August 27, 2011

street art- a day out

I braved the heat today and went into downtown Phoenix with my camera. (and a large bottle of water)
This is a few pics of what I found, all of it within an area of just a few square blocks in the Roosevelt Row arts district.
Some is political, some is "tagging" (the artist's name, initials, etc), and some is pure art. (because I was in the arts district, I'm pretty a good bit of it is sanctioned by the property owners.)
Mary? modeled after a Da Vinci? not sure. found in an alley- I love the details on her!
"Police Navidad" spray paint on the sidewalk this building reminds me of stained glass.
"Bird is the Werd"
building along Roosevelt.
"Build Up Not Out" (on a large dumpster)
I love how the plates on its back are skyscrapers! (and the tiny saguaro cacti at the bottom)
...more to come!

August 26, 2011

scrap! a bit circular...

...this post, that is: a blog post about a scrapbook layout that's about scrapbooking-- you follow? No?? I don't blame you; it took me quite a while to come up with that line. :D so, this is one of my recent scrapbook layouts-- it's a 2-page layout that I made using one of the new Scrapbook Generation sketch books I purchased a couple months ago. It's the first one I made following one of those sketches, actually. It took me a little while to understand the flow ofusing a sketch: 1) choose coordinating papers; 2) cut all the paper following the dimensions provided; 3) assemble the page; 4) add embellishments, title, journaling. I found out a couple things about myself during this process: a) choosing matching papers is difficult- I think it took me at least 45 minutes! 2) I buy paper in a vacuum! I buy it just 'cause I like it, not because it will go with any other papers I might already have... that's one of the reasons it took me so long to choose the matching papers. 3) Turns out that I am still as math-challenged as ever- oh, I can do straightforward math (with a calculator, that is); I just have a difficult time following measurements and dimensions sometimes (meaning these papers are not the original pieces I chose-- those got cut incorrectly, so they're waiting for some other project).
This layout is actually about National Scrapbooking Day 2011, so it is technically a "scrapbook layout about scrapbooking." This might seem kind of odd to anyone besides a scrapbooker, but it makes perfect sense to me- lol!! I won a 12-hour crop at the newly-opened Phoenix Scrapbook Cottage. (it's a beautifully-renovated bungalow that hosts day crops as well as weekend retreats, so of course, I had to document the day! I also previously blogged about it here. (and I'm going to go back, for an entire weekend sometime next month-- I can't wait!!)
This layout consists mainly of photos of my workspace, and photos of the layouts I worked on while I was there. The journaling talks about what's in the pics, along with how this event got me back into scrapping after over a year off. To quote Martha, "that's a good thing!!"
Even though this layout took such a long time to do and I ran into a few bumps along the way, after all that, I quite like how it turned out! (Now, should I make a scrapbook page about this blog post, to continue falling down the rabbit hole?? lol!! just kidding!)
(somewhat related: tomorrow is an open house at the Scrapbook Cottage, if you're located in the Valley and want to check it out! Go to their facebook page HERE to get the details.)

August 21, 2011


Three. Three is the number of Shelties we have now.
(Well, since yesterday, anyway.)

L-R: Bisbee, Krista, and Prescott, waiting to come inside.

This is Krista. She is about four years old, and is the sweetest-tempered, most docile dog I think I have ever met.

She was a show dog, so she's very attentive, and very smart-- it only took her two tries to get the hang of going up and down the stairs. Next up: teaching her to pee in the gravel instead of on the grass.

August 17, 2011

card crafting

I started out this whole scrapping / rubber-stamping "thing" by making cards. My sister went to a Stampin' Up! party, I think, then either showed me what she had done, or invited me to attend one myself. It's been a looong time ago, now; I don't really remember exactly any more... heck, I don't remember exactly what I had for lunch on Monday, let alone something that happened at least 15 years ago! :D

Anyhow, over time I lost the card-making-mojo... I went from making tons of cards, to making cards only for Christmas, and I think that might have been the last time I made any. Till yesterday, when I made these:

My problem with cards has been mainly that I can't figure out how to design them; it's easier for me to work on a scrapbook page, for some reason. So, I brought the scrapbooking thing to my card-making, by using a scrapbook page sketch to design the card!! You can see the sketch I used here: Sketchy Thursdays 8/11/11 challenge.

I used the main layout placement for my card design, and placed the butterflies where the photos would be placed. I think it worked out okay; plus, I used a new stamp (Martha Stewart doily), used some of my tiny left-over paper scraps, and used some rather "difficult" patterned paper. (hopefully the patterned paper doesn't overwhelm the butterflies; I don't think so, anyway-- let me know what you think!)

close-up, just to show that I popped-up the butterfly wings with 3-D foam tape... they needed some dimension to them! (too bad I didn't decide that before I glued them down, but I pried their wings back up...)

and, another cute dog picture! Bisbee was just hanging out on the couch this evening... she really doesn't like that Prescott can't play right now! (just one more day till he's recovered enough from being neutered to play again... then, only a couple more days till we pick up Krista!)

August 15, 2011

random photo of cuteness

we have the best petsitters!! there was a "welcome home, we missed you" card (from the pets) waiting for us when we got home from vacation a couple weeks ago. This was the picture on the front of the card: Kimberly took this photo months ago, while she was doing mid-day visits for Prescott right after we got him... this picture is such a cute one, I asked her for a copy of it so I can frame it. Seriously, though, Home is Where the Hound Is is the best petsitting service around. After Sedona passed away last year while we were on vacation, we were very leery of taking the dogs anywhere to be boarded, and weren't sure what we were going to do. Thankfully, one of the services Kimberly offers is an overnight stay option, so someone was at our house for 12 hours a day, sleeping over at night. The cats got attention every day, the dogs didn't have to go anywhere unfamiliar, be stressed out, or be exposed to any other (possible) dog germs or diseases in a kennel. They even got more attention than when we're home, because they got a mid-day visit, too! She also give multiple pet discounts on their services, which is good: we're planning on getting Krista this weekend, hopefully... :D

August 12, 2011

theme #2, also known as "where I grew up"

Another "theme" for vacation photo-taking came about while Tom and I were out taking a drive and got stuck driving behind a "farm implement." This happens sometimes in that area, especially this time of year. You learn to live with it and be patient (till you can get to a passing zone, that is!), but it got me looking around and noticing the signs we passed along the way. (Bear with me here; these pictures might not be all that "interesting" in the traditional sense of tourist photos, but the more I think about it, I'm really glad I took them because they give me a visual sense of my "place and history," if you know what I mean. ) So, as we kept looking around during our driving, I started noticing seed company variety signs alongside the road. These signs are put up as sort of "advertising" for the different companies, in front of the fields. Once I started actually really "looking" at them, I realized there were a lot of them around and that they actually have kinda cool graphics on them: Someone who didn't grow up in this area of the country might not even take notice of these signs, or notice them without thinking about them, but growing up in a small town (population 1500; my high school graduating class was 42) where farming was all around, I think a little differently about these things. Well, now that I've grown up I do, anyway... I didn't really think much about it at all while I was in high school! :D Farming is not an easy profession- it's one of the most dangerous professions there is, and to me, it seems a lot like gambling: farmers gamble on what the weather will be like for the planting and growing seasons, they gamble on the prices they hope they'll get for your crops (months in the future), they gamble on whether their expenses and equipment will hold up, and they hope there won't be any emergencies... it's not for the faint of heart, I don't think! I grew up with this all around me (my dad worked for a seed corn company my whole life, actually, until he retired), and like I said, I never really thought too much about it before... how important this way of life is, how most people nowadays probably don't ever think about where their food actually comes from or that actual people work to grow it, and how we all should probably have a better understanding of these kinds of things. (I'm not going to get all political on you here, or anything... it's just something I think about sometimes, and it does make me glad I grew up where- and when- I did.)
This is a "test plot" on the edge of town; after Dad found out I wanted to take pictures of the signs, he told me where I could get a number of them all in one place... test plots are fields where they plant a lot of different varieties, so as to "show off" the different ones in close proximity, so farmers can compare them. (I took a drive out there, then kept driving to eventually find a few more... I ended up being late for lunch, actually!)
These two pictures showcase some of the gorgeous scenery you can find in northwest Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin (this area is "unglaciated," which means the glaciers did not go thru here and flatten everything during the Ice Age). It makes for some beautiful rolling hills and good farmland... the vistas aren't as dramatic as the Arizona landscape, but they are majestic in their own right, that's for sure. (These two photos are much prettier if you click on them to view them large; please do that!)

So, now that I've waxed all philisophical on you, I'll say thank you for indulging me, and I'll close with a quote from Willa Cather (one of my favorite authors for her lyrical descriptions of the land and countryside). She lived in the early 20th century and wrote a number of novels about pioneer life in Nebraska... this quote is from one of her best-known novels O, Pioneers!

We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand are the people who own it - for a little while.

August 10, 2011

a quick scrap! (...and a blog-post-title fail...)

...the blog-post-title fail is from my last post-- it hit me as I was driving home from work yesterday that the title of my previous post should have been "Say Cheese!" could I not have thought of that?!? (or would that have been too cheesy?? haha!!)

anyway, I think this is one of the quickest scrapbook pages I have ever put together, and I love the way it turned out! I ran across the digital pics on the computer when I was looking for something else, and decided to print them out. (I love having a home photo printer just for this reason-- granted, it's more expensive than sending them out, and it can only print 4x6 photos, but it's great for spur-of-the-moment inspiration!! and when you consider that I probably woulnd't print or scrap them otherwise, then it's a justifiable expense, in my book.)

I think I made this page right before we left on vacation. I probably should have been packing, or something else important like that, but you know how it goes; when the inspiration hits, you have to strike while the iron is hot! (I think I'm mixing my metaphors, but you know what I mean- hopefully!) We carved pumpkins last fall for the first time in years... I only had a couple photos of it, but it was enough. I used a sketch from the new Scrapbook Generation one-page sketchbook for this page, and it went together really easy. I messed with the colors in the small photos to tone down the bright orange from the pumpkins just a bit, paired the photos with some newer Sassafras stickers and added some letter stickers from my stash for the title. Nothing earth-shattering about the journaling, just documenting the main facts- and that it was messier than I remember, cleaning out pumpkin guts! (oh, and from a scrapping standpoint, I messed up the journaling on the upper left block; that's why "Halloween 2010" is written on a different color of paper... is it perfect? no... but it's done, and I like it anyway!)

I popped up some of the stars with foam tape, just because I like the added interest from the dimension... hmmm, from the pictures I took, it looks like some of my stickers aren't quite so sticky anymore-- that could be because I move them around at least once or twice (okay, possibly more than that) before I decide the final placement.

August 09, 2011

Theme #1... also known as somewhat random vacation pics

For our vacation, we visited our families in NW Illinois and south-central WI. That area is the heart of dairy and cheese country, after all, so how could I resist taking pictures of cheese?? :D Pictures in a theme: when you actually go out and look for them, they're not too difficult to find... it started even before we left Phoenix!

we snacked on queso dip and chips in the airport while we were waiting for our flight. (it was tasty!)

the cheese sale display in the Milwaukee airport: possibly the only airport that sells cheese-to-go??

a sign on the way to my parents' house... cheese for sale at a random gas station / mini mart along the highway. This sign is from the cheese factory in the town where I grew up. It was at the end of the block where I grew up, actually... I remember walking down to the sales room to buy cheese before major holidays, so Mom could have all the necessary ingredients for the cheese and relish plate. (Sadly, this cheese factory is now closed.)

The cheese display in one of the stores when we visited Galena... we tried a couple of the more exotic cheeses, although I'm still wishing I would have tried the horseradish cheddar. (...just to see what it tasted like!) Tom's dad slicing into a fresh-from-the-oven cheese and pepperoni pizza prepared with freshly grated mozzarella and cheddar-- it was wonderful!!
Salt and pepper shakers from a gift shop in downtown Wisconsin Dells-- they're cute, but I prefer to be able to figure out which is which a little easier than this. (I told you, themed pictures are everywhere, if you look!!)
This is one of the traditions from Tom's family reunion-- if you watch Larry the Cable Guy's show "Only in America," you know that limburger is made in only one cheese factory in the country, and surprise, surprise-- it's in Wisconsin! It's an acquired taste, but one I have not yet acquired. I have tasted it- more than once- but I can't get past the (dirty sock) smell; give me a nice sharp cheddar any day!
Tom, however, does like it! The "limburger crowd" had the screen tent to themselves (along with their onions and liver sausage) while the rest of us kept our distance, waiting for the burgers and sweet corn to be ready... funny, but after putting this post together, I'm thinking now I need to go make some mac and cheese-- LOL!!

August 08, 2011

how time flies...

it's been a year, but we still miss you.
Sedona, the best dog ever.
Because she was the first.

August 07, 2011

a short update--

If you wondered where I've been, blogwise, I haven't posted because I've (we've) been gone! We just returned from a week in Illinois and Wisconsin, visiting family, and I didn't have any blog posts pre-set to post while I was gone... I ran out of time; I was lucky to get everything packed, to tell you the truth!

We spent a few days visiting my parents in NW Illinois, spent some time with Tom's family in SW Wisconsin, and I took a short road trip to visit my sister in SE(ish) Wisconsin.

During that week (it seemed to go by so quickly it was amazing, but it really was a week), I took well over 700 photos (ahhhh, the joys of digital cameras, right?!?) and even shot a few videos with my litle point-and-shoot camera (it did pretty good, but I think Steven Spielberg is safe-- lol!!), so once I get some serious editing time in, I'll be back to share some of the best ones with you!