Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's our "happy aniversary" today and I'm trying to throw something together. This used to be so much easier pre-children... we couldn't get a sitter so I'm planning a surprise picnic under twinkling lights in the big tree and as I've been pulling out lights and telling the boys I want to surprise dad they've thrown together their own surprise. *I* is dressed up like a vampire and *A* is going to be a zombie and the plan is to scare daddy when he gets home. That would be a great surprise. Ah, to be a kid! Anyway, I'm going to bow out of 2.for.Tuesday today and direct you over to Ali Edwards blog. She has guest tutorials every tuesday and today is how to photograph birthdays. We all know we have those in our lives. Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The little men are obsessed with pets and bugs and catching bugs and making them pets. I can't count the number of times I've had to tell them there are absolutely no bugs allowed in the house. I don't care if it's their pet. They've also been catching sea creatures + urchins and trying to make them pets. The sea creatures are just soggy weeds, rocks, or clumps of reeds that they have envisioned as creatures, but they need to be kept in a murky cup or jar of water. We all know what happens next.
one: bug catchers. made from paper cups. I really enjoy scrolling through the pages of the lmnop e-magazine. They usually have some fun ideas and this is no exception. It looks pretty straight forward and simple. I imagine you'd just have to:
  1. decorate a paper cup
  2. cut a door + glue a piece of a zip lock bag or some of that clear window stuff from a junk mail envelope to cover it.
  3. Cut out a floor [but don't glue it on yet... I think it would be easier to catch a bug with the wider opening... though I do like their plastic bugs. much much better].
  4. The roof is just a circle with a wedge cut out of it and the cut edges glued together to make a coned shape. Glue it on and then
  5. go catch a bug.

two: the best kind of bugs. The super cute paper ones. I love this butterfly mobile from Royal Buffet's etsy shop. I think I will make one to hang in the girls bedroom window since [as you may or may not already know or suspect] I have an aversion to curtains. Obviously, since this is from a shop there is no instructions, but again I think it's simple and straightforward:
  1. grab an old book or dictionary or use yesterdays newspaper and cut out butterflys [I would double over the paper so that you have two that match up].
  2. Sandwich a piece of string between two butterflys and glue/tape them together on the thorax [center] only + repeat for as many as you want on each string. It looks to me like there is 5-6 on the center string and 3-4 [or more depending on the size you cut... and you should cut different sizes I think] on the outside ones.
  3. Cut a sunburst/star or doily/flower shape from a piece of cardboard or cereal box covered with the same paper.
  4. Poke holes in the paper and thread your butterfly strings through holes and glue/tape down.
  5. String a loop from the top for hanging and voila!
There you go. Two fun and cute crafts to make with your kids.
Enjoy the journey!

Monday, July 20, 2009

just a few things

I've got rolling around in my head right now...
  1. 20 pages in 20 days. It's a class Jessica Sprague is offering and I don't know if it's the way she presented it or what, but the obvious simplicity of it struck me. I can do that. It's totally do-able. Of course, she is offering ready made templates and I'm cheap. I would totally not pay the $60 for the class when I can make my templates myself + her style is not my style so I would only be using the basics anyway. But the point is. 20 pages in 20 days. I love it.
  2. 12 stories. Ali asked the question: "If you could only create 12 scrapbook layouts that defined your life what stories would you tell?" I've been thinking about this too. As I walk around picking things up and trying to be more productive I've been tossing this one around. I'm also thinking in terms of 12 stories that defined 2008 [since that's the yearbook I've decided to really focus on first].

I am feeling very pressured to get this yearbook done. It's been calling to me far too long. This week my focus is on my house + getting it put back together + letting the ideas roll around + taking notes. Next week I will start the 20 pages in 20 days. Join me if you'd like. I'm trying to figure out how to share PNG files. If you can open this file let me know. I would be happy to share all of the templates I make with you if this works out [BTW the bird on the apple is just a clip art from the net in PNG form. I'm just trying out the box].

Enjoy the journey!

update: I just tried uploading a super cute template [honestly, doesn't that look like a real transparency? It's all digital + a vintage book page for good measure] and it won't support such large files on the free accounts. I'd have to pay for a business account for this to work. I'll keep looking. This is what I did with it as I was throwing it together. Again, I'm at a loss for words. Someday...

Friday, July 17, 2009

and again today:

I'm supposed to be cleaning the house and getting ready to head to yet another family reunion in the mountains but I'm fascinated by this whole photo editing stuff. For example, I sometimes love vignettes and sometimes I really hate them. It all depends on how obvious they are. So, I LOVE this edge burn technique from a couple of days ago. It's so subtle but make a definite difference in the look of the photo. I think they just look more vibrant and professional. This is the first one I did. Are you getting tired of the girls birthday shoot yet?
I think the after photo is a tad bit over exposed, but I still like the effect. I don't like a complete wash out. I will get better with practice.
Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm again taking a couple of online classes. Seems I'm addicted to those also...
Kara's composition art journal class about music I'm enjoying following and have jotted down some great ideas but have yet to make a mess. I am a mess maker and *B* is currently a little frustrated with the state of the house since we returned from camping. I figured I'd better get life back into some semblance of order before making another mess. I can't wait to get my hands dirty with this one!
Jessica Sprague offered that free photo editing class a few weeks ago and even though the description seemed like it would be mostly basics [and feel like I've got a fairly good handle on those + I don't like a ton of editing in my photos] I decided to go ahead and take it anyway because it was free. Besides, why not? I'm so glad I did. I've learned a couple of tricks that open up whole new possibilities for me. For example, in her selective recoloring tutorial today I finally learned how to use the brush tool to mask things. I tried that a couple of years ago and it made no sense and I couldn't make it work. Even after pouring through how-tos on the internet. But, as you may or may not know, JS is the queen of photoshop and even though her tutorials are for PSE 8 or whatever and her screen looks quite a bit different than mine her explainations are such that I can make it work in my measly PSE 4. Plus, she knows all of the hot keys and they are the same. Here's one I learned today... the x key will switch your foreground and background colors. So beyond basic but wow! Such a time saver.
This is what I did and with her simple steps it took me longer to pick photos than it did to edit it [and speaking of photos: as you may or may not have figured out the photos in the square frames are not mine. That's usually how I distinguish. If I know where I snagged it I will type it onto the frame this photo of yarn I'm not really sure where I got it from but the part that got clipped said Veer on it. I'm thinking I got it from a stock photo place]. So, Jessica Sprague deserves a crown for she truely is the queen.
Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Hi, my name is Mandi and I am addicted to sugar. It's sadly so true. A couple of months ago I bought some fun cookie fillers like mini Reese's Pieces, Kraft carmel bits, etc. I was going to try out fun and exciting cookies recipes. But that requires effort. It's so much easier to just eat the fillers... one: making books. something very similar to this cereal box journal. *I* wants to write the 8th Harry Potter book. It's called Harry Potter and the Serpents of Death. He ripped a bunch of pages out of a notebook, folded them in half, and proceeded to bug me until I threaded the sewing machine and sewed up the spine. Very quick + very easy. Or... easy peasy nice and cheesy as he likes to say. two: had an epiphany. I am going to ask the man if it's okay to hang pegs around the boys room. Then I'm going to make these toy bags. Then I'm not going to care what they stuff into them as long as the stuff isn't on the floor. This will solve many problems in our house. Coats on the stairs. Back packs on the front steps. Toys stuffed under the dresser. And yet, even as I write this I know it won't work because the stuff isn't in their room, it's on the stairs and the front steps most of the time. I need a solution. In the meantime, these bags are very cute and I think it would be so super fun to design your own fabric. Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


It's just me and the girl right now. The boys are at Camp Grandma with all most of their cousins from *B's* side. I'm sure they're having a blast. While *B* is at work I've been working on being a finisher. I'm ignoring everything else and just concentrating on completion. Specifically in the sewing area. My table is covered in fabric and thread and a few dirty dishes...
one: a pattern marked fast & easy should be just that. fast & easy. This particular pattern was neither of those. They should not judge a pattern based on the professional sewer. They should mark patterns according to ability also. In no way, shape, or form should a pattern using fusible interfacing be marked easy. This little dress was a nightmare and it's way too basic looking to be worth the hassel. From now on I think I'll be sticking to patterns like this one (only I would have to modify it to fit the girl as a smock/dress) ...
two: this headband. It was super easy to make (though I did modify it a little) and it was quick too. That's always a bonus in my book. If it's too involved I run out of steam and it goes into the pile. I just used some of the scraps I had laying around so my fabrics aren't nearly as cute as hers, but it will do just fine. I especially think it would be great to keep the hair out of the eyes while cleaning or crafting or exercising. Since I do those things you know.
** if you make it. It is a really wide headband. I shaved at least a quarter inch off each side of the pattern and it's still nice and wide (as opposed to really wide). I also really tapered the ends where they attach to the elastic. I didn't like the bulkiness around my ears. If you're interested in this I could probably hook you up with a modified pattern and some (IMHO) easier/quicker instructions. I'm not really one for pressing an entire seam in so I can sew things together. I'm more of a turn it out kind of girl. More room for error.
** this just happens to be Mel's prize. It's not so pretty, but it's done and I'm going to see her soon.
Tonight I'm off to lay in a hammock on the mountain. I can't wait.