Andrea's blog


10 Things to Miss (or maybe not) About the 2008 Olympics

Just as I promised at the beginning of my Olympic Fever, we managed to watch nearly every aired Olympic event on NBC for two weeks straight.  Our couches are well worn and the end table is nice and cluttered with glasses, snack crumbs and empty bowls of ice cream to prove it. 
We concluded the two-week long binge with the closing ceremonies last night, and I admit to being a little sad it was over.  I felt sort of like I'd been through all the events and visited Beijing right along with the athletes (but of course without four years of intense training under my belt).
So, now that they're over, here's what we'll miss (or maybe not) about the 2008 Olympics:
10.   running to the TV at 6 p.m. every night to see what was on the lineup, even though we had both already checked online hours ahead of time.
9.   realizing how young, determined, and focused all those athletes are and wondering if in the end, they all think the time and sacrifice was worth it.  I imagine they felt it was.  As for me, I dunno if it would be.  I'll bet they all wake up before 7am on a daily basis--I don't (and won't).  So that probably counts me out of the running in  the "determined and focused" category.
8.   the diving competition's lady commentator's incessantly negative and demeaning comments.  She got the mute button at our house.
7.  calculating the height of the building needed to train for the trampoline-ing events.  An airplane hanger might not be tall enough....seriously.
6.   Morgan Freeman's voice-overs in daily-changing VISA commercials, based on event results.  He must have made 20 different voice-overs for the ads before the Olympics even started.
5.   trying to figure out what Misty May-Treanor's roman numeral 5 tattoo was all she really THAT obsessed with Jason Kidd?
4.   eating Chinese food in honor of Beijing...chinese food we were able to get at the grocery store in the US...not scorpions on a stick thank-you-very-much.
3.   Ayla pointing at the TV and asking to eat dinner in front of it so she can watch the "wimpics".
2.   seeing Nastia Liukin shoot dagger eyes at her competitors throughout the competition.  I've never seen anyone so set on winning.  The girl might want to expand her horizons a little bit now that she's got the "queen" status.  I'm proud she won, but she was a little intense.
1.   slow motion replays of Michael Phelps' gorilla-style victory yell.
I could go on and on (about Usain Bolt, the relay races, marathon water-bottle throwing insanities, and more), but either you watched it and know it all, or you didn't and this means nothing to you. 
So, here's to London 2012, and to hoping for a HDTV mega screen to watch it all on!

Hands-On Photo Cube Puzzle


Remember this? Here's the finished product, and the article telling how to make it:



Each side of the cubes makes up one of six 9" x 9" layouts. Here are all the layouts:




















Snapfish Photo Collage Prints - for scrapbooking

Snapfish recently started selling photo collage prints where you can pick up to a certain number of photos (based on the final collage size) to include in a photo collage on one printed photograph.

I often wish that I could have several smaller pictures instead of all 4 x 6 prints to fit more pictures on one scrapbook page, so these collages sounded like a great way to get more bang for my buck and a good way to save me some planning and prep-time before ordering my photographs.

I had four 8" x 10" collage prints made to capture a total of 57 photographs of some recent vacations. Each 8" x 10" cost $2.99. While the end cost is about 21 cents per image of the collage (more than the regular 12 cents per 4 x 6), I was able to get them printed at a miniature size without having to order multiple wallet sized prints or creating my own photo collage in Photoshop before printing. You can even add titles and change the colors of the borders, and play with your photo choices and the orientation (landscape or portrait) before ordering it, to be sure you're getting what you want.  To me, that was worth the time and energy saved!  

So, here's what I came up with for my scrapbook pages using the Snapfish photo collages. You can see the original 8" x 10" collages and then the layout using all the pics right below.

For the first two, I kept the collages in-tact and used them as one large photograph on the layout:



The next two, I cut the collages into individual pictures and made my own collage designs on the layouts:



I just love how they all turned out. I've always been a big fan of LOTS of photographs on a layout, and this made it easy! And now, instead of 20 pages of vacation layouts, I was able to create 4. My album spines thank me. :)

Give them a try! They're fun: Snapfish Photo Collage Prints


Heritage Shelf

I was recently inspired by a very cool project by Ali Edwards (found here), so when I came across this little shelf at Goodwill for only $2, I thought I'd try my own version.  I'll admit, Ali's is MUCH cooler, but this was a good first try for me.
I removed the wallpaper, painted the outside red, the shelves black, and backed it with kraft paper.  I also sanded the edges to allow the white paint to show through along the edges.  Gave it a more worn look. 
Then, I ordered several 5 x 7 black and white pictures to put into each of the cubes.  I had a hard time choosing what to put in there, and finally decided not everything has to be symetrical and even! 
I think I may need to replace the upper right photograph, because I didn't crop it quite right...

A Little More Cardboard Luv...

The other night, my nephew Tucker asked me "Aunt Dee?" (that's what they call me) "How come you never make us stuff?"

Ouch. Talk about a knife in the heart! I asked him what he meant and he referred to this and this and wanted to know why I didn't make them anything that they could take to their house.

I should probably have reminded him of the tunnels we made just last week, but I think he meant something he could take I asked him what he wanted me to make.

His response....a garage for his hot wheels cars. So, I promised him a garage and that we would build something today when they came over (which turned out to be a spaceship).

Here's the garage...made from my favorite cardboard box source...a box of LUVS diapers.



I would have liked to paint it, but we didn't have any spray paint on hand, so it's graffitied up with LUVS graphics. But I did give the flooring a layer of cardstock and even made them a handicap parking space. Hope it provides hours of entertainment! Until it falls apart. :)

And here's today's spaceship creation:



I tell you what...there's nothing better than a dedicated playroom where stuff can be moved and destroyed and rebuilt over and over again. This same landing spot has also been home to a campout, tornadoes, rodeos, outer space, and more down-to-earth pretend games like "house" and "baby".


Olympic Fever

We have Olympic fever.

This happens every time. I have no real interest in anything leading up to the games, nor do I know who any of the contenders are until the competition begins. soon as the competitions begin (or are aired as the case may be), we find ourselves glued to the television during all hours of the day and night.

I distinctly remember during the 2004 Olympics going to sleep and waking back up in the middle of the night to watch some volleyball or gymnastics competition. Ben reminded me that he stayed up all night one night and got to watch a trampoline competition.  Did you even know that existed???  The gross amount of television we watched during the Olympics was ridiculous. Especially since we rarely have the TV on at all in our house unless we're watching a movie in the evening. We'll watch about anything, but my favorites are gymnastics, volleyball, and diving.

But now we will probably watch NBC non-stop for the next two weeks. That could also be because we have only the very basic channels and this is the most exciting thing that has been aired in the past year (with last years' writers strike and this summer's reruns and ridiculous game shows).

And I won't feel bad about Ayla watching hours and hours of athletic competitions. That's encouraging exercise, right?

How about you? Have you caught the Olympic fever?


Saved My Shorts

I have a favorite pair of khaki shorts. But they have bleach stains on them. I wore them anyway. Then, the bleach stains started turning into holes. I wore them anyway. But then the holes got bigger and I had to figure out some sort of rescue mission for them.

Here's my solution. Unfortunately, I failed to take before pictures....


I used Fancy Pants chipboard paisley shapes to trace a design on the shorts, cut out the design, pinned a piece of fabric to the inside, did a quick baste stitch around the design to keep it in place and then went back and hand stitched a brown border with a backstitch (I think that's the right term). It took a while to hand stitch them all, but I like the end result.


Now I gotta figure out what I'll do when the bleach stains on the other leg turn into holes...there in a less "normal" spot to put a design. Hmm...

ps...Ayla was my helper for the top photo.  She pressed the shutter button to start the self timer, so the camera would focus correctly.  She's a tiny pro.   


Finally a Home

My scrapbooks finally have a home on a real shelf! We went to IKEA this week and stocked up on the Expedit series of white shelves for my office: one of these, two of these, and while we were at it, one of these for the living room.



I know I'm not the first to discover these fantastic shelves for scrapbooks and scrapbook supplies (I'm probably the LAST scrapbooker to actually buy them, see here, here, here, here and here just to point out a few), but they truly work perfectly. Love them. Each cube fits about 3 or 4 scrapbooks and I have plenty of room to grow! (that's the main thing). After 8 years of scrapbooking, I counted 20 full-sized albums and 10 mini-albums, and I've got a lot of livin' and scrapbooking left to do!


And now I can say we've finally moved into our house (just over a year after we actually moved), now that the cardboard boxes and rubbermaid tubs of books and scrapbooks are safely displayed on shelves and not sitting on my office floor. Whew. Feels good.



Etsy Shirts at Aldi Prices

Earlier this week I was admiring some screen-printed tank tops at an Etsy shop, wishing I could buy them. But, seeing as I wear them primarily to yoga classes and I have about 15 ribbed tank tops already, $27 seemed a little steep. So imagine my delight when I ran across these at Aldi today for only $4.99:

Granted, they're not *quite* as cool as the Etsy shop version (and the model is missing the *so cool* tattooed arm band), but a $4.99 shirt satisfies my desire for a new shirt...for now! :)

Portrait Photography Tips

I've recently subscribed to the Digital Photography School blog, and today's post looked like a great one to share:

How to Take Portraits - 19 Portrait Photography Tutorials from Our Archives

I haven't looked through them all yet, but thier daily posts are really easy to understand and quick to read, so I've enjoyed learning more from them.

While we're at it...I thought this was a VERY cool technique that I'm looking forward to trying:

Light Painting


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