Friday, November 14, 2008

{we care. do you?}

Danielle is a talented layout artist known to most of us in the digital scrapping world as Artemia. She has a wonderful heart and a generous personality. Tragedy has recently come into Danielle's life. An accident injured one of her two little boys and may have permanently left her husband partially paralyzed. Many of us have poured out our hearts to Danielle. Now, 4 A5D designers, along with some of Danielle's friends in the industry have come together with an incredible collaborative kit to help her with her financial burden.

The kit is called Artemia for our friend Danielle and is all about hope, friendship and love. It has over 50 papers, more than 200 elements, and 3 alphas! It is available only at After Five Designs until the end of the year.

We want Danielle to keep hope and we want to keep her warm. Here's how you can help: Purchase the kit for only $7.99. With your purchase, not only will you receive this beautiful kit, but a complete 12-page quickpage album. You will also be entered in a random drawing to win one of 10 free issues of the December Digital Artist Magazine. Every penny of the proceeds of this kit will go to Danielle and her family. Show your support of Danielle, and if you don't know her personally, show your support for the caring digital community of which you are a part!

Be sure to keep your eye on our blog for more information and giveaways.

Show that you care.

Artemia Charity Kit

Monday, November 10, 2008

{cake recipe}

I've had some requests for the recipe of the chocolate cake in my previous post. The recipe is from the Southern Living Christmas 2007 book. I'm not sure what the copyright for those recipes are and if I'm allowed to post it, so don't tell where you got it ;)

The cake was actually pretty easy! It uses store-bought items, so don't worry. You won't be covered in flour when you're done! I suck at frosting, so hopefully yours will turn out prettier.


Cheesecake - Stuffed Dark Chocolate Cake


  • unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 (18.25-oz.) package devil's food cake mix

  • 1 (3.4-oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 1/3 cups milk

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tsp. chocolate extract (optional - I couldn't find it)

  • 1 tsp. almond extract

  • 3 (1.55-oz.) milk chocolate bars, chopped (I used Hershey's. Found them on the candy stand at checkout)

  • 3 (16-oz.) cans homestyle cream cheese frosting (I wish I would have had one more can)

  • 3 (7.75-oz.) boxes frozen cheesecake bites, coarsely chopped (this was hardest for me to find!)

  • 1 (12-oz.) jar dulce de leche caramel sauce (couldn't find this, so I just used plain caramel)

  • double chocolate rolled wafer cookies, broken in half (I used Pepperidge Farm. Watch out! They're expensive. Perhaps a cheaper garnish next time...)


  • Grease 2 (9" - but I only had 8", so my cake was taller, but narrower) round cakepans, and dust with cocoa.

  • Beat cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute; then beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Fold in chopped chocolate bars. Pour batter into prepared pans.

  • Bake at 350 for 32 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and chill cake layers at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours (this step enables you to split cake layers with ease).

  • Using a serrated knife, slice cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake plate. Spread with 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting; sprinkle with one-fourth of chopped cheesecake bites. Repeat procedure with remaining 3 layers, frosting, and cheesecake bites, omitting cheesecake bites on top of last layer. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting.

  • Drizzle desired amount of caramel sauce over cake, letting it drip down sides. Chill until ready to serve. Decorate cake with rolled wafer fookies and remaining chopped cheesecake bites. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy! Cheers!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

{i heart lightroom}

Can I just say how much I love the new version of LightRoom? It has SO much improved over the last version. Keywording is much better, love the exporting features, and lots of other changes. My favorite? The adjustment brush (of course!) and post-crop vignetting!!! Wahoo! About time, I say. My one big problem with LightRoom was that it would only add a vignette to an uncropped photo. Now, I try not to crop. When I take photos, I always try to capture the photo exactly as I want it. But there are times when I don't have time to think about composition. If I don't snap *right then*, I will end up missing it. So I have to resort to cropping now and then. So this is a HUGE improvement for me!

Wanna see how great it is? I'm going to do something I usually never do and post some before and afters. Now you all will see that I'm an average photographer, but a FABULOUS editor ;)

I took these photos Halloween night. Because of the time change, daylight was gone by the time the kids got home from school, had a snack, and put costumes on. That meant I had to resort to low tungsten indoor lighting, and naturally I forgot to check my camera settings. I just snapped these headshots to have something that I could say I took on Halloween (I will make them get re-dressed in their costumes this weekend so I can take them outside for a photo shoot). So these are TERRIBLE. But I had to have them, and LightRoom saved them for me!

My Little Cowboy Before:


My Little Cowboy After!


Scarlet O'Hara Before:


Scarlet After!


A Mummy in Rags Before:


A Mummy After (she was really playing the part)!


Alice in Wonderland Before:


Alice After!


Now, if that doesn't sell you on this application, you can't be sold! Seriously, give it a try. You won't regret it! And no, I am not a paid advertiser for Adobe. I just love this application!

Not only did we have Halloween last weekend, but Helen had her birthday party too! She turned the big 1-1, and had a fun Guitar Hero party in the garage. I made her invitations to send to school:


Seven friends joined her, and we all had a blast!



Boys Will be boys:


Totally blurry, but I LOVE this one:



Group shot:


My soon-to-be-sister-in-law (seriously, what do you call her? STBSIS?) also had a birthday recently. My bro had me make her a cake, and of course I had to opt for the huge, 4-layer, cheesecake-stuffed, chocolate monstrosity! I do enjoy baking, though, so this was a good excuse :)




Again, blurry, but I love it anyway!


And, since I'm on a roll, here are some random images from a couple weeks ago. 4-wheeler riding with my brother.








Well, this post has taken me two days to write, so I better leave it there! It's a beautiful Friday here, and I'm going to go enjoy it! But before I go, let me announce the winners of my DSD give-a-way! gave me these numbers:


which means that denali, donna rafferty, and joselle are the owners of my new kit! Congratulations!

Here's to LightRoom! Cheers!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

{happy dsd!}

Today is National DigiScrap Day! Thousands of digiscrappers all over the world are coming together toady to do what we do best - create memories! I myself hope to find a little time to scrap, but my day is packed with my daughter's 11th birthday celebrations.

To celebrate, After Five Designs is having a blog party (among many other fun festivities)! Each of us who are participating will have a little something extra for you if you visit.

I'm offering a coupon to get my Crystal Cranberry kit for only $1.00!!

Use coupon code DSDdollar to get this kit for $1. All i ask is that you leave me a comment here, so that I know who's reading :) Also, please don't share the coupon code. It's a special treat for blog readers only! Direct your friends here to get the code instead. The coupon is good for today only!

On top of that, I am also going to be choosing a few random posters who leave me a comment today to win one of my new All That Glitters kits! Winners can choose the {His} or {Hers} version.

Be sure to visit the other mixologists' blogs to pick up even more goodies:
After Five Designs Blog
Camila Designs
Catherine Designs
Karla Dudley Designs
Lily Designs
Pink Ellie Designs

Don't forget to stop by ScrapBlog to enter for a chance to win 50 prints of your own customized holiday greetings!

Happy Scrapping!!