Posts Tagged With: projects

the time of our lives — a travel journal

This past October, I was blessed to be able to go on yet another week-long adventure with my CP friends.  This time, we met up at two students’ home outside St. Louis, IL.  There were dear friends from the the VA gathering in April and several new faces as well.  The time I spent in IL was chock-full of memories. And the reason it was never blogged about is because when I got home, instead of saving the memories to my hard drive, I recorded them on paper.  You see, I’ve been wanting to make a travel journal/scrapbook for some time and never quite knew how to go about it.  But when I found Xenia’s Alaska Travel Album and I knew I had to make one.  And the gathering gave me the perfect opportunity.

Now that it’s done and I’ve (finally!) taken pictures of it, I’m ready to share it with you!

the adventure begins

the adventure begins

My mother was very glad when it was done.  I had taken over her table and covered it in paper scraps for weeks.(Yes, weeks.  😛 I’m very detailed oriented and I am very happy when surrounded by creative chaos.  See below.)

creative chaos

One of my favorite things about this project was that I had a good excuse to dig through all the little scraps, embellishments, and quotes I had collected and saved for unknown future projects.  And while on the trip, I made sure to save the tangible evidence of the good times.  Things like paper scraps from games, a map my dad had made, ticket stubs, and doodles drawn on the drive were tucked in an envelope and brought home.  Combined with what I already had, there was plenty to stash, glue, and tape into the book.

pages collage 02

Like Xenia’s journal, the days were divided up with tabs.  And at the beginning of each day’s section, I’ wrote out the day’s schedule and activities.


I ended up using some postcards from the St. Louis City Museum as pages in the journal.  A few photos from our day spent there decorated the blank backs.


A word on the St. Louis City Museum: coolest museum ever. 😎  It’s almost more of a giant playground and jungle gym for anyone and everyone willing to run, crawl, squeeze, slide, and be a kid for the day.  Oh, and there’s a 10 story slide, a ferris wheel on the roof, and a school bus hanging off the side of the building.

The week not only filled with memories, but with lots of music.  From Titanium parodies to music wars in the van, the soundtrack for the week was eclectic but oh so fun. 😉


music wars

I ended the journal with hand-lettered lyrics from The Time of our Lives by Tyrone Wells and a quote from the ever-wise Pooh bear — the perfect way to end my travel journal chronicling a simply fabulous week. 😀

the time of our lives

Categories: College Plus, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

When life gives you lemons…

I’ve loved lemons for as long as I can remember.  It’s a love that I share with my mom.  We specifically ask for “extra lemon” with our drinks so that we’ll have a cache for refills.  Places that take our request seriously and bring us a bowl full of wedges instead of one extra perched on the rim of the glass get extra points.  Every glass of water I pour for myself has a good squirt of lemon in it.  We go through the stuff like crazy.  So, three years ago we bought a Meyer lemon tree.

It’s first year of life in our backyard was, as expected, rather dull.  No lovely yellow orbs hung from it’s spindly branches.  Year number two, it was feeling a bit stronger and managed to push out around a dozen big juicies.  So when year three came trotting around, we expected oh… 30+ lemons.  That would have been great.  But…

Despite the massive amount of blossoms that bedecked the tree in the spring, we still didn’t anticipate a total harvest of over 250 lemons.  We ate them, we gave them away, we made pies, we gave more away, we decorated with them, we made lemonade, we sliced, squeezed, and well… enjoyed having such bounty.

During the week after Christmas, we decided to harvest the last few before they rotted or froze.  There ended up being 138 “last few”.  It took 2 full evenings to completely process them.

We couldn’t let all that wonderful zest go to waste, so my sister and I wielded  the micro grater and saved as much as we could.  My mom chose to use the zester and thus received lovely goldilock curls.  After the juice was strained, we bottled some for immediate  use and froze the rest in ice cubes trays.  We’ll use these later when we need to make a lemon cake or ward off scurvy. 😉

One of my favorite lemon desserts is Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake.  Enjoy!


For the cake:

~ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 2 teaspoons baking powder
~ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
~ 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
~ 1 cup sugar
~ 3 extra-large eggs
~ 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
~ 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
~ 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the syrup:

~ 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
~ 1/3 cup sugar

For the glaze:

~ 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
~ 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by cooking the lemon juice and sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cooled cake.

Categories: Life, Project, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Easter Egg Dying 2012

Five and a half dozen eggs!

On Good Friday, my family dyed five and a half (minus one) eggs.  For our family, egg dying has become both an art and a science.  No single-colored eggs for us, no sir.  Maybe… four eggs in the above picture underwent only one colored bath.  Each of us had a dozen eggs to transform and an arsenal of supplies at our disposal.  This year’s experiments included brown dye, sandpaper, and electrical tape.  We also used rubber bands, paper towels, and our imaginations.  🙂

Our setup

a couple different treatments

Some of our eggs end up looking CRAZY, while others almost look like they were stone.  You can see that one of the eggs below had several layers of rubber bands applied.

Some of my dad's crazy eggs

These two began the morning as humble brown eggs, but ended up absolutely stunning.

"stone" eggs

When we need to crack the eggs to make the egg salad or stuffed eggs, there is a tradition as well.  My grandfather always had “egg wars” with us.  We’d each pick an egg and tap ends.  The undamaged egg then takes on a new challenger.  (*miss you Poppa*)

So now we have a lot of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator.  Breakfast = boiled eggs, lunch = egg salad, supper = stuffed eggs.  Repeat.  🙂

Categories: Life, Project, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Project of the Month – March 2012

Our home is currently undergoing several changes.  One of these is setting up my room to meet the needs of this next chapter of my life.  That means that it not only needs to be my place to sleep and hold my clothes, but where I can store my books and study.  This is going to involve some more bookshelves and a new desk as the current pieces are not quite cutting it.  🙂  So, I’d thought I’d share an easy method that our family uses when we need to rearrange furniture.

So first, gather your supplies.  You’ll need: some graph paper, a ruler, a tape measure, a colored pencil or two (or a highlighter), a pencil, and a pair of scissors.

First, measure your room.  I’m working with a room that is 11’6″ x 11’9″.  We’re going to put this on a piece graph paper.  I usually set each square as 6in.  So, the wall that is 11’6″ long will be 23 graph squares long and the 11’9″ wall will be 23 1/2 squares long.  (Use the ruler to get nice straight lines.)  Also make marks for any doors (and the space they take up when being opened) and windows.

Next, measure the various pieces of furniture.  Translate these measurements to a separate piece of graph paper and cut them out.  I’ve found it helpful to outline the pieces with a colored pencil or highlighter.  You could even make pieces for rugs.

Now, have fun rearranging your furniture!  It takes a lot less time and a lot less muscle than your usual furniture rearranging.  And if you’re considering buying some new pieces — take a look at the dimensions and make pieces for them.  That way you can actually see how much space it will take up in your room.  Here’s a sample:

We recently purchased new living room furniture.  To help decide which furniture would work best in the room, my sister and I made a graph paper model of our living room.  It really helped simplify the decision-making process at the furniture store.  And the in-house designer was quite impressed!

Now we have to choose paint colors.  Unfortunately I don’t have an easy button for that one.  🙂

Categories: Project | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Project of the month – February 2012

For my mom’s birthday this year, my sister and I made her a case for her iPad.  I’m super pleased with how it turned out and Mama really loves it.

I used a lovely tutorial that I found at Teresa Down Under.

And for those (like me) who don’t know how to work with bias tape, I found wonderful instructions for double-folded bias tape here at sew4home.  I didn’t make my own bias tape, but their instructions for attaching bias tape to straight edges and making mitered corners was wonderful.

Here’s a close-up of the flap and one of my lovely mitered corners:

So anyway, this is the first installment of a monthly series.  I’m going to try to put up monthly posts on whatever project has kept me busy.

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