Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tag-Making Kits

 After sorting through and organizing my gigantic scrap paper bin, I started cutting tags with a paper punch and tag dies.  Knowing that I had no need for that many blank tags, I decided to put together tag-making kits for my friends and family.  I figured that tag making is simple enough for even those who don't do crafts often.  In each kit I put different sized blank tags (large ones cut with Little B die), assorted flowers, various yarn, ribbon, and twine, sequin bling, and die cut words.  I thought a kit like this would use up some stay-at-home time, stir creativity, and result in something pretty and usable.  HM Ben Franklin Crafts has a great supply of dies and embellishments.  The little self-sealing cello bags are available there too. Go ahead, use of your paper scraps and make kits that would be fun to take along on trips too (all you need to add is a bottle of glue)!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Upcycled Valentine Box

Years ago a sweet person gave me a heart-shaped box of fragrant, hand made soap.  After the soap was used up I couldn't bear to throw away the sturdy box....heart shaped ones are rare.  Anyway, I decided to decorate the box which was plain white with black words.  
I started by lining the the inside with scented shelf liner paper (purchased years ago from the Laura Ashley store).  I used Heiko double stick tape as an adhesive...wet glue may wrinkle the paper.
I searched through my appallingly large stack of Valentine papers until I settled on a rose patterned one which I applied all over the outside of the box, even the bottom. To the top of the box I added a pink trimmed heart doily and a red one.  The die cut vintage figures were found in my overflowing Valentine ephemera stash and were affixed with sticky foam squares. Two strips of lace were glued onto the the box top.  I think they were purchased at Daiso.  Adhesive strings of tiny pearls (BFC wedding section) were added to the box top.  Finally, four real dried roses (They were originally on some of the bars of soap.) and some artificial  blossoms were glued onto the bare spots on the box.  I wish I had more roses but perhaps someday I can dry some from my yard and add them to the box.
I'm not sure what I will do with the finished box.  Perhaps I will use it to store handmade Valentine cards or more ephemera...LOL!  Oh, maybe I will make some handmade soap, fill the box, and give the gift to the person who gave me the original box of soap.  Now that's recycling!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Fairy Mini Calendars

Here is another version of mini calendars for this year.  As in previous years I made this type to fold and mail easily.
I started with a marbled card stock and used various stamps to decorate the front. The stars were stamped and dusted with silver embossing powder before heating.
On the back I stamped fairies, dandelions and a favorite quote.  Silver Liquitex paint was flicked on the surface.
Here's a look at the inner construction of the calendar stand.  The front and back are 3-1/2" squares and the width of the pleats are 3/4" so you will need a 3-1/2" x 9-1/4" piece of card stock for each calendar stand.  
The fairy stamps and other images came from a Hero Arts monthly pack and a stamp set that came free in a magazine.  The wooden handled stamp saying is another great Penny Black stamp.  I plan to make more calendars similar to this one (gotta use up all the calendars I bought heeheehee!)  Please visit often to see what new versions I create. Thanks!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Cupcake Hugs

These cards (which could be Valentine or Thank You cards) were started with the desire to try out a new Lawn Fawn stencil set.  The conversation candy heart background was easily stenciled on with the two LF stencils, Studio G pastel inks and a small stencil brush. The cupcake dies (also from Lawn Fawn) were used to cut the cute cupcakes. (I think next time I will cut the eyes and mouth out on the cupcake and glue black paper behind it as the little pieces were really difficult to glue down.)
The script 'hugs' and inside pop up HUGS were cut using LF dies.  The pop up die cut on the inside is a new one that I really like and should be useful for many card designs.  Oh yes, the box of cards is from HM Ben Franklin Crafts contains raised dots (like dotted swiss fabric) blank cards and envelopes. The store had many pretty blank card sets. Valentine cards are really my favorite cards to craft...something about the colors and sweet images makes me happy.  I still have great memories of the Valentine mailboxes in my elementary school classes. Do you?  It was exciting to give and receive sentimental greetings. Too bad mostly everyone today prefers to send virtual Valentine cards. HUGS!


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Rosemary Garlic Potato Bread

I found the recipe for this bread in a magazine and since I had all of the ingredients and the heavy cast iron Dutch oven, I decided that I should try to make this intriguing bread.  I have never added mashed white potato to any of my bread recipes or used a Dutch oven to bake bread. Well the loaf turned out perfectly, maybe the best loaf I've ever made! The interior of the loaf was soft and moist. I was surprised that the exterior of the loaf was not crispy but nice and tender.  The taste of the bread was delightful and a bit sweet.  Next time, I may add more garlic and rosemary to give it a more pronounced taste.  Although I did basically follow the recipe, I did tweak it a bit to accommodate my cooking preference.  My mind is already thinking of variations to this recipe.  How about using sweet potato?

Rosemary Garlic Potato Bread

6 cloves garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup cooked mash russet potato
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 T instant yeast
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Start by mincing the garlic. Combine it with the olive oil and cook it in a small frying pan being careful not to burn it.  Let it cool.  Mix the potato, water and brown sugar in a large bowl.  In another bowl whisk the flour, yeast, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl, mixing with a wooden spoon.  When it gets too stiff, mix the dough with your hand.  If the dough gets too stiff, add a little water at a time.  Place the soft dough ball in a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil. Turn the ball to coat and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 1-2 hours.  

Place the cast iron Dutch oven in a 450 degree oven set on bake.  When the dough is ready, knead it a bit on a flour dusted surface.  Shape the dough into a ball and place it on a large piece of parchment paper and cover it with plastic wrap.  After 20 minutes dust the top of the dough ball with flour and cut slits on top.  Carefully take out the heated Dutch oven and place the parchment paper with dough into it.
Cover the Dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes. Cut the loaf after it is cool.  Enjoy plain, with butter or paired with stew!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Recycled Floral Wrapping Paper Cards

When you get a prettily wrapped gift do you save the paper?  I do because I'm a pack rat. LOL! Every once in awhile this pack rat actually sorts through her 'stuff' and makes something.  The floral print paper actually came from my sister and guess what?.....she's getting the paper back in the form of an anniversary card (on the left)!  I liked the colors and texture of the paper.  It was a big gift so I still have lots of wrapping paper leftover.

I used the Lawn Fawn die to cut the floral wrapping paper and a Sizzix die to cut the label.  The sentiment was stamped with dark blue Memento ink and a Darice wood handled stamp (both purchased from HM Ben Franklin Crafts).  
This card is for a friend who likes the color lavender and is having a birthday soon.  The words were die cut from silver foil paper with a Die-Namics die.  Lavender doilies and coordinating flowers were chosen from my stash.    These were simple cards that will hopefully delight the recipients. I wonder if my sister will recognize the wrapping paper that she used on my birthday gift?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Huge Wishes Birthday Card

Just a quick post today to show the birthday card I made for a 1 year old birthday boy who had his birthday party cancelled twice due to the pandemic.  I kept the card simple like a children's book illustration.  With the Avery Elle stamp and die set, it was an easy card.  I colored the sky and grass with Hero Hues (Hero Arts reactive dye pads) using a mask made with a cloud die for the sky.  Spraying with water and blotting resulted in the mottled background.  The grassy hill die was used but 'trimmed' by hand as the grass was too long..LOL!  The heart stickers were added to cover up a black ink dot on the hippo but I liked it so I added one to the rhino too.  My Misti stamper was used to align the words exactly where I wanted them and allowed me to make multiple cards.  I added a small birthday cake in front of the animals (image from an old Hero Arts clear stamp set, 'yummy treats') to make the card more birthday-ish.  Please leave me a sweet comment if you have some extra time.  Thanks!  I love hearing from you.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Tie-Dyed Thank You Cards

Being of the flower children generation, of course couldn't resist the Hero Arts stamp set and new Hero Arts reactive inks (not in photo).  It was easy to mist watercolor paper with water and stamp the colorful inks to make prints reminiscent of tie-dyed T-shirts.  Some of the designs were too light and blurry once they dried so I used an (old) Hero Arts wooden stamp to add some words and circles.  I liked this better than what I had originally imagined.  The printed water colored designs were then cut with a rectangular Lawn Fawn die before adhering to the blank card.
These cards with die cut foil 'thanks' were good quick cards to mail out.  I'm old fashioned and still believe in handwritten thank you cards mailed out within two weeks of opening a gift.  I hope you'll try making these really easy cards which can be used for many occasions by just changing the words.  I think they would look like fireworks if you just stamp the designs in metallic inks on black cards....for New Years...maybe?  Have a healthy 2021!