Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Happy New Year!

I had time to squeeze in one last challenge for 2015. Little Red Wagon's challenge was to create a Happy New Year card. While I have no intentions of giving anyone a card for this occasion, I came up with this simple celebratory card that could be used for a number of occasions. I think it fits the bill.
You probably can't tell from the photo but the white card base is textured and the stamped part is smooth. Also, the champagne? is glossy accented. Also the brads are straight. It's an optical illusion. LOL!

On another note, my brilliant friend Nicole challenged herself to make these cuties after seeing a picture on Pinterest. They turned out very well. Good job, Nicole.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Stamp of the Month Challenge

Well, I DID IT! I accomplished one of my 15 in 15 goals and I completed the From the Heart Stamps - Stamp of the Month challenge for 12 consecutive months earning 12 free digis along the way. It was a really good way to push myself, I would never have completed these cards without the challenge. I'm a little late with my last card (he's a little Christmasy) but oh so cute!
I tried a couple different techniques. I did plaid lines with my Copics and I was able to use my new stitched circles which I have wanted for so long and just treated myself to. Didn't get around to a sentiment but my card is ready to send next year which is a good thing as I didn't get many out THIS year.
And I blogged TWICE in one day....
Will I do it again in 2016? Stay tuned.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Over the holiday season, there seems to be lots of opportunities to bring or make appetizers for entertaining so I'm going to share one of my favourites. I make this recipe all the time. It just simmers away in the crockpot and becomes nice and carmalized if you leave it long enough. I make my own meatballs but you could just use the frozen as well.
It's difficult to get an appetizing photo of meatballs, but trust me, these ones are delicious.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
1 cup brown sugar
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce (low salt)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp garlic (fresh)

Mix and pour over meatballs in crockpot. 5 hours on low heat.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Chex Mix Sweet and Savoury

Well, now that the dust has settled after an excellent Christmas, I may have time to squeeze in a couple more posts before we see the end of 2015.

I wanted to try a different type of snack mix this year. I love the traditional with Shreddies and Cheerios but now that we have Chex cereal here, I thought it was time to branch out a bit.

This mix is a bit sweet and a bit savoury. I followed the recipe exactly but I would recommend not adding the nuts until the last 15 minutes or so, maybe 30 min. The hour of baking was too long. The original recipe called for Mixed nuts (who can afford those these days?) so I substituted peanuts and then tried a second batch with almonds. Both were salted.

It is an additive mix. Be warned.

Sweet and Savoury Chex Mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp seasoned salt
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Honey Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Bugles
1 1/2 cups pretzels
1 cup roasted, salted mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 275 F.
Put butter, sugar, syrup, soy sauce in medium saucepan over med-low heat until sugar dissolves.
Add seasoned salt.
Put dry ingredients in large roast pan. Slowly drizzle sauce over top while stirring.
Bake one hour, stirring every 15 min. Add nuts towards the end of the baking time. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas is coming!

Nice to have a few days before Christmas to get together with family and friends and enjoy some of the decorations and traditions.
First up is decorating the sugar cookies. It was a little rushed but AMac did a great job. He is getting much more detailed every year...
I love having the beautiful arrangements outside and inside. I was lucky to get a Christmas Cactus from my special girls, I think they are so interesting and this one was so unique; a very pale pink, almost transluscent and it bloomed just in time for Christmas vacation.
I bought a couple of these arrangements at Costco for an Auction and they were so nice, I went back and got another one for myself.
I love putting out my stained glass Nativity. One of these years, I will finish it off and make a Creche to really complete the set. Too many crafts, too little time.
I love putting out my special pieces. This year, I decorated my tree with vintage ornaments from my childhood. I really like the look and now I'm sorry I got rid of some of the old decorations.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas gifts

I like to give the secretaries at work a little something for all their hard work and help and because there are six of them, it can add up. I like to do something a little homemade, a little crafty and I try and avoid giving food products because we tend to get and give so much at this time of year.
 I recently got hooked on knitting dishcloths again so I had a few made up and I thought they would pair nicely with a Bath and Bodyworks soap which is one of my guilty pleasures. I also added a nice Christmas tag that could be used on a gift. I thought this ended up being a decent (and useful)gift.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

December Rush

Well, my intentions were good but there wasn't very much free time in the last month, even though I have plenty to show... a card swap, new recipes, fundraising. I was the lead for an on-line Auction and that took a lot of my free time plus everyone wants to get together as the holidays approach and there is baking to do and cards to make....
I was busy making chocolate covered Oreos to sell for Autism Dog Services when we were handing out the Auction prizes at the Cambridge Centre. They had to not only be made but packaged as well. I had some help with that so it saved me a lot of time.
I also made a dozen to put into the Auction itself. I took some baking to the Mall for the volunteers to enjoy...
Doesn't that look yummy?  Then I did about 20 dozen more for my baking sale at work...
I cut back this year, didn't have the time to do quite as much but I made the old favourites.. snickerdoodles, Classic shortbread, soft ginger cookies, Cadbury cookies, Funfetti cookies to name a few. I tried a couple new recipes, one a whipped shortbread that was a disaster (more on that later) and a new snack mix that is yummy. Will post a recipe once things slow down.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

November Stamp of the Month

Tis the Season! So much going on. I'm the Chair for an On-line Auction for Autism Dog Services. That involved a lot of computer time so I didn't feel too much like blogging lately. Then I realized that it was the end of the month again. How does that happen? I'm so close to completing my yearly challenge, I just had to do a card this aft. It helped that it was my favourite Birdbrain and he was pretty quick to colour.
Here's the image from this month at From the Heart Stamps...
And here's my card using the Sweet Sunday Sketch 297...
And here's the Sketch that I used..
It's not a great photo but it was already dark by the time I finished and I was a bit pressed for time as you know. I did stamp a nice Christmas sentiment inside the card but the gloss on my Birdbrain was still wet so I didn't want to risk it. Note to self. Do not leave challenge until the last day of the month.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Fall in Bloom

Well, my words from the last post are coming back to haunt me. As much as I love trees, I kind of forgot about the fall raking. Oh well, it was a beautiful day to spend a couple hours outside and I'm lucky that my area still has curbside pickup so even though hauling tarpfuls of wet leaves is a bit of work, it's way easier then bagging them.
I find it hard to throw out my fuschias as they are still looking decent and blooming. I can hardly believe they have escaped the frost and negligence of non-watering. They like the cool temperatures and so do I.
My friends enjoyed an afternoon in the fresh air as well and a little ball retrieving.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fall Colours

It took me over 4 years to get a tree replaced on my boulevard. First the dead tree was cut down, the stump remained for ages, it was pulled out, a weak dying specimen of a tree was planted which promptly died the following spring as anticipated. Finally after several years of calling and hounding; a good specimen of a Red Oak was planted. Not the Red Maple that I requested but after all that time, I was just happy to have a tree.
I think this photo was taken in the Fall a couple seasons ago. This year I was happy to see for the first time, the beautiful colours of my Oak tree and how much it has grown.
Several of the trees in my neighbourhood have died recently. Trees don't live forever either! So I'm on a mission again to get them replaced to enhance the beauty of the street and provide oxygen, cooling and habitat for all the squirrels that keep my dogs entertained. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

From the Heart October Stamp of the Month

Yikes. I was cutting this one close. Only a few hours to get it completed and posted but I made it and I'm happy to say, this makes 10 in a row. I absolutely love this Cornucopia image from From the Heart Stamps but I was a little late getting going this month and missed the Canadian Thanksgiving so I wasn't quite as inspired to finish the card. But I love a challenge and this was a super cute image. Here it is....
And here's my card....
I wanted to use those little leaf diecuts in the worst way and must have cut out about 50 in various shapes and sizes before I just went with it.

And in other breaking news, Lindor is featured as Pet of the Week in the Kitchener Record today. I sent in her photo a year ago and was pretty sure she would get picked A. because she's adorable and B. because its Trick or Treat tonight and she makes a pretty cute cowgirl.

Happy HOWLowe'en!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

I have the strongest feeling that I have posted this recipe before but I can't find it on the blog and I made them again last night and they were yummy so I am going to share. They are also pretty lowfat which is a bonus. The recipe usually calls to make 12 but I usually go with 9 or 10 cuz I like a good-sized muffin, if you know what I mean!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Stir together dry ingredients, stir together moist ingredients. Pour moist over dry and stir unti
just barely mixed. Spoon into prepared cups and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Bake at 375F for18 to 20 minutes.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Optimists Fundraiser

I went to a great Fundraiser Crop yesterday put on by the Kitchener West Optimists. Krista did a great job with many games and prizes and vendors. I was too busy working on my cards to take many pictures but I did remember to take a couple of the cute goodie bags that we got when I got home.
I hope they raised a lot of money for children in our community. It was a fun day. Perfect place to be with the dreary, rainy weather.
This was the cute little make and take that the Stampin' Up vendor did for the entire group...
and her take away treat bag..

Monday, 12 October 2015

Pumpkin Pie

So the Thanksgiving festivities are over for another year, but there is still the clean-up to contend with. Shouldn't be too bad and its another beautiful Fall day so I don't want to waste it all indoors.

I tried to get a photo of the pies before I put them out and I want to post the recipe, mostly for myself and I'll tell you why. I like to use the recipe off the back of the E.D. Smith  Pure Pumpkin but sometimes I like to buy the no name pumpkin because I'm cheap like that and they don't have a recipe. Sure I could look one up, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist and have been making this same recipe for years and its delicious. Creamy and just the right amount of spices. In fact, I could use a piece right now (but maybe I'll wait for lunchtime)
So this recipe is for me for next Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie
(makes one pie)

2 eggs
1/2 can of 796 mL Pure Pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup (175 mL) evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat eggs in bowl. Add other ingredients and then add evaporated milk.
Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and continue baking
for 30 to 35 minutes until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. (see above photo with knife mark visible)

I usually use the whole can and double the rest of the ingredients to make 2 pies or freeze the leftover pumpkin in spoonfuls for the dogs for when their tummies are upset.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Polishing the Silver

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm happy that many family members are travelling to enjoy a meal and some fellowship here today. I feel that all the preparation has gone so smoothly. I used to be so tired and grouchy putting on the meal, now I try and prep everything ahead so I have time to visit and I'm in a good mood. LOL!
One of the jobs that I like to do ahead of time is polish the silver. While many people no longer use real silverware, I inherited my Mom's and I like to pull it out for special occasions. This was my job growing up as well as ripping the bread for the stuffing. I got my training started early and I'm so glad that I had such a wonderful teacher.
I also pull out the good china. The pattern is Cornflower and even though it isn't too fall-like, its been in our family for many years and our house growing up was always open and welcome to dinner guests on a regular basis. There are always good memories when I get to pull out these special reminders of family.
 Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal but especially take the time to enjoy your guests as well.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Sizzix Circle Flip Its Card

What is it about that 50% off Michaels coupon that just screams "buy something". So I was moseying around the store coupon in hand thinking this would be a good time to stock up on some cutting blades. BORING! when I happened upon these dies. I had my eye on a different set a couple weeks ago but this little beauty seemed too good to pass up. It was so fun and easy, I immediately whipped up a card when I got home that evening and THAT doesn't happen very often. What do you think? Cute, eh?
This set came with 11 different dies. Not a bad deal for $20. The card will fit neatly in an A2 envelope. I can see lots of uses for this in the future.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Farley Campaign Baking

The Farley Campaign kicked off this week so I had to scramble to get my cards together and whip up some baking for their sale.
I got a lot of cards ready to donate with a little help from my friends Keri and Anne Marie on assembly. I'm not sure how the sale went but all the proceeds went to the Farley Campaign at Kingsdale Animal Hospital.
I also put together a nice doggie basket for their raffle...
I was able to whip up a good selection of baked goods to donate as well...
Mmmm, chocolate covered Oreos.
Oh and I managed to squeeze in an amazing get-away to Toronto to see this star in concert...

Did you happen to recognize her surprise guest? Amazing bonus of Keith Urban along with Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy. Incredible night of music.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September Stamp of the Month

How does a month go by so quickly? I suddenly realized that I only had a couple days to complete my challenge. Don't want to stop now, only a few months to go.
Here's my card featuring my free digital Stamp for my Monthly Progressive Challenge from From the Heart Stamps.
Here's the digital set that I had to work with....
Litttle Red Wagon has a challenge this week to use a Fall theme so I'm going to hook up with them as well. It's been awhile since I did any challenges other then my monthly one. Too much time on dog/cat production, I guess.Hoping to get back into the swing of things again soon.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

One Sheet Wonder

Since I make a lot of cards for donation, I figured it was time to try something a little less labour intensive ie. stamping and colouring and putting together a card. There are so many nice doggie themed lines that just came out. I picked up this one sheet wonder from Authentique and managed to put together 11 cards from one piece of paper! I loved how they all coordinated. Maybe I will put them into sets.

 I kept the designs simple because a designer I am NOT! Love the teal and orange cardstock too. So fall-like. And while putting them together I burned my delicious Bath and Body Works Cinnamon Caramel Swirl candle so now my house smells delightfully and not at all dog-like.
But manufacturers, we need some more cute dog accessories. I'm using up all my carefully hoarded buttons and brads.
Here's where the idea started for the sets....
PS. I got the cat line also.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Farley Foundation

Fall is a busy time. I haven't been posting much but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on a few projects. October is Farley month and my Vet asked if I would help out their campaign. Of course, I said yes as The Farley Foundation was one of the charities that we have supported in the past. They are overseen by veterinarians and help seniors, people on fixed incomes and others by defraying some of the costs of veterinary care so these people can keep their pets and provide for them.
So I've been working on lots of doggie themed cards and will likely do some baking as well to contribute to this year's campaign at Kingsdale Animal Hospital.
The assembly line....