Sunday, December 21, 2008

More cookies and cards

This weekend I baked almost 12 dozen cookies and I'm exhausted! I was really in the mood to bake this year and try out some new recipes. But I cannot possibly eat so many cookies on my own, so I decided to make up cookie bags for the people in my department at work. I ordered the small window coffee bags from Papertrey and used the Papertrey set Holiday Treats to decorate the bags with SU Night of Navy and Close to Cocoa ink. Each one has 4 butter toffee cookies, 4 peanut butter blossoms, 3 bon bon cookies, and 2 iced gingerbread people - one boy and one girl.

I've got two more Christmas cards to share - one that's more elegant and one that's just fun. They're both clean and simple designs, which seems to be the only style I can come up with lately! The first card uses PTI white as the base. The image is from A Muse and is colored with a silver sakura gel pen and SU markers. The sentiment is from the PTI set Take a Bough. I used Marvy punches for the circle and scallop circle and a white gel pen to dot the scallops. Clear gemstones act as headlights and the stitched ribbon "road" is PTI Pure Poppy.

On the second card I also used PTI white for the base and image piece, SU Brushed Silver for the strip, and PTI Pure Poppy for the border. The image is from a Basic Grey clear set I bought last year and is stamped in Encore silver ink. The berries on the wreath were dotted with a red sakura gel pen and I used a paper piercing tool to create a border for the image. The sentiment is from Lizzie Anne Designs and was stamped in PTI Pure Poppy.

This will likely be my last post until after Christmas as I spend the next few days finishing up holiday preparations and then spending time with family and friends. I hope you all have a safe, warm, and very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I love the Believe set from Papertrey Ink. I never scooped it up last year when it first came out, but this year I just couldn't resist and have really enjoyed playing with it! This Santa is especially fun, because you can paper piece it (kind of a pain to do, but really cute!) or color it as I did on the second card. And the set comes with all kinds of things for him to hold - the star and heart you see here, plus lots more!

Both of these cards use PTI white cardstock, Palette Noir ink, Encore gold ink, PTI gold ribbon, and liquid applique for the trim on Santa's outfit.

I used paper from last year's BasicGrey Figgy Pudding line for Santa's robe on the first card and SU's Real Red marker to color the second card. I used my R02 (Flesh) Copic for the faces and a gold paint pen to fill in the heart on card #2. I think that's it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cards and Some Cookies

I am typically not a gold person. I wear only silver jewelry, have different silvery tones (chrome, nickel) for lamps, curtain rods, hardware, etc. in my house. Even my car is silver! But there's something about Christmas that makes gold seem to work so well and I really love how both of these cards turned out.

For the first card, I used the ornament cuttlebug folder on SU's brushed gold cardstock and flipped it over so that the front of the card was debossed rather than embossed. That was mounted on PTI Pure Poppy cardstock, as was the sentiment panel. The sentiment is from Lizzie Anne Designs and is stamped in Pure Poppy ink. I used gold stickles to trace around the white sentiment panel, and finished off the card with Pure Poppy twill. Quick, easy, and I think pretty elegant.

For this 4.25" x 4.25" card, I used SU brushed gold as the base. I then created poinsettias (my favorite holiday motiff!) using white shimmery flowers from the bridal section of Michael's. I just pressed them onto my SU Real Red ink pad and, while they were laying on the ink pad, added a few drops of reinker to really saturate the flowers and get a deeper red. I put two flowers together with a gold brad in the center and adhered them with mini glue dots to the card base. The sentiment here is again from Lizzie Anne Designs, stamped with Palette Noir.

And finally I thought I'd show you the peanut butter blossoms for which I made the dough over the weekend. Try to look past my less than desirable photography skills, poor lighting, and reflective chrome plate! The Recipe Girl herself saw on my blog the other day that I was going to make these cookies and suggested that I roll them in red and green sugar rather than regular white granulated sugar for a more festive look. Duh! I don't know why I didn't think of that myself! But then I guess that's why she's called The Recipe Girl and I'm just The Girl Who Likes to Drool Over Her Recipes! The colored sugars do make for a more festive holiday cookie, and I swear they actually are red and green, not radioactive pink and green!

I still have so much to do in the next few days. I went from being totally relaxed because my family is not really exchanging much in the way of gifts this year to kicking myself for being so relaxed and leaving my homemade projects to the last minute. I have two scrapbooks that I need to finish that I'm making as gifts for friends of mine who went to Disney World with me in April (I've only had 8 months to work on them!!), some Christmas cards to finish and mail out, a mini scrapbook to make for another friend of mine, stocking stuffers for my mom, 4 more kinds of Christmas cookies, and gift packaging for all the cookies! And yet the motivation doesn't seem to be with me. Instead of being productive tonight, I sat on my couch, admired my Christmas tree, and ate peanut butter blossoms while I watched the new Muppet Christmas special. Then I watched the 2008 White House Christmas special. And now I'm sitting here typing about all I have to do instead of doing it! Will I never learn?!

Hope you're all being a lot more productive than I am!

Monday, December 15, 2008


...are not just for birthdays anymore!
Let me first apologize for these horrible pictures. I of course did not check the pictures before mailing the cards out, so I didn't realize how unclear they are, especially the first and third ones. And the sentiment on the first one is barely visible in the photo, but was stamped in Encore silver ink using the Lizzie Anne Designs sentiment "Have yourself a merry little Christmas".

All of the cards feature the cupcake tier from the Impression Obsession cupcake set as the main focal image. All ribbons are from Papertrey Ink and all cardstock is as well, except for the shimmery cardstock. That is SU's Shimmer White. The cupcakes were all colored with a combination of SU markers, spica glitter pens, and sakura glitter gel pens. Liquid pearls added finishing touches here and there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

...or at least what Christmas would look like if it exploded in my kitchen! I make such a mess when I'm baking. This picture doesn't even show the half of it, or the flour all over my floor! It's so much fun though, except when I knock over an almost full bottle of vanilla and it spills all over my recipe...

I started off the night making peppermint bark using this recipe from I didn't take a picture of my bark because, due to my impatience, I didn't wait until the second layer fully hardened. As a result, the minute I poured the warm melted white chocolate over the top, the middle layer began melting, so the top of my bark has a swirled effect that is much less pretty than it should be. But it still tastes phenomenal and really is so easy if you just wait the amount of time suggested for each layer. I'd even suggest putting the pan in the freezer rather than the fridge to make sure the layers really do harden up properly. A little side note: I had no idea how much 6 oz. of peppermint was in terms of candy canes. I crushed up 4 and it seems to have been the perfect amount.

Then I made a batch of gingerbread dough using this recipe on my friend Tammi's blog. I was going to make a double batch, but this is the first time I've made gingerbread cookie dough from scratch and in case I messed it up, I didn't want to have a ton of dough. It was super easy to make, so I can always whip up another batch later in the week. I shaped the dough into a log and put it in my freezer until I'm ready to make the cookies in the next few days.

I finished up this evening's endeavors with a double batch of dough for Peanut Butter Blossoms. My best friend's mom has made these for years and I finally got the recipe from her. I've tried other versions of this cookie, but hers is always the best! She said the dough freezes really well (and actually the baked cookies do as well) so I've got two logs of this dough in my freezer. Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
3 Tbl more sugar
36 chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Put margarine, peanut butter, ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg into a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium until smooth and creamy.
Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder together, and mix into creamed ingredients. Cover w/plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper or silicone mats.
Put the 3 T of sugar in a plastic bag.
Shape the dough into balls the size of walnuts in the shell. Shake three balls at a time in the bag of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
Bake 8 minutes. Put a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie and press down gently. Continue baking 2-4 minutes, or until chocolate has melted down a little.
Remove cookies with a spatula and cool on a cooling rack. (I let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet a little before removing to a cooling rack, or they fall apart sometimes.)

I'm going to make half the cookies with Hershey Kisses and half with milk chocolate Dove Promises just to compare. Dove is my most favorite chocolate, so I have a feeling they'll be pretty darn good!

I've got a bunch of Christmas cards to share and will do that over the next few days, so check back! For now, my feet and legs are tired from my evening in the kitchen, and it's after 10pm and I haven't eaten dinner yet, so I think I'll go curl up on the couch with some food and watch the end of It's a Wonderful Life on TV. I love this time of year!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cheese Balls

Cheese balls are, to me, a very holidayish food. I've never made one before, but this past week I had a few occasions for which I needed to make an appetizer and a dessert. I experimented with both a savory and a sweet version and both turned out very well if I do say so myself! I didn't take pictures of either of them, but thought I'd share the recipes in case you happen to be in need of some new ideas this season.

Tammy's Tempting Cheese Ball
1 (1 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
5 ounces roasted, salted almonds, chopped (I omitted)

If you want to see the actual directions, click on the link above. I didn't follow them. I am lazy, so I just threw everything into my food processor at once rather than mixing particular ingredients together and whatnot. It turned out nice and evenly mixed, so I'd recommend going that route if you have a food processor. This made quite a large batch, so I separated it into two balls and wrapped each in saran wrap. I made this the night before it was needed so the flavors had more time to blend and so the balls could set up properly. As noted, I did not roll the balls in chopped almonds. I do not like almonds, so I wasn't going to taint perfectly good cheese with some icky nuts. And I didn't miss them, nor did my friends who came over last night. We had the whole ball eaten in about 10 minutes flat. :-) I served these with Wheat Thins and Triscuits, but any cracker would do. Or even vegetable sticks I suppose, though I would never.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (omitted)

Again, I just threw all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) into my food processor to mix everything up. Then I just stirred the chocolate chips in by hand. As with the savory cheese ball, I spooned it onto plastic wrap, shaped it into a ball, and allowed to chill overnight. Mine was a little softer than I think it should have been, I think because when "softening" the butter in the microwave I got carried away and partially melted it. If I wasn't so lazy, I would have added a little more powdered sugar to firm it up, but I didn't care enough to bother. I did not roll my ball in pecans as the recipe suggests because, again, that would have ruined the recipe for me. I served this with those holiday cookies that Keebler comes out with this time of year - the gingerbread men and those Jingles cookies - but graham crackers, chocolate wafers, or whatever other kind of cookie you like would be just fine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Aunt Jane!

Just a quick card that I made for my aunt, whose birthday is on Saturday. It's actually a CASE of a card I made over the summer, but pretend you've never seen anything like it before. :-) I'm reinstating the rule that I have to use something new on every card I make (and by new I mean something I've been hoarding for ages and haven't used yet!). I'm hoping this will make me forget that I'm banned from buying new stuff for a while. And really, I do have sooo much stuff, more than I could ever use in a lifetime probably! The new thing used on this card is the ribbon, which I've probably had for close to a year but has seen no love. The bucket is colored with a silver Sakura gel pen and the centers of the flowers are dotted with a clear spica pen. The image is from Memory Box, the polka dots are from PTI's Polka Dot Basics, and sentiment is from PTI's Birthday Basics. Colors are PTI's Berry Sorbet and SU's Certainly Celery. Hardware is from SU.

Monday, November 24, 2008

LOSTie Christmas/Winter Kits

Over the last month, some of the LOSTies participated in a card kit swap - the theme was Christmas/winter and each participant had to send each of the other girls some stamped images as well as cardstock or patterned paper. Everyone then had to take those materials, add some of their own embellishments, and create their own card. It's really cool to see how many different takes there are using the same materials. I chose not to participate because with moving and all, I had to pack up my stamp supplies and didn't have time to put a kit together. I also wasn't sure when my stamping stuff would be unpacked and if I'd ever have a chance to put the kits together. But, those girls are too sweet for words and each made up an extra kit for me to play with when I got settled! Thank you!!!

This weekend I got a lot of playing time in and tonight was able to finish putting together all the kits. Let me tell you, it was not easy. This was the first swap of this kind that I'd done before and I think I took things too literally. I felt like I had to include every component included in the kit, so if there were 3 different designs of patterned paper, I thought I had to use them all. Well, until the last few kits when my creativity was too stretched and I just gave up! I also didn't realize we could add other things of our own, like additional cardstock, besides embellishments. So I'm really not happy with about half of the cards I made. I avoided looking at any of the cards the other girls had posted until I was done because I didn't want to be swayed by their ideas, but looking at them now, I realize they all did a much better job because they weren't bound by the rules and in a lot of cases, only used bits and pieces of the supplied papers or added some extras of their own. Regardless, I had fun with them and was definitely forced to stretch myself into using styles that I'm not used to!

And here they are:

This was Amanda's kit. I'd been wanting to try an acetate card for a long time and had just never gotten around to it, so this was a welcome challenge! I wish I had stamped something on the acetate to make it stand out more, but I guess I didn't realize that we could add stamps to the card beyond the stamped images we received in the kit and maybe a sentiment if needed. Again, I was taking this much too literally! The patterned paper is adhered on the inside and the image is on the outside so that the adhesive I used on the pieces was completely hidden. I did the same thing on the back panel - one piece adhered on the inside of the card and one on the outside.

This one was from Barb - more acetate! She had the globe from Lizzie Anne Designs' Build a Bauble set stamped on acetate, so I used it with the base piece to create a snowglobe of sorts. Only there's no snow, just merry Christmas wishes in a lot of languages! The three circles in the bottom corner were punched out of a scrap of the patterned paper I had left with a 1/4 in. punch. Other than that, I just added some SU grosgrain ribbon.

This kit was from Cindy. I decided to make it into a tent topper card using my Marvy oval punches. I used SU's word window punch on the red strip to allow the sentiment to show through. Added some stardust stickles to the snow and snowflakes on the Elzybell image and that's it!

Next up is Colleen's kit. This is the first card I've ever made with a MFT image because usually I'm adverse to headless people, but this stamp I like! I just used a bit of a random layout so as not to hide the cuttlebugged patterns on the white and aqua papers. I added a clear gemstone to the center of the snowflake embellishment and lots of stardust stickles to the snowy ground!

This kit is from Debbie. I love this paper and the cute snowman image and I just didn't do them justice. I couldn't figure out how to put this card together using all the components Debbie included (there was another piece of patterned paper and cardstock too), and I'm regretting my choice of red for a card base, but I didn't figure out until I'd adhered it all that brown really would have been better. But by that point the paper would have ripped if I'd tried to unstick it. The snowman is cut out and popped up with dimensionals and the snowflake is popped up as well and then embellished with a large clear gemstone.

This card kit was from Edie and I think it was my favorite because there was no coloring involved! You may have noticed that I very rarely post cards that involve coloring and if they do, it's just little detail work here and there. So a lot of the kit images were a real challenge for me. I am not good at watercoloring and do not have Copics, so it's really a struggle to get my stuff to look good. So, Edie's card was a welcome break! Plus, the ink is a gorgeous metallic and the light and dark teal cardstocks are shimmery! So pretty in real life! I kept this one pretty simple, just added A LOT of gemstones for even more sparkly bling!

This was from Jeannie's card kit. She included three different pieces of patterned paper and, again, thinking I needed to use them all, the only thing I could come up with was punching out a circle of each one and popping them up with dimensionals. My mojo was not with me for many of these cards, as you can tell! The pink background was stamped with Papertrey's Polka Dot Basics and I added SU grosgrain. That's it!

I cheated just a little bit with Justine's kit. She included a piece of Baja Breeze cardstock embossed with the cuttlebug snowflake folder and it was so pretty, but the paper is also very pretty (and glittered in real life) and I didn't want to cover it. So, I cut out two of the embossed snowflakes (NOT something I would ever do for mass producing) and put a dimensional between the two of them, added a gemstone on top, and created my own embellishment out of it. The moose is stamped on shimmery cardstock and I added some stardust stickles to the snow for extra sparkle.

This kit is from Kim. I LOVE this Wassail paper from Basic Grey but I am really trying to avoid buying it since I'm on a stamping spending ban for a while. So I'm glad I got to play with one piece of it at least! The owl is punched out with the mega Marvy circle punch and then the giga scallop circle is matted behind it. That whole thing is popped up with dimensionals. I dotted the scallops of the circle and on the scallop border with a white gel pen (the BEST white gel pen I've ever used btw - made by Inkssentials. I've tried so many different ones and this is only one that always works for me!) and added SU grosgrain ribbon across the kraft piece. I wish I'd cut that whole strip across the bottom a little more narrow, but again, didn't figure that out until it was already adhered.

Next up is the kit from Kris. The piece of vellum cuttlebugged with the snowflake embossing folder was included in the kit and I just put a white strip of cardstock behind it to make it pop more. Kris also included another strip of paper from the Basic Grey Figgy Pudding collection that I really wanted to use because it had presents on it and that goes perfectly with elves, but I just couldn't make it all work. This was one of the last kits I pulled out of the envelope, so by this point I was breaking rules and not using all the pieces. ;-) Overall, pretty straightforward, I just added some wedding bells dewdrops to the left corner.

This was Rachel's kit. I struggled with this one, wanting to showcase both the pretty paper and the cuttlebugged cardstock, so I ended up going with a very basic layout. I added stardust stickles to the snow and still thought the card looked too plain, so I added a clear gemstone to the center of each of the embossed snowflakes. Not sure if I like that look or not, but those babies are stuck on there!

This one was from Stacy. The trees are stamped on a really pretty shimmery vanilla paper and the paper is pre-glittered for extra sparkle. I just supplemented what Stacy provided with a few extra layers of cardstock and some SU grosgrain.

This kit was from Suzanne and I think this came together for me the fastest out of all of them. Well, except for the fact that my big dumb hands smeared red ink all over the first image I colored, so I had to color another one - thank goodness for extra images! This is a really simple card, I just sponged the edges of some of the layers with Old Olive ink, added stardust stickles to the snow, and added a sentiment from Lizzie Anne Designs that I think goes perfectly with that happy Santa!
And finally, this kit was from Tammi, the swap hostess. Tammi is one of the best colorers on the planet, so I knew right off the bat I could never do this image justice. But, I did my best! The background is three different pieces of patterned paper that I pieced together and I added two strips of SU stitched ribbon behind the image. To finish it off, I punched out two holly leaves with my Martha Stewart holly punch and used a glittered brad from Imaginesce as the "berry". This was stuck on the corner with a glue dot.

Whew, that was long! Thanks for sticking with me, if you did! And thanks Tammi for hosting this fun swap and for including me in it even though I didn't send any kits to you! And now, since this post took me over an hour to put together, it's time to find some dinner!

P.S. Please ignore the somewhat uneven layout of this post! It is not cooperating with me and I am too hungry to have the patience to try fixing it right now!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Candy and a Card

Want to win some awesome blog candy?? Visit Passion for Crafts for a great sampler of Copics and some other fabulous goodies being given away! And while you're there, check out Debbie's talent - seriously cool stuff!

And while I'm here, I thought I'd share a card that I found on my camera today and haven't blogged about yet. It's already out of season, so I don't want to wait any longer to post it! I made this for my friend Cindy, a fellow candy corn lover, for her birthday, which was right before Halloween. I love how it turned out!

The image is from Impression Obsession's clear candy corn set and the sentiment is from Papertrey's Birthday Basics. The sentiment and the moon were both covered over with a glitter pen for some fun sparkle. All inks, cardstock, and ribbon are from Stampin' Up except the white, which is from Papertrey.

Pumpkin Pumpkin Everywhere!

I'm finally just about settled in to my new condo! I still have some things to buy and some decorating to do, but for the most part, everything is in its place! I even started doing some stamping this weekend - I missed it! I'll share some of those cards later tonight or tomorrow, but for now I thought I'd blog about food!

I love this time of year and all the food that's associated with it. I especially love anything pumpkin so when I saw recipes for pumpkin chili and pumpkin cornbread on the Recipe Girl website, I knew I needed to make them. I'll post the recipes with some comments on changes I made, but check out Recipe Girl for literally thousands of recipes that all look so so good!

Pumpkin Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
Two 14½oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 cup pure pumpkin pureé
1 Tbs ground chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin seed
½ tsp ground black pepper
dash of salt
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream

1. Brown ground beef in large sauté pan with onion, green pepper and garlic. Spoon off grease.
2. Return to heat and add tomatoes, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
3. Serve topped with cheese and sour cream.

My notes:
  • I used ground chicken instead of beef because it was cheaper, but it's also a slightly healthier alternative.
  • I put at least 3 Tbsp of chili powder in my regular chili recipe, so the 1 Tbsp called for here seemed like not enough to me. I added a little bit extra - not too much because I was hoping to have the pumpkin flavor shine through, so I probably put in about 1.5 Tbsp
  • I cooked this in my crockpot, so I did not cook the onions, garlic, and peppers with the meat. I browned the chicken and drained off the grease, and just threw the vegetables right into the crockpot after chopping them. I let it cook on low for about 5 hours.

The verdict: This was very good as far as flavor goes, but I did not detect any trace of pumpkin at all, either in taste or smell. It tasted pretty much like another other chili I've made, just less spicy. I don't know if the 1/2 Tbsp extra chili powder I put in was too overpowering, but I kinda doubt it. I also expected the pumpkin to make the chili a little thicker, but I actually found it a little more watery than my regular chili. It wasn't bad, just not what I was expecting. So all in all, this was a good recipe, but if anything, next time I'd probably just make my usual chili and add some pumpkin to that if I wanted some extra vitamins!

Pumpkin Cornbread
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 Tbs molasses

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 10-inch glass pie pan or 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Sift flours, baking powder, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and molasses.
4. Make a well in the dry mixture. Add pumpkin mixture and blend batter with a few quick strokes (just until blended- don't overmix).
5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cornbread is browned and the surface has a slightly springy feel.

My notes: Though the recipe called for half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour, I used only all-purpose. I've never used whole wheat flour in my life and couldn't justify spending $4 on a bag of flour for a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of it. I don't know if the wheat flour is supposed to serve any purpose other than being healthier, but I didn't notice that using a full cup of all-purpose made anything go horribly wrong!

The verdict: Very good! The pumpkin taste and smell was subtle, but it was definitely there. It was a little dense, and maybe that's because of the flour, but then I don't usually think of cornbread as being completely light and airy anyway. There are a good number of ingredients, but it was easy enough to make and a nice change from your normal cornbread.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change We Need

I have no cards to share today, so this is going to be a strictly word-filled post. Sorry, feel free to skip it! A lot has happened in the few weeks since I last posted, and I finally got internet installed at home tonight, so I feel the need to take advantage and write a little "journal entry" for myself.

1. I am a homeowner! I first found this condo back in May and immediately fell in love. After looking at a number of places, I knew this was the one for me. So in June I made an offer on the place and was rejected. Not even so much as a counter offer, I was just flat out rejected. So naturally I was highly upset and more or less suspended my search for the summer while I just enjoyed the beach and a few fun trips. In September I noticed the condo was listed at a lower price, so I figured it was worth making another offer and this time they countered! After a little negotiating we ended up agreeing on a price just $4,000 more than my offer. YAY!

Then came a whirlwind few weeks full of stress. Things seemed to move so quickly at first and then slowed to a snail's pace as mortgage logistics, contracts, etc. all got worked out. I had to give notice at my apartment for October 31, so whether I was able to close on the new place by then or not, I was moving out! Everything did finally come together, though I didn't actually have a confirmed closing date and time until 2 days before the end of the month. Talk about stress!! Moving out was hellish, but the closing and moving in went smoothly thanks to my wonderful parents.

So now here I sit, my 6th night in my new home, and I'm so happy. My apartment was just a miserable place that I took no pride in and did not enjoy going home to. It is such a pleasure to live somewhere pretty, where everything works as it should and the neighbors are not just considerate, but friendly! I have much unpacking left to do, and a lot of furniture and things to purchase, but all in good time. As the cable guy just told me as I was lamenting all the things I need to do and buy, "Rome wasn't built in a day". He was very wise. :-)

2. If you've made it this far, I do have a snippet of stamping news - remember that Papertrey nugget box with the snowmen that I posted a few weeks ago? Well it won Honorable Mention in the Best Winter Project category of Papertrey's Guest Star Stamper contest!!! Usually those resulted are posted immediately after each month's release, but this month Nichole was delayed due to the Papertrey/Gina K/Stamping Bella cruise. She made the announcement last week when she got back, but due to my lack of internet for a few days, my Google Reader subscriptions were neglected and I almost didn't see the news! I was so excited to see it and so honored. It's no secret to many that know me that Nichole Heady is my stamping idol and it was such a thrill to have her select my project as one of her favorites!

And now the most important news of all (yes, perhaps even more so than my lovely condo!).....

3. Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America!!!! I have never been one for politics. Sure, I have voted in every election I've been able, but aside from doing a little research on the candidates and their stances, I've ignored it all. I've never watched debates, I've never stalked electoral map projections, and I've never been glued to the returns on election night. But this year was different. This year, more than ever, our country needed a change. We are in the midst of probably the most turbulent years in my lifetime, given the two wars we are waging overseas, the climate issues we are facing, and certainly not least, the economy. This year it was as if I was possessed the way I devoured everything I could read, watched everything I could watch, and debated everything I could debate. For me, the choice was clear. We needed Barack Obama. His intelligence, his calm demeanor, and his ability to understand the issues facing all Americans today were unmatched.

As I waited in line at my polling location for just over an hour yesterday morning before work, my heart was singing. The long line that awaited me when I arrived just before 6:30am didn't frustrate me. It warmed my heart. I was so proud of Americans, proud to see so many people taking an active interest, perhaps for the first time in their lives. I was positively distracted all day long, just waiting for the evening to come and the polls to close. As precincts across the country began reporting in, that distraction became an all out explosion of nerves and anticipation and hope. Given that I had no cable here, I went over to a friend's house to watch the coverage. I was so happy to be there with her on what was likely the most historic night of my life to date. As Pennsylvania was called, and then Ohio, we looked at each other in joyful disbelief. In spite of the favorable projections for Obama prior to election day, I tried not to get ahead of myself and presume that enough Americans could band together to make change happen. But as Obama's electoral votes climbed, I realized he had been right all along. Yes we can.

I cried when ABC's Charlie Gibson announced Obama's victory. I cried again during his inspirational and eloquent address. There is a long road ahead, and Obama knows it - there was an air of solemnity about him in spite of his incredible achievement. Things will not be fixed overnight, and likely won't be fixed in the next four years. But we have a start. Americans spoke up en masse yesterday and called for change. Despite its hardships, I feel blessed to be a part of this era in history and have nothing but hope for the future of America.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

PTI Guest Star Stamper Entry

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted?? I just don't know where the month of October has gone! I have actually been stamping A LOT over the past two weeks, as I was working to get cards made for all the October and November birthdays in my life, and was trying to get most of my Christmas cards made. I am not EVER this early with Christmas cards, but as moving day (God willing) is now less than 2 weeks away, I had to pack up my stamping stuff this weekend and in boxes it will likely stay for most of November. I will have my very own stamping room in the new place, but at the moment don't have any tables or desks or any kind of workspace for it. So, until I figure that out, I don't really want to unpack anything. I'm about 80% done with my Christmas cards though, so that is a great feeling!

The project I'm sharing today was one of my entries for Papertrey's October Guest Star Stamper contest. There were soooo many beautiful creations entered, and mine did not win, but I love how it turned out anyway! I used one of the clear card boxes sold by PTI as my treat holder. I then put bands of Bashful Blue cardstock, punched with SU's scallop punch on one side of each band, around the entire box. A strip of Certainly Celery was stamped with PTI's Polka Dot Basics in white craft ink and then wrapped around the box as well. I built three different snowmen using PTI's Made of Snow stamp set, cut those out, and adhered them to the box using dimensionals to make them pop up a little. The sentiment is also from Made of Snow, and the ribbon is Spring Moss dotted satin ribbon from PTI. I finished it off by stamping a snowflake from PTI's Holiday Treats set and making that into a little medallion with a gemstone in the center. The Hershey's Nuggets are wrapped with address labels that I stamped with one of the label images from Holiday Treats. This makes for a pretty cute gift, if I do say so myself! Perfect for a hostess or teacher gift this holiday season.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oops...Missed One!

I realized when I posted the final challenge this morning that I never posted the 6th challenge yesterday. Sorry!

That challenge was a Winter Card Challenge - simply make a card inspired by winter. Use snowflakes, snowmen, mittens, ice skaters, whatever you want!

Upload to the SCS gallery using keyword CAPWCC.

Stamps: SU's So Many Scallops
Ink: Night of Navy
Paper: PTI white and Pure Poppy, patterned paper from last year's DCWV winter stack
Other: SU circle and scallop circle punches, clear spica glitter pen

Final Chatapalooza Challenge

With the amount of Christmas cards most of us make, it's a good idea to keep things simple. Even if we want to do more complicated cards to mail to people, it's nice to have some quick and easy notecards on hand to tuck into a hostess gift or teacher gift.

So, for this challenge, make a One Layer Christmas Card. And, to make it even simpler (or perhaps more challenging!), you can't use any embellishments. No ribbons, no buttons, no gemstones, no primas, none of it! The ONLY thing you may use to dress up your card is glitter, whether it's loose glitter, Stickles, or a glitter pen. That's it!

Upload to the SCS gallery using keyword CAP1LC.

Tree Card Supplies
Stamps: PTI's Believe and Take a Bough
Ink: Palette Noir, Real Red, Garden Green, Certainly Celery
Paper: PTI white
Other: red sakura glitter gel pen

Santa Card Supplies
Stamps: PTI's Believe
Ink: Palette Noir, Real Red, Garden Green
Paper: PTI white
Other: red sakura glitter gel pen

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fifth Challenge

For this challenge, I want you to make a clam shell card. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, all you have to do is cut cardstock for a card base and fold it over or grab a notecard as you normally would. Then take a circle punch, circle nesties, coluzzle, whatever, and place it over your folded cardstock so that the cutting implement is going over the folded edge a bit. Then just cut through the double layers of cardstock. The front and back of your card will still be attached at the top at the point where your cutting tool went over the edge. Clear as mud??

I personally wish I hadn't put the nestie so far over the edge, as I would have liked maybe one more scallop intact on each side, but oh well. And I swear, the ribbon matches the plum pudding cardstock on the card base, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the picture!

Upload to the SCS gallery using keyword CAPCSC.

Stamps: PTI's Butterfly Kisses and Mixed Messages
Ink: Plum Pudding
Paper: Plum Pudding, Lavendar Moon
Other: classic circle and scalloped circle Nestabilities, plum pudding satin ribbon, clear spica glitter pen, double slot punch (for threading the ribbon through)

Fourth Challenge

It's time for an inspiration challenge! Use the picture to the left, which I found on the Crate & Barrel website, as inspiration for a card. Be inspired by the colors, patterns, textures, whatever strikes you!

For my card, I pulled some of the colors from the artwork on the wall and also replicated the block-style on two of the wall hangings. The final piece of inspiration I got was from the leaf images on some of the artwork. They reminded me so much of the leaf stamp in the SU set Best Blossoms (the one in PTI's Beautiful Blooms would work as well), so I stamped that randomly on my punched out squares.

Can't wait to see what strikes each of you when you look at this photo!

Upload to the gallery using keyword CAPIC.

Stamps: SU Best Blossom, A Muse sentiment
Ink: Pure Poppy, Summer Sunrise, Lemon Tart, all from PTI
Paper: Pure Poppy, Summer Sunrise, Lemon Tart, white, all from PTI
Other: 1 1/4" square punch, word window punch, gemstones

Third Challenge

Next up is a technique challenge! For this challenge, create a suspension card. Not sure how? Check out Beate's tutorial here.

Upload to the SCS gallery using the keyword CAPTC.

Here is my sample, showing both sides of the suspended circle:

Stamps: Cupcake images from Impression Obsession, sentiment from PTI's Birthday Basics
Ink: Summer Sunrise, Lemon Tart, Palette Noir
Paper: Summer Sunrise, Lemon Tart, PTI white
Other: circle Nestabilities die, SU circle punch, dental floss, Summer Sunrise twill ribbon, spica clear glitter pen, dew drops

Second Challenge

The second Chatapalooza Challenge is a Sketch Challenge!

Use this sketch to create a card. You can take a little creative liberty with the size of the circles, as I did with my card. The circles don't even necessarily have to be circles - you can use flowers, stars, cupcakes, whatever your little heart desires!

Upload to the SCS gallery using keyword CAPSC.

Stamps: PTI's Mixed Messages
Ink: Palette Noir
Paper: PTI white, Pretty in Pink, Basic Black
Other: SU circle punches, circle scallop punch, brads, prima flowers

LOSTie Chatapalooza - First Challenge

It's Chatapalooza time again for the LOSTies and I am the hostess! Woohoo! Seeing as today is World Card Making Day, we thought it would be an appropriate weekend for our festivities and will be having card challenges every 90 minutes throughout the day.

First up is a Patterned Paper Challenge! Make a card using at least two different patterned papers. You can use it as part of your layout as I did in my sample, or paper piece a few elements, or do a combination of the two. Whatever you want! Upload to the SCS gallery using the keyword CAPPPC.

Now go forth and create!!

Stamps: Riveting by SU
Ink: Cranberry Crisp, Bashful Blue
Paper: Bashful Blue, Cranberry Crisp, PTI white, patterned paper from last year's DCWV winter stack
Other: SU circle punches, clear gemstones

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Papertrey September Blog Hop

I'm SO excited to finally get to participate in one of PTI's blog hops! This month's challenge was to create anything holiday. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, so I was thrilled to start getting in the holiday spirit. I love love love all the new holiday sets released by PTI this month and they made it easy for me to start creating!

I have two projects to share - a card and a favor or treat box. I am in the process of buying my first home and will be closing before the holidays, so I want to combine my Christmas cards with change of address notices for some of my extended family members. So I used PTI's fabulous Home for the Holidays set to dress up the city home from Boards & Beams and stamped Just Moved on the front. On the inside is the sentiment "There's no place like home for the holidays". One of the things I'm most excited about is decorating my new home for Christmas, so it was fun to play around with decorating the house on this card as a little teaser for me! I plan to print out my new address on some small cards so I can stick those inside the cards that I send out.

Every year I make a lot of cashew brittle, chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, fudge, etc. so I wanted to make a cute little way to package it. If I can get my act together quickly enough, I may be able to have a combination Christmas and Housewarming party and can use these as favors for my guests! It's just a quick and easy 2-5-7-10 box which would be easy to reproduce and I think definitely provides a festive touch.

I stamped the snowflake background stamp from Melissa Bickford's latest PTI set, Merry & Bright. I then scored and cut the box using a Jenn Balcer tutorial from SCS, which can be found here. I built and stamped the trees, also from Merry & Bright, and cut them out before popping them up with dimensionals. Some of PTI's silver metallic edge ribbon completed the project and holds the box shut. I'm really happy with how this turned out and am hoping to make up a bunch of them before my stamping supplies get packed up for the move!

Supplies - Card
Stamps: PTI's Boards & Beams, Home for the Holidays
Ink: Palette Noir, SU's Real Red, Garden Green, Going Gray, Sahara Sand
Paper: PTI White and Pure Poppy, SU Garden Green
Other: PTI Pure Poppy twill, glue pad, Dazzling Diamonds glitter

Supplies - Box
Stamps: PTI's Merry & Bright, Mixed Messages
Ink: PTI Pure Poppy, SU Garden Green
Paper: PTI White, Pure Poppy, SU Garden Green
Other: SU scallop punch, PTI silver edge ribbon, double slot punch, dimensionals

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Mother of All Blog Candy!!

If you haven't seen it yet, run and check out Carolyn "Cammie" King's most recent blog post here. In memory of her beloved grandmother, and in recognition of World Alzheimer's Day, Cammie is hosting the jackpot of all blog candy giveaways. You can be entered to win over $1,000 dollars in stamping products, plus some artwork created by some of the most famous names in the business, just by spreading cheer to those dedicated men and women who work with patients living with this frustrating and sometimes heart-breaking disease. This is the card that I will be sending to the staff at the Artman Home, where Cammie's grandmother spent her last years. I hope the bright colors and sparkly glitter brighten their day and let them know how appreciated they are!

Stamps: All About U, Print Pattern (both by SU)
Ink: Pink Passion, Versamark
Paper: Tempting Turquoise, Certainly Celery, Pink Passion, white
Other: clear embossing powder, Dazzling Diamond glitter, white grosgrain

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Marathon Card

This card took me sooo long to do. At least two hours, and it's not even a fancy card with lots of layers or anything! But, I'm really happy with how it came out, though the picture doesn't do it justice in my opinion. This is definitely not a card I'll be mass producing, though I think if I make a few more they shouldn't take as long now that I've got some masks made, I've played with a few options for coloring the roof, etc. Nichole at Papertrey Ink really thought of all the little details you could want in this holiday set, and I had a lot of fun figuring out where I wanted garlands, which fence to use, adding the glittery snowman, etc. Christmas is barely 3 months away, so it's definitely not too early to be working on this year's cards!

Stamps: PTI's Boards & Beams, Home for the Holidays
Ink: Palette Noir, SU's Real Red, Garden Green, Close to Cocoa, Creamy Caramel
Paper: PTI's white, Pure Poppy
Other: glue pad, Dazzling Diamonds glitter, Quickie glue pen, gold spica pen (for the star)

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Return to Stamp Camp

I used to be a SU demo, as SU was my first stamping love. After a while though, I found I wasn't enjoying it anymore. Designing and prepping cards for stamp camp became a chore and I realized it was time for me to say farewell to my demoship. Plus, I was rapidly discovering a plethora of other stamping products out there and just couldn't buy them all while making my demo minimums at the same time! Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my former upline, who has become more of a hobby demo now, asked if I would be interested in running stamp camps with her again - she would do two cards and I would do two as well. I said I would, but only if she was ok with me using non-SU products. She agreed and the following cards were the projects I designed and taught:

I really struggled with the butterflies - I didn't know if I wanted one butterfly, two, or perhaps if I should leave it sans any butterflies at all. I decided to put two on so my campers could see how it looked and they could do what they wanted with their own card. They all decided on two. :-) I am SO happy with SU's new Baja Breeze color. It's so gorgeous!!
Stamps: A Muse sentiment
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Baja Breeze, PTI white
Other: SU scallop edge punch, Martha Stewart Royal Butterfly punch, PTI dark chocolate twill ribbon, paisley cuttlebug embossing folder, clear spica pen

Sorry for the less than ideal picture of this one - it somehow came out a little blurry, but quite frankly, once I realized it, I had already uploaded and resized it and was too lazy to take a new picture! This was just a sweet and simple card. It's tough to tell in the picture, but the ladybug is cut out and popped up on dimenstionals to look like she's flying.

Stamps: PTI's Little Lady, sentiment from Lizzie Anne Designs
Ink: Palette Noir, PTI Berry Sorbet
Paper: PTI White & Berry Sorbet
Other: SU double slot punch, PTI Berry Sorbet twill ribbon, dimensionals, Sakura stardust pen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Using Up Scraps

I don't think there's a papercrafter on the planet who isn't inundated with scraps of patterned paper that they can't bear to part with. I've been playing around with my scraps today and made a few cards that are a quick and easy way to use up some of those small pieces. Paper collections, like those from Basic Grey and Stampin' Up, make it helpful to pair colors together - just use random pieces from the collection and the colors will naturally complement each other. Or, go for a monochromatic look as I did with my turquoise card below. These aren't necessarily "Wow" cards, but they're fun to make and great to mail since they're not bulky at all! I used a 1 1/4" punch for all the circles and found that was the perfect size for a 4 1/4" x 4 1/4" card.

Stamps: Holiday Script by Lizzie Ann Designs
Ink: Palette Noir
Paper: PTI white, SU Holiday Thyme
Other: Cranberry Crisp stitched ribbon from SU

Stamps: Holiday Script by Lizzie Ann Designs
Ink: Palette Noir
Paper: PTI white, Basic Grey Figgy Pudding
Other: star embellishments from Joann's

Stamps: A Muse sentiment
Ink: Palette Noir
Paper: PTI white, SU Tempting Turquoise Prints
Other: turquoise gems by Kaiser