Art Day: Artist Trading Cards

For many years, my sister has been re-branding Valentine’s Day as not a day to buy overly expensive material things to prove your love but a day about appreciating beauty and creating art. Way more classy than an Anti-Valentine’s Day party in my book.

We celebrated Art day on February 15th this year–because we had the weekend off–by making Artist Trading Cards. Apparently this is a big thing, but it was my first time hearing about it. My mom gave us a brief oral presentation about history and such. If you want to know more I encourage you to do your own batch of Google searching, there are tons of links.

I think the Wikipedia page offers a good summary:

Artist trading cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern trading cards baseball cards, or 2 12 by 3 12 inches, small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves….Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or fiber. The cards are usually traded or exchanged. 

There are tons of lesson plans and how-tos around the Interwebz. One I found fairly decent was a Wikihow page in 11 Steps where they suggest using playing cards if you can’t cut out the typical size for the cards.

The School Arts Room website offers a more standard layout of a classroom lesson play for the teacher types of the world. The Student ATC website has several great sub-pages with some theme ideas to get your brain or your pupils’ brains working. It also includes a little history and a how-to.

We all had Valentine’s Day and love related things on the mind but our official theme for our Art Day was Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. Yeah, inspired by some Moulin Rouge loveliness.

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There were several different artists present and art styles. Forgive me if you don’t get our sense of humor. We had a blast and created art cards for almost five hours.
Sorry I didn’t get a picture of our hugely messy art table. There were stacks of colored paper, stickers, markers, paints, crayons and tons more stuff. We had a blast cutting and pasting and creating. Our art cards were cut out of index cards and my mom purchased a package of 100 trading card sleeves for storage once finished. 

PATC

Ideally, these are supposed to be traded, not sold. I’m not sure if anyone would pay for mine, but there are some really inspired pieces in here. I’m saving mine for last so you can be sufficiently unimpressed by my work.

LATCOn the backs of the art cards we wrote our artist name, state and month/year it was created. A couple of the cards even got named and those were written on the back. By the end of the evening most of us didn’t want to immediately trade our hard work, but we’re looking forward to creating more and maybe trading them or giving them others.

All--ATCThere is whole cluster of our pieces together.

All--ATC2

Sorry for the fair bit of fuzz-o-vision. I didn’t have a good camera with me and the light wasn’t ideal. You get the idea here though.
Below is my cluster of cards:

atcroseAnd one of my personal favorites of the ones I created:

visitparks art cardDoctors have started prescribing their patients with visits to National Parks. I have known for a long time that getting a daily dose of nature and light exercise can make huge wonders of difference. Recreation–my major–is hugely important to me.

Questions for my readers—-

Have you ever heard of artist trading cards? 

Have you been inspired by this blog, searching or the links provided to create your own mini-trading art cards? 

Do you have any fun alternative ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day?

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Valentine’s Day Greek Date-Night

We came up with a themed date night for our Valentine’s Day by a sort of happy accident. We started off by saying how much we wanted to make this or that. Then we realized that all those things went together in a way.
All of the photos belong to the original bloggers. Please click the hyper-linked text to find their amazing recipes they shared with the world.

The important stuff—What are we eating!?

We have had gyros before and my Sister in Law (SiL) swears that if I can make naan then I can make my own pita bread. I’m not going to use the more traditional lamb because of the cost. Instead we are going to use some beef steaks I found on sale.

Our appetizer will be relatively simple. I’m planning on doing hummus and sweet bell peppers for dipping. Maybe some carrots if we have them on hand too, but I don’t want to overeat before we get to the main event. There will be plenty of food. If you’ve never made hummus before then don’t worry. It is much like guacamole. There are some essentials and after you get them dumped in the bowl you fix it to your taste. A can of chick peas, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper. You’re pretty much in business if you have those things.

To alleviate crunch time stress I am going to make the pita bread the pita day before. Allow them to cool, cut them into halves to create the pockets and put them in zipper bags until our supper the next night.
Here is the recipe for pita bread that I will be following. Looks simple, right?

I will also likely make the tzatziki sauce the day before. As with most

tzatziki infographic

sauces, I feel like it will be more tasty after sitting over night anyway. Tzatziki sauce is basically cucumbers pureed, yogurt and some herbs/spices. It is awesome! Of course if you hate yogurt and cucumber then stay away. Here is the recipe I will be following for Tzatziki sauce. I will however point out that I will not be allowing the yogurt to drain for 2 hours. 30 minutes will suffice.  Check out this cute little infographic on how-to make tzatziki or click the link above for word directions.

gyro

The gyro recipe will more or less follow the one found on Tide and Thyme (again). I figure as long as I add some lemon and thyme and other Greek-ish spices that the meat will be just fine. For veggie stuffing in my gyros I am planning: Olives, spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Sidedishes: The sides will be relatively simple since they are not the main and delectable main stage player that the gyros will be. We are going to make up a box of Suddenly Salad. Yeah, I realize that is silly with all the homemade things surrounding it, but I really enjoy those pasta salads and the lack of work they entail. The second side dish is going to be homemade sweet potato fries. I haven’t completely nailed down a favorite recipe but I’ve been scrounging on Pinterest for one that speaks to me. I kinda want to do an olive oil, salt and rosemary topping for them and I definitely want to cut this fairly thin so I get a good crispy fry. Oh, I should clarify that by “fries” I mean that I bake them on a cookie sheet.

The final thing on our menu for the evening is less Greek, but much more realistic and easy. I decided the most important thing was the gyros

lemon brownies

and I don’t want to spend hours slaving over the dessert too. I have been wanting to make these Lemon Brownies for ages! I love lemon desserts, chocolate desserts or chocolate and fruit desserts. Yeah…I kinda have a sweet tooth. This recipe is of the mix and dump persuasion so I think it will fit our evening the best.

My mom suggested this last part and I figured, why not dive in?!
Mom owns a copy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding  so we’re going to greekweddingwatch that as we eat our gyros, salad and fries. I hope that we’ll be full as ticks by the end of the evening. Seeing as the hubbster doesn’t drink wine or champagne I’m not sure what specialty drinks we might have. He will probably stick with his sweet tea or diet coke. I might get a small bottle of something special just for me. And you know that once you remove the cork is spoils if you don’t finish it in one night. 

Questions for my Readers:

Is a themed Valentine’s date too cheesy for you?
I’ve got a lot riding on if all these recipes turn out right. Would you try a new recipe on a special night?
Are you
, like us, trying to avoid going out on the 14th at all costs? I gave up trying to battle the crowds years ago. Staying in are where it is at!

Valentine’s Day Movies on Netflix Instant Part Two of Two

If you haven’t seen it, check out Part One of my Valentine’s Day Movie List.
As I mentioned in Part One, these are movies that I found on Netflix instant. Sure, you can peruse the Romantic movies section of streaming all by yourself, but I find lists on the Internet to be extremely helpful. Also, if you have to type one painful letter at a time to search for a movie on a Wii console or Roku, this list can be helpful. All photos belong to IMDB. Titles in bold are those that I’ve seen before.

  1. The Jerk Theory (2009)–Acting like a jerk wins girls, but can the sweet girl of his dreams change his tune?

  2. Carolina (2003)–I love me some Julia Stiles. This is a Rom-com jerktheoryabout a girl trying to escape her wacky family. Description makes it seem like a Boy-next-door romance.

  3. The Decoy Bride (2011)–Famous author and actress hope to get married on a remote island, but have to come up with a decoy bride to throw off the paparazzi. David Tennant. Nuff said.

  4. Charade (1963)–Woman finds herself running from bad guys who are looking for money her recently-murdered husband stole. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this classic.

  5. Clueless (1995)–Ditzy high school girl loves playing charadematchmaker, but her latest matches don’t go as planned. This is the updated version of Emma that I mentioned in Part One. 
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo (1998)–This is the four part TV mini series. A wrongly imprisoned man escapes after 18 years, he seeks revenge and his lady love. More of a swashbuckler than romance. 
  7. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)–Star crossed lovers and food in Spanish. Subtitles and some raunchiness (warning). The book is just as fun! 
  8. Maid in Manhattan (2002)–Important political candidate accidentally falls for the hotel maid when he mistakes her for a wealthy lady. 
  9. Tonight You’re mine (2011)–Two rival musicians get tonightyoureminehandcuffed together at a festival where they must later perform. I am really looking forward to watching this one.
  10. McLintock! (1963)–Stubborn John Wayne comes to town to meet his daughter returning from college and is reunited with his hot headed estranged wife. 
  11. New York, I love you (2008)–A slew of actors with nothing better to do made a movie with several love stories entangled. 
  12. Safe Haven (2013)–Woman on the run shows up in a small town and falls for a widowed man with kids. They both have shit they need to get over. 
  13. Say Anything (1989)–The unexeceptional guy at school falls for the gorgeous head of the class. No one told him he was John Cusack.sayanything 
  14. Waiting for Forever (2010)–Street performer childhood friend stalks the girl of his dreams next door. He finally confesses his love to her. This will either be great or a wretched train wreck. Stars the gal who plays in the TV show Hart of Dixie.
  15. Serious Moonlight (2009)–Woman tapes her adulterous husband to the toilet. And then they both get tied up by burglers. Super weird, I haven’t finished this yet.

  16. The Host (2013)–Unseen evil is erasing people’s memories. A book to movie adaption by Stephanie Myer. 
  17. Shakespeare in Love (1998)–Young writer finds a beautiful shakeyinlovemuse high above his social status. TONS of awesome reference to Shakespeare plays we know and love, this is treat for Bill S. lovers. 
  18. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)–Gilbert has to care for his challenged brother and ill mother. He is bogged down until a free spirit moves into town. Apparently more moving than romantic, but supposed to be quite good.
  19. TiMER (2009)–Modern invention has taken the unsettling guesswork in finding your soulmate. Everyone has a countdown to their soulmate…but what if you love someone else? Pah-lease watch this movie!

Valentine’s Day Movies on Netflix Instant Part One

I am always trying to find a good movie list for those only found on Netflix Instant. These are hard to find, so I am slowly making my own lists and I hope this helps other people who only have the Instant subscription.The Roku I have linked with my Netflix Instant account might be the best Valentine’s Day gift to ourselves that my husband and I have ever gotten. Searching for a genre is a little  difficult on the Roku and sometimes you just don’t feel like searching a specific title by clicking one letter at a time. Tedious.

Here is my list that as of January 2014 can be found on Netflix Instant. The titles in bold are those I have seen before. Those not in bold are movies I want to watch soonish and maybe you’ll enjoy them too.  It’s a little out of season, but I made a (shorter) list of Halloween-y movies found on Netflix Instant.
All pictures belong to IMDb unless otherwise stated.

Romantic-ish/Valentine’s Day movies on Netflix Instant–Part One:

  1. 13 Going on 30 (2004)--Girl wishes to be 30 with perfect BF/Job/life but when her dreams come true they fall short. Girly romance with boy next door theme. 13-30movieposter
  2. African Queen (1951)–A unlikely team, Bogart and Hepburn, strike out on an adventure to blow up an enemy boat.
  3. America’s Sweethearts (2001)–Movie publicist deals with very public celebrity split up. Love triangles galore, give the set up some time.
  4. Blue Hawaii (1961)–Elvis music and Hawaiian scenery. Elvis has just gotten out of the army and wants to enjoy island life again.
    bluehawaii
  5. I Hate Valentine’s Day (2009)–Woman avoids falling in love by sticking to dating rules, until love moves in next door to her florist shop.
  6. Dorfman in Love (2011)–Woman wants life outside of caring for her family. Looks like two new loves fall in her lap.
  7. Emma (1996)–She loves meddling and setting up marriages until her plans backfire. Period film version of Clueless.
  8. See girl Run (2012)–Young woman revisits her old relationships to seek guidance in her life.
    seegirlrun
  9. Footloose (1984)–Rebellious teen who loves to dance moves to a small town where dancing is banned. I prefer the 2011 movie simply for the updated music.
  10. About Adam (2000)–Guy seduces two sisters and possibly more characters. There are some poor reviews, but at least sniff test it.
  11. Get Over it (2001)–Love triangles every which way, allusions to Midsummer Night’s Dream. This might make me sound like a mom, but this is definitely a movie for older teens. Kinda surprised it was PG-13.
  12. Time Traveller (2010)–Girl tries to go back in time to find information to save her mother who went into a coma. She lands in the wrong year. (Foreign–Based on the anime The Girl Who Leapt Through Time).
  13. Grease (1978)–Good girl Sandy falls for the bad boy at school. greaseMusic, Travolta, fashions, euphemisms, and teen drama.
  14. Not Suitable for Children (2012)–Man who finds out he will soon become infertile sets out to procreate. Obviously rated R.
  15. Pretty in Pink (1986)–Teen must decide between her dream boy or the boy next door.

  16. Ondine  (2009)–Irish fisherman discovers a beautiful water nymph (selke) caught in his net. (Colin Farrell)ondine

  17. She’s All That (1999)–Jock takes a bet he can take the ugliest girl at school and turn her into the prom queen.
    Transformation romance. 

  18. Daddy Long Legs (1955)–Fred Astaire plays a wealthy man who sponsors an orphan to go to college. They accidentally fall in love.
  19. One for the Money (2012)–Unemployed divorcee takes on a job as a bounty hunter and searches for an old flame. Based on the Stephanie Plum books.
  20. Outsourced (2006)–American goes to India to train people in his job that recently got outsourced.
  21. Some Like it Hot (1959)–Two musicians running from the mob join a band of all female musicians. Very beautiful females–strictlyballroomhilarious.
  22. Strictly Ballroom (1992)–Classically trained dancer wants to dance his own style and risks his reputation on a new partner. Ugly duckling transformation, dancing and music.
  23. Somewhere in Time (1980)–Playwright hypnotizes himself so he can meet the woman in an old portrait in his hotel. Weepy of course. 

Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding {Recipe Revealed!!}

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This is a fantastic recipe that I am definitely adding to my regular rotation. Huge thanks to the recipe I worked from Five Heart Home. This gal has amazing ideas and a humorous way of describing her OCD process of baking.
This would be an awesome Valentine’s day treat to make for your lover or with your lover. You could also make it and not tell anyone–more for you! It may look like a lot of steps but it is really pretty easy to throw together. I might just make it again in a few weeks…heh heh.

As always I made a few changes:

Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding
6-8 cups of cubed stale bread
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups half and half (*see tips below)
6 oz or one small box of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (optional—do it!)

Reminder: if milk and eggs are room temperature they tend to blend better with the melted chocolate. Lay all your ingredients out.
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Step one
If you are using an old stale loaf lying around the house then first cut it into 1″ cubes and put them into your preferred baking dish. Eight cups is around right for a 9×13. I wanted to give part of my dessert as a gift so I split my bread into an oval glass baking dish (9×9?) and a glass loaf pan. Note, you may want to grease your pan, bt I noticed no issues using my glass pans.
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Step two
Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips on medium low in a saucepan with 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee. Keep an eye on the chocolate and stir periodically. When it becomes smooth (no chip lumps) turn it off and allow to cool.
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Step three
In a large bowl beat 4 room temp eggs. Add vanilla, brown sugar and half and half. Combine well and then stare down your chocolate until it cools down. Mix chocolate into large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Step four
Pour prepared mixture over stale bread in pan. Pour evenly if possible. If you used a white bread it will be easy to tell if you haven’t soaked a corner piece.
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Step five
Reserve a few raspberries from the carton for the topping if you wish. I think the flavor is better baked in though. Place berries evenly around pan and mash into pudding with fingers or a fork.
Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup chocolate chips evenly on top.

Step six
Bake 30-45 minutes in the oven. You can do the knife test to make sure the pudding is baked through. Mine was perfect at 30 minutes but the original recipe said to bake up to an hour.

Step seven (optional)
Warm seedless raspberry jam in a saucepan (I don’t own a microwave) until you get a nice smooth sauce. Drizzle over top of your hot bread pudding and if you wish, throw the reserved fresh raspberries on top for presentation.
Best served warm.

Now go eat it!!!
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Tips

• If you’re worried about the pudding drying out when you reheat it cover the pan with tinfoil.

• *As the original blogger noted, you can use a heavy whipping cream of lighter milks if you’re worried about the caloric overload.

• This is not a sweet overload, but there is plenty in there to make it sweet. If you would rather a less sugary dessert you could reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and be just fine.

• I used strong brewed coffee because I don’t keep instant coffee granules around the house. When I know I want to bake something chocolatey soon, I brew a few extra cups in my coffee pot. Best way to use old coffee ever.

• Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t spazz, do add it. Coffee enhances the chocolate. Hubbster hates coffee but couldn’t taste it in the pudding and loved the whole thing.

• If you plan on baking all the raspberries you could save a little cash and go with frozen berries. Or if the seeds bug you, put small dollops of seedless jam in the pudding prior to baking.

Enjoy!
~Kat

Kat’s V-Day 2013

us

This Valentine’s Day went pretty well. I was very pleased that Kit and I decided to stay at home. I hate the stress of going out for a fancy dinner only to find every restaurant over-packed with other noisy people. Besides our food was better. First, we got semi-dressed up and were witnesses at a friend’s wedding. We had lunch with the happy couple and then went trudging to do the V-day shopping we should have done days before.
I was surprised how many men were snatching flowers with a desperate look in their eyes and how many folk there were in the grocery store.

Samplecards

This is a hugely popular DIY gift on Pinterest. The project is called 52 Things I Love About You. On each card I wrote something that I love about Kit. I copied some from another crafter, but I found that the ones that meant more were the personal ones. My Kit rarely wears pants. He is a shorts-man. Because of that fact I wanted him to wear shorts for our wedding. The phrase “Two Wild Banshees” is one of those things I catch him saying all the time.

cardsWhen Kit looked through the cards on Vday, he was chuckling and smiling all the way through. Because I wrote on the face of the cards, they can still be played with normally.

wineSupper started the only way it could; with wine. I bought a bottle of the same wine we had for our wedding (a peach chardonnay) and threw some frozen peaches into it. Perfecto.

kabobsHonestly, the first thing I did was begin marinating the shrimp and steak. The shrimp was medium, fully-cooked and frozen. I used a lemon ginger marinade that I should have started the night before, but the hours run away from me. The marinade for 1 pound of shrimp is:

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 onion, chopped
  • 5/8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used cubed bouillon style cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (dash)

I cubed up a steak and threw it into a gallon bag and tried to follow this steak marinade recipe: (I didn’t have W-sauce, oops!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • dash of pepper

As you can see in the photo above, I skewered quartered small sweet onions, whole mushrooms (baby portabellas were on sale), whole grape tomatoes, and fat slices of red and green bell peppers. I baked these kabobs on a cookie sheet (I recommend putting aluminum foil on the trays to help with cleanup). Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 450F, flip them over and bake an additional 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the oven kabobs recipe, Sarra!

cccakeI made coca-cola cake for dessert. I failed to check my stock of butter and only had enough to make the cake and not the glaze that went on top. What makes coca-cola cake special or different from a regular chocolate cake? I honestly have no clue. Google is not helping a sister out either. It was a good recipe that I have to try again when I can do the glaze as well. I honestly love my mom’s recipe for crazy cake. This was more moist…almost like a light brownie.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our present that we gave to each other. Our Roku is so much better than jewelry I may never wear. Tons of Netflix TV shows at our fingertips. In one month, the Roku has already paid for itself several times over because we were frequent users of Redbox.