Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buckle Your Seatbelts!

Wuuuuzzzzuuup???? How you all is?? Yes, it's really me, and I'm really doing a post. :)

I have been quite absent from the blogiverse the last month or so and I do apologize, but I just haven't been able to tear myself away from everything I've been doing long enough to sit down and post (or comment... but I have been reading!!!). It's been a sort of tug of war lately... "Hmmm.... shall I blog? Or shall I stitch (or play with pictures, or sew, or drool all over, or research a new sewing mashine... okay, and I will admit that 'Angry Birds' has had me in an iron grip the last few evenings)??" Anywho! Without boring you further with excuses or my internal bloggy dilemna, here are a few of the things I've been up to in the past month.

Olga! She's done! And I love her!!! And she's finish finished! My first ever fall finish. Yay!! Check out the frame! I usually go for the much cheaper Joann's or Michaels frames (esp. with the fabulous coupons! You know me - El Cheapo Grande), but I could not resist the frame Paulette chose for her. I'm in love, I think.

I also won a giveaway of a few charts from Natalie! I forgot to take a pic of the charts, so here's the
link instead (click on the word link). I started one of the charts. I'm doing this over one on 32 ct. linen. I was hoping to have this baby finished for Hallowe'en this year, but, alas it is not to be.

A couple (few?) nights ago I started the first of the PS Folk Art Christmas ornaments. This one is the church. I just love this series, and hope I can get more than one of them done in time to put up on the tree this year. We'll see!

I've also been busy with my sewing machine (hence the drooling all over the new one I want). I swear if it weren't for the thought of the expense of replacing windows my current machine would've been tossed out my craft room window on multiple {like, 100} occasions. Anyway, I made some camera strap covers for myself, and I made one for a friend of mine who is also a pic taking fanatic. I just love them! I don't know where I saw one on the web, but I did, and that led me to Etsy where there are some really gorgeous ones - for like $30!!! I did mention I'm cheap, right?

I made my first ever scissors fob, and I love it! The ends are a little messier than I'd like, so I found a tutorial that utilizes a "tidier" method, and am just waiting on the package from Amazon so that I can get to work on making a few more.

My dear friend and enabler, Deb (rather, her blogroll), led me to the Moda Bake Shop site this past Saturday morning, and I found this great little project for ornament balls using charm packs. I showed Leah and suggested we should make some Christmas ornaments like this. She was thrilled, and insisted (honestly, it didn't take much convincing) that we make them that day. So, we did! These aren't done, actually... I'm still waiting for the modge podge to dry (I think I might've gone a little overboard, really) before I put on the clear coat, then I have to add their hooks and ribbons. Pretty easy project, and oh so cute!

And what fall would be complete without some pumpkin patching?

Well, y'all, that's it for me this go 'round! I hope to be on the blogs more often soon!! Thanks for your patience with this slump I seem to be in!!!

Til next time,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple Picking... Without the Apples

Hi everyone! Long time no "chat", huh?

I put off and put off posting in the hopes I'd have some stitching to show for the past few weeks... and well... nothing has miraculously stitched itself while I slept. I actually did start Olga, though! Yay me! But, Olga got hit with some frogs... I had to rip out everything I stitched, b/c I started too far to the middle and realized that I would only end up with about 1/8" on the opposite edge if I continued. I just wasn't paying attention because I was in such a rush to work on her. That'll teach me... well, it should teach me, but it probably won't, lol!! That was this past week on one of my lunch hours and I haven't touched her since. Poor Olga. Retract your claws dear Olga. I promise to take you to work with me this week.

Yesterday, my picture taking friend Melissa and I attempted to take our two children (and our "dudes") to the local pick your own orchard for some apple pickin' and picture takin'. We came up with the plan early in the week and both of us spent the rest of the week plotting our photographic plan of attack. When we arrived, we were informed that the apples weren't ready yet... say what?? But your website says... (and the attempted 'from scratch' pie crust for use with said apples? Yeah. We won't talk about that m'kay?)... Ah well. We cut our losses and headed over to their berry patch.

I had two photographic lessons reinforced while we were there. 1) High in the sky sun is a photographer's enemy. 2) Never believe what the LCD screen on your camera is telling you - especially when you are standing in bright, non-shady, almost directly overhead sunlight. Ever. Just don't do it. Trust me. Why?? Oh. Well, hypothetically speaking (because I know this lesson already and would neeever allow myself to be tricked) you might look at the pictures you just took and think "wow, those are really overexposed." Then you might think "Wow, I'm a photographic genius! I'll fix this! I'll just drop my exposure compensation a few stops and all will be well with my photographic world again." And if you do that you might (okay, you will) end up with pics that look like they are properly exposed ("Oh, self... you are soooo silly! They just look dark on the screen b/c it's so bright outside!"), but in reality are nearly unsalvageably dark, and which can only be made "presentable" by applying some special effects in PhotoShop Elements and pretending you took the pics that way because you wanted to apply said special effects in post processing.

Anyway. Here are some pics from yesterday. Enjoy!!

Okay, that's it for me! Have a great week, everyone!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Beginnings

Hi there everybody! How are you? This seems to be a very busy time of year, doesn't it?

We have two kinds of beginnings going on in our household. The first, and most exciting and important is that my baby is now a kindergartener. :) Lots of prep (like choosing the perfect dress for her first day of school), and nervousness (she woke up that morning and said she was sooo nervous and scared) beforehand, but she loves it. She has been so proud to bring her folder home everyday with a "green circle" on the daily calendar (indicating that she was a good girl all day). She loves her teacher and loves her new friends, and really really loves it that she is now "a big kid." You know me... I had the camera out while we left the house and waited for the bus. I took WAY too many pictures, and here are just a few:

The other "beginning" (really... not sure it actually deserves to be called that) is that I finally got myself off of full auto on my camera last weekend! The hubs, girl child, and I went to a little field in our neighborhood and I took pictures while daddy & Leah ran around like fools and goofed off just to humor me and let me practice with my camera. I made a few REALLY stupid mistakes, but am very excited that I took the training wheels off a little bit and actually got some decent shots. Here are a few of my favorites:

That's it for now... no stitching I'm afraid... I hear it distantly calling my name, but I've been so busy the past week that I haven't really been able to spend a ton of time on anything except maintaining day to day. And, I'm still pretty obsessed with the whole photography "thing" so it might be a little while before I really pick the stitching up again. However, I do have a bit of a crafty project brewing, probably for sometime this week. So, who knows... I may actually have some "product" rolling out of my craft room in the next post.

Thanks to all of you that commented on my last post! I got some comments from folks that I hadn't "met" before, which was very very cool, so thanks and welcome to you ladies!

Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stitching In Stasis

Hi there everyone!

Well, as you can see from the title of this post - ain't no stitchin' here. None. At all. For the last... week and a half? Two weeks?

So, what have I been doing with my free time? Playing with PhotoShop Elements. Yep. I finally decided to bite the bullet and learn how to use the program so that I could quit my belly-achin' about all the pics I see from the pro-fesh-un-als (and non-pros, too!) that make me want to weep with envy, and drool all over my keyboard. Now, don't get me wrong. I got one of those million page long "Missing Manual" books when I got the program, and I did read it - somewhat. But I'm a hands on kind of learner so it wasn't really cuttin' the mustard, know what I'm sayin'? So, I did what any 21st century gal without a clue how to do something does - I went to YouTube, and watched hours of tutorials. There I learned about previously mysterious things like "layer masks", filters, actions, blah blah blah into the wee hours of the mornings. And when I was done there I searched blogland for some more help.

Eureka!! Via The Pioneer Woman's site, I came across this blog:

Oh my. There is a WEALTH (A wealth, I tell you!!) of information there for the new PSE user. And info isn't all!! This brilliant, awesome lady actually creates FREE actions that are usable in PSE (you aren't supposed to be able to create actions in PSE [an action is a recorded macro - no idea why Adobe calls it an "action", rather than a "macro"], which is one of the main differences between the el cheapo PhotoShop [Elements], and the full on [@$700!!!??!!!] PhotoShop)! AND, one of those free actions is the ability to create a layer mask on ANY layer in PSE (another of the key differences in the two programs). Score!!!!

Anyway... let me rein myself in here... So!! I've been fiddling around, and here are a few of my recent attempts. Most of the before shots are SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera).



After (a quick note - the point of this edit was to accomplish something [near to] "tilt shift photography" - the point of TSP is to make what you've taken a photo of look toy like. I plan on taking more pics in the future with the intent of them being TSP shots, so hopefully those will be more obviously toy like, but for my training sessions I've been using pics I've already got):

Before (another quick note - this shot is not SOOC. This before pic includes the basic edits I've been making since I got the program):



Before (Yet another note - I did not take this photo. My DH did [gotta give credit where credit is due!].):


So! There you have it! Hopefully this encourages someone out there reading this that it isn't actually terribly difficult to get really great results from a not ridiculously expensive photo editing program (trust me - if I can do it, you can do it!).

If you are at all interested in photography and editing your photos, but don't yet have the know how, I would highly encourage you to explore YouTube tutorials, then go visit the aforementioned blog (there are a few others out there, but the one I listed is the one I by far got the most "juice" out of). It really is a lot of fun!

Sorry no stitching this go 'round (and thanks for your comments on my last post)! I have been missing it the last few days, so probably will have something to show you next time.

Have a fabulous week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Touch & Go

Hi there everybody! This is going to be a quick - a "touch & go" - post (see the end of this post re: "touch & go")...

Not much going on, really, pretty much just day in day out kind of stuff... Leah is getting ready to start kindergarten in a couple weeks, so we're starting to get prepared for that. She's very excited to finally be able to go to "big girl school".

I have recently been bitten by the PhotoShop (Elements) bug... again - i.e. I've been drowning myself in tutorial videos, blogs, etc. trying to figure out how to use the advanced features to make my photos really fab, so there hasn't been a whole lot of stitching going on, but here is what I've done in the last few weeks:
Another Prairie Schooler Olde World Santa:

And some progress on The Blessing:

I also kitted up Olga (Plum Street Samplers) over the weekend and can't wait to start it. Someone (who prefers to remain anonymous) RAK'd the pattern to me, and I was overjoyed because I was going to "be good" for the sake of my wallet and not get her right away. She is just adorable! I can't wait to have her out when fall comes! Speaking of Fall... is anyone else ready for a break from the brutal heat?? Yeesh!

Okay, that's it for me (see, told ya it would be quick!), I'm going to get back to wrestling PSE into compliance. :)

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post!! I am always so glad to hear from you all! The notification "ping" on my phone is music to my ears. :) I was caught up on commenting on Sunday, but have since fallen behind... sorry!!! I'll get caught up very soon, I promise! Oh! And I notice I've gained a couple new followers! Welcome!

Okay, check ya later peeps!!

*Touch & Go: Okay, I'm an Air Force brat, so when I was trying to think of a clever title to convey that this post would be a quick one, I thought of watching fighter jet "touch & go" maneuvers as a kid. Now we weren't usually close enough to actually see the jets' tires hit the runway, but usually we could see them dip below view, and then lickety split streak back up again. It was very very cool, esp. for jet obsessed kids. :) As kids it didn't occur to us that the pilots weren't just having some fun. These were real drills for pilots that could find themselves in a hostile situation at any moment when deployed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Oasis (and some progress, too)...

Hi there everyone! I hope you've all had a great week! Before I get started I want to say thank you so much for taking the time to read (and comment on!) my posts. I love hearing from you all, and knowing I'm not posting for the crickets. You all are such an inspiration to my crafty endeavors, and I am honored that talented folks such as yourselves take the time to tell me how I'm doing. That sounds so sappy, I know, but it's true! So, thanks! :)

Okay, the main event of this post will be the reveal of my "new" bedroom. Unfortunately, I don't have any before pics to show you. Basically, it was pretty boring. Builder almond walls, red patterned comforter and matching drapes (which my step-mom helped me make, so I felt a twinge of sadness pulling them down and sending them to Salvation Army), an elliptical machine, some of the hubby's weights, and other misc. "stuff" that somehow made its way into the room.

Well, I cleared all that out, painted, and this is what we ended up with (looking in from the bedroom door):

The bed, with this original oil on canvas artwork in a fab frame (it was a total steal at $35!! And, it doesn't look quite this small IRL...):

"My" corner of the sitting area (the rug in this pic is where the whole "design" started - it was a major "score" at Home Goods, and after I had it I based all other purchases, and the wall color on that rug. Recognize the trunk? It used to reside in my craft room. The rest of the house was cannibalized freely for this redo - including the round table in between the chairs):

Looking into the bedroom from the bathroom:

And one last shot... just because I love the blue of the wall against the white drapery & chair, and the gold framed mirror:

So, that's it! I really love the way it turned out. It is so calming and peaceful in there now... everything I always hoped our master bedroom would be. There is still more accessorizing to do, and I'd like to get more artwork on the walls, but I'm happy with it as is, so those other acquisitions will be moments of serendipity.

What else have I been up to... Well, I did get a decent amount of stitching in this week, so here's where I am now:

Next on the agenda for this piece will be the house - I did the tree first so I wouldn't have to count (and possibly have to frog) a lot of wide open space to start stitching the house. We'll see how far I progress in the evenings this week. Speaking of audiobooks (nice segue, right?) - I started listening to Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir yesterday while I was stitching. It is fantastic!! If you like historical fiction, you sould definitely read or listen to this book. Just wonderful! I have always liked this author's non-fiction histories, and her transition to fictionalizing the people and events she has researched so heavily is absolutely flawless. 5 stars all the way!

That's about all I've got for this week... I get to go get my baby next weekend, and cannot wait to see her!! When we get home it'll be time to get her ready for kindergarten. Wow... time really flies, doesn't it? It literally seems like yesterday (or last week) that I was bringing her home from the hospital.

Since I've already tortured you with a post and a half worth of pics, I figure what's a couple more?? I had my macro lens out today to play around, and here are a couple of the shots I caught:
Have a fantastic week, everyone!!