Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bunny Love

Here we go. I finally got to my card today, using that Inkadinkado bunny stamp I colored with Copics yesterday. I decided to try this paper-piecing technique -- it sort of ends up looking like a crazy quilt, which I love. Wide swaths of color which really pop against the chocolate cardstock. To add to the quilting effect, I did some faux stitching with a white gel pen.

I wanted the bunny in the bottom right corner, so that the patterned paper pieces would radiate out from him, sort of radiating the love that's growing in his little pot there. That left the top right corner looking really empty. There wasn't room to add a bow anywhere, but I thought maybe a ribbon tab would work. I liked the way that looked, but it was still missing something, so I added a little green button to anchor it down.

And that was it. Easy peasy! (I say that as if it didn't take me more than an hour to do -- much of it just figuring out the placement of things.) How are you all doing today? I can't believe that I'm not one bit closer to being ready for Easter! Goodness, it's only like three days away and I don't have a thing for easter baskets or eggs or anything. I'm usually much more on top of things, but somehow it's just gotten away from me this year.

Do you have any special Easter traditions in your family?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blender Pen Vs. Copic Marker Comparison

Whew! Today was a little less like a vacation day, since I spent the majority of it cleaning and organizing and dusting (ah-choo!) but it was nice to actually have the time to do that for a change. I got quite a bit done and plan on doing a little more tomorrow.

I decided to call it quits for the day and do some crafting, when my hubby called and said he was on his way home. We'd already made plans to go grocery shopping right after work, so I knew I didn't have time to do much.

This adorable little bunny image from Inkadinkado was calling to me, so I decided to do a blender pen vs. copic marker comparison and see which one I liked better. I stamped him once in StazOn black ink for the blender pen, then a second time in Memento ink for the copics.

In the past, I've always used the smooth side of watercolor paper for my blender pen, but unfortunately today I forgot and just used my regular Georgia Pacific basic white cardstock. You can see that it did not work well. The paper started pilling up almost immediately and the color would just not blend smoothly. I will definitely go back to my watercolor paper in the future. And I think I'm going to need a new blender pen as well. The nib is all yucky now. Good thing they're cheap!

The copics went much better, though it was sometimes difficult getting in the small spaces around his ears and such. There's a technique to just using the very tippy-tip that I still haven't quite mastered. Also, since I was in a hurry, I wasn't as careful as I usually am and I slopped out on the edges some. I really need some lighter shades of Copics, especially the brown. But I made do with what I have for now.

After that I had to rush out the door, as our plan was to utilize the wonderful child-care facility that closes at 7PM -- it's almost like you're on a date! To the grocery store. They do have a nice cafe there that we sometimes have dinner at (we feed the kids beforehand, of course) but we didn't have time for that today. LOST is on tonight! That's my favorite, favorite show. I've never missed an episode.

After we got home I cleaned him up a bit, drew in some grass (copics first, pilot pen after, otherwise it would smear and ruin my marker nibs) and filled in the sky. I managed to pick out some papers and snap a pic with the last of the good daylight, but I'll have to save the actual card making for tomorrow.

AND -- I'll get to try out my new Martha Stewart scoring board! Yay! I cannot draw a straight line to save my life, let alone score one. My hubby (knowing that it's been on the top of my wish list) surprised me by telling me to pull into A.C. Moore on the way home from the grocery store tonight, and he ran in and bought it for me (with me in the car with the kids on the cell phone, guiding him to the right place!). He even used a coupon and got it half price! Gotta love a man who can bargain shop! ;o)

Have a great night everybody!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Joy

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? I'm so sorry that I didn't get a craft posted on Friday. On the way home from school, my son Elliott kept telling me that his ears were bothering him. He'd had a cold all week, so I wasn't sure if it was related to that or something else. We came home, I made lunch, got him comfortable on the couch, and started coloring this cute girl with chicks digi stamp from Softpencil. You can see where I tried out various color combos up in the corner.

But before long he was crying in pain and I ended up having to call the doctor and take him to the emergicare center as soon as Chaz got off the bus. We were still in the waiting room when my husband showed up after work, and were debating about whether or not he should take the other boys home when they called Elliott and I in. So hubby and the kids just hung tight. The doctors there were just wonderful, and even allowed me to take a peek into Elliott's ear with their instrument! Poor kid had double ear infections.

By the time we were through, it was after seven and everyone was hungry, so we decided to use the kids Book It coupons for free personal pan pizzas at Pizza Hut. Love that program! So glad it's still around.

Anyway, it was too late when we got back home to finish up the card, so I decided to just save it for today. And here it is.

I cut out the girl and chicks, and drew and cut out grass pattern on the back of the green polkadot paper from My Mind's Eye. I glued that to the front of the cloud paper from Citronella, and attached that to some bright salmon pink Bazzill cardstock to match her dress.

I stamped the sentiment from Studio G in Olive Pastel Colorbox Chalk Ink for a tone-on-tone effect, and tied on some bright yellow polkadot ribbon from American Crafts. Then I just used my regular Tombow tape runner adhesive to attach the girl and chicks to the grass and called it a day.

I'll tell ya, it's so nice to be on Easter vacation! I took it easy pretty much the whole day. Spend way too much time online, cleaned up my office a little, and now I'm heading down to make shrimp alfredo with a garden salad and garlic bread for dinner.

I could get used to this!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wooly and Wonderful

Once again, another late-night post. How are all you out there in the blogosphere tonight? Maybe some of you have already drifted off to dreamland, which is where I'll be headed just as soon as I finish this post. It was a long, emotional day.

Anyway, I'm here now and I've got a card to share with you all. A friend recently asked me about possibly making some knitting themed cards and after some searching, I came across this little clipart image and decided to color it and use it on a card.

I apologize for the bad lighting. The sun was already well on it's way down when I finished, and there was little natural light left to photograph it.

I used Copic markers, C3, RV11, R22, BV00, BV08, BG10, BG13, R02, and Y11. Bazzill cardstock and papers from My Mind's Eye. American Crafts ribbon and various buttons. I mix mine all together by color, so I'm not sure who they're from. I added a little faux stitching in a white gel pen around the edges for some interest.

I think it turned out pretty sweet.

One more day of school and then my kids are off for Easter vacation. I am so behind on Easter this year. I haven't bought a thing for baskets or the egg hunt or anything. How 'bout you all? Are you all geared up for Easter?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Delightful Butterfly

Happy Wednesday, everybody! How are you all doing today? I'm sitting here watching the American Idol results show as I type this, eating a slice of pepperoni pizza with a glass of Arizona iced green tea (totally addicted to the stuff!), so I think that qualifies for multitasking! Lol. Seems I do that a lot these days -- life just keeps getting busier and busier. And that's how I like it, pretty much. At least that way it never gets boring. Although sometimes it's nice to have a little downtime. Especially if you want to get crafty! It's pretty hard to multitask when you're working on a project. Which is exactly what I did this afternoon. Check it out.

I was in a purple mood for some reason (obviously) so I went with an entirely purple theme. I used a darker cardstock base, and stamped a Hero Arts background stamp with plum ink on a pale lavender cardstock. I wanted to see if I could emboss it, so I did, using clear embossing powder. I don't know that it made much of a difference though.

I then stamped a butterfly from The Paper Studio in the plum ink on white cardstock, and again on the back of the patterned paper. I cut both out and glued them together only in the center. I tied the ribbon from American crafts so I could figure out where to center the butterfly, then folded up the top wing layer a little bit so that they popped up.

I stamped the sentiment from Fiskars on the lavender cardstock with the plum ink and cut that out. I had planned to pop it off, but decided it looked more like it was part of the pattern when it was flush with the card, so I attached it that way. And as a final touch, I added a few mini gitter dots to make the butterfly body and drew on the antenna with a white gel pen. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Also, I got a chance to run up to Joann's this afternoon and bought a yard of blue ribbon for $.99 and changed that first sympathy card. I think it looks so much better now. I'm a firm believer in putting your best foot forward, or giving it your best, or however you want to say it. What we put out into the world is a direct reflection of who we are, and I just didn't feel comfortable giving out a card that I knew was not the best that I could do. Now I can breathe a little easier when I bring it to my writers group.

Whew, I'm so glad to see that Casey is safe for another week! Don't get me wrong girls, I'm a happily married woman, but he certainly is nice to look at. ;o) And his voice isn't bad either.

I'm also cheering on my girl Didi. I love her. Great voice, great look, great personality. I hope she goes far.

Off to watch the rest. See y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Sympathies

As promised, I've returned today with my sympathy card, though I have to admit, I'm not happy with it. I hesitated to even share it with you all, but I did say that I would, and besides, sometimes it's good to see others mistakes so we don't have to make the same ones ourselves.

The bottom half of the card isn't too bad, but the ribbon is just awful, in my opinion. I found this beautiful navy velvet ribbon and I thought it'd lend the card a formal elegance. I wanted to tie it in a bow, but the ribbon was so thick that it stuck way off the page and just looked heavy and wrong. Even just knotted as it is now doesn't really improve anything.

Unfortunately, I don't have any other ribbon that matches and I've already spent my meager crafting budget for this week (thanks to a one-day sale at Michael's on Sunday) so I don't know if I can do anything about it. The card has to be done by Thursday so that my writers group can all sign it (the friend who lost his daughter is a member) so that doesn't leave me much time. I might just scrap the whole thing and try to come up with something else.

I rolled up the edges of the petals with a pen to give it some dimention. I do like that effect. Maybe I can salvage the flower if I remake the card.

I also don't like how the sentiment almost blends in with the pattern on the paper.

You'll notice I darkened up the center of the flower quite a bit to try to get it to match the ribbon. I think I liked it the first way better though. I don't have any real deep blue copics, so I had to go with something in the blue violet family.

flower petals: B21 (Baby Blue), B06 (Peacock Blue), and BV13 (Blue Hydrangea)
center: Y11 (Pale Yellow), Y15 (Cadmium Yellow)
stem: G24 (Willow), YG03 (Yellowish Green), and G05 (Emerald Green)

I finished this up late last night, then spent this afternoon making another card to send from just myself. I'm fairly pleased with how this one turned out, though at one point I nearly threw the while thing in the trash! I wrestled with that stinkin' bow for like 20 minutes. Ever have one of those days? Anyway, the bow finally got tied decently and the card got finished.

I first picked out my papers -- I chose this yellow print from Cosmo Cricket, gray cardstock for my focal piece and yellow for the card base. I arranged the hydrangea stamp and the sentiment how I wanted them on the gray, then picked them up together with a large acrylic block and stamped them with Versamark ink. Then I sprinkled the whole thing with white embossing powder and embossed it using my heat tool. I wrestled with the silly ribbon until I was satisfied, and popped it off the card using 3D dimentionals.

I really like the effect from the white embossing powder. You could use that in so many different ways. It took a little bit for me to get the hang of -- at first I couldn't tell which part was melted and which was still powder, but I caught on. As with anything, you get better with a little practice.

Well, that's it for me tonight. If any of you out there have had to make a sympathy card, I'd love it if you could post a link in the comments section. I'm interested in seeing what other people have done with a card that requires such sensitivity.

Now go spend some time with your loved ones!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Copic Coloring - Engraved Flower

I'm feeling a little subdued today. I found out this weekend that the daughter of a friend passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack, and my heart's been breaking for him ever since. He's a dear man who has always had such a positive outlook on life, but he's recently had a whole slew of bad luck concerning the health of his loved ones. And now this. I can't imagine the pain he's going through.

I wanted to make a sympathy card for he and his wife, but I've never made one before, and it's not something that's easy to do. There's a lot to consider, as far as images, color, and sentiment, that will hopefully convey your compassion and support to the family.

I wanted to use this engraged flower cling stamp from Hero Arts that I won in the blog candy giveaway from Kathy at the Daily Marker. I colored it with Copics, choosing hues of blue and yellow.

As far as the rest of the card, I've taken it apart several times and I'm not going to have it done in time to post today. I'll save that for tomorrow. I seems wrong to make it too cheery, and yet you don't want it to be too somber either. It's a tricky balance.

Well, I'm going to close for tonight and take a few moments to watch my children as they sleep. Hold your loved ones close today and tell them that you love them. Life is so fleeting -- make the most of every moment while you can.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Raspberry Coconut Squares

The weekend is officially here! As I mentioned, my kids had off school today, and thankfully it was sunny and warm enough with a light jacket for them to play outside. And can I just say that I am already sick of the sound of the slamming screen door? Lol. I guess Spring is officially here.

I had planned on getting some writing done this afternoon, but it was impossible to concentrate with the kids constantly coming in and out. I was beginning to think I should take a tip from one of those mothers you see in old movies who chase their children back outdoors with a broom. Rather than resort to pleads and threats, I gave up on trying to write during daylight hours and decided to do some baking instead. The kitchen is in the back of the house and we have a privacy fenced in yard, so I could keep a good eye on them while bustling about with my mixing bowl. Plus, I'd have something yummy to surprise my hubby with when he got home. That's always a good thing.

Unfortunately, I realized just in time that I was out of eggs, due to my craving for an egg salad sandwich for lunch. I remembered that I had a recipe for Raspberry Coconut Bars Squares that I'd been meaning to try, and bought all the ingredients for, and then never made. Since it doesn't call for any eggs, that's what I decided to make.

Raspberry Coconut Squares (modified slightly to Christy's version)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 2/3 cups flaked coconut
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 18oz jar raspberry preserves
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a pan, melt butter. Add graham cracker crumbs, mix with a fork to combine. Press into a greased 9X13 baking dish.
In a bowl, add coconut and condensed milk. Toss with 2 forks or salad tongs to mix thoroughly. Plop by spoonfuls over the graham cracker crust, press down to cover. This can be quite sticky, so I sprinkled a little extra dry flaked coconut over top, then pressed it all down with my hands. The mixture is wet enough that the dry coconut will stick to it, but not so much to your hands.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Stir raspberry preserves with a spoon in the jar until it's good and runny. Drizzle over coconut, smear with the back of the spoon or a rubber spatula to cover completely.
In a dry frying pan, pour pecans (walnuts could be substituted if that's what you have on hand) and toast over medium high heat until they begin to smell warm and nutty. Remove from heat immediately and sprinkle over preserves.
Pour chocolate chips in a bowl and melt for 30 seconds at a time on 50% power, stirring after each time, until they are lump-free and gooey delicious. Drizzle over top of dessert.

Now, if you can wait until the chocolate cools and hardens, you are a much stronger woman than I. If you give in, as I did, do check your face on the side of the toaster before you serve your family or guests. I had telltale traces of melted chocolate all over my bottom lip, which resulted in me having to dole out a slice to each of my boys before dinner, or endure the humiliation of being labeled as a mom who doesn't practice what she preaches.

And I've got the unfinished dinner plates to prove it. Oh well, sometimes you've just got to live a little, you know? And let the people in your life live a little with you. I can't think of a better parenting practice than that.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Types and Tweets

Good evening, all! I hope you ladies had a lovely day today. I was out most of the afternoon with my kids, and I'll be with them all day tomorrow, since they have off school. I'm looking forward to the nice, long weekend! Nothing planned as of yet, but if this beautiful weather keeps up we'll definitely have to do something outdoors.

Well, I'm feeling jazzed tonight because I just got back from my writers group where we had a special guest speaker. Author Holly Jacobs came and talked with us -- just chatted, really -- completely laid-back and casual, which was fun. It was so nice to learn more about the business from someone who has successfully navigated it for so long. I've never actually read any of her books, but she got me intrigued, and I definitely plan on picking up a few in the near future. She has a series of fairy godmother books that sound like a riot! I think I'll start with those.

Anyway, I was asked to make a Thank You card for our special guest, and knowing that she's a writer, I thought it would be the perfect time to break in that typewriter stamp that I picked up a few weeks ago. I colored it with Copics and layered it with some vintage blue cardstock and patterned papers from My Minds Eye.

I wasn't sure about the ribbon, since it has a white background and the papers are more of a dark distressed cream, but I couldn't find anything else I liked better, so I decided to just go with it. I also added that little flower for a pop of color.

I actually finished it up late last night, and I had a little time late this afternoon when we finally got home. I was trying to decide between making another card or doing the laundry... Hmm. Tough decision right? Guess which option won out?

This was using a new $1 stamp set from studio g that I just picked up this week from A.C. Moore. I used chalk inks to get those vibrant colors and the paper was from one of those little patterned cardstock pads from Debbie Mumm. I used a green card base to keep with that fresh, spring feel.

Annnnnnd, I sold my first card tonight! Woohoo! A friend in my writer's group asked to see my cards and bought that "Spring Is In The Air" butterfly card. I wasn't sure about pricing, so I did some research -- seems like most handcraft designers sell their cards for around $3.00-$3.50. Since I'm still learning, I decided to just charge $2 for now. That probably covers the cost of the supplies, or at least close to it, and that's all I'm really concerned with at this point. Maybe if I get better and my cards start looking more professional I can raise my rate slightly and turn a little profit. But for now, this is good. And hey, $2 is $2. I can buy two studio g stamp sets with that money! So I'm not complaining.

Well, that's it for me tonight! It's late, so I'm signing out. I hope you all have a fabulous friday! See you back here tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lucky Girl Necklace

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody! Did you all wear green? I know I did! I had on a bright green long-sleeved t with a light green tank top underneath. And this necklace:

I call it my "Lucky Girl" necklace, because I love being part Irish and all the good stuff that comes with it. The color green, four-leaf clovers, rainbows and leprechauns, and of course, Lucky Charms! ;o) Although technically I don't think you have to have a bit o' the green running through your veins to enjoy a bowl of this magically delicious cereal.

Anyway, because I love all things Irish, I made myself this necklace about three years ago, and I wear it every St. Patty's Day. I wish I could wear it more often, but I don't think I'd get away with it.

Aside from wearing green, we also celebrated with our annual visit from Lucky the Leprechaun, who left this little poem (hurriedly jotted, so excuse any imperfect rhyming!) on a green post-it on our door:

Seek it high and seek it low,
So the legend told,
At the end of every rainbow
There lies a pot of gold.
I had enough to spare this year
So I'm sharing some with you,
Five gold coins for every boy
Whose heart is good and true.

This mischevious little fellow left fifteen gold-foil chocolate coins hidden in our livingroom while the boys were eating their dinner. They had a good time hunting them down and enjoying a few for dessert.

How did you spend your St. Patrick's Day?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christy's Top Secret (Shh!) Chocolate Cake Recipe

Is there anything on earth better than a decadant slice of chocolate cake? Well, maybe, but it's gotta be right up there. I've tried and tweaked a lot of chocolate cake recipes over the years and I've finally hit upon one that's just about perfection. It's rich, dark, and moist -- just what you want in a chocolate cake. I don't share the recipe with just anyone, so consider yourselves among the priviledged few. ;o)

Today we had Dominic's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, since we had to cancel it two Saturdays ago when we all got sick. Though we normally wouldn't schedule a party on a school night, we made an exception this time since they're always so crazy full on the weekends. It actually worked out really well. And of course, I had to make cupcakes! I decorated them with fudge frosting and various sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, and chopped nuts. And they were yummy!

Christy's Top Secret Chocolate Cake Recipe

3/4 cup dark cocoa (regular cocoa is also okay if you don't have the dark)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coffee, cooled

In a large bowl, mix cocoa, sugar, salt, flour, and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, beat together yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, and coffee.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisk until smooth.
Pour into a greased pan (I use a springform pan with a hole in the center, but you can use a bundt pan, 2 9" rounds, or a 9X13" or lined muffin tins)
Bake at 325 F for one hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes, invert on a wire rack sprayed with cooking spray.
Cool 20 more minutes or longer. Gently loosen from pan with a butter knife or thin rubber spatula.

Decorate as desired.

I hope you enjoy it! Have a great night!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Trip To The Shriner's, Plus Blog Candy

Wow, can you believe that Monday has nearly drawn to a close? Today was such a crazy, run-around day for us. For starters, my son Elliott had a 9AM appointment at Shriner's Hospital, which meant that I had to drop Chaz and Dominic off at school at their usual time of 8:45 and then book it back across town with only 15 minutes to spare. And let me tell you, it was FOGGY this morning. Up by my kids school, it was thick as pea soup! I know that's so cliche' but I don't know how else to describe it. Basically you couldn't even see the traffic lights until you were practically under them. Craziness.

But our appointment went well. For those of you who don't know, Elliott was born with club feet, one mild and one severe. From the time he was three days old until he was three years old he had casts, splints, braces, and physical therapy to endure on a daily basis. But he's such a trooper. He never let any of that stand in his way. When Elliott was three, we moved back to the States from Germany and he was able to have surgery at Shriner's Hospital. I cannot say enough good things about the Shriners. Those people are miracle workers! And they're all such wonderful, caring people besides. Thanks to them, Elliott is now able to walk, run, skip, and hop with the best of 'em. And they were so pleased with his progress today that we don't have to go back for another two years! Praise God for that.

The one dim spot in our day was when I realized that it was 11:00 and that we were still no where near done (they'd just ordered X-rays) and that I was not going to make it back to the school in time to pick up Dominic from preschool. But after a frantic couple of phone calls, my dad was able to go get him and let him ride around with him while he worked until Elliott and I finished up. Thank God for Dads! I've been blessed with a wonderful one who has come to my rescue more times than I can remember.

We were done around 12:30, so my dad suggested we meet up at this little diner I had never been to. It was a real, old-fashioned diner like the kind you see in the movies. The owners were there and served up some really delicious home-cooked food. I had a BLT and a bowl of seafood bisque that was amazing! Yum. It makes my stomach growl just thinking about it.

After that we made a quick stop at home, then it was back up to the school to pick up Chaztin and put up his bullitin board display for student of the week. Then a quick stop at the grocery store (Yay for in-store kid care!) and then home again. We had lots of homework to get done tonight, plus extra make-up work for Elliott since he missed school today, then dinner, bedtime, and my husband had a late-night soccer game to get to.

So yeah, I'm sorry to report that I did not get a chance to get crafty today, unless you count the elaborately detailed fire truck scene that Elliott and I drew together while waiting for the doctors this morning. Which I think counts, by the way, but my camera battery died so I don't have pictures to share. Besides, I think it might have gotten a little chocolate milk on it from when Elliott brought it into the diner to show his grandpa.

But not to leave you completely hanging, I did find this blog candy giveaway over at the Crafty Little Pigtails blog. You'll definitely want to head on over there and check out all the details and sign up for this great package!

And that's the tale of my Monday! Here's hoping Tuesday will be a little less hectic for all of us. ;o)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Easy Crescent-Topped Turkey Pot Pie

It's the weeekend, everybody! Aren't you glad? I'm about to run out the door here and try to catch a movie, but I wanted to do a quick post to share what I made for dinner tonight. I call it Turkey Pot Pie, but it's actually topped with refrigerated crescent rolls, rather than inside a pie crust. Whatever it is, my family loves it! When I make this dish, I don't get any complaints for dinner.

Christy's Turkey Pot Pie

1 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tsp chicken bullion
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese (optional)
1 lb deli turkey breast, cubed
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, add mayo, flour, and bullion, whisk over medium-high heat to combine. Gradually add milk, continuing to whisk until thick and creamy. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce reaches a simmer. Simmer 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium. Add grated parm, whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add turkey and frozen veggies, heat through. Pour into a lightly greased 9X13 baking dish. Arrange crescent triangles in a pattern to cover the top of filling.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

It's yummy! I hope you'll give it a try. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Reading Fairy

What a beautiful day it was! I hope that all of you lovely ladies had a chance to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! My two youngest boys and I decided to make an impromptu picnic. It was just too nice out to go right back indoors after school. So I stopped at a grocery store on the way home and picked up some rolls and ham and cheese, carrot sticks, cookies and juice boxes and we stopped at a playground along the waterfront and had a wonderful lunch and playtime.

Anyway, I did get a little coloring in. Check it out.

This is another digital stamped image that I found that I thought was just adorable. It's an illustration by a children's book author, but I've forgotten who. I think it might say in small lettering under the picture... If I weren't racing against the clock to get this posted by midnight, I'd google it for you, but anyway...

I'm not thrilled with how I colored it, but I did learn a valuable lesson. Always color your focal point first! I unfortunately began with the books working from the bottom up, and by the time I got to the little fairy child, they didn't exactly match the look I was going for with her. Without really thinking about it, I guess I had definite plans of what she was going to look like. I didn't realize until later after I'd gone downstairs and passed the photo on my bedroom wall, what a strong resemblence she bears to my mother.

This photograph is my favorite one of her. It's a long story and it's too late to go into tonight, but I don't have a relationship with my mother. She left when I was young, but for some reason this picture of her looking so sweet and innocent just melts my heart. It makes me wonder if things could have been different, if only... If only what, I don't know.

I colored it with Copics -- too many to list. I pretty much used all the ones I own at the moment. I wish I hadn't colored the book in her lap orange. It really clashes with her dress, don't you think? And I also slopped a little brown onto her forehead at her hairline. I wasn't sure if I should use the colorless blender on it, or if that would also take away the color of her skin or make it all muddy. If anyone knows the answer to that, please fill me in! So far I've only used the colorless blender for going out of the lines onto the blank paper.

I'm not sure if I'll actually do anything with this one, or just chalk it up to practice. But I guess that's the great thing about it being a digital image. If I don't like it, I can just print off a new one and begin again.

Kind of like that saying from Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." It gives me hope that things don't have to stay the way they've always been. People can change. We can be the change we want to see in this world.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Hint of Mint

Good evening, all! How was your day today? I'm happy to report that we are all on the mend. Not quite 100%, but we're getting there. Tomorrow I'll be heading to my nearest Walmart and spending some time in the vitamin aisle. I am just sick way too often. If anybody has any recommendations, please jump in. I tried taking Centrum for a while (like two years ago), but they always gave me an upset stomach. I don't know what other brand I could try that might be different, but at this point I'm willing to give pretty much anything a go.

Well, today I've got a bracelet to share with you. I'm calling it a Hint of Mint, due to the delicious hue of green in the beads. Kinda lame, I know, but I couldn't come up with anything better.

The beads are a cut and polished moss quartz and a lovely, vibrant green aventurine. I used Bali sterling silver spacers and a sterling silver toggle clasp to accent that cool, crisp feel. Like an ice cold glass of mint julep. At least, how I imagine a mint julep would be. I have, in fact, never tasted the drink. I'm pretty sure that it's a Southern thing. And while I like to imagine that I am Southern, or what it must be like to be Southern, I am actually not Southern. At all. Though I have been to Florida twice.

See those great inclusions? Like seaweed forever frozen... Okay, enough with the metaphors. I'm even getting sick of myself, so I can imagine how you poor ladies must feel!

Anyway, I thought it would be a great bracelet for St. Patrick's Day, for the girl that maybe isn't quite as fond of bright, grass stain green (not me, I have three boys, so grass stain green is quite popular in our house) and prefers a more subdued, subtle, springy shade. Sss, Sss, Sss.

Yeah, I'm thinkin' it's time for me to call it a night. I'm getting a little too silly. Must be the meds. (Let's hope!)

I don't know about you, but I haven't been this glad to see the hind end of a hump-day (Wednesday being the middle day of the week -- took me FOREVER to catch on to that one) in a long time. Wishing you all a fab ending to your week! Meet you back here tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Night ~ A Poem

Happy Tuesday, everybody. How's your week been so far? Hopefully you are all doing a little better than we are this week. This stomach virus, whatever it is, seems intent on sticking around a while longer, and let me tell ya, it is really kicking my butt! We go through our fair share of sickness here, but this one is one of the worst I've experienced in a long while. Ugh.

Anyway, I tried to muster up the strength to get crafty today, but the only thing I can do comfortably for any length of time is to sit very still. Having the laptop on my lap (that always sounds redundant, doesn't it?) actually helps because the warmth works like a heating pad on my poor crampy tummy. I discovered this about an hour ago. If I had realized this previously, I could have spent an entire day online guilt-free! Good thing I can't reach my debit card from here. My long-suffering hubby would NOT be pleased. ;o)

So, instead, I worked some more on my poem. I'm still not sure it's quite right, but I'm going to share it with you anyway. What inspired it was this fantastic list of verbs that my friend Belinda posted on her wonderful blog Nordicblogger and the famous quote by Anton Chekov, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." I started thinking about what kind of person might be in that setting, which got me wondering about homelessness. And not just homelessness, but what it must feel like to be young and female and homeless for the first time. Maybe she fled an abusive relationship. Maybe she's a stranger in a strange town who just lost everything. I don't know her situation, but I know she spoke to me. And this was the result.

First Night

She gapes up at the evening sky
Insidious clouds push their way toward the moon.
Enclosing it.
Jostling it around like some street gang
Bent on teaching it a lesson.

The moon grapples,
To wriggle free of their sticky fingers,
Hold its position
Fill its lungs with one last deep breath
The frenzied vapors nip at it, then swallow it whole.
Tiny stars gasp and shrink into themselves,
Taking cover,
Lest they, too, be consumed.

Blackness now.
No light above to guide her.
The cold metal bench at her back
Bites through the layers that hide her shape
Keep her safe
Ears trained to every inch of the night

The shatter of glass against pavement startles
Another empty bites the dust.
Her heart flutters against her rib cage
The rusty tang of fear upon her tongue
She knows there are others out here like her
Not like her
Shapes in the dark
Shuffling by

She will not become accustomed
To the sounds of the night
To the abandoned heavens
To the park bench
She will not learn their names,
These reticent ghosts
Faceless by night, faceless by day.
This is her temporary home.

~ Christiana

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kitty Cat With Copics

Happy Monday, all! How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? We were supposed to have Dominic's birthday party on Saturday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese, but another bout of the stomach flu hit, and we had to postpone it until next week. It's such a fun place to go, but man, is it always packed in there! It's probably a little better on a weekday, but that's always hard to arrange with everyone's schedules. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Yesterday I just didn't seem to be in the mood to do anything! My high fever and upset tummy had put me in a strange mood. I didn't feel like getting online, I didn't feel like crafting, I didn't even feel like reading, which is VERY unlike me. Then I looked at my little pile of Copics smiling up at me so sweetly, and I thought coloring seemed like a soothing thing to do. So I printed off a few of those digi stamps I've been talking about and spent a quiet couple of hours coloring them in for future use on cards.

I started with that cute little kitty from the Motivet blog.

I colored him in with C3 (cool gray #3) and since I don't have any other grays, I just went back over it again to make parts darker and give contrast. Then I scrubbed lightly over it with my colorless blender to give the fur some texture. I did the same thing with RV11 (pink) on the ears, and did overlapping E57 (light walnut), on the clumps of dirt. Then I used G05 (emerald green) and YG03 (yellow green) on the flower stem and leaves, and R22 (light prawn), R27 (cadmium red), and R59 (cardinal) on the petals.

Today, my fever is down, and despite the loud rumbles eminating from my abdominal region, I felt well enough to use the little kitty on a card.

I chose some chocolate brown cardstock for my base and used two contrasting but complimentary patterned papers from the In Bloom collection from My Mind's Eye (love their papers). I decided to give everything soft rounded edges to emphasize kitty's soft fur, and centered him over top.

I did a little faux stitching in a white Signo Broad gel pen around the edge on the brown so it wouldn't look so plain, and wrote "for you" in the bottom corner in pencil, then went over it with the Signo.

It needed another pop of color, so I got out those felt button flowers I picked up a while ago (and have used on a previous card) and layered those for some added dimention. I glued those on with Tombow Mono Multi Glue.

Then I went back and carefully erased the pencil lines. I had some ribbon I was going to use as well, but I couldn't find a place to put it without it looking too busy, so I decided just to leave it off.

And that's it for today. If you decide to print off the little kitty and make something with him, please post a link in the comments section. I'd love to see it.

Hope you all have a great evening!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Free Digi Stamp ~ Cat With Flower

Okay, so I chickened out about the poem. I just didn't feel like I was quite ready for that. It still needs a little tweaking on one or two lines, and though I worked on it for a couple hours today, the "just right" words eluded me. So maybe next week.

I did find something cool to share with you all though. Since I was talking about digital stamps yesterday, I thought I'd try and locate a freebie for you in case you wanted to try it for yourself before you pay for something and then perhaps decide that you don't like it after all.

I came across a blog called Motivet, and she was offering a free digi stamp to share as long as you linked your readers back to her blog. Pretty generous, no? And it's a really sweet image. See?

This version is colored, obviously, so you can see what it would look like, but if you follow the link back to her page you can click on the black and white image to open it, then right click and save it to your computer. Try it and see how you like it. Then post a link to your blog in the comments section here so we can all see how you used it.

You can color it with anything you like, from Copics, to colored pencils, to watercolors, to crayons. Use it in a card, on a scrapbooking page, on a gift tag, anything. Once it's saved to your computer you should be able to resize it to your liking and print it out on your paper of choice.

I did learn a tip today at SplitCoast Stampers about avoiding ink smearage. They recommended that you heat set the image with an embossing tool (a blow dryer would probably work as well) to ensure that it's completely dry before coloring. I'll have to try that myself next time.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Heard You Were Under The Weather Card

In my Thursday night writers group, there is a lovely woman named Alice. Alice is, let us say, of a "mature" age, and quite the spitfire. Her eyes sparkle and dance with merriment and her smile twitches as she more often than not brings the comic relief. To say it simply, Alice rocks my world. The group just wouldn't be the same without her.

Unfortunately, Alice also has a number of health problems, and is currently recouperating from one of these at a local hospital. I decided to make her a Get Well card and bring it to the meeting tonight so that we can all sign it and send her our best wishes.

I didn't have a stamp that seemed quite right though, so I decided to take the plunge and try out one of those digital stamps, or digi stamps as they're often called. Have you ever tried them? Basically, it's just an image that you purchase for a one time low fee, download it to your computer, and you can print it out on cardstock as often as you like. The one I bought cost $3 from, called Sugarplum's Rainy Day Emma. You can find it here: The image comes in a zip file, which you can open just by clicking on the image, then clicking "open". Pretty self explanitory. I do recommend saving two copies -- an original and one to play around with sizes on. All in all, I was very pleased with how easy it was to use. And it came out pretty nice. See for yourself.

Not bad, huh? I printed it out on Georgia Pacific (Walmart brand) cardstock and colored it with my Copic markers. I was concerned about the printer ink bleeding, and it did a little. You can see it on her forhead between the part in her bangs, and also on the lapel of her jacket. That was the only two places though, so I'm not sure if it was just because the ink wasn't quite dry or because the paper was too saturated from the markers or what. If anyone has any tips on not smearing, I'd love to hear them. Maybe next time I'll let the ink dry for a half hour or so before coloring and see how that goes.

Okay, so for supplies, I used: notecard and envelope from Craft Essentials, patterned paper by My Mind's Eye, which I punched with my Fiskars threading water border punch. Digi stamp from All That Scraps, Copic makers, and ribbon by American Crafts. The sentiment, I actually just typed and printed out on the scrap cardstock using Microsoft Works... I can't remember the font I used, but I can find out if anyone wants to know. It's not straight intentionally. For some reason I thought that cutting it sort of squiggly would add dimention, but I'm not really sure that it worked all that well.

Notice the flowers in her pocket? I actually just drew those free hand. I wanted to add a pop of color on her raincoat and thought about paper piecing the pocket, but decided to do this instead. Knowing that the Copics would smear with my ink pen, I drew the flower petals with the edge of the brush tip first, then outlined them with my Pilot Precise pen. Smart thinking, eh? I was quite proud of myself. Then I just cut them out and attached with a mini glue dot.

Copics used are as follows:
skin - E00 (skin white) and R02 (flesh)
hair - E33 (sand) and E57 (light walnut)
jacket - Y11 (light yellow) and Y15 (cadmium yellow
pants - B21 (baby blue) and B06 (peacock blue)
boots - RV11 (pink), R22 (light prawn), R27 (cadmium red)
umbrella - BV00 (mauve shadow) and BV08 (blue violet)
grass - YG03 (yellow green), G24 (willow), and G05 (emerald green)
sky - BG10 (cool shadow)

So right now I'd rate the digi stamp performance at a 9. I love that I can use it over and over with just the click of a button, there's no cleanup, and no storage space taken up. The only negative was that little bit of smearing, but hopefully I can figure out why that was and find a way to avoid that next time.

Thinking of sharing a poem tomorrow. Not sure that I'm ready to expose myself like that, but we'll see. Hope you all have a fantastic evening!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kitty Cat Cupcakes

Ah, such a bittersweet day. My beautiful little baby turned FIVE today. I guess I can't really call him my little baby any more, can I? *sniffle* It's just unbelievable to me that so much time has passed. It seems like just yesterday I was wearing him tied against my chest, where I could sniff his downy head and smell his sweet newborn smell all day long. Can any of you mommies out there relate? Tell me, how do you get through it? While part of me applauds his every success, the other part of me wants to whip out my superwoman suit and fly backwards around the earth until time is reversed. My other two boys are already so independant, I can't imagine what I'm going to do the first time he tells me that he doesn't need my help anymore. *Sigh* Like I said, it was a bittersweet day.

But sniffles and tears aside, we had a fun time together. Dominic needed to bring in a birthday snack for Preschool, so I decided to make cupcakes and decorate them like his favorite animal. Take a look.

Meow, meow! I just baked a classic yellow cake recipe, and frosted them with a cream cheese frosting, since that's his favorite flavor. I used gummi grapefruit slices for the ears, bubblegum flavored jelly bellies for the nose, mini marshmellows cut in half for the upper lips, m&ms for the eyes, and black licorice laces for the whiskers.

And here's my beautiful birthday boy! Gah, his smile just kills me. That's my little lovey. Like his birthday hat? He got that at school today and didn't want to take it off. Too cute.

Man, I don't know about you, but I'm beat! I think I'm going to go catch the rest of American Idol and then hit the hay. I'm totally rooting for Casey, Alex, and Andrew of the boys, and Didi and Crystal of the girls this season. Are you guys watching? Who are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Altered Mini Composition Notebook

Hello, everybody! I promised you girlies a brand-new (to me) craft today, and I have to say, I'm so pleased with how it turned out! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make this a how-to post, rather than my typical show-and-tell.

I don't know about your little ones, but my kids love to have their own little notebooks. After trying a few of the different styles out there, I came to the conclusion that I like the mini composition notebooks best, for several reasons.
1. They're pocket sized, perfect for little hands to hold.
2. They're lined, and the lines aren't too close together so they're ideal for practicing letters, names, or short words.
3. The pages are bound nice and tight so they aren't always coming loose.
4. They're light and take up a minimal amount of space in my purse (and this is key, since God knows I carry WAY too much stuff in that thing!)

The problem with mini composition notebooks is that they pretty much only come in black and white, or if you're lucky, a colored print. Because of this, it can be hard to keep track of whose is whose (or is it who's is who's? I can never remember). In the past, I've given my kids stickers to decorate them, but stickers can sometimes peel off and they still don't look all that great.

Well, we're going to change all that today. Are you ready? Here we go. Start off by cutting down two sheets of designer paper to the size of your mini composition notebook. This should be the thicker stuff, not the thin, copier paper weight patterned paper. In this case, I used one of those 4X6 stacks of patterned cardstock, and it was the perfect size. I cut it right down the middle and it was pretty much an exact fit for both sides. Adhere with your favorite permanant adhesive (I used tape runner glue), and don't be bashful about it. You want this thing to really stick. Line it up as best you can, sticking over the corners just a wee bit.

Yes, I did say wee. I'm apparently channeling my Irish ancestors today. Must have been that Shamrock shake my lovely hubby bought me yesterday after I not-so-subtly hinted.

Notice that I lined up the paper to the outside edge. The paper does not have to cover the black binding. We'll cover that up later. For now, open the cover of your notebook and use the inside edge as a guide to trim down any excess paper. Then lightly sand the edges in a downward motion using a fine grit sandpaper. Make sure you are going down toward the notebook. If you sand upward toward yourself, you will peel the paper back up. As to where to get the sandpaper, just raid your hubby's tool box if he's got some, or you can pick up one of these sanding sponges at Walmart for around $2.50.

Next, attach your ribbon. I picked up this bright orange polkadot ribbon at JoAnn's yesterday for $1. And the best part? It's self adhesive! Isn't that cool? The things people come up with these days... Anyway, if you don't have any self-adhesive ribbon, not to worry. You can use any double-sided tape or tacky tape. Just get your tape down in a straight line, then smooth your ribbon over it.

I forgot to take a photo for the next stage, but you want to cut another piece of coordinating cardstock down to the height of your notebook, and then about two inches or so wide. You can see mine laying over to the side there. Train the cardstock over the binding so that it's even on the front and back, then apply lots more adhesive and attach. Once again, I lined the front up first, then just folded the rest back. That way, even if you didn't cut your cardstock perfectly straight, that part will be on the back and won't show anyhow. Trim if needed, and lightly sand top and bottom.

And now, the best part! Embellish to your little heart's desire! Since this particular notebook is going to be a birthday present for my son Dominic, who turns five tomorrow, I stamped this cute little chihuahua (He loves chihuahuas. And Siamese cats. It's unbelieveable that he's my child. I kid!) and colored it with my sweets (i.e. Copic markers), added a snippet of patterned paper behind for a more finished look, and viola! I seem to love saying viola! (it's impossible to type without the exclamation point), don't I? I guess it reminds me of my great-grandmother Vera, which isn't really like Viola, but they both start with v...

For a final touch, I broke out those alphabet stickers I picked up last week or so from K&Company and added a capital D for Dominic. And then I sat back on my heels (I currently use my floor for a workspace, it's great on the back, lemme tell ya) and clapped my hands with glee because I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to do this. It turned out pretty darn cute, if you ask me!

So there's my craft for today. I hope I've got you all feeling inspired and ready to race away to your craft supplies! Before you go, I just want to give fair warning that I'm baking cupcakes for tomorrow. So come back with a full tummy, or bring some napkins along. Drool isn't good for keyboards, you know. ;o)


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