Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bzzzzz! A Recipe Review and Product Recommendation!

A few years ago I got really hooked on coupons and saving money and most of all getting free stuff! Social marketing is so big these days and one of the marketing things I got into was BzzAgent. Fun stuff! It's a model based on word of mouth marketing - when you get into one of their campaigns, you usually get a free product and then you are tasked with trying it out and sharing your opinions with people that you interact with. So, here's my first BzzAgent post on my blog!

Recently I was picked for the Progresso Recipe Starters campaign and I'm really glad!

 I probably would not have tried the Recipe Starters out unless I heard a lot of good things about them from friends. But since I got a can of the Creamy Portabella Mushroom Recipe Starter in the mail I had no excuses! After perusing the Progresso website for recipes, I decided upon the Mushroom Swiss Burgers.


When you follow the very quick and easy recipe, the burger patties come out pretty runny, and we had a bit of trouble keeping them together once on the grill. However, most of the burgers survived and wow, these were delicious! My husband and I thought they were so flavorful and my daughter gobbled her's down, completely oblivious of the bits of mushroom inside (haha!). This is definitely a recipe we will be repeating, probably tweaking it by adding something to bind the burger better. But the Creamy Portabella Mushroom starter was flavored really well - I used the leftovers on baked potato like a gravy - and I think I will try some of their other recipes too. But why stop there, I liked this so much that I'll be trying some of those other Recipe Starters flavors too!

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a beautiful life!

Sadly, a childhood friend of mine is currently in the final stage of losing her mom to cancer. The diagnosis is only about a month old and it was too late for treatment. Her family and mom were a big part of my life as I was growing up through elementary school and junior high. Even though I haven't seen any of them for more than 15 years, I feel a real bond with them. For sure, this is a family that embraces all the fun, togetherness and joy in life. So even though right now life is as horrible and painful as it has ever been for them, I know my friend's mom would agree with the sentiment of this card.

Credits: Stamps: Sunny Happy Skies, Tiny Vintage Banners, SMAK 12/11 Make Every Day Count all by Unity Stamp Co.; 
Inks: Close To My Heart; Papers: My Minds Eye

I didn't realize it until I stamped it out, but I LOVE that sentiment! Its part of a stamp that is kind of like a journaling space, part of last December's SMAK kit. I masked off the accounting paper style lines that were next to these words. That balloon is so fun too...I'll have to remember to use it more!

All the stamps are from Unity Stamp Co, and I'm entering it in the current Ippity Chick Challenge, and also sharing it on this weeks Friends With Flair!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How I love summer!

I'm in love with this picture of my boy. He's dirty, it's sunny and warm, and he's showing me the worm he's holding. Perfection!

The boys are about to turn 6. How does it all go by so fast? I just want to bottle all this adorableness up and keep it forever!

Getting crafty with a Stamping Class

Wow! Long time, no blogging! I'm not sure why, but posting just seems like a hassle and I never get around to it, although I think of doing it often. I think I will make up for that with a big long post now! :)

So, my most recent creations to blog about are from an online card making class that I took the last two weeks called Stretch your Stamps. Wow! It was full of great ideas, lots of videos demo-ing the different techniques, etc. It was focused on cards but I've been thinking of all the ways I want to use those ideas in my scrapbooking pages too. I really enjoyed the daily dose of craftiness and I've already got my eye on another class they offer that will help me use my Silhouette die cutting machine a lot more.

Day 1 was all about background stamps. The class had a big supplies list, giving me an opportunity to buy all  the stamps they were using before hand, but I have a lot of stamps that don't get too much use so I figured I could get by with what's on hand. I found a relatively new (to me anyway!) Unity Stamp Co. number background that works perfectly for birthday cards.

Credits: Stamps (numbers, arrows, sentiment) Unity Stamp Co.
Everything else - Close To My Heart
Card design based on a card by Dawn McVey (shown in the SYS class, not her blog)

I also made these fun birthday tags using some older background stamps from Close to My Heart. These came out super cute and are perfect for the many birthday parties my kids go to. Can't have enough little cards around for them to use!

Credit: All materials but the twine is from CTMH.
Twine is natural hemp from the hardware store.
Punches (circle, scallop, corner rounder) from EK Success, Tag punch by Creative Memories

Day 3 was using alphabet stamps and they had some really fun ideas. One idea was to use them boldly on envelopes. I used one of my favorite alphabets of all time - Rustic Alpha by CTMH. I'm not too thrilled with the other two stamps on it, but wouldn't you love to get a fun envelope like that in the mail?

I've got two very different uses for the Day 4 graphic stamps I found in my stash. The first one is a card using bug stamps, which I love, but haven't used much. One of my boys has bug pajamas that say "Don't bug me" on the front and he just adores them. So I made this card and will give it to him at some point. The bugs are big and graphic and I used the masking technique that was shown in SYS. 

Credits: Stamps (bugs) and inks by CTMH, stamps (flag and background) by Unity Stamp Co.
Alpha stamps by Wordsworth

My other graphic stamp item is another birthday tag. I used two circle stamps and three colors of ink to make a nice background. Layered it with a trendy ticket to say Happy Birthday! The other cool thing about this tag is that I used Helmar scrap dots (which is actually tube glue, not dots!) to both attach the many pieces of ribbon and raise up the tag. Cool product.

Credits: Stamps (circles and sentiment) by CTMH, 
Stamp (ticket) by Unity Stamp Co., cardstock and inks by CTMH

Skipping all the way to Day 10 and border stamps, I loved the demonstration of a simple border and sentiment card, so I got right to work on making my own little 3x3 card. Perfect for a lunchbox note, isn't it? I'll definitely be making some more fun little cards like this!

Credits: Border and heart stamps by Martha Stewart, Alpha stamps by Scraptrends
Pink Inks by CTMH, Brown ink by Martha Stewart

So that's all I've made so far. There were a lot of other ideas that I hope to get to using one day! I'm really looking forward to using label stamps in decorative ways and also there were some stunning cards using colored pencils, so I'll definitely be giving that a try. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday...a few cards I made

Every Friday one of my favorite stamp companies has a sharing event called Friends with Flair. While I'm partial to clear acrylic stamps, I have recently become infatuated with Unity Stamps, which still stick to my stamping blocks, but they are made of traditional red rubber and foam. Last weekend my friend Karla and I finally got a chance to spend some girl time together stamping and creating. I wasn't in the scrapbooking mood, so I made a few cards instead.

First are the little mini cards I made with Unity stamps and scraps of paper and stamps I had around. The kids are always needing little tags and cards for the many birthday parties they go to, so I decided to get ahead of the curve a bit and have some on hand.

So here's my first Unity share! The diamond background on the pink cards is made with Unity's All you need Aug 2010 KOM. The Happy Birthday sentiment is from Unity's Favorite Sentiments set. On the blue tag, I used another part of a stamp from the Favorite Sentiments. I'll probably punch a hole in that one and add a ribbon or string when we use it.
I also made a more regular sized card using some Sassafras paper and a Close to my Heart stamp. The card design is from a Two Peas in a Bucket challenge. I always love being able to use up a bunch of scraps on a card. Those layered banners came out cute!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Birthday Party - Rainbow Style

Winter birthdays in the Pacific Northwest have been a bit of a challenge. At least for us...because we love a good backyard casual party with the kids running around. We were blessed with the birth of our daughter to kick off the New Year in 2004, and while there are things to love about that, the proximity to the holidays and smack-dab-in-the-winterness of it can make parties hard. Her brothers, born mid-summer, have had nothing but fun, backyard birthday parties and the last two included the rental of bouncy houses. This made our big girl a bit jealous, and she wanted a bouncy house party of her own. [In all fairness, she has had great parties, including one at Pump it Up, a pool party, a gymnastics party and a girly manicure/hairdo party at a salon. We don't lack in celebration!] This Christmas was spent in Texas with almost all of her cousins...and I thought it the perfect time and place to have a warm weather birthday party for this winter born girl!

Enter rented bouncy castle, with climbing wall and slide:

This child of ours loves rainbows, and after seeing so many fun rainbow ideas on Pinterest, I thought it the perfect theme for her 8th birthday. She whole heartedly agreed!

We had this party just a few days after Christmas, thousands of miles away from our home/stuff...a lot to manage for this mom! We had to hit several stores just to get plates, napkins and plasticware in the six colors of the rainbow. We ended up with 180 napkins and 120 plates! There are a few left over! I decided that rather than buying cardstock or balloons for a rainbow banner, I'd make use of some of those napkins...turned out cute, don't you think?

I found an adorable rainbow digital scrapbooking kit by Meghan Mullens and used it to create invitations, goodie bag toppers and soon to be sent thank you cards. We bought flavored soda in all colors of the rainbow too, which was fun for the kids.
For food we had the birthday girl's favorite: a soft taco bar.

The cakes were definitely the most fun element of the party for me. It was 26 people just including our families...then we added some friends too! This meant I couldn't get away with just a few cupcakes, so I made both rainbow cupcakes and a big rainbow cake. After mixing up each cake mix, I separated it into 6 portions and added coloring gel to make 6 colors of the rainbow. Then I layered that into the cupcake cups and cake pans. Turned out adorable! Using gel allows you to get vibrant colors without using too much, so it doesn't affect the taste. Rainbows on top are Air Heads Extreme...we got them from Target. [If you try this, I recommend you open the bags and let the candy dry out for a day or two - they were a bit floppy when I added them just before the party.]

A very happy birthday party for our girl,
just a few days before she actually turned 8!