Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Layout

First order of business, Linh C wins a copy of the Creating Keepsakes Fast & Fresh special issue. Please leave me your email address so I can contact you.

The holidays are drawing to a close and soon I will need to return to work! I have enjoyed my stay at home time for the most part.  Time goes by so quickly and I hardly have had any chance to scrapbook.  This is the only page I have made in the last two weeks. I am not overachieving if you think these photos are from this year! Scrapping Christmas can be such a challenge because the photos tend to be incredibly busy: lots of people against mostly cluttered backgrounds.  I would encourage you to mat your photos in white or cream to help them stand out more on the page.  Of course, I was way too lazy to take my own advice here, lol.  
I am using a stamp set by Laina Lamb Design for My Favorite Things called Journal It - Calendar Basics. It did provide a break in the series of photos.  One could easily make a cute little calendar with this set but I chose to highlight just one day of the month and used it as a background for a flourish cut.

Speaking of cuts, I know many of you were good last year and Santa brought you a Cameo or Cricut for Christmas.  One thing I have just figured out in the last two weeks is that if you flip the design upside down and then put your paper on the mat desired-design-side down, the cuts come out even cleaner and crisper!

Speaking of Santa, who needs that chubby old guy? lol.  I took myself to the mall two days after Christmas and made out like a bandit.  I hope I can get back there again sometimes this week yet.  The new Gregorian new year is right around the corner. Here is to you and yours, may 2013 bring you love, joy and success!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cards with Fancy Pants

Christmas is right around the corner.  The kids are off to school for the last school day of 2012 and I am home for the remainder of the year.  I am headed to BodyPump to get this staycation kicked off properly, then a lunch at an India restaurant with my beloved, and then poetry reading at school with the kids. Somewhere in between, I need to visit Archiver's and make more Christmas cards.  I was ahead of the game a couple of weeks ago when I made these, but they go out faster than I can make them!  

I used almost exclusively Fancy Pants Designs' collections for these Christmas cards.  I had a jolly good time making them and the recipients were so gracious and it was all around wonderful! I am incorporating my cutters as much as I can nowadays.  I used the Cameo and cuts from the Silhouette online store for these two cards.  That reindeer is a Fancy Pants rubon from several years ago.

Then, onto my beloved and trusted Cricut machine. One of the new cartridges I got on Thanksgiving this year was Suburbia. It is now my all-time favorite cartridge!  Most images on this cartridge take no more than three cuts before it can be assembled and done!  I love it!  
I have a little tutorial for you using the Scor-buddy tool.  I created it as a part of the Fancy Pants Designs and Scor-pal blog hop.  First I cut out the shape using my Cricut and Suburbia cartridge.  Then I flip the cut over and draw lines on the skirt to indicate where to score. 

Then I score the dress following the pencil lines. When you turn the cut over, you can see the dress is now nicely scored / embossed with such lovely texture. 
Then you assemble the cut and add a little trim for additional pizzazz  Isn't she good looking?  In another version of the card.  I added a button to enhance the cut.  I cut out a gift from "Holiday Thoughts" from the Home for Christmas collection for both cards.  Put the gal in front of the layered background.  Add sentiments and voila!  

This is how I will wrap up my post today.  I wish you and yours a lovely holiday season. Whatever you may be celebrating, may it be blessed, joyful and full of peace and grace!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creating Keepsakes Fast & Fresh Special Re-Issue Blog Hop

Welcome to the Creating Keepsakes Fast & Fresh special re-issue blog hop.  Back by popular demand, this special issue features hundreds of time and budget saving tips, product highlights, journaling solutions, design shortcuts and more!  Yours truly has two mini-albums in this special issue and here is a photo of the cover of one of them.  
Here are some links for you so you can get yourself a copy of this wonderful issue:

What's a blog hop without a give-away right?  So if you leave a comment on this blog post by midnight CST Christmas Day 2012, you will be entered to win a copy of this special re-issue!

There are many other opportunities to win, you can visit the following blogs to increase your chances:
Laina Lamb
Jana Morton
Gretchen McElveen
Stacy Cohen
Autumn Baldwin
Kim Watson
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Joy and Family - Christmas

Did we have the snownami of the decade or what? I tell you there is nothing blissful about any blizzard except the one from Fancy Pants Designs. Eve though I really like this collection, it still pains me that it is so named!! I cannot find any bliss the aftermath of the 12 inches of snow I have to contend with driving! Woe is me :)
I don't think anyone could have predicted this time last year, we would have our last Christmas in this house that belonged to my parents-in-law for over 35 years.  But there we were, immortalized in front of the fire place.  This year, over the hill to grandma's will be only a mile away!  We might just be able to handle it in a blizzard even! 
I continue to enjoying using Silhouette cuts that are designed for Project Life.  They are perfect for grid designs!  I picked up a ton of designs during the Silhouette online store sale.  For me, it's essential to have a lot of cuts to choose from my own library when I am working on a project. The subscription to the store has been a worthwhile investment for me.  
Here is another plug for the brand new issue hitting the newsstand today: the January/February 2013 issue of Creating Keepsakes! 
I hope mine arrives soon!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apple Orchard Layout

I want to thank you all for your lovely comments and warm wishes for my last post!  The scrapbooking community is one huge reason why this hobby is sustaining to me.

Now that we are in December, all thoughts have turned to the holiday season and here I am posting a layout about fall, lol. It's one of those projects that I created because I really wanted to use up some beautiful products and because I really loved this particular sketch from the Got Sketch blog.

That date sticker I used here is older than dirt! Does anyone remember Fontwerks?  It feels so great to peel off the last sticker from the sheet and toss something into the trash, lol.  The fancy shape where I printed journaling is a cut from the Silhouette store. 
I am really tired from a late night last night attending a work recognition event.  Since the Korean phenom Psy was the last to perform, I had to stay to the very end.  I have mastered the dance and was happy to Gangnam style it with 15,000 of my bestest friends, most of whom are still in their tweenage years, lol :)  I hope to turn in a little earlier tonight.  This old lady has never gone to a concert before and underestimated just how taxing it would be!

Before I go, here is a link to the sneak peak of the Creating Keepsakes Jan/Feb 2013 issue.  It hits the newsstand next Tuesday on December 11.  I am greatly looking forward to getting this issue and seeing my little picture in there :) 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Talk about Winter Melon

The first snowfall of the season happened on Thanksgiving Day.  The temperature dropped 40 some degrees on that day.  We woke up to a balmy 60 degrees but the winds brought in the cold air and the snowflakes.  I suppose now is an appropriate time to "ode" our winter melons.

This year, my parents grew winter melons in our garden. The Chinese call them winter melons because they can typically be stored for 12 months without refrigeration. In the olden days, they were one of the few vegetables available in the winter time. Ironically and in fact, the winter melons require very warm weather to grow.  My parents started the process a little too late in the summer so we only harvested one 18-lb melon and a few other smaller ones.  Nevertheless the "experiment" was a success considering these giant melons are usually grown on the ground like pumpkins, but my dad was ingenious enough to keep them propped up and "hanging" on the trellis.
I used the Fancy Pants Designs' latest collection Blissful Blizzard for this layout. I particularly like the weather worn background paper I used.  It is perfect for my subject matter here.

Here are a couple of close-up photos collaged together. The stitching is simply some rubon in my stash. It's been forever since I used the sewing machine on my layouts. It's just too much work for me, lol.

This has been a wonderful holiday weekend for me.  I returned to the gym on Monday and my back seems to be fully recovered.  The very last class I waited to return to was BodyPump, and I was very pleased to survive it without any problems.  Mind you, I can hardly move due to sore muscles, but it feels good! I even tried out a new class called "R.I.P.P.E.D." coming to my local Y next February   If the schedule permits, I shall be a regular in that class for sure! Lastly, I returned to the scene of the crime and took my Cardio Kick class with Stephanie today.  All was well! Thank heavens!

Tomorrow is going to be church, football, and friends.  I feel so blessed!

Friday, November 16, 2012

One-Room School

Last summer when we were out in Pennsylvania Dutch country, we had the pleasure of visiting a one-room school house. It was fascinating for the kids in particular and Second Child certainly loved trying out the seats. She also did some pretending reading of the dictionary and some pretending napping on the book. 

This layout uses exclusively the Fancy Pants Off to School collection. I really love that background patterned paper with all the letters!!  It was so hard to part with such glorious beauty!  The hoarder in me was disappointed that I didn't resist keeping it forever, lol. 

The weekend is here and it is going to be a busy one.  I have some scrapping that must be done so here's to hoping that I will be able to accomplish everything!  My back is much better but I have not returned to the gym yet. Since I count on endorphin to reduce stress, frustration and for anger management, you can say things are not going well, lol.  All hilarity aside, I desperately want to get back. I wish I could say that I've used the ten hours this week to further other causes around the house, alas!

On a different note, does anyone use the Cricut Craft Room?  I finally decided to check it out and got it installed and configured yesterday. I am really excited that the tool allows me to alter the images before cutting! I still need to configure my Expression 2 for wireless access.  Other than that, I've tested cutting from my own cartridges and from the online libraries.  Everything works as expected.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means my annual cartridge shopping day is almost here!  There is a lot of pros and cons discussion comparing and contrasting Cricut Expression and the Silhouette Cameo.  I am so fortunate to have, like and use both. Let me mull over this topic and jot down a few thoughts of my own...  at another time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catching up

With Daylight Savings over, the days have shortened dramatically.  Psychologically, there are fewer hours in a day, so it would seem.  I also usher in the season of no photographing of projects except on weekends.

I have much to lament. Taking a vacation day yesterday, I went to my favorite Cardio-kickboxing class as usual.  I do so enjoy the butt kicking workout but after some particularly strenuous mountain climbers on the floor.  I noticed that my lower back was feeling stiff.  I had to skip some moves but I pressed on for another 25 minutes till the class was over.  By the time I showered and cleaned up, I knew that I had "thrown my back out." My dental hygienist remarked how I was walking funny when I was there in the afternoon. By yesterday evening, I could hardly move. Turning in bed caused the most disgusting pain!  So I guess this is it for me for a couple of weeks. I will miss out my favorite BodyStep release for the next two weeks.  I feel cheated.

Sitting and scrapping were no picnic either! If I dropped anything on the floor, I would have to yell for Second Child to pick it up for me.  But I couldn't just sit/lie around all day without accomplishing something, so here it is a brand new layout.
The funny thing was that I took this picture because her school librarian asked all students to send her photos of themselves reading in the summer.  We did the "photo shoot" one day before the photos were due. In the process of doing the "photo shoot," she became engrossed in the book quickly and ignored my demands of more poses. Oh well.

Here are a couple of close-up photos of the layout.  The title is a cut from the Silhouette online store. Those are my favorite types of cuts from Silhouette: non-layered cuts. This adorable Yearbook collection by Studio Calico is so delightful to use.  Here's a tip, it matches October Afternoon's Midway extremely well.  The color schemes are pretty much identical!!

Speaking of October Afternoon, check out what I did one October afternoon not too long ago...  LOL.  I went to the OA warehouse sale for the first time, and it was worth the 28 miles of drive, LOL.  
Lastly, I have a photo of the delicious rugelachs my father made.  Between his baking and my inability to move, I am afraid... very afraid...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween everyone!  I will be trick-or-treating as myself and scaring all kinds of people along the way soon. lol.  Last year, the kids had some awesome costumes but I'm not sure how it will work out this year.  I guess when I get home from work, we can find out / figure out how the costumes will go down. LOL.  

Here is a layout published in the Creating Keepsakes September/October 2012 issue.  My assignment was to use a clip-art and create a stitched embellishment for the layout. Most of the products on the pages is MME's Halloween collection from last year. I love love love that collection.  The name is currently escaping me though!
And a few weeks ago, I did a layout using the Fancy Pants Oct 31 collection in the sketch contest.  Second Child was a little younger in that costume.  I so wish she could still wear it because it's actually a nice warm one!  I swear costumes are mostly pointless here in Minnesota. Why? Because you have to put a coat over the costume! Sigh...  Back in 2002, I was in San Francisco attending a conference over Halloween.  There the princesses and Frankensteins do not have to layer on a parka to go trick-or-treating. LOL. 

Well, I hope you have a great Halloween.  I am unprepared this year.  When I get home from work, I need to empty out their bags of candies from last year yet.  Then they can go fill them up again for me to dump out in 365 days!  LOL.  Spook away! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas Bling and Coming Home

Today I get to go home!  DH has long departed when my work conference started here in Vegas earlier this week.  Good thing we did our hiking trip before the conference so I built up my walking muscles to deal with the huge resort and even huger conference center! Surrounded by 12,000 closest friends, even this extreme extrovert is ready to go home! I can't wait to eat some boring home meals and get back to the gym.  

On Doodlebug's blog, my Christmas bling layout has been posted. It's perfectly timed since I am greatly looking forward to getting back to my little nest. Each year, we take a photo in front of the tree on Christmas Day.  The photos always turn out nicely because presents don't get opened till I'm happy with the photos.  Incentive!! :)  This tree cut became available the day I sat down to do this layout and it was so perfect for what I wanted to do with the photo and the Doodlebug bling.  
Here is a close-up photo of the blinged up tree :) All the bling came from a single Doodlebug package: "jewels: Christmas assortment."  It is a great cost effective way of doing embellishment. Cute cute stuff!

So there you have it! Be sure to stop by doodlebug's blog and check out the amazing layouts and cards all blinged up by  its DT members. 
Here is one more photo from the hiking days last week.  Can you spot us in it? :) 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

5th and Frolic with Easter Egg

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of 5th and Frolic, I had to see it in person to completely fall in love head and heels. I absolutely adore this collection's soft palettes: sweet, serene, and subtle.  I took the path of the least resistant and went to the Easter photo stash.  I am not good at scrapping Easter photos. Here in Minnesota, April is usually still too cold for pretty Easter dresses and egg hunting in pastels. This past year, we got close but not close enough.  The kids defied my orders to suffer the wind for the sake of photos, so a jacket over the pretty dress was all I could get :) 
I totally loved the chipboard elements that are a part of this collection. I used them immediately on this layout.  As for my bling border, I individually added each little piece. That was a long and arduous process. I can't say that it was completely worth it, lol.
We are having a great time here at Zion National Park. Today we conquered the Angel's Landing, a hike that is accompanied with many warnings of death and more death.  We are grateful that we survived and have a pretty awesome photo to show for it. In total, we hiked about 8 miles and elevated ourselves 1500 feet in the process.  I even managed to see a condor resting and in flight!  We also observed some serious rock climbers on the side of a cliff.  All in all, it was a great day.  We don't have time to do the Narrows so that will have to wait for the next time. Oh it's time to get some rest. There's more to hike tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Swimmer

I feel like celebrating because I could not have asked for a better collection of papers to scrap First Born's swimming photos from this summer.  She's pictured in the photos winning her 50 meter race this summer. I also want to jump up and down for a 2-pager well done, so maybe the title is really a compliment to myself, lol. If you have sportive people in your lives and I know you do, please check out the Little Sport collection by Fancy Pants. You will love the way it looks, I guarantee it :) 

This is her third year on the local YMCA swim team already and we are happy that she is doing well.  If nothing else, she swims for a couple of miles three nights a week. That ought to keep her in shape. Even with her mild asthma, she gets out of breath after running just a little distance, so we are extra glad for this particular form of exercise.

All right folks, have yourselves a wonderful week. We are visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon so there's a lot of hiking to do, so I'd better get to it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Goodies Lead to Beautiful

My gentle readers may remember my attempt at subtracting from infinity, aka, organizing/purging my scrapbook room a while ago.  I made a small dent into infinity but as expected, infinity mends itself rather quickly.  Ultimately, recognizing that I will never stop buying more stuff helped my purging. What goes out will come back in Archiver's bags. LOL.

Here is a layout after a recent trip to Archiver's.  I just love those rose papers by MME and wanted to use it immediately.  It's a little sad that her cheeks are less round with each passing day, so it's nice to have a photo or two to remind me of what I once could pinch daily, lol.

Do you LOVE that pink butterfly by Crate Paper from a collection of several years ago?  I have a tip for you, find it here in the Silhouette store that looks so similar! Now I will never run out of this gorgeous butterfly!  Rejoice!
Here's an update on the baker's progress.  Dad made a batch of chocolate chip cookies following the recipe on the back of the chips package.  They were flat and crunch, D- at best, LOL.  He commented how they don't look like the ones he typically sees, so I guess I will have to look around for recipes that he can try.  If you have a good cookie recipe, please link me up :)   

Dad also told the kids this morning that he was going to bake an apple pie for them.  I am not a fan of apple pies, so I wanted to intervene and change his direction :) However, it turns out that he meant to bake a French apple tarte. Well, we approve! A tart sounds awfully complicated and difficult. It he gets it done before we leave for vacation, I will take some pictures.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spooky to Say the Least

I don't have pictures today to report on the baker's continued success with the oven :) Over the weekend, we decided that it was time to order what we would like to have baked next.  We pointed him to the Rugelach recipe that the kids and I are gaga over, and he went to work.  My mother, ever so frugal, disapproved the expensive mascarpone ($5 container) my dad had bought to make the rugelach.  I was more "concerned" about the two sticks of butter, but whatever, I will sacrifice my body for my palate :)

This layout is on the Doodlebug blog today. To say that First Born was spooky looking was a serious understatement.  That lost front tooth was the perfect "accessory" for her costume and smeared on makeup. Hideous, but that was what she was going for as an evil queen/witch.
The die-cut background in green is a Cameo cut.  These background cuts are seriously wonderful and cuts down on purchases in punches!  I need to play more with these background cuts, so many possibilities exist!  

One more week and I am headed for a mini-vacation and then a conference for work.  I'm working in overdrive hoping to get the proverbial ducks lined up so I can be gone.  We haven't given a single thought to the vacation planning so we will just wing it.  We'll get a map once we are there and figure out where we want to hike. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by and I'm off to check on the baker's progress :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

He Does It Again with a Pesto Wreath

Dad's baking career has taken off!  I am thoroughly impressed as I am required to be as well as I truly am. lol. This was a second take on Pesto Wreath Bread and it turned out both beautifully and deliciously!

The funny thing is that as I am typing this post, he is hovering and telling me that next up is a Walnut Bacon Herb Kugelhopf!  LOL.  Then he said to my mother about me: "Now she has to go to the YMCA a few extra times!" LOL.  No joke!  I had five little sections of this thing today!  UGH!  I guess my next post will be about my expanding waistline and his first attempt at a kugelhopf, lol. This little blog is gonna turn into a foodie one soon, hee hee. 
Before the foodies fully take over, there is still scrapbooking left in me yet!  Here is a layout I created for the Fancy Pants blog.  We were to showcase a free download from the Fancy Pants website and use it on  a project. I combined papers from both the Good Life and the Country Boutique collections for this layout. I had just gotten a box from Fancy Pants and was delighted to receive a set of artisan banners which I used immediately in this layout.   
I chose the "It's the Little Things" rubon and converted it into an SVG cut with a simple click using the MTC software.  Then I used it as a corner accent for the frame around the photo. 
This project turned out so satisfactorily for me. Since my mother disapproves such bulky layouts in her albums, a suitable solution is to frame it and have it mounted on the wall of their Shanghai home!  I will demand a photo for proof! LOL.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone.  I'd better hit the gym! Y M C A !

Monday, October 1, 2012

Panettone and Many Cards

I admit that I had never heard of panettone till I got home today and saw the one my father has made. He's been describing it to me and asking me for a mold to make it for a couple of weeks now. AS IF!  He finally used an over-sized tomato soup can to make this Christmas bread originating from Milan.

Dad started his baking career last week. His braided sweet bread was a huge hit: we ate it in record time.  Encouraged by this success, he moved onto panettone, something he kept telling me that was only available around Christmas time when they lived in Dakar.  He did a wonderful job of course. It's really delicious.  I am impressed of course. No way my first attempt of baking a bread from scratch would be this successful!

PhotobucketThis past weekend was devoted to sorting, making, grouping, and photographing cards.  October means United Way drive and auction at work!  So far, I have close to 80 cards ready for auction.  You can say that I'm flooding my own market!  I will have to brace for a few sets not selling!  I really hope $2 a card isn't too much to ask for an auction for United Way. I would like to beat my friend Heather in the secret competition of "the biggest seller."  She is a kick-butt baker and her treats go for big bucks!  Hmm... maybe my dad should bake another panettone to help boost my "botton line!" LOL.

Back to these cards...  I had a ton of fun cutting stuff using my Cameo.  My collection is ever growing with my premium subscription.  Making cards is a great way of just trying the cuts!  Here are a few samples generated this weekend.

This above is my favorite set. I love how a few simple words can be so effective for a card.  And that giraffe is beyond adorable! I hope the auction buyers will agree with me, hee hee. Thanks for stopping by and checking things out. A wonderful week to you!