Monday, August 30, 2010

ScrapTiffany Vintage Challenge

This week the challenge at ScrapTiffany  is all about Vintage.  I have been working through scanning and organizing our family photos going back to the early 1900's. Last week I posted this story about my Nana. So it made the perfect topic for a layout featuring her:

Check out what the other girls did this week over at ScrapTiffany and if you do a vintage project send it to Tiffany to share with us.

Friday, August 27, 2010

TGIF Friday

Me on Easter in the mid-70's. Maybe about 6?

I stayed up way to late last night trying to finish up slicing and re-touching the scans of my childhood and heritage photos. I had somewhere around 160+ scans that averaged 4-5 pictures per scan.  It has been a huge project, but as I saw that number dwindling down to 15 scans last night I had to crank it out.

My next task will be to try to approximate dates and tag people in the photos. I also need to look into a noise reduction plug-in for PSE. There are some photo's that need some more cleaning up beyond what I am comfortable doing manually.

I still have a lot a work ahead of me, but I have several stories I want to tell.  I it has been so rewarding to see pictures of my brother and me growing up, some I remembered, some I had never seen.  And to find so many hidden treasures of my parents and grandparents in all those photos was incredible.

Of course to be punished for staying up late, Nicholas woke up in the middle of the night, and ended up in our bed again. At least it is Friday.

On the list for this weekend....

  • Order Studio Calico goodies for September (woohoo!)
  • Finish fall arrangements to get them off the dining room table
  • Go to the mall to get the boys some fall/winter clothes before my coupon's expire
  • Lunch out with the family
  • Scrap, scrap and more scrap (I hope this one isn't wishful thinking)
And here are a couple of layouts to share.  I am finished up through June my Month in Review (Project 12) layouts.

May 2010

May Side 1

May Side 2

June 2010

June 2010 Side 1

June 2010 Side 2

June 2010 Close Up (I love this fun Cosmo Cricket Chipboard)

I love my punches and Studio Calico month stamps for this project.  The photos and journaling are taking up so much of the layout space, just a few paper strips and accents are all I am doing on these pages to keep them similar throughout the year. Now to work on gathering July pictures.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Inspiration for My Favorite "Almost" Fried Chicken

Growing up, my Nana babysat us while my mom was working. Nana and Papa lived just around the corner from our house. Nana was raised on a farm in Mississippi and would tell us she rose with the chickens every day. She was up at 5:00 a.m. making breakfast for Papa, eggs and toast as I remember, and then packing his lunch for his workday.

On weekdays when she watched us. During the summers she would make us breakfast in the mornings after my mom dropped us off for the day.  To this day I sometimes crave waffles (the frozen kind) with lots of butter and syrup, just like Nana would make me for breakfast.

While we were playing throughout the day she would have her soap opera's or game shows on the TV. Most days something would be on the stove about mid-day to get a start on dinner.  All the while, she might be ironing, cleaning, or stopping to play a card game with us kids.  Depending on the year, any number of my cousins would also be at Nana's while our mom's and dad's were at work.

My favorite day each week was the day Nana would make fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner. Being from the south Nana made us a lot of southern food for dinner, but her fried chicken was my favorite. I still compare all fried chicken to hers. I have yet to find one that truly comes close. She passed in 1999, and I haven't had her fried chicken since long before that.

I have never made my own real fried chicken. After I started cooking in my 20's I realized how it was made and felt guilty cooking something so fattening. I just saved fried chicken for a rare occasion when I was eating out. About 16 years ago, I got a cookbook by Oprah's chef called "In the Kithchen with Rosie", which ironically, Nana's name was Rosie.  In this book was a recipe for "Almost Fried Chicken".

I have been making this chicken a few times a year; working at adapting the recipe to get it just right. While it doesn't come close to my Nana's fried chicken, every time I make it, I think of her. It looks a lot the same, but it is a lot healthier than that one I grew up with.

I do think I have got the look pretty close.  I usually make a lot so we have it for leftovers for a couple of nights and eat it up for lunch.  

Here is how I make it:

Almost Fried Chicken (as adapted from, "In the Kitchen with Rosie")

10 drumsticks
10 thighs, skinless if available
About 2 cups nonfat yogurt
cooking spray

Breading (I make a lot more than I actually end up using, I'll explain why in a minute)

2-3 cups of Italian Bread Crumbs
2-3 cups of flour

Dried seasonings:
2-3T Old Bay Seasoning
1-2tsp garlic powder and Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano

Wash chicken, skin if desired, and place in a bowl of ice water.  Set aside while making the breading mixture.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Put about 1/3 - 1/2 of the breading mixture in a Ziploc bag.  Put yogurt in a shallow bowl. I recommended using at least 2 pairs of tongs.  Have a cookie sheet prepared sprayed generously with cooking spray.

Dip each piece of chicken in the yogurt mixture (1-2 at a time) coating well, but try to avoid big clumps. Put dipped chicken in Breading Mixture bag (shake) and remove chicken from bag with tongs (spray the whole piece of chicken with cooking spray generously to coat (this will help it crisp) and put on cookie sheet. Repeat until all chicken is coated.  Start a new bag of mixture (from the remaining set aside) as each bag gets too clumpy to coat the chicken properly. I usually get by with 2-3 bags depending on how much chicken I am making.  Before placing in oven, spray the top of all the chicken one more time with cooking spray.  You want to try to make sure all the dried breading mixture is coated.

Bake in 400 degree oven for about an hour, turning at least once half way through.  


Thanks for letting me reminisce a bit. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Check In & Monthly Highlight Layouts

We're closing in on quarter end at work, so it has been busy. I've been getting home late. I am looking forward to the end of next week when the worst will have past.

Everyone in the house is sick except me, and I am really hoping the germs stay away. I have the worst luck for getting sick at quarter end when there is no way I can stay home and rest.

Over the weekend I worked on catching up on my month in review layouts. I finished through June.  Here are March and April using mostly Studio Calico's March 2010 Quilting Bee kit/add-on's, SC month stamps, and some digital stamps and elements to fill in my collages.  These pages for me are much more about the photos and the month's highlights than the product.

March 2010

Side 1

Side 2

April 2010

Side 1

Side 2

Close Up

I have been experimenting with making my own collages in either 8x8 or 8x12 and having them printed at Costco ($1.49 each). I pick out my favorite pictures from my monthly picture highlights (tagged using the system I started with Library of Memories).  Then pick the couple I want to be the featured photos and re-size those to 3X4 or 4x4 or so. Everything else is resized to 2x3 or 2x2, with a 2x4 or 1x4 as needed to fill out the page and work with the pictures.  I mix up vertical and horizontal and then start fitting them on my page.  I add or subtract pictures as necessary to get it filled in and pick my overall size based on the number of pictures. I have done up to 24 in a month.  With re-sizing and a double page spread it captures a whole lot of memories on one layout.

Oh and I finally figured a way to use those Hambly doily rub on's. They have stumped me, but I used up the whole pack on the April layout.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy your hump day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

ScrapTiffany Monday and a Quick Weekend Update

We had a relaxing weekend, other than that every one of the male species in this house was sick with a stinky summer cold. I am hoping it stays in the male genes and I don't get it. We just laid low, no projects, no work.

Saturday I made a lot of progress on my scanning project. I have been scanning and re-touching my mom's collection of photos going back to young days of my grandparents and lots of my childhood. I'm done scanning now and working my way through 160 or so scans that have to be split to individual pictures and re-touched. I have about 55 scans to go.

I am taking Maggie Holmes Beginning/Intermediate Photography Class starting in a week. I just bought a new 50mm lens for my DSLR. I only had the kit lens that came with the camera (18-55mm). I never could figure out what the big deal was with a DSLR, since my point and shoot Sony took just as good, if not better, pictures.

So call me amazed when I downloaded my camera card this weekend and saw some of the shots I got with the new lens. I still don't know what I am doing with the DSLR, but I just kept turning the dial and shooting
away and got shots I could never get straight out of the camera with the point and shoot.

These are all straight from the camera, no post processing.

This is a shot with the kit lens...

Same location, new lens (in auto)....much crisper I think...

Now all new lens....

Taken in auto (the flash went off)...

Taken in aperture priority (what that means exactly, I don't know yet), no flash... 

I'm not sure on these,I was either in manual with no adjustments or auto, but the darned flash wants to go off in auto all the time, so I think it was just on manual...

I am now looking for the next lens for my wish list. I think I want something that will zoom. I will wait to see what I learn in Maggie's class before I decide. But whatever it is will be on my Christmas wish list.  I downloaded  The Digital Photography Book, Volume 1 to my Kindle now to learn a bit more. I like what I am reading so far, no words that I don't understand yet.

This week's ScrapTiffany assignment was to use the color orange. Tiffany is not a fan of orange, me? I use it a lot. It works good with the boys, it goes well with other colors, I like it bright, I like it Fall-ish, whatever, I like orange. So this one was easy and made even easier with a few products from my August Studio Calico kit...

I stamped the border with paint using a round foam brush and stitched the tickets on and the bottom border and added some of my favorite punches. 

Check out what the other girls did this week over at ScrapTiffany and if you do an orange layout send it to Tiffany to share with us.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let them eat cake and a layout

For our anniversary I wanted to make a special dessert. One of my favorite blogs for dessert ideas is Picky-Palate, recently she shared a recipe for ice cream sundae layer cake, so this past weekend I gave it a try.  In an earlier recipe she did ice cream sundae brownies and used the Ben and Jerry's Phish Food ice cream so I used that instead. 

I like to prepare my pans with Wilton's Cake Release. I picked it up in the baking section at Michael's. I don't have any issues with the cake sticking with this.  I just brush it on the ban with a pastry brush.

The cake recipe is easy, dump it all in to the bowl and mix. The recipe calls for 4 layers, but I only have 3 pans, so I figured my layers would be a bit thicker, and I adjusted my cooking time by a few minutes longer.

While the cake was cooking I made my chocolate curls. I didn't know until now that it could be done with a vegetable peeler. 

I found this Creamy Chocolate Frosting recipe at With the layers I doubled it, which made more than enough frosting for my cake.

But that was a lot of chocolate and sugar to sift.

I had a little help in the frosting department. Nicholas also learned he liked to lick the spoon, (he had never wanted to before), Must have been the chocolate.  Because after less than a minute of helping, all he wanted was more frosting on a spoon. I was on my own to frost the cake.

Layering the cake...

Frosted and chocolate curls applied, and it was as delicious and rich as it looks.  

This was probably one of the more involved recipes I have made from Picky Palate, but that was because I made my own frosting and did the chocolate curls. Most of her recipes are pretty easy and very yummy. She also has some great family friendly meals.

And here is a layout using Studio Calico's May Granny's Cupboard, Trinkets and Knick Knack Add On kit's and the Addy alpha stamps from the Sugar Woods August's Add On kit. 

Maybe it is because I am turning 40 in a couple months, or maybe it is because there are some things going on in my life, but this was a bit of a soul searching layout. I have been at a bit of a cross road lately. I have worked towards one goal or another my whole life, and recently I have felt like I don't have something I am working towards. Kind of feeling like the hamster in the wheel. So I have been questioning what is next.  I don't hide my journaling too often, but this one I did, because it was just for me. I did this layout on Tuesday, and funny enough I learned a few things yesterday, that get to the heart of what I was thinking about. 

Hope you have a fantastic Friday and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

14 Years, Fish and Greetings

14 years ago on Tuesday I married this man...

We celebrated our anniversary with a long weekend at home, on our anniversary we spent the day with our family and took the boys to the aquarium and out to lunch.

Nicholas ran from one exhibit to the next to see the "fishies"...

We ate lunch at Claim Jumper. Meals out are always an adventure with a 1 and 3 year old...

Instead of eating his apples, Nicholas dipped them in caramel sauce and then ranch dip, and then wanted me to eat them....

At least when we got home, they were worn out and took naps. I joined them for a short nap and then headed to my scrap room.  I broke into this finally (Studio Calico August kit)...

Here is a peek at what I worked on for my ScrapTiffany challenge for next Monday....

With all that time off, I would have expected to get a little more time to scrap in, but my mojo just didn't deliver.  I made a quick anniversary card for Mike....

And last week I made this card for a baby shower I was attending....

I am glad the rest of my work week is short. The boys have colds, so I hope they are better by the weekend. Hope you have a happy Thursday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Musings

I am midway into my long vacation weekend, and I have spent a lot of time cooking, baking and going off on tangents that send me back to the craft store each day.  Today I went to the day spa. They had a 50% off package for a massage, facial, hair wash and style and make up touch up. I had a gift card that covered most of it, so it was an extra sweet deal.

I haven't spent much time scrapbooking this weekend. It seems like whenever I have several days off that is when I think I am going to conquer the world and my forever long list of things I want or need to do (emphasize more on the want then the need).

I did get my ScrapTiffany challenge finished up Saturday night.  This week was a hybrid challenge. I had the picture in this layout sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks that I had been thinking would be the center of the overall challenge.

Before I even knew what hybrid meant I always used to do my journaling on the computer (I hated my handwriting when I started scrapbooking). I have been playing around with digital off and on since about 2005.  I even considered switching completely to digital scrapbooking. I dabbled a bit, but went back to paper (can't resist the smell and touch of paper).

Over the years I have a accumulated a few digital goodies that I like to keep in my toolbox. There are a few things I think any scrapper can benefit from.  My favorites are:

  • Digital stamps and brushes (word art, frames, and journal spots).  
  • Actions for photo editing. I use Photoshop Elements and y favorite actions right now are from Pioneer Woman. 
  • Fonts I think are usable for journaling or to write digitally directly on my pictures. I
  • Neutral papers to fill in white spots in collages and add a stamp over.
So here is what I did this week:

The brush on the photo is an Ali Edwards digital brush from Designer Digitals. I used the Pioneer Woman Boost action on my photo, and then saturated a bit more.

In Word I created a text box, typed my journaling with the Scrap Round from Lettering Delights, colored the background of the text box with red and blue sampled from the Fancy Pants Rusted Sun papers and turned my font white. 

And the reality is I am a paper scrapper at heart, so I finished off my layout by making some pinwheels.

Go check out ScrapTiffany today and see what the other ladies did with the challenge and check back on Friday too for more hybrid inspiration. There are lots of fun things to try. 

So if you want to dabble with digital this week and you make your own hybrid we would love you to share it at ScrapTiffany.