BBQ Under the Oaks – Wishful Thinking

You know how you have an idea in your head and you envision it to be fabulous without really thinking about logistics or other little issues such as weather? Perhaps you did think of rain but you didn’t count on excessive heat that normally occurs in August.

Sometimes you have to admit defeat and give in – make little concessions and realize what’s more important such as comfort and just being with family, instead of how pretty something would have looked under the oak trees during a summer evening in the south.

I was having a Martha Stewart (MS) moment. This happens occasionally and as I get older I’m learning to set my eyes on more realistic goals. But recently I had a MS slip up once again in preparation for a “Family Celebration”. We were celebrating my husband’s birthday, Father’s Day, and my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary in one big event. We were going to have a family BBQ on my parents’ farm underneath some stately oaks covered in spanish moss, but with temperatures reaching 96 and air so thick you could hardly breathe, comfort won out and we went with Plan B to have the BBQ inside.

So the mason jar tealight extravaganza we were going to hang from the oak trees was nixed and a two layered banner I spent hours on wasn’t used. Instead we had an indoor BBQ at my parents’ house and it turned out perfect anyway. We had a wonderful time and the food was amazing. We had grilled hamburgers and sausages from the guys, and baked beans, potato salad, fresh broccoli salad, deviled eggs, Strawberry Cheesecake Salad, and homemade cupcakes from the ladies. And more importantly, everyone was comfortable – no gnats or mosquitoes, and no sweltering heat.

If I had thought of it, I could have brought my banner over and hung it on Mom’s fireplace. Instead it sits hanging on my fireplace as if it were still waiting to be transported to the pasture to be hung between two pine trees. The mason jars are sitting in my Mom’s guest room. I guess I’ll save them for another event when it’s cooler – maybe in the Fall. My sister added ribbon to each jar and they turned out so pretty but for now we’ll just have to use our imagination on how it would have looked illuminating the old oak trees.

Here is a pic of the unused banner. Using a bbq/picnic theme, I went for the Kraft and gingham look.

banner

The banner and its toppers are cut at 7.5 inches from Straight from the Nest and the letters spelling “Family Celebration” are cut from Storybook at 2.5 inches. The red gingham paper is from DCWV’s “Nana’s Kitchen” stack. The banner base is cut from 8.5 x 11 Kraft cardstock. I was able to fit two banner triangles on one sheet and used 9 sheets in total. I threaded short pieces of twine, knotting them at the back, to connect all the banner pieces together and then added two longer lengths of twine on the ends for hanging.

Family Celebration Banner

Now back to the MS moment that did work – I tried out a new recipe I found on Pinterest and it was a hit. Family members asked for the recipe and I would like to share the source and recipe here. It’s a perfect summer dessert and I will definitely be making it again. It’s called “Strawberry Cheesecake Salad” found on “Mommy’s Menu”. The only alteration I made was to leave out the bananas. You’re supposed to add in the bananas right before serving but I did a taste-test in between and fell in love with how it tasted just like Strawberry Cheesecake without them.

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad
Serves about 10

12 oz. whipped topping (I used Cool-Whip)
1 small package of cheesecake pudding powder
3 (6 oz) strawberry yogurts (I used Yoplait)
1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
*3 bananas, sliced (add just before serving or they brown) – (I omitted this step)
miniature marshmallows (add just before serving)

In a large salad bowl stir together whipped topping, yogurts, and pudding powder. Let this set up in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Wash and slice strawberries. You can add strawberries to salad or wait to add them with sliced bananas and marshmallows just before serving. Keep refrigerated. 

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Note – it doesn’t say how many marshmallows to add so I tried half a bag and stirred and then I just went for it and added the whole bag of miniature marshmallows. It turned out great and as it sat in the fridge an hour before the BBQ, the marshmallows got softer in the pudding mixture and got even better. This salad reminds me of Watergate Salad or what we call here in the south, Pistachio Fluff. It uses the same idea – cool whip, pudding mix, some kind of fruit, and miniature marshmallows.

I also made cupcakes in honor of my husband’s birthday and tried out a new cake mix – Betty Crocker Supermoist Cake Mix, Golden Vanilla. It made a wonderful cupcake and I will be using this brand again. I couldn’t lay my hands on my favorite buttercream icing recipe so I used the one listed on the back of Domino’s Confectioners Sugar but it turned out too sweet. I had my mother-in-law and sister taste it and we all thought another stick of butter would mellow it out. It did and it was delicious! I will now use this altered recipe for future cakes:

Icing Recipe (I doubled Domino’s Recipe and added an extra stick of butter)

Makes Plenty of Icing for Piping Swirls onto 24 cupcakes:

7 1/2 cups – (2) 1 lb. boxes of Domino® Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 cups – butter (3 sticks), softened (Land O Lakes salted)
8 tablespoons – milk
2 teaspoons – vanilla extract

In a large bowl with electric mixer at low-speed, combine sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency.

Many thanks to my sister for adding some fun colors to the icing – neon green and blue using McCormick’s Neon! Food Coloring. She piped on swirls to all of the cupcakes while I made the Cheesecake salad. We had a great time cooking with only a few stressful moments in getting everything done in time to be carried over to our parents’ home. The cupcakes were tricky in transporting, but overall they fared well.

cupcakes

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Snowflake Christmas Card

Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Eve so far! I completed the special Christmas card for my dear husband and wanted to share this quick post. Then I’m off to bake a pecan pie! 🙂

Snowflake Christmas Card

This card is different from the more traditional ones I made recently but I loved the glittery patterned paper from My Mind’s Eye  called “O Christmas Tree” and that was my starting point. I used two patterns of paper from this stack.

Snowflake Christmas Card

The overall card measures 5×7 so the tree paper measures 5×7 and the green strip on the left measures 1×7 inches. It made a nice background to run twine and a red button on top. I used a left over holly leaf die-cut from last week’s cards (from Potpourri Basket cut at 1 1/4 inches) and then cut out two snowflakes from the “Potpourri Basket” cartridge at 3 and 2 1/2 inches. The snowflake image is originally from “Joys of the Season”. I highlighted the snowflakes with Stardust stickles and raised them up with foam dimensionals.

Close Up

The sentiment’s frame is cut at 1 3/4 inches from “Storybook” (on page 71) in accent blackout. The Merry Christmas stamp is one of my favorites from Stampabilities. I stamped the sentiment in red ink and used brown ink and a sponge dauber to age the outer edges. I wrote and printed the inside sentiment using Word’s Papyrus font in 18 and 16 pt.

Inside Sentiment

Thanks for following me on my little card journey this year! I appreciate all of your lovely visits and comments. Your support means so much to me as I continue to learn and grow in this paper hobby!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very special holiday season and a blessed and happy New Year!

~Vanessa

Hydrangea Birthday Card

Hello again! I made this hydrangea birthday card for a young lady in our family whose favorite color is lavender.

The hydrangea flower is from Walk In My Garden (5 inches). The marquee frame is made using Storybook and Design Studio. I placed a 6 inch marquee shapeinside a 5×7 rectangle so that the shape would cut out leaving the wood patterned paper frame. I cut another 6 inch marquee in cream cardstock and ran that through a Sizzix Damask folder. Here’s a tip I learned out of necessity tonight – my marquee was a little longer than my A2 embossing folder so I took the part that didn’t emboss on the first pass and turned it around and placed it near the bottom of the folder (with most of the embossed marquee sticking out). I then ran it through the embossing machine again. By carefully lining it up with the pattern’s bottom edge, the unembossed tip of the marquee received the needed embossing. Hope this makes sense! 🙂 The frame is raised up with foam dimensionals. I seem to be raising thingsup a lot lately. Guess I’m addicted to the 3-D look! I inked the hydrangea’s edges and the little flowers with brown ink for an aged, distressed look. I then accented the little flowers with pearl adhesives and pinched the petals up a bit. I’m not that tickled with the leaves. I wanted to show the cut lines so I first used a clear ink embossing pen hoping it would darken the lines a bit more than it did. Then I got bold and used some brown ink but it came off too strong, so lastly I resorted to Stardust Stickles to save the flower as much as I could. Sometimes things go the way you want, sometimes they don’t. Overall, I like the idea of the card and its colors so I will try to overlook the leaves.

The inside sentiment was done in Word. The larger font (26 pt.) is called “Waterfalls” which is a free scrapbook font available at Kevin & Amanda’s website. The direct link for this font is here. Just read the terms of use and give proper credit to “Kevin & Amanda” if you post projects online using their fonts. The other font is from Word called “Bookman Old Style” in 18 pt.

Well that’s it! Thanks for checking out my lavender-inspired birthday card! Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July holiday!

~Vanessa

Butterfly Artwork

When my husband saw my creation this morning he said, “Well that’s certainly different!” I’m not sure if he liked it or not, but I love how it turned out. The embossing adds a nice twist because it shows that the stamped images beneath don’t have the embossing and that there’s more to the design than one might think at first glance. I’m not sure if someone has thought of this before (though I’m sure it’s out there :)), but I’m proud that I thought of this on my own while trying to fall asleep last night. It took some time completing it but I think the effort shows in the different steps needed to finish it.

If you’re interested in reading on (I get a bit wordy), here are the details…

I used my Cricut Design Studio software and created an A2 sized mat (4.25 x 5.5) with different shapes place inside the square so that these would cut out leaving a stenciled mat. I then cut a solid A2 mat using white cardstock and taped the stenciled mat to the solid one.

I wanted to use some new inks I got for Christmas but all of my sponge daubers were used up so I had to resort to a cleaning sponge (I sacrificed a new one from the kitchen cabinet). I used scissors to cut off chunks of it to make my own daubers. I found the sponge too dry to apply the ink well so I dampened each little ‘dauber’ with a little water and that did the trick. It softened up the sponge and allowed the ink to cover the paper better. Using a textured sponge gave the ink a distressed look which I like.

After the inking was done, I cut another stenciled mat out in white cardstock and ran it through my Sizzix Texture Boutique with a Swiss Dots Cuttlebug folder. I then put foam dimensionals all over the back of it to raise it up from the inked layer for a 3-D look. I then added turquoise rhinestones to the flower centers.

Next, I created a frame with a 1/2 inch margin around each side using two square shapes from Walk In My Garden. I stretched the outer square to measure the A2 size. I then added an inner square and stretched it to measure 3.75 x 5 inches. I ran this cut twice to make the frame more durable in apricot cardstock.

I embossed one of the frames using the Swiss Dots folder. I then adhered the two frames together using adhesive tape and added foam dimensionals to the frame’s back to raise it up from the remaining design. Since there are so many foam dimensionals on it adding a nice weight, I am tempted to scrap the card idea and just display this as a little piece of artwork for my office :). I am entering this into the “Hot Summer Colors” challenge at My Craft Spot.

Cricut Cartridges:

Storybook ~ Butterflies

Straight From the Nest ~ Paisley Flowers, Flourish

Walk In My Garden ~ Square Shape (to make frame)

Inks:

Ink It Up! ~ Orange, Tart Lime, Turquoise

Paper:

Colorbok Spring Pastel ($5 at Wal-mart) ~White and Apricot

Rhinestones:

K&Company Brenda Walton Neapolitan Adhesive Rhinestones (Turquoise)

Thanks for looking!

Vanessa

Paper with Stitches

Last weekend I pulled the ole’ sewing machine out of the closet. I’d like to clarify that I’m not a sewer but I’ve been around it in my younger years. My dear Grandmother tried to teach me and my older sister how to sew when we stayed with her during summers on the farm. I never got the knack of it but my sister learned how to sew easily. She’s made beautiful clothes and home decor like curtains and pillows. It seems my crafty muse blossomed later in life, and unfortunately after my Grandmother passed away. I wonder what my Grandmother would say to seeing pieces of paper sewn together! 🙂

I owe a big thank you to my husband who also knows how to sew. He’s patched work clothes and fixed a hem here and there. He’s also the reason we have a sewing machine. Admittedly, the old Singer has stayed in the closet for a while now, but as I expand my cardmaking knowledge and gain inspiration from other crafters on the web, this is something I want to learn more about. My husband helped me thread the machine and showed me a few tricks on how to use it. I experimented on some pieces of scrap paper to test it out. The first attempt was a disaster because I forgot to set the presser foot so the paper was jumping all over the place. After I remembered to set the foot, got the feel of the pedal, and remembered to watch my fingers in comparison to the needle zipping by, I created this – the beginnings of a card.

I sewed a green square of cardstock to a larger blue one using a wide zig-zag stitch first. I should have stopped there because when I switched to a single stitch I didn’t sew it as straight. I think I am still scared of the needle and I’m sure sewing with ease will come to me after plenty of practice. To hide the more obvious error in the lower right hand corner, I sewed a little piece of folded cardstock to mimic a little book or card. I then used rub-ons to decorate it. Looking through more of my scraps, I found an old piece of cardstock that had a “Storybook” branch cut out of it.  I used this negative as a stencil and applied brown ink with a sponge dauber. I used another rub-on for the little bird.

The sewed pieces of square cardstock reminds me of a quilting square, bringing back more fond memories of Grandmother and the beautiful quilts she made. I dedicate this little sewing experiment in loving memory of her.

Paper Flower Bouquet with Birthday Card

My lovely mother-in-law is celebrating her 75th birthday! For this special occasion, I wanted to make her a nice keepsake so I made her a paper flower bouquet and a birthday card in pinks, oranges, and greens using my Cricut Expression. I would like to apologize in advance for the long post that is forthcoming below. There are so many details on the bouquet, card, and tag that I want to share with you; but, it’s also for myself so that when I create another one in the future, I can look back and see how I did it! 🙂 Thanks for your interest and patience! LOL

Bouquet

The bouquet flowers were cut using Mother’s Day Bouquet. I cut seven layers of each flower from 3 inches to 1.5 inches (decreasing by a 1/4 inch each time). Here is a chart showing which flowers I used from the cartridge. It also shows how many of each flower were cut and the sizes.

The bright pink container, butterflies, floral styrofoam, spanish moss, 1/8 inch dowels, and sponge daubers to ink the dowels were bought at Hobby Lobby. I had the rest of the supplies in my stash. I used one of my favorite paper pads, Poteeka Soufflé (Paper Studio), for the flowers, along with pastel cardstock from Colorbok (bought at Wal-mart). I used a 1/16 hole punch on the flower centers and secured the layers with small pastel brads. The brads save on glue and you can fluff up and move the layers around as you wish! I also used a pencil to curl the petals down a bit.

The dowels were inked using a green stamp pad and a sponge dauber. I inked the dowels first so that they would have time to dry while I cut out all of my flowers and leaves. There are a total of 22 flowers and 22 leaves but each flower has seven layers. To save time and paper, I cut two types of flowers using one 12×12 sheet of patterned paper. Then repeated the process for two other sets of flowers and another color of paper, and so on.

Some flowers are solid and some are mixed with two colors of paper for variety. I just had fun mixing and matching. Now that I am calculating my total of flowers, I guess I ran my mat through the Expression 11 times to get 22 flowers. I stopped at 22 because that is the lucky number of dowels that fit the styrofoam inside the container. I had inked 30 dowels but couldn’t fit all of them without them hitting each other! So I will save these dowels for a smaller bouquet. Since the dowels are skinny, I was able to snip them to my desired lengths with a wire cutter.

One challenge I faced when starting this project was how to adhere the flowers to the skinny dowels. I wanted the flowers to look “3-D ish” and I was determined to find a way to glue the flowers on top of the dowel and not flat like a candy sucker. Because the dowels are so thin there wasn’t much surface area to secure the flowers to them. I knew I wanted leaves in the bouquet so instead of gluing the leaves to the backs of the flowers, I glued them to the dowel first. This created more area for hot gluing the flowers. Wild Card has a wonderful leaf icon (key #25) that has a cut line in the center which helps you fold the leaf over the end of a dowel. So I cut 22 leaves at 4.5 inches in light green cardstock and then placed a dab of hot glue on the end of each leaf and folded/pinched it around the end of the dowel and held it until it was “set”. Then I hot glued the completed flowers to the leaf/dowel and it worked great!

The bouquet is finished up with light green ribbon, pink and green butterflies, and spanish moss to hide the green styrofoam.

Bouquet Tag

I made a tag marking the special birthday year using the Sweethearts cartridge and Design Studio (DS). The brown layer is 3 inches and the white layer was scaled down to fit on top using DS. I hid the contour lines for both tag holes prior to cutting. Once the tags were cut, I inked the white layer with brown ink and glued it down to the brown base. The tag comes with a corresponding heart-shaped tag enforcer. I cut this at 3 inches, adhered it with my Zig 2-Way glue pen, and then lined up my 1/8 hole punch over the hole in the heart to punch through the layers of tag. The word “Happy” is from Straight from the Nest, the numbers are from Storybook, the “th” letters are from Wild Card, and the ladybug is from Walk in My Garden. The ring securing the tag is a fun, circular paper clip.

Card

All of the cuts for the card are from Straight from the Nest (SFTN) except the numbers “75” which are from Wild Card. I love the cute banner which was cut at 1.5 inches. I used a 1/16 hole punch and mini brads to string the banner along the corner. I used Poteeka Soufflé  paper on the card to match the bouquet. I inked the edges of the light blue mat with brown ink. I’m really liking this inking technique. 🙂 I used a white gel pen to add some cute dots to the images. The card is 5×7 and I cut out an appropriate sized envelope using Just Because Cards. I added another banner to the envelope and hand wrote “MOM” with a fine tip marker.

Whew! That’s a lot of words for one post. I hope you stayed with me until the end. 🙂 Thanks for checking it out!

~Vanessa

A Quiet Autumn Scene – Thanksgiving Card

I wanted to capture an autumn scene and show the beauty that this wonderful season offers.  This card is dedicated to my husband, Glen in honor of our wonderful Thanksgivings together and the ones to come.

Cartridges used:

Bloom, Designer’s Calendar, Pagoda, Storybook, and Wild Card

Papers Used:

My Mind’s Eye Simply Delightful (colored paper), Wal-Mart card stock (card base), Paper Studio’s Natural Botanical card stock (brown paper)

Embellishments:

Swiss Dots Cuttlebug Folder; Inking using Stampabilities brown ink; Shading using a brown colored pencil

I made a 5×7 card base, then trimmed light blue paper to 5×7 and adhered it to the front of the card. Next I cut a 5×7 mat of light green paper and used a pencil to sketch hills.  I used scissors to cut around each hill, embossed them with a Swiss Dots folder, then inked the edges with brown ink and a Q-tip for definition.  I then adhered the hill pieces to the blue mat fitting them like a puzzle.  I cut the “Bloom” tree trunks (both kinds on the cartridge) at 3 inches using brown card stock and cut one layer of leaves in orange paper for the larger tree.  I cut extra leaves in orange paper at 4 inches so they would appear larger as they fell to the ground and could be used on the other trees.  The pumpkins are cut at 2 inches from Designer’s Calendar.  I used a brown colored pencil to color in the stem and make ridges in the pumpkin.  I also applied a bit of ink over these for more dimension. The bridge is cut from Pagoda at 1 1/2 inches.  The inside sentiment was done on my computer using Edwardian Script. I cut a 1 inch owl from Storybook and some maple leaves from Wild Card at 3 and 1 inches.

Pumpkins and more pumpkins!

Tonight I made some more 3-D paper pumpkins.  I am giving two to my sister and two to my mother-in-law.  Hopefully they will enjoy them and can use them as decorations for Thanksgiving.  I also made a magnet for each of them using the oval shape from Cricut’s Wild Card cartridge.  Size dimensions are listed below.  More details on how to complete each project can be found at my earlier posts: 3-D Paper Pumpkins and Thanksgiving Pumpkin Card (oval shaped pumpkin).

Dimensions 

3-D Pumpkins (paper is from The Paper Studio’s Natural Botanical)

  • Small pumpkins (12 strips measuring 6 inch x 1 inch;  3 inch string between brads)
  • Leaves – Storybook cartridge cut at 2 inches (flipped one)
  • Stem – Wild Card cartridge cut at 4 inches
  • Medium pumpkin (18 strips measuring 9 inch x 1 inch; 4 inch string between brads)
  • Leaves – Storybook cartridge cut at 3 inches (flipped one)
  • Stem – Wild Card Cartridge cut at 5 inches

Pumpkin Magnet (light orange paper is from Colorbok)

  • 3 individual ovals – Wild Card cartridge cut at 2 inches (hid contour line of inner oval)
  • Pumpkin base achieved by welding 3 of these same ovals together in Design Studio; base allowed for stem to be sandwiched between base and ovals (raised center oval up with foam tape for dimension)
  • Stem – Wild Card cartridge cut at 4 inches (manually trimmed down the top of stem with scissors)
  • Magnet adhered to base using Glossy Accents (can be used as a bonding agent when not used for embellishment)

Anniversary Card – It’s Your Day

Hi all, this is an anniversary card I made last night.  I tried out my new white gel pen and Glossy Accents.  Papers used are Kraft and brown card stock (Paper Studio) and Simply Delightful (My Mind’s Eye).

Cartridges used:

Bloom ~ topiary (3.5 inches) and Live, Love, Grow sentiment (1 inch)

Walk in My Garden ~ card base (5 inches)

Storybook ~ marquee frame layers (4 inches)

Wild Card ~ It’s Your Day sentiment (7 inches) and rings welded to sentiment (2 inches)

Decorative Details:

I used foam tape to pop up the topiary and sentiments.  I used Glossy Accents on the topiary flowers and ring bands.  On the diamond, I used the white gel pen and then applied Star Dust stickles for shimmer.  I also used the white gel pen to outline the topiary and to embellish the sentiment on the inside of the card.  For the Kraft card base, I used the Swiss Dots Cuttlebug folder and used a scorer to score three lines running along the bottom.  The card is finished off with light green ribbon and a button threaded with pink jewelry cord.

Thanks for looking!

Vanessa

Paper Pumpkins

I was recently inspired by Linda Kaiser’s blog, “The Paper Boutique”, where she featured 3-D paper pumpkins that she made last year from strips of card stock.  Linda has a great video tutorial that you can check out here: http://paperboutique.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-make-3-d-pumpkins-using-card.html.  Written directions can also be found on the Martha Stewart website: http://www.marthastewart.com/271331/paper-pumpkins.  I found both sources to be helpful when attempting my first pumpkin, but Linda’s video offered some handy tips on designing and making three sizes.  I made a large, medium, and small pumpkin using DCWV’s Linen Closet glitter card stock.  Then because I am a traditionalist at heart, I just had to make an orange pumpkin, so I used two-toned orange card stock and alternated the strips’ colors and embossed each one with a Cuttlebug Swiss Dots folder.

I used my Cricut to cut out leaves from the Storybook cartridge and the stem from the Wild Card cartridge.  I used a hot glue gun to adhere these, but you can also use Martha Stewart’s leaf template and her directions for making a stem out of crepe paper.  Martha’s instructions don’t require adhesive because you secure the leaves and stem with brads.

I used the following measurements for 3 sizes of pumpkins:
Small – 12 strips of 6” x 1” card stock (3 inch string length between 2 brads)
Medium – 18 strips of 9” x 1” card stock (4 inch string length between 2 brads)
Large – 24 strips of 12” x 1” card stock (5 inch string length between 2 brads)

Thanks for looking!
Vanessa