5/27/22

More Craft Roundups: Butterflies, Pasta, and Rice

As promised, the next craft roundup I made after the previous batch was butterflies. We have over 100 butterfly craft tutorials at Fun Family Crafts, seven of which are mine. I chose my pretzel monarch butterfly cupcake toppers for the graphic. It's one of three edible crafts I featured, along with two that are wearable, and five that are decorative.


The next roundup I made is Pasta Crafts. None of the featured projects are mine; I've never made a craft from pasta. Well, not never. My mom has a few macaroni treasures from my very young years. But I haven't crafted with pasta since starting the blog. Now that I realized that, I'll be sharing a pasta craft soon.  


Finally, rice crafts for kids. Unlike pasta, I've made a lot of rice crafts... and even more Rice Krispie treat crafts! Five of the featured crafts use plain rice, while the other five are made with Rice Krispies. One of the projects is mine.  


Putting these together is so much fun! Not only do I love making the graphics, but seeing such a wide variety of crafts within a certain topic is very inspiring to me. 

5/26/22

Alabama 2021

We had such a good time visiting Alabama last December


I squeezed in 15 photos and used my finest point journaling pen for this page. We were in Alabama for three days, but we packed a ton into our time there and I wanted to represent it as best I could. I usually default to greens or blues with neutrals for travel pages, but Alabama's state flag inspired the red and white title block and the red background paper. 

5/25/22

State Capital Trivia

If all goes as planned, the deRosiers will be traveling to three new-to-us capital cities this summer and spending time in a fourth we've visited before. As I've been researching, I came across a fascinating bit of trivia about one of them, which lead me down a rabbit hole that resulted in today's post. 

All of the trivia questions below are about state capitals-with-an-A, not capitols-with-an-O. Capital with an A refers to the city (Sacramento is the capital of California). Capitol with an O refers to a building.  (You have to pass through security to go into the Capitol in Sacramento.) To make things a bit more confusing, you need to capitalize Capitol when talking about a specific building (Sacramento's Capitol building) but not when you are talking about a generic capitol building. 

As I said, these questions are all about capitals. I'll do a separate capitol trivia in the future. 




State Capital Trivia 



1. What state capital is the farthest north? south? east? west?

2. What is the most populated capital city?

3. What is the least populated capital city?

4. How many state capitals served as the capital of their territory, colony, or republic before statehood?

5. What is the oldest continuously-running state capital?

6. What was the most recent state to move its capital city?

7. What capital city is first alphabetically? 

8. What capital city is last alphabetically? 

9. What capital city is the largest by land area? 

10. What capital city is the smallest by land area?

11. What capital city is at the highest elevation?

12. What four capital cities start with the same letter as their state?

13. What four capital cities were named for United States presidents?

14. How many states have changed their capital city at least once since statehood?

15. What is the only three word capital city?




1. Juneau, Alaska is the northernmost capital city. Honolulu, Hawaii is the southernmost and westernmost. Augusta, Maine is the easternmost capital city. 

2. Phoenix, Arizona (population 1,660,272) is the most populated capital city. 

3. Montpelier, Vermont (population 7,436) is the least populated capital city. 

4. There are 22 current state capitals that were previously the capital city of their territory, colony, or republic. 

5. Boston, Massachusetts has been a capital city since 1630. Santa Fe, New Mexico became the capital in 1610, but it was briefly interrupted by the Pueblo Revolt. You can have credit for either answer. 

6. On June 12, 1910, the capital of Oklahoma changed from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. 

7. Albany, New York is the first capital city alphabetically. 

8. Trenton, New Jersey is the last capital city alphabetically. 

9. Juneau, Alaska is the largest capital by land area. It covers 2,716 square miles. 

10. Annapolis, Maryland is the smallest capital by land area. It covers less than 7 square miles. 

11. Santa Fe, New Mexico is 7,199 feet above sea level. (Denver is famously mile-high, which puts it third behind Santa Fe and Cheyenne, Wyoming.)

12. Dover, Delaware; Honolulu, Hawaii; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma are the only four capital cities that start with the same letter as their state. 

13. Jackson, Mississippi; Lincoln, Nebraska; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Madison, Wisconsin were all named after US presidents.

14. Exactly half (25) of the states have changed their state capital at least once after statehood. 

15. Salt Lake City, Utah is the only three word capital city. 




So how did you do? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this quiz, you would probably like my State Flag Trivia. And don't forget - my US Travel page has info about all of the capital cities our family has visited and my recommendations for places to go in each state. You'll also find other fun facts about the United States.

5/24/22

Kitten Tooth Fairy Pillow

When Trevor was a baby, a friend introduced me to the concept of a Tooth Fairy Pillow. Instead of putting a lost tooth under your sleeping pillow, you put your tooth into the little pocket of a stuffed animal, which you set beside your bed. This makes it much easier for the Tooth Fairy to get the tooth without waking the sleeping child. Genius! Affiliate links below. 




Kitten Tooth Fairy Pillow


Materials:


Steps:


Use a piece of scratch paper to make a pattern the size and shape you want your kitten to be. Fold a piece of grey felt in half and place the pattern onto the felt so that the bottom of the pattern is along the fold. Cut out the felt. Then cut a semi-circle of white felt for the cat's tummy. 


Thread your needle with two strands of white embroidery floss. Place the white felt directly onto the fold line, then open up the grey felt. Pin the white in place if necessary. Use a backstitch to sew the white felt to the grey, leaving the top open so there's space to put a tooth or money. 


Sew the googly eyes in place. Thread four strands of pink floss onto your needle. Use a single stitch to tack the pom pom nose into place, then continue with a backstitch to make the cat's mouth. Add a dot of Fabric Fuse behind each eye and the nose to secure them. 


Thread the needle with a single strand of white floss. Tie a knot in the end, then poke the needle from the back to the front to make a whisker. Snip the floss at the desired length, then repeat. I like three whiskers on each side. 


Flip the cat upside down and put a drop of Fabric Fuse on the knot of each whisker to prevent them from pulling through. Let the glue dry completely before continuing. 

Thread the needle with all six strands of grey embroidery floss. (This is where the embroidery needle makes things easier.) Refold the kitten, then whipstitch around the outside, leaving a small opening for stuffing. Add the fiber fill, pushing it into the ears and distributing it evenly. Sew the opening closed. 


You can use this same idea to create a pillow to hold a gift of jewelry, or as a place to put little notes for someone special. It can also hold a good luck charm. Lots of possibilities!

5/23/22

'Cocktails for a Cause' Layout

Back in September, Steve and I helped support Opportunity House through their awesome Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser. I chose photos from four of the seven restaurants to highlight on this layout. 


I've had those cocktail stickers for decades (literally); I found them while I was searching for bunny stickers and knew they'd be perfect for this page. The black paper has a neat texture, as does the glittery washi. Together, they say evening, but I off-set them with the more casual, daytime polka dot paper to better reflect our experience. I'm happy with this page. 

5/20/22

Peekaboo Dog Cards

The dogs I stamped and colored also became cards. Affiliate links below. 

  

To make this card, I adhered sky blue cardstock to a white card blank. I cut my woodgrain paper into strips, trimmed them to 3/4 the length of my card, and snipped off the top corners to make the fence boards. I used a circle punch to cut a half-circle into the two center fence boards. I glued down the four outside fence boards, then put a piece of green cardstock behind the circular opening that was on the remaining boards. I tucked the dog into the opening and glued everything in place. Finally, I added the paws and the sentiment. 




I did an indoor scene for my second dog card. I put a pale yellow scrap onto a white card base, then cut four rectangles from a scrap of flocked paper. I rounded the corners and inked the edges. It's not a perfect couch, but I think it's passable. I glued the dog, his paws, and the sentiment in place and the card is ready to send. 

All stamps are from from the Peekaboo Pets stamp set, colored with Prismacolor colored pencils. There are a bunch of other cute animals in the set (though sadly, no bunny), as well as three additional sentiments. I'm sure I'll be playing with this set again in the near future. 

5/19/22

Peekaboo Cat Cards

The cats I stamped and colored had been sitting on my desk for too long, so I turned them into cards. Although I'm an advocate for indoor cats, both cards feature cats in outdoor settings: one card has the cat sitting on a fence, while the other is sitting in a tree. Affiliate links below. 

  

To make this card, I glued sky blue cardstock to a white card blank. I cut a woodgrain paper into strips, cut them 2/3 the length of my card, then snipped off the corners and glued them in place to make the fence. I tucked the cat behind the fence, glued on the paws, and added the sentiment. The stamps are from from the Peekaboo Pets stamp set, colored with Prismacolor colored pencils.


This card also started with sky blue cardstock on a white card base. I used a craft knife to cut a slit in a tree sticker, slid in the cat, then put the sticker on the background. I added the cloud stickers and tore a piece of green cardstock to make the grass. I glued the cat, paws, sentiment, and grass to the blue background. 

Tomorrow I'll show you what I did with the dogs. Needless to say, they're neither on a fence nor in a tree. 

5/18/22

High Squirrel Density

When we were strolling through the University of South Carolina campus in January, Trevor made an announcement: He would only consider attending a college with a High Squirrel Density. Of course, I had to document that in the scrapbook. 


For as long as he knew what college was, Trevor has been saying he wants to attend the University of California at Davis, where both Steve and I went. UCD has a very High Squirrel Density. It also has a lot of ducks. And turtles. And other creatures. Not to mention, a raptor center with beautiful birds-in-residence and a really cool wall of raptor silhouettes.  

I'm not sure if Trevor will end up at UCD, but I'm confident that the university he chooses will have lots of plants and animals. And a High Squirrel Density. 

5/17/22

100 Places to Visit Before You Die (United States) - Part 2

In yesterday's post, I shared what I thought belonged and didn't belong on Briggs' list of the 100 Places to Visit Before You Die. Start with that post if you haven't already read it. 

Today, I'm sharing 25 places that aren't on Briggs' list but would definitely make my top 100. I've divided them into rough categories. As before, for any places that I've blogged about, I've added the link so you can read about my experiences. Some I visited before I started blogging, or visited more recently and didn't mention them on my blog for some reason. 



---------


 25 Places To Visit Before You Die



Natural Wonders


I've added seven must-visit spots to Briggs list. They represent the amazing diversity of the country. To be fair, Briggs did have 'Alaska' on his list, but I think glaciers are a must-see. Likewise, I changed his Moana Loa to Kilauea. There's nothing like seeing an active volcano erupting. 



Historical Sites


The items in this category include museums, monuments, and historical places that help make the history of the United States come alive. 



Cultural Icons


These places are part of American culture and are definitely worth a visit. I'd happily return to any of them right now!



I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you agree with my choices? What would go on your Top 100 list that neither Briggs nor I mentioned?

5/16/22

100 Places You Need to Visit Before You Die (United States)

I recently watched a video entitled 100 Places You Need to Visit Before You Die (United States) by The World According to Briggs. I've enjoyed many of Briggs' videos, but this was the first one where I felt compelled to respond. Overall, I found his list of 100 places to visit in the US to be pretty solid. Many of the destinations you'd expect are there, like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Pearl Harbor, and Yosemite. Others are more unexpected. 

I haven't been everywhere in the United States, of course - as of now, May 2022, there are 10 states I haven't visited at all. As for the states I have visited, there are many notable locations I've missed. I haven't even seen everything in my own state of California. So there are plenty of spots on Briggs' list that I can't fairly judge as to whether they belong there or not. For that reason, I'm not going to comment on those. Instead, I'll focus on three categories: 1) items on his list that I agree belong on a Top 100; 2) items on his list that I disagree that belong on a Top 100; and 3) items not on his list that should be on a Top 100. 

In a few cases, I've tweaked Briggs' items, like adding the entire Freedom Trail to his mention of Boston Common. For any places that I've blogged about, I've added the link so you can read about my experiences. Some I visited before I started blogging, or visited more recently and didn't mention them on my blog for some reason. 


---------


Briggs and I Agree: Places that You Definitely Need to Visit Before You Die




Briggs and I Disagree: Not on My Top 100 List (But Still Fun)


  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Highway 101
  • Grand Central Terminal NY
  • Pike Place Market Seattle


Briggs and I Disagree: Not on My Top 100 List (Eww)


  • Seattle's Gum Wall


Like I said, there are a lot of items on Briggs' list that I haven't visited. Many of them are on my to-do list. Watch his video to see his top 100 and hear his explanations. 


 

Tomorrow I'll share my ideas for what wasn't on Briggs' list but should be. 

5/13/22

Montana Travel, 2021

Our July 2021 visit to Montana is now in the scrapbook!
As always, the most difficult part of making this travel page was narrowing down the photos. We saw so many neat things in Montana and I struggled to limit myself to the 11 photos you see. I thought the picture of Trevor at his great-great-great grandfather's tomb in Butte would make a neat focal point, so I built the page around that. 

I didn't have much space for journaling on this layout, so I'm thankful that I record my stories in detail in my daily journal and here on the blog. Along with all our photos, my scrapbooks, journal, and blog together are a great memory-keeping system. 

5/12/22

Great Greetings: 42+ Years of Cardmaking

I made this card last week. But I could have made it in 1980.  


I'm not sure I have the year exactly right, but I was around 8 when I received the Great Greetings card 
making kit. I absolutely LOVED it. It was made by Tomy, the same company that made Fashion Plates. It was essentially the same toy, but with seasonal greeting card elements instead of clothing elements. 


You choose your sentiment(s) and images, add a sheet of copy paper, then close the lid and use the special crayon to transfer the design to the paper. It's pretty much impossible to get a clean rubbing, but it's easy to cover when you color it. 


I experimented with cardstock and other heavier papers I didn't have access to in 1980. They didn't work well, unfortunately. The designs didn't transfer completely no matter how much pressure I applied. 

When I came time to color my card, I thought it was appropriate to use the Eagle Prismacolors I used in 1980.  


They covered the extra transfer marks really well. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do any blending or shading because the copy paper wouldn't take multiple layers. 


After coloring, I trimmed the edges and glued it to a card blank. I should put it in the mail to whoever gave me such a great gift 42-ish years ago! Too bad I don't remember who that was. 

Great Greetings is no longer sold, but there are many versions of Fashion Plates available. I've linked some of my favorites below. 

5/11/22

TravelCon - Update

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I bought a virtual ticket to TravelCon. My goal was two-fold: 1) glean as much information as possible from my digital access to the keynotes, talks, and panels; and 2) decide whether to prioritize attending TravelCon 2023 in person. 


My ticket was only $99 for roughly 48 hours of content from the best travel professionals in the business. I've watched around 18 hours so far. Within the first hour, I had received enough information and helpful tips to justify the money I spent. As I've continued to watch, I've learned so much. I have been taking copious notes and have specific strategies I plan to implement. I am SO glad I bought the ticket. I will continue watching the remaining 30+ hours of content and expect it to be just as useful as the talks I've already seen.  

Part of the fun with having digital access to TravelCon is that I'm watching talks that I wouldn't have bothered attending if I'd been in person because they're way outside my needs/interests. I've learned about planning and guiding luxury trips, traveling with disabilities, living nomadically, and becoming a travel agent, for example. What I got out of those is a better understanding of the breadth of the travel industry and my role in it as someone who focuses on family-friendly, educational travel. 

Another very interesting aspect of TravelCon 2022 is that everyone has stories about how the pandemic affected their business. As you might imagine, most were impacted negatively. If you make money by leading travel groups internationally, or by booking air travel or cruises, for example, COVID-19 was a financial disaster. Some nimble bloggers switched their focus to planning staycations, RV travel, and outdoor destinations and saw tremendous monetary growth during the pandemic.

There is no doubt in my mind that TravelCon 2023 would be extremely valuable to me, and well worth the cost of airfare, hotel, ticket, etc. There's only one problem - there isn't going to be a TravelCon 2023. I've been watching most of the content chronologically, but skipped ahead to the closing keynote specifically to hear where TravelCon 2023 would be. I say I was disappointed that it is not happening is a major understatement. I would get so much out of attending in person. 

Since that isn't a possibility, I'm hoping to attend a different travel conference in 2022. The most promising one is TBEX


They actually have a fall 2022 conference coming up in Lafayette, Louisiana. I'm considering it as I continue to research other travel conferences. I'm hoping they (and other conferences) will announce their North America 2023 destination(s) soon. 

In the meantime, I'm considering the Travel & Adventure Show on May 21 in Santa Clara. 


While it is a consumer show and not a blogger conference, there are some interesting speakers on the schedule and I think I would enjoy it. It's inexpensive and fairly local. If anyone wants to come with me and make a day of it, let me know!

5/10/22

An Afternoon Nap in the Farm Box

The second challenge I completed on National Scrapbook Day was Sticker Sneeze at Bash Your Scrapbook Stash. The requirement was to create a shape at least 4" x 8" and cover it with stickers. This was the perfect chance to put all of the rabbit stickers I could find onto a heart and pair it with a photo of Trouble napping. I chose the warm grey cardstock because it's such a good match to Trouble's fur. 
 

This was a really fun page to make. Although it was challenging, I loved arranging the stickers. I didn't have extras, so I had to make sure I got the arrangement correct as I worked. I filled the awkward gaps with heart stickers after all the rabbit stickers were down. 

I'm definitely going to try a page like this again, with a theme other than rabbits. I have approximately 8 bajillion stickers, so I can definitely find something that works. 

5/9/22

Twos-Day (2/22/22 at 2:22)

Saturday was National Scrapbooking Day, one of my favorite days of the year. While I normally enter a bunch of challenges on NSD, this year I only did two. I spent the rest of my day making layouts without following challenge guidelines. I'll be sharing those pages with you over the next few weeks, interspersed with other posts.

The first layout I made on National Scrapbook Day was for the Paper Weaving Challenge at Bash Your Scrapbook Stash


I've never done weaving on a layout before and I really enjoyed it. I started with two sheets of striped patterned paper and a coordinating background paper that complemented my photo. I've had these papers for 15+ years and I hate them because of the wavy lines. If the stripes were straight, I might have used these papers 14+ years ago. 


I cut each paper into 1/2" strips, making sure no wavy lines appeared in my strips. Then I used washi tape to secure a row of twelve strips (each 12" x 1/2") to my desk. I cut the remaining strips in half to make them 6" x 1/2" and started weaving.


After I had a few strips woven, I was able to remove the washi tape and glue down the ends. I continued until the weaving was complete. 


I had two extra strips. I used one of them for the journaling on the layout, which tells what Trevor was doing at 2:22 on Tuesday 2/22/22. 

After I finished this page, I looked back at the two pages I made in 2011 when the calendar and clock were full of ones. When I photographed Trevor at 1:11 on 1/1/11 (age 4), he was drinking hot cider at the kitchen table after spending the morning with friends at Scandia's Clubhouse. As a four-year old, he attended preschool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; since 1/11 was a Tuesday, he didn't have school.

When I took pictures eleven months later at 11:11 on 11/11/11 (age 5), Trevor had the day off from kindergarten because of Veteran's Day. We had a trip coming up, so he was on his bedroom floor getting a jump on his Independent Study work. Oh, how I miss the days when his homework took 10 minutes a day and involved crayons!

At 2:22 on 2/22/22, Trevor (age 15) had the day off from 10th grade following Presidents Day. He had just come home from a 3-day Scout training and was completing the Spanish homework he hadn't been able to do over the weekend. 

It's quite a coincidence, and a blessing, that Trevor had the day off school for each of these. He would have been home from preschool before 1:11, but at 11:11 he would have been in his kindergarten class and at 2:22 I wouldn't have picked him up from high school yet. It's fun to have these little glimpses into everyday life.

5/6/22

A Day in Napa: Copia, Oxbow Market, and the Napa River

On Saturday, I spent a day in beautiful downtown Napa with Jonna. We started at Copia, where she'd signed us up for a cocktail class. 


Copia originally opened in 2001 as a food and wine museum. I loved it. Food + museum = so very Cindy! I went 5 or 6 times before it shut down in 2008. It remained vacant until 2015, when the Culinary Institute of America bought the property. It now houses the CIA's Food Business School and offers classes, shopping, and dining opportunities to the public. 

Obviously, I had to pose with the fork. Appropriately, it's made from forks. 

  

The grounds at Copia are beautiful. 


Their gardens, which provide some of the produce used on site, are recovering post-pandemic, when Copia shut down.



We enjoyed the Chuck Williams Culinary Art Museum (which you can visit for free, even if you're not registered for a class). Williams, of Williams-Sonoma fame, collected a huge amount of culinary tools, specialty cookware, and other food-related items, more than 4000 of which are displayed at Copia. 



He must have liked rabbits. They were all over the place. 




I really enjoyed this exhibit on spices, which is part of Copia's 3-D Dining Experience


I was perplexed by the Candy Cap Sugar, sold in the Marketplace. I'm not a fan of mushrooms, so I didn't buy it, but my curiosity is piqued for sure. 


Our class, Seasonal Cocktails From the Garden: Getting Ready For Summer, took place in the theater.


During the 90 minute class, we learned how to make vermouth and use it for a fresh spring cocktail, how to put a spring twist on a negroni, how to make an herbal infusion for a whiskey sour, and the recipe for the ultimate margarita. And, of course, sampled each. Our instructor had so much information to share that she had a hard time squeezing it all in. 


We walked next door to Oxbow Public Market for lunch. 


There are a lot of tempting options there. We eventually settled on Live Fire Pizza. It was sooo good. We shared two pizzas and the AMAZING gnocco fritto. It was enough food for us to stuff ourselves at lunch and still have plenty leftover for dinner. 


Both pizzas were fantastic, but the Asparagus Pizza on the left was so unique I have to tell you about it. It has expected items, like onions, prosciutto, goat cheese, and mozzarella, but this was the first time I've ever had lemons on a pizza. Actual slices of lemon, with the peel, baked on the pizza.


Copia and the Oxbow Market back to the Napa River. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a long walk along the river. 



If you've never spent time in the city of Napa, go, particularly if you love food as much as I do.  Obviously, Napa is famous for its wine, but it should be equally famous for its cuisine. There is so much to see and do in Napa. I love that we live so close. 

Thanks again, Jonna, for a fantastic day!