Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This and That

The weekend started out with a surprise on Friday. The St. Louis girls sent me a present. My first thought when I saw the box from Stampin' Up was, "hmmm, I wonder what I ordered." I really couldn't remember. When I opened the box, I realized right away that the girls had sent this to me.
I was lamenting the fact that I could not find a really great trimmer. I've had a love/hate relationship with trimmers over the years. I've bought and tried them ALL!! My favorite is the little personal Creative Memories trimmer. But a really good 12" trimmer has eluded me. I liked the CM one, but it ends up chewing up your paper or cardstock. I always considered everything Fiskars to be the best in the way of cutting tools. But when it comes to trimmers, I wish I could be their test person. There's always something "wrong" with each one. My biggest problem is the fact that the blade flies out when I use it. I can't tell you how many times I have had to hunt for that darn blade.

Anyway, I am happy to have this new one. I used it on my Project Life page this month. It works like a charm.

Mindy met us at the club for dinner Friday evening. The weather was so beautiful that we decided to sit outside. We don't get to do that in July or August around here. It was so nice---until I was bothered by a few mosquitoes. Still, we stayed and it was fine. I was afraid the bites would trigger a major hive episode, but they didn't. That's a good thing.

On Saturday night, Connie had us over for dinner and cards. I won $30 at the poker table. It was a really good night!! I just kept getting good cards all night. I'm usually pretty lucky with cards, but not this lucky.  I guess that means I've used it all up for awhile. We'll see---I'll be playing again in a couple of weeks with the family.

The Bachelorette: For anybody watching---I think it took a lot of guts for Brooks to "break up" with Des on national television. Better now than later. This Monday is the finale. It will be interesting to see what happens. I'm betting that Brooks realizes he made a mistake and comes back. You can always count on that show for drama.

On Monday, Connie went with me while I was to judge the scrapbook division of the county fair. It was a little disappointing. There were only 4 books entered. Luckily for the entries, they will all win something. I was already wondering how it would be to judge other people's work since it's so subjective. The clear winner for me was the one that spent time telling the story behind the pictures.

Yesterday, my friends and I met for lunch and a movie. We saw The Heat. It was so good---really funny. We were afraid that the funniest parts would be in the previews which is often the case. Not this time. Aside from the foul language, it was one laugh after another. I love Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Definitely worth seeing.

Today, I did an organizing job. More on that tomorrow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What's Happenin'!

Outside my window: We've had a little break from the heat and humidity. It's been absolutely gorgeous weather the past couple of days. I wish I could sit out front on the porch swing and read. Maybe today...

I am thinking: That I would like to get the title page for our "By the Numbers" album done this weekend. 

I am thankful for: Good friends who are always willing to help each other.

From the kitchen: I haven't cooked since last Sunday when the family came over for dinner. Doesn't look like I'll be cooking again until this Sunday.

I am wearing: Still in my nightgown. That's pretty much always going to be the case as I tend to update my blog early in the morning.

I am hoping: That I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. I have an appointment about an organizing job this morning. I'm not sure why I agreed---I really have NO time to do it. I'm hoping it will be just a couple of days and I can knock it out before I go to St. Louis at the end of the month.

I am reading: Defending Jacob. I'll finish it today. It is soooo good, I haven't wanted it to end. 

I am busy creating: I finished the layout that I'm teaching at Wildwood at the end of the month. "Tools and Techniques" sneak peek:
Also, I'll be finishing my "snow globe" needlepoint project this weekend. That's good because Connie, Nancy and I are starting a Halloween project in September. It won't be finished this year, but it will be fun. I don't like to start anything new until I finish what I'm currently working on. I try to be pretty strict with myself about that. I'm pretty methodical with how I work---just plod along and finish one thing at a time.

 I'm bummed: That is looks like our little mystery turtle is gone. Butch thinks the gold fish may have done him in. He was so cute. I was looking forward to bringing him in for the winter. He's disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared.

I am hearing: Morning news on the tv.

Around the house and garden: For once, the yard and garden are not burnt up. We've had more rain than normal. Everything still looks plush and green---pretty unusual for this time of year.
Pool party this afternoon.

In other news: We're closing on our beach condo this week. Butch is going down to check it all out. The only thing I'm adding is a crockpot. I always take mine on vacation. This way, even if no one else ever uses it, I'll have one down there.

One of my favorite things right now: Playing games with my granddaughters and friends on my phone---Dice with Buddies, Phrase with Friends and Draw Something.

I appreciate: a good tomato and I haven't had enough of them yet this summer. I love fresh salads this time of year.

I regret: that the summer is going by so darn fast. Next week is Connie's last Friday off work. Luckily, we have a few fun things planned before then.

How the weekend is shaping up: We're going to dinner with Mindy tonight. Tomorrow night we're going to the Potter's for couples poker.

I've posted the "photo scavenger hunt" layouts on the AYM blog. Check it out. The items to find for August are:

1. A fountain
2. A Historical landmark
3. An unusual flower
4. A swing or hammock
5. A fire truck or fire station

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Scrapbook Room

Okay, so here it is---finally. Let me preface this by saying---it's overwhelming. Really this is the only room in my house like this. I don't go for the cluttered look usually. If you've ever seen the magazine: "Where Women Create"---you'll find that I'm not the only one with a room like this. It's full of inspiration, reminders of my childhood, photos, vintage finds and works of art. It doesn't usually look like this---mostly it's a mess while I'm working. You have to stumble around stuff on the floor. My stuff closes in on me when I work. But when I finish a project, I clean everything up and start over. So, truth be told, I'd say it looks like this about 50% of the time.
 This is the view from the door as you enter the room.

Believe it or not, I do know where pretty much everything is. A while back, I couldn't find my mists and thought I had gotten rid of them. Recently, I found them---clearly labeled in a little pink train case in the closet. All of the boxes are labeled.
 I should have painted the room long ago, but it will never happen now. There's no way I'd take everything out and off the walls to paint. So, the dated 1990's seafoam green will stay.
 The pink polka dot dress form is from Pottery Barn. I've pinned vintage pink and white hankies to make the skirt. Also, I've pinned my collection of prisms and vintage pins on top.
 The "CREATE" blocks are a recent project from my day group.
 The print box is another project we did a few years ago. It's ALL about me---photos, lots of "B's" and little things and trinkets.
 I have a couple of Christmas trees that I keep up all the time.
 I have lots of old photos that I've picked up at antique stores. I call them my adopted relatives. This old muffin tin holds assorted rhinestone pins I've collected. Can you see my "old maid" cards? They are so cute and the exact ones I had as a kid---although not actually mine.

Here's my workspace---about 36" that turns in to 6" when I'm working. Somehow, all of my supplies take over. On the left, is a Pampered Chef carousel that is perfect for pens, scissors and tools.
 The work station in the middle of the room is actually a computer station from Pottery Barn. Originally, my thought was that 3 of my friends could scrapbook with me in my room. That has NEVER happened. It immediately became my sewing center and Cricut station.

 Another day group project from a few years ago---collage tags mounted in a frame.
 Hanging on the door is my old Camp Fire vest with patches and beads. Underneath is my Horizon Club dress. The wedding dress is my mother's. It's yellowed with age and really couldn't be worn again. Instead, I'm cutting bits from the back to give to all of her granddaughters on their wedding day.
 This is a 7 Gypsies library tray that I use to hold photos that might be scrapbooked.
 I attached some vintage alphabet blocks as "feet." You could also use old wooden spools.
 Whenever I set up or organize a scrapbook room for other people, this is the most popular thing I do for them---set up a journaling basket. It's a real easy "go to" spot to find just the right thing.
 This is the pink bread box seen in the photo below. I use it to hold vintage fibers (and new) that I use for class kits.
Pink bread box on the left. The furniture is from American Signature and is relatively inexpensive.

 This was a wooden Care Bear puzzle that my day group altered a few years ago. There were twelve pieces, so we each picked a couple of months and altered them. It was fun to do.
 I have made a lot of button trees for Christmas and Halloween. They are just styrofoam trees with assorted buttons pinned on. It take a lot more buttons than you would think.

 Here is my pink typewriter that I sometimes use for journaling. If I wanted to hook up the pink telephone, it would work too. Lots of old clocks from my collection.

It's been awhile since I've taken pictures of my room. It was fun to really pay attention to ALL that stuff!

What does your room look like?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

His Royal Highness the Prince of Cambridge

I've just spent the last 3 hours watching everything I had taped on the royal family. I am so happy for them. What a beautiful family. I hope they live happily ever after!!

Have I ever mentioned that I should have been born British? I think I'll have a "cuppa."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Few More Things...

I left a few things out of yesterday's post.
I forgot to mention that the St. Louis girls brought me presents!! I loved all the spices from Viviano's, pasta, dipping oil, Bailey's and Grey Goose. They even found an old package of stamps at a yard sale that they knew I would love. They'll definitely turn up in a kit soon. Also, they gave me gift cards to Michales and Archiver's---which I used today to buy 2 brand new Fiskars punches---hexagons, finally!! As popular as hexagons are right now, I was surprised that there weren't any on the market. Creative Memories had one years back, but it was discontinued long ago. Anyway, you can bet that my class at Wildwood is going to be focused on ways to use hexagons!
Carla made me a card box that she filled with her lovely hand-made cards. I'm set for awhile!

AS IF ALL THIS wasn't enough, now the girls have informed me that I should expect a surprise at the end of the week! How exciting. I guess they had as much fun as I did!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Recap

So my new friends and members of AYM from St. Louis arrived on Thursday night. We started off with our AYM meeting on Friday morning. It was so much fun to have them here for an actual meeting. They got to meet some of the other gals and share their layouts. I'll have them posted on the AYM Blog later today.

Then it was pool time and lunch. Unfortunately, Carla had to leave early due to a bit of a family emergency. I hated that for her, but knew she needed to get home to be with her daughter and new baby. As bad as we felt for her, it didn't dampen our spirits for too long. After dropping her at the airport, I took Erin and (the other) Carla on a little tour of Nashville---downtown, Music Row, Blue Bird Cafe and pointed out a few of the stars homes. Back here, we met Stephanie and Mindy for happy hour. Butch served the drinks.

I had planned for us to have dinner at the world famous Lovelace Cafe. I picked up Karolyn and Pam to join us. There was an hour and a half wait, so we took a couple of pictures and browsed the shops. The girls were able to buy a few Nashville souvenirs.
 From left: Carla, Karolyn, Pam, me and Erin.
We still had nearly an hour wait, so decided to let Morgan hook us up at The Corner Pub instead. The food there is really good so it was a good alternative to wasting our evening waiting at the Lovelace.

After dinner, the plan was to show off Pam and Karolyn's scrapbook rooms. The girls enjoyed getting to see them. I should have snapped a few shots, but I didn't think of it. Instead, I did get one of Karolyn's new gallery wall in her dining room. It turned out so awesome!
After our little tour, it was home for a lesson. Prior to their arrival, I asked the girls what they would like to learn or if there was anything they were having problems with. Their answers were organization, techniques and embellishing. I created a page that can be used as a title or end page using some trendy techniques.
 On this layout, I taught them how to create a simple sunburst at the top of the page. Then, using a scalloped punch, we embellished the flowers with a vintage fiber and sewed on "mother of pearl" heart buttons. That was enough for one day!

On Saturday, we got an early start for Murfreesboro, TN and the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Convention for some shopping. Karolyn went with us. We all made quite a few purchases---lunch at Chili's, home to drop Karolyn and then to Nashville Needleworks so Carla could "break the bank!" She bought the hand-painted canvas for the "Gingerbread Train." It's spectacular and should keep her busy for awhile.

After a brief rest when we got home, we started in on a layout. I had told them to bring a couple of pictures with them. The title of the page is "True Story."
I decided to go with a yellow and grey color scheme---so popular right now. We talked about grouping embellishments, carrying things from one side of the page to the other to keep the eye flowing smoothly through the layout. We used washi tape, buttons, lots of layering and finished it up with stitching. Erin had put "sewing" as something she would never do on her "never list" layout and was giving me a hard time for making that layout "not true" now. I got a kick out of that.

For dinner, I served my "gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches." The little girls have been calling them that for years. Really, all it is is a specialty bread and 2 types of cheese. Recently, took it a step further base on a grilled cheese sandwich I had at First Watch. Here's my version:

Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Some type of good bakery bread---I used a 9 grain.
Butter bread, dip in parmesan cheese. Place in pan, top with a slice of cheddar and a slice of Swiss. Butter another slice of bread and dip in parmesan for the top. It will brown up nicely without sticking.

In the summer, I like to add a slice of tomato to the sandwich and use sour dough bread. Really, I like just about any type of grilled cheese sandwich---well, maybe except plain white bread.

All in all, it was my idea of a perfect weekend---nothing but hanging with friends, scrapbooking and talking about scrapbooking---can't get any better than that!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Outside my window: Dawn is breaking!

I am thinking: in what order I want to work with the St. Louis girls today. So much to do, so little time. I have a plan. Always do.

I am thankful for: tea drinkers. My new friends are tea drinkers too. They are in for a treat today as I share my tea from Twinings and Harrods that I brought back from London. I don't share this with just anyone!

From the kitchen: I have a few meal prep jobs to get ready for the pool party. I'm making BBC's for the pool and a Southwestern Chicken Salad* for lunch. For dessert----what would be more Nashville than Christie Cookies? Butch works with the CEO, so he brings home a batch after every meeting.
I am wearing: work clothes---casual and comfy, slippers.

I am hoping: to finish this post before my friends get up.

I am reading: Defending Jacob---it is really soooo good, I've just not had as much reading time as I'd like. I'll finish it this week for sure. So many moral dilemmas. It would make an excellent book club book---lots to discuss.

I am busy creating: creatively, I've done a lot this week. I plan to show my photography scavenger hunt layout at AYM today to give people an idea of how I've decided to approach it. Right now, it's still a little fuzzy in people's mind as to how they can incorporate it in to their scrapbooking.

Also, I made each of the girls a little treat to take home and put in their scrapbook rooms:
Just a little collage with their initials and a fun quote hanging from vintage French lingerie hangers. It's hard to tell, but these are small---about 5x7.

I'm bummed: that we haven't seen our little mystery turtle in quite some time. I hope that doesn't mean he's disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared. Maybe he was never there at all? 

I am hearing: Pandora---love that---Seventy Six Trombones from Music Man.

Around the house and garden: I have not strolled through the garden this week---although I did cut some fresh flowers for my guests.

I did a little more sorting in my scrapbook room too. I'll do an entire post about my room soon.

 I did get this picture printed and framed for my little swing frame. 
This was that picture I found of my mom that I had never seen before. She's so pretty in this that I'm surprised she never had it out.

In other news: I have a big weekend planned for my new friends. We're doing "Nashville" stuff today. Tomorrow we're going to the Creating Keepsakes Convention in Murfreesboro for a little (or a lot) scrapbook shopping.

One of my favorite things right now: continues to be my early morning blog reading and blog posting. But really, I NEED to get back on that treadmill. I'm such a creature of habit. I'll have to come up with a new plan. Too bad I can't read my blogs on the tread mill. Hmmm, maybe I need an iPad after all! No, stop me---I do NOT need another Apple device---even if it syncs with everything else and is so completely awesome that I don't think I can live without it for one more day---but yes I can!

I appreciate: a husband who is going to take care of "happy hour" this afternoon.

I remember: that I need to get Jordan's "kick-off to college" party invitations in the mail this week. The party's planned. Color scheme: orange (for UT) and blue (for the Lady Vols). That's about the only way I can live with orange!

I forget: how much I love to teach until I'm in the midst of it again. Maybe you can't really call it teaching, but lecturing on ideas and possibilities. I'm full of it for sure!

I regret: that Connie won't be here for the pool party today. I wanted  my friends to meet her. She has grandchildren babysitting duties. 

How the weekend is shaping up: I have a couple of projects planned for the girls. I asked them what they would like to learn or have help with. They said: "organization, embellishing pages and techniques." I've got a few ideas to share with them (and you---later).

I guess that's about it for this week. Enjoy the recipe.

Southwestern Chicken Salad (this is a a recipe that I made up a couple of years ago that has become a big hit.)
Lettuce (any type and amount you need)
Southwestern chicken (I buy the packaged type in the lunch meat section)
1 pt. grape tomatoes (any type are fine)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
avocado (optional)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black olives
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup medium salsa
1/2 cup ranch dressing

Mix all together. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips on top. This makes a lot and is so good for being so easy.