Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

I think, pretty sure actually, that this is the last of the layouts I completed some weeks ago.  If luck goes my way, maybe I can get something done this weekend.  I started rearranging my studio space, well actually it started with the other half of the basement.  Then I moved over to my studio, which took an fork in the road when I was trying to find a new space for some kits.  That led to a round-about of sorting them into some kind of categories to find easier.  Which has now led into an I-need-to-purge-my-least-faves before putting them back away.  Aka, I've run out of space.  Basically, my space is in a fairly disassembled state.

Why is it such a spider's web to reorganize?

Anyway. . .last layout.  Photos are from Christmas 2006 -these in particular are St. Nick's Day.  The kits I used that night were all from December 2014; this line was My Mind's Eye's Sleigh Bells Ring (which was a small kit.)

I loved this line.  I think it was the red and the Aspens.  I used a fair amount of the paper, actually I think I used the majority of the kit, which means any leftover paper hit the trash or was put in the giveaway box.  The paper was pretty busy, so I cropped the photos pretty tightly, since they themselves were a touch busy.  I could have matted them to give them more separation from the patterns below - hindsight is a great thing.

I opted to split the Tree paper to give some white space for the photos.  Because of the weight of the Black Plaid, I put that at the bottom of the layout.  I wanted some sparkle and shine, it is Christmas Season after all, and the Glitter White Velvet trimmed out the top of the Plaid blocks.  I added a couple Pearl Brads along the center seam.

The space above the photos seemed to empty, and I played with running the Velvet there first, but the White Cardstock did it no favors, so I trimmed a short Gingham border from the B-side of one of the papers and that worked just fine.

The layout, being one of many St. Nick Days, is also pretty self explanatory, and I've run out of things to say about this tradition in our home, so journaling was unnecessary.  The title is on the Red Stag Tag, with the date and embellished with a Black Plaid Button.  To add balance, I adhered the Flair button on the opposite side, which I could have also matted in some way to give it more pop off the background.

It's snowing now, which is great creative time for me.  Maybe I won't wait for the weekend.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

We Are

We are grateful that our 17 y.o. is back home on US soil and had a wonderful trip.  He is not too happy about having to head out to school this morning, but, at 17 he'll recover.  I'm looking at snow falling.  Again.  I've got one more child on Spring Break this week.  Again.  Then we're in for the slow crawl to Summer Break.

  • We are digging out and he's on the largest sand dune in Europe.  Nice.
  • We are set.  Let the coloring begin.
  • We are one shy in the designer department; and missing him.
  • We always enjoy the mix of colors and designs
  • We are an egg-dyeing over-achiever
  • We can dress them up, but can't take them out
  • We are an Easter people
  • We are coming to enjoy the Easter Vigil
  • We are getting pie after Vigil.  If you sit through a two and a half hour service, that starts at 8:00 pm, you should at least be able to end the night with pie.
  • We see the Easter Bunny brought something for everyone. . .and she knows it.
  • We are beginning the search
  • We have passed the spot three or four times before clues make him think to look in the box.
  • We are the last to find our basket.  Thanks Easter Bunny!
  • We can always tell when new filters hit SnapChat
  • We are being fitted for virtual techology
  • We are not finding the photos taken, with my phone, while I try out the aforementioned virtual technology as funny as these two do.
  • We are seeing Spain through his eyes - Bull Fighting Ring in Pamplona
  • We are He was looking forward to seeing the Sagrada Familia the most
  • We think the photos are beautiful, the real thing must be breathtaking
  • We are learning to just look and not think too hard about any of it
  • We love watching the kids interact.  There was a short burst of texts when the 17 y.o. returned to Denver.  In Spanish, of course.
  • We like when "the brother" comes home
  • We He has two more stamps in his passport than I do.
  • We feel the world is righted again.  But maybe it's just the beret.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stash Busting

I've written before that I love buttons.  They are just a great, basic staple.  They are also easy to collect.  But they are also conducive to getting stuck using them in whatever way you use buttons.  For me they tend to "button down" folded corners (when I can't decide which side of the paper I prefer), "holding down" border strips, being the "bullets" in list-style journaling, or scattering in with a layered grouping.

It works, but it can be a tad boring.  So I went searching my Pinerest Board, as well as a general Pinterest Search and found some inspiring ideas.

I found this sweet Card using buttons as flowers.  Translate the card to your scrapbook page but embellishing along a border, the bottom of a journaling block or card, under your main photo, bracketing a title or as part of a grouping.

I found these cute Balloons on another card.  Can I just say I love the color combo!  But the buttons, seen just as they are, but transferred to a layout, simple oval mats and all - how cute?  Got bigger buttons, make a bigger grouping.  Float them around the main photo, a small grouping of several photos or the title.

Now I have used small buttons on a flower or two, but seeing a group of them as Flower Centers, along with brads and some sequins, is fun.  Now you're using those paper flowers AND buttons!

My scrapbooking knows no season.  Therefore, these Ornaments would be adorable dropped from a corner, along a portion of a top border, from a journaling block or a above a photo on a layout.

I saw several examples of using buttons on trees, but some were just covered in buttons - like dozens of buttons; way too heavy to be a realistic option to put in an album.  But I loved these two examples of using buttons as leaves.  The first Tree has a monochromatic feel to it, but you could drop in some reds, golds and oranges to mix it up; using pinks, whites and yellow for a Spring feel.  The second Tree, and its buttons, is just as enchanting with the punched circles and small buttons inside.  Both are doable.

I could have kept looking, but decided to stop when I found buttons in place of letters.  Simple and kind of a "duh" moment.  You could add to these simple "O's" by adding the appropriate lines to make a's, b's d's, g's, p's and q's, too.

Go.  Create.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Food for Thought

This week, despite the feet of snow that fell (more is on its way tonight - they say it'll only be 1-3".  Of course, they said this last storm would only bring 6 -12".  Yeah), hubby being down in Arizona, the Girlie up at school and the 17 y.o. in Europe, you'd think I would have done cereal for dinner, but I am happy to report I actually cooked.  They were simple meals.  Fast meals.  Comforting meals.

If you're looking for the same, check out the recipes below.  It's been a week or so since I posted a menu, so this includes a couple weeks worth of recipes.

It's Lent, that means no meat.  Oddly, I've done less fish and more just meatless, but I was ready for fish and this Parmesan Crusted Tilapia was simple enough, and adjustable enough for In-Law Friday.  I expected the Parmesan (which was fresh grated, not the green canister kind) to get more crunchy, but it didn't.  I could probably have put it under the broiler, but you risk overcooking the fish.  However, it was still good and flavorful.

The Girlie was on Spring Break a week ago, so it was time to provide her home cooked meals.  She wanted Gyros when she was home for her birthday, so we went out to get them, which wasn't what she meant.  She wanted homemade.  I opted to make a Chicken Gyros and Tzatziki.  I didn't have Greek Seasoning, but found one and bonus, I had it all on hand.  The Tzatziki sauce was thin, which the blogger mentions and didn't really bother me.  If you like a thicker sauce, she recommended seeding the cucumber.  I may try only pureeing a portion of the cucumber with the sauce and small dicing the remainder - I don't mind a chunkier sauce.  I also have another Tzatziki recipe, that is thicker that I like.

The Girlie found this Chicken-Parm Stuffed Spaghetti Squash on Facebook and passed it on.  It's really doesn't have a printed recipe to follow, it's all shown in a video, but it's simple enough to jot notes down and whip it up.  We have never had spaghetti squash, but have wanted to try it.  I used my go-to Quick Marinara, which makes about 28 oz and was plenty for the two halves.  I breaded six chicken tenders (which was two too many), instead of breasts.  You could speed up the process by using frozen chicken tenders that you cook ahead of time.  This was really good.  Really good.  The squash is slightly sweet without the earthy tones that some squashes have.  I'll be trying another recipe I have.

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Sheet Cake was a last minute "I need a dessert" choice.  The peanut butter gave the chocolate cake a rich, dense texture. The frosting was just sweet enough - sometimes peanut butter frosting's can be overly sweet.

I had some strawberries that needed a recipe and fast.  My newest Taste of Home had just arrived and had this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cobbler.  I have to say, putting the recipe together I couldn't picture how this was going to work; it comes together kind of like a dump cake.  I was really surprised at the outcome.  The chocolate became like a pudding and coated the strawberries.  The top was light and crunchy.  It was good and was horked down in no time.  Next time I'll have extra strawberries chopped for serving time, along with powdered sugar, whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream.

I needed a quick dessert for Monday's dinner, and nothing is simpler than the four ingredients in this No-Bake Avalanche Cookies.  They have a nice light peanut taste, with a good crunch and then those chewy bits of marshmallows.  Good stuff.

My in-laws have been sick and I figured they wouldn't make Monday's dinner.  Plus, we had a Pack meeting and with hubby out of town, I was going to have to drop off dinner to them on my way to the meeting.  These Chicken Bacon Garlic Roll-ups seemed both quick and portable.  And while they were quite portable, they took longer to assemble than the 20 minutes the recipe states, more like double that.  They were G.O.O.D.  Comfort food at its best - creamy, garlicy, rich sauce and of course the bits of bacon.  If reheating, the sauce will separate, but that's really not a reason not to reheat them.

Like I said, fast and easy while I was only cooking for three.  Enter Cheeseburger Gnocci.  Tired of Gnocci recipes yet?  We aren't.  I buy the minis because I like the smaller bites.  Since we are at altitude, I should have simmered this a little longer to reduce the liquid just a bit more and I'll cut the amount of black pepper in half - it was quite peppery.  I used a Colby Jack, but something sharp (as the recipe calls for) would carry better.

With Girlie home, I decided to try homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting one Saturday morning.  I used my Quick Bread Dough, which I used for pizza and calzones.  I just used vegetable oil instead of olive, and followed the recipe.  I didn't divide the dough and I think I probably cut them a little too thin.  And because they were thin, they weren't as gooey as I like in a roll, but that didn't stop us from eating them.  Cinnamon Rolls are new in my repertoire so next time I'll cut them thicker.  I'll also decide on a pan size after I've cut them.  The frosting was just the right sweet and cream cheese.  Good stuff.

This Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach was originally planned for Wednesday, which ended up being two-feet-of-snow-day.  And while its warmth beckoned me, after shoveling the majority of the day the thought of doing any cooking, no matter how fast, was lost to me.  It was good the next night though - really creamy and I liked the pesto.  It received raves around the table.  I used fresh spinach - about a cup, chopped.  Just put it in the colander, then drain the noodles over the spinach.  You will need to season well with salt and pepper - the blogger mentions this - you'll almost feel like you're over-seasoning.  It would be good with chopped rotisserie chicken and/or bacon added.

I've got some Easter prep to do - like boiling eggs for coloring tomorrow, finding something to wear for Easter Vigil, and making sure the boys have pants that fit and shoes that aren't tennies.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

It's been far too long since my fingers thumbed through photos, or received a paper cut while flipping through patterned paper choices.  Too long. 

Therefore, I am living vicariously through this layout, created some weeks ago at a crop.  It was an all-Christmas night.  All with photos from 2006.  All with kits from December '14.  This line is Jillibean's Holly Berry Borscht Soup.

In case you haven't followed posts before, or you've just never noticed, I'm sort of a minimalist when it comes to my layouts.  Not generally with photos, but with papers and such.  Therefore, there is much left of this kit to be used again, given I used barely three patterned papers.  I also gathered just a few embellishments from the kit - a bit of velvet ribbon around the Ornament Pennant, the two Star Pins, a Small Tag that holds the sub-title "Decorating" and the date and a couple Sticker Tabs, found on three of the photos.  The Title comes from the Journaling cards.

I like using patterned paper or journaling cards (which almost every line has these days) to fill in spots in grids.  Yep, this is a grid, with some open spaces, which could be filled with more photos, more paper or a layering of embellishments.  It's a quick and easy way to get a page complete.

I started by chopping down my photos.  I rarely have a plan for that.  I trim and chop and let the picture dictate how much.  Sometime I may try to even up either widths or heights of the photos, but that doesn't always play out.  In this case all the photos are the same height.

I move them around until I get a look I like and then I mess with my kit.  I always pair photos and kits, but have no plan beyond that.  I originally had the glitter paper matting a rectangle of the Ornament paper.  I didn't like that look, so I notched the bottom to create a pennant.  It was a long stretch of paper, and I didn't have enough photos to overlap some of that space, so I decided to break it up with the Tag/Pin grouping.  I was a little lost there at the bottom, so I wrapped the length of Velvet Ribbon near the bottom and that helped.

Looking at it laid out, I haven't yet glued anything down, there was too much white (or in this case, green) space.  I needed to break it up.  The Ribbon wouldn't work with this cardstock background color choice, so I look to see what patterned paper might lend itself to a border strip.  Woohoo, the ZigZag paper worked perfect.  I hand-cut the pattern out and ran it along the bottom of the layout.  I layered it under the Ornament paper, which unintentionally created another break for the small Tag/Pin grouping to show up better.  Running it under the Glitter paper didn't have the same effect.

Even without a plan, this layout took about 45 - 1 hour to complete.  That includes all the photo sorting (pulling out duplicates or just bad photos), trimming, cutting, shoving around and gluing.

And suddenly, it's done.  Moving on. . .

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We Are

We are posting late.  Very late.  It was a snow day.  Emphasis on the snow part.  As in the weather gypsies totally called it wrong.  Oh, they got the blizzard part - I was in it, stinging, blowing snow and all, while attempting to remove the two feet of snow that they said was going to be 6-12".  A little off.  I know I lost three pounds just today.  I think I deserve the rest of the week off with someone to massage my feet and feed me chocolate.

  • We are thinking it has the feel of the Bachelor and the Final Rose.  The 7 y.o. needs a box for a book report, and apparently the one from his sister didn't make the cut.
  • We are up early and saying good-bye to the 17 y.o.
  • We are managing a group selfie before leaving him with his classmates as they head to Europe for Spring Break
  • We are getting a few peeks from him before he leaves US airspace
  • We are wondering what his clothes look like.  One carry-on sized bag/backpack.  10 days. Four airlines.  And a bus.
  • We are He is just getting started; hopefully he slept on the plane.  He left home at 11 am.  Arrived in Paris the following morning at 8:30 and hit the ground running.
  • We aren't sure why "the suit" is making an appearance, but it is.  To shovel.  (this isn't a picture of the current storm.)
  • We are getting pics from our boy.  Two trips to the Eiffel Tower.  One during the day and some spectacular stuff at night.
  • We are He is touring Notre Dame
  • We are He is on the move after two days in Paris.  On to Bordeaux.
  • We are having to do some Googling about some of his stops - Chateau de Chenonceau
  • We are having a Snow Day.  Too bad it was all snow and no fun.
Happy Wednesday,