Tuesday, July 27, 2010

23 weeks

A couple days ago, I posted about our visit to Gardencourt, where Greg and I were married 9 years ago.

I had just reached 23 weeks pregnant, so we took some photos. Funny how the two times I've been here, we've been at two major milestones in our lives. Two wonderful milestones.

So, here I am with my 23-week belly.

Which Greg kept saying "stick it out further."

As if.

Then, he said I needed new earrings because I had worn these in Cabo a couple years ago.

Not going to argue with that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

april foster, nature photographer

In the blistering heat of the hot Kentucky sun (yes, it really was about 93 degrees), I braved the elements in search of nature.

Actually, I was just walking from the house to the barn and noticed the hundreds of butterflies flitting about. And, since I had gone to the house to get my camera in the first place, I thought "why not snap a few photos?"

So there I was bent down, pregnant belly and all, snapping (and sweating) away, when Greg rushed up behind me, "Are you alright?!"

I think he thought I was either (a) sick or (b) hurt.

Of course I was alright, so at that point he began making fun of me for taking my nature photos....which is so out of character for me. It's kind of a "Greg" thing to do, so now he really thinks my brain is gone.

But, seriously, I'm proud of my 100mm 2.8 lens.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

9 years, 8 weeks ago

Gardencourt, Louisville, Kentucky.

Greg and I were here 9 years, 8 weeks ago.

We took pictures (on film...ack!)

I walked down this aisle.
Well, it looked more like this from the direction I came.

Said our vows.

Ate some caprese salad and pasta.

Fed each other cake.

Then ran to our 1990 2-door maroon Honda Accord.

And that was the last we saw this beautiful place until today.

It was strange being back. Strange in a good way. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. We were sitting at dinner, eating chips (which are so good for my swollen feet), and despite every thought of how my grandparents tortured me wanting to drive around and see their old house, or old business, or whatever, I said to Greg, "I don't want to sound like an old fogie, but at some point I'd like to go back to Gardencourt, just to see it."

He thought it was just as good a night as any, so we headed over there in hopes that another event wasn't going on, and we were in luck.

As soon as we arrived, he began reminiscing about the last time we were there. He mentioned the goup (you infer) under our door handles and the "item" that fit snugly over our gear shift. Yep, those are his fond memories.

So, it won't surprise you that these are the first photos he took of the place.

And, it was at this point, I turned around, scowled, and rolled my eyes.

But then later, I realized, I wasn't any different than he.

Now we have old memories and new ones here and I love every one of them.

answering some questions

From my CHA + Sketchbook post, just need to answer a few questions:
  • Is that the 7Gypsies Avignon paper from Joyland? - Yes, the misted stars, are from the Avignon paper. It comes as a black & white newsprint, so I misted then punched the stars, so they'd be different colors. You could use this idea with any black/white patterned paper. Fun stuff!
  • Yes, it's time for another belly shot :) Greg actually took some yesterday that I plan on editing and posting later today. Thanks for the reminder.
  • The Mister Huey's Color Mists will be available at other online retailers and local scrapbook stores by mid-September. They'll be available at StudioCalico.com 2 months after that.
I think that answers all the questions, but let me know if I missed something.

Sketchbook Winner

The winner of the Sketchbook 2 online class is.............

KathyChen said...

Love the new mists! Thanks for the sneaks and the opportunity to win.

Just send me an email (april@studiocalico.com)

Friday, July 23, 2010

sigh. i'm in love with Mister Huey. Plus a giveaway

Just another layout created for the booth at the CHA tradeshow using Studio Calico's newest release.

You might notice the new self-adhesive wood veneer alphabet and frame. LOVE these! If you got the Quilting Bee kit, you've already experienced a small taste of wood veneer, but just so you know, this veneer is even better.

I kid you not.

It's thicker and I love the adhesive on these much better.

Also on this layout, I used 4 of the new Mister Huey colors:
  • Calico Cream (It's the opaque star, misted onto the vanilla cardstock. It's full beauty cannot be seen in a photograph. So subtle, yet so cool. I seriously gasped when I saw it! Anyway, I thought you could see the color better compared to something you know very well - the vanilla cardstock.)
  • Lunch Tray (the blueish green star)
  • Sunshine (the yellow star)
  • Schoolhouse (the red star)
I also used some of the B sides on the Elementary papers along with the Doilies stamp set in Antique Linen ink.

Now, onto the giveaway:

Sketchbook 2 is a four week class filled with fresh sketches, easy instructions, beautiful examples, and lots of fun. From August 2nd to August 27th a PDF will be delivered to your inbox every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so you can work at your own pace. By the end of the class, you'll have a complete sketchbook of 12 original sketches, 36 layouts, and an additional 36 sketches based on those creative pages. All the examples are brand new layouts, exclusive to this class... you won't see them anywhere else! The best part is that you will be receiving an example layout from me for each of the sketches, along with two example layouts from a member of the incredible Studio Calico design team. The class will also include a private message board for questions and sharing ideas, as well as two scheduled chats - all on the awesome Studio Calico website.

Having seen the first class myself, you won't be disappointed. Just leave a comment here for a chance to win. And, don't worry. If you've already registered and you are a lucky winner, Kelly will reimburse you or you can give your spot to a friend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Elementary sneaks

I guess I'm full of sneaks this week, but this time you get to see a whole layout!

Loving the new Elementary line. Even if you don't have a kiddo in school, the patterns and colors are so pretty and blend with practically any occasion.

For this layout, I took two photos of Natalee, one taken in October 2009, the other taken April 2010. Several months separated them, but one thing has remained constant: her voracious imagination!

On this layout, I used a stamp set we'll be releasing in just a couple of weeks at CHA and some of my favorite rub-ons EVER!!!! um....ledger stars......could life get any better?

And, just as a final note in case you have questions about the layout, I used the gothic arches border punch, the Slice with the basics cartridge (I've been using this font a lot, not only because I like it, but I'm too lazy to change the cartridge....), silver plated mist, and the American Crafts white gel pen. The paint around the edge of the photos is just your basic acrylic paint for $0.50, just go buy a bunch of colors and hopefully one will match. That's my strategy anyway.

For the first time ever, I printed my photos on metallic at mpix.com and I'm a HUGE fan. Especially for my black&white photos, the image just pops out at you. I had printed the same photo of Natalee at Sam's on regular matte finish and comparing the two side by side it's not even fair. I've also printed metallic at scrapbookpictures.com with similar success, but these photos are just absolutely gorgeous, so I had to comment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


This morning I took a sabbatical in my scrapbook room and knocked-out several layouts with the August kit. It's funny because when I first designed the July kit, I thought it would be more "me", but this kit, SUMMER CAMP really just screams for me to use it. I LOVE it!

My goal with these layouts was to use my sewing machine more and in creative ways. I'm not sure I accomplished that, but I'm happy I used it on 3 out of the 4 layouts I've completed.

Also, I wanted to use some new mists and paints, and that I did. I was a mess (and so was my table) by the time I finished these.

Made using the Footpath add-on, my favorite add-on by a mile.

Made using the Adirondack add-on. I wasn't sure about this one at first as it was coming together, but I LOVE how it turned out. On this layout, I added Landscape Green paint, seafoam mist, and tangerine mist.

Made using the main kit + Footpath. This is my favorite layout this month. LOVED how it all turned out. The additions to the kit are the Slice + Basics Cartridge to cut my Rs and Foam Dots.

Oops. I meant this is my favorite layout this month. Totally had forgotten about it.

This is a layout made with the main kit, but you won't see it in my gallery this month. I made it for Kelly Purkey's Sketchbook class. I added foam dots, Seafoam Mist and Silver Plated mist.

This is another layout for Kelly's class made using the main kit plus some silver-plated mist and some 3D dots.

I should have some more sneaks to share soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

tugging my heart strings

Wanna get a pregnant lady R-E-A-L-L-Y emotional? Let her good friends have a struggle with their own pregnancy....

When Greg and I went on our first date, his friend, Jason double-dated with my sister. And, although that didn't work out, Jason and Greg have been close friends ever since. They're two peas in a pod. Jason got the tall part of the pod, but nevertheless, they are so alike. They both think bodily humor is funny, will not hesitate to smear food across their face and ask for a kiss from their wife, love games, working out, sports, and have a deep commitment to their faith. And, even though the miles have separated the pair, we've stayed in touch.

Jason married an acquaintance of mine, Jessica, who is so much like me, it's just fitting. I helped Jessica get hired at the pharma company I worked for and everyone called her "blond April." So, now I can't say anything bad about her, right? :) She's a hard-worker, smart, and beautiful inside and out. I only ever referred one person for a job, and she was it because I believed in her 100%.

We've shared lots of fun times with them: camping, white-water rafting, a baby shower for their daughter Riley, Wii, you-name-it.

It's been 18 months since we've seen Jason and Jessica. Too long.

In February, I got a call from Jessica while she was on her way back from visiting family in Atlanta. It was in the midst of our second round of IVF and even though we were in a struggle of our own, I couldn't help but feel blessed after talking with her. She was 12 weeks in to her second pregnancy and they had just found out the baby had a condition where her skull would not develop: acrania. It's rare and most babies with this condition are aborted, which is exactly what their doctors encouraged them to do....even some of her family members. There is a 100% mortality rate once the baby is born and at the time, the doctors thought she would miscarry early on.

Jason and Jessica made the tough decision not to abort. They weren't expecting a miracle. They weren't expecting to carry to term. They weren't expecting so much pressure from doctors and some family. But, they decided it wasn't in their power to decide when to end a life. They knew the decision would be a difficult one to carry out.

Now, Jessica is at 37 weeks and likely their baby girl will be born soon. You can read more about their story here. But, most especially, they need prayers that they'll get at least a few minutes to hold their baby before she passes.

From this pregnant lady, I can't imagine the struggle of carrying a baby for that length of time knowing the final result that they do. They are strong, courageous, and definitely two people to be admired. And, despite all their heartache, they are genuinely happy for Greg and I with our little girl on the way. I'm glad to call them our friends.

Gotta go otherwise the tears will ruin my keyboard for sure.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

beginning another quilt

Just got these in the mail a couple weeks ago and I'm itching to start this quilt.

I've got about 6 hours of work left of my twin quilt that I began a long time ago. Dare I mention how long it's been? It's been so long, I had the time to find it, piece it. Then Pottery Barn had time to find it, produce it and sell millions by the time I got to the quilting phase. Nevertheless, I'm close to being finished.

This new quilt will be much smaller than a twin, plus I plan to make it on the machine instead of entirely by hand, so it should be complete by November when the baby comes.

For this quilt, I knew I wanted lots of color unlike the white background of my previous quilt. I'm going to have a white crib and light walls, so I wanted the quilt to pop in the room.

And, I've gotten a bit more brave (thanks Susan!) since my last quilt so I'm more confident in mixing patterns from a variety of designers. So, I set out to combine fabrics, knowing that I wanted the orange, yellow, gray, green, blue combo somehow. I ended up ordering the fabrics from FabricWorm and FatQuarterShop and they're made by Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, and probably one more I'm forgetting.

More on the progress with this one later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

growing belly

I haven't invested as much time into taking belly photos as I should.

I'm missing most weeks before 12 and it's spotty thereafter. I'm already regretting it, so I'm making a conscientious effort to take these photos each week.

Here I am at week 19 embracing the comfort of yoga pants. Strange that I actually WANT to dress for comfort now. I even made a run to the mall last weekend to buy skads of new underwear that don't crease me at my belly. Lace at the waist-band is sheer genius! Why didn't I buy these before?

And, most recently this is my 20 week photo. I'm trying to get as much wear out of my cool pre-pregnancy tops as possible. Really making them stretch, but this one has less "give" so it may only last another week or two.

In other news, I think we've got a name. I'm waiting on Greg to give his final approval and then I promise I'll share it with you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

surprised, shocked, happy

I wouldn't do this test unless you're comfortable being in the 10% error group.
For weeks, we've been thinking boy names, boy clothes, boy everything.

Then we find out we're having a little girl.

It's been the most wonderful surprise yet. Happy to know she's a "she" and hope that she's not offended we thought she was a "he".

We're now onto thinking girl names, and I'll share once we have a final name.