Welcome. This blog is my little home on the web. It's mostly about my favorite hobby, digital scrapbooking. You might also find some recipes, home decor projects, or parenting woes. But mostly digital scrapbooking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Home Alone

I'm alone. It's just me here. Miller is at his first day of preschool. I still have almost and hour and a half before I need to pick him up. So I thought I would get current posing my latest layouts.

Miller loves spiders, and I have to admit that I've always been somewhat fascinated by them, as long as it is at a distance.  The scientist will actually pick up spiders in his hand.  Just watching him do that will cause me to yelp and jump.  I've been trying to get some practice with my camera, and there are these huge garden spiders and funnel web spiders all over our town in the summer. I took these pictures along the walk to the park.
Photo Blends Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Hip Hip Hooray freebie by
Captivated Visions, Spring Sprocket Cardstock by Gina Miller; Various
elements from Sweet & Simple LIfe collections by Gina Marie Huff
CU flowers by Wendy Page; Woodsy style by Flergs
Glitter Paper by Two Shutter Sisters; photo actions by My Four Hens

This layout is about a game that James and Miller play at the park.  Sometimes is is played at home too.
Free Template by Scrapping with Liz; Stash-Builders Simple Paper Alpha 1
by SuzyQ; Plaid Addict 3 by Rachel Young
Some elements by Sahlin Studio and Gina Marie Huff

These are some pictures that James and Miller drew one night.  As soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to make a layout about them, but it took me a while to get around to it.
Simple & Sweet Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz
Paint & Pencil Alpha by Scrapping with Liz;  Brushed Alpha by Faith True
Life365 Collection, My Favorite Things and others by Gina Marie Huff

This last one wasn't so much a scrapbook layout ... although I will likely reformat into 12x12 to put in my own album.  James and Miller like to watch old metal videos, and Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden is a favorite.  As kids will do, Miller sings the words a little differently, and that's part of what is so special about it. 

A little aside here ... when Miller saw me working on this layout he immediately asked me if Eddie (the Iron Maiden mascot, seen on the right) is good or bad. I wasn't sure, so he ran off to consult with the scientist. Miller came back and happily told me that in this picture Eddie is a good guy, although sometimes he is kinda naughty like Captain Jack Sparrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It ain't bad weather - it's a gargoyle attack

It's almost October, and that makes me think of Halloween ... and Nekromantix. This is a great video, not to mention a great song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deceptive and/or Delicious

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to try some recipes from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I've tried several, so here are the results. I'll start with the successes.

Meatball Soup. I LOVED this recipe, and I'm even making it again tonight. I'll do a double batch to have some in the freezer. It was quite simple to make. I even did the sweet potatoes raw, as her notes said I could, since I had not made the sweet potato puree yet. The scientist liked this recipe and graced it with the praise, "It's Chef Boyardee done right." My meatball mixture was very wet, to the point that I wasn't sure if they would hold together. I used sandwich flat bread in the meatballs because that was the only bread I had. They turned out tasting very sandwich-flat-bready in flavor, but I liked it. Overall the recipe was a bit salty, so I will cut back on the salt in the future.

Macaroni and Cheese 2 (the one with the beans). The scientest especially loved this recipe.  I did put in the optional cauliflower puree, as I've always been a fan of cauliflower with mac and cheese.  I could definitely taste the bean flavor, but I like beans, so that was good.  I used canellini beans.  Very simple to make.

Buttered noodles (with squash puree). Miller wouldn't eat these because he could smell the difference and refused to even taste them.  I think if I had waited for them to cool a little bit longer, the smell might have been more subtle.  I thought they tasted fantastic, so I'm calling it a success.

Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I actually made these several months ago.  They had a strange texture, but were ok.  I actually pureed the beans and added peanut butter, but I can't remember how much.

Chicken Nuggets.  These failed because my nuggets started to burn on the outside but were still uncooked in the middle.  I was so discouraged I threw them all out and was quite upset at wasting so much chicken.

Homemade Ketchup.  I thought it tasted like plain tomato paste.  The scientist, who generally does not use ketchup, said he liked it.  The recipe confused me because it said to boil it and reduce, but it was so thick to start with, I didn't know how that could be accomplished without just burning all on the bottom of the pan.

Avocado Spread.  All I could taste was the yogurt and lime juice.  I've never understood adding lime or lemon to avocado.  Avocado tastes so good, why would you want to hide its flavor?  I made a whole batch of this, and was extremely disappointed to have wasted so much avocado, one of my top three all-time favorite foods.

I think that's all the recipes I tried.  I'm not sure how many more I'll be trying in the future.  One of the Burger recipes appealed to me, as well as the chocolate dessert recipes with avocado.  (too bad I'm all out of avocado puree.) I suppose I would have to admit that a 50% success rate is actually pretty good when it comes to trying out new recipes.  At least in my own experience, anyway.

On another note, my Book Club is coming over to my place tonight ... it was originally last week, but only one person showed up, so imagine how that made me feel.  We will be discussing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

My picks for our next book (which will be voted on) are:
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Which do you think we'll pick?  I'm hoping for the zombies ... I already read the other two!

Well, it's later now, so I can tell you:  they picked Wicked.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paper Spiders

Earlier in the year Miller got obsessed with spiders, and I had to make lots of them for him.  He would see one in a book or on TV, and he would HAVE to have one just like it.  We would quickly assess the visual aspects of the spider, using pause if available, to "learn its parts." Once its parts were learned (ie the color, the number of legs, whether it had mean eyes, whether it had pedipalps  ... do you know what pedipalps are?), we could then make it correctly.  At first I grudging made them, but after a while I started to get into it.  I made them out of paper and tape, and in one case, buttons.  Sometimes we used a hole punch.

I saved a bunch of the paper spiders, and I have wanted to scrap them for several months.  I originally envisioned extracted images of 20 or so spiders, kind of piled and overlapping on the page.  But I also wanted to do something along the theme of "the evolution of spiders" because I had made several different styles, and they seemed to have an evolving look: quick scribbles, more detailed sketches, and paper pieced spiders.  In the end, I did not find a way to get all those ideas down in one page.  I have several layouts instead.  Here they are.  They are my current favorites.

This first one gives the story about how motherhood made me into a pretty darn good spider maker.

Simple Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz
Danielle's Alpha Art by Wish Bliss Studio

For this second page, I went with the evolution theme. I intentionally chose different spiders in this page to get as many different ones as possible.  Disclaimer: the spiders show here are not actually in chronological order of creation.

Inspiration Starters by Scrapping with Liz

This last one is a game where you enact Little Miss Muffet with props and repeat it over and over again. I was actually planning to sit there and keep going to learn just how long he would repeat this game, but then I got the idea of taking photographs. I really like the dramatic irony here. I was pleased that I got a photo with the look I was going for.

Simple & Sweet Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz
An Umbrella Build for Two by Leora Sanford and Emily Powers
Vintage Vogue Elements by Sahlin Studio
Boy Oh Boy by Designs by Lili and Leora Sanford

By the way, Miller is still obsessed with spiders, but I haven't had to make any new ones in months. I guess having 20 or so on hand in a box is kinda useful that way.  Oh, and one more thing, I have a newfound appreciation for adhesive tape.  I normally don't like to tape things ... because you can see the tape, and that bothers me ... but on a paper spider it works.  The tape is part of the look. You should try it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Living Room Wall Art

I'm happy to say that digital scrapbooking has helped me to be a better home decorator.  Several months ago, I realized that my natural decorating style (as far as wall art) was to place random pictures and decoration on every distinct wall area in my home.  The space above the couch:  that's a wall area, put a picture there.  The space to either side of the dining room entry:  those are wall areas, put a picture in each one. And similarly all through the apartment.

Here you can see the lone print on the large living room wall, and the strange collection of frames on either side of the dining room entry.  I'm embarrassed to show these, but I'll just be brave and do it.

It's not very pleasing to the eye to have all these spaced out lonely pictures.  Just like with scrapbooking - it's generally more pleasing to have items grouped in a focal point as opposed to scattered across the page

Why it took me so long to figure this out, I have no idea.  In the recent weeks I've been looking around my home, seeing how I could create groupings, recycling the frames I already have. I left the living room print where it was, and added next to it the larger frames that were flanking the dining room.  I made up three new prints to place in the frames (using my digital scrapbooking supplies), and here is the result.

The heart was made from a ton of different paint platters in kits by Gina Marie Huff. The spider (for Miller) and the flowers are by Julia Makotinski. I think both kits might be retired. I had toyed with the idea of a picture of beer (for the scientist), but dismissed that idea in the end. The cream colored mat looks a little off, and I'm thinking I might try spray-painting it a light gray color. But this is such an improvement from before, I'm happy to leave it as is for now.

It's an interesting study of human psychology to ask what was the motivation to get this project done ... next week I'm hosting Book Club at my house. That was the motivation. Didn't want all those mommies to see my hideous home decoration.

Here are a couple layouts from the last week or so.

These are pictures of the space houses that I've built for Miller, to accompany his Imaginext toys. I got a kick out of the comments I've received on these layouts. Everyone thinks that I scrapped these in Miller's voice. But the truth is that I'm the one who loves to build these things, and I actually was scrapping in my own voice. Miller loves these buildings in a different way. Once built, he will not tolerate any changes or improvements. I, on the other hand, am constantly looking for ways to make them a little better or more "useful" for the astronauts who live and work in them.
Simple Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz
Simple Album Templates by Scrapping with Liz

This was my last layout made for The LilyPad, with the September Build Your Own Collab products. It was just pictures of a park expedition from earlier in the year. I had read this line in a book many months ago: "Take care. You carry my heart with you." I have been wanting to use it in a layout for a long time.
End of Summer Papers by Jenna Desai
Little Pockets and Sprinkles V4 by Valorie Wibbens

The LilyPad ladies graciously allowed me to stay a couple extra weeks on the guest CT, to round out the month of August.  So even though I keep saying that I'm on this scrapping break, it was really just a farce because I was constantly tempted by new products.  But now that my guest position has ended I really have been slowing down a bit.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Home Made Brown Sugar

I've known for a while that brown sugar is just white sugar mixed with molasses.  If you run out of brown sugar, you can make your own.  Now, I think for a lot of people, myself included, molasses is not that kind of ingredient that you're more likely to have on hand than brown sugar.  However, when I was little, my mom used to make for us "molasses in milk."  And in a nostalgic mood, I recently purchased some molasses, although I never actually got to the point of making myself some molasses in milk.

So, I had some molasses sitting in my cupboard when I realized I was out of brown sugar.  I had already asked the scientist to run to the store for some eggs (having forgotten to pick them up myself when I was at the store).  I didn't think either one of us wanted to walk over to the store a second time, and I really wanted to make some cookies, so I decided to make my own brown sugar.

I hopped on the internet and found that the recipe for brown sugar is quite simple:  1 Cup white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molasses.  I like recipes with nice numbers like that.  You have to mix and mix and mix with a fork, and I eventually just put my hands in it to get it to mix.  It felt so weird - it stuck to my fingers like it was wet, and yet it felt dry.  It's worth making up your own brown sugar just for the sensory experience alone.

My cookie batter turned out a very unusual consistency.  I'm not sure if it was the recipe I used, or if it was the home made brown sugar, but the dough had the consistency of whipped cream!  It was so soft and fluffy.  I'm going to make one of my familiar recipes with the home made brown sugar and find out if the brown sugar is what caused that consistency.  These cookies that I made had a nice taste (not too peanut buttery) and were wonderfully sandy on the edges/a little chewy in the middle.  But they were very delicate.  I had to let them cool in the pan.  I didn't take any pictures, sorry.

I just thought I'd share that.  Because I feel like I should offer my blog readers more than just scrapbook layouts.  I don't know why.  Here are said layouts ...

At a playdate back in February, Miller found the little girl's bottle cap snake.  He was in love with it.  I asked her how she got all the bottle caps and she said they saved them up.  The scientist likes beer, so I was hopeful that we could save some too.  It took about 5 months to save nearly 100 caps.  I'm now saving up for my own bottle cap snake ... that's how cool these things are.

Midwinter's Flight Templates by Amy Martin
Sunny with Blue Skies and Vintage Vogue Elements by Sahlin Studio

I have put some flowering plants out on my porch and have managed to keep them alive for a while.  I've even cut some of the flowers and put them in my favorite vases - jelly jars.  I've been in love with the beauty of jelly jars for a while and have wanted to scrap about it.  The picture here was from my wedding.

Midwinter's Flight Templates by Amy Martin; Sunny with Blue Skies by
Sahlin Studio; Make a Wish by Sahlin Studio and Valorie Wibbens

This one was for a Digi Dare to scrap about the breakfast routine. I wrote about mine and Miller's liquid breakfasts.
One Fine Day by Valorie Wibbens & Amy Wolff
Simple & Straight Template by Simply Tiffany Design

Well, It's now several days later.  I guess it's time to publish this post.  I'm looking forward to some cooking/baking adventures.  I still want to make some more cookies with my home-made brown sugar, and I plan to make some meals with veggie purees from the Deceptively Delicious book by Jessica Seinfeld.  I'm excited to try her recipes ... but I'm a little disturbed by her aversion to egg yolks.  Particularly since she embraces things like soft tub margarine spread.  Yuck!  Give me an egg yolk over margarine any day.