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.

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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:


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

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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.

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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 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!