Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kool Aid kid became a card maker

What happens when a Kool-Aid kid grows up and likes to make crafts? She becomes a Kool-Aid embosser!
I didn't create this technique and don't remember where I first saw it. I mixed dry Kool-Aid from the packet with embossing powder. I didn't measure, but I'd guess that I used a 1 to 3 or maybe 1 to 4 ration of Kool-Aid to embossing powder. The Kool-Aid isn't there to emboss, it is there to add a scent.

I used the lemon slice and wedge stamp first on white paper (lower left, upper two images). They are from Stamps of Life. That didn't leave much Kool-Aid on the paper as the images were outlines. Same thing with the stamp from Inky Antics on that same piece of paper. On those attempts, I used yellow embossing powder, lemon Kool-Aid, and yellow ink on the stamp.
I added white embossing powder to the yellow in a small paper cup and added a bit more Kool-Aid before stamping on light yellow cardstock. It still didn't look right to me so I added white pencil to the areas between the segments and yellow pencil on the segments. Better, but not truly lemony and not much area for scent.
I tried using a thick white embossing powder next, the upper right image in the group photo. I don't know if I held the heat too long in the area that looks like crystals have burned or if that was a clump of Kool-Aid that wasn't evenly mixed with embossing powder. 
I got out a strawberry stamp, also from Stamps of Life, stamped the large and small berry with Stampin' Up Real Red ink, then embossed with a mixture of clear embossing powder that has a bit of sparkle in it with strawberry Kool-Aid. I used a white gel pen for the spots on the berry but they are a bit lost. The scent is much better because of the larger surface area.
I could probably turn the strawberry panel into a card but I want to work on the seeds first. Maybe a paint pen is the answer. 

What I like about the scents created with Kool-Aid is that there is a hint of the fruit smell, not an overwhelming cloud of it hitting you in the face like the candle or oil aisle in some stores.

I have grape, orange and tropical punch to play with and I'm suddenly thinking rainbows and unicorns. With a 3-year old granddaughter, this sounds perfect!
When we extend this product to become a craft supply, we'll never outgrow our need for Kool-Aid!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Koi stamp used for an anniversary card

I've had the Hero Arts Color Layering Koi stamp set for a while but didn't use it until yesterday when I made an anniversary card.
It was not difficult to use and while my layering was not perfect, it wasn't off by much and I liked the result. 

My first layer was stamped with Stampin' Up's Daffodil Delight ink, the second layer was Stampin' Up's Peekaboo Peach, the third layer was a Hero Arts ink cube that came in a kit and I don't know the name. It was a reddish orange which I lightly stamped on scrap paper before bringing it to the fish. Black was used on the small stamp for the eyes and mouth. The seaweed (?) is from another Hero Arts stamp,  Color Layering Goldfish. I used Stampin' Up Lost Lagoon ink on the seaweed, some full strength, some stamped onto scrap paper first. 

The koi were mounted on Lost Lagoon cardstock, then placed on the card base. The front of the card was stamped in Lost Lagoon ink on Simon Says Stamp's Beach Waves
The inside of the card simply says Happy Anniversary with room for a personal message. I liked the peace, harmony and love sentiment from the koi set. I considered adding "wishing you" at the top of the card but preferred just the clear bubble embellishments.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Top Chef competition between sister restaurants

The restaurant that held this is Testa Barra in Macomb Township, MI. The first restaurant the owner opened is named J. Baldwin's. That one is classified as American cuisine (and I love everything I've had there) and this is his Italian restaurant which opened a year ago. Chef Baldwin is classicly trained in French cuisine. Having worked with many chefs before opening his own place, then training sous chefs, and seemingly being a nice guy and fair boss, he hand-picked his chefs and mixologists for both restaurants. The Top Chef competition is between various chefs at both restaurants. The diners vote for their favorites between 2 drinks, 2 salads, 2 entrees and 2 desserts. Each winning chef gets a cash prize and bragging rights. All of the diners had registered and paid for this event. We were given printed recipes for each submission but occasionally an ingredient or specific description (such as Tuscan kale and another variety versus generic kale) were omitted.

First was the Cocktail Course.
Not much to see in the photo to differentiate the two but they were very different. The one on the left is a Grand Anejo Paloma. Ingredients were El Mayor Anejo (premium tequila); Grand Marnier; agave nectar; lemon juice; red grapefruit juice; Angostura bitters; and an orange slice. The rim of the glass had a crust of cinnamon sugar.

The drink on the right was a Ginny Hendrix. This used Hendricks Gin (another premium label); lime; lemon; agave syrup; Peychaud's bitters; cucumber, and torched a rosemary sprig. Yes, you read that right. He torched a rosemary sprig, then muddled the rosemary, cucumber, lemon, and lime.

With dinner but not a competition, a red wine was served. It was Spanish Quarter Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo. This was a 60/40 combination of those two wines, the second one I had never heard of but that isn't saying much. I am not an oenophile even if I know that word. 😉  The description said this deep, purple-red wine had a nose and palate of ripe, dark berry fruits with a hint of dark chocolate and vanilla oak.

The Salad Course featured kale.
One the left is Warm Kale Salad with Pear Vinaigrette. The unexpected ingredients (to me at least) were broccolini, white navy beans, and toasted garbanzo beans. He seasoned them and toasted them in a skillet. Delicious! The seasoning was omitted in the printed recipe and I couldn't hear what he said while cooking.

The salad on the right is New Kale Salad. This kale was raw where the first one was slightly wilted. Both dark and golden raisins were added along with pine nuts. The dressing was balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and honey.

The Main Course had two very different meals which were plated together for ease of serving to approximately 70 people.
On the left is Blackened Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sauage. Cheddar and gouda cheeses were added to the grits and a ladle of beurre blanc sauce went over the shrimp. On the right is Lamb and Beel Ragu made with beef short ribs and lamb shanks. This was served over sriracha strozzapreti (pasta) with crumbled goat cheese to balance the heat.

The Dessert Course featured fried pastries.
The J.Baldwin's Doughnuts with Caramel Sauce were tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with a salted caramel sauce. The Bombolinos with Creme Anglaise had a lemon flavor that is missing in the recipe and was undoubtedly given but couldn't be heard.

My opinions and the winners.

The winning drink was the Grand Anejo Paloma. I didn't vote for either because I didn't care for either one. I rarely drink alcohol anymore and admittedly do not have refined tastes. If pressed to choose, I would have picked the Paloma over the Ginny Hendrix. Normally I prefer gin over tequila but the cucumber really did not appeal to me at all. The red wine was completely lost on me but others seemed to enjoy it.

The winning salad was the Warm Kale Salad. Both salads were good and I am not a fan of kale. If the New Kale Salad had been served first, I might have liked it more. The warm salad was much better in my opinion and having eaten that first, the other one didn't stand a chance.

The winning entree was the Shrimp & Grits. The vote count on this was close, deservedly so. Both entrees were very good. The heat of the ragu wasn't overwhelming, but it was there. If I were to make this at home, I would omit the sriracha but that is just me. The Shrimp & Grits were perfect.  A lot of people born and raised in Michigan without any southern heritage don't like grits. I am the rarity among my friends and most relatives. Everyone near me liked these, even those who aren't fond of grits.

The winning dessert was the Doughnuts with Caramel Sauce. I totally agree. The other dessert was just fried dough to me. Doughnuts are not an item I ever choose (no fried pastry ever is) but these were very good.

This was a fun event and I have nothing bad to say about the restaurant. People are another story. This gives you an idea of how close we were seated but this was still comfortable. Most people were there with at least one friend. We were asked to be QUIET while a chef was speaking. Twenty years ago, background noise didn't interfere as badly when I'm trying to focus on what someone is saying but LOUD boozy people who are regulars at an establishment (meaning they are as comfortable as if you had entered their home) would have been hard to block out even when I was 20-something.

If I go again, I would get there as soon as the doors open (the restaurant is normally closed on Mondays) and get a seat as near the chefs as possible. The chefs each had a mic so hearing wouldn't have been a problem if people hadn't been rude. The mirror over their work area was easily visible for all in attendance. I am not likely to make any of these recipes at home but not because anything was too difficult or distasteful. I paid to enjoy the evening and learn but the boozy broad next to me talked over all of the details.
over all of the details.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Craft Room

And the days and weeks fly by again...

I reorganized my workspace again. There are things that I no longer enjoy doing and some that I am unlikely to ever do again for various other reasons.  Have you heard of Swedish Death Cleaning? There is also a Japanese method (Konmari) where you are supposed to hold something to decide whether or not to keep something based on whether or not it brings you joy.  I had begun paring down stuff a few years ago, but in small ways. The momentum has picked up, not that most would notice it as I still have lots of things in the house, both useful and joyful.

Oddly enough, decluttering began by bringing more into the house, this time carts. My craft closet has bifold doors centered on a wide, shallow space. By that I mean that this is not a walk-in closet. It has served me well but I needed to be able to get to things without unstacking multiple bins to get the one item I needed that was behind others. Carts and diminishing my stash made sense. My hobby life would be simpler if I only had one hobby but that has never been the case.

Here are two carts in full view of the open closet doors. The white one is from Michaels, the other is from Target. Bins could be my middle name as they are all over the house, confining clutter. The cart on the right has stamps in it, organized by themes. The pink labels on the bins list the themes within the bin, the yellow, orange and red cards seen in them are subject dividers.
The shelf holds less used sewing trims to the left, multiple use ribbons come next and then bins of items that relate to paper (card making and scrapbooking) crafts and also art supplies.
Inside the closet to the left is fabric, wall hangings and table runners that I've made, some beading supplies and my sewing machine (not visible). Labels are my friends.
Looking into the right side of the closet is another cart with multi-colored drawers that hold embellishments, embossing folders, specialty papers, and stencils. Not visible beyond that is a wooden cart that holds paper. I have 12 x 12 inch papers in that cart along with some 8.5 x 11 inch in bins that slide out from those shelves. 
Once upon a time, these shelves mostly held books. I don't save novels anymore and have pared down my cookbooks and craft manuals. I have them in my office now. Their defined spaces prevent me from slipping back into collecting more than I need. In this split view of the bookcase wall, there is a wooden cart that used to be in our business' kitchen which had very little counter space. My die cutting machine sits there now.  
Across from the wall of shelves is a large work area. This room was once my older son's bedroom until we added an addition. It was another two years before we began defining it as my (then) sewing room, adding all of the cabinets and bookcases.
This is where most of my seated crafting happens. The shelf unit used to hold teacups in another room. The painting on the right is a watercolor sampler of my hobbies. I have a picture of that in my sidebar on this blog.
This room makes me happy. When it is messy and I'm working, I'm happy. When I'm not working and it is cleaned, I am both happy and surprised.

I recently bought a flamingo print shower curtain at Target. Previously, the shower curtain I used had a gray geometric print. The only print on the wall was a purchased print of three women on the beach. All are chubby, all are wearing hats, and are seen from behind. One has a one-piece suit on, one has a two-piece, and one is only wearing the hat. 

The two pictures on the right are from art lessons a few years ago. The lower one is a whimsical image of four women in/on inner tubes in a pool, the upper one is a realistic flamingo. I never imagined I would hang it and use it in my bathroom! The beach chairs were printed on glossy paper and added to a piece of wood with a rope hanger (from Michaels). This bathroom is an interior room (no window) so I like to keep the wall color light and I'm enjoying the color in these pieces.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Princess party background

This might be the last of princess-related posts for a while, but then never know.

The backdrop I am about to show was something I saw multiple times on Pinterest. I didn't follow just one person's advice so I'm not giving credit but also not claiming this idea as my own.

My son, the Princess's daddy, bought the table skirting and a package of balloons at Party City. The balloons are attached to cardboard tubes used for pouring cement footings. I can't say more about that, I wasn't part of the process and didn't see the construction, only the end result. The spires are simply paper. Those posts are attached to the rafters to keep them in place from falling down as small guests run around.
The white area behind this is the basement wall. The streamers and valance (not sure what else to call it) are made from disposable plastic tablecloths, a total of six. They are on a curtain rod suspended from the ceiling.

The tablecloths are from a dollar store. Each one was 54" wide by 9 feet long.
I layered three together and held them in place using hair clips that I keep on hand for the Princess.
To make a casing for the curtain rod, I used staples. The depth of the stapler determined the size of the casing.
Having a cranky knee that doesn't like me kneeling on the floor, I laid this stapled trio of colors on my table and cut strips of all three layers from the bottom edge to 12 inches below the casing. I did have to keep moving this since my table is nowhere near that long, but the clips helped keep things together and it didn't have to be perfect and evenly cut. Each set of streamers was braided with two repeats and then stapled to hold the braid in place.

I had intended that the pink layer would be the "right" side but that isn't how I turned the casing. It would have been okay this way, but purple side does look neater.  These views are in my home, showing one set of three cloths used, roughly 54" wide.

Here is my favorite Princess waiting for her subjects...oops! I mean arrive.
It was a royally wonderful day.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Mermaid for the Princess

We're a few days away from the Princess' birthday party.  Her Uncle B is giving her an Ariel doll and needed a mermaid card to go with it. I used the same Karen Burniston die set for the mermaid (die set # 1036), along with Tropical Scene #1038 for the tree, waves and sand dunes/landscape, and Sea Animals #1037 for the crab and turtle. The sun and clouds are from Lawn Fawn's Spring Showers die set.
I don't know why I avoided this type of die cutting for a while, but I did. Perhaps it is like anything else that goes in phases. I still like to color but these die sets are so cute, I can't resist them. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

For my little Princess

A Princess in my family will be having a birthday soon. This card was made using dies from Karen Burniston. I used Castle Pop UpPrincess and Mermaid, and Royalty die sets. The last one is for the "My Little Princess" wording.
 The script Happy Birthday is a die from Simon Says Stamp.
 Drawbridge up...
 Drawbridge down...
 Overhead view
 The princess was fun to assemble.
 This stamp was custom made from a company called Paper Angel.