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Archive for the ‘nerd’ Category

2019-05-28 20.16.53

I started putting together this big 200-print order from Persnickety Prints in January, and I worked on it through mid-May (album planning sometimes takes me a while).  I placed this order on May 16 and received it within a couple of days!  (Persnickety is awesome.)

When I got the order in the mail, I had the idea that I could do a super-sped up video of how I separate out my photos into my different album projects.  You see, for about every project I do, I start with an enormous amount of pre-planning.  I like to know where my photos are going to go and what sizes I plan to use.  That way, when I get to the paper cutting and gluing and making things pretty part of the process, the photo part is already finished.

It’s taken me a while to get this video completed (my very first voiceover ever!).  But now it’s ready to share!

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With this order, I have photos for 5 specific projects, in addition to some that I intend to frame or to use on a few scrapbook layouts that aren’t part of a particular album project:

Husband helped me rig up my tripod with my camera so that I could put together this video.  I increased the speed to 20x… and just because I’m a nerd, I did keep track of the actual time it took for each stage:

  • unboxing+sort = about 10 minutes
  • appendicitis mini album = about 15 minutes
  • mommy book = about 5 minutes
  • baby album = approximately 31 minutes
  • Disney album = approximately 22 minutes
  • 2019 Jan and Feb = approximately 39 minutes

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Here’s the video!

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Remember when I said I had another Abrazo tee on my cutting table?  Here it is!

This top is made from the excess yardage from a dress I finished at the beginning of February (that’s another–long–story!), and this brushed poly was so nice to work with– it will not be my last brushed poly, if I have anything to say about it!

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I added a ruffle detail at the end of the sleeves using the circle sleeve tutorial on Melly Sews (Melissa is the designer of Blank Slate patterns!).

It was my first time ever binding a V-neck t-shirt, and it worked like a charm.  Have I mentioned before how much I love this pattern?!

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Now I just need to get my hands on some more knits (preferably brushed poly–oh so soft!) and make some more Abrazos!

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I’m going to jump out of chronological** order (both in the event date and the actual creating of these pages) to show the inserts I just made earlier this week to document our Game Weekend with friends.

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In a discussion of using up stash in the Use-It-Or-Lose-It FB group, I mentioned that I was finally cutting into this older collection pack that I’d received in a giveaway.

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This one is not really my typical style– I usually prefer clearer colors and a less antique/distressed look (I really don’t like brown, unless it’s wood! :)).  So this was a bit of a challenge that I set myself: I want to actually USE what I have!  When I got to this set of photos, I realized that this collection pack could work, so I pulled it out.

The first insert is about the actual game weekend itself: Husband and I traveled to the Midwest to get together with friends–friends of his since childhood!–to spend the whole weekend diving deep into the game that we usually play once-per-week via Skype and an online gameboard.  It was a really great time!  (And it was the beginning of an annual tradition that we’ve continued!)

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Since I wanted to really get into the papers and stickers in this collection pack, I tried to make quick decisions about what sheets I should cut into, and what stickers I could use.

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I used some washi tape to set off my title from the group photo.

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And I added black enamel dots to this insert to give some contrast and texture.  Paper and stickers are so flat together without some help!  On this 4×6 spot, I used a Jillibean Soup kraft tag for journaling and popped it up with some foam adhesive.

The second insert is about what was happening with the kids while Husband and I played games 🙂  Husband’s parents had a great time taking care of them at their house!  Since this insert is in my son’s 1st year album, I wanted to make sure to specifically highlight photos of him.

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The second side of this insert is fairly simple: I wanted the posed photos to stand alone, and I used a card from the cut-apart sheet, simply embellished with a couple of white enamel dots.

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I made sure to use more stickers to embellish on the front.  I didn’t know when I would ever use the peacock, so I decided to hide most of him behind the camera sticker, and he looks similar to some of the doily motifs elsewhere in the collection.

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The text on the black label sticker had nothing to do with the topic of my layout (or any layout I plan to make, really…), so I decided to layer it behind one of the tag stickers.  It felt good to use stickers in this way– they aren’t getting wasted, and they are adding layers and interest to the page.

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Finally, I made a coordinating 4″x6″ card to go in my “daily” slot for the album, and I used a few more bits from the collection pack: I layered a doily from my stash with the rest of that black label sticker onto some patterned paper, and added a piece of border sticker.  I topped it all off with the “you & me” pointer sticker from the sticker sheet–popped up on some foam.

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I’m curious to see if I’ll use more of this collection pack now that I’ve “broken into” it.  I’m glad that I gave it a try, and now I’m more familiar with its contents for future projects.

 

**In general, I do NOT scrapbook chronologically.  However, it makes sense with the way my brain works that all of my scrapbooks are organized chronologically.

 

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For the past two years, I used a Sugar Paper for Target planner for all of my goal-setting, to-dos, and daily planning.  I’d switched when I was unable to find another favorite planner of mine, and I discovered that the weekly layout with a facing weekly planning page was exactly how my brain worked!  When I went to buy one for 2018, I made the sad discovery that they weren’t selling that planner through Target any more!  I had fallen in love with the weekly layout, and the planners directly sold from Sugar Paper didn’t even meet my needs 😉

As I discussed this “tragedy” with Husband, he suggested that I make my own.  He even volunteered to set up an Excel spreadsheet to auto-populate the dates onto the weekly pages and calendar spreads so that I wouldn’t have to do it by hand.  In fact, he went so far as to program it so that I can enter any year, and it will calculate the proper dates!  Hooray!  He really is amazing.

Not only that, but he helped me fine-tune the margins and cell sizes so that it prints out just right.  I decided to make a half-letter sized planner and use the Staples Arc system to bind it (I purchased THIS punch–affiliate link).  In past years, I stuffed all sorts of bits and pieces into my planners and they ended up bulging in an unsightly way with extra papers (and then they’d fall out if I dropped the planner…).  I purchased a set of Arc covers and the largest discs I could get so that it has plenty of room to grow.  I’ve already added several bits and pieces (notes from my daughter, slips of paper with school information, ephemera stapled to patterned paper, and cards…) and it makes me so happy to see them as I flip back.  I love that these bits of life are now part of the planner in a sleek way.

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After lots of fussing with the layout and fonts, I finally reached a look that satisfied me.  I took my favorite aspects of the two planners I’d loved and some modifications that I’d been making to them and mashed them all together.

At the front of the planner, I have a year-at-a-glance calendar that I modified from HERE.  Because it wasn’t quite the right aspect ratio for what I needed, I took a screen shot of the .pdf and re-created the title with fonts that match the rest of my planner.

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Each month starts with a notes page, which I am using to keep track of the things I accomplish during that month.  On the facing page, I have a planning page to help me keep track of my intentions for that month in each of a number of categories: scrapbook (memory keeping), sew, home, and health.  I also have a spot for important dates and a box where I can make notes for future goals and hopes — the ones I want to get to but aren’t reasonable for that month.

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Right after that comes the month’s grid.  In a future iteration, I hope to have the boxes programmed with conditional formatting so that the borders show up only if there is a number inside… but for now, I might add pretty patterned paper to the blank boxes… maybe!  These pages are printed on card stock, so they serve as a bit of a divider.  I may add little tabs (maybe with matching patterned paper??), as well.

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Each week has a planning page and a week-at-a-glance page that I use to keep track of my daily to-do list and appointments, etc.

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It took me until almost the end of January to get everything in order, but I was using test pages from the beginning of the year, and that really helped me work out some of the finer details before I printed everything.  I am really, really happy with how this turned out!  I am so very grateful for Husband’s help!  This wouldn’t have come together without him.

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Squid

This handsome fellow was a surprise Christmas gift for Husband.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

 

His name is Qubit, and he is a squid.  Or SQUID, if you are a physics-y kind of person.  😉

Indulge me while I share some more beauty shots.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

I used the simply fantastic Menagerie pattern by LiEr at Ikat Bag to make this handsome sea creature.  He is made from two shades of solid-colored fleece that I bought on an extreme sale (it turned out that when I had to buy a spool of lighter green thread for matching topstitching on the eyelids, I spent more on it than the fleece!).

He came together so quickly!  I absolutely loved using the pattern.  Every step was well-explained, and the amount of information provided is fabulous.  I am really looking forward to the chance to make more animal variations.  I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants more whimsical animals in their life.

Qubit is now at Husband’s office, overseeing his work there, and providing some squidsperation.  I hope he gives Husband a laugh or smile whenever he sees him!

 

P.S. Happy birthday today, Husband!  I love you.

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Friends of ours have a fantastic annual Academy Awards party.  One of the best parts of the party, to me, is the food!  Not just because I love food (which I do), but because everyone who attends brings refreshments that are cleverly tied into the award nominees.  Food and puns!  Can you get any better than that?

This year, we were excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy on the nominees list.  Husband and I both really enjoyed the movie, so when we came up with the idea of making dirt pudding with baby Groot on top, we were thrilled.  It got even better when I realized we could make the dirt pudding gluten-free for my friend.  In my excitement, I misspoke and said, “Oh!  We can make it grooten free!” And then we had to do it 😉

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We based our dessert on my sister-in-law’s dirt pudding recipe, but we made a couple changes to ensure that it was truly gluten-free.  Instead of using the commercial pudding mix and milk called for in the recipe, we made a batch of Better Homes and Gardens’ homemade vanilla pudding using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch.  We also purchased gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies to swirl inside and top the pudding.

But in my opinion, the best part is the baby Groot.  Husband and I worked together to form him out of Wilton’s Shape-N-Amaze edible modeling compound (which is also gluten free, and even though it is technically edible, it does not taste very good).  His body is given support by a chopstick inside his “trunk”, and we bored a hole through the middle of a couple whole cookies to give some structural support at the base.  The pudding wasn’t very solid, so baby Groot had some trouble staying upright, but it was all okay, since it was just for fun!

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Geeky birthday cake

For Husband’s birthday, I made him a dark chocolate cake with orange-flavored buttercream.  This time I made the buttercream recipe that was passed along to me from a friend (thank you, Jen!!) and was exactly the style of buttercream that I was hoping for when I made my daughter’s birthday cake (and that frosting wasn’t).  This buttercream is delicious and frothy and white and sugary and has a lovely satisfying crunchy crust.  And with the orange flavoring, it was divine.

I did not, however, do nearly as good of a job on the decoration of the cake.  ::sigh:: I am such a perfectionist, and when I envision something in my head, it kind of stings when it doesn’t come out right in reality.  I have a LOT to learn when it comes to cake decorating, so the chances are pretty good that my cakes are going to look very amateurish…  And that was definitely the case this time.  Not only did I have a more basic fail in the baking of the cake (expired baking powder!  I should have known better!!!), but the decorating leaves a lot to be desired.  There are no do-overs with white frosting and bright green piping!

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But I’m showing it here because 1) I want to make it perfectly clear that my projects do not come out well every time! and 2) the idea was fun.  It was Husband’s idea, really, to have the gaming dice on the top of the cake to add to his birthday year.

 

I did a lot of practice drawings to try to get the dice just right.

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Multi-sided dice are hard to draw!  I practiced a ton on scraps of paper, but even so, they came out a bit wonky.  I have a new level of appreciation for the precise piping that professional decorators do on their cakes!  I just cut the barest tip off of the corner of the zip-top bag I used to pipe the words and drawings.  I also played with one of the other fancy tips that came in the package I purchased when I did my daughter’s cake to do the border.

Practice makes perfect, right?  I’ll just have to make a lot more cakes! 😉

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