Monday, July 30, 2012

Theme-a-licious Jolly July Wrap-Up

I know, I know...I said I was going to stop working on this ornament and just work on Dancer, already. But it was soooo cloooose....
It was also the most frogging I've done on a single ornament, I think. But I LOVE how it turned out. I substituted some metallic Toho beads I bought in Japan for some scattered stitches because I was afraid carrying the thread to them would show through the linen. This great design doesn't need the extra sparkle, but extra sparkle never hurts. =) It's stitched over two on 36-count, and BOY did the 32-count of Dancer look like BURLAP compared to it.

Oh, yeah, I did work on Dancer...
I have to tell you, this piece is seriously harshing my color calm. I did change one of the pinks in Dancer's ribbon from the SHOCKINGLY BRIGHT DMC 956 else I forget now. However, when I work on it at night, I look at that LESS shockingly bright color, and it still looks SHOCKINGLY BRIGHT, especially since the chart photo makes it look all burgundy-mauvey. Then I am overcome with doubt and want to throw it down and start over! Or find colors that actually look like the photo, which I really do like. Hopefully it will all turn out OK; I had the same color fear with Dasher and he turned out great.

Spoiler Alert! If you are awaiting official Lottlympiad results, DO NOT click -->HERE<--! Otherwise, click the word "HERE". Back there, that is. I am now officially more awesome than NBC News.

Next up is...
Altius August
Embrace the Olympic motto--Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger)--by elevating your mind. It's the perfect time to learn something new! Or maybe achieve some goals...

This month's theme was originally conceived as a challenge to learn something new. But if there's nothing you're itching to try, pick a goal and go for it. Maybe you want to finish off a project? Or organize your stash? As for me, I put quite a few projects in my Lottlympiad events that fit the bill: working on my Grandmother Star temari, blocking and assembling a sweater, trying a new beading technique with a kit I bought, and swatching and casting on some shawls (one in a two-color technique, and one lace one!) Hopefully I'll have time during the remainder of the month to work on (read: "start") some needlepoint beads from a cyberclass I signed up for and then had no time to work on (because Grandmother Star started at the same time!) That's the plan, anyway! Oh yes...and I am taking sewing classes!! What are you thinking of for Altius August?

So how did your Jolly July go? Were there more treats than tricks? Please add your link below (to your check-in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 15th, when we'll see how Altius August is...taking off. ;) And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever. I know I said I'd keep doing the thumbnail linkies while I had them, but they're too much trouble to convert once they're done, so we're going simple from here on out. =)

The Geekend That Was, 7/29 (Winner and Spoiler Edition)

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Thursday night, I slept for 10 hours, and I could have easily slept more if work panic had not roused me. I told the hubby that I'm pretty sure I was in shock on Sunday (about my dad's hospital stay), and the rest of the week I was incredibly tense. I was exhausted all week; I'm not sure how my mom and sisters are doing it, being at the hospital all day. My dad is doing much better; he's on solid foods now, but he still has a long way to go. Thank you again for all the prayers.

Friday, I wanted to go spend the day with my dad in the hospital...Michael even came home at lunch so he could shuttle me over there (we only have the one car, and although I could have easily made the 20-25 minute walk, it was HOT). Unfortunately, from the time I woke up, I was working. So, I hauled my computer to the hospital and worked until 6. =(

Of course, Friday night we watched the opening ceremony. I hear the NBC commentary was horrific (I try to tune it out); I blame Matt Lauer. While most of we Americans did need the connection between healthcare and children's literature explained, for instance, we did not need the inanity of Matt explaining that Mary Poppins was coming to save the day. I seriously doubt that fewer than 95% of Americans know who Mary Poppins is!! I also blame the extreme editing it seems NBC did; I hear we missed a lot of the ceremony. Boo, NBC!

Saturday, I earned a bronze medal in the Lottlympiad! Ohhhh...sorry for the spoiler with no spoiler alert preceding it...event results before my Lottlympiad report? Just call me Brian Williams. Yup, we were out with friends for dinner Saturday night, and the one time my spouse looked up at the TV (during the 6pm-8pm Olympic showing break on NBC), he saw the results of the race that wouldn't be aired, for those of us who are cable-free, for three more hours. Double boo, NBC!! We stayed up until 2am catching up with everything we'd recorded while we were out visiting my dad and going to dinner. *yawn!*

Sunday there was more Dad-visiting, more Olympics-watching, some tomato-roasting (if you have not made "sun dried" tomatoes...YOU MUST!!) and not much more sleep.

Finally, I didn't forget about my scrapbooking software giveaway! The winner is CalamityJr!! Congrats!! Please email me at heather at lottloft dot com and I'll send you information about how to get the software!

This is not the first time I've wished I could watch BBC. I must say, though, that with all my NBC-bashing, I still <3 Bob Costas in a giant way.

Also, I apologize in advance to my non-US (upcoming!) Lottlympiad coverage is heavily parodied from NBC although you may not get all the jokes, I hope it's still entertaining.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lottlympiad 2012 Events Announced!

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In past years, I have not been able to get myself together to participate in group activities for crafting during the Olympics. So! Many! EVENTS!! Then I discovered that (AS USUAL) I much preferred doing my own thing. Plus, I like to award myself multiple meaningless virtual medals rather than strive for just one unattainable medal (like for casting on and completing an entire shawl during the Olympics). So, I do my own thing.

This time, knowing that during the first Summer Lottlympiad, I set six events for myself and came up with two golds, two silvers, and two bronzes, I decided that I really needed to be more restrained and be very realistic about what I could accomplish. So, of course, I have SEVEN events this time around. ;)

(By the way, not participating in an "officially unofficial" event also allows me to have Platinum medals. Which are virtual, anyway, so they could be Diamond medals for all anyone cares, or Water, or even Chocolate...mmmmmm...chocolate...).


Where was I?

Oh, yes, the events of the Second Summer Lottlympiad!

Random Relay
Bronze - finish current row of Random Thoughts
Silver - finish bottom row
Gold - finish stitched border
Platinum - withdraw threads for border!

Starboat Sailing
Bronze - Eight-Pointed Star - finish stitching and klosters
Silver - Grandmother Star temari - finish green path
Gold - Sapphire Star - finish center panel
Platinum - finish Eight-Pointed Star

Rhythmic Gymnastitch (Ribbon)
Bronze - All Gold stitching on ribbon 2 of Les Rubans (both sections)
Silver - background of ribbon 2 (both sections)
Gold - all crescents (both sections)
Platinum - finish ribbon

Floor Exercise
Bronze - finish Origami Turtle sleeve
Silver - block Origami Turtle
Gold - assemble and finish Origami Turtle (with edging)!

Bronze - frame mini ornament
Silver - frame Bumblebee
Gold - frame Dasher

Bead Triathlon
Bronze - Lapland Santa - bead deer
Silver - Finish "LOVE" on Hearts and Flowers ornament
Gold - Half of one beaded bracelet
Platinum - Finish beaded bracelet

Synchronized Shawling
Bronze - one Jeanie repeat
Silver - swatch Catkin
Gold - cast on Juneberry
Platinum - cast on double-stitch cowl

What do you think of my event list? Will I medal in every event? Will I medal in ANY event???!? Stay tuned!

By the way, I will add my 2 cents here about the "Ravelympics" kerfuffle (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can just skip this paragraph)...I, too, was angry when I read the word "denigrate" used in the same sentence with knitters. But then, the hubby told me that that actually was a form letter that had been sent out before (and he linked me to an article that included some text the USOC had sent to the Redneck Olympics...same exact text, with different events listed...though it sounds much worse with pigs' feet than afghans). I think that's an important fact...they didn't sit around thinking of language to use to tick us off's how they tick everyone off. =) I'm only mentioning this because that language is the thing that seemed to make everyone REALLY mad, and I haven't seen anyone mention that, IS a form letter they send out.

The Lottlympiad is not a competition. And don't worry...Bob and Jim will be back. Like you were actually worried.

Quick Dad Update

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Thank you all so much for the prayers and good thoughts for my dad. Last night when I went to see him, he was awake and sounding one third like his old self, one third disoriented and one third forgetful. Poor guy; he kept apologizing for causing everyone trouble. I told him I was just so happy to see him awake, there could not possibly be anything to forgive. Today the goal is to get him up and walking!

Dad's in the hospital, but he's improving greatly!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 7/22 (Failure to Hermit)

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First off, let me say...reading your comments on my 33 MORE THINGS post really made my day! There are actually a few of us that make up stupid songs?? Fabulous. We should all get together and sing our way through an entire day in harmony. =D

Soo...the didn't start well...and it didn't end well, either.

Friday (normally my day off), I had to work the whole day. While my team, in the office, was skipping out in the afternoon for "teambuilding" (i.e., seeing The Dark Knight Rises). Not a great start.

Saturday was fun; in the morning I took my first sewing class. I SO wish I had remembered my camera (but really, trying to get somewhere at 9:30am on a Saturday...I was doing well to have shoes on and speak coherently). The class is held in a storage facility (!) and you feel kind of like you're going to a sewing rave. I managed to remember how to get thread on my bobbin, so I wasn't at the bottom of the class. We were making napkins and tablecloths. I made one very small napkin, because I didn't want to ruin my fabric with my complete lack of skill. The class started with an hour of describing the projects' construction and helping those of us who were complete newbies (you don't have to take the classes in any specific order). After that, we cut our fabric (my sister gave me some great pointers when I was telling her about the class!) and I pinned together a couple napkins. That took me about an hour! Since I was making napkins, it was a lot of cutting. I didn't want to do the tablecloth because I didn't think I had space to deal with that much fabric, plus I don't think I really want to make a double-sided tablecloth.... So I had about 30 minutes left, in which I produced one pretty good seam. We put two pieces together, right sides facing, sewed a seam and turned it right-side out. Then we were supposed to topstitch a seam (or two). She had us leave a very generous seam allowance, so the topstitching was too far out for my liking. So far, so good...I had one seam that was a little crooked, but not too bad. I thought I would do another smaller seam around the outside. That...didn't go as well. I thought I'd do a third one to even things, anyway! That was a good learning experience. =) And I am now the proud owner of a cocktail napkin that looks like it was sewn in the dark by an otter who'd had a few too many mojitos.

After the class, Michael picked me up and we went to a great tea house where we shared a fantastic goat cheese pesto salad and a great chicken salad sandwich (not too much mayo...perfecto!) We took home some of the white ginger orange peach tea...yummy! After that, we went to see The Dark Knight Rises. It was...long. The movie was a little spoiled by the couple in front of us who were looking at their BLINDINGLY BRIGHT cell phone, and got..vocally abusive when Michael asked them to stop (I had to go out and get security), and the fact that drinking a pot of white tea before a three hour movie is a Very Bad Idea. At least, if you want to sit through the whole movie.

Sunday started off "normal"...Michael had to be up early to run sound, and after church we went grocery shopping. When we got home, there were TWO messages on the answering machine. This NEVER happens on a Sunday...TWO?? It was indeed bad news...Dad was in the hospital with complications from his gall bladder surgery on Tuesday. A stitch popped and he had a hernia. No one seemed very concerned...until we got to the hospital just after he came out of surgery to fix the hernia. When they intubated him, he aspirated some stomach fluid. This means he inhaled acid. This is not good. Suddenly, he was on a ventilator in ICU (intensive care) and chances of recovery were 2/3! I'll skip the drama and tell you that he is doing much, much better today...he is awake and responsive, but still much in need of prayer.

And that's why there was no International Hermit and Stitch weekend for me.

Dad in hospital (improving). Work still bad. Sleep...not so much.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


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So, both Jo and Chiara re-tagged me for 11 Things! (I guess I was asking for it, hunh?) And McKenna also tagged me!

Here are Jo's questions:

1. Watch the film first or read the book first?
This is always a tough decision, but I almost always watch the film first. The main reason is that if I have read the book first (especially if it's recently), I will sit there in the movie theater picking apart what they changed and being miffed about it. After the first Harry Potter movie, where I reread the book RIGHT before seeing the film, I now have a six months to a year moratorium on re-reading a book if a movie's coming out. I think Hunger Games is the best movie adaptation I've seen so far (not counting the entire LOTR trilogy, although I'm still mad there was no Tom Bombadil).

2. Which book would you most like to see made into a film?
Until a few years ago, my answer would have been "Voyage of the Dawn Treader"! Now I'm not sure..."Ready Player One" would be a fun one...or "The Wee Free Men"...oooo, or "His Majesty's Dragon"!

3. Who would play you in the story of your life?
Sandra Bullock. She's got the looks, humor and height to pull it off. =P

4. What was the first live band you saw?
Sadly, due to my sensitive hearing, I've been to see almost no bands live in my life. The first live concert I remember going to was to see Doc Severinsen with my parents when I was still in single digits...I held my ears the entire time and never wanted to go to another concert!

5. Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
Probably Richard Dawson, back in the 80s. It's a long story, but I was "the cute kid" from the family wasn't on the show.

6. Did you embarrass yourself by blushing/clamming up, saying something stupid?
Well, it depends who you ask...LOL! I did say something which caused me to get teased at school for a while afterwards. (I went to such a small school that OF COURSE they showed the episode to everyone!) I didn't go to school the day the episode aired! Maybe if you all beg me I'll tell the whole story. ;)

7. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner or Breakfast, Dinner and Tea? or some other random names for your meals?
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner...although if I were a true Southerner, I would say Breakfast, Dinner and Supper.

8. Does your family have a word for something which no-one else in the world uses?
My parents would say "eygavaulty" as an exclamation of disaster...actually, I don't even know how that's spelled. No idea where that came from!

9. What is the worst job you've ever done?
Cleaning out a very, very old industrial kitchen that had maggots in it! UGH!!!!

10. How did you get out of doing it?
LOL!!! I couldn't escape, since the poor girl who was helping me had on OPEN-TOED SHOES and I had on tennis shoes. How could I complain?? Eventually, we just decided we'd worked long enough and quit.

11. What is the theme song to your life?
What a great question. "They're Coming To Take Me Away"??? LOL! That's just what it feels like lately. I have a crazy habit of making up tunes and lyrics for random things I'm doing and singing them as I go through the house. Kind of like I'm in an opera, except without all the vibrato. The hubby calls it "endearing," I think.

And now for Chiara's:

1. how long is it since you’ve last played, sat on the floor, with a kid?
It has been a while...probably since my niece was 5, so 5 years!!

2. your favourite school trip?
When I was a senior in high school, we went on a Spring Break trip to Mexico...Mexico City, Taxco and Acapulco. Since our only other school trips were to Memphis ( Mud Island) and to a local museum, this was definitely the winner. =) Since I was terrified or getting sunburned (I am VERY PALE, in case you hadn't noticed), I wore sun protection at all times and only spent 20 minutes per day in the sun. I had the best tan of my life when I got home! (I usually just burn.)

3. when you go to sleep, do you wake up in the same position, or do you find blankets and pillows all over the place?
Same position...on my back. I can't go to sleep if I'm on my side!

4. shades, hat or both?
Depends on the situation, but usually just shades. I do love hats, though!

5. was there a time you thought “I wish I was born there!”, if so when/where was it?
Hmmm...I can't think of one. I do love visiting places, but I am always happy to come home. Although, since I was born in the middle of a blizzard (in Michigan), almost any place would be preferable!! Hmmm, maybe I should say Hawaii, because I'd love to live there!!

6. do you know how to make candy corn? could you tell me? I’ve never tried it! (if candy corn is not traditional in your country, could you tell me how to make something you’re thinking is way better than candy corn )
LOL! No idea how to make candy corn. But if you want something really Really REALLY sweet, here is a recipe for pralines (popular in the South US): Pralines (I must add a caveat that I have not tried this one, although it's on the list! I picked it because someone said it tasted like the ones my favorite shop makes!)

7. how many years have you been stitching? did you learn by yourself or did someone help you along the way to the stitching madness it’s nowadays?
I think I learned to stitch when I was 7 or 8, with my mom. We had a little "how to" kit that was an owl sitting on a branch. Everyone I've talked to that stitches "backwards" like me (the top leg of my "X" goes like /) remembers this kit! =) I had some time "off" from stitching in high school and college. Then I found Teresa Wentzler. =)

8. the perfect sandwich: what is in it?
Nice roasted chicken (no deli meat! too salty!), cut thick, lots of basil (basilico =) or pesto, gruyere cheese, spinach or arugula, sweet ripe tomato slices, and maybe some good Dijon mustard if there's no pesto. It also needs to be on some good, seedy or nutty bread. Perfect would be this bread I had in Prague which was called "Italian bread"...full of sunflower seeds. Our waiter told me it was way too healthy for Czech food! =D This sandwich only exists in my mind...who wants to make me one??

9. honestly, do you think ironing our clothes is really necessary? how do you deal with the dullest house work ever?
Not usually necessary. Only occasionally. And those stupid all-cotton sheets I bought. =( I only iron when I watch TV and am not stitching. This happens about once every two months, LOL!

10. you reckon there’re even duller things than ironing? what is it?! ;D
OH YES! Cleaning the shower!!! Or mopping the floor. They are equally horrible. And you can't dull the pain by watching TV while cleaning the shower. Mine's a walk-in, and to do it right takes about 40 minutes. UGH. This is the main reason I hire a cleaning lady. =)

11. is there a TV commercial you like? (makes you laugh, takes you back to old times, reminds you of someone you know, ..)
We don't watch very many commercials now that we record everything with Windows Media Center and watch it through the Xbox. But I do like the one with the little kid dressed as Darth Vader (it's advertising a car I can't recall at the moment). His melodramatic motion waving his father aside makes me laugh every time.

And, last but not least, here are McKenna's questions!

1. What time of day do you prefer to stitch?
Afternoon, but that almost never happens!

2. Three favorite colors?
Same as McKenna, but in a different order...Blue, Purple, Green. Although actually, it's probably more like Cobalt Blue, Teal Blue, and Turquoise. =)

3. Do you have a sweet tooth?
A better question is, do I have any teeth that aren't sweet? (Spoiler: The answer is no.) Being of Swiss descent, I demand to keep up with "my people" in per capita chocolate consumption. The cake is not a lie around here.

4. Do you stitch for charity?
Sadly, no...I have so little stitching time that it's all for me! (Or for gifts.) Lest you think I'm completely heartless, we do support several charities each year...just monetarily!

5. Aida, Linen, or Evenweave?
Linen! Evenweave is also nice to stitch on, but I don't like the look of the finished projects as much.

6. What month is your birthday in?
February. Stupid Winter.

7. Do you like to cook?
Yes!! IF I have time and am not rushing to produce dinner. But I like baking much better.

8. How long have you been blogging?
5 years

9. Who taught you to cross stitch?
My mom...see #7 of Chiara's questions. =)

10. Favorite flower?
Tulip. Or peony!

11. Have you ever soiled the cloth you're stitching on?
Yes, but fortunately only on the border, and not with anything that stained, so I was able to wash it out.

Is it possible you have any more questions about me??? Wait...don't answer that.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


(What's a TUSAL?)

It's been a while since I actually posted my "large" TUSAL jar along with my monthly jar. (Actually, it's been a while since I posted my monthly jar rather than just a free roaming ort blob). So since it's overcast today, I thought the glare would behave a little better.
You were going to get a better picture than this, but as soon as I took it, my camera said "Battery depleted"! So this one will have to do. And now I'm charging the battery, because I just need to bead my Silent Night ornament and it's done! (Yes, I know I said I'd work on Dancer now...and I did that, too! =)

The volume of orts is somewhat inflated since I had to wind more yarn for the Origami Turtle...and while I had the swift out I wound some more for swatching during the Lottlympiad...and then Michael thought it looked fun so I gave him another skein to wind. =) No shortage of yarn around here, that's for sure. I wonder how long we could entertain ourselves just winding yarn balls???

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

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The Origami Turtle is still crawling along (pun intended). But this is the final sleeve!
It'll hopefully get finished during the Lottlympiad. I started planning this year's events, but I lost my list!

The IOC can't touch me because the Lottlympiad is not a competition, and I'm not selling anything. ;)

For more substantial WIPs, head over to Tami's Amis!

And there's still time to enter my scrapbooking software giveaway!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 7/15

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First off, I realize that I created some confusion on Friday by declaring Hexipuff victory. "Hexipuff" is the nickname for the honeycombs you knit up to make a Beekeeper's Quilt. You only need approximately 3,579,212 of them for a small quilt. They are the current rage sweeping through Ravelry (well, we may be on the tail end...Color Affection/Affliction/Infection is the latest to claim thousands of victims). This happens a lot in the Ravelry community, it seems. Some simple, but clever, pattern appears and "everyone" has to knit it. This is the kind of thing I avoided like the plague once I got past junior fact, I'm immediately suspicious of anything that's that popular. Like someone must be rubbing snake oil all over whatever the latest craze is in order to lure so many people to it. But the prospect of doing something with all those leftover sock yarn bits was appealing to me (since I've finished SO many socks and all /sarcasm). At least, that's the just knit some hexipuffs with leftover sock yarn, keeping your stash nice and neat. That is, unless you succumb and start buying custom made mini skeins.

So, the weekend! We had two outings to the Fox for the Summer Movie Film Festival.
Sadly, there weren't as many good movies this year, so we only went to two. In past years we had bought books of tickets and had gone two or three times a week!
Before the movie, there are old movie reels, cartoons, and a concert on the Mighty Mo organ. The sing-along has gone downhill a bit, too; it used to be all "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" it's "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "Georgia," if you're lucky.
But it was still fun to see The Avengers with a large crowd. And in a beautiful old movie palace, to boot.
How did I survive with this old camera??
The Princess Bride was also fun...gosh, I love that movie! Although I almost had to punch the couple behind us...they were speaking at normal volume, without even turning their heads to each other. The kids in front of us and to our left, we couldn't even hear.

Nothing better than seeing movies in a classic movie palace.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Theme-a-licious Jolly July Check-in

Whoah, is it really the middle of July already??

I did get a couple stripes done on Long May She Wave:
Eight down, five to go! Of course, all the ones left are the long ones....

I really thought I'd be able to finish up this ornament by now.
I had a tragic case of miscounting and had to frog the two hearts on the right (I thought I had counted where to start the "left atrium" of a heart, but I was supposed to start the "right atrium" instead, so they were three stitches off.) Hey, those frogs were supposed to be out of here after Jumanji June!!!

No more messing around! I'm going to start back on Dancer next!

I want to thank those of you that took part in the survey I posted about Theme-a-licious. I thought I'd share the results with you...

It was pretty evenly split between once a month and twice a month, so we'll stick with twice. I like to keep it on everyone's radar. =)

YOU GUYS!! You like March Madness, you really like it!!! =D Well, May Memories won, but not by much. Interesting...that was the theme I struggled with the most, and the one I heard the most initial complaints about ("I haven't taken any classes, so I don't have anything that fits.") I guess once you all figured out how...creative...we are around here with applying themes, you figured you could find something that would work. ;)

This was interesting; based on pure numbers, Fangirl February won the Unpopularity Contest. But really, all the themes were statistically equal...except for Amazon April. I guess we all have some BAPs in our WIP pile!

I do want you guys to have some input on themes for next year, so keep thinking about what worked and what didn't, and what you'd like to be "forced" to work on. ;)

I asked this next question to try to determine whether I should spend the buck$ on the thumbnail linky next year: looks like we'll be going back to plain linkies next year, since most of you click them all (bless you!), click those before you, or randomly click. I'll go ahead and use the thumbnails while I've got 'em, though.

So how is your Jolly July going? Is there a lot of ho-ho-ho or more oh-oh-oh? Please add your link below (to your check-in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 31st, when we'll wrap up Jolly July and talk about Altius August! And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

1. Serendipitous Stitching July
2. Southpaw

3. not much for Jolly July so far
4. Sherrie
5. Jolly July Arab dancers
6. Jolly July Check In
7. Reflections - A Little Voodoo
8. Karoline
9. The traditional dance of korea

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finished Object Friday (teeny edition)

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I finally finished a Hexipuff!!
When I asked what you all were stuffing them with, Cairnish said she was using cotton. Since I wanted to finish the darn thing, I just used a couple cotton puffs I tore up. It was kind of difficult to get the cotton loose enough so it wasn't lumpy, but tight enough so it had some body. I looked for cotton stuffing at Hobby Lobby last time I was there, but they only had cotton batting for quilts. I'm going to keep looking for a non-polyester option.

+10 Geek Points if you know what book that hexipuff is sitting in front of!!

For more substantial Finished Objects, visit Tami's Amis, or Wisdom Begins in Wonder!

Also, don't forget my giveaway of MyMemories, software for digital scrapbooking. Click here to read my crazy-long post and enter!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


There are a couple of great stitchy giveaways going on right now...

Nia's giving away a gift certificate to celebrate her birthday AND blogiversary! Click on the logo to go to her blog and enter!

Next, Cottage Garden Samplings is celebrating her grand opening with some very lovely things...I won't post a picture to tempt you, but I will say there are SCISSORS involved! =)

Also, don't forget my poor, neglected scrapbooking software giveaway...if you enter now, your chances are excellent. =P

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hot Hot Hot WIPocalypse Check-in

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I totally convinced myself the full moon was today, not Tuesday.

Actually, I convinced myself it was THURSDAY, so that's even worse...I'm forgetful AND late! Maybe it's the heat? We set a record here this week: 106 F! Yes, the South is hot, but we rarely spend days over 100!

Not too much got done this past month due to my epic European vacation ( should get on that). Not wanting to overload the suitcase, I only took two small knitting projects (socks and a wrap). When I got back from the trip, I was pretty brain-dead, but I did manage to make a little progress on a couple WIPocalypse projects. (OK, OK, they were also Jumanji June projects, but you won't hold that against me, right??)

First, my Lapland Santa has progressed a bunch. The reindeer is almost done except for beads! (There are a lot, since it's a Mill Hill kit.)

I did a little work on Random's been a while since I posted a full shot of it, so here it is...

Visit Measi's blog to see more earth-shaking WIPocalypse posts by clicking the graphic at the top of this post!

Also, don't forget my giveaway of MyMemories, software for digital scrapbooking. Click here to read my crazy-long post and enter!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scrapbooking Software Giveaway!

Before I went on vacation to Europe, I was asked to review some digital scrapbooking software! This software, MyMemories suite, is actually the highest rated digital scrapbooking software. I was very excited, because I've been considering doing digital scrapping. It's become clear to me that I'm not going to physically scrap, since the one scrapbook I own has been sitting in the garage for about 10 years!

But what the heck do I know about digital scrapbooking? Clearly, nothing. So, I enlisted the help of Erin, who usually blogs at Erin Expounds. I asked her some questions about how she scraps and what she'd look for in digital scrapbooking software. It turns out that a lot of people just use Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. This left me wondering...why buy dedicated scrapping software if you can just use a graphics program?

My conclusion: This software makes it a lot easier to manage albums, and view your digital assets in categories, than a regular graphics program would. Plus, it lets you create a slideshow (and even add music!) or export your album easily to a format for your iPod or Apple tablet.

A "quickpage"...just drop in the photo and you're done.

I spent several hours playing around with the software, trying to figure things out and try to check off all the features Erin told me digital scrapping software should have. Those features were layers, text paths, photo editing, clipping masks, and shadows, as well as the ability to use assets from other online stores. MyMemories passed on all of them except clipping masks (and text paths, with a caveat that you may still be able to do what you want with their Word Art and Text Shapes...text paths seem to be a Photoshop thing). If you're interested in my specific findings, feel free to email me (heather at lottloft dot com), because if I gave you the complete rundown, this post would be extra-extra long (instead of just extra long =). Instead, I'm just going to give you some quick highlights.

When you fire up the software for the first time, this dialog greets you
Once you've created some albums, they'll show up at the bottom and you can select them to start.

At first, I chose the Designer Template option, but later I just designed my own. To pick the template, you view a thumbnail of one of the pages.
Once you hit next, you can select which pages you want in the album (notice this window shows you how many pages are in each one...that's the number of layouts, not the number of pages you can have).

After selecting your pages, you can even opt to fill them in automatically from a folder!
This was so crazy to me, I had to try it (while typing minor annoyance was MyMemories kept wanting to pop into the foreground...argh!). I was pleasantly surprised by the next step:
Oh, OK...that's not SO crazy. I can actually add/remove and rotate photos, so I don't have to get the whole thing together before I go into MyMemories (although, notice you can only sort them by name or date). Cool! I used our "favorites" from the Salzburg leg of our Europe trip, which was about 35 photos. It only took 3 minutes for the album to generate! And it actually did a pretty good job grouping the photos together. If I'd actually taken the time to put them in order, it would have been even better! Once the album is there, you can switch out photos. So despite my extreme skepticism, I think this would work really well if you know you're going to use one layout for a whole album!

I'll show you a couple other pages I did. This first one, I literally grabbed the first picture I took on vacation, which is the new international terminal at the ATL airport. (Sidenote: those transparent circles are smart glass, which turns opaque when a current is applied to it. I took a video which I'll post at some point. ;) This page was my proof-of-concept for using another vendor's assets with MyMemories (the alphabet), plus for me figuring out what the heck the difference was in an embellishment and an imprint (imprints are like stamps; you can color them).
It's pretty rudimentary...I'm no great designer. =) But it only took me about 10 minutes, and I was learning a lot during that time! I used a background, swirl embellishment, shadowing, an imprint and the alphabet.

Here's one where I started out with a photo layout. This is me and the girls having lunch at the Swan Coach House.
Everything here (layout, background, embellishments, mats and Word Art) are available out-of-the-box with MyMemories! I like a lot of the embellishments that come with the software, although some categories (the standard buttons, bows, and ribbons--which look kind of flat) leave something to be desired. But the backgrounds are a lot of fun and come with a lot of options. I wish you could choose your own colors for backgrounds like this one. Oh! That reminds me...the "color picker" tool is excellent. It zooms in to your page on the dialog box so you don't have to zoom in just to pick a color.

So I learned lots of good tidbits just by playing with the software (for instance, to get a shaped picture, it works better to add your picture and resize it, then apply the shape, rather than adding a shape and putting a picture in it, because you have no control over how it will be cropped/resized). All of the MyMemories documentation is online...the help as well as the user manual. However, the manual is a PDF, so you could download it to your computer if you wanted to read it and work offline. You can find MyMemories on Facebook, Twitter @mymemoriessuite, or their Blog, which is jam-packed with helpful content. Liz J., who hosts the blog, even has a bunch of video tutorials. What I really love, though, is that she has made PDF tutorial sheets for most of them...because, you know, sometimes I don't want to listen for 10 minutes when I can find the answer myself in 10 seconds. =) (That's how I figured out that a "quickpage" is just an "embellishment"!) She also highlights sale elements, designers, and has weekly challenges which can not only motivate you to get some scrapping done, but also let you win more free stuff!

So to sum up...
-Each kit you buy shows up as an installed program in Windows (Control Panel->Programs and Features). That could get cluttered if you have a bunch.
-If you buy/download a kit from another site, you have to either navigate to use the elements, or...if you're little techno-savvy, you can figure out how to get them in the regular list. (I'll post about that later if there's enough interest! =)
-No integrated help
-No text paths, although you can create circular text and curves with Word Art, and some shapes with the Text tool
-No clipping masks

-The same price or less than getting a good graphics program, with many additional helpful scrapping features
-Lets you easily navigate your scrapping assets (there's a "search" box on the embellishments dialog!)
-Easy to build/export albums, calendars, Facebook/blog headers, iPod format or even slide shows and DVDs!
-Great customer support
-Lots of freebies!
-Includes basic photo editing features (crop, red eye, filters)

So here's the exciting part: You can win a copy of the software!! Just visit the MyMemories store, then come back here and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite new kit is. You might also want to take a look at all the free kits they have! I'll pick a winner on July 29th. And if you feel like you can't wait to get your hands on a copy of the software, you can use the code below to get $10 off the price, plus a $10 credit in the store! Here's the code (copy and paste it on the "Shopping Cart" page):

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this digital scrapbooking software for review purposes, along with a $10 credit to their store, as well as the discount code for you guys. I do get some proceeds if you use my discount code to buy the software! But I think you guys know I'm fairly brutally honest. =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 7/1 (LOL edition)

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Last week, Michael got windfall tickets for us to see Jerry Seinfeld! He was performing for a conference at the Georgia World Congress Center (about 7 blocks from our place) for a convention of human resources workers. I didn't really want to go; it was last-minute (like, 4 hours advance notice), and I figured it'd be in a huge auditorium where we'd really be watching him on a screen. So why not just stay home and watch him on TV?

Well, it turned out because Michael's company had a booth at this conference, we got to sit in the special vendor seating...IN THE 10TH ROW!!! Crappy cell phone picture courtesy of Michael's coworker (who was reluctant to share, due to the crappiness):
He went for almost 90 minutes, and I have never laughed so hard or so much for so long in my life! Most of the last part, I was rendered incapable of making any noise. I was completely convinced my stomach muscles would be sore the next day from laughing so hard!

Friday I got to go to lunch with Erin, who I haven't seen (in person) in forever, even though we live only about 20 minutes away from each other. I suggested YEAH Burger, which helped Erin with her 101 things list (for trying a new-to-her restaurant). She also graciously gave me some help with a little project that I'll be mentioning soon (you should be interested because it may result in FREE STUFF for you =).

Saturday Michael and I had a wedding to attend in the evening, but we went to see Safety Not Guaranteed in the morning. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. In a nutshell, an intern at a magazine signs up to go on a trip to help research a cryptic want ad her boss has seen in the paper: "WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED" (We have a title!) Is the guy for real? Crazy? Dangerous? The film keeps you guessing until the end. It's rated R (mostly for language...two f-bombs and it's an automatic R...some sensuality, and references to drug use). Honestly, I only had two main problems with the film. They called a dulcimer a "zither". Yes, a dulcimer is a type of zither. But when people ask what I drive, I don't generally say, "a car," I say, "a Prius". =) There was also a SHOCKING lack of visual continuity. A blanket is on her lap, around her shoulders, around his shoulders, on her lap, on his lap!!!

Sunday Michael wasn't feeling well (plus it was over 100!) so we stayed in and I did everything but blog. =)

I think I would make a fantastic continuity checker.

Old Geek-outs