Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just a Quick Card to Say: I Miss You

Hey everybody....I am blogging from Germany today...we're in Frankfurt at the Paper World Trade show, which is very cool. The show has three parts, Paper World...all things paper, Christmas World...all things Christmas, it's where buyers from around the world "trend" shop the Christmas category...and Creative World...which is all things Arts and Crafts...needless to say, I am in heaven.   It's my first trip to Germany so I am really excited...and during the show, I'll be with a company called Personal Impressions, teaching techniques for using Spellbinders newest line of mixed media products, Media Mixage.  It's going to be really fun...creating bezels and charms that can be used on hand made cards, layouts or home decor!  

But for now, I wanted to take a couple minutes to share a fun card I created using some of the newest releases that I found at last week's CHA Show in Anaheim.  This card is easy and will only take a few minutes to create...and has a couple techniques that I just love.  

I started by creating a 5x7 card from white card stock.  

Then embossed the card with Spellbinders new 5x7 Matting Basics A.  I love this gives a really professional finished look to your card.

Next, I used Spellbinders 5x7 Enchanted Labels 28 to cut the first layer of the card using Graphic 45 French Country "Abundance"  paper.  Notice the layer of waxed paper between the die and the paper?  This little trick will save you lots of time when cutting very intricate lacy dies.  Try it sometime.  You will love the results.  

Then using another die from the same set, cut and embossed another layer with coordinating paper from French Country. 

To top off the card, I cut a layer with Spellbinders new Timeless Rectangles from white card stock and stamped it with a "Miss You" sentiment from Just Rite Paper Craft Large Fancy Senitments.  

I created a quick bow, added some brown pearl stickers, and popped everything off the card with foam dots to really give some depth and detail to the card.  I love how it turned's elegant and has a  French Country feel...the new releases from Spellbinders are so delicate and intricate...and really fun to use.  They make you look like a creative genius!  

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you've picked up a trick or two to use in your crafting.  I am off to the show now to have fun all day teaching techniques for Spellbinders Media Mixage line...this is gonna be a fun day!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Die Cut Cogs are Perfect for Masculine or Steampunk Cards...They're Shipping Soon!

As card makers, we're often challenged with finding the perfect tools and papers to create that perfect masculine card.  Since the crafting community is mostly made up of women, it seems like design and style often trend toward feminine motifs like florals and colors are most often soft and pastel...this season Spellbinders has a few new releases that are sure to meet your needs when you need to make a card for that special man in your life.  A couple of the newest releases that I really like to use are Numbers and Letters M-Bossabilities Folder, and a new die template called Cogs.  These are brand new releases and will begin shipping in mid February...sorry to tease you like this.

For the card above, I M-Bossed a piece of Spellbinders Precious Metals Premium Craft Foils with the "Numbers" side of the M-Bossabilities folder, then sanded it to bring out the embossed detail.  The effect is dramatic and so easy to do.  
Here's a cool tip: you can use your dies to emboss patterns into paper.  In the image below, I embossed a border around the 5 x7 card with one of the new die templates 5 x 7 Matting Basics A

It's easy to do...rather than use the cutting plate, just use the Embossing Plate and Rubber Embossing mat with your die template and run through the Grand Calibur.  Notice the embossed crisp framed border?  This technique gives your card a very professional finished look that I think you will love.  In the image below, you see the embossed card, the embossed and sanded foil and a couple of the Cog die cuts before they were assembled.  

The Cog dies are really cool.  Since the Cog dies are Spellbinders Nestabilities, they all nest within each other. So, you can nest them together to cut gears and cogs that have a cut out, or negative space in the middle.  You'll see this technique in the next card below.  And since they are Nestabilities they are compatible with lots of other dies already in your collection. If you'll notice in the photo above, the center of the cog is a circle.  That circle is the same size as circles released in our line years ago.  So if you wanted to cut a circle photo, or a circle to layer on the cog, your other circle dies will match perfectly.  We call this "Building on the Core."  Here's an illustration of the die templates included within the Cog die set.  They're wonderful for masculine cards, layouts and anything steampunk that you might want to create.  

For the finished card above, I die cut nested cogs to get that negative space in the middle, it's almost like using the die as a punch.  I was able to "build on the core" by cutting layers of book pages with Spellbinders Circle dies to layer on top if the cogs, and I used some cogs that are just cut and embossed. And then added some metal watch gears and findings to complete the card.  I love how it turned's the perfect masculine card and perfect for any occasion.  

In this next card, I used some of the same techniques as in the card above but used Graphic 45 Steampunk Debutante for the front of the card, and I die cut some "resin" paper for some of the embellishments.  The tag on the upper left and the photo on the lower right were die cut from paper that has been coated with ICE RESIN.  

ICE RESIN is pretty cool stuff, it's clear jeweler's grade resin from an amazing artist, Susan Lenart Kazmer,  and most often it's used to fill metal bezels that are then used as charms or pendants for jewelry.  You can use it in your paper crafts too.  Paper, when coated with ICE RESIN and cured gives paper a very cool, translucent look that is great for paper crafting.  And, it is great for die cutting!  I love it.  Vintage photos printed on regular copy paper become ethereal pieces of translucent ephemera when "resinated" and die cut.  You'll have to try it.  

In the finished card, you'll see "nested" die cutting techniques that take advantage of negative space to give your card some real dimension and depth.  And, I used gold and bronze metalized card stock so they have the appearance of real metal.  A little clever inking technique give the die cut togs a patina that makes them feel very mechanical as if they are rusted or still have machine oil on them.  And to finish the card, I added a few small metal cogs, buttons and findings and a small key.  I simply affixed them with E6000 for a really durable bond.  Again the diecut cogs are perfect for a masculine card or in this case "steampunk" card.  

Last week, during CHA in Anaheim, I got to demonstrate some of these techniques for Create and Craft TV and it was a total blast sharing some of my favorite techniques with the audience in the U.K. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you've picked up a tip or technique or two that you'll love to use.  I LOVE comments, so let me know if you have any questions...or if you have a technique you'd like to share.  

Make it a Crafty Day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spellbinders on Create and Craft TV at the Craft and Hobby Association Show

The winter 2013 Craft and Hobby Association Show has come on gone...for Spellbinders it was an amazing show. I heard other people saying the show traffic was down. I had no idea. We were mobbed throughout the entire show...our new releases and the new Media Mixage line of products for mixed media art are amazing, and our results at the show proved it.  Winter CHA was just incredible!  As I am digging my way out from under the piles of orders and following up on all the opportunities coming out of the show, I realized that one of the most exciting things I got to do during the show, was to appear on Create and Craft TV with Spellbinders Director of Education Kim Hupke.  

I didn't know this, but Create and Craft TV is a big goes to something like 26 million homes worldwide...and more if you count the internet...I had no idea when I said, "Sure, sounds like fun." 

Now, Kim is a pro at this, she's been on QVC, HSN, PBS, and Create and Craft countless times over her long career with Spellbinders, she's a natural!   Me? Not so much.  I'll say "yes" to just about, it was a little daunting to walk into the Create and Craft TV Studio on location in Anaheim, to see the enormous cameras and booms overhead.  

But it was all GOOD...and extremely fun.  Kim really put me at ease...she said "just show them what you love to do and let your personality shine through." 
Her kind words of advice really helped me conquer that little twinge of "stage fright" I was experiencing. Anyway, it was the chance to share doing what I love to do with a much bigger audience...why wouldn't that be fun?  
We got to share lots of cool Spellbinders die cutting techniques, sanding on foil techniques and got to demonstrate using Royal & Langnickel Engraving Art Board. It gives a really dramatic effect when used with Spellbinders dies and new 3D Mbossability folders.  

We took advantage of a few quiet minutes before we went LIVE to make a few pics...

And, I got to meet and work with Nigel May.  He's is a powerhouse of crafty inspiration!  

After the show, I met up with the cast and crew at Downtown Disney...we shared quite a few was really nice to make some new friends from across the pond, who I hope I'll have the pleasure of seeing again someday. They were all so nice.  

Here's a pic taken in the Create and Craft TV Green Room with Nigel May, Leonie and the Spellbinders was really fun to work with such an awesome crew.  
Did I mention we had sellout, "record" hours on the show?  Our newest releases were so popular that we sold out almost as quickly as we demonstrated each die and folder!  I was really happy that our on air results were so good!    

This year's CHA was simply amazing...and appearing on Create and Craft TV was the highlight of the show for me.  It was a real pleasure to share Spellbinders with the audience in the U.K.  

Now, if you know me, you know I don't sit still for long.  This week, after a quick trip to Michigan for Media Mixage training, I'll be headed to Germany later in the week for the Paper World Show in Frankfurt.  I am really looking forward to this next adventure!

Thanks for stopping by today,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creative Cogs: Spellbinders 3-D Mossability Folders, One Folder Two Cool Techniques

Hey everybody, I've just returned from the 2013 Craft and Hobby Association Show in Anaheim California and I gotta tell you the show was a blast! It's the biggest show in the world for the craft category, there was lots of new product and new inspiration at every turn.  I LOVED IT!  I got to see lots of old friends and got to  meet lots of new friends too.  One of funnest things I got to do was demonstrate one of Spellbinders Paper Arts    newest releases, Creative Cogs 3D M-Bossability Folder on Create and Craft TV. The new line of folders gives you real sculptural effects in an embossing folder...I gotta tell you these things ROCK! I used the folder to create two unique looks on two different cards.  One technique is letterpress and the other is distressed foil.  

For the first card, I used the folder to letterpress. 

It's really easy to do.

Ink your 3D M-Bossability folder with a brayer and ink. Then roll the ink over the surface of the folder, insert a piece of 5x7 white card stock in the folder, and run it through the Spellbinders Grand Calibur.  It's important to note that the embossing sandwich is a little different with the 3D M-Bossabilities.  Use the Pink Embossing Plate and the Raspberry Adapter Plate.  You will get beautiful sculpted results every time.  I M-Bossed on a piece of white 5x7 card stock, then created a layer with Spellbinders New 5x7 Matting Basics and affixed to a Kraft Card and finished with a piece of hemp twine.  Easy Peasy and it looks great.  It's perfect for that special guy.  It's handmade and looks very masculine.  

The second card we demonstrated uses a sanded foil technique...again, it's very easy.  You can create this card in about 10 minutes and it looks great! 

 First 3D M-Boss a piece of Spellbinders Precious Metals Premium Craft Foils, I used Bronze. Then sand it with your favorite sanding tool...sometimes I use a dish scrubber.  Then I affixed to a 5x7 card I'd folded from Bronze Metalized paper.  If you'd like to see the demo on Create and Craft TV, click here...

This card is so easy to will wonder why you haven't used the Spellbinders 3D M-Bossibilites Folders before.  Again, this card is very masculine, any guy would love to receive this card.  

Demonstrating these techniques on Create and Craft TV was really the highlight of the Craft and Hobby Association Show this year...I had SO much fun.  

Thank you for stopping by today...I am off on another crafty adventure for now!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Glitter Houses add Vintage Style to your Holiday Decor

So, I am still Christmasing!  Yes, it's January 2nd, my lights are still on, and if the stores still had eggnog I'd be sipping a little glass of that heavenly concoction too!  Christmas technically lasts through January 6th, King's Day or I am still happily creating some cool Christmas crafts that will add some vintage charm to your holiday decor, next year. I am fascinated with miniatures anyway.  And I am especially drawn to glitter houses at Christmas.    

Traditionally, Glitter Houses or Putz Houses are German in origin.  And at the turn of the 20th century gained popularity in the United States due to the growing population of immigrants and the rise of readily available manufactured goods from the US and Japan.  So, you might have noticed I also called them Putz Houses...they came to be known as "putz" houses because German families often set up their display around a train set or the Christmas tree or near their creche, and often added to the collection throughout the holiday...they "putzed" around with the decorations throughout the season.  Over the past few years, glitter houses have seen a surge in popularity as artists like Bethany Lowe, Melissa Frances, Kathi Lorance Bejma, even Martha Stewart have shown various styles of glitter houses in their seasonal lines. Glitter houses were at the height of their popularity in the US in the 1930's and 1940's and were for the most part imported from Japan.  

I ran across these two examples recently at an antiques mall and was inspired...I wanted to recreate some glitter house ornaments, that were a little more "primitive" in style, but that would still have a little bit of the glitz that makes glitter houses so fun. 

First, I created a simple prototype pattern out of kraft paper.  

It's easy to do, just by easy eyeballing and estimating.  In the photo above you'll see the base, the house and the roof.  A scoreboard makes this easy too.  I like the sturdy weight of kraft, especially since I knew I was going to paint, embellish and glitter the houses.  

Then I created a bunch of little houses. 

Really, it's easy...and before I painted them, I cut doors, some single and some double.  I wanted them each to be a little different.  

Then, I gave them all a coat of Deco Arts Americana Acrylic Paint choosing soft pastels.  

And dry brushed the roof sections with brown.  You will notice later on that I used craft foil for some of the roofs.  

I really wanted to add some "architectural" detail too, so I embossed the houses and roofs with various Spellbinders MBossabiltiy Folders.  

Just a quick tip...I embossed after I painted.  I wanted the embossed details to be crisp...the acrylic paint on the paper really embosses well.  If you'd like to see a little more about embossing with Spellbinders MBossability Folders, we featured it on Spellbinders "Try it Tuesday." I really love the detail embossing adds to paper crafting and it's perfect for ornaments like these.  

Then I assembled the houses, dry brushed them with white paint, and lightly inked with brown ink. 

Next, I got to make a few little "bottle brush" wreaths for could add trees too.  

And slowly the houses started coming together. If you set out to create some glitter houses, get something called Snow Tex from DecoArt.  It's cool stuff that lets you add snow where ever you want it.  I piled it on each house.  

Then, on to glittering...I splurged a little and used antique glass glitter for this.  It's chunky and really reflective.  

I dry brushed liquid adhesive on the houses and then glittered.   The glue just hit the high points of the embossed the glitter stick to the high points creating patterns in glitter.  

It looks really cool! 

I love how these turned out...yes they are a little "primitive" in style, I like that. it harkens to a simpler time in the past when handmade traditions were an important part of family holiday celebrations.  Yes, I know it's already January, but I am still Christmasing...I like to work on Christmas projects all keeps the spirit of Christmas alive inside me year 'round.  

Thanks for spending some time with me today to learn more about glitter houses!  


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread and Collards: The Traditional Southern Meal for New Year's Day

Happy New Year y'all and welcome to's going to be an amazing year with many new opportunities and blessings in store for all of us!

2012 was an interesting year for me...most notably, I relocated from Atlanta to Phoenix, and as I have settled in to my new surroundings in  Arizona, I have really found myself missing the regional cuisine of the south.  It's the first time in my life that I haven't lived in the south. I'm on the road a lot and rarely have time to prepare the southern dishes that I love. So, on New Year's Day, I thought it would be good to make some time to do some good down home cooking that I love.

In the south, a New Year's Day meal is required to have at least two dishes: Black eyed peas and collard greens.
The black eyed peas represent pennies, so that you will always have enough money.  This morning, as I've been cooking, a friend from Minneapolis emailed me and said to make sure to save a dried pea and put it in my wallet to ensure that I'd never go broke.  I'd used fresh shelled peas, and all the peas were already in the worries she said.  Apparently, you can write "black eyed pea" on a piece of paper and place it in your wallet.  So if you can't eat black eyed peas on New Year's you can always write it on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet.  Secondly, collard greens are required.  The greens represent money too; the green kind.

Since I have haven't cooked "southern" in a while, I consulted with The Food Network's Down Home With The Neely's. Their cooking style is really similar to the southern cooks, my mother and grandmothers, I watched as a kid.  I only used The Neely's recipe as a reference.  I used fresh shelled peas, they used dried...and like a true southerner...I boiled ham hocks with my peas.  Using fresh peas is a real time saver...dried peas have to soak over night.

I think black eyed peas are really nutritious too, but once you add the ham hocks...hmm? For this special meal, they are wonderful!  
A New Year's Day table in the south also requires collard greens.  I come from a family of "green eaters." We like collard's, kale, spinach, mustard greens and turnip greens.  Most greens, when sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic can pass as a healthy dish.  (I love sauteed spinach with garlic and pine nuts...Mmm!)
Collards require a little extra attention though. Again, I consulted the Neelys recipe

Their recipe is great...I followed it generally, but I fried some of the ham hocks after boiling and sauteed chopped garlic and onions with the ham and placed them in the greens and hocks to boil.  The ham stock from boiling the hocks is liquid gold to a southern cook; almost as valuable as bacon grease.  For some reason, collard greens aren't that popular in the southwest...I had to drive to two different stores to find them. In the south, the grocery stores have large displays of fresh greens from Christmas through New Years.          I am glad I searched out some fresh greens in Phoenix...the aroma wafting out of the kitchen is wonderful.  If you've never prepared greens before, here are a couple tips...wash the greens about 5 times.  Fill up the sink and submerge the greens in the water.    Wash them thoroughly to remove any sand or grit.  It will take a few times. And make sure to remove the stems.  To remove the stems, fold the leaf in half and rip off the spine or stalky part of the leaf.  I always tear my greens too, the Neelys said to chop them.  I prefer to tear the leaves into about 2 inch sections.  If you want the "full on" southern greens experience, drizzle some apple cider vinegar or Sport Pepper Vinegar on your greens right before you serve them.  YUM! 

In my neck of the wood's country ham is almost always served for special meals, and I gotta tell's some good stuff.  It's air dried, smoked ham that is much like Italian prosciutto or Serrano ham.  

And in my neck of the woods, preparing country ham is a big deal!  They have contests and festivals dedicated to the country ham.  I have a couple of favorite places to get this southern delicacy...Broadbent's near Cadiz, Kentucky offers some of the finest hams in the south.  They consistently win awards all over the US for their hams.  They ship! I also love hams from Col. Bill Newsom's Country Hams.  They have received accolades from Bon Apetit, Southern Living, The New York Times, and many others...they've been in business in Princeton, Kentucky since 1917...they know their ham.  They have a cool store with more fun southern stuff than you can imagine...and they ship!  A country ham needs to be soaked in water over night before rehydrates the ham, and helps to remove some of the salt used during the curing process.  There's a specific way to cook the best country ham...slice your ham, then heat the slices in a cast iron skillet...when the ham starts to sizzle...pour Coca Cola over it...the Coca Cola glazes the ham slices and makes it sweet and's a southern delicacy...great on biscuits too! 

The last dish required for the traditional southern New Years Day meal is fried cornbread.  You might be thinking that this looks like a pancake...not's the tradition in the south to fry might also know it as Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes.  Folklore has it that slaves prepared cornbread on their hoes, placed in a fire, hence the name hoe cake.  Although, I have made cornbread a thousand times, and watched my mom make it all my life, I got a little advice today from The Southern Lady Cooks.  

I followed The Southern Lady's recipe, except, I added a little sugar to the batter, and before I fried the cornbread, I fried a little piece of ham hock in the grease to give the cornbread a smoky flavor.  Depending on what you'll serve the cornbread with, you may add some additional ingredients.  If you are serving with fried fish, add chopped onions and you've got hush puppies...or if you want to serve it for breakfast add in some "cracklins" to the batter and serve it with butter and syrup like pancakes. Cracklins are pieces of deep fried pork skin.  When I was young, my grandmother would make cracklin bread for breakfast and served it with Brer Rabbit Syrup, great memories for this southern boy.  

I was feeling really ambitious with this meal so I baked a Buttermilk Pie for dessert.  I found a great recipe over at Deep Fried Kudzu that was perfect.  I've also used a Southern Living Buttermilk pie recipe that is great!  

Buttermilk pie, also called chess pie is a creamy old fashioned custard pie.  It's really my favorite pie.  The thing that makes this pie special is the addition of a couple tablespoons of ground corn meal to the custard filling.  The cornmeal rises to the top of the custard while baking and makes a delicate "crust" on the top of the pie.  It's down home, lip smackin' goodness! When you find out how easy it is to make this traditional southern might just get addicted to it.  It's that good!

So as I've been cooking, I have sampled along the way (as any true southern cook would do) and everything is delicious!  The smells, the ingredients, and the cooking methods have all reminded me of my southern roots, and this is the perfect traditional southern meal for New Year's Day!   I am really excited to get this meal served up and on the table,so if you'll excuse me...I am gonna run for now.

Thank you for letting me share the perfect Southern New Year's Day meal with you and Happy New Years!  I wish you health, wealth, and all the happiness you can stand in 2013!