The catbird seat

TheCatbirdSeat_Daquila-Pardo

My brother is a man of many passions. One of his current obsessions is The New Yorker magazine—its articles and history. While Phil visited us for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, he read aloud to me a good bit of the book pictured here by James Thurber. Thurber was a cartoonist, author, journalist and playwright, best known for his cartoons and short stories that were published in The New Yorker magazine.

Because Phil was so “into” this topic while he was visiting, I asked him to let me take a photo of him reading the book. As soon as he sat down, as if on cue, Flash jumped up to read along with him! When I asked Phil what he thought I ought to title this page, he replied, “How about ‘The catbird seat,’ one of Thurber’s short stories.” Just purrfect!

Product/technique notes

Notice that I overlaid the title stickers in the “empty” space at the bottom of the photo. In this case, it worked quite well because the slope of my brother’s left leg and foot direct the viewer’s eye right to the title. So, the eye rests first on his face and the cat, then slides down the leg to the title and finally roams around the details of the circle grid to figure out how the patterned papers support my story. It helps connect everything.

I used patterned papers from BasicGrey’s “Oxford” and “Out of Print” collections and followed Let’s Capture Our Memories sketch #107.
LetsCaptureOurMemories107

Sparkle and shine

SparkleAndShine_Daquila-Pardo-v2

This 1970 photo has always been a favorite of mine. I mean, get a load of that mane! I have worn my hair short for so much of my life now that a photo of me with wild and voluminous locks is rare indeed.

Of course, it’s also sweet because it’s unposed. From the look of things I was pretty engrossed in that book when my mom called my name and snapped this shot.

Product/technique notes

All the products I used to create this layout came from the Back Porch Memories January kit (thank you to BPM for allowing me to be a part of their design team for the next three months!). The pretty patterned papers are from Pink Paislee’s “Bella Rouge” collection, just perfect for a layout about a little girl.

Three candles

ThreeCandles_Daquila-Pardo

There’s just not much that’s cuter than a little birthday boy with his cheeks puffed up to blow out his candles.

Today is my baby brother’s birthday. To celebrate and show Phil that I’m thinking about him I created a layout featuring an adorable photo from his third birthday in 1971. God bless you, my sweet bro. Who could ever ask for better? I love you more.

Product/technique notes

I really liked this sketch from Creative Scrappers (and am quite sad that they are ceasing their sketch contests later this month), so I followed it for this page. The background paper is an older one from Sassafras Lass; the banner is from BasicGrey’s “Hey You;” and the rest of the papers and die cuts are from Crate Paper’s “Party Day” collection. I created the title with a combination of Silhouette shapes and my own lettering.
CreativeScrappers285

You’ll shoot your eye out

You'llShootYourEyeOut_Daquila-Pardo

Does this photo make you think of Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” (1983)?

Yeah, me too.

Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!
Mrs. Parker: No, you’ll shoot your eye out.

This photo was taken on Christmas morning circa 1971. My husband, at about the age of four, is the one gloriously outfitted in his new cowboy gear from Santa Claus. I really don’t have a clue what his younger brother, Nate, is doing. LOL!

I dare ya not to hear this title in the sing-song voices of the characters from the movie. I double-DOG-dare ya.

Product/technique notes

I followed the Creative Scrappers sketch below for this page because I really liked the idea that my patterned paper areas would look a lot like presents. The papers are from Pink Paislee’s “Snow Village” 6×6 pad. The colors and vintage feel of this line matched so well with that photo! And the puffy stickers are from SEI. I designed the title and cut it on the Cameo, and the pine branches are part of a Silhouette cut file.
Creative Scrappers 283

Nailed it!

NailedIt_Daquila-Pardo

Have you seen the hilarious images online that show a perfect Martha-Stewartesque project alongside someone else’s wonky attempt to recreate it, labeled with just the words “Nailed it?”

lambNailedIt

Today’s layout tells my own “nailed it” story.

It was the Thanksgiving of 1994—our first since moving to Chapel Hill, NC—and my 28th birthday. Mom and Dad were hosting the holiday, which included Aunt Mary Lou and Earl from Pennsylvania in addition to our family of four. Just days before turkey day Mom had the brilliant idea of holding a pie-baking contest between Phil and me, which was a clever way of getting out of baking the desserts herself. ;-)

The gauntlet had been thrown down. Tensions were high as the two of us went to work looking up recipes and making shopping lists for our entries in the contest. Phil decided to go with the always popular (and a bit too obvious, in my opinion) pumpkin pie, while I fearlessly chose to try a new-to-me recipe for peach chiffon pie. I felt confident but nervous.

Aunt Mary Lou and Earl arrived. Everyone was excitedly catching up and in the good spirits of the holiday. Phil had already baked his contest pie, and it was my turn.

Now, those of you who only know me online won’t really understand unless I tell you just how much I like to talk. I am a TALKER. So while I was putting together the all-important pie crust, Aunt Mary Lou parked herself just to the end of the counter where I was working, and we talked. A lot.

I suspect that chemists don’t chat while they’re mixing chemicals, but that’s just a hunch born of my experience on that fateful Thanksgiving Day. At the very least I can conclude that were I a chemist, I should keep my mouth shut while measuring ingredients for my experiments. Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

I put my crust in to bake and began the task of mixing the silky, sweet, peachy filling—which would be added to the crust and then baked again. At the appointed time I checked on my crust, but I was surprised to find that it hadn’t browned. At all. So I gave it a little more time. But extra time and high temperatures had no effect on the color of my crust. I finally shrugged off this bump in the road, took the pale crust out of the oven, added the filling and popped it back in for its second round of baking.

My confidence at taking home the blue ribbon remained unshaken at this point.

Fast forward to the end of the day’s feast. To a bit of fanfare Mom brought out the ballots and explained to the judges the categories upon which they should score the entries (appearance 10%, filling & crust 40% and overall flavor 50%). Phil and I were asked to cut and serve our pies after the judges had been given the opportunity to rate the appearance of each. Once everyone at the table had been served, the room quieted for the first bites.

My nerves did not allow me to take a taste right away; I was more interested in watching for the reactions of the judges. So I didn’t immediately understand why the room remained eerily quiet as they all chewed. Earl’s face reddened noticeably. Mom and Dad shot questioning glances at each other. Phil choked and spat out his mouthful. And Spenser the schnauzer hid under the couch after willingly taking the bit of crust Earl had offered him. But it was Aunt Mary Lou who finally broke the silence by blurting an expletive. And then pandemonium reigned. Everyone gagged and gasped and shouted over each other. They laughed. And laughed some more. I was crestfallen but finally took a tiny bite of my own pie. Oh myyy.

I had obviously switched the measurements for the salt with the sugar. The extra salt had kept the crust from browning on the first baking. And then it leached up into the peach chiffon filling during the second baking. What a fiasco—but a very funny one.

Of course, Phil won the contest. Whatever. He can have the blue ribbon. Because I have the honor of being the reason for one of the funniest family stories we have. To this day we still refer to that year as our Salt Pie Thanksgiving.

NAILED IT!

Product/technique notes

I followed sketch 281 from Creative Scrappers and mainly used products from October Afternoon’s “Apple Cider” line. I created my title using the Silhouette and used several stickers from the Carta Bella “Homemade with Love” kit.
Creative Scrappers 281