Day 12 of the Fall Crawl

Let’s keep moving on the Fall Crawl!

Thank you for visiting our site today. We hope that you explore it and find a lot to like about it. When you are finished here please visit our friends on the Fall Crawl at:

The best laid plans…


I want to thank everyone who visited this site as a result of the Fall Crawl. I am so proud and grateful that my husband was able to post his lovely photo card tutorial.

We host this site together so you may see posts from one or both of us at any time. Yesterday was one of those times when we were both going to post and I had planned to highlight one of the many baked goods that I create. Unfortunately for me, our oven broke down for the second time on Tuesday. The funniest part of the whole situation was when the repairman said, “oh, you must cook and bake a lot for this to have happened again.”  It’s true that I use my stove and oven a lot but I’ve never heard that one before.

There is a good side to this sad story though, because I will be getting a new stove/oven next week. We can’t afford an industrial range but I’m pretty sure that the one I am getting is a keeper. I’ll be sure to post a photo of my new stove but keep your fingers crossed that I don’t wear it out!

The Fall Crawl continues so please be sure to stop by  the next stop  on it at

Tutorial: How to make photo notecards

Today we are featured on the Fall Crawl and present this tutorial:

This tutorial describes how to make photo notecards out of regular letter size photo paper.

What do we need?

  • An inkjet printer, pretty much any newer model will do, regardless whether is says “Photo” or not in its name. For the tutorial here, I will use an inexpensive printer from a manufacturer that starts with an E…, but I heard that printers from H… or C… produce excellent output as well.
  • Letter size (8.5″ x 11″) matte photo paper. Glossy photo paper is not suitable for this project, because it is usually not possible to write on the back of glossy photo paper. Matte photo paper usually has a paper back and works fine. We need a paper on the back to write on the inside of the notecard later.
  • Invitation envelopes 

The final note-card size (folded) is 4.25″ x 5.5″, perfect for invitation envelopes. This envelope size is readily available in the office store that has a red logo and starts with S…

  • Cutter knife, ruler, cutting mat: to cut paper stock (and not your fingers!)
  • Bone folder: alternatively a dull knife may work as well

The idea

1. We will cut the letter size sheet of photo paper in the middle:

2. We will score the middle of the two half-letter size sheets and fold them in half:

3. We print on the sheet with a 1/4″ margin all around the photo:

For most programs it is easier to print when the photo is cropped to the right aspect ratio, although photos from some cameras already have the right aspect ratio. Images from digital SLR (DSLR) cameras have an aspect ratio of 1.5 and will require cropping.

The actual process

1. Marking the middle of the letter size matter photo paper sheet with a light pencil mark (5.5″ from edge to edge).

Cutting of the sheet in half, before and after successful cutting. (No fingers were harmed in the cutting of this sheet.)

Marking the half-sheet for the scoring in the middle (4.25″ from edge to edge.)

After scoring of the paper (a dull knife, letter opener, key, screwdriver, etc. may work fine)

The folded cards, ready for printing

Unfolding the cards and loading them into the printer

Preparing of the photos for printing

For the next steps, I will use the Faststone Image Viewer, a great freeware image viewer and simple editing program for Windows available at Of course other image editors will work fine, I just like to use freeware programs as much as possible.

For the example here, I am using a photo from a DSLR and need to crop it to the 4:3 aspect ratio first.

After clicking on the crop icon I can set the aspect ratio to 4:3 and decide how to crop my photo.

The next step is very important: we need to rotate the photo 180° to print in the correct orientation. Again, in Faststone Image Viewer it is very easy to do.

After saving the photo, we are ready to print it. For printing, I am using Corel Paint Shop Pro X3 (which is not freeware), because I had some problems with Faststone Image Viewer to accept my custom paper size.

We first need to define the custom paper size of the note-card, which is 5.5″ wide and 8.5″ tall.

To finalize the settings, I pick “Premium Enhanced Photo Paper” or something like that, and the highest quality setting. I also like to push saturation a little bit, and set a slight hue bias. Again these settings work fine for my particular E… printer, your setup may be different.

Now I am ready to (finally) print the photo. In the print setup screen, I select a custom margin of 1/4″ on the top and left, and then set a width of 5″ for the image size, because the aspect ratio has been cropped to the correct ratio, the height shows up correctly as 3.75″.

After I can finally click on the “Print” button, the printer is finally printing. One last check of the printer status message shows that the paper size has been recorded correctly.

After a minute or two, the printed notecard emerges from the printer.

Now we only need to fold it, and stick it into the envelope until it is used.

Now that you have made some notecards, you can give them away as gift, or use them as personal notecards instead of store-purchased notecards.

Of course you can also save yourself a lot of work and just purchase notecards from our store (

I’m nervous and excited!

I am so excited yet nervous about having our site focused on tomorrow during the Fall Crawl. Fortunately, so many of you experienced blogger and web hosts have been supportive and informative. The best part of the process for me has been being directed to all of you.  You are all so different and interesting! Now there is the opportunity for people from all over the world to get to know each of us. That is fantastic! 

Of course thanks are owed to Marilyn at the    for the invitation to participate! After Marilyn, thanks go to fellow participants for learning about us. Now that we know about each other, I intend to visit you all more often. I hope you’ll do the same.

So continuing in the spirit of the crawl I remind any visitors that today is our day to visit Jillian at .  I’m heading over, see you there!

Ahhh, now I’m beginning to relax a little…

A nap would feel good about now…


It’s time to come in and get busy with Autumn and Winter projects. I wanted to take a nap like my cat Jasper, but I decided to make some curtains for my living room instead.  Jasper doesn’t know it but I am rearranging the furniture too.

Sewing is not my strength but I have reupholstered furniture, repaired clothing and completed simple things. I found some fantastic fabric on sale and will use it for the curtains. I will post photos of them later this week. Wish me luck! 

The Fall Crawl continues  today with a visit to . Enjoy!


Isn’t it amazing?


The Fall Crawl has been an amazing experience for us. My husband Lars and I are getting to know so many wonderful people through this activity. Our daughter Kimba over at    has more experience than we with her wonderful blog but we are learning quickly.

The best part of the experience is still ahead of us since there are many more participants joining in. It is so much fun to see and learn new things!

Check out this list of featured sites:
Sept 19th – Marilyn –
Sept 20th – Kellie –
Sept 21st – Letty –
Sept 22nd – Lorie –
Sept 23rd – Abby –
Abby’s will also include our 1st blog hop Linky Party
Sept 24th Tracy –
Sept 25th – Kimba –
Sept 26th – Jacqueline –
Sept 27th – Jillian –
Sept 28th – Kim&Lars
Sept 29th – DEIA
Sept 30th – Meli –
October 1st – Renee –
Renee’s will be our Second blog hop /Linky Party

 Isn’t it amazing?


Feeding your body and soul




I said that I have moved on and I mean it. Summer is over and it is on for the fall!  The grill will not be used this week. I am back to cooking indoors. I truly enjoy the process of cooking. Picking the food items and even the pots and pans in which the items will be cooked is interesting to me. I am sure that preparing the meal does more for me than it does for those whom I will serve. No matter how simple or complicated the meal is the results are the same for me: sensory stimulation, focus, creativity, solitude, and the gift of giving.

The Fall Crawl is providing me with an opportunity to share some of my creativity with you. Today I choose a recipe for beef stew that my family and I enjoy. The best part of this recipe is the flexibility of it. Exact measurements are not necessary for most of the items because you tailor it to your taste. It’s one of my go-to meals when I have a lot of odds and ends in the fridge. As long as you have the key ingredients you can add what you have on hand.

You will need the following items:

*Beef chuck cut into medium sized cubes 1 lb
*potatoes 4 large
carrots 1 large
sweet peppers
peas 1 cup
*olive oil
white wine (drinking quality) ½ cup
*flour 2 tb
*beef stock
(key ingredient*)

Peel potatoes then chop into bite size chunks. Boil until just soft or about 10 minutes. They will get softer in the pot in the oven but I like them cooked some before then. I like to peel slivers of carrot because I  don’t like big chunks. If you like big then go big! Roughly chop or dice other  vegetables. Saute the onions, peppers, celery and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a non stick pan.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes to pan once other vegetables are soft.

Place flour in plastic bag. Add salt, pepper, and combination of spices and herbs that are normally in a mix like Sylvia’s secret seasoning. That’s usually a combination of basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and garlic.  Place meat in bag and coat pieces. In a fresh pan, brown the meat in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Leave in pan. Drain potatoes.

Place drained potatoes, meat, sauted veggies, 2 cups of beef broth, peas, and wine in dutch oven or heavy pan. Cook together on top of stove for about 10 minutes. Add a little more spice to pot, stir and then place in 35o degree oven for at least 45 minutes. Check every 15 or 20 minutes to see if it is the consistency that you like. You should end up with a pot of yummy goodness. Let me know how it turns out!

Some people throw everything into a crock pot and that seems to work for them. I didn’t do that here. I used the stove top first and then baked the stew in a covered pot because as the child of southerners, I like meat that is so tender it falls apart. I achieve that tenderness using this method.You’ll note the red dutch oven that I use, it may not be necessary (any heavy pot will work) but it sure makes me happy!




About creativity and Fall Crawl Day 5

As part of the Fall Crawl we will stop by Abby’s blog today at Abby shares a multitude of different life experiences on her blog, highly recommended.

As the title says, I wanted to write a little bit about creativity. Lately I really enjoy b&w abstract photography, because certain patterns or textures stand out and stand out differently in b&w instead of color. This got me thinking about how others point out “creative” or “artistic” individuals as some who were somehow born with the gift of artistry. Yet at the same time, there are classes in painting, drawing, or photography available. This implies that arts can somehow be learned after all.

To confuse matters further, the term “crafts” is also used sometimes interchangeably with “arts”. We talk about “good craftsmanship” of a building for example.

The apparent contradictions are resolved by establishing two layers of function to art: on one hand the “mechanic” aspects of an art form exist such as applying brush strokes to paper, or setting the camera correctly for the next exposure. This level of mechanic proficiency is often seen as “craft”. To mature as artist, the craft aspects are first practiced consciously, and then subconsciously. Most of us have experienced a similar process when we learned to drive. We first had to pay a lot of attention of how to accelerated or brake the car. After a while it became second nature. The understanding is that we store certain processes in the cerebellum, and thus they become “second nature”. Similar to learning how to accelerate and slow down the car we need a similar comfort level with our tools in the arts. In photography it needs to become second nature what settings to put in the camera, so we can focus on what we want the photograph to be about.

But what has all of this to do with creativity? Well, our tools are just that – tools. It comes down to what we want to say using our artwork. People who have something to say are seen as “creative”, because their art work resonates with other people’s life experience, yet appears unusual and refreshing from their perspective.

I oftentimes feel that my interest (or obsession) with photography helps me in my day job as a scientist to be “creative” when it comes to understanding data or solving problems. Of course when we analyze data, we look for patterns – big surprise, in photography we look for patterns as well.

I created the photograph for today’s post on a rainy Sunday afternoon at home, when I suddenly noticed a lot of patterns in our dining room.

And one more thing: while we call our blog “Crafts and Photography”, my wife Kim’s “crafts” are very artistic and I know she is an artistic and creative person.

Giving in to fall…

Well friends, my summer budgie seems to have flown away. Like summer, I am sorry to see him go but happy to have experienced his presence. I do look forward to the joys that this new season brings.

One of the best things that I am already experiencing is the Fall Crawl. I am meeting and learning from so many wonderful people. Today it was Lorie and tomorrow will be Abby. 

I miss my old friend the budgie but I’ll still make Lorie’s  bird treats for my other feathered friends.  Each season brings visual beauty along with temperature changes here in New England. I am giving in to fall I’m sure it will not disappoint.