Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Thoughts

As we speed through the holiday season with thoughts of gift giving, decorating, visiting, and baking, let me request that we all have some additional daily thoughts.

A thought for those who cannot be with their families because they are on duty here and abroad.  Our police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, chefs, wait staff, kitchen workers, hotel workers, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, shipping and freight carriers, and pharmacists, to name only a few.

A special thought for those in military service here and abroad.  They are always on duty so that we can be safe at home and abroad.

A fervent thought as an ambulance passes that the attendants, EMTs, and emergency room staff work up to their best potential to save that life.  If it is the destiny of that life to move on to the next chapter, that the passing is gentle and with grace.

And, finally, a positive thought for each of us.  Let us look around and see the plenty of what we have, the joy of our friends and family, and the hope and anticipation of the New Year to come.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A decent meal in 10 minutes (with help)!

So, let's start with the full truth -- this is not a "from scratch" meal.

But on busy nights, having a usable leftover, some sausages in the fridge, and a veg in the freezer can make a fast, balanced, and decent meal.

We had a side portion of Christy Mae's potato salad, frozen chopped spinach from Whole Foods, and Andouille Sausage by Wellshire Farms (also purchased at Whole Foods). 

Got out the grill pan, heated it up, and slapped the sausages in there to heat them (they are already fully cooked) and get the skin nicely marked and crispy.

Dumped the full bag of frozen spinach in a medium large Corningware dish (from S&H Green Stamps), put the lid on, and thawed it in the microwave.

Turned the sausages. Nice markings!

Had some heirloom garlic from friends -- sliced about 4 cloves, heated about 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet and, with the fire on medium-low, threw the garlic slices in there to start cooking (but NOT browning).  Tossed in a bit of salt and four grinds of the pepper mill.

Drained the hot (and thawed) spinach (nothing fancy -- just slip the lid back, lean over the sink, let it dribble out), and tossed the spinach in the frying pan.  Gave it a stir.

Checked on the sausages, gave them another turn.

Got out plates, forks, steak knives, squeezed some Grey Poupon on each plate (we like to dunk our sausage slices in mustard), and divided up the potato salad.  You don't want to know how many different types of mustard we have in the refrigerator.

Stirred the spinach around -- just trying to cook off additional moisture and get the garlic essence through out.

One more turn of the sausages -- in the grill pan for about 9 minutes total.

Serve it up! Yummy!

P.S.  We saved half of the sausages (2 links) and half of the spinach for another night.
P.P.S.  We are not affiliated with nor employees of any of the above referenced companies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Catching up on things: a haul video

Trying to catch up on stuff, now that we're back from our trip.

Pictures are being sorted, haul videos of the craft and fabric shopping at local stores are being made, and we got through Hallowe'en!

Only had about 90 trick-or-treaters, so will be giving all the extra treat holders (filled, of course) to friends.

In the meantime, I did get the video of my October Stampin' Up order completed and it is uploaded to Youtube, on my channel:  craftytravelfrog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hallowe'en Treat Holders -- All 154 of them!

Well, we got them done!

Here's a picture of 154 empty treat tubes:

And, here they all are, filled with yummy treats!  They'll hold two fun-sized candies plus one mini, or four minis.

There's a "video" of how to make the treat holders on my Youtube site. 

Will let you all know if we run out of these!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy dinner for a cool night.

Normally one doesn't think of fondue as easy, but this recipe is totally easy ('cause it cheats) and is easy to vary.

Here's the original recipe, from an old Campbell's Soup Cookbook:

Technically this serves 4, but mi esposo and I barely manage to have any left over.

1 clove garlic cut in half crosswise
1 cup white wine
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 cups of fairly well packed grated cheddar cheese (we use Tillamook Extra Sharp)
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 small round of sourdough bread, cut into "mouth-sized" squares, making sure there's crust on one side.

Special equipment:  fondue pot and fondue forks (not essential, but it makes it official), small can of sterno.

Rub the garlic over the inside of the pot and discard.

Stir the cornstarch into the grated cheddar cheese and set by the stove.

Add the wine and the can of soup to the pot, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer.  Once you see little bubbles around the edge of the liquid, stir in handfuls of the cheddar cheese-cornstarch combination, using a wooden spoon (or a heatproof spatula).  Let each handful melt into the soup-wine mixture before adding the next.

When everything is combined and smooth, remove the pot from the heat and set on the fondue stand.  Light the sterno and keep a low flame under the pot.

Pierce a cube of bread through the crust with the fondue fork and swirl through the fondue; let drip back into the pot, letting the fondue cool a bit on the bread.  Insert into mouth, let eyes roll into the back of your head, and repeat.

Other yummy things to dip into the fondue:  tart apples, cubed; just fork-tender pieces of broccoli and cauliflower.

If there is any leftover fondue, it easily reheats.  You may need to add a bit of wine to thin it.  It also makes a tasty spread on crackers in its chilled state.

CTF's variation:

2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1 cup white wine
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 cups of fairly well packed grated cheddar cheese (we use Tillamook Extra Sharp)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Minimum of 1 small can of chopped green chiles (or about 1/4 cup of diced freshly roasted green chiles) 
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely minced.

1 small round of sourdough bread, cut into "mouth-sized" squares, making sure there's crust on one side.

Special equipment:  fondue pot and fondue forks (not essential, but it makes it official), small can of sterno.

Stir the cornstarch into the grated cheddar cheese and set by the stove.

Place the garlic, wine and the can of soup to the pot, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer.  Once you see little bubbles around the edge of the liquid, stir in handfuls of the cheddar cheese-cornstarch combination, using a wooden spoon (or a heatproof spatula).  Let each handful melt into the soup-wine mixture before adding the next.

When everything is combined and smooth, add the green chiles (or chipotle chiles) and heat through.  Remove the pot from the heat and set on the fondue stand.  Light the sterno and keep a low flame under the pot.

Pierce a cube of bread through the crust with the fondue fork and swirl through the fondue; let drip back into the pot, letting the fondue cool a bit on the bread.  Insert into mouth, let eyes roll into the back of your head, and repeat.

Other yummy things to dip into the fondue:  tart apples, cubed; just fork-tender pieces of broccoli and cauliflower.

If there is any leftover fondue, it easily reheats.  You may need to add a bit of wine to thin it.  It also makes a tasty spread on crackers in its chilled state.

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried the recipe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Repurposing tissue boxes

Have you noticed how pretty the boutique-sized tissue boxes are?  The graphics on the boxes are striking -- even the ones from the warehouse stores.

I started saving the boxes, thinking "there must be something I can do with these" (famous last words).

One day, I pulled one out and stared at it and noticed (I mean really noticed) that there was a nicely shaped oval cut-out in the top and a lot of other useful decorated paper (more like lightweight chipboard) on the other sides.  So, I took it apart at the flaps and then dismantled it by cutting on the fold lines.

The size of the top was pretty square with the two sides parallel to the long side of the oval having a bit more space between the edge of the oval and the edge of the paper, so I trimmed off a bit on those two sides -- made it look a bit more proportional to me.

The oval edge was a little rough (having been perforated for the bit you remove to get to the tissues), so I distressed it further.  Then I pulled out some solid colored cardstock that coordinated with the colors in the tissue box and an ink pad and a focal point stamp that would fit nicely in the oval, and a card was born!

The weight of the tissue box "paper" is pretty heavy, but the Nestabilities dies do work with it.  I haven't tried it with the Sizzix dies, yet, but will shortly, as I punched squares out of the smaller pieces that I will "quilt" together in a patchwork and run it through with the Top Note die for a background element.

I recently made one of my "movies" showing the steps I go through to dismantle the tissue box and make a card with the top part.  It's on my YouTube channel.

Have you ever repurposed a tissue box?  What did you do with it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A second life for toilet paper tubes and chopstick wrappers

Do any of you save stuff to use in your crafting projects?

I do a little...right now I have large bags full of toilet paper (TP) tubes that I have been saving since last Hallowe'en.  Last year I got the "brilliant" idea to make treat containers, rather than buying the little sacks to hold 3 or 4 mini candies (like Snickers, etc.).  I used the decorative waxed paper from Michaels and Hallowe'en paper I found on sale and 85 tubes later had something pretty cute.    We actually ran out, DH had to run to store for more candy.  We ended up with nearly 100 kids!  So since then we have been diligently saving TP tubes and paper towel tubes (as back up), and even got some TP tubes from friends.

I have all the decorative paper and decorative waxed paper cut out and have started making the treat holders.  There's a short video on my YouTube channel, if you'd like to see how it's done.

I also save chopstick wrappers, if they have an interesting graphic.  One of our local sushi places has a wrapper that has green and red colors on it and the text "Oh Happy Day".  I have a stamp with the Chinese character for happiness and a stash of origami and other Asian papers.  When I get a wrapper or two, then I make cards, triming the wrapper to fit the card, backing it with some red or green paper and applying the stamp.  Easy card, looks pretty cute, and it goes to the Soldiers' Angels group in my town.  They collect all kinds of hand made cards, sorted by theme and holiday, and send out boxes to the troops 6-8 weeks in advance of the holiday (usually always mixing in some general cards for birthdays, thinking of you, congratulations, etc.).

Then there are the boutique-sized tissue boxes.  But that's another story.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NM State Fair Food -- More!

A short note.

First, the SPAM contest was great this year.  Some amazing recipes and the junior and adult division winners look like strong contenders for the National competition.   The "man from SPAM" always brings some SPAM stuff as giveaways and we won a pair of socks!

Second, a new favorite food at the fair -- Torpedo Dogs!  A unique method of preparation nearly guarantees no drips out the bottom of the bun.  4 or 5 sauces to try with a delicious Polish Dog.  Yum, yum!  Their stand is fashioned out of a shipping container.  Look for them around Albuquerque!

Monday, September 17, 2012

NM State Fair, Food, and Jackalopes

I love State Fairs.  I love the exhibits (4-H and FFA), the crafts, cooking, sewing, and quilting submissions, the SPAM contest (as an observer only), the horses, the baby animals that grow up before your eyes, the food.

In our house, we refer to the start of the State Fair as the beginning of the "eatin' season".  On the heels of the fair comes the Balloon Fiesta, then after that it's Thanksgiving, and after that it's Christmas (or the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or the special observance of the winter season of your choice).  As a matter of fact, I advise anyone to either get their cholesterol tested BEFORE the State Fair or after the middle of January, because it's pointless to do it during the eatin' season.

A new creature this year in the Poultry and Rabbit barn is the rarely seen jackalope.  These were particularly special since they are of the mini persuasion, not the usual significantly larger persuasion that can get up to four feet tall, if you include the ears.

Here's a picture of the darlin' in his cage:

Here's a close-up of the little guy:

Hope you enjoy your State Fair!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A most delicious Wine and Dine at Scalo tonight

I believe I said that last week was pretty darn good.  Tonight, that was topped.  Please keep in mind that this report is based on my tastes and impressions.  I'm not a professional wine taster, but sure appreciate the good stuff in wine and food.

We had a representative from the winery, Flora Springs Winery, with us tonight.  A family-owned winery in St. Helena, CA; begun by Flora and her husband.  Flora is now 100 years old and still active; her son owns the winery and her grandson is in charge of operations.  The winery has been in operation for 33 years.

Our menu was thoughtfully paired with selections from the winery by the chef of Scalo Nob Hill.  Note that the price will be going up.  My spouse and I were speculating  what such a dinner would cost in San Francisco, CA, or New York, NY and came up with $75 or $100 per diner.  Tonight's dinner was $22.50 before tax and tip.  The cost will be going up to a mere $27.50 next week.  Still an  amazing bargain, considering the quality of wines and food that are paired together.  Many thanks to Scalo and its wine distributors for this generosity, and, for tonight, to Paul Trioni, from the Flora Springs Winery!

The salad was a simple and savory green apple and endive salad with a honey dijon vinaigrette dressing.  This was paired with a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc in the Sancerre style. with the grapes coming from Oakville.  While still nicely dry, there were melon components in the taste and this paired very nicely and smoothly with the salad.

The second course was a delicious and fresh tasting shrimp and avocado spring roll with a nicely bold soy and ginger dressing.  This was matched with a 2010 Chardonnay with minimal oak, from the Carneros area of Napa.  (By the way, the Flora Springs Winery owns all the land the grapes are grown on and do not buy grapes for their wines.)  I could pick up tastes of baked and fresh apples with a clean crisp fragrance in the glass.  This wine was not over-powered by the savory sauce served with the spring rolls and the tastes held true during enjoying the spring roll.

The main course was braised beef cheeks served with mushroom risotto, a red wine jus, and slivered fresh scallions. This was served with a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine for which the Floral Springs Winery is most known.  The cheeks were tender, the risotto deeply flavored and both were well matched to the Cab.  Honestly, one could drink this Cabernet with hamburgers and have a delightful combination.  This cabernet sauvignon was 100% of the cabernet grape from the Rutherford region in the Napa Valley.  In the glass there was the fragrance of deep red cherries with a hint of roses (yes, roses!), along with a hint of tobacco and leather.  On the tongue, the soft tannins were present but not dominant, leaving a pleasantly dry finish and the hint of roses and leather persisted to the end.

Dessert was a most delicious and smooth chocolate creme brulee, served with a 2009 Merlot.  This was a blend of 97% Merlot and 3% Malbec.  Definitely tastes of dark cherry and black pepper on the tongue, a most satisfactory companion to the richness and smoothness of the chocolate creme brulee.  A hint of smoke on the finish that delightfully completed the taste.

If you have the opportunity to enjoy one of these Wednesday Wine and Dines, I think you will be pleased.  The reservations fill up quickly; your best bet is to sign up for the weekly notifications and reserve as soon as you can (at the Scalo website -- yummy education on the plate and in the glass).

Monday, September 10, 2012

A (Pretty) Quick Thank You Card

Made a quick (for me) Thank You card for a friend's generosity and am sharing with you (after we've put it in the mail).

Stampin' Up! products used:  Pool Party and Island Indigo inks, Naturals card stock in Ivory, Island Indigo card stock, 'thank you" from You're My Type stamp set (1/4/12 - 4/30/12 occasions mini catalog), Labels Collection Framelits, and  Bitty Banners Framelits.

Star background is created by sponging Pool Party through star punchinella from Gauche Alchemy, sold through Art Fire.

The multiple "thank you" background stamp is by Inkadinkado -- pretty sure I got it at Hobby Lobby either on sale or with a coupon.

The Mimbres frogs is a stamp I've had for years -- sorry, could not find a current site for it.

I am not a representative of or a design team member of any of these companies, but I sure appreciate them all!

A new haul video is up -- my Stampin' Up! haul


Can't believe September is 1/3 over, already.  At last, we're starting to get some cooler weather.

My Stampin' Up! order came in, so I thought I'd do a "video" of it.  It's up in YouTube land. 

More later!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Lovely Wednesday Evening

A local favorite restaurant of ours hosts a Wednesday Wine and Dine.  The menu is composed around a winery's or regions' wines that the organizer can procure.  Tonight was our second time at Wine and Dine, and while the first one was certainly tasty and memorable, tonight's was truly delicious.  Props to Scalo Northern Italian Grill for a delicious menu and excellent pairing of wines to the food.  And, props to Esser Vineyards for enabling the provision of wines from the SW distributor.  Esser is based in Napa Valley, but all the wine selections for this evening were from their Monterrey vineyards ( I think I have this correctly -- the grapes are most definitely from Monterrey).

The soup was a delicious savory and spicy Cold Tomato and Cucumber Gaspacho that included sweet peppers and fresh herbs. It  was most favorably paired with a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc that complemented the soup while also tasting refreshing on its own.  Before the soup was served, the citrus and floral notes were enjoyable.  But the melon notes did not come out, for me, until after a taste of the soup.  Smooth but not cloying.

The salad was a deceptively simple chopped salad of romaine, yellow and red peppers with slivers of red onion, dressed with a roasted pepper vinaigrette.  Our whole table raved about the vinaigrette and I plan to grill the staff later this week on how it was done.  The wine paired with the salad was a 2010 Chardonnay.  Smooth but not cloying, only spending 6-8 months in oak, this was bright and fresh.  I could taste the citrus as well as some tropical fruit flavors but it was not sweet at all.  Delicious by itself and with the salad.

The entree was a NY Strip portion served with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini in a savory mushroom sauce.  The original plan was to serve this with a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, but the restaurant and the wine representative decided to change the wine to a 2009 Merlot and that was a most successful change.  Smooth and leathery on its own, the wine melded with the flavors of the entree with ease.  Each bite of steak, potatoes, or grilled zucchini with the mushroom sauce were enhanced and respected (if that's possible) by the Merlot.

Finally, a 2009 Pino Noir accompanied a raspberry sorbet decorated with mint slivers.  A delicious combination and a very tasty wine on its own, with cherry, tobacco, and oak flavors.  The sweet-tart of the dessert complimented the wine and the wine was not overcome by the sorbet.

Amazingly, Scalo manages to offer these Wednesday Wine and Dines for $22.50 (before tax and gratuity).  This is a bargain in delicious eats and impressive wines.  See their website for information on future Wednesday Wine and Dines. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cooking counts as Crafting, yes?

I'm counting things done in the kitchen as coming under the Craft designation; I'm pretty sure my efforts don't qualify as Art.

We're invited to a Labor Day hangout, and as it is still too stinking hot to turn the burners on, opted for already cooked shrimp.  A minor complication -- DH neglected to notice that the tray of already cooked shrimp were frozen on his recon earlier in the week.  So now, 2 1/2 hours before we're supposed to show up, we're thawing shrimp.

What I wanted to share was our cocktail sauce recipe.   Cannot take credit for invention of the recipe, just the adaptation.  We first tasted this at Cutter's in Seattle -- they had a most excellent shrimp and crab cocktail with this flavorful and spicy cocktail sauce billed as the "Fireworks Prawn Cocktail".  We inquired as to the components and all they would share is that wasabi (the green spicy horseradish paste that comes with sushi) is part of the recipe, and it definitely adds a yummy flavor to the sauce.

So we tasted and tasted to try to detect what else might be in the sauce, and here is our version.

Fireworks Seafood Cocktail Sauce

  • Amounts are approximate, as this is a "season to your taste" kind of sauce
  • Makes about 2 cups.  Recipe can be halved or doubled, as needed
  •  Recommend making at least 1 hour before it is needed
  •  Takes about 10 minute to prepare.
2 cups of your favorite tomato ketchup
1 large clove of garlic (minced, mashed, put through the press -- your choice)
1 tablespoon pure horseradish (the grated stuff in a jar -- NOT horseradish sauce or cream)
4 teaspoons of wasabi (this is usually in the Asian food section of grocery store in small green box -- is in a tube, lasts nearly indefinitely)
4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
4 - 6 grinds of your peppermill
About 2 teaspoons of juice from lime (our preference) or lemon

Mix all together and taste.  Adjust as needed, adding more wasabi, lime juice, etc.  Refrigerate until needed.  This will improve and the flavors blend as it sits in the refrigerator.  Taste again before serving and adjust as you need.

This also keeps well -- at least 10 days in the fridge (between the horseradish, wasabi, garlic, and citrus juice, how could it not?).  It's actually quite tasty as a sauce for hotdogs and sausages.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Haul video from Joann's is up on YouTube

I did get the pictures taken and "video" put together yesterday and it is now up on YouTube.

My channel is, fortunately, also called craftytravelfrog.  This makes my third video!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Shopping at Joann's and Rebel Donuts

Did a little bit of shopping at Joann's -- jewelry making supplies are 25% off (today is probably last day) and stamps and stamp sets are 40% off.  But check their website -- they are having Labor Day sales and there are coupons.  Did pick up some jewelry making things -- will do a short "video" later today and post on YouTube.

Then on to Rebel Donuts, here in Albuquerque.  An independent donut shop with unique combinations of flavors, and they are making up new combinations every day.  DH had the maple glaze, which he pronounced as delicious and I had the Zinger, which was new that day -- raised donut with raspberry jam sprinkled with cocoanut and topped with a swirl of butter cream frosting.  Not a giant donut and the tart flavor of the raspberry jam nicely balanced the richness of the butter cream.  Yum, yum.  Highly recommend.  Open 7 days a week, 7am to 4pm weekends, to 6pm on weekdays.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Craftiness: First earrings

Woohoo!  Made my first pair of earrings and they are not awful.  Learned a lot (I think they call them "jump rings" because they jump out of your pliers when you least expect (or need).

Here's a picture as I finished them:

But I don't think I'll keep them this way.  Am wearing them now to see how they feel.  I believe they're a bit long and jangly and will probably take out a jump ring or two and probably one of the extra dangles -- probably the star.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Short Haul Video

Made three shopping expeditions this week -- two different local scrapbook shops (Hen House Paperie and Papers! Nob Hill) and to Tuesday Morning and Hobby Lobby.

And, made a "video" of the haul -- it's on You Tube.  Not a full motion movie -- just the pictures knitted together with some text in Windows Movie Maker.

I am grateful for the local scrapbook stores.

Hen House Paperie is on the west side of Albuquerque and just celebrated its first anniversary.  While it is small in size, it carries a lot, has friendly staff, and listens to its customers.  The Hen House also has a Facebook page.

Papers! in Nob Hill is focused on papers, really.  All kinds of papers on rods on both walls and cut papers, stationery, and ribbons in racks in the middle.  Also chocolate!  Extremely helpful and friendly staff.  And, they're having a 19th anniversary sale in September -- everything will be 20% to 50% off -- September 7 to 11, 2012.

I have seen other haul videos with great selections of stamps and papers from Tuesday Morning -- alas, our Tuesday Morning does not seem to get a lot of stamps in their shipment.  I did score some die cut grungeboard by Tim Holtz Ideology.

Hobby Lobby is in full sway with Fall, Hallowe'en, and even Christmas decor -- gorgeous stuff, but I can't quite get in the mood while the temperature is still over 90 degrees most days.  Took advantage of their discounts -- I'm going to experiment with making some bottle cap earrings.  Will let you all know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our Favorite Seattle, WA, Restaurants

A list (with address, phone numbers, web sites (if available), and our personal notes) of our favorite Seattle restaurants is up.

You might think, and it would be totally fair to think this, that we plan trips around eating.  While not exactly true, we do enjoy eating locally wherever we go (with one exception).  As  you will notice if you look at the Pre-Travel Research Tool in the Travel list,we have certain favorite restaurants we look for (a kind of a challenge to get to them all) and certain favorite types of restaurants (like German or brew pubs) we also seek out.

Part of our research for a new trip location also includes using our networks -- alumni directories, my personal Facebook account, local friends, and hotel personnel -- to seek out treasures to try.  Our philosophy is:  "It can only be bad once."  Thus, you will notice that we only listed restaurants we like and return to each year.  And, we'll continue to update the list -- I have a nagging feeling I've forgotten one or two. 

For Seattle, the first restaurant we tried was based on a recommendation from a friend who had lived there.  It was so good (food, service, great view) that we ate there three times!  And, we've made a habit to call our friend from the restaurant each trip to the restaurant to thank him.

We tried another restaurant based on a food road trip on one of the PBS' cooking shows.  Several restaurants were based on looks or smells.  One restaurant we might not have found on our own or given it a second look, except that several staff at the Inn at the Market recommended it.  Another restaurant we now enjoy has the double bonus of having a former Albuquerque, NM, favorite bartender working there as a server.  We celebrated his engagement the last time we were there, at the restaurant.

Now, alas, we have so many favorites, we "have" to eat smaller meals but visit more restaurants each day -- a rough way to vacation...but heck, someone has to do it.

Will work on neat bars in Seattle, next.  There are several places that have great atmosphere, friendly bartenders, and a nice selection of bottles at the bartender's disposal.  Sometimes, it's just nice to chill for a bit in cool place.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Content and Going Public

I've added our list of favorite Albuquerque, New Mexico, restaurants.  This is the list we share with friends who are visiting.  Working on similar restaurant lists for San Diego, CA, and Seattle-Puyallup-Tacoma-Enumclaw, WA.

I have also "gone public" -- added the blog site (and my puny Youtube site) to my facebook information and in my e-mail signature.

I have another "movie" scripted; need to set up and take the pictures to integrate.  It will be about getting better positioning of layers on cards.

A work in progress....progressing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I made a "video"!

Since I don't have a video camera, yet, but wanted to share this technique, I fiddled around with pictures and Microsoft Movie Maker.  After several false starts, I got it done, and managed to load it up to my Youtube channel (named, surprise, surprise, craftytravelfrog).

It's there on Youtube, called BigBackgroundStamp 0001, but I haven't figured out how to use the Blogger video gadget to display the video.  So, click on BigBackgroundStamp 0001 to see it.


Friday, July 20, 2012

CraftyTravelFrog Blog Rules, version 1

One has to have some rules at the beginning -- otherwise, one ends up making up rules on the fly and confusing everyone (at the least).

Rules are not (as far as CTF is concerned) cast in concrete.  Something that sounds like a good idea turns out to be not so good.  Something that didn't seem like it would be a big deal, turns out to be one.

  1. Keep it respectful, readable, and clean -- My posts and your comments.  I am a grammar and spelling freak (so, of course, something of mine will end up being spelled incorrectly or ungrammatical). 
  2. Keep it on topic -- nothing too personal -- My posts .  That's not what this blog is about.  I'm not planning on sharing every aspect of my life; just those things that might be useful to others.
  3. Keep it honest -- My posts.  I will say if we didn't have a good experience somewhere but will do my best to provide the context and allow that maybe that (event, person, store) wasn't having their best day.  See rule #1.
  4. Keep it accurate.  To the best of my ability, all links will work and be current.  I won't link to something I haven't tried, visited, or used.
    1. That might mean I haven't necessarily ordered a product from a site but have enjoyed their videos or blogs.  See rule # 3.
  5. Keep things safe.   I will not identify when I am on travel.  Trip reports will be posted after we are back home.  I'm sure you can understand why.

My first post...

I suppose every new blog has to have "the first post"; so here's mine.

I do like to travel and friends ask me for my tips and suggestions on the places my DH and I have visited.  Will share those in the (future) travel section.

I started making cards (under serious adult supervision of the best Stampin' Up demonstrator, Kathy Morgan) about three years ago and am continuing to grow and learn.  Will be dipping into altering projects along this creative journey and will share what I've learned (good, bad, and ugly) in the (future) crafting section.

I have sewed in the past and am working on getting back into that; I also want to begin quilting.  I promise to share in the (future) fabric section.

And, when it's not 100 degrees, I love to cook and bake.  Now that I'm not working, I will be starting a sourdough starter and playing with that.  With just a spousal unit, we don't need all the results of the baking -- so we share with a couple of favorite restaurants.  Will share our local favorites in the (future) New Mexico section.

This blog is a work in progress -- heck, I'm a work in progress.  I've kept the format pretty simple to start and will add and configure things as I go.  I'll be working up some "CraftyTravelFrog Blog rules" to help me govern myself and how the blog is presented.  That will be in a future posting and saved as a document somewhere on the blog (as soon as I can figure out how to do that).

Be patient with me -- I'm learning this stuff as I go!