Monday, October 22, 2012

Harvest Time! (and cooking some of the harvest!)

We planted a fall garden in between the heat of the summer and our usual winter plantings (lettuce!!).  The veggies that are recommended for that time in our zone were pretty limited so we only planted cucumbers and green beans.  That was ok, though, since it gave us the room for several plants of each.  

We wanted multiple cucumber plants so there would be plenty of chances for the flowers to be pollinated. James showed the boys how to pollinate by hand but after a while there were so many flowers that there were plenty of bees and butterflies and we were able to just let them go along.  We have already picked nine big, delicious cucumbers!

We put bush beans in other half of our space.  Those we planted from seed and James added some bamboo poles that he got free on a visit Boggy Creek Farms & Farmers Market.  Something about the bamboo tied up with twine looks really appealing!  The beans are producing like crazy too.  This (below) is about a third of what we've harvested so far.  The boys didn't like them at first because the surface is a little fuzzy/sticky.  It feels a little velcro-ish straight off the vine.  We thought that would just boil away but it didn't - instead you need to kind of scrub them and then they turn smooth, more like what you buy.

I tried cooking the green beans two ways.  James wanted his boiled and I wanted mine roasted (this is about par for the course around here!).  For the boiled, we just cut them into short lengths and cooked until tender.  The did have a delicate flavor that was more green-bean-y than the store-bought.  Mine were even better (so I say, anyway!).  I blanched them and then put them under the broiler with olive oil, salt and Adams Reserve Kicked Up Chicken seasoning (bottle looks like this).  Roasty and soooo delicious!

(And in case you are wondering how to please the kids, Zack liked the boiled and Sammy liked the roasted!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Scrapbook Layout: City Museum

Here is the layout I made about our visit to the City Museum in St. Louis.  We had SUCH a great time there.  I wanted to do a layout about the fun but also try to capture the kind of weird, fun, dark aesthetic they have.  I started by putting a black vignette on all the photos, then used a dark background and added inking, stamping and splattering.

There is quite a bit of stamping on the background but it's really subtle - you may not be able to see it here.  For example, there is some text stamped on the purple background paper that is barely visible in the bottom photo.  Even the chipboard flourishes are inked and stamped.  In the future I may try to make that more pronounced but I don't know.  Sometimes you don't really see an element but it still adding something.  The splatters are a combination of white misting spray and diamond Stickles.  There is also one small star punched out of glitter paper using the mini star punch from the Stampin' Up holiday mini-punch pack.

One funny thing is that green polka-dot paper.  It is out of one of the first scrapbook paper packs I bought when I started scrapbooking and I was pretty sure I would never use it again.  For some reason it called me back to combine it with that great, current Basic Grey paper that is used for the background.  

I'm not sure if I really captured the weird/dark, but that's ok!  I may go back and add something, but I'm still not sure what (ideas??). 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Scrapbook Layout: Cool Dad Fun Dad Tech Dad

In deciding to work "topically" with my scrapbook albums, I realized the adults in the family don't have much airtime, so to speak, in my layouts!  That is part of the reason I made the Oh Coffee! layout (the other part is that I really just like my coffee that much).  But I wanted to scrapbook some things about James too, and since I was really impressed with him after we saw the solar eclipse this summer, I decided that was the perfect vehicle.

Also, I really wanted to stick the pieces of the dismantled floppy discs on a layout.  It's very nerd-cool! (Or maybe I'm nerdy so I think it's cool?)

I had a piece of paper from Basic Grey that was perfect for the background of this layout, but only one sheet.  I used it as a model to make these two background papers you see here.  I was very proud of how all my inking/sponging/spraying turned out!  There are some areas that don't look good AT ALL, but they are under the pictures.  Sneaky, huh?

I also got to use my new Stampin' Up! Delicate Doilies Sizzlits Die.  It had a very sunny look and I think turned out plenty masculine with the rest of the layout in place.

I wanted "nerd dad" and "geek dad" to be part of the title, because I think of those as positive things... but I wasn't sure James would find them as positive, so I settled for the three: Cool, Fun and Tech.  Pretty great things for a dad to be, we agree!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Scrapbook Layout: All About Us

I have recently been thinking about organizing my scrapbook albums topically.  This is an idea from Stacy Julian (specifically this book, though she discusses it in multiple formats), who is really really good at working with people to draw out what is important to them.  It's no coincidence that her online education website is called Big Picture Classes!  The first category will be called All About Us and will be layouts about our little family and the personalities of each person in it.  

I made this layout as a title page for the first new section.  The printed background paper is one that I love but that was so pretty I hated to use it on something that would cover up most of the paper!  So, I thought it would be perfect for a non-photo layout.  The very background green paper is there as a frame for the busy-ness of the main paper.  I inked and splattered the edges to make it match in style.  The rest of the layout is made of bits and pieces that I kept layering until it looked like enough clutter to make me happy!

I don't usually do layouts without any photos, so this was a bit different, but I really like how it turned out!