Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Upcoming CSN Stores Review

It seems that lately a lot of my favorite bloggers have been reviewing and giving away items from an online retailer called CSN Stores. Never heard of CSN Stores? Well, if you're looking for shoes, CSN Stores is the place for you. If you need new dishes, you can find some at CSN. Do you have pets? CSN Stores has pet products. Seriously, CSN has more than 200 online stores, selling everything from nightstands to luggage.

After checking out the online stores and the abundance of product, I knew I had to jump on the CSN Stores review bandwagon. So stay tuned to this blog for a product review of something (yes, it's a mystery!!) from CSN. And while you're waiting in Carly Simon-esque anticipation, check out CSN Stores for yourself! I bet you'll find just what you're looking for.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Here's a Little Tip:

My mother-in-law told me this, which she learned from reading Hints from Heloise:

If you have a candle in a glass candle holder and the candle has melted so that it's stuck to the inside of the candle holder, put the candle holder in the freezer for a bit, take it out, and voila! the candle slides right out.

My first thought was, "Seriously? I'll probably do this and then the candle holder will crack and the candle still will not come out."

But oh no. It worked PERFECTLY.

Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Look Back in Anger

There is a blog post up at My Paper Tree House about being statues of salt. If you are familiar with the Bible, you might know the story of Lot's wife (don't you love how she doesn't get a name?) who, while leaving Sodom and Gomorrah with her family, looks back on the city against the advice of the angels and turns into salt - a statue of salt, to be precise.

The blog post was about how those of us living in present time often "look back" on things, not realizing how paralyzing such an action can be on our lives. If we spend all our time looking back on the past, we become like statues, never able to move forward with our lives.

Nana, My Paper Tree House owner, challenged us to create a layout "to show where you are right now with the Lord and how it is the Lord has taken you out of the statue state." So, of course, I got right to work.

My layout isn't so much a story of how I've gotten past the statue state. Rather it's just a reminder for me to not get so caught up in the "what if's" and "why didn't I's" and "Let's rehash this scenario over and over again's" that can haunt us from time to time. Learn from your mistakes, your past experiences, your great triumphs, and keep moving forward.

The journaling on the baggage tag (which I got and saved from my old church, like, months ago) reads: "Don't look back. What happened happened. You made your choices and whether or not you feel like you did it all right or all wrong, nothing can be changed. So stop looking back and move forward."

The Bible verse in the bottom right-hand corner is from Luke 9:62 and it reads: "But Jesus said to him, 'No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'"

All of this reminds me of the Relient K song "Pressing On". I can't embed it, but click on this link to see the video on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My First Omelet

I'm telling you, the Betty Crocker Cooking Basics cookbook is super helpful. If you don't own it, go get it! It will teach you how to make omelets! I had tried in the past and they always ended up being scrambled eggs instead. Not anymore! Woo! We put some chopped up ham steak and cheddar cheese in our omelets. Oh yeah!

Also, today is Hobbit day. Why? Because it's the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. (I'm not so much of a Lord of the Rings nerd that I knew why it was Hobbit day. I had to look it up.) So happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! And happy Tolkien week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make Your Own Background

I finished my cruise scrapbook over the weekend. Yay! One of the things I did in this album was make my own background paper. We had tons of pictures of us eating dinner every night, so I knew I wanted to make a collage of those pictures (using Google's Picasa). I also wanted to write down all the different foods we ate, but there was a lot of food! So I decided to create a background page and use the "list of foods eaten" as the "pattern".

You can't see all the food names, but that's okay. You get the idea.

Wanna know how I created this? First, I opened up a word processor. Most of you probably have Microsoft Word. My husband and I like free things and so we use Open Office. Whatever you use, the instructions are pretty much the same from program to program.

After opening the word processor, I changed the page layout from 8.5 x 11 to 8 x 8. (Disregard these instructions if you want to keep your page at 8.5 x 11). You do this under File>Page Setup. In Word, where it says Paper Size, you might have to scroll down to Manage Custom Sizes.

After changing the size of the page, I typed up the names of the dishes we ate. And then I copied and pasted and copied and pasted until the whole page was full.

Then I printed!

Things to know:
* You don't need 8x8 paper for this if you are changing the page size. I just printed it on 8.5 x 11 paper and then cut.
* Be careful with margins. I tried printing without margins and it cut off some of my text. Printing with margins creates blank space all around your text so then your page isn't really 8x8 anymore. I'm sure there is a way to figure it all out, but I am too lazy and didn't really care. I just added a border around the white spaces.
* You don't have to do words. You know that font that is just weird shapes and symbols? Try making a whole background of that with everything in different colors. I bet it'd look really cool!

What are some of your do-it-yourself scrapbook ideas?

P.S. Next year, Michael's is launching a digital scrapbook website with free and paid membership options. How cool is that?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An old college standby

Smoked sausage (Hillshire Farms is gluten-free) with rice. That's what my old college roommate and I used to make for dinner sometime. I love love love smoked sausage and you wanna know the best part? We used one half of the sausage for this meal and then put the other half in the freezer for later. I love when you can get two meals out of one food item. What did we make with the other half of the sausage?

Does anyone remember the Right Price Right Portion menu at TGIFriday's? I think they still have it but I'm not sure if they still have the Roasted Red Pepper Sausage and Chicken Penne. If they do, you have to go try it! If they don't, well, you can try making your own version at home. That's what we did (minus the chicken). One half of a smoked sausage cut up and cooked in a skillet. Half a jar of marinara sauce with some red pepper flakes and onion powder sprinkled in. And rice penne (or in our case, rice rigatoni because we had no rice penne.) Stir it all together in a pot. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top.

I think I underestimated the power of red pepper flakes. Having never cooked with them before and not having a real recipe in front of me with measurement, I didn't know how much to use. And I think I used too much. The end result was good, but I'd do just a pinch of red pepper flakes if you're going to use them. Seriously. A pinch.

What are your favorite meals to make with sausage? Got any good two-for-one meal ideas you'd like to share?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We ate really well last week

Breaded chicken with rice penne and gluten-free alfredo sauce (Classico says "gluten-free" right on the bottle) with salad. Looks good, huh? And it was easy. That's my favorite.

And here's another favorite:

"Kiss the Girl" based on sketch 79 at The Scrappiest; American Crafts glitter thickers, random butterflies, random ribbon, American Crafts Everyday collection patterned paper, Recollections solid cardstock

This layout has my favorite picture that I took at my brother-in-law's wedding two weekends ago. The numbers in the butterflies make up their wedding date. The wedding colors were navy and gold, but I had these papers in my stash and they looked so happy and summery, especially the heart patterned paper, so I just had to use them for this picture. Here's the picture close-up (since the photo of a photo doesn't really do it justice):

I'm sure their photographer's pictures will turn out smashing, but I quite like mine, too, thank you very much. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still Sparkly

Do you remember the layout I showed you last month where I used sequins? Well, it was a winning layout over at Scrap Outside the Box! (The newest challenge should be up this week so stay tuned to SOTB blog.) Three other scrappy ladies also took home the honors and we are all anxiously awaiting prize info... oooo Carly Simon-esque anticipation.

Speaking of sequins, now I'm kind of on a sequin kick.

"Fancy"; American Crafts Heat Wave products, Recollections solid cardstock, sequins

For this layout, I layered a bunch of silver sequins. Sort of matches my necklace in that picture, don't you think? I'm not sure how everyone else is adhering their sequins, but I'm using glue dots. Is there a better and less time-consuming way? Thank goodness this layout was only 8x8 - small bunch of sequins on a small layout.

That picture, btw, is my husband and I on our cruise. I have ONE MORE cruise layout to do. I'm really glad I chose to do an 8x8 album (I already had the album in my stash) for this vacation because it forced me to pick only the best pictures and I got them all scrapped in record time. Normally I come home from vacation and it takes me months to get them all done and then I get behind and blah blah blah. So yeah, if you have a lot of vacation pictures, do a smaller album and just pick the 20 or so best pictures to put in it. Easy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pork - it's what for dinner

I'd never made pork before last week.

And not only did I make pork, but I also made baked potatoes.

Seriously, if you do not already own the Betty Crocker Cooking Basics cookbook, you have to go out and get it.

Tonight's dinner looks to be chicken caesar salad, although I need to get some more gluten-free caesar salad dressing (Ken's is a good one). But it's raining outside and I just can't seem to build the momentum to go out in the rain. Blah. Maybe later.

Also, Target-brand "Zyrtec" does not work as well as real Zyrtec. Evidence: me sneezing and blowing my nose and feeling my lungs tighten up (thanks asthmatic reactions brought on by allergies) all because I went outside yesterday near trees, grass, and hay. I don't do well with hay. Unless I'm on real Zyrtec. Which is expensive, but is worth it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sometimes, you just have to go out to eat

It's okay if you don't like to cook, don't possess talent in the kitchen department, or are just too tired/uninspired to make anything. Our kitchen was a tad uninspired one day last week when it seemed we were going to be having some type of (rice) pasta dish... AGAIN. But then my husband suggested eating out at Chili's because he had to make a Staples run anyway and Staples is right next to Chili's. Sometimes, you just have to eat out.

We are big Chili's fans b/c of the gluten-free menu. UNO Chicago Grill is also a good one for the most delicious pizza, both regular and gluten-free. Seriously - the regular deep dish pizza there is SO GOOD. The crust is all flaky and sweet.

But enough about where I like to eat out.

Glenda admits that she's not much of a cook but, she says, "I love Red Lobster restaurant. We don't have one where I live (closest one is 40 minutes away) and I always order the same dish: sauteed garlic shrimp, sauteed garlic scallops and a piece of white fish. Yummo!"

That does sound really good... but you know what sounds even better from Red Lobster? CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS!!!!

You could recreate this Red Lobster meal at home easy-peasy, complete with a gluten-free cheddar bay biscuit substitute. I made these Brazilian cheese buns awhile back and they kind of reminded me of cheddar bay biscuits. I don't think I'll be making the fish at home (one of us isn't a big fish/seafood eater... and it's not me), but let me know if you try your own shrimp and fish dinner sometime. Post your recipes in the comments!

And if you're not cooking dinner tonight, where are you going out to eat? ;)

Alright, that wraps it up for this month's Getting Scrappy With... Hope you learned some fun new things and worked up an appetite! Don't forget to visit Glenda's blog and gallery. She's always posting new things and they are always amazing!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Let's Scraplift Glenda!

Have you visited Glenda's gallery? If not, you should. Glenda's gallery is chock-full of creativity, so you're sure to find inspiration, from the design of a layout to a technique or even a theme. Maybe Glenda will inspire you to scrap about yourself and fill up those pages in your Book of Me.
I came across a layout that Glenda did last year about a trip to Calgary.

click here to view this image on Glenda's gallery)

I really liked the design with the pictures going around the title. I especially liked the misting, and as a newcomer to the misting thing, I decided to scraplift this layout and challenge myself to use up the last of my gold Shimmerz Spritz.

You can see a little bit of the gold on the lavender cardstock. I followed Glenda's suggestion from Sunday about spraying the mist on the page and letting it drip down. I guess the misting got me excited because I also broke out the maroon SEI ink pad in my stash and inked along the edges of the lavender cardstock.

I don't know if it's just me or what, but every time I mist, my paper starts to wrinkle. Am I doing something wrong or am I supposed to use my hands to straighten out the paper as it dries? I don't hate the texture that this gives my layouts. I'm just curious.

Join us later this week to find out about one of Glenda's favorite meals! And don't forget to visit her blog, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, as well as her gallery so you can scraplift Glenda! I'd love to see what she inspires you to create.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Getting Scrappy With... Glenda!

Welcome back to the second installment of Getting Scrappy With... This time we are chatting with Glenda, aka Unicorn on Glenda first caught my eye because her scrapbook pages are SO unique. You see her work and immediately know that she's the artist behind it. Her layouts usually incorporate inking or misting (which looks really cool... see below for how she does it) along with small pictures (not your standard 3x5 or 4x6) littering the page.

(click here to see both of these on Glenda's blog)

Aren't these awesome? The first picture is an artist trading card or ATC, which have become really popular among scrapbookers lately. Kind of like baseball cards for artsy people. The second image is a scrapbook layout. I love all the elements Glenda incorporates onto her layouts and I also love that she frequently scraps about herself! "
I love scrapping about me and feel very comfortable doing so," Glenda says. "Some people find it hard or maybe think that they shouldn't be scrapping about themselves because it's vain or something but I say do it!! You owe it to your family and future generations because if you aren't in the albums then a huge part of the family is missing! It gets easier the more you do it-trust me!"

Glenda's unique style has garnered her design team positions with Scrapbook Star, Scrap-Tastic, and the Gutter Girlz challenge blog
. She regularly blogs about her life and her art on her blog, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. You should definitely check it out after you read more about Glenda here.

Glenda, when did you start scrapping?
Around 11 years ago.

And why do you scrap?
I think mostly because it's fun but also to pass on memories to my kids so I don't forget because I have a horrid memory!!

Has your scrapping style changed over the years?
Well, do you remember the "Creative Memories" style where you had a sheet of white cardstock and then you cut up all your pictures into star, circle, square shapes and then plastered little Sandylion or Mrs. Grossman stickers all over? Yeah. That pretty much says it all. I'm much more into the paints, inks, stamps and Glimmer Mists now and love to play around with different techniques and styles.

The Creative Memories stuff is how I got introduced to scrapping. I still have those star, circle, and square shapes from CM! Well, now that your style has evolved, do you have a favorite technique?
Well, I use Glimmer Mists A LOT, and I like to spray it on a little thick and then let it drip down the page.

From reading your blog I noticed that you've gotten into other creative projects, as well. Can you tell us about those?
Yes! Scrapbooking has opened up a whole new world of artistic ventures, which now include ATC's (artist trading cards), art journaling, making canvases, and mini albums.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Where don't I! I find it everywhere. In magazines, online, other artists galleries, ads, etc.

Do you have a favorite place to scrap?
I am lucky enough to have an art room, so that is where I make my magic. I work fulltime so my scrapping is limited to evenings and weekends. I need to win the lotto so I can make art full time!!

I hear ya on the lottery business. What does your art room look like?
It has a wooden table where I create that is loaded up with a 10-tray paper holder, a clip-it-up, and lots of other clutter. It has a bulletin board that I can post six layouts at a time on before I put them away into my albums. My little computer desk is in it as well as a big cabinet that stores some of my albums and a lot of other stuff and some other storage thingies.

It sounds like you're pretty organized. Any tips for my readers?
Well, maybe ask me next year as we are going to be building a new house and I am going to have major storage in my new art room!! I'm tired of everything being crammed in and not being able to find stuff without going on a big hunting expedition!

A custom-built art room sounds awesome! Thanks for being part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Glenda!

If you want to know more about Glenda and her work, especially her way awesome ATCs, check out her blog and visit her gallery. Then stay tuned to Cook Scrap Craft the rest of this week for more inspiration from Glenda!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy 90210 Day!

Do you get it? 90210 day? Because today's date is 9/02/10? Yeah, it took me all day to figure out that people weren't talking about the TV show.

But thank goodness for September, huh? Cooler weather is on the way and we'll hopefully be seeing some of it this weekend just in time for my brother-in-law's wedding. (Don't worry - I'm sure I'll post pictures.) Thank goodness also for 4-day weekends, although, I'll be spending my first day off this weekend at the Motor Vehicle Commission getting my driver's license renewed. FUN. TIMES.

And because it's the beginning of the month, here is a round-up of scrapbook challenges for those of you who want to participate and win some goodies.

Thanks to the Inspired Mess blog, I found out about some fun challenges:
1. Pixies and Bears destashed her scrap room and is giving away everything she doesn't want! So if you're interested in winning some way awesome scrap stuff, head over to the blog to find out how. Giveaway ends tomorrow.
2. Hoot-N-Annie is also giving away some awesome scrapbook stuff and all you have to do is leave her a comment telling her what you are looking forward to about fall. (I'm looking forward to pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks.) Giveaway ends Sunday.

And elsewhere:
3. As always, Inspired Blueprints is starting the month off with a new sketch. You have all month to participate!

4. The Scrappiest is starting September off with sketch 79. Every week a new sketch will be released and you'll have the whole month to do all of the sketches or only one in order to win a neat prize package.

5. And if you've got a lot of free time tomorrow and Saturday, perhaps you'd like to try your hand at this week's Scrap It With a Song challenge. The song for this week is "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder. Deadline is Sunday at noon CST. I wonder if I'll be able to scrap some wedding pictures before then...

6. And the All About Me blog challenges you to scrap your morning ritual/routine! The winner gets a $20 gift certificate to Lucky Girl Crafts.

Let me know in the comments if I've missed any challenges! Have a great weekend!

P.S. Is anyone else watching Project Runway this season? Does anyone else kind of want to punch Gretchen in the face? She's talented but the things that come out of her mouth... I've never seen Tim Gunn lose his temper like that. It was such an awkward "oh the teacher is getting mad at the class" moment. WOW.