Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Funnies: Fair Foods

Steve and I are heading to the Minnesota State Fair tomorrow for our annual summer eat-a-thon, and we've already started planning our dining strategy! Besides the "must have" items like corn dogs (mine) and mini donuts (his), we're eager to try some of this year's new offerings.

I'm getting a Dough-sant (deep-fried croissant donut) for sure, and Steve has already decided on the Fried Pickles 'n' Chocolate.

Thinking about this made me wonder what other fair concessionaires cook up for their customers. For example, in California you can visit the petting zoo to see pythons and frogs...or you can eat them on kabobs instead:


Not high enough of a fat content for you? Maybe the Krispy Kreme burger at the Wisconsin State Fair is more your speed:


Wouldn't that be yummy served with a side of Koolickles (i.e., pickles soaked in Kool-Aid) from North Carolina:


Or you can have the best of both worlds...get your donuts and Kool-Aid together, with Kool-Aid balls at the San Diego County Fair:


For dessert, why not try deep-fried jelly beans from the Lone Star state:


Guess those Texas fairgoers can enjoy all kinds of delicacies. You could opt for deep-fried "bubble gum" instead:
 

They're really marshmallows dipped in bubblegum-flavored extract, dipped in batter and deep fried, but is there really that much of a difference?

In case that doesn't fully clog your arteries, the Iowa State Fair may tempt you with fried butter on a stick:


I know this is a Friday Funnies post, but maybe I should have called it Friday Freakies. Even some of the most adventurous eaters might balk at the mealworm-covered caramel apples at the Arizona State Fair:


 If you were in Indiana, you could follow that with a deep-fried Pepsi chaser:


But doesn't some deep-fried beer sound even better? Leave it to those folks at the Texas State Fair again:


What new-fangled concoction have YOU tried at the fair, Inky friends?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coffee Time Congrats

Congrats to Stamping Sue, whose name was drawn randomly from Sunday's blog candy entries. (Sue, please email me by September 15th to claim your prize.)

stamping sue said...
Jennifer your chalkboard technique coffee card is wonderful. chalkboard technique is one of my favorite techniques right now. you can add a little color on top of the chalkboard tech. with chalks and mica inks for some more interest.
August 25, 2013 at 8:41 AM   
 
For her prize, Sue won 11145MC Coffee Time Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier):

 
Thanks to everyone who joined me in expressing to Jennifer Scull how much we enjoyed her projects in August. Please return this Sunday to meet our next talented Guest Designer!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Pear

One of the most popular stamp series in our convention booth is the Divine Reflections collection, including 11071SC Holy Spirit's Fruit Clear Set (drawn by artist Darby New):


In this card, the stippled Pear stamp (0369H in wood mounted) was stamped over a unique crinkled tissue paper background colored with Distress Inks:


AnnMarie Castrigno invented this fun technique, which is explained in the instructions sheet you can download here.

Of course, the pear image can also be colored in, as Michelle Pearson did with the direct-to-paper method using Distress Ink, before applying a thin layer of gold glitter glue on top:


It makes a lovely, sparkly focal point on this pretty card:


Jennifer Scull colored in her pear image, too. After heat embossing with powder, she used watercolors in a few different shades:

 
She added gold glitter to her card, too...in a more chunky form applied to a die-cut flourish:

 
The white-painted edges remind me of shabby chic furniture decorating a cozy cottage:


All of the elements in this card add a fantastic vintage appeal to her finished project:


Hope your day is pear-fectly wonderful, Inky friends!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Stamping With Jennifer Scull: Coffee Time

When I first introduced Jennifer Scull as our Guest Designer for August, her penchant for coffee was pretty obvious.

"I don't eat while I craft, but you can always find me with a cup of coffee nearby," she says. "It must be flavored and decaf. Of course I love the coffee themed stamps–Coffee Time and My Friend Ronnie Coffee #1 & #2 Clear Sets. No explanation needed...

"Nancy Baier's sets always bring a peaceful feeling when I see and create with them. Every set of hers is a favorite!" states Jennifer. 

So it seems fitting that we end her Sunday gigs with us by featuring another java-inspired project, using 11145MC Coffee Time Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier):


Here's the beautiful card that Jennifer made:


One of the questions I asked Jennifer was whether there was anything about her stamping that she wanted to improve. "It's hard to narrow it down to just one area of my crafting, as it seems that I see so many areas for improvement. I am horrid with Copic markers and would love to do better with them. I just need to take the time to practice with them, which I never seem to do."

As you can see, she didn't have to worry about coloring images this time:


Doesn't that main image look cool? It's reminiscent of the chalkboards in coffee houses, which I thought was a brilliant technique to use for this card.

"Stamping is all about having fun and letting go. Play play play," suggests Jennifer. "Use little goodies you find around your house to add some whimsy to your projects. You never know when that belt loop off a pair of shorts headed to the trash bin will be perfect on a masculine card or a tea bag tag from this morning's cupppa could be added to a card for a neighbor. Save a postage stamp or piece of plastic packaging to add to your newest craft creation."

I'm not sure if the die-cut plastic swirl peeking from beneath the pretty flower below was made from a reclaimed, but it certainly could be:
 

You may recall Jennifer's love for all things vintage, which this card definitely reflects. Wouldn't it be neat if these were buttons from her Grandma's sewing basket:


I'm just making that part up, but it's fun to imagine!

Besides another button (tied with a bit of twine) and distressed paper edges, she added some sparkly new bling, as well:


Once again, everything comes together to form Jennifer's gorgeous creation:


She also has some words of wisdom to offer. "Stay true to who you are as an artist. You can always learn and develop more creative talent by practice, but don't ever try to copy anyone else," she advises.

"Only you can be you. Take bits and pieces that you like from other artists you admire, and use that to help you develop who you are. Be proud of who you are."

Bravo! Well said. :-)

* * *

I'd love it if you'd help me thank Jennifer for being our amazing Inky Guest Designer this month. Just leave a comment at the end of this post with a message to her. We'll have one more project from her to show you on Tuesday, but today is our "official" farewell for now.

Your note will also enter you in a BLOG CANDY giveaway. On Wednesday, August 28th, I'll randomly choose the winner for 11145MC Coffee Time Clear Set. I'll post the lucky person's name here on the blog, so please check back to see if you've won!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Funnies: Fishing

This summer, Steve and I have tried a new activity together...we've gone fishing three times!

Actually, he's been doing the hard part, which is baiting my hook and removing it from whatever I've managed to catch. So I guess I've really just been sitting on the boat with him and holding the fishing rod. ;-)  


Luckily, he doesn't mind helping me, because the hook-baiting part needs to be done frequently.


Every once in a while, though, I do reel something in. Check out my very first catch:


It may look small, but it weighed four pounds! Ha, kidding.

We use his dad's boat and already have the gear, so fortunately our major financial outlay has only been gas for the engine and bait.


Here's a joke about expensive fish:

Two redneck guys go on a fishing trip. They rent all the equipment: the reels, the rods, the wading suits, the rowboat, the car, and even a cabin in the woods. They spend a fortune.

The first day they go fishing, but they don't catch anything. The same thing happens on the second day, and on the third day.

It goes on like this until finally, on the last day of their vacation, one of the men catches a fish. As they're driving home they're really depressed. One guy turns to the other and says, "Do you realize that this one lousy fish we caught cost us fifteen hundred dollars?"

The other guy replies, "Wow! It's a good thing we didn't catch any more!"

* * *

Last Sunday's outing was more exciting than usual. I snagged a Northern Pike that was almost a decent size:


Just after I took that photo, while we were discussing if we should keep it or not, it slipped out of Steve's hands and back into the water.

But, really, we were probably going to do that anyway.


So it looks like I still need to work on catching my dinner. In the meantime, I wanted to share one of my favorite fish recipes with you, adapted from Allrecipes.com. (There is also a healthier version, which is very good.)

Right now, we use tilapia...but hopefully soon that will change!

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I use half this amount)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets
Old Bay seasoning, to taste 

Preheat your oven's broiler. Line a broiling pan with aluminum foil, and mist lightly with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with paprika, garlic powder, dried basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan, and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over, season with Old Bay again, and broil for a couple more minutes.

Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Home Sweet Home

Looking to relax? The stamp sets from our new Comforts of Home collection really convey a sense of serenity, including 11178MC Home Sweet Home Clear Set (by artist Nancy Baier):


Inky DT member Debbie Fisher created a lovely card that radiates both cheerfulness and a sense of calm at the same time:


The designer paper on top complements the blossoms in the window box, while the cool jewel tones are soothing. And it's all tied up with a neatly knotted ribbon.

For a unique twist, Debbie made a second card with just the flowers colored on the main image...and only in shades of lime green and cherry red, like on the rest of the card.

Go ahead and click on the photo for a close-up view, so you can see it even better:


Isn't that striking? I think this "spotlight" coloring technique can be so effective!

Now we've got a really different Tuesday project to show you, but wonderful as well, which is Guest Designer Jennifer Scull's pretty pastel project:

 
Let's take a little tour of this card, shall we? We're starting with the upper left, which has a dry embossed and inked brick pattern base to coordinate with the bricks on the window box image.

Then a few pieces of designer papers with distressed edges are layered onto the base. It's capped off with a die-cut leafy stem and a button:


As we move toward the center of the card, you can see how Jennifer cleverly placed additional stems so they're "growing" around the main image:


They also curl around the sentiment piece at the bottom of the card:


I love how the saying is sitting on a raised banner. Here's a peek from the side, so you can see all of the dimension:


A bit of eyelet lace, a couple of flowers and more buttons, and some white ink along the edges bring it all together:


Thanks very much to both Debbie and Jennifer for letting us "peek through the window" into their stamping imaginations!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Stamping With Jennifer Scull: Christmas Gift Tower

Everyone has their own story, which is interesting to hear. But sometimes you run across folks who are especially intriguing. That's what I discovered about Jennifer Scull as I got to know her better in preparation for this month's Guest Designer position.

About her husband:
"I am married to my college sweetheart, David, who was a professional golfer for over 20 years and then left to go into ministry. He now is the director of a camp, as well as Director of Youth Ministries for our church district. This encompasses about six states."

About her kids:
"We have three sons, ages 19, 21, and 22. Our youngest will be heading to Indiana Wesleyan University to study children's ministry, while the older two attend Kent State University. They share a house and study zoology & biotechnology respectively."

As a family:
"We are a family of geeky nerds, although the guys are also into extreme sports, so that evens them out a bit. ;) We can quote Star Trek, Dr. Who, and LOTR. Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead are some of our ab fab fave TV shows.

And herself:
"I have a tattoo and plan to get another one soon. I also love to watch UFC, but don't get to as often as I used to since our cable lineup changed. I also went to school at Oxford in England for a while. Yep, I'm a strange mixed bag of tricks! :)"

See what I mean? Then add stamping to the mix, and you end up with some pretty awesome projects from this self-proclaimed "geeky nerd."

Even her projects can be a delightful "mixed bag of tricks." Jennifer created a gorgeous card for this week's post using 11203MC Christmas Tags Clear Set (drawn by artist Trudy Sjolander):


Just like Jennifer's home in Chardon, Ohio, which was built in 1861, her Christmas gift tower card brings one back in time:

 
As you can see, it's quite different from the other projects we've shown you so far.

"I love to browse blogs by my favorite crafters, Etsy, and Pinterest, so those ideas do tend to stay in the back of my mind," says Jennifer. "But I am one of those people who really has no idea whatsoever what my project is going to look like in the end. It's as much a surprise to me as to anyone else!"

"Oftentimes I am inspired by the papers I use or some of the vintage items I plan to add to a project," she explains. I'm not sure if the ivory lace is old or new, but it's a lovely accent:


"[This card] took me about three or four hours, but part of that is because I am a verrrrrry slow crafter," she explains. "But it stems from my idea that crafting for me is a special way to relax and enjoy. It's therapeutic for me, so I don't like to rush. It's rare that I finish any project in less than an hour. But that's okay by me."

In light of Jennifer's comment, it seems fitting that she used the Joy Square image (2610F in wood mounted) for the tag:


Did you notice the multi-layered poinsettia, sparkly rhinestones, and washi tape "ribbon" on the bottom gift:


From bottom to top, this card radiates holiday joy:


For more information about Jennifer's creation, hop over to her blog. She's also hosting a BLOG CANDY drawing for 11203MC Christmas Tags Clear Set, and you can get the details in her post!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Funnies: Chili

Last weekend, I attended the Stampaway show in Cincinnati. (Thanks to our Inky customers and friends who visited us at the convention and/or took the HoneyPOP card class. It was great to see you all!)

As you may know, Cincinnati chili is known for its particular blend of seasonings and is often served over spaghetti, with optional toppings that determine whether it's called two-way, three-way, four-way, or five-way chili:


On this particular trip, we didn't go to a restaurant that offered it, but I've had it on a previous visit. We passed Gold Star Chili at the airport, which reminded me of this special regional dish.

And that, of course, brings me to today's funny post. You might recall that last year I featured a story written by W. Bruce Cameron about a boy's letter to Santa asking for a guinea pig. So I was happily surprised when I ran across the following essay, which I found hilarious (and I hope you will, too!).

Besides having been a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and written movie screenplays, Mr. Cameron is also the author of several novels. I'm thinking that I may now need to order a few of them. ;-)
 
* * *

Chili Judge
Copyright 1997, W. Bruce Cameron
(Please do not remove the copyright from this essay)

Recently I was honored to be selected as an Outstanding Famous Celebrity in my Community to be a judge at a chili cook-off because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you endure when you're an internet writer and therefore known and adored by all. Here are the scorecards from the event:

Chili # 1: Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.
JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor Very mild.
CAMERON: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. These people are crazy.

Chili # 2: Arthur's Afterburner Chili

JUDGE ONE: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.
JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
CAMERON: Keep this out of reach of children! I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated over my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.

Chili # 3: Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.
JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.
CAMERON: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her "Sally." Probably behind her back they call her "Forklift."

Chili # 4: Bubba's Black Magic

JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
JUDGE TWO: A hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
CAMERON: I felt something scraping across my tongue but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn't have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled--it's kinda cute.

Chili # 5: Linda's Legal Lip Remover

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
CAMERON: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Chili # 6: Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
CAMERON: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wants to go dancing later.

Chili # 7: Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am a bit worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress.
CAMERON: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I wouldn't feel it. I've lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good, at autopsy they'll know what killed me. Go Sally, save yourself before it's too late. Tell our children I'm sorry I was not there to conceive them. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful and I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I'll just let it in through the hole in my stomach. Call the X-Files people and tell them I've found a super nova on my tongue.

Chili # 8: Helen's Mount Saint Chili

JUDGE ONE: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself.
JUDGE TWO: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
CAMERON: Momma?

* * *

I'd originally spotted Mr. Cameron's essay on ChiliCookin.com, which also has a follow-up message that I've copied verbatim from their website:

We received a great E-mail from "Bob" who told us that he really enjoyed the above "Chili Taster" and he was kind enough to send us a certified narration of "the rest of the story". We hope you enjoy this as much as we did! Thanks Bob!

AFTERMATH

The following was derived from interviews with contestants, vendors and attendees, and from various official reports submitted and filed by the city police, county sheriff's office, Highway Patrol, volunteer fire department, officials of the ASPCA, and the EMS ambulance crew.

After Judge Cameron consumed a third large spoonful of Chili #8, he lurched to his feet launching his folding chair back into the lovely Sally, who was catapulted off the rear of the judging stand landing flat on her back in the grass just below the stand. Cameron whispered what bystanders recounted sounded like a desperate plea for assistance: "Help me, for the love of God, help me," and appeared to reach for either the airborne Sally or the two pitchers of beer clutched in her hands. Two of the dogs from the Frisbee Catching Contest ran over to lap at the beer-drenched Sally and her thoroughly saturated clothing, such as it was. Sally attempted to demurely both recover her composure as well as re-cover some of her more endearing features, as she'd hit the ground fairly hard bursting a few constraints here and there. Several spectators were injured in the gentlemanly rush to provide assistance.

As these events unfolded, Judge Cameron with a look of pain induced panic appeared to double over and lose his balance. Flailing his arms to regain steady footing, Cameron grabbed the pot of Chili #8 in a vain attempt to stabilize himself. Staggering back toward the edge of the stand, Frank suffered what witnesses later described as a severe internal reaction to the combined chili and beer he had consumed with such gusto.

With a sonic boom like sound, according to many observers, Cameron sustained an eruption of incendiary intestinal gas, which ignited one of the dogs still licking beer from the prostrate form of Sally. The poor creature was quickly extinguished by Judge Two's quick utilization of the last pitcher of beer on the judging table. Luckily the dog was only singed, except on the side nearest Cameron, but the local vet said the hair should grow back the same color as it was. Cameron, in the mean time, slumped off the back edge of the stand spattering the pot of Chili #8 on himself, on Sally, and over the growing herd of wannabe rescuers of Sally, who was desperately fending off any number of helping hands. All the other Frisbee Contest dogs bounded over for the sudden chili feast adding further fuel and confusion to what would soon grow into utter pandemonium. Cameron in a semi-comatose state appeared peaceful as he assumed a supine position next to Sally in the grass. Sally glanced at Cameron with a gaze full of heat and passion. Any woman in the crowd would have recognized the danger in that glare, but the gathering of cowboys seemed inflamed as they jostled to save Sally with either mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or go directly to the ever-popular CPR.

The noxious fumes emanating from Cameron's volcanic blast caused a stampede beginning with the throng milling around Sally. As the toxic vapors spread, the escalating exodus became frenzied flight quickly evolving into a hysterical herd trampling tents, booths, stands, and sundry chili preparation utensils. Toppled chili cook stoves and electrical wiring torn from junction boxes created a conflagration like the tri-county area has not seen before and, perhaps, ever again. Adding to the confusion, the fleeing horde hampered and impeded the arrival of various emergency and law enforcement personnel, who were therefore too late to prevent the most serious of Cameron's injuries as Sally thrashed him soundly about the head and shoulders.

Judge Cameron is recovering in a local hospital and though not in custody, charges may yet be brought. Sally and Judge Two are dating as he did give Sally his jacket, although some think his effort to dry her off with a handful of paper towels was opportunistic at best. Judge One is attempting to become a Food Critic for some yuppie newspaper in the wine country of California.

Submitted by Bob M

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Mr. Bumbly

Thanks for buzzing by to read this post! Today we've got some bee-utiful projects that were created with 10987MC Bumbly Bees Clear Set (drawn by artist Tammy DeYoung):


Let's start with this delightful card from Michelle Pearson:


She colored the images with Copic markers and fussy cut them before layering onto the base. Here's where the fun really begins...look at the great die cuts in the background!

For realism, there is a picket fence. Then check out the shapes behind it. That orange center, notched black outline, and scalloped edging remind me of a giant flower. I love how it extends past the edges of the card:


Next is an adorable one from Debbie Fisher:


In this close-up view, you can see that she used flocking for the larger flower centers, as well as white gel pen accent dots. In the smaller flower insides, she made French knots.

To complete the bee, she added glitter to his wings and paper-pieced his overalls:


She even decorated the inside. "I used flocking where the holes were on the cut sentiment," said Debbie, "since I didn't want the bulk of brad on the inside of the card."

Take a look at her clever idea:
 

And last, but most definitely not least, Jennifer Scull sent me this wonderful project:


In typical (and absolutely fantastic) Jennifer fashion, she decorated around the main image with lots of embellishments...what a feast for the eyes!

It starts in one corner with layered patterned paper beneath buttons, doilies, and even a saying tag that is clipped on with a tiny clothespin:


And finishes on the opposite corner with more buttons, both paper and crocheted flowers, and various stitched, distressed, and painted edges:


Many thanks to our DT members (Michelle and Debbie) and special Inky Guest Designer (Jennifer) for sharing their amazing talent with us.

Hope you have a very hap-bee day, Inky friends!