Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hello Card - Graciellie Design

 I have been spring cleaning and uncovering layers/piles/drawers full of craft supplies that either need to be used or donated. So I sent boxes of "stuff" over to the Boys & Girls Club because I know they put all of it to good use as they have the main site plus have after school programs in 8 schools.  They are always happy to receive whatever I can share.  So it makes the giving away process so much easier!

And during that process I always seem to get invigorated and feel creative again because I am reminded of all that I have wanted to use and forgotten about - or just haven't had time.  I find ideas whirling around in my head again and it just feels so good.  So even tho my craft room is in a bit of chaos at the moment (I promise new pics soon when I CLEAN it up), it's all good.  I am rediscovering the things I love doing and starting physical lists of what I want to try as the ideas come because I just don't trust my memory anymore!  I should not say that out loud. :(

I have done the same with the kitchen and I am sure that is why I have started doing more baking and experimenting there as well - so there will be more recipes to share soon - it all feels good. And maybe that is part of what spring cleaning is all about - letting go of what gets in the way and making room for whatever it is you want to do or what feels important in the moment. So glad I am at least in the process!  Progress is often baby steps, but at least there is movement. I will take it.

Enough chatter - on to the card.

This is one of the newer designs from Graciellie Design.  She is such an engaging artist and her artwork always makes me smile.  The image is from her "Your Kindness" collection and it was such fun to color even tho I am still a work in progress on that front!

The fun thing about coloring on vellum is that it is so forgiving whether it is markers or pencils.  You color on the backside and it is super forgiving - you don't have to do a lot of blending

This was printed in SCAL using a print and cut on the Silver Bullet Platinum.
I purposely left an edge because I wanted it to pop a little more...

And here it is from the front - so soft and the colors are 
diffused but I love how subtle the colors are - like a gentle spring day.

Here it is assembled on the card with ribbon and backing
and some foam squares to pop it up a little.

Designed in SCAL from a simple font and cut on the Silver Bullet Platinum.
Look at now narrow the lines are - cut with ease!

 Loving the finished product - hope you do too!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Mocha Muffins - healthy!

This is a really healthy way to start your day with chocolate. You will notice that the only sugar in this recipe is honey (and the dark chocolate chunks but that doesn't count!)  These are so moist and delicious - you will love them!


adapted from Easy Flourless Muffins, Bars & Cookies by Amanda Drodzd

1 c. almond flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. instant espresso powder
2 T. ground golden flaxseed
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. almond butter
6 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla for anything that has a chocolate base)
1/2 c. coarsely chopped dark chocolate chunks (about a 3 oz bar)

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a muffin pan by lining with parchment paper baking cups.  Set aside.

Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Add the eggs, applesauce, almond butter, honey and the vanilla extract.  Beat well on high for about a minute until things are well blended.  Fold in the dark chocolate chunks .

Fill the lined muffin cups with batter (I like to use an ice cream scoop - it keeps it neat and makes the muffins more uniform) and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted ni the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to finish cooling.  These freeze really well too!!

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Floral Get Well - Power Poppy

I have been trying to embrace working more with digi images (aka digi stamps) and everytime I do - I just love them.  Two of my absolute FAVORITE COMPANIES are Power Poppy and Graciellie Design..  Be sure to check them out if you love beautiful floral and inspiring images.

This card uses a Power Poppy "freebie" - Kindness is the Way.  I used the image for the background which I printed on a mono laser printer and foiled in Deco Foil, and then cut out one of the floral images with the Silver Bullet Platinum and colored with pencils.  There are a lot of different products used on this card and I am so happy with the end result.

The sentiment uses a FoilStamp from Crafters Companion and is foiled on vellum.  I love foiling and use the FoilPress from Crafters Companion, laminating foil from Thermoweb, and the new WRMK foil quilling pen all used on this card (!) - I love foil!

It is hard to capture the beauty of foil, but I tried. You can see
the background images showing through in a subtle way.

I am still working hard at my coloring skills and I admit I have a long way to go, but it's all a journey - right?  The beautiful image is from Power Poppy and I used the print and cut through SCAL along with the Silver Bullet Platinum machine.  It cuts with such accuracy and I marvel at the flexibility it gives me.  I cut out the image after it is printed and then I color it just to be sure I don't wait to cut out a colored image and then do something careless and not get a good cut.  If that happens, it is user error and not the machine so I want to be sure I give myself the best chance for success!!

Cut out perfectly with the Silver Bullet Platinum
and colored with Spectrum Noir Pencils.

Still on the mat using the regular tip of the WRMK foil quilling pen
and champagne foil. This was done with the Silver Bullet Platinum
and as you can see, worked perfectly and beautifully.

Removed from the mat so you can see more detail but
it doesn't show the foil sheen as well.

Tried to angle this so some of the background foiling would show.
This is using the Thermoweb Amber Watercolour to give
a lovely array of colors.  I wish you could see it in person.

If you have not discovered digi stamps yet, I highly encourage you to give them a try - there are so many options.  And it is just so much fun to pretend to be an artist when I clearly am not!  But all of these amazing artists make us all strive to be more creative and I am grateful.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Blueberry Banana Bread

Getting as much baking in as I can before the summer months when it just isn't as much fun to bake the things that take time in an oven.  Soon there will be more grilling recipes and ice cream. YUM!  I am ready. 

But for now, going to bake when I can because there is nothing that tastes better or smells better than any kind of bread baking in the oven. It is totally intoxicating and I wish they could bottle the smell!


adapted from The Kitchen Magpie

1/2 c. butter
1 c. cane sugar (I use unrefined)
2 large eggs
1 c. ripe mashed bananas (2-3 large)
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking spice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan.  Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and whisk till well mixed. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until well blended and light.  Beat in one egg at a time and beat until smooth each time.  Add the vanilla and slowly beat in the mashed bananas..  Mix well.

Add in the flour mixture and fold gently with a rubber spatula until well combined and no streaks of flour show in the batter.  Then fold in the blueberries just until evenly distributed in the batter (as much as possible).

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake in the oven 50-60 minutes, checking at 50 minutes with a cake tester or toothpick to see if it is done.  I used a Breville air fryer convection oven and set it on Bake and it took the full 60 minutes.  Sometimes a convection oven will take much less time  - it just depends on the batter, or so I am discovering!

So full of blueberries and so yummy.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert right side up onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This bread was moist and delicious and super easy to make!

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Diamond Art/Diamond Painting - A New Obsession!

I know my posting has been inconsistent at best and I have a reason/excuse for that! (you knew that was coming, right??)  There is always a reason....but this is a good one - really!  I have become totally infatuated with diamond painting and it has occupied most of my free time the past few months.  The more I do, the more I want to do.  I started seeing postings about it a year or so ago and it seemed interesting but I had no desire to explore it. I had enough on my plate, so I thought.  Then a few months ago I saw it in a craft catalog and started searching the internet and watching YouTube and I was totally fascinated by it all. The more I explored, the more I wanted to do it.

So I started small - so unlike me I know.  I got a butterfly pillow that was a partial fill. That means that the design does not cover the entire space but is on a patterned material - so it is not as labor intensive.  Diamond painting is like a cross between counted cross stitch, paint by number and mini mosaics.  You "paint" with flat bottomed faceted beads that are either round or square.  The square are considered more difficult because they need to be straight and it is more obvious if they aren't as they fill the entire square, where the round can be more forgiving.  Make sense?  Time to add some pictures.

Here is my first project. I wish I had taken a photo of the pillow canvas before I started the design but I thought about it too late!!

About halfway through the pillow I knew I wanted to do more, so ordered a shell picture that I started for the hallway....but put it aside as it felt too easy (what is wrong with me that everything has to be some sort of a challenge?!?) and I had already ordered more kits that were starting to make their way into my condo.  I was/am addicted but in a good way!!  So...the pillow was finished, the shell picture is waiting for me to want an "easier" project" and I already finished a sea landscape all in square beads (called drills - no idea why).  All of my remaining projects are full pictures - no partial fills because what's the fun in that??  I wont say how many pictures are waiting for my attention, but I am pretty sure once they are done I will be making more - just not sure of what or for whom!!

Here you can see the patterned canvas and this kit was nicely packed with the beads in bags.
They are all not so nice!  

I started this on the left side and then decided I wanted to
save this for an easier time and work on something more complicated...

And this was clearly the more complicated one.  I started on the bottom left and removed
the adhesive protecting film as I went along.  I definitely was on the fast track
from beginner to advanced - but I loved the challenge!

You can see a closeup of the detail with some of the section covered and 
some not so the pattern coding is visible.

Here is a closeup of a section of it - I love how it comes to life

And this is the finished product waiting to be framed.  The canvas still has some ripples in it
from being rolled, but it will smooth out once it is framed.

I recently began this floral painting for my bedroom - I have a bedspread with purple flowers and I hope that it all blends together - fingers are crossed!!  (the horizontal lines you see across the canvas are reflective lines from the clear plastic that covers the adhesive that has no drill on it yet).

This one is large - almost three feet tall.  But if the colors work, it
will be a great addition to the wall next to my bed.

A closer look at the pattern - the coloring on this one is not nearly
as intricate or detailed as the seascape...but still pretty.

And the painting begins to take shape...this one will go much faster than my last one,
but I need to make more time to work on it.  That's the nice thing about this -
 it is so easy to work on as time permits.  This is a really fun new hobby.

An added benefit is that most of the companies will take a photo of your choice and turn it into a diamond painting canvas so you can really create an incredible memory of a special time, or person or animal or whatever - so how cool is that?

If you want to give this a try, I will share a few things I have learned (and I am sure there will be more pointers later as I learn more with each picture)... start with round drills and a small picture.  Diamond Dotz, a US company, has some beautiful pillows that are a great way to begin.  And the pillow itself is assembled - you only have to stuff it with a pillow form once finished.

When you are ready to go on to something more complicated, know that choosing a larger size will produce a painting with more detail and color and it does make a difference.  Most of the sites do a great job of showing the difference in sizes and how the image may be compromised if you go too small.  I have ordered from US companies and also from companies that ship from China and I have seen a difference.  The selection is not as great in the US, although it is getting better, but the quality of the kits is better in that the beads are more uniform and the kit itself is packaged better.  That being said, the ones from China were not all the same. Some were packed better than others but all came with extra beads and the tools needed to complete the painting.  I am not sure the beads are as faceted and "sparkly", but it still looks beautiful when finished and it is about half the price of a US kit, but even then it's reasonable no matter where you buy it. It just depends on what subject matter interests you, but it is definitely worth looking around, and there is a lot of info on YouTube as well.

One last thing that I really love about this new hobby - it is so user friendly.  You can easily spend ten minutes or two hours working on a painting and you don't have to keep track of where you left off.  You can stop at any time and pick it back up whenever you want - it takes no effort to stop and start which I love. You cannot lose your place.

And the more you do, the better and more exact your lines and rows will be.  It is pretty forgiving, but I can see where I have not been perfect with my work.When it's all done I hope I am the only one who sees that....

I will share more as I do more, but hopefully this will encourage some of you to give it a try!!  You won't be sorry. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blackberry Crisp Baked Oatmeal

I have seen recipes all over the internet for various versions of Baked Oatmeal and have tried a few, but none have BLOWN ME AWAY like this one.  It is so easy and delicious and easily gets you through many mornings, depending on how many you are serving.  And it keeps well at room temperature.  Not only that, but it reheats easily in the microwave and tastes as good as if it was fresh out of the oven. All of that and it's good for you too!  What more could you ask for?


adapted from Our Sweet Basil Kitchen by Cade and Carrian Cheney
3 c. rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
2 c. milk (any kind works)
¼ c. coconut oil, melted
1/3 c. apple butter
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar, divided (1/4 c. with the oatmeal; ¾ c. in the topping) (can substitute with coconut sugar)
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
½ c. walnuts or pecans, chopped (totally optional – I didn’t use them)
¼ c. (1/2 stick) cold butter
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 c. (1- 10-12 oz.  pkg) frozen blackberries (I would imagine any frozen fruit would work)
Cream or yogurt for drizzling!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray (I greased with butter).

In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, coconut oil, apple butter, granulated sugar and ¼ c. brown sugar.  Stir in the oats and mix well.

Pour mixture into the greased baking pan and bake 20 min.

The oat mixture ready for baking

While mixture bakes, prepare a crumb topping by combining the butter (cut in small cubes), cinnamon, ¾ c brown sugar and flours.  (I think you could totally leave this crumb topping off and it would be fine – or you could reduce the brown sugar if need be – lots of options, but it does add a nice flavor and crunch).

Look at those yummy frozen blackberries!

All mixed up and ready to go back in the oven for the final bake.

Remove mixture from oven after 20 minutes and  carefully fold in the frozen berries..  Top with the prepared crumb topping and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the top is golden in color.  Drizzle with cream or yogurt and serve.

A warm piece drizzled with Greek vanilla yogurt.

The "cake" falls apart as you eat it, but that just makes it better.

That first bite is sooooo good and makes you eager for the next...and the next... 

This keeps really well and reheats in the microwave beautifully.  It could easily get you through quite a few mornings~ 😊

Hope you enjoy it!  I will be making it with frozen peaches next - I cannot think of a frozen fruit that would not be totally delicious.

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