Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Book

Well, I've discovered that maintaining a blog isn't as easy as I thought it would be. If I could find someone to raise my kids, run the household and take care of the dogs then I think I could keep up with it but I'm such a control freak that I'd be watching over their shoulder to make sure they did it right and I'd be no better off, except I'd miss all the fun of actually raising my kids, running the household and taking care of my dogs! Perhaps I need to treat blogging like I do writing books and get into a disciplined scheduled of early morning writing after I go for my morning bike ride.

We decided that it would be wonderful if we could start exercising regularly. In Arizona if you don't get up before the sun does than you're in trouble. Well, ok, that's going a little far, you don't have to beat the sun but you for sure have to get in as much as you can while the sun is waking up. We get on our bikes as the sun gets out of bed, stretches and scratches itself in private places. Rounding the corner we shift into a higher gear as the sun takes a morning whiz and gazes at the wall still half asleep. We ride along the canal while the sun looks in the mirror, frowning at the crows feet and bags it sees reflected back while it reaches for the toothbrush and toothpaste in the cup on the sink. While the sun is grabbing a cup of coffee and the morning paper we stop for a water break. Parking our bikes in the garage a few minutes later we're done with our exercise as the sun gets behind the wheel to start the drive to work.

It's a crazy thing to have to manage every morning but we know the alternative. The sun is very good at its job, especially in Arizona. Workers here don't have any type of ordinance that stipulates an hour to start work. While they built the homes behind ours years ago the first trucks arrived on the scene at 3:30 in the morning every day until those homes were built. They needed to get started early so they could have the majority of their work done before the sun got too hot.

So, starting tomorrow 10-3-10 I will get up at an.....wait a minute.....it's 12:42 AM so technically it IS 10-3-10. Huh, that means that in less than 5 hours we'll be expected to ride our bikes. Hmmmm, maybe we can wait for the sun since it's Sunday. Or maybe Sunday should be our bike break day....yea, I'm thinking it's a break day or at least sleeping in will do since it's Sunday. Now if I can sell it to the kids.

BUT, I will be working on my second installment of my Joanie Adventure childrens book series. In this book Joanie will be taking her first airplane ride with her new puppies! Of course it won't go well so it will be a blast to read:) (I hope!) The first book was just republished in its second edition and is available at ireadiwrite.com or follow the link provided under the title. It is also available at many fine book sites, Amazon.com, Barnes&noble.com, etc but, if I may say, if you have interest in the book I hope that you'll consider buying it directly from the publisher at ireadiwrite.com. Thanks!

The other time that I'm up and feel creative is late at night, hence the now 1:04 AM on the clock. I feel tired but inspired sometimes and there is no crazy feeling like "I've got to beat the sun!" Besides, if I was trying to beat the moon I'd have plenty of time. The moon is a bit of a, shhhhh, slacker. It's not that I think the moon isn't doing its job, I think its doing a great job but it's a calmer pace. The sun has to greet the world and wake us all up, nevermind all the stuff it grows and lights during the day. (I don't have time for that kind of list!) But the moon, well, the moon is basically just shutting off the lights, like flipping a switch in a kids room after you kiss them goodnight.

So, my goal is to attach writing in my blog to writing my book. I'll be in the zone anyway so it will be easy to come over here and give you a shout out:)

I do hope that your Sunday is full of more than just church and football. I hope you have a fun day planned with some good food, good friends and maybe even a nice roll in the hay. (I'd pick just one of those friends for that but I don't judge...)

Until next time.....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slumber Party

My boys are having a slumber party and have been playing video games since 4pm. They stopped long enough to stuff some McDonalds in and I've been keeping them hydrated but it's now after midnight and I'm about to go in there and tell them they need to shut it down.

I'm telling you this for two reasons......

I want witnesses incase I don't make it back out of the room and....

I want to see if you can hear the collective complaining from where you are. Ok....? Report back.

I'm going in.

On three...

one...

wait, is it one, two and then go in or one, two, three and then go in?

I guess that would be up to me huh, since it's just me sitting here on this laptop.

I'm going in on three.

One,

two,

three!

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Donation to My Stuff Bags

I usually like to kid around in my blogs and be a bit silly but today I want to tell you about something serious and something that has touched my heart.



Things have been crazy since I injured myself almost 2 years ago and can no longer work but I found my little niche in school spirit necklaces. I love making them because they are fun and I can set my own pace but mostly because it's such a kick to see the kid's faces when they first see them! It took awhile to adjust to my limitations but I've finally embraced what I can do instead of what I can't do and I've learned how I can improve my situation and maybe a little bit of someone else's too!



I decided that, although slow starting, I would donate $1 of each necklace I sold through my website to a worthy charity. I wanted to pick a charity that maybe not everyone already knew about and hoped that a few more people would learn about them through my talks about them on twitter and my blog.



Ok, I know I'm only reaching 4 people on my blog, gulp. But you've got to start somewhere. And, if you're reading this, do me a favor and hook me up with some more followers:) We all just want to be loved, right?



So the time has come where I've sold a few of these necklaces and I get to send http://www.mystuffbags.com/ a check for $75! I'm very excited!



We'll also be sending a few stuffed animals and a few books with the check.



Let me give you a bit of background on this great charity. And before I do, you should know that they were certified with only a small number of charities as being Best in America. That means that they keep their operation costs low so almost all of the donated money goes to its intended cause! Bravo to them!



My chosen charity reaches out to the children that maybe were awaken in the middle of the night by a police officer whose has the grim task of telling them that their parents have been arrested and they have to leave to go to the police station. That still sleepy child has to now walk out of their world, that they may never see again and leave their possessions behind. They have to process all of this possibly without loved ones to help them understand and to adjust to living wherever they are placed, including the possibility that it could be living with strangers. Try to imagine if you had to leave everything behind, how hard it would be. Now imagine that for a child, a little child. It's positively heartbreaking.


This is where www.mystuffbags.com steps in. They provide the child a bag that contains new items to cling to as they adjust to whatever is happening in their lives. Inside the bag they will always find a blanket, usually made by volunteers. They can expect a stuffed animal and a book to, hopefully, get lost in. Other things they might find will be a toothbrush, and toothpaste, and little toys. These are items to get them started but, more importantly, these are items they can call their own!



I'm proud to have been able to provide a small donation to this wonderful organization. I hope it helps to put a smile on the face of a displaced child.



Please join me in helping www.mystuffbags.com. You can send a monetary donation, make blankets by following the step by step directions (it's easier than you would think) or even by spreading the world that such an issue exists and that there are generous people trying to do something to soften it for these children.



Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today. I hope it gets you thinking about how blessed you may be and that you might have ways to contribute too. If you mention www.mystuffbags.com to one person today than you've helped get the word out!

Hugs,
Colleen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Snoring -what to do?

You know what I like to do at 1:30 in the morning when I've been woken up by my husbands loud snores and can't get back to sleep?

I like to look back on my marriage.

Sure I'm looking back through tired eyes but I'm not signing anything so I'm ok with it. If my husband were awake instead of in a loud, deep, slumber, I like to think he'd be ok with it too.

In looking back, I can report that my marriage has had its ups and downs and I've come to realize that what seemed to be big problems in the beginning of the relationship pale in comparison to steady growth of problems through the years, more like stages, if you will. Nothing to send us to divorce court over but if you're paired up with a partner I'm sure you'll be able to relate.

Once two people decide that they are going to mix their single lives into couplehood then problems are to be expected, just beginner problems, or, as I like to refer to them, freshman problems. These are typically battles that, at the time, may have even seemed like deal breakers. The bathroom issues alone should be addressed before any couple even decides to hop in the sack together, let alone share an address. For starters, razor stubble in the sink and why it can never be swipped clean. Also determining how exactly you'll be sharing the toothpaste. Is he a "squeeze from the middle" or "roll up from the bottom" kind of guy. Discussing "peeing privacy" is an important one to cover unless you're not bothered by the sound of urine hitting the water while you're putting on your face. Should your toilet paper be hung over or under and the wet towels debate...hung up or thrown in the laundry basket, of course that's assuming that your dude knows how to use a laundry basket.

You're likely to realize that the freshman problems are pretty simple to fix, two sink minimum in the bathroom and a second tube of toothpaste make for easy answers. The toilet paper roll goes on in whatever position it happens to be in when it's snapped in to place and the actual potty is only to be used to sit and gab on unless you're in there alone. Pretty simple, right? You've graduated to your next set of problems.

Sophmore problems develop after a couple of years of marriage. By now you've got your bathroom issues worked out and have probably already agreed on whether you are dog or cat people. Now it's time to start growing up and looking at careers and where you're going to be in five years. The baby discussion will start and it will be time to start thinking about your first home. Try to resist keeping up with the Joneses, it will do a world of good and help you lessen the amount of junior problems which will include money.

When you arrive into your 40's the Junior problems start popping up all over the place. If you failed doing your own thing, at your own pace and decided that you did have to keep up with the Joneses then a major part of the junior problems will have to do with money, or lack thereof. It's time to start thinking about paying for braces and adding to the college fund. The baby you feel like you just had is begging you for an $80 a month cell phone and talking about what kind of car they want to get. And, the scariest of the junior problems is the reversal of parent/child roles with your parents. Suddenly you're taking care of the very people who you've counted on your whole life to take care of you.

Senior problems haven't happened yet but they'll start right after you get the first notification from AARP. They may as well send you a letter that says "YOU ARE OLD!" Try to look at it not as a gauge of where you in the life timeline but more as the start of discounts for partically everything you do! Hopefully you'll be blessed with grandchildren that you can spoil the way you wanted to spoil your own children but wouldn't dare for fear they'd turn out to be spoiled brats! With grandchildren it's not your problem to worry about, so spoil away!

But why bring this all up anyway, you ask? I know no one is commenting on my posts but I have to believe that SOMEONE is out there reading it or this would be like talking to myself.....

The reason I bring it up is because no matter what stage in life you are at, no matter what age, if you have a partner that snores you have a LIFETIME problem and are probably up with me right now thinking about ways to explain to your kids that althougth the last 20 years have been wonderful with daddy, and he is a great man and a wonderful father, that he's got to go. Out. Somewhere else. Or at least at night anyway. Maybe put him out with that cat. Unless you've decided long ago that you were dog people.

Your friends will be baffled.

"They were such a wonderful couple. I don't think I have ever seen them argue!"

"I know, I know, it's a real shame."

"Was it an affair? Did someone cheat?"

"No, no one else."

"Oh, he was a deadbeat, lost his job?"

"Oh, no, good worker, hard worker."

"Then what could possibly end a 20 year happy marriage?"

"Man snored like he was cutting up wood to store for the winter."

"Oh, well, there you go."


Now, I'll go back to the guest bed and try to fall back to sleep. Both dogs have stretched out so that I'll have to twist and turn my body to get it to fit between them.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll ask my husband to sleep downstairs tomorrow. Or out in the car.

Goodnight sweet world. I wish you sweet dreams and a quiet partner.



*on a side note you can find my store and my book series information at
http://www.wheezies.com/

Saturday, June 19, 2010

911 Calls just for giggles

Stumbled across this and thought I'd share it. (click on the "911 Calls just for giggles" to get the video)

I'll be working on this today as well as writing about Joanie! The second book is coming:) http://www.wheezies.com/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Putting Text on Pictures - I actually did it, amazing!




Well, will wonders never cease! I actually figured out how to get text on my pictures! Amazing! Let's see if I can teach you to do it too, then we'll all be amazing....

Ok, step one....hire a computer guy.....

1. ok, seriously, step one, go to Adobe Photoshop 5

2. Select which picture you want to work on from the drop down menu of whatever file you keep your pictures in. My pictures are in "my pictures" (I try to keep things simple around here....) to get to "my pictures" I have to go down to the bottom left corner of my computer and click on "start" which brings up a menu where I select (I should put pictures up on my blog showing you how to do that, but, of course, I don't know how. Not knowing how to do something has never stopped me before so that will be covered here eventually.....until then I'll try my best to do a good job with my descriptions. )

From "start" I click on "documents" and then find "my pictures" in that drop-down menu. From "my pictures" I select my picture and click on it to bring it up.

3. On the left side of the page is a rectangle that has all the tools in it. (little pencils and hands and stuff) Go to the picture that has the letter "T" in it and click on it. The "T" stands for "text". (isn't Adobe clever?)

4. Next, decide where you want the text on your picture and click on the spot. This will cause the "Type Tool" box to open. You will have your choice of font, choice of the size and also the color. There are other boxes there too but I don't know what they are for or what they do. I was able to get the job completed without them so don't touch them and you'll be fine.

5. Select your font by choosing from the "font" box. I'm going with "Arial Rounded MT" for no particular reason other than it was already there and I don't object to it.

6. "Size" is next. Contrary to what you've heard, it does matter and it matters a lot. For this I'm using 200. It seems like that would make it huge but it really doesn't. You'll have to play here most likely until you get the size that works for your project. I'm just numbering my necklaces so I'm not going to get too picky. 200 it is.

7. "Color" seems like it would be a no-brainer but I once sent an email to a very talented and beautiful actress to let her know that the white font on the white tank top on her home page made the text impossible to read. I hoped that she would take it as helpful advice but the fact that she responded "mind your own business you blankety-blank-blank was both surprising and offensive. I really never saw that coming. She seems so nice on tv. It bummed me out for most of that day until the batch of cupcakes were ready. "Cake is the answer" is actually one of my motto's and has been quite the life-saver for me many times. My drivers ed test for example....I never could parallel park but I knew that my instructor's favorite cupcake was chocolate on yellow cake so.....passed with flying colors. I don't consider it bribing, just good listening skills...but I digress. Where were we? Oh yeah, color. Select a color that stands out from your background.

8. After you've made your selections, go to the top of the right side of your "Type Tool" box and click on "ok." If you find that the placement of the text isn't quite what you'd hoped for you can go to the right side of the photoshop page and midway down the right side look for "layers." On "layers" you'll see two thin, wide boxes, one says "background" and the other will have your text. You should be able to click on the one with your text to move the text, but, well "should" really shouldn't be a word because I could never get the damn thing to move, so instead, I click on the box with my text on it and then I click on the little trashcan and get rid of it and start over! A box will pop up that says "Delete (and then your text) layers?" Click "yes." If you have a ton of text you may want to save it so you can just put it back in there without having to retype it. Either that or totally rethink how much you think you need to say.

To do that: Left click all the text you want until it's all highlighted. Release the click and on your keyboard hit "Ctrl" and the key "C" together. You've now copied it. Then, after you've gotten rid of the offensive type and gotten it into the trashcan you can left click where you want the new text to go and hit "Ctrl" and "V" and it will be put where you want it.

9. Once I've added my text I crop and size my picture. (do you know how to crop and size? If you don't, hang here and I'll tell you how, if you do then skip this and go right to 10, you over-achiever you!)

To crop: Look on the left side at the top of the selection. On the top row, on the left, you will see a square that has choppy lines around it, click on that. Left click and drag the arrow around the picture, cutting out all the stuff you don't want in the picture. Take note ladies, perfect for those evenings out when, after a few drinks you start taking group shots and forget your lady manners. The whole crotch shot will zap that smile right off your face, but no problem, you know how to crop!

After you've made your shape selection, go to "image" and click on "crop." Done!

To size: Click on "image" and "image size" and a box opens up with lots of numbers. The only one I concern myself with (again going with the "if I don't know, I don't need" philosophy) is the "width." I put my number in there and if you have "constrain proportions" clicked, then the height will change right along with it. When you're happy with the size, click "ok."

10. Flatten Image: This is so important to do! Go to "layer" on your tool bar at the top of the page. It's right next to "image" where you just were working. Click on it and go down to "flatten image." Click on that and you're good to go! Well, almost...

11. One last thing! You have to save it:) You'd hate to do all that work and lose it, wouldn't ya? Well, you won't if you save it. (unless you forget the file you saved it to which is really frustrating and will make you nuts, so save it to something that makes sense to you.)

To save: Go to "file" on the tool bar" a few left of where you were just working. (nice how they place all of these together, isn't it?) click on it.

Go to "save as" and click on it. The "save as" box will come up and this is where you have to decide where you want to save your picture and how you want to title it. After you have made your selections and typed it your title, click "save."

A box called JPEG will pop up, just click "ok" and NOW you are good to go! I hope that makes sense! If not....there's always the computer guy....

Now, if you've stumbled across this and it helped you, will you please let me know by leaving a comment? It truely would be awesome to know that I'm not alone out here. If you read it and don't leave me a comment, it's ok, but I wish you would:) Til next time.....

Sweet dreams!

Col






















Saturday, June 12, 2010

Text in Pictures - It WILL happen!

Just a short note to my invisible followers.....I'm attempting to learn how to put text into my pictures so that my customers will have a better ordering experience.

http://www.wheezies.com/

Right now I have to list my designs individually and with all the designs I have, wowsa, that's going to take a long time! That's where text comes into the picture. I will be able to have "collections" which will be a page of similar designs separated by numbers so a customer can order by number instead of looking through pages of designs. Sounds great in concept, doesn't it?!

So, here's the thing.....I have a history of failing at all things computer so I really just wanted to make a public note of my intentions so incase I should end up dead, you will know what killed me. Of course, if no one is reading this then they won't know until the cops search my computer. Oh well, at least it will eventually clear my husband....

Off to the tutorials!