2/23/24

Bash Bowl 2024: Happy Holidays 2023

After scrapping our family photo from Christmas for Bash Bowl Game 1, I used the prompt a second time to scrap our holiday card. Between the colors I used and the fact that the photo was taken in July, this is officially the least-Christmasy Christmas layout I've ever made. 

Happy Holidays 2023 (affiliate link)

I used three of the Game 1 prompts for this page. Maybe. Let me know if you think I deserve all three points. 
  • I feel confident that the "may your days be merry & bright" sticker counts for a song lyric. That's one point. 
  • I'm fairly confident that the metallic star stickers are shiny. Two points. 
  • Do my background stripes count as a rainbow? I cut apart a striped paper and rearranged the colors into rainbow order. Without red, orange, or purple, it's half a rainbow at best. But it wouldn't be on my page that way without the prompt. I don't think half points are allowed, but I'm calling this two and a half points!
Trevor has had the previous week off from high school (college classes still met), so he and I took two local field trips as part of his Senior Project. I'll tell you about them next week. 

2/22/24

Bash Bowl 2024: Christmas 2023

Bash Bowl is back and I'm excited to be playing along! There are some changes this year: there are three 1-point elements (previously there were five) and one 2-point element per game with a 5-point touchdown (instead of 7); we do not need to submit a 'before' photo; and each game is only three days long. I'm playing for the Scrappin' Banshees this year. Goooo Banshees!

Here is the playbook for Game 1: 


I was not happy when I saw this first playbook. The pictures I printed wouldn't make sense with a rainbow, and I couldn't think of any song lyrics or quotes that fit them either. I don't use a lot of shiny stuff in general, and I don't like interactive elements that get hidden in a page protector. Ugh. I could force all of those onto a page, but I wouldn't be happy with the results. I decided to just go for a single point: shiny. 

I matted our group photo from Christmas, then used shiny gold tape and a fun patterned paper to create a background that looked like gift wrap. As I was looking for embellishments, I found a vellum sticker with Christmas song lyrics on it! I adhered it directly to the photo, added the other embellishments, and finished with the date. Two points for the Banshees!

Christmas 2023 (affiliate link)

This is a rare page from me with no journaling. But I felt like whatever I would write ("We hosted Steve's family for Christmas 2023.") wouldn't add anything to the page. One could argue that future generations won't recognize the people, but: a) I have no confidence that my only child is going to keep my scrapbooks and pass them on to those future generations; b) everyone's name appears on other pages within the same scrapbook; and c) I can just list the names here. Top row left: Steve's sister Teri, his aunt Lois, his mom Pat, his dad Dave, and Steve. Bottom row: Steve's wife Cindy (aka, me) and his son Trevor. Everyone has the last name deRosier - Pat and me by marriage and everyone else by birth. You're welcome, future generations!

2/21/24

CreativeLive: iPhone Photography and Mobile Photography

One of my creative resolutions for 2024 is to take two creative classes. I intentionally left that goal broad (as opposed to specifying something like painting or cake decorating) so that I could take advantage of opportunities as they arose. I'm glad I did. Otherwise, I wouldn't necessarily have stumbled on this outstanding iPhone Photography and Mobile Photography class by Philip Ebiner for CreativeLive (affiliate link here and below). 


After a lifetime of using a proper camera, I've only starting using my phone for photography fairly recently. I know the basics, but definitely needed this class to help me realize the full potential of my iPhone. After a great introduction to the benefits of mobile photography, this class started with technical basics (exposure, focal length, lighting) before moving on to the more creative basics (composition and story). The instructor did an amazing job of presenting a topic, then walking you through it with many examples. I loved all of the real-world practice sessions. The class covered panoramic, portrait, selfie, and timelapse modes, editing options, and different ways of sharing photos. 

This class was exactly what I needed to feel more confident taking photos with my iPhone. I've been practicing a lot and I can definitely see improvements after taking the class. There's one area I'm still struggling with, however, and that is photographing an uncooperative subject. Occasionally I luck out and get acceptable pictures straight out of the camera....

  

... but most of the time I my subject comes racing at me and nose-bonks the camera before I get a shot. These are the best of the many, many nose-bonk shots I've taken. 

  

CreativeLive does offer pet photography classes, but none appears to address the unique challenges of photographing rabbits!

2/20/24

Annual Survey of Museum-Goers

Each year, the American Alliance of Museums conducts a survey of museum-goers on behalf of participating member museums.  


I visit a LOT of museums each year, so it's not unusual for me to receive surveys from a handful of different museums. Each collects and interprets their own data. While I don't think less of non-participating museums (many are already great and packed with visitors), I do appreciate those museums who opt to participate. They obviously value their guests' opinions and are striving to improve. 

I just received my first AAM survey of 2024. It happened to come from the outstanding Nascar Hall of Fame, which we visited in January 2022. I have nothing but good things to say about the Nascar HOF. Even people with zero interest in car racing (like me) will enjoy the diversity of exhibits that cover the history, technological advances, key people, and necessary skill that goes into the sport. Anyway, I took the 10-minute survey and thought it would be fun to share a few of the non-site-specific questions (and my answers) with you. 


This was hard to answer. My response varies a lot depending on the type of museum. A hands-on science museum that targets children (like Museum of Discovery) could not be more different in audience, needs, and purpose than the Legacy Museum. A museum that covers a narrow subject (like Mill City Museum) is completely different than a museum that showcases a huge subject (like the Harvard Museum of Natural History.) I want different things from art museums than I do from history museums, science museums, or pop culture museums. Of the nine possible choices (besides None and Other), I selected six and I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have answered differently. 


I don't visit most museums more than once, but it's not because I don't want to. It's because they're thousands of miles from home. For the purposes of this question, I ignored all the museums I've visited that are more than an hour or two from home and answered just based on local museums. 


I visit around 40 different museums a year. While I may want to go more often, "Professional Museum Attendee" is not a paid job, as far as I'm aware. I'm visiting as many museums as is possible for a person who has a job, family, and household responsibilities. 


I wanted a choice of "All of the above" but settled for picking the two that matter most to me right now, in this stage of life. I would have answered differently 25 years ago, when I was more likely to visit museums alone (or with 32 children at a time). 


This question threw me at first. Do I use my imagination in museums? At first I thought I didn't, but then I realized that good, immersive history museums are all about imagination. Art museums inspire me to create, which definitely uses imagination. I'm not a "time travel to the future" kind of person, so that doesn't appeal to me. 

There were a lot more questions, but I'm going to stop here. If this interested you, I strongly recommend reading the following reports: 

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


2/19/24

Bread Rose Wreath

Remember the rose wreath that I made out of air-dry clay? I made an edible version (bread dough instead of clay). 


The shaping process was somewhat similar, but the bread dough was much more difficult to manipulate than the clay. Still, it was a fun experiment with delicious results. I used the same basic recipe as for the Sixty-Minute Cloverleaf Rolls, then veered off in a different direction for the shaping and baking. 


---------


Bread Rose Wreath


                                                    3.5 to 4.5 cups flour                            1 cup milk
                                                    3 tablespoons sugar                            1/2 cup water
                                                    1 teaspoon salt                                    1/4 cup butter
                                                    2 packages Fleishmann's yeast


In a large bowl, mix 1.5 cups flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast. Set it aside. Combine milk, water, and butter in a saucepan (or microwavable bowl) and heat until liquids are 120-130°F. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed for two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 0.5 cup flour and beat at high speed for two minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until soft and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, then place in a warm place (approximately 98°F) for 15 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto the floured baking mat. Divide dough in quarters, then divide each quarter into three equal pieces. You should have 12 balls of dough, each the same size. Roll 9 of the balls into long ropes, approximately 18" long. Braid three ropes together. 


Curl the braid into a wreath and place it on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other 6 ropes to make three wreaths in all. 

Divide each remaining dough ball into 9 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, then smoosh them with the ball of your hand to make petals. 


Pick up one petal, then roll it up to form the inside of the rose. Pick up the next petal and roll it around the center of the rose. Continue the process with the rest of the petals. Place the finished rose on the baking sheet.  

Loosely cover the dough and let rise in a warm place, for approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake for 15, then check the roses for doneness. Remove them from the oven and bake the wreaths for another 10 minutes or until done. While the wreaths are still hot, nestle the roses into the wreaths. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. 


Shop my affiliate links! 

                                  Silpat                                            Sili Bake                                         Fleischmann's Yeast