Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Happenings!

Hello, and Happy Halloween! We've never really been huge on Halloween around our house for ourselves, and since we don't have any little kids anymore, Halloween has certainly lost what little pizazz or fun it used to have. But, it IS fun to see how all the neighborhood kids have grown since last year!

But, I have done a few Halloween theme crafts lately. I've made some pumpkin spice cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing. They were soooo easy, it's almost a trick!

(Sidenote: Like my make-shift cupcake stand? It's two plates with a drinking glass in the middle, ha ha! Hey, make do with what you have I say!) I, for one, don't like recipes that involve a lot of ingredients. Get too many ingredients involved and I start flaking out. But I saw this recipe floating around the internet lately and knew immediately it was right up my alley. You take a box of spice cake mix and a 15 oz can of pumpkin, mix it up and put it in the cupcake pan. Cook it at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and you're done. See? Told you it was easy! I did put one egg in the mix as all the ones I'd seen around blog-lands looked kind of flat and I thought maybe an egg would help fluff it up a bit. Sure enough, mine are some tall cupcakes (maybe a little too tall, can't fit it in your mouth all at once!), but good and moist. I took some store bought cream cheese icing, mixed it with the hand mixer (I always do this because the added air not only makes it easier to spread but increases the size making it go farther) while mixing in some yellow and red food coloring until it became the orange I wanted. And TA-DA, Halloween-y cupcakes. You could probably doll them up even more with some candy corn on top or something, but I didn't have any. Love that this recipe can also carry over to Thanksgiving. I'm thinking I'll try it in a loaf pan or something for that? Maybe try a carrot cake mix instead of the spice mix? Or maybe throw some nuts in there? Use sweet potato instead of pumpkin? Or on one of those "bad" days, throw in some chocolate chips? Hmmm......the possibilities!

I also crocheted my next door neighbor's little boy a stuffed jack-o-lantern (you can also see him peeking around in the picture with the cupcakes above), and I crocheted their newborn little girl a pumpkin hat. I figured with the baby being born so close to Halloween, a costume for her was the last thing on Mommy and Daddy's minds so she can now at least sport around the visiting family as a little pumpkin. You'll have to imagine it on a little baby's head, though. As I've said, we don't have little ones here anymore and the dog simply refused to wear it!

I'm sorry but I don't have the sources of these two patterns readily available. I just did Google searches and these were a couple that popped up. If you need it though, leave me a comment and I'll do some digging for that info. I know I altered the one for the stuffed jack-o-lantern a little, as I didn't like the way the stem was just sewn on the top as the pattern called for. The neighbor's little boy is sweet and lovable, but let's face it, he's only 18 months old and can be a bit tough on the toys. Thought it better to have that stem as an actual part of the pumpkin and not easily ripped off! (Yes, the vine and leaf are still sewn on, but at least he'll still look like a pumpkin if they are ripped off. Ha ha!)

Well, gotta get the pounds of candy ready for handing out to the trick-or-treaters! Yes, I said POUNDS! We live in one of only a few subdivisions in the immediate area, so we can get nearly a hundred trick-or-treaters. I usually have to buy about 12-15 pounds of candy, to be sure to have enough. We used to be the ONLY subdivision, it was more like 30 pounds of candy every year. Geesh....for once, I was kind of thankful when "urban sprawl" started working it's way into our area. At least now, the other two subdivisions get to share the candy-load! :)

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Love Forever with a Color and Sketch Challenge

My in-laws had an incredible love for each other, one that lasted them well over 60 years! I am so thankful that I got to know them and I'd rather hear their stories of trials and triumphs over the years better than reading a romance novel or watching a chick-flick any day. Probably because they are real people, and I figure most novels and movies are not! Ha ha! Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away almost eight years ago, and my father-in-law's health has been steadily declining over the last couple of years, but his face still lights up when he talks about his sweetheart! My sister-in-law shared this picture of them taken about 35 years ago. It was a candid shot taken at a relative's wedding reception but, like alot of candid shots, it really captured "them" as a couple. The look on his face says, "I'm a lucky devil and don't I know it!" while her face just shows joy for the moment. Awww, it's such a sweet picture......I HAD to scrap it, of course! And true to my usual way, it's laid on my desk for a while now, just waiting on the right inspiration and muse, which I finally found in the combination of the color challenge at the CR84FN Color Challenge and the sketch challenge over at PageMaps.

Here's the inspiration for the CR84FN challenge:

And here's the sketch at PageMaps:

And finally, here's my page:

I obviously moved some things around from the sketch, but that's the great thing about sketches, right?!? :) I used gray acrylic paint with my stamps to get the two hearts at the top. I stamped the "Love" and fussy cut it out, then edged it with more gray paint and popped it up on foam tape. The quote at the top center is a vellum piece, and I always seem to struggle with how to attach vellum pieces without the adhesive showing. So, I usually end up using brads or eyelets, or my Xyron X sticker maker if it's small enough. This piece was too big for the X, and I didn't want to use brads or eyelets, so I set out to find a new way. I took a square of vellum scrap, which I had cut off the quote piece to get it to the size I wanted, and ran it through my Xyron X, took the clear film off and turned it over and ran it through the X again, which put adhesive on both sides of the vellum piece. Then, I took my 1/4" hole punch and punched out four circles which I used on each of the corners of the quote. When I stuck it all down, the adhesive backed circles just disappeared. Ah ha! I love it when a plan comes together! The hardest part of the process was taking the backing off those little circles to expose the adhesive! Hard to do when you don't have finger nails! :) Back to the page, I used a border stamp to stamp the ribbon. I wanted "Forever" to only show once, as part of the title, so I just took a Post It note to block that part of the stamp off when I inked it up, stamped the diamond shapes along the ribbon until I got to where I wanted the word Forever to show and then I inked up the entire stamp. Things were going according to my plan, until I got to the flower. This is not how I wanted my flower to look, at least it's not what I had visualized in my head. I tried all different techniques, searched the web for tutorials (I'm SURE I saw a flower on the web like I had visualized it my head, my brain is not THAT originally creative, after all), but after two days of struggling, I gave up. I hate when my brain sees something, but my hands are inept to create it. But, I did end up with this flower that I liked so I glued it down quickly before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. After all, as I have to keep reminding myself, I'm not trying to create a Mona Lisa or a Sistine Chapel here, I'm only making a scrapbook page! :)

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy my page and thank you for dropping by. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend, and a very safe and Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"C" With a Bit of Thrift!

Over at Scrapbookers Anonymous, they are on their third month of the A to Z challenge. You can check it out here. So, this month we were challenged to use a supply that starts with the letter C. I chose to use some of my crocheting. I love to mix my two favorite hobbies like that!

And where's The Thrift part? Well, you see, the patterned paper I used as the background on this layout is two sided. And I wanted to use the other side as a mat for a photo on another layout, it was just too perfect a match not to. But, I already had the floral side of the paper picked out to scrap this picture of my husband's grandmother. And, of course, I only had one sheet of it. I mean, seriously, what's a scrapper to do in a situation like this?!? So, with some careful planning and measuring, I cut a piece out of the interior of the paper to use as my mat on the other layout, which left this big hole in the paper. I then simply cut a square of the basket weave brown patterned paper, which I had already picked out to use as a mat for the grandmother picture, and adhered it to the BACK side of the hole. Voila, problem solved! I got to use the patterned paper on BOTH layouts, the exact way I wanted to and didn't have to compromise! Ha! Sometimes, it helps to be thrifty!

Thanks for stopping by!

Camping with Die Cuts

Hello, again! I'd like to share a two page layout I did for the October Challenge over at Scrapbooker's Anonymous which is to use die cuts.

The die cuts I've used are the little trees, which have been in my stash for at least three years. Someone gave them to me and I knew I'd use them on a camping page, but I just kept forgetting I had them! Anyway, it sure feels good to finally use them up! The lighter colored trees I felt were a little TOO light and kind of got lost on the page, so I just colored them up a bit with my Tea Dye Distress Ink pad and I loved them much more. The "Go Jump In A Lake" embellishment on page 2 was also a gift from a friend. We were attending a crop together last weekend when I was working on these pages. I was struggling to find something to put in that spot when she looked over and declared she had "the perfect piece." And indeed she did, and I was so happy she gave it to me, it IS perfect! I'm so thankful for my generous friends! The journaling block was part of a 12x12 patterned paper, as well as the words "At The Lake" which I used in my title. I simply cut them out and used them as individual pieces on my page. And I still have other pieces on that patterned paper that I can use on other layouts. That's a good way to get alot more mileage out of your paper!

Thank you for looking at my pages!

Long Time-No Post!

Okay, so it's been a long time since I've posted anything here. That doesn't mean I haven't been crafting, though. It just means I've just been too lazy to fight the dinosaur of a computer to upload pictures and do the actual postings. Ha! Well, that and I got a little burned out on challenges. It's nobody's fault but my own. I have a tendency to obsess and get addicted a bit. So, I decided to take a break for a while, and just craft for me. But, I'm back now, and ready to join in some challenges again. Be on the look out, 'cause this country girl's got some crafting to show ya!