December 30, 2010

Be Mine

Happy New Years EVE!!
I can't believe it's already here, wow times flies!  Do you have any resolutions?  I talked about it a bit yesterday, but I think I need to scrap more-for me.  My kids are growing so fast and soon it will be all a blur!

I am ready for a new year and some new adventures- We already have a big year planned for us, my dad is set to finish out his radiation/chemo, my husband is training for an iron man, and my son will head to middle school next fall...I think the year already has some great milestones to reach!

On to the card-

I finally got to ink up the city of love set by the one and only Lisa Hetrick! I adore that fun skyline and the clouds are pretty awesome too!  And the sentiments. ;) I think I have a thing for sentiments...
I decided to try out the classic diamonds to match with the argyle paper- It looks as if my city is crooked. or is it my sentiment?  either way- One Valentine ready to go! check!

enjoy and have a SAFE and prosperous new year!!!!

Be Mine-
Stamps- City of Love, Unity
Paper- Be Mine, Echo Park
Dies- S4-288 Classic Diamonds, Spellbinders 
Twine- divine twine

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December 29, 2010

Together is a wonderful place

Last Hip HOP of the YEAR!
Wow- so much has happened this year and I in awe of how fast time flies...

This week is the finally in the KOM from 2008- make sure to get the ones you want before they are gone!
This week I am using up Decembers kit before January rolls around in just a few days  ;)

MY oh-so talented friend Latisha had posted a similar card recently and I just loved how the framed labels sixteen looked that way- 

This is one of those fun layouts I think I found on a sketch blog originally and use once in a while- The phone and sentiment are both from December's KOM.

With the new year quickly approaching, I feel the need to clean and purge...Every year I think to myself I will be more organized in the coming year and I think this year, I will just take it day by day! ;)
  I hope to play along in more challenge blogs now that the Stamp Simply challenges have ended and am hoping to get a wee bit more scrapping for me in~
I do look forward to posting more regularly once the kids head back to school! 

Make sure to head yourself on over to Shemaine's blog next!

Together is a wonderful place-
Stamps- December KOM, Unity
Paper- Be Mine, Echo Park
Dies- S4-301 Labels Sixteen, Spellbinders™
Twine- divine twine

I'm hung up on you-
Stamps- December KOM, Unity
Paper- Be Mine, Echo Park
Dies- S4-116 Standard Circles SM; S4-132 Classic Rectangles LG- Spellbinders™
Twine- gray-Divine Twine, pink- The twinery Pin It Now!

December 22, 2010

Snow Days


Well- it's here! The last hip hop before Santa arrives!! 
I hear their are some older KOM's retiring soon...have you purchased yours yet?!

Sorry I have been so quiet here lately- kids are home and I have made the choice to let the blog go during the holidays...I have even lost a few followers over it, but the kids are only this age once and I have been enjoying this past month not stressing over posting daily!  This will change soon of course!  Back at after the holidays are over! ;) 

Today I am using the amazing Wintertime ECHO PARK paper and the December KOM!  I adore that cute little snowman!  I even followed Jimmi's HHSC#38! 
I outlined him in a blue that matched the paper- a little different than my normal snowman color!  I stamped the sentiment right onto the snowflake paper (which I think is the flip side of the ornament paper.)

And, since we are here are a few "OLDER" cards done using the retiring KOM's!!  *side note* wow...

 september '08

september '08

august '08

september '08

august '08

december '08

october '08
k- I won't bore you with any more...sort of funny looking back, like a time machine- WOW. My style has sort of changed! ;) 

  Head on over to Ms Brookie's blog next!

Next Blog
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December 15, 2010

Dear Santa

Hip Hop!  Today is another Thursday filled with a lot of Hip Hoppin' goodness- 
Unity is at it again and releasing MORE STAMPS!

Echo Park's With Love and I adore you coordinate with their newest paper line Be Mine.  Also releasing today- Let it snow which coordinates with their Wintertime line, and Moments to Remember which coordinates with their Life is good line!

Enough blah blah blah!  On to the card! 

After all the chatter about EP, I bring to you- Websters Believe in Miracles! I just couldn't help inking it up again- It's only a week away and then it's gone for a while!!

I thought I would share how I did it though-
I covered the hot air balloon portion  of the stamp with a post it note, and then inked it all up in red.

I then removed the post it note and stamped it- No red hot air balloon!  Next I lined up my Spellbinders Nestabilities just where I wanted it, and taped it down- Now when I cut, it's lined up perfectly!  Stamp, then cut- works every time! :)

Also- did you see the special contest Unity is hosting?!?!
A chance to be our guest designer for 3 months and $500 in product! 
Check it out here

Make sure to head yourself on over to Shemaine's blog next!

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December 12, 2010

got cookies?!

 It's a VIRTUAL Cookie SWAP! (thanks to Kimberly for creating this fun little badge! ;)

If I'm not creating in my office, I am cooking or baking- I love to do both.  I am constantly finding new recipes to try- I have a binder with ones I use the most and then the new "to try" ones.  My baking "to try's" definitely outweigh the cooking ones. 

We decided it would be fun to have a virtual cookie swap and share recipes online-
We have a fabulous list of ladies with some hopefully new to you recipes!! 

I am presenting to you... Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies!

(I found this recipe following the hashtag #cookieweek on twitter)  I originally made them with chopped Andes mints for my real life cookie swap and the dough worked fabulous for those as well!

These are the caramels I used- You can use the plain ol' Kraft, I am certain they will work just fine.  I had these on hand though.  (It appears I may have a strong like for sea salt and caramels, Starbucks can vouch for me!) I cut them into 1/4th's to avoid over oooozing out! ;)

After making the dough,  I used a measuring scoop to measure out rounds, and then I pressed a caramel into the middle.   (My fabulous assistant helping me posed for this photo she also loves to bake!)

You then just roll the dough over and back into a ball covering the caramel. 

Here they all are ready to go into the oven- I didn't pre-salt them like the linked recipe called for-

After pulling them out I salted them with coarse Sea Salt-

Just look at that *yummy* caramel oozing out!! 

And lastly- I did end up taking a few batches over to a family dinner and added a cute little tag using Websters new stamps from Unity paired up with a Lacey Squares die from Spellbinders.  I tied it on with some twine, and a few jingle bells.

Here is the recipe with my adaptations noted-

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt 

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I used regular ol' Hershey's!)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Soft caramel, (I didn't roll into balls like the original recipe did, just cut into chunks)
Sea salt- coarse

Preheat oven to 350ºF; line 2 baking sheets with baking paper,  I used parchment paper.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand).  Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine.  Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Wrap the chocolate dough around the caramel balls. Place balls on cookie sheets and sprinkle with sea salt.  ( I did this after)

Bake for 11 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 1 minute or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.  I like mine a bit chewier, so I made sure to cook NO longer than 11 minutes and to NOT cool on pan for longer than 1 minute.

Makes about 2 dozen AMAZING cookies

Hope you find some thing new to try today-

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December 8, 2010

Hip Hop!

Today we are introducing Iron Orchid Designs images from Unity!

Do NOT adjust your dial. 

You are in the correct spot. 
This is Thursday and we are Hip Hopping today!!

However, CAS you will not find here...I couldn't pull it off!

They are soooo beautiful to look at, I definitely do NOT do them justice!  I am certain Tim is going to be calling asking me advice here on my fabby tags! ;)  
I tried to pull off this collage look- but alas, I can't!
I used the new Iron Orchid Designs Set my dear...

It's a gorgeous set!! 

Make sure to head yourself on over to Shemaine's blog next!

Enjoy! Pin It Now!

December 7, 2010

Samantha Walker Creative Team Blog Hop

Welcome to the first ever Samantha Walker Creative Team Blog hop!  Make sure to start at Samantha Walker's blog!  I hear there may be prizes for you! ;)

I am in awe of how many products this amazing lady has her name on...and then trying to choose just what line to work with!   Obviously I went Christmas this time around-

First up I decided on a homemade Christmas theme- My kids are big into making stuff- and we never seem to have that perfect something to give it in!

For my first project I made a gift bag.   I die cut the white rectangle and the green scalloped rectangle.  The trees are epoxy stickers.  After I adhered them, I added a little bit of glitter to the edges of the white layer. 
The patterned paper and epoxy stickers are from her Christmas Traditions line by Creative Imaginations.  The burgundy layer is stamped using her Fall Family Memories set from Unity Stamp Company.  The inside tissue paper is stamped with the reindeer and circle images from the Greetings of Christmas stamp set.   To give it a little flair I added a few jingle bells tied on with silver cord.  

To make this gift bag- trim your card stock to 6 x 9.  You'll need two pieces- punch the handle in each layer.  Then take a lunch sack and trim down too where it doesn't show above the handle.  Adhere one side of the lunch sack, fold the bottom flap down and repeat with the back side.  Decorate the front as desired- super easy way to dress up any hand made item! 

Next up is a cookie tin made from a recycled Crystal light container.  The base layer is stamped with images from the Greetings of Christmas set.  Then I wrapped some patterned paper from the Christmas Traditions line.  I die cut the label shape and stamped the sentiment from the Greetings of Christmas set.  A few buttons, twine, and a bow finish it off.  It's read to be filled with HOMEMADE cookies which we ate all of already so I think I will need to schedule a baking day again soon!!

Next on the list is the oh-so-amazing Eva!  

Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (FREE shipping right now!)
Fall Family Memories
Greetings of Christmas

Patterned Paper, Epoxy Stickers: Creative Imaginations
Christmas Traditions line- (check local retailers)
Dies: Spellbinders
buttons, twine, glitter, cord, jingle bells- LSS Pin It Now!

December 4, 2010

holiday hop with Helmar

Helmar Holiday hop-

Unity is part of the Helmar Holiday hop today- head on over and check it out-

Lots of prizes on FB and if you leave comments on each blog!! :)


Here's a snippet of my project-

Head on over and check out the rest of the teams projects!

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December 3, 2010

Twelve trendy days of Christmas- Day five

 Happy Friday- It's FWF and 12 Trendy days of Christmas

 Day Five:  Damask

Today I manage to get my stuff somewhat organized so I could play along!  I am behind on days one through four! ;)

For my "damask" styled card, I pulled out Samantha Walkers Build a Damask and Greetings of Christmas.  I decided on a clean styled card since the damask can be so bold-

I used my trusty SAMJ to line up the damask images.  The sentiment from Greetings of Christmas is stamped on a Spellbinders™ S4-190 Labels four and then adhered with foam squares.  I added a few Kasier rhinestones since it is Christmas!

Hope you get a chance to play along- check out Kimberly's blog for all the deets!

enjoy! Pin It Now!

December 1, 2010

Gina K Sneak Peek day 3

welcome the last day of the sneaks!

Today I have one last Sneak Peek from Gina K’s newest release.  Be sure to catch all the other samples from the Design Team tonight – and be sure to join us at the Release Party Thursday night over at StampTV

My card today uses the Floral Wreath (Free With Three) by Gina K.  I stamped the image onto a Standard circles nestabilities and then, layered the sentiment which is also stamped on another Standard circles.  I then layered them onto a labels three that was embossed with a Impressabilities.   I colored in the flowers with orange and pinks to match the patterned paper.  I love orange flowers! :)

Make sure to check out the rest of the team!!
 enjoy! Pin It Now!

November 30, 2010

Gina K Sneak Peek- day 2

Welcome to the second day of peeks for Gina K's December release!

Today I have two more Sneak Peeks from Gina K’s newest release.  Be sure to catch all the other samples from the Design Team tonight – and be sure to join us at the Release Party Thursday night over at StampTV

First up is a scalloped circle card using the new set Nesting by Asela Hopkins.  (The sentiment is from the set below!)  The butterfly is stamped, cut out, and popped up on foam squares.  I layered Spellbinders Big Scalloped Circles onto each other and finished it off with a Standard Circles LG. 

Next up is a card using the new set The Giving Tree by Theresa Momber.  Since fall seem to skip us by and go straight into winter, I made my card fall themed.  I didn't get to use my fall color palette as much as I would have liked to this year!  This set has tons of options though for creating year round cards!  The die is Spellbinders Lacey Squares. 

Make sure to check out the others previewing tonight as well!!
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November 29, 2010

Gina K Sneak Peek day 1

Happy Sneak peek time!  I am so excited for my first Gina K release to be here finally!

Today I have two Sneak Peeks from Gina K’s newest release.  Be sure to catch all the other samples from the Design Team tonight – and be sure to join us at the Release Party Thursday night over at StampTV

My first card is from Block Greetings by Tami Mayberry  This set has tons of great sentiments- I love that!  I stamped the red block onto a Spellbinders™ Classic Squares SM and it fits beautifully!  I then adhered it to a Classic Scalloped Square in black.  

Second up is the new set Mugs and Kisses by Melanie Muenchinger.   This is a fin little set filled to the brim with cute sentiments to match the mugs.  Started each day with a smile- not happening unless that cup is FILLED with JAVA Folks!! ;)

Please check out all the other Design Team member samples tonight!  And be sure to join us for the Release Party over at StampTV on Thursday, 7pm CST!
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November 26, 2010

guest blogging-

***to see my Stamp simply and FWF post- click HERE***

Hey all!!
I am guest blogging over at

Stop on over for a chance to win $100 GC to 2peas and to see the rest of this....

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November 25, 2010

It's ALL worth it!

Happy BLACK Friday!!!!!!
Well- I am heading out to shop- I love it, it's a festive way to kick off the holidays- I have very little expectations other than my Starbucks in hand!  I don't stand in LONG lines or wait hours to get into a store, but if I find something- I will buy! ;)
Today's stamp simply challenge is Black Friday!

My card uses the Melody Ross Stamps- (available at the Unity site) I added a little black- I love that pop black adds to most cards, so this wasn't too hard of a challenge for me! ;) The die is Spellbinders, and the gems are Kaiser.

For this uploading to SCS, please use keyword ssnotime167

Check out the fab samples for today’s challenge on the blogs of the Stamp Simply Challenge DT:

Claudia Rosa: Pretty Pressings - November Guest Designer
Deb Neerman:  Paper, Ink, Scissors & Stamps 
Barbara Anders: Paper Pursuits
Jenny Gropp: One Krafty Kat 
Janine Orchard: 2bKrafty 
AJ Otto: The Willow Garden   <---- you are here
Deb Saaranen: Dream In Color
Barb Schram: Explore. Dream. Discover

enjoy! Pin It Now!

November 23, 2010

Hip Hop a DAY early!

 Happy almost Thanksgiving!
today Hip Hop is a day early to share our Black Wednesday Ad and newest Co Brand...
Bella BLVD

I made a set of tags using the Bella Fiori flowers

the whole set

birthday wishes sentiment from July '10 KOM Happily Ever After

best of luck, sentiment from Bevy of Butterflies

for you, sentiment from totally happy by ippity.

and then a mini gift bag and tag in a different color theme- I love these little bags- they are the perfect party favor size!  All dies are Spellbinders Labels sixteen, and paper is MME.

And for every order, Unity is donating fifty cents to the local foodshelf!

Make sure to head yourself on over to Shemaine's blog next!


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November 19, 2010

Spellbinders Holiday Hoppin' Day Two

Welcome to the second day of the Spellbinders™ Paper Arts Holiday Hoppin’ Blog Hop!  Spellbinders, along with Spellbinders Cross Promotional Parnters are showcasing their newest products just in time for your Holiday crafting and gift giving.  
Lots of creative ideas are in store, as well as prizes galore!  Each participating company has generously donated towards the prize package listed on the Spellbinders Blog.  A total of two identical prize packages, one for each day, November 18 and 19 will be given away!  To enter, just leave a comment on a participating blog!  Comments in the first 48 hours of the post are eligible.  One commenter each day will be randomly selected as the winner.  Winners will be announced on November 22, on the Spellbinders Blog!

Be sure to see all of yesterday’s Holiday Hoppin’ blogs for inspiring projects and another chance to win!

AJ Otto  <--- you are here

Today I am using Spellbinders™ LF-126 Grand Squares die template to create a gift box.  I cut out and embossed five of the smallest of the Grand Squares die templates and adhered them into a gift box shape. 

This set comes with a total of 7 (SEVEN!) dies that you can cut, emboss, and stencil with making them about $7 each.  And for the GRAND size they are-you can create mini books, layouts, altered items, etc; making these dies a GRAND value with all they have to offer! 

Here are the sizes, from smallest to largest:
1: 4";  2: 4½";  3: 5";  4: 5½";  5: 6";  6: 6½"; 7: 7"

 I used Cosmo Cricket's Mitten Weather paper, and Gina K Designs stamps in today's project.  Inside the box is a bag of yummy mint chocolate covered cookies tied off with some tinsel and flower pieces.  I added a bit of May Arts ribbon, and a small mitten die cut from the same patterned paper as the front label.

 Here's a close up of the front side.  I cut a frame out of the main panel using the S4-126 Classic Squares LG.  I stamped the sentiment onto a S4-112 Classic Ovals SM, and then popped it onto a S4-233 Labels Nine, finishing it off with the same small mitten from the S4-285 Nested Mittens set.

Simply leave a comment on my blog to be eligible to win the Spellbinders Holiday Hoppin’ Prize Package   One winner will be chosen from all the comments on all the blogs participating today.  Comments made in the first 48 hours of this post will be eligible to win.  Winner’s names will be published on the Spellbinders Blog on November 22, and they will have 48 hours to reply to Spellbinders to claim the prizes.

Thank you!


Spellbinders LF-126 Grand Squares
Spellbinders S4-126 Classic Squares LG
Spellbinders S4-233 Labels Nine
Spellbinders S4-112 Classic Ovals SM
Spellbinders S4-285 Nested Mittens
Stamps-  Winter Mittens- Gina K Designs
Patterned Paper- Mitten Weather- Cosmo Cricket
Pearls- Creative Impressions
Red Ribbon, twine- May Arts
Gold tinsel- JoAnn's
Buttons- Craft Supply
Glue Dots
treat sacks- Target Pin It Now!