Tuesday, December 30, 2008

silliness and horseplay

I was so excited when my aunt and uncle decided to let my cousins, Joseph (8) and Joshua (6) stay with us by themselves for 2 extra days. After washing their socks and underwear, we were set for the 2-day extravaganza of fun....
Yesterday, we went to ride horses. Some friends of ours from church, Bob and Donna Husted, have 2 horses out in the country and were happy for us to come exercise them a bit. Joshua had never ridden before, and was a little apprehensive, but all it took was me telling him that the Husted's 4 and 6 yr-old granddaughters ride the horses all the time, and he was ready to buck up!
First, we fed Cinnamon (the horse) carrots. All I had was left-over baby carrots and I wasn't sure if we'd be able to hand feed those since they're so small, but Bob showed us how (open palm) and the boys fed him the whole bag. I helped too, of course.
Then, Bob helped Joshua onto Cinnamon and away they went.

Except for Joshua complaining about his boney bottom hurting, he had a blast. Then it was Joseph's turn.
Joseph had a good time too, but Joshua was raring to get back up and ride some more, so he got the experience of riding bare-back behind the saddle.
And a little gallop up the hill made them laugh :)
The courteous horse, Cinnamon. He was so nice and even let me ride him a bit.
All in all, we had a good time, and the boys came back home and made Bob cards to thank him for taking them for a ride. Joshua especially went all out on his card, so I'll have to take a photo and post it later.

While they were busy making cards (Greg was watching the UK game he had recorded), I worked on this:

Supplies: Patterned Paper (Studio Calico, October Afternoon); Stickers (Cosmo Cricket); Stamps (Studio Calico, Catslife Press); Rub-ons (Cosmo Cricket); Ink (Staz-on Black); Pen (AC Precision Pen); Paint (Claudine Hellmuth Yellow Pastel, Maya Mist Orange); Other (Dictionary page)

I just wasn't ready to put away my January Studio Calico kit. It's so bright and colorful and I needed a chance to play with a photo I've been wanting to scrap for some time. I loved Maggie's idea of drawing around the stars, so I borrowed that from her layouts.
This is the Catslife Stamp I got from Joanne in one of the swaps we did early on at Studio Calico...now I'm wondering when we'll do another.

I also used an old dictionary page from the Times Square kit last January, then painted over it using the Claudine Hellmuth Yellow Pastel Paint. This color complements the January kit and add-ons very well, so if you haven't purchased it yet, there's still time to add it to your cart. (buy it here) I love how it is transparent enough to see the words underneath. Word to the wise, though...first adhere the thin dictionary page to cardstock, then paint. It will make it easier to work with. When I first painted it, the page buckled a little, but as the paint dried, it returned to normal. Then, I sprayed some of the orange Maya Mist for a more funky look (you can see the splatter in the second photo down). The orange, red and green match the January kit the best, and my guess is the red and orange would match the February kit as well. They're still available for purchase here just scroll down to the bottom.
The Cosmo Cricket rub-ons were first applied to the striped Studio Calico exclusive paper, then cut out and glued to the page. There's also glossy accents on the green patterned paper by October Afternoon.

Hope you enjoyed our horseplay today....more fun activities to post about tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2008

the flip + reveal at Studio Calico

As many of you already know (because Greg was too excited about it to keep it quiet), one of my Christmas gifts was a flip camcorder. But, it wasn't your ordinary flip. Greg solicited the design skills of Stephen to create this design. When I first opened it and saw the box, I was thrilled. Then, he told me to open it, and I saw the design, which was even more surprising considering last year I received a waterproof iPod case (I didn't even have an iPod) and the year before that, a weather station from Sharper Image, and the year before that, an alarm clock. So, needless to say, Greg did good this year.

Of course, once you get a toy like this, you have to play with it, so here's our debut video.

Do I sound too country for TV? It's a mixture of Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky: a one-of-a-kind accent, don't ya think?

Anyway, look for more videos/tutorials here on my blog and in the tutorial section at Studio Calico.

Speaking of Studio Calico, it was definitely a lively reveal on Saturday night. There was so much chatting I could barely keep up. It was a good time, with lots of laughs and a few hints of good things to come. (I'm always liberal with my hints in the chatroom because I know the transcript only lasts for 1 hour.) So, if you missed the chat, feel free to join us on Sneak Night, and if you don't know when Sneak Night is, look in the upper right corner of my blog or the Studio Blog and there's a countdown clock for you :)

This stamp is also available in both the shop (scroll down to the bottom) and the add-on section.

I love this stamp...perfect for journaling or stamping a pattern.
I used it here as a pattern on my houses:

And Stephanie used it here as a journaling block:

I guess that's all for now, thanks for reading today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

fun with ttv's

I'm still excited for Christmas mainly because my mom keeps telling me I'm really going to like my present from Greg. In years past, I've gotten an alarm clock, a Weather Station from Sharper Image, an exercise ball, and a waterproof iPod holder, so it can't be any worse :)

This is the photo that we framed for Greg's relatives. They like photos of us. My parents...not really sure if they'd like a photo of us because they see us too much as it is.

To do the TTV frame, I followed this tutorial, but it was not written for PSE (which is the program I used), so I thought I'd outline the steps here (click on any of the photos to enlarge).
  1. First, find a TTV frame that you like. There are many TTVs available, and this is the frame I used. Be sure to download the LARGE or ORIGINAL size if you're wanting to print images up to 12x12".
  2. Now, bring that image into Editor.
  3. Now, you will need to see the exact size of your image. Go to the Image Menu, select resize, then Image size. Look at the pixels. My image is 1554x1553 pixels.
  4. Now, it's time to crop your photo to fit the TTV frame. To do this, select the rectangle tool, and make sure you've selected "Fixed Aspect Ratio" and set it to 1:1 as pictured below.

  5. Drag the rectangle/square to the desired crop, then from the Image menu, select "crop." Now your photo is the right ratio, but not the right size.
  6. From the Image menu, choose "resize" then "Image Size." For my TTV, I need to resize my photo to 1553x1553 pixels. Click OK.

  7. Select the window containing your TTV frame image.
  8. Choose press "Ctrl+A" or "Select All" from the Select menu.
  9. Next press "Ctrl+C" or choose "Copy" from the Edit menu.
  10. Now go back to the image that you want to add the frame to and press "Ctrl+V" or choose "Paste" from the Edit menu.
  11. The TTV frame will now get pasted as a new layer on top of your image, completely blocking it from view.
  12. In order to combine these 2 layers we will need to change the layer blending mode.
  13. From the Layers Menu (on the right of the editor screen), select "Multiply"

  14. Then, from the Layers Menu (on the top menu bar), select "Flatten Image." This makes the image a single entity instead of 2 separate images, thus saving space and making the image easier to manipulate if you want to resize it and make smaller prints.

    Here's my final product (a special thanks to my friend Amber for donating her shins and cute dog):
I like to resize these and print as a 4x4" and then put two 2x2's along the side to completely fill a 4x6 print, that way I get 3 prints for the price of one. But, here's a tip. When you size the smaller prints to exactly 2x2" the edge of those TTV frames will most likely be cut off in the printing process (at both Sam's and ScrapbookPictures.com), so it's best to size those as 1.9's to give you a little extra room.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

just popping in

Just a quick post to say that Greg is sick (perfect timing, I know) and I expect my sis in tonight. It's beginning to feel like Christmas!

I'm going to finish up my last SC January project tonight and wrap my last 2 gifts.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Studio Calico Christmas Party (photo heavy)

Our Studio Calico Christmas party was very low-key, but that doesn't mean we didn't have fun. We prepared by doing a cookie exchange. I made some ginger-molasses cookies, a recipe from some family friends in New Mexico.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
Mix those 2 ingredients, then add:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
In a separate bowl combine:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
Gradually combine with first mixture, then spoon out and roll in extra sugar. Bake at 325 for 5-7 min.

Even if you don't think you like ginger cookies, trust me, these are more like molasses cookies and you'll love them :)

This guy was on hand to make sure they turned out correctly. He's always in the kitchen when I'm working in there even though I almost never give him anything to eat. It's funny how two dogs of the same breed can be so different because Addy has never been interested in kitchen happenings preferring rather to play frisbee or lay in front of the fire. Jett on the other hand, won't miss an opportunity to lend a paw in the kitchen.

After making my cookies, I packaged them like this:

Supplies: Treat Bags (Target); Silver Maya Mist (Maya Road); Stamps (Studio Calico & Catslife Press); Ink (StazOn & Stampin' Up!); Ribbon (American Crafts); Patterned Paper (October Afternoon)

To get the circle design, I punched 3 circles using my MEGA Uchida Circle Punch and laid the bag flat, added the 3 circles, then sprayed the mist and removed the circles. I loved how it turned out and the silver looks great on both the white and red bags (see below). Since the treat bags came packaged with 4 of each color, I used the same supplies on the red bag (these weren't packaged for the cookie exchange which is why there's no recipe attached). The circle is the A side to the same piece of OA patterned paper and the only different supplies are the American Crafts White Pen to color in the letters and the ribbon (which is also by AC).
In exchange for my cookies I got Mint Chocolate Cookies shaped like candy canes (by Lorie), White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels (by Scarlet), Raspberry Shortbread cookies (by Hannah), and Sour Cream Sugar Cookies (by Cara). All were delicious and I'm so happy I now have new recipes to make!

For our dinner, I made TexMex squash casserole, which turned out well, carrot casserole, and 2 pork tenderloins. The rest of our meal, everyone brought a side item, so we ate like royalty. Then, after dinner, we went straight to presents. I had made these for our 4 employees which included a token of our appreciation for their work in 2008.
Supplies: Buttons (Basic Grey & Autum Leaves); Patterned Paper (October Afternoon & Sassafras-border); Sticker border (Making Memories); Stamp (Studio Calico); Ink (Stampin' Up!)

To make these, I cut 4 strips of kraft cardstock to 3.75x7.75"
Then, I stamped the Airmail Envelope stamp on one end and folded it into a trifold and stamped again on the other end.
Next, I adhered the scalloped border under the flap (I added another piece of Kraft CS on the inside to cover the B side of the scallop). The buttons were glued together with ZipDry and the envelope was held closed by a square of double-sided tape.

The following pictures are the rest of our gift-opening extravaganza.
Me and Nadiya
Mom and Dad came by to join in on the fun for a little while (and eat)
Carter playing with one of his gifts
Me and Natalee - She was obsess with a little Cinderella doll that Cara had bought for Nadiya. Thankfully, Nadiya was too obsessed with the Fancy Nancy outfit I had gotten her to notice and become possessive over the doll :)
complete with leg warmers...
Stephen and Hannah

Carter opening a dinosaur book from Noah.
Natalee handing out presents.

To conclude the night, we played rock band. I apologize for the quality of these images. They are completely unedited and a flash was needed, so we look even more like ghosts than we already did :)

It was Cara and Jonathan's first time to play Rock band and both did remarkably well. Their nephew, Caden, came along for the fun and rocked out with us (he's holding an extra guitar). Rich (Lorie's hubby) is on drums in the top left and Stephen (our designer) is on drums in the bottom right...a very serious drummer I might add.
Cara and I rotated playing guitar. Like I said, it was her first time to play, so there I was, instructing her on my fine skills :)

Our lead singer was Greg for most of the night, since he knows all the songs. Hannah, Stephen's wife, was on drums. She plays the harp in real life and is very good (even plays for weddings if you're in the KY or TN area). Doesn't she look like a happy drummer? Scarlet made up our fan club for most of the evening. We tried so hard to twist her arm to join the band, but I suppose we didn't sound good enough for her to join. Then, Jonathan, with a big yawn....

That about sums up our evening. We had so much fun with these great friends who have helped us so much with Studio Calico over this past year. We are truly grateful to each one of them for helping so much.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

to answer your questions

I'm really glad I offered ya'll the chance to ask questions because sometimes I just don't know what to blog about and what I find interesting, you may be rolling your eyes at, but whatever the case, below are my answers to your questions + I added a funny Sonic story at the end.
  1. How long have you been married? How did you two meet? (by Angela) I'm so glad you asked this, because I have been writing and re-writing this story about Greg and I meeting. To give you the condensed version, we've been married 7.5 years, since May 28, 2001. We met in Astronomy class at Western Kentucky University my freshman (his junior) year. More on this later :)
  2. Is that glimmer mist that you have on your list to order, will it be for the "shop"?!!?! Haha, that would be great! (by mommytoalex) Hmmm....I said I wouldn't be able to answer everything, but boy do you have good eyes!
  3. Is that an upcoming sneak on your computer screen? (by Kimber-Leigh) Not really. We're beginning work on February's kit, but I can confidently say there is probably not going to be anything you see on my screen in a kit. That's just how it rolls :) Actually, on that screen, we were working on add-on #3 for February and it's still not put together and it's changed so many times. Usually, Scarlet and I will work on the kits over the course of several days so that we can really think and re-think which items will be the best and which manufacturers/special items can be brought in.
  4. You mentioned in a previous post that you used to be in pharma sales {i *think*}...what made you {and scarlet} take a leap and start SC? it's so scary to start your own business and you guys have done a kickin' job. (by Nicole) First of all, thank you for the compliment. Studio Calico was really started by 3 people: me, Greg, and Scarlet. Scarlet was on the DT for another kit club at the time and over the course of a year she had several ideas on how to improve on the concept. The club she was with basically used one or two manufacturers each month, so there wasn't a variety in the kit. I really didn't understand the whole concept and admittedly, when she talked about it, I just let it go in one ear and out the other. At the time, I was busy being a rep trying to get a promotion to management, and although I scrapped and liked to get published, I didn't really see it as a career. A little over a year after she first mentioned starting our own kit, I had been a manager for about a year and because I was on the road so much, I was really involved more with the online scrap community, and learning a lot (mainly lurking and learning). At my job, we underwent some management changes and people who had been solid performers with the company were demoted and alignments changed overnight and I realized that my job wasn't as secure as I once thought. That's when Greg and I began talking about the financial aspect of starting our own business, but I didn't really have the confidence to take the leap. Greg pushed the decision over the edge and took the lead on doing a lot of the start-up processes. So, that's why I say 3 people started this business and we all continue to bring 3 distinct and unique views to the table, which hopefully makes SC the place to be!
  5. So April what are your dreams? I see you left your non SC job so I am thinking your begining to obtain one, working in a self supporting business. Hurrah for that ;-) (by AnnieScraps) Yes, I have certianly left one full-time job for another. I didn't realize there was so much to do at SC central, but there is! As far as my dreams for the future, and I'll couple mine with Greg's....we'd love for SC to continue to succeed, especially in this economy and to be the leaders in innovative thinking and superior designs. Wow! Did I just write a mission statement?
Thanks to everyone who left questions/comments...it was fun to see what you found interesting, so maybe we can do this again sometime.

Now for my Sonic story. It's no surprise that Sonic is my favorite place, especially during the hours of 2:00-4:00 when drinks are half-price. I don't get to go often because I generally don't leave the office all day, but on Thursday, I had to run an errand and thought I'd grab lunch there for the sole purpose of wanting a Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla as a drink. I pull in and see a promotion for "Steak & Rings." It's a country-fried steak sandwich with onion rings for $3.99, but beneath the promotion it says, "Sandwich-Only: $3.49"

I press the button and order, "I'd like a country-fried steak sandwich, no mayo, and a large Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla."

The voice on the other end, "The Steak & Rings?"

"No, just the sandwich."

"Right, but the Steak & Rings?"

"No, the sandwich only for $3.49"

"Okay, we'll have it right out."

I wait a few minutes and see the car-hop bring me a small bag and a medium drink. Had it not been the sole reason for my Sonic visit, I would have let it slide, but I needed that large drink. I politely said, "Thank you, but I ordered a large." Immediately, she headed back inside to fix the error and came out a minute later with a large drink and the small bag.

I had originally planned to take the sandwich to my dad's office and eat with him, but since the drink order was messed up, I decided to check the sandwich. I opened the bag and mayo was oozing out. I pressed the button to ask for a new sandwich, knowing the whole time that I would probably have my food spit into, but choosing rather to have that than mayo. Minutes later, my new, correct sandwich was brought out, and thankfully, I don't think the employees were vindictive.

The very next day, Greg and I decided to meet for lunch at Sonic because I had a coupon :)

I ordered a Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla (the coupon was for $0.99) and a chicken club sandwich, no mayo. Would you know that my Dr. Pepper didn't have Vanilla in it?

I can't win for losing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

working late

I was working late at the office with Scarlet tonight, when I got a phone-call from Greg. I was expecting him to say, "Where are you?" but instead, he said, "Do you have the camera?" I told him I did, and asked why he wanted it. He asked, "Have you seen the sky tonight?"

Can you tell my husband loves nature? We have more pictures of the sky than just about anyone I know. We also have hundreds of pictures of trees and birds and chipmunks, and even some raccoons. Yes, my husband loves nature. So, being the good wife that I am, I offered to walk outside and take pictures for him. Here are the unedited versions....

I also thought it might be fun to get photos of me at the office doing my everyday job. I'm not keeping a December Daily album, but I love the idea of documenting the everyday (a la Ali). I might compile my daily doings into a mini-album, but more likely just a simple LO.

(yikes, not everything is checked off yet and it's time to leave the office)
my wall of things to remember :)
making my list and checking it twice (or more)
I've never done this before, but I'd love to see if you have anything you'd like to ask about me, or Greg, or the dogs. If you'd like to ask about SC, that's fine, too, but I might not be able to answer ;)
Just post a comment here and I'll be back later this week to answer!