Saturday, May 9, 2015

New blog - new format - more focused!

I don' t know if I'll ever entirely delete this blog, but I realized I had lost all focus. I started this blog to share my passion for crafting, and I know I did this often.

However, I soon realized I wanted to do more with it and have decided to move hosting sites and focus my energy.

So I hope you'll join me at my new blog: The PaperCutting Nerd

What can you expect to see:
  1. Crafting
  2. Household Organizing Tips (as I journey to a clutter free home)
  3. Financial Tips (as I try to achieve a debt free status)
  4. Motivation/funnies for fitness (I'm working on my fitness)
  5. Photography - I have a new camera and I'm trying to learn how to use it

Saturday, October 4, 2014

World Card Making Day 2014

Please excuse my poor quality photo. My camera died and I've just taken a picture without any natural light. I promise to replace this photo later with a better quality and lit photo!

I'm trying to be better about posting regularly because it means that I will have carved some "me' time to craft. I'd like to grow this blog, but I need to find the right niche and/or find the right balance of my spewing out my crazy thoughts with my creative energy.

But that's for another day!  Today, we do cards....why?  Because today is World Card Making Day! It's a craftoliday!

I used all items from My Mind's Eye  Lost and Found Record It! 

I wanted to play around with making my own sunburst card. I didn't have a template so I had to create my own using a thicker card stock that I could trace the different papers with. I wasn't too happy with the blending of the rays because I inserted the more gray rays. I chose to ink the edges to make them pop out a bit and that seems to satisfy my design eye.

I used a part of the heirloom packets to create the center of the sunburst and then added some stickers to complete this card.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two special sisters

I am fortunate enough to work for an organization that I love - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Sometimes, the universe connects my work with my friends.

Now, no one ever wants to stay at a Ronald McDonald House because it means your child is sick. However, we have these beautiful houses around the world waiting for the time that you might need us so that you don't have to worry about where you're going to stay or what you're going to eat while your child is in the hospital. You get to stay together as a family and let us try to take away a little bit of the stress.

Well, this past month brought an interesting twist of fate to my life. I have previously written about the loss of my friend Deyla in April to breast cancer. It was a devastating experience that has left many of us sad, and I still miss her to this day. Her photo is my office, and I often turn and see her beautifully smiling at me.

So you can imagine my complete shock to find out that Deyla's cousin had a daughter that would need to undergo a Stem Cell Transplant, and they would be staying at my Ronald McDonald House. It sent chills through my whole body, but it was a wonderful way for me to continue showing her family that I was there to support them.

Without going in to too much detail, Emily received a transplant donation from her younger sister, Olivia, and she has successfully completed the inpatient portion of her treatment. I'm now lucky to host her and her mama in my world. 

I heard from their mom that these beautiful little girls love mail, so of course I had to crack open the supplies to create something special.  I can't wait to put these in their mail box tomorrow.

Every time I see Emily, I get so excited that she's done with the inpatient portion of her treatment, and I celebrate her arrival to RMH. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm crazy.

I have a thing for layers and loved adding more and more.

I think this little fighter is a star, and I wanted her to know that.

Olivia was amazing lucky to be an exact match for her sister and SUPER brave to undergo the procedure to harvest stem cells for her sister. Most kids her age would be terrified (and I'm sure she was), but she toughed it out for her sister!

I absolutely love this superhero stamp set from Stampin Up! I'm pretty sure I'll use it a lot for our RMH kiddos. They are all superheroes in disguise.

I had a little trouble with ink stains as I was stamping my message inside the card, so I had to embellish with comic book like symbols. I think it added just the right amount of pizzazz.

La Fiesta Stamp Set

I love Papel Picado!

The intricate designs that artists create on tissue paper flags always amazes me. I was lucky enough to take an on-line class through Crafty Chica about 2 or 3 years ago, and I learned firsthand how difficult it is to design and cut the tissue paper. It was fun to learn, but I bow down to the artists that painstakingly cut away to create these beautiful images. can imagine I was uber excited to find this stamp set that would allow me to fake the funk.

Yes, I had to spend some time fussy cutting each of the flags, but it was worth the final product.

I really like the flexibility of the Fiesta stamp set by A*Muse Studios. The papel picado images stamp clearly and the flags are relatively easy to cut out by hand which makes it easy to modify color-wise to suit your taste.

My first attempt to use the stamp set got out of hand for my personal taste (see below), but it was fun to see that I could layer parts of the flags on to each other to create a multi-colored flag. I could have, of course, colored my stamp with markers for a one dimensional flag, but I don't tend to like to do things the easy way.

Hispanic Heritage Month Craft-a-thon!

I have taken a hiatus from my beloved stress reliever for far too long.

I thought it was appropriate that I had just attended the Scrapbook Expo when it was time to relaunch the fun in my life. I have ALL these tools and supplies, but they have been collecting dust for months!

Well, I spent all weekend at the crop creating 50+ cards of a pinterest inspired design. I don't know what I was thinking when I modified the simpler version to this version!  I had 72 to make in total to thank so many friends for helping me raise a lot of funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.  It took me well over three days total to complete, but I was able to send a heartfelt thank to everyone.

While finishing up these cards, I came across the A*Muse Studio's booth. I was so excited to find a stamp set called Fiesta but was even more delighted to see more Latino-oriented sets that I have to add to my collection.

I was able to purchase the set on the right on-site and knew that I would need to launch a month-long Craft-a-thon to celebrating my heritage through my papercrafting.

So stay tuned for some fun stuff and please let me know if you're doing something similar so I can see your wonderful projects!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

In pursuit of the perfect rice krispie treat

This weekend, we celebrated Roya's third birthday (which is actually tomorrow). As crazy as this might sound, this is actually the first time I've been able to attend her birthday party.  Thankfully this was the year because Roya's adorable aunts usually help with party planning. They had a wedding in Tennessee this weekend so they weren't able to help Roya's mama and the SOS went out immediately.  I love a good party so, of course, I was all for the madness.

I think the funniest part of Sogol's planning (Roya's mama) was the fact that she wanted to make some of the desserts the MORNING OF the party!  Now, that would be okay if these desserts were simple, but NOOOOOO....we were trying to make these:

Sogol had never made rice krispie treats, so she was really relying on me to make some GOOD rice krispie treats.  If you've made the classic recipe before, you know that that recipe is no bueno. A good rice krispie treat is gooier and not hard as a rock.

The recipe we used was the following per batch:
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 5 cups of marshmallows
  • 5.75 cups of rice krispie treats cereal

You start by melting the butter over low heat. Then add the marshmallows. It's key that you don't melt them completely. The marshmallows should still be a little clumpy when you fold in the rice krispie treats. I melt about 80% of the marshmallows and then add the rice krispie treats. I fold in the rice krispie treats over no heat.

I made about two batches, but then we had to have Sogol give it whirl!  She did pretty well. She also owns this incredible All Clad Dutch Oven that doesn't allow the gooey mixture to stick AT ALL.  Not to self - invest in one of those! The rinsing of the pot in between batches was super quick.

We used a mickey mouse cookie cutter to get the shape. To get a clean cut, you spray the cookie cutter with pam cooking spray. It helps to also lightly coat your hands with pam so that none of the mixture sticks to your hands when taking it out of the mold.

We then reached the number one issue. A good rice krispie treat recipe doesn't turn into rocks.  It stays gooey.  So our popsicle treats would get wonky when pulled out of the fridge and we knew they would lose their shape.  Look at how cute! We couldn't let the Mickeys disappear!

After we dipped the ears in chocolate, we popped them back in the fridge to cool off quickly. We then wrapped each rice krispie treat in cellophane and tied it with pretty ribbons.

The treats (made the night before) stayed chewy and were a big hit.

Sogol has pretty much decided she is never going to make rice krispie treats again, but I hope the taste and simplicity of just making squares will convince her to try again soon.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Roya!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My other secret obsessions

It has been quite some time since I last posted some silly or serious reflections. I've read that those of us who enjoy social media might actually be lonely. Does this reflect me - heck no!

As you've seen in previous posts, I've reconnected with a strong part of my college life - my sorority sisters - as we rallied together to support our wonderful late sister, Deyla. It was one of the hardest yet most beautiful times in my life to date. It was a reminder to respect my life and to share my passions. Time is limited so use it wisely and HAVE fun doing it.

So I started to reflect on some of my secret obsessions....and what I want to do about them.  So it's time to declare some fun journeys in my life. These are all non-crafty related (shocking, I know).

I don't have the most organized home by any stretch of the imagination.  When I get started on an organizational project, however, I tend to run with it. I've recently embarked on a massive decluttering of my house. I'm a girl that has a lot of EVERYTHING and I don't need all this stuff.  I have to credit The Joy of Less book as the added push I needed to finally commit.

Social Media
I know, I know...maybe this isn't so much a secret obsession, but it's so true. I love learning new techniques, reading incredible stories and looking at lovely pictures. For someone who has a demanding professional life, I don't always have as much free time to experience things in real life (like taking a class or visiting a new location), so I relish the ability to devour the information and images via Social Media. I'm trying to figure out how to share the things I love most in a concise and organized manner - Pinterest, this Blog, Instagram, Twitter? I want to assume that there are other folks who would enjoy what I enjoy.  But I also need to create more time to experience some of the visual diversions in real time (and share my experience with them). Now I just need to create a list of the Top 10 things I've found via Social Media that I will experience live.

Yogi & Dancer Bodies
Random and hysterical obsession, I know  I love to look at videos and pictures of dancers and yogis. There is something extra beautiful in seeing art coupled with strength. I dream of having a body like them one day, but lord knows I do very little to get there. I just dream about the flat stomach, the handstands, the flexibility and the toned body. One of my favorite Instagram Yogis is pictured below - she does adorable poses with her kids and beautiful poses with her hubby like this one. So let's start small (kinda)....I'm going to work on accomplishing a free standing handstand this year.  It's something that freaks me out, but it's also something that requires a certain amount of fitness, mental balance and focus.