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Archive for March 2010

the month of february $

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to put my 2010 book together yet, but I am moving ahead with the layouts in a monthly format. So far so good. The Biograffiti templates are fantastic and I was able to do these layouts in no time. I just got the March template set and already have all of my pictures layed out and it took a half an hour tops. If you are looking for a quick way to get your pictures scrapped, I highly recommend them. They are quick and easy and the fact that they are pre-dated has saved me so much time (mind you, with that being said, I changed my dates for this month).

Anyway, here they are:











Templates: P365: Simple Solutions {February 2010} template set by Biograffiti from ScrapArtist
Paper: Smooches collab kit from Scrap Orchard, Out of This World kit by Ziggle Designs at Scrap Orchard, Book Bag Essentials kit from Digital Design Essentials
Alphabet: Sweet Notes by Designs by Lili from The Lily Pad
Border: Life 365 by Gina Marie Huff from Weeds & Wildflowers
Dates: Itty Bitty Dates by Biograffiti from ScrapArtist
Font: Pea Smashtastic

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day 90 - oreos on the deck $

Today was a beautiful day outside. After the boys woke up we went outside to play. It was nice because I was able to take all three of them outside by myself and actually get something done while they were out there. From the background of this picture I am sure you can figure out what I was doing. It wasn't glamorous and the "crappy" part of being a dog owner in the spring, but I was able to work for over an hour and I didn't have to run after anybody leaving our yard or heading for the road like I did last year.



Other than that, it was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the sunshine and had our snack out on the deck.





That was it. Totally uneventful.

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day 89 - off to print $

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

My problem has always been that I have too many ideas swirling around in my head. Pair that with a short attention span and not very many of my projects are taken through to completion. Today I proved that I can indeed take a massive personal creative project from start to finish - my Project 365 book for 2009 was submitted for printing to Blurb. Hooray!!



It was no small feat either. I couldn't even begin to guess how many hours this book took to put together so let's just say it was a ridiculous amount of time. But to be able to flip through the preview below and see exactly what it will look like when it arrives in the mail a week and a half from now - it is all worth it.

So here it is in all its glory - my 108 page big ass coffee table book:



Edited to add: If you click on 'full screen' on the widget you can see it up close. :)

My favourite page of the entire book? The last one (yes I am going to make you click through each and every page so you can check it out). I can't look at that picture of Ava without laughing my head off. It is hands down my favourite picture taken during 2009.

Big thanks to Checco for putting my book together, getting it ready for print and uploading it. I truly appreciate it and suspect there is a "don't send a PC in to do a Mac's job" lesson in here somewhere. :)

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day 88 - mommy's birthday present $

Monday, 29 March 2010

Over the weekend I spent my birthday money and bought something I have been looking at for a very long time - an iPod Touch. I know quite a few people who have them and love them and have been very impressed with what I have seen. My personal feelings on it so far? I think an intervention might be needed at some point. I've been on my laptop at night with one hand working away on it and the other testing out the iPod.

Anyway, the weather was beautiful today. It was nice to drive home in the sunshine. Sunshine for me equals rock music. I am Lady Gaga'd and Black Eyed Pea'd out and I enjoy getting in the car and going to work and being able to listen to anything I want and today I chose rock.



The other news around our house today was that a smart meter was installed on our house. I don't know much about it but I am on board with it. It will be interesting to see how it affects our hydro bills and to see how much energy we can conserve by doing laundry and running the dishwasher during off hours.



Oh and the highlight of the day? My mom picked the kids up from the babysitter, made dinner for the kids and I and gave them their baths so all I had to do was put them in bed. Thanks Mom!

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painting with light $

I've had a few questions as to how I did my earth hour photos on Saturday so I thought I would share my setup and some tips. I'm more than happy to share.


The technique is called "painting with light" and it involves using a tripod (or hard surface), long exposures and a light source like a flashlight, sparkler or glow stick. I couldn't find my tripod mount so I set the camera on my tv stand instead. I had my daughter stand in the middle of the room in the dark with the flashlight. Focusing was hard because I couldn't get behind my camera to see through the viewfinder and other than a little bit of light coming from candles placed in other parts of the room, the room was pitch black. (It was Earth Hour, so I couldn't cheat and turn on the light to lock the focus.) Anyway, without further ado, here's how you do it:

1. Get your light source ready whether it's a flashlight, sparkler, glow stick, etc.

2. Set up your tripod or put your camera on a hard, steady surface.

3. If you are the shooter and the subject or are involved in the light painting, use your camera timer.

4. Flip your camera to shutter priority mode (Tv mode on Canon cameras) and set it to a long exposure. 5 seconds is perfect for something like this (done with a flashlight):



10 seconds works for something like this (also done with a flashlight):



or this (done with a sparkler):



and 10-15 seconds works great for this (Please note this is two images put together in Photoshop. I did 'earth' in one shot and 'hour' in another. Both words were made with a flashlight):



5. Lock your focus on your subject. Click the shutter and either get your subject to start "painting" with their light source or run like hell to get into position while the timer flashes. I found the timer mode easiest and suspect it works even better with a subject as they know the second that light on the timer holds steady they need to get ready.

6. Start painting your design, keeping the following thing in mind - the camera is going to capture light everywhere it sees it and the longer you hold the light source in one spot, the brighter that spot gets and it creates a burn spot. If you are going to be painting something and want to avoid tails on your art, cover it with your hand to kill the light (obviously this doesn't work for sparklers), or hold it in one spot. If you find it burns too much, you can try again with a shorter exposure once you get a feel for how long it takes you to create your design. Also remember that if you are using a flashlight, the lines are wider where there is more light. In the case of the heart above, the thicker lines mean more light was hitting the camera. The thinner lines are where the flashlight is pointed on an angle away from the camera.

7. Have fun and experiment. In most cases we jumped out of the way so we wouldn't be caught in the shot, but there are a million other different ways you can do it. You could shine the flashlight on your face so you appear in the shot. You could set your on camera flash to rear curtain which means that the flash fires at the end of the exposure (instead of the beginning which is the way it usually works) and illuminate your subject using the flash and get something like this:


(I did this last summer and it was so much fun. Details here and here.)

This shot has some ambient light in the mix. The other shots used a small aperture of f22 but this one was shot with the same shutter speeds as the others, but the aperture was wide open at f2.8, letting candle light from the dining room into the picture.


The timing of this post is perfect because it coincides with the new Photojojo newsletter that just came out today. Check out their very cool idea for painting with light. I hope this is helpful! Please don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have any questions!


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day 87 - the allowance days are here $

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ava has been collecting (stealing...) change from around the house. A quarter here, a dime there...if you leave it lying around, it's gone. I keep hearing her playing with change in her room and keep telling her to put it back. Yesterday she sat down with me and told me with a very serious face that she needs her own money to "buy stuff". So we had a chat and have come to the agreement that if she helps around the house she can have a small allowance.

Here's one of her first jobs - picking out clothes for her and her brothers:



There are a lot of colours going on here but that's fine with me because I didn't have to pick them out. It was at that point I decided to I wanted to get a picture of the three kids together in their outfits. I told Owen to turn around as his back was to me.



He turned alright. And he didn't stop.



Five seconds later any hopes I had for a group shot were over as Owen's spinning turned into a full blown ballet session for all three of them:



Oh well. Maybe having two nice pictures of all three of my kids together in one month is too much to ask.

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day 86 - earth hour $

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Lots of stuff going on today even though we never left the house. Jason was in a curling bonspiel so it was just me and the kids.

The kids and I watched "Up" this morning. Have you seen it? It's excellent. Here's Ava and I snuggled up on the couch watching.



While we were watching, there was a full blown battle royal happening on the floor beside us:



I don't know what to do about the non-stop fighting because it is really getting out of control. Owen has been beating the hell out of Ethan so the second Ethan gets the upper hand like in the picture below, I look the other way. Ethan's got scratches all over his face and neck and Owen doesn't have a mark on him. If anybody has any suggestions on how to end this madness, I would love to hear them because I am fed up.



Later in the afternoon, Nana came by to visit and had a dance party with the kids.



We didn't listen to Olivia Newton John



but we had a great time all the same. ;)

The other big thing that happened today was Earth Hour. I put the boys to bed and it was just Ava and I. I lit some candles



and we had some fun with a flashlight







and some sparklers (if you can see past the dog's fat head). Unfortunately the sparklers had to be lit inside because of the wind. Number of holes burned into the mat by the back door as a result? One. :(



This isn't the greatest picture but I really like it. Ava was playing with the flashlight on the couch and pretending to sleep.



It was fun and we had a great time. My original plan for Earth Hour was to sit in the dark and run my laptop off the battery. I'm glad I went with something more entertaining.

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day 85 - shadow puppets $

Friday, 26 March 2010

This morning while I was getting the kids ready to go, I noticed Ava was missing from the breakfast table. I found her making shadows on the wall.



It was a beautiful day outside (after an absolutely beautiful red sunset the night before) today and you know what that equals - lots of crazies on the road.

Number of impatient jerks who flipped me the bird: 1
Number of impatient jerks I flipped right back: 1
(no my children were not in the car at the time)

Number of silver foxes in Camaros I saw stop traffic trying to pick up teenage girls: 1
Number of silver foxes in Camaros who got totally rejected: 1
(it was awesome)

Other than that the day was uneventful. Did you see the moon fully visible and out in the middle of the day?



It was pretty cool.

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day 84 - playing outside $

Thursday, 25 March 2010

After lunch today, the boys each put on their boots and one of Jason's hats. Apparently we were going outside. It ended up being short lived as it was really, really cold outside.



(Owen left, Ethan right)

We were outside long enough to see that there is one tulip coming up in the front garden. Ava and Grandma planted bulbs in the fall and it is fun to see where they come up as I have no idea where they planted them. :)



Scarlett was banished to the kitchen while the kids ate dinner as they feed her non-stop and she has been getting pretty bad for jumping up and eating stuff right out of their hands. It was successful until the kids saw me take this picture:



At which point they figured out what I was doing and just threw their food on the floor for her to eat later.



::Sigh:: Another battle lost.

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the month of january $

I've learned a lot during the Project 365 process and one of those things I figured out early on was that the weekly scrapbook layouts are a killer. As every week passed, I became further and further behind. Every week I tried to come up with a new layout and it was exhausting. By the end of the year I had fallen so far behind it has taken me three months to catch up. I finally did, but as I finished it up I promised myself I would do things very differently this year. I still want to do a book of layouts at the end of the year, but I need to simplify the process or I will go crazy.

One of the biggest problems I had when I put my 2009 book together was pagination. Some weekly layouts were one page and some were two. This created a big problem when I layed out my book. Many of my one page layouts had to be redone as two page layouts to make everything flow properly. The other challenge was doing a new design every week. It took too long and it working on them became a pain and not enjoyable in the least.

To eliminate both of those problems I checked every digital scrapbooking site I could find and specifically looked for designers who designed templates by month instead of week. Weeds & Wildflowers has monthly templates but they missed the mark for me because they are built for only horizontal pictures. That doesn't make sense to me, so I kept looking. Design House Digital also has month templates, but the individual pages don't have room for journaling - you do all of the journaling at the end of the month. That didn't work for me either. Anyway, I kept looking and I found great monthly templates by Biograffiti at Scrap Artist.

The Biograffiti templates are great. Everything is organized by month and is pre-dated with date elements that I like and that are my style. It only took me ten minutes to put in all of my pictures. The text boxes took a bit longer, but once I had my background papers in place and my first text box made, all I had to do was copy and paste across all of my pages for the month and then enter my journaling.

Anyway, here's what I came up with for January:













Templates: P365: Simple Solutions {Jan. 2010} template set by Biograffiti from ScrapArtist
Paper: Oh Boy! by Carina Gardner & Crystal Wilkerson from Design House Digitals/Jessica Sprague
Border: Life 365 by Gina Marie Huff from Weeds & Wildflowers
Handwritten Words, etc: Studio 365 Weekly Album by Karla Dudley from DigiChick
Font: Pea Hannah Vanilla

February is going to be very similar but using different papers and a different set of dates that come with the February template pack.

I thought I'd post this in case anybody found it helpful. :)

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