The First Project for the Tiger Cubs

Trevor is in first grade, which means he's finally old enough to start Cub Scouts! Steve volunteered to be the Den Leader for the Tiger Cubs, which means that he'll be leading a weekly meeting for all the first graders in our Pack. While I'm not officially Steve's assistant (I'm going to be the Advancement Chair for the Pack), I've told him that I'll plan the crafts for the boys. He asked me to whip up a craft that the boys could do during their first meeting.

Here's what I made:

We had no idea how many boys would be attending this first meeting or what their abilities would be, so I wanted to keep the project extremely simple. The materials included: orange cardstock, black crayon, a lid for tracing, scissors, googly eyes and glue.

I had each boy trace the lid to make the face of the tiger. Then, I showed them how to draw two curves to form the ears. Each boy wrote the Cub Scout Motto ("Do Your Best") in the middle. Then they cut out the shape, making sure not to cut off the ears.  

We turned our tigers over and glued googly eyes in place. We darkened the centers of the ears, then drew a nose, mouth, and stripes. Finally, we drew whiskers. Here is Trevor's finished project:  

Here are two of our Tiger Cubs (Trevor on the left) showing off their completed tigers. By the end of the craft, both had memorized the Cub Scout Motto, the first step toward earning their first rank!

As you can see, Trevor didn't have his uniform shirt for the first meeting. I have it now and am hurrying to sew on the dozen or so patches before the next meeting. So far, patch-sewing is the only part of Cub Scouts I don't like!


Grrrr... a Rookie Mistake

As I've mentioned many times before, I usually have at least a dozen works-in-progress sitting around the scraproom.  Sometimes a layout will sit 99% complete, just waiting for adhesive.  Such was the case with this Easter layout.

My absolute least favorite part of scrapping is adhering everything down.  I don't adhere as I go- I make sure I love every single part before I glue anything down.  This means that I have to carefully take my finished layout apart, add adhesive, and hope everything ends up back in the correct position.  

The Easter layout had been sitting there for awhile, just waiting for the adhesive step.  I got tired of working around it and decided to just leap in and glue everything down and be done with it.  When it was all adhered, I picked it up to scan the completed layout and noticed this:

I forgot to remove the tear-strip before I adhered stuff down.  Meaning my 12x12 layout is actually 12.5x12.  Which means it won't fit in the page protector.  Grrr.  Total rookie mistake.

Unfortunately, I had designed close to the edge, so it was not easy to remove 1/2 inch of paper.  I ended up cutting 1/4 inch off each side to maintain the common margins, but even that small amount changed the feel of the page a bit.  What really frustrates me is that it would have been a really simple fix if I'd noticed before adhering.  Here's the finished 12x12 layout:

Inspired by Sarah Webb's "Summer 2012"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who occasionally still does dumb stuff like this!


Happy 10,000!

As you know, I'm proud to be Fiskateer #4113.  I love Fiskars products and have met some of the best people through the Fiskateer site.  There is always something fun going on over there!

Recently, the number of Fiskateers climbed to 10,000.   (I joined in March 2008, so that means the Fiskateers have grown by over 1000 per year!)  To celebrate this landmark, the Fiskateers were challenged to use crafting materials to spell out "Happy 10,000."  One of the items had to be our engraved personalized Fiskateer scissors.

I wanted to stick with a predominantly orange color scheme, with a just a touch of Fiskateer green thrown in.  Here's what I made:

H: Orange/white bakers' twine (given to me at a Fiskateer crop)
A: Fiskars microtip scissors (a prize from a recent Fiskars crop)
P: Green color pencil and green chalk
P: Orange color pencil and orange chalk
Y: My engraved Fiskateer scissors 

1: Fiskars retractable fingertip control knife (also a crop prize)
0: Orange flower (part of a big goodie bag from a Fiskateer event)
comma: Orange whistle (given to me at the Fiskateer Tweet-Up at CHA W-11)
0: Orange washi tape
0: My "I'm a Fiskateer" button (a crop prize)
0: Orange chipboard letter o (from a Fiskateer scavenger hunt swap)

Anyone can become a Fiskateer.  You just have to love Fiskars products...  which includes not only papercrafting supplies, but sewing and gardening tools as well.  To join, all you have to do is contact one of the two Lead Fiskateers (Emma or Tania) at www.fiskateers.com!


Good Things Come from Combining Assignments

Yesterday I shared a list of the creative commitments I have each month.  Usually, there isn't any overlap between them - I make separate projects and blog posts for each.  Every once in awhile, I'm able to combine assignments.  Check out this card: 

I received my latest sketch assignment from The Scrapping Stamper on the same day that I was going through my Flamingo Scraps stash to create projects for a post about using scraps. When I saw the sketch, I realized it would be perfect for using scraps.  I changed the photo to a dog embellishment and the card came together quickly and easily.

Here's another card based on Shannon's sketch, made entirely with Flamingo Scraps products.  
I ended up making two more cards using my Flamingo Scraps items.  The 'rug' the dog is on is actually a die-cut journaling tag.  I sliced off a piece of it to use for the sentiment, then cut the remaining part into an oval.    

The last critter in the package was this adorable elephant.  I'd used one from the package eons ago, to make this toilet paper roll gift card holder.  He seems perfect for a baby card, so when I saw this die-cut stamp that said "Heaven Sent" I knew it would be so cute together.  I love how this one turned out.

 I still have one brown dog, one crocodile, and one blue dog left.  Stay tuned!


My Creative Commitments

What is your job status?

     O  Employed full time 
     O  Employed part time
     O  Unemployed 
     O  Homemaker
     O  Student

It seems like a simple enough question, right?  Yet I always struggle with what to answer. (I'm on a number of consumer survey panels and just about every survey starts this way.)  I do not work full-time.  I am not unemployed.  I am not a student.  That leaves two choices.

First and foremost, I consider myself a stay-at-home mom.  My main job is taking care of Trevor, which currently includes volunteering in his classroom, serving on School Site Council, taking a leadership role with Cub Scouts, and managing homework and extra-curricular activities.  I do the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and bill-paying for the household.  

But checking 'homemaker' means not acknowledging the other work that takes a significant part of my time.  Let me share my creative commitments in a typical month:

Scrapjazz Contributer
I write 1-3 articles per month for Scrapjazz.com.  The topics are assigned to me and I typically have to make at least one project (often more) to feature in my article.  (Here's more about my job and a link to my first published article.)

Contributing Artist at Ideas for Scrapbookers
I write 2-3 blog posts a month for Ideas for Scrapbookers.  I submit projects to most of the weekly Designer Showcase posts. 

Flamingo Scraps Design Team
I make projects using products from the Flamingo Scraps store, then write several posts a month for their blog.

The Scrapping Stamper Sketch Design Team
I complete one project a month using a sketch from The Scrapping Stamper.

Macaroni Kid Contributor
I design one kids craft a month, which is featured in our local Macaroni Kid newsletter.

Scrap for Hire
I have one Scrap-for-Hire client.  I'm waiting for her to send me more photos to scrap.  When I do get pictures from her, I aim to have the pages completed within two weeks.


So what do you think?  Do I work part-time or am I a 'homemaker'?  How many hours a week does one have to work for something to be considered part-time work?  Is it part-time work if a person only spends a few hours a month on each of five different jobs?  What about the fact that some of these jobs pay in product rather than cash- does that make a difference?  What about the money I make doing the very surveys that ask me whether or not I work?  It's all so confusing!

I should add- blogging five days a week is a part-time job in itself.  Except for that I don't get paid to do it.  Blogging is absolutely a labor of love.  Maybe I should start checking the box that I'm employed part-time...  I'm certainly busy enough!  


Disney Name Wall Hanging

Anyone remember the Disney name art I made?  I used Picasa to create collages from photos I took at Disneyland and California Adventure, printed them out, mounted them on cardstock, added grommets, and gave everyone in my family.  (You can see the completed projects here.)  Everyone brought their name art to Disneyland and had a great time trying to find the letters in their names.  I was happy to see that the name art held up really well.  Since then, I've made Disney name art for aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends.  It's such a fun and unique gift for any Disney fan.  

Recently, I used my name art for another purpose.  This is now hanging in our dining room:


What do you think?!


TIme For Some Halloween Planning...

I am a planner.  The earlier, the better.  I hate waiting until the last minute for anything, therefore I tell Trevor that he has to be 100% committed to a Halloween costume in August.  (Frankly, my sewing skills are so poor that I should give myself even more than 2 months....)  Fortunately, Trevor is a planner too.  He comes up with his costume design early and sticks with it, thank goodness.

Last year, Trevor dressed up as a knight.  It took me a ridiculously long time to make his costume (here's a close-up of his chainmail), but he was absolutely THRILLED with how it turned out.  

Before that, he has been a bee (age 4), blue crayon (age 3), tiger (age 2), Mickey Mouse (age 1) and Santa (4 months).  You can see pictures here.

This year, Trevor has decided he wants to be a zookeeper.  I was thrilled, as I realized I could get away with assembling a khaki pants/shirt outfit rather than having to sew something.  Trevor has one of those stuffed monkeys with the long arms that wrap around your body.  A friend gave us the zookeeper hat from her dress-up box.  I'll need to find/make a belt and some ZOO patches and he should be set.

So the next decision is how Steve and I should dress.  Over the years, we've dressed to compliment Trevor's theme.  Last year, Steve was a king and I was a princess:  

Steve is a great sport and will wear whatever I tell him to wear, so it's just a matter of deciding what direction I want to go with this.  Should we be zoo animals or should I take the easy route and have us dress as tourists at the zoo?  Is there another option I'm not thinking of?  I'll have to dig out the costume box and see what goodies are in there.  Steve and I have both dressed as cats before (when Trevor was a tiger), so maybe I can reuse those outfits...  Any thoughts or suggestions?


Ask Cindy: Scraproom Tour, Part Two

Yesterday I shared some pictures of my scraproom. I am generally very happy with the organization and layout of my scraproom. The closet in my scraproom ... not so much.  

Here's the view looking in:

I know that I don't use the space in the closet as effectively as I could. The upper shelves aren't bad - I store fabric, flower arranging stuff, and other materials that I hardly ever use on the upper shelf that I can't reach. The second shelf holds my markers, Mod Podge and other specialty adhesives, brayers, and other items I use occasionally.

The lower shelves hold a hodge-podge of items: completed cards are in a tub, ribbons have their own tubs, there are rolls and sheets of contact paper, a bunch of paints, a travel iron (that I use for embossing), and a wide assortment of other craft stuff.    

As you look to the right, it's more of the same. The items are fairly well-organized, but not grouped or stacked as effectively as they could be. It's very tempting to take everything out of the closet and put it back in a more organized manner, but I'm not going to tackle that until I'm caught up with deadlines and have a large block of uninterrupted time.

I hang stuff behind the closet door. I have a clipboards, craft mats, tissue paper, an extension cord, and several of the pocket charts I used to use in my classroom.

So that's the tour! Hope you enjoyed it.  


Ask Cindy: Scraproom Tour

As someone who crafts every single day, I hear the same two questions over and over. First: "How do find time to do so much crafting?" (Here's how I 'find' time.) The second question: "What do you use as your scrap space?"  

I have a dedicated scraproom. We have a 4 bedroom house: Steve and I share the master bedroom, Trevor has a bedroom, Steve has an office, and I have a scraproom. My computer/office area is on a desk in the hallway. It is far more important to me to have a private scrap area than a private office area. I know for a fact that I would not do as much crafting as I do if I didn't have dedicated space. I'm able to leave a work-in-progress where no one will disturb it. (Neither Steve nor Trevor enter my scraproom without permission... which makes it a handy place to store presents for them as well!)  

The last time I did a thorough scraproom cleaning, I took some pictures. Here's the view of my paper storage, one of two work surfaces, and one of two pegboards.

The dresser was my old childhood dresser, which I reinforced, stripped and painted white. I added the silver hardware. The drawers hold: punches, ink pads, acrylic stamps, cross-stitch supplies (which I haven't used in eons), extra adhesives, gift bags, gift wrap, tissue paper, ribbons, and bows.  

Across the top of the dresser, I have stackable paper trays (five high, four stacks across). The two stacks on the left hold cardstock, divided by color. The two stacks on the right hold loose sheets of patterned paper. Some are organized by color and others by manufacturer. The rest of my patterned paper is stored in 12x12 plastic envelopes, which I stack on a shelf.  

You can see my childhood desk under the pegboard. It is usually piled high with pages that need scanning, or supplies that need to be put away. I tuck gifts that need wrapping under the desk.   

Directly across from the dresser is my main work table and my main pegboard. Steve framed and installed my two pegboards. I love them! I can fit so many supplies on the pegboard, and it is great how easy it is to move things around as I get new stuff.  

I tape Design Team assignments to the bottom of the pegboard. (You can see three sketch assignments in this picture.)  

Perhaps the best part of my scraproom is the shelving that Steve built to fit behind the door. The shelves are 2.5 inches deep, which is perfect for storing rubber stamps, mists, embossing powders, inks, and border punches. The entire structure is 5 ft. tall by 25 inches wide. The heights of the shelves vary from 2.25 inches to 6 inches. I absolutely love it. What was once wasted space now is now a wonderful storage solution.

Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow!


National Stamping Month

Did you know that September is National Stamping Month?  I don't really consider myself a stamper, but I own enough stamps and inks that it would be a shame to let National Stamping Month pass without joining the celebration!

I dug through my scrap stash and came up with a lightly-patterned green piece that would work as a background, a piece of colorful grid paper for my sentiment, and some cardstock pieces for the card base and accents.  The first step was stamping a really fun and whimsical cake.  I fussy-cut it, then shaded it with color pencils.  I added Stickles over the top of each color.  Next, I used Versamark to stamp 'Happy Birthday' all over the green background.  (It's hard to see in the picture, but it's easily visible in real life.)  I used a different stamp and ink for the main sentiment, then grabbed a fun border punch to add a background. 

Have you celebrated National Stamping Month?  It's not too late!


Some Old Favorites, Part 2

Yesterday I shared some of my favorite older layouts that hadn't appeared on my blog yet. Today I'm sharing three more.

Here's one from 2009.  I had seen Jennifer McGuire's "Travel Buddies" in the April 2009 issue of Creating Keepsakes and used it immediately for a scraplift.  I love the rectangular focal photo with the circular accent photos supporting it.  And I love that I used both a sky blue and a sandy brown for the background of the layout.  

Here's another layout featuring circles, this time from 2010.  I made it as a Scrap a Little Design Team assignment.  If you see one of my layouts featuring circles, it is almost certainly either a scraplift or based on a sketch.  For whatever reason, I never think to use circles unless it's an assignment.

Sketch by Helen Croft

Here's a layout from late 2008.  The title work was inspired by Ruth Dealey's "Rosy Red Cheeks" in Scrapbooks Etc, Jan 2008.  (RIP Scrapbooks Etc... we miss you.)  I don't use a lot of stickers on my layouts, but I love the effect of 'sprinkling' leaf stickers across my page.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my old favorites!  Maybe one of these days I'll share some of my older least favorites for some contrast.  ;)


Some Old Favorites

Trevor and I have been looking through his scrapbooks a lot recently.  He wasn't all that interested in them until a few months ago and now he is constantly asking to look at them and read the stories about his early life.  I love that.  

After looking through the scrapbooks with Trevor earlier, I went back through my blog entries and realized that I've never shown some of my all-time favorite layouts here on the blog.  Time to change that!  

This might be my all-time, #1, very favorite layout.  It's from 2008.  I love the simplicity, I love the colors, and I love the picture of Trevor with his little bare feet.  It's so fun reading the adjectives that I used to describe him back then: intelligent, happy, trustworthy, funny, cooperative, organized, helpful, careful, athletic, curious and affectionate.  He hasn't changed a bit!  
Here's another 2008 layout that I haven't shared on the blog before.  If the previous one is my all-time favorite, this is #2.  The layout is very plain and the design is very simple, but I absolutely love rereading the stories I told on this page.  And, I used all scraps to make it!

Inspired by Hillary Heidelberg's "Big Brother."

Here's one more page from 2008.  These three layouts might have been the only one-picture pages I did all year!  It was very rare for me to scrap a single photo back then... and it still is.  But how could I not scrap this gorgeous picture?     

Inspired by Vicki Boutin's "Hello Peaches." 
Tomorrow I'll share a few more of my older favorites that haven't appeared on the blog before.  


Pantone's Colors for 2013

Did you see that Pantone recently released their color report for Spring 2013?  I don't follow fashion AT ALL (other than being a huge Project Runway fan), but I do pay attention to Pantone's color reports.  These are the colors we'll see in many of the new paper lines that will be at the winter CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) show.  

Here are the colors for Spring 2013.

I really like them!  Lemon Zest, Tender Shoots, and Dusk Blue are absolutely gorgeous.  I really like the Monaco Blue as well.  And African Violet.  Poppy Red is great.  Nectarine is OK- it's a bit too soft of an orange for me, but I'd definitely use it.  Grayed Jade and Emerald are my least favorites in the collection, but I don't dislike them at all.

I'm really curious to see which will be crowned the Color of the Year.  (I was a big fan of 2012's Tangerine Tango.)  They usually announce the Color of the Year in December, so we'll have to wait a bit.  I'm hoping it's Tender Shoots.  I can only find the Color of the Year going back to 2000 and not a single one of them has been a green.

What do you think about the colors for Spring 2013?


The deRosier Cupcake Wars

We love Food Network's Cupcake Wars.  (If you missed it, our family did a Cupcake Wars champions taste-test back in May.)  For those who haven't seen the show, four cupcake bakers compete each week to bake tasty and beautiful cupcakes that fit a theme.  After each round, one baker is eliminated.  In the final round, the two remaining bakers build a 1000-cupcake display using the cupcake recipes they created during the previous rounds.

Ever since our family's Chopped challenge, Trevor has been asking when we can do a family version of Cupcake Wars.  I liked the idea so much, I added it to my list of 40 Things.  Here are the cupcakes that each of us made for the competition.  

But let's start at the beginning.  On the day of our Cupcake War, Trevor and I went through our garden and pantry and selected twelve food items, which we wrote on index cards.  We used painter's tape to make a grid on our rug, then put each food item into each box.  Some ingredients are standard cupcake flavors: lemon, chocolate or peanut butter.  Others are not usually found in cupcakes, like tomatoes, cheese or chives.

We chose two stuffed jellyfish, which we used as beanbags.  

One at a time, we each threw a jellyfish into the grid.  Wherever it landed was what ingredient we had to use in our cupcake.

My first toss landed in chocolate.  Wow!  That was lucky!  I was really afraid of getting chives, so I aimed for the opposite side of the grid.  Pistachio.  OK, that's promising....

Trevor got lemon on his first toss.  So cool!  Practically everything goes with lemon, right? Well, maybe peanut butter and lemon isn't exactly the first combination that comes to mind. (I caught him mid-grimace in this picture!)

Steve's first toss landed in brown sugar.  Another excellent item!  His second toss took a bit of a bounce and landed in tomato.  This was hilarious.  Not only is it a strange combination, but Steve hates tomatoes.  Nevertheless, he was a very good sport about it. 

Each of us took some time to think about our plans before the baking began.  Steve got out the cookbooks and started searching under T for tomato.  Trevor got out his notebook and drew a picture of a vanilla cupcake with peanut butter filling and lemon frosting with chives and basil sticking out of the top.  I started shelling pistachios.  Once we all had our plans, we reconvened.

While Trevor frequently helps me bake, at age 6 he is certainly not able to make cake from scratch independently.  At 36, it's not something Steve has ever attempted.  So I made a basic vanilla cake batter for all of us.  Then I divided it into thirds.
Trevor left his cake batter plain (vanilla). I folded chopped pistachios into mine. Steve swirled brown sugar into his.
After the cupcakes had cooled, I helped Trevor with his peanut butter filling.  He wanted to use plain peanut butter, but I showed him that he could add powdered sugar to make it like a peanut butter cup, or corn syrup to make it like a peanut butter candy.  He chose to add corn syrup to his peanut butter.  We thinned that with a little bit of milk.

I taught Trevor how to core his cupcakes and helped him fill them with the peanut butter mixture.  

Meanwhile, Steve brought a simple syrup to a boil and threw in chopped yellow tomatoes.  He let this cook down to a syrup, which he spooned into his cored cupcakes. 

I decided against filling mine.  I wanted the cake to have a definite pistachio flavor and I was worried a filling would detract from that.  In retrospect, I should have filled mine to make them more interesting, since I knew both my competitors had used a filling.  Oh well!  

Neither Steve nor Trevor know how to make buttercream either, so I made a big batch for all of us.  As before, I divided it into thirds.  I taught Trevor how to zest lemons, then helped him add lemon juice and zest to the base frosting.  When it was the right flavor and consistency, I put it in a piping bag for him and let him frost.

Steve did not do anything to his third of the buttercream.  Instead, he focused his attention on a garnish: bruleed tomato halves.

I made a chocolate frosting.  After piping it on, I added chopped pistachios on top.  Then I dipped pistachios in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with sea salt.  I ended up deciding against adding my chocolate covered pistachios to the cupcake, since I thought it looked beautiful as it was. Again, in retrospect, my cupcake was just too simple.

At this point, Trevor reminded us that any ingredient still in the grid was up for grabs.  He raced into the backyard and returned with basil and chives.  I thought he was crazy adding two of the most challenging ingredients to his practically-done cupcake, but he insisted.

Finally, it was time for judging.  Each of us made a presentation to the others about our cupcake.  Trevor made a vanilla cupcake with peanut butter filling and a lemon frosting, garnished with basil and chives.
Steve made a brown sugar cupcake with a tomato compote filling, frosted with buttercream, and garnished with a bruleed tomato half.

I made a pistachio cupcake with chocolate frosting, garnished with chopped pistachios.

We each ranked the cupcakes from 1st to 3rd place.  Trevor was worried that everyone would vote for their own, but that isn't what happened at all.  In fact, none of us thought our own cupcake was the best!

Even though we had a clear winner, we wanted some impartial judges to confirm our results. Our neighbors agreed to judge.  We were careful not to let them know who made each cupcake.  I totaled the points from the three of us and our four other judges.  Drumroll please!

Coming in third.... my chocolate pistachio cupcake!  Only 1 person out of 7 voted it as the best.  I got a handful of 2nd place rankings, but it wasn't even close.  My frosting was really good (and I have the best piping skills), but all those pistachios made the cake a bit dry.  A filling would have helped.  Plus it would have made the cupcake more interesting or unique.

Coming in second... Trevor's peanut butter and lemon cupcake!  I thought the chives and basil would be a huge mistake, but they actually went better with the lemon and vanilla than the peanut butter did.  His lemon frosting was delicious and his cake was moist. 

And the winner... Steve's brown sugar and tomato cupcake!  I never would have guessed that the weirdest combination, made by someone who hates one of the ingredients, would be so tasty!  Four out of seven judges awarded it first place.  The cake was really good, with a deep brown sugar taste.  The compote was odd but delicious.  The garnish was really good. The only mistake was with the frosting, as it didn't taste like anything but powdered sugar, leading to an overly sweet cupcake.    

So congratulations to Steve, champion of the deRosier Cupcake Wars!  Now that he's a champion, he'll have to bake his own cake and make his own buttercream the next time we compete.  Seems only fair, doesn't it?

Goal 29 accomplished!