Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spiced Chai Tea

Every December, I host a "Christmas Recipe Exchange" workshop with my customers, and they bring recipes for their favorite Christmas cookies, candies and treats.  One of my customers, Karen Matthews, brought this chai tea recipe with her last year, and I've been chugging the stuff ever since!  It has a very comforting, creamy flavor--to call it "tea" might be a stretch!  Anyway, you can make a batch and it lasts a long time.  It's also a great thing to share with friends.


3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used Splenda on my most recent batch and really liked it)
1 cup unsweetened instant tea
3/4 cup vanilla powdered creamer (I used Coffeemate Original)
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (this stuff is pricey, but it will last you for a LONG time)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and process in a food processor or blender until powdery.  To serve, mix three heaping teaspoons into 3/4 cup boiling water (you can adjust this to your taste).

Peanut Bars

I got the recipe for these Peanut Bars from my friend Bettyann Shuert a few years ago, and I've made them many, many times since!  What I love about them is that they stay fresh for a long time if you put them in an airtight container--they don't get stale as quickly as cookies or brownies do.  They travel well, too, so pack some up for your next road trip.


1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, slightly softened
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix (cut) together ingredients and pat them into the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt:

6 oz. (1 cup) of butterscotch chips
1/2 cut white corn syrup
3 T solid Crisco
1 T water

Once the mixture is melted and smooth, stir in 1 can of peanuts (I used a 12 oz. can of honey roasted peanuts--if you buy the 16 oz. jar, you might not want to use the entire thing).  You can also use mixed nuts or any other kind of nut you like.   Spread the mixture over the crust (be careful not tear up your crust below).  Bake 8 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool an hour or two before cutting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Stamp of the Month, Thoughtful Tidings

I'm loving the February Stamp of the Month.  It's full of great sayings that you can put on your gifts and cards. . .and many of them work perfectly with our Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge.  Scroll down and you'll see some other artwork made with this awesome set!

The Spring/Summer Idea Book is HERE!!!

Come get your FREE Idea Book at my Spring/Summer Open House, Tuesday, February 7th, 5 to 8 p.m.  All of the new products will be on display.  I'll have lots of door prizes, snacks, sign-ups for upcoming workshops and a fantastic Mystery Hostess Drawing. 

Our new My Creations Mini Banner (one of my retreat projects)

Excuse my poor photography on this one--I had trouble fitting the banner in a photo and getting it to show up against the background!  This banner features our new My Creations Mini Banner along with the Lucy paper packet.  The pennant shapes and the letters were cut on the Cricut using our Art Philosophy cartridge. . .so easy when your Cricut shapes match your chipboard shapes!!

More Projects from my January Team Retreat!

If you want a really fun, simple project, I recommend making Cookie Sheet Magnetic Memo Boards!  We made this one at my retreat using our new Florentine paper along with some of our fun new accessory items to embellish the magnets.  I cut the letters and the roses on the Cricut using our Art Philosophy cartridge.  I recommend that you attach your paper to the cookie sheet with spray adhesive.  You could also paint the cookie sheet a color if you don't like the shiny metal color.  I purchased my cookie sheets at Walmart for less than a $1 each, so this is an affordable project.  It's a great project for beginners or for crafters who prefer something different than layouts or cards.

I used one of our new My Creations Milk Cartons along with some Pemberley paper to make this fun treat holder.  The message stamp is from our February Stamp of the Month, Thoughtful Tidings.  The flowers are from the Card Word Puzzle stamp set (C1494).

I'm a BIG fan of our new Colonial White Die Cut cards!  I paired it with the Card Word Puzzle stamp set, Pemberley paper and our February stamp set to create a really classy looking card.
This is my version of the Bookmark Album that Sandee DePriest designed for our retreat.  It's absolutely spectacular, and I wish I could show you every page of the album!  Note that this is MY album, so it doesn't have quite as many embellishments as Sandee's original design!!  If you purchase one of our new Bookmark Albums to decorate, I recommend that you don't put many dimensional items on the inside pages--just photos and papers, or you'll have trouble closing the book.  We ended up using larger rings than those that came with the album, and I found that I needed to reinforce the magnetic closure.  Another solution would be taking out a couple of the pages, which should allow you some room to embellish your pages and still close the album.

Projects from my January Team Retreat

This layout (using Florentine paper) was designed by Bettyann Shuert.  I love the colors in this kit--they work with so many different themes.  Below is the card Bettyann designed along with the card that I designed (the one with the big flower cut from our AP Cartridge).

These are the layout pages and cards I designed with the Victory paper packet for our January team retreat. The layout features hexagons cut from the Victory B&T papers.  I also made a pocket on my page using the emblem that's in the corner of one of the B&T papers.   Colors are Bamboo, Outdoor Denim, Olive and Chocolate (with a few touches of Barn Red)

I was inspired by the front of our new Spring/Summer Idea Book to design this layout and cadrs with Stella paper.  I cut the large background flower, butterflies and flourishes on the layout with my Cricut AP cartridge. 
Jan Jackson designed this fun card pouch featuring the Footloose paper pack and some of our fun new stamp sets.  The card pouch instructions came from  I just LOVE the cards that Jan designed to go in it--they were so fun! You can't see the sparkle all that well in my photos, but the cards really pop with our Glitz Glitter Gel on them.

Team Swap--"Spring Fling"

Peeps rule!  The card on the left was made by Gwen Fillinger and the card on the right by Patricia Ervin.  Both feature Lucy paper.

The card on the left is made by Miranda Paladino and the one on the right by Betsy Fusco.

This is my card featuring one of our new Quick Card stamps.  I inked the stamp in Sweet Leaf and rolled the edges in Sunset to match the Stella paper.

This was a BEAUTIFUL card by Vickie Hooker.  Not only are the flowers on it so pretty, but it opens up in all directions (see below) to show off all that cute Lucy paper!  Vickie was our 1st place winner.

Jan Jackson made this adorable Waterfall card with Pemberley paper.  Jan was our 2nd place winner.  I don't think the photo quite does this card justice, but you can see below how the card "cascades" down. 

Elisabeth Weaver made our 2nd place winner. The flower is really dimensional and she "dotted" the background pattern with Liquid Glass.

Team Swap--"Dimensional Fun"

With all of the incredible 3D items that you can make on the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge, I thought it would be fun to offer up a dimensional category for our swaps.  Not everyone used the AP cartridge, but the projects were great fun!
These were my paper baby booties--our 3rd place winner.  I got the pattern from but I think there are lots of patterns out there if you just search for "paper baby booties."  I used the Lucy paper packet.

I love it when people think OUTSIDE the box!  Elisabeth Weaver took our new My Creations Collage Cubes, and used a single cube to create a treat box.

Our new Superhero paper packet is PERFECT for party favors!  The pillow box (cut from the AP Cricut cartridge) is made by Betsy Fusco and the Window Treat Box on the right is made by Gwen Fillinger (1st place winner). 

Miranda Paladino made this french fry box (Art Philosophy cartridge) and embellished it with Pemberley paper.

I goofed and photographed these two cards together, even though one is from one swap category and the other from another.  The "glider card" on the right is made by Jan Jackson for our Dimensional Fun category.  You'll see why it's dimensional when you look at the photo below!  Jan was our 2nd place winner in this category.  The card on the left (which actually belongs in our Spring Fling category) is made by Pam Thiesen.   Both feature Lucy paper.

Cards from My Team Swap--"Anything Goes"

At my team meetings, I always offer the opportunity for my team members to participate in swaps.  These are the cards from our January swap featuring new papers/stamps from the Spring/Summer Idea Book.  We had some wonderful cards this time--some from our newbie team members and some from our veteran card makers!
This card was made by Gwen Fillinger--it was our 1st place winner!  It's a "wiper card."  When you stretch out the card, the butterfly piece pops up. . .too cute!

The card on the left was made by Miranda Paladino and the card on the right by Vickie Hooker.  So many of the cards had cute things on the inside--I had to take a couple of photos for you to see inside and out.  Both cards feature papers from the Stella paper packet.

This card was made by Elisabeth Weaver using our new Die Cut Cards & Envelopes (Z1738).  It opens up to reveal a gift card pocket on the inside.

This was my card for the Anything Goes swap--our 2nd Place winner.  I used the Love Clusters stamp set as well as the Pemberley Workshop on the Go stamp set.  From the Pemberley paper packet.

The card on the left is from Betsy Fusco and the one on right from Carol Jackson.  Betsy used the spray pen to give her card a cool splattered look.

Jan Jackson made the card on the left (our 3rd place winner) using Lucy paper and Rhonda Leeper made the card on the right using the Florentine paper pack.