As Good a Time as Any to Remodel?

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You’re not supposed to make big decisions in the midst of a Mercury Retrograde, but when you discover your blog has been hacked and needs to be reloaded from the ground up, well, might as well blow the dust off and make some improvements while you’re at it, right?

The basics are in place–the pages load–and the pesky problems are gone–no misspelled ads clogging up the site–and I can actually log in again, so please excuse the rudimentary theme and the missing pictures as I get things back to where they’re supposed to be.

I’d been thinking of changing things up for a while and posts have been on pause while I deal with life stuff (nothing horrible, just pesky day to day and being way too tired to do much beyond the day job), making the idea of a change even more palatable. To what, though, that does seem to be the question.

At any rate, we’re up and running again. I do apologize if you came to the site in the last few days to find it less than useful. We helper monkeys have one job, after all, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon!

Putting a Big Pink Bow on 2013

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Why pink? Why not!


A highlights post seems to be just the right way to wrap-up the year, so let’s take it month by month, shall we?

January was quiet on all fronts as I took a hiatus to plot out the rest of the year. I did some spiffing up of individual sites and spent a lot of time plugging content into my Editorial Calendar.

The tan is for published posts.

I used a Google Drive template to build my calendar.

While it’s tempting to take a similar month this year to plot and plan, having just taken most of November off for the wedding and honeymoon I wouldn’t want to leave another big gap so soon.

February was a record month for the blogs, a total of 29 posts among all my different sites! Picking a favorite is tough, but we did refinish the antique school desk (or at least start it). It was the first fix-it project that Todd and I truly worked on together, side-by-side, and it was so pleasant I wanted to do more projects like that. We make a good team.

Antique Wooden School Desk Stained but not Varnished

Before the varnish went on, but it was still looking pretty spiffy!

We finished it just in time to use it to hold our programs at the wedding.

In March it was one of my cocktails that took center-stage. I’m certainly not alone in my love of the Samoa Girl Scout Cookie, nor am I the first to create a cocktail in it’s honor. I’m entirely biased, of course, but I love my Coconut Dream cocktail, created in honor of Girl Scout Cookie Week.


At the beginning of April I was accepted as a blogger for and was just over the moon over that. I’d pretty much wanted to blog for that site as soon as Todd and I decided to get married (I’d first found when searching for outdoor lighting options a year before). Of course, the day after I chose our Road Trip moniker I got my first speeding ticket in years. The Universe has a funny way of balancing the ups and downs, doesn’t it?



We introduced ourselves to the hive with a song parody. (No worries, I didn’t actually sing!)

As part of the Jewelry and metal arts, May saw me complete a project I’ve had on the to-do list for quite some time.



I get more compliments when I wear this ring out than any of my other jewelry (well, except for maybe my engagement ring). Now just to make time to make more from my collection of beach glass.

In June I finally finished all the “research” that went into reviewing Meals in a Jar. Still one of the more fascinating books I’ve had the pleasure to review, it also got me to try pressure cooking and canning for the first time, as well as thinking much more about putting up food stores in case of emergencies.



July was another stellar month for reviews. In fact, it’s probably my most-commented-on review of all time, not just last year. You see, when I agree to post about a book–or any other product, for that matter–I insist on expressing my honest opinion. Since I’m a human being with lots of opinions (which I try to make sure are well-founded, as much as I can at any rate), there’s no way I’m going to like everything. One particular author was not at all happy with my opinion of her book. It made for an interesting evening reading comments, if nothing else!



By August things were really heating up on the wedding front. Since finding out a Low-FODMAP diet makes for a much happier tummy, we were particularly keen to make sure our brunch menu for the reception could be accomplished in a way that would be safe for me to enjoy while still satisfying our guests and not making too much extra work for the kitchen staff at Honey Lake Plantation.


Writing about our menu tasting was almost as fun as actually being there!

While I’d love to say September blogging revolved around things other than the wedding or food, it just wouldn’t be true! But an opportunity came knocking, that month, and I answered the door with gusto! My small fete for National Guacamole Day was a hit not only with the guests but also with the judge and out of the 10 or so bloggers invited to participate in the Dip & Sip Challenge, my Guajito recipe was declared the winner!



With the ups come those downs, though, and October felled me with an early cold and a case of pneumonia to boot! Having just enough energy to make it from the bed to the couch a month before the wedding didn’t make for scintillating blog content, nor did it make for much getting done. Thankfully I had a few small projects I could finish up while being otherwise still and quiet.



And I got better just in time to finish up the last of the pre-wedding must-dos and get married in November! Todd and I then spent a fun and fabulous week at Disney World for our honeymoon. Blog content might have been scarce, but we made up for it in pretty massive honeymoon posts upon our return.

Our totally staged "getaway" | Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography

Our totally staged “getaway” | Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography

That was also the month that I pulled all the content from my food, cocktail, and wedding blogs and combined them over here with the craft and creativity posts. Now that nearly everything (there’s still the site for my cookbook, What to Feed Your Raiding Party, that stands alone) is on one site in December, I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular posting schedule for 2014, catching up on the backlog of reviews, and creating more fun projects to share.

My mini-tree is the most decorated part of our home, so far.

In addition to the reviews, recipes, foodie observations, and wrapping up our first pass through the 64 Arts, I’m also looking forward to incorporating some creative business posts and, if things go well/work out in our favor, perhaps some old-house renovation as well!

2013 was a pretty good year, all things considered, and I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to what 2014 has up its sleeves!

Updates Underway!

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Now that I’m back from my honeymoon and the wedding dust has settled, the big changes I hinted at before are underway. If you’re an RSS subscriber, you may start seeing all sorts of new stuff in the feed–this is a product of me importing my other blog contents to Scraps of Life in preparation for our shiny re-launch (date TBD). If you visit the site directly, things are bound to look a little different as the days go on–please bear with me!

Hopefully any inconvenience to my regular readers won’t be too harsh and we’ll get all the different bits of content playing together nicely in short order.

Being added to our usual crafts and creativity line-up of the 64 Arts is

  • Nibbles & Bites, my food and cookbook review blog
  • Sips & Shots, my cocktail and spirits review blog
  • Third Time Bride, my wedding-planning blog (which will become Third Time Wife)

While the posting schedule may take some time to hammer out as I get back in the groove, one thing I know that will change is all review posts will be relegated to Tuesday Reviews-Day–something I started a while back on Sips to keep reviews from over-running the rest of the content and I’ve got such a back-log of book reviews to catch up on that I think the Tuesday posts will be pretty reliable for the near future! Instead of each week having a food posts and a cocktail post, there will likely be one post a week either on food OR bevvies, and I’ll be adding categories for creative business strategies (something I haven’t really had a spot for, before) as well as adding my illustration portfolio, too.

The plan is to give each of the former blogs their own category heading–like a magazine with different departments/regular features–AND to give each it’s own RSS/email feed link for folks who only want some of what we’re offering and not the whole kit-and-kaboodle, but that’s going to take a bit of time to make sure I’ve got right, so please have patience if things get a little wonky. I’ll make sure to update as that happens.

Originally, this site was meant to represent the bits and pieces (aka “scraps”) of interests and endeavors that make up my life. This big earthquake of a shift is actually the fulfillment of the project I set out on over 10 years ago!

Onwards and upwards!

Time To Update Your Bookmarks!

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If you stopped by the blog last week you may have noticed a slight change. Especially if you tried to go to the usual and ended up at an old post of mine from 2008! (Which, amusingly enough, was about blog issues back then.)

So, while I’m not actually doing the big work of the blog-consolidation just yet (itching to get on with it, but the wedding to-do list is giving me the side-eye already), I did go ahead and take advantage of a promotion DreamHost was running during their birthday celebration and upgraded to the DreamPress hosting for scrapsoflife. Yay for locking-in a lower hosting fee, boo for the fact that the upgrade moved the blog from /blog to the root domain (but only a small boo, I was contemplating whether to do that myself or not: the decision was just made for me) and messing up feeds and links and all that jazz.

Speaking of feeds…

One of the first things I tried to fix was the RSS feeds to make sure no one missed upcoming posts. Said update meant that you might have seen a handful of recent posts show up in your feed reader as new/unread or receive the email version with the last 10 posts in digest form. If you did and were confused, that’s why, and I apologize for the hiccup.

The other thing I tried to fix was a redirect from the old /blog address to the new homepage and proceeded to break the site (though I think it was only for myself, and only for a period of a few minutes before I undid my changes). Thankfully the bump to DreamPress hosting also seems to come with increased support status, and the tech gurus at DreamHost were able to do what I was looking for in less time than it took me to compose my plea help!

I’m sure I could have figured it out, but I was just as glad to have it done for me, all the same.

As for incoming links, those may be a little bit borked for a while–I haven’t done any work on that score but I’m hoping that they’ll reroute on their own for now, seeing as that sorta happened with the whole /blog to “Bloggus Interuptus” post dealie. Otherwise finding a solution is on the list. Though it’s mainly an issue for my other blogs which will be moved over in a could of months.

I’ve also picked out a new theme (one I picked up as part of a bundle back in June, wohoo for serendipitous purchases!) so I *might* play with that sometime over the next month. Sorta depends on how much I want to procrastinate some other project (which I really have no business doing), but at the latest I’ll get it changed over after I’m back from the honeymoon in November.

TL;DR This site is now accessible at not anymore (though the latter will redirect you rather efficiently). Feeds have been updated so subscriptions should not be adversely affected. Expect more changes in November, if not perhaps before.

All the News That’s Fit to Pixel

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Print doesn’t exactly seem right, now, does it?

In a Paper Garden

In a Paper Garden

For the April edition of The Dirt, Gauche Alchemy’s monthly newsletter (sign up form is on the GA sidebar), my contribution was the sweet little assemblage that I’ll called In a Paper Garden. A little bit Alice in Wonderland, a little bit who knows what, it all started with the metal trellis I found at Hobby Lobby one day. That plus some paint and mists, vellum bits from my stash, and material and ribbons from the generous prize box I won on fellow alchemist Amy’s  blog over the holidays combined with my own digital stamp (still available in my etsy shop).

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and now it’s hanging up on my inspiration wall over my desk.

Speaking of newsletters, did you know I have one?

If you look on the sidebar of any of my blogs, you’ll see a sign-up form for the Helper Monkey Network News. On the first Sunday of every month I send out a out a newsletter that highlights my favorite posts from the previous month from each of my blogs:

It’s a convenient way to keep up with everything that’s going on, even if you don’t have time to visit all of my sites each week. Even if you do follow all of the above, there will be sneak previews of things comic up, a fresh un-blogged article from your’s truly, and maybe even giveaways from time to time. So if you’re curious, please sign up.