Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vintage Finds This Week

Posted last week on twitter that I was going vintage shopping and well, you know it got put off, but I did get to go yesterday and found some wonderful housewares! Here are a few of them.

Wonderful Russian Nesting Porcupine! I saw one of these on www.apartmenttherapy.com .

A mint set of glass bowls with such sweet pears on them and octagonal bases. I also got this set of 4 Irish Coffee Mugs below, such great items and as with vintage they have so much more character than many of the new things you find in the stores today. I love Vintage! I posted these and many other new items in my etsy vintage shop, www.retrochique.etsy.com .

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Movie Review - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Thanks to my 19 year old son I finally got to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I had it here at home from Netflix, but my husband was procrastinating. My oldest is here at home for the summer and when he saw it he said "Oh, I'd like to see that I heard it was good". And so my husband relented, seeing an opportunity to sit with my son for more than 10 minutes!

Being a person who spent most of the 80's along with my friends obsessing about different bands, I love the premise that moves the story along; finding the afterhours secret gig of a band that the two lead characters really love. The story only encompasses the span of one all nighter and follows them from club to club, place to place while they try to find the band. Michael Cera, the boyfriend/father from Juno is the male lead who is struggling to get over a popular girlfriend who has thrown him to the side. (For those of you who watch entourage the girlfriend is played by Alexis Dziena the new flame for E. ) Kat Dennings is the female lead, a romantically insecure but spunky and fiercely loyal friend. They spend the evening finding themselves, resisting temptation to take the easy path and eventually finding each other.

I personally loooooved this movie, but my husband found it a little young I guess you'd say. My son really liked it. So, I'd say see it. It is funny and sweet, well worth the DVD rental!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

When We Played Little League........

......or any other sport when we were kids it was different.

There were no year round sports, you played whatever was in season.

There were no select teams. (you tried out and got on a team according to your ability to play, not pay).

"Intense" parents limited their participation to the stands.

It cost $30 or so to register for a team and maybe you had to buy a shirt or uniform. Not hundreds of dollars for home, away, and practice uniforms, plus travel bags, etc

Pressure was limited to that which your teammates might put on you.

Coaches were unpaid volunteers.

Some of you know my kids play competitive tennis. When they were about 8 years old we had them choose a sport to concentrate on and play since their friends were all starting to play on year round select teams in soccer and baseball. Both the time commitment and money made it impossible to play more than one sport. While tennis has been a blessing for them (I would never change that) and helped tremendously with their self confidence and taught them important lessons on perserverence, staying positive and self control; it is a comment on how sports has evolved that kids can't just go Play casually anymore. Or maybe it is just a comment on a mom reminiscing, after all my kids don't know any other environment than what they have grown up in !

Have a Wonderful Day!

Do you have a comment on kids sports? Leave it here, Thanks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old Bag Vintage Featured Etsy Shop

Last week a fellow etsy seller featured an item of mine in a mosaic she posted on her blog http://www.oldbagvintage.blogspot.com/ . Well, that item sold as did a lot of others. It was such a blessing and blast of positive energy I wanted to return the favor by giving her shop some exposure. Here she is in her own words...

"I love yard sales, consignment shops and thrift stores. There's nothing like being able to handle the items and examine them carefully. And if you can get a great deal - that's the icing on the cake! "

She has some wonderful pieces and seems to be on the track of building a great store, but as anyone who deals in these treasures it starts with a true love of vintage and how it contributes to our lives. Again in her own words!
"There are so many benefits to buying vintage items. They're great for the environment, unique and have a history. I've always loved collecting vintage bags and clutches."
Hence the name, Old Bag Vintage. Visit her shop for some great jewelry and other unique vintage items. www.oldbagvintage.etsy.com .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bruno at the Show and Ghost Town at Home

Okay not a very satisfying weekend to say the least, deep breath.

Bruno. I saw Borat, I thought it was at times crude and inappropriate. However I did think it was an original concept, very funny in parts and worth seeing if you were not easily offended. Sasha Baron Cohen has gone over the line with Bruno though. It is both rude and crude and I have no idea how it escaped an X rating. It features full male member nudity, and even an animated penis. In addition there is an S&M feature, a swingers party, and lots of gay sex references and enactments. That is just the stuff that refers to sex. There are other controversial references to terrorism, gay conversion, interracial families and the list goes on.

In as much as Cohen's purpose was to push people's buttons he succeeds and parts of it were indeed funny. But if I want to see a movie with nudity and sex I know where to go get one and it isn't at my local AMC theatre.

Ghost Town features Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais, and Tea Leoni all of whom on their own I usually like. The premise is Ricky's character has a death experience and comes back to life able to see and hear ghosts. The spirits all have unfinished business and they ask him to complete these tasks and enable them to go on to their own afterlife. The story is predictable from there with Greg Kinnears character wanting to keep his wife Tea Leoni from remarrying. It could be super funny but for some reason it isn't.. The characters just don't gel. If it is the only DVD left get it, if not pass it up.

On another note I want to thank everyone UWIB and elsewhere that has given me a boost this last week. It has been a fantastic month. Special thanks to oldbagvintage www.oldbagvintage.blogspot.com www.oldbagvintage.etsy.com and SuzanneinTX http://spt2.blogspot.com/ www.crazyforcollars.etsy.com for mentions in their blogs. I can't help but think that this helped me!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When I Went to College.....

When I went to college…….

If I needed to talk to my dad during the drive back to school I had to stop at a gas station and use a quarter in the pay phone.

If I got lost I stopped and asked for directions or asked the navigator in the passenger seat to look at the paper map.

Class registration meant standing in long lines in an auditorium, not waiting up until midnight to be first at online registration.

Eating at McDonalds meant actually having to have cash, not a piece of plastic.

Listening my favorite song in the car meant shoving a piece of plastic and magnetic tape into the hole in the dash and hoping that it didn’t get eaten.

Getting new “friends” didn’t involve facebook or twitter.

Turning in a term paper meant typing it on a typewriter and going to class and physically turning it in, not uploading from my laptop to a website.

Do you have a college difference? Leave it as a comment! Thanks.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Appreciating Home - Tale of Two Kids Weekends

As many of you know my two younger kids, Will who is 13, and Chloe who is 11, play competitive tennis. Will is spending time in the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch Academy Program this summer. They live in the dorms there with other boys and get to practice their skills all day in an environment that is geared toward moving up competitively. Will went for the minimum amount of time 3 weeks. They get to travel with the group to tournaments and this weekend they traveled back home to Houston to compete. Will was responsible for getting his things and himself ready to leave the ranch by 1:30 Friday for the 3 hour drive to Houston.

Thursday Night 9:00 - Call from Will he is getting ready for the trip, doing wash.

Friday Afternoon 12:30, 1 hour till departure - Call from Will. "Mom can I wash towels with whites"

Mom - "Why are you washing now, it takes an hour to do a load of wash and dry it"

Will - "I have exactly an hour mom and I need socks and underwear"

Mom - "Okay Hurry and get the rest of your bag ready but don't wash the towel you won't need one at a hotel"

Will - "oh, Okay"

Friday Afternoon 1:05 Call from Will "Why are washers so slow"

Friday Afternoon 1:20 Hysterical call from Will ""Mommmmmmm I lostttt my tennis racquets!"

Mom tells him to get a hold of himself calm down and look for them, she will call the counselor and get him to help.

Friday Afternoon 1:40 call from Will "We're on our way"

Mom - "Did you get your racquets?"

Will - sheepishly "yeah, but mom I forgot my toothpaste, contact solution, and toothbrush, can we get some there?"

After all this I get a final call early Saturday morning, we are about to leave with my daughter, who is playing in the tournament too. We were going to meet Will and his group there and watch his match.

Will - "Mom, I got up late and didn't have time to put on compression shorts (for those of you unenlightened in 13 year old tennis lingo compression shorts = underwear!) Do you have any extra at home?"

My husband's take on the situation was that this was to show Will how much we do for him and how he has to learn responsibility and appreciation, I don't know if he did or not but I hope he remembers his underwear next time.

The champ tournament was a success and Chloe won the consolation draw, a great boost for her.

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Scrappy Chic!

Good Morning, One of the things I find really fun is to look at the shops that have hearted mine and the things they make. You can cyber stroll etsy for hours, but if I limit myself to one of those shops I have a natural stopping point! Anyway it has led to some great discoveries for me and I like to share them, perhaps it can bring someone inspiration or give you a new favorite shop too!

This week I chose OneScrappyChic.etsy.com. This shop is run by Bettina and her story is familiar to us all I think!

" I opened OneScrappyChic on Etsy to bring in a little extra money for my family. I am a mother to a beautiful 2 year old little girl! She really was the inspiration behind OneScrappyChic, which started out as a pregnancy/baby album idea and eventually evolved into much, much more."

Her paper goods are wonderfully colorful, whimsical and combine sewn embellishments as well as unusual materials like paper bags. Here is her comment on her goods.

"I like to make all types of paper crafts such as scrapbooks, notecards, etc., but I LOVE to make EXPLODING albums! I love the idea of someone finding all the hidden pockets and pages and the album popping open at the turn of nearly every page. "

So I hope you have enjoyed my stroll though http://www.onescrappchic.etsy.com/ . She is also having a giveaway on her blog http://www.onescrappychic-etsy.blogspot.com/ . I know I'll pay a visit! Lastly here is a pic of her own favorite item, an exploding album.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Two Extremes Public Enemies and the Proposal

Good Morning everyone, time for Monday Movie Reviews. With my kids gone this week we saw two in the theatre, an unusual occurence. My husband and I chose one together, (guess which) and I chose one.

I love Johnny Depp and have ever since 21 Jump Street so it wasn't hard to like Public Enemies. It was a spare, classic gangster drama complete with J. Edgar Hoover, G- Men and Johnny Dillinger. Johnny Depp has a restrained, nuanced performance. He was understandable and likeable even as a most wanted criminal. Marion Cotillard was fierce and defiant as his girl Billie. You almost feel sorry for Christian Bale's character Purvis the FBI man in charge of getting Dillinger. So I recommend it for adults, if you are looking for a compromise to see with your guy...

The Proposal on the other hand was super funny! I wasn't expecting a whole lot, you know it seems like the funniest bits of movies are usually in the trailers, but not this one. It was funny, sincere and sweet. My husband, who thought it was a Chick Flick, really liked it too. Sandra Bullock was funny but some of the funniest stuff comes from Ryan Reynolds too.....Betty White and the rest of the cast complete it and the locations are gorgeous. I recommend it wholeheartedly for adults.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Editing your Photo with Irfanview

As promised here is the piece on doing a few simple edits with irfanview. I chose a simple picture for the sake of the piece that had all straight lines. Irfanview uses commands that are familiar, after starting the program use the file open commands to open your picture out of my pictures files. First we will crop it.

1. If you move your cursor onto the picture you will see that it turns into crosshairs. Holding your left mouse button nails that crosshair down and dragging the mouse will create a selection in the picture. I imagine how I might want to crop this picture and choose a left top corner starting point, dragging my mouse to create the square. In the picture above I have started the process. In the picture below I have finished drawing the square.

2. In this picture you will notice that I have drawn my square, the lines barely show. In the top blue bar it also shows my pixels. I got them to be almost equal (555 by 544) since I wanted approximately a square. I then hit the control and Y keys, this cuts away the unwanted area outside the square. Below is my cropped picture.

Now we will give it a white background to float on.

1. Go to the edit drop down and choose show paint dialog. It will bring on the box shown in the right of the pic below. The commands are very similar to the pc paint program we all let our kids use.

2. Next we are going to choose our background color. In the paint dialog box on the right click on the one of the two small rectangles in the bottom. This will bring up the color selection box you see on the left of the picture. For each rectangle you will have to choose a color and hit okay. I chose white for both.

3. Now we will outline the picture. This keeps the fill color we will put in the background from "creeping" into the picture. It is important that there are no holes in our outline of the picture. In the paint dialog click on the box that has the diagonal line in it on the left above the circle. This will give you a crosshair like the cropping procedure. You can choose how wide the line is byusing the up and down arrows making the width px higher for a wider line, or lower for a more narrow line. I used a 14 px line. I find a wider one easier to use and see. Nail down the line start point with your left mouse button at one corner and drag it to the point you want your line to end. Release the mouse and you will have a line like this.

4. Do this for all 4 sides of the item.

5. Now click on the paint can that is tipping over. Touch it to the area outside of the square you drew and click your mouse. Now your background is the color you want! There may be a few areas of clutter that need to be cleaned up so just click on the eraser symbol and hold down the left mouse button while moving your mouse, this will erase anything with the new background color. Extra hint, if there is anything that accidentally got "erased" with your new color, you can restore it by using the erase tool and the right mouse button. When you drag your mouse then the original pixels of the picture are restored!

The last thing we will do is change the resolution for uploading. Close the paint dialog and hit control and r at the same time. This brings up the resolution box. On the right there is a drop down that includes defaults, or on the right you may put in your own choices. If the resolution you choose makes it appear all wonky (technical term) just hit edit undo and try again. You may also change the resolution of the original picture before you start editing the picture if that is easier for you. Edit undo will always take you one step back if you mess up.

I hope that this helps anyone who is getting started trying to make better pictures. There are lots of resources and programs out there for you to use and a lot of them are free. It just takes time to practice using them. These are just first steps, there are lots of things that you can do with this software. Best of luck, and please comment with any tips or resources you may have! Jamie.