Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family Portraits

We finally got around to having some family portraits done!  And it was about time, too.  The last time we had portraits done was when Elora was a newborn!  This time, we had Allison Watzek, a local photographer and friend-of-a-friend, do the photos for us.  At her suggestion, we went to the Chesapeake Arboretum about an hour before sunset.  

Over all, I'm really pleased with the photos!  My only complaint is that some of the photos are tip-tilted, but that's really a minor thing.  Her pricing was really reasonable:  only $125 for an hour's photo shoot, and all our photos on a disk for us to print at will.  We ended up with 28 photos, though she'd only promised about 20.  What a deal!  I would definitely recommend her, but unfortunately for everyone else in Hampton Roads, she's decided to take a break from photography to focus on her children. 

Next time, I think that we'll try to do our portraits ourselves.  Brandon and I are both decently handy with a camera, and I'm pretty handy with Photoshop as well.  All we need is a tripod.  :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is it really almost Halloween?

Time is just flying by, for me.  I can't keep up with it.  We're almost to the end of October, and Christmas is only 2 months away.

 Elora is begging to go to school.  She blows us away daily with her knowledge and vocabulary.

Kaylie is older now than Elora was when we got to Virginia  two years ago, and she's wearing cloths that fit Elora less than a year ago.  

Rebekah's little boy will be 7 months old tomorrow, and he's really not so little any more.  The child is so tall!  He's already in 12 month clothing, and still growing like a weed.  We try to spend a lot of time with Rebekah and James, though sometimes the days get away from us while we're blinking.  We go for walks, go the the library and the park, and take turns visiting at each other's homes.  Last week, we went to the Virginia Zoo.  The day was absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for wandering around the little zoo with the kids.  

The best part was definitely the tiger.  He saw that we were watching him sun bathe, so he got up and came over to the glass say hello.  He even kept trying to head-butt Elora through the glass, like a big house cat.  It was awesome!  

Thanks to Rebekah, we managed to snag a Phil & Ted's classic stroller with double kit for only $85 on Craigslist.  She spotted the listing and linked it to me, knowing that I've been lusting after a Phil & Ted's for years, and I jumped all over it.  I ended up needing to replace one of the tire inner tubes, but that still only put me at $100.  And then I was able to sell my old double for $55.  So, $45 for a Phil & Ted's double? Epic win.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another SOY Nomination!

Ok, I have to brag.  My husband has been nominated for the Sailor of the Year award at his command for the second year in a row.  He didn't win it last year, but just being nominated is a pretty big deal.  And this is the second year in a row.  Had I mentioned that already?  Sorry.  I'm just really proud of him.

Bark in the Park 2012

After having such an awesome time at Bark in the Park last year, it was a bit of a let down this year. The weather was crummy and we didn't get out there until it was nearly over because of the rain and Kaylie's nap.  But, we had a good time in spite of the chill and the mud.  There were puppies, and kettle corn, and a bouncy house...

Doggie Ergos!  That's even better than the doggie strollers.  :)
This little guy was only 7 weeks old, his name was Jack (my grandfather's name!), he was just as snuggly as could be, and he was up for adoption.  Giving him back to the volunteer was so hard!!
The girls loved the bouncy house!
The guy even let them have it all to them selves, so they wouldn't get squished by the older kids.
We met Rebekah and James there, and her hubby joined us later.
He is such a little chunk, I love him!
  I hope the day is better next year!  The kids love all the animals.  :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tutorial: Decoupaged Memory Book Cover

Ever wondered what I do with all my digital scrapbook pages?  I have them printed as books, for myself and my family.  I started out using Shutterfly, but if you don't have a coupon code, they're pretty pricey.  Then I discovered Scrapping Simply, whose prices are more reasonable.  The only draw-back is that their covers are just boring black (or white or blue, depending on which book your order), with no options for sprucing them up.  My answer?  Decoupage.  Here's how I do it.

To do this, you'll need your book, a piece of fine-grit sand paper, 2 sheets of scrapbook paper, some Mod Podge, paint brush, exacto knife and cutting mat, a ruler and some ribbon.  Any kind of scrap paper will work.  Regular weight paper will be easier to fold over the edges, but will be more prone to wrinkles and bubbles, while card stock weight will be a bit more difficult to fold but won't wrinkle or bubble.  Personally, I like them both and choose my paper solely on the pattern.

First off, take your sand paper and use it to rub down the outside of the book.  It roughs up the glossy finish   on the cover, and helps the paper to stick and stay.  You might be able to get away with skipping this step-- but I don't know as I've never skipped it. I always ant to make sure that my pretty paper is going to stay put.

The next step is to cut your paper down to size.  You'll need to measure your book to get the appropriate dimensions.  Add two inches to the height for the vertical, then measure from where you want the paper to start to the outer edge of the width, and add one inch for the horizontal.  I used a rotary cutter to cut my paper, just because it's easier, but the exacto knife will do just fine as well.   Use your paint brush to apply the Mod Podge to the entire sanded surface, starting about 1/2" to 3/4" from the spine edge and going all the way out to the other three edges.  (Don't try to go all the way to the edge of your spine, because the paper won't hold where the book bends!)  Align the edge of your paper parallel to the spine edge, again, about 1/2" to 3/4" away from it.  Make sure the paper is aligned correctly, and centered vertically over the book.  Then carefully press it down, smoothing out any bubbles or wrinkles.  

Next, flip your book over and prop the cover open so that you can get to the bottom inside cover.  I just used my supply caddy for this, and it worked great.  As you can see, you should have about 1" of paper extending beyond the edges of your book on all three sides.  Using your exacto knife, start at the point of one corner and cut on a gentle diagonal away from the point, removing the corner of your paper.  This is kind of hard to describe, so please look at the photo to see what I mean!

Paint a 1" line of Mod Podge along the top edge of your book, then carefully fold the paper around and press it down, again smoothing any wrinkles or bubbles.  Repeat this step at the bottom, then at the side.  If you cut the corners correctly, the edges of your paper should overlap enough to create an unbroken border of the paper about 1" wide all around the outer edges of your book, without hanging off the outer edges of the cover, like this:

Once you have the front cover finished, repeat these steps to decoupage the back cover.  Once you're done, cut 2 pieces of coordinating ribbon or ricrac about 1.5" longer than the height of your book, and use the Mod Podge to glue them along the seams where the paper meets the spine.  I think this gives the books a more finished look, and just that little bit of extra pizazz.  You can also decorate the front cover with a title for your book, or the year, or whatever.  There are a lot of ways you can do this, so have fun with it!

Actually, I'm not as happy with the lettering on the pink one.  I think I am going to re-do it, the way I did the blue one.  I'd love to see what you all do with this!