Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodbye, February!

You certainly proved that I know how to pack a lot of stuff into a short month.


March, bring it on. I'm ready!

And since you guys totally cracked me up with some of your comments on my geeky post yesterday, I thought you might enjoy this video of Joe Flanigan explaining what the deal is with his hair...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Get Your Geek On!

A couple of weekends ago my l'il bro (whaddup, J!) posted the following comment:
So I just scrolled through a couple pages (very nice creations you got there BTW) and noticed a certain lacking of the hair/geek variety, where is this so called scrappy "jedi" at :P
I read it, and then I hung my head in shame for a few minutes afterward. I realized that I have failed to be a proper sci-fi geek for the past couple of months. Apparently I've been in such a cupcake-induced sugar coma that I forgot that one of this blog's many purposes is to declare my love of (almost) all things Star Wars (I could do without Jar-Jar...) and to go googly-eyed over this guy's hair...



If you don't know who John Sheppard (played by Joe Flanigan) is, please go watch all of Stargate: Atlantis. And maybe SG-1, too...I promise I'll wait for you to come back. :)


See? Joe's waiting, too. :) He's very patient like that.

I think I can blame my lack of sci-fi posts not only on excessive amounts of frosting, but also on a serious lack of new Star Wars books. Luckily Backlash will be out in just a couple of weeks and I can get back to my (mostly) normal self.

In the meantime, I can amuse myself with this free downloadable eBook that just came out a few days ago- it's a short story and part 3 of a continuing series...


And with this very cool looking cover for Troy Denning's new Star Wars book, due out some time this fall. Hello, Han!


And also with more pictures of John Sheppard...



There's been some Stargate news, too. Michael Shanks revealed in an interview that there will most likely be no more SG-1 movies. ::sniff:: And I don't think we'll ever see an Atlantis movie, either.


I've been really missing Stargate- Universe just isn't cutting it for me. It takes itself way too seriously. SG-1 and Atlantis were both humorous and able to make fun of themselves in a way that Universe just can't.




I've got several other geek/sci-fi related posts I want to round up here. I'm not even going to pretend I can weave them into a single narrative at this point, though, so hold on for some quick context switching (and gratuitous Joe Flanigan photos). :)

A recent post on Club Jade covered the "history" of Star Wars novel covers since Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. I will admit to being a total Drew Struzan girl (if we're talking US covers- otherwise I totally go for the Japanese versions).


The International Space Station recently underwent some upgrades and now looks strangely like a TIE Fighter, complete with a cupola window.



Joe approves. Can't you tell?


I'll admit that I'm more than a little excited about Apple's newest product, the iPad. I'm not sure it's the "magical" device that Steve Jobs declared it to be, but as a reader/web surfer/emailer, it's awesome. One of my beefs with it is that the storage is not expandable. ZoomMediaPlus recently introduced the zoomIt, an SD card reader for the iPhone/iPod touch. If it also works with the iPad, then it's brilliant!


Yes, Joe, it's true!!


And finally, how about some geeky cupcakery? I love these Pac-Man cupcakes.


And this Space Invaders influenced pastry is one of a hundred cupcakes designed around various games. Cool, eh?


Joe definitely thinks so. :)


Pssssst!! J, is that enough hair for you?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Favorites - Scrap Rooms and More

I've got a couple of scrap rooms and a tip on not freaking out about your scrapping backlog to bring to you today, so let's jump right in!


From left to right:
Have a scrappy weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adding a Little Sparkle


You may have noticed this little party I have going on over the desk in my scrap room. It's a little something I cooked up last summer thanks to some inspiration from Design*Sponge, some paper lanterns from IKEA, tissue paper pom-poms from this Etsy shop, and some odds and ends from Party City.


The photo above is what it looked like just a week or two ago. I've always thought that it needed a little something to finish it off, and after blog surfing for several weeks and seeing white Christmas lights on everything, I had a serious duh moment and realized that was exactly what I needed to do over my desk, too!


See?!?! The lights just add the right amount of sparkle, don't they? I have to tell you that it was not easy to find white mini lights with white wires in February...luckily Hobby Lobby has some in the wedding section.


I'm sure I looked pretty hilarious hanging them. :) I used pushpins to hold the wires against the ceiling (no, I didn't push through the wires, just unbraided them a little and went between them), so I was standing on my desk with my head stuck in the middle of wads of tissue paper and big bouncy lanterns while putting everything in place.

Darren walked in at one point and asked if I wanted a power outlet in the ceiling so I wouldn't have to have an extension cord running down the wall. Ummm, yes, please? It's lovely having a house with a full-length attic. It helped with home theater wiring and will make it pretty easy for him to add the outlet for me when he has time. :)

Of course, now I've grown that single outlet install to a pair of them (one over the bed where there is another cluster of lanterns) and a wall switch to control them..no, I don't ever make anything complicated, do I!?!??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project Life (365) Digital

And just like that, I think I've changed my mind. I'm not a digital scrapper, but I'm loving the look of Becky Higgins Project Life (Project 365) kit in digital format.


It's cleaner, and it's a lot smaller and a lot lighter. I love my 365 album from last year, but it's so huge and heavy! Plus it took a ton of time to put together (I think I complained about that earlier this month)- did I mention that I'm just now ordering my last batch of photo prints for last year? Yup, from October through the end of December.


My only hangup is the cost- it's $99 to have your book printed. I did a little checking, and if I were to get a 12x12 digital template kit to make my book on my own and then have it printed at Shutterfly, the cost would be about the same. The prints alone for my album last year were about $60!

I'm still considering the options, but 99% sure that I'm going to go a digital/photobook route for my 365 album this year. Until I decide, I'll just keep taking pictures and making notes so it will all be ready for me. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coverleaf Magazines (or: How To Get The Newest Issue of Scrapbooks, Etc RIGHT NOW!)

How would you like to get the brand spanking newest issue of Scrapbooks, Etc.? I mean right now, as in this very minute, even if you're still in your pajamas and haven't had your coffee yet? Right now, even though the mailman still hasn't delivered yours (come on, I see the forum posts where everyone says it takes too long to get issues in the mail!)? You say yes? Then let me introduce you to Coverleaf!

I discovered Coverleaf, an online provider of digital issues of traditional print magazines, some time early last year. At the time I loved the idea, but I was less than thrilled with the issue of having to actually be online to read the issues (my frugal traveling self refuses to pay for Delta's wifi in-flight). I received an email a few days ago, though, that Coverleaf had made "upgrades" to the way that magazines are read (and also notification that the newest SBE issue was available), so I decided to check it out. Lo and behold, now there's a way to download a PDF of magazines for offline reading. Hallelujah!

So you say you want to get in on this magic, too? Have no fear, for I shall show you how it's done, and the best part is that if you have a print subscription the digital version is free! Yes, El Freebo!!

So, the first thing you need to do is point your web browser at http://www.coverleaf.com. That will bring up a page that looks like this (please ignore the search I did in the top right hand corner on how to do a screen capture on a Mac...ooops!).

Type "Scrapbooks Etc" in the little search box and click the Search button.


That should bring you to a page full of issues. Scroll down until you see the April 2010 issue (ask me not why they are not in date order on this page, for I do not have the answer). Click on that bad boy...


And you'll get a page that looks like this. Now, this is all well and good, but Coverleaf is only going to let you have a tiny peek at this magazine unless you 1) verify that you already have a print subscription or 2) either buy the single issue or a whole digital subscription (I am totally doing this when my print sub runs out).

So, do you see that big "Click to see purchase options for this magazine" button in the lower left hand corner of the page? Click that sucker...


And you'll be taken to this page. If you look below the main magazine issue display, you'll see three options for purchasing. If you don't have a print subscription, this is where you can buy the issue or a whole year's worth of issues. If you have a print subscription, click on the "FREE" button. That's the button I clicked...


And you're taken to this page. Now, from here you will create an account (if you don't already have one) and enter the name and address from your print subscription. Coverleaf will pretty much instantly verify your digital subscription based on that data. It may require an email confirmation, so just follow the on-screen instructions until the subscription is confirmed.


Once you're done confirming your subscription, come back to the magazine page (either by following the instructions above or by clicking on the "my stuff" tab). You'll see a toolbar across the top of the web page. Click the "print" option and then choose the "print all pages" option in the box that pops up. Then click the "PRINT" button in the box (not on the toolbar).


You'll be taken to this page, or something similar. This is where the instructions will be different for different operating systems, web browsers, and setup options. You may see some sort of a "Save" dialog pop up, like my computer did in the screen below. It may automatically save the PDF somewhere, in which case you'll need to go look in your Downloads folder. Or it may open up an Acrobat Reader window in your web browser. This last option is the slowest and may really slow down your web browser or computer and make you think it's crashed. Most likely it hasn't, you just need to give it a few minutes to finish downloading and rendering all the data before using the "Save As" option in Acrobat Reader.


Congratulations!! You've now saved a digital copy of Scrapbooks, Etc. to your hard drive! You can open it up in Acrobat Reader any time and browse the pages, or you can print it out.


While you're visiting Coverleaf, you might want to have a look around and see if there are any other magazines available that you already have print subscriptions to. I found Better Homes and Gardens as well as Family Circle, and I know that my Mom gets Organic Gardening. There are also some back issues of Country Home available (sigh- I really miss that one).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Scrapbooking Workflow- Part 1: Introduction

This post started out as simply an overview of how I plan page kits, but as I started going through all the steps I found that I wanted to go more in depth in a lot of areas rather than just gloss them over. Areas like photo management, organizing sketches and potential scraplifts, and organization of supplies (which I already covered here) are all essential to how I scrapbook efficiently (and without driving myself nuts).

Let me stop right there and explain that word "efficient." I don't mean to make it sound as if scrapping is a job for me (though coupled with the word "workflow" it does make it sound that way), it's just that I have limited free time for scrapbooking, and I want the process to be as easy and enjoyable as possible for me when I do get a free hour here or there to play in the scrap room. Efficiency and workflow in this sense are not about getting as much done as possible, they're just about making the most of the time I have available.


A little background on me: I'm an engineer by training, specifically a software engineer. My educational background is a Computer Science degree with a Mathematics minor. I write code for a living, and when I'm not writing code I'm either fixing problems with code or designing the next bit of code I'm going to write. I'm a very methodical person, both by training and by nature. I like things that flow in a very logical and orderly manner (which is probably why I like scrapbook sketches that come complete with cutting instructions so much). I wanted to explain these things up front so that you would have some insight as to the reasons I think the way I do (and, yeah, I may be a little OCD, too :) ).


When I first started this hobby, I didn't set out to put my workflow together, nor did I one day just wake up and decide to come up with a method. It's just something that has grown and evolved over the almost 12 years that I've been scrapbooking. New tools, new technologies, and new ideas all slowly incorporated themselves into my routine over time, and now I think it's gelled to the point that it works almost seamlessly for me.


I don't know how many posts it will take to detail everything- I'm thinking 3-4 (and I want to include lots of photos and screenshots!), and you'll see them posted here 1-2 a week until I'm finished. Feel free to comment at any time if you have questions or want me to explain something further. Hopefully you'll find something in my workflow that can help you in your own!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Baby Showers and Cupcake Towers

Last weekend I visited my parents, partly to chill out, and mostly to help Mom finish a cupcake tower for a baby shower for one of my cousins. Mom cut all the wrappers and designed the toppers before I arrived, and then I helped with assembly.

She and Dad were baking the cupcakes when I arrived on Friday night (with Chipotle in hand!). The frosting was homemade, and I finally got a chance to really practice some new cupcake frosting skills on Saturday morning before we rushed off to pick up gifts and get to the shower.


Isn't it just cute?!? Felicia is having a little girl, so the entire shower was decorated in pastels.


Such cute, tiny stuff!


And there were two really, really beautiful diaper cakes. Actually, calling them diaper cakes doesn't seem like enough- these were works of art!




I had the chance to visit with some family that I hadn't seen in a long time. I don't think I'd seen Allison since her wedding, and I can't believe little Jordan is 6 (or almost 6...).


Jordan was fascinated with the confetti.


And then she was such a good helper while Felicia opened her gifts.



Shelli (Jordan's Mom) was the gift recorder.


And then, in honor of the Olympics, Allison and Jordan practicing their synchronized cupcake eating. I give it a 9.9...Jordan is using the controversial two-handed grip. :)


I wish I'd taken photos of Saturday night. We spent pretty much the entire night on the couch watching the Olympics- everyone except my brother, who was working on homework for one of his college courses. We also exchanged Valentine's gifts- we usually get each other something small. Mom and Dad got me the cutest Martha Stewart edge punch, and Jon and Beth got me a mega huge bag of Twizzlers. :)

Sunday was much more low key. Dad and I spent a large amount of time on the couch watching Biathlon (I am such an Olympics junkie). Mom cut a border for my St. Patrick's Day quilt. All the blocks are assembled, but the quilt is just too small for my bed, so I bought enough fabric to make a wide border all the way around it.

And then Mom and I had a lot of fun sorting out all the paper that I've been buying from Tuesday Morning. We've got lots and lots of paper that will be great for making cupcake wrappers and toppers as well as cards now.



I drove home in the mid-afternoon so I could get back in time to set up the DVR to record more of the Olympics. I finally decided to get an HD antenna (we have no cable or satellite and until last weekend didn't even have an antenna- everything we watch is mostly on Hulu or Dad DVRs it for us), and Dad loaned me a converter box to use. The Replay hasn't recorded anything in a long time, but it's been working overtime the last week!
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