Instant Pot Roast

The other night I had a roast on the menu. Since my Instant Pot is my new best friend in the kitchen, I pulled together a couple of different recipes/ideas to make this quick & tasty dinner. This turned out so delicious & tender! Of course my kids complained, but the adults enjoyed it!

  • 2-3 lb roast
  • 1 Tbsp Beef Soup Base mixed with 1 1/2 C water
  • 4-5 Whole Potatoes – unpeeled
  • 5-6 Carrots cut into chunks
  • Small onion rough cut
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp flour mixed with cold water

Season the roast with salt, pepper & granulated garlic.

Heat oil in the electric pressure cooker (use the saute button), then brown the roast on all sides – 2-4 minutes per side.

Add the soup base/water mixture, onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots.

Cook on manual 70 minutes, let the pressure drop naturally (NPR) for 10 minutes.

Remove potatoes, carrots, most of the onion, and the roast.

Select the saute button again, add the flour/water mixture and stir until the gravy thickens.

I was a little skeptical about cooking the potatoes and carrots for so long, but I read on a post that leaving the potatoes uncut and unpeeled keeps them from getting mushy. They were perfect with some butter & gravy – mmmm mmm! The carrots were not too mushy either.

Enjoy!

~Gerri

 

 

 

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FSE – Fast, Simple, Easy!

With spending 30 years around the Air Force – acronyms are second nature to me! But – I learned a new one the other day – FSE – Fast, Simple, Easy! (PS – I wouldn’t recommend searching this, because the Urban Dictionary DOES NOT translate it the same!)

FSE is usually my goal for cards & layouts  because like all of you – I’m busy! I need to get things done and move on to the next thing on my list. So – here are a couple of FSE birthday wishes…

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This card simply uses a piece of 3″ x 4 1/4″ Prickly Pear (X7221B) patterned paper, topped with a strip of Blue Burlap ribbon (Z3325) .  The stamping is done with Sapphire ink using the Wise Guy Birthday (C1662)  – which is also available in French or Spanish versions! Add some matching embellishments & you’re all done! (This card design is one off the Prickly Pear Scrapbook Workshops Your Way (G1128) extra projects).

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Not only is this card FSE – but it’s also a great way to use up scraps! This card was inspired by a Clean & Simple Stamping sketch challenge.  It is so simple to just punch out a bunch of circles (I used 1″) and then lay them out in off set rows.  I added some Prickly Pear sequins to balance out the left side a bit. The stamping was a little more involved because I wanted the white to show through on the Sapphire cardstock, so I used heat embossing on the Hooked On You Stamp Set (B1535).  It’s crazy how many times I’ve come back to this stamp set to use this Happy Birthday stamp – it’s a great option.

What do you do to keep your card crafting Fast – Simple – Easy. (This takes me back to… We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, Stronger, Faster – ooops! Not exactly crafting related!)

Enjoy!

~Gerri

Watercolor Fun

 

I’ve been doing classes at a local Senior Center for a few months – I try to keep the projects simple and inexpensive ($1-2/ card). This month I decided to play with some quick and easy watercolored cards.

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Using CTMH Picture My Life™ Watercolor cards is one way to do this. These cards come in a pack of 24 (12 each of 3×4 and 4×6 cards). I started by putting a wash of clean water across the entire card. Since I prefer to work from the top down, I added color to my brush and diluted it so the color would be lighter starting off. As I worked my way down the card, I simply picked up a bit more color to darken it as I went. I’m guessing you could start with undiluted color and let the color get lighter as you use it up, but I liked the control of how light I started with and then adding more color as I wanted.

As the card dried, I tried to keep adjusting it so it would be curled up. After it was all dried, I simply attached it to a cardstock mat,  added the sentiment, and I’m done. I try to use a good amount of adhesive when I’m working with watercolors because they do tend to get a bit stiff and sometimes want to pull up at the edges.

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I used this technique on a birthday card for my Dad last year (A Rustic Birthday) and I really like the look. CTMH has several realistic line image stamp sets – Nature’s Wish (D1703), Homegrown (C1666), and the one used here Hooked on You (B1535). As I’ve mentioned before – I don’t have a lot of patience for coloring – so my solution for this is to add some mottled watercolors in the background, and stamp the image on top of that.

This technique also starts with a clear water wash across the paper. Then I add spots of very diluted color – I’m going for a muted look on the colors, so I try to keep my hand very light.  I like to use colors that hint at the environment – so for this one, I mainly used blue, with a touch of yellow towards the top (for the sunlight) and some green.

I tried to mold this piece as it dried to get it as straight/flat as possible. You can see on the bottom right edge where I didn’t get enough adhesive to keep it down (I’ll go back over this with a Bonding Memories Glue Pen because I can get the tip between the two pieces of paper to apply the glue).

Since I allowed the paper to dry completely before stamping, I was able to use regular ink without it bleeding. This is great if you want to use a dark brown ink to give the image a more aged look.

Since today is Father’s Day – this card will be for my boys to give my husband – he loves to fish.

There you go – Easy Watercolor cards (I won’t say they’re quick because you do need to let the watercolors dry – but the actual part of making the cards is pretty quick).

Enjoy!

~Gerri

Other products used (these can be found on my CTMH site – gerri.closetomyheart.com)

Scrapbooking Little Dreamer

I was excited to scrapbook with the Little Dreamer Workshop Your Way kit.  These papers have fun colors that are great for happy events.  I’ve been wanting to scrap my son’s 2nd Easter and birthday and these papers were perfect for both! I was able to use the Workshop Guide with minimal changes to meet my needs for picture sizes & quantities.  Check out the comparison below!

1705-se-little-dreamer-wyw-layout-01I like the simplicity of this layout.  The lagoon stripes on the base papers added nice dimension.  Rather than using the Complements for a title, I decided to cut ‘make a wish’ from the CTMH Artbooking Cricut cartridge.

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This was layout was great for continuing the birthday theme.  I used CTMH Artiste Cricut Cartridge (retired) for the ‘Birthday Boy’ title. The party hats are from the Artistry and Flower Market Cartridges! I also used different PML cards for journaling and left off the unicorns (cute as they are, they just don’t work with Bob the Builder!)

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1705-se-little-dreamer-wyw-layout-03I love that our B&T Duo papers are just that – dual sided!  This layout was easy to adjust simply by flipping the unicorns over to get the dots.  I probably wouldn’t so much of the dots on back to back layouts – but these will be a few months apart in the final book – so I’m happy with it.  The Cricut cuts for this layout include Easter Eggs from Art Philosophy (retired), grass strip from Artbooking and Happy Easter title from Flower Market

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Tips for adapting to your layouts:

  1. Change up the PML cards to meet your needs and cover up things that don’t fit – I covered up unicorns and flowers (2nd layout) and a heart (3rd layout).
  2. Use Cricut cuts for titles and embellishing.
  3. You can easily add more pictures or different sizes to a sample layout.
  4. Wait until you’ve decided on pictures to cut the photo mats from the Thistle Cardstock and Heart B&T Duo paper.
  5. A little planning goes a long way! I like to decide on what pictures I want to use before I start cutting my papers. This way I can more easily decide what adjustments I want to make.

I’d love to hear any ideas you might have for adjusting kit layouts to meet your needs!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

Getting Started – Pictures on Pages

Last month I did a couple of posts about getting started & organizing your pictures.  This month I’d like to move on to getting pictures on pages. First – we all have to realize that there are many different ways to do this – the three basic paths are:

  • Traditional scrapbooking – gluing paper & pictures to pages & adding the story.

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  • Pocket scrapbooking – sliding pictures and pre-printed cards into divided page protectors

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  • Digital scrapbooking – using an electronic format to design layouts & then either printing a photo book or printing individual pages to add to a scrapbook.

     

     

    Today I’m going to focus on traditional scrapbooking.  Within this arena you have a variety of page sizes – from make your own mini-albums (I just did one that was 3 x 4) up to 12 x 12 (I know Creative Memories used to have something like an 11 X 15, but don’t know what other larger sizes are available.) Don’t feel confined to a single size – you can intermingle smaller sized layouts within a larger album (add 8 1/2 x 11 to a 12 x 12 album).

    Something to consider on the size is how many pictures you want to scrapbook.  If you have a lot of pictures, or if you like a lot of pictures on a layout – you might want to go with a larger format. One thought on the number of pictures, though – you don’t have to scrap every picture – (I constantly struggle with this!).

    Another area to consider is the content of your scrapbooks/layouts. Do you want to focus more on telling a story or capture an event. Many of us start out as event-driven scrappers (a wedding, birth) and migrate to the stories.  I’m a firm believer that all your layouts should have some story – if not, you might as well juts hang it on a wall (and that’s not a bad option either). My thoughts are that scrapbooking is a way to capture what’s going on in life so that in years to come my family can look back over the pages & share those memories.  So if I don’t really identify what’s going on, I may not have much to share later if I can’t remember the details.

    So, if you’re scrapping an event,

    • Choose your pictures from that event (an easy task if you have them organized – if not, check out these other posts Where to Start? – Digital Photo Management – Where to Start (Part 2) – Piles of Pics).
    • Find coordinating papers –
      • Colors that match the pictures or the event (match wedding colors)
      • Themed papers that match the event (birthday, Halloween)
      • Patterned papers that match the event (florals for a wedding, animals for a zoo trip)
    • Find a layout – you can design your own, but I find scraplifting is helpful – especially if you’re just starting out. Look for layouts with the same amount of pictures, similar theme, or the colors you want to use. There are so many great resources for this – Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, sketch/recipe books, catalogs (CTMH Idea Books)

    As a Close To My Heart consultant, of course, I regularly turn to CTMH product.  I love that each featured paper packet has a Scrapbook Workshops Your Way kit that includes paper, embellishments & and a cutting guide that is easy to use or adapt to my own needs. Everything coordinates leaving me less to think about, decide on, spend time on.

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    Another new CTMH product is the Cut Above Layout Kit.  Talk about a great way to get started.  There are currently 2 kits – one for a new baby,

    and one for a wedding/love theme.

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    These kits include pre-printed die cuts and base pages. All you need to do is punch out the pieces (they’re perforated sheets) and adhere them to the base pages.  There are also pocket cards to add to your traditional layout (I know, this wasn’t today’s topic, but they’re there & they do mix wonderfully with traditional!)

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    During April 2017 – you can get either of these Cut Above layout kits for half price!! – That’s just $7.48 each!  What an amazing deal – check it out at gerri.closetomyheart.com.  AND – watch for more Cut Above layouts in May!

    Enjoy!

    ~Gerri

    ONE SHEET WONDER

    Are you looking for a way to make a lot of cards quickly – & easily without using a ton of product?  Check out these 12 cards – made with 1 sheet of B&T Duos patterned paper (double sided) and 1 sheet (plus a 5 ½ X 4 piece) of colored cardstock and 1 sheet of cardstock for stamping (I used White Daisy).

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    You can find a host of One Sheet Wonder patterns on-line.  But I decided to make my own.  It was really pretty easy – I started by dividing a 12 X 12 grid to get pieces for the card.

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    After cutting the 12 X 12 sheet apart, I set to work matching the pieces up with Black cardstock and White Daisy squares.

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    I ended up with 12 cards that worked great with either the Birthday Sparkles or All the Thanks – or any stamp that fits within a 2 ¾ square.

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    I used one of the papers from the La Vie Enrose paper packet (from the 2015-2016 Annual Inspirations).

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    I didn’t add any bling – but you could easily dress these cards up with some Bitty Sparkles, Shimmer Trim, sequins or whatever else you have to match.

    I’ve included the cutting diagrams here, but I’ll also put a PDF version in the files of my Facebook Customer Group – This is a closed group where I hold drawings & post specials just for members – feel free to request to be added!

    Enjoy!

    ~Gerri

    Welcome Home Kit

    Hello on a rainy Monday (I would really rather snow!!).  I wanted to show you this sweet succulent wreath that is our January Constant Campaign.  First I have to say I was a little intimidated by 3D flowers and plants – but this kit makes it soooo easy – anyone can make this fun project.

    This is a Cut Above Kit – which means that all the pieces you need are pre-made/cut.  All you need to do is break apart the pieces on the perforated lines, roll up the roses and glue away.  If you want to add a little more you can ink the edges, add some bling or whatever makes your heart happy.

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    Here are those adorable 3D roses that I thought were so intimidating.  A quilling tool makes them easier – but I didn’t have one, so I used a skewer and they turned out just fine.

    How about those succulents – Cats & Kittens, Chicks & Hens (do you have another name for them?) they are all precut on colored cardstock, so just punch them out, layer & use the quilling tool to curl the edges to add a little dimension.

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    The kit comes with 2 sheets of gold foil letters so you can personalize your wreath. Oh -and there are little gold dots on those sheets as well (I missed that part, so I used a hole punch to get the gold dots in the middle of my plants!)

     

     

    So – now you might be wondering how to get this cute wreath.  You can purchase the Welcome Home Wreath Kit for $18.95 – or better yet get it for free by –

    • Purchasing $60 in product!
    • Hosting a Gathering!
    • Becoming a consultant!

    Do you have more questions – just give me a call!

    ~Gerri

    Other products used Quilling Tool, Liquid Glass, Fern & Juniper Exclusive Inks, Sponge Daubers.  Find all you need at gerri.closetomyheart.com