New year, new banner. These are just a few photos I took in 2009 that I really like (there were many!). Looking forward to an even better year of photography in 2010 with my new Nikon!
New year, new banner. These are just a few photos I took in 2009 that I really like (there were many!). Looking forward to an even better year of photography in 2010 with my new Nikon!
I wish it was ME I was talking about, but I was actually talking about this blog. Don't ya hate it when the site of your own blog starts to disgust you to the point where you can't blog again until you do something about the ugliness? I am a freak like that. So my current excuse for not blogging all week was my ugly blog. I am not dead-set on this new scheme either, but at least it is something different to look at for the time being. This also reminds me that I desperately need a new profile pic
Now that my blog is looking a little cuter, I will be back soon with updates from the past week....
Something more Spring-like.
Have I mentioned this week is my SPRING break?
The weather has been pretty yucky for at least a week straight now. Not that I am surprised.... I am pretty sure this is the 3rd year in a row that it has seemed as un-spring like as possible over my week of vacation. Boo!
Even though the weather is dreary, I decided to get as tropical as I could without paying a dime. Como Park Conservatory is where I spent some time yesterday. The Sunken Garden with the seasonal flower show is always my favorite. My partner in crime and I got several cool photos, including all of the tropical flowers that are pictured in the new banner and those seen on my Daily Photo blog.
Wow, this is post #1,000. Hard to believe!
In honor of this milestone, I decide to make banners for all four girls who registered for my banner giveaway. I love this kind of stuff!! Hope these lovely ladies like their new banners!
And for Mel
All of the papers and elements have been downloaded for FREE from a variety of sites. If you're into digital scrapping or just want some resources to work with, check out Scrapping with Ikea Goddess, her blog links to several digital freebies. That is where I have found a good bulk of my digi stuff over the past year.
This is post # 983 on this blog. Wowsers!!! 983 also happened to be my house address growing up. Anyway, I made a new banner with my favorite little barn.
According to my stats on site meter, I have 98, 836 hits. That is just 1,164 hits away from 100,000! (According to Typepad I hit that mark long ago). That is a lot of posts and a lot of hits. If only I knew who keeps using Google to search for my name multiple times on a daily basis then I would feel much more comfortable keeping this blog public. Anyone want to confess? It is much easier to just bookmark the site.....
My blog, that is. As cute as those little Easter Bunnies were, time to move on!
I wish I were going somewhere tropical next week for my spring break, but I waited too long and everything is either sold out, or way too much $$$. Next year for sure!
**This photo is in Bora Bora, from Index Stock.
I also created this new banner for Michelle's blog. I am feeling in the creative mood, so if you'd like for me to do one of these bad-boys up for your blog, let me know....I charge $12 for a custom design :)
I designed two Valentine banners today, neither came out how I envisioned them :(
Banners are just not as pretty without a photo, IMO. Good thing Valentine's Day is only a week away and then I can get rid of this new one! LOL
ETA: I decided to change the background back to black and keep the white banner. I like this combo much, much better!
A few weeks ago Greta did a banner giveaway on her blog and paid me to design a banner for the winner. The girl who won told me she loved "pinup girls". Here is the banner I designed for her....(Greta and I both LOVED it!)
Don't ask me why I am always drawn to purple!? I realize now I should've gone with a different color. I will probably be sick of this new banner within the week!
I decided to go with a white background for the first time in a LONG time. I prefer the dark backgrounds but I always feel slightly guilty because my friend Lori tells me it is harder for her to read off a dark background!
Here is what it would've looked like had I gone with more purple.
Greta commissioned me MONTHS ago to make a new banner for her, but with grad school and the new job and everything, I just never had the time until this weekend. The one she has had up for the past year is one I made for her last January during one of my frequent banner giveaways. This time she wanted something "edgy and funky"....hope this meets her satisfaction! I think it is totally Greta..don't you agree for those of you who know her???!! She tells me to just "come up with something". As much as I love creating banners, the pressure is much greater when I actually get paid to create these babies!! LOL. **For those of you who are interested, I do create banners for a pretty fair price. Just contact me and we can work something out.**
I downloaded about 100 new fonts this weekend at Urbanfonts.com. They have some really cool fonts! I also found some cool new brushes on another site ( including the skulls you see in Greta's banner). Fun stuff. The internet has so much out there to download for free, I love it!! Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Designing blog banners is something I enjoy doing (obviously you have noticed this!!) Its fun and helps to keep me interested in my own blog and hopefully keeps you interested too ;) I don't know anyone besides Nicole who changes theirs up as much as I do!
Here is the latest creation. I am really into these bright colors right now!
I have had several people comment on my banners and ask how I create them, so I thought I'd do a run down of the steps:
Step 1. Think of a theme I would like to use. Looking at my past blog banners, you can see that I tend to stick toward scenic, floral, cultural, seasonal, etc
Step 2. Find the perfect photo (s). I use my own photos but also search Google and Flickr to look for the right photo if I don't already have one. Most of them are free for you to use, but some are copyrighted. I have contacted photographers in the past and asked permission to use their photo to make a banner for my personal blog and its never been a problem. These photos almost always become the primary focus of each banner.
Step 3. Search Google for Photoshop brushes that relate to the theme I am using. (In today's case, tropical fish). For the many of you who might not know what a "brush" is, it is like a digital stamp in which you can manipulate the size, color and opacity. Brushes are available for either Photoshop or Paintshop Pro and they are totally slick! There are so many great sites with brushes, but it really depends on what you're looking for. I tend to be specific with my searches and have downloaded free brushes from at least 50 different sites (or so it seems!). Most of them give you permission to use whatever brushes you want.
Step 4. I use either ArcSoft Collage Creator or Photoshop to place my photo onto a solid background. I find it so much easier to use Arcsoft to manipulate size and place photos than Photoshop, so thats what I personally tend to use. I save the collage as a jpg file and then open it in Photoshop.
Step 5. Using Photoshop, I pick out the colors from the photo that I want to emphasize in the banner and put a border around the banner. **When using the color picker tool in PS, it tells you a 6letter/digit color code for each custom color. I write these down and label the colors. Its important to have the codes so that the colors match up when I change the blog template later in the process.
Step 6. Create a new layer for the title of the banner. This takes longer than you might think because I search through all my fonts and play around before I choose the right one. I think I need to start downloading more fonts soon....mine are all played out! *Please share new favorite fonts if you have any!*
Step 7. Go to Preset manager in Photoshop and load new brushes.
Step 8. Create a new layer in PS for the brushes. Choose colors, look through brushes and start playing until I am totally satisfied with how the banner looks. SAVE!
Step 9. Resize the banner to 870 pixels wide.
Step 10. Upload new banner and change the color scheme, using the color codes that I wrote down in step 5.
And there ya have it!
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a fun night (or at least a safe one).
I know I had a great night!
Cheers to a great upcoming year!
Time for a holiday banner! I saw these adorable cherub decorations on campus last night... One nice thing about attending a Catholic University....they allow you to celebrate Christmas!!
I am bound and determined to make today a better day (although it is snowing AGAIN). The past few years have almost made me forget what winters are really like in MN!!! (Yes, Greta and Adrienne, you southern gals will have to wait until a different season to come visit me! LOL)
Thoughts for Thursday coming later :)
Thank goodness Halloween is OVER, I was completely sick of the banner! What else is new!? LOL....Thats why I change my banner and scheme 2-3 times per month!
I am a huge fan of the native culture and I have been thinking a lot about it lately (I am currently teaching an Ojibwe culture class), so my new banner is native-inspired. I love red & turquoise together!
Thanks to everyone for their comments on my TFT post yesterday :) So many people had such positive things to say about blogging, I thought it was great that you shared why blogging can be so special.
When I told you I have a list of topics that I plan to use for future TFT, I wasn't kidding! I have enough material for at least the next 4 months, so please make sure to check back and be prepared to share your thoughts with me :)
Have a fabulous weekend
I thought I'd take some of my favorite pictures from the summer and make a little banner (okay, so its HUGE!)
So, today was the first day of school at my new school. It is a little weird to see so many kids and not know any of them!! Well, I actually saw a couple of kids I knew at my other school that just transferred this year. Scheduling is one of the most difficult things about this time of year, I always have obstacles. I am hoping to start seeing my students next week...thats the goal, anyway.
One of my college roommates, Cora (and her husband Brian), had a new baby girl (Audrey) last week on the 26th of August. Congrats! Emma looks like such a proud big sister!
I have been much more of a lurker than an active member in recent months, so I was slightly surprised to see that Scrapjazz has been revamped. Seems pretty cool, I am sure I will get the hang of it sooner or later
Anytime before midnight!! LOL
A new look for the ol' blog here! I know I said recently that I am sick of purple and pink, but this was such a pretty picture that I went with those colors anyway :)
I also finished the banners for my giveaway a few weeks ago.
This one is Jennifer's....she provided me with these lovely pics :)
This one is Rolana's, (which she has yet to display) I love it!!!!!!!!
Greta and I were talking about the banners the other night and she thinks I should start selling them! We both thought $10 or so would be a reasonable amount to charge for one banner, because it does take some time.....
So if anywould would like to pay me $$ to design them a banner, let me know :)
I need something to get my mind off this bridge news. The shock turned into sadness while watching CNN this morning and I couldn't stop crying for some time.
So anyway, I am in the mood to start creating and wanted to announce the winners, drawn randomly from all comments on banner giveaway post. Ready??
I've decided to do another banner giveaway.
For those of you who enjoy my banners and would like a new look for your own blog, leave me a comment.
I will design a banner for TWO lucky people.
Winners will be selected randomly. (Once I figure out how to do that)
Lurkers and non-commenters, this is your chance to get a banner like these I designed for other people!
Although (or maybe I should say because) purple has been my life-long favorite color, I get sick of it from time to time. Now is one of those times! I had to change up the banner and color scheme of this blog, and I love the new look! I know some of you (Adrienne!) tease me about how often I change the look up, but the "newness" of a new banner and colors always helps me revitalize my feelings for this blog. Its like eye candy :) I reversed my sidebars and it probably won't be long before I change them back, but we'll see!
Today is supposedly the Luckiest day of the century!!
I am PUMPED to see Prince tonight!!!! Would be totally kick-ass to see him play the after-show at First Avenue tonight too. I just found out this morning that tickets go on sale for that this afternoon (in just 2 hours) at First Avenue, but they will only sell 1500 tickets and I am sure the line is already super long...not to mention it is 95' and humid as can be out there. I am contemplating going down there right now! I have already seen Prince at least 100 times, but this show is at FIRST AVENUE, the place where it all began. He hasn't played there since 1987. I will try to sneak my camera in to the show at the Target Center tonight, but Prince's men are pretty hard-core and I don't expect to be able to get it past them :(
New banner and color scheme in honor of Prince :)
I haven't posted since early on the 4th of July. I was invited to do many different things that day, but opted to just hang out and then later went out on White Bear lake with our neighbors and watched the fireworks from the water. It was pretty awesome! The weather was nice and it was so relaxing out there... More beautiful sunsets (I made this quick digi-layout)
a couple more...
Darrell and Denise...
I will try to be better about blogging this coming week....I have succumbed to summer laziness and I love it!
Hopefully I will have Prince pictures to show ya'll tomorrow!!
Have a lucky day, everyone!!
Has anyone noticed that I have posted more often the past few days? Maybe I haven't, really, but it feels like it to me. Would you like shorter posts, more often?
I was really sick of that banner already and had to switch it up with a photo banner. I love my photo banners :) **Eta*** I have republished my site several times and the changes won't take effect. I'll keep trying tomorrow.
We were using the school's camera this morning at work and since I got my hair cut and new highlights (copper and blonde) last night, I had the kids take a few pics of me. This was their favorite. LOL!
We had project fairs at both of my schools today and I am worn out!! My feet are, anyway. It was kind of sad to have to say goodbye to so many of the families I have become close to in the past three years at that school. Many of them are wondering how the heck the school can cut me when we have 25% of our student population identified as GT. Thats 75 kids who will no longer receive gifted services. Sad for them, sad for me too. I will have to post pics of some of their projects next week.
Anyway, its just about dark here so I am going to go check out the Blue Moon!
Happy Friday. Post about books coming soon :)
Well, kind of anyway. I've enjoyed my days sleeping in, relaxing, reading, watching movies, etc. Can't complain too much about that!
Monday night I met a bunch of friends at Myth to see a show. Dragon Force (800% 80's metal) and Killswitch Engage (Head banging kind of stuff...NOT Devil worship or anything crazy as some of you naive people may mistakenly think).
Tuesday night I met Jenny downtown and we went to Brit's Pub for dinner. Hung out at Jenny's apartment for awhile and then drove home in some BAD weather conditions. Cars getting blown around the freeway from the wind everywhere I looked. Or sliding into the ditch because of the freezing sleet/snow. I took it easy and it took me forever to get home that night, but I was safe. It was worth it, just to spend time with My Jenny :) Here is my review of Brit's.
Wednesday night I went out with some friends for steaks at the Lakeside Club. Delish! We always have a nice time when we go out with those guys :)
Thursday night I met Bradie & Andrea at Vescio's in Dinkytown for a delicious Italian dinner. My review of Vescio's Cucina. Afterward we shared a dessert and had a glass of wine at the 421 Wine Bar.
So yeah, I have been out a lot this week, but I have a ton of material for my Restaurant Blog. I don't feel too guilty about all the rich food I've eaten because I have also spent some time at the gym with my trainer (Jason) :) This is a pic Jason gave me to advertise his personal training business. He works at different clubs in Hugo, Forest Lake, Lino Lakes and Stillwater. If anyone in the area would like more information, please contact me and I can give you details. He is very knowledgeable about the body and nutrition and is also a big sweetie. He is also a pretty good friend.
You may also notice that I have a new banner again. One of my girlfriends and her husband just got back from an Island in paradise...Tahiti. She gladly let me use these photos, it is so gorgeous there!!
Got my hair done last night..... cut and foiled, that is. I was tempted to cut about 6 inches off but instead I just went with layered bangs. Went a little funky with the colors... dark auburn and honey. I like it but was told by one person that I looked like "Cruella Deville" with skunk stripes and by another that it looked "punk". This kind of hurt my feelings because I rather like the way it turned out. I haven't figured out how to style it yet, but here is a little peak. Probably not the best pic because you can't see the colors that well.
With it being in the 60's the last few days, just about all the snow is melted now. I am totally ready for spring! One of my favorite flowers are tulips so I had to change my banner in honor of the season :) It is very "busy", I know, but you'll have to look at it for the next few weeks anyway!
I had dinner with my friend Kim on Monday night. We tried a Mexican place called A la Salsa, inside the Midtown Global Market. they had these funky tiled statues outside so we posed with them (of course!)
Thats all for now, more tomorrow!
Okay, so I am already sick of the snow and we are supposed to get 12-18" MORE in the next few days.
Spring break isn't for another 5 weeks or so, but I am already thinking tropical, as you could probably tell by my new banner :)
I'd be happy to go anywhere warm and sunny this year, but for over 12 years now the one place I have wanted to visit more than anywhere else is...... Costa Rica.
Why Costa Rica? Well, back in 11th grade my Spanish class had a student teacher who had gone to SCSU and did a travel abroad program there. She brought in many pictures from her trip and it all sounded so exciting, that I actually went to SCSU with the intentions of minoring in Spanish and doing the Costa Rica program. So fall quarter of my freshman year I took Latin American Studies 250, the prerequisite for the program. It was a terrible idea to take this class as a new college student!!! I was just young and naive enought to think that the course would involve learning about the culture of latin america, similar to what we had learned throughout highschool. I was very wrong...the class was all about the politics of Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. I am not even into the politics of my own country ,let alone these ones. the class was a terribel experience for me. I remember a certain assignment I needed to complete and standing in the campus library for the first time, crying because I had no idea what I was doing and I was so frustrated. It is such a helpless feeling. Thank God my roommate (and still very dear friend) Bradie, was taking an orientation class and later helped me find what I needed. The entire class was a total failure and I ended up getting the first and only C I have ever gotten in my life. My dreams of going to Costa Rica were dashed when I realized that the professor of my class was the advisor for the whole Costa Rica program. I gave up the idea of studying there in college. I also could not get in to any of the Spanish classes because of my they were all full long before freshman werre able to register. There went my dream of minoring in Spanish.
So to make a long story short, I still want to go to Costa Rica. Colleen & Matt have been there. So have Becky and Miles. And Laura and Jeff. I am extremely envious, but I know I will still make it there someday!
I cannot wait to see the jungle and all the exotic plants and animals, the mountains, the beaches, the people, the food.
Soon, I hope!
Ps Speaking of traveling, I thought I'd direct you to a cool post my brother Jeff recently wrote about his experience filming a documentary in Kenya, Africa while he was in college. Glad both of my brothers studied abroad even though I didn't :( Make sure to leave Jeff a comment!
Here I am, 30 years old! That sounds ancient to anyone 28 and under, but really, it doesn't feel any older than 29, or 28. I don't even have any wrinkles, and maybe just a few gray hairs (which I attribute more to teaching than old age!). LOL!
Had my voice back and felt good enough to keep my birthday plans last night...dinner at Boca Chica on the West Siiiiiiiiiiiiiide. This place is fantabulous!!!!!! Authentic Mexican. My new favorite :) I was feeling good enough to actually eat a couple of tacos and have a few drinks.
It was a nice dinner with some of my best friends (Erick, Roger and Troy too!).....
There were musicians that serenaded our table and sang to me.....
If you would like to see the rest of the pics from our dinner, check out this album.
One last thing, new banner!
I think today is going to be a great day!
Another new banner and color scheme....hope noone gets sick of the constant changes here! I love tigers and thought this white one was just gorgeous :)
I also designed this banner for Trina :)
Making these banners is something I have been enjoying lately, as you can tell! I thought I would make an album for my banners so you could check out all the ones I've had over the past 20 months that I have been blogging. Click on the thumbnails to see the entire banner. A couple of them were designed by Nicole...she also does a fabulous job of designing banners!
Now that I have gotten the fun stuff out of the way, time for the not-so-fun stuff. Yesterday was the day I had to spend 3 hours at the hospital to have the ultrasound/biopsy of the lump on my thyroid. The procedure was not fun at all. First I had to have an ultrasound of the tyroid so they could see how big the lump is, measure it, take pictures, etc. This took a good 30-45 minutes, but was kind of relaxing. They found 3 lumps on the right side and one on the left as well, all were bigger than 1cm. This meant getting biopsies on both sides. Unfortunately they need to stick a big needle all the way in there a minimum 3 times for each lump, just to make sure they got enough cells to test. I was stuck a good 10-15 times. Good thing I have a high tolerance of pain! All last night it really hurt to swallow, cough, yawn, etc. Still hurts today, but not as bad. My thyroid is really stinkin swollen now too :( We should get the results of the biopsy next Wed and we will know what the next step is then. The good news is that only 10% of these are cancerous and even if they are, it is almost always curable. So I really have nothing to worry about, right!? I have to admit I was feeling a little sorrry for myself last night, but I woke up with a much better attitude today. I'm going to be fine. Thanks to everyone who has been thinking/praying for me :)
Wanted to give a birthday shout-out to my girl Raina today, Happy Birthday!!!!
Yes, my vacation is over, but it was good while it lasted! I have definitely been in relaxation mode since the holidays ended. My entire mind, body and soul needed every minute of it.
Here is a rundown of the past week or so...
Sleep: Got quite a bit during my time off. Stayed up late every night, slept in late every day.
Headaches: Too many to count, but more good days than bad. Seeing the ENT Dr. next week about my sinuses and constant earache.
Books: Read the first book in Nora Roberts "Circle" Trilogy and now reading the second one as well. Very different from her other books...this one is a battle against vampires. Some romance. Coming along slowly, but if I can read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, I can make it through anything!
Movies: Geez, I have seen more movies in the past few weeks then I thought possible. Just shows how lazy I've been.
Fearless ( Jet Li). Very good for a kung-fu movie. It actually had a plot and was easy to follow with the subtitles. Awesome fight scenes.
The Break Up (Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn). Cute, but I hated the ending.
Superman Returns. This was decent, but they could've picked a cuter superman.
Lady in The Water(M.Night Shamalan). Not scary like some of his other movies, but good.
The Descent. Holy crapola! I couldn't even watch half this movie because I am so claustrophobic. Not too mention how stupid the women acted.
Night at the Museum (Ben Stiller). Very cute!
Lady of Vengeance. Korean movie with English subtitles. Kinda gruesome and very confusing!
Friends: Didn't get to see nearly as many people as I had hoped since I generally wasn't feeling that good, but was still pretty busy the past week. Didn't take pictures of any of it!? A true testament to how lazy I've been.
Hung out with Susan on Wed. afternoon. Had lunch at Panera and then I drove her around White Bear Lake and out to Pinetree Apple Orchard and to see the huge mansions in Dellwood. Nice to hang out and talk :)
Lanee came over to hang out on Wed night. Spent the night talking. Its great that she lives less than 3 miles away :)
Brought lunch to Mary and Troy on Thurs. I hadn't seen my BF in over two months and I've missed her so much but she is one busy lady. Besides being a full-time mom of two and a full-time student, Mary and her husband are really busy getting their house ready to list on the MLS, hopefully this week. You ever watch Flip the House? They totally flipped their house and it is really cute! Everything is brand new from top to bottom, inside and out. Located in Stillwater for a great price :)
Dinner with Lanee & Roger on Thurs night. Its awesome that they live so close...we often make last-minute dinner plans and it is always a lot of fun. This time the four of us went to Washington Square and then hung out at their house.
Friday early evening with Jason & Ruth. Ordered takeout from Wild Ginger and hung out while the boys played a game of Madden.
Went to Cassie's late Friday night to help her celebrate her birthday. Besides having a really nice time hanging out, I also discovered the new Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses. My new favorite!!!
Scrapped all day Saturday with Shannon, Sarah and Gina. Gina makes the best breakfast dishes. I truly feel spoiled to be the recipient of her culinary talents. Baked Caramel French Toast and egg-sausage-hashbrown-cheese bake. Delish! We accomplished more in the kitchen than we did with scrappin. I think! LOL
Jeff & Toni came over on Saturday afternoon...Jeff showed us his skills at Guitar Hero 2...keep rockin', Jeffy! That game is fun, but it totally bugs my eyes out from watching and makes me motion sick. Can't watch it for too long. We all went to Macaroni Grill for dinner. I made up my own pasta combo, but chose the wrong sauce and was disappointed :( The cheesecake that we shared for dessert totally made up or it, though!
I had offered to make banners a few weeks ago and the lucky winner was Jessica. Here is her new banner.
While I was at it, I also designed this one for Raina.
This one for Val.
and this one for Greta the Great.
It was fun making them and the girls all loved them. If you like what you see, stay tuned for a future banner give-away!
So that's a run-down on how I spent my time off. Looking forward to getting back to work and seeing all my students!!