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St.Louis Foodies Alert: Soup and Cake . . .

Eat a nice bowl of soup followed by . . .

Last things first:

Tonight at 8 pm central time the Cake Boss is making a cake of the St. Louis skyline. 

Now for the first things:

We went to my brothers-in-laws house Saturday night for Pat's birthday and to meet his family from the South.  They were absolutely adorable.  Pat made a delicious soup and I really feel the need to share this recipe.

Soup - in St. Louis - when it's almost 100 degrees.  YES!  It's light, refreshing, delicious and can be served at room temperature.

Here's the recipe.  (sorry, no pics - just take my word for it - this is fabulous!)

Spring Vegetables and White Beans Scented with Fresh Bay

From the June 19, 2010 episode The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. © 2008, Clarkson Potter

This is a bowl brimming with the fresh clear tastes of Spring. Sticks of carrots, slivers of garlic, handfuls of baby spinach, all married with the earthy meatiness of white beans and the citrus scent of fresh bay leaves.

10 minutes prep time; 15 minutes stove time.

Easy made ahead, this dish is good at room temperature or reheated.


· 2 cups vegetable broth

· 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thick 3-inch-long matchsticks

· 8 garlic cloves, thin sliced

· 2 fresh bay leaves, bruised

· 1 15-ounce can Cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained

· 3 cups fresh baby spinach, washed

· Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

· 1 lemon, halved

· 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

· 1 to 2 tablespoons good tasting extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a 6-quart pot with a tight-fitting cover, combine the broth, carrots, garlic, and the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

2. Add the beans, spinach, salt, and pepper, and stir to wilt the spinach into the stew. Cover and cook an additional 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through.

3. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the pot and serve the stew with drizzles of olive oil and grated Parmigiano.

I am stunned . . .

Here's a sneak peek of the August Stampers Sampler and my name is on the cover! 

So surprised (because ya never know until it's in print) and so very excited.



That's not one of my cards on the cover - *just* my name (she says screaming with delight).  Remember my story that the cards were originally created for Take Ten?  So they are very simple cards.  I wanted to re-do but Stampington said "no" - and since they are the magazine gods, I complied.

Not sure when the magazine will be out but I know For Keeps Sake will carry it.

Is this real?


Busy, busy . . .

Thank you for checking out my Etsy site.  Almost everything I've listed in the past two weeks has sold.  So I'm busy creating new things.  Closing Etsy for the month of July so I can play catch up and bring you brand new projects and ephemera beginning again in August.

In the meantime, here's a peak of two little projects that will show up in Etsy August 1.  Think new baby . . . baby shower . . . grandma's brag book . . . baby's first month photos . . . the possibilities are endless!

Baby 1

each is 5"x7"

one for a girl and one for a boy


Baby 2

available August 1

A Gift from an Artist . . .

You won't believe what happened today! 

First, I received an e-mail from Mary June Walker (I'll tell you who she is in a minute) letting me know that she dropped something off at For Keeps Sake for me.

Mary June and I met several years ago through her cousin Bonnie Heggemann.  Bonnie had taken some of my classes at For Keeps Sake and introduced me to her cousin Mary June.  Now first I'll tell you that both these gals are full of talent.  And I know you're going to want to know:  *no* they do not have a blog that I know of.

In any case (because I digress as usual), Mary June and Bonnie are in a little meet-up group I monitor once a month at For Keeps Sake.  A couple of months ago, Mary June walks in with these two altered birds that she decorated with Grungepaper.  Each tiny piece of these birds was amazing - and intricately cut - then inked with Distress Ink.  Nothing like I've ever seen or even imagined.

And the answer is *no* I can't show you because . . .

I sent a photo of the birds to Tim who contacted Mary June and asked if he could please display them in his booth at CHA Summer.  They're THAT good!

So today, Mary June sends me an e-mail letting me know she dropped off a little something for me at For Keeps Sake.  In the meantime, Timi (one of the co-owners of For Keeps Sake) calls me and tells me I have to get into the store right away because she is completely blown away by what Mary June dropped off - almost in tears it's so beautiful.

Of course, I get over there as soon as possible to find this:

MJ 2

This tiny treasure is cut from a 2x4 - the same size as an ATC.

Too bad I'm not a better photog.  The details are unbelievable.

Either Mary June or her husband must have hollowed out the inside of the wood

to create a diorama.

Here's more:

MJ 3

Inside the wood block sits

a pretty little fairy

a teeny bunny

a fountain

and below the fountain

grungepaper grass.

Also inside at each corner is a

grungepaper vase filled with flowers and leaves

and all made out of grungepaper.

MJ 4

The picture above shows the back of this little beauty.

Yep, the bricks are grungepaper

individually cut and inked with Distress Ink.

Love the way she layered the bookplate and keyhole.


Now for the tree.


It is 2 types of wire intertwined.

Also intertwined with that is

grungepaper cut extremely thin

inked in green

with some glitter on top.

Can you see the teeny green pieces of grungepaper slivers?

That's not the best part:

See the tiny leaves and miniature roses?


Each of those roses measures

(and I'm not kidding here)

1/4" in circumference

(and that's the largest petal)

with 3 layers of grungepaper

very similar to the roses that Tim & Wendy make

with all those petals folded down and around the center.

The leaves and roses are then lightly stickled in gold.

(I think my fingers are too fat to even try this!)

You could look at this art piece a million times and not see all the detail!

MJ 5

Grungepaper butterfly!

MJ 6

I'll shut up now and let you marvel on your own.

MJ 7


MJ 8


MJ 10 
Mary June, you are pure genius.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

for sharing your magnificent

art with me.



Mini-Book from Artful Illusions. . .

Just finished putting together a mini-book kit I purchased from Joni Russell of Artful Illusions.  The kit is made up of various sizes of tags and envelopes that you can bind any way you want. The appeal for me was that it can have things sticking out every which way.  Whenever I see this in anything it makes me want to dive into the mini-book.  So interesting!  Both the tags and envelopes are plain and ready for you to decorate, stamp, add to, etc. This was waaayyyy too much fun with additions I used from Artful Illusions, L Jackson, 7 Gypsies, Studio 490, Tim Holtz, Crafty Secrets, Crafty Individuals and more.

Here's what I did with mine:

(Warning: this is a huge post.  If you want to look at this, please get something to drink before proceeding.)

Tag 1

Tag 2

Tag 3

Tag 4

Tag 5

Tag 6

Tag 7

Tag 8

Tag 9

 Tag 10


Tag 11


More photos here:



Dyeing with Distress Inks

As most of you know, I love Tim Holtz/Ranger Distess Inks.  Waterbased, they are very easy to use, can be embossed and, of course, mixed with water (and each other) to create amazing effects.  So whenever I purchase an ink pad, I make sure to purchase the re-inkers.  (1) because I never want to let my ink pad run dry and (2) you can do really cool things with the re-inkers themselves.

Since my previous post was all about dyeing (with Making Memories dyes that are no longer available - therefore not fair right?), I thought I'd do some dyeing with Distress Re-Inkers.

Using my two favorite new Tim Holtz colors (Rusty Hinge and Wild Honey), I put 3 dropperfuls of Wild Honey into a container and mixed with 3 parts water to get the color on the right:

Distress Tags

I wanted to deepen the color so to that original mix I added 3 dropperfuls of Rusty Hinge.  Mixed and dipped the left tag which gave a richer color.

But honestly, the same effect can be achieved by filling a Ranger Mini-Spritzer

 1/2 full of water + 1 dropperful of color.

Lay tag on Ranger Craft Mat and spray tag.  Let dry, pat dry or dry with a heat tool.  This last method will use far less re-inker (and I'm all about saving ink for a rainy day!)


Hoarding and Dyeing . . .

I'm working on a tag book I bought from Artful Illusions. The "kit" consisted of various sizes of multiple tags.  Of course it involves lots of stamping and inking and junque, but I also wanted to dye some of my tags.

Enter the hoarder in me.  I knew I had some Making Memories packets of dyes somewhere.  Ah ha:

Dyeing 7

Remember these?  I have only 2 colors but really wished I had purchased more.  What was I thinking way back when?

So I mixed some of the dye packets in water (1 packet to 1 cup just in case you too have some!)

Dyeing 2

So far, not too exciting until . . . the tags were dipped in and I saw the results:

Dyeing 8

beautiful aqua color.  This next one was a happy mistake.  I dipped into the wheat color and layed it on the same drenched paper towel as the blue tag.  Because the paper towel was already wet with the blue color, some of that color soaked into the wheat color tag and I got a bit of a variation:

Dyeing 4

Cool eh?

Then I moved onto coffee.  This next photo is pretty disgusting.  Move the children out of the room. It's so disgusting that Bill came into the studio asking if he should throw this out with the garbage.  Does he not recognize art in the making (she says facetiously).

Dyeing 1

 Here's the recipe I used:

1 part brewed coffe


1 part cheap (really cheap) instant coffee granules

Dyeing 6


2 flavored tea bags

I add flavored tea bags to my coffee dye to cut the smell aroma of the coffee.  If I don't put flavored tea bags into the mix, the aroma of the coffee tends to be quite powerful and lingers for a very long time. I am a HUGE (literally and figure-atively) coffee drinker, but some people don't like the smell of coffee. 

Dip the tag into the mixture.  Drain on paper towels.  Let dry or if you're impatient you may use a heat tool to dry the tag.  Rub the excess coffee crystals off the tag.

Dyeing 3

If you're new to this coffee dyeing thing, the reason for the crystals is to give more depth of color.  See all those little dark spots on the brown tag?

You may not want your tag quite so dark.  If that's the case, then skip the coffee granules and just use leftover coffee.  You may also add more water to the coffee to dilute the color even more.

One more thing:  The tag may be dipped into coffee without using the instant coffee granules.  Once the tag is taken out of the coffee mix, sprinkle a few granules on top of the tag to get those deep tiny spots of color.  Let dry.

Dyeing 5


UK Wendy's work . . .

I've featured her work before on my blog and now she's gone and done this:


This is so stinkin' cute I'm going to go make one right now.  And I can because she was kind enough to feature a tutorial on her blog here:


I love cards.  If you ever feel you haven't accomplished any artful thing of late, go make a card.  Instant gratification!

Thanks for the inspiration Wendy!