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

Pinky, Sparkly Birthday Card

Here is a 5 x 7 birthday card I made for my sister. It’s really girly and was easy to make using the flower stickers from American Crafts Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic. The fun cloud paper is from Michael’s Recollections All Seasons Cardstock Paper (8.5 x 11 stack). I trimmed a sheet down to 5 x 7 inches and adhered it to the white card base using my pink Scotch ATG gun.

Pinky, Sparkly Birthday Card

Side View

The grass layers (base and base shift)  were cut from Straight from the Nest (SFTN) at 2.5 inches. The bottom grass layer was adhered directly to the card base and then I used foam dimensionals to raise up the top grass layer that has the flower stems. I used The Paper Studio’s Celebrations paper pack for the grass and for the word “Celebrate”. The Celebrate layers (phrase and phrase shadow) were cut from SFTN at 1.5 inches. The Zig 2-Way glue pen does a perfect job for these smaller, intricate cuts. I added a pop of bright pink 1/8 inch ribbon and tied a bow. I punched 2 butterflies out of yellow cardstock using a punch from Emagination. I glued one directly to the card base and then used a glue pen on the center of the top butterfly so I could raise its wings a bit. Before adhering the top butterfly, I coated it in Clear Rock Candy Distress Stickles, let it dry, and then used Liquid Pearls White Opal to add some more detail.

Celebrate Birthday Card

I like how this card came together easily but with fun, girly colors and lots of sparkle. For a quick 5 x 7 envelope, use “Just Because Cards” and cut out the third envelope on the bottom row of the key pad at 7 1/4 inches. For these larger envelopes, a 12 x 24 mat and longer paper are needed. I use 11 x 17 cardstock from Desktop Publishing Supplies. I also used Design Studio to rotate my envelope 90 degrees to have the envelope cut lengthwise. I hide the score marks before cutting for a cleaner look and use my score board to score the folds. A 7 1/4 inch envelope leaves plenty of room for the 5 x 7 card that may have slightly raised dimensional layers.

Envelope (JBC)

Envelope JBC 7.25 inches for a 5x7 card

“Celebrate” Birthday Banner for My Sister

Hello all – I wanted to share a banner I made for my sister for her recent birthday. She and her husband came up for a lovely birthday celebration at my parents’ house. We displayed the banner on Mom and Dad’s fireplace in the formal living room.

Crate Paper On Trend Shoebox Thickers - Pink

I used Cricut’s “Straight from the Nest” cartridge to cut out the banner using two sheets of patterned paper from American Craft’s Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic. I wanted to spell out the word “CELEBRATE” so I cut out 5 triangles and four toppers out of pink paper and 4 triangles and 5 toppers out of floral paper (all at 4.5 inches). I like alternating my toppers against a contrasting paper.

Birthday Banner

The glittery letters are also from American Crafts but from their “Crate Paper – On Trend Shoebox” line. They’re called ‘Thickers’ which are glitter chipboard letter stickers. These are pink (rose) and matched the Dear Lizzy floral paper well. Using the stickers made this a quick and easy banner to make. I adhered the banner toppers to the base using my favorite glue pen – Zig 2-Way Glue. Since the banner holes cut out too small, I enlarged the holes with a 1/8 hole punch and then threaded 1/8 light green satin ribbon through each banner piece and tied bows at the end.

We secured the banner to the fireplace with glue dots but this proved to be insufficient, so Mom came to the rescue with some extra-strong masking tape! It stayed up all weekend! 🙂

Banner Layout - pink paper

Banner Layout – pink paper

Banner Layout - floral paper

Banner Layout – floral paper

Close Up

Cupcake Birthday Card

I tried out some new paper I received from Northridge Publishing’s Christmas giveaway. The floral paper is from American Crafts’ Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic! I love how pretty this paper is! This was my starting point for a birthday card for my dear mother-in-law! It went really well with the Recollections Preppy Beach cardstock my sister gave me for my birthday!

Cupcake Birthday Card

The cupcake is from Cricut’s Straight from the Nest cartridge cut at 4 inches.  I ran the cupcake icing through my D’vine Swirls embossing folder. I then took a Versamark pad and rubbed it on the embossed swirls for a bit of definition. I used Liquid Pearls for the sprinkles. The cupcake is finished off with a bit of Dear Lizzy ribbon. My MIL loves all kinds of music and I thought this ribbon added a nice touch.

The envelope and liner are cut from Wild Card (doily blackout) at 5 inches. The inside stamped sentiment is from Fiskars All Year Greetings.

Envelope & Liner - Wild Card

Cupcake - SFTN

Autumn Banner

Hi all! This will be a quick post (well, quick for me LOL), as I am still getting the house ready for our family’s Thanksgiving! I had a banner planned out since October but didn’t make it until today. I was determined to get it done, even if it’s only to be used this week! I used Cricut’s “Straight from the Nest” cartridge for the banner’s triangles and toppers which were cut at 7 1/2 inches. The banner is cut from two sheets of Paper Studio’s 12×12 “Natural Botanical” patterned paper. Here is the layout of my mat. I cut this layout twice (once in light green leaf paper, and once in brown leaf paper). It made it quick and easy.

For the letters, I used Cricut’s “Designer’s Calendar” cartridge. “A” “U” and “N” are cut at 6 inches, “M” at 5.5 inches, and “T” at 4.5 inches. I alternated the colors of the letters using beige and brown cardstock to show up well against the alternating banner colors. I also ran each letter through a Swiss Dots embossing folder before adhering. I connected the banner sections with bows made from twine. I’m not really pleased with how it’s hung – note the two neon green push pins! 😦 But it works from a distance. I couldn’t find any clear push pins and I couldn’t think of another way to hang it, so the green pins will have to do!

So that’s my first banner! I plan on making one for Christmas too. I think it adds a nice touch to the fireplace.

I am entering this banner into the following challenges:

Due to the holiday, this will be my last post for this week. I’ve got family coming in from Florida and we plan on having a nice Thanksgiving meal and visit together!

I wish you all a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving! Blessings to you and your families!

~Vanessa

Paper Pumpkins 2012

I’ve made quite a bit of paper pumpkins using brads, twine, and strips of cardstock and I’m at it again this year! This time I changed up the stem and leaves and incorporated a brown pipe cleaner to make a vine tendril. The photos below will show the steps and are captioned with measurements. These pumpkins are inspired by Martha Stewart. Last year, I saw a very helpful video on Linda Kaiser’s blog, “The Paper Boutique” and posted my first pumpkins using her tutorial at these posts: https://southerncricutlady.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/paper-pumpkins/
and https://southerncricutlady.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/pumpkins-and-more-pumpkins/.

Embossed cardstock – Sizzix Damask Folder (6″ x 1″ strips)

Picture shows strips to make 2 Medium and 5 small pumpkins. For a medium pumpkin – cut 18 strips measuring 9″ x 1″; For a small pumpkin – cut 12 strips measuring 6″ x 1″; punch a hole at each end of strip (I used a 1/8″ punch and medium brad but a 1/4″ punch will also work with a larger brad)

Tie each end of a piece of twine or hemp cord just below the head of a brad, leaving about 4 inches of twine between the brads for a medium pumpkin, and 3 inches between the brads for a small pumpkin.

Take one end of the “brad string” and thread one end of the strips of paper onto the brad and fasten to secure. *Note: If using embossed or patterned paper, make sure to thread brad with pattern face up – the head of the brad should be on the wrong side of the paper. Now take the other brad and repeat the steps on the other end of the strips.

Using your fingers, fan out the strips until you get a pumpkin shape.

Cut leaves by hand or by using a die-cutting machine. I used Cricut’s Straight from the Nest cartridge to cut leaves at 5 and 5 .5 inches then punched a 1/8″ hole at the bottom of the leaf. Unfasten a brad and thread the leaf onto the pumpkin.

I didn’t have any crepe paper, so I made a stem out of paper lunch bags. For a medium pumpkin, cut a 3 x 3 inch square from a lunch sack and for a small pumpkin, cut a 2 x 2 inch square. Fold in half, and punch a hole. Now crumple up the square to distress it and make it easier to twist into a stem later. Flatten out the paper and thread onto the open brad. This will momentarily cover the leaf but that’s ok!

Fasten the brad to secure the “stem” paper and leaf. Gather up the sides of the lunch sack square and then twist to make a stem.

Take a pencil and one brown pipe cleaner. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the pencil and slide off. Wrap the “tendril” around the pumpkin stem. Trim the tendril to the desired length with scissors.

And here’s the set of pumpkins – 2 medium and 5 small

Close Up View – patterned paper “Natural Botanical” by The Paper Studio and embossed orange pumpkins using Sizzix Damask and Cuttlebug Swiss Dots

Close Up View

Another close up view

Pumpkins in a basket

Pumpkins on a fence

*You can also make a large pumpkin by cutting 24 strips of 12″ x 1″ cardstock and using a 5 inch string between two brads.

Thanks for looking!

Vanessa

“Seeing Spots” FCCB Challenge – Thanksgiving Card

The Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog (FCCB) is hosting another challenge this week – Challenge #135 Seeing Spots – make a project featuring polka dots. I decided to make another Thanksgiving card and incorporate polka dots to enter the challenge. The deadline is midnight, November 4th (MT) in case you’re interested in entering! The challenge is listed here: http://fantabulouscricut.blogspot.com/2012/10/challenge-me-monday-135.html.

For this card, I used The Paper Studio’s Natural Botanical stack (Hobby Lobby) and a piece of cream cardstock. I used the Straight from the Nest (SFTN) cartridge for the little tree layers (cut at 3 inches) and Walk in My Garden (WIMG) for the 5 inch square card base (this can also be done by hand with a paper trimmer ~ 10 inch long x 5 inch wide – fold in half). I also used WIMG to cut the square mat layers at 4 & 3/4 and 4 & 1/2 inches. I love using Design Studio to lay out my card designs so cutting squares this way is easier and faster. I also shrunk a WIMG square to measure 2 & 3/4 x 4 & 1/4 inches for the cream mat under the tree.

The polka dots for the FCCB challenge can be seen in the light green polka dotted paper and in the cream cardstock that’s embossed with Cuttlebug’s “Swiss Dots” embossing folder. Even the orange paper on the tree and card base has flowers with dots in the center. And for just a bit more dots, I added tiny pearl embellishments on the upper right! I love the velvet ric rac ribbon from American Crafts. It adds a nice punch of autumn color and texture. The “Bountiful Blessings” sentiment and brown ink are from Stampabilities (Hobby Lobby). I used this same ink to distress the edges of the cream cardstock prior to dry embossing. For additional dimension, I raised the tree up with foam adhesive (Michael’s).

I’m also entering this card in Cardz TV’s “I’m So Thankful” challenge – make a card or project for Thanksgiving. The deadline for this challenge is Thursday, November 8th at Noon (EST). Here is the challenge link for more details: http://cardztv.blogspot.com/2012/11/im-so-thankful-ctv-stamps-dt-challenge.html. One lucky submitter will be randomly drawn for a set of Cardz TV stamps!

And since I just learned about another cool challenge blog, I’m entering a challenge at “Pause Dream Enjoy Challenges”. This week’s challenge is here: http://pausedreamenjoychallenges.blogspot.com/2012/11/ch-44-orange-brown.html. Make anything with orange and brown! I think this card will work! 🙂 The deadline for this challenge is Thursday, November 8th at Noon (EST). A winner will be chosen by random.org for a $10 gift certificate for Dude Time Doodles. It would be fun if you played along!

Thanks for looking!

Vanessa

Life is Tweet! – DCWV Challenge

Hello all! I ran across a challenge at Northridge Publishing’s Create Blog. The challenge is to create any project using your favorite Die Cuts With a View (DCWV) paper stack. Six lucky crafters will win 12 new stacks of DCWV patterned paper (one for each month of the year!) I would be so excited to win since I love paper and I love DCWV! I thought the challenge was worth a try (you’ll never know unless you try, right?) so I made this “Life is Tweet” card featuring DCWV’s Linen Closet paper and cuts from Cricut’s Four Legged Friends (FLF) cartridge.

The entire card is made of Linen Closet paper and I used two sizes of stacks – some sheets from a 12×12 pad and some sheets from a 4.5 x 6.5 mat stack. The smaller mat stack has the same designs but they are printed smaller so you can layer against the larger prints of the 12×12. I like mixing the two sizes together for dimension.

Cricut Cartridges and Sizes of Cuts:

  • Bird (4 1/4 inches) – Four Legged Friends
  • Cage (3 inches) – Four Legged Friends
  • Scalloped Mat Layer (5 inches) – Just Because Cards
  • Scalloped Card Base with tan trim (7 inches) – Just Because Cards (this makes the perfect 5×7 card)
  • Life is Tweet (1 3/4 inches) – Straight from the Nest

Other Supplies:

Tan Hemp Cord – tied a double bow through the holes cut in the edges of the scalloped mat

Pearl Embellishment

Googly Eyes

Glossy Accents – for the bird’s cheeks

Stampabilities Brown Ink – to distress the cage

Foam Adhesive Squares – to pop up the bird and cage for dimension

Zig 2-Way Glue Pen – to apply adhesive on those tiny cuts

Elmer’s CraftBond Dot Runner

Here is another card I made last year using the same Linen Closet stack and Four Legged Friends cartridge. I love the light blues and tans of this DCWV stack!

Autumn Owl Birthday Card with Envelope

Ok, this is one of those cards that I’m not thrilled about. I hope it grows on me in time before I make the decision to mail it to my other brother-in-law who has a birthday coming up later in October. Since he has an autumn birthday, I wanted to use fall-colored patterned paper for the owl card on the “Wild Card” cartridge. I have never made this card before and the opportunities for embellishment are limited due its shape. To make it a bit more masculine, I added a velvety orange belt and used a leaf slider from the “Straight From the Nest” cartridge as a buckle. I wanted to add a birthday sentiment and the only space left was at the top. To keep it from being too plain, I added some maple leafs  and now the placement reminds me of a cluster of flowers as if this was for a female! Maybe I’m just too close to it since just having made it and it’s not that bad. Any whooo (pun intended), I do like the greeting printed on the inside that starts with “Greetings Wise One” so I may just run with it.

The card base was cut at 5 inches along with the corresponding envelope (Wild Card). The slider was cut at 1 & 1/4 inches and worked well with the 1/4 inch ribbon. I ran the slider and the leaves through my Swiss Dots embossing folder and used Ink It Up! inks to distress them. The autumn paper is from Paper Studio’s “Natural Botanical” stack at Hobby Lobby. I used Glossy Accents on the beak, buttons for the eyes, and a rub-on for Happy Birthday.

The inside greeting was printed using my computer. To do this, cut another owl card on lighter paper and cut it in half with scissors. You will need to use the right half to print the sentiment. Take note of the length and width of your shape so that your text doesn’t overflow and get cut off. I use a plain sheet of copy paper first to test how it will print and adjust as needed. Once I am happy with the result, I line up the shape on the back side of the copy paper and tape it down on a few edges. Then just run it back through your printer so that the text prints on the shape. Peel off the tape and adhere the sentiment to your card base. Sometimes when I’m lining up a shape on the back side of copy paper I forget to flip the shape when actually taping it down. Keep this in mind so that the text prints on the side you want.

Thanks for taking a look! Any opinions (negative or positive) are welcome :).

~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