Monday, December 26, 2011

Papertrey December Blog Hop Challenge

I always love seeing what other people come up with for the monthly PTI blog hops, but I always either don't have time or don't have any inspiration when the time comes. This month, I've had this card in mind all day, but as far as getting it made - well, I'm just sneaking it in under the wire! :)

The challenge this month is to use left over holiday wrapping items in a card project. Not super tricky, and a lot of fun!

On my card, the red polka dot paper is the B side of a double-sided wrapping paper. I also used up some small pieces of baker's twine that were left after I decorated some jars of tomato sauce I gave to my coworkers.  I used Mister Huey's Calico Shine to make the snowman a little sparkly; I also used some Stickles on the letters, but you can't really see the effect in the photo.

Other supplies:
- PTI Shape-Ups Snowman die set
- PTI Shape-Ups Snowman Accessories stamp set
- PTI Block Alphabet die set
- PTI Hawaiian Shores and Dark Chocolate cardstock
- Stampin' Up Pool Party cardstock
- Pure Luxury by Gina K. Designs 80lb white cardstock

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Last-Minute Gift Card Holder (with a video!)

Hey everybody! Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Happy 4th night of Hanukkah! :)

I wanted to get in one last project share before Christmas. Hope you enjoy this fun little quick-and-easy gift card holder!

Merry Merry! <3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Neighbor/Hostess Gift Idea

There's a reason a bottle of wine is the quintessential neighbor/hostess gift: It's something just about everyone likes, and it's sure to be used and enjoyed. But if you've got a party you're planning on bringing a bottle of wine to, why not dress it up and personalize it for your friend?

I adore Papertrey Ink's Wine Bottle Tag die - tags are quick and easy to make, and there's less space on them that you have to worry about filling properly. But for this project I wanted to do something a little extra special. Check it out...

I used 2 tag die cuts to create a little pocket. I wrapped up enough spice blend to mull one bottle of wine, and I tucked it into the pocket.

I used PTI's Candy Cane Christmas stamps and dies to embellish the front of the tag with a mug of mulled wine and a cinnamon stick. The sentiment is from Christmas Poinsettia, and the flourishes are from Holiday Photo Finishers.

The pocket portion is actually quite easy to create. I just used small pieces of accordion-fold cardstock and dimensional adhesive. The mulling spices are wrapped in a small cello bag, held closed with a label that I printed with the mulling instructions.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Cards

Only three shopping days left! Are you ready? :)

Just a quick post tonight with some last-minute cards I made. I bought some spray inks recently and I've been playing with them a lot. I've had a ton of trouble with the October Afternoon SprINKlers smudging all over the place even after days of sitting and drying... especially disappointing because I wanted to use them for masking. But I'm in love with Mr. Huey's Calico Shine! :)

 I used the "merry" die from Papertrey Ink Wonderful Words: Holiday die set to emboss the background. It's a really fun technique!

He-llo, adorable chevron background stamp! This one's new from Hero Arts and I adore it! :) This card also uses the new Seasonal Distress Inks - plus a few of the golden oldies inks too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cater Your Christmas #4

Hello and welcome to the last featured recipe in my Cater Your Christmas mini-series! This one's a doozy... Are you ready for dessert? :)

Eggnog Pound Cake
(adapted from www.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. shortening, at room temperature
3 c. granulated sugar
1-2 tsp. light rum (optional)
5 eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. eggnog

2 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (fresh grated is best!)

Preheat oven to 325. Cream butter, shortening, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for 45-60 seconds in between each egg. Mix in rum once all eggs are added. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture alternately with eggnog, starting and ending with flour mixture. Grease two standard sized loaf pans well. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the glaze, whisk all ingredients together until combined well. Start with 3 Tbsp. milk and add more if needed. Glaze should be thick, but drizzle-able. Poke holes in the top of each cake with a fork. Pour half of glaze over each loaf of cake. Allow to drip over sides.

This recipe is so moist and delicious. The eggnog isn't a dominating flavor, but gives a standard pound cake a little bit of festive flair!

Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cater Your Christmas #3 + a Cute Neighbor Gift

Today I've got a really yummy seasonal take on Chex mix, plus a fun craft idea to go with it. This would be a great munchie snack to have out at a party or for a holiday treat for your kids, but it's also a great easy remembrance for your neighbors! So I decided to make a little box for it that can hang over a door knob. That way you can be a sneaky little Christmas elf and leave a sweet treat for a friend! :)

Snowflake Mix
(adapted from

3 cups Chex cereal (whichever flavor you prefer - I like corn)
2 cups (a few handfuls) of bite-sized pretzels
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 package of mint M&Ms
12 oz white baking chocolate (the bars are more expensive, but melt a little bit easier than the chips)

Chop white chocolate bars, if not using chips. Place into top portion of double boiler, set over medium-low heat. Heat very slowly, stirring often, until melted. Be careful not to let any steam get into the chocolate or it will seize up. (You can also melt it in the microwave, but I'm not as familiar with this method. Check the package for directions.)

Combine other ingredients, except the M&Ms, in a very large bowl. Pour chocolate over the mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated. Spread on a large piece of waxed paper or parchment paper and sprinkle M&Ms on top. Allow to cool, then break into pieces and serve. Will last in an airtight container for about a week.

And here's my messy template for the door hanger treat box. It's made from a whole sheet of 8.5x11" cardstock. Please contact me if you have any questions for how to put it together. (It's pretty standard construction if you've made boxes before.) I used Hero Arts' Sending Holiday Cheer stamp set to embellish mine.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cater Your Christmas #2

Good Sunday afternoon, friends! Christmas is only one week from today! Where has this whole year gone?

Here on Cape Cod, it's feeling a little more like Christmastime today. We've been really lucky with amazing weather and warm temperatures until now - I'm talking mid 50s every day! We're over half way through December and I've still only had to wear my down vest! But last night and into today we're having our first snow of the season. I'm not going to complain, because I love living in a place with four real seasons, and we really have been so lucky this fall. But I think today I might put my fleece on :)

So I know I promised to post my second Cater Your Christmas recipe yesterday, but I forgot! So, without further ado... (Ooh this one's yummy and so easy! Three ingredients! And your mixer does all the work!)

Easiest Ever Cheese Spread

8 ounces Wispride cheddar or port wine cheese, at room temperature (you can use the kind in the plastic container, or the cellophane wrapped bar kind)
8 ounces Neufchâtel, at room temperature
4-6 ounces blue cheese crumbles

Place Wispride and Neufchâtel in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to soften and combine cheeses. Slowly add blue cheese crumbles, and continue to mix until they are broken into small pieces and combined into the other two cheeses. Serve, at room temperature, with crackers, bread, or crudites.

If you don't have a stand mixer, I'm sure you can make this with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and some arm muscles. Just make sure the cheese is at room temperature!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Cater Your Christmas #1

Hey folks. Can you believe Christmas is only 9 days away?! I'm starting another mini Christmas themed series for you to help with any last-minute entertaining you may need to do. I have four really great and super quick-and-easy recipes for you that are perfect for get-togethers or unexpected guests. I hope you'll enjoy!

This first recipe is beyond easy. You can whip it up literally in minutes, and the ingredients are cheap, and easy to keep on hand. I work at a doctor's office and this is my version of one of our favorite lunches from one of the caterers our drug reps use. :)

Garlicky White Bean Hummus

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-4 cloves of garlic
handful flat leaf parsley
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Put a handful of parsley and a few cloves of garlic (depending on your taste preferences) into your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process until mostly smooth - you want to keep some of the texture of the beans. Continue to process mixture while streaming in olive oil, until desired consistency is reached. Add a splash of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers and crudites.

If you wanted to take a little extra time and roast the garlic prior to making the hummus, I think that would taste amazing in this recipe!

So, I'll be back tomorrow with another awesome and crazy-easy dip/spread/appetizer/snack/munchie recipe :)

Happy Friday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 A Muse Studio Retiring List

Here it is, folks! These are the stamp sets from the 2011 Catalog that will NOT be returning in the 2012 Catalog - which will be available to customers on February 1, 2012.

As for the 2011 Holiday Catalog, some items - stamp sets and other items - will be returning, and some will not. They haven't made that information available to us yet, so I'm not sure if I will be able to let anybody know before February. I'm told I will be able to see a list of retiring tools and embellishments soon, but I don't know if that will include dies, etc from the Holiday Catalog. Bottom line: If there's anything you think you want, get it now! :) You can see everything from both catalogs at If you have any questions, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments Day 12 - Stamped Salt Dough Ornaments

This is it - Day 12! This ornament is a new twist on an old classic from my childhood. I did a lot of trial and error in the video too. It was a lot of fun to film!

I remember making salt dough with my friend Rebecca's mom. Except we sculpted it, and then painted our creations after they were baked. Here, I show how you can use your stash of stamps and ink to decorate them before you bake them - It gives them a fun embossed, almost letterpress-like look.

Here's the recipe, since I don't include it in the video.

Salt Dough

- 1c. salt
- 2c. flour
- 1c. lukewarm water

Mix until combined, then knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and pliable, and looses some of its stickiness. Roll out and cut out, or sculpt as desired.

Bake at 250 degrees for about 4 hours, until dried and hardened. Alternately, place ornaments on a wire rack and allow to air dry.

And now, here's the video that shows how to stamp on your salt dough. This is another great project to do with kids, and the finished ornaments look super cute on your tree. Did you know that, historically, people used to use various types of cookies to decorate their Christmas trees? These ornaments end up looking like decorated cookies. :)

The stamps I use in the video are from the following sets: Winterberry and 2011 Holiday Tags by Papertrey Ink; Snow Crystals and Nordic Noel from A Muse Studio.

There's one other ornament that I made, that's not included in the video, and that I totally love. I used some old border stamps from Sassafras and a bunch of different colors of ink to stamp out a pattern. Then I used a cookie cutter to cut a mitten shape out of my pattern. So cute! :)

And, just one more real quick idea... While you're stamping your salt dough, think about making gift tags! I love how this looks on a simple (if kind of messy - sorry!) package.

Thank you so much for joining me for this video series! I've had a ton of fun and I hope you have too! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments Day 11 - Paper Snowglobes

Welcome to Day 11... Only one more after today! This has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I hope you've enjoyed playing along with me! :)

Today I decided to show you one ornament idea done two ways. It's kind of your standard "shaker" element, turned into a snowglobe style ornament. For the first technique, I use a new Stampin' Up product from the Holiday Mini. They're called Shaker Frames, and they're foam adhesive pre-cut into circles. Very convenient. My biggest complaint, though: The largest frame isn't even 2 inches in diameter. I guess they're designed to go on card fronts, but in my opinion, the size is very limiting as to what projects you can make with them.

 The second technique uses plain ol' dimensional foam adhesive that you've probably got in your stash already. It's really quick and simple to do, once you get the hang of how to do it properly.

Check out the video below, and come on back tomorrow for Day 12!

Supply List:
- Stampin' Up Shaker Frames
- Papertrey Ink Tremendous Treats: Christmas stamp set
- watercolor paper
- various Stampin' Up dye inks
- water brush
- glitter
- transparency sheet
- Nestabilities circle dies
- A Muse Studio Snowglobe die
- patterned paper from Echo Park's Holly Jolly Christmas and Season's Greetings

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 10 and Holiday Handmade Gift Exchange

Hey everybody! We're doing something a little different today - this isn't an ornament for your tree, but for your holiday entertaining!

A few years ago I saw these little knit mittens and Crate and Barrel. The idea was that you'd put your flatware in them, and then put it on top of your place setting at your holiday dinner. They were so cute and, to this day, I wish I'd bought one - just to have as an example to copy, of course! ;-)

So, for reference, here's the original inspiration...
And here's my take on it...
(Is it just me, or is my version cuter? lol!)

And - this is actually the project I made for the Holiday Handmade Gift Exchange over at Craftaholics Anonymous. I made 6 of them... 2 each of Sage, Cherry, and Fern using two of the patterns from Stampin' Up's Holly Berry Bouquet Designer Fabric bundle. Love them! And I hope my partner, Nicole, will too! :)

Here's the video. See you tomorrow!

Supply List:
(all A Muse Studio products are available in my webstore

- A Muse Studio felt in Cherry, Sage, Vanilla, and Fern
- A Muse Studio Large Mitten Die
- Stampin' Up Holly Berry Bouquet Designer Fabric
- Glübers
- Nestabilities circle dies
- embroidery floss
- buttons
- needle
- fabric glue

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments Day 9 - Old-Fashioned Rolled Paper Star

Hi there! Thanks for your patience. Here's the ornament for Day 9.

(Please excuse that this particular ornament came out slightly messy. Some things are particularly hard to do on camera!)

And here's the video.

Supply List:
(all A Muse Studio products are available in my webstore

- A Muse Studio cardstock in Twas the Night Before Christmas, Sugar, and Candy Cane Stripe
- Nordic Noel stamp set by A Muse Studio
- Papertrey Ink dye ink in Pure Poppy
- Stampin' Up cardstock in Pool Party
- old book pages
- tape runner
- Tombow Mono Multi Glue

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 9 Ornament Postponed

Due to technical difficulties, and an exhausted videographer (me! lol.), the video for Day 9's ornament will be posted tomorrow.

Thanks for your patience! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments Day 8 - Paper Heart

Hey there! Not much of a blog post for Day 8 since - Eep! - it's almost Day 9! :)

Had a lovely visit with a dear friend tonight, so I just didn't get to finish editing my video until way late. But it was worth it!

This is another great family project - really easy and really fast. Cheap and Cheerful is always my goal and this one totally fits the bill.

Here's the video. Make sure you watch all the way to the end for my other garland idea.

LOVE this garland! :)

Happy Weekend! See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments Day 7 - Wood Tag Garland

Hey there! Welcome to Day 7! We're playing with the A Muse Studio maple tags again today - love them! :)

Also, I decided to mix things up a little bit and show you an idea for a garland. There will be one other garland idea later on in the series.

Enjoy the video!

Supply List:
(all A Muse Studio products are available in my webstore

- Vintage Christmas Postmarks stamp set by A Muse Studio
- 1.5" Maple Tags by A Muse Studio
- Vivid dye ink in Brick and Taupe
- ribbon or twine
- Crop-a-Dile

See you tomorrow... It's Friday! :)