Thursday, January 29, 2009

On-Line FNC at TSF

How is that for an encrypted title? Not too long ago, I would not have had a clue what it stands for! But I am quickly learning internet slang, initialisms and scrapbooking acronyms, so now I can actually interpret most of them.

So what is On-Line FNC at TSF? It is an On-Line Friday Night Crop at Two Scrapbook Friends. (Now you can see why I used the acronyms in my title!) The whole on-line crop idea was very foreign to me and I just couldn’t understand the whole concept of it until I actually participated in one. Two weeks ago, Two Scrapbook Friends held our first on-line crop thanks to Karan and Patti. It was a great deal of fun and I actually completed a layout that I probably would not have done otherwise!

Basically an on-line crop is just a time where you scrapbook in the comfort of your own home, but you are connected with all the other scrapbookers who are participating via the forum. The crop moderators will post challenges and games, you can chat on the forum, offer ideas, ask questions and just have a lot of fun! Plus when you complete a challenge you post a photo of it to the Layout Gallery and you are then eligible for a prize!

During the last on-line crop at TSF, we were to start around 8:00 pm (although you can join in at any time during the evening). So around 8:30 there I was, in my comfy clothes, M&M’s close by, radio on, my scrapbooking supplies all around me and my laptop next to me so I could “chat” with my on-line friends! I was so excited! Karan had posted a layout sketch and I was ready. It was my first challenge!

Here is a picture of the sketch.

This is my layout based on the sketch. I based the right-hand page on the sketch and ended up doing a double-page.

The next on-line FNC at TSF is this Friday, January 30th. Why not sign up and join us! It is guaranteed to be a lot of fun!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Hannah!

My sweet niece, Hannah, celebrated her 11th birthday on Sunday. She is also my goddaughter and I take great pride in the fact that she is a delightful, talented, loving young lady.

Hannah was always one of the cutest little girls ever, as seen in this photo of her when she was 5 years old.

This is a more recent photo of her - growing into a beautiful young lady. Happy Birthday dear Hannah! I hope your day was as special as you are!

Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joanne Needs

This is something fun that I read on another blog recently. Go to your favorite search engine and type in your first name and the word needs. Then search. Here's what mine came up with:
  • Joanne needs a raise! (I wonder who I could talk to about that!)
  • Joanne needs more character development. She is gorgeous and has been in the background far too long. (Amen! Someone has finally noticed!)

  • Joanne needs another ‘you can do it speech’ (we all need a little encouragement from time to time, don’t we?)

  • Joanne needs scientific evidence or support of things (like how is it even possible for that many clothes to end up on my son’s bedroom floor?)

  • Joanne needs space (yes, lots and lots of space for all my scrapbooking stuff!!!)

  • Joanne needs intellectual stimulation and companionship (sounds like a lonely hearts club ad!)

  • Joanne needs help (I have been saying that for a long time!)

  • Joanne needs a holiday (I definitely will by the time Carolyn returns!!!)

  • Joanne needs an extra star (can’t have too many of those!)

Go ahead and give it a try!!! It's fun!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Missing You

In memory of my father, who passed away last year, I created this layout yesterday using Crate and Basic Grey papers. My Dad's birthday was on Wednesday, January 14th, and he would have been 81 years old.

I also used Tim Holtz Journaling Tickets and Adage Tickets, Tim Holtz Washers, Jenni Bowlin Calendar Cards, Prima Crystal Swirls and Adornit Tiny Alphabet Stickers.

I miss you more than I can say Dad...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Confess...

I am a Martha Stewart fan. I know, I know! She is often made fun of and she has fallen out of the graces of many since her time in jail. But I still like her. After all, who hasn’t made a mistake or two in their lifetime?

I first fell in love with Martha years ago when I was a stay at home mom who totally loved the whole ideal that Martha portrayed. I loved the fantasy and hope of living like Martha some day; living on a small farm with dogs and horses, surrounded by beautiful antiques, gorgeous linens, wonderful collectibles… spending my days enjoying housework, doing crafts, baking with my friends and growing my own vegetables to use in preparing company pleasing meals. (sigh)

While I have not bought Martha Stewart Living in a long, long time, I actually picked up a copy of the most recent issue. In reading it, I was once again taken into that wonderful world of homemaking and entertaining, where everything seems easy and carefree. I actually read how to make scrumptious citrus marmalades, how to create different flower arrangement for each month of the year, how to cleverly organize my closets and how to knit fingerless mittens! I am sure Martha does all of these things in a single day, whereas I will probably not do any of them in the next year! But some day when I am living on my hobby farm, with my color coordinated mixing bowls that I acquired during my latest travels and the beautiful balls of yarn sitting in the perfect basket that I found at an out-of-the-way antique store, I am sure I will!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tips & Techniques #3

I was asked to share some tips for taking pictures of finished scrapbook pages so I decided to share what I have learned. Whatever your reason for taking a photo of your layout (to share in an email, to have a digital photo of it on your computer, to upload it to the Two Scrapbook Friends Layout Gallery!) you will want a good quality photo and by using a couple of easy techniques, that is not hard to do.

Proper lighting is the most important thing to consider when taking your photo. I always prefer to take my photos in natural light whenever possible. You don’t want direct sunlight on your layout, but a good, indirect, natural light is best. If that is not possible, I turn on as many lights in the room as I can to get good indirect lighting on my layout.

Next, I always lay my page on the floor and stand over top of it to take my photo. The page lays nice and flat and I can get a birds-eye-view. I zoom in until I am leaving just a small border of the floor around my layout. Then I literally hold my breath (so the camera is as still as possible) and take the picture.

If there are photos on the layout, I turn off my flash so I don’t get a reflection. This is where good indirect lighting is important. Take a couple of pictures so you can pick the best one.

For a close-up detail shot of the elements on your page, you will want to place your layout on a table and take the picture at a side angle to show the dimension of your items. You will have to practice with a couple of different shots to see which angle is best. Get as close to your page as possible for the detail shots. You might need to put your camera setting to ‘macro’ which allows you to take a very close picture that will still be clear.

When you are finished taking your pictures, upload them to your computer. Then you can use whatever photo editing software you have to crop and resize your pictures. I crop the photo right to the edges of my layout so there is nothing else in the picture. Then I resize the photo to less than 600 pixels. This seems to be a good size. The other thing you can do is to do an ‘auto correct’ on your photo to brighten the colors. Or you can play with the brightness levels, etc. until you like the look of your photo. Then save your photo and you are all set!

I hope this little tutorial helps and I hope to see many of your layouts on the Two Scrapbook Friends Layout Gallery!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Go Grizzlies!

When we were home over Christmas, I had the absolute thrill of attending an Oakland University vs. Michigan State University basketball game! Oakland University is my alma mater and we went to the game with my brother Brian and his family. Brian and his wife, Ann, are both graduates of Michigan State. Needless to say, there was not only a lot of rivalry on the court, but in our seats as well. Oakland University is a smaller university that is not in the same division as State, so the two schools rarely play against each other. I never expected OU to win but I had so much fun cheering them on (especially when they sneaked ahead of MSU during the first half!). It was great re-living some of the fun I used to have when I was in university.

My nieces are great fans and are just too cute!

I think Jacob enjoyed the food more than the game!

Lots of action on the court.

The Grizzlies mascot, who my dh thought looked more like a teddy bear than a grizzly bear!

Spencer enjoying a burger after the game! It was almost as much fun watching him try to eat a 1-pound burger as it was watching the basketball game!!!

Thanks Brian for organizing a great afternoon!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

We had some great Christmas lines in our store this year and I really enjoyed working with them. My favorite had to be Basic Grey's Wassail though. I just loved the patterns and colors and I used it to create a 'Home is where the Hearth is' layout.

I gave my layout this title because when I was growing up our home had a fireplace in the main family room. It was always a focal point of the room, whether we had a fire going or not, and when we did have a fire it seemed to magicaly transform the room into a warm, glowing place that we all loved to gather in.

When we had our home built a few years ago, we did not put in a fireplace at that time. I really missed not having one and when we finally designed and installed one a couple of years ago, I felt like our home was complete.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fabulous Blog Award!

Our internet has been down for a couple of days and when I logged on today, imagine my surprise when I found out I had received another Blog Award! The first Blog Award I received was actually given to me right before Christmas and I was just a bit too busy to post it. I received this lovely award from Laura (how sweet is she!) and am truly honored.

I am supposed to pass this award to other bloggers, so I am passing this award on to Carolyn, Janet and Rosanne. Love your blogs ladies!!

The second award I received from my friend Karan!

For this award I am supposed to list 5 addictions and nominate 5 blogs.

My addictions are:
Scrapbooking (surprise!)

I can only think of one blog to nominate and it is Christine's blog. She is a wonderful friend who inspires me in my faith and creativity! Love your blog Christine and thank you for who you are!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yummy Fudgy Brownie Trifle!

I recently made one of my favorite desserts and as usual I was asked to share the recipe. It is a delicious Brownie Trifle that is incredibly easy to make and as delicious as can be.

Here is what you need:
  • 1 box brownie mix, plus the extra ingredients called for on the box
  • 1 box (4 serving size) chocolate fudge instant pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 bag toffee bits
  • 1 large container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Begin by heating the oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of pan with shortening or cooking spray.

Make brownie mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Spread batter in pan. Bake as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Cut brownies into 1-inch squares. Place half of the squares in bottom of 3-quart glass bowl. Make pudding mix as directed on box using 2 cups milk. Pour half of the pudding over brownies in bowl. Top with half each of the toffee bits and whipped topping. Repeat with remaining brownies, pudding, toffee bits and whipped topping.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Now, I like to cheat a little and use the Two-Bite Brownies that are available in most stores. This way I don't have to use my oven and it is really quick to make. Also, I have a friend who made this once using chocolate cake and it was a bit lighter and just as good. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


New Year’s resolutions. The jury is still out on whether they are a good thing or not. I am still thinking about them for 2009. As I read the blogs of others they have such specific, lofty resolutions and all I can think is - I wouldn’t have a chance!

Seriously, I can’t even keep a daily resolution let alone one for the entire year ahead!

Today I will not eat chocolate… who was I kidding?

Today I will sit through a televised sporting event with my husband… does it count if I fell asleep halfway through?

Today I will finish one more page in my son’s scrapbook… well, I'm almost done!

Don’t get me wrong, I do set goals for myself. I do try to improve myself, to improve the world around me. I guess I just prefer to do it in a more general way.

One New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago, shortly before the clock struck midnight, I read the following Scripture passage as I opened my Bible: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. …Then the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4: 8-9.

There it was. Those were the words I would try to live by as the new year started. As one year has passed into the next, I find myself coming back to these words. To look at the good things in life not only brings peace, but gratitude. And gratitude brings humility. And humility brings service. And service is love.

So, my dear friends, as the new year begins, I encourage you to simply smile, forgive, believe, thank, and love each and every day. Happy New Year!
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