Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Greatest View

It's finally sale time at my friend Gails handmade shop Greatest View. I know personally that all her items are made lovinginly, she is very precise and will not sell anything that is not 100% perfect.

The new products will be listed for sale  on the blog at 7pm this evening Brisbane time (1/2 /2012). All the items are ready-made so will be posted as soon as payment is made! I'll have more details in the sale post tonight but just to give you a heads up, I'll be accepting emailed orders with payment via direct depost or paypal.

Here are some of the goodies that will be on sale..did I say Drool!

                                                                   chevron badges
                                                             pattern paper bags
                                                                    glassine bags..
                                        hand dyed  seam binding to match the chevron badges

                                                  kraft packs and calico hand made flowers
                                                                        natural twine
expression badges
                                                                   school badges
I am sooo excited for her I hope to see you there!
POP back tomorrow and I will share a layout using some of these new goodies!
Till next time...

I Didn't Remember "Island Indigo"!!

I had no intention of playing any challenges today because it's a very, very busy day - but I made the mistake of peeking at the Splitcoast Color Challenge and it included Stampin' Up's Island Indigo.  I stared at the challenge for quite awhile wondering what they meant by Island Indigo because I hadn't heard of it.  I thought they always used Stampin' Up colors - but what was Island Indigo?  This from a woman who owns every Stampin' Up cardstock and ink ever made back to those that retired 15 years ago.  Well...I wandered to my desk and there it was - a whole package of Island Indigo cardstock and an ink pad.  Where have I been?  Where is my brain?  It's gorgeous - and I have never had it out.  So...the full focus of my card today is Island Indigo...

  • Stamps: Hero Arts Antique Flowers and Butterflies stamp and die set, Hero Arts Newsprint background, Gina K Framed Greetings sentiment
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Island Indigo, Pool Party
  • Ink: Memento black, copics*, Colorbox Frost White
  • Accessories: Paper Trey Doily Die, Stampin' Up Indigo ribbon
     *see the side bar on my blog for a chart of Copics that match Stampin' Up colors

Cookbook Review: The Butch Bakery Cookbook

 The Butch Bakery Cookbook
by David Arrick with Janice Kollar
192 pages

The Butch Bakery Cookbook is all about cupcakes.  Masculine cupcakes.  Cupcakes for grown men.  You won't find any frilly pink frosting or colorful sprinkles in this book.  Instead you'll find recipes for jumbo cupcakes named Beer Run, Triple Play, Tailgate, Camp Out, Side Car, and Jack Daniels Rush.  Manly cupcakes made with spices, bacon, nuts, liquor and beer.  This is not your mother's cupcake cookbook.

Chapters Include:
Introduction: Dessert for Dudes
Chapter 1: Working
Chapter 2: Play Ball!
Chapter 3: Touchdown
Chapter 4: Barbecue Season
Chapter 5: Couples' Night Out
Chapter 6: Butch's On-The-Go

To test out the cookbook I really wanted make the cover recipe, which is a maple cupcake with milk chocolate ganache and Butch's bacon bits (baked crumbled bacon with brown sugar and freshly cracked pepper).  However, everyone in the house kept eating up all all the bacon.  So I had to come up with another plan.  

Collectively, we decided on the New Yawk Cream Pie cupcakes.  The New Yawk Cream Pie cupcake is a yellow butter cupcake filled with vanilla pudding and topped with an easy chocolate glaze.  The recipe is from Chapter 6, Butch's On-The-Go.  While Chapters 1-5 feature rather intermediate homemade recipes, Chapter 6 features recipes using pre-made cake mixes.    
New Yawk Cream Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick
Makes 18 jumbo cupcakes or 24 regular sized cupcakes

"A Yellow Butter Cupcake filled with Vanilla Pudding and topped with an Easy Chocolate Glaze.  We know that sometimes you want a cupcake, but time is of the essence.  So here's an easy way to cut out the middleman and get right to the nitty-gritty.  Choose the butter version of a boxed yellow cake mix for these cupcakes.  We've switched up the ingredients here so that you won't even know these cupcakes came from a mix.  Filled with store-bought vanilla pudding and topped with our super-easy chocolate glaze, you'll impress all of your friends, and no one will be the wiser."

For the Yellow Butter Cupcakes:
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow butter cake mix
3 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
1 cup half and half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted an cooled slightly
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Filling:
4 (4-ounce) containers store-bought vanilla pudding

For the Easy Chocolate Glaze:
1 (16-ounce) can store-bought chocolate fudge frosting

Make the cupcakes:  Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.  Line three 6-cup jumbo sized muffin pans with liners and set aside (I used regular sized muffin pans).  In a large sized mixing bowl, add all of the cupcakes ingredients.  With an electric mixer on low speed, mix for 30 seconds to combine, and then beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fill each of the prepared muffin cups with no more than 1/4 cup batter, about 1/2 full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 22 minutes.  Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before filing and frosting, about 1 hour. 

Make the Glaze:  In a small saucepan, heat the frosting until melted enough to run off a spoon.  Let cool slightly to thicken.

Cupcake Construction:  Using a small paring knife or melon baller, cut a 2-inch diameter hole in the top of each cupcake.  Reserve the cutout pieces.  Fill with pudding almost to the top of the hole, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and then slice a piece from the reserved cutouts to cover the pudding.  Using a measuring tablespoon, spread 1 heaping tablespoon of chocolate glaze over the top of each cupcake.  Don't worry if it drips over the sides.  Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen for 1 month.
The Butch Bakery Cookbook is fun, unique, and creative.  It's definitely worth a sneak peek!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Merry Monday Shaker Cards

I was thrilled that one of my favorite cardmakers started a Merry Monday Sketch Challenge to get us ahead on  Christmas cards - unfortunately, she's on sketch #5 and I have only done one of the previous sketches.  I always have great intentions but then the week gets away from me with other card needs.  So this week, I decided to do it first thing Monday.

The sketch has a basic circle, so I thought I would put together my first ever shaker card.  Sounded like a fun thing to do and then to take up to my cardmaking group this week to duplicate.

NOT fun.

So not fun, that I will likely never do a shaker card again.

It's generally quite easy and there are great tools out there to help (check out the Shaker Frame adhesive by Stampin' Up).  The problem is static!!  Did  you know that if you google "static in shaker cards" you get 11 million hits!!  And the solutions are all ugly.  They all seem to involve old dryer sheets or Swiffer cloths, BUT...you not only have to de-static the little window, you should also pour the little glass beads into a cloth and "gently" roll them around until they are de-staticed also.  Seriously!!??

My 16-year old had to come watch every time that I tried something else, because I would hold the supposedly static-free plastic window over the glass beads and they would come "alive" and leap into the air to stick to the plastic window.

Finally, I read someone's plea for help that said she was at a gathering and they made shaker cards using page protectors, but now she is home using the fancy clear cardstock and everything is sticking.  Ding...ding...ding.  Forget the fancy stuff - I ran down to my husband's office and stole a page protector.  After I swore a few times when the stuff wouldn't punch and would barely cut with a nestability - it actually works!!

This is most definitely a case of expensive isn't better.

If anybody has had better luck or has advice, please let me know.

(Actually...don't let me know...I don't plan on doing these ever again.)

If you have read through that long saga - here's the card...

And I have only just realized that I was going to put three little white glitter dots in the bottom right corner to take the place of the sentiment in the sketch, but this card is most definitely DONE.

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink tag-its #9
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Green Galore textured CS, Melon Mambo, My Mind's Eye 12 Days of Christmas dsp
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Melon Mambo, Green Galore, Bermuda Bay, Papertrey Hawaiian Shores
  • Accessories: Martha Stewart doilies (the package calls them "tags"), Stampin' Up Mambo ribbon, Martha Stewart Glass Microbeads, Stampin' Up Shaker Frames, circle punches, page protector

Sunday, January 29, 2012

LIM Sketch: Comfort on a Difficult Day

This week's Less Is More challenge is a wonderful basic sketch.  I love sketches and I particularly love basic sketches because it allows each participant to go in wildly different directions.  I am looking forward to browsing their gallery this week to see the variety because what I have seen so far on some of my favorite blogs has been great!

I have spent the week working on sympathy cards for our church card ministry.  I particularly like the beautiful sentiment on this card to complement the simple scene.

I very lightly sponged the colors onto the white panel and then used a variety of stamps from Stampin' Up's Serene Silhouettes to create the scene.  As a final touch, I spritzed it with pearl glimmer mist.  In the photos, it just looks a little blotchy but IRL it has a dreamy look to it.

I have a busy card week this week - it's cardmaking at church so I have to put together a whole bunch of kits, it's release week at Sweet 'n Sassy - blog hop and release party on Thursday! - and . . . I have a fun announcement on Wednesday!  Be sure to check back!

  • Stamps: Stampin' Up Serene Silhouettes, Verve New Mercies (sentiment)
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Barely Banana, Basic Black, white
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Soft Sky, Pink Pirouette, Marigold Morning (light orange), black
  • Accessories: EK Success Border Punch, Tattered Angels Pearl Glimmer Mist, sponges

Lake Louise...

Over at Get Picky there is a new challenge up....
 Our inspiration prompt challenge is to scrap your favourite holiday photos and share the story as part of your journalling.....

**As an extra to our challenge,
you must include at least 4 photos to help tell the story behind your layout **

My favourite holiday is of course my honeymoon where we spent 4 gorgeous weeks in Canada.
Here we visited the stunning Lake Louise, Oh how glorious it was...

Do you spy those gorgeous Elle's Studio banner tags and journalling blocks....

Till next time...

cooking club: homemade yogurt + granola

We held our second Cooking Club for Relief Society this week.

It was at the home of my friend, Breanna Smithson. She's known as "the foodie" in the ward/neighborhood. :)

She taught us to make homemade yogurt. (It was kind of a personal request from me.)

Oh. my. goodness.

If I had known it was so simple to make I would have been making it forever! I don't know if I can ever eat store-bought again. It's the perfect consistency, so much healthier, and just plain yummy. And it's so pretty in a canning jar.

Breanna brought over a jar later that night after it was done. I had Lynn try it the next morning (the real test), and he's asked me three times, "Are you going to make some yogurt?" He wants to take it to work with him for breakfast.

Breanna also mixed up a batch of her granola to sprinkle on top of the yogurt. The best granola I've ever tasted--really. And I love that it uses honey as the sweetener. No more looking, I found "the one."


3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 T. butter
1/3 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey on low, stirring. Add vanilla and pour butter mixture over oat mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined.

On a large baking sheet, spread the granola evenly in a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from sticking or burning, until golden brown and crisp (about 20 minutes). Do not overcook, the granola will become more crisp as it cools. Cool granola on baking sheet.

May be kept in an airtight container for up to one week.

Breanna's notes:
  • I always double the recipe and keep it in the freezer because I love really cold granola. (Oh, I need to try that!)
  • If you like dried fruit in your granola (I don't), stir in when you take the granola out of the oven to cool.
Thanks, Breanna!
Check out Breanna's blog for more great recipes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

IndySuperCure...Not Just Any Pink Saturday!

IndySuperCure is a special initiative set up by the super bowl to help scientists study normal breast tissue. The thing is though, in order to study normal breast tissue, said tissue has to be collected and stored in a tissue bank. Susan G Komen for the Cure has just such a bank. And IndySuperCure, taking place on Saturday, January 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It is an initiative to help fund the collection of normal breast tissue from 700 women volunteers!

A physician removes tissue from a breast tissue donor. (Image courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center)

Click below to read the article on this incredible initiative...

Now THAT'S a Pink Saturday!


Scarlet without Rhett!

My poor sweet baby girl!!!!!  She had a small spot on her cheek Thursday night that looked like a bug may have bitten her but not really then Friday she looked like this!  She may have Scarlet Fever {strep with a rash} we are waiting on the test to come back. She is on meds and will hopefully be up and about very very soon! I am so happy I was able to get her to smile today :o) I LOVE her!!!!!

I am having a very slow sewing day here since I keep checking on her every three minutes!!!

Hope you are having a great and productive weekend!!!!

La Pizza Rossa (The Bread Lover's Pizza)

 We've all heard of the meat lover's pizza, the cheese lover's pizza, and the veggie lover's pizza.  Meet the new bread lover's pizza.  The crust on this pizza rossa is at least one and a half inches thick, giving a whole new meaning to thick crust pizza.  

The dough on this pizza is dimpled, which allows room for more toppings, creating a harmonious balance between the thick crust and what lies on top. Creating good dimples in your dough is the secret to this pizza.  Each dimple is like a secret holding extra little bits of sauce and cheese. 

 As written, this recipe called for topping only with a homemade tomato sauce. I wanted to make my pizza more of a main course pizza so I added the standard cheese and pepperoni.  Feel free to customize this pizza as you wish.  There are so many different variations that would be good with this thick crust.  This recipe makes a huge pizza that easily fills up a large sheet pan.  You will have enough pizza to feed a large family or a small crowd.  

La Pizza Rossa
Adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
Makes 12 to 15 pieces

1-3/4 cups warm (comfortable to your fingers) water
1 (3/4-ounce) cake fresh yeast, crumbled or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Tomato Topping:
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and squashed a bit
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
3 basil leaves, torn

cheese, pepperoni, sausage, veggies (optional)
12 ounces of shredded mozzarella
pepperoni, to your liking
about 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
sprinkle of parsley, basil, and/or any other herbs

Put the water, yeast, honey, olive oil, and 3 fistfuls of the flour in a bowl.  Mix with an electric beater until smooth.  Cover the bowl and leave for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture froths up and looks foamy on top.  Mix in the rest of the flour and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt.  The dough will be very soft and sticky- don't be tempted to add more flour.  Now, using a dough hook, mix for about 4 to 50 minutes so everything is completely incorporated.  If you don't have a dough hook, just mix it with your hands, slapping it from one side of the bowl to the other as it will be too soft to knead.  Cover the bowl with a couple of cloths and leave it in a warm and draft-free place for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the dough has puffed up well.
Note:  I turn my oven on warm/lowest setting and leave the bowl on top of the oven.

Very lightly oil an 11 by 15 by 1-1/2 inch baking pan.  Punch down the dough with one firm blow to the center.  Spread the dough gently onto the pan, right out to the edges, working it with your palms to stretch it along the pan.  If it won't stretch easily, leave it to relax for another 5 minutes and then gently stretch out the dough, starting from the center and flicking your palms across it.  Make sure the dough doesn't break anywhere and that it is more or less evenly spread.  Put in a warm draft-free place.  Arrange four glasses around the pan and drape a couple of dish towels or a towels over them like a tent to completely cover the sheet (so that the dough doesn't stick to the cloth as it rises).  Leave for 45 minutes or so, until the dough has puffed up.
For the tomato topping, heat the oil with the garlic in a saucepan and, when you begin to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes, basil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cook for about 15 minutes over fairly strong heat, until the sauce loses its wateriness and starts to look thick and bubbly.  If you like, you can whiz it a couple of times with a handheld blender to make it a little smoother, but still keep some chunks.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450F.

Dimple the top of the dough here and there with your fingers so that the tomato has some nests to settle into (take care not to deflate your dough, though).  Scatter the tomato sauce over the top and gently spread it out with the back of the ladles.  It may seem like a lot of sauce, but it keeps the pizza lovely and moist.  Top with other toppings, if using.  Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven) until the pizza is golden and a bit crusty here and there.  Check that the bottom is crusty and crispy, too, and cook for longer if you need to.  Cut up into squares to serve.  I think this is best warm, but it can also be served at room temperature, or reheated.
Theme: Potluck 

Friday, January 27, 2012

through the glass...

I mentioned before about the gorgeous new kit from Elle's Studio called

....but I didn't mention how yummy yummy yummy it is. Chock full of gorgeous papers and embellies and exclusive Elle's Studio tags and stamps, they are selling fast so I hope you can pop over and take a look.
This is the first layout I  created . I used an older photo of my eldest...taken on the day he was born where he spent three days in the special care nursery.

Till next time...

A CASual Friday Chocolate Cake

 Today's Splitcoast Free4All Challenge says that is is Chocolate Cake Day!!  So they challenged us to use Chocolate Chip and Crumb Cake on a card.  As much as I hate to do this on Chocolate Cake day, I really need to make sympathy cards for our church card ministry.  I originally started out with Cherry as an accent on this card, but I just couldn't get rid of the mental picture of a cherry on top of a rich chocolate cake - so a sympathy card just wasn't happening.  It worked much better for me when I switched to blue.

I also used the CAS-ual Friday sketch challenge.  I knew that it was meant to be when I saw that this week's sponsor is Sweet 'n Sassy and I actually already had pulled out their set Elegant Blessings to use on a classic sympathy card.

  • Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy Elegant Blessings
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake, Marina Mist
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake
  • Accessories: Stampin' Up embossing folder, Marina taffeta, antique brads, and scalloped border punch

Thursday, January 26, 2012

His daddy

A new sketch is up at Elle's Studio and this week I got to play along. I hope you can play along too!
My eldest has watched his daddy build lego for him for a couple of years and he now has the confidence to build for himself!

 Do you see another of those gorgeous chevron badges that will be on sale very soon over here at the Greatest View! If you havent joined in on the fabulous give away Gail is having there is still time!

Till next time...

wedding: the wishing tree

Another one of my "assignments" for Patrick and Ashlee's wedding reception was the "wishing tree." It's a place guests can leave their advice and well-wishes for the couple on little cards and hang them on the tree. It ended up being one of my favorite things about the reception.

Traveling home from Costco one afternoon, I spied a huge pile of tree branches in a field. I yelled at Lynn to stop and turn around. The owners had just cut down part of an apple orchard, so the branches were still fresh and "living." Perfect.

I had purchased a few different jars because I wasn't sure which would work best. I also had an urn as an option, but it would have been more formal and I knew Ashlee wanted simple. After Lynn cut apart the branches, we arranged them and found the tall jar with a wide mouth allowed the branches to spread out best.

I liked it the way it was, but Lynn insisted it needed a filler in the jar. The next day he found a bag of smooth river rocks at Home Depot.

We set up the tree on a table in the foyer of the Bella Vista, which is just as you walk off the elevators. I had collected a variety of glass crystals in different shapes that we hung from the branches. The "wishing cards" matched Patrick and Ashlee's wedding announcements. We added a few to the tree and the rest were left on the table.

The entire reception was so much Patrick and Ashlee, and I loved that the bling of the tree was all about Ash and the "earthy" elements, Patrick. (He's a huge outdoor adventurer--rock climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, fishing, camping--and even manages an outdoor recreation store while going to school.) We added water to the jar to keep the rocks from looking faded. There were also an assortment of framed photos around the base.

The tree was simple and beautiful with all the cards hanging from it.

The wishes and advice ranged from sweet to silly. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Have lots of adventures together!
  • Have lots of babies?!?! (No, I did not write that one!:))
  • I wish that 20 years from now you still get butterflies when you see each other!
  • Don't ever think your spouse knows what you're thinking, it could be completely the opposite of what you think.
  • Always put your companion first.
  • Good luck and many years of happiness. Enjoy your best friend.
  • Have a date every week, even if it's just popcorn and a DVD.
  • Congratulations! I hope you will love each other more in 40 years than you do today.
  • Look into each others eyes and tell each other that you love each other at least once a day. 
  • Tell Ashlee you love her at least once a month. And never get naked around each other; it's the devil's work. (Yes, that was Austin! :))

LIM Cut It Out with ColourQ

Since last Saturday, when Less Is More announced a "Cut It Out" challenge (using a hole or aperture in your card), I've known what I wanted to do - but I am only just getting around to it now!  In the meantime, the CAS-ual Friday Challenge that I wanted to pair it with - using ONLY black and white - has expired.  I'm not going to get into their gallery - but if you haven't peeked - it's a fascinating gallery to look at.

Our church card ministry is always in need of sympathy cards, so I found a simple silhouette bird and used a die cut that resembled a bird cage.

Since I didn't make the black and white card in time, I decided to try to give the same card some color.  This week's colourQ challenge has some of my favorites!   (I really did use Olive ink - but after a dozen photo attempts - you are still seeing an entirely different!!)

  • Stamps: Stampabilities bird silhouette, Sweet 'n Sassy Peaceful Swans (sympathy sentiments), Verve  Small Phrases (I thought of you)
  • Paper: white
  • Ink: black, Stampin' Up More Mustard, Old Olive, Crumb Cake
  • Accessories: twine, SU Button Bouquet button, gems colored with copics, Papertrey die