore.

Lesson Number Eleven: Even in late summer there are beautiful blooms to be found.

Lesson Number Twelve: (And this is the last one) Stop along the road as you are heading home. You might see some wonderful things!

That is Camping 101 for you.