March 30, 2007

El tres "gracias"

Made three thank you cards last night for some co-workers who threw me a "new kids" shower yesterday. (Yes, ANOTHER shower from ANOTHER set of co-workers, Do you think they like me here?) And what a great time it was too. They ordered and made lunch and even secretly invited my husband! What a surprise when he walked in!
These ladies were so generous to us I wanted to make them individual cards. They all turned out similar (square, large flower, some ribbon, PP).
SUPPLIES: Basic Grey PP, SU flower and sentiment stamps, Purple Onion Designs thank you stamp, Marvy punches, Bazzill ribbon, MM brads, hero arts and Ranger inks.SUPPLIES: SU paper, ink, and stamp, Petaloo flower, Button and ribbon from my stash.
SUPPLIES: Basic Grey PP, Bazzill CS, Cuttlebug embossing folder, SU ribbon, Stamp from Fontwerks (Elsie Flannigan design), white gel pen.

I had fun decorating the envelopes too and placed them on their desks this morning. One of them isn't in today, so she won't see it until Monday, but she checks my blog so she might have to guess which one I made for her!

March 29, 2007

Far out Baby!

Since purchasing some stamps from Sideshow Stamps earlier this month, they've just been in a heap o' rubber on my desk, feeling very forlorn and useless I'm sure. Last night while my husband gave the kids a bath, I spent 17 minutes in my studio and created both of these cards! Don't you just get giddy when a card comes together so quickly?!I stamped the owl image (so retro 70s, isn't she?) with timber brown Staz-On and used Pearl-ex pigment powders to 'color' her in. I used distress ink on the edges and mounted it on brown CS. Then I embossed the "Far Out!" image with white EP on the same brown CS. After looking at the colors for a few minutes, I choose some PP to match. Basic Grey Stella Ruby was the winner! I added a ribbon (actually the back side of a brown/green/pink ribbon from American Crafts) and 3 shiny metallic eyelets, and I was done. This LO was based on a Super Sketch Sunday challenge on Amy's blog. I went with #6, and kept it simple.I did the same thing here by stamping the image (in black) first and coloring in the eyes, then finding some PP to match. Basic Grey to the rescue again! This time it was Scarlett's Letter that jumped out at me. I wanted to mat the monkey with my giga scalloped square punch, but he was too big, so instead I tried using my corner rounder punch to make larger scallops. I read about doing that somewhere and hadn't tried it yet. As you can see, I totally FLOPPED on that! It looks horrible. I might need to practice a bit on aligning each side so I don't end up with wonky corners! Adhered him to the card with pop dots after adding some ribbon and I was done!
Whew. I can't believe I made 2 cards in about 15 minutes! I usually take HOURS, seriously. But I am glad that I used 3 of my new Sideshow Stamps!

March 28, 2007

Shoebox swap

Last April, a group of card-making swappers who'd become friends through an online message board, met up in Vegas! We had a blast meeting everyone and doing lots of make-n-takes, classes, shoe-box swaps, stamp shopping, site-seeing, etc.
I created an artsy-style tag for my shoebox swap. I was trying to coax my fellow swappers out of their shell and move away from the typical stuff we were making. I made 17 packets of supplies needed to create this tag, but only 10 or so participated, so I came home with a bundle of materials!
Last night I was having some creative block and decided to make up a few of those tags with my leftover packets.
NOTE: The small slide frame is crooked in the photo, it should actually be crooked on the tag!

I aged the tags with walnut ink, stippled them with 3 colors of ink, stamped the BG with a fun art print stamp, tore and sponged ink on the "ART" stamped paper, added the vellum cut-outs of the girl and the clock, glued on the mini frame, stamped inside it and added ribbons and fiber. I think the next photo is clearer and easier to see.

March 27, 2007

Shower thanks

Unexpectedly, some ladies from work threw me a "new kids" shower yesterday in the office. It was incredibly sweet of them and they were generous beyond belief! They even bought presents for both kids. So last night I made them a thank you card which my husband and kids signed. The card is a Taylor VanBruggen CASE, she's pretty amazing and I liked the LO of hers.I didn't have a flower stamp that was open, so instead I drew this flower using a sharpie and colored it in with prismacolors and gamsol. All CS is SU, sentiment stamp is TAC, harlequin stamp is Hero Arts, large antique brads are from my stash, and ribbon is...I don't know! My scallop scissors weren't working very well, so instead I punched 4 scalloped squares using my Marvy giga punch and layered them together for the back cool caribbean layer. You can see on the edge closest where they overlap, but I didn't mind. I then pierced the scallops and ringed them with my white gel pen.

March 26, 2007

Birthday CASE card

We went to my great-niece's 7 th birthday party this weekend. My sister (her grandma) had rented the entire bowling alley for 2 hours and it was filled with running, screaming children ages 1-10! It was a blast though and even our little one was bowling. I didn't know they made bowling shoes that small! Size 6!Here's the card I made my great-niece. It's an Amy Rysavy case.
I don't own any butterfly stamps, they aren't really my style, but I DO own lots of wing stamps, so I just stamped the wings and after cutting them out, glued them together to look like a butterfly. I wanted a smaller one too so I used one of those foamie sticker things that I've got lying around in the kid's art box, glued 3 of the small butterflies together and used it as a stamp! The purple CS is Bazzill, white is SU, wing stamps are Sunday Int., sentiment stamps are Papertrey Ink. I used a cuttlebug folder in my Sizzix for the lavender CS. Inks are various chalk and dye inks, ribbon is offray. I doodled on the small butterflies and painted clear sparkle on all of them. Here's a better pic to show the sparkle glaze.
She loved it and so did all her little friends. Must be girl thing!

We're parents!

Life has been a whirlwind of ups, downs and crazy turns these past few days! I apologize for the blog hiatus and promise my readers that all will return to normal by tomorrow. (yeah, right!)

We have adopted the 2 foster children who were living with us. *Wheww*Feels strange to say that! These two boys were placed in foster care with us last February, so we've had them for over a year. An aunt of theirs was supposed to be adopting them in April of this year, but some "stuff" happened and the birth mom said she would sign a surrender ONLY if my husband and I adopted them. We found this out one evening last week and the next day we had a lawyer and the next day we were in court and proceeding! I don't think I've signed my name to so many documents in one sitting before! We've been dragged along on an emotional roller-coaster since day one with these kids and now we are so happy that we've made it official. YAY!

Let me just say that is is a bit strange to become a mom overnight to a 7 year old and a 2 year old. I'm going to share a photo of them soon after they moved in with us last year.
Stickyfingers was 6 and Crumbgrabber was 15 months. They were both under-nourished and VERY small for their ages. Crumbgrabber weighed only 17 lbs. This picture was taken about a month of two after they'd moved in and both were beginning to flourish.

This is them last week!

They are healthy, happy and 'full-of-life' kids. Stickyfingers is almost 8 now and Crumbgrabber is 2 1/2. And I...well, let's just say I've aged considerably! Being parents is HARD WORK. Now we are 'official". We are proud and excited and nervous all at the same time! The first thing my husband said was, "We need a mini-van now." Hee hee, I'm not so sure our station wagon won't do, but we'll see.

Wish us luck on this crazy adventure called parenthood.

March 21, 2007

Not your Mama's potato salad

Happy Spring everyone! Spring is officially here in NY as of 8:07 pm last night.
I like to herald in the vernal equinox with this colorful recipe. I've made it on the first day of spring many years in a row now, and it always cheers me up and gives me hope that the snow will melt soon! (yes, we still have snow, see here above) This was taken by mistake out the car windshield this morning. I was playing with the camera trying to show the kids in the backseat a photo and I accidentally took this one! We still have about a foot that hasn't melted yet.
OK, here's what you need to make this salad. It's actually more of a late summer salad due to the local availability of the ingredients, but the colors make me think of spring so I make it now.
Caribbean Sweet Potato salad
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 3 small Russet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed, and cubed
  • 1 medium red sweet onion, cut in half, and thinly sliced in half-rings
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled if desired, de-seeded, and diced small
  • 2 cups fresh raw corn cut off the cob (I freeze raw corn in the late summer for this), or frozen corn
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 tablespoons of peanut oil (or olive, or vegetable, etc.), depending on your taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place Russet potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil; add 1/2 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Steam the sweet potatoes in a separate pan about 5 minutes, or until just tender. They will be done much sooner than the white ones. Don't overcook!

If you are using frozen corn, drop it in the water of the Russet potatoes when they are basically done and cook for 30 seconds. Fresh raw corn need not be cooked. Drain both potatoes and corn and rinse well with cold water until cool. Place in a large bowl along with the cucumber and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and the honey (if using). Slowly whisk in oil (sometimes I leave the oil out and just use more lime juice for a fat free dish). Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled, adding the chopped peanuts just before serving.
I have taken this dish to potluck and picnics and usually come home with an empty bowl. Folks always ask for the recipe, and last night the 7 year old, who is a self-proclaimed raw onion hater, gobbled this down and asked for more. If you aren't a raw onion fan, I recommend blanching the sliced onions in boiling water for 30 seconds with the corn--it will take out some of the 'bite'.

March 20, 2007

We have a prodigy!

Last night while in my studio, our 7 year old foster son came in and asked to see what I was doing. He likes to stand next to me while I work and just watch, but he kept chattering, so I needed to find something for him to do! I told him to go get his 'art box' and he could sit at the other desk and create something too. I gave him my box of paper punches, and a small pile of adornments and stickers that I have no use for. So he happily got to work. I could hear him humming and singing little songs to himself, and once or twice he asked me a "design" question, or for some adhesive. When he was finished, he showed me this.Isn't it great? I was so impressed with how he made the flowers different heights, and after making crayon leaves he obviously saw my leaf punch and changed it a bit. The pink rimmed note card is from a set I gave him a long time ago. What makes this card so adorable (that you can't see here), is the fact that he made this picture upside down! The card opens at the top! He was very upset when he realized it, but I reassured him that no one would mind, and that it's good to be different. He's decided that he's going to send it to his aunt.
I told him I would post it on my blog today and he became VERY excited. "You mean, your friends will see it too?" I assured him that, if they wanted, the whole world could view his card and he about fainted with glee. *smile* Kids are so happy to please.

March 19, 2007

Not a winner...

I submitted this card to Sarah's card contest last week. The card had to be predominantly red, which is not a color I generally like, nor use very often, so it wasn't as easy for me to make as usual.The PP is from 7 Gypsies and it's really much prettier than the picture shows. I used cream/white and gold accents. The sentiment stamps are from Papertrey Ink, and are stamped inside, but are visible throught the cut-out on the front. Flowers are MM, Primas, and $ store finds. I edged all pieces with my gold leafing pen from Krylon, and colored the clear ribbon with gold leafing paint too because the only gold ribbon I had was really thin and I wanted a thicker piece. I also used my white gel pen to add dots to the flowers on the main PP.

This card opens by a small flap on top, you lift up right underneath the BIG flower to reveal the stamping on the inside. It didn't win the contest, not even an honorable mention, so I guess it's back to the drawing board, huh?! *wink*

March 16, 2007

Art Moratorium?

I was reading an article recently about banning certain images from publication because the images were perceived to be 'old news", and I was horrified! I realize that some people get caught up in the "new and fresh" aspect of crafting products, images, and stamps, but jeepers folks! Art is art. One of my favorite sayings is "ars gratia artis", or art for art's sake. (I wanted to name this blog using that, but it was taken) If one person finds inspiration from butterfly wings and dunce caps, does this make them any less of an artist because someone else has decided those objects are passé? I think not.

Doesn't everything eventually come around again anyway? Look at scalloped punches, for instance. Weren't they considered outdated for a while and then BAM, back 'in'? Crafters are scrambling to find their scallop decorative-edged scissors all of a sudden! Bell bottoms (boot cut/flare) are another example. You know what I'm talking tight rolled your pants too if you were in high school in the late 80s/early 90s! But you wouldn't be caught doing that now, right? Because bell-bottomed pants (flare/boot cut) became cool again... and NOW, tight legged jeans are all the rage (although not with me personally *wink*) and known as 'skinny jeans'! We are back to the beginning! What's old is new again.

I take offence when someone decides that certain images ought to be limited due to preconceived notions about what is unfashionable in the art world. NOTHING is obsolete in art. Art is individual creativity. Period.

*Stepping off my soap-box now* and taking deep breaths.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Quick TY card

I sent this quick-to-make thank you card to Sarah from Craft Critique when she mailed me a ton of awesome blog candy. I LOVE pear images and stamps. I actually have quite a collection of various pear stamps, but I didn't have SU!'s "Fresh Fruit" set until this past Christmas when my awesome friend and fellow blogger, Bobbie, searched it out and bought it for me! She so sweet and good to me. Yesterday she had flowers delivered to my house during my lunch hour and the arrangement included a big BLACK carnation right in the middle... cracked me up! When I talked to her she said that because I turned 30, she wanted to send me 30 black roses but the florist didn't have them! *chuckle*
This card uses PP from MAMBI, stamps and CS from SU!, chalk ink by Versamagic, black ink is ranger archival, and brads from MM. I don't have an oval punch, so I drew and cut it out freehand (hence the terrible jagged edges), and used McGill's retro word tags punch, for the green tabs.

March 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME!

Well, I turn the big 3-0 today. Does that mean I'm officially an adult now? *grin* I've always thought I wasn't quite an adult yet because I wasn't 30, but now...bummer. Time to officially grow up! *chuckle*
My husband made me breakfast this morning and bought me a ton of foot massage/pedicure/toe polish stuff and told me he was going to give me a "home made" pedicure! He's so sweet, and knows that is something I would LOVE. Although I'm a little trepidatious about him polishing my toes with a french pedicure set he bought. *wink* Maybe I'll post a photo of my toes when he's done...wait, posting pictures of my feet might cause me to lose my readers! HA hee heee. He also bought me a new light to install in my light box (that he built me years ago for my 23? birthday), so it will be brighter now!
I was playing around with my camera this morning while getting ready, and took a few goofy pics to document my milestone. Thought I'd share!
My hair hasn't been brushed (still wet from my shower) and I have no make-up on, but I like them anyway! Some ladies at work came into my office this morning, and told me they were trying to plan something for me and get me a cake. Isn't that awesome? One of them, my friend, even called my husband yesterday to find out what type of cake I liked! I feel so loved.
I'm making myself a cheesecake tonight when I get home. Even though it won't be ready to eat until it chills overnight, I will be digging in on Friday!
Anyway, here is the last of the Basic Grey 'fever' cards that I made. All in all, I used every paper from the blush collection but one. The sentiment on this one about describes how I'm feeling today! "kickin up my heels"
Stamp by TAC, colored with prismacolor pencils and oderless mineral spirits. I shaded the piggy with a grey pencil and sort of drew my own "ground" so she wasn't floating in mid-air. No need for the oval stamp that other's use, just make your own!
ETA: My friend and co-worker just came in to give me a ton of yummy fruit. She cut up fresh pineapple, watermelon, cantalope, and grapes, and then gave me a beautiful orange and a banana too! I know what I'm having for lunch today! yay.

March 14, 2007

BG fever continued

Two more of the Basic Grey 'fever' cards from last week.
Both use sentiment stamps from Papertrey ink.

March 13, 2007

More BG cards

Because I haven't been faithful to my declaration to post a "BG fever" card everyday, I thought I'd post two today. This was the second one of six I made last week in my attempt to "use up" my hordes of PP. All six were made with the Blush collection from Basic Grey.
I used a cuttlebug embossing folder on the pink background paper, then layered the print pattern with the creamy brown and cut a few shapes out of scrap to adhere to the front with pop dots. The sentiment stamp is from TAC.
This was the third one I attempted. I have to be honest and say that I wasn't quite happy with the outcome...too busy maybe? If I were to do it over I would take out the background PP and go with something plain. I also wanted to distress the orange strip of BG with some dark brown ink, but instead went for roughing up the edges a bit. Now I think it looks too plain. So I guess I'd maybe reverse the design elements of the background and the decorative strip! I like to apply constructive criticism to my work, so feel free to "let me have it". What would YOU have done differently?
Oh, and thanks for the sympathy about my wisdom teeth--I'm hainging in there.

March 12, 2007


Sorry for the hiatus folks...had my wisom teeth removed Friday morning and thought I'd be back on my feet right away. NOT. Oh my goodness I was incredibly naive about the whole procedure. I basically haven't left the couch since. The pain meds they gave me were narcotics! But they definitely don't agree with me, yikes, they make me very dizzy and sick, so I'm currently not taking them. It's either be in pain, or be dizzy and vomitting...I choose pain.

I'll try to post some cards tomorrow...

March 08, 2007

Card contest

Just a shout out to this blog, where Sarah is having a card contest! Check it out and make a card today! The main color has to be red, but you can use up to 3 other colors too. All you have to do is email her a picture of your card. The design must be original and the card must be made by you (obviously). Deadline is March 14th.

Basic Grey fever

Seems like everyone is using Basic Grey patterned papers lately! I'm one of those "paper hoarders" who has real trouble cutting up ANY patterned paper and I'm so jealous of those who have no problems taking their scissors to it. I have every collection BG has ever made in 12x12 size, and a few in 6x6 size but I have such trouble USING it! What is wrong with me?

Now, over the years I have used maybe 6 sheets of BG paper from my stash, total. But no more. Last night I decided that I was going to do it. Just cut some of it up. So I grabbed the "Blush" collection and went to town! It felt strange at first, I'll admit...but then something happened. I started to really get into it and was cutting this piece and that every which way I could! I must have made 6 cards last night! All of them showcase the beautiful paper, and downplay the stamps. Here's the first one.

This card uses the BG Blush collection, some CS from Bazzill (red), CS from SU! (ivory), ribbon form SU!, ink is Versamagic chalk ink and Ranger archival, and the awesome sentiment stamps from Papertrey Ink.

I'll try to share one each day so you can all witness my miracle transformation. I am no longer going to hoard my PP. Scout's honor. Now, I just have to wade through 3 years of Chatterbox collections! AHHHHHH *runs screaming in the other direction*

March 07, 2007

Happy Mail!

Don't you love it when packages arrive in the mail? I received a big box of goodies from Craft Critique last night! I'd almost forgotten that I won some blog candy there a week or so ago. This box was PACKED. I mean, stuffed-so-full-it's-hard-to-open packed! I couldn't even take a picture of everything at once.
I got my first beaded pen! It was made to match the journal and they are both so cute. I like how the pen feels too. You'd never know it was covered with tiny little beads. I could get used to this! See that adorable red mailbox too? Isn't it fun looking? There were a few stamps, a bunch of fun fibers, lots of stickers, a scrapbooking calander type thing that looks like it will be neat, photocorners, bags of die-cuts, clips, ribbon, a mini stapler, embellishments, and I could go on and on!

Thank you very much Sarah! I was so amazed by the blog candy you sent, that I had to sit right down and make a thank you card. Nothing like a little inspiration, right?
I'll post the card after she receives it. I wanted to use one of the stamps she sent me, but I was so excited that I just ran to my studio and started working! Not even thinking about the lovely rubber I left sitting on the dining room table where I emptied the box. *sheesh*

March 06, 2007

Creatively frugal

ETA: I drew a name from the comments left and Jessica won! Jessica, please email me your mailing address and I will send those pop dots right out. Sorry for the delay, I had forgotten that I was going to draw a name on the morning of my wisdom teeth removal surgery. *slaps hand to forhead*

This might be old news to some of you, but I don't normally use pop dots, so it came as a surprise last week when I realized I had used my last one. I had this leftover piece of pop dot 'mesh' (for lack of a better word). You know, the in-between stuff that's left over after all the tiny circles have been used? Well, I couldn't bare to throw it away, so *LIGHT BULB* I just cut off a few tiny pieces of the extra and used them as pop shapes!Who says they have to be round, right? They still have the same sticky on both sides, they were easy to cut through, and nothing stuck to my scissors. It felt so good to be using something that I might have tossed out!
What other creatively frugal ideas have you come up with? Post your tip here and one lucky person will receive a brand new package of pop dot love!
Just share your frugal craft tip with all of us. Drawing will be held on Friday, March 9th.

March 05, 2007

Quick meal

We had an unexpected guest arrive just before dinner last week so I changed our meal plan for the evening in order to spend more time with our guest. Instead of what I had previously planned, I made quick pressure cooker risotto, baked sweet potato fries and brussels sprouts.

My husband's favorite vegetable is Brussel's Sprouts so I always keep fresh ones on hand, and I happened to have a few sweet potatoes that were originally going into my Tunisian stew later in the week. Risotto in the pressure cooker takes 8 minutes (compared to 30 the original way with constant stirring), so it was a no-brainer last minute dish. I dropped in a pinch too much of saffron this time and it was much more yellow in color than it usually is! Oops.

Both of our foster children will eat anything (read: not picky) and they love all the different vegetables that I've introduced to them, so pleasing them isn't hard. Both my husband and I adore all vegetables (being vegetarians for so long), but I was slightly worried about our guest. I need not to have feared! This last minute meal was proclaimed over by said guest and seconds were served all around!

Quick pressure cooker Risotto

In pressure cooker, saute a large onion, chopped, and 2 cloves of garlic in some Earth Balance or olive oil for 5 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups of arborio rice* and cook stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Pour in 5 cups of warm broth, 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry (or another 1/2 cup of broth), and a pinch of saffron. Stir, add lid, bring to high pressure, lower heat, cook 8 minutes. When done, release pressure quickly, remove lid, and still over low heat, stir in 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese. I usually use a mixture of Parmesan and Gruyere, but it's all about taste, so experiment. I usually add salt and pepper to taste at this point and continue stirring for another few minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice.
While adding cheese, stir in whatever cooked vegetable you like. We often have sauteed mushrooms topped with fresh thyme, or asparagus and carrots topped with dill. I recently read an excellent recipe that uses fresh radicchio [rah-DEE-KEE-oh] so we will be trying that next.

*It's important to use arborio rice, which is a short, fat grained rice to achieve perfect risotto. It can absorb a lot of liquid yet still retain a slight 'bite' to it when done.


One of these cards might be headed to a mailbox near you! I made these as RAKS on Friday and had so much fun doing it. I sometimes feel pressured to create something that I know someone will like, but these cards were fun to put together because I didn't have any one person in mind while making them.
I used Bazzill CS, image stamp and ribbon from SU, sentiment from Papertrey Ink, primas, stickles, white gel pen, Versamagic chalk ink, and ranger archival black ink.
This card uses CS, ribbon, ink, and image stamp from SU, sentiment from Papertrey Ink, cuttlebug embossing folder, MM snaps, and Chatterbox PP. I was inspired to use these 70s era colors when buying a candy bar for my DH. He loves Mr. Goodbar whose packaging is yellowish and brown with touches of red. I omitted the red for the card though, it seemed too much.

Keeps your eyes open for one of these to show up in your mailbox!

March 02, 2007

We have a winner!

The winner was drawn by our oldest foster son this morning at 9:04 Am. He's home sick from school today and I made him get off the couch to pick a name! Don't you love his camouflage feety pajamas?The winner is JEN!
Here's her comment: "something crazy about me.....I played Rugby in college :o) Short lived but I loved it. my partner in VSN crime, dawnmercedes referred give her an extra entry OK!"
Congratulations Jen, send me your mailing address and your package will be on it's way tomorrow morning! I was surprised actually that Allison or Dawn didn't win. They each had a ton of entries through referrals. Just goes to show that there is no rhyme or reason in drawing a name from a bowl!

Thanks for playing everyone. I had fun reading all those crazy facts about you! Some were crazier than others though! And oddly enough, quite a few of them could have applied to me too. Does that mean I'm REALLY crazy? *grin* (BTW Claudia F, my mom and brother both have webbed toes too!)