Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Tag Bonanza

Please join me for a very fun afternoon on Sunday, December 5 from 2-5 pm. You'll make as many holiday tags as you want using all of my Stampin' Up supplies -- ink pads, markers, ribbon, paper punches and more! I'll provide light snacks, beverages and a festive atmosphere.

No experience is required, I will show you everything you need to know to get started! We even recycle old greeting cards into new creations. It's a lot of fun and a great way to carve out a few hours of time for yourself while doing something creative.

The supply fee is $10, or FREE if you place a Stampin' Up order with me that day. There are still a number of holiday bundles priced at 20% off and I'll have those products out to look at as well.

Please RSVP to me lklingbeil at ameritech dot net.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stampin' Up Online Spectacular

Now through November 30, 2010, there are many Stampin' Up products at up to 50% off incuding My Digital Studio software! PLUS, if your order is $150, get free shipping! You may order from my web site 24/7 at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Stamp Workshop Sneak Peek

I have two Stampin' Up workshops planned for Wednesday, November 10 at 6 pm, and again on Sunday, November 14 at 2 pm at my house. Our theme is Christmas and I have 3 really fun and easy projects planned. Workshops are $10 or FREE if you place a Stampin' Up order with me. No experience is necessary, please bring a friend! I would appreciate a quick RSVP if you are coming so I can cut enough kits. This month we'll revisit "masking" as well as learn to create ruffled ribbon, which is all the rage in crafting and fashion right now. And I can't resist throwing a little "bling" into each project. Let me know which day you would like to join in the fun!

ALSO - don't forget I'm hosting an extra fun Holiday Tag Bonanza on Sunday, December 5 which will include all the tags you can make for $10, as well as refreshments and snacks. Please mark your calendar, more details will follow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stampin' Up Clearance Blitz

Stampin' Up is having a HUGE clearance rack sale of retired supplies at up to 80% OFF! I've already taken advantage of the sale and I know others have too. You can shop the sale online through my web site:
Then click on Shop Now in the top right corner, and then Clearance Rack 3rd item on the left side navigation.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Stamp Workshop Sneak Peek

I have two Stampin' Up workshops planned for this coming week, on Wednesday, October 13 at 6 pm, and again on Sunday, October 17 at 2 pm. Our theme is Thanksgiving/Friendship and I have 3 neat projects planned. Workshops are $10 or FREE if you place a Stampin' Up order with me. No experience is necessary, please bring a friend! I would appreciate a quick RSVP if you are coming so I can cut enough kits. This month we'll also talk about "masking" as well as cutting the right card size for various envelope sizes. Plus there is a super easy way to line your envelope to match the card. TOO cute! Let me know if you will be here!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Another September Workshop Sneak Peek

This is the third project for the September Stampin' Up workshops next week. It would make a super cute teacher gift, or little treat for your office mates!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sneak Peek Sept Stamp Workshop

Here's a peak at what we'll create at this month's Stampin' Up workshops to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 6 pm and Sunday, Sept. 19 at 2 pm. Please email me to RSVP. No experience is necessary, feel free to bring a friend, just let me know so I can cut enough kits. Workshops are $10 or FREE if you place a Stampin' Up order with me at the workshop. The Holiday Mini Catalog just came out and it's FANTASTIC! I will have copies here if you did not already receive one in the mail. This month our theme will be Harvest, Fall and Halloween, and two of the projects can be used for teacher or office gifts. Please note the photo of the Post-It note cover is an early prototype, I've re-designed it to accomodate a matching pen! Hope to see you next week.

Naperville Jaycees Last Fling

I'm proud to be a member of the Naperville Jaycees for more than 20 years now, and to have participated in the organizing of the Last Fling, our Labor Day weekend festival for every one of those years. This year a photograph was taken of past Executive Directors of the Last Fling. I was ED in 1996, and in this photo are many of my closest friends. The 2010 Last Fling is over now, but I'm already looking forward to 2011. If you have the chance to volunteer in your community, I highly recommend it. You'll meet GREAT lifelong friends and have a good time while doing something positive in your home town. Photo courtesy of Joe Lichter.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stampin' Up 2010 Holiday Mini Catalog

From the minute I received my preview copy of this catalog, I've been busy re-arranging my WISH LIST! There are tons new and creative products for Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond! Some of my favorites are the Jolly Old Saint Nick stamp set on page 26, and the Tags til Christmas set on page 9, as well as the new coordinating punches. You can bet you'll see this set at my Holiday Tags Bonanza on December 5. Download a PDF of the catalog by clicking HERE. You can order from my web site 24/7 by clicking HERE. Thanks for shopping!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fruits of Summer

There's nothing better than fresh tomatoes from the garden and I look forward to making this simple dish every year.
It's pretty simple, 2-3 vine ripe tomatoes, one ball fresh mozzarella cheese, about ¼ pound very thinly sliced prosciutto ham, chopped fresh basil, and I used Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing. Core and slice the tomatoes, slice the cheese and cut the ham to about the same size, layer everything in a long thin serving dish, sprinkle with basil and drizzle with dressing. YUM!

Sneak Peak Stamp Workshop Projects

Here's a peak at what we'll create at this week's Stampin' Up workshops to be held on Wednesday, August 28 at 5:30 pm and Sunday, August 22 at 2 pm. Please email me to RSVP. No experience is necessary, feel free to bring a friend, just let me know so I can cut enough kits. Workshops are $10 or FREE if you place a Stampin' Up order with me at the workshop. I do also have the 2010-2011 Idea Book and Catalog available for sale, as well as the current Summer Mini Catalog which expires August 31, 2010. Don't FORGET, if you host a workshop this month before August 31, you get an EXTRA $25 in hostess benefit dollars on top of the regular benefits, if your workshop totals $350 or more. It's a SUPER deal!

Elizabeth Thank You Card
Supplies used: Concord Crush card stock and ink, Elizabeth single stamp image, "thank you" sentiment from Because I Care Level 1 Hostess Set, Concord Crush In Color DSP paper stack Level 1 Hostess, scalloped edge border punch, Whisper White 5/8" organza ribbon, Stamp-A-Ma-Jig.

Tropical Thank You Card
Supplies used: Square Lattice Embossing Folder, Tropical Party stamp set, Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set, Island Oasis Designer Series Paper, Old Olive card stock, Soft Suede card stock, Whisper White card stock, Old Olive Stampin' Write Maker, Soft Suede Stampin' Write Marker, sponge, Bashful Blue ink pad, Old Olive ink pad, Soft Suede ink pad, Hemp Twine.

Inspired by Nature Wine Bottle Tag
Supplies used: Whisper White card stock, Certainly Celery ink pad, Stampin' Write markers in Garden Green, More Mustard and Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip ink pad, Chocolate Chip card stock, More Mustard card stock, Woodland Walk Designer Series Paper, 1-1/4" Circle Punch, Photo Corners Punch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mexican Fiesta Rice

I had this idea for a side dish, I was serving Mojo marinated pork tenderloin. It turned out great so I'm sharing it here!

  • 3 cups cooked rice (I started with 1 cup of Riceland white rice, 2 cups water, a tsp of butter or olive oil, and a tsp of Minor's Chicken Base, bring to rolling boil, cook for 15 minutes with tight fitting lid)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small can sweet corn, drained (may substitute frozen corn, LOVE Trader Joe's Roasted Corn)
  • 1 cup diced fresh red pepper
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
  • 1 can Ro-tel Tomatoes with Lime and Cilantro

Place all ingredients except rice, in a large bowl. Cook the rice, and dump it over the other ingredients when still warm and stir. Taste test for seasoning. Mine did not need any additional salt, but add to your liking. I did sprinkle a little red wine vinegar over the top to brighten up the flavors. This may be served warm or cold. It was also great the next day! This is one of those recipes that you can use pretty much anything in your pantry. ENJOY!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Extra, Extra Stampin’ Up Hostess Promotion

Dates: July 27-August 31, 2010
Details: Host a Stampin' Up workshop with me, and receive an additional $25 in hostess free merchandise dollars when the workshop totals $350 or more!

Click HERE for a downloadable flyer.

Shop with me 24/7 on my Stampin' Up web site,

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Catalog Open House - July 17

Please join me for a Stampin' Up Open House, Saturday July 17 at my home, 1-4 pm. This is a preview of one of the projects you'll make, a beautiful bookmark, PLUS we'll have Door Prizes, refreshments, and retired products for sale at reduced prices! Sign up for my Stamp Club and receive a 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog FREE, plus a free $6.95 item with your first club order. The number of meetings and the minimum order per meeting will be determined by the number of club members who sign up.

Project details (all Stampin' Up):

  • Ink: Soft Suede

  • Paper: Pretty in Pink, Soft Suede

  • Stamp Set: Elements of Style (clear mount)

  • Ribbon: 5/8" Pretty in Pink Satin

  • Tools: 1-3/8" Circle Punch, Scallop Trim Border Punch, Crop-a-Dile, Bone Folder, Pastels (optional)
Shop with me ONLINE, 24/7 at

Father's Day Card

This card turned out really pretty, and the sentiment could be exchanged for just about any occasion.

Project details (all products Stampin' Up unless otherwise noted):
  • Ink: Really Rust, Creamy Caramel, Old Olive, Always Artichoke, So Saffron
  • Paper: Soft Suede, Whisper White
  • Stamps: Inspired by Nature, Well Scripted
  • Embellishments: Dusty Durango Polka Dot Grosgrain Ribbon, Gold Brads
  • Tools: Horizontal Slot Punch, Key Tag Punch
  • Techniques: Masking, Sponging

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 4

Next, I use my design wall to arrange the blocks in a pleasing manner. I try to separate the light and dark colors from each other if possible. At this point, if I haven't already chosen fabrics, I can audition fabric choices next to the finished blocks to see what I like best. I do try to use fabrics that pull together all or most of the colors in the t-shirts so the finished quilt looks a bit more cohesive. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes not! :-) Then I cut all the fabric into cornerstones, sashing and borders, using the 60mm rotary cutter and large cutting mat.

Finally I can piece the quilt top together row by row. I use a walking foot and pins to make sure the layers don't slide. I remove the pin from the seam just before sewing over it. I never sew over pins! This can damage your machine needle or worse.

Knee High by the 4th of July

My cute little row of sweet corn was as high as my head on July 4, here in northeast Illinois, USDA Zone 5. We had nice amounts of rain and sunshine throughout June allowing all the garden plants to take off nicely. Now that the July heat is upon us, the tomatoes and peppers are finally producing. This raised bed garden box was built by my husband, and includes a bunny fence. However, I have to admit we have not had a rabbit population here for a number of years now due to coyotes, a natural predator.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've Joined Stampin' Up!

I've been stamping for many years now, and for a long while I didn't make the time to get "inky" - to set aside a few hours each week to immerse myself in the creative process. I have a hard time getting out of my work/deadline mode! LOL.

That changed when my good friend and neighbor Peg became a Stampin' Up Independent Demonstrator a number of years ago. I decided at that point I would like to support her in her business, actually *use* a lot of the supplies I had purchased in the past, and also take the time to get out of the house for a few hours each month plus meet some new people. I joined Peg's monthly stamp club and we are just finishing up our 3rd year with a party at my house this Saturday!

Recently I began to want to stretch myself a little further, by designing my own projects and workshops, so it made sense to become a demonstrator myself! I'm excited to begin this journey, a little nervous, but mostly looking forward to the creative process.

If you don't have a Stampin' Up demonstrator, I would be thrilled to help you with any of your stamping and scrapbooking needs! You can shop with me any time by clicking HERE, or if you are in the Naperville, Illinois area, I will be holding an open house on July 17, 2010 and starting workshops in August 2010. Please feel free to give me a holler!

Let the FUN begin!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 3

Most blocks will fit nicely in the 14" x 14" format. Some will not. There are many ways to build your 14" blocks using smaller images.

Sometimes a t-shirt is very small and there just isn't 14" of fabric to work with. In this case, I trim the image down to a nice square, then add a coordinating cotton quilting fabric on all four sides, then trim the entire thing to 14" square. Press seam allowance to the outside. Add it to your block pile!

Long, skinny images can be sewn together in a stack, and then trimmed to 14" square. Four chest sized logos can also be sewn into a square. I usually press the seams OPEN when sewing t-shirts directly to each other to reduce thick/difficult seam intersections.

At this point in the process I have a pretty good idea of how big the quilt will be. Generally I can get a nice sized lap quilt from 9, 12 or 16 blocks. A twin would be 20-24 blocks. Double, 24-30 blocks, and so on.

Once my blocks are made, I sketch out the quilt layout, determining the final size of the quilt and audition coordinating fabrics for the cornerstones, sashing, borders, binding and backing. This can be hand calculated on paper, or I use a program called Electric Quilt to do the same task on the computer. I'm able to enter my finished block size, and play with the size of the sashing and borders to build the quilt out to be the desired size, in this case about 50" x 70" a generous lap quilt. In EQ I can also play with color selections, but I usually do that by hand. I write detailed notes on the printed layout regarding how much fabric is needed, and how it needs to be cut.

I try to choose fabrics that tie together the various colors in the t-shirts so they blend somewhat. I tend toward choosing the brighter colors and so far this has worked very well! Tone on tone fabrics are also great if you have various shades in a particular color.

Next we'll piece the quilt top.

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 2

Let's get started!

One shirt at a time, trim off neck, sleeves with seams, side seams, bottom edge, to make a large, rough cut about 18" square.

Layout bolt of stabilizer on cutting mat with bumpy (fusible side) up against wrong side of t-shirt. Trim stabilizer to be just smaller than t-shirt.

Keeping the two pieces together, transfer stabilizer and shirt to the press or ironing board. Place press cloth over area to be pressed. Spritz with water from the squirt bottle. Press for 10 seconds, then move to next section until t-shirt is entirely pressed.

When ALL the shirts have been fused, use a ruler to find the shirt with the LARGEST image. Give yourself a little extra space around this image for seam allowance and find the next whole number. This will determine your block size! Most of the time my blocks are 14" square. I keep everything in whole numbers as this makes the assembly of the quilt top easier to figure. Trim all blocks to the same size. This is where the large square ruler really comes in handy. You can also place a mark on the ruler at the 7" (halfway) point to help center the image in the square.

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 1

What do you do with an ever expanding stack of t-shirts collected over the years from vacations, sporting events, gatherings, school, etc? When life gives you t-shirts, why not make a t-shirt quilt?

I make many t-shirt quilts every year for my clients through my company, West Branch Studio. This series of blog posts will take you through the process of creating one of these special memory quilts.

Tools needed to get started:
t-shirts or clothing to be used in the quilt
fabric scissors
rotary cutter (mine is 60 mm)
rotary cutting mat (mine is 24" x 36")
rotary cutting ruler (mine is Creative Grids 16.5" square)
iron or ironing press
large scrap of muslin to be used as a pressing cloth
squirt bottle with plain water in it
light to midweight iron-on stabilizer
sewing machine in good working condition with walking foot

I usually buy my stabilizer by the bolt and have successfully used Pellon P44F, P911FF, and P906F in white. If I don't have time to get it through my wholesale supplier, I will use a JoAnn's 40% off coupon and buy an similar bolt locally. I figure about 18" of stabilizer per shirt. In reality less may be used but it's always good to have enough stabilizer for a few extra shirts just in case.

A regular household iron will work just fine, but takes much longer than a press. My press is dry (no steam), so I use a squirt bottle to provide some moisture on top of the pressing cloth when I'm fusing shirts. I set the press to a little cooler than cotton, and I press for 10 seconds at a time. My machine beeps at 10 seconds so this is very handy.

Next post - prepping the shirts!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Laughing Carefree Gull

I had the thrill today of having lunch with my newest client Gail Gersic to celebrate the printing of her first independently published book, "The Laughing Carefree Gull." I created the design and layout of her book, which features a lovely poem she wrote about her granddaughter playing on the shores of Ocean Beach, New Jersey. It is beautifully illustrated by her dear friend Doris Barabas. It was such a treat to work with Gail this year and see her vision come to life, or print I should say! I wish her all the best and many books to come!

Pictured below are Gail Gersic (left), our friend and mentor Marcia Mackenbrock (center), and Jim Ross (right), of Worzalla Printing Company.

Black Bean Salad

This is a recipe I cut out of a magazine a long time ago, and go back to again and again in many variations depending on what's in the pantry. It makes a nice large batch, great for parties and large groups. Pair with two bags of your favorite tortilla chips.

Dump all ingredients in a large bowl and stir. The pretty green glass bowl seen in the photos belonged to my Grandma Heser.

  • 2 cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped pickled jalapeno slices
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning with cumin
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen corn
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 small can of chopped or sliced black olives

Notes: I sometimes substitute 1 can of black eyed peas for the black beans, the bean variety is pretty and tasty. This salad is mild, you can spice it up by adding chili powder, using Rotel tomatoes instead of plain, or adding some fresh jalapeno pepper. I've made it without the garlic and onion for people who don't like those flavors, but it is on the boring side IMHO. I'm getting so I don't measure anything in this anymore, I just grab what I have and mix it up. Oh, and Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn is GREAT in this! Did I mention I love TJs? LOL!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Uncured Ham

We bought a glazed, spiral-sliced, uncured (also known as fresh - not smoked) ready-to-eat ham (about 8 lbs.) from Trader Joe's on sale recently and tonight I warmed it on the Weber grill since it's nearly 85 and humid outside and I didn't want to heat the house even more with the oven on.

OMG - it's the best ham I've ever eaten in my life. Not salty at all, moist, lean, and extremely tasty!

We setup the grill for indirect heat, then put a pan of water on the bottom for moisture. Wrapped the ham in a tight layer of foil, and placed on the grill grate above the water pan (coals on each side) for about 1 hour covered.

I will definitely buy this product again and possibly serve it for the holidays. Much better than a cured ham which is more salty and dry. I'm looking forward to ham sandwiches for days to come!

No affiliation with Trader Joe's, just a big fan. :-)

Bloggers Quilt Festival

The Spring 2010 Bloggers Quilt Festival is now underway, thanks to Amy's Creative Side. I stumbled upon her blog and have had a great time browsing all the blogs and quilt entries, it is truly inspiring! I have not posted to my blog in ages, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to update my look, share a quilt I made, and make a new personal resolution to write nearly every day (well try anyway).

The quilt I'm sharing was made in 2005, and because I'm so busy working, sewing and creating for other people, I rarely get to make anything for myself! This is one of two baby quilts I made in the same style and fabrics. The original was made for my husband's cousin who had a baby boy very prematurely. I loved it so much I made one for myself to keep. The fabric selection is also special to me, it reminds me of my Hilda, a smooth fox terrier who lived to be more than 15 years old. Hilda lived with me before I met my husband and had a family! She is still missed by all of us.

Head on over to Amy's Creative Side to see the rest of the entries in the Bloggers Quilt Festival!