Sunday, December 16, 2007
Good Sunday morning, for the Arctic North! We are in the midst of our first HUGE snowstorm of the season, but our 5th (I think) overall..So I thought this would be a great time to update my poor, neglected blog! In my defense, I have been working feverishly on a Buzz and Bloom project, as well as Christmas presents that I was hired to make, or decided to make for gifts to give to family! I just finished my Christmas cards, and the first batch went out yesterday! So here is a little bit of what Christmas is like at our house!
Berry Shortbread Dreams
Here is a batch of divine cookies I made for a church exchange a while ago. They went over very well!
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
Mix and refrigerate for at least one hour.
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Roll refrigerated dough into one inch balls, make an indentation with your thumb, and fill with seedless raspberry jam. Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes or until edges are golden brown. When cookies have cooled, drizzle glaze over them, and store in air tight container! They will melt in your mouth!
**I believe you could substitute vanilla for almond extract without any problem..**
Here is our newest Christmas tree, in our newest room!! It isn't a great shot, but you get the idea. It is a 9 foot tree I got at Lowes, UNLIT-with pine cones already attached. I added the clear lights, some 6 inch grapevine wreaths, some bows and bells, and even laid some large pinecones on some of the branches. I got the angel from LTD..her little primitive candle lights up!! For the bows, I took some tan/red and tan/green fabric and cut strips long enough to tie a bow. I threaded a large rusty jingle bell on the strip, and tied it on the end of a branch. I also pulled threads out of the strips to make them look frayed.
I hope to be back later with some more Christmas photos! Have a great day! Keri
Thursday, November 29, 2007
well, you know...at least outside it is looking and feeling like Christmas. That or Syberia. Haven't decided...what a time we have been having! I have been right out straight. Woke up with a doosy of a cold yesterday morning. There are hardly any decorations up in the house yet, but I have ornaments out the wazoo!! I have been making Christmas ornaments for weeks now, when I have a bit of free time here and there.
I took on the task of German Paper Stars, something my Grandma Brooks had made close to 50 years ago. My Grandmother, along with all my aunts and the rest of the youth group at the local church, ordered paper strips, and made a ton of these stars for a fundraiser. My mom and I think it was in the late 50's, early 60's time period. I had a few original stars that my Mom had given me, but wanted to learn how to make them so I could put more on my tree..They remind me of my Grandma, and I love the old fashioned look they have! They sold the original stars for $1.00/dozen, and made enough to buy an organ for the church!! That is alot of stars!! They made mostly pastel stars, because that is primarily what was available for colored paper back then, so I made pastels, too, but also used some patterned scrapbook paper and primary colored cardstock as well. After they are folded, you dip them in canning wax, and sprinkle them with glitter! They are beautiful. The wax completely changes their texture and appearance. I hung them on a cheapie plastic clothes drying rack to dry, and look at them all!! I ended up making over 125 stars-some to give as gifts, some for my Mom to give as gifts, some for me, and some for my Mom (she only allows handmade ornaments on her tree!!)-a little bit of everything. They were fun, but I gotta admit-I am glad they are done! I have had my fill!!
I also found this great tutorial for Paper Pine Cone Ornaments. I have made half a dozen of these so far. I used some really cool Doodlebug paper I had been hoarding. The look very impressive, without a lot of work!
I also got my order from LTD this morning. I go to the LTD site every Monday morning to see what they have for New and Exciting Values. They had THE cutest "Pathetic Charlie Brown Tree" that I just had to have...It is an exact replica of the tree on the cartoon, including the red ornament....I am in love!!
So, that is what I have been up to!! Hopefully, I will bounce back from this cold soon, and get my house decorated! We finally finished remodeling our shed, and it is now a functioning family/trophy room! It is great, so check back for photos after the decorations are up!!
Have a great Thursday!! **keri
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Things have been crazy around here? When are they not, though!? This is the Thankgiving card I made ever so quicky on Monday morning. If Peter's Grandma doesn't get a card, heads will roll! She looks for the on every holiday and in between!! It is VERY simple and understated-I didn't have much time to devote it, but I like how it turned out! And, I got to use a couple of my newest and now favorite punches!
This Thankgiving, I would like to remind you of something. Actually, a couple of things. First off-if you haven't heard on the news, the local food banks are empty all across the country. This is near and dear to my heart because my parents are in charge of the food pantry in their town, a few miles away from me. People are having to choose between paying for gas/fuel, and buying groceries. I know we have felt a crunch having to pay these prices for gas since Peter has been sent up to work in Lake Placid again. He has to drive an hour and a half ONE WAY, and our regular unleaded is 3.37 a gallon. If you are looking for a way to donate to a food shelf-there are always bins in the stores this time of year, or make a monetary donation-and the money goes for buying what the food shelf needs the most. Usually things like peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, boxed dinners, canned soup and vegetables are the first things they run out of. It is a great way to help out!
The other thing I want to remind you of is how important the people are who surround you. I am so thankful that I have WONDERFUL people in every aspect of my life. I have great people at school looking out for my son! I have a wonderful network of neighbors-we are like a little family. I have two great parents and two great in laws. A big brother and a little one, and brother and sister in laws to boot. Scads of nephews and nieces, 2 grandmothers-one for Peter and one for me. A wonderful church family, and great stamping friends, both in person, and on the net. I know, no matter where I turn, someone will be there, whether it be up the road, or in Tennessee, and I am so thankful for each and every one of you!! If you have a loved one in a nursing home, go visit them!! I know how hard it is, BELIEVE ME!, but it isn't gonna kill you, and it does so much good! If losing Peter's cousin has taught me anything, it is to ignore the small stuff, the petty arguements and indifference in the world, and appreciate your family before it is too late. You never know when they could be gone forever! Hug em, and kiss em and tell em you love em! Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours, Love Keri and the whole Brooks/LaClair/Manor/McNeil clan...XO
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I started this album back at camp time, during my surgery recovery! It was one of those things, where I didn't really know when to draw the line and say it was done. I kept going back and adding more and more until it weighed three tons, and I couldn't find any larger rings. I used Cosmo Cricket paper from the Wanted line, as well as SU! Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Crisp, Cool Caribbean, and Very Vanilla cardstock. I used those same colors in ink, as well as Tim Holtz Distress pads in Vintage Photo, and Antique Linen. I used several stamp sets, including Purple Onion Wanted, SU! Define Your Life, and backgrounds such as Weathered, Print Pattern, and Canvas. I used Cosmo Cricket's cardstock stickers and punchouts, several rub ons, and everything else I could find room for. There is one page for every letter in the alphabet. I printed all the photos out in sepia tone, to match the patterned paper better. I also tried to add some type of embellishment on each page, whether it be a ribbon, tag, tab, etc. I didn't take a photo of every page, but I think this will give you the right idea.
As a side note-I know I have been MIA-it tends to go in cycles with me. I get all tied up for weeks, then have some down time. The down time has not arrived, but I miss my blogging duties, and my blogging buddies!! We are anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving, and all that that promises-the anticipation of Christmas! I have several things on my plate right now. Besides my Design Team duties for Buzz and Bloom, I have been making several different types of hand made ornaments for our family tree. I am excited to share them with you, I just have not finished them yet! I need to whip up a few Thanksgiving cards before it is too late, and I also have a project that needs to be done for the Church's Christmas program. Good news! Our renovation is almost complete! I can't believe we used to park a car in that room! We laid the carpet this morning. The stairs were put in last week, and I finished stamping my border! I can't wait for you all to see how it is progressing. All that is left now is the deer heads, the trim boards around the floor, and the cupboard doors under the landing!! Just in time for my new 9 foot tree!! Thanks for faithfully reading and commenting. It means so much! Hugs, Keri
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I finally put together a few pictures for you to see our progress on our new family room. This has been a long time coming, for sure. We started it several years ago, and did what finances allowed from time to time. It is going to be a family room, along with a room to display all of Peter's hunting trophies that he has accumulated through the years. It is going to have a Rustic Adirondack feel to it-with many things in it that have sentimental value. Here are some photos from 3 years ago...
We bought my grandmother's house from my parents when she moved in a senior housing building nearly 10 years ago. This was originally an old woodshed when I was a kid. Literally packed full with wood for the two stoves my grandparents had in the house. After my Grandfather passed away, the woodshed was made into a one car garage from my Grandmother. It was a tight squeeze, needless to say! We used the garage for a while, but we bought a different car that was a tad too long, so we decided a new garage was in order. Not only because the car wouldn't fit, but the old garage was not in the best shape! We had to shore up walls, cut through cement-any and every situation came up with this room! We took out the overhead garage door, and the garage door opener. We ripped out the steps and made a new landing. We still have no steps. I have been climbing a ladder for over 3 years to get into my kitchen from our new garage!! There was a ladder that accessed the attic that was torn off (other access upstairs) and the chimney was ripped out this summer. We didn't want the clean out inside our family room, so we put a new stovepipe in another location...You could literally see daylight through the wood walls, it was so bad!
Here is what it looked like after Peter re-inforced the walls, and sheetrocked everything. The ceiling even had to be insulated, covered in plastic, and sheetrocked. The ceilings are 10.5 feet high. The room is off our kitchen, and you have to walk down half a dozen (give or take) stairs to get down into it. There is one tiny step up into the room from the french doors or the garage entrance.
This is closer to how the room looks now! We got some paint, and it is looking better! We kept the old door casing, but just took off the heavy door and the screen door last night, so now it is just a doorway. The house was an old farmhouse from 1910, so there is still some great stuff like the old worn door casings that I wanted to keep.
Here are the barn beams that we put in the room. One up each side wall with a main one across the top. We will also make the stairs out of the beams. They came from my Grandfather's grainery on his farm next door. The neighbor's let us take the beams and barn board so it is like we have a little piece of him in our new room. The chandelier my mother in law gave us a couple years ago for Christmas. It has crystals to hang on it, but I plan on leaving them off...to ritzy for us! It holds glass cups and votive candles. It is hanging on a wooden peg that goes through the old beam across the ceiling.
Here is the set of doors and the window we put in above it. It will let a lot of sunlight in during the day.
Here you can see how the ledge is going to look. The cement goes up to about waist high, and we had to cover it up-so we decided to case it in. There was really no way around it-just how the building was constructed.
This is where the chimney used to be. Peter had to wait to finish the section of wall til the beam was put in, cause he has to butt the wall up to the beam, the walls come out two different distances. Ah, the joys of an old house!
Here is a view down into the room from the kitchen door.
Last but not least, here is what the lower walls will look like when they are done! We took the barnboard off the grainery and stripped the old cedar shakes off it, and are using it to cover the walls, and as a shelf.
So, there we have it...things are picking up a bit again now that the wood is up, and the chimney is in, so hopefully we will be done sooner than later...We have the carpet, so that was our last big expense. Directly above the barnboard shelf, I am going to stamp a small border of pine branches and cones. I can start that soon! Thanks for looking, and putting up with my excitement...It has been a long time coming!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sunday was Cody's 12th Birthday! Where does the time go? I can't believe he is in 7th grade and is 12 years old now! We had a party for him on Saturday night-when all the men were done working and hunting! We had about 30 people here-family and friends of all ages. Cody requested a taco supper. I have never made tacos for that many people, but the five pounds of taco meat that I made was gone at the end of the night! Here are a few photos of our evening, the cake, and the presents. He HAD to have Zoids (cartoon) DVDs and the Godzilla Destroy all Monsters for his Gamecube. Thank you EBay, for saving me from yet ANOTHER elusive birthday gift request! I made the cake-just a couple of mixes, and homemade frosting. I ordered the edible image from a gal off ebay, and she even personalized it! It is a pic from the Barnyard cartoon, and they are all riding motorcycles...the images are so easy to use, cause you just frost the cake, and slap the photo on and trim around it with a star tip! Everyone raved about the cake, and thought I was brilliant!
The two little girls are my niece Beatrice and my friend's daughter Elyse-they had to help Cody blow out the candles. He looks so grown up! It was a wonderful night to share with family and friends..we had a blast!!
Have a great Thursday! Keri
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween from the LaClair family!! Here are my yard Peanuts...I added the greeting sign this year after watching the program and realizing I didn't have one! Here are my trick or treats for tonight! I found a fry box template on line and spruced them up to look all Halloweenie!!
And, a little blast from the past, my brother and I on Halloween, 1978! He was in Indian, I was Uncle Sam...I was 3 and a half here!!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here is one of the recent layouts I did for Buzz and Bloom's Fall '07 new product line. The new chipboards and stamps are great!! (I know, I have said it a dozen times already!!) This is my son, and my little daycare buddy on the last day of school last summer. I tried and tried to get them to both look at the camera at the same time, but when I got this one of them looking at each other, I knew I had "the shot." I am finding myself more and more wanting to, and actually scrapbooking to showcase "the shot" so to speak. I would love to learn more about photography in the future. My camera has gotten some great pics these past three years, and I am viewing scrapbooking as not only a way to preserve memories, but also as a hobby within a hobby. Creating art to display my photographic art...Does that make sense??
This second layout is showcasing a photo that Cody took, of my "little" brother and me. I use the term loosely, or should perhaps use "younger" instead. He weighs less than me, and that is about it! He is a "strapping" young man as my Grandmother would have said! Since I am always behind the camera, it is weird to scrap a photo with me in it! This one is also one I just completed with new Buzz and Bloom products. I used my SU! Slit punch to create the scalloped border along the bottom. This paper is K&Co. from Michael's. It came in a 12x12 notepad form. My friend Laurie got it, and I fell in love with the colors and went and got one for myself! I also distressed with some ivory acrylic paint around the edges-as well as with distress ink, and an edge distressing tool.
Thanks for looking, and thanks for visiting my little corner of the world! **Keri** (very COLD!)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I have a couple of pages to share with you today!! A lot of my pages are for Buzz and Bloom and have to go there first, but these were just ones I did "because".
This first one is typical of me with my bright colors..the brighter, the better! This is my niece, Miriam Grace. She is now 10 months old! This photo was taken back at Easter time. I tried to tweak the scan, cause she looks a little purple, but I couldn't get it any better...She looks regular on the actual page, I assure you! She goes by many names, depending on everyone's mood or preference. Her name is Miriam Grace, but she is Mimi, Miri Grace, and Meems. I call her Meems...that is MY original name for her! Isn't she beautiful? And, she is gonna be a big sister in just 3 short months!!
Here is what I used: Basic Grey, Oh Baby Girl PP. Doodlebug Bazzill Cardstock. The flower is from a package Lisa Renea sent me...Told you I was gonna use it, LR! The green Chipboard letters are from Walmart...I don't remember the brand. The large chipboard flourish is part of a 12x12 sheet-but again, don't remember the manufacturer. I painted the flourish with purple acrylic paint, then coated it with a layer of paint on glitter. I also put some of the glitter on the already green chipboard letters. The stamps are SU! Tall Tales Alphs, Autumn Leaves Alpha, and the arrow is from Buzz and Bloom. Tab is from the round tab punch (SU!) and the giggle word is also from SU! (Warm Words) Ink is SU! Ribbon is from Joann's.
This page I did as a gift for a friend of my Mom's. It is based on the song " I Want To Stroll Over Heaven" that is on the Alan Jackson "Precious Memories" CD. It has some great songs on it! Anyway, I had her son email me her wedding photo. It is fabulous! Her husband passed away suddenly a few years ago, and this song makes her think of him. She is a wonderful, giving, caring Christian woman, and I wanted to do something for her, since she always does so much for everyone else! For some reason, I can not figure out how to make my images "clickable" to open up larger in a new window, so you probably won't be able to read the journaling. It is the chorus of the song that the page is themed around. If anyone can tell me what I am doing wrong with the photos- PLEASE!! drop me a line!! I upload my photos to photobucket.com and post the photos onto my blog using the "direct link" link that they give me. Maybe I am using the wrong link?? IDK.
Supplies: Patterned Paper is K& Co., and Basic Grey. CS is Bazzill, and SU!. Stamps are from Purple Onion Designs, and Autumn Leaves. Making Memories Rub on, Ink is Colorbox White, Staz On Black, and Tim Holtz Antique Linen distress ink.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I just saw the announcement over at Buzz and Bloom! Congratulations, Andi! Don't forget to check out all the new products, everyone!! New Stamps, New Chipboard, and even a chance to apply for an '08 Design Team Position!!
Here are a few Halloween cards I made up! Thanks to Lisa and Andi for the inspiration. I used a sketch off SCS to get me started, and borrowed some Halloween stamps from friends, to make them. I *love* how they turned out!
For the first card, I used the new SU! set Autumn Apparitions, from the Mini Catalog. The background paper is from an old DCWV Fall Stack. I used Black, White, Doodlebug Bazzill Orange, and SU! Summer Sun Cardstock. I also used the Word Window punch, and a Purple Onion Sentiment. I finished the card off with some fun fur I got on clearance at Walmart, and I used a Stardust pen to highlight the stamped images! I used Staz On Jet Black, and Tim Holtz Black Soot ink pads.
For the second card, I used basically the same supplies. The patterned paper is Doodlebug, the Stamp Set is SU! Carved and Candlelit, and the cardstock is black, white, Doodlebug Orange, and SU! Lovely Lilac. Same ink and tools. Highlighted, again with the Stardust Pen...(LOVE THAT PEN!!) Thanks for looking, and have a great day!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Okay, so SOMEHOW weeks went by, and I got way behind on Nancy's Gothic Arch Challenge. I had done the Fall one way back when, but never got it posted, and then it was downhill from there! So here are my Gothic Arch Challenge Submissions for Weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8, if my calculations are correct!
Week 5-Sept. 23-Fall Challenge
Purple Onion Designs Stamps, and several scraps of Paper. Also used some tiny leaves from a pack I bought to put in my fall village- They were perfect!
Stamps are Buzz and Bloom, and paper scraps are Scenic Route.
Week 7-October 7-Flowers
This one was easy for me!! I have so much with flowers on it. I decided to use a photo I had just taken before the hard frost hit-these are the morning glories that grow every summer on the railing of my ramp in front of my house.
Scraps of cardstock, Stamps and Ink are from Stampin UP!
Week 8-October 14-Party!!
This one was fun. I found this cute retro photo online, and just dressed it up a bit. Love how excited the kids look, and they are so dressed up for the party!!
Scraps of paper are "I don't remember" and Stamps and Ink are SU!
Last, but certainly not least, is my Gothic Arch for Nancy and her son, Andrew. You can see more about this project here. It is a section from a vintage postcard that says "Greeting from a patriot" (covered up by my ribbon!!) Nancy, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at home, and Andrew abroad. I pray that the Lord watches over Andrew, keeps him safe, and gives him wisdom. I also pray that He gives you comfort and strength. If there is anything I can do, let me know. If he needs care packages, cards, toiletries, etc-don't hesitate. He is protecting me, and my family, and anything we can do we will. Keep your eyes open for this to arrive in your mailbox!! Love, Keri
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here is a little slideshow I put together of some of the best photographs I got when I took Cody to the cemetary on Sunday afternoon. One of these will probably be tucked in my Christmas cards this year, for everyone's fridge or frame! Let me know which one you like the best!! TGIF! Keri
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Andi inspired me to tell you a bit about my new header for fall! I took this photo several years ago with a disposable panoramic camera, and wondered what I would ever do with it!! You were right, Andi- it is a cemetary. It is called Sheldon Hill Cemetary, and it is located right in our town. I am thoroughly convinced that there is not a place more gorgeous in fall than Sheldon Hill. The maples are hundreds of years old, and the blanket of leaves they make in the fall is wonderful! I actually just took Cody there on Sunday afternoon and took a few pictures of him and Brodie Blue. My grandparents are buried here, as are many other relatives, including my Great-Great Grandparents. There is even a hollow metal headstone that was used for transporting liquor during prohibition! Dates on headstones go back to the early 1800's-some are even unreadable at this point. I am going to do more research into this beautiful place to see what I can find out. The stonework in the front is stunning! Hope everyone likes it, and the little microscopic Cody on the front steps! Have a great Wednesday!
It was 26 degrees this morning!! Wahhh! --Keri
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Hey, all!! I AM alive!! Figured I better stick my head in and say hey! Things have been crazy around here!! I have to take care of a bit of business:
First off, I apologize, I have not been by to visit anyone's blogs in at least 2 weeks. Please forgive me! I will catch up, I promise!!
Second, I heard that Tracy and LR have both nominated me for something-so I will take care of that, too!
Third, I am completely behind on my arch challenges!! I am so bummed. Living in Upstate NY means you have a lot of preparation for winter...we are right in the middle of the prep. It is already freezing, and I find myself wondering HOW I will get through another winter. It gets harder and harder every year. I also had a SU! Workshop here over the weekend, and that took up a lot of my time. It went well, though!
Cody will be 12 on the 28th, so birthday plans are in full swing, as are Halloween festivities!! It seems like I am at least 2 weeks behind on everything! UGH!!
I did also want to tell you the Paperific went well for Buzz and Bloom last weekend, and you can now check out their whole new line of products here!! Their new clear stamps are a dream to work with, they take ink SO WELL!! And their new chipboards leave me speechless.
You can also check out the online album of all of the Design Team's work (including some stunning layouts by yours truly) with these new products by going here.. I have been anxious to share them with you all! And check out Buzz and Bloom's new DT call here... Last but not least, if you like what you see, urge your LSS or LRSS to look into getting Buzz and Bloom products in their stores! You will not be sorry! Have a good one! --Keri
Monday, October 01, 2007
A new competition was just announced over at Buzz and Bloom, the scrapbook and rubber stamp company I design artwork for! ! Their new line is going to be revealed in just two short weeks, and trust me, you will be very pleased with the new products. It has been a real test to keep them to myself! The whole design team, along with Helene and Devorah, has been working tirelessly to make sure these are products that EVERYONE will go crazy for. Check out this link for a chance to win your own package of goodies. You will not be sorry when you see how great they are!! **And thanks again, to Helene and Div, for this fabulous and very enjoyable design team opportunity!!** Keri
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In honor of my friend JudyB starting a blog, I decided to spotlight it as my pick for Blog of the Week! I met Judy about a year and a half ago, on SplitCoastStampers. She is an SU! demo, and lives in NY, but several hours away from me. We have become great friends, and we have a lot in common. She just started her blog, so check it out!! JudyB's blog... and leave her a bit of encouragement! She has THE cutest picture of her and her hubby, as well as a GORGEOUS wedding announcement frame. Good night! **Keri**
Monday, September 24, 2007
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Fall has officially hit the Adirondacks, so I will be putting my hiking boots on and getting some great shots to share with you in the weeks to come! We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend, here. Warm, sunny weather, and the leaves are just starting to turn. Beautiful! This weekend, we went to the Almanzo Wilder Homestead, just about 25 minutes away from our house. This year marks Almanzo's 150th birthday, and they had a celebration this weekend. He was raised there, with his family, until he was 18. Then they all moved west. This is the home they lived in, as described in the Farmer Boy book, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. How about a "virtual tour?" Follow me!
This maple stands in the front yard, just off to the side of the house. The society has done research into how old this tree possibly is. After much comparison to trees recently cut in a cemetary in Malone, they say it is probably about 188 years old. BUT one can never be sure of ring thickness, etc. so it could be as little as 138 years, and as much as 246 years old. Pretty cool! Peter and Cody stood in front so you all could see how big it was. Peter is 6 feet tall!
Have a great day, everyone! **Keri