Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No new bathroom :(

I had finally decided to do something about our bathroom. Our house was built in 1926 and it shows. I mean everything is solid and wonderful but the bathrooms.... green tile all over with little bits of pink in the floor and a border that would look great out West. The shower looks like a carwash with 3 sprays on each side. Of course there was never enough water pressure to get water from the top and the sides so I had the sides plugged off years ago. Well guess what, now they are leaking like crazy, my water goes hot and cold while I am in there, there is mold I can't get rid off and it's just plain ugly! So I had a guy come in yesterday and take a look. I almost fell over when he told me just to gut everything would probably be around 20 k! It's the way things were built back then, the tile sits on 4 inches of concrete with metal lath sheets imbedded in it. So they would have to jackhammer all that out a little bit at a time. Then to rebuild everything would be another 10k. That is just plain ridiculous! I am not getting into that kind of expense for a stupid secondary bathroom. I'll see if somebody can fix the darn shower, slap some paint on the walls, new toilet and sink and stuff and that will be it. Maybe I could regrout like one lady at DD recommended, at least the floor. Oh well, that's the end of that dream. I had visions of steam showers, nice new cabinetry etc... and then I was going to redo the kitchen LOL. I was so upset last night, I did this page

It would be nice to find somebody to fix up the tub and make it look new again too and get a new shower door. Okay, I have not given up completely yet. I am going to ask my friend for some input :) (are you reading this?)
Here are some other pages, not a whole lot, the weekend was really busy

Oh I guess, this is it, I already posted the rest :)

Saturday was a big day. I was supposed to have a chat during the all day chat event at Designer  Digitals but then we found out that Michael was getting promoted to Black Belt in Karate that day at the exact same time, so I had to cancel my slot. I was at Karate all day anyway, helping out with testing starting at 10 AM. I had to control 3 different groups, so I was glad I was there. I was the experienced person, cracks me up :)
Anyway, Michael was soooo proud. He was the first one to be called up and they read his certificate out loud for everybody. He looked so darn cute, the smallest guy among all those big people.

those are our teachers, Father and Son Goss and they were fooling around with him, here is one more serious

I kind of like the top one myself, he was having a good time.

Phil had bloodwork done yesterday and everything came back fine. He was really worried about it, but all the levels are great, including his PSA! I felt like throwing a party. Today was his follow-up appointment with the cardiologist and that went well also, things are good for now. He will start jogging again, he had kind of slacked off for a couple of weeks here, not good.

The girls came home yesterday all bummed out. They had try outs for the spring play at school and they didn't get the roles they wanted. Again they will be in the background singing in a group with 6-graders. There were lots of tears flowing, especially since they found the auditions to have been done unfairly. Supposedly they had to sing a song they had never heard and the girl who got the main role sang a song from her Ipod. That really does not sound right to me, but I guess they might as well learn now, that life will never be fair. They were not the only ones upset either, there were quite a few girls crying. I guess that happens every time they do these things, I wish they wouldn't even get into them. Now it's going to be weeks of practice after school and for what? Actually the way I felt yesterday, I wanted to go and rip her head off. Rachel told me that she even asked her if she wanted that role and that she might get it. Now why would she do that to the girl? Don't say anything you fool! I can't stand it when they hurt my kids! Argh, I guess that too shall pass!

Well, I better go and practice my piano piece, lesson today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Still winter

It's the never-ending supply of snow around here. It seems to be snowing continuously, and that is not even a joke! It cracks me up when I read about friends putting seeds in the ground because they are lucky enough to be living in sunny California, blah.... Some day this will have to end, but for now I believe they are calling for more snow on Monday. At this rate the kids will be in school all summer :)

The Formal that was postponed to this Saturday has been moved again, so I just have to take care of Michael's BB promotion and help out during testing. They have a photographer for the promotion and I might just call him and ask him to look over my camera. I think I really get too much noise with higher ISO and I need my ISO high even during daylight. I feel like such a dummy with this stuff, it shouldn't be this hard. Do I need a 400 ISO in the house during the day? I use Noiseware on almost all my pictures anymore. What a godsend this program is!

I was looking through my ScrapbooksEtc. magazine the other day and they had this little tutorial on how to use a halfone filter on your page and of course I had to try it out. I really like the effect.

All you do is duplicate your photo to work on, go to Filter/Pixelate/color halftone.This will ad a layer over your photo and you can then use a layer mask to erase all the parts you don't want with a soft brush. I just left it on his hair, the toy and around the edges I believe. I hope you can see it on here. There was more to the tutorial, but that's all I used from it. Pretty clever though.

Here are some more pages

A lot of Michael these days, but he hadn't been in a lot of pages lately. He was so cute sleeping with his toy last night, he is always camping out on our floor, it's making him feel safer for some reason and I sure don't mind. I hate seeing them all grow up so fast, I love keeping him around and innocent and sweet and little for a while longer :)

PixelCanvas is no more, Vinnie decided she didn't want to run a store anymore, she just wants to design. She is selling at 2Peas now, but I don't really go there. So now I am just hanging at Designer Digitals and that is really fine with me. There is so much to be done, keeping up with the gallery and everything else, I always felt I didn't put in enough time at PC anyway. So it works out okay in the end. I really did appreciate Vinnie giving me a chance when I first started out, she was always wonderful to work for. I hope she keeps selling lots and lots of stuff, she is a fine designer!

Debbie Hodge's class on Building Pages is still going on and she also has a new sketch bundle you can grab. They are really amazing and you can post your pages in the sketch gallery. Actually the sketches also come as PSD templates, so they are even easier to use and they are really intricate and detailed. I love them.

Nothing new and exciting has happened around here. Every day is the same as the day before. I got some numbers to call about getting the bathroom redone, so that might give us some excitement :)
I hope you all have a wonderful day and if I haven't been to your blog lately, please forgive me, I will make up for it! Time seems to fly.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

We got it and more

seems like we are drowning in snow, I am so sick of it. Today it's supposed to start again, but this time "only" 4 - 8 inches. Lucky us! Moving to Florida sounds more and more appealing!
I just learned a cool shortcut the other day, really simple but effective for CS4. My canvas always gets really large after  I add more layers and instead of having to go and click on Fit Canvas size just press cmd/0, it will do the same thing. I just love that little step, I use it all the time! Just thought I'd throw that in :)
We have a few new challenges going on at Designer Digitals, the latest one is from Debbie Hodge and it's about using embellishments in a different way, as a symbol for something else. I did this page as an example

It's a little over the top, but you get the idea :)
Yesterday I finally did a 365 page again, first the week before that

new month, new background color :)

only one week behind now, not too bad.
Here are some other pages I did since the last time

this one was done in 10 minutes. The challenge was to create a page in 30 minutes, but I had to help Gabrielle shovel snow and when I came back, that's all the time I had left. It's really simple, but blending the photo into the background gave it a neat effect I think

Phil had his checkup last Tuesday, Stress Test and Echo, everything was fine! Thank Goodness. I was really nervous about the whole thing. Now tomorrow he is going for some bloodwork. I feel like I can exhale now!
Usually this time of the year we head out to Cancun and get away from the snow. Actually we would be coming back already. With Phil's tests coming up I had been postponing everything and now I was thinking that maybe we shouldn't go this year and instead use the money to remodel our bathroom. It's from 1926 and falling apart! I can't stand that bathroom! Then maybe in the summer we could go to a beach in the States, like Outer Banks or something like that! I like that idea. And then the kitchen next! I have big plans LOL.
Michael is going to have his promotion to Black Belt on Saturday, he can't wait. The girls have a formal that same night. It has been postponed from last weekend because of the weather. They both have cute dresses. Why does everything have to be on the same day I wonder. It always works out that way, doesn't it?
I am still taking pictures every day and posting them to Flickr. Here are a few

it reminds me of Edward in the sun :)

In the waiting room at Phil's appointment. What else is there to do :)
Well, it's time to go and pay the bills or I won't get anything done today :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are we going to get it?

The nasty cold front, that is! They are calling for some really nasty weather this coming weekend. Of course the girls are supposed to go to a formal Saturday night, I hope it won't get cancelled. They are really looking forward to it and we even bought new dresses. It's not a boy/girl thing, they are just going with their girlfriends. Neither of them is into boys yet, thank goodness (at least that I know of). Let's keep our fingers crossed.
These last few days have flown by again, it seems that the days just blend into each other. I had a dentist appointment and need a crown, yuck. That's money I would have rather spent on a new lens :)
I had the chimney cleaned, they were here less than 1/2 hour and it cost 169$. Is that absurd or what? Geez oh man, the money just keeps flying out of the window.
I have been talking to this guy at Nikon about my camera and he made me do a few more pics with the same settings. Seems that my D40 kept upping the shutter speed without my noticing, that's how the picture was so much lighter. I didn't see too much of a difference in the new shots. I don't know anymore, maybe it's just me after all. I still would like for somebody to just check it out for me.
Here is my picture for today

I found this lonely ball after the snow melted, it seems to be waiting for the dog to come back out and play.
Here is yesterday's
I cooked this BokChoy with a little sesame oil, it was really good and fast.
I have been taking a photo every day so far, posting at the Flickr Group to keep me honest :) They are not necessarily pictures for my 365 pages, just pics for practice. There is so much to learn. I was just reading my Nikon book again today and I actually understood a little more. Reading about exposure now. Learn, learn, learn....

Isn't this one cool? It's my candle on the radiator...

I just made this page today. Actually it was the cover for the book I am putting together for Gabrielle, I just altered it a little to make it into a page for myself. The book is at ArtsCow. I have never used them before, but have those coupons for free books, so I thought I would give them a try. Today the site was not cooperating, I had to finish the cover etc and could not get it to work. Don't know why because I had no trouble doing the pages the other day. I'll try to finish it tomorrow.
I did another page, but it was for a challenge that's not due til next week, so I can't put it out yet.
I used the pictures from Sunday though and made this page

I used the block design from Debbie Hodge's class, which is really good by the way! She is such an awesome teacher! Of course I am already behind with the lessons. I couldn't print yesterday's lesson, because I was out of ink. By the time I got back, it was to late to start. Today was wasted trying to finish that book, which didn't work out. There is always tomorrow.
On the 20th there is going to be an all day chat at Designer Digitals. Make sure to stop by, I am doing one hour this time, it's going to be on brushes and there is going to be a nice freebie (there are freebies for every hour that day) Should be fun, I can't believe I volunteered for this, yikes!
Well, the movie and hubby are yelling for me.....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh boy, a whole week

The week just flew by, it's the every day being the same thingy, there is usually not much to write about and then the week just flies by with Karate, piano etc.  I am still taking pictures pretty much every day and the plan had been to post my POTD every day, well, you can see how far I got with that. I'll try to do better (yet again)
I think I am having camera issues, my really good expensive D300 takes really awesome pictures, except when it gets darker, the pictures are really dark and no settings get them to where I want them. I have had to crank my ISO up to 3200 and it wasn't even dark, that was just my house during the late afternoon hours (granted, no sunshine) Anyway, I contacted my insurance company to see if they can have somebody look at it. I used to think I just didn't know how to do the settings right yet and struggled and struggled and got frustrated. Then I had the brainstorm to do a comparison set-up with my old D40, using the same settings and same lens and here are the results 

looks quite different, doesn't it? The bottom one was shot with the D40. I never thought that there could be something wrong with a camera. Oh well, I guess I'll find out soon enough

Gabrielle had a friend sleep over and yesterday I took them and Rachel to the little park area where we had so much fun in the summer. Man, it was cold. We just walked around a bit and I took some shots of the river and the ice.

it was so cold, it wasn't even funny! I couldn't wait to get back in the car. We then decided to take a ride to the Incline Plane. My kids never took a ride on that thing (other than in a stroller and they can't quite remember that time), so on we went. That was fun, Gabrielle was screaming at first (the girl who hates rollercoasters), but I think she enjoyed it

at least we had something to do and got out of the house.

then I had this longing for Kaffeetrinken. That's the traditional german afternoon get-together, where you have coffee or tea and something sweet. So we raced home and I made a big pot of tea in my good china, set the table nice with a white tablecloth and got a little cake out of the freezer. It was great, it really reminded me of growing up and the girls got a kick out of it. Michael didn't participate in any of it. He didn't want to come along and preferred playing his game. Oh well

last but not least that night I got a couple of pretty nice shots of the moon, freezing my tail off on the porch :)

the photo is cropped and blown up a little of course.
All in all a fun day!
I have a few pages to share, my 365 page from last week

and some of the challenges at DD

these were actually artjournal pages, that was a lot of fun!

Rachel is always such a willing subject :) These were taken while we were at the WEstmoreland Mall last weekend

Michael and his games! He was playing over at Helen's house, when Johnny was home. He tried to teach John how to play and got so disgusted with him, it was hilarious!

this was for PixelCanvas. WE were supposed to lift this awesome paper page. It had so much dimension, I tried to get that with the shadows. It was fun and then, here is Rachel again :)

you can tell I really liked those shots I got of her that day :)
Well, that's it for today, gotta go :)

Never say Never!

Well, here I am creating my very own blog! I was always very sure I would never get into this blogging "thing", but here I am. I hope you will enjoy finding out a little about my not so interesting life!