Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday Wishes


Today is my birthday and I wanted to get back to my blog to say thanks to everyone for the birthday messages and good wishes. This was not one of the "significant" birthdays (divisible by 5 or 10) - just marking another year.

We had a chance to take an extended trip out to California in June and we had such a good time visiting with our little granddaughter (and her parents!).

My husband is now "semi-retired" and spending time with family is a priority. We enjoyed a trip to the zoo in Oakland while we were in California.

Ramona loves animals - here we are watching the elephants coming out to be fed.  (It's hard to see but there is an elephant reflected in my sunglasses).

Once we got back to New Hampshire we had lots of work to catch up with in the gardens. We found a lovely bloom on one of the new rose bushes we planted this year. We also found a few too many weeds due to the warm weather and lots of rain so I have been trying to get rid of them!.

Our plant tower is now filled with fresh herbs for cooking. The weather has been great and they are growing so fast.

We chose a different kind of hanging basket for the screen house this year. These make me smile every time I walk out there.

My husband had a special event to attend tonight so we went out for lunch. This desert sampler was delicious and I love the little "Happy Birthday" tag they added - particularly because it has a watermelon in the corner!

We did a bit of shopping after lunch and it seemed like the universe knew it was my birthday. 

I saw three different calendars - all set to the proper date! This doesn't usually happen when you are shopping in antique markets with lots of booths and the sellers are not in the shop every day. I found some other treasures that I will share in another post.

Now that we are getting caught up around the gardens, I plan to do more blogging. I have been experimenting and learning more about photography with my iPhone since that is the camera I always have with me.

I hope your summer is going well and that you are finding time to enjoy family (and perhaps also doing some crafty things!).

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are able to spend this day with family and friends. It is rainy and cold here but I am still having a nice time with one son here and one visiting via FaceTime.

I thought I'd share the card I made for my mother-in-law. It was fun to make and is one of the cards available in Cricut Access. The hardest part about making it is deciding on the papers and colors!

The card is from the Crazy Cute Cards image set and the image number is #MF028C8. 

It can also be found in the Make it Now projects with complete directions. To make things quick and easy, I went to the Make It Now project so I didn't have to figure out the sizing. Then I changed the colors to personalize the card.

I wanted my ladybug to be in more traditional colors so I needed to separate one of the layers into two images.

I used "Hide Contour" to do this - first hiding all of the cuts for the ladybug wings and then hiding the flower cuts.

You could also use the "Slice" option to do this since the elements are spaced far apart. Simply add a square from the basic shapes and place it over the wings. This will separate the wings from the flower pieces. You can just delete extra square and wings after the Slice operation and change the color of the wings to cut on a separate mat.

I added some tiny gems in the centers of the flowers for some more sparkle.

The flowerpot pieces interweave to make the card three dimensional. You can stand it on a table by just pulling the sections out a bit.

The file includes an envelope sized perfectly for the card with a little extra room to accommodate the thickness.

I stamped the sentiment on the back using a cute sentiment stamp from a recent Close To My Heart Stamp of the Month set.

After a nice brunch we actually were able to have a cozy fire in the fireplace - in May!

I will be working on sorting and scanning some old photos this afternoon - a good thing to do on a rainy day! Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Graduation Celebration Banners

May and June are the time for celebrations - lots of end of the year events, proms, recitals and, most importantly, graduations. Our niece and nephew (twins) graduated from high school last year and I pulled out my Cricut Explore to help make decorations for the party.

Their school colors are blue and gold. After some discussion, I found out that the gold was "shiny gold" not just a dark yellow.

Since I needed quite a lot of pennants to make the banners and I didn't have a lot of shiny gold cardstock, I went shopping and found these packaged banner bases at Michael's.  They come in many colors and are from the Recollections collection.

I looked through the banner images available in the Cricut Access Library and found one with a similar shape on the Birthday Bash cartridge.  Then I measured the purchased pennant shape and adapted the scalloped backing to fit evenly behind the gold triangle. (Links to the Cricut site in this post are compensated affiliate links).

The visualization of your saved projects is on of the things that has greatly improved in the new version of the Design Space program (Design Space 3, public Beta).  When you look through your projects, you can see a small preview instead of just a title and when you choose a project the work area and a list of the images you used are clearly displayed.

I made four banners for the party, "Congratulations," "Class of 2016" and one for each of them with their names - "Kathryn" and "Thomas."  The cardstock I was using was 8 1/2 x 11 so I worked out the most efficient placement of the letters I needed to cut and "attached" the groups of letters together so they would cut in the exact positions that I had set up and conserve cardstock.  I also attached two of the scalloped pennant shapes so they would be cut on one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock.

To help keep track of the project, I added a text box with the details of the number of pieces I needed to cut.  I set the color for these notes in a color not used for the banner parts so I could just skip this when I was cutting. You could also hide it using the "eyeball" in the layers panel but then you have to remember to look for it - I find it easier to keep it showing).

I also found these tassels at Michael's and decided to add a few to each banner. I punched the holes in the tops of the banners by hand since I was using a combination of cut pieces and purchased pieces.

The white ovals were needed to help the blue letters stand out - they were difficult to read if you put them directly on the gold layer.  I made a template to punch the holes evenly along the tops and used some blue satin ribbon to string the words together.  You can just see one of the gold tassles on the right side of this photo.

With abundant forethought (!) I cut out the letters and the graduation year for their younger brother Scott who is currently attending the same high school. Preparations for his party will go faster with the bigger banners already done.  The letters are cut with the Varsity Letter font which is included in the Cricut Access.

"Congratulations" is a very long word - 15 letters!.  Fortunately, the banner fit neatly along a shelf at one end of the room.

Another lucky coincidence was the extra letter in Kathryn's name which added just enough extra length to make the banner fit nicely below the banner for Thomas.

The "Class of 2016" banner fit neatly at the entrance to the dining room.

They were both very cooperative about posing for photos - over and over again!

(It might have been the promise of cake that would be served soon that kept them smiling).

The cakes were simply decorated with the initials of their colleges. It's hard to believe that they are just now finishing their first year of college!

When you have a big family gathering, the banners make nice "headlines" for the various group photos that we take to memorialize the occasion.

Here are the proud grandparents with five of the six siblings in my husband's family (one brother wasn't able to come all the way from Colorado).  So many aunts and uncles!

I also made their cards with the Explore, using the writing feature for the blue sentiment and gold border around the insert.  This file could be adapted for 2017 by hiding the cut line for the "6" and adding a "7" in a compatible font.

The card has a male and a female version which worked out perfectly.  I used the parts that were cut from the blue card base to repeat the year on the white envelope.  The 2016 Graduation money cards are by Rob and Bob and the image identifiers are #M10B4CBA for the male version and #M10C14CF for the female version.  These cards are not included in the subscription but can be purchased separately.

I used the writing font Kyden inside the card. This is also included in the Cricut Access Subscription.

Do you have any graduations coming up this month or next? Congratulations to your graduate and your entire family for this milestone!

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Happy National Scrapbooking Day


I missed the chance to say "May the 4th Be With You" and "Happy Cinco de Mayo" but today I want to wish you Happy National Scrapbooking Day (and also Kentucky Derby Day!). I have been busy preparing to attend a digital crop this weekend - meeting up with a group to work on our photo organization and create some digital pages to preserve family memories.

If you have followed my blog for a long time, you will know that I have used two programs to organize our photos and create digital pages, books and other projects for many years. Originally these programs were sold by Creative Memories as Memory Manager and StoryBook Creator. When Creative Memories went bankrupt and left the digital market, the software was sold by Panstoria (the original developers) under the names Historian and Artisan. I have shared many of my digital projects over the years on the blog. I was also an affiliate for Panstoria and helped quite a few of you with projects using the software.

These programs are now offered through a company called Forever.  Forever brings together all of the things you need to make the most of your photos and to preserve them for future generations.  I am so happy to have finally found a solution to store, organize and share our family photos at full image size with total control and privacy. If you purchase a permanent membership your photos will have a permanent digital home that is guaranteed for your lifetime plus 100 years.

I have joined Forever as an Ambassador and I am excited to show you how this company can give you peace of mind knowing that your photos are safe and the memories and stories that go with the photos are stored for future generations.

It will be much easier to see how things work if you set up a free Intro account. Just click HERE to go to my Forever website and set up your account by registering and creating a password.

Please be sure that you see my name at the top of the page as your Ambassador. When I see that you have set up an account I will be able to send you some helpful tips about using your account.

One of my favorite things about using Forever is the free mobile App (for iPhone, iPad and Android devices). You can set this up to automatically back up your phone photos to your account so you won't lose any photos. You can also order prints directly in the app at a 20% discount and pick them up at Walgreens or Duane Reade.

This month, Artisan is on sale for 25% off and when you use the code "ARTISANBUNDLE" you will get also some digital art and a special invitation from Pixels2Pages (the training and inspiration branch of Forever).

Since it is National Scrapbook Day, digital art is also on special for 30% off until Monday, May 8th. You must have Artisan to use the digital art sold by Forever. There is also a "Deal of the Day" each day where one (or sometimes more than one) digital art kit is offered at 50% off. Artisan and Historian are Windows Programs.

I have been working on uploading and organizing my photos in my Forever account and I will be sharing my progress as I go. If you have questions about the software programs or the storage accounts, please leave a comment or send me a message.

I hope you have a chance to do some scrapbooking or crafting this weekend. Here is a photo of my inspiration for the crop today! Have a great day!

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Arrives in the Woods

Tuesday was rainy and chilly but later in the afternoon the sun came out and I just had to grab my "big" camera and take some photos of the signs of Spring in our yard.

Many of us have fallen in the habit of using phone cameras for nearly all of our photography. The cameras in current phones are vastly improved over the earliest models and, as they say, "the best camera is the one that is with you." I have learned more about getting better phone photos from some online courses but I can't get some of the effects and clarity that I get with my Nikon.

It has been a long time since I pulled out my DSLR and I had fun shooting some close-ups of new leaves and flowers.

Several people have asked to see some more photos of our new home and garden.Things are just starting to green up and we are doing lots of yard work so I'll show more when everything is planted. Our property backs up to a large woods so in some parts of the yard we can't see any neighbors at all. This is the view from the driveway by the garage.

Speaking of the driveway - it is very long and we have a little bridge crossing a drainage easement/creek area. Once the leaves are fully out it will be hard to see the house from the street. We love the privacy but not the expense of having such long driveway plowed in the winter!

This is a view of the creek area - we have left it rather wild but have some plans to build a treehouse and make some paths for our granddaughter. You can just see the house at the top left of this photo.

Lots of the trees are oak trees and last Fall we had an incredible crop of acorns. Here are some that are still left even after the fall cleanup.

The original owners of the house built this elaborate pond and waterfall system. I like the way this photo captures the blue sky and trees reflected in the water. This will all be cleaned up and opened for the season next week. I am looking forward to that because we love to sit in the screened gazebo on the deck and hear the water - it's very relaxing.

I strung lights along the tops of the sides of the gazebo and they make it feel very cozy when it starts to get dark.

The forsythia bushes are still blooming but they will be finished soon.

The lilacs are just coming out. We want to plant some more of these (I hope the deer won't find them to be a tasty snack!).

There are lots of small pine trees that were catching the light yesterday after the rain.  Very feathery and delicate. I have plans to use some of these photos to make some digital scrapping elements.

This flowering tree is at the top of our driveway near the street. I took several photos but it was a bit muddy to get in really close. I cropped this image into a square but it left the street and some grass showing along the bottom and I think that is a bit distracting.

Then I cropped the image further to really highlight the blossoms with the background totally unrecognizable. Which version do you like better?

The sunlight was coming through the woods and lighting up some of the bright green new leaves. I stood in a spot where the trunk of the tree would give a dark background to show the cluster of leaves a little better. Sometimes just moving a bit or trying a different angle makes a big difference in your photo.

When the light comes through the leaves you can see the veins and patterns very clearly. I really like the bright Spring color!

This flamingo is in the garden bed near the house and side deck. It was in my husband's grandmother's garden and we love having it as a reminder of her.

This is the companion flamingo on the other side of the garden. I don't think they were every painted pink. I have started to take photos of many of the things that have been passed down through the family. I want to be sure that our children and grandchildren know the stories about some of the special family things we have in our home.

Things are different living here in the woods. We were used to living in town and being able to walk to shops and restaurants (or to the parade!).  Here I can go for a nice walk in the neighborhood but you need a car to do your typical errands.  It's a big change but we like it a lot.

The shapes and colors of Spring can be very inspirational. The changing of seasons is one of the things I like about living in the Northeast.  Just when you get tired of one season it is time for something new. 

I hope you are having a great week. I have some fun plans for this weekend to celebrate National Scrapbook Day! Are you planning anything special to celebrate?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation. Subscribe to Capadia Designs if you would like to have new posts delivered directly to your email.