Scraptastic Club's May Sketch Challenge!

It's the final Thursday of the month & a new sketch is up on the Scraptastic Club blog!

I used the sketch as-is this month to create a clean, bright and colorful layout using the May 2015 Janglin kit, add-on and stamp set.

This kit was perfect for documenting Lizzy's bright bear picnic on a very rainy, grey day while stuck indoors.

I love the mix of the exclusive paper (the rainy cloud), exclusive embellishments (the acrylic raindrops) with the Pinkfresh Studio and American Crafts goodies in the kits. Using the sketch, my layout came together in under 30 minutes. I love when that happens!

Be sure to link up your layout using the sketch to the sketch post for a chance to win a gift certificate to the Scraptastic Club site!

Elle's Studio Quick Card

On Wednesday, I had a card featured on the Elle's Studio blog and I'd love to share it with you.

ES Supplies: May 2015 exclusive kitMay digital cut fileShine paper collection packCienna bits & piecesCienna Happiness stamp; Other: ribbon, enamel dots.

Here’s how I put it together:

1) Cut a piece of white cardstock to 4-1/4″ x 11″. Fold in half. Cut a piece of the ‘So Bright’ paper to 4″ x 5-1/4″. Adhere to the front of the white, folded cardstock.

3) Cut the ‘for you’ tag from a piece of white cardstock and back it with the dark pink tag from the exclusive kit. Tie a pink ribbon at the top and keep the legs of the bow in place with glue dots. Cut a grey rectangle out of the ‘Say Cheese’ paper from the Shine collection and cut a slit at the bottom of the photo opening. Slide the ‘for you’ tag inside the slit at an angle and adhere to keep it in place. Tuck the purple flower from the exclusive kit behind the ‘for you’ tag and adhere to keep in place. Adhere the pink flower from the exclusive kit to the front of the grouping. Set aside.

4) Adhere the ‘important’ tab from the Cienna bits & pieces to the bottom left corner of the card. Stamp ‘I heart you’ onto the purple banner from the exclusive kit using the Cienna ‘Happiness’ stamp. Adhere to the top left corner of the card.

5) Using dimensional adhesive, adhere the frame/tag/flower grouping to the bottom left corner of the card. Embellish with enamel dots.

Be sure to check out all of the beautiful inspiration on the Elle's Studio blog, and while you're there, check out the shop to see the awesome new collection, Let's Eat

Jot Magazine May Mood Board Layout

Hello there! We've had a bit of a rough week with a sick girl in the hospital. 

On Tuesday, Lizzy was having a hard time breathing after just beginning to cough that morning, and by dinner time, her nebulizer treatments just weren't doing enough. As it was rush-hour and we knew it would take a while to get to our home hospital downtown, we took her to our local ER. Later that night, she was transferred to Children's Memorial Hermann, where she only spent one night and was diagnosed as having a viral pneumonia. We were lucky that she wasn't as sick as she has been in the past. She didn't even require oxygen on this trip.

She's doing much better here at home, but is still having a bit of a hard time breathing, so we're hoping that her regular nebulizer treatments and a steroid will get her back to normal in no time.

You may be asking, why are you writing about this when the subject of this blog post is "Jot Magazine May Mood Board?" Well, the gorgeous mood board this month includes a brush script file that reminds me to 'stay positive,' something I REALLY needed to be reminded of this week. 

When we came back from the hospital, I wrapped up this layout, inspired by the mood board and using the brush script file from the Polka Dot Creative site.

Supplies: Cardstock- Bazzill Basics; Patterned Paper- American Crafts, Studio Calico, KI Memories, Studio Tekturek; Embellishments: Heidi Swapp (puffy teal arrow & heart, glitter 'M' and '+'), Elle's Studio (hello sticker), My Mind's Eye (enamel bow & teal brad), American Crafts (chipboard arrow), Gossamer Blue (puffy geotag & '+'), Mark Richards (gold metal dots), Evalicious (gold 'look' arrow), Simple Stories (gold heart, black enamel dots), Basic Grey (pink ampersand, cloth brad), Other: Enamel dots, twine; Stamps: Studio Calico (ink smear), American Crafts (date stamp), Scraptastic Club ('+' groupings from the November 2014 Shake it Off stamp- ONLY $5.99!)

I was a bit nervous about printing a photo of my face in such a late size, but I knew that I wanted the circular cut file to be BIG on the layout, so I just went with it, after using a gaussian blur technique to soften the lines on my face. 

After changing the JPG brush script to a PNG in Photoshop Elements, I opened it in my Silhouette Software and traced the image to create a cut file. After cutting in black cardstock with my Silhouette Cameo, I backed the little spaces with scraps of patterned paper to match the mood board colors. The empty spaces became homes for tiny embellishment.

The stamps that I used on this layout are ones that I reach for time and time again, especially the Shake it Off stamp set (which is a BARGAIN at $5.99!) I love the texture they add to the background!

I used the 'be positive' words from the image as my title, only adding a small embellishment cluster to add emphasis to the title. I love using hoarded items like the Basic Grey chipboard ampersand and cloth brad on such a loved layout! 

You have until the end of the month to link up your creation inspired by the mood board on the Jot Magazine May Mood Board post! What will this mood board inspire you to create?

Day in the Life: Photos & Words

When Ali Edwards announced that she was documenting a 'Day in the Life' on May 12th, I was excited. I had attempted a 'Week in the Life' several times before, only to give up on day 3 or 4. One day of intense photo documentation is plenty for me, and I love that it gives a glance into our daily, boring lives right now. Today I want to share with you the photos and words from that day.

7:00 AM | (My clock is 20 minutes fast) I wake when I hear Lizzy stirring on the monitor. I see her slip out of bed and head towards mine. She has only been sleeping in a toddler bed for three days, and this is the first night that she has slept through in her own bed. Hooray for a good night's sleep.

7: 15 AM | I get Lizzy a cup of milk and she asks to watch Peppa Pig on my iPad. (This is totally one of those photos that I wish I had captured on my DSLR instead of my iPhone.) I check up on Instagram and my email on my iPhone while in bed next to her. I decide to get a shower before breakfast today, as it makes me feel like I'm totally conquering the morning.

8:00 AM | I hold off on blow drying my hair, since Lizzy is asking for 'egg bread'- her most requested breakfast. I get to the kitchen and start making her request while she watches PBS Kids on the iPad at the table.

Egg & bread, really an Ezekiel English muffin. I keep half of mine to spread on some homemade vanilla bean tangerine marmalade to have with my coffee.

8:30 AM | Breakfast is always a time for listing- I have to have a list of goals for the day to feel like I've accomplished anything. These to-do list printables are from Ann Marie Espinoza. (I print a big stack and bind them with some Glossy Accents.)

9:45 AM | After getting Lizzy ready, blow drying my hair & getting one more cup of coffee, we are in the car and headed toward 'toddler time' at our local library branch.

10:00 AM | I (very cleverly) remembered to let Lizzy wear her wellies to the library today, and luckily, there were some puddles in the parking lot that made good use out of them.

10:30 AM | Toddler time is hard work. Because of her inability to be around other children during cold and flu season, her social skills are still lacking and she's still learning how to do things like sing and dance. Her attention span is also extremely short- more so than most 2 year olds, a side effect of prematurity. Some days I really don't want to take her to this, but I know that it is important for her to grow socially, so we continue to go once a week in the summer.

11:00 AM | After we check out our new books, we head to Costco for some salmon & beans. We end up spending over $100. Typical, and the reason why I hate going to Costco. Simon usually stops on his way home.

12:00 PM | Girly is super hungry. I make us a wrap of homemade guacamole, grilled chicken and veggies and serve it with Pirates Booty cheese puffs. She eats the entire wrap. High five for me.

1:00 PM | Taking Toby and dinosaur for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood.

1:30 PM | Once Lizzy is down for her nap, I start working on packing up a set of onesies for my cousin, who just had a baby that morning! I also had to make a card, so I pulled out some old Studio Calico kits to help me out. I love making pretty things for other people.

4:00 PM | When Lizzy wakes from her nap, we head to the post office to drop off the gift for my cousin. Lizzy's bestie, Jack, lives just around the corner from the post office so we drop in to see him. Jack's grandmother shows Lizzy photos of a gecko that she took on her phone.

5:00 PM | We get home just as Simon arrives home from work. I get into the kitchen to sort dinner out and Simon distracts a hungry Lizzy with building blocks, one of her favorites.

IMG_1423.JPG

6:00 PM | Dinner consists of honey-mustard glazed salmon, Trader Joe's multigrain rice pilaf with vegetables (love that I had a bag of this in the freezer, as I was going to make my own rice pilaf!) and sautéed lemon green beans with almonds. Lizzy ate almost all of her salmon and some of her rice

7:00 PM | Simon takes Lizzy and Toby for a walk, with teddy, piggy and dinosaur, of course. I stay home and tidy the kitchen. The kitchen has to be completely clean before I can wind down for the evening. 

7:30 PM | Simon does bath time with Lizzy.

8:00 PM | Lizzy is quite tired tonight, so after only one story, she is down.

10:00 PM | After tidying my office and just doing a general pick-up around the house, I sit down to start on medical paperwork for Lizzy, which I realize will take me hours. Feeling a bit defeated, I decide to call it a night and head to bed. 

After looking back through my photos, I see that the next time I do this project, I really want to grab my DSLR instead of my iPhone, especially in low-light situations. I also want to get more photos from Simon's day at the office. I noticed that my photo taking lagged towards the end of the day and I missed the bedtime routine photos, like brushing teeth and reading stories. 

Thanks for stopping by! Have you done this photography project before, and if so, were you successful in documenting your entire day?

Two Page Layout Challenge

Today on the Scraptastic Club blog, myself and some fellow design team members were challenged to create a two-page spread. After thinking about it (and dreading it!) I decided that a two page spread didn't have to be two 12"x12" layouts! I decided to document an event which I had several photos of and create one 12"x12" layout and one pocket page spread, so that I could share all of the other photos that complete the story of a family road trip to San Antonio in April 2014.

To say that I love this spread is an understatement. Everything about it makes me happy- from the beautiful colors in the Scraptastic Club's May 2015 Janglin' kit and add-on, to the perfect cards from the April 2015 TLN kit that worked so well with the photos. 

Since the Pinkfresh Studio background patterned paper that I used was quite busy (the bright colors called to me!) I kept the rest of the layout as simple as possible. To break up the vertical lines on the left, I added a manufacturer's strip just underneath the orange horizontal line, which also served as a place for my title AND helps to draw your eye from the photo to the pocket page spread on the right.

To break up all of the lines on the page, I added a triangle of three circles, punched from another Pinkfresh Studio In The Clouds paper in the kit. These circles housed additional embellishments and a part of my title.

On the right side, I chose cards from the April 2015 TLN kit that had the same colors as on the left. The three cards I chose were perfect accompaniments to my photos and the story. 

San Antonio closeup 2 blog.jpg

To create balance from the left to the right sides, I added circular elements to my pocket pages. On this card, I traced a dashed circle around the 'let's go' title and added mini alphas, vellum arrows and enamel dots. 

This 'weekend adventure' card was embellished with more circles- punched, from a die-cut pack, a sticker sheet and a flair badge. It's purely for embellishment & it is my favorite on the spread.

That's all from me today! Thanks for stopping by! How do you feel about double-page spreads? Do they intimidate you? 

Scraptastic Club Janglin' Main Kit Process Video

Hello there! I just wanted to let you know that I'm sharing a new layout using the Scraptastic Club's May 2015 Janglin' kit, with a process video over on the Scraptastic Club blog today. I really love challenging myself to create with a main kit only, as it usually means that I create SO much faster than my normal 2-3 hour time frame for a page.

You can see the entire process for this layout, which I absolutely love, in my video. 

Do you love working with main kits only if you're a kit subscriber? 

Elle's Studio May Kit Reveal

The Elle's Studio May exclusive kit is releasing a day early this month to keep the 10th all about Mom! This beautiful kit has everything you need to document your stories this month, including tags for Dad!

In addition to the kit this month, there is an exclusive 'Good Day' stamp, as well as printables and cut files

For my first project, I used the kit tags exclusively, along with the digital cut files to create a Father's Day card for my dad. 

Supplies: May exclusive kit, May cut files

After going through a box of old photos from my childhood, I found this gem of my daddy and I on the beach in Florida at sunset. I changed the image to black and white, added the PNG 'Dad, You're the Best' file at the top corner and recolored it to match the kit. Just adding a few small tags, a cork button and a few enamel dots finished off the card.

For my second project, I created a 12"x12" layout, and hand stitched the 'sunshine' tag, as well as cut out and hand stitched the kite. The colors in this kit worked perfectly with this photo of my girl.

To grab your kit on launch day for $9.99, check out the Elle's Studio store

Project Life: February

I'm still plugging along with my Project Life album, and since last year's format worked so well for me, I'm sticking with it and using 12"x12" Design F pages and Collect App 3"x4" photos for monthly spreads. Today I'm sharing a two page spread for the month of February, which I created with the February 2015 and April 2015 TLN kits from Scraptastic Club. 

On the left side I used quite a few stamps to dress up my filler cards. The 'loving' stamp came from the Sentiments Series v. 7 stamp set. The 'February' was actually a stencil included in the TLN kit that I colored in with coral ink. On the 'XOXO' card, I stamped the 'XOXO' over the card image with coral ink, using the 'It Takes Two' stamp set (sold out, I'm afraid.) I stamped 'tacos' using the Darlene alphabet stamp set. I absolutely love the font used on these. The flowers on my 4"x6" card actually came from the April 2015 I Lived kit, fussy cut from a sheet of Simple Stories paper. 

I did a bet less stamping on this side, but layered some cards and tags for my 4"x6" card (tags taken from the Happy Day paper by Pebbles Inc. in the 'I Lived' kit)

My favorite item in the April 2015 TLN kit was the Simple Stories DIY stickers. I loved that they came in white (which is not something you find often!) so that I could add a phrase directly onto my photos.

I'm still getting caught up with my Project Life spreads, but with the Scraptastic This Life Noted kits, it's so easy to do that! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely Mother's Day weekend!

Love Built Our Happy Home

I had a post up on the Chickaniddy blog last week in which I created a layout inspired by a pin on Pinterest. I searched for an image that would really inspired me, and as soon as I saw this, I had a layout in mind.

Using a mix of three different Chickaniddy collections, and sticking to a green and neutral color scheme, I created this layout. 

This layout was so simple to put together, but what resulted is my favorite layout created for Chickaniddy to date. It's definitely a very 'me' layout. For all of the details on how I put it together, and the products I used, see the original post from the Chickaniddy blog here

Elle's Studio April Reveal Day!

The April exclusive kit at Elle's Studio is live and more gorgeous than ever! 

In addition to the kit. I also loved the cut files and printables this month. 

Using the kit, I first created a scrapbook layout with a favorite photo of Lizzy and Simon from her birthday party.

I loved all of the colors in this month's kits and I paired the kit with the Cienna collection to create this layout. For the full supply list, see the DT gallery post here.

For my second project, I created a mother's day card using the 'how lucky I am to have you' tag from the printable digital file. 

I also added a few extra bits from the Cienna collection. See this post in the designer gallery for the full product listing, and be sure to look at the other beautiful projects by the talented design team girls.

In addition to the kit, ES is also offering grab bags, too! This only happens twice a year so this is your chance to stock up and save! There are three different types of bags to choose from: scrapbook, stamp and journaling tags. These grab bags are available while supplies last, but they probably won't last long, so make sure you grab them now!

Scraptastic Club April Kits: My Lovely Tomboy

The new Scraptastic kits are live and this month I'm working with the lovely 'I Lived' kit and add-on, a change from my typical chosen 'girly' kits. I fell in love with the bright colors and the amazing red acrylic 'happy' word. 

For my first layout using the kits, I was feeling a bit rusty after not scrapping for a week with my family here in town, so I started with a vertical grid and a recent favorite photo of Lizzy from Easter weekend.

In addition to the kits, I also used the fantastic 'I Lived' and 'Sentiment Series V.7' stamp sets, as well as my favorite alpha stamp set from Scraptastic yet, the 'Darlene' stamp set.

The alpha stamps paired so well with the 'lovely' word from the Snap bits and pieces included in the main kit.

To include the circular words around my flowers, I stamped the flower and leaf first, then stamped an additional leaf to use as a mask on my first stamped image, which covered up the image so that I could stamp the circular phrase. 

I am so loving this bright and cheerful kit! Be sure to check out all that Scraptastic has to offer this month

Jot Magazine March Mood Board

The Jot Magazine mood board has been posted for March, and its blue, teal, green and yellow color scheme will inspire you to create!

This month, I was so instantly inspired by the colors, I knew exactly what photo I wanted to document- a quayside photo from a beautiful French town that we visited in 2011, La Rochelle.

Supplies: Paper- Studio Calico (background), Shimelle for American Crafts (yellow, teal herringbone & 'Go Somewhere Lovely' cut), Elle's Studio (blue floral), Chickaniddy Crafts (teal heart); Embellishment- American Crafts (cork Thickers, Shimelle ticket die-cut, mini clothespins), Crate Paper (banner border), Elle's Studio (cork), October Afternoon (chipboard journaling card), Studio Calico (ribbon, enamel dots, 'enjoy every minute' stamp)

To create this layout, I used a lot of old product, and items that were sitting in my 'anything' bowl on my desk. That's the bowl that houses leftover pieces of ribbon, small pieces of die-cuts and embellishments that I don't feel like organizing in their correct place. Please remind me to get rid of that black hole for embellishments! 

The background patterned paper, from the February 2013 Studio Calico Front Row kit, was actually saved for the yellow diagonal stripe B-side, but when I saw the nautical images on this side of the paper, I knew it would be perfect for this photo. I added additional papers from the Shimelle collection 6x6 paper pad, along with a Shimelle die-cut tag and topped it all with a lot of older embellishments- DIY Shop Thickers by American Crafts, Elle's Studio cork, and October Afternoon mini alphas and chipboard. 

The mood board was so inspiring that my layout came together in about 30 minutes. Completed during nap time. Ultra score. Be sure to check out what the other Jot Girls created with the board and link up your own creation on the mood board page before the end of the month. 

What We're Eating Wednesday: Easy Honey Pecan Granola

Granola. This versatile mix of oats & nuts is not only perfect for topping fruit and greek yogurt for breakfast, it's equally amazing as a quick snack in the afternoon. I often have to hide the canister of this goodness in the pantry so that my husband doesn't shove it by the handful into his mouth when he gets home from work. This is a staple in our pantry & it is rare that I ever run out of this crispy, nutty mix. The recipe is originally from Martha Stewart, I just tweaked it slightly. 

Honey Pecan Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 c. wildflower honey (In this recipe, the main flavor comes from honey, so use the good stuff! I use a local Texas wildflower honey with amazing flavor- it MAKES this recipe!)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans and salt. Melt butter in a medium microwave safe bowl. Add honey & vanilla to warm butter. Mix well.
  3. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and stir with a spatula until all oats are covered with honey.
  4. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, mix the granola up and turn over. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until oats are golden brown. Cool completely on sheet tray & enjoy!

Elle's Studio March Kit Reveal

It's the day of the Elle's Studio March exclusive kit release and this kit is sure to help you document your spring (or just brighten up a dreary day) with it's beautiful bright colors, and today only, you can purchase the kit for $9.99. 

To go along with your kit, the March Daily Grind printables and digital cut files are sure to take your project to the next level.

In addition to the new kit, the new, gorgeous Cienna collection is also in the store! 

Using a combination of the March kit and the Cienna collection, I created this layout about my sweet girl. 

Then, when I saw the "eggcellent" and "thank you" tags in the kit, it inspired me to create a thank you card for your Easter host or hostess with the March kit and Cienna collection.

Be sure to pick up your kit today, and save on shipping by bundling with the new Cienna collection. They're perfect together for any papercrafting project! 

Journaled labels tutorial

I'm up on the Scraptastic Club blog today with a new layout that uses an entire sheet of journaling labels, along with the It Takes Two kit & add-on. These labels coordinate with the Scraptastic Club kits each month & are available to subscribers, but you can also get the same labels for free download from Kaitlin Sheaffer's blog

Lizzy is currently saying and doing so many things that I know will change quickly. To get all of these "Lizzy-isms" down on a layout, I decided to put a different fact in each label & without a cute vintage typewriter, I used Photoshop Elements to type my journaling directly in the PNG file.

25months blog.jpg

After typing out my journaling, I opened the modified PNG file in my Silhouette Cameo software and used the print and cut feature, saving me a lot of time cutting out each individual label! To show you how I did this, I created a video tutorial showing the step-by-step process on my computer screen.

If you found the tutorial helpful, I'd love it if you could leave a comment letting me know. Have fun incorporating these useful labels into your next project! 

Jot Magazine Issue 9- Bucket List

I was so honored when Kim asked me to be a part of the Jot Girls for 2015, but at first when I thought about the projects I would create, the task seemed a bit daunting. It has been quite a while since I have had free range of product to use on a layout, and wasn't working from a collection or a kit. Once I started, though, the process was totally freeing & I loved every minute of it! 

I'm so excited to tell you that Issue 9 is now available at jotmagazine.com and I'm blown away by the talent on this team and truly honored to be a part of it. I'm really proud of what I contributed this month, and I'd love to share one of the layouts with you. 

Supplies| Patterned papers: Crate Paper (pink & floral), My Mind’s Eye (polka dot). Cardstock: Bazzill Basics. Stamps: Scraptastic Club (phrase), Studio Calico (alphabet). Embellishments: American Crafts (foam letters, epoxy sticker, yellow label sticker, chalkboard die-cut, yellow flower, twine), Crate Paper (heart stickers, rub-on, tag, journaling label, die-cut ‘e’), The Girl’s Paperie (ribbon). Other: Stampin’ Up! ink and markers, Staz-On ink, Tim Holtz tiny attacher

As soon as I read the prompts for Sian's bucket list article, I immediately was drawn to the 'journaling as a title' prompt and thought of this line from Love You Forever. The photo was taken with my Timer Cam app when getting Lizzy out of bed after her afternoon nap. I just walked in the room & sat the phone on the dresser before getting her out of her crib. I love photos like this. It shows a daily routine in such a lovely way.

I wanted the page to be graphic and simple, but still full of my soft, feminine touches. When I saw the beautiful floral paper by Crate Paper, it was just the thing I needed to pull different colors together for my title. Adding 'my baby' in black, foam Thickers emphasized the words and made the title really pop. To offset the black in the title, I backed my embellishments with a chalkboard label by American Crafts on the opposite side.

How would you interpret this challenge? A text, or a funny quote as a title, perhaps? Or maybe your favorite line from a book? The possibilities are endless! 

What We're Eating Friday: Lenten Edition

Hello there! For the Lenten season, we eat a bit lighter and I've even decided (attempted) to stay away from sweets and chocolate, although that's proving a bit difficult for my sweet tooth, who should take all of the blame. On Fridays, we eat fish, and this recipe is the perfect chance to stock your freezer with an easy fish main course that will make your Friday night dinner successful all through Lent. I love that the cakes include fish and potato, so all I have to do is steam a vegetable to make a complete meal!

The Best Fishcakes Ever

(makes 8 large fishcakes), adapted from this recipe

Tartare sauce ingredients:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) good mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed, drained & chopped
  • 2 tsp. creamed horseradish
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Italian parsley

Fishcake ingredients:

  • 900 grams (2 lbs.) fresh or frozen skinless, boneless fish fillets, thawed (I use 1 lb. of cod and 1 lb. of salmon)
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 300 ml (1-1/4 c.) milk
  • 700 grams (1-1/2 lbs.) Maris Piper or Russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 170 grams (1-1/2 c.) plain, stale breadcrumbs
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions: 

  1. Mix all ingredients together for the tartare sauce. Set aside.
  2. Add fish and bay leaves to a large frying pan. Pour the milk over and 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) of water. Cover & bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pan and cover with boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and bring back to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. 
  4. Lift the fish out of the milk with a slotted spoon & put on a plate to cool. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to hot pan to dry out for a few minutes. Mash with a potato masher, until you have a light, dry, fluffy mash. Add 2 Tbsp. of the tartare sauce, then lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain liquid off of the fish & flake into large chunks with your hands into the potato mixture. Add the eggs. Using your hands, gently mix the fish and potatoes together, so that the fish flakes don't break up too much. Put to one side to cool.
  6. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Divide the fishcake mixture into 8, or weigh the mixture to get perfectly even fishcakes. Using your hands, patty the cakes and push both sides into the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a clean baking sheet & chill for 30 minutes (This step helps to keep the cakes firm while frying, but if you're in a hurry, you can skip this step.)
  7. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Fry 4 fishcakes at a time until golden-brown, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges & tartare sauce. 
  8. If freezing: Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate before moving to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add sheet to freezer until frozen hard and then put in a freezer Ziplock bag. To reheat: Thaw completely. Add thawed fishcakes to a parchment paper-lined sheet tray and heat at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top and bottom are crispy. 

Pinspired!

Happy Monday! Today I'm up on the Scraptastic blog with a new layout, created with a fantastic pin. 

Designer Leah Greenberg via Print & Pattern

Designer Leah Greenberg via Print & Pattern

I loved the design on the left with imperfect circles, so I created this layout with one of my favorite photos from when Lizzy was little.

I created the layout with the February It Takes Two kit & add-on, hand-cutting my circles for the background and adding punched circles and bits and pieces of embellishment from the kit, as well as the awesome digital files this month. 

To add the typed journaling in the circular journaling tag, I drew a 2"x2" circle in Photoshop Elements and added a horizontal text box around the outside of the circle. I centered my text & kept the text inside the circle by hitting 'return' whenever I got close to the edge. After typing, I deleted the circle and printed the journaling out on a piece of paper. I then used non-permanent adhesive to adhere my journaling card over the top and ran it through the printer again. 

The pretty chipboard elements from Crate Paper's Kiss Kiss collection worked perfectly with the soft colors of the patterned paper in the kits & I am so pleased with how the layout came out- exactly as I envisioned it.

How have you been inspired by a Pinterest pin lately? 

What We're Eating Wednesday: Chana Masala

I am a huge fan of Indian food, and we often have 'curry nights' where a group of friends get together and order take-out on a Friday night. A few weeks ago, we decided to make our curries instead of ordering takeout & after researching some Indian dishes, I came up with this easy, vegetarian, inexpensive meal that will now be a staple in our house.

Chana Masala

adapted from this recipe. Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 tsp. peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2-1 serrano chile, de-seeded, de-ribbed and chopped (for mild heat level)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chiles and season with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook about 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Reserve the juice from the can of tomatoes and set aside. Chop up tomatoes into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

3. Add garam masala, coriander, 1 tsp. salt, and turmeric to the pan and stir to coat the onion mixture. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato juice, 1 can of chickpeas with their juice and one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour.

5. Just before serving, add juice from 1/2 lemon and heavy cream. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

The Blanket

I shared this story a few weeks ago on my Instagram profile, so if you follow me there, you'll probably have a bit of déjà vu reading this post. 

Lizzy and I were in my office, where I have multiple photos hanging up from our time in the NICU. She's at the stage where she loves to point out loved ones in photos and we were looking at multiple pictures hanging up and naming Daddy, Papaw, Nana, etc. When she came to this photo, she couldn't name the baby in the picture.

Dated April 15th, 2013. 37 weeks adjusted gestational age. Almost 3 months old actual.

Dated April 15th, 2013. 37 weeks adjusted gestational age. Almost 3 months old actual.

The blanket that she was laying on in the photo just so happened to be in my office where she was playing, so I grabbed it and showed it to her, pointing out that it was the same blanket as the baby in the photo was laying on. Then I explained that the baby was her, when she was very little and needed to get bigger and stronger in the hospital. She hugged the blanket and pointed to the photo, saying, 'Lizzy,' (or 'Liddy', as she calls herself). It was definitely one of those wow moments for me as a mother. I had to take a photo of the two of us after that to remember the moment. 

As a documenter, these are the stories that I want to get down on paper so that, years from now, I can turn to this page in my album and say, "Yes, that was an amazing moment." So, I decided to create a very clean layout which focused on this story. 

Supplies: Scraptastic Club 'It Takes Two' kit & add-on, Scraptastic Club 'Counting Stars' stamp set, 'Counting Stars' digital files, 'It Takes Two' stamp set, 'It Takes Two' labels, 'It Takes Two' digital files, vellum, sewing machine, Stampin' Up! ink, Shimelle date stamp, black mist spray, 'Rough Typewriter' font

To keep the patterned paper behind my photos from attracting too much attention, I covered it with a sheet of shimmery vellum, which gives the layout a very pretty appearance. I absolutely love the heart digital cut file from the 'It Takes Two' digital files and used it to separate my two photos- sort of a 'then' and 'now' juxtaposition of images- and glued small pieces of patterned paper to the holes at the back of the cut. To make that stand out a bit more and give more weight to my photos backed the heart with a black cardstock, slightly larger than the original cut file. 

The 'Counting Stars' alpha stamps have to be one of my favorite things from this month's offerings. Designed by the talented Kaitlin Sheaffer, they are the perfect font for this subject, and I love that you can put colored blocks on top of the letters, or color them in yourself with watercolor or pens. So fun. 

I've also been typing out my journaling a lot in the last few weeks- not because I have a problem with my writing, but simply because I can fit more words in a small space with a typewriter font as opposed to my handwriting.

To finish off the page, I added a black label (check out Kaitlin's free label downloads!) and stamped 'my heart is so full,'- a perfect phrase for this story- with the 'It Takes Two' stamp set.

I am so happy to have this moment on paper. What stories do you need to document today?