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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Splash of Love: I Feel the Love

Happy Thursday, my crafty friends! I hope you're having a marvelous week! :o)

After a couple of Copic projects, I switched gears to make a card for a sweet 2-year-old named Ashley. As you know, I have already posted two cards this month for Madison's inspirational I Feel the Love Project... one for the severely injured Brandon (found HERE) and one for his mother (found HERE). After reading about their life-changing tragic car accident, I committed myself to a card for each of the immediate family members. That includes Brandon's precious little sister, who I am told misses him dearly. Let us continue to pray for this entire family who is enduring so much heart-wrenching struggle, both emotionally and physically.

I wanted to send little Ashley a splash of love: 
The interior, consisting of a Spellbinders Picot Edge Circle. (The card is actually level, but the backdrop curve was messing with me as I rushed around. Hehe.)
I thought it would be cute for both kiddos to have wobbly cards, so I put the Create a Critter whale on an Action Wobble. She is wiggling about, splashing love upon all of Ashley's family. I used a cute Peachy Keen face for some added character and fun Bo Bunny tonal-pink polka dotted paper for her accents, including the splashing hearts. (I used Glossy Accents to make water droplets amidst the hearts.) Every girl whale needs a bow, so she has one made with blossom trendy twine from My Craft Spot. To appear as a set, I used the same blue polka dot background that I used for Brandon's train card. The sparkly Core Couture water is embossed for some wave-like texture.

The sentiment is a combination of Classic Font (a and of) and Create a Critter. I used the blue and pink dot papers to coordinate with the card design. The blue did not stand out well enough, so I inked over it with Tim Holtz Faded Jeans. The card base and sparkly frame are from Elegant Edges, which I chose since it reminds me a bit of bubbles. I hope she likes her wiggly whale card. :o)

Seeing as Ashley is merely two, this card is very much for their mother. A mother who will be so appreciative of the box of blessings she will soon receive from Madison. The waves are topped with sparkling hearts because with each storm that churns in our lives, God's love triumphs. The hearts are not embossed to symbolize peace.. stormy swirls will not unsettle us when we place our trust in God's hands. Not always easy, but always essential. :o)

Thank you for visiting me today, my friends! I wish you a beautiful day of love and blessings. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Classic Font, Create a Critter, Elegant Edges
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: D'vine Swirls
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Picot Edge Circles
 * Peachy Keen Critter Faces (Medium)
 * Paper: Bo Bunny, Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink
 * Twine: My Craft Spot (Blossom)
 * Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Altered Recipe Box

Happy Sunday, my dear friends! I hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend. :o)

Yesterday I decided to ignore my throbbing, achy finger to try and make a project that's been on my cupcakey heart. By the time I was done designing and coloring, it hurt like mad to even take pictures! Oops. No crafting the rest of the holiday weekend for me...

This was such a fun project. One of the challenges I love participating in required the use of my favorite Elisabeth Bell stamp that I own, so I had no choice but to color my beloved Cinnamon Sugar again! Woohoo! Although my ten-year-old recipe box from the store was pretty, I wanted to alter it into a crafty creation. :o)
I turned it into a house! Here's a slightly better look at the front, despite cutting off the cute chimney with the heart stick-pin:
Side view:
The roof and chimney structures were made with 300gsm heavyweight cardstock. I used Elegant Edges to create scallop borders for my chocolate-shingled roof. The white portion directly beneath is a confectionery delight, with pom pom ribbon serving as dollops of freshly whipped cream and two sizes of pearls as white nonpareils. Beneath the recipe box opening, I created a pretty summery scene, starring our sweet Cinnamon Sugar. :o) The patterned papers are from the My Mind's Eye Blush collection. (Naturally the doorknob is a chocolate heart.) The fence is from Wall Decor and More, which I lightly inked with Walnut Stain so it would stand out a bit. I adhered Wild Orchid Crafts roses to the fence, trimmed in Star Dust.

Our lovely baker is colored up in rosy pinks and aquas, with matching rhinestones on her apron and garnet rhinestones as the cherries atop her cupcakes. The heart puffing out of the chimney reflects that she bakes with love, but there is also another indicator. As you walk up to the door, there's a tower of love offering up a sweet cupcake, secured with a pink satin ribbon. :o) The hearts are a coordinating light pink filigree design, also from Blush. I cut the grass with scissors for some fringey texture.

The side has a circular window from Sweet Tooth Boxes, which I backed with SEI heart paper... perfectly appropriate since every recipe within is used to shower my friends and family with sappy love. Instead of roses, I used cheery yellow Wild Orchid Crafts sweetheart blossoms as bursts of sunshine. I hadn't altered an item in a very long time, so it was a wonderful change of pace and such fun. I hope you like it, too! :o)

Challenges entered:
 * A Gem of a Challenge~ Photo Inspiration
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Pink and Satin
 * D.L. Art~ Anything Goes
 * Docerela Creations~ Scrap What You Love (baking!)
 * Elphine House Australia~ Alter It (with your favorite Elisabeth Bell stamp)

Thank you for dancing on by! I wish you all a sparkly day of hugs and blessings. :o)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friendship Card

Happy Thursday, my dear friends! I hope your week is a great one so far! :o)

I made this card for a sweet friend who needs an extra burst of love and sunshine. I began with inspiration from one of my favorite challenges, which turned out to be incredibly difficult for me. (It is called a challenge, after all!) I hope she loves this quilting-inspired friendship card. :o)

"A friend loveth at all times."
This card's purpose is certainly worthy of a beautiful description.. but given all the silly trouble I had, I am in too big of a time crunch. Rushing through Copic work is never ideal for me, but I really wanted to play at Frosted Designs and have this done for my pal as soon as possible. I think cupcakes for breakfast are appropriate today.

The quilted squares were created to represent various memories and events, stitched together to form the beautiful tapestry that is our friendship. This card serves as a reminder of all the magical moments we have shared and that I am always here for her.. because a friend loveth at all times. This fantastic sentiment is from the K Andrews Designs~Scripture Sayings stamp set. A dear friend blessed me with it last week, and there may have been sparkly tears of gratitude. I will be using them often to share the precious Word. :o)

The patterned papers are from my beloved My Mind's Eye Howdy Doody collection. The quilted section on the right includes the same paper as the bottom base, so rest assured there are no missing pieces from the top. Those special moments shared provide the base for our smooshy friendship, as it reflects.

The sweet little girl is an Elisabeth Bell rubber stamp, named Chloe. My friend and I both adore her, so I knew I needed to color her up for this card. I also like how it resembles a framed photograph of a treasured friend immersed in nature. Isn't Chloe precious with her sweet apples? Star Dust shimmers on the white parts of her blouse, the flowers, and the bee's wings. I used a Bev Rochester cloud template and Broken China distress ink to make a cloudy landscape. The frame beneath the stamp is a Spellbinders Floral Oval, which is accented with pearls. The lace is my favorite Wild Orchid Crafts Guipure lace, which she also loves. Every tag/frame I tried to use with the sentiment made it seem too busy, so I stamped directly on the paper (scary!) and made a tiny border above it. The flower is a Wild Orchid Crafts sweetheart blossom and I used pearls to design two tiny flourishes. Hopefully this will bring a smile to her heart. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Digi Bells~ May Release Blog Hop (Stitching)
 * Frosted Designs~ Quilting
 * Paper Playtime~ Say it with Sentiments: Friendship

Thank you for visiting! I wish you a day that sparkles with blessings and sunshine. :o)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Choo-Choo! I Feel the Love

Happy Sunday, my sweet friends! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day. :o)

This week's Cooking with Cricut challenge links up with the inspiring Madison of Funky Cards in support of May's I Feel the Love Project. You know the importance of this cause in my life. Every month Madison highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of our love and prayers. We then have the opportunity to be a blessing, delivering a ray of sunshine amidst their current storm. We all know how incredible it feels to receive a handmade card from a bloggie friend or loved one.. imagine the unexpected joy during the darkest of days as they receive an outpouring of love from complete strangers. This project is vital. It truly is.

A couple of weeks ago I first posted this story when sharing the card I made for Brandon's mom, which is posted HERE. As a recap, Brandon is a 4-year-old who was seriously injured in a car accident. As a result, he is considered tetraplegic, which means he can move one limb from time to time. He remains trach and ventilator dependent. Due to the neurological damage suffered, there is little likelihood that he will ever be weaned from the ventilator. However, I believe in miracles and pray for his healing every day.

Brandon's mother, his 2-year-old sister Ashley, and still-hospitalized aunt were all seriously injured in the accident. His mom's sweetheart (Ashley's father) did not survive. :( This is why I couldn't only make Brandon a card this month. The whole family is fighting so many battles and so many facets of sadness. This weekend I made the second one of this batch, which is for sweet Brandon.

"Choo-Choo! We love you!"
Little boys like trains filled with sweet animal friends from Create a Critter, right? The puppy is on an Action Wobble, so he wiggles with the slightest touch! Hopefully it will make Brandon smile. :o) (Thank you Pam for the wobbles! I've been anxious to use them!) I cannot resist giving my favorite puppy a Peachy Keen face... and I sparklified the little bell on his collar with gold Stickles. His train car is filled with hearts, as he's delivering an endless supply of healing love to Brandon. The monkey must have thought the yellow top was a banana, seeing as he's swinging all willy nilly from it. He is popped up with foam tape for dimension and to clear the chunky buttons I used for the wheels. :o)

Since this train is guided by and powered by my and God's love, I used heart-shaped rhinestones as puffs of steam. To make the track, I used the film strip border found on Wall Decor and More. I welded two of them together on my Gypsy, rotating one to make the curvy track I desired. I wanted more of it showing, but I goofed up a bit. I was having too much fun packing love and joy into it, I suppose! ;)

The grass is embossed with the Swiss Dots folder for texture, while the non-sentiment clouds are embossed with D'vine Swirls. I wanted to include a pattern in the card, so I used this lovely Bo Bonny basics cardstock for a dotted sky. The sentiment is computer generated, using my favorite kid font: Sunshiney. It's so whimsical and has the cutest name. The card base is yellow for an extra burst of sunbeams. I hope this card brings a smile to his face and heart. Now I just need to make one for Ashley.. I'm thinking of using another Action Wobble. They might like having a set of wiggly cards. :o)

Brandon and Ashley:
Challenges entered:
 * Cooking with Cricut~ Card Outreach
 * Krafty Girls~ Face Off! (Use a face)

There is still time to make a card for this precious boy, so I hope you will join us. :o) Thank you for swinging on by! I wish you a day sparkling with sunbeams and blessings. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Critter, Wall Decor and More
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: D'vine Swirls, Swiss Dots
 * Peachy Keen Stamps: Medium Critter Faces
 * Paper: Bo Bunny, Core'dinations, Papertrey Ink
 * Buttons: Michael's dollar bin
 * Small heart punch: stash
 * Heart rhinestones: Recollections

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my lovely friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned. :o)

My card for sweet Brandon isn't quite done, so I'll be back with that tomorrow. Today I'm here to sweeten your weekend with a burst of sunshine in the form of a cupcake! Exploding with fruitiness in honor of spring, I am sharing Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with you! :o)
I had been eyeing this recipe since last May and am happy to report it lived up to the hype. Light and fluffy lemon cake is paired with juicy blueberries and topped with a dreamy lemon cream cheese frosting. As much as I adore rich and chocolatey confections, there are certainly times I want a breezy, summery dessert to match the sunshiny days. This was met with rave reviews from my loved ones, especially this incredible frosting. I think next time I will try using a blueberry compote inside the cupcakes to see which version I like best. Either way, you cannot go wrong with this light and satisfying cupcake! (I have read that this also tastes great with a lemon Swiss meringue buttercream or a lemon-spiked whipped cream frosting. I'm pretty sure my family would be devastated if I didn't use this lemon cream cheese one, though. It is perfect!)

Thank you for visiting me today! I'll be back tomorrow with a card for the beloved I Feel the Love Project! :o)

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: approximately 16 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
¾ cup cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
Additional fresh blueberries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Using a spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated, then increase the speed and beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with fresh blueberries.

Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dance :)

Happy Thursday, my sweet friends! I hope you're all having a beautiful week! :o)

Today I'm sharing a card I made for a very special friend... one who believes in my hopes and dreams as if they were her own. In fact, they *are* part of her dreams. That's how special our friendship is and I am blessed every day by simply having her in my life. :o)

She loves dance too, but this card is more a reflection of my heart. I firmly believe one of the best gifts you can give someone is a part of yourself. Today, I'm giving her another peek into my heart that's still dancing while my body heals up. :o) And when the day arrives that I can return to the dance studio, her tears of joy will mirror my own.
One reason I love challenge blogs is how they can inspire you to bring to life an image from your heart. This week one of my favorites requires lacing, while another has an option of dance. You can imagine my joy! I could hardly wait to tangibly create the design that instantly formed in my mind upon seeing the themes.

The beautiful dancer silhouette (from Wall Decor and More) is adorned in a costume I made with two types of ribbon. The tutu has two layers of sheer glitter ribbon beneath two ruffled layers of lace. The glitter peeking through is gorgeous in person, but did not pick up well in the photograph. I am disheartened that I forgot a side view picture.. the skirt's dimension is stunning. So poofy and beautiful, just like exquisite romantic-length tutus with endless layers of tulle. The bodice is black with a V-shaped inlay of the sheer glitter ribbon, trimmed with mini rhinestones. Perhaps the most difficult part of this card was figuring out how to somewhat make that V the appropriate angle for a semi-side view. ;) I added one sweet sparkle to her bun and formed a small flourish of rhinestones extending from her hand. Her passion for dance and life is exploding from within as she arabesques with an indescribable joy. :o)

The lacing along the side represents the beautiful lacing often found on dance costumes. I used satin ribbon with a pretty decorative trim, 'securing' it with 8 black pearls. Unseen unless you enlarge the picture is how the coordinating Art Philosophy corner flourish is sporadically beaded with three sizes of black pearls. The tiny flourish that our lovely ballerina is dancing upon has three.. it needed to be a little extra special. ;)

The lacing panel is set apart with my favorite Martha Stewart Doily Lace edge punch. The gorgeous patterned papers are from the Glitz: French Kiss collection. The detail is remarkable in person. The woven texture designs are so realistic and absolutely perfect for this card. The dance world is filled with textural elements and in this scene, the soft flower pattern whisks her away into a glorious dance with nature. My Nutcracker-loving self couldn't help but continuously think of the Waltz of the Flowers throughout the design process. :o) The Dance is from Gypsy Font and I sewed around the main background with my sewing machine.

Challenges entered:
 * Fantabulous Cricut~ Prom-enade (Tux/Dress or Prom/Dance theme)
 * Frosted Designs~ Lacing

Thank you for pirouetting on by! I hope your day is filled with sunshine and blessings. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Art Philosophy, Gypsy Font, Wall Decor and More
 * Paper: Core'dinations, Glitz
 * Ribbon: From Michael's and JoAnn's
 * Edge Punch: Martha Stewart Doily Lace
 * Rhinestones: Recollections

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Card

Happy Mother's Day to all you sweet mothers in the crafty community! I hope your day sparkles with extra love and hugs today! :o)

A quick post to share the card that I am about to deliver to my wonderful mom. :o) She has beautifully sparkled through so much this year and I am so proud of her! I wanted to incorporate several of her favorite things, which include white, aqua, pearls, ribbon, and beautiful patterns. :o)
Early last year there was a challenge in the Splitcoast Stampers community that entailed lattice work and one method included using Spellbinders to make and frame a window. I loved the idea and built this card design around it. I used my Spellbinders Labels Four to create the window. To make the window frame, I used the same die and the next largest size, taped them to the paper (one inside the other), and ran it through my Big Shot. To make the lattice, I cut 1/8th of an inch wide strips and weaved them together. Don't you just LOVE all of the inspiration at SCS? It's mind-boggling! I backed the window with a pretty flower My Mind's Eye pattern that coordinated nicely with the vase.
My mom adores ceramic vases, so I used this First Edition paper to replicate an innately-crafted, beautifully patterned vase. The vase is from Kate's ABCs, which I trimmed in pearls. I first made a ribbon flower to stick inside it, but it didn't look quite right... so I used a few Wild Orchid Crafts roses and pearl sprays. My mom loves texture, so I embossed the window frame with the Swiss Dots folder and the card base with Victoria.
My previous card included a 3D Storybook butterfly that she absolutely loved, so I made one for her. The top layer the same paper as the window backdrop, as if it's carrying a bouquet of flowers to her. :o) The body is dotted with pearls and is leaving a trail of pearly love. To complete the front, I sewed a border using the incredible machine she surprised me with for Christmas and added a fluffy My Craft Spot crinkle ribbon bow, centered with a Wild Orchid Crafts rose. All of the flowers are trimmed in Star Dust.
The interior matches the exterior, with a simple computer-generated Mother's Day greeting. We'll see how my writing looks atop the embossed background... oops. Teehee. :o) This was a fun card to make and I hope she loves it!

Challenges entered:
 * Celebrate the Occasion~ Mother's Day
 * CES~ Anything Goes
 * Docerela Creations~ Mother's Day
 * Fantabulous Cricut~ Mother's Day and her favorite color (White, blue/green shades)
 * Made Especially For You~ Mother's Day with Ribbon
 * Paper Playtime~ Die-Cuts and a Bug
 * Paper Sundaes~ Things with Wings

Thank you for fluttering on by! I hope you all have a gorgeous day. Happy Mother's Day! :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Kate's ABCs, Storybook
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: Swiss Dots, Victoria
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four
 * Paper: Bazzill, First Edition, My Mind's Eye, Papertrey Ink
 * Sentiment: Computer-generated
 * Flowers and pearl sprays: Wild Orchid Crafts
 * Ribbon: My Craft Spot (Snow White)
 * Miscellaneous: Pearls (Recollections), Stickles

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Love, Joy, Hope: I Feel the Love

Happy Tuesday, my crafty friends! :o)

A new month means a new recipient of the treasured I Feel the Love Project, faithfully hosted each month by the sweet and talented Madison of Funky Cards. Each month she highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of extra love and sunshine. In turn, we have the privilege of crafting for a higher purpose; one that gives me more joy than I could ever adequately express.

This month's focus is a precious little boy named Brandon, who is 4 years old. As the story unfolded, I knew I wouldn't be able to solely focus on him... which is why you see a girly card below. Rather, I need to make a little card for each immediate family member. The sweet family was involved in a tragic car accident last September. As a result, Brandon is considered tetraplegic, which means he can move one limb from time to time. He remains trach and ventilator dependent. Due to the neurological damage suffered in the accident, there is little likelihood that he will ever be weaned from the ventilator. (Although I will pray for all miracles to abound.)

Brandon's mother, his 2-year-old sister Ashley, and still-hospitalized aunt were all seriously injured in the accident. His mom's sweetheart (Ashley's father) did not survive. :( As endless beautiful cards have been posted around Blogger for Mother's Day, I couldn't stop thinking about this special mother and all she is enduring. So before Brandon's and Ashley's cards, I was inspired to share the love for a mother I do not know, but am connected with in prayer. She is truly special.

"Love. Joy. Hope."
I wanted to deliver this message through an elegant card, which hopefully will bring her a moment's comfort as she takes in the flourishy design. In life's most dire trials, we need to cling all the more fiercely to God and the endless love, joy, and hope that He offers. Those are often the hardest times to do just that, which is why I wanted them as the focus of the exterior. Whenever her eyes land upon this card, hopefully it will serve as a reminder of where to keep her focus and of how much she is truly loved. The joy of the Lord is our strength, after all.
A slightly closer look at the focal point, which is popped up with foam tape for dimension. (No worries, that mysterious black fuzzie will not be making the journey to California.)
The Storybook butterfly has three layers to make it 3D because I wanted it to have a nice presence on the card, to whisk her to a place of joyous hope on its whimsical wings. The body is lined with pearls to coordinate with the frame... and because you can never have too many pearls (or chocolate chips).

A few technical details for this card that was such fun to create, beginning with the gorgeous oval. I valiantly tried to resist the Spellbinders Floral Ovals, but upon discovering it's the perfect size for some of my beloved Elisabeth Bell stamps, all restraint vanished. The timing was perfect, as I thought it would make a lovely backdrop for this marvelous mother. Layered upon the pearl-accented floral oval are two Spellbinders Classic Ovals. The Love, Joy, and Hope stamps are from Close To My Heart, which came with the Art Philosophy bundle. I decorated it with a few Wild Orchid Crafts roses, which are sprinkled with glittery Star Dust. They rest atop my favorite Storybook leaves, which are embossed with the Swiss Dots folder.

The patterned papers are from the Kaiser Craft English Rose collection, and I was ecstatic to see they perfectly match this pretty American Crafts lace ribbon. :o) I wanted her to have elegant lace and a pretty bow, so I had no choice but to add more ribbon! Woohoo! The Vanilla Bean crinkle ribbon is from My Craft Spot. It is (somewhat) tied in a double bow, thanks to a fabulous tutorial by my dear friend Sherrie of Sherrie Scraps with Passion. It may have been wise for my first attempt to be with satin ribbon, or anything a touch less crinkly than crinkle ribbon. ;) It was fun, though!

The corner details are single scrolls from Art Philosophy, which I doubled up to make a fancy corner. Lastly, I added two tiny butterflies, secured in pearly love. The edges of the base papers and ovals are inked with Walnut Stain Distress Ink, while the butterflies are inked with Victorian Velvet. I also stitched around the perimeter with my sewing machine.

My hope is that having a card for Brandon, Ashley, and their mom will deliver a heap of love to the entire family. That way, I can almost hug all of them since I pack these cards with all the sappy love and hugs possible. :o) I hope you'll consider making a card for Brandon this month. It will mean more to the family than we can truly understand.

Challenges entered:
 * Craft Your Passion~ Torn or Distressed Edges
 * Frosted Designs~ Recipe Challenge; I chose: glitter (on the flowers, which didn't photograph well), ribbon, butterfly, and flower
 * Really Reasonable Ribbon~ Mother's Day or Feminine with Ribbon
 * Sentimental Sundays~ For a Special Woman

Thank you for fluttering on by today! I hope you have a sparkly, beautiful week! :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Art Philosophy, Storybook
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Floral Ovals, Classic Ovals~ Large
 * Paper: Core'dinations, Kaiser Craft, Papertrey Ink
 * Stamps: Close To My Heart
 * Ribbon: Crinkle~ My Craft Spot (Vanilla Bean); Lace~ American Crafts
 * Flowers: Wild Orchid Crafts
 * Ink: Victorian Velvet, Walnut Stain
 * Miscellaneous: Pearls (Recollections), Stickles

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sweet Saturday and a Touch of Nature!

Happy Saturday, my lovely friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned. :o) Two posts in two days has me happy-dancing in my chair!

I had planned to complete a card last night to post with today's treat... but when my mom sends me a text message saying she'll pick me up in 7 minutes for coffee, everything just drops. ;) It was such a beautiful time. She even blessed me with the new cookbook I've been wanting! I can hardly wait to dirty it up in the kitchen. :o)

In lieu of a card, I'm excited to share a few photographs. Far too much time had passed before I frolicked about outside to snap a few pictures of the nature I cherish so deeply. I recently took the time to immerse myself in my love of flowers and photography. It was amazing. It was cloudy and gray all the way until the last picture... I just had to laugh. I didn't let bad lighting prevent me from snapping away, though! I'm hoping to develop my technique over the summer. There is quite a long road to get to where I want to be, but the journey will be beautiful. :o)

A few favorites! And then I'll reward you with a sweet confection.
At last, the sunbeams appeared as sunset neared... just in time to gently dance along the top of the petals. :o)
You know what else I adore, along with nature? The unique flavor of Snickerdoodle cookies. Last year I made, loved, and posted Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake. But at long last, I made them in my beloved cupcake form. Knowing I could count on the reliable source who posted the recipe, I whipped them up a few days ago, assured of their success. I used a different frosting than she did, however... and the combination is fantastic. Today we celebrate Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting!
I completely forgot to add the cinnamon-sugar dusting to the top, which would have mimicked the cookie topping and added a touch of sparkle. No one missed it, I must say! (Thankfully.) The cake is soft, moist, and bursting with the cinnamon-sugar taste of a Snickerdoodle. The original recipe paired it with Seven Minute Frosting, but I opted for a cinnamon-infused cream cheese frosting. My loved ones were delighted, as the raves over it were constant. (Even from my mom who claims she doesn't like cream cheese frosting. Cinnamon is magical and the little flecks are so pretty throughout the swirls.) My family loves these and they will surely be made again... with the sparkly topping. ;) Bake and enjoy them, my friends!

Thank you for visiting me! I wish you a day of blessings, hugs, and cupcakes. :o)

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 28 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups whole milk

For the frosting:
10 ounces cream cheese, chilled
6½ tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3¼ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2-2½ teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons clear vanilla extract*

For the garnish:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes and frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reducing the speed to low, add in the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 2-3 minutes more. Blend in the vanilla. Frost cupcakes as desired. (I used my favorite large star tip.) 

Combine the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Using a small, fine sieve, dust the cupcakes with cinnamon-sugar.

*Note: The frosting recipe creator only uses clear/imitation vanilla extract for her cream cheese frostings, noting that it holds its shape better and yields a brighter white result. I did not have any on hand, so I used pure vanilla extract. I will test her theory one day, so I'm posting the recipe as written.

Source: Cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker; Frosting adapted from Annie's Eats

Friday, May 4, 2012

Blog MAKEOVER and Pillow Box of Love for Emily!

Happy Friday, my sweet friends! I hope you've had a beautiful week! :o)

It's looking drastically different around here and I am ECSTATIC! Heartfelt thanks to the sweet and talented Robin of Robin's Creative Cottage for turning my blog into something even more stunning than my heart envisioned. I fell in love with a digital scrapbooking kit and she transformed it into this lovely blog design. I love every single inch of it, from the gorgeous header to the fluttering butterflies to the scattered pearls to the elegant flourishes... and beyond! She made me swoon over my button. :o) The creative journey was so fun and truly inspiring. She is such a joy to work with. Thank you, Robin! :o) Now I just need to fill in the remaining fun labels with my friends' buttons and favorite sites! How fun!

I was so rushed that I wasn't able to share the contents of Emily's I Feel the Love pillow box before I mailed it out. There is such joy in creating, especially when you know it will brighten the heart of a cancer-battling little girl. The process might hurt the heart, but that merely motivates me to make time for one more little blessing as the deadline approaches...
Emily loves arts and crafts, so I made a selection of Create a Critter animals and cupcakes for her to create with or simply play with, along with a sparkling rainbow of butterflies. In the back are the two cards I made for her, previously posted HERE and HERE. I wanted to see how happy they would all look together. :o) (Although I took the photograph before adhering the kitten card's sparkly interior... oops!)

A partial close-up of most of the goodies... I pray that they bring her joy. :o)
The butterflies are all sparkly paper, so I think she'll have a lot of fun with them. I can't wait for them to flutter onto her lap when she opens the pillow box... there are approximately 26 butterflies, so that will be fun. Teehee. I thought it would be neat for her to have bigger versions of the two animals I made for her cards, so I included those in her gift. The sweet deer has a twinkle in her eye via Stickles because she's twinkling with love for Emily. :o) And yes, I officially made my 1,000,001st sparkly penguin, this time with a sparkling purple scarf since she adores that color. A purple hippo was a must, as was a sweet button-centered snail. I certainly couldn't send her a gift box without some sweets, so I made two cupcakes in my favorite "wrappers"... I wish I could take her out for cupcakes. :o)

Thank you for fluttering on by and I wish you a beautiful day! I am just over the moon... Robin designed my blog so brilliantly and I would not change a thing. Thank you once again, my new and wonderful friend. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: D'vine Swirls, Swiss Dots
 * Peachy Keen Stamps: Critter Faces, Medium
 * Paper: Bazzill, Core'dinations, DCWV, Heidi Grace, Magnolia, My Mind's Eye, SEI
 * Butterfly punch: Martha Stewart Small Monarch
 * Twine: My Craft Spot (Grape Fizz, Strawberry Cupcake, Twisted Lime)
 * Miscellaneous: Button (My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie); Heart rhinestone on hippo (Recollections); iRock

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