Friday, December 9, 2011

What I'm Making for the Christmas Party

Every year, our friends Erika and Bryan host a Christmas party.
This year, they've sold their house and are living in a temporary location, until their beautiful new home can be built.
We were all bummed that the Christmas party appeared to be out of the question this year...until the Caldwells (our cousins who live right down the street!) agreed to host instead!

Kyle is smoking up some brisket, frying a turkey, and baking a ham.
For the record, there are only like 20 people coming. Apparently we're going protein-heavy :)

To combat this and throw in some well-needed sugary carbs, here's what I'm bringing:

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars, courtesy of Cookies and Cups.

The Best Baked Beans Ever, courtesy The Pioneer Woman & (the other) Pam Anderson

And cranberry sauce. Courtesy - me! 1 bag cranberries, 1 cup orange juice, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Cook on stovestop till it's thick and syrupy, then cool. Devour.

Hope you guys are enjoying this season!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Apparently I'm not a very good blogger. I either want to post three times a day, or once every 3 weeks. No bueno.

But I've been a little busy. Some crazy stuff at work, some crazy stuff at home...and of course, stuffing my face at Thanksgiving with the fam.

So as a quick update, some pics from the family's Thanksgiving lunch. Man, did we eat!

Step-nephew-in-law Bryce eyeing the camera, as sis-in-law Carrie sets up the counter for diggin' in.

Fine cutlery and plates. We go all out.

Bayou Bourbon glazed ham. You don't even know.

Rolls are browning, and marshmallows are melting.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole. It's not a holiday without it.

Ditto on the banana sheet cake. YUM.

Lori, my niece. I think I caught her off guard here.

When do we stop putting olives on our fingertips? Oh yeah...never.

The turkey - deep fried and delicious.

Apparently I really liked the broccoli cheese casserole. 

Hope you all had a chance to dig in and enjoy this holiday with family, friends, and basically all of your loved ones!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hero Arts

My birthday was a month ago today. This past weekend, as a sort-of birthday present, my friend Kristina took me out shopping at our local stamp store. I was giddy and excited as always, and was able to fill up my arms with all sorts of goodies I've been staring at for awhile. 

With new toys in hand, I decided to play along with the Hero Arts November contest; specifically, the holiday gift tags/gift wrap, and I played a little with the color challenge too!

For the gift tags, I used some Basic Grey paper, a few sheets from the Hello Luscious 6x6 pad. I've found that some of the prints are just too bright for me, but they are toned down nicely with some white embossing!

I stamped the Fabulous Patterns stamp (from the BG/HA Picadilly collection) in Versamark, and use white embossing powder to make it pop brightly. I used a 2.5" circle punch from EK Success to make the ornament shape, then I added a little bit of green Stickles on the green ornament, and some Liquid Pearls on the red one. 

On the backside, I wanted to add my message, so I used some Real Red ink from Stampin' Up to make a bright greeting. The Merry Christmas is from the Hero Arts Swirl Christmas stamp set. I finished the whole thing off with some Forest Moss distress ink (on the green tag) and some Barn Door distress ink (on the red tag), and some baker's twine.

Next, I really wanted to play with the color challenge: pink, pool, green, neutral, and white.

I started with some white project paper (kind of like a butcher paper), and used the Hero Arts Four Framed Snowflakes to make a pattern of differently-colored snowflakes. I used some Studio G chalk inks, in pink, blue, green and grey. 

For some extra shine, I spritzed it all with some Perfect Pearls mist (water + Perfect Pearls), and blinged it out (a little) with some liquid pearls around the snowflakes. I wrapped my gift and topped it off with some grey baker's twine!

I have to say, I don't know if I'll make my own wrapping paper in the future. I have a weird, mad love for red wrapping paper with white snowflakes - and I could easily see myself making my own with these stamps. BUT - it would have to be for little gifts only. Way too time-consuming otherwise!  The gift tags, though...I just loved them! Super quick and easy to make.

Hope you enjoyed - thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Make Your Own Mists

Have you seen all of the videos/demos/tutorials for color mists?
Studio Calico has some (Mister Huey's), Maya Road has some, even my favorite of the cheapie brands, Inkadinkado has some. In terms of shimmer, major props go to Ranger for their Perfect Pearls Mists, and Tattered Angels for their Glimmer Mists.

Super cute, super fun...but they can get crazy pricey. Most of these are around $3 to $7, depending on the brand, size and whether or not it's on sale. 

Always the frugal shopper, I decided to make my own. Cheap, easy, just as cute, and insanely customizable. 

There are two basic ways to do this: with your stamp pad re-inkers, and with acrylic paints. The colors tend to be more sheer when using re-inkers, and more opaque with paints. It just depends on the look you're going for.

Here's what you need:

- Empty spray bottle. I like the Mini Mister from Ranger, because if I don't love a color, there's not much wasted. I use the regular-size Mister from Ranger for the colors I use a lot, like the sheer pearl. (You can also buy 2 oz. mister bottles from the dollar store...just sayin'....)

- Liquid glue, Modge Podge, Glossy Accents, or something similar.

- Re-inkers in your color of choice, or, acrylic paints in your color of choice. No need to worry about the brand - get the cheap stuff. I won't tell.

If you want some shimmer (and really, who doesn't?) you can add some Perfect Pearls to the mix. But I've found this product, and I love it, and it's a lot easier than dealing with a powdery mess: Pearlizing Medium by Art Deco. I just paid $2 for this bottle and a small squeeze did an entire 2-ounce spray bottle full of pearly mist. I'm a happy girl.

- Warm water. I don't need to tell you where to get this stuff. It's cheap.


1. Fill your bottle about halfway with warm water. (Mine's a little less than halfway, I didn't want a huge amount of this color. Oh, and note the slight amount of steam creeping up the bottle? WARM water.)

2. Add a drop of your choice of glue. Not a lot, just a drop. (Picture's not great. It just got cloudy. You get the idea.)

3. Add some color: if you have the dropper kind of reinker, start with half a dropperful. If it's the drip kind (I'm so technical), I do about 12 drops to start. Acrylic paint? One squeeze. If there's no spout for it, I just dip the little tube in my mister top in there, grab some paint, and put the lid back on. (This is about 10 drops of green acrylic paint, plus about 5 drops of the pearlizing medium.)

4. Shake. A bunch.
    Not sure if you can see the shimmer here, but it's so pretty in real life!

5. Spray.

No really. That's it. The more color you add, the deeper the color of the spray. Shocker, I know. 

For some other great shimmer, you can buy metallic acrylic paint. The gold is GORGEOUS. Might actually be my new favorite.

Anyhow, that's all. I hope you enjoy saving money and having awesome spray mists in every color you could dream of. Because it rocks!

Here's a great project using some darker ink, courtesy of Kristina Werner.
Some more subtle masking here, and some bolder stuff here.
Oh, and you can full-on color with this stuff, like Nichol Magouirk does with her word diecuts on this awesome art piece

Or I might just frame this. I love shimmer :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pretty Paper Party - Prompt 3

So on day 3, Shimelle challenged us to use our stuff.
No, really - cut up all of that gorgeous paper and USE IT.
Now I'll be honest. There is 1 paper in my stash that I simply cannot cut up, but it has sentimental reasons, and I know exactly when it will be used and what for. But everything else? Fair game.

My biggest challenge lately has been using stuff that I like, but may not necessarily *LOVE*. Like a few months ago, at Ross, I found a killer deal on some very pretty cardstock. Some of it is totally up my alley (light pink on brown floral, yummy!) but the rest of it...notsomuch. It's pink and green and very sparkly. And I'm just not there. Not much in my life right now is pink and sparkly. 

But hey, it's a challenge, right? So I decided that this was the stash to use for this particular prompt.

The first (and so far, only) layout I made is a double-page layout. I cut up all my papers yesterday, and laid them out last night onto two pages of cream cardstock. And then I glued everything down. And realized that I have no pictures to scrap that would even remotely go with it. So I went to bed.

This morning, I woke up and went to my online albums to find pictures from the Texas State Fair from a few weeks back. We went with my nieces and nephews, and I took roughly 900 pictures (no joke). I was trying to get used to my new camera, so I went a little crazy. I wasn't sure I would find anything, but I thought it would be worth a shot. And you know what? One of my nieces was wearing a pink shirt that day, and one of my nephews wore a green one. And they were eating cotton candy. Pink. SCORE!

This page is not my normal style (I don't really do "bright" - but maybe I should??). But I love it. Of course, with the subject matter, how can you not? 

Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, this was my very first ever attempt at stitching on a layout. I need practice. But I like the look, and it's pretty simple, so I'll probably try it again. 

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scraplift! (Cardlift?)

Wanted to quickly share this card I made yesterday for my friend Jessica and her new fiancee, Travis. They got engaged yesterday! Yay! :)

This is a direct lift from Kristina Werner's genius folded card. I just loved it, and had been SO wanting to try it for awhile.

I used some old pearlized cardstock. I have a ton left over from my own wedding invitations, and it just screams "wedding" to me! I used my Echo Park For The Record 6x6 pad for the background paper and the hearts, and just some black cardstock on the inside (it's hard to write on that pearlized paper!). The brad is from Hobby Lobby.

Thanks for reading!

Pretty Paper Party - Prompts 1 & 2

Monday and Tuesday were days 1 and 2 of the Pretty Paper Party.
Shimelle has become my hero. I'm in awe of this woman. 

Prompt 1 had us using strips of patterned paper to make up some sort of design element on the page. Prompt 2 challenged us to use a whole sheet of patterned paper to make up the background - and go from there.

I ended up using these prompts to complete a 2-page layout I'd been meaning to do. The pictures are from a concert I attended with my cousin and some friends this summer. Page 1 has some pictures of me posing for the camera in some MySpace-worthy self-portraits, showing off my fancy hat. Page 2 has pictures from the pre-concert margaritas, and of course the concert itself!

Page 1 / Prompt 1: For this I used some plain kraft cardstock, but I used my Hero Arts Designer Woodgrain stamp to create a background of sorts. I inked it with Vintage Photo Distress Ink. You'll see that it's a little uneven; I was going for a weathered wood look, so this was fine with me. If you want a more perfect stamped image, make sure to press firmly and evenly ALL OVER the stamp before you pull it up. The paper strips all come from Basic Grey's Curio collection, which is probably my all-time favorite paper line. And a quick look at Two Peas in a Bucket shows me that it's 50% off right now, so I'm probably going to have to stock up!

I'm still working on my embellishment/finishing skills, but I wrapped up this page with some (older) sparkly turquoise American Crafts Thickers, some rosettes (I made these by hand using my Martha Stewart Crafts scoring board), butterflies, and some tissue tape from Tim Holtz.

On day 2, I put the same patterned papers to use, to tie the pages together. Again, I stamped some kraft cardstock with the woodgrain design, this time very intentionally leaving things light, so I could still journal over the top. I used more rosettes, some of the sticker die-cuts from the Curio collection, and a sticker border strip. The letter stickers are old old old old chipboard letter stickers from Basic Grey in chocolate chip. I wouldn't even know where to find them anymore :)

We should be getting another prompt sometime today - hopefully I'll get some time to make more crafty things today!
Thanks for reading!