Saturday, October 13, 2018

Cards for Difficult Times

These two cards were meant to bring some love and care to the lives of two very special people.  One friend was facing a cancer diagnosis (caught early but still life changing in so many ways) and another had just lost her older daughter - totally unexpected. 

This "thinking of you" card was for my friend courageously fighting cancer.  She is doing well and we are all so grateful.  The beautiful flower is a digi image from Power Poppy called Dahlia.  I love how easy it was to foil it and it looks so beautiful with just a few extra touches.

The background is a Deco Foil clear transfer sheet foiled with glitter green foil 
and is held in place with simple rhinestones that hide the glue!  
I think it makes such a lovely card and so 
versatile for any number of occasions.

I love using the hummingbird and flower for special remembrance cards because it is so beautiful.  

I wish I could remember where I got this beautiful svg file, 
but I have used it many times.  It is one of my favorites 
because it is so detailed and elegant.  
It is cut out of Paper Temptress incandescent.   
I added sequins from 28 Lilac Lane and stamped a greeting
from Paper Smooches for the finishing touches.

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Baby Cards - Celebrating a girl and a boy!

I love making baby cards and I don't get to do them often. So what fun to actually have one of each to create in the same month.  I had a great time trying to make them as special as I could.

The baby girl card was for the precious little granddaughter of my neignbors who have become such dear friends and welcomed me into their family. How lucky am I?  This is their second grandchild and first girl. Their first is her brother, Merritt, who I have spoken of here and who I love almost as much as my own grandson.  He has stolen my heart and so has his precious sister. They came over here when she was only a week old and I got to hold her while Mom and Dad took a break.  Good thing the grandparents were gone for the evening or I would not have had that much time with her!  It was so special.  I am not sure what it is about holding a baby, but it is truly the most wonderful feeling in the world.  I am so grateful to have been able to share in their joy and their lives.

 The cutting file for this card is from Birds Cards.  Her designs are detailed and cut beautifully.  I use the Silver Bullet Platinum to easily cut the detail out of card stock from the Paper Temptress White Diamond and Pop Tones.  The background paper is from Echo Park (I hit my neglected stash box!) and I love how it all came together.

Tried to capture the dimension of this card. The greeting and the 
baby buggy are sitting atop foam squares.  I used some adhesive lace to
border the buggy and make it more feminine.  I really love it!

I was in a bit of a rush to make the card for the baby boy so I only  have one photo - but it captures the spirit of celebration.  This is for someone special who serves on the board of Oceanside Boys & Girls Club with me and he runs a local Buffalo Wings.  He and his wife are expecting their first child, a precious little boy. We are all so very excited for them.

The design is from two separate designs from Miss Kate's Cuttables and her designs never disappoint.  The papers are from Paper Temptress and the patterned background is from my stash. :) (can you tell I am trying to utilize what I have??   Making a concerted effort...)

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Cuppa Buttercups - Power Poppy

I am not even going to make excuses for not posting in a while because it won't change anything.  But rest assured I have been making a LOT of cards and doing a little baking and with fall around the corner the baking and cooking will increase.  I am so ready for fall!   So I am pushing myself to get back on track.  :) And I have some fun things to share that you will hopefully enjoy. So stay tuned!

I have been working hard this summer to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. I continue to work on my "coloring" -whether it be markers, pencils or watercolor - I want to enjoy it more and worry about how perfect it isn't less!  I plan to carve out more time to practice.

I love this buttercup design from Power Poppy. This was a digi image that I  printed on Paper Temptress cryogen card stock that has a lovely sparkle and handles markers so well.

This actually started as a challenge for Power Poppy - to use circles in the design. But I finished it way after the challenge was over. No surprise there!   I am  however glad I did it because it helped me think more creatively and I want to challenge myself more.  I like how easy it was to make the simple coloring have a dotted pattern, and then the glossy accents gave it a nice shimmer.

This shows the dimension created with foam tape and the great cutting job performed
by the Silver Bullet Platinum.

Glittered markers were used to add sparkle to the center of the flowers.  And the sequins added that final touch of interest.  

I love the final result and hope my friend did too!

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lemon Blueberry Overnight Breakfast Cake

I was a little hesitant to try this recipe because I was not at all sure this would bake up well - but it was a nice surprise.  I love that I could get it all ready the night before and simply place it in the oven in the morning and have a delicious breakfast treat.  I liked it best served warm out of the oven and it reheats beautifully.  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did.


adapted from The Kitchen Magpie

2 1/2 c. flour or white/whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. organic cane sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs, room temp and well beaten
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. melted butter
1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 t. Fiori Di Sicilia (optional - from King Arthur flour - adds an added citrus flavor layer)
2 c. blueberries

Grease a 9x13" baking pan and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda,sugar and salt.
Add in the beaten eggs, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter,vanilla paste or extract and the citrus extract (optional).  Beat with a mixer until blended.
Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the dough into the prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the pan and place on the counter while the oven is warming. 
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Remove and serve while warm!  (it is good cold, but it is exceptionally good warm!)  

Just look at those blueberries bursting with flavor - don't they make your mouth water??

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Danish with Berries and Lemon Glaze

OMG - these are so delicious and a treat for a special occasion or just because you want to spoil yourself or someone else!    I made these a couple of months ago and totally forgot to post the details. Shame on me.  These are just TOO GOOD to keep to not share and be sure everyone has the chance to try them.  I have not used puff pastry often and was a not sure how difficult it would be to make these shapes, but it was not difficult at all.  And the puff pastry is very forgiving which makes it easier to  cast any fears aside and go for it!!

I hope you will try these soon - I promise you will NOT be disappointed.


adapted from Natasha's Kitchen

Danish Ingredients
1 pkg (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (I used Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese - perfect!)
1/4 c. organic cane sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract is fine as well)
1 t. lemon zest
1 1/2 c. mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries)

Egg Wash Ingredients
1 egg
1 T. water

Lemon Glaze Ingredients
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.  Depending on the temperature of your kitchen it should take about 30-40 minutes.  You want the dough to still be cold.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven.  Line a half sheet baking pan (my favorite size for many things!) with a parchment sheet and set aside.

Unfold the first puff pastry sheet onto a clean work surface (I use either parchment paper or waxed paper underneath - either works great) and roll lightly into a 10"x10" square.  Use a pizza cutter to slice each sheet into 12 even strips. (NOTE:  If you are not great at cutting straight even strips, like me, you can mart the strips on either end every 2 cm.  the 10" is just a little over 24 cm so it's practically perfect!  This added step made it super easy for me.)

Combine two of the strips by pinching the ends together to make one long 24" strand.  Twist it gently so you have a loose spiral curl.  Press one end onto your work surface and loop the twisted strand around in a circle. (I was really afraid that these has to be perfect, but they don't. They will bake up beautifully and hide any imperfections!)  Press the remaining end underneath.  Gently press the center to depress it and make it ready for the filling, and prick the center with a fork 3-4 times to keep it from rising.  Transfer to the parchment.  Continue this for the remaining strips. You will have 24 beautiful spiral circles! (Note:  The original recipe has you fill each with cream cheese and berries and then transfer tot he baking sheet.  I found it easier to fill once they were on the sheet, but you do what works for you!  I love options.)

In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and 1 t. lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy (and fight the temptation not to eat the bowl of lusciousness!)

I used a 1 T. cookie scoop to fill the center of each pastry. It was the perfect amount and there were no leftovers in the cream cheese bowl (darn!)   Then I placed raspberries, blueberries and one blackberry into the cream cheese.  As I did this I had visions of the cream cheese oozing out from the danish and becoming a runny mess in the oven - but my fears were NOT realized.

Make the egg wash, by whisking the egg and tablespoon of water.  Brush over the pastry part of the danish for added golden browning.  It makes them look beautiful.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

While the pastries are baking, blend the glaze ingredients.  I used less powdered sugar so my glaze was not as white and didn't show on the danish when I drizzled it - but the taste was awesome.  Be generous with the glaze. That lemon freshness takes them over the top!!

 Let them cool completely to room temperature so the cream cheese can completely set.  Then drizzle with the lemon glaze and serve.

These are SO good and worth every effort. And once you make them once, you will want to add them to the breakfast menu for any occasion - especially if you just want to indulge a little!

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

No Churn Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream

It has been unseasonably warm here in Oceanside, even on the coast.  But I am happy to say that after a 2 1/2 year fight with the HOA here, I finally have air conditioning!  I will just say that the last week has been much more bearable with cool air blowing through the condo.  I am so very grateful...phew!  It was worth the struggle to finally be able to live comfortably when the temperature rises here.

Another thing that makes life more bearable when the sun is blazing is ice cream.  Yes - a year round treat for sure - and although it can be an indulgent sweet, it becomes a bit of a necessity in the summer.  Right?  And this no churn method that I turn to often, keeps the electricity off and produces the most delicious, creamy spoon licking dessert in no time at all!


adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Ice Cream Base:

2 c. heavy cream
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (full fat)
1 1/2 t. vanilla bean paste

Blueberry Sauce:

1/2 t. cornstarch (I use arrowroot starch)
2 t. water
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1 T. organic cane sugar

Crumble "Topping":

1/4 c. flour
2 T. packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. unsalted butter, melted

To Make the Blueberry Sauce:

Mix the arrowroot starch (or cornstarch), and water together in a very small bowl. I like to use a custard cup.  Set aside.
Combine blueberries and sugar together and heat in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
Stir constantly and break up the blueberries as they heat up and start to burst.  When the blueberries have released some liquid (when you gently smash them with the spoon), add the cornstarch/water mixture. Increase the heat to medium and stir well for about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the blueberries cool completely.  The mixture will thicken as it cools. (Putting it in the refrigerator will help it cool down quicker).
Before or after cooling, the mixture can be placed in a strainer so you just have the blueberry gel.  I left it as is because I like the blueberry pieces!

To Make the Crumble:

Mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork.  Add the melted butter and mix again until a small clumps form.

To Make the Ice Cream:

In a small bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.

In a medium-large bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium high speed with a stand or hand mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the sweetened condensed mixture and beat on low until just combined, or fold gently together until well mixed.

I know......... YUMMMMM

Spoon about half the ice cream into a freezer container.  (I use the Tevolo tub).  Spoon about 1/4 c. blueberry sauce and half of the crumble mixture and gently swirl into the ice cream with a knife a few times.  Repeat with the remaining ice cream, 1/4 c. sauce and remaining crumble making another layer of swirls (don't insert the knife all the way down - just swirl the top layer).  Freeze until firm. at least 5-6 hours.

Save the remaining blueberry sauce to serve over the ice cream.

This is so good and you can make change it completely by utilizing a different fruit (strawberry swirl ice cream to come!)

This is SOOOOO good!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Losing a Second Mom...... Card...

Several weeks ago a dear lady left this earth and the world is not quite as bright as it was.  She was like a second Mom to me when I was growing up, and I adored her.  Her family and mine lived on the same block and I think I spent as much time at her home as I did at my own!  Her oldest child was my best friend from the time we were 3 years old.  All of these years later, she is still one of my dearest friends.  How lucky and blessed am I?

My girlfriend should have been my mother's daughter.  My Mom loved that she was so career oriented and a real entrepreneur.  My mom started a children's clothing store pretty much on her own in the 1940s downtown here - and it was unheard of then for a woman to have her own business, let alone have it become successful!

My girlfriend's mother was a teacher before her children were born, and then stayed home with them as her family grew.  She was a homemaker in every sense which I loved as well in later years. She spent hours knitting and doing needlework, especially needlepoint, which was also one of my favorite things to do.  She was an inspiration to me and I loved her dearly.

Sympathy cards are not anything I enjoy making, but this one was especially different.  I used a 3D embossing folder from Crafter's Companion coupled with a beautiful digi image from Graciellie Designs.I wanted something simple and elegant and I think I achieved that.

Here is a closeup of the beautiful digi image from Graciellie Designs.
                        I printed it on a laser printer, cut it out with the Silver Bullet Platinum                       and then foiled it with sparkling silver.
You can see how that foil reflects the light beautifully.

I used Nuvo embossing paste to highlight the dimension  
from the embossing folder and added small white pearls.

Again, I am painfully reminded to take time to tell my family and friends how special they are to me and to cherish every moment of every day.  Life is an amazing gift, but it has an expiration.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Happy Birthday Dear Neighbor!

I am so far behind on posting - good grief!  So am going to try to get back on track.  I have had some health challenges (don't we all) but will make a concerted effort to get some consistency back.  I have been continuing to make cards and bake a little and take photos, but I just have not converted all of those efforts to posts!  I am committed to getting back on track.

So here we go!

This card showcases one of the newer designs from Graciellie Designs.  She has several new ones with coffee themes and I love them all.  And it's perfect because my neighbor absolutely LOVES coffee in a way that most of us do not experience.  When she has a cup of coffee, she drinks it out of a little cup and you can bet it's an espresso - simple and pure.  We went to a local coffee shop the other day and she ordered 4 shots of espresso!!!  I would have been bouncing off the walls if I had ingested that!  OMG!!  I love coffee, but I love the lattes and macchiatos and even a simple black cup of coffee - but on the light or blonde side.  I guess that makes me a bit of a wimp, but I am not a dark roast fan.  Anyway...... when I saw the saying "saying extra caffeinated wishes" along with the coffee cup full of flowers - I knew it was the perfect combination for her!

This was printed on Crafter's Companion watercolor paper
with a laser printer and cut out with the Silver Bullet Platinum.

In the closeup, you can see some of the watercolor detail.
I used Zig Clean and Color brush markers on watercolor paper.
The teacup is covered in clear Sparkle Pen and 
then with Glossy Accents to make it appear more real.
I love the vividness of the colors.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thank You Card for Special Neighbors

I really do love the condo development where I have settled. Being across the street from the beach certainly has its perks and that is amazing. But in addition to being surrounded by the beauty of God's creations, I have also met some of the nicest people ever.  This development is a mix of owners who live her full time and people who come for varying lengths of time to get away, a month at a time. Many of the people who visit come year after year, so even tho they are only here for a month or so, friendships are formed.  It is really pretty wonderful.

One of my part time neighbors are also owners, but they rent their condo about half of the year and when its not rented they come and stay a few weeks at a time.  They are a great couple who hope to retire in about five years and live here full time.  He is the cook in the family and is always appearing at my door with a new creation to share.  He and his wife are so thoughtful. The last time they were here, they brought be a beautiful orchid plant.  So I made them a special thank you card that was decorated with a lovely orchid designed by Marcella at Power Poppy!

I am still working on my coloring skills with pencils, markers and watercolors, but am determined to color more and accept the imperfections in my work as I learn.  That's a big step for me! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Chocolate Crinkle Sprinkle Cookes

These cookies were made as a special treat for my grandson, Carter.  When it was my oldest son Scott's birthday, we met for dinner at a fabulous Mexican restaurant in San Clemente which was about half way for each of us. And I just didn't see how I could show up empty handed, so after dinner we made a trip to the car to get the surprise for Carter!!  He was SO happy!  Scott didn't quite understand why HIS son got the special present, but he felt better when Carter shared!! :)

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 c. (142 g) flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. organic cane sugar
1/3 c. vegetable oil (I prefer to use Spectrum canola and coconut blend)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract (I like to use Mexican vanilla in chocolate recipes)
1/2 c. rainbow sprinkles (or more depending on how generous you are with the sprinkles!!)

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.

Beat together the sugar, cocoa and oil until thoroughly blended with an electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour a little at a time, just mixing until combined.  Stir well with a rubber spatula to be sure all of the flour is incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment and place the sprinkles in a small shallow bowl.

Shape the dough into one inch balls.  Roll each ball in sprinkles and place on prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Gently press down on the cookie before baking.

Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have spread a little and appear set.  They will remain soft and chewy in the center. Do not overbake.

Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack.  They will keep up to one week in an airtight container.

These were a huge hit with my grandson!!  Score two points for Grammy! :)  Definitely fun to make as well and you could use a variety of colored sprinkles to fit any occasion imaginable!

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About Me

My photo

I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.