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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So begins the list of I wants

Christmas is right around the corner and I am happy to say that all shopping for immediate family is complete.  Now, to round out the grocery shopping for Christmas cookies and to take a moment to think about what I want this year for Christmas.  I have narrowed it down to something fun and practical.  I like to think that I am both and therefore would appreciate not only a fabulously cute gift, but one that also serves a purpose.  So, in an effort to gather information and potentially glean some information, I give you this year's wants: 

A Stylish Camera Bag:

A super sturdy tripod:

A fantastically fantastic large format printer:
R1900 by Epson - now with a $200 mail in rebate!!!

Cute boots to keep my tootsies warm:

Vintage collage paper:

A shadow box to put the Curio paper in:

and just because I can...

A new Renaissance costume:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

shooting, shooting, shooting

Yay!  Creativity has struck and I have been at it for a few days now!  There's nothing like art flowing through your veins again.  There has been a warm kick in North Dakota and I think it has encouraged us all to get out of the house and enjoy the clear blue skies and bright sunshine. 

As you all know, I am in art school and have been taking photography courses.  This term I am taking an image management class that is all about how to keep your files organized.  In the past, I must say, I have not been the best at this.  I tend to label folders and hodge-podge the rest.  I am learning to use Photoshop Lightroom and the more I use it, the more I like it.  It's a little complicated at first - especially if you are used to programs like Picasa, but it can do some pretty amazing things.  For instance, did you know Lr lets you key word your images?  Yep, you can add as many keywords as you want and later if you are looking for all the pictures of one of your kids, you can find them in a snap.  Also, you can color code your images, add star ratings, flag, and even add them to a quick set.  In addition, you can make simple or more in depth adjustments to your photos all at once.  It's great!  Oh - and Lr 3 was just released and Adobe is letting people try it out for free!

Okay, so enough of selling you all on Lr.  Now to the art.  I selected four categories for this class that I thought would stretch me and make me think outside of the box.  Great idea right?  Yeah I thought so too, but now I'm not so sure.  I spent the last two days out and about in downtown Grand Forks shooting for:  color, texture, line, and architecture.  I thought that there would be a lot of crossover activity and that I would be able to use some images for more than one category.  Turns out I can, but I still have to submit at least 40 usable images.  Sheesh!  I found out that architecture is pretty difficult to shoot.  At first, I had leaning buildings, blown out skies, and uninteresting shots.  It took some work, but I think I might be on my way.  One thing that concerns me though is that there really aren't a whole lot of interesting buildings in GF.  I hope I didn't use up all the buildings in the first week's assignment!

My homework is turned in and now I await the critiques of my professor and peers.  In the meantime, check out my photos on my Flickr page and leave a comment!  Cheers!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I know, I know.  It's October and my last post was in August!  Whew!  There has been quite a lot of change going on in our lives and this post is a recap.

1. Kevin and I packed the house in GA into two storage units.
2. We parted ways at the end of August to make our way to New Mexico and North Dakota.
3. The kids and I moved in with my mom in ND for the duration of Kev's TDY.
4. Kev started flight school in NM.
5. Kristjan started Pre-K.
6. I started art school full time.
6.5 The van started kachunking.
6.5b The estimate is scary.
7. Kids started AWANA program at church.  Now I have my homework and theirs!
8. Jenn - my sis in law- had a baby boy (cute as can be!)
9. I realized that I lost my mind somewhere between GA and ND and am running in circles.
10. My new Holga camera arrived and I shot my very first roll of 120 film.  :)
11. I am impatiently awaiting the 15th of October when Kevin is going to surprise the kids with a visit.

Okay - so when I write it down, it's not that bad.  Well, aside from the transmission in the van.  I signed up for a card class to get the creative juices flowing again.  Also, having that Holga arrive in the mail today was a life saver.  It was seriously the first time I have felt really creative in over two months.  It seems as if life is getting in the way of my art and I'm not sure how to re-balance it all.  (As always, any suggestions are appreciated!)

This semester I have a shooting class, which will help with the creativity thing...I hope.  I have to turn in 40 usable images a week and bulk up my stock portfolio.  Life will not slow down, I guess I just have to speed up.

I need a mantra....

I think I can, I think I can, just isn't cutting it anymore!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

digi scrappin

I had a few spare moments while in Savannah and made three digital pages.  I hope you like them!

I used the Shabby Princess HopScotch line to piece together cute embellishments and a homemade family tag.

Riding Dumbo with Daddy
Kit:  Shabby Princess - Modish Girl (on sale this week for $5.21)
This page was a collaborative effort between Jenn (my sil) and I.  It started out with a demo of my new purchase and then 20 minutes later was a super girly page featuring just about every type embellishment available! 

 This layout was easy peasy!  It was a free template that I added a title and some journaling to.  It took less than ten minutes to put together!  Who says digi scrappin' has to be hard?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

when inspiration finds you

I just spent the last three and a half hours in the van with three screaming kids.  Why?  Well, it's our last summer vacation to the beach before the big move and I like to torture myself with Raffi songs.  Ha!  I have spent the afternoon unpacking us, making two very sleepy toddlers take naps, and surprisingly have enjoyed a little peace and quiet...alone!  I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

So - it being about 106 degrees outside, I decided to flip on the fan and just relax with a little surfing.  I visited one of my favorite sites - Shabby Princess and promptly downloaded their newest kits (yay for digi scrapping!) and then surfed on over to FB to update my status.  Important stuff you know.

One of my friends asked me to vote her kid the cutest on a photographer's page and of course I did and then was curious (we photographers often are) and found the most amazing girls that take pictures locally.  Two things happened - 1.  I called Kevin to ask him to check the calendar because we were finally going to have a family portrait made and we were all gonna be in it and 2.  I was inspired. 

With all the craziness of getting ready for school and trying to move across the country, my photography gear has collected some dust.  I don't like it anymore than you do, but by the time I have a moment to myself - I'm zonked.  I am itching to get out there and photograph everything.  Not just for school, but to really make a go of it and shoot full time.  It's not a lot to ask, but in a way it is.  I want to be a hired lens - have camera will travel- kind of thing.  I can do it - I will - it's just a matter of having the patience to ride out being a mother to toddlers...or maybe I could just hire a nanny...hmmm.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When I grow up

All you crafters out there know what is happening precisely right now - CHA Chicago!  It's big, it's bad, it's oh so good.  I don't know about you, but I really want to go.  I know that I don't have a shop or a website to sell retail (yet), but I want to be there with all the designers that are hocking their newest creations.  I want to feel the excitement of revealing new products and mingling with the best in the scrapping world.  I want to meet

and Tim Holtz,

and most of all - I want hang out with the very cool, very stylish Elsie Flannigan
I am inspired by all that creativity in one spot and am hoping one day to not only get a chance to attend CHA, but to maybe, just possibly, be one of those designers that is putting all her chips on the table and betting on her talent to sell.  One day.  With hard work and dedication right?  Right.

Monday, July 26, 2010

that box marked creativity

Do you ever have that feeling of everything turning upside down and you are still right side up?  I swear I'm stuck in Inception.  We just got orders to Tucson, Arizona.  I feel excited, unsure, crazy, absolute, relieved, and exhausted all at once, but mostly ecstatic.  I am also full of dread.  I know what lies ahead.  Those brown boxes are looming over me right now - waiting to be filled with all my treasures and stored in a lonely garage for months before our actual move date next year.  You see, we have a move before a move.  Yep - Kev goes off to gunner school in New Mexico and the kids and I make a trek across the Midwest to North Dakota until he is finished with school.  We are talking at least six months in between moves.

Amidst all this, I find myself caught with the obsessive attitude of just getting everything packed and cleaned, but have six more weeks of living in this house to accomplish first.  It's a catch 22.  In a fit of adrenaline I took all the photos off the living room walls only to find the echo of my own voice bouncing off those very walls was too haneous to bear!  Since that moment, I have tried to gain perspective, slow down a bit, and allow everyone to adjust to the idea of moving. 

Needless to say, the creative flair I want to prosper has been burried in the craftroom under a mountain of labeled boxes.  I have ideas bumping around in my brain and am inspired by what I see and the new toy I picked up at the Expo - a Pazzle's Inspiration!  (I know right?)  I suppose this will make for an intersting entry in my summer of love journal.  I have to promise myself a moment to be creative or I just might burst.  And who wants to clean up that kind of mess?  Not me - I already have enough to do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Drum Roll Please....

As many of you know, it is the time of year (in Atlanta at least), when scrapbookers extraordinaire get together to make fabulous projects, shop, learn, and try out new products at Scrapbook Expo!  This year will be different for me in that I am going solo.  Yes, my usual group has plans that range from having a baby to a vacation house on the beach.  All good reasons to skip out, but thankfully, there are no reasons for me!  I think this experience will be a great way to unwind and make new friends!

This year's agenda is as follows:

  • Noon - get all worked up about the Expo and try to calm down enough to pack a "small" bag for class!
  • 5:00 pm - de-stress with a lovely date with my beau - seeing Eclipse...again!  :)
  • 10:00 pm - pick up munchkins from sitter and wrestle them into bed.
  • 10:30 pm - repack scrap bag and fret over which type of bag should be brought and determine if I really need every color ink I have available.
  • 11:00 pm - reassure beau that I will not drain the checking account tomorrow on scrapbooking supplies - even if they are new and shiny!
  • 11:30 pm - jump into bed in anticipation of Saturday's fun!
  • Midnight - toss and turn because I am way too excited to sleep.
  • 1:00 am - finally nod off, but still alert enough to catch the 6:30 alarm
  • 6:30 am - hit the snooze button - ugh!
  • 6:38 am - what is that noise??? 
  • 6:46 am - just one more snooze I swear.
  • 6:54 am - OMG!  Get out of bed in a rush, shower, and run out the door for the drive to Atlanta.
  • 7:08 am - run back inside for scrapbook bag!
  • 8:40 am - arrive at Expo, register, find class and get organized - wishing for a Starbucks right now (should have gotten up at the first alarm).
  • 8:46 am - searching for nearest Coke machine and digging for change - must have caffeine!
  • 9:00 am - class begins!  Kioshi Triple Double - Basic Grey
  • 10:30 am - shop, shop, shop!
  • 11:25 am - scarfing down $8 hot dog and running to class
  • 11:30 am - Artist Trading Cards by Creatively Green - trying something new and a little outside of the box
  • 1:00 pm - half hour break to go potty and catch that make and take I was drooling over
  • 1:30 pm - Capella Triple Double class - love me some Basic Grey!
  • 3:00 pm - two glorious hours to shop and try out new products (bliss!)
  • 5:00 pm - begrudgingly leave the glory behind for a long drive back to reality.
  • 5:15 pm - jam out shamelessly to some classic rock.
  • 5:45 pm - stop for a Big Mac and fries.
  • 7:45 pm - show beau my treasures and listen to his account of his crazy day of wrangling three kids.
 Success!  Let's hope it all works out and that I actually get up on the first alarm so I can get a Grande Chai Cream Frappuccino.  Yummm!

p.s.  if you are there - look for me - I'll be the one with the perma-grin on my face dragging around the "too big" scrapbook bag!  :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

The family and I just got back from a two week vacation covering the Great Smoky Mountains, Charlotte, and Atlanta.  It was quite a whirlwind and now suddenly (it feels), I have to get back to reality.   Currently, the biggest issue for me is is having all this creativity that has been bottled up for two weeks and knowing that my poor house is in disarray.  There is a mountain of laundry to complete, floors to be vacuumed and scrubbed, and grocery shopping to do.  Ugh!  I don't wanna!  I just want to ignore it all and get scrappin

Oh - and I have to edit about a gazillion family reunion photos!  Sheesh!  Anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed?  I thought this was suppose to be summer break!

Thanks for listening to my fit.  Now - so you don't feel like I have been ignoring you, welcome to a snippet of our vacation photos!  Enjoy!

Celebrating Connor's first birthday - I can't believe he's already a year old.  (sigh)

The "Boys" in the hot mountain air - riding a kiddie train

Stella and cousin Julia Kate stopping for tea

Kev and I at the family reunion

First Annual Woodall Family Reunion - July 3, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Top 10: Night Photography

Photos at night can be tricky.  There is a lot of room for error and most night pictures don't turn out.  I am developing my skills in this area and thought I would pass on a few pointers that I have learned in Kara's class and a few I hammered out on my own:
  1. You must have a tripod.  A sturdy ledge can work, but a tripod will give you the best results.
  2. A shutter release or remote of some kind is handy.  You can also use your timer, but set it so that the camera is completely still before it starts to expose.
  3. Low ISO = less grainy pictures.
  4. Slooooooow shutter speed.  Gotta get as much light in as possible.
  5. Flip to manual focus.  There won't be much light and it's totally frustrating to stand in the dark cussing at your lens as it goes in and out trying to find something to focus on in the dark.
  6. Be patient.  I exposed most of my photos for at least 30 seconds and then it took my camera a minute or two to actually make the photo.  I drained a full battery in less than an hour.
  7. Speaking of batteries - bring an extra if you want to spend some real time shooting.
  8. Don't be afraid of what the pictures look like on your LCD.  They can be edited in Photoshop and most will have an overcast of yellow from any ambient light.
  9. Experiment - things that are beautiful in the day take on a whole new look at night.  Also - critters come out at night - this can be fun or a little spooky depending on your tolerance!
  10. Get low - on the ground low.  Perspective can make a totally boring shot seem interesting. 
Have fun and happy shooting!

A toad - he jumped during the exposure making a ghosty appear to the right of him.

My neighbor's tree took on a whole new look at night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When old becomes new

I have this lovely craft room chair that was given to me ages ago when Kev and I first got married.  We call it the Catholic chair because it has a little kneeling bench on the backside and folds up just like extra chairs at church do.  I love it and plan to never part with it.  However, it was in desperate need of a makeover and I thought I should approach recovering this special chair with gusto. 

As every mom knows, Hobby Lobby is amazing, but not so much when you have three kids in tow.  As I made my way to the fabric section with a stroller full of three kids (yes, three - most amazing stroller ever), the Hobby Lobby crash began.  You see, my kids have an expiration when it comes to time spent in stores.  The commissary has a 45 minute expiration before they start in with the whining and crying.  Hobby Lobby is about 15 minutes.  I don't know why it's so little at the best places ever, but it is what it is.

So - we are in the fabric section and the meltdowns begin.  I find the most fantastic fabric ever and get it cut only to find out that is was mismarked and the fabric lady is not going to budge on the price.  The kids are crying, I am sweating at this point (99 degrees outside and a balmy 80 indoors and I have been pushing three kids in a stroller), and the lady is just looking at me with pity filled eyes.  I grab the fabric, run to the checkouts, begrudgingly hand over my money, and make it out the door with minimal yelling, only to have my four year old announce, "Thank God we are leaving Hobby Lobby!"  No joke!  I laughed out loud.  What else could I do?

Later in the week I finally got a moment to recover my beloved chair.  It was fairly simple - mostly removing screws, stretching some fabric, and using the staple gun.  It still needs some more staples, but I am having a hard time finding the right sized staples for my gun.  Apparently, I have the "girl" version of a stapler and have to go to a teeny tiny hardware shop to order my staples.  Oy!

After all was said and done, I took my new chair to the front yard to photograph and had a very curious two year old interested in trying it out.  She gave it her approval and I couldn't be happier!

The new and improved Catholic chair

Stella Bella gives it her approval

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 front of the camera?

I have been taking this class by Kara Haupt and her prompts over the last couple of days have been inspirational to me.  It's not just about getting to know my camera and my inner artists, but for me, this class is about getting to know myself.  Not an easy thing to do.  For so long now, I have been a mom, a wife, an Air Force dependant.  Somewhere in all of this clutter, sits the girl I used to be - or the girl I am, I suppose.  I find myself defining who I am by the other people around me and what my day consists of (which is poopy diapers and laundry in case you were wondering), and I have lost me. 

My first task was to take a self portrait. Now, if any of you are the photogs behind the camera, you know that we don't do so well in front of the camera.  Yeah...that was a challenge.  Not only did I have to get over my insecurities of not looking like a magazine cover, I also had to figure out how to be photographed without making stupid faces that were my version of a thick candy coating.  I am who I am and I expect to figure it out, or at least begin, this summer.  We'll see.  In an effort to show you the silliness that ensued in my quest for a self portrait - I share with you these "epic" oopses.  I hope you enjoy them!

And the one I finally decided on as my "real" self portrait...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Dreaded Layout Drawer

I don't know about the rest of you, but I keep a layout drawer in my scrap room.  It is a drawer that holds ideas, unfinished pages, and layouts that I am just stuck on.  For today's torture, err, um, "challenge," I decided to tackle the layout drawer.  To my surprise, I found that I was creative along the way, but just needed a few finishing touches here and there as well as a new perspective. 

By no means have I found the bottom of the drawer (I know what's down there and I'm scared of it - more on that later), but I did finish up a few cute layouts in under an hour!  Woohoo!

I seriously added a sticker and the journaling. I have no idea what the hold up was with this page...

I remember stamping this and having it turn out all wrong.  I got out the markers and jazzed it up a bit.  This could have been the hold up.  One thing goes terribly wrong and sometimes it all just falls apart.

This one just needed a photo.  Sheesh!  I used StazOn Opaque Cotton White to get the title to be all ghosty.

Use scrap fabric and StazOn Ink to make cute, cheap embellishments!

I had cut out the wave and stuck it in the drawer, but didn't have anything else with sketches, no words, nothing.  So, I went with the flow and printed pictures from last weekend and with some buttons and polka dot paper, those two wonky waves turned into this two page layout!  It think it's my favorite.

I made a simple title with a white pen and some left over Thickers chipboard letters.

My favorite shot of the day.  

If you are stuck on a layout, just put it in the drawer and wait.  Let it simmer and in a week take it out again.  If it's still not ready, put it back.  If your drawer is overflowing like mine was, tackle it.  You just might find something that is completely different than what you put in.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time to Stretch

I just signed up for the coolest class!  Sometimes we need a little inspirational break and a chance to stretch ourselves...and this is it!  This ten day class is being taught by a very cool, very insightful 17 year-old named Kara Haupt.  It features journaling, photography, art, downloadable embellishments, and so much more!  Check out her blog and join me in the Summer of Love.  I can't wait!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Perfect Dress

I just picked up Fourth of July outfits for the kids at Target and was thinking about my own festive outfit.  Through some serious Googling, I found Unique Vintage and the dress that I just have to have.  I know - it's cute and froofy (yes, that's a word) and I have nowhere to wear such a beauty (sob) and even if I did, could not justify $140 for just one summer dress (double sob), but a girl can't help what she likes.  You know I would have to get those fabulous shoes too and would end up in the ER with a broken ankle because my heel got stuck in the grass!  Oy!

Alas, I will just pine after this dress and continue the search for the right outfit for dolling out sparklers and jello salad...

Friday, June 11, 2010


Sometimes art happens when you least expect it and with the most bizarre items.  I recently picked up the newest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, which happens to be my new favorite magazine, and fell in love with the cover art.  I decided I wanted one of my own and gathered up my box of scrap paper, an old sewing pattern, and some glue.  With a little direction from my four year old ("Put that there mom, no, RIGHT THERE,") I managed to create my very own recycled art! 

I began with a Huggies box - no joke!  I tore off the side and painted the brown side of the box, then began gluing down random pieces of left over scrapbook paper.  I took an old sewing pattern, tore it up and also glued it down.  (Hint:  look for the darts, telephones, and instructions on the pattern for a cool look.)  I used a little white paint over the top of everything to bring out the crinkles in the pattern. 

For the paper flowers I cut random stacking circles, drew on them with Sharpies, and stitched them together with floss and a button.  Then, I crinkled the edges to distress them, used a Sharpie to draw a stem, and stuck 'em down.  Once all the flowers were done, I punched three holes on the left and added ribbon, brads, and a butterfly embellished button.

It needed one more thing in the upper right corner to balance the ribbon, so I stamped the imagine stamp by Autumn Leaves with my Black Stazon Ink and colored it in with the new Blueberry Sharpie.

It is on the art wall in my house and I have to say for a recycled project using scraps and leftovers, I think it turned out pretty cute!  I wish you luck and hope this project inspires you to make something beautiful out of your junk!