Saturday, May 26, 2012

Block Picture Puzzle

My other little project this week was a "block puzzle" using a picture of Rachel. I figured it would be something cute for my mom to put on her counter or mantel.

For the blocks, I used these cute little cupcake boxes that I had lying around left over from the cupcakes that, um, my co-workers and roommates eat. Yes, I had been saving them. I knew I wanted to make this project and decided to use Rachel's face as the picture. To give the boxes a little substance, I cut up floral foam that I had lying around and put it a piece in each box. Another option that would be nicer, would be to get 3x3 wood posts and cut them to 3" squares. But that would cost money and I'm super cheap.

The boxes I used are 3"x3" and I used 6 so the measurements of the puzzle (and thus, the picture of Rachel) is 6" high by 9" long. I cut out the picture and on the back drew lines to cut up the picture so a section is on each of the 6 blocks. Once I was sure the lines would line up correctly, I cut them.

Then I took each piece and attached it to a box. For the other sides of the boxes, I attached cute scrapbook paper. Another variation of the project would be to attach other pictures in the same way so each side has another picture puzzle. That would be fun too, especially for kids.

 I knew my mom wouldn't take it apart so I just covered the other 5 sides with paper. The adhesive I used was my tape gun. To make covering the other sides easier on myself, I just cut three inch strips and then folded it over sides of the boxes.

As a finishing touch, I assembled the "puzzle" and tied a bow around it with some cute ribbon I had left over from Rachel's baby book.

I love that this project cost me nothing for the puzzle. I already had everything lying around! Yay!

Friday, May 25, 2012


So because my mom's birthday (50!!!) and Mother's day was so close, we decided to do something extra special this year.

And because we're so awesome, we went to Idaho to visit her for Memorial Day Weekend. She had no idea. It was awesome. I'll post about that soon.

But I didn't want to go empty handed--I mean, it was her 50th Birthday AND Mother's Day and flowers we sent weren't going to cut it. So I came up with a couple of cute things for her. And yes, of course, they involve pictures of Rachel. This is one of the little projects. I'll post the other one soon.

The first project I put together is a mini-folding album of pictures of Rachel for Mom to keep in her purse (I also made Caitlin one).

I used little clear plastic playing card cases that I found in the dollar section at Michaels. I took the playing cards out and tossed them in with my games.

Then I measured the inside of the smaller (bottom) piece to make sure the paper would fit. The dimensions were 2.25" wide by 3.5" long.

I found some cute cardstock in my stash and cut long strips that were the same width as the plastic card holder (2.25"). I measured the strip and marked off "pages" every 3.5". I then folded the paper accordion style and sharpened the folds with a bone folder. Because I wanted 16 "pages" I made sure there were 9 pages on each side (so that there was a cover and a back page). The strips of cardstock weren't long enough so I attached them to each other using my trusty Tape Gun. (LOVE that thing!)

I cut out all the adorable pictures of my adorable niece and then decorated all the mini pages on both sides using the adorable pictures and other cute embellishments I had lying around.

When I was finished decorating, I used my tape gun to put adhesive on top of the front and back pages (they're still visible since the plastic is clear) and stuck them to the case pieces.

To finish it up, I used a cute ribbon to tie a little bow to hold it all together. Ta Da!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Photoshop Experience

I've wanted real Photoshop for YEARS, but I just never could afford it. Then I found out that there is a "easy" version called Elements. Then my laptop died so no point in buying a program I couldn't use. Now I have a laptop again. And then I found the program 50% off. YAY! And they had a 'How to Use Photoshop Elements, book on sale too! YAY! Go Fry's!

So I read the first few chapters of the book to get myself acquainted with the program. And I like the book. The author is funny. It's not just a "How To" book, it's got some personality.

This is my first few pictures that I edited.

So cool! It looks 100 years old! I just wish I could figure out how to lighten the steeple.


And one last one...

Love that I can remove dates from the corner and correct the colors!

I'm excited to see what else the program can do!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cup of Confetti Cheer

Yesterday was my birthday. Am I old enough to start groaning when my birthday comes around? I vote yes.

My first call of the day came from Erin. It was fun to talk to her and hear how things are treating her in Rexburg. (she's doing really well, by the way. :)

I hadn't told anyone at work it was my birthday because I didn't want it to be a big deal, and I certainly don't need a cake that I shouldn't eat anyway, so I wasn't expecting anything.

The morning went along swimmingly. For lunch, Cait had "reserved" me and we made plans to go to Pluto's at the mall. Sooooo delicious! I had a fabulous salad and Cait had their amazing tri-tip sandwich (her favorite). And I got an amazing Strawberry/Banana/Nutella Crepe! YUMMY!

Cait was sweet and got me a couple of new books and cupcakes from a little cupcake store down the street--oh, and a rock monster pet. Oh yeah, let's not forget that she walked into my office with a petsmart pet box and told me she got me a pet.

I was really nervous because I don't want a pet (actually I'd love one, but I don't want to pay for it or take care of it--so really I don't want one). I opened it up and saw this.

It's the perfect pet. I'm excited. :)

Then I got back to my office and saw this:

It was like birthday threw up all over my cubicle. My sweet co-worker Brittney heard Cait tell me Happy Birthday and took it upon herself to run to the dollar store (across the parking lot) and get decorations, balloons, and confetti--lots of confetti and decorate my desk. I have no idea how she got them put up and blew up 25 balloons before I got back. I was impressed.

I saw the confetti and said, "Oh! It's so messy!" Brittney thought that was so funny. It's sad that my first thought was pity for our cleaning people. They're going to hate me. hahahaha. But I loved it and it was fun to have for the afternoon.

I cleaned my desk and saved a cup of the confetti. It was just so pretty and sparkily! I mean, who doesn't want a cup of confetti?!  :)

Steven was sweet and called and so we got a chance to chat for a minute before I got a call at work that I had to deal with.

And I got to leave a few minutes early to take the mail. That was a nice little bonus.

All in all it was a lovely day and it was fun to get messages and texts from my friends wishing me a happy birthday.

I was reminded that...

(Cait got me this pin from her jewelers while we were at the mall. So cute! It's pinned to my purse now. :))

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Layouts and Time Capsule Mini-Album

Last week I shared some layouts that I had made for National Scrapbooking Day. I've continued to scrap this week for a couple of challenges (contests) and so I wanted to share.

This layout is for a Bling Challenge. The idea was to make the page sparkily. I was excited about this challenge because this is soooo up my alley (and the prize is $200 giftcard to Tiffany's--not that it will get you much, but still! It's Tiffany's!). This is one of my most favorite layouts ever. It really helps that it has one my most favorite subject matters--my family--more specifically my baby sister, Erwin, Erin and her new hubby, Jim. ;) (I LOVE YOU!)

This other new layout is for a Pink Challenge. Obviously. The picture is of the roses that were used in our bouquets when I was a bridesmaid for my dear friend, Lisa. The roses were gorgeously deep pink. I loved them. And the picture was perfect for a pink layout.

The next project I did was also for a challenge. It was a Time Machine Themed Mini-Album and so I made a Time Capsule documenting some of my favorite things for the first part of this year. It was pretty fun to put together. Conveniently I already had a mini-album kit waiting to be used so I didn't have to worry too much about gathering supplies. In addition to what the kit had (the browns/orange/yellows) I added some extras that I cut out from the packaging from another paper kit that I LOVE called "Note To Self" from Echo Park.

I had a fun time putting together this little book. I think it turned out pretty cute. :) Thanks for looking!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reality Check

Yesterday I was informed that our office is changing health insurance programs. Yikes!

I have NO experience with how insurance works and actual costs of medical care. You would think that I would know because I work in a law firm that deals with injuries (work and personal), but no, I don't.

Today I learned some interesting things about my health care costs when I've gone to the ER the last three times. I called my current insurance company and talked to the billing department.
  • November 3, 2011: I went to have an MRI of my neck to see if my cervical dystonia was causing any damage (thankfully it isn't). Cost: $2,835. My co-pay: $50.00. Peace of Mind: Priceless.
  • November 7, 2011: I pulled a muscle in my back, got serious pain meds, had a siezure, and then hung out at the ER for a few hours. Cost: $2,389.45. Really? That's it? My co-pay: $150.00.
  • April 3, 2011: Serious case of the flu (like way bad), got a bunch of fluids and basically spent the night in the ER. Cost: $1,718.75. My co-pay: $150.00. Being alive: Also priceless.
  • May 26, 2010: I crushed the very tip of my middle finger. I got an x-ray that said the very tip was broken, but there was nothing they could do for it except give me pain meds and antibiotics (it was a "compound fracture" because it was bleeding). Cost: $7,724.80. My co-pay: $150.00. Phew! Glad I didn't have a deductible!! Can you imagine the costs if I had actually broken something of value? Like my arm or leg? Goodness! Safety: Priceless. ;)

Lessons Learned:

1) I go to the ER WAY TOO MUCH!
2) Medical Bills are super expensive--even for the relatively benign things like getting the flu.
3) Deductibles are way bad. I never want to pay them.
4) I don't know how people pay their medical bills! I have a hard time paying my co-pays!

So yeah, I think it's pretty clear that I need to keep good insurance. Darn.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Rough Day

I try not to blog about the difficult things in my life because there is so much good to be excited about.

But today was a hard day.

Everything was good (ie: I didn't get yelled at by clients too much at work and I got to go on a field trip to the court in Sacramento) in the morning, up until we had our annual health insurance meeting in the afternoon.

I almost didn't go because I had no intention of changing. I liked my doctor and I was fine paying my premiums (they've been going down!). I was a few minutes late to the meeting, and apparently missed some crucial information: Our Company Insurance Policy is completely changing!


I don't know anything about insurance. I've had the same health insurance since I was born. Like I was born into that insurance. I know how it works and I can get it to work for me--and I can afford it. I don't want to change!!!! Waaaaaaa!

I sat there for an hour listening to all this insurance mumbo-jumbo about deductions and HSAs and Co-pays and costs for various circumstances. My brain melted. Two of the other secretaries are in the same boat as me and none of us understand any of it. I've never had a deductible and having to pay one FREAKS ME OUT! 

It's like that one scene in the movie "The Proposal" when hottie mchotterson, Ryan Reynolds yells, "I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!" (so hilarious!).

I have to carry an epi pen, in fact the allergist I saw said that I'm supposed to have three on me (ridiculous, I say). With most of the new plans, I'll have to pay full price on them before I'll get a reduced price. Prescription plans now have . WHAT?!?! Epi-pens are freakin' expensive! Like $150/injector. I just picked up a couple of new ones and they were $15 each, using my insurance.

So I had a mini panic attack in the meeting, though, fortunately, I wasn't the only one. Even one of the attorneys has a hard time figuring out insurance. That made me feel a little better.

Basically it comes down to cost analysis / trying to anticipate future costs.

And numbers and I don't get along. (I think I might be slightly dyslexic-seriously.)

You can see why figuring out which plan to pick could be a tad difficult.

After the group meeting, we had one-on-one meetings. I was told that I'm going to be an exception and be able to keep my health insurance--IF I want to pay more than double a month for it.

I might have cried a little at this information. I can't afford double.

So now I have to stress about this over the weekend while I decide what to do. At least I have until Tuesday.

To make myself feel better, I went over to Cait's to hang out, eat dinner, and play with Rachel. It helped.......until Cait told me that she was REALLY excited about my birthday present.

This has me VERY worried, and is a good case-in-point difference between the two of us.

When I get really excited about a present I'm giving to someone, it's because the present is sooooo amazing and perfect for the person. It's overall a very positive thing.

When Caitlin gets excited about a present, it's usually because it's snarky and obnoxious and harassment. And then she'll tell you about this "perfect present" so you get excited and build up anticipation. And then you open it. And then Caitlin laughs. Usually there is good reason to be concerned if Caitlin is laughing. :)

Thus my concern. I'm worried why she would be so excited. It's not like she's going to buy me a new computer. I tried to get her to give me a hint, but she wouldn't.

I guess I just have to wait A WHOLE WEEK. AHHHHHHH!!! So cruel. I hate not knowing. This just might kill me--more so than deciding what insurance to buy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy Early Birthday to ME!

Every year for the past few years, I've decided to give myself a present for my birthday. This year I got two. :) Usually it is a trip somewhere I've never been to visit friends. Like this year, I went to Chicago for the first time (hopefully not the last!) which was so awesome. It was a great birthday present to myself.

But then last week I decided to get myself another one....a new laptop! YAY!!! (Caitlin was so happy now that I don't have to borrow her's anymore!)

It's an HP Pavillion. And it's beautiful!

I've been without a computer for almost exactly a year and so I finally was able to get one. It's so fast and sharp and awesome and it has a fingerprint scanner so I don't have to type in passwords anymore. Brilliant and cool!

So in between scrapping pages this weekend, I also played with my computer and uploaded all my documents/pictures/music from my external hard drive. So awesome. It was so handy to be able to upload pictures to the scrap site I was on while I was doing my online crop.

And I got to use my silhouette cameo for the first time. I had waited because I needed a computer that I could load the program on to. And now I have one. Yay!

The first use wasn't a complete success. :/ The mat got caught and jammed so what I was cutting got all messed up. I think part of the problem was not knowing what blade depth to set it at. The first time I cut my image out, it wasn't deep enough and so I had to re-cut it. The second time is when it jammed. Oh well. Maybe I should what the instructional DVD that comes with it. :)

So anyway, my computer is awesome and it is so nice to have one and be able to use it whenever I want. :)

Let's just say that I really know how to give gifts to myself. ;)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

National Scrapbook Day!

Yeah, there is TOTALLY a National Scrapbook Day!

And I totally got my scrap on. :)

I found out about several online crops and so I thought it would be fun to participate.

Here are the pages I made (except the first one which is a birthday card).

The first challenge was to put together a layout about home. Well I don't have any printed pictures about "home" so I did a layout titled "Home is where the Heart Is" and used a picture of Rexburg, Idaho, as seen from R Mountain. This layout was my favorite from the day. :)

Okay, wait, this layout might be tied for my favorite of the day. The challenge was to write 5-10 sentances of journalling. I wrote my thoughts from when I saw the Nauvoo Temple the first time during my vacation to Chicago a couple of weeks ago.

This layout's challenge was to mist and use a mask (thus the blue on the right side). This layout talks about the restoration process of Brigham Young's Dishes. This is also from my trip to Chicago/Nauvoo.

This is a fun layout too. The challenge was to use the sketch provided on the website. I pulled the pictures of my friend Adam playing with his son Matthew during my trip to Chicago. They were so cute together!

I was so glad that I got to use a bunch of papers and embellishments that I've had for a couple of years. I love it when my stash gets used up.

And that, my friends, is how I spent my awesome and relaxing Saturday. :)