Saturday, January 29, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking with sbcStudio for Mac

I've received several e-mails asking about the new sbcStudio software from Creative Memories. It's CM's first digital scrapbooking software for the Mac. I mentioned that I've been frustrated while learning to use the software, and that is still true.

It's not so much learning how to use the software, as that there are a lot of bugs in it, and I've spent a lot of time trying to get things to work that should be working, but aren't. The software was initially scheduled to come out on November 1st, but then was delayed until the 22nd. Within a month, the first patch was released to fix bugs, and another is scheduled for January 31st.

I've advised several people that are considering buying the software to wait until the bugs are worked out. That being said, some of you have it already and are seeking help in using it. I found a Facebook Group called How to Scrap on Mac that is just for the sbcStudio software, and it is pretty helpful.

I've also e-mailed CM's technical support for help, and they've been pretty good at getting back to me. If you have the software, and you need help, I encourage you to e-mail them. The e-mail address is The more people that Creative Memories hears from about problems they are having, the faster the problems will get fixed. 

If you don't have a Mac and you're looking for digital scrapbooking software, then I highly recommend the StoryBook Creator Plus 3.0 software. It has been out for several years now, and has even gone through a couple upgrades. It isn't Mac compatible, although I've used it with success on my Mac, by using a Bootcamp partition which allows me to run Windows driven software. The only thing I don't like about going this route, is that I have to restart my computer in Windows whenever I want to use the software. I have to wait 45 seconds or so for the whole process, and I'm very impatient.

All that aside, the software is super easy to use, and there are lots of tutorials available on the web. One of my favorite places for help, is Cathie Owens' blog which is specifically geared towards using the StoryBook Creator Plus and the Memory Manager software. She also has some things for Mac software users.

I hope this answers some of the questions I've been getting about the digital scrapbooking software. Feel free to e-mail me (just click on "contact" in my menu bar) if you have other questions.

Reader Lori Stevens left a comment about Pixels 2 Pages, which is another great site for StoryBook Creator Plus tips. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Decadent Valentine Oreos

If you're on a post-holiday reducing plan, please click right on out of here because you're not going to want to see this. It might already be too late. Look away fast and try to distract yourself.

Well look at that. You're still here. You must be in the mood for a sweet treat. I promise, I have got the thing for you.

These white chocolate dipped Oreos are actually an accident. I thought they were going to be a train wreck, but I'm happy to report that I was wrong. It happens.

And unlike someone who shall remain unnamed, [cough] Peanut Head, I can admit it when it happens.

It all started back in November when Peanut Head and I were talking about starting our annual baking spree. Peanut Head is always changing things and he is never satisfied with perfection. He's maddening to live with, let me tell you. I grew up always hearing "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Peanut Head thinks that statement is a bunch of hullabaloo.

Anyway, he started talking about dipping our beloved Oreo cookies in white chocolate and then sprinkling them with festive sprinkles for the holidays. Possibly he did say "festive." Or not. I could have made that up. I have such a tenuous grip on what is real and what is not.

Pretend that he did.

Anyway, how many times can I say "anyway" in one post. Don't test me. So, anyway, I immediately boo hooed him and told him that the Oreos get too stale if not eaten right away (so what if it almost never happens), so therefore I didn't think they would be a good specimen for a layover of x number of weeks in our colder-than-an-icebox garage. That's where the insanity sits while we're cranking it all out. You really need to know what I'm talking about. Go look, and come right back, okay?

Yes, we are nuts. I am so, so, so, so, happy to report that 2010 was The Last Year for that mess. It is a tradition that has taken on a life of its own. We have spreadsheets with ghastly amounts of unhealthy ingredients, perfectly lined out and tabulated, so that we can start shopping for the ghastly amounts of ingredients in September. No lie.

Thankfully, I have only my memories.

And these. I can push on with these by my side. On my thighs. Whatever.

I want you to have a friend like mine, so I'm going to hook you up with everything you need to make your own sin covered Oreos. Because I'm nice like that.

This is what you need to make the naked Oreos. And the recipe, of course. Click on that link and it will take you to the original post with the recipe card.

To trick out your Oreos like these babies, you'll need a few extra ingredients.

Take one package of Vanilla Almond Bark and 8 oz. of white chocolate, and melt them together. Next, dip the Oreos in the chocolate, just as far as you dare. Put them on waxed paper and immediately sprinkle with the cutest sprinkles you can find. Allow the chocolate to dry and set up.

I'm going to go ahead and say it. You probably want to hide the Oreos and dole them out one at a time. It will make you feel powerful, and you'll get to experience a treat that actually improves with age. It sounds crazy, but they get better every day. Just keep them in an airtight container, and the cookies will become softer, encased in their white chocolate coats, with each passing day.

If you skip the hiding step, you won't get to see what I mean. No one can resist the Oreo, so if you're the only one who knows where they are, you will allow the maximum number of Oreos to survive long enough to achieve Nirvana, because only you will be sneaking them.

By day five, your eyes will roll back in your head and knock you out when you take your first bite. I haven't experimented past day five, so you'll have to run experiments of your own.

I know it sounds like such drudgery, but it's for science. Put on your lab coat and get to it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kitchen Refresh--Finally

So, we had our kitchen refreshed last fall, and I'm finally getting around to giving you a little peek.  I've been meaning to get pictures up, but that necessitated cleaning my kitchen first, and then installing the new hardware on the cabinets.

Let's just say that it took me awhile.

I say we refreshed the kitchen because we didn't gut it, we just had new counter tops, sink, fixtures, and flooring installed. The cabinets are still the the original cabinets. They're in good condition, and although not in fashion, they are perfectly good cabinets, so I didn't see the point in adding that cost or headache. It was bad enough moving everything out to do the floors and counter tops. I can't imagine having to empty all the cabinets too. As it was, our living room was jam packed with dining room furniture, appliances, etc., during the refresh.

So, here's some of the before and after. Brace yourself for the ugly.

This is the before. H-H-H-H-H-ATED the counter tops before. Who in their right mind actually chooses white laminate for their counter tops? I can't figure it out. Every time we set a metal bowl down on the counter top, it would leave a mark. It stained so easily, EVERY thing showed, and they were ding dang ugly.

I didn't love the floor either, and the fact that it creeped up the bottom of the cabinets was even less desirable. Ick on a stick.

I love the new flooring. It only looks like tile, it's really vinyl. How cool is that? So cool, let me tell you. We also had a matching oak kick board whatever-you-call-it installed underneath the cabinets. It looks so much better than the flooring that used to be there.

And the big plus? You can't see anything on it. I don't  even know it needs to be swept until I start feeling crunchies on the bottoms of my feet. Then when I go to sweep it, I can't see the crunchies and dust pile that I'm sweeping everything into. Okay, that part is not so great, but I love the fact that it doesn't show the ick.

This is the old hardware. It was perfectly fine when we moved into the house.

A decade ago. 

It's surprising what a big difference just changing out the hardware made. I love the rustic look of the drawer pulls now.

Old sink = super ick. It was the thing I loathed most about the kitchen. I'm even embarrassed showing these pictures to you now. The sink was permanently stained, and there was a crusted on hard water ickage trail coming out from the water purifier thing-a-ling and down into the drain. Grossed. Me. Out. I tried CLR, pumice stone, everything and anything I could think of to try and get it off. Don't tell Peanut Head, but I even took to it once with one of his screwdrivers. Didn't work.

I love the new stainless steel sink. I even Fly Lady cleaned it, just for you. She recommends cleaning your sink every night before you go to bed, and since Malibu Barbie windexes her sink, I figured I should aim high once in awhile too. When I do it, Peanut Head comes along and then has the audacity to turn the water on. Can you believe that? Then when I give him an earful, he gives me his deadpan stare, his everyday look, and says "Oh darn," with absolutely no feeling in his voice. It pains me so.

The counter top is laminate, and I love it. I didn't even consider granite, although I looooooove granite, because I knew that this is not our forever home. I just didn't want to sink that kind of money into a house we aren't planning on staying in. Plus, I think it just seems too fancy for our little house.

I big red puffy heart the counter tops. The back splash is new too, and I love having a real tile back splash, but I feel like maybe it's a little too busy for the counter tops. Not that I'm going to rip it down and start over. I can deal with it. See me dealing with it.

It's not even there.

We have too much crap on our counter tops. Please tell me I'm not alone here. We just use all this stuff, and there really is no other place to put it. And the butter belongs there. It's a focal point in our kitchen. Surely you can relate.

I thought about taking everything off the counters just for the pictures, but it made me feel so dirty, so I put it all back. This is reality, not Better Homes & Gardens.