mini-book: germany

i shared a photo of this book's cover on instagram a while back, but couldn't share the book in it's entirety until today.  this is my favorite mini-book to date, made for my sister-in-law's birthday (happy birthday kate!).
for this 4x4 book i chose a simple palette and used basic techniques.  for the above munich text, i painted vinyl letters (found at most office supply stores) on a transparency with white acrylic paint.  once dry, i peeled off the stickers, finding a fantastic punch of color from the following photo.  i couldn't be more thrilled with these pages.
while walking around downtown salzburg, i found this beautiful blue & white wrapping paper at a quaint paper store.  the minute i saw it, i knew the paper would be perfect for something.  it was fun to incorporate this fantastically textured paper into this book.
using found objects thoughout the book is my fave.  it's a great way to incorporate memories throughout the pages.  for example, i collected a few coasters during our travels & added them between pages.
we returned home with so many pictures.  something like 700 in two weeks.  seriously.  so to bring more pictures in the book without making it 300 pages, i used photoshop elements to make a photo grid of various architectural elements, food, doors & other cool things snapped along the way.  i then printed these 4x4 photo collages through a standard photo processer (in my case, snapfish.com) as a 4x6 photo.    once cropped to size, they bring an awesome display of various photos to the pages.
to make the book a bit easier to look through, i stapled washi tape, ribbon and paper to specific pages as tabs.  i then added some stamps and a bit of commentary throughout the book.  since this book was for kate, i left lots of empty places for her journaling, quotes, & whatever else she wanted to remember.
to enhance a few of my favorite portraits or scenes, using a sewing machine, i sewed a basic shape around the subject(s) i wanted to highlight.  there's something so unexpected but natural about sewing on paper.  i love the way it looks & the added texture it brings to the pages.
finally to tie-up the entire book, i created a small 4x4 envelope (using another 4x4 envelope as a template and basic kraft paper) to store other memorabilia from our travels.  these little envelopes are so useful and would be a great place to keep anything that you can't (or don't want) put in the pages of your book.  i love these little envelopes.  in my humble opinion, they should become a mini-book standard.
the book in it's entirety was close to 50 pages and incorporated about 120 photos.  obviously, i only shared a few of my favorite pages (otherwise this post would take an hour to upload).  since it was such a thick book, i bound it using two, two-inch binder rings (found anywhere you can purchase office supplies).  these are my favorite way to bind books, especially when gifting, since people may want to add a photo or two that you might have overlooked.

over the next couple months i'd love to start (and finish) our own german scrapbook and am hoping to make one about our soon-to-be epic road trip.  that said, i have quite a few projects piling up- but let's be honest, who doesn't love a good project?!?

enjoy your weekend & get creative! xoxo

supplies: kraft paper; acrylic stamps (source unknown) in white embossing powder; kraft with black dots, the paper studio; blue & white wrapping paper found in a random paper store in salzburg; green graphics with blue blocks, source unknown; you're my favorite stamp & today is stamp, elise joy; peacock dots bracket label, paper source; yellow graphic paper (sadly, no longer available online), recollectionsorange file folder label, martha stewart for avery; doelightful washi tape, freckled fawn


around here.

around here we're embracing fall with open arms & making homemade apple chips (recipe to follow).
around here we're finalizing paperwork & organizing documents for the sale of our house and the move ahead of us.
around here i'm helping a friend make her belly dancing skirt for an upcoming performance.
around here a. is on a mission to make the ultimate chicken wing.  batch after batch, he's slowly getting closer.
around here things are slowly coming off the walls.  more than anything else, the empty walls are making this change feel real.
around here our house plants take center stage.  as i placed each one on top of the fireplace it was very apparent that with the exception of one, all had grown from two main plants.  it's like our very own inbred garden.
around here piles upon piles of stuff are filling up all usable tables & countertops.  small collections of knick-knacks each with their own memory of travels, loves, and past lives.
around here we're making everything we can with our fresh apple crop.  mini apple pies and apple sauce are first on the list.
around here i'm working on small projects and enjoying the final outcome of some that i've finished along the way.
around here our basement is a disaster.  more piles of stuff divided: to keep, donate, and toss.  

slow & steady is our motto right now.  stop, breathe, enjoy, and work.  organize, purge, & downsize.  the act of moving is a cleansing experience.  as they say, less is more and that's always the case when you're in the middle of a cross-country move.  so here we are drinking in, making the most & doing everything we can to wrap up our last syracuse days.


bake 20: german chocolate mini cake

last week my dad celebrated his birthday.  while we couldn't be there to join him in the festivities, we did celebrate on a small scale, in our own way & in his honor.  

in general, my dad isn't a huge fan of chocolate.  he can usually take it or leave it- but in all seriousness, who leaves it?!?  however, every year, on his birthday, my mom baked my dad his all-time favorite cake- german chocolate.  

wanting to do something special from afar, i decided to try my hand at this annual delicacy.

recipe: baker's german chocolate cake (i actually used the one from the chocolate box)

adjustments: wanting to make this cake perfect for two people, i opted to use this technique for the perfect mini-cake & fell in love.  like seriously.  not only does it produce an absolutely adorable cake, it's the perfect size for a family of 2 to 4 people.  the mini cake technique is a total keeper in our house.

review: perfect & just as i remembered.  eating a piece brought back a flood of childhood memories around the dinner table honoring one of the coolest men i know.  it's pretty rad that tastes & scents can transport you through time so quickly.

ps. happy belated birthday dad! xoxo

pps. this is #6 of the bake 20 challenge.

over the next five months i'm going to try my hand at 20 different baked goods.  there's no specific order and no plan.  just making things that look good and hopefully in the process, finding a new appreciation of baking.  feel free to join me in the Bake 20 Challenge.


our last dc weekend...for a while.

well, we decided to spend one of our last weekends on the east coast in washington dc, in our modest vacation home*.
since living in ny, we typically made the 6 hour drive two to three times a year- and if possible, more. we absolutely love dc- and with a free place to stay (with family to boot!), we're so glad we took advantage of spending time with our aunt & uncle while getting to know this amazing city.
my little sis drove up from north carolina and as we watched the nebraska game and a. mastered his signature wing recipe, we caught up.  it was fantastic to chat- between commercials, over the commentary, and during our pumpkin beer flights- without interruptions or time restraints.
with fantastic company and beautiful weather, we enjoyed the downtown sites, festivals and monuments.  we walked until our legs felt like they might possibly fall off and despite the sunshine, enjoyed the relatively empty streets and memorials.
it was the perfect "final" dc weekend.  don't get me wrong, we'll be back- and likely, a flight from los angeles will take the same amount of time as the drive from syracuse.  hopefully we can stay spontaneous in our visits & since we have so much left to explore in this city i'm sure the next visit will be sooner than we think.

*ha.  i wish.  it's my aunt & uncle's house that we regularly take over during our visits.  but for the sake of keeping up images...i call it what i want. ;)