My Digital Studio: 5 Ways on Fridays


My Digital Studio is a Sweet digital designing Suite from Stampin’ Up! that has evolved to become quite an intuitive user experience. If you are like I (was), you may have just turned off and tuned out…

“I’m computer challenged,” you were thinking, “and I’ll never be able to learn digital stuff. It sounds too complicated.”

Stop. Right. There. 

MDS is INTUITIVE (look it up if you don’t know the meaning) and it’s EASY…and there are step-by-step training videos. Hello?! And templates that you can drag & drop pictures into (or customize). And you can try it FREE for 30 days. Duh. This is a no-brainer. (As long as you have an hour or two to play with it, so don’t download the free trial the week your daughter is getting married) 

Obviously, it is optimal for creating photo albums and cards…but THAT’S NOT ALL it’s good for! Today I’m sharing 5 different ways to use My Digital Studio:

1. Fabric Transfers

When I saw this on the SU! blog with instructions for using MDS to print on transfer paper, I was so delighted! How fun and easy to dress up not only our mini muslin bags, but a t-shirt, a backpack or a piece of fabric to frame in an embroidery hoop. Crafters…start your irons!

2. Chalkboard Quote Template

There are plenty of ways to add the look of chalkboard to your card and pages in My Digital studio (I like this video by Kimberly Van Diepen) but did you know you can also print a template to use on a chalkboard wall (or frame)? Check out the tutorial here or click on the picture above.

3. Recipe/Cook Books

There are actually quite a few recipe book templates to choose from in MDS and you can print them as board books, hard bound books, single pages or in this case (and my favorite) as a free-standing recipe book using the Easel Calendar format 🙂 How cool would it be to gather family comfort food recipes (and pictures of family members cooking them) to compile as a gift for a family reunion or Christmas?

4. E-Cutters & MDS

(Personalized Water Bottle by Connie Collins)
Oh, yes, digi-crafters…you read that CORRECTLY! My Digital Studio has SVG files that can be used with E-CUTTERS! Which means that you can cut paper and VINYL (and who knows what else) with an E-Cutter that can import any SVG file. 

Video Tutorials that may be helpful in learning how-to: 
Kimberly Van Diepen shows you the basics of SVG files and e-Cutters
Erica Cerwin also teaches MDS & SVG here
While there are a few e-cutters that seem to work, Silhouette Cameo is a popular choice and
Connie Collins walks you through the process from start to finish in this video
5. Home Decor

Create a year’s worth of interchangeable quotes to showcase in a lovely frame. If you create 5×7 postcards in My Digital Studio, you can print on both sides of the card: 6 cards will give you 12 personalized quotes or pictures (and through November 30, 2013, printing through MDS is 30% off). You can even peek at a friend’s Pinterest board to find her favorite quotes and make it a very thoughtful gift.

DO YOU HAVE MORE IDEAS FOR MY DIGITAL STUDIO? Share them (or links) in the comments so we can compile a resource of MDS ideas that are “outside the book” 🙂

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting this list in November 2013, you can take advantage of the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…for digi crafters, anyway…because many digital downloads AND print services are 30% off through November 30, 2013! Check out the awesomeness HERE.
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Scavenger Hunt Winner, Friendship Card & Recipe Share!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by Saturday for either the Hostess Appreciation Breakfast or “I Spy” Catalog Reception! As promised, here is the recipe for the Overnight Apple Cinnamon French Toast served at the breakfast (from allrecipes.com with a few modifications):

 Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling (or 1 quart jar of homemade apple pie filling + 3 apples, peeled and sliced)
  • 16-20 slices white bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Spread the sugar mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the apple pie filling evenly over the sugar mixture. Layer the bread slices on top of the filling, pressing down as you go. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla. Slowly pour this mixture over the bread, making sure that it is completely absorbed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Place covered pan into the oven and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 to 75 minutes. When done remove from oven and turn on broiler. Remove foil and drizzle maple syrup on top of the egg topping; broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the syrup begins to caramelize. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares. Invert the pan onto a serving tray or baking sheet so the apple filling is on top. Serve hot.

This is the card we made at the Hostess Appreciation using the “Faux Diamonds” technique…can you see the glitter on the “yes, please” circle? It’s pretty fabulous in person! The stamp set is one of my new favorites from the catalog called “From My Heart” on page 139 of the new SU! catalog:

If you missed the open house, contact me to Join a Club or schedule a party and get a new catalog FREE! And just for fun, here is the link to the “I Spy Catalog Scavenger Hunt” you can print off and play as you discover creative treasures in the fabulous new Stampin’ Up! Catalog!

And congratulations to HEATHER ASH who won the Scavenger Hunt drawing and the “Bright Blossoms” stamp set!!!

Tin Cans and Tasty Treats

 I had started this post a few weeks ago, but have been so busy at the bookstore I wasn’t able to post before now…but don’t fret! You can can gifts ANYTIME of the year 🙂 This is just a sample of one way to decorate a tin can that contains an unexpected surprise…and read the whole post for a tasty treat that you can make quickly to put inside if you don’t happen to have pearls or diamonds to put into the can (which happen to fit nicely, or gift cards, or other small gifts)
The easiest way to make these is to use a clean-edge can opener and open the bottom of the can, clean it out and take off the wrapper (so you can add your own). Once the can is dry, put your gift in and use a thin line of Crystal Effects (from Stampin’ Up! of course!) around the edge of the lid you removed and press down to re-seal can. Add a decorative cover and voila! A canned gift!
Interestingly, the gals over at Our Best Bites were sharing the same idea this week and if you want to just print off a label, click on the picture below for a link to their post and a free printable 🙂
Now ONE MORE TREAT for you…this is my favorite Christmas Candy, but be WARNED! It is EXTREMELY ADDICTING:
 Caramel Snowman Poop!
2 cups Butter
1 cup Honey
4 cups Sugar
1 cup Cream (I used whipping cream)
Combine all ingredients and cook, stirring frequently to soft ball stage. Pour over 2 large Tupperware bowls of popcorn, Chex or ~my favorite~ a large bag of puffed corn cereal (they sell it this time of year in a big bag at the grocery story, which reminds me to make some and then give it all away or else I would eat it all myself).

Change Time, Change Batteries or "Learn from my mistake"

A few Saturdays ago, we made and bottled Apple Pie Filling until 9:30 p.m. (see below for a great recipe given to me by my best friend, Kelli). We were pretty exhausted, the husband and I because you see, we had been up since 3 a.m. (a story for another time). But the last batch we made was beautiful! We cleaned up the canning kitchen (which is in our basement), mopped the floors and turned out the lights. As we were preparing for bed, one of the smoke detectors started chirping because the battery was almost dead. 
This may be as good a time as any to explain that we had already removed 3 dead batteries (from the 5 total smoke detectors in our home) and had never replaced them. That annoying chirping when the battery dies ALWAYS starts in the middle of the night causing one to lose sleep waiting…for…the…next…beep!!! AARRGGHH! And of course, once one has had a good night’s sleep, one never thinks to replace the battery, because that would require going to the store and buying some 9 volt batteries, which one never happens to have just laying around.
Back to the story: We promptly removed the battery from the second-to-last working smoke detector (ensuring an uninterrupted night of rest!), said our prayers (thanking God for safety and protection, of course…all the while He’s shaking His head, I’m sure..) and went to sleep.
At 1 a.m., we awake to the blare (NOT a chirp or beep) of the last working smoke detector screaming that there is a problem! Remember the old movies about how to be safe in a fire? You are supposed to feel your door to see if it’s hot, right? Who remembers that when the alarm is piercing your groggy brain? My husband flings open the door and 3 feet of smoke billows in on the ceiling. Suddenly I remember that I forgot to turn off the hot water bath with the last batch of Apple Pie Filling!!
We were lucky…the water had burned off and 3 bottles had burst, allowing the apples and sugar to start smoking and were able to get it out the door before it started to burn! 
So take it from me, folks…when the time changes, CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS!!! And here’s another little life lesson: Don’t Google “smoking pot picture” if you are looking for an image of a burning pan in the kitchen…
Now to the good stuff! Here’s the recipe for bottled Apple Pie Filling (thanks, Kelli!)
24 pounds (1/2 bushel) Apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
Mix together: 5 c. water, 6 c. sugar, 12 T cornstarch and 3 T cinnamon. Heat and stir until clear (it will still be brown, but not opaque). Add sliced apples and stir just ’til hot. Pour into jars and process in hot water bath for 25 minutes (REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE STOVE WHEN FINISHED). 
To make a pie: Pour into pie crust and bake 45 minutes at 425 degrees.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

TRY THIS AT HOME! Today’s creativity comes from the kitchen 🙂

My teenage son came home from a sleepover a few months ago and said, “Mom! You *HAVE* to get the recipe for vanilla syrup from Josh’s mom!!! CALL HER NOW!!! It’s the best stuff I have EVER TASTED!!!” (No extra emphasis added)

“Well,” says I, “if you like it so much, why don’t YOU ask her for it?”

So he did. And we love it. AND it’s easy. NOT TO MENTION that there is a cube of butter in the recipe.

Need I say more??

Without further ado, I present to you…..Kim’s Vanilla Syrup:

Mix one cube of butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of buttermilk (yeah, more butter!) in saucepan and boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour over pancakes or waffles (or just spoon directly into mouth, if you can afford the calories…)

This would probably be about a million Weight Watchers points (so I try to pace myself), but if you need great recipes for that, go to my friend Lacy’s Weight Watchers Recipe blog…she’s reached her 10% goal and is still going strong!

And thanks, Kim, for contributing to my sugar obsession.

Memorial Day: King of the Grill

In honor of those backyard chefs who display their skill on Memorial Day, here’s a card by MaryAnn Meyers (from the Summer Mini Swap) to kick off your weekend:
 

…and just in case you tire of the same old hamburgers and hot dogs, this is my all-time favorite and super-simple marinade for chicken (try it and leave a comment to tell me how you like it!)~

Marinated Grilled Chicken
1/2 c. Soy Sauce  
1/4 c. Honey
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 t. ground Ginger
Mix all ingredients together and marinate chicken tenders overnight or at least 4 hours. Grill chicken on BBQ (or broil in oven on a rainy day!). Be careful as it does not take long to cook 🙂