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Friday, December 30, 2016

CANVAS TOTE BAG

This Christmas I gifted two canvas tote bags.  They're a nice large size and can be used for just about anything.  Each one I make is one-of-a-kind, so I have a great time playing with fabrics and trims to make them extra special.
This one I made for my daughter to replace the very first one I made for her back in 2014.  I noticed how worn it was and decided it was time for a new one.  I'll have to tell you she's suffering from separation anxiety switching over to this new one, but in time I think she'll be able to let go. 
The totes I make for her I use heat transfer vinyl to add her business logo to it.   I cut it out using my silhouette machine and use an iron to adhere it to the canvas.   I also added a second interior pocket this year; the perfect size for her cell phone.  She loves using them for her client meetings, and when she's not heading to a meeting, she uses it to transport her laptop everywhere she goes!

The second tote I made for a special friend of ours.  I love finding fabrics that work well together, and add some personality to the piece as well!
 Here's a view of the interior pockets......I already received a thank you telling me how much she loves it!
Once I get them cut out, I usually can't stop sewing them since I'm so anxious to see them come together!  I'm thinking it's about time I made one for myself!!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

BATH SALTS

This was a fun project for gifting.  Bath salts are fairly easy to make, fun to package all pretty and best of all they put a smile on the face of the woman (women) you gift them to.......
I made two different versions for this holiday season.  The type in the picture above, were for a couple of very dear friends.   These are lavender bath salts with lavender essential oils and actual dried lavender flowers in the mix.

I found cute little jars at the Container Store and made the tags on my silhouette machine. 
 

The other version I made for my daughter.  I ordered the test tubes on Amazon and made five different versions.
On the inside of the lid cover, I made a label about how to use them as well as the different varieties included in the box.  To finish off the packaging, I added crinkle gift wrap and dried rose buds.  Both the lavender flowers and rose buds I got at Natural Grocer.  
To make bath salts it's just epsom salts and kosher salt.  A 2:1 ratio of epsom salts to the kosher salt. Then add essential oils and food coloring to your liking.   

Monday, December 19, 2016

KB DIGITAL DESIGNS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

In honor of my daughter's photography business, I decided to make her an "established" Christmas ornament.....and of course, I had to gift it to her already so she could enjoy it during the season!
 I'm so proud of how she has grown her business and mastered her craft becoming a creative and successful entrepreneur at such a young age.  I know her business will continue to prosper over time and for that I am so thrilled.

I used the aspen circles that my husband cut from the trees we had to have removed from our old house.   I traced her logo onto the circle and then went to town using the wood burning tools.

After I had finished the burning process.  I used Mod Podge to finish the front and back.

I purchased a holiday "pick" at Hobby Lobby (on sale of course) and cut off some of the pieces to make a one-of-a-kind "topper".



I thought being rustic, it called for a leather strap to finish it off.  So, after I had my husband add a couple of finishing hooks, I tied the strap on and voila', a handcrafted ornament that she can enjoy for years to come!

Oh...by-the-way, after opening it last night, she teared up.  That my friends, made my day!  Gift giving is the BEST!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FIRE ROASTED TOMATO BISQUE

When I was a kid, you couldn't pay me to eat anything tomato related (except ketchup), like tomato soup, tomatoes in salad, etc.   In fact, that trend continued up until about a year ago, when I ventured into topping my salads with fresh tomatoes (they have to be little pieces though), and just last weekend I made this delicious tomato bisque.

It was really yummy!!  It includes some canned/pre-made items, but has an overall homemade flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. flour
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
Two 14 ½ oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsps. sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground white pepper


DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic, cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkly the flour over the vegetables and stir over low heat for 1 minute, or until the flour is fully incorporated.  Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and bring to a boil.  Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occassionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.

Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return the puree to the saucepan, add the heavy cream and cook until the soup is just heated through.  Season the soup with salt and white pepper and swirl in the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter.  Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with croutons and serve.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.foodandwine.com

Friday, November 25, 2016

SKILLET APPLE CRISP

I love this recipe for several reasons.  First, it's loaded with flavorful apples....Second, you serve and devour it when it's warm....Third, you serve it with ice cream....Four, I could keep going, but you may just have to try it for yourself!
I made this right after Thanksgiving dinner.  It took about 30 minutes of prep time.  I popped it in the oven while we were playing a board game, and 30 minutes later it was ready.  Oh....and the house smelled awesome while it was baking!


INGREDIENTS:

6 cups peeled and chopped apples (approx. 2.5 pounds) Gala and Granny Smith
2 cups oats (I used quick cook oats)
1 cup flour
½ cup cold butter
½ cup brown sugar 
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. caramel sauce (and additional for serving)
vanilla ice cream for topping


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medim bowl, mix oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter cut into small pieces.  Using a pastry blender or fork, crumble the butter into the dry mixture.

On stovetop, heat cast iron skillet until hot.  Add 1 Tbsp. butter and allow it to melt.  Pour in apples and stir gently, then add oatmeal misture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to mix together.    Drizzle 2 Tbsp. caramel sauce over the top.  Remove from stove.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until apples are tender and oatmeal is golden.  

Top with ice cream and more caramel sauce and serve.  

For a fun presentation.  Bring the entire skillet to the table with several spoons and allow your guests to dive in!  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o: www.createdby-diane.com

Monday, November 14, 2016

CHOCOLATE CHIP COFFEE CAKE

So you just made a wonderful dessert recipe which called for a half bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.  So what do you do with the other half bag?, well you try another recipe, of course!

And, did I pick a good one!  A scrumptious coffee cake that melts in your mouth.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips ( I used the mini version)

For filling and topping:
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup sugar

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a *10-inch tube baking pan.  In a medium bowl cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar.  Beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and milk, and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and add alternately with the sour cream mixture until well blended.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan.  Combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping mixture and sprinkle half over the batter.  Spoon in the remaining batter, and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon/sugar on top.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

* I do not own a tube pan, so I opted for a bundt pan.  The only thing that means is you don't get to see the pretty cinnamon/sugar mixture on the top of the cake.  With the bundt pan it's on the bottom.  

Recipe c/o:  myrecipes.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE

For those of you who love cheesecakes as much as I do....this is one tasty recipe!  Creamy and smooth with lots of chocolate chips throughout.  Save up your calories for this one and savor the flavors!
I actually did lighten the recipe up a bit by using the 1/3 fewer calories version of cream cheese and you just can't tell the difference.

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cups thin chocolate wafers (Nabisco)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Crush wafers in a food processor, or with a rolling pin.  Mix crumbs, sugar, and butter together.  Press onto *bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.  Set crust aside.  

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually add the condensed milk; beat well.  Add vanilla and eggs, and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Toss 1/3 of the chips with 1 tsp. flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake).  Mix into cheese mixture.  Pour into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining chocolate chips.  

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.  Turn off oven (do not open the oven door) and leave the cake in the oven to cool for another hour.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Refrigerate before removing the sides of the pan.  Keep refrigerated until time to serve.  

Add dollop of whip cream to each slice of the cake prior to serving.    Enjoy!

*I placed a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the springform pan to make it easier to remove from the pan and possibly plate.  It worked great....although since I was bringing this with me to a dinner I didn't actually plate the entire cake, but sliced it and served pieces up individually. 

Recipe c/o:  Allrecipes.com

Thursday, October 27, 2016

DOG RINGBEARER PILLOW....& MORE

I had so much fun working with this couple.  They are truly special together and I was thrilled to create a number of different items for their October wedding.



The first item was a ringbearer pillow for their dog, Thor.  I love that name, especially for a 9 lb. dog! The bride, Tyler asked that I use the grey and pink colors of the wedding palette, and the tiffany blue accent color was the leash.  So adorable.   He was so well behaved during the wedding and as cute as can be!

Next up was the vintage flower girl basket using the grey and tiffany blue color combination.  So of course, vintage calls for plenty of lace and pearls.
One of the two flower girls carried the basket, and the other walked Thor down the aisle.

It was an absolutely beautiful fall day with temps in the '70's, so the outdoor ceremony was picture perfect.


Finally, I made Tyler's wedding veil.  It is one of my favorites with appliques around the bottom of the veil that are a perfect match to the beading on the gown itself.  I haven't made anything else like it before or since, so she truly has a one-of-a-kind!


The fingertip length was the perfect look for the gown and the light gathering allowed for the beauty of the corset back to show through.    She looked beautiful!

It's extra special when I'm also second shooting at the wedding since I can see all my pieces come together.

Congratulations Tim and Tyler!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

I really have to work hard to get my daily allotment of veggies, so I'm always looking for tasty recipes.  This recipe for zucchini chips caught my attention (probably because it had the word chip in it).  They were easy to make and pretty dog gone tasty!


INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchini
¼ cup fresh parmesan
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  

Slice zucchini into very thin slices; no more than ¼ inch thick.   Place the oil in a large plastic bag. Add zucchini and toss to coat.

In another bag, add the dry ingredients and mix by shaking well.   Add in the coated zucchini and shake to cover the zucchini with the mixture.

Lay zucchini on the cookie sheet.  Be sure the zucchini are in a single layer on the pan.  

Bake approximately *20-30 minutes.  

*I baked mine for 25 minutes since they were getting pretty brown.  I found that mine were not completely crispy on the inside, but they were still tasty.  I've since found other recipes that use a very low oven and bake for a longer time (225 degrees for 2 hours).  I may have to try that method to see which style I prefer.

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  allrecipes.com





Wednesday, October 12, 2016

WATERCOLOR FLOWER WOOD COASTERS

I've made a number of drink coasters over the years, but that didn't stop me from trying my hand at another technique I saw recently.  I had a number of aspen branch ovals leftover from when we had to take several of our mature aspens down in our backyard.
This project called for those ovals/circles and some pretty flower or botanical artwork.  Since I've always loved art which uses watercolor as the pigment, I chose to find a variety of watercolor flower images online.

Once I had those saved to my computer, I was ready to begin.  The technique is really unique.  You actually print the images on wax paper using your home printer!

Cut the wax paper the width of your paper (8 ½"), and approximately one inch longer than the paper (12").  Wrap the extra inch over the top of the paper and use a piece of scotch tape to hold it to the backside.

Feed the paper through your printer so the image prints on the wax paper.   Be very careful when removing the paper from the printer and when cutting the images out.

Dampen the wood circle with some water.  I used a spray bottle to spritz the wood then rubbed it around with my finger to dampen the entire area.

Carefully flip the image on top of the wood, ink side down.  Hold the wax paper with one hand, and begin using the other hand to transfer the image to the wood; I used my index finger in a circular motion.  The tutorial I reviewed used a credit card, to slide over the image....but I found that I didn't need that much pressure and by using my fingers I felt I had more control over the process.

You'll definitely be able to see as it begins to transfer to the wood.  Gently remove the wax paper and let the coasters dry for about couple of hours. I chose to add a top coat of Mod Podge on mine.  Using a sponge brush lightly coat the entire surface all the way to the edges.   I like the added protection that it offers, especially for a coaster.

Then I added cork to the bottoms.  I had some leftover cork from a previous project.  It came in a roll, so I traced the coasters, cut them out and hot glued them to the bottoms.  I've also used felt for this process, or even just felt or cork circles.  They all work great....but definitely take the time to add something to the bottom to keep them from scratching other surfaces.

I think they look so pretty!   Floral images on the wood is the perfect organic touch.  Now if you don't have any circles like I did, you can find them at many of the big box hobby stores, or even online.  

Now that I've seen how they look.  I'm thinking I may try a larger version and use it for wall art.  I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for just the right image!

Friday, October 7, 2016

BLUSH PINK WEDDING SASH

I really enjoyed working on this project.  This bride was the third sister of a three sister family, and I've had the pleasure of working with each one of them for their wedding day.    Lacey found herself a gorgeous lace overlay gown with a blush pink underlayer.  The color made it so unique and she looked absolutely beautiful in it!  She originally came to me to assist with hemming and the bustle.
Once we finished with those items, I asked whether she had considered adding a sash.  She said she was thinking about it, but hadn't found anything that she felt looked right.

The first sash that came to mind was one I had made with handmade chiffon flowers.   I thought it would really compliment the gown.  It was very light, romantic, and unique...just like the gown.  She tried it on along with a few other sashes that I had on hand, but without a doubt, this one was the "hands down" favorite.
I made her sash using the design elements from the sample that she tried on, although I customized it to make hers a true one-of-a-kind.   Because I had some lace scraps available after hemming her gown,  I added lace leaf accents, and found blush beads for the center of the smaller flower.  A few ostrich feathers, and a pearl swag and it was just right!  I had ordered the satin ribbon online and had my fingers and toes crossed until it arrived that their version of blush would be the right match for the gown.  I think I may have squealed when I opened the box since it was the exact color of the gown!

I also made Lacey a garter set, again pulling in touches of the blush color palette.

I wish I would have thought to take a picture or two of the bustle.  It was really pretty with eight bustle points around the seam just below the zipper.

Congrats Lacey!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

NEW YORK STYLE CRUMB CAKE

Oh boy!  When I landed on this recipe, I knew I needed to try it.  A good crumb cake is loaded with great crumb topping and this one delivers.  Great flavor and lick the plate quality topping....really, I licked the plate to get every morsel!
Note:  This recipe calls for cake flour.  Be sure to use it versus all-pupose flour it makes all the difference in the texture of the cake.  All purpose flour will make a dry and tough cake.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumb Topping:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups cake flour

Cake:
1 ¼ cups cake flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Make a sling of foil or parchment in an 8x8 pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Make topping:
Whisk melted butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt.  Break up any large pieces.  Slowly add flour while gently mixing together.  The mixture will look like a stiff dough, set aside to cool.

Make cake:
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  With mixer running slowly add 1 Tbsp. of butter at a time.  Continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no chunks of butter.  About 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add buttermilk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high until the batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan, and spread evenly with rubber spatula.  Tap pan on the countertop to minimize air bubbles before adding the topping.  Break crumb topping into pea size pieces and spread in an even layer over batter beginning around the edges and working towards the center.  Do not push the crumbs into the batter.  
Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through the cooking time.  Crumbs will be golden, and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle.  

Let cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.  Remove cake from pan by lifting sling.  Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

By doubling the recipe you can make this in a 13 x 9 inch pan.  If doubling, increase the baking time to about 45 minutes. 

recipe c/o:  www.thesugarpixie.net

Sunday, September 18, 2016

VEILS AND GARTERS AND BELTS, OH MY!!

I've had the pleasure of creating a number of wedding accessories so far this year, and thought I'd share some pictures.   Some of the brides are local, others I've never met who found me by way of my Etsy shop.  No matter who the bride is....it is such an honor to be a part of making their wedding dreams a reality.
This beautiful champagne ribbon wedding sash is such a gorgeous addition to the bride's special look.  It's loaded with brilliant rhinestones and crystal beads, with organza flower accents.





This veil has beautiful silver embroidered appliques around the perimeter of the veil.  It accents the intricate silver embroidery on the bodice of the gown.







This cascade veil has a beautiful pearl trim accent.  I love the way the trim helps highlight the way this veil drapes so beautifully due to its unique cut.
A couple of custom garters.....the top one, very classic and understated (and no toss garter) per the Bride's request.  The second one pulling in colors from the wedding palette; peach and plum.
A custom order for a 100 inch long cathedral length veil. Scalloped lace trim just around the bottom edge.  Beautiful!
This bride was looking for a veil that wouldn't steal the show from her gown.  So we went with a pencil edge trim and subtle pearl and crystal beads around the edge. 

A sweet rustic chic flower girl basket made of burlap and lace.

I have some additional projects I'm working on for a couple October brides.  I'll be sharing those items in the weeks to come.  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 9, 2016

CHOCOLATE CHIP-COFFEE MUFFINS

Every bite of these muffins are loaded with the robust flavors of coffee and chocolate.  So, if you're like me and enjoy the flavor of coffee, beyond the typical liquid version, then you're going to love these!
I fell in love with these silicone muffin cups years ago.  So easy to use and no messy muffin tin to clean up.

INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup whole milk
5 Tbsp. melted butter
3 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Combine first five ingredients.  Spoon flour into measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next four ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir together with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

Add milk mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (if you are just using the tin, be sure to use cooking spray).  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until done.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  myrecipes.com