Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Cleaning SALE @ Apron Strings

It's that time of year where we want to open the windows to bring in that fresh Spring air.  When we want to clear out the clutter that seems to accumulate over the cold season.  It's all about making things fresh and clean.  

Apron Strings is no different - time for clearing and cleaning.  Which means a big sale that allows you to stock-up and save.  You'll find:
  • Past Kits - both scrapbooking and cards - with savings from 30 to 50%
  • TV Dinners with savings up to 70%
  • Savings on Second Helping Paper Packs
  • Pick up packs of Buttons, Brads, Journaling Cards and more embellishments for your pages, cards and projects.
  • PLUS buy three Second Helpings of paper and we'll pick a fourth Second Helping and send it to you for free.

Go.  Shop.  Create.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wisdom Teeth, Food and Two Layouts

Today is not a happy day.  At least not for my 17 y.o. daughter.  We started our Spring Break out with dentist appointments. . .fun, I know.  We found out her wisdom teeth are un-doing the thousands of dollars we put into straightening her teeth.  We are having them pulled today in the hopes we will only spend several hundred more to re-straighten them.  Not exactly the plans she had for finishing up her Break - nor us, this all came about in two days.  Hopefully, there's no complications and she's relatively comfortable within the next couple of days.

I didn't cook from Pinterest this week, however, Taste of Home has their own Pinterest page, so I just nabbed a couple recipes that I made and they have pinned.  Taste of Home is the one of the two magazines I get.  I keep back issues and rotate them in out and according to the month on the calendar to help my menu planning.  That way I'm pulling from recipes that are using in-season ingredients.

I made this Skillet Lasagna.  Normally, I would have made my own spaghetti sauce and cream of onion soup, but I wasn't feeling like it.  I might have also subbed in Italian sausage for the plain ground beef, had I had sausage.  I set this up before leaving to take the kids to the local rec center and then just turned the pan on to heat it up when we got home.  Yummy and easy.

I also made these Orange Chicken Wraps on a night hubby had a work dinner.  Another meal I prepped before taking the kids to the rec center.  I used rotisserie chicken, left out the broccoli and used bottled sauces, where normally I would have made my own.  We use raw tortillas from Costco which are really good, and nice and thin.  Perfect for a meal after the rec center, where the 5 y.o. swam and the older kids continued their training for the half marathon.

And I continue to live craft vicariously through the Sous Chef's.  Today it's Kristin Perez, who used the Smaller than a Breadbox kit for March.  Here she used the Carta Bella It's a Surprise line.

Given her use of the kit, I think she has the two star pins and the baker's twin left and that's it.  Nice work, Kristin.

I've got plans for the weekend.  If my adhesive shows up, crafting will be on the list.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chalkboard Craze and the Perfect Pen

As is probably obvious, given I'm not showing my own progress, I haven't scrapped much in the last few weeks.  However, I thought I'd share the one thing (outside my trimmer and adhesive) that has been getting quite the workout, even though it's not on pages.  Seriously, I've used it more in the past couple weeks than I've scrapped.

Chalkboards are big - from actual chalkboards in various shapes and uses, to fonts - just check out Pinterest.  The hot trend has worked it's way into scrapbook papers, stickers and embellishments.  They are really fun, and I love the look, but their dark surface makes it tricky to write on.  There's the rollerball-style (been there), metallic pens (done that) and jellyroll pens (ah, no).  Rollerball/Jellyroll tend to get all gummy, plus they have spotty ink flow, which you usually discover three words into whatever you're writing.  Metallic pens, well that's not always the look I'm going for.  So I started to search for the "perfect" white pen.

I found this Sharpie White Paint Pen and it is AWESOME.  Paint pen you say?  "Those glob out the paint and leave blobs on my surface," you say.  This may be true for some pens, but not this lovely.  You do prime the tip, which I guess you could get a blob, but you wouldn't prime it on your project anyway.  It was originally a Bigger than a Breadbox kit, but I've used it on several pages and a lot on cards that I've made with dark bases.  I've written with it, and my kids have used it, even the 5 y.o. without any problems - I do caution them not to press the tip down hard, just in case.  But it goes on smooth, doesn't warp the paper, doesn't bleed, doesn't "sink" into the paper leaving you with ghost words and, best of all, dries in a flash.


I've used it on the above layouts for the journaling and then on the inside of this card (and a couple others) and I get legible writing every time.  

If you're looking for a good dark paper pen, I recommend this one.  And bonus - Apron Strings has a few in the Pantry. . .and I think they might be on sale. ;)

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We Are

  • We are FINALLY seeing signs of Spring in the yard
  • We are scratching off a "bucket list" wish for our 17 y.o. - an Av's vs Bruin's game (two of her top faves); only a year in the making.
  • We are not sure if she goes for the game or the fights - but our daughter is an A.V.I.D. hockey fan
  • We are done searching
  • We are starting off Sunday morning the right way, loaded with light fluffy carbs
  • We are relishing the sounds of four kids, in the same room, getting along
  • We are wanting to run away from the sight, or lack there of, of our studio area
  • We are bored, and so done with waiting, when we are the first of five done with back-to-back dentist appointments
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Road Block and a Couple Layouts

If you follow Apron Strings on Twitter or Instagram you saw I finally managed to work my way to my studio.  You also saw the road desk block that I encountered.  Not pretty.

My question then, still is now, "When you haven't been in your studio for a couple weeks, how does this even happen?"  Seriously.  How?  Gremlins?  Bad elves?  

I braced myself, because this would include several trips into the crawl space, and dug in.  I'm happy to say that it's better.  I can not only see my desk, I can get to it.  I have a bit of sorting to do on my desk (we won't talk about the other horizontal spaces' need for sorting), but I cleared off my work table so much that I was going to sit down and create.  BUT, someone used up my adhesive on their Colombia project. . .

Instead of showing off my work, I'll show off Nancy Longo's work with the March Bigger than a Breadbox kit - the Authentique Flourish line.  Nancy created one traditional layout and a pocket-page layout using the kit.  Taking a guess, I'd say she doesn't have much left from that line - some of the glitter paper, a few scraps from the other patterned papers and pretty much nothing of the embellishments.  Nice job!

Spring Break has started - we managed an hour and a half of all four sharing the same space and getting along, and I've only heard "I'm bored" once, though we were only a day in at the time.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Early Friday Starts, Food and a Layout

I was up well before dawn.  Like 4:15.  As in AM.  As in not even the slightest lightening in the sky from a rising sun.  Early.

As I'm driving the mostly empty streets it's interesting to see what happens over night and is, more than likely, wrapping up as the rest of the world wakes up.  All the closed, dark stores.  Except the 7-11 which all-lights-on-open and has an unusual (to me) number of cars in the lot and people wandering in the store - loading up on big-gulp sizes of coffee I'm guessing.  

Another stretch of dark parking lots and empty buildings as I head for the highway, then boom, big, bright lights and lots of cars fill the bustling, really big, truck stop just off the highway.  I've heard it's one of the largest west of the Mississippi, but who knows.  It's an everything-you-need little town on this enormous slab of black-top.  As I get on the highway, which is pretty empty too, I can see trash trucks behind businesses, street cleaners in parking lots and big semi's delivering all kinds of food and products to grocery and big box stores. 

It's interesting, but I think I'll take my comfy bed for another two hours instead, thanks.

It was St. Patty's day this week, which fell on my cooking-for-the-folks day.  We also had hubby's brother and nephew in town for some Spring Break skiing, so we hosted them, too.  I've got some Irish in me - 50% to be exact, so naturally Corned Beef had to be on the menu.  I found this Guinness Glazed Slow Cooker Corned Beef on Pinterest.   My brother-in-law has Celiacs disease, so I didn't use Guinness, but instead used a gluten-free dark beer.  The meat was amazing!  Very moist.  The glaze. . .well, if the liquid had actually become a glaze I know it would have been great.  I don't know if was the lack of gluten in the beer, that I didn't add the beer until half way through the cooking (so it didn't cook off enough) or the amount of liquid was just too much to reduce to a nice thick glaze - the recipe didn't list an amount of cooking liquid to keep and use; I had a lot.  I will make it again trying it with the Guinness and I'll measure out some liquid to make the glaze.

Spring Break looms before us next week and I'd love to get, once again, my studio space cleaned up.  The kids have wrecked havoc down there and I've just done the drop and stack method of cleaning, so it's pretty bad.  When I find first a path to my table and then the table itself, I'd love to play with my March kits and get some more of my ProjectLife® 2013 done.  I can use Nancy Longo's layout as inspiration - she used the Authentique Flourish line found in the Bigger than a Breadbox kit to produce her pocket-page layout.

It's time to start digging out.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's a Truck Thing

The car we lost, an Expedition, took us about six months to find.  Yes, we can be picky - but we weren't in a hurry to buy either, so we could afford to be picky.  In the end hubby flew out to Kentucky to pick it up and drive it home.  I have a sister and her family out there, so it cost us the plane ticket and the gas to get home.  And hubby got a nice adventure. . .he gets "itchy feet" now and then, so it was a good for him to be out.

I'm not a fan of car shopping - I'm pretty sure that's evident if you read here at all.  Hubby loves the process and I say, more power to him.  When we lost the Expedition, we lost our vehicle that not only fit the whole family, but our source for towing our boat.  We went through all our options for replacing the Expedition.  In the end we opted for getting two cars, since we rarely all travel together these days and we have another driver coming up by year's end.  Several factors made sense for getting a truck, plus it's something hubby's been wanting since he sold his high school truck back however many years it's been now - So, a long time.

We tried to find my car first, but if you read Tuesday's post, you know that wasn't going to be possible.  Turns out hubby found his car first; and man is he happy.  Can you say kid on Christmas morning?  He's been heard saying things like, "heaven" and "buried in it" while driving around town. . .so yeah he's a happy camper.  He's giddy (don't tell him I called him "giddy" though.  I mean he's driving a truck now - there's no giddy.)

Was the truck here in truck/SUV-lovin' Colorado?  Heck no.  This puppy was out in Vegas.  Hubby left last week on a one day trip.  Flew out early one morning, made his deal and drove home the same day.  Insane?  You bet.  Crazy?  No doubt.  Adventure?  To be sure.  And he loved every minute of it.

So now the males in my family are happy, happy.  The 5 y.o. loves it, but doesn't understand why we peeled off the Batman stickers that covered the Ford emblems (yeah. . .I don't know.)  The 13 y.o. keeps his look, as usual, insanely bored, but you can tell he likes it.  This was the truck the 15 y.o. voted for (there were several being considered) - for the Batman stickers.  I don't get it.  It's a truck.  I'd say it's a guy thing, but even my 17 y.o. daughter wants the truck, she'd actually like one for herself.  Must be an in-the-blood-thing.

If things go hubby's way, he'll be off on another adventure to pick up a car for me.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We Are

  • We are enjoying an impromptu swim while older siblings train for a half marathon
  • We are one car closer to being done looking
  • We are jealous of those on road trips that hit a family fave (but don't bring any home to share!)
  • We are reveling the freedom that comes with less running around because now-happy teens have their car back
  • We are Batman(?)
  • We are enjoying old habits in new trucks
  • We are partaking in Crafting & Cocktails - though there was more cocktailing going on than crafting, but I was in the area where actual crafting was taking place
  • We are disappointed, but still searching
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Car That Wasn't

I found the car I want in the color I want.  I found it a couple weeks ago.  But being the self-denial, frugal person I am, I figured it was in the best interest of my family to look for something less perfect, more just "okay" that I'd "make do" with.  I mean it's a car for Pete's Sake.

Hubby knew better and made it his mission to find me THE car.  To make me happy.  Which if you're a self-denial kinda person, just makes you dig in to "do the right thing."  The outcome of that is dragging out and confusing the whole process.

This could have been my new car.  It could have been the end of the search.  It could have been a super fun surprise.  But it wasn't.

Our story starts almost two weeks ago, when sweet hubby was continuing his search for a car for me (I'd long since thrown in the towel.)  He found a car, actually here in town (we are not averse to searching the country looking for the right car) and called to set up a test drive with Car #1.  The setting up of the test drive took more than just a phone call, but was set to go for a week ago this past Sunday.  Sunday, as hubby was leaving, he picked up a voice mail that the car was not available for a test drive.  Strike one.

After contacting several people over several days, it was discovered that the car was on rental and the renter wanted the car a little longer.  Cut to Wednesday, when attempt #2 was made to surprise me with the car by replacing it with the car I was driving and putting Car #1 in its place.  Another call by the agency to hubby that it wouldn't be possible to test drive because they didn't know where the car was.  Let's just say hubby was not happy and when he was done the people on the other end of the line weren't having a great day either.  Strike two.

Hubby was heading out of town on Thursday, but managed to track down yet another car (it should be noted that the agency was only capable, apparently, of telling what couldn't be done and did little to help rectify the problems or search out another car.)  Hubby set up a test drive for Car #2 and headed out of town.

Here we are now at just this past Sunday, hubby and daughter head out to "pick up donuts" and I make our usual big breakfast.  They are gone A LONG TIME.  No biggie, they eventually come home bearing donuts from a store five minutes away.  Curious, but whatever, I have a Cream Filled Donut, so I'm good.  We're finishing breakfast and hubby has me play the "choose a hand" game.  Huh?  Okay, fine.  I play and on my second choice, he passes me a key.  I look at the key and I think I get it.  I mean I can read the key ring.  I want to get it.  But do I dare hope?  Normal people might excitedly rush to the garage.  That would not be me - I question, ask, try to make sense, in general suck the excitement right out and then I head out to the garage to find the above parked.  Woohoo. . .it's perfect.  Wait.  Not.

The car has several dents, like big ones, that weren't mentioned.  Okay, they'll be fixed and painted one way or the other.  However, the listed miles were not so much what they should have been, and not just the test-drive-kind-of miles.  But like a lot.  Like 17,000 miles off.  This is a deal breaker.  So I get to test drive it back to the agency and we walk away.  Strike three.

I'm so thrilled that hubby tried so hard to surprise me and so sad that it didn't work out the way he wanted it to; that so many times it didn't work out.  I hurt more for his disappointment, than the loss of the car.

The search continues.

Happy Tuesday,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We Are

We are suffering from a serious case of writer's block.  GAH.

  • We are enjoying Chocolate Cherry Coffee and a new issue of Midwest Living
  • We are making Sherried Tomato Soup (with lots of cream!)
  • We are wolfing down the topping for this Olive Cheese Bread and could eat it straight out of the bowl!  We did get it on the bread, though.
  • We are marking the loser of "Sorry" so that all who see him know he lost.  How's that for family game night?
  • We are listening to the snow melt so quickly it sounds like it's raining.
  • We are enjoying hot-from-the-oven Fresh Apple Scones
  • We are welcoming Tuesday morning
  • We are watching the quick change of Tuesday afternoon
  • We are savoring these Hammond's candies.  Oh. . .my!
Happy Thursday,