Friday, January 31, 2020

Journal Prompt 31 Jan 2020 ~ Luxury

Today's Writing Prompt: Luxury

You've been given $100 on the condition that you have to spend it all on yourself. What are you going to do with your gift?

Image result for scrapbooking store"

Head to the nearest scrapbooking store. I can't believe you didn't already know what my answer would be . . . LOL!!!!

Journal Prompt 30 Jan 2020 ~ Reunion

Today's Writing Prompt: Reunion

Imagine you're on your way to your next high school reunion. How do you think your old school friends will react to the person you are today?

Image result for cartoon high school reunion"

Believe it or not, I never graduated from high school. I have a college diploma and a university degree, but only made it half way through Grade 11. So I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be invited to any high school reunion.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Craft Space Organization Challenge #5 ~ Stickers, die cuts, and rub ons

Challenge #5 - Stickers, die cuts, and rub ons 

Stickers, etc. are another great challenge to me.  I have yet to find my perfect storage solution so once again I will be seeking inspiration from you.  Please share your storage solution with us by posting photos at

Stickers, die cuts, and rub-ons are some of the hardest things to organize because the different sizes and shapes pose many challenges. Rub-ons present their own challenges because if they aren't stored properly, they stick to each other and then they are useless.

SORT: time to be ruthless. Consider if you are really going to use these items. If you bought a whole sheet of die cuts just to use one or two tags, why are you hanging on to the whole sheet? Those stickers you bought in 1999 were adorable then, but definitely not your style now, are they? So, sort into piles: TRASH, SELL, DONATE, TO KEEP

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up, and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile and put them directly into the garage sale box. Make immediate arrangements to rid yourself of the DONATE items. 

ASSIGN: The KEEP items need to be divided into categories that make sense to you: by colour, by manufacturer, theme, size, or type.

CONTAINERIZE: Here is an article about storing stickers, die cuts and rub-ons:

EQUALIZE: take a few minutes at the end of each scrap session and whenever you return from a crop or a shopping trip to put your stickers, rub-ons and die cuts where they belong.

When you are done, please share a photo showing your storage system.  Post here.

Journal Prompt 29 Jan 2020 ~ Lies

Today's Writing Prompt: Lies

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What is a lie you have told yourself?

Oh boy . . . do I have a list. It won't hurt to have just one more cookie. I frequently knock 10 pounds off my actual weight. I'll get to it one of these days.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Journal Prompt 28 Jan 2020 ~ Rainbow Bridge

Today's Writing Prompt: Rainbow Bridge

Have you ever had the rotten experience of having to put a pet down?

I had to do it once. We had a kitten who wasn't breathing when it was born. I actually did kitty CPR. I probably shouldn't have. Poor little thing was never right. I took him to the vet in Aylmer to be put to sleep. I will never do that again. I've never had a pet since and I don't want one.

Remembering Alma College

Remembering Alma College

Paperback, 68 Pages 

Remembering Alma College

Price: $27.08
Prints in 3-5 business days
Twelve years ago an historic landmark in St. Thomas ON burned to the ground. I spent two days taking photographs. I would like to share them with you.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Book Review: Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . .

I love the Food Network.  I watch several favourite shows even when they are repeats.  Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is one of them.

Image result for Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . ."

My oldest son is also a fan of the show and he loaned me this book to read.  I had a riot reading it.  I loved all the stops on his All-American Road Trip and even recognized some of them from the show.  There were recipes for each diner after their story but I have to say there aren't too many I would actually make.  Not that they don't sound great, but they tend to have a ton of ingredients and be fried.  Great for a diner, not so great for my waistline.

I am definitely going to make the Chunky Monkey Pancakes on page 108 . . . how can anyone resist pancakes full of chocolate chips and walnuts, wrapped around bananas, and covered in whipped cream.  I'll let you know how it turns out . . . LOL . . .

Journal Prompt 27 Jan 2020 ~ Siblings

Today's Writing Prompt: Siblings

If you could choose, would you rather have been born an only child or born the middle child in a very large family?

I've never really thought about being an only child. I'm not even sure what that would be like. I am the first born child and I like it, especially now when my siblings are starting to look as old as or older than me . . . LOL.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Movie Review: Hidalgo (2004)


Hidalgo is the story of Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), a celebrated horseback rider who is working for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1890—and haunted by the memories of what he witnessed at Wounded Knee when he was working for the U.S. Army.  A sheik, insulted that Hopkins is advertised as the world's greatest horseman, invites Hopkins and his remarkable horse Hidalgo to prove it by participating in the Ocean of Fire, a three-thousand-mile race that few can endure, let alone hope to win.  Hidalgo is a mustang and will be pitted against the finest of purebred Arabian horses. Hopkins accepts the challenge.

This movie is so exciting, high drama, high adventure and a little romance as well.  It is chock full of good people doing good, bad people being bad, good people sometimes doing bad and once in a while bad people doing something good.

I love that Omar Sharif is the sheik in the movie.

Men, women, girls and boys . . . everyone should love this movie . . .

The ending is very heartwarming and a little cheesy, but isn't that a great way to end a larger than life movie?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sketch Challenge 25 Jan 2020 ~ A Handy Pocket Page 2 photos 2 pockets 1 page

A great layout to store travel brochures, report cards, or birthday cards.  I personally recommend sewing the side and bottom edges of the pocket, or use a stapler or brads for strength.  If the brochures are bulky you can use double-sided foam tape to adhere the pocket to the page.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Best Keto Meatloaf

The Best Keto Meatloaf

Seems like the keto (low carb) diet is all the rage today. Well here's a juicy, flavor-packed keto meatloaf topped with a tangy and sweet tomato sauce that is gluten-free and low carb to meet your keto diet needs. (Recipe credit adapted with Watkins spices of course).


For the meatloaf:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 large cage-free eggs
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon Watkins Organic Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Watkins Fine Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Watkins Organic Ground Black Pepper
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 cup tomatoes diced
  • ½ teaspoon Watkins Fine Himalayan Pink Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Watkins Organic Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Watkins Organic Oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Watkins Organic Parsley
  • 1 heirloom tomato sliced, (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine all the meatloaf ingredients and knead the mixture with your hands until fully combined. In a non-stick, 9x5-inch loaf pan, add the meatloaf mixture and press down to fill all the edges of the pan. Set aside. In a small pot over low heat, add the tomato sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf. (If using, add slices of heirloom tomato to garnish). Place in the oven and cook until the meatloaf is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until warm, about 10 minutes. Serve.

Please contact me at if you would like to learn more about Watkins quality products.

Journal Prompt 24 Jan 2020 ~ Risky Business

Today's Writing Prompt: Risky Business

Do you prefer taking risks, or having a safety net?

It depends on what I'm doing.  In my arts and crafts world I love to take risks.  In the really world, I tend to freak if I have to take risks.  I have become braver in my world and more conservative and nervous in the real world as I age.  I wonder if this is normal?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Journal Prompt 23 Jan 2020 ~ Favourite Clothes

Today's Writing Prompt: Favourite Clothes

Describe your favorite article of clothing.

Image result for favourite clothes"

My favourite clothing is anything comfy and about a size too big. Right now my outfit of choice is a pair of black leggings and an comfy t-shirt. I know there is nothing sexy or exciting about my choice of outfit but I dress for comfort and for the life I lead.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge #4 ~ Tools and Adhesives

I've done the photo challenge so many times over the years and developed a system that works well for me. 

How did you decide to sort and store your photos?

If you are ready, here is Challenge #4 . . .

Tools and Adhesives

Gather together all of your tools and adhesives into a box and let's start them!

Sort: one by one, put each item into piles: FAVOURITES, TRASH, TO SELL, STORE, DONATE.

Purge: For the SELL pile: bag up and assign a price and your initials to tools/adhesives that you don't love/use anymore and put them in your garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Arrange pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.

Assign: Store your most used items in a basket or box or other system right on your desk, within easy reach. Divide the STORE items into categories that make sense to you: cutting tools, pens, punches, templates, etc.

Containerize: This is the time to tidy up your tools. Tools need regular maintenance to keep them efficiently working. As you put your tools away in whatever container (drawers, shelves, boxes, baskets - always ensuring the container is clearly labelled) give them a little maintenance.

scissors - sharpen your scissors using a small scissor sharpener, or have them professionally done. Carefully clean the blades (I like alcohol swabs to remove sticky adhesive).

pens - test pens and throw out the ones that are dry or don't work well.

craft knives - change the blades.

trimmers - clean the deck of your trimmers with a damp cloth, and a little cleanser if necessary. Replace dull blades, or cut through fine sandpaper or aluminium foil.

work surface - clean ink, adhesive and paint from your self-healing mats.

punches - to prevent punches from sticking, punch through wax paper. Problem punches may need a little lubricating oil such as sewing machine oil, then punch through scrap paper several times to remove oily residue. Dull punches can be sharpened by punching through aluminium foil or fine grade sandpaper (both right side up and upside down).

rubber stamps - stamps should be cleaned after each use, but if there is a build up of ink on your stamps, you should clean them with an alcohol free baby wipe, or paper towels moistened with a mild cleanser (ammonia free/bleach free) Use a soft toothbrush to remove ink stuck in the crevices of a design. Store stamps flat, rubber side down.

Equalize: Once you have a system in place for you tools, putting them back in the same place every time will become a reflex, and you will never have to hunt for you scissors again! Take a couple of minutes at the end of each scrap session to put your tools away.

We have started a Facebook group as a place for us to share photos, accomplishments, encouragement, tips and tricks as we work through the 2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge.  You are welcome to post before and after photos of your photo challenge here.

Journal Prompt 22 Jan 2020 ~ Salvage

Today's Writing Prompt: Salvage

If your house was on fire, what would you grab and save before you escaped?

Image result for in case of fire"

Funny enough, I have given this question a great deal of thought. It started the day someone took down all the signs in our apartment building that would have warned us that there was going to be testing of the fire alarm system. So the next day when the alarms kept going off I know I wasn't the only one a little "concerned" by them. We quickly found out is was a test, but it made me start to think about what I would grab in the case of a fire or other emergency.

On the lucky side, I am in a main floor apartment so I knew, unless the fire was in my own unit, I would have a few minutes to prepare my departure. I decided the things I would grab would be medications, coat and boots or shoes, a change of clothes, house and van keys, purse, a box of memories that could not be replaced and the external hard drive of my lap top which contains copies of all my documents and files.

Hubby wondered why I wouldn't take the laptop but my thought process was that it was easier to unplug one thing (the external hard drive) than to unplug everything that is attached to the laptop.

Anyway . . . a little while back there was some trouble with my hydro panel and Hal wasn't home. Although I was reassured that there wasn't any risk of fire I didn't really believe them (Hal and the superintendent). So I put my coat and shoes, purse with my keys and medications, a change of clothes, my memory box and the hard drive right beside the patio door figuring if the smoke detectors went off I could grab them on the way out the door.

Fortunately, nothing happened during the night . . . so I guess Hal and the superintendent were right . . . and the fuse thingie was fixed the day.

Provence-Style Chicken

Quantity : 4 servings
Brining : 3 h Preparation : 15 min Cooking : 50 min
310 calories/serving

resealable plastic bag
4 chicken legs, with back, skin removed 1.2 kg
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive paste 30 g
3 tbsp olive oil 45 mL
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp Parsley and Garlic Base 15 mL
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
aluminum foil
30 mini-tomatoes (cherry, miniature or grape) 2 cups
20 black olives 8 tbsp
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 mL

Before you start

The chicken must be marinated at least 3 hours before cooking.


Put the chicken legs in a resealable plastic bag. Finely chop the garlic then put it in a small bowl. Add the olive paste, olive oil, lemon juice, Parsley and garlic base, and cayenne pepper. Season with a little salt and pepper, then mix well. Pour the mixture into the bag, then seal it and turn it to coat the chicken with the marinade. Chill in the refrigerator at least 3 h to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190°C /375°F. Line a baking sheet or oven-proof dish with aluminium foil.
Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet, then cook 35 min in the middle of the oven.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the mini-tomatoes and olives with the extra virgin olive oil. Add them to the chicken and cook an additional 15 min.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Journal Prompt 21 Jan 2020 ~ Admiration

Today's Writing Prompt: Admiration

Who did you look up to / admire as a child?

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When I was growing up I remember reading biographies of women who became nurses or doctors. Among the ones I admired most were Florence Nightingale, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Dr. Jenny Trout, and Dr. Emily Stowe.  I was fairly certain I was going to enter the medical field when I grew up. Unfortunately, I discovered I didn't have the stomach for it. The sight of wounds or vomit just makes me ill.

More Scrapbooking with Sketches . . . and a sale . . .

More Scrapbooking With Sketches

Paperback, 93 Pages 

List Price: $9.33
Price: $7.46
You Save: $1.87 ( 20% )
Prints in 3-5 business days
More one-page scrapbooking sketches to inspire your creativity.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Journal Prompt 20 Jan 2020 ~ Mornings

Today's Writing Prompt: Mornings

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What's the first thing you do when you wake up every morning?

I am a creature of habit, especially in the morning. In fact, I get cranky if my morning routine is tampered with in any way. Don't worry, I will skip the parts you really don't need to know about.

When I wake up in the morning I go to my studio and turn on the light and my computer. Next step is to make coffee and throw bread into the toaster. I put butter and peanut butter on my toast, collect any other food items I plan to include with my breakfast such as fruit or cereal, pick up my fresh hot cup of coffee . . . and return to the studio where I leisurely read my emails and catch up with everyone on Facebook while enjoying my breakfast.

Only when these things are accomplished can I shower and get dressed and start my day.

This all gets thrown out the proverbial window if there is an early appointment on my calendar.

Book Review: A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French

Image result for a tiny bit marvellous"

This book is the perfect summer read -- light and funny.  It is the story of a mother turning 50 and totally out of touch with her teenage children which is rather awful since she is a child psychologist.  Surprisingly my favourite character was Denys.  I was almost done the book before I found out what his name was since he is most often referred to as Pater, Dad and Husband.  Denys is the glue that holds this totally inappropriate and dysfunctional family together with quiet strength and insight.  The story is mostly about the daughter, son and mother who are all floundering through some crises or another.  Funny.  Funny.  Funny.  And just a little insightful as well.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Movie Review: Idiocracy (2006)

Oh, I had some serious misgivings about watching this movie.  Directed by Mike Judge, who will forever be known for bringing us Beavis and Butthead, this is a movie about the dumbing down of America.

It is funny.  Luke Wilson has an amazing low-key comedic style that keeps this movie from being one long fart joke.  The language and sexual content has earned it an R rating but I didn't find either overly offensive.

Would I go looking to watch this movie again . . . probably not because it really isn't my style.  But it definitely is worth seeing once and if it were on TV late at night I might watch it just because it is simple and entertaining.

So, kind of a mixed review on this one.  Funny and Luke Wilson on the pro side.  Dumb and not note-worthy on the con side.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Scrapbook Album in One Day

Complete a Scrapbook Album in One Day

Paperback, 36 Pages 
Price: $15.57
Prints in 3-5 business days
Scrapbook Albums are a great gift idea for someone special to celebrate a wedding, graduation, birth or any important occasion. Scrapbook Albums are also a personal way to capture your own occasions as well. Creating a 20-page album may seem like an intimidating proposition but it is possible . . . . . . and I'm going to show you how. By using the instructions in this book you will be able to make a 20 page 12" x 12" scrapbooking album that will be perfect for whatever you need it to be.

Also available in Large Print and Colour versions.

Sketch Challenge 18 Jan 2020 ~ 1 photo 1 page layout

Friday, January 17, 2020

Journal Prompt 17 Jan 2020 ~ Random Act of Kindness

Today's Writing Prompt: Random Act of Kindness

Image result for random acts of kindness"

Have you ever been on the receiving end of kindness from a stranger?

I've been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness many times in my life.  One that really touched me was 10 or 12 years ago.  I can't remember the exact date.  I used to run a bunch of craft related Yahoo! groups and the women I met on these groups were my company every day.  A couple of times we had made afghans to send to a group member who was expecting a baby or going through tough health issues.  It was during this time that I was having trouble with allergies.  You know the whole sinus pain, itching, runny nose misery.  And this went on for months and months.  I was so sick.  And one of the fun side effects was an eye infection that totally went out of control to the point I had to keep wet wash cloths handy because if I closed my eyes they would seal shut.  My eyes hurt like they were full of glass.  I'm sure I whined online once in a while about how lousy I was feeling and how much I appreciated my online friends since I wasn't able to get out anymore.  They were able to keep their plans top secret until the day my beautiful comfortghan arrived in the mail.  I still have that blanket and use it whenever I don't feel well and I'm curled up in my chair.  

At the end of November my husband had a heart attack.  Don't worry, he is recovering well.  But at the time I was so overwhelmed.  We had FINALLY moved my 103-year-old grandmother into a nursing home, I had a horrible upper respiratory thing going on, my house and life were a disaster after nursing my grandmother until the move.  Friends showed up at the hospital to keep us company, brought food and kind words, and made the time pass a little faster.  I spent most of my days at the hospital until he was released . . . at which point I panicked.  No food in the house.  The house an absolute disaster.   How was I going to get things in shape so I could bring him home?  In secret, a very special friend made arrangements with our kids to get into the apartment and take care of everything.  She stocked groceries, put some homemade meals in the fridge and freezer, cleaned the apartment, did the laundry . . . AND got the Christmas decorations out.  I have never been so grateful for anything in my life.

These are just a couple of the many times when someone's thoughtfulness made my life a little better.  I am a very lucky woman.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Journal Prompt 16 Jan 2020 ~ Failure

Today's Writing Prompt: Failure

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What have you ever failed at in life?

Wow . . . do I have a long list.  I think the failure that bothers me the most though is that I never finished high school.  Looking back I realize how much growing up time I missed out on.  I made myself a "grown up" at 16.  Not one of my brightest decisions.  I do have a college degree and a university degree though.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge #3 ~ Photos

It's Time for Challenge #3

So, your paper is beautifully organized, your scraps carefully stashed or purged, and your desk is gleaming! You are starting to get organized. Doesn't it make you feel creative? Don't you want to get cropping? Well, you CAN'T scrapbook without PHOTOS!
Our third challenge is to organize our photos. Here is an excellent article to get you thinking about how to organize those precious photos before we start to S.P.A.C.E. them:

Please take a moment and read this excerpt from Design Strategies for Scrapbookers:

Photo preservation begins with safe storage.  Remove photos stored in the old magnetic albums immediately.  A magnetic album has cardboard pages with adhesive on them and a plastic sheet to cover the photos.  The adhesives and plastics in these albums are highly acidic and can ruin your photos very quickly.

To safely remove photos from magnetic albums you can use:

1.      Dental floss – Slip a piece of dental floss under one corner of the photo and use a gentle back-and-forth sawing motion to lift the photo.
2.      Blow Dryer – Set your blow dryer on low heat to soften the page’s glue and then carefully lift the photo.
3.      Spatula/pan scraper – Use a thin spatula to slowly pry photos loose. 
4.      Undu Adhesive Remover – Undu neutralizes adhesive’s stickiness, making photos easy to remove.  It dries clear and will not damage photos or smudge most inks.
5.      I have heard about freezing the pages first  but I’ve never tried it so use at your own risk.

Use an acid-free photo box with dividers or an archival quality photo album for storage.  Organize photos chronologically or by theme, event or subject depending on how you scrapbook.  Write notes on the dividers or on the back of the photo for later reference.  Don’t use ballpoint pen to write on backs of photos.  Buy a special photo-marking pen or pencil. 

Always save original photos if they are one of a kind and can’t be replaced.  This is especially important with heritage photos.  Instead, scan and print new copies, storing the original for safe-keeping.  If you are determined to use the original, use photo corners to adhere these precious photos to your layouts so they can be safely removed.

I just had a reminder of this rule recently.  I’ve been working on a family tree album and needed some baby pictures.  I scrapbooked all my baby pictures when I first started scrapbooking many years ago.  And that was the problem.  I had cut them all in shapes and used decorative scissors on them.  Not one was complete enough for me to scan and reprint.  My mom and aunt are going through their old photos in hopes they have some originals.  So I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to save original photos.  Scan the originals and have them reprinted. 

Don’t forget to properly store and organize negatives.  Plastic negative sleeves will hold 4-7 negatives, depending on brand and the size of film.  If you have older negatives in smaller sizes (such as 110) you can easily create subdivisions in the sleeves with a sewing machine and clear nylon thread.  You can store negative sleeves in a 3-ring binder or folder.  Label each sleeve with the date and/or subject.

Digital photos have their own set of rules.  Always back up your computer files, including your digital photo files because computers crash and hard drives fail.  Store a back up copy of your photos and important documents to an external hard drive.  You can also download your digital photos to CD’s or USB drives although there is some debate as to how long they last.  There are many online sites that you can save your photos to as well.

When you are looking for a safe place to store your memorabilia, photographs, negatives, supplies and albums, keep in mind that they will do best in a dry, cool place, out of direct sunlight.

 Design Strategies for Scrapbookers - black & white edition
Available in colour, black & white or large print

SORT: Gather together all of your photos, and sort them into categories that make sense: 

TRASH (it's okay to throw out photos with bad colour, expression, composition. Why keep them? You're not going to scrapbook them) 
TO SCRAPBOOK (the shots you know you are going to use) 
TO STORE (photos that need to be kept, but aren't necessarily going to be going into your scrapbooks) 
TO GIVE AWAY (doubles that you want to send to friends and family)

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Put the TO GIVE AWAY photos in envelopes and mail them to friends/family, or put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you visit. Do not leave them in your studio, or they will creep back into your organized space.

ASSIGN: Sort the final two groups of photos into a system that makes sense to you:


CONTAINERIZE: Now it's time to decide how you want to store your photos. Perhaps you want to put your TO STORE photos in acid free envelopes or albums. Perhaps you want to put your TO SCRAPBOOK photos into photo storage boxes, or accordion folders.

EQUALIZE: Next time you get new photos from the photo processor, spend a couple of minutes and put the photos where they belong: throw out the bad shots, give away the extras, put the keepers away in their album, and sort your photos for scrapbooking into their container.

We have started a Facebook group as a place for us to share photos, accomplishments, encouragement, tips and tricks as we work through the 2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge.  You are welcome to post before and after photos of your photo challenge here.

Journal Prompt 15 Jan 2020 ~ Emigration

Today's Writing Prompt: Emigration

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Have you ever lived in a country other than your country of birth? Would you ever want to?

I have always lived in Canada . . . in fact I've always lived in Ontario . . . in fact I've never moved away from my home town. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather live.

Now ask me about travel . . . I want to go everywhere that isn't unbearably hot or has a lot of thunderstorms.  It's actually a very long list.  I dream of owning a small motorhome so I can travel in comfort.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Journal Prompt 14 Jan 2020 ~ In Common

Today's Writing Prompt: In Common

Image result for snakes and bugs"

What is something you and your spouse or best friend have in common?

My dear hubby and I are very very very different people but we actually do have a few things in common. We love movies especially if one of our favourite actors are in them like Meryl Streep (my fav) or John Wayne (Hal's fav). We love some of the same kinds of music like 50-70s rock. We both agree that our children and grandchildren are mostly perfect. We both love letterboxing but for different reasons. I love to carve stamps and solve clues and the social aspects of the hobby. Hal loves to drive me around and make me happy and he will pull letterboxes out of creepy places that might have snakes or bugs . . . even though we both have no fondness for snakes and bugs.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Movie Review: The Great Buck Howard

I am starting to believe Leonard Maltin is a genius . . . LOL . . . I've been finding and watching the movies he mentions in his book 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen and almost every one has been a hit with me.  I've never even heard of the movie The Great Buck Howard.

Buck Howard is a magician and mentalist who used to be popular.  John Malkovich is both charming and convincing as a man who has deluded himself into believing that a major comeback is just around the corner.  His comeback event is to put 100s of people to sleep at the same time.  Just as the crowd is beginning to fall asleep, Jerry Springer is in a traffic accident and all the press leaves.

Colin Hanks is an aimless law school dropout who becomes the Great Buck Howard's assistant and roadie.  Buck isn't very easy to work for but Colin admires his work ethic and showmanship.   The actor’s real-life father, Tom, was one of the film’s producers, and appears briefly as the young man’s disapproving dad.

Watch this movie.  It is a feel good movie, offering emotion and humour in equal proportion.

Journal Prompt 13 Jan 2020 ~ 25+ years of basketball

Today's Writing Prompt: Sports

Are you a sports fan? Do you watch or participate? Which ones?

My family has many interests . . . movies, music, politics and . . . BASKETBALL.  First my oldest son played in high school and in 3-on-3's.  Now he coaches youth competitive traveling teams as well as a college team.  All three grandsons play at their schools, 3-on-3's and/or on the traveling teams.  My youngest son has played in 3-on-3's and the local men's league.  They wear basketball themed clothing, watch basketball, practice basketball and talk basketball.   I worked it out one day and I have basically been watching basketball for more than 25 years. 

I still don't understand the language or rules but I watch and I cheer. 

Book Review: Standoff by Sandra Brown

This is a story about a hard working reporter who's much needed vacation is put on hold when she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous standoff.  It is more of a novella than a novel but that's okay.  It made for a quick yet exciting read . . .

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sketch Challenge 11 Jan 2020 ~ 1 photo 1 page layout with a pocket

A great layout to store travel brochures, report cards, or birthday cards.  I personally recommend sewing the side and bottom edges of the pocket, or use a stapler or brads for strength.  If the brochures are bulky you can use double-sided foam tape to adhere the pocket to the page.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Journal Prompt 10 Jan 2020 ~ Cruel or Offensive

Today's Writing Prompt: Cruel

What's the most offensive thing you've ever heard anyone say?

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Any time I hear "If the ____ (enter any non-British nationality here) don't want to follow our Canadian traditions they should pack up and move back to ____ (wherever they lived before moving to Canada)" it takes every bit of willpower I have not to offer to help the annoying speaker pack his or her bags.

One of our "traditions" is the Canadian Bill of Rights. Hey, annoying speaker, have you ever read it? Here's just a little piece of it:

Recognition and declaration of rights and freedoms
1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
(c) freedom of religion;
(d) freedom of speech;
(e) freedom of assembly and association; and
(f) freedom of the press.

While we are at it, here is the Oath of Citizenship . . . which by the way Canadians don't have to swear . . . but new Canadians do . . . 

"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

I'm jumping off my soap box now.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Spaghettini with Rosy-red Sauce

Quantity : 2 servings
Preparation : 5 min Cooking : 10 min
460 calories/serving

160 g spaghettini
2/3 cup Rosy-red Pasta Sauce 170 mL
2 tsp butter, unsalted 9 g
2 tbsp pasta cooking water 30 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated [optional] 6 g

Before you start

Keep the serving dishes in the oven at the lowest setting so they are warm when you serve.
Put a colander in the sink to drain the cooked pasta so that it will be ready when needed.


Cook the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Add the specified amount of pasta cooking water to dilute the sauce a bit, and warm up just a few minutes.
Put the drained spaghettini back into the pasta cooking pot, add the sauce and butter, then mix well. Serve in the warmed dishes. If desired, Parmesan cheese may be grated on top.

Rosy-red Pasta Sauce

Quantity : 350 ml
Preparation : 5 min Cooking : 20 min

1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
1/2 onions, finely chopped 100 g
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup strained tomatoes 260 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
1/4 cup whipping cream 35% 65 mL
1/4 cup vodka, or to taste 65 mL

Before you start

A blender or food processor will be very useful to purée the sauce.


Heat the oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced or pressed garlic, then sauté 5 min until translucent. Add the strained tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook 15 min over medium-low heat, with occasional stirring.
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the cream and vodka. Mix well then purée in a blender. More or less vodka may be added depending on personal preference.


This sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator; up to 3 months in the freezer.

Journal Prompt 9 Jan 2020 ~ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

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As my mother would probably agree, I'm not very ambitious. At least not in the competitive or commercial sense. I've never wanted to invent the next great thing that is going to save the world. I never wanted to be a big shot of any kind.

I've always wanted to be happy. I have finally learned late in life (but not too late, I hope) that happy comes in moments, it is an attitude, it is a decision you make every morning . . . I am going to try and be happy today. And what I know is that I am happy when I have my family around me. They could be completely oblivious to my presence and I wouldn't care. I am happy just to have them near.

I am happy when I accomplish something and it doesn't matter if it is cleaning a room or writing a book. Accomplishment makes me happy.

Spending time with my friends makes me happy. Moments of quiet solitude make me happy.

It amazes me that for so much of my life I searched for happiness only to find out that I had it all the time. I just didn't recognize it or enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge ~ What about our finished layouts?

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An interesting discussion on our Facebook group a few months back and realized that finished layouts are something we've never included in our challenges . . . until now.  Even if you don't have albums available or if your layouts are randomly done and not chronological, you still need to protect your finished layouts.  I'm not the only one who has noticed that improperly stored layouts are prone to damage and missing pieces.

I suggest storing your layouts in pizza boxes, iris cases or some other safe environment where they won't be constantly handled and damaged . . . until it is time to put them in an album.

So Challenge #2A is to find a safe way to store finished layouts.

2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge ~ Challenge #2

How did you make out on the first challenges?  It's not too late to share your photos.  Doesn't it feel great to start the new year with a clean work surface?

Let's move on to the next challenge . . . 

Challenge #2

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Did you know that a 1” high stack of patterned paper equals as many as 250 sheets of patterned paper?  That’s a lot of paper.  I don't know about you, but I have a lot more than 1" of paper.

So here is this week's challenge:

Your challenge this week is to 
S.P.A.C.E. your paper - - and I mean ALL of your paper: cardstock, patterned paper, specialty papers, and all those SCRAPS!

If you are a quilter you need to S.P.A.C.E. your fabric.  A knitter -- your wool.  I think you get the picture.  This challenge is for everybody!

SORT: Bring all of your paper to one area. Sort it all into piles: KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH

PURGE: bag up, and assign a price to paper bundles that you want to SELL at a garage sale or online, and put the bags in the garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up the DONATE pile and immediately make arrangements for drop-off/pick-up or put in your vehicle.

ASSIGN: separate your paper into categories that make sense to you. For example, you may want to divide it simply into cardstock and patterned paper. If you have a huge stash of paper, you may want to divide it by colour, theme, or manufacturer.

I have separated out Christmas and sports papers in their own containers but I’m thinking this year of separating out a few more categories such as birthday, wedding, and travel.  That will be my project this week.

Another way to sort your paper is in page kits. Package matching patterned papers in a zip lock or similar bag, add matching cardstocks and embellishments to create kits.  Most of my patterned papers and embellishments are sorted in this way.  If/when the opportunity for some scrappin’ time presents, I just have to grab my tool pouch and a kit and I’m ready to go.

CONTAINERIZE: store your paper in a way that makes sense to you:

- vertical paper holders
- hanging vertical file folders
- wire cubes
- paper trays
- paper organizers
- bookcases with adjustable shelves

Click here to see lots of different storage ideas.

I use vertical paper holders for my cardstocks (which I personally feel I do not have enough of), hanging file folders for my scrap papers, and banker boxes for my page kits.

EQUALIZE: each time you finish a scrap session, return from a crop, or bring home new papers, spend a few minutes putting your paper away where it belongs.

We have started a Facebook group as a place for us to share photos, accomplishments, encouragement, tips and tricks as we work through the 2020 Craft Space Organization Challenge.  

When you have completed this challenge please share photos in our challenge album.