Saturday, November 26, 2011

Van Gogh Look Out!

Okay, maybe Van Gogh has nothing to worry about.  Truth be told my first artistic canvas creation might be more in the line of a Picaso painting.  But WHAT FUN I had in creating this sweet little piece of canvas art.  I was inspired by Tracy Weinsapfel Burgos, who is the President of Helmar USA, Inc. (  You really need to check out her creative resume here:

First, may I just say that Helmar products are some of the best quality adhesive products I have used in my papercrafting.  I now reach to my Helmar stash FIRST when starting a new project.  I especially love the scrap dots product, which I used to adhere the flowers to my project below. 

But back to Tracy ... if you haven't participated in one of her Monday night Ustream videos, you really MUST stop in sometime soon and check it out.  She has such a great sense of humor, and shares her artistic talents with all of us as well as providing encouragement for us to take the plunge and try something new and outside our comfort zones.  I will be the FIRST to admit that I have no real artistic talent when it comes to anything involving paint.  My first and last attempt at art was a paint-by-number set I completed back when I was eleven.  I just never felt that comfortable with a brush in my hand.  But I am now inspired to create even more canvas artwork ... it's more fun than a box of legos!

Here's a photo of Tracy's project, which you can watch her create here: (note: you might have to join Ustream to view the video, but it is SO worth it!) And be sure to check back EVERY Monday night for new projects!  Tracy sure puts the fun back into Mondays!


Isn't this so very lovely??!!  And check out some of her earlier projects on Ustream and her blog as well!!

And ... drum roll please ... here's a photo of MY first canvas project (click to enlarge):

Tada!  Whadayathink?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eat Ham!

I've Been Published!

And here's the publication I'm in ... (Winter 2012)

And here's my card ... (click on image for larger view) (page 47)

I feel like I've hit the lottery!  What an amazing feeling to see something I created featured in such a prestigious magazine!  And they get thousands of card submissions and I sent in ONE card ... makes me think I should try it again! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We heard there was pecan pie? Too cute

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

National Fast Food Day!

Have it Your Way!

Where's the Beef?

Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce, Special Orders Don't Upset Us!

We do Chicken Right!

Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun!

The U.S. has more than 300 fast food chains, representing 40% of the nation’s total restaurant sales. Americans spend more than $110 billion on fast food annually, on cuisine that ranges from barbecue, fried chicken and pizza to chinese food and Tex-Mex.  Fast food is defined as a meal that can be prepared quickly and easily, to be consumed on premises or taken out.

The Father Of Fast Food

In 1954, a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc started the momentum leading to America’s fast-food phenomenon.  Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman in California. He then became the exclusive distributor of a speedier milkshake machine, the Multimixer. One of his clients was the McDonald’s hamburger stand in San Bernardino, owned by brothers Richard and Maurice.  Kroc inadvertently invented modern fast food with his vision of franchising the McDonald’s concept, in order to sell several Multimixers to each location. He offered his services as their franchising agent. Six years later, he bought the brothers out.

The rest, as they say, is history!!
Today McDonald’s is the largest restaurant company in the world, with 31,000 restaurants located in 126 countries. The Moscow location is the busiest in the world; the largest location is in Orlando, Florida. It would be hard to find an American who has never eaten at a McDonald's!

Homemade Vanilla

I came across this fabulous homemade gift idea on pinterest the other day and wanted to share it with all of you!

Who knew that you could make vanilla from TWO simple ingredients?  And what a delightful homemade gift this would be for neighbors, friends and even relatives (at least the ones that know how to cook - grin).

Here's the link: 

Heather, at the Whipperberry blog, demonstrates how to put this together, and she even offers a darling label that you can print off onto sticky canvas for a delightful vintage look here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

Time to check those expiration dates ... or at the very minimum toss any frozen leftovers from LAST YEAR's thanksgiving dinner!

Get out your trash bags (and plastic gloves and gas masks), because today is National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day.


It's high time to remove the Chinese food cartons that have turned into science experiments and start making room for the Thanksgiving leftovers that will soon be occupying space in your fridge.

The origins of National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day are not entirely clear.   One Web site pins it on a Whirlpool Appliance Ad campaign from years ago, while other sites say it's to make space for Thanksgiving provisions!

Whatever the reason, you know you're gonna need room for Aunt Kate's jello salad and that extra pan of dressing! 

Ready, set ... clean!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

The countdown to Thanksgiving is upon us! 

Pinned Image

I love taking vacation time off from work during the week of Thanksgiving, as it gives me a chance to prepare the house for the holidays and to enjoy those last few crisp autumn days before winter gets a firm grip on us!

Back during Halloween, I was making a pumpkin recipe when I reached into the cupboard to grab a jar of pumpkin pie spice, only to realize to my dismay that I didn't have any.   So instead of grabbing the keys to head to the store, I looked into my cupboard and discovered I had all the spices necessary to make my own version of pumpkin pie spice.

Here's my recipe:

1 heaping teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Just give all of these spices a mix and store in an airtight container until needed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

Operation Write Home makes handmade cards to send to deployed heroes, so they can in turn write home to their families. It's one small way we can serve them as they serve us - and by the notes they write back to us, they love writing on them as much as we enjoy making them!  They are having a blog hop today (blog candy alert) and are being sponsored by some BIG names in the papercrafting industry.  Go and check them out here:

And as many of you know, my husband, Sterling, is a Vietnam veteran.  While he doesn't like to talk much about what happened there, I do know that he walked point and was a helicopter gunman.  He and his crew were shot out of the sky by enemy soldiers where he suffered blindness for two weeks and other injuries.  They awarded him the purple heart, but he says so many others deserved it more than him.  I feel fortunate and proud to call this humble man is my husband.

Somewhere in the world today, an American soldier will ring in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day with gunfire. Another will arrive home after an honorable tour of duty, perhaps passing brothers and sisters in arms saying farewell to their families. A mother’s tears will fall on a letter from the far side of the world. Old veterans will spend a beautiful afternoon watching children play beneath the flag they raised at Anzio, Guadalcanal, Incheon, or Khe Sanh. Young veterans will put their lives on the line, to give the children of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance at a future free from murderous evil. A little girl will playfully salute a uniform she will one day grow up to wear. A pilot will land a machine that was impossible in his grandfather’s day on the heaving deck of an aircraft carrier. The USS New York will ride at anchor, close to the site of the fallen buildings whose bones became her steel.

The veterans of the United States military have always been there for us, in the desperate eleventh hour of our need.

Be there for them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guy Fieri's Buffalo Balls Recipe

I have Rachel Ray's daily show on my DVR.  Depending on the content, I usually just skim through for something that interests me or I just delete it.  But yesterday she had on MY FAVORITE chef, Guy Fieri.  I've been a fan of his since his win on Your Next Food Network Star.  He just comes across like your favorite cousin, and someone who is really accessible and down to earth. 

Yesterday on the show he demonstrated a recipe for buffalo balls ... buffalo coming from the team up of hot sauce and blue cheese, and made them with of all things, ground turkey. They really look delicious and are not that hard to make. Would be a fabulous tailgate recipe. I definitely will be making these ... maybe for Superbowl Sunday?

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Sandwich Day

Today is National Sandwich Day, so I thought I would feature the popular sandwich that put Omaha, my home town, on the map.  The Reuben!!  

Reuben Kulakofsky, a Lithuanian-born grocer from Omahawas the inventor, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves "the committee", included the hotel's owner, Charles Schimmel. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone's lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won a national contest with the recipe.  The classic reuben sandwich made with luscious corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, creamy Russian dressing and melted swiss cheese grilled until the cheese has melted and the rye bread is crispy and golden brown.  We typically will buy several corned beefs when they are on sale for our annual St. Patrick's Day feast and we always cook way more than we need just so that we can make reubens, but don't wait until then to try this amazing and delicious sandwich.  I remember my Aunt Lil used to make them using canned corned beef, and they were just as tasty!

Reuben Sandwich Recipe

Sandwich ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter, softened

8 slices rye bread

8 slices Swiss cheese

3/4 lb corned beef brisket, thinly sliced

1/2 lb sauerkraut

1/4 cup Russian Dressing

Russian Dressing:

Combine the following ingredients. Makes one-half cup.

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp ketchup

1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Butter one side of four slices of bread, and place the slices buttered-side down on a large piece of wax paper on a flat surface. Top each with a slice of Swiss cheese, and then divide half of the corned beef among them.  Using paper towels, squeeze out excess moisture from the sauerkraut. Divide the sauerkraut among the sandwiches, and top each with one tablespoon of Russian dressing. Add another layer of corned beef and a second slice of Swiss cheese to each sandwich. Top with the remaining bread slices; butter the side facing out.  Preheat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Cook the sandwiches on one side until the bread is golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwiches over and finish cooking on the second side. Cut the sandwiches in half before serving.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

This morning on the radio the weatherman said to expect periods of light rain on and off throughout the day. So this is what my mind is picturing.

And then he said to expect the possibility of a bit of snow mixed in starting around 4:00, but nothing that would accumulate or stick.  So I'm thinking maybe we might get a bit of slush ... and I picture this ...

So, okay, maybe today would be a good day to wear regular shoes instead of sandals.  And maybe if we're getting a bit of "cold" rain I should wear thin black socks instead of nylons.  And maybe instead of that light linen jacket I'll grab a heavier fleece jacket. 

And I'll take the umbrella, just in case.            

As I got out of the car, I grabbed the umbrella, even though there wasn't any rain falling yet.  By the time I crossed the street, the winds picked up dramatically.  It was all I could to to walk upright as I got closer to my office building (which happens to be the tallest building in our downtown district).  It is so tall, in fact, that it creates a vortex for ALL weather conditions making them seem ten times worse than they actually are once you reach the end of the block. 

Anyway, it is now just about 3:00.  The rain turned to HORIZONTAL blowing snow about 11:00 this morning.  Snow IS in fact accumulating and making the roads a bit treacherous.  Which means that by 4:30 when I leave for the drive home it should be a HUGE adventure just getting back to my car.

And NO ONE remembers how to drive in ice/snow conditions ... they have completely erased from their memories any safe driving tactics one should employ when driving on ice/snow covered roads.  I will not be surprised to see cars off the highway as I drive home, because they didn't take the necessary step of reducing their speed to accommodate the road conditions. 

UGH.  I'm not ready for winter.  I want to join the bears and hybernate until spring.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Here's a just a few photos from the annual family event held at the last Saturday night.   First off, here are the fabulous HOSTS of the event ... Marilyn and David ... thanks you two for putting on such a fun holiday event for all of the family to enjoy every year!

And just take a look at a small sample of their holiday decorations, which you will find in EVERY room of the house!  There are spiders and ghouls EVERYWHERE!

Just knowing that Jonas is going to enjoy his grandpa's villages more and more every year as he gets older and able to really appreciate all of this amazing collection!

And here's a photo of the NEXT generation of cousins!  Oh what fun they will have growing up with so many fun family traditions to look forward to!