Monday, July 25, 2011

On Vacation!!

Hi Everyone!!

In case you missed my post on Friday, just a quick reminder that I am on vacation this week and am unable to post. I do want to remind you that I have blog candy to give away!
Click the picture on the side bar and read all the details!

Have a fabulous week and I'll be back with you next Monday!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Treasured Friend Gift Basket

Hi Everyone!!

Well, I am so so excited to be able to share this project with you. I made this basket of goodies to take to a special friend in my life while I'm on vacation this week. Actually, she's more than just a friend, she's my sister-in-law and I just think the world of her. I decided to make this for her just as a little surprise for her when we visit next next week. Now, I decided to take pictures of each separate elements of the basket, as well as pictures of the completed basket.
The first items in the basket are an altered journal that I made using OCL's "Treasured Friend" stamp set. Jennifer's favorite colors are aquas and greens and she's from Florida, so I just figured that the beach theme would be perfect for her. I also made a matching pen to go with it. I made a gift card holder as well using more pattern papers from DCWV "Linen Closet" mat stack


The next items in the basket are a gift card holder, and then a bookmark. I took two pictures of the bookmark, so you could see how it opens. It just goes on the corner of your page. I got this adorable idea from Kelly Rasmussen's blog during the Studio Calico/Hero Arts Blog hop last week. So cute and easy! Be sure to stop by her blog to see her sample and also for the instructions. She took a picture of it on a book as well, so you can really see how it's used.
Next, I made 5 note cards for her to be able to send to people for various occasions as she needs them. I embossed the bases with various cuttlebug embossing folders and then used Label 11 Nestabilities and Stampin Up's "Sincere Salutations" for the sentiments.
The final item in the basket is a little tea bag holder which has two bags of her favorite tea. The sentiment on the front is from Verve Stamps "Delightful and Delicious." I took a picture of the inside and the outside. Now, I must apologize because the outside picture is
terribly blurry; and I didn't realize that until too late.
The last two pictures are pictures of the completed basket, one before the final wrapping and one with the wrapping


Ok, so on to the challenges for the different elements of the basket:

1. Art Impressions Stamps: Stitching (I used real stitching on the bookmark)

2. Aud Sentiments: Use a sentiment that would make someone smile or enjoy their day. (I think the sentiment on the journal and the bookmark both fit this requirement!)

3. Craft us Crazy: Anything Goes

4. Crafty Purple Frog: Water inspired (Beach scene on the Altered Journal)

5. Shelly's Images: Anything Goes

Now, as I indicated at the beginning of my post, I will be out of town next week, so no blogging for me! Have a fabulous week and I will see you all soon!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Hi Everyone!


So, this week's recipe  is one of those "Gee, I wonder if this would work?" creations. When I made it for the first time, it was simply done with a desire to take the ingredients I use to make chicken Alfredo Pasta and turn them into a sauce for pizza. A little tweaking and Viola! a new pizza was born! Well, new to our house anyways! It is a simple recipe and I hope you can take some time to try it out for yourself.
Ok, here we go:

Ingredients:

-- Pizza Crust. I use the Boboli Pizza Crust. It's just easy; but if you are inclined to make your own, please by all means do so.

-- 1 chicken breast cut up. This is a great recipe to do if you have an extra breast left over that perhaps you didn't use for a previous recipe.

-- 1/2 small onion chopped; and 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic (grated, minced or chopped fine)

-- 2 or 3 Artichoke hearts (the kind in the jar) finely chopped.

-- 1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained. You can get all the liquid out of the spinach by placing the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and then squeezing the liquid out over the sink

--1 jar of your favorite Alfredo Sauce

-- Splash of White Wine or Chicken Broth (personal preference)

--Handful of Feta Cheese

--Mozzarella or Italian Cheese for the top of the Pizza.

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425. Sautee the cut up chicken in some Olive Oil over medium high heat until pieces are browned and cooked. Remove the chicken to a separate bowl. (Do NOT rinse the pan out)


2. Put the pan back on the stove, and lower the heat slightly and add the onion and if desired a little dash of red pepper flakes. Wait until the onion softens a bit. Lower the heat to medium low (4 or 5) and then add the garlic. If you aren't used to cooking with fresh garlic, be sure your pan is not too hot because the garlic can burn quickly and if it burns...it's no good. Add the artichoke hearts and continue to stir for a few minutes and soften the ingredients some more.

3. Add the white wine or chicken broth...one turn or so around the pan and using a wooden spoon scrape up all the little bits from the bottom of the pan. This is why you don't rinse the pan after cooking the chicken. There's TONS of flavor and yumminess in those little black bits on the bottom of the pan!


4. Turn the heat back up slightly (6 or 7) and let the wine and liquid reduce down by at least 1/2. Pretty much all the liquid should be just about gone before you go to the next step.

5. Add the jar of Alfredo sauce, and then the chopped spinach. Now, you may not use the entire package...I usually don't. Just add however much or little you want.

6. Add the feta cheese and return the chicken to the pan. I usually go ahead and cut the chicken up into even smaller bite size pieces at this stage. Again, this is optional and only necessary if you desire to do so.


7. Now, this is where it gets just slightly tricky. Remember, you are making a pizza, not a pasta sauce, so you need to sauce to be a little thicker than you would normally expect it to be. It should be thick with a nice body to it; but not don't let it get so thick it looks like paste! If you notice that it's getting a little too thick, just add a splash or two of chicken broth and thin it out a bit.

8. Add your desired seasonings. Avoid any salt, however because the Feta and the artichoke hearts have plenty of salt in them. I usually just add a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning and a little black pepper. Lower the heat to about 3 and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.

9. Spread the sauce onto the pizza crust and sprinkle with the Italian or Mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the edges turned slightly brown.


Now for today's crafty creation. I made this card for the Wednesday's SCS sketch. Since this post has already been quite long, I'll just jump right into the challenges I am entering it in to.

1. Amber's Craft and Stuff: Swirls and Circles

2. Crafts and Me: Add a Flower

3. Flutter by Wednesday: Open Challenge

4. House that Stamps Built: Glitter


5. Clear it Out Challenge: Anything Goes, use an old supply. The butterfly image is from an old SU set "Garden Whimsy" that I haven't used in AGES!

6. Craft Room Challenge: Butterflies

7. Jac-inks Papercraft Challenges: Monotones

8. My Time To Craft: Citrus Colors

9. Shopping Our Stash: Technique Turn back. Use a technique you haven't used in a while. I used the Shaving Cream technique for the background piece across the center. I also used the "rock and roll" technique when I stamped the butterfly.

10. SCS Sketch challenge 342

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thank You for 200 Mojo Mondays!

Hi Everyone!

I'm sorry about not posting yesterday. I was very busy doing crafty things and just never quite got around to being able to get stuff posted. I am working on a special project that I will be sharing with you, hopefully later this week. I also did this card for this week's Mojo Monday sketch. Can you believe this is sketch #200 for Mojo! WOW! Mojo Monday is one of my favorite site challenges. I love the sketches and all the amazing inspiration from the Design Divas each week. I decided to make a Thank You card and am dedicating it to Julee and the rest of the team for always doing such a fabulous job each week!
This card using a Rose Red, Pink and Celery Green color palette, along with some scrap DSP paper that I found. I stamped the background with the Inkadinkado Polka Dot background stamp and embossed it with clear powder I used Verve Stamps "Sweet Treats" for this card. I stamped the image in Celery ink, added the sentiment in Rose Red to the center and then cut it out and adhered it to a mat cut with Label 11 Nestabilities. I used Petite Scallop Circle Nestabilities for the Rose Red mat behind the DSP circle. I added a slightly larger circle behind it as well. Finally, I added the ribbon and the bow and the two pink eyelets to complete the card.

I am entering this card for the following challenges:

Deep Ocean Challenge: Ribbons

Everybody Art Challenge: Dots

Kaboodle Doodles Challenge: Embossing

Make it Monday: Anything Goes

Mojo Monday: Sketch

Simon Says Stamp and show some: Embossing

Crafty Ann's: Embossing

All Sorts: Anything Goes

Thanks for spending some time with me today and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Slow Boat to Coffee-Ville.

Hi Everyone!

**Click on the picture on the side bar to read about my BLOG CANDY give-away!!**

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Ours was good, with lots of activities keeping us busy right here at home. My wonderful husband has spent the last two weekends building things for our boys. Last weekend, he made them a bookcase and this weekend he built them a castle! Pictures and stories for those will be coming later this week.
Before I get to today's crafty creation, I thought I'd share a story with you. Now, if you've read my blog before or if you know me, then you know that I am a coffee lover. Actually, the more appropriate word is probably addict. Nothing, I mean nothing, happens in my world at the beginning of the day before that first sip of the first cup of coffee. I splurge every two weeks and buy a bag of Starbuck's whole bean coffee which I grind up each morning and then I wait while Mr. Coffee does his work. He's good to me, so I try to exercise a little bit of patience each morning with him until he's finished. Some mornings are harder than others, though. Mr. Coffee, however has been out of commission for an entire week now, because I broke a piece of him! Gasp, I know!! I was emptying the coffee filter into the trash (which was full and my husband had not taken out, so I know at least part of this is his fault! LOL) and the filter basket dropped out of my hand and hit the floor. Of course, it didn't just fall and roll off to the side. No, it fell at just the right angle with the right impact to break a piece off the bottom. OMG!! Sigh, what was I going to do now?? The thought or prospect of not being able to wake up to my fresh coffee was not one I was relishing. Then I glanced over and found my answer on the stove. The "cute as a button" blue percolator my husband so lovingly and thoughtfully bought me for our camping trip, so that I can have coffee! Just when I think he's not paying attention to me, he goes and does something thoughtful and sweet for me! Anyhow, yes, that would be perfect. Except for one major problem: I had never in my life used a percolator. How hard could it be, though? I understood the mechanics of it and how it operated, or so I thought! The next morning, I got up prepared the percolator, turned on the stove and waited. After a little while, it started "percolating", and I promptly turned it off. Why, I turned it off at this point, I'm honestly not sure. I do know it was the wrong thing to do because I ended up with something that resembled luke-warm coffee water. That was day one. The second day, I decided I will turn it up a little higher, because it took forever and a day for it to boil the day before. So, I turned up to 8 and let it go and finally it started percolating. In retrospect, I would have to say that it actually resembled a space shuttle getting ready for take off because it was rattling and clacking so much on the stove. Finally, I decided it was done, took it off the burner and poured the cherish first cup, only to discover that there were more grounds in my cup than coffee! Yep, my overzealous percolating had caused the top of the little coffee ground holder to pop off, and spill all into the coffee. Ok, to be clear...it is now day number 2 of my "Mr. Coffee Crisis" and that is 2 days too many! This just could not go on. This percolatin' on the stove business may have worked 100 years ago on the campfires when grungy old gold diggers and cowboys didn't know the difference between the coffee grounds in their coffee and the 3 day old tobacco they'd been chewing; but clearly it was NOT working in my kitchen! After some more research and thought, I finally discovered the way to make a decent cup of percolated coffee. One that tastes good, without any grounds in it and stays hot. The only problem? It takes FOREVER! Seriously...this girl can NOT be spending 30 minutes on the Slow Boat to Coffee-Ville! I want my Mr. Coffee back...no scratch that, I NEED my Mr. Coffee back.
I have ordered the replacement basket for Mr. Coffee and for the sake of my sanity, I do surely hope it arrives in the next couple of days. As for the camping trip in the RV, which I know has electricity, Percolator or Mr. Coffee? Oh, I think you know the answer to that question!
Just a little something I thought I'd share with you. Now for my crafty creation for the day, which is just a little gift card holder I made. I've actually had the pieces for this cut for a long time and finally decided to put it together. These are so very easy to do and if you are interested in a tutorial, let me know and I will be happy to post one with photos and instructions. I used Regal Rose for the base. I embossed the So Saffron piece with the Cuttlebug argyle embossing folder The pattern paper on the bottom strip for the inside photo is from Cosmo Cricket's 6x6 "Togetherness Package" I used my Petite Scallop Circle Nestabilities for the red mat behind the flowers. The flower image is from SU's "Flower for all Seasons" I stamped it in Memento "Rich Cocoa" ink and colored them with Copics. The red tulips actually have red stickles on them; but that's difficult to see in the photo. This little gift card holder fits the following challenges.
Cute Card Thursday: Use Circles
Little Miss Muffet: Anything but a card
Lollipop Crafts: Anything Goes
Mark's Finest Papers: Yellow, Pink and Green
One Stitch at a Time: Flowers

Thank you so much for spending part of your day with me, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day and spend it doing something you love!! See ya tomorrow!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Trick or Treat with some Blog Candy!!!

TGIF Everyone!!!

I hope you are all having a very wonderful day! I am busy trying to prepare the family for our very first family RV camping trip! It's going to be a lot of fun and the kids are looking forward to it.

Now for some crafty creations to share with you. The first one is a Halloween card. This is another card for the OWH "Beat the Heat" Challenge. It's not the best picture I've taken. I usually take my cards outside and photograph them; but the wind was not cooperating with me, so I had to take it inside.

I am entering this card for just a couple of challenges and they both happen to be stitching challenges. Not a lot of Halloween challenges out there yet! LOL
Crafty Sentiments: Stitching
Do you stack up: Stitching

Now for the fun stuff!! As you can see by the picture of all the goodies, I have BLOG CANDY!!! YAY!!! It's not very much, just a few bits and treasures I would love to give away to one of you! Here's what you need to do in order to be able to win:

1. Leave me a comment here on THIS POST telling me your favorite creative blog to visit.

2. You do not have to be a follower to win the candy. However, if you are already a follower or become a follower, I will enter your name into the drawing twice. Just be sure to leave a small note reminding me that you are.

3. This blog candy opportunity will be available until August 3


Have a great day!! Thanks for visiting with me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Give Thanks

Hi Everyone!

Now, I know it's probably a bit early to be posting Fall themed and Thanksgiving cards; but this one is for a specific purpose. Operation Write Home is having a challenge called "Beat the Heat with Holidays in July" I've included a link with the new button over there on the side bar, so you can check out all the details and hopefully be able to participate as well.
Most people always think that it's Christmas cards that people need for holidays. However, OWH also asked that we include Halloween, Fall and Thanksgiving cards. I decided to do something simple with a one layer card. I folded a piece of Vintage Cream (PTI) to a standard size card and then stamped the three leaf images from OCL's "Shades of Fall" I stamped the two on the end with Old Olive ink and the one in the middle with More Mustard. I used a blender pen and ink from the top of the pad to fill in the leaves. I used Pumpkin Pie ink for the sentiment. Some ribbon, string, faux stitching and paper piercing finished it all off!

It's simple; but I think it fits the challenge nicely. I will be trying to make more fall cards this week. It does fit just a couple of challenges which I've listed below. Have a great day; and I'll see you tomorrow!

Crafty Cardmakers: One layer card

Simon Says Stamp and Show: Some Stitching

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

UR Treasured

Hi Everyone!

2 Layouts in a row! I know, you're shocked aren't you?! Well, this is one I did a while back and I thought I'd share it with you. As you can see from the next photo, this layout is part of the collection of school photos that are on my living room wall. I took each of their school pictures this year and made 12x12 layouts with them and put them into Scrapbook frames. Then, when next year's pictures come, I'll take these down and put them into a book and put up the new photos. Pretty cool, huh? It just seemed to me like I was always getting 8x10 school photos and then they usually ended up in a frame on top of last year's picture or in a drawer somewhere. I just thought this was a fun way to showcase them every year.
Anyhow, the positively beautiful subject of this layout is my amazing step-daughter, Katie. This was actually one of her high school senior photos. She actually just completed her first year of college and made the Dean's List!! Her Dad and I are so so very proud of her.
The background piece of the layout is from Basic Grey. Other colors used were, Sage Shadow, Ruby Red, Chocolate Chip from SU; and a dark forest green from my stash. I rolled the "Forever Flowers" wheel from SU across the ruby red piece at the bottom. The circle design behind the picture was made using Laina Lamb's Digital cutting kit and my Cricut. I also used my Cricut and SCAL software to cut the letters for "treasured". The "UR" is from Little Yellow Bicycle "Friends" Stamp Set.

Ok, I'm off for the day. Have a great day, do something creative if you feel inspired, or just something that makes you feel good!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fabulous Summer Flowers

Hi Everyone!

A couple of new projects to share with you today. The first is a small 8x8 layout that is part of a book I am making to take to my Mother-in-Law when we visit later this month. I wanted to do something very simple for her, so each page only has one picture. It's been a lot of fun to do and it's nearly finished. I used Aqua Mist, Harvest Gold, Simply Chartreuse, and Hawaiian Shores along with some patterned papers from "Me and My Big Ideas"
The quote sticker at the bottom is from a package I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

The second project is a card for yesterday's Stars and Stamp Sketch challenge. I useand Sage Shadow, Harvest Gold, Sahara Sand pattern paper and white paper. I cut the large white circle using my Laina Lamb Digital Circle cutting kit and my Cricut with SCAL Software. I cut another circle measuring 3 1/4 out of the Harvest Gold card stock before adhering the lace circle. I used Petite Scalloped Circle Nestabilities for the Sage circle. I embossed the large flower from Our Craft Lounge "Fabulous Florals" with Versamark and White embossing powder. I stamped the smaller flower with Sage Shadow ink and then cut it out before adhering it with a gold brad. I embossed the white background piece with the "Floral Fantasy" cuttlebug embossing folder. The sentiment in the corner is also from OCL "Say it Big" set.

I am entering these projects for the following challenges:

The Layout:

1. Dream Valley Challenges: Summer Theme

2. I Did it Creations: Floral

3. Scrappy Frogs Challenge: Summer Flowers

4. Two Sisters Challenge: Summer Fun

5. Crazy Challenges: Summertime


The Card:

1. Play Date Cafe: Color Challenge (Light Green, Light Yellow, White, Kraft or Taupe)

2. Our Craft Lounge: CAS (and use flowers)

3. One Stitch at a Time: Anything Goes

4. Pile it On: use your favorite technique. Mine is embossing, whether heat embossing or dry embossing. I always seem to incorporate it into my projects

5. Stars and Stamp Blog: Sketch

6. Make it Monday: Anything Goes

7. Inspire me Friday: Anything Goes

Have a great night everyone!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shoes for Our Journey

As a mom, I'm sure many of you can relate to the ever present supply of shoes that are constantly in disarray around my house. As well, I'm sure many of you get just as frustrated as I at trying to to move them to more "out of the way" locations or even trying to actually get someone to put them away!
Yesterday, however I found myself actually smiling at the collection of shoes scattered throughout the living room; and no they were not just flip flops. There were boots, and tennis shoes and sandals as well. I looked at them and realized that each pair of shoes represents the feet both big and small that have taken the steps throughout our journey as a family. We have walked in many wonderful places experiencing happy times, Amusement and Wildlife Parks, in the sand at the beach, and in the snow at Christmas time. Sometimes, we've walked together and sometimes we've had to walk separately through times of deployment, and the necessities of setting up new homes in new places.
I looked at the kid's shoes and remembered the first steps that began their journeys down the road of life. And yet, I also realize how many steps they all still have to take. I know that one day their steps will take them away from our home to what I hope are wonderful and magical places with people they love. One day, (probably sooner than I want) they will have their own homes with new little feet and shoes to begin new journeys.
For now though, no matter where we go, either together or apart, there is a truth that remains constant... Eventually, all the feet and shoes end up back in my house and that makes me an extremely happy mom!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The World is a Beautiful Place

Hi Everyone!
Well, as you can see I've once again made a few changes with the blog here, including a title change. What do you think? I'm struggling a bit with a new title, so don't be surprised if you see it change again! Anyhow, I'm hoping to branch out a bit and share some non-crafting items, stories and life experiences with all of you as well. Don't worry though, I'm still crafting and will still be sharing my crafty creations with you as well.
Being in The Marine Corps has allowed us to travel to and live in some of the most beautiful places in the world. With stunning scenery, and breathtaking views very often in our own backyard, we have often been amazed with the wonders of the world around us. Each location has given us an unobstructed view into an art gallery of God's greatest canvases. The South East Botanical Gardens and Peace Prayer Park in Okinawa were more extraordinary in person than a photo could ever interpret. There is a peace and tranquility that comes with visiting beautiful places such as these. They almost force you to forget any worries you may have in life at the moment, and just simply breath for a moment.
As I walked the Cliff Walk in Newport, RI last year, I remembering thinking how lucky I felt to be able to walk along this path with these extraordinary views and historical homes. I imagined and wondered how much it had changed since the original residents of those mansions had used it to travel from one dwelling to the next. Did they see the views and marvel in the beauty around them as I was, or were they just wishing to get to their destination with punctuality and promptness? Perhaps they took it for granted, much as we often take beautiful things for granted as well.
I have learned over the years in my journeys around this great world that life is crazy, busy and demanding. We are all on schedules, whether they be for our families, our careers or both. Soccer games, business travel, laundry, cooking, PTA meetings and school work often prevent us from just stopping and looking at the world around us. That is a shame, and I really do believe we should all strive to take a little more time to appreciate that the world really is a beautiful place.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Winter Wonderland in July!


Hi Everyone!!

Well, I just couldn't leave you all hanging with that boring little Technical post I left you with earlier in the day. (If you missed, it is important...so please scroll down and read it for me.)

Ok, so July seems to have two main themes in the crafting blogosphere and those are "Patriotic" and "Christmas in July" Now, I have to confess, I actually MADE this card eons ago....like before Christmas. However, I NEVER posted it....so this is NOT a back link. Just making that clear, so that people who are here from challenges don't think I'm cheating. This was originally going to be part of my 25 days of Christmas card postings; but I decided to make it 12 days of Christmas instead.

This is late in the day for me, so I'm just going to list the challenges and get it linked up!

Have a fabulous weekend.

Aud Sentiments: 2 or more words in a sentiment

Moving Along with the Times: Christmas in July

Stamp Insanity: Anything Goes

ABC Christmas Challenge: N is for No Nonsense (no DP)

The House that Stamps Built:Christmas

Stars and Stamp (OWH) No glitter and Christmas

Paper Variety: Christmas




Technical updates IMPORTANT

Hi Everyone!

No card for today, unfortunately. (Although I may try to come back later and post one) I am just here to update you on a couple of technical details. If you are a follower and had subscribed to my blog via email or google reader or yahoo or any other site, I need you to resubscribe.

As you can see over there on the side bar, my current email readers number is "0"...it used to be 103!! Ran into some technical difficulties and unfortunately had to make some changes. Hopefully it's all sorted out and you shouldn't have any problems subscribing. If you do, however just let me know and I'll try to answer any questions.

Bye for now!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Birthday Candles

Hello Everyone!

I was quite shocked to realize that I do not have very many birthday cards in my card collection. I'm not really sure why that is, so I thought I probably ought to make a few!
I have not done an SCS Wednesday sketch in quite a while either; and I really liked the simplicity of yesterday's sketch and needed an easy one to work with. It's funny, sometimes I have all the time in the world to make a card and I'll sit and tinker around with one for absolutely ever and have the best time. Other times, though I know I have things to get done and I just need to get a card put together. This is also for this week's Color Throwdown challenge. It's been hard for me to do CT challenges lately because I've just not had the right colors lately or I just haven't been able to get them to work with the ideas in my head! This week's challenge was intriguing. I didn't use all SU colors; but I think I found some that were at least comparable and hopefully acceptable.

I used a set of stamps from SU called "Whimsical Words" for the sentiment stamped in Fired Brick distress ink on white paper cut out with Label 1 Nestabilites.

Challenges for today's card:

1. SCS: sketch 340

2. Color Throwdown: Challenge 149

3. Simon Says Stamp: Stitching

4. Ruby's Rainbow: Happy Birthday

5. Your Next Stamp Challenge: Buttons

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