Sunday, March 31, 2013

Farewell, Calvinball.

And there you have it...with 30 minutes to go before the thrilling conclusion of Calvinball '13, I'm calling it: 

Calvinball project points: 13
Calvinblog points: 17.5
Bonus/handicap points: 30
  • 1 for hyping it 
  • 2 for having my priorities intact (making bacon jam empanadas and stuffed jalapenos with the kid)
  • 3 points for scrapping photos within 7 days of taking them 
  • 1 point for taking over 200 photos on Easter Sunday, including a few with me in them (shocker!)
  • 1 for a Scattergories challenge-related layout
  • 1 point for using a new technique and reporting on it
  • 3 points for using at least five JBS products on a page
  • 1 point per written assignment turned in on time
  • 3 points for reading a novel on a day in which you've earned two legitimate scrapping points (I'm on the last one in the series now!)
  • 2 points (1 per) for scrappy videos
  • 1 point for attending to domestic duties while scrapbooking
  • 1 point for scrapping past your bedtime
  • 1 point for a scrappy shopping expedition
  • 1 point for scrapping with chocolate
  • 2 points for tackling technology in the name of scrapping
  • 1 point for using a retro scrapbooking product
  • 1 point for reorganizing your stash
  • 1 point for hosting a giveaway on your blog
  • 1 point for linking some fellow Calvinball players or this thread on your blog
  • 1 point for getting those layouts into albums
  • 1 point for coloring Easter eggs
TOTAL: 60.5 points

I am most definitely aware that the bulk of my points are bonus points...and that I did not blog every single day...and that last year I earned more points...but I survived Calvinball '13, and I made it across the finish line!  Yay me!   

Happy Easter!

The winner of the Garden Girl blog hop giveaway is...

Congratulations, Laura! :) I'll be in touch via peamail.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Looooooong Weekend

What's the best way to start off a four-day weekend? 
I've been getting my scrap on tonight, working on an upcoming project for October Afternoon. Speaking of which, did you see the new sneaks for the Daily Flash collection? I'm stoked about the "decades" date stamps. I need the 80's and 90's ones, for sure.
I can't believe it's already Easter weekend -- wasn't it just Christmas? I'm looking forward to spending time with the family and taking lots of pics. I haven't been taking enough photos lately. I don't know what's wrong with me. Bad scrapbook mama.  Bad bad. Here's hoping I'll have a bunch by the end of this weekend! Have a great one. :) 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Sketchy Concept

While the terms "simplicity" and "layers" may seem to be contradictory, this week's sketch on the October Afternoon blog finds a way to make them work together on a single layout.
I created a layout about my sweet kitty, Molly. I had to laugh when I found a scrap of paper from the OA 9 to 5 collection that read, "acknowledge receipt of." Poor Molly has been passed from owner to owner, but she found her forever home with us. She's an outdoor cat, preferring to sleep under the house rather than in it, but she isn't a wanderer. One shake of the catfood bag, and suddenly she's right there. 

This page was a snap to put together -- it really is possible to create simple layers!  As a bonus, aside from the cardstock, every single piece of paper here came from my pile o' scraps. 

Becky Novacek also contributed a beautiful layout to the post, so you should definitely stop by the OA blog and check it out! You won't be disappointed.  

Have a happy Tuesday! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gardeners' Digest: March Garden Girl Blog Hop

Welcome to the Gardeners' Digest, a monthly update from the Garden Girls, the design team at Two Peas in a Bucket.  We'd love it if you'd "hop" by each of our blogs today to see what's in bloom in the Garden this month. If you've been following the hop so far, you were just visiting with Jen Gallacher. If you'd like to go back to the beginning, it all starts on the Two Peas blog
At this time of year, the world is not just "mud-luscious," as e.e. cummings once put it, but it's also beginning to fill with incredible colors. In the spirit of springtime, next month's Garden will burst into bloom with all of the colors of the rainbow -- color is our theme! I so enjoyed immersing myself in the process of creating a layout using tints and shades of green alongside some neutrals.  Here's a peek: 
As you can see, I got a little stamp-happy and even worked in some embossing action. It's going to be a new addiction, I think! 
The winter-to-spring shift has been great for the peas' creativity, it seems! Each time I stop by the gallery, I find myself liking and bookmarking and pinning so many projects. Here are a few that have caught my eye recently: 
(From the top) "Love You to the Moon and Back" (by Waisam), "I Love You with All My Heart" (by Melissanmann), "Howl" (by Vverstrat) and "Let Your Friends Warm Your Heart" (by Magnette
Oh, you peas. Thanks for the inspiration! Keep it coming! 
It's no secret that I am a fan of all that is bright and colorful, so you can imagine how giddy I've been over the new releases that have been showing up in the Two Peas store.  Here are a few of my favorites: 
Ormolu "Made" Flair. These always work so well in accent clusters. 
Sweet Notes and Composition & ColorAllison Kreft's new lines for Webster's Pages.  A boxload of these lovelies is heading across the Pacific toward me right now! 
Corrugated paper from Amy Tangerine and Fancy Pants. I used the teal paper on my color layout, and I am in love. 
Zing! Embossing Powder from American Crafts. It's time to expand my collection! 
Love Note ATCs from Chic Tags. I love how Melissa Mann uses them in her layout above! 
To thank you for stopping by today, I'd love to offer you a chance to win a $10 Two Peas in a Bucket gift certificate. Just leave a comment on this post (including your Two Peas username) before 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on Thursday, March 28, and I will select one lucky winner. 

Your next stop on the hop is the blog of Garden Girl Lilith Eeckels.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

Today is the first ever International Day of Happiness! As per United Nations Resolution 66/281, today is a day to "recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations."

And I'm definitely on board with that. 

Last night, while trying to learn more about the International Day of Happiness, I happened upon an article in the Huffington Post by Project Happiness founder Randy Taran that includes a list of "5 Ways to Activate Your Happiness." It's actually a worthwhile read. I'm partial to #3, which talks about "flow."  
When hours feel like minutes and you are totally absorbed in what you are doing, you are in a "flow" state. Athletes call it being "in the zone." Research shows that flow state happens when you have the right ratio of challenge to skill level, i.e., when you're challenged just enough to engage your skill set at the appropriate level. 
I often use the phrase "scrap happy," and I'm pretty sure that it's synonymous with "flow."  I love losing myself in the creative process, but that doesn't mean that scrapping is always a breeze -- the "ratio of challenge to skill level" definitely comes into play at times. 

Above all else, on this day, and every day, what makes me most happy is surrounding myself with happy people -- especially my people. 
Have a happy day!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've Got Sunshine

I'm definitely loving my brights lately...
I really enjoyed the process of putting this layout together for my "Technique Thursday: Layers and Lines" post on the October Afternoon blog. I so love the painted hearts at the bottom and the row of buttons at the top.
I'm so not kidding about loving my brights. Just take a look at the first page of my Two Peas gallery:
Notice a trend?  :) 

I think this is a sign that I'm ready to skip springtime scrapping and head straight into summer. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

So Much Shiny

During my usual evening trek through Internetland, I happened upon a bunch of shiny and new goodies in the Two Peas store, and I could not resist a little mid-month splurge, especially since I've been waiting on the new Allison Kreft lines from Webster's Pages. Here's a peek at some of what I added to my bucket tonight: 
Composition & Color Trim Card Pack

Composition & Color Mini Bags
Umm...practically every single sheet of paper in both collections. 
Damask Overlay
Why does it feel like pretty paper is my illness and my cure?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Disastrous Saturday

So the post title is a little misleading, but there's still a kernel of truth there.
I shall explain.

I've spent my Saturday indulging in one of my guilty pleasures: disaster movies.
This morning I watched 2012. It's a horrible, wonderful movie.
For some reason, it always makes me want to visit Yellowstone National Park,
and it always makes me giggle a little to see Waikiki submerged in lava.
It shouldn't, I know. I'm a sick, sick person.

After it ended, I decided to turn off the TV, but made a cursory flip through a few neighboring channels first, and lo and behold -- Independence Day was on. There is some unseen force that will not allow me to walk away from that movie. It's a disaster flick meets an alien invasion flick. Genius stuff, that. Still, I had just been watching TV for several hours...

"I ain't heard no fat lady!" my daughter screamed as I made a feeble attempt to turn off the TV.

So we watched Will Smith declare -- for the thousandth time, easily -- that he could have been at a barbecue. We paused during commercial breaks so that I could prep these tasty marvels:
As my daughter and I inhaled them, the credits began to roll and I flipped through the channels once again, searching for something that we wouldn't have trouble turning off and -- wait -- is The Day After Tomorrow on?  No way!

Awesome Saturday.

ETA: Here's the recipe.  (This one's for you, Nirupama!)

The first time I made these, I followed the recipe from Pioneer Woman.  However, I've tweaked it just a little over time, and this is the version my family loves best: 

Stuffed Jalapeños (Sprott version)

12 large jalapeños 
12 slices of bacon
1 block of cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese or sharp cheddar
1/2 cup grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
About 1/4 cup of Hunt’s honey mustard barbecue sauce
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional — but I like to add it) 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Wearing a plastic bag or kitchen glove over the hand that will be handling the pepper, cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise. You can leave the stems on, but remove them if you plan to reheat these later in a microwave (unless you’re a fan of truly fiery jalapeños).  Scrape out the insides of each pepper (I use a spoon), and place the peppers on a baking sheet. 

Using a hand mixer, mix the cheeses and green onions (if using) together in a bowl until combined. Stuff each pepper with the mixture, leveling off the top of each. 

Cut the bacon slices in half, and wrap each half-slice of bacon around a stuffed jalapeño half. Start at the top, pulling each piece gently as you wrap, until the pepper is wrapped from top to bottom.  

Brush a light layer of barbecue sauce over each piece. 

Bake the peppers for 70-80 minutes at 300 degrees. Depending on the oven, cooking times may vary, but you’ll know the peppers are done when the bacon darkens and starts to sizzle. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Malasada Day, My Way

There are many ways to pay homage to the glorious malasada.

For me, that usually involves gobbling them up in a few bites and licking the sugar off my fingers, but there is also this way:
Ever since I put the finishing touches on this layout for this past week's Scrap Your Stash video for Two Peas in a Bucket, I've been jonesing for malasadas. Every time I look at this page I get hungry again. I think it has something to do not only with the photos, but with the sugary-sweet colors, too.
I think I'm going to need to make a run to town soon to get more! I'm so weak.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Procrastinating Works.

I had about a month to work on my JBS Mercantile Scattergories challenge layout, and having just finished it today, I think there's something to this whole procrastination thing.
Layout details (and links to some of the supplies used) may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket.
I had so much fun putting together this layout! I'm always up for a challenge, and this one not only had me thinking creatively, but it also had me digging deep into my stash. 

The Scattergories challenge involves choosing a letter (the first letter in your name, or one selected randomly) and using only products that begin with that letter. At least one of those products must be from JBS. Some creative interpretations (a.k.a. creative cheating) are to be expected. 

My letter was "J," and what that meant for me was learning that aside from the obvious (Jenni Bowlin Studio and Jillibean Soup), items beginning with "J" are actually kind of tough to come by in the scrapbooking world. Here's how it all played out: 
Jillibean Soup label sticker mini-album papers
"Junk Drawer" patterned paper from Dear Lizzy
a scrap of stamped paper from Jill's scrap pile
"Jump" stamp from KI Memories
Jenni Bowlin Studio kraft flag tag
"Just Married" patterned paper from KI Memories
Jillibean Soup "Neopolitan Bean Bisque Soup" patterned paper
"Jovial" (dots) and "Junebug" (background) patterned paper from BasicGrey
Jenni Bowlin Studio double chevron paper tape
Jenni Bowlin Studio "Magpie" quilted cardstock stickers
Jenni Bowlin Studio micro-dot alphas
Jillibean Soup corrugated alphas
Jenni Bowlin Studio sideways chevron paper tape
(Isn't it uncanny how the doggy's ears in the BG "Junebug" paper look like my Mazie's ears?)
Jenni Bowlin Studio red skinny alphabet stickers
"Just a Note" stamp from Studio Calico (pictured in the full layout)

The last day to get in on the Scattergories challenge is March 16, so if you're a procrastinator like me, you're in luck. This is your moment!  To sweeten the deal, one lucky winner (drawn at random) will receive a $25 JBS Mercantile gift card.

Calvinball project points: 6.5
Calvinblog points: 9
Bonus/handicap points: 16
  • 1 for hyping it 
  • 1 for having my priorities intact (making bacon jam empanadas with the kid)
  • 3 points for scrapping photos within 7 days of taking them 
  • 1 for a Scattergories challenge-related layout
  • 1 point for using at least five JBS products on a page
  • 1 point for reading a novel on a day in which you've earned two legitimate scrapping points
  • 1 point per scrappy video
  • 1 point for attending to domestic duties while scrapbooking
  • 1 point for scrapping past your bedtime
  • 1 point for scrapping with chocolate
  • 1 point for tackling technology in the name of scrapping
  • 1 point for using a retro scrapbooking product
  • 1 point for reorganizing your stash
  • 1 point for getting those layouts into albums

Total points: 31.5 points 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Third Quarter Slump

A happy surprise -- this tweet from Two Peas popped up today, with regard to a layout I shared on the JBS blog and posted in the Two Peas gallery yesterday.
I must agree -- don't be afraid to scrap the challenges! In my case, the challenge in question was the third quarter slump, which any teacher or student can tell you is a real thing.  A very real and frightening thing.
It's almost over. The third quarter ended last week for students, which means that it will officially end for teachers next week, when grades are due.
Then, after what has felt like a standstill series of months during which the idea of summer has been more of a taunt than a possibility, fourth quarter will come racing in, sucking away time and oxygen, leaving no room for mental processing of any sort, and laughing its evil laugh at the notion of any kind of lesson "plan," and then BOOM! The year will be over.
Third quarter is the arduous uphill climb, and fourth quarter is the crazy breathless rush downward.
At the end of the year, I'll find myself opening one eye cautiously, followed by the other, and inevitably, I'll find myself thinking, Again! Again! 

And so it goes.

So yes, scrap the challenges! It can be tough-going getting there, but so worth the effort.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Good Intentions

Although I had fully intended to earn 31 Calvinblog points this March, I did take a bit of a blog break for a few days -- but with good reason! 
My husband is finally back home after being away for four looooooooooooong months. As you might imagine, I was completely overjoyed when he made it safely home...and when he presented me with a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts from North Carolina, I was positively euphoric. 

A few days have passed, and you would think a sense of normalcy would be re-established by now.  Not so.  Z and I are on spring break, so the heck with normal!  I spent the whole day in pajamas.  'Twas awesome. 

I've also been getting my scrap on in a big way, thanks to the March JBS Mercantile kits.  
This one's a lovey dovey page. I'm entitled to a few a year. The negative space from the chipboard heart found in the Artisan kit functioned as a mask here. I misted over it with various colors. 
The layout focuses on how Rob and I would use Skype to communicate while he was away. As I was going through the papers in the kits, I noticed that the Crate Paper "Measurements" patterned paper did not simply feature rulers, as I originally thought, but rather, months of the year.  I worked in a few strips featuring the four months that Rob was away and Skype helped us to bridge the distance. 
The second layout includes a photo of my daughter in a booth at Romano's, a restaurant that we enjoy more for its tablecloths than its food. The tablecloths aren't really cloths, but paper, and the time between courses flies as we draw mirror images of each other's zany designs. 
I misted over these die-cut numerals from Bazzill, and added a few Crate Paper pinwheels to the mix.  The page is my attempt to capture some of the color and playfulness that we've come to associate with the restaurant. 
 You realize that this means I'm now officially making progress in Calvinball.  Whoa. 

Calvinball points: 3.5
Calvinblog points: 7.5
Bonus/handicap points: 5
  • 1 for hyping it 
  • 1 for having my priorities intact (making bacon jam empanadas with the kid)
  • 3 points for scrapping photos within 7 days of taking them 

Total points: 16 points