Friday, October 31, 2008

You know it's bad when you can't make a prefab gingerbread house...

I bought my first computer when I was 16. I know, it's an odd way to start a Halloween post, but just hang with me for a bit. I'd actually had a computer since I was 5, but I wanted one of my own. I got a job and saved up some money, but Mom and Dad said I had to buy a desk for my room first so I'd have somewhere to put the new toy.

So I got this desk on sale at Office Depot and proceeded to put it together in the middle of the living room floor. It had (has, actually- it's the desk that's now in my scrap room) these filing cabinet drawers that I proceeded to put together exactly backwards. Apparently inserting Tab A into Slot B was just beyond my skillset at the time. My Dad commented that it was a good thing I didn't want to be an engineer. Funny thing is, now I am an engineer, but instead of building physical stuff, I build software. Good thing I got that computer, huh?

Last night I tried to build my first ever gingerbread house. I got this great looking kit from Michaels. All the pieces were already in the box and baked and all the candy was included. I just had to follow the directions. And there was no Tab A to be inserted into Slot B, so I should have been just fine. Right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong.

It all started out well, all the pieces of the kit were there and the instructions were in (mostly) plain English.


I mixed the frosting according to the directions on the package, and it seemed to do pretty well. (I included this next photo mostly to show Mom that I do actually use my mixer sometimes.) :-)


Then I put some of the icing into these little piping bags that came with the kit. It was shortly after this that everything began to break down. The icing was very thick and hard to squeeze out of the tubes.


Despite that, I managed to get two of the walls together with surprisingly little effort.


The other two walls went up fairly easily, too, but the icing started getting really, really hard to work with. It just didn't want to come out of the bag, and when it did, it didn't want to stick to the gingerbread.


But, despite those difficulties, I still got the roof on. It was when I started trying to spread the icing onto the roof tiles that the trouble really started. It just did not want to spread. At all. So I ended up with this lumpy looking sheet of frosting instead of a nice, smooth roof.

And this is as far as it got. In theory, I was supposed to be able to squeeze lines of icing around the "rafters" and then stick candy in as decorations. But, as I'd previously mentioned the icing refused to stick to the gingerbread after I coaxed it out of the bag, so that didn't work. I fought the urge to go get a box of Glue Dots and start sticking stuff on with those.

So, structurally I have a very sound gingerbread house, it's just rather plain looking.


The pumpkin turned out nicely, though. I picked the pattern. :-)



Happy Halloween, everyone!!




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It's Wednesday, and I'm finally getting time to post about this past weekend!

I took Friday off work and drove up to Mom and Dad's house. They gave me one of these that they are no longer using! It prints wide format- 13"x17", or possibly longer if you use paper on a roll. Totally archival photo printing- I'm so excited that I have this now! (Thanks again, guys!)


I spent pretty much all day Friday printing from my backlog of photos. And Mom really saved the day, too- I had bought ink cartridges for it, but forgot the black one at home. Somehow, there was one from at least two or three years ago that was laying on her desk still...and it worked!

Saturday was busy, busy, busy! We cooked, cleaned, and decorated for most of the day, with lots of help.

Dad was the bonfire committee, and also the "hey, you gotta come see this and bring your camera" committee. Thank goodness for that, or I wouldn't have been able to get this shot!


Aren't my parents cute?

My cousin Michelle came over and helped out- she was the decorating committe. :)


These people were the non-committee (just teasing- they all helped out a lot). In case you're all wondering, they're staring at a plasma television where we were playing Planet Earth. In Blu-Ray.


My brother was the grilling committe. And also later in the evening was the head of the drooling cat committee. Seriously, Merlin (his cat) will drool like no cat I've ever seen before.




I was the cake baking and decorating committee.


We gave Dad his gift before everyone else arrived- a Blu-Ray player to use with the plasma. That's what everyone was staring at in the earlier photo.


It was also my Grandmother's birthday, too. I'm thinking this may be the first time she's ever been featured on a blog. :)


We spent a lot of time around the bonfire, with my cousin Jake being a little pyro. And with people spontaneously falling out of chairs for no particular reason (okay, there was a reason- the ground was kinda soft and the chair legs would sink).


And then we all ended up staring at the plasma/blu-ray/Planet Earth combination again, this time adding our own silly narrations to it.

The next morning was much calmer. I had to go to the Verizon store with my brother to take care of some account stuff, but then when I got back, Dad and I went out on the greenway and took bunches of pictures of the fall leaves.





Ummm, and did I mention that Mom and Dad gave me one of these? :-P


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pages of the Week

Actually, pages of last week. :) Here are the layouts that I completed last week, again on a mix of subjects.

Pearlington, Labor Day 2007


Christmas 2006



Christmas 2005




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shamelessly Indulging in Melodramatic Space Trash Since 1992

I admit it. I totally stole the title for this post from Club Jade. Except I changed the 1995 to 1992, because that's when I first started reading Star Wars. The funny thing is that I didn't even like Star Wars until I read Timothy Zahn's books, but from then on I was completely and irrevocably hooked. To this day I only kinda like the movies. I know, I know- heresy!

I ordered this from Amazon a few days ago, and it just arrived. I didn't think it was going to be out until December 31 of this year, because that's what the page in the back of Invincible told me when I read it in May.

See, I even took a picture of it to prove I wasn't hallucinating!

Hopefully this will be enough to tide me over until the Fate of the Jedi series that I wrote about a few weeks ago starts up...next March ::gulp::. But, I have this book and the others in the SG-1 and SG-Atlantis series to get me through. Melodramatic space trash can take many forms. :)

More scrapbook freebies

Today I found two more sources for free scrapbook ideas and sketches.

First is Ali Edwards' archive of past Studio A articles from Creating Keepsakes magazine. Her blog is a wonderful place to find inspiration, as well.


I received my weekly email newsletter from Scrapbooks, Etc. today and was pleasantly surprised to see that they now offer downloadable pdf files of the sketches they provide online. Each page comes complete with the sketch (including photo sizes) and an example layout created using the sketch.


And finally...this month Fiskars is featuring two layouts by Valerie Salmon, complete with assembly instructions.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October Magazines, sketches, etc

Every month there are several great (and free) publications available that I take advantage of. I thought I'd round them all up in a post here in case some of them might be useful to others.

First up is PhotographyBB Magazine. I've found it to be very informative, and this month they have a special section on flash photography.

October PhotographyBB Magazine


Scrapbook and Cards Today is a bi-monthly Canadian publication. It's so professional looking that I can't believe it's a freebie (but I'm glad that it is).

As always, I love Becky Fleck's PageMaps!

October PageMaps

Sheetload of Cards is great when you want to make a bunch of cards but are short on time. Each issue comes complete with sizes and cutting instructions, plus loads of samples and ideas.

October Sheetload of Cards


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A week in layouts...

Not to be confused with A Week in the Life, which I am still working on. I have all my photos edited, sized, and in collages as needed and ready to print. I'm waiting to print, though, until I get my new (to me) printer that my wonderful parents are letting me use- an Epson Stylus Photo 2000P!!! So now I can print large and oddly sized photos to my heart's content. :)

These are all the pages that I completed this week. I did a mix of subjects, which is always fun. Some I'm thrilled with, and some I'm not (but I was trying some new things). I hope you enjoy them!

Oh, and I'm now trying scanning my pages instead of photographing. I think I like the results better, though this method has its own quirks.









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