30 June 2008

My Mind's Eye Cards

Here's a set of cards I put together over the weekend using a class kit from My Mind's Eye. They're not my designs...the instructions and everything needed to make the cards are included in the kit. I'll be teaching this class next month at Memory Bound.

The paper colors remind me of ice cream sherbet!

29 June 2008

Sunday Afternoon Walk

Warm sunshine, gentle breeze, soft green grass...
Let's put on your harness and go for a walk, Lily!

28 June 2008

Organization: Sterilite basket

On Mother's Day, I was the lucky recipient of this green Sterilite basket from Target. Daughter filled it with a variety of goodies (including a Toblerone candy bar and socks for my trips to the fitness place) and hoped that I'd find a use for it in my scrapbooking area. Her instincts were good: It works perfectly for storing my large punches and Crop-a-Dile, which were previously scattered all about. The basket fits nicely on the shelf of my cutting table, which is actually an old printer stand that Spouse found by the curb.

I like this basket so much that I may have to pick up a few more on my next trip to Target.

26 June 2008

Feline Friday: Lily says...

(a phrase she borrowed from Kung Fu Panda)

Just outside the window...

...perches the state bird of Iowa, Miss Eastern Goldfinch, nonchalantly snacking on a flower.

She doesn't see what danger lurks...just on the other side of the patio door.

25 June 2008

New treats

We have a couple of new treats at our house. First, and most exciting, is a bag of salmon-flavored Temptations cat treats. You can see how happy Tinsel and Lily are about Temptations. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, suffice it to say that it's a good thing each Temptation has fewer than 2 calories.

I was led to purchase Temptations by Daisy the Curly Cat. Fellow blogger, Sarah C., pointed me to Daisy's website, where I confess I have spent hours enjoying her adventures. Daisy is a blogging kitty who writes her own posts! She is very talented and never fails to brighten my day.
Thanks for the link, Sarah!

My treat is not nearly as exciting as Temptations, but it's something I've thought about purchasing for awhile now: A flexible curve ruler. It's true that I'm very much a linear kind of girl, but I can handle an occasional curve, as long as it's balanced with straight lines!

And the best part about my treat? ZERO calories!

24 June 2008

Got Puzzle? Got Mod Podge?

Then you can turn your puzzle into a piece of art! Daughter finished this 1,000 piece Disney Photomosaic puzzle a couple of weeks ago and decided that she wanted to frame it for her room. (This puzzle was particularly difficult: Each piece depicts an actual scene from a Disney movie.)

We had never glued a puzzle together and had no idea what type of adhesive to use, so we asked the framing guy at Hobby Lobby.

His answer? Mod Podge. I have plenty of that, and sure enough, on the back of the bottle are instructions for gluing your puzzle together. It's a simple task: Paint the front and back of the completed puzzle, let it dry, then Mod Podge it to a backing that will fit in your frame. Some puzzles are thicker than others, so be sure to choose a frame that is deep enough to accommodate your completed puzzle.

If you're putting together a puzzle this summer, you might think about framing it for a child's room or crafting space. It's a simple project with great results.

22 June 2008

And now, Tinsel

Lily seems to get an inordinate amount of attention around here. Granted, Lily is much more social and outgoing than Tinsel (and much naughtier, too!), but Tinsel is every bit as beautiful.

She's perfectly content to spend hours at a time in the scrapbook area -- napping, looking out the window, or just waiting on me to finish a project. And at night, she's the first one to hop up on the bed. She never wakes me up at crazy hours like Lily does.

Yeah, she has her issues, but don't we all?
Everybody needs a home, and I'm so glad her home is with us.

21 June 2008

Gardens in Mid-June

(click on the photo collage to enlarge)

My flower gardens are a great experiment...always a work in progress. As a gardener, I'm completely self-taught, and I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes I learn from them, and sometimes I repeat the same ones over and over.

One thing I've learned with gardening is not to be afraid of changing things that aren't working. In the past month, I've made a few changes in the perennial beds to fix a variety of problems: plants that weren't doing well, plants that grew larger than expected, big gaps, lack of color...you name it. I think that some of the changes I made have helped, and the plants I moved or divided seem to be doing well.

In the meantime, I'm trying to take photos each month to document the problem areas so that I can take further corrective actions this fall or next spring.

I can say that right now, things are looking better than they were at this time last year. And that's progress in my book.

Special thanks to Maggie, our adorable neighbor dog, for visiting (and posing) during this impromptu photo shoot.

19 June 2008

Feline Friday: Old Book Cover = New Cat Suit

If you have kids in the house, you may have some stretchy book covers left over from the school year. If so, then it's your cat's lucky day! With a couple of snip-snips of the scissors, kitty can have a new frock, inspired by the spandex outfits worn by sheep at the Iowa State Fair.

* To re-purpose your book cover into a stylish cat suit, first choose a book cover to fit your cat: Tinsel is a 9-pound cat, and she wears an "extra large" book cover. We made this cat suit for her a few years back, and it still fits her just fine.

* Next, place the book cover on a flat surface with the center opening facing up (see top photo).

* Slit the left-hand side of the book cover along the seam. This makes an opening for kitty's head.

* Slit the right-hand side along the seam to make an opening for kitty's tail.

* Cut four holes for kitty's legs in the book cover as shown.

* Don't worry about the center opening in the book cover. If your kitty has a "hang-down" pouch of belly flab like Tinsel, it will protrude nicely from the opening.

Close all doors and windows then, working at the speed of light, insert kitty into book cover. Start with the head and front legs, then insert the tail and back legs.

So why not re-purpose an old book cover today? With a little effort on your part, your cat can be stylish and environmentally conscious at the same time!

18 June 2008

Get well card and Target find

I found myself in need of a get well card this evening, so I put this one together using a few odds and ends. The checkered card base is from a box of pre-made cards I found on clearance at JoAnn's awhile back (I seem to have a never-ending supply in lots of different patterns...they're great in a pinch). After rounding the corners of the card, I added strips of lavender and white scalloped cardstock, a Heidi Swapp chipboard flower with button, a few punched flowers, and a bit of leftover ribbon.

Nothing fancy, but I think it will do the trick.


In other news, I stopped by Target yesterday to pick up a few odds and ends and succumbed to these little coasters, $1 per package in the Dollar Spot. I saw them last week and resisted, but then I started to think how they'd make a really cute mini-album. Doubt they are acid-free, but the price was certainly right.

One note: There were only two polka-dot coasters in the square package. I had hoped there would be more. Maybe I should pick up another package, huh?

17 June 2008

Honest, Dad...I wasn't trying to kill you!

Now that my dad is on his own, I've been trying to be a good daughter and take food to him from time to time. Little did he know what a risk he is taking by accepting my creations. Case in point is this batch of baked beans, with lid included. Quite tasty, I might add, until Daughter and Spouse discovered it.

Some dads might be alarmed by this, but not my dad. "Hey, no harm done," he chuckled. "There's no way I could have swallowed that lid."

I have a feeling we'll be laughing about this one
for years
to come.

16 June 2008

Traveling light

In the month since my mom passed away, I've been thinking about a lot of things.

Why do I keep the stuff I keep? Why am I so hopelessly attached to material possessions? Why do I live like it's the Great Depression, saving little bits of this and that in case I might have use for it someday?

What's truly important to me? Scrapbooks, photos, videos, recordings, stories, hand-crafted treasures, mementos of travels or special occasions...memories, really.

All of the other stuff is just excess baggage.

My mom used to talk to me frequently about ridding my life of clutter and, while I thought I understood what she was saying, it really didn't hit home to me until this past month. Trust me: It's a gut-wrenching thing to have to sort through a loved one's possessions. If at all possible, I want to spare my family some of that pain.

I've learned that I need to travel light.

So where to start? I decided to start by ridding myself of my extensive collection of
Martha Stewart Living magazines, dating back to 1992. I've always kept them in case I needed to refer back to them, but I can only think of a couple of times when I've actually done that. Who needs the magazine when you can refer to Martha's website? It contains just about everything from the magazines, and then some.

Moreover, during the past couple of weeks of torrential rains, I've been lugging stuff around in our basement, picking boxes up off the floor so that things wouldn't get wet if our basement sump pump failed. I'm tired of moving Martha around.

So I'm dropping off all of my Martha magazines, plus a few years of
Bon Appetit, at the local book sale collection site. And I'm not looking back.

I'm traveling lighter already.

13 June 2008

Feline Friday: Catch a ride...

...even if it's on someone's head.

...even if it makes the person stoop uncomfortably.

...even if it borders on unsanitary.
Because when you're this cute, you can get away with just about anything.

10 June 2008

Bad relationship, good recipe

Back in high school and college, I dated a guy who turned out to have a few issues. In fact, the only good thing to come from the relationship was this recipe for Baked Chicken Salad, which was given to me by his much older sister (who, in an unexpected turn of events, actually turned out to be his mother).

Family tree issues aside, this is really a tasty recipe, which proves that something good can come from just about anything. :-)

Baked Chicken Salad

2 cups cubed chicken (cooked)
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 t salt
2 T grated onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T chopped pimento
2 T lemon juice
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups crushed potato chips

Combine all ingredients except potato chips. Spoon into a 1.5 quart casserole. Spread potato chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through and browned. Garnish with paprika and parsley. Serve with rice or chow mein noodles.

Serves 6.

09 June 2008

There's a reason...

that my flowers have no blooms! And if this guy weren't so darn cute, I'd be a bit perturbed with him. I mean, look how he is grabbing onto my plant! He means business!

Photos courtesy of Spouse, who actually took them through the window...because he knows I love pictures of critters, even where they're not supposed to be. :-)

06 June 2008

Feline Friday: Basement Snacks

We frequently sequester Lily in the basement so that poor Tinsel can eat in peace. We often entice her with a few morsels of her own food so that she'll go to the basement without too much protest.

Last week, I tossed some food in Lily's basement bowl and headed downstairs myself to put some things away in the storage area. When I rounded the corner to go back upstairs, there was Lily, taking advantage of the steps so as to enjoy her meal completely free of neck strain.

Another cute moment, sponsored by Lily :-)

04 June 2008

Under Construction, With Help

I've been putting together kits for my card class coming up this weekend. Of course, things always go smoother with a little help from my feline friends. My apologies in advance to anyone who finds evidence of Lily in the materials. :-)

01 June 2008

Prairie in early June

Last summer, I started taking camera walks through the prairie which runs through our neighborhood. Over the course of three or four months, I watched the prairie change from brown to a sea of green, then to an amazing floral carpet.

As I've been trying to re-focus over the past couple of weeks, I've found that being in nature has helped me tremendously. This evening, I took a walk through the prairie to see what I could find.

Just a couple of months ago, the prairie was dry, brown, and seemingly lifeless. Now it has been completely transformed and is
buzzing with new life: newly hatched birds, rabbits, crickets, toads, and more.

It's a little thing, but this transformation reminds me of the unending, blessedly predictable, circle of life.

And as hard as it is right now, it reminds me that I'm in really good hands.
Mom is OK, and I will be, too.