31 August 2009

Layout: Pumpkin Carving

In scrapbooking, you sometimes have to make the best of a difficult color situation.

Not sure why Daughter chose to wear her pink show choir practice t-shirt for pumpkin carving last year, but she did. Lucky for me, I just happen to have a stash of Ki Memories orange and pink striped paper. Ki to the rescue once again! It helped me work in the pink and still create a Halloween-y feel on the page.

Does anyone get my clever title? I was fairly pleased with myself for coming up with that one. :-)

30 August 2009

Layout: Valleyfest

One of the reasons we scrapbook is to relive our memories. As I've been working on marching band layouts from last season, I've certainly had the opportunity to do just that. Our marching band had a great season last year and, in looking through these photos, the memories of all the performances came flooding back.

This particular competition marked the high point of the season. Since I already have many pages of the band in performance, I wanted to capture some of the other aspects of marching band season on this layout, especially the emotions of winning a big competition. So I included the text of an e-mail from our band director which was sent after the kids returned home that night. You can feel his excitement about the band's achievements and see it in the faces pictured here!

My advice to anyone reading this is to be sure to capture not only the FACTS of a particular event, but also the FEELINGS that accompanied it. Recording your feelings will help you relive your memories in years to come...which is really what scrapbooking is all about!

29 August 2009


I'm not a pink person. Never have been, never will be. But this house has been pink (or rather, mauve) since we moved in 15 years ago. Pink shutters, pink trim. Never mind that the base color of the house is called "Smoke." It takes on a pinkish cast, too.

A few years back, we had the house repainted...in pink. Why? The builder had left us plenty of extra paint, so it only made sense to use it up.

BUT NO MORE! It's time to repaint and *sadly* we have no more old paint to use. So the time has come to get rid of the pink!

Anyway, given that I think in cardstock colors, I decided to look through my Bazzill swatch book to find an appealing, less obnoxious color scheme.

Hmmm...I think we'll stay away from Rosey and Misty Rose this time. :-)

For the base of the house, we'll be going with my favorite Bazzill tan (which was discontinued a few years ago and never adequately replaced!) -- Tanner. The shutters and wrought iron will be Raven. The scalloped trim and vertical boards will be a lighter version of Tanner, similar to Wheat but in the same color family. I think that this new color palette will blend much more harmoniously with our charcoal-colored roof. And I'm thrilled that I will no longer have to buy pink annuals for the pots on my front step!

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for updates on the Ridding of the Pink.

And watch for some awkward happy dancing in the street by yours truly. :-)

28 August 2009

Featured Blogger Friday

I'm delighted to be the Featured Blogger today at my great blogging friend Toni's blog, Moved to the Mountains.

Toni is a card-maker extraordinaire whose endless creativity inspires me! She posts several beautiful cards each week, completely amazing me with her productivity. She's also a wonderful cat mom, and I love seeing photos of her beautiful fur babies.

Thanks so much, Toni
! :-)

Feline Friday: Go Green!

Seems like everybody is going green these days! :-)

27 August 2009

Layout: Choir Awards

Here's a layout I finished up recently based on a sketch from Cathy Zielske's BPS online class from last fall, Design Your Life. I've used this sketch a couple of times now, as it works well for multiple photos.

Daughter wanted to include all of these pictures from the spring choir awards show and, as you can see, the mixed colors created a bit of a challenge. But good ol' Ki Memories striped paper came to the rescue once again, giving a bit more cohesive look to this colorful set of photos.

The flower is the "outline" portion of one of my favorite two-part Cuttlebug dies. It provides just a bit of "something" without being too heavy.

26 August 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Will the real Easter Bunny please stand up?
Rabbits at the fair, August 2009

24 August 2009

Iowa State Fair Sew-In

Daughter participated in a great project at the Iowa State Fair this past weekend: a "sew- in" to make quilts for kids at the University of Iowa hospitals and those with parents in the prison system. The project was coordinated by a local quilting group and was considerably more successful than planned: The group had hoped to make 50 quilts but by the end of the fair, more than 130 had been sewn!

Unlike her mother, Daughter sews very well, thanks to her grandma's sound instruction over the years. Grandma would have been very proud to see her sewing this quilt from start to finish in just about three hours.

When my dad and I popped in to check on her during the sewing project, the quilting ladies promptly put us both to work pinning and unpinning quilts! They instinctively knew not to put me anywhere NEAR a sewing machine!

Daughter wanted to make a rainbow-colored quilt (no surprise there!) so she picked out fun fabrics in those colors. She stitched the 12 strips together, then pinned the layers together (front, batting, and back).

She sewed along the "gutters" between each strip of fabric, stitching the back to the front with a large zigzag quilting stitch.

Then she added a colorful border around the edges.

And the quilt was done!

We all thought this was a pretty neat way to spend an afternoon at the fair. :-)

22 August 2009

Was Hovercat; Now Dryercat

Lily "went missing" yesterday. This is a pretty obvious hint as to her whereabouts.

Yep, Lily was shut in the dryer with a pile of warm, slightly damp clothes.

For 4.5 hours!

When I got home last night around 8pm, Lily was nowhere to be found. She ALWAYS comes running to greet me at the door, so I knew immediately that something was wrong. I checked in all of her usual napping spots -- and everywhere else I could think to look. As I ran through the house calling her name but hearing nothing in response, I grew more fearful by the minute. Had she somehow slipped out the back door when Spouse got home?

I ran out into the garage to have a look around. Seeing no sign of Lily, I headed back into the house. As I passed through the laundry room, I pulled open the dryer door and to my surprise, there was Lily! She had clearly been sleeping and (I'm sure) wondered why I was so distraught. She stood up, yawned, and stretched, then headed immediately to her food bowl. (That's a long time for Lily to go without having a snack!)

After some backtracking, we figured out that Daughter was the one who accidentally shut her in the dryer. She had been digging around in the dryer for some important item of clothing and, when she turned her back for a moment, Lily hopped in. Daughter closed the dryer door as she left the laundry room with no clue that Lily was shut inside. Shortly after that, Daughter and I left the house for 4.5 hours, at which point Lily must have settled down for a very long nap. (I'm glad she didn't need to use the restroom while shut in the dryer!)

Lily doesn't seem any worse for the wear, but I'm pretty sure I lost one of my nine lives yesterday. Believe me, we'll be sure that never happens again!

For anyone wondering about the photo, Lily agreed to a brief reenactment of her dryer exit for blog purposes only. :-)

21 August 2009

Feline Friday: Another Hovercat Sighting

Hovercat was spotted again this week, this time in a larger craft to accommodate her "fuller figure."

High above the kitchen table soared Hovercat, powered by a loud purr (and a little help from Mama).

Again, the view from below was exquisite.

Pressed fur, tummy, and toes were visible through the base of Hovercat's Clear Craft.

All too soon, Hovercat's voyage was over. If only Mama's arms would hold out a little longer.

18 August 2009

Chicken Stylin' at the Iowa State Fair

I've been going to the Iowa State Fair for many, many years, but this is the first year I've seen the Chicken Washing & Blow-Drying demonstration. We watched several chickens being washed, then we got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to blow-dry one of the chickens!

Surprisingly, chickens don't mind being washed and dried. In fact, I'd say it's MUCH easier to wash a chicken than a cat. But in reality, the only time you'd wash a chicken is if you were planning to show it in a contest. If you were a chicken farmer, you'd never pluck your chickens out of the hen house to give them a bath.

If you missed the Chicken Washing & Blow-Drying demonstration, don't despair! I took some careful notes.

First, dunk your chicken into a tub of warm water. Lather with Special Chicken Shampoo and then rinse the chicken in a second tub of clean water.

Immediately wrap your chicken in a towel. GENTLY squeeze the excess water from the feathers -- "gently" being the operative word here. You do not want to create chicken nuggets!

Then, with your hair dryer on the low/cool setting, begin to blow-dry your chicken. We were instructed to hold the dryer at an angle for maximum fluffage. That's Daughter pictured above, BTW. After her arm got tired, I took a turn blow-drying the chicken. (Okay, that's not quite true...I insisted on taking a turn!)

And this is the beautifully coiffed chicken -- all clean and fresh!

Now, what is it they say? "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"

Sorry -- I couldn't resist! (NO OFFENSE, MRS. CHICKEN!)

16 August 2009

Latest Fair Fashions

For the past several years, I've been monitoring sheep fashions at the Iowa State Fair. Spandex was popular for a few years but by last year it was all but gone, replaced by bulky canvas hooded suits. These suits were neither comfortable nor stylish for the sheep.

Well, I am delighted to report that spandex has made a comeback for the 2009 Iowa State Fair! Perhaps it has something to do with the somewhat retro fair theme this year, or maybe the sheep realized that these colorful suits are attractive and allow for self-expression.

Whatever the reason, I was happy to see spandex back in the sheep barn. Check out the latest patterns and colors:

Bright colors are all the rage! Gone are the camouflage patterns and flag motifs of the past (and really...how useful is a camouflage sheep suit anyway?). Notice the easy-fit leg holes and back opening which makes it easy for a sheep to discreetly "use the restroom" without having to disrobe. The form-fitting spandex shows off the physique and keeps the wool clean.

Watch for additional reports throughout the fair!

15 August 2009

Scenes from the fair

My family spends a lot of time at the state fair each year. Here are a few glimpses into this annual tradition (click on the collage to enlarge).

* Baby animals abound at the fair -- ostriches, calves, ducklings, and more. Once a year, I remember that I'm an Iowa girl and allow a calf to suck on my finger. :-)

* You'll find beautiful flowers throughout the fairgrounds, but especially in the gardens just outside the Agriculture Building.

* August in Iowa is HOT. It's so hot that I'm even willing to put my hair at risk by walking through the misting fountain on the Pella Plaza.

* The granite plaque and lamp post in memory of my mom were installed over the summer, marked "Best Grandma" -- a title she wore proudly.

* The butter cow tradition lives on. While Iowans have supported a butter Tiger Woods, a butter Harry Potter, and even a butter Last Supper in years past, they rose up against the notion of a butter Michael Jackson.
So this year, a rather benign butter Neil Armstrong astronaut accompanies the cow, along with a butter television and a butter American flag.

Watch for tomorrow's post: Fair Fashions.

14 August 2009

Feline Friday: Lily's Diet

Since Lily is watching her weight and is not allowed to have cheeseburgers like her friends over at I Can Has Cheezburger, she asks...

13 August 2009

Tabby Thursday: Hovercat

Spotted in our family room today: Hovercat, flying high over the couch. :-)

I'm not sure who has the best view: Hovercat or those below!

11 August 2009

Tabby Tuesday

Sometimes I find Lily in the most adorable poses, like this one with her arms completely extended. She was obviously reaching for her toy and got stuck in that position.

Here's the front view:

And here's the aerial view. :-)

09 August 2009

Projects for a very worthy cause!

A friend asked me to create a couple of projects for a silent auction for the annual conference of the National Marfan Foundation. I was honored that she asked me to help!

I created a two projects (one pictured here) with a heart theme to tie into the theme of this year's conference. This little box of cards is similar to one I made for a Memory Bound class earlier this year but with a completely different look. I love pink and brown!

I hope the conference was a big success!

07 August 2009

06 August 2009

Prairie Walk

I took advantage of the lovely weather we've been having to take a walk through the prairie that runs through our development. It's always interesting to see which native prairie plants are in bloom. On today's visit, I saw Queen Anne's lace, monarda, and grey headed coneflower, to name just a few.

As we head into autumn, a new group of prairie flowers will begin to bloom. The white, yellow, and purple flowers I saw today soon will be replaced with a lush carpet of gold.

04 August 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

I've been away from my blog for a few days due to an unexpected hospital stay for my Spouse. Long story short, I took him to the ER Friday evening as he was having some chest "discomfort." They suspected a blockage so they decided to keep him for the weekend.

Yesterday, he had an angiogram and they actually identified three blockages. They installed three stents and now he's as good as (or even BETTER than!) new! The procedure was painless and he will be home today.

We feel very fortunate that this situation was caught before anything major occurred. We've definitely had a big wake-up call!