Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scrapbook Sketch & Challenge

I love sketches and I know all of you LS members love them too!  This sketch is for a super awesome giveaway yesterday on the Silhouette blog.  It is fun to take a basic sketch, make it my own and then see what other people come up with using the same sketch. The end results are always so unique. 

Hmmm...what can I do with this?  Lord knows I've got a gazillion photos that could be scrapped.  A sketch really helps me along.  It helps me over the creative road block.  It helps me select & print photos.  It gets me going...

I have blogged about my Silhouette machine before.  Love.

Here's my take on the sketch:

Race for the Cure 2011

After selecting, printing, and cropping just three photos, the rest is pretty easy.  I masked off a circle and sprayed a homemade shimmer mist (CTMH) around the edges.  I used white, black, cotton candy & blossom cardstock.  Oh, and a black pen.  The file tab on the side is a punch.  Other than the assembly, my Silhouette machine did all the work.  Love to hear the hum of that machine as it cuts.

This is the prize...a cute stylish tote for a new Silhouette Cameo machine that will surely be my birthday gift from Bill (hint, hint).

Is it just a coincidence that it's pink?  I think not.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Law of Murphy

What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Last Sunday, we noticed damp carpet in our bedroom.  I don't mean damp.  I mean wet soaked.  Seems our 55-gallon fish tank has been slowly leaking for God knows how long.  It just took a good long time for the water to seep out, invade the bedroom, and soak the carpet, the pad, the drywall, and the mopboards until I noticed it. 

Ever had to drain and move a fish tank?  So not fun!  So time consuming.  So back breaking.

On Wednesday, High Wind Warnings were posted for the west side of the Front Range including the Foothills and Continental Divide, a classic “Colorado Hurricane” setup with 80-100 mph wind gusts expected. “Most of the gusts will be in the 55-75 mph range,” so said meteorologist Jennifer Broome. In our town, gusts were recorded at 77 mph.  Took down our 6' wooden fence.  Ever try to corral a wandering dog who loves to run and give good chase? 

Then to top it all off, yesterday, Bill decides to run a quick errand with Gracie in tow.  Approximately two seconds later, I hear a loud crash.  I'm thinking that we've lost another section of fencing.  Nope.  Bill's back.  He accidentally crashed the car into our garage door (in the down position).  Seriously?  Who does that?

Yes, I took pictures.  Every single catastrophe has been properly documented.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Project Life Weeks 4, 5 & 6

I'm almost there!  I've been working feverishly to get caught up.  Just 10 days left and I'll be current.  Whoop.  Whoop.

Week 4:

The cute "a day in the life" die cut is a free download from scrapbook royalty Ali Edwards.

Week 5:
Stickers & embellishments:
THIS & THAT  by Lori Whitlock

I do want to share with you an idea to get more photos on your layout.  See that picture of Gracie playing in the snow (third from the left, bottom row)?  That is really 5 pictures grouped as one 4" x 6" image using Photoshop Elements (PSE) and a storyboard designed by the wildly talented Kerri Bradford.  Masking & clipping techniques are a bit tricky to learn and use (at least they were for me), but once you get the hang of it, you'll be tickled to be able to add so many more pictures of a single event (lord knows...I sure get tickled with it!).

Close up.
Week 6:

It is my vow to stay current!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Thought I'd play along with "crush week."

Main crush:
Loved this man for a very long time...
Faces crush:
Love these faces.  They'll always be "kids" to me.
Furry crush:
Miss Gracie Lou
Queen of the Castle
Guilty crush:
Revenge is the best TV show to come along in quite some time!
Jewelry crush:
Got a bracelet for Christmas.  Got these charms for Valentine's day.
Scrapbook crush:
Can't scrap without it (even though mine is first generation).
Food crush:
Could eat sushi morning, noon & night.
Music crush:
Love her!
It's a tie:
He's just hot.
Game crush:
If you're on FB, you must try Hidden Chronicles!
I'm addicted.
It reminds me of the Highlights Magazine (hidden pictures)
from my youth (they still make those?).
Genius FB!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Project Life

Confession:  I am a POTD addict.

POTD?  Picture of the Day.


I became addicted in 2009 when it was called Project 365.  It's now called Project Life (PL).  Even though it's my little addiction, I love the idea, the process, and the end result.  Sitting on my shelf are three complete year-in-the-life-of-Judy-Rakes memoirs.  Photographed & documented.   At first, I was skeptical that I could really take a picture every day.  Those around me thought I was nuts (some still do).  It did not take long to realize that I enjoy it.  I call it my "photographic journal."  One picture and a short note - every day. I love creating them. I love looking back through them. I have learned to see the beauty of each new day and that there is a lot in my life that can be documented (even the mundane, silly routines).  I have learned that I live a pretty charmed life. 

I have always been in love with the notion of keeping a journal/diary.  I've started and stopped many times in my life time.  I kept a "locked" diary between my mattresses when I was a tween (the very same "locked" diary that my brother took to school to share with all the boys).  I started another journal when I was going through a divorce 22 years ago, as someone said it would be therapeutic.  Huh?  I just could never really get into it.  

I am exactly the person for whom this kit was designed:  a photo, a journal card, a date stamp, and day-of-the-week stickers.  Rarely, do I add more fluff to the already very cute design (using the Turquoise edition). 

For me, it certainly does not replace the glamour of traditional scrapbooking.  I still really enjoy that process as well.  This is different.  No creative road blocks. Just photos and (short) stories (oh, and some ephemera like receipts and ticket stubs, etc.).   These books are all me.  Personally. 

Since I am still madly and passionately in love with "regular" scrapbooking, I don't feel obligated to make PL my be-all-end-all scrapbook. Instead, it's my goal to catch all those little bits and pieces of our every day lives. If anything, it's helped me decide which photos really need a two-page layout and which just slip into PL.

Here is the new title page for 2012. 

And here are weeks 1-3:

This year, I am adding simple Silhouette diecuts from the wildly talented Kerri Bradford.

If you’re at all interested in the process, check out the mastermind behind the products here (look for the Project Life button on the sidebar, as well.)

If you’re ready to get started, you can get products from amazon.com.   I’d love to have you join me.  We can support each other.  I am definitely a POTD addict; and hopefully, you will find lots of ideas here on the blog to get yourself in the pictures.  Additionally, I suggest you really learn the self-timer feature on your camera!

If you're already in the 12-step program, drop me a note as well.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Favorite Apps

Someone recently asked about my favorite photography app on my iphone?  Hmmm..... I've downloaded so many photography apps, it's hard to choose.  There are several I like (and may feature here on the blog from time to time). 

Today, I want to talk about AutoStitch.

As a scrapbooker, I have many, many times, tried to hold my camera perfectly still and take horizontal pictures one...at...a...time...with...the...same...zoom...and...on...the...
same...arm...level...trying...to...hold...perfectly...still (c'mon, you've done it too!).  Then after I had my pictures printed, I would paste them back together, trying to line them up to make it look like it was one big picture in my scrapbooks (sometimes spanning a two-page layout).

2008 trip to Costa Rica
6 pictures
(title is a coincidence!)
Thanks to AutoStitch, I don't have to do that old-fashioned approach any longer. It's super easy to use.  You just take several photos of the scene you are trying to panorama-ize.  You don't have to line anything up.  Go back and choose the photos you want to make into a panorama, and "click" stitch.  Presto-chango, you then have a panoramic shot that you can crop (right then and there) if you like.  You can save it. Email it. Print it. Text message it. Upload it (to FB).  They are beautiful shots.  You cannot even tell where the photos are stitched together. I think I've used it with as many as 10-11 photos.

This app is MARVEL-OUS!  I've used it many, many times.

Hike to Blue Lake

Niagara Falls
(both the American falls on the left & the Canadian side on the right)

Denver Civic Center
Wish you had a wide-angle lens?  AutoStitch can also be used for photos that are just too big for your view finder.  Same process - just not so long and skinny as a panorama shot.

Casa Loma
Toronto, Canada
This app (just a mere $1.99 investment) leads me to think that a plain-ole-phone can me more useful and wonderful than the best (or expensive) DSLR camera!

What's your favorite photography app?

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Snow

Have ya heard?  We've been on National News for the past weekend.  Yup!  We're buried in snow.  More snow than we know what to do with.  Record breaking snow.  100-year-old-records were broken.  It started snowing here last Thursday evening around 6:00 p.m.  It snowed Thursday night.  It snowed all day Friday. It snowed Friday night.  It snowed Saturday morning.  We shoveled out Friday noonish and we shoveled out Saturday noonish...again!

Friday was definitely a snow day.  I do not save lives.  I am not a "necessary" employee.  I was not going anywhere.  No, I am not 10; but I do love a SNOW DAY!
  • Denver broke a single-day snowfall record on Friday with 12.5 inches of snow. The previous record was 9.5"on the same day in 1932.
  • Denver also broke the three-day snowfall record for February with 15.9". The previous record was 14.1" back in 1912.
Official snowfall totals for Denver are taken at Denver International Airport.  DIA is about 24 miles from my doorstep.  I live in a north/westernly Denver suburb.  We got way more than 15.9".

The purpose of this particular post, however, is to share some pictures I took over the weekend of Gracie (our darling one-year-old Mini Goldendoodle).  See, nobody told Gracie that much snow is horrific.  Awful.  Or, that it shuts down the City.  Dreadful.


There are not words to describe the pure, utter joy of this dog romping in the snow. 

So now, she waits at the back door to be let out.  Once the door opens, off she goes to tear through 2' of snow as fast as her legs will allow then comes in with little snow balls stuck to her fur.  We towel-dry her, but those pesky little snowballs?  She chews them off, one by one, and then goes back to the door.  Sits.  Waits.  Does it all over again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

World Cancer Day

This is my story.

I'm the one in pink.

It's cancer; and you need to see a surgeon.  Nobody ever wants to hear those words, and on November 13, 2005 it became my reality. I should've known something was awry when I sat for an hour in a hospital gown waiting for my doctor! 

Thank God for mammograms.  Mine was caught early.  No palpable lump ( if you can't feel it or see it, the reality of it is much harder to grasp.)  A needlecore biopsy confirmed it.  The plethora of treatments/options thrown at me was unbelievable.  So many decisions had to be made.  I was blessed with an extremely talented pool of doctors whom I trust (although, in my case, sometimes talent outweighs compassion).

This isn't my first bout with cancer.  My mother died of stage III fallopian tubal carcinoma when she was only 55 (I was 38).  She lived only 21 months after her diagnosis;  several surgeries and two rounds of chemo.  Her advanced cancer was so hard.  Ugly really.  Although we had related gynecological cancers, I was found to be BRCA gene negative.  However, because I was diagnosed at age 45, my daughter will begin mammograms at age 35 (ten-years-earlier-than-my-diagnosis).  God...please protect her from this disease.

It seems that a stage 0 - non-invasive ductile carcinoma with no lymph node involvement is the good kind of cancer.  In 2006, I had six surgeries, six recoveries, and 14 weeks of not working.  The good kind of cancer?  I still have some residual effects from lymph node removal in my right arm.  I still have yearly mammograms that bring a month of worry before the actual test and a week or two after awaiting results.  Throw in another view (or a repeat mammogram) and I am a basket case!  The good kind of cancer?   Cancer is cancer.  Mine was caught early.  Although mammograms cause me great distress, I cannot promote their effectiveness enough.

I will forever be grateful to my family and friends.  I was able to draw on a friend's vast experience with this ugly disease and leaned on her heavily.  She allowed me to ask questions - personal questions.  She allowed me to vent.  Allowed me to cry.  Offered her support and listened.  She even offered to let me see and touch her scars.  Her experience helped me make my own decisions.  You see, we sisters-of-the-pink-ribbon must pay it forward.  No one really understands what is going on unless you've been there.  We understand the diagnosis.  We know the lingo.  We are compassionate.  We have hope. We fight. Together.

Fast forward...six years. I'm healthy & happy. I am thankful for the wonderful support from my family and friends along this journey. To be diagnosed with cancer is not easy. Most days, I don't feel like a cancer survivor. I just feel like me.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leap Around the World Blog Hop!

Hello!  Welcome to my virtual home and your next stop in the blog hop!

If you came here from Cathy's Obsessions, then you are in the right place! (If you did not, Mindi Brown has the hop order to help you find your way.)

This is my very first time to host a blog hop (insert nervousness).  This is a big one (insert excitement)! 50 bloggers!  What do we all have in common?  Answer:  our love for scrapbooking and Let's Scrap (one of my fav scrapbooking sites) is always a great stop when you are having a bit of creative block, need some inspiration, or just want to see what others are doing.

Here is the sketch I am showcasing for the hop:

Here's how I interpreted the sketch:


Once I got out all of the supplies...I couldn't stop at just one.  Besides following a sketch, they do have other similarities. 
Both cards feature:
  • Valentine doilies
  • Layered accents (using pop dots and foam squares)
  • Baker's twine (who doesn't love baker's twine?)
  • Pre-made embellishments
  • Glittery accents (too bad glitter doesn't sparkle on your monitor, eh?)
    What's even better?  I've got two handmade Valentine's ready to go!

    Now for the fun part!  If you play along, I will be drawing a random winner for this Sew-Easy paper-piercing gift from We R MemoryKeepers (my first ever give-away on the blog...how exciting!).

    Wanna win?  It's so easy:  
    *Be (or become a member of Let’s Scrap which you can do by clicking here). It's free, easy and fast! Once you get there, I am sure you will love it!  You can see much more of my work there.  Take a long look around.

    *Become a follower of my blog

    *Leave me a comment and tell me which card example you liked best
    And if you would like a second chance in the draw:

    *Make a card from this sketch (they do not have to be Valentines) and upload it to the gallery at Let’s Scrap. Please tag your creation:  10-19-11, LEAP10  (please note there is a space after the comma and LEAP is all capital letters).  I can't wait to see your take on the sketch!

    *Come back here to and leave me a comment letting me know that you have uploaded your card on Let’s Scrap.
    You've got exactly 29 days to enter the contest (use your extra day in February wisely).   (The hop ends at 11:59 pm Central Standard time February 29, using the clock on the main page of Let’s Scrap.)

    Your next stop for the blog hop is:

    If you get lost along the way or have joined the hop in the middle, go back and visit Mindi Brown as she is the beginning of the hop. You don’t want to miss any of the fun!

    I hope you've enjoyed your stay here.  Come back.  Visit often.

    February Photo Prompts

    This month, I want to be prompt with the prompts!  Not even a few days late!  If you are a Project Lifer, this list is waaayyy more than necessary, but hoping you may find a good idea or two for your book.

    So, what are you planning to capture this month?  Here are my ideas:
    • February 1-14, I plan to search for and take a photo of a heart(shape) every day...for 14 days
    • National Wear Red Day on the 3rd
    • World Cancer Day on the 4th (near & dear)
    • Superbowl on the 5th
    • Red!
    • Pink!
    • Chocolate
    • Candy
      • heart-shaped
      • conversation hearts
    • Sending/receiving Valentines
    • Shopping for a card?
      • I love the Hallmark store for this shot
      • The card aisle in your supermarket is good too!
    • Your valentine
      • got a hot date?
      • dinner out or dinner in
      • gift exchange?
    • Snow or ice in your neck of the woods?
    • Winter sports/activities
      • skiing
      • ice skating
      • snowball fight
      • snowmen
      • shoveling snow
      • scraping cars
    • Love gestures:  kissing, holding hands, hugging
    • President's Day (long 3-day weekend for some...going anywhere?)
    • Ash Wednesday on the 22nd
    • Flag Day on the 24th
    • This year is leap year, make sure to get a shot on February 29
      • Something with the date on it:  receipt, tickets
      • Calendar shot
      • Computer screen capture
      • iphone capture
    My number one photo idea for the month:
    You know all the youngsters are doing it these days.
    Why not "heart-hand" what you love most?
    Forever memorialized.