just a GLIMPSE

My son is graduating from college next weekend.  It seems like I just moved him into the dorm and now it’s time for him to move on to the next part of his life.

So I offer a little visual trip back in time of some of my favorite pictures of him.

JoyThis is one of my most favorite pictures of Levi as a little guy.  Covered in spaghetti, he was having a great time eating lunch. Spaghetti stuck to his chest. . . well at least I didn’t have to work to get a shirt clean!  Technically, I shouldn’t have used the flash, but I was still learning then – and it was in the pre-digital age.  In color, it was just a bit nasty.  But I love the infectious grin and the joy that he exudes.  It still makes me smile.

Little ManSlightly older and wiser little boy looking very thoughtful.

Pout like you really mean it!

Another favorite.  Can you see the tears threatening to fall?  I’m sure he was angry with me for capturing the moment, but it’s a classic to which all parents can relate.

New Orleans 2005 - before Katrina

New Orleans 2005 – before Katrina

Such a difference a few years can make.  I love this picture and page.  His beautiful green eyes really stand out.  It was a quiet moment at the zoo.

AwesomeThat last picture was 2005.  This is from fall of 2010.  I took most of his senior pictures myself and these were three “attempts” at nice shots while he was acting goofy.  It was only like 105 degrees outside so I’m lucky he was smiling at all.

Graduation 2011High school graduation.  It seems so far off on that first day of kindergarten, but is sure creeps up on you with record speed.

Since then . . .

He’s been to college.   He’s ridden his Harley.

Saturday Afternoon Ride

He’s grown a beard.  He’s studied abroad.

On the Mosel in GermanyAnd he’s grown into a man.  I’m not sure when it happened.  I think I must have blinked and missed it.

But I confess that sometimes when I see him sleeping, I still that little guy that stole my heart so many years ago.

A mother defined. . .

Various pictures of my mother-in-law between 1954 and 1957.

I’m still working on my husband’s heritage album.  There are just so many pictures, it’s hard to decide which ones to use.  Just like it’s hard to decide exactly what to say.  She passed away several years ago and my husband wrote and delivered a beautiful eulogy at her funeral so that’s what I’m going to share here.  It says more about her than I ever could.

Mom was kind, loving, humble, and generous. She never spoke of her accomplishments nor sought recognition for them. She always put family first and chastised me often for working too much and not spending enough time with my family. I regret today that, as usual, I have learned too late, she was right. What I appreciate today is that my values reflect her values. My character is a product of her and my father’s parenting and guidance.

My mother always believed the best about her sons; even when we disappointed her. There are tales of us boys breaking Christmas lights in a Texas neighborhood but Mom would always say, “Not my boys.” 1969 was a particularly difficult year for Mom. Pop was in Vietnam and Mom tried keeping us boys happy by buying us whatever we wanted. We wanted BB guns. She bought them and we shot out a neighbor’s window and shot each other. Still, what I learned from Mom, what she taught us all was; parents never stop loving their children. She encouraged me to excel in whatever I chose to do. Because of her love, I could always take a chance. I knew she would be there if I stumbled. Her generosity extended to her grandchildren too. She loved giving them gifts and usually gave them too many. But she cared so much about a child’s happiness and downplayed our concern about how much money she spent. She was extremely proud of their school grades and their musical abilities. She was always showing their pictures to friends and family who stopped by the house.

To my brothers and me, whenever we wanted something, Mom was an easy mark. We need only ask. I thought it was just a mother’s love. I later learned Mom had an overwhelming love of children and a heartfelt generosity to give. I remember years of watching the Jerry Lewis Telethons and Mom would call and make a donation. She gave to countless charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude Childrens Hospital. If someone called and the charity was for needy children, Mom gave . . . even at times when she couldn’t afford to, she always gave. Over the years, she made regular donations to St. Jude Childrens Hospital and if any of you are seeking a charity to support, I know she would ask that you adopt this one.

And Mom’s love of my father is endless. While he seldom speaks of his service to our country, Mom was extremely proud of him and his Air Force record. She enjoyed the travel to other countries and cherished those experiences. I always enjoyed looking at the photo albums with her. She had an incredible memory and sharp mind. She could tell a story about every picture.

My mother was an avid reader and could have started her own library with the volume of books went through. She and I could talk about the two most volatile issues people can discuss: politics and religion. There were times when we would disagree and when that happened, we seldom changed each other’s opinion . . . because Mom was tough and strong-willed. I was just stubborn.

I’ll miss my mother. I’ll miss her telling me that I work too much and asking if I’m taking my vitamins. And checking to make sure I’m taking 81 mg of aspirin a day because I’m over 40, you know. She always concerned herself with my well-being. I’ll miss her telling me I’m too skinny one week and that I have put on weight the next. I’ll just miss her . . . and her love.

And it’s done. . .well sort of.


Page 23 - A ride through the Badlands.

Page 23 – A ride through the Badlands.

I am finally finished with last year’s vacation “scrapbook” .  It’s uploaded and waiting to be printed.  I’m not sure why, but I’m always a bit anxious about the process.  I read and reread all my journal entries to proof them for spelling and punctuation, but it never fails that one tiny little error slips through.  And my son is always the one to notice it. Always.  Sometimes it’s not spelling.  One time I left a staple in his friend’s head.  I tell myself that nobody notices.  Anyway, this time I am more anxious than usual since I sent it to print at Blurb, a new experience for me.  It saved me a little money (and I found a coupon code online that saved even more) and by all accounts offers a product that’s equal or better to the printer I’ve used in the past.  We shall see.  The process was a little time consuming since I had to save all my pages as high quality jpeg files, and then import them and drag them on to the new pages.  That actually went really smoothly.  And I will say that in that respect, BookSmart worked perfectly.  And it was faster than you might think even with 43 pages.  It was just that when I looked at where the page would be trimmed, well some elements (photos, journal entries, flowers, etc) were a little to close for comfort.  In the end, I had to edit about a fourth of the pages to move some things away from edges, and then do it over. So what I thought would be a quick relatively quick process took me a bit longer.  Then I had more choices that I did at my old print shop.  Different colors of end pages.  Various papers of different weights and finish.  I hope that when it arrives in two weeks (because I was too cheap  thrifty to spend twice the amount on shipping to have it next week) I will love it.  I’m sure I will.  But the waiting to see if I got it right makes me a little crazy.

The scrapbook may be done, but this project is not.

Provence baby sweater for Noa.

Provence baby sweater for Noa.

The sleeves are done.  And I’m about halfway to dividing for the underarms.  I’ve got several hours of knitting time next week so hopefully, I can get this project all finished up.  Would be nice to deliver it to Noa when we see her (hopefully) in Germany next month.  It’s quite soft.  Beautiful color.  Washable wool.  It’s just that the yarn isn’t much fun to knit with.  And my new beautiful yarn is calling to me.  But I refuse to give in until this sweater is done.  So until then. . . I knit on.


Chip It!

Chips.  They come in all varieties.  Chips off the old block.  Chipped crockery.  Chip shots (I hate golf with a passion).  Chips on shoulders.  Chocolate chips.  Potato chips – or crisps – if you hail from the other side of the pond.  Cow chips.  And. . . paint chips. 

I stumbled onto a wonderful little tool on the Sherwin Williams website.  It’s called “Chip It!”  Basically, you upload a photo to use (or download the little toolbar thing that works a little like the one for Pinterest) and the website creates a palette of paint colors that coordinate with your image.  I used a vintage Christmas card and here’s what it came up with:

Chip it 1


How awesome is THAT?  As you can see, you can edit the colors by dragging and dropping. You can print them out or save them too. Can you envision the possibilities?  Besides the obvious home decor uses, I can see using this to create a color palette for a sweater, mittens (I’m thinking these), scarf, or quilt project.  Or what about choosing plants/colors for your landscaping?  You could use it for just about anything where you might need a color scheme. Endless possibilities! 

When I did this one, a few reds showed up as well but none that I liked. I am thinking about creating a digital scrapbook kit around this scheme and I’d like some red in it.  So I set out to create a perfect red for the palette . . .

I used an eyedropper tool found in the Mozilla tool bar (web developer tools) to sample a red from the image. A quick click copied the hexadecimal code number to my clipboard.  Next, I found an online converter to switch that hex number to RGB values that I can use to recolor my digital scrapbook goodies in my scrapbooking software.

Screen shotA search of converters brought up several possibilities, this is just the one I chose to use.  And it was FREE – always a good thing. 

And besides all the useful applications, Chip It!  is just fun to play with.  Find a picture.  Try it out! 




Picture Perfect Memories

I love looking at old photographs.  So nostalgic.  I’ve been working my way through some old family photos from the hubcap’s family trying to put together a heritage album.  Sadly, my father-in-law passed away last year and many of the photos require a little explanation.  I’m trying to fill in the blanks as best I can.  Mark or label your photos in some way, peeps.  Do it.  Save your descendents from the headache of trying to figure out who people are.  I use an older version of Memory Manager from the now defunct Creative Memories company.  It still works so I’m not switching but I keep hearing nice things about Picasa.  I’ve got over 10,000 pictures in there dated and identified.  If you’re a photographer, you might want to document your camera settings, location, etc.  But seriously, keep some records in whatever fashion works for you.

Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX 1952

Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX 1952