Thursday, October 16, 2008
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. As a born and bred New Englander, I absolutely LOVE the things that make fall...well, Fall.
October has always been the quintessential month for all of it, too - the amazing color explosion of the leaves, the crisp coolness in the air, the harvest of apples and pumpkins, and my favorite of the holidays, Halloween. (Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and the Thanksgiving menu, but Halloween still tops my list)
Every year, I look forward to going apple and pumpkin picking, leaf-peeping all the way.
This is our first fall in Virginia, though, and that made things just a LITTLE bit different. The apples came from our own orchard, about 4 weeks earlier than in NH. The pumpkins (well, the smallest 2 came from our garden) came from the grocery store, not the quaint country Pumpkin Patch or roadside farm stand. And, the strangest part? Look at the photos! Yes, a full lawn and leafed-out trees, still just as green as can be. Add to that the fact that it was 75 degrees the day we carved Jack-O-Lanterns, and it was just about SURREAL!
We did it, though! We got all ready for Halloween with our family of creepy Jacks, our stock-pile of macabre lawn decor (for a future post) and our costume plans for ghoulish creatures...only to find out that, well, they aren't exactly fond of this holiday in these parts, so there's no Trick-Or-Treat and our slightly spooky decorations make folks more than a bit uncomfortable...
Here's my take on it: it's a couple of weeks out of the year, and if they don't share our love of Halloween, they can look straight ahead when they drive by. I'll take it all down when we are finished having fun, and replace it with Christmas lights.
(But since there's no trick-or-treating, anyone may feel free to send candy!! We will gladly accept all donations, especially chocolate! LOTS of chocolate...think of the children... ;-P )
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I logged in today and realized how terrible I've been lately with updating this blog. Naughty blogger! So, in an attempt to make up for that, I'm straying away from stamping-related things for today to offer up a gift that keeps on giving :)
Recently, I used some apples from our orchard to make Apple Crisp, which I shared with our neighbors. When my neighbor came to return my pan, she had re-filled it with the MOST delicious muffins!
I HAD to ask for the recipe, they were so moist and flavorful, and also because they disappeared so soon after they got here that I had to restock our supply! She was kind enough to share it with me and, although I'm sure the editors of Bon Appetit Magazine will NOT soon be calling me to be their new food photographer, I wanted to share this great and easy recipe. The batter (if you make the full recipe below) makes up about 54 muffins, and the best part is, it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, so you can make a batch today, and another when you need more.
preheat oven to 400*, use paper baking cups to line muffin tin, or lightly grease & flour pan.
1 15 oz. box Raisin Bran Cereal (any brand will do)
3 Cups Sugar
5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
5 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Quart Buttermilk
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
-Use a food processor (or blender, or plastic bag & rolling pin) to crush cereal to a flour-like consistency. (this step helps create an even texture, and the finely ground raisins keep the muffins SO moist. However, you can leave the cereal as-is and the muffins still come out really moist and with great texture.)
-Combine all dry ingredients in a very large mixing bowl.
-Combine all wet ingredients. Add all at once to dry flour mixture.
-Mix batter just until well combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake at 400* 15 - 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
-Keep extra batter in refrigerator up to 3 weeks, making muffins as needed.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I think Fall might finally have come to Virginia. I'm not 100% sure, because the trees are still lush and green, critters are still tromping about happily, and the garden is still churning out ripe, red tomatoes, BUT...
It DOES get dark a bit earlier, and the days have gone from 100 degrees, down to the 70's, so I think maybe, just MAYBE, Autumn is settling in.
Since this has always been my favorite time of year, I was hoping for my usual leap of happiness when I felt the change in the air. This year, though, I found it was mixed with a little dose of melancholy, too. Up where I'm from, the leaves are bursting with colors, pumpkins are sold at roadside stands, warm mugs of cider are cradled in my hands of an evening, and the crisp chill in the air makes me happy just to be...
Whoa, before I get too homesick, here is a card that I thought had a fall feel just like home. I love the colors and even the sort of country texture to it. I was going for homespun and warm feeling, and trying to capture a bit of what I love most about this time of year. I hope fall wherever you are is filled with all YOUR favorite things about it:)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wow!! I can hardly believe it, but today Quinn turns 10 years old!
I keep telling my boys that they are not allowed to keep growing up - a part of me wants to keep them little forever! But at the same time, I am so proud and happy every day of the wonderful young man Quinn is becoming.
He is one cool kid - SO smart, great sense of humor, thoughtful and caring, not to mention he is always the first one to offer his help whenever he can...I am one blessed and lucky mom!
I wanted to make Quinn a birthday card that had a little of "him" in it - he has one MAJOR sweet tooth and an appetite to match, so he got the super-sized sundae. He also loves what he calls "feely" cards, in other words he loves to run his fingers over anything I emboss or that has Crystal Effects. So he got both, lots of shiny "feely" stuff for his special day.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I had SO much fun with this card! It all started with a little inspiration from the Pier 1 Imports sale flyer...
The room that was the inspiration had gorgeous shades of Autumn colors, lots of texture, and very cool detail elements. I tried to narrow it down, but in the end I just wanted to add as much as I could.
The papers (Tangerine Tango, Pumpkin Pie, More Mustard, Kiwi Kiss, & Chocolate Chip) were all sponged with the same color ink to shade them, then again in Chocolate Chip ink for even more.
That yummy Designer Paper? From a bin at the Dollar Store! It was my lucky day!!
The blossom was a little "involved":
-First I inked it all over in More Mustard
-Then I "Thumped" the petals a bit with my Pumpkin Pie Marker
-Next, I outlined each petal with my Chocolate Chip Marker
-THEN I stamped it on White CS
-THEN (yeah, I got carried away) I used Really Rust ink & a watercolor brush to add more intense orange to the petals -LAST (after I cut it out) I covered the whole blossom in VersaMark & embossed it with Glassy Glaze to make it shine.
For details, I used my Crafter's Tool Kit to pierce the papers, some Vintage Brads, and a bunch of Linen Thread & ribbon in coordinating colors. It might sound like a lot of work, but I had a blast making it and I was fabulously happy when I was done!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's happy anniversary time again! Not for me, of course, but for some dear friends of ours. Seems like September is as lovely a month for weddings as June :)
I have been dying to play more with this technique, called "Emerging Colors", I just LOVE it!
-First, Glossy White CS is stamped all over with any shapes & colors you like so that very little white is left showing.
-Then, using a mostly solid larger stamp and VersaMark, stamp it randomly over the colored images. Heat emboss those VersaMarked images with Clear EP.
-After the embossing, use a brayer or sponge (or both), go over everything with a nice, dark ink until it has filled in all the areas that were not embossed.
-Use a clean cloth to "polish" the embossed areas, and what you have left will be the beautiful original colors "emerging" from under the clear embossed images. (This will also work with regular cardstock if you do not have glossy, but glossy is sturdier, gives a slightly better effect, and is a bit easier to work with)
Hope you give this one a try and have fun seeing what "emerges" for you!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Today my Hubby and I celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary! Hard to believe, but it it has been 14 wonderful, eventful, and amazing years since the day we tied the knot.
Okay, we didn't actually do so much "celebrating", more like returned books to the library, ran to the grocery store, picked up more chicken feed, dropped the kids off at school, picked them up...
But, the point is, the day was special anyway. And we were lucky enough to get to spend some time together. So I thought this card would be a fitting entry for the blog today. I find I really like So Saffron with Black, it makes the soft yellow really pop.
The layout came from Splitcoast, the rest came from me. This was put together a few little steps at a time as I ran through my day, but Jeff really seemed to like it just the same. I was pretty happy with the result, but what I loved even more was the card HE gave to ME. I don't know how he managed it...a great card and he didn't even have to take out any stamps or ink!?
Sunday, September 7, 2008
We have been very lucky to only get rain, some winds and nothing more serious, but also only a peek of sun now and again.
When I saw this Sketch Challenge (i.e. make a card using this layout, and pick any stamps, colors, and accessories you want) I knew I needed some bright, happy colors.
The problem was that after all the gray outside, I just could not narrow down my color choices, so in the end, I decided to use ALL of them!
In the end, after I combined Perfect Plum, White, So Saffron, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, and Rose Red (and the kitchen sink?) I was happier than I thought I would be with the result.
A little ribbon and bling (what is a card WITHOUT those??) and I felt cheerier already. This turned out to be the perfect birthday card for a friend AND a nice way to perk up a dreary day.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I thought this was such a sweet idea! Not MY idea, of course, but a lovely lady hosting a challenge on you-know-where.
The instructions were to create a project using the little Wedding Day poem of Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue.
Those were the guidelines, the rest was up to us. For the "Old" I chose to use my long-retired Square Steps Punch to create the bottom edge, plus I threw in some Retired Soft Sky elements, which also took care of the "Something Blue" part of the game. I just love that color, and it gave such a soft look to the card.
For my "New" element, I used my Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware, which I have had for a little while, but had never used until this card, so it was "new" to me!
And for my something borrowed - not as easy as you might think! I not only do not live near other stampers from whom I can borrow items, I live near almost NO people at all! But I have a nice lady nearby who was willing to lend me that pretty organdy ribbon. Lucky for me!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
It is dismal, gray and cloudy here in South Side Virginia today, so I needed some happy colors to brighten things up!
Now, as far as my use of retired SU! and non-SU! items, let's just say I expanded my horizons a little for this one. I sure had fun with it, though!
This is a really neat size card to make. It is 4 1/4" square, not too big and so quick and fun to whip up! I used Pretty in Pink with White & Celery, which turns out bright & cheery (okay, and a little preppy, too). I used scraps of leftover paper for the whole thing, too, so it was very economical supply-wise.
The large pink circle is that handy trick of punching the Round Tab Punch twice, then sticking those pieces together to make the circle. I used my Black marker to color & stamp the pig and the words separately (since they are on the same stamp) and I was just "tickled pink" with the result!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Since the last post was all about the summer, I figured it was about time to get used to the idea that Fall is just around the corner.
What better way to do that than with Pumpkins and fall colors? This little box (it's really very small, 2 inches high and 1 1/4 inches wide) is one I made for a swap I joined recently. The theme was Halloween, and I signed up for "anything but a card". It is just the right size to hold 4 Peppermint Patties, or whatever other small goodies you might want.
I made my Happy Jack-O-Lantern using the Small Oval Punch sponges to shade the edges. His stem (and basket handles) is Twill Ribbon and the leaves are half of a flower from the Boho Blossoms Punch. For his face, I used a little trick of the stampin' trade: I took the Jack-O-Lantern stamp from the Festive Four set, colored ONLY the face using my black Stampin' Write marker, then stamped it on my own Pumpkin. Ain't we stampers just the carftiest? ;P
I used Kraft paper with the Canvas background stamp and "flicked" the edges with Close to Cocoa ink for the background. The Ticket Corner Punch added some pizazz to the corners. I added the button with some Lined Thread to the bottom, and (at my hubby's suggestion - I think it was a GREAT idea!) I tucked some Raffia in the corner.
Okay, I cheated a teensy bit, that is Retired Designer Paper wrapped around, but it just seemed to fit so well with my theme! And besides, this swap did not limit us to ONLY current product, so I went with it! Fall is almost here, time for us all to think Pumpkins, Halloween, and back to school, and now I think I'm ready...well, almost!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Here is a project I made for a Challenge on Splitcoast. I thought this was SUCH a cute idea! It is a little box made out of card stock and clear acetate, so you can see the goodies inside.
Of course, this could be used to hold ANYTHING...candy, votive candles, tea bags, cocoa packets, crayons, beads, ribbon...the list is endless! What popped into my head was this was a great size for the birdseed people give wedding guests to throw over the bride & groom (instead of rice, which hurts the little birdies!)
Okay, I admit, this is not ACTUALLY "birdseed", it is leftover food from my son's hamster. I looked all over, but there was no birdseed in the house, so I improvised! This is just a sample, anyway, I promise, I will not be pelting any newlyweds with rodent meal!!
This was a LOT easier than it looks (okay, well it looked tricky to me when I saw it!). I just used White cardstock, some ribbon (not SU!), my SU Pretties Kit for those lovely flowers and beads, and one Overhead Projector Sheet that I bought from Staples. I will post the exact dimensions and directions in a later post, I want to make sure I give the correct info.
But just think, in the meantime you can dream up all sorts of possibilities for how to use this, and have plenty of time to make sure you have Clear Acetate to get started! (Staples can thank me anytime... :) )
Saturday, August 16, 2008
How do I love Satellite Internet, let me count the ways...uhm, I don't. We are so far out in the boonies here that regular DSL is not an option for us, so we have to have Satellite for Internet & TV, and EVERY time it rains, we are outta luck!
So, if it seems like it has been a few days since anything new has shown up here in my little blog, it HAS, and I'm sorry. Every time we have rain (or wind, or clouds, or AIR) we just lose our connection. I'm trying to hurry, the sky is clouding up...!
But, after the storm had gone, I thought this happy little "Thinking of You" card would be a nice entry to get back into the game. Plus, I needed to play with some new colors! This yummy shade of blue is called Baja Breeze, and is one of SU's new "In Colors" for this year. I was so sad about retiring Soft Sky, but this color might just make me happy yet!
Okay, so I cheated a teensy bit by digging out some retired Rub-Ons (Love & Happiness form the last mini catalog), but they just seemed to go so perfectly, I couldn't help myself.
There was a lot of stuff on my stamp table, and I just grabbed for anything within reach and went to town. Stamp sets, ribbon, brads, background, craft blade, punches...it's all there. Sorry if I don't list an exact recipe, but you'd be reading all day. Strange how a simple-looking card ended up using so much. This was one of those projects I did just for the enjoyment of making a card for a friend, so I didn't even try to keep track
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I don't know why it hasn't hit me before, but looking through past posts, I realized I had no entries of Scrap Book Pages. Go figure!
I wish the photo was better quality for a clearer view of the details. I promise I'll try to work on my photography as hard as I work on my stamping!
In selecting one to be the first, I decided to show a simple layout with a subject matter that is dearer to my heart than any other: My Family. :)
This is a 12" x 12" page that I made with a Scrap Booking Class I taught at the YMCA in Keene, NH. We used 12" x 12" Ballet Blue cardstock as our base, then added some Bashful Blue CS and Certainly Celery DP.
We used the "So Swirly" Jumbo Wheel in Ballet Blue ink to create a subtle border on one side, then went in with White Gel pen to add accents. The word "Family" is stamped with the Jumbo Outline Alphabet and colored with coordinating Stampin' Write markers.
For accessories, we used Bashful Blue Striped Ribbon, along with Certainly Celery and Brocade Blue Grosgrain. A few White Eyelets finished the layout, and some cherished family photos (and my messy hand-written journaling!) completed the page.
I can't explain it, but finding a nice layout and the perfect photos for a scrap book page always feels SO satisfying to me. Maybe because it lets me have a "scrappy" showcase for our happy family!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Everyone has their own style, we have colors and images we love, or favorite accessories. One thing I love is that those differences are not only wonderful to look at when I see someone else's work, but they get me wanting to try those elements in my own stamping.
I get so excited over all the stamps, colors, and accessories, it's hard for me to scale down and simplify. Many stampers who have an ornate style seem to achieve that "Wow!" factor without going overboard, and the result is amazing. But many stampers are also able to achieve a beautiful, clean-lined look with simplicity which also creates a "Wow!" factor of its own.
That simplicity is one of the hardest things for me to get right. Believe it or not, for me at least, there's a delicate balance between getting a crisp, simple project that still packs a punch without being "boring" or not having "enough".
So I tried for crisp, clean lines, and a couple of eye-catching factors that allowed the images to "pop" and stand on their own. Plus I got to use my little Tart-N-Tangy fruit set (I know...AGAIN!), which always makes me happy!
Just 3 colors, and I tried to keep the layers and shapes bold and simple, but I threw in a little piece of Designer Paper (again, with simple design) for interest. I also added Crystal Effects to the cherries and embossed the simple, graphic "thank you" for dimension.
Oh, and that "circle" or red behind the Scallop with the cherries on it? That's actually the Round Tab Punch. I punched it twice out of Red, then stuck them together so they create a circle the perfect size for layering.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Lots of Stampers have these fantastic tools like Nestabilities and Cuttlebugs, which ( if you have lived under a non-papercrafts rock for a while) are wonderful inventoins that cut fancy edges, layers, and do dry-embossing like magic.
In short, these things are wonderful. My sad story? I don't have either one yet. I am not feeling sorry for myslef, but I DO love the effects you can get from these machines.
So, I set about trying to figure out how to get a similar look even without the technology. What I came up with was to use an SU dry embossing Classy Brass Template.
I cut my layers first (each 1/4" larger than the last), then Dry Embossed the edges. When I put them together, I had a look I really liked! The cute egdes went well with the adorable Srawberry from the Tart -N-Tangy set that I just LOVE! But I worried whether that stamp set, which is from a temporary Mini Catalog, would still be around when SU launches its new Catalog in a couple of weeks, AND when I could get my hands on a cool tool so my fingers would stop cramping from pressing with the stylus.
So, what does all this have to do with spooky timing? Well, if you don't want some surprise spoilers, STOP READING...but...(and I am not giving away TOO much info, but just a little peeksy...)
As it turns out, my layering and embossing woes will soon be over because SU will be offering THE gadget. Can you say "Big Shot"?? What IS a Big Shot...just ask me in a couple of weeks and will I have news for YOU! PLUS...I just MAY not have to worry that my precious little fruit stamp set will be gone...
That's it, that's all I'm saying. How do I know such things? I am privileged to know some of the best Stampers on the planet, AND there are LOTS of people at the SU convention as we speak, AND some bloggers are kind enough to update us, AND, well, you get the picture.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
So, I decided to share :) I picked some and bagged them up to give to our neighbors. But the plain brown bag looked so...well, boring. So, I thought I'd dress it up a bit.
Because it was zucchini and from the garden, I was drawn to the Wild Wasabi paper with its fresh, bright color. All I did was to:
- cut 2 strips, each 3" wide from the 12"x12" cardstock
- cut an inch off the end of each strip
-score both strrips 3" from each end and fold at score lines
-stick the tabs together on each end of both strips to make a "sleeve" for the bag
(This formula will be the right size for a standard brown lunch-size bag. Measure & adjust as necessary for other size bags)
Then I used my new "Enjoy Every Moment" stamp set and my Ticket Corner Punch to make a cute label, threw on a touch of ribbon and a button to fill the "O", and voila! What was boring is now a bit special. (Plus, I got to use up a TON of retiring stuff! BONUS!!)
I didn't want to go overboard, after all, it's just some veggies, but I still wanted it to be more than just a plain brown bag. Just thought I'd share an idea for how to add a special touch to an otherwise ordinary thing.
Monday, July 28, 2008
We may have a seemingly endless list of renovation projects to do here, but at least we are never without the help of our crew of mini-contractors! Whatever the project of the day is, especially if it is one of those big, technical, hard-work jobs for Jeff, you can always find the boys close behind with their tool belts on and ready to work.
They have all really taken to pitching in on the house projects, it was quite a nice surprise. Now if I could only get them to be so enthusiastic about cleaning their rooms!
Little by little we are working our way through our mess, and of course, every project we start leads us to about 20 others that need to be done in order to finish the one. But we are a work in progress, and I'm going to be an optimist and say the operative word is "progress". As long as we can keep the boys helping out, it may even go a little faster!
Friday, July 25, 2008
I've had my SU Pretties Kit for a loooong time now, and I find there are STILL items that I've never used! I tend to hoard my little goodies like Hodgepodge Hardware and such, I guess maybe because they seem so finite in that case.
But I asked myself "What are they FOR?" Well, they are to USE!! And if I use them all, well, hey, SU will make more! Plus, some of my favorite paper colors are retiring, so I wanted to create something that highlighted all these elements.
Here is what I got. I used the Blue Bayou paper with my not-often-used Paisley Background stamp. I also used Soft Sky paper (sigh...) and sponged the edges for some depth.
I layered it with Vellum for a soft, elegant look. Then I water-colored some of those gorgeous silk flowers, added some ribbon, and best of all, some Pretties Kit BLING!
I heat embossed the words for a bolder effect, and I was pretty happy with my Pretties Kit results.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mmmmm, a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. This was an idea I had when I first got the Tart N' Tangy stamp set which I LOVE and to which I am addicted.
But...as it turns out, great minds think alike and I was definitely not the only one to have this idea. One morning on the SU! website I saw another really cute variation on this, and the stamper who created it did it as Pink Lemonade. It was quite different from mine, but very cute.
I tried Glossy White paper for the glass and lemons, added Crystal Effects on the glass, cut the stamped lemon in half, and that is a real drinking straw!
I promised my good friend and Upline that I would show her MY glass of lemonade, so grab your lawn chair and sunblock and settle down for a nice sip of lemonade!
I couldn't help myself! Once I started with that first pink bag, I just had to keep going. I had this idea in my head for a "purse" style bag, and I really wanted to find cute ways to showcase some of SU's retiring items like this gorgeous Fall Flowers paper. But...the result was the bag on the left, which I LIKE, but I don't LOVE...sooooo...
Enter purse #2, which I really like. I traded ribbon handles for paper and again used the Small Tag Punch for a closure. Doesn't it remind you of a Granny purse??
Oooooh, I just can't wait to have my new SU! Scallop Edge Punch, but until then, I'll go Old School and use my Slit Punch to make scallop edges.
Okay, so it's not just challenges that are inspiring. A dear friend sent me some photos of projects she is working on and I loved them so much I just had to sit and create!
This pink bag is based on her design, only I must admit, hers came out better. But I liked the elements of the scalloped bottom, the tab top, and the height, so i copied my little heart out!
Just think of all the goodies you could load up with for a nice gift, huh?
This was another "Challenge" from a wonderful stamper friend. This time around we were invited to an "Inspiration" challenge, in which we were provided a picture and were to create a card inspired by what we saw.
In this case, our inspiration was this gorgeous cake from Martha Stewart's website. I had to admit, I was not sure that I would feel "inspired" by some random photo or that I would have any idea where to start, but this cake was beautiful. I was most inspired by the colors and the dainty, graceful vine-like stems and flowers.
Here is what I came up with. Not too far outside the box, but just my own take on what the photo inspired in me. I find I am REALLY enjoying these challenges, they give me an excuse to sit and be creative just to see what I can make.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
So, here is my entry to another stamping Challenge. This one was a "Color Challenge" in which we were given a color scheme to follow.
In this case, we needed to use Black, White and any ONE other color (I chose Apricot). Any stamps, any layout, but only those 2 colors plus one of our choice.
This one was not as easy for me. I'm one for adding lots of little "pops" of color, but this was a great way to have to change my way of thinking and not look at it as "limiting" but get myself to still be creative with what I had to work with.
Recently, a Stamping Superstar up in my line of Uplines, began posting "Challenges" to we Downline members as a way to inspire us to generate new ideas and to help get our creative juices flowing.
I LOVE this Challenge idea!! It was a great kick-in-the-head inspiration and I could not wait to get started. This first one was a "Sketch Challenge" in which we were given a basic layout we had to follow. We could choose any stamps, any colors, but we had to follow the layout design.
Obviously, the layout we were given was the horizontal card with a wide background stripe and the 3 rectangles across. This is the card I came up with, but I sure do love seeing everyone else's and getting SO many great ideas!