Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Favorites: The Day before NSD

Happy National Scrapbooking Day Eve! Hmmm, is this the day that we all dress up in costume and go door to door for scrapbooking supplies?

Was that joke too weird? :)

Ummm, yeah, why don't we just go straight to this week's picks, then...

From left to right (as usual):
  • Made in Brooklyn featured this beautiful envelope album. What a cool way to make a journal or a scrapbook- wouldn't one of these be great to make ahead of time and take on a trip?
  • MemoryWorks is giving away printable elements that coordinate with their Simple Stories line. These would be great to use for Project 365, Project 12, or even Week in the Life albums.
  • Elizabeth Kartchner shows off a cool ruffled t-shirt she made. It totally looks like a $40 J. Crew shirt for about a third of the price.
  • The Sweetest Occasion links to an offer for a few custom monogram download- just click through and enter some info to get your very own!
  • Pugly Pixel is giving away these tape strip images in a PNG download- how cool to use for posting blog photos!
  • Check out a trio of great scrap rooms on Write. Click. Scrapbook.
  • How about a gorgeous mini album, also from Write. Click. Scrapbook.
  • I've fallen in love with the Gnome n Birdy blog- I love it when a scrapper totally does their own thing, and the bright colors are so yummy!
  • Donna Januzzi shares several sketches on the Ella Publishing blog.
I hope everyone has a great National Scrapbooking Day weekend! I plan on mostly editing and printing photos for a pile of unfinished projects I have going on.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5K Update

I've run quite a few 5Ks this month (okay, just three). I went to the last two solo since Darren had other obligations those mornings, so I don't have any photos of me (except the one I managed to pull off Facebook).

See me in the middle there, playing with my iPhone? :) Yes, I can and have run races without my iPod, but given a choice I'll take it along every time. That particular race was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, and the t-shirts were awesome!

I think it's my favorite shirt so far! There were cows everywhere- cow mascots in costume, gigantic blow-up cows, people ringing cowbells at the corners, and they even handed us little stuffed cows as we crossed the finish line. It was quite cool. They also offered me a chicken sandwich about 30 seconds after I finished, and my stomach nearly revolted at the thought of eating so soon after running! I did go back and get one about 15 minutes later, though, along with a cookie from Starbucks and a banana. They really did feed us well. :)

My time was 30:46, which I wasn't extremely happy with- one of these days I'd like to break 30 minutes. The full results are here, and there is another writeup about it here.

A couple of hours after running I was supposed to go hiking/caving with these guys, and to my credit I did make it half a mile in before having a knee problem, falling, sliding down a small hill, and totally torquing my knee again.

Luckily I was able to make it back out (Darren walked with me) and drive home. So I missed getting to see this (I left the D3 and my 14-24mm wide angle lens with Darren so he could get pics)...

...and instead got to sit on my rear end the rest of the weekend with my leg in the DynaSplint trying to loosen my knee back out. ACL surgery sucks, even six months later.

The next weekend, though, I was feeling much improved and ran another 5K, this time with the local YMCA. My time was 31:00, which I was was really happy with because there was a monster hill at mile 2. I ran it all the way, but hills really do slow you down a lot. The time was good enough to put me in third for my division.

I was totally solo and don't even have a Facebook photo for this one, so here are a couple of pics I snapped with the iPhone.

Post-race snack...yum! I actually ate two packages.

The Red Robin mascot came out, and the kids had a lot of fun with him (her?).

I was supposed to run another 5K last Saturday, but it was canceled due to severe thunderstorms. Wimps. :) Running in the rain isn't that bad!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Faking Polaroids

Every once in a while I come across an old toy and get the sudden urge to play with it again, like a few weeks ago when I unpacked a box and found my HP Photosmart 335. It's a small 4x6 format printer that I picked up on a rebate deal a couple of years ago (I think I paid a whole $15 for it). At the time I had no intention of using it for scrapbooking, but now that I've seen how well the photos that I've printed with it (mostly for frames around the house) have held up I may have to start using it for a few layouts.

Mostly, though, I just like to play with it. Like when I got the idea to make my own "Polaroids." Yes, all those little Instax and real Polaroid prints are super cute, but I really don't want to buy another camera, and the film price is outrageous! So, how did I go about faking that iconic white frame?

I started with a photo from my Nikon, opened it in Photoshop Elements, and proceeded to edit the heck out of it to give it that "Polaroid" look (Pioneer Woman's "Seventies" action is great for this). You can see that process here.

Then I opened up a Polaroid frame file by Kitschy Digitals (purchased here).

I resized my original photo to make it approximately the same size as the mask, then dragged it over to the frame and hit Command-G on my Mac to "clip" the photo to the frame.

I realize that I've not done anything new or innovative here. It's all just regular old digital scrapbooking stuff, right? But that's what makes this cool- it's so easy...and then you can print it out and it almost looks like the real thing. :)

To print, I created a new 4x6 canvas...

And then copied the Poloraoided (yes, I just made that word up) image to the canvas.

After printing, I trimmed it up and stuck it on my bulletin board, and it looks just like a real Polaroid...if you don't stand too close. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's In Your Purse?

Last weekend Stacy Julian posted a cool challenge on her blog- take a photo of the contents of your purse, pair it with a photo of yourself, and then write down what it says about you.

So, here's my photo...

With the iPhone and iPod, I obviously like to be entertained and connected. Seriously, if I have to sit still or wait somewhere without something to do for even a few minutes, I go nuts- it comes from being an unapologetic multitasker. There are also more toys here than necessities, yet I find that between the water bottle, my wallet, and my C.O. Bigelow Cinnamint that I'm pretty well set (I carry a rescue inhaler for asthma, but I've never actually had to use it). Sometimes I throw a snack in before leaving the house, as well. It seems that I find that I don't need or like a lot of things that women include in their purses and prefer instead to carry my techy toys. I'm kind of that way, at home. I don't have tons of clothes or shoes or purses, but good grief do I have tech stuff everywhere!

I realized after I took this and put everything away again that I'd forgotten to include my keys. Oops! But that says something about me, too...I'm always forgetting something or leaving something or just being plain scatterbrained. :)

And those sunglasses on my head in the photo? Yeah, I left them at Mom and Dad's last weekend. See- scatterbrained.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Surprise Nashville Visit

Last Sunday I made an unexpected trip to Nashville to visit with my parents for the day. Mom has been feeling under the weather for a couple of months now (actually, that's probably the understatement of the century), and I drove up to help out with some laundry and housekeeping.

In between loads I availed myself of Mom's mat cutter to trim the spines from a stack of magazines I want to scan, and I also took some time to play with the macro lens and photograph the flowers blooming around their house.

It never fails- if there is a family member in the garden, at least one cat will follow along.

I stopped at Chipotle on the way back (why, oh why, oh why have they not opened one in Huntsville yet?!?!?)) to pick up soft tacos for me and a burrito (carnitas this time) for Darren.

Beth and Jon also stopped by to visit for a bit and brought me a birthday gift- aren't these bowls beautiful? I almost purchased them at Target the first time I saw them but decided to restrain myself, and then when I went back a few days later (after I'd changed my mind) they were out. I was bummed. Beth and J had no idea of all that when they picked them out- how cool is that? :)

I've come to realize that I don't mind semi-long drives so much. It's good quiet time in the car, and I usually play my two favorite podcasts- Paperclipping Roundtable and Rush Limbaugh. How's that for polar opposites? :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Favorites: Upcycling

I am SO ready to send this Friday right back to whatever depths it came from! I was supposed to be off work but ended up there most of the day anyway, had a pet-related containment breach (the dogs got out of the fence), a broken water pipe outside, and then a virtual marathon of phone calls with my insurance company and pharmacy arguing about a prescription refill. Oh, and the air conditioner in my car is going out. :(

But let's forget about that and look at some fun stuff, okay?


From left to right:
  • Check out some cool ATCs made from upcycled junk mail at Rachie's Place.
  • Margie Romney-Aslett shows how to make paper chandeliers in a segment on KSL's Studio 5. These are just begging me to be used in the upcoming baby shower!
  • Amazing Mae brings more upcycling goodness- just look at these lovely envelopes made from catalog (or magazine) pages.
  • This week has been organization week on Write. Click. Scrapbook., and they show some awesome rooms here and here.
  • Studio Calico shared a beautiful page by Susan Weinroth as well as a sketch based on the layout. 
  • Also from Studio Calico (and Susan Weinroth) comes a tutorial on making fabric envelopes- how cute would these be for your handmade greeting cards?!?!?
  • Zakka Life shows how to upcycle all kinds of discarded paper into doodle pads. Fun stuff!
  • Oh, Hello Friend shared a pretty little thank-you themed mini album.
  • And, finally, Pugly Pixel brings us a tutorial on how to make scalloped edges for your digital photos.
Have a scrappy weekend, everyone!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Clearance Flower Smiles

    It's really very cool


    to be able to have so much fun


    with a mere $6 worth of flowers


    found on clearance at Kroger last week.


    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    A Week in the Life

    I'm following along with Ali Edwards this week as she leads her blog readers through a Week in the Life album. The purpose of the project is to help you capture some of the everyday happenings and routines that may not make it into our regular scrapbooks. This week is all about taking photos and recording, and next week will be album assembly. If you've never heard of the project before, you might want to check out her informational posts here, here, and here.

    Abby Garvey and Wendy Smedley also guest-posted on her blog last week with some great organizational ideas to get you ready to start the project. You can find their posts here and here. I had totally intended to follow both of these posts last weekend (just as I intended to write this post last weekend), but then I ended up out of town and didn't have time. I decided to go ahead and start the project anyway- I mean, that's real life, right? I may not get a ton of pictures, but I'm not worried about it being perfect, I just want to get it documented.

    This is actually my second time working on this project. I also followed along in the fall of 2008 when Ali last hosted it. I pulled out my old album last night (probably the first time I've looked at it since completing it) and took some photos to share. And, yes, I was madly in love with Basic Grey's Urban Prairie Line at the time (actually, I still am).

    I pretty much followed Ali's format from the last round exactly, except I chose a 12x12 album since I already had one on hand. I'm going to see if this year's week will fit into the same binder, though it's pretty full already!

    If you need more ideas, Simple Scrapper posted a list of ways to streamline making a digital Week in the Life album, and Made in Brooklyn is creating a "Photography Week" album that looks awesome. 

    If you've been on the fence about starting this project but just haven't picked it up yet, it's not too late!! Last time I meant to start on a Monday and then proceeded to forget until sometime on Wednesday. Ooops! No worries, though- I just started up on Thursday and went through the following Wednesday. No matter what day you start on you'll end up getting each day of the week since the project runs for a full 7 days.

    I'm not going to post my photos daily as others are doing since I have some other things I want to share this week, but I will share my album as I start putting it together in the next week or two. I haven't decided on a format yet but I may do something very similar to my last one, including using lots of different types of divided page protectors.

    I'm not overly worried that I haven't taken tons of photos yet. I'm taking a lot more each day than usual, and during the week when I'm at work (and not allowed to have a camera with me) it's usually very difficult to take photos, anyway. I'm sure there will be tons this weekend, though, and I've got a whole list of things I want to make sure I capture and am crossing them off as I get the shot. For example, Monday was all about doing the laundry....exciting, isn't it? :)

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Cherry Blossom Photos and PW Actions for Photoshop Elements

    Warning: If you don't like cherry blossoms, then this is not the week to be visiting my blog! :) I have a teeny, tiny little obsession with them and took a ton of photos while they were blooming here a couple of weeks ago.

    When I was getting these photos ready to upload, I decided to break out Pioneer Woman's new Photoshop Elements friendly set of actions (they rock, and they're free!) and give them a try. I won't give you the gory editing details on all the post processing, but I would like to detail one or two before launching into the rest of the batch. (Note: I am sooooo not a post processing expert. Not even close. I just play until I like the way it looks, then leave it at that.)

    This is my first victim example. Straight from the camera it looks okay, but maybe just a little ho-hum. Okay, let's face it- if it weren't for the gorgeous subject matter, it would totally suck. Cherry blossoms make everything better.

    Here's the same photo after running a plain old "Auto Contrast" in PSE. Ahhhhh, the grey overcast is gone.

    And here it is again, this time after running Pioneer Woman's "Boost" action. I love, love, love heavily saturated colors, and this action definitely does that.

    Now, for regular blogging purposes I would usually quit editing at this point and call it good. Sometimes, though, something a little more "artsy" is called for. Pioneer Woman's "Lovely And Ethereal" action gives a nice, soft look to your photos. It makes it look lovely. And ethereal.

    Okay, one more in-depth edit, and then I'll unleash the other 22 gazillion photos on you. :)

    Here's this photo straight from my D3. Hmph.

    So now let's run PSE's "Auto Smart Fix" and see what happens...

    Not sure I like all that blue in the background (yes, blue sky is pretty, but it's too much contrast with the pink blooms), but I'll fix that later.

    Now for the PW Boost action...

    POP!!! And for good measure, let's run it again. Oh, yes, you can run them multiple times in succession and even stack them. I love this super-saturated effect.

    And then, for something a touch more artsy, I ran the PW "Seventies" action. This has to be one of my favorites in the bunch. Bye, bye, blue sky!

    All of these photos are of the weeping cherry trees in my yard (there's one in front and one in the back). They started out with tons of little buds- this photo was taken on March 28th.

    Three days later, the blooms started to pop out. I went to bed one night with a tree full of buds, and woke up the next morning to lovely little blooms.

    For some reason the tree in the front yard started blooming a couple of days before the one in the back.

    The next day brought even more blooms...and this is just their first year in the yard!

    Here are more photos from April 2. At this point my neighbors probably thought I was insane, running outside with my camera every morning to shoot in "good" light.

    And by April 6th it was almost all over- you can see how many leaves have come in to replace the blossoms.

    I can't wait to see how much these trees grow over the next year!