Friday, January 29, 2010

Photoshop Elements is Gonna Kill Me

three kids before after
 Today I wasted many, many hours editing my photos. This is partly bad because I needed to fill orders and clean my house, and partly good because look how fantastic my photos look now! (Yes, these are old photos, leave me alone.) I was feeling woozy after donating blood today (hmmm…maybe it was the Lorna  Doon cookies combined with apple juice afterwards <*yikes*> that made me woozy) but anyway, I was too weak to do house work (*wink*) so I fired up my lap top, sat in my sunny bay window, and wasted many an hour doing nothing but fun stuff.  I think I’ll have Paul pick up In-N-Out burgers tonight as the Red Cross blood sucker warned me to eat some extra protein tonight. Where’s the Beef!?
I bought Adobe Photoshop Elements at Costco the other day because all these years we’ve had a pirated copy. (Don’t ask….a certain ex-family member loaded it onto our computer and me being stupid, thought it one of those free Adobe programs you get at Anyway….all these photos are touched up with brightness, contrast, messing with color, and adding some great layers I purchased a while ago from Flora Bella. But I also love the textures you can get for free on Flickr. So here’s to wasting time on things I love.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Winter Blues

I no like snowsnowy day collage

It no likes me

It’s wet and cold

And make me freeze

Piles of snow gear thrown on the floor

I am always screaming, “Someone shut that door!”

The kids they do

Track it in on their shoes

Mud puddles everywhere

They just don’t seem to care

I cross my fingers and

Hope it is over soon

For I dream of the heat

I promise--I’ll enjoy it before it’s time to repeat

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Minimum Effort, Maximum Output

orange coral, originally uploaded by meringuedesigns.
There is something fantastic about hearing the buzz of machines hard at work while I am not. My favorite sounds? My Bernina wizzing away at machine embroidery, my dishwasher doing what I hate, and of course, my washing machine saving me from beating clothes on a rock down by the river. Minimum effort, maximum output. Isn't technology great?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Like you, I have been haunted by the scenes of suffering in Haiti. It kept me up last night. So my birthday gift to myself was to donate to LDS Philanthropies, where I know 100% of my donation goes to emergency relief efforts. I am so humbled to be part of a church that is always on the the frontline of helping those who suffer around the world--whether it's emergency efforts like those needed in Haiti, building water systems in the Congo or donating wheelchairs to the disabled.

Please find your own way to matter what charity you prefer. In response to my donation, I then received the best birthday present ever:


We are grateful for your donation of $XXXXX to Humanitarian - Emergency Response.

We appreciate your efforts to make a tangible difference in someone's life, and to bless the lives of others around the world. 100% of your donation goes to help those in need.


Humanitarian Services

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Happy 36th Birthday to me.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Anti-Winter Pillow is Back!

Winter is evil. But somehow bringing back my anti-winter pillow again makes me smile. Loaded with bright cottons and my dahlia design this pillow makes me feel like it's almost time to put on my sandals and shorts.

Simplicity Bias Tape Maker

bias tape maker If you don’t sew, just skip this post. Because it will be full of boring details. If you do sew, read on baby!

There is a new handy-dandy gadget out there to make bias tape for all of sewers! It’s called the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. Huh? What do you use bias tape for Cynthia? Um, everything—binding necklines and armholes on clothing,  quilt binding, but especially my birthday banners. Each banner needs about 100 inches of bias tape so you can see why I NEED to make this stuff fast and in bulk. At about $75 it is a pricey gadget, but worth it if you make a ton on a regular basis. Otherwise, just make it by hand because while it does save you some time, you still have to do all the prep work.  Here’s how I make my 1” double-fold bias tape.

DSC_0179Cut 2” strips (notice I do NOT cut on the bias for tape needed for my banners….totally unnecessary). Yup, that’s a huge stack of strips there. 2 yards worth of fabric.


Sew the strips together. I prefer to sew mine together on the bias (more professional looking, less bulk at seams) and chain piecing sure helps. Then you gotta clip all those blasted ‘triangles’ off of each end as you cut the chain pieces apart. Don’t swear, just make sure you’re listening to great tunes on your ipod. My choice at this particular sitting: Coldplay’s Viva la Vida.  (That album is so good you’d think it had lots of calories and fat.)

DSC_0184 DSC_0186

 DSC_0188Please, do pick up after yourself, unlike yours truly.


DSC_0190 Yup, you still gotta iron the seams to one side before ‘loading’ the fabric onto this little internal combustion engine. Oh, and make sure you bypass that stupid made-for-monkeys fabric roller—totally worthless and a waste of my precious time. Just keep your masses of strips untangled every few feet and you’ll be fine.



DSC_0195Voila! I wound my now 350 feet (not a typo) of bias tape (or straight-grain tape) onto cardboard scraps and breathe a sigh of relief that I won’t have to do this for another few weeks. I’ve seen talk here and there on the web from others about why I charge so much ($40) for my banners. Well, after seeing this, maybe you know why. Making the ‘rope’ for my banners is definitely the bottle-neck in the banner making process. I truly despise it, but this handy little gadget has made it a bit more bearable.

pink banner

Friday, January 08, 2010

Soak Up the Sun

I can still feel the warmth of last week’s California sun even though it is a 15 degree day. There’s something magical about seeing a palm tree against a pink sky, picking lemons in the dead of winter, photographing orange poppies, and seeing my children laugh outdoors while just wearing short sleeves. Too bad I never appreciated it during my childhood. But I sure appreciate now—especially since I slipped on ice while going to my mailbox today. Help me.
california collage
“I'm gonna soak up the sun
While it's still free
I'm gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me”
–Sheryl Crow

A Handmade Christmas

handmade christmas
I was determined to make as many Christmas gifts this year as possible—something truly from my heart for those I love. So here are some….cashmere scarves for friends and family, rag dolls for my girls, mini make-up bags for friends, and a pillow or two.

Fast Forward 15 Years

December 29, 1994: A warm Thursday afternoon at the Los Angeles temple on Santa Monica Boulevard. I remember being really hot in my long-sleeved wedding dress. I remember thinking how handsome Paul looked. I remember not wanting to be the center of attention and not caring that we only had 1 roll of fill taken.
LA Skyline Dec 29, 1994 The Tree Dec 29, 1994
December 29, 2009: A warm Tuesday afternoon at the Los Angeles temple on Santa Monica Boulevard. We wanted to take the kids on our 15th anniversary to where we were married. They couldn’t believe how big the temple was and could hardly resist rolling down the giant 5-acre grassy hill.  They had a million questions, we had a few answers, and Paul and I found ourselves holding hands a little bit more than usual on this special day.
 california trip dec2009 077  california trip dec2009 094 copy
 california trip dec2009 114california trip dec2009 012


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