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.

October 4, 2015

Happy Harvest

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

I'm here today with my very first project as a full-fledged designer for House Mouse and Friends!


They're having a challenge over at House Mouse and Friends. It's midway through, so you still have PLENTY o' time to enter! The theme this time around is
So put on a sweater and join in the fun! There are PRIZES to be had!! Check it out!

We have two loverly sponsors this time around.

Winner will receive a $12 voucher to spend in their store!
and our second sweet sponsor is
The place for embellishments of all kinds!
Winner will receive a goody bag of a random assortment of embellies!

And we're not done yet!

Our fabulous DT captain, Miss America, is offering 
*** A NEW way to WIN a Mousey Prize***
We also have a 3rd special PRIZE from America that will go out to a fabulous player who promotes us on their FACEBOOK page. (simply leave a direct link to our Mousey Blog on YOUR Facebook page) sending people back here.  Let us know that you've done this and leave us a link to your post to be in the running for this brand NEW stamp draw. :) If you dont get a chance to create an entry, its ok, as long as you have promoted us on your own Facebook page, then you are in the running for this stamp!  Easy Peasy! :)
House-Mouse Designs®, "Pumpkin Carving" #HMR43,
 manufactured in the USA by Stampendous!

Now for my project. 
I chose to do the "Fall" theme for my project. To me, Fall means pretty leaves, warm colors, and apples.  The image I used is a black and white digi stamp from the Triple CD. I WISH WISH WISH there were more digi stamps on that CD set...HINT HINT HINT.

I had to sharpen my colored pencils to a needle-like precision tip, and pull out my magnifying glass to color this sucker. Why?, you ask. Well, it's not because I'm going even more blind than normal... it's because the mice in the background image are only 3/8" tall. That is practically MICROSCOPIC. 

There must be some scientific theory that explains my affinity for the apparent inverse correlation of my declining visual acuity and the size of the images I color. Either that, or I'm just weird.

Probably, I'm just weird.

I can't go much smaller than 3/8"-sized mice...my colored pencils don't get sharp enough. If the mice get any smaller, they'll just end up looking like little dust balls anyway. 

As I mentioned (repeatedly), for this image I used my ever-trusty Prismacolor pencils to color it. I couldn't decide between red apples and green apples, so I made my apples variegated. I believe they're Jonathan apples. That's appropriate being that my hubby's name is also...Jonathan.

That solved that.

And, since my Copics were still hanging out on my desk, I pulled them back out and stippled a light blue background so they didn't feel left out. Then, I capped them all up, put them back in their case and sequestered them HIGH on a shelf, tucked way far away in the very back of my studio.

That's where I keep them.

As far from me as possible...and out of sight.

I told you, I'm copicphobic. It's either that, or I start taking Valium.

Thanks, as always, for tromping out to Left Field...where the grass is green year-round.


September 29, 2015

Torrey's in da Mowz Howz!!!

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!


(Wait, I know how bad y'all are at guessing. It was rhetorical anyway.)

You're looking at the brandiest newest, shiny, squeaky design team member for House Mouse and Friends!


Now I have the perfect excuse REASON to include House Mouse images on ALL my cards and paper crafting.

I am so excited, that I made a couple of animated badges in honor of this auspicious happening.

Whatcha think?

The ladies at House Mouse and Friends have NO IDEA about my status as a Digital Diva in Photoshop...but they're about to find out! I can't WAIT to make all sorts of little animated badges!!!

Ok, that's all I wanted to post right now.

Thank you to the super talented (and intelligent) people at House Mouse and Friends for choosing me to be on their design team.

Dropping hints paid off.

Hee hee hee.

September 21, 2015

Painting Smiles

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

I'm here today to throw my proverbial hat into the ring for a chance to become a full-fledged member of the House Mouse and Friends design team. The current challenge over at House Mouse et al  is a BINGO challenge. You know the kind where you're given a grid of 9 things and you have to use 3 in a row of said things...either vertical, horizontal, or if you're feeling crazy--diagonal. Here is the BINGO board for this challenge.

Since this challenge is for their design team, AND since I'm totally insane, I decided to pull out all the stops and do a BLACKOUT BINGO--where I use EVERYTHING on the board.

That's a lot of stuff for one little card.

I was worried that by attempting to do a BLACKOUT that my card would end up a total junk heap and the image would get buried like the basement of a 4-story house in a 7.8 earthquake.

Wow, that was kind of an insensitive thing to say considering there was recently a huge earthquake in Chile. I apologize to anyone who was impacted by that disaster.

Here is the card I am entering as my proverbial hat-in-the-ring. I colored up my image with

(wait for it)

Prismacolor pencils...(no surprise).


Copic markers (big surprise).

Before you get too excited about me using Copics...I only used the Copics to create the soft mottled blue background. It was WAY easier than trying to do it with pencils. I created the little "pansy" embellishments to coordinate with the image using a very old punch I had stashed away. And (to preserve Jodi's sanity) I tied all my buttons with twine. It's hard to tell, but the buttons and Bakers Twine are purple...to echo the paint that our little mousy friend is using to paint the smiles on the pansies.

Ok, let's see if I got everything for the BLACKOUT on there...
  • Buttons (check)
  • Ribbon (check)
  • Bakers twine (check)
  • Orange color (check)
  • Yellow color (check)
  • Green color (check)
  • Pearls/Gems (check)
  • Flowers/Leaves (check) - punch by All Night Media
  • Use an Embossing Folder (check) - Chevron folder by Magenta
And whadya know...it doesn't look like a cluttered hot mess! BONUS! I somehow managed to keep the design rather clean looking...almost graphic...that surprised me! (because, as most of you know, I have NO IDEA how most of my projects are gonna turn out. They just sort of...evolve)

So, with this card, I formally submit my application to become an esteemed member of the House Mouse and Friends Design Team.

I would also like to enter this card in the following challenges:

Thank you, as always, for coming out to visit me in Left Field.

September 16, 2015

High Tea, Texas Style--Part 10...The Finale

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!


This is the final post of my coverage of THE tea party! I saved the best for last. Today's post is all about the lovely ladies who attended our celebration.

For those of you who have just discovered the posts about this amazing party, you'll want to start at the beginning so you don't miss anything! Here are links to all the previous party postings:
We were so lucky to have had such a wonderful and diverse group of women gather for a few hours of frivolity! I know it's not polite to divulge a lady's age...but I thought it was pretty special that we had guests ranging in age from 4 to 90. The amount of life experience in that room was staggering!

So, without further hesitation, I bring you our esteemed and beloved guests.

Miss Lucille and Janna

Fran, B.K., Kelly

Adriana and Andrea


(with Andrea) 





Miss Lucille and Dian


Well, that about wraps it up for our High Tea, Texas Style...at least for this year. Oh, and if you're wondering about which lady belonged to which "Not-so Dirty Little Secret" that I listed in Part 4...The Entertainment well...you'll just have to guess. Because what was revealed at the Tea Party remains at the Tea Party. 

You just should have been there!

Thanks, as always, for joining me for a romp through Left Field...where chocolate is always the crop in season.

September 15, 2015

High Tea, Texas Style--Part 9...Baking Bonanza

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

As you can see, I took a break from my coverage of "THE" tea party. But, I'm back now with part 9...Baking Bonanza! This will wrap up all the yummy munchies we served at the Tea.

For those of you who are just joining me on this parade of Tea Party goodness, here are the links to all the previous entries so you can get all caught up!
Ok, now on with the final two contestants in the baking lolapalooza! I'll start things off with the scones we served...for a tea party just wouldn't be a tea party without scones. I am pretty sure there is a written rule in the tea party bylaws that states there must be some iteration of scones present in order to actually call a celebration a 'tea party'.

Lady Di Apricot Scones
I call these "Lady Di" scones for two reasons:

1) Because my mom wanted Apricot Scones...and her name is Dian--hence, Lady Di.
2) Because the base recipe is (reputed to be) the actual recipe for scones that was/is served to the Royal Family--in particular to the Lady Diana, Princess of Wales (and yes, that is her correct title--I looked it up). 

Apparently, she could only be called Princess Diana IF she had been born into the Royal Family. Since she got there by way of her marriage to Chuck...and then divorced him...she got stuck with the "lesser" title above. Had she stayed married to Prince C...she would have been known as HRH (Her Royal Highness) The Princess of Wales. In the divorce, she lost the HRH part. No biggie in my opinion...she got to keep the princess part which is the best part.

Anyway, there I go off on a tangent again. But you learned something, didn't you? My friend Becca was kind enough to supply me with this recipe. I did tweak the recipe a bit (I used cold butter instead of room temp, and I used apricots instead of raisins). Becca is an AMAZING cook. Here is a link to her blog...it's well worth more than just a glancing look!
Becca's Blog - From3906

  • 3 1/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 4 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • 3/4 - 1 1/4 cups milk 
  • 1 cup raisins (optional) - OR ANY CHOPPED DRIED FRUIT(like apricots, cranberries, cherries, peaches, prunes, mangos, etc)
  • 1 beaten egg yolk for glazing
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C)
  • Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in large bowl. Whisk until well blended.
  • Cut in the cold butter and mix until flour resembles bread crumbs. I use a pastry cutter...but you can use a fork.
  • Cut up dried fruit of choice into raisin-size pieces.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and add the beaten egg and about 3/4 cup milk. If adding fruit, add it now.
  • Bring the mixture together with a wooden spoon, making sure you don't overmix (this will toughen the dough). If the mixture seems dry, add milk (1-2 Tablespoons at a time). You want a lightly bound, sticky dough.
  • Lightly dust a cutting board and your hands with flour and dump dough onto floured surface. Form into sort of a ball and press out to about 1-2 thick.
  • Using a 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter (I used my grandmother's), cut out about 18-24 scones--using leftover dough to form new scones until all dough is used.

  • Place scones on ungreased baking sheet (I used a silicon sheet) about 1 inch apart.
  • Brush tops of scones with the beaten egg yolk.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until scones are LIGHTLY colored. 
  • Serve immediately while hot, OR, transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
  • Store in airtight container at room temperature.

The final sweet treat is cupcakes. I decided early on that I wanted to incorporate some flavor/variety of tea into at least one of my offerings. I toyed with Earl Grey or Chamomile but ultimately landed on Chai. I love Chai. I drink it almost every day. Chai, for those of you not in the know, is sort of India's version of coffee. Traditional chai is served hot, frothy, and milky. It's HEAVILY flavored with green cardamom. The cardamom gives it a very floral fragrance. I prefer the "spiced" version (called Masala Chai) with lots of added cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and black pepper. I'm telling ya, it's a hug in a cup.

Speaking of cups...I found these absolutely ADORABLE silicone teacup baking cups online and HAD to get them for this party. H A D  T O. They are even translucent and look just like fine china. Aren't they C-U-T-E?? 

I decided to top these beauties off with an equally-decadent frosting. I couldn't decide between a buttercream and cream cheese frosting...so I thought "why not both?" and combined the two to make an uber-rich-and-delicious cream cheese buttercream frosting...with real vanilla bean. OMG. It was so good.

Spiced Chai Cupcakes
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 to 1  teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, ground cloves
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, black pepper
  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix 
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
Cupcake Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175C).
  • In large bowl, mix cake mix and spices. If you like a LOT of spice, add 1 tsp of each of the spices and 2 TBS cinnamon. I added the larger amounts. Whisk until well blended.
  • Add eggs, oil, and water. Mix until well blended.
  • Pour into paper baking cup-lined muffin tin--filling each cup to 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from tin and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchatel) softened at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter (I use salted butter) softened at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean split in half, seeds scraped out.
Frosting Directions:
  • Note: Use a stand mixer or hand mixer (which I used).
  • Mix together butter and cream cheese until well blended, fluffy, and without lumps.
  • Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix until incorporated.
  • Add vanilla and scraped vanilla seeds and mix until well blended. See the video below for how to scrape a vanilla bean!
  • Place frosting in ziplock bag. Snip off corner of bag and use it as a piping bag to pipe frosting onto cupcakes starting at outer edge and swirling in toward middle--this is MUCH easier than spreading on the frosting and it looks prettier!
  • Store cupcakes in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.     

    That's it for today! Stay tuned for the FINAL installment of the High Tea--Texas Style series...The Guests! 

    Thank you, as always, for venturing out to Left Field--where the grass is ALWAYS greener.