Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tears and Sadness at our home

We lost our younger dog yesterday. His name was Bo and he was killed on the highway after jumping the fence around our yard. It has put a cloud on our entire household, and we shed many tears yesterday. J is taking it very hard.
For those of you who have followed this blog, you know we have been struggling to keep these dogs in our yard since the first or second week in September. We had done well the last couple of weeks, as yesterday was the first day they escaped in almost three weeks. We kind of thought we had the trouble licked. I guess not.
As you can imagine we blame ourselves for the fact that try as we might, we never were able to train him not to jump the fence. We just couldn't afford the expense of an invisible fence around our entire five acres of land. We really did try hard to get him trained using shock collar training, building up the areas of the fence where we suspected he was getting out, and never leaving him out if we were not home. But he was pretty strong willed - both dogs are/were really - and yesterday while I was in the house doing some office work both dogs escaped. I looked for them for almost four hours.
A very kind man called me to tell me he had seen the dog get hit, the driver drove on, but this nice man stopped, got him off the road and captured our other dog, Leo. He was so kind, giving me a big hug when I arrived. I was distraught and never did get his name, but he was very kind. Those dogs had gone miles from home - I never would have thought to look for them that far away.
For today we as a family are very sad and trying to move on and do the things that need to be done. It is hard. J went to school, and I think the focus of school activities will help him a bit.
I don't really have anything else to say today. Hopefully will be back tomorrow or Saturday feeling up to posting something more upbeat than this.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can you believe it is almost November? Less than a week until the election - that's all I'll say about that for now. I was supposed to have so many things done by now. I'm supposed to start studying for the bar exam soon. This is scary! We went wood cutting with limited success yesterday. Had some chain saw problems, so only got half a load of wood instead of the full load we were hoping. Will have to go back this weekend. Even though we've had snow a couple of times, we're experiencing "Indian Summer" around here. The sun is brilliant in the sky, and the days are up in the low 60's. Still chilly at night, reminding us of what is to come.
Another day of cleaning and organizing for me. If I'm good at it, I'll get a chance to craft this evening. Oh wait, that is unlikely as I need to grocery shop today, so suddenly the day is looking very crowded, and I imagine this evening I'll be editing photos - fortunately once I get into doing that I do enjoy it.
Here is another layout from this weekend. This is J on his 4th birthday wearing an outfit that Grandpa Gary sent him and being very excited about it. Used a variety of stuff, including a couple of items from my SC kit.
By the way, I'm excited about the November SC kit. Reveal night was the other night, and I liked what I saw - for budget reasons only got one add-on. Now comes the waiting for it to arrive. That is always the hardest part. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Using that Costume

Every year I make a Halloween costume for J. He loves it that way. We go in August to pick out the costume and the material needed to make it. Then I make it, and he wears it whenever possible. This year he wanted to be Luke Skywalker. We found the pattern and I made it about a week and a half ago. Already he's worn it to three events, and Halloween is still three days away. Last week we got some new neighbors behind us. This happens about every other year or so.
They certainly look so right in the setting. But since they came the dogs don't sleep through the night. The new noises wake them, they bark, they want out, then they want back in, and we don't get good sleep. Gradually they are settling down, and we are ready for full nights sleep again. I think next week there will be horses on the adjoining field - that is a yearly thing about the first of November. It is nice to have these animals around, and I am thankful we don't have them as neighbors in the summer when the are smelly and attract flies! Nothing profound to report today. I'll show you a couple more layouts I did over the weekend:
This one uses the Fancy Pants Christmas line, which I just love. It is from J's first Christmas, where he learned to pull up on furniture as soon as the Christmas tree went up. And you can tell below that he knew he wasn't supposed to be playing with the garland beads. But he was so cute with the most wonderful smile! And this one is from when he was about 8 months old, and would just sit in the same place and play for the longest time.
Neither of these are super wonderful as far as design principles go, but they sure are fun for me to see those photos scrapped and the stories told. Sometimes I have to remember that having the story is just as important and really, just as enjoyable as some knock out design I'm trying for.
Today I'm hoping for a walk in the woods, and cleaning the house, and a trip up the mountain to get another dead tree for fire wood. Busy, but not full of pressure day. Love that!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back From Retreat!

It was a long weekend of scrapbooking and enjoying friends. I'm ashamed to say I didn't get as much done as I hoped, but considering I taught two classes and ran out on Saturday to do an errand that could not be done any other time, I did okay - got seven projects completed and one significantly started. The teaching always takes more time than I expect, but I do enjoy it. This first page is a make and take from the retreat. I did it straight from the instructions - was a quick way to get something done. Photos are from a walk last winter.

Next I'll show a page I started a couple weeks ago, and had to put aside for awhile. Usually those get lost in the shuffle and by the time I find them again I'm not interested, but I'm proud to say I got this one done.

I'll show more pages over the next few days. I'm not just thilled and super excited about any of the pages I did this weekend, but I am excited about the fact that I scrapped some older photos that I've wanted to get to for a long time. It was a bit of a walk down memory lane to J's early years. That was fun. And, for the first time ever, I did some Christmas pages. I'm not usually very good at event pages, so it was good to get something accomplished from that perspective. This week I'm hoping to do some much needed organizing at home (filing to get ready for end of the year stuff, and hopefully moving our sleeping quarters to the nice warm basement). Then, if there is time left I'll be crafting. Need to get a few (like 120) Christmas cards made, but I've got my idea, and can do those with the family in the evenings. Have a handy little box of stuff that can easily be cleaned up each evening. My goal is to finish them by the end of the first week in November. Since I did a couple of Christmas pages at the retreat my mind is turned towards preparing for that holiday. I'm determined to get a quilt made for J - I started it three years ago. I'm also determined to be thrifty with our gift selection, so there will be a lot of hand made stuff. It's not like I don't have a craft room full of materials for unimplemented ideas. I'm excited to be motivate for this. We'll see how long the motivation lasts! Off for a day of errands, parent teach conferences and photo shopping photos from a shoot. Should be a good day! Hope you all have a great day too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photoshop Elements Learning Curve

I'm trying to get the finishing touches on editing pictures I took almost a month ago of three beautiful children.
Honestly, when I get wonderful complements from my blog readers about my photos I gain confidence in my photo taking. But when I go to prepare photos for my friends I realize how much I don't know, how much I need to learn, and I feel like I have not talent. This is why I do this for people for free!
Here is one photo I've been working on. I generally like the composition, although I see where it needs improvement. But that active 16 month old was hard to pin down, so this pose is one I'm willing to accept. But, the photo is dark and shadowy.
So, I tried to improve it.

But, I'm not sure I'm terribly happy with the editing. Certainly doesn't look as professional as I would like.

I'm a hack at this. I need lessons. Does anyone know of an on-line Photoshop Elements class? I've got a book that gives lots of information, but I learn better with assignments and feed back than just by reading the book.

I've been playing with frames a little too:

But I'm pretty unsure of what I'm doing.

Ah learning. Isn't it beautiful!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On the way to school today

I took this photo.
And the one now being used as a header for the blog - seasons have to change there too!
Actually, we had to go around the long way to get to school because there was a school bus accident on the road we usually take. Looked like nobody was injured, but the bus was perpendicular to the road, with the back tires in one ditch and the front tires in the opposite ditch. It was right at a very sharp turn. Based on the timing, I would say the bus was probably full of junior and senior highers when the accident happened. It must have been very frightening for those involved. J said a prayer for them, and then we turned around and went the long way to school for him.
I came home that same long way and tried to enjoy the views while driving very carefully on the wet and slippery roads.
Before school I shot a few of our barn with the dramatic dark sky.

It is amazing the beauty that we are surrounded with here!

So, yesterday was productive. Time for a repeat.

My scrapbooking room is almost all cleaned - need to vacuum and find a place for a few things. Then, I'm hoping to tackle J's toy room and weed out the old, broken, outgrown toys while he is at school and can't argue about every little tiny piece of garbage.

I'm also hoping to finish some little details on kitting for my classes this weekend and to get some photo editing done.

I'm off for another productive and busy day. Hope all of you are enjoying your day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Whirlwind Life

These days are flying by in a whirlwind. I'm ready for a little slow down. But I'm not going to get it I figure until maybe November 15th. And then it won't last long as the holiday season kicks up. Fall is always like that.
This weekend I worked at Keepsakes by Design both Friday and Saturday, and while I love working there, those weekends don't feel much like weekends. It was a little slow on Saturday afternoon there, so I put together this layout. It's another quick one, which is good for me, because I usually take so long to do layouts.

Off to face this week with a smile. There is lots to do. I've got a scrapbooking retreat Friday afternoon through Sunday, and that is very exciting. But between now and then I need to be busy taking care of the office, home, and making preparations. I'll be teaching two classes, and the kitting for both of them is almost done. That is progress! But there is oh so much more to do. If today can be productive, that will really help get me towards where I want to be.

Happy Monday everyone! Time to hit the ground running!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh my gosh! It was so fun!

I spent the better part of the day doing a senior photo shoot with a beautiful girl I'll call Al. And I've got way too many photos to go through, but here is a sneak peak of four I randomly selected and played with for a few minutes. Of course, as I told Andy, pretty much all I had to do was get the pics in focus and catch her when she wasn't blinking, because she is just so beautiful. But I am pleased with these considering it is the first time ever I took photos for someone that are really important and count for something. Prior to this it was always for my pleasure and education. This time the pressure was on because these are her real deal senior photo. And based on what I've seen so far, I think she'll be able to find something she likes. Ah, success!
There is a great deal of satisfaction for this girl tonight!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Goodbye for now. . . and other things.

Goodbye to the snow for now. By tomorrow's end it should be gone and crisp fall weather will have returned. Already much of the snow is gone in our yard. I like the snow, but I am happy for the opportunity to be without it just a little while longer.

Suddenly my boy says that Latin is his favorite subject in school. I can go with that. He's confident in it. I'm please with the fact that he's learning to use the proper endings to words, matching verb and adjective to the noun tense and gender. He doesn't realize that is what he's doing, but he does it all the same. He even commented yesterday that sometimes he even thinks in Latin. (Since they know very few words, most of which are geography oriented, I'm sure those are some very limited thoughts, but it is still very exciting for him.)

Yesterday was productive - I made three loaves of pumpkin bread, two loaves of table bread, a batch of apple sauce, and a huge pot of butternut squash soup. And I still had the kitchen clean before I went to bed. I also completed and folded and put away three loads of laundry. It felt good to get all that accomplished. But I forgot to pick up ibuprofen at the store. So, that goes pretty high priority on today's list.

Today I'm also hoping to begin kitting for a class I'll teach in ten days or so. There is also some prep work I'd like to do on a gift project for Christmas. But first, before either of those things, I need to clean the house. If I turn my attention to it, shouldn't take but half the morning or so. It's the turning my attention part that is so hard.

I'll leave you with one more photo from the editing I was doing yesterday while the breads were baking. This little girl is just so sweet!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I am blessed. As I was folding laundry this morning I realized how much we have. More than we need really.
Clothing - we've got more than enough. Time to stop wanting more of it. Much of it is old, but still functional, and with care, still attractive. J has more clothes than he can possible wear thanks to the generosity of hand-me-downs! Andy and I have plenty to keep us warm this winter, in part because we have cared for it, it part because it has been gifted to us from family members. We are covered!
Housing - ours is totally adequate, including extra rooms for guests and activities. Clean water, no leaks in the roof, shelter from the wind and cold. Time to stop feeling like it needs something more. We are considering abandoning the upstairs and moving our sleeping to the basement for the winter because it is warmer down there (the main source of heat for the house is down there). Our bedrooms are beautiful, with wonderful views out walls of windows, but that means they are also cold, and we want to avoid having to heat them. But what a blessing that we have energy saving options.
Transportation - we've got a very reliable new car and a pretty reliable truck. Gasoline is a precious commodity, even with the recent decrease in prices, and we need to be responsible in our use, but never once have we not been able to get it when we needed it.
Relationships - those are probably more important to the things listed above, and we've got those. We have first and foremost relationships with Jesus, bringing assurance that we are loved and cared for and have hope for the future. And through Him we have steady loving relationships with each other and members of our church family and our biological family. Because these relationships are with people they are not always perfect, but because we have relationship with Jesus, there is hope and healing. That is the beauty of life!
And we have so much more!
Times are tough and might be that way for awhile. I don't know the future. I have a tendency to want to know it. I'm learning to let tomorrow take care of itself and to realize that today is working out quite well, and for that I need to be thankful.
Have a great day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A little information

Today I posted six (6) posts of photos that are for a friend who I'm going to do her Senior Photo later this week. This was a great place to "dump" photos of different locations for her to see since I'm not set up with a gallery. For those of you who look, I'd love to get your input, keeping in mind that I'm taking a very beautiful girl, probably an old wooden chair, maybe a brightly colored quilt, and an open mind to snap some unique photos. What do you think? Any preferences? Any places you would never use? Also, we are expecting the snow to go away, a partly cloudy to cloudy day (probably pretty good lighting), we'll start in the morning and work our way through the day until we're tired. I'd love your feedback.


A.L. Senior Portrait stuff.
This would take some time to get to, but a stop in West Yellowstone might have some great picture opportunities, and then along the Madison and headed down to Biscuit Basin would give some cool shots.

Pony MT

A.L. Again.
Just have a couple from here, but it is a super cool place!

Headwaters State Park

More for A.L. - isn't she so lucky! I'm so excited to do her senior photo. These are all from Headwaters. My family is posing, but you will be much more beautiful!

Train Depot

Again, for A.L.' Senior Photo shoot
I really like the green doors at the Depot. And this location looks great in black and white too. The train car gives us a bright back ground that is not that easy to find - kind of a unique color. And the green wood is also not all that common either. So, this has lots of potential.

The Stock Yards

More sample photos for A.L.
I know it sounds less than romantic, but all the fences will make really cool rugged backgrounds. You being as beautiful as you are, it would be so cool to have photos of you here. The contrast of your look against these backgrounds would be great - and I love the red building (cafe) as a back ground for both color and black and white photos.