Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm still here!!!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful and magical Christmas!! My family did and we are still enjoying time home together. Hubs had to return to work Monday but all the kids are home from school 'til next Monday. We have enjoyed many hours playing games. Seth got Farkle, Shelby received Candyland and Cody has Cootie. Candyland seems to be the fav among the younger kids. :)

If you're anything like me you may still have some turkey lingering in your fridge. Before you consider throwing it out because you just cannot eat it for the 86th time, check out this recipe. I made this potato soup yesterday in my crock pot and added the turkey at the end. It was sooooooo good! Everyone loved it and to tell you the truth, there's only about one serving left.

Creamy Turkey Potato Soup

10+ Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup of carrots, chunked
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
4 cups water
1 tbsp corn starch mixed with water (for thickening)
1 8 oz package softened cream cheese

First, I cut all the veggies and added them to my crock pot. I added the two cans of chicken broth and about 4 cups of water...enough that the veggies were completely covered and there was extra fluid for the broth of the soup. They simmered on high for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Next I took my potato masher and gently mashed the potatoes up. I crushed them all but didn't really blend them...if that makes sense. After that, I mixed 1 tbsp corn starch with cold water 'til smooth then slowly added to my soup. I mixed it well, returned the cover and allowed it to simmer 10 or so minutes to thicken. Then, I added in the softened cream cheese in chunks and whisked gently 'til it was smooth and creamy. Once I had a smooth, creamy texture I added in my turkey which I had cut into chunks and salt, pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt to taste. I left the crock pot on high, returned the lid and let it heat through. YUMMY!!! This recipe is actually an adaptation of the one found HERE. I obviously used more I had to feed 6 hungry people! hahaha This would be a GREAT recipe to make in large batches and freeze for times when you need a quick and hearty meal!

I've decided for 2011 to expand the scope of my blog. In addition to papercrafting, I also LOVE to cook, coupon to save my family money AND I'm trying hard to pick up sewing. hahaha So, I will be incorporating all of these items into my personal blog next year. I will continue to provide papercraft projects regularly and you can still find my work on the Scrap-Mart and Boss Kut blogs. If there is something you'd like to see specifically or have questions about any of my projects, feel free to email me at any time!

I am thankful to all of my readers and followers and sincerely hope that you'll join me in 2011 for my crafty, cooking adventures.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm sorry....

for my absence the last few days. I just wasn't feelin' it. Burnt out perhaps. But, I am feeling better and even have a few crafty ideas floating in my head. Today is the kids' last day of school (except for Seth) so I thought it would be nie to do some baking for the teachers. They are having Christmas parties starting at 230 this afternoon so I am cramming in as much goodness as I can this morning. ;) So far, I have the fudge done and cooling and oatmeal raisin cookies about to go into the oven. Next is either peanut butter cookies or hard rock cinnamon candy.

We're having homemade beef stroganoff for dinner tonight. My beef is defrosting and I will be cooking dinner around 1 pm before I head to the parties. After Cody and Shelby's parties, we have to head over to pick up Seth then I have a hair appointment at 515 pm. Then we have to hurry home and take some pics of the kids for the free photo cards I won so I can get them ordered. Yeah, I know, they will not get the my recipients before Christmas but I'm okay with that. No stress for me this holiday. Then, if time permits, the kids have movie night at school. I fear we will not make it in time though because the movie is supposed to start at 6. Sigh. Perhaps I can offer them movie night at home with popcorn and homemade cookies? We shall see.

I hope you're all having a great week. I will be back soon so share how I gathered and wrapped up all the goodies I'm baking today for the teachers.


Monday, December 13, 2010


The weekend came and went WAY too fast, if you ask me. I did some much needed grocery shopping with my best friend on Saturday and spent most of Sunday at home. It was nice and quiet.

I had planned on sharing a fun project with you today but I wasn't able to get all the inside components I needed to complete the project. Wal-Mart was completely out of mini marshmallows. Yeah, so that may give you a slight hint as to what the project is. I haven't crafted since mid last week and have taken some time off from the computer.

Tomorrow I have a long past due dentist appointment. X-rays, a check-up (which I KNOW will lead to a filling, at the very least, if not a root canal!) and a cleaning. Then off to the chiropractor with high hopes that he can adjust my right elbow and wrist and the wrenching pain I've been dealing with for about a week will finally disappear. Wednesday, my littlest two have a Christmas program at the Senior Citizen Center here in our tiny town...I will, of course, be attending. Then on Thursday, they both have Christmas parties at school, then I'm off to pick up Seth after school then a haircut. Bye bye to what's left of my curls...and my LENGTH!!! Sigh. I am hoping for a nice, choppy shoulder length bob with a face frame and some longer, swoop bangs, We'll see.

I don't have a project to share today. Sorry. Tomorrow I'll be back with pics from Seth's choir programs from last week. They kids did a FABULOUS job! Thanks for hanging in there with me while I go through my non-crafy-kid-crazy week! hahaha


Friday, December 10, 2010

T'was two weeks 'til Christmas...

and to my dismay not a single Christmas card had been sent on it's way! With kids programs, and visitors and deadlines again it seemed no cards would be mailed in 2010. But wait, what's that I read on Lindsay's blog? 50 free Shutterfly Photo cards for one and all!!! Hooray I exclaimed as I read with glee! Merry Christmas to all from the Piotrowski's!!!

Yes, friends, you read that right. Shutterfly is giving away 50 free photo cards to bloggers. How awesome is that?! And, there's much truth in my little story above. We, and I know I'm not alone in this, spend so much time around the holidays shuffling kids here and there for holiday parties and school related events, hosting visitors and if you're like me and you work in the industry you may end up with a handful of cards that were completed by assignment but it's never enough to satisfy the your entire list. Then, you have to sign them and maybe add family letters. Try to remember to print enough photos AND get them sealed and mailed on time. Sigh. How stressful is that? That's why I was thrilled when I saw Shutterfly's promotion. Even if they weren't free they'd be well worth the money! For a little more than a dollar a card you could send your family and friends a beautiful photo card and get your Christmas message across with NO stress!!! While you're waiting on your cards you can print our your labels, then when they arrive in less than an hour YOU'RE DONE!!! And, everyone's happy. Here's a peek at my favorite 5x7 Photo card...

I love this one because there's room for our family photo AND individual pics of the kids. But, don't stop there!!! Shutterfly has much more than just photo cards. You can have personalized photo calendars for the Granparents to keep on their desks at work like this...

Or, you could even gift someone with beautiful, personalized home decor pieces like this...

My oldest son, Brian, is a big time ball player. We have some fantastic pics of him at bat or on base that would make an awesome wall hanging. And these from Shutterfly are frameless so it gives it that modern, stylish feel. Best of all, they're available in 4 different sizes and work with portrait and/or landscape orientation. To find out more about their Home Decor click HERE.

If you've never ordered from Shutterfly I urge you to check them out. There's a free shipping promo going on right now for orders over $50! Thanks for stoppin' by today! I'll be back Monday with the project I had planned to share today!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Today is my mom's birthday! I wish so much that we lived closer as I'd love to spend the day with her. Take her out, treat her to lunch. Sigh. But, she KNOWS I'm thinking of her and how much I miss her. And, I know she misses me too. The one think I CAN do is send her a handmade birthday card. My mom LOVES to see my projects. She oohs and ahhs over them. Shows them off to her friends and neighbors. I created this one, just for her...

It's simple, just the way she likes it. Mom's not one for big, fancy, frou frou stuff. I created a standard A2 card base from Kraft cardstock and added a layer of patterned paper from October Afternoon's Seaside 8x8 pad. Then I grabbed a few white Prima flowers and airbrushed them with my Copic markers and added Kaiser pearls to the centers. The sentiment is a metal embellishment from JoAnn's. Of course, I hadn wrote a special sentiment on the inside for her.

Thanks for stoppin' by today! I have been busy creating projects all week so stop by tomorrow to see the fun little Christmas packaging I made.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Christmas Wishes...

I pulled out my Slice and new Noel design card the other day and played with the new layering feature. I LOVE this feature! In the past, you had to cut the same shape multiple times then disect out the pieces you wanted to layer. You don't have to do that anymore with the new layering feature. Here's a card I created with cuts from the Noel card...

I started with a 5x5 card base made out of SU! Chocolate Chip cardstock then added a 4 1/2x4 1/2 layer of Real Red. Then I embossed the pink layer with my Cuttlebug D'vine Swirls embossing folder before embellishing. I cut the Gingerbread house out, then the pieces...using the layering feature...and colored the white "frosting" with my pearlescent Smooch Ink after adhering them. After adding the ribbon, I cut out the tag and the 'Christmas' then created the rest of the sentiment with Making Memories Tiny Alpha stickers. A few gems were added along the bottom of the house to resemble gum drops.

The layering feature is really great and I sincerely hope that it becomes a standard on all cards, like the MS+ features. Thanks for stoppin' by today! Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. Stop in and see the card I made for her.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas cards...

Good monday morning!! Did you catch the blog hop last week?? What a hop!!! I cannot believe the amazing project, fabulous prizes and the turnout! Thanks to all of you who hopped along with us. I hope you found some great inspiration. I know I did.

It is that wonderful time of year again where you will send/receive some beautiful Christmas cards in the mail. Some with photos or family letters, some just cards. I LOVE to receive Christmas cards. They just put a big smile on my face. Here's one I made for a Christmas card class last year and I don't think I ever shared it with you...

I used SU! Chocolate Chip cardstock and layered it up with some Real Red. The poinsettia is a Unity stamp from the Hodge Podge of Happiness Kit. I stamped it in red and green then cut paper pieced it. I added some shimmer with my Copic Spica glitter pens. The poinsettia was layered on some cardstock cut using Spellbinders Labels Three then adhered to the patterned paper background. The sentiment is an old SU! stamp that was punched with my SU! tag punch. A touch of ribbon finished the card off. I really liked how this card turned out.

My best friend, Stacey, and I got together yesterday and I made a few cards for this year. Stop by tomorrow to see my favorite far!! ;) See you then! Have a wonderful Monday!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Scrap-Mart Holiday Blog Hop

It's FINALLY here!!! Can you believe it?!

Welcome to the First Annual Blog Hop! If you are just joining in please go to the Scrap-Mart blog to start from the beginning. There are 31 blogs participating in the hop and you will find some great prizes along the way. You must comment on THAT blog post to be eligible to win that prize. There are also some Grand Prizes posted on the Scrap-Mart blog. You must comment on EVERY blog throughout the hop to be eligible for the Grand Prizes. Comments will remain open until midnight CST on Sunday, December 5th. Winners will be chosen at random for each individual prize and will be announced on the Scrap-Mart blog on Friday, December 10th. You may only win once. We'd like to thank our sponsors for generously donating all the prizes for this hop: Making Memories, Spellbinders, JustRite Stampers, Sizzix, Heartfelt Creations, Lifestyle Crafts, The Stamps of Life, Boss Kut, Unity Stamps, October Afternoon, Copic, Silhouette America.

I am typically NOT a mini album kind of girl. I usually scrap 12x12 layouts...sometimes single page, single photo sometimes double page, multi photo. Just depends. But, I decided to make a mini album for our Christmas pictures this year. I also wanted to incorporate the wish lists from all of my kids. So, I decided to make an envelope mini album. To make things easy on me, I let my Big Shot Pro do the work for me. I used the A6 Scallop Envelope Die to cut out two felt envelopes and 4 cardstock envelopes.

I used the felt envelopes for the outside covers. For the front, I added the Scrap-Mart Exclusive Spellbinders OvalSquare Label and topped it off with the tree and Santa and Reindeer peeker which are all Boss Kut files. I added some chipboard Thickers for the year at the bottom.

I added some paper and ribbon to the inside cover and used a smaller Scrap-Mart Exclusive OvalSquare Label as a tab to open the flap of the envelope. The sentiment on the label is from an October Afternoon stamp set. The next page is Shelby's envelope. I added some paper on the inner part then used a mixture of Sassafras Lass Glitter Alphas, a Jillibean Soup Number Sprout and some October Afternoon Mini Market Ledger alpha stickers to create her title. I hand wrote her ONE wish on the inside flap of her envelope.

On the back of Shelby's page, I added some paper and hand-gathered ribbon topped off with more stamps from October Afternoon. For Brian's envelope, I followed the same basic steps by adding paper to the inside and decorating the flap. This time, I added some ornaments that were stamped with Heartfelt Creations Ornament Medallions stamps then cut out with their Exclusive Spellbinders Holly Ornament die. They were topped off with some gold cording and "hung" from the top of the flap. For his title, I used more Sassafras Lass Glitter Alphas and October Afternoon Mini Market Ledger stickers and cut the 'merry' using my Slice and the Noel design card.

For Brian's wish list, I wrote it on a Jillibean Soup Sprout and adhered it to a cardstock tag that I could tuck inside his envelope.

For Seth's envelope, I cut various shapes and sizes of snowflakes (found in my Gazelle software) using my Gazelle and glitter cardstock and "sprinkled" them on the flap. Then I added a larger one to the inside with some mittens hanging from it. I used more October Afternoon Mini Market Ledger alphas for his name (LOVE those things ;).

I added one more large snowflake to the inside top of the flap and stamped and cut out the snowman from my October Afternoon stamps and adhered him the the bottom corner. Seth's wish list was written on a Jillibean Soup Sprout and tucked inside the envelope.

The back of Seth's page was finished off with a pocket for photos and some crinkled ribbon and a snowflake. For the front and back of Cody's envelope I used papers from October Afternoon's Report Card collection. Yup, sure did. Cody LOVES deer so I thought it would be fun to make a slider on the flap of his envelope. I followed the tutorial found HERE and just altered it to fit my project. The deer image was in my Gazelle software and I topped the page off with a large fabric coverd button and ribbon. For his page title, I used more Sassafras Lass Glitter Alphas, half a Jillibean Soup Sprout and you guessed it, October Afternoon Mini Market Ledger alphas. ;)

I added a Jillibean Soup Kraft tag and some American Crafts Remarks stickers to the back of Cody's envelope. This will make a great spot for some added journaling and pics from Christmas day. For the last page I added the same paper and ribbon as on the front and topped it off with a Melissa Frances frame and Making Memories mini alpha stickers for my 'family time'. All of the pockets have or will have photo mats where I can stick the pictures of the kids with their gifts. And the covers will hold general family photos. The book was bound with my Cinch Bindery Tool and 1 1/2" wired.

I am THRILLED with how my book turned out! And, it just may be the start of a new books! hehehe ;)

Okay, well, if you've hung in there with me for this long, thank you! Now, I have some PRIZES to give away!!! Yeah! Boss Kut has graciously donated some wonderful prizes for you guys! Here's the list:

2 winners will receive 1 cd with 25 BossKut digital shapes
2 winners will receive 1 cd with all of the new digital Framette and Florette shapes
1 winner will receive a package of BossKuts line of Christmas dies (actual dies for manual die cutters)
2 winners will receive the 5 new Framette and Florette dies (actual dies for manual die cutters)

Now how's that for some great prizes??!! All you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment on THIS post! That's it! I will pick the 7 random winners and announce them on the Scrap-Mart blog on Friday, December 10th. Now remember, to be eligible to win any of the GRAND PRIZES you MUST leave a comment on ALL 31 blogs throughout the hop.

Feel free to email me at if you have any questions!! Thanks for joining us for our first annual Holiday Blog Hop!

Your next stop for Christmas inspiration is Angela Barkhouse.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free Funtime III update...

Good morning friends! We are *almost* to the end of the week! Hooray! I wanted to share some information today about a new, free update that is available for Funtime III users. Now, the Funtime III program is currently available for the BossKut Gazelle but, there are other machines out there that use Funtime as well.

The current update is a PDF importer. Now, you are probably wondering why we would want a PDF importer for a die cutting machine. Well, there's a very good reason. All digital cutters use different file formats. The Gazelle uses .WPC while the Silhouette uses .GSD. Basically, what this means is that if you have a Gazelle, you can't cut Silhouette files...without utilizing multiple other programs to convert your files and even then you could potentially have issues with the file not converting over with all the cut lines in tact. Howeven, with the new, FREE PDF file importer, you can now cut ANY vector file after you send it through the CutePDF printer. The CutePDF printer is simply a virtual printer that converts your other vector files into PDF's which can then be imported into Funtime III. It may sound like a lot of work but you don't have to do anything other than open the image, click "print cut lines" and sent it to the CutePDF printer. Within two minutes, start to finish, you can be importing your other files into Funtime III.

Why is this a big deal? Well, there are a lot of people out there who started die cutting years ago with other machines, like the Silhouette, including me. My library is not as extesive as some, but I DO still have Silhouette files I would love to cut. Now, I can! And, companies like Silhouette offer free weekly shapes so now you can grab those freebies, convert them to a PDF and cut them!

If you have a Gazelle, you MUST have Funtime III for this to work. IF you don't have a Gazelle yet, the new ones come with Funtime III and it's a quick, simple and FREE process to get the importer. I am working on some projects with some of the files I imported so keep an eye out for them early next week.

Tomorrow is the big day...the Scrap-Mart Holiday Blog Hop! It starts at 9 am CST on the Scrap-Mart blog and you won't want to miss it!! We have tons of prizes from 12 different sponsors and the Grand Prizes include a Slice Elite and Letterpress Combo Kits. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Ayrial!!

Today is my niece, Ayrial's birthday. I was only 15 when she was born. I watched her grow from that little tiny baby into the young woman she is today. Even though we've been miles apart for years, she's always held a special place in my heart. We were inseparable when she was little. I LOVED every minute of it and treasure those memories dearly.

I wanted to send her a handmade by me birthday card this year and here's what I came up with for her...

I created this card by using a Jenni Bowlin bingo card as the card base. Those bingo cards are 5x7 so this is a BIG card. :) I added a touch of October Afternoon striped paper from their Farm Fresh collection along the bottom of the card. I also used some scraps to cut the candles from the Slice Parties design card. I really miss Scenic Route's arrows and was THRILLED to find some similar ones on the Eclips All Occasions cartridge! I used an old Heidi Swapp bling circle to highlight the 1 since her birthday is December 1st. A touch of crinkled ribbon, some Fancy Pants felt shapes and a metal embellishment finish off the card. I love the layers and mix of patterns and I'm sure she will too.

Thanks for stoppin' by today! See you tomorrow!