About Me

I am a techno/gadget freak. I love almost anything that has to do with computers and software. I have an engineering background, but I haven't worked in that field for over 10 years. I married my wonderful husband in September 2004 and look forward to spending every single day of the rest of my life with him. I love cats and even call myself "Cat".

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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Day for Daisies New Release

Hi everyone!  We have a new release at ADFD and they are spectacular.  They're so inspiring that I actually made two projects with them.  I'm actually going to make two separate posts because the second one has a surprise for you too.

So this new release is all about the beach.  I know I'm ready for some nice warm weather here in Calgary.  Its -20C here and even colder with the wind chill.  I don't know how it works with all you other ladies out there, but my husband isn't what I would call the romantic sort.  And I guess I've let him off pretty easy over the years in regards to buying me gifts.  I usually buy what I want and tell him what "he got me".  I'm also not a really big jewelry wearer either, but I do like to gussy it up once in a while and wear a necklace or some earings.  So, needless to say, I didn't get any jewelry for Christmas this year.  I decided to make my own and here is what I made using the new release images Pretty Sea Shells collection:

  
Supplies:
Images:  Pretty Sea Shells collection (A Day for Daisies)
Tools & Embellishments:  Inkjet Shrinky Dink, Bic Mark It markers, Sharpie markers, shell beads, glass beads, jewelry findings & chain, earing shepherd hooks, jewelers pliers, jewelers wire snips

I've had the square beads for a really long time and didn't know what to do with them.  They're made from shells and I paid quite a bit of money for them.  I bought them online about 5 years ago when I was really into jewelry making.  I didn't want to really use them on just anything, so I've held onto them.  Once I saw the new images, I knew that they would be great with these images.

I printed the images onto the shrinky dink, then coloured them with my Bic & Sharpie markers.  I didn't use copics because I find that they don't work that well on plastic for me and I can't get the intensity of colour with them as I can with Bics or Sharpies (however, in this case the colour was a little too dark).  After I finished colouring, I cut the images out.  I should note here that I printed the images 2" on the largest side, and once I heated the shrinky dink, the pieces shrunk down to about 3/4".  If you haven't used shrinky dink before and want to try this, you have to remember to punch a hole BEFORE you shrink them.  The plastic ends up being quite thick and brittle, so you won't be able to pierce a hole afterward.  When I was cutting out the images, I added a little extra at the top of the image and used my 1/8" hole punch.  This left a pretty small hole - just big enough for the head pins to fit through.  Once the shrinky dink was cooled down, I used my jewelry making tools and supplies and created these earrings.  I wore them out yesterday and got a couple compliments on them.  That was fun.

Check out the next post for my second project.  I have a little surprise for you. :)

Cat

A Day for Daisies New Release - Version 2

Hopefully, the order of these posts comes out the way I want them.
I've had the same wallpaper on my computer desktop since I bought the computer.  Its a lovely forest scene, but I was getting bored with it.  So I thought I would make a new one for myself and incorporate a calendar because I'm always clicking on the time thingy (technical term) on the task bar to get the calendar up.  I know its not that big of a deal, but it is an annoyance to me.  And since its been so cold, and usually its pretty cold throughout January here in Calgary, I wanted something that would remind me that warmer weather will eventually come back.  And the image I used is so pretty and serene, I had to use it.  Here is the second project I created with the ADFD new release image At the Sea with Sister.

Supplies:
Images:  At the Sea with Sister (A Day for Daisies)
Papers:  Digital background paper (Corina Nielsen - Memory Makers)
Tools & Embellishments:  digital elements by Cuddlebeez & Becky Young Designs, Corel PaintShop Pro X

I imported the calendar grid from Microsoft Word into my graphics program, and then created the aged paper using various brushes and textures to make it look aged and worn.  It was really fun to use my graphics program.  I don't do that much digital work for crafting anymore other than resizing and printing my digi stamps these days, so it was fun to get back to my "roots" so to speak.

I really hope you like the desktop wall paper.  As a little bonus, if you want it for your own computer, you can download the full size version (1024 x 768) here.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Cat

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Raggedy Ann Card

I've always loved these doll images, but have never known exactly how to incorporate them into my style of crafting.  This image is from I Brake for Digis and is a very versatile image.  Since I didn't know what to do with it, I just thought I'd go ahead and colour it and see what happens from there.  Its a rather plain card, but now that I've used it I can see a whole bunch of other possibilities for this card.  I think with some "props" like maybe baby blocks or baskets, or even chairs, or stumps, I could use this image for just about any occasion for a card.  I just needed to do something with it to get the imagination going.  Here's the card:

Supplies
Stamps:  Rag Doll (I Brake for Digis)
Papers:  Daisy D's (patterned paper), cardstock (Bazzil, Wausau Exact Index 110#)
Tools & Embellishments:  Ribbon (Dollar Store), Square Steps corner punch (EK Success), Floral Vine deep edge punch (Martha Stewart), copics

Well, that's all I have for today.  Hope everyone had a great Christmas and that Santa was good to you all.  If I don't "see" you before the year is out - Have a wonderful New Year!

Talk to you later...

Cat

Friday, December 24, 2010

ADFD New Release

Its that time again!  Another release from A Day For Daisies.  That girl keeps putting out some amazing stuff doesn't she?  I really love this image.  But then again, how can I not; it has a cat in it...  The image is called Tiger and is available here in the store.    Here's the card I made this week with the new release:

  
Supplies:
Image:  Tiger (A Day for Daisies)
Paper:  Bazzil cardstock, Recollections cardstock, Patterned paper (unknown), Wausau Exact Index 110#
Tools & Embellishments:  Ribbon (unknown), Craft Robo, Tulip corner punch (unknown), Paper flowers (unknown), rhinestones (unknown), Curlz MT font

Well, that's it for now.  Everyone have a wonderful Christmas!

Talk to you later...

Cat

Monday, December 20, 2010

New IBFD Card

Hi everyone!  Whatcha think of the new blog template? I love it.  Its so festive.  Its time for a new challenge over at the Brakefast Club.  This week is Snow or Winter theme.  I have the cutest little Snowman digi from IBFD and thought it was perfect for this challenge - he's sooo cute.  I know I'll be using this one over and over again. Here's my card:

Supplies:
Stamps:  Snowman (I Brake For Digis)
Paper:  patterned paper (Mom's Diner Salt - Recollections), pink & teal card stock (Recollections), white 110# cardstock (Wausau Exact Index)
Tools & Embellishments:  Drippy Goo edge punch (Martha Stewart), Snowflake punch (Martha Stewart), Christmas candy ribbon (Michaels), Star Dust Stickles, Copics, Rhinestone (Walmart), white glitter (Doodlebug), Zig glue pen

I love this colour combination for Christmas colours.  I love the patterned paper I found at Michaels.  Its actually suppose to be a retro pattern, but to me it looks more like a Christmas pattern so I went with it.  I found this paper a while ago and wish I bought more.  I only had 1/2 a sheet left since I used it on some recipe swap cards (which I think turned out totally cute - I'll post those once everyone in the swap gets their cards).  The icicles along the top were very easy to create.  I used the drippy goo punch and put two layers - one longer than the other.  Then I put stickles on the drips to make them look icy.  I know there is an icicle punch, but I haven't seen it in the stores around here for quite a while, and I really should try using what I have on hand instead of buying new tools all the time.  The snowflake is punched with one of the new(er) Martha Stewart punch and stamp combo sets.  I didn't use the stamp part of it because I wanted to coat the snowflake with white glitter, which I did by using my Zig glue pen and then glitter.  I glued a little Rhinestone to the centre of the snowflake just for a little extra sparkle.

I really like the way this card turned out. You should check out the challenge over at the BrakeFast Club.  If you want to pick up this cute little guy, he's here in the I Brake For Digis shop.  Don't forget to get the discount code in my sidebar if you're going shopping.

That's all for today.  Take care...

Cat

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bummer... I lost my hit counter

I've been changing my blog template around a bit, and I lost my hit counter.  Bummer.  I guess I'll have to start over.  I do know it was getting close to 6000 since I installed it a couple months ago.  Oh well.  That will teach me to not pay attention to little details...

Don't you just love this blog template for the Christmas season?  If you want to see other free blog templates, scroll to the very bottom and you'll see a link to the designers website.  She has some really beautiful templates.

Now to figure out how to put my signature at the end of my posts.

Talk to you later...

Cat

EDIT:  I found it.  I didn't lose it, it just moved. :)  

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Release & New Challenge at ADFD

Today is a good day at ADFD.  There are two new events going on:  a new release with some gorgeous images, and a new challenge.  The new challenge is Tinsel & Tags.  This challenge is really great for this time of year since, in my experience, this is the time that I use a lot of tags.  I really liked the process of planning and making all the elements for tag.  Here's my tag for the challenge:

Supplies:
Image:  Tina, Trina, & Tim:  A Day for Daisies digital stamp
Paper:  Cougar smooth white 130# card stock (base), brown kraft mailing wrapping paper, patterned paper (K&Company), DCWV card stock, Recollections card stock
Tools & Embellishments:  MS branch punch, Family Treasures corner punch, 1/8" circle punch, small corner rounder (EK Success), Ribbon (Michaels), chip board shape (Making Memories), Brads (Michaels), Scalloped Daisy border punch (Fiskars), EZ Cutter knife & oval template, gold gel pen, black gel pen, Tim Holtz distress inks (fired brick, bundles sage, walnut stain), iridescent medium (Windsor & Newton), Embossing pen (Making Memories), red & gold glitter embossing powder (Stampendous), red Stickles, Prisma pencil crayons, oms, mini tinsel pompoms (Dollar Store), Create-a-shade pearl paint (Close to my Heart)

I wanted the chipboard piece to shimmer, so I used the Create-a-shade pearl paint by CTMH.  It gave it a nice shimmery silver finish.  I popped the coloured image onto this, then I added the tinsel pompoms as the furry trim to the sock.  I bought some iridescent medium about 2 weeks ago and I am loving that stuff.  I've been using it on everything, so I had to use it on this project too.  For the background of the tag, I had some brown paper left over from wrapping up parcels I was sending through the mail.  I took a piece larger than my tag and crumpled it up a few times so that I would get it really wrinkled.  I adhered it to my tag and cut off the excess. Then I used the walnut stain distress ink and went around the edge of the tag.  Next, I mixed some iridescent medium with water & a couple drops of fired brick distress ink in one container, and in the other I changed the ink to bundled sage.  This made some nice "glimmer mist" that I painted onto my tag.  I put red on the top half and green on the bottom half.  I used my heat gun to dry the paper since I'm too impatient to let it sit long enough to air dry.  Then I took my embossing pen and drew swirlies on the top halve and covered it with green glitter embossing powder, then I did the same on the bottom half with red glitter embossing powder.  The tree on the tag isn't hard to make.  I took some scrap green cardstock and just punched about 30 branches with my MS branch punch.  I also cut a triangle out of the same scrap cardstock.  Then, starting at the bottom, I glued the branches onto the triangle, working across then up the triangle, making sure my little branches hung over the edges a little bit.  I did two layers like this because I didn't want the base to show through.  One that was done, I put little red stickle baubles all over the tree and used a star shaped brad with the prongs cut off and used pop dots to adhere it to the tag.  I didn't have a small enough stamp and I really didn't want to fuss with the computer and printing for the sentiment, so I just cut a piece of scrap white cardstock with my EZ Cutter knife & oval template and hand wrote the sentiment.  I used a gold gel pen to go around the edge of the oval, then I used the red homemade "glimmer mist" and painted over top of it to give it some sparkle.  Once it was dry I attached it to the tag with pop dots.

Wow!  That seems like a lot of steps, but really it wasn't that bad.  I think all in all it took maybe about an hour to make the tag.  I'm not excited about the way it looks in the picture, but in real life, it is very pretty and shimmery and I think a pretty good start for my first "Tim Holtz style" tag.

My next project is a scrapbook page using one of the new release images.  These new images pulled at my heart because we have a little dog that is pure joy for us.  She is so sweet natured and affectionate and we just love her to death.  Here is my layout:

Supplies:
Image:  Family Pet (or Good Dog) - A Day for Daisies digital stamp
Papers:  Pets paper stack (Imagine That), Exact Index 110# white cardstock (Wausau), corregated cardboard, matte photo paper (Kodak)
Tools & Embellishements:  Dog theme stickers (Dollar Store), Ribbon (Dollar store), Brad (Michaels), Letter stickers (Paperbilities), Floral vine deep edge punch (Martha Stewart), Iridescent medium (Windsor & Newton), Red brick distress ink (Tim Holtz)

For the layout, I wanted to get as many cute pictures of our little baby as I could fit in the middle of the heart, so I made a collage of her pictures and printed it out on 8 1/2 x 11 matte photo paper.  To make the heart frame, I cut a piece of cardboard to the size and shape I wanted (about 7"x8") and then ripped off as much of the top layer of paper to reveal the corregated paper underneath.  Then I took the homemade glimmer mist in red and sponged that onto the heart frame. (here's a close up pic)



While the cardboard was still damp, I distressed it a bit more by rolling up some of the edged and tearing it a little bit as you can see in the picture above, but here's another close up pic:


I glued the frame onto the printout in the spot that got as many of the pictures I really wanted.  I then trimmed away the excess photo.  I took about 12" of grosgrain ribbon and tied a bow in the middle of it and added a brad by bending the prongs and putting them through the knot in the centre of the bow.  I cut off the bits of the prongs that stuck out past the knot.  I used Aileen's fast grab tacky glue to glue the ribbon to the frame.  I like this glue because it really does live up to its name.  Since I was folding the ribbon over and scrunching it up, I needed a glue that would hold it in place and this glue is one of the best I've found for this (other than glue dots which I'm out of right now).

To make the lacy mat for the background, I took a piece of 9" x 9" paper and puched around it with the MS floral vine deep edge punch.  I wish there was a corner punch for this punch, or if there is one I haven't seen it in the stores around here, so I just went to the edge and just let whatever happened to the corners happen.

For the Good Boy image, I first coloured it digitally in my Paintshop Pro program, then I printed it out 3 times. I cut the various layers of the image and used pop dots to make the image 3D, kind of like making a paper tole image with it.  Here's a close up of that detail:


The title for the layout was done with letter stickers I've had in my stash forever.  I think I bought the package when I first started scrapbooking about 6 years ago.  I've only used them on this layout and one other layout. They're usually not my style, and I usually use my CraftRobo to create titles for my pages, but the colours seemed to go with my layout and they're convenient.

So other than the couple of doggie dollar store stickers I added, that's it for my layout.  I had fun creating all the different elements I did for this layout.  And, of course, I love doing layouts about my little doggie.  She takes such cute pictures.

Thats it for today.  Talk to you later...

Cat

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things that make you go "hmmmmm"...

I just had stop and think today.  I had to go and do some grocery shopping, so I thought this would be my opportunity to slip out and stop off at Michaels.  I printed my coupons and away I went.  Well, I wandered around the store for about 20 minutes wondering what to get with my coupons.  Then I thought, why am I buying stuff I don't need or want just because I have a coupon.  I don't know why I feel I have to buy something if I have these stupid coupons.  What's even more sad is that I couldn't find anything to buy because I have so much stuff that almost everything I looked at, I already have.  And if I didn't have it, I know it was something I wouldn't use. It makes one shake their head doesn't it?

Talk to you later...

Cat

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BrakeFast Club challenge - Anything But a Card

Another challenge is on at the BrakeFast Club.  The challenge this week is to make a project other than a card. I love making altered items, so this was an excellent time for me to make this cute little altered domino. I am really into altering dominoes for some strange reason the last few months. I made a bunch a couple months ago for a craft show and realized how easy they were to do and now I'm hooked.

Supplies
Image:  Sun & Stars - I Brake for Digis
Paper:  Wausau Exact Index 110# cardstock
Tools & Embellishments:  Copic & Sharpie markers, Iridescent medium (Windsor & Newton), plastic domino game piece, Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

I printed the image out on white card stock 1" x 2" then coloured it with copic & sharpie markers.  I painted on a little iridescent medium on the sun & stars to give them a little sparkle (doesn't show up very well in the picture.  Once everything was dry, I glued the image to the smooth side of the domino.  Since the image had square corners and the domino has rounded corners, I just saturated the corners with white glue and shaped them to the domino.  After the glue dried, I used a black sharpie and coloured the sides of the domino (mine are white) so that it matched the image better.  After I was sure everything was dry (I let it sit overnight), I coated it with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is a clear coating just like crystal effects, but you can get it at Walmart.  I did a product review on this stuff in this post if you're interested in reading it.  Once I get a flat back bail for it, I will adhere that to the back and run a chain so I can wear it as a necklace.

You should get in on this challenge.  It really is a lot of fun.  You should also try making an altered domino if you haven't yet.  They're fairly inexpensive.  I found mine in the cheap bins at Michaels with a bunch of kids toys.  I paid $3 for a set.  If you want to use the same image I used, you can find it here in the IBFD shop. Remember to grab the 10% off code in my sidebar if you're going to go shopping. :)

Well, that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Saturday, December 11, 2010

IBFD - Patchwork Angel

Hi again!  I'm back with a new card using the Patchwork Angel from I Brake For Digis. I wanted to make a card with totally non-traditional colours - I'm kinda like that - non-traditional. :)  I thought this image was perfect because of the style and it gives you the opportunity to really mix up the colours.  I entered this card into the BrakeFast Club's challenge this week: Christmas or Holiday.  Even though the colours aren't your normal holiday fare, I think they made a pretty festive card.  Here's what the card looks like:

Supplies:
Stamps:  Patchwork Angel - I Brake for Digis, sentiment (SU!)
Paper:  Recollections card stock, American Crafts card stock, DCWV patterned paper
Tools & Embellishments:  paper flowers (unknown), rhinestone brads (Michaels), Ribbon (Offray), corner punch (Dollar Store), Copics (Y06, B29, Y02, BG10, RV23, BV00, B00), Shapie markers (orange, teal, lime green, pink, blue), Bic Mark It markers (key lime), gold glitter pen

Don't forget, if you head over to the I Brake for Digis or I Brake for Stamps store, grab the 10% off coupon code located in my right hand side bar.  Every little bit helps!

Thanks for stopping by.  Make sure you pop over to The BrakeFast Club (link in my sidebar also) to check out what next week's challenge will be.  The new challenge will be posted tomorrow. :)

Talk care...

Cat

Friday, December 10, 2010

ADFD New Release - Tiny Brother

I have another adorable image to show you from A Day For Daisies new release this week.  Its called Tiny Brother.  Its such a sweet image and really shows the beauty of pregnancy and the curiosity and caring an older sibling has when a new baby is expected into the family.  I really hope you get a chance to take a look at (and perhaps pick up a couple) of the new images Tammy released today.  I think you'll love them just as much as I do.  Here's my card made with the new image:

Supplies:
Image:  Tiny Brother - A Day For Daisies digital stamps
Paper:  K&Company, Recollections, Other unknown, Wausau Exact Index 110#
Tools & Embellishments:  Crayola, Prisma, & Roseart colouring pencils, oms, Spellbinders Fleur de Lis die, Offray ribbon, Martha Steward Doily edge punch.

Thanks for stopping by...

Cat

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stuffed Calamari Recipe

I love seafood.  I am not, however, the greatest when it comes to cooking it.  I usually over cook it and then it ends up being rubbery.  There is a little greek restaurant about 2 blocks from our house that serves the most delicious stuffed calamari.  I order it in the appetizer size every time we go there.  We haven't been to the restaurant in a few months because my husband was put off with something with his last meal there and doesn't want to go back.  I've always enjoyed their food, but some things have changed and it isn't quite the same, but I'd still go if he would go with me.  So, I've been missing the calamari and decided I would try to make it myself.  I couldn't find a recipe anywhere on the internet for this dish, so I had to "wing it".  I think it came out very tastey - not quite as tastey as the one at the restaurant, but nonetheless, tastey.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the dish, but here's the recipe:

Suffed Calamari

Total cooking time approx. 1 hour.  Total prep time (after thawing the squid) approx. 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  

Ingredients:

Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup white wine
1/2 tbsp finely ground white pepper
2 rounded tbsp dijon mustard
salt to taste

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, on medium high heat, make a roux with your flour and butter, then slowly add the cream to make a very thick white sauce.  Turn the heat down to medium - medium low and slowly add the white wine, mixing with a whisk so as to not get any lumps.  Add the pepper, mustard, and salt and continue to cook until the alcohol is cooked out and the sauce has re-thickened.

Tip:  If you don't have white wine or don't want to use wine, you can substitute it with no/low salt chicken broth. (edit:  you will need to adjust the amount of salt you use if you use chicken broth with salt)

Calamari:
6 small whole calamari (squid - with tentacles and head removed - I used frozen)
2 lb ground chicken (you could use veal or turkey, but the restaurant uses chicken in theirs)
1 small leek, chopped finely (about 2 - 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped pinenuts
1/2 tbsp finely ground white pepper
salt to taste

If you're using frozen calamari - thaw in a bowl of cold water, drain and pat dry.  Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Stuff the calamari with the chicken meat mixture.

Ladle some of the sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking dish.  Arrange stuffed calamari in the pan and ladle over remaining sauce.  Cover with tin foil and place baking dish on a cookie sheet (the sauce may bubble over).  Bake in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and finish cooking for another 10-15 minutes to brown up.

Serve with rice and vegetables of your choice.

You'll notice there is quite a bit of pepper in this dish.  Its the one spice I could definitely pick out in the restaurant version  I didn't add any other spices/herbs to the meat mixture because 1) I didn't want to ruin it, and 2) I could never tell if there was any other spices in it other than the pepper.  The pepper should make it a little spicy, but not over powering.  You may have to adjust how much pepper you use according to your taste, but I like lots and lots of pepper and those are the amounts I used.

I really hope you all try this dish.  I thought it was very yummy and quite easy to prepare.  If you try it, please let me know how you like it.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I didn't know...

that people could post comments on your profile at SSC. So a whole bunch of people sent me birthday wishes and I didn't even know so I didn't acknowledge the well wishes. To everyone who sent me Birthday wishes, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I didn't want anyone to think I was snubbing them or being a snob. I didn't know they were there until today. I guess I should check at CDAC as well since that site has the same structure as SSC. In my defense, I'm not use to those sites and find the architecture very confusing...

Thanks everyone!

Cat

Friday, December 03, 2010

New Released Images & a New Challenge at ADFD

Just when I thought Tammy's images couldn't get any cuter, she releases some more fantastic digi stamps.  The image I chose to work with for this release is sooooo cute.  There is something about babies that just melts my heart.  Its probably because I don't have any human babies of my own, that I just adore little baby pictures. Here's the card I made with the Tub Time image available now in the ADFD store.

Supplies:
Image:  Tub Time - A Day For Daisies digital stamps
Paper:  SU! tempting turqoise card stock, patterned paper (unknown)
Tools & Embellishments:  Copics, Ribbon (Michaels), Glitter thread, quilling tool & quilling paper, Marvy Uchida Southwest corner punch, Fiskars corrugated wave paper crimper, Fiskars wave edge scissors, Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

Here are a couple close up photos of the detail on the bubbles and the little fish.




The next card was made for the current ADFD challenge.  You all should head on over to the challenge page for ADFD (here).  Tammy has a really super cute image for you so you can play along.  The challenge this week is "All About the Wrapping" - in other words, you need to incorporate wrapping paper somewhere in your design.  I have this beautiful purple foil wrapping paper that I've been hording for the last couple years. Its so pretty that I haven't wanted to use too much of it because I wanted it to last. So I decided to use it for the background on my challenge card.  I think you'll agree that its gorgeous paper.


Supplies:
Image:  Dressed up for Christmas  - A Day For Daisies digital stamps
Paper:  Wausau Exact Index 110#, SU Elegant eggplant
Tools & Embellishments:  Copics, Ribbon (Michaels), ribbon (Michaels), purple & gold stickles, EK Success Venetian Corner Punch, Glittertex mica flakes

So, hopefully, we'll see your entries into this week's challenge.  Its a lot of fun and as always, Tammy will have a little something special for one lucky person as a reward at the end of the challenge.  Check out the new images too!  You'll love them.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I was Awarded and Award!

I've been chosen to receive the prestigious "Stylish Blogger Award" by Lisa over at her blog Land of EnCRAFTment.  Thank you Lisa.  Its an honour - truly.  It makes me happy that there are people who actually visit my blog and take the time to leave me a message, let alone pick me for an award.  There are some stipulations in accepting this award, however.  I think I have fulfilled the first one already, but I will list them here because others will need to see what they are (also part of the stipulations).
In accepting this award I agree to
1. Thank the person who bestowed the award on me and link back to them;  (check)
2. Share 8 things about yourself;
3. Pay it forward to 8 bloggers you recently discovered;
4. Notify those 8 bloggers and let them know about their award.

So, 8 things about myself.  Well, this was hard one because I don't think I'm really all that interesting, but here they are:
1.  My favourite colour is Royal Blue.  It's just such a rich and regal colour.
2.  My favourite flowers are Gerbera Daisies because they're pretty and fun.
3.  My best friend since I was about 16 years old is Janet.
4.  I love ice fishing - I even have my own ice auger. :)
5.  I wanted to teach music before I decided to become and engineer.
6.  I had drawings on display in the Winnipeg Art Gallery when I was 12.
7.  I'm the oldest of 3 - one sister and one brother.
8.  I'm named after a little girl that died from tuberculosis.  She had red hair and freckles and my dad told my mom that is what their daughter was going to look like  - and I did.  This was before I was even born.

Now for my pay-it-forward awards.  I have only met one of these ladies in person: Gail.  She's a sweetheart. She's one of the founders and a member of the Stampin' Canada on line community where I hang out most of the time.  Donna is another member of Stampin' Canada, but I have not had the pleasure of meeting her in person yet.  Ruth is another lady from Calgary that I met on line through the Splitcoast Stampers blogger group the Paper Palls.  We haven't met in person, but I like to check out her blog - she has some cool projects.  All the other ladies on my pay-it-forward list are new friends I've "met" on line through my new adventure on the I Brake For Digis design team.  Here's the list:


Again, thank you Lisa.  I'm off to let everyone know I've awarded them the Stylish Blogger Award.

Have a great night everyone!
Talk to you later...

Cat

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I Brake For Digis - First Card as a DT member

Well, my term on the I Brake for Digis DT starts today. :)  I thought I would start off with a card I made for the challenge running right now over at the BrakeFast club (link is in my side bar).  The challenge this week is inchies. I've only every made two cards with inchies, so this was not my usual style of card.  I got these images a little while ago to make some little goodies for Christmas (some re-packaged tea - ssshhh! don't tell my sister) and thought they would work well for an inchie card.  Here's a picture:

Supplies:
Images:  Tea Pot, Tea Bag, Tea Cup - I Brake For Digis digital stamps
Paper:  Bazzill Coredinations, Recollections Kraft cardstock, Patterned paper (unknown - I think it may be Daisy D's), Wausau Exact Index 110# white cardstock (base & images)
Tools & Embellisments:  Prisma pencil crayons, oms, Fiskars small scallop edging scissors, EK Success edge punch, Ribbon (Moderne Home), Curlz MT font (sentiment), sanding block, Cuttlebug embossing folder

The images are adhered with pop-up foam squares.  I wanted the images to look a little old-fashioned, so I used the small scallop edge scissors as a corner rounder and set one scallop in slightly and nipped off the corners.  I had to put my reading glasses on for that task!

Overall, I like how the card turned out.  It was fun making my first card for the IBFD design team.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birthday Card from Jasmine

It was my birthday last week.  I can't believe how old I'm getting.  Well, this was, officially, my last birthday.  I am not going to have anymore.  I still want all the presents and cards, but I don't want the actual turning older part of it.  I never thought I would be this "old".  When I was young, I thought that I would go on feeling great for the rest of my life.  I couldn't understand "old" people when they said they couldn't sleep because they had heartburn, or even more gross - gas!  I secretly thought they were stupid.  Why didn't they just take a tums or fart and be done with it.  Now I know.  While my ailments these days are a little more complicated than heartburn or gas, I wish there was a pill that I could take and just be done with it.  My eyesight is getting worse, I have the beginnings of arthritis in my wrists and hips, and now I think menopause is starting to creep up on me too.  For all you "young" people out there:  TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODIES!!! You'll need them.

Well, back to a more pleasant subject matter - my niece - and the absolutlely cute card she made for me for my birthday.  She's getting a lot of use of the supplies I sent her in the summer for her birthday.  I'm just about ready to do another sweep of my supplies.  The shelves in my cabinet let go because of the weight of all the paper last night.  It was like a pancake reaction.  The top shelf went, it hit the shelf below, and that one let go, and so on.  So I had to sort some of my stuff - more or less pick it all up off the floor!! What a royal pain.  Now all the stuff that was on those shelves is sitting out in my dining room.  I have to walk back and forth to get something and then put it away.  Hopefully, hubby will help me fix it tonight.

Anyway, I digress again.  Jasmine is getting to be quite good at making cards.  We haven't had a Skype craft date in a while.  I think I'll have to come up with a project so we can have a craft date soon.  Here's a picture of the card she sent me.  If you have a minute, please leave her a comment.  She's always thrilled to hear what people have to say about her work. :)


Talk to you later...

Cat

P.S.  Tomorrow is the start of my term on the I Brake for Digis DT.  I'll have a new card up to show you, so stop by again tomorrow to take a peek.

Friday, November 26, 2010

ADFD New Release Images

I have a couple new projects I want to show you.  ADFD has released some new images and I think they're just great.  I'm really liking these new images.  The image in this first card is called Bright Eyed.  I could just imagine a little kid sitting bolt upright in bed Christmas eve when she thinks she hears Santa downstairs and her eyes getting big with excitement.

Supplies:
Image:  Bright Eyes - A Day for Daisies digital stamps
Paper:  SU Elegant Eggplant, DCWV (patterned paper), Bazzill shimmer card stock (matting),  Wausau Exact Index 110# white (image, base, & sentiment)
Ribbon:  Offray
Tools & Embellishments:  MS Snowflake punch, Star corner punch (unknown), Crystal glitter (Glittertex), Artists chalks (Loew Cornell), Blender Pen (Whisper Strokes by Sugar Loaf), Juice ITC font (sentiment), Gold glen marker (unknown - edging around sentiment)

The picture's colours are a little off.  The background is the SU Elegant Eggplant card stock and it shows up here as a dark navy blue.  I tried colour correcting it in my graphics program, but then all the other colours would go off, so I decided to live with it.  The image itself is printed on the Wausau Exact Index 110# card stock and then coloured with artist chalks and a blender pen.  I wanted it to feel light and faded, kind of old fashioned looking.  It does look that way in real life, but because of all the post processing done to the photo, it looks really washed out.  I may try to take another photo of it in daylight.  I usually take my photos at night using my homemade light box, so that may be the problem too.

The next two projects are calendar pages.  Tammy is going to have blank calendars available for you to make your altered calendars.  These two are very simple:


Supplies:
Image:  Bird Blossom - A Day for Daisies digital stamps
Paper:  Wausau Exact Index 110# white
 Tools & Embellishments:  Koh-i-noor pencil crayons, oms, Studio G glitter glue, GiddyUp font

This was very simple to make.  I typed in the month off to the side, then once my Bird Blossom image was coloured, I edged it with a green copic, then I adhered it to the calendar with pop dots.  The little pink flowers have glitter glue on them.

Supplies:
Image: Dreaming of Her Wedding - A Day for Daisies digital stamps
Paper: Wausau Exact Index 110# white
 Tools & Embellishments: Copics, Glitter pens (HiJell), French Script font

Again, this was very easy to do.  I added a fake list onto the calendar to show how much room there is to keep track of your notes and appointments.  I only used copics for shading and the skin and used the glitter pens for the colouring.  I only outlined the dress with a silver glitter pen.  Here is a close up under better lighting to show you how glittery the image really is:

I though the image was perfect for this month, since June is the most popular month to get married.  I wanted the font on the calendar to be more formal and to look silver, so I only used the font in outline in a medium grey colour.  I love the French Script font - its one of my favourites.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my creations.  Get on over to the ADFD and check out her new releases. Plus, on Friday until noon, Tammy has her new release images marked down to $3.00!  Check it out, they're really pretty.

Talk to you later..

Cat

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bugaboo Round 2

Well, I got the news last night.  I didn't make it through for the Bugaboo DT.  Somewhat disappointing, but given that I hadn't really intended to apply and was a last minute whim to enter the DT contest, I'm ok with it. It just means that I'll have more time to put my energies into the DT's I'm already on.  Well, here is my losing card.


All the supplies I used were scraps, so I cant tell you who made the patterned paper, but the card stock is scraps of SU and I haven't a clue what shade of pink it is (I think it may be pink pirouette).  I think the darker pink is either DCWV or American Crafts card stock. I used my CraftRobo to cut everything.  The stamp image is 3 layers and each layer is coloured.  I don't think the picture does the card justice though.  I just couldn't get a decent picture of it.  It really is pretty and sparkly in person.

Well, on to the next adventure.  Just wanted to show you my card.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Monday, November 22, 2010

ADFD Challenge #6 - Attitude of Gratitude

With Thanksgiving coming up for our US friends, this week's challenge at ADFD is all about gratitude.  The catch to the challenge is that you must create your own sentiment for the challenge - and of course use an ADFD image. There are so many great images in the store that could be used for this challenge.  I'll admit I had to "force" myself to get into the Thanksgiving frame of mind again, since we have our Thanksgiving a month earlier here in Canada. But, with all the beautiful images Tammy has available, it wasn't that hard once I came up with my sentiment. Here is the card I created for this challenge.


Supplies:
Stamps: Roast Turkey & Flowers
Papers: Digital Paper (300dpi.com), SU Close to Cocoa cardstock, Recollections cardstock, Wausau Exact Index 110#, Staples brand matte finish brochure paper (used to print the digi paper)
Inks: Coffee Dye Ink (StampCraft), Walnut Stain distress ink (Ranger - Tim Holtz)
Tools & Embellishments: Ribbon (American Crafts), Copics, Brads (dollar store), Vivaldi font (sentiment), CraftRobo


This card is actually a half fold card so it measures 8.5" x 5.5".  I didn't want to lose any of the detail of the stamp on the different layers when the card was put together, so I decided to make it as large as I could (and still fit in the premade envelopes I have on hand).  You may not notice it in the picture, but the focal image is 3 layers.  I used the print & cut feature of my CraftRobo to cut the layers because of the intricate cuts around some of the flowers.  That is another reason I love digi stamps.  I don't have to hand cut them.  The paper printed out a little lighter than I had anticipated, so I used some distress ink & coffee coloured ink to go around the edges to darken it a little bit and to match the colour of the turkey.  I think I need to re-calibrate my monitor, because it looked like the perfect shade of golden/beige on my screen but printed too light.

Well, I hope you get on over to ADFD and get in on the challenge  (here's the link:  ADFD Challenge #6.) Tammy has provided a great free image to use if you don't already have some of her images.  Take a peek at the new releases too while you're there. They're fabulously retro kinda art nouveau - they remind of me of the starlets from the 1920's Hollywood.  You can see her new releases here in the store.

Talk to all later...

Cat

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Good News!!!!

So, I have been waiting to post this announcement and then my computer decides to go haywire on me (that's a long story for another post) so I haven't really been able to do any posting for the last little while.
Well, my good news is I was accepted onto the I Brake for Digis design team.  YAY!  YIPPPEEE!  Doin' the happy dance!   

I'm really excited to be a part of this team.  So, check back here in the next couple days, cause I'm going to get to work on making up some new cards.

I will still be participating on the A Day for Daisies DT as well so, this new venture with I Brake for Digis will bring more variety to my cards here.  I am really excited about this.

Talk to you later....

Cat

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Brake For Stamps Design Team Call

I put my name in for yet another design team.  I'm trying out for the I Brake For Stamps design team.  I only have 3 of their images and really like them.  I made 3 cards using each stamp, so here are some pictures of them.

I absolutely love this image on this card.  It can be a challenge to colour because the bears are suppose to be white.

Supplies
Stamps:  I Brake For Stamps
Paper:  patterned paper (unknown), coloured card stock (Bazzill & Recollections), Wausau Exact Index 80# (image), Office Depot 110# card stock (base)
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black
Tools & embellishments:  Copic markers, iridescent glitter glue (Studio G), crystal glitter (Glitterex - snowflake), EK Success corner adorner punch - Venetian, star & rounded corner punch (Dollar Store), glitter organza ribbon (Michaels), brad (Dollar Store)

The next stamp image is one I bought to make my mother's birthday card.  Unfortunately, I haven't sent it yet - her birthday was last week (I know, I'm a lousy daughter).


Supplies
Stamps:  I Brake For Stamps
Paper:  patterned paper (K&Company - Amy Butler - Belle paper stack), coloured card stock (Bazzill & Recollections), Wausau Exact Index 80# (image), Domtar 130# coated card stock (base)
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black
Tools & embellishments:  Copic markers, stickles (Waterfall), dimensional pearl fabric paint (flower centres - Dollar Store), Martha Stewart Hydrangea & Hydrangea Trio punches, crotchet lace ribbon (Dollar Store), texture plate (feather pattern - Fiskars), Martha Stewart floral lace edge punch

The last card I made is with a very cute snowman stamp.  I think about 75% of my Christmas stamps are snowmen.


Supplies
Stamps:  I Brake For Stamps
Paper:  patterned paper (My Minds Eye - Countdown to Christmas paper stack), shimmer card stock (red background card stock - Recollections), coloured card stock (Recollections). Wausau Exact Index 80# (image), Domtar 130# coated card stock (base)
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black
Tools & embellishments:  Copic markers, stickles (frosted lace, stardust, gold, silver, red), Martha Stewart  double loop edge punch, satin ribbon (Michaels)

Well, thanks for looking at my cards.  I have to start getting a few more Christmas cards done for the craft shows I have at the end of this month and the beginning of December.  After these ones, that's all I'm going to do.  They're a lot of work and a lot of fun, but I don't think that they're worth it for the money you make on them.  So far I've more or less have broken even on the stuff that I've sold, but I will probably have a couple hundred cards left over and a bunch of altered items that I'll never be able to use.  I guess everyone in my family will get a nice big set of cards for Christmas if I don't sell them.  I'll send some to the Canadian troops too.

Well, its late, so good night.  Talk to you later...

Cat

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bugaboo DT Call

I decided to put these cards together at the last minute.  I had the ideas in my head and the images already coloured so I decided I would throw my name into the hat for the Bugaboo DT call.  Here's the first card using the "Santa Called" image.   I thought it was too funny.

Supplies:
Stamps:  Santa Called & sentiment - Bugaboo Digital Stamps
Paper:  Bazill card stock (red), SU card stock (Kiwi Kiss), Wausau Exact Index 80# white, Base 130# Domtar coated card stock,  Provo Craft paper stack (patterned paper)
Tools & embellishments:  Copic markers, twill ribbon (Michaels), organza ribbon (dollar store), silver & gold stickles, Fleur de Lis edge punch (EK Success), Craft Robo (frame)

The next card is done with the Bride Sunbonnet image.  I did alter the image and removed the veil part since I wasn't making this as a wedding card.

Supplies:
Stamps:  Bride Sunbonnet - Bugaboo Digital stamps, sentiment (Inkadinkado)
Paper:  Mother's Flowers Digital papers - Delicious Scraps (printed on HP glossy presentation paper), Wausau Exact Index 80#
Ink:  Studio G 
Tools & embellishements:  Copic markers, yellow glitter glue (Michaels), ribbon (Dollar store), buttons (unknown), Lacy Doily edge punch (Martha Stewart)

The next card is fairly plain. I wanted the image and the sentiment to be the focus on this card.  The sentiment is probably meant to be for a baby card, but I think its also appropriate for the Christmas season.

Supplies

Stamps:  Mary & Joseph - Bugaboo Digital stamps, sentiment (Inky Antics)

Paper:  patterned paper (unknown), cardstock - Recollections & DCWV, Wausau Exact Index 80#
Ink:  Versa Mark embossing ink, walnut stain distress ink (Tim Holtz)
Tools & embellishments:  gold detail embossing powder (Stampendous), button (unknown), rafia

I really like the way these cards came out.  I have so many Bugaboo images, but I haven't used them very much.  I hope you like them too.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Few More Cards...

I finally got my room cleaned up to the point that I felt I could make something again.  Unfortunately, I'll have to clean it again.  I don't know what it is about me, but every time I do something in my craft room, it looks like a tornado went through the room.  Well, I'm hoping its a sign of a creative person because if I try to keep it tidy, then I can't seem to create anything at all and it all just falls apart.  So anyway, I couldn't sleep again last night, and I had this image from ADFD called Can't Sleep, so I though why not try to use it to get my creative thought process going again.  This is such a cute image.  Here's a picture of the card I made with this image:


Supplies:
Stamp:   A Day For Daisies - Can't Sleep, Inky Antics (sentiment)
Papers:  SU Tempting Turqoise, DCWV paper stack, Glitter paper (unknown), Wausau Exact Index 80#
Ribbon:  Dollar store
Ink:   Studio G
Tools & Other:  MS Swirling Lace border punch, MS Hydrangea Trio punch, Frosted White Liquid Pearls
Copic Markers:  Y02, Y17, G00, BG15, RV02,E00, E33, E37, C5, C0

The next image is such a beautiful image and I hope I did it justice.   I had originally intended to use this image on the current challenge at ADFD (check out my side bar for the link).  It was a real toss up between this image and the Leaf Girl image, but I ended up using Leaf Girl for the challenge.  So, I had to use this image, just because it is so pretty.  The image is called Wind in my Hair.  Here's a picture of the card I created with it:


Supplies:
Stamp: A Day For Daisies - Wind in my Hair
Papers: Recollections cardstock, patterned paper (unknown), Wausau Exact Index 80#
Tools & Other:  SU Scallop Trim border punch, Waterfall stickles
Copic Markers:  BV00, E33, E35, E37, C0, 0
Bic Mark It markers:  pastel purple
Sharpie Markers:  medium purple, dark purple, medium red brown, dark red brown 

I made the card very plain because I really wanted the image to be the focal point.  Since I didn't have any pale shades of the Bics & Sharpies, I used the Copic colourless blender to remove some of the ink to create highlights on her dress and her hair.

TIP:  Did you know that the Ranger alcohol blending solution will work in your Copic colourless blender?  The solution is virtually identical in composition.  I've been using it and it works beautifully in my blender pen.  I think its a little more expensive than the blender refill, but its what I had on hand.

The last card I made last night is a little late in coming.  I had the Spooky Fall Tree image and just couldn't think of what I wanted to do with it.  And, some of the cards I've seen done with this image left me thinking that I probably couldn't do anything that hadn't already been done - and done well.  So I was finally getting tired around 2:00 this morning and for some reason, that's when ideas come to me.  Not that this card is all that unique in the layout, but its a design that I thought would look good so I went with it.  Here's how it turned out:


Supplies:
Stamp: A Day For Daisies - Spooky Fall Tree
Papers: SU Kiwi Kiss, Black cardstock, patterned paper (unknown), Wausau Exact Index 80#
Tools & Other:  MS Arch Lattice border punch, Green, Orange, & Black stickles, Olive Green Studio G glitter glue, EZ Cutter circle templates & swivel knife
Copic Markers:  E43, E47, E49, YR02, YR04, YR07, C5, C3, C0, 0
Sharpie Markers:  medium green, olive green, black fine tip
Ribbon:  Michaels 

I wanted the scene to come out darker, so I used the C5 Copic as my first line of shading around the image, then I widened out with C3, then C0, and then finally the blender to fade to white.  The sentiment is hand written with a black fine point sharpie marker.

Well, I hope you like my cards.  I also hope you'll be able to use my little tip about the alcohol blending solution.  Its come in handy for me.

Don't forget to get in on the ADFD challenge going on right now.  Its a lot of fun, there's a cute free image for you to use, and some other great rewards up for one lucky person. :)

Talk to you later...
Cat

Friday, November 05, 2010

ADFD Challenge #5 - Please Pass the Traditions

A new challenge has started on the A Day For Daisies site.  This one was a real treat to work on.  I got to brush up on some of my digital graphics design skills.  The challenge is to create a project with, of course, one of the ADFD images, and your favourite recipe.  I saw a couple of Tammy's images that just invoked this sort of remembrance of my heritage.  It was a real toss up as to which image I was going to use for this challenge, but in the end "Leaf Girl" won out.  I love the look on her face and the leafs in her hair reminded me of feathers a young indian princess would wear.  I was quite involved in the Aboriginal community for a long time.  Unfortunately, I haven't been in about the last 10 years.  I really enjoyed my work with the non-profit organization I use to be involved with.  The organization was called CASTS - Canadian Aboriginal Science & Technology Society - and I sat on the Board of Directors as Chairperson for a few years.  The goal of the organization is to promote education in the Aboriginal communities, and in particular, in the science fields.  Sadly, I have lost contact with the people I worked with on the board and involved with the organization, which I must admit is my doing and had nothing to do with the fine and hardworking people involved in CASTS.

But I digress, back to what this post is about  - ADFD challenge #5.  I started this whole paper crafting thing when I started on digital scrapbooking.  I still love using digital elements in my crafting.  One thing I really love doing is making my own patterned papers.  For this challenge I needed something that was more uniquely "Canadian Aboriginal" than southwestern or "US Native American", so I had to design it myself.  I created a design that reminded me of a dream catcher.  Then I had to choose colours that are prevalent in the aboriginal arts - a deep red, almost blood colour, tan, and turquise.  Once I coloured the digital image, and put my design together, I realized I needed another element, so what better than to create an actual dream catcher for the project.  So, it finally all came together and this is the results - a digital scrapbook page with my recipe:

Supplies:
Stamp Image:  A Day For Daisies - Leaf Girl
Font on recipe card:  Bradley Hand 
Leaf image on recipe card from Ask a Biologist website
All other elements created by CatScrapFever Designs (background paper, dream catcher, recipe card)

This recipe is the one my mother taught me.  Bannock was a real treat when I was younger, especially with hamburger soup.  When I was little, I loved it with butter and jam when it was still hot and the butter and jam would melt and make my fingers and face all sticky.  Once in a while, my Mom would fry the bannock, and then when it was still hot, roll it in sugar, or sugar and cinnamon.  Kind of like Indian donuts. :)  This bread is very very easy and quick.  I often will make a bannock if I'm out of bread and too lazy to go to the store.  I hope you try it.  Its really good.

And, of course, I hope you enter into the ADFD challenge.  It is running from today, November 5th through to November 18th.  You can find the links on the right hand side in my side bar. Show us your favourite recipes.
I'm hungry!

Before I sign off, I just want to say:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  Wish I could be with you to celebrate!





Talk to you later...

Cat

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Cards from Jasmine

I received a very pleasant package in the mail the other day. My niece sent me a couple cards she made with the loot I sent her for her birthday this summer.  The first card is really cute and I think she is on to a new trend. Where about 99% of the cards we create and see in the on line galleries have most of the decoration on the outside of the card, Jasmine decided to decorate and put the surprise on the inside of the card.  Very clever little girl!  Here's a couple pictures of it for you to see:
The front:

and the inside:

I'd like to point out the little ghosts in the corners.  She drew them herself. :)

The next card is very a simple, and clean card.  She used an image that I drew last year at Christmas for the focal point.


I think she's well on her way to becoming a fabulous card maker.  What do you think?  Please leave her a comment.  I know she would absolutely love to read your comments.

Thanks for looking.  Talk to you later...

Cat

Paper Romance DT Call

If you haven't heard, Paper Romance currently has a DT call running.  Its a great opportunity, so if you're in the market for showcasing your talents as well as the excellent products that Paper Romance carries, check out this post on their blog:  Paper Romance DT Call.  Check out their challenges as well (here).  It looks like its a lot of fun.

Take care & talk to you later...

Cat

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Can You Tell the Difference?

I was making some clear ornaments the day before and I was using my polar white Flower Soft inside to make it look like there was snow inside the balls.  All I had on hand was the one little container and I ran out of Flower Soft.  Luckily I had bought a package of the white foam balls to test out making my own Flower Soft.  If you haven't heard of this before, you take the foam balls and rub them together to grate them, and it looks and feels just like Flower Soft.  You need to use the foam that's hard and looks sparkly - not the styrofoam one like the stuff styrofoam cups are made out of.  Here's a picture of the foam balls I used:



Here's a picture of one of the ornaments with the Flower Soft inside.  I put the container from the Flower soft beside it in case you haven't seen this product yet.  Its actually filled with the grated foam and not Flower Soft.


For the ornaments, you cut a circle of acetate just slightly smaller than the diameter of your ornament (just a hair smaller). Stamp your image with Stazon ink, and then colour on the reverse side with Sharpies, Bics, or Copics.  If you colour on the same side as you stamp with the Stazon ink, your maker inks will wipe away the Stazon.  Once the inks have dried, you roll your acetate into a tube small enough to fit through the opening at the top of the ornament.  Push the acetate through and it will unroll, going across the inside of the ornament. You can put your Flower Soft, or glitter, or confetti in before or after you put your acetate in there, either way works.  I used long nose tweezers to position the image inside.

Now here's a picture of some Flower Soft and foam gratings side by side (click on the picture to open it up full size to get a good look at it).  Can you tell which one is which?  If I didn't know, I don't think I would be able to tell the difference...

Since both look pretty much exactly a like, I think I'll be using the foam balls from now on.  You can also use re-inker to custom dye the foam.  I do have one other pot of Flower Soft - Sweet Pea - which is multi-coloured, but I think you could also just make your own custom colour mixes as well.  The little pot of Polar White Flower Soft cost me $9.99 ($10.49 with tax).  My little pot of the Sweet Pea was $8.99 ($9.44 with tax).  I was able to get 6 foam balls for $4.99 ($5.24 with tax) at Walmart.  Out of 3 - 2.5" balls I got enough "Flower Soft" to fill 3 Flower Soft containers - so basically one container for every 2.5" foam ball.  That works out to about 87cents in total for a container.  Sure a lot cheaper than $10 a container...  Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't support the craft companies and buy their products.  But, this is a much more economical way to achieve the same results as Flower Soft and is great for the people with very limited budgets.

So, do you want to know which one is which?  The one on the right is the Flower Soft.  If I didn't tell you, I don't think you would be able to tell the difference.  Am I right?

That's it for today.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fruits of My Labour...

Pun intended!  I have a couple pictures I wanted to show you of the canning I did with the fruits I picked from around my neighbourhood.  My first batch was from all the apples I picked.  I made apple sauce and apple syrup.  The only reason I ended up with apple syrup is because I tried making apple jelly that didn't set.   I wanted to use the natural pectin of the apples, but I guess the apples weren't fresh enough (they sat for a couple days before I could do anything with them) and lost their pectin.  I boiled that applejuice for hours and it still wouldn't set, but made very nice apple syrup.  The apple sauce is so good.  Absolutely no sugar was needed for it.  All I added was a little bit of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  Here's a picture of the applesauce & the syrup:


I had a lot of apple peelings left still after trying the first batch of apple jelly, so I figured I would add powdered pectin since I didn't need a lot of apple syrup.  The jelly came out beautiful.  I stewed up all the apple peels and cores for about two hours - until they were just mush.  Then I strained them through a jelly bag and let that drip over night.  Most of the articles/blog posts I read about making jelly said not to squeeze the bag or you would get cloudy juice.  It really didn't make a difference to me, so I put a pot full of water on top of the jelly bag to add weight to press more juice out of it.  I don't know how much more juice it really squeezed out though. Once I did as many full batches of jelly as I could from the juice I had, I had 2 cups of juice left over.  I didn't want it to go to waste, so I added pomegrante juice to make up 5 cups of juice and made another batch of jelly.  This jelly is really good! It has a very nice flavour. And I love the colour it has in the jar.  The apple jelly is so good too.  I'm looking forward to using it (and the apple syrup) as a glaze for some ham or pork chops.

If you recall, I posted a little while ago about one of my neighbours growing grapes in their back yard.  Well, I had picked about 2 pounds of grapes from them.  I made juice out of the grapes (they were really small - about the size of large-ish blueberries) and from the 2 pounds I made 5 cups of juice - exactly enough for a batch of jelly.  The jelly turned out great.  I had about 1/2 a jar too much, so I just let that set up in the fridge over night in a small plastic container.  Rob and I finished that off the next night with PB&J sandwiches for dinner.

So, once I finished with all the fruit I had picked in my neighbourhood, I was still hyped up about canning.  I decided I would try my hand at making marmelade. I was on the hunt to find directions on how to make marmalade. As a kid, my parents used to eat marmalade all the time.  I didn't like it - it was too bitter for my young palette. I have tried a few store bought ones and always found them bitter, except for one brand (which I don't remember the name of anymore).  It was sweet and orangey and so delicious.  I read the ingredients and too my surprise, it wasn't just orange peel in the marmalade, but also had lemon peel and lime peel. In my research, I found that what makes the marmalade bitter is the pith.  With this information in mind, I bought a couple oranges, a lemon, and a little bag of key limes (I used 6 limes for my marmalade).  The trick I found to not getting any pith on the rind when you're peeling it is to use a potato peeler on the thick rind fruit - the oranges and the lemons.  The little key limes, however, were too small and the skin seemed to be very tough, almost leathery.  Luckily, I have a good zester and used that to get as much rind off those little wee limes.  I took all the peel and chopped it into as fine slivers as I could, then boiled that for about 20 minutes in 1 1/2 cups of water so that they would soften and extract the essential oils.

The second important thing about marmalade making is to not get any of the tough skin around the flesh segments into the mix.  I peeled off all the pith from the oranges and the lemons, then cut the segments away.  I managed to only get 3 or 4 pieces of skin in there, but was able to see them when I was cooking the fruit and fished them out.  I had this big juicy mess left in my hands from the skin and what was left of the pulp I couldn't get out.  I just used my hands and squeezed it over a strainer to get as much juice as I could from the fruit.  The limes were another story though.  They were so small and the pith was so tough that I wouldn't be able to cut it away with out sacrificing all the pulp, so I just cut them in half and squeezed as much juice as I could out of them over a strainer to catch the seeds. Oh yeah, another important point to remember when making marmalade is to not get any seeds in there or they will make your marmalade bitter too.

I added this to the pot and let the fruit boil for about 20 minutes.  Once it was cooked I measured out enough of the fruit and peel and added enough water to make 5 cups and then added 2 tsp vanilla extract.  This seems to be the magic number for 1 package of pectin - 5 cups juice/fruit, 5 cups sugar, 1 package pectin crystals. After it was all cooked with the sugar and pectin, I put it into jars.  I couldn't wait until it was cooled and set so that we could try it.  Finally, the next day it was ready to try.  It was loosely set which was ok.  I didn't want it really set hard like jello, but it was a little softer than I would have liked.  Hopefully, the other jars will set up a little more as they age a bit.  Now, the taste, however, unbelievable.  It is soooooooo good.  It tasted even better than what the one I liked from the store tasted (from what I can remember).  I think what put it over the top is the vanilla.  I've been having this on toast almost every morning.  I will definitely make this again. Its a little more work than jelly, but so worth the effort.  Here's a picture of the jellies I made:


You can't tell from the pictures, but they look so pretty in the sunlight.  The colours are so deep and rich - almost jewel like.

Well, thats all I have for today about my canning escapades.  If you haven't tried making jelly you should.  Its really quite simple and all you need is some juice (but not juice from concentrate).  You can pick up real fruit juice at the grocery store really cheap.  After I slaved over the stove making my own apple juice, I found a litre of apple juice (not from concentrate) at Walmart for about 90 cents.  Its not the same as making it from scratch, but it will work if you want apple jelly and no apples. :)

Ok, so talk to you later...

Cat

Monday, October 18, 2010

Terrible, Terrible news...

I'm absolutely devastated this morning.  I can't believe this.  Its so tragic.  MY DISHWASHER BROKE LAST NIGHT!!!!  I have a full load of dishes and now I'm going to have to wash them by hand.  Ugh!  And to add insult to injury, the parts place has to order the part in and that will take 2 weeks to get here.  My husband wasn't all that understanding either.  He told the clerk I didn't know how to wash dishes by hand.  Its not that I don't know how... I just don't like doing it.  That also means I'll have to do most of the cooking because when Rob cooks, he dirties every pot & dish in the house and if I'm the one having to do the dishes, he's not going to step foot near the stove.  Other than whining because I don't like doing dishes, there is the fact that when I stand in one place for more than about 10 minutes, my hips start to scream at me.  And, my back hurts because I'm taller than the average person and I have to be bent over to reach into the sink.  I guess I better stock up on my NSAIDs until my dishwasher gets fixed.

Ok, that's enough self-pity for one day. I'll have something better to post about next time.

Talk to you later...

Cat

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Little Gift For You...

I have these images I drew that I never got around to using.  I thought I would offer them to you.  Hopefully, you can use them.  Please, if you download them, do not share them.  If someone asks you for the images, please send them here for the link.  Also, these images are for personal use only.  I would appreciate a little note back with a link if you use the images.  I would love to see what you make with them. :)  Here are previews of the images. The link to download will be at the end of this post.  Enjoy & create!


And here is the link to download the non-watermarked, full-sized images:  CatScrapFever Digi Stamps

Talk to you later...

Cat
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