Friday, March 29, 2013

Brown Bunny Biscotti

For years it was a family tradition to bake bunny biscotti cookies for Easter breakfast.  I thought it would be fun this year to make them again even though I no longer have little hands to 'help' me out.  The original recipe (from Sunset Magazine, I think) used white all-purpose flour and white sugar, but due to healthier lifestyles these days, I used whole wheat flour (that's why the bunny is brown) and Splenda Blend.  The dough can be mixed by hand but in the end you will need to squish it together like clay to form the bunny.  Kids will love playing with the biscotti dough and it doesn't seem to harm the cookie texture at all.  I hope you will give this recipe a try and make it a tradition in your household.  Without any further ado here is my  Easter gift to you, the Brown Bunny Biscotti:

3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (or 3/8 cup Splenda Blend)
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated orange peel
3 cups all-purpose flour (or 3 c. whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 chocolate chip and 1 dried cranberry for each cookie
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix 2 eggs and 1 egg white with the sugar (or Splenda Blend) until light yellow and thick.  Beat in the melted butter and add the vanilla extract and grated orange peel. Mix in sifted flour and baking powder.  Shape the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet into one large (10-12") bunny about 1" thick or two 6" bunnies of 1" thickness.  Firmly attach the parts of the bunny, adding texture for fur, pressing in a chocolate chip (for the eye) and a dried cranberry (for the nose).   Use the extra egg white to wash a glaze over the whole bunny making sure to brush  some egg white 'glue' into the seams.  Sprinkle on coarse sugar and bake the biscotti bunny for 20-25 minutes. Cool your Easter treat on a wire rack and ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thank You, Honey!

Maybe using 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' soap from LUSH has given me a bee brain, but I just couldn't resist the Hero Arts stamp sets with the hexagons.  They are so cool and I love how they fit together like a honeycomb.  This card was inspired by paper from a pack of  Pebbles 6x6 papers I found at Ben Franklin Crafts. (I purchased the stamps there too.)  The yellow design printed paper made the stamped images seem even more like a honeycomb and an Anita stamped bee emphasized that thought.  The washi tape sets (also from BFC) by We R Memory Keepers are excellent for adding just the right touch of color and because they are translucent they blend in well with almost any printed paper. As you can see from the bottom photo, Ben Franklin Crafts has lots of 6x6 printed paper tablets and washi tape sets for sale. It was a hard decision but I chose just a few LOL!  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope it's been a treat and that you'll visit again....soon, OK?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Meow! Happy Easter!

Easter is just around the corner so it is time to make cards for my sons.  I wanted my cards to have a  non-traditional look and a wacky sense of humor like my boys.  The Kitty Bee Maneki Neko (good luck cat) stamp set I just bought was the right size and was Asian in concept so it was non-traditional Easter, but it wasn't a of course I made it some bunny ears!  For the Easter eggs I used the Kitty Bee fortune cookie stamp (from the food stamp set with the faces).
The funny part of the card (to me) is actually hidden in the pocket (made buy cutting off the flap from a Tim Holtz  'envelope with flap' die cut and punching out a half circle from the front).  For both boys' cards I stamped the words ' Your Are My Favorite' (Hero Arts clear stamp set) on the front (solving the sibling rivalry LOL!) but different Funny Bones stamp sayings on the back. Furry flowers and ribbons were attached to the cards to make them easy to pull out.  Oh yeah, the flap that was cut off the pocket was adhered to the front of the pocket for graphic interest.  The stamps and die can be purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts.
I hope this card invites you to use your brain to find humor in crafting and life.  Craft a card and send some smiles. Thanks for reading this blog.  I'd enjoy some feedback if you have the time to leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let's Play!

I found a very cool Martha Stewart paper button punch at the Market City Ben Franklin Crafts.  (See bottom photo.) It punches out five different buttons with holes that will accommodate twine. I couldn't wait to play with it so I used the paper buttons on a tag and attached it to a gift to a friend's dog.
The dog and saying stamps are from a Hero Arts set.  The papers used were from my scrap stash. (The button punch is a fun an easy way to use up assorted leftover cardstock.)

The tag was made by cutting out a stamped Hero Arts postcard tag image.  (See previous post.)  Recently, my eyesight in one eye has improved vastly due to a simple procedure so I am an extremely happy crafter. I hope you are having fun crafting too!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Soapmaking 101

It's been years since I last whipped up a batch of homemade soap.  I used to do it the old fashioned way with lye and fat but that was just too much work and it didn't always yield good results. I have discovered that the melt 'n pour variety of soapmaking is more to my liking.  Last summer I purchased a lavender plant and gave it to someone to raise since my garden does not get cool enough to produce flowers.  It was my hope to use the lavender flowers to make a batch of soap for the both of us. Alas, there were no flowers. Undaunted, I found a bottle of lavender flowers in Target's spice area. (Lavender flowers are edible and used in many recipes.)  Anyway, the recipe for this soap is simple:

1) In a microwave on high, melt 8 one inch cubes of olive oil soap base in a Pyrex measuring cup for 1 minute.
2)  Stirring with a chopstick, add in several drops of purple colorant and 5-10 drops of essential lavender oil.
3)  Pour the soap mixture into an oiled mold ( I used the inside plastic box from a 3-pack package of nori).
4)  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of lavender flowers onto the top of the still-soft soap bar and stir them in slightly.
5) Allow the soap to cool completely before trying to unmold it.

Making soap is something I haven't done in a long time and I realized again how rewarding it is to craft it myself.  If you are looking for a great handmade Easter or Mother's Day gift, homemade soap might be your solution. You may be able to find some of the supplies and books for soapmaking at Ben Franklin Crafts, but if not try looking online (perhaps Amazon or Etsy).  Thanks for stopping by and reading this blog post.  I hope it gave you something to think about and encourages you to craft something fun.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


While looking for ephemera in an antique store, I came upon a rack of vintage postcards.  They were quite intriguing because of their graphic designs and endearing handwritten messages.  I liked the simpleness of the postcard to relay a thought or feeling. "After buying some Kitty Bee Designs stamps from Ben Franklin Crafts, I came up with two versions of a twisted use of the 'cute' KBD stamps.(I hope my use of the stamps is not offensive.)  The first postcard was made by stamping the designs on white cardstock, coloring them, cutting them out and gluing them onto a kraft paper postcard. The grass was punched out using a Martha Stewart border punch,  The stars were stamped and colored with color pencils.(Click on the photo to enlarge.)

The second postcard was made by stamping the designs on a piece of computer paper and cutting them out. Then the back of the mask was covered with 2-way glue which when dried made the mask repositionable. With the masks on the watercolor paper postcard, I painted watercolors over the entire postcard.  Once it was dry the masks were removed and the animal designs were stamped in the white spaces.  Watercolor pencils were used to color the designs and any white spaces in the background. Details were drawn in with a black Sharpie.

The third  postcard (click on it to enlarge the image) was made by stamping a Hero Arts postcard tag stamp (from BFC) onto a piece of kraft paper cardstock and cutting out the tag. Then the reverse side was stamped with some 'steampunk' images from Viva Las Vegas and Inkadinkado,  I hope that my interest in postcards has piqued your interest too and you'll try making a some too.  Most of the supplies you need can be purchased at Ben Franklin Crafts.  Postcard crafting is quick and seems to bring out the silly side of me. I apologize for my irreverent Easter Bunny humor  LOL!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

All Things Grow with Love

After a snowy winter in some places, it's nice to think of flowers, birds, and warm fresh air. Long ago the spring season was a lovely time to knock and  leave an anonymous May basket of goodies/flowers on the door of a neighbor or friend.  (I think I read that somewhere.)  With all of this in mind, I decided to design my own "May" basket using the Sizzix large fry box die and Amy Tangerine cardstock.  I am filling my basket with flower seeds so the recipient can plant a garden for spring.  This flower seed basket would make a great no-calorie Easter basket, too.

If you don't want to make a 'May' basket, perhaps you'd like to create secret seed packets.  Using the Tim Holtz  envelope pocket die and Amy Tangerine cardstock, I made seed packets to hold a mixture of flower seeds.  It will be a fun surprise for the gardener to see what comes up in the garden. Although it is not really visible on this project (see the basket for a clearer view), I used a Martha Stewart anywhere' little flowers' punch on the front of the packet and taped a piece of acetate behind the punched portion.  These mini flower windows give a mysterious peek at the contents of the packet which also has an enticing shaking sound. Oh, the bunny on both projects is a stamped image from  Kitty Bee Designs.  Most of the products used in these two projects were purchased at Ben Franklin Crafts and many were red tag sale items.  As the stamped saying reminds us, "All Things Grow With Love"; so make and give these projects to someone deserving and grow a smile today.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More Thank You Cards

 Whenever I need cards ASAP, I try to stick to the KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) rule.  Because each of these cards used one 12x12 double-sided cardstock, they were a snap to make with the Sizzix pop-up Thanks die and matching round corner card die.  There was no need to search for color coordinating sheets because I just reversed them and used the scraps to make the heat embossed labels.

Here is an example of a Japanese version of the card.  Not only did I make cards to give to the folks who helped take care of things for us while we were traveling, but I was able to crank out extras for my stash of emergency cards.

Thank you to you too for visiting this site.  I hope you'll return often and maybe you will find this blog helpful and inspiring. Have a crafty and creative life!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Not a Girl's Day Card

I guess this looks like a Girl's Day card, but it actually is one I made to thank someone for a birthday gift.  The Japanese characters say 'arigato' (I think) which is Japanese for 'thank you'.  I just received the Fumi and Yumi rubber stamp in the mail and I just had to ink it up.  It seemed perfect for a thank you card as she is holding a gift tied in a furoshiki cloth.  Rather than piece the background, I used the Kodomo Inc. 12x12 sheet I purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts. ( BTW: You can find a gorgeous real  extra-large furoshiki bag at the Sanki store near the Pearl City Ben Franklin Crafts.)  It's cool how there are sheets with Japanese prints in patchwork arrangements.  Also BFC has for sale  lots of origami square sheets which can be folded into cranes or any other form to add as an embellishment.. Well, that's it for today 'cuz I have a few more thank you cards to make and write. Hope to see you again soon and leave a comment if you have the time. Have a crafty week!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Back Home and Giving Prizes

Oh, it feels good to be home after a 3 week trip.  Sorry, I haven't commented often in blogland recently, but I was just too tired at the end of each day and I don't like typing on my husband's small laptop.  Anyway, here are a few photos of our trip to the Tucson Bead Show and New Orleans.
                  Scenery from the parking lot of our hotel in Tucson

             Pat and Amy working hard purchasing beads for BFC

               Taste of New Orleans platter at Oceana Restaurant

                                 French Quarter, New Orleans

We shopped in Tucson and seemed to mostly eat in New Orleans. It was a great trip which ended the day before my birthday; so I am in a great mood to give away gift cards to readers of my blog.  As some of you know, every once in awhile I randomly select someone who leaves a comment on my blog posts during the month (in this case February) and send this person  a BFC gift card.  This month I decided to choose two commenters   I am pleased to announce that the two winners are Annette, who writes the blog called My Clever Creations and  Nikki, who writes the blog, Stampn' HI. Winners please send your home address to me via my email address ( so I can mail you your prize..  Congratulations winners and good luck to future winners who visit and hopefully enjoy this blog.