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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mini Pecan Tarts

Aren't these adorable? What is it about things in miniature that ups the cute quotient? I took these to share at my women's Bible study at church last night, making sure to keep a few back so I would have some to photograph this morning. Because these are, after all, for you, too. *wink*

One of the things I both love and hate about baking is all of the different baking pans. There are so many fun shapes, like the mini muffin tins I used for these, which make baking fun. Who wouldn't want to nibble on one of these little cuties? It's not so daunting to eat a "mini" pecan pie. But a whole slice? No, no, I don't want that much. Hehe.

But on the flip side, you need SO many pans. For example: One recipe uses a 10" spring form pan. Well, I only have a 9". Is that ok? Do I need to reduce the recipe? Yikes, save me from the math! I'm not joking when I say I have 8 different loaf pans for this very reason. Eight. And don't get me started on the cake pans.

I wish I could tell you I had conversions available for every conceivable size and shape at the ready for you, but alas, I just have these. Happy baking!

Mini Pecan Tarts adapted from Allrecipes
makes 48

1 cup butter, at room temperature
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the pastry, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add flour and mix well. Make into 48 1-inch balls. Place one ball in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the cup.

To make the filling, break the eggs into a large bowl but do not beat. Add sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and pecans. Mix well. Fill each tart shell 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove tarts from muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crocheted Flower Card

Besides paper crafting and cooking, I also enjoy crochet. In an effort to combine some of my hobbies I've been busy making a stash of crocheted embellishments for my card projects. I've found that for the small scale of these embellishments DMC embroidery thread works better than yarn, and has the added bonus of coming in so many colors!

It took a while to get the hang of working so small (I'm using a #1 crochet hook!) but now that I've got it down I can crank out these little flowers in just a few minutes. I like that kind of instant gratification! *wink*

This card, and one similar to it, are now up in my Etsy shop if you want to take a look.

Thanks for stopping by, friends!

Stamps: Trendy Trees
Paper: Cool Caribbean, Basic Black, Whisper White, Certainly Celery

Ink: Basic Black
Accessories: hand crocheted flower, little leaves die, black button, black embroidery thread, paper piercer, mini glue dots

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Exciting news!

I'm going to be published!! That's right, friends. On a lark I submitted a design to Cards Magazine as they always have open submissions, and my design was accepted! I am bouncing off the walls with excitement. If my sister were here we'd be doing the happy dance together. :) Barring any unforeseen problems you'll see a little something of mine in the February 2011 issue! Thanks to my family and friends for all of their encouragement in my little hobby!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Happy Labor Day! I hope you have today off and are enjoying the last hurrah of summer. Maybe you're having a a bbq with friends or hanging out at the park. I know, I know. So why am I posting a Halloween card? Well, I sat down in my stamp room (a.k.a. guest room, back room, cat's room. . .) and this is what came out! I had a bunch of different tree sets lying out with the intention of making a fall themed card, but then I saw the dotted spiral of one of Trendy Tree's tops, and somehow Halloween came out of that! Lol!

Once the mojo informed me we were doing Halloween I flipped through the Splitcoast Stamper's sketch challenge gallery for some layout inspiration, settling on SC272. I cut the purple circle out with my Cutter Bee circle cutting system, setting it to 2 1/4", then stamped it with the spider web image from Inkadinkado's Creepy Crawly. I put a rhinestone sticker at the center of the web.

The green panel is stamped with the dotted spiral circle that started this whole mess, which is actually a treetop from Trendy Trees. I made a little embellishment with some circle punches and a button for the top right corner. The sentiment ties my color scheme together, though it was a bit of work. The markers I have unfortunately dry too quickly to color them all at once, so I did it one color at a time with the help of a stamp-a-ma-jig. I had a little scrap of green ribbon left over from my Rustic Apple Card that went perfectly so it got added to the edge of the sentiment panel.

Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Stamps: Holiday Best, Trendy Trees by SU!, Creepy Crawly by Inkadinkado
Paper: Basic Black, Certainly Celery, Eggplant Envy, Very Vanilla by SU!, Orange Small Dots dp by Recollections
Ink: Basic Black, Certainly Celery
Accessories: 1" circle punch, 3/4" circle punch, Cutter Bee circle cutter, black satin ribbon, green satin ribbon, black button, green embroidery thread, rhinestone sticker, markers, stamp-a-ma-jig

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sparkly Birthday

I've been building up my stash of birthday cards to have on hand so that I'm not left scrambling when a friend's birthday sneaks up on me. The idea for this card has been rumbling around in my head for a while and it actually turned out how I had hoped. I love it when that happens!

The design is fairly straight forward. I stamped the dress from Blooming With Happiness onto a scrap of Whisper White card stock then colored it in with two different pink markers. After punching it out with my Marvy Giga Scallop Oval punch I added some rhinestone stickers to a few of the flower centers for a bit of sparkle and shine. This is for a birthday girl after all! The dress image is popped up with foam tape and adhered to a base of matching Whisper White for a clean look. All that was left was to stamp the sentiment in a matching pink and voila! Super cute and super fast. 'Til next time, friends!

Stamps: Blooming with Happiness, Warmest Regards
Paper: Whisper White
Ink: Basic Black, Rose Romance
Accessories: Rhinestone stickers, pink markers, foam tape, Marvy Giga Scallop Oval Punch

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Browsing through an old copy of Bon Appetit magazine I came across an unusual recipe. Banana cupcakes? With peanut butter frosting? I must try this!

In fact, I bought bananas with the sole purpose of letting them go brown just so I could make this recipe. Usually when I make banana bread it is to salvage poor bananas that have been sitting on my counter too long. Don't get me wrong, I love a good banana bread. But these are something special. The cake is incredibly soft and moist. And the frosting! I've made a few peanut butter frostings and this takes the cake. ;) The recipe makes quite a bit of frosting, too. I piled it on as high as I in good conscience could and still had some left over. I'll have to think of a use for it before I start eating it out of the refrigerator with a spoon. Without further ado, I give you. . .

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting from Bon Appetit
makes 12


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)



Position rack in center of over and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cupcakes, dividing equally.