Saturday, August 23, 2014

Extreme Jewelery Makeover - Sea Inspired

From ordinary to extraordinary! I purchased ocean inspired jewelery from Francine my AVON representative which I thought would make a great base for an extreme jewelery makeover. I next discovered sea inspired pendents and charms at Hobby Lobby. I placed them all in the talented and creative hands of jewelery artist Kelly Reed and she turned them into one of a kind works of art! 
I am so excited to wear them on our cruise and to Lake Tahoe. I have included pictures of the original jewelery (with the exception of a set of earrings) which represent the "before" pictures. The "after" pictures feature three necklaces, a very special charm bracelet, and several pairs of matching hand made earrings. She also combined the three individual anklets into one and added additional charms. I will treasure my new ocean inspired jewelry sets and am really looking forward to showing them off while on vacation. Thank you Kelly for sharing your talents with me!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

No Crust Italian Squash Pie

Thank you Rebecca Dally Rodriguez for the simple and delicious new recipe!

No Crust Italian Squash Pie

4 cups thinly sliced yellow squash (or vegetable of choice)
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. each salt, pepper and garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Romano shredded cheese (or cheese of choice)
Cooking Spray

Saute squash and onions in olive oil about 10 minutes and cool slightly.  Stir remaining ingredients in with squash and onions.  Pour into an oven safe pie plate (I sprayed mine with olive oil Pam cooking spray).  Bake 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts

This side dish was a hit with the family.  Easy to prepare and full of flavor!  I found the recipe in a special addition of a magazine called "Bacon" published by Hobby Farms.

Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon
¼ cup pork or chicken stock
1 ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
½ tsp. black pepper

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise so that the leaves of each half stay together, and set aside.

Cut the bacon into 1 inch strips, and place into a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Once the bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, remove the bacon, and reserve the fat in the pan.

Place sprouts cut-side down into the pan, and season them lightly with salt.  Sear the sprouts 3 to 5 minutes until brown and crispy on the cut side.

Add the stock of your choice to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cover.  Cook 4 to 5 minutes until the sprouts are tender.  Finally, add the mustard, honey and pepper to the pan, and toss to coat the sprouts.

Transfer the sprouts to serving dish, and top with the reserved crispy bacon strips.  Serve while warm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hula Kiddo Cards

One rubber stamp "Hula Kiddo" by Stampendous and three different card color combinations. Paper by Club Scrap and Graphic 45. I love to give myself these little challenges where I work with limited products and see what I can create. The flowers "Pearl Blossoms" by Queen & Company have some depth which added just a bit of texture to the cards. And she is topped with Stickles by Ranger which are still in the process of drying. I really wanted the Hula Girl to be the focus so I limited my embellishments and stayed with a basic design layout. I used Versa Fine - Onyx Black ink and Hampton Art - Clear Embossing Powder on the Hula Kiddo.  Aloha!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Light Your Sparklers - American Flag Cake a Success

Light your sparklers because the American Flag Cake was a firework worthy success! We didn't do a great job cutting it clean for pictures but when you have excited little people waiting for a slice there is no time for staging the perfect slice for your one photo opportunity. Although the actual assembly is not difficult the baking time was considerable and I needed more than one batch of frosting.  In all the finished cake stood 5 layers tall with three combined layers on the top layer.  I did almost all of the baking the first night and then frosting and assembly the second night.  I have never been much of a cake baker but this was a neat project and I was compelled to give it a whirl.

I brought over a bunch of summer activities and the kids worked on those first while we visited and then it was cake time. Since the little Miss. turns one in a few days we made it a true celebration and topped her slice with a candle and sang happy birthday. Everyone had their picture taken and then it was time to dig in. What fun! This may not be a cake I make often due to the time dedicated to bring it to life but it was well worth the kids excitement when the first slice was cut. 

The recipe can be found here:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
Published January 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated
Makes 16 Cookies

Exceptionally rich chocolate cookie recipe with a sturdy, not crumbly, texture. The fat in melted chocolate made the dough too soft, so they replaced the chocolate with cocoa powder. Eliminating egg yolks further improved the structure of the cookies. For chewiness, they replaced some of the white sugar in their chocolate cookie recipe with brown sugar and added dark corn syrup. Adding bits of bittersweet chocolate to the dough gave them extra chocolate flavor without compromising the texture they had worked so hard to achieve.

1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/2 cup for coating
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1.  Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 large (18 x 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate.  Whisk flour cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.  Whisk corn syrup, egg white, and vanilla together in small bowl.

2. Beat butter, brown sugar and remaining granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium low, add corn syrup mixture and beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bowl once with rubber spatula.  With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and chopped chocolate; mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl once.  Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom.  Chill dough 30 minutes to firm slightly (do not chill longer than 30 minutes).

3.  Divide dough into 16 equal portions; roll between hands into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Working batches, drop 8 dough balls into baking dish with sugar and toss to coat.  Set dough balls on prepare baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart; repeat with second batch of 8.  Bake, reversing position of the baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 10 to 11 minutes.  Do not over bake.

4.  Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cook cookies to room temperature.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Published the Stamper's Sampler Fall 2014

Seeing your name in print is always very humbling. A few nights ago I received the Fall issue of the Stampers Sampler - The Art of Rubber Stamping by Stampington & Company.

I was very blessed to have them select 4 of my Halloween inspired cards for publication. Creating Halloween themed cards is one of my favorite artistic challenges so this was exceptionally thrilling for me. These are actually some of my favorite creations as they are not too dark but have just enough creepy cute in their design and layout.

It does however make me feel guilty that I have not had time to make any cards by hand recently. My poor art studio is a disaster and I have a million unfinished projects. Summers are usually like this for me. Just imagine the shame I have experienced walking into Hallmark recently.  I also have cards I need to prepare for submission but have not had the time over the past few months.  I really need to get on it.  Anthony and Alex have both busted my chops about never making it on the cover of the Stampers Sampler or Take Ten.  I can't even imagine that happening but I can always dream.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Butterfly and Flower Cards

I created these cards with a very similar layout using the same family of papers but mixed in flower embellishments from a completely different line.  The paper and cut-out journaling cards are from Bo Bunny - Serenade.  The Morphing Bugs are from Inkadinkado,  The quote stamp is from Great Impressions and the brads and flowers are from Prima Marketing - Engraver.  The sun is shining now and I do feel a little guilty being inside to work on cards but the people I am making them for are without a doubt worth the time.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Time to Monkey Around - Sock Monkey That Is

Today a co-worker is having a baby shower.  I was unable to attend as Raisin, Jay and I were already registered for the Helping Hand Fund - Fun Run - Walk - Pet Fair at the exact same time.  I wanted to make a card to match the Sock Monkey theme that I was working on.  I found two sock monkeys for her to top off the gift bag and a per-made Sock Monkey memory album.  All she will need to do is drop in the pictures.  I also added in three outfits that were more primary in color (vs. the traditional "frilly" little girl outfits since Ellen is not a frilly person).  To top it off I made a hand made card featuring a Sock Monkey stamp from Stampabilities.  Sock Monkeys are great because you can make them any color and in this case I made one in pink and one in grey.  I decided to give her the pink Sock Monkey card since the baby is a girl but also ended up making a few extra since they were fun to put together.   

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Coffee Girl Tags

My Coffee Girl tags are my last three tags for the afternoon.  Whew!  Again these are a wee bit smaller than the original Easter Bunny tags I made earlier today.  I returned to flowers and quite a bit of bling for these tags.  I am hoping these are generic enough to use any time of year.  The sweet Coffee Girl stamp is from Club Scrap. 


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