Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute...

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I'd share these photos with you of some of the members of my family that have served our country proudly in the armed services:

My great-grandfather, Bernie Franklin, who served during WWI:

My husband's grandfather, Henry Matthews, who also served during WWI:

My grandfather, Ted Franklin, Sr., who served during WWII and retired as a Master Sargeant from the USAF after 22 years of service:

My father-in-law, Logan Brown, who answered the call to duty when drafted into the Army in the early 1950's:

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet ,who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, that has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the freedom to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"LAUGH" Emporium Accordion Album Tutorial

Here is my tutorial on how I created this sweet little accordion album using paper and stickers from the Close To My Heart Emporium collection. I saw a similiar album that Vicki Wizniuk, (a fellow CTMH consultant that lives in Canada), created using the May CTMH Miracle Kit. I used hers as a "spring board" to create my version. If you'd like to see Vicki's album, check out her blog at - she is sooooo creative!!

CTMH Materials:
  • 6" x 6" Accordion Album
  • Emporium Level II Paper Pack
  • Emporium My Stickease Pack
  • Cocoa Cardstock
  • Twilight Cardstock
  • Crystal Blue Cardstock
  • White Daisy Cardstock
  • Sweet Leaf Cardstock
  • Buttercup Cardstock
  • Desert Sand Cardstock
  • Brads
  • Hemp
  • Cocoa Grosgrain Ribbon
  • Metal Rimmed Tags
  • 3-Dimensional Dots
  • Adhesive & Glue Dots
  • Paper Piercing Tool & Pad
Non-CTMH Materials:
  • Scalloped Border Punch
  • Cornstarch or Baby Powder
  • Small Paint Brush
Cover Instructions:

Cut the following:
  • 6" x 6" piece of cocoa cardstock
  • 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of cocoa cardstock
  • 4" x 4" piece of twilight cardstock
  • 4 - 3" x 3" squares of patterned paper
  • 1/2" border sticker cut to 6" in length
Adhere 6" x 6" piece of cocoa cardstock to front of accordion album. Adhere the 4 - 3" x 3" pieces of patterned paper to the 6" x 6" piece of cocoa cardstock, as shown in the photo above, overlapping in the middle and leaving 1/8" border of cocoa cardstock around the outer edge. Cover the overlapped part with the 1/2" x 6" piece of border sticker. Center and adhere the 4" x 4" piece of twilight cardstock to the 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of cocoa cardstock, and adhere to the center of the cover. Cut around the edge of the "Let us be grateful..." sticker, leaving a 1/8" border of yellow. Using a dry paint brush dipped in cornstarch, (or baby powder), apply cornstarch to the sticky backing of the trimmed sticker so that it is no longer sticky. Apply 3-dimensional dots to across the center of the back of the sticker, (between the 2 points of the bracket), and adhere to the cover as shown in the photo above. NOTE: The photo that you adhere to the cover will slide under the bottom border of the sticker raised with 3-dimensional dots.

Instructions for pages 1 and 2:

Cut the following for page 1:
  • 6" x 6" piece of buttercup cardstock
  • 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of crystal blue cardstock
  • 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" piece of white daisy cardstock
  • 6" x 1" piece of cocoa cardstock with one edge punched using scallop border punch
  • 2" x 6" piece of patterned paper
Adhere the 6" x 6" piece of buttercup cardstock to the accordion album page. Adhere 2" x 6" piece of patterned paper approximately 3/4" from the left edge of buttercup cardstock. Adhere the cocoa scalloped strip along the left edge of the patterned paper. Adhere the white daisy rectangle paper to the center of the crystal blue rectangle paper, leaving a 1/8" border of crystal blue showing. Adhere, off-centered as shown in photo above, approximately 5/8" from top of page. Attach 5" floral border sticker approximately 3/4" inch from bottom of page, aligning the right edge of the sticker to the right side of the page. Using paint brush dipped in cornstarch, apply cornstarch to the back of one of the medallion stickers to remove the sticky. Poke a hole in the center of the medallion sticker and insert blue brad. Place 3-dimensional sticker on the back, and adhere to the left end of the floral sticker, to cover up the edge.

Cut the following for page 2:
  • 6" x 6" piece of buttercup cardstock
  • 2 - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces of crystal blue cardstock
  • 2 - 2 1/4" x 3 1/4" pieces of white daisy cardstock
  • 2" x 6" piece of patterned paper
  • 1" x 6" piece of cocoa cardstock with one edge punched using scallop punch
Adhere buttercup cardstock to accordion album page. Adhere the 2" x 6" piece of patterned paper approximately 3/4" from the top of the page. Adhere the cocoa scalloped punched strip along the top edge of the patterned paper. Adhere the white daisy rectangles to the centers of the crystal blue rectangles, allowing 1/8" of crystal blue as a border. Center these on the page, as shown in photo, allowing approximately 1/4" border of buttercup on the sides and the bottom. Apply cornstarch to the back of second medallion sticker, add a brad to the center, place a 3-dimensional dot on the back and center medallion on the strip of patterned paper with top of medallion approximately 7/8" from top of page.

Instructions for pages 3 and 4:

Cut the following for pages 3 and 4:
  • 2 - 6" x 6" pieces of twilight cardstock
  • 2 - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces of white daisy cardstock
  • 2 - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces of patterned paper
  • 2 - 3" long pieces of cocoa grosgrain ribbon, trimming ends as shown in photo
Adhere twilight cardstock to accordion album pages. Place white daisy cardstock rectangles approximately 3/8" from top of twilight cardstock, aligning edges with outer edges of twilight cardstock as shown in photo above. Adhere patterned paper rectangles lining up with white daisy rectangles and butting up against inside edges of pages as shown in photo. Place medallion stickers in the centers of the metal rimmed tags, fold ribbon in half and attach to the underside of the tags. Place 3-dimensional dots on the back of each tag and place on patterned paper as shown in photo above. Cut 12" long blue/yellow striped border sticker in half and align along bottom edge of white daisy/patterned paper strips. Cut 12" long scalloped border sticker in half and align along the bottom edge of the blue/yellow sticker strips.

Instructions for pages 5 and 6:

Cut the following for page 5:
  • 6" x 6" piece of desert sand cardstock
  • 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" piece of cocoa cardstock
  • 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" piece of white daisy cardstock
  • 16 - 1" x 1" pieces of paper and/or cardstock - using mixed designs as desired
Adhere the desert sand cardstock to the accordion album page. Center the cocoa cardstock and adhere to the desert sand cardstock, leaving a 1/4" border of desert sand around the outer edges. Center and adhere the white daisy cardstock to the cocoa cardstock. Lay the 1" paper squares around the outer edge of the cocoa cardstock square, leaving a slight border between each square. When you've decided on the pattern that you like, adhere the squares to the cocoa cardstock. Coat the back of 3 small round stickers with cornstarch, adhere a 3-dimensional dot to the back of each, and randomly add to the 1" square stickers as shown in photo above.

Cut the following for page 6:
  • 6" x 6" piece of desert sand cardstock
  • 4 - 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" pieces of patterned paper
  • 2 - 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" pieces of cocoa cardstock
Adhere desert sand cardstock to accordion album page. Center the 4 - 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" squares of patterned paper, aligning as shown in photo above, leaving a 1/4" border of desert sand cardstock around the outer edge of page. Center the 2 pieces of cocoa cardstock over 2 of the patterned paper blocks and adhere. Adhere the "LAUGH" stickers across the center of the page diagonally as shown. Tie 5 pieces of hemp into knots and adhere randomly on each letter of the word "LAUGH".  Coat the back of the "Love This Smile" circle sticker with cornstarch, place a 3-dimensional dot on the back, and adhere to upper right block, bordering with 3 small circle stickers that have been coated on the back with cornstarch and attached with 3-dimensional dots as shown in photo. Place square medallion sticker on the diagonal in the lower left hand block. Coat the back of 1 small circle sticker with cornstarch, place 3-dimensional dot on the back, and adhere to center of medallion.

Instructions for back cover:

Cut the following for the back cover:
  • 6" x 6" piece of crystal blue cardstock
  • 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" piece of patterned paper
  • 3 3/4" 3 1/4" piece of sweet leaf cardstock
  • 2 7/8" x 3 3/8" piece of patterned paper
  • 3" x 2 1/5" piece of white daisy cardstock
Adhere crystal blue cardstock to back cover of accordion album. Adhere patterned paper to center of crystal blue cardstock, leaving a 1/4" border of crystal blue cardstock showing around the outer edge. Layer sweet leaf cardstock, blue patterned paper, and white cardstock rectangles as shown in photo. Adhere to patterned paper approximately 3/4" from the top and approximately 3/4" from the right edge. Brush cornstarch on the back of the round "Laughter" sticker to remove the sticky, adhere 3-dimensional dots to the back, and adhere to the lower left corner of page, as shown in photo.

These little albums make fun gifts for graduation, birthdays, Father's day, etc. Have fun making some...I'd love to see your variations of this as well, so feel free to email your photos to me!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recipe of the Week..."Mike's Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade"

Hi, All! As promised in my last post, here is the recipe for fresh-squeezed lemonade that my main squeeze, (pun intended!), makes. Everyone LOVES it when Mike makes's a real crowd pleaser and so refreshing on a hot summer day!

Mike's Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

  • 6 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 quarts ice water

Wash lemons and slice thin. Place in a stainless or enamel mixing bowl and add sugar. Pound with a wooden spoon or mallet to squeeze juice from lemon rings. Stir to make syrup. Transfer lemon ring/syrup mixture to glass pitcher and add ice water, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Add 10 - 12 ice cubes before serving. Serve within 6 hours for best flavor. I double or triple the recipe, (in photo above the recipe has been doubled), when I'm serving a large crowd. Enjoy!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Day of Fun...Dad Brown's 80th Birthday Party!

What a fun-filled day we had yesterday celebrating my father-in-law's 80th birthday! It was so fun to have the whole family here as well as some long-time family friends and some extended family members too! As promised, I thought I'd take a minute to share some of the party photos with you....

Here's one of the "birthday boy" and his cake...

Here's one of the entire Logan Brown family in front of our house...
Front row from left to right:
Me, Kari, Lea Ann, Megan, Ian, Ashley, Kayle Ann, Logan, Justin and Emily
Back row from left to right:
Mike, John, Sandy, Don, Ryan, Royce, and Claude

Here are the two newest members of our family, my great-nephew Ian and my great-niece Kayle Ann. (Aren't they just adorable?!?!) They are pictured here with their terrific mom, Ashley, who is married to my nephew Ryan. It's so nice to have little ones around son, Justin, who is almost 21 was the "baby" of the family until Ian was born 3 years ago!

Here's one of my dear hubby, Mike (left), and my brother-in-law, Don grilling burgers in our back yard. See how proud Mike is of his new grill? We had to spring for a new one last weekend because our old one, which was cast iron, had rusted out. This one is stainless steel, so we shouldn't have to worry about the bottom rusting out on it!

Here's one of my sweet sister-in-law, Sandy (left) and my niece, Kari (Sandy's daughter), setting up one of the picnic tables with food and drinks. (Kari is so smart and funny as well as being a Harry Potter fan, just like me!!) Notice the large jug of lemonade? Mike makes it from scratch...I'll share the recipe with you later this week as the "recipe of the week"!

Here's one of me and Logan...I am proud to say that I am his favorite daughter-in-law! (Although, I'm the only daughter-in-law! HA! HA!)

Here is Logan with two of his oldest and dearest friends, Bob and Peggy Orrell. Bob and Logan used to work at BF Goodrich together...they are also long-time hunting buddies!

This is my niece, Megan and her mom, my other sister-in-law, Lea Ann. Doesn't Megan look so much like her mom?? They are both such lovely ladies! We are so proud of Megan...she graduated from OU last weekend with a Bachelor's degree in Economics! Congrats, Meg!

Lastly, here is a photo of Logan and his nephew, Claude who recently retired from driving a truck and now lives just a few miles from him.

Wishing you a blessed week ahead!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Recipe of the Week...Virginia's Coconut Cream Pie

Well, I am embarrassed at the fact that I'm only posting only once again this week! It's been a really, really busy week! Tomorrow we are celebrating my father-in-law's 80th birthday with a fun party and cookout for him at our house. All of our family will be here, along with several long-time family friends that we haven't seen in quite a while! I'll post some pictures next week of the festivities.

Back to the recipe of the week...I chose to share my mother-in-law's recipe for coconut cream pie with you this week. Virginia passed away at only 63 years of age from ovarian cancer in 1998, and she is greatly missed. She was a lovely and gracious Christian lady as well as a FANTASTIC cook! I learned so much from her and could not have asked for a more wonderful mother-in-law! Here is a photo of her and my father-in-law:

Now for her AMAZING coconut cream pie recipe:


  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 bag of grated coconut
  • Baked single pie crust shell
  • Cool Whip or Meringue (your preference)

Warm milk in microwave. Pour into medium sized sauce pan and place on burner set to medium heat. Stir sugar and flour into milk mixture. Stir in egg yolks and add a dash of salt. Bring mixture to boil and thicken. Stir in vanilla and butter. Add desired amount of coconut. (I like ALOT of coconut! I don't measure how much I dump into the mixture, but if I had to guess I'd say it is around 1 1/2 cups or so...I just add some until the mixture looks right!) Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust shell and allow to cool. While pie is cooling toast some coconut in the oven to use as a topping.

Now for the topping...I like meringue and I don't have any problem making meringue, but on coconut cream pie I just prefer a whipped topping. I think its smooth, creamy texture compliments the filling better, but you can make meringue for this pie if that is your preference. When the pie has cooled, I spread Cool-Whip over the top and then sprinkle some toasted coconut over it for a nice finish. Refrigerate until ready to serve and then EAT UP! Beware, though, this pie doesn't last long!

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recipe of the Week...Skillet Meatballs with Gravy

Wow! It's been such a busy week that I haven't had time to post anything at all! School ends next Friday, so I'm hoping that things will slow down a little bit then. This afternoon was our District's Service Pin Awards Ceremony and Reception...I received my 10 year pin! It's hard to believe that I've already been with BAPS for 10 years...time sure flies when you're having fun!

Now for the recipe of the week. It's such a good and quick dish to make!

Skillet Meatballs with Gravy:

  • 1 lb. lean hamburger meat (I use 96% lean)
  • 1 package Lipton Beef Flavored Rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine hamburger meat, egg and Lipton beef flavored rice. Form meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Coat skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. (I use a cast iron skillet...I just love the way they cook so evenly!) When skillet is hot, place half of the meatballs in the skillet, turning occasionally to cook evenly. Remove first batch of meatballs, set aside, and cook second batch of meatballs. While meatballs are cooking, combine brown gravy mix with water (according to package directions) in a mixing bowl. Place all cooked meatballs back into hot skillet. Pour gravy over meatballs and add mushrooms if desired. Cover skillet with lid and cook until gravy thickens. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles and a veggie or salad. Yield: Approximately 15 meatballs.

NOTE: I think the next time I make this dish I'm going to combine a half cup of light sour cream to the gravy mix before adding it to the meatballs. I think it might make more of a "stroganoff" type of sauce for the meatballs - YUM!  Let me know if you try this recipe with the sour cream and how it turns out!

Have a safe weekend!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Cute Cards

Happy Friday! I thought I'd share some cute cards that I made using up some scraps of paper and extra images that I stamped a while back...a fun way to get a "craft fix" without a lot of work - ha! ha!

Have a fun & safe weekend!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!

What a great day it's been! I took a vacation day from work today....a girl just shouldn't have to work on her birthday! I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow too, since it's Friday, to treat myself to a 4-day weekend! Speaking of treats, Mike and Justin took me to Osaka's for a FABULOUS birthday dinner this evening. We had a GREAT time left the restaurant TOTALLY STUFFED! We snapped a few photos before we went to dinner, so I thought I'd share them with you!

Here's one of me and Mike:
Here's one of Mike, me and Justin:

After dinner, Mike and I ran to Kohl's and he treated me to a little shopping spree! I got some cute capri pants, shorts and tees...which I really needed to update my summer wardrobe! Tomorrow I'm meeting my friend, Jamie for lunch, so maybe I'll do a little shoe shopping while I'm out and about!

Have a BLESSED day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CTMH May Stamp of the Month Info.

Want to join an exclusive club? Every month Close To My Heart offers you an exclusive My Acrylix® D-size stamp set FREE or at a large discount. The stamp set is available to qualifying customers for that month only. It’s our way of saying thank you, and your way of getting fantastic deals on our amazing stamps!

Here’s how to get a fabulous deal on your very own Stamp of the Month!

You spend:                  You save:                  You pay only:

$25 US / $29.50         CAN 25% off            $17.21 US / $20.21 CAN

$50 US / $58.95         CAN 50% off            $11.48 US / $13.48 CAN

$75 US / $88.50         CAN 75% off            $5.74 US / $6.74 CAN

$100 US / $117.50     CAN 100% off          FREE!

May's Stamp of the Month is:

Cherish the Moment (Set of 8)

Recommended Blocks: 2 1/2" × 2 1/2" (Y1004), 2" × 3 1/2" (Y1009) 


Monday, May 3, 2010

Recipe of the Week...Strawberry Brownie Torte

Happy Monday! I hosted a scrapbooking workshop at my house this past Saturday, (in honor of National Scrapbooking Month!), and made this SCRUMPTIOUS dessert for the ladies that attended! It was really easy to make, looked so pretty on my crystal cake plate, and was YUMM-O!  Here's the recipe for Strawberry Brownie Torte:

  • 1 package brownie mix with walnuts
  • 8 oz. package of light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Spray 9" spring form pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package and pour into spring form pan. Bake as brownie as directed.  While brownie is baking, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer. When brownie is done, remove from oven and pour cream cheese mixture over warm brownie. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool down for about 20 minutes. Remove torte from spring form pan and place on wire rack to completely cool. When cooled, move torte to decorative cake plate. Melt Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips in microwave, stirring often and being careful not to burn the chocolate. With a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cream cheese topping of brownie. Cover the top with fresh, sliced strawberries. Slice and serve...DELICIOUS!

I had some strawberries and melted chocolate left over, and I had some almond bark in the freezer, so I decided to whip up these chocolate covered strawberries for the gals at my workshop as well...didn't they turn out pretty?  (Nope, the strawberries I used for these desserts didn't come out of my little garden...I'm still waiting on those!)

I hope you enjoy these desserts...they are a great way to use the wonderful, fresh strawberries that are available this time of year. Have a blessed week!