May 30, 2011

It's Racing Season!

     Hello!  On Thursday, May 19th I participated in the annual Rock 'n Race in Concord. Nearly 6,000 people ran or walked the 5k (3.1 miles) race to raise money for the Concord Hospital Cancer Center for Care. At last count more than $400,000 was raised but this total is expected to rise as the final donations continue to come in. It's called the Rock 'n Race because all along the race route there are local bands and DJ's set up playing great music to help runners keep pace - no need for an iPod or headphones!  Runners have water stations but for walkers there are strawberry, chocolate and nacho stations to stop at!  This is my absolute FAVORITE race of the year - I can't wait until next year!
     While not a personal best, I was thrilled with her time of 26:43, especially since this was my first race of the season. Here are a few photos of the event.

Here I am enjoying a FREE pre-race massage from the local massage therapy students.

Just a small portion of the nearly 6,000 runners/walkers.  Can you see me?  Neither can I.

A happy face knowing that I'm going to cross the finish line with a time less than 27 minutes!

The starting line in literally in front of the state house. There is a band set up and TONS of free food from local restaurants available to all participants on the state house lawn.  The BBQ grills could be smelled at the 2.5 mile mark and was enough to encourage any runner to speed it up!  

May 27, 2011

Bold Z-Fold Card

     Hello! Today's card was inspired by Lyssa Griffin's Morning Cup card over at her blog, Song of My Heart. To make her card more of my own I changed the main image and tweaked the DSP, just a bit.
     The Z-fold is super easy to make and gives your card a unique look.  Simply score at 2 1/8" on the front of a standard size card and fold back.

     I used First Edition DSP (my absolute favorite DSP, I was sooo happy to hear that it will be carried over to the 2011-12 Idea Book & Catalog!).  To give the DSP a unique look I crumpled the DSP, smoothed it out and then brayered it with Old Olive classic ink.
      Due to the DSP on the right side of the card there's very little space to add more birthday wishes on the inside of the card.  I chose to leave mine that way but you could easily add a second piece of Very Vanilla to the inside-left if you'd like.

Stamps: Bold Blossoms, Bring On the Cake
Ink: StazOn Black, Melon Mambo, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive, Elegant Eggplant
Paper: Very Vanilla, Old Olive, First Edition DSP
Tools & Accessories:  Brayer, Stampin' dimensionals

May 24, 2011

A Square Quilt

      Hello!  Today's card is another version of a quilted card.  For this card I used the same colors and DSP as I did in my first but changed the size of the quilt squares.  On my last card I found the 3/4" squares were awfully difficult to cut and position and just wouldn't work well at a workshop.  So I decided to go with the smallest punch I have, a 1 1/4" square.  And because the squares were larger I also needed to increase the size of my card base to 5 1/2"x5 1/2" (will require extra postage).
     I cut out 9 squares of the Lap of Luxury DSP and 4 squares of the Pretty In Pink CS.  The pink CS was then cut in half with paper snips and layered on a square of DSP to create the pennant shape.  All squares were adhered to a piece of Concord Crush and run thru the Big Shot with the Lattice embossing folder.

Paper:  Concord Crush, Pretty In Pink, Very Vanilla, Lap of Luxury DSP
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot. Lattice embossing folder, pearls, Stampin' dimensionals

May 20, 2011

Concord Crush Quilt

      Hello!  Today's card was inspired by the Quilted Card tutorial over at SplitCoastStampers.  I love Jenna's card but her layout was just a bit too complicated for my first attempt.  I heeded her advice and took a peek at the quilt designs at QuiltersCashe and decided to go with the Go Along #2 pattern.
    In her tutorial Jenna uses 3/4" squares of DSP and CS to complete her design; to keep things simple I decided to stick to the same measurement for my card.  I cut 9 squares of DSP and 4 squares of Concord Crush CS.  The Concord Crush pieces were cut in half and then layered on the DSP (making those squares thicker) to make the pennant shape.
     The squares were adhered to Pretty In Pink and then run through the Big Shot with the Lattice embossing folder.  The final quilt was adhered to Basic Gray, popped up with dimensionals and the adhered to Very Vanilla.

Paper: Concord Crush, Pretty In Pink, Very Vanilla, Basic Gray, Lap of Luxury DSP
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Lattice embossing folder, ribbon 

May 16, 2011

Guess What I Did?!

     I went to see 14 of the late Princess Diana's dresses!  The Flying Monkey Performance Center in Plymouth, NH was hosting Diana: The People's Princess Exhibition, the last exhibition of her dresses in the United States before they're all put up for auction again.  My mom and I decided to make a day of its last weekend and took a trip up north to check out the display.  Now I'm not a big royal family buff but let's face it - this is the only time in my life that I will be this close to royalty so why not take advantage of the opportunity.  And as my husband can attest, I am quite the fashonista!
    It goes without saying that the dresses were absolutely GORGEOUS and exquisitely made.  There were  blurbs about each gown so you got an idea of when she wore it and the work that went into the design.  I tried to get close-ups of the some of gowns but flash photography was not allowed so you'll have to excuse the quality of the photos.

The iconic blue velvet "Travolta Dress".  This is the one she was wearing at the White House when she danced with John Travolta. 
Red velvet gown worn to the London premire of the movie Steel Magnolias.  The white roses are made up completely of tiny white beads, all hand sewn.

The black dress was worn by Diana in a Vanity Fair spread and was the dress that inspired the owner to purchase the collection.

The one sleeve, navy blue dress second in on the right was my absolute favorite.  Gold cording lined the bottom of the sleeve and collar, giving it a nautical feel.  

May 13, 2011

On the Open Sea

      Hello!  I don't know about you but I am loving the new Summer Mini!  The instant I saw The Open Sea stamp set I knew I had to have it (as well as several others!).  I grew up near the ocean and this reminded me of summers at the beach.  The nautical images are elegant and coordinate perfectly with the Nautical Expedition DSP (I love the colors!).  Since I was in need of more masculine birthday cards and most of my family still lives near the coast this was the perfect set to grab!
   When creating cards my weakness is always the layout.  To help me with this I headed over to SCS and perused past card sketch challanges.  I loved SC317 and decided this would be perfect for a masculine birthday card.
     It may be hard to see in the photo but I stamped the globe image in Sahara Sand and then stamped the ship in Espresso on top of it.  This gives the image a little more dimension.
Stamps: The Open Sea, Sincere Saluations
Ink: Sahara Sand, Early Espresso
Paper: Sahara Sand, Early Espresso, Not Quite Navy
Tools & Accessories: Baker's twine, jumbo eyelets, Stampin' dimensionals

May 10, 2011

Raspberry Almond Bars

Hello!  I was in the mood to bake again... it's funny how that happens during school vacation weeks!  I needed something new and different to bake for my upcoming Pampered Chef party so I dusted off my cookbooks and found this delicious recipe.
     Actually, it was a toss-up between this recipe and the box of Duncan Hines Devil's Food cake in my cupboard.  Since I'm too lazy to get out my cake decorating kit I figured a trip to the grocery store for ingredients would be much easier. ;)
  These were surprisingly quick and easy to make.  I do recommend using a stand mixer for this recipe; the eggs and sugar are beat until pale yellow, about 5 minutes, and your arm will get tired quickly with a hand mixer!  My official taste tester, my husband, believe these may just be the best bars I've ever made.  He was quite disappointed when he realized that the rest were for my party, not us!
     The base is similar to shortbread but moister.  The slight hint of almond (one of my favorite flavors) in the base mixed with white chocolate and raspberry is absolutely amazing!  But if raspberry isn't your thing you could easily substitute it for apricot.

Raspberry Almond Bars
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup sliced almonds

* Heat oven to 325; grease and sugar 9-inch square baking pan
* Melt butter, uncovered, in microwave on high for 1 minute. Add 1 cup white chocolate chips and let stand.  Do not stir.
* Beat eggs in large mixer bowl until foamy.  Add sugar; beat until light lemon colored, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chip-butter mixture.  Add flour, salt and almond extract; mix at low speed until combined.
* Spread 2/3 of the mixture into prepared pan.
* Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown around edges.  Remove from oven.
* Heat jam in microwave for 30-45 seconds; stir.  Spread jam over warm crust.  Stir remaining chips into remaining batter and drop spoonfuls of batter over jam.  Sprinkle with almonds.
* Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are browned.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.

May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day Mom! 

Thanks for being such a great mom!  I love you!

I did a little searching and found this photo of my parents on my wedding day (aren't they cute!). 

Here's one of us at the finish line of the Harvard Pilgrim 10k last July 4th (yes, my parents do cool things like run 10k's with me!)

And here's one of us at The Balsams Grand Resort in March.

May 6, 2011

Easter Wishes

      Hello!  I loved the layout of Debra Burgin's Sunny Birthday card so much that I decided to make another one!  Same layout, different theme.  Unfortunately I missed out on the wonderful Easter sets in the Occasion mini this year so I decided to pull out my Abundant Hope and Well Scripted sets from last year's mini. 
     Rather than color the image after it was stamped, I chose to apply the ink directly to the stamp with Stampin' Write markers.  The vellum was adhered to the main image with vellum adhesive.  In the photo the daffodil image is a bit difficult to see, but up close it has a nice, soft look which I love.  I think I may just have to start using vellum a bit more!

Stamps: Abundant Hope (retired), Well Scripted (retired)
Ink: Daffodil Delight, Old Olive, StazOn Black
Paper: Whisper White, Daffodil Delight, Basic Gray
Tools & Accessories: Oval extra-large & modern label punches, pearls, vellum adhesive, dimensionals

May 1, 2011

National Scrapbooking Month

     May is National Scrapbooking month and of course Stampin' Up! wants to celebrate.  From May 1-31 SU is offering select stamp sets and My Digital Studio downloads at 30% off.

Click here to view the stamp sets on sale.

Click here to view the My Digital Studio downloads.

     In addition, join Stampin' Up! as a demonstrator during the month of May, and you'll get 30% off the Digital+ Starter Kit! The Digital+ Starter Kit contains over $320 worth of high-quality Stampin' Up! products, including our innovative digital designing software, My Digital Studio--and during this special promotion, you'll pay just $122.50! Click here to see all the exciting products the Digital+ Starter Kit contains.

Summer Mini Is Finally Here!

     Hello!  It's May 1st and that means the new Summer Mini catalog is here!  If you haven't had a chance to peruse it's magical pages you're in for a treat!  This is by far my favorite mini in the 6 years that I've been a demo.  There are tons of cute stamp sets as well as several masculine sets that are perfect for Father's Day projects.  But one of my favorite items has to be the new Triple Layer Punches found on page 6.

   With this one punch you can create three different images that look beautiful layered together or separately (as seen to the right).  The punch is simple to use: just move the front lever to the image you'd like and punch.  Three images in one punch body definitely saves storage space!  Both the Doily (122465) and the Blossom Bouquet (pictured above, 122464) are priced at $23.95.
     One of the perks of being a SU demo is that I can pre-order items from upcoming mini's a month before they're released so I've had this punch since early April and have loved using it!  In the upcoming weeks you'll be seeing lots of great projects using sets from this catalog!