Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Birthday Hat

I made this hat for Roreigh to wear for her first birthday back in January. I can't believe our baby is already 1! I had posted this hat (on Facebook) and everyone loved it. So I thought I'd do a little tutorial for you all. You can also contact me if you aren't the crafty type and I'd be happy to make a custom party hat for your little one.

1. Print and cut your party hat template or gently take apart your generic party hat.
2. Lay your fabric paper over your template and trace. Trim.
3. Peel the adhesive backing off of the fabric paper and align it with your template. Do this slowly to avoid bubbles.
4. Hot Glue your pom pom trim around the bottom.
5. Cut a circle of your scrap paper to fit the solid part of the center of the doily. Adhere.
6. Make a basic paper bow using scraps. Following THIS tutorial
7. Layer up your paper bow with the flower, Bingo chip and ticket. Layer this all on top of the doily.
8. Bunch up a strip of tulle and generously hot glue it to the back of the doily. Work quickly so you can use the same hot glue to adhere the whole thing to the front of your hat.
9. Put this cute hat on your cutie!

If you aren't using self-adhesive fabric paper, I would recommend using spray adhesive to adhere your patterned paper to the template. Or print the template directly onto your patterned paper, whatever is easiest for you.

Lately I have been obsessed with working with Spring Circus by Rhonna Farrer. I used some of it today to make some Easter party hats for the girls. Once Easter is over simply remove the elastic and you have May Days cones to fill with goodies for the neighbors. Dual use makes this girl happy!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cherish Album for Mother's Day ...

I LOVE teaching people how to craft with paper! It can be a bit daunting though if you don't have the right tools, know what kind of paper to buy and use the right adhesives, etc. A girlfriend of mine has asked me to teach her how to make her gifts this year for Mother's and Father's Day so, I thought, let me get the goods together and rock a fabulous class out and we'll make it a party! So, here's the beginning project ... (1 of 4)

It's a sweet mini album to give for Mother's Day or keep for yourself.

Sweet little lollie on the front - LOVE!
LOVE the yellow gingham :) Tres Springtime!!
Pennant Garland makes me happy! There's so much room to add your memories in text and photos.
All of the patterned paper in this album is from Rhonna Farrer's line - Follow your Heart by My Mind's Eye. This woman's designs are AMAZE!!! Love the colors and patterns - Swoon! You can pick up the digital artwork that coordinates perfectly at Rhonna's online shop.
This page will be for written memories in my book. I LOVE to write things in Savvy's albums like I'm talking to her so, in 30 years she'll have sweet handwritten memories.
More yellow gingham and another pennant garland - Delightful!

I'll be teaching how to make this fab mini album along with 3 other gifts/projects
(2 large projects, 2 small projects. This mini album is one of the large projects)

Cost is $35.00 per person.

Location: Austin TX on Thursday, April 19th from 6-9:30PM AND on Saturday, April 28th from 1-4:30PM. Just in time for Mother's Day!
Please email me if you'd like to attend. I have 6 spaces available for each class. It will be so much fun!!

The special ladies that you give these handmade goodies to will cherish them forever! Check back soon for sneak peeks at the other projects that we'll be making. {{Smooches, Amy}}

Scrap Paper Bows - How To

Today we are going to give you a quick photo tutorial for these super simple paper bows. You can easily make them in a number of sizes and they look so cute as gift toppers, on a layout or card.

You need to decide how big you want your bow. To do that, determine the maximum length. Mine is going to sit atop a doily and I want the pennant edges to barely overhang the edge of the doily - so 5 inches. So when I cut my strips, I'm going to cut them an inch wide and then at 5", 6" & 7" lengths. You will also need a small scrap piece to wrap around the middle to hide your staples - or you can embellish it with a flower or something else.

Dovetail the ends of the 5" piece.

With your 6" & 7" pieces, loop their ends around on themselves until they meet and staple down in the middle. Layer one loop on top of the other, with the 5" dovetailed piece on the bottom and staple in the middle again. Wrap with your scrap piece, a piece of ribbon or other embellishment.

Layer it on your doily and voila! I also trimmed a piece of coordinating cardstock to layer over the blank center of the doily - that is purely personal preference though. These are great for making in bulk because you can use them for so many things. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dream Catcher

Have you ever heard of SPARK? Hosted once a year in Utah by the ever so fabulous Margie Romney-AslettRhonna Farrer, and Elizabeth Katchner, I would give my first born to attend. not kidding  These ladies jam pack a weekend full of crafty ladies we all aspire to, musical talent and decor to die for.

Since this marvelous event only happens once a year, Ms. Margie has been doing online SPARK classes since Christmas. If you haven't taken one of her classes, you are missing out BIG TIME! Her online courses are self paced and jammed packed full of garlands, gift ideas, decor, gift packaging and all sorts of other yumminess.

Amy and I haven't missed one yet.

So right now Ms.Margie is hosting SPARK Your SPRING. If you haven't already, you can still sign up. I definitely recommend it wink

One of the projects Margie shared were dream catchers. Now don't jump to conclusions and think I'm talking about the typical Indian dream catchers. No no. Ms.Margie's are fantastic.

So today I hightailed it to Hobby Lobby and got myself some supplies- an embroidery hoop, some beads, and beading wire. From my stash here at home I pulled some amazing ribbons I've been hoarding holding onto and an antique lace tablecloth my mother in law almost threw out  I rescued from the trash. love ya mom

And here is my dream catcher, that now hangs gorgeously on the wall in the craft room.

I have another thing or two to add to my gallery wall and I can't wait to show you how it all comes out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The BIG dilemma all crafters face

How do you organize your stash? Do you stalk Pinterest and the magazine stands looking for the best ideas? Do you pour over every issue of Where Women Create? We do.
Whether you are a paper crafter, seamstress, knitter, or painter, how to store your wares is a never ending task - unless you are independently wealthy and can buy/build whatever you want/need hehe 

Now let me preface this whole post by saying that everything I have purchased has been over a period of months, not all in one day, week or month. We gotta keep this budget friendly right?

I used to have a monstrous hutch style desk thing. When I first got it, it held quite a bit. But as my hoarding stash increased, I ran out of room and things ended out piled on the desktop. This led to me being frustrated, not a whole lotta crafting getting done, and what my husband fondly refers to as "the fungus." I was spread out into other rooms to craft. So once he had finally had enough of that once I convinced him I needed new storage solutions, I did some internet window shopping on My Pinterest

We have all seen some of the AMAZING craft rooms out there. The ones with chandeliers, custom built ins, work islands, cozy seating areas. Who wouldn't Love to have something like that?! We here in the real world usually have to be a little more practical though. Huge Bummer, I know. 

My craft room, studio, creative space - whatever you want to call it - is approximately 13'x13' with a huge kiva (beehive shaped New Mexican fireplace) in one corner, a picture window, a set of opening windows and 1 non operational window. Not a lot of wall space, and the wall space that is there is mostly unusable because our home is adobe (aka mud). Oh and did I mention this space is also the play room for the kids? So its not just me in here, and one of our littles is too young to let near my stuff so a massive baby wall divides the room. The problems of a white girl, huh? hehe

Being realistic, and not wanting to spend a small fortune, I decided on these industrial use free standing shelves from Lowes and added casters - because let's face it, if you know me at all, you know I'm gonna move those suckers a million times. Hey its cheaper to rearrange than buy new, right?!

Zoomed: Style Selections 74"H x  48"W x  18"D Steel Freestanding Shelving Unit 

I chose the 18" depth because I wanted to be able to use the shelves at desk height as more of a work surface - such as for my Cricut and BigKick, a space for a printer. And I use one shelf to house all of the kid craft supplies - to keep them out of the littlest's hands. They aren't the EXPEDIT from IKEA that I long for, but I don't have an IKEA anywhere nearby and these work just fine. I haven't yet but I plan to back them with a pretty fabric to add some color to this room - you can't paint adobe (well you can but its more hassle than its worth and isn't good for resale. insert sad face here.)  We originally only bought 1 - what the crap was I thinking?! Did I honestly think for one second that ALL of my stash was gonna fit onto 1 shelving unit?! LOL yeah right!

To store everything I bought containers because the slats of the shelves make it inconvenient for paper goods. I like to sort my stuff by type.

I bought (over time, and ALWAYS on sale) black storage boxes in 2 sizes, standard photo size from Michaels and a size larger from Wal-Mart. Each box contains its own category
(1) Thickers (2) acrylic stamps (3) red rubber stamps (4) stamp pads and blocks (5) BigKick accessories (6) chipboard and alterables (7) adhesives (8) blank card bases and envies (9) finished cards (10) embellies for the current paper line I'm working with and (11) the catchall for random stuff.

For patterned paper I bought an itso bin from Target with the caster set. I plan to buy the door so that I can use the top as another surface - to set my laptop? 
                       itso Cube White.Opens in a new window itso Plastic Base with 4 casters.Opens in a new window
I keep patterned paper in Ziploc 2 gal bags I found at Wal-mart for less than $5 for 10. I started by using the Close to my Heart bags but with shipping, tax and waiting to get them from the rep, I am so glad I found these. They are cheaper and readily available.

What about a work surface? I use an antique table my mother in law bought a long time ago, with a quilters cutting mat on top. I usually keep it with only 1 leaf in which makes it 43"x66", a fairly good size for me. 

I store punches in a 2 gal glass jar from Wal-mart (in their kitchen area) Ribbon is wrapped on wooden clothespins and tossed into an old coffee cup style fish bowl. Tools are stored in the Making Memories Carousel or a small wire cutlery basket I found last year at Joanns. 

WOW! That's a whole lot for one post! So pictures of all of this in real life and more tips on how I have upcycled some things to get more storage, and what I have planned for the kids' side will be another post! After I clean up a bit wink

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"...but three angels soared"

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: By the time James Cameron took the stage to accept his Academy Award for Best Director on the night of March 23, 1998, the Oscar dominance of his blockbuster film Titanic was all but assured. Titanic tied the record for most Oscar nominations with 14—joining 1950's All About Eve—and by night's end would tie with Ben Hur (1959) for most wins by sweeping 11 categories, including the coveted Best Picture 

Everyone remembers that movie.

But earlier that day, before Mr.Cameron was even beginning to get ready for his big night, televisions were tuned to the news. The headlines the following morning would stress to all just how much our servicemen and women sacrifice for us. 

Earlier that day, a LifeFlight helicopter carrying a young girl to the area hospital fell out of the sky and changed the people who would become my family forever.

My husband's father was aboard that chopper. Mike was just months from retirement and days from his birthday. He left behind his soulmate Loree, their 3 children, their children's spouses and 4 of his 10 grandchildren.

I, obviously, never met the man who was my father in law. I often wonder if he would have liked me. If he would be proud of the little family we have. I wonder how different this family I love would be. It's been said that Mike was the glue that held everything together. I wish he were here to play with our daughters. I know he would be outside with Bob in the driveway or garage - just hanging out, the way we do.

Payton is old enough to ask about him. She says her heart is broken that she doesn't know her grandpa. There is a large painting of Mike at the end of our hallway, we look at it every day. 

Some believe there is life after death, some believe your body becomes dust and you are simply no more. Either way, your memory lives on. It lives on in the hearts and minds of all those you have touched, and even some you haven't. Sometimes you die a hero. As someone selfless enough to walk into a burning building as everyone else is running out.

In Memory
of the Firefighters of Fire 3
3badges_3.gif (17571 bytes)
Apparatus Operator
Michael D. McComb

Fire Station 90B Platoon
Appointed May 13, 1972
Firefighter Lead Paramedic
Eric F. Reiner

Rescue Ambulance 81B Platoon
Appointed November 28, 1988
Firefighter Paramedic
Michael A. Butler

Rescue Ambulance 81B Platoon
Appointed December 9, 1984

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Tale & A Recipe

Before I continue to share recipes with you, let me tell you something. 

I used to burn water. I kid you not. I would wander off to do something else and forget I was supposed to be cooking. Yeah, i was that girl. 

Bob, on the other hand, was a chef for 10 years. Now that he doesn't work in a kitchen, he's kinda a pain to cook for. He has to have meat in every meal. And he needs WAY more calories than the average guy. Bob is super tall and super thin. He doesn't gain weight.....ever....every woman's dream. He doesn't like fast food, and we don't eat out a whole lot.

When I got pregnant with Payton, I got super sick. I would lay on the sofa watching Food Network and wish I could cook the stuff they were making. So I started... after I was able to start eating again.

In today's economy, having a hobby is considered a luxury. Well, everyone has to eat and chances are you are the one cooking for your family. Make it Fun! Make cooking and trying new recipes your hobby. It won't cost you anything extra - maybe a new spice here or there. There are so many great websites out there to help. 

We were in a serious eating rut - the same few dishes on repeat. My friend Joanne got me a subscription to Food Network Magazine. So I made it my goal to cook at least 2 new things out of each issue. Some issues are chuck full of dishes Bob will eat - other issues, like the recent Chocolate issue, not so much. 

Subscribe Today

My "system" is to pull out recipes I'd like to try. They go in our recipe binder (a three ring binder with page protectors - nothing fancy) and then as I plan dinner for the week I go through and decide what we are having. If I haven't made the recipe within a month, I toss it. If we like it, it goes in a page protector. 

Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the menu planning. We hear about it everywhere. We hear about it everywhere because it works. I used to go to the store and toss the makings for all kinds of dishes in the cart. And every day I would ask Bob what he wanted for dinner. We would go in circles. Or I would end out going to the store to spend more money on the makings for another meal. 

When I plan out the week, I ask Bob once what he would like for the week. He gives me a couple of suggestions and I fill in the rest. I don't set in stone what we are going to eat each day. I just know what I have the ingredients for and pull out the meat for that meal. 

So that's what works for us. We are saving money this way. We aren't stressing about what to have for dinner each night. And I get to share my new "hobby" with you guys. Win Win Win I'd say. So on to the recipe from last nights dinner.

I found this recipe back in 2008 and have been making it regularly ever since. Now you can feel free to follow that recipe - which I do when we have company. But for every night eating, I've changed it up and cheated a bit.

2 tbs oil
2 12 oz cans Albacore Tuna in water, undrained (or 4 5 oz cans if that's what you have)
3 cans Rotel, undrained - I use mild for the kids and Bob
1 can Hunt's tomato paste
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 package Real Bacon Pieces
seasoning, we like Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning but Zatarains cajun is good too
rice, prepared per the package directions - we like Jasmine rice with this dish

1. Heat oil in a large skillet, add celery and onion, saute until translucent.
2. Add all of your canned goods. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until thickened.
3. Serve with the rice, bacon and seasoning of your choice. No seasoning for the kiddos though.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chilean Blogger Wisdom

I had a conversation this evening with a friend from back home. I suppose I should call her an acquaintance if you want to get technical - no she is still a friend. Joy is the blogger behind How Joyful. She is Chilean. Joy married the not-so-little-anymore boy that grew up in the house next door to my husband. My husband babysat Joy's! Joy and I have only seen each other maybe 4 times......ever. She came to California at the same time that I was leaving. We were passing ships in the night, And man am I still bummed about that! We would get along swimmingly... if I hadn't moved away.

But back to our conversation. Joy has some exciting news to share with the blogosphere soon and we were im'ing about it. And then we got to talking about how incredibly green with envy I am that she went to alt. this year. To my dismay, she told me that while the conference was great, some bloggers weren't.

Now, I know that there are bound to be bad apples in any bushel. But how could someone not be nice to Joy?!

But she encouraged me.

She encouraged me to give it a shot and keep pushing forward.

She said blogging is like therapy.

I am giving this whole blogging, crafting, teaching thing my ALL.

I am going big or going home.

I am going to succeed at this.

Crafting, Teaching, this Blog.... it makes me happy. In a way it makes me accountable.

I am one of those women, dont laugh, that when I go to the gym, I am convinced that if I don't do my whole routine, someone will notice. Now, I know that no one at the gym is paying any attention to me. I know that. But I am still convinced, in my mind, that someone will notice if I skip a rep or don't finish.

You, the readers, you are the person at the gym that will notice. You keep me accountable.

I can't wait to share with you.

 I can't wait for Amy to share with you.

We all have lives. Sometimes they get in the way.

I can't promise we are going to stick to some crazy blogging schedule.

I can promise that what we share with you is gonna be Amazing. Inspiring. Beautiful.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Amy's Expecting a...

...Human! hehe

This little person's clothes are gonna look something like this....

YAY! We cant wait to meet Mr. Jameson Stephen McCollum this June!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Paprikash

 This was another picture of dinner I posted to Facebook, and all of my friends asked for the recipe. So here it is! Courtesy of Food Network Magazine (but with my comments and tips)

1 package egg noodles, cooked per package directions
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into even bite size pieces
6 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs paprika
1 tsp dried marjoram
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (use bouillon cubes - same flavor, less cost)
1/2 cup sour cream (you can use light if you prefer, I didn't notice a taste difference)
2 tbs chopped parsley

1. Bring salted water to boiling. Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the bacon 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, cook 3 more minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, paprika, marjoram and 1 tsp salt. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture and set aside.

2. Push the bacon and veggies to one side and increase the heat to medium high. Add the chicken to the empty side. Add the remainder of the flour mix to the veggie and bacon side. Cook everything, turning the chicken often, about 6 minutes. Then mix it all together and cook 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of your pan to get the yummy bits. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add your noodles to the boiling water, drain when ready.

3. Uncover your chicken pot, crank up the heat to high, cook 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat back down to low and add your sour cream and parsley, cook 2 more minutes.

Toss it all together and serve. Yum! If you know Bob, you know he isn't a chicken fan. This dish, well he thought it was pork the first time I made it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spanish Potato & Chicken Roast

2lbs Yukon golds, cut into even chunks
4 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tbs extra virgin
salt, pepper
2 lemons - 1 juiced, 1 for garnish
4 Chicken breasts cut into 3rds
2 tsp smoked paprika (I used regular the first i made this and couldnt tell)
4 tbs rough chopped parsley
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced (you can add for if you like onion)

1. Preheat oven to 500 and put a large baking dish in to preheat. Meanwhile, mix potatoes, garlic, extra virgin, 1 tsp water and 1/2 tsp salt in a microwave safe bowl, toss. cover with plastic wrap and pierce. Cook in microwave for 8 minutes.
2. In another bowl combine chicken, paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 tbs parsley and juice of one lemon, toss to coat.
3. Take baking dish out of oven and carefully put the potatoes in an even layer. Scatter onions on top. Return to oven for 12 minutes.
4. Flip the potatoes, add the chicken and juices from the bowl. Cook another 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip your chicken. Cook another 10 minutes or until done all the way through.

I served this with roasted asparagus the first time and steamed mixed veggies the second time .

Sunday, March 4, 2012

12x12 Invitations

Even though we moved away from our beloved friends in New Mexico, I am lucky enough to have a close girlfriend that lives in San Antonio. Lise and I went to massage school together back in 2003-2004 ish. We've kept in touch over the years, when Bri, Sav and I would come out to visit we'd get to see each other. Anytime we talked on the phone we picked up right where we left off. I love that about our relationship. She's a nurse now at a local hospital and is throwing a baby shower for a co-worker and called me to help her out. She wanted a few 12x12 invitations to post so their co-workers would know the details but, it had to be fabulous!! OKAY!!

So I created and duplicated this cute, whimsical 12x12 invite. It has 3-D garland made of cirles at the top. Polka dots and gingham pattern in Pink and Tiffany Blue with a little Kraft to make it all come together. Butterflies, it needed butterflies so, they were released to fly all over the layout.

I would totally use this layout and add a pic instead of the invite info. In fact, I think I will for Savvy's Scrapbook.

I also created a few samples of cupcake toppers to match, so she could see how CUTE it's all going to be. It is a party right! I topped it off with a card for her to give to the mommy to be.

I hope you're inspired and if you need any help with your next party please let Altaira and I know - we'd be happy to get creative to make it a fabulous soiree! This IS what we do!! :) Smooches!