Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thrift Store Rubber Stamp Bargains Are Always Worth Looking For

I needed to stop at the Idaho Youth Ranch last week to work on a project unrelated to cards and rubber stamps.  But while I was there I zipped over to their craft section and found this Stampin' Up! set of 6 unused rubber stamps - Furnished With Love - for only $3.99 in their original case.  How could I pass up that kind of deal?  Since bringing home my bargain I have priced the same set on Etsy and eBay and the same set runs between $8.50 and $24.99 (not including shipping in some cases).  This was originally a Hostess set that you could have earned if you had hosted a Stampin' Up! party.  Since I do not host parties there is no way I would have been able to purchase this set at a party unless the hostess was selling one they had earned or the demonstrator had a used set that they were willing to sell.

What is great about this set is that it is a fantastic reminder that you can stamp relatively inexpensively if you keep your eyes open for bargains at thrift shops and even garage sales.  Often folks are donating stamps and supplies that are no longer needed or wanted and often just like this set I purchased these stamps were unused and in perfect condition.

I created these very quick cards tonight using limited supplies including clearance paper by Websters Pages from Craft Warehouse (.25 cents per 12 x 12 sheet on sale) and a large Bracket Punch I have from McGill which punches out 4 different brackets at one time.  Toss in a little distressing to the bottom layers and some pop dots to add a bit of height to the cards and this set of four whimsical cards is ready to give to friends and family without breaking the bank.        

Monday, September 5, 2016

Little Women Gorjuss Collectable Stamps One, Six and Fourteen

 Little Red - No. 14

Ruby - No. 1

 I Found My Family In A Book - No. 6

For Mother's Day this year Alex started me out with four of the Gorjuss Mini Collectable Rubber Stamps.  They are much smaller than the original Gorjuss stamps that I have been creating with but are just as adorable and whimsical.  In total there are 20 mini stamps in the collection.  I have been adding to my collection (that Alex started for me in May) and recently added the last two.  I was also able to locate the collectors Stamp Folder and they are all neatly stored together now and easy to pull out and work with.  If only all of my art studio was as neatly organized as this one small set of stamps.

I am creating a set of cards using all 20 images.  Instead of coloring the images with my Copic Markers (as I have in the past with the larger Gorjuss stamps) I am leaving these Little Women almost completely without color except for a small highlight with my colored pencils.  I am also rubbing a little color with the pencils on the book pages behind the images.  The book pages are from a copy of the book Little Women that I found falling apart in a thrift shop.  Although I would not normally take apart a book this one was on it's last leg and this was a perfect way to re-purpose the pages that would probably only end up in the garbage.  I have seventeen more cards to create now in the set but am pleased with the simplicity of the first three.         

Monday, August 22, 2016

Simple Teriyaki Sauce

Simple Teriyaki Sauce

1 cup white sugar
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger or fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp's. cornstarch
2 Tbsp's. cold water

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

While sauce is heating, combine cornstarch and cold water. When sauce comes to a full boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly.

Remove from heat and use with your favorite recipe.

The cooled Teriyaki Sauce can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Creating with Gorjuss The Dreamer

This set of stamps is from Santoro-London, and is part of the Gorjuss collection.  Just like the Fox card I put together in October 2015 and the Rainy Daze card I created in March 2016 I used my Copic markers to color the images and then added a little depth with double sided mounting tape and finished the card off with Floral Embellishments.  I also added some distressing to the card to give it a softer overall look and feel.  I selected similar colors to the ones featured on the stamp.  The Floral Embellishments are by Petaloo and I added Stickles (Grape Crush) to the rain drops dripping from the cloud.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Giant Lemon Sugar Cookies

I discovered this recipe on the Taste of Home site.  The cookies are lightly flavored from both lemon juice and lemon zest.  I did roll my cookie in the coarse sugar vs. brushing the tops with coarse sugar.  I might be tempted to up the lemon presence a bit and double the recipe ( as is it only makes 12-14 cookies) the next time I whip these up.

Giant Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs  
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 teaspoons coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Beat in lemon peel and juice. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar; gradually beat into creamed mixture. 

Shape 1/4 cupfuls of dough into balls. Place 6 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/4-in. thickness with bottom of a measuring cup. Lightly brush tops with water; sprinkle with coarse sugar. 

Bake 12-15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.        

Friday, July 8, 2016

Water Pitcher Template Cards

The Stampers Sampler Magazine features Tempting Templates as one of their regular features and challenges readers to use the template in their designs.  The template featured in the cards I made this week is a simple water pitcher.  You can use the Tempting Template in any way you wish large or small, on it's own, adding multiple templates to your card etc.  It is only limited to your creativity. 

For the four cards above I decided to shrink the template down into a tiny water pitcher and to have flowers pouring out of each.  I like to use limited supplies and layout designs when I am making a set of cards.  In this case I made 4 cards all with a similar design layout.  I have been a bit limited in my card making time but it felt good to stretch my creative muscles this week.  I am not sure if I will have time to play with the template any more this weekend but it was fun to give it a whirl.   

Paper:  Graphic 45
Glimmer Mist:  Tattered Angels
Stamps:  Graphic 45
Ink:  Versa Fine - Onyx Black
Flowers: Burlap - Recollections, Paper - Jolees by You, Heirloom Roses - Tim Holtz and Petaloo - Antique Peach
Pen:  Gelly Roll - Clear Sky - Sakura Japan

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Baked Brownie

I found the Baked Brownie recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker Blog.  It is adapted from the Baked Cookbook  The Baked Series of Cookbooks are something of a national treasure.  You can find their cookbook series on Amazon.  I made these last night and brought them into work today and they completely disappeared.  I did take some pictures on my cell phone and then forgot to download them.  The picture above is from the Brown Eyed Baker Blog.   

A little history about the authors:  After years in the advertising business, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito decided to leave their day jobs and open a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Baked opened in January 2005 to instant rave reviews. The authors have been featured on Oprah, the Food Network, Martha Stewart’s daytime show, and the Today show. The bakery has been reviewed in countless magazines, both local and nationwide. Lewis and Poliafito live in New York City.

The Baked Brownie
Brown Eyed Baker:

1¼ cups (177 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process will work)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1½ cups (298 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (99 grams) packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large heat-proof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, about 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

I have had this recipe since the Summer of 2005 from Kraft Foods.  I love cheesecake and these hand-held bars are convenient for an outdoor setting.  Prep time and cooking time are both about 30 minutes.  I took these camping last weekend and shared them around the campfire.  I wrapped the leftovers and froze them individually to enjoy at a later date.  Eventually I would like to try to make these delicious bars with raspberries or blackberries.  I also recommend chilling the crust before adding the jam as outlined in the recipe instructions.

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Kraft Foods

6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 jar (8 oz. blueberry jam or preserves
1 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Mix butter and graham crumbs in 13x9-inch pan; press onto bottom of pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. 

Stir preserves in jar until softened; spread evenly onto crust. Top with berries, then cream cheese mixture.

Bake 30 min. or until slightly puffed. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Greek Style Chicken Skillet from BHG

I found this recipe recently on the Good Housekeeping site (  It was easy to prepare and it was nice to have only one skillet to clean aside from the sauce pan I prepared the couscous in.  I would make one modification though and that would be to double the sauce and add more crumbled feta cheese over the top.  I wished there had been a bit more sauce to help flavor the plain couscous and you just can't go wrong with a little extra cheese.  I have posted the recipe below as I found it on the BHG site.

Greek-Style Chicken Skillet
A tomato-inspired vegetable mixture is spooned over chicken and couscous in this main-dish recipe. To add even more interest, substitute a flavored couscous mix.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 - 1/4 pounds total)
salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 10 - 3/4 ounce can condensed tomato soup
2 cups hot cooked couscous*
1/2 cup crumpled feta cheese (2 ounces)

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. In a 12-inch skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken registers 170 F on an instant-read thermometer, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.
  2. Add zucchini, sweet pepper, onion, garlic, and the 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to skillet. Add the water; reduce heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in soup. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring once.
  3. To serve, divide couscous among dinner plates. Place chicken on couscous. Spoon vegetable mixture over chicken and couscous. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
*For 2 cups cooked couscous, in a 1-quart saucepan bring 1 cup water and a dash of salt to boiling. Stir in 2/3 cup quick-cooking couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Munsters Grandpa Dracula Cards

I purchased this great Dracula Grandpa stamp from Viva Las Vegastamps. It is Al Lewis from the Munsters. Part of what made his character so funny on the show as Dracula was his extreme age since Dracula is ageless. His character on the show was also sarcastic and irritable. The Munsters was on the air before my time but I remember seeing reruns as a kid.  When I saw this stamp at Viva Las Vegastamps I knew I had to add it to my collection.  It just has so much character and personality.  I added the stamp to Graphic 45 papers, ephemera cards and stamps.  I think the end results turned out odd without being too creepy.  I made these cards for my own amusement since they have a slight Halloween feel to them.

Grandpa Dracula - Viva Las VegaStamps
All Other Stamps - Hampton Art, Graphic 45, Rare Oddities
Paper - Graphic 45, Olde Curiosity Shoppe
Ephemera Cards -  Graphic 45, Rare Oddities
Ribbon - Offray
Embossing Powder - Hampton Art, Clear
Ink - Ranger Distress Ink, Pumic Stone & Versa Fine, Onyx Black
Adhesive Diamante - Triveni


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