Friday, July 30, 2010

Memere turns 90

Recently my grandmother, known as Memere to me, turned 90. For as long as I can remember, my memere has always loved birthdays, especially the part when she gets to open presents. She is like a little girl, giddy with delight, as she anticipates what is in each package. It's always fun to put together a gift for her because she gets so excited about it. Here was this year's gift.

Scratch tickets,

Small bottles of white wine,

A bag of Hershey Kisses,

A small, personalized photo album for all her birthday party photos

And a spaghetti sauce jar, I mean vase, personalized with a tag and bobby pin, to hold some blue hydrangeas from our yard, (This idea came from Ashley Ann's blog)

All put together in a basket.

My Memere was happy!

Happy 90th Birthday Mem; wishing you many blessings in the year to come!

"Grandmothers are just little girls in disguise."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DIY Digital Scrapbook Pages Using Picasa

Although there are thousands of programs available to do digital scrapbooking, it's often difficult to find the time to look at all of them and learn all there is to know. Recently we had our third homestudy and I had to create an album; I needed to put something together relatively quickly so I ended up completing scrapbook pages using the collage feature in Picasa. You can view some of my pages in my previous post.

I've never really done a how-to in reference to something technological, so bear with me. (Thanks to my hubby Vic for introducing me to the snipping tool)

1. Initially you may want to select some "papers" and such online. You could do a search for free digital scrapbook downloads. Some good sites for freebies are Two Peas in a Bucket, Designer Digitals, and Shabby Princess. Obviously, you could also purchase papers to use; many are very inexpensive and the beauty with digital is that you can reuse them over and over again.

To me this step is the hardest part because there are many, many things to choose from and it can get overwhelming.

2. After downloading these files of scrapbook materials, you will then need to import them into Picasa as you do for all other images.

3. Next you can begin the process of creating your collage. Having an idea of what you'd like your layout to look like prior to beginning is helpful, but not necessary. You can always back track if the need arises.

4. You will begin by selecting the pictures and papers you'd like to use in your collage. Hold the ctrl key down as you select and you can put them into the collage all at the same time. The pictures do need to be in the same file to use the ctrl key. However, do not worry, there is another way to get pictures from multiple files onto the same collage.

5. You are then brought to your collage page. You will need to select the size for your collage. Although 12 x 12, 8 x 8, etc are not options, you can create a custom aspect ratio by scrolling all the way to the bottom after selecting Page Format.

6. Next you enlarge your selected image or paper to use as your background.

You can also do this by selecting settings, going to background options and click on use image.

7. To select more images that are not currently shown in your clips folder, click get more and this will bring you back to all your Picasa files. Select the images you want to use and then click Back to collage at the bottom right of your screen.

8. Drag your images into your collage, arrange and resize.

9. Click Create Collage

10. If you'd like to use this image as part of another collage in order to overlap more than one paper or background, you can crop your image.

11. Next, save as a separate image so you can then use it as part of another collage.

12. You can then repeat the collage process again by selecting your images. Your previous collage is now an image that can be used when creating another collage. (I think I'm confusing myself by this point) In the snip below I selected my images for the collage and then chose one of the images as my background. Next you will have to delete the smaller image still visible on the top.

13. Create collage (again)

14. Next you can add text as you please. You are able to change the size, font, style, alignment and transparency of your text as well as rotate it however it best suits your page.

And there you have it, merely a 14 step process. It may seem overwhelming at first, especially with my somewhat cryptic description. It really isn't all that bad. I learned by experimenting and some trial and error. There is definitely more than one way to do things and as you practice, you may find a way that works better for you. Hopefully, this will at least give you a push in the right direction. This is a basic page to start off, but you can make them as simple or elaborate as you'd like.
Happy Creating!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adoption Portfolio..How to-Coming Soon

Another adoption homestudy means it's time to put together another portfolio. The portfolio is viewed by birthparents as part of their decision in selecting people to parent their child....just a tiny bit nerve wracking.
Seven years ago I scrapped the whole album (without digital help) and then made color copies. It was time consuming and looking back, I'm not loving it. For the second time, I did attempt to do some digital pages, but also mixed in some pages from the original album.
This time I wanted to do something quick and easy. I have two kids now, it's much harder to get things done. I used Picasa and completed all the pages using the collage feature. I wanted a monochromatic look for the album, so I used the same 3 "papers" throughout. In total, there are about 12 pages, here are some from the album.

There has been some interest from the blogging world as to how to create these pages. Tune in at the end of the week for my attempt at a tutorial to create your own "scrapbook pages".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Beach After Hours

There are many reasons to go to the beach after hours:

First of all, parking is FREE after 4:00.

There is just enough time for the kids to have fun and we can leave before they become "bored".

It is beautiful and often perfect lighting for beach photos.

It is less crowded; less people bothering us and less people our (noisiest) kids are disturbing

You can take family portraits on your own without people looking at you funny.

And finally, you might see some of this. Uh yeah, not exactly a benefit to beaching it after 4pm, but entertaining anyway. Oh, and for those of you interested, I was taking a video of E riding on his boogie board and got a close up of this gentleman with his soccer ball....Priceless!

I took all of these photos with my new waterproof point and shoot camera. It's a Canon Powershot D10. I'm still getting used to it, but I love how convenient it is, especially at the beach. Of course the quality is not like my SLR, but it serves the purpose of capturing memories.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Our Own Backyard

Sometimes I think we take for granted the great sights we have to see in our own communities or nearby towns. Newport is merely a 45 minute drive from our house and is a beautiful tourist destination, especially during the summer months.

It's a personal goal of mine to visit nearby attractions and appreciate what is in my own backyard. There is so much history in New England and it's embarassing to admit, but I think I could stand to learn a great deal more about the history that is so close to home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I remember reading somewhere that you should ALWAYS stop and buy lemonade from a kid; I wholeheartedly agree.
E had the idea a couple weeks ago to build a lemonade stand (I think he was inspired by an episode of Curious George). We had this unused cart in the basement and converted it into E's stand. He chose the colors and fabric and made all the signs himself. We didn't have to buy anything; we used whatever we had in my stash from previous projects. oooh...I lied, we actually had to buy a small rod to hang the curtain.
It's often hard for E to complete a project from start to finish, but he did it and he is proud.

Today he set up his stand at his Memere and Pepere's house. I was nervous about him not having customers and tried to prepare him ahead of time to ease the need! Within minutes of setting up, he earned his first $1.00. The smile on his face was priceless!

Many people actually did yield when they saw the sign, but most just looked and smiled. Although I appreciated their kind smiles, it got old after a while. Yes, isn't it adorable that a little boy made his own lemonade stand and is sitting patiently for someone to stop and you just keep riding by. Then you have the people who speed up and intentionally look the other way....
...IT'S A QUARTER, PEOPLE! Even if you don't like the lemonade, you could make a kid's day with 25 cents! And really, it's not about the money to the kid. E really was just excited that someone stopped for HIS lemonade.

On a side note, Little Miss manned the stand while her brother made a bathroom run.

Thank you to the four customers (that are not relatives) who did stop and buy lemonade. You made E's day. He told his dad tonight, "Business was pretty good today, Dad."

So, I ask, will you stop next time you see a kid selling lemonade? It's an easy way to make someone smile!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Carousels and Nostalgia

I have a thing for carousels; I think because they are generally old and have so much history. Most of them are really beautiful and the work that went into each of them is amazing. Although I'm not all that crazy about going around in circles, my kids love it and I like watching them ( and riding when everyone else I am with has had enough). Here are some pictures of our recent trip to Slater Park and our ride on the Looff Carousel circa 1895. For more pictures and history on this carousel, click here.

"To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to
restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime
function of looking forward."