Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For the Newlyweds

A friend recently asked me to make a wedding card for her. She basically gave me free rein with the design, and I immediately thought that this flourish image would make a lovely focal point. The layout is based on an atomic butterfly card. I love incorporating blue into wedding cards because of the old adage "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue". A white card base kept it light, while the black added some definition and class.

I also did something I hadn't tried before on the blue layer. Normally to get shading around the edge of the paper I will use a sponge and coordinating ink. In this instance, blue ink for the blue paper. But instead I swiped a Versa Mark pad directly onto the paper. I had used the Versa Mark pad to stamp the polka dot background so I had it handy and I was curious what it would look like. It gave the edges a nice shadow that softened them up a bit. I may have to use this little trick again!

Stamps: Friends 24-7, Teeny Tiny Wishes, Polka Dot
Paper: Whisper White, Bashful Blue, Basic Black
Ink: Bashful Blue, Versa Mark, Basic Black
Accessories: Scallop Edge punch, Word Window punch, Modern Label punch, black satin ribbon, button, black thread, rhinestone stickers

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

French Pear Tart

I used to work for a small company that celebrated each employee's birthday by purchasing a fruit tart from the little French bakery down the street. Birthdays were highly anticipated events as a result and we never failed to procure said tart in the recipient's favorite flavor. After all, how can you forget a co-worker's birthday when the whole crew gets dessert? I always used to ask for the pear and chocolate tart. Mmm mmm. Well, having since moved across the country it has been quite a while since I've had my delicious birthday tart and the cravings were setting in. The only thing to do was to try making my own! A bit of a daunting task being neither French nor particularly good at things involving crusts, but there was no help for it. I started perusing recipes online and finally settled on one by Dorie Greenspan. This was my first "Dorie" recipe and it didn't disappoint! I'm not gonna lie, it takes a long time to make, but none of the steps are difficult and it is well worth the effort. Dorie's version doesn't include chocolate, but the crust is so sweet and the pear and almond so delicious I didn't even miss it. *gasp!* So plan ahead and make sure you have enough time, then take it to your next holiday gathering or serve it up for a special occasion. Enjoy!

French Pear Tart by Dorie Greenspan


3 medium pears, firm but ripe
1 lemon
4 c. water
1 1/4 c. sugar

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. ground blanched almonds
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 partially baked 9" tart shell, made with Sweet Tart Dough, at room temperature (recipe below)

Confectioners' sugar for dusting


Peel the pears and leave them whole. Bring the water, sugar, and juice of 1 lemon to a boil in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears. Add the pears to the boiling syrup, reduce heat and simmer, gently poaching the pears until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup.

To make the almond cream: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the ground almonds and continue to mix until well blended. Add the flour and cornstarch, blend, then add the egg. Continue blending until the almond cream is homogeneous. Add the vanilla and blend just until incorporated. Use the almond cream immediately or refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cut the pears in half from blossom to stem and core them. Pat them very dry so that their liquid doesn't keep the almond cream from baking.

Fill the baked crust with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal spatula. Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on the spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly and place it, wide-end toward the crust, over the almond cream. The halves will form spokes.

Put the crust on a lined baking sheet, slide the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50-60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns. Transfer the tart to a to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before unmolding.

Dust the tart with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Sweet Tart Dough


1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick plus 1 Tbsp. very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk


To make the dough: Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before it reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.

Very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9" tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust. Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup

I came to an appreciation of tomato soup later in life. I don't really remember ever having it as a kid. Or if I was offered it I probably said no thanks, being the picky eater that I was back then. It wasn't until college that a roommate introduced me to the joys of grilled cheese with tomato soup. Being thrifty college students it was of course Campbell's in a can. But that didn't matter; it was wonderful on a cold day. After college, a friend in culinary school made me tomato soup from scratch and it was divine. Since having her version I've searched high and low for a really good recipe. (She did share her recipe with me, but I confess I've never been able to make it as good as she does.) Well, I have found my soup at last. It turns out the Olive Garden has recipes on their website. I know! And whatever you may think of chain restaurants, this is both really good and really easy. Win win in my book! So, since we're having freezing rain here in my little corner of the world, I thought we could all use a warm meal on a cold night. I served it with a loaf of garlic bread. :)

Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup from Olive Garden
serves 4


4 Tbsp butter
1 small red onion, diced
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste


Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan. Add red onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and reduce by 3/4. Add tomatoes and heavy cream, bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/2.

Puree soup in a food processor. Stir in 2 Tbsp chopped basil, salt and pepper.

Garnish with remaining fresh basil and serve.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Apple Butter

Apple butter is something of a tradition in my family. When other kids were eating their pb & j, I remember my mom making me peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches to take for school lunches when I was little. Then when my sister and I were older I remember getting to help Mom make big delicious batches of it and canning them in jars to put up for the year. Now, I slather it on toast to have with my morning coffee for breakfast. The recipe was handed down from my grandmother so it is a very special tradition for us each fall, waiting for the apples to be ready so we can make more apple butter. I know Christmas is fast approaching and it seems like fall is past, but I just made my last batch of the year and I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Apple Butter
makes 2 1/2 - 3 pints


4 lbs. tart apples
4 c. apple cider
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbsp. lemon juice


Wash apples; remove stems and ends. Cut up but do not peel or core. In a large saucepan, combine apples and cider. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook until soft, approx. 15 minutes. Press apples and cider in a food mill.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Divide mixture between two 9x13 baking dishes. Bake uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Sterilize jars and lids in hot water. Pour apple butter into jars, leaving 1" head space. Make sure there is no apple butter on jar rim before putting lids on. Lightly screw on lids and rings. Boil the jars in water bath canner for 5 minutes then remove. Lids should seal. Let cool to room temperature then screw bands on tightly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vintage Christmas Tree

I'm just as pleased as Christmas punch with how this card turned out. I can almost smell the heavenly pine scent of a Christmas tree. (Or at least a pine scented candle as our tree is artificial!)

I was hoping for rather contradictory looks, I confess, when I was thinking about the design for this card. Both clean and simple but a bit on the vintage/shabby side as well. I think the preponderance of ivory card stock really helps lighten it up and keep that fresh, clean look I was after. But then I sponged the edges and used the speckled image from Itty Bitty Backgrounds to give it an aged look, too. I also love the Martha Stewart Doily Lace punch, it really kicks things up a notch.

The inside of the card is finished to match the front. The edges were sponged and stamped just like the front, and there is a row of little pine boughs stamped across the bottom.

As I look at this card I keeping thinking of the Victorian era. It makes me want to curl up and read "A Christmas Carol" with a cup of hot tea. :)

As always, thanks for stopping by!


Stamps: Lovely as a Tree, Itty Bitty Backgrounds
Paper: Always Artichoke, Vanilla
Ink: Always Artichoke, Creamy Caramel, Chocolate Chip
Embellishments: 1/4" brown satin ribbon, button, twine, Martha Stewart
Doily Lace Edge Punch, foam tape

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is a variation on another card I recently made. I've been playing around with simple Christmas card designs that can be mass produced. Well, this one ended up being a little more time intensive than I would want to make for our entire Christmas card list, but I do like the way it turned out.

The snowflakes and sentiment were all stamped in Versa Mark then embossed in white. I thought that gave them more pop than just stamping in white. I also did a bit of layering to create a white border.

And finally I thought it needed a bit more pizzaz so, though it was super hard to photograph, the middle snowflake has a clear button at its center that is tied with a red and white baker's twine bow. It looks very festive and pretty in real life. *wink*

Stamps: Winter Post, $1 Michael's stamp (sentiment)
Paper: Real Red, Whisper White
Ink: Versa Mark
Embellishments: white embossing powder, clear button, baker's twine

Monday, November 8, 2010

Give Thanks

With all of the pumpkin goodness that has been happening in my kitchen lately, it only seemed fitting to make a pumpkin themed card to go along!

Today's card uses one of my favorite SU! sets, Carved and Candlelit. It's meant to be a Halloween set as it includes lots of jack-o-lantern faces, but I love using it for fall themed cards. To get the overlap effect for the pumpkin trio, I first stamped the tall pumpkin in the center on my card stock. Then I stamped it again on a post-it note, cut it out and used that as a mask over my project. I could then stamp the two smaller pumpkins to either side of it, remove the post-it, and have it look as though they are behind the big guy.

I used the same masking technique for the stems. The set only includes one stem image but I wanted them each to look slightly different. By again masking the pumpkins with post-its I could rotate the stem stamp around, stamping a different part of it on each pumpkin, making all three stems look a little different. Does that make sense? It's a nice way to get more mileage from your stamps.

Thanks for sharing part of your day with me!

Stamps: Carved and Candlelit, Holiday Best
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White

Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Always Artichoke, Chocolate Chip

Embellishments: 1/2" ivory satin ribbon, stamp-a-ma-jig, foam tape

Monday, November 1, 2010

Black Crocheted Flower Birthday Card

After all of the baking I've been doing lately I'm happy to be back in my craft room working on new card designs. Here is one I made today using more of my crocheted flowers. For this card I really wanted the flower to be a big focal element, so I layered a small five-petal black flower on top of a larger seven-petal flower. The die-cut leaves add a pop of color and the pearl center adds a touch of class. I'm really happy with how this turned out, it's sort of the little black dress of birthday cards. :)

The main image panel is popped up with foam tape and the die cut leaves actually hang off slightly, which I like, because it ties the whole design together. Thanks for stopping by!

Stamps: Warmest Regards
Paper: Basic Black, Whisper White, Garden Green
Ink: Basic Black
Accessories: crocheted flowers, little leaves die, pearl sticker, foam tape

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spider Web Brownies

Happy Halloween everyone! I just wanted to stop by and share a tradition from our house, Spider Web Brownies. My mom used to make these with my sister and me when we were little and now I make them for my house. The original recipe is from the Pillsbury website, but this time I only used that as a jumping off point. I made the brownies from scratch with Ghiradelli chocolate and, since I had some left over cream cheese in the fridge, I opted for a cream cheese frosting. Really, anything works for these - boxed brownies with a can of frosting, or making it all from scratch. It's just a fun, festive and easy dessert. Be safe and have fun tonight!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Butter

I first heard of pumpkin butter a few months ago. Being a big fan of other fruit butters, I've been biding my time until fall, itching to try making my own.

The recipe I used is from the Smitten Kitchen website, but I halved the recipe as I didn't have enough of my roasted pumpkin for the original. The quantities I list below are the amounts I used, which yielded just over 1 pint.

Not ever having had it before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Maybe something akin to spreadable pumpkin pie? The resulting butter did have a silky smooth texture but was more spicy than sweet. Next time I may adjust the spices, perhaps reducing the ginger, but that is just personal preference. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butter adapted from Smitten Kitchen


15 oz. fresh pumpkin puree (from two sugar pumpkins)
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. apple cider
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice


Combine pumpkin, apple cider, spices and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste.

Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge or stored in the freezer.

Important Note: While the Smitten Kitchen version suggests canning for a way to preserve the pumpkin butter, the National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend home canning as a safe method of preservation. All pumpkin purees should be used immediately or frozen until used.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin

While visiting my husband's parents recently we had the opportunity to go pick out our pumpkins from a local farm that was only a short drive away. They also had sugar pumpkins for sale, and I couldn't resist. Two came home with me. While it is easy and convenient to bake with canned pumpkin, I've never been one to do things the easy or convenient way. For example, I like film photography, making my own cards, and cooking from scratch, just to name a few. But luckily, baking with real pumpkin isn't actually hard. So today I am roasting one of the sugar pumpkins to be made into something delicious tomorrow. Here's how:

Roasted Pumpkin from allrecipes.com

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stem section and stringy pulp. Be sure to save the seeds for roasting. Yum yum!

Lay the two halves face down on a baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and either mash it or puree in a blender. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, depending on the size of your pumpkin. This can be used in all of your recipes calling for canned pumpkin.

Check back tomorrow to see what my puree turned into!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Minute Halloween Cards

Haven't made your Halloween cards yet? Don't worry, there's still time! Recently while browsing through a local paper store I spied some very simple letterpress Halloween cards nestled in their Halloween display. I decided to try recreating them at home using stamps from my collection. Each uses just one stamp! These are quick, no fuss last minute cards. Hopefully these will jump start your creativity and inspire you with their simple designs.

This first one is made from a single sheet of Old Olive card stock. The "Boo!" sentiment was a $1 Michael's stamp I picked up last year.

This second one is even simpler, as I used pre-made note cards. I stamped the bat image from Inkadinkado's Creepy Crawly onto a small blank note card with deckled edges from Papyrus.

Happy stamping!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Boy Card

I don't know about where you are, but among my friends and acquaintances there is a veritable baby boom in progress. I can't seem to keep enough baby cards on hand as I'm always at least two babies behind! This one is likely destined for a new mom in my Bible study who just had a little boy.

The cute little onesie stamp is from an old SU! set called A Little Love. The onesies are colored with colored pencils. Simple and mass producible if need be. :)

Stamps: A Little Love, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: Whisper White, Certainly Celery, generic blue

Ink: Basic Black

Accessories: 1" circle punch, 1 1/4" circle punch, colored pencils, 1/2" white satin ribbon, paper piercer and mat pack, dimensionals

Monday, October 25, 2010

Embossing Tip & Snowflake Cards

Recently I shared a card I made for a friend's wedding that was soft and pretty and featured lots of embossing. What I didn't tell you was there was a bit of weeping and gnashing of teeth during the embossing step. You know the dreaded little bits of embossing powder that cling to your paper, but not the part that was stamped, creating little dots of unhappiness when you've done your heat set? It looks bad. It looks messy. And it drives me crazy. Well, I had a lot of that happening on that wedding card. I thought perhaps it was due to the fact I was using vellum that more powder was sticking in unlikely places. But it even happens on regular card stock. Grrr!

I know that there are things I could buy, like Stampin' Ups! Embossing Buddy, or similar tools at craft stores, that help prevent the very problem I am describing. But quite frankly, I didn't want to have to shell out the money for one. And as I had another embossing project to do (see below) I wanted to find a more DIY fix. So I did a little research and think I've found a great solution: corn starch. I'm not kidding. What you do is fill an old nylon with a small amount of corn starch, tie it off, and then rub the nylon over the surface you are going to emboss on. A wee bit of the corn starch powder comes out through the fabric of the nylon and coats your paper. (Apparently it is oils from your hands that the stray embossing powder is sticking to. The corn starch absorbs the oils so the embossing powder only sticks where you want it to.) Then you stamp, emboss, and heat as usual and brush off any residual powder that is still on your project. I used this several times for the following project and it worked amazingly. I'm sold!

This is the set of Christmas note cards I was working on for my shop that prompted this whole embossing revelation. The words "Peace" are embossed in white on each card. I was very happy with the way these turned out, they have a simple but classic vibe about them. It makes me want to watch "White Christmas". *grin*

'Til next time, friends!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sour Cream Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

For the wedding I went to last weekend I was asked to bake a cake for the reception. Not the cake, I am happy to say. The bride wanted a dessert reception, so about a dozen of us each selected a cake to bake from a list of flavors the wedding coordinator provided us. Many of the flavors sounded a bit daunting to me or even downright cryptic (no clue was given to what a One-Two-Three-Four Cake might be. Do you know?) so I opted for the most normal sounding flavor left, Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting.

I've eaten spice cakes of course, but I can't remember ever making one before. And I have never had, let alone made, caramel frosting. Not having been given any recipes to work from I decided to turn to Betty for help. Betty Crocker, that is. I like to think that Betty and I are on a first name basis; she has helped me through many a kitchen dilemma. When I get stumped, I often ask myself "I wonder what Betty has to say about this?". So I pulled out my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook and she didn't let me down. Recipes for both spice cake and caramel frosting were recorded within her tome of wisdom. Bingo!

Not wanting to make something for the first time that would be for the actual reception, I baked a trial run cake a few days before the wedding to work out any kinks. Good thing I did, too. I discovered that merely greasing and flouring is insufficient to release the ornery little things from their pans (I highly recommend the addition of parchment paper) and that trying to take the cakes out of the pans before they are completely cool results in disaster. Also the frosting, as written, wasn't quite enough to cover a layer cake. All in all, I left out a few things and tweaked some others, so the recipe below is mostly Betty's.

On the day of the wedding my worst fear was that no one would eat my cake and that I would have to take it home, leaving me two whole cakes to somehow get through (the trial cake was still on my kitchen counter). Fortunately the reception goers did their part and I was able to take an empty cake stand home. Success! We have been enjoying my first run cake all this week, so I can heartily recommend the following for your fall dessert pleasure. Happy baking!

Sour Cream Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting
from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
serves 16

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/8 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round pans and then line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter evenly into pans.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on wire rack, about 1 hour. Remove cake from pans.

To make the frosting, melt butter over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Beat with spoon until smooth and spreadable. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Place one cake layer, rounded side down, on serving plate or cake stand. Place 4 strips of waxed paper underneath cake around the edge of plate. Spread about 1/2 cup frosting over the top of the first layer. Place second cake layer, rounded side up, on frosted first layer. Coat side of cake with a very thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs. Continue frosting the sides and top of cake. Carefully remove waxed paper strips. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Something Blue

A lovely lady from my church was married this past Saturday and this is the card I made for her and her groom. I really like the way it turned out, with the very soft white on white and vellum layer.

The sentiment and flourish were done by stamping them in Versa Mark onto the vellum and then embossing them in white. By the way, I finally got myself a heat tool. Bliss! Don't laugh, but I've been embossing the old school way over the stove. A gas stove. Which works pretty well all things considered, if you don't mind living in terror of burning your project, your kitchen, and your house down every time. Ha!

Back to less dangerous things. . . I added rhinestone stickers to the centers of the flower images and tucked a layer of white that had been punched with my Martha Stewart doily lace edge punch underneath. I think it adds a nice little touch. Then a bow of bluish aqua seam binding finished it off. I hope they like it!

Stamps: Baroque Motifs
Paper: Whisper White, Vellum
Ink: Versa Mark

Accessories: white embossing powder, rhinestone stickers, Martha Stewart doily lace edge punch, seam binding

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I know, I know. Banana bread? Everyone and their mother has a recipe for banana bread. But I came a across this version recently and it was so good I made it twice in one week. Seriously. And if my house likes it that much maybe yours will, too. :)

The recipe comes from Molly Wizenberg's memoir/recipe book called A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. If you prowl the food blogs you may recognize Molly as the author of Orangette. She is a very entertaining writer and has a truckload of good recipes to boot. So check it out from your local library and make this bread. It's uber moist and hey, who doesn't like chocolate in their bread? Just be sure to double the recipe and make two loaves. You don't want to run out. *wink*

Monday, October 4, 2010

Accordion Flower Christmas Card

Have you noticed all of the do-it-yourself flower embellishments that are popping up in the paper crafting world? Do a little searching and there are tutorials on how to make your own flowers from just about anything: punches, die cuts, twisted ribbon, felt, distressed paper, and the list goes on and on.

Today I tried a test run of the accordion flower. Atomic Butterfly is one of my paper crafting heroes and she has a great tutorial on how to make these little embellishments, something she frequently uses in her own work. So this is sort of my ode to her style. :)

As Glen Miller would say, I'm still "In the Christmas Mood" with my cards so that is the theme I ran with today. I wanted to use lots of patterned paper so I rummaged through my stash looking for green and red ones to use. The paper I used for the accordion is the same red that is in the bottom panel. The stamp set I used is a holiday favorite of mine, SU!'s Winter Post. I love the vintagey look of the images, especially the ice skating couple. In keeping with that old time feeling, all of the layers have been sponged for an aged look. On the bottom panel I stamped the postmark image from the set directly onto the patterned paper. I then stamped it again onto vanilla card stock and cut out just the round portion. The round image fit nicely on a 1" circle of Old Olive and then I popped it up with foam tape to mimic the dimension of the main accordion flower.

In Atomic Butterfly's tutorial she says that she originally would attach her flowers using glue dots, but has since changed to using a glue gun. I would highly recommend the glue gun approach as my flower burst apart after a day with only glue dots holding it together. No good!

Whew! Sorry I was a little on the verbose side today. If you made it all the way down here to the bottom you're a trooper. Thanks for sticking with me and thanks for reading!

Warning: If you try one of these yourself, follow directions! Don't do what I did and skim the instructions, think "no problem", then blithely go ahead and make your flower twice the diameter you wanted it, exactly the way she tells you not to if you were paying attention. It's that pesky math again. Ha!

Stamps: Winter Post, Polka Dot (background)
Paper: Crumb Cake, Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Bella Rose dp, unknown striped SU! dp, Plastino dp by Bella Blvd.
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Old Olive
Accessories: Cutter Bee circle cutter, 1" circle punch, foam tape, mini glue dots

Saturday, October 2, 2010

1,000 hits!

Hello friends, yesterday my little one month old blog reached an important milestone: 1,000 hits! I'm just blown away by the support you've given me in this fun new project. Thanks to everyone for coming and sharing a part of your days with me! Stay tuned, I'll have another Christmas card for you in the next few days! *hugs*

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Etsy Update: Christmas Cards!

I love this time of year. Fall into winter is chock full of my favorite holidays one right after another. It's like one long festive season from now until New Year's. Love it!

Today I just have a quick post introducing a Christmas note card set that is now up in my Etsy shop. This set of four cards features cute little Christmas trees punched out of fun and festive holiday papers with an embossed border frame. Make your list, check it twice, and send some thoughtful handmade cards this year!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hats for the Homeless

A local yarn and knitting store in my neighborhood is sponsoring a hat drive right now. Their goal is to collect 100 hats in 100 days to donate to a homeless shelter in time for the cold winter months. They are inviting their customers to knit or crochet hat donations and have them displayed in their shop window.

I thought this was a pretty nifty idea so while watching football a few Sundays ago I whipped this warm little guy up. And when I say "whipped up", I mean crocheted, pulled apart, re-crocheted, pulled apart again, and re-re-crocheted. Ha! Maybe next time I should use a pattern? The whole thing is done using a half-double crochet stitch and some uber thick Wool Ease brand yarn that I have tons of because I once had aspirations of making a blanket. My blanket is now a hat.

If you are in the Atlanta area and are interested in participating, the yarn store sponsoring the drive is called Knitch. Their blog talks briefly about the drive. Happy crocheting!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Creepy Crawly Halloween

I'm back in Halloween mode today with a card featuring something I avoid at all costs in real life but can handle as decoration this time of year: spiders. I really, really don't like the real ones so when I showed this card to my husband he asked if I was ok with the spiders. *insert eye roll* I know my arachnophobia is silly, but I think I can handle stamped spiders!

The words "trick or treat" were stamped in red then clear embossed over top. Is it too gross to say it sort of looks like blood? C'mon, this is a Halloween card, after all!

The edges were sponged to give the paper a little bit of an aged look and I used a fine tip sharpie and ruler to create the thread the single spider is dangling from.

I don't always finish the inside of my cards, beside maybe adding a white panel, but it is something I think really adds a lot and I want to do more often. So the inside of this card has the same look as the front, with a coordinating sentiment.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stamps: Creepy Crawly by Inkadinkado
Paper: Basic Black, Crumb Cake
Ink: Basic Black, Real Red, Versa Mark, Creamy Caramel
Accessories: ticket corner punch, clear embossing powder, fine tip sharpie

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Housewarming Card

With today's card I tried out a couple of new things. First off, this is my first time playing with the Mojo Monday blog challenges. They provide a cool layout, I fill in the rest. There are so many creative people out there sharing their inspiration, I was happy to be able to join in! And secondly, this is the first time I've used my computer to print out a sentiment.

This card is for a dear friend of mine who just bought her first house. I can't be at her housewarming party but I wanted to send her something so she'd know I was thinking about her. As I was flipping through stamp sets I came across Birds and Nests by Cavallini, one of my favs, and this sentiment just popped into my head and I thought it was perfect. I love the idea of her new home being her "nest". I toyed with the idea of handwriting it, but who am I kidding? I don't have near nice enough writing to pull that one off. So then I thought I'd try creating it on my computer. Bingo! I was able to choose some cool fonts, space it so it would work with the shape of the panel, then all I had to do was print it onto my card stock. This will probably be something I do more often as it opens up all kinds of possibilities. If I don't have the right words stamp, I could just print it!


Stamps: Birds and Nests (Cavallini)
Paper: Old Olive, Whisper White, Crumb Cake

Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: scalloped border punch, 1 1/4" circle punch, 1 3/8" circle punch, computer generated sentiment, foam tape, brown satin ribbon, button, twine

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trees, Two Ways

Today I have not one but two cards to share. I was working on a completely black and white card using Lovely as a Tree, when it occurred to me that by simply changing up the colors it would be a wonderful winter card, too. Let me show you.

I'd had the idea for this first card rumbling around in my head for a while. Black and white is always classy, and by embossing the trees in black it dressed it up even more. Well, of course my white embossing powder sits next to my black embossing powder, and that got me to thinking. How about white? Bet that would make some nice snowy trees!

Instead of totally reversing the colors and putting the white trees on a black background, I opted for a Night of Navy backdrop, in keeping with my winter theme. But really, even though I first thought of them as trees covered in snow, I think this card could be given in any season because again, it's just a classy looking color combo!

In the black and white version, I distressed the edges of the black layer and stitched black x's in the corners with embroidery thread, but it didn't actually turn out quite as I had anticipated. So in the blue and white version I left the edges crisp. Which version do you prefer?

Thanks for popping by and I hope your week is off to a great start!

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Black, Night of Navy
Ink: Versa Mark
Accessories: black embossing powder, white embossing powder, black 1/2" satin ribbon, white 1/2" satin ribbon, black embroidery thread

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Autumn Trees

Happy Saturday! This card is more what I had in mind a few days ago when I got diverted on a Halloween tangent. I've been eyeing Trendy Trees for quite a while now itching to make an autumny card full of fall colors. So happy I got to play!

I started by pulling out my stamp pads that would work for fall foliage, settling on Old Olive, Ruby Red and Pumpkin Pie (mmm, pie. . .). Then I picked a matching card stock base and a patterned paper. I was happy to find this piece of dp from SU!'s Bella Rose collection because it anchors the bottom of my card and ties in with the brown of the tree trunks. The polka dots keep it from being boring without calling too much attention to itself. It also provides a nice background for my matching colored buttons. Speaking of buttons, they are fast becoming a staple accessory in my repertoire. Almost as necessary to me as ribbon. Note to self: find more buttons!

As always, I hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by!

Stamps: Trendy Trees
Paper: Ruby Red, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Bella Rose dp
Ink: Old Olive, Ruby Red, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: brown satin ribbon, buttons, twine, stamp-a-ma-jig, paper piercer, thread