Monthly Archives: March 2013

Earth Hour – March 23, 2013 @ 8:30 PM – Will You Commit?

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In lieu of my crafty quote this week, I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention, or remind you of Earth Hour, 2013. Happening around the world for one hour, this Saturday at 8:30 PM — turn your lights off and live “off the grid” for one hour.
For more information visit http://www.earthhour.org

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A Mish-Mash Saturday Morning Post

It’s the weekend!! Woohoo!  This week has been a little stressful.  Year-ends and tax time — I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. lol  Not long now and it’ll all be a distant memory until next year.

I admit, I haven’t enjoyed a Friday night bottle of wine as much as I did last night!

This week has also been March Break!  Shannon has been off all week and going here, there, and everywhere 🙂  She’s finishing off her break with a weekend away.

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Did you know March is National Craft Month?  I didn’t either, but it is!  No day off though 😦  I should probably do something in celebration — I’ll have to give that some thought.. hmm, what can I make?

I started reading Pride and Prejudice this week.  I just love Jane Austen.  I received a (purple!! woohoo!) Kobo reader at Christmas and the book was one of the ones included for free.  I’ve read it several times before yet I always enjoy reading it again.  Funny how I can do that with the classics but try rereading a contemporary novel and I just skim through the pages and within minutes put it back on the shelf.

Secret Life of Bees (the movie) was on tv this week.  I really enjoyed the book (and the movie the first time!,) so I had to watch the movie again.  Not to mention: Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes, and Jennifer Hudson are all in the movie and I like them all.

As you know, I quit smoking, and am on the Nicoderm patch.  Yay, me!  I moved up to step 3 on Thursday.. another 10 days and I’ll be officially nicotine free, and hopefully, will be able to sleep soundly then, too.  The one side-effect that I have on this system — extremely hard time falling asleep even with removing the patch at 9pm.  Also, due to the change in steps I was “on edge” and am happy to announce that everyone around survived my adjustment period.  I won’t become one of those ex-smokers that harps on everyone around me to quit.  You have to want to do it yourself, only you can make that decision.  I will just say.. if you’re going to quit, I highly recommend the patch system and chocolate — lots of chocolate — of course, then you’ll need a good diet and exercise program afterwards.  Thankfully, I have just enough time to get back in shape before the summer!

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Did you order Paper Pumpkin?  Did you choose me as your demo when you did?? This is the first month of the subscription service and the boxes for March were all shipped out this week — Fedex is at this very moment handling our boxes!!  Shannon, Zoe, and I are looking forward to receiving the first kit on Monday by 5 p.m. 🙂

So a quiet week all-in-all — just the way I like it.  What’s happening today?  Waiting for my sister to come visit in about an hour! 🙂  Zoe is putting in her first Stampin’ Up! order today 🙂

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Don’t forget to check out the Late Night Stampers Spring Treasure Hunt (if you haven’t already!)  I’ve updated the participating blogs.  Also, Paper Pumpkin subscriptions are accepted anytime so sign up today to start receiving the cute project kits each month.  And don’t forget, Sale-A-Bration ends on the 22nd of March.

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Tips, Tricks n’ Techniques Thursday

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Good morning to all my fellow crafty friends!!

This was supposed to post yesterday but I accidentally saved it as a draft.  So it’s tip, tricks n’ techniques on Friday instead.

Today I have a great technique video on triple stamping.  I also have a trick for making a custom-colour stamp pad and a tip to share.

You may recall, last week I mentioned a website called splitcoaststampers.  If you’ve had a chance to visit you’ll discover a whole community of stampers and paper crafters, along with an amazing tutorial section.  This video is another from the collection of theirs.

The technique isn’t new but it creates a beautiful card and is easy to recreate.

My trick this week involves ink refills and baby wipes.  Baby wipes have become a staple in my craft room.  From cleaning embossing folders and letterpress plates to wiping my ink pads clean after a particularly messy session — and now for creating custom-colour ink pads.  I’m including a short video on it, just incase you’re interested to see a visual.  The trick is simple: take a baby wipe; fold in half and half again; place on plastic plate or palette; add drops of ink from darkest to lightest until you’re pleased with the effect; ink your stamp like you would with a regular ink pad and then stamp.  That’s it!  I’ll be posting my creations using the triple stamping technique and custom-colour ink pads over the weekend.

My tip this week involves bakers twine and buttons.

Use a needle threader and large eye needle to thread your bakers twine through buttons and to “sew” onto your cards.  I use a book-binding needle and a needle threader from my sewing kit.  If you don’t want to sew the button on your card, you can still use the twine to create the sewn look and then use sticky dots to adhere the button to your card.

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Sausage and Chicken Gumbo

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What’s on the Menu today?

A while ago, I posted a recipe from Ken’s Soup Krazy book by Ken Kostick — you may remember him from the show, What’s for Dinner?  It was a great show and really funny.  For someone like me, a cook (and I use the word loosely!), who is definitely NOT a chef — this is one of my favourite recipe books for easy, tasty soups.

The late Ken Kostick is Canadian and if you get the chance, pick up his recipe book — you won’t be disappointed! (I checked Chapters, it’s not available there but perhaps at your local library.)

The Sausage and Chicken Gumbo is a family favourite at my house and I’m sure you’ll find it becomes one in yours too.  There is some heat to this gumbo, which I love, but if needed you can adjust to suit your tastes.

This is an easy one-pot meal, and once you’ve prepped everything, a fast meal to pull together.  If I can do it.. you can do it!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I prefer red/orange)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (leftovers work great too)
  • 2 mild Italian sausages, cooked and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock (I typically use the reduced salt stock)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions:

  1. In saute pan, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium-low heat.  Gradually stir in the flour, and stir constantly or until the roux turns brown (more of a golden colour.) Remove immediately from heat. — Just incase you didn’t know — you have just made roux!  Yay!!  Don’t worry, the first time I made it, I didn’t know either.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil.  Saute the celery, green pepper and onion for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the roux, garlic, jalapeno pepper, chicken, sausages, stock and wine, if using.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring; reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Stir in rice, basil, oregano, paprika, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf.
  6. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
  7. Remove bay leaf.
  8. Serve immediately.
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They already got into the gumbo!

I left my picture for last because, well, I am a terrible picture taker lol  I’m working on it!

A few variations that I have tried:

  • For kids or anyone that doesn’t like hot n’ spicy, leave out the jalapeno pepper and chili powder.
  • Substitute white for wild rice however, when I tried it, the rice didn’t soften – precooking the rice if using something other than white, might work?  Comments would be welcome here!! 🙂
  • I’ve substituted all the sausages for more chicken and vice versa – tastes great either way.

This is a wonderfully hearty and flavourful gumbo, perfect for warming up after being outside in the cold.  I hope you’ll enjoy it and come back to leave a comment.

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