Sunday, April 29, 2012

Five Things

(1) The weekend just isn't long enough.

(2) Congratulations to the winner of Shannon Tidwell's Sassy Scrapping workshop at Two Peas!

I know you'll love it, Margie!

(3) I'm nearly finished with my Mother's Day cards.  Three of them were featured in Friday's post on the October Afternoon blog.
I used the new "Cakewalk" and "9 to 5" lines to create these, along with some of the new OA "Fly a Kite" fabric.  For the longest time I was hesitant to create cards, but I make almost all of my cards now.  People seem to get really excited when they receive handmade cards.  Maybe it's just fake enthusiasm, but I'll take it. :)  

(4) I saw this video by Frans Hofmeester the other day and it blew my mind.  It makes me want to turn back the clock.

Maybe I'll start something similar now, documenting Z's teen years.  Granted, now I'm imagining the video featuring a kid with a nose ring, blue hair, rolling eyes, and a scowl flashing by.  Maybe I'll skip the video.

(5) This weekend I had a chance to work with all four JBS April kits, and I just can't say enough about how beautiful they are.  The antiquarian kit, full of vintage treasures, is especially lovely...
and I am all over the wooden letters in the main kit.
Tomorrow is the 30th, which means that as the clock strikes midnight (CST) tomorrow night, the kits will be revealed in all of their JBS glory, and you will see just what the design team has done.  I've had a few peeks, and trust me -- you will LOVE what you see.

Have a great week!



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Slacking Slacker Slackerton

Seriously, I do mean to keep this blog updated more frequently, but it's been crazy (as in, cah-wray-zee) lately, what with there being only a month left of the school year.  I will survive (and hopefully, start blogging regularly again soon)!

It recently occurred to me that Mother's Day is just a few weeks away, on May 13.  I'm not much of a planner when it comes to holidays, but Mother's Day is not exactly an occasion that accommodates procrastinators.   A woman's radar is way too keen, detecting last-minute items and lame excuses easily.  Don't even try to hand her those sad flowers you got from 7-Eleven.  Oh, she knows

So...I've been trying to come up with a few ideas for gifts for the mothers in my family.  Luckily, my Tuesday Tutorial post on the October Afternoon blog this week gave me the push I needed.   I transformed a cheapie wooden frame into this: 

I'll be creating more of these to give as gifts -- along with 7-Eleven flowers, of course. Ha.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest What?

I'm happy to share that I am the guest designer for Cocoa Daisy for the month of May.  I had such fun working with the bright and colorful May main kit. It's chock full of papers and other items that I've been coveting for months now, since I first saw the CHA peeks.
(Find out more here!
This weekend Cocoa Daisy will be bringing you the Picnic in the Park crop, which runs from Friday, April 27, to Sunday, April 29.  Here are more details:

I get a kick out of the thematically-titled challenges. Too cute!

I'll have more to share after the full kit reveal! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Overdue Post (and a Giveaway!)

She rocks colors and patterns like no one's business.  
She has way cool handwriting. 
Every single one of her pages demands a second look. 
They are bold and full of energy, as I imagine she is. 
And now...
Shannon Tidwell has a new workshop at Two Peas, Sassy Scrapping

Here's a bit more about the workshop, in Shannon's words:


Are you looking to add something extra to your pages? More color, more punch, more pizazz? Are you ready for a fresh and energizing approach? Then come scrap with me, Garden Girl Shannon Tidwell. I love making big and bold pages that are full of life, but not full of time. (someone has to do the laundry!) I’m going to give you tips, tricks, and ideas so that you can make pages that pop no matter your style. Together we’ll cover five chapters, with over 50 layouts, including two themed albums!

You’ll get ideas from the beginning stages of finding and using inspiration, building bold pages, making the most of collection kits, and then finish it off with a ‘through the years’ album as well as a ‘school year’ album.

This is a self paced workshop that you can use any time. The workshop comes complete with easy to follow PDF’s as well as a coordinating video for each of the 5 chapters. Not to mention we’ll be able to chat it up on a private message board.

So let’s add a bit of sass to our scrapbooks together!

The content of this workshop will be available immediately upon purchase**. The lessons are available for you to work at your own pace and upon purchase can be accessed in the "Workshops" section under "Classes & Events." A private message board forum is also available to ask questions for Shannon and to connect with other participants. Enjoy!
Just take a peek at what the class includes:

**Special promo:  When you purchase this workshop before April 27th, you'll receive a FREE printable PDF made up of labels and fun designs! Find it in the "My: Downloads" section upon purchase, click on the Digikit tab, print and enjoy. You'll want to hurry, this is a limited time offer! 

If you're interested in winning a free spot in the workshop (a $25 value), leave a comment on this thread (including your Two Peas username) before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Sunday, April 29, and I will select one lucky winner.  If you purchase access to the class and end up winning the drawing, the fee will be refunded, or you can "regift" the free class access to a friend.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gardeners' Digest: April Blog Hop Detour

My apologies!  My Internet stopped working yesterday afternoon, so I could not compile an "official" post.  I'm writing this via a friend's phone.  I will update when my Internet is fixed.

Waaah.

Sorry!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Running on Empty

I have noticed that a common problem shared by many scrappers is the ol' "what to write" conundrum.  Certain photos inspire journaling, but not all photos are like this.  The other day I created a page and realized that the journaling was present, but it was empty.  It didn't really say anything meaningful. It seemed like filler.

The moment I realized this, I tore apart the page, set aside the photo block, and redid the layout with more consideration toward the journaling.

There are certain lines that I don't want to cross as a scrapbooker, and one of those is complacency in journaling, just scrawling something to fill space. I figure, if my journaling sounds trite, devoid of my voice or any genuine feeling, then it isn't worth documenting that way, and maybe I need to change my approach.

I rarely will restart a page, but that page was a wake-up call for me.

Wilna Furstenberg started a thread on Two Peas today that asked, "What makes a page for you?"  She gave four choices: the picture, the journaling/story, the papers, or the embellishments. She then challenged people to pick just one.   Tough, right?

How could I not choose the journaling?  The photos are important, but the story is primary, the crucial ingredient.  Our eyes may notice the photos first, but for me, it is the story that "makes" the page.  Though it may be a challenge, I can create a photo-less page, but creating a page without journaling feels just plain wrong to me.  The words matter.

I'm glad I had this revelation before I sat down to complete the journaling on this layout for the JBS blog.
I tried to keep it real and honest, and I shared a few scattered thoughts that have been running through my head pretty often lately.  This is a page that matters to me, so much more than it would had I just written a blurb about where this photo was taken.

Sure, there I am in the photo, but if you look closely, you will find that I am truly present in the journaling.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

72 Hours Later...

I can't believe I broke my blogging streak.  I've been blogging every single day since March 1, the longest I've ever gone without skipping a day, but on Friday (the 13th, no less) I was so exhausted that I ended up falling asleep without posting anything.  Then Saturday came...and went.  Now it's Sunday night and I am just shaking my head.  Bad blogger.

I'll just take a mulligan. :)  It was one of those weekends. I closed my eyes on Friday night, and now that I am just waking up, it's time to start the week again.

It's already Monday somewhere, actually.  The Monday challenge post is up on the October Afternoon blog, and this week, I had the pleasure of joining Wilna for a letter sticker challenge.  You have got to see her layout. Her journaling is entirely composed of OA letter stickers, and she subdued the bright colors using mist.  I have got to try that!  Here is my take on the challenge:
I played with the "like mother, like daughter" idea on this page, and used it to jump-start my journaling.
I used the letter stickers to create a frame around the photo.
This was actually a pretty fun challenge, because it not only helped me to chomp through my stash of letter stickers, but it also made me push myself to use them in a not-so-conventional way.  

On to the winner of the Amy Tan Collect & Create workshop giveaway!  Congratulations to...

I know you'll love the class, Helen!  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

12(ish) on the 12th

Pardon me while I rush to take twelve photos before midnight.
Oops.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NC '08 in '12

I finally got around to finishing the album documenting our visit to North Carolina in 2008.  Yes, 2008. As in, four years ago.  So what gave me the push that I needed?  The JBS April mini-album kit, compiled by the visionary Lisa Dickinson.   It's chock full of new Jillibean Soup, Hambly, and Studio Calico, as well as some very cool accents from Banana Fish Studio, a combination that makes for the perfect travel-themed mini.
I kept the design of the inner pages simple, clustering two pics, three frames, and a patterned circle, and inserting a journaling card behind each photo block.
More details will be in this month's JBS Gazette!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

(P)noticed: 10 on the 10th

1. Pin:
Pinned from Jenni Bowlin's blog
2. Passage: 
On the boat we carried with us in our trunks all the things we would need for our new lives:  white silk kimonos for our wedding night, colorful cotton kimonos for everyday wear, plain cotton kimonos for when we grew old,  calligraphy brushes, thick black sticks of ink, thin sheets of rice paper on which to write long letters home, tiny brass Buddhas, ivory statues of the fox god, dolls we had slept with since we were five, bags of brown sugar with which to buy favors, bright cloth quilts, paper fans, English phrase books, flowered silk sashes, smooth black stones from the river that ran behind our house, a lock of hair from a boy we had once touched, and loved, and promised to write, even though we knew we never would, silver mirrors given to us by our mothers, whose last words still rang in our ears.  You will see: women are weak, but mothers are strong. 
-- from Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic 
3. Picture: 
My gorgeous cousin, Shelly, enjoying a "real" spring on the mainland.  
4. Person: 
Kim Stewart. 

5. Problem: 

I am still dealing with the same cough that's been with me now since mid-March, and now that my asthma is acting up on top of that, I pretty much sound like Darth Vader.  Make that Dark Helmet:



6. Process: 

The mid-month gallery is live at JBS Mercantile!  The kit challenge this month is to integrate office tags in a layout.

I pulled together a bunch of patterns from the kit, trimmed their edges and punched holes in them, and then layered them on the layout alongside manila office tags.  The title is a play on words about the best counselor in the entire world, my daughter's school counselor, who "tags along" at every single student function and makes herself an active presence in the students' lives.

7. Product: 
Vellum Coin Envelopes from Jillibean Soup
8. Pleasure: 

Given #5, I'm going to have to go with that moment when an inhaler actually starts working.  I love air.

9. Post: 

Will Richardson on "Too Much to Teach" 
Every single time I visit Will's blog, my head starts spinning.

10. Present: 

I'll say it again: I love air!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Super Kawaii Spring!

Can you tell that I have a full-blown case of spring fever?

It kind of shows, huh?

The color combination and all-out collage approach on this layout for the Two Peas Garden has a "super Kawaii" feel that I love, largely aided by the BasicGrey Konnichiwa and My Little Shoebox Aiko lines.

Plus, I'm kind of sweet on the guy in the photo, who inspired the title more than spring itself did. ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Done and Done!

Hooray!  I have officially completed the Ms. Pacman challenge at JBS Mercantile. The challenge requires participants to "chomp" through their stashes by creating their own mini-kit and using it to put together one layout and two cards.  I finished my layout a few days ago, and as of this morning, my two cards are done and done!

In addition to the kit, I used the JBS/Fiskars "Flight" punch here (it qualifies as a technique-related product).  Initially, this was going to be a "Happy Spring" or "Happy Easter" card, but I hesitated to add a sentiment to it because I think it could also work with other themes as well.  For instance, it could be a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" card or even a lovey dovey "You Picked Me" kind of card.  I'm undecided.  I think I'll just wait for the right opportunity to give the card, and the sentiment will come to me then.  


Apparently I had a whole bunch of school-themed product in my kit. As I looked at the editing marks on the Studio Calico "English" paper, the idea of a "Keep At It" card came to mind, something to show support for a work in progress and to encourage motivation.  I used the JBS label stamps from my mini-kit here, along with the 7gypsies papertape that I love perhaps a little too much.

This challenge has been so much fun!  I have most definitely embraced the mini-kit approach to stimulating mojo while simultaneously chomping through my stash. It really works.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Amy Tan + Two Peas + A Giveaway!

Amy Tan.
Two Peas.
Collecting.
Scrapping.

If you can put "I love" in front of any or all of those items above, then you will definitely be psyched about this:

That's right! Amy Tan has a new workshop at Two Peas, Collect & Create!

Here's a bit more about the workshop, in Amy's words:
As crafters and storytellers, we are natural collectors. We save everything from treasured products and pieces from our everyday lives, to scraps and sketches. Incorporating these elements and all of our favorite bits from life is essential to the process of creating. I want to help you create with what you collect! 
In this self-paced class, my contributors and I will show you over 50 brand-new projects! Five chapters covering a range of topics are each supplemented with a printable PDF providing step-by-step photos and in-depth looks at the process behind the pages. Get your creative juices going with the "extras" in the PDF's like challenges and tips, and be inspired by the video in each chapter, covering even more examples and tutorials! 
Collect & Create explores different styles, as well as my favorite go-to techniques like embossing, using up scraps, incorporating real memorabilia, misting, mixing products and colors, and using sketches. Join me, and together we'll create a whole new collection -- pages and projects we love!
Doesn't it sound incredible?  It's such a great idea for a class.

If you're interested in winning a free spot in the workshop, leave a comment on this thread (including your Two Peas username) before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Sunday, April 15, and I will select one lucky winner.  If you purchase access to the class and end up winning the drawing, the fee will be refunded, or you can "regift" the free class access to a friend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Down!

Apparently creating a mini-kit for the Ms. Pacman challenge is exactly what I needed to supercharge my mojo and lose all self-control.  It's crazy.  Once I compiled the kit yesterday, I couldn't stop staring at it.  So I chose a photo to go with it, thinking I'd get to the layout itself over the weekend.  Done.  Time to do other stuff.  Non-scrappy stuff.

Then, while I was trying to be self-disciplined by acknowledging that I did indeed have stuff to do, I just kept sneaking peeks at the kit, sitting on the desk next to me.

So I grabbed a few of the scraps and just played a little mix and match.  I gave myself five minutes.  Just five.  After all, I had stuff to do.

A half an hour later, I was totally absorbed in creating a layout.  The time flew by, and I think this had everything to do with the fact that there was no searching involved.  Everything I needed was right next to me, ready to go.
And I did get my "stuff" done.  Eventually.

Two cards to go!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chomping Away

...at my stash, that is, thanks to a new challenge, Ms. Pacman.  The idea is to create your own kit from your stash, and then -- and this is the mind-blowing part -- use it.  The goal is to create one layout and two cards by midnight CST on April 20.  
This is the kit I put together, based on the requirements:

1.  Seven pieces of patterned paper, all of which are in "scrap" form (no complete sheets allowed).

I dug deep into my stash, and I used three Basic Grey papers (two from the "Recess" collection and one from the "Obscure" collection), one small square of Hambly grid paper, one strip from the Crate Paper "Portrait" collection, one piece of Studio Calico "English" paper that I've been hoarding for some time (I have multiples, though, so the hoarding continues regardless), and finally, I even included a piece of KI Memories/Love, Elsie "Click, Click"patterned paper from the "Zoe" line.

As I was going through my stash, I was tempted to use a bunch of my old KI Memories paper.  The problem is that the sheets aren't in "scrap" form.  They're pristine, actually.  That's how good I am at squirreling away my paper.  :) I really need to stop doing that.

2.  No more than one yard of trim, with no individual piece measuring more than 11" in length.

I went with a gorgeous striped red ribbon (from May Arts, I believe).  Time to put it to good use!  Right now I'm just working with 11" of it, but it's good to know I can use more if I need to do so.

3. One sticker sheet, with a catch: at least one sticker must be missing from the sheet.

I'm using a sheet of OA Sidewalks stickers.  A whole two stickers are already missing from the sheet.

4. A pre-2010 alphabet set.

I can't believe I actually had to do research for this, but it was worth it to confirm that the AC Thickers Typo letters in black were from 2009.

5. One jar or bottle of embellishments.  I have exactly one jar of embellishments in my entire stash. It's an apple butter jar packed to the hilt with OA buttons.  Thank goodness this challenge doesn't require me to use all of the contents of the jar!  Hmm...that does make me wonder what a background packed with buttons might look like.  Maybe I'll see where that idea takes me...

6.  One unopened package of scrappy product.  I'll be officially opening a package of 7gypsies rub-ons that I've had for a while.  I hope they still work!  Even if they don't, I will find a way to use them, dang it!

7. One roll of tape.  No problem here!  I have way too much of this stuff.  I decided to use a roll of 7gypsies papertape, from a previous JBS kit.

8.  One JBS item.   I reached immediately for stamps.  They're so versatile!  I'll be using the JBS acrylic label stamp set.

9. Unlimited cardstock.

10. Unlimited "technique-type product" (e.g. stamping ink, mist, embossing powder, etc.).

Fun, right?  I can't wait to get started. I am so hyped!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Simple Song



Can I just share how excited I am to be seeing them in concert?
I am. I really, really, really, really am.
Really.
I am.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Traffic Hunger Chicken Games


Today was an INSANE traffic day. Apparently a huge truck carrying asphalt tipped over on the freeway, aggravating already-aggravating rush hour traffic.  Z and I ended up taking a detour to pass some time, and opted for an early dinner.  When we tried to get back on the road at about five, we discovered that the freeway still had not been cleared.  Only three lanes were open.  So we headed back into town and decided to pass the time at the movie theater, watching (or in Z's case, re-watching) Hunger Games.  It almost made the traffic worth it -- that is, until we hit traffic yet again on the way home.  Crazy, right?  We got on the road at 3:15 this afternoon, and got home at about 8:45.  Nuts.

Okay, I'm done venting.  It's just good to be home.

It was also a kick to discover, shortly after arriving home, that Doris has plans to keep the Calvinball momentum going with a new challenge, which she's calling "Ms. Pacman." It is essentially a "stashbusting" game, and thus, I am SO on board.

Before I take my leave to shake off the exhaust and give into my exhaustion, I do have a quick share from this week's Garden at Two Peas in a Bucket:

More details and a full supply list can be found at Two Peas in a Bucket. 
I finally got around to using my Ink + Wit recipe stamp! I stamped the background of the layout repeatedly, using JBS Brown Sugar ink, and then I painted a few of the bowls using JBS Lemon Drops and Malted Milk paint.  
The recipe itself is tucked into the envelope.  "Luvdisney" at Two Peas left a comment requesting the recipe, and I am happy to share!


Roast Chicken
1 (5 to 6 lb.) roasting chicken
1 stick of butter, melted
Salt (pref. kosher) 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic (w/the very top lopped off) 
1 Maui or sweet onion, thickly sliced
2 cups chicken broth/stock
Additional broth and flour for gravy
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.  Remove the giblets from the chicken.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a few paper towels.  [ETA: you can actually skip this last part, according to this article.] 
  2. Arrange onion slices throughout the bottom of a roasting pan, and then place chicken on a rack in the pan.  Rub butter on in the inside and outside of the chicken, followed by salt and pepper.  Rub poultry seasoning inside the cavity and stuff with the lemon and garlic.  If you wish, you can squeeze one of the lemons over the chicken prior to stuffing it in the cavity. 
  3. Add chicken broth to the pan.  
  4. Cook the chicken for about 1 hour, 30 minutes (I usually check it at 1 hour, 20 minutes) or until juices run clear when you cut between a thigh and leg.  If using a thermometer, it should register at least 165 degrees.  
  5. Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and place it on a platter.  Don’t carve the chicken until you have prepared the gravy, since the juices need time to retract.  If you wish, you may tent the chicken with foil. 
  6. Transfer the juices from the pan (onions and all, unless you prefer to strain first) into a large measuring cup, separator, or even a bowl.  Let the fat rise to the top (this only takes a few minutes), and then use a large spoon to skim as much of the fat from the top as you can.  Remove this fat to a small bowl.  
  7. Heat the stove to medium.  Determine how many cups of gravy you would like, by looking at what is left of the juices in the cup (minus the fat).  Usually the juices render about two cups of gravy. If you’d like more, add more chicken broth (but keep in mind that adding too much will dilute some of the flavor).   The formula for making gravy is simple:  for every cup of gravy that you would like, add two tablespoons EACH of flour and fat (from what you skimmed off initially).
  8. In the heated pan, add the fat that you have measured out, and then whisk in the flour, a little at a time.  Whisk CONSTANTLY to ensure that no lumps are formed in the roux.  Keep whisking until the roux is bubbly and darkens slightly, which should take just a few minutes.
  9. Add the juices, a little at a time, again whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring this to a boil, whisking all the while.  Turn down the heat to low, and stir the gravy frequently.  When the mixture stops boiling after a few minutes, and the gravy has thickened (test by stirring with a spoon, and then running your finger down the spoon -- it should leave a trail), then strain the gravy, stirring and pressing down on the strainer to ensure that as much of the gravy gets through as possible.  Discard the solids in the strainer.  
  10. Carve the chicken, and serve with the gravy.  


Bon appetit!  And may there be open roads in your future.

ETA:  I meant to answer a question about my recent "Good Egg" layout.

I used October Afternoon's Miss Mary Mack.  It's my go-to color these days!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Foolio

I'm a fool for...Game of Thrones.  We just finished watching the second season premiere.  It feels as if we've been waiting for this day for a long time!

I'm a fool for...the new Crate Paper and Amy Tangerine lines, which showed up in the Two Peas store today! Among my favorites are these pretties:
Amy Tangerine Viridian Vignette Paper
(Green!)
Amy Tangerine Sienna Spirit Paper
(I absolutely love the watercolor effect.)
Amy Tangerine Grass Thickers
(More green!) 
(Isn't the color of the font so pretty?)
Crate Paper Storyteller 6 x 6 Paper Pad
(Pretty much every one of these papers is in my cart right now.)

I'm also a fool for...a good challenge.  This week I had the pleasure of putting together a layout for a Two Peas weekly challenge.  The challenge is to scrap a series of photos.
You can find out more about the challenge and the layout here
I'm all for using imperfect photos, probably because I think of the term "imperfect" as a synonym for "real." Imperfections reveal the true character of a subject.  Through the sequence of outtakes here, I can see the relationship between Z and M emerge.  Together, these photos tell a story better than a single, perfectly composed shot could.

Finally, I'm a fool for...these two.
They are the best kind of crazy.