Thursday, September 29, 2016

And the Cards Keep Coming!

This was a week of two quick and relatively simple cards and one that took a bit more time, but a comfort technique for me.  So with two birthday cards and one "thinking of you" card needed, this is what I came up with.

I love this design from Mamaw's Legacy (she no longer sells her files, but they are loved by those of us who followed her).  My neighbor's birthday is exactly one month after mine and he loves boating and the ocean, so this seemed perfect for him.  As I said, it's relatively simple, but was just right for him. 

His wife had some personal hurdles the past week so I wanted to let her know I was thinking about her.  This card was all about being bright and cheer.

The background paper has rows of glitter that makes it fun. The originally
white flowers were painted with Spectrum Noir Sparkle pens. (the color saturation is rich).
The little tag was cut out on the Silver Bullet then stamped with "Hi".
The colors made me happy.

And finally, a birthday card for a dear friend who is a real artist. I am always intimidated when I make something for her, so I returned to one of the first techniques I learned in Dutch paper crafting - iris folding. I love picking out the colors that will complement the design.

The iris folding piece ready for its place on the card.

This is the back side of iris folding.  The paper pattern is underneath,
so it's just a matter of  choosing the color, folding then, and taping them in place.

A side view to show the dimension.  The square is attached
with foam tape to let it stand out and be the focal point.
I wanted to incorporate some fall colors too, even though
the weather here is definitely not fall...yet!

Here is another view of the completed card.
There is holographic foil in the center.

I hope to do more card embroidery, paper pricking (ornare) and dry embossing on parchment especially for holiday cards. It can be so elegant. I want to work on my quilling too - have really let that go - so we will see what I can manage to produce. Lots of ideas in my head.  And I plan to work with more pen drawings on the Silver Bullet. I love how easily I can write and draw whatever I need, so look for new ideas from the Silver Bullet and the FoilMaster. I am so excited that all sorts of fun ideas are popping into my head.  I am going to push myself into new areas so hopefully I can inspire some of you to stretch your wings as well and join me! Pin It Now!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This is the time of year when lemons and blueberries are abundant, and they make such a great combo.  The lemon adds a brightness and zip to the sweet blueberries and together they are just so good.  Whenever I make anything combining the two flavors, I always receive rave reviews.
This recipe is no different!!

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 c. organic cane sugar
2 T. lemon zest
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. coconut oil
2 eggs, whisked
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blueberries

(the original recipe uses a lemon glaze on top of the cooked bread, but I opted not to add a glaze. I like it simpler.  A recipe for the glaze is on the link above under the recipe title).

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside. (you can also use cooking spray, but I like to use the real thing).

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt by whisking together gently.  In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest and mix together with fingers or a spoon until the sugar and lemon zest are incorporated and fragrant ( heavenly citrus!).   Mix the lemon sugar into the flour mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining slowly. Gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

Bake the loaf for 60-70 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Loosen the sides of the loaf with a butter knife and carefully remove the loaf from the pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

If you choose to add a glaze, you can prepare it now while the loaf is cooling and drizzle it over the loaf when it is cool.

This is so delicious.  I recommend that you keep it well wrapped in plastic wrap and out of sight or you will want to snack on it every time you pass by the kitchen.  It is so moist and THAT good!

This is one lemon loaf that is well populated with big fresh blueberries!
The two flavors together are the essence of summer.

This is so moist - almost like a pound cake but not as heavy.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Zucchini Banana Blueberry Muffins

This is a great time of year when zucchini and blueberries are plentiful and reasonably priced and what a great way to utilize these fresh flavors.  I don't think I would ever have put all three together so I am thrilled that someone else tried it first with success.  These are not only tasty, but they are healthy with no butter (just coconut oil) and very little sugar.  And moist?  They are incredibly moist and flavorful and you honestly forget that they are healthy because all you taste are the bananas and blueberries exploding with flavor with each bite.  These are great for breakfast but also as a midday snack.  And they freeze really well.

You will be SO glad you tried this recipe - I am!

Zucchini Banana Blueberry Muffins

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (will yield 1 cup)
1/4 c. organic cane sugar
1/4 c. organic light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/3 c. melted coconut oil, cooled
1 t. vanilla extract (I use Vanilla Bean Extract Crush from King Arthur Flour)\
1 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. fresh blueberries
Turbinado or Demera sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.  Set aside.

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

In a large bowl, mix the mashed banana, cane sugar, brown sugar, egg, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Stir until well combined.  Add the flour mixture and fold gently until all of the flour is incorporated. Don't over mix. Place the shredded zucchini in a couple of paper towels and squeeze to remove most of the excess moisture.  Fold the zucchini into the batter and then fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups, about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the tops with turbinado or demera sugar (optional).  Bake 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean..  Cool muffins on a wire rack.

Blueberries and zucchini visibly throughout
with the subtle flavor of the banana in the batter.

Definitely good enough to eat - guilt free!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

And Even MORE Summer Cards.....

It has been quite a month for card making! And there are still more on my to do list.

Love the soft colors with the vibrant flower.  Dominic's files cut beautifully.

The first card  is another birthday card.  The file is from Crafty Vectors (Dominic) and those of you who know me know I love his files.  Each of his beautiful floral designs have options to make several different cards.  I am partial to the flower in frame design because it just looks so clean and finished.  And his files are so well made that I can always use the remaining pieces to create another card.  That's a win-win!

And the second card was for my daughter in law.  She has been a special education teacher , served the past two years as an assistant principal, and was just promoted to principal of a new school that she helped open two years ago.  This is such a well-deserved honor (albeit an increased work load) but she has worked hard for this and I am so happy for her.  The teachers and children are the real winners here.

You can see the detail of those tiny circle patterns here - so perfect!

So I wanted to make her a card to express how happy I am for her.  This was from a jpeg online that I used as a sort of stencil, cutting the design out of the card front and letting the contrasting color shine through.  Gold stars were popped over the larger stars to give it some dimension .  It's really a simple card, but I love how it came out.

Added some gold stars a little off-centered from the red star background. 
Gold dots are brads with the ends snipped off.
Congratulations is P-Touch labeler TZ tape in gold.

And here is one more birthday card - with a simple birthday wish. This was also a stencil image that I created with a shadow image, tied the flower with simple variegated floss, and added some clear dew drops to add a little interest.  The Happy Birthday was printed through SCAL and then cut out using a tag from the software library.  Remember, when you do a print and cut, be sure to hide the text layer while cutting out the shape or this will happen!!

This is what happens when you forget to "hide" the text layer -
the machine sees it as a font that needs to be cut! Totally user error!

This was a silly mistake, but one I seem to make repeatedly when I haven't done print and cut in a while.  And even though I didn't mean for it to happen, look at the detail of the cuts (before I stopped them!)  My Silver Bullet continues to delight me with its ability to do whatever I ask of it - even if it's ultimately the wrong thing!

And here is the end result when I pay attention to what I am doing!

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Salted Caramel Toffee Pretzel Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!

Does it look like I was trying to see how many words I could fit into a recipe title?  Challenge accepted!  The recipe that started this journey did not have chocolate chips, and I thought adding a few of the "mini" would be a great addition. And so, I couldn't leave them out of the headline!

No Churn Salted Caramel Toffee Pretzel Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

adapted from Two Peas and their Pod


1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. salted caramel sauce (plus extra for swirling)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. very cold heavy cream
1/2 c. chopped pretzels
1/2 c. Heath toffee bits (in the baking section)
1/4 c. mini-chocolate chips (optional)
Additional chopped pretzel and toffee bits to sprinkle on top before freezing. (about 2 T each)


In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and 1/4 c. salted caramel sauce.  Set aside.

In a large chilled bowl (I put the bowl and the whisk attachment in the freezer for at least 15 minutes to chill) beat the heavy whipping cream on high until stiff peaks form. I used a hand mixer and it took just about 3 minutes - not bad at all.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture.  Stir in the chopped pretzels, toffee bits, and mini chocolate chips.

Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe canister (I love the Tovolo tubs found on Amazon).Pour the 2 T. of caramel sauce over the top of the ice cream and swirl it in with a butter knife.  Smooth the top and then sprinkle with the remaining chopped pieces.

Cover with parchment paper (prevents the ice from forming) and seal tightly.  Freeze at least 6 hours before serving.

Enjoy every bite!

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Friday, August 26, 2016

And More Summer Cards...

Sometimes a card is needed "just because".  So these two cards, each very different, were created just because I wanted to say, "I care..."

This anchor is from Miss Kate's Cuttables.  Her daily freebies are great.
You can see the intricacy of the rope cut in this design - it is so thin yet cut perfectly.

The first card is all about encouragement.  "Hope Anchors the Soul".  I love that saying and it is so true.  Without hope, what do we really have?  With hope, we have the grounding to move on  - the anchor we all need during difficult times in our lives.

I kept this card simple because I wanted the message to be
the focal point.  I just added simple silver brads, cut off, to give it
a bit of interest and texture.

This is for a family member who has been heroically fighting a battle against cancer and she is winning battle after battle. I  have no doubt she will be victorious in this war and I just wanted to remind her that there are a lot of us hoping and praying for her and her family.  She has been an inspiration to all of us.


Have you been tempted to try any of the fascinating and intricate coloring books for adults that are dominating the craft world?   I know they pop up on my Amazon recommended list weekly and I have been intrigued, but have resisted..  I think I am waiting for the "perfect" time and have been feeling a little funny about coloring at my age!  Oh, I have been so wrong to not dive right in!  The coloring cards and panels made by Gina K Designs totally changed my mind and I am SO glad!.  They come in a set of 10 - 5 different patterns, so you have 2 of each design.  They are laser printed so you can foil them and/or color them with any medium you choose.  I chose this one and I cannot tell you how much enjoyment I received from just taking my time and coloring.

  I used the Spectrum Noir markers and found it totally relaxing and addicting.  I didn't have any idea what colors I wanted to use - I just knew I wanted it to be bright and cheery and I think I achieved that.  I just love this.  I highlighted some of the black detail with a crystal gel pen to give it a little shimmer in the light, and backed the card panel with complementary colors (Paper Temptress Mica card stock of course!)  I honestly cannot wait to do another one.

If you like this design, you can see more of Gina K and
her creativity here.

With all of the line art on the internet, it would not be difficult to make your own, but I love the way Gina K put all of the artsy elements together.  I hope my dear friend felt the love that went into this card.  I hope it made her feel special.

That's it for now. I still have a couple of birthday cards to make before the month is over - phew! 

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

I am still having a love affair with ice cream. I think I am actually enjoying making it even more than eating it - strange I know!  This is a little "icier" than other recipes because it is made with heavy cream and milk, so the fat count is lower.  You can substitute half and half for the milk if you would like a richer, creamier product.

The chocolate and maraschino cherries are a great combination, and the touch of cinnamon is an added taste treat.  It's just enough to notice but not overpower in any way.  YUM!

And with "fall weather" several months away in southern California, there will definitely be more frozen treats to share!

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

adapted from Butter with  Bread

2 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. milk (I used whole but 2% is fine; half and half will produce a richer result)
1 c. organic cane sugar
3 T. cocoa
1/4 t. cinnamon (optional  - but it adds a nice flavor)
1/4 c. maraschino cherry juice
20 maraschino cherries, quartered 
1 T. vodka (optional  - will keep it from freezing into a solid brick!)

Mix all of the ingredients together (except the cherries.)  Use an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes to blend them all well.  Pour this mixture into the ice cream maker and let process according to the machine's directions.  About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the quartered cherries. 

Freeze in a quart container for a few hours - at least.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Summer Cards...

Seems like I have been making a lot of cards lately and trying to stretch my creativity while using what I have.  Now that the craft room is semi-organized, it makes finding things much easier and am trying to push myself out of my "comfort zone".  It's been fun to try new things and am going to continue to push myself to do learn new things.  It makes it much more fun to see what happens, especially when I don't over plan the card.  Am trying to let it develop as I go and really like these two, totally different cards!

This is a simple card - used dotted strips from Gina K, foiled them in blue and
cut and attached as borders.  Embossed vellum creates the background to the
"Celebrate" message from Miss Kate's Cuttables. Papers are from Paper Temptress.

Another shot of that shiny foil - love the look!

Another card using embossed vellum as the background (so easy).
This flower is from a stencil drawing and I used some iridescent papers (made by Folio - 5x5" squares that I have had for some time.)
They change colors depending on how the light hits them, which
explains the difference in color in the pics. Definitely hard to photograph!

I added pop dots on the flower to give it more interest and dimension.

I love trying new things and pushing out of my comfort zone.  Have more cards to post just as soon as I get the photos edited.  It's been a great month for card making and I hope it continues as I have more to accomplish!
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Friday, August 12, 2016

I Hate Cancer!

Yes,  I HATE cancer.  I hate that it has robbed two wonderful people of a long life with family and friends. I hate that it comes out of nowhere and turns life upside down.  I hate that I know so many others who are actively fighting it and I find hope in the fact that some/many of them will beat this disease.  I am reminded of the times when I watched my Mother bravely fight it three times.  Over a span of thirty+ years, she fought breast cancer, uterine cancer and colon cancer.  She was the winner of the first two battles and when it reappeared in her life, in her early 80s, she was also recovering from breaking a hip.  I believe it was all too much for her.  She was one of those who exercised almost religiously, watched what she ate (probably to a fault!), was never overweight, etc.  She lived such a healthy life. I lost her fifteen years ago and still wonder....why??? 

And sadly, I made these cards to memorialize two beautiful people who bravely fought and lost.  I hope these cards bring the families a little solace and remind them that they are loved....always.

The world, my world,  has lost two very special people in the past two weeks. First, it was the adult son of a dear friend of mine.  Her oldest son was diagnosed with brain cancer in April and he passed away the end of July - four short agonizing months..........

The second was for the husband of a special friend.  This dear womanwas diagnosed with ovarian cancer 3 1/2 years ago. I have never seen anyone fight like she did - from chemo to immunotherapy to radiation along with vision boards, experimental drugs, nutritional changes, herbal tinctures - you name it; she gave it her all and never believed the cancer would get her. Even in the face of horrible news, she would still say she believed she was in remission and the doctors were wrong.  It was an unbelievable journey, but so painful to watch, especially the past six months.  She lost her battle on Monday.

God bless these two remarkable people, and all of the warriors in our lives who are fighting this disease with all they have.  May they continue to be strong...... may they be victorious.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownie Swirl Ice Cream

This may be my new favorite.  But then again, my list of favorites is growing as rapidly as the ice cream varieties in the freezer!  This one......with the peanut butter swirling through this ice cream is decadent yet  light and has a nougat-like texture.  It tastes so good in this ice cream and the little bits of brownie pieces just add to the unbeatable flavor combination.  The ice cream itself has a richness about it, but you don't need a lot of it to satisfy any sweet tooth or ice cream craving.  This is definitely a winner and easy to make because you don't need an ice cream machine.  Don't get me wrong - I LOVE my ice cream machine and when I have the time and desire to go through the additional steps, it makes mouth watering ice cream  concoctions.  But these "all over the internet no churn ice cream recipes" are a great alternative.  (and no one else will know you didn't spend hours making it!)  I promise there are more ice cream recipes to share in the near future - I just need some current photos!  If you knew what was coming you would be SO excited!!

But this is a great one in the meantime and was a big hit with all who tried it!

Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream

adapted from Bakerella

2 c. heavy whipping cream
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. small brownie pieces
chopped peanuts (4-5 T.) - optional
1 T. vodka (optional - the alcohol will help it not freeze quite so solid)

Chill mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave and stir about a third of the can of sweetened condensed milk.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Take about a third of the whipped cream and add it to the peanut butter mixture and set aside.

Fold together the remaining whipped cream and remainder of can of sweetened condensed milk.  When blended, add the vanilla.  Then fold in the brownie pieces.

Fill an ice cream container (I love these Tovolo containers) , alternating the cream mixture with the peanut butter mixture. (start with the whipped cream mixture and spoon about 1/3 into the container.  The dollop the peanut butter mixture in top and swirl gently with a knife.  Repeat the layers two more times).  Top with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Cover with parchment paper (helps prevent ice crystals) before freezing.  Will be ready in six hours

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About Me

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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.