Monday, June 30, 2008

One year ago...

It is hard for me to believe that it was one year ago today that Max and I "joined forces." Our past several years together have gone by so quickly, memories seem as if they happened only yesterday. No wonder we have a hard time remembering how long we've actually been together. We've come a long way, and I cant wait to see how the next 50 years turn out!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Let's Entertain!

It's Friday so here are a few snippets of summer entertaining inspiration that can be found on the pages of these two fabulous books:

You can find these and other great books at a discounted price here and here. LOVE these books!

I've had picnics on the brain lately and have been gravitating towards ideas that are outside, simple, and a bit vintage. These pictures depict all of the above.

A few patriotic ideas to get us in the mood for the great American celebration:

And finally, here's the recipe for the Southwestern Layered Salad listed above:

"Served individually in one-pint Mason jars, this salad is great for taking on the road!"

8 oz container sour cream
3 oz package cream cheese, softened
10 oz can tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1 t cumin
4 c romaine lettuce, shredded
2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can corn, drained
1 sweet red onion, chopped
15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 red peppers, chopped
Garnish: shredded sharp cheddar cheese, green onion, chopped

Combine sour cream, cream cheese, tomatoes with chilies, and cumin in a blender; process until smooth. Chill. Layer vegetables in order given among eight, one-pint Mason jars. Spoon sour cream mixture over top; sprinkle with cheese and green onion. Cover and chill for one hour. Makes 8 servings.

I love this idea, but I have to wonder, how do you get your fork down to the bottom of the jar?!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stationery Set

I just finished another stationery set to give as a thank you gift to a friend of mine. A very long overdue thank you gift but still. I thought for a while about what colors to use but when pool blue and red came to mind, I knew that was it! She lives in Vegas now and these papers sort of remind me of the West. Makes me wanna put on a pair of red cowboy boots and turquoise jewelry! Yee-haw!

I just placed an order for some actual stationery boxes to use for these kinds of sets. I have a feeling Im going to be making more, they're just too fun! So once the boxes come in, this entire set, 20 cards, envelopes, paper, and labels, will all go inside. Im also having my sister in law make a beaded letter opener that I will include as well.

The entire set:

I broke down and bought a Scor-Pal the other day and this is the first card I really used it on. Its hard to tell because of the busy pattern, but I scored lines every half inch or inch in each direction. Then, I distressed the scores with ink, which adds another pattern. I also roughed up the edges of the paper to give it an overall distressed look.

I dont have anything on hand just yet but Id like to add some crystals to the centers of a few of those star bursts. We cant have a set without bling!!

Simple polka dots with a few buttons added.

Monogram cut with nesties and topped off with a coordinating brad.

Another nestie monogram. During the day, the monogram paper matches really well, not so much at night...?

And finally, envelopes and paper bound with coordinating trims of paper.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Let's Entertain!

It’s Friday which means I bring to you some entertaining tips and goodies. All of today’s pictures and information came from Country Home, a great magazine I recently stumbled upon and am really enjoying.

I love the outdoors and especially enjoy entertaining outside or alfresco style eateries. Keep these ideas in mind next time you are out antiquing, flea market shopping, or planning a summer get-together.

Just Can It!

A vintage wire basket used for canning jars becomes the perfect companion for organizing silverware at a picnic or alfresco table.

Get Carried Away!

Reuse old tin pans with newly constructed handles as a carrier for drinks or condiments.

Spring Into Action!

A tired bedspring can be awakened with a bright napkin and party snacks. Another idea would be to place a small vase of flowers inside to use as table d├ęcor.

Bright Idea

Industrial light covers can be turned into lovely luminaries with simple paper supplies and a tea light.

Standing Tall!

A metal bucket and some vintage napkins are used to create an adorable beverage station.

Hold That Thought!

Vintage candle molds become handy holders of all things pretty with nothing more than pieces of ribbon used to bring out their natural beauty.

See Cat Run!

I thought I would give the blog's video feature a go today.
This looks like something Max would do with Calli...(we all know Mandy is too lazy to even think about giving this a whirl!)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baby Cards

With a couple of friends who recently gave birth to baby girls and another with a girl on the way, I felt compelled to craft up some baby girl cards. Patterned paper is by MyMindsEye, the big pack that I am still in love with, and images are BabyofMine by Doodlebats. No stamping involved with these cards, all are computer printed.

The scalloped border behind the image was created using a Nestabilities die. For the corner crystals, I cut the fancy edges off of a cross used for the baptism invitations a few posts back. Edges and ribbon were distressed with ink, and I also distressed the edge of the image using scissors.

A simple card using Nestabilities dies, ribbon, and a brad.

Another one of my favorites, simple layout with a touch of sparkle. I really like the combination of vintage-distress with modern glam crystals.

And finally, another simple layout with added ribbon, tulle, flower and brad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day Shortcake

All of my posts have posted in reverse order today, so I apologize for that.

It has become my recent tradition to take my dad strawberries and shortcake for Father's Day. He doesn't like gifts usually, says he has enough shirts and doesnt need anything else. He doesnt need homemade strawberries and shortcake with real cream either but I think he deserves it at least once a year, so that's what I take him.

I'm all about presentation, when at all possible, so I wanted to do something simple yet creative for the dads' gift. I picked up a few cute baskets at Hobby Lobby for just a couple of bucks as well as red bandanas. I was only able to fit the shortcake in the baskets so the strawberries and cream were kept separate.

Im sure you could find these baskets in various sizes so keep this idea in mind next time you have a carry-in, reunion, or other summer-time party to take food too. It is a really inexpensive and easy way to liven up your presentation.

Oh, and here's the Father's Day card I made. Very I was just learning how to use my new dies!

Birthday Presents!

What a nice birthday I had! I received pearl earrings from Max, along with an ice cream machine and ice cream scoop. I think the earrings were for me and the ice cream machine was ultimately for him but that's okay. Im looking forward to giving it a whirl, its been such a long long time since Ive had homemade ice cream. Max's family was oh so kind in picking up a few items from my "wish list" which I have had oodles of fun playing with! Cuttlebug...cha-ching! Who knew such a simple die-cutting machine would be so much fun?! And with it came the Spellbinder's Nestabilities dies in square and rectangle shapes. These are a card maker's dream and I have only just begun exploring the possibilities with them. So let's get to it shall we? Here are a few simple things that Ive made so far:

A simple thank you card in some dreamy colors that I am absolutely loving right now. Sort of a vintage, Tiffany's blue, accompanied by kraft paper and left over pearl card stock for the message.

I really like this little ditty. A simple, summery card for an any occasion message.

This card is intended to be for a baby congratulations but could be used for anything really since there is no sentiment. Super quick and easy to put together.

I have a couple of other baby cards to show you too but I dont have pictures just yet. Each of these cards used paper from the big My Minds Eye paper pack I was gushing about a short while back. Still loving that paper!!

Baptism Invitations

Let's start with the Baptism invitations I completed last week. I had this basic layout down from the get-go but when I constructed it with actual paper, I didnt like it. So I sat on it, hem-hawed around forever, then I was finally forced to recon with it. These were for the same customer that I made the 100 baby announcements for (of which she now needs an additional 25!)so a similar color scheme applied. Pale pink, ivory, shimmery paper, and crystals...those were the orders. I got the paper, no problem, but do you think I could find a crystal cross anywhere in this town? *sigh* Sometimes I swear I live under a rock. So, off to the city I went, for various things really, and like a gift from heaven appeared...rhinestone crosses! *clouds part, angels sing* I really love it when a plan comes together! The whole project was going beautifully until about 11:00 pm when I suddenly realized...I had cut the bases an inch too short! *insert various explicits here* Lots of stress ensued but I finally completed them. What should have been a simple project turned out to be a minor panic attack. Eh, what can you do? The final product was a bit altered from the original plan, but all in all they were kind of a couture kind of way. The picture stinks because I haven't found the right way to capture shimmery paper and glistening rhinestone crosses on camera.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dream Glow Barbie

Thanks to my friend Kristal, you all can now have a visual of the Barbie I referenced in my birthday post. Id like to introduce you all to Dream Glow Barbie!

She was special. The shaw around her shoulders came off and could be placed around her parasol...the perfect accessory for a date out with Ken...who was also outfitted with glow in the dark stars on his matching tie and vest. Im sure they were a sight to see walking around in Barbieland, especially at night!

When doing a little research on ole Barbie, I ran across many others that I had as a kid. I had so many Barbies that I could probably fill a year's worth of posts detailing them all. They just dont make them like they used to though...!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

They say its your birthday...

Today is my birthday. I’ve always thought it to be pretty special to have a day all to myself, “my day”. The one day out of the year when I can wear what I want, eat what I want, do what I want, and not feel guilty for it. Just one day, that’s all I need. I don’t need presents or parties or all of that, just knowing that the day is mine to do as I wish is simply enough. But, presents never hurt… ;)

Maybe it’s because I’m another year older, or simply because its summer time but nostalgia is setting in and I find myself thinking back to when I was a kid. Childhood was a much simpler time, a great place to have been. So I share with you now, my favorite birthday memory.

Im not sure how old I would have been, but I would say early elementary school age. My dad was out working and my mom had plans to be somewhere else that day so she took me to Grandma’s house. As a kid, I was a Barbie fa-na-tic! Couldn’t have ever had enough Barbies, it just wasn’t possible. For this particular birthday, I was getting a new Barbie but I couldn’t have it until I got to Grandma’s. Was this bribery to make sure I behaved for the two mile car ride to get there? I’m not sure, but I do remember the anticipation of getting that much wanted Barbie. She had a long pink ball gown type dress with stars all over it, and they glowed in the dark! Oh she was beautiful. For the few days leading up to my birthday, I would sneak into my parent’s bedroom and just look at her in her box…with the lights out of course so that I could see the cool stars on her dress. Once we arrived at Grandma’s I received my Barbie and was in heaven. But, as much as I loved Barbies, the doll isn’t what makes this birthday so memorable.

Growing up, the radio was always on in the kitchen playing country music. It was a part of every day and I had no idea how many memories I would have that relate to the comforting sounds that came from that little box. Each morning, birthdays were announced over the radio and every once in a while we’d hear a name that we’d recognize. As a child, this was astonishing! Almost like being famous! As my birthday approached, I remember mentioning something to my mom about my wonder if they would announce my birthday. I dunno, she said, I guess you’ll just have to wait and listen.

So when I got to Grandma’s that day, I immediately told her that we needed to have the radio on to listen for the birthday announcements at such and such time. She looked at me like, uh huh, okaaaay… But I was serious, I needed to be a witness to if my name was called or not. So, the time came, and we turned on the radio. Grandma was in her rocking chair, I standing beside her, and the names were called. Jill Deno! Oh my goodness, that’s me! They called my name, it’s my birthday and they called my name!! I was so excited! And my Grandma being the wonderful person she was, sat up in her rocking chair, cocked her head with the “Oh!” expression on her faced and just looked at me. Like, ‘Did you hear that? They called your name!’ For a brief moment, I was famous. How on earth did they know that it was my birthday?! I don’t know how many names were called that day but I felt like the most special birthday girl in the world. They knew…that it was my birthday. Amazing. As soon as my mom came to get me later that day (or morning, I’m not sure how long I was really there) I HAD to tell her all about it. And as mothers do, she played along as if she had no idea how on earth they would have known it was my birthday. It was one of those simple things that moms do, which they think goes on unnoticed, but it really didn't. A Barbie and a radio announcement, such a simple act of kindness that turned out to be one of my fondest memories of childhood.

And that my friends, is my favorite birthday memory.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stationery Kit

From time to time my sister comes to me needing something special for this person or that, for this reason or another. And I, being the best sister in the world, try my best to oblige her. Recently, a friend/coworker of hers was to retire and she wanted to give her a gift. Of course, she had no idea what she wanted, just something. Well, that narrows it down a whole bunch. She decided that she wanted something with her monogram on it but for whatever reason, I lost my card making mojo. Sometimes, that just happens. So I set out to make her a frame instead. I must have lost more mojo than I thought because the frame didnt turn out so well. Anyway, the mojo returned and back to the monogram idea I went. Over the weekend, while visiting my favorite scrapping store in "the city", I settled on strawberry and chartreuse cards and envelopes. *Im nuts about strawberries this season and I have no idea why.* But do you think this big store would have any cute papers to match these deliciously colored cards? Nope. Not a one. Disappointed, I headed home with what I did find with hopes of finding something later. And find something I did! At an aimless stopp at Hobby Lobby after work I spotted this brand new pack of patterned papers by MyMindsEye. Not a paper in the pack of 180 sheets that I didnt like, and by golly, they matched my strawberry-chartreuse set perfectly! I love it when a plan comes together. All of that is a long way of showing you what became of the final project (some of the pictures aren't real true to color since I took them at 2 am!!):

So there you have it. 20 coordinated cards, envelopes, monogram paper, and a carrying case. Im making a second set for a friend of mine in the colors of pool blue and cherry red...using the same fabulous paper pack. Really excited to see how they turn out and will of course, share views of the end product right here so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let's Entertain!

June. I lovey June! There are so many wonderful things about this month; my birthday, our anniversary, my birthday, my parents anniversary, my birthday, summer arrives, flowers, sunshine, my birthday… June is the most popular month for weddings, mine included, and with weddings come parties and entertaining. Even without wedding events, June is a great time to, shall I say, celebrate, or to simply entertain friends and family. That is, if you’re into entertaining. Because I miss planning our wedding and am no longer planning faux events for my classes at school, I’ve decided to dedicate some June posts to the art of entertaining.

I’ll try my very best to bring you some tips and ideas, pictures, and maybe even some recipes to kick start some entertaining excitement. Hopefully you will reap some benefits of me needing to get my virtual event planning fix. I’ll shoot for Friday posts to give you something to mill over for the weekend. But in the meantime, here are a few photos of an Italian Summer Picnic to get us started:

(all photos curtosy of