Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008....

It was a good and bad year. I think the first 6 months of the year I was in a semi catatonic state. My mom passed away last year, on Dec. 27... so it was a hard beginning... then in June we went on vacation to Disney, and I think that was the first that I'd felt happy in over 6 months.

A year later, and things have settled back to normal, my dad seems OK, my brother is OK, and it's OK, but weird.

I think 2009 will be great, at least I hope. I had the best meeting today. I met with the owner of an embellishment company located here in Pittsburgh. It's called Creative Charms and I will be doing their catalog. How cool is that?? They have really cute stuff. I purchased some of their embellies this past summer and left a comment on their blog, then she called me for catalog work! Bonus ~ I came home with a bag full of fun stuff to play with, too!!

I also acquired 2 new clients, besides the catalog stuff, so I hope to be busy this coming year.

And finally, some scrappy stuff to share. I just finished up my layouts for the Scrap N' Supply Shack's January Kit. I had a lot of fun using this stuff, especially on this wall hanging!

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I recycled some cardboard! I had a blast throwing down white paint, silver paint, blue paint...then while the paint was wet, I threw some Martha Stewart silver glitter on it... I was having soooo much fun!

Here's another one I did with the kit... lots of handstitching and some doodling.

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OK, that's it for now.

I wish you a very Happy New Year. If you go out, stay safe. Me, I'll be here in my nice safe, warm, comfy house watching the ball drop in my jammies!

Take Care! Blog ya next year!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Title Goes Here

My brain has turned into mush after all this relaxing! I can't think of a title. I had a great Christmas... it was so nice to visit with my family. We all got new Pjs, and put them on after mass on Christmas Eve:
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Here's a picture of the Creche that I have in an alcove above my fireplace:
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We have a large collection of Christmas snow globes... I like to buy ones that don't look traditional, like this snowman:
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I took tons of pictures... I {heart} my camera!! My favorite Christmas present. The more I play with it, the more I learn.

I'm sure you are tired of Christmas, but for me, we still celebrate it until after New Years, we don't take the tree down. I also don't put it up right after Thanksgiving, so, I'm not tired of it yet. I have friends/clients coming over tomorrow, Dian & Bob, they've never been to our new house, so they'll want to see the tree. We've known them for years. Matt worked with Dian at American Thermoplastic for 13 years. Then, Dian left for Dominion People's Gas, and now, Dominion is one of our clients. They moved to Richmond (actually Midlothian) Virginia. Bob is a professional photographer, who took our wedding pictures. He's also taken wedding pictures for local celebrities and newscasters. He's awesome...and old school, still using film. Anyhoo, they're coming over tomorrow, and he wants to do a family portrait of us. I don't know if I'm happy or not about that... it's all the what to wear, and will my hair turn out.

Anyway, 2 exciting things today, one is I have a digi layout featured on Gallery Standouts. That was quite a surprise. Here's the link.

I also received this award from Pamela & Rachel:

I get to pass it on. Here are the rules:
1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Provide links to their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Here are the blogs I'm going to nominate:

1. Heather Prins, because she's such an inspiration to me, does lovely work AND she scraps a layout every single day. Her family is adorable to boot!

2. Martha "Scrumptious", because not only does she do fantastic work, but I admire her faith and her overall philosphy (if you will) of life.

3. Drea, because this girl has moxie! She is a delight, and such fun... and a kick ass scrapper! Oh, she's a judge, too!

4. Debbie Gaydos, she is practically my neighbor... we totally need to hook up. I met her on 2Ps, and got to know her thru our blogs. She does awesome layouts of her 2 boys, and has been pubbed lots of times!! Go check her out, she's a gem!

5. Kim Watson, I know Joscie already gave Kim this award, but, she's my new found bloggy buddy, and I totally love her scrap style. She was just in the January issue of Creating Keepsakes. She lives in Capetown South Africa, too... how cool is that?

I feel really blessed to have "met" so many people thru this blog and scrapbooking. There's a whole big wide world out there, and this internet thing is bringing us all together.

Well, I'm going to continue to celebrate my holiday. I do have to work a bit today, that is, if I can get my brain to function, but, my kids are still home for the entire week, so I'm going to do the bare minimum of work, and enjoy my time with them.

XOXO,
Chrispea

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, filled with food, family, friends and fun.


Peace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FRAGEELIE.... must be Italian!

Every time we drive into town, I say that when I see this:


It's a bit blurry because we were driving in the car. I love the movie A Christmas Story and can't wait until tomorrow night when TBS will begin to play it non-stop for 24 hours. We have it on all day on Christmas... even though we own the DVD.

Here are some cookies I made:

I gave them to my neighbor who is traveling to South Carolina today. She might be there already. I made more cookies tonight, mini cheesecakes, Russian Teaballs, Reese Cup Tassies and more of the Kolache cookies. I did the nut ones on Sunday, today I made apricot. I'm of Slovak decent, so you must make Kolache and nutrolls for Christmas and Easter. YUM!

I've had these really neat tin snowflakes for about 6 years... they're really cool, but too heavy to hang on the tree. This year, I decided to hang them on my pot rack in the kitchen. I also put a silver berry vine around it, too. I love how it turned out. I think the snowflakes found their home. I might even leave them up past Christmas.



Here's a random picture of my dog... I thought it turned out good. She looks so innocent... who would have thought just a bit earlier she ate an entire dozen of the Kolache cookies! I asked her why oh why did you have to pick the hardest cookie to make! Silly dog.


Well, that's it. I'm finished shopping. Finished baking. Just need to clean a bit tomorrow for our guests on Christmas. I'm getting excited!!

Off to bed, I'm bushed. Take care!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

500+ photos later....

And I have a few good ones to share. (warning, this post is picture heavy!) Lots and lots of my pictures are blurry. I guess they will get better with time, you know what they say, Practice makes perfect! If at first you don't succeed....Rome wasn't built in a day... yada yada yada.

My son's birthday party went off without a hitch! He was so happy. He made a little speech at dinner thanking everyone for coming and announcing it was his best birthday ever... totally worth all the head spinning!

Here are a couple of pictures:

These are the treat bags for the boys:
I was playing with the depth of field here... thought this one came out cute. I could scrap this and use the white space to write in there in the lower corner....

Here is his football cake. Two things are nice about cupcake cakes - 1.) kids seem to eat a cupcake, but when you slice a piece of cake, half gets wasted; and 2.) no leftovers for me to eat.

After cake and ice cream, the kids played either Xbox or the Wii... this picture cracks me up, the girls were boxing... I laughed so hard watching them.

Here are some of the boys watching Batman:
I finally made my cookies. I still need to make my apricot kolache, sugar cookies, and gingerbread men. Maybe tomorrow. After all, Christmas isn't for another 2 days!

These are Linzter cookies. It came in a mix. My friend Karen gave the mix to me for Christmas and it came with the cookie cutters. I found that if you roll out sugar cookie dough on a pastry cloth, they don't stick and you don't need a spatula to lift them, so they retain their shape. I found my pastry cloths at Walmart, but I've also seen them at Target:



I had to sample cookies yesterday... there goes my diet!

And last, are my cards... yep, got those done, too:


On this one, I used the Freebie tickets that I had on my blog. I will be posting another freebie in the near future, so keep an eye out!

That's it for now. I hope you all are getting your holiday stuff ready and not stressing out. Have a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Someone Stop This Ride!!

I wanna get off!

(photo courtesy of: freefoto.com)

My head is spinning? Is yours?

I've got cards to make, cookies to bake... did I mention my son was born December 19? That's tomorrow! I have 5 little boys coming over at 5.... I need to order his cake, get donuts for school treat, wrap his presents, clean the house - or at least make it look like it was cleaned! Go to the bank, the post office, the grocery store and more!

Please remind me not to give birth to children in the month of December... oh never mind, I'm not having any more! ;)

Hope your day is as fun as mine! (insert evil laugh!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bad Blogger

I know, it's been a while....I just really don't have anything exciting going on.

OK, that's not entirely true. I have my daughters Christmas concert tonight.... I got my new January kit to play with from Scrap N' Supply Shack.... yummy stuff in there... and I got a new digital SLR Nikon D40 camera... oh yeah! With 2 lenses. The 18-55 that comes with it, and a telephoto 55-200. Fun. I totally suck at using it. I seriously need to read and play and practice. I should be able to hopefully take some decent pictures of Emma singing in the concert tonight.

I took this picture of berries on our crab apple tree using the telephoto lens. I was standing in the doorway about 15 feet away:

And, this picture with the 18-55 lens. It got the whole living room in.

And yes, I have one yellow wall on the left and a green one on the right... and my fireplace is burnt orange. What can I say, I like colors! ;)

I've also been busy making lots of Christmas cards. No cookies yet, tho... gotta get on that.

What else??? Oh, my dear friend and scrapbooker extraordinaire Heather Prins is going to be Scrap N' Supply Shacks first guest designer in January. Yeah Heather!! You'll love her design work. Check out her blog and see her fantastic stuff and beautiful family.

Blog ya later!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Monday!

Why is it happy? Well, let me tell you! This past weekend I moved into my very own scraproom! Complete with dusty pink walls. I’m trying to get that Vintage French look... I’m not finished decorating or putting things away, but so far, I just love it. I’ll post pictures as soon as I can get some nice ones taken.

Next happy thing is that I lost .8 pounds this week! I didn't think that I lost any, but was pleasantly surprised that I’d dropped almost a pound at my Weight Watchers weigh in! Only 20 more to go. Ha! It's taking forever! Maybe that means it will stay off.

And lastly ~ I’m going to be PUBBED in Memory Makers magazine! I’m beyond thrilled! Joscie and I were emailing back and forth that we both submitted pages to their baby call. Then, she got an email that they were picking up 2 of her layouts, and she asked if I had heard anything. I hadn’t. I figured that they were done making their calls, and I’d try again next time. About a week later, I decide to go thru my 300+ junk emails. I was getting ready to just delete all, when I decided to read thru them real quick... and there it was! An email from Memory Makers asking for my layout. It was so awesome! I had to hurry to get my page out, seeing that I unknowingly sat on the email for a week. It will be in the May/June 2009 issue!!

Friday was an awesome shopping day! No Sassafras Lass or Maya Road, but, I did get some October Afternoon stuff. Very cute. Also, a new album, 3 ring binder type. Lots of other papers and embellies. One of my favorites was the little crocheted flowers from MME Laundry List. Really cute.

Here’s another Christmas layout from Scrap N’ Supply Shacks December kit. They are still looking for a design team for the card kit. If you are interested, check here.




I love these little ornaments. They are all unwrapped and on our tree. I’d like to add to the collection, but they’re really hard to find.

ETA: Just thought of one more “happy” thing. My hubby is the featured illustrator of the month on iStock! :) Check him out here.

That’s it for now. Have a great day!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Kit Stuff

I'm so excited! In a few hours, I'll be at the Scrapbook Super Station... it is huge. I love that store! They have everything! I "need" some Maya Road stuff... and, they have Pink Paislee. I'm just crossing my fingers that they'll have Sassafras Lass, then I'll be set! I'm meeting my friend Karen there at 10, and we've allotted 2 hours for shopping, then lunch. We weren't sure if 2 hours will be enough, so we didn't want to make lunch reservations. Shopping for scrap supplies is way more important than eating!

Here's my layout with my mom, my brother and I.... Christmas 1972... man I'm old!


You can click to enlarge if you want to read the journaling. Everything is from the Scrap N Supply Shack kit, except the epoxy word stickers. Those are from Making Memories FaLaLa line. It's a bit of a scrap lift from a Jenn Olson LO. I flip-flopped stuff and added things, tho.

Here is my version of a button tree. I punched out 2 sets of circles, one inch and one and 1/2 inch. I need to paint my pot yet... but the tree is complete. I thought I'd use up paper from this old Christmas stack.... well, I didn't even put a dent in the stack, so you could make a tree like this with a few sheets of paper, or even scraps. I used scraps from last years cards that were in the stack.


I used traditional colors. Red, green and white buttons, and white pearl pins.

That's it for now. I'm off to do some serious shopping!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scrap 'n Supply December Kit Reveal

Such pretty paper! And, Scrap n' Supply Shack is starting a card kit. I got to play with one. They're also looking for designers for the card kit. If you are interested, I believe it is on the Pubbed blog.


We took the kids to see the windows in downtown Pittsburgh. I believe this was the first year that PPG had the skating rink, so we wanted to see that.



A couple of cards from the card kit:


The word Joy and the holly came from a box of DCWV chipboard that I got last year.

Here's a card where I used the BG paper Wassail.


Oh yeah, I used my Cuttlebug on both of the cards!:)

I'll share more later, but, duty calls.

Have a great day!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I wasn't going to go out on Black Friday, but.... there was such a great deal at Target, I had to grab it. It's one of those video game chairs. $44!! Normally $79. Had to get it. It's for my son's birthday... December 19. Monday is my hubby's birthday. He wanted one of those things to play his iPod in the car, so I got that. I gave it to him as soon as I came home since we'll be riding in the car tomorrow to my in-laws, I figured we could use it and listen to Christmas music on the way.

Since I was out... I stopped at Joanne's with a 50% off coupon in hand... which, I didn't need because this was on sale:
While at Jo's the embossing folders were 40% off, so, what good is a Cuttlebug without embossing folders? (I innocently rationalize). I picked up 2... almost got 4, but, I'll hold off. I got snowflakes and swiss dots.

I'm working on my DT stuff for Scrap 'n Supply Shack. Gorgeous, gorgeous paper. This is my favorite kit so far. Basic Grey yumminess, Making Memories and Little Yellow Bicycle. Lovely kit. Please check them out if you're looking for a new kit club. They're running a contest, too now thru Dec. 31 called "Tell A Friend". The person that signs up the most friends, wins. If you'd like to sign up, just tell 'em that Chris invited you.

I'm going to use this little cutie in a layout...
It's ME! Heehee. I got these old pictures out, and I showed my daughter, my goodness, she looked like me when I was little.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm now looking forward to Christmas... parties (going to one on Saturday already), decorating, and having family from Virginia spend Christmas Day with us.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My First FREEBIE

Early Christmas present for you. I just designed these fun labels/journaling spots for both digi and traditional scrapping.

If you are a digital scrapper, choose the PNG file.

If you are a paper scrapper, choose the PDF file.

Here's a preview of the goodies:

Click to enlarge.

If you use these, just give me a credit.
Thanks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FREE Stuff

I thought that would get your attention!

Nothing free today... but I wanted to throw this out there... if I were to provide you with FREE stuff - ie: journaling blocks, cute little illustrations, some swirls.... in both a pdf format for you to print from your computer for paper scrappers and also a png format for those of you who digi scrap, would you be interested?

I have some stuff I already designed and used on my own pages, and thought with this economy, why not share a bit.

Just let me know if you are interested. If I get a good response, I'll do it. If no one is interested, I won't bother.

And, since totally text laden posts are boring, here's a layout I did for Stacey at AMR to celebrate her 1 Year Anniversary. I don't think she comes to my blog, so I think it's safe to post this:


Couple close ups:


So, please, please let me know if you are interested and if I get a good response, I'll start getting some stuff ready. Here's a little sampling of what I'm talking about:

If there is another format you might need for cutting out stuff with SCAL or your other digital cutters, let me know and I'll try to accommodate.

ETA - it will be for traditional scrappers, too. I'll make a pdf, you can print it and cut out the pictures/journaling blocks with a craft knife, and adhere to your LO. That's what I do!

Have a good week!! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Digi & Some Randomness...


I did this digi layout for National Digital Scrapbooking Day November 1, 2008. I hadn't done a digi in forever. It was fun to mess around with it. I think if my stuff was more organized, maybe I could find what I'm looking for faster. Right now, I just use Adobe Bridge to look thru my thousands of downloads, and it's quite time consuming.

I started the Jessica Sprague "Stories in Hand" class. I'm sure you know if you're taking it as well, that the last 2 days were mostly printing things out. Today is day 3, and I haven't looked at the assignment yet. I had an extremely busy day with 2 meetings. One at 9 am... that was with 2 different departments at a local university where the Pittsburgh Steelers train for summer camp. ;) It was a great meeting. I walked out with a few job assignments, so I'm a happy camper.

The other meeting was actually a parent teacher conference. That was pretty awesome as well. Went over my sons report card, and he got ALL A's! (proud mama here!!)

In between I had a conference call and worked... very busy... I seriously need to scrap.

I started Weight Watchers. Went to my first meeting Monday. For the past 3 days I have been doing really well. I hope to drop 4 or 5 pounds by next Monday. Cross your fingers. I seriously have been eating poorly and it was catching up with me. When I was in my 20's and weighed in at a whopping 114, I thought I'd always be a stick. Yeah, right... that doesn't happen. I've also been working out a bit on the treadmill. I'm hoping to drop 30 pounds.

And, last, but not least, is our silly dog Sophie, waiting patiently for me to finish my cappuccino so she can lick the remaining foam in the cup. Everyone loves a dog picture right? Our local Starbucks has a memo board where people post pictures of their doggies drinking Starbucks. I figured I'd snap a shot of Sophie and add her into the mix. (Dog people are weird like that I guess!)


Well, that was my week. I hope to get to play with some paper over the weekend...it's a fun stress reliever. I'm happy to be busy at work, though, so many bad things happening around us. It's good to see somethings are looking up.

Have a happy day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dodging & Burning Tutorial

Ever take a really great photo, except for the part that is either too dark, or blown out... like this:


This is my friend Cassie's photo of her son. I'm sure a lot of beach photos turn out like this because of the sun. Cassie ran some actions on this to spruce up the color, but wasn't happy with the harsh shadow cast on his shirt. Cassie had asked if anyone had any ideas for fixing this. Some had suggested using the clone tool, which technically could work, but might take forever and a day.

There is an under used tool in photoshop called the “dodge and burn” tool. Works great for over exposed and blown out areas.

When I took photography back in art school BC (before computers), when you wanted to dodge and burn a photo, you did it the old fashioned way while you were "burning" the photo into the photopaper. You would insert your negative into the enlarger, turn the light on, figure out the placement and the size you want to print (any cropping happened here as well). You would then turn the light off, place your piece of photopaper in the holder, turn the light on and expose your negative to the paper. The light would "burn" the image into the paper. If you saw any areas that were too dark, you would hold your hand over the paper to block the light or “dodge” it, or cover up areas and let the light be exposed more to “burn” and make other areas darker.

The dodge and burn tool in photoshop simulates this.

Using the photo above, I found it easier to dodge rather than burn. The burn was making things too dark. Select your dodge tool:


Select a rather large brush size:

You may also want to play with the exposure a bit:
Now, just take the tool, hover over the area where you want to dodge, and click. That's it, it's that simple. Just click and adjust the tools as you go. You may need to make the brush slightly larger or smaller.

Here is the end result... pretty nifty, eh?

Here's a side by side comparison.

This took me about 5 minutes. If you spend a little more time, you could retain the detail in the shirt.

Just wanted to mention that I have a new blog header.... isn't it cute? My hubby drew the owl and trees, and I placed it all together in illustrator. I have one all ready to go for winter, too. I'm a happy girl!!

Have a happy weekend!!