Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween! cake time!

hi all!

well the snow has mostly melted.  we will be heading to the vet shortly with one of my older cats, fluffy.  something is really wrong with her.  at first i just thought - hairball.  but that is not it.  she is making weird noises, having a lot of trouble eating and can barely growl at bubba kitten.  she appears to be very uncomfortable yet she is able to jump and go up and down the stairs so i have no idea.....

but aside from keeping a watchful eye on her all weekend pezza and i got out the cricut cake and had some halloween fun!

 ok yes it's a bit plain - i kind of choke near the end and forget the details (like the lustre paint and the colored sprinkles.)  here is the side band:

i CAN say that this was the most pleasing cricut cake experience yet!!!!  i had abandoned it for quite awhile because i had finally gotten it all down using the Cricut gumpaste in the tub and now i have searched and searched and can't find it anymore.  i couldn't find anything i liked the taste of as much and i just can't see spending so much time on something no one wants to eat 'cuz it tastes nasty.

then i discovered Candy Clay while figuring out what i was going to make for Pezza's birthday.  i looked into it a little more and started thinking i could use it in place of gumpaste.  further research on Cake Central and YES i could!!!!!!  holy moly why hadn't anyone mentioned this before?  i mean this stuff tastes freakin' awesome!!!!  all it is  - 1 bag of candy melts, melted and mixed with 1/3 c light corn syrup.  i decide to consult with my cake expert buddy Ann so i sent her an email asking about it.  but do i wait for an answer? no i just jump right in and start mixing up a batch.  i turn it out on wax paper and become a little suspicious:

i mixed and mixed but no matter how much i stirred i had this mysterious puddle of tasteless liquid........

i head to the computer and see ann has answered...her most important bit of info - be careful not to stir it much or it starts to separate and you get a puddle of oil.........ooooohhhhhh.......we decide i should proceed with it so i let it cool and then wrap it and let it sit overnight like instructed.

pezza and i got to work the next day - the pile of candy clay (also known as modeling chocolate) was HARD AS A ROCK.  but i started kneading it and sure enough it quickly warmed and became the consistency of playdoh - perfect!  we used some coloring gel and made our colors and then rolled it out just like gumpaste using a mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch to keep it from sticking.  it cuts like a dream!

now i will tell you right now as you can see in the picture - way too much cornstarch powdered sugar mix on top there.  after i put it on the mat i put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to stiffin up a bit and then cut it.  of course my ever-present small helper was by my side as usual...helping...

i love the powdered sugar on the nose! of course i needed a cake to decorate.
  1. mix up cake mix from box  
  2. look for 8" cake pans and remember you forgot to ever buy them  
  3. use the 10" pan
  4. pour batter in and realize you did the butter but forgot the flour  
  5. send hubby to the store for the second box of cake mix and heavy whipping cream i forget EVERY time
eventually we had a cake frosted with the BEST buttercream EVER - Rick's Special Buttercream.  now here are a couple things i learned along the way.  
  1. thinner is not better - i rolled the white out much thinner and it did not work quite as well.  it needs to be just thin enough to fit under the roller.  
  2. you do not have to make it with white and then add color - you can make it with the colored candy melts which is what i did with green.  of course if you don't need an ENTIRE bag of one color doing it with white and then mixing in the coloring is better.  
  3. one bag of melts is more than enough to cover 2 12x12 mats.  
  4. it does NOT need to sit overnight in order to work well.
here are some close ups:

the one thing i did not like was the little bit of raised -ness on the edges.  i also read in the chirp recently that they recommend cuts be 3" or larger - my ghost, cat and pumpkin are only 1 1/2" and they were a bit difficult but still turned out pretty well.

i also did not like all the powder on top of my cuts BUT if i am more careful next time or perhaps wipe them a bit with some butter it will be better.  when we do Pezza's birthday cakes i will be painting the cuts with lustre dust and sprinkling them with colored sugar so it won't matter as much.

what i DO love - it tastes AWESOME!  just like the candy but better.  last year at pezza's party the kids were all freaked out by the gumpaste even though pezza kept insisting it was good.

BTW - i took a break in the middle of writing this and went to the vet.  Fluffy will be fine.  vet is not sure what happened but she is full of gas from gulping air - perhaps from a throat infection causing pain.  so she got a shot of antibiotics and one to help with the gas and should feel better by tomorrow.

so what do y'all think?  anyone else ever messed with modeling chocolate/candy clay?  hhhmmm i may need to go get a piece of cake......

Saturday, October 29, 2011

stitched felt barrette

hi all!

yea so it has been snowing ALL DAY here - WTF?  i mean i love snow but wow - before halloween?  i don't even have pezza's winter coat and snowpants yet!

i did my usual grocery trip yesterday thank goodness.  and let's talk about extreme couponing for a minute.  now i will freely admit that i totally don't get it but i WANT to.  so i decided i was going to be really smart this trip and search for coupons and look at sales ads on the web.  i already had my list.  so i spent a couple hours on this.  i managed to find a number of coupons to take with me.  i also looked up sales but the bottom line is - i am not going to drive around to three different places just for a sale - waste of time and gas money.  i am also not going to buy something i don't need - i really only have the money to buy what i need right now.

BUT i did have several coupons so i was feeling quite smug with myself as i began shopping, carefully looking for the exact whatever the coupon specified.  i would say a third of the items i had a coupon for were not in the store.  so strike those off.  several items i could get cheaper by buying a different brand and the few coupons i had left that i could use - well i forgot all about them while checking out.  big giant FAIL on that one.

luckily we had nowhere to go so we have been laze-ing around the house all day. i got around to doing some stitching i have really been wanting to do.  pezza picked out a pink sweater dress for xmas so i made her a matching barrette:

i used some gorgeous felt from Janet over at Felt On the Fly in pink, green and ivory (be sure to check out her bookmark kits as featured in Through the Craft Room Door's holiday issue).  I cut the felt using spellbinders dies - cuts like a dream.

I used pink & iridescent white floss, iridescent beads and some pink buttons.

i added beads to the large circle while doing the blanket stitch around it and i love the effect!  i also used a mix of straight stitches, french knots and a few star stitches.  I did each piece individually and then stitched them onto the base piece.  I used hot glue to further secure the pieces and to glue a barrette blank to the back.  i see yet another hobby in my life - this was a fun project and a great thing to keep near the tv in the evenings.  i think i may try a crocheted edge on my next piece!  my inspiration comes partially from pinterest of course!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"boobies" & middle schoolers....

hi all!

so, my fave news story of the day - a middle school boy had his breast cancer awareness bracelet taken away at the middle school my oldest and my hubby went to.  why?  because it was the one that says i love boobies.  of course the news was making it out to be an injustice - it wasn't disruptive, he wasn't disruptive, blah blah blah and even phrased their questions in the interview with him so that he could say boobies on tv several times.  ok anyone else out there raised boys like i have?????  i can tell you right now the word boobies will send them into ridiculous childish fits of hystericality.  (blogger is telling me that's not a word but i disagree).  heck my youngest boy and his best buddy have graduated high school and STILL find farting hilarious.  not to mention i would imagine that their behavior over the word boobies (which i picture them repeating over and over pretending they are just reading the bracelet) probably makes the nearby girls very uncomfortable.  what do y'all think???

in other news i am doing my monthly battle with an allergic reaction to the perfumey carpet powder the cleaning people insist on using despite repeatedly asking them not.  so for the last 24 hours it has felt like someone is repeatedly stabbing me in the brain through my eye socket over and over.  i even tried to cover the carpet in baking soda but nope the perfume powder won out.  awesome.

i DID manage to get a LO done - 2 pager even!  this is pezza's bday 2 years ago.  though to be fair i am not 2 years behind as i started skipping around so i am less behind but also less organized :P

she wanted aliens so that's what we did - the title piece was actually a centerpiece/sign from her decorations.

it started with the little aliens stamp set she saw in the SU catalog.  then i cut additional shapes from the Everyday paper dolls cartridge.  unfortunately they did not have layers or shadows but i did cut a couple of them twice and made my own layers with scissors.  i used glossy accents on the space ship window, the aliens helmet, and all of the eyes.

page 2

and a few close ups:

i think the little aliens are so stinkin' cute!  the ones on the title were colored with copics and the others i colored this morning with pencils - love my pencils!

pezza's school party is today and i have a few last minute things to do for her costume - so far it is turning out quite good!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

pumpkin picking pezza style...

hi all!

we've decorated for halloween!  what do y'all think?  i am also trick or treating...trick or treating for the lost dog and cat foundation!  if you would like to donate CLICK HERE and be sure to put my name in the notes section!

we've also been getting ready for halloween around the house and this past weekend it was time to get our pumpkins.  now y'all remember the LO i already began know using SVGs and cutting with my new Black Cat?  you know all ready for fab pictures from a local farm with hayrides and lots of pumpkins?

well for starters i still haven't figured out how to cut it out.  i also didn't have photo paper to print any pics out OR ink in the photo printer either.  yea my whole i am going to get back to scrapping goal has been a bumpy ride.  i HAVE been very busy but it's all stuff for the magazine (which is our hugest ever!)  plus a secret project i have been working on for someone but i can't post THOSE pics until the person sees it first.  the good news is i did get comfortable with Make The Cut again and i am ready to cut my layout pieces...

but first we needed the perfect set up for pictures.

me: Pezza, do you wanna get your pumpkin today?
Pezza: YES!
Me: ok we'll go to the pumpkin farm
Pezza: NO.  i don't wanna get it there.
Me: oookkaaaaayy.  where do you wanna get your pumpkin?

wait for it

YUP...she wanted to get her pumpkin at target......

so being the dedicated scrapper i am (and totally determined NOT to waste the SVGs i have been working on)  i threw my camera in my purse and off we went...

pezza insisted that daddy pick out his pumpkin first from the bin of larger ones.  so as he is digging around i pull out my camera (remember we are in target) and i say hey honey, and this is what i get:

the look on his face says it all dontcha think????  let's just say he was thoroughly disgusted with me.

next pezza wanted to pick out a baby pumpkin from the other bin:


at which point hubby is telling me how completely embarrassing i am.  honestly, i don't know how he can be surprised by anything i do after this many years....and yes, those are going on the layout.....

so trev got most of his stuff moved yesterday.  he will be back today for the rest and Pezza and I are going to go check out his place.  i have had a number of people comment that i must be sad but really i am not.  i mean this is the goal of parenting.  they are supposed to leave!  my mom gave me some excellent advice a long long time ago.  she said the goal of parenting should be to become as useless to your kids as possible.  i believe in this.  my job is to teach them how to live in the world on their own.  now i AM glad he will be close by so i don't have to miss him!  and to be quite honest we have plans for his room and bathroom - no shrine there in case he comes home NOPE!  a guest room and then we will have pezza take over his bathroom and move her out of ours!  she wants it to be decorated with frogs and ducks :)

so am i the only one who got their pumpkins at the store?  i feel like this whole have to make a trip out to the farm and spend an arm and a leg and make it a big production thing is kinda new.  i never remember doing that as a kid OR doing it with the boys?  is it just a novelty where i live maybe?  lemme know!

Friday, October 21, 2011

a call to action...

just a quick note...

i have lived in my current home longer than any other place in my life.  i have been blessed with two of the greatest neighbors ever and am amazed at what difference it makes when raising kids.  One of them, Lorraine, has a father suffering from Parkinson's.  She is running a marathon to raise money for Parkinson's research.  I am hoping some of you will donate and help her reach her goal CLICK HERE to read her story and donate.

fun with embossing...

me again!
woohoo! 2 days in a row :P  so i am curious about your opinion of lace up boots.  you know - knee high leather boots that lace up the back paired with one of those silky/satin shirts with the lace edge along the bottom peeking out from under another tight fitting tell me what age group you are thinking maybe?  i am far from a prude but this was the outfit on a little girl at the pre-school pezza goes to.  granted she was older - in the after school program so probably about 9.... but i am thinking not appropriate......of course i only raised boys the first time around - we didn't have to worry about such things.  but a girl - that's a whole different story....

ever have one of those mornings when everything is pointing to just going back to bed?  i wake up, the coffee maker is broken.  again.  we have a keurig - love it except the only last like 8 months and then break.  the cat water fountain is also apparently broken which is driving little man nuts so he pulls the lid off and digs around in the water trying to make it come out of the spout.  in an effort to get back to my scrapbooking i went through pezza's 3rd bday photos (wow 2 years behind now) and got them all edited, sized and ready to print.  i go to print them and i have no photo paper.  good grief!

anyway, i have a couple cool projects today that i did for Craft Critique.

i had the opportunity to review some of the new embossing enamels from Stampendous.  these are AWESOME.  i haven't been excited by embossing powders since Tim's distress powders.  They are truly unique and you can read my full review and see LOADS of pics over on Craft Critique!

well it looks like another chicadee is fleeing the nest.  Trevor will be moving out on monday.  he will be close by though, not like Drake who is so far away.  i'll tempt him back for visits with food :)  when he first told me he was moving out i was against it - just don't feel he is set up and stable enough.  but the lease is only for 9 months and then he has decided he is going to go into the military.  he is PERFECT military material.  i don't want him in harm's way but i know it is a really great match for him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SVG learnin' time...

hi all!
have ya missed me?  sometimes i miss me too :P  entirely too much going on in my life.  luckily it's mostly good!  today, not so much... i had the fun of discovering a mix up with my account at the state tax dept and the froze my accounts.  WOW is that fun.  no problem, i talk to them, gather the papers they need and fax it over to them....again...and again...and again...while i am trying to get that to go through i decide it is REALLY time to get down to business on my scrapbooking.  i don't know if i mentioned it or not but i am the proud new owner of a black cat cougar digital cutting machine.  not that i don't love my cricut and all my cartridges but i also really love all the adorable SVG files i see folks using, especially my good friend Christine - you should check out her blog (but don't forget to come back here when you are done!)  so i have been cruising the likes of Little Scraps of Heaven, My Scrap Chick, & The Digi Bistro snatching up the cutest stuff to cut.  but FIRST I have to figure out how to do it.  i never understood people who were intimidated by their cricut and left it in the box but i have to tell you - i am a wee bit intimidated by my cougar!  not enough to leave it in the box tho!!!!!!!!  so it is sitting on my breakfast table...glaring at me...because i have been to busy with the latest issue of the magazine to get to work with him.  (i think he needs a name don't you).  i am not used to working this way but i needed to size my cuts so i laid it out in photoshop - i used one of the Oct Page Maps as my base:
from here i could just digi scrap it huh :P  but thats no fun.  well it is but not my plan for this one.  i spent the better part of the rest of the afternoon re-familiarizing/learning Make The Cut - i downloaded the updates and WOW - it is amazing now!  i have had it since the day it was announced.  so i have everything pretty much laid out...sort of...  now i have to figure out the cougar!  maybe tomorrow.....i do have to say it felt like ALOT more work doing it this way as opposed to grabbing a cartridge and cutting.  BUT i know alot of people prefer this method whether it's MTC or Gypsy or Cricut Craft room so maybe i will find it is easier when i get to the other side and only have to cut once and have everything i need just the right we just have to manage to get to a pumpkin patch and pick out some pumpkins!!!  you know BEFORE halloween....

Now you remember that fax i was sending don't you?  STILL not going through.  even called and got a different fax number.  finally i pull the printer out and look at the back...and there is the end of the phone cord glaring at me...not. plugged. in.  remember back in the day when life was less complicated.  phone cord plugs into phone jack right?  well in our house now we don't just have a few simple items.  the uinderside of my desk is a mass of wires everywhere - we have the laser printer, the all in one, the photo printer, the home server, my laptop, the router, the cable modem and somewhere is the direct tv hook up.  the phone jack is taken, i am not sure what's in it.  i plug it into the router - no luck.  i decide i am going to have to go old school - it has to plug into the next closest the kitchen...not close to the office... i find a long phone cord in the bedroom on the floor (no i don't know why).  it only goes to the foyer.  i am going to have to delve into hubby's drawer o'abandon cords.  YES - phone cord!  here is how it went:

no way i could get them all untangled so i gave up and just used it like it was.  but it WORKED!

hubby is coming back from PA tonight YAY!  i can NOT sleep when he is out of town and i just like it much better when he is home with us.

Anyone else use MTC here?  Anyone else design digitally FIRST and THEN cut - whether it is with MTC or a Cricut product.  ANY TIPS????  will i learn to love it?  are there any othe SVG sites i need to know about???

Monday, October 17, 2011

we have a winner!

i'm late with a winner!!!  so so sorry folks but time flies!  I am finishing the holiday issue of TTCRD and that is always a big job.  it is really really good!  i am QUITE proud!  in addition hubby was back in town fri-sun so i spent time with him - during which he tried to kill me with waxing our camper.  O. M. GOD.  i hurt in every place i HAVE last night and then my right arm got really bad - scary bad.  i was expecting sore muscles but what i got instead was severe pain in my bones and joints.  i finally took enough ibuprofen to get to sleep at almost midnight last night and i have kept taking it today.  i can feel this sort of vague halo of pain but not the intense pain i had last night.  i swear i was ready to cut it off.  BUT on a good note hubby went out and got me pie while i was in the shower and then gave me a bundle of cash to not only go get a haircut (which i desperately need) but also color it.  i have never had my hair colored professionally before so that should be interesting.  i think i might go do it today while pezza is in school since i am basically useless for doing anything productive :P

so the reason you are really here - who won all those fun clay embellishments?  Sharon!  with her guess of 9 projects.

i just got a new book i have been coveting after seeing it at the library called mixed media mosaics - all about clay.  hopefully i will have time to play with it soon and you will see more fun and easy clay stuff here!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

hi all!

ahhhhhh...nothing like decorating for the holidays to make me realize what a mess my house is...i can't put anything out until i clean up all the clutter so i have some where to put it!  the yard sale last weekend wasn't helping since ALL of my unwanted crap i still have left was sitting in my foyer! but i buckled down and got things back in order and commenced with the fall-ization!

Today is a teaser post again! I am very excited about one of my articles in the Holiday Bonus issue of Through the Craft Room Door so i thought i would tease you with some pics of the pile of products i used:

why YES those ARE super glittered xmas picks in totally outrageous non-traditional xmas colors ala Pezza.  what do you think?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

swimming for katie...

hi all!

i am proud to be swimming for katie today over on Craft Critique - be sure to head over and check it out if you haven't already read about it...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

studio Blog Truffle!

hi all!

as promised it's Blog Truffle time!  here is what i have up for grabs - poly clay embellies:

these are handmade by me and they have a fabulous dusting of mica powder for some amazing shimmer!

as you all know i recently re-did my craft room.  all cleaned up and beautifully organized.  so how is it going?  i thought i would show you some pics

i have FOUR main work tables/areas:

so my question for you - how many projects do i have going on RIGHT NOW from these pictures?  to be honest i am not even sure myself - i am going to have to go count them!

i can tell you though - the craft space is working out really well - YES i am cleaning up and putting things away as i go (so far).  so what you see out now is all being used :P  i do this because i often have things that need to dry so i work on other things while they dry OR i have various deadlines so i will be working on one thing and then have to take a break to work on something else that is due sooner PLUS stuff just for fun with no deadline at all.  Most of what you see in these pictures is projects that will be appearing in our Holiday Bonus issue of Through the Craft Room Door so i hope you all have a subscription so you can see the finished pieces!  I also have 4 pieces upstairs i have been working on in front of the tv.  it's an illness........

so what do you think peeps?  how many projects in the works can you spot? I will announce a winner on Friday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

swimming for katie...

a more serious note...

JOIN OVER 125 TOP DESIGNERS hopping to support our friend and stamper, Katie Renz, who is currently battling gastric cancer. Exclusive stamp digis will be available for sale with 100% of the profits going to Katie and her family. Direct donations are also being accepted. Katie’s cancer story started just before Christmas last year. This young, beautiful, healthy, vibrant mother of 3 with her infectious smile was suddenly diagnosed with an inoperable cancer, virtually overnight. A few tummy aches and then stage 4 gastric cancer. Her first post about it is here.

i met katie at the first CHA i went to several years ago and had "known" her online via the Cricut message board.  my heart aches for her and her family and i think of her often, especially when i am feeling frustrated with my normal everyday life - a dose of perspective KWIM?

You can find all of the info on the hop and the stamp for sale HERE as well as a donation button.  we love you katie...
hi all!
well i made it here to post just like i said i would.i was a little worried i wouldn't have anything to show you today BUT i do!

(Pezza is sitting next to me making a picture on her computer and i just heard her say - wow - i am too cool for myself :P)

we had a PERFECT weekend here in northern VA weather-wise - sunny, not cold but not hot, the leaves are really getting pretty.  our town held a town-wide tag sale this weekend so i thought i would throw some stuff out on the driveway and see what happens - mostly all of pezza's old toys and all of my leftover studio G inventory.  i was very disappointed - not a lot of traffic and not a lot of sales - especially with the toys which i thought would go quickly and easily.  i did make a little money which i promptly spent on stuff for pezza at the dollhouse show we went to yesterday.  you can read all about that fun little adventure on my dollhouse blog, Dotted Daisy, and see pics of pezza's project from the kids workshop.

i do have a project for you but it is sorta cheating...we are heading to a birthday party this afternoon and i needed a gift bag.  it occurred to me that instead of making a new one i could just use one of my many THOUSANDS of already made cards and put it on the front of a gift bag - TA DA!

the card is one from my Cricut Imagine Friday tutorials i did awhile back:

This time instead of putting a big ribbon bow on the handle like i usually do i made a kanzashi flower with the clover template, put a button in the middle and hot glued it to a barrette blank.  much more useful dontcha think?
cute, quick and easy!  what do y'all think???

i have some fun pics of my newly designed studio for y'all tomorrow and it occurred to me that it would make a perfect contest post.  so pezza and i decided we would make a bunch of clay embellies to give away for a little Blog Truffle!  but you'll have to tune in tomorrow to see what to do to win.  and it will be just for those of you faithful readers as opposed to me running ads for blog candy all over the place :P  here is the video pezza made that shows you how to make them yourself:

tune in tomorrow and play the game with us!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

i'm back!

i will begin posting from this blog again on monday Oct 10th! i hope you will all join in!  i have no idea if this will once again go out to all of my old subscribers or not but if you're here give me a shout out so i know!