Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jingle Belles - Have Yourself a Merry *Little* Christmas - Part Two

This was my original thought for the Merry Little Christmas prompt.  I used the little berry sprig from Easy Events in 1-7/8" squares.  I did use a stamp-a-ma-jig to make sure they were all in the same place so the wreath I was attempting to make with them would flow smoothly.  The four squares fit perfectly on a 4" larger square and I opted to make the card square.  I found some red and white faux wood grain dsp for the background and pulled out a piece of Handsome Hunter for the card base. The images were stamped with Memento Black ink and colored with my SU markers and blender pen.  I added some dark red (not sure of the source) cotton twine for the bows.   I'm not sure if it's the lighting of the photo or what I see on my computer, but IRL the colors pop quite nicely.  

Now, on a totally different thought - I was posting a comment on someone's blog yesterday and you know the "Please Prove You're Not A Robot" prompt, well trust me, this really does say "Legacy of a rat".  Cracked me up!  Sounds like the title of a book or something, no?  I have some other of these prompts saved that were funny, I'll have to go fish around for them.  Has anyone else out there ever gotten one of these that made you go HMMM?  Not counting the number or letter ones that are so fuzzy you have to try 2 or 3 times before you get it right.  I know some people think it's a pain to have to "prove you're not a robot" but I think it does help cut down on the unwanted spam.  

What would be the Legacy of a Rat?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ooops! Feel Better

When we're down in Barnegat I sometimes visit this little stamping store not far from there in Tuckerton - One Little Spark, and earlier this month I read a note that the owner had slipped on ice and broke her ankle pretty badly.  I have a nice selection of stamps from her store, but  most of them are holiday related and I wanted to use one that I had purchased there so I searched my stash and found this cute little panda that had not seen any ink.  

He's stamped in Memento Ink on bristol board and I used my markers and aquapainter to color him. Then I took my birch embossing folder and disguised it as bamboo again.  I inked up the recessed side with Marina Mist ink so there would be a difference in color and after embossing took some more ink and my aquapainter and did some shading along the shoots.  I added Pear Pizzazz ink in the bamboo creases, cut out some strappy leaves and after they were glued on, painted them also.  

I'm afraid it's not going to be too easy for her to get around this winter as we've been having sort of an epic one here with low temps and snow that probably will not be disappearing for weeks.  

We had 8.5 inches of snow last Tuesday evening, the 21st.  Temperatures dropped into the single digits but still there are huge icicles on the house.

HWNSNBP has cleared off a stretch of the stone wall to put out seed for the birds animals.


And the day we returned to work (school was closed for a snow day), the temp gauge in the car said it was -1º on the way to work.  

I had put my camera in my bag at the last minute and thought I would try to get a pic of the river if there were no cars behind me that morning.  Well this had to be quick but you see the river is glazed over and the geese are all huddled together on the opposite side probably trying to take advantage of what little warmth they can get from the sun.

More snow is on the way tonight.  I hope you're staying warm where you are.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Baby Gift Card Holder

What can you do with a paper onesie?

Make it a gift card holder.

I had to hinge two pieces of bristol board together to make a card large enough to hold the packaged gift card without it showing.  I put the card in a tissue paper filled gift bag to deliver.  No envelope necessary.  The little duck is from Easy Events.

My inspiration came from Melissa Sunde and her baby shower favors.  I think she had candy in her bags.  I drew my own onesie and like I said, I used bristol board for the base and then covered the front with scrapbook paper.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baby Bookmarks

Adhesives - check

Tools - check

Cut paper and punched pieces - check

How to make the book - paper is cut and the spine is scored on the back of the paper

Flip it over and use a marker to darken the spine

Now trim (if necessary) and assemble the pieces of the baby

I spent all day two Saturday's ago making babies ;)

And then I took those babies and added them to the bookmarks

They are folded in half and magnetic and on the back of each one is a quote about children and books.

A friend whose daughter-in-law is expecting her first child asked me to make a favor for the baby shower.  Since the mother-to-be is a school librarian and the attendees were also asked to bring a book for the new baby's library, I thought a bookmark would be good.  They don't know the gender of the child yet so it was safe to stay with yellow and green and I had a bunch of this scrapbook paper which worked out well.   

I saw this punched baby holding a cupcake in a photo posted on Pinterest.  There is no source for the photo that I can find so I apologize to the creator for not giving full credit for the baby, but I replaced the cupcake with the book and added my own little face to them.  I thought it would be cute to see the baby reading and added the title of the book "All About Me".

I even managed to repurpose the magnets from some magnetic calendars that our school district handed out 5 or 6 years ago.   The calendars were laminated onto a 5 x 7 magnetic sheet and when they went out of date I salvaged the rest for future projects.   They are just thin enough to cut with a scissor and also keep it from being too bulky.  

I'm happy to report that she really liked them and they were a hit at the shower.  I made a gift card holder using the same papers that I'll post a little later.

Happy Birthday Chickie

Hope you have a Purrfect Day!

Today is Rachel's birthday.  My January baby.  I hope she gets to sleep in this morning and spends the day doing something she likes even if it's just chilling out at home watching movies all day.  

Lovya Chickadee!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jingles Belles - Have Yourself a Merry *Little* Christmas - A Dedication

A few days after the new year began I read some distressing news on Facebook.  A stamping friend that I had made through the internet had lost her battle with brain and liver cancer and passed away. Her name was Charlene aka Bertie at our Tea Party Challenges.    When I was doing those challenges it was fun to read the banter between Charlene and Cindy or Bertie and Gertie as they referred to themselves. 

There was one tea party in particular that became very crazy and somehow there was a snowball fight going on - virtually, of course - and I surprised Charlene by sending her a package of Hostess Snowball cakes.  She loved them and it became a running joke with us.  We exchanged cards at times and messages on each other's blogs.  When Charlene retired three years ago we all did cards for her combined retirement/birthday party using one of her favorites - m&m's.  Here's the card that I made for her highlighting the new at the time coconut m&m's.  

Charlene took part in lot's of challenges and also belonged to a group of stampers called the CCEE Stampers.  Yesterday they posted a tribute to Miss Charlene and asked us to make a card in her honor as it would have been her birthday.  They suggested visiting her gallery and casing a card or making one using some of her favorites which include penguins and the color purple.  And that's where I got my inspiration for this week's Jingle Belles challenge.  Focusing on the "twinchie" of the penguin and the *little* stars, this is my tribute to Charlene.  

I'll remember her humor and kindness, her talent and her willingness to share it.  She will be missed.

I am sad to lose a friend like Charlene.  People find it hard to believe that you can make such good friends of people you have never met face to face.   But if you think about it, we are drawn to those who share the same interests.  How how many of us had pen pals "back in the day"?  If you did, chances are you never met them in person but may have only known what they look like by a picture they might have enclosed in one of those eagerly anticipated letters.  There was an excitement to it. These days you are cautioned to be careful of what you put out there for others to read because it goes to a bigger audience and some of that audience is not so discerning as to be looking for common interests.  But for the most part, there is a great deal of sharing going on.  You really can get to know a lot about a person through their posts and you come to care about them.  When I don't see someone posting for a length of time, I do become concerned.  There are a few of the bloggers that I have followed who have stopped posting and not all of them have explained why, so I do wonder about those. This is a hobby and not a job for most people and you do have to find the time to edit photos, write posts, visit other blogs and it all takes time.  So I do understand that daily life can put a hiccup into regular posting.  But I do wonder.  

I had a totally different card planned for this challenge so I will be back with a second one before the deadline next week.  I hope you enjoyed this one and I hope you'll say a little prayer for Charlene and her family.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cheater Churros With Cream Cheese Filling

I promised this recipe to a friend.  It's very simple and you might even have most of the ingredients on hand.  

Start with a loaf of bread.  Trim all the crusts off and save them for the hungry blue jays or make croutons or bread crumbs out of them.

Use a rolling pin and roll all the slices to flatten them.  

The stack below is the whole loaf of bread minus the heels.  It sure is short without it's heels.  (Okay, I'm not a comedian but it was a little funny wasn't it?)

At this point you will want to preheat your oven to 350º.

Combine one 8 oz. pkg of softened cream cheese with 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar in a bowl.

In a separate container mix together 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.

The recipe calls for 3/4 c. of melted butter but I've used less.  I tried it with 1 stick and then with just 6 tablespoons and had enough.  It will probably depend on the number of slices in your loaf of bread, but you can always melt some more butter if you need to and just remember not to let your roll sit in the butter and soak it all up.  The quicker you coat it, the less you'll use.  Or at least it seems that way. 

Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on each slice.  

Spread the cream cheese mixture and then roll up the slice of bread.

Prepare to get messy fingers at this point.  You will then dip each roll into the butter and .......

drop it immediately into the sugar mixture.  I use a container that's about the size of the roll and fairly confining so all I have to do is shake the container to fully coat the roll in the sugar mixture.

Line them up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.   (Really - do yourself a favor and use parchment paper.  It's sooooooooooo much easier to clean up.) I usually dump sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the tops.  Bake for 20 mins.

The filling may ooze out a bit and the sugar will be a little crunchy.

You can eat them warm or at room temperature.  I keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and HWNSNBP has dessert for a week.

I found this recipe on Pinterest linked to Keshia's Kakes.

Once again you'll need:

1 loaf of bread
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (or less) butter

And they would be just as good with your coffee or tea in the morning as they would for dessert after dinner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunrise on the North Branch

I have a quick view of the North Branch River on my way to work in the morning.  I never have enough time to stop and take a picture it seems.  This morning, MLK day off, the sun was taunting me through the bedroom blinds.  There was a pink hue and even though the saying goes "Red sky at morning, sailor's warning...." I thought it would be perfect to see what I could see with my camera on a day I didn't have to keep going.  

Both of us still in pajamas, I told HWNSNBP to put on some pants and "Let's go!"  I just grabbed my coat, threw on a pair of sandals and told him I couldn't wait for him to  put socks on because the sun was rising too fast.  I didn't even think about it until I came home that I didn't take any identification with me - just me, the camera and the car.  

The first picture was taken from the car.  And had I waited for someone to put their socks on I would have missed the deer crossing the river.   I really think that if I had been going to work, I wouldn't have slowed down and probably wouldn't have noticed that deer.  

I drove a little farther up the road to where there is a pull-off alongside the road and parked there.  The geese at the bottom of the hill were a little wary of my presence and almost immediately started swimming away from the side I was on.  There are lot's of geese on this river in the morning, many more than you can see in the picture.  The water is not currently frozen but will be later this week when they're saying the Polar Vortex will arrived here again and temps will be in the single digits.  On those mornings when there is ice, it almost looks like the geese are frozen into the river.  I will have to make an effort to leave a little earlier one of those days and hope that my camera works in that extreme cold.

While looking at all the geese I did notice that there was a bird that was much too white to be an ordinary Canadian goose.  

I didn't even realize until I pulled this picture up on the computer that there was another duck with this one.  I believe they are a pair of Common Mergansers.  I hope to see them again.

We have the day off so I hope to get into the stamp cave today if for no other reason than to straigten it out from the last whirlwind of card making.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Blues & More

Bluebirds that is.  We haven't had very many sunny days recently where the temperatures on those days weren't extreme (Polar Vortex induced temperatures) or there was snow cover, but on the milder sunny days I had noticed the blues checking out their box so I made sure to have my camera with me yesterday just in case and I was rewarded with a sighting.

I have to leave the office and go into the lobby to get a window that does not have a screen in it and I sometimes try to open the outside door very carefully so as not to frighten them off.  The box is about 60-75 feet from the front door and I use my zoom lens to the max.

Yesterday our new custodian saw me in the lobby with my camera and coaxed me to go outside and take these pictures.  He kept telling me to go closer and closer and I told him he was responsible for making sure I didn't trip or fall off the sidewalk into the driveway as I kept clicking away.  

They were suspicious as you can see, but they let me get about half the distance to the box before they flew off.  These pictures are enlarged even more on the computer.  Our custodian told me he has a larger lens that he's going to bring in for me to try out.  I might have to start putting some of my craft money aside if I like it.  Wait, let me rethink that.  I'll find some way to make it work without sacrificing my crafting addiction!

Temperature yesterday was about 40º, clear and sunny and not only just perfect for the birds but just perfect to have our new kitchen island delivered.  

When we put the new floor in in June, we broke through the half wall between the kitchen and dining room area and I felt that having the two tables so close in proximity was a little redundant.  I also wanted a little more storage and our floor plan just didn't allow for additional cabinets.  So I thought an island might be ideal.  I have to admit that we looked and then kind of gave up for a while. We even had someone come out to the house to talk about making a custom one for us.  He asked more questions about what we wanted than we really had hard answers for so we continued to wait it out.  

Then, one day in October when we were on our way to the condo on a Saturday morning for a change, HWNSNBP suggested that we stop in Columbus at the Amish furniture place which is usually closed by the time we pass it on Friday nights.  The first thing we saw when we walked in the door was exactly what we wanted.  Well, almost exactly.  The one on the floor had a top that only extended 8".  I wanted one that extended deeper so you could fit your legs completely under it without having your feet hit the island.  That was not a problem for them.  

What was a bit of a problem was that the chairs that we picked out were made by another shop and even though both shops used the same wood, they used a different brand of stain, so we had to purchase the stain for everything to match.  Well, as luck would have it, they forgot to use our stain so that meant we did not have the island in time for the holidays while they made another one.  

But it came out beautifully and they were able to just squeeze it through the doorway without any damage and it fits perfectly.  (Pay no attention to that counter under the cabinets - most of those items were being relocated and I should have finished that before I took the picture.)

So as nice as yesterday was, this morning was a icy, snowy mess.  We had new living room furniture delivered in the middle of the worst part of it and I almost broke my hand "helping" get the couch through the door.  Thankfully it's just bruised and sore and there was no damage to the couch.  They had it wrapped up so tight with moving pads and plastic and the plastic got caught on the locking device of the sliding screen door.  I had to help compress the cushions as the movers pushed (HWNSNBP had to work this morning doing a high school basketball game) and once we got it going my hand got sucked between the couch, the plastic and the doorway.  Ouch!  

But it's all in and looks wonderful and I would take a picture but all the old furniture is still here and the room is rather cluttered at the moment.  I had a nice nap on my new couch this afternoon but I think Kirby is in a little bit of shock with all this change and these strange people that have been in the house these last couple of days.  He's been a little quiet and hasn't ventured out of his cage much but he'll get used to it as will we.