Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Prep!

Well, I'm getting into the giving season. It usually takes getting the tree up and some Christmas carols, but this year I received a surprise.  I had won a RAK from through the Fiskateers group and I received it this weekend! I'm telling you it was an awesome surprise. I had been expecting a Fiskars punch, but I received so much more.  The best part? I'd have to say the note from a true Fiskateer. I'd been feeling a bit bummed because I'd joined some things and won some things and so far nothing had come through from all that.  Now I've learned that when I do my own RAK I will follow up with some kind words as well as the original RAK. It gives it a personal touch.

Now, because that came this weekend it made me want to go out and do some shopping for my own little elves.  I haven't had a kid to shop for in years and kids that don't have much as it is, so we're having a ball looking for gifts for them. 

We took the kids to meet Santa and the gang on Friday night.  We sang carols, rode in a horse drawn wagon and later ate cookies and drank hot cocoa.  The best part of the night? When the kids actually got to meet Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.  My heart breaks thinking that they've never done this before, and I feel honored to be the one to make it happen.

So, what would Christmas preparation be without some card making?  I talked to D and we're getting our tree this coming weekend.  Once it is all set up we'll be taking our picture and starting on cards.  Last year we made a couple tri-fold cards but they take a long time and are not great for mass production.  I have an idea in mind and will be working on it this week.  Hopefully we'll get 'em done (yes, he helps and likes it! I'm very lucky!), and then all we'll have to do is add the photo when they're ready.  I will post pics when I do them.

I also have to start my gingerbread house so the kids can decorate it.  Another first for them.  I can't wait!  Now all I have to do is get on schedule and stick with it. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving fellow crafters! I'm thankful that I have this outlet to release my stress and creativity all at once! Here is my list of things to be thankful for.  It's not complete, because let's face it, like a great Poison song says, you never really know what you've got, til it's gone...
  1. My health, I'm working on it- so far so good!
  2. My boyfriend, cause right now he's stuffing the bird and letting me type! :)
  3. My family, even though at times they drive me crazy!
  4. My job, because there's money coming in, at least for now
  5. My pets, because for the most part, they love me...
  6. My house, because I have a safe and decent place to live
  7. My child, mainly because she makes me smile sometimes and I KNOW that things eventually have to get better! Plus, she brought those wonderful kids into my life
  8. My childhood, because I actually got a chance to be a kid
  9. My boyfriend again, because he loves that I craft and what I create and that I can spend money on it without feeling guilty
  10. My life.  It's pretty good. xx(knock on wood)
  11. Oh yeah, one more - My friends! Without whom I wouldn't be me!
What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Trip to Heaven

   Today was a shopping day.  Derrick & I headed to the city to shop at Khols, and to get a Black Friday head start on where things are located at Target.  What I didn't count on was seeing Michael's.  I've never been.  I normally do my limited shopping at Joanne's or Walmart.  I shop on-line at  I'd heard of Michael's, I'd just never been.
Until today.
   Oh my!  It was a plethora of crafting supplies and ideas all at my finger tips, all I had to do was dream!  Derrick said, "You have ten minutes", with a smile on his face, but I knew he was just as excited as I was.  We browsed the scrapbooking supplies first.  The Christmas paper was amazing and of course I had to choose carefully. I chose vintage Christmas, patterns and colors that hearkened back to my childhood.  It was called "Old Fashioned Christmas", by Recollections.  We're going to try making our cards with it, if I can bear to cut it!
   I also hit the dollar bin and got a blank set of cards, some glitter glue, and a couple of rubber stamps.  I made myself choose Christmas theme stamps.  I'm not very handy with stamps, so I figure this will make me use them - THIS YEAR - on my cards and tags.
   We picked out a craft for the kids that will give them something to do when they visit again.  It's a ball making kit.  It says it makes 16 of them, so we should have a couple visits of fun!  I'll definitely post some pics of that.  we'll have a ball! (pun intended!)
   Last but not least, we picked out the Gingerbread man Fiskars punch.  To tell you the truth, Derrick really wanted the little guy.  He was visioning our Christmas cards.  I've got to say, at this point in my blog, that Derrick is a huge supporter of my art.  He encourages my projects, even when they take time away from "us" time.  And he tells me to spend money on supplies, even though I hold back.  Today I took him up on it and I'm really glad now, especially as I'm gazing at that new punch and I've got visions of gingerbread men dancing in my head!  Thank you babe!
   So now I have no excuse to get busy.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art Journal Part 1

   My Fiskateer friends are at it again! Cheryl, one of the fabulous Fiskateer leads, has posted an idea that she wanted to share with the rest of us.  It was to create an art journal, and although I don't know what it's all about yet, I decided to try it.

 Tonight I created the cover.  I used a blank 7gypsies book and covered the front with pretty pink card stock.  I love pink! It's my favorite color this year! I bordered the cover on one side with a border punchout by Colorbok, Nocturne collection. I really like the black on pink, and yes, I know it's very 80's, but those were my years! 
(Did I tell you I love listening to 80's and 90's music while I create?)
   I used the limited edition Fiskars Flower punch to create my own embellishment that just pops out at the bottom of the cover.  I punched out three different colored flowers, secured them together with a purple Colorbok brad, bent the flowers up and glued it to the book with Aleene's tacky glue.  That's the first glue that I've used that holds like, well, glue.  LOL!

   Last but not least I wanted my journal's title to stand out.  I wrote on black paper with my white Galaxy marker, cut out each word, traced the edge with the same marker, and glued it to the front.  I'm really pleased with the way it looks!  I can't wait for the next step!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kids & Crafts

   This past weekend I was pulled into a school project by my "Memaw-child".  That's right, I'm not the Gramma but I'm closer than a Ms. so-and-so, but not a first name basis adult.  That's my explanation, and that's all there is to it.  Plus, I like being memaw because they love calling me that.  And by "they" I mean two of the most precious children I know.
   At the beginning of last week I got a phone call from Hanna.  She told me that her teacher had given every child in her class a gourd and they had to create something with it.  She chose a lady bug.  The kid is wild about lady bugs!  Well, the week before that she had been up in my craft room going through boxes of bling and ribbon and couldn't believe that all this was in one place and could she have some?  I sent her home with a bag of scrap paper and extra cricut cuts.  She acted like she was in heaven!
   So back to the project.  She asked if she could come over and use my crafting supplies to do her project.  Of course I jumped at the chance.  I haven't had a little one to do projects with for thirteen years!  She came over Saturday with her little brother and began the process.  He wanted to help but I told him she needed to do it on her own and we were there only to support her.  He took this well enough once I gave him his own paper and paint.  What a kid!

A little acrylic paint, a red button, some pipe cleaners and glue and the project came together.  We helped her paint the pipe cleaners black because we were running out of time, but other than that she did the whole project by herself.  I kept it overnight and delivered it the next day to make sure the legs stuck.  They got a little extra help with a couple drops of crazy glue.  The craft glue just didn't hold up.


All in all, it was a productive day.  The kids got some away time from parents, I got some kid time, and we all got some crafty together time!  Plus I got some great paintings to put on my fridge! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can Dinner be Crafty?

   Tonight I created dinner- and yes, I do believe it is a crafty endeavor.  I envy those people that can throw together a meal without blinking an eye and have everything come out at the same time, perfectly.  That said, here is what I made: Ms. Jules' Macaroni & Cheese and Roasted Brussell Sprouts. 
   The mac & cheese is a favorite of my niece, Julie, hence the name.  I call her Jules.  This is her dish.  She used to ask me to make it for her for Christmas and her birthday, which was perfect because it's great for cold weather and her birthday is in January.  I discovered the recipe when I lived just down the road from her and so I got to perfect it.  I switch it up every once in awhile, using two cheeses or mild instead of sharp, which is what I did tonight.  Derrick doesn't like the sharp cheese flavor.  I think he's nuts, but once in awhile I give in and he gets it his way!
   The brussell sprouts are another recipe that I found in Southern Living magazine.  I didn't follow it to the T because it called for pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes and I didn't use either.  I was really looking forward to the fresh taste of the brussell sprouts because I grew them for the first time this year and had just picked them.  I was a little disappointed.  It was ok, and all I can think is that brussell sprouts apparently need to be dressed up in order to be enjoyed.  If that's not true and someone has a recipe to prove it, please share!
   I'm sharing my mac & cheese recipe.  Hopefully it brings you the warmth of the comfort food that it does me, and maybe it'll become your favorite too!

Ms. Jules Mac & Cheese
2 cups pasta - I use shells, sometimes rigatoni or telli
1 small onion
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cup milk
8 oz. sharp cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cook pasta as directed.  Cook and stir butter, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until onion is tender.  Stir in flour.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute; remove from heat.  Stir in cheese until melted.  Add pasta and stir.
Place in greased casserole dish*.  Bake 15-20 minutes.
*You can add breadcrumb topping before placing it in the oven, but my girl Jules doesn't like it that way.

So there you go.  It's an old recipe so if anyone thinks it's a lot like theirs, sorry.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Project!

   Well, I've decided to start this blog off with a project I have just started.  In January I sketched my beagle and finally finished painting him in September.  A couple days ago I started sketching our shepherd/boxer mix and I swear I'm going to finish painting her much sooner!
   I've started with a plain white cheap canvas from Walmart.  I purchased them because I wasn't sure if I would like painting and I didn't want to spend a lot of money up front if it was something I didn't continue.  I picked up acrylic paint there too.  What I found out was this - don't buy bargain paint.  You could see through the paint to the lines, even with the dark colors.  I ended up going to one of the college stores and buying the colors as I needed them at around $4 a tube.  Totally worth it.
   So now I am armed with good paint and cheap canvases.  I have one painting down and two more to go, one in the works.  I love my dogs, and I wanted to see them in a painting.  This is the only way I can afford it so this is it!