29 October 2010

Feline Friday: Mysterious Nighttime Visitor - the Movie

Since it's Halloween weekend, it's an appropriate time for a scary movie, right? At the end of this movie, you won't know what to fear most: The Mysterious Nighttime Visitor, Tinsel, or the oddly placed towels on the floor of our dining room.

Be sure to have your sound on to hear Tinsel exhale and growl. And watch carefully as the Mysterious Nighttime Visitor saunters across the front porch, belly swinging.

And be aware that the movie has an abrupt -- but very exciting -- ending. I'd like you to believe that this was for dramatic effect but truthfully, in the excitement of the moment, the camera operator pushed the stop button.

Always leave your audience wanting more, right? ;)

Happy Halloween!

28 October 2010

Got bad photos? Use 'em!

I've recently been reminded that the name of my blog is "Of Cats AND Cardstock". A certain reader (who shall remain unnamed) suggested that perhaps I'm giving a bit too much attention to the CATS side of the blog. (I happen to believe that it's impossible to give too much attention to cats, but that's a topic for another day.)

So to balance things out a bit, I thought I'd best share a few layouts. They are, of course, mainly CARDSTOCK, with a bit of striped paper thrown in so as not to disappoint.

The common thread running through these layouts is that each one uses less than optimal photos. Sure, I'd love to have fabulous photos to work with, but that just isn't realistic for me. I firmly believe that scrapbooking is mainly about preserving the memory, so I'll use whatever I have. Even a less than perfect photo can trigger a vivid memory.

This is a page about the drivers' ed class Daughter took two years ago. I had no pictures of anything related to the class until Spouse recently drove past the place and grabbed a cell phone picture of the back of the Prius for me. I have trained him well. :) Enlarged and tweaked in Picasa, this photo doesn't look half bad.

This photo is actually a still shot grabbed from a quick cell phone video. Once again, I wanted to capture the memory and this photo allowed me to do that. Notice I used a bit of (old) flowered paper...along with the stripes. One bonus point for me today! :)

These photos were taken from a distance in a dimly lit restaurant. The quality was poor and the colors were a bit garish. Switching them to black and white masked the color issue and gave them a timeless feel. And at the time of this particular event (one of our daughter's last high school performances), I certainly WANTED time to stand still.

This last layout is made completely of cell phone pictures -- from two or three different phones. The photos aren't great on their own but in collage format, they manage to tell the story quite nicely. I used the journaling from my blog post to finish this quick spread. You can read it more easily here.

So my message to you is that you can create a perfectly fine layout using less than stellar photos. Forget your camera? Grab a cell phone picture instead. And USE it to write that story. Fifty years from now, you'll be glad you did.

26 October 2010

Tabby Tummy Tuesday

Could this tabby tummy be any cuter?

I am powerless to resist. Yes, I will rub your tummy, Lily!

25 October 2010

String Cheez!

String Cheez!
Its all i want in da whole wyde wurld!

Da mere site of it puts mee in a transs! Oh, mommie, i needs a tinee byte!

22 October 2010

Feline Friday: Unwelcome Visitor

Poor Tinsel. Every evening after dark, she's on alert -- looking out the windows, prowling around the house, interrupting her evening nap schedule. Why?

We've been having a mysterious night visitor. This cat (which is HUGE, I might add) has visited several evenings during the past couple of weeks. As soon the cat shows up, the normally mild-mannered Tinsel goes into some kind of crazed fighter mode.

She growls.

She huffs.

She puffs.

She smacks the window panes with her paws.

She is FIERCE.

Lily thinks she's completely nuts.

And the visitor just sits there, completely expressionless, staring at Tinsel. From the outside looking in, Tinsel's behavior must REALLY look insane.

I wish I knew where this cat lives. But every time I've tried to open the door to greet him, he runs (or rather LUMBERS) away, belly swinging. Our visitor is obviously well-fed and just out for a nightly stroll.

And poor Tinsel has to have several treats before she settles down and gets back to her evening nap.

But it's good to know the house is safe and sound... as long as Tinsel is awake.

21 October 2010

November Page KIt

One of the fun things I do for Memory Bound is design the monthly page kit. I just finished up the project for November. I have always loved this line of Bo Bunny paper. The colors are perfect for so many fall projects.

For this layout, I printed the title directly on the 12x12 cream background using my wide-format printer. Oh, how I love that printer! If you're in the market for a new printer, you should definitely consider a wide-format model.

I also used Tim Holtz distress ink with the blending tool and splat mat. Shocking as it may seem, I'm relatively new to Tim's inks! I love the look for this kind of project. After inking the die cut leaves, I then sprayed them with Perfect Pearls, which is also a fairly new product for me. As they dried, they curled up a bit...just like real leaves! Memory Bound friends, listen up: If I can use these products, you can, too! Try them out on this project! :)

I wanted the theme of this layout to be about life's blessings, so I found a quote for the journaling block which I really like:

"Life is a series of gifts. Remember to give thanks daily."

Isn't that the truth? We all have much to be thankful for -- not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

18 October 2010

And now for something completely different...

Instead of writing about CATS or CARDSTOCK, I thought I'd start the day by writing about something completely different...

FOOTBALL! And to get us all in the mood for football, I'm sharing one of my favorite pictures. Mind you, this is a very UNNATURAL looking photo. I do believe this was the only time I've seen my daughter throwing a football. And yes, there was a boy involved.

Since our daughter is now in the marching band at Indiana University, I've been a bit more attuned to college football than I normally am. Which isn't saying a lot. But in this short time, I've made some observations about football that have me fairly agitated. As part of my personal therapy program, I've decided to share them here:

* Why in the world can't they EVER broadcast the halftime show? The ONLY reason I'm watching football is for the band. I have to suffer through hours of football only to see a bunch of pundits talking about other games during the halftime! If you're interested in other games, people, watch them! Don't be taking up the entire halftime droning on and on about obscure statistics while my adorable daughter is playing the fight song!

* And they almost NEVER show even the slightest glimpse of the band in the stands during the game. Band parents would kill for a glimpse of Joey with his saxophone. Would it be so difficult to pan over the band during one of the 1,000 time-outs which seem to occur in college football?

* And don't get me started on trying to find the game in the first place. Sheesh! Is it on ABC, the Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU? Do you have Direct TV, Mediacom, Dish, or rabbit ears? And what market are you in? The game showing where you live is not the same one showing everywhere else. It's the most convoluted arrangement I've ever seen.

* And you cannot watch the game on the internet unless you've got some kind of paid subscription. And why would I pay to NOT see what I really want to see -- the band???

* So you decide to look on one of the websites to try to find your game. HA! Ever visit the ESPN or Big Ten Network website? These sites are surely the MOST jumbled, confusing, sensory-overloading places on the internet. I assure you, once you find the minute piece of information you're seeking, you'll NEVER find it again!

* And what's this about the BCS? What a convoluted (yes, I realize I've used that word twice now) system for determining bowl bids. Good grief! What about simply going with the teams that win the most games? Too radical a concept, huh?

* And with all of these bowls, why can't there be a national champion? I'm aware enough to know that pro football has a national championship game, as does baseball (okay, Spouse shared the baseball thing with me). At the end of the college football season, nobody really knows which team is best overall. Maybe nobody cares. Or maybe lots of people want their team to be best and without one clear winner, then everybody CAN be best.

* And let's not get started on the whole conference thing. Now why in the world are teams allowed to join conferences that are nowhere near them? I love TCU but when we visited last summer, I sure didn't see any mountains in Fort Worth. So why the heck is TCU in the Mountain West conference? And why, now that the Big Ten Conference includes 12 teams, don't they rename the conference -- or make 2 teams leave? Let's make the conference names accurately reflect the teams they include, people. Doesn't seem that difficult to me. Give me a map and a spreadsheet and I'd have the whole conference system fixed by the end of the Halftime Show That Isn't Shown.

If there are any football people reading this, I assure you I don't really care to learn the justification for anything other than the first point on my list. If they'd broadcast the halftime show, I'd be a happy band mom and would completely forget about my other issues. As it is, I've taken to listening to the student-run internet radio broadcast of the IU games. They don't broadcast the halftime either, but at least I can hear the band in the stands.

It's a whole lot better than what the Big Ten Network offers me. Obviously the fine folks who run that place have never met a band mom.

15 October 2010

Feline Friday: Lily's Trip to the Yard

Last week on Feline Friday, I shared a few pictures of Tinsel's trip to the yard. Lily waited eagerly by the door until it was her turn to go out on the leash!

While Tinsel is fascinated with grass, Lily enjoys mulch. Here, she's inspecting a couple of small holes in the ground. Perhaps Mrs. Tittlemouse lives in one. Or somebody a whole lot creepier. We didn't hang around long enough to find out.

Outdoor Lily wanted head out to the far corner of the yard. Walking in grass is relatively new for her. In fact, when she first started going out on walks, Lily was afraid to let the grass touch her delicate feet. Lily is a true indoor kitty.

But here, she looks like an explorer! Here I come, Outdoor Things!

Whoa! I hear birds and squirrels just like on my DVD!

And now, I'll pause for a Glamour Shot.

14 October 2010

Christmas Mini-Album + Other Thoughts

I've been finishing up a few projects for Memory Bound, including this little mini-album. This is the third album I've made with the WRMK 4x6 pads. Three projects almost constitute a series! :) Don't be fooled by the small size of the album. You can add tons of 4x6 photos, recipes, shopping lists, or anything else to the album: Just punch holes and insert! I'll be teaching this class on December 2. If you're in the area, I'd love to have you join me!

Here are some other (completely random) thoughts for today:

* This empty nest business is pretty strange. With Daughter away at college, things are very quiet around here. No singing, no kids sprawled all over the floor, fewer concerts to attend...not nearly as much music as usual. On the other hand, I'm not tripping over flip flops all the time, so there are some benefits, but overall it is just very different.

* Thank goodness for texting, Facebook, and Skype which allow me to at least know if she's among the living.

* The burner on the coffee maker makes a little "tick" which sounds just like a new text on my phone. As you can imagine, this causes some confusion.

* After my mammoth scrapbooking effort to prepare for graduation last May, I completely lost my mojo there for awhile. In the past couple of weeks, I have finally started scrapbooking again. I must say it's a bit more fun without the pressure of a looming deadline.

* Fall is underway. The leaves are really starting to change this week. This is my favorite time of year.

* Except for the allergies. Harvest time generates dust. I'm allergic to dust. In fact, it's a wonder I can even survive living in this house.

* Lily's new food morsels are the same size as Tinsel's food morsels. I had hoped this would stop her from swallowing her food whole, but this is not the case. She has yet to learn that this behavior causes her to go "BLOP" on the carpet.

* The fitness routine is going well. Well, at least I'm going. :) I never enjoy it but I always feel better psychologically after I've gone.

* I'm doing a lot of teaching this fall and have been busy creating projects, writing instructions, and making kits. It has been good to get back into it.

* A HUGE white cat with brown spots has been stopping by our house most every evening after dark. This cat sits on the sidewalk and peers in the window -- quite pleasantly, I might add. These visits, however, have Tinsel completely wound up. She flings herself violently at the window, growls and hisses menacingly, and tries to fight this pleasant Neighbor Kitty (who just sits there) through the window. Lily doesn't seem to care about the visitor and just looks at Tinsel like she's crazy.

* Lily's claw sharpening behavior is completely out of hand. I'm going to have to buy her a new scratching post. Any recommendations?

12 October 2010

What I'm Reading Now

I'm a big fan of non-fiction. I occasionally read fiction, but there's something about the practicality of non-fiction that really appeals to me. In the past few weeks (coincidentally, the same amount of time that Daughter has been away at college!), I've finished several non-fiction books. Of them, Lunch in Paris is my favorite.

This is the true story of a woman who meets a French guy and moves to Paris. Sound a bit trite? I assure you, it's not. Elizabeth Bard tells the story of her transition to French life with the rich detail of someone who has truly lived it. She weaves in descriptions of places you may recognize if you've vacationed in Paris -- or lived there in college, as I did. Her writing voice is at once conversational and elegant.

What gives this book a unique twist is that the text is laced with recipes, all of which help advance the story line. This context makes the annotated recipes themselves interesting to read. I've marked several that I'd like to try. The author's straightforward technique descriptions make me believe that even I could be successful making some otherwise intimidating French dishes.

If you'd like to visit this beautiful city -- or return some day -- you'll enjoy losing yourself in Lunch in Paris.

11 October 2010

Plotting their escape...

This beautiful fall weather is causing the kitties (especially Tinsel) to want OUT! In the evenings, we've had a couple of outside cats visit the yard. This is causing Tinsel to become highly territorial. (Lily, on the other hand, couldn't care less about our feline visitors, but she nevertheless meows to go outside.)

I guess Tinsel and Lily think I'm going to fling open the door and just let them frolic unattended in the yard. That's definitely NOT going to happen, so I positioned stools for them to look out the front door.

You can see from their body language that somehow this compromise isn't cutting it. Lily's even checking out the lock.

"Hai, Tinsul, im prettie sur i can opun dis door..."

08 October 2010

Feline Friday: A Trip to the Yard

One nice day this week, I harnessed up Tinsel to take her for a walk in the yard. The kitties get SO EXCITED when they see the leash. They both run to the door!

Unfortunately, Lily has grown too large to fit in the harness, so she uses a collar. We only have one leash so the girls have to take turns. Lily, you can go next!

Tinsel absolutely loves to go outside. She makes a beeline to the grass where she always eats enough to throw up -- after she's back inside on the carpet.


Tinsel has no front claws but she likes to "pretend sharpen" on the trees in the yard. It's a very outdoorsy kind of thing to do.

Hurry with the sharpening, Tinsel! Somebody else is waiting for her trip to the yard!

07 October 2010

Recipes I Can't Spell: Chilaquiles Casserole

I can't spell or pronounce it properly, but I CAN say that this is a great recipe!

The recipe for this casserole came from the Eating Well website, where you can find lots of good recipes that at least make you THINK you're eating healthfully.

I'm surprised I haven't posted this recipe before now. I've actually made it a few times, once or twice with ground turkey added (to which Daughter commented: EWW!). This time I made it as written.

And don't get too excited about the photo. I snagged it from the website. Food doesn't look quite like that at our house.

Chilaquiles Casserole


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 1/2 cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 corn tortillas, quartered

1 19-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.

04 October 2010

Halloween Tree

One of my colleagues at Memory Bound is teaching a class this fall using the new metal tree and tags by Carolee's Creations. Amanda has transformed the wooden tags that come with the tree into a beautiful set, perfect for your holiday display. If you're in the area, you need to stop by and see all of Amanda's amazing projects and sign up for her classes!

I've been on the lookout lately for a tree which could be used for year-round seasonal decorations and when I saw this metal tree, I realized it would be perfect. I decided to reserve the wooden tags for another holiday and make a new set for Halloween.

I used several different chipboard coasters for my tags. I covered them with acrylic paint, then distressed them using Tim Holtz Walnut Stain ink. I used a set of Martha Stewart black stickers to add a little bit of "scary" to my tags. I also covered some of the tags with the new My Mind's Eye "Haunted" paper which works great with my tan and black color scheme. I added a bit of black tulle to most of the tags to create a cohesive look.

One dilemma I faced was how to hang the tags onto the metal tree. Because I will be switching the tags for various seasons, I wanted something easy to use -- tying the tags to the tree with ribbon seemed like way too much work! I experimented with Christmas ornament hooks but didn't care for the way they looked. Then Amanda suggested using Clip-It-Up hooks and spray painting them to match the tree. What a great idea!

I clipped the hooks to a wooden dowel and gave them a couple of coats of ivory paint. Rotating the dowel made it easy to spray all sides of each clip. The painted clips look GREAT!

Here is the completed tree. I have approximately 25 tags of assorted sizes hanging on the tree. In addition to the tags, I hung a set of Tim Holtz keys as well as a six metal charms by The Girls' Paperie. The tree will hold a lot of treasures!

This project was quite fun to put together! I'm already planning my fall-themed set of tags which will go up in November.

01 October 2010

Feline Friday: Making the Bed

What is it about changing the sheets that causes all cats to interrupt their schedules and immediately run to the bedroom? As soon I take the sheets off the bed, I'm greeted by two eager helpers.

Hmmm...wonder why this "fitted" sheet doesn't fit?

Is this a lunar landscape?

Ta-da! Undercover Tinsel and

her sidekick, Undercover Lily!