October 29, 2010

A Refresher Course on the Big Shot

The Sizzix Big Shot is a big deal! With the Big Shot you can cut over 50 different material types and duplicate creative and intricate designs quickly and easily. Stampin' Up! has designed exclusive dies that coordinate with current Stampin' Up! product lines--such as stamps and punches--as well as Sizzix dies that coordinate with the Stampin' Up! look and feel.

October 23, 2010

The ABC's of a Handmade Holiday

     It's hard to believe, but the holidays are right around the corner--and Stampin' Up! wants to make your holidays more special than ever! The ABCs of the Perfect Handmade Holiday will help you prepare for the holidays without all the stress. From October 19-December 16, 2010Stampin' Up! be offering you holiday bundles perfect for creating Amazing cards, Beautiful packaging, and Cherished gifts--all at 20% off!

To see a complete list of the products featured in this promotion, click on the Holiday Bundles icon in the upper left hand corner of this page.  To place an order now, click www.StampinWithJoanna.StampinUp.net and click on the "Shop Now" link in the upper right hand corner.

A Cat, A Mortgage Bill and No Supervision

Dear Mortgage Company,
     We regret to inform you that we are unable to pay our mortgage this month.  Our cat ate the bill.  True story.

October 21, 2010

$12 For a Pie?!

   No, your eyes are not deceiving you... that is a $12 apple pie.  Outrageous, I know but it's soooo worth it!  The owners of Slice of Heaven Bakery in Epsom, NH weren't kidding when they named their company after the great beyond - each piece really is like a little slice of heaven!  The crust is so flavorful and flaky it practically melts in your mouth.  The filling is simple yet incredibly delicious.  Look at the ingredients -there are only 8 used in the entire pie and I can pronounce every one!
     So how did we find a $12 pie?  It all started this summer with my husband's craving for a blueberry pie.  Every Tuesday and Thursday we pass an Agway on our way to F.I.T's Combat Conditioning Class (a high intensity workout that's designed for law enforcement officers and military personnel).  Tony is a fabulous personal trainer and really pushes you to do your best but the one thing he does not teach you is self-control (a.k.a. willpower).  All summer there had been a sign prominently displayed in front of Agway advertising homemade pies.  I swear, every time we'd pass by that sign it got just a bit closer to the road, making if difficult to not see it. 
     So one Thursday afternoon, obviously delirious from such an incredible workout and showing very little willpower, we decided to stop.  Oooooh, my goodness; that was probably the worst decision we could have made.  I knew we were in trouble after the first bite, it was absolutely wonderful (here's the part where the heavenly fog rolls in, a golden light shines upon the pie and a choir of angels sing "aaahhhhhh").  Oh sure, we've tried other less expensive homemade pies: Carter Hill Orchard, Market Basket, Hannaford and dare I say Mrs. Smith's (you know, the frozen ones), but nothing compares to Slice of Heaven.  Nothing.  I feel confident in saying that we are now addicted to these pies.  Sadly, we know the baking and delivery schedule: pies are baked on Wednesdays and delivered to Agway on Thursdays.  They're at their freshest on Thursday and are usually sold out by Saturday.  Obviously we aren't the only ones who have an incredibly difficult time resisting these pies!
    Aaron and I cut the first piece of pie at 6pm and this is what was left by 7:30pm.  Of the same day.  Need I say more?! 

October 18, 2010

Designer Fabric

     Watch as Shelli Gardner's daughter, Sara Douglass, introduces our brand-new Designer Fabric and shares some fun project ideas.  The Designer Fabric ($9.95) can be found on page 16 of the Holiday Mini Catalog.  It is sold in fat quarters the measure approximately 28"x18".  Each assortment includes an instruction booklet highlighting five projects you can create using the fabric.

October 17, 2010

A RAK From My Upline

     Hello!  I love to make cards but I love receiving cards even more!  My wonderful upline, Stella, sent me this adorable RAK (Random Act of Kindness) Halloween card. 
     If you're not familiar with how the Stampin' Up! career plan works and who an "upline" is it's pretty simple.  Stampin' Up! has a place for everyone, whether you want to build a full-time career and business, supplement your family income, or add to your personal rubber stamp collection (that's why I signed up!). When you become a demonstrator, Stampin' Up! helps you reach your goals and be successful through training materials and personal support.  One way SU! offers support is through an upline.  An upline (the demo you sign up under) is your personal advisor and is eager to help you achieve your goals.  And Stella is FABULOUS at what she does!  Even though I've never actually met her (she lives in California) she still provides support through her website and frequent e-mails.  Thanks Stella!

Stamps: From the Crypt

October 16, 2010

Another Quick and Simple Card

Hello!  The more I see the Dark & Dreary stamp set the more I love it!  I wanted to make another quick and simple card using this set and the Spider Web embossing folder.  I believe the layout was originally a card sketch from SCS weekly card sketch challenges, many moons ago.  An outline of the sketch has been hanging on the wall in front of my work space for months so I decided to finally use it!
     The brads were embossed with Pumpkin Pie craft ink and clear embossing powder.  I usually do brads in either groups 3 or 5 (someone once told me that odd numbers are more visually pleasing to the eye), but unfortunately there wasn't enough room under sentiment to use 3.

Stamps: Dark & Dreary
Ink: StazOn Black, Craft & Classic Pumpkin Pie
Paper: Rich Razzleberry, Whisper White, Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Spider Web embossing folder, brads, heat tool, clear embossing powder, dimensionals, 1/2" circle punch

October 12, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Whoopie Pie You'll Ever Taste!

Every October since 1991 Keene, NH has hosted the Pumpkin Festival.  Most known for it's amazing display of carved pumpkins (last year there were an unbelievable 29,762!), this year the festival will be held on October 15th and 16th from 10am to 9pm on both days.  Visitors to the festival can find plenty to do: arts and crafts vendors, food tents, pumpkin seed spitting and pie eating contests, live musicians and a costume parade. 
     According to the Federated Church of Marlborough, NH they serve the best pumpkin whoopie pies in the country at this festival.  Wanting to see, or rather taste, for myself I decided to whip up a batch using the recipe I found on Delish.com.
     Oh my goodness.  Hands down these are the best whoopie pies EVER.  Even if you think you're not a pumpkin fan you'll love these.  Not too overpowering with pumpkin flavor and just the right amount of spices.  The cream cheese filling is so thick and sweet that just a bit will do.  And best of all, the recipe was so easy to make!  Usually after I try a recipe for the first time I find there are certain ingredients I would add/delete or other little changes that I would make in order to perfect the taste.  Not in this case - every time I have made these I have followed the recipe exactly.  Why mess with perfection?
     Last fall I made a batch for my husband to bring to the guys at work.  To keep them fresh, I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and placed them one layer deep (don't want them to get squished!) and carried them in a reusable shopping bag.  Due to the cream cheese filling my husband was instructed to keep them in the refrigerator when not being eaten.  I was told later that day that there was no need to refrigerate them, they didn't last that long!  In fact, they were such a hit he guys asked to bake them again ASAP! (I made them for the guys the following weekend!)

Whoopie Pies:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 stick butter (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar 

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350
2.  Mix wet ingredients (oil, water, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla).  Whisk together dry ingredients (sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt)
3.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well
4.  Drop onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I found this is a must for perfect pies!) using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop (this ensures equal pies)
5.  Make sure they are round; sometimes you may need to take a knife and shape them a little
6. Bake 12 to 14 minutes; cool before icing
7. To make icing: combine ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.  Spread on cooled pies and sandwich.

Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your favorite recipe!

October 10, 2010

SC299 Holiday Happiness

     Hello!  Today's card is a submission for SC299 over at SCS.  I loved the sketch but it took me a while to find a stamp set from my collection that I thought would look nice with the layout.  But once I found Holiday Happiness there was no stopping me!
     To give the main image a bit more oomph I cut out several of the ornaments and popped them up with dimensionals.  The image as well as the sentiment are also popped up with dimensionals.
     And I don't know about you but I am LUH-VING (in my sing-songy voice) the Jolly Holiday DSP.  I ordered a second pack of it a few weeks ago and plan on using it to make my Christmas cards.  I haven't quite decided on which card it will be and I should probably get around to that pretty soon!  It seems that every year I wait until the last minute to decide and end up sending a card that I'm not so fond of.  Except 2 years ago when I made this super cute CD holder and burned a Christmas CD for everyone!  You can see a photo of it here at SCS.  I have to admit that that was a pretty good idea and I've set the bar so high that it's going to be hard to top that one...    

Stamps: Holiday Happiness
Ink: StazOn Black, Cherry Cobbler, So Saffron
Paper: Very Vanilla, Old Olive, Cherry Cobbler, Jolly Holiday DSP
Tools & Accessories: Designer Series button, hemp twine, dimensionals

October 9, 2010

Over 200 Items Added to the Clearance Rack!

     From October 5-18, Stampin' Up! is adding over two hundred more discontinued items--some at up to 80 % off--to help them make room in the Distribution Center for new products!

Things to know about the Clearance Rack Blitz:
  • Orders for Clearance Rack items can be placed through my Online Store at www.StampinWithJoanna.stampinup.net (but not via an email order).
  • Qualifying orders are eligible for hostess benefits.
  • While the Blitz lasts from October 5-18, some items, depending on availability, may be made available in the Clearance Rack in the future.
  • All discontinued items are available only while supplies last.
  • All sales of discontinued items are final. 

A Simple Christmas Card

  Hello!  I know it's not even Halloween yet but I've already started to think about my Christmas cards.  For my 
relatives I'll be making the Jolly Holiday card but for everyone else I'll be making this card. 
     Today's card was inspired by Karin Menghini's card over at SplitCoastStampers.  To make this card more of my own, I chose to use Cherry Cobbler card stock and use a stamp from the new stamp set Tags 'til Christmas.  It's hard to tell from the photos but the base of the card uses Very Vanilla textured card stock. I've found textured CS is a bit more sturdy than the smooth card stock and it gives your simple cards a bit more pizazz! 
     I was going to color the belt on the tag but it just didn't look right.  Knowing that this card needed some type of embellishment I decided to go with the black brads and think they're a perfect fit. 
     I love the simplicity of the card.  It's easy enough to make by the dozen!

Stamps: Christmas Greetings, Tags 'til Christmas
Paper: Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, StazOn Black
Tools & Accessories: Large & small tag punches, paper piercing tools, dimensionals, brads

October 6, 2010

Letterpress Plates Tutorial - A Must See!

     Watch Stampin' Up! facilitator, Shannon West, demonstrate how to use the brand-new Letterpress Plates, which let you add an inked debossed look to a variety of projects, reminiscent of an old-world letterpress. Letterpress plates ($5.95-$7.95) can be found on page 42 of the Holiday Mini Catalog.  These plates let you add an inked debossed look to a variety of cards, invitations, pages and decor.  Use with the Big Shot machine, multipurpose platform, standard cutting pads and Craft Stampin' Ink.  Instructions for use are included with each plate.

October 4, 2010

What a GREAT Idea!

Hello!  My fabulous upline, Stella, recently posted a super cute idea for Decor Elements on her blog!
   Stella took a trip to her local thrift store and picked up these dishes for less than $10.  She then used the Spooky Things decor elements to decorate the items and turned them into adorable Halloween decorations!
     The Spooky Things can be found in the Holiday Mini and come in black or dark gray ($14.95  for a set of 10 images!)  The thrift store items were $8.50.  So, SIX darling Halloween decor pieces for $23.45, or $3.90 each!  Wouldn't these make great decorations at your Halloween party?  Or any of these items would make a great gift for your favorite teacher, coworker, family, the Halloween lover in your life, etc....
Thanks for the inspiration Stella!

October 3, 2010

Halloween Candy Holders

Hello!  Today's project was inspired by Mary Brown's Two Tags Halloween Treat tutorial over at Stamper Camper's Corner.  I literally saw her post on SCS and immediately ran to my stamp room to try my hand at these super cute treat holders!  Good thing I had gone to the Dollar Store earlier in the morning to pick up some Kit Kat and Hershey bars just for the purpose of stamping!
  In her tutorial she uses Dove chocolate so I did have to adjust my measurements to fit the mini chocolate bars I had.  For the spider web holder, I used the larger of the two tags, folded along the pre-made score line and then scored a second line at 1 1/2" (measuring up from the bottom).  I used the Spider Web embossing folder with Basic Black card stock but then gently ran my White Craft ink over the raised web.  The web was cut down to 2 1/4"x3" and adhered to the front of the tag.  Mary chose to staple her scallop circles but I adhered mine with Terrifically Tacky Tape, making sure to not tape the bottom!!  I should mention that the spider web will actually pull forward so that you can get to the chocolate (I forgot to take a picture of that!)

     For the second holder I used the smaller tag from the Two Tags die.  Again, because I was using a different chocolate bar I had to adjust my measurements just a bit.  I scored my tag at 1 1/2" and 1 7/8" (measuring from the bottom).   It's hard to tell from the photo but "a little treat" was embossed with clear embossing powder.
Stamps: Dark & Dreary, Got Treats
Ink: StazOn Black, White Craft, VersaMark
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Two Tags die, Spider Web embossing folder, circle punches, scallop punch, heat tool, clear embossing powder, Terrifically Tacky Tape

October 2, 2010

SC288 Little Boy in Blue

Hello!  Today's card was based on Sketch Challenge 288 over at SCS and also inspired by Renee's "Little Cutie" card over at Stamping for Sanity.
   Four Five women I know are having a baby within the next 7 months.  I made this card for my sister-in-law who is having her first child, a boy, in January. 
     Since we don't have any children of our own, I don't have very many baby stamp sets in my collection and had to use a retired set.  Funny thing is, I remember ordering this set two years ago when 4 women I knew were having babies then!
     I have 3 more baby cards to make over the next few weeks (1 more boy and 2 unknown) so be on the lookout!

Stamps: Nursery Necessities (retired)
Ink: Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, Marina Mist
Paper: Textured Very Vanilla, Bashful Blue, Marina Mist
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Scallop Circles #2 die, Coluzzle (retired), circle punches, buttons, dimensionals