Cinnamon Spice Caramel Apple Popcorn with Felt Apple Tag

Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Everything, but personally I don't get it. Pumpkin is fine, but for me fall is all about apples. Apples are sweet, sometimes tart, crisp, and full of flavor. They are delicious on their own, as juice or cider, mashed up as applesauce, baked with savory dishes (like pork), and excellent in desserts of all sorts. I like squash (though pumpkin is not even one of the best squashes), but there's no comparison. Virtually everyone agrees that Apple > Pumpkin. Spices definitely improve pumpkin, but I firmly believe Apple Spice > Pumpkin Spice. Don't even try to argue. 

If you're tempted to argue, make some cinnamon spice caramel apple popcorn first. Then get back to me and tell me that pumpkin spice is better than apple spice. Affiliate links below. 

Cinnamon Spice Caramel Apple Popcorn



There is no right or wrong when making your own flavored popcorns. It's not like baking a cake where chemical reactions mean that quantities matter. You can add more or less of any ingredient. I was hesitant to even put quantities above, as I didn't measure when I was making mine. Those are my best guesses. 

Start by crushing some crisp dried apples until about half of the apples are powder and the rest is pea-sized bits. Stir in some brown sugar and cinnamon, then add a dash of nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. 

Pop and generously butter approximately 10 cups of popcorn. Immediately pour the apple mixture over the popcorn and stir well. Some of the apple mixture will remain at the bottom of the bowl instead of stuck to the popcorn, but that's not a problem. 

Follow the directions to melt the Salted Caramel Candy Melts. Drizzle half of the melted candy over the popcorn and immediately stir well. Repeat with the remaining candy. Most of the apple mixture should now be stuck to the popcorn. 

If you eat the popcorn immediately, the tiny apple bits are still crispy. If you let the popcorn sit for a while, or bag it up, the apple bits will soften, but remain equally delicious. 

I made a cute felt apple tag to label my bagged popcorn. It's a quick and easy project. 


Felt Apple Tag



Cut out an apple from the red felt, using pinking sheers. Cut the leaves and stem from green felt with regular scissors. Apply green Stickles to the leaves and set them aside to dry. 

Use two strands of black embroidery floss to backstitch a smile and two eyebrows.

Cut a piece of red cardstock that is slightly smaller than the felt apple. Glue it to the back of the apple, covering the knots from your stitching. Write a message to your recipient. 

Glue the googly eyes and the leaves to the front of the apple. 


Ellia at 12

Yesterday, I shared my Andrei at 15 layout; today it's time for their sister's 2021 birthday page. Here is Ellia at 12. 

Ellia at 12 (affiliate link)

As with Andrei, Ellia's mom picked the adjectives for this layout. As little time as I've spent with Andrei recently, I've spent even less with Ellia. Thank goodness for social media where I can keep up with their lives (and ever-changing hair colors!). Speaking of which, I had a lot of fun pulling colors for this layout. Between her shirt and hair, there were lots of possibilities. I'm happy with how this page turned out. I look forward to making both kids' 2022 layouts as soon as they do their photo shoots. 


Andrei at 15

In 2020, my godchild announced that their name and pronouns had changed. I put the new name on their annual birthday layout, but posted a censored version on my blog at their request. They've asked me to update that with the full layout revealed, which you can now see. 

This is Andrei's birthday layout for 2021. They haven't done their photo shoot for 2022, so at least they'll have the 2021 page before that one. 
Andrei at 15 (affiliate link)

I used to see Andrei on a near-daily basis, but the combination of the pandemic and our lives and activities going in different directions means that I don't know Andrei the way I used to. I had her mom, Courteney, pick the adjectives to go on the layout this year. I hope to spend more time with Andrei in the future. But in the meantime, spending time with their picture working on this layout was a pleasure. I hope they like it. 


Colorful Me, Inspired by Andy Warhol

I have another idea to use up one of my MANY extra sheets of school photos. Presenting, Colorful Me (Inspired by Andy Warhol)! This project is obviously inspired by Warhol's famous paintings of Marilyn and Mao

Don't have extra photos to use up? Not a problem! Use a single digital photo to make a collage, then print it out on whatever paper you'd like. 

When choosing your photos, you want light colors that you can color over. This set of photos was perfect because the overexposure makes my skin even paler than it normally is and completely blew out my cream-colored sweater. My blonde hair is easy to color over. The background was the only part I couldn't change much by coloring. 

If you don't have a suitable photo, edit the one you have. You can overexpose the picture, desaturate the colors, or otherwise play around until you have a good base for coloring. 

Because I was coloring directly onto glossy photos, I opted to use alcohol-based markers. Choose the coloring tool that works best for the paper you're using. I worked from right to left (so that my left hand wouldn't smear the colors before they dried), coloring my face, hair, sweater, and the background different bold colors. 

The results crack me up. Some combinations are hideous, but I kind of like the yellow skin, pink hair, and green sweater. Not as much as I like my actual skin and hair color, mind you. I'd definitely wear a mint green sweater. 

It was a lot of fun coloring on photos. It's such a different surface than I usually use, so it was neat seeing how the pens behaved. I'm definitely going to have to revisit coloring on photos, maybe see how some of my other supplies perform. 


50 State Album: Minnesota (#41) and Wisconsin (#42)

Trevor has added two more pages to his 50 State Album, following our summer travels to Minnesota and Wisconsin


As the album is nearing completion (8 pages to go!), I've been thinking about how to display the finished project. Not the physical album - that sits on a shelf. I'm trying to decide how to display it digitally. Right now I have all the pages alphabetically side by side below the flags on my US Travel page. I'm leaning toward making it into a single slideshow with large images so you can read the journaling. Do I make it alphabetical or chronological? There are good arguments for each. I'd love to hear your thoughts.