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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I got cropped from the Cropped competition last week. The challenge was to use the four mystery items (stop sign, green word-art, stamp, dark ledger paper) in a layout that emphasized opposites or contrast. I love my layout, but I guess I went wrong in the contrast department. I attempted to show contrast in my pictures (small vs. large / color vs. black and white / pictures vs. negatives), but I guess that was too subtle. Live and learn!! I also had a fun play on words in the title work, with the words "positive" and "negative."

Cropped Round 3 Mystery Basket; Project: Live, Laugh, Love by Mommyish and Pink Reptile Designs
Torn Bits 5 by creashens; scallop clipping mask from Cropped Round 2 Freebie by Crystal Livesay
I originally did not intend to play along with Challenge 4, but as I went to bed on Sunday night after a long weekend with company, an idea popped into my head. The challenge was to use the mystery items (pie chart with labels, tag, paper with colorful rectangles, tape) and inspired by the theme "sea food." It didn't have to actually be sea food in the layout - the instructions offered an example of using lots of scallop shapes on a page (inspired by the food scallops).

Miller is really into sea creatures, so that was an obvious choice for me.  It was actually the pixelated design in the mystery basket paper that reminded me of a water color Miller made representing the color cells in a squid's skin. That was my inspiration for the layout, and I included a scan of his painting and an article about squid skin (from one of the scientist's journals). I also included journaling about sea creatures eating each other.

List Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Anchored Papers and Elements by Gennifer Bursett
Be, Summered and Lemon Squeezy by creashens; Cropped Round 4 Mystery Basket
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Favorite Layouts from September 2012

Here are two more favorites, as I try to catch up on a years worth of scrapping.

This is a cute quote from Miller. Isn't it the sweetest?
Decorative Stitches by Valorie Wibbens; Hey Mister by Karah Fredricks
Woodgrain Kraft 2 by Designs by Morjike; Robots and Aliens by Lynne-Marie

On evening last week I asked him to get ready to take a shower. He glared at me with his eyebrows down and menacingly replied, "Two outer spaces lost." Sometimes he's not so sweet.

And this next one is something that I've wanted to scrap for years, but the opportunity to get a picture only comes around once a year. I live in a small college town. September 1st is when all of the apartment leases turn over and the streets are filled with moving vans.
Recyclables 9 by Scrapping with Liz; Gettin Comfy and Dear Mom by Valorie Wibbens; Vintage Vogue Elements,
Art and Soul Freebie and Dark Room by Sahlin Studio; Blessings Ribbon by Gina Miller; Happygram
Elements by One Little Bird; The Silver Reed font by Heather Hess; Stitched White No. 5 by Anna Aspnes

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Patio A Year Later

I have lost my enthusiasm for gardening. I've grown weary of dealing with pests. Aphids have been my problem this year. I actually know a good strategy for dealing with aphids: ladybugs eat them voraciously.  But it's hard to catch a bunch of ladybugs, and I can't bring myself to pay money for them either.

I did get plants and seeds early in the spring (some seeds I even planted back in the fall), and I put in a decent effort, but most of the flowers I bought died (because of aphids).  And most of the wildflower seeds I planted never grew flowers.  Here is what the porch looks like right now.

There are little daisies (grown from seeds) in the hanging planters. I was really excited about those, thinking that they would grow easily. I guess they did, but they don't seem to take the heat too well. Plus the one on the right got aphids. I do have a nice basil there in the font and some parsley that you can't really see. Some oregano grew really nicely, but I've never used any of it.

Each year it seems that I find some kind of plant that does well for me.  Last year it was the petunias. This year it was the Alyssum.  That is the bushy little plant with lots of tiny white flowers. 

I had a six-pack of Alyssum starts and divided them up among three pots. They grew and filled, and even overflowed, the pots that I put them in. The scientist says that Alyssum comes in lots of colors, but my six-pack was all white. I'm actually thinking that next year I might plant some herbs that I want, and simply fill everything else up with Alyssum, even the hanging planters, in as many colors as I can find. They seem to do great on my shady porch, and the aphids don't seem to even bother with them.

I'm getting tired of watering everything by hand every day.

So I haven't really been doing much gardening this year, but I do spend time on my porch, and here is how I have spent most of my time out there:

I like taking pictures of bugs. Believe it or not, flies and bees actually hold still for you better than a six year old will. So they make perfect models for photography practice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cropped Competition

I am participating in the Cropped competition at Pixels & Company. I've made it successfully through the first two rounds and am nervously working away on my Round 3 entry. I haven't participated in a layout contest for a long time, and this has been a fun contest.

The first challenge was to use the 4 required items (rainbow, 2 overlays, and a word-art border) in a tilted design.
Cropped Mystery Basket 1; Be Kit, Bliss Kit and Build-a-Page 1 by creashens;
Cardstock Essentials 3 by Karla Dudley; Easy Livin' Stamps by Mye De Leon

The second challenge was to use the 4 required items (word-art, card, swirly mask, button) in a light and airy white-space design (75% white space).

The competition requires 100% Pixels and Company product, which means I cannot use Scrapping with Liz templates. The majority of my layouts are made with her templates, so I'm really out of my comfort zone here.

This second challenge was pretty hard. I'm not really into white space anymore. Mostly because I scrap from a different perspective than I did a few years back. Back then Miller was at home with me 24/7, so I was documenting a lot of "moments" style pages, which worked well with a more minimal design.  Today I have much more time to myself, and I mainly want to scrap about our family outings. I take a lot of pictures on these outings, and I want to scrap them all together on a single page or a double page spread. But it was still fun to try something old again.

On another note, I've updated the "Scrapbooking Resume" page that you can access from the tabs in my blog header.  It had been "coming soon" for a long time, but now it actually has some information.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Favorite Layouts from August 2012

Here are my two favorite layouts from August 2012.

More pictures of swimming lessons. Swimming lessons was probably my favorite thing to photograph last year.
Multiphoto Fun Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Summer Bucket List Collab
Spring Chase and Freebie 01 by Kay Winiecki; Leaf shape from Sweet & Simple Life 4 by Gina Marie Huff

Last summer I had some globe gilia flowers bloom in one of my little planters. I really loved these flowers. I believe they are native California wild flowers, so I have a special fondness for them because of that. They grew on long stalks, they had a pretty purple flower, and this bee LOVED them.  She came every day for a period of a month or two.  I took tons of pictures of her.

I tried to find globe gilia seeds at my local plant stores this year, but I could not find them. I was very disappointed. I think I'll have to order online. I definitely would like more of these flowers, especially if the bees love them.  Although ... I'm pretty sure it was just ONE bee that loved my flowers. I think it was the same bee that came every day.  And she spent hours and hours on my little patio! Aw, I miss her.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Project: Love, Me Book Printed

In 2011 Kami Leonard (Ziggle Scraps) and Suzy Iverson (SuzyQ Scraps) hosted a year long All About Me project with weekly prompts and coordinating kits that you could buy each month. I followed along every week and completed almost all of the prompts for the year.  Well, I finally got around to getting the book printed!

I used Blurb, my favorite printing company.  But I have to say I had a little trouble this time around.  I had a gift certificate from my mom, and I had a 25% discount coupon that I got through Clickin Moms. Blurb's shopping cart treats discount codes and gift certificate codes in the same manner, and you can only use one code in a transaction. In my mind, a gift certificate is like a form of payment, and it shouldn't disqualify you from using a discount code. But I contacted them about it, and they promptly gave me a solution to the problem. In the end I was able to use both codes, just in a round about way.  So I guess I'm still happy with Blurb. But kinda disturbed by them as well.

My overall feelings about the book:
  • Easy to put together using Bookify online system.
  • Fast shipping.
  • Beautiful book with amazing colors.  This is my third Blurb book, and I must say that I was really amazed by the beautiful colors, more so than my previous books. Not that my previous books had poor colors.  I was just really blown away this time.
  • Warped cover, as I have seen in my last book. Photo below.
Here are some pictures. Cover.


Edge - notice slight warping of cover, as I saw in my last book as well. The warping in my last book has decreased as time has past.

Title Page.

Inner pages.

A couple of close up shots.

I'm really happy to have this project "officially" finished.  This was my first time creating a cohesive album with similar design elements on every page.  All pages used the same white background, and I had three fonts that I also used consistently on all pages.  Other than that, kits and page design vary greatly from page to page.  Another thing about this book is that I included 4 or 5 self portraits taken throughout the year.  That was a new thing for me, but I've become much more comfortable about including pictures of myself in my layouts. I'm really glad I did this project.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Favorite Layouts from July 2012

Although I had a break in blogging, I have definitely been scrapping my memories all along. In fact, the last year has been quite productive (memory keeping wise), and I had two months in which I scrapped nearly a layout a day.  The first was in November 2012, when I had a guest CT spot at The Lilypad.  This was my second guest spot there, and I plunged right in with the idea of making the most of a fantastic opportunity.  I scrapped about 25 pages that month.

In January 2013, The Lilypad had a special daily layout challenge, and I did in fact scrap 31 layouts that month, plus probably one or two more for creative teams.  It was a blast!! My hobby has been going strong!

I can't possibly catch up sharing ALL of the layouts I've made in the last year, but I thought I would share two of my favorite layouts from each month.  The first month would be July, 2012.  Looking back in that folder, here are the two that I pick as my favorites.

This first one has pictures from a little trip over to the little park near our house. I thought I got some cute pictures of Miller in a photography positive mood.  He hadn't worn this favorite Spider-Man costume in quite a long time, so it was fun to see him having fun in it.
Blocks, Blocks, Blocks Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Rocket Pops by Valorie Wibbens
Dandy by Allison Pennington; Puddle Round by Amy Martin; Chalklet by The Tattered Pear
Lined Journal Cards by Sahlin Studio; Everyday Life 3 by Cinzia Designs and Gina Marie Huff;
Life is Good by Gina Marie Huff

And this next layout has pictures from Miller's swimming lessons.  I took tons of pictures on a couple different occasions, and these were my favorites from one of those. This layout incorporates various different photo processing options on a multi-photo layout.  I especially like to mix color and black and white photos in a single page.  Also something special about this one is that I combined two templates.
Mix and Match Double Templates 2 and Template Revisited 2 (blog freebie) by Scrapping with Liz;
Rocket Pops by Valorie Wibbens; Recycled Paper Flowers No. 2 by Sahlin Studio

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fireworks Photographs

I have a new camera!  I'll post more about it later; but for now I'll just say that I got a Sony Alpha NEX-7. And I also just got a little tripod.  So I was excited to try fireworks photography for my first time on Independence Day. However, our 4th of July plans did not go as we had originally planned (for the better), and I ended up at the fireworks with my old camera (Canon PowerShot SX 20 IS) and no tripod.

But I decided I'd still try to make the best of it with the old camera. So I sat in the bleachers, held my camera in my lap and pointed it upward and hoped for the best. It has a flip screen so, I popped it out and rotated it so I could glance down to see if the fireworks were in the field of view.

I used manual mode (which is somewhat limited on that camera) with an ISO of 200, Aperture value of f/8, and a Shutter Speed of 2 seconds.  I pressed the shutter button when I heard/saw the shot start to go up and tired to hold really still.

I got a bunch of great pictures, at least I think so for my first try at this. For most of the images below, I ran the Pioneer Woman Boost action on them, which mostly darkened the black of the sky.  And I sharpened them a little after saving a web-sized file. But they aren't too much different from the SOOC images.

This one is my favorite:

But I love them all!  Well, maybe not this one...
I can't wait for the next fireworks to try again.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

If I Could Give the World a Gift

I want to share a layout I made back in the fall of 2011. It was part of the Project: Love, Me album I made that year. I believe the theme for that month was "giving," and the specific prompt was "If I could give the world a gift ..."

Simple and Sweet Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz
Bohemian Spirit, My Project V3, My Project Year in Review, I Should Have Told You and Well Documented
by Captivated Visions; Art and Soul Freebie by Sahlin Studio; HoHoHo by Miss Tiina

"If I could give the world a gift, I would give the world a functioning United States legislature."

I don't remember what was going on at that time, but I felt like our legislature wasn't working the way it should work. I still feel that way.

I've been reading a book called Republic Lost by Lawrence Lessig about this very topic. The hypothesis of the book is that the people no longer have faith in the workings of our Congress because of all the special interest money that congressmen need to constantly raise.  Huge sums of money are donated to the political parties and to congressmen from a very small percentage of the population. That being the case, can we truly believe that our leaders are responding to the will of the people? Or are they influenced by the money they receive?

This isn't to say that our leaders or corrupt or that they are engaged in criminal behavior. It just means that money has a corrupting influence on politics, and we need to end that corruption now.

I know that politics is kinda taboo in the scrapbooking world, but I feel like I need to do something about this because I love this country. There is an appendix in the book (Republic Lost) called What You Can Do Now.  I haven't finished the book, and I haven't read the whole appendix either.  But Lessig lists the first important thing that I can do right now: spread awareness of this issue.

That's all for now, but I'll keep you posted on what I do in the future to help end the corrupting influence of money on politics.