Friday, February 25, 2011

I WON, I WON, I WON... Well, It's LIKE I WON...

Hey there friends!

Recently I was invited by CSN stores to do a promotional review on my blog of some of their products. Well, being an adventurous kind of girl and knowing my love of the EASE of online shopping and comfort of doing it from home in my crazy snowman pajamas, of course I accepted the offer!  I feel like I've won some major contest...

HOLEE MOLEEE… have you visited CSN stores lately?  It’s like having the Mall of America right at my fingertips… buh bye shopping blisters on my poor feet!  Gazillions of products for me to peruse and pour over in the matter of minutes, uh, well… ok I perused for more like a couple of hours. “Oooh Brent! How about one of these? Or one of these??  OR Check this out!”  Haha!  CSN has pretty much everything a home wants, needs, wants, needs… (what’s the difference? Haha!)  Do I buy a cute animal and alphabets print for my niece’s wall or a bbq set for Brent, a fabulous swing set for my back yard, or a zebra striped rug for my Studio floor?

Want to see what I ordered?  So do I!! Tee hee!  Pop back over in a week or so and I will be glad to show you what I ordered! I’m sure I will be over the moon about it!

Inky Smiles!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Said Twinchie, But Did You Mean Twinkie?

{ACK! THis was suppposed to have posted while I was away at C.U…. I opened up Live Writer this morning and there it was still in my drafts. Ooops!  Anyway.. I am back from CU but am sick as a dog.  I spent 4 hours at instacare on Monday night because I had a 101.7 fever that would not drop and could not stop coughing.  Well, my fever has dropped to about 100, waffling back and forth between 99.5 and 100, but I’m still getting the ultra upper body workout which is sponsored by the letter C for cough.  I am currently sifting through the 270 pics I took at CU and hope to have some posted by this weekend. Today is the first day that I have been able to sit upright out of bed since Sunday.  Be back soon!~}


Hey friends!  I’m off having fun at Creative University but I thought I would share with you one of our “group art projects”.  Tresa asked us each to make a “twinchie”…


A what? 

Don’t ya mean twinkie? You know, those fluffy uber preserved puffy cake things filled with a mystery cream that will last through a nuclear war with the roaches?


She meant  a twinchie.  A two inch square bit o’ artwork.  I knew what an inchie was but I guess a twinchie is his big brother.

The “rules” were to stay within the theme.: WINGS 

“Creative U is about spreading our wings, learning to take chances and try new things, and lifting each other up.  Any image or word can be used to follow the theme, use your imagination!”

I’ve always wanted to get into collage and I “guess” this is my feet getting wet.   This twinchie was SUPER fun to make.  I cut a 2x2 piece of cardboard and mod podged a piece of red cardstock to it.  Then I created/printed the digi images onto white cardstock and adhered them to the red background… mod podging between layers so that everything was good and STUCK.   And then I drew a line with Crystal Laquer around the edges and sprinkled it with Martha Stewart Antique Silver glitter, let it dry and covered it with more Crystal Laquer and set it to dry overnight. 


It turned out fantastic.  Well, until I decided that I thought it needed another coat of something harder than Crystal Laquer…. (Keeping it real here….)  I put on a coat of Sally Hansen super hard nail polish.  Oy Vey!  Nail polish + mod podge = disaster.  All sorts of bubbly disaster….

So I started over.  And this is my second piece… It’s not nearly as pretty as the first one was but was done and I had no intention of starting over again.

Thanks for stopping by!  Keep calm , craft on, and try something new!

Inky Smiles!

Oh and PS… if you get the muchies while crafting you can always snack on a couple of these….


Faith, Family, Friends

{scheduled post}

The world of crafting has connected many hearts and built many friendships.  I have been lucky to have made many friends in my creative journey via the internet and have even met many in person.  One friend who I have not yet met in person but would love to someday is Michelle Durheim of Creative Treasures.  She is so incredibly talented and I have spent many hours drooling over her creations on her blog.  One day while I was drooling over some creations I noticed that she had a painting at the very bottom of her blog… a gorgeous primitive angel painting.  So I messaged her and long story short… one day she posted that she was working on another painting and if I wanted it she’d sell it.  REALLY???  YES, YES, YES!  {cuz while I may have some creative bones, I don’t have a painting-that-needs-to-look-like-something bone in my body….} 

So one day a surprise arrived in the mail.  I squealed with joy. {really… and Brent did roll his eyes at me} and we opened it up and I convinced ,made, begged Brent to hang it for me.  It’s hanging in my front room above my red hutch which holds an assortment of framed family photos. {We’ve since moved the ipod dock and taken down the fall decorations.. lol}  This lovely scene is painted on an old cabinet door and I just love it.  I have wanted to share this for a while now and finally found the photos hidden in my crazy huge stash of digital photos.



So hard to take photos in the house…. 


I am particularly fond of primitives, salt box houses, colonial themed goodies and this just makes me smile every time I look at it.  The full photos do not do it the justice it deserves.  Here are some close ups of the fabulous detail.




Thank you Michelle! I am glad to have one of your Creative Treasures and delighted to count you as a friend!

Inky Smiles!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!

So I couldn’t share this yesterday (Monday) because I never know when my sweet husband might be haunting my blog.  And ya know, I really didn’t want him to see this ahead of time. :) He likes surprises and sweet notes.  We had a quiet and sweet Valentine’s Day and attended his brother’s wedding. Next week we hope to do a fun/fancy dinner.

I am mostly ready for CU.. most of my goodies are packed and I am tying up a few loose ends before I go.  I slipped back into my studio the other day to whip this up for Brent.  It’s a simple little card.. standard size with a message that’s “to the point”. :)  I used some plain red cardstock, some patterned paper (I can’t remember who’s it is, haha) a Fiskars scallop border punch, some ColorBox chalk ink, some AC Thickers (glitter – yes!), a few KaiserCraft rhinestones and a  couple of stamps from the There She Goes stamp set “What a Hoot”, and some AC Foam tabs for dimension. OH, and I used my awesome corner chompers by WR Memory Keepers. I love that little chomper!  I freehanded the heart and I am happy it turned out so well on the first go.. usually my hearts are pretty lopsided!





Who loves ya baby? I do!

Inky Smiles!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Digital Art: More Charming Images

Busy in the studio on the computer still… I’ve been LOVING playing with digital images and and creating fun little doo-dahs.  I’m in charge of the Charm Swap at Creative University and have been having so much fun with my charms.  I can’t show you my charms just yet but I wanted to share with you the image I am using on one of them (the Victorian Vintage Charm Swap)… 


This image is MUCH bigger than what the charm image is.  Think very small… under the size of a quarter…   Don’t worry, you can still see all the fabulous detail in the finished project. Something like this:


I created the image in Photoshop Elements using images from Itkupilli’s free test sheet. I created the word art using rectangles that I colored, aged, and snipped.  The text is made up of individual letters from the Portable Remington font that I manipulated individually (same as the charm cards I shared previously). 

The finished product is glittery and sparkly. I can’t wait to share!

I also made some new charm cards in a blue tone. I was trying to use the CU “colors” for the last set of charm cards… I like these better but the first set of charms was already packaged so they’re staying on red cards. LOL.. .the Under the Sea charm swap will get these blue toned cards.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Picaboo Calendar Winner

We have a winner for our Picaboo calendar! chose for us again this time.

Please give a round of applause to:


Comment # 3 is from Krista Openshaw:

“I LOVE your jewlery ideas. Still doing the crochet necklaces, but I would love to learn different techniques in jewlery making.”

Congratulations Krista!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Picaboo Premium Calendar Quickie Giveaway- Act Fast!

Hey friends!

I am a dork.


Whilst I have been buried under piles of charms and digi art and roomie gifts and.. well… schtuff… I’ve forgotten that I have a giveaway for one of my lucky readers! So without further groveling and such I will give you the info.

Important:  You will receive a “coupon” for this from Picaboo and it expires on February 15th so you will need to claim this prize by Thursday, February 10th @ 8pm or I will draw another winner.   I will announce the winner Wednesday before 8 pm MST. Start gathering your photos!

Winning is easy!  Here’s what you need to do:

Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what you’d like to see next on my blog.  What do you want to learn?

One of my FABULOUS readers will receive a free 11x14 Premium Calendar from Picaboo — a retail value of $29.99! calendars-banner-v5

With more than 40 themes and hundreds of backgrounds to choose from,
and the ability to create your own from scratch, Picaboo makes it easy and fun
to create gorgeous calendars that will make it hard to resist flipping to the next
month. Photo pages are completely customizable allowing you to move photos
and captions anywhere on a page. We recently added editable calendar grids,
which allow you to personalize special dates with important dates like birthdays,
anniversaries, or anything else you want to be sure to remember :)

The Premium calendar features 12 laminated, glossy photo pages that
give your pictures a little extra pop, and matte date pages allow for easy writing.
Use photos from 2010 to create the perfect gift that is enjoyed every day of


Inky Smiles!

Here’s the fine print:

a. This coupon is valid for one 12-month Premium Photo Calendar.

b. Promotion does not include shipping costs. Shipping within the
continental US starts $8.99 for Ground.

c. The coupon will expire on 2/15/11 – this could be a great Valentine’s
Day gift for a friend or loved one! Order by Monday, 2/1 to ensure delivery by
Valentine’s Day with Ground shipping (within the continental US).

d. Coupon must be assigned to the winner of the promotion, so please
email the winner’s name and email address to once the
winner has been determined.

e. This giveaway is limited to one per person *globally*, so the same
person cannot win the giveaway on more than one site.  This means if you have won this same promotion on another website you are not eligible to win here.  (Picaboo will verify.)


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Top Chopped Cook: A Date Night Idea

Each month we do a date night with 2 other couples. We take turns going to each couple’s home for dinner, games, etc. Our goal was to get out and do something with friends on date night. It’s been a lot of fun!  This month it was Kelly & Kaisa’s turn to host and they chose to make dinner a game in itself.  They sent out a note to each of us with our assignments. 

Greetings Home Cooks:
You are all hereby invited to an evening of challenge, intrigue, and culinary crafting at the Norton’s on Saturday, February 5th, at 5pm.

As it is couple’s night, each couple will be responsible for cooking--yes, cooking--at our house, ONE dish, to be chosen at random: an appetizer, a main course, or a dessert. There will be a time limit for each course, followed by tasting (eating), and discussion (laughing or crying).

The rules are pretty simple. You can do whatever you want, but for each course there will be a basket of THREE mystery ingredients drawn at random. Although no one is a trained chef, you still must use all three ingredients in your dish. You can use a little bit, you can use a lot.

In addition to the mystery ingredients, you will have access to whatever is in our pantry, spice rack, refrigerator and freezer. So, you won’t only get those three ingredients to work with. We also have a library of cookbooks and recipes to peruse prior to cooking.

THREE ingredients of your choosing

**Use your own discretion at how much of each ingredient you bring, keeping in mind that the combined ingredients with the items from our pantry and fridge need to feed 6 people. For example, one apple alone won’t feed 6, but one apple used as a garnish for pork chops can.


To keep the ingredients somewhat of a MYSTERY, put them in a dark or sealed bag, write down each of your three ingredients on a separate slip of paper, and throw the slips of paper in the “HAT” upon arrival, LOL.

Come with your fantastic ideas, your cooking skills, and special kitchen implements if you so desire. BON APPETIT

Well, Brent and I put our thinking hats on an came up with a few fun mystery ingredients to bring.  We decided that we didn’t want to go too “far out” with ingredients.. just things that could be pretty versatile.  The mystery ingredients that we contributed were:

Pretzels, Pineapple, and Puff Pastry

To start the night we each drew a “course” and then ingredients (written on strips of paper) from a paper sack.  We all laughed when we saw that Kaisa and Kelly also contributed pineapple and pretzels.

Here’s what I drew:

Ay yi yi…


Oh my.

So I put on my thinking cap and thought

Brent and Kelly went to work on creating their own culinary masterpieces.  (They both drew appetizers.)  Here’s Brent trying to figure out what to do with Puff Pastry…  We were each given a few minutes to flip through cookbooks to try to figure out what to do. 


And then he and Kelly took over the kitchen and went to town.  Kaisa and I sat back and watched them figuring it all out.  It was great!








Hrmmm… I wonder what this could be? Could it be my FAVORITE appetizer of all time?? Hrmmmm…..

I do have to say that the boys did an amazing job on their appetizers.  Here are the final results, all neatly plated (and bowl’d)…

Kelly’s appetizer:  Vidalia Coleslaw with a twist

Secret ingredients:  Pretzels & Tomatoes


This was soooo yummy!!  He used a vidalia onion dressing as the coleslaw dressing and used the pretzels as a garnish and drizzled some rasberry chipotle dressing over them.  I thought I would hate the raspberry chipotle sauce because I’m not a fan of raspberries but it was so good!  It added a nice sweet and spicy bite to it… I even added a little more!

Brent’s appetizer:  Puff Pastry Mozzarella Basil Rolls
& Tomato Bruschetta

Secret ingredients:  Puff Pastry and a Baguette


Absolutely delicious! Tomato Bruschetta is my all time most favorite appetizer in the whole world.  There are some nights we make it and eat it for dinner… yah, just tomato bruschetta… with a little asiago cheese sprinkled on it. DIVINE.   The Puff Pastry Mozzarella Basil Rolls were equally delicious. 

And then it was my turn.  Thankfully I was allowed a sous-chef since I had the main course.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make with my THREE mystery ingredients. Yes, I got THREE because I drew last and there was an extra one in there. Doh!  I finally knew what I wanted to make and peeked in the cookbook but the recipe I wanted for my sauce was not going to work… we didn’t have mirin or sake so I decided to wing it.

While my sous-chef cleaned up and fileted some chicken breasts I set to work making my sauce.



… and some garnish….

It was a lot of fun whipping this up without a real recipe and having to use my mystery ingredients.  Here’s my entree all neatly plated.

Erin’s main dish:  Teriyaki Island Chicken

Secret ingredients:  Pretzels, Pineapple and Coconut

I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but man, this turned out REALLY GOOD.  The secret is in the sauce - for real.  I created a teriyaki sauce with dark brown sugar, low sodium soy sauce, minced garlic and thickened it with a cornstarch-water mixture.   The sauce was a little too thick for my liking so I thinned it with some pineapple juice… oh man.. that made it.  (Next time I will try it with a little lime juice, too!)  The chicken filets are breaded in crushed pretzels, cornstarch and plain breadcrumbs. 

The coconut was SUPPOSED to be toasted and sprinkled on the top of the chicken… but I completely spaced it in my rush to get this plated and ready before 9 pm. LOL!  That’s ok, the judges let it slide and we all agreed it would have been yummy sprinkled on the chicken or even toasted and crumbed with the crust on the chicken. (Brent and I plan on trying this out very soon!)   The super tender chicken is topped with sliced green onions and grilled pineapple.



Kaisa rounded out the meal with dessert!  (She started prepping her dessert while I was cooking dinner and the cameraman disappeared to entertain the doggies and keep the begging down to a minimum.)  Here’s Kaisa whipping up a secret sauce while her dessert is baking in the oven. MMMM.  Let’s just say that the house smelled heavenly with all the baking and simmering going on at this point. MMm!



Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.  Do I detect a little hint of Pineapple rum in there? Hrmmm…

Kaisa’s dessert:  Almond Mini Bundt Cake w/Pinapple Rum Pudding Sauce
& Toasted Almonds

Secret Ingredients:  Pineapple & Almond Syrup


Kaisa baked these yummy mini bundt cakes in 4 little glass ramekins/dessert cups.  The cake was spongey and yummy like an angel food cake and had a delightful flavor of almond and some ooey gooey pineapple pudding centers.  She topped each tiny cake off with a slice of grilled pineapple and her special pineapple pudding sauce.  They were very delicious and we gobbled them right up


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this fun little date night!  It was so much fun and we’re already planning our next Top Chopped Cook night for a summer date night! Can’t wait! 

Inky Smiles!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Digi Art –Keep Calm

I’ve been playing around with digi art today and trying to get some goodies packaged up for my Creative University class this month.  It’s in less than 2 weeks and I’m trying to tie up loose ends.  Most of my roomie gift stuff is done and I think I finished my secret sister gifties.  I’ve got to finish my charms and part of that process was finishing up my little “charm cards” to go with them in their little baggies.  I could just toss them in a baggie, but what’s the fun in that.  I like frilly fun things, especially in tiny packages of jewelry and I LOVE giving them :)

Here’s what I created to attach my charms to.  The tiny black dots are where I will poke holes and tie the charms to the card.  They fit neatly in a tiny ziplock baggie. Yay!

One of my themes for myself this year is to “Keep Calm and Carry On”… you know, like the British war saying from WWI. You can read about it here.   I am trying to teach myself to just be calm and get through it, no matter what life throws at me…   I tweaked it for my charm project to say “Keep Calm and Craft On”.. no matter what your craft room/desk/space throws at you.. even if it IS glitter covered globs of mod podge.

So here ya go. It’s 2 5/8 x 1 7/8”.


The crown is from itkupulli something or other.. I think she's on etsy.. it's a free download test sheet. I extracted it from the test sheet (also used said test sheet for my charm image which I will post later).  The frame is from I extracted it from a background.  The wings are from some random image I found online, the glitter is from some freebie blog train pack, the red is a snippet of a background paper and the black strip is snipped off a black textured ribbon.The CU 2011 are letters from a digital kit from a Sweet Shoppe Designs kit by MBennet (Old News?).

I created the word art from bits of paper and text and I burned the edges with the burn tool. The font is called Portable Remington or something. I manipulated (in all the text images) each letter individually because I didn't like the automatic spacing.

I am TERRIBLE at remembering who’s what I used where.. this is why I don’t usually give “credits” on images I create.  I use so many items from so many places. :)

Thanks for stoppin in!

Inky Smiles!

PS.. If you want to see some sneak peeks at my class and others… visit the CU blog: :)