Browse Month: February 2017

Wine & Chocolate Pairings for Valentine’s Day

Today, our friends at Four Fathers Wines share some ideas about wine & chocolate.

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind? Flowers, wine & chocolate, right? Many times, people will pick up their favorite wine & grab a box of chocolate or maybe some chocolate covered strawberries. Then, when it’s time to enjoy, something tastes off. Either the wine doesn’t taste like much or you get a bitter taste. It won’t ruin your Valentine’s Day, but a little switch might help. We are not wine snobs at Four Fathers, but we do want to help you pick out a wine that’s right for your chocolate.

Generally, the rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine. It’s all about the intensity – a lighter red or a white won’t taste like much with an intense chocolate flavor. Let’s look at some pairings.

White Chocolate  – light & sweet vanilla will go nicely with a Moscato, Rose, Riesling or a fruity Chardonnay

Milk Chocolate – Pretty sweet, try this chocolate with Merlot, Pinot Noir, Port or even a Riesling.

Dark Chocolate – For one less than 70%, you can try a more intense wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir & Chianti

Bittersweet Chocolate – These 70% – 100% dark chocolates have become more popular recently. A Shiraz, Malbec or Bordeaux would go well here.

Filled, Flavored & Coated –  So many options here, it will depend on the sweetness of the candy & the intensity of the chocolate. For example, try a caramel filled milk chocolate with Pinot Noir or mint dark chocolate with a Zinfandel or Cab Sav.

Champagnes and sparkling wines all go well with chocolate, too.

Of course, these are just some ideas to start out the wine & chocolate pairings. It really all comes down to your personal preference.  Tell us what some of your favorite pairings are in the comments below.

For more info about the “science” behind the pairings, check this out – Wine & Chocolate – 8 Things You Didn’t Know . It’s one of the best non-wine snob articles I’ve seen on the subject.


Paper to Digital Scrapbooking

Paper to Digital Scrapbooking

The Beginning

I started scrapbooking back in 1998. (I had a scrapbook back in the 80s, but it was different then.) Like many others at the time, I went to a few home parties & became hooked right away. Paper, stickers, photos cut into shapes – it was fun. I expanded my circle to include stamping & card making. Stamps, inks, vellum, brads – I started collecting supplies. The colors, the textures, I loved all of it. Soon, I had quite a supply of goodies to play with and kept amassing more. I became a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator to help others learn new techniques, create projects and collect supplies.

Collecting & GrowingI had a lot of stuff for scrapping & stamping. I went to day crops & scrapbooking weekends with friends, loading up my car with as much as I could fit. My craft area got bigger & my stuff found its way all around the house. By this time, I had created many books. These big 12×12 books filled with pictures & stories. I loved looking through them & sharing them with others, they were just so big to store. I also had a few 8.5×11 for the kids’ individual books and some smaller, themed books. But, the 12×12 was the popular size for supplies, so I kept creating the albums. Plus, I could fit more pictures on the 12×12 page.

There were “rules” for scrapbooking back then. When I started with Creative Memories, I was only supposed to use CM products because they were “photo safe”. With Stampin’ Up!, I only used their products for my demonstrations. You were supposed to only use acid free, lignin free products on your pages to protect the photos for a lifetime. Work in chronological order. You must journal, you must mat your photos, use a title. Then, things went 3D & pages got bulky with metals, buttons, ribbons, and Jolees – oh, those Jolee stickers were awesome (ok, they still are!).  I got a Cricut & started cutting out my own die cuts & embellishments. The albums got so big, the seams were bursting & I couldn’t close an album all the way.

Scrapbooking magazines provided the inspiration & ideas for layouts, embellishments and themes. I looked forward to my monthly dose of inspiration. I started noticing some pages used computer printed titles and photos with type on them. I dabbled in it a little, but felt like I was cheating by not using real scrapbooking supplies. Then, I saw pages that were done on the computer completely! Never would I do that, that’s not “real” scrapbooking, I thought.

Changing to Digi-ScrappingIn 2011, I started looking at more digital pages. They looked like real pages that had 3D items on it. I decided to try it. I started with MyMemories Suite software – it was a free trial program. It had supplies already installed & a nice little shop that made it easy to download what I needed. I bought a book about digital scrapbooking & it included a CD of sample supplies. With a short learning curve, I was scrapping away pictures from 2010 quicky & easily. I could stop in the middle of a page, save it & come back later without having to clean up my mess.

supplies by Brittish Designs – Backyard Bliss

I was hooked on this new phase of scrapbooking, especially because of one word: Undo. With Undo, I could change my mind without losing a picture or that favorite piece of paper. In fact, I could use that favorite piece of paper over & over again if I wanted. I progressed to a trial download of Photoshop Elements and started learning it. Loved it, bought it. I learned more about shadows, effects, templates and more. There were so many benefits to digital scrapping, but I hated the thought of leaving my paper supplies behind. So, I used the supplies in my craft room for older pictures, card making & some other projects. I started letting the kids use more of my “good” stuff for their projects. But, the more I did on digital, the less I did in paper.

Supplies: Kellybell Designs – On the Frontier

The first digital album was finished and it was time to decide what to do with it. I could leave the pages on the computer, put it on a CD, print out the pages & put them in an album or have a book printed. I decided to back up the pages to a CD and upload it to Shutterfly to have a book printed. It came out great and not bulky at all. I realized that the 12×12 size may not be necessary. So, the next book I printed, a Disney album, was 8×8. Perfect! I could still fit a ton of pictures, decorated with embellishments & journaling and the book fit great on any shelf.

Supplies: Connie Prince – Rawr Collection

And Now

Recently, I have come to the point of deciding it was time to let much of my paper scrapping supplies go. I started out with purging the papers that I didn’t really like and donated them. I put up some lots on ebay. Now, I am in full-force purge mode. I realized that if I want to go back & scrap my old pictures, I’ll scan them into the computer. I have kept some supplies for the card making and for the kids’ projects for home & school.

There are a lot of great designers and communities in the digital scrapbooking world. I’ve had the opportunity to do some marketing for an online store, participate in contests, online crops & games, and was a guest designer for Connie Prince Designs last year.  I have been learning how to create my own digital papers & embellishments, too, for my own pages and started selling some packs on SummerfallDesigns Etsy Shop .

Supplies: Connie Prince Designs – Winter Wonderland

Digital scrapping makes it so easy to share pages with others. You can share pages with family & friends, make copies of books and post to galleries with just a few clicks. I’ll be adding more pictures to the Gallery, so stop back & take a look. Feel free to share your pages, too!