Sunday, December 25, 2011

I got an IPad !

Oh my Santa was good to me. I got my IPad! And what was one of the first things I did? Downloaded Coolibah app and made these from pics I took in Texas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


A small selection of my angels. I am a Pi Beta Phi and our symbol is an angel, so I have loved collecting angel ornaments of all sorts since college. Our alumni club had an ornament swap for years and lots of angels flew out from under that tree!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Love Snowmen

Over the years I have collected quite a few adorable snowmen ornaments.  Here are the ones hanging on my tree.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Let it Snow!

Every year while we lived in Germany, the International School had a winter break, or 'ski break'.  The school organized a ski trip and we always signed up.  We went to Chamonix, France; Bad Hofgastein, Austria, and finally, Zermatt, Switzerland.  Might have that in the wrong order, but France was definitely first, where the kids learned to ski.

I found a photo of Jenni and me skating in Austria.  Just love the yellow and blue parka...ah, the early nineties fashion in Europe!  

Let it Snow!

Santa Ornaments

Here are the rest of my santas.  We'll move on to the snowmen tomorrow!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Ornament Day 2

Here is another Santa ornament.  This one is special because I bought it while we were in Germany, so it is not the American version of Santa, created by Clement Moore's famous poem, but the European Father Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas Ornament Day 1

I have collected some lovely ornaments over the years.  I took photos of them on my new Christmas tree after decorating it and thought I would post some of them to my blog.  This one was handmade by a neighbor.  I went to a Christmas party several years ago and we had the usual ornament swap.  I was the lucky recipient of this pinecone Santa.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Did You Know?

Did you know we visited East Germany about six months after the Berlin Wall came down?  We were living in West Germany and drove over to a border town one afternoon.  It was definitely stepping back in time.  The shop windows looked like they had last been decorated about the time the Wall went up.  It was a beautiful, restful town, though.  On the way back home, as we drove through several modern towns in the West, the traffic and neon and noise was quite a jolt.

This memory surfaced when I decided to put this scanned photo of Jenni into a page I made for a scrapbooking challenge.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Canned Soup +

While we are on the subject of jazzing up plain food, let's talk about canned soup.  I love soup in the winter.  I occasionally make homemade soup, but it is not my thing.  I learned several years ago that canned soup was an excellent starting point.  Remember "soup starter"...freeze dried stuff in a package?  Well I use the canned soup as a starter.

First I choose a variety of soups when I have those nice "buy 4 cans, get $1.50 off".  I like soup that has tomatoes in it.  I don't choose those that have rice or pasta, since it is mushy.  I mostly choose southwest, santa fe, mexican flavors.

When you open that can of soup and pour it into a pan, you realize you are just paying for flavored broth.  There are maybe six chunks of chicken and a few bits of vegetables and maybe 2 dozen beans.  Nice for a snack.  Here is where I head for the pantry, fridge, and freezer.  Look at what is in that soup in the pan and add more of each; a can of tomatoes, a can of beans, some frozen corn, maybe some frozen spinach, leftovers from your fridge, a couple of frozen chicken pieces, some more broth.  You get the idea.  That can of soup is just a flavor base.  Plus, by adding all the extras, you have an actual meal without worrying about something else to go with it to fill you up.

If you have noticed, the varieties of the  "gourmet" flavor soups have expanded exponentially on the shelves recently, so you have a huge selection.  I still mostly choose the southwestern varieties.  Although the chicken corn chowder is really good.  With extra corn and chicken, of course.

Enjoy your winter soup!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Roasted Veggies +

I love roasted vegetables.  They are sweeter when roasted, they are healthy, their vitamins have not been diluted by water, and they cook by themselves.  Tonight I put my entire dinner in a 400 degree oven and 40 minutes later it was amazing!

I had a piece of steel head trout that was on special at the grocery.  It is a member of the salmon family, but I think it tastes better.  I rubbed it with olive oil and ground some of Trader Joes' Everyday Seasoning on top.  Into the oven.

Then I cut sweet potato "fries", tossed them in olive oil, salt, and coriander (my new fav) and into the oven they went.  The same with nice, fat asparagus spears.

When everything was nice and roasted and removed from the oven, I sprinkled demerara sugar over the hot sweet potato wedges.  I poured a tablespoon on white balsamic vinegar onto the foil lining of the asparagus and tossed the vegetable around in it for a little zing.

So sugar and vinegar were my + tonight.  It is also known as "umami".  At least my version of it.  Try it, you will be pleased.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Digital Procrastination

I have reached the point in the digital designs gifts I am making that the designing part (fun part) is over and I have to actually make the hybrid part.  I have ordered the gift books I made and they have been delivered.  Those projects are easy, somebody else actually turns them into books. What I really hate is when the end product is something that I have to make from the digital files saved on my computer.  I am at that point on two projects.

So I took a little escape today in the digiworld.  I love to scroll through all the kits and minikits on my computer, choose one, and make a quick page.  This is created from a free minikit called Whimsy by Designs by JMDT.  It was mostly pink, but I was in the mood for the peach so I changed the frame color.

I have been working on randomly (as usual) scanning photos from various boxes, and on my hard drive I had this cute picture of my daughter when we were living in Germany.  I desaturated it a bit so it would go with the subtle tones of the page.  

(This little exercise is called digital procrastination!!!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Diamonds on the water

Today the wind is calm, no clouds in the sky, the temp is in high 70's and the sunshine on the water is brilliant. I took this pic then fancied it up with my pse app. Still doesn't capture the sparkle.

Lunch at the Beach

Whenever Larry and I travel we tend to focus on the food. Always have. In Europe the kids always complained that Dad had to read every menu posted on every restaurant door as we walked through all the quaint city streets.

It appears that blogger has dropped the photo. Not sure why.

When my parents went to Scotland with us, my Mom finally asked, with some irritation, if I always started planning the next meal right after finishing the last! Yep, I do when we travel.

At our beach house there are certain required meals. I have to have my fried softshell crab from Captain Dusty's. There is no other place that fries them as well (except Bill Head, who used to collect them from the bay, freeze them, and deep fry them in his backyard...ah memories).

Then there is Castaway's at Carillon, just down the beach from us. Sitting on the patio eating a broiled grouper sandwich with crispy sweet potato fries is always the way to start off the vacation!

So when you ask me about a vacation trip the answer you will get always centers on the food!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Here is pic

As usual blog writer app published too quick. Think i need to do pic then write

Cool breeze on the porch

In the middle ofour fall week at our beach house. Hot on Sunday, gorgeous on Monday, rainy on Tuesday, gorgeous and cool today. I took a pic from the deck and turned it into art with 1000 cameras app. I can't wait to to get it scrapped!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Lois' Story

I was at a marvelous reunion this past weekend:  the Sandtown Community from the 1960's came together in a huge celebration of memories.  As I talked to many of my old friends, most of whom I had not seen since I was about 16, each one mentioned how they had loved my mother.  It appears that what I thought was my "personal magnetism" was actually my mother's cooking and love of talking sports, the lake in my front yard, and the fact that we had the first color tv in the neighborhood!  Anyway, for all of you who knew and loved my mother, I wanted to share her story.

My Mom was a prolific photo taker and made sure all her photos were carefully placed into albums.  I inherited these albums and last year realized that I could preserve them in a unique way in this 21st century.  Using Photoshop Elements, a scanner, and many wonderful designs done by digiscrappers  on the web, I turned those photos from the 1930's forward into this book.  I hope you enjoy looking through it. I was able to imbed the book here on my blog since I published it using Mixbook. I notice that you will not be able to actually read the words in the journaling. If you anybody is interested in reading any of the journaling, it will be on Flickr soon. It takes awhile to upload the big files.

| Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Monday, October 03, 2011

Then Change Colors

I downloaded this freebie cluster today from SuzyQScraps.  Loved the cluster but the colors were wrong for Jenni's wedding album and I was in the mood to fiddle.  So I took this:
and did some digi magic and ended up with this.
I think that is amazing!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Or Maybe Erase

I am still building pages to use in Jenni's wedding scrapbook.  I have so many beautiful freebies, including a brag book with lovely pages, but only a jpeg file and the wrong shape.  Here it is, Faded Memories from Rasberry Designs:
as you can see, it is rectangular and I need it to be square.  If I make it square as is, I have a gap at the bottom.  I could fill the gap in with another paper and some divider borders, but I have to make it hard on myself.  So I erase that background and have the frame, word art, and tag now in a set to put on a new, square background.  That little bit of errant pixels blend okay into my new background.
so here is my page:
The papers are blends and color changes of some free papers I got online.  I did put another flower I liked better on top of the bow, which I see has lost a loop.  Oops.  I also added a clear heart button and a bow, as well as wrapped a ribbon around the edge of the frame.  See what you can do with a little mouse-work when you have a lovely design to start with?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cutting Up

Digitally, that is.  I took this lovely cluster I downloaded for free from VerenaDesigns Moms Day collection. (for once I have a record of where I got the freebie.....) I did recolor the flower from red.

This "cluster" would make a beautiful solo element on the page.  I love premade clusters because I cannot seem to put more than three elements together and clusters are simply beyond me.

But.....I can take the basic cluster and have some fun with it.  I have learned to recolor and erase and just this week I saw a tutorial showing me how to cut up clusters and layouts and backgrounds......and do stunning things with them.  So, I cut this cluster frame in half and this is what I ended up with.

Other things I did:  I duplicated the flower and used it in a grouping at the bottom with a generic leaf I have in my computer files. I found something that looked like a cluster of pearls that I managed to change to a color I liked and beveled and shadowed it....needed to fill in a blank area.   I did magical stuff with various papers, using masks, erasers, hue and brightness sliders till I got something that suited me.  Took about two hours.  I inserted two black and white photos of Jenni at her wedding, taken by my magician nephew and wedding photographer, Patrick.  Alas, he is now a corporate photographer and you have to be a family member to talk him into doing a wedding.

So follow my lead and start cutting up your
digital elements and spinning them around the page!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Let's Play with Paper Dolls!

Join me on a paper doll journey.  I found my mom's paper dolls from the 20's and perhaps 30's in an old book.  They were cut out of a magazine, which was the way they were presented to the public.  I believe these are Dolly Dimples, or perhaps similar.

I scanned the dolls and their clothing into my computer and will present each doll to you during the next weeks and dress them.  Please feel free to right click and copy them for your enjoyment.  Perhaps you have a daughter or a granddaughter who would enjoy them.  If you need to make sure the dress and doll are same size and they don't copy off the blog correctly, send me a note and I will send you an original file.  I am a novice when  it comes to offering freebie downloads.

Here is Dolly #1, a dress, and the doll in a dress!  I manipulated everything in PSE  Not sure this dress is designed for this doll, but will figure it out as I go along.  Look for Doll #2 soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tossing Out Stuff is Hard

Larry is painting the guest room closet and has completely emptied it.  I have to decide what goes back in and what is tossed.  The problem is, this is my craft closet.  I have been sorting and tossing stuff in that closet ever since I became immersed in digital scrapbooking, since I don't need that stuff for digi.  But there is a LOT left.

My first urge is to toss it ALL.  However, I know myself too well and in a couple of years I will not be an engrossed in digi scrap and will cycle back through my other crafty loves.  (I tend to run in 5 year cycles, so I have 4 to go).  Will I be sorry to have tossed some of this stuff?  Yes is the answer.

But, that is not actually the point of this blog entry.  Tossing stuff out is hard because I just KNOW I can find a way to repurpose so many things.  Or recycle, if you will.

I was going through the huge container of buttons I inherited from my mom, that she inherited from hers.  Mom made all her clothing and mine for years and years and buttons were her favorite part.  She kept them all.  And I mean all.  I have hundreds of white buttons, just to scratch the surface.  But again, those buttons are for another post.

In among the buttons was a bag of miscellaneous jewelry.  My old charm bracelet, but just three charms...will see if it is real gold and sell it.  Some Civitan pins mom collected....I tossed those.  However, there was a pendant that I have had in my hand to toss many, many times.  It had ended up in this bag due to my indecision.  Again, I could not bring myself to toss it.

I looked at it more closely and the cameo part was chipped.  I picked at the chip and it turns out that the "cameo" was a white china type thing that had been painted with pearly paint.  So I finished flaking it off, gave it a good wash and suddenly had a brilliant "repurposing idea".

I have a cross-body crochet purse that I probably found at Good Will.  Look what I did:  Stylish plus a memory intact.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Cioppino is a fancy name for fish stew.  I love it but have actually not made it before.  And you rarely see it on menus.  Trader Joe's has a frozen version but it is a very tiny amount in that package and you have to add a bunch more things to get it enough for two for dinner.

A few months ago I bought a frozen package of "mixed seafood" from TJ's....scallops, shrimp, calamari.  No clue what I was going to do with it.  Last night I finally decided to try and make cioppino, since the seafood blend was perfect for it, along with a chunk of white fish that I had in my freezer.

All the recipes I had seen for this dish included fennel.  Fennel is reminiscent of licorice and I dislike it very much, although admit it tastes good in the cioppino I have eaten in the past.  But....

I looked over several "fish stew" recipes and realized that they were all actually very basic.  So I went to my kitchen and chopped some onions and garlic and started sauteeing.  I added some celery (hey, it looks kinda like fennel), then diced up some carrots and potatoes.  This IS a stew after all.  Tossed in some seasonings that struck my fancy:  oregano, italian seasoning, coriander, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chopped fresh cilantro.  Added a large can of tomatoes, some water, and some clam broth I had frozen that was leftover from a TJ's frozen bag of steamed clams we had awhile back, covered it and went to get on the computer.

An hour later I chunked up some cod into the stew, covered it again and left for awhile.  Just before we were ready to eat, I put about half the package of frozen mixed seafood into the pot.  As it simmered, I tasted it and it was a bit flat.  I had not had a green pepper.  So I shook in some hot sauce, squeezed some lime, then a dollop of balsamic vinegar and, finally, some white wine sitting on the counter.

To serve it, I dipped out a couple of cups into each bowl.  Then for the final 'ta da', I chopped up a small tomatillo and some more cilantro and sprinkled the mixture on top of the soup serving.  Yum.

Here is photo of cioppino (not mine).  Follow this link to the source of the photo for another take on cioppino that uses a jar of red pasta sauce.  Might try that sometime; it would be a richer broth for sure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Here is a page I made tonight using pictures from 1968 Fraternity House Party  at the Jack Tar, a motel that was just a beach walk away from where our beach house is today.  It always makes me a bit pensive when I sit on our deck on the dunes and think about being here all those years ago.  Still with my 'date' for the frat party weekend.  Still love him dearly.

Zucchini CAN taste good!

The Charlotte Observer ran a recipe for zucchini and it seemed to cover all my preferences....olive oil, fried, vinegar, herbs.  I had gotten a pretty good sized zucchini at the market, so decided to make it last night.  The platter was so pretty I took a photo before we ate it.  (and used a iphone app to snazz it up)
You can find the original recipe here.  I confess to not following it too closely, just in spirit.  I did not slice on the diagonal.  I used garlic powder in the dressing and garlic paste in the marinade.  I did not actually measure.  I hate fennel so no seeds.  Did not turn it into a salad; no ricotta, thank you very much.  The marinade barely covered the bottom of this platter, so the zucchini did not get overwhelmed.  Try your version; it is more a method than a recipe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buying Fish

An upscale fresh fish store opened in South Charlotte this past year called Fresh Catch.  I had read a lot about it but never stopped in to see what they had.  It is all fresh, never frozen, and arrives by plane from all over the world.  I finally stopped in today.

I am used to going along with the guys to Buddy's Seafood in Panama City, FL, and pointing out what I want and am familiar with the gulf offerings.  This shop was a whole 'nother ballgame, however.  The nice man took me on a quick tour through the offerings and it went in one ear and flew out the other.  There were gorgeous slabs of fish ready for portions to be cut, plus whole fresh fish, some of them really big. labels and no prices.  When there are no prices, it means you should not be worried about the cost.  Ha.

I was overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge, as well as the prices he quoted (I never really pay attention to the prices at Buddy's....we are on vacation after all, and it is gonna be cheaper than a restaurant, whatever we buy).  However, I did not want to leave without buying something, after all I had to find something to cook for dinner.  So I bought one fillet of Sunfish (looks exactly like tilapia).  It is raised in ocean pens off the coast of Hawaii.  $10 a pound.

I brought it home and seasoned it and grilled it off quickly on my electric griddle.  It was good, but I honestly like Harris Teeter's thawed from frozen tilapia in their fish counter better.  Thank goodness; it is a lot cheaper and the store is closer!

Next time I go I will take Larry with me.  He would have swooned at the fresh "log" of tuna they had.  And the fresh wild salmon looked pretty good to me, too............

Monday, August 08, 2011

King's Kitchen

Had a nice outing today with a group from Harris YMCA. We rode the Lynx train uptown and walked to King's Kitchen. One of my very old friends happened be in the group, which made the day even better. The restaurant is famous for their pan fried chicken, and justly so. Best I have had since my mom's. Now if they could just fry it in melted Criscoe instead of healthy oil...........

King's Kitchen description from their web site. "We’re a not for profit restaurant serving up southern cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients from right here in our community. And the proceeds go back to the community, helping to feed those in need. So, come on in. Because when you dine, the whole community thrives.

The restaurant is beautiful and at Monday lunch was absolutely packed. For $9 I got a fried leg and thigh, creamed corn, green beans, and stewed squash. You choose your meat and then get three vegetables from a list. Or you can skip the meat and get four vegetables.

A wonderful concept; you get to eat wonderful food and at the same time give back to the community.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Not the beach

Not at the beach but still made a beachy dinner. Thanks to phillips crabcakes in a package. Peach cobbler for dessert.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grunging it up

PSE blog featured instructions for grunging up a photo. Just had to try it. First photo file I found was from our trip to Rhode Island. So I chose this photo:

Pretty photo of a house.  Now lets see what PSE can do to it!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ah... It's summer


More Ice Cream

After I posted Jenni's ice cream adventure, I remembered that my DIL, Lindsay, had helped the grands make homemade ice cream, too.....

Then I opened up an old album of my own photos as a little girl and these were on a page.  More ice cream.

And of  course I had to turn these pictures into a couple of scrapbook pages!!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Guest post

What does a new ice cream maker and fresh blueberries from the State Farmer's Market mean? Ice cream! (but next time they'll use real cream and whole milk...why go halfway with a treat?)
(paraphrased by Nancooks)
---Jenni Thornberg

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ginger Chicken and Rice Soup

I love the column in our newspaper, Desperation Dinners.  The other day I decided to find their blog so I could put my favorite recipes into my Paprika app.  This recipe is their most recent and I made it today for lunch.  It was really refreshing and good.  I highly recommend you give it a try.  You can find this recipe and more at

                                                                                                photo courtesy of

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ounces
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
6 cups water
1/2 cup long-grain rice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons 1-percent milk
Place chicken breast, carrots, onions and water in a 4 ½-quart or larger soup pot. Cover and heat to boil over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is mostly cooked through. Reduce heat to medium, remove chicken breast to a plate, then add rice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Dice chicken and return to pot. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook for 15 more minutes or until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, stir together egg and milk until well blended.
Uncover soup and drizzle egg mixture evenly over soup. Stir well to blend and thicken soup and serve.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No More Wasted Bananas

I like unripe bananas. Once they get spots, they are gone to me. Usually people put them into banana bread or pudding or such, but I only like plain, sliced bananas. Or whole.

My daughter gave me this really cool book: Hometown Appetites, the Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate.  The first two recipes already intrigue me.  But more on that later.

Frozen Banana Dessert:  Simple
Peel and freeze ripe bananas.  Slice into bowl.  Either sprinkle with sugar and pour cream over them, or do as I did, and use flavored CoffeeMate.  Yum.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wedding Scrapbooking Begins

The wedding was last weekend and was Jenni's dream wedding.  It was amazing and perfect.  The new couple are now spending two weeks in the tropics, unplugged from the world.
Her mother is not unplugged, however.  I am back, immersed in PSE8.  Fiddling around with wordart today and made this:

I shrunk it down tiny for the web and lost much detail, but the pattern inside is of bubbles. As she came down the steps after the reception, the guests blew bubbles. So the pattern in appropriate.

I do not know why the background is black. oh well.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Amazing Asparagus

I made really good fresh asparagus tonight. I did not heat the oven. I made it fast.

Sautee a sliced shallot in evoo. After it softens, add asparagus and carrot ribbons (use a potato peeler).

Season with salt and pepper. Here is the new trick: glaze with a nice balsamic vinegar. Amazing.