Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Departure from Paper....

Mona, this is for you!  I couldn't get the pictures lined up with the text the way I wanted to in an email, so I made a blog post!  It's my blog, I do what I want!  Here is a wonderful, healthy, and easy recipe for  rice paper egg rolls.  Perfect for summer because they are served cold.

First, drain the water from the tofu (use the whole block) and cut it into smallish cubes.  Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, then add some olive oil (or canola, or whatever you use). Don't stir the cubes, just let them sizzle in the oil at first.
They will start to brown in the oil.  Don't stir them, they are still too delicate and will break up.  Only when they start to get a little brown, you can shake the pan back and forth to roll them around.
I don't recommend stirring them.  Just shake back and forth and if you're feeling cheeky, try a little flip or two.  The whole browning process takes 15-20 minutes and makes these satisfying little popping noises the entire time.  Fun!  When they are browned and firmed up on all sides, add a few shots of soy sauce (or tamari--it's almost the same).  You can see the soy sauce bubbling up here:
Let the soy sauce cook into the cubes a bit--it will caramelize on the outside and make a little delicious crust.  Your cubes will look like this:
At this point, you can remove them from the pan and set them aside (they are awesome chef's snacks!).  Keep the pan on med high heat, add a bit more oil, then add a bag of coleslaw mix.  You can add any veg you like in addition to the cabbage, some suggestions are: thinly sliced red peppers, green onions, bok choy, bean sprouts, cilantro, carrots, etc.
The seasoning to add at this point is Chinese Five Spice Powder..about 2 TBSP.  This sounds exotic, but every grocery store has it.  I'm sure Tom Thumb has it.  It gives them that characteristic egg roll taste.  Stir the veggies around until they are crisp-tender and only slightly soft.  You don't want them a mush because you are eating them cold and want to retain that "fresh" feel. When you reach the right doneness, add a glug or two of soy sauce and put the tofu back in.  Then remove it from the heat.  Next part is the wrapping!
These are the rice paper wrappers I use.  You can get them at Whole Foods.  Don't know their Kosher status, but it's just rice.  They are cheap. (You can also put the above mixture over rice or quinoa or whatever and it's delicious!)  To soften them, just dip one in warm water for a few seconds, then place it on the cutting board.  It will continue to soften.  Place a little filling on the bottom third of the wrapper like this:
Fold over the sides, they will stick to each other.
Then roll it up from the bottom, kind of tightly, but don't rip the wrapper.
Then, you're done!  This is what I made last Shabbat---very little cooking and very easy.  Just chill in the fridge or eat right away.  Dipping sauce is good--sweet chili sauce, duck sauce, sweet n sour, etc.
Have fun!  Enjoy!  Lovings!

Cindy "ScrappyV" from the kitchen, not the scraproom today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cooking Themed Bridal Invites

In addition to my Etsy shop, I am often asked to make custom invitations, cards, etc.  I wanted to share a cool bridal shower invite I made for a friend.  She told me it was a cooking themed bridal shower and she wanted everyone to bring a 4 x 6 recipe card with their favorite recipe on it.  So, here is what I came up with:

I blurred out the names and such, so it looks a little strange.  I totally love the pocket that holds the recipe card, and I am quite impressed with myself on the invite part itself.  I didn't use MS Word for like 8 years, and now that we finally got it again, I feel like I don't even know how to use it!  It used to be so easy......Anyway, I am proud that I actually downloaded fonts from the Internet and successfully used them!  Ha!  

Here is a great idea to use your stamp sets differently.  I did not have any cooking themed stamps, so I ordered this one from Maya Road.  I wanted a repeating pattern, so I kept the stamps on the backer and attached the whole thing to my clear acrylic block with my adhesive runner:
There was a lot of stamping with this pattern.  The front flap and pockets are done with Distress Inks and then just clear embossing on the black.  Considered not doing the clear embossing, but I think it adds so much to the quality of the finished product.  My friend loved them!  Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help Wanted: Need My Mojo Back!

It's been a while since I posted anything.  It's been a while since I scrapped anything!  I have found myself sort of blocked...not even just blocked, but no desire to even enter the scrap room.  :(  I have been giving myself time to get back in the saddle, but I don't want to wait too long!  So, after seeing Virginia Lu's entry into the Play Date Cafe, I knew I had to enter because the colors are one of my favorite combos!  Thanks, Virginia Lu for always being an inspiration to me!  I love keeping up with your blog and it's one of the few that even when I don't have my mojo, I like to read it.

Here is my entry.  A simple alcohol ink gradient card with embossed sentiment:

I love this sentiment--got it from the $1 bin at Michael's.  I guess this is how I've been feeling lately!  My wonderful boyfriend of 6 years officially proposed to me three weeks ago with this gorgeous ring from Nodeform Weddings on Etsy.  Thanks to Konstaze at Nodeform and my wonderful man, Joe!  I love you baby, I can't wait for our wedding and our whole amazing life!!!!!!

Thanks for looking!  Have a wonderful and blessed day everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Project Runway Final Collection!

Well, it's been a long journey and I am very pleased to reveal my final collection!  The designers had to make a 5 look mini-collection in just 4 days.  Then, they threw in a twist that they had to create a 6th look with their leftover scraps from all the previous challenges.  So, I created a 6 card collection and used my scraps for one of the cards.  I did have an advantage because I knew about the 6th look prior to starting and I knew all my scraps were still in my scrap recycling next to my desk.

So, without further ado, here is the entire collection followed by individual photos of each card.

The collection is based on my latest obsession...black, white and pink.  The last card is my "scraps" card.  I used the flowers and paper from the Miss Piggy challenge, black cardstock from the profit margin challenge, and white cardstock from just about any challenge.  I am really proud of the collection.  I think they are cohesive, yet different.  In Project Runway terms, they look like they all live in the same woman's  closet desk.

This project has been long and challenging...it was difficult to carve out the time some weeks, and the challenges were more difficult to adapt to the cards during others.  But, it was really nice to do creative work for no one but me!  I got some great ideas and some of my cards I really love (others not so much).  I love my final collection and I want to sell it (or a manifestation of it) in my Etsy shop.  I have taken a short break from the shop, but now I feel energized to go back and do some great new cards and sales!  Thanks to my readers for following along and to those of you who have left comments along the way.  See y'all soon!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Project Runway Challenge....#10!!

So, this is the last "regular" challenge before the finale of Project Runway!  I've not decided how I am going to present my "collection" just yet, but the wheels, they are a'turnin!

This week, the designers had to create a design that would fit into a collection belonging to Nanette Lepore.  In the spirit of the economy sucking, they had to budget themselves to get a high profit margin on the outfit.  They worked with a coster to figure out how much money their design would sell for and how much budget they had to work with.  It seemed it averaged out to about 1/10th the cost of the finished garment.  So, I used this figure to come up with my design.

I sell cards in my Etsy shop, so I do have a bit of practice with this type of thing, although I do admit, it is NOT my forte.  I tend to think that if it looks awesome, it's worth it, regardless of the cost.  Obviously, that's no way to run a business, but I am an artist and I can't be held back!!!  Getting back on topic, I decided to design a card that can be easily reproduced in quantity and is very inexpensive to make.  And, since I am currently obsessed with 1. ombre 2. hot pink and 3. hot pink ombre, this is what I did:

Here are the stats for this:  total cost of materials for 4 of these cards is between $.92 and $1.00 (it's really hard to estimate how much embossing powder and Distress Ink is used per card, so I just guessed about $.01 to $.02 each). Since I sell my 4 card sets for $16, that falls well below the limits the designers had.  Woooo!  Easy card, I think it's striking, and fun!  Thanks for looking!

Cindy ScrappyV

Friday, March 9, 2012

Project Runway Challenge #9..The Black Light

This week's challenge was to say the least, challenging!  The designers had to design a creation to be shown under a black light, using all kinds of lighting.  Kind of reminded me of this wedding dress that was on a show about the Gypsies of Ireland...I digress.....

Since you can't really attach lights to a card in any practical way whatsoever, I decided to focus on the black light part of it.  White and neon colors really pop under the black light, so I went with that.  I bought a black light bulb at Lowe's, but it was really dim.  I wanted to photograph it in the dark with the black light, but that was kind of a bust.  So, here is the creation in daylight:

So, for all the issues I had with this challenge (a day late, no black light, no lights, etc), I do sort of love this card!  It's for my Uncle Steve who is in the hospital yet again...he's had a rough year, health-wise, so I wanted to send a little card.  My Stamp-a-ma-jig got quite a bit of use on this one because that bandage stamp is from a Michael's dollar bin stamp and it's not clear!  Under a black light, I think this would look so cool!  I'm really happy with it and I have discovered that I'm not so much of a stamper...this took me forever!  :)  Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The United Nations of Fashion....

This week's challenge on Project Runway All Stars was so great to convert to a card challenge!  They had to choose from six different flags/countries to draw inspiration for their design.  It seemed difficult for most of the designers...many of them struggled a bit.  But for me, this one was a snap!  On the show, the Seychelles flag got chosen last, but I chose that flag because of the bright rainbow colors:

And here is my interpretation of the flag:

I would consider my "signature" style to be using these alcohol inks.  I really like to do these abstract kind of backgrounds as the visual interest on my cards.  I used the red in the background and the heart over the sentiment, and the white is the embossed sentiment.  I also did a card for my niece's Bat Mitzvah using these same colors.....
It's almost identical to my last card, but no rhinestone flourishes.  I am going to make the little box and the whole shebang to send it in also.  I like this because the white is a little more prevalent than the "smitten" card.  But I like that I can send that card through the mail without an entire set-up....just an envelope!

Overall, I'm very pleased with both interpretations of the flag.  Like I said, I think it was easier to channel this inspiration to a card than an outfit.  Can't wait to see what tonight's episode brings!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Challenge #7

Finished!  I am so excited about this card!  The challenge on Project Runway All Stars this week was to design a costume for a character in the musical Godspell.  The designers received instructions to make her a costume that was opulent, an ostentatious display of wealth, made of separates.  I decided to do an over the top card with separate pieces.  I made a gorgeous card, a small box for it to live in, a vellum closure for the box, and a box top.  Separates!  Here is another view of the card:

The front of the box:

The inside vellum pieces:

The card nestled in its box, with the vellum spread open:

Like I said, this is for my cousin's wedding gift.  I love this so much, I declare myself the winner of this challenge!  Ha Ha!!!  Wouldn't it be funny if I sent her like a cheapo $20 check inside?!?!  Hee hee.  It was very tedious, I made all the flowers with the Cricut and crumpled them, used a lot of Stickles, glued each rhinestone on individually, and colored the pink ones with a Copic marker.  The sentiment is stamped on paper behind that glitter chipboard piece, with a piece of clear plastic sandwiched in between to make it shiny.  Thanks to my Aunt Sharon who sent me a huge pile of ribbon, including that hot pink satin beauty on the top of the card.  I can't wait to see if she loves the card as much as I loved making it!  Now this is how you jazz up your creative juices!

Cindy ScrappyV

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not quite finished, but...

I wanted to enter this into The Play Date Cafe's color splash challenge, which is due by Tuesday at midnight....so, the card is done, but the rest of it is not!  I will finish the rest to do my normal Thursday Project Runway All Stars challenge, so stay tuned!  It's going to be even more special than this card!

The color splash is B&W with a splash of HOT PINK!!!  Just take a look at my blog...perhaps I like these colors????  :)  I am going to send this card to my cousin for her wedding.  So not my style, but I like stepping outside of my clean and simple box every once in a while.  :)

I will do a more complete run down on this card Thursday.....it was time consuming.  I don't buy those rhinestone crystal design stickers because I'm poor, cheap, thrifty, so I glue each one individually.  Also, I color clear rhinestones with alcohol ink or a Copic marker.....until Thursday!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Project Runway Challenge #6

Okay, here we go again!  This week's challenge was much easier to convert to a card than the others have been.  The designers had to do a head to head challenge based on a season they randomly picked.  Soooo, since I am solo here, I didn't do a head to head, but I did put all four seasons in a bag and pick.  My choice was Autumn!  What luck--it's my favorite season and I have tons of papers with those fall colors.

I also decided to play along with CardPatterns this week.  Shocking, I know, since I have been out of the challenge circuit for a few months.  I found myself stuck in the same sketch over and over, so I went online to find some inspiration.  Here is the sketch:

And here is my interpretation of the Project Runway All Stars seasonal challenge and the CardPatterns sketch:
Love it!  I decided to do a square card because I never make them...I sell most of my cards, and square cards cost more to go through the mail, so I keep them rectangular and usually a standard size.  I finally broke into my new Distress Stains to make the background--just tapped the tip onto the paper so it blotched out.  When it was still a little wet, I tapped gold Perfect Pearls over the ink blotches to give that iridescence.  The pumpkin is a Cricut cutout (from one of my 5 whole cartridges and my old-ass Cricut!).  Definitely landed me in the top 3!  Ha ha!  Don't you think the designers would prefer if they got to choose their fate like I do???  So, here's Warmest Wishes to all my followers and blog readers....until next week!

Cindy ScrappyV

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Project Runway Challenge #5...Stranger on the street

Oh boy!  Approach a stranger on the street, make them my muse, then take their clothes?!?!?  Fine when you’re a Project Runway contestant with a camera crew following you….quite a different thing when you’re a weirdo on the street with your own papercrafting blog.  Sooooo, what to do??  I decided, after much deliberation, to make the Runway designs my muse…and not steal anything from anyone!  I have quite a stash and I decided to shop that instead. 

Interestingly enough, I looked through all the designs and was really stricken (struck??) by Jerell’s design:

I don’t like this look and I felt like he deserved his place in the bottom, but I was drawn to the low slung skirt and I felt like I could do a mix of pattern papers MUCH better, even though I consider myself to be patterned paper challenged, so I guess it really is a challenge for me! Here's what I came up with:

Hmmmmm.....what do you think???  I like the colors and the mix of the two patterned papers with the bright flowers and ribbon, but I feel like it's missing something.  I keep feeling that I missed the spirit of the original...but I did want to make it sleeker.  So, there it is!  I guess I am still patterned paper challenged, because I really tried to use a lot of them...I got a lot of papers out, but only used a couple.  I guess that's my style!  I understand what the designers mean when they get eliminated and they say they feel like they didn't really get to show what THEY do.  So get it now.....it's difficult to fit your style into these weird challenges.  Until next week....

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Project Runway Challenge #4...Gelato Inspired

OMG!  This challenge went by so quick!  Part of the challenge each week for me is how to interpret the challenges from Project Runway into my card making.  They don't all translate that easily, but I think that's part of the fun for me...figuring that out really cranks up the ol' brain cells.

This week, the designers had to create a look inspired by a gelato flavor and they only had 6 HOURS (plus a little time to sketch and buy fabric) to finish!  That's the fastest challenge in Project Runway history!  So, how to interpret this for me??  I decided to choose my favorite look at the end of the show and create a card based on that in 15 minutes!!!!  Since I gave myself an hour when PR gave the designers a day, it makes sense that 6 hours would translate to 15 minutes...oy vey!  I also gave myself 5 minutes to think and shop my stash.

I really loved Mondo's look based on cantaloupe--I totally love resort wear, it always takes me back to some great vacations Joe and I have taken, so that's the one I chose:

Here is my (15 minute) interpretation:

The time flew by!  There was no time to dilly dally over which sentiment, which ribbon, etc.  It was just--get it on there!  I am pleased with the result, but it's not ground breaking.  I have had that green paper for like 2 years and love it so much that I never could actually use it--so glad the time challenge forced me to just CUT it!  So, depending on the judge's moods this week, I'm either safe or in the bottom because I feel like it's just "fine."  What do you think???  Tuning in tonight to figure out how in the world I am going to get through another challenge!!!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sending warm Fozzies...Project Runway Challenge #3

This week, the designers had to design an outfit for Miss Piggy to wear to the opening of her new Muppet Movie!  Imagine the horror of having a pig puppet tell you on tv "I can use that hat to clean my pots and pans." Ouch.

What on earth could I do with this one??  I decided to make a card for Miss Piggy, vs. doing a card featuring Miss Piggy, or pigs in general.  I didn't give myself any budget here (mostly due to the last one being so high), so I shopped my stash and gave myself about 2 hours to finish.  Here is my design!

I used this really fun Pink Paislee paper called Soiree that I got when I won a Moxie Fab World challenge last year.  (You can check my winning entry here.)  I thought they were so colorful and fun, just like Miss Piggy!  I made the chevrons using Jennifer McGuire's YouTube tutorial.  Then, to top it all off, I used the sentiment from Hero Arts and took the ink off the "u" in fuzzies, to make it "fozzies!"  I gotta say I don't LOVE the Stickles on it, but I felt like the chevron strips weren't defined enough (I didn't choose that wisely...wasn't thinking about how the strips would look all chopped up.)  But, I think it's bright and fun, and I feel like I would be SAFE in this challenge!  Can't wait till tonight's episode to get my mojo going once again!

Cindy ScrappyV

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Night at the Opera..Project Runway Challenge #2

This week's episode of Project Runway All Stars included guest judges Mark Badgley and James Mischka, and Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa)...do they not all three make the most amazing evening gowns??  Oh, how I would love to wear a Marchesa wedding dress (someday....)

The designers' challenge was to create a couture gown that could be worn to the opera.  They had a budget of $350 at Mood, and one day to create the look!  Badgley and Mischka mentioned that the gown should be classic, elegant, romantic, feminine, soft, etc.  Austin Scarlett won this challenge with a gold lame dress...but I liked the other two highest score dresses better.

Oh, how to interpret this into a card???  I decided to just do a really beautiful, elegant card.  Something you would give to a couple at a black tie affair.  I gave myself a budget of $15...doesn't seem like that much, but for this girl, who rarely buys anything without a coupon, that's a lot.  Since a huge part of this challenge was the short amount of time the designers had to make their gown, I decided to give myself only one hour to make this card!

Without further ado, here is the design I came up with:

The one hour time limit was really difficult!  I finished just in time.  I like the look of the rhinestones, but I wish I had placed them closer together at the bottom left corner.  All in all, I think my scores would have qualified me to move onto the next round!  Ha ha!  I wish there was a little more complicated fold, or something like that, but the time really didn't allow.   It was really nice to just see what I liked and buy it!  Ha!   Also, I love the way this challenge has sparked my creativity--forcing me to step out of my comfort zone and really try new things.  Until next week....

Cindy ScrappyV

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Project Runway Challenge Begins!

Miss me?!?!?!  It's been so long since I've blogged.....I was super busy for the holidays, making cards to sell on my Etsy shop.  It was a pretty successful holiday season for me, so I'm very pleased!

So, here is my latest challenge.....The Project Runway All Stars Design Challenge!  I LOVE Project Runway so much--one of my favorite shows.  I love how the challenges bring out the best and worst in the creative processes of the designers and I see a lot of parallels to how I work creatively.  Here's how it's going to work:  I will adapt each week's Project Runway challenge to my card making and create a new project with the same (or similar) guidelines as the designers have!  I didn't give myself the same timelines because I am part of society, unlike the designers, who are holed up in NYC, working away....

1st EPISODE:  The 13 All Star designers each brought one of their signature designs with them and they had an impromptu fashion show right away.  They were all stunning, by the way.  Their challenge was to create a look inspired by their signature design, using unconventional materials found at the Dollar Store!  They got $100 and 30 minutes to look for stuff (they can also use muslin as their base).  The results were amazing!

I adapted the challenge to create a card set based on one of my signature card sets, using stuff I found at the Dollar Store!  I gave myself $5 and 10 minutes to look for things, using white card stock as my version of muslin.  How much fun?!?!?!  The signature design I chose because it is one of my favorites and most successful sellers:

So, off we went to the Dollar Store, where I thought I might buy some ribbons or some streamers, or something similar...but when I walked in, I saw these dried grasses right away and my mind went wild! Four minutes! (Joe was like, "Are you SURE you shouldn't use your entire time? You know what the judges will say.") Ha!

So, after a few days of hot glue and grasses all over my desk, here is what I came up with:

LOVE them!  I totally think I would be the winner in this challenge!  It took me a while to get the technique down, but I ended up using Distress Inks for the background card (so any card that showed through wouldn't be so stark white)...totally comparable to using Rit Dye, right??  I cut small strips of card stock and hot glued the grasses individually in sections of 1/4 to 1/2 inch (the glue hardens quickly).  And then glued those strips to the card stock base.  Here is a photo (the strip of grasses is on the back side):

So, here's to a creative 2012!  If anyone wants to play along, leave me a comment and we'll see what we can do!

Cindy ScrappyV