Roses & Ribbons

Marie Shahan Ward by Bethanie Poe August 14, 2015
Marie Shahan Ward by Bethanie Poe August 14, 2015

While not the best page I’ve ever made, I’m pretty pleased with this for a few reasons.

  1. Seven photos are now out of the “need to be scrapbooked” pile!
  2. It was hard to get the photos to coordinate!  While they’re all of the same person, they range from the early 1930s until 1958 which means the size, color, and amount of wear on the photos varied ridiculously. And
  3. I was able to use materials I’ve had for a long time.  The paper was purchased several years ago at a going-out-of-business sale, the ribbon is leftover from a project from 2008, and the flowers were purchased at Michael’s at least three years ago.


Since there were so many photos I wanted to use on this page, only little details could be added. The paper is “Christmas Traditions–Antique” by Moda for DaisyD’s. Personally, I didn’t realize it was a Christmas paper until I saw the name on the back.

I attached the black ribbon using Wacky Tac adhesive sheets. To use, you press the item you want to adhere– in this case, ribbon– to the sheet, press it down, and peel back up. Personally, I think it’s the easiest way to work with ribbon.

For the photos, I used double mats. The thin black mat highlights the photo, while also helping to bring the pictures together.  Then for the color mats I used three different neutrals by Basic Grey.  The font is Brush Script Std, and was printed on cream cardstock.

Rose details

Using the flowers was fun!  I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how the back of them looked when I took out of the package–looks like a mess to me!  I don’t know if I used them correctly or not, but I cut the three from their wires and used heavy-duty glue dots to attach them to page.

Icing on the cake: My grandmother really likes red, so the red roses seem appropriate.  So, overall, I’m pleased.

Easter 1956

I feel kind of silly posting this page since it is so simple, but the paper– Easter by Paper Love Designs–was so busy that adding a lot to it felt like gilding the lily.  (just a note: I searched for the website listed on the back of the paper, and it apparently no longer exists.)

Despite being so simple, it did take awhile for me to come up with this because I originally planned on a 2-page layout. There are seven photos from this Easter in 1956, and I usually try to include all the photos I can when I’m doing a scrapbook.

2015-08-08 21.51.08

However, I just couldn’t figure out anything I liked in a two page layout. So, I finally admitted to myself that portraits of people standing still in front of a bush and a car by itself just aren’t particularly interesting. So, they went back in the box, and I decided to work with 4 photos.

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Since the background paper is so busy, simple mats were in order.  I couldn’t match the edge of the photos exactly so I went with the ragged edge scissors.

Easter 1956A couple of little details: I added the year to the page with vellum stickers in an open space and an egg with a glue dot for a little extra texture.  I printed the names of the people (or puppy!) in the photos on vellum, and added them directly to the photos with vellum tape.  The result:

Easter 1956 by Bethanie Poe
Easter 1956 by Bethanie Poe

Don’t use it, you lose it!

I haven’t made anything in months, and as a result, I think the creative part of my brain has atrophied.  Below is the page I finally came up with tonight, and while it is very simple, I can’t even tell you how long it took me to come up with it– it was ridiculous.  But that’s the good thing about atrophy; you can correct it.

Scrapbook page: 2 pieces of 12x12 paper; black photo corners; Edwardian Script font; vellum letter stickers on tag.
Scrapbook page: 2 pieces of 12×12 paper; black photo corners; Edwardian Script font; vellum letter stickers on tag. Work by Bethanie Poe.

The people in the photos are my great-great grandparents– Isaac Branson Shahan and Amanda Josephine Whaley Shahan. The photo on the left was taken at their cabin in Sevier County, Tennessee.  My great-grandfather is perched by the door in the background, and based upon his age this photo was probably taken in the mid to late 1890s.  The photo on the right is Isaac and Amanda with their daughter Lillian who was born in 1903, so one was probably taken around 1906 or 1907.

Aug 8 2015

As you can see, the page was really easy to put together.  By cutting out the middle of the border page, you still get the layered effect, but without the weight of layers of paper, and you can use the extra on something else.  Photo corners are a quick way to attach photos, and useful when matting the photos just doesn’t look right.

Next project: Easter photos from 1956

East Tennessee Peace & Justice Center

I know I haven’t written in awhile– in fact, I was thinking about letting the blog die– but this is important enough to me to use every outlet I have.

About three years ago, I became involved in with an organization called Redeeming Hope Ministries, which is run by the amazing Eddie Young; he has an absorbing passion for working for social justice, and helping people speak for themselves.  Redeeming Hope has gone through a transformation to better reflect its aims, and it is now the East Tennessee Peace & Justice Center– a place where people can congregate and learn to advocate for themselves.  For more information, see the website: 

However, to make everything happen, ETPJC need your support. Please consider donating to the 2015 Capital Campaign via the GoFundMe site:

Even if you can’t spare much, every little bit helps!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I have a bad habit.  Well, to be honest, I have lots of bad habits, but I’m only going to talk about one in this particular blog entry. 😛  I have a horrible time sticking to meal plans. Breakfast isn’t that bad because I typically need to eat quickly to leave for work, so that limits options. Lunch I’m a bit better about planning, again because of work. I’m limited by what I can transport and doesn’t need to be heated, because I never know what kind of facility I’m going to be working in. But dinner or snacks? Oh, dear.

Say I planned to make spaghetti, but dinner time rolls around and I don’t really want spaghetti, I want tacos. Despite having perfectly good food in my kitchen that I can cook with, I will go out to the store and buy stuff to make tacos OR order tacos. (Delivery services are a blessing and a curse…).  Needless to say, this is not budget nor waistline friendly! So, I have decided to rededicate myself to using what I already have in an effort to save some money and maybe be a little healthier.

Tonight, I faced my first challenge. I really, really, REALLY wanted Reese Cups. Specifically Reese Hearts (I like the Reese Pumpkins, Trees, Hearts, and Eggs better than the normal Reese Cups– better peanut butter to chocolate ratio, IMHO). Did I have Reese Hearts? Nope. Now, there is a grocery store and a Target less than a mile from my home, which also contributes to my popping out to the store whenever I want. But, I tonight I talked myself out of it, and went to my cabinets. And what do I have?  Ingredients for brownies… and a jar of peanut butter!

I used the same brownie recipe that I shared in THIS POST.  The one thing I did a little differently this time is that I used half dark cocoa powder and half regular cocoa powder.

PBB ingredients

Once the batter was mixed and put in the pan, I put spoonfuls of peanut butter on top. To make the swirls, I just drug a knife through the peanut butter, trying to make it somewhat even, at least so there would be a little peanut butter in each bite.

PB SwirlsAre they Reese Cups? No, they’re better! I get the chocolate and peanut butter I want, there’s no weird ingredients or additives, and I didn’t go to the store. I get my treat using basic stuff I already had in the cabinets. Even Garfield approves. 😉

2015-01-21 19.02.16I think next time I will try replacing at least some of the butter with Greek yogurt… a brownie with a bit of protein and lower fat has to be a good thing, right?

Original brownie recipe from

My changes below:
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (for intense chocolate flavor use dark cocoa powder or mix half/half regular cocoa and dark).
  • 2 cups white sugar
Wet ingredients for Brownies
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Peanut butter to taste (I used about 7 spoonfuls or so.)

To Make Brownies
  1. Add wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Grease a 9×13 pan. Spread batter evenly. Place spoonfuls of peanut butter at regular intervals. Drag a knife through the peanut butter to create swirls in the brownie batter. Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes or until done.

Potato Soup made with Greek Yogurt

I know, I know, this blog is turning into “recipes I found on Pinterest” blog instead of a crafty one. But, food is the only thing I’ve actually made lately. Writing, chores, work, and being tired seem to be the order of the day. I’m hoping to do something creative this weekend…

In the meantime, I found this great potato soup recipe on Pinterest from the blog “Gimme Some Oven” (click HERE).  I decided to try to because instead of heavy cream, it uses Greek yogurt– no fat and protein are a good thing!

Here are the ingredients and direction from the original blog, with my notes in italics:


  • 5 slices bacon, diced (I used reduced fat center cut bacon, and added a couple of extra slices)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease (reserved) or butter (because I used reduced fat bacon, I didn’t get anywhere near 3 tablespoons of grease, so I had to add some butter)
  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • 1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced (used 4 Yukon gold, with skin still on)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (fresh grated melts better than the pre-shredded stuff)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (Greek yogurt– no fat, adds protein!)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream

I also added some parsley flakes and a touch of red pepper.


  • Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally.  Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, reserving about 3 tablespoons of bacon grease in the stockpot.  (Discard any extra grease, or you can substitute butter in place of the 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.  Also, if you are short on time, you can dice the potatoes and onion while the bacon cooks to save time.)
  • Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Sprinkle the flour on top of the onion, and stir until combined.  Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.  Then stir in the chicken stock until combined.  Stir in the milk, potatoes, and cooked bacon bits until combined.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, but is not boiling.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally every few minutes so that the bottom does not burn.  (The smaller you dice your potatoes, the faster they will cook.)
  • When the potatoes are soft, stir in the cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt and pepper.  Taste and see if it needs more salt or pepper or cheese.
  • Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings.”

Potato soup

2015-01-09 19.22.56And here’s the end result, topped with cheese and chives. I meant to take out some bacon to top it with, but I forgot. Oh, well, still tastes great. It’s a very hearty, creamy soup– very filling!  It makes 6 to 8 servings, so in my case, I have plenty of leftovers for later, but also a good amount if you have a family.

Definitely a nice dinner for this cold weather– hot, hearty, creamy soup that you don’t have to feel overly guilty about eating!