Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All About Me Printable

Hey, here's a gift alternative for Emma's 3rd birthday party for anyone who would rather.  Just print it out, fill it in, color/whatever...and we'll make a book for her of all the pages she gets.  :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CCLI - What is it?

CCLI stands for "Christian Copyright Licensing International".  It was started in 1988 to help churches with copyright issues.  They provide churches with legal coverage for song copies (both in print as well as live sound in video).  As they say, "now we offer resources for all your worship and creative arts ministries."  They also state that, "CCLI helps churches maintain their integrity and avoid costly lawsuits, while also giving churches the freedom to worship expressively and spontaneously."  (Whether it's right or wrong that churches face copyright issues in the first place is another blog), but as today's society would have it, songs used in congregational singing and videos shown in a church setting need to be paid for.

The way it works is each song (that people officially copyright) is given a CCLI number.  (They deal strictly with Christian music).  Then churches pay a licensing fee to use the CCLI database.  This means churches can sing and put slides up of words for any song in the CCLI database.  Churches are then required to give credit to each song writer as well as have the CCLI number present on the slides during worship.  An extra license is purchased (only $100 a year) if churches want to put a video of their service online with the music.

Sidenote, they aren't kidding with the "International" in their name.  They are worldwide.  Oh yes, you can find a CCLI number on a Christian song written in Iceland or Namibia if you want. 
They also offer a service called "Song Select" where churches can pay between $46 and $182 a year to have access to chord charts, lead sheets, samples, lyrics, & hymn sheets.  However I was quite disappointed when realizing that their database, while including an almost 100% inclusive diversity of songs, did not offer chord charts for almost all of the non "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" songs.  But, it's a great idea, and one day maybe they'll require artists to provide this information, thus making their service quite helpful.  The best part of how they have it set up is that you can transpose any song they provide into any key.  That's a great idea!  However, if you are wanting to have a song fit onto one page (as it seems necessary for productive usage) you will have to either retype it, or print to PDF and have Adobe Acrobat ($300) to be able to manipulate the text.  They could stand to rework this area as well...but you know, in a perfect world.  :)

How to Get Fabric Glue and/or Sap off Your Hands

Okay, so apparently lately I've been getting a lot of things on my hands.  So, to keep it simple.  Here's what worked.
To get sap off, use rubbing alcohol.

To get fabric glue (the spray upholstery kind), use WD40, then dish soap.

Now hopefully you won't have to do as many searches and try as many different remedies as I did.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Not getting sharp pictures with your DSLR?

So I was getting a bit frustrated that all my pictures looked less crisp/clear/focused than my stupid little point and shoot digital.  I finally looked it up, because I thought something might be wrong with my camera (I have the Canon Rebel XTi with the EFS 17-55mm lens).  SO GLAD I WAS WRONG.  Anyway, here's what I found out.  This text is quoted from: http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon400D/

"A digital SLR is different from a compact digital camera. It was designed for a different kind of user. Although they have become more user-friendly, they're still a more high-end camera for a more demanding user. Compact digital cameras have a lot of in-camera processing to sharpen the images and enhance the color. Basically, the camera companies want compact digital cameras to deliver very pleasing, easy-to-digest images, right out of the camera. But digital SLRs are different. The goal with a digital SLR is to produce the absolute best quality image - and that's not necessarily going to look great right out of the camera. In-camera processing degrades the ultimate image quality. So digital SLRs back off on the in-camera sharpening, contrast, color saturation, etc., so that the original information is preserved and the photographer can make the decision about how the final image looks. The truth is, your digital XTi images are likely no softer than photos from other cameras you've used. But the point-and-shoot camera processing has made them appear to be softer. Most of us that have been using digital SLRs for a while, do our sharpening after the fact, in Photoshop or some other software. It's the same thing that your old camera did, but we get to decide exactly how it's done and fine-tune it for each image, if we want. In the end it delivers a better quality image.

I would recommend leaving your camera at the default settings and try using Photoshop's Unsharp Mask filter. That will give you the best results."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Free Driving Record

Okay, so my memory was a little foggy on when and if I had gotten a speeding ticket last year when pulled over, and so I wanted to look online to find out the answer.  Unfortunately, all the other "help" sites are entirely too ambiguous, and all of the links they provided took me to websites that wanted to charge $30-$40 for my driving record.  That's a high price to pay for a bad memory....so I kept searching.  I found 2 reputable sites that recommended calling my insurance company to get the records.  Naive me thought, "well that's a grand idea".  NOT.  Turns out that some insurance companies don't update your records if you've been with them for awhile.  So, genius me ended up inadvertantly telling my own insurance company that I had reasons for them to update my history, and thus hike my rates.  AHHH.  Wish that "help" article would have mentioned that!  Oh well.  Honesty is the best policy.  Besides, we wouldn't want those insurance agents to have to skimp on their sports cars and fine wine.

So, if you're thinking about obtaining your current driving record, take it from me, DON'T call your insurance agent.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kids Songs

Hey, so I recently decided to compile all the songs Emma and I sing (mostly me really).  I decided to do this because in the car mostly, Emma has been asking me to sing songs one after another constantly...which can be tiring on a long drive.  I often can't think of all the songs we sing, and was surprised to see how many there were!  This list isn't even all of them...I got tired after awhile, and decided to stop.  Oh and if you're wondering why I chose to list those particular praise songs, it's because Emma knows them from the Praise Baby DVD's.

So maybe this list will be helpful to someone else who is endlessly singing to their kids also.

Sidenote:  I haven't critiqued every song, but as I was looking through other lists online, I noticed some of the most famous songs sung with kids are way off, as in not biblical...totally secular way of thinking or just plain confusing.  For example, think of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  It says, "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake".  Either kids are going to think he's God, or a stalker.  Also, take for instance This Land is Your Land.  "This land is your land, this land is my land"...ummm, NO.  This land is God's land thank you very much.  Anywho, just a thought.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Foiled Again - by David R. Reid

This devotion really rocked me.  I think it's a must read for any Christian, or person who just wonders what is this whole life about anyway?  I had never thought about life, from the time before Adam, to our eternal stage in quite this way.  Dr. Dave goes through the time line from Satan's perspective, illustrating how he tries time and time again to foil God's prophesy that "the heel crusher" (one who destroys Satan) would come from the "seed of Adam" (a human).  Each time God reveals more to us humans, Satan learns more as well, and therefore tries to use that information to end the possibility of a someone who could destroy him.  God is so sovereign though.  Satan could never succeed, and we know that through Jesus Christ's resurrection, that Satan has already lost.  Praise God!  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Picture:  Foiled is a term used in fencing by the one who is losing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Painting my Piano

I am SO excited to have my mom's piano in my home now.  And I was even more excited when she said I could do whatever I wanted to it!  That, of course, meant I was going to paint it. 

At first, I thought I should sand it...I was worried about dust getting in the mechanisms.  I sanded the bench and a few small pieces of the piano itself, then decided to just prime it and go for it.  First I wiped it down with mineral spirits (paint thinner).  Then, I used Oil based Kilz primer, tinted gray.  I put on 2 coats, so there was absolutely no wood showing, except for above the keys, where the Wurlitzer symbol is...I left that wood.  (The picture to the left shows the gray primer.)

Then, I went to Jerry's and got a oil based green paint (Jade green - Benjamin Moore).  Unfortunately, after painting the entire piano, I realized that it looked like a highway sign...all it needed was "Exit 31" written in white letters to top it off.  (The picture to the right makes it look way better than it was).  

So, I went back to Jerry's and they nicely added some blue to it.  It ended up very much like Benjamin Moore's "Jade Garden", which is another color I was interested in.  (The picture to the left is after 1 coat.  Emma is trying to play it with the keys still taped off.)

After 2 coats and some touch ups, the piano is finished (minus the legs of the bench and the music stand, which I'm thinking of painting white.)  I love it!  And after it fully dries, I don't foresee any problems with chipping.  My plants look so good on it, and since it's oil based paint, in high gloss, it will be super durable and easy to wipe clean. 

As far as I can tell, the sound of the piano wasn't altered.  It went from hard wood floors to carpet, so I'm thinking that the dampening is from that, not the paint.

Monday, June 28, 2010

California Brown Rice Cooking Instructions

Okay, so you would think that when you type in "cooking directions for California Brown Rice", or "How to Cook California Brown Rice" to google, you would get a straight forward answer...but no.  So, here ya go.

Combine 1.5 cups of water with 1 cup brown rice. 
Let it come to a boil.  
Cover the pot and turn the temperature to the lowest setting.  
Let sit covered for 30-45 minutes.  
Turn off heat.  
Let sit uncovered for 10 minutes.

And in case you're wondering, I bought the rice, threw out the bag (with the instructions) and put it in this pretty glass container on my counter.  Didn't even think about the directions being on the bag.  So, I took a picture of the instructions on the bag the next time I went grocery shopping.  Gotta love cell phones with cameras!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Crestwood Lodge

After months of preparation and days of building, it's finally done!  The Crestwood Lodge (aka:  The Frantz Castle) was completed as of a few hours ago, June 7th, 2010.  Here are some pictures to enlighten you of the transformation.

There used to be a tree in the yard that died, and consequently cost us $300 to remove.

Then, eventually, I planted a meek, yet entertaining none the less, garden.

Finally, we removed the garden and sectioned off an area which we filled with Fiberex from Rexius.

Lots and lots of bark....like a million wheel barrels full.

And here it is partway done.  (I love this, because it looks like my dad isn't doing anything...totally not true...just funny.)

And vwalah!  A finished swing set.  Complete with climbing wall, slide, ladder, fort, counter and stools, swings, and glider.

Now all we have to do is truck in the sand for the sandbox!!!