Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking outside.

I'm having a hard time lately. January has been one long, unwelcome emoticoaster ride. And I want off.  I've had some highs, but mostly I've had some low-low lows.

But here's the one thing that you can count on: when you look outside yourself and do something nice for someone else, it boosts you.  There's no denying - making someone else smile makes you smile.  Scheming to make someone smile puts a spring in your step for days.

Maggie is off at school. Valentine's Day is coming, and it seems the proper thing to do is to send off a little package full of love.  As luck would have it, Maggie sent me a text last week saying "Um, can you send me the spare car key?" Perfect! Now I have a deadline and an excuse.  I'd already begun gathering the supplies, but it's no fun saying "I'm sending you a surprise package, so check your  mailbox."  (Problem with kids these days is that they don't get snail mail, so there's no reason to check their mailboxes.)  So yay! "I'm sending the key, but also a pair of socks and gloves that you left here" - perfect upgrade from envelope-with-key to an actual package.

I made a mobile out of cardstock.  There's no good picture of it, because it was flipping impossible.  But, here's a little show and tell, maybe it'll make sense.
This is the ring that everything hangs from.  It's just two concentric circles with holes in it for the string to tie into.   If you look closely one of those circles is an oval.  Here's why.  I cut out six of these circles and used spray adhesive to stack them together.  When you do this, paper becomes very stiff and stable - perfect for bearing a little weight.  The oval is so that when I stack them all together I can line it up properly and get it exact.

From there I cut loads and loads of hearts and keys and "I♥u"s and "love" words from red, black, white and pink. The keys, i♥u and love were all at the bottoms of the mobile.  I cut them a bunch of times each and stacked them with spray adhesive so make them good and strong.  I tied the string around them and then layered hearts up the strings in randomly and tied the other end of the string onto the mobile's ring.  From there, I added some string to the top for hanging.  To be honest, that was the only hard part - I'm not certain I tied it perfectly straight, so it hangs a wee bit wonky, but it's okay.

So there's the best shot I could get, complete with the cheesy late 80's wallpaper that's in my scraproom.  Don't hate.  ;)

The string is from a massive thing of baker's twine I got from Crate and Barrel years ago.  It's going to last me a hundred years. Bonus: it cost $8.99.  Random craft score there!

It's become a fun tradition for the kids to find a little Valentine treat on the morning of the 14th.  I absolutely adore the fun Valentine's things at Target.  So I usually pick up some tumblers or bowls to fill with candy.  Maggie won't be here this year, so her cup had to be mummified in plastic wrap to hold everything in place.  Down at the bottom there's a big Hershey's Kiss, then it's layered with holiday M&Ms, Hershey's hearts, kisses and conversation hearts, topped with more kisses.  And a big box of Red Hots and a bag of Twizzlers Pull'n'Peels, just for good measure.  I sincerely hope this candy lasts for a long time, otherwise I'll have to send her new jeans to celebrate St. Patty's Day.

All I know is this: as crappy as my week was, making that mobile and packing up these treats and standing in line at the post office made me HAPPY.  And getting a "YOU ROCK" text today along with a picture of the mobile hanging in her dorm - perfect bliss.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ugly Sketch 1-15 Project: 2

So pleased to have stuck with it.  Yes, I realize I did a layout, it's not like I'm dieting and exercising or even pinching pennies any more than usual.  So to say "I've stuck with it" elicits an eye roll even from me.  But it's winter and I feel blaaaaah, and sometimes on my day off I just want to stay in bed all day and even something as enjoyable as cutting and pasting cardstock is more than I want to do.

The photos on this are "3x5" - which are actually 3.5x5.  On an 8.5x11 layout, that means that the areas to the right of the top photo and to the left of the bottom photo are exactly 3.5 square.  I thought that would be kind of cool, because there are tons of square shapes in the Silhouette store.  At least I thought.  And of the ones that I found, some weren't theme appropriate and some wouldn't have cut right when sized that small.  So instead of having a huge selection like I thought, I had maybe 10 or so to chose from.  I'm not in love with the combination that I have here -- I've used the leaf one before and loved it, but the chunkiness of it juxtaposed with the more delicate fishtail lace - if just doesn't feel like it jives to me.  And in retrospect I might have cut that fishtail lace in one of two other colors and used the negative pieces to fill a couple of random holes on this, just to make it a little more modern and funky feeling.

I do love the title though, which is straight from the Silhouette store with no alterations except sizing it down to fit my needs.  It's funky and fresh and very Molly who declares way-too-many-things as being "awesome."  I also like that I was able to use the awesome word in the journaling - I think it lends a little cohesion to the page.

Not quite where I stand on the bird, which actually has a thematic tie in to the day (although, it's not mentioned or seen on the page at all), but the beak gets lost on the picture and it seems a little "out there."  But I'm not fussing with it at this point, just doing the 'what-if' post mortem, which is probably better suited to exams and hands of euchre and not scrapbook pages.

The only other take-away that I have is that I wasn't (am not) fond of the way the photos are positioned here.  It took a fair amount of will power to stick to the essence of the sketch.  And it's a sketch, it's not like I have to be literal about it, but by the same token, if I monkey with it too much I'm not doing what I set out to do - which is to save time and emotional effort in the layout process.  I'm just trying to eliminate one set of choices so as to make the scrapbooking process less cumbersome.

Here's the sketch I'll be cursing for February 1st:

My intention is to use a panoramic-y sort of picture on the page.  Do I have a panoramic-y picture in mind?  Nope.  Heck, I'm not even certain I have a picture that's suited to that kind of crop.  But we'll see.  And I'll wrestle it into submission one way or the other.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

No. This is NOT going to turn into a a recipe blog.

Last year I stumbled on this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip that was amazing.  It's a feat of simplicity and yet horribly addicting.  I bookmarked it. I pinned it. I revisited it several times.

And then it was gone.


And I'm not going to lie.  It sort of caused me to panic. I spent a couple of hours searching other recipes and every one just seemed a little off.  As luck would have it, the manfriend had a print out of the recipe on his fridge from last year.

Let's hear it for pack rats! ☺

And since the original link has vanished, I'm just going to put it in here, where I know it'll be safe. I hope.

8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 to 3 whole chicken breast

Boil chicken; cool; shred
Heat oven to 350ยบ
In baking dish, stir cream cheese til smooth.
Mix in ranch dressing, Frank's and cheese.
Stir in Chicken
Bake 20 minutes.

Stir and serve with bagel chips, pretzel chips, celery...whatever strikes your fancy.

ETA: So far I've made this with frozen chicken tenders (cooked and shredded), canned chicken and today I made it with a rotisserie chicken.  By far, I prefer the chicken tenders or rotisserie chicken over the canned chicken.  The rotisserie chicken was easier, but it's hard to resist the lure of eating the skin, which is pretty awful for you.  I doubled the recipe and used two full chickens today and that's just too much meat.  So I think if you're going to use a rotisserie chicken, maybe use 3/4 of the white meat...and maybe up the ranch and mozzarella to make the texture just right.  But as far as "mistakes" go, this is still pretty darned tasty!