Gallery post format: no photo glue or decorative scissors required!

The other day, as part of the Zero to Hero program, I published a post in a “new to me” format.  The new format was a gallery post, which arranges a bunch of pictures that you specify in a grid that is attractively laid out to highlight your photos.  Today’s post is a follow-up to that post, which (if you remember) was called Kitty Derps, starring my cats in their most candid moments.  Awwww!  So cute!  I really liked the gallery format, so much so that I used it on my new page, My Fuzzy Family, to feature my pets that are gone but not forgotten (in addition to the presently living ones, of course).

The reason that I chose to explore the gallery format is because I’ve always been drawn to layouts and organization in print media.  I used to be a cartoonist, and after that, I had my own ‘zine (the Goyal Talk Times).  I LOVED arranging panels and pages to make eye-pleasing visual arrangements featuring both text and illustrations.  More recently (oh, the last fifteen years or so), I ventured into scrapbooking, and then went all-digital the past several years.  I use Photoshop Elements to design my pages, then get a hard-bound book of my pages for each year printed through Shutterfly.  Everything is organized and arranged just so!  I go through phases of digital scrapbooking mania (it takes a lot of creative energy), but I’m always happy with the product.  Want to see a few of my favorite pages?  Well shucks…here you go, then!

03-30-06 Tattoo

05-25-06 Lizard Surveys Page 2

03-19-2011 Wedding - Page 2

02-05-2012 OR Cat Show - Page 2

12-22-2012 Loaded Brush

So there – you’ve learned another little nugget about my anal-retentive personality – graphics have to be done just so, and when things aren’t arranged perfectly, it really bugs me.  That’s why the gallery format post is so wonderful – you don’t have to line anything up yourself!  Just pick out your photos and they are all sized, spaced and placed just how you want them.  Just like magic!

And you don’t even have to lug around a big craft tote full of paper, templates, scissors, glue, stickers, glitter and all the other madness that scrapbooking entails (unless you’ve gone digital, of course)!

Related posts:

And I didn’t take a single picture!

Oh, Reno, how you love to take our money away.  It’s ok though, because we enjoy your biggest-little-city can-do attitude, complete with sprawling casinos and “European” gymnasiums (whatever that means).  Also, your lack of homeless people hired to shove little pictures of naked ladies at passers-by is non-Las-Vegasly refreshing, so Thank You, Reno, for that.

This year, it just happened that my birthday, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day (yes, President’s Day) fell reasonably close together to have a four-day weekend out of town.  Chris and I have stayed at the Peppermill Casino three times now, and it’s rather lovely – it’s all Italian-themed (except for their Chinese restaurant, Chi, which is Chinese-themed) and they have a fantastic spa, casino and restaurants (including Chi).  We arrived Thursday night and spent much of the weekend losing money, enjoying drinks (perhaps a little too much on Sunday night), and luxuriating in our ridiculously over-sized suite.  Well, the suite itself wasn’t over-sized, just the furniture.  But it was awesome!  Also, someone might have eaten the Famous Amos chocolate-chip cookies from the honor bar.  I’m not pointing any fingers, but that someone might have been me, or as Chris identified as the culprit, Snacky McSnackerton.

Anyway, here is a picture of the slot machine that ate all my money.  If you see it, I suggest walking in the opposite direction.  The tigers are tricksy and false…their fancy jewels flash and you hear them roar, but they just take without giving.  Damn you and your scatter bonuses, Siberian Storm!!!

Additional Reno places of interest that took our monies:  the spa (hello, facial and pedicure…I’m pleased to meet you!  Why yes, I’d also like to have one of those luxurious robes as well, thanks!), Romanza the Italian restaurant (so happy that we got in on Valentine’s night, although the lobster and shrimp and sea bass that we enjoyed might not have been so pleased), Atlantis casino (just a quick jaunt down the street and…why, I’m so happy to meet you, Sumo Kitty slot machine!  Here, take some more of my money!), and the Peppermill Poker Room (Chris can fill you in there, although I will say that the craps table was most uncraptacular.  Chris scored pretty well with the dice!).

We were having such a good time that I insisted upon staying another night in our suite instead of heading home late in the evening.  And it all worked out…the cats were even happy to see us home.  Happy birthday / Valentine’s Day / President’s Day to us all!

Crafty Weekend

It had been a while since I’d gotten out my sewing machine, and since I had a few project ideas and some extra time I figured this weekend would be as good a time as any to relearn how to load a bobbin (and it was easy).  I just bought a new laptop so I picked out a set of coordinating fat quarters and sewed up a little laptop lid cozy, which you slip over the screen part of your laptop before closing it to prevent the keys from scraping up against the screen.  This is useful for when things land on your laptop, like a leaping overweight cat, for example (in our house, this scenario is extremely likely to happen).  Anyway, the laptop lid cozy is fully lined and reversible so you can have four different fabrics on the top.

See?  Now my screen won’t get scratched from flying cats landing on my laptop.

Additionally, I saw an article about repurposing old belts and scarves into camera straps so that you can look all stylie while you’re annoying your friends and family by taking pictures of them all the time.  You just cut off the ends of the scarf or belt, sew in some hardware, and voila! Super cute camera straps that are interchangeable with your outfit and the weather!  You can take a look here for some ideas.

I took a couple of old belts and some of my Granny’s scarves (they still smell like her perfume) and attached different hardware to them so they can clip right onto my camera.


Finally done! And it’s not 2019!

Hurray!  I’ve finished my 2011 scrapbook!  I’ve been putting together 12×12 scrapbooks for each year (and additional books for various trips, cruises, etc.) since about 2001, and switched over to digital scrapbooking for my 2005-to-present books.  I hate calling it scrapbooking, because it brings up images that don’t quite describe me.  But that’s ok – my move to digital rectified most of my issues there.  I simply GAVE AWAY most of my scrapbooking supplies, tools, totes and everything else; I think I sold my largest tote packed with supplies for only $90.  I’d probably spent over $1000 on all that crap, too.

But doing digital layouts is much better – you don’t have to lug supplies around, get everything out, clean everything up, deal with paper, stickers, glue, and things that don’t quite match.  I use Photoshop Elements to create all of my pages, and EVERYTHING can be resized, recolored, reshaped and replaced just the way you want it.  It’s still time-consuming, but all you need is a laptop and your digital pictures!  Yay!

Anyway, I did finish 2011.  I’ve even started on 2012.  I used to try to catch up on the oldest years, but I decided to just work backwards instead.  So, I still have to do 2007 – 2010, but that’s not so bad, right?  Right???  Riiiiiiiight. 

So I’m happy to share my 2011 book – feel free to check it out on my share site!  You can look at it full-screen (keep in mind that it’s not full resolution, but it still looks pretty good).  Click here to see!

I was sooooo robbed!!!

Alright, so our bowling league banquet night was on Saturday.  It was actually ok, except for the part where I WAS TOTALLY ROBBED OF WHAT WAS RIGHTFULLY MINE (probably)!!!  And by this, I mean the award for “most improved bowler”.  See, apparently it doesn’t matter what your starting average was at week one, or week three (three weeks being the time you need to establish your average).  No.  The starting week was week 6.  Tell me that doesn’t suck!!!  I mean, that’s certainly not the beginning of the bowling season, that’s a month and a half into it!  So, obviously, to ensure that I get this award next year, I’m going to have to bowl really sucky for the first six weeks and then kick ass.  It’s ok though, because I was also disappointed to learn that there were no trophies to be given to any of the award winners.  What’s up with THAT???  Plus, my chicken was dry (not to mention covered with mushrooms), and Chris’ steak was fatty (not to mention covered with gravy).

Ok, my rant is done.  Actually, the nice thing about the banquet is that everyone got a prize.  Chris received recognition for scoring a game over 225, and I would’ve received recognition for scoring a game over 150, but something was messed up so I’ll get my fridge magnet prize in the fall.  Sad face.  However, our team won the league champion award for coming in first place overall (which earned us $93.50)!  Our team also came in first place during sweeps week (another $37.50 in winnings…cha-ching!)!  And I won 4th place during sweeps week for the women’s singles group ($5.00 – booyah – Chris won 5th place in the men’s singles sweeps week, so he only got $4.00)!  Everyone even got some money back…Chris and I took home a total of almost $300 in winnings!  Plus, there were door prizes.  Some of them were horrendously awful, but we actually walked away with the best prizes available: a folding camp chair, an ultra-soft snuggle blanket, a beverage thermos, and a big hanging flower pot full of purple petunias.

I’m looking forward to seeing what rewards will be reaped from participating in the summer Tuesday Superbowl league!

So Long, Half-Timers!

Last week was our last night bowling with the Half-Timers league.  I think our team came in first place (shhhh…it’s a secret for now), probably due to my super high awesome handicap.  Interesting statistics:  My overall average is a 108.  However, I started the season with a 3 week average of 90, and ended the season with a 3 week average of 128.  I’m hoping to get the “most improved bowler” award at our post-season banquet in a couple of weeks! When it comes down to it, I really just want a bowling trophy – I don’t care what it’s for!  But Chris had better look out, since I start the SuperBowl league next week without him…when we both start the Half-Timers again in the fall I may be actual competition!

My bowling average through the league season.

 And, I scored my first turkey two weeks ago!  Woo hoo!

Slight Hiatus

Well, hello there!  It’s been a while, huh?  I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging (duh), but that doesn’t mean I’ve just been lazing about with my thumb up my butt.  No sir-eeee.  I’ve actually been catching up with my digital scrapbooking, which is something that I *really* fell behind in (and you thought I was bad at keeping up with this blog!).  So I’ll tell you what I’ve accomplished:

– Entire scrapbook of our honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean – DONE!
– Entire scrapbook of our cruise up to Alaksa – DONE!
– 2006 Year in Review scrapbook – DONE!!! (finally)
– 2012 Year in Review – I’m working backwards, and have 6 out of 10 pages DONE!
– 2011 Year in Review – I’ve got 9 out of 41 pages DONE, and am motivated to keep going!

Here are a few examples of my work so far, just so you can see what these pages look like (from 2011 and 2012).  Each one is quite a bit of work, considering that I have to choose photos, do any artistic photoshop alterations, pick a color theme and related art, and figure out a layout that will work. They’re 12″ x 12″; some of them are single pages, and others are doubles:

 Chris and I went to see Bela Fleck in Reno for our one-year anniversary.  I love my camera – it takes really great pictures in low-light situations and the zoom is awesome!

 You can’t have five cats and not make fun of them with a scrapbook page.

This is the first page of a two-page spread about the Halloween Party we hosted last year.  This is one of my favorites; the second page is good too because I got pictures of everyone in their costumes!
Anywhooo…that’s all for now.  I’ve got to keep chugging along on 2011.  When I get a chance, I’ve been reading The Walking Dead graphic novels – did you know that The Walking Dead TV show is actually based on a graphic novel saga?  Yes, it’s true.  There are like 30 books or something, and the show has only covered the first two.  I’m on book 5, and so far it has held my interest.  Oh – I’m also reading “Before I go to Sleep”, which is the book I chose for our book club to read this month.  I was hoping it would be more of a thriller (it’s about a woman who wakes up every morning not remembering the day before, like in the movie “Memento”), but so far it has been a snooze.  Oh well!  At least it makes me go to sleep quickly in the evenings!

That’s how I roll

Now that my average bowling score is firmly in the three-digit range (101, baby!), I decided to move up in the world of bowling balls. While I heart my leopard-spotted plastic ball, it’s just too light and it pretty much just bounces off the pins, especially if the pins give my ball the evil eye. The result: those dumb pins just keep standing there. My aim has really improved (I think), and I even scored a 156 a couple of weeks ago – my new high score! So, to teach those pins a lesson, I’m bringing in the big guns with a fancy new bowling ball. All hail the Pearl Panther! This orb is a swirl of pink and black pearlized ferociousness, and features a silver-glittered panther and a buzz saw blade on its surface (I don’t know why the buzz saw blade is there, because the manufacturer is Lane 1, but the buzz saw blade looks extra badass so I’m fine with it). It’s a reactive ball, weighted to hook nicely and hit the pocket just right, giving the pins no chance but to bow down to the ball’s master. And that would be me.

I will let you know what happens. I’m going to practice with my new ball on Saturday and we’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, since Tyleen posted about the books she’s reading, I thought I’d pass along my recent reading spree – the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. WOW!!! I read all three (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) in quick time. They are about a post-apocalyptic society (in what was formerly North America) and the social rules that society imposes to keep order and maintain power. Very violent but captivating. I can’t wait to see the movie, which comes out in March. So, now I’m going to read Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. A true story – Hedy Lamarr was a burlesque dancer in the 1920’s who invented much of the digital wireless foundation for technology we have today, such as cell phones. Pasties and weapons deals and crazy inventions…this should be a good one.

Gettin’ Crafty

Last Saturday was my third week in another series of sewing classes. I was originally going to sew up a little bag to match the skirt I sewed during the first two weeks, but on the spur of the moment I decided to whip up some Yule stockings for the kitties and doggy. I had some coordinating fat quarters that I used for the cats’ stockings, and leftover fabric from my skirt for Teddy’s bone stocking. The skirt turned out very well – my first zipper! – but I need someone to take a picture of me wearing it before I can show you what it looks like. Anyway, here are the stockings – too bad I won’t be here to watch the critters enjoy them! Oh well – at least they’ll get some treats while I’m visiting up in Portland/Camas.

Koski Reunion at Lake Tahoe

A couple of weeks ago I took a few days off from work and flew to Lake Tahoe to meet up with most of the Koski clan. It was the first time I got to use my new camera (woo hoo!) and I’m sad to report that it appears that I, too, have been inflicted with a genetic disposition to take vast quantities of photos. This sickness has been further enabled by the fact that my new camera has a 2 GB storage card – you can only imagine how easy it was to snap off a few hundred pictures. At any rate, click here or on the picture below to see the top 50 photographs from this mini-holiday; just remember, there are plenty more where these came from, and if you don’t see a photo you were expecting to see, there may be good reason (i.e., future blackmail material, so stay on my good side, please). Enjoy!