Thursday, December 25, 2008
I just noticed that it has been just shy of three weeks since I have posted, and it made me hang my head a bit. Then I realized that in the last three weeks I have been pretty much going non-stop, 90 miles-an-hour with my hair on fire trying to get things done. I know you can understand what I mean. It is like I wake up with a to-do list a mile long and the DH will say, "Oh, by the way," (at this point I know nothing good is going to come of this conversation, but I figure he is the hunter/provider and my job is the gatherer/doer, so I lull myself into a false sense of security for a couple of minutes). "By the way honey, can you go get a couple of cars inspected, run by the post office, pick up something at the grocery store, and blah blah blah Kim, blah blah, blibbity blah blah Kim."
At this point my hearing has gone to "cocker spaniel mode", where all I can hear is my name, and nothing else. This is my happy place. Don't judge me.
Anyway...the last three weeks. Little Miss finished up this year's preschool with their Christmas play which was so sweet it made my teeth hurt. She played an angel. Snort. Chuckle...Ho, Ho...BWAAHHAAAHAAA!!! I think they made her an angel because she is the tallest girl in her class and the angels have to stand at the back. In any case she was a cute angel and she knew all her words and motions and I loved every second of it.
A few days before the program we found out that she is going to need to get her tonsils and adenoids out and have a tube put in her ear as well, so that is helping to "firm up" my January schedule quite nicely, thank you very much. We are deliberately keeping details to a very, very bare minimum at this point in the game. No need saying anything about any body parts coming out of her, because she is pretty obsessive about her stuff staying close to her at all times, and I am guessing that if she cries over a missing Polly Pocket shoe she is going to be less than thrilled about some masked man taking part of her throat out.
In the midst of all of this, my mom made it safely to Austin to visit me (I'm sorry...visit my daughter. I might as well have been found under a cabbage leaf since giving birth to her granddaughter.) and spend time with us during Christmas and the upcoming 5th birthday party. She has been having great fun and has indulged Little Miss in so many games of Chutes and Ladders I am thinking Hasbro ought to give her some kind of award. I don't think my poor mom knew what to do today since I had the kitchen duties under control (brined turkey, anyone?) and all she had to do was sit in the floor and play Barbies all day long.
Somehow, in the daily fray I finally managed to stamp and send Christmas cards which I am calling "Christmas season" cards, since I know good and doggone well that not one of them made it out the door in time to be delivered before today. I also made and delivered all of the kiddo's birthday party invitations and got her goodie bag stuff picked up. If anyone wants to have a good laugh, feel free to swing by Goin' Bananas on Monday between noon and 2 p.m. Afterward, feel free to swing by Wine Styles where I will be "debriefing" myself from all the fun. Really.
I can say that today was wonderful though. We have been really explaining to Little Miss the meaning of the season and what makes it special, and she seems to understand it this year. Of course, Santa came by last night as well, and this morning was a fun sight to see. I love watching my daughter open presents, because she will open each one, look it over completely to get a better understanding of it, put it in her little presents pile, and then go for the next one. Very relaxed and fun, unlike her daddy and me trying to get the toys out of their super-sealed encapsulated packages. If only the NSA would contract out security to the companies that make toy packaging there would never be another problem on a flight.
You would step on board, at which point the flight attendants (who have been trained in the ways of the twist tie) would begin securing you to your seats with no less than 152 twist ties. They would then put a 2" wide strip of plastic around the back of your hair and sew it onto the headrest of the seat. Then, just to make sure that you will look good upon arrival they will put a semi-hard plastic case around you and hermetically seal you into it. I'm telling you, weapons on planes would not be an issue because you would not be able to reach anything if you tried.
OK, enough of that! I have a kiddo wanting to play Operation right now, and there is no way I can resist that! I hope that everyone had a wonderful day with friends and family, ate something tasty and maybe even got a visit from Santa as well.
Stay safe, enjoy the rest of this year, and until next time, Happy Stamping!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Just look at the following two pictures of the exact same card, inspired by a card made by Traci DeGolier that I received during swaps at Regionals:
They are indeed the exact same card. In fact, these two photos were taken less than one minute apart. The difference? The one on the top was lit with my Ott Light, and the one on the bottom was just my regular dining room lighting. It amazed me to see exactly how much the color shifted using my standard every day lighting versus the natural color of the Ott Light. The colors of this card that suffered the most under my "regular" lights were the Sage Shadow and the Really Rust. I was happy when I got my new little light, mostly because I got an incredible Thanksgiving night deal on it at the big craft store whose name we won't mention here (you know---the one that rhymes with "Nichael's"), but when I saw how well it worked I was hooked.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Stampin' Up! is having a Holiday Extravaganza sale starting today and running for 5 days, and the prices on these bundles cannot be beat! So, what is for sale? Well, just pop on over to my official SU website at http://www.stampinkiminaustin.stampinup.net to find out. Once you are there, just click on the shop now button at the top right, then go to specials and "holiday extravaganza". I will be home all day if anyone needs help placing an order, so feel free to give me a ring!
And now, for the official Stamp-a-Rama Thanksgiving menu, complete with a recipie for the best turkey you have ever had in your mouth. Really. It will make you want to cry. It will make men want to give you jewelry. Trust me, I know of what I speak.
This year, we are having roasted brined turkey, cornbread dressing (yummy, sagey dressing!), sweet potato casserole with candied pecan topping, green beans, giblet gravy, and rolls. Dessert will probably be apple and pumpkin pies, both with insane amounts of whipped cream on them. Then I will have water and salad for the next two weeks to cleanse my system of all the rich, buttery goodness of tomorrow. But not today! Nope, today is preparation and tasting day, so that come tomorrow morning I can plop on the couch and watch the Macy's parade and only make minimal trips into the kitchen during commercial breaks only.
So, onto the turkey!
Do you ever get frustrated with trying to roast the perfect turkey? Did your mom used to set the oven to some insanely low temp and cook the turkey all day long, until it ended up like the one on "Christmas Vacation"? Well, no more, I say! Just follow along with me and I will lead you to the promised land of moist, wonderful, delicious turkey. Here is your cast of characters:
2 cups Kosher salt (No, that is not a misprint. I meant cups, not spoons. And I meant TWO. Just get your mind over the fact that you think I am sitting here laughing at you, trying to get you to ruin Thanksgiving. It will all be ok in the end.)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I use dark brown, but light is ok, too.)
1 good handful of whole peppercorns
1 handful of crystallized ginger
several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
any other spices or herbs that make your skirt fly up
4 boxes of Veggie or chicken stock (I buy those big boxes instead of the cans, not sure what the volume on one of those is off the top of my head.)
OK, let's get to cooking, shall we?
You want to bring your stock to a boil in a large pot, then add in all of the rest of the ingredients. Stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved, then let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Keep the pot covered while you are simmering. Take the pot off of the heat and let this cool completely on the stove top. I will be starting my brine as soon as I finish this post so that it can get done and let it cool. This part is very important: do not taste the brine! Just trust me, ok? Don't do it. Your mouth will get all askew and you will feel your tongue start to fold in on itself. It is saltier than you can imagine. We are talking Dead Sea here. Trust that your spices and herbs are working their magic and leave it alone.
Now, onto your bird. You can use any kind of turkey you want. I buy the absolute cheapest turkey in the store. There is no brand name. I'm surprised it doesn't come in the old black and white generic labeling, that is how cheap it is, but trust me, it will be tasting amazing tomorrow! Make sure your turkey is completely thawed out and you have removed the neck and giblets. (I feel compelled to put that disclaimer in here because we all know someone, or have been the someone, who cooked a turkey with the bag o' giblets still up inside of it.)
You will need a container large enough to hold your turkey completely covered in brine and a bunch of ice, so plan accordingly. I use a garbage can that has been deemed "the turkey can". It is only used for turkey, so don't think that I take my trash out and put my bird in. I do have some standards...lol! Plan on letting your bird soak in the brine for at least 12 hours, so you will need to do the next steps the night before you cook.
I put two layers of trash bags into my can to help me with clean up later. Put the turkey, neck side down, into your can. (If you are using a cooler or some other container where the bird is actually laying down in just put the breast side down.) Pour the cooled brine over the bird. If the turkey is not completely covered you can add enough water and ice just to cover the bird. At this point I roll the bags down over the top of the turkey and pack the top of the can with ice to keep it cool, then I put a towel on top of the ice as an extra insulation layer.
Typically by this time of year it is cool enough that I take my entire can outside and leave it on my deck for the night. The ice will keep the bird below 40 degrees, which is the safe limit. I will say that if you do this and you live in an area where the occassional coyote comes by you might want to put this in your garage so that he doesn't try to make off with a tasty midnight snack.
I know what a lot of you are thinking right now: "Kim, all of that salt is going to pull the moisture right out of the turkey! You have lost your mind!" You are indeed correct. The first few hours the bird is in the brine the salinity of the brine is going to pull most of the moisture out of the bird. You would not want to soak it for say, 5 hours and then try to roast it. That would be a disaster. However, after that first few hours a wonderful thing happens. Nature wants everything to be balanced, to be in a state of "stasis", so to achieve this balance the briny solution is going to start going back into the bird. And guess what! It is going to take the flavor of the broth, pepper, sugar, and herbs with it. It will be a flavor party like no other. Of course salt is like that one party guest that has a bit too much to drink and breaks something, you know the one. In this case, he is going to break down the tough fibers of the turkey. He is going to make them tender and wonderful and make them sing in your mouth. Yea for salt! (Kosher only for this recipe, though!)
So now you have let your bird swim around in his Dead Sea bath for at least 12 hours. Pull your bird out (you should still be seeing some ice in there folks!) and rinse him off, inside and out. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. I know, another leap of faith here, but there is a method to my madness. Fire it up, girls! I want it to feel like star about to go supernova.
Place your turkey on a rack and into a roasting pan. If you don't have one, get out your broiler pan, I have used mine for years and it works. Now it is time for a little turkey massage. Get out some veggie or canola oil and rub your bird down. Make sure to get his little legs and thighs, too! They are tired from all that swimming he did last night! I will also put a cut up onion and apple (just cut into big wedges--no seeds please!) as well as some fresh rosemary stalks and sage into the cavity of the bird. These aren't for eating later, they are for flavor while cooking.
Since our bird is about to go into battle with a smoking hot oven, he needs a little suit of armor for later. Take a large rectangle of aluminum foil and fold it into a square. Take one of the points of the square and place it down where the turkey's little noggin used to reside, then press the foil over the breast so that you completely cover the breast meat and wings, but tuck it so that the legs and thighs stay fully exposed. Get it molded to the shape of your bird, the take it off and set it aside. Remember that this has raw turkey juices on it when you set it down. I usually put my little foil breast plate away from all of my other food to avoid cross-contamination, because nothing says "I love you" like giving your entire family salmonella on Thanksgiving day. The reason you want to make your foil cover now is because when you need it this bird is going to be super, super hot and you won't want to be trying to mold anything to it.
Now, put your greased up, nekkid bird into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. There will be some smoking as the oil heats up. Just leave the oven door closed, and keep any older female relatives away from the kitchen because they will try to turn the oven temp down on you, and this will be the death of your bird. After 30 minutes of not allowing anyone near the oven carefully take your turkey out and drop the oven temp to 350 degrees. Place a probe style meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the temperature for the thermometer to 161 degrees. Cover the breast meat with the foil and put everything back into the oven.
Now sit back and have a tasty beverage while your bird finishes its roasting. Do not baste. Do not open the oven door. Just let it be. Believe me, it is working right now! When your thermometer alarm sounds that the turkey has reached an internal breast temp of 161 pull the bird out, but leave the probe in place in the meat. Cover the entire bird with foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. This will let the juices get all settled into the meat and not come running out to lay on your cutting board instead of in your pie hole.
Cut, eat, and enjoy! One downfall, the only one in my humble opinion, about cooking your turkey this way is that you cannot use the pan drippings to make your gravy. They will be far too salty, so don't try it. The great news is there are other ways to make tasty gravy and the way this bird comes out is worth the small sacrifice.
Thanks for sticking with me during this long post, and I hope everyone has a great turkey day. I am going to try to get the hubby to shoot some step by step pictures as I make my turkey so y'all can see it later.
Have a great day y'all, and until next time, Happy Eating!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Last night my sweetie told me that her ear was hurting again really badly, and even after tylenol and ear drops we still spent the bulk of the night awake and trying to deal with it. Little thing is laying on the couch right now, and I am trying to find out if my pediatrician's office has some type of weekend clinic that I can take her to or if we are just going to go to urgent care. I wish I could just take the pain for her.
On the upside, my incredible friend Alondra came into town on Thursday and is spending two weeks with me. I have always felt that if you have even one friend like her you are extremely blessed, and I have a couple that are just like her. You know what they say, "A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move a body." She is a body-moving friend. (No, we haven't actually done that---yet.)
So, no cards or stamping fun for the past few days as I have been showing Al around town and now dealing with a very forlorn little one. Hopefully I will have something light and pretty and fun to put up a bit later this week. I do hope that everyone is having a great weekend and enjoying the weather! Until next time...Happy Stamping!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
When you click the button, just make sure that you see my name on the top of the page on the right. If you see someone else's name you aren't on my page.
The coolest thing about the shop online feature is the fact that there are special projects on there that are not listed in the catalog or anywhere else! You can look through these projects and not only do you see a great card, but also everything it takes to make it. With one click you are able to add it all to your cart, or just the parts that you need.
So, even if you don't feel like ordering this way, go and check out the projects and all the other features available. If you have any questions, just call or email me and I will be happy to answer them. And as always, you can call or email me to place an order.
Thanks for stopping in! Until next time...Happy Stamping!
So in the spirit of that Christmas dream, here are the two Christmas cards that I am featuring during my card class this month. The first one has a little stamping on the inside, but mostly focuses on using your paper and bone folder. Plus, it is making me sit down and use the paper that I have stockpiled up like I am anticipating some type of stamping apocalypse.
Come on, I know you! I know that you have a secret paper stash somewhere in your house! It's ok, you are among friends here. We understand and do not judge at Stamp-a-Rama. This is the paper-hoarder's "safe place".
The next card is so easy, and I really think that the simplicity of it is what makes it. This one uses the faux metal tag technique that is just a lot of fun! I think I might have settled that this is going to be my one, true card this year, but I am figuring out the logistics of making 60 of these tags. I still think it will be easier than the year I did 60 watercolored extravaganza cards....yikes! Too. Much. Work.
If these cards tickle your fancy, then let me know, and feel free to check out my calendar over at http://www.stampinkiminaustin.stampinup.net/ to see what else I have in store.
Now, onto "Confessions from Kim" time.
I think my UPS man is getting ready to break up with me. I didn't want to believe it was true, but I have been noticing some changes with him lately, and I must say I don't like them one bit. I have to admit, I only have myself to blame. I let my hubby answer the door last week, and between the fact that he was shirtless and had all kind of scary hair going on I believe he scared Mr. Brown and put him into some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder state that he hasn't fully recovered from.
Yesterday I vowed to make it up to him. I knew he was coming by, and I had kicked the hubby out to go to work and then prepared myself for his arrival. I decided that this time I would not stalk him like I normally do. I put the dogs up (no dogs--no early arrival warning system for me), got Little Miss occupied on an activity, and even put on just a dab of Bigelow's Peppermint Lip Gloss. OK, I did not put the lipgloss on for him. That was purely for me, but just give me some poetic license here, ok?
I saw my knight pull up on his shiny brown steed, and made myself promise not to fling the door open at the first sign of the box hitting the step. I heard his quick little cat-like footsteps come up to the door, the box drop, and the bell ring. And when I opened the door, I saw my Mr. Brown in the truck and some new Mr. Brown (I'll call him MB 1.2) walking back to the truck! Apparently my guy just can't take it anymore and has decided to pass the torch onto MB 1.2 and he didn't even tell me!
The new guy smiled and waved and thanked me, but I am heartbroken. After all this time, all these years, I didn't even see it coming. I am still holding out hope that my guy is just training MB 1.2 and that when he grows up he will get his own route and let me continue to scare/stalk my guy the way I like. I don't think I can train the new guy in the ways of the Stampin' Up box. In fact, I don't think he can handle the SU box.
OK, that is enough of that! Mr. Brown, if you are reading this today I just want to say I'm sorry. And I'll get rid of that snare trap in front that scares you so badly. And I will never, ever let my hubby answer the door with scary hair and no shirt on again. Stamper's Honor!
Until next time everyone...have a great day and Happy Stamping!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Here is the little ham showing off her jack-o-lanterns on Wednesday. She and my DH are so much alike. They both wanted to have cool looking pumpkins outside, but neither one wants to touch the "yucky insides". So that left me doing all the initial cut and scoop work by myself. I did force my DH to carve the one on the right (with all the teeth) while I did the one on the left (note the big round "O" mouth that is very easy to do). He actually did reach into the pumpkin to pop the pieces out as he cut, but I noticed the speed at which he got to the kitchen sink to wash his hands off afterward. Coward.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I know I posted earlier this month showing some of the treat bag toppers that I had done, but after working on them in large scale tonight I figured I would share what I was up to this evening in the stamping room. Little Miss has her Halloween party tomorrow at school. I spent the day baking various bat, pumpkin, and black cat cookies for her to take to school, but decided I wanted to make little treat bags for all of the kids. I started by cutting some card stock 4" x 5 1/2" and running it through the Cuttlebug with the spiderweb folder. I prescored each piece at 2 3/4" before dry embossing it to make folding a little easier down the road.
I then stamped my Booglie Eyes monsters and colored them in using blender pens and ink pads, and rubbed the edges of the torn cardstock with the same color of ink that I mounted the stamped image on.I stamped the sentiment in matching ink as well, then added the little creatures to the actual cellophane bags using Staz-On ink. (Am I the only person out there that loves the smell of this stuff? I know that one day I am going to find out that it is made of methyl-ethyl bad stuff and I will have suffered a fatal dose by then, but until then I will still take a sniff every once in awhile.)
...into the card making world. Now, don't get me wrong, she as been stamping with me since she was just a little over 3 years old so she knows her way around a stamp pad and paper. But I have never heard her put on a demonstration like she did at our dinner table on Wednesday night.
Now, I know that there is no stamping at all in the following images, but we are going to forgive her that. The materials you see here are courtesy of Keli, who brought Little Miss a Simply Sent Kit box full of various cute papers and stickers a little while back. I have found that over the past few days, LM has been really enjoying using them even more than normal for her. So, let me tell you about the rest of this story.
As many of you know, every Tuesday at 1 p.m. on PACT channel 11 (on Time Warner Cable---Hey, TW!! I am still mad at you for making me miss a month of "Chuck") my friend Lydia has a 30 minute show called "Understand Blue Paper Arts", during which she features some incredible cards and projects, some simple, some more complex, but all worth watching. This has become one of my daughter's favorite things on television. It is my favorite thing on TV because the nice, comforting tones of Lydia's voice ALWAYS lull my rambunctious 4-year old into the blissful arms of silent slumber. I just never knew how much her little brain continued to process while she is sleeping until Wednesday night.
We are sitting at the table, and Little Miss asks if it is ok if she "makes a card" while she eats. I am intrigued at what might come of this, so I tell her that will be fine. She goes to her little box of goodies and comes back with a sticker sheet and piece of stationary. Then the magic happens. She looks up and me and the hubby and starts: "Tonight I am going to make a very cute little card with a star on it. This is so simple you can take it anywhere."
At this point I think that both of our jaws were hanging open as we realize that she is actually doing a demonstration, complete with product statements built right in."The first thing I want to show you is how to make a cute little pop-up star! You just take this sticker," as she retrieves the little "boom box" sticker you see on the left, "and fold it in half. You put half of it onto your star, then the other half on your card and stick it down, and you have this."
She stops at this point to do the Vanna White hands and showcase her lovely pop-up star that is proudly at the top of her card. Now, I know for a fact that I have never, not once, ever done any kind of pop-up card with, around, or near her. The fact that she figured out how to do a little fold to make the star come up makes me believe that she is absorbing all the stamping goodness she can from every source available to her at this point in her life.
Now she is convinced that we are thoroughly impressed, she moves on to her next step.
"These windows are very plain right now. But if you just look for some more stickers that fit in them, you can make it much prettier." Only four and already the concept of "embellishment" is firmly planted in her psyche. I could cry I am so proud. She pulls off two more stickers tomake her card prettier and puts them in the windows. "And there you have it! A pretty card with a pop-up star that didn't take too long to make!" She held up her card and waited for our reaction.
I kicked the hubby under the table and we both started to clap and tell her how great it is. I must say that her cabin looks like a fun place to visit. We already know it is in Texas (hence the Lone Star at the top and center) and it has good eats available, as evidenced by the chips and ice-cold lemonade just waiting for you in the window. I only regret that I did not have the presence of mind to grab the video camera and tape the entire event.
So, the next time you are perusing your channels be on the lookout for a new stamping show in town. And Lydia...you better watch out. Little Miss might try to steal your production team from you, and she isn't even a whole hand old yet...lol!
I hope everyone is having a great night, and until next time...Happy Stamping!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Remember the great Edgar Allen Poe story, "The Tell-Tale Heart"? Well, I feel like I am living that story, except my version would be "The Tell-Tale Smell".
This all started on Saturday after I returned from a wonderful day at the Stampin' Up Regionals event in San Antonio. I was glad to be home after the long day and really was just looking forward to fetching my child from our neighbor's house and then taking a relaxing bubble bath before dreaming sweet dreams of stamping in which every door prize would come to our table and not to everyone else's, and my entire group would be asked to join Shelli for dinner because no one in the room could match our raw, unbridled talent. (Hey, it was my dream, so I am allowed a little poetic license there!)
I get my stuff in the door and notice a bit of an odor in my kitchen. My first thought is that the garbage can most likely needs emptying. Why would it need emptying? Well, because the same family who does not know how to get sustenance from the big, cold box to the smaller, scary hot box and to the table surely does not know that the stuff that gets left on the plate ends up in the neato green thing with the swinging door, and from there to the REALLY neato green thing outside. All they know is that every Monday morning at 6 a.m. little magic garbage fairies must come to take our refuse away, since it all miraculously disappears into the west like Shane did at the end of the movie.
So, I take a whiff of the garbage can and realize that is not what I am smelling. Now, here is a little inside information for you. When I worked as a paramedic nothing fazed me in the visual sense. You could be on the side of the road with any number of horrific injuries and I would help you out without so much as a blink, as long as you did not smell bad. Smells, it seems, were my downfall. This is the reason that I learned very early on in my career to always carry Vicks VapoRub in my little fanny pack to help ward off any evil that might try to waft its way into my nasal passages. Trust me on this...it works. Sure, your eyes may water like you were slicing onions, but once you shove Vicks up your nose you aren't going to be smelling anything else for awhile.
I began to make my way through the house trying to identify what the smell was, and more importantly, where it was coming from. I finally narrowed it down like I was playing Clue. "OH...is it a dead rat somewhere in the wall of my bedroom...killed by the packs of rat poison my hubby put out in the attic?" Yes. Unfortunately, I had found the correct answer.
As Lydia wrote of earlier today, here in Austin we have a rat "issue". Specifically, they are Norwegian roof rats. I know what you are thinking. The same thing I thought when I first heard of this particular breed: the only things that come out of Norway are cool sweaters, Olympic skiers, and hunky fishermen. And, while our house has one less Norwegian Roof Rat running around outside, this one decided that as his final act of revenge he would manage to squeeze his way into the ridge vent on my roof, crawl into the wall that sits right behind my vanity, and lay off his mortal coil. I wish someone would invent a Norwegian Roof CAT, we could sell them here in Austin and make a small fortune at it.
For those of you who always asked yourself, "Self, I wonder why they say love, honor, and cherish in wedding vows?" let me give you some working examples of these verbs.
"Love" is when your hubby will bring you a ponytail holder, a wet rag, and a sprite after you have thrown up.
"Honor" involves any trip to the store where a stroll down the "feminine products" aisle, and purchase from said aisle in your absense, is warranted.
"Cherish" is crawling Navy SEAL style across the darkest recesses of the attic to try to fish out the corpse of a rat for your wife so that she can sleep in bed again and enjoy her now long overdue bubble bath. All I can say is "thank you" honey! I am going to make you a pot roast tomorrow night for the manliness of your actions.
Thus ends my story of the Tell-Tale Smell. I hope that you were able to stick with me during this one...and if you gave up, well, I can't say I blame you. I do have some great card ideas floating around in my mind tonight, so I am going to stay up and stamp for awhile and tomorrow will bring some pictures. I hope everyone has a wonderful, rodent free evening. Until next time...Happy Stamping!
P.S.---The Komen 5K is just around the corner! You can still register at the Komen race center at 1107 N. IH-35, or contact me for more information. I would love to have you come jog/walk with me this Sunday!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Let me explain. Whenever I sit down to create a new card or work on a new art element I do some of my best work alone. I think more clearly, and I find it much easier to design when I am by myself, but I always have a "post-design" ritual.
If it is during the daylight hours, I run my card by Little Miss. The thing I like about this approach is two-fold. First of all, she is brutally honest. If she doesn't like something I have done she will tell me flat out, and let me tell you, if you haven't had your bubble burst by a four-year old, you should try it sometime. The second part of this gamble, however, is she will always tell me something nice about even my very worst cards, which proves to me that she has a kind heart and is empathetic to the feelings of those around her.
Either that or she is preparing for a future career as an HR director for some large computer/software corporation. I can almost hear her in my mind right now:
"Well, Tom, I'm sorry to have to come here today and tell you that your new tattoo that shows all of your co-workers nekkid running down the length of your arm is considered offensive, and the row of strangely accurate voodoo dolls lined up in your cubicle might be creating a 'hostile work environment' for those around you, so those things have to go. But, I must say, your latest manifesto against the 'Capitalist Corporate Man' that you had delivered to the CEO and the Board of Directors was all spelled correctly and did not contain a single comma splice. Nice job with that! Now, if you will just go with these gentlemen out the door..."
I bet Tom will even thank Little Miss for her approach one day.
Now, if it is after hours for the pre-schooler I go to the next best critic in the house, the dog...err...my husband. I finished this card the other night and showed it to the husband, and do you know what he said?
He actually looked right at me, and (most sincerely and without a hint of the danger that he was putting himself in) said, "Wow, honey! I really like that. It's like a real card."
I'll just let y'all digest that for a couple of minutes.
Now, those of you who are faithful readers know that I like to watch Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, all of those great nature type shows, so I'll try to relate what he said to one of those shows. You know those penguins all waiting to jump into the water that has that one killer whale just waiting right there for a tasty little Oreo-cookie looking treat? Now, you know that one penguin that gets all cocky and thinking that he is invincible so he is going in the water before everyone else? Does it ever end well for that penguin? It does not. And the last look you see upon his face right before he gets to meet Shamu all up close and personal like is the exact same look that was on my hubby's face about 0.2 seconds after he gave me that "compliment".
I haven't seen that kind of backpedaling since Ringling Bros. Circus was in town and one of those high-wire guys was on a unicycle trying to get from one end of the rope to the other. I have to give him credit, because he suddenly found a lot of great things to say about everything on my craft table, including a piece of cardstock that had a coffee stain on it and nothing more. I think I am going to have to catch him off guard a bit more often. It is almost as much fun as stalking my UPS man.
As for the card, I have spent a lot of time admiring from afar the talents of Michelle Zindorf and telling myself that one day I would try some of her brayer techniques out myself. This card is the result of my first try at it. Here are some details on how I made this card. I started using my Martha Stewart circle cutter (thanks for this tool, Martha!) to cut a 1 3/8" circle out of a post-it note. I stamped the image onto my stamp-a-ma-jig so that I could use it as a guide to line up where I wanted the moon to be on the glossy cardstock.
When I had it lined up I held down one corner of the imaging sheet so I could slip the moon mask into place. Then, it was time to get down with the brayer. I started by putting Baja Breeze ink over the entire piece of cardstock. After that I brayered/sponged Pacific Point and Basic Grey onto the bottom of the cardstock, then sponged some of the Pacific Point in the upper right corner. I lightly sponged a little Grey onto the top part of the sky.
I removed the mask and then lightly sponged some So Saffron ink onto the moon to add a little dimension to it. Next I lined up the imaging sheet so that the moon outline on the stamp met the edges of the masked moon on the cardstock, then stamped the house image using Black Staz-On. The green mat under the card is Kiwi Kiss that has been swiped with the same color ink as well as Basic Grey ink.
I encourage you to try some of these new masking/brayering/embossing techniques to see what kind of art you can come up with. And if your hubby/significant other tells you that this one looks like a real card, call me. I'll come post your bail.
Have a great weekend everyone! If you get a chance, check out my friend Lydia's booth at Maker Faire...it is sure to be great. And, before I close this one, I want to give a little "WooHoo" to my friends, Kim and Cecile, who were picked to be on the Stampin' Up Survey Panel. This means that out of thousands of folks across the country that entered a chance to be on this team, these two ladies were selected to help steer the direction of new products for Stampin' Up, and in return they are going to be getting some free goodies from Stampin' Up! I just can't tell you how happy it makes me as a demonstrator to see my customers benefit directly from the company. Way to go, ladies!
That's all for now! I'll be working on my regional swaps this weekend, so there will be new pictures up soon. I hope that everyone enjoys the weekend weather and until next time, Happy Stamping!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Not a complex design, but sometimes the prettiest ones are monochromatic (except for the Chocolate Chip) and simply designed.
This one really showcases how easy it is to use the scalloped edge punch. You can see how nicely the two edges line up, which is made super simple by the little "hash marks" on the base of the punch. You basically just center your cardstock, note which marks you are in between, then punch your center first. Move to the side and punch it out, and repeat on the other side. If you follow this pattern every time your scallops will line up no matter how many layers you add.
And, for the hat trick. This morning at 6 a.m. Little Miss came to my bedroom to tell me that her throat hurt. I gave her some tylenol, checked her temperature, which was normal, and let her sleep with me until time to get up for school. Checked her out again, she said she felt fine, no temp, so I took her to school. Today happened to be field trip day and I had agreed to drive her and one of her friends to tour the HEB. Now, everything was fine when we got there, but then I noticed that she was being very quiet, which is not Little Miss' style at all. By the time we got to the chocolate milk portion of the tour, and she said "I don't want any, I just want to go home" I knew I had a sick kiddo on my hands.
We leave right away, with me having to turn over the other little girl to the teacher (I still feel so bad about that!) and came home to call the doctor who agreed to see us in just a couple of hours. I go to feel my little one's head to find that she is burning up, which was confirmed with a temp of 103.6. Off to the doctor where she was diagnosed with "viral pharyngitis", which is basically a really bad sore throat that is not strep. I figure, good enough, we'll just weather this storm and everything will be ok.
I get her home, and within a couple hours she has vomited multiple times, is running a horrific fever, and now starts telling me that her tummy hurts "really, really bad". Now, let me tell you the good thing about being a paramedic: you are equipped to handle emergencies. You know how to remove yourself from a situation and systematically break it down bit by bit until you come to a "working diagnosis" and go from there. You know the thing about "good things", though? There is always a "bad thing" to go with it.
The bad thing about being a paramedic who happens to have a sick child with fever, vomiting, and really bad belly pain is you remember every single kid you ever took to the hospital to get their appendix yanked out. I made a quick, cursory call to my pediatrician in an attempt to hear, "I think this is just part of her viral course, just keep pushing clear fluids and wait it out." What I got instead was, "If it were my kiddo I would already be out the door on the way to the hospital".
You don't have to tell me twice.
We get to Dell Children's and get through triage and into the back where we are put into a very nice, private room so that Little Miss can be evaluated by the doc. We are met by a doctor that we are familiar with, not necessarily in a good way, who proceeds to roll her eyes when I tell her about the progression of today, and then tell me how kids who "really have something wrong with their belly" won't do this or that or the other. Then we are told that "I've seen 50 kids today with this same thing." Let me tell you something. I don't give a rat's patootie about the other 50 kids. I'm not a bad person for saying that, either. I care about the one kid that I brought in for an evaluation that my husband is going to end up paying for because we know how "great" our insurance is. After a couple of hours we are sent home with the doc trying to save a bit of her name by saying how "I'm not saying it couldn't be appendicitis, I just don't think it is" and telling me to watch her for the next 12-24 hours.
Like any mother would need to be told that.
So I bring my one kiddo home, where she immediately spikes her temp back up into the 103 range again. Let's just say that I plan on giving Dr. Crocker a nice little email sometime tomorrow, once I can see my doctor again and make sure that Little Miss is ok. And, God forbid, if another ER trip is in her immediate future, I will travel in another direction with her so that she doesn't get blown off like she did tonight.
OK, I am climbing down off the soap box to get back to my sleeping baby. I hope everyone has a good night, that everyone's kids are happy and healthy, and that the sun will shine a bit brighter on us tomorrow!
Until next time....
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I go outside with my camera thinking that I will document his thievery for the record, and he just looks up and gives me the stink-eye. Look at him there, all big and bad and not concerned for one iota of a second that I have caught him, red-pawed, trying to take my hummingbird feeder away for his own nefarious purposes. Makes you wonder what happened to him that turned him into the daytime burglar that he has become.
I know that some of you will wonder why I feel this way about such a cute, innocent woodland creature. I promise that someday soon I will post a story about my experience with a squirrel while visiting our nation's capital that will have you running in fear every time you see one of these bushy-tailed beasts, too. I will tell you this much: squirrels easily feel threatened by bushy pony-tails on top of your head. More to follow.
So, to continue with this "are you lookin' at me" post...how about some cute, glittery, heart shaped eyes? Yes, I know, they are attached to a skull and crossbones, but they are glittery, and everyone knows you can't be scared of stuff that is glittery. There are rules of etiquette about this. If Jason Voorhees had just bedazzled that hockey mask up a bit no one would have run from him. Heck, he would have been the life of the party out there at Camp Crystal Lake!
Here is the rest of this card that I made using the cute Halloween set, "Just Jawing".
I wanted to keep the overall effect pretty simple with only two colors of cardstock, but I gave it some dimension using the Weathered Stripes Cuttlebug folder on Baja Breeze card stock, then rubbing the panel with Kiwi Kiss and Baja Breeze ink to rough it up a little. The flower was stamped in Baja Breeze and rolled in Pacific Point, then cut out and added to the skull using dimensionals, and the eyes are done with Stickles, which are one of my favorite ways to add glitter to anything.
Believe me, if I could I would put Stickles on my dogs because they make everything prettier. Of course they are onto me and whenever they see glitter come out they generally walk away quickly so that they don't look like they spent the evening drinking sangria and watching Xanadu or something.
Finally, one last card that I had the time to get finished. This one will be in my Christmas in October class. I love the "Snow Swirled" set and have all kinds of ideas on how to play with this one. We have been doing so many red and green Christmas cards that I wanted to change the focal color of this one to a deep purple, so I went with Elegant Eggplant, backed up with Bravo Burgundy and Old Olive.
The background is stamped using the two snowflake stamps in the set and the olive and eggplant ink. The tree was stamped first with eggplant, then I lined up my stamp-a-ma-jig and overstamped it with Versamark (This should go to show you what a great tool the stamp-a-ma-jig is!) The two images matched up perfectly, and then I was able to apply Iridescent Ice EP to the entire tree. I cannot describe how shiny and iridescent this is IRL...I could not get a photo that did it justice. You will just have to come to my class and make some of these beauties for yourself so that you can see it.
I hope that everyone has a great day! Enjoy the gorgeous weather, but keep a wary eye out for squirrels. You never know what they are up to!
Until next time, Happy Stamping!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Your husband gets sick. You, being the concerned wife, make an appointment for him to go see his doctor, take him there, take him home, go back out to the pharmacy to fill his prescription, come home and give him said medications, tuck him into bed, take care of the kid, the laundry, the cooking, the yard, etc., all while making sure to check on your husband in a regular fashion and make sure he is indeed still breathing and trying to recover. You do this for as long as it takes until he makes a decent recovery, at which time you still "pick up the slack" so that he doesn't get himself sick again.
Now, let us look at the next scenario.
You get sick. Your husband, whom you know loves you dearly, allows you to lay on the couch for about 20 minutes. Then he comes over and asks, "Hey, sweetie? The kiddo is hungry...what do I feed her?"
"She's almost 5, just ask her what she wants. Open the refrigerator. Throw a pop-tart to her. You have a degree from a decent university and spend your days making sure that a zillion people get the correct medications, you can figure this out."
"Oh. OK. So, what do I feed her?"
You get up off of the couch, look your sweet off-spring in the eye and say, "Honey, what do you want to eat?" You then give the child the item and lay back down on the couch so your body can continue trying to fight off the 101 fever you are now running.
Twenty more minutes pass.
"Mom? MOM? MOMMMMMYYYY!"
Husband: "Honey, be quiet. Mommy is sick. We need to let her rest as much as possible."
Child: "But I need mommy to help me find the glass slippers for my Cinderella."
Husband: "Honey? Can you tell me where the glass slippers for Cinderella are?"
At this point, I am glad that I have a half-way decent brain-to-mouth filter, because the first answer that pops to mind involves where I would like the glass slippers to go, and it is nowhere near sweet Cinderella's feet.
This scenario continues to play out until you decide it is easier to continue performing all of your normal day-to-day duties than try to get any kind of rest because your family thinks that mommy/wife has some kind of switch where we can put our fever and body aches on hold until everything else in their world is good. AARRGGHH!!!
I should not complain, I truly should not. I mean, I did get the hubby to fetch me a couple ibuprofen and a glass of tea to choke them down with. I'm just wishing that there was a time-clock installed in my living room so I could clock out for just a couple hours to get some really good rest. Then, to add insult to injury, my body decides to follow its weird Circadian rhythms and start waking up around 11 p.m., insuring that I will not get any appreciable sleep this evening.
Oh well. One thing is certain. Everytime a wife/mother/woman gets sick it reaffirms to her family that without her they are but a pizza delivery service away from reverting into a wandering tribe of nomads, scrounging around the land trying to figure out how to put the toilet paper on the roller or get food to magically go from the big cold box to the big hot box and then to the table on clean plates. This is a good thing for them to remember every now and then, even at the expense of a fever...LOL!
I hope everyone out there has a great weekend. I promise for those of you who are coming to the World Card Making Day event tomorrow that I am going to have my lysol hand cleaner out on the table and I will be sufficiently medicated to make it through our day. In fact, I am pretty sure that a couple hours of stamp therapy is just what the doctor ordered for me.
Until next time, Happy Stamping!