Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Latte is just checking in to say HI!

She is guarding over the fishes and baby plants in the back ground.  Can't wait until they are ready to eat!
Here is Sig the Rainbow Shark that likes to hide, so it's pretty cool when you can catch him out in the open.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Catch Up Part 2 & Olive Tapenade Recipe

I have been on a cooking kick of late, and I have been making some really yummy things.  The item that has been met the with best reviews has been my Olive Tapenade, so without further ado, here is my recipe...


  • 1 can medium or large black olives
  • Stuffed Spanish green olives (equal amount as black olive can)
  • Kalamata olives (equal amount as black olive can)
  • 1/2 jar Capers
  • 2 lemons, squeezed
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Trinidad Lemon Garlic seasoning from The Spice House
  • 1 tsp Roasted Garlic Olive Oil from The Olive Tap
  • 1 tsp Florida Seasoned Pepper from The Spice House
  • {if desired the next day} 1 tsp Garlic Powder from The Spice House

I've found it works the best if you grind each type of olive separately in the food processor.  Drain most of the liquid out of the olives before putting it in the food processor.  Leave a little in there to make the olives chop better.  Coarsely chop each olive type and put in a large mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and tap a few times to break up the capers a bit.  Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Leave the mixture sit overnight, and test in the morning.  If you want more garlic or lemon, add more Trinidad Lemon GarlicGarlic Powder, or Florida Seasoned Pepper.  The flavors will intensify overnight, so don't add more spices until the morning.
Catching you up on some more things... we got fishes!

My husband is doing a hydroponic habitat where the fish will feed plants.  It is actually working!  We have baby plants:

Oh yes, these yummy herbs will be going in stuff I cook, but in the meantime, we made pickles with cucumbers from the garden:

We have 10 jars of dill (some from the garden too!), garlic dill, and sweet:

That's not all I cooked this weekend!  I made the Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad for my lunches!

I used an onion from my garden!!!!  I cheated on the shrimp a bit but using pre-marinaded cilantro lime shrimp from Costco.  I had a little taste, and it was yummy!  I can't wait to have for lunch with some cilantro lime rice.
I got some new craft goodies in the mail last week, too, so maybe now that things have calmed down at work, I'll have time to play with them.
Hopefully, it won't be another 2 weeks before I post again....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Playing Catch Up - Part 1

Wow it's been forever since I posted here... bad blogger!!! I've been crazy busy with work and life, but here's a long post to make up for my absence.  Here we go...
Two weeks ago was nails day!  Wow do I only have a horrid photo of them, but here they are:

Here is the one I used for the sample to give you a better idea of what they looked like:

The yellow for the two middle fingers was insanely bright, like traffic-stopping bright!  See?

After nails, I made some yummy potatoes.  I used the Slim Potato Casserole recipe, and they were so yummy!  They don't look like much, but they were tasty:

Saturday, I spent the day downtown for work, but I had to have a bit of fun doing it.  I made my co-worker and I matching rhinestone shirts:

I cut the pattern with my Silhouette, and used rhinestones to make them.  Punching out the circles in the rhinestone template is a quite tedious, but the outcome was great!
I stayed the night, and the next morning, the irony of watching the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll half marathon

while eating my bagel with salmon

was SO not lost on me!  Hee hee...
Last week I spent lots of time on the train.  The only thing I like about the very long train ride is that the train clears out, and then I can put my feet up

For whatever reason, the temperatures here in Chicagoland dropped like a stone!

Yes, it is July!
And just for good measure, one more comfy foot pic (this time I didn't forget my train shoes!):

Check back tomorrow for more food stuffs, to include my much-anticipated olive tapenade recipe!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Textures Galore!

Today for the WTUI Challenge, Cathy has challenged us to use at least three textures.  Well, in true-to-me fashion, I went a little nuts with the textures, and I think I must confess my addiction to the Blueprints # 13 Die-namics set by MFT.  Did you SEE the new Tag Builder series they are starting and the Confetti BG - oh, my poor bank account!  In any event, let's stay focused on today's card...
First, I started with a gessoed panel that was left over from Balloon Day & the VCMP cards.  Since I'm impatient as can be, I gesso several full sheets of paper at one time and let them dry while I'm at work.  Then, I have them when I'm ready.  I used a stencil that I thought was by MFT, but I don't see it on their site... hmmm... I got it at the Scrapbook Expo a few months ago, so I could just be losing my mind.

In any event, I used Silkz paint on it, but I wasn't really happy how dark the brown was, so I blotted it with a paper towel.  Then, I wasn't a fan of all the white, so I added several colors of Glimmer Mist, again blotting with the paper towel.  My Glimmer Mist and I were having a difference of opinion on whether their spray nozzle should work, so I just pulled it out and tapped it on the card for some circles.  I couldn't find my beloved Kraft Glimmer Mist, so it was a tragic day!  I had gesso + paint for 2 textures already for Cathy's challenge.  The Glimmer Mist did create some fun little circles on the panel, too, which I'm calling texture.  So, really, I was good for the challenge, but I kept on...
Next, I went to my addiction - Blueprints # 13 Die-namics set.  The reason why it's so easy to use this set is that my eBosser makes it so simple for me to cut the entire thing all at one time.

See what I mean?  All of those dies are from that one set.  I cut the flag from old felt by MFT. I don't believe they carry this color any longer, but it looks like they have something pretty close in Berrylicious.  The felt gave me yet another texture for the card.  The tag, star, and arrow were cut from another of my addictions - Switchboard paper pack by Pink Paislee.
And here is the final card:

The Thanks is a Teresa Collins stencil that I used embossing paste on, so it is raised (yes, another texture).  I found that you really need to tape down a word stencil, or it will move on you.  I sorta liked the shadow it gave, made it look like a chalkboard, so I kept it.  The star and arrow are embossed with an old SU! embossing folder (yup, texture # 5; #6 if you count the stitching on the BG panel) and then popped up with pop dots for a total of 6 (or 7) textures for the card.  It's a little hard to see, but I did ink my embossing folder with shadow ink, so it is lightly colored on the star and arrow.  Hopefully, you'll play along with Cathy today for our WTUI challenge!  I know I sure had a blast trying to add as many textures as I could into this card.  I realized that I could have sewed a panel and added yet another... oh the wheels are still turning!  I may have to do another one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July ThirtyOne Party

In July, there is a great special, so I opened a shopping link for everyone to take advantage of it.  You can shop here -  Be sure to add the special to your cart; you definitely don't want to miss that!

See what I mean - this bag is AWESOME!!!  Here are some things you can do with it:

Here is the link to shop again -  Have fun!

Friday, July 4, 2014


Today is a Virtual Card Making Party (VCMP) for Operation Write Home (OWH).  You can see all of the challenges on the Operation Write Home Blog, so be sure to check it out every two hours for the WHOLE weekend!  Did you have fun at Sybrina's His & Hers Sketch challenge?  I'm still trying to decide on which of the 200+ sketches I'll pick... oh the decisions, but while I'm doing that...  I am your hostess for the next two hours of FUN, so let's go!
Usually, during the work week, we are like:

But when Friday comes around, we are...

So, let's truly personify TGIF and be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy by making a thank you card (or 5, 10, 15...) for Operation Write Home to send to our troops.  But wait, there ARE bonus points available... Since it is Friday AND a holiday, we've gotta sweeten the deal just a touch... Make your own fireworks by using spray inks.  REMEMBER - NO GLITTER!
You can find the Guidelines for the cards that OWH will accept here -  Be sure to stick to those, because we don't want to put our troops in danger.
Here are a few samples to get ya goin', and even a tutorial for ya, too...
This first card was done with another of the backgrounds I made for yesterday's Ballon Day cards - it's a SUPER simple technique that will use your spray inks.  I used more pieces from the Blueprints # 13 die set by MFT... I love those things to make a card super quickly, like this:

Now another technique for a fun background with the fabulous gelatos.
Begin with a panel with a thin layer of dry gesso (also leftovers from yesterday's cards).  Color your favorite colors directly on the gesso, and you'll end up with something that looks like this:

Then, you will use your super spendy tool - your finger - to blend the gelatos.  The oils in your fingers are reacting with these water-based pigments, and you end up with this:

See how smooth that looks just with your finger?!  Now comes the magic!  Gently adhere your card panel, as well as a stencil to your craft sheet.  I use washi tape to hold my stencil:

Grab a baby wipe, and wipe away the stencil pattern, and you end up with this:

Now, I wanted a little color in my flower, so I took two colors of spray ink (oh yeah, I got it stuck in!), and sprayed on my craft sheet.  I used a paint brush to add some color back to my white flower stencil, and I ended up with this. This particular stencil has a coordinating stamp, so I stamped that for a little definition in gray, and I ended with this:

Since gelatos do react with your finger oils, you MUST use a sealer on this panel before you finish it out.  Contrary to public opinion, red, pink, and purple are definitely not part of any of our military uniforms, and most commanders would like to keep it that way.  I use Krylon matte spray sealer that you can find at any hardware or craft store.  I just put the panel in a card board box and put a light coat on it to make sure it stays where it should.  And here is the final card:

Ok, now it's your turn to truly TGIF!  You can link up your card below, and be sure to head on back to the Operation Write Home Blog for the link to where Linda is going to have you in pieces!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Balloon Day!

Today, yours truly is hosting the Ways to Use It Challenge on Splitcoast, and today I want you to use balloons.  Last summer, I had a little run in with a balloon that I swore was going to land on my head, but I still love seeing them up in the sky.  Emphasis on UP in the sky!  My first card for the challenge uses one said hot air balloon:

This card will be going to Operation Write Home, as the Miss You cards are in the highest demand.  This is simply a background I made with spray ink and a scene I cut out with my Silhouette.  The background takes a bit to dry, but overall, the card is pretty simple to make.
Before you get all up in arms about how I did the background for this card (and the next one!), here's all I did...  First of all, paint a small layer of gesso on some white card stock, then spray some ink on your craft sheet.  I wanted a wispy sky-looking blue, so I added some water directly on top of the spray on my craft sheet.  It ends up looking like this:

Then I cut the card stock sheet into 4 pieces and smashed it into my fun mix.  And I ended up with this:

I dry lots of stuff on that poor towel, as you can tell. :)
Since I had 4 pieces, I needed to do one more, and here it is:

I cut 3 balloons from felt with the Make a Wish Balloons by Taylored Expressions.  I poked some twine in there, then added a greeting cut with the "torn paper" die-namic from the Blueprints 13 set from MFT.  Those blueprints die-namics have SO many fun uses!  I had cut the little banner from that set to put the balloons on, also, but I totally lost it on my disaster of a craft desk.  The sentiment is from an old MFT sentiment set, also.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for Operation Write Home's Virtual Card Making Party!  Your truly is hosting a challenge first thing in the morning!  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Nails day!

Today was nails day! Of course because Friday is Independence Day, I went patriotic:


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