Saturday, January 30, 2010

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions are hard! My husband is on a crusade to paint every room in this house. We recently finished the master bedroom, and now Ed wants to move on to the great room. Today he's painting the ceiling, but he's given me and the boys the job of picking out the wall color. As you can see, we've been living with a very dark green on the walls for two years (the flash here is not doing the color justice!). Ed and I are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and this dark green is bringing us down!

We try to keep in mind that our floors are a light pine, so we need some contrast. We also have cherry cabinets and sage green laminate countertops to contend with.

So because of the light floor color, we're opting out of the lighter shades.

The warm tan seemed like too much of a contrast. These three all have a greenish undertone.

One green seemed a little too taste specific. So we're narrowing down to caraway, which is a green with some brown in it (left), and fossil butte, which is a brown with some green in it.

I'm kinda leaning to the Fossil Butte, just to give us something different than we've been living with now. The boys seem to like it because they keep calling it Fossil Butt. What could be funnier than having a fossil butt on your wall?

Of course, how does it look with the other colors downstairs?

In the kitchen?

With the fireplace?

And what if I'm sitting in the great room, looking into the foyer and dining room?

Okay, now my head hurts. Time to go make a card.

But what markers to color with? Aaack! I can't get away from it!

I made this baby card for my nephew, George, and his girlfriend, Nikki. Last week, they welcomed George Scott Thompson II into their family. We have a long history of Georges in our Scottish clan history. My grandfather was a George, my Dad was a George, my brother and nephew are Georges, and now my great nephew is added to the role call. I'm sure that there are a few Georges in heaven smiling down on this little boy!

{recipe: Wash Day wheel (SU), Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Earth Love paper (Cosmo Cricket), so saffron and sage shadow cardstock, small scallop scissors, circle punch, prisma markers}

Now I only have to decide what to do with the rest of my Saturday. I've decided! Go drink more coffee.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling Preppy

Last week, my good friend Beth and I had a great laugh! Beth had been rummaging through some stuff and found her copy of "The Preppy Handbook". Oh my gosh! We laughed and laughed, reminiscing about pink and green Izod shirts, Swatch watches, and Sperry dock siders!

Truth be told, I was not much of a prep. All those multiple Swatch watches cost a lot of money, and I was buying my own things from my babysitting and McDonald's money when I was a teen. I was more of a Molly Ringwald in "Sixteen Candles". And just like Molly, I fell in love with the preppy guy who owned the pink and green Izod shirts. I guess that Hollywood, in this one circumstance, is right... opposites do attract!

I received my copy of the spring L.L. Bean catalog this week, and it was filled with so many preppy clothes and colors. I love them all! They even have a watch with swappable bands like the old Swatch watches! Too funny! I think that the rebel Molly is still a big part of my personality, but maybe I'll add a little prep to my life, too...just to make things interesting.

Today's card was inspired by the preppy outfit from the catalog that you can see on the and green with a splash of white!

{recipe: My Cuppa Joe (Gina K), Thanks a Million (Gina K), Basic Grey Nook and Pantry papers, wild wasabi cardstock, pretty in pink cardstock, melon mambo cardstock, scallop edge and circle punches, white souffle pen}

I wonder what Molly's character would be like today, twenty-five years later. I think she'd be a creative coffee-drinking crafter, a little bit funky and a whole lotta fun.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Warm Thoughts and Sunshine

Yesterday was a cold gray day, filled with dark thoughts and Lucy from the Peanuts gang with a scowl on her face and a dark cloud overhead. But today, I woke up to sunshine in my window and six-year old Sam serenading me with the song "Good morning, Lord!" I just know it's going to be a good day.

My husband called from work to let me know that he's taking a week of vacation in February. Hall-e-luiah! I so need to get out of town for a while. This football-crazed city is really starting to get on my nerves. Indy is whipped up into a Super Bowl frenzy, and I just don't get that excited about football. I mean, Bible studies get planned AROUND football, women where Colts jerseys and jewelry to church, and Sunday School children actually ask you to pray that Peyton Manning won't get injured at the next big game. It's IN-SANE!

But today, I will not let it get to me. I think I'll take myself to Starbucks today for a coffee, and then I'll go to the florist's shop for a nice bouquet of spring flowers. I may even take the dog for a walk. But what I will not do is stay in this house and mope today!

I made this card for yesterday's color challenge. I don't you think there's enough pink here? I found this little vellum envelope in my stash...I think I got it from the Dollar Spot at Target a LONG time ago. I decided to use it as my starting point.

{recipe: sentiment from Boy and His Dog (Pure Innocence-MFT stamps), Hero Arts stamp stamp, Basic Grey Sugared paper, melon mambo/blush blossom, pretty in pink cardstock, scallop edge punch, Martha Stewart heart scallop punch, vellum envelope form stash, folk heart punch, Amuse heart twinkle}

Thanks for stopping by today! Hope your day is sunny, too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

boys, boys, boys

Being the mother of sons can be a challenge. I call myself the "lone estrogen in a sea of testosterone." One look at this photo, and you'll understand. Boys are loud, they are raucous, they are physical, and they need their mothers 24-7. But as tough as it is, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I made this card for my son, Luke. He's the guitarist standing on the chair (naughty boy!). He moved into a new dorm room and residence hall recently, so I thought I'd send him a little something to his new address. These new papers are from Cosmo Cricket, and they're called "The Boyfriend". Perfect for my house!

I found some funky little felt dots, and used them as an accent on this office tag:

{recipe: sentiment from Pure Innocence "Flurry of Love", Cosmo Cricket "the Boyfriend" papers, kraft Pure Luxury cardstock, office tag, felt dots (American crafts), twine}

I have a headache, I'm a little crabby, and my boys will be home soon. Time to go reload with another cup of coffee!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Organized Stitching

I decided to do a little organizing of my stitching supplies this weekend. For starters, I pulled out the plastic tub where I'd been tossing all of my patterns and decided to put them in a binder instead. This method keeps them so much neater, and I can flip through very easily to see what I have.

One thing that's great about a binder with sleeves is that you can take the sleeve out of the binder and bring it with you when you need to shop for supplies. I was able to throw in the flosses I did have, along with some Aida cloth and linen choices, and bring this with me to my local shop, Always in Stitches, to pick up the flosses I still needed.

Occasionally, I will store the cloth for a future project in the same sleeve as the pattern. Mind you, it's probably best to store your cloth where it gets a bit of air circulation. But this is a nice temporary solution:

Did I show you the fabulous gift my mother gave me for Christmas this year? Just look at these lovely Gingher embroidery scissors! I know, I'm spoiled. Thanks, Mom!

I began work on a new old pattern this weekend. This one is so old, in fact, that I think I must have picked it up more than five years ago at a little stitching shop in Tecumseh, Michigan. Oftentimes, a shop will provide free reproduced patterns that have been given to them by a designer. I remember thinking how precious this little pattern was when I saw the finished project at the shop. It had been done on a pale green cloth, and it was so sweet and delicate.

This design is called "First Robin of Spring" by Elizabeth Foster of Elizabeth's Designs. The pattern called for a 28 count olive green Cashel linen. When I looked in my stash, I found an 18 count moss/celadon Aida that I thought would work just fine. I'm stitching this with two strands, one over, and it is very small work for me. It seems much smaller than an 18 count...maybe it was mislabeled. But I think the smallness just adds to the delicate nature of the project. I'm going to finish this project into a little stuffed doorknob hanger for my bedroom.

Now, I know what my sister Jenny is thinking right now. "It's winter, and you're stitching spring projects! That's not living in the moment!" True. But I'm tired of stitching snowmen! The snow may be swirling outdoors, but inside I'm having warm thoughts of future days. A girl can be hopeful, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Treasure Hunt

On a recent thread on SCS, many stampers were leaving comments on some of their favorite paper companies...Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, and the like. Allistamps reminded me of another favorite that I haven't used in a while...Amy Butler. Amy is better known in the fabric world, where she makes some lovely patterns to coordinate with her lovely fabrics. But Amy Butler also makes some papers, stamps and accessories through K and Company.

I decided to find some of my papers and make an Amy Butler inspired card. First, I found some note cards, and while I liked the pattern, they were a little insubstantial in their weight. So I trimmed the note card down and attached it to a 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inch piece of my favorite Pure Luxury heavyweight ivory ( I sponged the edges with some Certainly Celery ink). Now one of the cool things about these notecards is that they have a lovely coordinating color on the inside. So I let a little color peek out of the right hand side by trimming the top flap portion of the note card just a bit.

Then, I pulled out some old Amy Butler clear stamps...and man, I must not have used them in a while because they were really clinging to that sheet of acetate! After carefully peeling it away, I inked the sentiment in blue bayou and stamped it over a label that I'd stamped in soft sky ink. I fancied-up the edges with corner punches and attached it all to another rectangle of certainly celery cardstock.

Then I got to thinking...I could really use some sort of leaf. And I looked up on my inspiration board and found this leaf from Island Blossoms (Making Memories). Hmm...still needed something. A brad, maybe? And then I remembered the dew drops I haven't used in ages. I found those and added a few to the corners.

I decided to turn this into a buckle card. I popped up the sentiment with Stampin' Dimensionals, attached the buckle to the back of the note card, and then slid the buckle portion under the sentiment. I used a piece of blue bayou textured cardstock because it is a little softer and more flexible...just right for a buckle. You can see it as it is opened here:

A non-traditional Valentine card, but nice colors for the man in my life. It's always fun having a treasure hunt in my own stamp studio. I just never know what products I'll find squirreled away in a drawer or cubby!

{recipe: Amy Butler notecards and clear stamps (K and Co.), Frames with a Flourish (SU), Pure Luxury ivory, certainly celery ink and cardstock, blue bayou ink and textured cardstock, leaf (making memories), dew drops, corner punch}

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where is my sunshine?

Excuse me...has anyone seen my sunshine? Anyone? You see, the reason I ask is because I haven't seen my sunshine in nearly two weeks. Where could it be? I know it must be around here somewhere. Do you think I misplaced it? Maybe I put it down in a safe spot (like my glasses), and just can't seem to recall where that safe spot is now.

The thing is, I really really need my sunshine! I just feel so "blah" without it. I try drinking more coffee, but it just doesn't wake me up the way sunshine does. I'm eating a lot of chocolate to make me happy, but it just doesn't satisfy the way sunshine does. I'm even ready to resort to the St. John's Wort tea which is flavored with licorice, and I hate licorice! That's how much I miss my sunshine!

If you find my sunshine, will you please do me a favor? Send it here to central Indiana. I really could use a visit from that old friend!

{recipe: Spring Sprouts (MFT stamps), Earth Love paper (Cosmo Cricket), sage shadow cardstock, so saffron cardstock, pure luxury vanilla cardstock, versafine onyx ink, polka dot ribbon (SU), scallop edge punch, fine point black marker, prisma markers}

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frugal Flowers

Last November, our weather had been so mild here in Indiana that many of my flowers were still in bloom. I decided to relocate them down to my basement, where they could get some natural light and a little protection from the elements while weathering the winter indoors. Thus far, it has worked pretty well!

My geraniums look lovely, and they are all in bloom!

My petunias are another story. I don't think they're going to make it until spring. A lot of them look like this poor lifeless specimen:

My tuberous begonias are no loner blooming, but they are still alive. They were so lovely this year, and the flowers looked like roses. I think that everyone could now use a little fertilizer to give them aboost through the January doldrums.

If you've ever purchased a lot of annuals, you know how expensive they can be! I thought this would be a great way to save a little money on gardening and enjoy the blossoms year round.

I made this card for today's sketch challenge!

{recipe: Herb Eexpressions (SU), On the Porch (SU), Memories black ink, prisma markers, Pure Luxury white cardstock, kiwi kiss cardstock, riding hood red cardstock, Bella papers, red taffeta ribbon, felt flower and brad, corner punch, distressing tool}

I thought this sketch showed a great way to use up scraps of pretty papers. I still love those Bella papers from Stampin' Up!

If you are as hungry for flowers as I am this time of year, maybe you need to treat yourself with a fresh bouquet today!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Reminders

Back in the days when I was a Stampin' Up demonstrator, actively trying to please my customers and get more customers, I used to buy stuff that I didn't really need or want, just so that I could show my customers and possibly make a sale. Was this a recipe for financial failure? Oh yeah!

I recently found this little tin of stickers called "Little Reminders" in my stamp stash. Well, I might as well use the flowers of my folly! I pulled them out today and crafted a very simple card for the Clean and Simple challenge.

{recipe: Defining Alphabet (SU), Define Your Life (SU), Pure Luxury White cardstock, taken with teal cardstock and ink, pretty in pink cardstock and ink, Little Reminders stickers, button}

On the Splitcoast Stampers forums, we've been discussing ways to be frugal and save money. One suggestion? Stay out of stores! Oh, yeah! I know this one! There are a few silly things that I need from Archivers (a new cutting blade, glue dots, etc) but I'm trying hard to stay out of the store so that I won't be tempted! Let's face it...I could open a store here in my home with all of the silly purchases I've made in the past! I've been doing a great job lately of using what I have, and you know what? It feels good!

I need a lot of Little Reminders like this tin of stickers to shop smarter!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Scripture Challenge 2010: Temptation

There is a brilliant scene in the movie "Family Man." Nicholas Cage plays a man who gets a second chance to live the life he left behind. Don Cheadle plays an angel who helps him figure out what is really important. At one point, the angel appears as a clerk at a carryout. He gives a customer too much change for her purchase, and waits. She knows he's given her change for a $10 bill when she's only given him a dollar. What will she do? He waits. She smiles and leaves with the money. The angel looks to Nicholas Cage's character with so much disappointment and says "Man! She just compromised herself, and for what? Nine dollars!"'s so easy to compromise our very soul. And for what?

Our own desires.

And this is where the enemy can get me every time! What may be temptation for me may not be temptation for someone else. It's always a custom order, tailor-made to lure me away from God's will for my life.

*The temptation to do what God doesn't want me to do.
*The temptation to NOT do what God does want me to do.
*The temptation to say the thing I shouldn't say.
*The temptation to NOT say the thing I should say.
*The temptation to make it...

All About Me!

The writer of Romans chapter seven could have been reading my mind! "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing."

Why? Why? Why?

Is there a remedy for my sinful nature? Yes. Pastor Greg Lorie said this once: "The devil wants you to feel remorse and regret, but never repentance." And why? Because in repentance, we have forgiveness of sins. For me, I've found that the more time I spend in Bible study and the Word, the more likely I am to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit...

*to invite the co-worker to church.
*to reach out to the hurting neighbor.
*to give money to the charity.
*to hold babies in the church nursery.
*to teach a Sunday School class.
*to send a card to someone.
*to tell the clerk she undercharged me.
*to spend my money wisely.
*to pray for someone in need.
*to treat my body as a temple.
*to not utter the nasty retort.
*to try kindness instead of curtness.
*to repent when I screw up.

That apple may look juicy and delicious. But I know that it is really rotten to the core.

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise." Proverbs 11:30

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Hole in our Gospel

Every couple of years, a book will get circulated through churches and create a lot of buzz and excitement. A few years ago, it was "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. And then it was "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. Right now, the buzz book is "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns.

What is the hole? In his book, Rich tells the story of a young seminary student and some classmates who decided to look at the Bible and remove every reference to the poor, the wealthy, the oppressed and justice. All sixty six books of the Bible. Then, using an exacto knife, they cut out and removed all those references. In the end, they were left with a Bible in tatters, barely able to hold together.

And yet, they postulated, that is the very Bible that many Americans read and hear preached every Sunday. We like to skip over the unpleasant parts.

The subtitle of the book asks "What does God expect of us?"

Well, Micah tells us exactly what God expects of us in chapter 6 verse 8:

"He has showed you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Justice. Mercy. Humility. When we see a wrong, right it. When we see someone hungry, feed them. When we see the naked, clothe them. When we see the injured, heal them. But we have to open the eyes of our heart to really see the hungry and naked and hurting all around us.

This week, it's been a little hard to ignore the hurting in Haiti. In the news, on the Internet, in the newspapers...lots of images of these poor people who have suffered after the cataclysmic earthquake. If your heart is hurting, then the eyes of your heart have been opened. And now, it's time to act.

Many people may wonder, what can I do? Where can I give money or help? There are a lot of organizations out there, but World Vision is one of the tops that comes to mind. The key to World Vision's efforts is that they will already have people on the ground in these countries, ready to bring help and healing right away. You can click on the link at the upper right corner of this blog to learn more about their relief efforts.

And why do I bring up World Vision?

Because Richard Stearns, the author of this very popular book that I'm currently reading, is the president of World Vision. He has an amazing story to tell of how God transformed his life, and will transform yours, too.

We are richly blessed to be a blessing, and we are called. Let's start passing that blessing on today.

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:18

Friday, January 15, 2010

Feel Better

I've had to send a lot of get well cards recently. Just last week, I knew of three people with pneumonia! I've even heard of a few hospitals that had no room at the inn and were turning people away. Yikes! I'll keep drinking my echinacea tea and washing my hands obsessively!

I made this card today for my sister, Tina. She's at home, recuperating from surgery this week, and I thought she could use a bright and cheery card. She loves yellow, like me, so I know she'll like this sunny little card.

One of the many things I love about these Pure Innocence stamps from My Favorite Things (link at right) is that the line art is very open, making it ideal for paper piecing (umbrella) and also for coloring techniques. My first attempt at coloring this card didn't work so well. I had used Prisma markers, and I just couldn't get a decent flesh tone. So I scrapped that one and started over with my Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol. I haven't used this coloring technique in a while, but I always enjoy it when I do. This technique is very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can usually blend it in and make it disappear.

{recipe: Pure Innocence My Umbrella (MFT), Basic Grey Nook and Pantry papers, crushed curry ink and cardstock, garden green cardstock,Pure Luxury Ivory cardstock, versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils, gamsol, scallop edge punch, modern label punch, word window punch, velvet flower from Maya Road, large green brad from Making Memories}

From the looks of the grey skies outside, it looks like I may need an umbrella today! I hope your day is bright and cheery, regardless of the weather!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Of Hobbies and Housecleaning

Am I the only person who has looked at her house this week and thought "This place is filthy!" These winter months keep us cooped indoors and looking at various rooms with a critical eye. I went on a four hour cleaning frenzy last night, and I'm sorry to report that this did not even include the second story! The kids' boots track in all sorts of snow mixed with dirt and road salt onto the hardwood floors, making them look dirty and dingy. After just a few days, the dog hair begins to make tumbleweeds. And with the furnace constantly supplying warm air (of which I am very thankful for that!), there's a fine layer of dust over every surface. After four hours of housecleaning, I was tired and not a little bit crabby when I went to bed last night. But I can tell you that it was really nice to wake up to a clean, clutter free house this morning!

My dear sweet husband painted our master bedroom over New Years' weekend, and it is such a pleasure to wake up and see it every morning! Let me tell you, it was a big job! It's a large room with cathedral ceilings and one of those strange tall pony walls meant to add architectural interest. He toiled away at it for a few days. For starters, he removed the ugly mini blinds, and now the light pours in. We haven't hung the new curtains yet, but I'm not even certain that I want curtains when I have this view:

After all, who's going to be shocked when they see me in my flannel pajamas...the deer and squirrels?

And here's a view of my side of the bed:

The color is called Sensible Hue (Behr paint from Home Depot), and it really lives up to its name. It's a lovely cream with warm undertones, and it's a thousand times better than the primer white that we'd lived with for two years. You can get a little glimpse of my bed time rituals here at my night stand. For starters, I bring up a cup of Yogi Bedtime lulls me to peaceful slumber every time! (Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny!) Then, while I sip my tea, I read from my One Year Bible. When I'm finished, I spray my pillow with Lavendar Vanilla linen spray from the Aromatherapy line at Bath and Body Works. Then, I slather my hands with the Lavendar Vanilla hand lotion. These scents are meant to promote a restful sleep, and they do!

If you have sleep issues (and many women of a certain age do!), I would suggest adding some of these rituals to your routine, too! Try the tea, and keep at it for a week. You can find it in either the health food section or the coffee and tea aisle of most grocery stores. I'm also a firm believer in the powers of their Immune Support Echinacea tea for warding off colds!

When I woke up this morning, I rolled over and looked out the window:

I thought to myself "Can a person be too happy?" No, not if they have a heart filled with gratitude. So right there, in bed, I said a prayer thanking God for all of His blessings and for how far He has carried me in the past year. And I prayed for the people of Haiti and for people everywhere who struggle with poverty and homelessness. Starting the day off with a heart filled with gratitude...I can't think of a better way to start the day. Well, yes, coffee helps!

Threadworx Newsletter!
When I came downstairs this morning to the clean level of my home, I thought to myself "I need to start another needle art project." I was so delighted to find my copy of the Threadworx journal in my email box! If you haven't signed up to receive the free newsletter, make sure you click on the link at the right to do so! Even if you are not a needle arts crafter, you will want to be when you see this journal! It is filled with so much lovely eye candy! Colors, fibers, and some of the cutest patterns you've ever seen (the cardinal in the nest is adorable!). Beth has worked hard on this nearly fifty page newsletter, and it shows! With lovely color photographs and amazing stitch guides, you'll wish it was sold as a hard copy magazine! I'm going to print mine off today!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Cookin', America?

What's cookin', America? Well, according to recent statistics, not you!

Last week, I read an article regarding recent efforts by the government to crack down on the restaurant industry for its cooking practices and high calorie menu items. Now, I'll be the first person to say this: I think the government has better things to do with their time. But if this government wants to fund health care for everyone, it has to look at the fact that there are so many overweight Americans, and obesity is a factor in most health-related issues. It seems obvious at this point that personal accountability should play a major role, but apparently we can't control ourselves, so the government will control menus for us instead. sigh! Don't get me started! :)

Here's the shocking statistic: 48% of the average American's monthly food budgets are spent in restaurants. When I read that statistic, my jaw dropped open. Now to come up with an average, that means that there are a lot of folks out there who probably spend more like 75 % of their food budgets at restaurants to balance out the folks like me who eat at home.

In essence, that means that half the money that Americans spend on food is given to a restaurant, where they are oblivious to the ingredients, fat, calories, and nutrition of those meals ...and we wonder why we're a nation of fat fatties?

Last year, I began to put two major practices into my daily disciplines.

First, I studied nutrition and began a program of sensible eating. After reading the Eat This, Not That books, I discovered that restaurants cannot be trusted to provide nutritious low fat/low calorie meals. (And if you think that a restaurant like Paneras/Bread Co. that serves yummy soups, salads, and sandwiches is exempt, think again! It may taste great, but it's not great for you!) I realized that if I wanted to control what went into my mouth, that meant giving up restaurant food. Restaurants are now reserved for special occasions, not to be used as a convenience tool.

Second, I began to budget in earnest. I kept track of where every dollar I spent was going. We were paying for college tuition on one salary, and we needed to become lean and mean. That meant that pricey restaurant food was out, and we'd be dining at Chez Mom's on a daily basis. If you're a follower of Dave Ramsey, then you already know that restaurants are a HUGE budget buster. Dave is also a big believer of meal planning to avoid a dozen impulse trips to the grocery store that may cause us to overspend. Dave likes to say that during tough times, you've got to go on a diet of "beans and rice, rice and beans". In other words, no steak for dinner every night.

Well, one year later and here's where I am. I lost twenty five pounds by cooking my own food, and I keep to my budget every month.

If you are not a person that cooks, may I suggest some fabulous cookbooks? You cannot go wrong with the wonderful cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch. These are real recipes submitted by normal, everyday people like you and me. The items in the recipes are things you probably already have in your pantry. And while all the recipes in the books may not be the essence of healthy eating, I've found that with a few modifications, you can turn almost every recipe into something good for your family.

The smart ladies at Gooseberry Patch recently released Dinners on a Dime. It seems that everyone is talking about ways to save money these days, and looking at your family food budget is a great place to start!

I have an awesome recipe to share today. This is my own creation, and I call it Lentil Potato Stew. Lentils are a very economical addition to a recipe, and this is not only cheap to fix, but highly nutritious as well!

2-3 T. olive oil
1 med. onion chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
1 T. Italian Herbs
1 c. dry lentils, rinsed
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can diced tomatoes, Italian style
4 c. chicken broth(low fat or low sodium optional)
1 T. parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender. Add herbs, then lentils and potatoes, and then tomatoes and broth. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. Top with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

Now, on to the card recipe! I made today's creation for the Splitcoast Sketch challenge. This card is a bit bigger than the norm at 5 inches by 7 inches. I just needed a tad more space to fit it all in! I used stamps from Gooseberry Patch for the bottom border, and the papers are from an old stash of K and Company's Wild Saffron line.

{recipe: sentiment from Amuse, cooking stamps from Gooseberry Patch, K and Company's Wild Saffron papers, Versafine sepia ink, corner rounder and circle punch (to make corner cutouts), Pure Luxury Kraft cardstock, felt flowers from American Crafts, copper brad, kraft taffeta ribbon (SU)}

So tell me, what's for dinner?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Remembering the Simple Stuff

Sometimes, whether in crafting or in life, we let ourselves get carried away with the newest thing and forget about the tried and true. We follow the latest fashion craze, eschewing the very things that always worked for us in the past. We paint our walls turquoise because we hear that's the "in" color of the year. We buy the skinny jeans even though they make us look ten pounds heavier. We buy into the stamping fad of the day, even though it's not even close to our style. And then we wonder why a) we never feel comfortable in that turquoise room, b) we never wear those skinny jeans out in public, and c) we never make a card with that crazy paper we had to have.

Today's card went back to basics. This punch out window technique is so old, and something I haven't done in a long time. I began by punching the square out, then going back over with the scalloped square punch to make the scallop frame. Then I punched a square out of the card front, and layered the frame on top of the window opening.

{recipe: Memory of the Heart (SU), Basic Grey Nook and Pantry paper, Pure Luxury kraft and ivory cardstock, rich razzleberry cardstock and ink, pink cardstock and ink, versafine sepia ink,
scallop square punch, square punch, scallop edge punch, rich razzleberry ric rac ribbon, metal nailheads}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cupcake Crazy

I have to be honest with you. I'm not a big fan of cupcakes. I'm generally not a lover of frosting, in particular. I must have passed this down through my family, because Sam is not a fan of it, either. He actually requested brownies for his birthday cake last year! At one time, I thought I was the only one who didn't like frosting. But then one day, I was at a women's retreat where they had served cake. I had turned the cake on its side on the plate so that I could eat just the cake portion and avoid the gooey sweet frosting. I looked over at my British cousin, Kathy, and she was doing the same thing!

Perhaps it was my many years as a preschool teacher that instilled my dislike of cupcakes. At the time, it seemed to be the universally accepted item that parents sent to their child's classroom to celebrate birthdays and holidays. I began to dread those days for the frosting mess that would invariably ensue. These days, schools discourage the little sugar-loaded sweets in favor of healthy, individually wrapped snack foods.

Wherever you sit in the cupcake camp, there's one thing that cannot be debated. 2009 was definitely the year of the cupcake! You saw them everywhere! Cupcakes on fabric, cupcakes on papers, cupcakes on cards, cupcakes handcrafted out of wool. The little sugary sweet had been elevated to art form!

I recently found a cupcake that I fell in love with! "I want one!" I said to my husband the first time I saw it. Unfortunately, it is attached to a vintage Airstream camper. Here it is:

The Cupcake Camper is parked at the outdoor lifestyle mall where I work, and it is just too stinkin' cute! The windows are covered in pink and chocolate polka dot curtains, and the pink staircase leads to the shop window, where you can order your very own specialty cupcake concoction.

I ask you this: Have you ever seen anything cuter in your life? Now I want to own a vintage Airstream and take all of my family vacations in it! (It has to beat the shack we rented last summer!)

You can read up on the Cupcake Camper here:

cupcake camper

Today's card was inspired by the Cupcake Camper! I made this card for the Gina K sketch challenge. I received some new stamps from Gina's end-of-the-year special. The sentiment comes from the set "Eclectic Summer Sayings". I added a little bling to the sprinkles on the cupcakes, too!

{recipe: Eclectic Summer Sayings (Gina K Designs), My Cuppa Joe (Gina K), Basic Grey Nook and Pantry papers, choc. chip and pink pirouette cardstock, versafine sepia ink, flower brads (making memories), prisma markers, Stickles}

So tell me...if 2009 was the year of the cupcake, what do you predict for the theme of 2010?