Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Little George "W" Bush Humor...

just couldn't help it...all in good fun, of course! :-)

A Little George "W" Bush Humor...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spot-Coloring With Photoshop

Just having a little fun with one of my favorite shots from Czech Days 2007. I loved Kaitlin's stance and the way that she was 'framed' by the other dancers, but felt it could be even more dramatic with a little photoshop play.

The Original

Kaitlin in Color Only Kaitlin's Costume in Color

Please...tell me which one is your favorite: 1) all color, 2) Kaitlin in color or 3) only costume in color.

I used the same process to produce both altered versions (using Photoshop Elements 4):

  1. Open photo in Photoshop
  2. Right click on the photo in the layers palette (on the right)
  3. Select ‘Duplicate Layer’, name your layer and click ‘OK’
  4. Select your new duplicate layer
  5. Pull down the ‘Create Adjustment Layer’ menu and select ‘Hue/Saturation’
  6. Adjust the saturation to -100, click ‘OK’
  7. Click on the ‘Zoom’ tool in the left sidebar and zoom in on your photo so that you can easily see your edges
  8. Click on the ‘Eraser’ tool in the left sidebar
  9. In the bar just above your photo, choose your brush type and size (totally depends on the level of detail in your photo and the degree you zoomed in on your photo – choose levels you are comfortable with)
  10. Start ‘erasing…you should see you color copy (the background) begin to show through
  11. When you are finished, pull down the ‘Layer’ menu and select ‘Flatten Image’
  12. SAVE
Spot-Coloring With PhotoshopSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cute-As-A-Button Button Storage

I had been looking for something to store my buttons in for quite some time, but just couldn't quite find what I was looking for...until now:

I found these mini, wide-mouth jars at Wal-Mart and they are PERFECT! Love them! And cost effective, too. I don't remember the exact cost, but it was under $4 for a pack of 4 jars.

The only adjustment I made was to glue the lids to the bands with some clear adhesive so that they would stay together when open. Then, I just divided my buttons by color and I'm set...they are just so 'cute'!

Cute-As-A-Button Button StorageSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 24, 2007

SSFS #21 - Scrapbooking Your Heritage

All this posting on last weekends Czech Days this week got me thinking that this week's Sunday Spur was simply obvious - scrapbooking your heritage! One's heritage is such an important part of who they are, so why not celebrate it by documenting it in our scrapbooks!

There are so many topics/themes that could be considered for a layout:

*traditional costumes
*traditional foods
*traditions/holidays specific to your heritage
*facts about the 'home country' - past and/or present
*physical or personality traits of those of your nationality

This is just the tip of the iceberg!

I am 100% Czech...and for individuals my age in America, it is quite rare to be 100% anything. So, this is definitely something that makes me feel somewhat unique. When I was in college (we won't talk about how long ago that was), I did a family history project and found the following excerpt describing Czechs:

“As regards their physiological features, the Czechs are of middle height, not fat but muscular, resilient, firm and strong. Their build is excellent, and they are possessed of much sensual agility. The Czechs’ spiritual nature is generally good. Their heart is tender and gentle. A generally prevailing passion which might have Czechs in its grip is not in evidence. Their mental gifts are certainly excellent. Their aptitude for various sciences and art is tremendous. They are well-endowed with natural intelligence. They share their, practically innate, predisposition for music with other Slav nations. As regards their morals, the Czechs are generally religious, often even superstitious, they are devoted to the religion of their fathers, the old monarchy-based system of government, and their old customs and habits; they are industrious and perseverant, they face courageously all adversity, even war, but remain peace-loving, always in good spirits, understanding, charitable, honest, and faithful; in their outward behaviour they are direct, dry, and typically display less refinement. That is the basic nature of Czechs, where it remained pure and untouched…”

This description was written in 1794 by Jos. Ant. Riegger, a knight, German by birth but otherwise an authority on things Czech. Is it a generalization? Sure. Is it still interesting (at least for someone who is Czech)? Definitely! It is interesting to me to here how my ancestors would be described before they ever even set foot on American soil, let alone made a home in the Midwest. It is interesting (and somewhat amazing) to me how much of this description I can still recognize in my family members and myself.

With my daughter, I have broken the chain by marrying a 'DIG' (Dutch, Irish & German) boy, but she is STILL 50% Czech. by gosh, and I certainly hope she we retain all the best of what the nationality has to offer.

Remember the layout I shared last week from the last Czech Days? Well, behind the main photo on the bottom right, you will find the passage above...just one way of keeping the heritage alive!

SSFS #21 - Scrapbooking Your HeritageSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kiddie Parade Kaitlin

So, Kaitlin did enter the Czech Days Kiddie Parade last Saturday! Here's proof:

If I had had more time (in other words, not come up with a slogan and decided to put her in only the day before!), I could have done a little more. All I really had time for was the signs...wish we could have added some streamers or balloons or something to her bike. Oh well, there's always next year (because now that she's done it once, she's certainly not going to let me off the hook next year!).

It was a LONG, HOT wait for the parade to get underway and Kaitlin was getting a little crabby, but once she got the 'OKAY' to peddle and experienced the excitement of her cheering and 'aww'ing (as in, 'How cute is she?!') onlookers, she was all smiles. She rang her little heart out on her bicycle bell all the way through the parade (our slogan makes a little more sense now, doesn't it?).
Kiddie Parade KaitlinSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Personal DNA - I'm a Dynamic Architect. What Are You?

This isn't your average, everyday multiple choice personality test! Check it out!!

To read my description, go here: Dynamic Architect

Personal DNA - I'm a Dynamic Architect. What Are You?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Little Czech Girl does the Hokey Pokey, The Bunny Hop...and The Macarena?!

Kaitlin truly is a little dancing fool! These nothing quite like seeing a little blond in full Czech dress doing the Hokey Pokey...

(this is the 'head out' part, of course)

('and turn yourself about'...)

The Bunny Hop...

('hop, hop, hop'...)

and The Macarena.

Notice her close attention to the lady in the brown shirt? Kaitlin really had no idea what she was doing, but she chose a good leader and did pretty darn good!

A Little Czech Girl does the Hokey Pokey, The Bunny Hop...and The Macarena?!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tabor Native, Aesli Grandi, Bringing National Recognition to Czech Days

Anyone who attended Czech Days this year would have been pretty hard-pressed not to notice something just a little out of the ordinary...the fact that there were professional cameramen nearly everywhere you went!

Aesli Grandi is a Tabor native (and was crowned the Czech Days Queen in 1997) now works for a production company in California and brought a film crew with her to Czech Days this year. It is not yet determined what will come of the 40 or so hours of film coverage they took over the weekend and the days leading up to the event, but it sure added an element of excitement to the festivities this year!

To read more of the details:
Sioux Falls Argus Leader Article
Yankton Press & Dakotan Article

Tabor Native, Aesli Grandi, Bringing National Recognition to Czech DaysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Activities and Two Little Polka Dance Champions

No pictures yesterday...sorry. But it wasn't because I fell asleep. Father's Day ended up being busier than I expected. It took awhile to go through a week's worth of mail, get bags unpacked and the house back in order (sort of).

Then, Kaitlin & I went out for a late lunch with my parents, brother (Lee) and sister (Lynn) and stopped in to visit my grandparents for awhile afterward. It was a nice afternoon. By the time we got home in early evening, all we wanted to do was watch a movie, so we watched "The Greatest Game Ever Played." It's strange...I don't really get into sports IRL, but I always seem to really enjoy sports movies. It was really good.

So, on to those pictures I promised...

Czech Days was a little extra special this year - lots of firsts for both Kaitlin and me. Thursday night we attended the Tabor Bluebirds baseball game with the fireworks afterwards. They actually added this event last year, but we didn't make it. It was a lot of fun...they won the game and the fireworks show was really good - better than I had expected for such a small town. They really put on a great show. I didn't take my tripod along, so firework pictures weren't going to happen.

One of the definite highlights of this years Czech Days was when Kaitlin and Jamison (her cousin) entered a Polka dance contest in the 6 and under category...and WON! Yes, there were only 3 other 'couples' in their age group, but it was still darn cute!!

Of course, neither one of them had any idea how to Polka, but all the older age groups went first and Kaitlin sat and watched intently and Lynnie gave her a few pointers, too. Of the four couples, Kaitlin and Jamison were really the only ones that 'attempted' to do it was so adorable! Poor Jamison, was pretty obvious who took the 'lead'! :-) I was just so proud of them that they got out there and danced their little hearts out in front of all those people!

Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the slideshow above:

The tongue always comes out when she's concentrating on something...this could be a bit dangerous when dancing, though.

Do you think she's having fun?? Look at her beaming smile!!

There's two proud little peacocks! For winning, they each received a Czech Days piggy bank...the Grandma & Grandpa Pechous and Great-Grandma & Grandpa Pechous were quick to make contributions to their winnings!

I have much more from Czech Days to share, but we'll have to save some for another post. Stay tuned!

Father's Day Activities and Two Little Polka Dance ChampionsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Spur on hiatus this week...

Considering that I have not been at home during waking hours for more than 5 hours this entire week with my conference in RC and Czech Days, I just didn't have time to prepare a Sunday Spur. Please forgive me and stay tuned for next week.

However, I do hope to be sharing a pictures from Czech Days later today if I can keep my eyes open long enough!! I do expect this to be a truly LAZY Sunday!

Sunday Spur on hiatus this week...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Czech Days kicks off tonight in Tabor, SD!!

So, I just got home from my conference in RC last night at about 8 p.m. (long drive home), have been at work again all day today and tonight will kick off the beginning of a VERY busy weekend!! It's CZECH DAYS in Tabor, SD!

It's my hometown celebration and it's a BIG deal...especially for someone who is 100% Czech! Tonight they start off with a baseball game and fireworks and the next two days are filled with parades, games and carnival rides, authentic costumes, craft shows, and dumplings and sauerkraut (mmmm!).

Growing up, Czech Days was always great fun!! We definitely looked forward to it each and every year! In my 20's, I have to admit there was a period where it wained a just wasn't quite as fun as it once was, but I have to say, now that I have a child of my own, it's kind of like experiencing the fun of Czech Days all over again. This will be Kaitlin's 6th Czech Days. She actually attended her first when she was only 5 days full costume no less!! Here's the layout I did of Kaitlin's first Czech Days:

Do you think she'll ever forgive me for that big, frilly hat?? The children at the bottom are her cousins Nick, Rachel and Emily. Oh, how Kaitlin has grown (and my scrapbooking ability, too, thank goodness!!) in five fast years. Here is my favorite photo of her from last year's Czech Days:

And here's the layout:

Hopefully, I'll have some more great pictures to share with you from this year's celebration soon!

There has always the big parade on Friday at 1 p.m., but there is also a Kiddie Parade on Saturday morning where young kids can go through in costumes with gimmicky little slogans - like a little girl walking through with a plate of kolaces and a sign on her back that says "I'd walk a thousand miles to Czech Days for the Kolaces!!" Some get more elaborate than that, but you get the idea.

Well, I've never put Kaitlin in the Kiddie Parade, but I'm getting the feeling that it's about time. I got to do it when I was it's her turn. I've always hesitated 'cause I'm just not good at coming up with the least not one I liked...but I think I might just have something this year. I'm going to keep you in suspense though as to whether or not it's going to happen. If it does, I promise I'll share a picture or two!

And, if you're in the area already or feeling like a road trip this weekend, I definitely recommend 'checking' out Czech Days!

Czech Days kicks off tonight in Tabor, SD!!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Recommended: Firehouse Brewing Co. in Rapid City, SD

I'm in Rapid City, SD for a work conference right now. My coworker and I arrived at about 7 p.m. last night and checked into our hotel. We booked late and in the height of travel season over here, all they had left were whirlpool suites...ahhhh shucks! Definitely took advantage of that last night after we went out for dinner at the Firehouse Brewing Co. I had chicken fajitas...a little spicy, but GREAT! It was a beautiful evening and we sat in the outdoor eating area...excellent! I would also recommend their Barely Blonde brew if you ever have the chance to stop in - add a little red and some olives and it's perfect!

So, I probably won't have much time to post until after I get home again, but stayed tuned...

Recommended: Firehouse Brewing Co. in Rapid City, SDSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Serendipity Kits June 'Focus on Photography' & 'Layout' Contests

One of my photos, which I titled "Spring is Here," made it into the final judging stage for the June "Focus on Photography" contest over at Serendipity Kits...very exciting!! This photo was taken at the very end of April on a day we went out to take advantage of some FINALLY nice weather to pick some dandelions and feed the ducks. I love the crop on this pic and the sense of of my favorites from the day. If you'd like, you can see more pics from this day here.

One of my layouts, entitled "roses," also made it into the final judging for the June Layout Contest.

Details on this layout:
Cardstock – Bazzill
Patterned Paper – American Crafts
Glittery Flower Stickers – EK Success
Chipboard – Scenic Route
Font – Albemarle Swash

Journaling/Title Quote:
A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no...roses.
Author Unknown

Comments & Techniques:
I loved the unique color combination of the pinkish-peach on the teal mat and green background. I cut the PP into a curve to compliment the curve of the petals and added glittered flowers along the curve…even the font I chose compliments the theme as it has a ‘viney’ feel.
If you like them, please go to Serendipity Kits and vote for me. You do NOT need to be a member or log in or anything to be able to vote, so would definitely appreciate anyone's vote!! However, voting ends tomorrow (June 11th) at midnight EST, so visit soon.

Serendipity Kits June 'Focus on Photography' & 'Layout' ContestsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

SSFS #20 - Photography Inspiration

This week's Sunday Spur will hopefully inspire you to take advantage of the summer weather and get outside to take some pictures! Here are a few of my favorite sites to go to for photography inspiration. They are all amazingly talented and give me ideas for composition, color combinations, locations, and much more! Of course, my favorite is the Children's Gallery in each, but there is great inspiration to be found all over!

Allison Tyler Jones Photography
Amanda Keeys Photography
Audrey Woulard Photography
Jinky Art Photography
Kim Heffington Photography
Leslie Autumn Photography
Teri Fode Photography

You can also visit my Inspiration & Resources page for more more photography sites.

SSFS #20 - Photography InspirationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Review of Paper Crafts Magazine

A review of Paper Crafts Magazine.
Amazon Description:
This magazine is directed at the woman crafter seeking excellent original design, full-size patterns and complete accurate instructions for how-to projects in general crafts, needle crafts and floral. Its included instructions will guide readers through trendy and traditional techniques. The project ideas and designs are supplemented by columns and special features to help the reader become a well informed crafter.
This magazine primarily focuses on the art of card crafting and is a beautiful source of inspiration. Every time I go to Wal-Mart and spend $3.49 on a card, I'm thinking, "Boy, I should be making this myself!!" Although, I have made a few for various occasions, I always seem to remember 'card required' events at the last minute, so end up buying them anyway. One of these days, I'll get better about that. Despite my personal faults, this magazine is beautiful and I have actually used many of the ideas I've gathered from them on my scrapbook pages, so the ideas can (and do)definitely 'cross over'.


A Review of Paper Crafts MagazineSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A rainy day and a pink umbrella...

I have been wanting to get some pictures like this for quite some time...and I finally got the 'umbrella' shots!!

I think Kaitlin thought I was a little off-my-rocker when I actually told her to go walking around in the tall, WET grass.

It's all in the name of a good picture, right! Recognize this one?? It's my new header pic! This is definitely one of my favorites. Love the sprinkling of purple in there.

Another the composition of this shot!

Yup...I even got those 'flowers' (Who cares if they're really weeds? Not me!) and they graced our kitchen table for a few days.

Time to go home...and put on some dry socks and pants!!

A rainy day and a pink umbrella...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How to know when the shoot's over when photographing young children:

Photographing children can sometimes be quite challenging. In the beginning, they can be so cooperative...sometimes...

and you might catch a cute shot of them in play...

or a sweet smile in an all-too-brief moment at rest...

but, then, they can quickly become distant...

or cold...

and the smile is gone...

and is replaced by grumbles...

and grimaces...and before you know it...

it's all over!

How to know when the shoot's over when photographing young children:SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend