Archive for June, 2008

Last summer my Grandma Florence moved out of her house into a mobile home on my parents’ property. She was 89 and lived on her farm which is pretty isolated and my parents were worried about her being by herself. I went and helped her pack some of her things up for the big move. She only moved about 2 miles but she’s a horrible pack rat (a trait I inherited), she never got rid of anything, and she had stuff packed into every nook and cranny. She had an old cabinet packed full of old photos and scrapbooks. She knows that I am really into old photos and preserving the past so she gave them all to me. I was thrilled until I saw her start stuffing a large diaper box with photos! Yikes! I took over and tried to gently pack these pictures into the box. Since then these have all been in my garage in my large scrap booking tote and I’ve yet to figure out what to do with them. I started just putting the loose pictures into general categories including one for mystery pictures.

Then I got to my grandma’s scrapbook.

It’s one of those with the construction paper pages and string binding with photos glued to both sides of the paper. There are sections of my dad, his brother and cousin and other family members.

The largest section is photos from when Grandma was in the military and overseas during WWII. These are just priceless. Photos of her fresh off the farm and completing basic training in Daytona Beach, FL. Then there are the photos from when she was stationed at Oxford, England and Paris, France. Unfortunately my Grandma is not interested in talking about the past or reminiscing, she’s actually much more interested in history and politics right now.

But I have this terrific scrapbook that she cared enough to put together years ago and it has most of the pictures labeled in some fashion.
I’ve tried a couple of different ways to remove photos and none really work. Whatever glue was used, really stays stuck. I didn’t try that stuff called “un-do” or whatever the name is. I was hesitant to put any liquid on one side of the paper where it could leak onto the photos on the back side.This is where inspiration struck and I thought why not just put the entire pages in new sheet protectors and make a new album? This was a really smart idea on my part, except the pages are much bigger than 12×12. I tried to trim down the pages but just couldn’t get them down smaller.

Then I remembered that Martha Stewart Crafts had these gigantic albums for sale at Michael’s. I didn’t realize how much bigger an 18×18 album was until I picked it up, these things are enormous! And expensive, $79. Ouch! But then I discovered I could use my 40% off coupon on the album which made the price much more reasonable. I picked up extra sheet protectors which had double pockets instead of one pocket for pages.

When I got the album home and ripped off the wrapping I found that the pages in the album were not sheet protector types like the ones I bought but were paper pages with a thin top page (like tissue paper). This threw me off because I wanted to be able to slide the pages right into the pockets. What I did instead was use the clear sheet protectors for the pages that had photos on both sides of the paper, then used photo corners to attach the original pages that had pics on only one side onto the paper pages of the new album. I kept the album in the same order that the original scrapbook was in and just mixed in the clear pages with the paper pages as I went. The orginal album is not 18×18, and the pages in the sleeves slide around a bit so I need to come up with a way to keep them from sliding out.

I still have many old photos that are loose and not identified, I’m thinking that I will add those to the remaining paper pages of the new album and try to have most of these old pictures together.

As for my regular scrap booking, I don’t see myself converting to this bigger size album I just don’t think I could store many of these giant albums or fill that big of space.


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old photo fixes

I can do some cool tricks in photoshop, but I also admit that there are still lots I haven’t quite figured out. One thing I’m always trying to improve my old photo fixing skills. I had this photo of my husband when he was about three years old. I love this photo because it’s an expression that I see on our little guy. In the father’s day album I made for my husband I wanted to include this picture placed next to a similar one of our little boy. Unfortunately, the photo was really scratched up and dark. Here’s the process that I went through, I think I could do more with the photo as I learn more but I think the new photo is still a big improvement.

First, open your photo in photoshop. I like to save this as a new photo in case I need to go back to the original image. Next I go to the filter menu and I follow these few steps: filter>noise>despeckle then filter>noise>dust and scratches. With the dust and scratches option you have a couple of things you can adjust, with the preview box checked you can see how changing the radius or threshold values affect the photo. Once done you click ok. Then go back to the filter menu: filter>noise>reduce noise. Once you have the photo looking the way you want you can filter>sharpen.

The final step is to lighten up the photo. I’ve found that if I just lighten the photo it just washes out the photo. I found a trick using layers from the Pioneer Woman’s blog. First duplicate the photo twice. You can do this by going to the layer>duplicate or by right mouse clicking on the photo in your layers palette. Repeat the process twice. Starting with the very top photo in the layers palette click on normal and scroll down and select soft light. Repeat this process for the 2nd photo down selecting screen. Once you have these selected it’s time to play with the opacity of the new layers. This is a trial and error process, playing with the opacity until you have the image you want.

Final step to save as a jpg, go file>save as> jpg.
Again, I’m no expert and I still am learning, but I was pretty satisfied with the results.

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For Father’s Day I decided to make a mini album of my favorite pics of my hubby with the kiddies. I had this great red album from Stampin Up! that seemed just right.
This is my 3rd 6×6 album I’ve made. First I really love the size, so easy so quick. And then I love how nice they look when they are on a shelf together. You have to know I love mini books, love coming up with new ways to make and bind. But the one thing I sometimes wish is the ability to expand a book with out lots of hassel. Which is why I love using these ring albums. I’ve done books for each of our little family before, but I could see making one of these for each of us as a favorite shots album that could be expanded.

daddy album

When ever I make a mini book or album I come up with the theme and gather the photos around the theme. Next I decide what paper I want to use or if I want to just do card stock. Then I put the pics in order I want them to appear. This can be chronological or in the order of the story I want to tell. Finally I come up with a basic plan. Lately I’ve really been into using my 4×6 photos without cropping. My basic formula is a simple blocking idea. Here’s my rough sketch.

Nothing real fancy but a very clean design that I seem to use different variations on. It’s also real easy to flip the sketch for a 6×4 photo. I’ve seen more intricate, neater sketches but when I’m making an album or mini book it makes the whole process go much faster when I use this basic sketch. The other thing I like about this sketch is that you can switch out the flower for other embellies or a cluster of flowers, die cuts, or punches.


Something else I’ve started to do is make the photos pockets for journalling tags. I like to write a lot, but I don’t always like to see all of the writing on the page. When making a photo pocket I don’t put adhesive on the top of the photo, then I just slide my tag behind the pic. Again, super easy and quick.

A sidebar, I love to create all kinds of stuff. I love to play with paper and find new ways to do things. However, with two year old twins I have to be smart about my time which is why I come up with quick sketches that I can use over and over again. The other time saving tip I’ve really fell in love with is making kits out of my stuff. You can read that post here.

And now, I’m off to the gym with the kiddies to sweat off some pounds.

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back sort of.

Okay, so I haven’t updated in about two months. Almost to the day. Yikes. So here’s where things stand: got through hubby’s hip surgery it went really well. He’s back at work, doing physical therapy and getting stronger every day. The twins are busy. Most of the times I just laugh at their antics and pinch myself for being so incredibly blessed. But I am human and some days I just want to run away and join the circus!


My little guy Jack is really resourceful and clever. Way too much! If he sees how to do something once, he’s got it. He can open the cabinet latches in the kitchen, unlock the front door, climb up on my piano and any thing else, plus he’s really good at turning anything into a step stool. Both kids like to get their own drinks of water from the dispenser on the fridge. They think it’s way cool to get their own drinks. However, I end up with water spread all over the floors. I try to be patient and encourage them to “explore” their world and practice being self-sufficient but after a while I get tired of cleaning up the water and lock the dispenser. 


My girl, Clara, is all girl and all miss independent. She is real particular about the clothes I pick out for her and insists on wearing certain shoes regardless of how they don’t match the outfit! Basically if I choose something frilly and girly it’s usually a sure bet. I really thought I had a while before this became an issue. It is amazing to me how two little people could be born on the same day, raised side by side, playing with the same things, and be so different from each other. There is no doubt who’s  the boy and the girl.


Aren’t they just the cutest things you’ve ever seen? They’ve discovered juice boxes and back packs, very cool stuff for two year olds.
I have been doing some crafting. I just haven’t been as ambitious about taking pics and uploading. But I will be updating those posts soon!


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