Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

April 11, 2014

Hidden Treasure

I was up all night, night-before-last. I finally crawled into bed around 5:30 a.m. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence. One of the joys of being me is that I have very fractured sleep patterns. It wasn't always this way. I used to be able to sleep 8 hours straight...and, on occasion, 10 hours.

Not anymore.

Now, I'm lucky if I make it 3-4 hours before I wake up. I know what's at the root of my insomnia. Actually, there are several contributing culprits...and they all work together (sort of like a deranged group of Power Rangers) to prevent me from getting restful, uninterrupted sleep.

This is why I usually end up taking naps in the afternoon, and frequently find myself (in the wee hours) on Pinterest.

Early this morning, at about 4 a.m., I was perusing Pinterest and ran across a strikingly beautiful photo. I did some investigating and, after about 20 minutes, I figured out what the picture was. It turned out to be a photo of a place that is 10 minutes away from my house.

10 minutes.

How could I not know this place exists? It's so beautiful.

So, today, I took my DH and mom to see this wonder. I didn't tell them where we were going...just that it was going to be a beautiful, peaceful, spiritual outing.

They were intrigued.

We went to see the Chapel of Thanks-Giving. It's a tiny, pan-denominational chapel right in the heart of downtown Dallas. It sits in the corner of Thanks-Giving Square--a quiet, inner-city refuge set aside for people to reflect on the gifts they have been given and, in turn, give thanks.
It's not a typical park with playground equipment and park benches. It's more of a spiritual oasis where people go to just....be. There is a network of walled, cement pathways that extend the length of the square. The walls of the paths provide places for people to sit. Nestled in between these paths are grassy knolls dotted with trees.

On the northeast corner of the square (which is really a big triangle) sits the chapel. To me, the chapel sort of looks like a giant Dairy Queen ice cream cone. It's not fancy. In fact, it's very plain. One might even say...vanilla. Its walls are white stucco-covered cement. It's truly a case of "it's what's inside that counts".


Inside is a small, circular room with several chairs arranged in a half circle. A small dais stands at the far side. The lighting is very low and soft. The walls are the same white stucco as on the outside. It's quiet in there. The type of quiet you can feel...like you're immersed in a cotton ball. It's a palpable silence that instantly imbues you with a reverent sense of calm. It's a place where speaking out loud just feels wrong.

But the magic happens when you look...upwards.

When you turn your eyes heavenward, this is what you see...

Inset in the upward-spiraling ceiling are the most glorious abstract stained glass panels I've seen. It's mesmerizing.



I'm sure there are places in every hometown, like this chapel, that many people don't even know exist. I encourage everyone to take some time to seek out and visit these places. You just never know what hidden treasures you'll discover!


April 8, 2014

Problem...Solved

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Short post today. In my last post, I made a last-minute birthday card. Well, I had leftover stamped images and a length of cut ribbon that I cut too short for the other card.

Problem: Can't bring myself to throw out perfectly lovely watercolor/stamped images and a decent chunk o' ribbon.

Solution: My sister just had surgery (back surgery...again. sigh.) so why not make her a cheery feel better card?

Problem solved.


The inside of the card simply reads... "Soon".

I'd like to enter this card in the following challenges:


Ingredients:
Cloisonne Cat stamp - Michael Strong
Watercolor paper
Watercolors
Prismacolor pencils
stamping ink
Loopy edge and matching corner punch - Martha Stewart
organza ribbon





April 6, 2014

Last Minute Mabel ...

Why, oh why do I wait until the last minute to make birthday cards? I still owe my dad one, his birthday was in February, let's not go there (bad daughter....B A D daughter).

Jonathan and I were hosting a birthday party for a friend today down at our local pub, which, by the way, offers the % discount off the entire party's bill = to however many years old the birthday person is (up to $100 off). Our friend turned 71...so YEAH BABY...that was a 71% discount off our party's bill! WOOT!

So, this morning, before we left for the pub...I baked a SCRUMPTIOUS chocolate cake, made her card, showered and got dressed...all in the span of like 2 hours. So much for a lazy Sunday morning!

Here is the cake: (photo taken with my phone, so it's bleah quality) I decorated it by placing it on a hand-punched doily out of Spring green cardstock (with the aid of my Martha Stewart circle punch), and decorated it with little plastic "cupcake" flower toppers. It's not fancy, but it looked cute...and more importantly, it tasted AMAZING.
Today is your LUCKY day! I'm gonna post the recipe...because I'm just awesome like that!

 Torrey's Super Moist Oh-So-Easy Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix (any kind)
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream (or can use 1 cup Greek yogurt)
1 small box chocolate pudding-dry (I used instant)
1/4 cup oil (canola, vegetable, or corn)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Frosting:
1 container dark chocolate frosting
1  container cream cheese frosting
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F (~175 C). Mix all cake ingredients together (except chocolate chips if using them) either by hand or with mixer until well-blended. Then add choc. chips. Pour into greased Bundt pan and bake for 50-60 min. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to complete cooling. Frost when cool

For Frosting: Combine prepared chocolate and cream cheese frostings in mixing bowl. Using hand mixer, beat frostings together until thoroughly mixed and fluffy. Frostings will about double in volume when whipped this way! You'll probably have leftover frosting. I did. It won't be leftover for very long...I'm just sayin' is all.

This cake is SOOOOoooooo moist. It won't leave any crumbs. And, it's SO choco-licious... mmmmmmmmm.

Here is the card I made.

Side note: Pat likes cats. Pat REALLY likes cats. A LOT. She has like 7 of them (or was it 12?) Anyway...she has a LOT of cats.

First off, I did a color wash with watercolors on watercolor paper. After it was dry I stamped the cat image on and fussy cut it out. Then I enhanced the color with my Prismacolor pencils and added clear lacquer to the main lines of the image. I used some of the leftover color-washed paper for the bottom of the card.
I LOVE this stamp, don't you? Actually, I love ALL of Michael's stamps. His "cloisonné" line of stamps is AWESOME. Check them out HERE

Ingredients:
Cloisonné Cat stamp - Michael Strong
Watercolor- Prang
Prismacolor colored pencils
Bubble edge punch- Martha Stewart
organza ribbon
clear lacquer
cardstock and watercolor paper
black stamping ink - Memento


April 3, 2014

A Coloring We Will Go

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

I just wanted to share a recent adventure that Jodi and participated in while she was here visiting. We were invited to attend the Texas Coloring Retreat--it was a weekend filled with colorists from all over the world! We got to spend an ENTIRE weekend coloring, learning, experimenting, mingling, and hanging out with some SERIOUSLY talented colorists.

The event was sponsored by   

And, it was hosted by none other than: Christy (owner of Tiddly Inks), Zoe (owner of Make It Crafty) and Barbara (owner of Little Miss Muffet). Zoe flew in from Australia to be here!

One of the things we did for the retreat was to make ATCs to exchange. Here is the one I made. I used the Rosie the Riveter stamp from Bombshell Stamps (I added the colored pencils in Photoshop). As always, I colored the image using my trusty Prismacolor pencils.
We had SUCH a blast! Most of the ladies there were die-hard Copic gals. I was the only one there who DOESN'T use Copics. I sorta felt like a fish out of water...even though Barbara and Peggy did some coloring with pencils (I think they did that so I wouldn't feel so conspicuous).

They provided us with some fun (and frustrating) challenges throughout the weekend. We were tasked with:
  • creating a stamped scene using masking film and a set of background stamps provided by Make it Crafty.
  • Color an image in 10 minutes
  • Color hair an "unusual" color
  • Use Barbara's ECP (Extreme Color Placement) technique to create a face on a faceless stamp. (we had about 2 hours)
  • Round Robin stamp event where we each chose a stamped image, colored on it for 3 minutes, then passed it to the person to our left...until the image got all the way around the room.
We also had mini tutorials scattered throughout the weekend. They were fun and VERY helpful.
 Zoe taught us how to color folds in fabrics.
 Just look at her folds! Amazing...and she was only half done.

 Barbara taught us how to make clouds, grass, and faces.

Christy gave us some tips and hints for drawing digital stamps! 

It was a fabulous time! I learned a ton of really coolio stuff that I now have to figure out how to translate into colored pencils. I have my work cut out for me.

The best part of the whole weekend was getting to spend time with Jodi and having the opportunity to meet a truly wonderful group of ladies (and gents). Here is a group photo of us all. I know what you're thinking...OMG! There were guys there! Yeah, they crashed the retreat. How could we say "No"? And not just ANY guys, I might add. Brad Pitt, Keith Urban, Ian Somerhalder, Chris Hemsworth, Vin Diesel, and Johnny Depp. Yeah, betcha didn't know they're closet colorists!

March 29, 2014

Wooden You Know It--A Colouring Challenge

G'day, crafty peeps.

As many ouf you know, my bestee (Joudi A.) has been here visiting with me all week. Sadly, this mourning she returned houme tou Coloradou.

Doun't get me started our I'll start blubbering.

Again.

I will poust moure about our escapades oun anouther post. For nouw, I'm pousting a challenge I just entered ouver at Make It Crafty's colouring challenge. (NO, I haven't gone all oddly British on you. I know it's spelled "COLORING" in the U.S., but this challenge is based out of Australia, so I thought I'd get in the proverbial spirit and start adding "U"s everywhere...and I got carried away. But adding a U after the O makes things look...classier somehow.
 
Jodi and I stayed up ALL NIGHT (as her plane left at the unholy hour of 6 a.m. this morning). We were on the road to the airport at 4 a.m. MANY thanks to my DH for driving. MANY.

I digress. Where was I?

Oh yes, Australia.

SOooooooo, at Make It Crafty, they're hosting a coloring challenge. The official name of this challenge is:

Make it Colourful - Challenge #7 - Spring is in the air

They have 2 competitions: an easy one (Spring is in the air) and a hard one (wood). Of course I bit off more than I can chew and picked the hard one. In fact, I picked the wonderfully-detailed "Big Steampunk Treehouse"  digi stamp.


WHAT WAS I THINKING?

In preparation for this challenge I spent all day looking at tree trunks.

ALL DAY.

Jodi, my mom, my DH, and I spent a whole day at the lovely Dallas Arboretum last week (pics to follow in another post). Does Torrey look at the multitudes of GORGEOUS tulips, daffodils, pansies, hyacinths, etc. flowers? NO. She looks at the gnarled bark of still-dormant trees. Ok, so I did take a "few" pictures (178) of the flowers...but I STUDIED the tree trunks.

Go figure. 

Guess what? I learned that tree trunks aren't brown. They're more a soft, warm grey with about a thousand other colors splashed around. For this challenge, I chose a wonderfully-detailed image of a steampunk treehouse sitting atop a marvelously gnarled old tree...which I decided needed to look like it was covered in moss. Because it's old. And gnarly.

 I kid you not...there are 23 colors in this tree trunk. 

23...and that's just in the tree trunk.

 Ready for the list?
  1. 10% French Grey (PC1068)
  2. 50% French Grey (PC1072)
  3. 70% French Grey (PC1074)
  4. Dark Umber (PC947)
  5. Dark Brown (PC946)
  6. Dark Purple (PC931)
  7. Sepia (PC948)
  8. Burnt Ochre (PC943)
  9. Sienna Brown (PC945)
  10. Chestnut (PC1081)
  11. Henna (PC1031)
  12. Beige Sienna (PC1080)
  13. Goldenrod (PC1034)
  14. Cream (PC914)
  15. Bronze (PC1028)
  16. Green Ochre (PC1091)
  17. Celadon Green (PC1020)
  18. Jade Green (PC1021)
  19. Limepeel (PC1005)
  20. Olive Green (PC911)
  21. Dark Green (PC908)
  22. Kelp Green (PC1090)
  23. Black (PC935)
I do believe this picture wins my own personal "there-is-no-such-thing-as-plain-brown" award.

It was fun...but don't EVEN get me started on how many colors I used for the "copper" treehouse.

Oy.