Sunday, April 26, 2015

He CAN'T be FORTY!!!!

Today my oldest son, Scott,  is FORTY YEARS OLD.  How can that be??  If I am not getting older, how can he??

We celebrated his birthday on Saturday with his wife, adorable new son, and his brother, Robert.  It was a fun time sharing dinner and just good family time together.

I made beef stroganoff in the pressure cooker (my Instant Pot - love it!), noodles, grilled asparagus, croissants and homemade cheesecake ice cream and homemade lemon cookie gelato. (see the photo below!)  I had not made stroganoff in ages, but it was fun to experiment and it was an unusually cool day here so it was perfect weather for that kind of a meal... (stroganoff recipe to follow soon!)

In lieu of birthday cake, I made lemon cookie gelato.
Scott said it was the best gelato ever - even the ones he had in Italy!
Made my night <<BIG smile!>>

The birthday card file is from Dominc (Crafty Vectors) and I so love how his files cut. The shell is pretty symbolic to both of us - my parents lived fairly close to the beach and my children spend a lot of time at their home when they were young.  And I have been longing for more time at the ocean lately, so it seemed like the perfect image to share with Scott. He loved the card.

Dominic's shell file - love the intricacy of it...

The file with two different backgrounds to give it a finished look...

But more important than all of that is thinking back to forty years ago and as trite as it sounds, it does seem like yesterday.  Scott was my first child and I was practically a child when I had him  (very early 20s). I always say he turned out well in spite of me.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but the one thing that was always constant was my love for him.  And forty years later, it is only stronger.  I am so very proud of the man that he has become. And watching him with his wife and baby son just makes my heart skip a beat! He is really living the life he is meant to live and isn't that what we want for our children... for them to be happy and content and fulfilled?

One of the highlights was capturing Scott and Carter having quite the conversation!  This looks like contentment to me...

Scott didn't change his position much, but Carter was certainly animated...

I  feel very blessed and look forward to the adventures we have ahead of us.


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

70th Celebration

I have a dear friend who turned the big 7-0 a few weeks ago.  I was struggling with what kind of card to make for him as I knew it was not the easiest decade for him to step into....... so I let his love of wine take over the inspiration.

I had found a file online ages ago (if I can remember who to give credit for this wine card, I certainly will) and had it sitting in my rather vast SVG collection. It is a good thing that these files only take up storage on the computer and not my craft room or I would have to curtail collecting -  perish the thought!

This was with  the satin silver on gold tape....
I struggles with capturing the colors on this so I apologize for the blue background - 
it was difficult to capture

Anyway......... the rest of this became simple.  I added embellishments from the SCAL library, used my Brother labeler to add a touch of personalization to the wine, and of course the papers are from Paper Temptress.

And it was a success - he loved the card! :)

The cork was embossed with a mesh embossing folder and flipped over so the deboss side shows...

Here is to many more birthdays (and bottles of wine to celebrate!)

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Iris Folding Thinking of You...

As I have done time and time again, when I get stuck for an idea, I fall back on early Dutch papercrafting techniques I learned ages ago - spirella, card embroidery, teabag folding, and iris folding among others.  Because I have done them for long, they tend to ground me in something I am really comfortable doing and then the ideas just come.

This time I needed a "thinking of you " card for a neighbor going through a tough time.  He and his wife are wonderful people, and I just wanted to try to brighten his life a little - hence the idea of the sun... and then it all came together.  I didn't glue all of the edges of the "sun" down on purpose to give it a little dimension.

Here is a closeup of the folding and the holographic paper in the center...

I love the vibrancy and interest that iris folding adds to the card - and it is just so easy!  So the next time you feel stumped, consider opening up a design and filling it with coordinating patterns to create a special effect in a very simple way.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

I continue to try to do things a little healthier, when I have the time, the energy, and the desire. Yes, for me it takes all three or there is really no point in attempting it . Sometimes I have to make a game out of it - like how many about to go bad things in the fridge can I use up in one recipe! (That's motivation for me as I really HATE throwing out food just because I forgot to use it in time.)  And I really do enjoy doing things I have not tried before.

Spiralizing has been a "thing" for a while and I have done a little of it - with apples (an apple crisp)  and zucchini (simple sauteed ribbons of zucchini) - but this was the first time I planned a main dish.  And I would do this again in a heart beat.  The flavors were absolutely delicious. I might add turkey Italian sausage next time just to give it a little more kick and make it more substantial, but there was really nothing wrong with it just as it was.


adapted from ""

1 Tbsp. garlic olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. diced yellow onion (1/2 onion)
2 - 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings (plain is ok)
2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
8 basil leaves, chopped
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
3 medium zucchini
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese (can substitute with cottage cheese)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper and let them cook about half a minute. Then add the chopped onion.  Let the onion cook about 2 minutes (don't let it get too brown) and then add the canned tomatoes, basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thick - 20-25 minutes.  The sauce should have no extra liquid.  Making it as thick as possible will help prevent a watery lasagna in the end.

While the sauce is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the spinach.  Cook until completely wilted and set aside in a plate.  Then, cook the zucchini noodles for 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Place the cooked noodles in a colander and pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. Set aside once done on paper towels. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan and egg.  Whisk together and set aside.

Once the sauce is ready, the layering process can begin. In a casserole dish, add a layer of the tomato sauce (about one third) to the bottom of the dish.  Then add a layer of zucchini noodles and then a layer of the ricotta mixture (about one half).   Add the second third of the tomato sauce.  Next place all of the wilted spinach on top of the tomato sauce. Then add the rest of the ricotta mixture on top.   Finally add the rest of the zucchini noodles, the rest of the tomato sauce, and top with all of the mozzarella cheese.

Layers of drained zucchini ribbons

Ready for the oven

Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, take the dish from the oven, remove the foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  After resting, carefully and slowly pour as much excess liquid as possible. (if necessary)  Then, carefully cut the lasagna into portions and serve.

Cheesy and delicious... 

Reheats well too - if you have any left.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bouquet of Birthday Wishes...

Well there is clearly a theme going on with my birthday cards lately....... and that is... that they are arriving LATE....   I am really TRYING to be on time, and this one actually went out in the mail two days in advance, but chances are it will not make it there in time.

So the next best thing is to post it here with tons of birthday wishes and hope that makes up for the tardiness.......a little!

I am still working hard on the watercoloring.  I tried cold press with this card and it blended well, but it certainly does have more texture. I am still LOVING the Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers.

I entered this card in the Pop of Pastel Challenge by Power Poppy - my FIRST challenge!

A close-up of the peonies digi image from Power Poppy

I hope this card brings a smile to the face of this special friend, when it is finally in her hands.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday dear Nance!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Carter's First Easter

How can it be time for Easter already?  It is really catching me by surprise.
I know my new grandson could care less right now that his Grammy spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find just the right pattern for his card, but he will learn soon enough that I have to find "just the right look" for every card I make.  And I had every intention of doing some sort of bunny rabbit, but instead, this little Easter mouse caught my attention.  It was really fun to do since I had a chance to play with different papers and textures and  think it's pretty cute!

This little mouse is on foam tape as is the top of the basket to give it a little dimension.
The pattern is from Treasure Box Designs.  The grass design is from Birds Cards.
I imagine when Carter has his first Easter egg hunt, there will be eggs hiding in the grass, 
much like these!

The papers are from Paper Temptress. I love the gray ruche paper for the mouse.  I added some chalk on the ears and feet the texture of the paper took it well.  The basket was embossed and then chalked as well.

I know he has no clue that it's Easter or what that even means, but I look forward to having many years ahead to share in the fun and joy of this most special day with him.

Happy Easter!!

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