March 28, 2008

Oh, I'm a Blondie Alright

And I'm determined to have more fun.


There. I said it.


Now eat your heart out.






I always hate taking pictures of myself. These are a bit blurry and the coloring is off, but you get the picture. Plain is a thing of the past, my friends.
I even picked up this wonderful liquid fabric hair spray by Shu Uemura - it's the same stuff they use on the hair of the Victoria's Secret models to make them look all bed-heady and fresh from the covers. Can't wait to test it out.

7 Sleeps

Only seven sleeps until Moo and I head back here:


Min said there was some green showing through the snow. Let's pray for no snowstorms a'la last time.

March 27, 2008

Feeling the Mojo

Oh, the joys of Blogger. I don't know about you guys, but I've had a bugger of a time trying to update and accept comments and the whole bit all week. Hopefully this post goes through before it kicks me out again.

Okay, enough bitching.

Trevor and Andy have been enjoying a week off of school for Spring Break. I am happy to tell you that aside from the naptime candy caper previously reported, there has been virtually no hanky panky to blog about. Lots of "I'm too old for this" comments from Nana, but no hanky panky. Then again, I bet I just jinxed myself. There are 4 more days of vacation left before Monday after all.

Mabel is finally rounding the bend toward healthy highway. She's halfway through her 3rd type of antibiotic and hopefully the ear infection and almost-pneumonia are almost gone. Her eczema is very clear for now (except for a spot on her jawline that is almost always there) and her diaper rash from the Neutramigen is about 99% gone. I am thrilled. That little hippanus is a work out!

Judy's word of the day: Harbinger
1 archaic : a person sent ahead to provide lodgings
2 a: one that pioneers in or initiates a major change : precursor b: one that presages or foreshadows what is to come
Used by Judy last night to describe something on American Idol. A harbinger of all things - to describe something on American Idol. Simon made some comment and she says, "I wonder if that's a harbinger." Except she didn't pronouce it correctly (I still love her, but alas, she said har-bING-er. Not correct.) and I didn't understand what she was trying to say. So it became a moment.

Moving on.

Since I was so very painfully plain on Easter Sunday AND since I endured what amounted to a courtroom coma yesterday, I decided it was high time I started taking care of myself and have a little fun. On a whim, I called up one of my favorite spa salons in town and lucked out with a same day appointment. I went in for a trim but decided to go with highlights while I was there. The girl doing my hair was an angel sent from hair heaven. Sent to show me the way. And tell me it was OKAY to color my hair. I deserve it!!! So, I sat through a Kerastase conditioning treatment, a vigorous shampoo in the massage chair and enjoyed a mocha latte while my hair lifted it's way with an oxygen "hair facial". It felt like royal treatment. I even got to read fashion mags while I was there!!! I was so excited I sent Lulu a picture of my latte! Why haven't I been taking care of myself?!?! I am no longer revolving around in anyone else's world (and since my kids are MY world, they don't count), I'll tell you that much!

So onward!

I'm going to be nasty though and not post a pic until tomorrow. Sorry!

I was feeling quite the mojo, so on the way home I stopped and found a couple of shirts on sale at Banana Republic that I loved. I also stopped into Sephora, but couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money on foundation, especially when I didn't love it. I even went home and filed my nails after the kids were in bed.

Tonight is Survivor (which Trevor is SO excited he'll be able to stay up and watch), clear polish on the fingers, and something hot and fun on the toes! I might even shave my legs tomorrow! Oooh, someone STOP ME!

March 24, 2008

You Ask and I Answer

I've gotten a few emails from folks asking about my scrapbooking process. Until now I haven't answered them, well, mainly because I haven't had time, but also because I'm not particularly satisfied with my whole scrappin' set up at my mom's house. I need my own space to s p r e a d o u t. Dig? And thinking this makes me feel guilty because I am so very blessed to have a place to call home while I tried to rebuilt my boat, which has been slammed into the rocks and burned.

*** Ever notice how this is the blog of metaphors? Man, come and get your metaphor. Good gracious. I've got boats and shoes and all kinds of things going on. ***


Herewego.



Planning

First, I take pictures and edit them with Paint Shop Pro 8. I had dreams of upgrading to Photoshop so that I could use some cool actions on my photos, but as I haven't hit the lottery or found a money tree sapling yet, those dreams will have to wait. So I edit them for color balance, contrast, clarity and saturation. Typically, the automatic photo fix option does not work for me because it's too much of some thing. It looks okay, but I'm OCD like that and want everything to be perfect. And it never is. And I'm never happy with my photos. But moving on.

Now, I should mention here that every day I visit all of my most favorite blogs and read them with love and admiration. Many of those blogs are scrap related (Jennifer Pebbles, Heather Melzer, Cathy Zielske, Elsie Flannigan, Ali Edwards, Donna Downey, Jenni Bowlin, Jamie Waters, American Crafts, and Making Memories). I also look through the gallery of Garden Girl layouts at 2 Peas In A Bucket every day. Each time I see a layout that I like, I save it in a folder on my external hard drive. I right click on the photo and > save as > Location/name.jpg. I then print all of them in color and take them home to slobber over- I find that 2 fit perfectly on a regular sheet of paper and can be popped onto one page in Microsoft Power Point. I suppose this is the same as ripping out favorite layouts in scrap mags, but I don't receive any scrap mags so I opt to do this instead.


Once I have edited my photos, I decide which photos to scrap. I send those to print at Walmart (I greatly dislike Target's digital processing, blech!). When the pictures have printed, I set aside some time on my schedule (usually an evening, after kids' bedtime) to plan pages.




Lifting, Plain and Simple

When the time on my schedule has arrived, I get all excited. In a pile are my freshly printed photos. Next to that I keep my printed inspiration layouts. And in my lap is my handy-dandy scrap journal. I look at the picture(s) I want to scrap. Then I flip through the printed layouts until the Heavens open and the angels sing and my soul has found a match.

Then, I sketch. I sketch the layout using my pictures and make notes to myself about journaling, embellishments, etc. My sketch looks something like this.





I usually sketch out 10-20 pages at a time. This is how I am able to scrap 10 pages in one weekend. It's all planning. That's the secret.


Putting it All Together

When I have time to sit and scrap, I can easily pull out my stack of pictures, my handy-dandy scrap journal, and start working from those sketches, one at a time. All of the planning really eliminates time wasted wondering and guessing. Since I have to squeeze in scrapping in between binky and bottle washing, dinner making, homework helping, baths, and calls with my attorney and Lulu, this process works well for me.

Here are two layouts all the way through.

1
First, a photo of Mabel at about 3 weeks. I love this picture. It makes me feel smooshy and fuzzy inside.


Here is the layout that I decided to lift for it. Layout by Cathy Zielske, photo from her blog.




Next, my sketch of my future page. Even though my lift is 8.5 x 11 and I scrap in a square (8x8), I can make it work.


I use abbreviations to help myself - like CS (for card stock) 1, CS2 - meaning I want 2 different colors of cardstock. PP is patterned paper. I also like to jot down potential titles so that when it's go time, I don't get stuck. Sometimes, I still get stuck.


The page in process (please don't pay attention to the dangerously cramped dining room table).




And the finished page, which you will notice doesn't exactly resemble my sketch either. It's just a jumping off point. In this case, I decided the heart in the lower right corner of the photo would be overkill since I decided to use those lovely rub on flowers from Heidi Grace. I also decided to forego the big M on the lower left of the journaling block. It's all about balance and that wasn't doing it for me.






2

Next, a photo of Mabel and Jonas that I just LOVED.




The layout I lifted.


My sketch.




As you can see, I varied the sketch from the lift from the very beginning. Sketching it just makes it mine. Makes my heart adopt it. I've tried to scrap directly from lifted pages before and am not very sucessful. I just need this middle sketch process, I guess.


Side note: years ago, I tried making a computer-developed planning sheet in Power Point. My OCD self loved it. All smooth and black and white. It even had check boxes for the colors I planned to use and blank lines for a list of embellishments. You know, I only used that thing twice. I gave a schlew of them to Lulu. Lulu, did you ever use those planning sheets? My point is, I think the reason they didn't stick with me as a system was because they weren't bound together (the handy-dandy scrap journal seems to work best) and because I didn't draw them by hand. Listen to me, Folks, draw it out! Who cares what it looks like. No one is looking at your writing but you. I tried it the OCD perfectly stretched ppt square way and it didn't stick. Use your hands and a pencil and go to town. Okay, tangent over.

Here is the page in process. I'm loving those mini alpha rub ons by Doodlebug. A new favorite thing, for sure.



And, complete.




And, since I have them on hand, here's one more.



3

I loved this picture from the moment I saw it on my camera display the day after Mabel was born. Such a favorite. And I waited to scrap it because I wanted just the right page.



And I also loved this layout from the moment I saw it on Jamie Waters' blog. I kept it handy, waiting for just the right photo. On planning night, I decided it was time to put these two favorites together.



Here is my sketch.


Clearly looks different from Jamie's layout since I only had one photo. Now - I actually took about 20 pictures of the first time the boys met Mabel, but since I'd not seen this layout to lift yet when I ordered the prints, I'm stuck using the one 4x6. If I'd remembered I had them before printing, I would have sent out for smaller prints so I could use 2 or 3 on this page.
No in-process photo for this one, but here is the finished page.



One of my new favorites.

So, there you have it. I hope this helps those who asked - and anyone else, too. It's my process. It might not work for you. But experiment! Find your own groove and work on your mojo!

New Pages

I managed to scrap some on Friday and Sunday this week. Here are my new pages.



I coated the edges of Heidi Swapp ghost butterflies with white paint and then white sugar coating. Then I bent them in the middle and pinned them to the page with brads. Those dots felt really good to freehand, too. Really artistic.







The journaling on the Between Us page reads:

12 babies
03 states
828 miles
Thousands of cell phone minutes
01 amazing sisterhood




Isn't this one SWEET? m & j ... boy girl friends
Just darling.




And, I could eat this one. I am LOVING that Heidi Swapp silver crown rub on. And those Heidi Grace rub ons were completely worth the million dollars I spent on them.




And, another of my favorites of all time. This one was a lift of Jamie Waters that ended up looking completely different.









Happy Easter

Happy Easter! I am so proud to say that the kids, Nana, and I made it to church yesterday. On time. Before leaving, I decided to make a go of some family shots. I realize now that I never remembered to put on my pearl earrings and necklace. Oh well. *Sigh.*

First, Nana took this. Not perfect, but scrappable. I look really, really plain. *Sigh again.* Mental note: Next time, buy a PINK dress for Spring, you dumbass.


[ Note also that Nana's picture-taking abilities have improved! We weren't in the center of the frame (I cropped), but we were all in focus! Yay, Nana!]

Then I decided to give kid shots a whirl. What was I thinking?

Trev: "Mom, before I can listen to your directions, I have to smoosh her. Mabel's on my lap, Mabel's on my lap, MABEL'S ON MY LAP!"


Andy is possessed by cantakerosity. Trevor squishes harder. Mabel appears non-plussed.



Great smile from Trev. Andy's gone within himself to find that inner humor. Mabel's tired of this whole process and refuses to smile. In fact, she looks a little upset that I'm putting her through this.




Mabel has thoughts of escape. Trevor is off in La-La land, and Andy's still in his happy place.



Finally, 37 shots later, I managed to get this one. Trevor has a bit of a hokey smile thing going on, but he is happy. Andy is back from his happy place (and still happy), and Mabel has decided that looking slightly enthused is almost as good as smiling for Mommy.



I'll take it!

A Random Post

Today is a special day, blog friends. I have a couple of posts lined up for you. I thought I'd start off with a completely random selection of recent photos.


First, let's have a look at Mabel's new teeth. Yes, I said TEETH. As in - before I had time to get the first one photgraphed, the second one popped in. Also, please try not to stare directly into those beautiful, soul-peering eyes.




See them on the bottom there, beneath the spit bubbles? That's my girl! Six months old this week. And 17 lbs. I know that she weighs 17 lbs because we've been to the doctor 5 times in the past two weeks. When Miss Mabel gets a bug, she thoroughly exhausts that bug before getting rid of it, even if that means having a cold, a belly virus, an ear infection, and "almost" pneumonia at the same time. This also does not include her strong battle against eczema or diaper rash due to that nasty Neutramigen formula. The girl has the will of an ox, I tell you.

Here is our little chef, who dressed himself like this while I was cooking dinner the other night. Nevermind that nasty bacteria-ridden oven mitt. And please pay attention to the darling, grubby toes down there.




Last weekend, the boys and I went roller skating.

Yep, even me.



Here is Trevor, trying his best to stand. I have to give him a break. After all, it's been over a year since he was last on skates.

"Trev, use the toe stop to stop yourself from rolling around!" I yelled.



Oops. Too much toe stop.

After this, he was on his way, flailing and falling all over the place. I could never catch him on camera again because, Dude, the kid was DETERMINED. Have I mentioned that Trevor is determined to accomplish anything he sets out to do? Oh yes. So, his poor knees and shins were bruised like grapes by the end of the night, but the kid successfully went around the rink about 6 times and only fell 27 times.


And then there is Andy, who seems to take to almost anything new like a duck in water.




Yep. Good thing Trevor was busy on the other side of the rink falling down by the time I took this, or he would have been really mad, lol. And I think it was at least 30 minutes before Andy fell the first time.


By the end of the outing, Trevor was mostly skating. And Andy, well, yes, Andy was completely skating. As in, not holding on to me or the wall anymore.


And for those of you concerned about my safety, no, I didn't fall once.


So, that's it for this post.

March 19, 2008

Beauticians In Years Past

Judy went and got her hair done today. Thankfully, it's not a wash and set... yet. It's actually a much groovier 'do than Rose Nilund would ever attempt. Short and sort of spikey.

Anyway. She took Mabel with her to the salon and kept her in an umbrella stroller during her appointment. During dinner, she told me that Mabel had made all the girls laugh while she was there.

Trevor said, "all what girls, Nana?"

"All the beauty operators," Nana replied.

???

Beauty operators. Apparently that's what they were called way back when. Or maybe not. She couldn't remember if it was an old term or something she just made up.

LMAO!

March 17, 2008

A Rebirth, With Butt-in Shoes

My good friend Becky came into town on Friday. Beck used to live here but moved away for work about two years ago. I miss her dearly. So I was especially elated when she told me that she was coming. We planned dinner and drinks. Well, *I* planned more - in my head, cause i'm OCD like that. I had visualized a rebirth of sorts. Another independent step on this strange path I'm on. Some fresh air. A chance for me to view the "market" before actually putting myself out there on it. Goodness knows I haven't looked for more than a decade. It felt weird to think about it.

We went first to a local sushi bar. Loved the shrimp tempura and Japanese beer. After that, my dinner (called Hot and Sexy) went downhill. Also, I think our waiter actually flew to Japan himself to bring our dishes because, Dude, it was some baaaad service. I was forced to leave a very tiny tip.

Anyhoo, Becky and I spent some time catching up on our lives, talking a lot about work, men, marriage, jelly rolls, and candy. Of course we talked quite a bit about my comfy shoes as well. Becky knew my comfy shoes - we partied a lot as 3 back in the day - and she was as dumbfounded as I am about the changes and overall let down of the state of my shoes. In fact, my Becky was damned angry with those shoes. We toasted to our futures and laughed until people started to look at us funny. It was great. By the end of dinner I had to use the ladies' and was walked in on by some woman who was NOT apologetic enough in my opinion. Time to go.

We decided on drinks at a local bar with live music. We were ready to relax, chat a bit more, let loose. We paid cover and walked in, surveyed the scene. There were a lot more lesbians and ugly men there than I remember (no offense to the same-sexed or ugly, just a statement of reality in that bar at that time). Then, I saw him. A sight. Sitting on a stool at the bar directly in front of us, and turning around as if he almost expected me to walk in at any moment... my heart dropped like lead.


My comfy shoes were sitting at the bar.


#$#%$%^! $*&@#!!!. (Matriarch and fornication!)

My heart sank to my stomach and Becky confessed that she was fighting the urge to kick my shoes in the crotch. I had to hold her back when she spat and swatted at him. It was a struggle, I tell you. Just kidding there, but that would have been hilarious (and deserved). After polite hellos, Becky and I found a seat and before our butts hit the bench, he was gone.

Also gone was my sense of self, my power, my brave attitude. Just. Like. That. My head was full of worries again. I think that's what I was most upset about. My rebirth was smudged and marred by the appearance of my shoes. I think he planned it, but that's not the point. I'm not quite strong enough yet to say, "who cares?" and shrug it off. He accomplished what he set out to do - make me uncomfortable in my own skin. Force me to live in his world instead of my own. Remind me of how quickly life can fall apart, instead of how there is so much life left to live. I could strangle him for that. Thank goodness I'm classy and totally not like that. Mental note: call lawyer in the morning.


To combat the angry butterflies in my belly, I quickly downed my first Jaeger bomb of the evening. It was delicious.


Becky stuck with beer this time. Boring (but I love her anyway).




Isn't she cute?


We listened to some live music


(Sorry for the blur. It wasn't my vision that was blurry, just the lack of lighting in the bar.)

and people-watched and gabbed, and gabbed about the people we were watching. Several girls had those camel toes I had recently warned my mother about and one girl had about 60 cc's hanging out of her bra. There was too-much-makeup girl who, I think got ready in the dark and misapplied her blue eyeliner and pink eyeshadow from 1986. She was with mullet girl. Seriously - like Billy Rae Cyrus, my friends. It was a sight. All lovely people, I am sure.



Despite the interruption of my shoes, Beck and I pulled off a night of friendship and fun. I am so grateful that we were able to get together and I can't wait to do it again. Next time, we'll take a cab, dance, and employ covert strategies when choosing our fun destination.



Thanks for going out with me, Beck! Love you!

March 12, 2008

American Idol

I love American Idol. I have watched every season, though with waning interest... until this season. They critics were right on target when they said the talent this year is unbeatable. Holy cow!
These are my favorites.

That would be David, Brook, and Carly (L to R). David can "rock" me to sleep anytime, lol. Oh my Heavens!

Little Archuleta is good, but I think he's too young to take the competition and industry seriously.

And strippy-Hernandez should go home. That's what I think anyway.

March 11, 2008

Quick Update and Layouts

Oh, Folks. I have the funk again. This time it's bronchitis. Oy. Last time I don't get the flu shot! This time I scored some antibiotics and some fancy cough syrup. Unfortunately I can't take this fancy cough syrup at work because they don't like me sleeping on the job.

Okay, so a quick post today. First of all, the big meeting with my shoes was uneventful. Not terribly productive but not a total waste. We're going to have to meet again something this next week.

Also some big news for Mabel. Not only is she a rollie-pollie-ollie all of a sudden, but last night I found... a tooth. As in, broken through the gums already. *sobs*

Some layouts I managed this weekend between coughing spasms.




There issomething not quite right about this one. I love it, still, but something is missing or misplaced... Ideas?



This one is a Jamie Waters lift. I really love how it came out. So bright and cheery.

One of my favorite pages, ever.


That's it for this sicko.