31 March 2009

A dangerous Target find

Look what I found at Target last night: Orange Cranberry Scones, aka Tiny Treats.

I'm at Target fairly frequently, but I've never seen scones in the grocery section. I found them on an end cap, along with chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed, and some other flavor. I'm very picky about my scones, but after closely inspecting them through the package, I decided to buy a box.

Oh, my! These scones were surprisingly tasty. It's a good thing they are Tiny Treats, because it's impossible to eat just one!

29 March 2009

Another simple layout

My daughter recently had her braces removed (YAY!) so, of course, this called for a scrapbook page.

Like most scrapbookers, I'm always thinking ahead, so I had taken "before" pictures two years ago to include on this layout. I took anoth
er "before" picture just as she headed to the orthodontist, and grabbed an "after" picture in the lobby as soon as her appointment was over. (Poor Daughter is used to the crazed, camera-wielding mother by now...) It's not the greatest photo of her, but it's the documentation of the event that's important!

I printed the "before" photos and text in wallet size and the "after" picture as a 5x7. I added a quick title (QK Jolly font) and a strip of a beloved (and hoarded) Ki striped paper....super easy, fast, and done!

28 March 2009

Honor choir layout

Here's another very simple layout of our daughter's recent performance in an honor choir. This layout is based on a design from last fall's online class by Cathy Zielske at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I've used this design a couple of times. It's a good one for multiple photos. I simplified it a bit with this particular set.

Old product alert: The black stars are from an older (hoarded) Project Essentials cardstock sticker set by Imagination Project, now (sadly) out of business.

27 March 2009

Feline Friday: Lily's Whiskers

A few months ago, we noticed that one of Lily's whiskers had a kink on the very tip. It almost looked as if she'd been too close to a candle flame and had curled the end of it. (If you know Lily, getting too close to a candle is a very real possibility!)

Soon after that, we noticed that some of her eyebrow whiskers had developed the same curly tips, so we knew that it wasn't an accident. Nowadays, Lily sports a mixture of straight and curly whiskers.

Apparently, curly whiskers are a genetic trait found in some kitties. Nothing to worry about, and Lily's kinky, curly whiskers give her character.

Not that she needs any more character, mind you! :-)

26 March 2009

Birthday layout

Continuing onward in my quest to do a LOT of scrapbooking quickly, here's another very simple layout I made for my daughter's 16th birthday. The photos were not great, and (again) the colors were somewhat problematic, but I found some striped paper in my stash that seemed to tie things together. (One can never go wrong with stripes!)

Even better, I used some old (but much loved and hoarded!) product: American Crafts felt snowflakes, filling in here as quasi flowers/funky shapes.

24 March 2009

A Recent Lily layout

Here's another layout I put together recently based on a couple of blog posts from January. I love using blog entries as the basis for journaling!

I told myself that I would focus on "people" scrapbooking so that I can get on top of our family/school pages before graduation next year, but it's hard to resist making a cat page once in awhile!

22 March 2009

Layout share

Here's a super-easy layout I made recently to document all the exciting things that go on backstage at a show choir competition. At one of the the events this past season, I made it a point to take pictures of "behind the scenes" activities, and I was lucky to get a few from other show choir moms. If I'm attending multiple events throughout a season (like show choir, jazz band, marching band, etc.), it's easy for the photos to become repetitive, so I look for opportunities to document something new or different.

To make this layout, I created a large white photo mat on a black base then simply placed photos edge to edge to fill the space, allowing room for a simple title and journaling.
I selected three photos that included the bright pink/purple dress to create a visual triangle across the two pages.

This kind of layout is definitely the way to go if you're working with a lot of photos but don't want to spend a lot of time fussing with them!

20 March 2009

Feline Friday: Awwww...

While organizing old digital photos recently, I came across photos we took of Lily when we first brought her home. It's hard to believe she'll be three years old next month!

What a precious little face! Best $40 I ever spent. :-)

19 March 2009

Back from Disney

I'd like to say I'm the one who is just back from WDW but alas, it's our daughter who has just returned from a trip to Florida with our high school band. Other than being a bit sick and having to spend 54 total hours on a charter bus, it seems like a great time was had by all.

(click on collage to enlarge)

She took just enough photos to nicely fill a 12x12 scrapbook...a good mix of people, places, and animals. I think a collage might make a fun introduction page.

I'll add making this album to my ever-growing list of scrapbooking projects. She may not realize it yet, but she will be helping with this one!

18 March 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

It seriously doesn't get any better than this.
late-night cell phone pic, 2-09

17 March 2009

Class project: Father's Day Box

Here's a project I put together for an upcoming class at Memory Bound. You may recall that awhile back, I posted the project for another class, my Scalloped Box of Cards. This is a take-off on that same project, but made with dads in mind. It's a tiny bit bigger and holds large Post-It notepads.

The box has a chipboard lid and base and is constructed from cardstock and patterned paper. I used diecut stars, circles, and buttons on top. The paper is Ki Memories, from the Pet Shop line (shh...Dad will never know it was made for dogs!).

I'm very excited about all the classes I have coming up next quarter. I'm going to be super busy, but I'm looking forward to each one!

16 March 2009

Super simple collage layout

I take a LOT of photos at our daughter's events. She takes along her digital camera and takes a lot of photos, too (really good ones, I might add) -- you can definitely tell she's grown up in a scrapbooking house!

For variety and speed, I sometimes incorporate photo collages (generated in Picasa) into the mix of 4x6, wallet, and 5x7 photos that I usually print. The layout below features an 8.5x11 horizontal collage using photos my daughter took at a recent practice session of her Mock Trial team. I love working with photos that show her perspective. The photo of socks (so glad she thought to take it!) gave me a color scheme to work with when selecting pics to include in the collage.

The inspiration for this layout was the one I created below when taking Cathy
Zielske's Big Picture Scrapbooking class last fall. Notice that Cathy's layout includes one large photo and 4 small photo/text blocks below it.

Since my new layout incorporates multiple photos at the top, I used a solid strip below it to provide balance. I printed the text and subtitle then added the die-cut letters. The strip of red provided color (to tie to the socks) and made the photo/text block symmetrical -- always a good thing, in my book!
Cathy's layout is one of those simple, timeless designs that I know I'll repeat often, especially when a collage is involved!

P.S. In case you're wondering, YES, the Mock Trial team is in part named for our cat, Tinsel. Each year during Mock Trial season, Tinsel has her few weeks of fame. :-)

15 March 2009

Piles of layouts, BEGONE!

What is it about piles of completed layouts? I absolutely detest putting them in albums, which is totally counter-intuitive. You'd think I would enjoy the sense of accomplishment in tucking away the finished products.

Well, I get frustrated because I inevitably have to move the pages around once I get them in the album. This frequently entails adding pages, post-extenders, and spacers. Since I don't necessarily scrapbook chronologically (but I load completed pages chronologically), I'm constantly moving pages around. Because I dislike doing this, I have piles of completed layouts sitting around and getting out of order.

Well, digging through piles makes me crazy, so I found a simple solution. I made some quick dividers and stuck them in a plastic file box I purchased at Target and was using for something else. Now the completed layouts can go in the file box by year. When I've finished a particular year of layouts, THEN I will load the pages into the album. The box is full enough that the layouts stand up nicely without bending.

The box won't hold a ton of layouts, but it will hold quite a lot. It's MUCH better than having them in piles on the floor. The layouts stay in order and will be easy to place in albums when I'm ready.

By the way, as soon as all my post-bound albums-in-progress are full, I'll be switching to three-ring binders. They're much easier to work with and more economical, too.

14 March 2009

Recipe: Ham Balls

This is a great recipe that I've been making for several years now. It was given to me by a family friend, and it's really one of those "no fail" kinds of dishes. (It has to be, if I'm involved!)

Okay, now I'm going to let you in on a little secret which is surely key to the success of this recipe. Whenever I make ham balls, I sing a little song. Have you heard the old spiritual "This Train is Bound for Glory, This Train"? Well, I sing "Ham balls are bound for glory, ham balls" every time I make this recipe. The ham balls are THAT good. They are surely bound for glory! If you make this recipe, you must sing the song. Otherwise, who knows WHAT might happen!

So....continuing on... :-)

Sometimes I make the ham balls a little smaller than those pictured here. I bake them as usual, then dump them in the crock pot to serve as appetizers. The longer they sit in the crock pot, the better they are. They're also really good after a day in the fridge, because the ham balls have longer to absorb the glaze.

The recipe calls for ham loaf, which is actually a mixture of ground ham, ground chuck, and ground pork. If you're from Iowa, you can buy this ready-made at the meat counter at Fareway stores. I'm sure other grocery stores have it, too.

Ham Balls
* 2 pounds ham loaf (or 1 pound ground ham, 1/2 pound ground chuck, 1/2 pound ground pork)
* 1 egg
* 1 C crushed graham crackers (I use the pre-crushed kind, found in the baking section, because I cut any and all corners in the kitchen!)
* 1/3 C milk

Combine and shape into balls -- about the size of ping-pong balls. (I use a mixer for this because it gets a little messy and hard to stir!) Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. The last 30 minutes, baste with the following glaze:

1/4 C vinegar
1/4 C water
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard

Note: I usually buy only 1 pound of ham loaf, but I still make the full amount of glaze. You don't want to skimp on the glaze! That's what gives the ham balls a nice, sweet flavor.

11 March 2009

Quick layout to share

I spent a lot of time over the weekend working on layouts with relatively current photos. Here's one of a two birthday layouts I completed. This one was challenging from a color standpoint...red, bright blue, and green walls. After looking for a suitable patterned paper incorporating those colors, I finally gave up and went back to a simple color scheme with a neutral/white background and a single-color patterned paper. When working with a challenging photo set, you can't go wrong with solid colors!

Iowa State Fair fans will appreciate the awesome commemorative charm bracelet our daughter received from her grandpa (my dad). The picture really doesn't do it justice. It includes several state fair icons we all know and love, and I believe an additional charm will be available each year.

08 March 2009

End of the Season

Our show choir season is coming to an end. The kids have one more performance for friends and family, then show choir is officially over for the school year. This makes me painfully aware that our daughter has only one year left in all of her high school activities. I always get very emotional at the end of each activity's season. I can only imagine what a mess I'll be next year!

Given that it's the end of the season, I thought it would be appropriate to share a simple layout of our show choir (Innovation, nicknamed "Inno") in action. This is one of two costume changes in the show. These pinkish purple dresses are quite amazing...they have several layers of netting underneath which make them very twirly. This is a swing number which closes the show...very high energy!

Cardstock: Bazzill; letters: Accu-Cut; patterned paper: Ki Memories (of course!); star punch: EK Success

07 March 2009

Meet my helper...

Tinsel is my scrapbooking buddy. She is in the middle of everything. But I wouldn't have it any other way!

05 March 2009

Recipe: Monterey Chicken Tortilla Casserole

We tried a new recipe last night. Spouse found it in a magazine and thought it would be good, and it was!

Monterey Chicken Tortilla Casserole

1 cup coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
2 cups cubed chicken or smoked turkey (I used pre-cooked strips and did not cube them! GASP!)
1 can (15 ounces) cream or whole kernel corn (drained)
3/4 cup picante sauce (I used a full cup.)
1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a full cup of mixed cheese, since I don't care for cheddar.)
Chopped green or red sweet pepper
Additional tortilla chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Layer crumbled chips, chicken, corn, and picante sauce into a casserole dish. Top with olives and cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until hot. Top with peppers. Serve with chips. (I served it with rice and sour cream.) Makes 4 servings.

04 March 2009

Layout share

Here's a layout I finished up recently, covering the very important day Daughter got her driver's license. I'm attempting to scrapbook current events while organizing and planning layouts from past years. It's MUCH easier to work on current topics, while the details and emotions are still fresh in your mind.

This is another very simple, cardstock-only layout, as I wanted to focus on the photos and the story. I scanned and printed her new license on photo paper, and it looks like the real thing! (It's blurred out here for privacy purposes.) And gosh, it was good to use up a few of those silver mini-brads from my seemingly endless supply. :-)