Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the Bling!

Happy New Year! Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy year! It's Softpencil Preview Day! This week's challenge is something glittery, liquid applique, flock or sparkles in celebration of the New Year. The DT was given Elizabeth's digi image, "We Made a Snowman." I dry embossed white glitter paper with a Swirl folder and my Cuttlebug. I colored the images with watercolor pencils and then applied flocking mixed with white glitter to the snowman, Ratini, the scarves, and the hats. (Double click for a closer view.) I used pop dots for added dimension. I found a miniature snowflake garland at Michael's. I cut it apart and glued the tiny snowflakes to the center of each punched snowflake and then added blue rhinestones to the centers. I glued silver wrapping paper to CS and cut a scalloped circle using a Nestie. The sentiment was typed on my computer.

Snowflake paper is Paper Pizazz. The silver and white paper is Anna Griffin. I hope you'll join us on Paper Craft Planet for this week's challenge #13! Stop by and visit the DT girls to see how they are greeting the New Year! Their links are in my sidebar. Don't forget to stop by Elizabeth's blog for freebies and the latest Softpencil news! She has some amazing things planned for this year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Wedding!

I hope everyone had a relaxing and joyous Christmas holiday! Hubby and I are going on a short winter vacation. One of his childhood friends is getting married for the very first time! I made this card for him and his soon-to-be bride. Santa brought me the "In Bloom" stamp set from Papertrey Ink. The frilly butterfly is from Stampendous. I embossed the images in gold on white vellum paper and layered them on top of Anna Griffin paper. I used a MS punch for the border and added an organza wired ribbon from Hobby Lobby. I found a wedding sentiment on the web, so I printed it out on vellum paper and attached it to the inside of the card.I am entering this card in Creative Card Crew's Challenge: "Anything Goes."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Working Under Pressure

I altered a large star shaped box for my one and only grandson's third birthday as a table centerpiece. My daughter recently moved into a new home, and she decided to use the box to decorate A's room. It sits on a shelf above his bed. My daughter just "happened" to mention that she wished she had two more smaller star boxes to place on each side of the large box. My SIL said he would like to have his picture and my daughter's on the boxes. I placed their photos on one side and my grandson's on the other. I began this project this morning, packed it up, and mailed it at the post office this afternoon! It should arrive on the West Coast before Christmas! Yay!
Stamps are Pink Cat (copyright Pink Cat Studio). DP and CS are from "The Paper Studio".

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Home Baked Goodies!

Notice my post reads Home "Baked,"

Not Home "Made!" I feel like I cheated.....almost! I did make my Mom's home made buttercream frosting. It is the only icing my oldest DS will eat! I usually just combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up, but I measured everything this time so I could share the recipe. Here it is:
1/2 c. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tblsp. milk
Cream butter. Add sugar, vanilla, and milk. Beat until smooth. Place in a pastry bag with desired tip and decorate.
If you want to frost a cake, only use 4 Tbsp. of milk.
DS likes my home made sugar cookie recipe better than any other cookie. I still have some more gifts to make so no home made sugar cookies before Christmas this year :(  I'll have to make some after the holidays. I always make them for Valentine's Day, but I won't make him wait that long! 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Experimental Cake

Hubby loves my lemon cake! He asked me to make a similar cake with chocolate, so I followed the basic format. Here is the "Cast of Characters".
1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
3/4 c. oil
3/4 c. water
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer for two minutes. Spray a bundt pan with Pam. Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Invert on a plate. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
Icing: "The Cast of Characters"
1 pkg. chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet. but Hubby requested milk chocolate.)
8 oz. sour cream
Melt chocolate chips on high in microwave for 30 seconds. Stop and stir. Melt for 30 seconds more. Stir in sour cream and beat until well blended. I used a wire whisk. Spread frosting on cake. Place in fridge to set while you make the glaze.
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. milk
Beat until well blended with a wire whisk. Pour over frosting, allowing glaze to drip down sides. Store in fridge.
We had a small dinner party Friday night, and my cake was a hit! (I still think it would have tasted better if I used semi-sweet chocolate! LOL.....Maybe next time.)

Oh. Yum!

Candy coated pretzel sticks were my project tonight. They were requested by one of my sons-in-law. I bought three bags of large pretzel sticks, two bags of white candy melts, and assorted candy toppings from the baking section of my local grocery. Two blocks of the white melts covered eight pretzel sticks. I melted the blocks in the microwave for one minute, spooned it over the pretzel sticks, and then rolled them in assorted toppings. I then placed them in the freezer for about two minutes to set. I still have some of the melts left. One and a half packages were enough to cover all three bags of pretzels.

Pictured above are two blocks. They are each about the size of an ice cube. During the summer months I like to use chocolate melts to cover fresh strawberries. I packaged the pretzels up, and I have enough for all four of my kids, sons-in-law, grandson, and DH. Tomorrow I will make cookies!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SP Challenge: Anything But a Card

It's Softpencil Preview Day! Are you ready for Christmas? Are you looking for some inexpensive gifts to make? Handmade gifts from the heart are sooo appreciated by the recipients. The ornaments above are relatively quick and easy to make. I started out with this digi image from Softpencil. It is called "Divine Creation," and it was designed by Elizabeth's very talented sister, Natalia. Talent certainly does run in that family! I pulled the image into my very old Photo Express Program and colored it digitally with the "paint bucket" feature. The great thing about digi images is that you can resize them to fit anything! I made mine to fit some glass ornaments that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I printed the medallions onto Grafix Rub-On paper that was also purchased at Hobby Lobby. (I used a 40% off coupon, of course :D) You will find a link to a video by Lauren Meader HERE that will give you step by step instructions on how to make this type of ornament. Lauren used pictures of her children on her ornaments. After the images were adhered, I added silver Stickles to the blue one, organza ribbons, snowflakes punched with my MS punch, and rhinestones. I have already given ornaments to the "girls" in my Bunco group and my scrapbook friends, "The Flip Flop Gals." Everyone who has received an ornament has just loved them and couldn't believe that I made them myself!
Check out Elizabeth's blog for free digis so you can play along too this week in Challenge #12 at Paper Craft Planet! You could win some digis! Wish Elizabeth a happy birthday while you're there! Today is her special day! Check out this week's amazing creations by the Softpencil Design Team. Their links are in my sidebar. I am also entering my ornaments at:
1. Our Creative Corner- Christmas
2. Crazy 4 Challenges- Snowflakes
3. Cardvaarks - digital
4. Creative Card Crew- "Anything Goes"
5. Simon Says- "Merry Christmas"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Got Snow?

I love shaker cards, and I love this new digi from Shirley's Two Girls! (S2G)
I layered circular frames of chipboard to form the shaker, covered it with an acetate circle, and then added a glittered CS frame to finish it off. MS glitter and snowflakes punched out of foil wrapping paper (Fiskar's punch) were added to the inside. I embossed the snow with my Cuttlebug and a Swirls embossing folder. The blue snowflakes are plastic confetti. I added blue rhinestones to the center of each. This card fits these challenges:
1. Simon Says- "Let It Snow"
2. Cute Card Thursday- "Sew Beady"
3. Stamp Something- "Winter Wonderland"
4. Secret Crafters- "Snow"
5. Crazy 4 Challenges- Snowmen or Snow
6. Pile It On- "Chip! Chip!" Chipboard
7. Kaboodle Doodles- "Sparkling Winter"
8. Cardvaarks- Digital
9. Creative Card Crew- "Anything Goes"
10. Sunflowers and Dragons - "Baby It's Cold Outside!"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easy Lemon Cake

It was my turn to host Bunco this month. For dessert I made my Mom's lemon cake. It is always a hit, and is so easy to make! 
When life hands you lemons, make lemon cake! This is one of my favorite cakes. My mother first made this cake when I was in high school. I have fond memories of eating it on summer picnics, but it's good any time of the year!

Cake Ingredients:
1 box lemon cake mix
1 small box instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil

Juice of 2 small lemons + zest (finely grated yellow peel of lemon)
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix well.

Combine all ingredients for cake and mix well with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Spray a bundt pan with Pam. Pour cake batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

When cake is done, remove from oven and invert on to a plate. Poke holes in cake with a skewer or toothpick.   While cake is still warm, pour half of lemon topping over cake. Let cool about 10 minutes and pour remaining topping over cake.

Number Of Servings: 12
Preparation Time:1 hr. 10 min

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blue, Silver, and White

Softpencil's Challenge  #11 this week is to use your favorite Christmas colors. Mine are blue, silver, and white. I like these colors because they can also be used in January. I made a shaker wall hanging using the digi image, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" It is 6 1/4 inches in diameter. I cut and layered several pieces of chip board to make the shaker. I paper pieced the sky using blue glittered CS and layered a piece of embossed vellum over the snow. I then "drew" on the embossing with Scribbles Glittering Snow. Silver Stickles were added to the tree. I placed small silver snowflakes on the snow that I cut from silver foil wrapping paper. I colored the images with watercolor pencils and popped them up with pieces of CS. (Pop dots were too thick.) 

Then I added rhinestones, Snowflake confetti,  MS Glitter, an acetate circle (recycled packaging) to hold everything in, and a blue glitter frame.

I topped it off with a blue wired organza bow. I added a snowflake made by gluing foil wrapping paper to CS and punching  it out with a MS punch. I added a rhinestone to the center and glued it to the bow. Then I attached a ribbon hanger to the back. I hung it in my livingroom, and I can also enjoy it after the holidays too! What are your favorite Christmas colors? I hope you'll make a project and join us in this week's challenge at Paper Craft Planet! You could win some adorable digis! Visit Elizabeth's Softpencil blog for freebies and a link to her Etsy Shop.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Christmas Inside, Too!

We had the first snow of the season; actually, just a dusting. but it was still pretty while it lasted. Last week I showed you the outside of the house Today I will take you on a tour of part of the inside. My husband and I both love Christmas! He is as bad? as I am about decorating. As soon as I think we are done, Hubby will think of something else that needs to be decorated: like the lights on the ceiling fan. We did decorate them after I took photos. :)

Front door from the inside

Front hallway

Kitchen Island

Kitchen Counter

Love seat


Advent Calendars
We open one a day. I have pictures of my husband, me, and the kids in each window with a short description and the date. Ours is at the top and starts with the day we were married. My son B's is at the bottom. His starts when he was born. Each of my children have their own Advent calendar. When they moved out, I gave them their calendars. I look forward to opening the windows each year.

Fireplace in Family Room

Christmas Village
We started out with one house on our very first Christmas and we have added to the village over the years.

Our Christmas Tree
Hubby thinks it has too many ornaments on it! I love unwrapping the ornaments each year. There is a story about each one. When my DDs come to town, they ask  me to tell the story about each one. Some belonged to my parents, some were bought as souveniers from vacations, and some were given by friends, or made by my children. I took pictures of each ornament last year. I haven't started yet, but I plan on making a scrapbook with the "story" about each ornament. I'll have to make four copies, but I think it will be a nice keepsake for my children. Also I give a new ornament to my children, sons-in-law, and grandson every year.

Santa Train
I found this train at KMart one year at an after Christmas sale. It was 50% off! It runs on batteries and lights up. The whistle blows, the bell rings, and Santa says,"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" I love it! It reminds me of Christmases when I was little, and we went to my Uncle's house. He had a Lionel train set that took up an entire pool table! We looked forward to seeing the train every year. My youngest son was still in Middle School when this train was purchased. I remember that he strapped a GI Joe figure to the caboose and then video taped the train giving him a "ride." LOL

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gingerbread House Party Secret

OK, I guess it won't be a secret any more if I'm posting it on my blog for the world to see! LOL *To make a sturdy gingerbread house that will not collapse several times while you are trying to put it together, AND will stay together throughout the holiday season: Hot Glue It Together before decorating. Do this ONLY if you are not actually planning to eat the gingerbread! I do not make my own gingerbread. I buy a gingerbread house kit at a local craft store (using a % off coupon, of course!) If you have ever bought one of these kits, you will know why I don't choose to eat them. Homemade gingerbread is much better tasting. I use a kit during the holidays for convenience and decorative purposes. Any way, getting to the point of this post: I hosted my Third Annual Gingerbread House Party Friday night. I invited my group of friends, "The Flip Flop Girls." Three of the girls opted to make "chocolate" houses instead of gingerbread houses. They melted chocolate, poured it into a mold, and then decorated it. One of the girls (who will remain nameless) opened her box, only to find that her gingerbread house pieces were broken!!! She will have to return it to the store and get a new one. So disappointing! I was the only one to make an actual gingerbread house at the gingerbread house party.
I will say that papercrafting is much easier. You don't have to deal with pieces sliding off your project. I used the royal icing that came with the kit to attach the candy. I guess you could pull the candy off and eat it if you really wanted to, but I wouldn't advise it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Freebies from Softpencil!

Elizabeth has just posted some new freebies! If you have ever wanted to try out these images, now is your chance! They are "My Tiny Friends" and "Bird on a Branch." You can find them here. She also has adorable Christmas stamps for sale in her Etsy Shop. The challenge this week is "layers." Enter at Paper Craft Planet, and you could win some digis!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Calendar Images!

It's Softpencil Preview Day! The challenge this week is "layers!" I used Elizabeth's new calendar digi, "Snowy Day." This sweet little image just reminded me of a gingerbread house. Maybe I have gingerbread houses on the brain because I am having a "Gingerbread House Decorating Party" tomorrow night for some friends LOL! I used a layering technique for my background. First it was colored with watercolor pencils, then it was chalked, and blended with a watercolor pen. Then punched out silver
snowflakes were added. I embossed a piece of vellum and placed it over the snow image. Then I layered flocking and glitter for added texture. I punched circles out of glittered CS and layered them on the roof, around the door, and the center of the windows. Don't you think they look like gumdrops? I also added popdots to the back of the cute little girl and her bunny friend. An organza wired ribbon bow at the top and large silver snowflakes at the bottom with added rhinestone centers complete this project. Check out Elizabeth's Softpencil Blog and Etsy Shop for more cute images. I hope you'll join us for this week's challenge #10 at Paper Craft Planet. You could win some of Elizabeth's adorable digi images!
We have EIGHT new members on the Design 
Team and TWO Guest Designers! Welcome 
to the team!

Check out the Softpencil blog to meet them!All of the team and guest designers links are in my sidebar. Check out their blogs for some creative inspiration! We all have different calendar images this week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Missing in Christmas Action

I feel guilty that I haven't been posting lately. But I am excited to
say, "My house is COMPLETELY decorated for the holidays!"
I think this is the earliest we have ever finished decorating. I am
hosting my third annual "Gingerbread House Decorating Party"
this Friday for my friends in the "Flip Flop Girls" group. It is also
my turn to host Bunco next week. Georgia is the founder of our
Bunco group. We have added and subtracted some members over
the years but some of the originals are still playing. We passed the
twenty year mark this past May. Oh my! Time sure does fly!
These are our decorations for this year. 
We started with the outside of the house. We added the mailbox
this summer when we had our new deck built. Hubby had been
wanting a brick box forever. He could hardly wait for the Christmas
season to start so he could decorate it.  This is where we started
with pine swags that we wired together and then added red bows.
Next we moved to the back of the house. Hubby wired more garland
together, added lights, and finally red bows.
It was time to replace our window wreaths this year. We bought plain ones at Hobby Lobby. I wrapped a string of fifty lights around each window wreath and added velvet bows. Hubby hung them all.
This is our garage. See the large wreath on the side?
Once upon a time it was a Christmas tree! My inventive Hubby
made a frame using two hula hoops and the grate from an
old fireplace. Then he wired the tree limbs onto the frame.
We used sponges on a stick to paint snow on the limbs. Then
we added decorations on picks, lights, and a large bow.
This is a not so clear picture of the back of our house
when the garland was lit.

We didn't turn the lights on until Thanksgiving night.
Here is another picture of the front of the house. My
camera doesn't take very good pictures in darkness.
It really does look much better "in real life".

Home for the Holidays!

"There's no place like home for the holidays!" This project reminds me of that Christmas song. Both of my daughters who live out of state :( are moving into new homes :). My youngest moved last week and my oldest is in the process of building hers. Exciting times for both of them. A miniature house
filled with goodies will be the perfect "housewarming" gift for each of them. I was literally in LOVE when I saw this newest template at Papertrey Ink! Then I just had to purchase the matching accessory stamps for the windows and doors. 
I used MS punches to add details like the fence, roof trim. and pine boughs. I found some glitter CS at Walmart that feels like marshmallow Peeps! It is so soft, and I made roofs for some of the houses out of that. I didn't stop with only three houses. I have made fourteen so far, and I still have some more to go. They make great gift boxes for friends and family this holiday season.
I am having so much fun making these cute little houses! Each one is different. I can't wait to give them as gifts!