Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birthday Star Card

Submitted by Linda
Please admire this totally (or "totes" as we 40 somethings like to say, just for the sheer joy of irritating the Wallace boys) cute card that Michelle made for my birthday. Since we craft together, sometimes it is hard to give each other a card that the other hasn't seen before. Isn't it cute with its dimension and polka dots and glittered 'i'? Plus, it doesn't get any better than pink and green together.
People often comment about how creative Michelle and I are, but really we are copycats, and you all CAN do the same. We are such a fan of SU demonstrator Heather Klump's blog, she probably thinks we are stalking her! Here is her version of the card, which was Michelle's inspiration.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that I was born with some creative genes from my mother. We joke about how we were 'real' crafters, that is, before there was Michaels or Hobby Lobby. In my growing up days, we had the fabric stores and the floral supply (which wasn't much to speak of). But nowadays, with Pinterest, blogs, and so on, we don't have any excuses! (And neither do you. So get crafting!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Banner Mania!

Submitted by Linda
See those tiny staples? They are about 3/16" long and are a super cute way to attach the pennants to the ribbon!

About twice each year, Craig asks me to donate some hand stamped items for silent auctions at APU Alumni events. Last fall, I donated a basket filled with cards and such for their golf tournament. This coming Saturday, March 24th, is their annual dinner theater, and this time I decided to change it up a bit and make four different banners, which will be packaged up together in cellophane for bidders to bid on.

I started with a small spring banner...
...a large 'love' banner...
...this fall banner (which Michelle designed for our club last fall)...
...and a teeny tiny 'Happy Birthday' banner, perfect to drape over someone's computer or mirror on their birthday!
If you are interested in having these for your very own, contact APU Alumni for tickets which included dinner and admission to "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Banners go to the highest bidder and support the student scholarship fund!

Monday, March 12, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

Submitted by Linda
This recipe was given to me when our boys were little, and it has become a 'comfort food' standby at our house. When I make some, I usually double it (or triple it) and put some in the freezer. They freeze beautifully.

The recipe calls for cooked chicken, so I often put a bunch of chicken in my crock pot, and then use it for different dishes or salads throughout the week.

Last week I took dinner to a young mommy who's husband was out of town, and this recipe was my choice, hoping that her little ones would enjoy it. (I like to have throwaway aluminum pans on hand for occasions like this, so that folks don't have to return a dish to me).

Here are the enchiladas, assembled and ready to bake. You will notice half has green onions: I know that my kids never liked finding anything green in their food. So one side is onion-free, as indicated on the top.
Here it is, fresh out of the oven, all cheesy goodness. I usually served it with refried beans and a salad, with sour cream for topping.
White Chicken Enchiladas
This recipe is for a 8x8 pan, but I was able to fill the 8x12 cake pan shown above. Double for a 9x13 pan.

1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream (and extra for topping, if you like)
1/4 cup green taco sauce
chopped green onion
2 oz. chopped diced green chilis
flour tortillas
approximately 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions: Mix first five ingredients to make sauce. Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place chicken, sauce, and cheese in the middle of a tortilla, and roll. Placed rolled tortillas, seam side down, in 8x8 pan. Spread remaining sauce and more cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes, until bubbly.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beautiful Birthday Bucket!

Submitted by Linda
As an appreciator of any handmade gift, what could make me any happier than receiving a regular, boring bucket covered with cute coordinating fabrics and embroidered flowers? Not much! My mom (who had been embroidering on the sly) created this for me. I called her the morning after my birthday to tell her it was one of my all time favorite gifts (she didn't believe me, but it's true!) Take a look at this:
The pattern came from Crab Apple Hill. Check out their website here and their "knot-y" girls blog here!

Now for a view of the inside. The bottom is gathered with a ribbon drawstring, and the inner layer (striped fabric) boasts big pockets, large enough to hold a Starbucks cold cup. The yellow fabric has smaller pockets, just the right size for pens, and scissors and other crafty stuff.
Look at this side view. I adore the contrasting piping, and the ruffly handle cover. And the embroidery!
Now for more details. I accidentally saw these yellow buttons while I was at my mom's one day. Little did I know! Notice how the embroidery attaches the ribbon at the bottom.
Here's a close up of a portion of the embroidery....
..and another. It's so cute embroidered on a printed fabric.
I heard (from my dad, actually) that it was certainly a labor of love. The completed cover didn't originally fit the bucket, so my mom had to tear it apart and revamp it. Often when my mom and I make things, we tend to make them over and over because they're so cute. Not this time. I was informed that this is a 'one and only'. So don't ask me if I can hook you up!

I am not sure how I'll use it yet - maybe to take my supplies to stamp club each month. It will certainly have a place of honor in my craft room.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Birthday Blessings!

Submitted by Linda
I had a great birthday yesterday. I can be a bit 'weird' (maybe 'controlling' is a better word) about having my birthday on a school day, because I like it to go by unnoticed, and my kindergarten friends would really rather celebrate it. This year, I found a happy medium with my very flexible and cooperative room mom, who approached me before my birthday, and then agreed not bring in a giant celebration, but instead asked the kids to bring in a homemade card instead. I got too many sweet cards to post, so I'll just share a few. As a teacher, I was impressed with how much their writing has improved since we started school.
This one from Elijah is so cute because he glittered up his 'star words' (sight words).
This one from Ashley is sweet also. Kindergartners share their love so generously!
In my class, when students have a birthday, they get a (store bought) paper crown that declares it their birthday. Two special girls got busy before my birthday, and asked to measure my head. This was the result! I love, love, love the inventive spelling on the front which does spell "Happy Birthday" in my world.
I was also gifted with some gorgeous roses and 'stamping bucks' for StampYourHeartOut, one of my favorite places in Claremont. I always say I'm blessed to have a job I love, a block from my home. I'm especially thankful when I'm showered with gifts!

When I got home from school, this beauty was on my doorstep, complete with the greeting penned onto the pot. It was from a former student, who's family also happens to attend my church. So thoughtful!Later in the evening, when I got home, I found this egg carton on my front doorstep.
Not a typical birthday treat, right? But when I opened up the carton.....gorgeous eggs from a friend who has chickens. See the big speckled one? She says that's a 'double yolker' and it means 'good luck'! You'll notice some of them are blown out. It's a long story, but a while back I asked to trade her some of my stamped cards for some of her eggs for my Easter and Spring decorating. How fun that we also get to eat the eggs.
Earlier this week, I happened to be at my friend Carla's (read about her HERE) when she mentioned that she had something for me. Months (or maybe even years) ago, I had spied a Mary Englebreit pitcher in her greenhouse window, and I had joked with her about putting my name on it, for the sad day when her heirlooms were dispersed to her family. Little did I know, she really put my name on it!Isn't it so stinkin' cute? And so dear of her to share it with me. Her words were, "I've enjoyed it for awhile and now you get to enjoy it!"
I was even lucky enough to gather the big boys around the table for a birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant!
All in all, it was a wonderful birthday! And just to give a teaser for tomorrow's post.....look at this totally adorable covered bucket my mom made for me! More details and lots of pics tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stitching Update

It's been about a year since my mom gifted me with a set of flour sack dish towels that were hand embroidered. Since then, she and I have been maniacs about stitching together. You may remember that I made the Bless Our Home design from the set of 3 patterns shown below:
This photo is courtesy of Bird Brain Designs.
My friend and teaching partner Debbie used to sell Creative Circle stitchery products (a direct sales/home party business from the 80s). She had held on to some beautiful trays that had an oval shape in the middle for a stitchery to be inserted into, and offered me one when she heard I was doing embroidery.

I dug out my Bless Our Home pattern, and found one that fit. The pattern shows the design embroidered in blackwork, but I couldn't resist using colors.
I positively adore the sheep with the heart on it's backside! Here's the finished product inserted into the tray.
I just had to set a tea cup on it to see how it would actually work - cute and functional!
Now that this is done, I'm back to working on flour sack towels and a table runner!

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Butter Chicken and Naan

Submitted by Linda
You may remember that my Tommy was in South Africa for his Fall 2011 APU semester. Here is just one happy picture of his time there.
While he was there, he and his classmates went out for Indian food a lot. He came home raving about "Butter chicken and homemade naan (flatbread)". His friend Michelle, who happens to be Indian, figured out how to make it, and since then, it has become a favorite with Tommy and his cronies. I invited Tommy to bring Michelle over for us to cook it together, so when they came, I put on my special apron:Michelle and Tommy started by getting the chicken marinated and then cooking. The sauce includes butter (of course), heavy cream, pureed tomatoes, and a secret spice packet (that can be purchased at an Indian food store). I would describe it as a curry-type dish.Next up, the dough for the naan. I thought that red bowl was big enough, but Tommy's big hands fill it up! He's mixing yeast, egg, flour, sugar, and salt to make the dough. His friend Michelle is on the right.After giving the dough a few minutes to rest and rise, Tommy started frying the naan, so we recruited Nick to help form the flatbread. (That's him, below on the right).
These on the edge of the bowl are ready to be fried.
The hot naan is coated with butter and topped with a ton of fresh garlic! YUM!
Here's our meal, plated up with the butter chicken atop a pile of white rice.
We had 6 around the table that night, and everyone enjoyed the meal! After the dishes were done, Tommy and Michelle wisked away the leftovers to share with the roomies.

Tommy's trip was a great experience in so many ways (just ask him). It was a bonus that he got some culinary skills out of it too!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Submitted by Linda
In my job I get to meet the neatest people, and I'm not just talking about my kindergarten friends. Each fall I look forward to the connections I will make with kids and families, and often, we form lasting friendships.

My K-friend Sophia's brother played Little League with my boys, so I already knew her family. What I didn't know, is that her mom, Pam, is a rock star in the baking department. She has consistently provided goodies and snacks throughout this year of kindergarten. She asked if I had plans for Dr. Seuss' birthday (in terms of food), and I didn't. In past years, we had done 'green eggs and ham', or other fun food items, but this past week had been a little crazy with transitions at my school site. Pam said she'd bring something......and take a look at this cupcake!
Forgive my picture quality. I snapped it with my old 'Envy' phone.
I'm sure you can tell that it's the Cat's Hat made out of marshmallows, with a cute ring!! Here they are in their box. Pam even has the neato boxes with holes for each cupcake! That blue frosting was WHIP CREAM! Yum!
The kids were delighted, and so was I!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teacher Gift: Classroom Goody Box

Submitted by Linda
I like to think of myself as computer-savvy. On the continuum of savvy-ness, I am certainly moving forward, since I can use facebook, blogspot, a document camera at school, an ipod, a mac, etc. Yet technology seems to move faster than I can.

Case in point, Pinterest. I have an account (I think I've pinned about 7 things), but for some reason, I find it hard to navigate so I don't log in very often. I love the idea of an online bulletin board, so I guess I need to get it figured out soon. In the meantime, I 'kick it old school' by yanking pictures out of magazines. Like this one:
Photo from Family Fun Magazine, June/July 2011
I saved this one, just in case I ever needed a cute gift for a student teacher or a new staff member. Well, one of my longtime colleagues is on medical leave, so we hired a long-term substitute, who is a brand new teacher. So I went to Michaels, got a bead box with removable dividers and decorated the top like this:
Then I went to Staples to find cute tiny things to squeeze into each section. The glossy "to do" clothespins are from Michaels' dollar spot. I think they are super cute, and I'm so glad that they fit in the box!
It's possible that the most crucial items in the box are the chocolate and Jolly Ranchers. I didn't even think about adding some Advil, but that may have also been a good idea.

This was an inexpensive project, and so fun to put together. This year, Day of the Teacher is on May 8, 2012. This would be a perfect job for elementary-age kids to help with.