Welcome. This blog is my little home on the web. It's mostly about my favorite hobby, digital scrapbooking. You might also find some recipes, home decor projects, or parenting woes. But mostly digital scrapbooking.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Displaying My Own Photography

Every once in a while I take a photograph that I really love. Eventually I had enough of these "great" photos that I thought I should display them on my walls. I had a couple of large frames that were not being used, so I threw out the old prints in them, and designed some displays of my photos.

I used Photoshop to set up simple templates with several photo spots on large canvases (I believe they are 16x20 and 16x16 inches). I had them printed and slipped them into my frames. And here they are on my entry wall.

The frame on the left has several different nature photographs: mushrooms, a western fence lizard, a cuttle fish, and a hummingbird.

And here is a funny, or maybe not so funny, story about that. I was so pleased with my photo gallery and was anxious to show it off to the scientist. I think he was out of town when they arrived. Anyway, I cornered him in front of the pictures and said, "I love how my pictures turned out." He said he loved them too, and it was ironic that most of the pictures were actually taken by him. Oh, really?! Exactly one of the four pictures was taken by him - the mushrooms. The other three were all mine! Now, I guess I can kind of understand how he might think the cuttle fish picture was his because he took similar pictures of cuttle fish when we were at the aquarium. I could even understand how he might think the lizard picture was his because he often caught lizards with our son and he sometimes took pictures of them, although they were all out of focus. The scientist specifically said the hummingbird picture was his, which I cannot understand at all because I have never known him to take a single picture of a hummingbird. So that's the story: how a scientist who took 25% of the pictures quickly came to the conclusion that "most" of the pictures were his. Is that funny or disturbing?

The other collection of three photos was a series that I had been wanting to do for quite a while. It is three pictures of a weed that I remember fondly from my childhood. They start as little pink flowers. Each flower grows into a long, multi-segmented spear.

Then as the spears dry out, the segments separate into several seeds with long tails. The tails twist into a really tight spiral with very fine hairs sticking out. They stick to you when you walk through them. These were the least painful of stickers you could get stuck to your shoe laces when I was a kid (the painful part is removing them). I guess that is why I remember them so fondly: stickers that were easy to remove. Or maybe it is because that spiral is so cool.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shutterfly iPhone 5c Case

Here I am with another review of a Shutterfly iPhone case. This case was for me, and I have a iPhone 5c.  I started at the Custom iPhone Cases page.

From there, I selected my 5c phone model and Slim Case with Liner. For the scientist I went with the Slim Case only option, but I wanted more protection for my phone, and I also wanted to see for myself how it was different. With those choices, only a Glossy finish is available.

I chose the Gallery of Four iPhone Case.

You actually have several customization options for this case. It wasn't until I was customizing my 3rd phone case that I truly understood all the options available.

In the Options Tab you can change your Phone model and whether you want a liner or just the slim case. I believe that if you purchase the Case with Liner, you must use the liner. The case will not fit without the liner. Note: there is a text box available in addition to the photos. You can leave this blank if you don't want text. You will get a warning that you can ignore when the case is added to your cart.

In the Backgrounds Tab you can change the background color of the design. In this case, that means you can change the color of the lines between the photos. In the screen shot I changed the background to red.

In the Layouts Tab you can actually choose different numbers and orientations of photos.

I stayed with the 4 photo option and a white background color. Here are front and back views.

Here is a picture of the liner. It reminded me of silicone bake ware, but not as soft to the touch. As far as I can tell, Shutterfly only offers a dark liner. I would actually call it a very dark gray, not true black. I had to slip the liner on my phone first, and then add the slim case as a second step.

Here are the slim case, the liner, and the phone all side by side.

The side with the volume buttons and the opening for the camera. The volume buttons are covered by the liner, but there are little bumps for your fingers to feel.

The bottom with the power connector.

The top with the power button. Like the volume buttons, it is covered by the liner and has a raised edge for your finger to feel.

I was quite happy with my phone case. I have dropped it at least once on my kitchen tile floor, and there was no damage. I couldn't even see any mark.

When my son saw my phone case, he wanted one too. He selected the same design as me. When his arrived, I was a little disappointed that the picture of me at the top was kind of cut off - my face fell too high on contoured edge of the case. I thought I had place the photo carefully, so I investigated further.

With our two phones placed side by side, I saw that the design is shifted upwards on his phone, no doubt contributing to that top photo moving up into the bend of the case.

So then I went back into my Shutterfly Projects to compare to the preview images in their online ordering system.

It actually looks like the white lines in my phone were shifted DOWN compared to the preview image. Miller's white lines are closer to the preview, but the image seems enlarged or something, causing my face to be higher.

But overall the Preview image matches the end product fairly well. It is that top photo that seems most sensitive to the alignment issues, so I suggest using a photo there that has a bit more of a wide angle view and won't be hurt by vertical shift.

There was one more thing I wanted to say. I pre-read some of the reviews before I ordered the 5c case. One of the reviews complained that, although the phone case was beautiful, the Glossy finish was very slippery, causing the customer to drop her phone more often. I was intrigued by that review as it suggested the case was causing more harm than good. Here is my take on it: Yes, the Glossy case is somewhat slippery, but I don't think it is any more slippery than the plastic case of the 5c itself. For me it was a non issue because I was used to holding the phone, with its slippery surface, already. But for someone who is used to a phone or a case that has a more grippy surface, the Glossy might indeed feel very slippery.

Well, those are all the phone cases I plan to purchase for a while. I think they are really fun. Even sorting through your photos to pick your favorites is fun, although it can be hard to narrow it down.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Shutterfly iPhone 6 Case

For Father's Day, I got the scientist a case for his iPhone 6. For a long time he has insisted he didn't want a case for it. And at his work, I've seen lots of people using their iPhones without cases. But the case I saw on Shutterfly looked pretty slim, so I took a chance and customized one for him.

I chose for him the Collage Squares case. Here is the screen shot.

The options I chose were the Slim Case (no liner) and Matte finish.

Here are pictures of the scientist's phone. He had been using it for about 2 months when I took these pictures. The surface is smooth but not shiny at all.

The side with the volume buttons:

The other side with the power button:

The bottom with the power connection:

The top with no buttons:

If you want to order an iPhone case from Shutterfly, I suggest taking your time and clicking all the buttons. Different phone cases are available for some phone models but not others. If an option is not available it is grayed out on the screen. But that might lead you to believe the options are more limited than they really are.

For example, here is the same screen shot as above. It is the Collage Squares case, for iPhone 6, Slim Case, Matte. Notice that the iPhone 5c option is grayed out. That lead me to believe that this case design was not available for the 5c when I later ordered the case for my phone.

However, if I had just selected Glossy instead of Matte, look what happens. This design is available for the 5c, it just has to be Glossy. If I had known that, I probably would have picked this design instead of the one that I ultimately chose.

If you are customizing your own phone case, I suggest starting from the main Custom iPhone Cases page, and selecting your phone model. It will narrow down the choices for what covers are available for your phone.

So, how does the scientist like his phone case? He misses the slimmer feeling of the phone by itself, but he likes looking at the little pictures. He thinks the case does protect a little against bumps and scrapes, and the little lip on the edge probably protects the glass just a little. He was extremely happy I ordered him the Matte finish and not the Glossy.

I'll write again soon and share the case I got for my 5c. I chose a different case design WITH the liner, and the Glossy finish, so there is lots to compare. I will also speak to some of the customization options (like background color and different photo layouts) that some cases have. This Collage Squares case just did not have those customization options.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shutterfly Magnets

I feel like blogging again. Blogging is seasonal, I think, for a lot of bloggers. Sometimes you feel like doing it, and sometimes you don't. Something just popped into my head: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. I think it has something to do with candy bars. Anyway....

I've ordered quite a few little 8x8 inch photo books from Shutterfly. They are nice, and I've shared some of them here on my blog. I'm constantly getting Shutterfly coupons. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't.

One of the things I got a coupon for was a free magnet. I selected the Photo Gallery Set of 4 2x2 Magnet. Here is a screen shot of the page:

I was a little surprised when I got the magnets. I was expecting something hard and solid, like acrylic. I don't think the description makes it clear, and I didn't read any reviews when I ordered, but these are flat flexible magnets. Like the kind that a restaurant might give out with their phone number on it. They appear to be made of a printed paper that has been bonded to the magnet sheet.

They come on a single sheet with the images in the four corners. A cutting machine has stamped the cut lines around each individual image, and you have to tear them apart.

I found myself quite pleased with these little magnets, and when another coupon came my way, I ordered another set. So now I have eight little 2x2 inch magnets. I think I want to cover a large portion of my fridge in them.

They aren't the best print quality, but that is fine for me. They stick to the fridge very well, and I've found that in trying to reposition them, there are places where my fingernail caught on the printed paper layer of the magnet and started to peel it up.

On my first set, the cutting machine was misaligned at one corner, so that magnet has a funny cut in it.

Here is one more close up.

I enjoy looking at these magnets on my fridge. I plan to get more. The $14.99 price (+shipping) seems a little high to me, so I will probably continue to take advantage of coupons and maybe add some magnets on to other orders that I happen to be making.

One of the things I love about Shutterfly is that you can save coupon codes in your account. They are sorted by expiration date, and when you place an order, their cart will automatically apply the appropriate coupon. And I think you can usually combine a coupon if they also have a sale going on.

I have also ordered some custom iPhone cases from Shutterfly, so look for reviews for those in the coming weeks. Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE. I ordered some more magnets, and wanted to add a note here. The Photo Gallery Set of 4 2x2 Magnets gives you the option of adding a line of text on each magnet.

On all of the magnets I ordered, I simply left the text area blank because I didn't want any text. When I Previewed the magnets before ordering, they looked exactly as I wanted - no text, and the text box was invisible.

Once the Magnets were placed in the Cart, I received an error message because I had left the text boxes blank. I just hit "Ignore" and everything turned out fine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I have not seen snow for a few years, but my family members got a little bit last year. I grabbed some pictures from my sister-in-law off Facebook. Technically, this should have gone into my 2013 book, but I overlooked these pictures when I had that book printed. So they will go into the January section of my 2014 book. I know it's not ideal, but I can live with it because I love getting those big ol' Blurb books in my hands.

All About the Frame Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Winter Sparkleland by Scrap Orchard designers
StraightLine Stitched White No. 3 by Anna Aspnes

I'd like to give a little shout-out to Anna Aspnes and Vicki Stegall at Oscraps. I bought some stitches in Anna's advent sale the other day, and just as I was downloading I realized I bought stitches I already had. And the really ridiculous part was that I had my Anna Aspnes folder open when I went shopping, so I would make sure NOT to buy stitches I already had. Oops! I sent off an email to Anna, and within an hour Vicki Stegall had written back to me with a coupon for a replacement product. They even made sure I bought my new product with a coupon, instead of a direct link, so that I would have a valid record of the purchase, in case an issue comes up in the future. Thanks, Anna and Vicki!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Other Good Things

I'm sharing a scrapbook page that depicts fun at my brother's house in the country. The horses aren't his; they are my dad's and step mom's. But my brother does have goats, and chickens, and lots of land with a creek and wilderness and a tree fort. The kind of life I always pictured for myself, but life didn't turn out that way. I ended up with other good things.

I struggled with this layout for a while, but in the end I love how it turned out, and it's my new favorite page.

Cloudy with a Chance of Happiness by Amanda Yi and Cornelia Designs;  Life Quotes N. 5 by Sabrina's
Creations; A Story Captured Vol. 3 Templates by Anita Designs; Gold Foil Text Styles by Mommyish

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Rainbows are Mushrooms

We have had a nice bit of rain out here in northern California, and more is on the horizon. Aw, how I love the rain. The sound, the smell, the mushrooms. The only thing I don't really like about rain is having to drive in it. We went on a little nature walk, and I found LOTS of mushrooms.

Squirrels & Nuts by creashens; A Story Captured Vol. 9 by Anita Designs
flower from Autumn Days by Amanda Yi

Note: The scientist is only pretending to eat that mushroom. He is a smart scientist in that regard.

I think it is really fun to have a "thing" that you like to photograph. For me, right now, that thing is mushrooms. A couple years back, when my mushroom photography project was just starting, we went camping with family. My sister-in-law was spotting banana slugs left and right, and she took a few pictures of them. When we saw our family at Thanksgiving, they told us about another recent camping trip they took, and they took pictures of banana slugs again. She had said, "I'm like Tiff with the mushrooms!" It was definitely a fun thing for them - finding slugs and snapping pictures. Do you have a thing you like to photograph?

Thanks for stopping by!