Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Card

Do you ever feel like you've lost your mojo? I sat down tonight to work on some Halloween cards and it was hours before I produced anything. I need to be working on some Thanksgiving invitations for my sister in law but things just aren't coming to me. Crafter's Block. When I get it, I get it bad and it's so frustrating. What usually helps is when I create just for fun, hence the Halloween cards. But even those were tricky...get it, trick-y...Halloween...trick or treat... Humor me here, I have crafter's block. If this is the worst Halloween card I produce this season, I think I'll be alright. I stitched the edges of solid black card stock (even though my machine is on the blink. Maybe it has a sewing block...) then layered on top, a patterned paper piece that had its edges distressed. Love that roughed up look. Each corner is touched with black rhinestones and the focal points are Halloween chipboard buttons by Making Memories. I bought these last year in fact, but never used a one (I have a bad habit of hording things). All was layered upon a cream card, which was a nice smooth contrast to the black. The inside reads:
When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
may luck be yours on Halloween.

I really like this aged typewriter font, called 1942 Report. I found the quote at The Quote Garden, which I visit all of the time because it's such a good resource. They have quotes, sayings, etc. for just about every theme, holiday, or topic under the sun. Or moon. If you're working on some Halloween projects of your own, visit their Halloween page for some cute sayings.

I leave you tonight with a shot of my assistant...asleep on the job. She's a dainty "size 13."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tastes of Fall

There are so many wonderful things about Fall, don't you agree? You'll notice over there to the right that I have a new poll out for you to participate in, just for fun. There are so many great things to experience this time of year, what's your favorite?

One of my favorites is the foooood! Mmmm, I love eating, cooking, and enjoying the aromas that come from autumnal dishes on a cool day. It isn't that cool around here right now (we're still in the 80's but not for long) but I just couldn't wait to simmer up some soup. Broccoli Cheddar Soup that is. This was my first attempt at making soup from scratch and I am quite proud of myself. When it comes to cooking, I seldom use recipes. I rely on them for baking (too much science involved!)but not so much for regular cooking other than to get an idea or two. So I dont have a recipe to give you for this soup but I can tell you what's in it...Im just not sure of the exact amounts. Beware; this is NOT a health conscience dish. If you're feeling a bit risky, toss the following ingredients in a large pot and cook up some soup:

1 stick of butter
1 can chicken broth
Heavy whipping cream (maybe a small carton?)
1 bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 small stick Velveeta cheese
Shredded cheese (2 cups?)
Ground pepper
Flour to thicken (I actually used both flour and corn starch)

This was very easy and relatively quick to make. The butter, chicken broth, and whipping cream were definitely the stars of this show. Serve it up with some crusty French bread and you're all set. Perfect for those crisp fall days!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Cause for Celebration

You may recall that at the start of the new year, I chose a word. A word that would represent the days ahead, a hopeful outlook of things to come. My word was celebrate. We are in a time of thanksgiving, and I am certainly thankful for the many reasons I have had to celebrate thus far during the year. Today I have but one more reason to celebrate.

Today I accepted a position that will allow me to take another step towards this dream/goal/passion I have of event planning. After a total of three interviews and weeks of agonizing waiting, you are now looking at (figurtivly speaking) the brand new, sparkling, Marketing Events and Promotion Cordinator. That's right folks, I'm officially an event planner! I'll primarily be responsible for the coordination of our tradeshows and sales events, which is a pretty big task. Im excited though and am very anxious to get started. But as is the case with most change, its change...something new and a bit unknown. The good news is that this is a position within my current place of employment, so hopefully that'll ease the transition process a little bit.

When I came to this company over four years ago I had no idea the opportunites that waited for me on the other side of those glass doors. Some would take years to unfold and others, I believe, are still waiting for just the right time to present themselves. Opportunities are all around us, big and small, and we must seize as many as we can. Because you just never know what awaits you on the other side of those glass doors.

Here's to my new begining, let's celebrate!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Autumn Splendor

Most people don’t want to look at lizards so I’ve pulled together a few fall inspiration pictures for you to gaze upon instead. There’s no denyin’ it, fall is here. Are you ready? We stopped by our local Farmer’s Market this weekend and the goodies were abundant! I came home with a few bunches of the prettiest hydrangea. I cant wait to show them to you (I have to find a container for them first)! All of the pumpkins for sale had me in the mood for autumn so the next day I drove to a nearby pumpkin patch and gathered some mini pumpkins and gourds to decorate with. It was dark by time I got home so they’re still sitting in bags waiting for me to put them to good use. And today, it’s raining. Hopefully the spirit of fall will return very soon and I can share my decorating projects with you. In the meantime, maybe these pictures will inspire you to do some fall decorating of your own. pictures compliments of Sunset.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Say hello...

to our 'ittle friend. Ladies and gentlemen, Barney. Max was spending time with his 'little' today (his little brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program) and came home with a Bearded Dragon. I okayed a lizard, because I was told that a cheap little $9 one would be cool. Barney here, did not cost $9 but we wont dwell on that little detail. Lets focus on the real issue at hand. I have...a my basement. And it better stay there.

Alright, so the little guy is kinda cute, in a lizard sort of way. Anything's cute when its smaller than the size of my hand. But these things don't stay that small. They get big. And ugly. And it now lives in our basement! If it wasn't for the cool program that Max is involved in, I'm not sure Id be so hip and cool with Barney taking up residence in our basement. But, its something good for Max and his little so I am cool with it. How harmful can a little lizard be right?!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dried Rose Topiary

Hello my friends and happy October! I lovey the month of October and cant wait to dive into some autumn inspired projects. But first, I must show you a project that I recently finished.

You may recall that back in August, I shared with you my first professional event planning experience. With that event, I took home a few dozen roses from the centerpieces with intentions to craft them into something. You probably thought I forgot huh? No, it just took me forever and a day to complete the project(s). I worked on a couple of things using the leftover flowers and today I'm going to share with you my progression in making a dried rose topiary.

I first started by separating the roses from the greenery, pitching what I either didn't want or what wasn't any good to use. I was left with a good selection of roses. I then began the drying process. This was a learning experience for me so I tried several different methods. I first started with silica gel, a fine powder substance that allows you to microwave-dry your flowers. This stuff works pretty well but for this project I noticed that it left my flowers a little extra-crispy and smelling a little funny. I guess I overcooked them; though they kept their shape, they were extremely brittle. Not what I was looking for. So, I just laid all of the flowers out to dry, which took several days. I simply took a cooling rack, placed it between two chairs so that it would allow the stems to dangle and keep the flowers upright, placed each flower in its respective slot, and waited. This worked well and gave the flowers a natural dried look. Except, it took a while. So I sped up the process by sticking them in the oven. Once my flowers were all dry, it was time to gather my supplies. I began by selecting a pot that suited my style. I picked up this ivory one for around $5-$10 thanks to a 40% off coupon. I have one styrofoam ball pictured here but actually used two. One for the actual topiary and one to place inside the pot to hold the topiary stick. These crazy little balls were the most expensive piece to the whole project, about $4 each. I happened to have some Spanish moss on hand so that's what I used to cover the base but there are several different types available to choose from. I also picked up some greening pins to hold the moss in place and wood picks to adhere the flowers to. All of these supplies can be found at your local craft or floral store, I happened to get all of the supplies shown at Michael's. Except for the stick, I found that for free in my back yard. Once you have all the supplies needed, here's how you can put together your very own topiary.

Start by shoving the stick up, lets try that again. Gently insert the stick into the styrofoam ball. Cover with moss, ensuring that it is kept in place by the greening pins. Talk about a bad hair day! Once the base is generously covered, its time to prepare the roses. Shorten the rose stem so that it is just long enough to attach to the wood pick. Line the stem up with the pick and wrap the wire around until the flower is secure with the pick. Stick the flower into the base, being careful not to smoosh it. Repeat process until all of your flowers are used up or your base is adequately covered. Next, ask your trusty side-kick if it looks alright. Meow! Two paws up!

At the time, I was out of dried roses and the topiary was looking like something that belonged in the compost bin. So there it sat, on my dinning room table. For days. Which turned into weeks. I managed to kick it back into gear and finished placing the remaining dried roses into the topiary. It was finally turning into something presentable.

I completed the project by inserting a styrofoam ball into the pot, covered it with moss, and gently inserted the other end of the stick into the bottom base. An ivory satin bow completed the look. Pretty simple really, just took a bit of time and ample working space.

I have one other project that involves the use of these flowers but you'll have to stay tuned to find out the details. Until then...