Friday, December 27, 2013

Fresh Squeezed Stamps: A Tennis Shoe Christmas

I know you are probably all done with thinking about Christmas so I really shouldn't be posting a Christmas card today.  But it's my day to post at Fresh Squeezed Stamps and since they came to my rescue on the 24th, I wanted to share.  We had planned to give my 13-year old son his pick of basketball shoes for Christmas.  This is somewhat different from our usual approach in which he wants the most expensive and we refuse to buy anything but the cheapest!!  His gift was to pick out his own (within reason) without us complaining about the price!  As I was finishing up on Christmas Eve it occurred to me that he wouldn't have anything from us under the tree because he had would have to go shopping for his own shoes after Christmas.  He's still so young - I HAD to have something for him to open up.  Fresh Squeezed and their cute tennis shoe from String Me Along came to the rescue!!

A Tennis Shoe Christmas

If you knew my 13-year old son, you would understand why I also HAD to include the "nice 2b naughty" graphic from Hello December!  (BTW - if you like the idea but not for Christmas, On Trend 2013 has a great birthday word bubble that could replace the "naughty" circle!  That set is also where I got the swoosh that I used for the ground.)

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are now looking forward to the new year!!
  • Stamps: Fresh Squeezed Stamps On Trend 2013, Hello December, String Me Along
  • Paper: MFT Red Hot, Fuse Green
  • Ink: MFT Red Hot, Fuse Green, Factory Green
  • Accessories: Pretty Pink Posh Sequins

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sparkle and Shine and Merry and Bright!

I woke up this morning and decided to treat myself to some time at my craft table before the day began!! I have a number of Christmas stamps still in my NBUS stash (Never-Before-Used Schtuff).  I had big plans to use them in the last week, but you know how it is this time of the year - joyful and busy, excited and stressed, peaceful and frantic.  I am a bit of a pre-Christmas grinch but starting today - it's all perfectly wonderful!!  I have carols playing, great coffee in my mug, just a little cooking to do today and I am looking forward to candles and carols and His story at tonight's Christmas Eve service.

Sparkle and Shine

I love this bokeh style set from Neat and Tangled called Party Dots. I can't believe that it has been in my NBUS stash for so long.  Particularly given how well it works with the sentiment and ornament from the set Merry and Bright.  A splattering of Neat and Tangled sequins and it completely captures the glow that is so beautiful during Christmas.

I was going to stop at this card.  But there were a few more stamps and sequins calling my name.  I went out to a Christmas lunch with a dear friend yesterday and after a few Cucumber Mimosas(!) we wandered through a number of stores.  One of them was a high-end antique/craft type store that included a display of ornaments and decoration in colors and styles that took me right back to my childhood.  I'm standing in the middle of a crowded store almost in tears with the happy memories brought on by these kitschy ornament!!  (Or maybe it was the mimosas!)  I don't have the stamps to truly capture it all - but I did put together some of the colors and sparkle.

Merry and Bright

I also wanted to do cards today to use my NBUS Neat and Tangled stash along with the Little Tangles challenge of sequins, sequins, sequins.  I do like Neat and Tangle sequins.  Their mixes are fabulous and I love their Crystal Clear sequins.  It's amazing how different clear sequins can be.  Some are iridescent and take on other colors, some are truly clear - but Neat and Tangled's have a silvery cast to them (see first card) that work so well with snowflakes!

Have a happy Christmas Eve day!!!

Sparkle and Shine:
  • Stamps: Neat and Tangled Party Dots, Merry and Bright
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Harvest Gold (light), My Favorite Things Lemon Drop (darker), Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow
  • Accessories: Neat and Tangled sequins in Summer Sun and Crystal Clear, Studio Calico gem, Hemptique black
Merry and Bright:

  • Stamps: Neat and Tangled Merry and Bright
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel, My Favorite Things Whip Cream and MME Mistletoe Magic 6x6
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel and Limeade Ice
  • Accessories: Neat and Tangled sequins - Classic Christmas mix

Monday, December 23, 2013

The next bit....

So I have one page to finish off my Heidi Swapp December photo hunt/Memory file...and it's getting very thick but I thought I would share it with you now before Christmas day. As I mentioned in my first instalment here I used the Believe Memory File Album to record my journey and these are some of my favourite pages..

I have used the next set of Free  countdown cards available here on Heidi's blog.


Merry Christmas to everyone, have a fabulous day with your friends and families.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups

These little cucumber cups stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus are the perfect little red and green appetizers for Christmas.  Not only are these little bites festive, but they're so healthy you don't have to feel guilty about popping them in your mouth.  At all!  They're also incredibly tasty.  The cucumber cups are crunchy and fresh and the hummus is creamy and smooth with hints of garlic and red pepper.  This would be a great addition to any holiday table! 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups 
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 4-6 servings

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
½ cup diced, jarred roasted red bell peppers
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from ½ small lemon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 hot house cucumbers, ends trimmed
Fresh parsley, cilantro or mint leaves

In a food processor, combine the beans, peppers, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer the hummus to a small bowl.

Run the tines of a fork down the length of each cucumber several times, turning to make ridges about 1/8-inch deep in the skin all the way around. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1-inch rounds, for a total of at least 12. Using the smaller end of a melon baller or a round measuring spoon, scoop out the center of each cucumber round to form a hollow. Use a small spoon to fill each cup with hummus, mounding slightly over the top. Tuck a small fresh parsley, cilantro or mint leaf into the side of the filling as a garnish.

Arrange the cups on a platter and serve.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Sunshine

I've had these papers from Glitz Designs sitting in my stash for a while now and when I found this photo on my camera of my son at the beach I knew they were perfect .

I added in the Sunshine flair from Greatest View.

...and created a shaker element with a transparency.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry & Bright, the Twin Polar Bears

It's my day to post at Fresh Squeezed Stamps.  I definitely wanted to use the bear yet from Arctic Friends (I had used the penguin here and the walrus here.)

As I was pondering what to do with this cute stamp, I was remembering twin polar bears born almost 20-years ago in my local zoo. Their mother abandoned them, but zoo staff successfully raised them.  It was quite an experience for the entire city - we all stood in line for hours to see them, books were written about them - they were famous!

Their names were Klondike and Snow and they lived most of their adult years in Orlando.  Klondike died just this fall and Snow died a year ago at the ages of 17 and 18.

These stamps aren't quite as cute as the real baby cubs - but pretty darn close!!  And these twin bears are wishing you a Merry & Bright Christmas!

Merry & Bright

This definitely works for the current Merry Monday challenge to use an animal on a Christmas card.

  • Stamps: Fresh Squeezed Stamps Arctic Friends, Hello December
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Blueberry Sky
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Blueberry Sky, Winter Wisteria, Versamark
  • Accessories: Stampin' Up Heat & Stick Embossing Powder, Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter, Divine Twine Black Licorice, Cuttlebug Embossing Folder (see here for details on this embossing folder)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch! Believe

It's time for a new sketch at CAS(E) this Sketch

I am determined to get through my Christmas NBUS (Never-Before-Used-Schtuff) stamp sets - so I ended up going in a slightly different direction.  I wanted to use My Favorite Things Holiday Subway Art, but when I used it I wanted to use a number of the words.  Instead of using a single word - I used a variety of words in a subtle color - then popped the word "Believe" in red.


The die is also in my NBUS basket - it's the Small Blooming Poinsettia from Memory Box.  I love how it layers up!

I think this is a very nice sketch - add a beautiful sentiment and a simple embellishment and you have a great card!  I hope you all find time to play along during this busy holiday season.
  • Stamps: My Favorite Things Stamps Holiday Subway Art
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Real Red, Papertrey Ink Soft Stone, Basic Grey 25th and Pine 6x6, Stampin' Up Silver Glimmer Paper (just the center of the flower)
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Real Red, Papertrey Ink Soft Stone
  • Accessories: Memory Box/Poppystamps Small Blooming Poinsettia, Hemptique 10-lb white twine

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

God Bless Us, Everyone!

I went shopping at Verve Stamps a few weeks ago, specifically to pick up the stamps for this project. While I was shopping, this dapper little guy just jumped into my cart.  He is SO perfect with the sentiment!

God Bless Us

I didn't want to do anything fancy with him - he is cute enough to stand alone.  I did use some paper that I liked a lot - but in general would be too busy for my style.  I thought it gave the card a little bit of the older Dickens-look - appropriate for the sentiment.

This is out of my NBUS Christmas stash.  I was paging through that pile and looking at challenges for inspiration.  I am playing along with Merry Monday to use an animal. (I am assuming my bird is OK since the challenge graphic has owls!!).  Also playing with CAS on Sunday: Christmas.

I hope all is going well with each of you as we near Christmas.  I don't have my cards out yet, which is stressing me. They are made - but my little secret is that I have illegible handwriting - while my husband's is quite clear.  So he gets to address envelopes and hasn't done it yet.  I am going to my nieces' Christmas pageant this afternoon and my son's band concert tonight.  I have a few more rehearsals for Sunday and for Christmas Eve bell choir performances.  But other than that - I'm going into the final week feeling pretty good!
  • Stamps: Verve Christmas Joy (it's on sale right now!)
  • Paper: Carta Bella So This is Christmas 6x6 dsp, Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel
  • Ink: Memento Black and Copics
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel button, Lil' Inkers Stitched Rectangles, Hemptique Natural 10-lb twine, one little gold dot on his hat

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All She Wants for Christmas: Blog Tour!

About ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS: George Clauson is Santa's daughter, but she can't stand Christmas. All that ho-ho-hoing, caroling and people's greedy wants? No, thank you. She's left the family business and struck off on her own in the human world finding her niche as a humble second-grade teacher.

Ebenezer Herod is a descendent of King Herod. His family has never stopped trying to destroy Christmas. This year they may actually get their wish, but not if Ben can help it.

George wants nothing to do with restoring balance to the Christmas season, and she certainly isn't interested in the shockingly handsome and devilishly rich Ben. A determined do-gooder, Ben's used to saving the day, but he can't rescue Christmas alone. Can George and Ben find a way to work together despite their opposing heritages to make the Season bright?

The sound of his voice sent a visible shiver catapulting up her spine and she quite suddenly lost her balance. She clung to the banister, cringing at the snapping sound made by her narrow heel as it separated from the body of her shoe. “Blast!”
In a heartbeat’s moment, she felt two hands on her waist, stopping her from falling. “Whoa there. Easy. Are you all right?”
In the night chill, George could feel his warm breath on the back of his neck. It made her mind whirl and she felt woozy and faint. “Sorry about that,” she said, feeling the utter fool. Her hands touched his and while her mind said, you don’t need his help, every other fiber of her being howled Don’t let go!
She turned enough to face him. Standing there on the step above him made her slightly taller than he. A sensation she was quite familiar with, but not with someone she knew to be quite tall himself.
They stood with their faces inches apart. In the night air, their breath rose in white clouds and became one, dissipating into the night, forgotten.
“I’m not usually so clumsy,” she admitted, praying her voice would work. She needed something to work, but evidently her blood had stopped flowing because she felt frozen in her spot.
Ben blinked once, then again. “Neither am I.”
She was about to ask what he meant when their lips met. Had she moved, or had he? She wasn’t sure. The only thing she knew for certain was that her heart was pounding so hard that at any moment it might burst right through her skin. As she breathed in, she sensed herself drowning in a distinctly masculine scent, one she had noticed before but hadn’t felt consumed by. No man on earth deserved to smell this good. Oh…but every woman on earth deserved a moment like this.

           OK...So...Whew....I read this with someone singing "Baby it's Cold Outside" in the background! don't think so!

So I think that maybe you should run out and pick this one sounds like a winner to me:)
Amazon Buy link:

So thanks for stopping in and as always


Simple Gift Box and Tag

My oldest son always takes hot chocolate mix as a gift for his teachers - see here.  My youngest prefers Pretzel Turtles.  I think that he thinks they are less work, but by the time he unwraps all of the Rolos - not so much!!  Particularly since he needed 108!  I contribute the tags.  (He has written to/from on the tag since I took this picture, but handwriting is not his strong point so I took the picture first!)

Gift Box

The tag is Papertrey Ink's Tag Sale #5 (the bottom is cut off on the white layer.)  The snowflake is My Favorite Thing's Let It Snowflake. The sequins are Neat and Tangled's Crystal Clear.  And the twine is Hemptique.  The paper and boxes are from Hobby Lobby.

We first started doing the Pretzel Turtles before they became so popular.  Now you can find displays in every grocery store with the pretzels, Rolos and pecans.  When we first made them, the teachers were in awe of these simple little candies. Now I think it is my son who is in awe - particularly of all the parts and pieces that he can nibble on while making them!  They are perfect for kids to make (as long as they are careful of the chocolate when it is hot)!  If you haven't tried them...

Pretzel Turtles
Small mini pretzels
Pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment of foil-lined cookie sheet. Place one Rolo on each pretzel.  Bake for 4 minutes. While the candy is warn, press a pecan half onto each Rolo.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saying goodbye to the boy

I realized after my post about the super amazing surprise quilt that many of you thought it was my husband that went on deployment.  My husband did but many...many...many years ago, lol!  We are that old!  My son is the one who left in November.  He is number two out of the four that span three decades of children.

The two younger children and I were able to drive up and see him off. His older brother, sister-in law and two nephews live in OK and were unable to come and since the in house engineer decided to go for his Master's Degree instead of buying a motorcycle he was stuck home doing schoolwork. So off the two youngers and I Tennessee!  Mind you this decision was made two days after I returned from Quilt Market and so I was completely unprepared for the journey but those are usually the best ones.

 When we arrived Adam was already telling Michael who the boss was and it was not me,lol.

I had no idea how much STUFF was needed to go on deployment.  When the in house engineer deployed I drove him to the squadron ( he was a Navy P-3 pilot) and off he went. There was nothing extra to do, it was all taken care of.  I swear we must have spent 95% of our time in shops trying to locate all the things he needed to take with him.  The worst part for me was the dogtags. It is funny when things become real in your brain, when reality takes a sledgehammer and gives you a solid WHACK and reminds you of what is really going on. He needed dogtags and for those of you not in the military, the purpose of dogtags is identify the deceased. There is one one a larger chain and then one on a smaller chain.  The one on the smaller chain is a toe tag.  This was my sledgehammer. I am sure the guy in the shop understood why I went from zero to bawl in less than 8 seconds.  He is my baby...

After we had all the stuff we needed for THAT five seconds and I was able to snap out of my reality check, we had a small fender bender in the parking lot.  It was so crazy! Did not even see the car and she did not see us!  So we sat around goofing off until all the proper stuff was done.  Adam even found a quilt pattern for me!!!

We spent so much time in the car doing errands that on Sunday Michael decided that we were going joy riding and we did. Through the back roads of Tennessee and Kentucky.  We saw all kids of beautiful sites and some fun barn quilts too...even though these are not on barns :o)  The one in the middle is my favorite!

Little Miss took full advantage of Adam's quilt and slept in every morning.  She had been hanging out with Michael and staying up late so I did not say a word. She needed both the time with him and the extra sleep.

Michael did not have a sewing kit so I made sure that he had only the best to take with him!

 The morning that he left there was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have even seen.  I could not possibly take a photograph that could do it justice.

So, my son, my baby boy is off on deployment.  I have to give BIG APPLAUSE to the airport  for letting us have special passes to see him off at the gate, to Southwest Airlines for holding the plane a little longer so we could properly say goodbye ( my apologies to the passengers on the plane and my eternal gratitude), and to all of my dear sweet caring friends here for all of your support and well wishes.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Donna Hay's Madeleines with Orange Glaze

I have an infatuation with little bitty things.  There's just something about little minis that is so cute and irresistible.  So when I spotted a teeny tiny madeleine pan I simply had to have it.  In my mind I had visions of mini madeleines in every kind of flavor imaginable.  So I bought the pan and it was so mini and cute that it actually fell out of the bag and got lost in my car.  For three months.  When I discovered the pan in the back of my car I was thrilled yet again.  In fact, I had the same visions of cute mini madeleines, but then I put the pan in the pantry for another two months.  To say I'm good at procrastinating is an understatement.

Every time I spotted that madeleine pan I felt like it was taunting me.  One day I took the pan out of the pantry and placed it on my kitchen counter as an incentive. I'll have you know that pan sat there on the kitchen counter for about two weeks before I gained the needed motivation.

Today I finally made these mini madeleines and I gotta tell you that mini is no longer cute to me.  AT ALL!  Turns out the mini madeleine pan only holds approximately one teaspoon of batter in each cavity.  Making these minis was the longest process ever!

However, I will tell you that these mini little madeleines with orange glaze are the daintiest little cake-like treats ever!  We really did love them!  They are very light and sponge-like in texture and the orange glaze really gives them a wonderful citrus flavor.  These would be a nice treat with a cup of tea.  Just do yourself a favor and buy a larger pan!

Adapted from Modern Classics Book 2
by Donna Hay
Makes 24

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 ounces butter, melted and cooled
Optional: Zest of one orange

For Glaze:
Juice of one orange
About 1 cup of confectioner's sugar
Optional: zest of half an orange and/or leftover zest from above*

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until very pale and thick.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and continue to beat at low speed until smooth.  Add the butter and beat until combined.

Grease two madeleine tins with 12 x 1-1/2 tablespoon capacity holes.  Spoon in the mixture and bake for 8-10 minutes or until risen and golden. 

Whisk together the juice of one orange and about a cup or so of confectioner's sugar until you get the consistency you're looking for.  For a thick glaze add more sugar.  For a thin glaze add more juice.

Theme: Fill The Tins!

Curtain Call: Send you a Blizzard

It's time for a new challenge at Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge.  The inspiration photo is this sweet and yummy picture.

We have a fabulous new sponsor, Uniko Studio, for this challenge!

The LEAD of this challenge will receive a gift certificate to use at Uniko Studio!  And the design team got to play with Stunning Snowflakes.

It's a beautiful set with three different snowflakes, each in three different sizes, along with beautiful sentiments.  I love this sentiment - sending a blizzard of kisses....

Send You a Blizzard

Aren't these lovely snowflakes??  And it was very nice change to work with pinks and blues instead of reds and greens!!!  I do hope you join in to this challenge.  I know it's a busy time -but all that much more reason to try to take some time for yourself and get craft!
  • Stamps: Uniko Studios Stunning Snowflakes
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Coastal Cabana
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Coast Cabana, Crumb Cake, My Favorite Things Bubblegum, Versamark
  • Accessories: Lifestyle Crafts embossing folder, Hemptique twine, Pretty Pink Posh sequins, Stampin' Up Heat & Stick Powder, Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter