Friday, September 20, 2013

Tomato Basil SOUP

(Free download.  Save to your desktop and print a 4x6 photo out at your local Sams/Walmart)

Who doesn't swoon over a warm bowl of Tomato Basil Soup and a warm loaf of homemade bread?  Especially on a cold, breezy day.  Well, my son's favorite soup is this one.  Always has been.  When I lived in Texas there was this amazingly quaint Bistro call LaMadeleine's.  They served a very similar soup which was my favorite.  I never got anything else (besides dessert of course).  It was especially nice having this soup with a friend.  This is my own rendition of that wonderful memory.  Hope you enjoy it on a nice cool day this fall.

Place your crushed tomatoes in a saucepan and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes.
I have a TON of fresh basil growing in my herb garden so I was thrilled I remembered this recipe.
Grab about 14-18 leaves.  OOOHHH the smell is amazing.
Once the tomatoes have simmered blend/puree the tomatoes with the fresh basil in small batches and return to the saucepan and add the following:
Heavy Cream - makes the soup amazingly creamy.
Butter (...don't freak out.  I used two sticks because I doubled this recipe...I have hungry college kids with friends.)
A little sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  I start with about 1t. Salt and 1/4t. Pepper.  Taste. Add more if needed.
Stir and heat thoroughly and serve with a slice of homemade bread.  I also, in a pinch, grab a loaf of french bread at the grocery store if I'm short on time.  As long as there is bread life is good.

I store my leftover soup in a Mason Jar in the refrigerator.  It doesn't last long.  It's just that good.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


WHO doesn't like a cute clipboard??  Well here's an easy way to dress up a plain clipboard to WOW your friends & family.  You can give them as gifts or just create one for every occasion for your own home.  My daughter made the cutest yellow themed colored one and put a cute scripture quote about being a "light" for her friends birthday.  I wish I had a picture to show you.  It was adorable.  On the back of the clipboard she wrote a personal message thanking her for being "a light in my life".  Seriously.  I love my kids.  So thoughtful and creative.  Ok, enough bragging moments...
 Here's what you do.

Grab your best DecouPaige or ModPodge, a sponge brush and some super cute paper.  I like to "gather" my supplies/colors before I begin.  I do however believe in "improvising" as you go as to create on the fly, but starting off with a basic idea is best.  This super cute paper is by Heidi Swapp called "Sugar Chic".  Literally a dream pallet of color.

So, basically just start off by modpodging a section of your clipboard and tearing your paper choices and placing them in any pattern you like.  Modpodge right over the top of the paper as well.  I also use my fingers to rub the paper down to release any air bubbles.  

This goes pretty quick.  It's so fun!  Look how cute!  As far as going around the metal I just did my best to modpodge around and slide my paper a little bit under the metal.  It wasn't hard.

The other clipboard I decided on (since I only had two clipboards laying around) was going to be HALLOWEEN THEMED.  It's my favorite holiday so there.  Anyway, I wanted to start it off by painting it black.  That way my paper didn't have to be right bud up to each other and a little of the black would show through.  Your choice though.  Just go with it!

After the black paint had dried I did the same steps I talked about above and just placed my paper around as I went modpoding away.  The paper pack I used was from Hobby Lobby.  It's from the product line "Me and my Big Ideas" 12x12 Mambi Sheets.
Now... you can stop there and add the ribbon or go a little more "MIXED MEDIA" on the clipboard.  I wanted more, of course, so here's what I used.  Stencils, Glimmer Mist in Party Pink...
My favorite Paint Dabbers (this one is Adirondack brand - Silver)
RUB ONS are the bomb.  My favorite brand is Christy Tomlinson's She Art.  Go to to see all the fun mixed media products she sells.  It's my weakness.
I wanted this clipboard to be inspirational so I found some other rub on's I had in my collection and used them in random places.  It really adds to the clipboard don't you think? 
See the finished look?  I would say, just don't add stickers that aren't flat.  It's a clipboard after all.  Don't want bumps as you are using it.  That's why rub on's work the best.  Word stickers do too, just not 3D ones.  That's my tip of the day. :)
Here's a closer look at the rub ons and a word definition sticker.
And another...
Next I use my favorite mixed media pen that writes on EVERYTHING without smearing (also sold at  Just marked squiggly lines, xxx's, swirls in random places to add the final touch.
Closer look...'s perfect!
Now, grab about 12-14 inches of coordinating ribbon.
On the top of your clipboard it has this cute tag device for hanging.  I used it for glamping up the clipboard.  I love a good junque bow.  It adds the final element to any project.  Plus it keeps you from wasting pieces of ribbon just hanging around your craft room.  Become a believer. 
Just feed it through the tab and tie a knot and trim to the size you want.
Here's my stash for the Halloween one.
This time I fed the ribbons through together then tied each type in a knot separately instead of one big knot.  Either way works good.  I just wanted to try a different look for this one.  See...I just wing it and it always works out.  That's what I love about mixed media.  Always forgiving.  Sure hope I've sparked your creative side and you start gathering and creating today.  

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(Don't forget to right click and save to your desktop!  Print as a 4x6 photo for your personal record)

Ahhh the memories this cake conjures.  Home.  Family gatherings.  Love... the list goes on.  My Aunt Jill Hayes makes the most wonderful food and this is one of her best.  It is moist, delicious and one of the most delectable cakes you will ever put into your mouth.  I love it so so much.  I've added my own favorite icing recipe to make this even more amazing.  I sure hope you will fill your home with the most amazing smell this fall season and enjoy a nice piece of cold carrot cake (that's the way we like it at our house).  Here are the step by step instructions:

Mix 3 eggs
 3/4 c. Buttermilk
3/4 c. Vegetable Oil into your mixing bowl
 Add 2 c. Sugar
 Add 2 t. Vanilla
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients:
 2 c. Flour, 2 t. Baking Soda, 1/2 t. Salt, and 2 t. cinnamon.  
(I sometimes add a 1/2 t. Freshly ground nutmeg...but that's just me.)
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Add 2c. Grated carrots.  I just use my food processor to quickly grate them.

Then drain a small can of crushed pineapple and add it to the mixture. 
Lastly add 1 c. Chopped pecans (I use the "Pecan bites") and 1 1/2 c. Coconut.

Now, I don't know about you, but growing up in the South when your mama says, "ALWAYS use Crisco to butter your pan and don't forget to flour it.  It just won't be the same..." YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD.   However, over the years I've started using PAM to grease and then add the flour.  BAD daughter.  Either works just fine.  I literally don't taste the difference. 
Pour the mixture into your 9x13 pan.  I use a glass pyrex pan that's a tad bigger than that but either will work.   Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  
While it's cooling.  Make this magical icing.  It literally takes you to another dimension.  Trust me.  I use this on chocolate cupcakes too...just saying.

1 stick of butter, 1 8oz Cream Cheese, 2 pd box Powdered Sugar, 1T vanilla  (yes, Tablespoon), and mix with a little evaporated milk until desired consistency.  Don't add too much of the milk.  A little at a time.  You don't want it too thin.
Once the cake has cooled spread that yumminess all over the cake.  AHHH the smell and the happiness.
And HERE IT IS!!!  SOOOOO good.  In our family we love to freeze this cake.  It's so moist and the icing turns into this wonderful fudge of love.  It's perfect.  It freezes so well.  Make this ahead and always be prepared to have a homemade treat to share.  If it last that long.  In my home ... maybe a week.  Enjoy!
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Deadline for my first RETREAT

Only a few spots left!  Hope to see y'all there!  Gonna be amazing.  Email me with questions at

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Personalized GLITTER CUPS!

I am a Texan.  I love Glitter.  I love Glam.  I love these Glitter Cup Holders.  
My super talented friend Margie Romney-Aslett (Click here: JUST A GIRL to be inspired by her)  introduced me to these at a craft Smash ball at the beginning of this year.  I saw one she made and fell in love.  I knew I had to learn how to make them.  I took it a step further (over achiever problem) and thought of a way to personalize them with my Silhouette Machine.  These are so easy to make.

A Route 44 Sonic Cup (I think I paid like twenty five cents for them), Color of any type of glitter...I get the cheap stuff, Mod Podge, paint or sponge Brush, and if you want it personalized use your Silhouette Cameo and cut out some vinyl any style you want.  Then you are ready to get your glitter on.
My niece is on her High School Drill team.  The Vidor Pirate Brigadettes.  In Texas it's SO HOT during summer practices and during games so I thought she may need a little fancy cup to keep her water in (Yes, I'm that kinda Aunt).  I cut out a big "V" and a "P" on my silhouette cameo and just put them where I wanted them on my cup.  You can use any clipart design.  

TIP:  Just choose something solid and not a lot of detail if you are using a design.  Otherwise just skip that step and start mod poding the entire cup.
GO AROUND the letters or chosen design with your paint brush.  If you go over the design with glue you will have NO IDEA where it is to peel it off in further steps.  THIS IS VITAL.  Now, you don't have to be precise, but do your best.  Glitter is forgiving...WHO KNEW?!  

Once you have your 1st coat of glue covering the cup, sprinkle a coat of your desired glitter color over the glue.  I use a red dish tray I got at the dollar store or Walmart for my glitter catchings.  Tap off the excess and let dry.
THEN coat another layer of ModPodge OVER the 1st coat of glitter.  Repeat the glitter step tapping off the excess and letting it dry.  This should leave you with two coats of glitter.
At this point with two coats of glitter covering the cup I peel the vinyl off slowly.  Once the vinyl design is removed coat the entire cup with ONE MORE COAT OF MOD PODGE and let dry completely.   It doesn't have to be a super thick coat.  Just cover all the glitter so it seals it good.  That way your cup will not shed glitter!   I usually let it dry overnight.

Peeling off the vinyl will allow you to make sure the glitter surrounding the letter or design gets sealed as well.
I chose her school colors and repeated the same steps mentioned above for the VP and the top and bottom rims in gold.  On the last step of sealing the gold glitter just brush on to the GOLD part only.  No need to go over the Black that has already dried. 

Isn't it CUTE!  Well, not cute enough.  In Texas we have a saying, "GO BIG OR GO HOME".  Texans take that to heart so I finished it off with a junque bow and hot glued my bow to the back of the cup. Yes, now it's texas worthy.

I'm so proud of this cup!  I love it.  I'm feeling the team spirit already.  Now if you are wondering if you fill this cup up with your beverage choice the answer is NO.  You can use any 32 oz cup (I just order a large drink at Sonic) and place it in your GLITTER CUP HOLDER.  This is only meant to be a cup holder so use accordingly.  While doing this one I came up with all kind of ideas for glitter cups.  Here are a few examples:
Mustache Delight
BE Anchored
Witches Retreat! 
(This will be a giveaway at my event in October)

Here's the back bow...LOVE.
Single "STASH" 
Back bow
Single color no design - Summer SPLASH
And here's my sister-in-laws favorite color - PINK PASSION
This one is also a solid glitter covering with no design.

I hope you love these as much as I do.  Get out and create!  It's so fun showing up to an event or a craft retreat with my special glitter cup.  Ain't no one trying to steal my drink... just my adorable cup.
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