Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Ah, A Ginger Bread Man Card!

I chose to do a simple card for the Christmas at Home theme…. what says Christmas at home better than the smell of cookies and gingerbread men???

I made this card by diving into my scrap and salvage box (I save all sorts of card fronts, ribbon etc off of gifts from previous years). I chose this delightful gingerbread man ribbon, an embossed glossy beige and a rich brown cardstock. The sentiment is from a Christmas digital stamp from BrossArtfull Designs, I found it at their Etsy shop. I simply chose the phrase I wanted, print and cut it out to glue on the card.  Sometimes it is just easier and more time efficient to buy something like that Smile

photo 1

The card is 3 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches, top fold.  The ribbon was a wire edged one, so to make it easier to glue to the card, I just cut it to size and then removed the wire.

Hope you like it!

photo 2


What is your favorite thing to do at Christmas? Looking forward to see how you  inspire us with your entry for our challenge at the Card a Day Blog

Monday, 28 October 2013

I’ll be Home for Christmas

Welcome from the Card a Day Blog! Here is my entry for the Home for Christmas theme this week.
To me, nothing says home at Christmas better than some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments.  I’ve had some home-made toy soldiers on my tree for the last 20 years or so. 
Like many of you (I hope!), I’ve been running short of time lately, and don’t really have a large stash to sort through to find items to inspire me, so I’ve opted to go all digital in this card.  I splurged and bought the Home for Christmas Bundle and Holiday Charm Elements from Scrapbookgraphics, for some great background papers and elements I could see myself using a lot.
Here’s what I did!
I’m planning to print the background paper with the holly and the word art on it, and cut the toy soldier, red strip of paper, and the three gemstone flowers to glue and layer on…. I think with a bit of dimensional tape and perhaps some spray acrylic gloss it will turn out wonderful!

Monday, 21 October 2013

My favourite hot chocolate mix

Based upon various recipes online, but adapted to using the large container of my nutri-bullet.  The secret is to finely blend everything together, it makes the mix dissolve easily.

1/3 cup coffee whitener (I used lite)
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup instant slim milk powder
1/3 cup cocoa (the dark, cooking stuff)

Blend with the flat blades of your nutri bullet until it all mixes together - you should find that it is a consistent powder. If you don't have a nutri bullet, try 1/2 the recipe in a blender, pulsing to mix.  

Use 1 heaping tablespoon per cup, add boiling water. For an extra special treat, add a splash of coconut milk for "cream"... it really adds a special flavor!


UPDATE, December 22
Just made a huge batch for my pantry...
done by parts:
4 parts sugar (measured before powdering)
8 parts skim milk powder
3 1/2 parts coffee whitener
3 parts cocoa

Much creamier, and not so sweet... really like this, although may up the cocoa to 4 parts too.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Christmas from the Netherlands

Welcome to the last day of the theme, Christmas Around the World at the Card a Day Blog!

Today, we are visiting Holland…  I was trying to think about where to visit with this card, and was browsing the theme of Christmas Around the World and settled on the Netherlands. It seemed to be an easy thing to focus on their Santa Claus (dressed a bit different than North America’s one). But then I also found more tidbits of their traditions, like “Sinterklaas” rides on a horse, and the children leave their clogs out with a bit of hay and carrots in the hopes that they will receive some sweets themselves! Out goes the milk and cookies at my house this year (I really don’t like baking).

I googled for images of Sinterklaas, and came across this png file that was so cute… I also downloaded some free christmas papers here.

I used my Silhouette to help me compose all of the “elements” to make my card.  Here is what I decided to do. If you look at the white dashed lines, that will be the outer edge of my card.  The white strip will be embossed, and Sinterklaas will be cut and adhered with dimensional tape. Prettgie Kerstfeest translates to Merry Christmas in the Netherlands.

Oct 19 prettgie kerstfeest

Here is how all of my card’s elements are cut out on one sheet of cardstock, for printing and cutting:

Oct 19 card in silhouette

I’m off to make my card now, and will be back shortly with the results! Sorry I’m so late this morning… Its 7:40 am Pacific now, and will be an opportunity to show you how quickly a card, once designed, can be done as a print and cut… the best thing is that once you save it, you can do it again, and again, so easily!  I’ll update this post with the card and time in a flash!

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men…. first spent 5 minutes updating some of my post at the Card a Day blog…. Then started my print and cut… everything looked great and then I didn’t set the cut parameters correctly… thought, hey, I’ll try the trick of using a piece of sandpaper to sand the back of the paper so the picture would be able to be taken out (didn’t work, I really had set my cutting parameters wrong!).  So, back again to the printer…. cut again, and everything turned out except the lettering… print and cut again, but this time setting up the white strip that I was going to emboss with the lettering, and forgetting about cutting out the lettering… no embossing for me today!

So, an hour later, after updating the post at the Card a Day blog, here I am, posting the final version of my card.  BTW, the “cord” of the balloon was too small to cut, so I opted to use a felt marker to draw it in… it would have looked cool if I could have found a thin piece of cord or ribbon. Will leave that for another day Smile

And the moral of the story is…. keep trying, and if it doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to, work with what you have, and be happy Smile  Have a great day!


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

An Italian Christmas

For those who have followed my blog, you know about my trip to Italy last month… With the Card a Day Blog theme of Christmas Around the World, how could I not focus on Italy?  I got my inspiration from this website that tells about traditions in Italy at Christmas, particularly where it discusses the Urn of Fate, where a large decorated bowl is filled with presents, and each family member takes one until the bowl is emptied. 

I used my Silhouette, and the following cut files:

Hope you get inspired to find a new tradition for your family this year!

Here are the elements of my card… the part of the bow and the presents have to be put onto another page to print and cut out…


And the final product…


Thanks for coming by! See you at the Card a Day Blog tomorrow too for some more Christmas Around the World!

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Lazy Thanksgiving

Like a lot of families in Canada, yesterday was our turkey day. I had Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s, who cooked chicken instead of the traditional turkey. Chicken and gravy, mashed squash, basmati rice, home-made cranberry apple spiced sauce, and salad. Mini angel food cakes with home-made cherry pie filling (from their garden) and whipped cream. Yum! I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, and Cody was definitely a gentleman by not whining too much under the table for scraps.

So, today I’m having a lazy day. I initially intended to get a lot done, but thought it would be fun to do a couple of things that have been on my radar to do.

1. Harvest a tray of worm castings from the Worm Farm I started in this post.  I could have done it last month before I left for Italy, but never got around to it before my sister started to look after them.  I will say that there are loads of worms now!  I harvested over 1/2 of a large dish pan of castings, and put back about 4 good cups of mostly worms into the bin.  Note to self, make sure that you don’t over water the bin before you go to separate the worms from the castings --- it was more difficult than it needed to be.

photo 1


2. Break out the Sun Oven I bought, to see how I can cook a meal inside my house on a sunny day without using the oven!  I’m still learning how to focus it, but I think it is a feasible thing to use, even in my house (I have a large window that faces south).

photo 4 photo 5   

You can see by the temperature gauge that its getting up to almost 250 d. Fahrenheit (and that with just being focused for about 1/2 hour. I just read the temperature after 1 hour of it being in the sun, and its holding steady at 250 d. That’s about high temp on a slow cooker, and it is supposed to retain heat and be able to be used as a heat retained cooker, so I’m going to monitor the temperature and hopefully by dinner time, everything will be done! I still have 2 good hours of cooking, and have 2 casseroles inside, the bottom one with mushroom rice, and the top one with a 1 lb meatloaf and tomato sauce.  Judging by the temperatures so far, I can see why they say that in the summertime the Sun Oven will get up to between 350 d. & 400 d. Fahrenheit! I know I’m going to be doing some baking when I’m camping next year!

Such a good day to count my blessings. Hoping you and your family have a great one too!


Here is what the meatloaf looked (temperature test), sliced, and with the rice I made. Its supposed to be sunny all this week, so I’ll be trying to make some dinner to be ready for me when I get home from work this week!


Friday, 11 October 2013

Florence Bike Tour

I think that this was one of the highlights of my visit to Florence.  Florencetown has several types of tours available. The thing that appealed to me about the bike tour is that there was a maximum of 15 people per tour, a small amount compared to walking tours, where there are usually 25 people (or even more) per tour. It was a bargain too! I got a deal because there was the bicycle race in town… and paid $18 EU vs the regular $25 EU. There ended up being only 7 people on our tour, so it was great, feeling like you were having more of a private tour.
Our first stop was at the  Piazza Santa Croce, where our guide was describing the soccer game that is held on June 24th of every year… it sounds like a really great time to visit Florence, during the celebration of its patron saint, San Giovanni. You can find out more about it here.
Our guide also described the flood that happened in Florence, November 3rd and 4th, 1966. If you look at the picture below, you can see the marker just below the street sign by the window… that was the water level of the flood.  Remember the doors are at least 12 feet tall, so you can imagine the devastation that occurred then!
We went to the Piazza della Repubblica, where there is a 3 dimensional map of the old city, also a carousal ride, and the Florence version of the Arch de Triumph.
We went around the Duomo, and she told us some more about the history of what happened during the flood, especially with the doors of “paradise” of the Baptistery… the current ones on the building are a replica, the originals had to be restored as the flood had forced the panels off the doors (the originals are now in the museum).  She also told us of the significance of the Baptistery having 8 walls… Seven for each day of the week, and the eighth for paradise… and the Paradise door (facing the Church) is the one you would exit from the baptistery after your baptism, and be allowed to enter the Church.
Onward to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, which is a stones throw from the railway station.
Then across the river, to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, the Church where Michelangelo donated a wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ on the Cross (he carved when he was approx. 18 years old)… We went inside, no pictures allowed, but the beauty of the paintings and sculptures made it so worth the visit.  The plaza by the Church is apparently a great place to eat too.
Then onwards to Palazzo Pitti, that opens into the Boboli Gardens.
Back towards the Arno river, we crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, the only bridge in Florence that was not destroyed during World War 2. It also supports the Vasari Corridor, that went from the Medicci Residence to the Government Palace.  Jewelry stores line both sides of the Ponte Vecchio, although it was originally lined by butcher shops.
Our final stop was the Piazza della Signoria, with the Palazzo Vecchio (current town hall).
I managed to take pictures of the Palazzo Vecchio early in the morning before there were too many tourists around… a must do if you want to take good pictures!
These are just some of the statues that are in the open (covered) display to the right of the palazzo.
There was another tourist, who had worked and studied art, and was sketching during her visit. I was going to do that, but didn’t have the nerve to do art in front of strangers. Will have to practice lots before I do that! (Ok, its on my bucket list!)
I forget which plaza this was in, but there were some street performers, and the little boy was just having such a great time mimicking the violin and cello player - it was so fun to watch how enthusiastic he was! It was also evident at how much the musicians enjoyed him too!
Now before I forget, other places we rode by (but I didn’t take pictures) were the Academia Museum, the Artisan market (think leather), and the Bargello. We also enjoyed a gelato during a break about 1/2 way through our 2 1/2 hour tour!
Next time I think I will take the whole day bike tour… its $70 EU, but I think it would be worth it.
WOW! I can’t believe it, my final post on my vacation to Italy!  I’m sure there is lots I’ve forgotten to write about… but am so glad you’ve taken the journey with me here on my blog Winking smile.
On to planning my next big adventure!