Friday, September 27, 2013

The Outlawz Alcohol Markers Anything Goes Challenge

Our last challenge of the month is Anything Goes with an optional Christmas twist. And I take every opportunity I can now to make a Christmas card. I don't want to be in the same boat as I was last year--not enough cards made to send to my entire list. Really not good. Really.

Our September sponsor is Digistamps4Joy, and the winner will receive 5 digis. (I neglected to mention this last week.) And our own Jen Leeflang is artiste extraordinaire for DS4J. She has drawn over 500 images for the digi company! Can you say, 'WOW'?

Before I get to my card, I promised a review of the restaurants we visited during Arizona Restaurant Week. So far we have been to three, with one more tonight. (And, if I am really lucky, maybe Gary will take me to one on Sunday, the final night of the specials.)

Last Saturday we zipped up to Scottsdale to chow down at Tapas Papa Frita. We had never heard of the restaurant before this week, so it was intriguing to try it. (I think that is the whole purpose of the week--to get new customers into restaurants around the Valley of the Sun.) TPF, for short, is located on Stetson Drive on the second floor, right across from The Herb Box, (one of my fav places for lunch.) The chef/owner is a Basque from Spain, and was there to greet us when we came in the wrong door. (We were led into the back kitchen door by an employee when we asked where the restaurant was--yes, we are old and basically can't find our way out of a paper bag.) Anyway, the owner was most accommodating and led us to our table. The place has a really cool vibe (whatever does that mean?). You can be seated at tables for two or more, and there is a very long center table set-up that can seat an extremely large party. They have flamenco guitar and dancing later in the evenings on weekends, but we were done before they started their show.

We were given a glass of refreshing Mohito Sangria to start, along with some yummy dinner rolls and dip. And we took part in the wine special for the evening--a bottle of Crianza Tempranillo/Grenache blend that was 50% off and really wonderful. I ordered crab-stuffed piquillo peppers with Albarino saffron sauce for my appetizer. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven--it was that good. Gary had the Spanish cheese-stuffed Medjool dates with bacon, which were pretty darn phenomenal, too. For our main courses, I got a really great seafood paella, while Gary dined on braised pork tenderloin, with dry chilies and red wine sauce and toasted bread on the side. He loved it. And, for dessert, I had the churros con chocolate--the best churros I have ever eaten. Oh, my they were scrumptious! And Gary had Brazo Gitano, or Gypsy Arm Cake, which is a sponge cake roll, filled with whipped cream. We both thought that my dessert was the better of the two. Service was excellent, great atmosphere, and we will go back--especially now that we know where they are! (Cost: $40 per person.)

Tuesday night we met friends at Coup des Tartes, a BYOB, in central Phoenix. (Our friends brought a fabulous Duckhorn Merlot. A whole Magnum of it. Yes, yes, we finished it off, but to be fair, dinner did take 3 hours.) Coup des Tartes is a tiny little restaurant inside an old farmhouse, (built in 1932), on 24th Street, 16th Street. I have wanted to go there for years--ever since it opened in the 90's. The food reviews were always really good. And just recently the owner found out that the land his restaurant sits on was purchased and will be turned into a parking lot. So Coup des Tartes has to move to a new location, but the owner insists that the service will not miss a beat in the move. It's really a bummer, because this place is so cute. Most of the tables are in the living room, with a few more in another small room. They can seat only 40 diners at one time. Like I said, tiny.

But the food flavors are not tiny. We started out with a cheese, fruit & nut platter, which was really tasty, although I tried to eat sparingly, knowing I had three courses to go. Both Gary and I ordered the lobster Napolean with fresh organic greens, mango, and herbs. It was just the right-sized portion for an appetizer, and really succulent. Yum! Then Gary ordered the lamb shank, which was grass-fed, from Australia, coated with Moroccan warm spices, braised all day, and served over pearl couscous. He loved it. (I didn't taste it, as I don't care much for lamb.) I ordered the roasted salmon, which was open-ocean raised and organic, and I am not really sure how they do that. Anyway, the salmon was oven roasted and served with a savory butternut squash risotto, asparagus, and finished with roasted pumpkin seeds. It tasted entirely different from any salmon I have ever eaten, and was easily one of the most delicious. Dessert was chocolate pots de creme for both of us. Really rich, yummy custard, topped with fresh cream. And then we had coffee also, which I don't drink often as it causes heartburn for me. But this was really delicious coffee. I should have asked where they get their beans, but, alas, I didn't. (Cost: $40 per person.)

Then Wednesday night found Gary and I meeting at Beaver Choice, which has won an award as the worst-named restaurant, for obvious reasons. It is now located in Mesa on Baseline, east of Alma School--which was my old neighborhood for 21 years. (And how fast those years flew by.) The restaurant serves Northern European food, which is not my favorite, but I thought we should give the place a try. I had eaten at their old location once, with our daughter, for lunch; and, although the service had been atrocious, I remember that the food was tasty.

Well, the service is much better, though still uneven. Our waiter was wonderful, but our dishes came out at different times, which really frustrates me. It feels so rude to start eating when your dinner partner has no food. Even if your dinner companion is Gary. (Just kidding.) The kitchen still needs to do a bit of tweaking to get tables served at the same time.

Now I love dill, and it is featured frequently in the food at Beaver Choice. Gary is not a fan. Can you see where this is going? Yeah, I loved my meal--him, not so much. So we won't be going back, though I may still have a lunch there with our daughter, who loves the place.

I started my meal with three canapes: shrimp salad, gravlax, and Swedish potato salad with Black Forest ham. All three were delicious. Gary had potato horseradish soup with bacon and smoked sausage. I tasted it; it was OK, but certainly nothing like my appetizer. For dinner I ordered the seared gravlax topped with shrimp salad. (I kind of overdid salmon there two days in a row. But they were such different treatments, and both equally yummy.) The salmon just melted in my mouth. I had a side of really good, pan-fried thyme potatoes and three tiny salad accompaniments--sauerkraut, (very good), tomato basil, (a bit too much onion), and bean, (which tasted like canned beans. Ugh.). So this was a mixed bag meal. For Gary, his chicken schnitzel Cordon Bleu with Black Forest ham and Brie didn't hit the mark. I thought it was a bit tasteless, so I would never order it. He had the same three salads--he ate none of them--and some OK mashed potatoes. So I know why he doesn't want to eat there again. Oh, yeah, for dessert we had French-pressed coffee, (there's that coffee again: it's a wonder I didn't get indigestion!), and I ordered the Swedish pancakes filled with ligonberry, (absolutely excellent), while Gary had Rodgrod Med Flode, a berry & rhubarb concoction, which was tasty, but again, nowhere near as good as what I had. (Cost: $30 per person, including a glass of OK wine.)

So. That's the end of our eating adventures. Well, not quite. As we are going to Vincent's on Camelback tonight. I haven't been there in a few years. I loved the meals I have eaten there, so I am excited to go back and try something different this time. Will blog about that next week. Also, my sister, Merrilyn, and I are going to lunch today at Bink's Midtown, which is the Phoenix Magazine's Restaurant of the Year. Can't wait to try their food!

Now, if you have read all this, you are either a foodie, or a glutton for punishment. I'll let you determine which category you fall into. Without further ado, here are the details of my card:

I chose Saturated Canary Spritz for my card--he's too cute, don't you think?--and printed him on MICBC. I colored him with the following Copics:

Skin: E000, E00, E21, E11, E04, R20
Eyes: E43, E44, E47
Hair: E43, E44, E47, E49
Diaper: W00, W0, W1
Candy Cane: R56, R59, W1
Hat: R56, R59
Shoes/Wings: BG90, BG93
Shadow: W0, W1
Jingle Bell: W1, W3

My DP comes from the Memory Box Yuletide collection, and I distressed it with my Zutter; I paired it with Stampin' Up and DCWV CS. My sentiment is from Whimsy, (Holiday Ticket sentiments), and was die cut with a Whimsy ticket die. 

The other dies I used were: Memory Box Frostyville, Memory Box Grapevine Wreath, Cheery Lynn Build a Flower #1, Cheery Lynn Build a Flower #3 Embellishment, and Cheery Lynn Poinsettia Strip.

I added baker's twine, jingle bells, a SU brad, some ribbon, and a bit of lace. I finished it with Wink of Stella Brush Clear and Stampendous Frantage.

This week's creations by my talented teammates are so pretty--do stop to see them. And please play along this week--it's easy-peasy. Anything Goes. With a Christmas twist, if you like. Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Outlawz Alcohol Markers Around the World Challenge

Today's challenge is to color an image that features a country. I suppose I could have done a cowboy/girl, since I live in the Wild, Wild West of the USA. But I decided to feature a foreign country instead. I chose Egypt, because I had such cute Egyptian images to use from Tiddly Inks. And I was able to get a background from Make It Crafty to go with the little gal I selected to color. So the images I printed on MICBC are: Tiddly Inks Young Cleopatra and Make It Crafty Egyptian Pyramids. My sentiment is from Tiddly Inks Egyptian Extras and Sentiments.

The Copic and Twin Touch Brush markers I used were:

Skin: E000, E01, TTR131, TTR139
Hair: C1, C5, C7, C8, C9, 10
Jewelry/Sandals/Hair Accents: Y21, Y23, Y26
Dress: BG10, BG11, C0, C1
Clouds: C0, C1
Sky: BG0000, BG10
Desert/Pyramids: E00, E11, E13, E15, E18

I added some die cuts on this card, (what a shock, right?), using the following dies: 
Cheery Lynn Oval Silver Stackers
Cheery Lynn Horizon Oval Boutique Stackers
MFT Fishtail Flags Stax 
SCACD Garden Corners

My DP is from the MME Honey Cake collection; it was distressed and paired with Stampin' Up CS. I added: chipboard dragonflies, brushed with Wink of Stella Brush Gold; pins, flowers, and swirls from WOC; and Tim Holtz Film Strip Ribbon. That's it for this week. I do intend to enter my card into the following:

I am going to mention a couple of things in closing. First of all, we went to the Arizona Cardinals game on Sunday, and we got to see them win in an exciting finish. The game was really worth the price of admission. Now, hopefully, the team will keep winning, especially at home!

Also, the Arizona Diamondbacks were finally eliminated from playoff contention yesterday. Boo, hiss. I know that their management doesn't read this blog, and wouldn't take my advice even if they did. But, really, guys, (yeah, Towers, I do mean you), can you please fix the bullpen? It sucks. Big time. And it wouldn't hurt to get another starting pitcher--a good, reliable one this time, OK? Thank you. 

I had my teeth cleaned on Monday--what a way to start a week, huh? Fortunately, my dentist was able to fix my bite, which has been off ever since I had oral surgery in March. I no longer clang my teeth together when pronouncing my J's, hallelujah! Now, if I could just stop grinding my teeth in my sleep. Got any tips for me?

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Our daughter, Angela, and I are meeting for lunch on Saturday. And I am sure that Gary and I will go out to dinner at least once this weekend--and, hopefully during next week, too--because this is Restaurant Week again in the Valley of the Sun. And that, my friends, is a very, very good thing! Look for one or two restaurant reviews here next week.

Please check out the fabulous creations by my teammates this week! And do find a fun image to color, and then play along with us! Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! 

Jellypark Friends Release 9-20-2013

Time for another Jellypark Friends release and challenge today. And the release images are so cute, as always. One for sons and one for daughters. And since I have no sons, I chose the daughter image to use. Make sense? Yes, it does, and that is downright scary, don't you think?

I printed my image on MICBC and colored it with my Copics and Twin Touch Brush markers:

Skin: E000, E01, TTR131, TTR139
Hair: Y21, YR23, E33, E35, E37
Socks: R32, R35, R37, R39, E40, E41, E42
Shirt: E40, E41, E42
Jeans: B32, B34, B37, B39, C2
Copic Spicas for Jewelry

The jeans were texturized with a piece of denim and some blender ink. I used DP from the Bazzill Beach House collection, along with a base of Stampin' Up CS. As you can see, I paper-pieced the "Daughter" portion of the image. I spent a great deal of time and imagination on my sentiment. (Yes, I am just kidding, although I did add a bit of Distress Ink to it.) My die cuts are from MFT Fishtail Flags Stax dies. 

Please stop by our new challenge and check out the fun creations by my talented teamies for the challenge and the new release images. I am looking forward to you joining us again this fortnight!

I will be back with another post today. You lucky ducks, you. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Outlawz Alcohol Markers "Chocolate" Challenge

Today marks my first Outlawz challenge as a member of the Alcohol Markers DT. I switched over from the Greetings Card group this week. I am really excited to be a part of the Alcohol Markers team. I did my first GDT with them 1-1/2 years ago, which started me on my journey as a DT member. Guess I have come full circle, huh? I also want to thank my team leaders and teammates, from the Greetings Card group, for a wonderful past year. I wish them all the best.

Our sponsor this month is Digistamps4Joy. Our DT member, Jen, is one of the talented artists for DS4J. And this month's winner, chosen at random, will win 5 digis of his/her choice. Kewl, huh?


It's been a week since my last post. And I wish I could remember everything that happened in this last week. Sadly, I can't. I have been reading so much that I let everything else just pass me by. Well, I did clean house and made a card and did the laundry and ate at Bourbon Steak with friends on Saturday night. (Bourbon Steak is a restaurant up at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale.)

About that meal. To start, they bring out french fries, fried in duck fat, with three dipping sauces. I don't eat fries often, and duck fat didn't sound too good to me, so I passed on the starter. (I actually would have preferred a really good dinner roll. That I would have eaten.)

For an appetizer, Gary and I split an order of cold prawns, served with two sauces. When the prawns arrived, we noticed that there were only two of them. But they were huge! And darned if they weren't tough to chew. Overcooked, and for $30, you would expect better. But did we complain? No. Because it takes a lot for us to complain. Obviously.

Gary ordered the Wagyu filet, medium. He got it medium rare, but did he complain? No. Because it takes a lot for us to complain. Again. 

I actually loved my meal. I had really delicious Alaskan halibut, served with a wonderful risotto, English peas, and royal trumpets. It just melted in my mouth. My tummy was doing the happy dance. 

Gary's favorite course was his strawberry shortcake. He said it was really good. And I had the beignets with Macallan 18 year butterscotch pudding. I have no idea what the 18 years mean. Nor do I care. All I know is that each bite was incredibly sweet and satisfying. 

I doubt that we will ever go back; as Gary says, we have had lots of better meals at less expensive restaurants. So there is that. But it was a pretty place to eat. And a Michael Mina restaurant. For those of you who care.

Now, to my friends and family who are stunned that I cleaned house. I had to. The Directv guy was coming over to install updated equipment for our three televisions. Since he had to see most of my house, it needed to be clean. That's just the way I roll. And Gary didn't do a bit of it, because I actually cleaned during the week. Whaaaaaaat? Yes, that's right. I did it all by myself. And I'm paying the price for it still. My back is just one big ache. Vacuuming still rips it up. Oh well...I'll let G do that when we clean again next year. (Just kidding, I think. About next year, not about Gary.)

So on to my card for the challenge. Chocolate. One of my favorite subjects. And I found a really cute image to use: The Paper Shelter There's A Penguin In My Cocoa. Love this little guy. I printed him on MICBC and used my Copics for coloring. (Now there's a shocker for you, especially since this is the Alcohol Markers card.)

G40, G43, G46, YR21, YR24, YR27, E23, E25, E27, E50, E51, E53, R00, R46, R59, C0, C2, C5, C7, Copic Spica

Here's a list of my card components:
DP: American Crafts Kringle & Co.
CS: Stampin' Up
Dies:   MFT Always Time for Tea
          Spellbinders Circles
          Cheery Lynn Pine Branches, Christmas Knick Knacks, Sofia's 
             Heart Doily, and Mini Sofia's Heart Doily         
Wink of Stella Brush Clear
Flower Soft Polar White

And I followed, (in my own way, of course), a sketch from this week's Sunday Sketch & Stamp Challenge.

I also used my Zutter to distress my DP. That pretty much does it for this go-round for me.

And I have to say, the creations by my talented alcohol teamies are really worth a look! (Notice I did not say alcoholic teamies. 'Cuz that just would not have been nice. And I am always nothing if not nice. OK, you can quit rolling your eyes now.) 

I have to go. All this chocolate has made me hungry. And I have to find something to eat that has no calories. At all. Because I am trying to make up for the beignets I had last Saturday. 

Have a great weekend! And be sure and join us with your creation--color a chocolate image, or color an image in chocolate browns. Easy peasy!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Jellypark Friends All About The Kids Challenge

This fortnight's challenge is All About The Kids. Can be back to school or birthdays or whatever, as long as the card is for a child. And I was especially lucky this week, as the son of The Deli's owners was having a birthday to celebrate. So I made a birthday card for him, using Pirate Boy in Box for my image.

I do remember loving to make forts with big boxes when I was a wee young thing. Yeah, I know, that was centuries ago, but still...

Anyway, since there was a cardboard box in my image, I used a piece of cardboard on my card. Along with a Dymo sentiment, a Cheery Lynn Chicken Wire Frame die cut, and a couple of anchors from the Marianne Designs Sea Side set, my card was about done. Oh, yeah, I did use Stampin' Up CS, and I did color my image with Copic and Twin Touch Brush markers:

Skin: E000, E00, E11, TTR131, TTR139, TTYR133
Hair/Box: E41, E42, E43, E44, 47
Shirt/Bandanna: B91, B93, C5, C7, C9
Shadow: C0, C1, C3

NFL football starts tonight. (I wrote this last night, you understand.) And I am ready. I have all four fantasy team line-ups set. I can already see mistakes I made in my drafts. So a couple of my players won't be on my teams very long. I'll fire them and grab someone better next week. (I hope.) Am I crazy to put myself through this again this year? Most definitely. But it keeps peace in my marriage, so there is that.

Hope you have a really fabulous weekend! Be sure to check out the rest of the DT's cards for the challenge, as well as the creations made with the two adorable, newly-released images. My teamies are so talented; I know you'll enjoy the inspiration. And then please join us for our new challenge! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Outlawz Greetings Card Back to School Challenge

Well, it's Monday again, but it surely doesn't feel like it! Gary is home for Labor Day, and we won't get any mail. So it feels a bit like a second Sunday. Anyway, it's time for another Outlawz Greetings Card challenge. This week we want to see what you create with a Back to School theme.

I am really late getting this posted, but there were extenuating circumstances. Like a really, really full weekend with my hubby. You know, going out to eat, going to baseball games, Fantasy Football drafts, etc. A really full and fun weekend with him. So there is that.

OK, for today's card I chose two Tiddly Inks images that I love. One is my background, Blackboard, and the other is the sweet Schoolgirl. I needed to do a CAS card really fast, so I combined these with a sentiment and voila! Done!

I decided to enter a CAS challenge with this card:

A Creative Romance CAS Challenge

I did use Stampin' Up CS for my card base and sentiment. I printed Schoolgirl on MICBC and colored her with my Copic and Twin Touch Brush markers:

Skin: E000, TTR131, TTR139, TTYR133
Hair: E11, E13, E15, E18
Skirt/Bow: Y21, Y23, Y26, Y28
Blouse/Socks: B21, B23, B26
Books: E41, E43, E44, BG93, BG96, BG99, C2, C4, C6

So check out the inspiration by my talented teamies here. And then get your creative hats on and join us. Have a wonderful week!