• Artsy Fartsy
  • Pinterest and the time suck of doom

    I’ve avoided this thing called Pinterest for the longest time. I simply do not need another time suck in my life. That’s why I’ve avoided Words with Friends despite the hounding from many a person.

    Before my surgery I had girlfriend’s brunch at my house and wanted to make something super yummy. I have a number of standby items, but I thought something new might be fun. I browsed this Pinterest thing to see if it was worth my while and if there were any good recipes on it. It looked intriguing. I found a few things to try (that didn’t exactly turn out as planned) and thought, well I have nothing but time on my hands so I’ll join.

    My plan was to covertly join so that no one would know and then I wouldn’t look like a follower. I hate to look like a follower. I’m a trendsetter. Self proclaimed trendsetter. That’s me!

    Earlier this week I finally finished up the “joining” stuff with Pinterest only to have my husband walk into the living room (where I’m held captive) 20 minutes later to say, “Pinterest? Really?” Busted.

    Yes. I joined. I would like to remind everyone that I really can’t do much for the next 5 weeks. I can’t clean. I can’t garden. I can’t go to work. What else do I have? I can only watch so much daytime television. I nap, but I can only do so 30-45 minutes a day. It’s only been the second day of me feeling somewhat human and I’m already bored. I even considered riding up to Ferndale with my boss to pick up the seed potatoes. I thought 5 hours in the car might be a bit much… besides, Derek vetoed it.

    I will say I’ve been having fun with this Pinterest thing. I mostly hunt for garden ideas. I’ve found a few things that I’d like to try.

    I am determined to not make this a giant time suck and only browse when I’ve accomplished other tasks like reading.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Craft Rejects

    On June 25th the nursery is sponsoring (or rather I’m organizing) a chicken coop tour.  It has been a fairly easy event to put on considering I’m doing a majority of the work myself.  Earlier this year I got this great idea that I wanted to silk screen t-shirts for the event.  I like crafty stuff.  I bought all of the stuff, did up a few shirts for the boys and myself.  It was great fun.  Then we decided it would be great to sell the shirts.  They are pretty cool if you do ask me.  They say, “are you chicken?” on the front and have the tour logo on the back.  Since the tour is coming up in a little over a month I figured I needed to get the shirts to sell finished.  Today was supposed to be rainy (yet again) so I thought we’d do up a few shirts.

    We went to craft store #1 and they had shirts on sale.  I wasn’t thrilled with the color selection so we decided to go to craft store #2, but not before the small child picked out a t-shirt iron on that he just haaaaad to have.  It was $1.97 so we bought it figuring we could just iron it onto a plain shirt we already had at home.

    At craft store #2 we found the shirts (that weren’t on sale), but they had better colors and more of them.  When we left craft store #1 we had the plan of white shirts with colored ink (I only had white or black at home).  It took 5 minutes of looking, a trip to the bathroom for the small child and asking a helper monkey where the silk screen stuff was.  Our color choices were bright blue, bright red, bright green or bright yellow.  Or for $27.99 we could purchase a multi-pack of fluorescent colors that included a glo-in-the dark ink.  I was all for the glow one, but Derek was not thrilled with the price.  We went back to the shirts and went with one in each size of navy blue and dark green plus one royal purple to make it 9 shirts so they would price match craft store #1.

    I asked cashier monkey if they’d price match and she said they needed to see the ad for the other store.  I didn’t have the ad, but I had my phone!  5 minutes later, me cursing Ver!zon for slow connection and more I wants from the small child I found it and walked out with $30 in shirts.

    We got home and after lunch got to work on printing the shirts. 9 shirts front and back ended up being a 1 beer, 1 glass of wine project.  It would have been a 2 beer project, but since I can’t drink beer anymore I had to settle for wine.  It isn’t nearly as satisfying.  We finished the shirts without any major incidents and then the child reminded us that we had to do his iron on.

    The boys found a shirt in the closet that would work and Derek set up the ironing board and “ironed on” the iron on.  This is the point in the story where I should mention that Derek’s mother was the Queen of the iron on.  She’d make her own iron ons.  The most famous being Oleg’s “I love pinecones” t-shirt.  The first attempt at our iron on wasn’t that successful.  It didn’t stick.  I took over.

    My second attempt still wouldn’t make it stick.  We figured the instructions were written as if you were ironing on the decal on Mercury.  One minute is really 3 days.  I peeled off the plastic backing and it still wasn’t sticking.  Derek and I were at the point of laughing hysterically.  We had just finished silk screening 9 t-shirts but couldn’t iron on a 6″ Earth decal.  Mom surely got her laugh for the day watching these two idiots.  5 minutes later I think I may have gotten the thing to stick.  I just can’t wash it… ever.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • China Photos

    In order to consolidate 1900 photos into something manageable the trusty husband put together a video montage of some of the images. ?What’s missing? ?Chinglish. ?Lots and lots of Chinglish.

    If it doesn’t play for you that’s because it’s hosted at my facebook account and if I’m not friends with you on facebook that’s too bad for you.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Another new toy

    This week my shiny new copy of Adobe Design Standard CS5 arrived. ?This time the church paid for it so it is even better. ?I wrote previously about how I was so looking forward to it because of the new content aware feature. ?Tonight I spent some time photoshopping stuff. ?Just for fun. ?I tried to pick images that I could erase things from. ?Here are 3 before and afters for you.

    The first is of a ferry boat on Puget Sound at sunset. There were lens flares and other stuff obstructing the image…


    so I took them out.


    The next is the obligatory St. Basil’s shot of Kathou & Paypay. Everyone who has ever been to Red Square will tell you it is impossible to get a photo in front of St. Basil’s without hoards of people in the background.


    Now with the magic of Photoshop CS5 you can be the only ones there.


    The last picture isn’t very exciting. I grabbed a random image to show the trusty husband what the program can do.


    As it turns out, it can make a relatively crappy photo pretty darn good.


  • Artsy Fartsy
  • In which I get all geeky

    A few months ago the trusty husband sent me an IM that had a link to the announcement that Adobe was coming out with Creative Suite 5 (for the non in-the-know this is the group of programs that is Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, inDesign. ?The programs I use to well… live). ?I read a few bits about it and thought meh. ?I have CS4 so no biggie. ?The big hype was that Photoshop was going to be 64 bit (better graphics) for Mac. ?I work on a PC and already have 64 bit Photoshop (neener, neener, neener) so I didn’t care. ?Then the trusty husband IMs me a like yesterday for a video. ?A video that totally changed my mind about wanting CS5. ?A video that made me hug my laptop just a little bit, right before I threw it out the window because it is so damn slow and takes 45 minutes just to open Safari (stupid laptop).

    Needless to say, I want CS5. ?Why, because all that time I spend photoshopping myself so I don’t look old will only take like 2 seconds. ?Then I can get on to the more important part of my day like drinking coffee and looking at shiny objects.

    Ohh Look!

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Singer Featherweight

    So you all know my sewing machine died right? ?If you weren’t paying attention… it did. ?My very expensive, fairly new sewing machine. ?I broke it. ?It is currently being fixed and I am without a sewing machine. ?I haven’t been without one in many many years and it is like having an arm cut off.

    I had a conversation about this with my trusty MIL and she mentioned something about letting me borrow Bunny’s* old Singer. ?She brought back 1 or 2 sewing machines when Bunny moved out here and she thought the Singer was accessible.

    Monday afternoon we had lunch with the trusty in-laws and I thought I’d ask again for the Singer before we left. ?We found it in a closet and I was a little stunned when she pulled out the box. ?I knew it was Bunny’s “old” machine, but I didn’t know it was circa 1964. ?Yes, my sewing and crafty friends, I now am the proud borrower of a 1964 Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine. ?The machine is complete with accessory box and needles still in their original packaging (costing $.30).

    This morning I pulled the machine out of the case just to see what condition it was in. ?Bunny took impeccable care of everything she owned, but this machine hadn’t been used in a very long time. ?To my surprise it was in perfect condition. ?The belt is a little dry and I’m not sure it will take much use so I ordered a new one, but other than that everything is in perfect working order.

    I have never sewn on a machine that sews so perfectly. ?Even my very nice and expensive Viking is not this perfect. ?There is nary a plastic piece on this machine save a few knob covers. ?It is small and will not likely do some of the major stuff I do, but it will finish the silk skirt I started and the gift I have for Kathou’s little girl.

    The only problem with the machine is that I will have to give it back. ?I’ve sewn one line with it and I’m totally in love.



    *Bunny is the Trusty Husband’s grandmother who passed away shortly after we brought the boy home.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • The serger story

    I decided to join the quilters group at church. ?The median age of the quilters group is about 82. ?I do it because I like old church ladies and the quilts go to a good cause. ?Old church ladies make the best snacks.

    A few weeks ago I was working with one of the ladies and another woman came over asking if I had any use for a serger. ?I always have use for sewing equipment. ?I asked how much the person wanted for the serger and this woman was pretty sure the lady was giving it away (it was coming from this lady’s neighbor). ?Hells yes I’ll take a free serger. ?I’ll take a free anything (by the way, does anyone have a free refrigerator? ?The Sweet Hope one died last week and I have to make truffles the first two weeks of February). ?I agree to the free serger and last Monday the quilter lady showed up with the thing. ?Sweet!

    Last Wednesday I busted it out to give it a shot. ?45 minutes of trying to thread the thing and I was cooking with gas. ?I needed something to sew so I decided to make the dog a new sweater (don’t ask). ?I get to sewing and all of a sudden my new serger comes to a grinding halt. ?Ok, it was more of a long drawn out squeaky halt. ?I do what any other sane and handy person would do, I first oiled the snot out of it and then took it apart and then I read the directions. ?The directions that say the machine is made from oil impregnated metal and shouldn’t need to be oiled because it makes a linty mess and the lint acts like a giant oil sponge and could clog things up. ?And also when I took the back off of it the motor was kinda hot and sparky when I ran the machine. ?Hello, linty.

    So then I started looking ?for a new motor. ?Because honestly those sewing machine repair guys are a bunch of rip-off artists (kinda like a certain locksmith).

    I let the serger sit for a while and when the trusty husband got home I told him the saga of my FREE machine. ?I then proceeded to show him my bunk serger and damn if that thing didn’t work properly. ?I hate it when my free shit works like it is supposed to. How else am I going to find stuff to complain about?

    Then Friday I had the day to myself so I went to the fabric store for new serger thread that wasn’t blue or red and while I was at it I thought I’d get new needles for it. ?I’m sure the thing could stand to have a needle change. ?I carefully wrote down the type of needle I needed. ?I’m not a complete idiot.

    I poured over the types of needles and settled on an 11/75 universal. ?I get home, spend the next hour rethreading and rethreading and moving needles and rethreading and moving needles and rethreading this darn machine. ?The needle would not catch the other threads. ?I was stumped. ?I then pulled the old needle out of the trash to find out that they are totally different lengths and the ones I bought would not work. ?And by this time I’d used the machine so much trying to get stuff to work that it was doing it’s squeaky hot burny thing and well, I gave up.

    But I got a free serger (that I can only use for 5 minutes at a shot).

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Why I do it

    I will freely admit that I love comments. ?It is a part of what keeps me going as a blogger. ?I get jealous of other bloggers who get 10, 20, 30+ comments on posts. ?Back in the day I got tons of comments. ?I do miss that.

    When I (we) started blogging I (we) did it for our family. ?It was never about me. ?I wrote about our adoption process and how things were going. ?Writing about personal stuff just filled in the gaps and made the story more real. ?Then I started helping people. ?There were people who were starting the Russian adoption process and wanted to know how and what to do. ?I was very happy to help. ?Once we got the boy home I blogged to let people know how things were going. ?I’ve always tried to be real and in turn that helped other families know that they weren’t alone. ?So you see, comments are/were vital to who I am as a blogger.

    I will also admit to being a very bad commenter myself. ?I read a ton of blogs, but comment on very few. ?Like you, I have little time. ?The addition of a very large puppy had even lessened my time in front of the computer. ?For that I apologize. ?Can we both try to do a little better m’kay?

    Now that we’ve kissed and made up a little, here’s a little story (and the reason I still blog).


    As you know I’m a crafty sort of gal. ?In the various and assorted crafty type things I do, I sew. ?I taught myself how to using my grandmother’s sewing machine when I was in middle school. ?I got my first sewing machine when we lived in Kansas and I’m on my 3rd one now. ?A few years ago I thought I’d foray into clothing making. ?I made a skirt for the insurance fancy dinner and it turned out wearable.

    In the last year I’ve started making other clothing from actual patterns. ?Prior to the this (and that one skirt) I have stuck to stuffed animals, halloween costumes and quilts. ?I know how to sew, I have very little money to purchase new clothing… logically, I could sew my own clothing, right? ?Sure.

    Late summer I purchased about 5 patterns and a whole ton of fabric to start a nice fall wardrobe. ?Stuff I could wear to church or work. ?Everything would go together. ?I would be set. ?I set off to make my first blouse and got 90% completed with it (including zipper) and tried it on. ?A little boob smashy to say the least. ?I looked at the pattern envelope and couldn’t figure out what the issue was. ?I was making a pattern for my size… right? ?I then whipped out the tape measure and holy mary mother of bejebus! ?I’m fat! ?According to the pattern envelope. ?Sure, I’ve let myself go a little bit, but oh hells no. ?My measurements were such that the largest size on the pattern wouldn’t even fit. ?I had to go back and buy more fabric and a new pattern.

    Round 2… a shirt that fit (kind of, but I still wear it). ?Will I show you a photo of myself in it, maybe, but only if I’m drunk and that doesn’t happen very much anymore (I had a bad experience).

    After shirt fiasco #1 & #2 I put the patterns and fabric away. ?This week I was cleaning out a cupboard and found the patterns and fabric. ?I had also gone shopping at the mall for stuff for the boy and couldn’t go into any of the stores that I like because I didn’t have money to buy anything for myself and I was depressed, but wanted new clothes to make me feel better, and then I got more depressed and so the cycle continued. ?So it was sort of fortuitous that I found all of this stuff. ?Because this time I’d be careful and not screw up.

    Also, I got a new toy. ?A free serger. ?There is a whole other story about the serger (which consequently is the story I intended to tell with this post, but the shirt story is way better so I’ll tell you the serger story later this week and then we can draw this out and I’ll have more to write about and you’ll have more opportunities to tell me what a dumbass I am). ?So I carefully cut the fabric for a new blouse I was going to make. ?It took me an hour just to lay out the fabric. ?It was a silky fabric that is a pain to work with. ?I got the pieces cut and I started to put said blouse together (cursing the whole way because of my fabric choice). ?I tried on the blouse a few times to make sure it fit properly. ?It was a little big, but I thought it wouldn’t be that bad. ?Then I tried to put the collar and facing on. ?It was a cowl neck blouse with long open ended sleeves. ?I am a visual person and the pictorial representation of how to attach the collar and the words didn’t match up. ?I punted (into the far left bleachers). ?It was ok, ?It was still wearable.

    Then I got handy. ?It was a silky fabric that was unravelling slightly as I put the whole thing together. ?Never fear! ?I have a new serger. ?I am also a glutton for instant gratification. ?Of course the free serger came with free thread. ?Of course the free thread didn’t match the fabric of the blouse. ?Who cares. ?It’s just finishing interior seams. ?No one will notice. ?I finished up my blouse. ?It needed a little modification because of my fat factor over estimating the size. ?The collar wasn’t that bad, it was a little long (long tunic length), it was ok. ?I would wear it dammit… I made it.

    The next day I got dressed for work and put on my new blouse. ?I second guessed myself a little. ?I wasn’t sure what people would think. ?Oh there goes crazy Elle again wearing stuff that she really shouldn’t. ?I didn’t care. ?I would wear my new blouse proudly. ?Then I went into the bathroom to finish getting ready. ?I lifted up my arm to put on my make-up and sho nuff, that shirt would be coming off. ?Those open ended sleeves? ?Yeah, you could see the serger stitching. ?Wouldn’t be so bad except my shirt was a dark olive green and the serger thread was red and navy.

    In the end, I made world’s ugliest shirt. ?And that is why I blog. ?To tell dumb on myself.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Feeling Thrifty

    In general I hate thrift stores. ?There is the exception of the used clothing store downtown that I find utterly fascinating, but have never purchased things from. ?I find second hand clothing (from someone I don’t know) blicky. ?I would like to think that most places wash the clothing prior to putting it out, but I can’t be certain of that. ?I don’t want to try on something that may or may not have been washed and I don’t know where it came from. ?I also don’t purchase clothing on ebay for the same reason. ?I can’t touch it or smell it prior to purchasing. ?I know, smell it right. ?This is the point where you say, “so that’s where your kid gets if from.” ?Actually we’ll blame my mother. ?She abhors second hand items because of the fear of the originating house. ?When I would ask to go to sleep overs at friends houses she would ask if they are clean. ?She has some issues about cleanliness.

    In late August we had family photos taken by Willow and in December we finally got the prints. ?This isn’t to say that Willow is slow in getting prints to customers. ?Just the opposite actually. ?I just happen to be fairly low down on the list of gets their stuff because I work in trade with her and with Christmas coming up I wasn’t going to push it. ?Instead of purchasing large prints, as I’m apt to do, I opted for 9 different 8x10s. ?Trouble is prints need frames. ?Frames cost money. ?Money is something I don’t have, or I have very little of it.

    This is where overcoming my fear of thrift stores comes in.

    I figured I was handy. ?A frame is a frame right? ?As long as it is structurally sound (as far as a frame goes) and has glass I’m good. ?Paint does wonders for things. ?I’ve stained frames in the past, why not paint some. ?Nearly every frame in my house is black so I figured I could buy a bunch of different frames and paint them all black. ?I happen to have a can of black paint too. ?So yesterday the boy and I set off to find a collection of frames for our prints at the Goodwill. ?I considered going to the dollar store, but I’ll save that for glass if we need any. ?I scored 9 8×10 frames and 3 11×14 frames for $26. ?The 11x14s don’t have glass, but that’s ok. ?I’m using those in my office at the church and I don’t have the prints ordered yet. ?I’ll have those foam mounted so I won’t need glass. ?Now I just have to paint all of the frames and put on a few hangers and I’ll be set.

    While I was at the Goodwill I also looked at some chairs. ?I’m redoing my office at the church and even though there are two desks and a file cabinet I am thinking I might be able to sneak in a small comfy chair to sit in. ?I want to make it look as much like a real office as possible so people stop thinking it is a storage closet. ?At the current moment I have about 20 clocks, 2 old computers, 1 old monitor, the as-built plans for the church addition, 5 boxes and flip chart paper stored in there. ?Granted it used to be the old copy room, but it is now my (shared) office. ?I have waited 5 years for a space of my own. ?Sorry about that tangent. ?Chair, right. ?I found an IKEA chair at Goodwill that would fit the bill. ?I can recover it to make it presentable, but I didn’t walk out with it. ?I might go back today to look again. ?It was only $14.99. ?I’m just not sure if it will actually fit in the office or not.

    I’m liking this new thriftyness. ?I don’t think I’ll go purchase a new wardrobe at a thrift store (yet), but if I can decorate a little on a budget then well done. ?So what is your opinion? ?Thrift store or no?

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Work is work

    When you work for yourself it’s like working two full-time jobs but only getting paid for one (maybe) part-time one. ?I would like to say that this gig of graphic arts pays makes me rich and famous. ?That would be the furthest thing from the truth. ?In reality I’m lucky if it pays my cable bill.

    I spend 90% of my time looking for the next project. ?That is a rather boring proposition especially since what I’m met with is either lots and lots of no or getting a job and then totally getting screwed by the client. ?It’s not fun. ?I’ll go for months at a time where there is nothing to do. ?No one needs updates. ?No one wants a fresh new look. ?No one has the money to pay me for the various services that I provide. ?Hell, in an act of desperation last month I went shoe shopping with my cousin for shoes of ill repute. ?Just in case I needed to pick up a side job if you know what I mean. ?After all, we still need to put a new roof on our house. ?I’m jus sayin’.

    However, there are times when a whole buttload (yes that is a technical term) of work comes down the line and I then spend my whole day playing legos with the boy because oh mah hell the amount of work I have to do… oh look! ?cookies.

    At the current time my list of work includes:

    • Finish 3 church brochures
    • start and finish 3 more church brochures
    • finish a ministry book and accompanying response booklet
    • change the colors on the church website
    • design a website for the preschool
    • design a section of the church website for faith formation
    • upgrade a client’s website
    • finish a splash page and redo graphics for another client’s website.
    • test all of my client’s themes in the newest version of WordPress
    • Redo the Free Range Media website
    • Redo the Stella Coom website
    • Finish up the Sweet Hope website
    • and about 30 other things I haven’t thought of yet.

    Don’t you want to be me?