29 July 2017

Scrapbooking: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Album Done!

Over the years, I've done several personality assessments, and one of my most-often reported traits is how much I love finishing projects. People with this personality trait are sometimes called "Concluder-Producers" in corporate jargon. We're the people who like to get stuff done! 

Because I value FINISHING STUFF, it drives me absolutely nuts having incomplete projects lying about. 

Case in point: All The Unfinished Scrapbooking. 

So I'm on a mission to finish stuff up around here, and I'm happy to report that the Florida album project I recently started is DONE. It sure felt good to put those spine labels in the albums!

Once I carved out some time to do it, it only took a few days of work. Not bad at all, and it was really enjoyable, too. 

Here are a few of the very simple pages. I like simple. Simple = done.

It feels great to have finished a project like this, and now we can enjoy looking back at this trip and remembering the stories...at least as much as I could remember them after waiting seven years to scrapbook it! 
 So now I'm starting another project and I'm hoping to knock it out within just a few days' time. In addition, I've finally extracted all of my photos from my phone, and now I can start assessing exactly how much scrapbooking still needs done. (Answer: A LOT)  
The key to getting stuff done: Just get started, and seeing progress will compel you to keep going!

28 July 2017

Feline Friday

I SPY...

Lily's ears! :)

I hope I haven't already shared this photo. I didn't take the time to check because even if I did, it's so adorable that I couldn't resist sharing it again!

A side note: I came across this photo because I'm in the midst of a massive (no exaggeration) photo dump from my phone to Google Photos. 

We're talking about 8,000+ photos and quite a number of videos. 

Yep, you read that right. 8,000+. 

I'm quite sure that most are of cats. 

There's no shame in that!** Plenty of blog material!:)

Happy Feline Friday, friends!

** However...DO back up your photos from your phone more frequently than I have!

24 July 2017

Scrapbooking: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Album

I've been on a mission to make some big progress on the extreme backlog of scrapbooking around here. You'd think that since I work for a scrapbooking store, I'd be totally "caught up", but that is FAR from the truth! In fact, I'm one of the most "behind" people I know!

The reason for this backlog is that I simply haven't carved out time for it. But I'm pleased to report that I have been doing much better about that lately, and seeing progress motivates me to keep going. 

I've been working on my chronological family and genealogy albums and making some progress, but this week I stepped away from those projects to finish up one that has been languishing on my work table for far too long -- my Wizarding World of Harry Potter album.

When we went to Florida in 2010, I planned to make two albums. I finished the first album (Disney and Universal) but hadn't started the second, even though I had printed the photos and bought the supplies. Go figure! So I decided that I'd try to knock that project out in a few days.

The first step was to organize and sort the photos and figure out the general order of the album. In this process, I discarded a lot of blurry or repetitive prints. I've decided that I've got to be much better about photo selection (read: ruthless editing!) going forward to keep my scrapbooking backlog more manageable!

Seven years ago, right after the park opened, I purchased a good supply of Harry Potter papers. I'm so glad I did, because much of it has been discontinued. In surveying my box of supplies, I was happy to discover that I had plenty of paper to complete this project. (I used every single piece, and even all of the stickers. YAY!) 

I almost never use themed paper, but I really like this set. The paper designs made it easy to put together the pages with minimal embellishments needed.

 I started by laying out the pictures that corresponded to a certain paper.

Since I didn't have enough paper for every single page, I used matching cardstock to fill in the gaps.

I decided that for efficiency's sake, I'd assemble all the pages first, then go back and write the journaling. This part of the process took only about 1.5 days' time -- quite enjoyable whilst listening to the HP movie soundtracks on repeat. I'm always surprised at how much I still enjoy scrapbooking -- when I make time for it!

 After putting the pages in sleeves with notes for journaling, I started working on the titles and journaling blocks. I got some assistance from my daughter, a rabid Harry Potter fan, for details on some photos. I also used the Universal Studios website to supplement my own information. Of course, it would have been easier if I hadn't waited SEVEN YEARS to make this album! :)

I've found that the most efficient way to do my journaling is to create text boxes in Word for all the pieces that need to be printed on the same color.

These pieces were all printed on kraft cardstock. I cut them out, inked them, and adhered them to the pages.

I'm using just a few smaller or pocket pages in this album, such as this 6x12 sleeve. The back side is a great spot for the park maps, making them easy to remove.

As it turned out, we visited the park on opening day! We had not planned this at all, but the opening date was moved back several times and happened to coincide with the day we planned to go. It was incredibly fun being there on the first day! I hope to go back when it's not quite so crowded and see the original attractions again -- plus all the new ones!

It was really fun to "re-live" the excitement of the big day!

I'm in the process of adding in a few supplemental pieces, such as this map...

...and this article I found online which describes the crowds and media frenzy surrounding the opening of the park. I always like to add a little context to my albums, often from articles I find online.

I'm pretty excited about the progress I've made in just a couple of days' work! I have finished about 1/4 of the journaling, which makes the end of this big project within striking distance! Hope to finish it up soon and will share photos of the completed album.
Yay for FINALLY getting some stuff done! 

When finishing projects feels so great, I have to ask myself: Why haven't I made time for this before???

23 July 2017

Garden Update: Late July

Now that my gardens have been planted for a few weeks, I wanted to share an update about how they're doing. It's been a challenging time in the past couple of weeks with very high temperatures, necessitating daily watering. I've recently cut back on watering to every two-three days. Eventually they won't need much (if any) watering at all but since we're dealing with new plants and transplants, I want to give them a good start! Overall verdict: So far, so good! :)

In addition to the extreme heat, our area has also been hit very hard by Japanese beetles. These pests are covering the linden trees along our street, eating the leaves from the top down. We've elected not to treat the trees with pesticide because of the number of trees affected. The good thing is that the pesky beetles are so interested in the trees that they're leaving the rest of my plants alone!

 So far, everything in this bed is still alive and doing well. I'm concerned about the spacing of a few plants, but we'll see how they do going forward. 

I'm thankful that we have a very long hose on each side of the house so I can water all the flowers without dragging the hoses through the beds. There are only a few new plants that have to be watered with a watering can.

 The area on the side of the house was not part of this project and needs some work. I had a couple of transplants added to the bare spots but next spring it will need some tending. One bright spot: My grandma's tiger lilies. After last winter, I lost a few but those that remain are blooming well.

   This second bed is doing really well, but the new rose that had bloomed profusely no longer has buds. I have a second rose bush with no blooms so after researching online and talking with the Earl May guy, I think it must be a soil nutrient issue. I'm deadheading and just started feeding them so we'll see if that helps!

 Here's the other side of that same bed. I'm really happy with the variety of plants and textures here. My liatris, which were split and transplanted, are finally standing up and starting to bloom.

 This skinny bed along the garage is finally starting to show signs of life. The geraniums at the front all have leaves now (instead of brown stems!) and the lilies are almost all emerging. The peony at the right end is doing well and I'm anxious to see it bloom next spring.

The small hydrangea bush at the other end of this bed has just bloomed! We planted it last fall and for quite some time this spring, it appeared almost dead. It was very slow to leaf out but once it got started, it really took off!

 Although I haven't had a huge amount of blooms yet, I have had enough to make several small bouquets like this one I recently gave to a friend -- zinnia, coneflowers, daisies, and lavender, with mint and oregano to fill in around the edges. As long as I have flowers to cut, I'm happy!

21 July 2017

Feline Friday: Treat Thief!

I guess you know you're a crazy cat lady when you start keeping cat treats in your nightstand drawer. I'm not sure if it's a really bad idea or the best idea I've ever had. 

Either way, Lily certainly knows where the bedtime treats are kept and will wait expectantly by the nightstand until I dole out her nightly rations.

This week, I left the drawer open for a minute and came back to find her actively trying to steal treats. Even though it was a Little Bit Naughty, I had to document her valiant efforts because, let's face it...she's pretty cute. :)

#1 -- Lily confirms the location of the treats with help from her super senses. Right ear tilts weirdly to detect sounds of treats rattling in the drawer!

#2 -- She stands higher on her tippy toes so she can get a good look at those delicious treats! YUM!

 #3 -- She's going in! SUCCESS!

14 July 2017

Feline Friday: Bandit Strikes Again!

It's been quite some time since we've had a Corner Cupboard Crime around here but this past week, the suspect struck again! 

The corner cupboard has two pull-out racks which hold several (somewhat dusty) baking dishes. When the racks are pulled out, as they were on this day, there's plenty of room for entry. But when the racks are pushed back in, the suspect can find herself in a tight predicament! :)

On the day in question, the cupboard door had been left open, which presented the PURR-fect opportunity for the so-called Corner Cupboard Bandit to sneak in! Rumor has it that it wasn't nearly as easy this time for her fit into the Corner Cupboard as it used to be -- on account of the suspect's WIDE GIRTH! :)


Luckily, Kitchen Patrol was on duty and quickly apprehended the suspect for snuggling! :)

07 July 2017

Feline Friday with Rory


  Rory, my daughter's kitty, recently got a harness! At this time, Rory is only going out onto the balcony because, as you can see, she is a bit cautious about this outdoor business. She wants to be with her meowmy at all times, which is a very good thing!

 All the sounds and smells are a bit overwhelming!
 Those big eyes are taking everything in!

 Could she be any cuter???