Wednesday, November 30, 2011

christmas cards take 1!

hi all!

We get to venture to the dentist this morning - UGH!  so not my idea of fun!  before we head out i wanted to get my first few Christmas Cards posted.  Now that I have the Black Cat i can cut so many awesome things available on the internet - one favorite place - Lettering Delights.  There is a TON of stuff to collect over there and i am happy i can use the cut files now too! i came across a set of SVGs called Father Christmas and HAD to have them.  one day i will have a collection of old time Father Christmases - but for now i have a small collection of Father Christmas cards for ya:

i put them into Make the Cut and arranged all the pieces and sized them.  then i cut some of the shapes in other sizes to use as additional embellishments - awesome way to pull it all together easily!

i found the papers in a pad at either Michaels or Joanns - i forget which - but they were perfect for the old world rustic theme of the father christmas die cuts.

here are some close up of the die cuts - i used Viva Decor Paper Pen in red for the holly berries and white sparkle fluff for the "fur" and beards.

i am really enjoying creating with my Black Cat and will be ordering some accessories to do more stuff soon - like fabric!  and embossing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

a layout with 3 video tutorials!

hi all!

Let the christmas season officially begin!  of course i have been doing christmas projects for some time but once thanksgiving is over it really feels like christmas!  i have a serious lack of christmas music so i worked on fixing that yesterday and downloaded some to my computer.  however i have no ipod :(  but better than nothing - time to move into the current century right!

i have a snow layout for ya today.  and it has THREE videos to go with it!  i used 3 different techniques on the layout and figured i would film them while i was at it :)  two years ago we got an unusually large snowfall for this area - over 4'!  it was mind boggling and i think we shoveled for a week!  i was browsing through some SVGs over at Treasure Box Designs and saw a snow shoveling set and immediately thought of those pictures from the massive snowfall.  Treasure Box has SO many adorable sets for paper piecing as well as digi stamps.

i did this layout for Through the Craft Room Door using the sketch that appears in the current issue.  

while the sketch is a card sketch it was easy to alter it a bit and use it for a layout.  i turned it on it's side and instead of the 3 tabs i used a snowbank die cut from the SVG set.  i also used the layout of the focal panel for many of the picture mats.

we would LOVE to have YOUR submissions so be sure to check out our current calls!

page 1. 

page 2

I used my Black Cat to cut out the SVG files of course and i must say i was really impressed by how well it cut even the tiniest of details:

to give you an idea of the size...

LOVE it!

fr the title piece i made a mat using tin foil, alcohol inks, an embossing folder and some Staz On ink

This is the first video i have for you today:

I also used Perfect Pearls mica powders on the title panel as well as the strip across the top of the layout to add some shimmering snowflakes - this is video 2:

perfect pearls are amazingly versatile and one of my can't live withouts!

i also added some microbeads for a different sort of shimmer.  i used them for the bands on the photo mats as well as the diecuts.  did you buy a bunch of martha stewarts microbeads when they came out?  i know i did (like every single color).  get them out and use them!  you can see how easy it is in the third video:

These videos are all sponsored by FaveCrafts - a new favorite set of sites of mine - loads of free ideas and tutorials and such - great stuff!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

turkey day cooking {mis}adventures!

hi all!

did you all have a fabulous thanksgiving?  we did - i cooked as usual and trevor came and ate with us.  i LOVE cooking thanksgiving dinner - and i especially love having all those leftovers!

how about black friday shopping?  i go EVERY year - it is what jump starts my holiday spirit.  however i am NOT a night person.  and now that all the excitement happens at midnight instead of the usual 4 or 5 am i miss out on all the insanity.  yes i LOVE the insanity.  EVERY other day of the year i hate it but on black friday i love it.  now i rarely go out after some big item i just have to have and am willing to die for like some folks but it is fun just the same.  however, this year, since i missed the frenzy, it pretty much sucked.  guess i will have to figure out how to be up at midnight next year!

we ate early in the day - noon - because trevor had to work that evening.  we did the usual menu - having done it for so many years i pretty much have it all down to a science:

turkey - no brine this year but the carrots/onion/celery underneath

and oranges/leeks/thyme inside

then bacon covering the top:

seriously good turkey people - no basting, juicy as can be - we are talking WHITE meat dripping with juice - and as the bacon crisps you pull it off and snack on it

the stuff inside is thrown out but the vegies on the bottom along with the juices make for awesome turkey noodle soup and turkey pot pies!

we also had homemade cranberry apple relish, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, stuffing, giblet gravy, & brocoli - YUM!!!

pezza insisted on a drumstick

and we also started a brand new tradition.  my mom always heads to my brother's for thanksgiving.  last year she gave him a book from my great x ? grandmother Alida Lepine - we estimate it is from around 1900.  the recipes are hysterical.  for one thing they cooked over open flame back then so it's not like there are oven temps or anything.  some don't even have directions, just a list of ingredients.  that's it.  alida marked some of the recipes with an X BUT we don't know if the X is good or bad.  so we have decided that every year my brother will send out a list of recipes - no info JUST the title.  all participating families get to vote and then we all make the winning recipe for thanksgiving and report back.  this year the winner was lemon pie and runner up was almond kisses.  then we got the recipe....

Lemon Pie
1 Lemon                         Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar                     1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup seeded raisins    1 tablespoon butter

Cook over fire until thick, then ass raisins. Bake pastry and put in filling. Roll thin pastry
for top. Can make roll instead of pie and serve with lemon sauce
so my first thought was...ONE lemon.  ONE lemon for a whole pie.  nothing else ONE lemon and some sugar ONE??????  i told kevin about it and he said the same thing - he had to come read it for himself.  my next thought was RAISINS?  why????  like what purpose do they serve?  and then the instructions - who noticed the typo above????  ass raisins?  really?  of course that started a string of emails at which point my brother said "he who is without sin can cast the first ass raisin."

so we made the pie...

lookin a little empty ya think???

yea...turns out ass raisin was more appropriate than we realized because this pie was AWFUL.  awful really does not begin to describe how incredibly nasty this pie was.  without the raisins it might have been ok, doubling or tripling it might have also been an improvement but truly disgusting.

i was not going to make the almond kisses until my brother sent out his report and pics on his attempt with them.  dismal failure.  they were big running puddles on the cookie sheet.  so i looked more closely at that recipe:

Almond Kisses
1 cup blanched and ground almonds
6 eggs, whites
1 1/2 cups sugar

Beat eggs very stiff, add sugar, and beat well. Fold in nuts and drop with tube or spoon
on linen paper and bake in oven when fire dying out. Pecan kisses may be made same
way, using one tumbler of half meats.
it looked like meringue cookies.....i noticed the words VERY STIFF - which my mom and brother apparently MISSED.  i did not have almonds but i had pecans so i got to work.

pez was feeling uncertain about the entire experimental phase of dinner....

but these actually turned out really really well - in fact i may make more for xmas!

we have been taking it easy around here - we are re-doing our upstairs bathroom for pezza - it used to be the boys' when they were here.  new mirrors, new lighting, refinishing the cabinets - fun fun!  we also went out to the mall so pezza could ride the carousel and stopped at jareds to get my rings checked and cleaned.  while we were there hubby got me the most beautiful  black & white diamond stud earrings i fell in love with - early christmas!  then he took us out to the cheesecake factory - YUMMMMM!  he is the best!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blitsy - starts friday - DON'T MISS OUT!!!!

hi all!

this is a super quick post to let you know about  What is it?  In their own words:

Best in Crafts.
Blitsy brings you the best in all things crafts. We are on the frontlines of the crafting industry, discovering and delivering the latest designs and trends.

Weekly Private Sales.
All members are invited to our weekly private sales on  New sales will begin each Monday, Wednesday and Friday and last a total of 7 days or until all items are sold out.  Each sale features carefully selected collections of crafts which are available for a limited time.  To start, Blitsy will have a strong emphasis on scrapbooking and paper crafts supplies, but will soon offer a wide array of general crafting items.  Be sure to log in early, as quantities are limited and items often sell out quickly.
think Groupon for crafters!  and it all starts on Black Friday so sign up now or you might miss a REALLY great find!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a video basics for ya!

hi all!

is winter hitting anywhere else?  it has actually been pretty mild here temp-wise but NO SUN the last few days.  and i am FREEZING all the time.  which is weird since i usually have the opposite problem but i swear i cannot get warm.  it's like my bones are freezing!  craziness!

many people have been asking me about Pezza.  you may or may not know but i had to pull her out of pre-school AGAIN last year because her behavior was so bad.  Then we thought she might be on the Autism spectrum and had that worry.  so many of you wanted updates so i thought i'd share.

for starters she is doing really well in school this year.  why?  i don't know :P  could be several things 1. she is in a class of older kids not younger like before, 2. her class is doing more advanced work than the younger set would be doing - it is a little bit more kindergarten-like, 3. the class is VERY small - only 7 kids total.  being a november baby she is one of those kids who misses the cutoff date and has to wait a full year to start school.  being as smart as she is (and she is creepy-smart) starting a year later is NOT going to help matters and neither will being the oldest kid in the class.  so while she is doing very well now, none of those 3 factors will be possible when she starts kindergarten so i am still a bit apprehensive.  on top of that i already went through the public school system with a very smart kid and it was an absolute total nightmare.  at this point hollyn is reading step 2 books by herself, knows addition and subtraction, basic fractions and beginning multiplication.  add in the hyperness and stubborn-ness and we are all in for a wild ride!  according to her doctor there is no autism.  that's a good thing.  we did discuss her "quirks" at length and she says it's a combination of high intelligence, hyperactivity (the H without the ADD) and personality.  in other words - have fun with that one :P

she IS getting a bit more self control and self discipline so maybe some of it will get better as she know, right before she hits puberty and the PMS starts!  in addition i have scaled my work load WAY back (as you can tell from my lack of blog posts) in order to concentrate more on her.  we instituted a pom pom reward system which has been very helpful too.  and then yesterday i came up with something brilliant (can't believe i never thought of it before with the boys).  when she misbehaves she goes to her room.  then we have to watch the clock and the whole timing thing and go upstairs to get her.  last night she kicked her shoe off into the tv so on her way up the stairs she asked how long.  i need her to clean her room so i said you can't come out until you have put away ALL of your train tracks.  i figure this is a win win situation for me - punishments should not punish the parents!  she would either refuse to pick them up and stay in her room longer (more peace & quiet for me) OR she would want to come out so she would get all of it picked up (again good for me).  so that is where we are at for now.

on to some crafting - NON holiday of any type crafting :)  i have another video sponsored by - it offers tips for working with patterned papers.  here is the card I made:

 the embellishment came from my stash - the pink flower is die cut from a sheet of dried viva decor modeling grass and then layered with a fabric yoyo and teeny pardo clay flower.

I will be doing more video basics for FaveCrafts soon so be sure to look for those!  i will be doing perfect pearls and alcohol inks.  do you have any topics you think i should cover?  be sure to suggest them to me and i can put them on my list!

we just completed the next issue of Through the Craft Room Door too so if you don't get it SIGN UP! if you already get it - i think you will really love it!  i know i do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

giving thanks...

hi all!

if you have been reading for awhile then you may remember me referring to my dinner divas group every now and then.  it was a group of moms that would make one meal and make enough for everyone in the group each and then we would get together and trade - so if there were 6 that month i would make 6 meals worth of something, one for me and 5 for the others. then i would come home with 5 different meals for the freezer and i LOVED it - totally relied on it.  well the group has disbanded for now so i was really missing it.  after a little internet research and purchasing the book Don't Panic Dinner's In the Freezer i have begun a new plan.  i do all the cooking myself but it is an excellent plan. the book has some good tips and points but i will also be adding a couple other books that look interesting.  i check the grocery store ads, see what meat and other items are on sale and stock up or go to costco.  and then i make a bunch of meals each time i cook.  so the other day i made white chicken chili and i made 4 batches instead of 1 - which is actually not all that much more work than making one but now i have 3 instant meals with the extra fixings all ready to eat!  so last night pezza and i got out 6 pounds of ground beef and made 4 meatloafs with the sauce and the mashed potatoes in with them - i cooked two so i could have some already cooked meals in there and some that need to be cooked but i can just pull them out and toss them in the oven.  then we made 26 sliders with cheese and the burger buns are in the freezer too.  it took about 2 hours to prep and made a huge mess but again not a whole lot more than making ONE meatloaf or batch of sliders would have made.  this will free me up to do other things like stay in my craft room longer!  i am thinking if i cook 3 x a week and 2 of those times i make 3-4 batches of whatever i cook then i will get to a point where i cook 3x a week but we have homemade meals every night!  i have to tell you it is quite a feeling of accomplishment!  and the grocery shopping is easier & cheaper too!  buying for 3 meals as opposed to 5-7 - it takes less money & time to just buy a little extra of the same ingredients than all the different things for lots of meals!  Next up will be chicken pot pies!

of course bubba kitten helped:

why is he blurry and my feet and legs are in focus?  cuz he was attacking me like he was insane!  crazy kitten!  i swear he is the best and i love him to pieces!  so glad he came into our lives!

onto the crafting!

i am submitting this project for the following:

(it's not a card but i hope it counts)
Creative Card Crew - Thankful
Cardmaking Mommas - be thankful

be sure to check them all out!

now i set out to do this using the Elegant Edges cricut cartridge.  you all know i love love love my cricut.  but i was not loving it yesterday.  to make a long, painful story short i needed to make one of my cuts 11.5" and it would only go as large as 10.5".  tried to use design studio, which needed updating and took forever, but it couldn't seem to cut to either my I or my E2 AND the E2 would not recognize the cartridge - kept telling me cartridge error.  i couldn't update or "sync" it because my computer refused to recognize that it was connected.  ok i will give Cricut Craft Room a try - the free new online version of design studio.  it wouldn't cut to either machine or recognize either of them was plugged in.    by bedtime last night, after working on it ALL DAY i had only gotten as far as picking out my papers.  so i chucked my original idea and did this layout for our thanksgiving day pictures:

i used a martha stewart punch around the page and some awesome SEI velvet-flocked paper on the base pages. 

all of my cuts are from an older cartridge called Thanksgiving.  it is a smaller, less expensive cart and therefor not many layers or shadows but a good cart nonetheless.

i made several cuts of the leaves for the swirly border and then used those as my embellishments.

i added the pilgrims with some hesitation...i remember as a kid thanksgiving was sort of explained as a day when the indians & fairly newly arrived pilgrims sat down and had dinner together.  okaaaaayyyyy.  what we aren't taught in elementary school is the massive injustice committed against the indians later.  bothers me...

HOWEVER, i do love the idea of taking a day out to be thankful - i think it is something that is too often overlooked and yet the single most important key to a happy life.  my life has been filled with blessings and the more i keep them in mind the better my day goes!

another video for you...

hi all!

ok i have NEVER been one to exercise for the sake of exercising.  it's not that i don't like being active - i just want to be active with a purpose.  like when i lived in SW missouri and i did alot of hiking, rock climbing and caving - loved that! but exercise for exercises sake - so not my thing.  i am suspicious of people who love to exercise as a hobby like my hubby and my friend across the street.  BUT i decided a couple weeks ago that i need to do SOMEthing so i have been getting on the treadmill every day for 45 minutes.  LONGEST most miserable 45 minutes of my LIFE!  according to the treadmill i burn 260 calories each time.  i don't even know if that's worthwhile or not but hey, at least i am doing something right?  i always kind of wondered about people who would have towels nearby when they worked out in tv shows and stuff.  like oh really?  you need a towel?  well let me tell you - that 45 minutes on the treadmill makes me sweat in places i didn't know sweated!!!!  holy cow!  so today i had to do it - get a towel to wipe my face and neck UGH!  but i hope i can keep myself going.  i know it is a good habit to get into...right?

onto more FUN things - i have another video for ya today!  this is a basics video - i always see posts on forums from people saying they are unsure how to use patterned paper - especially more than one on a single project.  so i made a quick video with some tips for you and here is the final card:

what do you think?  i am posting a pic of the card because NOTHING irks me MORE than someone posting a video but no picture of the final project so i can decide if i want to watch it or not.

my focal piece is a die cut flower from viva decor modeling grass, a fabric yoyo and a pardo clay flower cut out.

here is the video for ya - be sure to let me know how you like it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

pezza's party

hi all!

Pezza's party was a success yesterday!  but i have to say i am BEAT and to top it all off i pulled a muscle big time in my neck/shoulder this morning and it HURTS O. M. G.  i have not really had that happen much before. thank goodness it happened AFTER the party right!

so pezza's theme - in her words - gold and silver stars and a dash of colorful-ness.  okaaayyy.  one of our fave stops when going back and forth to where we store our camper is Dairy Queen.  last weekend we went out there to put the cover on him for winter and stopped on the way home and she spied an ice cream cake with the most magnificent rainbow bright color scheme going on and NO other decorations on top - perfect for me to throw on some silver and gold stars so we started with that:

Pezza also wanted some candles she saw in one of my Wilton books:

The best part - they are actually rice krispie treats covered in white chocolate - YUMMY!  and different.

We did a low key party - ok not low key but not the high end style where you shell out hundreds for chuck e cheese or pump it up.  we just had it at our house.  i had games planned but the kids were having so much fun playing we never even got to them.  of course my house is a mess but who cares!

my stepmom made this incredible banner - went with the party theme PERFECTLY and pezza loved it!  Daddy got her some super awesome balloons - she just about fell over when he came in with them.

candle time with a few of the guests - notice her enormous golden plate - a platter actually but she saw it in the party store and insisted it was her birthday plate. 

The January/February issue of Through the Craft Room Door will focus on birthdays and contain lots of in-depth info on this party and others from cake making, goody bags, decorations and game ideas and tips i used to save some money for this party!  you won't want to miss it!

now i am off to find an ice pack!