Saturday, February 27, 2010

Out of Order for the Week

I needed a big sign hanging on over my shoulders this week which read: "OUT OF ORDER".  No that is not a Robert's Rules of Order reference, but rather the state of my existance.  I had a rather unpleasant stomach virus.  I finally turned the corner yesterday and was feeling better, that is until dinner tonight.  I think I over estimated my ability to handle "real food". 

I was on the BRAT diet for a few days, but last night I decided I could have a light meal.  The light meal went so well that I over reached tonight.  Now my stomach is not happy with me, nor I with it!

I really am sharing so that you might understand where I have been this week.  I will return early, early Monday morning with my BBTB2 project, AND the blog hop, AND a nice sponsored prize.  So visit me again on Monday and in the meantime, try to avoid the germs that are floating about this winter!

Not wanting to post an "empty" entry, I am sharing photographs of Sheldon Church Ruins (originally named "Church of Prince William's Parish"), a magical place in the southern part of the state, near the ocean.  The church was burned down twice and was not rebuilt the last time.  The first time it was burned by the British in the Revolutionary War; the second time it was burned by Gen. Sherman's forces as they marched though during the Civil War.  Such a beautiful place to have such a sad history.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunshine Award from Beverly!

Thank you Bev from Altered Paper Arts (you MUST go see Bev's great projects) for this sweet, sweet award.  This award goes to people that the sender believes post interesting comments, or to those who create art that is appealing, or to the spreader of sunshine.

UNFORTUNATELY, I can only pick 6 blogs on whom to bestow this award - and there are so many kind and creative people in the blogosphere, so many spreaders of sunshine, all of whom deserve this award!

Six of my many, many favorites, in no particular order:

      Nikki at Two Bugs and a Crafting Junkie

      Dawn at Dawn's Stamping Thoughts

      Joy at Obsessed with Scrapbooking

      Melanie at Courtney Lane Designs

       Donna at Popsicle Toes

       Jeannie at A Place For My Cards

So here are the rules:
Please share some sunshine with your friends by:
  1. Placing the Sunshine image on your blog or within your post.
  2. Pass the award onto six bloggers
  3. Link the nominees within your post.
  4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
Thanks for all of the inspiration and Sunshine ladies!

Fifty State Paper Doll Swap

I finally finished the paper dolls for the 50 State Paper Doll Swap I joined on the Cricut message board.  Someone kick me the next time I sign up for a swap that does not pre-list the conditions!

I had to make 50 paper dolls, 25 each from two states, Georgia and South Carolina.  We were supposed to make the dolls four inches tall and include accessories.

I made this cute beach scene to represent South Carolina - We do have a lot of fabulous beaches!  My accessories include a Palmetto Palm tree, the state tree, with a tag bearing the state tourism motto. 

For Georgia I had a brain block.  I could only think of Georgia peaches.  So... I made peach farmers.

The baskets were a bit more time consuming than I had planned.  I added a wheelbarrow as an accessory, with the title, Georgia - The Peach State. 

I cut a fill sheet of the peaches at .70 inches.  I used a copic marker and colored the stems and leaves before removing the peaches from the mat. 

I will put my swaps in the mail tomorrow and hopefully they will get to Jen by Thursday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Circus Birthday Wishes

I am a bit late posting my BBTB2 project today.  I usually write my post before going to bed on Sunday evening and set the blog to post in the middle of the night.  Last night I was too tired to write.  I spend much of Sunday evening working on 50 paper dolls for a message board swap (more on this tomorrow).

So on to my BBTB2 project.  The challenge cut of the week is the elephant from the Everyday Paper Doll cartridge.  The elephant is really cute and I have been told that the trunk is extended in a "lucky" pose.  I used the elephant to make a birthday card for my nephew, Carter, who will be two later this spring. 

I added two train cars from EDPD as well as a scalloped border from Accents Essentials.  I wanted the card to be fun and bright - but I may have gone too far.  The Happy Birthday mini stamp is from a Dacie's set and was cut out with oval nesties.  All in all, not my best work, but I still love this cute elephant!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chocolate Cake IS Serious Dessert Time!

I have been MIA from my scrap room this week.  Family and work have kept me busy, which was nice.  But I have no such excuses for today. I have spent a big part of the day in the kitchen and I enjoyed every moment (except for the milk splash).  I made a layered salad as a side dish for dinner, which is done is staged steps.  And then I moved on to dessert!   I made this FABULOUS Chocolate Zucchini Pecan multi-layer cake!

For those who may be wondering, I am going to be including an occasional recipe here on my blog.  In addition to paper crafting, I also really enjoy cooking.  I am currently especially enjoying baking, but I will add other recipes as time passes. 

And speaking of baking, I love chocolate cake.  Chocolate cake is the stuff of serious dessert time!  And this cake is better than most.  The layers are sweet and moist.  The zucchini cooks nicely so that it is not screaming "veggies hiding here".  And the nuts are a nice flavor and texture addition.   And the frosting.  OH MY GOSH!  Fluffy, sweet, and creamy.

I am including the cake recipe below, include my adjustments.  This cake would be great with several different types of frosting.  I went with flour paste based frosting, one and one-half batches of my recipe (posted previously).  Yummy.

Chocolate Zucchini Pecan Cake
• 3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
• 1.5 teaspoon salt
• 3 1/2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup (1.5 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 3 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium)
• 1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans with butter and flour.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl; set aside.
Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini. Mix in chopped nuts. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Cool cake completely in pans.
-Prepare frosting-
Remove pans and bring to room temperature. Frost each layer as you add it to the cake plate.  Spread remaining frositng on the sides of the cake.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Snow Fun Layout

For some readers this winter has been filled with harsh, blustery weather. There has been an abundance of snow and ice, wintery winds and snow days for school children. And though most adults find the wintery weather tedious, children have ideas of their own on what to do with the white stuff.  In that spirit I designed this layout, It's Snow Fun, for Custom Crops.

The cut file uses only two Cricut cartridges, Winter Woodlands and Everyday Paper Dolls, and is available for download at Custom Crops at THIS link.  Full instructions for cutting and assembling the layout are available.  

You should note that this layout uses the mini gel pen holder and mini gel pens to create the blue outline snowflakes.  For those who have not used the mini gel pen holder, you remove the blade housing from your Cricut and replace it with the gel pen holder.  Your Cricut will then draw any image that you would normally cut.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Gypsy Spot

I am sad to report that today is the final posting at the Gypsy Spot blog.  Nilda has decided to continue on with her Cuttlebug Spot, but she has chosen to end the Gypsy Spot.  This last challenge was not a specific cut, but a home decor project.  The challenge is to use the Gypsy and the Cricut to decorate a heart cut out wooden frame purchased at Michael's for $1.00. 

The frame was available in several shapes:  oval, rectangular, circle, and square.   I chose the square frame.  I covered the frame with a coat of modge podge and then covered the frame in paper.  I applied another coat of modge podge over the paper and let it dry.

I then used my Gypsy and Cricut to cut out the lock and key, the flourish and flowers - the lock, key and flourish are from the Sentimentals cartridge and the flowers are from the Serenade cartridge.  I love the multi layered cuts of the flowers.  I added layers of prima paper flowers in with the cricut cut flowers for added depth.  I finished the embellies off with a sweet little bow and a decorative pin.

Monday, February 15, 2010

For the New Mr. & Mrs.

It is Monday and that means it is time for the weekly BBTB2 challenge to post.  This week's challenge is very special in that it is being sponsored by our own Regina Easter and her blog, The Cutting Cafe.  We were allowed to choose one of Regina's amazing sets to feature in our projects.  We all used the locked hearts cuts from the Wedding cartridge along with our Cutting Cafe set.  I chose Regina's Congratulations On Your Wedding Cirlce Set and created a Wedding card.

I chose black, pink and white as my color pallet.  I cut the heart shadows in a black and white polka dot pattern from the Heidi Swapp's Runway paper set (currently on sale at Custom Crops).  The distressed pink stripe is also from the Heidi Swapp set.  The detailed heart cut was done in smooth white cardstock. 

I used Martha Stewart's heart border punch to finish the bottom edge of the card.  I backed the card front in a distress pink "solid" from the Heidi Swapp to better display the border punch pattern.

I used my oval nesties to cut out and emboss the "For the New Mr. & Mrs." tag.  I backed the tag with a scalloped oval nestie cut in solid pink.  I embellished the card with Prima flowers, ribbon, and a button.  The finishing touch was the wedding heart pin added to the flowers. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anniversary Card Using One of My Favorite Paper Lines

This is my first attempt at this type of fun fold card.  I have seen this style referred to as a tri-fold card, but I think of it as a quad-fold card.  No matter how you count the folds, and there ARE several folds in going in opposite directions, it is the folds that make this particular card style unique.

As I stated in the title, I used one of my favorite lines of paper to create this anniversary card, Graphic45's Fashionista.  This paper is so fun and I confess that I have treated it like a special treasure and used it sparingly.  I thought the dancing couple worked especially well for an anniversary card.  The front image was from a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock and the back image is a trimmed tag.

I left the center panel nearly empty to allow myself space to pen a greeting inside the card.  I did not want to distract from the frame and image on the back panel.  I used circle punches to cut out the women's faces that were used in the middle of the card.  I also punch matching matting for the faces.

The base card was cut using George, my old "go to" cartridge for shapes.  I used Sentimentals to cut the layered frames used on the front and back panels.  I used Serenade to cut the embellished swirls pieces.  I hope that the anniversary couple likes this card.  It's colors and unique style are what I find most appealing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cake and Frosting Recipes - From Last Weekend

The cake I made last weekend is just crumbs in the platter now, but I was asked by a few of you to share the recipe.  I changed the original recipe in that the recipe called for seedless raspberry jam filling, but my dh prefers strawberry so I used strawberry preserves.  Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.  This is my version of the cake recipe (Name changed to reflect our preferred filling). One more note, the frosting recipe is for a two layer cake.  I would suggest making 1.5 batches of the frosting for better coverage on your cake.

Strawberry-Laced Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 Cups of Butter, softened
1 1/4 Cups of Sugar
3 1/3 Cups of Cake Flour ( or 3 cups of all-purpose flour) * I used cake flour
2/3 Cup of milk
1 Tbsp of Baking Powder
1/2 tsp of Salt
1 1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp of Baking Soda
4 Large Eggs
1 12 oz. Jar of Strawberry Preserves

Frosting (Recipe below)

Grease and flour three nine-inch round cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl with mixer on LOW speed beat butter and sugar just until blended.  Increase mixer speed to HIGH and beat for ten minutes, scraping bowl often.  Add to the bowl:  flour and the next six ingredients (though the eggs).  Mix on LOW speed until well mixed.  Increase mixer speed to high and mix for two minutes, occasionally scraping the bowl edges.

Spoon the batter evenly into the three prepared pans.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting (recipe below). 

Using a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally to make six cake layer.  Assemble as follows:

Place the bottom half of a layer with the cut side up on a cake plate.  Spead 1/3 jar of strawberry preseves over the layer.  Top with the cake top half layer; spread with frosting to cover.  Top with the second cake bottom half and agains spread with 1/3 of the jar of preserves.  Top with the second top half layer and again spread with frosting.  Repeat for the last two layer, ending with frosting on the top of the cake.  Spread the remainging frosting around the sides of the cake.  Enjoy!

Whipped Frosting
1/4 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Butter
1 Cup of granulated Sugar
Dash of Salt
1 tsp of Vanilla

Prepare the flour paste:
In a small sauce pan combine 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup of milk.  Whisk to blend.  Over medium high heat cook mixture until thick and smooth.  Set aside and cool completely.

Prepare Frosting:
Beat 1 cup of butter for four minutes.  Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and beat for an additional four minutes.  Add the cooled flour paste and beat again for four minutes.  Add a dash of salt and 1 tsp of vanilla and beat to mix well. 

Frosting will be light and fluffy, like whipped cream.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last Minute Valentine Card with Cut File

You still have four more days in which to craft a fabulous card for your Valentine(s).  My project at Custom Crops this week, Love Stamp Valentine, will make you a Valentine's Day superstar.  Follow this LINK for complete instructions and the cut file at Custom Crops. This card is actually easy to cut and assemble, but will look like you spent HOURS slaving over the craft table!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gypsy Spot Mini Mailbox Challenge

Happy Gypsy Spot Tuesday!  This week's challenge at the Gypsy Spot is to decorate a Target-like mini-mailbox.  As you can see, the mailbox matchs yesterday's BBTB2 card.  I will admit that the mailbox came first, then the card.

I began by covering the mailbox with a 4 x 12 inch strip of pink polk-a-dot cardstock.  I knew I wanted to use the Pink Paislee Cupid paper in some way, but I was not certain about how to incorporate the large flower print.  And then I remembered circle punches!!  I cut several of the flowers from the Pink Paislee paper using 1.25 inch and .75 inch circle punches.  I then raided my Prima floral and gem brad stashes and then I cut two mailbox door covers from the Pink Paislee paper.

I used cricut magnet material and cut two hearts, one for each end of the mailbox.  I cut two decorative hearts in pink cardstock and covered the magnet material.  I then cut the xoxo layers in cardstock.

I attached the xoxo's to the mailbox lower side egdges.  I created layered flowers using the prima flowers, circle punch flowers and centers, and gem brads.  Using large glue dots I affixed the flowers to the sides of the mailbox and the flag. 

I am really pleased with the end result of this set.  It is fun, sassy, and feminine!