Monday, September 21, 2009

Sushi Cupcakes!

Having missed my sister's birthday last month due to my life-sucking Internal Medicine rotation, I had made some large promises to deliver some baked goodies (Weaz is a sucker for cake). I racked my brain for ideas... she loves Japanese culture and so the idea came to mind. Here's how I did it:

The Supplies:
I used some help from the grocery store on this one... cake mix and pre-made icing made this an easy evening project. I used some greenish mini-cupcakes baking cups with some added goodies like mini Swedish fish and sugar (or spice) drops and sprinkles for color.

I followed the instructions on the box (pretty fool proof!) and filled the cupcakes with about a half tablespoon of batter each (one batch goes a LOOONG way -- I made about 40 cupcakes).

I cut up the spice drops into smaller pieces as I waited for the cupcakes to bake up.

Ding! They're done!

One is the loneliest cupcake...

A little bit of icing goes a long way on these little guys.

Once iced, I dunked the cupcakes into a cup of white non-pareils to make it look like rice. Then I added the cut-up spice drops, picked out orange sprinkles and some mini-swedes...

To complete the look, I went to the seafood counter at my local grocery store and asked to purchase some clean bento boxes that they use for sushi... they gave me a great price = FREE!!

The Finished Product: Sushi Cupcakes!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another AMAZING Giveaway by Melissa

Excuse the lack of posts recently.... I took the biggest exam of my life about a month ago (the first part of my medical licensing exam), and well... I did well. Not super but a heck of a lot better than I expected. And since then, I've started working at the hospital, learning the ins and the outs. Right now I am in my Internal Medicine rotation, which is a whopping 10 weeks, so I'm really learning a lot! So I apologize for the lack of crafting; I hope that I find a better work/sleep/fun balance in the near future. Until then, this announcement was definitely worth breaking my silence:

The amazing Melissa at Creating from the Heart is celebrating her blog anniversary by giving a prize pack that makes me want to jump up and down and say "Please, Please, Puh-lease PICK ME!".

What makes me so enthusiastic you may ask? Well... how about:

A Martha Stewart Dripped Goo Edger Punch


October Afternoon Cherry Hill 8x8 Paper Pad


Making Memories Slice 8x8 Ledger Pad


And... the big kahuna...

A SLICE MACHINE!!


Eeeeeeekkkk! I want one, puh-lease! I am going to keep my fingers and my toes crossed for the next few weeks until the prize drawing! A girl can dream, and if she is going to, might as well dream big!

Happy Blogaversary, Melissa!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Win a Dyson DC25!

A great chance to win an amazing vacuum -- the Dyson DC25! My parents have the Dyson DC25 Animal, which is appropriate since their animal, a black lab named Toby, is the king of shed. We did one of those cheesy commercial style trials, where we vacuumed the carpet with our old vacuum (since laid to rest somewhere in a trash dump) and then vacuumed again with our new Dyson Animal. The canister filled just on a little portion of the carpet, a true testament to the power of these vacuums.


Enter here to have a chance to win!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Out of This World!

This is my afternoon off. The first afternoon off since my birthday almost exactly one month ago. All my other afternoons (and evenings, and then the next mornings) for the past 6 weeks have been filled with books, and facts, and medical school stuff. Lots and lots of basic science medicine. But this afternoon, I'm done. Because tomorrow is it: my Step 1 US Medical Licensing Exam. So to celebrate, and to put good karma out into the universe, I wanted to post about a card that I sent to my sister last week.

I have sent a card to my sister before in congratulations of her work, but usually she is behind the camera. On this occasion, my sister was acting and singing in a community theatre production. Not being able to be there myself because of my affliction (read: studying until the cows, all of them, came home), I sent her my congratulations with this little guy:

Out of this World

This basic card was made with the following supplies:
  • SandyLion stamps (my first real stamps, not just the digital ones I've been using!)
  • Ink from Versa Magic (Mediterranean Blue and Silver)
  • Text was printed on my computer using fonts from Kevin&Amanda
  • Papers were from a block of paper scraps (that I bought centuries ago)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scribble This! Week 2


I saw this challenge on one of the [many] blogs that I follow, and I felt like someone had finally addressed my card photography woes: the grey blahs. Unfortunately, we have very limited natural lighting in our apartment, and the rainy days seem more numerous than the sunny ones. I have often lamented that my cards look pale and blah in my photos. This challenge from Lisa Spangler at sideoats + scribbles, doesn't just focus on producing great cards, but also how to showcase them with great photography [or great editing tips]! So I had to jump right in and played with the levels on this simple card that I made quickly over the week during one of my [necessary] study breaks.

Just by playing with the levels, you can completely change the cards, and [finally!] make them look like they do in person! This is going to be my new trick -- used on all of my future photography! Bye bye blahs!

Cupcake Birthday: Before

Cupcake Birthday: After

On a personal note: this Friday, June 19, I will be taking Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam. I have been studying for the past 5 weeks, and my cards have helped to keep me sane during this time. Long days and endless time in the library will hopefully all have been worth it! Congrats and Good Luck to all of my classmates!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Pink Persimmon!

A blog that's relatively new to me (found through Keepsakes by Melissa, see her amazing giveaway, posted below), is the wonderful Pink Persimmon. This month, in celebration of their 1 year anniversary, they've given a great (and appropriate) challenge: Pink and Orange (Persimmon).

To be honest, I shied away from this one at first. I didn't think that I could "pull it off", until I was looking through my paper selection and found a pink and orange argyle-print paper. And then I was off! So here it is...

Pink & Persimmon

Saturday, June 6, 2009

caardvarks challenge: Depth Perception

The current challenge at caardvarks is Depth Perception! We are asked to create a paper crafting project that is 3D, whether a card, gift wrapping, home decor -- anything goes!

[You can skip the story and just look at the pictures... it is a little lengthy.]

My project this week is inspired by my Gram (she's really my GIL, but like my own Gram in many ways). She told once told me this story: Who's Packing Your Parachute [adapted from this website]? Captain Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot during the Vietnam War. On a mission, his plane was shot down, he ejected from his jet and fell into enemy hands. He survived imprisonment for 6 years. He survived and frequently spoke about the lessons that he learned.

One day, he was approached by a strange man who said: "You're Captain Plumb!" Yet, Plumb did not recognize him. The man said, "You were shot down. I packed your parachute. I guess it worked." And Captain Plumb agreed, "If the chute didn't work, I wouldn't be here today."

Now as Captain Plumb lectures, he asks to think of those who pack our parachutes. Those who you may not say Thank You to everyday, yet who save our lives in small gestures or in big ways. When Gram told me this story, we discussed how we all need to pack each others parachutes. And thus the inspiration for this card.

I Packed Your Parachute





I made the "parachute design" by cutting out white card stock with tabs on the side (for gluing together during assembly). I made the parachute a little thicker than my note so that she could place notes, affirmations, or prayers inside of it. I covered the front and back in the polka dot patterned paper, drawing in the stitching on the borders with markers. On the reverse side, I added two pieces of ribbon to represent the straps for the parachute, and I used the same ribbon (bought for only $1 at Michaels!) to make a tab on the front pocket and the tab on the note inside. I used a matching striped pattern for the sides of the parachute and for the front panel. A few buttons details and this is ready to ship to Gram!

2S4Y 1st Annual Ultimate Card Challenge

One of my absolute favorite blogs, 2 Sketches 4 You (2S4Y), is celebrating their 1 Year Blog Birthday! In true creative fashion of 2S4Y, they are celebrating this milestone with the 1st Annual Ultimate Card Showdown. Even the name sounds exciting! The prizes are great, the inspiration is greater and the products that are sure to come out of this challenge are going to be stunning. This is going to run all month long, and while there will be an "elimination style" competition to find the Ultimate Card, the challenges and prizes for Fab 5's will continue, so you can keep participating -- I LOVE that. And that's why one of the many reasons I love 2S4Y.

Ok, onto the sketch for Week 1:



Welcome Baby

I used a wide variety of products for this including digital stamps of the baby carriage and baby rattle and a wide variety of papers for which I cannot find the original manufacturers.

A subtle detail, in efforts to follow the sketch, I hand-sewed a scalloped pattern to the left of the floral stripe (enlarged seen below).


Thanks to 2S4Y -- of course to Laura & Kazan for making this all possible -- but also to the wonderful community that participates, inspires, comments and encouragement. I have learned so much in just the 3 months that I've been making cards, and much of that comes from the beautiful creations that you all share!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Blog Candy to Share...

Melissa at Creating from the Heart has a knack for selecting the most ultimate, amazing, exciting, finger-crossing, please-please-please-pick-me-praying blog candy! And she's done it again! She's offering up:
  • 1 Queen & Co Bucket Full of Summer
  • 5 different Basic Grey Rhinestone Stickters
  • 1 Basic Grey 6x6 Lime Rickey Pad
And as if that wasn't enough:
  • A Sissix Big Shot
[image from Melissa's blog]

She's giving away a Sizzix BIG SHOT! Wowzers! Told you she was the best!

Don't believe me, check it out at Melissa's blog: Creating from the Heart!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

caardvarks: Shape Up! & Cuttlebug Challenge: Be Inspired 33


Inside:
Congratulations on your Graduation

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
--Dr. Seuss, from Oh, The Places You'll Go

I made this card for a dear friend who just graduated from law school -- Congrats B, Esq!
I am also submitting it for the Shape Up challenge from caardvarks! The challenge was to think outside of the box and make a card that wasn't a square or rectangle. I also added the monogram for the Cuttlebug Challenge [my first one!] Be Inspired #33 -- Monograms, which adds a personal touch for a nice sentiment.

I made the tassel from some yarn (making it up as I went), and used a brad plus a Glue Dot to make sure that it was securely attached. The papers are from Target's Dollar Zone (a great place to find inexpensive supplies). The "B" was made in Word. All in all, a colorful yet still masculine way to celebrate such a great accomplishment.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Since I Knew You Were Coming... I Baked A Cake!

This recipe is a modified version of "Taste the Rainbow" from  I *Heart* Cuppycakes, my absolute favorite baking blog. [http://iheartcuppycakes.com/2009/04/12/taste-the-rainbow/]

I have been waiting for the next opportunity to bake so that I could finally try this amazing recipe, and after all of the chaos of my 2nd year of medical school, exams were complete, and there were 3 May birthdays among my group of best friends.  We celebrated our accomplishments and increasing wisdom with this cake!

**Disclaimer: In advance, I again apologize for the lack of pictures for certain steps.  Clearly my instructions skills need to be improved.  Will do better in the future.**

I used white cake mix (nothing from scratch here!).  I had just tried blue and white cupcakes for my alma mater, but the color was not as bright as I had hoped.  After reading a little online, I heard that gel food coloring provides for really bright colors (and doesn't mess with the taste).

I divided my cake mix (made per instructions on the box) into 6 bowls.  To these bowls, I added food coloring to make 6 bright rainbow colors.  For the colors that are not the standard 4 provided, I used the ratios provided on the box or just made it up as I went (not very scientific for someone in the sciences, huh?).

I added these colors into two 8" cake rounds, adding about half of each color into each.  I tried to make the order the same as the rainbow, but starting with different colors in each of the rounds so that the cakes were not just duplicates.  (Again, I just sorta added them as I felt I should).

I then baked them per instruction on the cake mix box.  Then I impatiently waited for them to cool.... the smell is very tempting!

Not wanting to just use plain white icing, I decided to make a sky/powder blue creation by opening two pre-made icing containers, and adding blue until I liked the color.  For this step, you could use whatever color moved you!  It allows for some additional variability in theme, too!  

After icing one layer, I added the next cake, iced it and added some fun sprinkles!  [Note: cake decorating skills also need to improve... still delicious though!]



Later that night, anxiously awaiting the reaction from the crowd, I cut the cake.  Everyone was really surprised how colorful the inside of the cake was-- enough to match the outside.




All in all, I will do this cake a million times over.  And do different color variations for different events, some ideas:
  • Another round and Blue&White cupcakes for my alma mater (or any alma mater for that matter.  Get it... mater... matter!)
  • Red, white and blue for Memorial Day or Fourth of July
  • Favorite colors for friends' birthdays
  • High school colors for upcoming graduation season
Check out I Heart Cuppycakes for even more outstanding ideas...

The Lucky Birthday Girl...

This past week I celebrated my birthday -- a quick but nice break from studying. And boy, did I get some great loot. I am so excited to be able to expand my supplies, so I thought I would share my newest toys that I got from my MIL & FIL:

A Sizzix Sidekick
This little guy is the perfect way to get into die-cuts, especially if you don't have your own craft space. I used the Sidekick that my MIL has, and am so excited to have one of my own. I know that I will be looking for new kits to add. In addition to the machine, I got a few die-cuts to start off with.

These two embossing folders are from Cuttlebug, but work with the Sidekick.


I also got these two Sizzix die-cuts. I really love the Stuffed Animal set, even though the blue bunny is a little Donnie Darko for me. But I cannot wait to make these animals in pretty pastels for baby cards! And you can never go wrong with more supplies for birthday cards!



Beyond just die-cut supplies, I also received some Cutter Bee scissors. I didn't appreciate how useful having a very sharp pair of scissors is until I used these. I don't think I will be able to use anything else anymore!
As a present for myself (which was then added by my MIL to all of my loot), I picked up a new Fiskar's paper punch. I love the design of these because you can see exactly where you are punching, and the grip makes them much more comfortable to use. I don't have one, but my MIL does (what doesn't she have!). I got the Seal of Approval pattern, which is a large circle with scalloped borders. Expect to see that on a bunch of cards in the future!


[All images for supplies from Joann.com]

And for endless inspiration to use all of my supplies, I got a subscription to Paper Crafts magazine! The gift that will keep on giving. A million thanks to Momma S!

Now for something other than crafting supplies: my husband got me a fabulous birthday gift: a throw-back powder blue Pittsburgh Penguins jersey. I have been eyeing these up since they released them this past year, and just in time for the STANLEY CUP SERIES (Go Pens!), I got my own! What a wonderful hubby; he always picks up on those little things that I say!
[Image from football-jerseys.org]

A very happy birthday indeed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Manly Cards

Cards for girls are easier.  They can be pink, and full of ribbons or bows.  They can sparkle and shine.  But the challenge of making cards for my father and father-in-law limited my paper selections and made me thinking of new ways to add layers and still preserve the manly factor.

The tie came naturally (not another tie!), and I added details by selecting a paper that was geometric (cannot go wrong for that manly feel) and blocks of color that complimented the tie and paper.  I found these tags that matched the stripes on the tie, and just added a little yarn for some dimension.  I really like this pair, and hope that our dads do too!


caardvarks & 2S4Y Challenges

I LOVE particpating in challenges... especially the two from caardvarks and 2 Sketches for You.  This card was inspired by the "Don't Quote Me, But..." caardvarks challenge, and Kazan's Sketch # 26.

I attempted to add depth and details to this project.  I really spent time planning it all out, and tried with each item to add an extra layer or an embellishment.  I'm really proud of the final product!