Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mini Sketchbook Challenge

Last month, I gave myself a mini challenge in my sketchbook after filling a page completely with flower doodles: fill 5 more spreads, each page different from the last. I mixed in some different techniques and finished just past my self-imposed deadline. I'm really happy with the results. Have a look - first, the challenge:
And the page that started it all:

The first spread: first page full of doodled scallops (made with my trusty black Pilot V5 Hi-Techpoint), the second page filled with my collection of washi tape.

The second spread: a simple collage using a mix of papers, followed by a doodled page filled using patterns found in the collaged papers (in roughly the same arrangement).

The third spread: a doodled page (using Sharpies) inspired by a building I saw while driving around with Pat, the second page a signature girl sketch.

The fourth spread: another fun doodle (inspired by some of my older sketchbooks) and then my favourite page. First, I doodled the black outlines, then I cut out and glued tissue paper to fill the bubbles and then I filled in the background with subtle lines (using pencil crayon).

The fifth spread: a sticker-filled page and a sketch completed solely in oil pastels.

And you know what? This mini challenge totally sparked my creativity! I've been doodling and drawing and cross-stitching like crazy these last few weeks. I love it! Now I just need to clean out and organize my craft room so that I can get to my paint and other supplies!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
Pat surprised me when he came home last night, a little later than usual. He made a few stops and came home with (my dry cleaning and) a surprise: a beautiful card and bouquet of red-streaked-cream roses.
It's funny because just a few days ago my mom mentioned that he would do something for V-day and I countered with a "probably not" since we don't usually do too much to celebrate. But my husband still has a few romantic, spontaneous gestures up his sleeve!
I love you Pat! I'm so happy I get to spend this love-filled long weekend with you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recipe: The Best Chocolate Cookies

For our Superbowl party, I was in charge of dessert. So I made my go-to coconut cupcakes (I'll post that recipe in a few days) and these delicious chocolate cookies.
These cookies are one of my most cherished childhood food-related memories. You should make some right now!

The Best Chocolate Cookies


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (1 12oz package)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing (powdered) sugar


1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips by microwaving on 80% power for 30 seconds, stirring well before repeating once or twice (for a total of 1 to 1.5 minutes), until all the chips are melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Blend in eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate.
5. Combine oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture.
6. Stir in remaining chocolate chips.
7. Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll in icing sugar, coating heavily.
8. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes.
9. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet before removing to wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

I'm really not exaggerating when I say these are the best cookies ever. You will not be disappointed!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Story Time Sampler 2015

I love cross stitching, and when I saw the latest year-long sampler put out by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, I just had to sign up. This year, each monthly frame is a scene from a recognizable story - the Story Time Sampler. Obviously I love reading, so it was a given that I would get on board with this one! I think I might just have to pick up each book represented in the sampler to go along with it!

I'm a bit behind as I've been working on it sporadically, between reading and sketchbooking and spending time with my husband (smile). Each frame is also very intricate (which means slow-going) - I already had to rip out a good part of the green frame at the bottom because I wasn't looking at the pattern properly. But here's my progress so far:
I love the pastel, subtly variegated thread used for the frames. From what I've seen posted on the Facebook group, I'm really looking forward to seeing each frame filled!

My goal for today is to finish the first frame and possibly get started on the scene inside (Alice in Wonderland!).