Monday, February 23, 2015

A Look Back at Valentine Gifts

I wanted to make something unique for my guys for Valentine's Day (that would be hubby Earl, and son Jack). Chocolate is a given, but I wanted something special to go with it. I decided to use the Christmas present I received from hubby (I actually used it to make several Christmas gifts for friends & family since I got it as an early present). Wanna know what it is?

Can I just tell you how much I enjoy this? I don't know why I didn't get one before, but I am trying to make up for lost time!! LOL

If you have followed any of my blogs, you may have read that my son Jack is an artist. I'd like to believe that the nut didn't fall far from the tree (hee-hee), so I like to make him artsy stuff sometimes - just to remind him where he got his talent from (now I'm really laughing). Anyway, Silhouette has a plethora of images, etc. that can be downloaded, printed or die cut, and I came across this one.  I thought it would be perfect for Jack.
Since blue is Jack's favorite color, I just painted a canvas in shades of blues then adhered the vinyl die cuts to the front. He has it up in his apartment.

Earl always calls me "sunshine", so I wanted to do something bright and "sunny" for him.  Here is the first step......

and I picked this one for him.....because he is also my sunshine......
Isn't it sweet?? He has it in his office - on top of one of the many truck models that he has collected - LOL.
This little machine is a lot of fun, and I'll show you at another time some of the gifts I made for Christmas...I was on a roll!!

Here are the cards I made my guys......

I used retired Stampin' Up! stamps & Designer Series Paper along with current card stock. Quick & easy.  I sent one to my family in Arizona also....
had to add a little bling.......
Yep - I used more retired stuff, but I can't seem to get rid of things I love. Do I have a hoarding problem????

I hope your Valentine Day was special. Earl & I decided to stay it - the weather was TERRIBLE (surprise), and we had grilled steaks and baked potatoes. It was made with love - and de-lish!!

Lotus Blossom Birthday Card

My darling mother had her 80th birthday last month. She's so cute.  She told me, "'s just that 80 sounds so old!"  Thank God she is in good health, and enjoying herself. But then, she just ought to - she moved to Arizona a year ago, and doesn't have to deal with the Michigan winters any longer (do you notice a note of jealousy there?). Mom did make a quick trip back here in December though for my niece's wedding - and she complained about the cold!! LOL - but I don't blame her.
Mom & me at the Wedding Reception in December 2014.

I probably don't have to tell you how much I miss her. We'd never lived more than three hours apart, so this is quite different, and kind of hard for us. Mom is used to getting hand made cards from me and my sister Heather, so I wanted to do something special for her birthday card this year. 

I decided to use a stamp set in the Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration catalog (check it out in the right side bar). The set is Lotus Blossom, and is a 3-step stamp. Her favorite color is pink, so that's how I chose the colors I used. Here's the card........
I layered Pink Pirouette, Rose Red and Whisper White card stock. I sponged Rose Red ink onto Glimmer Paper (gotta have some bling), and added Rhinestone Basic Jewels for a little more bling. I used Pink Pirouette, Rose Red & Strawberry Slush ink for the flower, and Old Olive & Pear Pizzazz ink for the stem.
Close up of the Glimmer Paper & Rhinestones
I try to always make at least two cards - either the same, or very close, so here is the other one.....
I used sequins on this one from the 2013-2015 In Color Sequin Assortment pack (better order these before they retire in a couple months).
Here's a close up of the sequins.
The two cards are very similar, but each a little different.
I liked this card so much that I decided to make these as my swaps for the Leadership Conference.........but forgot them.  So, while I was at my Upline's house the night before we flew to Orlando, I whipped up a few in a different color scheme..................
The lighting on this isn't the best, but I used Wisteria Wonder & Elegant Eggplant card stock & inks as a variation. Instead of using three different ink colors, I just "stamped off" the Elegant Eggplant to make a lighter third color. 

I really love this stamp set because each and every flower you make is unique - no two look exactly alike.

Thanks for stopping by again.  

Hugs, Nancy

Still Cold Enough for Comfort Food

It is still COLD!! Well - of course it's going to stay cold for a while, but I am just not feeling this winter weather; enough already!! When the temps keep dropping, and it's cloudy & gloomy most of the time, I know it's time to make some more "comfort food."  I found this definition of comfort food:
               "Comfort food is food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being,              
                 typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated   
                 with childhood or home cooking."

OK- I can go with that, and here's one of my all time

My father was the BEST chili maker in the world, and my recipe is a slightly altered version of his (as I got older, my taste buds evolved). But my version is just as good. Just ask my hubby & son!

Here's how I make mine......
Start by chopping up onion & green peppers, then sauté them in a large skillet until translucent. I usually use one green pepper & one medium onion.
Add a pound of ground beef or turkey; break it up as it cooks, and add some spices.
While the meat & veggies are cooking, add to a large slow-cooker, 2-cans of diced tomatoes, 4-cans of beans (I use a mixture of kidney, red & black), and some spices. The spices I add are all to taste and include salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder.

When the meat & veggies are cooked, I add them to the crock pot.  At this time, I also add my "secret" ingredient........
......chocolate! Yep, chocolate.  It doesn't have to be Hershey's Kisses (that's what I happened to have on hand this time, but it does need to be sweetened - I think it helps cut some of the bitterness of the spices).  I have done this for years, and honestly - it makes a difference!!
These will melt, and all the other flavors will meld as it cooks for several hours on low.  Then - it goes down!!
Our family always puts chili over rice, sprinkles smothers it with cheese, and eats Ritz crackers with it.  Oh boy, my mouth is watering!!

This chili is so good, it NEVER goes to waste.  When we get toward the end, this is what we do with the last bit of it.........
 .....sloppy chili dogs!!.....with Tater Tots of course.

Let me know if you try out my version.

Who Doesn't Love a Free Stamp Set?

I was lucky enough to make the trip to Orlando for the Stampin' Up! Leadership Conference (I can't believe it was a month - I'll show you more from that later).  One great thing about going to these events is that Stampin' Up! is always so generous with give-aways.  Among other things, we got some free stamp sets, and I have been waiting to start working with them.
Here's a photo of our "loot"
The biggest reason it's taken me a while to use the one I'm going to show you, is that it really is not one I would have selected myself.  Stampin' Up! does a wonderful job of offering a wide selection of stamp sets - enough to meet everyone's style.  Since this set is NOT my style though, I finally decided I needed to step outside of my little box and just use it.  

So here it is.......the set is called Balloon Bash, and it is in the Occasions Catalog (click on image to the right).

The colors I chose coordinated with those in the Specialty Designer Series Paper called Birthday Bash.  The colors are Whisper White, Night of Navy, Mossy Meadow, Bermuda Bay, and Tangelo Twist.  

There are two specialty single-sided papers in the Designer Series Paper pack that have gold embossed images.  Here's a closer look at this one so that you can see them on the balloons. 
These turned out OK - I think they are on the juvenile side, and would be good for kids.  So, while I was on a to speak, I used another one of the stamps in that set and came up with these.....

I did do a bit of "fussy cutting" with this one, which I usually don't do if I can help it.  This Designer Series Paper is from the same pack, but is double-sided, and has a different print on the opposite side.  I used some of the same colors: Whisper White, Night of Navy & Bermuda Bay.  I added Crushed Curry ink, and Calypso Coral card stock which I embossed with the Chevron Embossing Folder on the last card.  The Baker's Twine is also Calypso Coral, but is sadly retired. 

Now that I've experimented with this set, I can put it up.  I really doubt if I'll use it again, so will either give it away, or sell it when I am able to.  I just never "felt" this set.  Check out the Occasions Catalog, and see if this one grabs could be your style.