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August 2010

2 Years old - the layout

I finally got around to the cute pictures of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh's 2nd birthday party... she actually turned two while we were at our reunion, but they had the family party back in Virginia before heading out to California.  Erin made a super cute Minnie Mouse cake and cupcakes and Eraleigh was spoiled rotten with fun little gifts from the family.  So I did an over the top layout for our over the top little two year old.

2 - Full layout

Lots of pink, flowers and jewels and of course Mickey and Minnie!  Those were stamps that I colored and cut out.

2 - Page 1 

2 - Page 2 

And some close-ups, naturally.

2 - Detail 1 

2 - Detail 2 

2 - Detail 3

That's it!  Now I'm off to watch my Sunday night Food Network shows and get ready for my last week before my school break is over.  More later!

Home sweet home

I've wanted to do a layout about my house for a while now... there are so many things about it that I just love and it's very comfortable and very *me.*  I wanted to capture that and so I took a few pictures and printed them out for a layout.  I loved this American Crafts Abode  line when I saw it because the colors were so perfect for my house. So of course I got it and I've been saving it until I got around to this project.

Home Sweet Home 

And since I always want to look closer at 2-page layouts, I took pictures of each side as well.

Home Sweet Home Page 1 

Note the flowers on the coffee table... they had 2 stems of my favorite stargazer lilies on sale at the grocery store yesterday so I picked some up.  I adore the smell... I just sit and drink it in. (Although I remember one time I had some of these and Nicole put them in another room and shut the door because it was so strong!  Whatever.  I love it!)
Home Sweet Home Page 2 

And a few close-ups... I layered puffy plastic flowers with chipboard buttons and glitter buttons, sticker labels and ribbon.  For the flower sticker, I wanted to tie in the puffy flowers and the varnish on some of the patterned paper, so I went over the center of the flowers with dots of Perfect Pearls - it looks pretty cool!

Home Sweet Home Detail 1 

Home Sweet Home Detail 2
And can I just say that this blog post came together at least 10 times faster than it would have taken last week?  Frustration with my computer is half of the reason I haven't spent more time in my craft attic lately so I'm hoping that now I'll come up and play more.  At least until school starts again in a week, but even then, I think I'll probably be up here more on the weekends, especially once the weather cools down.

That's it for now... off to fix some dinner!

A beautiful day.

And I'm not just talking about the weather, although it's pretty gorgeous outside now that I think about it.  Anyway, Thursday afternoon, Mr. FedEx showed up at my door and made me a happy girl.

New Dell 1

New Dell 2

I worked from home Thursday so I could be there to sign for the delivery and then after I finished work, I hauled my new baby upstairs and swapped it out with my old computer.  I got all my peripherals attached and installed... I had to do a little searching online to get new drivers since I upgraded my OS, but so far so good.  I got Microsoft Office 2010 installed... got iTunes set up... switched my Photoshop license over and I'm moving!  It's such a beautiful thing to have programs open in seconds instead of minutes... pulling photos off my camera is super fast (not to mention the convenience of my 19 in 1 built in card reader!)  And I'm actually blogging while listening to music and with Photoshop open and no warnings that I'm out of memory or sudden crashes! 

Yes.  It's a beautiful day :)  Now I'm off do to some scrapbooking!

Eggplant, peaches and carousels

This weekend I was feeling more myself again... I did some cooking and baking and instead of sweating it out up in my attic (it's been up around 100 degrees... yikes!) I pulled together my own little scrapbooking crop kit to take down to my nice, cool living room so I could scrapbook while I watched movies.

First, I found these cute little eggplants from Mexico at the store and immediately had a fun idea for them... they were only about 4" long and I thought they would make a fun little eggplant napoleon.  I kind of modified the idea of eggplant parmesan for this.  I sliced the eggplants and salted them to remove bitterness, then I battered them with an egg and milk wash and some uncooked instant polenta and did a quick fry.  Then I layered them with a nice Norwegian style cheese (blanking on the name) and some tomato basil sauce.  Yum!

Eggplant Napoleon
The Perfect Finish CookbookYesterday, I did some baking.  I read about this amazing cookbook on a food blog and after looking at the preview on Amazon, I went ahead and ordered it.  I was reading through it and absolutely DROOLING over the recipes.  This could be dangerous.

Since it's summer, I wanted something a little lighter (if a decadent baked dessert can be light), so I went with peaches.  It's a candied bacon peach cobbler and it's yummy!  Of course, the candied bacon on its own is divine.  It took all my will power to crumble it all up and put it in the food processor instead of just eating it!  Here's the finished product:

Candied Bacon Peach Cobbler
If you like to bake, this is a fantastic cookbook.  The instructions are very well written (both US and metric measurements too) and the recipes all look divine.  I'm not sure whether my next attempt will be the vanilla molten cake, the sea salt, caramel and chocolate ganache torte, or the homemade butterscotch dulce de leche pudding in teacups.  All I know is I'm going to have to space out my usage of this book!

And now for carousels... as I said, I hauled my scrapbooking goodies downstairs to scrap - I made a fun little pennant shaped mini album of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh and the carousel at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  I thought the Dear Lizzy line from AC was just perfect for this!  I had a hard time getting good pictures, but it was fun to  do all the little details and embellishing on this.  So here's the album.

AC - Carousel Mini Album

And a view of the back cover:

Carousel Mini Back Cover
So that's it for now... I found out that my computer shipped about a week ahead of schedule so it should be here at the end of this week... I know how I'll be spending my Pioneer Day weekend!  I can't wait!


Beach Baby

After more than a week of having no energy to do anything more than come home from work and flop on the couch with a book, tonight I was actually in the mood to do something.  Yay!  I knew I needed time to recover from the end of school and everything I was doing to get ready for vacation so I just enjoyed all the relaxing.  I moved all my photos off my memory cards and onto my external drive and actually printed off a few to do a layout!  I know, it's been a while.  These are from our first full day in Santa Cruz on the beach.

Beach Baby
Most everything on here is from the American Crafts Heat Wave collection.  I also used some Dear Lizzy AC Silhouette designs, some older stickers, brads and alphabet stickers and added Stickles, staples and some Washi tape.  It was really fun to get back to scrapbooking and doing projects for myself... it's been a while!  And seriously - how cute is that crab? (The crab is inadvertently symbolic... Eraleigh had periods where she was SUPER crabby!  hee!)

Here's a little close-up:

Beach Baby Close-up
I have another project in mind for this weekend, plus I still want to finish my safari album and I really need to get back and finish Steph's wedding album!  But for now, I'm out of energy and headed to bed :)

After months of whining...

via well as months of saving up, I bought a new computer. YAY!!! The thought of moving everything over and reinstalling isn't exciting, but it shouldn't be too bad and it will be more than worth it. Only a few more weeks of me moaning and complaining about my super slow computer with the crapped-out display driver that will only support one program at a time. My existing computer is about 7 years old and I think it's actually a Pentium processor if that tells you what I'm working with. I'm excited for the day when I can run Photoshop and iTunes at the same time and not have to wait 10 minutes for my files to open. Music downloads in less than an hour... ah. I need to stop day dreaming - it's still about 2 weeks until delivery. lol.

Trip Recap Part 2: Monterey

I love Monterey.  LOVE it!  I totally miss being there, spending time with family, eating yummy food at Asilomar (their chef is awesome), the cool weather and the sound of the waves.  That's probably the only place in California where I would really love to live.  But until I have a few million laying around to get a house there, I'll have to settle for visiting :)

This is probably going to be our last reunion in Monterey for a while, so I took tons of pictures.  I'm going to miss going there so much!

A big group of us met at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing before going over for afternoon check-in at Asilomar.

Phil is famous for his cioppino (which is what Ryan always gets) - he actually beat Bobby Flay in a throwdown.  Of course, most of us who went actually don't like seafood.  lol.  Their fried artichoke hearts were awesome, though.

After check-in, we gathered in our lodge and hung out along the benches as the family rolled in.  My cousin Natalie and her husband Jon brought their new baby, Ethan.  He's a miracle baby... both in the story of his birth and the fact that he was potty trained at 4 weeks.  lol.  We didn't believe that was possible, but proof was provided.  We're all expecting big things from Ethan ;)


During our family gathering on the first night, we gave family reports and we all had to come up with a recognizable song to play on our one-note seashell pipes.  That was challenging.  Then, since it was Eraleigh's actual birthday, the entire family sang "Happy Birthday" to her.  As you can see, she hates being the center of attention.

On Saturday morning, we decided to head into Monterey to see Fisherman's Wharf.  A bunch of us carpooled over there and were excited to see TONS of harbour seals sunning themselves.  It was so cool!  But boy did they stink.

We shopped and got caramel corn and other goodies... Nicole and I also found some fun blown glass seahorse ornaments to add to our eclectic Christmas tree ornament collections. 

After lunch came the family volleyball tournament.  It was a bit smaller this year since we had groups trying to go to the aquarium before some of the family had to leave before our day out on Monday... as usual, Mom got funky things for everyone.  This year we had to wear jungle hats while playing.  The prize for the winning team was Pop Rocks, but they didn't want to wait and broke into the stash.  IMG_3115
I was a zebra. 

And then they played.  The most beautiful volleyball court ever!

That night after dinner was our traditional White Elephant Gift Exchange.  This is usually a crap-shoot.  You can get something really cool or something totally funny.  I think the Windmill Mole Chaser sets were at the top of the list this year.

There were a few things that got fought over... an iron wood road runner carving, an air gun, a cheetah print snuggie... Mom brought this hysterical clown face kit that Kim's fiance Brian ended up with (until Aunt Pam stole it... lol).

Sunday morning a few of us got up early for a nature walk... we went out through the Asilomar sand dunes to the beach where we walked along looking for tidepools and admiring all of the gorgeous plants.  IMG_3202
On this walk, I went with my Aunt Annette, my Aunt Annie and my Uncle Tommy.

After breakfast, we had a family testimony meeting.  And here's Eraleigh, being cute while everyone was gathering.

Then we took family photos (because taking pictures immediately after an emotional testimony meeting is always a good idea.  lol).  I'll have to get the big group shot from Uncle Merrill, but here's us with Grandma Kimball.

And Nicole showing off the baby belly...

From lunch until dinner, we worked on tying a quilt for Kim and Brian's wedding gift (just a few more weeks!) and working on scrapbooking.  Each family made up the reunion scrapbook kit that I had put together and then I brought tons of supplies with me so everyone could work on scrapbook pages for our present to grandma for her birthday.  We made an A to Z scrapbook where we had at least one layout for every letter of the alphabet, including each person, family and lots of other fun topics.  It was like running a marathon!  We managed to get an enormous album completed in one afternoon.  Whew!  I didn't take pictures, but Brian snapped a few.

I snapped a picture of the view walking down to dinner that night... Asilomar is just a gorgeous place to stay!

This post is already too long... but let's finish it off!

Monday morning, Rick, Erin, Eraleigh, Mason and I went to the aquarium.  I always love going there, and Eraleigh loves fishies so I thought it would be fun.  Aside from 2-year old tantrums at regular intervals, it was great.

Eraleigh was enchanted with the tropical fish tank (this is where Nemo and Dory live, after all).

And I love the jellyfish.  This picture turned out pretty good, if I say so myself.

And Rick and Erin in a giant clam.  Because that's always fun.

After the aquarium, we ate a late lunch in the car and then drove back to drop off the wee one.  We picked up a different group and headed back to Monterey to go to Cannery Row... Ghiradelli and shopping!  Woohoo!

Nicole and my cousin Kris at Ghiradelli.  Their sundaes are ridiculously over-priced, but oh so delicious.

After ice cream, we went to our favorite shop, Treasures of Monterey.  Nicole and I both indulged.  We decided it was time to get back for dinner and to get ready for Grandma's birthday party.  We all wrote her a note in a card in addition to the scrapbook.  Even Eraleigh wrote a card!

At the birthday party, mom and her brothers and sisters each told memories and stories about grandma, which I think was really fun for all of us.  Then we had a talent show.  My cousin Anna's kids Meryl Rose and Kimball did a duet of a song that Kimball composed... the lyrics were really cool!  We have such a talented family.

We also had singing, fantastic piano numbers and the Allen Kimball family performed a primary song (Pioneer Children) with these whack tube things.  I think they're supposed to be used on the floor, but they used each others' heads.  It was hilarious.  And Rick and Erin swing danced (and Eraleigh and Mason joined in).

We presented Grandma with her scrapbook and the cards from everyone... I think she really loved it and will pour over it!


Tuesday morning before we left, we took another nature walk and Mason came (he wants to be a marine biologist).  We found some fun stuff... starfish, little sea urchins, crabs and more.  It was cool.

After breakfast, everyone got packed up and started to take off... always my least favorite part.  But as Dr. Seuss says, "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."  And I smile every time I see these pictures... especially this one.  "Bye Genny!" (that's what she calls me... well, when she isn't calling me 'Colie.  lol :)

So that's it!  A little while later I had lunch with Tommy and Annette and then took off to drive home.  I ended up staying the night in Wells, Nevada before heading back to hot and hazy Utah.  But it was wonderful and I can't wait to see everyone next time.

I uploaded most of my pictures to an album here for anyone who wants to see more photos... especially  lots of photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh!

Trip Recap Part 1: Santa Cruz

I'm slowly but surely starting to get photos uploaded... Typepad doesn't have a bulk upload tool for Windows 7 which is making things a lot slower.  I'll get there, though!

WARNING:  LOTS of photos ahead!!!

So last week I drove out to California on Wednesday and made it into Santa Cruz around 7:30pm... I actually beat my family so I hung around in the hotel lobby waiting for them. Eraleigh was a little leery of me when they first got there (I haven't seen her for 6 months), so I bribed her with a toy :D


The next day we went to the boardwalk.  I'd never been here before so it was really cool.


And then Eraleigh saw something she liked.  She loves the carousel.  Tickets had to be bought.


She road it several times... in fact, one time I got on it too.  I even mounted up and rode a horse!  I'm sure that was quite a site.  Erin got pictures, but I don't think I want to see them.  lol.


After walking on the beach and a few screaming tantrums (she's two.  SO two.), we had a little boardwalk classic:  the funnel cake.  Eraleigh got her first taste.  I think she liked it.


Then we headed back to the car to go out for an early dinner and a break at the hotel before going back for the evening.

This picture is just cute.


Mom and Dad went to Pacific Ave. to find a skater shop so Dad could get a hat.  Mom got one too.  They're feeling cool.

After dinner we stopped at the mall to take Eraleigh shoe shopping... she was in need of some shoes that weren't sandals for the cool air in Monterey.  She definitively eschewed the practical shoes and went straight for the pink, sparkley ones.  Once we determined that these were THE shoes and nothing else would suffice, we couldn't get her to take them off.  We had to put her on the counter to ring them up.


She pranced around all night, showed everyone her sparkley shoes and even did a twirl for me so I could see all angles.  They were super cute.

Back at the boardwalk that evening, we went in search of kiddie rides and found several that big people couldn't go on... Erin decided to see if Eraleigh could handle doing rides on her own.

Nary a tear.

She road cars, boats and little orcas.  I also took her on a dragon ride which she loved.  We couldn't believe how much she loved it... our independent little adventurer!


And mom and Rick road the Tornado (or whatever it's called) which was pretty funny to watch.


From there we had ice cream and then Eraleigh rode the carousel again with her grandma


And then we said goodbye to the boardwalk and headed back to the hotel to rest up before heading out to Monterey on Friday morning.

Wow.  I took a LOT of pictures in Santa Cruz.  lol.

Back home and catching up.

The last week has been wonderful... no school, no work, no real worries.  Even the drive back and forth from my house to Monterey was relaxing since I could just kick back, put on some good music and enjoy the beautiful drive.  I've got tons and tons of photos to sort through and with my ancient computer it's going to take a while, but I'll get there!

In the meantime, I meant to put up a few posts before I left and it just didn't happen... too much to do at the last minute and I decided getting a little extra sleep before hitting the road should probably be a higher priority :)  Sorry for the picture heavy post.

First, I had a bridal shower for a friend at work and made her a fun little card for the gift my friend Melissa and I gave her... lots of fun American Crafts goodies:


IMG_2724 The second project is the one that sucked the majority of my free time over the last few months... Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh's birthday present.  My mom and I have been looking for a good quiet book for a long time and never found one that was as good as the one she made me when I was a little girl.  Then I looked for patterns but still couldn't find anything I liked.  So, I decided to just make one up for her.  I bought a few basics - duck cloth for the pages (it's like canvas), snaps, hooks and velcro and some clear vinyl and clear thread.  Everything else I already had... I just went to town!  I made some sketches of the pages but mostly made it up as I went along.  Almost everything is hand cut and stitched (with the exception of a few diecut flowers and the stitching on the edges of the pages).


IMG_2731 Inside pages:

IMG_2738 On the farm page, I bought the finger puppets... I thought about making them and then realized that was crazy.  lol.

For the butterflies, I used Creative Imaginations felt butterflies and embellished them.  For the paper doll page, I used my Cricut Dress-up Paper Doll cartridge to make patterns for the doll and clothes.


So that's it!  I put grommets in the pages and put it on rings so if I decide to make more pages they can just add to the book.  Now I've got about two years to make the next one for Nicole's little girl.

And to skip ahead into vacation pictures, I gave the book to Eraleigh on her birthday while we were waiting for family to join us at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing.  She loved it!






k, that's it for now.  Lots more photos to go through... unpacking and laundry... etc..  I'm really glad that tomorrow is Friday!  Getting back up to speed at work made me feel like I went through the first four days of the week all in one day.  I'm just glad there's no class tonight... such a nice little breather!