Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peaceful Morning

This is the view from my computer. Until yesterday, when we
had to trim the ornamental plum back to its trunk, in order
to put in a new electrical service. It's ok, by late spring it will be lush again.


I went outside to take a picture of our lush tree and the wee early morning
light was so soft, and it was blissfully cool after a hot, hot summer.
Do you see the huge wormwood leaning over on the left?

I bought these little yellow flowers as filler, when they were on their last legs.
Didn't know if they'd survive but they were dirt cheap.
They immediately perked up and now they add a wonderful
chamomile-like aroma to the porch.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Tila Wheels Beadwork Tutorial by Beki

I always love to see what Beki comes up with. Here she's using the new Japanese Tila beads -- they're sort of like chicklets, flat tile shaped beads with two holes -- in a repeating motif, finished off with ribbon. Check out the free tutorial:


Just one of her many great free tutes:
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Monday, September 12, 2011

My Memories First Steps and Misadventures

Well...sad to say I'm still trying to download the software to my computer. I emailed support on Sunday and as promised on the website, I heard back from a nice guy within 24 hours. Still not sure what the issue is on my computer, because I did manage to download the My Memories Suite 2 onto my son's laptop. I contacted support again so we'll see what they say tomorrow.

But last night I spent a quick 20 minutes, just 20 minutes, mind you, playing with the software. Seriously, within that time I had a sample digital scrapbooking layout all filled in. I chose a muted blue corrugated background, and added web cam captures of Junie from his folder of old Facebook profile photos, with a big picture of our dog as the focal point. Only trouble is, Junie won't let me post it, ha! I also added a title, in my choice of font and color, and a paragraph of journalling text. All of the page elements I added were very easy to edit. I also added a decorative flourish and a star in a coordinated pattern.

So here's what I think. I think this is the easiest darn program I've ever learned in five minutes! I had previewed a YouTube tutorial, so that helped me know ahead of time that I could drag and drop photos into their frames, and then crop them by positioning them best for that particular frame shape.


I really love that once I got started choosing a layout, all I had to do to learn the features was work my way down the tabs on the right side of the screen -- Background, Photos, etc. I even added a recording of my voice from within the program.

Yeah. Pretty sure I'm in big trouble -- because all day at work I was wishing I was home playing with this! The next test will be to see the quality of the projects when they're printed out. I'm going to try and create a few sample spreads for posting here, and then move on to other types of projects besides scrapbook pages.
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Pssst -- You can use my coupon code STMMMS78794 for
$10.00 off the MyMemories digital scrapbooking software
AND $10 in free merchandise from the MyMemories store.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Let the Digital Scrapbook Adventures Begin...

I always intended to scrap. I even have blank scrapbooks around here somewhere. But all these years of memories, and alas, nada...

So when I was approached to review the MyMemories Suite, I said yes. For one thing, I'm pretty comfortable with graphics programs. Perhaps I'll be more likely to scrapbook digitally? I looked at a couple of YouTube tutorials, and the program looks pretty robust to me. Plus, my sister is researching our family tree, and I'm thinking it might useful to make a book of our people.

So I've decided to journal here about my learning process, with help from my BFF Sarah (Our misadventures as Second Life newbies remain archived elsewhere on this blog, hehe).

Sarah used my Share the Memories coupon code (Facebook readers, you'll need to visit http://www.seriousbeader.blogspot.com/ and look in the right column -- you can use it too!). It let her use Paypal, and calculated the $10 discount on MyMemories Digital Suite v2 just fine. Word is not in yet on her $10 shop discount...we'll let you know.

For both of us (I'm using Windows, she's on a Mac), the download didn't take long, but the installation took about an hour, during which time I wandered around the house thinking about what to put in my MyMemories digital pages...

I used my little wee digital camera. Um, great for jewelry shots; not so hot for anything else. As you can see, it was dark-ish. I kept leaning one way or another right when I pressed the button, causing the images to be blurry. I took the same shots so many times, and each time, I'd fall one way or another, which would make me laugh. Which would make me wiggly. Which would make the shots blurrier. I finally gave up and settled on these:

This reminds me of a New Mexico landscape.
Get it? Couch = desert, crosses = stars.

Thank you Ibrahim for the purple kitchen wall.
Thank you Tia for the stove.
Thank you MOTH for the Indonesian angel
Thank you Thrift Town for the S&P shakers.
Oh and thank you God for the roof over my head. :-)
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Pssst -- You can use my coupon code STMMMS78794 for
$10.00 off the MyMemories digital scrapbooking software
AND $10 in free merchandise from the MyMemories store.

9/11 Bead Quilt Update

This just in from Andrea Adams, who steered the 9/11 Memorial Bead Quilt project.

Back in January, the quilts were sent to their permanent home at the National September 11th Museum and Memorial, which is being built on the WTC site. Here's the blog post Andrea wrote back then:

Although the memorial is being unveiled for the 10th anniversary, the museum itself won't open until 2012. And there is a page for memorial projects donated to the museum but unfortunately they don't mention the Bead Quilt. Let's find out how to change that... Meanwhile, you can see all the squares here:


Thanks, Drea!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to Alter an Acrylic Cameo


I'm a big snob for glass, gemstones, and crystals, but I'm also a sucker for a sweet faux vintage cabochon, even if it's plastic. Trouble is, you see them everywhere. So here's how I customize my cabochons to get something unique, following techniques I learned for working with polymer clay and paper crafts. You can follow these tips to get anything from a strong to a subtle effect, it's entirely up to you how far you want to take it. (Tools and materials are highlighted in Lavender.)

1. Choose a cameo -- new or vintage. It should be plastic (aka acrylic, resin, lucite, and other fancy words for plain ole plastic).

2. Grab some acrylic paint. I mixed a dark brown. You can use whatever color you like.

3. Slather the paint all over the cameo. No holding back. Mush the paint gets into all the crevices, nooks and crannies.

4. If you're using craft paint from the bottle, let it dry a bit before removing any of it. If you're using artist grade acrylic paint from the tube, start removing it now.

Get a paper towel barely wet. I mush mine into the water at the bottom of my sink. That's how little water you want to use.

Dab off some of the excess paint. Do not drag, swipe or wipe. Come straight down onto the cab and barely press.

5. Let the paint dry a little more, then carefully remove more paint. How much you leave or remove is entirely up to you. I could have removed a lot more paint. Use a corner of the paper towel to remove paint from the background cameo. Or not. I like this color of pink, so I removed paint from it so the color would be very visible. If the paint starts to dry too much, get the paper towel a little wetter.

6. If you're using craft paint from the bottle, it will most likely dry shiny. This shine won't enhance the aged effect. So I sprinkle dirt onto the still drying paint. Yep, sandy dirt from my yard.


7. Tap off the excess dirt just as you would embossing powder.


8. Let the paint/dirt mixture dry completely, then apply a bit of heat with a heat gun -- do NOT overheat. Applying some heat will help to bond the acrylic paint and the acrylic cab. Again, don't overdo it or your cabochon will melt and warp.

9. You can stop here if you like. But I like to highlight the high areas -- hair and dress mainly -- with Rub and Buff or other waxy pigment.

Use VERY SPARINGLY and be careful not to get the Rub and Buff down in the crevices. I squeeze out a very small amount then rub between my fingers to get a very thin layer. Then I dab the wax pigment carefully onto the high areas of the cameo. Don't drag or smear. Let dry completely, then buff very gently with a dry paper towel.

You can also use paint on the high areas. Dab very carefully. I forgot to photograph this, but I used a hint of silver paint in this example.

9. Next, I sprinkled fine glitter over the damp paint and tapped off the excess.

You can seal the whole thing if you want -- I generally use matte medium for vintage stuff. You can apply in stages, adding more glitter to some wet areas.

This is just one example of what you can do with your acrylic cameos. You can also highly rosy cheekbones, jewelry, and eyelids if you want but be careful not to overdo it.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Buffalo Burgers etcetera

Buffalo burgers with sage, basil and garlic.
Plus the obligatory hot dogs.

What's left of dessert -- French vanilla ice cream scoops in waffle cups,
with chocolate syrup and morello cherries.

And just when we thought all the food was gone,
Uncle Eddie's tomatoes magically appeared from over the fence!
(It seems to happen every summer...)
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Green Chiles, Sun Tea and Couscous Salad

Fresh roasted green chiles, for the buffalo burgers

Sun tea -- green tea with mint and fresh ground green cardamom

Couscous salad with garbanzos, parsley, cucumbers, tomatos,
and feta cheese sprinkled on top. Hint: cook the couscous in chicken broth,
season the salad with dry mint, olive oil and lemon juice.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Cookout Menu

  • Herbed buffalo burgers with fixins
  • Baked beans
  • Yogurt potato salad with dill
  • Cold couscous salad with cucumbers, green onion, diced tomatos & black olives
  • Sun tea
  • Watermelon
  • Apple pie a la mode
  • Followed after sunset with giant marshmallows over the firepit

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Sequin Embroidery Video

Boy have I been doing it wrong! Cause I sew the sequins down one at a time, hehe....

I guess this is some kind of tambour thing?