Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bridge May Ice In Cold Weather - and My MISTI Winner!

Suddenly all over my swelteringly hot Texas city, signs have been popping up, saying Bridge May Ice In Cold Weather.

A few observations.

Back in the old days, people knew that cold weather - strangely enough, seemingly ALWAYS below 32 degrees - produced ice.

I'm quite sure my grandfathers didn't need to be told that bridges would ice in cold weather.

Apparently we are far removed from this knowledge now. We've forgotten. We need signs to tell us it's cold outside and water freezes, quite predictably, at the same temperature since forever.

And while I understand that we live in a warm place, we are not STUPID. We still understand that cold weather freezes things. At least some of us do. (The obvious exception here is politicians.)


That's even more baffling - who the heck is going to SEE these signs? Foreigners? No native Texans will see them. We will be cowering inside with our hoarded milk and bread, binge watching Breaking Bad if the temperature falls below 70.

I just find it insulting to drive past these things with my AC at full blast, knowing that some state senator's brother-in-law owns a sign company, and is sitting on a beach somewhere while I commute past his stupid signs, sweating and wearing sunglasses, and forfeiting 70% of my income to fund their boat drinks.

I'm onto you, bro. I'm watching.

I joined a Pocket Letters swap on Splitcoast last week. Have you heard of these? They are ATC swaps, where you end up with a 9 pocket page filled with ATCs or other art. This is the brainchild of Janette Lane - a beautiful girl with a big idea.

One of my teammates - Ceal Pritchett - and I are both teaching technique series classes right now, and using some Project Life Pockets to keep the technique swatches in, and so this week I've been very pocket obsessed.

So I decided to try out the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool to make my own pocket page for this swap - I needed 9 pockets, and my Project Life pages weren't big enough - so I DIY'ed with a page protector (These are my favorites - heavy weight and very clear).


I love this thing and am about to start fusing everything in my path. I saw this in action at a class in January and just now ordered it and played with it - what was I thinking??? I'm always late to the party. But I do stay late. :)

It's seriously so fun and easy. We sell our Project Life pages in multi-packs, but now I can change the size and shape of those pockets to fit my technique class needs and I am STOKED.

You can get the tool - which is pretty inexpensive - here.

So before you watch the video with a demo of this tool, here is the ATC I'm swapping.

Pin It

And here's a closeup of the shimmer, that you can't see in the main pic.

That's gold and clear Wink of Stella.

Sparkly, eh? That beautiful image, thankfully, carried over to the new catalog - it's called For All Things.  Here's the rest of it.


So here's the video on the fuse tool. Before you watch though, a few important notes.
  • I'm within striking distance of earning my first trip ever with Stampin' Up! and I'm really hoping I can make it. If you enjoy my blog and have gotten $10 worth of value from me, would you consider placing a $10 order with me? You can do that here. If you use hostess code EDU9X7MK when you place your order, you will be entered into a drawing for all the new In Color Ink Pads, the refills and the assorted cardstock. Thank you! (You will be asked for the code after you add products to your shopping bag and click to view your bag.)
  • I have a winner for the MISTI giveaway! Thank you to everyone who suggested techniques in your comments - I will try hard to bring you those techniques this year. I really loved your answers and read them all - the winner is below. 
  • My Convention Retreat registration is open - space is limited, so register quickly to ensure a spot - you will see the link below my header or click here.
  • Please watch this important video on how cats help mock you while you exercise This could save lives.  
  • I made an awesome dinner tonight. Both recipes were new to me. See them below. Delicious and low carb and gluten-free and sustainable and low carbon footprint and pro-Yeti and BPA-free, dolphin friendly, sweatshop-free, local, organic, whole trade and all that jazz. 
  • Please, whatever you are doing, stop and watch the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom. It's a fantastic story about shining your light wherever you are on earth - told by the backup singers of all of your favorite bands. The music is amazing, but the women - they are fierce. It was very inspiring and a great lesson about what a spotlight really means. It's on Netflix. 
  • If you're done with that movie -  - please listen to or read the book, Still Alice. A beloved friend recommended this to me, and it's amazing. If you know anyone who has a friend or family member who has experienced having a loved one with Alzheimer's disease - or even if you haven't, and you're worried that forgetting where you put your car keys means you're coming down with it, I think this book will really be an eye opener. It reminds me of Oliver Sacks' books. Very well told story.
Okay - so first the recipes. I started with this Lemon Butter Chicken recipe. I tweaked a few things - the original wasn't very lemony at all, and was a little too fatty, so I messed with it, and my version is below.
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Real Salt (the best salt in the world) and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 TBS fresh thyme (Please grow this - also perennial and very low maintenance)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (This is NOT the temperature that freezes bridges, FYI)
  • Season chicken thighs with paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet or Le Creuset over medium high heat. Add chicken, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • If needed, add butter in the skillet (I didn't need to). Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan, lemon juice and thyme.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet.
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

I served this with spaghetti squash "hash browns".
  • Cook a whole spaghetti squash in the oven at 350 until it's soft. Stab it a few times before cooking. This lets out any unnecessary aggressions brought on by politicians. I cook it on a cookie sheet. 
  • When soft to the touch and slightly brown on the outside, cut it in half and let it cool. Scoop out the gross squishy part around the seeds and also the seeds. Then separate into "spaghetti" with a fork, and put on paper towels to cool and drain. 
  • Squish cooled squash between dry paper towels until all excess moisture is removed. This takes a while - be patient. Roughly chop it. No finesse needed. 
  • Mix in chopped fresh chives (I grow my own - they are easy to grow, perennial and delicious), salt, pepper and parmesan cheese as desired. Be sparing with the salt if you use the cheese - I love salt but these don't need much. 
  • Form into thin patties with your hands - the thinner the better. 
  • Fry until crisp in a skillet with oil of your choosing (I use Whole Foods' Safflower oil because it's one of the few that comes in glass)
  •  - they are delicious if you let them get browned and crispy. I bet they'd have been even better with a bit of sour cream, greek yogurt or creme fraiche on top.
  • Whisper my name.

Here's who my magic random drawing machine selected!

LeAnne - please use the "email me" link on the sidebar to email me your mailing address and Iliana will ship you the most amazing stamping tool in the world. :)

Thank you all for your kind comments and your input on what you'd like to learn - I will consider this my to do list for 2015 and try to touch on all the things you mentioned. 

So anyhoo - here is my video of the Fuse tool and my ATC for the swap. Hope you enjoy it. 



  1. congratulations to LeAnn :)

    love your ATC i have stumbled across pocket letters network too and am hoping to join in next month too :)

    Charlie {cambridge,uk}

  2. looks awesome mf...congrats LeAnne, you lucky duck!!

  3. Yippee! Thanks to Mr Random for choosing me! And thanks for the cool recipes...can't wait to try them too!

  4. Congratulations LeAnne! You are ONE lucky lady!

  5. As a Wisconsin native (so very familiar with what cold does to bridges and roads and water), I can say that there would be a reason for those signs up here - bridges and highway overpasses freeze over before the rest of the road. So you can be driving along on a highway that's just kind of dampish and hit a bridge or overpass and WHOOSH! The ground under the highway is still warm enough to melt the snow as it falls, but the air under the bridges and overpasses is freezing.

    But I can't say I've ever seen such a sign here - it's just something that they teach you in driver's ed when you first start learning.

  6. I don't know if it's hit you but we have so much in common!!!!! First of all -- Still Alice. Amazing book, Even more amazing performance by Julianne Moore (even if the rest of the cast didn't live up to my expectations). My mother was an Alzheimer sufferer who passed away last February. Julianne more was spot on, at least according to my observations. The book was way better than the movie but the movie is worth watching.
    20 Feet From Stardom - I totally agree. Fabulous movie about amazing women. Loved this unique insight.
    Bought the Fuse but haven't tried it yet -- thanks for the nudge to give it a go.

  7. I'm from Minnesota and we have signs on our bridges that are most notorious for freezing over and getting super slick!! I went through watching my father in law slowly fade away and lose everything he ever owned, including his own family! I was wondering what type of water colors did you use in this video? I love water coloring, but I am having trouble finding a brand that I like. Thanks for the amazing tool demo. I never knew that a fuse tool existed, now I'm going to find a use for one!!

    1. I love these Cynthia - they are FineTec - you can see them here. They have a LOVELY set of metallics as well - their gold is beautiful: http://www.amazon.com/Finetec-Opaque-Watercolors-Set-24/dp/B004IMHNUG/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=21212215-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=YTSRGTAYL7E6A4H5&creativeASIN=B004IMHNUG

      I have a video using the gold at this post with a supply list: http://understandblue.blogspot.com/2015/04/peacock-doodle-doo.html

      Thank you for your kind words! My BIL is from Minnesota!

  8. I was drawn in by the washi tape (sorry - the rest of your card is LOVELY, too)! Love that pattern!


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