June 29, 2012

A Starfilled Thank You

      Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Kay Kalthoff's graduation card over at her blog Stamping to Share (here).  This card was incredibly easy to make but has such a 'wow' factor that any recipient would be honored to receive it.
     The stars were cut from a 4 1/8"x5 3/8" piece of Wisteria Wonder card stock, simply center the card stock on the die and run through the Big Shot.  The card stock is then adhered to the base of the card with dimensionals.
     I created quite a few of these as thank you cards for classroom volunteers (I love volunteers!) but just imagine the stars cut out of Night of Navy... wouldn't these make great 4th of July BBQ invites or  Memorial Day/Veteran's Day cards?!

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: Wisteria Wonder, Whisper White
Ink: Wisteria Wonder
Tools: Big Shot, Stars #2 (retired) & Bitty Banners Framelits dies, dimensionals, mini library clips (retired)

June 26, 2012

Caramel Chewies

     Hello!  Today's recipe for Caramel Oatmeal Chewies comes from a little cardboard cookbook that I've had for several years now, Nestle's Best Loved Recipes.  I love this little book, there isn't a single recipe that isn't absolutely delicious!  These bars quick and easy to make and are surprisingly quite filling (you only need one to satisfy your sweet tooth... ok, maybe two!)
     I have to be honest and say that I just couldn't wait to take a bite of these bars or take a photo of them so they do look a little goopy.  But after they've cooled just pop them in the fridge for an hour or so and they'll be easy to cut and take out of the pan.
     The original recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips but I find that a bit too much and cut back to 1 1/2 cups.  As for the nuts, I use walnut but would love to try these with peanuts!

Caramel Oatmeal Chewies
  • 1 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup caramel ice cream topping

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 13"x9" baking pan.

2. Combine oats, 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl.  Stir in
butter; mix well.  Reserve 1 cup of oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts..  Mix caramel topping with remaining flour in small bowl; drizzle over nuts and chips.  Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.

4. Bake fore 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool in pan on wire rack; refrigerate until firm and easy to cut.  Enjoy!

June 22, 2012

Gingham Watermelon

     Hello!  Today's card is a CASE of Erica Cerwin's "Thanks" card over at her blog Pink Buckaroo Designs (here).  I loved everything about her her card and decided not to change a thing (except for the sentiment).  To create the gingham background I used the gingham technique from Two Crafty Girls.
     The "thank you" banner was created using the new Bitty Banners Framelits die (pg 191, $14.95).  It's so much easier to create the banners with this amazing set of dies!
     This would make a great BBQ invite during the summer months, just substitute the sentiment for a "You're Invited" or something similar

Stamps: Mouthwatering, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: Whisper White, Melon Mambo, Lucky Limade, First Edition DSP
Ink: Lucky Limeade, Melon Mambo, StazOn Black, Basic Black Stampin' Write Marker
Tools & Accessories: Scallop Border & Blossom Bouquet punches, Big Shot, rhinestone brad (retired) 

June 20, 2012

Race Season Has Begun!

      For those of you who follow my blog you know that I'm a runner.  I usually post photos from races and give a little blurb about how I did (ok, it's really an opportunity for me to too my own horn - toot, toot!).  Unfortunately, I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to fill you in, until now.  The race season for me officially began back on May 17th with the annual Concord Hospital 5k and another 5k on May 20 supporting the Kittery Fire Department.
     On June 2nd I participated in the annual Over the River and Thru the Woods 5k in Concord that benefited the SPCA.  Can I just say that I am dedicated.  It was POURING rain before, during and after the race but I still ran... it was for the animals, afterall.  Do you know how heavy wet, muddy sneakers are???  I didn't medal this year but I did beat last year's time by 3 seconds and came in 7th in my age group.

This is my happy face BEFORE the race
     In preparation for my big 10k at Gillette stadium this summer I participated in the 35th annual Market Square Day 10k (6.2 miles) on June 9th.  This was a race I had wanted to do for 3 years but I always seemed to miss the sign-up deadline.  My goal was to come in under 60 minutes and boy, did I!  My official finish time was 56:21 - woohoo!  The race course went right past my Auntie Jane & Uncle Bob's house so  they set up a little water station to support the runners.  My mom and dad were there to help out and snap the action photo ;)

Only 4 more miles to go!

June 19, 2012

An Unfortunate Incident...

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be sharing the recipe for chocolate layer cake...  Somebody decided to have a temper tantrum and rip the recipe to shreds because he couldn't have a treat.  And no, it wasn't Aaron.

June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Family rule: never leave your camera unattended, this is what happens!
    My Dad is a really cool guy... Besides being the father of a great kid (me!) he's also a veteran and proudly served in the Air Force and National Guard for more than 25 years.  He rides a Harley, has a wacky sense of humor, is working on hiking all the 4,000 foot moutains in NH, runs 5k and 10k's with the family and loves to go ghost hunting with me.  Oh, did I mention he speaks a second language: burp talk.  If you haven't heard it, it's quite an interesting language, but it does take some practice to perfect!
     I'm so proud to be able to call David Aleksy my Dad!  Happy Father's Day!
Chillin' with the Patriot's cheerleaders (my Dad's the one in the middle ;)

June 15, 2012

Nautical Birthday Wishes

     Hello!  I was sooo excited to see The Open Sea stamp set in the new SU! catalog - it's one of my favorites!  And it's perfect for masculine cards, which is what I made today.
    The inspiration for this card came from another card that's been sitting in my "favorites" folder for quite a while.  Check out Fran Sabad's "It's Called The Open Sea" card over at her blog (here).  Loved her layout, especially the torn card stock with the ship peeking out.

Stamps: The Open Sea, Occasional Quotes (retired)
Paper: Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla, Bashful Blue
Ink: Not Quite Navy, Sahara Sand, More Mustard, Early Espresso
Tools & Accessories: Circle brad (retired) baker's twine, dimensionals

June 12, 2012

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

     Hello!  I have a confession to make... I watch QVC.  Yes, the home shopping network.  Thankfully, Aaron doesn't seem mind that one of my hobbies is shopping (from the living room), especially when I order fantastic items that he benefits from - like our latest pressure cooker cookbook, Bob Warden's Great Food Fast (here).  The recipes are super easy to follow, come with full page photos and every recipe we've tried tastes absolutely dee-licious!
     The first recipe we decided to try was Bob's Perfected Pot Roast.  I'm not a huge fan of roasts and was a little hesitant to try it.  But with a promise of ordering a pizza if it didn't taste good I decided I had nothing to lose.  It took Aaron about 15 minutes to prep and the cook time was only 75 minutes.
     The roast and veggies were fork tender, no knife needed.  And the sauce?  Oh, my.  So flavorful and buttery good, I recommend smothering the roast and veggies with it.  And if there's any left on your plate you can soak it up with a biscuit!  So if you have a pressure cooker and are looking for a traditional Sunday roast recipe you've got to try this!

Pot Roast
  • 1 (2-3lbs) beef chuck roast
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 redskin potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp butter

1. Sprinkle roast with flour that has been generously seasoned with salt and pepper.

2. With the pressure cooker lid off, heat oil on high (or brown) until sizzling.  Place floured roast in the cooker and brown on all sides.

3. In small bowl mix beef broth, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper; add to pressure cooker.  Lock lid and set for 75 minutes on high.

4.  Perform a quick release.  Add potatoes, onion, carrots and celery to pot roast, re-secure the lid and set for 5 minutes on high.  

5. Let cooker release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure.

6. Transfer pot roast and veggies to serving dish.  Set cooker on high  and whisk cornstarch, water and butter into remaining liquid.  Simmer for two minutes and let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.  Serve over roast.  Enjoy!

June 10, 2012

Petite Purse Die

Ever need a quick, cute party favor?  Stampin' Up!'s Petite Purse die will help you create those party favors in record time.  Watch as Emily Montoya highlights this new die.

Petite Purse Bigz die, 125606 $32.95

June 8, 2012

Butterfly Wishes

     Hello!  On my "favorites" bar I have a folder where I bookmark cards that I want to CASE or I'm inspired by.  This card sat in that folder for almost a year and a half.  Today I thought it was about time I did something with it.
     Teneale Williams is an incredible source for inspiration.  If you haven't checked out her blog I highly recommend it, her cards a little pieces of art.  Anyhoo, "Inkspirations Challenge 39" was the inspiration for today's card (here).  I loved her colors but mostly I loved the way she stamped an image on the butterfly... something I hadn't thought of.

Stamps: Bring on the Cake, Elements of Style
Ink: StazOn Black, blender pen, Certainly Celery, Pretty in Pink
Paper: Early Espresso, Pink Pirouette, Very Vanilla
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Beautiful Butterfly Bigz die, pearls, dimensionals

June 5, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    My second favorite ice cream flavor has to be mint chocolate chip, it's right behind anything with peanut butter!  Just imagine that same mint flavor in a cookie... mmm.  When I saw mint chocolate chip cookies on Sweet Pea's Kitchen (love her!) I immediately knew I was going to make them - and 5 minutes later that's what I began to do!  Such a good choice on my part - they are fantastic!  Soft and chewy with just a hint of mint, I could easily eat them by the half dozen (and I might have sampled 6 or so the day I made them!).
     I opted to go for a lighter mint flavor and replaced the Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips with regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Let's just say there was a peppermint extract incident a few years ago and I'm a little hesitant to add too much mint to anything I bake.  But if you'd like a more minty flavor I say go for it!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Green food coloring, 8-12 drops
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3.  In bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.  Add vanilla and peppermint extracts and mix until combined.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mix to combine.  One drop at a time, add enough food coloring to get the right shade of green (the brand I used took 12 drops but yours may take less).  Add the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.

4.  Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on wire racks.  Enjoy! 

June 3, 2012

New Ink Pads!

With the introduction of the 2012-2013 annual catalog, Stampin' Up! has made a very big change to our Stampin’ Pads.
Introducing firm foam pads! They change your stamping experience for the better.

     Stampin' Up! knows you’re going to love these new Stampin’ Pads—just look at all the exciting benefits listed below:
  • Provide better ink coverage for your stamps!
  • Light-tap stamping produces flawless images!
In addition, our new Stampin’ Pads
  • Create wonderfully solid images. The Firm Foam releases more ink onto your rubber stamp than the felt pads. When using the Firm Foam pad, your stamp will get an even, solid covering of ink that you may not have been able to achieve with the felt pads. Please note: if you are using the ink pad frequently you may need to re-ink your Firm Foam pad more often.
  • Have a crisply printed, glossy label on the top of the pad that is easier to read and that will not fade or chip off!
  • Come with color name labels in all four languages (English, Spanish, French, and German)--just choose your language, peel it off the back, and add it to the side of the pad for easy identification!
  • Use the same patented flip-top case design that stores the inking surface upside down, so the pad surface stays moist!
  • Are available in all colors, including our exclusive In Colors!
Please note: Five ink colors have undergone formula changes to improve functionality and color stability with the new firm foam pads. These colors are
  • Basic Black
  • Basic Gray
  • Marina Mist
  • Perfect Plum
  • Tempting Turquoise
    All five colors of the reformulated inks have been fully tested and approved. While using the new ink formula in the old Stampin’ Pads is fine, we do not recommend using the old ink formula for these five colors in the new firm foam pads. Any refills purchased after April 30, 2012, will contain the new formulated ink.*

June 1, 2012

Simple Thank You

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Jen's "Sending Love" card over at her blog (here).  I ordered the postage stamp punch as well as the small heart punch ages ago but rarely use them (gasp!).  When I saw Jen's card using both of these punches I knew I had to make it!
     To make Jen's card more of my own I added a layer of white CS, opted for a button rather than mini library clilp and moved the sentiment to the lower right corner.  This card is incredibly quick to make and could easily be mass produced.

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Ink: StazOn black
Paper: Whisper White, Real Red, Summer Smooches DSP
Tools & Accessories: Postage and small heart punches, dimensionals, button, bakers twine

It's Here! It's Here!

     Oh. My. Gosh.  It's here!  The new Stampin' Up! catalog is finally here and it's amazing!  The photographs are gorgeous, the new stamp sets are just delightful, there are wonderful technique tips sprinkled throughout the catalog... And the hostess sets are awesome!  Oh, I could go on and on!

So can you guess what I've been doing in my spare time ever since I recieved it? (I think I actually squealed when I saw The Open Sea stamp set had been carried over!)

If you'd like your FREE copy of the new catalog (you only pay for the cost of shipping) just let me know and I'll be more than happy to pop one in the mail for you!