Friday, May 31, 2013

Color Gradient--The Ombre Effect on a Card

I'm working on minimal supplies until I get back home next
week, so it's a bit of a challenge to see what I can create.

However, this technique is actually quite popular right now--
Color Gradient or the Ombre Effect. It has been around
forever, but the trend has really caught on in just about every
form you can imagine--from interior design to nail art.

If you are not familiar with the term, just imagine a paint swatch,
which is exactly what I used to create the effect on my card.
The color ranges from light to dark, and this particular type of
graidient stays in the same hue.

I took three paint swatches-- A10, A9, and A8--and using the
EK Success Zig Zag Border Punch, punched three lines.
By the way, the "in" term for zig zag or ric rac is now chevron.
I was reading a complicated tutorial on how to created a chevron,
when I realized I could do it with my Zig Zag punch!

The sentiment is an oldie from Stampin' Up that I just
happened to have stamped already, and I added a 
little bling.

After I took this picture, I added an embossed line above the top
and below the bottom stripe for a little additional interest. It helped so just
visualize it, okay?

Here are just a few other applications of the ombre effect:

DIY chevron striped created by Nancy @ 
Apartment Therapy

 DIY ombre dresser from IKEA @ decor 8

Nail art @ Populargram

Cake decorating @

Tiered skirt

 (source unknown)

Dolce Vita boots
(source unknown)
Wearing apparel

 Earrings by Skyejuice @

The sky's the limit!

Have you used Color Gradient
in your home decorating?
Do you ever dress with this concept in mind?

Are you more aware of it now and where have you seen it?

Are you attracted to it? If so why, or why not?

I myself like it very much. I think it is soothing to the eye.
As for fashion, I think it is flattering to the figure because the
color gradually flows. There is not an abrupt change which calls
attention to any one particular spot.

I'd love to hear your opinion!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Have a {Simply} Marvelous Birthday

I hope you had a great Memorial Day week-end.

I am using a different computer for the summer that gives me
fits, so I hope that I stay sane and don't throw it through the
wall! If my blog is a little sporadic, it is because of temporary
insanity and I'll try to get it back as soon as possible!

Just an overly simple birthday card that I have for you today.

The paper is wrapping paper that I bought in Italy.

I overheard one of the men say, "Why is she buying
wrapping paper here? She can buy wrapping paper
at Walmart." 

Men just don't understand!

The ovals are from two different Spellbinders sets, and
yes, the aqua one IS cut off on the left side.

I used the scor-pal to dry emboss two lines on the
right edge of the green card base, and...

there you have it.

The stamp is an oldie from Stampendous.
But it is one of my favorites.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

This is a recipe that I received from my husband's sister. She is a wonderful
cook, especially when it comes to baking. I made these cookies for a neighbor-
hood gathering many years ago and was told by one of the men that it was the
BEST cookie he had EVER tasted. I always remember nice compliments like
that, don't you?  It might be fun to pay the Smith's a surprise visit today with
a bag of cookies in my hand. I wonder if he'll remember them?

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

2 cups butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups pre-sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
6 cups rolled oats (yes, 6--this is not a misprint)
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut

Cream shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well. Combine flour and baking soda and add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats and coconut. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes on greased cookie sheet. If you like your cookies soft and chewy,  8 minutes should be about right.  You want to take them out before they actually look done.

 Does it sound like any other cookie recipe to you so far?
Here's what make's them over the top--Add chunks of white chocolate to the dough--I used a
thick baking bar that I chunked up with a knife. You can also use the chips but I like chunks better. Or you can get the wafers that are used for candy making. Michael's and Hobby Lobby carry them. I also added some chocolate chips I had on hand and pecans, Macadamia nuts would be fabulous!

This makes a big batch and nothing goes better with them than a cold glass of milk! That is, if you like milk!

I'm not kidding--this is a really good cookie!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Week-End!

Freebie Friday

Collection of 14 Memorial Day Printables @
View slide show and make your selections--
pinwheels, fill-in menus, buntings,
decorations, favors, cupcake toppers,
hot dog wrappers,
and more
Click on links to original sites. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dragging Out Old Stamps

When I first became interested in rubber stamping, about 10 years ago,
I really went bonkers and wanted to buy them ALL! Neeedless to say,
now I have waaaay too many stamps, many of which have never been
touched by ink. I'm on a purging streak and and am happy that my niece
will be able to use some of them. I told her there will be more to come
in the fall--I just scratched the surface! What she didn't want in that round
is going to Goodwill. (gasp!) I think I can do it.

I love my stamps, but I just can't keep them all, and my tastes have changed.
I also do a lot of other crafts now, so I don't make as many cards as I
used to. I still make all the cards that I send out though--I just don't keep
a big inventory anymore. I don't dare let myself look at a new Stampin'Up
catalog, because I know that I would want to place a (big) order. Love them,
Papertrey, and Hero Arts--several others too, but those come to mind first.
Oh, and how could I forget Penny Black. I don't use the ones you have to color
in, as I refused to get sucked into the Copic scene,  but I love the solid images.

Here's a card I made with an oldie stamps that I have never used before:

You've seen the main image by Rubber Romance
I thought the sentiment was appropriate--
Let's Do Lunch--
by G-Rated Rubberstamps.
I am certain they are not in business anymore.
It says 1995-2001 on the side of the stamp.
What is your favorite stamp company?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to Chose a Mah Jongg Hand

How do I decide which hand to go for?
In my opinion, this is the #1 stumbling block for the
beginning mah jongg player.
I assure my students that this is the challenge that we
all face when playing this game.
The sooner they learn the hands on the card--really learn the hands--
the easier it will be!  

Once you look at the tiles that have been dealt to you, there
are times when it is fairly obvious which hand is calling your
But quite often, you just don't know where to start.
Here's two suggestions: 
If you have been dealt pairs, try to start building something around them.
It is not always possible--9's and 4's don't go together very well,
but the 7 Hands do lend themselves to some interesting number combinations.
And you do have the choice of doing a 7 Hand either in one suit or 3 suits.
There are 6 possible hands in the category.
Depending on if your pairs are even numbers, odd numbers, consecutives, or 3,6,9's,
you will know what section on the card you should be looking at.
Then during the Charleston you try to gather tiles that would work with what you have.
You don't necessarily have to have a hand right away, but hopefully after the Charleston you will have a good start in some section. 
Another idea is to save all of your dominant suit and try to obtain more
of that suit during the Charleston.
Then see how it looks when the game begins
 and keep all your options open for as long as possible.
I count 15 hands on the 2013 card that you can do using just one suit--some 
requiring flowers and the matching dragon. That is a lot!
 I have had students who have trouble grasping the color coding
concept of the card just play the game, and be successful, playing
only the one-suit hands
until they feel more comfortable with the card.

Happy Clicking!

If you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who is interested in learning to
play Mah Jongg, please have them contact me at

For The 12 Pitfalls of Beginning Mah Jongg, go HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shabby Chic Book--or Just Plain Shabby?

I saw this basic idea used as a prop on a vintage blog and thought that
it would make a unique accessory in the right setting. So I decide to
give it a try and see what I would come up with once I got started with

I started with two vintage books that I had previously purchased
at Goodwill for $1.00 each. The pages were very brittle and
were not working for my book page wreaths, so I was happy to find
another use for them.
I pulled off the covers and glued the two" bare-faced" books together.
From there it was just...decorate until I was happy with the way
it looked! That took a while.
First I made a paper ruffle out of sheet music and attached that
on the bottom side.
You can find the tutorial HERE.
Then I layered a piece of black lace over the ruffle and glued it
under the flower.
The key is from Hobby Lobby and strung on muslin
They come on a ring of 5-6 and are often on sale in
the metal department.
The muslin flower was made to look aged by dying the
material in tea before making the flower.
The technique is the same one used to make this flower,
just cut the loops first.
After I glued the flower in place, I glued some Spanish moss
around it and added a few sprigs of lavender for color.
Shabby Chic...or Just Plain Shabby?
You be the judge.
I must admt Shabby Chic is growing on me.
(Some of it anyway.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How To Tuesday

What is it you would like to know how to do? 
How to Start a Freezer Meal Club @
How to Paint Medal Furniture @
Sunlit Spaces
How to Throw a Chocolate Party @
How to Deal with Dried Paint@ 
The Creek Line House

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage for Window Coverings @

Saturday, May 11, 2013

12 Pitfalls of Beginning Mah Jongg

This is a new Saturday series for As The Card Rack Turns dedicated to another one
of my passions--Mah Jongg.
I hope to bring my readers who also love the game, tips, insights, and
interesting conversation--on a fairly regular schedule (don't hold me to it)--
until I run out of ideas.
If you have questions about the game, please feel free to ask them in
the comment section or email me at
and I will do my best to answer them. 
I don't claim to be an expert, but I do know where to find the answers.
I have taught dozens of people to play the American version of Mah Jongg.
While doing so, I have identified the problem areas and most common
mistakes that beginning players have to overcome.
12 Pitfalls of Beginning Mah Jongg
  1. Trying to decide which hand to play.
  2. Forgetting that jokers cannot be used to make up a pair or used as a singleton.
  3. Not having a possible back-up hand in case your first hand does not work out.
  4. Giving up on your hand too soon and trying to switch to another hand.
  5. Using jokers too soon.
  6. Having trouble using different numbers in the consecutive run section other than the numbers used in the examples.
  7. Using the wrong dragon.
  8. Putting up the wrong number of tiles.
  9. Missing the chance to take a joker from someone's exposure when you draw the right tile to replace it.
  10. Committing on a hand too soon.
  11. Not racking your tiles.
  12. Exposing your tiles when you are doing a concealed hand.
Even seasoned players have trouble with some of these factors. Yet the sooner
you can master these stumbling blocks, the sooner you can focus more on the
defensive strategy of the game.

Happy Clicking!
If you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who is interested in learning to
playing Mah Jongg, please have them contact me at

Friday, May 10, 2013

T-Shirt Flowers

Yesterday I cut a few inches off off a T-shirt that I just wear around
the house. I was just getting ready to throw the strip in the trash,
when I thought...

I could make some flowers out of this!
(It doesn't take much to excite me!)
So in about half an hour today, I came up with these...
I don't know how I will use them yet, but I am
pretty sure you will see them on a future wreath!
The rolled rosettes are made using THIS technique,
one of many found all over blogland.
The loopy flower tutorial can be found HERE.
This is the same technique I used to make my T-shirt necklace--
just without the button in the center.
 Freebie Friday
Two big events this month--
Mother's Day and Graduations
and here's some printables for both.

 Mother's Day card @ 86 Lemons
(link seems a little cranky today)

3 graduations cards @ No Biggie
Vintage graduate @ The Vintage Moth
Tomorrow I HOPE to start
new feature for my mah jongg readers
Come back and see.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Book Club Adventure

About six years ago I decided to inquire about a notice I saw in our newspaper
advertising a  Contemporary Book Discussion Club for women that meet
once a month. I have always enjoyed reading and thought that by joining a
book club, I would have the opportunity to meet some interesting women and
be introduced to some types of books that I would not otherwise read.

I remember that first day when I arrived at a strange home and was greeted
by 12 friendly faces, none of which I knew. It was a little intimidating, but
I got through it okay. I even remember the book, one about Jimmy Carter.
Little did I know that the book club had been meeting since 1983 and that
all of the women were voracious readers!

Most of these lovely ladies are a little older than me--I would say six to eight
years. I don't have much in common with them other than a love for books,
certainly not political views, but that subject, as well as is religion,  is off limits!
Most have grandchildren, from infants to college age. I have none.

But I always come away from the two hours I spend with them each month
with a funny story or some bit of information from one of their life experiences
that I find interesting. Not to mention, a rousing discussion about a book I
probably would not have read otherwise.

Each May we chose the books for the entire next year. They are chosen from
various categories such as biography, travel, mystery, non-fiction, etc. Here is
our selections for June 2013 to June 2014.

  • Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
  • Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (I have read and highly recommend)
  • Company of Liers: A Novel by Karen Maitland
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • Navajos Wear Nikes by Jim Kristofic
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millarda  
  • Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bislands's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman 
  • Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp by Ann Kirschner
  • My Beloved World by Sonia Solomayor
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain ( I have read and highly recommend)
  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel by Adam Johnson 
  • The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch  
"There is no friend
as loyal as a
good book."
--Ernest Hemingway

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Best Kitchen Tip of All Time--How to Store Plastic Lids

I just receive an email from a blogger in Sweden who did a post today
on how to store plastic containers and featured my idea on her blog.

It is my original idea for storing container lids
in a dish rack that I shared back in September, 2011.
What I did not mention in that post is that since it is in a lower cabinet
you can push it back in with your foot!
Little did I know when I shared this idea that it would become so popular.
I have received several notifications from bloggers all over the world who have
asked for permission to share this idea on their blog.
How fun to know that it has made it all the way to Europe!
 Here is the link if you would like to see Linn's blog and other
storage container ideas.
Have a wonderful Monday.
Do you have a kitchen tip to share?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mexicali Soup, Margaritas, and a Fiesta Week-end

Are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo this week-end? If you are still planning
your menu, I have a great soup idea for you that is so easy to prepare and
something a little different! I call it Mexicali Soup.

4-6 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green or red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
3-4 grinds pepper, or more
1/4 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1 can chicken broth
shredded cheddar cheese
chopped tomato
crushed tortilla chips

In a 2 qt. saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon.
Add onion, celery, green or red pepper, and garlic. Cook, covered, over
low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are
tender but not brown. Drain excess fat if any. Add beans, bacon, pepper,
chili powder;  stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Serve in bowls. Pass
cheese, tomato, and chips to sprinkle over each serving. Makes 4 servings.

What's a Fiesta without margaritas? Here's our favorite Margarita Recipe.

6 oz. can limeade concentrate
6 oz. can lemonade concentrate
6 oz. (or less) water
6 oz. Triple Sec
12 oz. Tequila (or more)
lots of ice
(a little powdered sugar after you taste them and think there is too much pucker)

Next................What's a Fiesta without some colorful decor?  I've got just
what you need for that too!

12 talented and generous bloggers have put together
FREE for all of us to use.
So start HERE
and then you will see the links to the
other 11 blogs just loaded with fun, fun, fun.
Your guests will be so impressed with your creativity!
(Sh, no one has to know!)
Have a wonderful week-end!
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