Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jen Del Muro's SFYTT

I had so much fun doing Jen Del Muro's Sketch for You to Try last time that I thought I would try another one. I had so much fun making this card! I have had this Wild Bunch stamp set from Unity and have been itching to use it but was kind of creatively stumped and when I saw this layout, I knew instantly that I wanted to use this stamp set. Since it's a card for a little one, I really wanted to use vibrant, fun colors. I think it turned out really cute in the end. I love the flourishes from the Unity Fanciful Dots stamp set. I had stamped the "Little One" sentiment in the center of the Pumpkin Pie cardstock and it looked kind of bare, so I added the flourishes and am happy with the outcome.

Creative Juices Were Flowing this AM

I went to Pam's last night for the first workshop of the new year. She had 15 people there, which was a really large group. We all had a great time and made some really cute creations. I always, always look forward to her workshops. After I get home, I feel completely inspired. I feel like I can never measure up to Pam's talent, but that is not the point.

So anyway, I saw this idea in the Stampin' Up catalog and fell in love with it. They sell note cards with the scalloped edge that is shorter than the bottom of the card and then you stamp a sentiment on the bottom of the card so that it shows when the top flap is closed. I didn't buy the note cards, but I did take the idea and made my own version. I think the end result is adorable! I also got a chance to finally use my Unity Fanciful Dots set that I got for free with an order a few months ago. I think it's fun and very "fanciful."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Winged Friend

Sometimes I get an idea into my head way before I sit down to make a card and other times I sit down, look through my stamps, look through my paper, and search for inspiration. For this card, the idea (including the colors and paper) came to me first. The only thing I had to search for in this case, was the stamps. I already knew the design and paper I was going to use (minus the ribbon and flower and button, which I added in the process). I love this little bird from Unity and the sentiment as well. I have been nostalgic lately and was inpsired to make a card for a dear friend. The only problem is that I have so many dear friends, now I just have to decide which one will be the recipient. Having too many friends is never a problem I am so blessed!!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birthday Week Continued

Yesterday we met my Dad and Valerie at the Elephant Bar for lunch in Santa Barbara to celebrate my birthday with them, since Kendall was at winter camp last weekend and we didn't want to celebrate without her. The Elephant Bar is very special to Jay and I, since that was the location of our first date. It was great to be back and we had a really nice visit. Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't too crowded, so we were able to stay for a couple of hours without feeling guilty for taking up a table from waiting guests.

After lunch, we went to the Santa Barbara rescue shelter to look at dogs. We took a few out and played with them and took them for walks, but didn't feel a strong connection until we met Sprint. Sprint is a mini tiny Lab mix and he is very timid, but is so, incredibly sweet. We all fell completely in love with him. We filled out an application and are waiting for a phone call back. There were already two applications out on him, so we're trying not to get our hopes up, but if it is God's will for Sprint to join our family, we would love to have him. He has such a sweet little presence about him and he's very lovey dovey and cuddly. We'll keep you posted!

Loving Hearts

When I was at Target last week picking up the Scrapbooking cases for my unmounted rubber stamps, I stopped by the $1 bin and found this cute pack of Valentine's DP and some matching chipboard as well. I used Kraft cardstock as the base and used my hearts stamp from the Sock Monkey SU! stamp set and stamped the hearts in Bravo Burgandy and then cut them out and used dimensionals to adhere them to the DP. I think sometimes simple really works in a card and this is one of those cases.

Garden of Thanks

It had been a while since I used my Fresh Cuts stamp set from SU! and wanted to do something different from the Fresh Cut note cards. I used Chocolate Chip cardstock and used a DP from a multipack I got at Costco (there was enough paper in there to last me about 10 years). I stamped the Fresh Cuts stamp in Really Rust onto Kraft cardstock and stamped the Thank You stamp in Chocolate Chip onto Kraft cardstock and used my oval punch to punch out a piece of Chocolate Chip and Kraft cardstock and then added some flowers that I got on clearance (I think they may be Bazzil, but I'm not positive) and then added the brads. I just love this stamp set and I need to use it more often.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kendall the Queen

Kendall was in a play at school today. Unfortunately, Jay couldn't attend because we just found out yesterday (yes, yesterday) that it was today at 12:30 and he had to be in a briefing at 12:00. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home today, so I was able to make it and bring along the video camera. I taped the whole thing for Jay to watch tonight when he got home. Unfortunately, I wasn't really able to take pictures, because I am just not coordinated enough to hold the video camera with one hand and the digital with the other, but I took a couple of quick shots after the play while Kendall was still in costume. Sorry, they are not the best because I was rushed, but at least you can see how adorable she looks.

The play was very cute! Kendall played the queen. The play is about the queen, who has several daughters and granddaughters and they have all gone out and spent all of her money and she is absolutely broke. So, she tells the daughters that they have 3 days to go out and find rich husbands. Not the greatest moral story, but it was done so well and was very funny. Kendall was hysterical and played the part perfectly. All of the other little actors were fabulous as well, they did such a wonderful job. They ran a little over and the kids had to go to lunch, so they did not perform the last 3 scenes, so I don't know how the play ends (except that Kendall told me she marries a prince's grandpa, which would be such a hoot to watch because the kid playing the grandpa was amazing). The good news is that Jay will be able to go tomorrow and catch the last 3 scenes since he couldn't be there today and he can take some video so that I can see how the play ends and then hopefully we can burn the whole play onto DVD's for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, Mom and Robert back in KS, etc. to see. I say hopefully because we have had nothing but problems with our video software, but there is always hope. As long as we don't have to do any editing, I think we'll be ok :).

Kendall's costume turned out really cute, don't you think? We went to a thrift store and found the dress immediately. I was really excited that it was velvet. Our instructions were just to find a purple dress and some black boots and we found this dress right away. We bought a little black top to go underneath and we found some crazy high boots that were just hysterical. Kendall's teacher wasn't excited about them, but we were not up for hitting every thrift store in the county to find just the right boots and we liked the ones we got her because they were funny and this was a funny play and they made her super tall!!!!

Here's the queen herself. She did such a great job, she did not act nervous at all and remembered all of her lines. She's a little natural.

Creative Organizing - Unmounted Rubber Stamps

I love my unmounted rubber stamps from Unity (especially the KOTM) but have been searching for a storage solution. They come in these little mesh bags that are great for shipping, but not so great for storage. I was piling up all of the little bags into drawers and it was a bit of a chore to dump them all out to find the one I was looking for and then try to shove them all back into the little bag.

So, my brilliant friend and neighbor Michelle (who I am constantly bragging about, but she's amazing and I can't help it) invited me over last Sunday after working in the coffee shop to play in her craft room. She had some stamps she was getting rid of and let me go through them and have my pick and she showed me all of her stamping supply storage. I asked her how she stores her unmounted rubber stamps and she found this idea on another blog and I fell in love with it! I don't know the name of the other blog, otherwise I would give credit where credit is due.

These scrapbooking storage containers are from Target and I can fit 4 Unity Kit of the Month sets into one container in the kits with smaller stamps. In the kits with larger stamps, it's more like 2 but these containers are only $1.99 and they work so well! I made my first card last night with the new "system" and it was sooooooooooooo much easier to go through the kits and find the stamps I was looking for. They also end up taking up less space because I have them set up like books between my drawer carts. I'll take another photo of my little stamping corner soon since it has changed and expanded a bit. I know I love looking at other blogs for organization ideas, so I thought I would share.

Delightfully Delicious

I made this card last night while watching American Idol. I have seen so many adorable cards using cupcake images and have only made one myself, so I decided it was time to try another. I used this adorable stamp from Unity KOTM and embossed the sentiment using another stamp from Unity's KOTM. I paper pieced the cupcakes with some paper that I bought from Tuesday Morning before they closed (I am soooooooooo bummed about that!) I used some buttons from a huge bag of buttons that I got from Beverly's and some stickles for extra bling. I really like the pink and yellow together. They are such happy colors.

Getting Older at the Happiest Place on Earth

Throughout 2009, Disneyland is offering free admission on your birthday. You have to go to and register first, but it's a great deal. The only bummer is that you have to go on your actual birthday. My birthday was Monday and even though it was Martin Luther King's birthday and school was not in session, we decided to take a chance and go. Kendall was at winter camp with the youth group, so Jay and I went alone. By the way, Kendall had an amazing time at youth group. A local band DSM played at all of the sessions and Kendall went tubing on Saturday and go to try snowboarding on Sunday. She took lessons in the morning and I talked to her at lunch time and she was having a blast, but apparently things went downhill (pun intended). When we talked to Sunday evening, she was frustrated with a sore wrist. We tried to comfort her and explain that snowboarding is tough and no one is completely successful on their first day. Fortunately, she has bounced back, the wrist is healed and she didn't let it ruin her vacation.

On to Disneyland! We got up at 4:15 and got ready for our long drive. We ate a quick breakfast then stopped at Starbuck's for some energy and go to the park a little after 9:00. I recently reconnected with my friend Leisha from High School on Facebook and when I posted a status update that we were going to Disneyland she commented that her kids got passes for Christmas and she needs to take them, so I told her to come on Monday and she did! They were running a little bit late, so Jay and I rode Space Mountain and then caught up with Leisha, her daughter Taylor and her son Zachary on Star Tours and spent the rest of the afternoon with them. It was so much fun to catch up and spend my birthday with an old friend. She hasn't changed a bit and we really enjoyed our conversations and her kids are very well behaved and so sweet! Zachary must have felt very comfortable with us, because he wanted to ride on Pirates with us and come with us to our locker.

We packed a lunch to save money and save some calories so we went and picked up our cooler at the locker (with Zachary) while Leisha and Taylor got a table for lunch. We were able to bring our little picnic to the restaurant and eat together, which was really nice of the folks at the Magic Kingdom (especially considering how much they charge for admission and parking.....). After lunch we rode a few more rides and stayed with our friends until around 3:30. The lines were not too long and we got to ride just about everything we wanted to, with the exception of Small World and the Haunted Mansion, which were both closed.

At 3:30, Jay and I went over to Splash Mountain and used our Fast Passes, then went over to the Blue Bayou for dinner. We called two days before and were able to get reservations, but our choices were either 4:20 or 8:00, so we took the early reservations.

It was Jay's first time at the Blue Bayou and I hadn't been there since I was about 10 years old or so, so it was a real treat for both of us. We got seated right against the railing and got to watch the boats go by. I think we got the best seats in the entire restaurant! We both had steak since they were only serving dinner and the prices were pretty high, but since we brought our lunch and got one ticket for free we decided to splurge a little. Plus, we had an Amex gift card from Grandma Willett for Christmas which came with strict instructions to do something fun or romantic and this fit both requirements, so Grandma helped pay for our dinner.

After our meal, we rode a few more rides and then went and got a scoop of ice cream and got on the road a little after 8:30. We didn't get home until midnight, so we were completely exhausted, but it was such a wonderful day that it was worth being tired and useless all day on Tuesday.

It was a wonderful birthday indeed! The only thing that would have made it better would be to have the girls with us and all of my family and friends that I miss so much, but that's just being selfish ;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Everything's Rosey

I fell in love with this stamp from Inkadinkadoo when I was at Beverly's a few weeks ago and could not decide what I wanted to do with it. I made this quick card yesterday morning and am not sure how I feel about it. I am still thinking on it, but I know I am going to do much more with the stamp once I play with it a bit more. I used Kraft cardstock from SU! and the DP is from a big paper pack that I got at Costco. The ribbon is from the sale bin at Beverly's as well and the ink is SU! Bravo Burgandy.

Taco Salad

I must warn you, this one is pretty time consuming, but it was very good and gives really nice portion sizes, if you are struggling with hunger.

Source: WW New Complete Cookbook (worthwhile investment!)
Servings: 4
Points per Serving: 7

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 pound lean ground beef (10% or less fat)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup water
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 carrot, shredded
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, lightly toasted and cut into 4 triangles each) - {Shannon} - I cut into strips and sprayed with Pam and put under the broiler
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1. To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, cilantro, sour cream, crushed garlic, and salt; let stand 30 minutes.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oild. Saute about two-thirds of the onions and the minced garlic until the onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beef is cooked trhough, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes longer.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the lettuce, shredded carrot, and one-fourth of the cilantro dressing; toss to coat.
4. To serve, divide the lettuce mixture among four plates; top with th emeant, then surround with the tortilla trianlges. Serve, sprinkled with th echeese and remaining onion and drizzled with the dressing.


Source: WW New Complete Cookbook
Servings: 4
Points per Serving: 5

I served this with a green salad and it was just enough food and really tasty. I didn't expect it to have as much flavor as it did. The roasted red peppers really pop!

1 (10 ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced artichoke hearts
3 roasted red peppers, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced turkey salami

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough; press into an 8x12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with the cheese, leaving a 1 inch border along the edges. Top with the artichoke hearts, peppers, and salami. Starting on the short end, roll up the dough jelly-roll style to enclose the filling. Crimp the edges to seal.
3. Place the stromboli, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crusty, 20-25 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve piping hot.

Classic Spaghetti with Meatballs

Source: WW New Complete Cookbook
Servings: 10
Points per Serving: 7

I did not make the sauce that this recipe calls for, because I already had some homemade sauce in the freezer, but I did make the meatballs and they were delicious and very easy. I highly recommend them.

1 tbl olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 pound lean ground pork (10% or less fat)
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbl chopped fresh oregano, or 2 tsp dried (use the fresh, it's much better)
1 pound spaghetti
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved

1. Preheat the overn to 350 degrees. Spray a 10x15 inche jelly-roll pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil; add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7-10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, pork, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, egg, egg whites, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and half of the cooked onions and garlic. Shape into 20 balls and place in a single layer without touching each other on the jelly-roll pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
4. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and remaining half of cooked onions and garlic to a boi; add the meatballs. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meatballs are cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Stir in the oregano.
5. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Toss the spaghetti with the meatballs in a large serving bowl and serve with the shaved Parmesan.

Serving size: About 1 cup spaghetti and sauce with 2 meatballs.

Sketch Challenge

My first challenge ever was Kristina Werner's color inspiration that I did last week and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to try a sketch challenge yesterday. I decided to do Jen del Muro's sketch challenge and really enjoyed it.

I have been finding so many cute Valentine's cards on blogs all over the place, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make another V-day card. I got to use my Cuddlebug, my favorite Bella Rose SU! dp, and one of my new adorable stamps from Unity's January KOTM. This card does not have any pink in it, but I like the color combination and I think it still very much says "love." Thanks Jen for giving us such a fun challenge.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Four Hearts

Today is house cleaning day, so of course I have to find other things that I must get done before I start cleaning, like creating! I got a Cuttlebug for Christmas. Well, not exactly for Christmas, but sort of. Michael's has them at 50% off right now and I had a $20 gift card from Jay that I got in my stocking and I had to return a chopper from Dad and Valerie for $20 that was a duplicate, so I consider my new toy a gift from Jay and Dad and Val. Thank you all! The Cuttlebug came with a 4 pack of adorable embossing dies for different occassions and with Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I decided to use the hearts.

I didn't know exactly what I was going to do when I sat down and I ended up trashing a lot of pieces, but I think the final result was worth all of the trial and error. I like the combination of the colors in the SU! DP I used (I added the Blue Bayou for a 4th color) and I just decided to add layers of color throughout the card to make it more interesting. It does not have a sentiment, but I don't think in this case it needs one. These are hearts of love....what more needs to be said?

Kristina Werner Color Inspiration #37

I have been following Kristina Werner's Color Inspirations for months now. She always comes up with unique color combinations and the cards that are created as a result are absolutely amazing! This week she extended the deadline because she got the information posted later in the week, so I decided to participate. Last night I got my new SU! shipment with lots of cardstock and the Sock Monkey stamp set, which I fell in love with back in July at Pam's SU! workshop. I wanted to use my new stamp set and started thinking about what I wanted to put together. When I figured out my design, I knew it would be time consuming but I am really happy with the results.
I used all cardstock in the SU colors that Kristina listed on her blog (Old Olive, Baja Breeze, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, and Whisper White). I used all black ink and paper pieced the hat and the cupcake and used my Crop-A-Dile to make the dots for the monkey's "sweater." I also colored his face and hands, feet, and mouth with my Prisma color markers. I used my SU! scalloped edge punch, oval punch, and word punch and used some ribbon from the $1 bin at Target to finish off the card. I love this color combination, it puts me in the mood for a party and a cupcake!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Trees of Life

It must be the new year that makes me reflect so much. Or perhaps it's losing my Grandfather on 12/31/08 but over the last couple of days I have been deep in thought. Thinking about the value of my friends and my family. Thinking about missed opportunities to spend time with those I love and I how I don't want to live in regret. Thinking about how the little things in life become so much bigger when we lose our perspective. All of these deep thoughts inspired me to make a card using the Life stamp in the Unity November KOTM. I was really happy with the color combination in this card and like the scalloped edges. The tree stamp is also from Unity and the flowers are Inkadinkadoo stamps that I got with a Holiday stamps kit from Costco. The ribbon is from the $1 bin at Michael's and the DP is from SU. I used Not Quite Navy and Old Olive and Black SU inks for the stamps.


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