Sunday, April 29, 2012

Digital Scrapbooking Effort

I haven't done this in a LONG time...I really love the convenience and efficiency of this way to scrapbook memories, but it's a heckuva learning curve teaching yourself. I did a few layouts a couple of years ago before I went on the road, and once I immersed myself in Photoshop Elements, I was starting to get the hang of it...

Then, I met my special guy, I retired and life changes the course of your passions! We hit the road full time in a 40 foot motorhome, and I left behind a HUGE stash of regular scrapbooking materials, paper, punches and all kinds of cool embellishments.

You can get all that stuff in digital form, and it's not as expensive as buying the real 3D stuff, in my opinion. So slowly, I have been accumulating a "stash" in digital form on my hard drive of my favorite designer, Katie Pertiert at Designer Digitals, and a few other favorites...Ali Edwards, Anna Aspnes, and more...But Katie is my favorite...Her designs are clean, simple,'s not as easy as it looks to layer, drop things down on digital paper, using Photoshop Elements. I really need to get back to lessons offered online by different digital scrapbooking sites.

Here's a layout I did today....I used a template from Designer Digitals, called "Today" by Katie Pertiet. It took me quite awhile to figure out how to get the photos UNDER the frames...Here's the template what it looks like before I started....
You choose digital papers and your photos...all the embellishments you see on the template are already there in place. There's one part in the template that is called a photo mask. It's in the upper left corner of the original template. I think I was supposed to put a large photo there and then make it opaque, but couldn't figure out how to do that. And here's my attempt at putting something together that means something to me....What should have taken just a few minutes or maybe 45 minutes after gathering photos, papers off my hard drive folders, took me about an hour and a half, trying to figure out how to do it! But, it's my first attempt in a long time. I'm not happy with the colors so I will work on redoing the same template this week and see if I can improve. I know I need to recolor the butterflies, I think that will be my first change. Got to make the journaling more pronounced as well...Got lots to learn and relearn, I can see that!
One thing about digital supplies, unless you print out a preview of everything you have, which would involve a TON of paper, it's hard to see what you have except in mini thumbnails. It took me forever to open and close files, choosing, rejecting, and drawing it together for this project. But I have a memory saved of a very special day...It's a start...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thankful and Grateful

Every week, I think about what I'm going to put in my craft blog, which I want to make more personal and reveal more of myself, since my sister has decided to devote more of herself to her wonderful Ferndale Clinic...I really admire her for that...she's retired, and she spends many, many hours working for free for the clinic...It's her passion. I'm still trying to figure out what my passion is, now that I'm retired. Is it digital scrapbooking? Yes....Capturing the wonder of children at play? Yes...Helping others? Yes....traveling....Yep.. Living in nature? Definitely, YES!..I guess I know my passions, but am thinking more about giving back to others, now that I'm retired. I guess I feel that 34 years of teaching special education kids was doing plenty of giving, so I'm not quite ready to hit the volunteer path of life in retirement just yet. If I do, it will be Habitat for Humanity, or volunteering at national parks and teaching another generation about preserving our wonderful country's special places.

This week, I got to thinking a little about that and feeling a little foolish about writing about my socks, (which I did finish another pair this week! :-)  or my paper beads, even though blogging is about your passions in life, musings, hobbies, or whatever you choose to make it. A blogging friend's husband is going through cancer and a lot of pain, and it just makes you realize how short life is, how you don't know what fate lies in store for you, and that you better make the most of life while you get to be here. And that's why we travel full time and I take a bazillion pictures, so I can remember it all for the time when I won't be able to do that.....I like sharing my photos with others who can't be there, or don't have time to travel, or can't afford to. I hope it gives someone a few minutes of enjoyment, looking at a pretty photo, or a chuckle at some of the dumb things I do, or mistakes I make....

I wonder how some people who eat wrong, live wrong, and don't take care of themselves have great health, while others who seem to do all the right things get sick and suffer. We've been reading more and more about friends and acquaintances who have passed away. It's kind of another bridge of life where you cross over and the bridge burns behind you...Now we are in the last stage of our life, so to speak, and it's going to happen more and more, the passing of friends, illness, and loss. It made me appreciate what I'm doing right now, here in the in a beautiful motorhome with a wonderful guy, the both of us very healthy, and appreciating that we can travel and go wherever we want to go...I just hope and pray I can handle life's pain as gracefully as some of my friends do, with courage, grace and fortitude...and as well as my mother, Millie did. She lived to be 96, and was the epitome of grace and strength.....

Reflection of Bok Tower Gardens and koi in the surrounding pool, Lake Wales, FL

Monday, April 16, 2012

Documenting Your Life

I'm heading in a different direction this week....towards photography and digital scrapbooking. I've been looking at the magazine Artful Blogging again..every once in awhile, I pick up this gorgeous magazine and aspire to greater things with Millie's Girls..more artsy stuff. It appeals so strongly to my visual senses, that I wish I could be more like that with this once in awhile, I'm gonna try! One of the points of the magazine is that you find the courage to speak from the heart and write about what you are most passionate...for me, that's nature, crafts, and photography, not in any certain order. I am VERY passionate about those things! I think the travel blog, Where's Eldo? captures the nature and photography that I love so much, but only part of my voice is there...

I think "Millie's Girls" is reflecting the other side of me, the crafts side, but it still is missing my "voice"...who I am and more of the inner me...My sister, Lyle, has sort of bowed out of this blog for the time being, she is so busy with her volunteer work, and looking perhaps to be a little more involved with the medical clinic she helps run, that she doesn't have time to put her wonderful creative talents to work into "Mille's Girls". But she's still here, behind the scenes and we'll hear from her now and then....

I've been looking for inspiration to change my writing a bit, to make it a little more personal, and this week I ran across some ideas for documenting your life. I started with Designer Digitals website and branched off from there. I ended up with a "lifelist"-- a simple list that gives you a snapshot into what you are feeling, seeing, eating, thinking, etc. at a certain moment in your life. This happened to be a particular list I saw somewhere but can't remember where. Here's the list and my entries:
     listening: James Taylor "Covers"
     eating: Carraba's mezzaluna--little pillows of half moon pasta filled with chicken, spinach and cheese
     drinking: Coke-always! regular, plain Coke, fountain Coke is even better!
     wearing: shorts and a Columbia tee shirt--almost a daily wardrobe staple
     feeling: a little worried about Eldy's cough, going on 3 weeks
     weather: too hot! It's in the high 80's in April in central Florida where we are
     needing: to get more exercise!
     wanting: to be a better photographer
     thinking: how lucky I am to have Eldy and to be traveling full time in a motorhome
     enjoying: the freedom that retirement brings each day, the changing scenery, the new experiences traveling brings
     wondering: if the skin cancer check on Tuesday will warrant any worries

This would be a great way to digital scrap a day in your life, or a week, or something like all I need are some photos!

Here's one I just love, this dog wears sunglasses every time I've seen him or her, which is several days in a row now......


Monday, April 9, 2012

One Down, One Left to Go...

We were really busy with Eldy's grandkids this week, visiting from Indiana. I didn't get much done in the way of crafts. We're having WAY too much fun at the Sun 'n' Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, FL. There is so much to do here, I haven't pulled out my crafts much this week. I ordered a bead roller kit from Amazon to speed up making my paper beads...always looking for the gadgets to make my crafting life easier. Now if I could just afford a vintage sock making machine, I'd be in 7th heaven. But they are complicated machines as Karen, of Small House, Big Backyard explains, and after she told me HOW complicated they were, I think I will be satisfied with making my socks by hand--for now! Besides that, they are expensive! The ones I looked at were over a thousand dollars!

Finished my Pagewood Farms Yukon "Maple Leaf" sock, the first one! Had to rip it out twice back to the gusset..Saw a mistake and heaven forbid, there are any mistakes in a pair of socks for me! One was pretty obvious, a crossed pair of stitches right at the heel, can't have that! So out it came....Then, I dropped a stitch about six rows down, managed to catch it and bring it back up through the loops...whew! I'm still using my favorite pattern, the Beginner Socks for Magic Loop (except I'm not using Magic Loop) by Liat Gat of Knit Freedom. This pattern uses the Fleegle Heel. I just love it--it's so easy! No wrap and turn. I know that's not a difficult heel to learn, but it's confusing to me, so I just use the Fleegle Heel and think they turn out great!
I just realized just how much I love these colors--the teals, tans, beiges, browns and blues...they are all over the motorhome! Our pillows....
The rug I picked out for the living room floor....Everything in here is tan, khaki, blues and browns.....
No wonder I was inexplicably drawn to the "mapleleaf" colors of the Pagewood Farms yarn! Now, on to finish the second sock. No family visitors coming in the near future for me to give away my socks, so I should be able to keep these for me! :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

On a Roll

Making paper beads, that is...these things are addictive! I had a photo of my beads two blogs ago and had a nice pile going....Here is the pile now....The beads on the left are from scrapbook paper, the beads on the right are from magazine pages...the scrapbook paper ones are much prettier because they are plumper and have more consistent color, but the magazine pages are much more interesting! I love the little pieces of text that sometimes show up when rolling the magazine pages. I wish I had more control over how to place the text but that's really hard to do. What am I going to do with all these beads? Not sure yet!

Maybe earrings...These paper beads are rolled tubes instead of bicones....You use rectangular pieces of paper instead of triangles.
I like these, too....

I've come across a magazine stash that has lots more glossy pages and choices of cool graphics....old National Geographic magazines, a magazine called Veranda, cooking magazines, and I thought, rather than giving up on the regular magazines, I'll look again through these to get some different looking beads. Scrapbooking paper is great, but you gotta pay for that! If you can find magazines laying around, that's a freebie and a no-brainer! Besides, having a little print or text in the magazine page adds interest to the beads. I've discovered you want to look for "texture" and "interest" at the bottom or top of the page to get an interesting rolled bead instead of a solid color which ends up "banding" your bead...not a bad thing, but I just like a different look. The best pages for beads in my humble opinion are full color ads out of expensive, glossy fancy magazines like Veranda...This is a page from that magazine that makes really pretty beads when rolled..I hated to cut it up it was such a beautiful page...
I also used People magazine, ESPN magazine, Woman's World ( weekly found at grocery store checkout lanes) a computer magazine, and quilting magazines--you can even use newspapers or any kind of paper, really!

Then I found a pretty photo of a paper beaded bracelet but with no directions, so I'll have to figure out how to do that....I'm new to beading and jewelry making, so not sure how to finish off a bracelet without knots or connections being seen. I'll do a little research and come up with something, I'm sure...I love this  bracelet!
Until next time......Jeannie and Lyle.......