Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SVGcuts Halloween Challenge

As the holidays drew close SVGcuts did another contest.  This time we had to create a Halloween scene using any Halloween file from SVGcuts.  This was right up my alley.  I had been wanting to create a village scene of the Nightmare Before Christmas, so I knew right away what I wanted to do.

During this time My mom and sister Teresa had gone to the Susan G. Komen race.  The race that my mom fell at and broke her arm.  She had her hands full carrying in everything she needed to do her job at the race.  She tripped on a section of the sidewalk that was uneven (it was still dark - she had to be set up by 6am) and she didn't notice the sidewalk.  With her arms full she couldn't do anything to slow down her fall and she fell with all her weight on her arm hitting the curb.  She said she heard it break!  I could only imagine.  I had been working that morning so, I didn't find out until late that afternoon what had happened.

Well during all this I found out the the contest was ending a week sooner than I thought it was.  I had laid out the project on the computer but I had not put anything together.  I was very proud of what I had and I worked tirelessly to get it done.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday I worked until 3am and got up at 7am to start working.  Sunday night at 11pm eastern time (contest was on central time so I had two hours) I took pictures and raced to get them uploaded.  I was very nervous because our computer has never been right since our house was struck by lightning.  The insurance company refused to replace the computer because it "worked", even though it barely worked, but that is a story for another day.  Like it often does it would not finish loading my photos.  I sat at the computer for over 20 minutes watching it try to upload my photo and at mid-night (central time) the contest closed and my photo never made it.  I was crushed.  I posted my photo to their facebook page and Thienly (one of their design team members at the time) talked with Leo and Mary and they opened the page for me to load my photo.  That really meant a lot to me.  I had worked so hard.  I felt God was giving me a little boost for helping my mom.  I really wanted to earn the $6.99 gift card they give to everyone who enters their contests.   A great big THANK YOU to Leo and Mary for allowing me to enter the next day.  Here is picture of the village I created.

Nightmare before Christmas scene made out of paper

Now here are some side-by-sides of my inspiration:

NBC town hallNBC town hall

Jack SkellingtonJack Skellington with coffin sleigh - NBC
Hanging tree
NBC - Hanging tree and graveyard

NBC Jack Skellington's house
Jack Skellington's house
I love the way this turned out.  I still want to make some more of the houses from the movie but I don't know when I will be able too.  Maybe there will be a contest that allows me to use the files I need to make the rest of them.  Contests seem to be the only time I get to make things for myself.

Monday, May 19, 2014

PeePaw & John - 2008

In January of 2008 Bill and Doe, Bob's parents, moved in with us.  Bill had been caring for Doe alone for the past several years.  Doe had Dementia and could not be left alone.  There had been several nights that Bill had called Bob because Doe had gotten up in the middle of the night and fallen and he could not lift her on his own.

Bob and I discussed asking them to move in and this facilitated that.  So, Bill and Doe moved in.  Doe's health deteriorated quickly.  We hired a nurse to come in during the day to help Bill with the lifting and give him the opportunity to run his errands during the day.  Bob and I both work full-time so while we were available in the evening we were not home during the day.

Unfortunately, Doe did not live long after moving to our home.  She passed in April of that same year.  Bill was heart-broken.  He talked about going back home and we insisted that he stay with us.  We just didn't feel that he would live long if he went home alone to morn.

John was two years old at the time.  Bill, PeePaw, became his best friend.  The two of them did everything together!  PeePaw taught John how to garden.  The two of them did all the yard work together I've never seen a two year old work the way John would.  PeePaw would tell him how to do something and he would do it.  Their bond was amazing.  John gave PeePaw someone to live for and PeePaw taught John that a man should work hard and love his family.  I would never trade this experience.

Having Bill live with us was the best thing we could have done for our family.  All the kids adore him.  I love the sound of them running to his room.  Saturday mornings, as soon as he gets up all three of them want to "watch cartoons in PeePaw's room".

This same year,2008, we all took a vacation to Holden Beach.  This was a very emotional trip for Bill.  We stayed at the home of a family friend, the same house that Bill and Doe stayed at when they took their family vacations
.  Most of the time Bill sat on the beach alone but each day he would take John on a walk down the shoreline.  I imagine that he would tell John stories on their walks, both he and Bob like to tell stories about their past.  I don't know for sure, what I do know is the two of them have a bond that inseparable.

One evening when I was talking with Bill he told me "I never thought I would have this much joy at the end of my life.  The joy I am experiencing now in life, makes up for all the pain and sorrow I had to live through."  How wonderful to be part of that, to know that you have made a difference in the life of someone. 
When Bob and I talked about his parents moving in I never thought about what I would gain from having my father-in-law living with us.  I have been a witness to a love like I have never seen before.  A parent loves their children but I am certain after watching my children with their PeePaw that the love of a grandparent is so much more.  I look forward to the day I can experience the feeling of life continuing through someone connected to me.  

I'm grateful that PeePaw's health has been good enough for him "live" with us and be a part of our children's lives.  This is time they will always remember and hopefully tell stories of to their children.  This is what immortality is, life continuing through our children.  

This is one of my favorite pictures of PeePaw and his grandchildren.  When we were taking this picture last year my mom said "Bill gives us the best smiles when the kids are acting goofy, it really tickles him".  We did get the "good" shot, but I think this one is my favorite!  I hope we have many more years of smiles to share with PeePaw.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My First Camera Lights - June 2012

I finally took the plunge and bought some starter strobe lights.  There was definitely a learning curve.  I had no idea how to use them and if you have ever used lights you know there are things you should know.  For instance: I didn't know about the shutter/flash speed.  I had searched and searched on line looking for answers.  What I found was a lot of people that want to tell you that you should know how to use them before you buy them.  What's wrong with people these days?

So if you find yourself using lights and you have a black bar on the image your shutter speed is too fast.  On my camera I can't set it faster than 1/250.  Once I found that piece of information, I could start experimenting.

I shoot my niece's for my first photo shoot.  I should mention here that I prefer shooting landscapes.  I'm not so good at still life or portraits but I want to volunteer for NILMDTS and to do that I have to learn how to do portraits.  Here are the results of my first photo shoot with my lights.

Not bad.  I think with some practice I might actually get the hang of this.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

About Me

I am a wife and mother of five children.


I have decided to make a little place for me to keep track of my hobbies.  My first love is photography and of course paper crafting.


When I went home, California, in 2005 my mom introduced me to scrapbooking.  Wow, I loved it from the first layout I created.  I scrapbooked all the time.  Then on an infomercial I saw the Cricut.  I just had to have one.   Before long I discovered 3d paper art.  What an amazing discovery!  I never thought I would be able to create things like this from paper.  While I still scrapbook (albeit not very often) my new love is paper crafting.