Photo Calendar with a Twist

This year for David’s birthday, he gave practically no ideas for what he wanted for his birthday, aside from a $600 tablet that wasn’t even available for sale.  So I had to get creative.  David takes a lot of really great photos, but hardly ever prints them out.  We also don’t have a lot of wall space, so I thought it would be fun to make him a page a day calendar.  Last year we had a great page a day calendar, but struggled to find one equally exciting for this year.  When I initially had this idea, I thought it would be really simple — find the pictures, load them on shutterfly (or a similar program), and print.  To my surprise, I couldn’t find a photo company who makes 365 day-calendars.  For a while I abandoned the project. Then I started thinking about how easy it would be to make it myself.  Here’s the result:


While I hope that shutterfly or some similar photo program eventually starts to do this.  In case you wanted to do it at home yourself, here’s what I did.

1. Found pictures.  I began at David’s birthday (June 15) and then went to the end of the year, so I only needed around 200 pictures.  It was nice to have a few more pictures than I actually needed so that I didn’t get to the end of the year and have all my least favorite photos left.

2. Create a template.  I used Microsoft Word.  I created a box to the dimensions I wanted, then right-clicked on the box, chose ‘format shape’ then ‘fill’ then ‘picture or texture’ and then chose the picture I wanted.  These directions are for a Mac, but its probably similar on another operating system.  Here’s a sample photo to explain:


I then created a second box that was the same height, but only 1.25 inches wide that was a semi-transparent so the date would be clearly visibile.

3. Insert photos.  This was a long process. To help it along, as I used a picture I would then change the background color of it to help me remember what pictures I used. On a Mac that is done by right clicking on the file name and then going down to label and choosing a color. Here’s another image to explain:


I also created a different document for each month because the files get really large, which makes the program work more slowly.  I also tried to match season with photo.  This didn’t entirely work, but a snowy photo in August might have felt odd.

4. Print.  Make sure to find a high quality color printer.  Here’s one place I wish I had done something differently.  I didn’t have time to try printing on different types of paper and wish I had used a slightly thicker paper.  Cardstock would be too thick, but normal paper is a little thin.

5. Cut the calendar pages.  I used the paper cutter from my department’s office.  This was boring, but made better by watching Downton Abbey.

I used a leftover calendar stand from an old crafting calendar I had to display the calendar.  Someone who is more resourceful or creative could probably find a way to make it stand on its own or perhaps bind it together.  I think this can be done at Staples, but I’m not certain.  Here’s the final product.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful.


Third Times a Charm

Last week I received an e-mail from wordpress.  My blog subscription was about to expire.  This e-mail gave me pause.  I liked knowing I had the blog around in case I ever wanted to post, but did I really want to keep paying money to have it look exactly how I want…the answer is yes.  But if I’m going to pay for something, I should probably actually use it, so here goes.  I’m hoping the third time will be the charm and that I will actually blog during the school year. So to make up for the last nine months of no posting I thought I would highlight one thing from each month.  Here goes:

September: What, me, a runner?

David and I with our pie after the pie race in November.

My school has this really old tradition, called the Pie Race.  It’s actually the oldest, continuous road race in America. The race is a 4.3 mile loop around campus.  If you can run the race in under a certain time (40 minutes for women), then you win an apple pie.  The race takes place in November between the fall and winter sports seasons, so a lot of students, faculty, and staff participate.  A couple of David and my friends put together a training group for faculty and staff wanting to do the race.  David decided to participate and I gave into the peer pressure.  Now we have run two races – the Pie Race and Old Sandwich Road Race (in case you were wondering – this race did not end with an old sandwich for the best times – unless freshly grilled hotdogs and hamburgers count…).

October: Snow Days

David’s snowman.

A blizzard, in October.  It was crazy.  We lost power, sent as many students home as we could, and had two days off from school.  Sunday, David and I took and incredible snow walk and then built snowmen with a few students.  Monday, we went down to Hartford to go shopping because somehow the mall had power even though the rest of Hartford was without power – people were literally charging phones and computers in the lounges. It was also hilarious because my students had a big project due Monday and I had given a long speech about how there were no excuses for turning it in late, so then when power went out Saturday night they all were really worried that I still expected a typed, printed paper on Monday morning (I didn’t).

November: The Loss of Wisdom…teeth

Resting post-surgery with Calvin.

I was actually dreading this for almost the entire month of November, mostly because I couldn’t eat or drink anything before the surgery.  As soon as someone tells me I can’t have water I get thirsty.  In the end, it was kind of a fun experience.  It was only mildly painful and David and I used the recovery time to watch the first season of Battlestar Galactica (we finished the series last month).

December: Christmas with the family

Warren Christmas tree

The end of the semester was actually slightly sad for me because I really loved the group of students I was teaching.  The spring was also the beginning of teaching two brand new courses, which was daunting to say the least.  In the middle of all this, it was wonderful to head back to Kansas and spend some quality time with my and David’s family.

January-February: Coaching an Undefeated Basketball Team

Rather than pouring gatorade on my and head coach’s head, the girls gave us cupcakes in the face after our final win.

The highlight of the season was the seventh game, when we played another undefeated team.  At halftime, we were losing by over 12 points (which is a lot in JV girls’ basketball where the average score is like 30 points).  In the second half we opened a can and came back to win by 5 points. It was incredible.  Beyond the actual wins, the girls on the team were (and are) just wonderful.  They were a real team and cared a lot for each other.

March: Spring Break in Chile

Hiking Villarrica Volcano in Pucon, Chile.

Its hard to summarize this trip in a few words. The highlights were getting to be out in nature.  We went on a couple really wonderful hikes, visited the dessert (my first trip to a dessert, and bought some wonderful Chilean yarn.  Sadly the trip ended with David and I both coming down with some sort of traveler’s sickness.  Thankfully it was the last night.

April: Leading a class trip to Turkey

Sunset over the Galata Bridge in Istanbul.

The travel was awesome.  We got to see really amazing sites around western Turkey.  I loved visiting centuries old mosques, churches, an underground city, shopping in the market, and walking through the cities. Traveling with students was wonderful and challenging. I had the opportunity to get to know students in more personal ways and see them get excited about the various sites around the country.  Yet it was also challenging keeping track of the students and caring for their mental and physical health (only one trip to the Turkish hospital…).

May: Finishing a Sweater (pic to come)

With graduation and end of year happening, school was pretty much all consuming during the month of May.  I felt like this year I was more prepared for the end of the year and planned my curriculum better so that my year didn’t end with a lot of long papers to grade, but it was also my first semester teaching seniors and I have a lot to learn about how to energize students (and myself) during the last months of the year.  Oh wait, but the highlight was this sweater.  When I first finished it I thought it looked terrible, but this just proves the power of blocking (washing the sweater and laying it out to dry).  After this process I fell in love with the sweater. Sadly its been too hot for much of the summer to wear it, but come fall…   My mom also came by for a long weekend, we had a wonderful time of fabric shopping and eating out together.

June: Family Trip to Friday Harbor and Seattle

Celebrating Daniel’s graduation from his residency program with the whole family.

At the end of June, David and I joined the rest of the Warren clan on the San Juan Islands. The Islands were incredible with a lot of fun adventures in the outdoors – like kayaking with orcas, walking the beach as sunset, and hiking.  But the real highlight was spending quality time with David’s family.   Christmas is often incredibly hectic, so having time to share with the family was a real gift.  We also had the pleasure of running into three friends from divinity school – all unexpectedly.  While I generally think the check-in feature on facebook is slightly creepy – in this instance it helped us reconnect with two friends, not bad facebook. Hopefully my next post won’t take 9 months.

embroidery + pillow = awesome

I think I have the embroidery bug.  Just hours after finishing the tattoo, I began an embroidered pillow.  I had been planning to knit a few throw pillows for our new chair, but this project seriously took like five hours, much shorter than knit pillows would and I already have my eye on my next TWO embroidered pillows: sunburst and sashiko.  The pattern is an adaptation of the sashiko robe from Embroidered Effects.

the best garage sale ever

My love of garage-saling (pronounced sailing and verb for going to garage sales) began early on in life, but things really kicked into gear when I was in college and home for the summer.  My dad would have Friday afternoons off and we would go check out the garage sales each week together.  In fact, one of the last things I did before I got married was going garage-saling with my dad and we found the queen size air mattress David and I offer to guests when they stay the night (although now they also have the option of a queen size bed as well).

Back in June, David and I decide to take advantage of a lazy Saturday morning to check out the garage sale scene in the area.  The day started off well, with a couple cheep books, an ice cream maker, and a lamp.  As it neared 1 pm, we decided to head home, but just then we saw a sign for a church garage sale.  Pardon my political and religious incorrectness here, but a church garage sale is like the mecca of garage sales.  Multiple people, lots of stuff, its a garuntee that you will find something.  This church sale was the best yet, because at 1 pm they start a $1 sale.  Not $1 per item, no its better than that, $1 for a bag and everything you can fit in the bag is included.  We probably brought home 10 items or more, but two I decided to apply at little of my hgtv inspiration to.

Item #1 – Bulletin Board: The change was pretty simple, paint the ‘frame’ white to make it match the new paint job of the office.

Item #2: Desktop Organizer:  I had litterally looked at a very similar desktop organizer earlier in the week from Target and it cost around $16.  When I saw this initially, I thought ugly color, kind of big, but then I thought what the heck it’s a dollor.  I began the update by putting a little paint on the inside to hide the ugly orange color.

The next step was to find some pretty fabric, cut it to shape, sew it together, and then glue the fabric to the organizer.

The final step was to place it on my desk and put it to good use.

Now I need to decide if I have enough fabric leftover to make a skirt or headband…

in the mood to remodel

We are redecorating on two fronts here.  As you may have noticed, the look of the blog has changed slightly.  This is only the beginning.  David doesn’t know this yet, but this weekend he is going to help me learn CSS so I can make bigger changes to the fonts, colors, and layout.  Stayed tuned for the changes over the next week.

The bigger changes are happening to our TV Room.  We began the process back in June by repainting.  Above is a picture of the room post-paint job.  The next major change we want to make is to buy a new media center and TV. But before we could do anything, we needed to dismantle our IKEA media center.  This was less of a hassle than I thought it would be, especially because we had a helper.

While Cal misses having the entertainment center to lounge on, he’s coping with the changes well.  I think he will be relieved when everything is settled.  So will I.  At present, things are still a little in limbo.  We did find a media center (at Costco of all places), but we are now waiting on the TV to arrive and attempting to find a coffee table at a reasonable price and size.  Once that’s happened I’ll show you the final look.

hello chair

So I have had a love affair with pottery barn chairs for a long time.  When I was in college, I had a purple pottery-barn like chair that I loved (and got for free from my mom’s co-worker).  I sat in that chair all the time.  It was the perfect reading chair.  But when it came time to move to Connecticut David told me it wasn’t worth renting a whole moving van just for my chair. Sad, but probably true. Four years later, the void has now been filled, but this time with a real Pottery Barn chair.  Above, I present to you the Arlington Chair in Washed Linen-Cotton, Color Metal.  The only thing better than sitting in the chair is the knowledge that we paid for the chair with credit card points.  Heck yeah!

What I also love about the chair is it brings us one step closer to finishing the living room.  We probably need another chair (hopefully from pottery barn, although we are out of credit card points).  A knitted ottoman might be on my knitting to do list.  Finally, I’m keeping my eyes open for more wall art, but before we turn to this, David and I are modifying the TV room.  Hopefully, I will be posting more about that next weekend.