May 29, 2013

PhotoShop Elements 11

A couple weeks ago I purchased PhotoShop Elements 11.  
Now this is not the full blown PhotoShop used by professionals but a scaled down version.  A version for photo editing idiots such as myself.  It has 3 levels - one that it does the editing for you, a guided version, and a do it yourself version.  While you are editing the picture you can use any or all of the versions.  I used the guided version for some things I wanted to do and then played around with the do it yourself on other things - all in the same picture.  
I have put two pictures together to make one - its' hard to get pictures of Russel and I together if we are on vacation by ourselves-, I have cropped, enhanced colors and all sorts of other things. 
I am not getting paid for my opinion by any means but for the price - I really like it!
They have it on sale at Sam's Club for $49.99 right now.  YAY!  That is where I got mine.  

I started working on this picture of Russel from our Vegas trip.  I think that I will go through and get rid of the light lines but this is my start. 
Isn't he handsome?!?!?!

Just reiterating...

I love being a country girl even if I work in the city.
Dad has been rolling hay and chopping wheatlage all around the house lately.  I couldn't pass up the sunset last night. 

May 22, 2013

The Wire Mesh Deco Wreath Tutorial

After a friend sent me a link to an ETSY page showing me some SUPER CUTE wire mesh wreaths(for upwards of $75.00), she asked me…can we make these cheaper than that?  I told her confidently that we could.  I went to the local Hobby Lobby and started looking at the wire mesh.  They had a LOT of wire mesh in all different colors, lengths, and widths.   
Oh CRAP!  Had I gotten myself in over my head??  I went to old faithful- pinterest – and started my search.  I watched a couple videos, read through several blogs, & looked at lots of different pictures of wreaths.   
Then I started on my first wreath.  And then I took my first wreath apart.  And then I started my first wreath again.  And then I took it apart AGAIN.  And as the saying goes – 3rd times a charm.  It took a few tries but I finally got it right.  Then I was hooked.  I made myself 2 wreaths, one for my mom and one for my grandmother. 

So with the last wreath that I made I decided to take pictures and maybe give you a hand at making your own wire mesh wreath.   
Here are the items that you will need to start with:
1 roll 21 inch wide by 30 feet long deco mesh ribbon – blue in the picture ($9.99)
1 roll 5.5 inch wide by 30 feet long deco mesh ribbon – white in the picture  ($5.99)
1 roll 30 feet wire edged ribbon – width to your liking  - if you can get the kind that is printed on both sides then do but if not it is a necessity ($4.99)
24 gauge floral wire – I get the 230 feet roll and it is still ½ full after 5 wreaths and many other projects ($2.77)
Wire wreath frame – the one I used for this is 20 inches in width ($3.99)
Total Project Cost  if not on sale- $27.73 – However Hobby Lobby puts their ribbon and wire mesh on sale 50% off some time.  I happened to catch the sale and already had the floral wire which you will use for several projects so this particular wreath only cost me $14.48.  And that is WAY less than what they are going for on ETSY.  YAY!  Your price will vary if you get the larger or small wire wreath frames, you go for wider or narrower wire edged ribbon, decide to go for more layers of wire mesh, or chose to add an item to the wreath (ie. Letter, sign, bow, etc).

You now have all you need to make your wreath.  Start by cutting 20 six inch pieces of the 24 gauge floral wire and 20 eight inch pieces of the wire edged ribbon.  If you would like you ribbon to standout more then cut longer lengths of ribbon so it will stand out further from your wire mesh.  You could easily double the length of the ribbon pieces but you may need to get a second roll to do this. 

Fold each of your pieces of 24 gauge wire in half.  Now place each of these folded pieces of wire around your wire wreath frame.  As seen in the picture the frame has four “rings” making up its circle and then 10 straight wires around the circumference holding the rings in place.  I like to put my wire pieces on the middle two “rings” of the wreath and positioned on each of the straight wires to keep them from shifting around the ring.  See picture – that is harder to explain than I thought.  

Next prepare your wire mesh for use.  Fold the 21 inch mesh in half width wise and then place the 5.5 inch mesh on top (centered) of the folded piece.   I lay this out on my table and roll out as much as I have room for to make it easier to work with.  It’s time to start the real work!  Gather the ends of the mesh together to make a small (thumb size) squished up piece of mesh.

  Start on the outside row of the 24 gauge wire of the frame and attach the gathered pieces of mesh to a starting point on the frame.  As seen below.
 Twist the wire tight (pic on the right) so that the starting point does not come lose. 

Now make a little poof with the mesh and gather it up to the center.  Include a piece of the wire edge ribbon on top of your gathered up mesh.   Attach to the next of the 24 gauge wires on the frame.  I squish my mesh down as good as I can into my 24 gauge wire and then twist the wire three for four twists to attach.  I have read a lot of different lengths that you should measure for your “poof” but none of them really helped me.  The first wreath that I made my poofs were WAY too big.  You can check the picture to see my poofs my outside poofs are the smallest – poofing up from the wreath frame maybe 6 inches at their highest point.  
Continue to make your poofs and attach to the wire frame all the way around the outside section – and don’t forget to put your wire edged ribbon on there too.  Except for the FIRST spot that I attached my mesh to, I trim off the ends of my 24 gauge wire after I have twisted it tight.  It is easier to trim these as I go then to go back and trim them.

When you get to the last of the straight wires on your outside edge you will want to attach a poof back to the first section where you started (this is why I don’t trim the first piece of wire as I go).

Don’t cut the wire mesh!  You are now going to keep on making poofs and attaching them to the wreath frame but you will just need to move to the inside circle where your 24 gauge wire is already attached.  I usually make my “inside ring” poofs a little larger than my “outside ring” poofs were.  Just eyeball it.  
 This is after the outside round of mesh attachment. It'll look a little anemic but don't worry.

Keep going!  You’re almost there!  Go ALL the way around the inside circle of the wreath frame until you get back to the spot that you transferred from the outside ring on the wreath frame to the inside ring.   Now you have a choice.  

1.) You can stop here.  Cut the wire mesh and make one last attachment to the wreath frame. And then begin you fluffing (instructions below) Or
2.) You can make one more inner circle if you want your wreath to be fuller.  I did that on this wreath. 
For my 3rd inside set of poofs I do it a little different.   
 Cut 5 more 6 inch pieces of the 24 gauge wire and 5 more 8 inch pieces of the wire edged ribbon.  Fold the 24 gauge wire in half.  Now instead of going to EVERY straight wire on the wreath frame to attach poofs I go to every other straight wire to attach my poofs.  You are making your fullest poofs here in the middle - only 5 poofs instead of the 10 from your first two circles.  Now, proceed around the inside edge of the wreath frame for the last 5 attachments.  When you get to the very last spot to attach the mesh measure out how much you need and cut the mesh.  This will give you an end very much like the pieces that you started with.  Gather these together and attach to the last inside circle of the wreath frame.   Make sure that this is attached to the frame with the wire very securely.  

Now your wreath is almost done!  It just needs a little cosmetic work.  On each poof take the folded piece of wire mesh (blue in this case) and tug it apart like you are unfolding it.  You need to go through and do this on every poof on you wreath.  Mine has 25.  This gives the wreath more volume. 

 Then take any small cylindrical object (pen, pencil) and twist each piece of your wire edged ribbon around it to curl the ribbon.  If you have decided to add an item or bow to your wreath use your 24 gauge floral wire to do this.

Voila!  Your wreath is ready to hang.  

 These are the two wreaths that I made for myself - sorry the pictures are sideways.  I'm having issues.
Hope that this tutorial had been helpful.  Feel free to leave questions, comments and suggestions.  I always love a new tip.

May 21, 2013

Mothers Day.... a day to honor all the women in our lives: mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, daughters, aunts, and other special ladies.  
I think it is good to keep that in mind.  Just because someone doesn't have children per se doesn't mean that they don't love and care for everyone around them.  Cheers to all the ladies - mom or not!

We spent the afternoon with my grandparents, parents, great aunt, sister and two of her kiddos.  
The mothers of the afternoon were my sister, my mom, my great aunt and my grand mother.

We spent the evening with my in- laws, brothers in law, and aunt & uncle.  
   My hubby (back row), brothers in law, mother in law and father in law.  

In the afternoon Russel and I got out and played with the kids.  

Because well - we're just kids as heart.  You're only as old as you act!
We rode bikes, flew kites and even took the RZR for a few spins.  

We also had the honor of celebrating my grand mothers 90th birthday!
Yes 90th!  And she still gets out and does.  She drives, mows parts of the lawn, directs traffic for the tractors, works in the garden, plants flowers, chases off birds, cooks meals for 15 - 20 people and so much more.  I can only pray that I am able to be that active at 90.  
And as a side note - thanks to all of you who Tracey and I called, texted and sent messages to about sending Nanny a birthday card last week.  She ended up getting over 50 cards and she loved reading them all.  THANK YOU! 


May 2, 2013

Do you see anything suspicious with this glass of water????

No?!?!?!  Seriously??? You don't see it either?
I was just checking because I would love to continue drinking the water but I am not sure there isn't something in it, something catching, something which happens to be pregnancy.  

Seriously though - congrats, love, and hugs go out to my three gal pals and their families as their sweet families grow or as they begin their life with first children.  I won't name any names because not all these gals are out of the pregnant closet just yet but know that I love you all and wish you all the best.  

And "No, Mom!" not me.  I know you are reading this. I am not pregnant.  
We love kids. We love other people's kids.  We REALLY REALLY love our sweet nieces and nephew, but it isn't the road for us.  We haven't changed our minds.    

"Babies are such a nice way to start people."  ~Don Herrold