Hi!! Yes, I'm alive! Barely it feels, but hey! Heh.
So, what have I been up to? (about 5'5 if I leave my platform sneaks on.. but seriously..)
I came home from the hospital, stopped by the store on the way home to pick up some diapers for my new son and a boppy pillow so I could feed him. When I got home, my dear brother (bless his heart, no really, bless it, cause I'm gonna kill'm one day!! ;) ) had managed to keep the girls alive, but the house looked half dead. So, (mind you, I'm just coming home from the hospital) I make the girls dinner, empty the dishwasher (that I had filled up the day before I went into the hospital) fill it back up, start the load of dishes, go upstairs, start a load of laundry and unpack a box, all while my husband was finding the portable crib for the baby and then set it up in our room after clearing out some of the boxes.
I did all of that, the DAY I came home from the hospital. The next day, I was making the girls all sorts of meals, did two loads of dishes, three loads of laundry, and swept and mopped the floor.
Day after that, I did two more loads of laundry, and got another box unpacked.. are you sensing a trend here? I was freakin' SUPER MOM!!!
Then.. the fourth day.. I couldn't move. .... wth? I was exhausted (you'll note the third day I didn't do as much as I had been..) and moving my arms hurt this muscle in my underarms. Weird, so I go to the doctor cause I realize that muscle isn't a muscle, but a HUGE bruise like feeling. Turns out I had a breast infection. Oi! He puts me on anti-biotics tells me I'll be exhausted. Great.
So I get through most of that, the pain eases, I'm sitting around more than ever.. and trying to just stay awake and deal with the three kids when my poor husband has to go to work. (He's been AMAZING with his support and help..)
I start to feel better.. start trying to get back into being super mom cause man, that felt SO good.. and uh.. I get REALLY worn out again.. and I'm talking like I feel drugged type of tired and my stitches are bothering me. Then I start losing a lot of blood. BACK to the doctors. Turns out I had an infection in my uterus lining!! Ugh! More antibiotics, more "you need to rest"'s with three children and your husband having deadlines at work type thing. Riiiight.
As if all this wasn't enough, Jace had an infection possibility on his belly button that they put silver nitrate to help with, Bell and Haeley have mono (we possibly too, but don't know for sure, and I really hope not for Jace's sake) my husband came down with the flu and I have seen the doctor more than I have that afforementioned husband!!
We literally have been to the doctors over 11 times between us all in the past three weeks. Thank God for health insurance!!
So that's pretty much where I stand right now. Two kiddos with mono, (Friday was when we found that out) a husband and brother who are out of town, and a cranky baby with bad gas.
Now.. on the GOOD hand.. emotionally wise I'm doing okay. :)
I start filling out a few CT calls from some designers that I really like.. got turned down for all of them of course, except for Amanda Heimann who took pity on me, and I'll be a guest CT for a month for her (YAY!) in August so I'm way excited about that, and then I got accepted as a Challenge Host at PinkPoodle Studios.
On top of all that, my husband had been very carefully setting aside some money for ME! Just for me so I could scrap!! How very sweet is that?!?! So he helped me enter into the Stand Up and Scrap, contest (there's No way I'll win, but I Looove the challenge and the push to be better!!) and then I got to purchase a few goodies as well.
Some of the things I picked up were these flower bling things I've been drooling over for a bit from Christine Smith in her online store called Scrapquick.com.
Then I got some masks and borders from her blog here:
They're grungy and distressed! You guys know I have a weakness for that! She's got some inked and sanded overlays and then some inked rectangles I've been eyeing as well as some really cool color your own flowers and then this alpha, and last but not least on my drool list: color your own twill!!! How freaking cool is this?!
(this is what I have to do while the boys are out.. go window shopping. Hee.
I'll be posting some layouts soon with those. :) I'll have to show you guys the layouts from the contest afterwards since we're all anonymous right now.
Speaking of window shopping, my Girl Bren is back in business over at Scrapbookgraphics.com.
I'm completely in love with her In Dreams kit:
and Blissful kit:
And last and definitely NOT least: Check this out!
My dearest Maryse has that gorgeous kit that can be found here!
Other than being sick, the family is doing pretty well. Out of three weeks of school, Haeley's only gone like a week and a half thanks to being so sick. They're going to test her again, apparently the California school said she could go to regular classes, but she can't. Well, she -can- just can't go fully, she still needs intervention and speech therapy and whatnot. Bleh.
Bell's being a helpful little mama with Jace(Haeley's helpful too with BOTH kids, don't get me wrong) but Bell's tried picking him up to comfort him and gives him his pacifier when he's upset, and covers him up (also steals his blankets, but hey..) and has even tried to help me change him!! (Don't worry, that layout is coming REAL quick.)
My husband and brother are supportive as always, I'm SO lucky. Totally appreciate you guys as well and all the wonderful comments and support, you guys rock hardcore!!
And, for getting through all this, if you'd like a freebie (keep in mind I'm STILL not a designer, but for my Pink Poodle Studios challenge, I had to do something..) then you can pick it up here.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Hi!! Yes, I'm alive! Barely it feels, but hey! Heh.
Friday, September 7, 2007
For those that didn't get the mail, and those that I don't know are reading, I give to you part of the reason for my absence.
August 31st, 2007 at 12:10, weighing in at 7lbs, 6 oz, and 21 inches long, I got to hold my son. :)
More later, not doing so well.
Hugs! Thank you for all the support lately and those that listened to me whine about my pregnancy!! :D
*Credits: -Sharon K - Unadorned
Posted by Serena at 9:04 PM
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
((If Ruby Ever doubted my love for her, this novel should seal the deal. ;) ))
(click on images for bigger!)
Okay! Here's the first thing you'll need:
Let us begin our tutorial for how to use templates in the wonderful Paint Shop Pro!
1. The template (that's very important! ;) )
2. These two tools will be vitally important for ease in your quick pages.
3. Layers. For those of you who aren't already in love with these. Learn them, love them, live them. They are the most important thing you'll ever use. And pet them often, they get lonely.
Before we get started, allow me to say this. I'm writing this tutorial as if you guys know your way around, feel free to ask ANY questions you want, or if you have any thing you need clarification on, speak up! There are NO stupid questions at all, EVER! We all begin somewhere!!
Also, I'm doing this tutorial in PSP10, this will equate to earlier versions of PSP as well. :)
Okay, so there's two types of templates I've seen thus far, keep in mind I've only been digiscrapping since November of last year so I could be wrong. Anyway, the two types I've seen are the layered (OMG, I love these, they make life SO much easier..) and the flat png's or jpgs.
(As an aside for anyone who doesn't know, the difference between JPG's and PNG's is phenominal. JPG's are "smaller" good for posting to galleries and for small pictures. They work by eliminating known limitations of the human eye so you won't really notice the loss which makes the format excellent for compression. PNG's are bigger because they hold more color (millions as opposed to the 24-bit of JPG). You can always compress png's later, you can't decompress the JPG's, once you lose the color, you lose them!)
The layered, which is what the first picture is, is what we're working on first. By now you should have selected the pictures you want, and the kit you're going to use.
The first thing I like to do is the background. (I have to do mine 1650 pixels by 1275 pixels so that I can print them out 8 x 11 so I adjusted my template and resized the elements accordingly) This background is by Maryse Vincent from her Cherry Fields kit called Background 4. :)
Here in this picture I've done a few things..
1. The four arrows (called the "Move" tool) was selected to make my life easier. :) I then went to the template and clicked on the portion I wanted. This way you can click on the frame, or one of the photo mats to select which layer you want to work on. Because I started with the background, I clicked on the template which brought me to "Raster 1" of the layers. You can see that in the layers section.
2. Here we are at Raster 1! That will be selected right now and highlighted (in the picture the other layer is highlighted because I've already went past this stage.) Make sure that the layer that is highlighted is the one you want to use, very important!
3. With the proper layer highlighted, go to Edit and then Paste as New Layer (or Control L for those that are short key obsessive like I am! ;) )
There are two ways to do this as well.
A. With the "Pick" tool now selected, you can "resize" easily the portion your
working on. This comes in very handy in later times when you're working
with photographs and are trying to get them into those little black boxes. :)
B. It's Very important that it says Scale up here or you'll end up with a funny
looking piece of material!
C. Grab by one of the corners, and move down making sure that the top and side
lines both go down so you have a perfect resize and you're not making it
longer or wider which skews your image.
4. Okay, now you don't have to rename your layers, but I do for easy reference. Otherwise it'll have a default name like Raster Eleventy Million. (yes, I have TONS of layers in my layouts because I'm obsessed with them for easy 'editing'.)
5. Next is optional. I then go to Layers and Merge and then Merge Down. That way my new background is merged with the item I'm replacing. This helps keeps the layers down to under a hundred. (okay okay, so I'm exaggerating again, it DOES keep the layer count low though.)
Okay, time for some photos!
1. Pick ze photo!
2. I then pick my lovely Move tool. (yes, I pet him quite often too since I abuse him!)
3. I want this first photo block to hold this picture so I click on it.
4. Using the scroll bar, I look to see where that layer is.
5. There it is!!
6. Then, the other magical tool! The magic wand!! (you'll learn to love him too if you're not already acquainted with him, he's SO helpful) That's coming up next, just wanted to show you where it's located.
Okay, this is where I probably do things Way more complicated than they need to be, but I prefer it this way and I'll explain in a moment.
I click on my picture I'm going to use and it comes up on top.. I then copy it and "cntrl L" or paste it as a new layer above my photoblock I've selected.
Then I head back and pick my "Pick" tool. Now, here I've lowered the opacity to show you what I'm doing so you can see the photoblock that we're 'resizing' to. (you can do this by using the wand, selecting the photoblock and then taking your picture and "pasting it into selection or control E" but that Seriously skews the picture and makes it look all wrong to me..)
You'll notice I've made the template page "bigger" so I can find the edges with the pick tool. Then I (making sure it says scale) squish it down so that the sides fit into the photoblock. I'll then move it so that the picture is centered where I want it to be.
There, now she's exactly where I want her and I like how she's framed.
1. Now, I switch back to the photo block layer (this is why it's always a good idea to paste as a new layer atop of that which you want to work on. It's always right under what you're using.
2. Wand selected, I then reclick on the photo block again, you'll notice the "marching ants" now, that means that all the "black" has been selected and we're ready to clip our photo.
3. Select Selections, and then Invert. This makes the marching ants go to the rest of the canvas that is NOT the photoblock.
4. Reselect the photo layer. This is where it's easy!
A. The photo layer!
B. Hit Delete on your keyboard! The rest of the photo is gone! Isn't that nifty?
I've upped the opacity again so you can see the finished product.
C. Go to Selections again and Select None (or control D!) the marching ants
will have dissapeared. It's important to do this.
Now, rinse, lather, repeat. For the other photos, do the same thing we just did. Select the photoblock, new layer your photo, resize it to fit the new block, reselect the block layer, magic wand it, invert selection, go back to photo layer, delete, deselect!
Okay, by now you should have all your pictures done and it's time to finish the layers and embellish!
We're almost done, don't despair!
Pictures done, it's time to go on to the frame.
I left the top three alone with the polaroid looking frame cause I really like how that looked. You can do another paper on it instead, but for now I'm going to move on to the four strips on the big picture.
Do this the same way you did the pictures. Wand select the strips, paste the paper you want, invert, delete, next! You'll find yourself clicking quickly through it in no time or finding your own short cuts that you prefer. :)
The rest is easy, embellish and go! And here's my template beauty!
Special thanks to Ruby for the template and Maryse for the kit!
For the flat png type templates, use the magic wand to select the areas that you want to change and do the same thing pretty much. Move things around, resize appropriately, delete the excess and there you have it! Just takes longer, more tweaking, less room to mess up because you'd have to undo a whole lot if you decide you want a different paper on one of the items instead of what you started with. Or you could just reselect, but the magic wand doesn't work as well then. I really dislike flat templates, but that's just me. :)
Posted by Serena at 2:09 PM
So! Got your pepsi/cappucino/coffee and a nice warm seat? Cause if you're psychotic enough to read my ramblings, I intend on writing a nice size entry! (M, no gasping you psycho woman!! ;) )
Firstly.. M.. .... you are SUCH a smart aleic. :P Okay, I'm sticking my tongue out at you. Hmph. hehe. Oh, while I have your attention.. I sent you the recipie babe, did you ever get it? Pleeeease tell me you did cause I had to write it like three times and it was loooong. If not, let me know and I'll resend! (for a bribe of chocolate and some scotch tape.) ((no, I have No idea what the scotch tape is for, it just sounded good.))
Secondly.. OMGosh!! Pillowgirl was at my blog!!! ::faints:: hehe. I went to a chat the other night, email came, I had some free moments and needed some me time, so I hopped on board. The chat was MADNESS everyone was wanting to talk and not listen to the moderators, but my friend Sigrid was there and I saw the name Pillowgirl and squealed like a fangirl. She probably thought I was a pyscho. Heee.. (little does she know I'm right.) So yeah.. I keep bugging the poor woman.
And!! I have a stalker!!!!! ::dances a lot!!!:: Hi Liza!!!! Welcome to my madness! I promise I'm not all doom and gloom, this just happens to be an ... interesting period in my life. (M.. I hear you snickering again over there... )
The last three days have been just as "interesting". I 'crashed' hard and was severely depressed for the last two days and then I feel chipper and eager to get the kids taken care of. Made dinner of roast with all the trimmings, and got some laundry and cleaning done.
Got my tutorial done I was doing for Ruby through all the psychoticness of the last two days. Went on a 6 hour car trip with my husband yesterday (fuuuun with two kids and a cranky pregnant woman, lemme tell you.) been helping out my brother's room mate with his car troubles which means lots of shuttling back and forth, and dealing with my family.
I'm usually a very private person, but I need some honest help here, and from someone other than my best friend and my husband and brother.
My mother.. oi. I don't know where to start. I have tried and tried and tried to make it work. I WANT my mother in my life. I NEED that mother/daughter bond. I don't need a parental mother anymore so much as a friend mother you know? I always here about things here and there with my friends about how great their mother is, or how they did this together or how they have to clean because their mother is coming and they're going to have great girly fun together. It makes me sad.
She has pulled some.. interesting things though just this last year. That's as far back as I'll go despite mentioning one other thing cause I'm still private. First off, most of you know that my newest Bella is 9 months old. (holy, she's old!!!!) In November though when she was 5 months, I had a trip to Texas to see my family. I haven't been there in about 6 years.. this is a trip that due to monetary issues, is not one I can make often. As it was we could only send me and Bell instead of the whole family like we wanted.
I stayed with my sister and had plans to see my mother for two of the six days. We had talked in IMs about tea time on the porch, the dinners I was going to cook for her and the family, the shopping trips, the talking.. the spending time with each other. I was so excited and looking forward to this. We'd talked about it almost 6 whole months.
A Month before I'm due out, she IMs me with "look, this trip isn't going to work.." ... eh? Me: "We don't have to do everything, I can just come see you." Her: "I didn't really think you were going to come out so I was just playing along." ((in her defense, I'd been trying to get out there for years, and every year something came up but this one..))
... "Okay, can I come see you at all?" Her: "I don't think so, we've asked Gary's ((her new husband)) son not to come out this year either."
... so.. she doesn't even want to meet me somewhere for a few minutes, or stand at her house and talk and see the new baby. At all.
I went to Texas, dropped a few things off at her porch that I brought with me, got back in the car to my sister going "She was standing in the window watching you the whole time." I hadn't run. She had it wasn't a good time, I wasn't going to bother her but taking the stuff (she lives 15 minutes from my sister's ((step sister, we have the same dad so she doesn't deal with my mom)) house) was cheaper than shipping it.
We sat there a minute more (I had my cell phone too, she knows that number and has called before.) and then finally just drove off when it was obvious she wasn't going to contact us in any way.
I was fuming. She wouldn't even take a few minutes to see her new grand daughter. Not even five seconds.
When I got back, she caught me in IMs and explained that it was because the house was a wreck and there was "no where" for us to sit. (please please excuse my language) but Who the hell cares if we get to sit????? See us for a few minutes!! It's been 6 years since I've been out there, who the hell knows when I'll get back out there?? SEE YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER.
I, of course, didn't say that. Maybe I should have. I don't know what is wrong, she had mentioned that something was wrong but then later claims it was that she was packing up the house.
She didn't come to my wedding. She didn't see me in Texas. She doesn't talk to me at all about anything important in her life, sticks to the weather, her kitties, a bit about my brothers, and food she makes. That's it. She won't let me in.
My father, my FATHER of all people, the one who always tells me, "You know.. she's the only mom you'll have, don't give up", the one that claims that you should never burn bridges, finally told me to give up.
I've been holding on, trying anything and everything to make it work. I don't get anything from her except depression, tears for me to cry, and frustration. I'm tired of giving her the depth of me and getting nothing in return.
I guess my question to you guys is what would you do? Do you think that my dad and friends are right and that this is nothing but harmful and I should give up? Is there another approach I should try? Help, please. Cause I'm at the end of my proverbial rope.
On a positive side, Maryse sent me a sweet kit and I got to play around with it. That made me happy. That girl is SUCH a sweetheart to me. She makes me smile and says the Sweetest thing. I'm so lucky to have not only her, but all you friends who support me and are just the sweetest.
I owe each of you a hug.
Except M. I owe her a poke. ;)
Posted by Serena at 1:40 PM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
M, Cleo and everyone else that has left me such wonderful and sweet comments, I MORE than appreciate it, trust me. You guys are just the greatest and give me the much needed warm fuzzies!
I'm back for the most part! This weekend was filled with guests (starting on Thursday night and ending on Tuesday night!) and was.. well.. fun! Honestly, I love people, but I'm shy and a bit anti-social/non-trusting. Granted, these are people we've known for over 5 years each, but still! There were a Lot of people in my house at one time. Not only did I get through it without feeling overcrowded and suffocated, but I passed my expectations with flying colors! It felt sooo good to get home on Wednesday and get the chicken ready for the rotisserie on Thursday. I marinated it in a lovely self made marinate (I AM going to miss California for some of the ingredients I get here..) cut up some fresh garlic, onions and got some spices ready and then stuffed it in the bag. Then on Thursday, we had the chicken and some potatoes I made using my new obsession (rosemary and thyme) and everyone said it was good! Friday I made my infamous roast with carrots and celery, Saturday I made my cream cheese chicken, Sunday we all went out to eat, Monday I made my chork pops with potatoes, and then Salad on Tuesday. My "California" style salad, meaning premixed stuff with carrots, spinach, eggs, cheese, avacado, tomato and cucumbers. :D
So. Now that I've made myself Completely hungry (and am heating up said roast left overs cause the baby is hungry!) the rest. I think since the hormones have jacked up in my body again, that I'm doing better in regards to the depression. I really felt at the top of my game during those moments. Wednesday especially cause my husband had been out of town on Tuesday night and was coming back late Weds. I had taken care of them all Tuesday (the girlz)and Weds gotten them fed, dressed, and in bed, gotten the kitchen and livingroom cleaned up, and had dinner waiting for Sy (hot!!) when he got home. I felt like power mom!
I feel that when we get a house and I can really open up that I'll be doing good. Then I can do all that AND scrap like I'm supposed to!
I've been getting the creative bug that itches a LOT so I'm going to have to forgo all the cleaning and getting rid of stuff to start packing and do a few layouts.
I FINALLY have a link again, hopefully more in the future once I get back into the swing of things. Seems to be taking me FOREVER. Anyway, the link is to a new blog that I'm hooked on. I started out just going to get a freebie and I have a habit of at least Skimming the entries and I found myself reading everything.
Anyway, check Anna out! She's got some great freebies and interesting tales. :)
Take care my friends, I'll try and update better and get some layouts soon!!
Hugs and thank you again so very much for the wonderful comments, you guys rock!!!
Posted by Serena at 1:45 PM
Thursday, January 11, 2007
So I'm home! The trip was quite lovely and something I've needed desperately. I've been Really lucky in my later years to have the life I do compared to how it was growing up. I'll spare in depth details but let's just say the fact that I got a new camera, a trip to Chicago with NO children, just myself, and a new computer coming (I'm Still on my brother's computer since mine busted), I feel completely more than spoiled and like the luckiest gal ever!!
The trip was the perfect rejuvinator after the post partum depression and the constant family (my side of the family and a little bit of my husband's, not immediate family that I live with) stress that was just wearing me thin.
I walked around most of Chicago it felt like! lol. Bowled, played pool, tried some new foods (or rather, new restaurants) got to go see Blue Man Group!!!!! (I LOVE them) and played some video games and hung out with my friends, friends.
Maryse, you would have cringed!! My friend and I were on the subway and he was being very quiet so I started my usual eavesdropping because I love hearing what others feel is important or funny to them. There were two college looking kids who were speaking French and with my extremely and rudimentary left over rememberances, (plus their hand gestures) I figured out that they were talking about a guy on the last train that had fallen asleep and then somehow fell over into this woman's lap.
I couldn't help but laugh cause.. well, that's funny!!! They looked at me surprised though and I blushed heavily and apologized in the best French I could. They probably hated me for slaughtering their native language, it's been SO very long.
The only weird thing that I've had since coming back is this insane tiredness! It's driving me nuts! I've slept, taken naps.. and Still! I'm so very tired and fall asleep in my chair. I don't understand it at all.
Hopefully it'll go away. Other than that, I missed reading all the blogs I do and see how others are faring. It makes me happy to see updates from those I worry about.
Have a great day!!
Posted by Serena at 12:37 PM