Monthly Archives: December 2011

80’s Glasses, Cameras and Logos (Not Necessarily in That Order)


I traveled to Ann Arbor with my husband on Wednesday to check out cameras at Huron Camera while he did his flying lesson at the airport. (He is currently training to be a commercial pilot and flight instructor.) I intended to just look at a new DSLR, but once I got it in my hands and took pictures with it in the store, I ended up buying it. I decided to purchase  a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR. I am very happy with it so far. I could have spent hundreds of dollars more, but I didn’t need to. This camera will meet all the needs I have for now.

On another random note, I discovered a website, called 99 Designs, that hosts contests for graphic designers and I decided to join it. I finished two logos for a contest put on by Attis Media. Here are my submissions to that contest.


And lastly, while waiting for Sissy’s glasses to repaired, we were checking out frames, and these were too funny to leave on the holder. I had to try them on, and once I saw myself, I had to take a picture to show Jer. The kids also wanted in on the action.

Ending this post with even more embarrassing pictures…



Birthday Cake and Sales

This time of year, we eat a lot of Birthday cake. We have three children with birthdays within 19 days of each other. December 16th, December 23rd and January 4th. With this many birthdays so close to Christmas, we are celebrating a lot.

Dean-O turned 8, then 3 days later got his tonsils removed. We tried to give him a multitude of presents to make up for the parts of his body he would soon be missing. Just kidding!


Then Monkey turned 4. How is this possible?


In the middle of all the party madness, I managed to swing into Hobby Lobby and find some cute fabric discounted 50%. Score!


I have also been working on some new brooches. These are nearly finished and ready for pictures and placement in my Etsy store.


In honor of the new year, I am offering 10% off at my Etsy store. Use the coupon code TEN2012 at checkout.

I will be taking a few days off of blogging to hang out with the family. I hope you have an awesome end to 2011.

Take Better Pictures This Year


The first lesson I learned about photography in college is to take three steps forward. My teacher encouraged the class to get the picture, then take three steps forward and shoot another one. Getting closer to and/or zooming in on the subject of your picture of will improve the quality of your photographs. This weekend, when you are taking pictures, get closer. Zoom in. Here are some examples from our house.


Why settle for better, when you can have more betterest? I moved even closer and got the shot below. (I would love to know the thought process involved in Sissy deciding to put three tattoos on her face while I was at our son’s tonsillectomy.)



Again, the second shot is better. But if I get even closer I can get the details on one of the ornaments my son made.


When you take a picture of Uncle Tom on the sofa snoring away this Sunday, get closer so everyone can see the drool running down his chin. When you take a picture of the Christmas tree, get closer and take a picture of your favorite ornament. With every shot, get closer. Zoom in. You’ll be happier with the quality of your pictures if you do.






DIY: Gift Card Holder

DIY gift card holder

As much as I try to avoid it, I usually conclude my gift buying with the purchase of gift cards for a few people. This year, I decided to try to make my own gift card holders using leftover food boxes. I would normally discard these boxes, but I found that they are flexible enough to fold well, while being sturdy enough to hold up to paint and glue. Some stores offer small tins or other novelty items to hold gift cards, but they can cost anywhere from $1 to $5. As an alternative, use household items to make your own holders using this tutorial.


Items you will need:


Disassemble the box carefully. Cut out the template and line up with the folds already on the box. (see below left)

Step 2

Outline the template with your pen and cut out along the lines you made. Line up the template once more and make a mark to indicate your fold line. (see below right)


Step 3

Fold at the line you just marked (as indicated in the left picture below). Unfold that section and fold the bottom tab over (see right picture below). Add glue and fold up. I found that you may need to trim some of the edges to make them straighter as you go along.


Step 4

Add glue to the other small tab and fold it over. At this point your holder should look like the picture on the left below.

You can use a clip to hold the tabs down that you just glued, or you can sit a jar or book on top of it until the glue dries.

Turn the holder over to the cardboard colored side. Add ribbon with glue or tape. The ribbon should be at least 10 inches long. (I used glue first, then the tape to hold it in place).


Step 5

Add glue liberally to the entire cardboard colored side. Add wrapping paper and smooth out. Cut around the edges of the holder, being careful not to cut your ribbon. You can leave a flap to fold up and glue inside the holder, or trim to the edge.

Cut out and glue the “Have a Holly Jolly Day” image that was included with your template to the front of the holder. Glue the “To and From” label inside or on the back of the holder.


Step 6

Tie the ribbon tightly in a bow. Hang on the tree or attach to a present.


My Favorite Thing About Toy Packaging (A Lesson in Creative Recycling)


I heard a song on the radio the other day called Toy Packaging, sung by Sara Groves. My favorite verse in the song is:

“In the old days you could hold a box and shake it
Hear the pieces rattling around
My eyes tear up at these grommets, tape and twisty ties
Remembering that beautiful sound”

This song reminded me of my favorite part of toy packaging. (Yes, I actually do love one aspect of toy packaging.) Twisty Ties.

These are not just normal twisty ties. These are the king of the twisty tie family. These are the one item that should not be put into the garbage bag with the wrapping paper and torn boxes. These should be collected and cherished.

Why am I so geeky about these twisty ties?

There are several reasons. They are versatile. They are reusable. They will last forever, or at least until your husband accidentally throws one away (which should be strictly punished in my personal opinion.) And most importantly, they are a reward for the mind-numbing task of taking the toy out of the packaging, because anyone who has completed this feat of mental and physical strength knows that there absolutely should be some type of compensation.


Here are some ways I have used these “rewards”:

  • to make wreath bows: use twisty ties instead of wire or pipe cleaner
  • to hang pots in the pantry (see picture below)
  • to contain cords on chargers, near the computer and by the entertainment center
  • to close packages, like chip bags or frozen vegetables
  • to hang necklaces: see picture at bottom for this space-saving tip
  • to hang hoses or extension cords on the garage
  • to hang quilting hoops in the craft room

So this weekend, after you have exerted the energy to open the toy packaging, take a minute more to collect the twisty ties. You’ll be thanking yourself for the rest of the year.

Necklace Tip:

To save space and prevent tangles, use a twisty tie to hang four necklaces on one hook.


Let Monday Begin

Let Monday Begin by mixedmolly
Let Monday Begin, a photo by mixedmolly on Flickr.
 Oh Monday. You have such a bad reputation. No one looks forward to you unless you happen to bear a special holiday or occasion. In the span of person’s life, you are normally the day of gloom, brought on by the reality of our normal duties. You are rarely spoken of well. Since your creation you have endured countless joke’s and numerous depressing comments.
You have never acquired the adoration or affection reserved for Friday. The delight that Saturday and Sunday receive has seldom come your way. Your distaste for Wednesday, with its nickname of hope–hump day–sours your mouth each time it’s heard.
Perhaps in another time, or another place, you will receive honor that will likely never be bestowed upon you here.

Photoshop Magic: Cropping

Having the ability to crop pictures is as helpful in graphic design as it is in scrapbooking. As a photographer, you can crop the image by moving the focus of the camera, or adjusting the distance from the subject or the angle of the camera. In a darkroom, the photographer can crop the image during processing.  A graphic designer has an endless number of ways to edit photographs using software such as Photoshop.

Today, I have shown the process of cropping on some of my own photographs. It is cold in Michigan, so I had to choose two photos from summer’s past to remind me of the hope of spring.

The rocks are overwhelming the cuteness of Monkey in this picture. I used Photoshop’s blur tool to make the rocks in the background softer, therefore enhancing his little monkey expression. I also applied a free Photoshop Action called Seventies from The Pioneer Woman.

Dean-o’s muscles, obviously the focal point of this picture, were being drowned out by the weeds in this picture, taken before we planted a yard. I also blurred the weeds using the blur tool in Photoshop. Since he was the focus in the picture, I cropped out Sissy’s horses swimming upside down. I also applied the seventies Photoshop action to this picture.

Okay, it really is winter, so I had to bring myself back to reality and include this picture, taken last year after a bad ice storm that passed through our area. I do like the original image, but the focus of this photo is the ice and I think the cropping helps to see that more clearly.

If you are interested in seeing other posts in the Photoshop Magic series, click on the links below.

Black and White

The Photo Shoot

Inside My Sketchbook

I enjoyed two days alone with my husband over the weekend (yeah!), and I am looking forward to a busy week. I spent some time looking through my sketchbook and decided to share some pattern work that I have been doing.

Also, I have extended the sale in my Etsy handmade store through Wednesday. Save 15% by entering the code XMAS2011 at the checkout. Items are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas.

Sale – 15% OFF – This weekend only

I am having a sale at my online Etsy handmade store that will run until Sunday at Midnight. Orders paid in full will ship on Monday, and will arrive at your door just in time for Christmas!

Enter this code at checkout to receive a discount of 15%: XMAS2011

Visit my Etsy Store by clicking here!

Here are some pics of a bracelet and brooch’s , just added tonight.

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