Saturday, December 31, 2011

Storytelling Sunday 1/1/2012

Happy (almost) New Year!

Last year, lots of the bloggers I follow participated in Sian's "Storytelling Sunday" series.  I read lots of your stories, but I never shared one of my own! So, in the spirit of trying something new in the New Year, here goes!

New Year’s Eve, 2001

In 2001, P. and I were newly dating, and he was living in Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square. Neither of us had ever seen the ball drop in person before, so we thought we would check it out. Being a spur of the moment decision, we headed out about 7 pm, thinking we could just walk into the crowd! Silly us! When we got to the end of the block (46th St), we were faced with barricades and police officers who kindly told us we didn’t have a chance in h@#$ of actually seeing the ball drop…we’d have to walk uptown 10+ blocks to even get into the area. We both looked at each other, and knew this was more than we were up for!  We made the quick decision to head back to his apartment, change into sweats, and watch the festivities going on from the comfort of his sofa! I think we were both somewhat relieved, as 9-11 was still fresh in our minds, and everyone was a bit fearful of what might happen in such a large public gathering. I don’t remember if we toasted with a glass of champagne (more likely a bottle of beer!), but the photographic evidence shows we did enjoy some crackers given to us from our friend Rutger! 

Clearly the pre-digital era, as this one most definitely would have been deleted if I could have seen it in advance!

A lot of things have changed in 10 years (we got married, left Manhattan for Queens, then Connecticut), but we still tend to celebrate New Years in the same home, just the two of us!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ten on the 10th: Christmas Cookies

I love a good cookie recipe!

Every year, I bake lots and lots of Christmas Cookies to bring to parties and give as gifts. In honor of Shimelle's 10 on the 10th, here are 10 Christmas Cookies I am baking this year.

  1. Cranberry Orange Shortbread
  2. Mocha Slice
  3. Cream Cheese Walnut (my husband's favorite!)
  4. Sugar Cookie Cutouts 
  5. Black Forest Cookies
  6. Cherry Vanilla Snowdrops
  7. Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps
  8. Lime Meltaways
  9. Buttered Rum Meltaways
  10. Crackled Crescents

Last year's Buttered Rum Meltaways...yum!
As you can see, I'm partial to Martha Stewart! With the exception of the lime meltaways, these are all my tried and true recipes I make year after year.  I'll let you know how the lime ones turn out!

My assembly line!
Right now the dough for five of these is in the freezer, waiting to be baked next weekend.  I'll probably make a few more batches of dough this weekend too.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Journal Your Christmas Days 1-4

Holy moley, I'm actually on track with my December Daily/Journal Your Christmas album! I realize it's only December 5, but this is a good sign!

For the album, I am using an American Crafts 6x6 d-ring album. I covered it with Little Yellow Bicycle papers and ribbon tape, and made the title piece using an old QuickKutz ornament die.

I printed the manifesto on white cardstock and mounted it on Basic Grey patterned paper. I will probably adhere this to the inside cover once I'm finished with all the pages.

I'm using the "intentions" printable for the first page. Once again, using Basic Grey paper from a 6x6 pad.

This page has the journaling for Day 2.  I  may add a photo and make it a two page spread, assuming I can make it back downtown to snap some pictures! This paper came from deep, deep in my stash!

Journaling for Day 3. Drat, just caught a typo! Again, may add photos on a second page. 
Finally, some photos for Day 4! Basic Grey paper, Fancy Pants journaling spots.

Thanks for stopping by! If you're doing a December Daily or Journal Your Christmas album, I'd love to see links to your pages!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily/Journal Your Christmas

Like many of you, I am attempting to create a December Daily album this year.  I made one last year for the first time. I enjoyed the finished product, but I must admit it didn't get complete until July! You can see some of my posts about last year's album here, here, and here.

Last year I followed Ali's templates pretty closely.  I used her 6x8 overlays and layered templates for most pages, and included the transparency layers in between.  It looks great, but I found it a bit overwhelming. I also felt a bit guilty when I didn't have anything to include on a particular day, since I had already printed out the pages. Those empty pages were taunting me! This year, I'm doing a few things to simplify the process:

  • I'm not going to attempt to document every single day. Some days I may not have anything to say, and that's okay! I have not created any number tags yet, since I don't know which days I'll actually make a page for.
  • I'm applying Noell Hyman's 6x6 minibook technique (if you're a paperclipping member, check out video #162 over at  I've pre-cut a bunch of Christmas papers to 6x6, and they are currently sitting on my desk along with a bunch of random Christmas embellishments. My plan is to make a 2-page spread for most days, with journaling on one side, photo on the other.  If I have a lot to say, I can add a 3x6 journaling page in between. 
  • I'm combining December Daily along with Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class. I've never done Shimelle's class before, but I am hoping her prompts will inspire me to write about something even on days where I don't initially feel I have a story to tell. Today she encouraged us to think about why we are making this type of album/journal and shared her "manifesto" with us. For now, I'm going with her manifesto and embracing the concept of "keeping it simple"!

Are you taking part in any of these holiday projects? Have you done anything to simplify the process? I'd love any tips you might have!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Love these girls!

Now that I am up and running with my new computer, I've been going through my PSE files and realizing how many layouts I've created that I haven't yet shared here! I made these two while at a scrapbooking retreat with some on-line friends this summer. They feature two of my favorite scrapbooking subjects, my nieces! The photos were all taken last Christmas while we were visiting them in California.

The problem with waiting so long to post them is that I don't remember what sketches I used as inspiration! I think these were both based on Pagemaps apologies if I am wrong!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm celebrating at my parents' home, but here are a few favorite images from Thanksgivings past!

This lucky lady was "spared"...instead of becoming someone's dinner, she got to parade around at the local turkey farm attracting customers!
This man makes the best turkey, and the craziest faces!
The table is set, the fire is roaring.
Dad likes my cooking.
I like my desserts!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank you, Santa

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently took Allison Davis' Sketch Support Class over at My Creative Classroom.  I've enjoyed Allison's sketches for a while, but I definitely picked up some tips on how to tweak and modify a sketch to your own tastes. This layout was based on the sketch from week 4.  I didn't deviate too much from the basic design of the sketch.

The papers were some old Fancy Pants that I've had in  my stash for a while.

For the embellishments, I used Tim Holtz' rosette die, cutouts from the patterned paper, and buttons.

I also broke out some coordinating rub-ons I've had as long as the paper!

Thanks for stopping by!  I think I've found my blogging groove again...hope to be back soon with some more layouts!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What I've been up to...

Wow, a month and a half since I last posted? Yikes!  Let's just say October was a whirlwind, and I'm still catching up halfway through November!

October began with a lovely visit from my brother in law. He's never been to New England, so we gave him a quick tour of where we live along the Connecticut shoreline, and did a day trip to Western Massachusetts and Vermont.

My dad, brother in law, and husband exploring an old railroad bridge in Western Mass.
The Connecticut River, as seen from Gillette Castle.
Shortly after his visit, we had some problems with our furnace and it ended up blowing soot all over the basement, and even a little into the house. Thankfully, insurance covered the cleanup, and there was a crew here for two weeks. They washed every wall, cleaned every carpet, and wiped down anything that wasn't in a drawer! They also washed every item of clothing in our closet! Crazy!

During all of this, our desktop computer decided to die.  I knew it was coming, as it was over six years old and was having trouble starting up. Thankfully, I had already moved my photos and music to an external hard drive for storage, and had backed up everything else onto a second external hard drive. We were able to get by with our work laptops for a few weeks while I researched a new computer. I finally ended up going with a 17 inch Toshiba laptop. I don't plan on taking the computer out of the house, but I love being able to edit photos while sitting in the living room instead of the office! While I was at it, I upgraded to a wireless photo printer too...awesome for printing photos directly from my iPhone!

We experienced a freak October snowstorm right before Halloween. We only got a few inches of snow, but it was wet and heavy and knocked out our power for two days. Apparently snow in October has a strange effect on my husband, as he insisted we do a photo shoot outside in the midst of the storm, props and everything.
Yes, he put our porch rocker and garden gnome in the middle of the yard, and even made the sign.  His bare feet still make me shiver!

I at least has the sense to put on my shoes! Our lab Melody wasn't fazed by the snow at all.

Despite it all, I managed to scrap a little bit.  I took Alison Davis' Sketch Support class and loved it. I didn't have a chance to participate on the forums as much as I would have liked, but I enjoyed the sketches and videos she provided. I signed up for Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party, but have yet to use the prompts to make a layout.  Perhaps over January break? This past weekend I went to a day long crop and was pretty productive, making a lot of layouts from our trip to Ireland. I'll be back soon with some of the recent layouts!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy World Cardmaking Day

In honor of this important holiday, I thought I would share some cards I made over the summer, but never got around to posting. All of them feature paper from My Mind's Eye Lost & Found Two collection. Love their double sided 6x6 paper pad!

This one was sent to my father-in-law, who was recovering from surgery.  Inspired by a card by Davinie Fiero that was featured in Cardmaps Today, Spring 2011
This one was for my husband, on our 7th anniversary.

And this one went to my parents, who celebrated 45 years (wow!) of marriage in August.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Look at me! I'm scrapbooking!

It's been a while. After a wonderful marathon weekend retreat back in July where I made lots and lots of pages, I've done very little.  I made a few pages in August, but still haven't added the journaling, so they sit unfinished on my desk.

Enter Allison Davis' Sketch Support Class over at My Creative Classroom.  I've loved Allison's sketches for a while now, so signing up for the class was a no brainer.  Plus, some of my online friends from Scrap Central at iVillage were also signing up, which made it that much better.

Our first assignment was to create a layout based on the sketch using a "simple" approach where you follow the sketch exactly, and another layout where you use an "enhanced" or "extreme" method and use the sketch more as a jumping off point, but modify things as you see fit.

Here's my "simple" layout:

This one features Basic Grey "Hello Luscious" papers from a 6x6 pad...I covered up the seams with photos and embellishments...need to remember that!

And here's my "extreme" layout (I completely bypassed the "enhanced" method!)

This one uses quite old My Mind's Eye paper (anyone remember "Bohemia"?). Glad to use up some of my stash!

I love that I've got two completely different looking  layouts with just one sketch. If you're interested in the class, another session will be starting up in November.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 on the 10th: Ireland Vacation!

I've been MIA lately, off enjoying my summer vacation. Now I'm back at work, back to a routine, so hopefully I'll be blogging a bit more regularly again. Shimelle's 10 on the 10th seems like a good way to jump back into the blogosphere! I present to you a recap of my recent trip to Ireland...

(Half of) Ireland in 10 days:

Day 1: Landed in Dublin one day late due to a cancelled flight; luggage missing; drove to Belfast.
Jet-lagged and sleep-deprived, but happy to be celebrating our 7th anniversary in Northern Ireland!
Day 2: Belfast to Portrush via the Antim Coast & Giants Causeway
Ken Harper, our fabulous tour guide of Falls Road and Shankhill Road, gave us an excellent overview of  The Troubles
Many of the newer murals focus on Civil Rights and Peace Movements

Soaking up the wonder of the Giant's Causeway. Second day, same clothes, still no luggage!
Day 3. Enjoyed another packed day in Northern Ireland, before heading to Letterkenny.

Patrick enjoys the free Bushmills Distillery whiskey sample!
Dunluce Castle
Day 4: Reunited with luggage! Day trip to Derry, the walled city.

Day 5: Woke up in the middle of the night with food poisoning (curse you, salad from Derry!). Slept half the day away, then managed a queasy drive from Letterkenny to Westport, my first time driving on the left side of the road! Slept some more, managed some won-ton soup for dinner, then back to bed!
The only pictures I managed to take this day were of our B&B in Westport!
Day 6. Feeling better! Drove from Westport to Galway via Connemara.
Connemara sheep were everywhere!
Doo Lough Pass
Kylemore Abbey
Galway nightlife
Day 7: Day trip to The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, and Galway Bay Coast
Poulnabrone Dolmen
Burren landscape

Cliffs of Moher
Photographing the South Galway Coast
Day 8: Galway to Newgrange, then on to Dublin
Day 9. Spent the day exploring Dublin and visiting the Guinness Storehouse
Christ Church
St. Patrick's Cathedral

Day 10. Farewell Dublin! Spent our last Euros on airport souvenirs, then headed home to Connecticut and no electricity thanks to Hurricane Irene. Hopefully someday we'll get back to visit the southern half of the country!