Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Photo 1-24

So a couple of my friends have done this random photo thing, where you take a number and post whatever photo on your hard drive corresponds to that number. I thought I'd use my birthday, so I did 1-24: first photo folder (California), second sub-folder (Hearst Castle), and fourth photo in that folder. Here's the result:

This is from when Lee and I went out to California in the summer of 2005. Both sets of our parents went too and we all went to Disneyland together. This pic is from Hearst Castle, one of the residences of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, which is just totally *amazing* to visit. They have several tours which take you to different parts of the estate, and I wish we'd had time to do all of them instead of just one. So here's my dad and some other dude listening to the tour guide...Mom says she wants to be a Hearst Castle tour guide when she retires.

What's YOUR random photo of the day?

And oh, yeah, my blog is now one year old. I can't figure out how to get it to blow out a candle or anything a la Vader's birthday party, so no fun pictures for that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kokeshi Collection

I got one more birthday card in the mail on Monday, and I've gotta share:

This is from Jennifer in Maryland. I wanna go to Maryland, I've never been there. Anyway, how cute is this card? Purple, green, *and* dogs--yep, that's me all over!

So last time I posted, I promised to take pictures of my kokeshi doll collection, and I just did that so I'd have something to share with all four of you :) I just took these with the little point 'n shoot, I'll probably get out the big camera and the fancy schmancy macro lens to do a photo shoot with them at some point but for now this is what you get.

My whole collection. Mom bought three or four while she was here, and hers are all the same height and style. As you can see, I like to mix it up some.

These are the two that I got in September while my parents were here. I'd wanted to start a collection but couldn't ever pick which doll to start with, so Mom got me the one on the left to start my collection (she also got one for herself, you see where I get my shopping genes from). Lee got me the other one at China Pete's...kinda reminds me of Liz since it's orange and fall-ish and pretty :)

These are the two that Lee gave me for my birthday, they're just darling. I teased him that I think he chose the one on the right because she's wearing navy blue and has black hair. I've been telling him for *years* that navy blue and black together are a fashion no-no...he thinks it's funny to wear a black shirt and navy blue shorts to see if I'll notice. I do.

And these are the two kokeshi dolls I've picked out for myself. The one on the left is the one I got last weekend; she's prettier in real life. She's a pretty chocolate brown color with some kind of bronzy highlights that just don't show up right in the photograph. If you look closely, you'll see that her hair is cut on the diagonal; she's the only one I've seen like that. The one on the right is the doll I got when we were up in Tokyo for our anniversary trip (even though our anniversary is in October and we didn't go till December, that trip was supposed to be for our anniversary). I picked this one because she's wearing purple and blue, which were our wedding colors.

So this morning I took the kiddos out for a walk and then cleaned up some around the house, getting rid of boxes we accumulated over Christmas and my birthday. Can I tell you how much I hate packing peanuts? I usually don't use them because they're so messy, but I had three boxes full of them, so I tossed them--I ended up with two trash bags full of them. At least they weren't heavy :p and now our downstairs is cleaned up so that's good.

I spent all afternoon and evening yesterday working on my homework, researching the Hungarian revolution of 1956. I just sent off my project to my professor, and I think I deserve extra credit for using the word "nascent" in my essay. Anyway, now that I'm done with that, I can get back to scrappin' because Liz is ahead of me! Or she *says* she is, I haven't counted the scrapbook pages in her gallery the way she did mine. She didn't believe me when I said I'd done 18 pages since the beginning of the year. Imagine her doubting my now I need to make it at least an even 20.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday Cards

We didn't see a single solitary whale on Saturday...but that's probably because we got a call on Friday morning that the tour was canceled due to weather. It was really windy and chilly on Saturday so it's probably a good thing we weren't out on a boat all morning. We rescheduled our whale watching adventure for February 1, the same day Amber had signed up to go with her hubby, so now we're all going to be looking for whales together. Or Amber's going to be trying to get a picture of me being seasick (Liz says she really likes you, Amber).

So instead of whale watching, Lee and I did a quick tour of all the kokeshi doll sellers in the area and I bought myself one--my parents had some extra yen left over from their trip out here but it wasn't enough to warrant getting it exchanged for dollars, so they sent it to me and that's what I bought the doll with. Turns out my kokeshi doll collection doubled in size on Saturday because Lee gave me two :) I'll take pictures of the whole collection sometime soon and post them on here so you can see. All six of mine are different styles.

Since we don't have any whale pictures, how about some card eye candy instead? I was the lucky recipient of *all* of these lovely cards for my birthday!

This one was from Missy, it's the cracked glass technique. So pretty! She also put the letters HB on a blue party hat and made me wear it through dinner on Saturday at Chili's, hopefully I'll get some pics of that from her soon so I can post those here too. Lee surprised me by inviting a bunch of our friends to go out to dinner with us and we had a fabulous time (at least I did!)--we didn't leave Chili's until after 10:30. I think the only reason we left then is because the cleaning crew was herding us out with their brooms.

This is from my friend Meredith back in North Carolina. Love that pretty stripey paper, but as Liz will tell you, I go gaga for anything with stripes, plaid, or stars. These pics are in no particular order, just whatever order they happened to upload onto Blogger.

This is from my online buddy Laura in Texas. Amber asked a bunch of the Stamping Bella Sistahs to send me birthday cards so I got extra fun mail! Love the doggy card, this image is from Whipper Snapper. They have the best dog stamps ever.

This is from Kim in North Carolina, she also sent me the most awesomest ever purple crocheted potholder. It's got a present crocheted on one side and my initials on the other. And she didn't even know that purple is my favorite color. It's perfect!

This is from Bella Sistah Janet in Canada! Love the bright blue on this (it's brighter in real life) and I think I've got a Rockabella card I can send back to her :)

This card is from Amber, who was my very firstest friend on Okinawa. We started chatting on Splitcoast before either one of us actually moved here and we've been buddies ever since. Amber's the real rock star here on Okinawa!

I just got this one in the mail today from Vicki in New England! The cake is all sparkly. And no, Vicki, Lee did not jump out of a cake for my birthday--but he did order me a molten chocolate lava cake, yum!!

This is from Sparkle in Washington. Yes, that's her real name! Wish we'd been able to meet up with her while Amber and I were out that direction last year. I think this Bella will be on my next order, I have a few I stamped using Amber's stamp but I want my own so I can do the paper piecing thing on her dress :)

So I'm going to put all these cards up on top of my stamp cabinets so I can look at them and think what great friends I have. Thanks, ladies, you all ROCK!!

I've been scrapping still too...Lee's kind of been sick for the last day or two so I spent some time scrapping while he vegged out or napped. I'm up to 18 pages for January :) I think I'm going to aim for an even twenty before the end of the month, I think I can squeeze in one more layout before the weekend. I do have a research project to do for my class though...

Pictures from Okinawa World, a.k.a. Gyokusendo. The lighting was terrible when I took this picture so the layout looks a lot better in real life. The base of the pages is Creamy Caramel and I used Real Red and Taken with Teal, plus a little black because black goes with everything except navy blue.

These pictures were also taken at Okinawa World, but I finally did a layout of nothing but shishi dogs!! Usually I like to keep the same color combination if I do multiple layouts of the same event, but the same colors just didn't work with these pictures. I did do the borders like the first layout though and the same letter template for the title so I think it kind of ties them together. I went to the local photo development place and got a single wallet-size photo today so I could finish this layout now without having to wait to order a print from Winkflash. Gotta keep ahead of Liz :D

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Kicking Liz's Booty!

So Liz is the one who dragged me, kicking and screaming, into the scrapbook goals forum on Splitcoast. That means it's her fault that I've gotten all motivated to work on my scrapbooks and I'm leaving her in the dust now, right? ;) Anyway, this is what I've been up to for the last couple weeks, I'm at 14 pages for this year but I already posted my pages from Tedako Fest.

I have an 8x8 scrapbook of photos of my cross stitch projects, which is kind of a necessity since I give away most of what I make. Lately though I've been keeping more of it for myself...well, since I'm the one who spends hours making these things I figure I'm entitled to keep some of them. I've got a whole lineup of new projects for this year and several are for other people though. Anyway, these two are ones I kept, they were up in my office in North Carolina since I had no windows.

I found the patterns for both of these in a British cross stitch magazine--oddly enough, the British magazines generally blow the American ones out of the water, they have some of the most gorgeous things in them and a lot of LARGE projects which I like. The Santa piece is mine, it matches a cookie jar that my former boss and still good friend Allison gave me a couple years ago, and then I found some Christmas dishes at Target that match too. I've never had them all out though because all our Christmas stuff is in storage, but my mom had the Santa picture on display at her house (she's holding on to all my stitched pieces to keep them safe while I'm out here).

The peacock was part of Mom's Christmas present in 2007; it's actually the second one I've stitched for her. She had searched for *years* for a peacock pattern where its tail was all fanned out; for whatever reason, most cross stitch patterns seem to have the tail down like it is in this picture. I decided to go ahead and make her this one though because she wants to redecorate her kitchen with grapes and ivy, and I thought this peacock was just too good to pass up. Here's the first one I made her:

Looks *much* more impressive in real life, it's got metallic thread and a lot of shiny specialty thread in it. Even though I was living in North Carolina, I managed to get this to the man who does all our framing and my brother and SIL took her up to the shop on her birthday where she got totally surprised when they brought this out for her (the A-Team was in on the secret the whole time). Anyway, I almost hated to count those top four pages towards my scrapbooking goal for the month because they're so fast to make--once I have coordinating paper, it's a no brainer since the layout is always the same for each one. So I did some *real* scrapbook pages too.

Liz sent me the Buddha stamp, it's part of an acrylic stamp set she gave me. What better time to use a Buddha stamp?

I don't think I ever posted pictures from the beer festival here on the blog; it was last August. Lee and I went to Arin Krin, a.k.a. the Garlic House, with a group of friends for dinner and then we went out to the beer festival. It was a lot like the Tedako Fest--lots of people running around in kimonos, a rock concert, eisa dancing, etc., but with fewer kids and more beer. Fewer kids if you don't count Ree and Bennet, who won the inflatable swords in one of those carnival games where you throw darts at a board with balloons all over it. Never thought I'd need a beer glass stamp since I haven't had a beer since I was two (that was Dad's fault) but there it is!

I loved how this layout turned out; this was when Missy and I went on the tour of the kokeshi doll workshop and the ceramic studio where they make shishi dogs.

For the first time *ever* I scrapped photos that are less than a month old! This was our Christmas celebration from 2008--that Santa candy jar was our only holiday decoration since our tree and my humongous collection of Hallmark ornaments are all in storage. Mom sent me some pics from their Christmas stuff and I have the BESTEST EVER idea for how to scrap them, but I'm waiting because I need something I've got on order.

Anyway, I'm up to 14 pages for the year if you count the cross stitch ones, and my goal for January was only 10. So I'm smoking you Liz!!!

Tomorrow we're going on that whale-watching tour and it's my if I get seasick, Ree will be taking pictures of whales while I yak over the side of the boat. I'm being mean to Liz because she wants him to take pictures of me feeding the fishes, she thinks that would make a great addition to my scrapbook. How rude!! I only use pictures that *I* like!!

You know I love you, Liz!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whark or Shale?

On Sunday, Lee went diving with a whale shark (hence the "whark" or "shale" conundrum). It's a ginormous shark the size of a whale but with the vertical tail fin of a shark, and it eats krill (so does that make it a vegetarian shark?). Anyway, one of the dive shops here has an area where they've roped off two whale sharks but there was only one out there the day Lee went (they can get out, but they come back because people feed them when they do these dives). He was a little disappointed because it was *only* about 20 feet long, he says it must be a baby.

I convinced Lee to buy one of those underwater cameras for like $15 so we just got the film (what's film?) converted into digital images on a CD.

And there's Lee! There were 28 pictures on the roll but most of them didn't turn out very well at all. Lee wants to get an underwater housing for our little point and shoot camera so he can get better pictures than this, I'm sure it looked much better IRL.

If this looks familiar, it's because they have a couple whale sharks at the Churaumi Aquarium and I know I've posted pictures of them before. But this time Lee was in the water with them...they're actually really gentle, no danger to divers.

So really I know pretty much zilch about marine biology despite wanting to be a marine biologist for about 30 seconds when I was in seventh grade. Maybe I'll get Lee to commentate on these pics when he gets home tonight because I'm sure he'll be much more interesting than I am right now.

Shark bait...

Okinawa is O.K.! Isn't that supposed to be a rude sign in some cultures?

I have totally run out of pithy things to say...

Lee's friend that he went diving with. So yeah, those were the best of the pictures he took and really they're all pretty poor quality. But now you've gotten to "sea" some more of Okinawa. Hehe! Ok, bad pun. I don't think I'm on my A game today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Twilight (Finally!)

So I finally got to see Twilight today, it only took like two months to arrive on Okinawa -rolls eyes- Usually we get the new movies a lot faster than that but this one took *forever* to arrive. Amber went to go see it with me even though she saw it while she was still in the States; I came back to Okinawa like two days before it hit theaters stateside.

Anyway, I thought the movie was alright. I thought they cast all of Bella's classmates really well, who didn't know someone just like Jessica in high school? And I want Angela to be *my* friend, she was too cute. Mike Newton was perfect too, I just had to laugh at the scenes when they're being typical high school boys. Not so sure about the vampire casting though...Esme was great, loved Emmett, Rosalie, and Alice but what the heck is up with Jasper's hair?! I think that's why he looks like he's in pain every time he's on camera, it's gotta be that fugly hair. But my main beef with casting has to be Carlisle.

Ok sure, so he looks vampy enough in that picture and everything, but from the moment I saw him on screen I kept thinking football for some reason. Then it finally clicked where I had seen him before...

Carlisle is played by the guy who plays Mike Dexter, the football jock who's not long on brains and dumps Jennifer Love Hewitt in this movie. I do *love* this movie and have seen it many times, but that means I have a really hard time believing this dude as Carlisle, the venerable 400-year-old vampire doctor. I keep seeing him as the dumb football jock who torments the class valedictorian.

Oh well, that won't stop me from buying Twilight when it comes out on DVD. It's in my Amazon cart right now :) The movie stayed pretty close to the book, which is nice--I hate it when they do a movie adaptation of the book and it turns out that half the story is completely different. They've done fairly well in that regard with Chronicles of Narnia and to a lesser extent the Harry Potter movies. Still, I think that Twilight is best enjoyed as a book rather than the movie.

Y'know, Amber and I were sitting in the theater, happily munching our popcorn and chatting, when these three beefy dudes walked in to see the movie. We kinda laughed about it, 'cause if they were expecting an Underworld-style vampire movie, I have a feeling they were disappointed. Wish we'd stopped them on the way out of the theater and asked them what they thought of it just for giggles. It has vampires, yes, but it's *so* a chick flick!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vee Turns Three

Yesterday (the 15th) was Vader's third birthday, he's the only other January birthday among my family and friends :) Liz gave Sadie and Vader some treat mixes for Christmas so this seemed like a good time to make one of them. I let Vader pick which one he wanted and he said brownies, so Miss Bee will get cookies for her birthday in April.

Let me just tell you, when I dumped the brownie mix out in the bowl my first thought was STINKY! This stuff smells like paint, I can't figure out why. Ugh! I saw a couple things that looked like bugs in it when I put it in the pan, but maybe that's the carob chips? They looked pretty icky to me when they got out of the oven too, it's like a crime against brownies the way they look. And they still smell like paint after baking. Anyway, no birthday party would be complete without some party hats...

I looked for some Star Wars hats but they didn't have any at the store so I ended up with basic colors instead. The problem with trying to put party hats on two dogs is that while you're putting the hat on #2, #1 is doing his/her best to get the hat off, and vice versa.

Yeah, it's pretty much impossible to get both the hats on at the same time!

But I keep trying anyway, laughing hysterically the whole time. Ree, this is why I like to do things like dress the kids up for Halloween--I find it enormously entertaining.

The birthday boy, doesn't he just looke *thrilled* to be there...

And here's Miss Girl rolling on the floor and trying to get rid of her hat. She always argues more than Vee does.

So here's the only picture we got of her with the hat on correctly. Hmm, maybe I should have picked up the laundry before we did all this, I forgot the towels were still waiting to be washed...ok, so now we've got brownies and we've got party hats, so we just need...FIRE! I mean, a candle!

Ok, I laugh every time I see this picture. I thought for a minute that Vader was going to eat the candle too, flame and all, but I managed to grab it before the rest of the brownie disappeared. I'm going to have to print this picture out like 8x10 for my scrapbook, lol! Must congratulate Lee for getting this shot so perfectly.

Well, most of it disappeared, the rest was crumbs all over the floor. Note to self: only feed brownies to the kids when they're in the backyard so we don't have to clean the floors every time. Notice how when we were busy taking pictures of Vader and his brownie, Sadie got her hat off and started eating it.

Still Hoover-ing for the last bit of crumbs. Sadie got her own piece of brownie too, we just didn't get a picture of it...we were lucky to get that one of Vader going after his piece. So we'll be trying this again on April 1 when Miss Girl turns three. I told Vader that now he's 21 in dog years, we should take him up to Chili's to have a margarita to celebrate. Bet he'd like that.

Hope you got a chuckle today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Feisty Girls

Instead of buying each other Christmas presents, Lee and I like to pick out one big thing that we both want and buy it for ourselves. This Christmas, it was a macro lens for our camera--which is kinda sorta a little bit more for me since I'm the one who likes to take the ridiculously close-up floral shots and stuff, but I think Lee will have fun playing with it too. The lens arrived yesterday so Lee started playing with it after I got home from class last night (I need to start learning how to use it today). So anyway, since there's nothing exciting happening around these parts at the moment, I thought I'd share the practice shots he took last night. Keep in mind that the lighting is terrible since it was nighttime and we've got the icky indoor lights, *and* we're just learning how to use this lens.

This was one of the presents my mom sent me for Christmas, a Jim Shore Tinker Bell figurine. She's actually sitting on top of a bell, so punny. I think she's cute so she's going to live on our bookshelf full time. Kind of neat how you can see the texture. I'm a big Tink fan because she's feisty, not just all sugar-sweet like some of the Disney princesses. Tink's got Attitude.

This is another Jim Shore Tinker Bell that my friend Liz sent me for my birthday last year. Isn't this just a neat-looking picture? I like the way the light highlights just one side of her face.

Here's what the figures look like when you see the whole thing. I really like this style, it's reminiscent of quilts which is understandable since that's where he says he gets his inspiration, his mother and sister are quilters. I read an article about him in a recent cross stitch magazine...he's come out with some cross stitch patterns recently. He designs a lot of angels, Santas, and other Christmas items like nativity scenes. I have the Angel of New Beginnings that my boss in North Carolina gave me when I left to move out here. Anyway, they're pretty, if you're not familiar with his stuff then go Google Jim Shore or check your local Hallmark store (if you *have* a local Hallmark store).

Amazingly, Lee got Sadie to sit still long enough to take her picture. I just love the way her ears stick out :)

This one's kind of blurry but I still thought it looked neat. Lee converted it to black and white when he downloaded it onto the computer. So I guess it's my turn today to find random objects and dogs around the house to photograph in Wayne's World-style Extreme Closeup! This lens seems bigger and heavier to me than our other one but Lee says it's my imagination. :p

Sunday, January 11, 2009

*Crickets Chirping*

Been awfully quiet around here...well, that's just because Lee and I have been pretty much hanging out at the old homestead of late. We're working our way through season 7 of Smallville in the evenings, and during the day he's been working on an essay for his class while I've worked on my scrapbooks or cards. You can see all my crafty projects here if you're interested. I'm also very close to finishing up another cross stitch project, but I can't share that here because it's a gift for someone. I've ordered a new cross stitch kit since I'll need something new to start soon, and I've got about 400 pictures ordered from Winkflash so I'll be up to my eyebrows in pictures to scrapbook.

So yeah, all in all, we've been busy but nothing that's like photo-worthy or anything. I *will* have some awesome pics at the end of the month though, we're doing a whale-watching tour and checking out Nago's cherry blossom festival on the 24th (my birthday!) and 31st respectively.

I've been doing kinda okay on my New Year's goals...I went to the gym every weekday last week at 5:00 in the morning. Lee is still grumpy at getting up that early but I think he likes getting a workout done first thing in the a.m. I've also reached my initial goal of doing 10 scrapbook pages this month, but rather than stop now I'm going to keep going since I'm picking up steam (I'll need that steam to work through those 400 pictures I just ordered...) It's a beautiful day on Okinawa today, so I think I'm going to raise the blinds in my scrapbook room, put on some good music, and get to work on some more projects today. Lately it's been really overcast and dreary, but today it's brighter and more cheery even though we still have a lot of clouds. It's a little chilly here too, but nowhere near as cold as it would be if we lived in Canada :) Winters here are going to spoil us for anything else when we get back to the States, we're gonna have to become snowbirds or something.

Since I don't have any new pics to share, I thought I'd post a few more from when Lee and I went to Disneyland Tokyo. Until the 24th I'll probably be digging up some old pics to share on here so you guys don't think I've fallen and can't reach the keyboard ;)

This one's for my sister-in-law Adrienne, who's a big Cinderella fan. *My* favorite classic fairy tale is Sleeping Beauty, I think Maleficent is just the coolest Disney villain to ever grace the silver screen.

Lee tried very hard to get me a good picture of Tinker Bell on the Peter Pan's Flight ride. They have a bunch of little kiddie rides in Fantasyland and I love to go on them...there were really long lines or I would have dragged Lee on all of them. We missed out on Dumbo :( but we got to ride Space Mountain twice, gotta have priorities, right?

One ride I *refuse* to go on with Lee is the Mad Tea Party...when we went to DisneyWorld about six years ago, he spun the cup as fast as he could and I was about ready to revisit my lunch in a most unpleasant fashion. Never again!! I feel your pain, Donald! This mural is a mosaic of pictures of Disneyland Tokyo park employees, pretty cool.

On that same trip to DisneyWorld, I took Lee on "it's a small world" and then I got to hear him sing the song for four days straight, so I was real hesitant to let him accompany me on it this time :) but we rode it, and instead of the usual song, the little children from around the world were singing Jingle Bells. Good thing too, Lee only knows two verses of the small world song and one of them is in Spanish, it gets old fast (yes Ree, I am going to pick on you forever about that!).

Just because I liked the tiki dudes :) These were out between the Tiki Room Lounge and the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. As soon as we left the park that day, I started scheming how to get Lee to bring me back there again...I do love to go to Disney parks. I also discovered that I have an absurd amount of Disneyland-related trivia rattling around in my head.