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--Ms. Molly

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Valentine with Sparkles & Shine

Don't put all your Christmas papers away just yet.  Some of those patterns may work for cards and layouts that aren't holiday themed.  I made this Valentine using the polka dot paper from CTMH's Sparkle & Shine paper pack.
I started with a card base made from Slate cs.  As mentioned above, I used B&T paper from CTMH's Sparkle & Shine paper pack, and I cut out a circle from the upper right-hand side using a punch.  I added a piece of embossed White Daisy cs under the upper part of the B&T paper, filling the punched whole and sticking out on the left side.
I tied a know with ribbon from the whole to the edge of the B&T paper, then added a dimensional heart I made with three punched hearts, Ruby cs, embossed White Daisy cs, CTMH Stardust Glitter Gel, and dimensional adhesive between each heart.
The sentiment is from a constant campaign set special CTMH had available last year called  "Whooo's Your Valentine."  I added a little bling and edge the whole card with Ruby ink.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Polar Bear Holiday Thank You Card

Don't forget to say thank you for all those great gifts you received this Christmas!  I made some of these cute wintery looking thank you cards this weekend.  They work well for a Christmas thank you, but the theme is more winter, so it's not over the top for those of you (like ME), who are done with all the Christmas-themed decorations for another year. 
I started by stamping the polka dots on to the card base with CTMH Grey Flannel ink (retired). 
I used this background stamp from Inkadinkado--one of my favorite background images.
Next I cut the B&T paper from CTMH's "Frosted" paper pack.  I edged it with grey ink.
I punched a row of icicles across the top using a Martha Stewart punch (shown above) and added a row of frosty swirls from Recollections called "Glitter on a Roll."
Then I attached the B&T paper to the card base.  I used Scor-Tape, my favorite for cardmaking.
I stamped one of the polar bears from CTMH's stamp set "Polar Bear Holiday" onto White Daisy cs and colored it with Copics.
I've shown the colors I used in the photo above.  I like to outline my images with light grey. 
I attached the polar bear with dimensional adhesive to make it pop up.  I added CTMH Stardust Glitter Gel to the icicles (shown half done in this photo) and a little iridescent bling to the bear's stocking hat.
On the inside, I added a simple "Thank You" so I have lots of room to write.
I used CTMH's retired stamp set "Fringed Phrases" (as you can tell, it's a well-used set).
Here's the finished card again:
I love the colors, and the stamp set would work great for any winter themed project.  It's not limited to just Christmas.  To order your own Polar Bear Holiday stamp set, or any of the other current CTMH products used in this project, shop HERE. 


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Recycled Note Pads

These little notepads were made all from scraps and recycled paper.  I got the idea from Pinterest that led me to the  Bind-It-All website, which had a tutorial.  I used scrap pieces of chipboard and B&T papers.  The inside papers were all cut from papers destined to be shredded from my work--I just cut off any white space big enough to use in the notepad.

The bindings at the top of each pad are leftover pieces from larger projects.  I added sparkly initials for the three friends I gifted these note pads to this Christmas.  I also added some little flowers with tiny pieces of matching bling for centers.  Before binding, I sprayed the covers with pink Dylusions ink spray and then sunflower sparkle Perfect Pearls mist for shimmer.  These came together very quickly for cute, up-cycled gifts.  The most tedious step was definitely cutting up all the recycled paper for the insides.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is VERY good and SUPER easy to make.  The recipe comes from my mom:
Simply combine all these ingredients with an electric mixer:
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
4 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
2/3 Cup Water
1 Can (2 Cups) Pumpkin--NOT pie filling, just pumpkin
3 1/3 Cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
Poor into greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
I made three loaves from one recipe:
Here's a pic of my brand new stove:
There was a mix-up at the store, and they upgraded us to a fancy smancy stove with a convection oven, fifth warming burner and warming drawer.  I am such a novice cook/baker, that I have no business having this nice of a stove.  I like it though, and I figure my so-so cooking can be done in less time with the convection feature!
Here's the finished pumpkin bread:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kitchen Redo!

Here's what my kitchen used to look like.  I liked it (when it was clean like this), and the Cheetos-orange suited my quirky style.
But I had a catastrophe with honey fudge last year and ruined my stove cook top.  Then, a few weeks ago, the dishwasher broke down, and Tom couldn't fix it.
So, we decided it was time for a change.  While I was on my girls' weekend trip to Galena, Tom repainted everything in the kitchen and dining room grey.  Then, as an early Christmas present for each other, we got new appliances.  Here's the new look:

We still have to pick up a new microwave, because the door on ours doesn't always close, so that will be stainless too eventually.  I love the new look.  I may even have to cook! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

All my Christmas decorating is done except for our tree, which will be done soon.  Jess & Neal are coming back from Seattle for an early Christmas celebration next week, so I want the house to be all ready.  Here's a look at some of my holiday decorating this year.  You'll definitely see some Pinterest-inspired looks.  Feel free to pin any of my photos you would like to keep for inspiration.

This is the dining room view from the kitchen.
And here's a closer look at the fireplace:
I used a lot of stuff I already had around the house and in storage in the basement.  I just picked up everything white, silver, gold, or glass and used it in my decorating.  Here's some even closer pics:
I bought the hurricane candle holders from Joanne's on super clearance because they were FALL items, but I knew they would work great for Christmas.  I already had the tin square behind them.  The tall glass container is from Jess & Neal's wedding, and I filled it with old-fashioned rock candy for a little color.  The mercury glass vase is an antique I've had forever.  The sparkly mirror came from my bedroom, the snowflake piece is actually a Christmas card holder with clips behind every snowflake, but I just use it plain.  I added simple greenery and pine cones, plus some red berry picks I got at the dollar store.
I already had the brass candlesticks and large sparkly candle holder.  The covered glass piece is another leftover from Jess & Neal's candy bar at their wedding.  I filled it with dollar store silver and gold jingle bells.  I picked up the antique lamp at least 15 years ago in an antique shop.  The little snowman is a bell that I received as a gift from my piano teacher when I was about five.
Here's a close-up of my table centerpiece:
I already had the silver charger from Pier 1 and the little white bowl.  I only added greenery, some white jingle bells, pine cones, and candles.  The red Christmas-y balls are a purchase last year from Target, but I noticed they are selling them again this year.
Here's the arrangement on our buffet:
The runner is from Target.  Again, all the glass pieces are from Jess & Neal's wedding candy bar, which you can see HERE.  The tallest one is a snow scape, the open dish holds old ornaments, and the piece with the lid (that you can barely see behind the little tree in the wooden box) has old-fashioned ribbon candy in it.  The little white trees on the left and the polar bear on the right are from Jess's Snowbaby collection.
And some close-ups:
I'm gong to add a little house to the snow scape, but I haven't found it yet in all my stuff.
These are all ornaments my mom gave me that were on my childhood Christmas trees.
These were my favorites:
They have little Christmas characters in them, and I used to love looking at them when I was little.
Here's the pie safe.  Sorry the picture is so poor.
I kept this area pretty simple.  I put some wrapping paper rolls and ribbon in a small blue tub on the floor.  I decided to leave our family picture where it usually hangs, but I added a picture of our front door after a snowfall for a holiday touch.
Here's a close-up:
My phone (Yes, we still have a land line) and Ipod speaker had to stay here, but I added a Christmas place mat and a wire basket.  A Christmas-scented Yankee candle and a mason jar filled with candy canes are in the basket.  The little snowman is a photo holder, and I always put out my old pictures of my kids with Santa in it.
And a few more random decorating pictures:
My dad made this bookshelf and the duck on the bottom shelf, and I always fill it with holiday decorations.  This year I included a Christmas scrapbook of my kids through the years, more of my kids' Santa photos, the jingle bell box I made last year, and other miscellaneous decorations I've received as gifts and/or accumulated through the years.
This antique wooden bowl is always somewhere in my house.  For Christmas I added pine cones and some cheap gold picks from the dollar store.
And finally, to remind me of warmer climates during a chilly Iowa holiday season, I used a white tray (again a FALL clearance item from Joanne's), a glue glass bottle topped with a silver door hanger from the dollar store, a conch shell and some white jingle bells.
More pics of my tree when it's trimmed are coming soon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Seattle Apartment Layout

This layout is of Neal & Jess's new home in Seattle.  The insert on the tag has their address (which I blocked out).  I started this page several weeks ago and just haven't been back in my studio to finish it.  I think I was done in under five minutes once I got back on task.  I took the pictures when we were there this summer, and I have a whole second trip to Seattle to work on now, plus Chicago, plus Buffett, plus New Orleans, plus Galena, plus Christmas projects!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where Have I Been?

I haven't had time for much crafting lately.  I've been traveling!  First, at the end of October, we went to New Orleans: 
Tom and I hanging out with the Who Dat?! Nation in Championship Square in front of the Superdome before we watched the New Orleans Saints beat the Buffalo Bills.

One of the floats we saw in the Krewe of Boo parade.  Halloween is a big deal in the Big Easy--lots of celebrating and costumes.

French Quarter architecture and colors.
St. Louis Cathedral from Jackson Square.

A cool sign with Iowa ties AND my name we saw at Molly's at the Market pub in the Quarter. 

And then after a few days at home in Iowa, last week we went to Seattle for our daughter's birthday:
Tom and I at Volunteer Park in Seattle.
Neal and Jess at Fremont Peak Point Park.
Me with Jess (the birthday girl) at Volunteer Park.
Now I'm home for three full days, and then it's a girls' weekend trip to Galena, Illinois.  Seems like my trips have me going to colder and colder destinations.
Lots of scrapbooking in my future!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Fall is here and so are those cravings for comfort foods.  My friend Lori made up this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, and I love it!  I was going to go on here about what a fabulous cook Lori is, but now that I think about it, I've never actually eaten anything she has prepared.   She talks a lot about recipes and meals, so I can say she talks a great game.  (I'm 100-percent sure she's a great cook.  I know she loves it.)
Anyway, here are the ingredients for the pie:
Pie Crusts (2)  (purchased or homemade)
2-3 Cups Cooked Chicken
Frozen Peas or frozen peas and carrots or whatever vegetable(s) desired
Pepper to Taste
Teaspoon (or so) of Tarragon
3 Cans Country Fare Cream of Chicken Soup
4-8 oz. Cream Cheese (optional)
Cook the Chicken.  You can buy chicken already cooked, you can buy it and cook it yourself in the oven or on the cook top, but I like microwaving mine.  I have a pottery container (you can get one from Pampered Chef or, like me, get one for about the third of the price at Wal-Mart ).  Put just a little bit of water in the bottom of the dish and add chicken.  I usually use chicken tenders (the strips), but chicken breasts were on sale this week, so I went that route.
Chicken before microwaving.  Barely any water in the bottom of the dish.
Cook the chicken, covered, for approximately 8 minutes.  My dish has a lid, you just can't see it here.  One of the chicken breasts was pretty large, so I had to cut it into fourths and heat it an additional couple minutes.  If you use chicken tenders, 8 minutes is usually plenty of time--just cut into it after you cook it and make sure the pink is gone.  The chicken turns out very tender and juicy.  We make chicken like this all the time, and just add BBQ sauce or leave it plain.
Back to this recipe:  Cut up the cooked chicken into the size of chunks you like.
I'm including this picture so you can see the cans of Country Fare Cream of Chicken Soup.  I'm not sure if this is a local brand or not.  I know it's available in Iowa Hy-Vee stores.  If you don't have it in your store, you'll have to experiment.  Lori says it's a good consistency because it's between a gravy and a soup.
Heat one can of the soup and mix in the cream cheese.  (Avoid adding gourds--they're just in the background.  I should have moved them.)
Mix all the pie ingredients together:  chicken, heated soup and cream cheese, vegetables, tarragon, and pepper.  It looks like this:
Note to self:  use a bigger mixing bowl next time.  You'll notice my mixture now has corn in it.  Just before this picture was taken, things went bad in my kitchen.  I hadn't noticed that one of the cans of soup was actually cream of mushroom.  It kept itself hidden from me until after I opened it--even going so far as to hide in the back of the picture of the soup so I wouldn't notice.  After I opened the can of mushroom soup, I went to my pantry thinking I was all smart in the kitchen and grabbed a can of creamed corn to substitute.  I opened that can, then discovered it was regular corn, not creamed.  Believing all cans were scheming against me, I was lucky to at last open a can of creamed corn.  I only used about three-fourths of it, because it was larger than the can of cream of chicken soup called for in the recipe.  I imagine Lori is laughing reading this now whilst she has a healthy dinner in the oven, some bread dough rising, and perhaps some vegetable canning underway.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.  Lori heats her bottom crust for 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees to avoid sogginess before filling it.
In all honesty, I think if I  make another full-size pie, I'll just omit the bottom crust completely.  (I imagine Lori throwing up her spatulas in despair now.)
I used homemade pie crust, because it is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING TO MAKE.  See my post on pie crusts HERE
After you add the filling, put on the top crust and trim to fit.
Crimp the edges and add some slits for steam to escape.  I'm a weirdo, so I made mine look like chicken tracks:
Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
And here's the finished pie again:
My serving wasn't quite so pretty, but it tasted wonderful:
FYI:  This is a small sized plate--I did not eat half the pie.
I will definitely make this chicken pot pie again.  I'd like to get some individual-sized pie pans and make them that size and maybe even freeze them.  Try this recipe.  Hopefully, I've bolded the real important parts of the instructions, and hopefully your canned goods will cooperate.
Thanks, Lori, for the recipe!  And thanks for giving me permission to blog it.  You're welcome as a guest blogger anytime!