Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's official now......we will be going branding again this year. My husband's family has a cattle ranch, I've been "branding" there once, maybe twice in the last 24 years that we have been together........they do things modern, and get it done...as fast as possible.

So, branding isn't new to me...but doing it the good old fashioned cowboy way has been something I've been exposed to only in the last couple of years! My son is friends with a lil' cowboy (8 years old) whose Dad is a world famous rodeo bull-fighter. He lures the bull away from the cowboy who has been bucked off... they own a huge ranch, tucked away in the hills surrounded by sagebrush and wilderness...sort of like what you may see on movies like "Lonesome Dove"...or Wild West shows....anyhow, they brand the old fashioned way...with real cowboys on horseback, the whole nine yards....there is a bunk house, and a fire pit...where campfire beans are being simmered for the afterwards feast. We feel very honored to be included in the mix of people invited. In the last few years, our western friends have also auctioned invitations for urban people to participate in this cowboy experience. They donate the proceeds to charity... it's quite an ordeal.

My lil' cowboy and his buddy are all over the hills...while, although I'm a farm girl...I'm still not quite that wild west...as I watch where I walk...avoid any rustling sound...or "piles".

This year, my son has committed himself to play 2 songs on guitar (to the cowboys, and I guess the newly branded calves...which I've been told doesn't hurt) ... with his teacher by his side ... I'm sure I'll have stories to share ... we always do! I suspect this will be around a campfire...this might be a new experience for me...we have never stayed the into night...YIKES! (It's dark, so driving out...may need to be by the light of the moon! I don't plan to spend the night!!!)

This recipe layout is one that I did for a swap a few years ago...I had my husband's Granddad in mind when I created it....(the recipe)...although branding on the ranch is a "get it over" thing (for them) these days...once upon a time, I know he did it the old fashioned way too. (When he passed away, we lost one of the last Eastern Oregon real deal cowboys)...He'd be tickled to know how much I look forward to going to our friend's event, and that his great grandson plays guitar (he did too, that and the fiddle)...he never met our kidlets...I was such a whiney weinie back in the day (during branding only....that or hunting things), I think a star will be twinkling down on us!

I'm going to post a new card tomorrow, I promise! I just wanted to make sure my recipients received their cards before I posted!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Birthday Cards

The last time I counted, I think I figured I own approximately 45 cricut cartridges... and I think I've added about 3 or so since then. Every cartridge is unique in it's own, and I am happy to find the treasures that each one offers. One thing I have found myself steering towards...is using the Dis carts for birthday cards! Although I have used other cartridges to send those birthday messages...(one of my first owned cartrides is Celebrations...still probably one of my most used ones!!!)...there is something about Disney that I can't quite get enough of for cards and layouts! The accessories are awesome to work with, and of course...the characters are so cute! Afterall, the land of Mickey is the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH! (I could go on and on and on here...)

Card #1: I had heard that working with these cuts might be a bit challenging. I agree, the larger the cut, the easier it is to work with...I can't recall, but I think I cut Minnie out at 3-1/2" ... not sure, but I could check it out if anybody is interested. Like almost 100% of everything I do...I always stamp...I even went so far as to stamp the dots on my flower...I got a little crazy wild with dots...

Card #2: The first time I scoured my lil' handbook...I KNEW what I wanted to do. NOTE: I highly encourage this be cut as large as your layout or card will allow. I learned a bit about improvising on the teeth and the tongues. It worked out....I wanted my mice small enough to put on a regular sized card...so...if small is what you need...and if your eyes are starting to age at all (my 20/20 vision is no longer) ... a pair of dollar store glasses might be a good thing to have on hand!

This is a sentiment from one of my Stampin Up! sets. I am appreciative of my huge assortment of SU sets, especially my sentiments....I also stamped the "Let's Celebrate" on the front of the card with another set from SU. Late night, I'm like a kid in a candy shop (oh yeah, I sort of posted about that the other day~here's that link in case anybody is interested):

http://trudi-buttonsnbows.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-luv-candy.html )

After 12 years of building my craft inventory...I have lots of options! :)

Card #3: Tinkerbelle is one of my favorite characters. I hope those little flowers look like pixie dust from her glittery wand. That was the idea....I want to revisit this card....I'm not sure I achieved what I was striving for...

Card #4: I want to make about 6 more of these!~ I have a few friends who are creeping up on this milestone birthday, and I thought it was a fun way to pair it up with the Classic auto! I used Copics, glaze, and stamped with the coolest 50's-style sentiments! The sign was off the CARS cartridge......I see all kinds of needs for the signs on this cartridge! (Perfect for scrapbook pages!) My son was a CARS fan...and I absolutely luvved taking my children to the movie, we bought the soundtrack...dvd....yada yada yada.....

I can't wait to see what new Disney cartridges appear on the market! It's great to be a kid, no matter what age!


Recipe Books

The other day, I blogged about the cookbook/themed recipe swaps I have participated in for years. I had a picture of one of the cookbook covers...here are 2 of my favorite recent pages that I "played" in. The first was a picnic theme, the second, childhood favorites.

I had never heard of friendship bread before, I guess this isn't new, and according to the starter mix and the recipe that I received, the Amish have been doing this forever. A friend of mine sort of burst my bubble and informed me how I can make my own starter...but, I like my version better....the comraderie of gifting starter is so much more special... I do know, there is NO WAY possible I have enough friends to keep my starter going...so, unfortunately, my enthusiasm with the bread did END....but that wasn't until after my family had enjoyed many many loaves of it!

My layout: I wanted to jump on the forest friends trend (probably a bit late)...and somehow the childhood Toad and Frog type books kept creeping into my thought process...I visualized a group of forest friends all gathering together to have a picnic...(you know, sitting on a toadstool, ladybugs and butterflies, a little deer, bunny and raccoon....oh and some flowers....)..I still didn't get to that creative place that I was going for...but...the direction I ended up with worked out. I have to say, this was one of my favorite recipe pages I ever created (I always say this is my fave...I totally get into it I guess).....this group I have swapped with, have been "friends", although on-line, with me for many years... I feel priveledged to call them my friends. If they were my neighbor...I'd have given them some starter for sure! So, IF you receive a starter...this is what you need to know:

· Day 1: This is the day you receive the batter. Date and place bag on counter.
· Day 2,3,4,&5: Mush the bag.
· Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Mush the bag.
· Day 7,8,&9: Mush the bag.
· Day 10: Mix and divide the starter. See instructions below.

Pour entire contents of bag into non-metal bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups flour, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups milk. Mix well. Measure 1 cup of batter into each of 4 one-gallon Ziploc bags. Keep one for yourself and give three to friends along with a copy of this recipe. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add to remaining batter in bowl:

· 3 eggs
· 1/2 cup oil
· 1/2 cup applesauce
· 1/2 cup milk
· 1 cup sugar
· 2 tsp. Cinnamon
· 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
· 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
· 1/2 tsp. Salt
· 2 cups flour
. 1 large (5.1-oz) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

Grease 2 large non-metal loaf pans. Mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon. Dust pans with 1/2 of this mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar & cinnamon mixture over the batter. Bake for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Note: If you keep starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. Only the Amish know how to create the starter. If you aren't lucky enough to get a starter...here is how you can make your own....I like the thought of having been given a starter...but just in case your circle of friends are not connected to the Amish....you may need to start your own! It's easy:

To “start” the bread (Day 1)

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar


My second recipe is simple. The theme was, a childhood recipe that we tweaked along the way. Well, it doesn't take long to be around me to know I CANNOT STAND TO EAT seafood. Imagine that, living in the Pacific NW, where we are known for the premium seafood that we take from the ocean and shores. (Columbia River salmon? That's right in my backyard...) Anyhow....clams........blech! So, my tweak was to remove the clams...which I know is potato soup...but to me...it's my Mom's clam chowder...So, even though not one little mussel came even close to the pot....it's still clam chowder....that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

7—8 Slices of Bacon, cut in pieces
6-7 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 can of clams, (in clam juice) <---NOTE: I included a tag which clearly stated to LEAVE THESE OUT!!!!!!!!! I did put them in this recipe since it was to be the "old days" version....
4-5 cups milk
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch completely dissolved in 1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper (to preference)

Fry bacon in onion. Add potatoes and clams. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Slowly add milk with stove temperature at medium heat. Add dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly until chowder is thickened. Season to taste!

Note: Other fun ingredients may be added such as Carrots and Celery.
Add these or veggies of choice with the potato mixture prior to adding milk.
For thicker chowder, add more dissolved cornstarch.
If chowder is too thick, dilute by adding more milk.

So, my cutting and pasting is looking a little funky on my blog. It's late, and I uploaded these pictures in draft mode from the factory before I left this Friday evening. (I LUV Fridays!) I have other pictures in draft form to post over the weekend. I'm stalling until early next week when I will post some new creations....I just want the recipients to see first!

If you have any questions on the recipes...let me know! I can vouch for how they taste!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

I LUV Candy!

I'm like a kid in a candy shop...ok, not the kid thing. I'm not 100% convinced that all of you know what I do in real life. (In play life, I sneak into my craft studio and scrapbook, create cards, or just hide...this is when I'm not being a Mom and follow my 9 and 10 year old kidlets from sporting event to sporting event and all other kinds of kid things!)

Back to my "real life" job....I own a specialty food, primarily novelty chocolate business. My Mom and I started it in 1986...after I gave corporate life the "boot"...I am convinced I simply cannot play office politics very well....instead...I have my own kitchen politics, yet..this time, I'm probably the unpopular one! :)

I grew up on a farm, and 24 years ago, we decided to add farm value added products, thus our food line. I never dreamt we would be distributing all over the country to specialty shops/retailers and event planners! I don't think I should probably share some of the celebrities or "names" who have received our products (there are some pretty interesting people)... I'm the indirect supplier, I mostly sell through another party....the multi-levels of marketing! It's been a good life, business ups and downs...but, I wouldn't have changed (too much at least) our ride for anything. I have enjoyed the family business...and am thrilled to be first generation of this aspect of it. I'll have to admit, the orchards I am 2nd generation to...that was my parents dream, they developed this beautiful piece of earth into farming, mostly orchards...my husband nows manages it...since the beginning of time, we've added 26 acres of asparagus...It's a living for us...and a way of life for our kids too.

The picture I'm sharing is ad specialty...we sell to many companies who use our products as marketing tools. One of my bestest customers and I, luv to dream up new ideas for her to take around to her clients. This was her suggestion...I know the concept isn't new...we have been making the orange jelly belly version for years now...but, I had never made them pastel...I have managed to taste test these too!

So from time to time, IF you see something edible on here...it's because I'm procrastinating from working...the FYI on my "real life" too, will hopefully explain why we do what we do! (Butterflies from the last post! I'm not sure what kind of event that was for...maybe a Bat Mitzvah?)

Thanks for dropping by! I now have 100 of these to get packed and 2nd Day Aired out the door!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Christmas in Washington! LOL!

Since I did the Texas Christmas, here is the Washington state one! I wanted to upload this yesterday...but my battery issue...Actually, I needed to get a picture of a green chocolate butterfly to a customer of mine who ordered a couple hundred Spring chocolate flowers, bees, ladybugs, etc...somehow, I'm not convinced there are green butterflies, so before I move forward with that portion of the order...I needed a confirm! The centerpieces will be beautiful I'm sure...just not sure of the green! While I was at my lil' photo lab...I decided to get the pictures of what I intended to do yesterday...(pretty long unnecessary bit of info there, huh!?)

This layout is from many years ago, as all the layouts I've shown are...Back in the magic days when my nephews knew that Santa was real (Santa is real, isn't he?)...now that little blondie is playing college baseball (3rd base) and is being scouted for the next step of his baseball career...another little cutie is studying to be a neuro surgeon...amazing....life still is waiting to see what my little kidlets aspire to be...I couldn't be more proud of my family...my kids and nieces and nephews...this scrapbook has huge meaning to me too...I'm ready to get it completed, but will miss it. (My standstill with finishing it happened about the anniversary of a very hard chapter of our lives....I'm ready to face this year's "day"......as we approach the 3rd anniversary in the next couple of weeks...I'm aware of my setback...and am ready to try to deal again.) I want to give this gift in August...just have some hard layouts ahead.

I also want to note...this isn't 100% complete. I need to include a list of traditions on a tag to tuck into my pocket at the top. I just haven't done it yet...it's close...need to print out and do.

This one is obvious...but look out for Da Bird....I used a favorite cricut cartridge on this..."Joys of the Season".

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 22, 2010


So, I went up to my little photo lab...(where I take pics of our chocolates with each proposal anymore...it is a requirement....I am forced into technology!!! LOL! Actually, I don't know why I resisted it for so long...it truly does save me time and money to be e-mailing pictures of samples...it's been a long learning curve with our business...considering we started it right when personal computers were entering the market ... there wasn't such a thing as internet then!) (enough about that)...anyhow...BATERRIES KAPUT! Too bad, too....I was about ready to reveal my favorite layout of sis's gift. Even more important....I created over the weekend, and will post results in a few days....these are RAKS...and hopefully can be delivered before they are shown on my blog. Typically, after I make a pile of cards with a set...I move on from that set...ready to grab onto other precious sets...this one, however...I KNOW I will be using again in the near future. I'll try to remember to tell you why...it's something about the "feel" of this set....it reminds me of Eastern WA so much...that in the near future...I'll pull it out again. I have you wondering...by the end of the week...pics, I promise!

But for today....the picture I am posting...I have belonged to a recipe swap group...where we "themed" our pages and ultimately ended up with our own little themed cookbooks. I have about 10 of these books now, and in the early days...the hostess then was so kind to punch our pages and have as an option...chipboard and binding for us to complete our book.

Well...last week...I pulled one of those recipes out...and cooked it up...from our Salads Book. Mary, if you are reading...I've made your rice/hamburger/salsa casserole recipe over and over...and can't seem to get enough of it. The theme was salads and I think picnics...I serve this hot ... so dinner it is! If anybody is interested...I don't think Mary would mind if I shared...just let me know!

This is the cover I decorated for this swap. Like I said...batteries kaput...but this cover reminds me of SPRING!

Hope you all had a great Monday! Mine was BUSY!!!!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Christmas Layout

ANOTHER Layout...soon I'm going to run out of finished work on this book...and I'll have to get motivated to finish the undone pages! My goal is to be finished by August 1....and I haven't touched a layout for almost 8-9 months...I am deceiving you all by appearing busy! All these pages were created prior to my slacking off! I fell asleep early last night, but had great plans to create. Maybe tonight. I've been trying to lose 10 pounds, and somehow, quiet time in my studio with a cup of sugar free cocoa w/sugar free/fat free coolwhip is a treat I look forward to...that and 2-3 Weight Watchers treats to munch on....truth be told...this motivates me into that room!

I plan on finding a few of those quiet hours this weekend...I'm in need of a little "me" time.

P.S. I spent Christmas with my sister in Fort Worth, TX one year...I was 20ish at the time....she lived there for a few years, but is back up north now!!! One of my favorite places was Billy Bobs and Cheers....I knew this layout needed some non-traditional colors....often times, I have commented about a "tree" I created for a design that took me 4 hours to think up and do....I literally stared at the paper and meditated...I know it isn't anything special...but to me...I keep remembering I could have driven to Seattle in the time it took to create this tree! Also...look for the bird...not too hard to find now that I talked about my tree! My signature is to include a bird on every layout...somewhere....it could be in a picture even...anyhow...somewhere in the 2 pages...is DA BIRD!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Pats!

Another chocolate holiday bites the dust!!!!
Just zipped home for a bit to check on the crock pot....the house has the aroma of corned beef now! We really aren't Irish...well...maybe a little bit from about 400 years ago...I am wearing green though...there is a Leprechaun in my house...my 8 year old son...who has readily been handing out pinches!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I finally finished this RAK card.....something I started too long ago to want to admit!!! I have belonged in this particular RAK group for over 5 years now, some of us have participated from day one....some have come and gone and come back...and recently, we welcomed a few new names! It keeps me creating...however...last year, I went through a huge crafting slump...which I'm finally pulling out of...finally finally finally.... and I was (ashamed) a tad bit late with my part of the last 6 month run! (We rejoin every 6 months)....so, this is CATCH UP! I wish I had started with a few extra from the get go...but I made just enough for the previous group...I would have liked to throw a couple extra in the mail for the new ladies in our group! I'm afraid if I go to the starting mode again...it will take another 6 months to finish! (Actually about a year! The images were colored with my Copics LAST SPRING!)

This was also the card that I impulsively grabbed supplies to finish for a couple of months ago! (It wasn't even the original group I started these for either! I just happened to make the exact amount!)

I had never used this set...and wanted to "run" with it...I guess you can say I crawled with it. LOL!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Layout

By now, you are probably getting tired of seeing my scrap layouts for the never ever ever ever ending gift....never fear...I'll be done soon with these since...eventually, I'll run out of them to take pictures of! Truly, I've wanted to get pics of these, so when I ever do give sis the gift....I'll have a recollection of what I did. It's been quite awhile since I've actually ventured into my craft studio...I have to snap out of my funk and get back my inspiration to create. Once I get in my studio...it's fun and easy...just staying up late and walking down the stairs through the darkness to my magic hideaway is hard. I've taken a loooooooooong break....and IN WRITING (on this blog even)...have threatened to actually finish something....just never quite can see it through. Volleyball season is ALMOST over, and all the political "stuff" and travel will come to a screeching hault....I'm sure by then....there will be something else to fill the emotional void though!!!

This layout....I actually fell in deep luv creating. I had NEVER worked with Vintage Violet cardstock (some of you know how much I liked that year of SU "in colors"....especially True Thyme...well...VV is also one that I wish I had played with earlier too.... that particular year for "in colors" was DOPE! (as Randy would say!) I recall picking out ALL KINDS OF pet designer papers....I literally had other options, but of course, for ONE layout....I needed to stock up on dozens of choices....after all....if I don't use it on this layout....I'm sure some other pet will work with the left overs! I also wanted to point out....by now, I started my signature on ALL MY LAYOUTS....somewhere on each layout I design...I either hide or obviously have a BIRD. It could be something I've added or something already there. 100 years from now, the recipients will have no idea who we all are...but, they will be looking for DA BIRD! Fun fun fun layout to create....just luv the puppy eyes.....and had fun pulling out strange stamps I've acquired from my early stamp buying days...thus...the little fish bones and mini paw prints! Toby and Charlie were 2 very loved pets of my sister's. I used all kinds of supplies...from cricut to stamps to fun papers to machine stitching to these little bling blings that I've read about called stickles! This was one of those layouts...that I just felt good about! :)

I'll try to mix things up in the next few blog posts....I think I have a card ready to photo and post!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aloha-Take 2

Here is the rest of my Hawaii pages. I'm 100% convinced this is all Maui...I made a pocket which included additional scenic pictures as well. I can just smell the suntan lotion as we speak...and the fragrant orchid smells....picture myself lounging around by the pool...later to shop the quaint shops in Lahaina....ending up at Moose McGillicuttie's. By the way, for those who are wondering....the person in the picture here is my sister....you can find me on the previous post...I'm the girl in the light blue shorts outfit (with polka dots)...keep in mind...this is a picture about 25 years ago! (and the 3 girls together, I'm the one on the right ... in the bathing suit...sis in front is one of my crafty sis's who is helping with the gift for the sis in the short/WSU shirt!)
I also wanted to comment...thanks to those who have been posting comments! I'm not sure if there is a way I can directly e-mail you back...off my blog! I'm learning blogger ... still can't arrange pictures to my liking...I need to dedicate some learning time...I tend to zip on zip off during my work day ... like right now....I'm procrastinating work.... :]

Once again...I'm craving fresh pineapple...I'm lucky we don't have any gummy pineapple here in the factory...it would throw my diet for today!!! LOL!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy Busy Week!

I've been caught up in business for the last 4 days....beyond your typical Monday stuff...Tuesday WAS a ghost town....the phone came to life yesterday, and had an after hours appetizer social at one of our local wineries last night which kicked off a very successful seminar today. I'm extremely tired...so tired so tired so tired....BUT....just anxious to head down to my craft studio tonight to YEP...finish addressing envelopes to finally mail off some overdue RAKS! Keep in mind, though, I was at the winery last night at a social....sleep may get to me first! I'm thrilled because I managed to land a very very large account today as well....life is good!

Today I'm posting another layout of the never ending gift that 2 of my 4 sis's and I are making for another sis. A little history....since I was about 11 years old...until my early 20's...our family would spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas in Hawaii. It's literally been YEARS since I've been...I've been begging my husband to get on board with going....I would LUV to take my kids to what I feel is one of the most beautiful places on earth....(Maui for us...although I like Oahu...I prefer less tourists....I'm not sure if Maui is still as quaint and charming as it was back then...I hope so!) This 2 page layout is not necessarily all the same year...but, several years combined...for sis's book...I actually designed a 4 page layout...but I'll save the rest for next time! I would LUV LUV LUV some fresh pineapple right now! I'm craving tropical!