Monday, February 28, 2011

Digital Ripple Tutorial

I finished LOAD today!  28 days and 31 layouts!  Hooray! As well as :( I can't believe it's over, and can hardly wait for May already. Though I might actually get some housework done between now and then.

Here is my page for today:

Do you like it? Well there is a  way to create these ripples in Adobe Photoshop Elements. And here's how I did it:

1. In a new document open the elliptical marquee tool.  

2. Once you have decided where to put the center ripple click there and hold the shift key while you drag your mouse to make a small circle.  

3. Stroke/outline selection. I used 25 pixles for the center.

4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 several times making  progressively larger circles, varying the stroke size and the space between circles. (Hint if you can't get the circle where you want it create a new layer just for that circle, then you can nudge it where you want it and merge the layers)

5. When your first set of ripples is as large as you want it, create a new layer and make a new center circle away from the first center.   (I changed colors to make it easier to see.)
6. Make another smaller set of ripples using steps 2 & 3 again

7. Make as many additional ripples as you want.  

8. When you have all the ripple circles you want, use the magic wand tool  to select between each circle of the secondary ripples (make sure "Add to Selection" is highlighted). 

9. Select the layer  with your first set of ripples and hit delete on the keyboard. This will delete rings between the secondary ripples.  

10. Deselect.
11. Right click on the top layer in the layer pallet. Merge the two layers together so that they become one layer. (Merge Down)

12. In the Layer Styles bin select Bevels and Simple Emboss Apply to the layer. 

13. Select the digital paper you want to have ripples on.  (I chose to use a solid color for this demonstration) Add the paper in a new layer on top of the ripples layer. 

14. When you have the paper where you want it create a duplicate of the paper layer.

15. Move one of the paper layers to the back.

16. Make sure you have selected the top paper layer. In the Layers menu click on create clipping mask (or you can press control & G at the same time on the clipboard)

Voila you have ripples!

I hope you like this. Please let me know if you try it and share any projects you make. (And if there are any important screen shots I missed, I've never done a tutorial before)
Oh By the way, join me tomorrow in the One Little Word Blog Hop- Starting at 8am Pacific Time (11 Eastern time) with Margie here:

It should be a lot of fun and there will probably be some giveaways.  I'm super excited! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning Rant #483

      I'm in such a snit this morning that I thought I would share...isn't that sweet of me?  Actually I really need some ideas.  I had an awesome plan for this morning and I "flubbed it" (as Michaleen Oge Flynn says in the Quiet Man).  
      The background is that we have gotten into the pattern of having a power struggle every school morning.  First the boy will not get out of bed- I have tried the loudest alarm clock I could find-he doesn't even hear it that I can tell.  I can hear it from downstairs clear as day and he just keeps on sleeping! I have also tried LOUD pumping music, tearing off the covers and turning on a fan, splashing cold water on him, and finally have resorted to physically grabbing him under the arms and standing him up.  At that point it used to work to tell him that he was going to miss the bus-he no longer cares, he doesn't even mind if I charge Taxi fees to drive him, he hasn't had any allowance money left after taxi fees for 2 weeks, and he doesn't even care any more. He has more than once declared "I am not going to school and you can't make me!" Well he hasn't gotten away with that-he has not missed school on the days when he has so declared, but he has missed enough from illness and appointments that unless he is throwing up or has a fever he is going to school even if I have to physically drag him down the stairs (Which I have done once). Last Wednesday I got him out the door with just enough time to get to the bus, and he came back a few minutes later. "What happened?" "I walked slow and missed the bus." So I got ready to take him while (unbeknownst to me) he was locking himself in his room.  He then yelled "I'm not going to School and you can't make me" So I unlocked his door and he was hiding under the bed.  I went downstairs and called the school psychologist. A few minutes later I told him that she wanted to meet him and he calmly got in the car and went to school. He was even cheerful and playing that he was driving! I met with her on Thursday (he had a field trip so he actually wanted to go, but not bad enough to take the bus) she is going to do some checking to see if he is having trouble on the bus, but mostly she thinks, and I agree, that it is just a pattern he has gotten into, and it will not be easy to change.

  So I brainstormed with some friends and my Love & Logic instructor and came up with a plan.
Then I did a dry run on Friday to try to find holes in the plan and plug them.(big mistake 'cause he was prepared this morning) Here is how it went:  I put him on the front porch with his jacket backpack, socks & shoes, (In time to make it to the bus) locked the door behind him and got in my car.  Then the garage door would not close (hole #1)-so I pretended not to notice and drove away (the door to the house was locked so he couldn't get in) I drove around the corner and waited about 10 minutes.  Then I drove back and said "Somebody told me the garage door was open so I came back" (Not a lie because I told myself).  "You didn't close it Mom!" "You missed the bus huh, how sad! I guess you have to pay me to drive you"  "I can't believe you did that Mom" "Better get in, I have an appointment and I'm already late" So he got in and I drove him to school. Score one for Ryan.

      Here is the email I sent to Ryan's Teacher, the School Principal and the School Psychologist on Friday-

I want to give you a heads up and ask for input...I've been having a terrible time getting Ryan out of the house in the morning.  It has come to my attention that this is because he knows I will be home and is hoping to stay home with me, so on Tuesday we will be having a Love & Logic strategic training session. This is the plan so far:  Ready or not I will be putting Ryan out of the house at 7:32 am (with any necessities not already on his person in his backpack or on the porch like coat, shoes & socks etc.)  This will give him plenty of time to put them on & get to the bus should he so choose.  He has already been informed that I have a commitment and will be leaving at the same time as him. I will then get in my car and leave, I plan to be gone at least an hour...If he chooses not to go to the bus stop (a choice he has made a few times lately) he will not be able to get back in the house.  (I am working on recruiting assistance from the neighbors for surveillance & possible assistance with his problem from there). 
Do you have any input on this? I would really appreciate any comments or suggestions...I want this to be a learning experience (i.e. uncomfortable) but not harmful.
     Lest you say "that is mean", please know that this is an Absolute Last Resort, that I talked to my neighbors and made sure they would be looking out for him, and made sure he had a warm jacket, shoes and socks in his backpack, it was 36 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside (So he would be cold but not freeze) and everything would be safe. I let him know ahead of time that I had an appointment this morning and would have to leave at the same time as his bus. And I got the garage door opener fixed (or so I thought, it wouldn't close again this morning).

So I was all prepared to do it for real this morning... and I could not get the boy downstairs! ( I grabbed him by the hand to physically lead him, but he got away and ran to his room screaming "You don't know how hard it is to be me!  You don't care about me, all you care about is if I get out of the house!" to which I responded "Nice try, I love you too much not to make sure you get a chance at a good education")  By the time we got downstairs he had already missed the bus-which was his plan all along! Once again he got me to drive him to school. And while I was fuming, he was all cheerful and lovey.
I am going crazy with this morning power struggle.  I hate that this is how I am relating with my son, that I am resorting to physically grabbing him by the hand and dragging him, but he has to go to school! I am at a loss. I do not know what else to do. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

LOAD day 21 In Ryan's eyes

I have been seriously lax in sharing my LOAD pages so I'll share a few.

I agonized over today's and whether I wanted people to actually see these pictures of me (Yikes) that were taken by my son...I finally decided that even though he specializes in Lazy Saturday, Not showered, No makeup and/or End of a busy day, Messy hair, Makeup worn away photography, he seems to capture the real me better than anyone so here it is:

I saw a LO yesterday where they had asked their child the questions in Stacy Julian's book-Big Picture Scrapbooking.  I have the book and love it!  I asked him these questions several years ago, and it was time to do it again!  So here is the Q&A done yesterday and used on today's layout:
What is something your Mom always says to you?
Mom always says “I love you forever I like you for always as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”
What makes Mom Happy?
Protein Bars
What makes Mom sad?
When she accidently head butts the wall on purpose (When did that happen?  In my dream.)
How does Mom make you laugh?
Air tickles! Sometimes even hits herself on the head
How old is Mom?
How tall is Mom?
18 inches & nine yards
What is her favorite thing to do?
Mom’s favorite thing to do is make her hair look all spiky to make me laugh
What does she do when you are not around?
She watches TV until her head comes off
If she was famous what would it be for?
You would be famous for eating chocolate balls until your brain rots
What is Mom really good at?
She’s really good at GETTING ON MY NERVES!
What is Mom really not good at?
She’s really not good at pulling her head off
What is Mom’s job?
Mom’s job is being a Mom
What is Mom’s favorite food?
Protein Bars
What makes you proud of Mom?
She tucks me in at night and reads me stories
If Mom was a cartoon Character who would she be?
What do you and Mom do together?
Puzzles, Family Worship and get on each other’s nerves sometimes
How are you and Mom the same?
We’re both people
How are you and Mom different?
Mom’s a grownup and I’m not
How do you know Mom Loves you?
She hugs me and kisses me whenever I leave for school and whenever I get home

Our children have the strangest ideas about us sometimes. Some inspire reflection, and hopefully improvement. Some were said to be funny. Some are not nice-because he was annoyed that the interview went on for so long, some are just plain wrong. All are worth recording and remembering.

Yesterday the prompt was to embrace imperfection, by intentionally making a "mistake".  I figured that if anyone could help me embrace imperfection, my 8 year old could so I had him make up and write the title, and I used it misspelling and all.

Here are a few others:

Day 19 My  maternal grandparents circa 1950

Day 18-5 item Friday-5Patterned Papers My childhood jungle gym:

Day 17 It's true I am a glitter addict.

Day 16  4 years old and covered in paint?  Oh yeah!

Day 15 The story of my son's early childhood fear of "Buddy Buh Buh" (AKA Ronald McDonald), how did he get that nickname you ask?  The jingle from McDonald's commercials of course! You know "Ba da ba ba bah I'm lovin' it"

Day 14 is a true portrayal of the contents of my Purse & Tote (including trash) before I cleaned them out that morning.
Day 10
Stay tuned there will be more soon!

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to motivate a second grader Part 2

 Warning this is a long post-but kinda funny, if I do say so myself.
As mentioned in  How to motivate a second grader part 1.  Ryan has ha a little trouble at school this year. Homework around here  is probably the way it is in most homes with an ADHD kid-it usually consists of me and Ryan in the kitchen, me saying "What is the answer to this question(problem)?" while Ryan is fidgeting and changing the subject as much as  possible, with me trying to steer the attention back to the homework and asking for the answer again and so on and so forth, over and over again...
In January they (the whole second grade) had to do a biography project.  They worked on it at school a little, but it was mostly an at home project.  At the beginning of the month he brought home a sheet asking for his top 3 choices of people to do the project on.  They had to be  Americans and people who had "Made America Better". They couldn't belong to the list of people they had already studied about in school. This was the beginning of an epic and the end of my Love and Logic skills for that day.   Rebecca Lynn was over (For more info on her click here) and apparently her skills weren't quite up to par that day either because is how it went:

"Do you have any idea who you want to do Ryan?"
"Uh-uh" (AKA "No and I don't care")
"Would you like us to help you look some people up on the internet?"
"Guess so"
"Do you have any names at all in your head?"
"George Washington Carver"
"What do you know about him?"
"Nothin' "
"Who Else?"
(shoulder shrug)
"What about an inventor?"
"Inventor's are boring"
"An Explorer?"
"A Scientist?"

You get the idea-this went on for about 2 hours, with us looking up people's names on the internet like the inventor of T.V and Video games, scientists who study about Snakes and/or Bugs (Ryan's favorite things) etc...everyone and every idea was "Boring". Eventually we had 3 names on the paper: Benjamin Franklin, Jesus and George Washington Carver.  I tried telling him that Jesus was not an American and therefore was, unfortunately, not eligible.  They had been studying about George Washington Carver in school already, and  thus also, not eligible. But he insisted and so those names remained.  Later that evening Rebecca Lynn called me and said "We sure let our Love and Logic skills fly out the window tonight!"  And she was right.  We allowed his homework to become our problem instead of his, and it was really HIS problem.  So we all wound up frustrated and upset by the end of the evening.
The next day I was determined to remember my Skills!  So I allowed him to forget his paper with the 3 names on it, as well as his planner.  I did not remind him or make it my problem.  That afternoon I got the email.  And a week or so later he brought home the sheet with his choice of -you guessed it-Benjamin Franklin. Now don't get me wrong, he was a very interesting person.  He lived an incredible life in an amazing time in history.  He was an inventor/scientist, a writer, a businessman, and a diplomat. But every kid does Ben Franklin! (In fact 3 other kids in his class of 21 did who else-Ben Franklin) Couldn't we do someone else?  Anyone else? (Making it my problem again,  next time remind myself- use Love and Logic-Who's project is it?) But to my surprise he actually worked on the project.  Sometimes it was as above-
"Ryan...Ryan...Ryan! When was he born?" "January 17, 1706, but Mom I got to tell you this really interesting thing that happened on the bus today..." "When was he born? Write it down Ryan" Over and over again and again...But one night I was at my "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent" class and left it up to the Babysitter to argue do homework with him.  (Genius! I just need a sitter every night!) And he actually wrote some good sentences...with details. Here they are:

Ben Franklin was an inventor, he invented the Franklin stove. he was a hero of a calany amerika. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in boston, masachewsits.  he went to School for only two years.  his parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin had 17 kids.  
 he taught himself four languages. He knew about science and math.  he proved lightning was electricity.
 he made good inventions. he helped stop slavery. he invented the lightning rod.

Another day I sat with him and we looked up some info together...And found some pictures to use. (Love and Logic was sort of there- kinda?) He wrote more sentences-eventually 3 paragraphs-I typed them (as written) and we together fixed what spellcheck found. Another night we put the poster board together. I did some printing and a little cutting (I couldn't let him use the guillotine trimmer could I?)- the rest was Ryan...(although we did raid my scrapbooking stash for letters and paper, the mats were my idea, but he liked the idea)

So the Benjamin Franklin project is finished- and I am so happy and proud I could just bust.  Here is the (da da da dah)...Final Product: 

Here are his 3 Paragraphs:
Ben Franklin was an inventor, he invented the Franklin stove. He was a hero of a colony America too. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He went to School about a mile away from his house but for only two years.  When he was 10 he had to work in his dad’s candle and soap making shop. His parents, Josiah andAbiah Franklin had 17 kids.  
When Benjamin Franklin was 12 he became his brother’s apprentice. He worked very, very hard for 12 hours a day in a print shop every day except Sunday.  He studied whenever he could and taught himself four languages. He was a good writer. He was so good that his brother James printed some letters Ben wrote, using a fake name, in his newspaper. When his brother found out who really wrote the letters he was mad.  Ben learned about science and math too. So he did some experiments. After he grew up he proved lightning was electricity.
Ben Franklin is famous for a lot of stuff.  He made good inventions, like bifocals, and all his inventions were very impressive. He helped stop slavery. He invented the lightning rod. He signed the Declaration of Independence and he even helped to write it. 

Last week he brought home his grade- P+ (which is the highest grade possible) And his teacher wrote a note on the bottom that says "Nice Work! I like how you added some interesting facts-some I never knew! :) 
I immediately put it on the refridge, where it will probably stay until he is 22. He is somewhat proud himself-But me- I was just bursting with pride-almost like it was my project and not his! (See I totally owned it, {Sorry Jim & Foster, I'm still learning} but he did do the work).

Saturday ( the 5th) he started taking medicine for his ADHD.  I didn't think it was helping until Thursday afternoon-He did 3 whole sheets of homework- (Are you ready for this) 

Without Supervision!!!! 

I know, I didn't believe it either, but he really did.  I sat in the other room having a conversation with some friends and he did his homework.  Only 2 or 3 times did he say "Mom I need help."  And I said "Do the best you can, I'll look at it when I'm finished" and he did every single question. and of course I am not a teacher, but I think he got all the answers right too! So we shall see but I think we may have hit on the answer. 
I am hoping, with the help of Love and Logic, his teacher and the school psychologist, that he may actually begin to Enjoy School, or at least not dread it (as in try everything he can to stay home-every morning). I'll give it a couple weeks and let you know.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LOAD day 8 Ryan my hero

So it's no secret that I am a crafter.  My scrapbooker self comes out daily this month with LOAD (For more information click on the link) and on a regular basis the rest of the year with Big Picture Classes (BPC), there is no hiding my yarn addiction since I carry a crochet project nearly everywhere I go.
As you know my Word this year is GROW.(for more info look at my last post).  So part of my growth is to be more present with my son. When the day was drawing near to an end I headed downstairs to my scrapbook studio to do my page.  My son followed along. He wanted to do a "craft" together.  We ended up doing this page together:
I asked him for his favorite: 1.color 2. Food 3. TV show 4. Toy 5. Person 6. Human (if wondering why see # 5's answer) 7. Song 8. School subject.  At one point he told me to look the other way, and he stuck his name on in letter stickers.  He picked the "my hero" rub on (his first experience with rub ons- he was fascinated) he asked if he could use the gems, and did another "Look over there mom" thing and stuck the flower on with scotch tape. After everything was adhered (me putting glue dots on gems and buttons, him sticking them wherever he wanted) I realized it would be really nice to have his handwriting on it, so  I asked him to write something he is good at and something he likes about himself on the quote paper. I was hoping for something a little more personal than " I like that I can go to the webkins website"  especially since he hasn't been to that site in over a year, but I guess it will do.  He is good at "vidio games" that is for sure! Seeing what he thinks

of himself tells me that I need to work on his self esteem a bit more. 

He has been on ADHD meds since Saturday, and so far not much has changed here at home, we will have to see what his teachers think when they reevaluate this Friday. I hope that if school becomes easier for him, and focusing not so much struggle, he will start to see what a great kid he really is and not be so hard on himself.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My One Little Word

Sometime in January I was inspired by an email to take a year long workshop taught by Ali Edwards called One Little Word.  I have taken classes from Ali at BPC before, and in person at CKU, and have never failed to be inspired by her. In short the idea of One Little Word is for one word to inspire you for the year.  (For more info click on the link) I was stuck between 3 different words for quite a while- which would I choose Balance, Nurture or Focus? I had already done a Layout with a list of goals for 2011 back in December.  Here it is:

When I showed it to a friend she said I was selling myself short- that I was already a great mom (Are you tearing up yet?  I am. I have such amazing friends) she said it should be to GROW as a mom.  
When I got home I looked up the definition of grow (I had already looked up the others and still couldn't choose).  I realized that I need to grow in many areas of my life.  That I could Grow in nurturing, balance and focus and GROW as a person.  I started to see growth all around me: my son's literal growth, plants with new growth.  So in a way you could say the word GROW chose me.  (I now see it in capital letters in my head). 
Ever since my hubby died in 2003, I have felt stuck in so many ways.  Looking back I can see that I have grown and changed and healed in many ways.  It has been a gradual, sometimes not even noticeable, process...but it has been a process.  So here is my January project:
Title page:

Beginnings photograph:

And here is my page where I (using a template from Ali) explored GROW, its definition, synonyms, and even some verses and quotes using the word GROW.

So here is to growth! It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Color Inspiration

Our LOAD challenge today came from Stacy Julian.  She is such an inspiration to me-I took a class from her at CKU in 2005 and have loved to learn from her ever since. 

The challenge-To pick a photo with strong emotion and choose a color to pair it with that reflects that emotion.

I picked a picture of my son with his dad.  Brad (my husband) died when my son was just 6 months old.  So the emotions run strong and deep.  I wanted to bring out the joy of the moment, so I chose yellow.  But the sorrow still comes through with the blue I used as an accent...This bittersweet page is the result:

Please let me know what you think.  By the way, my son said "Aww, that's sweet"  when I showed it to him.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LOAD Day 5

Our inspiration piece today was this Table of Contents from Real Simple:

Right after I saw it, I read Stacy Julian's blog.  I was inspired to create a sort of Table of Contents of the year Using only 13 pictures from the whole year.   (The blog talks about using 12 which I used on the right side)
 Here is the result:

My Journaling is as follows:
January: The burned buns
Ryan got out of the tub, and dried himself off in front of the fireplace.
But he got too close and ended up with 2nd degree burns on his bottom.

February: Circuit Assembly
After lunch Ryan and I helped the M. Family clean tables & chairs in the cafeteria of the Green Center, Golden Colorado

March: Couch Wrestling
Ryan pretended (I think)  he didn’t want his picture taken-mostly to have the fun of wrestling

April: Nearing The end of 1st Grade
Mrs. N. in front of her class. This was her first year of teaching and she is awesome!
P.S. Can you find Ryan in this picture?

May:  Backyard Ball
George brought big Ryan with him to little Ryan’s study, then they played catch in the backyard.
This was the same day as the beginning of the swingset fiasco.

June: Digging for Dinosaurs
We took Hanna with us to the Dinosaur Resource Center.  There were lots of fossils to look at.  A window into the lab, and a special area for kids to explore.

July: Renaissance Festival
We met Darcy at Ren Fest   She & I were in costume, & by the end of the day so was Ryan (sorta)

August: First TMS Bible Reading
A week after school started, Ryan gave his first Bible Reading on the Theocratic Ministry School.  It was  2Kings 6:8-19 He did such a great job!  We had a lot of visitors there to see it and went to Applebees after with Titi, Don & Krissy, Eve, & all the kiddos.
September: Rebecca Lynn & Ashme
We had a fun day of touristy stuff Garden of the gods, Bug Museum and dinner after.

October: My first LOAD
I took a self portrait using the mirror to put on my first LOAD layout ever.

November: Denver Aquarium
The kiddos had a day off from school, so Kim G. & I took our children to the Denver aquarium.  They had such a great time. 

December: Girls Spa Night
Becky Hume started a Beauti Control business so I decided to have a Spa at my house.  We all did a lip treatment that looked so funny I had to get a picture, and had warm neck wraps.
Left to right-Kristina R, Robin F, Me, Amelia C.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First day of LOAD 2/11

Today was the first day of Layout A Day or LOAD.  It was also a no-school day for Ryan because of below freezing temperatures here in southern Colorado.  Thankfully it was an easy prompt, and I was inspired by a lovely picture of my mother's hand.
 And this was the result.

Ryan was extremely cooperative today.  Maybe my new Love & Logic skills are working?  Maybe but more likely the fact that he was allowed to watch TV and play on his DS while I worked in my scrap studio. Probably not a great decision on my part.

So I have been taking a Love & Logic (L&L) Parenting class on Thursday evenings for 2 weeks now.  I have been using L&L for quite a while, at least I used to use it when he was little.  Unfortunately I had been slipping and yelling quite a bit lately.  After some major frustration on both sides, we needed some serious changes.  We started by negotiating and signing a contract.  I agreed to take a 2 minute time-out in my room every time I started yelling, and Ryan agreed to "put energy into the household" (aka chores or room time) when he misbehaves.  So as predicted, things are getting worse, he is pushing more & more.  I know he needs to test his boundaries, to see if the changes are real.  I know once he figures out that they are for real he won't need to test so much, but in the meantime it is soooo hard! He can push my buttons and twist my heart strings so easily. I must be strong, and stick to my guns!  I cannot get angry and must use empathy. Here's hoping for a short adjustment period on his part and STRENGTH with consistency on my part.