Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Special Day - and some odds and ends...

I have an assortment of things to post about today - just skip the ones that don't apply to you! I am catching up on a variety of topics in one big post!

Camp Aunt Diane

Today was a special day because I had our nephew Scott here for "CAD" ( aka - Camp Aunt Diane).

Our twin niece and nephew were checking in for their sleep-away camp in Maine today so Scott visited me instead of spending the day riding back and forth to camp with his parents.  I took this photo of the twins before they left.  I'll let you in on a secret - I took two photos and in one Thomas shut his eyes and in the other Kathryn shut her eyes!  (remember, you can click on any photo to make it larger so you can see the details more clearly).

Digital photography came to the rescue!  I was able to use my Creative Memories Memory Manager 3.0 software to clone the face from Kathryn's "good" photo into the one where Thomas kept his eyes open.

Here is the "before" image...

and here is the "after" version.  Memory Manager is the photo editing and organization software that works as a great companion to the CM StoryBook digital scrapping software.

I have been watching the shipping notices and I think the last two people who ordered the StoryBook program through me during the sale should be receiving it shortly.  If you ordered the software through me, you should also look for an email from me in the next day or two with some proposed times for our live online help/demo session.  I am looking forward to helping you make the most of this software.

Cartridge Update for Design Studio and Gypsy

Updates to add cartridges to the Design Studio program and the Gypsy are available now.  You will notice that Celebrate with a Flourish is missing from the list of Lite cartridges.  However, it was included in the last update and when I did the newest update I did not lose Celebrate with a Flourish in my Design Studio  program.

To update your Design Studio program for the newest cartridges (Fall minis - H20, Pumpkin Carving and October 31st, 3 Birds on Parade and the Savory Cricut Lite cartridge that was missing from the last update) go to the Cricut.com site at THIS LINK and download the Font Pack update dated July 1, 2010.  You will need to log in to the site if you are not logged in.  Be sure to save and then run the update to be sure it will work properly.

To update your Gypsy, connect the Gypsy to your computer, turn it on and run the Gypsy Sync program.  Follow the prompts and don't be alarmed if it takes quite a while to finish - there is a lot of content to be added (all of the Cricut Lite cartridges and the new cartridges listed above).  Celebrate with a Flourish is missing from the Gypsy update and will be added soon.

French Manor (the new exclusive Cricut circle cartridge) will also be added to both programs soon.  You can get a good idea of the images by looking at the "European Decor" cartridge in Design Studio.

Lettering Delights Sale

If you are interested in trying some new digital content don't miss the secret sale going on right now at Lettering Delights. There are just a couple of days left to take 60% off any size order and some of the items are already on sale or in bundles which reduce the cost even further.

Create a Calendar

You can support my blog by clicking on the box above or in my left side bar to take you to the Lettering Delights site.  I will get credit for the referral.  The code to use is "Firecracker" and you can use it as many times as you like between now and midnight (MDT) July 9th to take 60% off your total order of any size.

Recipe Request

Several people asked for the recipe for the quinoa (KEEN-wah) pilaf we had on the 4th of July.  It came from the Hannaford (a local supermarket) magazine.  I doubled the recipe, added summer squash and didn't use the almonds.

Lemon-Rosemary Quinoa Pilaf 
serves 4

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
1 bunch scallions
1 red bell pepper
1/2 lb. asparagus
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 (15 to 16 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds, divided

1.  Place water and quinoa in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to maintain a simmer.  Cover and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 10 - 12 minutes.

2.  While quinoa cooks, prepare the vegetables.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Thinly slice scallions, reserving 1 tablespoons of greens, and add the rest (including white slices) to the pan, stirring slightly.  Dice the bell pepper in 1/4 inch pieces, add to the pan, and stir to mix.  Break off woody asparagus ends and discard, chop stalks into 1 inch lengths.  Add to the bell pepper, stirring to mix.  Add garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and stir to mix.

3.  Rinse and drain chickpeas, then stir into the pepper mixture.  Lower heat to medium and continue to saute.

4.  Check the quinoa.  When most of the water is absorbed, stir to fluff it slightly.  Remove from heat and grate the zest from the lemon into the quinoa.  Stir to mix, then add quinoa to the pan of vegetables.  Squeeze the juice from the lemon - there should be about 3 tablespoons of juice.  Add to the pan, stirring to distribute.  Stir in 3 tbsp of the almonds.

5.  To serve, transfer to a serving bowl.  Garnish with reserved scallion greens and remaining 1 tbsp almonds.  Serve hot, room temperature or cold.

something new...

My friend and fellow designer/blogger Susan Edwards is introducing a new DVD set with 18 of her fabulous layout designs.  She just announced this on her blog at THIS POST and has a special pre-release price so be sure to go check it out.

Back to Camp Aunt Diane

It was a record breaking hot day all over the East Coast.  Our temperature went over 100 (depending on which of the weather forecasters you listen to).  It was so hot that Scott wasn't even interested in taking a dip in the new pool our son bought on the 4th of July.  He told me "I'm not really an outdoor kind of person..." (!)

So we kept cool in the air conditioned house.  Scott played with the Duplos that we keep in the sunroom for young visitors and then moved on to the legos in the basement.

But no day at camp could be complete without Cricuting! With just a few simple directions from me, Scott was a whiz with the Cricut and he made some military vehicles from the Stand and Salute cartridge.  In some cases we cut an extra image so he could use it for making more layers for the cuts.

He created this poster with the cuts and some very detailed background drawing.  It was a lot of work and he told me "this should be on your blog after all of the hard work I did" so I wanted to share Scott's project with you!  If you'd like to leave comments for Scott, I will make sure he sees them.

Whew!  I have a few files from recent projects that need to be posted, however, I think I will save them for tomorrow.

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  1. Keep up the good work Scott. I have two daughters who love the Cricut as well. You are very fortunate to have such a loving aunt. You also have a great talent for creating details too.

  2. What a fun day!!! Thanks for the details on the DS update.

    Scott, you did a GREAT job on your poster. Isn't the Cricut so much fun?? It looks like you had a lot of fun with Aunt Diane!

  3. First of all, Scott did an awesome job on his poster! He has a definite future in crafting. Secondly, thanks for sharing the recipe. Since we don't have quinoa down here, is there anything I can use for a substitute? Love your blog - tfs

  4. Well done Scott, you did a great job, a budding artist in the making.

  5. Wow! Scott did an awesome job! I wish the Cricut was around when my kids were little. They would've really enjoyed "playing" with it. Diane, I love your blog. It's so "homey". I feel like I'm catching up with family when I come here.

  6. Wow, Scott that is awesome work! I am impressed! Great Job!

    Diane, thanks for the updates on cricuting happenings and that recipe!

  7. I can see why Scott would rather spend the day at Camp Dieane than riding in the car. He did a great job on his project.


  8. Fantastic poster! He did a terrific job! What good looking niece/nephews you have!
    We went to Boston right before the heat wave and it was still HOT. We had a great time!

  9. Great job, Scott. CAD is a great place. Awesome digital stuff, Camp Diane.

  10. great job Scott, your project is awesome.

  11. Will CM put the Storybook on sale again, I wanted to order it but just didn't have the money right now. Scott did a great job on his project.

  12. Scott--you did an excellent job on your project!! Keep up the good work.

  13. Great work Scott! Your scene looks terrific.

  14. Scott you did an amazing job on your poster! Please keep up with your art work, you are very very talented! I think you need to have many more CAD days. :)

  15. That is a wonderful poster Scott. All the details plus Cricut cuts are great.

  16. What a great job you did Scott!!!! You might want to put a bug in someones' ear for a Christmas present. It would be great for school projects, lol. Hey I'm trying to help you out here Scott!!! TFS, Mary M

  17. Wow! Scott did a great job with the Cricut and his poster! Looks like you two had a fun time together!

  18. Hi Scott! Great job on your picture! My 9yo son loves Stand and Salute too. He loves to cut out all kinds of things on there to make his pics. Have fun @ CAD!

  19. Great poster, Scott. You'll have to find a great place in your room to show it off. Maybe get a poster frame for it so it is protected!

    Yummy looking recipe. I was in Costco the other day and looked at the Quinoa but was unsure about how to use it.

    The photo editing in your CM program looks amazing. Might be something I have to look into in the future.

    Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful bits of news!

  20. Wow Scott nice work! My oldest grandson is in boot camp and I think I am going to borrow your design for my next card to him! Keep up the great work!

  21. What fun.....makes me want to have a camp for my grands. What in inspiration!!!! Tell Scott he did a GREAT job on his military poster. My dad was in WWII and made it thru the battle of Nomandy, and everytime I see something miliary it reminds me of him......High 5 to SCOTT!!!!!

  22. Wow! Great job, Scott! I didn't even think about Stand and Salute for such GREAT guy things.

    Diane, does your Celebrate with Flourish actually cut with DS? You may have read on my blog that mine does not and PC "is aware of the problem". Great update on everything. Gotta love digital photography and the ability to "fix" photos.

    Have a great day!


  23. WOW!!! Great job Scott!!!!! That project DESERVES to be on the blog!!!!! What a great creation!!

  24. I am glad he was able to experience putting die cuts together. Sometimes people think it's easy, but it can be time consuming. Great poster. Love the parachute illustrations.

  25. Wow Scott! Super cool poster that I bet looks awesome on your bedroom wall! Would love to see more of your creations next time you're at Camp Aunt Diane! Great job!

  26. Diane
    Great Blog today all the way around. Talent runs in your family.
    Thanks for the recipe; love quinoa and always love new recipes.

  27. Scott, You did an amazing job on your poster!! I'm so glad you "camp counselor" shared it on her blog.
    Angie P Cal.
    P.S. we are having lovely overcast in the low 80's weather here.

  28. Scott, glad you had fun at Camp Aunt Diane! I bet I'd even love a day at that camp!

    My kids both love my Cricut, too. They are 9 and almost 11. I should get that cartridge for my 11 year old son. I bet he'd love it!

    Keep up the good work. I'd love to see more of your designs.

    Meg Doyon

  29. Great job, Scott! I love all the little extras that you added to your picture (like the person in the parachute). And I am so impressed that you coloured in that entire sky! That must have taken a bit of time!!

  30. Scott's poster is fantastic! Creativity must run in the family. Diane, you are a great camp counselor!

  31. Scott, thank you for showing me that boys can also enjoy the Cricut. So far I have only had girls help me with it. I will be sure to point out my Stand and Salute cartridge when needed.

  32. We have a new Cricutteer among us. Such beautiful work. And wasn't it just the most fun to do.

  33. Whew, you sure covered a lot today. Updates, recipe, Scott. I'll just skip to Scott and say what an awesome job he did. He is so lucky to get to spend a day with an Aunt who is so talented. He looks to be about 9 or 10 and could have been so bored if he had stayed anywhere else. I love all the military vehicles he made. The colors he chose were perfect. Great job Scott!

  34. Hi everyone - thanks so much for leaving comments for Scott!

    Short Scrapper - I got the Quinoa at Costco. You may want to check there or at a health food store. If you can't find it I imagine couscous, bulgur or rice would be good substitutes.

    Jill - I do not have Celebrate with a Flourish so I can't test whether it cuts. I have heard of others having issues with it - let's hope they can sort them out quickly!

    Judy (heyjude) - I don't know if there will be another sale on StoryBook. Creative Memories had never had a sale like that before but maybe now that they had such a good response they will do another one someday. The full price of the program is still a great deal considering that it can do things that programs in the hundreds of dollars do and it is so easy to use.


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