Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Save the Rainforest (aka My Livingroom)

Amateur attempt to follow a photoshop tutorial number 2:

This photoshop tutorial focused on making a matted frame for a photo. I learned more about the various shortcuts, the gradient tool, some texture effects, and how to dropshadow a layer.

Why a mosquito? I felt it a fitting tribute to the 8 billion of the little bastards I've killed in the last few days.

It's about +30 here (that's Celsius. I think in Fahrenheit it's the equivalent of 'pretty darn hot'). And that's without taking the humidity into account. And considering we have had at at least one torrential downpour per day for the past three days, the humidity is nothing to scoff at.

My living room is starting to feel like a tropical rainforest, including all of the blood-sucking monster skeeters. And minus the plants. I can't grow mold on cheese, let alone a tropical potted tree.

I'm a prairie girl, people. I can't handle this heat. It makes me cranky.

And cranky girls rant. And I was going to. I was all set to go. It was about the TV show, The Backyardigans. If you have a young kid or two, you know what I mean. They sing. And dance. And are sooooooo annoying. And every single one of their songs, including the opening theme song, gets stuck in my head and WON'T STOP DRIVING ME INSANE!

But then I got a nice comment from another blogger, Jennifer, and I decided to go check out her blog. And it's all about the Backyardigans. Because she loves them. And their songs. What the heck are the odds of that?????

So, uh, I guess I'll be polite and not rant about the Backyardigans.

I think I will go do another tutorial.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I just got Photoshop CS2.

Ya'll know I love ya, but even my kids and hubby can't compete with a brand spankin' new graphics program.

For a few days, at least.

Not that I won't be around, just that you'll be subjected to looking at every single new thing I create, no matter how amateur it is.

Sorry 'bout that.

Amateur attempt to follow a tutorial number 1:

(Learning how to remove backgrounds and use layers. I know it's lame, but it was fun. So there.)

Ok. Onto to bigger and better copyright infringements!

Sunday, May 28, 2006



My projects to be published (upon final approval) are done and in the mail. And will hopefully go faster than normal Canada Post.

And if they are approved and published, I will brag about it endlessly. In May of 2007. When it will come out.

Wow. Talk about an annoying cliffhanger. I feel like the last episode of ER, leaving Abby bleeding to death on the floor with the love of her life helplessly handcuffed with a tube down his throat while he watches her fade away.

What the hell was with that, anyway? Are they trying to give me a stroke?


So, I am done with crocheting for a few days. I suppose. We were watching the sequel to Cheaper By the Dozen the other night (very funny, almost as good as the first) right after I finished the last peice of the last part of my endlessly mindnumbing projects and Hillary Duff's character was wearing a tank top with a big crocheted flower on it, and I commented to my husband that I liked the big crocheted flower on her tank top.

My husband, still sitting in piles and piles of leftover bits of yarn and little shreds of yarn cut off of ends in every possible color you can imagine, and a house that looks like a yarn store exploded, looks at me like I just told him that I'm leaving him for the bearded lady in the circus.

"What? You just spent that last few weeks doing nothing but crocheting. You've worked until your hands were throbbing and your head was spinning and you were muttering something about hating yarn in your sleep, and you are STILL talking about crocheting? Now? WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? It's the yarn! You're an addict! It's like CRACK! Like HEROIN! You need help."

And then we continued watching the movie.

I'm not really addicted. I can stop yarn anytime I want.

I just don't want to.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Slightly Off-Balance Friend of a Friend Friday

Now I remember why I don't crochet projects that are too time-consuming. Because I'll go INSANE. Which is what I am on the verge of doing now.

I mean it. I'm standing right on the edge between not-entirely-sane-but-at-least-rational-most-off-the-time and everyone-needs-to-get-out-of-my-way-I've-got-yarn-and-pointy-sticks-and-I-know-how-to-use-them.

And I'm teetering.

So, this is my break.

I'm very close to finishing my project for submission. I know what ya'll are thinking. 'That must be the biggest afghan in the WORLD!'

No, you sillies. I still haven't broken down and made an afghan.

Actually, it's seven different designs that I was asked to create. I have 3 of them completely done, patterns written up, everything ready for shipping. Two of them are done, but I think I want to make a few changes and the patterns need proof reading. One is almost done, it's just the finishing work that needs to be, well, finished. And the pattern typed up. And the last one is half done, but a good few hours worth of work left on it. And the pattern typed up. And it all needs to be in the mail later today.

Why? Why am I doing all this?

Well, for the fame and fortune, of course.


I've also remembered why I don't watch much TV in the daytime. Thank Folgers for the Game Show Network.

But, sanity is more important than money. I think. So, I am going to drink some coffee, do a bit of visiting, play some Bejeweled, and then visit some friends of friends. And then get my ass in gear.

Today's friends of friends you should go visit are:

The Naked Sheep
Get Your Hook On
Crochet and Other Stuff

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Tenant

As much as I love ya'll, I won't be on the computer much today. Or even tomorrow, maybe.

It's not you, it's me.

Really. I'm ignoring my family, too.

It's crunch time for my crochet 'project' (wink,wink) and it all needs to be mailed out on Friday.

So I am up to my eyeballs in yarn and pattern notes. And coffee. I just made a pot of coffee with no coffee in it. Just a big steaming pot of hot water.

Apparently I'm not just physically absent, but mentally, as well.

So, go visit my new tenant, instead.

I was no science whiz in school, and I could never get that damn bunsen burner lit, so I have my doubts as to the validity of the title, but the blog itself is pretty funny. If you're into funny, that is.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Best Laid Plans

What's that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? What? What's that word? Awry? Yes, that's an adequate word to describe any and all plans made in my house. By men or mice. Or cats and dogs, for that matter.

For instance....on Thursday, I woke up with a great plan. Make coffee, clean a bit, get some computer work done, work on my crochet project that can't be discussed yet but was put on the backburner for too many days, make a pork roast for dinner.

And then I started feeling a little off. You know. When you know you're going to get a cold, but it's just the start so you can still function.

I decided, just to be safe, to have a Plan B. That would be, tidying instead of cleaning, an extra pot of coffee and something simpler for dinner.

Until about 4 PM. That's when the cold hit me. Like a truck. Pulling a train.

So we moved on to Plan C. Aka, Plan Get-yourself-whatever-the-hell-you-want-for-dinner-and-for-GOD's-sake-clean-up-your-mess-I'm-going-to-bed-and-don't-anyone-touch-my-yarn!

And I've had a cold ever since. And as some of my older (and by older I mean better and wiser) readers know, I am SUCH A BIG FAT BABY whenever I get a cold (or any other minor medical 'emergency' for that matter).

But it really, really sucks.

But it's not just dinner plans that go awry. Our summer vacation plans change just about every hour.

The 'Plan' is to drive to Edmonton to visit my family this summer. If you read the last post, you may be wondering why. I occasionally wonder myself. But there are reasons.

My mom owns a river lot that everyone spends their summer at living like hillbillies in the dirt and their quarter million dollar motorhomes. No, seriously. Big, BIG motorhomes. They like to rough it. (CLICK HERE TO SEE WHERE MY INHERITANCE WENT)

Also, my mom is paying.

Plan A was to buy a trailer. Since my mom bought both of my sisters plane tickets to Mexico last winter, and we opted out of that trip, she decided to give us the worth of a plane ticket to put towards a trailer.

Has anyone seen how much trailers are??? More that a damn plane ticket, that's for damn sure.

We (we meaning me, since I'm the cheap one) decided that this was not the year to put that kind of money into a trailer.

Plan B was to use the Mexico money for a MASSIVE tent and bring-your-own-beds and a great big bells and whistles camp kitchen. Then spend the rest on gas.

But we already have a big tent. And a little camp stove. And a great air mattress.

So, Plan C is to buy another smaller tent (for the brats), a little portable BBQ to supplement the camp stove, and to get a BYOB frame for the existing mattress. Then spend the rest on gas.

And that is the current plan.

Not so awry. Yet.

Of course, since my husband is in the army, the actual vacation time is theoretical. And what a nice theory it is.

So, when they yank our holiday time out from under us, I suppose we'll have to move on to Plan D.

Aka, Plan You-all-can-sit-in-this-hot-and-stuffy-house-and-rot-I'm-taking-the-minivan-and-going-yarn-shopping-in-Maine.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Who didn't get up and do a little jig when the hippies won the Amazing Race last night? They had me pretty worried there at the end, when they were putting all the flags in the wrong order. But those hippies ain't dummies. Except when it comes to recognizing snow shoes. All in all, they were the most deserving team. And Phil really, really liked them, too.

My company is gone. I might be sad. A little. I'm pretty sure whatever sadness may be lurking about is completely overshadowed by my overwhelming relief that they are GONE!


My mom, 2 sisters, a 4 year old niece and a 2 year old nephew were here. For 5 full days.

AND it rained the WHOLE time.

AND my niece, only a few months younger than Brat, has daycare combat training. Brat does not. And there was a war over EVERY SINGLE TOY. Guess who won?

AND Brat also had a full hate-on for my nephew who kept touching her toys, damn him. Who does he think he think he is, anyway?

AND my one sister has to pick a fight about EVERYTHING. Like telling me that I don't really get migraines. They're just headaches. What SHE gets are migraines. What?! Who says that to someone? Who tells a person that an ongoing problem that is affected the very quality of their daily life is not real? Yes, she does take crazy drugs. But that doesn't excuse rude. And she also ruined a pair of my pants and tried to steal my shoes.

AND my mom brought her laptop so she could play computer games and online poker the whole time. She is hyper-competitive, so if my 12 year old beat her in a computer game, she would then stay up until 2AM just so she could beat the high score. Of a 12 year old girl. Woohoo. Way to go mom. You kicked her 12 year old girl ass.
I snuck on her computer right before she left and beat all of her high scores by thousands of points. She'll be trying to beat those for weeks.

AND my husband has been working ridiculous hours which make him very cranky and was ready to kick them all out of the house by Saturday.

AND I was in agreement by Sunday.

AND, right before they left yesterday, my 2 year old nephew decided that my remote control needed some perking he dunked it in a big cup of coffee. R.I.P. little remote buddy.

Can you feel the love?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friend of Friend Friday

A few blogs chosen randomly from the sidebars of blogs I read. Go check them out. Tell them a friend of a friend sent you!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Go, Deigo, GO!

Let me ask ya'll a question or two about imaginary friends.

Did you have one? More than one? What was his/her name? What did you do together? Are they still around?

Just to be fair, I'll start.

You know how if you close your eyes, and take your finger and gently push your eyeball on the inside corner, you see a part of a little orb just in the bottom outside corner of your vision. Well, your eyes-closed-vision. No? Humor me. Try it. Still don't see it? Well, whatever, I do.

Starting from when I was a baby until I was about 18, I had insomnia. It pretty much sucked hard. When I was a baby, it was ignored, because babies never sleep. When I was old enough to tell people that I couldn't get to sleep if a piano dropped on me, they didn't believe me. I would stay awake until about 2 or 3 am every night. When I was just a little kid. It was very boring.
For quite a few years, I pretended to be afraid of the dark. So I could have a nightlight. Which allowed me to read. Or paint. Or build things. Whatever kept me busy until I could pass out. Sneaky, eh?

On the occasions when I had no access to light, I had to use my imagination. In the dark. So, I would press the corner of my eye and see my little orb-shaped friend.
His name was Mr.Eye.

What? I was 5. Cut me some slack.

So, anyway.....Mr.Eye was my nighttime friend for many years. I would chat with him, tell him about my day. Then he would tell me all about his wife, Mrs. Eye, and the kids, of course.
He was always nice. Very complimentary. Always appreciative of my fingerpainting accomplishments.

Mr. Eye was a good friend indeed.

As any friend from you own imagination SHOULD be.

My youngest daughter has some imaginary friends. And I'm a little worried about them.

I'm not sure of all of their names. One of them she calls Diego (from the Dora the Explorer spin off,
Go Diego Go). And I'm OK with that. Or I would be. If they all got along.

But they don't.

They fight and argue constantly. Her 'friends' are often known to make fun of her. Make fun of her. And sometimes, she tells me that she's off to go play baseball with them, but then returns a few minutes later, all dejected looking, saying that they left without her.

Left without her?!?!

What the hell kind of imaginary friend leaves without you?????

And the comments she makes over her shoulder are often a little spooky:

"Stop talking, I can't hear what my Mom is saying."

"I told you that plan wouldn't work. We'll try again tomorrow."

"You guys, I want a spot on the couch, too."

"Diego, stop KICKING ME!"

So, here are my thoughts. Either she has an extremely vivid imagination and will write bestselling novels that will keep me living in luxury well into my dotage, OR she's riding on a slow moving one way bus to Looneyville and all of her multitude of personalities are fighting for a seat near the window, OR there are 'people' in this house that only she can see (and considering it's a 100 year old schoolhouse, a bunch of kids wouldn't be that farfetched).

I'm hoping for option A. But I'm not holding my breath.

I wonder if any of them can grout a bathtub.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Strongly Dislike My Bathroom

I hate my bathroom.

Ok, fine. Hate is a strong word. But it's not my favorite bathroom, right now. Thankfully, it's not my only bathroom.

To be fair, I shouldn't really blame the bathroom. It's not his fault. Yes, I'm pretty sure my bathroom is a He.

My husband has been tiling the bathtub. And by tiling, I mean cutting and applying the actual tiles. The grouting? The cleanup? The touch-up painting? Apparently those tasks are not included in the tiling process.

So. He's done.

I'm not. My family gets here tomorrow. I have an entire house to clean along with a full half day worth of bathroom renovation. Not to mention the reno tornado clean-up. In the past, all instruments of interior torture have been stored conveniently in....the bathtub. Aka the Tool Shed. Very handy. Just close the curtain and TADA. No more tools.

Now that we have worked so hard at getting the bathtub in working condition, it would be a shame to just throw all the tools back in there.

Tempting, but a real damn shame.

So, I will be tromping up and down the stairs all day today, trying to figure out where to put away tools in hubby's workshop. It will be the equivalent to hubby sorting out my yarn for me. Only the tools are heavier. And sharper. And occasionally the size and shape of a 13 foot ladder.

Don't ask why a large ladder was needed to finish tiling a tub.

It seems that in order to do even the smallest reno job in this house, we must drag out every single tool and fixer-upper accoutrement available. And then run to Home Depot at least 6 times to pick up new ones.

So. Clean-up day. So very stressful.

But, I need to clean to impress my sisters.

I'm starting to think I should just drink wine until the house LOOKS clean.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Vitruvian Crocheter

Do I have a lot of work to do today?

Are my sisters and mom coming for a visit in just 3 days?
Yes. They are.

Is my house a disaster?
How did you know?

Has my husband taken apart my bathroom, again, with the delusion that he is 'fixing' it? And do I worry that it will still be in tatters when my family gets here?
It's just uncanny how ya'll know these things.

And, am I working on a deadline for this oh-so-secret crochet publication that is getting closer and closer and making me have awful nightmares in which I am tangled up in yarn and can't get to the post office in time?
You know I am.

Does my banister still need to be painted, along with the door to my cleaning closet?
Sigh. Of course.

So, am I frantically running through my house trying to get these things done........


..... am I sitting at the computer with a pot of coffee, unreasonably excited about the new Davinci Code movie than I should be (most likely due to the fact that I have not been to see a movie in about a year and my mom will be here to babysit so I may actually get to go and see it in an actual theatre) and the insane urge to play with my graphics program ?

Well, ya'll know me so well.....what do you think?

So, there's a new design in my Cafe Press Shop.

If anyone wants this design on a different Cafe Press product, email me. I can move some stuff around.

Ok. I'm going to go paint now. I swear. Really. I won't be on the computer anymore today. Much.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friend of a Friend Friday

I know. I'm a bad, bad blogger friend. But I've been busy.

Half of yesterday was spent at the car dealership getting the breaks fixed. And it was still very expensive. But at least they agreed with me that the whole 'can't hear the squealing because the windows are closed ' was STOOooooPID. And we laughed and laughed and how stupid that guy was. But I am still considering that maybe my wonderful minivan, which is only 4 years old, should possibly be painted yellow and decorated with little crocheted lemon fridgies.

And, since my husband likes to teach inappropriate things to the brat (as evidenced in the last post), she HAD to say at least one thing that made me want to drop her off in the toy section at Walmart and never look back.
Brat turned to the lady sitting next to her and asked "Do you know what French people smell like?"
(keeping in mind that my husband is French, but likes to make fun of his French family, I tried to stop her, but it was like one of those slow motion movie 'noooOOOoooo's where I just couldn't stop her in time) "They smell like red wine and sausages."

Well. Really. She's lucky she's cute. Hubby's cuteness didn't save him.

The other half was spent at my oldest's school play. In which she was a backstage prop geek. Which is great. I was a prop geek. That surprises you, doesn't it. I know what ya'll are thinking. '
What?! Tara wasn't the STAR of the show???? That's just impossible!'
But no, it's true. I preferred the darkness to the limelight. And I got to hang out with all the boys.
I wonder if that's why my daughter was a backstager. Oh. Crap.

Moving on.

My husband has been working from about 5am to 9pm every night for a few weeks. I know it's him that's working, but am I allowed to be exhausted by it, too?

I also now have a copy of every editorial calendar and the design guidelines for every crochet publication I could think of. I have been busy busy busy reading through them all and going through all of my design notes to decide what to concentrate on submitting. And also trying to figure out why they all remind us not to use a lower case letter L as the number 1. Who does that? Are there a large amount of people out there missing the 1 key from their keyboards? If you're one of those people, buy a new keyboard and stop ruining it for the rest of the class.
This design thing is tiring, but kinda fun.

I have decided that today will be a visiting day. And extra pot of coffee day. I haven't been sleeping much. And, just to spice things up a bit, I've decided to not just visit friends, but also a few friends of friends. They will be chosen randomly from the sidebars of people I visit, and then I will post them a message letting them know they are a friend of a friend. And they will all be blogs that I have never visited before. And then I will post those new friends here. You know. To share. To promote. To make a happier and more euphoric blogland for everyone.

Just doing my part. No need to make me blush. I'm calling it Friend of a Friend Friday, and I plan on spending any free Fridays I have doing this. Ya'll can do it, too, if you want. Be a part of the euphoria.

Come on, you know want euphoria.

Today's Friends of Friends are:

Out of the Box

Flamingo Crochet

Rocks and Garbage

So, go visit them, if you have the chance. Tell them a friend of a friend sent you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Glimpse of My Day

What you may have overheard if you had been loitering at the Canadian Tire service counter yesterday afternoon, shortly after a free brake inspection on my minivan (aka the Loser Cruiser):

(the part of the Canadian Tire goon will be indicated by r and I will be marked with a. Of course. The brat's continued and neverending presence is implied.)

rYou're back brakes are completely seized up.

aReally? Wow. Brat, stop touching that.

rYa. So your front brakes have been going south, too.

aI can imagine. So what are we looking at for cost? Brat. Stop it. No, you can't have your very own tire. Stop it.

rWell, it's quite a bit, but there was a lot of damage. Here's the estimate to get everything fixed.

(shows me an ENORMOUS amount of money, probably coming close to what the vehicle is actually worth)

aWow. That's a lot. It's a bit surprising.

rIs it?

aBrat, stop singing, I'm talking here. Well, yes, it's surprising because the brakes just started squealing a short time ago. I wouldn't have thought that that much damage could be done so quickly. Brat, be quiet!

rWell, ya, but you just spent six months with your windows closed, so you probably didn't hear it sooner.

aI understand, but I'm pretty sure I would have heard the breaks squealing. Afterall, are they not designed to do that as a warning system, so that you get your brakes fixed before too much damage is done?

rWell, yes, but with your windows closed, you probably didn't hear it. She's cute, what's that she's singing?

aMy windows were closed on the way here and I heard them squealing. And I assume, the whole point of the squealing design is so that it can be heard in the winter with the windows closed. Isn't that what it says right on the Canadian Tire website regarding brakes? Ok, Brat, for real, be quiet. Stop singing and stand still. Sorry, she's four. It's like a form of brain damage. The singing is like a warning squeal.

r(belligerently) I can show you the brakes. They are damaged. Do you need to see?

aNo, I believe they need replacing, I was just commenting on how odd it was that the built in warning squeal system didn't work sooner so as to prevent more damage.

rBut your windows were closed. Did she just sing about her lovely lady lumps????

aYou know what, I think I'm going to go somewhere else for a second opinion.....with my windows closed. Yes, dear, your SH is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Now please be quiet.