Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Last Noel Mignon DT Layout

Hi everyone, I'm here to share my last NM DT layout with you all :(  I had to step away from the Noel Mignon Design Team which is such a HUGE bummer. I love her kits and having the accountability to get some layouts done every week, but I just couldn't squeeze it in with my schedule anymore- it became too hard (TWSS). I still will scrapbook so that won't change - it just might be less frequent.  I hope you like this layout I made using the Balboa kit in the mean time :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sometimes the design process stinks

I have one hell of a time with my design process sometimes.  I'll get so torn between what I'm doing and what I envision that I tend to stalemate.  A  LOT.  This layout was one that came together through a lot of trial and error, but finally I got through all the errors and was able to make a nice layout (IMHO).  Thanks to MME for the supplies; here's my slow and annoying process for your enjoyment :)

"OK I like how this is shaping up. but I hate the diagonal stripes on the end. The stripes MUST be in the middle. obviously."

"OK this looks better. I like the stripes in the middle, but now I'm starting to think the right hand side is way too empty.  Let's start piling shit on"

"OK. I piled way too much shit on"

"OK, after removing the gold circles it still looks too busy"

"OK, after removing the gold flourishes it still looks too busy.  And that black flower chipboard piece is too black for what is supposed to be a soft layout. I hate this layout. I'm going to bed."

 "Eureka! Remove the extra shit, schooch everything up so there's still negative space but NOT too much and anchor the journaling card with a doily.  Fuck yeah brother"

Boo-yah!  Took a couple a days but eventually my mind and my hands caught up with each other ;)  Does anyone else obsess like a crazy person about their layouts?? No, just me?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strawberry Jam for Beginners

Hi everyone! Charlie and I had a great time making 3 batches of fresh strawberry jam a while back so I thought I'd share how to do it for anyone interested in giving it a go.  I love to can, and I used to can all the time back before Charlie was born.  However I haven't canned for quite a while because I've been nervous about the heat and how grabby Charlie was.  Now that he's almost 4 I thought he could definitely help me this year so we gave it a go!  We picked a LOT of fresh strawberries and then made jam the next day.  I'll try and share where Charlie helped too, that way anyone with little kids around can make it as well :)

Here's what you'll need to get started

Mason jars (I chose a larger size because my husband eats jam like a fiend), a strainer, and a big bowl

A jam canning kit, a potato masher, and a cup measure.  There are lots of canning kits out there nowadays, I bought mine 5 years ago and still love it.

A small saucepan, a big pot, and a pressure canner or a big sauce pan.  I love my pressure canner (I've had it for almost 7 years!) because I don't have to worry about something boiling over, it's really big and can fit a lot of jars, plus I'm able to can things besides jam, like salsa and chicken stock.

A buttload of strawberries (child labor helps here *cough cough*), and NOT PICTURED- one packet of dry powdered pectin, 7 cups of sugar, 1/2 tsp butter.

Now on to the jamming!

Step 1.

Rinse your strawberries and then cut them in to quarters.  Charlie used a butter knife to help here but loved doing it, and he did a pretty decent job too! They'll all be mashed later so it doesn't matter if they turn to mush ahead of time.  While you're doing this fill your pressure canner with water and heat on high.  Put your jars in the pressure canner ensuring they are below the water line.  Also fill your small saucepan with water and bring to a light simmer.  Add the lids for the jars and keep an eye on the water so it doesn't evaporate away.  Make sure this pan isn't boiling, or else the glue in the lids could dissolve away.

Step 2. 

Mash 'em up! Use a potato masher or the flat side of a spoon and mash those strawberries into a liquid-esque state. Charlie wasn't great at mashing but he loved pretending!  Measure out 5 cups of mashed strawberries for one batch of jam.

Step 3.

Add your strawberries plus a teeny tiny pat of butter (1/2 tbsp) into a large saucepan and heat on high. The butter supposedly helps with the foaming but my jam is usually foamy and I don't give a care.

Step 4.

Once the strawberries are boiling add 7 cups of sugar (yikes! I know it sounds nuts, but also keep in mind most people only use a little jam at one time) and one packet of DRY (NOT LIQUID or it won't set) pectin.

Step 5.

Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Boil vigorously for 1 minute- use a timer to make sure you're getting the timing down correctly.  For this part I made Charlie wait far away since hot + sugar = pain.  Turn off the heat and skim off the foam (if you care, I don't) and then prepare your jars.

Grab a jar from the hot canner and empty the water back in to the pot.  Place on a dish towel

Use a funnel to ladle your jam in to the jar, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace at the top (don't fill too high or your jars could explode)

Wipe down the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel to ensure there's no jam that could prevent the lid from sealing.  Grab a lid from your small saucepan and place on top of the jar.

Use your jar clamps to hold the jar while you twist on a ring top.

Place jar back in the pressure canner and repeat until all jam is used up.  Place the lid on the pressure canner and bring water to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes and remove jars from the water to a clean dish towel (there will be some popping noises).
After your jars are cool press the lids on each one to ensure there is a good seal.  If the lid pops up after you press it than the jar didn't seal properly.  No worries though, just put the jar in the refrigerator and eat it like normal! All the other jars can be stored in the pantry.

And voila! Easy peasy strawberry jam! We love this stuff at our house- give it a shot :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Mind's Eye Guest Designer Post #2

Hi everyone! I'm sharing the second half of my projects for my Guest Design spot at My Mind's Eye- which was so fun! Aren't these Market Street lines totally amazing? I love the gold and the florals and the prints and the die cuts and the washi and the journaling cards and pretty much all of it ;)

Here's a layout I made using the Nob Hill Market Street line featuring Mr. Charlie giving me "head hugs" last year :)

This is a mini album I made from Robb and I's trip last May to Puerto Rico (can I go back pretty please??).  I used a 5x7 photo for the cover along with some of the Necessities- Wood line by MME.  I bound the album with ribbon and twine to give it a rustic feel.

The back cover is made with a sheet of MME wood veneer which I just love! It's sturdy plus it looks awesome as a cover. 
OK that's it for my MME projects, I hope you enjoyed them :) I love MME, their lines are always so cute and versatile. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Minds Eye Guest Designer Post #1

Hi friends! As I mentioned yesterday I had the amazing opportunity (thanks to Stephanie Howell!) to Guest Design for My Minds Eye- one of my favorite scrapbooking companies.  They were so generous to give me 3 gorgeous lines to work with and I had a blast coming up with these projects.  It's a bit picture heavy so I plan on splitting it up between 2 days :) Here are my first 2 projects:


Photo Wall

I have had this really ugly and boring back wall in my scrapbook room for ages and a few months ago I decided I wanted to make a cute/Pinterest-worthy photo collage wall to spice it up.  So I started collecting frames and then never did a damn thing about it.  Until I saw the gorgeous 8.5x11 prints that were sent to me by MME, that is! They were perfect! Alas, I finally got some motivation to get my photo wall going and I LOVE how it turned out. 

Part of the reason I never got off the ground with this project was also that I don't know how to hang pictures.  And Robb is too busy to do it for me, so that dampened my flame a wee bit.  Eventually I did discover, however, that 3M makes these awesome photo hanging strips! They are THE best and I was able to do my whole project by myself in no time flat thanks to these puppies.  They even hang heavy frames, plus they don't leave marks on the wall.  Can't reccomend 'em enough!

Anyways, those are my projects for today- I hope you like them!