Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After Christmas Travels


Have you been missing my blog posts?  We are traveling visiting the Grandmas, stretching our Christmas a bit longer.  We spend a few days in the mountains of NC, where 12 inches of snow greeted us!  It was quite lovely.  The photo above and the others like it were taken on the mile drive up to my mom's house.


Currently we are in Chattanooga, TN, dining at Panera Bread, simply because of their Wi-Fi.  I am posting photos because obviously there are no crafts.







We should be home this weekend and next week I will return to a normal schedule.  In the meantime, I will wish you all a Happy New Year!!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all!!  

I have mentioned my family's tradition of making the craziest Christmas cookies known to human-kind... I thought it was time to share the photos which bear witness to our insanity!  We begin with homemade sugar cookies, several colors of frosting, sprinkles, etc.  This is a fun family event and while quite hysterical, note the serious faces as the cookies are created.


Edwards children hard at work on their masterpieces!  Aaron (far right) and Ian (center) each had a plan.  Bethany was creative on the fly!


Crissie joined us this year and while she enjoyed the decorating, I am sure she was overwhelmed by the creative insanity around her.


 Doug's cookies were fabulous, but he too has on his "game face" for crazy cookie seriousness!


Doug and my cookies together.  I want to be sure you know that I DID NOT make that bikini clad snow-woman!  I did however create the snowman in the alps outfit. 


Aaron sharing his masterpiece - Two Face (Harvey Dent) from Batman!


Ian sharing one of his ZZ-Top characters!  His ZZ Top guys were great!


Bethany working on her gamer-boy.  See the first photo for a cute close up of the headphone wearing gamer cookie.


Ian's cookies included ZZ-Top, an Alice Cooper tree, Darth Vader, a candy CANE, an exploding star, and a wild tree.


Aaron's cookies included Two Face, Venom (from Spiderman), Spiderman, a cane, Batman snowflake, a vampire snow head, and a mean tree.  I love the mean tree! 

One other tradition, whether intentional or not, is that we tend to eat our least favorite cookies first.  Several of the lesser cookies are gone, but the more fun ones live on!

I wish you much happiness and joy today and in the new year - whether that includes crazy cookies, time with family, paper crafting, or quite reflection!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Baking day treat box


Today was the first of two Christmas baking days at our home.  I started old fashioned over night yeast rolls that will be baked on Thursday morning (and they are heavenly), magic bars, and tea balls.  I had hoped to finish more baking but my older son and his lovely girlfriend arrived mid afternoon to visit for a few days.

I was thrilled to see Aaron and Crissie, but especially Crissie.  This is going to be a horrid holiday season for her and I knew she would need lots of hugs.  Crissie's father passed away unexpectedly last Monday (the 13th) and she is still in shock. Also her mom is too hurt to even consider Christmas at their home so I know this is the closest to real Christmas as she will get this year.

I have several things planned to keep Crissie busy, but also lots of quiet time so that she can talk.  Tomorrow (or is that later today?) we plan to have the annual cut out cookie decorating event.  It is an activity that we all enjoy - decorating the cut out cookies as crazy and funny as we can make them!  (I will post photos later in the week).  Tonight we went out for a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant followed by a short shopping trip.  Later Crissie and I talked for about two hours.  Tomorrow she will be helping me bake as well as seeing a bit more of the Aiken and meeting more of Aaron's old friends who are also home for the holidays.


In the meantime, I mentioned at the beginning of this post that today was day one of two baking days.  I am making the rolls to share with neighbors (in the decorated paint cans I posted recently), as well as a few friends.  I knew I would need a couple of small treat contains for our single neighbors.


I used the popcorn box from Tags, Bags, Boxes and More to cut my base box.  I welded the scallop from Plantin Schoolbook together in a pattern similar to the the angle of the popcorn box.  This allowed the cut scalloped trim to fit the popcorn box nicely.   I also made a matching flat strip to wrap the middle of the trim.


I cut a layered snowflake from Accent Essentials and tied it on to the corner of the box.  I added layered prima flowers in the corner as well.  I finished the popcorn box with holly peelies and green tissue.  I will be adding treats and a handmade card before delivering the box to my neighbor!


Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with photos of this annual crazy cut outs adventure to share!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry and Bright Cards


What happens you combine Echo Park cardstock with a Stampin' Up stamp and Spellbinder's Nestabilities?  You get fun Christmas cards that are as cute as they are easy!  Including stamping, heat embossing, cutting out the elements and assembling, I made these two card in about thirty minutes!


I began by stamping the Merry and Bright Stampin' Up phrase in embossing ink on smooth white cardstock.  I topped the embossing ink with bright red embossing powder and heat embossed.  Using round nesties, I cut out the Merry and Bright phrase.  I used red chalk to highlight the edge of the white circles and then I used Nestie's Lacey Circles and cut out the lacey matting.


I affixed the Merry and Bright circles to a fun snowflake print by Echo Park atop a glittery blue mat.  Stampin' Up ribbon was added, as well as fun glittery corners and then the entire card front was mounted onto a red card.

The inside of the card was stamped with a Stampin' Up Christmas greeting and two little red snowflakes.  The cards have matching red envelops that were stamped with white snowflakes. 


And now I have to go wrap the two items that UPS delivered after dinner.... And I had foolishly thought I was finished wrapping!!  I checked my list and discovered that I have three more items due in this week and UPS confirms that they are on their way!  So five more packages to wrap and THEN I will be done!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Festive Holiday Lighting for BBTB2


















Merry Monday scrappers!  It is our last week of Bitten By The Bug 2 for 2010.  We are going to have a  nice break for the holidays but before we bid adieu to 2010 our sweet design team sister Julie has selected a final festive holiday challenge - the Gingerbread Man from Just Because Cards.


I decided to use the Gingerbread people to dress up my dining room light fixture.  First I added faux greenery to the fixture.  Next I made a four to five foot long paper chain (while watching a movie) and added that to the greenery.  I purchased traditional looking Christmas balls and using wire ribbon I affixed the ornaments to the light fixture.  And finally I added the Gingerbread people. 


Using Design Studio, I cut six Gingerbread People, three men and three Gingerbread Women.  I used Everyday Paper Dolls to create hair for each Gingerbread person as well as aprons for the women. I used Peachy Keen face stamps to add faces, black eyes and red mouths.   And though you cannot see it in the photographs, I embossed the hair so that it looked more like frosting.  I added red Stickles over the mouth stamps and a bit of white doodling to the aprons and buttons.

This may be the last of the BBTB2 pre-holiday projects, but it is not the last of the Busy with the Cricky pre-holiday posts.  I will be back with a couple of more holiday projects to share!  Be sure to drop by Bitten by the Bug 2 and check out the other Gingerbread projects!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Home for Christmas with Everyday Cricut


 Oh guess what??  It is that extra special Saturday of the month where Melanie and Joy from Everyday Cricut allow me to be their third Saturday designer!  I like these two women so much and it is such a treat to be part of their team!  This week I have a fun and festive Christmas layout to share - Home for Christmas

All of the details on the layout are available at Everyday Cricut today.  The article discusses how to make the train photo car and flatbed car, in addition to other elements. Also all of the photos at EC enlarge to super size when clicked to give you better views. 

The cut file (using design studio) is available for download right here on my blog.  Locate the file name, Home for Christmas Layout, in the left column of this blog, in the downloadable cut file section. 


 This is one of my all time favorite Christmas layouts and I am pleased to share it will each of you.  I hope that you enjoy the layout and that it look fabulous with your family's Christmas photos!!!!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Festive Gift Card Holders Revisited and a Winner!

Happy Friday everyone.  We have a winner for the Custom Crops $50.00 gift voucher.  I put all of the comment from both of my blogs together and chose random number 33 as the winner.  CONGRATULATIONS TO:
Debra (who) said...
Beautiful cake! It's WW for me after the first of the year! My favorite cake is German Chocolate. I am a sucker for that sweet chocolate, pecans, and coconut.

Debra I left a message on your blog with the details I will need for you to claim your prize!



Yesterday was a very busy day which followed a night of not nearly enough sleep.  I went to bed far too late (I was caught up in the book I am reading) and for some unknown reason I woke up four hours later.  I could not go back to sleep so finally after an hour of tossing I got up.  The good news in this was my husband and I left early for our trek to Atlanta to bring Ian home for the holidays.  Of course after my four hours of sleep, I took an hour nap on each leg of the journey!  And after dinner I needed yet one more nap to see me through the evening and that left me with a NO crafting day.  

But a no crafting day just means we have an opportunity to revisit a great project from the past.....
Jody P of the Cricut Message Board shared her lovely cut files for Gift Card holders. Her designs were inspired by something she saw in an old issue of Paper Crafts Magazine, though I believe she expanded the idea as there are three designs in her cut files. I used Basic Grey Wassail Christmas paper, ribbon, pearl embellishments, and glaze stickles to make two of Jody's ornament design.


I would have loved to have been able to link back to Jody, but alas I have lost that link.  Jody if you read this PLEASE shoot me an email so that I can give you the credit (and link) that you deserve for this FABULOUS cut file.  

I will be back tomorrow to share my monthly project for Everyday Cricut.... It is a fun and festive holiday must see.....


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Velvet Merry Christmas with the Cricut Cake - and Blog Candy


Are you looking for a special cake to serve family and friends during Christmas week?  Let me suggest this Happy Christmas Red Velvet cake.

This cake was soooo good and looked so pretty when cut.  I thought the recipe sounded odd so I took a sample to our friend Bill.  Bill is a connoisseur of red velvet cake and he loved it.  Soooo, all of that oil and sugar baked up wonderfully.  This is NOT a weight watchers friendly cake.  It IS a special holiday treat for you, your family, and guests.


Red Velvet Cake 

Unsalted butter, softened, for pans
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder, plus more for dusting
5 cups cake flour, not self-rising
2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
3 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons red food coloring
4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons white vinegar

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 nine inch pans; line with parchment paper. Butter lining; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Set aside.

2.Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

4. Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 30
to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.  You may split the layers in half vertically for a taller cake, though I did not split the layers on this cake.


Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla
Extract
2 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar

Beat cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Cool cake completely.  Add frosting between all layers, on top and on the sides.  We like this frosting so I make a large batch.


 The frosted cake was covered with red Fondarific fondant.

In all cases I chilled the 1/8th inch thick rolled gum paste before cutting.  Immediately after cutting, before removing the cut from the mat, I return the mat to the 'frig for another 20 minutes.  I then remover the cut and added it to the cake.  During the chill time, cut the next mat.

Using Cake Basics I cut the large doily for the top of the cake in white Cricut gum paste.  I added Wilton blue food paste to Cricut white gum paste to create the blue gum paste.  I used Holiday Cakes and cut out the Happy Christmas phrase. 

I added Wilton evergreen food paste to the white Cricut gum past to create the green gum paste.  I used the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge to cut the holly leaves.

Using the left over red fondant, I made the holly berries by hand. I added a touch of white gum paste to each berry as a highlight.

Decorating this cake was truly pretty easy, just remember to chill all fondant/gum paste before cutting and after cutting before you remove them for the mats. 


Because I have not shared a cake in soooo long (darned weight watchers!), I am offering a special Christmas blog candy. ...A chance to win a $50 Merry Christmas Gift Voucher from Custom Crops!!!  Just become a blog follower and leave a comment telling me about your favorite flavor of cake and you will be entered. 

I will draw one winner (combining comments from both blogs) this Friday so that you may have time to get yourself a great holiday gift.  This will be open to both of my blogs!



One more thing - My friend Terri over at Stamps Alive - see the link in the right hand column - is having a sale on Copic Markers!!!  Go Terri!


Here is the deal: 
Copic Sketch Sale! Buy 10 @ $5.15 Pick 4 FREE!! Do the Math!
Must Order by Friday the 17th at Midnight (pacific time)
email Terri @ stampsalive@cox.net to order!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A quick card with lacey nesties and tiny stamps


I spent a big part of the weekend addressing Christmas cards and made the horrifying discovery that I am eleven cards short!  I do have others I could use - just none that I really like.  So, I will be making some last minute cards for a couple of neighbors and for my husband's staff.  Doug likes to give each staff member gift separate from anything the company does for them and he likes to include one of my cards.


The card was whipped together from leftovers, but came out cute.  I cut a white base card and topped it with a leftover piece of red cardstock, ticket punching the corners.  Atop that I place a scrap of fun snowflake paper with rounded corners.  I attached the HO HO HO festive ribbon, but needed to find something for the center.

That is when I remembered the little dollar stamps I had picked up at Michaels.  I stamped the ornaments in Stampin' Up Red Riding Hood Red ink and added touches of color with Copic markers.  I then added touches of Stickles.  I cut out the ornaments with my circle nesties, at which time I also cut a mat using the lacey nesties.  I affixed the layers together and placed them on the card front.  But something still seemed to be missing.



And that was when I recalled one of the treasures I purchased when MFK (My friend Kathy) and I recently went to Michaels.  I found a large package of red glittery holiday phrases - long enough to be a page border or they can be clipped apart and used individually.  I snipped off a single "Happy Holidays" phrase and affixed it to the front of the card.  Did I mention that the words are self-adhesive?  Nice find, huh?

Here is one last look at my neighbor's card.  I will be giving the tin's with my home baked goodies and a card to each neighbor.  I will be back tomorrow with another of the eleven new cards - after I make it of course!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feastive Wreath Card with Joys of the Season & Heirloom Ornaments Nesties


Oops!  I *just* checked my blog and discovered that it never posted this morning.  So sorry.  
I was wrapped up in Christmas cards and had not anticipated that blogger would mess with  my post!

It's a festive Christmas BBTB2 Monday and I have a new project to share.  The challenge cut of the week at the Bitten by the Bug 2 blog is the wreath from the Joys of the Season cartridge.  My confession is I had never cut this wreath before.  But after this weekend it just may be one of my favorite cuts from JOTS.  Isn't it funny how we can be introduced to new cuts even when we are part of a design team?  That is one of the best parts of a design team; well that and the wonderful design team sisters!

Do I even need to tell you that I used Cricut Design Studio to design my card?  The Gypsy would have worked just as well, but I am addicted to using my laptop.  I placed two of the wreath shadow cuts onto the mat, flipping the second wreath so that it was a mirror image of the first.  I used the Hide Select Contour feature and removed the open centers from both shadow cuts.    I nudged the two shadows together and welded each so that they would cut as my base card.

I cut the top layer of wreath in a light green Core'dination cardstock, and the accent leaves in a medium Core'dination cardstock.  I added highlights with Copic markers.


For the center of my card I used the two smallest sizes of Heirloom Ornament Nestabilities.  I used a decorative stamp on a piece of smooth white cardstock and stamped in red and cut out one of each size ornament from the image.  I then cut out the center part only of the second from smallest ornament and stamped it with an ornament stamp and a Merry Christmas sentiment.  I added the three ornaments to the card using pop dots.  Pen accents were added on the ornaments and on the card to represent the ornament hangers.


From the side you can see that I used deeper pop dots for the ornaments and smaller dots forth accent leaves.  For the berries, I used a 1/4 inch hole punch and glued the dots to the wreath. As a final touch I added the fun red and white striped ribbon to the card. 


Inside the card I cut a four inch circle and stamped a Christmas greeting in black Staz-On ink.   Below is a final look at the card.  While I love the heirloom ornaments, this card would be cute with a Cricut cut sentiment in the middle of the wreath. One last comment, this card goes together quickly so if you still need to create a few cards, this card would be perfect for last minute Christmas Cards. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Michael's Holiday Craft Contest - Week Five


I am sorry that I have been missing this week.  I didn't feel well early in the week due to three nights in a row of "party food/rich restaurant food".  After recovering from my tummy woes, I had yet another evening out with hubby and his business associate and I had to go into my office for a day.  But... In the midst of my busy week, I have been working a couple of projects.  The larger of the projects is this wall collage in my entry way for this week's Holiday Crafting Contest at Michaels.


For those who haven't been keeping up, this is week five of a seven week contest sponsored by Michaels on Facebook - Michael's Craft Some Holiday Magic Contest.  I have entered four of the five weeks and actually won week two.  Each of the seven weekly finalist will be in a final run off to win a Cruise.  I may be calling on all of you in a couple of weeks for help and support me in my attempts to win the cruise!

Each Monday morning Michael's releases three new mystery items that must be used in that week's project.  This week the three mystery items are WIRE, PHOTO FRAME(S), and WRAPPING PAPER. 


I took ten photo frames and framed seven family Christmas photos from throughout the years.  The oldest photo is my husband and his little brother with Santa in 1966; the newest is from last Christmas.  Two of the photos are family Christmas photos and two of them are my children with Santa - 18 years ago and 7 years ago (when the older two were in high school).  I used wrapping paper as matting behind the older photo of my children with Santa, and trimmed it out with peel offs (see above).

For the remaining three frames, I used wrapping paper, cardstock stickers or Cricut cuts to create Christmas scenes to add a whimsical touch to the collage (again see above).



I embellished nine of the frames with artificial greenery, curled wire, mini-ornaments, and HO-HO-HO red ribbon.  The embellishments not only added to the overall holiday feel of the project, but they also gave me a way to incorporate the final mystery element - wire.

The final addition to the entry way wall was three vinyl words cut with the Cricut, JOY, CHRISTMAS, and PEACE.  While I truly do not expect to win the contest this week (there are some cut projects posted), I was happy that both my husband and my daughter really liked our holiday collage.