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.

July 20, 2015

How Sweet It Is

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Welcome to another edition of "House Mouse and Friends Monday Challenge"!

The challenge this time 'round is titled "House Mouse and a Friend". As I understand it, we're allowed to use ANY friend (as long as at least ONE of the images is either a Gruffies, Happy Hopper, or House Mouse). AND, as always, if you'd rather just do your own thing...Anything Goes is ALWAYS an option!

I put on my "creative" hat and went deep into the Labora-Torrey for this one.

The image on this card is basically a Frankenstein's monster.

I know it's more than a little early for Halloween, AND I know what you're thinking...
 "But Torrey...it isn't green and it doesn't have bolts coming out of the side of its neck."

This is true.

But I combined parts of several stamps to create this image.

The base is the Gruffies stamp "Bit of Honey". One of the mice is from the House Mouse stamp "School Supplies". The other 2 mice are from the Triple CD. A wave of my magic wand and SHAZZAM! They all came together to form a "new" image that I call "Sweet Friends".  I would tell you how I made my Frankenstein image...but I can't.

It's a Labora-Torrey trade secret.

I took an oath.

I colored it all up with my trusty Prismacolor pencils. The sentiment on the card is another Frankenstein's monster. I cut apart various words from the "Holiday Wishes" word dies and pieced them together to form the words I actually wanted, since words like "seasons" and "winter greetings" just didn't seem to work.

So, just sit back, scratch your head, and enjoy this week's offering! And, while you're at it, go over to House Mouse and Friends and enter your own creation for a chance to win FaBuLoUs prizes!!! 
Looks like that "stamp" was always that way, doesn't it?

I would like to enter this card in the following challenges:
Gruffies and Guests #19 Lazy Days

Supplies used:
House Mouse stamps and images
Hex background die (Papertrey Ink)
Loopy frame die (Spellbinders)
Frosted gems (Spotted Canary)
Ribbon (Creative Impressions)
Holiday Words dies (Sizzix by Tim Holtz)
Kraft cardstock
Distress Ink (Ranger)
Patterned paper
Prismacolor Pencils

Thanks, as always, for venturing out to Left Field to visit me! I love getting visitors!



July 11, 2015

Oh Baby

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Quicky post today.

I am sharing a super-fast baby card I just whipped up to give to our neighbor (whose baby is coming a tad earlier than expected).

Nothing fancy...but it's cute. I used a cute toy puppy stamp from Inkadinkado and the sentiment stamp from Stampin' Up. Colored the image with my Prismacolor pencils.


Inside: stamp from Inkadinkado.


Thanks for wandering out to Left Field!

Have a peachy day!


July 6, 2015

Think Small

Hido Ho, crafty peeps!

GUESS WHAT??

No, it has nothing to do with chicken butts.

NO, I didn't win an all-expense paid trip to Liechtenstein.

NOOOoooo, I am not traveling back in time to meet Einstein (I wish).

Man, you guys are bad guessers. Are you even trying?

So I'll tell you.

The lovely folks at House Mouse and Friends have asked me to be a guest designer for them for awhile!

WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!

Dropping hints paid off. (hee hee hee)

In honor of...well...this honor, I designed my own animated badge to display on my Design Team page and on the sidebar of my home page. I used an image from the House-Mouse Triple CD, and did some of my magic in Photoshop to animate it a little bit. Do you like it?


Now, back to business!

It's time for a new Monday Challenge over at the HM&F blog. This time around, we have a sketch for y'all. Use it as-is, flip it, bend it, or mirror it. Keep it simple or pile on the stuff!...WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO TO IT...(as long as we can still tell you used the sketch). Use any House Mouse image or one of their friends (Gruffies or Happy Hoppers) as long as it's a House Mouse Design stamp/image. If you would rather do things your own way, that's FINE! Because "anything goes" is ALWAYS an option! There are prizes to be had!
Check out their blog for details and to enter your project(s)...just click HERE

 So, for this project I pretty much took the sketch literally. Which, for me, is amazing since I tend to not follow sketches very well. The only change I made was to flip it 90 degrees counter-clockwise. I even kept the little scalloped edging to that center strip. I left the background white-on-white. I wanted the image to be the color pop on the card.

I used the 'Pop'-ular Fun digi stamp from the triple CD collection. Now, you have to know something about this card. It's small.

I mean like TEENY TINY...one could say....Teacup size.

Or in this case...demitasse size. It's not that much bigger than a standard ATC.


Which means the image is like...microscopic. It's about 1 inch high and 2 inches long.

Here are my fingers for scale (and I have very small hands).


I felt like that guy who makes little sculptures that fit inside the eye of a needle...like this one..yes that's a real needle...with a teeny tiny mouse inside! Don't ask me how he does it.

I used a pair of reading glasses over my bifocals AND a magnifying glass to see what I was coloring. Oy, this getting old is for the birds.
Here is a closeup of the coloring. Be impressed.

I didn't paper-tole this image. I left it flat and added the visual dimension with shadowing alone. The mere thought of fussy-cutting the elements out made me shudder and gave me angina.

I used a combo of Prismacolor and Polychromos pencils to color the image.

Other supplies used:
Glitter pen (Sakura) -- for the thumbtack
Embossing folders (Cuttlebug, Darice)
Scallop edge punch (Martha Stewart)
Deckle scissors (Fiskars)

Thanks, as always, for coming out to Left Field!






June 21, 2015

Soul Food

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

The nurse in me knows I should be promoting healthful eating -- some Paleo/Gluten-Free/Vegan/Fat-Free concoction that will add years to your life, revitalize your skin, and taste amazing all at the same time. But, the truth is, we all know that type of food is a fantasy...a unicorn...and in reality, if it DID exist, it would probably cause cancer and taste pretty much like cardboard.

However, that being said, the artist and muse in me are here today... to tempt you.

Yeah, I'm bad. But in a good way.

Today, I'm here to share with you something that is mana for the spirit..."soul food", as it were.

...the holy grail of chocolate chip cookies.

But, if it makes you feel better...we'll call them

"Free-Range Chocolatey Chip Cookies"

Yeah, that sounds...better.

For years, I've been searching for the best recipe for these little parcels of joy. I've found countless recipes that claim to be "the best"...but, in reality, fail miserably for one reason or another. I've even tried altering these recipes...a tweak here, a twist there...to no avail.

But then, when I quit searching, I found this elusive treasure. (Isn't that how it always seems to work? You ultimately find what you're looking for when you quit looking for it.)

This recipe produces (in my opinion) the very best chocolate chip cookies out there. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, buttery, gooey, yummy bits of heaven. They store well, and when warmed up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds...taste fresh out of the oven even days later. And, they turn out this great EVERY  SINGLE  TIME I make them.

There are a couple of hints I've learned along my cookie journey that I'll share with you in the course of explaining the recipe. These may be considered basic baking hints...but they are ESSENTIAL for successful baking.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. HOT water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1- 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) 
  2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. 
  3. Add eggs (one at a time) to butter mixture. Stir until smooth after each egg. 
  4. Add vanilla, blend well. 
  5. Add dissolved baking soda solution, blend well.  
  6. In separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together. 
  7. Add flour mix, 1 cup at a time, to butter mixture. Blend thoroughly after each addition. 
  8. Add chocolate chips, stir gently until evenly distributed throughout dough.
  9. Add nuts IF DESIRED. 
  10. Place scoops of dough (~ 1 Tablespoon) onto ungreased cookie sheet (or on Sil-pat lined sheet) Space about 2 inches apart. 
  11. Bake for 8-10 minutes. About half-way through baking time (at about 4 minutes) remove pan from oven and turn pan around (front to back). Continue baking for remaining 4-5 minutes more until edges are golden brown but center is PALE and soft (but not shiny anymore). 
  12. Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack until completely cool.

Cookie Baking Tips, Tricks, and Hints:
  1. ALWAYS mix wet ingredients together in one bowl, and WHISK dry ingredients together in another bowl (to make sure all dry ingredients are well blended)...then add the dry to the wet, 1/3 at a time, mixing THOROUGHLY after each addition.
  2. NEVER use melted butter. It will make your cookies greasy and flat. Yuck
  3. Use a small "ice cream" scoop (1 Tablespoon size)--15cc size for uniform cookies. For larger cookies use a 1 oz. sized (2 Tablespoon)-- 30cc size scoop. Scrape them off flat on the side of the bowl. Scoops are available at most cooking supply stores...or even at big box stores like Target or Walmart.
  4. Unless you have a convection oven, turn your baking pans half-way around at the mid point of their cooking time to ensure even cooking. 
  5. Store cookies in air-tight plastic container for up to a week or so. (Yeah, like they'll last that long)
  6. REALLY IMPORTANT: Take your cookies out of the oven BEFORE they really look "done". You want to remove them when their centers are still PALE. As soon as their surface is NOT SHINY anymore...they come OUT. This was a hard thing for me to learn. But, trust me, if you leave them in until they're golden brown all over...you've just killed them.
  7. Microwave cookies for 10-15 seconds before eating to bring them back to their just-baked-out-of-the-oven, wonderful state.
  8. Remember, if you break a cookie...all the calories spill out. So, break your cookie in half before eating. You're welcome. 
 Somewhere inside me is a skinny girl screaming to get out...but I can usually shut her up with cookies.
Bon appetit, y'all!

  


 




June 13, 2015

The Card Parade Continues

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Well, the parade o' cards is starting to wind down. The last remaining entries are S L O W L Y emerging from the depths of the Labora-Torrey. I'm taking a break from stamping for my next couple of cards in favor of some diecuts mixed with good old-fashioned paper-piecing by hand.

Yep, people still do that!

I find paper-piecing by hand a whole lot easier than dragging my Cricut out and searching through all my cartridges for the appropriate images --even though I only have 3 cartridges (at least to my husband's knowledge I only have 3. So Sssshh. Zip it.)

My DH and I just celebrated our 4th anniversary. I think we're finally really getting to know each other. I don't feel like a newlywed anymore. I'm okay with that. That's not to say I feel like our marriage feels like an old, worn-out shoe...it's more like a favorite pair of yoga pants.

Life is good.

Here is the card I made for my DH. Nothing fancy, compared to cards I've done and are about to do (as you'll see in upcoming posts). It's just a simple card....nice...and a bit silly. I used the wheel from a bicycle die I have for the sun (Memory Box I think). The fence is from Impression Obsession and the clouds are from Impression Obsession and Elizabeth Crafts. The grass is a Martha Stewart edge punch.

Inside:

Thanks, as always, for venturing out to Left Field--where creativity runs amok.