Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random thoughts

Our couch drama may soon be over. Thomasville called and has scheduled delivery for tomorrow. We'll celebrate when it actually arrives.

Paul insists on walking OVER Averi instead of around her, resulting in tears nearly every time. Why is this?

Weightlifting is hard. Aaron spent forever trying to teach me how to do the clean and jerk yesterday, and I don't think I improved much at all. So for those who think lifting is for mindless bozos on steroids, think again.

"Magic Monkey Bananas" (what they call chocolate-covered bananas in this book) are a great way to use up your bananas and have kids eat fruit for a snack. It also occupies time when they're bored.

Why are they selling winter coats in Albuquerque in the middle of July? Can someone explain why this makes sense? And why are all the summer things gone? I feel like they're cheating me of half my summer.

Why does every book that the critics rave about have sex in it? It's ridiculous. I just had to stop reading Water for Elephants since there were at least three instances less than a hundred pages into it. Don't these authors have mothers who read their books?

On that same line, any good book recommendations? I need some from people I can trust.

I love it when people who know nothing about politics or economics take extremely firm stances on issues. Do they not realize how complex problems are? I've found that the more I know about something, the less sure I am of my opinion.

I think I'd be a libertarian if there weren't so many nut jobs in that party. (Bringing back the gold standard? Please!) But then again, the Republican party seems to grow crazier every year, so it might not be such a big change.

I think we're becoming flexitarians, but not so much because of the health or environmental impacts of meat. Mostly it's because I can never seem to remember to get the meat thawed in time for dinner. I think we'll have falafel tonight. Thanks for the idea, Cindy!

My headphones for my MP3 player broke. It might have something to do with Averi ripping them out of my ears every time she sees them. Maybe.

Playing hide and seek with a two- and three-year-old is hilarious. Even when you hide in an extremely obvious spot, it takes them forever to find you. And when they hide, if you take more than 15 seconds finding them, they start shouting, "Mom! I'm behind the chair!" As if you didn't already know.

Is there ever a convenient time for your car's check engine light to come on?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What is digital scrapbooking and how do I do it?

I've been asked this question several times, so I thought it was about time I posted this information on my blog.

I LOVE digital scrapbooking. I'm such a perfectionist, and, honestly, I'm terrible at paper scrapbooking. It's lots cheaper, doesn't take an entire room in your house, and you can make prints for anyone who want them. I love giving Shutterfly books to people for Christmas and birthdays. But I'm warning you, it's totally addicting. Seriously.

Most people seem to use PhotoShop Elements, but I use a free program called the GIMP. You can download it from
It's actually more ramped up than PSE is, but there aren't a whole lot of tutorials on using it. I just really figured it out on my own. I do have a couple of tutorials on my blog, and I would love to do more if you had any specific questions. I own both programs, and it's really a personal preference, but I do love the GIMP.

Here are a few forums that I visit that have quite a bit of information and large galleries to inspire you. You can also post questions, and people are really quick about answering them:

DigiShopTalk: A forum where tons of members post from all over the world. Extremely large and busy gallery; there are so many pages going up all the time that you're bound to find one to inspire you.
My Scrapbook Art: The gallery here is of the highest quality since it's mostly more advanced scrapbookers here. I love browsing the gallery and the forum is useful, but slow.
DigiScrap Addicts: A new forum, but their gallery is quite good and they are always having various contests.

One of the best things about digital scrapbooking is that it's a hobby that you can try out completely free. The internet is full of legal free downloads, many of them high quality, full kits.

Here are some links to sites where you can find some digital freebies:
Shabby Princess: They put a new one up every few months or so, but all their past ones are downloadable.
Peppermint Creative: Every few months. Past kits aren't available for free, but you can buy them super cheap if you want.
Two Peas in a Bucket: New one every month, and past ones are available. Also has lots of tutorials, etc. This is mostly a paper scrapbooking site, but there is a very small digital section. Don't purchase kits here, though, because they're much more expensive than at other sites.
Scrapping with Ikea Goddess: She lists most of the freebies that are out for that day. Be warned: many of these are put out by beginning designers, so be discriminating.
Digital Freebies: New freebie every Friday. Lots of quick pages (which I'm not big into, except for inspiration), but sometimes there's something really cute.
Little Dreamer Designs blog: Small freebies every week or so.

Other suggestions:
Subscribe to stores' newsletters. They'll often send you a link to an exclusive freebie. Also, check out the blogs of designers you like. They'll often post blog-only add-ons to their new kits.

A note about file sharing: Please avoid Yahoo groups or other sites that share files. This is illegal. With so many legitimate sites to download from, there is absolutely no need to do this.

Some stores to try:
Sweet Shoppe Designs: No freebies, but their kits are my very favorite. Check out Dani Mogstad and Traci Reed. They're very reasonably priced, too. (I create for five of the designers here, so I get all their stuff for FREE!!) Try their quarterly assortment; you get a mini kit from each of their designers for just over $3. Can't beat that.
Funky Playground: Miss Tiina is awesome. They also have dollar days Tues-Fri where certain products are marked down.
ScrapArtist: Their Fab Friday is amazing! Tons of great stuff marked down to a dollar each Friday.
Little Dreamer Designs: One-derful Wednesday is another dollar feature. This store is generally quite expensive, so I rarely buy from here unless it's on sale. However, I occasionally make an exception for C.D. Muckosky, since her stuff is amazing.
Catscrap: Great doodles and miscellaneous stuff.
Oscraps: Cinzia Loosemore is one of my favorites. I also love the word art by Paislee Press.
Scrap Orchard: They just added several new designers, and they have a very fun style.
After Five Designs: Pretty much everything in this store is amazing, and their collabs are the best out there.

Have fun!! And don't forget to download the GIMP!! There's quite a learning curve when doing this, so let me know what I can help you with. I'd love to do more tutorials on my blog, so if you have any suggestions for tutorial topics, that would be great!


I wanted to show everyone this layout of Averi, since she's now 10 months old. She's such a pretty, sweet, funny baby! We love her to death and squeeze her every chance we can get!

It's been a while since I've posted layouts. So here you are...

This following page is a poem that was written by my seven-year-old sister, Kiera. It cracked me up, and I had the perfect picture to go with it. Here's to our budding poet!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Finally Finished

I've mentioned before that Aaron and I are the masters of beginning projects. What we haven't quite mastered is completion. It's embarrassing how long I've worked on this most recent project. And I've finally finished it. The planets had to align before it could be accomplished, but they finally did.

I've been wanting something to fill up the huge empty wall alongside our staircase. I also wanted to bring a bit of color in to brighten up the stairwell since it can get quite gloomy. So I decided to take a cue from my kitchen and create a series of fabric wall hangings.

I found a great brown and aqua striped fabric which would be perfect for tying in the dark brown of our home theater with the blue we have downstairs. The tan in the fabric also coordinated perfectly with our walls. So in FEBRUARY I purchased the fabric. Aaron built me 3 large rectangular frames out of 2x2s and I sanded them down. I used my handy dandy staple gun (most useful tool ever) to attach the fabric to two of the frames...and then I realized I had mismeasured. I didn't buy enough fabric and I was TWO INCHES short. So the project was put on hold.

Eventually I made it back to Hancock Fabric, praying that they hadn't stopped carrying this particular fabric. They hadn't (but I didn't see it there today, so they might have by now), and I was able to pick up some more. Then I needed to iron the fabric to prepare it for the frames. However, the only opportunities I had to work on the frames were when Averi was in bed asleep. Averi sleeps in our closet, which is also where I keep the ironing board and iron. And, of course, I never remembered to leave it out before I put her to bed. Meanwhile, the half-finished art is sitting in the closet where we keep our DVDs, taking up way too much space. So Aaron finally took out the iron and ironing board, set it up in the middle of the bedroom, and told me that it was not to be put away until the frames were finished.

Nothing like an ultimatum and a potential hazard to my health (the ironing board was directly in the path of the bathroom, so every night it remained there I ran the risk of breaking a toe or a neck) to give me the incentive to get working. So one night I finally had a chunk of time where I was unfettered by children or other projects. I ironed the fabric, got everything set up, and went to get the staple gun. Nowhere to be found. I spent at least half an hour searching for it to no avail. By that time dinner had to be made, so the project was abandoned for that day.

After a few days of hunting, I eventually found the staple gun in the bottom of the gardening bag. I have no idea how it got there. So two days ago I re-ironed the fabric, got it fastened to the frame, fixed some flaws with the other hangings, and got them hung. Yay!!!! It looks so good to have something there. Unfortunately, it's a really hard area to get decent pictures of, so you'll just have to come and see for yourself.

My favorite part about these hangings is that when I'm ready for a change, it's as simple as swapping out the fabric. Really, this project should only take a few hours (building the frame, ironing the fabric, stapling, hanging) from start to finish. It's extremely easy to do, and a very low-cost way to add some color and impact.

(Please ignore all the folded laundry!)

The final result!

This picture gives you some idea of the HUGE space I was working with.

I do have one word of advice for anyone attempting to do this: don't use stripes. It's extremely difficult to keep them from warping when you stretch the fabric across the canvas. You have to pull the fabric tight to keep it from wrinkling, but then the stripes bend, as you can see along the edges. It's not really noticeable at all on other large prints, so stick with those.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Where does one begin...

It's funny. When I haven't blogged in over a month, I always have a hard time knowing where to begin. So much happens in a month, but is it really worth catching up on ALL of it? So then I go into denial and do nothing. Like my journal writing. When you've had an additional 2 children since you've last written, where do you even begin? (I'm exaggerating, but only very slightly. Aaron, have we gotten married even in your journal?)

I guess I'll start with the thing that has been consuming a great deal of our time: swimming lessons. For some reason, the city of Albuquerque has decided to go the intensive route. As in, EVERY DAY for 2 weeks solid. Actually, since we're doing the evening session, it's Monday to Thursday with slightly longer lessons, but it's still VERY intense. I don't know why they didn't do a 2 or 3 day a week thing that lasted longer. But there it is.

Paul is true to self in the water. He is fearless. He loves jumping off the edge, holding his breath under water, and just about everything to do with the water. He truly is my son! Katie is also very typical. She's much more cautious, obeys exactly but no more than is requested (ask her to blow bubbles, and only her mouth and her nose go under), and she loves the games. We've got Paul in the parent/tot class, mostly because it allows us to cool off in the water too! We were told that he could advance to the preschool class, but that would me we would have to watch from the sidelines. Way less fun.

Even though our evenings have been completely shot and it requires quite a bit of juggling since one of us has to watch Averi while the other is in the pool, we consider swimming lessons a resounding success. Both kids are so much more comfortable in the water than they were before and are starting to learn a few skills. I just can't wait until they're old enough to scuba dive with me! Then the fun will really begin!