Friday, September 28, 2012

A Successful Endeavor

It sure is nice when we can use both of those  words in the same sentence. Yesterday I attempted to make pie filling and jar it, using our abundant supply of apples from this past weekend. Well my attempt turned into quite a success. I managed to get two jar fulls! I may have done more but that's a lot of peeling and cutting! I wanted to make sure the process was going to work. 
I have never canned anything in my life, so this was all new. Then upon my research I found that, yes, I can do this. Even with no experience, no fancy canning equipment...I can do this! Not only did I do it, but it was rather fun, too!
First, I pealed and sliced my apples. Added a bit of lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.
Then I made the yummy, cinnamon sugar mixture...which, by the way, smells amazing when it's cooking, and leaves your kitchen smelling good for hours after!
I put the apples in a large pan with a little bit of water and boiled them for about 10 min.
After sterilizing my jars and lids, I filled them, leaving room at the top of the jars, poured the syrup in the jars, making sure there are no air bubbles.
Sealed the jars, and put them in a large stock pot of boiling water. The jars boiled for about 15 minutes. Carefully, with tongs and pot holders, I took the jars out, allowed them several hours of cooling time, and voila. 
That was it! The lids sealed properly, and we're good to go!
Yes, I did the happy dance, alone, in my kitchen, no one was around. Shhh.
So, of course, yes, I scrapped about it. Are you kidding me? Did you really have to ask? 
This was perfect for my One Little Word Challenge. Using my word with Endeavor and trying a new technique on a layout. Oh yeah! 
Let's see, so my scrapbooking endeavor here, was experimenting some more with misting and masking. Never before, have I done either of the two. Cool, huh?
With my little word being success, I'd say, all and all, it was a pretty successful day!
 The journaling on my layout pretty much summarizes what I've said here about my endeavor. I added a teeny dab of mist on the journal block, as well, just for the fun of it!

Yes, of course, we have a quote, too:

“Feeling and longing are the motive forces behind all human endeavor and human creations.”~ Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How 'bout them apples?

It's officially Fall. I love Fall in NY. 
  • The colors
  • The smells
  • The crisp air
  • Fresh Cider
  • Pumpkin Spice Coffee
  • Apple cider donuts
  • Fresh apple sauce
  • Apple butter
The list can go on and on!

A few years ago we had an apple orchard open up that's only a few minutes away. (Where we live, not much is just a few minutes away!) Windy Hill Orchard is a small orchard but has plenty of apples to go around! You can also get all the other yummy Fall goodies such as cider, apple butter, and more!

Apple picking is one of those things we do every year, it marks the official start of Fall, in my book. Fall wouldn't be Fall without fresh apples. It's a rule! Apple pie, apple cider, applesauce, apple bread, apple butter, apple crisp, etc, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some of the pictures from our favorite Fall adventure...

One of my favorite seasons to scrap is Fall. Remember, I said one of the things I love about this season is the colors. The reds, oranges, yellows, etc. They make me feel all warm inside. 
Here, I share with you a layout from last year's adventure:
My scrapbooking has grown so much. Can't wait to play with this year's photos with new techniques.

"Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower."~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Faceless photos

As a soccer mom, I can't even begin to tell you how many pictures I've taken of Sarah in action that have been deleted because I can't see her. How dumb am I to have deleted these? 
We don't need to see the faces in the photos to capture the event. 
Especially such a thing as sports. 
Sports photos are supposed to have action and movement. 
After all, isn't that what they do in sports?
At first, when I stumbled upon this challenge over at Club CK, I was at a loss and didn't think I had any pictures that would fit the challenge of doing a layout with "faceless photos." 
Then I found the soccer pics! 
So here is the layout I did of Sarah at one of her first soccer practices. She just started playing last year and really enjoys it. She has a game tonight, as a matter of fact, so the timing to work on this was just right.
There are some faces in the smaller photo, but my focal point here was Sarah, so I made it count.
I used a variety of supplies that I've had in my stash to put this layout together.
Thanks for looking, and the next time you go to delete a photo because you didn't get the person's face...think before you delete! 

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
- Confucius

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Big Picture

When we look at "the big picture" we're looking at everything. We're taking a whole into perspective.  Currently, over at Creating Keepsakes the "Big Idea Festival" is going on. It's exciting because it's 14 days of different tutorials and paper crafting challenges. You can do the challenges if you want to then post them when your done for chances to win some awesome goodies.
Although I haven't done all the challenges and probably won't get to them all, I was inspired by Challenge #7. This challenge talked about using big photos on layouts. Which, I love using big photos! I'm not one to put a tiny photo with a bunch of embellishments and ton of "white space" on a layout. I like my layouts to be full without being cluttered. Big photos can fill up space and not clutter it!

I chose to scrap a 5x7 photo from our wedding. Our 14th wedding anniversary was yesterday. I asked a question on the CK Club forums about scrapping wedding photos. I was quite surprised about the number of folks who have not scrapped their wedding photos. I have a layout or two of mine but will never do a whole album. There's just too many pictures. I'm talking about several hundred! They're not fancy, not even in a fancy album, but they're in an album and all in order and I love flipping through them. The photos speak for themselves. But even though I won't have an entire album scrapped, it will be nice to have those few special layouts in my Heritage book for people to enjoy. Here is the layout that I did.
Most of the products used here are items I had in my stash. The background patterned paper is by Autumn Leaves and the cardstock is DCWV (both purchased a few years ago). While watching the 24 hr craft show on HSN this morning, I got the itch to pull my border punches out. I used my Fiskars scallop punch for the scallops on the card stock.
I was going to use a piece of my dress on the layout. I looked the dress over but it's impossible to take a piece of it without destroying it. Instead I took some lace that I had around the house and used for a trim along the cardstock. For some finishing touches, I outlined the photo with a black Zig Photo Signature pen and added the flower, which of course, is a Prima.
And speaking of big pictures, I also made a 4x6 frame that can be used for a wedding photo or any formal photo. Which is now available for sale in my Etsy shop.

The big picture doesn't just come from distance; it also comes from time. ~Simon Sinek

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grandparents Day

As I sit here pondering about grandparents, with today being Grandparent's Day, I think about how fortunate I am to have had the relationship with my grandparents that I had. As a baby and young child I spent lots of time with my paternal grandmother, as she helped my dad take care of me. As I grew up, we'd spend quality time together when we could. She loved playing board games and wouldn't let me win just because I was her granddaughter...a very valuable lesson to this day! I have a lot of respect for that woman, even today, even though she's been gone for several years now. She's gone from the world, but definitely not gone from me.

I was also close with my maternal grandparents. They only lived a few miles away, as I was growing up, so I saw them often. My maternal grandmother has always been my hero. I've scrapped a few layouts of her and my grandfather. My grandfather has moved on, but I am privileged to still have my grandmother, who just turned 88 last month. God bless her. She's an amazing woman, still always on the go, and busy with her social life more than I am at age 39! I love her and respect her and admire her drive. 
Here's a layout I completed, a few years ago. One of the last times my grandmother was in NY visiting. She's in Virginia and getting too old to travel. I treasure the moments that we had and the time we have spent together.

I am also fortunate enough to have some older photos of my grandparents, as well. During one of my visits to Virginia, I took some time to scan in some of my grandmother's old photos. She has albums that date back to the early 1900's! Here's a "then and now" layout I did with my grandparents. I did this layout back in 2007. The photo of "then" was taken in 1952! I love the vintage photos and the old-fashioned feel they have to them.
As you go through this month of September, take some time to think about your grandparents. Whether they're alive today or have passed on. I am sure they left some mark in your heart. How have they inspired you? If you did not know your grandparents, think of the stories people have told you. Or think of your children's grandparents and the relationship they have with them. Is it like the one you had with yours? September is National Grandparent's month. Use this time to think about what grandparents mean to you. Think of the lessons they've taught, the inspiration they provided, and the mark they've made in your life.

In honor of National Grandparent's Month and Grandparent's Day, I've created this Victorian, vintage style picture frame. Perfect for displaying the old-time photos that I cherish so much. The picture in this frame, may look familiar. It's the same photo that I used in the layout above from 1952. Just to show you how lovely the vintage photo looks displayed in this frame.

For all grandparents and grandchildren, this one is especially for you:
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.  Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."  ~Alex Haley
Happy Grandparent's Day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Hey everybody! Hope you're having a good week. All the kiddos getting settled into their back to school routine?

I don't have anything to write about today, but I came across this "funny" that I thought I'd share with my fellow crafters:

And that leads to the quote of the day:
"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." Mary Lou Cook

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Beginnings

Today is a bitter sweet day as I send my girls off to school. My little
baby is now an 8th grader and my other little girl is a 4th grader. Both
girls are the "big shots" in their schools. Sarah's in her last year of
elementary school and Lizzy in her last year of middle school. How sweet
it is and I'm so proud of them. They've grown up to be little ladies.
Yes, they drive me crazy, it's what they're supposed to do. Yes, they
have their attitudes and their moments when you just put your head in
your hands and say, "ugh!" But, I wouldn't trade those moments for

The house is quiet this morning and there are mixed emotions running
through me. It's not just another "1st day of school." These are
milestones. More of those successes as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Today isn't just a new beginning for my girls as they embark on their
journey, it's a new beginning for me, as well. I've contemplated what I
will do with my time while the girls are in school. I only work part-time
and though I'm on the search for a full-time job, I still have spare time
to do whatever it is I want to do.

I have decided to embark on a journey, too. A journey that I have no idea
what direction it will lead me in. But, I'm willing to put myself out
there and give it a whirl! I'm going to do what I do best...create and
make people happy!

That's right, I'm excited to announce the real deal behind 'Crafty
Country Bumpkin.' It's not just a blog name or a message board name, it
is a store name! Crafty Country Bumpkin' is going to feature paper crafts
of all kinds from notecards, altered objects, gifts, and even some

Where can you find Crafty Country Bumpkin'? On Etsy, of course. If you're
not familiar what Etsy is, then you're missing out! A community full of
hand-made creativity!

For starters, there are only a few items listed. Of course, my products
will expand as time goes on.

Will I make a fortune? I certainly doubt it. Will I even make a profit at
all? I have no idea. I'm not looking to make millions. I'm not even
looking to use this as a substitute for a "real" job. I have an abundance
of supplies and a little bit of extra time, so I'm going to put it to
some use!

Bookmark my link, tell your friends. I will post here as I expand my shop. I look forward to doing business with you.

Crafty Country Bumpkin' on Etsy

 “My path has not been determined. I shall have more experiences and pass many more milestones.” ~ Agnetha Faltskog

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To scrap or not to scrap? That is the question.

To scrap or not to scrap? That is the question.

How many times have you asked yourself, to scrap or not to scrap? Is now a good time? What about my family, my children? I need to take care of other things or other people, first. But, what about me?

I'm sure we've had these thoughts run through our minds every time we take some time out to indulge in our favorite hobby. Even if you're not a scrapbooker, it can be anything you enjoy doing. We feel guilty when we do something for ourself. We feel like we're neglecting our families.

Well, if that's the case, then what's the point? Why bother having a hobby if it only makes us feel guilty when we go to do it?

We do it because we need to. We need to help ourselves before we can help others. Taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of those who are important to us. A very important lesson that I learned in several of my college classes.

Being in a human services field can wear and tear a person down. It's significant to take care of one self or we will burn out while taking care of others. Even if you're not in a human services field, whether you work full-time, part-time or stay at's necessary to take time out for you. Do you what you love. Take one day a week, or even a month, an hour a day...whatever it do that one thing that makes you smile.

I think of my hobbies as more of therapy and rewards. I had this discussion with my mom, just the other day. I told her that I wanted to scrap on a Sunday afternoon, but everyone was home and awake and lounging around. I felt like was neglecting them and being a little selfish doing what I wanted to do. My mother replied with this, "You do so much for your family and with your children, you're more than entitled to play, too."

So, that afternoon I created. Nothing fancy, but just went with it and created. Here's the layout I came up with. A few years ago when I took my Girl Scout troop to Howe Caverns. I made this layout for their troop scrapbook. Still doing for others, but doing what makes me happy, too!

As you go through life taking care of everyone else, you must remember this...

"We visit others as a matter of social obligation. How long has it been since we have visited with ourselves?" – Morris Adler

Monday, September 3, 2012

Success? What is it?

One little word....success! Yes, this is my one little word over on the CK message board. What does this word mean to you? I know what it means to me. To me, success is stepping outside your comfort zone to experience something that you want to do. It doesn't matter whether you pass or fail.
Four years ago I thought I had failed when I lost a decent office job. I wasn't thrilled with the job, but it was a decent job, paid well and treated me good. I was content. When I lost this job I felt like I had failed. A year later I decided I was going to step outside my comfort zone. I went back to school. I found my passion for working with children and went with it. I knew I didn't want to be a teacher, but I want to work with children and families. I majored in Psychology Child Life and with a huge climb, I completed in three years and earned my bachelor of science degree. To me, and to many, that is considered success.
Climbing the ladder to success is a long climb. Will I ever get to the top? One only knows. But what is the true meaning of success? Is success what you reach when you get to the top or is it all the steps along the way?
Achieving a bachelor's degree while raising a family and working part-time certainly was a huge success! The biggest success for me that could top that would be to find my dream job in my career. However, if we focus on the big successes we tend to overlook the little things. It's the little steps that get us to the top.
I have a family, a home, and a job. It may only be a part-time retail job, but it helps. We're surviving. We wake up and every day is a new day with new hopes and dreams. While I struggle to find my dream job, this may very well be the biggest success anyone can accomplish. Keeping my family together during these rough waters is success. 
Success can be defined in so many ways. I may not be living the "dream", but I'm helping to make ends meet and that, to me, is success.
Always remember this, if you're not sure you've become successful...

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.  ~David Frost