Friday, October 10, 2014

A Craving for Chocolate

I had a bit of a craving for chocolate yesterday. Well, I have a bit of a craving for chocolate pretty much every day. Ok, at least I'm honest....

Anyway, for some reason I thought of the yummy cake-like chocolate cookies with chocolate frosting that our local bakery used to make. They still make them, but since the bakery was taken over by the daughter, well, the chocolate frosted chocolate cookies just haven't been as good. They tend to be dry... not to my liking.

So, I decided to search the Internet - and found a recipe by Betty Crocker (you can't go wrong with Betty Crocker!!) that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for! 

The ingredient list is pretty basic - I had everything in stock in my own kitchen. That's a good start, right? I went ahead and whipped up the cookies and let me tell you, they are oh so delicious! I will definitely make this recipe again, but with one minor alteration: I would use a smaller scoop to make smaller cookies.

I've got everything ready to go. I made sure I had all the ingredients on hand before I began, just like I learned in 7th grade home economics class. Mrs. Nelson would be so proud of me!

The recipe doesn't make a huge batch, so it all fit nicely in my mixing bowl with no overflow.... I've found this is NOT always the case. :)

The first four cookies are on the sheet. The recipe says to use a quarter cup scoop, to make JUMBO cookies, so that's what I did. They are huge! TIP: Next time I will use a standard cookie scoop, which equals a rounded tablespoon. And although this recipe says it makes 30 jumbo cookies, I only got 14 out of the batch. Oops, Betty Crocker! I think that might have been a typo! 

The first four cookies just out of the oven. Don't they look tasty?

I had some issues with the frosting - it's a "cooked" frosting. I melted the butter and chocolate as specified, then added hot water and confectioner's sugar, but didn't realize that I needed to spread the frosting while it was still hot. Needless to say, it didn't spread well at all. I finally got smart and reheated what I had left... and frosted the last four cookies. Oh, so much more successful! 

 Properly frosted cookies... oh my goodness! They taste every bit as good as they look!
Want to make these cookies? Here's the link to the recipe:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Something Blue...

Ah, I had fun with this card! I love this design and have actually made it several times, often using different colors. This time, for the first time, I used blue! 

 I begin with precut cards - this particular one, with the lovely die cut edge, is from the David Tutera collection. It's a box of 48 die cut cards and envelopes. Once in awhile I treat myself to such a find, when I can get them on sale. Anyway, I used coordinating card stock from the Indie Chic "Citron" by My Mind's Eye. I selected two different card stocks. Both are double sided. I cut the striped pattern to strips about 3/4" wide by 5-1/2" long and used double stick tape to adhere to the right side of the inside of the card, so that the design would show through the die cut. 

My next step was to stamp the stem of the flower. I used a PrintWorks stamp and StazOn jet black ink. The leaves are made from the same stock as the flower - just the back side of the stock! A pretty green pattern! I used a 1" circle punch to cut a circle, then put the circle back into the punch and arranged so that it made a leaf shape and then punched again. I can get two leaves out of each 1" circle. I did this with the scraps left over after punching the flowers. The leaves have a dot of Tacky Glue on the back to hold them in place.
Next I paper punched the chevron wave pattern with my EK Success flower punch - and then stamped a little center with a Hero Arts Poly Clear stamp. I couldn't find a collection name on the package, but there is a photo of the pack of clear stamps at the end of this post. I ran a bit of embroidery floss through the button holes and knotted it and then glued using Tacky Glue. As you may have seen in my last post, I used a clothes pin to hold the button in place while the glue dried.
The flower has 3M foam tape on the back to give it a tiny bit of lift.

The stem is a stamp from PrintWorks - I used it on the card and also on the envelope, which I decided to decorate. I am not sure what company the flower and leaf are from.... but thought the little addition on the outside of the envelope would be fun. 

And here's the basics I used.... Paper Smooches provided the Happy Birthday stamp. The inside of this card is printed using my computer and laser printer. I find that I like to print most of the sentiments inside the cards I make with the computer. 
Hope you enjoyed this post and you find some creative inspiration in it!

Have a blessed day ~

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pretty Little Flowers, All in a Row

Earlier this year I saw a card design for one similar to this... but I can't remember where I saw it. I thought it was a delightful design and I decided to create my own version.

I began by cutting a piece of white card stock to 5.25" x 4" - this is the base of the card front, on which I will do all the stamping and embellishing. I used two different flowers and a leaf stamp. The larger flower and the leaf are from Printworks and the polka dot flower is from Stampendous. I've had these stamps for years... absolutely love them! 

I used StazOn jet black ink because, well, it's jet black! Nice and crisp!
I then used a Staedtler pen to draw the black "stems."

Next I stamped the trio of leaves with green ink - and then did a little masking to stamp the single leaf. I just used blue painter's tape for this... Just remember to take the tape off before you stamp onto the card! (I speak from experience.)

I used a pink grosgrain ribbon, adhering it with double stick tape and wrapping it around to the back side. I made a tiny "bow," which is really just a single knot, and glued it on with clear Tacky glue. I use clothes pins to hold things in place until they are dry.

Next I cut a piece of pink card stock to a size slightly larger than my card front and used double stick tape to hold the two together. And last but not least, I glued tiny buttons on for the centers of the flowers. I am pretty tickled with how the card turned out! Hope you like it!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

World Card Making Day

I just learned that it's World Card Making Day! I happened to learn this a bit earlier today as I was checking my emails and received one from Damask Love... and so I thought I'd really better make at least one card today to celebrate!

While cleaning my studio recently, I've come across a number of cards that I had made years ago, and while I was not exactly happy with the way they all looked, I set most of them aside for future inspiration. This heart embellished birthday card is one that I wasn't too pleased with, but then I thought the layout was okay, so today I decided to try it again, but in a little different way....

I started out by cutting strips of a Christmas patterned card stock from a 6x6 pad that I had in my stash. The company is Echo Park Paper Company, and it's the Season's Greeting pack by Lori Whitlock. It has quite a number of fun, double sided card stocks. I didn't actually measure the widths of the strips, just cut them about 1/4" wide, varying a little bit. Then I cut green card stock to 4' x 5.25" and stamped and embossed "Merry & Bright" (My Mind's Eye) with white embossing powder.  I then used double stick tape to adhere the three strips to the card, trimming them to line up with the edges of the green card stock.

Next I put two poinsettia Art Flowers (Hero Arts) together with a sparkly brad (American Crafts) and punched a tiny hole through the decorative strip and green stock and fastened the brad on the back side. Then I put three rows of 3M foam tape on the back of the green card stock to give it some dimension.

And finally, I attached the whole front piece to my folded card stock, with "Wishing you merry moments this holiday season" (Hero Arts for Archiver's) stamped on the inside. Voila! My finished card! Simple and pretty and a whole lot better, I think, than the original birthday card! Don't you agree?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I have a fetish for birds....

Right now I am loving birds. Anything with birds. This won't come as much of a surprise to my family and friends, as I certainly enjoy feeding the birds outside our dining room patio door - they are so much fun to watch! 

And I have been working, fairly diligently, on getting my studio back into shape. Let me tell you, it was a very big mess... and then I tore it all apart to start the cleaning process and it became a bigger mess. This was a bit overwhelming and so I just stayed clear for a few weeks. 

But the itching to create was (eventually) greater than the feeling of despair and I finally got it organized enough to at least have some work space and start creating. 

Someday I'd like to post the revamp photos and story, but for now suffice it to say that it will be awhile, as there is still a lot of work to do.

However, yesterday I created. When I make cards I frequently make multiples of the same design. I like to use them for my own giving occasions and I sell them locally at a store, so it's always good for me to make more than one.

Yesterday's design used some new stamps, some old stamps and some new card stock supplies. I also used a new technique... so read on to learn what I did!

I started with my new bird stamp - from Inkadinkado... I think it is precious. I then used some stamps I had in my collection: Number Pattern from Hero Arts and the "crackled" stamp from Magenta. I chose card stock from a new pad I recently bought - The Modern Meadow Stack by DCWV. I used the chevron pattern for the card background and circle punched the orange print paper and then stamped the number pattern onto the circle... using a basic brown ink.

Next I cut a rectangle from Bazzille Basics - And then I stamped, with orange ink, the crackled pattern on the paper. A tone on tone look. The Bazzill Basics stock is textured, so when I stamped the the birds they do not come out completely solid. I like this look! I stamped the birds with embossing ink and then heat embossed with Chocolate Brown. I then trimmed the end of the rectangle to the point, applied foam tape to the back and - this is where I used a technique new to me - I used plain old sewing thread and looped it around, sticking it to the foam, so that it would protrude beyond the rectangle! I saw this simple technique in a Hero Arts video that Julie Ebersole did. So cute and so clever!

 Here's a shot of the thread stuck to the foam on the back side of the rectangle.

And here's a shot of the thread from the front...

I added a birthday message on the inside and the card is all done and ready to give. I like the colors... think autumn.... and of course I LOVE the birds!

Have a blessed day, everyone!