Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This past weekend was my high school reunion- it was just wonderful to see everyone again, after so many years. I was in charge of it, and although we hired a reunion organizer to handle all the main issues, it was still a major project. Bruce really stepped up and handled so many details I was not able to do- designing our website, dealing with communication, emails & phone calls, and making great suggestions. He was beside me every step of the way, and I'm forever grateful! Thanks, sweetie!
There were quite a few people there who had never attended a reunion before. I've been to every single one, and this one was by far the best. We even invited a teacher from our Junior High to be our honored guest- she was thrilled to have been included, and her students gave her a standing ovation. We also had a picnic at the park the next day (Sunday) and we had a great turnout, including a few who didn't make the reunion banquet the night before.
This layout certainly doesn't come close to capturing all the people, memories, stories, and fun of the reunion.... but I managed to cram 37 photos into one two page layout. Click on the photo for a closer look.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 10:09 AM
Friday, September 25, 2009
If it's September, it must be fire season! Our annual round with the Santa Ana winds, low humidity and high temperatures combined with a bit of 'outside influence' (sometimes it's arson, sometimes it's lightning, sometimes it's a cigarette- this time it was spontaneous combustion of some cow manure!) lead to wildfires that can devastate our little town. Since we're located in a semi-rural area, there are lots of brush covered hillsides nearby to fuel these fires. A couple of years ago, Moorpark lost a number of homes and ranches. This year it looks like we have gotten off easy. I shot a few photos on Wednesday, when the fires were at their peak. Fortunately, they never got close enough that we could see the flames, but the smoke and ash were everywhere. Last night, our family went to the movies. When we came out of the theater, the smell of the acrid smoke was strong, and my daughter Annie said how much she loved the smell. I thought it smelled awful, but she said that the smell reminded her of autumn. What a sad commentary on our fire season!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 1:47 PM
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I did this layout for a digital challenge over at Two Peas.... it was to enhance the edges of a photo. I have a great brush I made, that was taken from a little piece of black and white art that I found in an old children's book. I used it as an eraser, to erase the upper portion of my main photo, and I also used it on the photo mat. It just gives a little interest to the page. Challenges are some of my favorite things- I especially love to try to apply the technical challenge in a unique way, or take it a bit further than I might ordinarily.
Strathearn Park is a little historic museum in Simi Valley, not far from my home. Last month, I needed to take some photos of some old architectural elements for work, so I thought I might find what I wanted at Strathearn. I got there at about 8 am, long before it opened. I was lucky enough to find the gates wide open, and the place deserted. There was a lovely early-morning fog which made everything look so soft and subdued. I was able to wander freely around, taking dozens of photos of the buildings, flowers, and the myriad textures and patterns of nature and man. And I did get some great shots for my project!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 6:31 AM
Monday, September 21, 2009
One evening last week I came home and found that Alec & Alicia had brought Jack over for us to babysit. Bruce was sitting in his chair cuddling the little guy. I was quick to abscond with him, and get cozy on the couch with Jack asleep on my shoulder. There's nothing sweeter than a little grandbaby asleep in Grandma's arms. I'm the first to admit I'm a sucker for his tiny little face so close to my heart. Just looking at him is a miracle. I know that every age of a child is special, but these newborn moments are especially sweet. I thought I'd scrap a page using some photos Bruce took of little Jack, in my arms, on another recent occasion. Here's to being a Grandma!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 2:20 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2009
No, I didn't misspell my title, I just thought it was time to introduce you to the girls that have become my life- Liv dolls! Meet Alexis, Katie, Sophie and Daniella. This is the doll line I work on at Spin Master. No, I don't design the actual dolls, at least not at the moment. I'm designing other toys in the line. But I'm proud to be in the Liv group, and think the dolls are amazing. If you have a little daughter or granddaughter, I'll bet she would love the pretty faces, the changeable hair (they have wigs so you can change the hairstyle completely!), glass eyes for extra realism, and 14 points of articuation so the dolls are totally poseable. There's also a website where little (and big) girls can delve more into the Liv world. Liv is doing extremely well against Barbie in the eternal War of the Dolls out there in Toyland. We're really excited to be a part of an exciting new doll brand. I can't tell you anything specific, but if you think Liv is pretty and fun now, just wait!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:09 AM
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my life as a blogger. I really wasn't sure when I started this whether I'd keep it up, or give it up. I'm pleased to say, that although my life has gotten crazy busy in the past few months, I've managed to keep this thing going on a fairly regular basis. On average, I've blogged over three times a week. For me, that's pretty darned good! In honor of my blogiversary, I'm posting a photo I took on my trip to Utah, of a lovely scene I happened upon... slightly enhanced, of course! Sorry I don't have any cake for the festivities.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:20 AM
Friday, September 11, 2009
To honor the victims of the September 11th attacks, Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, each year, plants nearly 3,000 flags along the sweeping lawns that overlook the Pacific Ocean. I was nearly speechless as I approached Pacific Coast Highway this morning on my way to work, when I first caught a glimpse of the massive rows of tall flags that seemed to go on as far as the eye could see. I was so glad I had my camera in the car. I was nearly alone as I took the first of my photos, and had a few minutes to reflect on that horrible day only 8 years ago. Although Pepperdine does this annually, it was the first time I had seen it. Our local fire department plants small flags on their lawn each September 11, one for each of the several hundred fire fighters who lost their lives that day. I take photos each year of that display, but I was totally unprepared for the massive acreage devoted to the Malibu flags. I'm sure each one was at least 7 feet tall. I made it a point to arrive back at Pepperdine at sunset on my way home from work, so I could take more photos. This time, there were many silent viewers, photographers, and even a group of soldiers. I loved the sight of a little girl running through the flags, innocent of the horror that those flage represented. Rest in Peace, those whose names are represented by those nearly three thousand flags.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 11:48 PM
Monday, September 7, 2009
I finally found a bit more time to scrap more of my trip to Utah, this page celebrates our Park City adventure. Amy & I were joined by Amy's friend Candace. We found lots to do, browsing the shops, checking out the galleries and eating a yummy lunch at the Main St. Deli. The last time I was in Park City was winter, so this day was a special treat. There were flowers everywhere! I was working on a project for work, so I had the girls stop the car for me while I photographed a wonderful log cabin and the surrounding grounds. I'm not sure exactly what it was, some kind of retreat maybe? But the setting was gorgeous! I got the photos I wanted, and got to see something I probably would have missed otherwise.
Click on the photo for a larger view.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 8:38 AM
Friday, September 4, 2009
This is the story about how digital scrapbooking, family history, and the internet worked together to unite different branches of a family tree. It's a story about two distant cousins who met by happy accident, and today are the best of friends.
About a year ago, I received an email from a young lady named Megan, who had found a layout I did on my great-great Grandmother Sarah Choules, and posted on Two Peas in a Bucket. She told me she was related to this woman, and was doing her family history and wondered how my layout came to be. I was so excited to hear from a distant relative- it turns out that her great-grandmother, and my grandmother were sisters! I shared my layouts about other family members, and a few months later, when my daughter moved to Salt Lake City, not to far from where Megan lived, I suggested the two get together. Amy and Megan are close to the same age, and although Megan is married with a little boy, and Amy is single, they hit it off right away. Amy could care less about family history, and Megan is crazy about it, but that didn't keep them from discovering the wonderful bond of friendship and kinship. Last week when I was in Utah to visit Amy, I got to meet the famous Megan. What a beautiful young woman, inside and out! We all went out to dinner, then on Sunday we went up to Farmington to her gorgeous home and enjoyed a yummy dinner. After dinner, Megan and I pored through a box of photos, records and mementoes, plus all the files I brought. Amy and her sweetie Jake made themselves scarce while the boring stuff was happening. Thanks Megan for everything, and sharing your great stuff with me! Thanks Amy for following through on my suggestion that you two get together. Thanks to you both for being such wonderful and inspiring friends! And thanks to Sarah Choules for making it all happen in the first place!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:17 AM