Thursday, August 30, 2012

Instagram Love

When camera phones first came out, I remember uttering the words "Who would ever want a camera in their phone?"  Ha! Who was I kidding?  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't use the camera in my phone.  Instagram has become my favorite camera app.

Katie from Bower Power has started doing a series of posts featuring her instagram photos - she posts the past 16 and then gives them virtual gold, silver, and bronze metals.  It's such a great idea that I decided to do the same.

I love this idea - so I'm stealing it.  


Here's the run down:
1. Charlie begging to be let out.
2. Mom and Mary Poppins in NYC
3. My saddness at seeing educational material on the back of the cereal box.  I ask you, where are my good ol' fashion games?
4. A morning belly rub for the pup. 
5. Prime belly rub position.
6. Young House Love has a book coming out in November - I preordered it months ago.
7. Kate and Cam trying on sunglasses at Target.  Cam picked out his sunglasses himself.
8. Char always makes fun of me when I buy a new iphone case - this is my response.
9. Nerd baby at Target
10. The pup staring at my food.
11. One of my latest projects.
12. Eating at Junior's in NYC
13. The look my pup gives me when I leave for work everyday = heartbreaking
14. Little sandals from a little visitor
15. A cute button nose in oversized sunglasses
16.  Me: "Cam, say 'Cheese!'"  Cam: "Cheese!"


Bronze Metal:
This earned a bronze metal for the simple fact that I miss my childhood.  Ok. Seriously people.  Where are the games?  Why would I want to read about "feeding their imagination"?  I imagine myself enjoying the five minutes I get to sit down and eat my Frosted Flakes in the morning.  They squished so much text onto this page that it's practically too small to read.  And a QR code?  Do you know many 5 year olds that are pulling out their smart phones during breakfast?  And yes, I am fully aware that last sentence called attention to my juvenile cereal choice - I'm totally fine with that.  I love my Frosted Flakes.



Silver Metal:
This photo earned the coveted silver metal because it was such a great day.  Also, because Cam picked out those big, girly, rhinestone covered sunglasses himself.  He was obsessed with Katie.  As we browsed Target, we would all wander away from each other to shop; when Katie wasn't around Cam had to yell her name, just so he knew where she was (I think he's finally understanding how to play Marco/Polo).  These are two of my very favorite people.



And the gold metal goes to (drum roll please):
This adorable photo earned the gold metal because I love those little, black ears.  This is Charlie getting her morning belly rub.  I stopped rubbing her belly so that I could take this picture and that is the look she gave me.  How dare you stop rubbing my belly? Also, I need a haircut, can you schedule a trip to the groomers?  Ok, she definitely wouldn't suggest that last part - as much as she doesn't want to go, she really needs to!  She has old man ears - hair everywhere!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pets on the Furniture?

As I was doing my nightly blog browsing, I saw this post on Apartment Therapy.  This beautiful dog, Oscar, has his own blog - that his human writes for him, of course.  The stories and illustrations are lovely.

Anyway, this question got me thinking - Pets On Furniture: Yay or Nay?  Well, I think we all know my answer to that...








But I know not everyone is fond of having pets on the couch.  As for me, this is what I love about having a dog.  I love that Charlie feels free to hop onto any furniture she wishes.  Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that...

I love that Charlie considers the furniture as her own. Hmm, nope, still not right...

Charlie owns this joint.  Yeah, that's better.

And I'm totally fine with that.  I'll be the first to admit that she's spoiled.  And I'm totally fine with that, too.



I love my Border Terrier.  I love having a scruffy little pup to share my space with.  She gets me up and out of bed, she gets me outside, and she keeps me active!

Browsing Realtor.com has become one of my nightly habits.  A lot of houses get the axe because it's not Charlie Friendly: carpeted floors so my pup wont slip when she runs and a big backyard are very important to me.



She's also my little watch dog.  Right now, Charlie is downstairs barking at my dad, who just got home from a soccer game.  She heard the garage door open and she knows someone's here - but she doesn't know just who it is yet.  And until she knows otherwise, everyone is a stranger.

Don't get me wrong, she's no guard dog.  If someone ever got into the house, Charlie would greet them, run away to get her chicken, and then ask to play.



I love that she's good with kids.  Cam is obsessed with Charlie.  When she's not in the room (probably because she's avoiding him) he says "Where's Charlie? Charlie Girl. Charlie Girl. Charlie Girl..."  When Cam has food, Charlie is his best friend.  That's a good thing and a bad thing: Cam loves that Charlie follows him around, but then he cries when she grabs the food right out of his hand.  When he's in the high chair and she's stands up to beg, he says "Get down Charlie."  When she gets down he says "Good girl, Charlie."  He's a very polite kid.

Cam loves to hug Charlie, but she doesn't like to be hugged.  She doesn't like to be grabbed in any way, but she's patient.  If we don't see the hug in time to tell him to be gentle, he sometimes grabs her too tightly.  But, even when she doesn't like it, Charlie won't bite him.



My little, bearded lady is a joy to have around.  She makes friends easily and wears her emotions on her sleeve.  If she doesn't like something, she'll let you know (she will growl if you disturb her slumber).  If she wants what you have, she'll let you know (whining/begging/growling for food is a common occurrence).  If she wants out of the room, she'll let you know (laying with her nose touching the door is the let-me-out signal).

She's a terrier, they don't do subtle.



There's a lot of things I should probably change about this pup: she steals food off your plate, she whines while you eat, she jumps on any furniture she wants (no matter whose house), she jumps on people when she greets them (often knocking over little kids) she doesn't put her toys away, and she doesn't get along with other dogs (at all).

But - those are all things I've learned to live with and things I don't mind.  We adapt.  When we go to the vet and I see a big dog walking in, we head around the corner.  When I put my plate down, I make sure she can't reach it.  When little kids visit, I hold Charlie on her leash until she calms down.  There are compromises in every relationship, right? So I compromise for Charlie and she compromises for me.

There are some people out there that think having a dog is a dumb decision (cough, cough, Dave).  But us dog people, we know better.  A lot of people don't want a dog because they don't have time or they want to be able to go on trips without worrying about a dogsitter.  But us dog people, we know better.  Some people don't want a dog because they can be expensive and they believe its not worth the money.  But us dog people, we know better.

It's easy for me to get overly sentimental when I talk about my pup.  When I think about life without her, I can actually tear up.  Someday I'll have to face that, but for now, I'm going to enjoy every second of the whining, begging, playing, growling, sleeping, dreaming, greeting, and barking.  Because us dog people, we see the joy in that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Shop is Open!

Wow.  I've done it.  I've opened my Etsy shop — http://www.etsy.com/shop/virginiaandcharlie

This whole process is very new to me so I've started slow...



I've only posted one item.  Just one little, lonely item.  BUT this is only the beginning!  Whenever I do something new like this, I always want to do it the right way and make sure there are no kinks in the process.  Last night, on a whim, I decided it was time to open the shop, so I enlisted a tester-outer - my mom.



I went through the process with her so I could see how everything works and get some questions answered - what emails would I get? How soon would I get them?  Does the email contain the buyers email so I can send them the art?  Where does it show what color they picked?  How does the payment process work?  (if you're interested in the answers to these questions, see the end of this post)

After getting my questions answered, I felt a lot better about opening the shop.



Getting this adorable and thoughtful email from Etsy also made me feel better.  I know it's an automated process that sends out these emails, but it was still nice to get.  Thanks Etsy :)



After my mom's purchase I got this little ditty.  It may not have been a legit sale (because I made her do it), but it was still fun!

This whole thing is brand new for me, so if you have any issues with a purchase please let me know!  And if you have any ideas on things to sell, let me know that, too!   I've only got one item for now, but it won't be that way forever!


My Questions and The Answer:

-What emails would I get?  I received two emails - one from Etsy informing me that a purchase was made and one from PayPal informing me that a payment was made.

-How soon would I get them?  I received both emails within 5 minutes of when the order was placed.

-Does the email contain the buyers email so I can send them the art?  At the bottom of the email from Etsy there was section that said "If you have any questions about this order, please contact the buyer directly".  It listed their name and email address along with two links that said "Send ____ a convo" and "Send ____ an email."   Since email is how I'll be sending this wall art, it was a relief to see that info.

-Where does it show what color they picked?  At the very top of the email from Etsy, there was a section that was labeled "Note from Buyer."  In that section it showed any message, from the buyer - aka, color choice.

-How does the payment process work?  I had previously set up a seller account with PayPal that is connected to my Etsy shop (Etsy tells you how to do this when you go through the steps to set up shop).  When my mom made her purchase, the money went directly to that account and I received an email from PayPal confirming the payment.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Step In Time

Over the weekend, the rents and I took a trip to NYC to see Mary Poppins on Broadway.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  It was awesome.  The story was different than the movie, but in a completely awesome way.  I would definitely recommend seeing it.




The New Amsterdam Theater is truly beautiful.



We even managed to drag my dad along with us.  He wasn't too thrilled about going to see a show, but he likes new experiences.  Mary Poppins was so good, even my dad approved: "That was way better than a movie."



At times, I had to remind myself that it was a live show.  It was so wonderfully performed and perfect that I felt like I was watching a movie.

Bonus - at the end, Mary Poppins flies away and she flew right over our heads!  I could have reached up and touched her foot (don't worry, I didn't).



I wish I would have taken more pictures, but (true to form) I'm not good at taking pictures of people.  I'm just going any good at it.   So I only walked away with about 20 photos (6 of which were somewhat good looking).  Guess I'll have to start practicing taking photos of real people doing real things!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Photo That Started It All

Last December, I bought Jane.   



Then for Christmas, I received Alice.  



Several weeks ago, I bought Oscar.


Photography has become a hobby of mine.  Each time I go out to take photos, I learn something new about my lens or camera.  It's been a wonderful hobby and has been great motivation to get off my butt and enjoy the world!  

I used to take photos just to document things for this blog.  I wanted them to look nice, but it wasn't a high priority - plus, I had no idea what I was doing.  Early last year, I "borrowed" my dad's dslr and didn't give it back.  I started to get really interested in how to take photos and what settings to use.  Eventually, I gave back my dad's camera and bought one for myself.  There was one photo that really got me thinking about getting into photography - 



March 9, 2011
Yes, a photo of Charlie's hotdog was the photo that started it all.  I was writing a post about a mystery I had solved: the mystery of the marks on the wall.   I realized that Charlie's hotdog was leaving red marks on the walls as it bounced off of them, so I took a photo of the culprit.  When I looked at this photo, I loved the blur in the background.  I loved that the front of the photo was bright and the background was dark. 

I started to wonder how I could recreate this look.  So, I hit up the internet and started finding some really great information.  Being a self-taught photographer/designer, I've learned how to search google like a pro.  One of the first places I headed to learn more about taking photos was the Pioneer Woman's blog.  She has many great posts about understanding your camera. 

Then it was all about practice.  The best advice I can give to anyone in my situation (those of you teaching yourself how to use your camera) is get out there and use it!  I started taking special trips just to take photos.  

I took Jane/Alice/Oscar:
- on a snowy walk
- wherever my nephew went
- to my alma mater 
- on a windy walk
- wherever Charlie went
- on a beautiful garden tour
- on a photo road trip with Mel

Creating opportunities to use my camera has really helped me to understand it.  Well, maybe I shouldn't say "understand" it's more like...know what to use and when.  I still have no idea why ISO works the way it does or what ISO stands for - but I do know when to change it.  

I'm not saying I'm an amazing photographer, but I've gotten to the point where I like the photos I take.









It's been really fun getting to know my camera and really fun taking trip to take photos.  I can't wait to learn more!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gift Tags - Free Printable

When I see a pattern that I love my first question is always, "How can I use this?"  When I was browsing Pinterest over the weekend, I saw this lovely pattern.


love the pattern
source
There's a lot to love about this photo, but I zeroed in on the design.  So I asked myself, "How can I use this pattern?"



After some time with Illustrator, I had these little gift tag.  Well, I had three little gift tags.  I liked them so much I wanted to share them with you - so I made more.



The pdf download includes four pages of gift tags for you to choose from.  I'm a pretty simple person, so the white on gray with a splash of color is my favorite - but I thought I'd make some with a little more variety for the not-so-simple folks out there.






The process is very simple - print, cut, punch a hole, and use!  This time around I decided to try something completely new - I've made it so you can type you own text onto the tags.   Disclaimer - I have never done this before, so if there are a few glitches let me know and I'll do my best to fix it.

I do know this - if you type onto the pdf, you must save it as a separate copy before printing.  I learned that one the hard way.  Adobe will also ask you if you want to send the document to anyone - just say no.  Technically, it's a pdf form, so Adobe acts like you're filling out information to send back to me.

The whole process was a bit confusing, but it was worth a try.





Charlie and I took the tags onto the deck to get some nice natural light for the photos.  I think the tags turned out pretty nicely.  Plus, if you don't feel like typing out your message, you can just write it in yourself.

You can download the pdf file here.  Enjoy!