Thursday, July 23, 2009

Digital scrapbooking details

Once again, my sister is ordering me around. Welcome to my childhood. :)

She has asked me for some details about digital scrapbooking. I am fairly new to the craft but here goes. I purchased the Creative Memories product, StoryBook Creator Plus ( at a CM get together that my friend Laura had. I had it for just about a year and didn't do much with it. When I loaded it on my new computer, I found a great tutorial on the CM website and then was able to use it.

Basically it is the same process as paper scrapbooking but the paper and embellishments (called elements) are in digital form (and thus can be used over and over). It seems that the majority of people doing digital scrapping are using Photoshop Elements, which has a heinous learning curve but is more powerful than the CM product. I am very pleased with CM so I don't have any plans to switch.

The program comes with some papers and elements and the CM site has plenty of free options to download. And of course, they have lots to purchase - and their product is great. You can also import any purchased or freebie items from one of the many, many sites around the web. This only works in the purchased version, not the free one CM has. The program has many template pages, similar to the books you can get from Shutterfly and the like. You can purchase the finished book from CM and it is a beautiful book with excellent quality.

You can also create pages to print at a local or online printer. These don't have templates, just blank pages to start with, which the same as starting with blank scrapbook paper. So you import your digital pictures and then just start creating your page. I usually throw the pictures on the page that I want to use and start looking through my stash for background pages to match. Once the background is chosen and the pictures are placed, there are numerous ways to enhance the pictures. You can crop, resize, add mats or photo corners, change the colors, sharpen, and soften, among many others. You can also "cut" the papers into innumerable shapes to enhance your pages. Then you move on to journaling and embellishing. Usually included in the kits are tags and journaling boxes, or you can just "cut" a piece of coordinating paper and write on that. Oh, and you can also "sample" a color from anywhere on your page (picture, element, paper) and use that to color anything else on your page - instant matching! Then you add embellishments - ribbons, buttons, swirls, brads, sticker-type things - just as in real life. It is pretty fun but, unfortunately, it isn't any faster for me to scrapbook this way. I am a super slow scrapper but at least I can be halfway through a page and walk away without leaving a mess!

Some of my favorite digital scrapbooking sites: - lots of great freebies and super cute kits - links to freebies all over the world - and funny posts to boot. Plus, you gotta like anyone who loves Ikea. - hints and tips about the CM software. Cool techniques and how tos. - great kits and good sales - also really nice kits - cute kits for sale and $1 fairy finds every week - a great price! - I just found this one but their kits are right up my alley - they also have a $1 section - very cute kits

And to finish, a couple more of J1's pages.

The dots and orange on the first page were actual papers. I created the green box on the top of the first page by "sampling" the green dot color and making a rectangle. I did the same thing with the orange ribbon on the second page. The blue mat around the two pics on the 2nd page was also "sampled" from the dots. Everything else were just stuff I had and it happened to match.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My first digital scrapbooking pages

Here are the first few pages I have made for J1's scrapbook. He is only 3 1/2 so I'm not that far behind (I lie to myself)! Acquiring digital scrapbooking stuff is my latest obsession. I don't last long without an obsession of some sort. It was actual scrapbooking stuff for awhile but that has waned since I don't have time to use it at the moment. After that it was embroidery files for my embroidery machine. Ditto for the lack of time. Then I moved on to cloth diapers. My stash is more than complete now so on to the next one. This is something that I can do without having to gather materials and print photos and most of the stuff I have acquired has been free or super cheap. I have to say, with the exception of the initial software purchase, this is a fairly inexpensive obsession. I will have to print these someday and that will be an expense. I think it is only $1.50 for an 8 1/2 x 11 at Costco so it isn't too bad. Oh, and on most of these, I have taken off journaling and names so if it looks like something is missing, it probably is.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Well, things have been pretty tame since we returned from Alaska. I did have a birthday but, now that I think about it, not actually a birthday cake. Maybe my MIL will have a get together at her house and get one (a small hint??). :)

The mister's sister and her family did call and sing happy birthday as did my MIL. J1 also sang it upon my prompting and I had him do it again later to film.

While looking through those, I found these two of J2. In the first one he is playing with a balloon left over from his birthday - 2 months ago. This balloon provided many hours of entertainment and joy - thanks D! Hey, I never paid you back for those did I? I suck.

This one was of J2 "jumping" on the mini trampoline in our family room. He loves jumping - hooray, another boy who likes to jump. I wonder if there is another kind?

Saturday the mister and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie. We went to Cinetopia and sat in the living room theater. Second row from the top, directly in the center. Fabulous seats. Sure, it is a bit more expensive than your average theater but we only go to a movie a couple times a year so the splurge is worth it and the movie was great. The boys were at D's and she was having a party so they had a blast. Sunday the mister went to a car show in Woodburn that is for Mopar cars. I know, blah, blah, blah, insert Peanut's teacher talk here. But he had fun. Here is his car on display at the show.

I was left at home with this huge zucchini from my MIL to deal with.

I put the pencil in for reference. She has these in her garden and I barely have flowers on my yellow squash. Bitter. Anyway, I managed to make 6 loafs of bread and 12 muffins with this sucker. I gave away 4 of the loafs and froze one of them.

With the fruit bounty in the summer, the boys have been eating fruit like crazy. Here are some recent pictures of the fallout.

This was raspberries from the Vancouver Farmer's Market - they were extremely good.

J2 and I went to the produce store last night because, for some reason, they carry this taco salad dressing that the mister likes and we can't find anywhere else. My garden is overflowing with lettuce so the mister suggested taco salad. We are having it again tonight with chicken instead of beef. And really, I will probably have it for lunch too, since I have leftovers. Anyway, the lady at the store gave J2 a huge strawberry which started this mess and I bought some blackberries (I know, *bought* blackberries - I would pick them if I knew a place that wasn't right by a road) and this mayhem ensued. At least it does get better. J1 wasn't quite as messy as J2 - there is hope.

D gave J1 a Spiderman costume. He has never been much into costumes. I had a pirate one for him last Halloween (to match J2's pirate costume) and he refused to wear it. Would not put even one part of it on. He was okay with a cowboy costume which consisted of chaps and a vest over his normal clothes. None of which prepared me for this:

He kept asking me to go outside and take pictures and did the same thing the next night. I remember my youngest nephew liked to wear costumes. Maybe it will be a thing although he hasn't worn it since.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vacation wrap up

Starting with Tuesday, things slowed down considerably. We went to the tot swim at the local pool (also the high school) and it was great. They have a little side pool that opens to the regular pool but it is only 2 1/2 feet so J1 was able to walk and play in there by himself - he loved that. J2 loves being in the water so he was just happy. They have a bunch of toys for the kids - boats, balls, floating sea animals, rings and even a floating boat that J2 could ride in. We did that both Tuesday and Thursday. This is what happened after the Thursday session:

On Wednesday, the mister and J1 went on a boat ride up the Stikine River. They went with this tour company and did the Stikine River Cruise Day Tour. It was five hours but apparently J1 did great. I met them when they got back and some women that were also on the tour said I had a nice, well-behaved son. Boy were they fooled! A nice person that was on the boat with them is supposed to send a picture. Here's hoping...

Thursday in the early evening we went on a tour of Wrangell by car. We saw all the many harbors full of fancy boats and then the golf course. People apparently come in from all over SE Alaska to golf. I don't know if it is that great or if there is just a lack of options. Pretty cool though, and you can walk your dog there off hours which is fab. The main downside is that there is no alcohol allowed. Well, I guess that is a downside since, in the movies and on tv, my main exposure to golf, there is great emphasis on drinking while golfing. Maybe in real life people don't care that much. I was also on the search for some Salmon berries but the only ones we found were out of our reach - so sad!

The last place we went was the petroglyph beach. There are apparently over 40 to find but I only saw about 7. The beach "sand" is mainly crushed shells and glass so the mister, who was wearing sandals, didn't want to stay long. Here are a few pics of what I found.

We also watched a Lord of the Rings marathon - I had been wanting to see them again and mom had only seen the first one. I think she needs to watch them again, without kids, to really appreciate how great they are.

We left on Friday on the 10:30 jet. We sailed through security which was nice and the flight to Petersburg was uneventful. We were there for close to an hour, stuck on the plane with squirmy kids. That was bad but then we were sitting on the tarmac in Juneau for 1 1/2 hours - so long we had to go back to the gate and get more fuel. J2 was going back and forth between the mister and me, crying, fussing, whining for pretty much that whole time. My arms were tired, it felt like I was wrestling with him. J1 was bored and since we were out on the tarmac but not yet passed 10,000 feet, we couldn't let him watch his DVD. Still don't have a clue what caused the delay. We finally took off and J1 got to watch his movie and J2 was calmer but still didn't fall asleep until literally 5 minutes before we landed in Seattle, 1 1/2 hours late. Our connection was leaving at 6 and we landed, in a different terminal, at 5:30. We grabbed our stuff and walked as fast as we could with a 3 year old and just made it to our connection. J2 slept 1/2 of the way through the Seattle airport but was awake for the flight to Portland. That was our easiest flight of the day. Travel days like that make me not want to travel but I have to say, compared to 2 years ago when J1 and I went to Wrangell, he was a dream traveller this time. Gives me hope.

We had fun, mom was great and we are glad to be home too. Nothing like being home.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation side trip

The fireworks on Saturday evening were fab. They have a 1/2 hour show and it is so close, it rattles the walls in my mom's place. Both boys slept right through it.

Sunday morning we met up with my cousin and aunt and took a boat over to Petersburg ( where another aunt and some cousins live. My aunt was having a 50 year wedding anniversary party that night so it was great to be able to go. You can take a ferry to get there, which isn't too expensive - $33 each for me and the mister one way and the kids were free but the scheduling didn't work out. You can also take Alaska Airlines but I didn't even price that out, knowing it would be prohibitively expensive. The best option is to know someone who has a boat that can drive you about 15 minutes over there - you also have to know someone on the other side to pick you up as it is about 45 minutes into town from there. My cousin here worked it all out and all we had to do was show up - gotta love that!

My cousin JM's husband G and my uncle were there to collect us. This was the first time meeting JM's husband - he was super nice! JM has a huge playroom on the top floor of their house and the boys were in heaven. We hung out there for a bit and then headed down to my aunt's house to help set up and see everyone. I went back in the early afternoon for J2 to take a nap and soon after that J1 came back since, according to the mister, he wanted to go back to the "house with the toys".

The party was a blast and there was so much food we were all stuffed. People were impressed with J2 as he was toddling around munching on pickled asparagus. I love them and, apparently, so does he. JM has a bouncy house and a pool/water slide in the yard below my aunt's house so the mister and I spent a couple of hours down there with the boys during the party.

The mister and I had a bad night's sleep as we were sharing the bed with J2 and he is a bed hog and kicks a lot - ugh! J1 had a nice bed on the floor so he was happy. I would have liked to plop J2 in bed with him but he probably would have crawled off. G made us delicious french toast and sausage for breakfast and then we just hung out. At 1 we headed out to a beach close to the boat launch and had lunch over a fire. My two aunts, two uncles and cousins and their families were there - 22 people in all I think. The kids played in the water and found treasures on the beach. It was mostly fun but sort of hard with J2 since there was the fire so we couldn't just let him roam freely and the beaches are rocky so that wasn't safe for roaming either. But we made it with little trauma and got on the boat back to Wrangell again. The evening was uneventful but hot. We were praying for clouds as the house was 80 degrees but no such luck. Things should be pretty mellow from here on out. There is a "tot swim" at the local pool today so we may head up there. J2 loves the pool.

Aunts, uncles and cousins

Corralling the J2 and the bonfire

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July Celebrations

We are in Wrangell, Alaska ( for the Fourth of July this year. My parents both grew up here and my mom is living here again for her "retirement". It is a pretty fun place to celebrate the 4th even though it is a very small town. Maybe because it *is* a small town? Anyway, we got our fill today. Started at 10am when J1 and the mister went to check out the fire trucks that were staging for the parade. J1 had the opportunity to ride on one of the fire trucks in the parade and was even sitting on it but then they started to play with the sirens and he was done. He didn't like the loud motorcycles either so apparently he is sensitive to loud sounds this month. Anyway, they came back to just go watch the parade so off we went to meet my uncle and aunt (my mom's brother and sister) to watch. We were at the very beginning of the parade and if you are after candy, this is the place to be. J1 had very little competition and he scored. Not that he can eat a bunch of it (allergies) and he really shouldn't eat any of it but I am giving him a bit.

After the parade we strolled a bit and then went to the "toddler games" which was basically just behind mom's house. They had candy grabs for the different age groups. All kids got .50 for participating and then $3 for first place, $2 for second and $1 for first. J2 got to do an animal cracker grab and he won. Anyone who knows him shouldn't be surprised. They had the crackers thrown on a blanket and the kids were around the perimeter. Most of the babies were just calmly sitting in their mom's arms and J2 was straining to get to the crackers. He got them so fast the coordinator didn't even see it. At least the other moms did and set her straight. J1 did his candy hunt and he got Hershey's Kisses. He apparently tied for third but didn't get any loot. That's what happens when the mister is in charge - I would have spoken up but he didn't care. J1 insisted on eating one even though I warned him he shouldn't because of his milk allergy. Well, he liked it for the first few seconds and then was pretty unhappy. He said it hurt his mouth and he looked a bit woozy and ill. Oops! Probably should have been more forceful but I guess things like that will help him learn and take us more seriously. After that they had a ball chase which the kids had to get the ball and themselves to their parent - that was it, no other rules. J2 was unopposed so he won another $3 plus the .50. J1 came in third in his age group (and, yes, there were more than three kids). After that they had a free-for-all where they just put down all the candy and money they had left. No age group, no specific winner - just grab what you can. Luckily for us, most of the kids were wanting the candy and J1 was getting the money. He ended up getting $7.50 in quarters from that plus a few pieces of candy. J2 ended up with a one dollar bill somehow during the free for all - just walking all over the field with the bill clutched in his hand. J1 left the toddler games $9.50 richer and J2 had $8. A successful money-making day for all boys.

We went back to mom's and put J2 down for a nap then took off again. We ate lunch and brought lunch back to mom and then we went to let J1 jump in the jumpy house and eat blue cotton candy. Then we watched a dunk tank for awhile because J1 was fascinated by it and moved on to the logging competition. There were many events within that and the mister wanted to see something involving chainsaws but when we got there they were just doing the big hand saw thing which he didn't care about. We moved on to the Craftboat races which are handmade, non-electric boats that race. Pretty funny. We stopped at a food booth for funnel cake and J1 got an airbrush tattoo of a dragon and tried his hand at a ring toss. We watched the egg-on-a-spoon races for a bit and finally strolled home. They were having an egg toss after that but the mister didn't want to participate. My sister and I did the egg toss two years ago when J1 and I came up here for the fourth. That one was an attempt to break a world record. I don't know if they did but we did get a certificate. Okay, I just Googled it and apparently we did hold the world record - - but apparently Skagway didn't like that, so the next year they beat it.

Tonight are the fireworks and they set them off so close to my mom's place it is deafening. Not so good given J1's dislike of the loud noises earlier. Time will tell.

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Petersburg to visit my mom's other sister and my cousins. We are taking a boat with my aunt and cousins so that should be fun.