Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Mash-Up

Yesterday, the sound of snoring high schoolers echoed well into the late morning throughout the school district - unless they missed a day of finals, then their snoring is echoing today.  Or, if your house was TP'd, then you were up early cleaning it up.  All I can say about that is it better be the first, last and ONLY time!

But, with the close of finals, the school year ends as well.  Which means, I now have a Sophomore and a Senior.  A SENIOR.  A Senior people!  S.E.N.I.O.R.  Case in point came late last week when I was the recipient of a large enveloped stuffed with photographer's brochures for Senior Photos.  Overwhelmed by all the information coming at me in full-color glossy wonder, confused by the sheer amount of unorganized information and utterly shocked by the prices (are they freaking kidding me. . .$250 for a sitting fee with photo packages starting. . .STARTING at $300???)  Unfortunately, I think it's only the tip of the money iceberg and that we'll be bleeding money all over her Senior year.  The Kindergartner was out last week.  My 7th grader will finish up today (you can't imagine his excitement to still be in school)  - after his two hours, yes two hours.  What the. . .Really?? . . .What's the point?  I'm hoping his early release will free up my day to play.

Today it's all about sending the older two off with two of their Aunts to San Diego and the long-trained-for Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  It was suggested that I go with them.  I'd love to go.  Love to watch them compete in the race.  Love to spend some time with my sisters.  Love to visit with my own Aunt and Uncle.  Love to just go.  But this is something for just the four of them...something that wouldn't be the same with a parent along.  I'll be content with the photos they better send me and their stories.

Last summer I took The Phone Photography Project class and it was awesome.  This summer BPC is offering Phone Photography 2.  I loved it last year and learned a ton.  Got some great tips and some fun apps.  I'm planning on taking it again, if only for the daily prompts.  If you're looking to get more of the everyday, or just experiment with photo opportunities, this is an awesome class.  It's a little pricier than the average class, but I felt like I got my money's worth.

This week my menu plan was all Pinterest.
  • Roast Beef and Butter Sandwiches - these really don't require a recipe, so it's a head-slapper moment.  They were really good and perfect for a hubby's out of town dinner.  The only change I'd make is I'll griddle-toast my rolls instead of doing them in the oven.  My oven just didn't get them buttery-toasty enough. 
  • Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad - even though I forgot to add the Feta, this was a great side.  I'm sure the Feta would have over-the-topped-it.  Add some sliced chicken and it'll be a great summer meal.
  • Raspberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake - so I guess "coffee cake" escaped me when I read the recipe.  But even if I had read it, I'd have ignored it.  I'm all about getting as much rhubarb in my mouth as possible this time of year.  We had this for dessert after dinner and it was awesome!  Sweet.  Tart.  Dense.  Moist.  Crunchy topping.  I served it with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream.  Look out.
  • Beef Chimichangas - Super simple.  We use uncooked tortillas that we get from Costco.  I will never go back to national-brand cooked tortillas, they're too thick for one thing.  These uncooked ones are so good and fresh and take 5 minutes to cook up.  They are thinner too, which makes them super light and crunchy for this recipe and for Strawberry Cheesecake Chimichangas.
  • Bell Pepper Slaw - I'm making this tonight.  The dressing is good (I love a non-creamy slaw) so I'm expecting to love this.  I only used three peppers (red, yellow and orange) instead of the five the recipe calls for - I forgot to pick up a green one and I can only find purple at the farmer's market.  Still, looking at the end product, five might have been too many anyway.
  • Fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - This is tonight's dessert.  Rhubarb.  Hello?  See above.  I'm sure it'll be heavenly.  And bonus, I still have that homemade vanilla ice cream.  Yippee for me.  Boo for my belly-jiggle.
  • Slow Cooker Saucy Ribs - Tonight's main course.  Other than needing to Google "boneless pork lion ribs" (they're country ribs, and if they're not, that's what I'm using) it smells good.  It'll be interesting to see how the Allspice in the rub works.  I'm sure I'll make them again, and when I do, I'll make up a BBQ sauce from one of the one's I've got pinned.
Looking back it was a nice full week.  Hopefully a productive weekend is on the horizon.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Disney Autograph Album

Kristin Perez used the May Smaller than a Breadbox kit - the My Mind's Eye Now & Then Izzy and Simple Stories Spring lines - to create a Disney Autograph book.  So awesome!

Kristin here: 
So excited to show you the project I completed with the May Smaller than a Breadbox kit. The first piece I pulled out was the sheet of paper with the "dreams do come true..." and "Never Grow Up" card - I knew instantly I wanted to do a Disney project! So I decided to create my daughter's autograph album.

I made the pages 5 x 7" from the cardstock in the kit.  After purchasing my 5 x 7" album to put the pages in, I realized the page protectors were actually larger and had to mount my 5 x 7" pages on a larger piece of cardstock.

A way to cut 5 x 7" pages (or invitations) with no waste is below. All you are left with is one 2 x 2" square!

I took the the My Mind's Eye Polka Dot paper and punched a Mickey Mouse shape for each page in different colors. I continued this on every page.

On this page (below) I wanted to point out that you need not use an item in the kit as is. Make it your own!

The My Mind's Eye stickers in the kit had a small banner that said, "My Little Guy."  I cut that apart to place the "Little" on the Minnie page (lower left corner) and the "My" and "Guy" on the Mickey page (upper right corner) .  And Minnie was little - Amory was commenting on that all day!

Also, on the Minnie page I took two of the raindrop gems in the kit and placed them together to create a heart over the punched Mouse shape.

Thank you for stopping by and taking a look! I hope this inspired you to cut up, make your own and create with your Apron Strings kit!


Kristin, thanks so much for the awesome inspiration!  Thanks for helping us see the versatility in Apron Strings kits.  :)

Go. Create!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Are

  • We are at proving the new toy is at least out of the box.
  • We are in a cycle of bad weather all this week.
  • We are Marty (Madagascar reference).
  • We are wondering if you can be a card shark at Go Fish.
  • We are being followed by a tornado warning.
  • We are thinking this is not a good sign.
  • We are getting enough to shovel.
  • We are checking out our "man muscles."
  • We are always give our animals three names. . .meet Bruins Pillow Crawford.  There might be a hockey reference or two in there.
  • We are celebrating a Spidey-birthday with our nephew.
Don't forget about yesterday's sketch challenge.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekend Recap and a Sketch Challenge

I'd like to tell you we had a relaxing weekend.  Or that the yard work is finished and just waiting for harvest time.  Or that I've caught up on my Project Life® 2013.  Or that I dug into both the May kits and my stash and created like a scrapper possessed.  I'd like to say any number of things other than what was a free weekend, quickly filled up.  When we weren't eating with family or at church or pulling things out for the garage sale or at graduation parties or attending birthday parties, we were in the basement because of a tornado warning, or watching the streets fill with hail or marveling at the amount of rainfall.

Don't get me wrong, the time spent with family and friends was wonderful - and I think I gained five pounds this weekend alone from all the food. . .well, mostly desserts, but still.  Alas, the only yard work, beside the weekly mowing done by the boys, was sweeping the back porch of all the leaves the hail shredded out of our trees.  The only scrapbooking I did was to ship an order and print another, yet undone, sketch for the Sketch Solutions class.  Between the end of school this week and hubby being gone, I'm hoping I can spend some time in my studio - the pit around it I'll just have to ignore the best I can (the basement is the "staging area" for all the crap for the garage sale.)

Speaking of sketches, I was going to post this on Monday, but being a holiday, I figured I'd just hold off.  I'd like to issue a challenge at least once a month using the exclusive Becky Fleck PageMaps sketch found in the Apron Strings scrapbook kits, and today is the day for this month's challenge.

It is certainly no secret here that I love sketches.  I refer to and use them regularly.  Some may say sketches are cheating, that each page needs to be unique.  I say, "Bull!"  Using a sketch in no way locks you into that exact design.  It merely provides a jumping off place.  It takes away one, or more, decisions, like photo placement or sizes.  They help me incorporate more of my products by giving me ideas and examples on paper and embellishment usage.

Brace yourself, I even think it's okay to reuse a sketch over and over.  "Your pages will all look the same."  Ah, no they won't.  Different photos.  Different papers.  I sometimes use the sketch exactly as it is, but more often than not, I'm changing it up for my given photos -leaving off a photo or adding two more in.  Shoot, the pages are highly unlikely to even be anywhere near each other in an album.  And really, is your family going to think, "Dang, mom was such a slacker...all these pages use the same layout!"  Mmmm...I'm thinking they're just gonna be happy to have the albums and the memories.

So, today I issue you the challenge to use this sketch - as is, one side or the other, flipped upside-down, or in any other way that suits your current project.  Share a layout using the May sketch (above) in the comments by next Monday.  I may be so inclined to offer up a prize.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Mash-up

As expected, we had storms.  And a lot of rain.  My daughter and a group of her friends headed out into the brewing weather to watch the RV Varsity Girls Soccer team play in the state championships; they were supposed to play Wednesday, but a huge hail storm postponed it (like plowing the field kind of hail storm.)  They sat through several rain/lightening delays, which makes it hard for teams to keep any momentum going.  Unfortunately, RV lost.  It was their first time in the state championships, so hopefully next year they can have a repeat appearance.

Our kindergartner had his Continuation yesterday morning.  He's happy to tell everyone he's a First Grader now.  I'd like to say I came home and made a good use of the rest of my day.  But, that would be a "no."  "No" to much cleaning.  "No" to crafting, though I did print out all of the current materials for the Sketch Solutions class.  "No" to doing anything even remotely productive.  I made dinner (Chicken Avocado Wraps) and I watched some DVR'd shows.  As I went to bed, I couldn't think of thing I did.

If you follow me on Instagram you saw I have a new toy.  And getting it set up just before a three-day weekend means I should have some time to figure it out, get over its intimidation factor and use it.  

I've had a Cricut Expression, Gypsy and quite a few cartridges for some time; a very long time.  It's been super easy to use, but my kids used it more than I did.  A couple years ago I wrote some articles on the Silhouette, and as I did my research I found myself loving it.  Flash to last week and I finally made the move (after recommending it to my sister's husband as a gift to her for Christmas, I spent several more months of thinking about it) - I'm quick with the decisions like that.  I donated my Cricut collection to the Kindergarten.  With the closing of the local Archivers the teachers didn't have access to diecut machines anymore.  My kids, and our money, attend a private school, and teachers pay for a lot out of their own pockets.  I know the teachers will utilize the machine more than my kids and I ever did and the classroom and kids' projects created will be all the better for having it.

I know the kids will use the Silhouette for school projects, but I'm hoping that I'll find it easier to go to than I did the Cricut.  I see cut-files online all the time that I look at and think, "That would be great for this layout." or "I could have used that for that layout."  I like other projects I've seen done with the Silhouette too, so here's to capitalizing on that optimism.

I did not scrapbook this week and I did not cook from Pinterest.  I need to fix both of those things!  My 13 y.o. is the only one in school today - which he is so thrilled about.  Luckily it's a half day, but my plan once he's home, after doing some tidying, is to at least rectify the scrapbooking part.  I mean I have a sketch and two previous challenges to finish up - so I have the inspiration.  I even have a plan for the in-law dinner tonight.  This Cobb Salad with Chili Lime Dressing from Taste of Home, where my menu for this week came from.  I'll bake some bread sticks later, so basically it's just a lot of chopping. A big salad for dinner, means I have the time, it's just a matter of getting my butt down there.

We don't make big plans for these long holiday weekends (too many people out and about), so we just hang out at home.  I hope you enjoy whatever kind of Memorial Day Weekend you have planned.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - Big Batch of Cards

We've been under Severe Thunderstorm Warnings every afternoon this past week; today will be no different.  I expect, given the view out my window, that we'll be under a Tornado Watch as well, pretty soon here (I can hear the thunder, the sun is slowly slipping away and the clouds are boiling up and turning very dark.)  It's not the best of reasons to have to head underground, but if we've got to go, at least I've got my studio down there.

Remember  The Stack, culled from The Pile?  Thanks to an hour or two on Mother's Day and these eight cards, it has been reduced to a few sheets of chopped up cardstock and a supply of journaling cards.  Still trying to figure out what to do with the journaling cards.

The oldest of these papers is probably the Scenic Route (remember them?  Loved them.)  Anyway, the Scenic Route Lynden line is from 2008; this particular line was not in an Apron Strings kit - though there were many loved lines in Apron Strings kits.  Lynden may have found its way into my stash when Scenic Route went out of business.  I may have gone a little nuts buying up kits of their various lines. I don't recall the details, that sort of buying produces a sort of hazy memory.

There is a bit more of the American Crafts Daydream (2011) line, but otherwise the cards are just a mix of cardstock and left over embellies that I either had on my work table (like the epoxy dots from the January Bigger than a Breadbox kit - the Lily Bee We R Family line) or items found in The Pile or on my Clip It Up (like the Bella Blvd Christmas stickers - don't recall the name of the line.)  And yes, some stamping (Stamps of Life and Stampin' Up!) as well.  Was I on a creative roll or what?

The first card and then the three Scenic Route cards (the last three) all used sketches from the Page Maps U card class.  I used watercolor pencils to color the stamped images - then found out I have a collection of Stampin' Up! watercolor crayons.  Never opened.  Who knew?  Apparently, not me.  Next round of cards they are getting used.

The Big Picture Sketch Solutions class started today, to my surprise; I thought it started next week.  So I'll be taking my first assignment down with me in just a bit here.  If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I'll post my completed assignment there.  I still have two challenges from my StashBusters class to finish, too.  Depending on the weather, I may get them all done this afternoon.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We Are

  • We are thrilled. . .it's Cherry Season!
  • We are touched and teary-eyed. . .my amazing girl.
  • We are at a loss.  When did they take my phone?  And how did I not hear them doing this?
  • We are annoyed the GPS on the app didn't get the miles
  • We are doing our bi-weekly Costco shopping
  • We are having our suspicions confirmed as to why time-out was necessary
  • We are celebrating having one nearby and anticipating the five pound weight gain it will bring
  • We are chuckling at his by-line:  "By: Gole Matthew"
Happy Wednesday,