Hybrid Laser Tag Birthday Invitations

So Alton FINALLY decided on having a laser tag birthday party. I say finally, because he changed his mind about where he wanted to have his birthday party about 5 times. Including the day before the actual party. Sorry dude, the invites went out already.

I have SO been enjoying my Silhouette Cameo Cutter and Starter Kit Bundle. The project possibilities are just endless. I made his birthday party invites with only a tiny bit of printer ink, some thread and of course shapes cut out with my Cameo.

GLCT Laser Tag Invite

GLCT Laser Tag Inviteback


The invites came out fantastically if I do say so myself. His friends were extremely impressed with the threaded “laser” on the front of the invite. I just used a needle and thread after I glued the Paper pieces to the front of the card. Then I glued the back over it and that hid the thread knots. :)

(By the way, Wendy recommended this glue: Beacon 3-In-1 Advanced Craft Glue, 4-Ounce and it is hands down, the best crafting glue I have ever used. I use it on ALL of my hybrid projects now.)

I got the gun shape here:

Ready, Aim, Fire! Felties by Chelle's Creations


It was so easy to load into the Silhouette Software, and then used Wendy’s instructions for Printing and Cutting digital scrapbooking layout elements with your Cameo. The rest of the shapes came from the Silhouette Online store.

I also used my Silhouette to fancy up his birthday cupcakes!

Alton Birthday 2

Alton Birthday

I would definitely say that he (And all of his friends) enjoyed them!

Gender Reveal Cake!

So my friend Jessie is having a baby! Her second baby in fact. She knows I like to bake, so she asked me to make her a gender reveal cake. I was a bit nervous, because I don’t pipe, but I do make a mean chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream. She gave me carte blanche to decide how to decorate it, so here’s what I did:
reveal cake outside

I made a chocolate mocha cake for the top and bottom layers. The center was a mixed berry cake with mixed berry Jell-o added for color. (I would just like to say, I don’t think I will do that again. It gives it a fake berry taste that I am not a fan of.

Then I made a chocolate ganache filling between the layers.

Gender cake inside

I finished it with a medium chocolate butter cream and smoothed it on, and then piped a smooth border. (Note to self, I NEED to sign up for piping lessons.)

For the decorations, I had a lot of fun with my Silhouette Cameo Cutter and Starter Kit Bundle. I used several different shapes including Dress Up Clothes, Baby Boy Onesie Card, and a couple of general shapes. For the word art center piece, I made that up in Photoshop, and then imported it to the Cameo, and had it cut out in a circle. Can I just say for a moment, that I am madly in love with my Cameo and I am so glad it has came into my life?

I am not a professional cake decorator, but I had fun making this one, and I am so touched that she thought of me to be a part of her very special family memory. Congrats Jessie! I hope little boy number is just as big a blessing as your first son. :)


If You Bake Cakes You NEED These!

So a few weeks ago, I happened upon Wilton Small Bake Even Strips, Set of 2
whilst I was roaming the Amazon Universe. I was intrigued and asked my Facebook friends about them. The reviews were mixed, so I added them to my Amazon wish list and promptly forgot about them.

A couple of days ago, a friend asked me to make her a gender reveal cake. (Pictures of that later.) I decided that I wanted to give the Bake Even strips a try.

Oh. My. Word. I have NEVER EVER had a cake come out of the oven that perfectly even before. They are PERFECT. I don’t need to trim them at all.

Gender cake inside

They are only $10 for the small ones, and if you have Prime (and you should), shipping will be free.

Mother’s Day Is Almost Here!

Flyer Mothers Day 2014


I don’t ship cupcakes, but they are available for local pick-up.

If you are local, you can contact me through my Facebook page, or here from my blog shop.

If you are not local, or just need an item shipped, you can order from my Etsy store.

Thank you so much for supporting my small business!

How to Shred Chicken Perfectly and FAST!

Wanna hear a secret? My friend Karen tipped me off to the best trick EVER for shredding chicken for chili and other yummy things.

The Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment will shred 2-6 boneless breasts beautifully.

Shred Chicken

Just throw your cooked breasts in your stand mixer bowl, put the paddle attachment on, and turn it up to 3 or 4. Then watch the magic happen.

I will NEVER again shred chicken by hand. This does it so fast, and perfectly! I have done with just two and as many as six. It comes out better than if I had done it by hand.

Chicken and Black Bean Chili

Chili Chicken and Black Bean

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
2 cans black beans
1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 T olive oil
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When the olive oil is hot, add the chicken breasts, and turn them once after the breasts have browned nicely. While the chicken is browning, chop the vegetables. Add them to the pan where the chicken is browning and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are translucent.
Then transfer the chicken and veggies to your crock pot.
Drain and rinse the black beans, add them to the crock pot with the chicken stock, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Heat on low for 8 hours.
When you are ready to serve, take the chicken out, shred it, and then add it back to the pot.

Serve with Corn bread or tortilla chips. Top with cheese, sour cream, or cheese and sour cream. ;)


Using Patterned Papers With Your Layouts

So if you have spent any time at all looking at my scrapbooking pages, you will notice that I LOVE using patterned background pages. I started doing so in earnest after reading a blog post about it. (That designer/scrapper no longer has a design blog otherwise I would link it.) It’s to the point now where I don’t think I physically COULD just use a solid colored background paper. One time when I wanted a second opinion on a layout I was working on, I asked Cheryl (aka GoneWithTheWind) how to improve the persnickety layout I was working on, and she suggested using a solid background paper. Now, I had a lot caffeine that day, so the heart palpitation I had at that moment may well have been a coincidence, but I don’t think so.

I LOVE patterns.

So today I am going to walk you through using a patterned background and even MIXING patterns. I know this causes hear palpitations in some scrappers, but seriously, if you follow the rules, you will be fine.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, hold the phone, there are rules?”

My husband adores me more than some people find plausible. But when he asks me why we have to do something a certain way and I mutter, “It’s in the rules,” he just sighs and does what I ask him. Yes, there are rules. Some of them are unspoken, some of them are standard visual layout rules, and some of them I am seriously just making up on the fly from the seat of my pants.

1. Patterns, papers, and heck even font types like to hang out in odd numbers. Choose, 1,3,5, or 7 papers to work with. For whatever reason, this REALLY helps things to be more visually pleasing. I don’t know why it does, but this is seriously in the rules. (The real ones, not just the ones I am making up on the fly.)

2. Mix your papers up as you please, but you need a visual break between your patterned paper and your photo to draw your eye to the photo.

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Amber Shaw’s Call Me Sweetheart and Fuss Free: Shake It 5 by Fiddle Dee Dee

Notice that even though Alton’s First Birthday layout uses 5 (odd number 5!) different papers, it doesn’t look too busy? It’s because the star burst paper on the edges draws your eye in to the adorable photos. The photos which I used a white stroke on to break up the patterned paper and the photos. Same thing on Lottie’s 52 Weeks layout. The white Polaroid frames set the pictures off nicely.

3. Be aware of the scale or the patterns you are mixing. Sometimes big and little patterns can play nicely together. Sometimes they don’t.

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

See how the polka dot and the stripes are about the same size-ishness, and the arrow circles and the diamond papers are about the same? They all kinda go, and the shapes compliment each other nicely. (And for those of you counting right now, my 5th paper is the turned corner teal on the right there. ;) )

4. When in doubt of what to mix with what, go with the classics. They are classic for a reason.

If you are unsure what patterns play well, here is a list of my suggested pairings:
Florals with stripes
Plaids with polka dots
Chevrons with polka dots
Damasks with stripes or diamonds

These would be some of those unspoken rules I was talking about earlier. I am not sure if they were written down anywhere before, but now they are here. :)

The bottom line is, don’t forget to have fun. These are YOUR MEMORIES. And if mixing an argyle paper with chevrons makes you happy, DO IT! Just make sure you scrap often and journal well, because someday, your grandkids will look at your scrapbooks, and they won’t care what background paper you used, they just want to see pictures of their mommy or daddy wearing naught but a bunch of birthday cake and their birthday suit. Go forth and scrap!

If you found any of this humorous or even helpful, leave a comment. I LOVE comments!mysiggie-1

Rain-aggedon 2014

So we live in Southern California, and we are in the midst of yet another drought. Today however it is raining. Well, sprinkling with purpose really, but as far as we poor Southern Californians are concerned, it’s raining. I love days like today. They are perfect for making bread and homemade soup. So that’s what I am doing today. I am making my honey oatmeal wheat bread and I am making a variation of my friend Diane’s chicken vegetable soup. The last time I was at Trader Joe’s, they had parsnips available in the root section, so I snagged those and I added them to the soup. I have never in my life knowingly eaten or prepared a parsnip, but my preliminary judgement is that it seems to be a slightly porous white carrot. When I peeled and chopped it, it smelled just like a carrot, but instead of sinking to the bottom of my stock pot with the potatoes and carrots, the parsnip chunks are bobbing on top.

Lottie is on day four of what we think is a case of Roseola. We thought her fever broke, so we ran to Panera and Starbucks for a birthday treat this morning. But she then proceeded to take a 4 1/2 hour nap.

Well I think I will go snuggle my cuddle muffin and then go chop some chicken for my soup….

How I Title My Scrapbooking Page Files

So there are many ways to save your files names. After lots of trial and error, this is what I do. Each layout is saved with a two digit year, 2 digit month, and then 2 digit day code. Then if my layout has a title, that goes after the date code. So this layout I made of my son’s first birthday was saved as 080621 Cake!

080621 Cake! web

Celebrate Grab Bag by Amber Shaw and Fuss Free: Celebrate by Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs

I do this for a couple of reasons. When I (finally!) get my layouts printed at Persnickety Prints, they print the file name on the back of your premium archival quality print. So each and every layout will be dated, even if for some reason I don’t have the date on the front. Also, I don’t scrap in order, so it keeps my layout archive in chronological order, so that when I go to put layouts in albums, I have a handy dandy cheat sheet to ease putting my layouts in order in my album.

File names

How do you title your scrapbooking page files?

Nifty Little Scrapbooking Trick

Okay, so I feel lame even calling this a trick, but it is so danged helpful to me, that I felt I needed to share it.

I use templates a lot. Like every time. I don’t remember the last time I scrapped without one kind of thing. I also use a TON of different ones. I can always tell which designer I used a template from, but I almost NEVER remember which template set I used if it’s not a new release that I am specifically scrapping with for an assignment.

This weekend I scrapped eight layouts for the Scrapper Bowl!  That is a lot. And I could not for the life of me remember which templates I used when I went to credit in the gallery. So I thought to myself, THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!

And I figured it out. Once I have dragged my background paper onto the layout and positioned it, I got to the layers menu, and RENAME my background paper the name of the template designer and the template pack. Now when I go to my credits, if I don’t remember the name of the template I used, I can just open my TIF file and VOILA! There it is.