Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Reading Thing 2009: Let's Read!

Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting Spring Reading Thing 2009. This is my first time to participate in a book challenge, but I think this will be fun. Katrina also hosts a Fall into Reading challenge.

For this challenge you put together a list of books you want to read between March 20 and June 20 and then simply read them. Your list can be as long or as short as you’d like and you can modify at any time during the challenge. If you would like to join along you can sign up here, Spring Reading Thing 2009: Let’s Read!

So here is my list, I have chosen to read six books by the June 20th deadline. Since I'm getting a bit of a delayed start my list isn't nearly as lengthy as others and several on my list are books I want to finish. I think this list is fairly doable for me since I want to leave plenty of time for my dogs, Cello practice and some motorcycle riding coming up.

My list is:
To first finish reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (I LOVE THIS BOOK so far but got side tracked by the wedding trip to England and have not finished it yet so I MUST find out how it all ends!!)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, and Lani Diane Rich

Edited to add:
Never Too Late by John Holt

You can add to your list and switch it around so nothing is written in stone (sorry for the pun). It is all to just enjoy reading and also to read reviews by other readers.

If you'd like to join in too, sign check out Spring Reading Thing 2009: LET'S READ!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sarah Kay Anniversary Quilt Card

I've become a huge fan of Sarah Kay stamps and am slowly acquiring as many of these darling stamps as I can. I thought that this stamp would pair beautifully with this week's ROSES ON PAPER CHALLENGE site's challenge to make a QUILT CARD. This card is my take on the quilt card challenge.

Besides the Sarah Kay stamp I used a variety of other products including the background paper which is Marjolein Baskin's Nature's Garden collection paper. I used Tombow markers to color the image (along with a wet paintbrush). Some machine stitching on the quilt blocks as well as "tufting" in the corners was fun to do. And do you see the flower button brads? I spied those at Michael's one day and just had to have them. They come in a variety of colors.

I wanted this card to be a whimsical anniversary card so on the inside of the card I used the "Marriage..." sentiment stamp from PaperTrey Ink's Quilter's Sampler Sentiment set. The buttons stamp in the corners is a really old Annette Allan Watkins stamp.

I'm getting this card in just under the wire for the Roses on Paper Quilt challenge. Every two weeks on Monday the site posts a new challenge. Roses on Paper is a great online place to shop as well as participate in their fun challenges.

I'll be sure to check their challenge site tomorrow for the next challenge.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Hello! Hello!

Hello my friends. I haven't stamped ONE SINGLE THING all week long! Ouch! I really miss it when I don't have time to stamp.

It has been a busy week and a good one. Since returning from our trip to England I am now back in the swing of my cello lessons. Let me just say....... I LOVE learning to play the cello. My husband (Paul) affectionately calls me "Yoyo Mama!". That makes me laugh. Anyway, I'm practicing all six variations of "Twinkle Twinkle." Playing the Cello truly makes me happy.

My dogs have also consumed a great deal of time this week. All three of my Newfoundland pups are desparately in need of grooming. I have to brush them daily, but as spring approaches and the more mud and yuck in the yard, they really are a handful to keep up with. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

My puppy, Paige, turned six months old today. She is growing into such a beauty and it is hard to believe she is this big at six months when, just a few short months ago she was just a wee little ball of fur and fluff. So in honor of her six month birthday, as well as the fact that she really needed it, I took her to the puppy spa today for a grooming. She's such a sweetheart. And she was exhausted when we got home from the three hour ordeal!

So without any further ado, here is Ms. Paige at six months of age:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spectacular Orange Cake

I was in the mood to bake. I didn't want chocolate (SHOCK!! I'm a choco-holic!) And I wanted to bake from scratch....no mixes. So I donned my apron and went through recipes I had saved and had been meaning to try and came upon a recipe called Spectacular Orange Cake.

Spectacular Orange Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Orange Filling (recipe follows)
Orange Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C). Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Beat egg whites at high speed of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Combine water and orange juice in a glass measure; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer at medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add orange peel and mix well. Add the flour mixture alternately with the water/juice mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites until well blended. Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until tested done when pressed lightly in the center and cake springs back. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes on wire rack, then remove from pans.
When completely cool, spread with Orange Filling between layers and frost top and sides with Orange Buttercream Frosting.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Orange Filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
Combine sugar, cornstarch, orange rind and salt in heavy saucepan. Gradually blend in orange juice, water and beaten egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Cook for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool before spreading between layers.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 tablespoons orange juice
In small deep bowl, cream butter, powdered sugar, orange rind, salt and enough orange juice until desired spreading consistency. Spread onto the sides and top of cake.

I found the cake to be more of a pound cake in texture/weight, probably due to the juices. I should have decorated the top of the cake with orange slices/swirls and such but we were too eager to cut a slice and enjoy it with a cup of tea. Yummmmmmmmm.....

I hope you'll enjoy it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I'm still celebrating the first days of spring, even if our temperatures are not spring-like.

This week's Friday Sketchers Challenge was the following layout:

I used sweet Tilda from Magnolia Stamps with a bouquet of flowers and added just a touch of lavender Flower Soft to one of her flowers.

The image is colored with Prismacolor pencils. The designer paper is from Daisy D's and I paired it with a pale yellow cardstock and stamped a Fine Lace background stamp by Stampin' Up! and used Tim Holtz distress ink to make it appear to coordinate with the Daisy D paper.

I used a lot of punches for this card including a Martha Stewart lace border punch, Martha Stewart leaf punch, Stampin' Up! ticket punch, oval punch and ribbon threader punch.

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend. I will be spending the bulk of my weekend doing some much needed spring cleaning.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring

Today is the first day of Spring! The temperature outside doesn't feel spring-like today, but just knowing that the official days of Winter have ended gives me hope of flowers, robins and gardening in the not too distant days ahead.

Julee's Mojo Monday Challenge Sketch #78 this week was intriguing so I decided to play along. Below is this week's challenge sketch layout:

The flower is from the Stampin' Up! set called Bloomin' Beautiful. This set is such a versatile and beautiful stamp set and one that I go to frequently. I stamped the flower on watercolor paper with Versamark, embossed with Antique Gold embossing powder and watercolored the image with Tombow markers. The "Mother's Day" script I found at a Dollar Store bin and is also stamped with Versamark and embossed in Antique Gold directly onto the background floral velum. I created the center "garter" with a Martha Stewart border punch and added ribbon and a big pearl brad to it.

If you enjoy working with layout challenges and haven't checked out Julee's Mojo Monday challenges be sure to stop by her blog each Monday for a new layout and also to see the hundreds of stampers "takes" on the same layout.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feel right at home

I 'spose since in each post this week I mention our trip to England that you get the idea that my feet still haven't touched ground since our return. Largely what made the trip so special was our very gracious friends and family who made us feel right at home.

This stamp set, from Papertrey called Boards and Beams, is just perfect for more hospitality thank you cards.

The inside sentiment reads Love overflows and joy never ends in a home that is blessed with family and friends.

I colored with prismacolor pencils and popped the trees in the front yard on pop dots for extra dimension. The windows have a touch of antique glass colored dimensional glaze to give them a glassy appearance. The set comes with many types of accessory stamps so I added the little cobblestone walk in front of my house.

The temperature has stayed above freezing all this week. The snow is starting to melt. Woo hooooo...spring is on the way. Now I'm watching for my first robin of the year. How is it where you live?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Glittery Owl

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day making some thank you cards. One of the people I want to send a thank you note to collects all things with owls so I had to find the perfect stamp from my collection of stamps for their card. This owl is from Heather's Stamping Haven in Ottawa, Ontario and is labeled HSH 342M. (Click Heather's link to visit her shop.)

The sentiment stamp is from Papertrey Boards and Beams set.

I stamped the owl with versamark on watercolor paper and embossed in antique gold. Then using Tombow markers and brush and water I colored the image. You know me....I just had to add some sparkle so I used crystal and bright yellow stickles on the moon and copper colored stickles the owl. The owl's eyes have gold crystals on them.

I have a few more cards to finish up today. Making these cards keeps the happy memories alive of our trip to England.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scent of lilacs

My two very favorite scents of flowers are Lilac and Lavender. This little House Mouse looks like he is basking in the sweet fragrance of lilac and it makes me really look forward to seeing and smelling the lilacs in our backyard.

This week's House Mouse and Friends challenge #29 is the sketch below.

I wanted to add a bit of dimension to the lilac branch so I dotted FLOWER SOFT on it and I love the outcome. Rather than covering the entire branch, I merely dotted the flower soft leaving a bit of the colored background showing. I think it adds depth and dimension.

Today's temperature is supposed to get the 50's! Wooo hooooooo! Heat wave. Of course the forecast is for near freezing this weekend, but hopefully a lot of our snow will melt today. I sure hope so because after seeing the beautiful daffodils, snowdrops and crocus blooming while we were in England, it is very difficult for me to deal with the realities of snow here in Ottawa. COME ON SPRING!!!

Hope you have a glorious day today!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jog......

We've just returned from a fairytale trip to jolly old England! For me, it was a trip of a lifetime and I loved every second we were there. Of course the highlight was my son and daughter-in-law's wedding. It was BEAUTIFUL! Oh what a happy day!

These photos are not in order of events but I just had to share a bit of the wedding as well as just a few photos as we traveled the English countryside. I took over 200 photos so I've really shown restraint in boring you with holiday photos! :-)

My new daughter (in-law) and my son signing the registry after the ceremony.

Lorraine and Matt taking their vows. (and yes...my tears of joy were flowing!)

This is the obligatory proud mom photo I had to show you of my son right before the wedding.

Cutting the cake! Oh what a delicious cake it was too!

Stonehenge. Fascinating!!

A bird's eye view of the parliment buildings and Big Ben taken from atop the London Eye.

The Tower bridge.

Oh there is so much to tell about the wedding, England, the countryside, the people, the history, the beauty, the charm.... Suffice to say I had a wonderful, WONDERFUL trip and am already looking forward to returning. England is sooooo beautiful! I had a great trip.