Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Skipping Stones Design Sketch Tuesday: Blog Hop & SSD031 “Fall In Chocolate”

Last week I gave you a sneak peek at the Fangs or Fur stamp set and today we are celebrating the official release of the two new stamp sets, "Fangs or Fur" and “Chocolate Vol. 2”.  This is our "sweetest" release yet, whether you're a Twilight fan or a chocolate lover, we have something for you!!  

If you just happened upon my blog today, you’ll want to go back to the beginning at Skipping Stones Design. You should have arrived from Teri Anderson’s blog.

Combined with the blog hop today, it's also Skipping Stones Sketch Tuesday which means the Design Team is showcasing another great creation from Teri Anderson.

Here’s Teri’s sketch for today:


This sketch was perfect for BOTH sets of stamps and I had a blast playing with it but ultimately I decided to go with something chocolatey this week.  Yum, yum, yum….

Introducing Chocolate Volume 2 from Skipping Stones Design:

And a little treat made with this delightful stamp set! Who can resist chocolate covered strawberries on a sweet summer day?  Not me, that’s for sure!  Here’s my card:


I had a brand new 6x6 pack of Basic Grey Nook and Pantry paper staring at me from the back of my desk and decided it would be PERFECT for a sweet tooth card.  So off I went a layering and a stitching. Peggy Russell gave me some advice on threads and I switched to a shinier, prettier thread (this one is a lemony Coast and Clark) and it has made the difference in my stitching love.. lol!  Thanks Peggy!  My poor Bernina got a workout on this card!

Here’s a close up of the stitching and new thread:


It’s hard to tell in the main photo, but I did sponge a little chocolate love around the circle that the strawberries are on to add texture and dimension and not have it be quite so stark white.  


I created the “index/recipe” card in Photoshop and handwrote an entire recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries because I wasn’t sure what would end up showing… lol…. well, if you pry up the top layers you would find an almost full recipe underneath, hehe!  I did cut off the bottom 1/3 of it.


We'd love for you to play along with the sketch. Just remember to use the keywords SSD031 if you are uploading to any online galleries or link your card at the Skipping Stones Blog. We're always on the lookout for  Guest Designers so you never know....

Thanks so much for visiting me today.  Your next stop is the wonderfully talented Peggy Russell.

~Inky Chocolatey Smiles!

Oh, and PS – since you’ve followed along this far… how about a little something SWEET?    I have a package of Chic Martini stamps from Skipping Stones Design to give away to one lucky winner!  Just leave a comment on this post and I will draw a winner on Monday, July 12th using a random number generator.


Here’s the Hop Order in case you reach a broken link along the way.  {Please note that while some artists may have their posts up already, the hop doesn’t officially start until 10 am EST.}

Skipping Stones Design http://skippingstonesdesign.com/
Teri Anderson http://terisplace.wordpress.com/
Erin Grotegut http://inkysmiles.blogspot.com/
Peggy Russell http://beautifulgreetings.blogspot.com/
Kandi Phillips http://kraftykandikrafts.blogspot.com/
*SPECIAL GUEST*  Jodi Collins http://stampingalatte.blogspot.com/
Michelle Giraud http://twisted-chick.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Ingle http://justjingle.blogspot.com/
Amanda Sewell http://www.inkspirations.blogspot.com/
Chelsea Van Wyk http://www.scraptasticvoyage.blogspot.com/
Angela Thomas http://sparkleandbling.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 28, 2010

All the Right Curves In All the Right Places

No, I’m not talking about me.. LOL… (although I do have lots of curves.. just not necessarily where I’d like them…) I’m talking CONCRETE, babeeeee!

It’s been rather quiet around the blog because we’ve been up to our hips in house projects.  That seems to happen around here a lot.  It seems that when we get the itch to move we do a project and then we’re ok for a while.   Yah, we’ve decided not to move just yet.  We’ve invested a lot in our home and have made it a place we love to be (even though it’s far from work) and the market is really not so hot right now so since we don’t HAVE to move, we’re choosing to wait a while.

For the past several years we’ve been procrastinating replacing our front steps, sidewalk and a portion (1/4) of the driveway.  A couple of Saturdays ago a contractor was driving through our neighborhood on the way home from a job and stopped at our door to ask us if we’d like him to bid the concrete work.  But yes!  It felt like a “sign” to get going on this project.. you know, that swift kick you need to make a decision?  Well, his bid came in a lot less than we’d been saving up for and we felt like maybe God was giving us that opportunity to get it done and save some money.  So we signed a contract and prepared for the project.  Over the next week it all came together…. concrete out, new sidewalk design painted in the grass and dirt, framed up and poured. 

Here are some pics from this latest adventure. {Click photos for larger views.)

Sidewalk before:
You can see that the sidewalk and top left portion of the driveway have sunk several inches. We always had to warn people to watch their step and I tripped on the concrete numerous times. It was such a pain to shovel... shovel, shovel, CLUNK! (ouch!) The steps were falling off the porch (about 1” gap from the porch) and a corner of the driveway was also cracked and crumbling or we would have had it just lifted and filled.
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Brent cutting out the grass after we laid out the hose to get the shape we wanted and my poor flowers that got covered in concrete dust.  They got a bath later that night and we rinsed off the ick.  Only lost about 4 impatiens to trampling of contractor feet.

Hello Framing!  We’re all framed in and ready to go.  Concrete was coming in the morning!  We waited for the contractor to leave and then tweaked the curves a little better in the sidewalk.  Later he told Brent, “she’s got an eye for this..” LOL!  I did tell him I worked for a landscaper.  It’s what we do. (We just don’t actually DO the concrete part of it.) LOL!


We were up with the sunrise waiting for the concrete truck the next morning.  I can’t remember the last time I was up this early.. .oh wait, I think it was when I flew to WA for Creative University and only because I had to fix my hair before I caught the plane.

I love this photo of Brent and Sadie… Sadie’s just chillin’ with her Dad.  She wanted to sit next to Brent and snuggle.  You can’t tell from the photo, but she’s actually leaning onto him. So CUTE!


The concrete guy went to the wrong address, so we waited for what seemed like forever. LOL! I think even Sadie was getting impatient.  Here she is chillaxin’ on the porch while the sun is popping up over the mountains and peaks of the houses to the east of us.  I love my girl. She’s so pretty and her fur is velvety soft, perfect for snuggling with!



Ahhh finally, the concrete truck arrived and we began the pour!


After a few hours of tweaking and getting the concrete just right our home had a whole new outlook on life.  I love, love, love my new sidewalk and steps (which are about 2” deeper, nicer for big feet).   We will bring in some new topsoil to bring the sod up to the sidewalk level and fill in the flowerbed.  Then the flower bed will get replanted in a few weeks and I will transplant the flowers to the front of the flowerbed.  I may even move the daylilies (next to the driveway) around, too. 
Thanks for stopping by and humoring me in my excitement! LOL!
~Inky Smiles!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Hey friends!

We’re having a blog hop for Skipping Stones Design on Tuesday, June 29th, 10 am EST.  Be sure to come join us!  I will have some blog candy to give away to a random commenter!

Sneak Peek:


~Inky Smiles!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Skipping Stones Design Sketch Tuesday: SSD030 –“Total Eclipse of the Heart”

Hi friends!  Hope you all had a fabulous Father’s Day weekend!  Brent and I celebrated it quietly at home and had his parents over for a BBQ dinner. It’s been a while since they were over and it was nice to visit with them. :)   We kept quite busy this weekend, too.. digging trenches, picking plums off the “flowering” plum tree, smoking a pork shoulder, I worked on a baby scrapbook for my cousin (I know, GASP… Erin’s paper SCRAPPING… lol) and lots of other fun things.
Yesterday I sat down and played around with the most fabulous new stamp set (one of the TWO being revealed today, but not yet released) from Skipping Stones Design.
If you’re a TWILIGHT fan, you’re GONNA LOVE IT!
Here’s our sketch today from Terri:
I was so excited about this stamp set that I mostly ignored the little circles and rotated the sketch around like this: (UPDATE: For some reason BLOGGER rotated BOth PHOTOS...argh... and won't let me fix one without rotating the other... sorry!)

Here’s my card for this week:
I used the smooching Edward and Bella “Heart” shape from the new “Fur or Fangs” set which is being REVEALED today, but not yet RELEASED.  (Keep reading for more info…)
I LOVE this stamp set.  It’s full of quirky sentiments and awesome images drawn by our very own Heather.  I have to admit I was a little worried about losing all the fabulous detail when heat embossing this image, but I was pleasantly surprised that all the little details embossed perfectly, from Edward’s crazy hair  and chiseled jaw line right down to the detailed flowers.
The flower is made from singed satin fabric and tulle which I layered up and added pearls to the center.  (Now I wish I’d singed the ribbons, too. ) 
The papers are layers of a DCWV stack that was a gift from my friend, Melissa.  The paper is luxurious and awesome.  I added brads to “anchor” the main image and then some pearly ribbon to give it a more “aged” feel.
I had the hardest time figuring the sentiment placement….
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I messed around with it and messed around with it but in the end I felt that it interfered with the main image and stuck it on the inside of the card instead.
Are you dying to see the full set? Ok, ok…. I’ll show you… don’t bite me… (unless you’re Edward… or Jasper… or a shirtless wereworlf…..tee hee)..
NOW… since you’ve hung with me this long do you want to know how to get this set for yourself before you can buy it?  Hurry on over to Skipping Stones Design and check out these stamps and the promotion that Heather has for you this week! “Win” it before it can be bought!
Don’t forget to check out the other amazing creations from our super fun and fabulous Design Team! (Blog links in my right sidebar.)
Inky Bites!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Skipping Stones Design Sketch Tuesday: SSD029 A Room With a View

Happy Tuesday!  Back today with another sketch and a card from Skipping Stones Design.   Sometimes your mojo goes on a little vacation and leaves you behind scratching your head.  For me lately it seems to be happening more often than not, lol!  This sketch really threw me for a loop.  I wasn’t quite sure where to go with it, so I showed it to Brent.  He said “it looks like you’re looking out a window at a sunset or you’re looking down on a lady with a big bonnet on in her garden… see… those lines are rows of something…”  Hehehe… I love my Brent!

Here’s today’s sketch from Teri Anderson:


I decided to run with Brent’s idea that you are looking out a window at a sunset so I put on my thinking cap and pulled out some stamps and paper…

Here’s what I came up with:


It’s difficult to see but there is a sheet of acetate under the “wood” parts of the window to make it actually look more like a window…. I’ll turn my flash off and take it from a slightly different angle so you can see…..See?

I brayered a couple of different blue inks onto a piece of Heavenly Blue cardstock from CTMH to add some texture and dimension to the evening sky, then I cut a circle with a Nestie out of a generic pale yellow cardstock and brayered some inks over it as well.  I think I used 3 different yellows and 1 orange.  The wood pieces are made by dragging layers of ink over a light brown generic cardstock.



The large flower is heat embossed with black embossing powder and the other flowers are simply stamped in black ink directly on the yellow sun.  The hummingbird is stamped onto cardstock, glittered, and popped up a little and the sentiment is stamped on the acetate sheet with black StazOn ink. Did you know if you smudge while stamping on slippery acetate you can quickly wipe off the StazOn with a paper towel moistened with StazOn remover?  Yes, that sentiment is stamp #3, lol!  I also popped some rhinestones on top of the acetate around the sun.   Love me some shiny rhinestones!

Inky Smiles!

Stamps – Skipping Stone Designs’ Dandelion Dreams (my fav set!)
Inks – CTMH Honey, Sunny Yellow, Sunflower, Orange, Twilight, Heavenly Blue, Chocolate, Black and White Daisy; StazOn Jet Black & Timber Brown (for brads); Versamark
Cardstock – CTMH & generic
Miscellaneous – Kaisercraft Rhinestones, Doodlebug white glitter, Sakura Glue Pen, CTMH black embossing powder, pewter brads, acetate sheet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BBQ’n, Smokin’, and Grillin’: Nom, Nom, Nom, Nom

So I have discovered this FABULOUS little online website called Groupon…. Groupon is a fun website that offers daily (weekday) “coupon” offers for your city. I subscribe to the Salt Lake City area, but you can sign up for ANY city they offer nearest you.    It’s free to join and you get daily emails with AMAZING offers.  Oh My Heck… and I have spent a fair bit of money on it buying Groupons for fun adventures and savings….

A couple of weeks ago I picked up some gift cards for a make up store here called Apothica at the SLC Gateway shopping center.  Apothica carries the mineral make up that I like using (Bare Minerals) and other fun “Sephora Store” goodies.  Groupon offered $40 gift cards for $20.. you bet your BareMineral bottoms I bought some… can’t beat that kind of make up for 1/2 off!

A couple of weeks prior to that I got this email with a fabulous deal for cooking classes at the Viking Cooking School in Salt Lake City. The deal was $49 for a class normally priced at $135.00.  I originally thought it would make a great present for Brent for “Fathers Day” but then I thought, “Hey, that would make a GREAT DATE!”.. so I bought two gift cards, one for me and one for him and promptly enrolled us in the Grilling Basics class for this past Saturday (June 5).  Go ahead, click on the link, read the description, drool over the menu.. I sure did. LOL! But wait.. I have photos to share… lol!

We woke up bright and early and made the 1.25 hr trek to SLC on Sat am for our 10 am class.  We pulled into the parking lot where they had a smoker already going and a grill already warming up. AWESOME! I could just tell it was going to be a fun day!

Upon arriving we were given our course packets (loaded with recipes and information) and donned our aprons…  We did a little overview of the day and then went to the kitchen to get ready to have some fun, chop, chop, chop!  I’ll just show u a few highlights of the day cuz I took TONS of photos and don’t want to bore you with all the silly shots. Tee Hee!

Here’s the two of us cheesin’ it up before class got going….

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Look at this kitchen prep area… wow…  you should see the other half (which I failed to photograph) with all the fancy schmancy stoves and ovens I can only DREAM about owning… wow….


We started off learning to cut onions properly… LOL.. and every one of us cut ours the wrong way… and then we began creating a MOP SAUCE for some delightful ribs we were gonna be making…

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We got our ribs ready (they’d been rubbed down with a dry rub the night before by the staff) and went out to put some ribs on the barbie….  We learned how to build a box for woodchips (for smoking) out of tin foil if your grill didn’t come with a smoker box and how to check for proper temperature before and during grilling.  The smoker box and chips smelled DIVINE once they got going.. yummmm!  Instead of using a “mop” to mop the sauce on, we actually used a spray bottle, which is nice because you can keep using the marinade sauce since nothing has touched the raw meat.

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We also learned how to use a smoker oven (no pics, sorry) and do a pulled pork roast with the Low and Slow method.  (We had pulled pork sammies for lunch.. Absolutely D-VIIIIINE!! Nom, nom, nom….  We went back in and finished making up several more dishes and marinades and even a dessert…



Here we are watching the pot of coleslaw sauce boil and the grits baking in the oven… is it done yet? Is it done yet? Nope, not yet? How bout now?  Mmmm that smells good! Oh, hey, there’s a photo of the other side of the kitchen, yay!


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At the end of the day (around 4 pm) we’d prepared a full meal, and then some… dishes included:  BBQ’d ribs, BBQ’d chicken thighs, Pulled Pork (which we had for lunch), Southern Cheesey Bacon Grits, Roasted Yukon Potato Salad, Carolina Coleslaw, and a Brown Apple Betty.  They also served  (they made ahead of time) these fabulous (according to Brent) Hawaiian Luau Baked Beans.



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Did we have a blast? YES!  Was the food delish?  YES!  Would I do it again?  UNDOUBTEDLY!  It was a fun way to spend a date with my hunny and jumpstart the summer cooking season. 

~BBQ’in Cheesey Smiles!