Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vintage Photo Page

This photo of my grandmother and her parents and sister has always been one of my favorite family photos. The original is framed and protected, but I scanned it so I could put copies in scrapbook albums. On this page, I tried several different techniques. First, I took a piece of copper tape (used for stained glass) and lightly sanded it to create a lot of rough surface area. I brushed on patina medium and let it sit until it had the effect of oxidized copper that I wanted. After lightly spraying with a clear sealer, I peeled the backing tape off and mounted it to my card stock. The other experiment was to seal a grungeboard element (from Tim Holtz's "Elements" collection) with multipurpose sealer and apply a coat red base paint designed for gold leaf application. When that was completely dry, the adhesive sizing is applied and allowed to dry until tacky. I used a variegated leaf and covered the top surface and edges, brushing away the extra leaf with a stiff paintbrush. After sealing, I had a beautiful accent piece that blends perfectly with antique photos. The final touch for my page was to add a rub-on flourish and accent with blue "gems."  This is a technique best used with copies of photos rather than originals, as the patina medium and leafing adhesive and sealers may not be safe for archival use.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Still on a Fall kick...

This is another easy, but unique, touch when giving food gifts. I make cards that fit on the top of disposable cake and bread pan lids. It's fun to coordinate them with any holiday and then either give with a homemade treat or the ingredients and instructions to make and bake themselves. This Halloween pan is great given with brownies topped with peanut butter truffle topping. The recipe is here:
Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies
1 pkg. brownie mix (to bake in 8 or 9 in. square pan) or favorite brownie recipe and necessary ingredients
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbls. butter

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease bottom of 9 x 9-in cake pan with non-stick spray or shortening.
Prepare brownie mix as indicated on package or recipe. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until done. Cool.
In a small mixing bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth and fluffy. Spread evenly over brownie.
In a glass measuring cup, microwave chocolate chips and butter on High for 30-60 seconds, until melted.
Stir until smooth. Cool slightly and spread over peanut butter filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Here's my brownie recipe:

Favorite Brownie Recipe

1/3 cup shortening                                           ¼ t. salt
1 cup sugar                                                      ½ t. baking powder
2 eggs                                                              1 t. vanilla
2-oz unsweetened chocolate, melted              ¾ cup flour

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Add melted chocolate and blend thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared 8 or 9-in square pan. Bake at 350° F. for about 30 minutes.

I love to give pumpkin bread and muffins around Halloween and Thanksgiving, and I deliver them in these:
Try making them yourself, or buy some I've made on my Kits page or etsy shop

Thanks for visiting,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Think Autumn!

  I know, it's too early to be thinking about Halloween. I guess it's my hope that if I concentrate on events that occur in the cooler months, it will take my mind off of the 100+ degree temps outside. I love decorating for Halloween. Not the gruesome stuff, just the fun--costumes, black cats, pumpkins, witches, bats and things.
  I like giving little gifts in recycled containers, and one of the most useful are the drink carriers from fast food restaurants. The separate compartments make it easy to tuck a jar of pasta sauce, a package of pasta, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of your favorite beverage, without the expense of a basket. I also like to deliver jars of cookie mix with toppings and hot cocoa mix and marshmallows in a decorated tote.
  This one I plan to fill with a package of pumpkin muffin mix and spiced cider mix.  Afterward, the recipients can use it as a "Trick-or-Treat" carrier for one of their little goblins.  Small children don't need an enormous treat bucket, but for bigger children, one of the larger carriers (four drink sized) would be great.
  If your treats will be heavy, cut a piece of heavy cardboard the same size as the inside bottom of the tote and slip it in as you assemble the tote to reinforce it. You can use packing tape across the ends where the tabs fold in for additional stability, too. After that, wrap the box with a strip of decorative paper or wide ribbon (or layer a couple of elements like I did) and add your main embellishment. I cut two pieces of heavy scrapbook paper 2 1/2" x 12" and scored them every 1/4". I folded them like a paper fan, overlapping one fold to join the two strips together into one long strip and then again into a loop. Flatten out to form a ring. It's easier to first adhere it to a circle of paper (about 3" in diameter) and then top with your decorative elements. I used a vintage graphic that I glitzed up with a little bit of glitter and flocking, then added a word strip. Quick, easy and useful!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cool Lemonade Cheesecake

With the temperature soaring over 100 degrees every day, things that are cool are pretty appealing right now! Here's a quick, creamy, no-bake cheesecake that really takes the heat out of a summer day.
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered lemonade flavor drink mix (the kind with sugar already in it) 
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup  milk
1 (8 oz.) container thawed frozen whipped topping
1 graham cracker pie crust 

1)  Beat cream cheese, drink mix and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in milk. Whisk in whipped topping.
2) Spoon into crust.
3) Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Try with sliced strawberries or garnish with thin lemon slices and sprigs of mint...yum!

Hopefully, cooler temps and much needed rain are not far off, but meanwhile, I'm grateful for air conditioning in my home and car. Stay cool out there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Envelope Accordian Album

   I have been planning to make an envelope album for a long time, but kept delaying, because I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it turned out to be. I also have had a fairy-themed album in mind, so I decided this was a perfect opportunity to combine the two ideas and create a fairy envelope album.
   I used  seven 6" x 9" manila clasp envelopes that I cut down to 6" x 7" after cutting the clasp and the glue flap off of the open end. The covers I made from sturdy chipboard and covered both sides with papers from the Once Upon a Time Stack from Premium Stacks. I made the closure from a strip of thin leather attached to the back with glue and decorative brads. It slips under a stained grungeboard bracket attached to the front with rhinestone brads. Here are some inside pages:

 I inked the envelopes to give them a vintage/shabby effect.
This page has double-slider pull-out tags.

See the rest on my album page!

Quick Gift

 I made up a couple of these easy covers for a package of Andes mints. They're a little more sophisticated than a plain chocolate bar, but it doesn't take much more time than making a nice candy bar wrapper. The light one has a generic friendship theme and the darker one is an Easter theme. They make great thank-you treats or basket stuffers. I just used scraps of stickers and ribbon I had in my drawers, so there was no expense. The Easter wrap is held closed with a small magnetic closure, but it isn't really needed. This is a fun way to give a card and a treat all in one. You can find the instructions on my Tutorials page.

Bazzil Basics cardstock, Basic Grey magnetic discs, Vintage stickers from Crafty Secrets (, die cuts from Tim Coffey by K & Company, other odds and ends from my stash.