Friday, November 30, 2012

Dickens Christmas Village

Happy Friday! 

Just another taste of my Dickens Christmas Village. 
Chancery Corner via

This is the Chancery Corner building, which is all of 8 inches tall and even has a window you can peak into on Christmas dinner.  Now tell me. Who couldn't fall in love with that tiny little birdbath and cardinals?

My love of Christmas and all the tiny Christmas houses started with my Mom who, in my opinion, is the Christmas Queen. The word that always comes to mind when I think about my childhood Christmases is "magical". Mom knows how to do it up right, and still does to this day even with four grown kids and two grown grandkids. 

But the Christmas houses are what got me the most. Mom has an entire little village going on that I love to set up for her every year, and I've been collecting Dickens Village pieces of my own, trying to catch up!

Last year, Jason helped me set up Mom's village below. That boy is a natural. 
mini Christmas Houses via

Who else is decorating this weekend? What traditions do you love? Have a great one!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Time is Here!

Hello! Hello! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I am now going to bombard this blog with Christmas until the end of December. That's how much I love it and how excited I am to have someone else in my life who loves it, too. 

Here are a few instagrams from this weekend. 

This is the first of probably many I will post of my Dickens' Village. I love it so much. 
Dickens Christmas village via

Yesterday we made four tiny little gingerbread houses from a kit. This was not my idea of fun at first. Very messy, and there is no way we could get them to look like they do on the box. That's a joke. 
gingerbread house via

But, as Jason said, even at their worst, they are very cute, and we will get better next year. 
gingerbread house via

I said, "Next year? You're going to make me do this again?" ha!

Don't worry, I will, because the final product is too cute not to. 

(photos by Jason)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is It Christmastime Yet?

I love Christmastime. I know it's not yet Thanksgiving, but I can't help it. I can't wait any longer. 

Earlier today, Jason was in the living room putting up lights without any coaxing from me. He loves Christmas too, which thrills me to no end. I am very thankful for his love of Christmas. That's Thanksgiving related, right?

Below is a plush felt gingerbread couple that I made a few years ago. 
felt gingerbread boy and girl via
My sister gave me three packs of tiny little plush felt ornament kits a few years ago and this is all I have to show for them. I need to get on the ball and finish the rest. They are the cutest things ever at about 2 inches tall. 

We will probably string lights outside this evening. What? Too early?
The neighbors already have their lights outside, AND their Christmas tree is up!

...Hold on a second. I spoke too soon. Look what else he did earlier today without me knowing. ha! 
wrapping tree with lights via

To be fair, he said he will not turn them on until after Thanksgiving. He cracks me up. 

Oh, and one more thing to get you ready for the holidays. I'm already listening to this great online Christmas music station on Tune-In radio. It's called Christmas Vinyl and it's great old Christmas music on actual LPs. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed

I love romantic comedies. I love GOOD romantic comedies, I should say. I have been disappointed with the genre for quite a while. Years, maybe. It seems that studios are just hitting copy and paste, giving us the same story-line with a different cast.

Tonight, I saw the sweetest, quirkiest, loveliest romantic comedy, Safety Not Guaranteed, and it renewed my love of the genre, and movies in general. I even had my hands in the air cheering at the end, but don't worry, I won't spoil it for you.

Safety Not Guaranteed
The plot: Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned college graduate who lives at home with her widower father (Jeff Garlin), and who interns at a Seattle magazine. One of the magazine's writers, Jeff Schwensen (Jake M. Johnson), proposes to investigate a newspaper classified ad that reads:[6]
"Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed."
Jeff's story idea is approved by his boss, Bridget (Mary Lynn Rajskub). Jeff selects Darius and Arnau (Karan Soni), a studious biology major interning at the magazine to diversify his resume, to assist him. They travel to the seaside community of Ocean View to find and profile the person behind the ad. (from Wikipedia)
I just wanted others to know about this film. Heck, maybe I'm just behind and everyone else has already seen it and loves it. But maybe, there is someone out there like me, who thinks the last great romantic comedy was 2001's Return To Me, and if I can help them to find this movie, and they too will know that movies are not dead. They aren't all cookie cutters of each other. If I can do that, then I have done my job here.

This is just a small movie with a small budget, but it was packed with fun, wit, and heart, a lot more than anything I've seen in a long time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Angel for a Friend

Wow. I posted something every day this week.

I will leave you with this doodle I drew for a friend. 
created using Paper by 53
Have a happy weekend and hug your loved ones. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Urbanna, Virginia

As promised yesterday, here are my photos from the World Wide Photowalk on October 13th in beautiful Urbanna, Virginia. As I did last year (which I just realized I never blogged about! So, it seems I was even less with it last year than I was this year!), I again used the incredibly fun lens, Muse by Lensbaby, which I spoke about here. It bends the light in so many delicious ways. 

This was the most gorgeous day, and I had so much fun just wandering around the town with my best friend. aww. sap. ;) 


 No,  he's not forgetting something. Jason made his own pinhole lens out of a camera body cap.













I had no idea I would love the below picture so much until I started processing it. The focus on the textures of the greens and blues and yellows on the bottom of the boat, and those bright yellow jacks (or whatever they are called) holding up the boat, just make me smile. The blur all around the edges with that blue shadow on the bottom left. I just love this photo, which is why I chose it for my entry in the contest.




church spires via





row boat via








Alas, I did not have the winning picture for my city.  Oh well. I guess it's not about the contest, really, is it? You can click here to see all the submissions from our walk as well as the winning photo. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

5th Annual World Wide Photowalk

This year it seemed it was all around more of a low-key event, from the Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk website, down to our walk leader, and even with me. I usually post about it long before the day of the walk, but it seemed that there was less communication from the official walk site this year, so I even forgot to sign up for it until the week before the event. 

As you might know from the previous 4 years, the World Wide Photowalk is an annual event that takes place in cities around the world one day of the year. This year it was Saturday, October 13th. Folks signed up to join a photowalk group in a city of their chosing.  On the walk day, the groups met at a time designated by their walk leaders, and for two hours we walked around and took pictures of our cities. Afterward, the groups usually gather together to sit around and talk photography and look at everyone's shots from the day. You don't have to meet up afterward, and personally, I never stick around for the social event, as I'm not that social. ;)  We then have a week to process and edit our pictures, and chose our favorite shot of the day to enter into the photowalk contest.  Our walk leaders then pick a winning picture from our cities, which goes on to be judged by Scott Kelby himself for the grand prize winning photo of the day, from the over 1300 photowalks around the world. 

Below is the grand prize photograph chosen by Scott Kelby. Tell me what you think.

2012 Grand Prize Winner

Photo By Lars Anshelm

Lund, Skåne län Sverige

"This is my all-around favorite, and Grand Prize winner, because I simply fell in love with it. I could point to how the texture, color, lighting and composition are just absolutely spot on, but what I love is that I want to know more about this image." 
-Scott Kelby

Stay tuned and I will post my pictures from our walk in the lovely little river town of Urbanna, Virginia

In the meantime, you can see the honorable mentions chosen by Scott Kelby, here, and click the image below to visit the official site and see all the winning city photos from around the world. 
That's my favorite part of the walk, seeing the world in one day. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Grow Your Blog" Party

I just joined the "Grow Your Own Blog" Party. I hope it doesn't interfere with the other important event I am attending on the same day. My wedding! 

Grow Your Blog Party

I am joining the party because I want more followers. Who doesn't? Also, I want more blogs to follow. Yes, me, the girl who already follows just about every blog out there. How could I possibly follow any more blogs than I already do? Well, honestly, I need to weed some out that I thought I would enjoy, but turns out they just weren't for me. I want more creative bloggers to follow, to get inspired by, and so that's why I am going to this virtual party. 

p.s. Obviously, I can't possibly attend the party with abandon that day, since I am getting married, but I will have a post about it the day before, and have a give-away, too. And I will happily visit as many blogs as I can the following weeks. I can't wait to find new creative people to follow. 

If you want to grow your blog and also find more blogs to follow, please join me. 
Click the image above to add your blog to the list!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Doodles

I finally caved and purchased my first app for the ipad. It's called 'Paper' by 53, I posted about it on Halloween. I love it. It's a drawing app that does more than just draw. See for yourself with some of my first doodles.

The fishy below was done with the free version, which comes with just a fountain pen and limited color palette. For $6.99 you get the full essentials package which also includes a pencil, marker, ink pen, and watercolor brush.
fish via

Below is the first picture I drew with the full compliment of tools in Paper. What does that say about me, especially since I don't drink a lot of wine? I have no idea, but it's the first thing that popped into my head. I think because drawing bottles and glassware is so easy. Look what you can do with the watercolor brush.  So sweet.
wine 2 go via

 This app is so much fun. It gives me freedom to be creative without making a mess. 

We watched Brave this weekend. It was such a cute movie. Although, my drawing of Merida (which sounded like they were saying "murder" the whole movie. ha) came out looking more like a Barbie doll. Oh well. It's still fun. Maybe my drawing skills will improve with time.
Brave via

Jason pointed to a print on his wall and told me to draw it, which is below. I'll post a picture of the real thing for comparison when I get a chance. 
watercolor marina using Paper by 53 via

Like I said above, the free version has a limited color palette, but when you pay for the essentials package you get a lot more colors. And if I find I use this a lot there is also a color mixer I can purchase for $1.99. All in all, it's kind of an expensive app, but I think it's worth it. It is so fluid and responsive to your fingtertip or stylus. And, did I mention it's fun?

Here is a picture of what the app looks like including the color mixer, which is extra. 

Within the app, it has journals that you can rename and add pages to endlessly. 

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing like the real thing. To have a real pen, pencil, paint brush in your hand, there is no comparison, but just think of what you can do with this. I could see using it to experiment with an idea before you put it to paper. Or, this could be an online art journal, and a place to take notes or jot down ideas. Mock up that idea you have for your backyard landscaping that you will one day get to? You can save each page to your camera roll or share them. Right now I am just going to have fun with it. 

And no, I did not get paid to rave about this app. That's just how much I love it. I think I need a few more followers before anyone would want to pay me to blog about their products. ;)
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