Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taco Soup Recipe

A yummy Taco Soup Recipe. I got a similar recipe from my soon to be sister in law, and then soon after I saw it on TV. I took both recipes, mixed them together and modified it a bit to make my own recipe. Turned out good. It can be made with extra water for a more soup like consistency or without the extra water for a thicker more chilli like consistency. Either way it tastes delicious! But I forgot to take a picture. Next time I make it, I will take a picture and add it up here.

Four Bean Taco Soup
1 lb. chopped chicken, beef chunks or ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 pkg. taco mix
1 pkg. Ranch dressing
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (16 oz.) can white beans, with liquid
1 (16 oz.) can pinto beans, with liquid
1 (16 oz.) can black beans, with liquid
2 (16 oz.) cans corn, with liquid
2 (16 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can filled with hot water (leave out water for a slightly thicker soup)
3 chicken or beef bouillon cubes (depending on which type of meat used)

Stove Top method: Sauté ground beef, onion, garlic & jalapeno pepper; drain. (If using chopped chicken or roast beef, sauté onions, garlic & pepper in a little oil then add meat.)

Mix in taco and ranch seasoning packets with the meat to prevent clumping. Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Top with sour cream, tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Crockpot method (6 quart bowl): Brown the ground beef or chicken and follow directions. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. For beef chunks, chop into bite sized pieces and add uncooked to the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8 hours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Framed Pictures

I made these picture frames for my husband to take to work so he could put them on his desk and always remember what a FABULOUS family he has and how much we love him!

This silver frame is one that I had bought a long time ago from Target and it came with a white mat with all of the 8 different openings cut out in the mat. First I randomly rubbed my Versamark pad all over the mat. Then sprinkled a red distressing embossing powder on that and heated it. It has a nice effect that is different from a normal embossing powder, not as thick. Then I put the pictures in, and embellished the mat with ribbon and some metal flowers and metal words.

Here is the second frame that I made. It is a picture that David really liked so I decorated it. I antiqued the mat with a Stampin Up background word stamp En Francais and used Close to Cocoa ink so it was a subtle color. Added some brown grosgrain and a word tile. Voila! It was done!

Root Beer Reindeer

Here is the gift that the kids helped me make for their teachers as a Christmas present. These are root beer bottles and coke bottles turned into adorable little reindeers. The kids helped me put on the chenille stick (aka pipe cleaner) antlers. Plus they helped me put their collars and nametags on. We decided to make Rudolph special and gave him a bell on his collar. I covered the cardboard pack that the root beer comes in with paper and then printed out a pretty picture for the front and said Merry Christmas on it.

We hot glued on googly eyes and a red pompom for Rudolph and black or brown pompoms for the other 5 reindeer.
Here is a side shot of the reindeer pack. You can see here how there are root beer bottles in front and then we wanted the reindeer in the back to be seen so we took glass bottles of Coke and put them in the back.

Here is a printable so you can print it out and attach it to the front of the root beer bottle box. (click on the image until it is large then save the image and print it out.)

Plus if you click here you can see how to make that cute little red glittery ornament. It's super simple. All you need is a glass ornament, an ink refill and glitter. Another fun little gift idea.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gift Bags & Tags

Here are some Gift bags that I made to give presents in this year.

Here are some of the gift tags that I put together for the gifts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is a gift that I was so excited about. It was a project that I came upon when I was in a favorite sewing store of mine. I haven't been there for a long time, but I always find something cute and fun in the store when I go. This is a pair of britches made out of two dish cloths. I sewed them together in less than 5 minutes with some yarn and a quilting needle. The thread goes through so quickly and easily and can be used with any style dish cloth and yarn.

Here is the saying to pin to the outside of the gift.


Here are the aprons that I made for the kids and for David. This is the real reason that I got out the sewing machine.

One for Samantha & Jared:

One for David/Daddy :

Bought these aprons from the craft store, already done, so I just had to embroider on them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Turkey Towel

A late project that was supposed to be completed before Thanksgiving, but never happened. I had my sewing machine out for another project, and decided to get this done now so I don't have to think about it later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Glittery Ornaments

These were fun to make also. I took plain clear glass bulbs and cleaned them out with a water and vinegar solution. Then I put on some rubber gloves to protect my hands. I used a Real Red Ink Refill from Stampin' Up and sprayed the ink into the glass bulb. I swirled the bulb around until the ink covered every surface. It helped to put my gloved finger over the hole of the bulb and shake it.

Then I placed them upside down in an egg carton to drip out a bit. After most of the excess ink was gone, I took the Silver Glitter that SU sells and poured it into the bulb with a small funnel. Once again, cover the hole with a gloved finger and shake the glitter around the bulb. Finally, place the bulb hanger back in the bulb and voila it is done. Unless you want to add the rub ons.

I added word rub ons to most of my bulbs that are filled with the silver glitter.

These didn't turn out as cute. They are done the exact same way except I used Glittering Diamonds glitter which is a white glitter. They are cute, but I love the sparkle from the silver glitter. These ones I added the strip of flowers and one cute little flower to the bottom. Fun and cute.
I might go back and add some ribbon to the top of the bulb and then they might be fully done.

Recipe Board

Here is another cute gift that was made for Christmas. It is a recipe board made from a wood base and a metal board. The metal is obviously magnetic so I made the chef magnet and an additional rock magnet to hold the recipe card on the board.

Here is my little chef. I stamped him from Stampin' Up's Voila stamp set. Colored him in and then went to Kinko's where I had him laminated. If he is going to be in the kitchen he is going to have to be waterproof, it gets messy in the kitchen, don't cha know. Then after he was laminated I added some black brad buttons to his chef coat. It gave the flat chef some dimension and a little bit of personality.

On the metal board I used my black StazOn Pad and stamped Bon Appetit on the top corner of the metal board.

I painted the wood block with a cream colored acrylic paint. But I didn't want the block to be a totally solid color. I thought it would look good if the grain of the wood showed through so I decided to add some water to the paint and it just white washed the wood. The saying is made out of vinyl and I had a variety of sayings that I put on the blocks ranging from "The Cook Is In" to "Bon Appetit" to "Live Laugh Love" (which can be used as a recipe board or as a photo board).

This is the action shot. The board being used. The recipe that is on there is one that I got from a Bridal shower and it is yummy! Look at that only 5 ingredients.

Sweet Sweet Chilli

1 pound cubed stew meat

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 can chilli beans, undrained

1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained

less than 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or on high for 3-4 hours. (Works well doubled.)

I like this recipe, but I added some diced onions as well and it worked out nicely. Yummy! A great quick recipe that is a twist on the classic type of chilli.

Piggy Banks

My husband needed to give out a gift to co-workers and his employees at work. This year we gave out piggy banks. The banks had no character when we bought them, so I took Porcelaine Permanent Paint and gave the pigs, eyes, eyelashes (female) or eyebrows (male), and a personalized name on their butt.

Then we wrapped them up with cellophane and a bow and they were ready to go.

I made a few others that were given to a niece and nephew. They got dolled up a bit more with blue polka dots and red swirly dots in addition to the eyes and names. The paint is wonderful and comes in a wide variety of colors, available at Michael's Craft Store. Once it is applied you let it dry for 24 hours and bake it in the oven. After it has baked in the oven, it is microwave and dishwasher safe. Not so important when it is on a piggy bank, but great when you put it on a ceramic dish of some sort.

Another cool thing that I learned... I have had this paint for several years and one small bottle goes a looooong way. It hasn't run out and it hasn't gone bad either. But this year, when I went to go buy some other colors I discovered that the paint was available in pen form. It was great for writing the names on the back of the pigs, and even for drawing in some of the eyes. I made the eyes a variety of colors so they each had their own personality.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hair Clips and Bows

These are some clips and bows that I made for my daughter... I think she is going to like them. I used a variety of items from Stampin' Up, such as their Felt Flowers, their Pretties kit that has the white flowers and the pearls, plus some of their brads that are gems. The other large flowers, are layered with a monochromatic theme and a matching pearl inside.

Most of the flowers on on alligator clips, but a few of them I decided to put on large bobby pins. So much fun!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Clip Boards

Here are some clip boards that the kids are getting for Christmas. We are driving to CA right after Christmas and I wanted them to have something fun to write on and play on for the long drive there. We will be spending lots of time in the car once we leave our home on Dec. 26 until we return on January 8th or so. Road Trip! Yay!

This is the front...

This is the back...

I used a normal clipboard that I had picked up on sale. Then I used a variety of papers, tore them into pieces and glued them on with Mod Podge. Then added a layer to the top of the paper. It gives the clipboard a less than smooth surface, but with a pad of paper it works well. It is mostly for a solid surface for the kids to color on. Plus they look great.

Hopefully they like them. I added their names to the bottom. Then I put flowers on Samantha's with gem brad centers, and a variety of ribbon tied onto the top of the clipboard. The papers on Samantha's are bigger pieces, while the pieces on Jared's are smaller. It worked fine either way. Samantha's was probably done quicker though with larger pieces.

On Jared's I added stars and put brads that have the head of a screw. It needed a little boyish charm other than the blue color. These were a really easy project and didn't really take very long. The longest part was waiting for part of it to dry before moving on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shiny Christmas Tree

I found this craft on Martha Stewarts website. It is recommended to use newspaper as the paper (which is a great idea I think), but I have so much patterned paper that I figured it would turn out cute if I used some of the green patterned paper that I have. I used a bunch of paper for the envelopes for my Christmas Cards, and there was left overs so I used those scraps of paper again on this tree.

Here is my stand made from clay and a wooden skewer.

Here are the varied pieces of paper that I cut up. Starting at 4 1/2 inches and the smallest is 1 inch.

Here are all of the papers after they were skewered onto the wooden pole.

Then I used a spray on adhesive, sprayed all over the tree, and sprinkled a green diamond glitter. Finally I topped the tree with a two sided star. I want to go back and cut out about 5 or 6 stars and put them all together to made a larger 3-D star for the top, but will get to that later. It shows a little of the sparkle here, but it looks so much better in person. A great little decoration made from paper.

This is the year of using up paper. I love having supplies on hand for crafting and scrapbooking, but I have so much paper, it is starting to get out of control. Between my SU! paper and my non-SU paper, there is a lot. So I am looking for projects to use up the paper.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little Angel Ornaments

Every year we give the kids a new ornament that they can add to their collection of ornaments. When they grow up and move out (will that ever happen??) they will have a box of their own ornaments that they have collected over the years.

Here are the ornaments that I decided to make for the kids this year, plus one for my own tree.

I used ceramic ornaments and stamped this little angel using black Staz-On. Then I took my Versamark Marker and colored the area for the halo. Then sprinkled it with gold embossing powder. Used my heat gun and melted the powder. It adhered to the ceramic ornament very nicely.

Finally, each of these ornaments tend to have their names and the year that they got them. So I used the Versamark Marker again, wrote their names & the year. Then sprinkled the embossing powder over it and heated it up. I sprayed them with a protective top coat to keep them Fabulous for many years to come. Finally I tied on some gold cording to hang them on the tree.

A great project that was done in about half an hour.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Card Envelopes

Every year I enjoy making Christmas cards to send out.

This year I decided to do something a bit different. I designed my own Christmas card on the computer with a compilation of pictures,

then made a designer envelope to mail out all of my cards. It was a great way to use a variety of patterned papers that I had here in red, green, burgundy, copper and silver. I added a stamped image on the outside of the envelope and they were ready to mail!

So much fun.

Here are some of the tools I used.

Bone folder to make nice crisp edges... especially important when using cardstock.

Used SU 5 in 1 template... not a normal size of card, but it is the perfect size for a picture that is 4 x 6 since the envelope comes out at 4.5 inches by 6 or 7 inches... which made it the perfect choice for this Christmas Card.

Envelope glue... made it more real, worked really well. This dries and gives the envelope a normal envelope seal. Lick it and it seals.

Finally the other life saver was the adhesive eraser. It helped when my mono tombo tape went over the edge, I erased the excess adhesive so it didn't stick where it wasn't supposed to.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pumpkin Pie, all from Scratch

My mom gave me a pumpkin that she had grown in her garden... and I decided to turn it into a sweet pumpkin pie....

This is how it started out... a sweet little pumpkin.

I cut the pumpkin in half and scooped out all of the seeds.

Then I placed the pumpkin upside down on a cookie sheet, baked it in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes. When I pulled the pumpkin out, I was easily able to peel the skin right off the meat of the pumpkin. I put the pumpkin in my blender and pureed it until smooth. Then I stored it in my refrigerator over night.

The next day I added all of the ingredients required for a pumpkin pie (recipe at the bottom) and baked it.

And this was the finished product! It was yummy! I made a second pie with canned pumpkin and conducted a blind taste test with my husband to see which one he liked better. He used his culinary taste buds and chose this pie as the better tasting pie. Mmmm Mmmmm Good!

Famous Pumpkin Pie

3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
1 garnish of whipped cream, (optional)

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake in preheated 425° F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving, if desired.

Note: Do not freeze, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling. 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin spice may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves; however, the taste will be slightly different.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Gifts...

Here is a gift that I made for my Visiting Teaching ladies...

I used a 12x12 sheet of paper and wrapped it up like a cone, stapled it and glued the edge. Filled it with a yummy treat and sealed it. Then put on a cute turkey embellishment. The turkey was made from a variety of different punches that I had so they didn't really take very long. The eyes were probably the hardest part since they were the small 1/8" punch and I could have just drawn them on. If I were making any more than 9 I probably would have drawn them on.

They were easy so I made a few extra and I turned them into magnets. I used some of those advertising magnets that come in the mail, ripped off the advertising part, then cut a large piece and glued it to the back. Now they lay flat against the refrigerator. I plan to give them to family on Thanksgiving with a something yummy to eat...


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