September 30, 2014

pics: random and last weekend

Tom hard at work cleaning the ceiling fan.  Our family room is a volume room (two stories high), so it's not an easy job.

Halloween decor at Buffalo Bill's trading post in Cave Creek, AZ. (these pumpkins wouldn't go bad in 80+ degree heat, that's for sure.)

yard at at Buffalo Bill's: a row of metal bulls at the trading post, waiting for new homes.

The coming storm- we watched it approach over the mountains.   And then drove in it all the way home. 

Snake Dancer Kachina doll- at an estate sale. 
I didn't buy this one, although I kind of wish I had, in addition to the one I did buy. The Hopi snake dancer asks the snake to carry a message for rain to the gods. The feather wand is to calm the snake, and the bag (? I think that's what it is) is to carry the snake.

Mudhead kachina- this kachina is the one I bought... The mudhead is a clown kachina that may drum, dance, or  play games with the audience during the ceremonies. The name mudhead comes from the fact that they have mud applied to their masks. 
(now we just have to find a place to display him that's cat-proof.)

September 28, 2014

Martha comes through!!

Yup, I am still here! been busy with my job (like crazy busy!!), went to Hawaii for two weeks and took thousands of photos, you know... stuff like that! 

Anyway-- I haven't had much time to craft or scrap, but I do still take tons of photos, and I would like to do something with them-- hopefully I can make some time for that soon. 

Yesterday we were out and about... we drove to Cave Creek, AZ to (have lunch and) get new chili ristras to hang outside the patio. On the way back, I wanted to stop at Sprinkles to get a cupcake, but we got caught in the torrential downpours of the storm that moved through the entire Phoenix area, and there was no stopping anywhere after it started to pour. But, I still wanted a cupcake! So, Martha came to my rescue: 

Martha Stewart's vanilla cupcake recipe

frosted and sprinkled with coconut
So, not quite the same as the ones from Sprinkles-- mine are smaller (I really don't need a huge cupcake anyway), and I must confess, I did use store-bought frosting, but they are yummy! (and way cheaper!! I made a dozen cupcakes for pretty much the price the one Sprinkles cupcake would have been.) Would you believe I think this is the first time I've baked a cake  from scratch in my adult life?? (well, cupcakes, but still...) I guess I figured mixes were always so much simpler... for the difference in taste, I don't think I'll buy a cake mix ever again!

Like I said, my job is crazy-busy right now (my supervisor left on maternity leave and starting last week, I'm her stand-in... yikes!!) but I have tons of photos to post-- from our trip to Hawaii, other places around AZ, last year's trip to New Mexico for the balloon fiesta, etc. So, it might be somewhat random (like usual), but I will post some of them soon! And hopefully scrap some of them, too!! 

May 31, 2014

it's like magic!

So, my birthday was Tuesday... not sure yet how I feel about being 45-  how does that happen?!? It seems like just yesterday that I was somewhere in my thirties... Anyway, this afternoon I was doing some magic after work in our front yard: 
(you should be able to click on any of them to make them larger)

Magic Trick #1

Magic Trick #2

Magic Trick #2b

Magic trick #3

Have you figured it out yet? Tom's birthday present to me was something totally unexpected, and quite thoughtful- I said a couple posts ago that I'd kind of like a macro lens for my camera, and now I have one! He didn't even read that on the blog, he just knew I was getting more interested in close-up photography of insects, flowers, and the like, and thought I might like it. And he was right! (Now I just have to figure out exactly how to use it... although the little bit of messing around with it that I've done so far is pretty cool, I think.)

The#2 photos are of a smallish saguaro cactus (about 2 1/2 feet tall) in our front yard. The first one is the very top of the cactus, where all the new growth happens, and the second one is an older established grouping of spines farther down the plant. These areas on a cactus, when looked at closely, make some really neat abstract patterns. (fyi, from my internet searches, the spines on a cactus help to shade the plant from the sun-- and protect it.)

This is #3: a flower off our spruce cone cactus.
The photo above is a close-up of the pollen grains
 (pollen grains!!! how cool is that!!) inside the flower. 
I called it 'like magic' because with this lens, I can see things that I can't (or don't really pay attention to, at the very least) with the naked eye. I've always been fascinated with stuff like that, even when I was little- I spent plenty of time outside in our yard: laying in the grass watching ants, examining maple tree helicopters, acorns, and the like, and carting home pockets full of rocks that didn't really look special at all, except, I guess, to me. I don't remember how old I was, but Mom and Dad even got me a microscope set one year (for Christmas, maybe?) and I remember spending lots of time looking at what was in a drop of water from a puddle, that sort of thing. This is kind of the 'grown up' version of that, I guess- I can take a photograph of something and look even closer at it than I'd be able to otherwise (especially with the limitations of my bad eyesight). 

This is the zoomed-out version of what's in pic #1;
it's a withered-up flower from the golden barrel cactus.
Not all that interesting, maybe, except for in the close-up
it takes on a more abstract sort of form. 

He also gave me two bottles of Vitamin D gel-caps, which was also quite thoughtful, since I needed it- and it made me laugh, besides! 

Hopefully you liked my 'magic tricks' and hopefully I'll have more of them to show over the coming months!

May 23, 2014

scrapping, then and now (again)

In addition to taking lots of photos, I have been doing some scrapping, and rearranging my scrap space a bit, which I'll show you once it's clean (which means it could be months before I show it to you, lol). Anyway-- 

I've also actually been taking photos of scrapbook pages in order to make a scrapbook layout about my scrapbooking hobby. (did you follow that logic? lol!!) To that end, here's a few possibly/probably never-before-seen scrapbook pages from the archives: 

This page was probably made in the early-mid 2000s;
I'm guessing, since the photos are from Winter 1999.
(not sure, as I didn't used to date my pages when I made them)
I've written a bit already about my scrapbook style changing over time in a blog post titled 'My Scrapping Style Evolution.' I think everyone's style has to change at least a little, based on trends that come and go in scrapping just like in fashion, colors that go into or out of style, and new products or tools that become available for scrappers to use. 

a page documenting moving into my first house--
no patterned paper at all here, just cardstock and stickers!

another page from the early 2000s- no real 'design' to the page at all,
just one piece of patterned paper, and some handwritten journaling.
The pages above reflect the 'trends' and scrapbooking styles of the time in which they were made, and I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm glad I have the photos and the journaling that goes with them safely in my album.

For me, my SB style even changes from page to page, depending on what I'm inspired by at the time: a pretty new patterned paper, using a cool new tool or product I just bought (or maybe just 're-discovered' in my craft room!), whether I have pictures I really want to showcase vs. a story to tell, that sort of thing. And that's perfectly okay- for me, it's necessary, even, to keep me interested in the hobby long-term. (with some things, I have a pretty short attention span and get bored easily!)

Another page about the flowers at my first house,
this page was made last year, I think.
(I probably dated the back of the page)
The page above is definitely full of trendy features a la 2010-to-present: the background was misted and splattered with spray inks, there are cardstock letter stickers, there are two 4x6 photos butted up next to each other on one photo mat, there are layers of patterned paper behind the photos, and there are wood veneer embellishments on the page. I still like it! It reflects 'me' today, as far as scrapping goes. I don't do this kind of thing on every page, but it's fun to 'try on' a trend now and then, and even though there's no 'story' I wanted to tell with these pictures, I'm glad to have the photos on a page instead of in a box.

Left-hand page of a 2-page spread made sometime last year.

This is kind of tough to visualize because these next pages are made to go together in the album, so the pages above and below were made together as a 12 x 24 canvas. (I'll take some photos of them together so you can see how they look together.) But, from the photos here, hopefully you can see that these pages are in a very different 'style' than the pink splattered page above. These two pages are much more about the photos and not so much about the 'artsy' or 'trendy' things used on them. They were designed using a Scrapbook Generations page sketch so I wouldn't have to do the 'work' of designing them from scratch, and the focus is much more on the photos (I hope, anyway) than on the artistic details.
right-hand page of the same 2-page spread

Still, the various page details were all chosen to support the photos- from the colors of the cardstock and patterned paper to the stickers and flower embellishments I used. In addition, my switch to a digital camera has led me to take more (and hopefully better quality) photos so some of my pages are more photo-centric and photo-heavy than technique-heavy. I also recorded the main details of the day for posterity, to tell the 'story' that goes with these photos. Whatever works for the given situation and the objective you want to achieve, I say!

And then there's goofy pages like this one, made 'just because'

I used my (new-ish) Silhouette cameo electronic cutter to cut the feather embellishments on this page, so it was partially inspired by a new tool. But it was also inspired by the photos, although not in an overly-serious way. This page was made using a divided page protector, which is also 'trendy' and popular right now; in this way, you can look at the sections individually as well as looking at them as a cohesive 'whole page'  that tells a story (well, that was my intent, at least).

a close-up of the top half of the page

Not sure if you can read it, but the page title is: "Bird Brains-- If birds could talk...' and the journaling says, "every once in a while I get a picture that makes me think, 'what is that bird thinking?' and even though I know they don't really 'think' the way we do, it's fun to imagine."
The thought bubble above the mallard (who is looking intently into the water) is 'Boy, do you look GOOD! (if I do say so myself!)' I've taken enough biology classes to be fairly certain that this mallard isn't actually admiring his reflection in the water, but doesn't it sort of look like that's what he could be doing?? 

a close-up of the bottom half of the page
The thought bubble above the grebe on the left-hand side is, '...I may have overdone it with the hair gel... what do you think?' because in the photo, all his feathers seem to be sticking straight up, like his 'hair' (feathers) is spiked up with hair gel. (if birds used hair gel, that is... haha!) The egret on the right is looking straight at the camera and to me he looked kind of irritated, so his thought bubble says, 'Don't even think about talking to me until I've had my first cup of coffee!'  

So, my scrapbook pages can be artsy and trendy, for showcasing photos and/or telling a story, and some of them are just for fun. (Or they can be any and all combinations thereof.)

One of my ongoing projects for the year (besides re-arranging my scrapping space and trying to keep it clean), is to organize all my layouts in albums, and to finish all the mostly finished layouts I have in piles. When (if) I make some progress on those projects, I'll show them to you as well!