Friday, November 29, 2013

Catered Crop: Animal House

The current challenge at Catered Crop is "Animal House". Linda says...

We’re going to get wild with this challenge. No, it’s not a Toga party or a food fight like the 1978 John Belushi classic. Just add wild life, pets, or any animal (dogs, cats, bears . . . ) anywhere in your challenge. And party on!

I was cleaning my desk yesterday afternoon and found one lone fall stamp still in my NBUS stash.  I had worked so hard to make sure nothing "fall" had to hang out in the box for the entire year - but I missed one.  However, I wasn't feeling "fall" anymore so I took this squirrel (which included a "Happy Fall" sentiment) and put him in a winter scene.  The poor little guy's acorns were all buried with the first snow..."Oh, Nuts!"

Oh Nuts

I did glitter the sentiment to make it look a little more snowy and I'm wishing I wouldn't have done that.  I worked so hard on that sentiment and now it's not very clear.  I put together the scene with a strong memory that there was an "oh nuts" stamp in the set.  Guess what?  There wasn't.  There is a "go nuts" sentiment.  Luckily, the various sentiments all had the right letters so I cut up my teeny tiny sentiments.  I don't mind cutting stamps - but not teeny tiny letters out of various sentiments.  Anyway...I got my "oh nuts" then I messed it up with the glitter - but I most definitely was not going to line up and stamp those letters again!

I hope you play along - but whether or not you do, you must check out the Pinterest board full of animal ideas that Linda has curated.  You can head over to Catered Crop to get the link (and be sure to check back in Sunday when the entire design team shows their creations) - or here is the direct Pinterest link.  There's another week to play along so you have plenty of time!
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Nuts for You
  • Ink: Memento black, Copics
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Sahara Sand CS and dsp
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Nuts for You dies, Lil Inkers Sentiment Flag die, Taylored Expressions Birch Tree Border die, My Favorite Things Snow Drift die

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Truly Simply Pink Thanksgiving!

Today is traditionally a day to be thankful...and as I sit here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and enjoying the first day of a four day weekend (for which I am more than thankful) I feel the need to reflect on the things for which I am thankful...

Speaking of the four day weekend...I must force myself to acknowledge the fact that I need to be thankful for the job that I have that pays the bills. I say it that way because, of late there is much discontent at said job...I am very happy with the chance to provide the service that I do...I am an such, I make embryos for those that cannot...I am thankful that I am able to do that for those that need this service so badly. What I am not happy with is the recent and ever so many changes that have occurred, not the least of which is the location...That is all that I will say here...I am still very happy and proud that I am able to do the job...for 30 years now...well... 24 of those working on embryos:)...I see a little blue box in my future!
I am thankful for my little family that should have been bigger...and I am very thankful that I am still here to enjoy them...
I am thankful to have just celebrated another big birthday! Number 55!

Two of the ones I am thankful
Aren't they cute:)

Following that theme, I am thankful for my very pink world and all that that has entailed! I love all of you and I know that you all love me! I have had many amazing opportunities along the way, and met and made friends with some amazing people.
I do not want to draw this out so I will conclude with this...
Spend this day in Joy...and reflection!

Go Ravens!

As always

Happy Thanksgiving: Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!! It is a day of gratitude and do you know what I am most grateful for at this moment - the fact that my husband does all of the Thanksgiving cooking!!

My card of Thanksgiving includes a wonderful sentiment - one that I most definitely could do a better job of living by.


A week or so ago, I mentioned my husband's leftover turkey soup and that I liked it better than the actual Thanksgiving.  It's also the reason that we rarely accept invitations to other's Thanksgiving meals - we wouldn't have the leftovers for the soup!  And I am going to share it here.  There's really nothing fancy about it - it's mostly just dumping in everything you have left over!

Leftover Turkey Soup

1 leftover turkey carcass
2 bay leaves
1 pinch marjoram
1 pinch thyme
1 pinch basil
2 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp flour
1/4 cup rice
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups fresh mushrooms
1 handful thin or medium egg noodles
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 Tblsp sherry
Leftover gravy, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberries, etc.
Chicken stock

Take all meat off the bone and set meat aside. Cover with water, add spices, salt and pepper and simmer slowly for 3-4 hours. Remove bones and strain for stock.

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in stock. (It should be 1 1/2 to 2 quarts, if not, add chicken stock). Bring to a boil.

Add rice, celery, onion and a handful of noodles. Simmer 25-30 minutes.  Saute mushrooms. Add to soup with diced turkey meat, all leftovers, and parsley. At serving time, add sherry.


My card uses the sketch from clean&simple stamping. I've used it twice this week - it must be a keeper!

I'm also playing along with Crazy 4 Challenges Thankful theme and Simon Says Stamp Anything Goes.

  • Stamps: Sweet Stamp Shop Fall Gratitude
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Soft Stone
  • Ink: Memento Black, Copics, Papertrey Ink Soft Stone (the small shadows)
  • Accessories: Hemptique white twine, Neat & Tangled Crystal Clear sequins, Papertrey Ink Summer Sunrise button

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tula Blocks 79 and 80 with PIZZAZ!

When I was making the block for Pat's birthday I was having so much fun with the technique of making the sections and making them smaller that I decided to see how small I could go by using them on my Tula 100 Modern blocks!

I love the tissue paper or mosaic look to the sections of hack and sew and I am amazed by the super tiny pieces that I could have never pieced in a BAZILLION years even with good eyes and nimble fingers.

The fabrics for the entire quilt are Bobbins and Bits by Pat Sloan for Moda.  Batiks and quilting cottons when mixed together create something so wonderful it makes me happy! I am using Aurifil 50wt 2600 ( a beautiful gray) for the piecing.  The thin and strong 50wt works brilliantly with all of the seams.  I can see where it could be an issue with anything thicker. YAAY for the perfect thin thread!

Hope you are keeping up better than I am with the blocks. Hoping I can somehow catch up with the other blocks this weekend.  With my sister coming for Thanksgiving, I am very doubtful ;)

Fresh Squeezed Release Week: Take a Number

It's the second day of release week at Fresh Squeezed Stamps.  Today is a basic sentiment set but with a very fun twist!

The idea of this set is basic sentiments and there are numbers for you to include within the sentiment. That way you can personalize your card or you can use different colors to highlight the number.  SO many fun options that I got a little carried away!

FS Group Shot

Do you see how the numbers can be used to personalize it?  And even though I have four cards, this just a sampling of the fun sentiments.  (I love the one that says "It's ___ o'clock somewhere" but I didn't have a good image to go with it so you don't get to see it today!)

I did pair each of the sentiments with a little flair from Breath of Fresh Flair.

Here's a close-up of each card. (I have the worst time photographing glitter - but the funky look on each "flair" is actually a little heat & emboss sticky powder then covered with glitter.)

FS Class of 2014

FS Baby Makes 3

FS Happy Anniv

There's a sad story with this next card.  It actually wasn't planned.  There's an entirely different sentiment in the new set Take a Number that says "you are __1__ of a kind".  Then there's a great stamp in Breath of Fresh Flair that includes four birds sitting on a wire.  Wouldn't it be cute to combine those two and then color just one of those four birds a different bright color?  That idea is actually what started my entire idea for this set of cards.  But I got a few of the others made, then reached for the bird stamps - and it is gone.  I don't know.  I've reached a certain age...maybe I had already peeled it off and then set it down and then got distracted and then set other things on top of it - and it's now stuck between pieces of paper somewhere.  I tore my desk apart trying to find those silly birds.  But I was running out of time - and I couldn't possibly show you a set of only three cards - so here's my last minute fourth card!

FS Look Whose 8

{I still like my bird idea better!}

Just like yesterday, there is a give-away on the Fresh Squeezed Stamps blog so be sure to head over there, sign up and check out all of the other design team projects!

And be sure to bookmark the Fresh Squeezed blog and check back later in the week for some more fun!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

RELEASE DAY!!!!! Hard as it Gets! First in a new Series!!

Our Lady has done it again! 
Laura Kaye, best selling author, has released the first book in her new Hard Ink Series...TODAY!
And...There is the book Trailer...

Did you enjoy it...

I hope so:) The book is out today and here is the buy link for amazon...



Fresh Squeezed Release Week: Love You Penguin!

I have had some fun stamps sitting on my desk for weeks now - and I finally get to show you.  It's release week at Fresh Squeezed Stamps!

The set that is being previewed today is Arctic Friends.  It's a builder set.  You pick a body and then add eyes, nose/beak, feet, etc.  I chose to build a penguin but be sure to check out the Fresh Squeezed Stamps blog to see all the cards done by design team members. There is a walrus and a bear in this set - and all of them are so very sweet!

Love You Penguin

And if just seeing the other cute animals isn't enough - there's a giveaway at the Fresh Squeezed Stamps blog.  You can win this set - but you have to head over to the blog today to enter.

My sentiment comes from a different Fresh Squeezed set - it's You Said It, Sister and includes a good variety of basics. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow.  I have four cards to share using another new set! (I must have liked it!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Working my way back with a Happy Birthday to Pat Sloan!

Sometimes so many things happen at once or in sequence at a such rapid pace that you just cannot possibly start from where you left off and catch up.  This is where I have found myself. So today I am starting from today and I will have flashbacks ( not from the 70's) to some other events from the past month ...or so...but for today I am here...

Pat Sloan has a birthday coming up very soon and asked that people send her a block for her birthday.  Pat is one of the most wonderful, helpful and kind people I know.  She has a passion for quilting and people that goes beyond her business, it is her life!  So this block is for Pat, made with her Bobbins and Bits  Fabric line from Moda and pieced with her favorite Aurifil 50wt thread) to say thank you so much for all that you do to keep the love of the art alive. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY I LOVE YA!

Clean & Simple Lawnscaping: Sounds Corny

As I got all of my Thanksgiving cards ready to mail, I realized that I had missed one very special person - my sweet 5-year old niece.  In a family of big and tall people, she is a tiny little thing - and unlike the rest of us, has very little interest in food.  So I thought the Happy Feast set from Lawn Fawn would be a fun message for her!

Sounds Corny

The layout comes from clean&simple stamping.

My choice of paper comes from the current Lawnscaping Challenge to use polka dots.

  • Stamps: Lawn Fawn Happy Feast
  • Paper: Simple Stories Snap Color Vibe
  • Ink: Memento Black, Copics
  • Accessories: Hemptique twine, Papertrey Ink Terracotta Tile button

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise

When I think of Thanksgiving, stuffing is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. I enjoy turkey and all the other fixins, but it's the stuffing that I find the most comforting and satisfying.  Of course Thanksgiving is all about having lots of leftovers and and every year I get inspired to create something new. Last year I was inspired to serve a fried egg over my leftover stuffing and I thought this creation was a match made in heaven ...until this year when I watched Giada make this Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise.  Stuffing, pancetta, a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce?  Why didn't I think of this sooner?
This is a fun dish that is easy to put together with your Thanksgiving leftovers.  The stuffing cakes take little to no time to prepare, the pancetta crisps up quickly and even the hollandaise is easy and quick to put together in the blender.  However, to be honest, I don't even think making the hollandaise is necessary.  I think leftover gravy would be just as good drizzled over top the Thanks Benedict. We found this dish to be very hearty and robust and really enjoyed the Thanksgiving-inspired take on the traditional Eggs Benedict.  This dish is certainly pretty enough to entertain with if you have guests over the holidays.
 Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
found on Food Network
 Makes 6
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Stuffing Cakes
2 cups leftover stuffing
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 thin slices pancetta
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 eggs, at room temperature

For the hollandaise: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave. Combine the yolks, sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate. Carefully drizzle the hot butter into the processor and keep blending until the sauce is thick and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and set aside.

For the stuffing cakes:
Place the stuffing in a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Add the eggs and breadcrumbs and stir to combine, making sure all of the stuffing is evenly coated with the eggs. Scoop 1/3 cup of the stuffing into your hands and shape into a patty, about 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Repeat to make 6 stuffing cakes. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook the cakes, two at a time until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining cakes. Loosely cover with foil to keep the cakes warm.

Cook the pancetta:  Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Poach the eggs: Fill a small saucepan with 3 inches of water, and add the lemon juice and salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Crack an egg into a small heatproof bowl and use the bowl to slowly slide the egg into the water. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the water around the egg. Cook the egg until the white has set and the yolk is still soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs. 
To serve:  Place one stuffing cake on a plate. Top with 2 slices of pancetta, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Seize the Sketch and Merry Monday: Merry Penguins


Card done in 16 minutes.  (That's really, really short for me - thus the reason I have never participated in the 10 minute challenges!)

One minute to spare when I got this up and uploaded to Seize the Sketch.  I posted and now I am writing the words!  (Sorry for you Feedly users - I don't think it updates so you just got a pix!!)

And the photo is a little dark - but that's what happens with one minute to spare!

Merry Christmas Penguin

It's a great sketch - I love the panel that hangs off the edges a little bit - plus it was designed by my good friend Stacey Schafer.  She's got more creativity than I could ever dream of having - I keep hoping some will rub off.  {Sigh!}  For now, I'll just content myself with playing along with her sketch!

I also managed to Heat & Stick and glitter it so I'll also be posting this to Papertrey's Make It Monday challenge!  
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Tremendous Treats: Christmas
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Pure Poppy, Limeade Ice, Stampin' Up Marina Mist, MME Mistletoe Magic 6x6
  • Ink: Memento Black, Copics, Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow (sentiment), Versamark
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Tremendous Treats Christmas die, Stampin' Up Heat and Stick Embossing Powder, Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter, My Favorite Things snowflake die

Make It Monday: Heat & Stick Snowflakes

This week's Papertrey Ink Make It Monday was a MUST-DO for me - using heat and stick powder and glitter.  I love glittering entire images and die cuts and even the entire fronts of cards for my holiday cards and Heat & Stick makes it so much easier.  PTI provides a video with instructions.  Even though I do it regularly, I watched the video and was glad that I did.  I recently had a friend struggle because her glitter wouldn't stick and I couldn't help her because it always worked for me.  The video had the answer. Did you know that if you heat the Heat & Stick for too long it loses its stickiness?  You are supposed to heat it just until it changes and no more!

I pulled out Papertrey's Snowflake Flurries because I knew that I was simply going to stamp them on circles and then glitter the entire circle.  I love the delicate look of these flakes.  The sentiment came from a newer set called 'Tis the Season.  The snowflake set does have sentiments but none of them fit on my layout.  Also, in yesterday's mail, I got my PTI package from their last release and had to use the Tilted Tops dies.  I can't believe that I paid for dies that  cut a shape that would be very easy to cut with a paper trimmer!!??  But it sure made it easy!

Peace on Earth with Heat & Stick

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Snowflake Flurries, 'Tis the Season sentiments
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow, Webster's Pages It's Christmas dsp
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Hawaiian Shores, Limeade Ice, Hibiscus Burst, Smokey Shadow
  • Accessories: Spellbinders Circles and Rectangles, Pearlized Crochet Thread, Stampin' Up Heat & Stick Embossing Powder, Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter, Neat & Tangled Crystal Clear Sequins

Saturday, November 23, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Tags: Season's Greetings

The wonderful Tracey McNeely at In My Creative Opinion is doing 25 Days of Christmas Tags!  Her work is amazing and she has doubled the fun by having guest designers each day.  Guess what?  It's my day to guest!

I realized that I don't do a lot of tags and that's definitely a mistake.  How perfect (and easy...and fun) would it be to wrap gifts in basic kraft or stone color paper and add a bright tag as decoration? I need to find a gigantic roll of basic kraft paper - maybe with monochromatic stripes or snowflakes - and then just have a tag day.  (Has anybody seen paper like that?)

In my Christmas NBUS stash are two sets by Clearly Besotted Stamps.  The first is Signature Christmas and was part of their very first release.  I fell in love with it - but, at that time, I was concerned about international shipping.  Then recently they came out with Signature Christmas Additions and with matching dies.  I've learned that CBS ships quickly and the postage is cheaper than most companies in the U.S.  So I finally own the set I fell for a year ago!

CBS Season's Greetings tag

My first Christmas tag!!

Now if anybody can answer my question about basic kraft wrapping paper - here's to many more!

I'm also playing along with the Clearly Besotted Challenge with a Christmas theme.
  • Stamps: Clearly Besotted Stamps Signature Christmas and Signature Christmas Addition
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Simply Chartreuse
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Limeade Ice, Hibiscus Burst, Simply Chartreuse, Smokey Shadow
  • Accessories: Clearly Besotted Christmas Signature Christmas Die Collection, Reverse Confetti Tag Me die, Neat & Tangled sequins, Trendy Twine Tickled Pink, My Favorite Things Glitter Glaze (on the star)

It was simply AMAZING!!!

Many of you may know I have just returned from a 2 week 'Make Pretty Stuff Down Under' tour around Australia teaching with Heidi Swapp. To say this was the most incredible experience is an understatement. Our months and months of planning had paid off for a set of inspirational classes across 6 states. I have come back full of love and support , full of inspiration and the desire to continue on my memory keeping journey.
It began when I met Heidi at Sydney International airport and whisked her off for some sightseeing around Sydney with my good friend Maria who we were staying with.

Our day ended with a diet coke at Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Sydney.

We then spent two full days in Sydney teaching at two different venues, Luddenham and Tuggerah. Everyone was presented with a Make Pretty Stuff makeup bag filled with ColorShine and other goodies.

The ladies created beautiful and inspiring ColorShine projects.

Heidi's beauty inside and out shined through every single day.

She presented a special keynote speech at the end of each day which moved everyone to tears with her honesty and sincerity.

We then flew home to Brisbane where Heidi stayed with  me. I was honoured that she wanted to see my projects.

That night we had a fabulous dinner with a very special group of friends who were instrumental in helping me kit all the goodies for the classes and set up and pack up for the class day in Brisbane. Words cannot express how thankful both Heidi and I are for these girls Gail Lindner, Kerryn Lawson, Leanne Allinson, Melinda Spinks and Chantalle McDaniel.

The next day Heidi spent some time creating a chalkboard sign from a vintage frame to use at our Brisbane class.

 and we spent the afternoon setting  up the hall.

The frame was placed in front of our lolly bar.

and the girls were there eager to help out where needed.

I loved teaching my Believe Memory File album class, I was tickled pink to see everyone enjoying the different interactive techniques.
We even got messy with paint!

We flew to Adelaide where Heidi and I were presented with some gorgeous aprons created by us from some of the girls from Escape to Create.

 Melbourne turned on the cold weather for us but we didn't mind. It meant we had to do a bit of shopping then headed out to St Kilda on the tram.

We were lucky to have another yummy lolly bar to keep up our energy on the day.

I have to say I was rather chuffed and very humbled to be asked to sign autographs and have photos taken, it made me feel very special.

I had the chance to catch up with my good friend Ebony who I miss dearly.

Heidi on the other hand was a real professional I loved watching her interact with her fans, she was warm and engaging and made every one feel extra special.

Our last stop was Perth. We spent a beautiful afternoon overlooking the city where we reflected upon this incredible journey that we had taken, the view was spectacular.

...and then we taught our last classes, the ladies were just so appreciative that we had made the trek across to Perth. It was a fabulous day!

We flew back to Sydney and I took Heidi to the revolving O restaurant in Sydney tower to get a last glimpse of Sydney before she flew back to her family in the US.

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Heidi for having the faith in me in asking me to join her on this journey. I have grown so much and learnt so much from being with her for 18 days. We talked and laughed and cried and talked some more... I know it is one set of memories that I will treasure for ever. I also know I will treasure Heidi's friendship for along time to come.

                                                                    Thankyou Heidi.