Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tin-O-Tags 2011

Submitted by Michelle
Back in January I wrote an entry about gumballs and Valentine's gifts and mapping out a year long plan for stamping. So far, Linda and I have stuck to the plan and it has worked like a charm. We've had presents for our friends, students and volunteers made way before they were needed, and we were able to create each project in a calm and sensible manner knowing we weren't working on a short deadline.

And now, on the last day of May, I am happy to say that we have finished our Christmas tags! They won't be needed for 6 more months but it is such a pleasure knowing that come December we will have them at the ready. We've been working on the tags since January and we are planning to give away 100 tins, each containing 9 tags each. That means we have 900 tags made. It seems like an insane number, but when you work at something a little bit at a time, a massive job can be made do-able. Here's a peek at all our tags for Christmas 2011.

Linda made this one. The little bell is embossed in silver and there is a "To" and "From" stamped on the back.
My friend Heidi made this tag last year using different colors. I copied her idea.
Linda made this tag over the memorial day weekend and since we weren't in a rush (thanks to our well thought out plan!) she was able to emboss the Merry Christmas and glitter up the snowflakes at a leisurely pace.
I made this tag (and blogged about it) over the memorial day weekend.
Christmas isn't complete with a gingerbread man!
I made this highly embossed tag way back in January.
This vintage inspired tag was Linda's January creation. It took her a long time to watercolor each girl and add liquid applique to the fur on her hat and dress.
Linda made this tag at some point and I didn't even know about it! It shows you what a worker bee she can be when she has a plan and a deadline.
This silver tag is a bonus for the tin. I made them quite easily on the big shot using an embosslit die. We included it in last year's tin too.
Now that our Christmas tags are done we can start brainstorming ideas for our Christmas cards! After all, we only have 208 days to get them done!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finishing Up Christmas

Submitted by Michelle

Christmas? What? It's only May! Yes people Linda and I have been madly at work on our tin-o-tags this weekend and we are proud to announce that we are done with all 900 tags! Yepper doodle, you read that right. 900 TAGS! Tomorrow I will post everything that is going in the tin, but for now, here's the tag I worked on yesterday which kept me on track with my 30 days of crafting challenge.
(Sorry about the poor photo quality. I had to use my cell phone for the picture.)

Simple but elegant I call it. I like the clean lines and the sparkle from the glitter and the fact that it looks Christmasy without being red.

Today we will be working on cards and I'll be enjoying the cool, overcast weather of Claremont for 1 more day. Yippie for 3 day weekends.

All Supplies from Stampin' Up!
Stamps: Tags Till Christmas (Holiday Mini-Catalog 2010)
Paper: Garden Green, Soft Suede, Whisper White
Ink: Basic Black, Soft Suede, Garden Green (markers)
Accessories: Corner punch, Decorative Label Punch, Early Espresso Baker's Twine, 2 Way Glue Pen, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby Tag

Submitted by Michelle
I made this card on day 4 of my creativity challenge, but I didn't have a chance to post it due to a technical difficulty with my camera. I'm still not pleased with the photo, but it will have to do since it is day 5 and I've got to move along.

This cute baby tag is on page 79 of the Stampin' Up Idea Book and Catalog. A friend of mine recently told me 12 of her friends are pregnant!!! It seems like baby cards and tags are in order so I'm going to try and make more of these. I love the little onesie, don't you? I stamped it in black ink on watercolor paper and then used my watercolor crayons and aqua painter to color it up.

I'm at Linda's for the weekend and we will be stamping our fool heads off so I'm sure I'll have plenty to post each day. Stay tuned!


All Supplies from Stampin' Up!
Stamps: A Slice of Life
Paper: So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Very Vanilla, Watercolor paper
Ink: Black Staz-On, Versamark
Accessories: Scallop Edge punch, Linen Thread, Aqua Painters, Watercolor Crayons, Taffeta Ribbon




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do Something Creative Everyday - Day 4

Submitted by Michelle
It has been another busy day and I stamped some cards that were left over from last night's stamp club so I was tempted not to make anything new but, since I previously posted the stamp club cards here I decided to quickly make something new for today's blog entry.

The idea comes from page 111 of the Stampin' Up Idea Book and Catalog. This little card would be great tucked in with a hostess gift or attached to a vase of pretty spring flowers. Tomorrow I plan to make a full sized card since I've been working on the small side lately. See you then!

All Supplies from Stampin' Up!
Stamps: Pocket Silhouettes
Paper: Garden Green textured, Very Vanilla, Elegant Eggplant, So Saffron, Pretty in Pink
Ink: Garden Green, So Saffron, Pretty in Pink , Elegant Eggplant (Markers)
Accessories: Scallop Envelope Die for Big Shot, 3 Flowers Punch, Basic Pearls, Clips Assortment, 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon Daffodil Delight

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Quick Card

Submitted by Michelle
Despite my best efforts, I've had an extremely busy and stressful day however, I did not let that stop me from my self-declared crafting challenge. It is day 3 and I made this 3 X 3 card exactly as it is shown in the Stampin' Up catalog on page 63. It is amazing how quickly a card can come together when one doesn't have to think up the layout and design. The white heart of words is embossed -- one of my favorite techniques -- and I found that my mini crafting break was a good way to take my mind off my worries, at least for 20 minutes.

All Supplies from Stampin' Up!
Stamps: Simply Said, Kindness Wheel
Paper: Melon Mambo, So Saffron, Old Olive, Baja Breeze
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Elegant Eggplant grosgrain ribbon, white embossing powder, filigree designer bards, eyelet border punch

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Embossing Goin' On

Submitted by Michelle

My friend Jule-Ann entrusted me with the task of making graduation invites for her son. Jule-Ann is one of the most laid back people I have ever met and so when she said she didn't need them until the end of May I figured her son was graduating in June. This morning I thought I'd get a jump start on the invites and I realized the graduation is at the end of May! In fact, it is this week!!! Thank goodness I already had a plan in mind.

Using the school colors, I got to work making a tri-fold card that is held closed with a belly band.
The initials on the belly band are embossed as is the front of the card.
I really like the finished product and I am glad to count this as my 2nd day in a row of being creative.

All Supplies from Stampin' Up!
Stamps: Print Pattern Background (retired), ABC Alphabet (retired)
Paper: Bravo Burgundy, Brushed Gold, Very Vanilla
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Gold embossing powder, 2" and 1 3/4" circle punches

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Do Something Creative Everyday

Submitted by Michelle
This is my favorite coffee mug. I drink from it most every day at 4:00 AM when I'm up before dawn, cruising the internet. I love the quiet of the morning and knowing I have several hours until I have to do anything.
I bought the mug a few years back at Paper Source because I loved the inspirational message and because I do fancy myself creative, even though I'm more of a copier than creator. However, despite the cheerful inscription, I don't stamp everyday or even every week. I find I get waylaid by things that are not necessarily more important but higher up on the "to do" list.

This weekend I was at Linda's house in Claremont and we were looking through the Stampin' Up catalog together. It is amazing how every time we look in it we find something we didn't see before. There are so many great ideas in the book and yet we usually try to come up with our own projects. We eagerly grabbed a stack of post-it notes and started flagging pages which had cards or boxes or crafts on them that we wanted to make. I then thought of my mug and decided to challenge myself to do something creative for 30 days in a row. I think it will be good for me to take a time out, especially as school is winding up and I have a jillion things on my plate, and do something that I enjoy. And it will also be a good exercise in moderation. Linda and I tend to follow the "go big or go home" motto and if 1 card is good, 10 is better! With this challenge, I don't need to mass produce anything. I'll just make 2. One for me and one for Linda. Because the best things in life are those you share with a front row friend.
Card #1
From page 18 in the Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog

Stamps: So Many Thanks
Paper: Garden Green Textured, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Riding Hood Red, Garden Green Markers
Accessories: Square Scallop Punch

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I've Been Working On

Submitted by Michelle

As Linda mentioned in her last blog entry, we are both in the throes of finishing up the school year and all that it entails. Linda and I have often said that something we appreciate about being teachers is that there is a beginning and an end to each school year and we get to start fresh each time. However, it is the beginning and the end that prove to be the most challenging for me. September and May are the months in which I find I have almost no time to myself and it is difficult to squeeze much else in beyond work and resting from working. Thankfully, I have my Stamp Clubs that make it necessary for me to take some time out to stamp. This month, both of my clubs are doing the same projects and over the past few weeks I've been coming up with ideas, making samples and prepping all the materials. This weekend I'll be in Claremont with Linda for her club and next week my La Quinta club will meet. Here is a look at what we will be making.
Because Father's Day will be here before we know it!
A simplified version of a card I posted here.
An all purpose card that uses a new stamp set designed for Breast Cancer Awareness. Stampin' Up! is donating $2.00 for every set that is sold. To purchase this set or for more information click here.
A fun way to jazz up a plain white bag.

If your May is as crazy as mine is, I hope you are finding some way to unplug and let the creative juices flow every now and then.




Monday, May 16, 2011

Trust Me on This One: Giada's Couscous Salad

Submitted by Linda
So you may have noticed that Michelle and I have both MIA since Easter. For kindergarten teachers, (and probably all teachers), everything is ramped up in May. End of year projects to finish, open house projects, assessments, report cards, kid gifts, volunteer gifts, performances - no wonder we're so tired.

We did do some crafting recently, in fact we both worked together to make volunteer gifts for a total of 130 cute post-it holders (photos to come later). We also made custom Mom's day cards (no photos!), and I made a banner for a friend's 4 year old "boutique birthday" (again no pictures!)

But in addition to all of my super busy teacher's life, my darling boys came home from college (with all of their couches, tables, video gaming equipment, stuff that belongs to their out-of-state-friends, and the veritable mountain of laundry). We've since settled in, but now I'm back to cooking full on meals for hungry boys. (Oh, empty nest, where art thou?)

Believe it or not, my Tommy has actually said to me, "Mom, will you make something off of the food network?" (As if my regular cooking isn't good!?!)

Well, here's one off the food network that we all love. I will admit it has some interesting tastes, but for me, it is the perfect mixture of savory flavors. Tommy and I watched Giada make this, and since we both love curry and cashews, we thought it would be good. We weren't sure about the roasted cauliflower, and were thinking to omit it. However, one of my rules of thumb is to always try a recipe as written, so that you know if it is genuinely good. Then the next time you can tweak it if you like.

So, we roasted our cauliflower in olive oil....and it was so good - we stood in the kitchen eating it straight off the cookie sheet! Here are the ingredients, ready to be mixed.
I like to make a batch of this up on the weekend, and take it in my lunch every day. The only change I make to the recipe is to make extra dressing.

Giada's Curried Couscous Salad (courtesy Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder (recommended: Spice Islands)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10-ounce box) couscous
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, roasted and lightly salted cashews
  • 1 (4-inch) piece cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large lemon, zested

Dressing (my suggestion- double the recipe):

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder (Giada recommends: Spice Islands)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cauliflower: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet liberally with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the cauliflower and olive oil together until coated. Put in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until golden and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Salad: In a medium saucepan bring the chicken broth, curry powder and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and allow the couscous to absorb the liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Stir in the cooked cauliflower, cranberries, cashews, cucumber, parsley, and lemon zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil and curry powder until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Just before serving, add the dressing to the salad and toss well to coat.