Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Harvest!

Submitted by Linda
Just a shorty to let you all know what I've been up to. My mom decided to make this cute treat bag for her Bible study friends, so I joined in and made a few also. It features my favorite Fancy Favor die (for the big shot), and the oldie but goodie stamp set Tag Time from 2004. The pumpkin has been sprayed with shimmer mist, though it's hard to see in the pic.

In the background you can see that my pretty green pumpkin is turning orange!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's all in the details!

Submitted by Linda
You may remember back in June, Michelle began a 30 day crafting challenge, where her goal was to make a card each day, using supplies she had, and copying ideas out of the SU Catalog and Idea Book before the new catalog came out. While we were perusing the catalog to look for ideas, I noticed how many cards had tiny little accents made using the Itty Bitty Punches. I purchased the punches recently - look how itty bitty they are (compared to my regular sized punch)!
I was working on my usual 'classic card' for an upcoming baby shower. The mommy doesn't know if she's having a boy or a girl, so I needed to make generic 'thank yous'.
Here is what I came up with:
I do think it's lovely, and I really enjoyed using the new Four Frames set out of the new catalog. But it seemed like something was missing.......

...isn't it amazing what a difference one itty bitty flower with a rhinestone can make?
I made 2 color combinations, and on this one I added the sweetest brown flower brad. Oh, how I adore that little brad!
I'm looking forward to giving them away next weekend at the shower!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Miss Carla's Oversized Bakery Chocolate Chippers

Submitted by Linda

When kindergarten starts in late August, my classroom could be a reality show. I am actually surprised that there isn't one already (or is there, and I just don't know?). I always say I am lucky to get to laugh and sing and color and dance almost every day in kindergarten. However, when our students start the year, there is often a lot of crying, shoe tying, and yes, 'accidents'. Most of the time it's just 'number one', but this year, our kindergarten team (not me, thank goodness) faced a couple of very messy accidents. I won't go into the gory details, especially since this is a food-related post.

Serendipitously, on that day, my friend Carla arrived to pick up her charges (she's the beloved babysitter "Miss Carla") and brought with her a bag of amazing homemade 'bakery size' chocolate chip cookies. Of course I shared them with my K-teacher team, and we were mostly able to recover from the drama of the day.

Several days later, when it happened again, I saw Carla and mentioned that it was a "cookie day". She promptly returned with another zip-loc baggy.

Now you may say they only were amazing because of the day we had, but after making them myself, I will admit that they are everything they're cracked up to be!

I also know that every family has their family recipe for chocolate chip cookies, so I'm not suggesting that this is a replacement, but rather a 'new favorite' to add to the recipe boxes.

You may remember Carla from another post, where I referred to her as the Goddess of all Sewing. Well, she also could be considered the Queen of Cooking! The cookies we were given had chocolate from FRANCE, and pecans from GEORGIA! Now that is a serious commitment to starting with high quality ingredients.

What I love about this cookie, is that there is just enough dough to hold together the chocolate chips and nuts. Just look at this dough! (I'll admit, I tasted more than one spoonful).
Here they are, on my pretty Petit Point Plate!
Miss Carlas Oversized Bakery Chocolate Chippers
Makes 28 Cookies (if you don't eat too much dough)

2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips (I used the mini chips)
1 C. (at least) coursely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream the melted butter, brown sugar and sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop the cookies 1/4 C. at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (we both used the #24 ice cream scoop packed tight. Mine was the pampered chef version that is also the same size to fill a cupcake liner with batter.) Press each cookie down with the palm of your hand to even it out a bit - not too flat. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown. Cool on baking sheets a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Carla also recommends baking one tray at a time, so you can keep an eye on them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love At First Sight

Submitted by Linda
I come by it naturally, this love of dishes and china that I have. You should see my mom's china cabinet.

Actually, when I first got married, we were in a 'casual' vibe, and I didn't choose china or crystal because our plan was to host bar-b-ques and taco feeds (which we actually do, pretty often).

After the fact, I was sorry that I didn't have real china, but was eventually blessed with a full service from my dear Aunt Sara, and an entire set of my Grandma Roll's Noritake wedding china. So trust me, I have plenty of gorgeous dishes.

I'm usually not tempted to buy china, but when I was in Victoria, B.C., I fell head over heals for this pattern, Royal Albert's Petit Point. I saw an entire set in an antique store, and thought to myself, "I'm gonna get me some of that!" Thus, my first purchase on ebay was the sweet sugar and creamer shown below.
I really don't want a giant set of this, so I decided to keep my collection under control and collect a little at a time. My next ebay find was this luncheon plate, with a cup and saucer.Then I found 2 more cups and saucers, one in Bakersfield, and the other at the street fair in Clovis.
So here's my collection, as it stands. I just love the bright colors and the 'stitched' look. I'm planning to round it out to 4 place settings, so I could have a nice little tea party or a lunch with some girlfriends.
I had to try it out with food.....stay tuned for this cookie recipe!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Fall Y'all!

Submitted by Linda
Since we don't experience a 'true' fall here in So-Cal, I thought I'd share a peek into our makeshift Autumn.

I've got a cute flag, hanging out on a 100 degree, sunny day in October!
We locals go to the Happiest Place on Earth to see Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Autumn attire.
No pretty leaves, no frost on the ground, no crisp, chilly mornings. But I do have this sweet little leaf and acorn dish that I bought in Clovis. I forgot to post it on my "reviewing my purchases" blog, because it was so happily nestled atop Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
And just yesterday, Craig's co-worker Valerie, (who is a faithful Front Row Friends follower), brought us this gorgeous pumpkin from the Central Valley where her folks live. Apparently, her mom had tossed a pumpkin into the compost pile months ago, and it sprouted a pumpkin patch that yielded this and many more beauties. I love the color and it's Cinderella shape.
Maybe I'll save the seeds from this one and try my own hand at growing a pumpkin patch!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Three Club Cards

Submitted by Michelle

It is time again for my monthly stamp clubs and this month's meeting will be the last for 2011. With the holidays approaching and me working on my Master's Degree, I've decided to take a little break during November and December. Since I won't be seeing my ladies for a while I thought cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas would be appropriate.

This month I was very lucky to have Linda visit me in La Quinta and help with the prototypes for club. I chose the stamp sets and she worked her magic to create amazing cards. Remember, she is the brains behind this little operation we like to call Front Row Friends.
When it comes to Halloween, neither Linda or I enjoy the spooky, creepiness that goes with it, but who can resist this little pumpkin guy from the now retired Twick or Tweet stamp set? The picture doesn't do him justice, but Linda added glitter to the stars on his hat and crystal effects to the pumpkins to make them look glossy and more 3-D.
This Thanksgiving card is almost a direct copy of a card in the Holiday Mini catalog. With fall being my favorite season, I had to have the Warmest of Wishes hostess set that includes this leafy wreath.
Linda thought up this card that utilizes the every popular Baroque Motifs stamp set and the ornament punch. We are now officially obsessed with Stampin' Up's glitter paper which comes in both red and silver. (The ornament in the center was punched from it.) The two outside ornaments are punched from the Holly Berry Bouquet DSP in the Holiday Mini catalog. Such an easy card that packs a sparkly punch.

Linda did such an amazing job with the cards and I am so thankful I have a FRF who lends me a helping hand and her creative genius when I need it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Linda's Classic Card Version 5.0 (featuring Matt and Kyan)

Submitted by Linda
Since Michelle has named a card after me (see this post), I have another one to share. This time I made a set of 'thank yous' for a wedding shower gift for my niece-to-be Kyan. She will be marrying our beloved nephew, Matt, in a month!
(Photo by Bethany Cissel)
I have previously blogged about other nephews and nieces, and I always say they are beloved. I truly could not ask for a better example of "how to grow up Wallace" than from my boys' Wallace cousins. Matt especially has inherited the helper-gene, so he is constantly coming to someone's rescue, just like his Grandpa Tom did, and just like my DH (dear husband) Craig often does. Who wouldn't want their boys to turn out like that?

He has met his match in Kyan, and we already love her as if she's been part of the family for years and years.

This time, the cards needed to be neutral, since their wedding will have lots of kraft paper, twine, brown bags and cowboy boots. The embossed background paper was something I had in my stash of supplies, and I love the white on kraft. The stamp set is Tagtastic from the new SU catalog.
I'm so looking forward to their wedding, as I think it will be a wonderful family-centered time, and will so reflect their personalities. Despite my appreciation for tradition, I heartily approve of the groom wearing blue jeans, and the bride wearing her cowboy boots!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reviewing My Clovis Purchases!

Submitted by Linda
Back in college, my friends and I began taking trips to the Orange County Swap Meet. On the way home, in the car, one of us would pull out our purchases so that we could enjoy and savor and get excited about our finds. Thus we coined the term, "reviewing our purchases".

On the way home from our antique hunt in Clovis, our goodies were buried in the trunk and backseat, so I wasn't able to enjoy them until I got home.

Here is a nut chopper with a floral decal. I actually use a chopper like this, when I just need a few nuts chopped. I loved the color of this one, and the shape of the jar.
Vintage Christmas ornaments!!! Need I say more? You all know how I love all things vintage! At the street fair I did see boxes of the famous "shiny brite" ornaments, but it seemed like the box was cooler than the ornaments. So I just opted for these 2 beauties instead of an entire box.
Four little glass dishes for $2.00! That was the deal of the day. My mom in law had bought me some of these in my earlier married days, but they were all broken. These will be perfect for serving ice cream.
I tried to control myself on these embroidered pillowcases, because after all, I could make them myself. But I loved the crocheted edges, and the sweet lady who sold them had laundered them herself. Plus, they're in perfect condition! These will go on my bed during February for Valentine's Day!I had been wanting a chubby glass pitcher like this one for some time, and the $5 price was right.
I also had been wishing for a copy of this Golden Book "We Like Kindergarten". This one even has age-appropriate scribbles in it!
Most people shop for vintage buttons, but I was digging through old buttons to buy the cards. I'm hoping to use them on handstamped cards, with some other sewing motifs. I tried to find ones that had low prices (notice the 10 cents on the bottom right), so that they would look old. And don't we love the one with the guy and his pipe?
As for my other purchases, you will have to wait and see.......

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Unexpected Friendship

Submitted by Michelle
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.' C.S. Lewis

I'm a student again. I've enrolled in an 18 month program at Cal State San Bernardino in order to earn a Master's Degree in Educational Administration. It's been quite a long time since I've been in a classroom inhabited by my peers rather than 4, 5 and 6 year olds and I was rather nervous on my first day. I was late because I got lost and I tried to sneak into class as unobtrusively as possible. I didn't plan on knowing anyone in the class and I certainly didn't think I'd find anything close to a kindred spirit. Boy, was I wrong.

Not only do I know several people from various teacher trainings I have attended over the years, I also met a new front row friend called Teri. She is a recent transplant to the desert from Seattle and she shares my love of crafting! From the moment we met we hit it off. If you were to listen in on our conversations you'd think we have been friends for years, the way we chatter on and on.

2 weeks ago I brought a variety of samples of my paper crafting to show to Teri. Last week, it was her turn to share. She brought me this beautiful present.
Notice the wired ribbon from Hobby Lobby in the gorgeous colors of fall. Love it!

Teri makes handstamped coasters using stamps, ink, tiles and fixative spray.
Like me, she also loves to make tags.
It has been such a treat getting to know her and in such an unexpected surrounding. Now, not only do I have a study buddy, I also have a crafting pal. This Master's program is paying off already!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Clovis....

Submitted by Linda

Well, we did have a fun drive together, my pal Liz and me, but most of the funny stuff actually occurred in the town of Clovis, during our Antique Street Fair adventure.
Funny Thing #1:
Funny Thing #2: The public men's restroom line was longer than the women's line. Has anyone ever seen this phenomenon before? I was quite impolite as I laughed out loud at the men waiting. Ooopsies!

Funny Thing #3: After being scrutinized by 'Old Man Vendor', he asked me if I was my friend Liz's mother! I will point out that we are close in age...and I was paranoid for the rest of the day that I could look like I had mothered someone in their 40's. Holy Moly!

Funny Thing #4, #5, #6, and so on: How many times Liz or I said, "We had that at our house when I was a kid". Case in point....Cabbage Patch Kid pictured below.....
...and the toasters. Have you ever seen so many old toasters in one location?
I actually texted a picture of the toaster to the left of the old iron (pictured below). Our family used that type of toaster in our travel trailer over a gas burner when we were camping!
And how about the 'princess' phone on the top right of this picture? And the hair dryer on the ground below the table? Oy Vey! Maybe I am getting old!!!
In addition to all of our laughing, we had the most wonderful time shopping. In fact, I really didn't take as many pictures as I could have, because I was so excited to see the vendors and their wares.
We saw lots of neat things, and the prices seemed good. When I was in doubt, I asked "Antique Guru" Liz to let me know if the item I was looking at was a deal or not.
We finished our time with 'street food'. Liz had a bar-b-que beef sandwich, and I had an amazing, hand-dipped corn dog! That dog was only $3, and it rivaled the similar corn dog for sale on Main Street at Disneyland for a lot more than $3!
Are you curious about what I bought? Stay tuned......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Just Say No!" to new hobbies......

Submitted by Linda
It's like an alcoholic going to a bar....or a person on a diet going into Baskin Robbins. I've already admitted that I'm a ribbon junkie, and you all know about my stamps. This past summer I started a 'new old hobby', so I must SAY NO to any new hobbies! Except when I go here.....
"Not your grandmother's quilt store", a.k.a Strawberry Patches in Bakersfield. Already that sounds appealing, though I've never had a problem with either of my grandmothers' quilts. I'm a sucker for the cute window display, showing gorgeous little girl dresses with quilts and paper lanterns.
And look at the walls of colored fabrics. My friend Liz found exactly what she was looking for on this wall.
Another clever idea with the lanterns and girly clothes.
What could be cuter than baby clothes and custom burp rags on a clothesline?

And a fabric banner made with rick rack!
Giant rick rack and ball fringe! Oh, how I love ribbon and trim!
And finally, look at these pincushions that are created to look like cakes and tarts!
Somebody help me! I was ready to buy out the store.I'm happy to report that I did escape with just a package of dishtowels to embroider, and a couple of yards of trim. However, I can't wait to go again, and this time, maybe I'll actually buy some fabric!