Thursday, October 29, 2009

Easy Days?

Well after a very rough start the week seems to finally be looking up! The new washer arrived yesterday, but the guys didn't get one hose tight enough. There is a slight leak and DH needs to fix that before I can finally wash the towels that we made such a mess of when the flood happened. It's a really nice GE front loader, but believe it or not they didn't bring a manual with it. So now I have to find out what all the extra settings are and how much it can hold. Knowing the landlady, it will hold my king size sheets and stuff, but want to make sure! The kids have continued to have a rough time this week, with at least one ending up in bed early every night! This morning has been OK if not perfect and at the moment they are constructing a marble run and getting along. We are managing with one car until DH has time to look and try to figure out what happened to his. I'm hoping it is part of what we already knew needed to be fixed or it may just not be worth fixing at all. Oh, I don't want to go back to being a one car family!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bad news, Good news!

Yesterday was NOT a good day:
Bad news: the kids were cranky from the moment they got out of bed, and I wasn't a whole lot better than they were!
Good news: We managed to get through a lot of math, now if some of it sticks it will be even better!

Bad news: The washing machine died and leaked an inch of water across the bathroom floor!
Good news: It waited until the very last load was completely done and ready to go into the dryer (or at least it ran all the way through, not sure when it started leaking)!

Bad news: The kids barely made it through lunch in one piece!
Good news: They all napped for an hour and a half!

Bad news: I have an entire load of towels that are wet and dirty from cleaning up after the washing machine!
Good news: The landlady decided to simply replace the washer with a brand new front loader that should be delivered today!

Bad news: DHs car blew up, well it was certainly steaming from under the hood, had just moved into the red zone on the temperature gauge and there was no way he could drive it this morning until we can figure out how to get it in to be fixed!
Good news: It didn't stop dead in the road and waited until I pulled into the drive before really blowing badly!

Bad news: I really blew it with my sister-in-law!
Good news: (I hope?) She forgives me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

And my Dad, and my sister. Oh, and don't forget, Happy Anniversary to DH and to my other sister and her DH. Wow, busy week! And it's this way every year! Of course, as usual, I didn't get any cards sent out. Guess the family is getting used to that by now!

Been a pretty slow week in some ways. DH took some extra days off work, but it doesn't mean we got much done. The schooling went about normal. Today we went to the library and spent some time on "shopping math" (we window shopped and Target and the boys read the sale signs). My photography class has been postponed until tomorrow will be on Saturdays now as far as I know. Mostly I've worked with the kids and worked on lesson plans.

So, same old, same old! Hugs to all!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Alaska Day!

Did you know that the Alaska Territory was purchased and became property of the United States on October 18, 1867? Further, did you know for the residents of that Territory the date should have been October 7th? Yep, the day the U.S. took possession of the Alaska Territory two things happened to change the date. One, the residents calendar was changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and Two, the International Dateline was moved! So, Alaska residents got to have Friday October 6th followed by Friday October 18th!

Isn't that interesting?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The weeks pass quickly!

This week in particular seems to have just disappeared! The kids and I have worked on everything from reading and spelling, to money math and understanding the reason we have seasons. Dad takes over this weekend doing an actual experiment to show the kids how the Earth travels around the sun and the affect of that on our weather. A big favorite is the "Money Game", where they roll a die and get change in the amount of the number rolled. They have to trade pennies to nickels and nickels to dimes (we will soon be adding quarters). Even DD has learned this game and can tell you how many pennies she has to "sell" to get that coveted nickel. As a matter of fact, she asks for that game even more than the boys do. We'll be doing real world change making in no time.

I also had my homework to complete for my photography class. The one big disappointment was learning that the little tripod that I have won't hold the camera. Amazing that it would hold the big film SLR but won't stand with the little point and shoot digital. Why? Because the connection for the P&S is off to one side, making it lopsided. So, I used a dish towel. (No great art so I won't be posting here, but look for homework photo's as I get better!)

DH is taking a couple of extra days off this weekend. We won't be using it to do anything really fun as there are way to many chores to take care of. I'm hoping he will get some of the leaves cleaned up as I haven't gotten to it since I did the first 5 bags worth, as well as a little more of the garage cleaned out. Plus he needs to get his snow tires on the car (they are sitting at his brothers house) and we have things to accomplish with the boys for Cub Scouts. You know, as I read this I realize that we probably won't get half of the stuff done that I would like to, but that's really how life goes! LOL

Happy Alaska Day all! (and for those who don't know - Alaska Day is Sunday, October 18th)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finally, another Tutorial!

This one works in both PSE and PS with one small adjustment for PSE. As usual, please let me know if you find any errors in this tutorial or have questions.

This tutorial is based on “Simple Bubbles in Photoshop” by Tyler Jordan which can be found here. I have altered the tutorial to use photo’s behind the bubbles so it looks like the item is “inside” the bubble.

  1. Start with a blank page and fill it with a background that is not white (until bubbles are constructed a plain color fill works best so that you can see your bubbles).
  2. Make a new layer to make your bubbles on.
  3. Select the Circle Marquee Tool with no feather and make a medium sized circle. (You can, while holding down Shift, make as many circles as you wish. If you don't like a circle you've made, hold down the Option/Alt Key and deselect it with the Circle Marquee Tool. NOTE: If I’m going to make multiple bubbles, I tend to put each on it’s own layer so that it can be moved or changed independent of all the the others.)
  4. Once you’ve made your circles, fill them with white.
  5. If using a photo behind the bubble, now is the time to clip it to the same size and shape as your bubble. Place photo on Layer directly beneath the circle. With photo layer selected, point to the thumbnail of the bubble layer with your mouse, hold the CMD/CTRL key and click, You should now have dancing ants in the size/shape of your circle. Create a feathered Mask*.
  6. Return to the circle layer. Using the Eraser tool with a feathered brush set to an opacity of 100%, start to erase the middles of the white balls you've made. For this I adjust my brush size to about 75% of each ball and simply click inside each of them three times. That's all you'll need to erase to create your basic bubble. Just make sure you adjust your brush size for each bubble.
  7. Now it's time to take your bubbles to the next level. Using the Paintbrush, set to feathered and 100% opacity, make short sweeping strokes on the upper corner. Be sure to adjust your brush size for each bubble. Remember, if you are making more than one bubble to place this in the same approximate location of each bubble.
  8. Add a slight Burn to the bottom, opposite the spot painted above using a feathered Burn tool.
[NOTE: these should correspond with any other shadows in your LO so I do not specify which side the bright spot or burning should be on.]

*To create the Mask in PSE:
  1. Select Layer below photo.
  2. Point to thumbnail of circle and hold the CMD/CTRL key then click. You will now see the dancing ants.
  3. Make sure your colors are Default Black/White by pressing D on your keyboard. (If white is the foreground color, press X to switch them).
  4. Add a ‘Solid Color’ Adjustment layer. Point to the two-toned circle at the top of your layers palette. Click and Select ‘Solid Color’ from the drop down menu.
  5. Clip the photo layer to the new Adjustment layer by pointing your mouse to the line between the two layers. Hold your Option/Alt key and click when you see the arrow with the yin/yang circle.
  6. To add feathering, Select a medium to large feathered brush, lower opacity to around 50%. Lightly stroke around the outer edge.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Trip to the Library

We took our first Home School trip to the library today and the boys learned one thing that is good about this going to school at home. You see, at the "school" when they had library day, they got to borrow one book. Today, I gave them a limit of 10! You should have seen them! You would have thought it was a race to get their quota before I changed my mind. And they really loved getting their own cards. (The librarian that checked us out didn't seem so pleased, but I think we made it as painless as possible for her! LOL) They did complain a bit as they had to carry the books out in their own backpacks, but I think even that was minor compared to the joy of choosing great books to bring home and read. They could barely wait to come in and sit with their books and dig in. Although we still have a few months until they can read them all by themselves (even the "early readers" are at about a 3rd grade level, so you have to be pretty selective). It's so nice that all 3 of my children truly love books and I get to help make sure that continues!

A Very Special Gift!

I received an early birthday present from a friend this week! This is a present that I would neither have expected nor can I ever express my gratitude adequately. Sitting on my desk is now a lovely new tablet, the Bamboo Pen & Touch. For those who do not know what this is, it's a computer input device that can be used in place of the mouse, but gives you the control of a pen. With practice this will be helpful in my scrapbooking and will even allow for my handwriting to be used (if I ever learn to use it that way). As a person who finds themselves clicking the mouse when a keyboard shortcut could be used, I figure this will get a lot of use! Even today, two days after receiving the gift the sight of it makes me choke up and get teary. Such generosity is rarely seen in this world, and I can only say that the heart of this friend is larger than any I have ever known.

Thank you dear friend (and sorry it took two days to get this written!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

What have I gotten myself into!

Well, the home schooling is going OK. We still are short a lot of materials but that will just take time for orders to arrive. I've met a local home school Mom that has kids same age as mine, and we are planning a get together to let kids play and compare notes. And the kids are actually learning something! Yeah! (Should have seen DH and I when DD sat in the bathroom and read the company name off the stool at her feet!)

But now I've added: 2 active mentees on my digital scrapbooking web site (DSP) and 5, yes - 5, Adopted New Kids on the same site. A couple times a year the site runs a "contest" for brand new scrappers called New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) that helps them learn and this time they have asked us "old timers to follow 5 with comments and constructive criticism! I'm beginning to think I'm crazy! How am I ever going to keep up with 7 scrappers with comments, tips, and tutorials! LOL

Oh well, I need to add tutorials here so maybe I will write for both at the same time!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Keeping up is hard to do!

Well, with trying to impart what little knowledge I can each day plus keep these kids entertained and active, there has been little time to post. Yesterday was basically a non-school day as we had to go meet with the teacher consultant and tomorrow will be the same. By the time we get home, it's pretty much useless to do any real work. The kids find all kinds of ways to learn though, choosing books about the life of a Butterfly or Ladybug, or even the occasional TV show (which we actually do less of than while they were 'going to school') that includes some problem solving skill. Thinking about it, I don't think they have watched but one show all week. Maybe tomorrow I will let them hang with a good National Geographic or Planet Earth.

I also need to get some scrapping done, but evenings are spent with DH and building lessons for the next day. When I finally have all my materials, I'm hoping to do most of that on Sunday afternoons and ease up on the week day evenings. My mantra is "I will get a schedule that works for all!"