Thursday, October 27, 2011

Want to WIN a Silhouette Cameo??

Pin It Okay, so ever since I won the Cricut Expression 2 from Cricut Blog, I've been a little obsessed with Blog Candy.  I knew from earlier in the year that Silhouette had given away a lot of its machines through different blogs, so when I saw that the Silhouette Cameo was being released, I decided to scour the blogs for some chances to win one.  Who knows?  Lightning could strike twice.  And as much as I looooove my Cricut, I thought it would be great to be able to cut fonts off my computer and buy individual images, which the Silhouette allows you to do.  (BTW- they also give away free images on their blog all the time.)

But I decided I ought to share the happy "Sweeper" karma (Have you seen that show on tv?  Way more fun than Extreme Couponing!) and share my list of links with all of YOU Binge Crafter readers.  So here is the list of blogs- with the ending date of the giveaway included.  Let me know if you win one!  I'd love to hear how you like it.

How Does She – Oct 30

Tip Junkie- Oct 31

House of Hepworth- Oct 30

UCreate – Oct 30 (announce on FB)

Eighteen 25- Oct 30

FaveCrafts Blog- Oct 30

Kevin & Amanda- Oct 29

Tatertots & Jello- Oct 31

Silhouette Blog- Oct 30

Thanks to Gen for adding this one.
Make It-Love It - Oct 29


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Memories Suite- GIVEAWAY WINNER!

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It has been so much fun doing my first product review & giveaway!  I'm glad to see some new followers in the bunch & I hope you will stick around and see some more of the projects & giveaways I do in the future. 

And now for our winner..... Congratulations Loui!  I will be contacting you by email & you will have 2 days to respond before I pick another winner.  Congratulations!

But don't worry, I have something else for the rest of you- a FREE paper pack from My Memories! 
Isn't this cute?  I love the colored diamond pattern.  Here is the link.

You can still download the My Memories program for about $30- that's $10 off using code STMMMS84973 AND you will receive a $10 credit to use in the My Memories store to download your favorite paper packs. 

I hope you'll let me know if any of you download the program- I'd love to see some of the projects you make.  Congratulations again to Loui!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

My Memories Suite- Videos & Tutorials

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After playing with My Memories Suite for a while, I decided to try to find some YouTube videos to help me learn more tips & tricks about using the program, and of course get more ideas of projects to make!  I found this older video advertising My Memories Suite, which gives you a great idea of the basic program.  (I believe this is advertising version 1- they are now on version 2, which is the one I am giving away.)

I also found this great girl who goes by the handle Pink Toque who made some great videos using the software.  This is how I learned to add new content.  If you are the winner of the My Memories software, this is a great way to begin learning the new program.  Don't forget if you're interested in purchasing the software, you can use code STMMMS84973 to get $10 off the cost of the software (normally $40, so you save 25%) AND $10 to use in the My Memories store to download your favorite paper packs.

Here is the second tutorial on adding your own content.

Interested in winning this software?  My giveaway ends Wednesday, so make sure you enter by then.  To enter today you need to:

1. Be a Binge Crafter follower.
2. Go to My Memories site and check out their site.
3. Leave a comment about something you learned from watching one of these videos.
4. Come back later in the week for more information on My Memories Suite and chances to win.

Don't forget you can enter to win on multiple posts!  Hope you're having fun learning about this program & excited to win!  I can't wait to choose a winner.  :)

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Friday, October 21, 2011

My Memories Suite- Features Feature!

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Today I wanted to share with you more of the great features of My Memories Suite, the program I'll be giving away FREE to one Binge Crafter reader.

As I've said in an earlier post, one of the things I really love about this program is that it's so easy to use. But let me tell you about some of the really neat features I've found so far.

My Memories provides TONS of different background images for free, but you can also use a Custom background. You can upload any image to use as a background so you could use a cute picture like this

or you could upload any background pattern you like. You could do an image search online for cute fabrics and save the pictures to use for backgrounds or find other free sources of digital background papers, which is what I usually use to make my blog buttons. I like that My Memories Suite allows you to use your own images as well. You can also add free downloaded backgrounds and embellishments from online sites to the program files so that you can use them in My Memories Suite.
I found a great tutorial on how to do this here.  (Just know that after you add new content you need to run the program as an administrator on your computer if you have Windows Vista to avoid getting error messages.  To do this, mouse over the My Memories Suite icon on your desktop, right click, and choose "run as administrator."  It may also slow down your program a little.)

All of these papers and embellishments were downloaded from Shabby Princess.  All of the photos I used in these layouts were stock photos downloaded from here.

My Memories Suite also draws from the fonts that are already on your computer, so you can download tons of free fonts online and use any of them as text on your scrapbook pages. These two features mean you have ENDLESS possibilities of additional free scrapbook elements for your digital scrapbooking. There are tons of free backgrounds and embellishments you can download from the My Memories site as well. Here is an example made using of some of their free downloads.

But I want to tell you about my absolute favorite feature. It is called the "Match" button (also called "Picker" in the color menu). When I am adding mats for photos or images or really anytime you are given the option to choose a color, you're able to do an exact color match to other elements that are already on your page. That means you could start with a photo and add a background, photo mats, text, etc. in colors you've pulled directly from your photos. For people who need some color help like me, this is a fantastic feature.

In seconds you can pull colors from a photo to make your background, photo mats, and text all match your photo perfectly. See how great this looks?

All of these embellishment colors were pulled from the original picture.  While playing with this program, I quickly became obsessed with this feature. As you can notice in this layout you can also put text on your layouts in shapes, another very cool feature.

There are tons of other amazing features.  Adding shadows to items adds dimensionality.  Photos can be shaped like hearts, scalloped shapes, or even polaroids.  Photos can also be changed to sepia, blurred into an impressionistic painting, altered to fisheye, or given a number of other effects.  Word Art text can be made using a photo background.  Any item added to a page can be rotated and have its opacity adjusted.  These are all standard features.

Finally, there are multimedia features.  Text and narration can be added as well as videos or links to websites.  Projects can be published as jpegs, printed as pages, photo albums, or calendars, and made into movies, dvds, or podcasts. 

Can't wait to get started?  I have good news!  Binge Crafter readers are entitled to a $10 discount off the price of downloading the program as well as a $10 credit to be used to download additional items from the My Memories site.  All you have to do is use the code STMMMS84973 during checkout.  Also, don't forget each day this week to enter to win the program for FREE!

How to enter the giveaway?

1. Be a Binge Crafter follower.
2. Go to My Memories site and check out their site.
3. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would make first using My Memories Suite.
4. Come back later in the week for more information on My Memories Suite and chances to win.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 26. 

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hybrid Scrapbooking- My Memories & the Cricut!

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Since I love traditional scrapbooking so much and have so much stuff, I knew I wouldn't be able to abandon it completely for digital.  But I've found that digital scrapbooking and traditional can easily be combined to make super cute projects.  I used My Memories Suite to create the background for this page, and added some bling and the title "Winter" which I made using the cricut and the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge. 

To do this, I designed my background on My Memories Suite.  I picked a blue paper, layered on some swirls and snowflakes, and created a bottom border for the title.  I printed it on plain white cardstock using my printer.  I then cut out "winter" using the cricut, glued it on, and added the bling and photo.  It was that easy!  I definitely plan on using this to make the next 8x8 calendar I make (like this one I made last year) because it's the perfect size!
Do you want to win this program for FREE?  My Memories is giving away a copy to a Binge Crafter reader.  All you have to do is:

1. Be a Binge Crafter follower.
2. Follow My Memories on Facebook or Twitter.
3. Leave me a comment telling me where you follow them.
4. Come back later in the week for more information on My Memories Suite and chances to win.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 26.

Just can't wait for the giveaway? Well, I have more good news! If you go to the My Memories site and download the program, you can get $10 off using the code STMMMS84973 AND $10 to use in the My Memories store to download your favorite paper packs.  If you decide to get the program, I'd be happy to email any of my layouts with you-  just let me know!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Memories Suite Version 2 Review & GIVEAWAY!- CLOSED

Pin It This giveaway is now closed.

I was so excited to recently be approached to review the digital scrapbooking program My Memories Suite Version 2.  I've never done digital scrapbooking, but always been very interested in it.  My Memories Suite made it so easy! 

The program can be downloaded from the My Memories site, so within minutes you can be digitally scrapbooking.  Not only is the download quick & easy, making scrapbooking pages is quick and easy too!  I thought it would be a little tricky to get started and that maybe I should find some online tutorials to look at before I began, but it wasn't difficult at all.

There are several different options for how to begin.  You can use a Designer Template, where you only need to drop in some pictures and your scrapbook is done!  This reminded me a lot of the printed books you can make through photo sites (I've made them through Walgreens) but this program is much quicker and easier to use.  Plus the options are much nicer and it looks like a scrapbook instead of just a photo album.

Look how gorgeous this is!  In literally seconds you can have an album that looks like this:

The other option you can use is to design your own layout.  If you choose this option, you can choose from dozens of picture layouts to begin with, or you can choose a blank page and make your own.  Even if you choose one of their picture layouts, you can still add or delete pictures.  But with this method you choose and add all of your own backgrounds and embellishments.

Here are some examples of pages I made using the Design Your Own Layout option. 

(Note: All of the photos I used were stock photos I found on this site.)

My Memories Suite includes a ton of free embellishments including all of your favorites- ribbons, buttons, brads, flowers, flourishes, stitching, bows, and even some novelty items.  Some beautiful titles are included as well (like the "That Holiday Spirit" title I used above).  There are also designer embellishments included for baby, family, holiday, seasonal, vintage, love, and other common scrapbooking themes.  All of this comes FREE with the program.  You could literally make thousands of pages without running out of embellishment options.  As well as embellishments there is also a shapes section where you can add basic shapes such as circles, triangles, etc. as well as scalloped versions.  When you insert a shape you can choose a color for it as well (and match it to your photos) or you can select a patterned paper from another huge set of patterns. 

One of the things I really like about all of the embellishments and paper choices is that they have themed colors.  There are probably about 50 different named colors (such as Honeydew, Bubble Gum, or French Vanilla) that you can choose from.  This makes it easy to select matching embellishments to add to your page.  A downside to the embellishments is that you cannot change their colors like you can with all of the other page elements. Maybe this will be possible in a future edition. But there are so many colors available that you're sure to find something to complement any layout. 

So, are you interested in this amazing program?  Well, I have GREAT news- you can get it FREE!!  That's right!  My Memories Suite is giving away this program for FREE to one of Binge Crafter's readers!  So how can you win?

1. Be a Binge Crafter follower.
2. Go to My Memories site and check out their site.
3. Leave a comment telling me which is your favorite digital paper pack.
4. Come back later in the week for more information on My Memories Suite and chances to win.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 26. 

Just can't wait for the giveaway?  Well, I have more good news!  If you go to the My Memories site and download the program today, you can get $10 off using the code STMMMS84973 AND $10 to use in the My Memories store to download your favorite paper packs.  Since the program is only $39.97, you're getting a fantastic deal. 

I'm so excited that for my first product review I found a product that I really love.  I've been obsessed with playing with this program since I downloaded it.  I haven't been on pinterest in ages.  ;) 

Keep tuning in this week and check out some more of the great features of this program.  I'll be sharing videos, projects, tips & tricks and each day you'll get a chance to win!

Disclosure: My Memories gave me a copy of the program to review, but all opinions are mine.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Bites

Pin It These are FANTASTIC!  They tasted quite similar to my Pepperoni Cheese Pinwheels, but I just love the way they look.  These would be a perfect appetizer for a party and I'm totally planning on giving it to the next couple I know who has a baby for a post-baby meal. 

I found the recipe on Pinterest and followed it here.  I changed a couple of things in the recipe.  I used muenster cheese (because I had a block of that and not mozzarella).  Rather than making pizza dough, I purchased some premade at our supermarket in the deli section.  (I have no luck making my own pizza dough- it's much easier to buy it when it's on sale for 99 cents and keep it in the freezer.)  I also added some garlic, salt, and pepper to the parmesan/italian seasoning topping.  We also heated up some marinara to use as a dipping sauce.  They were delicious, and this is definitely becoming a regular in our rotation.  Especially because it's so quick & easy!


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Oreo Brownie Blondie

Pin It So this recipe sounds a little redundant, and it very well may be.  I have some mixed feelings on this recipe.  I first found the recipe on pinterest (called "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar") and followed it here

I feel like there's been a bit of a craze on the blogs lately to add more and more to classic desserts.  There are oreo brownies like I made, which is a great idea.  There are cookies in brownies or brownies in cookies, or brownies on cookies like this recipe is.  While I loved the oreo brownies, I feel like oreo brownie blondies are a bit much.  More does not always mean better. 

Now don't get me wrong, these weren't bad.  Added to the cookies and cream ice cream I made, they were quite tasty.  But I feel like they cooked a bit unevenly, which meant I had to choose between them being raw and being crunchy.  I chose crunchy, but I really prefer my brownies and cookies to be soft and gooey, which was one reason this recipe didn't work well for me.  I also felt like the ratio was off- there was a bit more blondie than brownie, and the brownie mix didn't completely cover up the oreos, so the oreos were kind of sitting on the top of the brownie, rather than being the middle layer. 

Ultimately, my feeling is that this recipe is kind of like pizza.  Even nasty cafeteria pizza is still pretty good.  You can't really make something with chocolate chip cookie dough, brownies, and oreos that is bad.  But do I think it makes brownies, oreos, or chocolate chip cookies better than they were in the first place?  No.  I'd rather have any them separately.  At least then they'd be gooey and delicious.  (I'm an oreo dunker.)

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Card/Centerpiece

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Hey all!  I wanted to share with you guys the Halloween Centerpiece/Card I made for bear rabbit bear .  The idea for this card came from Sandi Genovese's Scrapbook Showgram weekly internet shows.  (Remember her from DIY Scrapbooking?)  She made a Valentine's themed one, but I thought it would be perfect for Halloween. 
This is a four sided card that stands to create a fun centerpiece.
The first side of this card I made using the Cricut Simply Charmed cartridge for the pumpkins and the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge for the moon and stars.  The background paper for all of this, as well as the "Happy Halloween" sentiment, came from the K&Company Spooktacular paper stack.  I used plain Recollections card stock throughout the project as well.
This second side I made using a few trick-or-treaters from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge.  I cut a door and front step and added a brad for a doorknob as well. 
For the third side I cut the fence, cat, raven, and bats from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge and accented them with a white gel pen.
For the fourth and final side I cut ghosts and gravestones from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge and accented them with a little bit of chalk to give them some dimension.  I used some cute sayings I found online to make the gravestones a little more fun. 
To hang the different shapes I cut out two of each accent (all from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge) and glued them to each other with embroidery floss in the middle.  Regular sewing thread is another option which is a little less visible.  I accented them with a sparkly silver gel pen.
This can be folded in half and mailed as a card, but also makes a great table centerpiece.  I wanted to keep my Halloween decorations cute and not so scary since I have a little one, so this is just right.
The card is actually really simple to make.  Unfortunately you can no longer find the instructions on Sandi's site, but I made mine 6 inches by 9 inches with a 4 inch by 4 inch window cut 1 inch from the top and sides.  You need to cut four of these and score them all down the middle.  Then cut out and string some die cuts to hang before you glue the sides together.  Then all you have to do is embellish.  That's it!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Cookies & Cream Ice Cream!

Pin It My brother and sister-in-law have had an ice cream maker for several years and loooove it.  I've been thinking about getting one for a long time, but the other day I was surprised when one arrived on my doorstep, thanks to them! 

It arrived perfectly in time for my husband's birthday, so I made my first batch cookies and cream, which is his favorite.  (I say this with the exception of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy, which cannot be replicated and sadly cannot be purchased anywhere but at a scoop shop.  If you haven't had it, you must!  It really is therapeutic.)

Here's how it turned out:

Delicious!  I can't say I've ever had better cookies & cream.  It was perfect!  Rarely do I make anything great the first time, so I have to say I'm very encouraged by my first time using the ice cream maker. 

So is your mouth watering yet?  Here's the recipe I used, adapted from here

2 cups half and half (a pint)
5 egg yolks (I know this sounds gross, but don't worry, it gets cooked.)
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream (a pint)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
20 crushed oreos (next time, I will use more)
*Note: Even though I cut down this recipe, it still made too much for my ice cream maker and I had to take some out.  Next time I would make it in 2 batches, or make a little less.

1. Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker 24 hours in advance.
2. Heat half and half in a pot over medium heat until very hot, but not boiling.
2. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. 
3. VERY SLOWLY add the hot half and half into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly.  You don't want to cook the eggs!
4. Pour this mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until steamy, but not boiling.  (*Note: At this point, I strained the egg mixture through a strainer to get out any tiny yucky bits of egg.  I would definitely recommend doing this!)
5. Pour into a clean bowl and add vanilla, whipping cream, and salt. 
6. Chill for several hours in the fridge.
7. Pour cold ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker.  Turn on the ice cream maker for 20 minutes.
8. While the ice cream maker is going, crush all your oreos in a ziplock bag.  A rolling pin can be helpful in this process, but you can also just crush them with your hands.
9. After the ice cream has been mixed for 20 minutes, add the cookies to the ice cream maker until well blended.
10. Transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours.
11. Enjoy!!

As you can see, this is a bit labor intensive, but it is soooo worth it.  As long as you plan ahead, you can still do it with a toddler around.  My 20 month old daughter enjoyed mixing the egg yolks and sugar, crushing the oreos, and watching the ice cream maker go round and round. 

Let me know if you make some!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Never Ending Halloween Card- Take 2!

Pin It I made this card last year, but I absolutely loved it (still do!) so I want to share it again.  It's a never-ending Halloween card.  It's a little tricky, you kind of have to show someone how to use it, but once you do, it's unlikely they'll stop flipping it!  They are so fun.  If you want to see a video with directions, here is the one I used.  I made my card 6 inches x 6 inches.

Side 1- open up the 2 inside vertical panels like a door

Side 2 - flip up and down the two middle rectangles

Side 3- flip the two middle vertical panels open like a door

Side 4- flip the 2 middle horizontal panels up and down

Let me know if you make one!  I'd love to see other designs. 

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Centerpiece/Card

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Hey everyone!  I'm guest posting on bear rabbit bear today to share a special Halloween Centerpiece/Card that I made.  Make sure you stop by & check it out here!  Here is a teaser.


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