Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fire!

Not something one ever wants to see in the dry golden hills of California...so easy to spot smoke against the beautifully clear blue skies.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and no homes were damaged, but it was quite an hour of tension, watching the planes and helicopter fly right over head, delivering water from the pond on the 17th hole to the fire on Blackpool hills.

Fire Helicopter

Monday, June 28, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #9 Wedding Flowers

We had the honor and privilege to attend a beautiful outdoor summer wedding this weekend, celebrating the marriage of my little friend Sarah, all grown up now!

It was a beautiful California summer day, a beautiful outdoor garden venue, and the flowers, both from the centerpieces and the garden, were so gorgeous, here featured in this my next scrapbook page.

Summer Wedding Flowers

This layout is from Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday episode #8, where I learned to set a background gradient to help highlight the journaling.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #8 New Patio Furniture

Sometimes, one picture is enough, one picture can tell a story, capture a time, a mood, an event to remember.

Such is this picture, taken during a recent Weber visit, in which we were able to enjoy the new patio furniture, the wonderful weather, and good company.

Webers Scrapbook Page

The background page is a quick page from Jackie Torres.
All additional elements were purchased or obtained from Jessica Sprague.com.
I added the picture, the journaling, and the umbrella top which was cut off in the picture :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #7 Tod

Another quick page, and now I know how to clip in the photos properly, add in a special font, create and color a custom shape (the cute bunny rabbit), and adjust the coloration of each photo!

OK, so the quick pages are still taking me hours, but they are fun hours!

Tod Scrapbook Page

Thanks to Sheri Horton for the quick page.

Friday, June 25, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #6 Friends

Learning, learning, learning! This time, how to import fonts into Photoshop and use them for creating journaling.

So here's a question...when will scrapbooking and journaling be allowed into the dictionary??

Megan & Laura Friends Scrapbook Page

This page was developed using Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday series, lesson #7.

The pictures were grabbed from Facebook...I need to try to get high res copies of them to make the page printable.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #5 Summer

I'm on a roll with my digital scrappin', lovin' the power of combining pictures I love with colors I love and words for someone to read, all of which will bring...a memory!

Summer Scrap Page

This layout is from Jessica Sprague Photoshop Friday lesson #6, in which I learned to use a digital brush made from clip art...oooh, I see an Eiffel Tower digital brush in my future!

I added some digital background papers, floral elements and lettering from my growing collection of digital elements.

PS...the gorgeous orange background paper and pretty paper flowers are from LivEdesigns.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #4 Awesome Things

In every hobby I have ever undertaken, the design process is what takes me the longest.

Which fabric/thread/tile/paper/embellishment/paint color/photo should I use here and here and here??

No exception with digital scrapbooking, even with "quick pages". Quick pages are supposed to be, well, quick :-) Just add photos and you're done. But which photos?
OK, back up, what subject, which trip, who should I feature?

It's a wonder I get anything done.

A clue to this page, as in many of the pages provided in this past weekend's blog hop from Jessica Sprague, is the word "Awesome".

I already did an "awesome" page featuring #1 daughter. I can't seem to find enough good pictures of #1 husband (I must correct this), so...how about me?

Not that I think I am awesome, but there are a lot of things that I think are awesome, and I take pictures of them, many pictures of them, all the time.

Here is just a tiny sample from recent travels to Disney World and New York.
Awesome Things Quick Page

Many thanks to blog hopper Jessica Griffin of Can You Pixel This for the "awesome" quick page that is the basis for my awesome things page.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Help from Above

How lucky I am that while I continue to search for strength and direction, angels are watching over me.

Angel Wing Clouds

Photo taken from my back yard on a day filled with lovely clouds...I saw swans, ducks, a submarine, a crab, and then....angels!

Monday, June 21, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #3 Cousins

Continuing to use my new digital scrapbooking goodies...

Unlike the previous pages, where I started with a template, this page started with a photo, of Megan, Crissy and Natalie, sitting on a bench in front of a beautiful flower shop on Church Street in Montclair, NJ.

The photo was too beautiful to scale down to something like 4x6, so I left it as large as possible, and searched for a background page which would compliment the colors (loved the green) and the shapes (circles like the hanging baskets).
Since I cut the photo in with a lasso, it needed different borders...something straight and fixed on the bottom (striped canopy with zigzag stitch), but grungy on the other three sides.
Adding some stitches makes the circles look like "X O X O"s.

A couple more elements - very light flowers and a 'today & always' stamp, plus a journaling tag, complete the layout.

Cousins
Since I can't remember all the specific designers whose elements are used, I will reference Jessica Sprague, as everything (but the photo) came from her shop or website.

PS...the lovely green circle background paper is from Crystal Wilkerson.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #2 Megan

This is my first attempt at working with a 'quick page', one of the freebies from the Blog Hop, courtesy of Chrissy of Scraparoni (who btw has the most beautiful blog!) - Thank you Chrissy!

A quick page is a single layer, and the pictures are placed behind the page...which I did not really know until I started playing with it. I added some additional journaling elements, and love the result!

Awesome QP

Saturday, June 19, 2010

33 Scrapbook Pages - #1 Eiffel Tower

Thanks to Jessica Sprague's Birthday Blog Hop, I have 33 new scrapbook pages or kits to play with. This one was not actually a new page, and unfortunately I've lost track of where I got it from. But somewhere on the Sprague-ground, from which I learned how to turn photos to black & white, yet allow a color element to show through.

Eiffel Tower Create

Friday, June 18, 2010

Digi-Birthday-Scrappin'

Continuing my digital scrapping adventures, this next one using a photo from Megan's 22 birthday back in February.

22nd Birthday

Speaking of birthday's, I am looking forward to Jessica Sprague's Birthday Blog Bash starting tonight.

Much more digi-goodness to come!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happiness is Jane Austen and Goats!

Yup, that's what I said, Jane Austen and goats.

Providing unending entertainment for the last several weeks, as they clean up the hills around Silver Creek Valley Country Club, are the Silver Creek Goats (ok, so I've given them that name).
Goats on 9th
Goats on Country Club
We've spied them several times on the golf course, then yesterday, to my utter delight, they appeared on the hill right at the end of my block. Imagine that! Goats on Arezzo!!
Goats on Arezzo
What do goats have to do with Jane Austen? Well, nothing, but Jane Austen is another source of reliable entertainment.

Having made it most of the way through a difficult work week, and being near the end of the proverbial rope, I decided to take an "Austen Break", and escape to the world of Sense and Sensibility.
Sense & Sensibility
Oh, I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be immersed in Austen, and especially with such an all-star cast.

Goats and Austen did the trick...crappy work forgotten, slept like a baby!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Up Close and Personal

I love to get up close and personal with my garden, or anyone's garden for that matter.

In the spotlight this week...the next blooming of the lavender roses..

Rose

and the hibiscus/rose of sharon tree
Rose of Sharon

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Power of Paris

Mondays are hard, even if you love your job, which, unfortunately, I do not right now.

And so, Mondays become a good day to schedule doctor appointments in the middle of the day, and on the way back from doctor appointments, get the car washed.

Car washes are particularly fun because of The Queen's Chest gift shops. You would not necessarily expect a car wash gift shop to be interesting and beautiful, and in fact you might not expect a car wash to have a gift shop, but they do, and it is. Rarely do I leave without a purchase.

And today's purchases lifted my right out of my case of "the mondays".

For today I was able to return to Paris, if only in my mind and heart.

Paris Book
This beautiful "book" is a faux book but a real treasure box!

Paris Clock
This lovely clock will look perfect in my upstairs Parisian bathroom.

Paris Folder
And oh the most beautiful file folder a girl could ever want!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let Me Count the Ways...

So many things to be thankful for...my family, the magic that is Mickey Mouse, the fun time we had at Disney World, and learning to put it all together...

Disney Sorcerer Mickey

Photoshop and digital elements from Jessica Sprague.
I am learning so much about digital scrapbooking and my expensive CS2 version of Photoshop. By now I believe I have mastered layers, clipping masks, custom shapes, and in this lesson have started on repetitive elements and brushes. What fun!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation Scrap

Just a tiny scrap of the pride, the emotions, and oh yeah, the circus that was graduation day.

Just a few pictures and my photoshop skills.

Graduation

Credit to Jessica Sprague for the elements and lessons which enabled me to make this digital layout, part of the Photoshop Friday lesson series.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's A Beautiful Day...

...in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor...

Won't you be mine, Tuscan home with the lovely stone and olive tree??
Silver Creek HomeSilver Creek Home

How about you, lovely bougainvillea-covered windows?? Would you be mine?

Silver Creek Home

And you, summer flowers?? Could you be mine?

Silver Creek FlowersSilver Creek FlowersSilver Creek FlowersSilver Creek Flowers

Yes, it's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, won't you be my neighbor, tiger-striped kitty? You know you want to.

Silver Creek Cat

Won't you please, won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Surprise Tree

We almost didn't buy this house that I love, because I hated the yard. I considered it a deal-breaker. It was all cement, too small, and had this ridiculous pool and spa, aka holes in the ground into which we would have to pour money.

There was hardly anything growing worth looking at...some palms (yuk), some anemic-looking hedges, and the occasional weed that managed to break through the rock-hard ground.

But perhaps, like most everything else in this house, it was just suffering from the lack of TLC. Before ripping it out and starting over, I am determined to try to learn to love this little patch of land.

Does it sense me, I wonder?

Take for example this tree. A pile of sticks in an awkward spot, mentally marked for removal, mostly because it looked dead. Granted, it was winter, but when I scraped the bark, I did not see green. But as the season progressed, I noticed some buds on some branches, and so pruned out the dead growth and pruned it back so it would not drop too many leaves in the ridiculous pool.

Yard in Feb

Come spring and leaves actually started sprouting. More pruning to keep the leaves out of the pool.

And now it is June, and what do you know? It is a flowering tree! From my desk I spied not one but two flowers, grabbed my camera and ran out to find they were indeed attached to the tree.

Tree Flower

Initial queries and internet research is telling me this is a Rose of Sharon tree. I only hope that, as between Rick and Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tree Flower

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Living Color

Tonight, my valley is brought to me in living color!
Sunset Evergreen Valley June 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ephemera Collection

Someday, someone will find a wonderful collection of vintage ephemera, including beautiful note cards with images like this fabulous Chihuly glass sculpture, for I will not throw such beauty away, preferring instead to hoard it for another day, another time, when it will be once again handled with awe and admired, not only because it is meaningful and beautiful, but also because it is old.
Chihuly Over Venice Card

Friday, June 4, 2010

Alice ATCs in Progress

Still stymied by the inability to find the fabric I want to put on the back of these ATCs, my poor Alice in Wonderland cards are still in progress...

White Rabbit ATC

Tweedles ATC

Red Queen ATC

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Merci

From one who obviously knows me very well, I received the most beautiful thank you card...a collage of images of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and flowers, all highlighted with gold.

I could not have picked a more beautiful card for myself, and I will treasure it!

Paris Merci

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reflections

Visits to the NY area often cause me to pause and reflect...

NY Reflections

...on where I have been, where I am going, how I will get there, and for how long.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breath of Fresh Air

You will never see me wearing a T shirt or toting a bag or dangling a key chain stating “I heart New York”. It is just not my kind of town. While I revel in the bustle of Paris and marvel at the crowds in the Piazza San Marco, I normally prefer the quiet and manicured bubble of my country club home.

But I will admit that there are gems to be discovered in the megatropolis that is New York. Like in any big city, there are neighborhoods where the buildings are not quite so tall, where a few trees shade the sidewalks, where trendy boutiques and restaurants tempt the young and young at heart, where you might even know your neighbors.
Soho Sign

And then there are the big green spaces, with the sparkling fountains, even though there is a homeless person wading through the fountain picking up the change.

After a hot and steamy walk through midtown, upon coming up on Bryant Park…what is that? Oh, it’s oxygen!

Bryant ParkBryant Park
Bryant ParkBryant Park