Monday, January 31, 2011

My Favorite Appliance

There was a challenge at the Scraptures blog to make a layout about your favorite electrical appliance AND use a grouping of four photos. There was a sketch provided, so that's what I went of off to create my layout.

My favorite appliance, right now, is our popcorn maker. My brother- and sister-in-law got it for us, along with a cute bowl that says "popcorn" on it, for Christmas. It was such a cute gift and a very handy one. The popcorn maker melts butter while it pops the kernels! It takes no time at all to pop and you don't need that many kernels to get a bowlful. Clean-up is easy. And it's fun to watch! I love it and am always looking for an excuse to use it.

What's your favorite appliance? The Scraptures challenge ends today, if you want to enter.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More New Food!

I've got a new recipe to share with you that is definitely going into our regular rotation! Meatloaf Sliders by Katie Lee from the Food Network magazine. I saw this recipe in an issue of the magazine, like, MONTHS ago, and finally got around to making it! The sliders are really easy to make and taste great on their own or you can put them on little slider buns with mayo. (I couldn't find any gluten-free slider buns, so we just went without.)

The recipe can be found by clicking on this link (takes you to the Food Network website). It uses ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. And you can add or omit stuff to your taste. (Instead of using a grated onion [grated??? really???] I just sprinkled in some onion powder. But you can choose to not use onion at all.) The recipe claims it makes 24 sliders, but I used a little less than one pound of ground beef and got about 14 sliders. I guess it depends on how much meat you use and how big or small you want your sliders.

I would recommend using parchment paper on the baking sheet, as the recipe calls for. You definitely want something down on that baking sheet because the sliders will leak fat down onto the baking sheet. I used wax paper, which worked great, until I took the wax paper off the baking sheet and was left with a gross residue on the baking sheet. Never had that happen with wax paper before. Maybe parchment paper wouldn't do that? I'm not sure. All I know is that for some reason I have two very full boxes of wax paper, so I gotta use it somehow! If you go for parchment paper, let me know how it turns out.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Cardboard

So there is a picture on this blog post at The Story Matters that totally inspired me to create some embellishments. The picture is of a pillow with circles all over it. But not just any circles. Circles on top of circles. Here it is:

I really liked those circles and the way they popped off the pillow, so I decided to use some of my recycled cardboard to create embellishments.


(The dog paper is in the $1 bin at Target!)


On the Welcome Christmas layout, I used an old tree punch and punched some tree shapes out of glittery paper. Then I adhered them to the green circle with 3-D foam dots. Then I adhered the green circle to the cardboard circle. Pretty fun! 

You can do circles like this without cardboard circles. Just double up with cardstock and you're good to go! Add whatever else you'd like to the circle. Isn't it fun to create your own stuff instead of spending money? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Upcoming CSN Stores Review!

I'm so excited because I have another opportunity to review a product from CSN Stores! CSN Stores is your one-stop shop for just about anything you could possibly need! Maybe you've got a spring break trip planned and you need some new luggage. Check out all the cool gear you can get from CSN Stores. They've got a bunch of fantastic Delsey luggage sets and a whole lot more! If you haven't checked out CSN Stores by now, then you definitely have to do so! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recycled Cardboard

If you are interested in some "green" scrapbooking and you are a coffee drinker, have I got an idea for you. I occasionally pop into Starbucks for a little somethin' (usually if I have a gift card or feel like treating myself during the winter months) and began saving the cardboard cup sleeves to use on various projects. In 2009, I used the cup sleeves on my Christmas cards. The holiday cup sleeves last year were okay, so I saved one and intend on using it somehow on a Christmas layout. But even the regular sleeves can be useful. See the before and after pictures to the right. All I did was draw star shapes on the printed side of the cup sleeve. Then I cut out those shapes and turned them over for cool corrugated cardboard stars that can be used as embellishments on my layouts. You can cut out any shape you want! I even did circles, which was really easy, because all I had to do was cut around the Starbucks logo and then trace that on the rest of the sleeve and cut out. Below are some examples of how I've used my cardboard creations.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valentine's Day decor on the cheap

I made a deal with myself - only buy holiday decorations if they are on sale or cheap. Enter Target and its Dollar Spot. I found some really cute Valentine's Day decorations to spice up our not-so-Valentine's Day-decorated house. To the left: little blocks that spell out "love," "hugs", and "xoxo." $2.50. Below: a sparkly wooden heart wreath. Also $2.50. (I know. They were in the Dollar Spot so shouldn't they be a dollar? $2.50 is still a good deal people. Go with it.) Has anyone else found good deals on holiday decor? Share with us in the comments!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Food, glorious food!

Another one of my New Year's Resolutions is to make at least one new dinner recipe per week. So far, here's what we got:

Peperoncini Beef Sandwiches from A Year of Slow Cooking, a great site for gluten-free Crockpot recipes

We have a two-quart slow cooker and a six-quart slow cooker. I used the six-quart cooker because the meat was too big for the smaller one. The recipe says to cook the meat and peperoncini on low for 8 hours but I did it on high for 4 hours. The meat came out so tender and delicious (and the house smelled so good!). These are sort of like Philly Cheesesteaks, which is something my husband really likes. After the meat is done cooking, put it on a nice crusty bread (or a toasted piece of gluten-free bread), pop a slice of mozzarella or swiss cheese on top, then put it under the broiler. Yummy! I don't even like peppers that much and I liked this. You don't have to eat the peppers on the sandwich. I didn't. But cooking them with the meat gave the meat a nice flavor.
Baked Potato Soup from Shel's Creative Emporium

I tried making a baked potato soup recipe last year and it was terrible. This one is much better and much easier. We were even able to have it on a Monday night... with some prep and tweaking on my part. See, I don't peel potatoes. Maybe some of you do but I don't have time, nor do I have a potato peeler. So I just don't do it. What I will do is cut the potatoes, which I did on Sunday night. The recipe also calls for chopped up cauliflower so I did that on Sunday night, too. I put the potato and cauliflower in Rubbermaid containers and labeled them for my husband so he could easily find them. Then I left out the directions for him and he got the soup started before I came home from work. When I got home, I finished up. You're supposed to puree the soup but our blender has no lid still and I don't have a hand immersion blender. So I used my hand mixer. Worked fine. We cooked the bacon in the microwave. Worked fine. No sour cream on top of our soup. We had it but it's being used for another recipe. Feel free to sour cream and chive it up, if you wish.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just a little tidbit...

Just wanted you to know there is a challenge going on at Scrap Our Stash. The challenge is "new" and you can interpret it any way you want. I submitted a layout for the challenge and my layout is posted on the site right now! (If you submit your layout, you'll get featured, too!) Check out my take on the layout and see what everyone else is doing for it, too. You have until January 31 to enter.

Also, Core'dinations cardstock is giving away new paper packs and you can enter to win! All you have to do is click on this link and follow the directions. The best part is that if you win, so do I! Wahoo! Core'dinations is teaming up with other cool paper companies such as Basic Grey and My Mind's Eye for really awesome-looking paper packs. I hope we are part of the 50 lucky winners! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas Card layouts

I love getting Christmas cards in the mail and I hate to just throw them out at the end of the season. You may remember my way of recycling Christmas cards from last year. But this year I decided to try a different approach.

To the right is a picture of parts of the Christmas cards we received this year. I simply spent some time cutting out words or pictures from the cards that I thought would make great scrapbook layout accents. This is an easy and inexpensive way to get some Christmas layouts done without going to the store for supplies. I always have extra Christmas paper in my stash, so I just continue to dig into that and now I have ready-made and free embellishments thanks to the Christmas cards.

As you can see on this layout, I used a gold frame around one of my pictures. That gold frame came from a Christmas card. And so did the bell and holly embellishment below it. I used foam dots to pop that embellie out from the paper. Everything else on this layout was stuff already in my stash.

It's super easy (great for getting all those holiday pictures scrapped in no time), it saves you some money, and it recycles the cards. 

How are you recycling your Christmas cards this year? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Invincible

Everyone seems to be picking a word for the new year, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. I actually wasn't planning on picking a word at all but then I got an email at work telling me that the January WordGirl word of the month was "invincible". And I liked that. So I decided to make it my word of the year.

The definition of invincible is: impossible to beat, overcome, defeat, or subdue. And that's what I want to be this year. I'm sure that 2011 will not be free from trials, but I don't want to let them bring me down. I am invincible. Nothing can stop me!

Of course, when I think of the word "invincible" I immediately think of the OkGo song, so I used that for the title of my page.

I also used duct tape, per the Scrap Outside the Box January challenge, on this layout. For some reason, our duct tape is navy blue, which worked out kind of perfect with the color scheme of the papers. Those two navy blue strips that you see? Duct tape. If you want to try your hand at duct tape, post a link to your layout on the Scrap Outside the Box blog. Duct tape is used for so many other things, why not on a scrapbook layout?

What's your word for 2011?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nancy's Famous Ice Cream Cake

I know it's after the holidays and everyone is probably on a diet right now, but isn't it alright to have a little indulgence now and then? Enter Nancy's recipe for ice cream cake. Her "famous" ice cream cake, to be exact. "I don't cook with recipes," Nancy says. "I like to make it up as I go along!" And somehow she made up a delicious dessert that's also very easy to put together. "It'll make you weak in the knees!" Nancy says. "My family is always asking for it."
I added butterscotch pieces on top.

Ingredients:
2 packages from a 16-oz butter cracker box, crushed
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1/2 cup milk
two 3.4-ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix
one 12-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions to Make Crust:
Combine crackers, butter and sugar in a 9x13-inch baking dish and press mixture into sides and bottom of dish. (As you can see in the picture, I used a traditional 9-inch pie pan.)

Directions to Make Filling:
In a large bowl, combine ice cream and milk with electric mixer. Blend in pudding mix, then pour mixture into prepared crust. Top with whipped topping and refrigerate for two hours before serving. (I made mine the night before and put it in the freezer. Then before we were ready to eat, I placed it in the fridge to let it thaw a bit and make cutting easier.)

I made this for a little family dinner party we hosted last month and everyone really enjoyed it! The butter cracker crust is really good and it was so easy to make. When I told everyone I had made the crust myself, they were surprised that I went to that much trouble, but it was really no trouble at all. Just three ingredients, mix them together, and you have a crust! (Note: I did not make this gluten-free. It is possible to make it gluten-free by buying gluten-free crackers. However, I could not find gluten-free butter crackers, so I'm not sure if the taste will be different should you use the gluten-free crackers.) 

Once again I'd like to thank Nancy for joining us on Cook Scrap Craft this week. I hope you enjoyed reading about Nancy and seeing her work. Don't forget to show us how Nancy inspired you, whether it be in the scrap room or in the kitchen. Tell me about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiration from Nancy

 Last year, Nancy posted a tutorial on her blog about making a vacation scrapbook. Or should I say an EASY vacation scrapbook? Because that's what this is. When I saw Nancy's scrapbook (see picture at left), I just knew I had to make one of my own. Too often I come back from vacation with hundreds of pictures and, as much as I love scrapbooking, if I'm behind on my scrapping (as I often am), the last thing I want to do is get even more behind by scrapping every single one of my vacation pictures.

from my Toronto vacation album:
a 4x6 photo page next to a regular layout
Enter Nancy's idea, which you can read more about here: pick 10 of your favorite photos and print those out as 8x10s. Those 10 photos will be the focal point of 10 12x12 layouts. For the rest of your photos, print them out as 4x6 and place them in 4x6 photo pages. (I bought American Crafts 4x6 photo pages, which fit six photos front and back, at Michael's.) Those pages will go in between the 10 layouts in your album. It doesn't matter if some of the pictures are vertical instead of horizontal. It just means you'll have to turn the album to view these pictures, but is it really that big of a deal when you think about how much time you'll be saving? (And if you have left over 4x6 photo pages, which I did, you can use those in your other albums. I'll talk about that later this month.)

Also, instead of using a post-bound album, Nancy suggests using a D-ring album (which is sort of like a binder). It's easier to add and rearrange pages, which makes the whole scrapping experience easier, and these albums don't cost any more than a post-bound album. I purchased an American Crafts D-ring album at Michael's.

In order to keep the album consistent, Nancy used the same composition and papers/embellies on each of her 10 layouts. I purchased a travel-themed scrapbook kit in order to have my layouts look the same. Do whatever works for you. The main thing is to keep it simple. You've got tons of pictures from your vacation and if you want to get them all in an album, this is a really easy and fun way to get it done. You don't have to overthink this. Just keep it simple and get it done!

For more info on making an album like this and to see more of Nancy's pages, visit her blog and read her tutorial. And while you're there, check out more of Nancy's blog posts. She's got a lot of inspiration to offer! And don't forget to share how Nancy inspired you in the comments. We'd love to see your layouts (or shots of a vacation album)!

Come back to Cook Scrap Craft on Friday if you like ice cream!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Scrappy With... Nancy!

Welcome to the first Getting Scrappy With... for 2011! This month I'm pleased to feature Nancy Doren aka starwomanten on Scrapbook.com. If you want to be inspired to scrap about yourself, then get ready! Nancy frequently scraps about herself as a Design Team Coordinator with Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, an inspirational kit club that reminds scrappers it's just as important to scrap about yourself as it is to scrap about events. Each month the club focuses on an emotion with kit products that help scrappers explore what that emotion means to them. This means that many of Nancy's pages are personal—some even touch on hard topics—and I truly admire Nancy's bravery for putting her feelings down on paper (and in such a creative way) and for sharing those layouts with the scrapbooking community. She's a truly talented artist and you can find more of her work on her blog, Paperview. You can also find out more about Nancy just by reading below.

click here to see this in Nancy's Scrapbook.com gallery
When did you start scrapping? 

I made a "scrap" book the summer before my wedding in 2003... stuff like movie tickets, dried flowers, and photos. Then for my wedding my cousin gave me a huge box of real scrapbooking products. I didn't know there were products for scrapbooking, so I thought, "Sign me up!"

And what was it about scrapbooking that kept you doing it?

It makes me happy. I love to create. I want to remember how I felt when I was 29. [She has since celebrated her 30th birthday.] It's cathartic. It's fun!

How has your style evolved over the years? 

I used to have a grungy, artsy style, but I've noticed that my pages have gotten more linear and composed. Which I like!

Do you have a favorite technique that you use on layouts or something that you think of as your signature? 

I use the heck out of my circle punches. I love to sprinkle circles over my pages. I like to hand cut really intricate swirls. And I love to stitch. So I guess circles + handcutting + sewing = me. :)

[You can find out more about what Nancy calls "fussy" cutting, as well as some of her other scrapbooking secrets on her blog.] 

Where do you get your creative inspiration? 

Fashion magazines! I love to translate what I see in clothes onto my scrapbook layouts.

What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers?

I love My Mind's Eye, SEI, American Crafts, Lily Bee Design, and lots more!

And where is your favorite place to scrap? 

click here to see this in Nancy's Scrapbook.com gallery
I scrap at home at my desk. I'm not good at crops. I never get anything done! Scrapbooking is my job, so I normally scrapbook during the day from 9:00 to 4:00. But sometimes I enjoy it so much I sneak it in during the evening, too. :)

What does your scrap area look like? 

Not cute! Decorations distract me, so my space is neat and tidy, but not very pretty. It's functional, so it works for me.

Any tips on keeping scrap supplies organized? 

Purge! I have become a better scrapbooker since I started purging every six months. I have gotten rid of so much stuff that now I know exactly what I have. And then I don't feel guilty buying new goodies.

***

Thanks so much for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Nancy!

Find out more about Nancy by visiting her blog and her Scrapbook.com gallery. Then come back Wednesday for Nancy's great way to scrap vacation photos!


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Liturgical Year - Book Review

The Liturgical Year has been on my to-read list since last year, so I was excited to receive a copy of it from BookSneeze. I must admit, I didn't really know what the liturgical year was before reading this book. I only knew, from the synopsis I'd read about the book, that it had something to do with religion and sounded interesting to me.

For those of you in the same boat as me, don't be put off by the book simply because you don't know what the liturgical year is. Author Joan Chittister spends the first eight chapters of the book explaining what the liturgical year is, how it differs from our calendrical year, and what the liturgical year means for Christians.

Basically, the liturgical year is comprised of important events in Jesus' life, such as his birth (Christmas) and resurrection (Easter). The year starts at Advent and goes until the following November. (Chittister writes the book from a Catholic perspective so she also includes feast days for the saints as liturgical year events, something that I, as a Lutheran/Methodist/non-denominational Christian am not familiar with or have ever celebrated. She also writes about times of fasting, something that I, as one who gets migraines if she doesn't eat regularly, will never participate in.)

Each of the events throughout the liturgical year is supposed to grow us spiritually by getting us to think about Jesus' life in the past and translate it all to the present. As Chittister takes us through each event, she reminds us of why we honor the event (in case you've forgotten or never really knew) and how honoring it should impact our lives as Christians.

There are study guide questions at the back of the book, making The Liturgical Year a good Bible study/growth group pick. Although, I think the questions are more about personal reflection than group discussion. Even if you don't read the book with a group, the questions are still good for you to ask yourself after each chapter is finished.

This book would also make a great companion as you go through the liturgical year. Whenever an event comes up, like when Lent begins in March, just flip to Lent's section of the book to remind yourself why we have this particular time and how recognizing it can help transform you into a better Christian.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Challenging New Year!

Okay, you guys! Here is the round-up of scrapbook challenges that are going on this month.

1. Counterfeit Kit Challenge is a challenge blog and its first challenge will be unveiled today. Check it out!

2. Duct tape is used on pretty much everything, so why not your scrapbook layouts? This month's challenge at Scrap Outside the Box is to use duct tape.

3. All About Me posted its newest challenge, celebrating not the beginning of a new year but a brand new ending. Check out the blog post to find out more about this challenge.

4. There's a fun challenge over at Scraptures to scrap about your favorite electrical appliance. There's more to it than just that, so click the link to find out more.

5. The first sketch of 2011 over at The Scrappiest is up! There's a great prize up for grabs this month, too, so play along every week for more chances to win.

6. Scrapping the Music's first challenge of 2011 went up this week. Use the song "Things Have Changed" by Bob Dylan to inspire a layout. The details are here.

7. And pay homage to some of your favorite scrappers with the latest challenge at These Are a Few of My Favorite Things. You have until January 13th to enter.

Good luck to everyone! If you know of any other challenges, post them in the comments section!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Back on Track

It's hard to believe that it's 2011, isn't it? It's also hard to believe that vacation is over with. I really didn't want to get out of bed at 5:15 this morning, but I did. Ugh.

The time off was good. I saw a bunch of movies in the theater: The Fighter (good), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (good), and True Grit (good). We Netflix'd Whip It (kind of weird, but good) and I watched Capitalism: A Love Story (good) and The Men Who Stare at Goats (weird) on our Roku/Netflix Instant Queue. We made a bunch of gluten-free meals for my parents (who are probably tired of pasta by now - hehe). I pulled a muscle in my left thigh from BOWLING. Don't make fun - I just turned 27 so I'm getting old. I went to my first professional football game and luckily the home team won. I missed a big Northeast blizzard and the Midwest tornadoes. And I didn't get patted down or body scanned in the airports. Good times.

Of course, now I have a bunch of pictures to scrap and new scrapbook products to play with. Wee! Let me share with you.

It's been so long since I've done a 2-pager, so this was a lot of fun to create. The layout is based off of sketch 61 at Inspired Blueprints. You can still play along with sketch 61 and sketch 62 through January 15 if you want to try and win a prize.



I've decided to make a few New Year's Resolutions this year. Mainly, to get stuff done around our house. We need to purge it of the previous owner and make it more ours. Sorry, Shirley. The first order of business (and the only one we can afford right now because we can do it ourselves) is painting. Lots and lots of painting needs to be done and the first room will be the bedroom. Then we'll go from there.

I also want to be more adventurous with the scrapbook products that I use. This weekend I bought 3-D foam dots... for the first time EVER. Can you believe it? I've always wanted to use them. I even got my mom to use them. But I've never actually used them! Until now. I also want to start up a stash of mists and shimmer sprays. Those are so much fun to work with.

What about you? Any crafty goals for 2011? Hope everyone had safe and happy holidays!