Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Tightwad Tip

As a kid, I remember my mother carefully washing out plastic bags to be reused.  She had an entire drawer full of folded Wonder Bread bags.  Back then, I'm not even sure they sold any kind of plastic bags to be used for food storage in the grocery store.

She also would wash out Solo cups after big dinners because they were "too good to throw away".  Many times, after she'd cooked a huge meal for all of us grown kids and her grandkids, I'd try to sneak them into the trash so I wouldn't wind up having to wash them!  But, she'd inevitably see them and fish them out. LOL!

I suppose my mother, who we called Muzzy, taught me well because now I find myself trying to reuse items instead of tossing them out.

I use a Seal-a-Meal to package items for our freezer.  After I open one up and cook the contents, I wash them out to be reused.  Those darned bags are expensive!

It's a P.I.T.A. to wash them by hand and I'm always concerned that I might not get all the residue left from meat out of the bag.  One evening while loading the dishwasher, I discovered that you can slide the empty bag over a saucer or small plate and just stand it up in the bottom rack.  Voila!  The dishwasher does all the work and is hot enough to kill any dangerous bacteria.  I just turn the bag inside out so that the water can hit all the surface that was exposed to the food.

 No more squishing and wrestling the bags in a sink full of hot water!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another "keeper" recipe

If you're not familiar with the grain, quinoa, you can find it near the rice in your grocery store.  I buy the prewashed kind.  It's an type of grain/cereal and has been eaten for centuries. The seeds are cooked like rice and used in a variety of recipes.

This recipe came from an America's Test Kitchen magazine, Cooking for Two, so it doesn't make a huge amount.  Just enough for the two of us and a little leftover for lunches the next day.

I found that it didn't take the full 20 minutes for the quinoa to cool.  By the time you get the other ingredients chopped and ready, it will be cool enough to combine.

This has a nutty flavor, since the quinoa was slightly toasted.  It's probably not something I'd make once a week since I don't keep red bell peppers on hand but it's definitely delicious and will warrant a page in my recipe album.


2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and dried on towel
1 cup water
salt and pepper
2 T. finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ jalapeno pepper, minced
1 shallot, minced (I used a green onion)
1 T. minced fresh cilantro
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Fresh lime juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard ( I used Grey Poupon)
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. Ground cumin

Toast quinoa in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often,
until lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes.

Stir in water, 1/8 tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until most of the water is absorbed, 12 –14 minutes.

Spread quinoa on rimmed baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel and set aside until cool, about 20 minutes.

When quinao is cool, toss with jalapeno, scallion, red pepper and cilantro.

In small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, mustard, garlic and cumin to make a dressing.  Pour over quinoa and mix well.

Tightwad (Timesaver) Tip

If you follow my blog then you know that I love to cook.  Finding recipes that intrigue me is one of my hobbies; keeping up with them until I have a chance to try them isn't.  Usually, when I pick up a copy of American's Test Kitchen, Taste of Home or other recipe magazine, I'll read through all the recipes and turn a corner down on the page if they seem like something Fred and I would enjoy.

But, when it comes time to try out the recipe, it takes me too long to find it in a stack of magazines, all of which have corners turned under!  So, I, who swears that she does NOT do scrapbooks, decided to make a recipe Smash Book. 

A .79 composition book is what I used.  I chose some food themed papers, cut out some relevant words and used my Expression to cut the letters for "Try This". 

I used the From My Kitchen cartridge to cut some index tabs to divide the book into sections.

 Last night while watching TV I picked up the stack of magazines and began clipping out the recipes I wanted to try.
I like having the photos to go with the recipes.  I also think it makes it easier to find in my recipe smash book.

Notice that these recipes sort of look as if they've just been thrown onto the page.  The whole idea of a smash book is to do it in a fun way.

As I try the recipes, I'll write across them if we don't like them.  If they're a keeper, then I type it into a Word document and do an 8 1/2' x 11" recipe layout for my recipe binder.

Clipping the recipes out means I can put the stack of magazines into the recycle bin and not have them taking up so much room on the end table in the living room.  Having them in my recipe Smash Book means when I want to try something different I can just flip through it until I get inspired.

You could also use this same idea to make an inexpensive gift for the college student who's moving into their first apartment.  Just include some of your favorite recipes and some handwritten notes to help them with the preparation.  It's also a good way to store craft ideas you've found in magazines or online.

Just Chillin' Card

Today on Mizbizibee's Facebook page, she posted a card sketch.  Using a free digital image from Hambo Stamps this is what I came up with for the challenge.

I printed the image on good quality cardstock then colored it with Promarkers and computer generated the sentiment.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flip Flop Card

There's a wonderful stamp store about 50 miles from my house.  The artist in residence is Vicki Bridges.  She teaches classes and has a page on Facebook. Mizbizzibees Little Bees, where she shares her card layouts.  She posted this one today and I just had to try my hand at making one.

The original had sandpaper pieces with torn edges for the beach.  It's too hot today to go all the way into town to buy sandpaper, so I used patterned paper instead that looks like real sand.

I would have sworn one of my Cricut cartridges had a flip-flop sandal and probably spent a half hour trying to find it! LOL!  Never did, so I used Design Studio and a shape from Doodlecharms to make my own.  I made two sizes, one for the sole and one for the insole. 

The straps on the sandal are just 1/4" ribbon.  I punched holes in the shoe and then threaded the ribbon through them and secured it with a lime slice brad from Eyelet Outlet.

The flower is just three layered punched shapes with a dot of  Pearl Pen for the center.  The sentiment is part of a summer themed stamp set I've had for some time.

Memorial Day Weekend

On April 2nd I did a post that showed photos of what we'd done in the backyard for the summer. Here's some updated photos showing the progress of the plants.

My goal for tomatoes is to have the first ripe one by June 1st. This year it seems like everything is growing much slower than usual.  Last year our summer was awful.  We were in the middle of the worst drought in years.  Fred was recuperating from his injuries he sustained when he fell off a ladder so we didn't plant anything at all.  That was probably a good thing because it was so hot at night that tomatoes couldn't set blossoms.  Very few people around here had any tomatoes at all.

The tomato vines are loaded!  My goal every year for tomatoes is to eat the first ripe one by June 1st.  Looks like this year I'll have to have fried green tomatoes!

There are three different varieties of tomatoes in the raised bed.  I try to plant some early producers and then some that will ripen later so we don't get overwhelmed with too many at a time.  This year I've planted a couple of heirloom varieties.

The other raised bed is for squash.  If all the blossoms make, I'm going to be swimming in zucchini and yellow squash in a couple of weeks.

It's sort of a cockeyed photo of the long bed across the back fence.  Even my petunias are small for this time of the year.  They have lots of pretty blooms but the plants themselves are still small with very little foliage.

Behind the petunias are runners for Moonflower vines to climb.  I expected them to be up to the top of the fence by now and the longest ones only reach up about two feet.

At least my pots on the patio are doing well. See how nice the planter  that Fred made for me looks? this one is full of herbs and on the opposite side of the patio is one filled with lavender and daisies.

Last year was my first experiment in growing fresh herbs.  You cannot beat the flavor of fresh basil and cilantro. I have to have cilantro----can't make my salsa without it!

It's extremely hot and humid today and it's staying relatively warm at night so the squash and tomatoes should continue to put on blossoms and produce a good crop.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You're Tweet

Finally!  A card that I designed rather than CASE-ing!  lol!

Cindy Loo cartridge was used to cut the tree; the birdhouse was cut from a DCWV stack.
The clouds were stenciled onto the background using SU Whisper White ink and an oval punched cutout.

I stamped the bird onto red cardstock and then cut it out and added the sentiment stamp.

Flags Card

Teri Anderson at Paper Crafts Connection shared this card idea.  She used toothpicks for the poles on the flags; I used Sugar & Cream yarn since all my cards have to pass through post office machinery.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brown Hearts Card

This card was inspired by one seen online.

The paper is Stampin Up chocolate chip designer paper; the sentiment was computer generated; I used a SU scalloped border punch, cut the hearts out using DS and George cartridge then embossed them with a Cuttlebug folder.  I added some white dots with a Signo gel pen and attached a baker's twine bow to accent the hearts.

Using Clip Art Images

I've been asked to share the link for the clip art images I use.  Shhh!  Don't tell anyone, it's a secret.....but I just go to Google's search page, at the top there's a list "SEARCH--IMAGES--YOUTUBE.  etc., etc".  Click on the "IMAGES" button and then type what you want to find in the search box.

This is how I found the sombrero to use on the cards this afternoon as well as the image of the girl holding the shell to her ear.

Like any search engine, you may need to re-word your search criteria to find exactly what you want.  For example, I had typed in "sombrero clip art" then I tried just "sombrero" and found the one I used.

Cinco De Mayo Card

Ruthie Nixon O'Neal posted this cute little guy on her blog and I saw it on Pinterest.

 I used a sombrero clip art image, a 2" circle punch, Peachy Keen face stamp, Billionaire cartridge for the mustache and Pooh Font for the lettering.

Green and White Overstamped Card

Inspired by a SU demo's card seen on Pinterest.  I inked just a portion of an A2 sized background stamp and then overstamped it with some different leaf shapes and added a simple sentiment.

Tightwad Tip

This idea was shared with me and Shirley, aka Okieladybug, on Facebook.  What a great idea and it would have saved me around $15 if I'd seen it before I bought a huge acrylic block!

If you have a Cuttlebug, just pull out your C plate and use it to mount your oversized cling stamps!  I think it's probably easier to manage than the heavy acrylic block I bought too!

What a great way to position multiple stamps!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Shell Phone" Card

This poor little thing gets reception on her "shell phone" like I do on my cell phone! Unfortunately, I catch myself saying "Can you hear me now?" way too often!

 The phone images and the photo are clip art, the patterned paper is Graphic 45.  I used Tim Holtz paper and die to cut the scalloped border and Distress Ink on the photo and background paper.

I realized, after assembling this, that I should have printed the phones all over an entire sheet of paper so that they'd not just be hanging in space.  Oh, well! Back to the drawing board!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Vintage Live, Love, Laugh Card

The background paper is from Graphic 45's Old Curiosity Shoppe stack.  The stickers are BoBunny and the image is one I found online.  I added a postmark stamp, colored it and inked the edges of the photo after distressing it with Tim Holtz ink.  Then I added a border done with a Tim Holtz die and a Prima flower with a pearl accent in the center.

Simple Bee Card

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Embossed Metal Card

This wasn't difficult to do at all.  I used the smooth portion of a foil baking pan, stamped the image on it, flipped it over and traced it with an embossing tool.  The same stamped image is on the background using Versamark ink.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thinking of You Card

Now that we've returned our 9 month old grandson to his mother, I can finally get this card posted.  He's just learned to crawl and so you don't dare turn your back on him to do anything while he's on the loose!  I enjoy keeping him but after three days I'm exhausted.  Guess that's another reason why God doesn't give women in their 60's babies--we grandmas need our sleep!

This card was seen on Pinterest and I was unable to locate the original poster.  I do know that it came from a Stampin' Up site for their demonstrators but I wasn't able to access the original photo to give credit.

Using my card making software, I printed the sentiment in an area that would fit inside the open portion of a Cuttlebug folder and embossed the card front.  The stamps are some inchies that I've had for a while.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pink and Yellow Card

I cannot believe that it took me almost an hour to select the papers for this card!  The idea in my head was pretty simple and I knew I wanted to use pink and yellow.  Finding two papers wasn't a problem but it took me forever to pick a third one! LOL!

Just three layers edged with a Martha Stewart punch, three inchie stamped images and a simple ribbon bow on this two hour card!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Third Card Today

It's funny how I can go several days without seeing a single thing that inspires me to make a card and then in a single day I can find so many things I want to try. 

This is another card based on one seen in the June issue of Cards Magazine.  I printed the sentiment and used the Art Philosophy cartridge to cut the frame.  The truck is from SU's Loads of Love stamp set.  It was colored, cut out and then attached to the inside.  I did it that way so I could use my Promarkers and not have any concerns of the ink bleeding through the cardstock onto the card back.

Just an alternate card front.

Moustache Card

Isn't this the cutest card ever?  It's totally cased from the June issue of Cards Magazine.   Ashley Harris is the original designer.

This would make a great father's day or birthday card for any guy.

The tie and the moustache were cut using the Billionaire cartridge.  I used the blackout feature on the tie and the hide contour feature to eliminate the suspender cuts and just cut the tie.

Blue and White Card

Since Provocraft sent out replacement cartridges to correct a discrepancy between the cartridge and the overlay, I took another look at Paper Trimmings.  Truthfully, I'd totally forgotten about even owning it!  The cartridge has a lot of really neat flowers or medallions on it.

I cut the white portion of the flower at 3" and the shadow portion at 3 1/2".  Using the hide contour feature in Design Studio, I eliminated the circle in the flower center and opted to use a punched shape instead.

The background paper is Great Lakes Paisley from Scrapbook Customs.  The white border was done with a SU border punch.

The large solid blue area across the bottom just needed something to break it up.  Stamping a sentiment and punching it out would have solved the issue, but while I was on the phone with Shirley, aka Okieladybug, the teardrop shaped scraps from the flower caught my eye.  I just attached them with some Scotch Quick Dry glue and they added just what I needed. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crossed Wrenches Card

I saw this card on Pinterest and tracked it back to the original blog post.  It's on a Stampin' Up demonstrator's blog-- For the Love of Paper.  Chris Twing is the blogger and she posted that her mother, Belinda, came up with this layout using SU punches.

My version of it was made with an 1 1/4" circle punch, word window punch and two different Cricut cartridges.  The socket end was cut using George and Cricut Sampler.  I found that the center of the sunflower on that cartridge worked quite well for the socket cut out. 

The metallic "diamond plate" was run through my Cuttlebug and the background paper is by Tim Holtz.

The sentiment will be placed about where the watermark is in the photo.  I'm thinking this will be a great masculine birthday card!

Original seen on Chris Twing's blog

Friday, May 4, 2012

Angry Birds Card

Inspired by a card seen on Splitcoast Stampers,  I embossed the background, used Doodlecharms to cut the blue sunburst and Stampin' Up punches to make the bird's head.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Planter Project

Fred built these for me three years ago.  One has a climbing rose and the other a Mandevilla plant.  I know he gets tired of weed eating around them since he didn't trim last time he mowed! LOL!  I wanted a couple more to put on the patio for some herbs.

So, his project today has been to finish them.  The finished planters are about an 18" cube.

I've looked everywhere for some decent whiskey barrels to use.  The ones I've found have been pretty expensive and in poor shape.  These wound up being free since  he had an extra fence panel left over after replacing the fence last year.

I'm off to find some basil, dill and sage plants now to get them filled!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Punch Ladybug

Holley Smith punch art shapes on her blog was the inspiration for this card.  The ladybug is made using three different Stampin' Up punches:  1 1/4" circle, word window, and large oval.

The antenna came from a heart shape on Accent Essentials cartridge.  I punched the wings from vellum and embossed them with the Brocade Cuttlebug folder.

The entwined hearts came from the Thank You notes I mentioned in a previous post.  I colored them with Promarkers and trimmed them by hand.

I inked the edges of the pink shapes and added some white dots on the cheeks.  The facial features were added with a gel pen.

Tightwad Tip

Sometimes you can find some real bargains in our local Walmart store's markdown aisle.  I keep my eyes open for marked down invitations and envelopes, hoping to find some at a really good price.  I go through thousands of envelopes each year making cards for Operation Write Home and Cards for Soldiers so I love a bargain!

Recently, I found a large stack of  Thank You notes with envelopes for around .25 per package.  I knew I would never use that many notes but they were A2 size, so I grabbed them all just for the envelopes inside the packages.

These are printed on an off white shade of paper.  I cut the fronts off and set the card backs aside to use for stamping. 

These are obviously intended to use as wedding gift thank you's since they have the entwined hearts.

The gold frame around the edge looked like something I'd use for more formal type cards so I used a ruler and cut it out.

It's just leaning on a colored card base so it's easier to see.  I think it looks pretty good!

After looking at the first one I cut, I decided that it would look nicer if some of the white paper was left on the inside of the cutout too.  Using a clear ruler, I cut this one with 1/4" of the white paper on the inside.

The heart images fit a 1 3/4" scalloped circle punch.  I'll tuck these aside for Valentines.

These will add some nice detail to my cards, don't you think?  And, I'm counting them as "free" since I bought the packs of notes just for the envelopes!

There were also multiple packages of some bright pink colored Thank You notes.  I cut the solid card backs off and tucked those into my pink cardstock stash.  They'll work for Cricut cuts or for scraps to test my stamps.