If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Collector In The Family

One of our granddaughters has become a Numismatist.

Well, a couple of them are collectors, but one simply wants to collect so that she can take it to the book fair and buy books!

Lydia, on the other hand, has really taken an interest in collecting the different coins which represent our National Parks.  These quarters are not to be confused with the State Quarters which were issued several years back.  (Even though Mike and I did have the two intermingled at one time until we were corrected by our Family Numismatist.

We had a phone conversation with the Family Numismatist Lydia the other night.  She set us straight on what we should be looking at in regard to the quarters.  She asked us if we would look at any quarters we might have to see if we had some that she had not already collected.

I asked her for a list and this is what we got:
She also informed me that she had a few duplicates.  I laughed and asked her what she meant by that and she explained, "I have two or three quarters that are the same.  That is what duplicate means."

Mike and I are pleased that she is thorough and that she is so smart and that she has a broad vocabulary.  We chuckle at the fact that she feels she needs to explain things to us.  Well, for example...

I was completely oblivious to the fact that there was a new series of quarters - the National Park series.  I thought she was simply collecting the state quarters that were minted before she was even born.  So, she explained to me that there is a difference.

Please notice that there is wording engraved around the image at the center of each quarter.  Mike gathered together several dollars worth of quarters that he had collected during the past week or so and we sorted through them looking for Lydia's state quarters.

We noticed that only a handful of them had state information on them and the others had the traditional eagle on the obverse side of George Washington's head.  We also noticed that Mike had collected a few duplicates.

Bridgette says Lydia will get her quarters out and study them and comment on what is featured on each quarter.  Then, I recalled that Lydia had mentioned that she would hang on to her duplicates and might share them with her sisters.  So, Mike and I gave her a call to see if she wanted us to contribute to the duplicate stash as well as save for her own collection.

During our conversation, I mentioned that Mike and I were struggling to see what state each coin represented.  I told Lydia that we had both put on reading glasses.  I mentioned that Mike had tried out two different pairs of reading glasses.  I also mentioned that he moved a lamp and held the quarter right under the light to get the best view he could of the quarter.  It was a bit of a struggle for us.

Lydia explained that we needed to, "Look just to the left of the picture.  The name of the state is right there on the left," she said.  I told her that we knew where the state name could be found.  That was not the problem, the problem is the size of the word on the coin.  Our old eyes could not see such little print!

Lydia just giggled and told us we might need to get us a magnifying glass!  We figured out a work-around - take a picture of the coin and zoom in on it to more clearly see the wording.

We now have a couple of plastic bags which have quarters in them.  One is labeled: Lydia's and the other is: Duplicates.  We are glad to gather them for Lydia's collection but I don't think Mike and I will compete for the title of Family Numismatist!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We Wrote A Book!

I like to come up with something special for each grandchild as a gift for his or her birthday.  That was really easy at first.
The Cover (Isn't that a sweet little face?)

Then, when the number of grands started growing and each had siblings and there were toys galore and clothes as hand-me-downs and picture books filling shelves...
Opening Page

Well, we are blessed and so are our grands.  So, when it came time to give a special gift to our youngest grandson, we brainstormed and brainstormed.  It needed to be something that he and his older brother didn't already have.  It needed to be just for him.  It needed to be reasonably priced.  Well, I think you get the idea - lots of constraints.
Page 1 (A photo of one of their cows!)

Then, I saw a blog post where a parent had made a simple ABC picture book for a child.  Voila!  An idea bloomed in my head!
The grands and Mike's family have always called him Bay - what he was dubbed as a baby.

I began gathering photos that I had made which would fit letters of the alphabet.  Then, I noticed that some might be used for more than one letter - the barn could be R for red or it could be B for barn.  So, I decided I should brainstorm for words to go with each letter first.
When I first shot this photo, I was thinking R is for rooster!

I was quickly overwhelmed and called in the cavalry - Mike.  He was wonderful but he was also horrible at this.  For example, he first suggested A for ass.  Not really appropriate for children's picture book material!
Some of the images, like this one, are a bit grainy because I zoomed them after cropping them from other photos but all-in-all the quality of how it came out is great anyway!

Soon, we fell into a groove and he filled in the gaps for me with letters I couldn't think of something.
I liked how the site allowed me to bleed some photos onto two pages to vary the look.

Then, I began gathering the photos.  I had a reserve from this blog and some stored on the camera that I had never used.  So, there were only a few which I needed to capture.
This is one of the photos I got from open source.

I ran into a snag or two, like when I wanted a photo of the family dogs.  Photo hours were from about four o'clock till five o'clock when there was daylight.  Yet, their family store didn't close until six o'clock.  The two didn't coincide and I had to improvise.
I think I have an image of me holding almost all of the grandchildren and looking at them with pride.  
Glad I finally found a good way to share them!

For a couple of them, I wound up going into Google images labeled for reuse.  All-in-all, the photos came together alright.  Then, I had a bright idea that made things a bit more difficult.
Look at those sweet little baby feet!

I thought: why not write a short little verse to go with each photo?  What a great idea!  I forgot, however, that I stink when creating rhymes.
I had to borrow an old photo of the family dog and was a little inventive with the other image here!

So, again, I called in the cavalry.  Again, Mike was really good and really horrible.  Some of his rhyming suggestions were wildly inappropriate!  We persevered and we wound up being really pleased with the result.
The type of background I chose really worked well with my subject matter for this group of photos and topic.

I simply created the letters/words on top of the photos using Photoscape and my computer snipping tool.
Doesn't she look sassy?
I learned lots about combining photos, backgrounds, fonts, etc. on this project, too!

Then, entered the text using the available text boxes in the photo book creator on the Walgreen's website.  I chose a mat finish on my pages which we really liked.
I debated about what would represent our little historic town until I thought deeply and remembered a photo of Easton's grandpa captured during the building of the historic school where the local museum is now housed.

The pages are a heavy card stock which almost makes it like a child's board book.
This photo is a cell phone scan of a photo on our fridge!

There was lots to be learned about creating a picture book with this project but I think Mike and I are up to create another book for another grandchild's birthday in the future.
Okay, so that pasture scene is really more about the trees, hills, and sky background and the goats than the pasture 
and that isn't really a quilt but is a swaddling blanket and that is pretty close, isn't it?

The most important thing I learned is something I really already know...I don't take enough photos!
With the limitations of my photographic efforts, I had to be a bit inventive with my alphabet matching.

So, again, I'm resolving to take more photos and capture more of the beauty in our lives!
I love the cute shot Bonnie sent me with her cell phone.  He is so happy looking!

I also need to get the grands' parents to send me more photos of them doing the cute things they do! 
Using photos of important things to the child make it more personal, I think.
Of course, I also need to find more words that begin with X!

In this day and age when we always have a camera (on our phone) I find that I still don't shoot as many photos as I should.  Plus, I need to keep in mind that we need a variety of subjects for making these ABC Books.  
I had to shoot a photo of the bobcat at the last minute because 
I had planned to use one of Stephen driving the tow motor at the store
 - only to realize that the tow motor is not yellow!

I also need to start compiling things months in advance rather than weeks days!  Writing rhyming verses and sing-song statements is not something that really comes natural for me.  I'm far better with prose than poetry!
I do love that it can be personal and dated!

I also learned a lot about the Walgreen's website - it warned me that some photos would not look as good when they were zoomed the way I did but for the most part, we liked them anyway.  But the edge of the page is definitely the edge of the page.
I almost didn't get Easton's name on the back cover, which was my goal!

Mike and I were pleased with our creation and we think Easton and his family were, too!  We have already begun brainstorming for our next book.  After all, we already have eight grandchildren!  How did that happen?

Happy Birthday, Bridgette!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Busy Little Fellow

The boys in our family are busy little guys.  

They seem to constantly be on the move.

If there is a ball, it is for bouncing.

Dribbling a basketball is a must!

Till there is chocolate cake and ice cream.  Then, they take a time-out to enjoy (and smile for the camera)!

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Birthday Party

We had a small celebration for a little boy this weekend.

He was introduced to his first big chunk of chocolate cake.  As you can see, at first he wasn't so sure about it.

So, he poked around on it a little bit.  Then, he decided he should take a little taste.

Hmmm...he seems to like it pretty well.

There was some careful consideration and inspection of the gooey frosting and the chunk of cake.

Some careful pokes at it with some introspection.

Another taste...

...or two...

..some smacking of the lips and a lick or two more...

And it seems a conclusion was drawn.

This stuff is pretty good!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, Easton!

Happy first birthday to a boy who has made our entire year super since joining us on a Super Weekend last year!
Easton and his chocolate birthday cake

Happy Birthday, Easton!