Friday, April 30, 2010

Nascar/Tony Stewart Cake

Time for something sweet!

A coworker asked me to make this cake for her BFF's 40th Birthday. She bought the action figure, and wanted me to use it on the cake.  Her friend is a huge Nascar fan, and has a thing for Tony Stewart. 

The cake is a 2 layer chocolate fudge with a Kahlua cream filling. The frosting is Kahlua buttercream, except for the autograph and numbers which are royal icing. This was a pretty easy cake to decorate, except for getting the orange the right shade. I used a #16 open star tip for the whole thing. 

They're having the party in a club/bar, so I'm betting that little Tony Stewart will be on the dance floor tonight!

Thanks for visiting my little blog,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Studio J Is Here!

Studio J is CTMH's fabulous new online digital scrapbooking site. I've been playing with it during it's testing phase and I really had fun using it. It's so simple,  but the pages you can create are just amazing, and best of all, no mess to clean up!!

Q. What is Studio J Design Software?
A. Studio J is free online scrapbooking design software brought to you by Close To My Heart. (Did I mention FREE?) Studio J helps you easily create custom-printed two-page layouts using our foundational scrapbook patterns, exclusive color palette, and themed designs all delivered in 12 × 12 custom prints ready for your albums. It’s a snap!

Q. Is Studio J easy to use?
A. Studio J software is extremely intuitive and easy to use. The program walks you through five steps that include:
1. uploading your photos (you can skip this step and come back to it later if you want)
2. choosing your desired themed kit
3. selecting an exclusive layout pattern
4. adding photos, embellishments, titles, and journalling
5. purchasing custom-printed layouts ready for your personal album

Q.  I love Close To My Heart products. Will Studio J use the same great papers, patterns, colors, and embellishments?
A. Of course! Not only the colors and patterns, but the My Stickease, buttons, metals and ribbon embellishments too! If you love Close To My Heart’s philosophy of "Faster, Simpler, Easier", then you will love Studio J!

Q. I've tried digital scrapbooking before, but I prefer the look of traditional 12x12 paper layouts. Why should I look at Studio J?
A. Studio J is a truly unique digital scrapbook experience! It offers very real-looking 12x12 layouts in CTMH papers and patterns that you love, with the simplicity and mess-free ease of digital pages. The printed layouts will match any current CTMH product you may have used on your albums, so you can insert them into your albums right along with your paper layouts! If you still prefer to cut and paste, you can design your layouts on StudioJ, then recreate them with your CTMH papers! Sort of like a pre-cutting preview! (Note: you don't have to upload any photos to play, you can create your layouts first, then upload your photos later)

Here are a couple of layouts I did during the testing phase:

What do you think? See the distressed edges, the buttons and ribbon, the MyStickease embellishments? When I received the printed pages I was amazed at how realistic everything looked! The buttons and brads have to be touched to see they're not real...everything looks 3D.
Want to give it a try?

Q. Do I need to download any software to my computer to use Studio J?
A. Nope! You only need an Internet connection, and then you simply log in to my MyCTMH website and click on the Studio J link to get started. Feel free to design to your heart’s content—you are not required to buy anything to get started!

Q. Can I save what I am working on and come back to it later?
A. Absolutely! You can create a customer profile that allows you to save and return to a project in progress at a later time. Your active projects will be saved for up to 90 days, giving you plenty of time to work on them. You extend that timeline for your active projects by 90 days each time you make a purchase, and your purchased projects will remain archived for one full year after purchase. Better yet, Close To My Heart will even send you an email to let you know where you are at with your project timeline.

Q. Do I need a printer that can print 12" × 12" pages to use Studio J?
A. Nope. Your Studio J layouts are not available for you to print from a home computer. In fact, we take care of the printing for you. When you purchase your designed layouts, we print and ship them quickly and directly to you using only top quality printing technology and archival-quality papers. Mine arrived via Canada Post within a week after I purchased them.

Q. What is the price?
A. You are not charged a thing until you place the order for your custom prints. The price per printed two-page layout is $14.95 (research has shown that the average paper-crafted 2-page scrapbook layout costs about $15, and YOU have to store the supplies and clean up the mess when you're done)

Shipping and Handling charge is a base rate ($13.95) for a pizza-style box that will hold 20 layouts (40 pages), so it is more cost-effective to create and save several pages until you are ready to order.

Right now CTMH has an introductory offer:
You can receive FREE Memory Protectors to protect your layouts in your albums, and FREE shipping/handling based on the number of layout prints you purchase in a single order as follows:

For 5–9 layout purchases: You’ll receive a pack of 5 Memory Protectors FREE!

For 10–20 layout purchases: You’ll receive FREE shipping/handling PLUS a FREE pack of 5 Memory Protectors for every 5 layouts in your single order.

Q. When can I begin creating with Studio J?
A. RIGHT NOW!  Click HERE to access Studio J. You'll need to create a free account for your login info, then any layouts you create will be saved in your account. Remember, there are no charges until you're ready to  place your layouts order.

Give Studio J a try today!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bucket of Popcorn

Do your kids get invited to alot of birthday parties? Mine do.
I live in a small town where shopping is limited, especially for budget-priced gifts. Most kids I know have enough stuff and I really don't want to give them another cheap toy. 
But, we do have a movie theatre with very reasonable admission prices, so I like to gift movie passes.

Today's card is an oldie, but a goodie. I've made several of these in the past year, so I thought I'd share.

I came up with this popcorn card to put the movie passes in.
I used the Flower Pot Pocket card tutorial from SCS, and modified it to become a popcorn bucket by scoring lines and sanding them.
I used my cricut to cut out several flower shapes, but you could use a punch too.
Then I stamped the little flower in bamboo ink on each of them (TIP: stamp them all while they're still on the cricut mat), and stuck them onto the top of the card, popping some up with 3D foam.
Kinda looks like popcorn, doesn't it?
Then I just tape the movie pass cards onto the pull out part.

The kids (and parents) seem to like them, and I'm sure these would work for any movie buffs you know!
 What do you think?

All product CTMH

Cardstock in Holiday Red, White Daisy, Black and Sunny Yellow
CTMH Inks in Bamboo, Holiday Red and Black
Stamps used: D1183 Adorable (flower),
                     D1283 Say it in Style (Sentiments),
                     D1363 Picture Perfect (film reel)
Black ribbon

Template instructions can be found here , now go and make one!

Thanks for following my blog!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

H2H Challenge #3

The gals have come up with a sketch challenge this week:

Here is what I came up with:

Here is a close-up of the details:

Recipe for this card:
Topstitch Level2 paper pack
Heavenly blue and white cardstock
D1407 Piece of Cake My Acrylix Stamp Set
CTMH Exclusive Inks in Chocolate, Heavenly Blue, and Blush
Liquid Glass 
punched paper flowers
brads and eyelets
"candle" made of small white beads
"flame" made of ribbon scraps
Ribbon and ricrac
The "crystal" in the center of the cake stand is a glass bead, adhered with Liquid Glass.

If you haven't checked out Heart 2 Heart challenges yet, what are you waiting for? The design team is creating some very inspiring pieces for us, and judging by the entries, there's alot of talented Close To My Heart fans out there. If you're looking for some inspiration to make the best use of your Close To My Heart supplies, be sure to check it out!

Edited to add:  I realized after posting this card, that it matches my blog background perfectly! LOL it was not planned.


Yipee again! I made the Friday Five with this card!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm So Excited!

Big news to share (for me anyway!).  I am honored to have been asked to join my very first design team! It's for a new challenge blog called P3 (Paper Cubed), and as you may have guessed from the title it is for 3D paper projects. There will be a new challenge posted on the first of each month, and you'll have until midnight EST on the last day of that month to submit your artwork. This is a brand new challenge blog, so please play along and spread the word! We'll try to provide some creative inspiration and there will also be some fabulous prizes! The winners will be posted on the 5th day of the following month.

I have been browsing the blogs of the rest of the design team, and I think you're in for some real treats! Check out the talent on this team and leave them some love:

P3 (Paper cubed) has a challenge posted for April, there's still time to play along! See my previous post for details.

There will be a permanent link posted in my sidebar.

Wish me luck! I am a little awe-struck to be in such creative company!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paper Cubed (P3) Challenge

There is a great new challenge blog that focuses on one of my favorite things - 3D paper art!
It's called Paper Cubed (or P3), you can find it here

There will be a new challenge posted on the first of each month.

The April 2010 challenge is an inspiration one.
We are to use this fabulous piece from Wendy Vecchi at Studio490:

Here is what I was inspired to make:

Flowerpot template and instructions can be found here
Lock and key metal accents I found in my junk bin (sorry I don't know where they came from).
Flowers cut from Cricut Forever Young cartridge.
Flower sprays done with Flowersoft in Summer, and flowersoft wire used as flower stems.

All other product CTMH:
Cardstock: Twilight, Tulp, Creme Brulee, Vanilla
Patterned paper from Perfect Day paper pack
Inks: Twilight, Chocolate, Autumn Teracotta, Tulip, Creme Brulee
Sentiment from My Acrylix Stamp Set W330 Beautiful Day
Brads, Fancy Brads and metal tokens as flower centers

I had fun making this one!
If you like 3D paper projects, check out for some inspiration.
Thanks for browsing my blog!


May 4,2010 edit:  I am thrilled to be awarded this badge for my little watering can full of flowers! Pop on over to Paper Cubed to view the other wonderful entries.

H2H Challenge #2

The gals over at the H2H Challenge Blog have come up with another fabulous challenge!

This week it's a 1-2-3 challenge:
*Use 1 stamp image
*Use 2 patterned papers
*Use 3 embellishments, different or all the same

Here's what I came up with:

I used a sentiment stamp,
2 patterned papers from CTMH Emporium paper pack,
(all the circles were cut from 1 piece of patterned paper)
and I may have taken some liberties with my 3 embellishments
because I used 3 "types" :), flowers, brads and ribbon. 

Check out the other great entries for this challenge at 
There are some talented crafters over there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In a Zindorf kind of mood...

I'm feeling hazy today, so I thought I'd post some cards I made using tutorials from Michelle Zindorf.  The images you can create with her instructions are so soft and surreal.
They're pretty easy, all you need is ink pads, sponges and a brayer, and scrap paper to mask and a stamp if you want.

If you'd like to try this for yourself, check out Michelle Zindorf's blog for some detailed instructions.
Be prepared to get your fingers inky!

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Say NO to Word Verification!

I have come across several blogs that have taken up this campaign, and I want to jump on the band wagon!
I really hate having to figure out those letters every time I want to leave a comment, sometimes after a couple of tries I just give up and don't comment. Did you know you can disable this feature on your blog? Just go to your settings, comments, and turn off word verification. If you're worried about spam you can turn comment moderation on, and approve all comments before they are seen. I don't moderate mine, and I've never gotten any spam, but if I do I can just delete that comment after the fact.

If you hate word verification too, disable it on your blog and join the campaign!

Happy Thursday

Cricut does Cake!

Some sweet news! The folks over at the
 Cuttlebug Challenge Blog
are giving away a fabulous prize! 
 What I wouldn't do to get my hands on this baby!  I've spent literally days doing some of the intricate designs on my cakes, I dream of the time this could save me and the whole world of design options that would open up!  I've got my fingers and toes crossed in hopes of winning one.

If you're into decorating cakes you need this new toy...

so you can create masterpieces like THIS:

Check out this Cuttlebug Challenge post for a chance to win one for yourself!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heart 2 Heart Challenge #1

If you {heart} Close To My Heart and challenges, then there is a new challenge blog just for you! Or, if you're not up to being challenged but need to be inspired with some CTMH artwork, then check it out!
Heart 2 Heart
There will be a variety of challenges posted and Close To My Heart products are required to enter. Don't have any CTMH products? Then Beg, Borrow or BUY from your fabulous CTMH Consultant!

Sponsored and created by Independent Consultants for Close To My Heart, all challenges will be posted on Monday mornings with the deadline to enter each week on Sunday at 10:00 pm EST.

If you're feeling up for a CTMH challenge check out  and play along!

 Heart 2 Heart CHALLENGE #1
(Apr.5,2010) is a Color Challenge:

Here is my entry for this challenge:
It's a cute little hanging birdhouse to celebrate Spring!


All product CTMH:
*cardstock: Sweetleaf, Sunflower, Chocolate, Colonial White
*B&T duo paper: Emporium kit
*Inks: Sweetleaf, Sunflower, Chocolate
* My Acrylix Stamps: D1418 Felicity, D1377 Around the Block, C1366 Fringed Phrases
*Black brads
*Waxy flax, colonial white
*Sunflower dots orgunday ribbon

Other tools used:
*Bird Box template from Nicole Heady, PTI can be found here:
*Picket fence punch from Martha Stewart
*Nestabilities Labels One die cut shape

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Yipee!  I made the first  Friday Five with my little birdhouse!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

White Russian Anniversary Cake

I was asked by a friend to make a cake for her parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary. It is the "Ruby" anniversary, so I went with red accents/roses. 
I was a little nervous, since this is only my second real cake order, and the anniversary couple are also my husband's Uncle and Aunt.  I wanted it to be special. The only request was that it be a white kahlua cake (I couldn't find any recipes that appealed to me, so I had to invent one myself.)  This 4-layer "White Russian" cake is filled with a Kahlua cream cheese filling, and covered with butercream fondant, accented with buttercream piping and gumpaste calla lillies, roses and leaves. I've been wanting to try this quilting technique for a long time, I used a palate knife and a ruler. Next time I'll get an impression mat!


1 box white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. instant white chocolate pudding (4 serving size)
4 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 -  9" round cake pans.
Mix all ingredients together on low speed until moistened, scrape bowl, then mix on med speed for 2 minutes.
Pour evenly into 2 - 9" round pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.Remove from the oven.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert pans onto a parchment paper covered board and gently lift the pans off the cakes. Let cakes cool completely.
When completely cool, slice cakes horizontally in half, giving you four cake layers.

1 bar (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 box instant white chocolate pudding (4 serving size)
4 tablespoons Kahlua

Cream together the cream cheese and whipping cream until smooth. Add the dry pudding mix and beat until incorporated. Add theKahlua and keep beating until smooth. Divide into 3 portions.

ASSEMBLE CAKE: Place 1 cake layer onto cake platter, top with one portion of filling, repeat 2 more times. Place nicest (smoothest) cake layer on the top. Level sides and frost as desired.

Instead of fancy decorations like I did, you could drizzle with a white chocolate frosting, letting it run down the sides for a showy dessert!

Note: you could probably substitute strong coffee for the Kahlua, but I haven't tried it. I like the booze:)