Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge #5 ~ Stickers, Die Cuts and Rub-ons

How did you make out on Challenge #4?

I just dumped my tool tote.

New smaller totes . . . one for markers and the other for my basic tools.

Extra tools are in the two green totes.  My stamps are in the wicker basket.

One bin is for foam stamps and the other contains punches.

I actually downsized my tool tote quite a bit.  I guess I just stuff everything in there even if I just use it once a year.  In fact, that is the secret to downsizing my readily-available-on-my-desk tote . . . everything that is only used once in a blue moon has been containerized.  While it is all still available, it is out of the way until I need it . . . which will be when there is another blue moon.  I was actually surprised at how few markers I threw out.  

I'm ready for Challenge #5:

Image result for stickers, die cuts and rub ons storage

Stickers, diecuts, and rub-ons are some of the hardest things to organize because the different sizes and shapes pose many challenges. Rub-ons present their own challenges because if they aren't stored properly, they stick to each other and then they are useless.

SORT: time to be ruthless. Consider if you are really going to use these items. If you bought a whole sheet of die cuts just to use one or two tags, why are you hanging on to the whole sheet? Those stickers you bought in 1999 were adorable then, but definitely not your style now, are they? So, sort into piles: TRASH, SELL, DONATE, TO KEEP

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up, and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile and put them directly into the garage sale box. Make immediate arrangements to rid yourself of the DONATE items. 

ASSIGN: The KEEP items need to be divided into categories that make sense to you: by colour, by manufacturer, theme, size, or type.

CONTAINERIZE: Here is an article about storing stickers, diecuts and rub-ons:

EQUALIZE: take a few minutes at the end of each scrap session, and whenever you return from a crop or a shopping trip to put your stickers, rub-ons and diecuts where they belong.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

El Dorado Slow Cooker Pork Chops

Recipe from Epicure website

Here’s a gorgeous meal bursting with Tex-Mex flavours!



4 unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C (125 ml) red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Toasted Onion
2 Tbsp (30 ml) brown sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar
6 (1 in/2.5 cm) boneless pork loin chops
Sea Salt (Grinder), to taste
Black Pepper (Grinder), to taste
1 can (15 oz/425 ml) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz/425 ml)corn, drained
1 recipe prepared El Dorado Finishing Sauce Mix (we substituted Fajita Seasoning)


Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C) if cooking in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, oil, peppers, Toasted Onion, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
Place pork chops in a slow cooker or baking dish and season with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
Pour potato mixture evenly over pork. Cook on high in a slow cooker or in the oven until potatoes are soft and pork is no longer pink and has reached an internal temperature of 160° F (70° C), 30–40 minutes, or 1 hour in a slow cooker.
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the beans and corn.
Arrange on a platter and spoon El Dorado Secret Sauce on each chop.


Chef’s Tip: If you are using a slow cooker, brown the pork chops in a (p.1008028) before cooking for added caramelized flavour.
Chef’s Serving Suggestion: Serve with extra prepared El Dorado Secret Sauce and wedges of lime for added kick!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rice Krispie Squares

My favourite cookie!

Image result for rice krispie squares

1/4 cup butter or margarine
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 cups Rice Krispies

Melt butter and marshmallows in pan over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Add vanilla and Rice Krispies after removing from heat.  Mix well.  Press into greased 9 x 13" pan.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mouse Wind-up Toy

Mouse Wind-up Toy

2 x 3"


May not be exactly as shown.  Each piecing is individually handmade.

2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge #4 ~ Tools & Adhesive

I've finished Challenge #3. How about you? 
I've done the photo challenge so many times over the years and developed a system that works well for me. I always upload my photos to my favourite photo processing site as I go along but I wait for a sale and then order them to be printed. As soon as I pick them up from the store I pop them right into page kits. All done.

How did you decide to sort and store your photos?

If you are ready, here is Challenge #4 . . .

Tools & Adhesives

Gather together all of your tools and adhesives into a box and let's start them!

Sort: one by one, put each item into piles: FAVOURITES, TRASH, TO SELL, STORE, DONATE.

Purge: For the SELL pile: bag up and assign a price and your initials to tools/adhesives that you don't love/use anymore and put them in your garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Arrange pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.

Assign: Store your most used items in a basket or box or other system right on your desk, within easy reach. Divide the STORE items into categories that make sense to you: cutting tools, pens, punches, templates, etc.

Containerize: This is the time to tidy up your tools. Tools need regular maintenance to keep them efficiently working. As you put your tools away in whatever container (drawers, shelves, boxes, baskets - always ensuring the container is clearly labelled) give them a little maintenance.

scissors - sharpen your scissors using a small scissor sharpener, or have them professionally done. Carefully clean the blades (I like alcohol swabs to remove sticky adhesive)

pens - test pens and throw out the ones that are dry or don't work well.

craft knives - change the blades

trimmers - clean the deck of your trimmers with a damp cloth, and a little cleanser if necessary. Replace dull blades, or cut through fine sandpaper or aluminium foil.

work surface - clean ink, adhesive and paint from your self-healing mats.

punches - to prevent punches from sticking, punch through wax paper. Problem punches may need a little lubricating oil such as sewing machine oil, then punch through scrap paper several times to remove oily residue. Dull punches can be sharpened by punching through aluminium foil or fine grade sandpaper (both right side up and upside down)

rubber stamps - stamps should be cleaned after each use, but if there is a build up of ink on your stamps, you should clean them with an alcohol free baby wipe, or paper towels moistened with a mild cleanser (ammonia free/bleach free) Use a soft toothbrush to remove ink stuck in the crevices of a design. Store stamps flat, rubber side down.

Equalize: Once you have a system in place for you tools, putting them back in the same place every time will become a reflex, and you will never have to hunt for you scissors again! Take a couple of minutes at the end of each scrap session to put your tools away.

Baked Salmon with Herbs

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 5 min Cooking : 10 min
220 calories/serving

600 g salmon fillet
2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
2 tbsp dried oregano 4 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start
Keep the serving plates warm on the stove while you're preparing the dish.

Preheat the oven to 215°C/425°F.
Cut the salmon fillet into pieces of comparable size, as per the number of servings required. Put them on an oiled baking sheet and brush them with oil. Add salt and pepper, then cover with the oregano.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 min for a 2 to 2,5 cm thick fillet. Since the cooking time depends on the fillet thickness and the actual temperature of the oven, it is important to check with a fork to see if the fish is cooked through. Serve on the warmed plates.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Image result for pumpkin gnocchi

Portion size:  8 servings
Credits :  Canadian Living Magazine: October 2010

1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup pine nut
12 fresh sage leaves
2 cups roasted pumpkin purée OR
2 cups roasted squash purée 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups all-purpose flour (approx)

Gnocchi: In large bowl, stir together pumpkin purée, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and nutmeg. Using wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups (500 mL) of the flour. Stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup (60 mL) at a time, to make soft, sticky dough that pulls away from bowl but still sticks to spoon and fingers.

On well-floured surface and with floured hands, roll dough into log; divide into quarters. Gently roll and shape each quarter into 3/4-inch (2 cm) diameter rope. With sharp knife, cut each rope diagonally into 3/4-inch (2 cm) pieces.

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi, in 2 batches and stirring gently, until floating; about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, scoop onto large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook pine nuts until lightly toasted and butter just begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add sage leaves; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape over gnocchi; toss to coat.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Keto Vanilla Pannacotta

Image result for keto vanilla pannacotta


2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pomegranate, the seeds
fresh mint (optional)


Soak the gelatin (sheets) for 5-10 minutes in cold water. If you use powdered gelatin, mix it with cold water. (Typically about 1 tablespoon water per teaspoon gelatin powder, but check the instructions for your specific brand.) Set aside.

Add cream and vanilla extract to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for a couple of minutes on medium-low heat until the cream begins to thicken.

Remove the cream from the heat and add the gelatin. If you’re using sheets, be sure to squeeze as much water out of them as possible before adding to the cream. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely.

Pour the cream into serving glasses. Allow to cool completely before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge for two to three hours or overnight.

Take the pannacotta out of the fridge half an hour before serving. Decorate with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint.


Flavor options abound. Feel free to try saffron, liquorice powder, lemon/orange zest, cocoa, or coffee powder (diluted in some hot water). We recommend that you add some vanilla extract to the recipe even if you choose another main flavor. Vanilla enhances the natural sweetness of the cream and balances other flavors.

My tip:  I topped the pannacotta and fruit with a spoonful of fresh whipped cream made with brown sugar substitute and a bit of cinnamon.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dove with Olive Branch

Dove with Olive Branch

3.25 x 3.25"


May not be exactly as shown.  Each piecing is individually handmade.

Dog with Patches

Dog with Patches

4 x 4"


May not be exactly as shown.  Each piecing is individually handmade.

2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge #3

Challenge #3

So, your paper is beautifully organized, your scraps carefully stashed or purged, and your desk is gleaming! I've posted photos in our Facebook group but you are also welcome to post links to your challenge photos as a comment here.

Scrap paper and extra cardstock
I don't save any scraps smaller than 4 x 6"

My patterned papers and cardstocks are the basis for my page kits.  Photos, ephemera, embellishments, sketch ideas are added to the page kits so when I get a chance to scrapbook I am ready to go.

More page kits

Even the photos are in the kits, ready to scrap.

More page kits.  I haven't had a lot of time to scrapbook yet this summer.

This is actually just one page kit.  We took a lovely tour up to Manitoulin Island in June and made many many many stops along the way and took a ridiculous number of photos.  It is a really beautiful part of the world.
I need lots of Christmas and sports supplies because I take a lot of those type of photos.  There are very few single sheets in that box but I want to be able to find them if I am working on cards or paper piecings or a very simple layout.  The family box is also a page kit for my family tree album.
 You are starting to be organized.  Doesn't it make you feel creative? Don't you want to get cropping? Well, you CAN'T scrapbook without PHOTOS!

Our third challenge is to organize our photos. Here is an excellent article to get you thinking about how to organize those precious photos before we S.P.A.C.E. them:

SORT: Gather together all of your photos, and sort them into categories that make sense: TRASH (it's okay to throw out photos with bad colour, expression, composition. Why keep them? You're not going to scrapbook them) TO SCRAPBOOK (the shots you know you are going to use) TO STORE (photos that need to be kept, but aren't necessarily going to be going into your scrapbooks) TO GIVE AWAY (doubles that you want to send to friends and family)

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Put the TO GIVE AWAY photos in envelopes and mail them to friends/family, or put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you visit. Do not leave them in your studio, or they will creep back into your organized space.

ASSIGN: Sort the final two groups of photos into a system that makes sense to you:


CONTAINERIZE: Now it's time to decide how you want to store your photos. Perhaps you want to put your TO STORE photos in acid free envelopes or albums. Perhaps you want to put your TO SCRAPBOOK photos into photo storage boxes, or accordion folders.

EQUALIZE: Next time you get new photos from the photo processor, spend a couple of minutes and put the photos where they belong: throw out the bad shots, give away the extras, put the keepers away in their album, and sort your photos for scrapbooking into their container.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge #2

Before we move on to the second challenge I'd like to share a few before and after work space photos posted for challenge #1 . . . 

Dawn's before photo

Helen's before photo

Teena's before photo

Dawn's after photo

Helen's after photo

Teena's after photo

How did you make out on the first challenge?  It's not too late to share your photos  Doesn't it feel great to start the new year with a clean work surface?

Let's move on to the next challenge . . . 

Challenge #2

Image result for piles of scrapbooking paper

Here is this week's challenge:

Your challenge this week is to S.P.A.C.E. your paper - - and I mean ALL of your paper: cardstock, patterned paper, specialty papers, and all those SCRAPS!

SORT: Bring all of your paper to one area. Sort it all into piles: KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH

PURGE: bag up, and assign a price to paper bundles that you want to SELL at a garage sale or online, and put the bags in the garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up the DONATE pile and immediately make arrangements for drop-off/pick-up or put in your vehicle.

ASSIGN: separate your paper into categories that make sense to you. For example, you may want to divide it simply into cardstock and patterned paper. If you have a huge stash of paper, you may want to divide it by colour, theme, or manufacturer.

Another way to sort your paper is in page kits. Package matching patterned papers in a zip lock or similar bag, add matching cardstocks and embellishments to create kits.

CONTAINERIZE: store you paper in a way that makes sense to you:

- vertical paper holders
- hanging vertical file folders
- wire cubes
- paper trays
- paper organizers
- bookcases with adjustable shelves

Click here to see lots of different storage ideas.

EQUALIZE: each time you finish a scrap session, return from a crop, or bring home new papers, spend a few minutes putting your paper away where it belongs.

We have started a Facebook group as a place for us to share photos, accomplishments, encouragement, tips and tricks as we work through the 2018 Craft Space Organization Challenge.  You are welcome to post before and after photos of any or all of the challenges.

Diaper Pin

Diaper Pins

1 x 2.5"


May not be exactly as shown.  Each piecing is individually handmade.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Quilting finishes for December 2017

I think my youngest son and his new wife like their wedding present.  I picked up the blocks a couple of years ago when Mary Maxim opened in London.  It took quite a while to make and I enjoyed every moment . . . except for an incident with some mixed media which meant they didn't get their wedding gift until a month after the Big Day.

My sister sends me projects.  This particular project came as a BIG ziploc full of little blocks which I spent the past year piecing together.  Even my dear hubby got into the action by sandwiching and pinning the quilts, and tying them.  Apparently he quite enjoyed himself . . . calling the whole process relaxing.  Each member of my oldest son's family received one of the quilts.  I actually have enough left to make a lap quilt at some point in the future . . . or maybe pillows.

Art Journaling finishes in December 2017

Scrapbooking finishes in December 2017

I'm just beginning to use pocket pages when I have a large number of photos. 

The next few layouts and pocket pages use photos of my favourite place . . . Windswept Retreat House.