Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Color Challenge--Play Date Cafe'!

Just a quick post today--one card and that's it! I'm in the middle of one of those Saturdays--almost non-stop activities planned--fun, but tiring!

There's a new challenge group I'm participating in that was started by the fabulously creative Julie at Julie's Open Window--come check out her wonderful site and join all the ladies that are participating--it's just starting this week and will be so much fun--come on & jump in here at the beginning! There's been such a response that Julie started a site just for the challenge, which you can find here: The Play Date Cafe'--see you over there!
Here's my take on the challenge:

I love this image from Crafty Secrets' "Halloween" Images & Journal Notes booklet--just says 'witch family reunion' or something to me! This was my interpretation of the challenge colors; I used Basic Black, Basic Gray, PTI Vintage Cream (not one of the challenge colors, but it needed it!), Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Pie cardstock. Added some lace, grosgrain & gingham ribbon, some beautiful Making Memories glittered leaves, gold cord, brass broom charm, and gold glass glitter.

For the tags, I used stamps from two Crafty Secrets sets; "Sexy Little Number" and the small stamp set included in the "Halloween" Vintage Postcard Kit.

Hope you like it! I really had fun doing it--thanks, Julie for a fun challenge! I look forward to many, many more!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Little Christmas, Amazing Banana Bread, and a Monster.......!

Hi! It's Friday night, and I'm sitting here in an absolutely quiet house.....this NEVER happens! My husband decided to take our two daughters out for a Daddy/Daughter date. They have just left to go up to Stanford University to watch a womens' field hockey game. My daughters all love the sport and were excited to go.

A few things to share with you tonight...I FINALLY got my Christmas wreath done!!! For the last few weeks, it's been shuffled around from kitchen table to one of many hiding places when guests come over and I have to pretend to have a clean house (anybody know what I'm talking about?!) Here it is:

Now that I see it here, I'm going to change the bells a bit--too dangly. I'll tighten them up and bunch them a bit more...

All these adorable images are from Crafty Secrets' new "Christmas" Vintage Postcard Kit--love these vintage kits! They make projects SOOOO easy! Just bought a wreath at Michaels, some ribbon I had on hand (from Costco, I think), bells & Christmas bobbles also from Michaels. I didn't use glitter this time...***GASP!***** Yes, I know! But, I didn't want it to get messed up when I stored it, and I felt with all the silver from the bells, and the shiny crackle effect on the images, it was okay!

Showing this one VERY closely so you can see the crackle effect from the Crackle Accents I used--I love this stuff!

Such adorable images.....

Next, a card I made using Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet. When I first saw this image a few weeks ago, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with it!

The kids in the image were arced over nothing--just the lines on the notepaper, and it just screamed "giant snowball" to me! So, got out my Snow-Tex and Dazzling Diamonds glitter, and "painted" a snowball--very texturized. I really like how it turned out. Apparently got a few gold glass glitter flecks in there...hmmm.....Here it is close up:

Now how about some really amazing banana bread??? We had three VERY ripe bananas, so something had to be done. Looked around for a likely recipe, and found this one, which I'd never tried me, it WILL be tried again! Many times!

We ate it warm, steaming and gooey! With every bite, my daughter Sarah literally sighed! It's that good...
Here's the it from "The Taste of Home Cookbook", and the recipe was submitted by Susan Jones.

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in bananas and sour cream. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda & salt. Stir into banana mixture just until moistened. Stir in nuts.

Transfer to a greased 8" x 2" loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

I did not add nuts--no one in the family likes them but me...oh, well! Instead, I added one bag of white chocolate chips, which made EVERYONE happy--they were incredible--gooey and delicious! Enjoy!

Since I was thinking Halloween past yesterday, I decided to delve a bit deeper into the Halloween archives and found these funny photos. The first is my brother, Steve, and I about 1968-69...not sure!

I was a black cat...well, obviously, right? Steve was, as he called it, "Chief of Cherokee"! I remember that night pretty well. We were Trick or Treating, running up and down each street, gathering all the candy we could, all the while Steve was screaming, "Chief of Cherokee!" while he ran. Finally, he tripped, fell down, ripped his tights (yep, my brother was wearing tights!), and started crying, so we had to go home.

These next just make me giggle! Not Hallween, per se, but definitely dress-up, sorta...I'm so glad my Mom wrote on the backs of these photos--priceless to me! 1964...

On the back of this one, Mom wrote, "This is a picture of the 'Monster' in her bedroom, on her horse 'Fury'." Love it!

Mom again, "Another of the same. She really got a kick out of wearing these paper bags around. She wore them till we had to take them off because she was starting to get a heat rash." YIKES!

Fashionista, right? Guess I've always loved playing with paper!

Thanks for joining me once again! Hope you have a wonderful fall weekend with your families!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Birds, Bees...and More Babies!

Good afternoon! Hope you've all had a wonderful day so far! Just picked up daughter #3 from school and thought I'd do a quick post before soccer, daughter #2 pick-up, etc.!

All I have today are a couple of projects I've been working on--both soft, sweet Springtime colors, for some odd reason, but they were appealing to me, so.....!

First off--a birthday crown--I won't say for whom, as they do look at my blog, so it will have to be a secret...shhhhh!

Over-the-top, garish, opulent, you say? Yes, please!

I put lots of real silver shavings glitter on it, which will gradually tarnish over time, giving it a more vintage look....I like that!

My little pie birdie just jumped into the picture...

The main bird image is from Crafty Secrets new "Birds & Blossoms" Creative Scraps--fabulous images! The sentiments are from two of CS's stamp sets: "Bird Lovers" and "Bird Notes". The patterned paper is from CS' Pastel paper pack, as is the music patterned paper, but I can't remember which pad it comes from--sorry! A little Glossy Accents on the top medallion (from "Bird Notes"), big, chunky crystals, a little silver cord, and that's it!

Now for the bees....well, I don't actually have a bee project--yet! But, I wanted to show you something I'm very excited about--just ordered from Cornish Heritage Farms the other day, and am expecting a couple of new fabulous stamp sets--I'll show you one of them later. For today, though, take a peek at this little beauty:

My head is just "buzzing" with ideas for this set! Can't wait to get it all inky! I'll have something to show you next week...

Now, for the babies--just follows naturally, right? I've had babies on the brain since my nephew's birth the other day, so I fixed up this sweet little image from Crafty Secrets' new "Baby Girl" Vintage Postcard Kit.

All these images are just so adorable! All I did here was add a little Dazzling Diamonds with my glue pen, some sweet little baby beads, a few pink crystal rhinestones, and a little pink ribbon--done!

I used the stamp set that comes with it to finish off the back--vintage postcard style!

I have a couple of pictures of my new nephew--being a proud auntie, I just had to force them upon you--thanks for bearing with me!

How's that for a sweet little face? Just a few minutes after he was born--pretty alert little guy!

I really love this picture--very tender. My sister had to have a C-Section after hours of labor--nothing much was happening, and they decided to go that route, which turned out to be a very good thing--won't go into details! She was very brave and calm through the whole thing, and this is just a minute or so after he was born--her husband, Eddie was holding little Connor close to her face, and you can just see a little tear in the corner of her eye--and what a sweet new mama smile--at last! it seems to say...peace...

Now, to close up for the day...I've also been thinking alot about MY babies--where does the time go??? Seems like just yesterday, I was scurrying around at this time of year, trying to put together the costume for the amazing thing they wanted to "be"! Here's my baby #1; a college-girl now, far away from her mommy, when she was three years old:

My sweet little Chelsea in the pumpkin patch--I love this picture so much!

That same year all dressed up for Halloween--she was NOT a witch, she was a "magical magician"! I miss you, Chelsea!

A few years later, and we had three little babies at Halloween time:

Chelsea, this time she WAS a witch! getting ready for the costume parade at John E. Steinbeck Elementary School (our hometown's favorite son!)

My two little sweeties, Sarah, the scary witchie, and Annie the tiny pumpkin head--she was just 2 months! Now, these are my 8th and 9th graders--yikes!

Thanks for indulging me in my memories...pull out YOUR scrapbooks and remember Halloweens past--it's just a LITTLE scary!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Under the Weather, Over the Weather...and a Brand New Baby Boy!

I was bitten by the cold bug on Monday, and haven't been doing much until this morning--much better now! Besides, how could you feel yucky when you look out your window and see this?

Oh, my! Have you ever seen anything more glorious than this?! It's really not fair, is it? I love seeing what the sunrise has in store for me every morning--certainly not a disappointment today!

Well, backing up a bit...Monday afternoon I was able to go out and pick strawberries at my friend Christina's farm.
(Can you see that I was getting a bit damp here? I was feeling pretty soggy at this point!)

Their strawberries are possibly the best I have EVER tasted--always huge, juicy and amazing! They give them away freely, provide them for any get together, and are so generous letting friends and family come and pick as many as they can when the season is over. I had plans of picking till my fingers fell off, but the rain returned and made me a little less enthusiastic about continuing! Only got about a bucket and a half, but it was plenty to snack on and make some divine homemade shortcakes that night for dessert!


Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a Color Challenge on Splitcoast while I was waiting for my kids to get ready for school. Even though you feel yucky, life goes on, right? Gotta get those kids out the door!

The chosen colors were interesting, and I probably wouldn't have put the Cameo Coral in the mix, but they were Bravo Burgundy, Cameo Coral, Always Artichoke and Very Vanilla. Here's what I came up with:

The image is from Crafty Secrets' new "Christmas" Creative Scraps--I LOVE these! Each image is just beautiful, and I've got so many ideas for them!

I decided I needed to echo the greenery in the image elsewhere on the card, so I stamped a bunch of pine boughs from the "Christmas Joy" stamp set (also Crafty Secrets), cut and sponged them, and added them to the upper left. A bit of work, but I like how it turned out. Some gold glass glitter, Dazzling Diamonds, lace, ribbon, a little button, and that's it!

Yesterday was also a very special day for our family--my "baby" sister (she's 31!) gave birth to her first baby late last night--Connor Riggs Baron--good name, huh? We're so thrilled that everyone's safe, healthy & happy! Congratulations, Eddie and Jenny! Sweet Connor, your Auntie Julie CANNOT wait to meet you!

Early this morning, I made this card for my new nephew:

The sweet baby image is from Crafty Secrets' "Joys of Life" booklet--been wanting to use this for a while--thanks, Jenny! The letter stickers are from their "Baby Boy" sticker sheet.

Cardstock used--Bashful Blue, Barely Banana, PTI Vintage Cream. I used Vintage Blue glass glitter, white grosgrain that I dyed with Barely Banana ink, brass baby bootie charms, lace, and my favorite Ranger's Vintage Photo ink for sponging. That's it!

Well, that's all for today! I'm off to run some errands and finish up a couple of projects I'm working kitchen table is a MESS! (Sorry family!) See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Absolute Comfort Food & Sugary Sweet Cards

Good morning, all!

Hope your weekend was wonderful! Ours was great--too much going on for me to post yesterday, as I'd planned...oh, well! I was about to go out and pick strawberries at my friends' farm, but it just started to rain--we weren't expecting that! We'll see if it lets off in a bit.....I hope so, because I had some big strawberry plans, and they had strawberry shortcake for dessert written all over them!

Got lots to share with you again, today--first off--how about some sticky, chewy, messy, gooey breakfast??? That's part of the title of one of my new favorite cookbooks--and you know how I love cookbooks! I already had one by Jill O'Connor, which I'll share another day--this new one I just found in Target last week, and couldn't resist! I mean, just look at this cover--what's a girl to do?! From the delicious recipes & photos, to the cute vintage-style fonts and the scallop-edged pages, I was a gonner!

Not just for kids, the recipes in this book are to die for! Wait till I make her "Matterhorn Mountain Shortbread Cookies", or "Sticky Butterscotch French Toast"! Oh, my!!!

Saturday morning, I made the "Banana Split Pancakes" for my family. When a recipe contains bananas, Nutella, can you NOT make it?

(You really need to click on the pancakes & see this ooey, gooey pile close-up.....)

Yikes! How's that for a plate of flapjacks??? I might have spread the Nutella a little thick on this first plate, but my daughter Sarah didn't seem to mind!

Haven't gotten permission to give the recipe yet--but I'll try. Suffice it to say, the pancakes are loaded with smashed up ripe bananas, buttermilk, nutmeg, sugar, then just load on the toppings--YUM! Just do yourself a favor & get this cookbook!!!

I made up another soup recipe last year. This was another that I tasted at a restaurant & loved so much that I came home and tried to duplicate it--was pretty successful if I do say so myself! I've given this recipe out many times, and my daughter requested it for her birthday dinner, as did my Mother-in-law for her dinner this weekend. Here it is:

This is my Chicken Tortilla Soup. I love it! Definitely a family favorite--hope yours will like it, too! Unfortunately, when I make up my own recipes, I don't measure spices so much, but I'll try to give you a good feel for what to do. I'll have to get more specific next time!


Boil 5-6 chicken breast, then shred.

In large pot, add 2 large cans fat-free chicken broth
chili powder--I just take off the shaker top & dump in at least 1/4 of the bottle!
cumin--same thing as the chili powder
garlic powder--just a few shakes
dash of cloves
salt & pepper, to taste
2-4 bay leaves
2 squares of dark chocolate, at least 60-100% cacao--very important!
Green Tabasco sauce--just dump in a bunch--not very hot, just adds excellent flavor
1 large can chopped green chilis
2 cans white hominy
1 bag shredded carrots
This is the first time I added a bag of frozen roasted corn--yum! I'll do it again!

Just add the chicken when shredded and let it heat through and simmer on low heat to let all the flavors mingle fabulously.

Juice 3-4 limes and have the juice on the table to serve with the soup, also broken-up fresh cilantro. After soup is served in the bowls, add a dash of fresh lime juice and some cilantro. You can also have sour cream and shredded cheese to add, if you'd like.

When I have time, I like to fry up my own tortilla strips--the kids prefer this, of course! If I don't have time, just a bag of chips will do very nicely!

Don't be afraid of my vague measurements--it's really hard to mess this up. Just season it up & taste and go from there! I hope you like this as much as we do...

Now, for the cards--had fun with these this weekend, just did a little whenever I could! I'm sharing a few of my favorite stamp companies with you today. You already know that I LOVE Crafty Secrets! Pink Persimmon and Paper Relics are also wonderful, vintage stamp companies that just make me happy!

This first card is from Pink Persimmon. The stamp set is called "Merry Christmas Cottage", and I used Crafty Secrets' adorable "Snow Bunnies" stamp set for the tiny snowflakes in the background. The cardstock used here was Ruby Red, Handsome Hunter, PTI Vintage Cream, and a Brenda Walton Christmas dp collection from last year.

I used my favorite Snow-Tex again for the snow, and added Dazzling Diamonds, a little crocheted lace, and pompom trim, along with my silver glitter, buttons, and that's about it for this one. It's such a cute little stamp set!

I just love "Paper Relics"! Just discovered it a few weeks ago, and the very kind designer, Hope Wallace, went through a bit of trouble to get them to me--had to go & pick them up from somewhere, as they weren't readily available when I ordered them--very sweet! She's a real artist--you HAVE to go & check out her site here...PAPER RELICS.

When I saw this set, I just HAD to have it! I love wonderful vintage fonts, and as you see, this has a couple of beautiful ones! The images are fabulous, as well, and so much fun to play with--I'll be doing much more with these, for sure!

I used Chocolate Chip, Cameo Coral, & PTI Vintage Cream for this card. Dyed some white grosgrain with Cameo Coral ink to match--hadn't done that for a while! Fun, but messy!

And last but certainly not least, my favorite Crafty Secrets! They've got some new Creative Scraps, which are so marvellous! Here's 2 images from the new "Christmas" Creative Scraps:

I love this little girl--just adorable! I had a couple of these napkin rings from Michael's that I keep pulling little bits off of for this & that, but I just snipped it, straightened it out, and used it for my border--I like it! The plaid ribbon is also from Michael's I used Real Red, Glorious Green (first time I've used it--ordered the cs 2 years ago & had to slice open the package for this!), PTI White, and Crafty Secrets' Earthy dp pad.

One more thing to show you--found this in my Halloween storage boxes. My Mom just made this for fun--probably in about 10 minutes, a few years ago, and it always brings a smile to my face when I see it....

Just some glass beads, wire felt, needle & thread, a touch of markers for the sweet face, and you get a fabulous little pumpkin girl a' la Mom!

There you go--that's what I've been up to this weekend--what about you? What did you do?