Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: The Burgess Boys

From Goodreads:

"Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever."

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about reading this story because, unlike so many others, Olive Kitteridge was not a book I enjoyed very much. Perhaps if I were to re-read that story with the same mindset as I did this one, I might like it better the second time around. Last year in my book club, we read a story that I couldn't get into; and I remarked that I didn't feel as though there was a purpose to the plot; and that I couldn't figure out exactly what the plot even was. One of my friends remarked that the story we were reading was character driven as opposed to plot driven. It wasn't about WHAT was happening in the story it was about to WHOM it was all happening. The Burgess Boys, to me, is written in the same way. The story is not about what is going to happen to Zach and his punishment for the crime he committed, nor is it even about the accident that occurred when the Burgess boys, Bob and Jim, were younger. However, those events are instrumental and necessary in developing these main characters in the story. The author presents and develops each character in such a manner that you find them desperate, despairing, modest, humorous, and loving...in other words, real. She gives each character a depth of humanity that you may not like and may even find discouraging and reprehensible; but  is nevertheless what makes them appealing to read about. They are characters you want to hate, they are are characters you want to understand, and they are characters you can't help but hope might get a happy ending. These are characters that allow us to see and reflect on our own lives with all the triumphs, tragedies and mistakes that come along with this journey we are all on. I think we all have either a little bit of Bob, Jim or Susan in us. The peripheral characters of Mrs. Drinkwater and Abidkarim and Margaret are also woven very well into the story as well to become necessary members of the canvas.
Finally, it isn't as though there's no plot or series of events that takes place in the book. Connecting the story with the Somali culture and community was powerful and educational.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Joy and Peace: Christmas Mojo

Hi Everyone!

Well, I guess it's about that time...time to get moving on those Christmas cards. This is the first one I've done this year and I used this week's Mojo Monday sketch for inspiration. It came together quickly, which I was thankful for since I am, as always, super busy and on the go these days. I could definitely see myself using this sketch for more holiday cards.
I used Verve Stamps "Bright Spirits" for my card and patterned papers from My Mind's Eye 6x6 "Merry Days of Christmas" paper pad. I sponged the edges of the center strip and scalloped circles with Aged Mahogany and Fired Brick Distress inks. Finally, some faux white stitching and gold stickles for accents finished this holiday card.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I know I'm not the best blogger; but rest assured, I'm always grateful when you visit! Until next time...

Book Review: The Secret Daughter

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From Goodreads:

"On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.
Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.
Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families—one Indian, one American—and the child that indelibly connects them"

The Secret Daughter is a beautifully written, uplifting and heartbreaking love story about the unconditional love between mothers and daughters. It is a testimony to the bonds shared by those born to us and to those who, through circumstance and fortune, come into our lives. Motherhood presents such a wide variety of emotions and it is as wild and unpredictable as it is beautiful and overwhelming. As I read this story, I found myself incredibly grateful that I was never forced to give up my own daughter, or hide her away, or never tell anyone about her the way Kavita had to give up Asha. I simply couldn't imagine the pain and the heartache that would associated with that. I had great admiration and respect for Kavita to make the decision to take Usha to the orphanage, especially when the alternative meant possible death.
There were many aspects to this story that I found both intriguing and inspiring. I particularly liked the way Asha's adopted family was connected with her Indian heritage through Krishnan. I felt as though it was a logical and clear way to bring the two worlds together. I also admired the struggles that Somer and Asha went through that still had the usual "mother and teen daughter" angst; but also showcased their fundamental differences in that they were not biologically related. I think at one point Somer became painfully aware of this, as did Asha, causing them to pull apart. At one point, it was unclear as to whether or not this would be a breaking point of sorts in their relationship or if it could just learn to be accepted. To me, the story portrayed Somer and Asha as two pieces in the same puzzle...just not two pieces connected together. Still, I think they come to understand that they needed each other to complete one another's story.
The ending was unexpected; and at first somewhat baffling. However, in hindsight, it was really the only way it could have ended. I think that if it had ended in a predictable fashion, the story would not have had the same impact. In their own way, each character found their happy ending, or at least a version of it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Good Morning Everyone!

I am so excited to be the guest designer this week for ABC Challenges. They graciously declared my card from this challenge a couple of weeks ago their winner for the week. I was so excited; and beyond delighted to create a card for their Halloween challenge this week. Now, I will be the first to admit that Halloween just isn't really my favorite holiday. It's expensive and stressful with costume buying and candy giving and buying and buying...anyhow, I digress! This is probably the only Halloween card I will make; but I had a lot of fun making it! I used some pattern papers and coordinating stamps from Martha Stewart. I added some glossy accents to the three images that is hard to see in the picture; but it does look cool in real life! I want to thank Patty and all the members at ABC Challenges for giving me this opportunity! If you are new to my blog, I hope you look around and find some inspiration and maybe visit again. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catching Up

Hi Everyone!

Oh my goodness it has been a while once again, hasn't it? I have been so very busy working on crafting things and I'm so sorry I haven't been able to post lately. What's been keeping me busy? Well, for one thing I submitted some cards for Paper Craft Magazines World Card Making Day contest. As you probably know, if you are submitting cards for potential publication, you can't have them posted anywhere online prior. In addition, I am teaching my first stamping class at my LSS. How excited am I about that?!! YAY!! So, I've also been making samples, cutting materials and prepping for that. I have 2 more classes already lined up as well.
I am super busy today again; but I wanted to at least check in and share a quick card with you. This is my card for Mojo Monday.
Be sure to come back tomorrow as well, I have fun news to share with you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cheers to You: CASE study


Hi Everyone!

I'm here today to share a card I gave to my friend Melanie last night at our first Wine Club meeting last night. Melanie is a certified Sommelier and blogger. We had such a fantastic time tasting and learning about champagnes and chocolates. We had a peach champagne from Italy, a Presecco and an Almond Champagne which was so unbelievably divine I can't even put into words how much I enjoyed it. She had chocolates from Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey...just to name a few.
Anyhow, I wanted to say thank you for having us all in her home and providing such a wonderful atmosphere for all of us.This is also my card for the CASE study challenge. Once again, another challenge in which I haven't participated in quite a while and I loved the inspiration picture and colors. I'm also entering this one for Simon Say's Stamp Wednesday challenge "Going Dotty" For this card, I used Pure Poppy, Aqua Mist, White card stock from PTI. I pulled out my oldie but goodie "Cheers to You" SU! Stamp set. I stamped the champagne flutes in Evergreen Bough distress ink, colored them in with a Scattered Straw distress marker and added glossy accents and silver stickles as well. For the circle background, I used "Lots of Dots" from Simon Says Stamp.
No other challenges this time around for this card. Keeping it simple today. Have a great day! Enjoy your weekend. Until next time...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

All About Verve



Hi Everyone!

Sorry about the lack of posting the past few days. I have been busy in my little craft room, just haven't had a chance to get things posted. So, to make it up to you, I actually have two cards to show you.
It's been forever since I've participated in a full session of Verve's VLV sketch challenges. This month, however, I am determined to do all the sketches. This card is for week one. I am also using this card to send to Kristina Werner for her October "Mail Call" for Thank you cards. I used more papers from my Simon Says Stamp October Card kit. I built the flower in the middle using Verve's "Sunny Days". I added some glossy accents and stickles to bling it all up a bit too. The "Thank You" sentiment is also from Verve. The base of the card is actually Dark Chocolate from PTI; but it does look a little black in the picture, doesn't it? I think I finally found a way to take pictures that I think works pretty well. Outside on the front porch. I think the background adds a nice soft touch. Some of the coloring is a little off still; but that's ok. Obviously, it's a little dependent on the weather, which I hope will continue to cooperate.
Ok, now on to the second card for today. This is for this week's "Mojo Monday" sketch. Again, it's been a while since I've made a Mojo card, so this was fun to do. I really liked the simplicity of this sketch also. This will also be sent to Kristina for mail call. In total, I'm sending three cards to her. I can't wait to see if she'll show one on camera! Again, I used papers for the October card kit. I decided when I signed up for the kit every month that I was going to make sure I used up as much as I could in the kit. The butterfly is from Verve's "Blue Skies" set. I stamped them in Certainly Celery ink and Tumbled Glass Distress ink. I added some stickles and sequins to each one as well. The sentiment is from "Handwritten Greetings" and I stamped it using Colorbox chalk ink in Chestnut Roan.  I also used "Lots of Dots" to stamp the circles behind the butterflies








Challenges for card 1:

ABC Challenges: Three or more pattern papers
Card Mania: Use at least 1 button
Get Inky: Fall Colors
Sparkle N Sprinkle: Glitter, emboss or flock
Loves Rubber Stamps: Anything Goes
Tuesday Throwdown: Fall Colors


Challenges for card 2:

Craftin Desert Divas: Anything goes with a sentiment
Crafty Bloggers: Things with Wings
Incy Wincy designs: Give Thanks
Creative Craft Challenges: Anything Goes
Through the Craft Room Door: Anything Goes

That's all for me today. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time....



Friday, September 27, 2013

Giving Thanks: October Card Kit

Hi Everyone!

Just popping in quickly today to share a card I made using my Simon Says Stamp October Card Kit. So many adorable papers and fun items in this kit. I can't wait to do lots more with this kit. A couple of minor notes about this card. First, the picture is horrible...and I apologize for that. I just haven't quite perfected the photography skills yet. Also, I was hoping to be able to take a picture of the card standing up, so that you can see it's actually a window card. The tree image sits in the inside of the card with the window frame around around it on the front of the card. I stamped the tree using ColorBox Chalk ink in Chestnut Roan, and the leaves on the tree with Stampin Up! Old Olive and Certainly Celery. I used a bit of Tumbled Glass distress ink in the background of the image just to cut down on the bright white background. I colored the chipboard banner piece with the acrylic paint included in the kit. I stamped the sentiment in the Chestnut Roan ink and the "for you" underneath in Tumbled Glass. I used distress markers for the birds before cutting them out and adhering them to the tree. I am linking this card to the Wednesday Simon Says Stamp Challenge and a few others as well, which I've listed at the end of the post.
That's all for me today. Thanks so much for visiting with me. Have a great weekend! Until next time....

Challenges:

1. Crafter's Cafe: Dies and Punches
2 .Crafting by Design: Anything Goes
3. Creative Moments: Anything Goes/Frame it
4. Inklings and Yarns: Anything Goes
5. 4 KraftyGirlz: Anything Goes
6. Crafty Little Fairies: Autumn Colors

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: Rose Flower Creek by Jackie Lee Miles

Roseflower Creek is the beautiful, stunning and tragic story of a 10 year old girl who suffers greatly the consequences of events that happened long before she was born. The story is told through the eyes of Lori Jean, who we find out, has died from the very beginning of the story. The first line of the book is "The morning I died, it rained" and with that once sentence you know this is going to be an emotional story.
It has a very similar set up as "The Lovely Bones" with the exception that  Lori Jean isn't trying to steer her parents or the authorities to figure out who killed her. She simply wants to understand why the person killed her. Through Lori Jean's eyes we take the journey back through all the events that led up to the moment the "rain washed the blood off my face." As the spirit in the story, Lori Jean is also able to observe conversations and guarded moments while unseen, and during these times, she discovers things that help her to not only understand the people around her; but that also allow her to forgive them.
Lori Jean is a beautiful character. She is innocence in it's purest form. She is dirt poor, abused, on the verge of being unwanted by her own mother; and yet she has a huge heart. She finds the good in everyone. She truly believes that in spite of everything that has happened to her and around her that there is goodness in the world. She is a child, who despite dying at such a tragically young age, was truly wise beyond her years. She never gave up hoping that the next day would bring something better for her and her family.
It is a story that will stay with you long after you finish it. Lori Jean is a character you won't want to let go of and it will make you sad that you can't fix the wrongs in her world. For as sad as it is, however, I still highly recommend this book. The opportunity to learn the lessons of forgiveness and understanding that Lori Jean teaches through out the story are just too important to miss.

Friday, September 20, 2013

STAMPtember: Darling Sweet Baby


Hi Everyone!

Today I'm here to share a card using more products featured in Simon Says Stamp STAMPtember release. I am also linking this card to the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge this week to use your SSS Stamptember supplies! I have two cards to show you because I decided to do a girl baby card and a boy baby card. This card was inspired by this card made by the always inspirational Jennifer McGuire.  I wasn't quite as proficient at getting my stamps to line up straight down the middle of my card, however! Although, I have to say I think they turned out a bit better on the girl card. I made this card using the "Darling Baby" die cut and stamp set  I also took a close up picture of the die cut to show how I had made it 3D. This is very simple and effective way to get your die cuts to pop out from the page. I simply die cut the word 5 times in white card stock (cheap white stock is fine) Then I adhered them all together and finished with the color layer on top! The patterned paper for the boy's card came from Lime Twist by MME and the girl card has pattern paper from Basic Grey hopscotch collection.










A few challenges I'm linking these cards to today:

1. A Creative Romance: Dies and Punches
2. Inspire Me Friday: Anything Goes
3. Jo's Scrap Shack: Anything Goes
4. Sister Act Card Challenge: Anything Goes
5. Totally Paper Crafts: Baby cards


That's all for me today. Have a great weekend. Thanks so much for visiting with me! Until next time....


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wonderful Day.

Hi Everyone!

I'm back again with another card featuring my new products from Simon Says Stamp. One of the new items I purchased was this new Moroccan Stencil. This is so much fun to work with. The possibilities of what you can do with them are endless! I can tell that not only am I going to be using this one a whole lot; but I will also be buying additional ones as well. Many of my ideas for what to do with new items or products come from watching you tube videos from Jennifer McGuire, or Kristina Werner, as well as other Simon Says Stamp videos and ones from Splitcoaststampers as well. For this card, I decided to use some distress inks and blend them over the stencil on white paper. I secured the stencil with a bit of washi tape to keep it from moving about and then I used Festive Berries, Evergreen Bough and Dusty Concord distress inks with my blending tools to apply the ink. I also took some Black Soot around the edges of the paper for some more definition. I used the same colors to ink up the edges of the middle panel as well. The card itself is actually embossed with the Geometric Rings embossing folder from Cuttlebug. Unfortunately you can't see it in the picture, so you're just going to have to take my word for it! The sentiment is from Kristina Werner's "Handwritten Greetings" set. Love this set! She actually has two of these sets...I'm going to have to get the other one! I wanted to keep the sentiment simple, because I really wanted the focus to be on that background.
That's all for me today. Have a great day everyone! Until next time....

Today's Challenges:

Created with Love: Anything Goes
Make it Monday: Anything Goes
Tammy's Scrappin Corner: Anything Goes

Thursday, September 12, 2013

STAMPember: Circles Circles Everywhere!

Hi Everyone!

Guess what?! I got me some new stamps yesterday! Yay!! I think part of my lack of desire to blog has been that I haven't had anything new in a while, so I just felt like I was creating with the same thing over and over again. So, I have been loving all the STAMPtember products that Simon Says Stamp released and decided I deserved to treat myself to a few new goodies. I couldn't wait to play with them today! I decided also to participate in the SSS Wednesday challenge as well of embossing. Now, my original plan was to do a background of heat embossed circles using the new "Lots of Dots" set. However, I changed my mind and decided to build the outline circles instead. I stamped them with Peeled Paint, Iced Spruce, Evergreen Bough and Pumice Stone distress inks. So, then I shifted the embossing to the middle panel and the side. It isn't a lot of embossing; but it's there! I included a little close up picture so you could see it.
I used the A2 card edge die to create the curved edge of the card. If you have this or are thinking about getting it, let me just warn you that it is VERY delicate. Also, be sure you put it through your die cut machine properly. I had it turned the wrong way and actually ended up bending it slightly....what a nightmare that was to fix!
The sentiment is from "Handwritten Greetings" designed by the amazing Kristina Werner. (Seriously...is she not a crafting rock star?!)
I added some glossy accents, perfect pearls and some stickles to the circles on the background to add a little interest.


Ok, so that's it for me today. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time....


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Get Well Soon

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have all been doing well! See? I told you I wouldn't stay away for long! I recently purchased my very first set of distress markers; and let me just say...I am totally IN LOVE!! They are fabulous. I had no idea how versatile they are! I cannot wait to get more. I only have about 13 so far, but I was amazed at how many different backgrounds I was able to make. I will be sharing some of these creations over the next few days. For this card, I used the Mojo Monday sketch this week and I'm also linking this to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge to showcase your favorite things you use while stamping and crafting. My favorite things to use while crafting are distress inks, not just the markers but the ink pads as well.
My favorite thing about them is knowing they can be used in such a wide variety of ways and that even if you use the same technique and the same colors, you will more than likely never achieve the same result twice! For my card today, for example, I used watercolor paper, a mini mister, along with various distress pads to make the colored panel on the left side. The chevron background piece was created with my new distress markers and watercolor brush. I stamped the balloon with Memento rich cocoa ink and then used the markers to color it in. I edged all the panels using the blending tool. It was a fun card to make! That's all for me today! Thanks for visiting with me. Until next time....


Challenges:

1. Mojo Monday: Sketch

2. Loves Rubberstamps: Anything Goes

3. Papertake Weekly: Anything Goes

4. Through the Craftroom Door: Anything Goes

Supplies:
Paper: Crushed Curry (SU) Canyon Clay, Aqua Mist, (PTI) Watercolor paper
Stamps: Up Up and Away (Verve Stamps), Everyday Sayings (Hero Arts)
Inks: Rusty Hinge, Tumbled Glass, Wild Honey, Faded Jeans, Antique Linen
Markers: Faded Jeans, Scattered Straw, Wild Honey, Tumbled Glass, Antique Linen 






Friday, August 23, 2013

VLV week 2: Thoughts

ChaHi Everyone!!

Life has been crazy, what can I say?! Back to school stuff and then my hubby took a few days off of work and we had a great time hanging out together; but it left me very little time to craft or blog.
So I wanted to make sure I got something up for you all to see at least today. I'll be posting some recipes and book reviews soon as well.
Ok, so today's card is for week 2 of this month's VLV sketch challenge. Yes, I know that technically we're on week 4; but again....crazy life. I'm going to try hard to get caught up with them over the weekend.
I kept it pretty simple with the layers and papers, added a bit of texture with some embossing; and a simple button for an embellishment to finish it.
That's all for today, the kiddos will be home from school soon and I've a couple more things to do before they arrive. Have a great day. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time....

Challenges:

Sister Act Card Challenge: Anything Goes

A.R.T card challenge: Anything Goes


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pinterest Inspiration: You're Special

Hi Everyone!

So sorry about the lack of posting this week. It was back to school week for us, so we are just trying to get back into the groove of things and get the school routine established once again. I have been doing some crafting; but just haven't been able to find the time to get stuff posted here.
Today, I am sharing another Pinterest inspired card. The original card was made by Dawn Easton. I liked the simple design that focused on the sentiment. I had to change mine slightly because my sentiment was larger than the one in the original card, so I moved it up a little more towards the top.
Other than that pretty simple and straight forward.
Have a great weekend!


Challenges:

Bloggers Challenge: Flower Power
Creative Corner: Anything Goes
Jo's Scrap Shack: Anything goes


Supplies:
Paper: Sage Shadow, Not Quite Navy (SU) , Dark Chocolate, Harvest Gold (PTI), Hopscotch Basic Grey
Stamps: Special Lace Basic Grey
Ink: Memento Ink rich cocoa, Not Quite Navy (SU)
Accessories: Martha Stewart mini scor board, ribbon, white gel pen. 



Monday, August 12, 2013

Viva La Verve August: Cute as a Button

Hi Everyone!

Super quick post for me today since we have a busy afternoon ahead of us here. Summer vacation is finally coming to an end and it we get to meet the teachers today. It's been a while since I've been able to participate in a Viva La Verve sketch challenge. I'm actually a week behind; but hopefully will have time to catch up in the next couple of days. This is for week number 1. This square sketch was easy to work with and I really liked the different layers within it.
This sketch is also perfect for this month's Diva Dare challenge to "Pile on the Sweetness" I also used the option of adding flower clusters.
Ok, as I said super quick post for me today. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time...

Supplies:
Paper: Smoky Shadow, Terracotta Tile, Aqua Mist (PTI) Sweet Threads (Basic Grey)
Stamps: Sunny Days (Verve Stamps)
Accessories: Nestabilities dies, Copic Markers, buttons, scalloped edge punch, white gel pen

Book Review: A Family Affair by Mary Campisi

Hi Everyone!

For as long as she can remember, Christine Blacksworth's father traveled once a month for four days to a small down outside of Chicago for, what she and her mother always believed was rest and relaxation at their family's cabin. When her father dies in a car accident one night, she is devastated. She is even more shocked when her father's attorney informs her that he has left money to a woman named Lily Destano. She realizes then that he has been having an affair for the last 14 years. She travels to the town to confront Lily Destano and give her the money her father had willed to her and then hopefully never have to deal with her again. When she arrives in the town of Magdelena she discovers that Lily is not her father's mistress; but his daughter. It isn't until Christine meets Lily that she realizes how special she is that everything changes in Christine's world. Everything she thought she knew and loved is brought into question and she finds herself drawn more and more to this "other" family her father had and farther away from her mother and the boyfriend she realizes she doesn't love anymore and probably never really has.
A Family Affair  is a heart warming story that takes a different track than most "he had an affair" stories. In the places where you expect to find animosity and bitterness you instead find compassion, loyalty and love. You realize that maybe there is no "good and bad" side; but rather a "good and better" side to the the story. There is fault and blame on both sides to be sure as well; but as Christine becomes more and more a part of life in Magdalena, she begins to understand her father in a way she never thought possible.
As much as I enjoyed the story, I did find it a bit predictable. It became very clear early in the story what the outcome was going to be even through the few bumps in the road along the way. In some ways I wished that her father, Charlie, had not died so early in the story.  I would have liked to have seen the confrontation between Charlie and Christine as father and daughter. I also found that Christine was a little too accepting a little too quickly of her father's indiscretions. I kept waiting for the true anger that should have been associated with a discovery like this to emerge; but it never did.
This is the perfect read if you've just finished a long or complicated story and need something easy and lighthearted. Don't expect it to be any more than that because you will probably be disappointed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Hi Everyone!

Well, if you have an addiction to chocolate, today's post is not going to help you in any way! Seriously, if you are dieting or on a health food kick, close your eyes and click away from the image. (Good luck actually doing that!)
This recipe is for Chocolate Oatmeal Bars. They are so warm, so moist and chocolatey and so delicious!
As you can see by the photos today I had a little helper making this recipe. He approved of the final product as well!
Ok, for those who have decided to stay with me, here is the recipe! I am not, however, responsible for any inability to only eat one!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter softened
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Flour
3 cups Quick Cook rolled oats
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tsps vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 and line a 15x10x1 pan with parchment paper.

1. Set aside 2 tbsps of butter. Put the remaining butter in large bowl of electric mixer on high speed 30 secs. Add the brown sugar and baking soda scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

2. Beat in the eggs and 2 tsps of vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can and then stir in the rest. Stir in the oats.

3. Spread about 2/3rds of the oat mixture into bottom of pan, spreading and working it to form an even layer on the bottom with a little ridge for side crusts as well.




Filling:

1. In medium saucepan combine the reserved butter along with the chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk. Stir until the chocolate is melted and remove from heat. Stir in the nuts.

2. Spread chocolate filling evenly over oat mixture crust in pan

3. Use your fingers to work remaining oat mixture into flat pieces of various sizes and then put them along top of filling. (It will not cover all of it.)

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until oat mixture starts to look golden brown.
cool completely on wire rack before cutting.

That is all for me today. I'm taking the weekend off; but I'll be back on Monday! Have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting me and until next time....





Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mojo Monday: Coffee and Friends

Hi Everyone!

I am so thankful that I brought my Nook and keyboard to my son's doctor appointment today since they are running 2 hours behind!! I mean, seriously...how ridiculous is that?!
Well, at least I can be productive and blog a little. This is my card for yesterday's Mojo Monday sketch. This sketch was super fun to play with because it was easy and worked well with pattern papers. I could definitely see myself using it again. Oh and hopefully you can tell that the picture quality has improved a bit too. I finally found a place with some decent lighting and a good "on the go" photo editing app. I think the results turned out rather well, if I do say so myself!
I added lots of distressing and inking to the edges of the panels in hopes to make it warmer and inviting which is the feel I was going for especially considering that I will be giving this card to a friend along with some coffee and some chocolates.
I also found some fun challenges for this card:

1. Anything Goes Challenge: Anything goes (optional Coffee Break theme)
2. Loves Rubber Stamps Challenge: Anything Goes
3 Papertake Weekly: Anything Goes
4. Top Tip Tuesday: Embossing
5. Crafty Cardmakers : 1 image, 2 patterned papers, 3 embellishments
6. Mojo Monday: Sketch
7. The Pink Elephant Challenge: texture

That is all for me today! Thank you so much for visiting with me! Until next time....

Supplies:
Paper: Dark Chocolate, Terracotta Tile, Aqua Mist (Papertrey Ink) 
             My Mind's Eye Stella Rose
Inks:  Rusty Hinge, Tumbled Glass and Vintage Photo Distress Inks
Stamps: "Delightful and Delicious" Verve Stamps
Accessories: Geometric Rings embossing folder, brads, button

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blogs, Blogging and Bloglovin

Hi Everyone!

I am posting very quickly this afternoon whilst I am sitting at Barnes and Noble enjoying some quiet kid free time to chat for just a moment about blogs, blogging and Bloglovin. If you've been reading my little blog the last few weeks, you know I've really been trying to update and change some things and get it going again. I have really been enjoying it.
I am grateful to those of you who stop by and visit me each day. I'd be lying though if I didn't say I'd really to have some more followers and readers. So, after a bit of research around the ol interweb, I discovered "Bloglovin". Now, if you are not familiar with Bloglovin, let me explain it. Basically it's a way to "quick read" all your favorite blogs. I signed up for it, linked my blog to it and started following my favorite blogs with it. I love how I can just sit down, open up one app and get the latest updates from all my blogs without having to wander through cyberspace.
So, in the interest of total blog selfishness, I am leaving my link for my bloglovin page "Live, Love Laugh...and Craft" here for you. Come on over and follow me!! If you have a bloglovin page, leave me a comment with your link. I will follow back!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone! Thanks for visiting me! Until next time....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tutorial: Recipe Booklet

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the delay in posting recently. I've just been super busy and haven't had a chance to sit down and post this project I've been working on this week. I wanted to do another tutorial; but this time, I didn't want to do something that was already out there that you could make from any other website, blog or Pinterest. Therefore, I challenged myself to come up with an original idea, figure out the measurements, and then put it all together. After a few rounds of trial and error, this is what I came up with. It is a very cute recipe booklet with pockets for you to put in recipe cards. I divided mine into four sections: Appetizers, Main Dish, One Pots, and Desserts. I think this would be perfect for a recipe exchange party or a gift for someone.
Anyhow, I hope you take a go at making one for yourself.  There are quite a few steps; but they are not hard. I took lots of pictures to make the explanation as clear as possible. I combined some of the pictures together to save some space. Since it is late in the day, I am only linking this to a couple of challnges. This week's Color Throwdown challenge of Turquoise, Orange, Yellow and grey; and also Create and Inspire Party

Materials:

1 12x12 piece of card stock

1 4 x 4 3/4 piece of card stock

stamps, papers and embellishments of choice for front and inside decoration.

Adhesives of choice.

Scoring board

Directions:

Score your 12 x 12 sheet at 1 1/4, 6 and 10 3/4
Turn paper and score again at 6
Pre-fold all score lines
.


Put paper in cutter and make a cut from the bottom
6 inch score line up the other 6 inch score line.
fold the paper up in half and crease along edge.
Place sticky strip on left side of booklet and then fold in half
Your base for your booklet is complete.



Open booklet and fold down bottom flaps
place a piece of sticky strip on left, middle and right
edges. Fold up, these are the pockets for the recipe cards.




Score 4 x 4 3/4 piece at 1, 2 and 3 ins
Mountain valley fold, ensuring that
the valley fold is in the middle.
Turn over and place sticky strip on left
and right sides. Fold each to the
middle. Then seal along edge of booklet.
(Note: this step is actually optional; but it gives
the edge of the book a nice looking finish.)
Add a small horizontal piece of paper to the front right
side of the booklet to and secure in the back with
a small velcro adhesive. This will keep the book close
d.


Decorate the front and inside
panels as desired.


Thanks for visiting me today!  Until next time....



























Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Ways to Spend 15 minutes with your Children

Hi Everyone!

When I go to bed at night, I never fall asleep right away. I always spend time thinking about the day and what I want to make better about the next day. The one thing that I always realize is that I could have spent more time with my children throughout the day.  This is always a sobering realization to come to since I am, after all, a stay at home mom. I have all day to spend with them, so what happens? How is it that I wake up with all this "super mom" determination at 6:00 am and by 10:00 pm, I'm wondering where did it all go wrong?
I think the short answer is that I just let things get in the way. Some are necessary evils, such as laundry, unloading dishwasher, and other household chores. Some, however are purely selfish excuses. Crafting, blogging, television, and technology are all things that I allow to creep slowly into my day that tend to overrun it like spilled ink on a piece of paper. I will say that I don't consider my time at the gym selfish because it keeps me healthy; and above all else I want to make sure I'm around for a long time with my family. Another excuse I always tell myself, is doing stuff causes a mess (that I'm always left to clean), or it's hot outside or it would involve a trip to the store and money spent etc.
This has also been the first summer that I've not purchased summer learning workbooks for the kids. Trust me when I tell you, I won't make that mistake again! I kept thinking I'll just find some worksheets online and print them and make the kids do those. Finding free grade appropriate worksheets is not as easy as it sounds, so I gave up on that as well.
So, what have we learned so far? Well, basically that I am not in the running for awesome mom this summer. I do, however have a couple of weeks left before school starts, so I decided today to find 5 ways to spend uninterrupted quality time with my children. No mess, no money, and no fuss and there was even a little learning along the way as well:

1. Talk and Listen. This idea is so simple, many parents forget about it. I think we spend much of our time as parents directing, instructing and guiding our children down what we hope is the perfect path in life that we very seldom just sit and talk. Today, I found both of my boys at separate times and we just sat down and talked. With one I talked about school for the upcoming year and seeing old friends and meeting new ones. With the other one, we talked about the new Mario party 9 game he wants for the Wii. I know, two totally different conversations...two totally different boys! You don't have to give a life lesson each time you are with your children. Just listen to what they have to say. If they can talk to you about nothing, then they'll be more likely to talk about important things later in life.

2. Play a Silly Learning Game: It has been my experience that children like to learn as long as there is an element of fun involved in it. I wanted to do something with mine today that didn't involve a lot of set up or complicated experimenting or directions. Those sorts of activities are great, don't get me wrong; but it just wasn't what I wanted to do today. So, I found this ball (which I'm constantly kicking out of the way throughout the house) and we stood in a circle in the living room and basically played "hot potato" with it. For the learning aspect of it, I used different areas of learning.
We did math problems, say a color as fast as you can, think of a word and make a sentence, opposites and a few others as well. There was lots of smiles and giggles and most of all fun.

3.Try a New Project Together.  My oldest son received a book on how to make paper airplanes for his birthday last week. Now, I realize that for dads out there, making paper airplanes is ridiculously simple; and you would think for a paper crafting mom such as myself it would be easy to figure out as well. Not so much....let me just say, none of our airplanes looked like the ones in the book; and the general consensus was that he'd rather wait for his dad to help him! Still, it was time spent together and he learned it's ok to try something even if it doesn't work the first time.
  
4. Play a Board Game. This is another simple and often forgotten source of time that can be spent together. The most important thing to remember is that it's not about the game you want to play, it's about what your child wants to play. Today, we played the "Lego Race" game.

5. Laugh. This is my favorite thing to do with my children. It's those moments when you're all piled on the floor in the living room just giggling and laughing at everything and anything that I think are the times in which the best memories are made. These are the moments I hope my children look back on when they are older and know they had a happy childhood.

In the end, I'm not a perfect mom; but I'm always willing to try. Thanks for visiting me today! Until next time....



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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mojo Monday Love You.

Hi Everyone,

This is my second post for today. I posted a book review earlier for Pat Conroy's "South of Broad." I would love for you to read it. Now, I am here to share my card for yesterday's Mojo Monday sketch.

This week was round or square week. I chose the square option. The card measures 4 1/4 x 4 1/4. I used Kraft, Fine Linen, Enchanted Evening, Simply Chartreuse and patterned papers from the "Come Away with Me" paper pad by My Mind's Eye. I used Verve's "You and I" stamp set and cut the "U" using the "I heart you" Diet set. Anyhow, just a quick post for me today, busy afternoon and then dinner with family tonight. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time....

Challenges:

Mojo Monday: Sketch


ABC Challenges: Use scraps. (I did...honest)

Make it Monday: Anything Goes

Melonheadz Friends: use lots of circles











South Carolina Southern: Book Review of "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy

There is Southern; and then there is South Carolina Southern. For those of us who have spent our childhoods and any part of our adult lives in The Palmetto State, we understand the subtle differences between these two concepts. South Carolina Southern means Sunday dinners at Grandma's house complete with ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, buttermilk biscuits and never without collard greens. It is knowing that the best boiled peanuts you will ever eat are the ones you buy from a old man and his wife in a pickup truck on the side of a country road.
It is knowing that if you can't hear the crickets outside your window on a summer night, you can't sleep. It is knowing that the rivalry between the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks is not just some simple silly football rivalry. It is recognizing that the foul putrid smell of low country marsh is also familiar and comforting. It is summer days spent fishing in rivers, riding on jet skis and wave runners. It is friendships and young loves found and lost on the sands of the beaches. It is rocking chairs on porches watching sunsets that leave little doubt that God is the best artist of all time.
There is perhaps no other author that captures the details of these differences better than Pat Conroy. Pat Conroy has perfected the ability to not only make his low country scenery and settings come to life in dazzling and mesmerizing details; but also to engage the settings and scenery in such a way that it becomes its own character in the story. He transports you to memories of long ago with such eloquence and ease that you are momentarily convinced you've literally been transported back in time to relive them.
"South of Broad" is a beautiful, heart breaking and majestic tribute to Charleston, SC. It is a story of enduring friendships, and a study of the bonds and history that weave people together.  It is a story of tragedy and sadness, and courage discovered in the least likely of places. Finally,  it is a story of the love that develops through all of these things, and survives it all.
To be certain, each person in the story is essential to the development and overall execution of the plot; but no character is as complex and layered as that of the central character, Leo King.  Leo King is both tragic and heroic, he is haunted by his past and yet driven to his future by it as well. You find yourself reading torn between cheering for him to have a happy ending and wondering if maybe...he just isn't destined to have one.  There are tragedies that occur in his life that becoming the defining circumstances of his destiny. He is a man you never want to be; but at the same time you feel proud to know him.
I loved this book. I loved the attention to details that Pat Conroy gives to the history of Charleston. For those who were here for Hurricane Hugo in 1989, you not only read the exquisite details of the storm and aftermath that he captures; but you feel them as well. You realize that you still think of Joe Riley, Jr as the best Charleston Mayor ever! That Bill Sharpe and Debi Chard were the "must watch local anchors" of channel 5; and that if you've had anyone in your family pass away in Charleston, then J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home on Calhoun Street has handled the arrangements.
As with all Pat Conroy novels, the story has many facets that break into numerous tangents and you do spend a bit of time wondering if he will bring them back together again. He does, of course and the final results are well worth the journey.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe: Tilapia with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Proscuitto


Hi Everyone

I wasn't planning on posting today; but I found a recipe from the archives so to speak and decided to just do a little bit of editing and updating and post it again. This is a nice healthy dinner to have if you are looking for something light and easy to have especially during the hot summer nights so many of us seem to suffering under lately. When I prepare this for myself and the hubs, I pair it with a nice white blend wine. Apothic White is my favorite white wine.
It's a nice crisp combination of a Chardonnay, a Reisling and a Moscato. The little bit of sweetness it has is a nice complement to the acidity of the tomatoes. As for a side dish, I always serve it with grits. However, I recognize that not everyone knows how to prepare or cares for grits, so I can also recommend serving it with some roasted potatoes and fresh green beans.

Ok, so here we go:

Ingredients:

---- 4-6 pieces Tilapia fillets
---- 1 package Prosciutto Ham. This can be found in the specialty meat case in the grocery store. It may take a bit of looking. If it is unavailable, just skip it...don't try to substitute with regular deli ham, it won't be the same.
--- 1/2 small onion cut into quarter slices
--- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic pressed
--- 1 can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes are good too)
Grated Italian or Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

Step 1. Prepare the fish fillets. Rinse and dry each fillet and then season with Salt/Pepper, Garlic Powder, Dill Weed (optional) and Paprika. Drizzle a little Olive Oil over each fillet. Heat the oven to 425. When the oven is ready, spray your cooking pan or sheet (I use the medium Pampered Chef Stone) Put the fish in the oven and cook for about 6 minutes and remove from oven.

Step 2:  Heat some Olive Oil in a pan over medium to medium high heat and saute the onions until soft about 7 or 8 mins.
Lower the heat to medium (If your stove has numbers, I lower mine down to about 4 or 5) add the garlic cloves and continue to cook for just another couple of minutes.

Step 3: Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer.
 Step 4: (By this time, you should have the fish out of the oven) Top each fillet with a spoonful or two of the Tomato and onion sauce and then place a piece of Prosciutto on each one. Then sprinkle each one with a little bit of cheese and put them back in the oven. Cook another 7-8 minutes until the cheese has melted.I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do! Thanks for stopping by to visit me. Until next time....








Thursday, July 25, 2013

Missing You Color Throwdown

Hi Everyone!

My card for today is for this week's Color Throwdown challenge and also for Tuesday Morning Sketches. Now, when I first started crafting, I ordered everything from Stampin Up!
Then my shopping horizons expanded and I realized that there were just so many cheaper and sometimes better alternatives to SU. As a result, I haven't ordered anything SU in YEARS!! Therefore, when it came to gathering my colors for the color throwdown challenge, I had to use my Papertrey ink colors. The colors I found that matched the best were: Hawaiian Shores, Aqua Mist, Melon Berry, Autumn Rose and a scrap of paper that substitutes well enough for the Razzleberry.
Once I had put the layers all together, I was trying to think of an image to use; but then realized that perhaps it would be best to just keep it simple. I added a layered flower with a button in the middle. The sentiment is from Hero Arts and I stamped it in Victorian Velvet Distress Ink.
I think I was also able to fix the photograph issue I was having yesterday...at least I hope so. I think this one  is better than yesterday!
There were lots of challenges over at Paper Playful for me to play along with this card!

1. Color Throwdown: Colors
2. An Inky Situation: Anything Goes
3.Crafts and Me: Anything Goes
4. Divas by Design: Anything Goes
5. Inklings and Yarns: Anything Goes
6. Ruby's Rainbows: Layer it up.
7.Craft Room Challenge: Heat Embossing
8. Paper Take Weekly:  Dies and Punches
9. Tuesday Morning Sketches: Sketch

Tomorrow is my oldest son's birthday, so I am taking the day off. I will be back hopefully Saturday, but if not definitely on Monday. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time.....



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pinterest Inspiration Wednesday: Hi There!

Hi Everyone!

I will be the first to admit that I am a Pinterest addict. I love it, I think it is such a
brilliant concept to just be able to reference things I like at a moments notice. I try to
be a "useful" pinner by both what I pin for other people and also what I put on my boards. I try to keep in mind things that people will find useful and want to try. One of the boards I have is "Crafty Inspiration" on to which I pin cards I see as well as other crafty things that spark my curiosity and crafting eye. I decided today to actually use one of the cards that I have pinned as inspiration for my own take on the card.  Now, sometimes it's hard to give proper credit to things found on Pinterest; but this one says the original source is "JoyTaylor1975"
I loved the clean crisp design of this card and simple sentiment. I decided to use Fine Linen from Papertrey Ink as my card base; and instead of circles, I chose to do squares using pattern papers from American Crafts.
 I used my scallop squared punch from Stampin Up and my 1" square punch to cut the squares and then layered them on the card using dimensional adhesive.
The sentiment is from Hero Arts and I stamped it in Bermuda Bay ink by Stampin Up and added two antique copper brads. At this point, I do have to take a moment to apologize for my less then stellar photograph of my card. I'm just not a great picture taker...
I did find a couple of challenges to play along with as well.

2. Creative Creations: Anything Goes

3. Make it Monday: Anything Goes

4. Paper Playtime: Pattern Paper

5. Anything Goes Challenge Blog: Anything Goes

6. Through the Craft room Door: Anything Goes

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with me. Until tomorrow...







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