Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fond Farewell to 2008

It's been a fun year but I must say I'm looking forward to 2009. I'm happy to be leaving the snow behind (yay for 40 degree temps!). My Christmas decorations have already been put away, thanks to needing the space for a Pottery Barn find for my living room on the day after Christmas. Score!
One of the new adventures I'm jumping into for 2009 is my Fun with the Slice classes at Lasting Memories in Lynnwood, WA. I'm so excited to be a part of this fabulous store that I've been shopping at since they opened at least 10 years ago. My first class will be on Friday, Jan 9th from 6-8pm. Each month we will be highlighting a cartridge from the Making Memories Slice machine. There is a pre-requisite to taking my class, however. You can contact the store directly for details. If you are local and have a new Slice machine, come join me! See my sidebar for store contact info.

No need to fret, A Muse fans, because I'm not leaving you behind! I've got my first 2009 class samples already up at Stampin-In-The-Rain. We'll be making some fun Winter Greetings on Tues, Jan 13th from 6-8pm. I'll also be holding a fun Valentine class on Sunday, Jan 18th from 2-4pm but I can't show those samples yet. Sneak peeks of the new Sweet Shop release coming soon! Here's a sample of the Winter Greetings class. Again, see my side bar for store contact info.

Lastly, I'm still having fun with some new rubber from The Greeting Farm (aka Pink Poison). I picked up some fabulous paper at Lasting Memories and knew they'd be perfect with these stamps! Marie has set up a brand new gallery so be sure to check it out!

That's it for me today! I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent Boxes

If you've been following the Advent boxes on the A Muse New blog, you'll see that today is the day the insides of the last 12 boxes is being shared. Did you notice that there's a give-away for a $50 A Muse certificate???? Wow! Can you say Merry Christmas?!

Here's the inside to my box:

You know I chose the little sushi eraser from the A Muse shop because I'm half Japanese and it best reflected me. However, I really only eat vegetarian sushi and haven't ever had one with fish eggs on it. Yuck! My mom eats sushi like this one, though.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I've been in the hustle and bustle of the last few days, preparing for Christmas to come TOMORROW!!! Last minute gifts have been purchased, a few things left to wrap, and I probably need to bake some Pizzelles today. Yumm!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very, Merry Christmas. I woke up to a beautiful snowy morning. All is quiet and serene. It's a time to reflect on Christ's birth and the wonderful gift of Salvation, freely given to us. I'm looking forward to spending the evening at church tonight. I'll probably go with my in-laws to their church but if not, I'll go to mine.

I have a couple of friends who have lost loved ones in the past few days. I can't imagine having to grieve during Christmas. My thoughts and prayers are with them as they struggle through this first holiday without their loved ones.

I've been working hard on some sneak peeks coming up right after New Years for the A Muse Valentine release. Cute, cute, stuff! Save your Christmas money!

God bless you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Japanese Christmas

Today I thought I'd share with you the card I made for my aunt and uncles back in Japan. Hero Arts sells a small clear set that spells Merry Christmas out in a few different languages. I'd never seen Merry Christmas in Japanese before so I had to pick up the set! I also picked up this cute little birdhouse tag set because I felt it was "Japanese-y". You can't see it in the photo but I also stamped blue snowflakes from the birdhouse tag set next to the Merry Christmas and I glittered up the layers of "snow". Papers from A Muse, of course!

Well, despite the snow I'm almost done Xmas shopping. I just need to find a small gift for my sister, then wrap everything up. My house is a disaster, though, and I really need some time to clean. It's been mayhem around here.

Just a shout out to my buddy, Joyce. It's her birthday today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Baking

I have had a tradition of baking for the holidays since I was in high school. I used to bake with my mom but she has since retired from our tradition. Most years I do it all myself but this year my sister wanted to help. I usually bake about 11 or 12 different things, then divvy it all up to give away. I like to give goodies to my close friends, co-workers, neighbors, and my mailman. Oh, and the kids' teachers.

This year I made 11 different things. I keep a 3-ring binder with my favorite holiday recipes inside. I printed them up on holiday stationery and put them in page protectors so I can wipe them off if they get dirty. I usually make the same things each year but sometimes change one or two things out. I did that this year. I took out some Chocolate Pixies and the Chocolate Truffles and substituted Candy Cane Cookies and Lemon Drop Cookies. I don't think I'll do the lemon cookies again....too soft and wet from the glaze. Tasty, though. I love getting feedback from my friends as to which goodies they like best.

Here's a favorite:

These yummy Florentines have a wonderful, buttery crust and the filling has more butter, honey, and almonds. Super yummy! Sorry, I cannot share this recipe. I am sworn to secrecy! My mother would kill me.

My kids love my sugar cookies. I used to bake them from scratch but I have to make so many that this is the one thing I don't bake from scratch any more. I buy the sugar cookie mix at Costco and make the entire 6 batches in the box. My secret is that I add 1/4 tsp nutmeg to each batch. Then I make up some Royal Icing and decorate the cookies. The trees take the longest because they are filled. I have to wait until the outline dries, the filling dries, then add the yellow garland and "ornaments". When I get done making everything, I have to package it all up right away or my kids will eat all the sugar cookies before I can give them out.

Here's a picture of all my goodies packaged up and ready to be delivered. I swear my list of recipients gets longer and longer every year. Would you believe I have people on my list that have been receiving my goodies since high school?

Notice the cute little tags I made for the goodie packages! I used the A Muse Clear baking set. The great thing about using an acrylic set is you can bend the sentiments. I bent mine to match the curve of the circle I punched out. The fabulous ribbon you see was purchased at Packaging Specialities in Overlake (Bellevue). They have the BEST packaging solutions around!
In case you are curious, here's my list of goodies I made for this year:
Cranberry bars (like Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bars)
Butterscotch Shortbread Bars
Sugar Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
Lemon Drop Cookies
5-Minute Fudge
New Wave Rocky Road
Caramel Balls
Sugared Date Squares
Pecan Tassies
Hope you enjoyed looking at the goodies. I have more pics I can share if you want to see them.
My little guy has been home sick with strep throat the last two days. I'm really hoping he feels well enough to go to school tomorrow, that is....if it doesn't turn to a snow day. We are supposed to get a good snowfall in the wee hours of the morning. I really need this horrible weather and ice on the roads to go away. I'm not done Christmas shopping and the weather is impeding my ability to get it done. I have never been so unprepared for Christmas before! It's making me panic!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Muse Advent Calendar

Yay! It's finally my turn for the advent calendar today. Here's the pic posted on the blog today and a link for you to either catch up or continue to follow until we hit Christmas! The snowflake was diecut at my LSS and I've had it in my stash for a while. I used some Making Memories scrapbook paint to make it blue, then covered it in glitter. The numbers were diecut using my Slice!

Got my holiday baking to divvy it up, take pics, and give it away. I think I went through about 8lbs of butter. No joke! I made 11 things, most everything as a double batch. My table is covered with storageware full of goodies. Now I'm working on the tags with my A Muse clear baking set, of course! At $14.99 retail, that set's a steal!

I have a sickie at home today. We got quite a few inches of snow over the weekend but I have no pics of my kids in it. They are weirdos and won't go play in the snow. I wouldn't have let my sick one out anyway, but the other one is just an old man in a little person's body. As a matter of fact, I went to another jewelry party the other day and a guest was asking me how I knew the hostess. I told her my oldest son is friends with the hostesses youngest son. She asked what my son's name was and said "Oh, yeah! I know him. He's like an old man!" LOL. She definitely had him pegged. Anyway...I digress. School is delayed today due to the sheets of ice on the roads but I'm keeping sickie at home with me. I think I'll take him to the doc just to make sure it isn't strep. My kids are so seldom sick that I have no idea what the symptoms of strep are. He has a wicked cough and sore throat, though.
Have a great day. I look forward to sharing my baking pics with you. Warning! You might gain a few pounds looking at them!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Laura's Blog

Okay, so sometimes you guys leave me comments and I check out your blogs when you do. I just looked at Laura's blog and oh my gosh! You guys have to go there. Lots of yummy treats and she shares a recipe for Homemade Marshmallows!!! YUMMMMM. I must warn you her blog is not fat free! LOL

Santa's Comin!

I can't stand it when I'm too busy. I've been too busy lately. My youngest son and I finally managed to get the tree decorated yesterday but I still need to get the rest of the decorations up in the house. I usually have it all done the weekend of Thanksgiving so this is really late for me. It's stressing me out! I haven't had any time to stamp ONE card. Seriously. Not one. I did get my photo Xmas cards done and stamped so those will go in the mail today but I have so many I need to stamp for my stampy friends. Also, today starts my baking frenzy weekend. I have sugar cookie dough in my fridge right now and need to find a way to bake those today (while working) and then get all the rest of my doughs ready to go for tomorrow morning. I have grocery supplies I need to buy for the weekend, too. I owe a customer a calendar (I'm working on it through this blog post!) and need to get that to Stampin In The Rain. Aaack!!!

I wanted to share more TX pictures with you but haven't had time to download them all, still. I do have these few, though. Geeta was kind enough to meet me for lunch last Sunday at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX. It's a famous BBQ around those parts, I guess, and I sure can understand why. It was delicious but the portions were so big that even after I stuffed myself, it looked like I hadn't touched my plate. I desperately wanted some of their yummy looking pie but there was no way it was going to fit into my belly. Another trip, I guess. I love pecan pie!

Okay, one last thing. I know you need to see a card. That's what you come here for. So, here's another Christmas card to get your ideas spurning in your head. There's still time to get your cards made! (At least there'd better be or I'm in trouble!). Good thing I had a card in my stash to share!

Have a great weekend. I'll post pics of my holiday baked goodies after the weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Mess with Texas!

Over the next day or two I'd like to share pictures with you from my trip to Texas. My sister and I went to visit our dad over the weekend. It was a short trip but one filled with activity. Getting out of Seattle was a bit of a hassle, thanks to our flight out of town being delayed then cancelled but we finally did manage to leave the Emerald City to head to Longhorn territory. I wanted to share things in order that they happened but I don't have all my pictures downloaded yet so I'm going to keep this relatively brief until I do.

I really wanted to see 2 things while I was in Texas. One was a random armadillo wandering down the road and the other was a real Texas longhorn. We didn't get pictures of the first longhorn we passed but managed to get my dad to stop along the road on our way to a nearby town's craft fair when we saw this guy. He was grooming the brown cow when we pulled up. It was very sweet. He groomed her for a long time and it didn't seem to bother her one bit. I never did get to see an armadillo.

Another stop we made during our visit was to the town of Gruene. We stopped in a gift shop there and found a few interesting things.

So that's it for today. I'm still not caught up from my trip out of town. I don't have my Christmas decorations up yet and my kids are anxious for me to get started on that. I caught up on my laundry, got half my house cleaned, and went to my oldest son's Holiday Concert held by the middle school band. I'll share pics of those soon, too. I worked all day yesterday, catching up on work emails, but have lots of other work items to get caught up on. Never a dull moment around here.

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whew! I'm back!

For those of you who didn't know, I was in Texas over the weekend visiting my dad with my sister. I got back last night. I'll be uploading some pictures in the next day or so and will share details about my quick trip. For now, I have lots to catch up on and have a busy day ahead.

Here's a winter card to tide you over. The colors came out a little funny. This is the green chiffon 4-bar notecard but it looks more lime. Sorry! I stamped the snowflake trio on the front, stamped Edward on kraft, layered that onto a scallop punched square of Swiss Red, and colored it in with my Prismacolor pencils. I layered on a Creative Candy scalloped square sticker just for good measure. We haven't had much snow in the mountains this year so I say....let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Smell the coffee.....

I don't know about you but I know I've been crazy busy since November, and probably even before that. Lately I've felt like I haven't had a chance to take a breather. I'm really excited because after this weekend, I have nothing planned for December except for my work's holiday party and my oldest son's Winter Concert. Now I know things will come up and those empty spaces will fill in, but those will be fun things I'm sure. I do have my holiday baking to do, some shopping, wrapping, and decorating to do, but I have control over when I spend the time doing that and that feels so good! Even as I sit here I remember...Oh, yeah! Vickie's jewelry party and Joyce's birthday is coming up. (Oh, hey folks, Joyce's birthday is coming up soon so send her some love! Her birthday is on the 19th and I bet the A Muse shop would accept birthday cards for her. )

So, as you struggle to get through your December, remember to take time to smell the coffee! Stop and actually enjoy the decorations you see out there. Stop and take a breather and get some fresh air. Take a brisk walk. Sit by a fire. Do something relaxing!

VMAA takes place tonight. Unfortunately, I can't participate because I'll be sitting on a plane. My sister and I headed to Texas to visit our dad. If you don't know what VMAA is, check this out. It's so much fun! Stamping challenges every 30 minutes and it's so much fun to see what everyone has created. If you aren't already a member of the A Muse Addicts, it just takes a second to join. Be sure to get registered online in plenty of time for the mods to get you in there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making Memories Slice Card

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, well all you Americans anyway, and got lots of Christmas shopping done. I shopped for 13hours on Black Friday! Can you believe that? Started at 5am at the local Fred Meyer, headed off to Target from there. Went home to drop some purchases off, then headed to the shopping mall. Went back home, off to Costco with the family. My friend, Amy, called me and wanted to hit the outlet mall so off I went there until 6pm. I got some shopping for my kids out of the way and managed to find some good deals for me, too. Two for them, one for me. Two for them, one for me. Yup, that's how my shopping went. LOL

Starting in January, I will be teaching classes at my LSS using the Making Memories Slice machine. Don't worry! I'll still be teaching my A Muse classes! The classes at Lasting Memories will be non-stamping and strictly teaching projects using the Slice machine. In order to get myself in gear, I've pulled my Slice out and made a few projects with it. One of those projects is this Christmas card. I used the owl from the Back to School cartridge, and the HoHoHo and Santa hat from the FaLaLa cartridge. The polka dot paper is from American Crafts while the notecard is from A Muse. You can't tell in the photo but I glittered up the white faux fur on the Santa hat so it's nice and sparkly. I'm not a huge die cut machine fan but I gotta say, I am really liking this little Slice machine. I hope they come out with lots of other cartridges for it.

Over on the A Muse News blog, they've started sharing some little Advent boxes that members of the Creative Team recently created. You've got a little while before you see my box but keep an eye on the blog daily as they'll post each day's box until Christmas.