Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book launch reception and more cards

Some church friends and I attended a book launch reception for Rachel Wisdom and her first novel, A Shopkeeper's Daughter. Rachel's parents and grandparents are friends at church. It was fun to be a part of the celebration and I am looking forward to reading my autographed copy. 

Before and after the reception I spent some time in the craft room playing with some new ideas and products.  I've always liked paper doilies. I can remember using them in early elementary art classes especially around Valentine's Day.  I've seen some cute cards recently that interested me so gave some of them a try. 

 Here you use just a portion of the doily.   That was a pretty simple way to enhance a card. 

Using the half doily on opposite edges of a piece of cardstock I tied them together with some baker's twine. Another cutie. 

I've also seen several ideas for adding color to the doily. I decided to try some sponging. It works pretty well but you do have to be careful to not tear or crumple the doily.   

I sponged this one using Pear Pizazz and combined it with Daffodil Delight and Pool Party. 

Here the doily is sponged using Gold Encore ink ( so glad Stampin Up has that back in their catalog). I used the brushed gold paper for the card background and the flowers. It is ya little glossy so stamped the flowers using Black Cherry Stazon. It matches Cherry Cobbler pretty well. This will be a great golden anniversary card. 

Then I grabbed my stack of new products.  The designer series paper and stamp set are all in the Occasions mini catalog. The stamp set is a Sale-a- brat ion item  I saw where one demonstrator suggested putting a piece of waxed paper between the paper and the due. It certainly made it easier to pop out the paper after cutting. I think I'll be needing a second roll of waxed paper to store in my craft room.

For this one I randomly stamped 'love', tied on a few pieces of linen thread and added some punched flowers, leaves and a heart. I'll use this as an anniversary card. 

Hope to get in more cards today but first church, running over to see this cutie and pick up some things from her momma 

and making something for a food day at work tomorrow.   The 12 week weight loss challenge is nearing the end - 2 more weeks - and I'm pleased to say I am getting close to my goal. This is when I struggle the most because I tell myself it's okay to splurge, I can always lose a few pounds.  I'm just thankful the challenge ends before the first birthday party - so many goodies planned for it that I know I won't be able to pass up. 

Finally some play time

It has been weeks since I have been in my craft room. Avoiding the mess and had some knitting ptojects to finish up. My daughter came over to work on some things for this little one's first birthday in April 
so I had to clean up so we had room to work. 
Our first project is a birthday banner. Stampin Up sold banner kits last fall that use 5 x 7 canvas panels and a heavy jute.  I had purchased one as well as a replacement pack to make a second banner but had not even opened them yet. What better reason??? 

The kit has 3 different styles of flags and 3 different background stencils. There is also a stencil for the open circle and 26 alphabet stencils.  We sponged using Melon Mambi for the background, retired Pretty in Pink for the circle and Gold Encore ink for the letters.  It says happy birthday and the plan is to use it for many years to come. 

To separate the words I made a flag with a cupcake stamped on it and colored it in using blender pens and ink. From a distance it dies not show up very well so think I will use a sharpie to outline it. 
I have to add some adornments and photos through the year but pretty satisfied with how this part turned out. 
I also started playing with a chalkboard to record her statistics. 
The chalk marker in the spring mini catalog is really nice. I used some watercolor pencils to color in areas. These are just doodles that I experimented with. I think the final one will be 12 x 12 and we will put it in a scrapbook (whenever we get started on that) and plan to do one every year. 

Another party idea is to wrap miniature candies with some pink party designs. 

The Stampin Up rollers and ink cartridges make that so easy. The hard part will be handling the candy without losing any to my mouth. One thing I crave during my weight loss challenge is chocolate so having it in the house might be dangerous 

While I was in the craft room I got a bug to sort through all my designer series paper.  How much is too much ???  I have lots and lots and decided to divide into some groupings like juvenile , feminine, floral, geometrical, plaids and stripes, nostalgic, fun and games, etc.  while sorting through that I pulled out some odds and ends to make a few cards - you know I can't play without making at least a couple cards. 

I had these balloons - colored and mounted - left over from a project so whipped up some birthday cards. 

I had a random scraps of this Tangerine  Tango design so grabbed my color coach and one of the color combo suggestions. The one that I liked used Pacific Point and So Saffron.  I stamped up a bunch if Fabulous a Phrases and started putting them all together. 

I pulled out some Early Esoresso for a few cards. 

And a few more. 

Another combo listed Old Olive and Tempting Turquoise. I used the print for some paper piecing. 

I got pretty creative in the kitchen too (Tom had lots of cleaning to do after supper - that's our deal, I cook and he cleans up afterwards. I do try to clean up as I go but he dies the dishes that need hand washed and always wipes down the countertops whether I do or not )

Broiled salmon with avocado cream, broiled asparagus, orange rice and cheesy tomatoes. Pretty delish!!

Leftovers glamorized

I had some fried apples and cranberries left over from the other day so made me a delicious dessert tonight. 
Wrapped them up in a warm tortilla reserving a little of the sauce to drizzle in top. A  small amount of whipped cream and it's done. 
It was very delicious and much fewer calories than a piece of apple pie. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Recipes and a salad box

My salad box- got this idea from my friend Rhonda.  Lots of salad ingredients washed, cut and ready to make a salad whenever we want.  I love it and use it to make a salad as a side dish, main dish or make up a quick lunch to take to work.   The large box holds smaller containers with all the prepped veggies.  I did make one change - a piece of freezer tape with the date I filled it on each container.  Helps me to know quantities to prep in future boxes so we don't have cut up veggies going to waste.  It has also been convenient when making soup or stir-fry.
My box usually has -
Lettuce - although if there is not room in the box for the lettuce, I keep it in the crisper drawer
Carrots - diced
Celery - diced - this does not keep as well diced so I only do a little at a time
Radishes - sliced
Onions - diced
Green peppers - diced
Mini sweet peppers - sliced in rings
Cheese - feta, blue, parmesan, asiago - whatever I have that is grated and ready
Dried cranberries
Laughing cow wedges - not to put on the salad but I often take a salad with crackers and a laughing cow wedge for lunch. 

At times, depending on what I have on hand, I might add
Bacon bits
Hard boiled egg - diced
Green onions, sliced
Black beans
Garbanzo beans
Cucumbers (Husband really likes them but they don't keep very well once they are sliced so I usually just keep the whole cucumber if I have room for it.)

Some other recipes I have made that I will be making again -

Chicken Verde - no photo but I will be making it again soon!

Ranch Chicken Salad - uses dry ranch dressing mix and it is very tasty.  I found a jar of dry ranch mix at Sam's.  It is so handy to have around to add a little flavor to meats or veggies when cooking.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Parmesan - also uses dry ranch dressing mix. 

Icy morning = warm breakfast

It is an icy, wintry morning here.  Sleet and freezing rain during the night and some snow today.  So we are homebound - but that's okay.  We have power and lots of food - plus a DVR full of movies and lots of yarn for knitting. 

I offered to make French Toast for breakfast since eggs, bread and milk are the pre-storm necessities to pick up at the store, but my daughter preferred pancakes. 
Since I am on the weight loss challenge - wanted to do something healthier than syrup drenched pancakes.  I am not a big syrup eater anyway.  I like my French Toast with butter and jelly, or cinnamon sugar - no syrup.  Sometimes I eat pancakes with just butter or often with canned fruit filling and whipped cream - no syrup.

This morning I had a couple apples that needed to be eaten so sliced them up and made Fried Apples and added a few dried cranberries.  Two pancakes, 1/4 recipe of the fried apples and two slices of turkey bacon - under 300 calories.  It sure hit the spot and was not only warm but filling.

Some other 'keeper' recipes I have tried lately.
Blueberry Cobbler - a very simple dessert using fresh fruit.  The recipe, from a slow cooker cookbook I have had for years, suggests using blackberries, strawberries or a mixture of berries but I think it would also be good with sliced apples or diced peaches.  

Thai Chicken and Orange Glazed Carrots was a big hit with my husband.  The chicken was a little spicy so the sweet orange flavored carrots were a great side dish.  I did not measure the orange peel I used and I think it was a little more than what the recipe called for.  It sure made a difference in the dish.

And this meal did not even use any recipes - just made it up :-)  I will be adding it to my recipes blog just so I have it for future reference.  That blog is becoming my personal recipe box.

Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs and Stir Fried Vegetables