Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Review: A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell

The latest book review I have to share is A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell. It's been a long time since I've read a book by Lawana Blackwell and I was excited to have the opportunity to do that again.

A Haven on Orchard Lane is a historical romance novel about a stage actress in the Victorian era. She walked away from it all to marry a wealthy man and things fall apart from there as she realizes he is not all that he portrayed himself to be. 

Getting out of that situation, she attempts to go back to the acting she left, but so many things go wrong. Her estranged daughter agrees to help her and moves her into a cottage on Orchard Lane in a quiet little village. There they get to know each other after being apart many years.

There is a lot of healing, forgiveness, and reality as not all parts of the story end all rosy which makes this  a refreshing book to read.

**I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.**

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's Up

Just popping in quick with a fun colorful card created using Inky Antics' 0465H Balloon Kitty and 0002C What's Up. the image was colored with Tombow's Irojiten Colored Pencils and blended with gamsol from Inky Antics. For all the layering I used Tombow Mono Adhesive Permanent. FYI, if you are needing some adhesive refills for your Mono Adhesive Permanent cartridge, Groupon has a great deal going on this week.

So now "what's up" with me. Oh my it has been a LONG 3 months and I'm still not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. The good news is the torn ligaments healed correctly and are attached to my bone like they should be. The bad news....I'm in more pain than I've ever been in. I had to go 6 weeks without walking and that caused back, hip, tail bone, etc pain along with constant pain in my ankle. After and MRI it showed I have edema around/in (not sure how that really works) my ligaments and a bulging ankle with a sac of fluid around my ankle which is causing the pain.

So once a week for 6 weeks I have to have shockwave treatments. THIS is the most painful thing (physically) I have ever experienced and anyone who knows all I've been through and all the surgeries I've had that is saying something. I've never rated my pain at a 10 because my thought process was that if it got worse I had no where to go. This pain is a 10 and then some. It is hard to get my breath at times.

Apparently it takes 4 weeks of pain before they will know of the treatment works. I just finished week 2 and am dreading next week already as yesterday was even more painful than last week. I can't take anything for the pain for the 6 week period because apparently it will counteract the treatment.

So this is why I've been quiet on my blog. Just trying to get through each day and sometimes just each minute of the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Thank You

Have you checked out the CUTTING CAFE SHOP yet? Not only has Regina released a new stamp set EVERYDAY ELISHA JEAN AND FRIENDS, but she has lots of fun paper pads and embellishments, as well as stamp sets from her last release.

I have a thank you card to share with you today. I have some people I need to thank for various reasons while I've been laid up with this foot (9.5 weeks and counting!! so ready for this ordeal to be over) and decided to ink up Mikala Ann in the 
EVERYDAY ELISHA JEAN AND FRIENDS set.

I paper pieced her dress and pockets with Fancy Pants Designs Park Bench paper line. By using a 6 x 6 paper pad, the images are much smaller and perfect for paper piecing. I used Tombow's Irojiten Colored Pencils to color the rest and blended with Gamsol. 

The paper doily is cut with Cottage Cutz 4" x 4" Tea Time Doily cutting die. The little 'thank you' piece was stamped with the sentiment that comes with the stamp set and I added washi tape to the top.  Mono Adhesive Dots was used to adhere everything together.

Friday, May 13, 2016

BFB Together at the Table


Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge is the last book in her Two Blue Doors series. In this book, questions are finally answered that arose reading her first two books. Hillary has a way of making the stories interesting in such a way that you can't put the book down and you want to find out how it all ends and the stories of the characters come together.

In this book we get to see Juliette come to an understanding of what and who she wants in life. This story is full of romance, mystery, family and food. In case you've read the first two, I won't ruin the ending for you. I have enjoyed reading all 3 of the books in this series and while I suggest you read them all, as they can each stand on their own as well.

**I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.**



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Atonement

I love reading Amish stories, so was excited when I was chosen to read The Atonement by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House.

Lucy Flaud is 25 and considered by the Amish to be past courting age. The mistakes of her past which are secret to all except her parents keeps her from attending 'singing' where unmarried Amish usually attend on Sunday's to find their spouses.

Lucy feels that she has to make up for her mistakes by keeping busy, so she volunteers in everything she can and finds herself coming up short. Her father becomes friends with an 'Englischer' who is trying to live more simple and has lots of questions. Lucy becomes friends with Dale and other members of the Amish faith esp her good friend Tobe who loves her, become worried that she is going to leave the Amish faith.

This was a very good story on the importance of being able to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes just as God forgives us if we ask Him.

I have been a fan of Beverly Lewis for many years and enjoyed this new story of hers.

**I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.**

Saturday, May 7, 2016

29 Again?

Today I am sharing a card created with 4 more products I rec'd this month as a part of the Professional Paper Crafters within Tombow's Brand Ambassador program. I am using Tombow's Irojiten Colored Pencils Tranquil Set and Mono Adhesive Permanent, Graphic 45 Enchanted Forest designer paper, and Art Impressions stamps from 29 Again Set ~4372.

The Colored Pencils Tranquil Set comes with 12 colored pencils, a sharpener, and sand eraser. Each of the pencils come unsharpened and the sharpener sharpens them perfectly, crisp, and clean. The eraser is perfect for taking care of those little "oops" or to lighten the coloring if you change your mind. You can also color a solid image and then use the eraser to make designs into your solid coloring.


I have all the Irojiten Colored Pencils, so along with the colors in the set, I also used Ecru Vp-3 and Ivory Black V-10 as well as Dual Brush Pens N89, 990, and 243 for shading. I like to color with the colored pencils, then blend with Gamsol and then use the Dual Brush Pens and N00 Blender pen to add more shading. 

I raised the image up with Tombow's Foam Tabs and added gold ribbon from the $1 spot at Target.

29 Again Set - 4372

Friday, May 6, 2016

Coupon Book

I have so much to share in this post. As part of the Tombow Brand Ambassador program, I along with the other Professional Paper Crafters received a wonderful pkg from Tombow and other companies they partner with to create some fun projects with their products. I received goodies from Tombow, Graphic 45, Simple Stories, Fancy Pants Designs, Stampendous!, May Arts Ribbon, and Art Impressions. I will be sharing several project over the next few days showcasing what I have created using these generous donors products.

To start off, I am paring some of those goodies with this week's design team challenge from Cutting Cafe to use files from Regina's album books section. This went in a completely different direction than I had originally planned due to the fact that my craft room is upstairs and I still can't walk yet. So switching gears, I created for you a fun project using Cutting Cafe's Tabbed Organizer Set.


I am a pretty frugal person and use lots of coupons when I can. I normally cut my coupons and just stick them in my purse, but I decided I needed something better to keep them organized. (note: I just used a pony tail holder to hold it closed)

I created this organizer by basically winging it. LOL I cut a piece of cardstock 6" x 6 3/8". Along the 6" side, I scored it every 1/2" and accordian folded it. Then using strong adhesive (Tombow's Extreme Adhesive) I adhered chipboard (aka: cereal box) cut tabs and envelopes.

To each tab page, I adhered designer paper from Simple Stories "Let's Party Collection Kit" with Tombow's Mono Glue Stick. This is my favorite adhesive to use when adhering paper/cardstock to chipboard. You get a great cover, it stays wet long enough to maneuver your paper around if need be, and it is very strong.

 I didn't decorate this much as it is something that would be in one's purse, so you wouldn't want a lot of bling and decor on it. The only "decor" was the label maker "coupons" word.

 I also didn't write anything on the tabs as to what would be in the envelopes as 1/2 through making this, I am thinking of giving it away. What I would necessarily put on the tabs, another might not.

 This is a view of the back. I decided to put a tab in the center back in case I do give it away and I can "sign" it or write something to make it personal.



A big THANK YOU to Tombow and Simple Stories for products to create this project.


Be sure to visit the Cutting Cafe Blog on the 7th and 21st of every month to see the design team's projects in which you can leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win 3 FREE sets of your choice from the online store.

Monday, May 2, 2016

New Cutting Cafe Stamp Set

Regina at THE CUTTING CAFE SHOP has released a new stamp set EVERYDAY ELISHA JEAN AND FRIENDS and I get to be on her team to create some projects using this set. There are seven others joining me and we are showcasing our projects this week. (see below for a complete list of designers)

For my project today, I created this fun card coloring Elisha Jean. Regina had posted a tip that she stamped her image on kraft cardstock to more easily color Miss Elisha Jean and it worked great! I used Tombow's Irojiten Colored Pencils and blended with Gamsol.

I paper pieced her dress, pockets, and bows with designer paper from Echo Park. To adhere little pieces like this, Tombow's Mono Adhesive Dots is the perfect adhesive.

Here is this week's line up. You won't want to miss any inspiration from these gals. 


may 
1st   Rhonda Zmikly 
2nd   Debbie Fisher **you are here**
3rd   Diane Hover        
4th   Rhonda Emery        
5th   Chauntelle Lee        
6th   Tina Goodwin         
Audrey Long will be joining the team as well

An update on my ankle...I've not been doing much as the ligament is not healing. I now have to stay off of it for 3 weeks and then we go from there. I am hoping and praying that I do not have to have surgery to sew it back together, but time will tell. I have some supplies from upstairs, so with all the sitting I have to do, I am hoping to get lots of creating done. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Clear Cardstock Box

I am back with a quick and easy project for Cutting Cafe. All of my stamping stuff is upstairs and I hadn't quite maneuvered stairs with my walking boot, so took a few weeks off. I still have the boot (hopefully ONE more week to go!!), but I'm slowly learning stairs and don't feel like I'm going to fall down them and break something.

This week the design team has a fun challenge using clear cardstock that Regina is now selling in her new store. It comes 8.5" x 11" or 12" x 12". I wasn't sure what to create at first and then thought it would be fun to create a box for the hand crocheted dish cloths I make to give as gifts.


I used the medium box of Cutting Cafe's 3 Nesting Boxes Cutting Files. I think I could have used the large as I had to scrunch them up a bit to fit.


The pretty floral cardstock is Bright Bouquet by Darcie's.

Regina has made a youtube video showcasing several projects using the clear cardstock. You can see it HERE.

Be sure to visit the Cutting Cafe Blog on the 7th and 21st of every month to see the design team's projects in which you can leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win 3 FREE sets of your choice from the online store.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jane Austen Themed Bridal Shower

The next shower on the calendar was a double bridal shower with a Jane Austen theme. The brides-to-be will soon be sisters-in-law. Their separate wedding colors did not go together, so I just did colors completely different from either of their wedding colors and chose colors that would go more with the Jane Austen theme which was a soft pink and gold.

This is the invitation I created using designer papers from Hobby Lobby, adhesive from Tombow, frame die from Nestibilities, and a free svg cutting silhouette image. 



I bought some old frames from Goodwill and spray painted them all gold, so that they would match. I then printed some Jane Austen quotes and put them inside each frame to decorate the tables.


As you walked into the room this was on the table to sign in. I had separate sheets for each of the girls as well as separate address labels for the attendees to fill out.


Decorations on the table...book page base that I created for THIS shower last year, paper doily, battery operated candle that I added lace and gold ribbon that looked like something from days gone by. Frame with Jane Austen quote and jelly jar with silk flowers and pearls hanging out of each jar.

withe the candle on:

I found these napkins that I thought fit the theme at Party City

Food Table:


We served tea party themed food

Blueberry Ricotta Scones and Cranberry Orange Scones with Lemon Curd, Honey, and homemade apple butter



You can't have a tea party without cucumber sandwiches. These are made with the cocktail bread you can find at most grocery stores and topped with chive flavored cream cheese, a cucumber slice, and sprinkled with dill.


fresh homemade whipped cream and strawberries

Oreo truffles


Recipes and Links:
Blueberry Ricotta Scones
Lemon Curd
Cranberry Orange Scones
Oreo Truffles

free svg silhouette
invite inspiration
Jane Austen inspiration board
Tombow Adhesives: Mono Adhesive Dots, Adhesive Tabs, Mono Multi Liquid Glue

Blueberry Ricotta Scones
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, VERY cold and cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (Whole Milk) Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 8 ounces blueberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen, do not thaw first)
  • For the egg wash:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling
  • For the (optional) lemon glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and lemon zest.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes then quickly work it into the mixture (using your fingers) until lit resembles a coarse meal.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, ricotta cheese, and milk, then add to flour and butter mixture. Use a fork to stir everything together until just moistened.
  5. Add in the blueberries and gently fold them into dough with a spatula - don’t worry if some of the berries break up a bit.
  6. Pour the shaggy dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and shape the dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer to the prepared sheet.
  7. Lightly brush each scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle the top of each scone with sugar.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
  9. Cool for about 10 minutes, then make your glaze.
  10. For the glaze:
  11. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners sugar. Drizzle over warm scones and serve at once.

The Best Lemon Curd
Yield: Makes about 2 and 1/4 cups
Recipe by The Food Charlatan
Ingredients
  • 1+ tablespoons lemon zest, optional*
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 large lemons)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs + 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), chopped**
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat together 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks. Whisk it very well.
  3. When the liquid on the stove is ready, slowly pour some of it into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly. I usually pour in about half, but you can do more or less. This is called tempering the eggs.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the eggs while stirring. If you don't stir you may curdle your eggs.
  5. Continue to whisk pretty constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When you drag your whisk over the top of the mixture, it should leave marks.
  6. Pour the curd through a mesh strainer into a new bowl (or the same one, washed). Unless you are an expert curd maker, you will probably have a few solid egg pieces in there, which is totally okay! Just strain them out.
  7. Stir the chopped butter into the lemon curd until it's completely melted. This is a good time for a large spoonful of hot lemon 
  8. Press a square of plastic wrap directly on top of the lemon curd. If you just cover the bowl, you will get a film on your curd.
  9. Refrigerate until cold, about 2-4 hours. It will thicken up some as it cools.
  10. Transfer to a plastic container. Keeps for 1-2 weeks.
  11. Notes *The lemon zest adds great flavor and will make it more tangy. If texture is more important to you than flavor and you are looking for a super creamy lemon curd, then leave it out. (my note, I did not add the lemon zest)
Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe


Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 16 mins Total time: 31 mins

Serving: 12 scones

Ingredients
·         2½ cups all-purpose flour
·         2 Tbsp sugar
·         1 Tbsp baking powder
·         ¼ tsp salt
·         ½ Tbsp grated orange zest (from ½ orange)
·         ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
·         2 large eggs, lightly beaten
·         ½ cup heavy whipping cream + 1 Tbsp to brush the top
·         ¾ cup dried cranberries
·         1 Tbsp coarse/raw sugar to sprinkle the top, optional
·         ⅔ cup powdered sugar
·         1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
·          
Instructions
1.    Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together 2½ cups flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt and ½ Tbsp grated orange zest.
2.    Add butter pieces and using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives), cut butter into mixture until you have coarse pea-sized crumbs.
3.    Toss in ¾ cup dried cranberries and stir gently to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
4.    In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and ½ cup heavy cream. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and use a spatula to stir just until moistened.
5.    Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and pull it together into a round disk, about ¾" thick. Cut disk into 12 equal wedges and pull apart slightly. Brush tops of scones with 1 Tbsp heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar if desired. Bake 15-17 min until golden (mine took 16 min).
6.    Remove scones from the hot baking sheet and let cool 15 min then whisk together ⅔ cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, adding more or less to desired thickness then drizzle over scones.

Cookie Truffles

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper or foil; set aside. In a large bowl combine crushed cookies and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well mixed. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Chill or freeze until firm.
  2. In a large saucepan cook and stir white chocolate over low heat until melted; cool slightly.
  3. Dip each ball into melted white chocolate; let excess drip back into pan. Place dipped truffles on the prepared baking sheet. Chill truffles about 1 hour or until firm. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Secret Garden Themed Bridal Shower

Last Saturday's shower was a bridal shower and we had a Secret Garden theme for most of it.

Each shower planning begins with an invitation:

I used lots of Tombow Mono Adhesive Dots and Mono Adhesive Permanent.

Now for the day of the shower...As you came into the room where the shower was held, we displayed on a table a candle, fresh flowers, a picture of the engaged couple as well as some old books, a sheet to sign in and some address labels for the guests to fill out if they brought a gift.



To me, the perfect thing to do in a Secret Garden would be to read, so we decorated the tables with old books. Beneath the books are book pages from a very old book taped together and the edges cut with a decorative paper punch.
Also, every Secret Garden needs a key to enter it. I just tied some ribbon onto vintage keys and tucked inside the book pages.
Sticking with a "garden" theme, the flower pots are painted peat pots and then a doily hanging out of the pot and silk flowers arranged in each one.

The dessert area had a tiered curtain covering sad marker board with ivy hanging from it. On the table we had an old crate box with doily, old books and Celtic plaster designed cross and a mirrored window frame.


 There was also a green with gold design scarf, cake platter made with terre cotta pot and base painted with off white chalk paint.


I found these pretty garden plates at Party City.

 I put a piece of waxed paper on the plate part and stacked with dark chocolate brownies.  The bride-to-be told me she loved brownies and ice cream, so we served brownie sundae's.

We served 3 kinds of ice cream: chocolate, mint chip, and vanilla...
 
Toppings were chopped Resee's, mini marshmallows (found in the hot chocolate section at the grocery store), chopped Andes' Mints, and chopped peanuts. We also had Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, and Chocolate sauces to choose from as well as canned whipped topping not shown.

 and alas...this is why this post is late (since I had told some ladies I would have this post up on Monday as they were looking for the recipes used at the shower). I was limping at the shower as my ankle was really hurting and continued to get worse (I can be stubborn and think if I wait long enough something will get better), but by yesterday, it was pretty clear that it was not going to get better. Somehow I tore some ligaments and ended up with a spur on the back of my ankle. Amazing how something so big and bulky and tight can make the pain so much more tolerable.


Here are the recipes and inspiration used for this shower:


Ultimate Double Chocolate Brownies
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup melted butter, divided
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 12 oz. package chocolate chips*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine cocoa and baking soda. Blend in 1/3 cup melted butter. Add boiling water and stir until well blended.
Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining butter. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Stir in nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Makes a 9X13 pan
**note: I did not add the chocolate chips and I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
Vanilla Bean Sauce (this was the most requested recipe)
adapted from motherthyme.com

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and beans removed.
  1. Add sugar, butter, cream, vanilla beans and pod to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean pod and allow to cool slightly.
Chocolate Sauce
(this recipe came from my son's friend)

4 Tablespoons cocoa
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 Cup evaporated milk or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Boil to desired thickness then add vanilla


Strawberry Sauce
via:budgetsavvydiva

What You Need
1 Pint of Strawberries – clean and sliced
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
1/3 Cup of Sugar

What to Do
Over medium heat add all the ingredients to a skillet – stir and cook for about 5 minutes
Once the liquid starts to boil turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes (this will allow the sauce to get thick)
Use a potato masher and mash the sauce (this helps break up the remaining strawberries)

my Secret Garden Pinterest inspiration board