Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Graduating preschool!

May I introduce Abby, of the Preschool Graduating Class of 2012!!!

We had a lovely day celebrating! The ceremony was very sweet and everyone in the room was so proud of their accomplishments.

Here is a clip of the last song and speech of the ceremony...of course there wasn't a dry eye in the room! (Sorry for the shaky camera at the beginning!)

Afterwards, everyone gathered for lemonade and cookies and of course pictures!

(Trying to squeeze in a quick photo between lots of parent legs!)

Abby wanted to be sure to take pictures with her teachers, who have been so wonderful through the year to prepare her for Kindergarten.

Miss Monique

Miss Michelle

Miss Mary

And one more in front of her school!

I can't believe how quickly the year went by! She has grown and learned so much and I know she has a great foundation for next year. She will be attending their "Summer Camp" in a few weeks to keep moving forward with her reading and math skills and she is so excited to go.

Abby, I am so very proud of you and love you more than I could ever tell you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thrifty find!

Look what I found at my local thrift store for $10.00! Woohoo!

I'm a sucker for a typewriter...especially one that looked like it was still in working order. It came with the case, and besides smelling a bit musty as though it's been stored in the garage for a long time and in need of a good cleaning, I thought it was worth seeing if I could indeed get it working.

It's a Remington Quiet Riter Eleven and dates to probably the 1950's. I didn't need to do much to the body of the typewriter itself. All of the keys work, nothing sticks and the rest of the mechanics were in good shape. The only thing that wasn't so great was the ribbon. It was fairly light. Not surprising considering how old the tape could have been. It's a cloth tape and I was surprised that there was any letter image at all when I tested it. So I did a bit of research to find out if a replacement ribbon could be found. Well, yes, it could be (was I really that surprised? No.) But, then I also found out that these fabric ribbons were often inked with an oil based ink, which last a very long time. I wondered whether I could reink it. After a little digging I found some chatter among folks who restore vintage typewriters and learned that some revive the existing ribbons & ink by applying WD-40. Who knew?
So I sat down with a can of WD-40, a few cotton swabs and paper towels and set to work.

I took the spool off and started to unwind the ribbon. I then sprayed a bit of WD-40 in a plastic cup and used the cotton swab to dip into the liquid and wipe it on the ribbon. I found it was easier to lay the ribbon on the paper towel and apply it that way so my hands were a bit freer.

It actually went pretty fast. Once it was applied I rolled the ribbon up again and placed the spool back into the machine. Then came the test!

I love well how my typewriter works! I'm hoping to use some typed phrases for lots of projects down the road. I don't know about typing long passages at this's amazing how different it feels to type on a typewriter again. In high school typing class we used electric typewriters and I had a great Brother electic typewriter all through middle & high school. This one needs more physical force to type. If I press as lightly as needed for a computer keyboard, the manual keys don't have enough momentum to raise the letter up to the paper. We are indeed spoiled in the modern age, and I have a new found appreciation for secretaries  who could sit at this machine and type 85 wpm! Well done ladies! :)

I also found this great 1950s commercial for the Remington Quiet Riter and I just have to share it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I love these faces

They can drive me crazy sometimes, and they drive each other crazy sometimes.
But I couldn't imagine my life without them.
I am so very lucky to be their mom.

I know it' been a while since I posted...things have just been a bit hectic on the home & work fronts.
Updates are coming very soon! :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A couple of images all colored up!

Hi everyone! I know it's been a while since I posted here...spring is always an insane time at work for me, so I have had very little time to craft at all, much less post. I'm really hoping things slow down a bit in the next few weeks, although I think the busy times will transfer from work to home life in these next few weeks as the kids wrap up the school year. Are any of you feeling a little overwhelmed right now too?

Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of digi images that I colored with my Prismacolor pencils yesterday. Both are from Mo Manning, and I have really fallen in love with her images. I can't believe how long it took for me to start using her digi stamps, but they are so cute!

The first one is called Bronte Kisses. How sweet is this image??? I colored this one while I was on my lunch break. Lately, I've been either rushing through lunch, missing lunch, or working through lunch, and yesterday I decided I just needed to get off the grid for a bit and have a little "me" time. And although a couple people looked at me a little strangely as I sat there with my bowl of soup and my pencils, blending stumps and Gamsol around me, I had a great time. :)

The next one is called Prince Edward Island. As soon as I saw it I had to have it! My best friend and I were huge Anne of Green Gables fans when we were girls. Have you read the series? It's just delightful - and I have been rereading the first book over the past couple weeks when I have a few minutes here and there. My favorite as a girl was Anne of the Island, and I wonder if my taste has changed now that I am older. But knowing that Anne and Gilbert are finally going to end up together...sigh. :)

This was my first time coloring on kraft cardstock. I used a tutorial over at Dorcas Designs to help me with the flesh tones. Not nearly as good as hers, but I was happy with the result for a first try. I really like how the colors pop on the cardstock. With kraft you don't use Gamsol or other solvents to blend the colors, rather you layer the colors on top of one another. The photo makes the coloring look a lot lighter than it is in person, but still, the overall effect is a lot like pastel chalks on paper. I worked on blending on Anne's face & body, but left her carpet bag less blended, trying for more of a tattered look. If anyone read the book, they would remember that she held onto her old bag when she met Matthew because the handle was broken and she knew the trick to keeping it closed. :)

The next step with each of these images is to put them on a card. Hopefully I'll have a chance by the weekend to do that, although first I have to dig my desk out of the piles that have accumulated over the past couple of weeks. I've also been working on my quilt here and there, and pulled out the knitting needles to work on a preemie hat. I'd like to get a few together and make a donation to the NICU at the local hospital. Ever since my colleagues twins were born at around 21 weeks in October, I've had preemies in the back of my head. The twins are home now, both well over 9 lbs and happy and healthy. Modern medicine really amazes me, but knowing that there is also a little something I can do to help these tiny babies makes me happy.

Lastly, an update on our duck. She laid a total of 11 eggs, but never returned to incubate them. Perhaps she was a young duck and didn't know what to do, perhaps she was frightened off, perhaps (and I really hope not) she was attacked and couldn't return. We kept our distance from the nest for over a week, but never saw head nor tail feather of her. Maybe she will try again next year...but it will have to be in a different spot since I still plan to dismantle the crumbling stone grill this summer.

Oh wait - one very last thing! Today is Teacher Appreciation Day in the states, and I just wanted to take a moment to wish our teachers a very happy day! We set up a lunch for the teachers at my son's school, and my daughter gave her preschool teacher a wooden birdhouse she painted herself. I'll have to post a couple pics of that...her furrowed brow as she concentrated on her art was adorable to watch. She was very proud to give it to her teacher when I took her to preschool today. :) So to all teachers (including my hubby!) - a very Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to all of you. Thank you for all you do for our children!