Still trying to get back in the groove! So here's another simple post for you...some of my most recent digiscrap. Hopefully next week I'll be blogging my sister's baby shower and my son's birthday party....
Well...I've decided to cut back from my weekly reading post to once a month. Last Friday of every month, I'll post the highlights from that month's reading. All in my efforts to keep blogging fun and realistic for me. So here's my favorites from July. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator's. Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 "blackberry winter" storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways...
The famously false memoirs of James Frey may be yesterday’s news, but as this funny riff reminds us, literary fakes are as old as literature itself. Ian Minot is an aspiring writer who labors over short stories that seem destined to remain unread. His beautiful Romanian girlfriend, Anya Petrescu, finds success more easily—and leaves Ian for Blade Markham, a bloviating ex-gangbanger whose “so-called memoir” is a best-seller. When Ian is approached by ex-editor Jed Roth, who wants Ian to publish Jed’s pulpy tale of book theft and murder as a memoir, then renounce it, it’s a chance for both of them to get revenge: Jed on his former employer, and Ian on the world. Although Langer may be too cute for some (he employs made-up slang in which a penis is a portnoy), he does an engaging job with the hall-of-mirrors plot. And if readers can predict that the book they’re reading is the one that Ian ends up writing, they’ll never guess the ending. Just when you want a surprising twist, Langer delivers several.
Okay, I loved this. How many books are you laughing and smiling about as you finish? I'm not even sure what to say about it, except that it was a delight...clever, snarky, and just...fun. Also thoroughly enjoyed the literary references (there's a glossary in the back to help you out on those you don't know or aren't obvious). And now for my usual parental warning, so to speak: some language.
The Fortune Café A Tangerine Street Romance (a novel in three parts)
Welcome to Tangerine Street
Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Café, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafés on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…
MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.
LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.
TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?
Cute, fun, light-hearted reading. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other… Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal. Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all. And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be. For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.
Delightful. An ode to friendships and how they can be found in surprising places.
In sunny Southern California, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died, she's also got a few killer secrets.
To cope, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal). But after six months of therapy and pathetic parenting by her mom, the District Attorney, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.
When Ruby ends up killing a murderer to save his intended victim, she discovers that she's gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There's a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who's using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up swapping Valentino red for prison orange.
With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl's forced to kill, won't the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?
Loved this. Sassy irreverent heroine. Lots of snark and wit. Fun. I'll continue on in the series.
It's been busy around here, and my motivation has been lacking. That's not to say I don't have things to blog. I do. Just haven't gotten around to the work of blogging it! And now school is out, so there is even less time available for me to blog. You know, that whole three kids six and under thing.
Anyway, enough of my excuses. I'll be back.
I actually read a book this week, people. Things have been so chaotic around here with my cataclysmic month of disease....reading just hasn't happened. But this week, I read a book! Only one, since I'm throwing my sister's baby shower tomorrow (and with our cataclysmic month of disease, I was not on top of my game and have had to prepare everything in the space of one week!), but hopefully next week I'll be back to my normal reading habits! (P.S. stay tuned for a post about the shower!)
Anyway! The book!
I am a sucker for historical fiction with some romance, so when I saw this on the new arrivals display at our local library, I grabbed it. And I REALLY enjoyed it. Set in 1763 in Massachusetts, it follows a young woman and an young lawyer. At the end of the book, I discovered it was loosely based on John and Abigail Adams courtship. There isn't a lot recorded about that time in their lives, but the author took what there was and then made up the rest. I've always been interested in that period of history, and especially in Abigail Adams, so it was fun to read the afterword (including what really happened and what she made up to fill in the blank spaces). I liked this book so well, it's going on my Paperback Swap request wishlist!
If I hadn't already scheduled posts, there would have been nothing the last few weeks! Man, it's been a rough month + in our house. Can I just tell you? In the last five or six weeks: I had a 3 day sore throat/runny nose thing. Then a week of really horrible insomnia. Then my son and my baby got sick with a cold. Then my husband and I got the cold. And I didn't get better. Discovered I had a sinus infection. Found out my baby had a double ear infection. Husband's sore throat came back with a vengeance, and the nurse at his work told him his throat is covered in blisters. Then on Sunday baby threw up repeatedly for about 5 hours and then couldn't eat for another day. And then I broke out in hives, a reaction to one of my sinus infection meds. Next, my daughter went through the whole throw up routine. And yesterday, I went through the throw up routine. Today I'm feeling better and so far am keeping my breakfast down! Anyway, I'm really really REALLY hoping and praying this is the last of it. March was definitely a lost cause for productivity. Here's to April being better! The one thing I did manage to do is some digiscrappin'....so I thought I'd post some of my latest layouts.
Okay guys, now that you have an idea how to get a layout going, this is EXTREMELY important. Light source and shadows. Let me show you an example of the importance of shadows:
With shadows! So much better!
Shadows make a huge difference in creating depth for realistic layouts. They are a MUST. I kid you not. A MUST!!! AND it is extremely important that every drop shadow cast in the same direction. This is a great run-down on light sources from Karah Fredricks of The Lily-Pad. Take a look, and hopefully that helps you understand what I mean. Next week, I'll be back with some info on creating those shadows.
I have something super helpful for you today! This comes from Suzy Q Scraps (you can find her shop at Scrapbookgraphics). She put together an eye-pleasing graphic of 10 design tips for visually pleasing layouts, and then goes on to explain each point and shows examples. Find it here.
Remember to pin from her and not from me!!!
Okay, so again, I must admit that I rarely scrap without a template (kinda lazy, plus then half the creative work is done for me...really helpful if I've having a block of sorts!), so the first few steps of this are taken care of for me (as long as I'm using a quality template, that is). But the next few are always a concern. It can be daunting, especially when you are first starting, to look at all those tips. It still kinda is, and I've been doing digi 6 years and paper scrapbooking for 8 years before that! I liked Suzy's tip at the end: pick one at a time and focus on understanding and mastering that, and move on. Remember, the most important thing here is that you are recording your story, those moments that make up a life. Don't worry about doing everything perfectly. Just try to improve a little here and a little there, and over time, you will grow as a digiscrapper.
I just can't get enough of these. I was actually pondering opening a shop to sell them, but I frankly don't have the time right now. Something about the whole three children ages 6 and under..... :)
Anyway. Here's the latest, all made from free patterns:
These darlings just might be my current favorite. They were made from a free pattern found here, but adapted quite a bit. Fabric from JoAnn, buttons from my stash.
Everyone needs a pair of Mary Janes! Free pattern found here. Adapted in that I did not make a velcro strap; I just used fold over elastic instead. More comfy and more likely to stay on! Fabric from JoAnn, fold over elastic from The Ribbon Retreat.
And an old favorite, the faux Robeez pattern, found here. Thin grey leather from Brettuns Village, lining and yo-yo fabric from JoAnn.
Okay, folks, this is a long time coming. I know. I'm sorry. I just haven't had the time to put together tutorials myself, so what I'm going to do is every Tuesday spotlight helpful tutorials I've found. These will all be tutorials using Photoshop Elements (or Photoshop), because I frankly think it is the only way to go! And if you are going to pin, PLEASE PIN FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE AND NOT FROM ME.
This is a great resource! A free online class from Steph of the Daily Digi. So great. She has a supply list so you know exactly what you need and provides you with the other digital supplies for the layout. Highly recommend starting here.
Another option is a tutorial from the great Ali Edwards. In this video, she shows how to use a layered template in Photoshop (written step by step instructions can be found here). She offers a free template (link found below the template photo) to use as she shows you step-by-step.
This is a terrific place to start. You don't always have to use templates to scrap (though I almost always do!), but this video will give you an understanding of how layers work, so you can create your own layouts in the future.