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Things I Would Not Be Able to Do Without FaceTime

I love FaceTime!  I love it so much I want to hug every single person who ever made it possible, which would be a LOT of people, but that’s ok because I am a good hugger.  I’m Southern; it’s ingrained.  Why do I love it so much?  Glad you asked!  Being across the Atlantic from almost all of the people I love could be a real bummer without video-chatting.  It’s fantastic to see my mom’s doting face (yes, my mom dotes on me; I’m a lucky girl!) even though we are 4413.42 miles away from each other (Google Maps Distance Measurement Tool) or chat with my sister over laundry or catch my dad doing something crazy with a screenshot (I won’t use one this time, dad, but I could…).  It always makes my day!

I remember when I was making my first batch of my mom’s signature Thanksgiving dressing without her.  Sam was going to cut up with whole raw chicken for me because I have a healthy dislike of handling raw meat, but he didn’t know how.  We called up my mom, and she instructed him step-by-step over video-chat.  If someone would have been looking at us from the outside, they would have thought we were crazy, holding bits of chicken up in front of a computer: “Like this?”

It’s only gotten better with FaceTime on iPhones.  I can carry my family all over the house, prop them up next to me while I get stuff done (my case has a kick-stand); we literally just hang-out via FaceTime.  And thanks to the iPhone & my dad I was able to accomplish something I’ve been wanting to get done for weeks: mowing the lawn!

Now, you’re thinking that mowing the lawn is not such a big deal, but I assure you it is when your mower has arrived in pieces from over a year in storage followed by a transatlantic move, completely empty of all necessary fluids.  Or at least it is when you are a girl like me.

After finally figuring out the kind of oil I needed (why isn’t there just “lawn mower oil” instead of many possible kinds depending on your mower?) & procuring a gas can to fill-up, all I had left to do was put the mower back together again.
Even with the manuals (I save all of my paperwork for everything), I knew I would need outside help.  I mean, the big black bar wasn’t even attached to the mower except by the pully cord, and I had no idea if the little black bar went to the front or the back & how the cable thing attached to it!  So, I rang dad up, and he helped me decipher the not necessarily well-detailed manuals.  Have I mentioned I love the double-camera feature?  I could choose the out-facing one to show him something & then switch it around, so he could monitor my work.  Seriously could not have done it without him & could not have had him without FaceTime. God bless FaceTime makers! Here’s some more pics of my accomplishment:

Welcome to the Jungle!
 What I do my dirty work in.
It got more of a trim than a full cut; it was still wet underneath.
Jack approves!
Definite progress!
Jack was so cute, waiting for me by the gate while I did the front.
Jack modeling the front yard – silly pup!

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Perhaps I Should Have Been Born by the Sea

Perhaps I Should Have Been Born by the Sea

The boldness of stripes
The sound of the waves
The blue of the water & sky
The warmth of the sun
The sand at your toes
The beauty of all that is nigh

All of these things tickle fancy in me,
So perhaps by the sea is where I should be.

Rainy Day Wear

Sam & I have seen a decent amount of rain in our first couple of weeks in England.  In all of our preparation, we didn’t think to keep waterproof jackets out in our luggage, so we’ve had a hard time keeping dry while waiting for the rest of our things to arrive. This last Saturday was particularly dreary, so we gave in & stopped in Debenhams. Funny story: we had to take turns going in to grab jackets, since we had Jack with us. Both the hubs & I came out with the same brand: Maine New England.  We got tickled by our American style. Here’s what we came up with:
 Bonus funsy: polka dot lining!Best part is that neither of ours are listed as “raincoats” or even “waterproof.”  Brilliant!  Here are some more options for if your April Showers decide to continue into May:

-Ladies-

Target Polka Dots: my adorable sis has this.
Bright Yellow Neiman Marcus All Business

-Gentlemen-

Grey Kenneth Cole
Green Patagonia
Fancy Pants Golden Goose

Here’s to wishing you sunny skies or cozy rainwear!  : )

I will not be deprived!

To ensure that I will not be deprived of as much crafty & creativity I could possibly want, I did an Etsy search of shops based in the UK, & victory is mine! There are adequate quantities of fun & whimsy available for my buying pleasure, should I so desire. Here’s some of the goodies I found:

Going to need a coin purse here since they use a good deal of coin monies. This little nautical baby would do quite nicely!

Speaking of the sea, I thought this necklace made with Scottish sea glass was really interesting & unique!

You know I love me some fun paper goods like this retro camera card! Can’t wait for my correspondence collection to be found in the move shipment!

I will be back into this hobby hopefully soon as well! When I’m planning out funsies for the new place, I’ll know where I can get some letters.

Also on the decorating end, these paper poms could be an easy splash of color. I like this navy one, but there are some fun brights, too!

This is a sweet little print – do you think the hubs would appreciate it? Also from this shop (below), I love a good bit of cheeky humor.

Here’s a great line-up from another print shop:
I love the simplicity of the black on white, each inspirational in their own way.  The ma’am print is fun for me because I tend to use ma’am a lot…& mine is definitely like a southern “ham” but just lives on the “farm.”

Things do get a bit chilly around here; some warm socks or these ankle warmers might be just the ticket.

Me thinks this would be a great dress for a date weekend in Paris : )

When I came across these paintings on old book pages, I fell in love. Love! I love old books; I love fun illustrations/art – I couldn’t resist! Here’s some more:
Oh, Mr Darcy!
Down, down, down.
I absolutely MUST have these for my collection! An assortment of her works as postcards!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of British Etsy fare, lovelies. I plan to be sharing more English experiences with you soon!

My Super Cool Friend’s Giveaway – Do ASAP!

Hello, lovelies. So, I meant to put this up on Monday, but I’ve been working. I know, shocking, working! My dear friend, The Creative, has orchestrated another fantastic giveaway – a fabulous clutch! Isn’t that fancy? It’s like she’s the Oprah of blogging! Check it out here, and follow her & the creator of said clutch to enter the giveaway. The big win will happen tomorrow, so do it ASAP if you want a chance at some free fabulosity.

Recently Hearted on Etsy

Here’s some Etsy finds that were so fun I had to click the little heart:

Patterned Copper Cuff

Retro Orange Clock

Cute Bike Print

Leather Equestrian Bracelet

Blue Vintage YSL Coat

I have pined after these cute bow totes for a while. She re-listed a grey, & I couldn’t help but heart it again.

Blue Earrings

Vintage Cake Decorating Kit

Wonder Woman Apron – because you really are a superhero

Mad-Lib style Thank You cards

Hammered Cuff

Have you hearted anything good lately?

Moving your memories into the Digital Age

I don’t know about you, but my family has a lot of old pictures & videos. My dad was a shutterbug in the non-digital age, meaning that everything you shoot gets processed – AKA tons’o’pictures, starting with slides and continuing through polaroids, negatives, & prints.He didn’t shy away from using his camcorder either. He would set up the tripod before we were allowed in the present room on Christmas morning, and let the tape roll through the entirety of the gifting until we were at least in Junior High if not older – AKA lots’o’tapes. The oldest of these were full VHS size – can you imagine the size of that camcorder?! That was definitely a shoulder-model. Therefore, we have tons of media preserving memories. I’m going to discuss with you 4 different methods I have used in making our memories digitized in the hopes of preserving them forever & ever.

Let’s start with photos: Dad has lots of slides, but no longer owns a working slide projector. My aunt first tried to make a dent in these by hand picking some to have processed into print photos and placing them in albums a few years back, but there were still so many left, as I learned when organizing their storage shed for them because I am their best child. When perusing the ThinkGeek catalog early last year, I saw a slide-to-digital converter machine and thought, “hey, that’s a good idea!” . Sidebar: if you are a geek, a nerd, or a person with an interest in the quirky, the odd, gaming, or science fiction entertainment, you should familiarize yourself with ThinkGeek. From playable musical instrument t-shirts (they had them so way before Old Navy) to funny t-shirts, cubicle goodies, cool tech stuff, and inside jokes from your favorite game/movie/TV show, they have got it all. I bet you can’t look through their catalog or even their clearance section without going “hey that’s cute/funny/awesome/insert adjective” or “so&so would love that!” Just check it out. Sidebar complete: when Christmas rolled around I went in search of this magical slide-converting machine. It was not to be found on the TG website, so I rolled up to BestBuy. I expect BestBuy to have everything technological I should ever need and someone there who knows all about. This doesn’t always happen, but usually it does. After hunting down the right guy (or girl, it could have been a girl), he told me about the small selection of slide-converters that they had. I picked a slide & negative to digital converter that could be used with a computer or with just an SD card. It’s a basic, stand alone unit that has a couple options for feeding slides & negatives into the machine. The idea is pretty basic you stick the slide in, the image shows up on the screen where you can flip, rotate, or mirror it as needed, then you click a button and it saves to the provided SD card. It’s simple, easy to use, and fairly quick. It’s also handy that my dad has an SD slot in his computer to stick the SD card straight into. He’s already converted a whole plastic tub full of slides since Christmas. Here’s one of his coverts:

Nice, huh? Dad liked to photograph cars, his or otherwise. So, that covers slides & negatives, what if you just have printed photos? Welp, get yourself one of those all-in-one printer/scanner/copiers and scan them in. Time consuming as it maybe be, that’s the best advice I have for turning prints into digital. I don’t claim to be a pro though, so this is simply me imparting my scant wisdom. I mean, it’s not like I work at Best Buy. Although, some nice older people at our luau in Hawaii thought I did because I could show them how to turn off their camera’s flash and turn on its LCD screen – magic! Bless their hearts.

This brings us to discussing home video preservation. The oldest of old full-size VHS tapes were in questionable shape after 20ish years of existence. I took those to a professional to convert to DVD, a costlier option, but necessary at times. Apparently, he had quite a time getting the parents’ scuba diving tape to record both audio & visual at the same time and ended up having to do them separately then superimpose them on the DVD or something. Too high-tech for me! You can back-up the DVDs to an external hard drive then. There’s an important point – sufficient capacity, good quality external hard drive for backing everything up on, and consider keeping it in a safe/hidden place when not in use because apparently those are on the list of take-ables if your house is broken into as my sister has recently found. Sorry, Kay. Sidebar on a sidebar: smash & grab proof your house before it happens because that sucks. Anyway, the other method of video conversion that I have been currently using is Video Capture by Elgato. It is a cord that connects a camcorder or VCR to your compy via USB. Yes, it has a box thingy on the cord that does the converting for those of you like my sis-in-law that are smart enough to know that just a cord by itself can’t convert things. I, however, simply trust the cord to do what it says. It’s pretty straightforward though. CD contained to upload the program. I plug it into my camcorder using its cord to connect to the TV that then connects to the Video Capture cord that then connects to my computer. You just open the program do a quick check for audio & visual connection then start the recording on your computer while playing the tape on your camcorder. Play the tape through, stop the recording, and it saves it on your compy. Not too difficult. Then, you can back that file up and delete it from your compy to clear up storage. My Mac has iMovie which allows me to break my recordings into events and clips for easier sorting & organization. I love organization! As soon as I can find an old camcorder or buy a converter & VCR, I’ll start this process on my parents’ VHSC tapes – the next oldest in the pile.

There you have it: my experience with digitizing your memories! Hopefully, you will find it helpful or input your own experience from which we all can learn. Happy Thursday, y’all!