Andrea's blog


Treat Your Mother Right

The teens at church reenacted this Mr. T video this morning for "children's time". I thought it would be an appropriate video to share today!



A Bazillion Blogs: My BlogRoll (abbreviated)

I confess. I read a bazillion blogs. Maybe not quite that many...but I'm not divulging the actual number of blogs in my feed-reader of choice (which happens to be NewsFox by Mozilla). But I will share links to a few of my favorites in no particular order of preference:
Local (Birmingham):
Scrapbook Industry/Photography
Just for Fun
  • What I Wore Today - so much style, I only wish I could look so fun myself. I guess I'd need to go shopping more.
  • Photo Battle Blog - I'm not sure if there's a point to this site or if anyone "wins", but it's hard not to vote!
But, my very favorite blogs are by people I know; local friends, friends from Minnesota, or even people I've just met once or twice in person, but have known online for years. I love them because they keep me connected and up-to-date with the lives of real people -- not that these other people aren't real, but you get what I mean. It's sort of like having coffee with each person every morning, which in fact is a treasured part of my morning and blogs.
Thanks for all the great reading Alison, Betsy, Tiffany, Virginia, Molly, Monique, Elizabeth, Jessica, Kristy, Nancy, etc. etc. etc. (remember, I'm not divulging the actual number of blogs I read....)
I'd love to see what some of your favorites are! Post links in the comments!

Another Photo Genious Speaks to Me

Tonight I was reading an interview with Tara Whitney (an excellent family photographer), and one of her answers struck a happy chord in me. Although I'm not a pro photographer (nor do I want to be), I think she sums up my love for photographing my friends and family perfectly:

For me, my number one favorite thing about being a photographer is being able to share it with my friends and family. I LOVE taking photos of all of the people in my life. I LOVE being able to give them something they wouldn't normally get. Especially all of my mommy friends, the ones wielding their own cameras and not IN any pictures. And I hope that the people I love know that for me, turning the camera on them IS love. Especially with my own children-the act of photographing them is one way I show my love for them.




Photos + Words = Ali Edwards' Advice

I loved Ali Edwards' post today about her approach to taking photographs. If I don't always match her photography practices, I want to. She has a very realistic and natural approach and style. And she makes it sound so easy to just take pictures--not "be" a photograper. I especially like this advice:
I am ruthless when it comes to deleting my photos. As I mentioned above, I don't need more than five (and probably less than three) from a similar series of shots. I simply delete, delete, delete. It makes for a cleaner folder of photos, less to choose from when I create a page (which can be a good thing), and I think I learn a bit about my self as a photo-taker in the process. Obviously this whole process of deleting depends upon the event and the story you plan to tell.

NSD - National Scrapbook Day

Believe it or not, scrapbooking has its very own day of the year -- National Scrapbook Day, and it was this past Saturday, May 3rd.  In honor of this sort of ridiculous holiday (if you can call it that) I decided to take a trip over to our local store, Scrap Etc. and support the industry by spending a little money on scrapbook supplies that I'm sure I don't need.  While I was there, I stuck around for a class taught by the talented Katie Burnett and created this version of her "Play Banner": 

Mine is a two-sided "Ayla Banner" that I think I'll use to hang in the front doorway when we celebrate her birthday this year...and maybe every year as a reminder of her baby-years as she grows up.  
Thanks for the kick-start Katie! I think maybe through this project I've overcome my distaste for butterflies...they are kind of fun to use. 


Ben makes world-famous fresh salsa.'s so good, and now all of you know about it and this is the world-wide-web.   There you have it.  World Famous.

Pico De Gallo Salsa:  

Mango-Cucumber Salsa: 


Ooh...better go get a glass of water, my mouth is burning from the hotness already!  Can't you just taste it?  

Sorry, I cannot divulge recipe secrets....we might need to start a salsa business one day and if we gave you our recipe, no one would need to buy it from us (sorry, from Ben, not me...I'm just the taste tester and food photographer)!

Have a great day!   


Gods in Alabama

Ben came home from a Tuesday lunch at Disciples Fellowship a few weeks ago with an author recommendation.  Apparently, one of the people at DF has a famous sister, fiction author, Joshilyn Jackson.  So I went online, reserved all three of her books from the library, and I've been hooked ever since. 
I started with Gods in Alabama which was her first novel.  From the very first paragraph, I was enthralled.  It's one of those books you don't want to put down, and you go back and re-read sentences because they're so cleverly written, you want to be sure you caught it all.  (I don't do that much, I'm more of a speed-reader and skimmer).  
The characters are wonderfully well developed and described through the eyes of a main character, Arlene (or Lena).  You get her perspective and see the world through her eyes as she goes back to face her quirky southern family and a secret that has kept her from returning home for 10 years.  
It's good stuff.  A definite reccomend.  Now I'm reading her next novel, Between, Georgia
Note: The language and content is a little rough, so I'd rate it "R".  
Also, if your book club would like to read one of her books, and you have access to a speaker phone, you can talk directly with the author about her book!  Very cool.

Daisy Apron

I made one of these child-sized aprons for a little girl's birthday present a few weeks ago (whose name also happens to be Ayla), and had bought a few extra aprons at half-off (Hobby Lobby, $3.00 regular price).  So this afternoon, Ayla and I painted another super-cute daisy apron for her.  Then instead of painting letters (which I did last time, and was pretty hard to do), I used Heidi Swapp iron-on fuzzy script letters.  It worked perfectly! Now she has a great little personalized apron for when she's helping us "cook".


7 Gypsies Project Video Demonstration


I didn’t get to teach the 7 Gypsies mini-book project at Scrap Etc. 08 as planned, so I thought I’d put together a kit on video so anyone who wanted to see how it was done, would have the chance to see it. Couple of things before you watch the video:


  • You'll have to watch it upside-down...sorry. I'd love a setup where I could do an over-the-shoulder view, but my attempts at it didn't go well.
  • I didn’t have the two small pieces of patterned paper that go on the inner two pages in my kit. Missed those somehow. But, if you have those, that’s what they’re for. Just ink ‘em and stick ‘em down!
  • The inner pages are made from cardstock that I had in my stash. These also were not included in the kits that were passed out at the Event. There are two pieces and they should each be cut to 8 ½” x 4 ½”.
  • There’s no sound on my video because I don’t feel right about adding music that I don’t have the publishing rights to. So, stick a CD in your computer and blast it if you need background music while you watch.
  • The video is shown in 4X speed…the entire project takes about 15 minutes to create, but you can watch it in fast-forward in only 4 minutes. Ahh the magic of technology.
  • I did not design the mini-book...a designer from 7Gypsies is the genious behind the design. So I can't take credit for any cute-ness! :)
Here are photos of the finished project:

More Scrap Etc. Pictures

I just bought four photos from Elizabeth Bailey (our official Scrap Etc. photographer) that totally define my weekend and show me working my booty off...although amazingly, I look pretty happy doing it!

Thursday I was assigned a registration table, so Paige and I registered all the last names starting with Q through Z. That's Paige in the background....and it looks like she's working harder than me at that moment. Throughout the day I got very good at saying the following:

"You are in group 'A' and this is your schedule for the weekend in the back of your lanyard. You're an early bird, so you'll be taking the Creative Cafe class on Friday night. This is your ticket. Be sure to bring it with you to the class. Your Q & A session with the teachers is tonight after our opening ceremonies, which begins at 6:00 in Tennessee C. Here is your bag and shirt. I think you're all set!"



Then Friday and Saturday, I could be found walking up and down the aisles of our classroom with Group A. I'm just glad to see that i'm smiling in this pictgure, and I don't look as exhausted as I probably was. Well, the photo was taken during our second class on Friday, so that was when I had more energy! We helped everyone make sure they had all the pieces for their kits, picked up trash, and answered questions during each class.


And then there was Saturday night at the SNL (Saturday Night Layouts) fiasco. This huddle photo was taken as I was frantically trying to gather together 15 people to pass out the individual pieces of the 7Gypsies mini-book project that I was supposed to teach. The smile on my face is because we had just made the decision that we would pass it out, and I would show the project, but I did not have to go through creating it step-by-step...there just wasn't time. Which was okay with me! I probably would have completely made a mess of the whole thing. Maybe I'll do a video for my blog about how to make it...and that will make up for not getting to do it in person for everyone.



Can i just say once again that I LOVE these ladies? Everyone worked so hard, and no matter how much we complained to each other about how tired we were and how hungry, and how dilirious, it never stopped us from going the extra mile to help one of the attendees with anything they needed. Three cheers for the volunteers!


All of Elizabeth's photos were fantastic, and I'm proud to say she was my roomie for the weekend and she definitely worked harder than I did, since she was helping in classes, taking photos, and working the register at the store. Whew!

The full gallery of Elizabeth's pictures, available for purchase ($1.99 per image) can be seen here: E Bailey Photography Scrap Etc. Gallery

Thanks Elizabeth!

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