time is moving so darn quickly, and as soon as i get an idea in my head that i want to put down here, crazy happens and it's three days later.

has anyone else realized that we're nearly a third of the way through 2011 already?!

there's more crazy heading our way this week (negotiations, paperwork, money, visit, travel, contractors, cleaning, moving, prepping, painting, popcorning, cleaning, tiling ... and that's just the next 10 days), so in lieu of writing something informative or deep or entertaining, i'm going to share a tutorial. because i've been asked a handful of times in the past month, and this is just easier.

harper's rainbow birthday cake:

now, i don't have any pretty little step-by-step shots ... i was given about two hours in the house by myself to bake this before harper would be home. not enough time to food style and photo shoot.

basically, i followed meg's directions, with a couple of tweaks:

1. for the cake batter, i used egg whites (all whites, in the carton in the egg section of your grocery store) instead whole eggs. i didn't want to run the risk of the batter taking on a yolky yellowishness.

2. for the icing, i used buttercream that i procured from the bakery at the grocery store. a) you get a take-out container of the stuff for the same price as a little can of betty crocker, b) it spreads so easily, c) it's white and fluffy and pretty, d) i'm too lazy to make my own buttercream.

3. she got a cup and a half of batter per layer; i got slightly more than a cup an a quarter. maybe it was the egg whites.

so ...

i made one batch at a time. the batter was mixed up according to directions, swapping out the liquid egg whites for the whole eggs. once the batter was mixed, i divided it into three bowls, 1.25 cups of batter per bowl. then i added in about 1/16th tsp of gel icing coloring and stirred until it was all worked through. if you want fainter color, use less gel color. and you can get these gels in any color you like ... i found mine in the cake decorating aisle at michael's. wouldn't this cake be pretty in a gradient of red to pale pink for valentine's day? pastels for easter? red, white and blue for july 4th?

anyway ... three bowls. food coloring. stir. then i sprayed the heck out of aluminum cake pans with pam for baking ... the pam that has flour in it. (ok, sidenote: that stuff smells GOOD!) the cake pans had the scalloped sides, which gave my layers their pretty shape. i poured each color of batter into its own pan and baked for, roughly, 12 minutes. while they were baking, i washed the bowls and made the next box of cake mix and got the next three colors ready.

once the cakes were done, i let them cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turned them out onto wire racks to cool. once they were all cool, i wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for about three hours. another hour or so would have been better. mine were still a bit warm and soft and fluffy ... stiffer would have been better.

one at a time, i placed a layer on the plate, spread some buttercream, added the next layer, more buttercream, etc. by the time i reached the last layer ... i was running low on buttercream. i asked marc if he could please run to the store for more. he suggested i leave the cake as-is so we could see the rainbow. hmm ... curious. sounds like he didn't want to drive a mile to the store.

but i went with it. frosted the top, and there you have it. oh - except it needed a little pizzazz. because it was a rainbow cake. way too subtle on its own. so once i brought harper up and surprised her with her cake (she was thrilled! then asked if it was chocolate.), i then handed her rainbow-colored sugar sprinkles and told her to accessorize the frosting. which she did.

remember how i said the layers should have spent more time in the freezer? well, here's why: the whole thing was very, very fluid. wanted to move. wanted to topple. hence the skewers you see in the picture. had i had the time, i would have created a little banner with patterned paper and bakers twine and decorated the skewers to make them look intentional. i had neither the time nor the idea on this particular day.

next year.

when i figure out how to make a chocolate rainbow cake.

lucky thing i had those skewers in there, though. as soon as i cut into the cake at the party, the whole thing wanted to fall over. so the skewers then became the anchor for cake kebabs. i sliced that cake up and served it on a stick, like some dessert at a brazilian steakhouse. exotic.

and really, those tall, thin slices of rainbow on a plate ... they were gorgeous.

this cake was a lot of fun. harper loved it, her friends loved it, her friends' moms loved it, and i felt good that i did something special for my girl on her day.

it definitely took a little more work than a traditional two-layer cake, but it was so worth it.

try it. have fun with the colors. let me know if you do something fabulous when you make one!

buy a book. help japan.

today only, f&w media is donating 50% of profits made from sales in its bookstores to the relief effort in japan.

what can you buy?

well, there's always this little number, which i highly recommend ...

... don't let the "clearance" and "2008" scare you away: everything in this book is still totally relevant. except maybe some of the patterned paper.

but if you don't WANT to journal your family's memories and history (ahem), there are other great options, too:

twisted stitches

i felt awesome

scrapbook secrets

the big book of scrapbook pages

collage discovery workshop

organized simplicity


and pages and pages of other options.

so go forth ... buy something new and inspirational and instructive ... be a part of helping japan ... feel good about yourself!


clearing my head and my blog to do list

what a whirlwind the past 10 days have been! wow. and considering the amount of stuff i need to brain-dump, there will be no pix of the day from last week. just consider the stuff i post here to fill in.

okay, to start, last saturday i headed to indiana to give my sister that baby shower we'd planned, up until wyatt came two months early. it was for our roush side of the family: aunts, great-aunts, cousins, etc.

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hee hee. rocket man. wyatt's "rocket man."


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great aunt helen held wyatt the entire time becca was opening gifts. she was a baby nurse for years and had the magic touch. and great aunt nancy took her turn to coo goodbyes before she and great uncle danny headed back to ohio.

the most tingly part of the day, though, was when great aunt martha checked out wyatt.

becca and i both commented after the shower that aunt martha looking at wyatt was surreal ... she is the sister of our grandma roush, and they looked so much alike. it was like seeing grandma look at her new great-grandson. so strange, and yet so wonderful.

monday i headed to becca's house to hang out with her and matt and wyatt for the week. because RSV is running rampant in their area, wyatt's been quarantined from going out and being around people, so poor becca has been house-bound as well for the past six weeks. we did get to go to the doctor on tuesday for wyatt's check up: 9 lbs 10 oz and 22" already!! he's growing like a champ and doing just beautifully!

speaking of beautiful, check out my new nephew. quite the looker, though i may be biased.

but i don't think so. he's really that amazing.

big, squishy, baby powder-scented love. he's perfect.

friday i had to pry myself away from him and becca and start the trek home. however, first i needed to make a pit stop in winona lake, indiana, to visit my cousin, luke, and visit his studio/gallery, mudlove pottery.

remember luke?

image from
he's started a wonderful business - hand-thrown pottery that he bakes in his own kilns on-site.

and the best part? a percentage of all his sales go toward water in africa. win/win. check out his etsy shop, and perhaps there will be a mudlove love giveaway in the coming weeks ... stay tuned.

anywhoodle, after my visit with luke i was back on the road. this time, to lake geneva, wisconsin, to meet some girlfriends for a weekend of scrappy stuff.

i was invited by my friend, anne, whom i've known for - we realized - about 12 years through the internet. we've met a handful of times since then, and i simply adore the girl. she and some girlfriends recommended the scrapbook manor in lake geneva for the weekend, and i couldn't say no. and what an amazing place! the house is gorgeous, the beds are amazingly comfy, the work room is perfect, the food is non-stop, and the owner, karen, is the sweetest thing you'll ever meet. i kinda wanted to move in. and i can't wait to go back.

and i got a lot done, which, given the availability of wine, bloody marys (ohmigosh, lesley - you HAVE to make those for me again!!), and other party favors, is shocking.

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unfortunately, i can't post the others right now because i'm working on stuff for that memory makers book call. (psst: there's still time to submit!!)

and then i came home.

that gets you up to speed with life through yesterday morning. and i'm leaving out a big dramatic scene from thursday night.

i'll get to that in a day or two. there are still a couple of ducks that need to be coaxed into a row before i go into detail on that.

glad to be back, though!

it's december!!

first, how?!

secondly, yay!!

so many things to look forward to in the next four weeks ... getting out all the decorations, getting the tree, wrapping presents, cooking lots of soup and maybe even some cookies, play dates and parties and christmas cards and seeing our families.

and christmas eve.

and christmas day.

the two most perfect days of the year, no matter what.

in anticipation of all the wonderfulness that comes with this time of the year, i finally decided to take the time to create a "december daily" album; something i've meant to do for three years now, and just never had the time.

if you don't know what a december daily is, here's the condensed version: it started several years ago with, i believe shimelle laine. she created an album to document each day of december. then ali edwards became the queen of the december daily. and since then, it's grown and grown, and every message board starts buzzing over who will attempt one.

and this year, i have it together enough to try.

my monitor/printer calibration woes are still being pesky, so i won't be able to print and add to the book every day, but i can keep up with adding post-its with journaling, etc. until i can print and add in one big push. and i can't wait.

i've also decided to take the pressure off myself and not assign a certain event to a certain date, then freak out when we get the tree on the 7th instead of the 4th, as i had designated. if we do something on the 7th, by golly i can put it on the 4th if i want to. i've chosen to use the numbers not as dates, but as a countdown instead. will i really care in five years or fifty whether my time line and page order were accurate? hardly. and if i do, then i obviously don't have enough going on in my life.

so here's a glimpse at the cover ...

i need to run to paper source to get some 2" red book-binding tape and finish the spine, but running to paper source is never a bummer. and here's a peek at the first 15 pages ... and with any luck i can get the remaining pages done and up this weekend.

happy december!!

pretend it's last weekend.

thanksgiving was nice. the food was great. (ahem ... i have to say that ... i cooked it all. except the pies. marc's mom cooked all of those. which is why they were good, too.) we had a good visit with marc's parents. the kids were good. and that's that.

so, last weekend. i got scrappy with some girlfriends at a great little retreat halfway to duluth, the heritage place. comfortable, relaxed, beautiful setting, great work space ... and i got a lot done, which was amazing, considering i've really scrapped nothing of note for months. at least.

i packed up a handful of kits from studio calico that i hadn't yet had the pleasure of cracking open, and by golly they got cracked.

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man. that felt good.

i also worked on a december daily album, but i'll get to that later in the week. now it's time to go polish off another slice of pumpkin pie and relax.

happy thanksgiving ... a little late!

i still get scrappy. occasionally. sometimes.

so, back in july (yes, july. leave me alone.) i got a newsletter from a scrappy site that they were holding a contest. there would be 10 finalists selected from all entries, and those 10 would get one of the new lines from my mind's eye to play with, and then a winner would be selected from those 10 entries.

on a (very last minute) whim i decided to enter. because i love both my mind's eye and rejection. i sent in three layouts that i had semi-recently made ... i believe the three were these (sharing, because i haven't in a long time):




a few days later, i got an email stating i was a finalist! woohoo!! that, in itself, made me feel good. i haven't been feelin' the scrappy love lately ... mojo gone, printer not cooperating, too much stress from other life stuff, etc. anyway ... i was asked to then select a new line from my mind's eye to work with, and i picked "the spider's web" ... a gorgeous, neutral halloween line. i knew immediately upon looking at it that it would be wonderful for a project of some sort.

and after pushing paper around for a week or so, this is what i came up with:


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i found a shadow box frame at michael's that had two layers of glass floating between spacers. i cut out the tree from a piece of paper and adhered it to the outside glass using foam tape, to give it dimension. the middle layer has hand-cut hill shapes that have been inked. the first layer is adhered directly to the glass, and the second layer is mounted on top of the first with more foam tape. (love foam tape. 3m, if you are reading this, i will happily take all the foam tape you don't want anymore.) the innermost glass has a square of paper adhered directly to it, and is topped with a moon die cut. to accent the scene, i cut birds out of another piece of paper and stuck them on different layers, and added some free-handed clouds.

the banner was pretty easy, too. free-hand triangles (i'm rarely precise about anything), silver eyelets, twine, and the letters were stamped with ranger mica ink, outlined with doodlebug glitter, and adhered to the banner with ... drum roll ... foam tape. i used glue lines to attached the twine to the frame, then covered the ends of it with black cardstock so it would disappear.

and there you have it: the prize-winning my mind's eye project from stop & scrap's contest. yep ... i won! love winning ... makes me feel like i wasn't just a memory makers fluke. ;o)

on an unrelated note:

35786_Z31 do i buy this hanna anderrson piece of cuteness for harper for school pictures? or is it an unnecessary expenditure in these financial times? she has some orange polka-dot leggings from gymboree that are screaming out to be worn with this dress ...



eta: i met my friend lisa at mall of america tonight for dinner, and after she left to attend some pre-scrapfest meeting with cosmo cricket, i wandered toward hanna anderrson. and got sidetracked by janie and jack. and because of that ... well, and because of the cuteness that lies therein at janie and jack ... harper will be wearing this little number for her school picture:

Janiejack both pieces, i might add, came in under the dollar mark of the hanna dress. so, score.


sept/oct memory makers. a/k/a the last one. ever.


just typing that makes me sad.

so, the september/october issue of memory makers magazine is on newsstands now. i think. i haven't checked. but it's lovely. filled on every page with art that normal people like you and me put together, touched with their fingers, added a piece of their hearts, and then sent off, at the time not knowing that their art would grace the final pages of this institution of scrappiness.

the cover features an adorable layout by my amazing friend katrina, and features an adorable photo of my amazing friend susan's little guy. over the past three years, i've made so many wonderful friends and precious memories because of this magazine. hopefully those will last much longer than the printed page.

and so, without further lachrymose drivel ...


the topic for this issue: using unrelated photos to tell your story.

we all have so many photos of so many different things, but how many of us feel like we can't share thoughts or memories without using coordinating pictures? how many of us have ten different pages of the same event year after year, without any journaling because the information never changes?

why not shake things up a little? find semi-related photos and use them to illustrate the story. or find completely unrelated photos to illustrate the words you want to write that don't necessarily have photos ops accompanying them.

for this issue of the magazine, my story was about our yard and how gorgeous it is in the fall. now, do you see a shot of my Yard? no. were all the photos taken specifically with this topic in mind? no. they are just random shots i've taken over the past five years of our property in the autumn, but i pulled together my favorites to show just why it is i love our yard come october.

you can do the same thing with your photos. start using the ones you've been ignoring because they don't "go with" anything. look at your photos in a new way and FIND the story within them. or build a story around them.

and as a bonus, i'm going to share another layout from my book, "your words, your story," that was built on this same idea.


these photos have absolutely nothing to do with the conversation about which i wrote, but they are as much a representation of who my son is as the story in the journaling. there were no photos for the story, there was no story with the photos, but together they work.

take some time to look through your photographs with a new eye. see if any stories pop out at you as you flip through them, or if any emotions come up depending on the photos you find. a + b doesn't always have to equal c. sometimes a + b = good scrapping.

winner and a layout (yes! that means i scrapped!!)

so, i just told marc ... pick a number between one and thirty. why, he asks. i'm drawing a winner for my book giveaway, so, technically, YOU are drawing a winner. oh, says he, okay. 21.

21! that means:

something new usually brings the mojo back. new product, new photos, new inspiration...

i always start at the SC board :)

Posted by: Carrie K | 14 July 2009 at 02:47 PM

carrie!! congrats! i'll email you for your addy!!

and in honor of the occasion, may i present ... drum roll ...

a layout!


i jumped in on a sketch challenge on studio calico, led by the wonderful jenn olson. and you know what? it felt goooood to just play and know a general direction in which to go. easy, painless, and it scratched the itch just enough to hopefully get the mojo cookin' again.

good timing, too, because on a whim i entered a contest at stop and scrap, and was selected as one of the finalists to play with new my mind's eye stuff and try to win a gift cert to the store. i'll take it! can't wait to play with the adorable line that showed up on my doorstep today!

congrats again, carrie, thanks again, jenn, and have a lovely weekend! we're on an adventure this weekend that involves builders, neighborhood sales agents, model home tours, and lots of number crunching and wish list making. more on that later.

GIVEAWAY to overcome mojo loss

i thought maybe cleaning and sorting yesterday would jump-start my mojo. however, mojo a no go. so ...

i'm doing a book giveaway anyway, because getting excited about people getting excited might do the trick.

while sorting through some layouts from the book, two really spoke to me, and here's why:


this one says, "lady, you promised. you promised a year ago to get it together and put yourself closer to the top of the list! and yet ... ?" i know, i know. i'm sorry. i really am. and to my body i say, "you saw all the fruits and veggies that made it into the cart today, yes? you saw me resist the triscuits and brie and oreos, yes? okay then. shut up. we'll go to the gym tomorrow."

have you ever used your scrapbook pages as a way to hold yourself accountable? did it work?

this one spoke to me in a different way:


this layout came about when i was in the midst of writing, in the midst of dealing with the kids by myself because marc was in chicago every ding dong week, in the midst of prepping for some visit by family or trip to see family or some holiday all by myself (because the book covered a period of my life from our anniversay/marc's birthday/visits from the in-laws for thanksgiving/traveling to indiana for two weeks for the holidays/my birthday/henry's birthday/harper's birthday. yes, that all fell in a 5.5 month window. as did the aforementioned husband traveling to chicago every week. ding dong.).

i literally had no. mo. jo. (and i think it's bad now! ha!) and yet, i had to gut it out. look at the layout: barely any journaling, yet it tells a story. a layout doesn't have to have a ton of journaling to be authentic and real.

have you ever scrapped a page that was truly authentic yet had only a line or two of journaling? it can be done, right?

leave me a comment about what you do when you're low on mojo ... help a sistah out ... and you'll be entered for a chance to win a copy of my book! winner will be drawn this friday!!

journaling on the first layout, for the journaling voyeurs who always ask ... you know who you are! ;o):

It has to be said that I hate my body. I hate what the past nine years have done to it. I hate that the simple, everyday act of getting pregnant caused so many adverse reactions in my physical appearance. The unexplained sudden gain of 20+ pounds in the final two weeks that worried my doctor enough to make her want to induce me ASAP. The onset of perimenopause symptoms that needed treatment, which put the brakes on my post-partum weight loss and put extra pounds on me. The diagnosis of post-partum depression that kept me from getting out of bed some days, and spending the next two years on antidepressants, which slowed my body’s reaction to diet and exercise and caused further weight gain. Then doing it all over again for a second pregnancy.

I hate that I no longer care how I look, that I hate shopping, that I hate talking to my family about things like food and clothes and weight and life because I ultimately feel completely guilty of how ugly and unacceptable I am around their tiny perfectness. I hate that I cringe when Marc tries to hold me and touch me. I hate that I stick to dark or neutral colors because I feel like it makes me fade into the background. I just hate, hate, hate what I’ve become.

But it ends. Now. Now I get back to the gym. Daily. Maybe with a personal trainer. And I start taking my health and life seriously. And I shed all of the responsibilities that aren’t critical and start putting myself first. I get back to that place where I’m okay with Me. And once I am? Look out. I will shop my brains out. And I will buy color.


... tell me to scrapbook something already? i am sooo out of the routine of it.

marc got to shoot at the range this morning with a friend, and go to a sports bar tonight to watch the UFC fight. in return, i get tomorrow to myself to clean my office. i'm hoping that getting organized and touching stuff will inspire me. maybe i'll even shake up my storage and organization method, see if that helps.

my printer is doing weird things. either that, or my mac/cs4/printer calibrations are wonky. i don't know. but not being able to print has put a major damper on scrappy ambition, too.

whatever the reason, i miss it. i do.

i meant to do a book giveaway last week, but couldn't get the mojo going to come up with something. i'll think on it tomorrow while i'm working and get back to you monday ...