Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holding On

Every little baby
Comes into the world
Reaching for an anchor
Fingers tightly curled
Grasping for a reason
Without knowing why
We will cling to anything
`Till the day we die
We can hold onto sorrow
Hold on to pain
We can hold on to anger
When there is nothing to be gained
We can hold to a thread
At the end of a rope
But if we hold on to Jesus
We are holding onto hope
(Twila Paris)

Oh I can't remember if I posted this layout here or not, but I think it deserves a repost. I created this layout several months ago, but this month I have felt like I was at the end of my rope more than once. Discouragement and depression kept wanting to wind their way into my heart. Then I thought about this layout and the words---and I know that with Jesus there is hope. I know it might sound trite, but I've walked through some hard times and He has always been faithful. Someday I might elaborate, but for now I'm basically preaching to myself--reminding myself that He is faithful.
Digital supplies used in this layout:
Watery Corners brushes n stamps by Katie Pertiet


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dressing Up Your Photos with Frames

This started out as a Wordless Wednesday post, but I decided to add a quick little tutorial for those just starting to dabble with digital products. Sometimes just adding a simple element such as a frame, can really make a photo stand out. Here's how:

Open a digital frame. I used Carded Stacked Frames No. 3 by Katie Pertiet
Create a new layer (CTRL/CMD J)
(Ok, so I'm a lazy scrapper. Technically you should open a new document and then drag the frame over to the new document so that you don't accidently save over the original frame file. So you can do that and then add a new layer in additon to the photo frame)

Use the rectangular marquee tool to select a rectangle slightly larger than the opening of the picture frame.Make sure the new layer is highlighted/targeted (it will be blue in the layers palette)

Use the fill tool[K] (the bucket icon) and fill this selection. You have just created a clipping mask.

Now drag your photo above your layer mask (see those 3 little pictures to the right--that is the layers palette. You can see that my photo is above the clipping mask but under the frame). Resize your photo as necessary, and then clip it (CTRL-G in elements) to the mask you created. This will make your photo fit perfectly within the frame opening.

You can add text or brushwork if you want.

Merge Layers as visible. Then SAVE AS (not save because you don't want to save over the frame or you will not be able to use it again.) Save as a PNG file, no to interlace when that box pops up. [When you save as a PNG it makes the background transparent so that when you place it on your blog it will blend seamlessly in with your background. Now you won't be able to tell if you have a white blog background, but if you have a pattern or any other color, PNG's are the way to go.]

This is just one method to insert your photo into a frame. Because this frame has a paperclip overlapping the opening, and the opening is not angled or irregular, we can easily use the rectangular marquee tool. Some frames are really easy and I don't need a clipping mask but can just resize my photo to fit the opening. Here's another method you could use too: Inserting Photo in a Frame

I used PSE 4.0 but the general principle applies to all versions.
I hope this helps someone out! If not, I hope you at least think my photo is cute ;)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Toddler Activities---Little Lapbooks Jungle Puzzle

When I was teaching a preschool co-op this past fall, I came up with a toddler-sized lapbook that works well for little hands. Ours was based on the song, "Who is the King of the Jungle?" I wish I had pictures to show you, but the book is MIA at the moment. We had a lapbook component or activity on each flap. The kids love having their own little books.

Using that idea as a springboard, I've created a jungle puzzle book using the little lapbook format. This would work well as a workbox activity or activity bag activity for younger children.

Jungle Puzzle Page 1
Jungle Puzzle Page 2
Jungle Puzzle Page 3
Jungle Lapbook Instructions
Little Lapbook Instructions

Feel free to print away and use at home! I'll be coming up with some more little lapbook ideas in the upcoming weeks. If you use this format for a project, I'd love to see it and feature it here.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

11 months Old - Digital Layout

Oh she's growing so fast! It has been fun lately to see her interacting with all of us more. She tries to say our names, which is so cute! She's even able to hold her own with her 2yr. old sister :) I can't believe that in one month she will be one. I told myself that I would keep up with her pages and milestones---but I haven't. At least she'll have this page! LOL!

Digital Layout created using these supplies:

Upcycled Art No. 2 by Ann Aspnes
Eat Cake (notecard, photo corner & staples) by Katie Pertiet
My Family Genealogy Clippings No. 2 by Katie Pertiet
Twill Strips by Lynn Grieveson
Bookplate Notes Basics by Katie Pertiet
Aaron by Michelle Martin
Nature's Best Flowers by Lynn Grieveson
Watery Brushes by Katie Pertiet
Chunky Chocolate Chipboard Alpha by Katie Pertiet

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christmas in July

There are so many people whom I have never met who have helped me with my homeschool journey. They are the people who have created unit studies, lapbooks, forms, link lists etc. and shared freely. So when one site, Homeschool Share , announced their Blast contest, I knew that I wanted to join in order to give back something to the community. Michelle Light and I teamed up to finish a Christmas Around the World Unit and Lapbook. It is huge I tell you, huge! These are the countries that are covered:


There are over 40 printables for this unit! I also created a coloring page to go with each country. I thought that younger children would enjoy creating their own Christmas Around the World coloring book. You can find these files listed within each country from the main unit link: CATW

In addition, there is a file-folder game included:

File Folder Game
Game Cards 1
Game Cards 2
Game Cards 3
Game Cards 4

Another way I plan to give back is by joining The Big Curriculum Clean-OUT that Homeschool Creations is hosting. From August 2 - August 15 I will have several curriculum give-aways on my blog, and Homeschool Creations will have the master list of all blogs participating. I have been cleaning my shelves and have found that I have either duplicates of some items or items in good condition that I would like to pass on to others. I know for sure that I'll have something from All About Spelling, Sonlight and SpellQuizzer. I'm still going through my stash so I might have a few more things posted as well.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wall Art Set 2

wall art
I am so excited to have these done! Both of my daughters' names start with A, so I made 2 versions of this print (the heart paper color is different and the text is different, but everything else is the same). So I'll print these two plus the one posted previously and make a grouping. Once it's up, I'll be sure to photograph it.
Stamped and Layered Template No. 2 by Katie Pertiet

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Monday, July 20, 2009

I Heart Faces---The Feet Edition

This is one of my favorite baby photos that I took of my dd#3. I love the curled toes and the little creases in the bottom of her feet. Oh babies grow so fast!

To see some other cool "feet" pictures, head on over to:


Sunday, July 19, 2009

About Time I Hung a Picture

We've done musical rooms over the past two years with the kids. The back room was at first my oldest daughter's room. At the time she wanted it pink, so we painted it. She has since moved rooms and now the two little girls share that room. I haven't done anything to it since painting over 3 years ago and it looks so bland! I mean I don't even have curtains up to soften the blinds. There are still wall anchors showing on the wall from a previous hung shelf. It really could use a fresh coat of paint, but I know that isn't going to happen soon. So I decided to turn to my digital scrapbooking supplies and come up with some wall art to help cheer up that room. Here is the first picture:

wall art

Since I'm all about doing things as easy as possible, I used the Year In Review template from Katie Pertiet to form the background. I turned off all the calendar and word layers, and then shrunk the frames. I tell you that saved me several hours of work! :) Next I layered papers from Mindy Terasawa's In A Whistle Kit. I think it turned out cute---and it was affordable too! I can't wait to frame it.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to Create Custom Flashcards with Open Office

I've had several emails from readers saying that there is no way they can create their own printables. Oh yes you can! :) I normally create most of my items with Photoshop Elements, but you can create wonderful things without expensive programs and I'm going to show you how.

First you need to download and install OpenOffice. Why OpenOffice? Well because it's free! When my family made a cross-country move four years ago, somehow we lost all our Microsoft CD's. They were too costly to replace and I was beyond bummed thatI did not have access to a word processing program. Someone mentioned OpenOffice and I've been using it ever since!

Next download and save my chunky flashcard template.

After you've downloaded and installed the program, open Create a Text Document.

Go to Insert>Picture>From File ---then go to where you saved the flashcard template.

This should insert the template as the background of your document. You will notice that the image is active when you see green squares (or "handles") around the image. In order to deactivate the photo, click toward the end of the document. You should get the text prompt(flashing vertical line).

Now repeat the process adding in the graphics on the left side of the template:

Insert>Picture>From File --- whatever graphic you've saved.jpeg

This graphic should be on top of the template image. You can move it to the appropriate square by right-clicking on your mouse and dragging the image. If the image needs to be resized, click shift and drag one of the corner handles (green boxes) either in or out (depending if you want the graphic bigger or smaller).

Once you have all the graphics in place, you can add text using the Fontworks Gallery toolbar.

Click on the T image (see arrow in the image above)

Move the text tool cursor to the area in the document that you want to create text, and click and drag to make a text box. It is active when you see the flashing horizontal line in the text box.

If you click the text box, you will notice blue squares (handles) all around it. You can click and move the text box when it is in this state. Click off toward the side or bottom of the document if you want to deactivate the text box. If you want to edit an existing text box, double click on it.

You can change the font, color, alignment on the text toolbar. Just highlight your text and make your changes.

You are done! Don't forget to save. OpenOffice has the ability to save as a PDF too. Just click the PDF icon on the top toolbar.

If you are having problems moving a smaller graphic, make sure the large background graphic is not active (green boxes around it).

See Other Related Posts:

Under the Sea Flashcards
Barn Yard Magnet Set

The cute dinosaur graphics are by Mindy Terasawa,

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Under the Sea Toddler Flashcards

I've been organizing and rearranging our school supplies in order to get ready to start a new school year. I was working on DD#3's stuff and wanted to create a few more things for her workboxes. She has quite a few puzzles, but was lacking some easy games. I thought she'd enjoy a memory/flashcard game.

She had never played Memory before. She enjoyed flipping all the cards over and finding the matching pairs. She did not quite grasp the rule of only flipping over two cards at a time and if they didn't match, turning them back over again. She wanted to do it her way, so I let her. :) I was surprised at how long she played. I only did 6 cards so that she would not be overwhelmed. I'll switch them out with other sea creature cards when she needs a variety or more of a challenge.

Here's what the deck of cards ended up looking like:

While I can't give a link to these flashcards due to copyright issues, I can give you a link to a template so that you can make your own set of custom flashcards. I've even created a short tutorial on how to make these cards using Open Office. Click here for the tutorial.

Option 1: JPEG image --- click on template, right-click and save to your computer.

Option 2: Click on image an download as a PDF

Option 3: If you really want a PSD file, email me via the contact button on the sidebar.
These cute graphics were created by Mindy Terasawa

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Or How My Day Went


Monday, July 13, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Sports in Action--Sort Of

I have to admit that I had to go to my archives to find a sports photo. Besides hating to take holiday photos, I guess I also don't like sport photography either. Considering we usually have several kids in different sports at one time, you'd think I'd have a ton of photos! I don't. My excuse is that I don't have a 300mm lens :)

This picture makes me smile though. You know how action-packed a 4yr. old soccer game can be (yes, I'm being sarcastic)--well my daughter is giving the opposing player a stare-down. She's telling him that he better not dare take the ball. If I remember correctly, he went on to score lots of goals that game. :)

For more action-packed sports photography, check out the rest of the entries from:


My First Harvest -- Square Foot Garden

Ok, don't laugh at the huge amount of produce in my first harvest, but it's baby steps for me! :) As I wrote before, I just set up my first Square Foot Garden this year. I started out small because I had to see if I could really handle caring for a garden. I have to tell you that I have loved having this garden! All I have to do is water it occasionally. I have had to do hardly any weeding at all! It has been so simple to care for--and so far everything is still living! :)

One green pepper, one cucumber, and a handful of green beans made the most delicious meal---well I did have to supplement a little. I diced up the the green pepper and added it to an omelet with ham and cheese. I sliced the cucumber and sprinkled a little salt for a tasty snack. Then I snapped the beans, cooked them and pureed them for baby food. Not a bad start!

I still have tons of tomatoes growing, couple eggplant, more green peppers, red peppers, Serrano peppers, cucumbers, and squash. I have no idea what I'll do with it once it's ready---but it sure has been fun growing things from scratch! (Can you tell I grew up in the city!) I think the next skill I'll be learning is canning...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

School Planning--All About Spelling

I can't believe it's time for me to switch gears and start thinking about our upcoming school year already! Since I'm still in summer mode, I like to ease into my planning, so I'm starting with the easiest subject for me to plan--spelling. This past year I switched to All About Spelling as the spelling curriculum for my three school-age kids. My oldest was an excellent reader, but her spelling was bad. She would ace her tests but the knowledge never transferred to her writing. My DS hated spelling, and DD#2 was having difficulty with both reading and spelling.

As I researched spelling programs, I was thinking more about the needs of DD#3. I knew she needed a program that focused on more than just memorization. I began reading on the Sonlight board and started seeing a general theme--people were raving about All About Spelling. So since what I was using wasn't working, I jumped in and purchased AAS Level 1. I had my oldest sit in on the lessons while I combined my DS and DD#2 on the same level. I wanted to make sure they all had the same solid foundation before moving on to the other levels.
After a couple lessons, I was impressed.

I particularly liked:

--that the lessons were easy to implement and written down step-by-step for the instructor
--daily reinforcement of concepts learned via review cards
--some tactile spelling planned into the lessons with the magnetic letters
--was not time-consuming to teach
--the kids were getting it! I felt they were actually learning the rules for the first time.

After finishing book 1, I was pleased with the results. My struggling speller was spelling and reading!(thanks to the combination of AAS and the Beehive Reader), and I was pleasantly surprised to see the other two gain confidence with their spelling.

So if you are looking for a new spelling curriculum, I would highly recommend All About Spelling. If you are currently using AAS, don't forget that AAS Level 5 is now out. If you would like to know more, there is a helpful community called the ChatterBee that can answer any questions you might have.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eye Spy with my Little Eye

I haven't been scrapping as much as usual lately and sure miss doing it! It felt good to be in the zone and create a page. I did this page as part of Designer Digitals' Saturday Scraplift challenge. When I was thinking about which picture to use, I came across this photo of DD#3 and immediately knew that I wanted to do some sort of extraction with it. I usually don't do fancy stuff like that because it takes forever with PSE 4.0, but for once I actually had an idea of what to do before I started (Usually I'm a go-with-the-flow type of scrapper---never plan ahead and never know what my page is going to look like in the end). I even had to stretch the paper towel tube a little---boy I love Photoshop! :)

I'm always afraid to explain how I do certain digital techniques because quite frankly, I'm usually just winging it and find that I was doing it the hard way--lol. That's the thing about Photoshop---so many ways to do the same thing :) Also, I'm working w/ an older version which doesn't have the same functionality as the newer PSE versions. But if you are interested in learning how to do an extraction, check out this tutorial kit:

Here are the supplies I used to create the Eye Spy layout:

Hinged Frames No. 2 by Katie Pertiet
Naturally Krafty No.7 by Katie Pertiet
OuterSpace Page Set by Anna Aspnes
12x12 Page fotoblendz No. 3 by Anna Aspnes
Distressed Toolset No. 1 by Anna Aspnes
Skribbles Arrows brush set by Anna Aspnes
12x12 Scratched Overlays No. 1 by Anna Aspnes
Felt Friends in the Woods by Pattie Knox
Staple Its by Pattie Knox
Recolor Stitches Vol.1 by Pattie Knox

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Friday, July 10, 2009

I Just Wanted a Picture!

DD#3 has decided that she will no longer look at the camera when it's out. She's also decided that she does not want to take naps nor does she want anyone to do anything for her--she thinks she's big enough to do it herself. :)

So this afternoon I found her in this adorable outfit (I'm pretty sure DD#1 or #2 helped pick it out for her). What a perfect photo-op! So I pulled out my camera and my bribe (a sucker) and told her we were going outside. She went outside but she would not do anything I asked. I tried to be silly, but when they are your own kids, they aren't impressed :)

So off she'd run in one direction and then another. I swear she was doing this to me on purpose and enjoying it :)

"Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me..."


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some 4th of July photos

For the past several years, we have met my family in a neighboring town to watch the 4th of July parade. Continuing this tradition,we met again even though it seemed like it was going to rain. Thankfully, one resourceful member of our family brought a canopy just in case. :)

Since we arrived at the parade a whole hour early in order to get "good" seats, we needed to keep the kids entertained. DD#3 had fun putting jewel stickers all over her face, arms and legs. (She even went to church the next day with them all on-lol!)

Aww, isn't this the saddest/cutest face ever? This was DD#4's first time at a 4th of July parade. Since I am her mom, I know what she was trying to tell me with those pleading eyes. "Mom, get me away from these people! Pick me up please!" Of course I snapped the picture and then picked her up. :)