Monthly Archives: December 2009

Gunfight at the OK Corral


A bit of nostaglia hit last night and led me to cruising through old photo files. Couldn’t resist getting these pictures of Noah into a page. One his 5th birthday, he happened to be staying with us. At the time, he was quite obsessed with all-things-cowboy, so we got him a holster, two cap guns, and a goodly supply of caps.  The rocking horse that Bruce made for him when he was a baby was still at our place, so Noah had all the makings of a . . . GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL!  When opened his present he was SO EXCITED!

CREDITS:  Lil Cowboy MiniKit by PixieMama Designs


White Christmas! Oh boy…was it ever!


Here’s the story . . . Straight from our weather man in nearby Sioux City (our weather often tends to be a bit more severe in the winter due to the lake, but this is basically our story for recent weeks):

It’s been a busy week in the Storm Team 4 Weather Center, but now that things are starting to calm down I’ve had a chance to take a look at some of Siouxland’s snowfall statistics.  In Sioux City, two daily snowfall records were broken.  On the 23rd we saw 3.7″ of snow setting a record, and we broke the Christmas Day snowfall record too with 8.0″.

But the records don’t stop there!  So far Sioux City has gotten 32.4″ of snow in December, making this the snowiest December on record by a long shot.  The old record was 26.4″ set way back in 1897.  Interestingly, 2008 sits atop the third place podium, so we’ve had two of the top three snowiest Decembers in the last two years.  You may notice the asterisk in the graphic below, that’s because the snow may not be done in December just yet.  While it won’t bring us anything near what we saw over Christmas, there is a chance of an inch or two Tuesday night and Wednesday.  Another thing to note, for an entire snow season Sioux City averages 30.6″, so we have already surpassed that by a couple inches and it’s only December!

This past snow storm isn’t just notable for kicking up the December snow totals, but it also has made the BIG list.  Below is a list of the top 3 biggest snowstorms ever in Sioux City, you’ll notice that our last storm comes in as the second biggest ever.

22.9 ” fell April 18-19, 1913

20.7″ fell Dec 23-26, 2009 (YEP! THAT was THIS Christmas!)

18.4″ fell March 14, 2004 (Oh yeah…I saw that one too! Lucky me!)

This has been a very snowy month! Here’s a little summary of snowfall in December:

3-4th…….  .5″

6-9th……..  10.9″

14th……….  .3″

23-26th….  20.7″

30th……….  1.6″

Katy managed to arrive just in time … Dec 23rd as the fourth round of snow began to fall! When we woke up in the morning … it was a totally White World outside our window!  Here’s a collection of photos of the farm from that morning! I have to admit … it was really beautiful to see.  Luckily we had groceries all lined up, so we were content to stay inside, cook, bake, and work on some fun knitting projects while Bruce did his best to keep the drive clear (ran through three tanks of gas on that piece of equipment just this month … only used one tank all of last year!)

Credits: Funky Winter Collab kit at

Totally Ripped!


Okay … by now, you are GOOD at ripping paper in the digital world … BUT … you aren’t quite sure how to go about tearing the paper on ALL FOUR SIDES … what’s a girl to do???

For this tutorial you’ll need:

  1. a PNG file containing the “torn edge” (see my tutorial called, “A digital paper tearing???” for a link to a freebie torn edge)
  2. a piece of digital paper
  3. both items open and imported into a layout file (paper layer at the bottom of the layer stack, torn edge on the layer above it)

Let’s begin!

Duplicate the TORN EDGE layer. Activate the top-most TORN EDGE layer.

Using your Rectangular Marquee tool set to FIXED SIZE and settings as 12″ width and 6″ height, click once on your canvas and move the selection to the bottom half of the canvas.


Activate the other TORN EDGE layer.

With the Rectangular Marquee tool still active, click inside the selection area and move it to the top half of the canvas.

Press DELETE. Now, just so you can actually SEE that I’ve deleted the top half of the torn edge on this layer, I’ll turn the visability of the other torn edge layer off.

Change to the Move Tool and rotate the top TORN EDGE layer until it is perpendicular to the other TORN EDGE layer. Move them until you have them arranged so they make a right-angle corner.

ZOOM in and see if you need to make any adjustments (using your eraser tool, or the smudge tool, or the clone tool) to make the corner believable.  I won’t be covering the process of adjusting the corners…that is a topic for another day (or better yet … come to one of our weekend retreats! We always have time to cover “special requests”).

Now that I’ve zoomed in, I can see that I have a stray row of black pixels … I’ll be erasing those before I continue. The rest of my corner looks fine to me.

Once you are satisfied with the corner, MERGE the two layers (select both layers and press CTRL+E).

Duplicate the new “corner” layer.

My duplicated torn edge layer is on top and with my Move tool I’m going to rotate it until it creates a square.

IF YOU WANTED a rectangle…adjust the size of the cuts made at the beginning of this tutorial. The rest of the process is the same.

Check those corners (just like we did in an earlier step) and make any necessary changes.

Merge the two layers with torn edges together (remember how? Select them both, CTRL+E). Keep this layer as your active layer.

Activate your Magic Wand and turn ON the Contiguous option then click once outside the recently created “frame”.

Inverse your selection (tip: the quick keys for Inversing Selection is CTRL+SHIFT+I)

Add a new blank layer and move it to the bottom of the Layers Palette (under the paper).

Activate the new layer and FILL the selection (any color will do). This will be your CLIPPING MASK for the paper

Group this layer to the paper layer. (You didn’t seriously think I would do a tutorial that didn’t make use of a Layer Mask, did you?!!!) LOOK! You’ve create a TOTALLY RIPPED piece of paper!

HAVE FUN and thanks for stopping by!

A digital paper tearing???


You know how so MANY things are SO much easier to do in digital scrapbooking than they are in the “real” paper world? Like, resizing a photo, or making duplicates of a photo, or getting the paper and elements to match accent colors in your photo perfectly? Well, I’m actually confessing that there are a few tasks that are much more challenging in the digital world than they would be in the real world.

Such as … tearing a piece of paper! It is NOT a simple matter of grab and rip! But … let me see if I can help!

Here’s a quick little tutorial and a FREEBIE to get you started!

  1. Begin by finding a “real” piece of cardstock…one that has a white filling and colored outside coatings (pick a piece that has deep, rich colors … not pastel). Lay it on the table.
  2. While holding the paper down with one hand, begin tearing along one edge … make the tear interesting … alternate between pulling the paper up and in (toward your other hand … creating a wider margin of white center showing) and pulling the paper straight up from the table (this will minimize the amount of white center showing).
  3. Place your paper face-down on a scanner and cover it with black paper or cloth.
  4. Scan it at 300dpi and Full color (this way it will be an RGB file format.
  5. Once it’s scanned, import it into Photoshop/Photoshop Elements and select all the colored areas (leaving the white torn area) and delete them.
  6. Crop the image to include only the remaining “torn” edge.
  7. Save the file in PNG format.

For your benefit, I’m giving you a FREEBIE torn edge that I scanned. DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

Now, to use this in a layout:

Open your digital paper.
Open the torn edge PNG file.
Create a new layout file.
Import items 1 and 2 (above) into your layout file.

Make sure the torn edge layer is above the paper layer and that it is the active layer (notice how mine is light grey? . . . over there . . .  the layers palette?)
Get your magic wand and select the area on the side of the torn edge that you’d like to remove
(the part of the paper below that you would rip off if you could!).

NOTE: If your selection includes all the transparent pixels … make sure the “Contiguous” option is turned on (see your Options Bar at the top of the screen). If that doesn’t help, then you may need to “stretch” (resize) the torn paper layer so it is taller than your canvas … zoom way out so you have grey workspace all the way around your canvas, then stretch the torn paper layer to 104%)

Once you have your selection, you’ll need to inverse the selection. (use the menus, use the pop-ups, or use the short keys to Inverse Selection … whichever you prefer)Now, insert a new layer and move it so it is below your paper layer.
With your new empty layer active, FILL the selection (again…lots of ways to fill the area…use the method you prefer!)
You are ready to RIP!  … CLIP, I mean!  Go ahead … group the paper layer to the layer you just made (by the way, the layer you just made is called a “Clipping Mask”)
Your paper will now appear to be RIPPED/TORN. Pretty cool, ay?

Now, let’s say you want to tear all four sides of a piece of paper. Any idea on how to do that?  I shall post another tutorial … just in case you’d like some guidance for that.  Look for a tutorial called, “Totally Ripped!”  … see you there!

Family Time


More reminiscing . . . Pictures from Savannah’s first big road trip! December 2005 she and her mama drove 7 and a half hours to spend a weekend with Auntie Sara and Uncle Ken. I’ve always loved the photos from that visit … just now getting around to putting them into the scrapbook.

and here’s the facing page from the scrapbook:

CREDITS: Holiday Sugar Cookies by PixieMama Designs

Got Milk?


With the arrival of the recent winter storm, I’ve been doing some reminiscing. Ran across these adorable pictures of Ms. Savannah when she was 10 months old. She and her Mama flew out to Iowa to spend a few weeks with us. What a wonderful visit we had!

One day Tara wanted to teach Savannah how to drink milk from a saucer … LOOK at the fun!

Page 2 (the right-hand page for her book):