Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Swap board

My friend Marilyn has started a new message board for swap- Swap Addicts Anonymous! - it is very new (only about 8 members right now) but hopefully it will get hopping soon! If you are an atc swap addict, this is going to be the place to be!

The first ATC swap has been posted - the topic is favorite fruit! I am going to use my QK apple die to make these atcs.

I don't know if there will be more types of swaps, or just atc swaps, we will see how things go!

Check it out!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The rest of my 850 mile "I can sleep when I'm dead" weekend

Drove up to Mason City, IA yesterday for the second JMC show this weekend - was a good trip, and we made good time. Took my son this time, and we had a blast. He thought I was crazy, driving 300 miles for a concert.. but.. hey.. it's JASON.
We got up to Mason City about 3 hours early {due to some miscalculations on my husband's and brother's part... LOL but better 3 hours early than 3 hours late!!} So we found the arena... and Jason's bus...
Then went into the fair itself to find out where to get tickets. {which.. turned out to be right next to the arena.. they just weren't there when we got there!} At the front of the fair, they had these GIGANTIC crop sprayers.. The back wheels are taller than Patrick!
Saw these cute little mini lop bunnies in the 4-H bunny barn
Got our tickets, had some food, then made our way back to the arena. The stage was cordoned off by at least 6 feet, so this was as close as we could get.
It may sound silly, but it pleased me to see that Jason had an opening band this year. Just one year ago, at Bowling Green, he was the opening band for someone else. And now look at him.
The opening band was called Jack Knife and the Sharps.. 3 person band {I couldn't get a good picture of the drummer from where I was - he's behind the bass player in this picture}. They also had a gal sing with them. The guitar player was really funny. And the bass player grinned and nodded at me when he saw me taking their picture.
Stopped over at the merchandise tent again and talked with the guy selling t-shirts {darn, I meant to ask him his name!}. Went up and said "I told you I'd make it." He looked at me kind of funny, but then grinned {So he either remembered me from Friday, or was just being really polite LOL} and asked me how the trip was.
Had fun chatting with some of the other people in the crowd. Almost got to meet Jason. {sigh} Maybe next time.
The "pre-concert mike stand check the camera settings" shot...
I wrote down the playlist this time.. it was a little different than the Carlinville show {He didn't play "Sorry Don't Matter" or "Friends in Low Places". He started with "Anywhere USA"
The stage was facing west, and of course, at 8pm, the sun is setting, so they all started out the show wearing sunglasses. {Wish I had a zoom lens, so I could have gotten some closer photos... though to be honest, I'm pretty happy with most of the ones I did get}
You can't tell me he doesn't have any fun doing this... Well, ok, you can tell me, but I sure wouldn't believe you! LOL
He had a lot of trouble with his microphone stand at this show.. so eventually he quit using it. That was ok. The coolest part of this show? He saw me, pointed at me, grinned, and waved. {So, again, he either remembered me from Friday night, or he's really super polite.. LOL which he may be anyway, but it was very cool}. {When I told my husband about this he said "He does that with all his stalkers" I said "Yeah, but at least he RECOGNIZED that I was one of his stalkers!" And no, I'm really not.}
Nah, he's not having any fun at all... ;)
Check Tim out... sun's going down.. he's still wearing his sunglasses...
yeah, no fun at all... and look - it's even darker, and Tim STILL has his sunglasses on! Most of the later photos are off on the lighting.. but still pretty cool. And still better than the photos from the Bowling Green show.
At the end of the show, he set down his microphone and jumped off the stage into the "safe" area and signed a few autographs. I think he likes the shows better when he can interact with the crowd a little more.. and I have seen him jump off that stage into the crowd more than once! My brother works a job doing lighting and sound and things like that {though unfortunately not with THIS crew!} and says a lot of it depends on the venue and what they want for security and what they have for insurance and stuff. Which is understandable, but still disappointing.
Drove to Des Moines after the show {after getting lost in Mason City thanks to MapQuest's stupid directions}. Crashed at my brother's place, met his roommate, and got to see Rowen again. Boy that boy is getting big. They have a lovely garden in the front with tons of Echinecea plants.. and of course, lots of bumble bees..

Patrick and Rowen

David and Rowen. {I really like this photo of my brother.} Ro is teething, and I couldn't get him to smile for anything today.

Took this picture while driving home.. Had found a place at the fair near the arena that was doing henna designs. Asked her if she could do the JMC letters, and then a simple bracelet. She copied the flourish design above the letters to make the rest of the bracelet.. it is pretty cool. Unfortunately, it will start fading after a week... but we'll see how much trouble I get in from it.. LOL

{And before you yell at me for taking pictures while driving, I never take my eyes off the road - I just snap a ton of pictures from different angles and see what I end up with when I stop somewhere. That's one of the things I love about having a digital camera... I can delete the 20 junkie ones it takes to get one that's halfway decent, and it doesn't cost anything!}

Had dinner, picked up my daughter, then headed into town for the circus. Stopped at the gas station.. and my daughter said "Look, there's Bumblebee!!!"

This is the second time we have seen the Carson & Barnes circus - they were here 2 years ago, and it was fun.

This is Isla, one of the circus elephants. We had a ride on her today too, but I didn't have anyone to take a picture of us while we were up there.

Most of the pictures didn't turn out well - not enough light, no zoom lens, and people and wires and things in the way. But I managed to get a couple. This one is the hula hoop girls. Amazing. I can't hula hoop with ONE.

During the intermission, they did face painting.

Putting the glitter on..

The elephants - Glad this photo turned out!

Had a FABULOUS weekend. And found out about a couple of more Missouri/Midwest JMC shows in August... wonder if I can arrange my weekend off for that weekend... LOL I've never stopped in Branson {though I have been through several times!}

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jason Michael Carroll Concert in Carlinville IL

So, Rhi and I drove 3 hours today to get to Carlinville to see JMC in concert again {her second, my third}. It was especially fun to go back to Carlinville, because I used to go to school there. {It's changed. A lot!}

This is Rhi standing next to the big pink camo truck - it was there for Breast Cancer Awareness

We got there about an hour before the show started, which was great for us, because we wanted to be up near the front of the stage. And boy were we! Um, smack in the middle, like reach out and touch the alligator boots near the front of the stage. Woohoo! That was Awesome!
This is before the show started - she is holding the photo I took at the Bowling Green show that I have been trying to get autographed... {and yes, this time, we were successful!!}
{Yep, this is my hand on the stage - almost getting stepped on by those alligator boots!}
I love this picture. Dunno why, exactly, but it makes me smile. Thought it would make an interesting shot - cos, seriously, this is what was eye level for me LOL
{LOL guess I have a new alligator boot fetish and yeah - I touched them. More than once LOL }
{Really like this shot... the lighting is cool, and I like the way the mike stand frames the boot}

Though, in retrospect, not the best spot to be for taking pictures... had a lot of shots ruined with the microphone... But then again...... this was my view for a good part of the concert.....
Ahem... anyway....
Here are some of my other favorite photos from the concert...
I love this one, even though the color is off because of the lighting. The reason I love this photo, is because it is SO easy to tell he is having a lot of fun. And he definitely has a lot of fun {yeah.. including the Garth Brooks shake the water bottles all over the crowd type of fun}{mm, hm, got a little wet at this one... }
Fabulous closeup.. the color isn't even too bad on this one... he was holding my daughter's hand and singing to her. I was too close to get a far enough back picture including her and her incredulous smile, but I managed to get one with her hand.
There was a really little girl on the left side of the stage, and he kept going and singing to her a lot. {I was really pleased to see her parents had ear protection for her!!} At one point, during "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead" he brought her up on stage to dance with him! She was a doll!
I talked to several people for photography advice before this concert, both because I have a new camera since the last show, and because I wanted more pictures that were decent -Huge thanks to Noel, Dria, and Kimmy!
I really like this photo too - I love how clear these pictures came out!
Not the best photo, but I really like the lighting with the drums
Another photo that I thought would be an interesting one - He was tapping his finger with the music. I think I took this one during "Alyssa Lies" {wish I could have snatched one of the playlists they had taped to the floor of the stage!!}
Another one by the drum kit. Really like how the lighting on these came out.
This picture was taken during "Sorry Don't Matter". I love the emotion on his face... This is one of my favorite songs on the new album. Lighting is a titch to the red side, but I think it came out very well.

Overall, I am so pleased with the photos. I ended up taking about 500 of them {holy smoking camera, Batman!} and at last half of them are decent! So I am really really pleased.

The show was fabulous too - He sang almost every song off the new album {he didn't sing Tears this year} and several from the old one {"Alyssa Lies", "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead", "Honky Tonk Friends", "Waitin' in the Country" and of course "Livin' Our Love Song"}

And I thought it was really funny - when we were at the merchandise tent before the show to get t-shirts - I asked the guy that was there if Jason would be out to sign autographs. He said he wasn't sure, because they had a lot of driving tonight before tomorrow's show. I said "I know, we're planning on being at that one too." and he looked up at me, grinned and said "Oh really?"

Which of course... means I need to get this published, and get my behind into bed!

More tomorrow ;) Sorry it's not scrappy - it will be when the photos get made into pages for the JMC album!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The END of the LSSS!

Thank goodness this contest is over..
I'm not very happy with how it ended, but that's mainly because due to work, I had about half the time for the last challenge as everyone else. And truly, the "side effects" of the contest (the numerous layouts produced) are definitely the best part about the whole thing.
But still. To find out we were starting back from 0, when I knew I would have to spend so much time at work was depressing. And to end up unable to leave due to an emergency didn't help. {But I saved the dog's life, and that is FAR more important to me than making a few more layouts!}
I ended up placing third in the contest, and making the second highest total of layouts {but only because Terri went on vacation and withdrew - dang, that girl can SCRAP!!}. And don't get me wrong, I am happy that I placed at all. I mean, come on, I expected to be out after the first few challenges - I KNEW I wouldn't have as much time as everyone else! And Kimmy COMPLETELY deserved to win - she had 140 layouts going into the last challenge, and made a WHOPPING 30 layouts for the last challenge!
And of course, my big silver lining - 135 layouts! Yeah, I can't believe it either! My goal for 2009 was to complete 120 layouts. For the year!!! And in the MONTH this contest ran, I made 135 layouts! That doesn't include all the Staycation crop layouts, and the May Mayhem layouts, and the NSD layouts. un-freaking-believable! And the best part - with very few exceptions, I LIKE THEM ALL!
I have to have HL order more albums for me. AND more page protectors! And I'm going to have to find more book shelves! LOL.
Kudos to Jennifer for running the whole thing {and being the heavy if we did something unacceptable - certainly not something I would want to do!!!}, especially since she had to deal with some very bad news during the whole contest.
Thank you, to the Design Team for creating challenges that were just that - Challenging!! Some I definitely liked more than others {Loved that monochromatic challenge - THANK YOU Alona and Close to My Heart!!!}. I thought the BINGO challenge was a FABULOUS idea! The last challenge was definitely the most challenging - make a kit. Use your kit and ONLY your kit to make as many layouts as possible. I still have a ton left, and am debating if I want to see how many more I can make from it {though to be honest, it wouldn't be completely like what I would have done during the contest, the last 2 layouts I made were done differently than the rest of the ones from the kit, and used more paper than I would have used if I had more time}
And no, Sorry, I won't be posting all 135 layouts here, but if you want to see them, they are in my gallery at Serendipity. All of the 1180 LSSS layouts can be found HERE. {yeah, 1180 layouts! AMAZING, isn't it???}
So as a treat for myself, and my kids, and really my mom too, who have put up with this for the last month, we are going to see a fabulous double movie feature of Transformers and Harry Potter!! Yeah, I know, 5 hours at the movies, but hey, the kids want to, and after the last month, how can I say no? How is that a treat for my mom? She gets peace and quiet for 6 whole hours!! LOL
And next weekend.. JMC weekend baby! Woohoo! Cannot wait for that!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stamping techniques

Thought I would share a couple of stamping techniques today. {Needing to take a break from making contest layouts, LOL}

The first technique is one I learned several years ago, from a great CTMH rep, Alona. I have learned a lot of stamping techniques from her. {Check out her website HERE}

Multigenerational stamping is a great way to make a pretty pattern using one stamp and one ink color. {you can use more if you want to, of course}

For this demo, I'm using a flower stamp from a great floral set (Brushed Flowers, I think MSE?) and Cranberry Crisp ink from SU!

1. Ink your stamp and stamp the image on your paper.

2. WITHOUT REINKING, stamp the image again, overlapping the images if desired.
Sometimes, depending on the ink, and how fast I am stamping, I will ink 5 or 6 images without reinking. Each image will get progressively lighter.

3. Stamp images until the paper is covered. I did 1st (the darkest), 2nd (the medium pink), and 3rd (the lightest) generation stamping to make this paper. If I want to do 2nd generation stamping, but don't want the 1st generation image on my project, I will stamp off to the side {I have a CTMH paper pad underneath my work, but any scrap paper will do}. Don't forget to stamp off the edge of the paper if you want complete coverage!

4. This is what the completed piece looks like - makes for a very pretty patterned paper, and is a great technique to use if you have limited supplies.

I made this flower by gluing Maya Chipboard petals to the back of my paper, then sanding around the edge instead of cutting {this is a great way to distress the paper and remove the excess in one step!} The petal edges were inked. The center was made by painting first, then adding stickles.

The second technique is called stamp kissing. I don't use it often, but I like the results when I do. It works best if you have a solid stamp, and use it with a patterned or more detailed stamp. For this demo, I used a plain solid circle stamp (CTMH), and a daisy head from the Brushed Flowers set.

1. Ink the patterned stamp (in this case, the daisy).

2. "Kiss" the patterned stamp with the uninked solid stamp {it really is uninked.. LOL It looks purple, but it is acrylic and used rather often}.
3. Stamp the image onto your paper.
4. Voila! This is the result.
You can also do the reverse - ink the solid stamp, then kiss off the ink with another uninked stamp, but I'm not so good at that one ;) All of my samples looked terrible LOL so I'm not posting them.
Hope these techniques will be helpful..