31 August 2008

Class project: Paw Planner

Here are a few photos of an upcoming class project at Memory Bound: Paw Planner. This is a mini-album (8x8) for keeping pet information (favorite things, medical information, etc.) and photos. The idea behind this project is to provide a place to store the information you collect about your pet -- vaccination records, vet visits, food preferences, etc. If you need to leave your pet with a sitter, this little book could go along as a handy reference.

Before class, I'm collecting the names of each person's cat or dog so that I can provide a personalized name label for the front of the album. :-)

I'm also asking everyone to bring along rabies tags, and we'll hang them on the mini-album just for fun. (What else do you do with those tags, anyway?!)

Each section of the album includes an information page and a pocket page, as well as plenty of space for photos.

Some of the pages open up to provide more room for photos. I included a few of my favorite pet quotes, too.

I created journaling blocks/charts for each person to fill in so that the album will be completely customized for each cat or dog.

I've been looking forward to doing a class like this for a long time! I'm excited that it's coming up very soon. Classes with pet people are always the best! :-)

30 August 2008

Flowers at the fair

At the risk of boring everyone to tears with my fair photos, here is one more installment in my personal state fair photo challenge: flowers. This was a very easy challenge to complete. There are some lovely garden areas at our fair, as well as several horticultural competitions. Some of the dahlias were as big as dinner plates!

Our fair hasn't always been this beautiful. There were many years during which the grounds and buildings fell into disrepair. Thankfully, that has all changed. A foundation now oversees restoration and beautification of the fairgrounds, assuring that this wonderful place will be alive and well for generations to come.

29 August 2008

Feline Friday: Team Tabby Rules!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the the first public showing of one of the newest (but lesser known) Summer Olympics events: Synchronized Sitting!

Team Tabby starts out strong! Great form, although the tabby on the right looks like she has been having a few too many treats. And note her head position: The ears are tipped back, indicating that her nose is in a slightly elevated (sniffing) position. That will result in a small deduction. The tail position, however, will be a much bigger issue for this team to overcome. Let's see if they can do it...

Uh-oh! Things are starting to fall apart quickly for Team Tabby! The tabby on the right has overextended her neck! And the tabby on the left really needs to work on the curve of her tail! That kink is just unacceptable, especially at this level of competition!

Wow! Team Tabby has finally pulled it together! Team Tabby wins the gold!
Treats for everyone!

28 August 2008

The Mystery of the Missing Meat

There are some stories that a person should probably keep to herself. This is likely one of them.

Last week I baked a pork roast for dinner. I took it out of the baking dish and sliced it, putting a few pieces on a serving platter. Spouse suggested I put the remaining roast back in the oven so that it would stay warm while we finished dinner. Good idea, I thought, so I turned off the oven and promptly did just that. The residual heat would keep the roast warm.

After dinner, Spouse cleared the dishes while I ran out to the store. When I came back, the kitchen was (relatively) tidy so I moved on to the evening's activities.

A couple of days later when I was cleaning out the fridge, I thought for a very brief moment about the leftover roast. I hadn't seen it in the fridge. Hmmm....Spouse must have eaten it, I thought to myself, congratulating myself on executing yet another fine meal with edible leftovers. :-)

Dad stopped by yesterday and somehow the subject of pork roast came up. For a fleeting moment, I wondered who had eaten the leftovers, but the conversation moved on and I thought no more about it.

Until last night.

Before dinner, I was preparing a loaf of garlic bread and set the oven to preheat. When it reached the proper temperature, I opened the oven door and guess what I found...

the missing meat!!!!

Suffice it to say, Mr. Pork Roast was NOT in good condition after having spent several days in a dark, cool oven.

After Spouse and Daughter recovered from this incident, we all remembered something that we had apparently blocked from our collective memory:

In fact, I have done this very thing before.

With a Thanksgiving turkey.

I found it while getting ready to bake Christmas cookies. :-)

27 August 2008

Back to School

Hard as it is to believe, Daughter has just started her junior year of high school. Time has always gone fast, but now it is really flying. We're gearing up for a busy fall of marching band, show choir, and a host of other activities -- including classes!

Caught this picture of her after school on the first day. She happened to move just as I took it so it's not super clear, but we still love how it captures her personality.

Wordless Wednesday

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26 August 2008

Tabby Tuesday

Oh, to be completely captivated by a spinning microwave tray of defrosting meat.

25 August 2008

In praise of Pill Pockets!

Today I'm singing the praises of Greenies Pill Pockets!

For weeks now we have been struggling to give Tinsel her Prozac. If you've ever given cats pills, then you know how they very quickly figure out when you're approaching with the pill (or even just THINKING about it) and promptly dive under the bed, just out of reach.

Poor Tinsel hasn't had her Prozac as regularly as she should...until we got a free sample of Pill Pockets. (Visit the Greenies website for samples of treats and Pill Pockets.)
Pill Pockets for cats and dogs are available at pet stores in a variety of flavors.

So what are Pill Pockets, anyway? They're small, pliable treats with a hole in the middle. You just stick the pill inside the hole, then mold the pill pocket with your fingers so that the pill is completely concealed inside. It's rather ingenious, actually.

I know I sound like I'm giving a paid endorsement (I'm not!), but I seriously cannot believe how well Pill Pockets work. Tinsel loves the taste and doesn't even realize that there is medicine inside.
(Shh....don't tell her!)

So consider this a tip from Tinsel and me: If you have to give your kitty medication, give Pill Pockets a try! :-)

* * * * *

As a reminder, don't forget to vote for my friend, Connie, who has made it to the second round of competition at Scrapbooks, Etc. If you've already voted, please vote again...You can vote every day! If you missed the original post, click here. Thank you so much!

24 August 2008

Project: Ticket stub mini-album

As you've seen over the past several posts, our family spends a lot of time at the state fair. For the past couple of years, I have collected all of our ticket stubs and made mini-albums. I always have enough ticket stubs to make a couple of albums...one for my parents and one to keep.

This year, I decided to make the mini-album for my dad into a thank you "card" for all the time we enjoyed together at the fair.

Conveniently, the ticket stubs are almost the same dimensions as a wallet-sized photo. I printed a few favorite photos in that size and adhered them to the backs of ticket stubs. I rounded the corners (because I cannot help myself!) to give a more finished look. Next, I printed a thank you sentiment on cardstock, then I used my trusty Crop-a-Dile to punch a hole through the corners of the tickets. I finished the little book with a metal ring and bits of ribbon.

I'll mail this to my dad in a padded envelope. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for him and a reminder of the good family time we shared.

23 August 2008

Thank you, Sarah!

I received this wonderful surprise from my blogging friend, Sarah. Thanks so much! Love the art, too!

The purpose of this award is "to send love and acknowledgment to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy". You can send it to one person or 100 - the choice is up to you.

I'm passing this award on to Toni, whose blog is always uplifting, inspirational, and educational!

* * * * *
As a reminder, do not forget to vote for my friend, Connie, who has made it to the second round of competition at Scrapbooks, Etc. You can vote every day! If you missed the original post, click here. Thank you so much!

YUM! Spaghetti Casserole

I've been meaning to post this recipe for awhile. It's so good, and it's one of those dishes that evokes fond memories for me.

Spaghetti Casserole is the "signature dish" of a local private elementary school. This particular school sometimes runs food stands at events, and the parents bake pan after pan of the stuff and sell it by the slice. A few years back, the store where I teach hosted some major scrapbooking events, and the school was often there with their famous Spaghetti Casserole. A couple of times, I happened to be passing by as the food stand was closing for the day, and I was able to purchase an entire pan to take home.

Eventually I got the recipe, and now I can make it anytime I want! It may seem long, but it doesn't take much time to prepare. And it is so good! It's similar to lasagna but with a little more pizazz. It's a great recipe to serve to kids. And the leftovers keep very well...it's even better then next day!

Spaghetti Casserole

Layer 1

8 oz spaghetti noodles (break in half before cooking)

1 egg

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 T parsley leaves

Layer 2

2 T butter

1/2 cup frozen chopped onion

½ cup sour cream

Layer 3

½ lb ground beef

½ lb sausage

1 large jar spaghetti sauce

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese on top – more if you like

Cook noodles as directed. Mix in bowl with egg, Parmesan cheese, and parley leaves. Set aside as Layer 1.

Sauté onions in butter. Take off heat and mix in sour cream. Set aside as Layer 2.

Brown ground beef and sausage; chop meat finely while cooking. Drain, then mix in sauce and cheese. Set aside as Layer 3.

In a 9x13 pan, start with ½ of Layer 1 – spread evenly over bottom of pan. Spread ½ of Layer 2 over Layer 1 (this acts like glue). Cover with ½ of Layer 3. Repeat with remaining ingredients in order: Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

If freezing, cover with foil and freeze. Thaw in fridge for 12 hours. Follow baking instructions above.

22 August 2008

We need YOUR votes!

My friend, Connie, a very talented scrapbooker, has entered a contest at Scrapbooks, Etc. Connie's adorable layout made the first cut and now she is in the midst of the second round of judging, competing with 9 other layouts in the Summer Challenge competition. I tell you the truth...The excitement is almost as intense as Rock of Love, Season 2! lol :-)

Please jump on over to Scrapbooks, Etc. and click on the blue bar, "Vote: Week 10 Finalists". Select Connie's thumbnail layout ("Love That Guy"...look for the red heart) first, then register with the site to vote for it (it just takes a minute). You can vote every day until this round of judging is over!

I'm sure you will agree that the photo of her son is priceless! I love how she used the space on her page to create an exciting and eye catching design.

Good luck, Connie, and congratulations on making it to this round of competition!

Thanks, everybody!

Feline Friday: Tattletail

Tinsel woke up this morning to a bit of a mess. She likes everything to be in order, so she immediately got on the case to figure out what had happened. She followed the trail of pink pipe cleaners....

...which led from the kitchen to the entryway and into the dining room. After examining the evidence, Tinsel quickly identified the perpetrator of this mayhem ...

"MOM!!! Look what Lily did!"

"Lily Marie, come here immediately!" I said sternly.

"Coming, Mama!" Lily answered.

"Lily, are you responsible for this?" I asked her.

"Yes, Mama. I'm doing crafts, just like you."

Awww...Now who could be angry about that? :-)

21 August 2008

Fair photo challenge: Everything on a stick that I didn't eat

It seems that every year at the fair, you can find new and different kinds of food on on a stick. For one of my personal photo challenges this year, I set out to take pictures of things you could find on a stick. I quickly realized that I would gain a lot of weight if I actually ATE all the things on a stick in order to get photos, so I opted to take pictures of the signs instead.

The quintessential Iowa food on a stick seems to be the pork chop. Did you know there are more pigs than people in Iowa? It's true! But here's the deal...the stick is not really a stick. It's the bone of the pork chop. I do not eat anything on a bone. Way too Flintstones for me. :-)

Here's a new stand (at least someone told me it was new) featuring shrimp and chicken on a stick. Deep fried, of course. I don't eat deep fried things, either, but I hear this stuff is great.

Looking for a more healthful option? This is surely the way to go. Although I like salad, I didn't eat this either.

The corn dog is another traditional state fair food on a stick. Daughter eats way more of these than she should at the fair. Correct me if I'm wrong, fellow Iowans, but I believe this is the original/oldest corn dog stand at our fair. Oh, a couple of years ago I ate a corn dog, just because it seemed like the right thing to do. Won't be doing that again!

If you don't like regular deep fried cheese curds (I don't), you might try Cajun Cheeze on a Stick. No idea how this tastes. Although I love Cajun food, I'm not a huge cheese fan (sorry, Wisconsin friends!).

Need more fruit in your state fair diet? How about Deep Fried Pineapple on a Stick? If it weren't deep fried, I'd probably try it, except then it would just be Pineapple on a Stick. Which might actually be OK.

This stand has something for everyone: Deep Fried Oreos, Deep Fried Twinkies, and Deep Fried Candy Bars. You guessed it...all on a stick. And nope, I didn't eat any of it it.

So there you have it: A few snapshots of fair food (that I didn't eat) on a stick. For those of you braver than me, which food on a stick have YOU tried?

20 August 2008

Bazzill Board Book sample

Today, I had the good fortune of putting together this little Bazzill Board Book as a sample for the store where I teach. This particular book came with the supplies needed to create the suggested album cover as shown in the picture below. The great thing about this board book is that the chipboard covers are already covered in Bazzill cardstock, and 10 inner pages are included. You cannot go wrong with this little book!

This particular kit included some of Bazzill's new tulle -- basically a very fine netting that ties like ribbon but provides a lot more volume. It was fun to test this product...not new to folks who sew, but definitely new to the scrapbooking scene.

Of course, I decided to change the design when I put together the sample. (Those of you who know me know that I cannot tilt ANYTHING, so you can see that I had no choice!) I flipped the book so that it opens from the bottom, then I added a light green mat to visually ground the pieces. (Remember the term "sticker sneeze" from days gone by? The idea is to visually connect the elements so that they don't float randomly!) I also left a bit of white edge showing when I covered the chipboard package to make the package stand out more from the background.

I know that my fellow scrapbookers will love the new Bazzill Board Books and tulle!

19 August 2008

Class Project: Gratitude Album

Here are a few pictures of a mini-album that I recently put together for a class this fall. It's a gratitude album...a place to keep a few snapshots of things you're thankful for. I know from experience that it is helpful (therapeutic, even) to focus on the good things in life rather than dwell on the difficult things that cannot be changed. A gratitude album helps you remember and focus on life's blessings.
(Click on the photos to bigify...)

For this project, I used papers and journaling cut-outs from Bo Bunny's new "Beautiful Life" line. The fall colors made me think of Thanksgiving.

(Click on this photo to read the quote I chose to include on the inside cover. It's one of my favorites.)

For this project, I played around with different photo options and eventually decided to print a few favorites in sepia tone. Other than heritage projects, I haven't done much with sepia tone photos. I really like how the brown photos blend in color with the paper.

I'm looking forward to teaching this class in November, just in time for Thanksgiving!

18 August 2008

Ahhh....rainbow color order

There's something about putting things in rainbow color order that just makes me feel good. Cardstock, patterned paper, shirts, socks, crayons...it's all in rainbow color order at our house. At some point in her childhood, Daughter started putting things in rainbow color order, too. We cannot help ourselves (nor do we want to)!

Today was a banner day for rainbow color order in the laundry room, as Daughter just happened to wear t-shirts in most of those colors over the past week.

I love rainbow color order so much that the sight of these t-shirts nearly brought a tear to my eye. :-)

17 August 2008

Rabbits at the fair

Today was the final day of our state fair. Our whole family loves the fair, and we spend a lot of time there every year camping with my parents. In fact, our daughter has practically grown up there, camping the entire time with her grandparents. She knows the fairgrounds better than anyone. It's like our backyard, only much better, of course.

But having lost my mom back in May, this year's fair was really hard for us. With her gone, I suddenly realized that one of the main reasons I love the fair so much is because of her. Whether it was checking out her latest blue ribbon dollhouse or watching her let a wobbly calf suck on her finger, she made it fun. Every day was a new adventure.

Without her, I had to work really hard this year to find fun.

That's why we took Lily to the fair in co
mpetition. That's why Daughter entered her dessert creations and photography. That's why we forced ourselves to camp this year, even when our hearts ached. It's what we've always done, and my mom would have insisted that we squeeze as much fun as possible out of every single day.

So in the spirit of finding fun, I gave myself a few photography challenges during the fair. Today's subject: rabbits. :-) To do this challenge, I spent quite a bit of time in the rabbit judging area. I got to pet a little gray and white bunny, and his owner told me that rabbits can actually live quite well with cats. In fact, the rabbits eventually end up keeping the cats in line! Don't worry...I'm not considering adopting a rabbit anytime soon, but it's certainly tempting!

(Click on the collage to bigify these bunnies! Find the Lily-colored rabbit. Check out the bunnies sharing a carrot!)

So here's to another fair. Different, to be sure, but the good stuff is still there. Like in life, I just have to look a little harder to find it.

15 August 2008

Feline Friday: Easy Rider

Lily recently discovered that she can fit her plump little self into daughter's old Playskool shopping cart. Then she gets her peeps (that would be me) to push her around the basement without her having to expend any energy whatsoever.

Lazy? Maybe.

Smart? Definitely.

Cute? Completely.

14 August 2008

Animals at the fair

(Click on the collage to bigify!)

Of all these animals spotted at the fair, can you guess which one is the wildest? :-)

12 August 2008

Class project: Countdown to Christmas

Here's a project I finished up recently for an upcoming class at the store where I teach. It's an Advent calendar, and it was a lot of fun to make. The box itself is a new Karen Foster product, just released at CHA this summer. It comes with a set of sticker numbers. I used some of them and made a few of my own to mix it up.

(click on the picture to bigify)

You may recall that last year I altered an Advent calendar I bought on clearance at Starbucks (see pics here), so when I saw that Karen Foster was coming out with this product, I immediately snagged it for a class! I chose the new Reminisce Frosty line (also just released) to decorate the calendar. If you didn't want to use this product as an Advent calendar, you could use it for any "countdown" situation or holiday.

Oh, here's a tip based on something I learned last year: If you decide to fill the little boxes with candy, pick a type of candy you do not like. Otherwise you may be tempted to eat the entire month's worth of candy before Christmas! And that is completely counter-productive! :-)

10 August 2008

"Tails" from the cat show

Today was the state fair Household Pet Cat Show, and I'm sad to report that, in spite of her lovely coat and very clean ears, our Lily didn't win a prize this year. On the plus side, she was much better behaved than last year. She only tried to bite one of the judges, and the judge even admitted it was a gentle bite. All of the judges encouraged us to keep trying. One even suggested we take her to PetSmart so she gets used to going out in public. (Hmmm...If nothing else, that would make for good blog material!)

Before the show, the cats had to be placed in holding cages equipped with food, litter, and water. Thanks to Fonda and her son Lad for stopping by to cheer for Lily! And thanks to everyone else for all the good wishes!

Lily's cage was attached to the cage of a long-haired cat named Smokey, so we couldn't put one side of our cage cover down. We had to use packing tape to affix a towel to the inside of the cage so that Lily couldn't see her neighbor.
Once in the cage, Lily spent the entire time in her litter box. (So much for the good-smelling shampoo she got last night!) The fan was a Christmas gift from my mom, who thought Lily got too hot at last year's cat show. Lily loved the fan and kept her nose pressed into it throughout the show.

The cats were examined by three judges. Things went pretty well with the first one. See how Lily is actually letting the judge touch her? This is progress from last year!

Lily didn't like this judge as much. Here Daughter is trying to poke a treat into Lily's mouth to distract her while the judge inspects her. (We discovered that Lily was somehow able to chew and hiss at the same time!)

By the time the third judge got to her, Lily was basically hostile. See how the judge doesn't look so pleased? Lily is spitting and hissing. This is not the behavior of "Best Household Pet Cat".

Soon after this, four rounds of ribbons were awarded for long-hair, short-hair, and best all-around household pet cat. We waited and waited, but Lily's number was never called.

That is, until they announced "Best Decorated Cage"!

Thank goodness for this category or we would have gone home empty-pawed! Lily received a lovely purple ribbon, a PetSmart gift card, and coupons for two 20-pound bags of cat litter. For entering the show, she also received a catnip mouse, a bag of treats, and a participation ribbon.

And our prize? We get to keep her!
We love you, Lily!