Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Ornaments... Sparkly!


Well, I got a special request from someone to post how I made my wonderful sparkly ornaments. So here you go folks, it's a snap.

I'll start with the pictured items you'll need for this project (click on pictures to enlarge).



  • Pledge Floor Finish with Future Shine
  • Craft Glass Ornaments
  • Fine Glitter
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • Hot Glue w/Gun (optional)
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Funnel (not pictured)
  • Bowl for trash/excess liquid (not pictured)

Carefully remove the metal top from the ornament. Don't pull too quickly or roughly as you can chip the glass. Squeeze about a tablespoon of the Pledge Floor Finish inside the ornament, cover the top with your thumb and gently shake until the entire inside of the globe has been covered with the floor finish. Empty excess floor finish into trash bowl. Place the funnel in the top of the ornament and pour another tablespoon of glitter into the ornament. Cover with your thumb again and shake until the entire inside of the ornament is covered in glitter and set (it's about 2-4 minutes of shaking). Replace the metal ornament cap. And you're done!

Now as you can see from the pictures, I added some embellishments. While the glitter ornaments are pretty on their own, the embellishments add a sweet and personal touch. I just bought some mini ornaments and ribbon. I also cut out the word "Joy" on a piece of thin cardstock/patterned paper on my Cricut. I used Mod Podge to "decoupage" the word "Joy" to the ornament. The wonderful thing about Mod Podge is that it goes on white and dries clear (and with a pretty sheen), it's also wet enough to saturate the paper word "Joy" so that it will mould to the ornament and be completely attached when it dries. After about an hour, I applied a second coat of Mod Podge and let the ornament dry over night. I then hot glued bows and embellishments to the metal tops of my ornaments. Super simple and beyond cute! Another wonderful idea is to use glass paints to decorate the ornaments (I love those metallic paints) as well as etching liquid.... just a couple more ideas. Have fun with this and Happy Holidays.

*** Thank you to Happy Happy Joy Joy from Christmas with the Cricut for your wonderful how-to video! You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTvq2GPkm9U

*** Also, you can a find a Gypsy cut file for this cute little box that I made that happens to fit this ornament perfectly HERE!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Programmer

There are so many people who make "deposits" into our lives. Things that are said that we literally take to heart and make part of who we are. These people can be our programmers if we aren't careful. It starts with our parents and fortunately or unfortunately, THEY install our operating systems. What our parents and family tell us as children lays the groundwork for who we become down the road and what we believe about ourselves. Being so young, we have no reasoning skills and therefore no control of our mainframes. But there IS a point where WE decide what programs will be integrated and WHO influences our internal connections. In some cases (like in my case) the problem lies with needing to RE-wire the mainframe and upgrade that operating system.

If you're like me, because of bad wiring, it can be a struggle believing that you're good and strong and capable and deserving. But if you are struggling, it's important to understand that the struggle itself is a WONDERFUL gauge. Focusing on lessening the struggle is where you begin taking control of your own wiring. And when I talk about wiring, I'm talking about what you are internalizing and connecting with and virtually becoming. What internal dialogue is happening; what external dialogue is happening? If at any time it's contrary to the programming you desire, CHANGE IT! YOU decide who you are, how you will be and what you are capable of. NO ONE ELSE!!! And that struggle you feel... it's your guide to get you where you want to go. Work on lessening that struggle a little each day and reprogram yourself to give you the results you're after.

Finally, control what "cookies" are attaching to your program. The hackers around you that are trying to infect you with viruses through negative thoughts, words and actions need to be set aside. Instead, inviting positive add-ons will reinforce your wiring efforts eventually producing strong internal connections.... i.e. no struggle. From quitting smoking, to getting fit and healthy, connecting to everything that says you will be successful will reinforce your programing to be successful. Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life today who are supplying 'good cookies' with positive encouragement and reinforcement that I AM everything I think I am. Luckily, in our technology driven age, our computers can be a major success tool for just about any rewiring you might be working on.

Message boards, social networks, blogs and websites provide an unending source for positive input (as well as output) to shift your paradigms and your focus bringing you closer to the person you want to be or rather achieve success with your goals. Get to know these resources, how to use them safely, and I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is to control the deposits that are being made into your life and how easy rewiring can be. If you think you can't, you can't. If you think you can, you can. That is by far the greatest paradigm of them all.

NOTE: A special thank you to my friend Heather Frey of SmashFit.com for providing input that makes my rewiring easier every day! THANK YOU! Your trainers ROCK!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Edmund Burke Got It Right

"He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper." What a wonderful quote from Mr. Burke. Me thinks Mr. Burke read his Bible... either that or he was married to my ex husband... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I am so very lucky for all the lessons I learned at a very young age. Those lessons were, in fact, the prelude that would make the stories of the Bible JUMP out at me. I was blessed with bad decisions and bad behavior right from the beginning which lead to a tough run too young.... and too soon after being baptized a Christian. But, I was in effect wrestling... a picture that became crystal clear years later reading Genesis 32:24-28. This is the scripture that came to mind when I read Mr. Burke's quote earlier today.

Genesis 32:24-28 - "And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, Let me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Ok, so this scripture ROCKS!!! First off, what's up God?!? You're not winning in your human form so you used some supernatural mojo to cheat?!? HAHAHAHAHA! Ok! And secondly, God totally had to go but Jacob held on. Even after his hip was put out of joint and he wrestled with God ALL NIGHT, he held on... and PREVAILED. Can you imagine being the guy that gets jumped by another guy and in the middle of the fight the dude touches you (probably on the shoulder or something) and your hip goes out of joint? And you're like, "This dude who jacked me is God! And I was kickin his butt so he had to do something Godly like throw my hip out! I SO rock!" But then you're like, "Crap, THIS IS GOD.... and my hip hurts, so now I'm just gonna hold on till he says I win!" That happens all the time on UFC! HAHAHAHAHAHA! What I'm trying to say is, sometimes you CAN win just by holding on. There have been many times in my life that I did NOT hold on, but then there have been other times when (out of desperation... and the want of the blessing if you will) I did. Interestingly enough, EVERY time I've held on, I got the blessing. You all probably already know what happened when I didn't hold on. **** Special note: Be true to yourself. Don't confuse letting go with changing course/direction. Sometimes you are forced to change direction. So change your course and HOLD ON!

I wonder if Edmund Burke had the same picture in his head of the match between God and Jacob? He SO got it right! Who's your antagonist? Is it God???

Crafting Cards For Soldiers

I just volunteered to make cards for our soldiers overseas (click on pics to enlarge). I love volunteering and I love crafting, so when the opportunity to combine the two presented itself... well, of course I was on-board! But I COULD NOT have done it without my Cricut and my Xyron 900. It would have taken me forever!

I spent the day working an assembly line to make these pretty cards inspired by Abby (thanx Abby!). First was the stamping, then the coloring with the water color pencils, then the blending with water, then the drying and embellishing all before cutting out each image.... twenty... 2.... 0.... But it just so happens that while I was doing all those steps, I was also cutting out my card fronts and mats on my cricut. See, the beauty of the Cricut is you can load and cut your paper and walk away while it's cutting. On top of that, I was able to plan out all of my cuts with my Gypsy which saved even more time and certainly more paper. Twenty cards were made in all and I think I might just have to make 20 more. Can you think of a better cause to craft?!? :)

If anyone else is interested in jumping on the Cards for Soldiers bandwagon, feel free to check out their site HERE. Their email address is right at the top of their blog, so feel free to contact them with any questions you may have or if you want to participate... which I hope you do! :D

Nothing beats the heart of a volunteer!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stitch Ribbon

I FINALLY finished the stitch ribbon Gypsy cut file! It has taken me forever to get those "stitches" just right. My first attempt ended up with "stitches" that were just too far apart, but I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I used a little "hello" butterfly stamp and then colored it in with a green glaze pen. Other than the glazed butterfly and the flower, the "ribbon" is the only other thing to make this card pop.

I used the Plantin Schoolbook Cricut cartridge to make the "ribbon"... I'm hoping that most everyone has that cart (didn't it come with the expression?). Anyhow, I hope everyone likes this. You can find the file for this download at the top right margin of my blog along with instructions to download.

And just for fun... here's a card made with the "ribbon" I nixed. Can't waist those mistakes!<---there's a life lesson in that somewhere! LOL!

To Help You Through The Christmas Holiday

I've been going NUTS with the sweets! It's right before the Christmas holiday, and too soon after all that pumpkin and apple pie, we are well on our way to cookie season. HOW to stay on track during a time when there's bad (but oh so good) food everywhere? The protein shake can stay those cravings and satisfy that sweet tooth. I thought I would take a second and post my favorite Christmas protein shake recipes. Each of them uses the same vanilla protein shake base (I personally use Myoplex Lite, but you can use your favorite brand). Also, since I prefer a thicker shake, I have included the optional vanilla yogurt and ice cubes. Here's to staying good... the BEST way I know! psssst... I heard a rumor that Santa requested my Gingerbread Shake instead of the high fat milk and cookies.

Mochee Mint Shake
  • 1 serving vanilla protein shake powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw mesquite powder
  • 1/4 tsp decaffeinated instant coffee
  • 5 drops peppermint extract
  • 8 oz. water
  • 6-10 ice cubes (optional)
  • 4 oz. Yoplait light vanilla yogurt (optional)
Blend and serve. Note... if you are not a coffee fan, the coffee can be omitted for a wonderful Mocha Mint shake! ;)

Gingerbread Shake
  • 1 serving vanilla protein shake powder
  • Dash of allspice, nutmeg, clove and ginger (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup... use grade B organic maple syrup)
  • 8 oz. water
  • 6-10 ice cubes (optional)
  • 4 oz. Yoplait light vanilla yogurt (optional)
Blend and serve.

Coconut Cream Shake
  • 1 serving vanilla protein shake powder
  • Dash of allspice
  • Dash of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp. Maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup... use grade B organic maple syrup)
  • 8 oz. COCONUT water
  • 6-10 ice cubes (optional)
  • 4 oz. Yoplait light vanilla yogurt (optional)
Blend and serve.

I hope you enjoy my holiday shakes and may they get us ALL through the holidays! ;) A special note: because I'm REALLY watching my caloric intake, I mix ALL protein shakes with water instead of milk. Feel free to follow package instructions when mixing your protein shake, possibly substituting skim milk for regular. Have fun with it... they taste great!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great Things Come In Small Packages

A couple of nights ago I had the pleasure of going to a Joel Osteen event. His wife and kids were there, his brother Paul was there along with local ministers. I did not pay for my ticket and believe it or not, I was picked up in a white hummer with black tinted windows... "my limo", I called it. This event was literally given to me. I got to spend the evening with two of the most amazing women and we had a BLAST. With all of that to be so grateful for, I find that my sights are set on the greatest gift given to me that night.... Philemon 1:6.

I really hate admitting this, but I have never read Philemon and I don't know why (it's 1.5 pages for crying out loud!!!). I want to say that it's so small and easily missed, but that isn't a reason.... made even less of a reason since I have tabs that extend from my Bible that don't know 50 pages from 1.... no excuses. Honestly, BECAUSE it's so small, it really should not have gone unread. Could ANY book of the Bible be easier to read? Well, all that changed, and changed in a big way, at the Osteen event. The Osteen's theme for the night was A Night of Hope. It was clear that they were there to lift others up in a tough time when our government is in crisis, our economy is in crisis and our families are in crisis. And lift everyone they did! It was a packed house with thousands in attendance singing and laughing, but you could have heard a pin drop when a tearful Joel recited Philemon 1:6. Philemon 1:6 says, "and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ." The King James version words it this way, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." So what I'm getting here is that faith is "turned on" or effectual by knowing, acknowledging and sharing the good within us. What a gift... Negativity stifles faith, plain and simple and nicely packaged within 1.5 pages! I got it Joel! Thank you God for that wonderful message and the incredible gift of that night!

A big thanx to the Osteens for the awesome event and the getting me to read the 1.5 pages that NEEDED to be read. It went directly to my heart!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Attention Cricuteers!

I finally figured out how to use those markers in my dang cricut machine!!! I HAD to figure it out soon because one of the markers from the set that I got FOREVER ago went dry. That's how long it's taken me to figure out! So the key to using them is to not remove your mat from the machine. THE "LOAD PAPER" BUTTON TAKES YOU BACK TO THE TOP RIGHT CORNER OF YOUR MAT SO YOUR PAPER STAYS ON THE SAME X/Y AXIS....Nice! That is it! That is the secret to use the markers! If you look closely, you can see where I messed up the blue marker lines because I removed the paper to change out the marker and insert the blade. When it didn't work out, I ended up leaving it because it added a nice dimensional layer to this little koi fish... (oh and also so I could show you what my goof looks like). Only after I cut the image did I see that the outline didn't work. So instead of removing the mat and paper again, I hit "load paper" and redid the outline with a brown marker and it matched the cut fish perfectly leaving the blue marker lines in all the right places to make this mistake look like an "on purpose"! I love it. So a big thank you goes out to MyPinkStamper.com's GREAT video which I found after MANY failed attempts to use these markers on my own! :) Also... please note that I found that the "repeat last" button is only used when the drawing and the actual cut are the same. Since I was cutting the blackout image and drawing the details of the image WITHIN the blackout image, the only thing I needed was to NOT remove my mat and hit "load paper" button to get me back to the beginning prior to cutting the image that I drew with the markers. I am LOVING this new technique!!!! Now to master the mini gel pens using the gelly pen grippers that I just got at Walmart.... whew!

*** The koi fish came from the new Pagoda cartridge and the "Beauty Within" is from the Gypsy Font on my Gypsy that I welded. I have this cut file saved on my Gypsy, please leave a comment here if you would like the cut file to download and I'll add it to the list.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Craft Project Using Nail Art???

This special gift took minutes to make and is a wonderful presentation for any special person on your gift list. The glass bowl, the cellophane, the ribbon and even the candy came from the dollar store. I simply spent 10 minutes stamping the side of the bowl with these precious candy canes. You can find these candy canes at THIS Konad nail art stamping retailer on image plate M12 (the Christmas plate).

I could have done these in red or gold... even green. That's the beauty of using this nail art stamp on your nails.... you can change things up over and over. Heck, that's the beauty of using this nail art stamping set on ANYTHING!!!!

So now, not only can you use the Konad nail stamping for your nails, but you can also use it for your craft projects too.... those mini details add the perfect touch to so many projects (click on the pic on the right to enlarge see the detail)! For more information on the different types of nail art kits that are available (my recommendations and pricing), check out my post HERE.

Happy Crafting! :)

Ok...... One more. I am working on a second candy bowl that will have a blue ribbon and a snowflake tag that I'm making with my Cricut. But these tiny snowflakes are cute so I wanted to share. The image plate I used for this was #M59.
***No one currently pays me for my product/service endorsements... but they totally should!***

Stuffin Muffins... That Rachel Ray

So I was watching the Thanksgiving specials on Food Network last week and saw Ms. Rachel Ray make "Stuffin Muffins". Ok, let me just say, "BRILLIANT!" This isn't your ordinary, run of the mill brilliant either. This is the "I just discovered that you can put anything on a stick, deep fry it, serve it at a fair and make a mint" brilliant.

A brief shot appears on my TV screen showing the end result of these "Stuffin Muffins" and I'm glued to the set. It's so simple.... instead of preparing a whole casserole dish of stuffing, or even trying to figure out what to do with the left overs from the stuffed turkey, squash them into balls and press them into a muffin pan.

Now she made this apple stuffing that she put into a muffin pan, but this was for Thanksgiving and our house DOES NOT waste a perfectly good eat-till-you-wanna-puke day on anything as healthy as apples. Oh no, for us it's bread crumbs, butter, sausage, butter and butter. And she seemed to fill the muffin pan pretty loosely. I found that my muffins turned out more like muffins by forming a ball with the left over stuffing and then really pressing the "dough" into the muffin pan. I made sure not to smoosh the tops too much as I still wanted the muffins to look like stuffing. Anyhow, here is why I'm so psyched about the brilliance that is stuffing muffins. FOOD SAVER!!!! That's right, I can break out my food saver and EASILY package individual servings and stick them in the freezer. And the fact that my stuffing is now mobile is not lost here. Oh no, I now have visions of mini turkey sandwiches on stuffing muffins (with a dollop of gravy inside of course) being thrust into hungry football game viewer's hands made with a meal that I already slaved over day's or weeks or months ago. NOW THAT'S what I love! I cook once that provides many meals down the road. Now that's working smart! Didn't I say this was brilliant?!? Time to give this idea a go on my bread pudding. Puddin Muffins here I come!!! Just brilliant!

***No one pays me for my product/service endorsements... but they totally should!***

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gift Idea at 30% Off!!!

I went to OC Nail Art yesterday to place an order. It donned on me that with Christmas coming up, there are going to be a lot of people in search of the perfect stocking stuffer. Last year my gift giving idea was to personalize... well, anything... for that special someone with embroidery from Artic Fox Designs. I had my Bible cover embroidered and it was AMAZING... you can check it out HERE.

This year my gift idea is (you'll never guess) REUSABLE NAIL ART KITS! Now before I go plugging this WONDERFUL product, I just want to say that Konad, the maker of these awesome kits, does not pay me. The retailer OC Nail Art does not pay me either, but for now there is a 30% discount to anyone and everyone who uses the discount code "MENTAL" at checkout, so really YOU ALL are getting paid for my blog post today.... hahahahahahahha! Right now might be a great time to pick up a nail art kit or two for a special someone.

Ok, now the plug... just cuz I love them! Note: the prices that follow get even better with that 30% discount!!! For those who are just starting with nail art and want to start slow, my recommendation is the "S" kit. I started with this kit and fell in love with the ease of application. This starter kit comes with everything you need and at less than $20, it is super affordable.... especially since all the kits are reusable nail art that you DON'T throw away. You will use this over and over choosing different colors, if you like, each time because you can also use regular nail polish. Here's my post on the different types of products that you can use with the Konad Nail Art system: Special Nail Polish vs. Regular. I say, buy the "S" kit and one special polish to bump your purchase over the $20 mark and take advantage of OC Nail Art's free shipping with purchases over $20!

Another great value, and the kit I wish I WOULD have started with is the "C" kit. It comes with a couple different special nail polishes and my favorite nail art designs. I ended up buying these designs after the fact, but after buying them, I realized quickly that I wish I would have started there. This kit is another one that contains everything you need and qualifies for free shipping.... we ALL love that! This one is under $30.

Now.... if you want something a little more significant than a stocking stuffer for someone who LOVES the nail art and throws away A LOT of money every year on the typical "use once" nail art decals and stickers, I recommend the "G" kit. It is just under $100, qualifies for the free shipping and comes with A TON of images and special polishes (including my favorite staples, black and white). Whoever receives this kit will not have to spend another penny on nail art designs.

Ok, so the above kits are MY recommendations. There are many more kits to choose from at OC Nail Art. In fact, my dream kit is on sale RIGHT NOW!!! It's the BIG DOG and contains EVERYTHING. For someone like me who is addicted to nail art or for an actual salon professional, the Professional Salon Kit is DEFINITELY the way to go.

Oh! One last comment/recommendation. You can search individual image discs HERE! The reason that is such a good option is because this system isn't just great for nail art... it's also a handy craft tool as well. It's that embellishment that can turn a $1.00 glass bowl into a 1 minute gift. I will be posting this Christmas gift I just made using my Konad nail art kit. SO CUTE... stay tuned.

Welp, that's pretty much it for this year's gift idea. If you guys DO give it a try, or get one for that special someone... let me know what you think! :)

Girls Day

Wow.. those girls days are something else. It's so incredibly healthy to stop and spend the day with your besties. It's even better when you stop to see a totally awesome movie... uh... like New Moon!!!! Yep, I saw New Moon today and it was WAY better than Twilight. The special effects were incredible and I think some of the cast has taken acting lessons. I say some because Edward is STILL looking like he's sick or in pain for EVERY kissing scene! COME ON!!!! And why the dramatic pause for EVERY line??? Just spit it out already! Ok, so your leaving... bu-bye! I'd rather look at the newly transformed Jacob anyway! And it doesn't take him three days to say his lines. Actually, because everyone's performances were so much better with this film, it made the poor guy playing Edward look even worse. I probably just ticked off the entire nation of teenage girls and I'm preparing for my house to get egged, but I'm only saying this so that the guy who plays Edward can fix it for the next movie. PULEEZE fix it. But other than that little critique, this movie was EXCELLENT and I can't wait to own it on DVD... I might even have to go see it again in the theater. Anyone want to take a girls day? Guys are welcome, but only if you dress appropriately (i.e. dress, heels and wig)! See you there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"I Became a Millionaire with Home Tech"

This stuff is gold! I did a little cleaning yesterday and ALL my glass surfaces cleaned easily with one swipe of a slightly moist rag. Actually, I would have to say that the rag was mostly dry, but those are semantics that us millionaires don't have time to quibble over. All my mirrors wiped clean, my glass top kitchen table and even my black porcelain sink wiped clean in seconds.... yah, it was a little cleaning! Why? Because 4 months ago I treated all my mirror and glass surfaces with this Home Tech Acrylic Polish. It's an invisible barrier so when you get smudges and smears, they wipe away easily with a mostly dry cloth. Even those greasy hand prints that are always so tough to clean off windows, wipes away easily with no streaks. It really is amazing! I swear these people should pay me for this! Mostly because I'm NOT a millionaire (which you all probably already guessed since I'm doing my own cleaning), but I could be. With all the cleaning time this stuff is saving me, I could be out buying lottery tickets because I'm not slaving with my cleaning cloth. And one of those lottery tickets could be worth $10 million and then I would win and say, "I became a millionaire with Home Tech!" But why would I say that if they aren't paying me? They should totally pay me!

HAHAHAHAHA! Ok, that's all for today's rant. All joking aside, this stuff is incredible and weirdly cheap. One bottle cost me 15 bucks and will probably last me three or four years. I love that it saves me SOOOO much cleaning time and keeps everything looking pretty. I especially love not having to kill my back and shoulders with trying to clean my bathroom mirror... this stuff takes off even the toothpaste flingins like magic. You know what I'm talking about... that crusted toothpaste/water droplets that usually take FOREVER to clean off the bathroom mirror. And if you own ANY glass top tables... Home Tech is a must!<-- You will thank me for that!

Home Tech gets a HUGE HIGH FIVE! In fact, I don't ever want to be without it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Work In Progress

It has been a GREAT Sunday... lots of crafting and Gypsy design! Well, this one isn't quite finished, but I wanted to get it up so that everyone can see the cut file. This one is titled "Dream Card". As always, my Gypsy cut files can be found at the top of the right margin of my blog.

That's all for tonight. Have a great Monday gang!

***Cartridges used: Hannah Montana Font, Gypsy Wanderings, Storybook and Wild Card

Cookie Box

Ok, so here's the Christmas Cookie box I just finished... now I just need to bake the cookies. Hmmmmmm... my sister LOVES to bake Christmas cookies. I wonder if she'd be willing to work out a trade???? I'll spend the 15 minutes cutting the boxes and she can spend the hours in the kitchen baking cookies to fill them! Sound like an even trade?

It's SOOOO an even trade! I'm saving her from a possible paper cut! Really, now that I think about it... I could be saving her life. Yah, lets go with that! hahahahaha!

Hope you guys like it. I'm also ordering some holiday parchment paper from my favorite online baking resource, Fancy Flours, to line these little gems with. Someone asked me to share, so I thought I'd share it with all you guys too! I once made a birthday cake with a Queen of Hearts theme and ordered a ton of their sugar playing card suits to embellish the sides of the cake. It turned out FABULOUS and the service was excellent! Check them out for YOUR holiday baking, and don't forget to download the Cookie Box cut file located at the top-right of this blog.

***Cartridges used: George, Storybook

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not All Pinks Are Created Equal

So it hit me yesterday that I never showed everyone what my Thanks a Latte card looks like, so at 12:30 this morning I loaded my paper, cut the gypsy cut file and 10 minutes later ended up with this beauty....

Only this beauty doesn't look as good in the photograph!!! What the heck!?! This pink looks coral in this pic. It's actually a pretty rose color and compliments the carmel cardstock beautifully in real life. I threw this through the Cuttlebug with my dots embossing folder. Please note, this cut file was created PRE-layers option on the Gypsy. The heart was added "after the fact" as a layer... there's also a flower and a swirl that I interchange depending on my mood. Those cute little additions are not in this original cut file but can be easily added. Here's how:

1.) After saving the original cut file, open it and find a heart or flower that you would like to add to the cup.
2.) Add the item you choose to the mat and place it where you would like it to appear on the cup.
3.) Once positioned, and while it's still highlighted blue on the screen, tap the group button (square and circle in a box icon) once and the remaining cup with frame image once (the cup with frame is already welded, so it is actually one piece already allowing the entire image to highlight with one tap of the stylus).
4.) Tap the group button again to group the heart/flower to the rest of the image and tap the "Advanced" tab located in the top right corner of the screen.
5.) Tap the weld button (icon located above the eye icon appearing as a star/circle/square in a box).
6.) Now tap the view icon (the eye) and confirm that the heart/flower turns red on the screen indicating that the Cricut will be cutting the image. Any image in grey is where the images overlapped and were welded. Those areas SHOULD NOT be cut by the Cricut.

I hope these instructions help. There is a little learning curve, but once you get it.... it's pretty easy. Now if I could just figure out my camera... at least how to keep my pinks pink! hahahahaha!

*** Cartridges Used: Gypsy Wanderings, Don Juan, Christmas Cheer

Friday, November 20, 2009

Layered Congrats

Well gang... a new Gypsy cut file has been added to the list (TOP of the right margin). I made this for a friend of the family whose accomplishments are deserving of just this caliber of handmade sentiment! I hope all of you like it as well!

I did two different styles. The first style is the first layer of the cut file and it's the round card. It's a full card from the Wild Card Cricut cartridge. I then welded the shadow for the word "Congrats" from the Gypsy Wanderings Cricut cartridge to the window of the card. The separate word "Congrats" is already sized and ready to just stick in place.

The second style (and second layer) is not a folding card. I attempted the folding card, but after all the glue and stickles were applied, the front of the card ended up being too heavy and the joint tore. So I removed the back half and left it since it can just easily be completed and then glued to a 3 x 4 or a 4 x 5.5 card. Simple but gorgeous! And I gotta say... I'm LOVIN those layers.
***Cartridges Used: Gypsy Wanderings, Wild Card

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do It Anyway

I'm reminded, this evening, of the importance of "DO IT ANYWAY".

I've had a few weeks now where I'm skipping workouts and not completing my planning and journals and the feeling of fatigue is catching up with me. It starts with skipping workouts, and then I forget my vitamins which perpetuates the "not wanting to work out". Then I find myself not drinking all my water and feeling even more tired from dehydration. It becomes a vicious cycle quickly that ends in bouts of insomnia... can anyone relate? I've always told others in the past that sometimes you have to fake it till you feel it. But does "fake it till you feel it" really work? Because we really DON'T feel it sometimes.... do we?

According to Hebrews 12:11-13, that's EXACTLY what God tells us to do. "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

So, what I'm getting here is not that we should "fake it" really... it's more like the fatigue (in my case) is a decision and the "fake it" IS the discipline. So if my hands are drooping and my knees are weak, I'm to perk up and get my feet back on the path. It sounds to me like the discipline lies in the "DO IT ANYWAY". What do you think?

Monday, November 16, 2009

GREAT Vegan Burger Recipe

My mother-in-law brought this recipe home after attending a 2 week McDougall Program in California learning how to live a vegan lifestyle (she also gave me the New McDougall Cookbook that is STILL my favorite cookbook after all these years!). I have made different variations of it over the years, but made the original recipe for dinner last night and I thought I would share. This recipe is VERY simple to prepare and is by far the best vegan "burger" I've ever had. PS. If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I AM NOT a vegan (I'm not even a vegetarian), but because I share in a lot of the foods, and certainly lifestyle choices, I'm surrounded by those that ARE vegan. Recipes like this that can be prepared quickly but taste like I slaved for hours are always called upon to impress my vegan guests. I hope you all enjoy the McDougall Zucchini Burger.

ZUCCHINI BURGERS
  • 2 cups zucchini finely grated (I use my mandolin and julienne them)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. McKay's beef style seasoning
Place zucchini and seasoning into a large bowl and let stand 15 minutes. The salt in the beef seasoning will draw out the zucchini's natural juice which will be needed to form the "loaf".
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
Grate, chop or grind above ingredients and add to zucchini.

  • 1/4 cup active dry yeast
  • 1 cup vital gluten
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Combine yeast, gluten, oats and garlic, then add to onion, walnut and zucchini mixture. Knead well with hands for approximately 5 minutes. Kneading for the extended amount of time creates a "meaty" dough. Anyone who makes pastries can tell you the best way to kill a pastry is to over knead. For this recipe though, that tough, meaty texture is exactly what you're looking for. Note: some zucchini yield more juice than others. If your "meat" dough is too dry and does not resemble a precooked meatloaf, add water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is the right consistency. Once kneaded, set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form patties (I use the Tupperware burger press), place on lightly oiled flat pan and bake for 15 minutes on each side until golden brown.

I hope you all enjoy these great "burgers", I also thought I'd include a link to more great McDougall Recipes for those who don't have the cookbook. Here's the really great blog I found! If you get a chance to try this recipe, please come back and tell us all how yours turned out! ;)

Priceless

Yay! BLOG ANNIVERSARY!!! SO, it has been one year since I started blogging. It is AMAZING going back through this past year's posts. Big hugs and thank you's to everyone who has read my blog and everyone who has left a comment. Thank you to other bloggers who have connected with me through my blog... I've SOOOO enjoyed reading your stuff!!! I've met some incredible people because of this blog and am grateful for the wonderful friendships I've gotten.

From topics on relationships to exercise, this blog has been a wonderful outlet to share what I love, the issues that move me and the issues that get me heated. I'm hoping that the real me shines through in these blog posts and that this really does provide an outlet for everyone who reads it... even if it only gets you to think... or to smile... or to shake your fist. I've really enjoyed blogging this past year. I don't see myself stopping any time soon, so here's to the upcoming year!

Thanks again to all my readers and everyone who shares their two cents.... to me, it's priceless!

And speaking of priceless, the picture attached to this blog post is the inspiration for a project that I'm getting ready to start and the inspiration for the title of this post. The pictured creation was created by Donna Mundinger. You can find her blog here or you can check out her Priceless project featured on Bitten By the Bug. Both of these links will take you to some incredible craft projects.... one of my new obsessions! Be sure to click on the pic to enlarge and see Donna's beautiful work! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not So Mello Yellow

The refreshing, crisp taste of yellow nails? Whoops... yuck! I don't think that was the lead-in I was looking for, but you see the EXTREME contrast right?!? Excuse my pitiful attempt to catch your eye, but come on.... the can IS yellow. ;)

Any yellow nail sufferers out there? What the heck causes this? If you are a smoker, there really isn't a puzzle there. Nicotine causes nails to turn yellow... real or fake. But what about the non smokers with fake nails who are experiencing nail yellowing? Surprisingly enough, it could be as simple as the products that you use to get ready each morning. Typically anything containing UV protection chemicals will cause your nails to yellow. Don't rule out products containing dyes or other staining agents. Luckily, there may be a quick and easy remedy. Here's a helpful list to get those nails sparkling and white. See, now THAT is crisp and refreshing! HAHAHAHA (I knew I could get that to work! LOL)!
  1. Check to see which products you use (typically moisturizers and creams) that contains sun block.
  2. Wash your hands after "putting your face on" each morning.
  3. Use a nail buffer periodically throughout the day. This will not only clean the nail surface, but will stimulate growth and add a sparkling shine. A couple short, quick strokes is all you need.
  4. Use a yellow eliminating topcoat for manicures.
Non-smokers who have yellowing natural nails only need to look at their diet and general nail care. A healthy diet with plenty of water helps to keep nails looking their best. But if you're looking for a whitening remedy in a pinch, try these:

1.) Soak nails in 2 Tbsp of FRESH lemon juice in a small bowl of water for 15 minutes.
-or-
2.) Soak nails in denture cleaning (whitening) solution and gently brushing with a nail scrub brush.
3.) Use yellow eliminating polish. I use Yellow No More by Nail Aid (can also be used on acrylic nails as well).

I hope this list has answered some questions and makes short work of whitening those digits!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

High Five and Peachy Keen!


I SO love high fives, and this one is a GREAT one! The adorable little snowman face is compliments of a Peachy Keen stamp set called Winter Faces Assortment. I just placed a HUGE order because until November 15th, shipping is free for all orders over $50 and there's a 10% discount using code FALLFUN10 for all of November. I can honestly say.... that cute little snowman face MAKES this card!!!

A couple of things that I want to note about Peachy Keen stamps... they are surprisingly "clingy" and the stamped image is SUPER CRISP! Also, I received my order in four days with a personal "thank you" note hand-written by the owner. I think this company may just be getting close to a high six!

Jump on this one folks... they are just great stamps and be sure to click on the pic to enlarge so that you can see how nicely that little face really did turn out!

Sweet As Pie

Cherry pie anyone? Well... not the real thing, but this is as close as a girl can get without consuming the calories!!!!

I finally got a chance to sit down and give my poor nails some TLC and felt like a little manicure and a little nail art would be just the trick to make em sparkle. These cherries came from the fauxnad (or fake Konad) GCOCL plate # B02. It turned out super cute. I used Konad Special polish colors red and green for this. Today's post is short and sweet.... sweet as pie! :) I hope you all enjoy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Kind of Art

Welp, today was girl's day! I was so lucky to spend the afternoon with great friends at one of my favorite venues... a rubber stamp fair! And while this post is REALLY about the AMAZING gem that is pictured here, I do want to mention how sad I was to see the fair was about 1/8 of what it has been in past years. Gone were the ENORMOUS door prizes, in their place were coupons that were given to the lucky winners. Replacing the shoulder to shoulder vendor booths were widely spread vendor tables that didn't even fill the convention center. In past years we could barely make it through the thick crowd and today was a leisurely meander through slim pickins. I was sad to see that this event that I always looked so forward to had diminished so drastically in our struggling economy. The brighter side of this sad, sad tale is the fact that I didn't have to scratch anyone's eyes out or pull anyone's hair to get my hands on the amazing artwork that you see here.

Featured here is the HILARIOUS artwork of Emerson Quillin. You can find these stamps at American Art Stamp. The bulk of the money I spent at the fair today was spent with this vendor for this artist's work. I purchased 5 stamps from this artist and HAD A BLAST creating with them this afternoon. I will be sure to take pics of the others and get them up as soon as I can. But this one is by far my favorite!!!! Check em out... they are my HIGH FIVE for this weekend! :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spicy Chicken Pad Tai

I am a lover of Pad Tai noodles. Anyone looking to replace egg or wheat noddles, THIS is the alternative. Pad Tai noodles are rice noodles and even easier to prepare than the egg or wheat noodles and don't contain gluten, so they are so good and good for you. I am also a lover of the spicy. Anyone looking to open up those sinus cavities, again, this is your one stop shop! Here is the meat version of my Farmer's Market Delight! :) Enjoy!!!!

Spicy Chicken Pad Tai

One large handful of Pad Tai Noodles (I buy the fresh noodles from my local asian market. If using boxed noodles, prepare per the box directions). One large handful of fresh noodles will fill a steam pot/skillet.
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili sauce ***
  • 4 green onions diced (including the greens)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped on the diagonal
  • 1 large, fully cooked, left over chicken breast chopped
In a hot skillet or wok, add water, Nama Shoyu, garlic-chili sauce and fresh Pad Tai noodles. Turning noodles constantly with tongs, cook noodles until limp and slightly translucent (about 3 minutes). Place noodles in a bowl and set aside. Return the skillet to high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add all remaining ingredients to flash-heat. I do not cook the vegetables, only warm them quickly before adding them into the bowl with the noodles and combining. All in all, this meal shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes start to finish. I make this dish when I'm feeling a cold coming on. I get all the enzymes and nutrients from the raw vegetables (flash heated veggies are still considered raw as long as they never reach over 115 degrees destroying the enzymes) and the garlic-chili sauce opens up my sinuses to help me breathe. Chicken being the ultimate comfort food doesn't hurt this dish one bit either. I hope everyone enjoys this one and be sure to read my note below.

*** Garlic-chili sauce is SUPER spicy. Some are spicier than others. Be very careful before adding to your dish. I use 1/2 teaspoon of the Tai version and it makes my dish hot... but then again, I love it hot. Be sure to adjust the measured amount to your own tastes. A little goes a LONG way with this one. You can also find Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese versions of this great sauce. They all have their own unique flavor and heat/spice intensity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Upload Gypsy Cut Files To Your Gypsy

Well... Today was the big day for the Provo Craft Gypsy! Provo Craft FINALLY provided the Cricut Design Studio compatibility and now we also have the added benefit of sharing Gypsy cut files... but it was at a price. I will get to that in a later post. In honor of this occasion though, I will be adding my Gypsy cut files to my blog for everyone to use. You will find my cut files in the top right corner of my blog marked *NEW (at the top of the side bar). The instructions on how to download at the bottom of this post. I hope you all enjoy them... they've been a long time coming. The featured pic here is the "welded Snow" file. It turned out BEAUTIFUL!

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

For those of you who already own the Gypsy, here are the instructions. There is no conversion needed because these files are only .gypsy files. To save them:
1.) Connect your gypsy to your computer, turn it on and open Gypsy Sync on your computer.

2.) Once the Gypsy Sync Program has searched for an update and found none, it will open up a file window. Click on the + next to "Gypsy" and then click on "designs". A list of files that are currently saved on your Gypsy should appear. Minimize the Gypsy Sync screen.

3.) From the side bar on this blog, click on the file you would like to download. MediaFire will open. Click download and then save.

4.) From that drop-down menu, find Gypsy Sync and highlight it as the location to save the file.

5.) Once the file is saved, maximize the Gypsy Sync Screen and see your new file saved in the list. In order to see the new file on the list in your Gypsy, you may have to power your Gypsy down and then turn it on again to see the new file added.
6.) If you do not see the file in the list, click on the "Upload Files to Gypsy" button located on the bottom lower-left of the Gypsy Sync screen on your computer. Choose the file you would like to upload from the list by clicking it once to begin the upload.


GOOD LUCK everyone and I hope you enjoy these cut files.
**Cartridges Used: Don Juan, Christmas Noel
UPDATE: As of September 2010, Gyspy Sync was replaced with Cricut Sync. For UPDATED upload instructions click HERE. Also, all of my cut files are now found in the right margin of this blog titled "FREE Gypsy Cut Files".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Sorry, no pix for this one. I made these to take with me to the Halloween party last night and returned empty handed! LOL! I was complimented by a request for the recipe, so I thought I would post it here for EVERYONE!!! :)

They are actually just a spin off of an old favorite of mine..... Banana Cupcakes. What a versatile recipe! Click the link for some serious YUM!

Pumpkin Muffins
  • 2 1/4 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 Cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2/3 Cup unsweetened applesauce ****
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 Cup crushed pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together; set aside. Mix the pumpkin, agave nectar or maple syrup and applesauce together. Beat the eggs into the wet mixture. Add wet mixture to the dry and mix well. Fill lightly oiled muffin wells 3/4 full and bake for 30-35 minutes (mini muffins take about 15-20 minutes; insert toothpick into the center of one and if it comes out clean then the muffins are done). Allow to cool before removing from muffin pan. Batter can also be placed into into a 13 x 9-inch pan and baked for about an hour for an amazing cake.

**** I make my own applesauce with two peeled and cored apples and 2 tablespoons of filtered water blended on high speed in my Vitamix for 30 seconds (using the tamper when necessary). This makes about a cup of applesauce depending on the size of the apples.

This recipe is a new fall favorite and the applesauce makes them super moist! These wonderfully easy cake recipes make me wonder why we EVER switched to boxed cake mixes........ I'm just thinking out loud. I hope you all enjoy! :)

It's All In The Details

I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Halloween! I know that mine was AWESOME!!!! As you can see from the pic.... I go all-out for Halloween. Although this year I went one step further with these SUPER COOL contact lenses. I got them from ColorLens4Less.com and I have to say... these babies get a dozen HIGH FIVES!!! Not only were they affordable (I got them for around $40 with shipping), but they were comfortable, really easy to wear and looked fantastic! I have never worn contacts before so I was nervous wearing them; in fact, I was warned that they would be painful because I have never worn contacts. That was SO NOT TRUE!!!! These contacts were amazing and really made my costume this year. I predict funky contacts every Halloween from here on out! LOL. One thing I want to add, and I think I might have mentioned it before.... the service from ColorLens4Less.com was WONDERFUL. I got my shipment within days of placing the order, and they were sent overseas! Pretty impressive.

One last Halloween tip before I call it a day (cuz I'm still recuperating from my sugar hangover): Be sure to prep your costume days before the Halloween event. It took me over an hour to figure out how to put these contacts in since I had never done it before. It is not advised, but I FINALLY got them in by gently pinching the bottom of the contact. That allowed me to secure the top of the contact to my eyeball, since the top of the contact was now cupped from the pinching of the bottom, and then releasing the bottom to fit into place. I had to be REALLY careful so that I didn't tear the lens. The proper instructions for inserting contact lenses (and the ones I couldn't quite master) can be found here. I DID, however, prep my wig with a cold bath in water and two tablespoons of fabric softener three days ago. After the bath, I wrung out the wig, gently towel dried it, combed it into the style that I wanted and allowed it to air dry until it was completely dry. I placed my wig over a 1 gallon water bottle to dry since I don't own a foam wig head. I did end up with some unruly pieces, but that was from the teasing and hairspraying that took place during dress-up on Halloween night.

Well today begins the "un-fun" of packing all my beloved Halloween decor, make-up and costumes to do it all again next year... YAY! I always pack everything as I left it from this year and go through my rituals again next year, the reason: freshly washed costumes, wigs and decor always smell better! :) That's it for my Halloween tips... be sure to book mark this post so you have it for next year! On to Thanksgiving!!!!
****NOTE**** WOW! You guys REALLY DO read my blog! hahahahaha! The Geisha costume got nixed at the beginning of last week when I had some "wardrobe malfunctions" when I started prepping. Translation: I still need to lose 10 more pounds before I'm wearing that in public!!! hahahahaha! God, please help me make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cuttlebug Challenge Blog

Well, dang it! I missed the cut off for the challenge. But boy was this one fun!!! So I thought I would post it anyway. I've been following Cuttlebug Challenge for a little while now and never posted a project, but the latest challenge sparked an inspiration..... two hours ago.... hahahahahaha! After completing the project, I went to Cuttlebug Challenge to find out how to upload it and there it was... "by 7 p.m. EST." Yep, I surely missed it. But that's ok, because this one NEEDS to be shared with or without a challenge, I just love it that much! But for the rest of you out there needing a little creative spark, check out Cuttlebug Challenge for some great inspiration.... maybe I'll see you at next week's challenge! ;)

Here are the directions for my Sweet Poison Treat Bag.
I used a sheet of 12" X 12" Rusty Pickle's Pirate Princess paper and cut a bag from my Plantin School Book Cricut cartridge (using the 'fit to page' on the Cricut Expression). The rest was created on my Gypsy.

I made two oval scallops from my Storybook Cricut cartridge in black. One was 2.5" the other was 1.75". I cut both, sat them aside and opened a new mat screen on my Gypsy.

I then grouped a 2.25" oval, a 1.5" skull and a 1.5" crossbones onto my Gypsy 12" X 12" design mat. I positioned each of the pieces so that the skull and crossbones were centered in the oval. I then cut the image on white cardstock. The Gypsy saved me a little bit of time. For more information on what the Gypsy is and how to use it, check out cricut.com.

My last step was running the smaller scalloped oval through the cuttlebug using the Skeleton Scroll embossing folder and then highlighting the emboss by gently tapping a white ink pad over the top. I added a band of black cardstock around the entire bag BEFORE scoring and folding the bag (that made that black band super easy). After the bag was assembled, I added the pink ribbon and the remaining pieces. This is going to be a great little goody bag for Halloween.
**Cartridges Used: Plantin Schoolbook, Storybook and Gypsy Wanderings

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Thank you to everyone who sent in a dessert recipe for the Healthy Halloween Dessert Give Away! It was so much fun recreating the healthy desserts! I just got off the phone with Heather Frey of SmashFit.com and the winner is.....

Jessica Devenny!!!!!

Congratulations Jessica! Please email me with a shipping address and shirt size to send your prizes. Your recipe was WONDERFUL and you deserve the prize haul!!! I also LOVED the healthy alternatives that you included in your recipe.

Please stay tuned folks as Jessica's recipe will appear on SmashFit.com! A special "Thank You" to Heather for being our guest judge and for the generous t-shirt donation. *** Note: Jessica, your t-shirt will ship directly from SmashFit.com, so don't forget to include that shirt size.

2009 Halloween Give Away

The winner of Fun And Mental Changes' Halloween Healthy Dessert Give Away will be announced shortly.....
But while you're waiting, here's a little eye candy for ya! The best kind of candy us healthy eaters can have... hahahahahaha! Enjoy! You can click on the pic to enlarge. These craft projects are a result of my own blog give away winnings. We can all thank the lovely ladies over at Cutting Above for inspiring all of this SUPER FUN eye candy! LOL!
All you crafters out there... check out Cutting Above, they are so great!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Color Wash Fun


Today's post is brought you by the letter "F"... as in FREAKIN GREAT!!! I did another color wash (I LOVE that technique) like the one I did for the cd cover. But this time I also embossed the paper while it was still slightly wet. Click on pic to enlarge. The emboss turned out amazing and this card is just beyond beautiful. I kept everything else on the card monochromatic so that the paper could stay the focal point. I will recap the steps for the background paper.
I started with a sheet of Stampin Up's confetti cardstock. I stamped it with a Tim Holtz "Postale" stamp in grey ink. I then did a color wash using Ranger's Adirondack Pearl Acrylic paints mixed with water in Slate with a smidge of Terra Cotta (I actually soak a sponge applicator in water and then add a pea size amount of paint directly to the sponge and then smear, smudge and splash away! There's no wrong way to color wash. The messier you are the nicer the outcome. Be sure to cover your work surface though... it does get messy). I waited for it to dry most of the way, but while the paper was still pliable, I cranked it through the cuttlebug with a Fiskars texture plate (leather). I then let the paper dry completely. For the final treatment, I edged with brown ink and then smudged black around the edges using my fingers. Definitely color wash fun!
So I sit here with ink stained fingers and a smile. That is all. I'm realizing that this Gypsy has been the start of something that I don't think I can stop anytime soon... hahahahahaha! I love my Gypsy. Thank you Cutting Above!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rock N Roll

Mica is just one of those weird craft items that you just cannot possibly explain so that others understand... "it's layered rock that you can cut with scissors and stamp on that peels in sheets..." Oh brother! It's better that I show you. For this card, I took a "tile" of Mica and stamped a Tim Holtz Eiffel Tower image on it with StazOn ink. The beauty of Mica is that it's flat and super easy to work with, but at the same time it's grainy and sometimes veiny (being that it's a rock) which adds quite a bit of texture to whatever you're adding it to without adding the bulk. My favorite feature of Mica is that it looks so much like the old-time antique film that it's my number one go-to for anything I want to make look filmy or antiquey. So is anyone else tired of me creating new words by adding the letter "y"? HAHAHAHAHA! Ok, I'm done. On to the rest of the "how-to's"... I'm on a roll!

I made the paper underneath the Mica using alcohol inks. The rest of the papers came from a paper stack by S.E.I. called Moravia. I really need to get me 5 or 6 more pads of this GORGEOUS 12 X 12 paper. I just love all the prints and solids it has in it. And I love anything that is already color coordinated for me... saves precious crafting time! The ribbon came from a dollar store and was originally a wired ribbon with some pretty outrageous gold foil on either side of the tulle ribbon. But the tulle was so pretty with the copper and brown leaves, that I KNEW it would be amazingly beautiful once the gold foil was removed. I think I was right. I used my brand new We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper to round the corners of the "photo" mat and used a Martha Steward edge punch with a lace design for the side. This card just turned out so beautifully... I'm going to have a hard time sending this one out. Oh! I almost forgot, the stamp "Merci!" came from a Stampin Up stamp set called Paris in the Spring. Here's a pic I took while I was making this card. I hope it helps... you can see how I made the alcohol ink-treated paper. It started out as just plain white card stock. Click on the pic to enlarge.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Day For Give-Away

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Halloween Give-Away. Be sure to click on the link and get your recipes in... there's still time! A couple of really great items have been added to the winner's goodie bag, so get em in. Here's the link for more info:

http://fundamentalchange.blogspot.com/2009/09/halloween-2009-give-away.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Other Side of The Fence

Well, as many of you know, I won a FREE Gypsy. I was super excited. A couple of days before my name was drawn, I joined the Cricut.com message board to try and gather all the info I could on the use of this wonderful new machine that was to be used with the Cricut. You see, I had heard about the Gypsy, the contest I entered and about the HSN launch of this new product from all the blogs of Provo Craft's (the makers of the Cricut and the Gypsy) devoted and loyal fans screaming about this anticipated product. September 23rd (the night of the launch) there were MANY video streams of fans and followers recording themselves WAITING for the product to air at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th. Women were getting together at each other's houses for all night parties, and joining online chats and message boards... it was seriously crazy to me, but the excitement was contagious and I caught the "bug" days before when I entered the contest to win the Gypsy. So there I was waiting for the Gypsy to air. I watched as the Gypsy sold out before the end of the first day's airing. Then I watched as the excitement grew on the video streams and message boards and chat rooms. Woman after woman video taped themselves opening the package when it arrived (a couple days later) and using the machine for the first time. I remember thinking that this marketing, while free to Provo Craft, was invaluable and that they must be a pretty great company to have such a following. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Fast forward to two days ago. I was on the Cricut message board (yah, you could find me there quite a bit since receiving my new Gypsy) when I heard the news that Gypsy was available on HSN again... THIS TIME the second wave of buyers were going to get a bundle that included an (unofficially)exclusive cartridge called Destinations that cannot be gotten ANY PLACE ELSE and, in fact, pics of the artwork weren't even released for viewing. On top of this amazing deal for the second wave of buyers, coupons that were not permitted for use for the launch, were now being allowed for use so the second wave of buyers were paying less for more (the exclusivity of the cartridge being that "more"). I was in shock! The devoted Cricut raving fans, the ones who directly and indirectly, drove the second wave of buyers (only two weeks earlier) ended up losing in a big way. As of yet, I haven't seen or heard Provo Craft say that they have or will do something to make this right. I feel VERY BAD for the devoted followers. I feel really bad that I got swept up in the excitement of this surreal world and feel every bit as let down as if it had happened to me. Provo Craft has created a situation where if ANYONE with a product that is comparable comes out on the market ANYTIME soon, I think these Cricut followers would make the switch. Especially if that company offered a trade program. It would cost that company a little in the beginning, but remember, these loyal followers started with Provo Craft (alot of them being fans from the very beginning) and are directly responsible for what Provo Craft is today. What they did for Provo Craft, they would happily do for someone else who would honor their contributions. Some of these followers are invested FAR BEYOND any monetary investment. Provo Craft forgot that..... Provo Craft forgot them. Now might be the BEST time to meet them on the other side of the fence.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Volunteerism

Never underestimate the heart of a volunteer. You see, the volunteer is on a personal mission and is present and participating out of want, not need. A volunteer is service in it's purest form and to discount a volunteer means that you are putting aside the best of the best. I watched a Beth Moore Bible study the other day on TV and she was talking about witnessing a room full of volunteers. I belly laughed HARD as she recounted how these volunteers were all elderly and not a one of them complained about ANY job that needed to be done. I laugh as I think about employees that I have witnessed (yes, including myself) going to work, complaining about this or that and, "Oh I'm soooo tired!" And then to hear Beth Moore describe these strong, healthy, vibrant, elderly but youthful volunteers, was really something quite funny. But it's a funny thing about our society.... volunteers (for some weird reason) have a bad rap. Why do I hear, "They're JUST a volunteer." Why are we looking down our noses at the people who are working behind the scenes to make it all happen asking NOTHING in return. Don't get me wrong, they are getting their rewards for their jobs well done, but they're rewards are beyond monetary. How cool is that? The jobs that they are doing, the ones that others see as so menial, are actually so important to them that they would do it without pay. Would you do your job without pay? The next time you get the pleasure of working with a volunteer, remember that YOU are costing your company more to be there, you might want to check to be sure that the volunteer isn't out-working you.



I am blessed to think that I may be on the verge of FINALLY understanding the heart of a volunteer.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Don't Think This Is Going Away!

So I have a friend who recently moved and with all this creativity flowing over the course of Cutting Above's Gypsy give-away, I thought I would use that inspiration to send some love to my dear friend. Yep, I SUDDENLY understand why everyone's so excited about the Gypsy. I went through 1 WHOLE piece of 12 x 12 paper to cut ONE frame that would fit this card! Pretty annoying! I envisioned designing the ENTIRE project on the Gypsy screen while I was waiting for my car to get serviced and had to sigh at the imagined "hills are alive" moment in my head. I CANNOT WAIT to have that moment in real life, where I return home, hit cut and everything is perfectly proportioned and cut right on the mat the first time. That by itself is going to be crazy good. Now, I've been told, that you can do the same "planning" on the design studio. I do not have design studio so I'm going to have to take everyone's word, but from what I HAVE heard, the Design Studio is not as mobile since you have to be at a computer to use it. And since I don't think this craving to create is going anywhere any time soon, I'm thinking total mobility is the way to go. This much I already know, when making a slide card like this... winging it wastes A LOT of paper when you don't have Design Studio OR the Gypsy. And THIS particular paper is one of my favorites! I almost shed a tear! Come to me my Gypsy!!!

Well, anyway, here is the video I watched with the WONDERFUL instructions to make this card. It's from the Scor-it (another little toy that I desperately need) website. I followed the instructions exactly and my card turned out AMAZING!!!! As always, click on the pics to enlarge. This one is fun, and will be "funner" when my Gypsy gets here!!! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I WON!!!!

I WON THE GYPSY!!! I cannot believe it!!! If you don't know what a Gypsy is, here is a GREAT video to show what it does for craft projects made with a Cricut machine....click here!

So, I got off the phone with BettyBee and Maggie (who, by the way said that I could swipe this pic) of http://cuttingabove.blogspot.com/ a little while ago! I honestly don't know what to say... I'm speechless. That HAS GOT to be a first EVER!!! But the words that DO come to mind are "thankful" and "gratitude" and "I'm oh so honored!" I had the pleasure of speaking to these incredible ladies for a while today and I want to tell you that they are REALLY good people! They were so genuinely happy for me I almost started crying! And they were quick and generous with applauding the paper crafts they saw on my blog.... yes gang, they did check out our links, they said that they started three days before.... and I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity even to speak to these talented ladies. Betty and Maggie.... thank you so much for today!

And thank you for the Cutting Above comments and all the ladies at the Cricut.com forum for all the "Congrats". And my Twitter friends ROCK! Thank you to all of those who loved me enough to pray for me and for those who put up with me through the duration of this give away. I was a mad woman... a paper crafting fool....so inspired..... I've got the paper cuts to prove it (just one really, but the plural sounds so much more dramatic)! hahahahaha!

So, yah, that was quite an acceptance speech! hahahahaha! I've always wanted to give one of those! ;) On a serious note, my thank you's are from the heart and I'm ecstatic to start using this wonderful new toy! Now lets pray that UPS delivery person will forgive me!!!! <==== a little stalker, proactive apology! hahahahahahaha!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Still Going.....

The CD case you see here will one day house a photo compilation as a wedding gift. But for now, it just needs to dry! :) In the meantime, I'll share with you how it's done!

I used my FAVORITE Cricut cartridge and cut out "Once Upon a Time" as the introduction to a lucky couple's fairytale. I did the title cut in purple and the shadow cut in navy and then tapped the sides with brown cat eye ink to make the title stand out. The BEST part of this project though was the MESS I made making the background paper. That's what I'm excited to feature today. If you click on the pic to enlarge you will see that the background is slightly shimmery. That was an added bonus to doing this project and one that I didn't expect AT ALL. Here's the low down.

Knowing that I was going to be wanting a "crinkled", aged effect, I picked a paper that was slightly thinner than regular cardstock because I'm going to get it wet and the thinner stuff will dry with a nice "crinkle" much easier. I actually grabbed a patterned paper that I got on sale for like 5 cents/sheet. It was super thin and perfect and I didn't care about the pattern on the back. I then stamped the back/white side of the paper with Stampin Up's French Script stamp. Now for the fun! I covered my work surface with a plastic table cover so that I could easily make the mess and then clean it quickly without causing too much damage. I grabbed my Adirondack pearl acrylic paints by Ranger in wild plum, stream, espresso and terra cotta (which, by the way are a perfect match to Tim Holtz's alcohol inks with the same color names), some paper towel, a sponge brush and the lid to a take-out container with about a tablespoon of water in it. I saturated the brush with water, applied a pea size amount of the wild plum paint and just covered the stamped area. I then quickly toweled the paper to sop excess moisture and repeated the process with espresso and terra cotta. Amazingly, every time I wiped the paper with the paper towel, it would soak up the moisture but left the pearlescent sheen. It was a pretty great effect! But knowing that stream is a dominantly bright color in contrast to the other colors I was using, I skipped soaking the sponge and only added a dab of the paint that I then stippled in a random pattern on the page and used the paper towel to blend. I ended up with the most amazingly beautiful paper!!!!! It was actually the paper that dictated what this project was going to be. This paper was SCREAMING for the Storybook cartridge!!! :)

Here's a closer pic of the paints... a great shot I might add because I never took the price tag off a couple of them. I can assure you though that I DID NOT spend $3.99 for these. While I know now that they are totally worth it, I bought these like two or three years ago when a local craft store was going out of business and haven't ever used them until today! I typically don't use paints, but suddenly had a change of heart today. It is guaranteed that I will be using more of these paints in the future. Today I give Ranger Adirondack Pearl Acrylic paints a high five!

One last note, the butterfly came from a CTMH Butterflies set that I stamped in Stampin Up's Night of Navy ink on the treated paper to be a shadow under the bug's wings. I then stamped the butterfly again with a versa mark pad on the purple paper I used to cut out the "Once Upon a Time" and heat embossed it with my shimmer embossing powder. I then cut the butterfly out and glued just the body to the page leaving the wings to flutter off the page. I applied some Stickles (of course) and a quick bling to the page and I was done. Click this link HERE for a great tutorial for the butterfly done by The Pink Stamper (note to self: "You REALLY need that Hannah Montana cartridge!!!")