Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tasting Through March


What's a Donnoli?  It's a donut filled with cannoli filling.  I saw this advertised on our local news a few weeks ago.  It was made by the bakers in a Shop-Rite store north of here.  I told HWNSNBP to be on the look-out for them coming to our local Shop-Rite and last week he spotted them.  Of course they had doubled the price from what the news report said they were originally sold for - I guess the publicity they got made them so wanted they could ask their price.  

Although the news anchors oohed and aahed I was not a fan.   I think it might have been better closer to room temperature instead of right out of the refrigerator.  

The Bit-o-Blarney popcorn pictured below was a hit at work.  I found this recipe on Happier Than A Pig in Mud (click link for recipe).  


As the blog owner says, it's kind of like lime flavored Cracker Jacks.  I left the bag in the faculty room and it didn't take long to empty.   I only had sugar-free lime jello which tasted okay but was not as liquidy as it probably should have been for coating the popcorn.  


This is not your ordinary Yellow Delicious apple.  I don't particularly care for them.  But I was willing to give this yellow gem a try.  It's called an Opal Apple and it was very tasty.  Not mealy like I find Delicious apples to be.  We found these apples at the Fresh Market.  I've been eyeing a Lemon Risotto Cake in their prepared salad section.  It's not a bakery item, more on the line of a crab cake or hush puppy.  Maybe this weekend?

Do you like to try new varieties of things?  I find that I'm usually willing to give things a try in the sweet or salty category, but not so much with savories unless recommended by trusted family or friends.   Of course when Rachel was home a couple of weekends ago and found the new Ben and Jerry's Core ice creams at Target you know I had to try them.  Well, 3 out of 4 of them.  And the Salted Caramel was first and foremost my favorite.  

What have you tried lately?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jingle Belles - The Holly and the Ivy


The Jingle Belles challenge was to use foliage, not necessarily just holly and ivy. 

Yep, yep, yep.  I missed another deadline.  I so wanted to have this posted by 6:00 last night, but I am my own worst enemy with time these days.  I spent a good amount of time peacefully watercoloring these images on Sunday and then fussy cutting the one on the card on top out.  Well, that cutting process proved to be very tiring for my bum hand so I set that aside missing a few berries and leaves and cut the second one with a simple border (below). 

When I found the ivy cut file I knew I wanted to use it for one card, and then I got fixated.  Fixated on finding my pastels.  I wanted to add a little blue shading to the ivy leaves on the background like I did with the ink when I was coloring the image.  I have decent light above my craft space, but below, well, let's just say the craft castle has a dungeon.  One never knows what lurks in the dark recesses of the dungeon after a certain hour of the day. 



I had told HWNSNBP that I would be downstairs by dark and when I wasn't, after a while he came looking for me only to find me on my hands and knees, draped over my chair, flashlight in hand under the table with my butt facing the door.  Of course the obvious question would be "what are you doing?" and he did ask, but all it took was glare in his direction and he backed out mumbling "nevermind, sorry I asked" and he retreated down the stairs. 



I followed shortly after still not finding what I was looking for and frustrated.  I said I would take a look when I got home from work the next day when it was still light.  
 



But I had not yet cut out that background and planned to do that the first thing when I got home from work.  Let me say that I am still learning the ins and outs of my Cameo and really need to do some more experimenting with blade depth and speed, but impatient I was, so I forged ahead with using a sub-par cut image and overlay and resorted to trying to clean up the overlay with a craft knife.  (The pieces weren't popping out on their own, they needed a little help in the corners.)  Time-consuming?  Yes.  It didn't look bad but I really didn't like the green on green and I still hadn't found the missing pastels and the sun was setting fast.

I told myself I would find them on Tuesday.  Yes, Tuesday would be good.  But when I got home from physical therapy and still could not find them I pushed it off until Wednesday.  Fixation!  I came home yesterday and sat down at the dining room table where I have my laptop and Silhouette set up and was trying to think what I could do to add that color instead of using the pastels and thought about maybe using my Prismacolor pencils which were there behind my computer.  And guess what I found?  Under the box of pencils was ............I'm sure you guessed it............ my pastels. 

So I ran upstairs and started futzing around with them on the back of the overly and, well, I didn't even like it.  Fixation!  Determined to have that blue ivy look, I grabbed a sheet of Not Quite Navy paper and ran back downstairs to cut that out.  Well, when all was said and done, I looked at the clock and it was 5:56 and even though I had the computer on, I knew I would never get the photo taken and uploaded in time.  So I blew the deadline, but I took my time adding some more details on that card like the glitter gel line around the sentiment piece and the card base (which my friend Sabrina does beautifully but I haven't mastered yet).  And then I didn't just want to discard that image that I had spent so much time cutting out so I looked through my embossing  folders and in 5 minutes that card was done. 



If I hadn't been so fixated on finding those pastels..................................................

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mid-March Cards and More Birds


Birthday card for my PT.  Used the same set below for a Get Well Card.


Image stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colored with my SU markers.  


We should be seeing more of these spring flowers but not yet.  One yellow crocus was discovered in the yard on Saturday but was eaten by Sunday.  


The goldfinches, still in their olive drab are hungrily swarming the thistle feeder.


While the flicker and blue jay scavenge the ground for morsels.

I think the Blue Jay should think twice about sneaking up on the Flicker.  Take a look at that Flicker beak!


And now, after all these years, the bluebirds have become comfortable hanging out at the suet feeder.  Here is a Mr. patiently waiting his turn.





Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Reason Behind the Seasons


My husband celebrated his 60th birthday last week.  As I have done with the rest of "our group" who have achieved this milestone, I created his birthday card using "A Tree For All Seasons".  And I will continue this tradition until all 9 of us pass that mark even if it takes a few years for "the baby" to catch up.  

The reason I chose this stamp set is because of 1) an e-mail that the oldest of us shared with the group before his 60th, and 2) the ensuing responses and continuing discussions.  

This thought-provoking essay from an anonymous source was the content of the e-mail:

And It's Winter before We Know It 
Author unknown 

You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. 

It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate.   And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.  I know that I lived them all... 

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is..the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise... How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go? 

I remember well.. seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like...  But, here it is...my friends are retired and really getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me... but, I see the great change...  Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant... but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. 

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day!  And taking a nap is not a treat anymore...it's mandatory!  Cause if I don't on my own free will...I just fall asleep where I sit! 

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! 

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over...its over....Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done ,,,,,things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done.  It's all in a lifetime.... 

So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly!  Don't put things off too long!! 

Life goes by quickly.  So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you will reach your winter or not! 

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. 

Make it a fantastic one." 

LIVE IT WELL!!----ENJOY TODAY!!!!-----DO SOMETHING FUN!----BE HAPPY!----BE THANKFUL!

There were some who thought that this was a bit of a downer standing fast to remaining in the summer, yes summer of our lives.  There were those who readily admitted to being in the autumn stage but not the end of it, only the beginning.  And then it was seemingly forgotten until one of us was actually on the verge of an equinox.

I don't remember exactly how, but this came up as a topic of discussion New Year's Eve 2012 when we were all together and with only a few months before the first birthday.   

Late that night, after we had eaten and after many spirits had been consumed somehow the conversation turned to this topic.   The "summer-thinking" people were pleading their case and HWNSNBP was having nothing to do with their claims.  He started waxing poetic and likening us to trees and how we have changed in appearance (I think he might have gotten some ideas from this post of mine back in 2009) and with some cajoling agreed to the premise that the men had reached or were entering their "winters" but the sap was still flowing and the ladies were in their very beautiful "autumn" with all of it's beautiful colors (which says quite a lot from a colorblind person I'll add!).  

So, starting back with that first 60th birthday, the second, and now this one, I've tried to hold true to both the seasons and tree theme.  

I can't say that I'm ready to be a tree in winter, but I have a little bit of time yet to enjoy my autumn.

And as for HWNSNBP, he has been my sheltering tree and I hope to remain at his side for a very long winter.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What Kind of Cake Is That?


Yeah, it's not really a cake, I'm sure you could tell.  It's my St. Patrick's Day project I mentioned earlier this week.  

Do you ever buy things for one holiday and use them for another?  I usually try to pick up some things at the after Christmas sales that can work for Valentine's Day and if I'm lucky maybe St. Patrick's, Easter, or 4th of July.   In this case I really didn't get them after the holidays, I had them stashed away to use in my holiday baking but didn't get to use them - a giant bag of red, silver, and green Hershey's Kisses.  I separated the colors and yes, I'll admit I ate most of the silver ones, but the red ones went to work for Valentine's Day and the green ones were saved for this project.


Aren't they cute!  The pattern/instructions come from Qbee's Quest - click here.  They're pretty easy to make and once I calculated how many kisses I had, all I had to do was cut the right amount of pieces to get going.  The sentiment is from Teeny, Tiny Wishes, punched out with the word window punch and tied on with some variegated yellow cotton thread.  

I can hardly wait to start handing them out!  This reminds me that I'm due for a Shamrock Shake and shamrock pretzel this weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jingle Belles - SKETCH-ing Around the Christmas Tree


When I saw this sketch two weeks ago (yes, it was posted two weeks ago) I thought it would be pretty easy to put something together and started thinking about the possibilities.  Really, I did.  But then I decided I wasn't going to procrastinate getting my St. Patrick's Day project done, and told myself that it was a pretty sketch and it was going to be a one, two, three project.  It could wait.  And I should mention that I had developed this pain in my shoulder and my thumb and first finger were going numb.  So throw in a dr. visit, a physical therapy evaluation for a pinched nerve and now, twice weekly pt sessions after work. 

I finished the St. Paddy's project (more on that in another post) and thought some more on the sketch and got turned in another direction with a technique challenge that I saw that I wanted to try.  But I was still pondering the sketch.  


Then Rachel came home this weekend to wish her father a happy 60th birthday and, oops, oh yes, I had to make him a birthday card.  But I kept thinking about the sketch.  

I had a plan.  I knew what I needed. Problem was I just couldn't find it.  A die.  A very small die.  A pine bough die.  I should have started to look for it on Sunday when there was daylight up in the stamp cave.  But I had to finish the birthday card.

Monday was HWNSNBP's birthday and he was gracious enough to let me wander upstairs to continue to work on this card. You know looking for something often turns into rearranging and reorganizing and purging.  Some might call that productive procrastination, but as time flew by, the false joy I was feeling from that "productive procrastination" was quickly turning to frustration.   I gave up.  It would have to wait until the next day after pt.

Yesterday, I had exactly 10 mins to look for it between getting home to change and leaving for pt. Thankfully there was daylight.... in more ways than one.  I located the die I had in mind and was relishing in the fact that there were leftovers from the last time I used it and that would save time today when I actually started the card.   


I knew what colors I was using, they were going to be chocolate chip, garden green, and cream, with gold because I had this brown ribbon and gold-glittered wooden snowflake that I was going to use.  

Then I realized that the snowflake was way too large and it would cover up more of the tree than I wanted.  So I quickly made another plan and came up with this fabricated snowflake-center star on gold.  The brown ribbon didn't work - needed more gold.  And guess what........... I didn't even use the pieces of the die that I had spent all that time looking for.

Oh, but I did find all my camera software disks that I thought I had lost.

Please check out the other "Sketchy" cards here on the Jingle Belles blog.  And if you want to see some more cards (Christmas cards) with this color combination you can check it out here at Merry Monday.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Looking Up


Things are looking up.  We had a little tease of Spring today with temps reaching 57ยบ even though much of the ground is still snow covered.  And looking up through our kitchen skylight I caught a glimpse of this lovely bluebird.   With the morning as clear as it was it made me think that if bluebirds flew upside-down we wouldn't be able to see them.


And......... he couldn't stay away from the suet feeder.



Speaking of looking up, I was in the parking lot at school after work the other day and was talking to the substitute nurse we had that day and this (below) caught my eye.  Atop one of the dead trees adjacent to our parking lot there appeared, to me, to be a owl.  I pointed it out to the nurse and she agreed with me.  We both looked through my camera lens and commented at how still it was.  I quickly snapped a couple of pictures as she pulled away.


And when I got home and used the computer software to zoom in..................


It's just the top of the dead tree.   

And you know, when I showed HWNSNBP the first picture in the camera and asked him what he saw he said "a dead tree".  

Sure did fool me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kintsukuroi and a Neutral CAS

What is Kintsukuroi?  It is a Japanese art form or more specifically "the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. The idea behind it is that the piece becomes more beautiful and valuable because it has been broken and has a history." 

This technique or practice was the subject of the Mix57 challenge on Splitcoast.  Below is an example of a piece of pottery that was repaired in this way.  

I have had these papers out on my work table and found some inspiration with them.  I started out by stamping the Wild Flower from Amuse Stamps ramdomly on the Baked Brown Sugar paper with Soft Suede Ink.  Then I took a gold Prismacolor pencil and highlighted the right side of the design and filled in the little blossom ends.  I then took a white gel marker and highlighted the left side of the design.  (This makes it almost look like the bandana technique.)  I touched up the original images with a Soft Suede marker.  I used the pencil again to make the "repair" lines and then went over them with a gold glitter marker.  


Needless to say, it was a little difficult to photograph this with all the metallics.  I used a piece of woven scrapbook paper at the bottom and, in looking over the bits and bobs I had laying on the table, found this letter X in Early Espresso over which I painted some gold shimmer paint.  The final touch was to add the gold glitter dot in the center of the X.  Perhaps you can see the sheen a little better in the picture below.  HWNSNBP asked what the X was for and I told him nothing really, I just thought it would make a cool embellishment.  It kind of looks like a buckle or some belt loops or a slide.


I have a large coffee cup that I got some years ago at IKEA that has a small chip in the rim near the handle.  I keep on using this cup because of it's size and I don't really mind the chip, but I wouldn't mind getting a little gold touch-up on it.  With or without the gold, in this case, I'll just keep on using it. 

Today I stamped that Wild Flower image on another piece of Baked Brown Sugar paper and this time only filled in the blossom ends with the white gel pen.  I also extended the stem.  The CAS262 challenge was to use neutral colors.  So I took the stamped image that I had been playing with and added the scraps from the first card in a nice simple design.  I had thought about stamping the image in VersaMark on the card base but I wanted to keep it uncluttered and let the textured papers shine.


I can add a sentiment to it later.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

There Be Pigs!

Catch a flying pig and put it in your pocket, save it for a snowy day...........

Well it may not be snowing today, but it is time for pigs to fly!!!!!!


My Flying Pig card for this year - a tee-pee card with the message to Imagine the Possibilities.

Complete with a curly tail.


A little etsy purchase I treated myself to.  A pincushion that came in such a cute bag.


This card and beaded letter opener I received from my friend Dawn in North Carolina.  Dawn participated in "Pigs on Parade" a couple of years ago.  She makes such beautiful cards and I see that she has become quite a beader too!  Thank you Dawn!




Though not a flying pig - this slice-formed pig was something I picked up at Crate and Barrel after the holidays.  With the markdown I couldn't resist it.  Took me about an hour to assemble the other night.  I'm thinking it will be pretty easy to add wings.


And this last one for today was found at Home Goods.  I had a gift card from a student that I hadn't used and it was between this white one and a pudgier teal one.  Since I didn't know where I'd put the teal one, this one came home with me.  I just love it when I can get in the car with a bag and tell HWNSNBP that I didn't spend a dime!


I'm sure I'll find more pigs to share over the weekend - they seem to be magically multiplying.

I hope you are enjoying Pig Day and I hope that you will take the Flying Pig message and continue to  "Imagine the Possibilities".  I know it's not always easy.  But just think of how much freer you'll feel if you let the negative go and let the positive lift you!