Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 74

We have a hostess from Ireland this week - the very creative Sabrina  (aka cook22) has found a great bear teapot and has issued us a challenge to come up with some fierce bears and no arctic scenes.

I love this teapot.  The colors are wonderful and the pine cone motif is just so rustic.  I'm hoping that I don't get kicked out with my bear this week.  You see I'm going to visit a friend (as soon as I finish this post as a matter of fact) and I have a gift for her that needed a tag.  Well, I thought this might be good for the challenge today too....

My bear is not a teddy bear.  How do you know that?  Well teddy bear noses are round and this guy has a triangular nose which means he's either a brown bear or a baby grizzly.  I found a pine cone stamp by Magenta that I have had for years and used it for the wreath and for the fur on the bear's belly.

The sentiment and marshmallows come from an old SU set called Like it A Latte (I think?) and I hand drew the graham crackers. 

You see the gift I got her is one of those microwave smores devices that I saw on QVC last week and just had to have one of my own.  So I ordered it - they came in a package of two, thus the gift.  I have a sleeve of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars in the package for her also.

Now, I'm hoping that she's not going to see this before I get there!

Please take a look at the Teapot Gallery this week, and stop by Sabrina's blog.  She is a wonderful photographer and you will love looking at her gorgeous pictures!!!

Something That Speaks to You

And by thing I really do mean thing, not someone.  People speak all the time.  We have a choice to listen or not.  But other things can speak to us to.  You know, like the cookies that call your name in the grocery store when you walk down that aisle.  Again you can choose to listen or not.  My solution to that one - don't go down the cookie aisle.

Creatively there are things that speak to you too.   I encountered one on Saturday while shopping with my daughter.  We were in AC Moore (it only cost me a pair of shoes to get her there) and I couldn't help myself going down the scrapbook paper aisle.  Suddenly it was like being in the cookie aisle at the grocery store.  The paper was calling my name.  And I was resisting until, well, there was a paper that just called out to me and said New Year's........... 

Simple layout uses the Brand New Year stamp.  If you look closely you can see that I colored the champagne bubbles in the glass and mirrored them with the circles on the left panel.  And I covered the glass with Crystal Effects to make it look like real glass.  Nice and bright and bubbly. 

We're hosting New Year's Eve at our house this year.  We spend it each year with a group of friends we've had since high school.  This is not an invitation, because they've known since New Year's 2000 that we would be here in 10 years.  That year, since HWNSNBP's job may have been affected by Y2K we celebrated here and one of things we did was to create a time capsule that we said would be opened in 10 years.  Well this is the 10th year.  I bought this stamp just in case I didn't get all my Christmas cards done, but since I did, I decided to use it to let the group know what time and what to bring Thursday night.  I'm looking forward to a good time!

Another thing spoke to me today on my way to my cousin's house.  The sky.  The sunset was so vibrant and even these pictures that I took don't completely show the beauty that I saw. 

I grabbed my little Olympus camera which I keep in my purse and snapped a couple of pictures while driving.  Not a very smart thing I know, especially since the road runs along a canal, but I couldn't resist.  I knew that when I turned off that road I would have an unobstructed view if I pulled over so I did.  I hope the people that were passing me enjoyed the sunset as much as I did.  Funny thing, when I got to my cousin's house and told her that I had actually stopped to take pictures of the sunset, she told me she had been watching it through her kitchen window and it spoke to her too.  She ran outside with her camera and grabbed some pictures of her own.  I hope you find some beauty in them too!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 73 - We're Very Late (with a Thursday's Throw Away Too!)

Okay, Peggy (aka marilynprestonn) gave us a great challenge this, um last week.  Click here for the entire story.  We're visiting Mama Teeny (she's a mouse, yes she is!).  And here is the teapot from both sides:

(I have absolutely no idea why that first picture is so small!!!)

But you can see that Mama Teeny's house is all spruced up for a holiday tea party. 

I was going to bring the Christmas Mouse to the party, but that turned into a sad story.  You see last Tuesday, when the teapot challenge was posted I was at work.  There was a small commotion in the hallway outside the office and suddenly there was a teacher up on top of one of the chairs in the lobby.  That could only mean one thing - the Christmas Mouse had shown up at school. 

Well, lucky for us the custodian happened to be in the office at the time, so he went out into the lobby and the children showed him where the mouse was hiding.  He, the mouse, had climbed into a wooden base for one of our pillars of character and was trying to climb out.  The custodian gave him what he thought was a gentle boot back into the base of the column, but he didn't know his own strength.  The poor thing got a little smushed and not too long after that left this world for mouse heaven. 

I decided that being the Christmas Mouse he needed a proper burial in appropriate Christmas attire.

Yes, the custodian thinks I'm nuts - he's new and hasn't known me that long and doesn't realize that he's correct in his thinking yet. 

So, my little rodent friends have been in mourning this past week, and because of the funeral, which was held on Christmas Eve of all days, they are late because they are skating their way to the tea party.

Meet Trip and Fall (which is short for Autumn) - brother and sister squirrel who are quite clumsy and prone to, you guessed it - tripping and falling!  This could be another reason why they are late!

The ice they are skating on actually came from the inside of an envelope from a card that we received.  I love those foil liners - save them, they are great to repurpose.   The little mice are an A Muse stamp called Squirrelcapades that I picked up on vacation this summer and almost forgot about.  The trees are from SU's Patterned Pines and were leftover from a previous project (I don't think I posted that yet!).  I stamped the swirls in the sky with platinum shimmer paint and highlighted the torn edges of the snow and the large snowflacke with the white shimmer paint.  This card is really much prettier in person (if you like squirrels, that is)!

My apologies to Peggy for arriving to the party so late.  I blame it on the crazy squirrels and my crazy family!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Tart

My very dear husband (HWNSNBP - He Whose Name Shall Not Be Published) is a real sweetheart.  He runs around doing many errands for me preparing for the holidays.  It seems we're always one stick of butter short for the chocolate chip cookies, there's no milk for company coffee, or my Christmas cards need extra postage (or need to be mailed abroad).  Sometimes this all happens on the same day!  Whatever the reason he is constantly on the go.  Our friends will know that this is not unusual for him, but it really comes in handy this time of the year.  If you asked him I'm sure he would joke that I plan things this way so that he can be out of the house.  Not really.  I'm just very scattered in December.  Okay, maybe I did have an extra pound of butter in the freezer.

In his journeys he manages to get his Christmas shopping done and come up with a little surprise for me.  He used to get me a Linzer Tart from the bakery when he picked up the loaf of rye bread, but then they changed their recipe.  So this Christmas I got a tart of another kind.  This wonderful fruit custard tart from Wegman's.  Doesn't it look scrumptious?  It's for me to have "when I sit down on Christmas night with a cup of tea and do my blog".  

Yep, he's definitely a keeper.

We've got a lot planned for the next 9 days, including a trip to NYC to see "A Little Night Music" and we are hosting New Year's Eve this year.  Tomorrow, though I usually don't go shopping the day after Christmas, I saw something at Crate and Barrel that I'm hoping will be marked down, Rachel wants to get some new shoes, and we usually wait until after Christmas to buy our calendars as they are usually half price.

Now I'm going to hide all the chocolate and cookies because I've indulged enough.  Back to this yummy tart!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The dining room has been cleared of stamping supplies.  The dusting and vacuuming are finished.  Rachel baked 11 dozen cookies in 2 hours this morning while I cleaned. 

At 3:30 I started frying pierogies and fish.  We made a new recipe - corn souffle - for a side dish.  The recipe came from a co-worker and turned out wonderful. 

The table was set, the family arrived and all we had to do was wait for Chris to get out of work (the bank was opened until 6 tonight!). 

We sat down to eat a wonderful meal and share our holiday together. 

Rachel and HWNSNBP did all the clean-up after the family left and they are off to bed. 

I must admit I haven't wrapped a thing, but it'll be a quick chore in the morning to find the gift bags and scurry around stuffing them.  There's still time later tomorrow night to finish the wrapping for those I won't see until after Christmas day.  

In fact, that's something I'm looking forward to.  Peace and quiet and putting the finishing touches on those things.  (Oh, and I promised Peggy that I wouldn't miss the tea party this week, so I'll be sure to get to that too when the craziness cools down tomorrow.)

My posts this past week have been few and far between, so let me just catch up with some pictures. 

The first is a picture of a little candy holder that I put together for our staff.  60 of those  - thank goodness for a crop-a-dile with all those eyelets!

The next is a little ornament cupcake that was shared with me by a student.  It not only looked pretty, it tasted pretty good too!

I'm fading fast right now, so I'll stop here and say Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Bet you're wondering what I've been up to.  Well, it's been a very busy week.  I returned to work last week and we needed to finish painting the kitchen and then there was the tree decorating and, well, you're probably as busy as I've been so let me get on with this post.

Last Friday night we had a downline meeting and here are the wonderful projects that we worked on.  I apologize for the brightness of the pictures.  I took them on Sunday morning after the snowstorm we had.  Boy was it bright inside! 

My downline Debbie comes up with the most fun projects - and fun we did have.  We also had some delicious key lime pie!  Thanks Debbie, for a wonderful night of friends and stamping!

I found a recipe that I wanted to try for some gifts - Rosemary Roasted Cashews

You see them in the bowl cooling off before I packaged them up.  HWNSNBP and I paid a visit to Crate and Barrel and picked up some cool little jars to put these in.  (I'll have more pics of them decorated later this week.)

And this is what you might have seen on my dining room table.

That's one of the Christmas cards I've been working on and here is the other...

I had my heart set on using that dove set for my cards this year, but it was taking too long to color all that I needed so I opted to make half of the one above.  Well, with the ribbon and layers, that didn't take much less time.  I think I'm going to have to start one of those Christmas Card Clubs where I get so many cards done per month beginning in January so I don't come down to the wire again.

Tonight I finished three of the shipping tag bags that I'll need for tomorrow.  I'll show pictures at a later date, it's getting much too late now.

I hope I am able to find time to fit in the Teapot Tuesday challenge today - or at least by the end of day on Wednesday. 

How many of you out there would like an extra one or two more days before Christmas?  I know I would!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 72 - You're Invited to a Cookie Walk

It's getting close to Christmas and everyone is scurrying about trying to finish all the things that make the holiday special.  Yesterday at work we held our annual Cookie Walk and today I get to hostess Teapot Tuesday - two fun events. 

Since I had to pick out a teapot and also had to start my baking I chose this teapot from my collection.

Look at that buttery yellow, sugary white, the flowers and the candy - doesn't that inspire you to bake!  And bake we will.

We're going to have a Cookie Walk at the Tea Party this week.  Here's how it works:

Everyone picks their favorite cookie recipe and bakes a batch of cookies.  Six dozen will do.  Then we'll need a big table to put our trays on (I'll see if we can borrow the conference table from school).  Make sure you have an empty container with you to put all your new cookies in.

Once everyone has their cookies on the table we can start.  We'll rotate to the left - singing is optional - and pick up three cookies from each tray as we circle the table.  No nibbling allowed until we're all done!

We'll keep circling the table until all the trays are empty and our containers are full.  Then we'll sit down and have some peppermint tea as we taste all those delightful morsels of sugary goodness.

Oh, and don't forget to bring your recipe to share with everyone.  Extra bonus points if your recipe has some kind of candy in it.

So go and find your recipe and let it inspire you this week.  Maybe your favorite is gingerbread, or chocolate chip, or simple sugar cookies decorated in red and green.  And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I bet you still like cookies or like to bake, or just let the teapot inspire you like I did. 

We had 10 people participate in our Cookie Walk at work and we each came home with a lovely assortment of delectable delights you can see here......

My cookies are the one's with the marshmallows at 5 o'clock on the plate.  Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Caramel Delights

12-14 graham crackers
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut
1 cup slivered almonds or nuts of your choice

Line a 15 x 10 x 1 pan with the graham crackers.  Sprinkle the marshmallows over the crackers and set aside.

In a saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on low heat - stirring constantly for about 4 or 5 minutes.

Pour mixture evenly over the crackers and marshmallows - don't forget the edges.

Sprinkle coconut and then almonds over the top.

Bake at 350ยบ for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool slightly and then slice into squares. 

I can't wait to see what the ladies come up with this week!

Here's the link to the challenge.

And here's the link to the gallery.  Make sure you check it out!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tea Peek 72

Funny, but before I found out I needed this last surgery, and before we decided to replace the skylight in the kitchen (somebody shoot me now!) I was going to have a Christmas Tea Party this weekend.  Oh well, maybe there'll be time for that next year. 

But, as luck would have it, it's my turn to hostess Teapot Tuesday this week so I get to party virtually along with my fellow Teapotters and anyone else who would like to join us.

What you see above is the Tea Peek for the week and here is the clue:

Cream sugar and butter, add a little flour flower flour and some candy
and what do you get?

Ahhhhh, come back on Tuesday to find out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday's Throw Aways

Remember those little snowflake tag/cards I made last week (if not click here)?  I took the negative punch outs and got these. 

I started by taking the medium oval punch and lined up the center of one of the sides with the center of the center of the oval side.  Then slide the punch to the right about 1/4" leaving a frame for the snowflake.  Keep rotating the paper so you get all four sides.

You can use it as is in a project, or you can take one of the actual punched snowflakes and nestle it into the negative image as pictured below.  I put a dab of glue at both the top and the bottom to secure it.  Then I just gave it a loop of silver cording.  It makes a nice little 3-D ornament.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Look What I Won

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a blog that I immediately put into my favorites.  As it is the holiday season, and as the name of the blog is Amy's Stocking Stuffers I spent quite some time going through all the old posts and getting lots of ideas for not only stocking stuffers, but for small gifts for the whole year through. 

It just so happened that at the time Amy was have a Stocking Stuffer Giveaway.  She was featuring some stocking stuffers for men and since I usually have a more difficult time finding stocking stuffers for the men in my family I didn't hesitate to enter.   And guess what?   I won!!!

Yesterday my package of goodies came in the mail.

There's a Trivial Pursuit Scratch Off Game, a "Taste of Wine" boxed card set, a $10 Target Giftcard, a boxed tin of men's sleep shorts, an Air Force One DVD, a package of Lindt polar bears, and a boxer shorts gift box.  Quite a nice selection of gifts don't you agree?

Amy posts almost daily and she has such great things she's found.  If you check the left colum on her blog, you'll see how she's categorized all her posts so you can find something for someone in particular very quickly.  I've investigated many of the links that she's posted.  You could go on and on with the visiting and keep finding really neat things.  (I've got a list for myself going too!)

So, if you want to find some cool stuff for stocking stuffers this year, or if you just want to find a little something for someone who's near and dear, give the link above a try.  But be prepared for a lengthy visit - there's so much to see!

Thanks Amy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teapot Tuesday 71

Our hostess this week is Lisa and she has picked out a very cute teapot with snowmen on it.

In Lisa's story we are headed to the North Pole for our tea this week where we'll be trying to find out "What Do Snowmen Do At Night?".  You can see that they're a very fun loving bunch and during the day they love to slide down the hill in teacups from the old amusement park ride. 

Well, I've discovered when the sun goes down and the moon comes up the wintry forest provides another playground of sorts where the snowmen play hide and seek at night.  They're such good hiders you won't be able to find them, even if you're standing right next to them.

I pulled out a retired stamp set for this one - Trees Three - I've always liked it and never used it much, but it will be used this Christmas.  The Simple Snowflake was stamped in VersaMark on the Elegant Eggplant card base and embossed with clear EP.  And I also stamped it on Whisper White, used my heat and stick and my SU glitter.  The Sentiment is from Four the Holidays and I daubered Silver Shimmer Paint on the stamp. (I'm really liking this shimmer paint - I hope they have it in our regular catty next year!!!)  I used the Scallop Border punch and added the little silver snowflake on the side using the Silver Stretch Cording in the Occasions mini.  
To make the tree panel I stamped them in VersaMark and then clear EP'd them.  Then I took some sponges and swirled on Bashful Blue and Lavendar Lace.  Lastly, with more sponges I added Not Quite Navy and Elegant Eggplant around the edges.  There's nothing like blue and purple finger nails!  The trees were matted on Lavendar Lace and then Bashful Blue.  I know it looks kind of dark, but this card is much prettier in real life - trust me. 

So, that's what I've found that snowment do at night - what do you think they do?  I'd love to hear.

If you want to know what the other ladies found out about the snowmen, please visit the Teapot Gallery.

Thanks Lisa for a great teapot and story this week!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who Has a Pink Christmas Tree?

This was made for a challenge I saw on Splitcoast today.  You were to use shipping tags (or the equivalent in cardstock) to make this little gift box.  You see the clip on the top is holding the two tags together and there's a little open square box on the bottom between them.  This will be just perfect for someone I know who loves pink, or maybe for someone I know that has a pink Christmas tree, or maybe I'll just have to make another one. 

The tags are embossed with the Petals Aplenty folder and the snow is punched with the eyelet punch.  The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes and is stamped with Regal Rose on Whisper White and punched out with the Word Window Punch.  The trees come from Patterned Pines and are also stamped in Regal Rose. 

I love how it came out in these colors, but I think it would look great in your standard red and green also. What do you think?

Weekend Projects - Well Almost

Some quick little things I put together to get out in the mail this weekend.  Gift tags and a little scalloped gift box.  (It was time for the sending of the Christmas socks and someone else is getting a surprise in the mail in a few days.)

And this next picture - well, I got some new bird ornaments and had them lying on the counter like this and it just reminded me of those drawers in the Smithsonian where they have all the specimens. 

We had our first snow on Saturday and of course we were out and about Christmas Shopping in it.  I even got treated to lunch/dinner at Cracker Barrel.  I wanted to check out their gift shop.  I always find some cool things there.  (They have Jelly Belly Raspberries and Blackberries - the jellies - love em!)  There wasn't a noticeable accumulation left here today.  But it has gotten colder - just in time for them to come tomorrow and replace my kitchen skylight.  I think I'll be camping out upstairs - heat rises right?

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

This to That

There was a challenge on Splitcoast this week using metal washers.  I had seen this idea before and knew that I had purchased some washers, but for the life of me, I don't know where I put them.  So I asked HWNSNBP to pick me up some at Home Depot and this is part of what he came home with.

Here they are covered with some dsp.  On the pink and green ones I used a very fine paint brush and the gold shimmer paint to paint certain parts of the design and make them more fulgent (see Kelly's WOW - Word of the Week Challenge).  Well, they're not dazzlingly bright, but they do have some sparkle.  Then I either gave them a coat of Crystal Effects, or embossed with 5 layers of clear EP ...

And here they are strung on faux leather cording.

I'm so glad I found that challenge because now I have some presents done and some more in the works. 

I learned one thing while doing these.  In the first two pictures you see a washer with a very small hole.  Well, that's not a problem.  The problem was that that was one of the ones that I used the embossing powder on and it was a lot thinner than the other washers.  I found that it took a while for the embossing powder to melt because the metal had to heat up.  What I forgot was that those particular washers were a lot thinner and really didn't need as long under the heat gun and the paper got scorched.  I'll probably try peeling the paper off the washer and trying again with that one. 

I'd love to hear what you think about this project. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday's Throw Aways - Does Anyone Remember What Week?

I don't think we need the number, do you?  Just let me apologize for skipping the last couple of weeks.  Life's been getting in the way lately.  

In the mail a couple of weeks ago there was a black envelope (warning - picture is not good)

Something about that pre-made window just called out to me.  So I trimmed off the sides to make it as close to standard card size as possible, added some houndstooth dsp, some red cs and circles stamped from Circle Circus punched all the same size and here you go......

Then I took the left over pieces from the sides and cut the corners off to make triangles.  I added another larger stamped image to that triangle and made two corner bookmarks.

One envelope and three projects. 

(Psssssst.  Just wanted to say you don't need a black envelope to make those bookmarks, any envelope will do, and they make great little gifts to add to a card when you send them.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Rose

I looked up at the garden this morning and something pink caught my eye.  Pink is not a garden color for December.  The fact that it was near the rose bush made me wonder if it could, at all, be a rose.  So I moseyed up there with the camera and found not one, but two roses.  One was up high and partially opened and unfortunately the picture came out all fuzzy.  Lower, I found this.....

The rose itself appears to have a fuzzy texture, but I could smell it's fragrance.  So I picked both of them and brought them into the house.  I will let you know if this one does, in fact, bloom. 

If I hadn't been home, I'm sure I would have missed this treat. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Teapot Tuesday and Look What I Got

CarrollAnn (Mrs. Boz) is our Teapot Hostess this week and she posted this cute little Santa teapot that has a story all about the bear and the drum you see in the picture.

It seems this Santa would like to know what not to bring for Christmas.  And, in that case, we are to make a card reflecting either the teapot itself, the worse present we ever got, or the best present we ever got.

Thinking back, I can tell you the worse present that I ever got was a sweatsuit from my mother-in-law.  It was black and it had a huge furry koala bear on the front of the shirt.  It was back when sweatpants were kind of short and had elastic around the ankles.  Well, don't tell her, but I never wore the darn thing.  There was just something about that faux fur bear that I couldn't get over.  I kept it in the box in a closet and a few years ago it got donated to some poor soul who is probably warm but very out of fashion. 

But, my card - with the bears - is not about my worse present.  It's actually about the best, and you're going to think this is rather strange, but it's all about the respect you get from someone when they pay attention to your likes and dislikes. 

When I put together gifts for our stockings, I try to get things that I know HWNSNBP and the kids like, like a favorite magazine, puzzle book, candy, snack, etc.  My stocking gets filled also, but one year in particular, there was a roll of Chocolate Necco Wafers.  I had been to a deli for lunch with a friend and saw them there and happened to mention that to HWNSNBP in conversation.  Of all the Necco flavors, I think the chocolate and the wintergreen are my favorite and I said so, but I never expected it to register with him.  Let's face it, my lunch dates aren't things that are going to hold his attention. 

That's why I was so touched when I found the roll of Chocolate Necco's in my stocking.  I had penetrated the barrier of indifference with that conversation.  Don't get me wrong - he's very good to me.  But it made me feel good that he just wasn't listening to the "big stuff" that we discuss, it was a very little thing and it meant so much to me.

So you see my bears?  They're punched out of Close to Cocoa cs and the edges are dabbed with White Craft ink - like the Necco wafers.  I drew the faces on them and ran them through my Xyron mini-sticker-maker.  The background is from Autumn Days and the sentiment is from Best Yet.  The scallop border is punched out of Choc. Chip with the scallop border punch and then I scrunched it up so that it would curve. 

Wait, don't go yet!  I have a wonderful card to share with you that I received from my blogging buddy Dana

Isn't this gorgeous!!!  She must have seen my post with the hints to deal with abdominal surgery because her message is right on.  Thanks Dana!  You've made my day, and yes, I'll sleep with my socks on!

Clean and Simple(?) Thank You

I  put the question mark there because I'm not quite sure how simple this is.  It took me most of the day today, back and forth to my work station, to put this card together.  I seem to be stuck in a low gear.  Well, hopefully, things will pick up.

The stamp set is Of the Earth.  I just love the silhouette of the little bird.  But getting a clear image was not that easy.  I actually went over the stamped part with a marker to fill in the graininess of how it came out on the Kraft cardstock.  And, I had planned to keep it to two colors - Kraft and Chocolate Chip - but it needed something else, so I threw in the Bordering Blue.  The Chocolate Chip strip is punched with an EK Success punch I had picked up a while ago but hadn't used yet. 

The sentiment was in the box with the Teeny Tiny Wishes set, but then again, I found two Thank You stamps in there, so I'm not positive that this is the Thank You that goes with that set.  I'll have to do some investigating on that tomorrow.  I have a couple of other "orphaned" stamps that I have to find the right home for.  Sounds like a project for another day!