Blessed in the comings and the goings

There’s a scripture in Deuteronomy 28:6 that says “Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.”  I haven’t taken the time to look up the context of this scripture, but for today, I really don’t need to.  As I left out the door to go to my first “real” job in a long time (I mean because single parenting, full-time school, and full-time child care for my nephews isn’t real work right?), I was truly blessed to be going out.  The kids were on my nerves, the house was trashed, the kids were on my nerves, I needed a break from the kids who were on my nerves, did I mention the kids were really on my nerves?  Ok…good I’m glad we’re clear on that much.

I left an hour before my shift just in case there was traffic and arrived 23 minutes early.  This commute I have has been totally hit and miss I’m telling you.  I was blessed going out in that there was no traffic, I took a slightly different route and didn’t get lost, and Mr. Larry was there.  He makes me laugh.  I was blessed going out because I’m really good at my job, my customers love me (several said as much), I caught on to the register quick (even if it IS a female and you gotta push all the right buttons in the right order or it yells at you), did I mention my customers love me?  One commented on how much she liked my attitude and another (the 90 trillion year old Ms. Sanders) even hugged me.  She comes in regularly on Tuesdays…Tuesday might be my new favorite day to work.

And then, when I got home, what I “camest into” (yes I know that’s not very proper but…) was this:  (please click  on the pictures to see them larger)

But my friends…it doesn’t end there.  The house was IMMACULATE.  I mean it was SUPER clean…not even a “clean considering”…my kiddos outdid themselves.  On the floor in front of me were flower petals (go ahead you can say it…awwwwwwww) and to my right was dinner dished and waiting on the kitchen table.  I was led down the hall to my bedroom where my little Tiva had completely cleaned and reorganized my Scred room (organization is one of her God-given talents…I’m glad He gave her to me because it isn’t mine).  Laundry was done, the bathroom was clean, the living room and kitchen were clean, pretty much the messiest  thing in my house when I walked in was my desk (I can hear my B Cubed gasping…messy desks annoy him)…they are even cleaning up after dinner as I type this and I have been scheduled for a “pampering session” to boot.

Blessed when I come in and when I go out…yeah, I’ll say!


Back-2-School SOON Yay!

I have to head out the door for my first day of work at my new job!  Hopefully Mr. Larry will be working with me today…we had a great time interviewing together that’s for sure.   My good friend Brie hasn’t gotten it posted quite yet, but be sure to check the Roberts Arts and Crafts Blog for details on how I made this cute little card for my DT project over there today!

Why watermark

I am a bad blog reader in that I don’t comment on nearly as many blogs as I view every day.  There honestly just isn’t enough time for me to do that.  If something really wow’s me though, you can bet you will hear from me.  What has always amazed me though, is the amount of bloggers who make no attempt to watermark their images, or the amount of bloggers who don’t correctly watermark their images.  For many I think it’s two things really: 1. They are simply unaware of why it’s so important and 2.  They lack the appropriate software to create and use a watermark in the first place.

I hope by the end of this post I can clear up both issues.  First, let’s talk about software…it’s the easier of the two.  You don’t need Photoshop or Elements or anything expensive in order to properly watermark your photos.  There’s a nifty little program out there called Gimp that works with a Mac or a PC and it’s been developed as open-source.  This means it is FREE!  I’ve had the opportunity to take Gimp for a ride around the block a few times and it’s very impressive.  In fact, in my digital design degree program, professors have recommended this program as an alternative to the Adobe Suite a few times and encouraged us to use this program until our software came.  You can get Gimp for PC here and for the Mac here.  Corel has a great program called Paint Shop Pro that will give you a lot more options than Gimp and it’s available for $25 right now at this site.  There are lots of other options for inexpensive software…my personal recommendation though would be that it supports a PNG file format and offers the option to use layers.

When you purchase a watermark designed by me you receive FREE tech support for Gimp too!  Now…let’s talk about WHY and HOW to appropriately use a watermark shall we?

Check out this amazing card by my Getting Cricky Design Team Sister Deborah Foti:

Do you see her attempt at watermarking her photo in the top left corner?  It’s done wrong for a few reasons.  I’ve already shown them to her and it is with her permission that I use them on this post.  I’m going to show you why where you put your watermark is as important as why to watermark your image in the first place.

The why is simple…without watermarking your photo, someone can take your image and submit it as their own work wherever they want.  Do you remember the Craft it Forward event by Scrapbooks Etc. I participated in?  Without a proper watermark I could take someone’s photo, submit it to the contest, and maybe even win…robbing YOU of your $500.  That would really suck wouldn’t it?  I’m sure you’ve all voted for scrappy friends’ projects on Facebook too right…same thing can be done there.  Someone takes YOUR photo and submits it with THEIR watermark (or not sometimes) and wins the prize.  It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not legal, but trust me when I tell you that people do this type of thing all the time.  I’ve had my digital designs stolen from me more than once when I used to do web design for a Direct Sales Cosmetic Company.  It would aggravate me to no end and I finally researched code that I could put on a website that would disable the copy options…EXCEPT for dragging and dropping an image from the website to my desktop.  My point is…if someone REALLY wants your work they are going to find a way to take it.  The best and easiest way to protect yourself is to use a watermark.

A “true” watermark is more than just your name and blog address typed all cute on your photo.  It should be transparent so that the image itself is still visible behind it, and it should be placed somewhere it can’t be removed without destroying the photo itself.  Look what I was able to do to Deborah’s photo in about a minute:

Using the clone stamp tool (a tool available in Gimp) in Photoshop, I was able to clone the background right over her “watermark” in the photo.  I didn’t even do a perfect job of it either.  Now…all I have to do to pass this project off on my own, is to add my own watermark.  I use Photoshop to add watermarks to my images.  There are countless ways you can do it, maybe I’ll be back with some of those details later on.  Right now, my preferred way to do it is to create a brush, that way I can “stamp” my watermark wherever I want it.   Can you find it in the image below?

With the above photo, the watermark is “stamped” with black as the foreground color.  Here it is below, with white as the foreground color.

It really is that easy to steal someone’s image….it has taken me 5 times as long to write this blog post than it did to clone over Deborah’s watermark and add my own.  Positioning is very important.  Where Deborah put her “watermark” it was super easy to clone out.  I could have cropped the photo to remove it as well.  Mine is transparent so the card is still visible through the watermark, and also placed in such a way where it will not be easy to clone over it or remove it from the photo without destroying the photo.  A forgery expert, or someone with a lot of patience and time could still clone even my watermark out of this photo BUT my watermark format and placement certainly makes it more difficult to do so.

Additionally, there are many companies/applications that allow you to use an invisible watermark and who will monitor the internet for improper use of your images.  These range in price from 30 dollars annually to several hundred.  For purposes of blogging, I don’t think that is necessary.  You can use this same technique I’ve explained, to watermark all your photos.  I’ve done that here in this post if you wanna see how that looks.

After I explained all of this to Deborah, she immediately asked if I could make her a watermark.  The answer is YES, I can do that.  I will do it for her at no charge since she was kind enough to let me share her photo for this post.  If you would like a custom watermark of your own, they are $5 a piece and can be paid for via PayPal.  Please leave a comment here or on my fan page at Facebook letting me know what you’d like.  They can be horizontal, round, or even odd-shaped.  They can be your name or your name and blog or just your blog…pretty much anything you like really.  If you have a specific font or image you’d like incorporated in your watermark, be sure to let me know that as well.

Flying away on a wing and a prayer

Who could it be, believe it or not it’s just me…oh sorry I was just remembering a theme song to a show I watched when I was little.  Great American Hero or something like that…

Our Getting Cricky Simple Sunday challenge for today is all about things with wings…airplanes, hang gliders, flying transformers, hospitals, buildings, Detroit’s hockey team, or in my case…butterflies.

This project was actually really kind of difficult despite how simple the finished project looks.  I’ll get to how I did it in a second.  First I want to show you a close-up of the stamping:

I used 3 different stamps from the Winged Things stamp set shown below.

Supplies Needed:  
1 metal frame (mine is about 5.5 by 11.5 at the longest and tallest points)
Photoshop or other graphics program
2 12 x 12 sheets of paper
Scraps for the title cut and butterflies  (I chose my name since this is going in my room)
Pearl bling (mine are recollections)
Chocolate Chip Ink (Stampin’ Up)
Winged Things Stamp Set (K Andrew Designs)
Gemstone bling (mine is silver but I don’t know from where)
Fundamentals 2 SD Card
Adhesive (ATG, Elmer’s Fabric and Craft Glue, foam dots and Glue Gun)
White mulberry flowers (I Am Roses)
Alcohol Ink or Re-inker (here I used Purple Twilight and Sailboat Blue)
Alcohol Blending Solution
Heat Gun

See…you thought I was kidding when I said it was kinda difficult didn’t you?!?!?  Ok…so the first thing I did was I took the ribbon out of the hanger that came with it when I bought it.  It was ugly.  Then I laid the metal frame on my scanner and scanned the image.  I imported the scan into SCAL using the Trace feature and then cut it over and over with my eCraft, manipulating the size till I got a shape that would work (the purple shape in the background).  The blue piece is actually a “messed up” shape, but I liked how it looked when added to the purple piece so I kept it and used it.  The purple and blue piece were combined and adhered to the metal frame using my ATG.  I went over it a few times laying down a super sticky layer of adhesive for maximum adhesion.  Next I cut a butterfly from the Fundamentals 2 SD Card.  I cut the solid base and wings and cut the body out of the wings to get the effect featured and added silver bling to bodies. One is cut at 3 inches, one at 2.  These were adhered to the blue and purple background paper with foam dots.  The flowers were dyed using the inks listed and then I used alcohol blending solution to bleed the color out a bit.  I love those roses…so hard to believe they were white to start with huh?!?!?

I used my heat gun to speed up the drying process of the flowers a bit.  While they dried the rest of the way, I stamped “Let your dreams take flight” on the blue background paper and cut my name using this font all in lower case.  I opted not to include the dot on the i.  I cut it first as a welded shadow layer, then I cut the letters unwelded.  I used a scrap of Core’dinations paper for the shadow cut and then a scrap of paper from the Glam Girl stack by DCWV for the individual letters.  I put these pieces together with craft glue and used foam dots to adhere them to the frame.  Once the flowers were totally dry, I used my glue gun to glue them down.  Finally, I took my crop-a-dile and punched a slightly larger hole in the frame and tied some new ribbon.

Now it’s your turn….head over to Getting Cricky to see what she and my DT Sister’s have made for you.  Kristal has a giveaway going on that you won’t want to miss!

Here’s a picture of it, but for details you will need to visit her blog!

Be sure to link up YOUR winged projects by adding your link here!

Happy B-Day to me…I mean Becky

Hello “edderbawdy” (that’s 3 year-old nephew for everybody)!  Welcome to the Birthday Blog Hop hosted by my pal Becky from Beckiscricards.  Today is her birthday and she decided to host a hop!  YAY!!!!  I love hops I really do.  Anyway, you should have arrived here from my sweet friend Deb’s blog, DDs Crafts.  If so, then you are right on track and if not, well it’s easy to get on track…just visit Becky’s blog to start at the beginning.

Becky gave us a lot of options for things she wanted…one of them was 1950’s.   Even though I might be off by a few years, I figured the Lady Couture stack from DCWV would work beautifully for this.  Was I was right?  Looks awfully Leave It To Beaverish to me.   I had to go with a 5 x 7 card to get the part of the paper I wanted most.  This left me just enough room to stamp a birthday sentiment.  I used Coffee and Tea For You And Me from K Andrew Designs Stamps.  It was the perfect fit, like usual!  And to think, I wasn’t even going to use this set hee hee!

The card base is a 12 x 12 sheet of Core’dinations cut to 10 x 7 and folded in half.  The mat and the focal piece are cut .25 inch smaller with each layer.  So easy to make something you love when you have great paper and the perfect sentiment and ink don’t ya think…no, I didn’t mean to rhyme just then either.

The ink used is Chocolate Chip from Stampin Up’ and I have decided I really kinda like this ink and will need more eventually.  I inked the edges with some random ink pad I have in my stash…I want to say it’s stampology or something like that, but I’m not sure.  Unfortunately, I do not have any blog candy to offer right now.  I’m way behind on getting it out for previous winners and pretty much broke at the moment.   So broke I’ve missed the last THREE open-stock paper sales at Joann’s.  Tragic isn’t it?!?!?  Becky has some awesome candy though so please be sure to check out what she has to offer and how you can win!

Next up is Paula from More Than Favors.  Her project is super sweet…I already peeked, so be sure to check it out.  If you get lost along the way, here is the entire line-up:

1.Becky –

2. Amy –

3. Kimmarie –

4. Dandy (Dandylicious Creates) –

5. Kathy –

6. Nicole –

7. Gill –

8. Kristy –

9. Nicolette –

10. Momo –

11. Sylvia –

12. DDs Crafts –

13. Faith –  <<<This is me…lucky number 13>>>

14. Paula –  <<<Go HERE next>>>

15. Ashley –


17. Deborah –

18. Gina –

19. Sue –

20. Stephanie –

21. Cher –

22. Linda –

23. Misty –

24. Wendy –

25. Rachel-

26. Erica –

Define small, please: somebody, anybody!

The year was 1839 and Joseph Smith was incarcerated in Liberty jail.  The beginning of Section 121 in the Doctrine and Covenants contains Joseph’s cries to our God.  In verse 2 Joseph says “how long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?”  The Lord replies with “my son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment”…

Often people tell us to insert our own names into the scriptures to make them more real…”my daughter Faith, peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.”  What exactly is a small moment anyway?  Small certainly isn’t quite what I’d consider the last nearly 15 years of my life that’s for sure.  Shoot…that’s nearly half my life actually so yeah, not small by any definition I can fathom.

Ladies and gents…I’m tired, and not just because it’s going on 2am as I write this post. I’m tired of the adversity and affliction.  A speaker I heard not too long along would call them strengthening opportunities…I’m tired of being strong.   I’m tired of trying to hold it all together when really, letting it all fall apart would be easier and much less work.  I’m tired of there always being way more month than there is money, I’m tired of doing all the work that it takes to raise my children…children I didn’t have alone.  I’m tired of having to be both Mom and Dad and I’m tired of being tired.  I’m beyond tired actually and halfway through exhausted.

My new job…strange as it may seem, is actually going to cost me money to keep, school is coming and I have nothing that my children need to be ready for their first day and not enough money to even attempt to get ready.  I’m willing to work, I need to work…can I find adequate employment though…so far no, it eludes me.  I’m tired of not having enough of everything to meet the needs of my family.  I’m tired of not having enough sleep, enough time, enough money, enough patience, enough strength, enough energy, enough enough.

Again I ask…what is a small moment anyway?  This moment seems to be much like the heavens…unending.  I’m losing my ability to cope.  I’m not sure I even want to continue making the effort to do so.  What good is life when it’s such a struggle to even exist…?  I don’t want to just exist…I want to live.  In living, I want to thrive.  I don’t know how to get there anymore, I really don’t, and I often think I’m just going through the living motions without really doing it.  I guess you could say I’m lip singing through life.  I’m an outsider looking in…into a life that’s filled with all the things I dream of having someday.  The problem is, someday is not a day on the calendar.

God…in case you’re reading this…can we please get a new moment now…this small one has taken forever to pass and I’m about out of strength.

My windows might be smudged

My life is such a roller coaster ride right now.  I love Larry and Maria, the managers at my job, but I’m not as excited about it as I was the other day.  I must have misunderstood because I was not at all under the impression that the job would be part-time hours.  I think the job would be the perfect fit for me, but am not convinced that a 40 mile round trip commute is worth the time or effort when the hours are so few. I have some things to pray about and consider now, that’s for sure.  I’ve been kind of bummed since getting my schedule on Tuesday and have been looking for inspiration wherever I can find it.  Today I decided to make something inspirational for the wall in my Scred Room.

Last week at the dollar store I saw this cute little wooden box and thought it would be fun to embellish and make pretty:

Supplies Needed:
Wooden divided box from Dollar Tree
Tim Holtz Distress Stain in Broken China
     1 piece @ 4 7/8 x 1 7/8 inches
     1 piece @ 4.5 x 1.5 inches
     7 pieces at 1 7/8 inches square
     7 pieces at 1.5 inches square
Embellishments (I used I Am Roses, and other things from my stash)
DIY Glimmer Mist in a green shade
K Andrew Designs Stamps
     Winged Things
     Amazing You
     Sympathetic Sayings
Adhesive – ATG and glue gun
Memento Ink (Tuxedo Black)
Distress Ink ( Peeled Paint and Shabby Shutters)

Now…how did I turn this plain little box into the above picture?  It was a little involved, but super easy.  First I took my Broken China stain and daubed it all over the box.  I stained everything this color that I could reach.  Then I used my own DIY green Glimmer Mist to add some sparkle and “paint” the interior compartments so they weren’t plain wood.  After it dried, I went over the front edges of the box with the Broken China stain one more time to make it a little darker.  Next I took my 4.5 by 1.5 inch piece of paper and stamped my sentiment.  I chose one that says “when one door closes look for the open window” by K Andrew Designs.  It’s from the Sympathetic Sayings set and can be found here.  Next I inked the edges using both Peeled Paint and Shabby Shutters distress ink from Tim Holtz.  When that dried (and believe me as warm as it is in my apartment it didn’t take long), I adhered this piece to the 4 7/8 by 1 7/8 with my glue gun and then, using my ATG I stuck this whole piece into the largest window/cubby of the box.  In the spaces where the flowers are, I just stuck the 1 7/8 square in the window/cubby and hot glued a flower in the center.  The dimensional roses are black I Am Roses flowers and the one in the middle with the brad is from Petaloo…I think.

Then I stamped my sentiments on the 1.5 inch squares for the remaining windows…I used “You are not alone” from Amazing You and Faith Dreams Brave (because she does) from Winged Things.  I added this piece to the 1 7/8 inch square and, using my ATG, adhered them to the remaining three windows/cubbies in the box.  Voila!

The wooden box has picture hangers on it so it can be wall mounted and I will be doing that soon.  I love being able to use my stamps for things besides just cards and my K Andrew Designs stamps were PERFECT for this project.  Until next time my friends.