Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If I had given birth to spring itself....

If I had a little boy, and his name was "Spring", this morning I would have bent down, and whispered in his ear, "Wake up little Spring, time to rise and shine."

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And he would have looked up and rubbed his sleepy eyes, then ask for another 5 minutes of sleep, and I probably would have caved and given it to him.

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If I would have had a teenage boy named "Spring", I would have bumped his bed with my knee as I said "Wakeup Tanman Spring, time to get up, it's NOON!"

He would ask for 5 more minutes, and I would have said, "If you wanna eat, get UP." Then the moon and stars would align, and Spring would give me the stink eye and scuffle his feet around the house for the next 45 minutes.

Spring has been much more like Tanner a teenager, than a sweet dreary eyed little 5 year old. But I think it's finally here, and we are happy as a bunny (a really cold bunny, but a bunny nonetheless).

Yesterday, I did something that I normally do all spring/summer/fall. I went out early-ish in my pajamas, just to walk around the yard and see what new things are popping up, and are my trees still alive?, and where's the signs of spring.

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My pitiful little flower bed has been ravaged by not only winter, but voles (that's another post for another day), and desperately needed some dead cleared out of it. So I had an impromptu gardending moment, which resulted in some dirty nails:

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Say eww all you want, I was happy with this little sign of spring, that I can sometimes spend a little time outside now, digging in the dirt, pretending like I know things about plants besides "that purple one" and "it has leaves".

So while digging around in the dirt, pretending like I knew something about anything, I stumbled across a little fellow. Remember this guy? Well back in January, the only place available that had any sort of "coverage" was my old dead salvia. He tumbled back into the crevasse between dead leaf #4 and dead branch #96.

Yesterday, I'm wacking away at it, because I see 3 green leaves down there. What pops out from below?

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I secretly want to believe it's the same guy I saved 2 months ago.

And I bent down and whispered in his ear "Wake up little callerpitter, time to rise and shine."

He looked up and rubbed his sleepy eyes, then ask for another 5 minutes of sleep, and I caved and given it to him.

This fine 75 degree morning?
He's gone.

I'm pretending like he's out on an adventure, practicing his butterfly maneuvers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That just happened!

Well, if you've been here at all before, you now see that there's some shifting around.
*somethings just not the right*

I'm just updating the site, and I'm not done. I've been messing with this for over a year now of what I wanted to do, and finally just decided to do SOMETHING as I was not happy.

The biggest change you'll see right now, is that you won't see scrapbook layouts on this blog anymore. I am still creating layouts, I've just decided to put them on a different site from here (which looks a lot like this one!). You can find them at any time, by clicking "scrapbooking" link at the top. Also, you can see the latest layout by looking at the upper right bar, so you don't have to continously look to see if there's anything new there.

You'll see more changes as I try to work out the bugs here, I'm positive there's a faster and easier way of doing this, sadly those two words rarely go with the word "cheaper" and well, dangit, I'm cheap.

Regardless, I have more exciting stuff coming soon and can't wait to share!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I have created an (art) monster

Last Thursday night, I asked Gene if he wanted to go on a date weekend. Once in a great while, we blow out of town and go see something within a days drive.

It's cool being centrally located to Kansas City, Omaha, Lincoln and Des Moines, however, it get's boring after a while being centrally located to Kansas City, Omaha, Lincoln and Des Moines. We need to live closer to something new.

Nevertheless, I hadn't been to Des Moines in years, and Gene doesn't think he's ever been there, so we decided to go to the big Party Metropolis DM for a couple days. For the record, I did not take one single photo, despite dragging along every piece of equipment I had. I didn't even open the bag. I guess I saw nothing that was truly worth of rememberance. That and the fact that I was crocheting in the car the whole way.

Being the party animals that we are, we did a lot. We ate dinner out, scoped out Archivers (he loves me), OD'd on Culvers sundaes - twice, and then we hit a couple of the biggest antique stores in town.

We found a few cool things at the first stop, the Brass Armadillo. BTW, if you visit one, be prepared to do a lot of walking. Note to self: Buy new tennis shoes, flip flops are not for antiquing.

The second day, we went to another mall which was highly deceiving from the outside, a little underwhelming.... The Majestic Lion. However, it claimed to have over 35,000 square feet of antiques so we thought we'd at least give it a shot, consider we were 2.5 hours from home anyway.

It was a different sort of place, it had quite a bit of furniture in it, which normally I don't care about, but this place had huge baroque beds, and dressers, hand carved with marble tops and highly detailed pulls. Stuff you only see in movies.

In fact, one bed and dresser set was in a movie with Elizabeth Taylor in 1957. "Raintree County" also starring Montgomery Clift.

It was only $93,000.

So by the time I've seen my 27th hand carved bed over $10k, I start skimming that part. I'm only interested from a historical aspect, and have to pretend at some point I'm just in a museum. Which in a way, Gene was too.

Museum stuff you can buy.

Gene called me back to where he was looking and I immediately knew he'd found something "really good". Ever since he bought Uncle Guido, he's caught the bug for artwork. He'll look and touch every single painting, etching, sketch, watercolor, and even some scuplture in every single store.

99.5% of the time, they are duds. Or they are incredibly rare pieces of art that we are clueless about. I imagine we've stepped over million dollar paintings that we thought looked like hotel art. lol.

But not on Sunday. He showed me this painting, and I knew instantly that it was something special. Something not created by a struggling art student. This person had talent, and even if they were a nobody, the painting was so well done I didn't care, I was willing to take a chance.

So about 3 minutes looking on the net on the cell phone, and we decided to buy this:

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The artist is "N. Bingham" and from what I can tell, fairly prolific. I did a bunch of research when I got home and found out that he was born in 1938, which in theory, he could still be alive but I don't have any proof of that yet.

He worked sometimes from photographs, and also did reproductions of other works (I don't know if this is a repro or not, I don't recognize it if it is). We also found out that his work sells for considerably more than the price tag in the store. Someone, didn't bother to google!

Oh, and we got it on an anniversary sale, 14% off.
Suh-weet!

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N. Bingham is also sometimes credited as N. Henry Bingham, but I've not seen his signature as such yet, so I do not know where this information is coming from.

This piece is untitled, and the back has 2 numbers written on it. It looks as tho it might have been sold in an art auction once before. it also has what I believe is the original frame which in it's own right is a beautiful piece of art.



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I might cave and join an art site to see if I can find any other information out about the artist.... my investigative personality gets the best of me!



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In the meantime, Gene is excited, and I imagine that this will only fuel that flame he has for artwork.


I'm gonna need a bigger house.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What it's like to live in Missouri

This post could also be titled "How Lana Thinks" as spending time with no one to talk to except for Mack and Jingles (my cats) on a regular basis, I tend to have conversations with thine self.

Cuz I'm cRaZy like that.
Shuddup in the cheap seats.



Observation #1:

I'm hell bent on flip flops. I reject the notion that it's 50 degrees out.

Didn't happen.
It's warm.
End of discussion.



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Observation #2:

If you want to visit me, you're going to have to run the gauntlet. You see, there must not be a lot of tax dollars alloted to us hicks that live on rural gravel roads here in MO. We're kinda left to fend for ourselves.

I have titled this section of road "The Isle of Wonderment and Joy"...

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... Cuz I wonder "Wth?" and there's no Joy in Muddville.

This is the road I live on. I've been informed that we have sink holes here, which of course makes me think of the sink holes in California that suck in multi-million dollar homes. (Or homes that used to be multi-million dollar interest only homes), not some lil' ol' gravel road on the outskirts of Missouri.

We handle this like most rural folk do. We drive around it and in the process create an island, AND a wider road. Can I get voted off this island please? It goes really well with Lake Wannahockaloogey in my driveway.

I went to town and when I came back, I saw that someone had come through and kinda graded it. Last year they dumped gravel on it the size of softballs - then that's it. Didn't flatten the pile out or anything.

FUN.
It was quite an adventure. It was off roading of sorts.

That's the great thing about having farmers with blades as neighbors. Someone will get tired of it and fix it eventually. Or pitch a fit and call the county.

Oh wait, that's my husband.


Observation #3:

I decided that I needed things. Living in rural MO, when you "need a thing or 12" you go to the wallsmart.

So I go to the wallsmart and head off toward the trash cans. In the process I notice that faux leather capri leggings are on clearance for $3.00 and make an note to myself that "there's a reason for that." and "Who'd wear that kinda crap anyway?"

Then exactly 15 seconds later I see a woman with long gray hair, pumps and a purple sequined blouse at 2:30 in the afternoon, obviously ready to Par-tay.

Touche wallsmart. Touche. I kinda wanted to tell her I found the best pants for that shirt on clearance.

Then exactly 3 minutes later, and I'm loading my 2 new trashcans into the cart, a guy comes over and asks me to sell him a fishing license. I said kindly that I'd love to, but I don't work here.
Touche wallsmart. Touche.

Point well taken. I kinda wanted to go find purple sequin lady and ask her if she wanted to go shopping.


Observation #4:

And speaking of trash cans, is buying a trash can the equivalent of having a 3rd eyeball? You'd think I did by the observations I got at the wallsmart. After all, if you live in Mo and need a ginormous trash can, the place you go will probably be the big Dubya. Don't act surprised... it's not like I stole them.

Maybe people aren't used to putting their trash into a holding recepticle?
(must investigate this further)


Observation #5:

As I was going home, I was sitting at a stoplight at a "Major Intersection". I have to put it in quotes as it's not all that major, it's just the biggest. It also happens to intersect hence "Major Intersection".

Anyway, an ambulance is coming, and we're stuck at the red and can't move. A truck behind me pulls over to the side, but blocks the turn lane. The light turns green and everyone just sits there, waiting... except the ambulance is not going straight, he's trying to go right and well, we're stuck. I finally had to pull out my Kansas City card and start blaring the horn to the guy in front of me to move so we could get out of his way.

I'm not complaining.
Really (I know you find that shocking).

I was just thinking about how some places don't pull over for ambulances. Did you know we do that here in MO? Yeah. It's a safety thing, and respect. Even if they're coming from the opposite direction.

We pull over and get out of their way. We also sometimes say a little prayer for whomever is on the receiving end of that emergency.

Guess what. We pull over for funerals too. It's a respect thing. Even if they coming from the opposite direction. We pull over and get out of their way. We also sometimes say a little prayer for whomever is on the receiving end of that hearse.


So see, we're not all mean and snarky.
Just some of us.
That are hungry and can't fit into tiny faux leather capri leggings.

Wanna move to Mo yet?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wouldn't it be cool if it were this easy?

Getting difficult people to go away, in real life.

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I'm thinking of upgrading to a smart phone. I think it would be really useful for me to be able to access my email from anywhere. Yeah, I'm just that crazy.

I would need to go to a blackberry, any suggestions on which one? I don't text a lot, just would want to be able to surf and get my messages.

If I ask you something, will you be honest with me?

am I turning into a foodie?


Reading Pioneer Woman, and getting bored has started me doing some odd things:

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Carmelizing onions on a semi regular basis. Neither of us like raw onions.





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Buying unusual ingredients I've never had before, just because they look good.

Note: Isn't the word "prosciutto" a cool word to say.... pruh-shoot-Oh. Practice, then say it with an italian accent. Makes you sound all snooty pooty doesn't it?





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Determining that shredded cheese should never come in a bag. It should be grated by hand. Yep, there's a huge difference.

And while I'm on cheese, spending 15 min in the cheese section looking at all the exotic cheese, then deciding that $16/pound is a "good deal".





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Making things from scratch, that I can buy in a bag for 75 cents. (this is homemade pizza crust)





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Thinking that slathering with olive oil, and immense quantities of cheese is a "good thing".





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Photographing everything cool you eat.

So the question is, does this make me a foodie?
I'm not sure if being a foodie is a good or bad thing.

I'm not even going to ask if this pizza makes my butt look big.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life by Bullet Points

  • Our lives by bullet points today.

    First off, why do people have to be such a stick in the mud sometimes? Let's all hitch up our panties, and deal with the world.... fake a smile sometimes. Thank you, I feel better now. LOL

  • Tanner had Thursday and Friday off of school because the girls basketball team went to state. After one "I'm bored", I sent him out to clear out the trash pile and he did so happily.

    Yes, I said "happily". You see, we have a spot in our yard, where a garage used to be (insert heavy sigh) but was lost to a fire years before we bought this place. Since we moved here, we've thrown some construction waste there, which started getting mixed (shingles, plumbing and wood). We decided this is where we want to put the chicken coop, so it needs cleaned off.

    Tanner is excited about the chickens, so he "happily" spent most of his day sorting out the cement pad. Wood will be burnt in a huge bon fire (bring your marshmallows!) and the rest will go to the dump. I never realized how much wood was there!

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    Yes, this is my son using an old bathtub for a "wagon". Can you hear the banjo music? LOL

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    This is the after... it was much worse, can you imagine. I HATE this thing. I can't wait for it all to be gone!

    Yee Haw. (more banjo music)

  • So that was Thursday and all was well. Short sleeves and no jackets. Life was good! Just ask Jingles:

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Happy as a clam. On a beach. Which actually doesn't sound like a clam would be happy on a beach. So happy as a sea lion, on a beach.


Then this happened the NEXT DAY:


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Missouri, I am SO OVER YOU. Like, for reals.
I want to break up.

That sucked so badly! Just as things were starting to dry up, bam. However, I do think that the road crew guys were smarter than I thought. They did nothing at all (we had huge drifts, as usual) and in 2 days, they were pretty much gone. Not a dime to the county.



  • Sunday was spent inside, baking these cookies:

    Which they were pretty good considering I don't really like chocolate chip cookies. I really don't even like chocolate that much. (Please ladies, don't revoke my girl card!!!)

    Gene requested some with no chocolate chips, and just pecans. (puh-cons. Not Pee-cans). I thought he was a nut job and did plenty of eyerolling to back that up. In the end, I liked them better than the chocolate chip ones (see: chocolate reference)


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  • Saturday we went shopping. Made the antique loop and found something not antique, yet cool anyway. I have been needing a new coffee table for quite some time. We found a coffee table that looks like a boat, with a glass top. Got a sweet deal on it. Now I just have to find a place for the old one. (Sister: please CALL ME BACK before I donate it)

  • Chickens are still on the horizon. I don't think Gene is all that excited about the prospect. Tanner and I *do not care*. We also don't require his help (but wouldn't turn it down duh). He finally accepted his future, and went to look at chicks at chick days Saturday.

    He'll change his tune once he gets tons of free eggs and the opportunity to have fresh chicken for dinner. Trust me on this one.

  • Sorry I'm so unbearably boring. If I robbed a bank or picked up dancing for a living, I'd be more exciting, no?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Scrapbook Page - Good Eats

Can't have a vacation album, without pages about food!!


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Paper: Diecuts with a view - market stack
Letters: Thickers by American Crafts (my "o" looks bad. I had to make it out of a d. LOL)
Silverware: Cricut "from the kitchen" cartridge
Chipboard swirls and journal block: basic grey

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome to Mooooosouri!

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{This is how we do "Roads" in MO. Why go through it, when you can go around it?}

Remember back in January, when I said I was going to get out and "do stuff" a little more, go out and explore and photograph my experience.

That's been kind of hard with feet of snow on the ground.

However the other day, it was nice, and I wanted to explore. I ended up going some backroads near where I live, that I had never been on before.


In the process, I decided to take some cow pics. I have some sort of fascination with cows, and I think they are fascinated with me too. Or annoyed.

I can't tell for sure.

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{Baby Calves everywhere!}


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The last couple photos were actually taken in December, although after today and another foot of snow, I could have just told you I took them this morning, you know, the first day of spring!

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I've been thinking I'd love to do a project called "The Lives of Cows" and follow a herd of cows from calving to delivery in the fall to slaughter (no I wouldn't photograph that!)

Now if I could just find a farmer that would let me play along without thinking I'm crazy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Scrapbook Page - SDC Details

A layout with 12 full photos! I wanted something simple and easy for all the detail shots I took. (my mother thinks I'm crazy for taking leaf pictures. Poo on her!)


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Paper: My minds Eye
Labels: Cricut
Brads, Zig Writer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scrapbook Page - Marshal Law

Can't go to Silver Dollar City without having your photo taken in the jail. I wonder how many of these my mom has?


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Yes, I spelled Marshal wrong. I caught it the instant I did it! I blame it on my brother. He lives in a town named Marshall! Oops.

I'll have to fix it later or go insane.



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Paper: No idea! I forgot to write it down. LOL Paper pizzaz? I've had it for a while now.
Border paper: Diecuts with a view
Border punch: martha stewart crafts
Journal block and tag: Diecuts with a view
Chipboard flowers: Cheapies from the Michael's $1.00 bin
Ribbon, ink and EK success zig pen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tips for Momtographers - Free Lensing

I heard about this cool technique on one of my photography groups today, and just had to give it a shot. It's called "Free Lensing", and on the "Tips for Momtography" scale, this is going to be one of those things that you're only going to be able to do with a detachable lens. Sorry :(

Essentially, when a camera lense is attached to the body, the focal plane is straight ahead perpendicular to the camera. So if something is close, middle, and far away, and you focus on the middle item, the close and far away items will most likely be in some degree of out of focus.

Got that part?

Well, with free lensing (and tilt shift lenses) the focal plane shifts. Imagine taking a photo of a brick wall standing straight in front of it.. With a regular camera, the whole wall will be in focus, but with free lensing, either the left, right, top, bottom or middle can be in focus while the rest is out of focus.

If you want a more detailed and technical explaination (ie: more understandable) read here.


So I popped out my lens (literally) and decided to give it a shot on the only willing subjects available:

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Pink rooster and Mr. Bear!!
(told you that you'd see the rooster again)

As you can see in the before, the rooster is sharp, and the bear is slightly out of focus. Just as expected.


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But with the lens detached and tilted slightly (and I mean literally like a millimeter), you get the cool tilt shift effect.



I also wanted to give it a good go outside and thought the "cool alley" might look interesting on a whole new focal plane.

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I've also noticed that when I detach the lens, it throws the white balance off a bit, but I liked the reddish tones in the right photo so I left it.

I really think the detached image is much more interesting and artistic. A win, considering I saved around a grand not buying a tilt shift.

Go me.

If you'd like to try this, you can read more at the link provided above, which will tell you what to do in each brand of camera. You can also see examples of other (and better) work in a free lensing flickr group.

If you try, share your links!

Scrapbook Page - Playtime

Top o' the mornin' to ya laddy...

Happy St. Paddy's Day!
Now come're so I can pinch ya.


A new scrapbook page for you!
When we were in Silver Dollar City, we stopped and let Tayen (my niece) play with the old pump there. When we were kids, this was a major source of entertainment. Times have changed a bit eh?



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I used the tutorial from this blog to make the loops around the circle. Thanks Renee!



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I loved this paper, but it had a beaver on it. I said to Amber, "how can I make this beaver paper work?" Then it hit me, Tayen has a binky in the pic, so I'll put a binking on the beaver. LOL.
It was kinda hard to do! I need to add a dot of diamond glaze to make sure the ring stays on.


Paper: Diecuts with a View - I think it's called the recycled stack? Heck I can't remember, it's the one with all the owls, beavers, bears, etc.
Large Circle Quote: (old stock) from Bazzill
Journal block: Making Memories
Loopy punch: Martha Stewart Crafts
Flowers: Prima
Sparkly Brads: Paper Studio (hobby lobby)

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