Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun Tutorial and A Last Call

LAST CALL TO ENTER MY FAVORITE THINGS BIRTHDAY GIVE AWAY!!!! YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO ENTER!!! CLICK HERE FOR DEETS!!!

Whew... is she a cutie or what!?!  Seen here is the fairy princess Humphrey from the Crafter's Companion Make A Wish stamp set and I ADORE HER!!!!  I thought this cutie pie would be perfect to showcase what the AWESOME Crafter's Companion Spectrum Noir markers can do.  And to go along with this super fun project, I've also included a little video to show you EXACTLY what I mean.  But first, let me give you a little tour of the Spectrum Noir color system and WHY I say its a SUPER EASY alcohol ink coloring system!




And here's the quick tutorial on palette blending for fairy princess Humphrey's tutu.  These markers are rockin my socks off!!!  I hope you all enjoy!



Ok, that does it for today. Don't forget to click on the link above for your last chance to enter my favorite things birthday give away... I promise, its really good!!!

*Spectrum Noir markers used: PL1, BP2, BP6, CT1, CT3, CT4, TN3, TN4, IG1, IG4, IG7, IG10

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just Cute!

Ok, so after my hair tutorial the other day I thought everyone might appreciate seeing one of those SWALK images completed.  Here is Daydream Believer (AWE.... that makes me think of Davy Jones..... *SNIFF*) using Spectrum Noir markers.  Unlike the lion, this one has a final light coat of color to blend out the "flick" lines.  Click HERE for the full hair tutorial featuring the lion.

The colors I used for this cute SWALK girl:  pants  TB1, BT7, BT9  skin  TN1, TN2  hair  TN2, EB4, GB1  shirt/bows  CR6, CR7, CR11  flowers/grass  CT1, CT3, DG1 and DG3.

Yep, the coloring on these Crafters Companion SWALK images is fun and easy and they are just so cute.  I'm going to be coloring up more than just a few in the coming weeks!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Satisfaction


Well, yesterday I shared some of my inspiration with you, today I want to share satisfaction.  I've been given the pleasure of sharing my journey of gaining health and losing weight with the incredible ladies that I work out with at Curves and today I got a clear view at how much more I really get and why it is all worth it.

A lady talked to me today about feeling alone in her own weight loss journey with no where to turn for motivation to reach her goals... she was even thinking of quitting altogether.  Boy, did I relate!!!  All I could tell her is about the satisfaction that I receive from my own journey with the wonderful Curves ladies.

Reality check:  you HAVE to find your own motivation.  This is nothing someone can give to you.  But the miracle that I have found on the Curves Complete program is that once I tapped into that motivation (just to get myself there), Curves has the support and programs in place that is getting me where I want to go and with that comes a satisfaction like I've never known.  Motivation has momentum!!!!  This lifestyle, the Curves lifestyle, goes beyond weight loss or simply toning up.  I've found a place to really belong, and THAT is motivating!   "Nothing is taboo in the circuit!"  We discuss the good and the bad, we laugh and cry, and we ALWAYS uplift.  For that daily dose of goodness to be found at "the gym" is AMAZING!!!  I've even had a room full of applause... which, by the way, fulfilled a life long dream of mine.... all while losing an incredible amount of weight and getting my health in check.  Yah, I've found satisfaction and at my Curves its compounded motivation that is touching every part of my life.

If you are looking to lose a few pounds, looking to tone up for a big event (like buying a wedding dress, ahem!) or just want a place to have some girl-friend time.... I HIGHLY recommend checking out your local Curves.  Your own satisfaction just might be found there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Inspiration

Whew.... have I been inspired this week!!!  These new Spectrum Noir markers are a BLAST to color with.  But this particular image inspired me quite some time ago when my blog buddy Melanie of Paper Blessings by Melanie colored this gorgeous Chrissy Armstrong image.  The minute I saw this beauty the quote from Twilight popped in my head:  "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb."  I just KNEW I had to color this one.  But I didn't;  I've been sitting on this one for awhile and finally pulled it out for none other than my fellow Spectrum Noir teamies!  We've been in a discussion this week about how the Spectrum Noir markers work for hair.... because Spectrum Noir markers don't have brush nibs.  Well.... hair is sort of my thing and these markers make hair a snap!!!  Really, could there BE a more perfect image to show how these wonderful markers perform?  Check it out!!!

I began this gem by coloring in the entire lion using the chisel tip in the lightest color GB2.  I used the chisel tip because the coloring area was larger than most.  And yes, for those of you who know my coloring style.... I BEGAN with the lightest color first!!!  Yay me!!!  I'm finding that with Spectrum Noir markers, starting with the lightest color when doing hair works perfectly!!!

Next I used GB6 and flicked small and long lines around the inner and outer edges leaving the center light.  Honestly, these two steps by themselves makes for a pretty good looking lion... but I wanted him to be REALLY gold!!!  And because dark always makes light visible, my next step was to define my shadows.

So all I did for this step is to outline where the shadows would live throughout this lovely lion using EB5.  Once the areas that I would shadow were defined, I then continued flicking with EB5 just as I had with the previous color.  I only flicked where I had placed the dark line.  You can see where I started flicking at the top by his right ear.  The flicking subdues the actual line I drew.


I then took EB8 and further darkened the edges where I wanted my shadows to be the darkest.  I used a combination of stippling and flicking to blend the dark brown into the medium brown.  I finish the lion off by flicking GB10 to add more gold accents into the lion's mane.  This final step also helped to blend the light gold colors with the brown colors since GB10 is goldish-brown in color.  To finish him off, I used IG2, IG6 and IG10 to color in his nose and I called him done.

While I like lines in my coloring, those who like more of a blend could go over the ENTIRE lion image again using the GB2.  Be sure to go over the whole image only once and very lightly.  Key word here is LIGHTLY.  Pressing too hard or applying too much ink will actually skew all those beautiful flicks that makes the hair look like hair.  A quick, light coloring is all you need.... and let the image develop.  The Spectrum Noir markers blend on their own.  For those who are new to alcohol ink markers... they are magical!!!

Okie Dokie, that's it for my hair tutorial.  I will be sure to do another one in the next few weeks using one of the cute Swalk images I just got.  Those cuties are PERFECT for practicing hair!!!

Have a great one gang.  I hope this one inspired you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Defy Gravity

Alright, this one's been a long time comin!!!  I've been sitting on Saturated Canary's Rags and Witch FOREVA!!!  Why I waited until now to color her is beyond me.  Maybe its because something inside me knew that one day I'd get fine nibbed alcohol ink markers.  Welp, that something inside me was RIGHT!!!  And if you've been peeking at my blog over the course of the past few days (cuz that's how long I've had them), you'll see that I'm going CRAZY for the new Spectrum Noir alcohol ink pens.  There are many reasons why I love them and that fine nib is only one.  I honestly did not think I was going to like coloring with a small bullet nib.  Turns out its a bit easier to get into the small tight coloring areas, doesn't color badly in the larger areas like I thought it would and allows me a bit more control.  I'm more than a little surprised at just how much I DO like that smaller nib!!!  And this little witch is proof that the smaller nib does the trick!!!

For this gorgeous witch, the Spectrum Noir markers I used:  Skin EB1, EB2, DR6, PL1 Wardrobe LV1, LV2, LV3, CT1, CT4, EB3, BGR2, BGR5 Hair/Shoes/Broom EB5, EB8 and TN2

Boy... I'm really filling up my project album!  WHEW!  I might have to go take a nap!  See you guys later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yep... Another One

Ok, as promised!  Here's the Spectrum Noir project I promised you in yesterday's post.  I've got a few more in the works... those will be posted throughout the rest of this week and into next week. 

This project features Tiddly Inks' Precious digi along with Create With TLC sentiment.  The paper is from Graphic 45's Steampunk Debutante line and OF COURSE the markers I used to color this cutie is Spectrum Noir.  List of colors is:

Skin TN1, TN2 Dress BT5, BT4, BT6, GB4, GB8, GB10  Hair EB3, EB2 and TN1. 

Alright, that does it for today.  I JUST finished the project for tomorrow's post, so stay tuned for that one.  It's quite bewitching.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Good Comparison

Ok you guys... its time for the truth.  I'm gonna bare my soul here!  I was TERRIFIED that I would not be able to color once I got the new Spectrum Noir markers.  For years I've been told how well I color using the Copic brush nib alcohol ink markers and for years I've believed it was because of the tool.  NOW I plunge into the REAL world of coloring.... new markers and different nibs.  Can I do it?  Will the new tool measure up?

Okie dokie, see for yourself!!!  Above is a hair and face chart that I practiced on yesterday (thank you for the heads Lori Barnett).  I started the first head in the top left corner using my Copic brush nib markers.  Then I completed the rest of the heads using Spectrum Noir markers in various color combinations to see if there was a noticeable difference.  Oh, these are pretty darn close, wouldn't you say????  This practice sheet is literally the third time I've colored with these markers (I'll post my second project tomorrow).  I was BEYOND thrilled with the outcome!!!  I can't wait to play some more.  And for those of you in the market for alcohol ink markers, as I said in my last post, Spectrum Noir markers will not break your bank and I find the coloring system to be SOOOOOO easy!!!  And here are some color combinations to get you started.  LOL!

In the coming weeks, I will post another comparison much like the one I did when I went from Stampin Up markers to Copic markers.  Although, this time I'm comparing apples to apples because Copic markers and Spectrum Noir markers are both alcohol ink markers.  The Spectrum Noir's are just much less expensive!!!  Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My New Adventure

I FINALLY got them!!!!!  My new Spectrum Noir markers arrived yesterday!!!  I'm super excited to be using these new alcohol ink markers and I'm even more excited for the privilege to play along with Spectrum Noir's design team!!!

When I got the news that I had been accepted to the design team, I did a touch-down dance (seriously, I was like full-on in an end zone)... you can imagine how badly I wanted my hot little hands on these new toys.  And at around half the price of other alcohol ink markers, I knew that this new habit was not going to break my bank.  AND LOOK WHAT I DID WITH THEM.

The images are from The Greeting Farm Sweet & Toxic set and the angel sentiment is from Tickled Pink Stamps.  The colors that I used for the adorable little girl were:
Hair - EB8, TN8, TN5 and CR2
Skin- FS1, FS4, FS9 and PP4
Dress - DR7, DR5, DR1, CR6 and IG1

The colors I used for the boy:
Hair - EB6, TN5, TN2
Skin - IG's
Jeans - TB4, TB2, BGR4
Shirt - ??? (sorry gang, I forgot to write down the colors I used before having to pack up my new pens!!!  Honestly, why CAN'T we color anytime or anywhere??? LOL!)

Ok, so that is it for the introduction to my new adventure into Spectrum Noir alcohol ink markers.  I'm very pleased with how my first projects turned out and am looking forward to what I will create with these babies in the future.  As always, I'll keep you all posted.  Anyone else out there using Spectrum Noir markers?

CORRECTION:  the cost is TWO dollars each!!! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate Goodness!

Are you ready for some chocolate goodness???  What if it was like guilt free?  Well, this one sort of is!!!  I made ANOTHER cake from my new beloved cookbook Make It Paleo and it turned out FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!!!  The beauty of this cake is that it is gluten free AND low glycemic!  YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

You all saw my birthday post featuring the gluten free coconut birthday cake I made, well this one is sheer chocolate decadence!!!  Here is how I made it.  At the end I will include a link to the original recipe (I made a few little changes that made this one so very rich and ultra chocolatey).
  • 3/4 Cup coconut flour sifted
  • 1/4 Cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp decaf instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup pure maple syrup*
  • 1 Cup melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Blend remaining wet ingredients in a blender for about a minute.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture bowl and whisk till well blended.  Grease two 9 inch cake pans with coconut oil (line with parchment paper.... trust me) and pour batter into pans.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  The frosting recipe is below:
  • 16 Oz Organic cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 Cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
Mix frosting ingredients together and frost cake once the cake has completely cooled.  I made sure to frost the cake while the frosting was at room temp to ensure even frosting.  Once the cake was frosted, placing it in the fridge to set up creates the most scrumptious fudge-like frosting EVER!!!  This cake is AWESOME!!!   Click HERE for The Food Lover's original recipe.

Now, for a little tid-bit that might be of interest to you guys.... I've lost 3.9 pounds since April 4th!!!  That's right, I've had TWO DIFFERENT kinds of cake, birthday lasagna and countess other gluten free goodies throughout my birthday month so far and have lost 3.9 pounds.  I just thought I'd share in case anyone needs convincing to give this chocolate goodness a go!!!

*3/2/14 Update:  I started making this with 1/2 Cup of Maple Syrup and 1/2 Cup of Coconut Nectar.  I REALLY like this combo better.... I think it also makes the cake a tad bit creamier.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Birthday Extension

***CLICK HERE TO ENTER MY FAVORITE THINGS BIRTHDAY GIVE AWAY!!!***

 If I would have known that my birthday would get extended, I would have gone gluten free YEARS ago!  hahahahahahaha!  Here's THIS year's birthday lasagna made for me the day AFTER my birthday.  My husband has made me lasagna for my birthday every year for the past 18 years.  Its one of those traditions that I thought I was going to have to say good-bye to when I first started down this gluten free path.  What I know now, but didn't know then, is that not all pasta contains gluten.  In fact, I think the lasagna this year is better than any of the lasagnas from the past.  Why was THIS one so much better???  Well, for starters, this lasagna is WAY more colorful because along with diced tomatoes, it also has zucchini and spinach.  The pasta ended up being super easy to use because it was a no boil rice noodle.  This lasagna is sheer perfection... and organic too!!!  Can you see FOUR layers of ooey gooey goodness???  Oh how I wish you all could see this in person.  The picture can not do this birthday lasagna justice.  All the Italian spices mixed with the ricotta, asiago and mozzarella cheeses mingling with the garlic.... WOW!  This gluten free thing is becoming more and more attractive every day! 

Now I just need to cut up the rest into single servings and FREEZE it... otherwise, I WILL keep eating it.  Its just so good!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

COMPLETE!!!!

***CLICK HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN MY FAVORITE THINGS BIRTHDAY GIVE AWAY!!!***

Wow!  What an incredible birthday already!!!  So let me give you a little back story for those who may not know.  I am trying to get down to wedding-dress-shopping-weight and started the Curves Complete program at my Curves gym to get me there.  When they called this program "Complete", they were NOT joking!!!

This morning I went in to my Curves to take a Zumba class and decided to take a piece of the gluten free birthday cake I made yesterday with a copy of the recipe to my Curves Coach.  She looked at the recipe wide eyed and said, "I bet that you didn't gain a pound from this cake yesterday.  Let's see!  Jump on the scale!"  Now, YESTERDAY was my weekly weigh in, so you know that my current weight was fresh on everyone's mind and I'm not gonna lie here, I just about peed my pants when I stepped up on the scale to find that I lost an additional 2 pounds!!!  "See... that's great," she said, "eat cake and lose 2 pounds.  Not bad!  I'm not telling you to run out and gorge on cake, but I am saying that with a few tweaks to how you prepare food, you really can enjoy the things you love."  She is just an amazing coach and I'm so lucky to be a member at my Curves. 

On top of that amazing news, the girls that I work out with lavished me with hugs, gifts and happy birthday's.  Honestly, how much more complete could a program get?  The support I get at Curves is like NO OTHER!!!  I am so very lucky and even more grateful!!!  Ladies*, if you're looking to make positive changes, I HIGHLY recommend starting those changes at Curves.  There is nothing in the world like sharing a successful journey with ladies who are on the same path.  There is a certain bond that happens at Curves that is like no other gym or work out facility I can think of.  A little tip:  go into a Curves near you and ask for a free week... AND USE IT!!!   You will see exactly what I'm talking about! 

*Sorry gentlemen, Curves is a girls-only club!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Doin It Right and Another Favorite Things Birthday Give Away


O....K.....!!! So tomorrow is my birthday and after the MESS that I was last weekend after consuming gluten at a bridal shower, I requested a gluten free birthday cake from my new favorite cookbook, Make It Paleo. Well of course my husband was more than happy to oblige except, since it was going to be my birthday tomorrow, I sort of couldn't wait.  I (as in ME, ME, ME) wanted to be the one to make the first gluten free cake in our house.  I just KNEW it was going to be incredible after all the WONDERFUL deliciousness I've made from this out-of-this-world cookbook.  Yep, I was right!  Check out that little slice of heaven (click on pic to enlarge).  Happy Birthday To Me!!!  This cake is moist, decadent, creamy and most importantly 100% gluten free.  Click HERE for the recipe, or better yet, click HERE to buy the book.  Or even better YET....  leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one for FREE!!!!  

That's right gang!!!  ITS MY BIRTHDAY and OF COURSE I have to have a "My Favorite Things Give Away"!!!  This cookbook definitely gets the first place marker on my list of favorite things this year.  It has over 200 recipes and more than 500 color photos!!!  This cookbook has single-handedly turned my entire diet 180 degrees to the right and I SO want to share it with all of you!  So leave a comment here with a way to contact you when you win.  You will have from right now until April 30th to enter.  I will choose a random winner on April 30th, 2012 and announce the winner on this blog May 1st, 2012.  Good luck everyone... I know you will love this cookbook as much as I do.

*** for the coconut cake recipe I substituted half of the maple syrup in the recipe for half a cup of coconut nectar.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Gluten Free Life

WOWOWOWOW!!!  So I HOPE you all are missin me!  I haven't been posting much lately because I've got my FULL focus on taking this weight off so that I can go wedding dress shopping.  The good news is that its working.  That bad news is, I'm discovering that gluten was the culprit for the problem in the first place!!!!

Years ago, after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, I had a nutritionist tell me that I shouldn't be eating anything containing wheat and should probably stay away from oats as well.  She never explained exactly why or what it was doing to my body, she only said that there was strong evidence that people with chronic fatigue syndrom were sensative to wheat.  Not putting much stock into what I was told... I mean, come on, it wasn't like I broke out in hives or my breathing became restricted (and quite frankly, I didn't believe that I could live without my beloved bread and pasta), I continued eating what I was told I shouldn't have.  I THEN spent the next 12 years complaining, crying and yo-yoing with weight wondering what was wrong with me!?!  Well, after 7 weeks being 100% gluten free, I just ate quiche and cake containing gluten this past Saturday at a bridal shower..... beyond a shadow of a doubt in my heart and mind I can confirm that I am in fact gluten intolerant.

I won't go into details about what gluten intolerance looked like this past weekend (TMI and all that, you can read all about it HERE) but I WILL share what it didn't look like.  It was NOT comfortable.  And knowing what I know now, I can see why so many (myself included) would miss their body's signals... gluten intolerance symptoms can be so subtle and progressive.  I would have much preferred an immediate reaction even if it was restricted breathing and hives.  The other sad thing about this particular "allergy", for lack of a better word, is that there is no immediate remedy for the "allergic" reaction other than for your body to deal with it, get rid of it and heal from it.  At least with other food allergies, you can have a steroid shot that will give some sort of quick relief, gluten intolerance kept me in misery this entire weekend!!!  How long did I live like this???  Did I always feel this bad, really??? 

So in a nutshell, my lesson was learned.  I'm back to my happy gluten free life and I WON'T be going back!!!  Today is my weigh in at Curves for the Curves Complete program.... I'm nervous that I'm not yet past the consequences of my actions.  I'm praying that the scale is kind today!!!