Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sketches on Tuesday

I walked past my dining room table, with its scattered assortment of scrapbook papers and photos, a few dozen times over the weekend.  I felt the pull, but ultimately just couldn't figure out what to do.  I even have a layout laid out.  Sort of.  I have photos, uncropped, sitting in a preliminary configuration.  I think I kept passing it by because I just wasn't feeling it - the photo layout - not the desire to complete a page.

I need an idea, people.  And when I do.  I turn to sketches.  They are a great jumping-off point.


Apron Strings is graciously provided a monthly, exclusive sketch from PageMaps creator, Becky Fleck.  They are my go to when I'm looking for inspiration; for un-sticking of the creative process.  In flipping through the website, I liked this PageMaps sketch from July 2014.  

It has a good framework that can be stretched to more photos, two pages or horizontal photos by turning it 90 degrees.  Add more photos to the left and/or right of the current two shown.  Keep the base background layering and run the extra photos right off the edges.

Mirror the image to create two pages.  Make the base background layering a little larger and run photos between them, across the pages.  You could also keep the current base background the same size and, instead, shift the base backgrounds towards the center and run the photos across the pages.

If photos are horizontal, a quick tip of the sketch left or right and you're good to go.  Add more photos above and below.  Mirror the tipped sketch and lay out the photos, grid-style, over the base background.  With the tipped sketch, shift the photo block left or right (eliminating or reducing the base's border - the stripes or floral) to create a more cohesive look between two pages by removing some of the "white space."


This is just one example, created by Summer Fullerton, PageMaps designer, using the sketch.  I love that she moved the circle elements to adjust for her one-photo.

See.  Sketches provide lots of ideas and I haven't even touched my paper yet.  Now I just need to go implement one.

Go.  Create.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Food for Thought

Today is a day I can't hold a coherent thought in my head long enough to execute anything.  I hate days like this.  Little gets done.  

I did, however, rally enough to do a couple small things, which has lead to doing a few things more.  I took two of my boys down to Olde Town to do a little Pokemon-ing.  While they were out in the heat, I sat in the cool library and did some reading.   I didn't have a menu for this week AT ALL, but now I have one for next week - and the shopping list to go with it.

Because I had no plan for the week, I winged it on Monday for the In-Law Dinner.  The remainder of the week I paired things I'd already cooked on Pinterest, to what I had on hand.  If it weren't for the trip to Olde Town, and picking a few things up on the way home, the sides for dinner tonight would be nonexistent.

This week's recipes are short, but good.


Like I said, I was cooking with what I had on hand and I had everything I needed to make this Cumin Lime Coleslaw.  Holy crap, was it good.  That smoky cumin thing, tart lime.  Refreshing.



If it weren't summer, when I have basil growing in the backyard, and a basket full of limes, I'm not sure I could have pulled off this Basil Lime Chicken.  But because it is, I did.  I didn't use tenders, but did use cutlets.  Lots of full-bodied flavor - a nice punch from the limes and fresh herbs.  Cutlets cook a little faster than breasts, but slower than tenders - we went for four minutes a side.



I made these Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers for In-Law Dinner last Friday.  It was hot and these didn't require much heat.  Or they wouldn't have if I'd had chopped rotisserie chicken in my freezer.  So, before the fires of hell consumed my kitchen, I seasoned and cooked some breasts for the chicken salad.  The minimal time these are in the oven was bearable.  However, you could have probably chilled the chicken salad and then just served it in parboiled pepper halves and been good to go.

See, short and sweet.

Heat's really on this weekend.  Two boys are going to a shoot.  Girlie is (probably) working and finishing up her binge of Game of Thrones.  The 7 y.o. is busy creating a car wash and cars from the huge appliance boxes, between treks out with his older brother in search of elusive Poke-characters.  There's some social activities on the calendar - birthday, dinner, Outlander.  Good stuff.  Stuff inside.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

I wasn't as motivated last weekend as I had hoped to be.  I did some things around the house, but it wasn't much in the creative vein.  That's okay, I still have the stack of pages I've completed sitting out to remind me I have recently been creative.  That, and there's so much dust from the recent projects around the house, it's the safest, dust-free zone at the moment.


This layout was created using the SCT Easy-Detailed-Expert Class, Week One's sketch.  I simply mirrored the single page layout to create two and, without checking, I'm pretty sure I upped the photo count.  I used Jillibean's Egg Drop Soup which was in a Bigger Apron Strings kit in 2010 - I'd guess is was a March or April kit.  The photos are of my, now, 15 y.o., back in 2006 when he was just six.

I had used most of this kit on previous layouts, so there wasn't much left embellishment-wise.  But there are enough photos, and action in the photos, that too much might have been too much.  It could probably use some journaling - it's for said son's book - but it's been so long I have no idea what I'd say.  The upside of not remembering is that the photos are fairly self-explanatory.  You see what he's doing.  You see what's in his basket.  And you can tell what he's into simply by the look on his face - Star Wars.  And they're minis so he's super psyched.  For him, the smaller the better.

Huh - I think that's my journaling.  LOL.

Go.  Create.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Are

We don't do much of anything all week and the weather was great.  Then, my mom's birthday was yesterday, so my dad organizes all of us - my siblings and their families - to go to the Rockies game.  Nice!  We decided to take the train into downtown, and get on at different stops to surprise her.  Sweet.  Then. . .

First sign:  My dad plans to get on at the first/end stop, which leaves at 4:59.  At 4:10 he can't find his tickets and after searching for 15 minutes, just goes without them, planning to sort it out at the ticket office when they arrive.

Second sign:  Our train leaves at 5:19.  At 3:30 we decide we need Rockies gear and head out in search.  We need to leave at 4:30, at 4:45 we finally leave.  Hubby, whose dinner meeting was canceled and was able to join us, isn't really "with us" yet, and thinks we are on the road for the station, but no.  He also forgot his wallet.

This is not starting well. . .





  • At the station. . .waitin' on the train
  • With the birthday girl
  • We're in.  We've got our $1 Hot Dog coupons.  New caps for two.  Wait for it. . . 
  • We sing the National Anthem and they roll out the tarps.  Wait, what?
  • And it starts to rain
  • And rain
  • And rain
  • Our seats were 23 rows off the field, but luckily the seats under the deck were open so we migrated up for the wait
  • Two hours later, rain stopped, lightening moved out, tarp came off and a Poke ball was spotted on a Rays outfielder
  • By the Second Inning, Rockies are down 6-0
  • Capturing the perfect Insta
We left at the end of the 5th, with a score of 7-0, hoping we are saying the truth, when we tell the kids a rally-win is unlikely.  Final  was 10-1.

Started bumpy.  And win or not, it was a great night.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Stash Busting

I think I covered all the major categories in scrapbook products when I posted several Stash Busting posts.  If I missed something and you want to see it, leave me a comment and I'll do what I can.

Now, personally, I don't keep scraps.  I'll hold on to a paper if it's 6x12" or bigger, but if I used up all the coordinating paper, it goes to the Kindergarten at the youngest's school.  Smaller, in general, gets tossed.  I have tried to make cards immediately following a layout and that has mixed results.  I've tried to stack up 6x6", or larger, scraps to do a marathon session of card making - this almost never works, unless I'm taking a card class.  So, for me and what I know about how I work, scraps just collect dust and thus have no place in my stash.

However, I have wondered how I can make more use of patterned papers while they are in my grasp.  So, today it's a sort of stash busting - maybe scrap busting - and I went looking for something I didn't need punches, or die-cutting machines for; both of which I have, but not everyone does.  Or I might be too lazy to set up my machine or dig through my punches.



Now, these flowers provide inspiration to transfer to a layout or card.  The shapes are easy to create by hand - tear-drops and scallops.  Circles can be traced using anything, or free-handed for a cute look.  For these, just layer.  I like the buttons and the little stitches.  Easy-peasy!


Didn't we all learn to make hearts in Kindergarten?  Fold paper in half and cut out a tear-drop shape.  Oh, sure, there were times the rounded top needed reshaping, but it was totally doable.  Transfer that long-learned skill to create these layered heart- shaped flowers.  Dig out a couple mini buttons or brads to complete.


I know.  It's a circle and you don't have a punch, but surely you can find something small and round to trace:  spool of thread, shot glass, half-dollar, votive candle, small bottle of paint.  Trace, cut and fold to create these blooms.  Think how cute they'd be with vibrant "b sides" to your patterned paper choices.  Just a reminder, keep the patterns small,if your blooms are small.


Same idea, here, to create this circle flower.  Slightly overlapping the edges creates a wider bloom.  Tighten up the overlapping to create a smaller shape.  Pop a threaded button in the center and boom.


This can be a totally free-form pattern.  Create on leaf pattern and trace.  This flower uses six different, yet coordinating, patterns.  You can go as big or small as you wish.  I like the off-center look of this one, down in the corner of a page, or coming off the center-edge of a layout.  The stitching is a nice touch.  If it's too tedious for you, ink the edges, fray them or curl them up.


There are a couple ways to make these scallop flowers.  The easiest is to get over your fear and free-hand.  The second, Google for the shape.  The third, layout out six circles to create the shape, and trace the outline.  Make them as big or small as you wish.  Layer together different sizes and patterns.  Finish it off with a stitched a button or attach a brad to the center.

A few more ideas on what to do with that patterned paper while I'm working with it.

Go.  Create.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Food for Thought

My new range arrives tomorrow.  

It's gas.  

I've been cooking on electric my whole life.  I'm making the switch for my husband (who doesn't do the cooking), who has been mounting a campaign since we married 29 years ago.  Well, maybe not that long, our first homes were rentals - no choice in appliances there.  So, maybe since our first home, which was 25 years ago.  

I'm a competent cook.  I can read a recipe and tell if it will taste good - usually.  I can follow a recipe and it, generally, turns out as it should.  Burned food is a rarity.  (We'll move past the fact that I just left a pan on the stove to heat and totally spaced it out until hubby asked me if I knew the stove was one.  After a full 10 seconds of trying to remember what I was doing, before checking on the defrosting deep freeze - that took me away from said stove - I dashed to find my well heated pan making unhealthy cracking noises.)  

Hubby thinks I'm going to love it.  I'll stop short of disagreeing, and just say, 1) I'm not a fan of change and 2) I hope he likes "dark" food.

For now, though, here's the menu from this week - that turned out as it should and cooked in the designated times.  If you're looking for good stuff, there's a few here.


I cooked from my Taste of Home magazines this week.  There were some toasty days in the forecast, so this Sesame Chicken Noodle Salad sounded good.  I opted to not buy a dressing, instead making this sesame dressing.  I found a few dressings, but I liked this creamy version because I thought it would coat the noddles better.  And it did.  I like the crunch of veggies and the tang of the dressing.  It's even better the next day.


Our Taco Tuesday turned out to be Garlic Beef Enchiladas Thursday.  This recipe is a few more standing-over-a-hot-stove steps than I prefer in the summer, but the perspiration was worth it.  A good tomato cream sauce and hearty filling,  I tend to like flour enchiladas as they hold together better than corn.  We only topped ours with sour cream, but you could do lettuce, tomatoes and avocado, too.


I thought I'd be making Baked Lasagna in a Bun on the coolest day of the week.  Turns out the weather liars got it a bit wrong.  The 85 degree day was more like 92.  Thanks, dudes.  But this was good; warm meaty filling with that smooth ricotta on top.  I used my marinara and probably could have halved the recipe, but the leftovers were spread on top or used as a dipping sauce.  I chose hot dog buns, instead and the recipe made 12.  I like the hot dog buns because they get crisp, while stay soft, something hoagie buns don't always do.  


I needed something to use up some of the salsa I'd made, and these Spicy Cajun Salsa Burgers did just fine.  I doubled the recipe, but used one pound of ground pork and one pound ground beef, instead of two pounds of beef.  I should have drained my salsa, as it is quite liquidy (if yours is, I would recommend straining off the excess liquid), but the patties held together, despite my husband's doubts that the would.  I used the if-you-don't-have-Cajun-seasoning suggestion with the recipe, despite having Cajun seasoning on hand.  I wanted to control the heat more.  I also made these buns.  They had good flavor and stayed quite moist.  I topped them with mayo, but mixing up some mayo and Cajun seasoning would've been good.


This Hot Fudge Cake is one of those, "how did it do that?" sort of things.  It's similar to a Strawberry and Chocolate thing I made, but I can't find the recipe because I don't know the exact name and there are 700 recipe that come up when I type "Strawberry Chocolate."  It creates this fudgy pudding on the bottom and the cake part rises.  t was good.  Rich.  Fudgy.  I did serve it with vanilla ice cream, but fresh raspberries or strawberries would cut some of the richness, as well.


I love lemonade.  I could drink it all summer.  And Pink Lemonade?  Yum.  I think Pink Lemonade is one of those things you don't ask, "What makes it pink?" you just enjoy it.  In this recipe, it's cranberry juice that makes it pink.  That works for me.  It has a pretty good balance of sweet and tart, but may be just a bit on the sweet side.  That could be because I used a cranberry "cocktail" instead of straight up juice.  I bought four large lemons and they almost gave me enough juice - I was about 1/2 cup short, so I used juice from the limes we had.  Tonight I may see how it tastes with vodka. ;)

So new range tomorrow.  Too hot tomorrow.  Hubby is asking if I want to take a day trip out of town on Sunday - I need to find someplace cool, that isn't on fire.  Literally not on fire; we have six wild fires burning here. 

Happy Friday,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

It's a serious throw back today.  

I found this kit, paired with photos, during the Big Clean Out and put it in my totes so that I'd finish it the next time I scrapbooked.  I had started the layout at some point, because the photos had been cropped.  Cropped photos didn't tell me where I was going though, so I just started over.  


When I said it was quite the throw back, I wasn't kidding.  This is Arctic Frog's Sunday Brunch and is from 2006.  Ten years!  Arctic Frog!  Even the photos are from 2007.  Girlie was in fifth grade.

I had forgotten to look at the name of the line while I was working on the layout, but caught the manufacturer, so I searched to see if I could find the line name.  It was quite the trip down memory lane; Arctic Frog had some great lines and color combos.  They were frequently in Apron Strings kits.  This kit would have been a Smaller kit, but right now I couldn't tell you from when.

It has been ten years since the photos were taken, and I worked in a way I may not have had I created this layout back then.  Creating it now, I was inclined to use more photos, even if they weren't the best, and to keep as much of the photos as possible - to see all those faces she attended school with for nine years.  Had I created then layout then, I might not have thought about that.

Because I used ten photos, and they stayed rather large, I didn't need a lot of paper or embellishments.  That's why there's only two large buttons, which mimic the circular patterns on the paper.  There's also a hand-cut circle from the paper next to the photo that features the Girlie.  She's cashing her paycheck from her job in the print shop...I think that's what her job was.

Unfortunately, it was so long ago I couldn't remember much of her experience at Ameritowne.  I knew she was looking forward to it, was nervous for the interview, and in the end, had a good time and spent all her money.  But that's not really much for journaling.  I showed her the photos, prior to the layout being completed, and most of her memories were about the people, not the experience, which maybe is as it should be.  I noted the date, the place and I might have jotted her job down.  And it was complete.

Go. Create.