Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Bought Myself a Present

 I have a serious illness.  It is called "Craft Supply Hoarding".  I can't help is a disease......So when a friend said she loved her Silhouette more than her Cricut I had to have it!  Thank goodness my husband is an enabler, sometimes after the fact, of my need to buy every crafting tool I am aware of.  So last week when we came home from a trip my new Silhouette Cameo was waiting for me!  My first cut?  A very detailed doily that the Cricut would have torn up (and not in a good way).  See the cute paper?  That is not cardstock!  The Cameo can cut standard paper like butter with no tearing at all.

Here is a picture of the backside of the whole thing on a 12x12 piece of paper.  But that is not all the Cameo can do.   It has the ability to take a printed design and cut it out.  I didn't even know it could do that when I bought it!  It is called print and cut.  I cut out the cutest little vintage kitty faces I got off the net for free. 

Isn't it amazing!  So, I can use all the digital art I have collected over the years and not have to hand cut out the images.  I can't wait to find out what else this machine can do. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Using Peppermint Spoons to Make a Mold

I found the cutest peppermint spoons (Wiltons) for hot chocolate a few days ago.  I bought two boxes, one to give to a friend and one for us!  They were sooooo cute I thought I would use one spoon to make a mold so I could enjoy even more spoons!  Chocolate spoons, hard candy spoons, the possibilities are almost endless. 
 I used a food safe molding compound, followed the directions and within a few minutes I was able to press the spoon into the putty.  Be sure and mold the putty on the detailed side of the spoon.
 I waited a half an hour (got busy with something else and forgot about the mold.....oops) and then easily got the spoon out.  Now I have a mold that I can use when I have a need for an edible spoon--yippee!
This is the putty I use!  It is so great I always have a bit of it on me crazy but I get a little anxious if I run out. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Easy Turtles

These dark chocolate turtles couldn't be easier and are so delicious!
Start by laying out four pecan halves in a cross pattern on foil or wax paper.  Heat some caramel until it is soft enough to spoon but not so hot that it is pourable.  Spoon a tablespoon of soften caramel onto center of pecans.  The caramel should slowly flatten into a smooth mound.  I melted some Bada Bing Bada Boom brand dark chocolate in a double broiler.  Using a spoon plop some chocolate on top and spread to cover the caramel.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on warm chocolate and let set in refrigerator until firm.  Sweet and salty, creamy, crunchy and chewy----yum!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sweet Treats Quilt

Just finished a sweet little quilt yesterday using some fabric I bought a while ago.......most of the fabric is from Delicious Wishes by Jana Nielson of Izzy & Ivy for Henry Glass Fabrics and looks good enough to eat!
The fabric line has a panel of framed desserts and fruit that can be cut into squares. 
 I framed each square in a green fabric with red on each corner.
 The binding is in the same red and is hand sewn.
I machined quilted in a swirly pattern on my regular sewing machine.  It is so fun to see how much I can push myself with new designs like this.  It helped that the quilt was small and easy to work with.  I wouldn't try this swirly design on something much larger.  I am not sure if this is a baby quilt or wall hanging.......I think it might even end up as a table topper.  It would look sweet on a dessert table loaded with goodies!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies Made With Honey

Why use honey in your cookie recipes?  Two reasons-it does make a difference in the taste, texture and shelf life of the cookie AND we have our own bees so we have an abundance of honey!  You may not have tons of the amber liquid but I promise you it is still worth switching over.  Your cookies will stay soft much longer and everyone will taste the difference.
I looked a long time for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that used honey but couldn't find one I liked, I mean I still wanted it to look and taste similar to what I normally baked.  So I decided to try a little experiment with my trusted Williams Sonoma recipe by replacing the white sugar with honey.  Here is the adapted recipe below.  Note: when baking with honey you usually use equal amounts of honey for the sugar, reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup per 1 cup of honey used and reduce the temp of the oven by 25 to 30 degrees.  This recipe follows some of those guidelines but not all.

Williams Sonoma Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 345 (only 5 degrees change from the 350 in the recipe).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on med-low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Add the brown sugar and honey, increase the speed to medium and beat until slightly fluffy, about one minute.  Be sure and stop to scrape the sides once in a while.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pan, spacing the cookies about two inches apart.  Bake about 9 minutes then turn pan in oven and cook another minute.  The cookies should be a light golden color and the bottoms should not be dark brown.  Put the pan of cookies on a baking rack to cool for 3 minutes and then remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.  Makes about 36 cookies.
These cookies don't spread as much as the ones with sugar.  They stay nice and thick and moist.  Yum!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tiny Advent Calendar

I needed to make a simple Advent Calendar for my son's boys and looked online for a cute little kit to put together.   Most of them needed to be assembled and knowing my woodworking skills I decided those were not for me.  I got this little kit at my local craft store and it was perfect for a quick and easy project.  It doesn't need to be put together, just decorated.  You can find it online here.
Here are a few hints to make your project go smoothly.  The boxes and frame are made out of cardboard (now don't read that as flimsy, it is quite sturdy) and have a shiny paper coating.  Glue is going to have a hard time creating a permanent bond.  Instead, use permanent red adhesive tape that you find at your craft store in the scrap booking section.  Now for the paper I used regular weight not cardstock but I don't think it matters much, I just found more patterns to choose from in the lighter paper.  To get the notch at the top just use a hole punch and it will be perfect.  Once your paper in on, sand the edges lightly and ink a bit too.  The kit comes with the number stickers!   Seriously, this couldn't be easier!  I think it is more fun to have the numbers count down to Christmas instead of counting the "Days of Christmas".  Just my preference.  This Advent Calendar is small and colorful and the drawers can hold a few chocolate kisses....... 
And it will fit in a box for mailing to those grandkids........  Just be sure and include the treats or you will be in trouble.