Monday, November 30, 2009

It's a secret ...

If you are in my family, please move on to something else and don't read this blog post. Unless you want Christmas ruined.

Okay, I've been working on a Christmas present for some of my family members, and hadn't wanted to post in case someone I'm related to decided to read my blog on a whim. (Not that I think any of them actually read it regularly, lol). Now that I have warned them off, the rest of you can see what I've been up to.

Still digital. Yes.

I decided to make calendars for my parents, in-laws, and other various closely related types. I thought, hey, it's homemade, always a plus (well, for most of us), it shouldn't be terribly expensive, and it'll be FUN!!

Scratch that "won't be terribly expensive" thing. I thought, hey, I make "calendar topper pages" and find a place that will put them on a calendar and print them out, no worries. Um, yeah. Except that the FIRST one I did was all in 12x12, and for the life of me I can't find anyone who does 12x12 calendars. So I will have to tack on a 6-inch calendar at the bottom of each page and have someplace like Office Max print them out and bind the whole thing. Probably expensive. So that's my mom and dad's gift.

Getting smart after making theirs 12x12, I made my in-laws' 11x8-1/2. I should say, I'm MAKING my in-laws' ... it's still a work in progress.

Here is a page from the in-laws' calendar:

Almost everything is by Jean Daugherty (of both Heritage Scrap and Digizines Studios), and most from her "Revolutionary War" kit. The red background paper is by Atomic Cupcake.

In this case, there were no family birthdays during this month, so I resized some papers and ephemera from the Rev War kit and put in the place where the photos would normally go. Oh, I suppose I didn't explain that I used a page template (same as a scrapbook sketch only better) for the layout design. This particular one is a freebie by SimplyScraps Designs, from the GottaPixel November blog train. In digi, you can place your photo, paper, element, whatever over the corresponding space in the template, "clip" it to the template piece (i.e., a photo piece or a ribbon piece) and it will conform to the size and shape of that piece. You don't HAVE to use every piece on a template, or even keep everything in the same place. It just makes it a lot easier when you're in a hurry and don't want to have to plan everything out. (On this one, since I needed an 11x8-1/2 size, I resized the template to fit, then moved the entire photo cluster bit off to the side so George Washington would show.) It's NOT the same as a QuickPage, which is basically a layout that's all prepared and all you do is add photos. That is TOTAL cheating in my book!

I don't like the way the "July" tag ended up looking on the page, so I may change it.

Here's a sample from my parents' calendar, with birthday people included:

Again, almost everything here is from Jean Daugherty, in this case from her "Seaside" kit. There are some paper strips and ribbons behind the photos that are from other people, but I hope they -- and you -- will forgive me if I don't remember off the top of my head who they were and I really, really don't feel up to hunting them down on PSE's organizer. (I'm sick again.) Also again, I used a template. The designer's initials are EAM, and it was a freebie -- that's all I know.

My dad and my son both have August birthdays, so they're featured on the calendar top. Don't you love Jean's papers? That whole beach scene behind the photos and elements is a background paper! Gorgeous.

Since my parents are Christians, I decided to use Bible verses for each month; for my in-laws I'm just using various quotes.

Aside from the printing costs, these are still NOT cheap calendars. So often I have in my head exactly what I want for a page, and if I don't already have that exact thing, I have to go hunting for it. Sometimes I score Freebies, but often I'll end up having to buy a kit, or a style or action (ways of manipulating photos or elements without having to know how to make it work myself!). Yeah, so lots of money invested in these things.

Well, that's it for now. I'll try to post a few more later on. I want to get these finished so I can get back to heritage scrapping!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving (those of you from the States).

BTW, I'm no longer taking the Medicine From Hell, so at least I'm not severely depressed anymore. Just sick. :(

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is it live? Or is it Memorex?

Or is it ACTUAL PAPER!!!??!!!

I would make you guess, but chances are you'd get it right. It is, indeed, an Actual Paper layout! One I worked on for weeks before getting it the way I liked it. Okay, I worked on it one day, then a couple of weeks later worked on it again, then a few weeks later finished it. I got digitally sidetracked, AND it was a bit of an "outside of the box" deal. Plus I didn't use a page sketch, which, in this case, made it infinitely harder.

Anyway, this is my adorable grand-niece Rachael. She was visiting her Aunt Kenni this summer and they went to see "G-Force" in 3D. Now, I had taken Rachael to see it the week before, and mean old fogey that I am, I made her turn her glasses back in. Looks like Aunty Kenni was much nicer than me! lol Anyway, I think these photos were taken outside the movie theater. I snagged 'em from Kenni's facebook page.

This new medicine I'm trying to take is making my brain buzzy at the moment (not a good thing), but I think I can remember most of the ingredients for this:
heart paper, "fabulous" title: DCWV "Rockstar" paper pack
"Dare to be Fabulous" stamp: Stampin' Up!
Everything else is stuff I got at Archivers, with little to no clue as to the manufacturer. Except that the crystals might be Basic Grey Bling.
Technique used on the "Dare to be ..." label: Technique Junkies "Cling and Scrunch"
I used a Valentine's Day mini-cupcake holder thingy for the red center of the flower (used a punch)
Pink brackets cut using a QuicKutz die in my Cuttlebug
Butterfly cut using the same paper that the "Fabulous" was on, using my Cricut "Home Something-or-other" cartridge

I may have been calling that cartridge the wrong name. I'm calling it Home Decor, but it may be a different name. They have another cartridge out that shares a very similar name, and I get confused. Mine's the older one.

So, I keep wavering about whether or not to just sell all my paper scrapping stuff now that I'm doing digi, but then I look at this page and think how cool it is that it's 3D, and I just can't do it. I know I'll do more paper stuff, so those of you who thought you might benefit from a sale of my stash -- sorry, cupcakes!

Okay, gotta run get some lunch before I pass out. Hope you have a great week!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Texas Proud

Now, that's not a surprising title for me, is it? lol

Here's the other digital scrapbook page I've made so far using Jean Daugherty's "Lone Star" kit. It's honoring my great-great grandfather on my dad's dad's side. He was a Texas Ranger (law enforcement, not the baseball team) for only a few months in the late 1800s, but in the 1920s he started the "Ex-Texas Rangers Association" for, obviously, ex-Texas Rangers, and it was quite a popular group. Sadly, the association eventually died out, and I think they have something else in its place today. But it went strong at least up until "Major" Green's death in the early 1930s. His title of Major was honorary, given him for forming the ETRA.

The journaling is actually the historical marker, which is next to his grave in Colorado City, TX. It puts things waaaaaay more succinctly than I ever could! lol (I see you nodding your head!) You can see the image larger if you click on it.

Everything is from Jean's "Lone Star" kit, except the frame and the photo mat, which are from Kate McLellan's "Civil War" kit, both of which can be found at Heritage Scrap. Jean's kit can also be found at DigiZines Studio. Her "papers" are so lovely I don't want to cover them up!

Hopefully today I'll get my latest paper scrapbook page scanned so I can show you. I really like the way it turned out. I've been using page templates on some of my digi-scrap pages (like sketches, only you can actually "clip" your photos, papers, etc. to shapes and they'll become that shape -- far less "trimming" and trying to deal with fitting things together), and it's helped me sort-of step outside the usual box I often stick to. I'm still not real cool on this white-space thing, but if the papers are as detailed and gorgeous as Jean's, it's good to have it. Anyway, so this latest paper page is a little out-of-the-box for me, and I think it turned out well! I'll try to have that ready next time.

Medical update: I can't tell yet whether the new narcolepsy med is working. Of course, it's the "beginner's" dose, and I will be titre-ing up over the course of the next week or so. Tonight I start a slightly higher dose. It's also been hard to tell what's going on because I have another sinus infection, and those make me feel rotten. But I'm on an antibiotic, and this morning feel MUCH better than I did yesterday morning, when I was ready to chuck it all. So, we'll just have to wait and see. I either have narcolepsy or I don't, so the med will either work or it won't. Life is full of having to be patient, which I am SO not good at! (My brain does seem to be a little more clear than usual -- which is awesome!)

Whatever is going on with me, God is good, He is in control, and I'm just counting on Him to be doing what's best. It's not really a change from the last post, but I'm able to feel that more now. Yesterday was kind-of a rough day, and when I was getting ready to shut things down for the night, I ran across the card my mother had given me for my spiritual birthday on the 8th. The front says, "Sunshiny day, grace-filled, joy-filled, love-filled day -- 'Jesus right beside you' kind of day." Well, it wasn't exactly all those first things, but I realized it had definitely been a "Jesus right beside you" kind of day. He pulled me through it, as only He can do. Boy do I love Him for that!

Hope you have a "Jesus right beside you" kind of day, too! Every day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gone to Texas

So ... I've actually been scrapping lately. A lot. But I can't show the stuff I'm doing because it may end up being Christmas presents, and just in case anyone who would be a recipient reads my blog, that wouldn't be good, KWIM?

I will, however, show you one of my two (so far) Texas history layouts. Jean Daugherty of Heritage Scrap (and DigiZines Studios, now, too) made me a Texas history kit when I put in a request in the HS forums. I may have told you already, but I'm going to tell you again because I don't remember what I said. Anyway, it is a GORGEOUS kit, and I only hope I can do it justice!

This is the first one I did. It's about my 5-greats grandfather who was one of the original settlers in Texas with Stephen F. Austin. (Those folks are now called the "Old Three Hundred.") There is so much to tell about Alexander Hodge, hard to just get it down on one scrapbook page, but I think I managed to condense it fairly well. Of course, there are no photos of him, and I don't even know if there were ever any paintings/drawings. We certainly don't have them if they exist. So it was a bit tough to figure out how to do a page that was all about the journaling without it just being boring. Here's what I came up with:

Gorgeous stuff (Jean's, not so much mine). I think pretty much everything is from her kit, which I purchased from Heritage Scrap, but it's on the DigiZines site, too. I'll show you the other layout next time.

Now I just need a kit about the U.S. Navy so I can scrap my dad's Navy years ...

Anyone want to hear about the medical front in my life? Well, if not, you're probably done with the post now. If so ...

I went to a sleep doc last week who thinks I may have narcolepsy, never mind that I don't suddenly and "accidentally" fall asleep during the day, and I don't have the cataplexy that a lot of narcoleptics have (something about sudden emotional stuff making you go weak, like laughter or anger). Trust me, I laugh enough to know I don't have that aspect. But he said that I have a LOT of the other symptoms, like a "fractured sleep architecture" and messed-up REM cycles. My utter, total exhaustion during the day is a pretty good sign, too, although there are heaps of disorders and illnesses that can cause that.

Anyway, because of that, rather than make me go back to the sleep lab to do the daytime test, he's just going to go ahead and try me out on some medicine. You take it at night, and it's supposed to help you have deeper, more restful sleep. Downside is you have to wake up three hours after the first dose to take the second. Also, it makes you SO sleepy that it can be disorienting if you have to get up in the middle of the night for anything. And it can make you very woozy if you have to get up. No driving for six hours after the last dose. It's very high in salt, so I'll have to really watch my blood pressure. For the first couple of weeks it can cause headaches and nausea. And if I don't have narcolepsy, it won't do anything other than just make me feel weird (i.e., it won't make me feel more rested in the mornings). Also, it's a "regulated" medicine. Which totally freaks me out. I have to keep it hidden away, if anyone steals it from my home I have to let the police know, etc. Did I mention I'm freaking out?

I have my first try with it tonight. I'm afraid I'll stop breathing or something. Or I'll get really sick. Or I'll have one of the "rare" nasty side effects. Or, worst of all, that it won't work.

Something has to work. If this doesn't, or if I can't take it, I really don't know what I'll do. I am DESPERATE to feel better, to stop having so many stupid illnesses, to be able to function like other people. Right now there is no way I could hold down a job. Fortunately I'm able to take care of my family, but mainly because they aren't here during the day, so I can rest (which is why digi-scrapping is such a good thing -- I haven't felt up to paper scrapping). I've had so many tests, all of which come out negative (which is a good thing, but leaves me with no answers). My doc figured I had sleep apnea, which is why I did the sleep test, but I don't.

Another thing is, I am so SICK of the weird, complicated, exhausting dreams I have all night! This is part of the messed up REM thing. Normally people go into non-REM when they first fall asleep and don't hit the first REM stage until about 1-1/2 hours later. Not me. I go straight into REM sleep and spend more than my fair share of the night there. A couple of nights ago I had this really stressful one involving tornadoes. Last night I dreamed about Phil Joel, skateboards and the girl Aidan likes. Among a lot of other things. I used to like dreaming, but not any more. If I never remembered another dream I would be ecstatic. I always feel like when I lay down I just close my eyes and go into an alternate universe, where I do all kinds of stuff all night long, and come back to my normal universe when the alarm goes off in the morning. Really. Really. Exhausting.

So, there, my long tale of woe. I hope I still have any readers and/or friends left after that. Sometimes it's just hard to hold back the need to talk about it. I spend so much time trying to mask it, paint over it, push through it, minimize it that I feel really uncomfortable when I let it all spill out. My mom doesn't mind me complaining, but everyone else in my family does.

Now, life is not all bad. I realize I have a ton of things to be thankful for, and I truly am grateful for them! And I have God to help me get through each day. But I'm ready for a positive change now, and really, really afraid there will never be one. I'm only 46. I shouldn't feel like I'm 86.

So, enough of my whining. I promise next time not to spill all over you. Unless the medicine proves a problem ... ;-)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Huntin' Punkins

Okay, I've been lax in posting, but I have been scrapping a lot lately. Digi-scrapping, that is. I have a paper layout almost finished, but need to find some kind of alpha things to finish it up. In the meantime, I've been continuing to celebrate my heritage in the digi-scrap world.

BUT ... I took a break from heritage stuff a couple of days ago to scrap my super-adorable nephew. His mama had taken him out to a pumpkin patch and posted the pics to facebook, and they were SO cute that I snagged 'em and did a layout with some of them. Unfortunately, Facebook's resolution for photos isn't the greatest, but it was all I had to work with. I need his mama to e-mail me the "originals".

Anyway, here it is:

I used a page template (like a scrap map, only layered for digi use) by SammyD/Scrappin' Digi Kreations as the guide.
Here are the rest of the ingredients:
Background paper: Moani designs "Colours of Fall" (blog)
Other papers: Farrah's Creations "Fall Freebie" (which, oddly enough wasn't free, I had to pay $1 for it, so I guess it had once been free)
Alpha and buttons are from Farrah's Creations "Shabby" kit (blog)
Overlay (the red edge on the background paper): unknown (another designer who doesn't put their initials/name on their files)
Autumn cluster: Diana Burton (I think it's her "Autumn Equinox" kit) (Designer Digitals)
Olive rick rack: Diana Burton "Members Only" (her newsletter)
Cream floral ribbon: Lynn Griffin "Southern Porch" (Heritage Scrap)
Green stitching: Kathryn Balint (K and Friends)
White stitching: I honestly have no idea -- there are so many "straight white stitching" elements in so many kits and they all look alike

I think that's everything. I find it odd that, when I post my digi layouts on digi sites, the people who comment are always amazed at "how well [I] combined kits," as if combining kits is somehow a wild and crazy idea, somewhat unorthodox idea. I mean, I'd love to be able to stay within one kit, but no one kit is the be-all and end-all and often the idea I have in my head requires something that kit doesn't provide. Maybe it's the mentality of a paper scrapper -- you just buy stuff you like and then combine stuff to make your layout.

Anyway, no real biggie, I just thought it was weird.

I have several heritage layouts to show off, but I will save those for another day. Hope you enjoyed this one. And Happy Holidays! (Can you believe we are now into the "holiday season"? AAAAAAAAA!