Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Warmest holiday wishes to you from Bo, Daisy, and all of us at Inky Antics!


We hope your season is filled with love, laughter, family and friends (canine or otherwise).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beefy Bacon Delights

Last night we went to Steve's aunt Teri and uncle Gary's house for a family Christmas party. It was a potluck event, so I brought Brown Sugar Smokies. These are a hit with everyone who tries them, and we always come home with an empty Crock Pot. Yesterday was no exception.

They're definitely NOT low calorie because you start off with little sausages and bacon:


No sirree, these are not the best for trimming one's waistline. But, hey, it's the holidays! If the fatty-meat-wrapped-in-fatty-meat combination wasn't enough, you dredge them in brown sugar before baking:


They broil up to crispy, caramelized goodness and they are oh, so yummy:


Brown Sugar Smokies

1 16-oz. package beef cocktail wieners
1 pound sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap each cocktail wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet (lined with heavy aluminum foil, if desired, or use a disposable aluminum pan). Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all.

Bake for 30 minutes, and drain excess fat. Turn broiler on high, and broil for 10 minutes with baking sheet still on the center oven rack. Flip wieners (I like to sprinkle them with an additional 1/2 cup of brown sugar at this point), and broil other side for 10 minutes. To serve, place the wieners in a slow cooker and keep on the lowest setting.

To make dipping sauce, stir together mayonnaise, chili sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving (several hours is best) to allow the brown sugar to dissolve and flavors to meld.

* * *

As you can see, these take a bit of effort to prepare. They're worth it, though! (Along with the extra two and a half days you'll need to spend on the treadmill to work them off, LOL!) Guys especially seem to like them, so they'd be perfect for a Superbowl party. Happy snacking!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make Your Own Gift Bows

A few weeks ago, I posted about using the Bow-Easy to create different sizes of bows simply and quickly. I'm sure I will be pulling mine out when I start wrapping presents next week. (Or maybe earlier...but probably not, LOL!) Then today I saw an online article on how to make gift bows using recycled materials, such as magazine pages:


With Christmas right around the corner, I thought I'd give it a try since this seemed like a handy thing to know. Sometimes I run out of certain colors in my store-bought bow stash, and wouldn't it be nice to be able to whip up your own on short notice?

So I ripped out an interview of Natalie Portman from my Marie Claire magazine (sorry, Natalie) and got busy. In steps #5-7, the author suggests punching the holes and then layering the bow pieces onto the brad while holding it with your teeth to keep the loops from sliding off. That sounded like it might require feats of coodination that are way beyond my current skill level, so instead I used my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to hold the loops together until I was ready to assemble the bow:


After I'd made all nine loops, I used a 1/8" hole punch on them:


Then I stacked them up and fastened them with a brad:


Ta da, it worked! I'll stick it to my package using Glue Dots, which are super handy to use and have a strong adhesive.

And if you want to get really fancy, you can follow these instructions to make graduated strips complete with a center loop:


But I'm happy with the way mine turned out, so I'll probably stick with the first version. What a great way to use up those scraps of patterned paper we've all got sitting around, don't you think? Happy bow making!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Magnetic Storage Books

If you've been looking for a way to store your Nestabilities dies, here's a great solution! You may have seen the QuicKutz Magnetic Storage Books at some of our conventions this year, and I'm delighted to report that they're back in stock again:


The magnetic interior holds 5-8 Nestabilities sets (yes, really...I was surprised at how many fit in there!), so you can store coordinating sets in the same folder. This is what one of mine looks like:


QuicKutz also makes a Magnetic Wand that is sold separately:


You can use it to easily pick up the dies (especially if you're fingernail-challenged like I am, LOL!):


Neato, huh? These would make a terrific holiday gift for stamping and scrapping friends, or you may want to add them to your own wish list!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Spy

Can you spot the unusual "ornament" I found on our Christmas tree this morning? Take a look:


That's right, Oscar was lounging around inside of it...on the upper half, no less! Naughty kitty. Got any strange holiday decorations at your house? If so, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cookie Congrats

Here are your random numbers:

6

Timestamp: 2009-12-09 15:25:45 UTC

* * *

Congratulations to Connie, who won the Santa's Cookies & Tall Bag Template stamp drawing. Connie, please contact me via email with your mailing info to claim your prize.

Sounds like we have some wonderful bakers on the blog! Thanks to everyone who played!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Speedy Recovery

Jeannette from Stamped Designs in Dover, NH recently told me that her mom (who also works at the store and is a very sweet lady) is having hip replacement surgery on the 15th. Well, I haven't tackled even half of my Christmas shopping list yet, I'm way behind on my emails, my kitchen floor needs mopping, and I still need to finish the new flyer...but this was a perfect excuse to do some "required" stamping, LOL!

Okay, I suppose I didn't have to create her card right this minute, but it has been a little while since I've posted something I have actually made myself. It also doubles as a sneak peek into another one of our upcoming releases:


Isn't that turtle adorable? I love his little shell bed! He'll be available as a wood mounted stamp and as part of a fun mix-and-match clear set at the end of January.

This is a pretty simple card. I think it would be even cuter with some coordinating buttons placed on the ribbon or in the lower section, but I don't have any that match. Hmm, maybe I need to let Santa know about that! By the way, what's on your wish list for the holidays?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cookies Galore

Yesterday I got together with a girlfriend and we baked cookies. Lots and lots of cookies! Check out her dining room table, which was laden with ingredients:


We used four different recipes total, starting with two double batches of Scandinavian Almond Bars and then making a double batch each of Peanut Blossoms, Double Chocolate M&M Cookies, and Chocolate Candy Cane Kisses Cookies.

This BIG bowl had been filled to the top with the Double Chocolate M&M cookie dough:


They all turned out pretty good, but my favorite is always the Scandinavian almond bars:


I've been making these every Christmas for years, and everyone always loves them. They're truly delicious:


Thought I'd share the recipe with you, in case you'd like to try them yourself!

Scandinavian Almond Bars

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and almond extract; mix until fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.

Divide dough into 4 pieces, and roll each one into a log about 12 inches long. Place 2 logs per cookie sheet 4 to 5 inches apart. Flatten each roll by hand until it is about 3 inches wide. Brush flattened roll with milk and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. While the cookies are still warm, cut them crosswise at a diagonal, into slices about 1 inch wide. When cool, drizzle with almond icing.

To make almond icing: In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle over the cookies.

* * *

So what are your favorite holiday cookies? I'd love to hear about them, and let's give away some BLOG CANDY while we're at it!

Leave a note in the comments section of this post with your answer. (Feel free to share the recipe if you'd like, too, but this part isn't required). I'll accept entries until Tuesday, December 9th, at midnight Central time. The winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday morning, and that person will receive the 10189X Tall Bag Template and 10943SC Santa's Cookies Clear Set stamps featured in this week's website project:


Remember, if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in), be sure to add your name or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winner's responsibility to contact me via email no later than December 15th. If we don't hear from the winner, we won't be re-drawing...so please remember to come back and check. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Funny Video

I've been spending lots of time at the computer working on the new flyer, which means I haven't been creating anything with my stamps lately. But it does mean that I have listened to the radio via web streaming for countless hours, and now I'm all caught up on the current pop songs. LOL!

Anyway, our local station just mentioned this video on-air. It was so cute, I just had to share it with you:


Adorable, huh? It brought a smile to my face, and I hope it does the same to yours!

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Blog Candy Congrats

Here are your random numbers:

8

11

Timestamp: 2009-11-30 06:14:26 UTC

* * *

Congratulations to RustyBird and Tammy C, who won stamps from the Festive Reindeer collection. Ladies, please contact me via email with your mailing info to claim your prizes.

And thanks to everyone who played. Your comments were warm, heartfelt, and funny (feet hitting the floor each day, heh heh)...and I enjoyed reading each person's entry.

As for all of us at Inky, we're thankful for YOU, our terrific customers! We sincerely appreciate your continued interest and support.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Merry Cranberry

Happy Thanksgiving, Inky blog readers! I'd like to extend our warmest wishes for a joyful turkey day to you and your family. And in case you haven't signed up for our current BLOG CANDY, please read our previous post for more details and to participate. :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ready To Shop

I'm on my way to face the masses at the grocery store today. With list and coupons in hand, I am all set to go!

But, first, I wanted to offer another BLOG CANDY. Since Thanksgiving isn't only about all the delicious food (or so I've been told, ha ha!), leave a note in the comments section of this post telling me something you're especially grateful for this year. I'll accept entries until Sunday, November 30th, at midnight Central time. Two winners will be randomly chosen on Monday morning. The first person whose number is drawn will receive thse two wood mounted stamps from Ronnie Walter's Festive Reindeer collection:


The second person whose number is drawn will win these:



Remember, if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in), be sure to add your name or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winners' responsibility to contact me via email no later than December 5th. If we don't hear from the winners, we won't be re-drawing...so please remember to come back and check. Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mitten Mouse Winner

Here are your random numbers:

2

Timestamp: 2009-11-23 16:59:42 UTC

* * *

Congratulations to Dawn Beery, who won the Mitten Mouse stamp from our most recent BLOG CANDY drawing. Dawn, please contact me via email with your mailing info to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who played. What a fun variety of ideas for naming our new teacup mousie. The final selection hasn't been chosen yet, but you've given lots of choices to think about. And keep checking back for new BLOG CANDY...we've got more planned soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blog Candy Reminder

Don't forget about our current BLOG CANDY drawing. There's still time to sign up if you haven't already done so...and please let your stamping friends know, too!

I'll randomly choose the winner after I get home from the One of a Kind convention in Madison. And if you're planning to attend the show, be sure to stop by and say hello to me and Steve in the Inky booth!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just For Laughs

I wanted to share some cards we recently received from Kerry Donovan-Casey:


Aren't these ladies a hoot! They make me smile every time I look at them...just like I do whenever I get an email from Kerry. (Besides being very talented, she's got a great sense of humor.) I think she did a fantastic job on each and every one:


These stamps are from the Worldly Women collection, which you can find by going to the Special Themes page on our website. Scroll down about halfway and look on the left, where you'll find the "Go" button.


Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bow-Easy

Do you ever get frustrated tying bows? Ribbon is such a fun accent on cards, but sometimes I'll try over and over again to make a bow that looks good and fail miserably no matter how hard I work at it. But my friend Jackie from We're Stampin' Mad recently turned me on to a handy little tool called the Bow-Easy:


It's a plastic template that allows you to make seven different sizes of mini bows, and it actually works. Once I got the hang of it, I had no problem tying bow after perfect bow...in single, double, and triple loops and with a variety of ribbons:


I didn't make this video myself, but it's an excellent reference that shows how to use the Bow-Easy:

Jackie carries the Bow-Easy at her store. But if you don't live in the Twin Cities metro area, you can also order it from us by clicking here.

Update on 6/10/10: Here's a PDF file with instructions and step-by-step photos demonstrating the Bow-Easy, which you may also find helpful.

Update on 6/14/10: And here's another PDF file that contains a handy table listing the approximate lengths of ribbon you'll need to make single- or double-looped bows in each of the seven sizes:


Update on 6/30/10: You may also wish to label your Bow-Easy with a Sharpie marker to make it easy to identify which pair of prongs will yield the bow width you want:


(Note: The largest size, 2 3/4", is not labeled on the template above. It's the wider set of prongs shown at the bottom of the photo on the same side as the 1 1/4" size, underneath the Posi-Bendr Co. information.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Feline Fine

Our cat, Oscar, sure had an enjoyable Saturday afternoon. He slept in late and then got up to play a game of Scrabble with Steve:


That's his favorite game, and he even offered to keep score...which was a bit difficult since he has no opposable thumbs, but he managed all right.

He was feeling crafty, too, so he decided to create a kitty topiary:


(Talk about getting into your project, huh!) Then he took a nice bath to clean up and relax:


Hope you're having a restful weekend, too! (In the meantime, don't forget to enter our Name That Mousie BLOG CANDY drawing below.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Name That Mousie!

I've been busily working on preparing new stamp designs from Ronnie Walter and Tammy DeYoung for our upcoming release at the end of January. (Yes, we start this early...even sooner, in fact, because it's a multi-step process to get from the drawing on paper to the finished stamp.)

I'm going to keep most of the sneak peeks under wraps for right now (I promise I'll show you more as we draw closer to the next launch), but I did want to show you this cute little mousie that Tammy created:


Isn't it sweet? This image makes me smile every time I look at it. And speaking of sweet, why don't we do a little BLOG CANDY today! Leave a note in the comments section of this post telling me what name you'd give this mousie. I'll accept entries until Sunday, November 22nd, at midnight Central time. A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday morning, and that person will receive our 4210G Mitten Mouse stamp, just in time for the holidays:


Remember, if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in), be sure to add your name or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winners' responsibility to contact me via email no later than November 26th. If we don't hear from the winner, we won't be re-drawing...so please remember to come back and check. Good luck, and hope you have a "micey nice" day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Carnivorous Capers

It was terrific to see so many familiar faces (and some new ones, too!) on Saturday at We're Stampin' Mad, including these lovely ladies:


We made this cute Christmas card:


The main image is our new 0082H Enlightened Reindeer, the saying is 0011D Bright Season, and the background is 0569F Holiday Background.

At the end of the day, I asked Marcia to take a picture of "us two Jackies":


Before I left, Jackie showed me this set of cards using P1-1393 Berry Tree from the Studio 490 Collection at Stampers Anonymous, one of our sister companies:


They featured a couple of different techniques at their monthly Lunchtime Demo over a period of several months, until they'd completed a vast array of projects. I thought it was so cool to see how the same stamp can look entirely different depending on how it's used. There was foiling, dye resist, direct-to-paper inking, and a ton more...which techniques can you spot?

On Saturday evening, Steve and I went out with our friends Mike and Marilee to celebrate Mike's birthday. He chose Fogo de Chao as our restaurant, which is a Brazilian steakhouse. Check out these succulent slabs of roasted goodness:


It's basically like a huge gourmet meat buffet that comes to your table. Each diner places a token next to his or her plate with either the green or red side facing up. The green side means "I'd like more," and the gauchos (Brazilian cowboys) who roam the room with more than a dozen different meats will offer to slice off a hunk of whatever they've got skewered onto your plate:


You can enjoy this meatfest until the cows come home (sorry, LOL, I couldn't resist):


The birthday boy gave it a thumbs up:


The rest of us rolled away from the table that night.

Oh, and remember all those card pieces I'd made last week for the store sample board program? I put them together yesterday and this morning:


Today I'll send them to our main office and shop in Cleveland so they can be placed onto display boards and sent out with the stamp orders. That's a lotsa cards, huh!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Slicing & Dicing

Yesterday and today were a cut-up...literally! I spent a lot of quality time with my paper trimmer to get ready for tomorrow's Make & Take event at We're Stampin' Mad, and here are the results:


I'll take a picture of the finished card when I'm there. My Cuttlebug, embossing folder, and Nestabilities dies also got a workout as I made all the pieces to put together the December cards for our store sample board program (which I'll be assembling on Sunday):


Oh, and I made a few more Triangle Treat projects:


Happy Friday to everyone...I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Make & Take at We're Stampin' Mad

If you live in the Twin Cities area, I'd love see you at We're Stampin' Mad in Osseo this Saturday, November 7th. From 10:30 to 3:30, I'll be at the store hosting a FREE make & take project.

And while you're there, you can check out the holiday card ideas. They've got a bunch of displays all over the store, like this one:


Doesn't this paper make you drool:


And look at some of these Christmas stamps:


I hope you can join us...it would be wonderful to see you there!