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Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Rosette Wands: I Feel the Love

Happy Friday, my dear friends! I hope you've had a blessed week. :o)

It's been nearly two weeks since my last post, but for good reason! Last week was filled with festive family time and this week I've been fervently crafting away at this project. As mentioned in previous posts, I had my heart set on making some rosette wands for this month's I Feel the Love collection. Our crafty gifts are going to children who will be spending Christmas in the hospital. It is heartbreaking, but I am ever thankful to Madison of Funky Cards for giving us a way to bless those sweet kiddos.

My gift to them: Twelve different rosette wands to brighten their hospital rooms. :o)
I painted bamboo skewers in glittery silver and gold acrylic paint and paired each rosette with two different ribbons. Twirling action is a must with rosette wands! :o) It was impossible to capture all of the detailing that went into these, but I tried. I'll show a few at a time for a bit of a better look. Enlarging will help since I cannot gush about each one, despite the innate desire. ;)
The sweet candy cane paper for the center rosette is one of my all-time favorites! It and many of the twelve rosettes are patterns from Graphic 45's Nutcracker Sweet Collection. **swoon** The rosette topper contains a bunch of Christmas morning elements that I cut out from various papers in the set. The tree is decked out in red rhinestones and topped with a sparkling heart of love. The candy cane ribbon is velvet, which I hope the kids will enjoy. It is a given that Star Dust and rhinestones are used throughout every wand. :o) The other two pretty rosettes are topped with Spellbinders Fanciful Holiday trees, decorated with rhinestones. The white background is embossed for extra snowy texture.
Reindeer and The Nutcracker ballet... they needed to be represented in this set! :o) The reindeer rosette papers are from K and Company, while the gorgeous pointe shoe paper is from Graphic 45. On the left, the sparkling reindeer is cut from the Noel cartridge and I gave him a layer of SnowTex to prance around in. The middle deer also has a SnowTex ground, with sparklified antlers and red rhinestones to serve as holly berries. The sweet ballet dancer was carved out from a Graphic 45 paper, sparkled up, and set upon a snow-embossed backdrop.
Guess what other theme was essential? TREATS! :o) Gingerbread cuties frolic around the purple rosette, with the main one sporting a trendy twine bow. Christmas sugar cookies are the theme in the center, with individuals cut out for the rosette topper and sprinkled with caramel-colored rhinestones. See the snowman cookie? He's giving the children his sugar cookie heart. :o) On the right we have a plethora of Christmas candy! It is topped with a portion of a sweet tag, upon which I stamped "Be Merry" from My Craft Spot's "Joy to the World" stamp set... and I couldn't resist adding a border of crystal and red rhinestones to symbolize candy cane coloring.
Lastly, the snowy set! Nutcrackers and snowflakes abound, complete with varying designs of rhinestones (and ribbon that is trying to be all willy nilly). Kudos to my sweetheart who happily made an emergency run to Michael's when I ran out of sparkles before I was done decorating the snowflakes... I am truly blessed! The center snowflake is from Art Philosophy.

The backs, which I couldn't bear to leave empty:
All but one of the rosette papers have a festive or wintry reverse side, so I left a border of it visible. The snowflake bases are cut from Elegant Edges and stamped with another sentiment from the Joy to the World set. The 'we' represents me and my sweetheart... although he didn't physically assist in this set, he gave the encouragement I needed when fatigue or design-uncertainty would set in each night. Indeed these appear simple, but they require a lot of work. He is very much a part of all twelve wands.

I hope my super sappy love twirls into the hearts of every child at Children's Hospital Central California. I always pray God's healing love over the things I make for those in need, faithfully convinced that they receive it. I'll certainly say an extra special prayer for these kids on Christmas morning. There is still time to join us in this very special collection. :o)
Challenges entered:
 *Craft Your Passion~ Holiday Edibles (The set of three containing candy canes, gingerbread men, and sugar cookies... and the candy cane in the first set)
 *Crafty Ribbons~ Use at Least Two Ribbons
 *Cute Card Thursday~ Snowflakes! (Throughout most of the rosette wands)
 *Decorate to Celebrate~ Holiday Choice (Christmas!)
 *Divas by Design~ Glitter and Sparkle
 *Fussy and Fancy~ I Love Christmas
 *Little Miss Muffet~ Tags or Gifts
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *The Crafty Pad~ Add Some Glitter (Do not let my pictures fool you... I added it everywhere!)
 *Word Art Wednesday~ God's Goodness/Encouragement

Thank you for pirouetting on by today! I wish you a sparkly weekend of love, hugs, and all things beautiful. :o)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ice Skate Christmas Card :)

Happy Monday, my crafty friends! I hope you're having a lovely day. :o)

I had some crafty time this weekend, which I used to create a Christmas card for one of my friends. She loves figure skating, so I made her an ice skate shaped card. I'm excited to give it to her! :o)

Note: The paper that looks beige did not photograph properly! It is a pretty lavender-pink shade that coordinates with the deep plum. I'm short on time, otherwise I'd try again.
She loves elegance and whimsy, sparkles and pearls... so I incorporated all of them into her card. I don't blame you if you just stare at the blade and nothing else. It was kaleidoscopic fun creating that layer! :o) I covered it in Glossy Accents and then dumped an avalanche of Halo-Silver glitter mix atop it. Instead of doing straight-up silver, I wanted twinkles of rainbows throughout. :o) She is often the rainbow in my heart, after all. :o)

The ice skate is from the Noel cartridge and the snowflakes are from Art Philosophy. I added a Cheery Lynn Designs flourish near the heel to serve as a snowy breeze, which I embellished with a few flurries. Some are pop-dotted for dimension. The gorgeous papers are from the Recollections Le Ballet stack, which I was gifted last Christmas. I loved combining both of our loves in this creation... her love of figure skating and my love of ballet. :o)
I heat-embossed the top with a Queen and Company flourish and My Craft Spot snowflakes for more sparkly, wintry fun. I used Holographic embossing powder for extra rainbow love. The pearl-drop strand is from Wild Orchid Crafts, which I used for several reasons: pearls are always happy, they look like snowflakes, and the teardrops look like icicles! And they just felt right for additional pearly flair. :o)

To finish off the front, I added pearls down the 'lace' part and a sweet pom pom-accented bow. The light purple twine is from My Craft Spot, to which I adhered the poms with hot glue.

A peek inside, which I need to get better at doing. ;) The boot part is lined with the same lavender-pink paper as the top of the skate and the blade is lined with silver shimmer paper. 
The stamp is from the new My Craft Spot Joy to the World sentiment set, which reads: "Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day." She understands the peace and joy found when skating across the ice... just like when I dance across a stage. There is so much beauty in the arts and when it is choreographed to celebrate the Christmas season and the birth of our Lord, it's magical. That's what I envisioned for this card. :o)

Challenges entered:
 *Crafty Catz~ Let's Have Sparkle
 *Crafty Hazelnut Christmas Challenge~ Something older than six months (papers)
 *Glitter n Sparkle~ Lots of Layers
 *Little Miss Muffet~ Textiles
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Paper Playtime~ Anything Goes
 *Sparkles Christmas Challenge~ Contemporary Colors
 *The Crafty Pad~ It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
 *The Ribbon Girls~ Lavender Hues
 *Word Art Wednesday~ Uplifting/Encouraging

Thank you for triple-looping on by! :o) I wish you a joyous day and a beautiful Thanksgiving! :o)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Chocolate-Peppermint Pie

Happy Saturday, my friends! :o) I hope you had a beautiful week!

Are you feeling festive? I baked a super fun treat this week! I tried out a recipe that caught my and my mom's eyes as we perused the baking magazines she recently purchased... a wee bit of a trial run to see if it would indeed be a new Christmas treat this year. The verdict was a resounding yes! This Chocolate-Peppermint Pie is officially in the Christmas line-up! (A Christmas plate would have been so cute in this picture. A food stylist I am not!)
Not only is it gorgeous (and PINK!), but it consists of three decadent layers. First is a deep, dark chocolate cookie crust, made with those marvelous Nabisco Famous chocolate cookie wafers. Next is a rich and creamy chocolate filling, with a tiny bit of instant espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor (without making it taste like coffee). The top layer is a whimsical peppermint mousse.

What makes it that lovely shade of pink? Crushed candy canes are swirled into melted white chocolate and cream... and then freshly whipped cream is gently folded into that batter to create a glorious mousse. The peppermint from the candy canes is perfect. Even my dad, who has told me how much he dislikes minty desserts, wanted two slices that day. It is not overpowering, does not taste artificial, and does not taste like toothpaste. It is a dreamy, fluffy peppermint that is equally refreshing and tantalizing. It is rich, yet light. (Magic!) A sprinkling of crushed candy canes gives it a sparkly and festive finish, ideal for the season of cheer. :o)

I insist you make this! What's better than a chocolaty, pink, and sparkly dessert? :o) And in case you were wondering, it does indeed make a tasty breakfast the following morning. ;)

I wish you a blessed weekend of love, sunshine, and all things sparkly. :o)

Recipe Note: The heavenly mousse is technically meant to be fluffier than mine turned out, which I'll remedy next time. The good news is it still tasted perfect! :o) Additionally, I had to use a 9½-inch pie plate rather than the recommended 9-inch... therefore, the delicious layers will be even thicker if created in the indicated dish. :o)

Chocolate-Peppermint Pie
Yield: One 9-inch pie

For the crust:
1½ cups chocolate-wafer cookie crumbs (6½ ounces)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the chocolate layer:
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt

For the peppermint mousse:
7 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream, divided
½ cup sour cream
½ cup crushed peppermint candy canes or candies (about 8 candy canes or 18 candies)

Preheat oven to 325º F.

Combine cookie crumbs and 6 tablespoons melted butter for the crust. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.

Melt milk chocolate, 6 tablespoons butter, and espresso powder in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until ingredients are combined; remove from heat.

Using a hand mixer on high speed, beat eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt in a bowl until mixture turns pale yellow and falls from the beaters in thick ribbons.

Whisk one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate, then fold in the remaining egg mixture in two batches. Pour chocolate filling into unbaked cookie crust.

Bake pie until chocolate layer is no longer shiny, about 30 minutes. (To maintain the smooth texture of the filling, be careful not to overbake.) Remove pie from oven; cool to room temperature, then thoroughly chill pie.

Heat white chocolate, ¼ cup cream, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and ingredients are combined. Remove mixture from heat; stir in crushed candies. Occasionally whisk mixture until it cools to nearly room temperature.

Using the hand mixer, whip the remaining ¾ cup cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into peppermint mixture in three batches to form mousse; chill mousse at least 2 hours.

Gently spread peppermint mousse over chocolate filling in pie; chill at least 2 hours more before serving.

Garnish pie with finely crushed peppermint candies.

Make-Ahead Directions: The crust and chocolate filling can be made 1 day ahead. Prepare the peppermint mousse the same day that you plan to serve the pie.

Source: Cuisine Magazine~ Holiday Baking

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mitten Pocket Ornaments: I Feel the Love

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

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend and did some of my favorite things. :o) A coffee date with my mom started the day, followed by an unexpected blessing of helping neighbors in need. My sweetheart and I noticed the elderly neighbors struggling with yard work, so we had the great privilege of relieving them of the labor-intensive work. Not only so, but just visiting with them for a while brought such joy to all involved. I brought them some of my cake when it was too dark to continue, which I hope they enjoyed. :o)

One of my favorite parts of my birthday was the nighttime! I settled in with my crafty supplies and worked on a fun little project for I Feel the Love. :o) Run by the lovely and talented Madison of Funky Cards, the purpose of I Feel the Love is to use our passion to serve others. Every month she highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of an extra burst of love and sunshine. In turn, we have the honor of blessing them through our creations, far beyond what many of us will ever truly understand.

The current collection is to deliver festive love to the children who will be spending Christmas at Children's Hospital Central California. They are one of the top 10 largest hospitals of its type in the country, with a mission to provide high quality care for these children, regardless of their ability to pay. How beautiful is that?

My goal is to send cards, ornaments, and rosette wands. I am behind where I wanted to be at this point, but the good Lord will help me accomplish what my heart has dreamt up. :o)
I thought they might like some wintery ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree or anywhere in their hospital rooms. :o) Something cute and cozy to warm their battling, beautiful hearts. The snuggly mittens are from Simply Charmed, which I've embellished with fun papers from My Mind's Eye and Memory Box, fluffy pom pom trim, jingly bells, and sparkles. The sparkly white top of the polar bear mitten is embossed with pretty snowflakes, but it's a bit washed out in this picture. I couldn't resist giving the snowman mitten a precious Peachy Keen face. :o)

The main layer is affixed to the shadow base as a pocket, so the Gypsy Wanderings snowmen can come out to play! See their arms lifted up? I've assigned them the task of delivering my hugs to the little recipients. :o) A little note will be tucked inside, too.
Their snowy bodies are embossed with a folder from the Cuttlebug Winter Wonderland set (as is the mitten cuff), which looks lovely in person. The glittery Core Couture paper for the bodies, scarves, and hats makes them extra sparkly, but even so they needed some red and green rhinestones. This IS Christmas, after all! :o) (The reds ones are a gorgeous garnet in the same design as the emerald green. I had a terrible time photographing these cutie pies!)

The backs of the ornaments, used to deliver a simple Christmas greeting:
'Tis the Season' is a Whimsical Designs sentiment, which I've paired with snowflakes from an Inkadinkado stamp. Spellbinders Picot Edge Circles provide the bases, which of course sparkle. They will soon flutter down upon the hospital in a flurry of Christmas joy, showing the patients that they are loved far deeper than previously realized. Love heals... and it never fails. Join us in showering these children with love this Christmas. :o)
Challenges entered:
 *Charisma Cardz~ Feeling Blue
 *Craft Your Passion~ Clean and Simple
 *Crafty Catz~ Anything Goes
 *Divas By Design~ Let's Get Cute
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Peachy Keen~ Anything Goes

Thank you for fluttering on by! I hope your week is filled with blessings and sparkles. :o)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Chocolate-Glazed Funfetti Doughnuts

Happy Saturday, my sweet friends! I hope everyone had a beautiful week. Thank you for your kind words regarding my last card... you all have such lovely hearts. :o)

Sometimes you just need to play with rainbow sprinkles. It's impossible not to be happy in the presence of such whimsical sweetness. Although I was already plenty happy when the dire need to bake arose yesterday, my heart sparkled even brighter as I poured the rainbow into the batter. And sometimes you need to coat the sprightly sprinkles with a glorious layer of chocolate. I wish I could share these Chocolate-Glazed Funfetti Doughnuts with you for real.
I couldn't resist playing with my doughnut pans again. (And look! My dipping improved!) It was ideal because I didn't have a huge baking window available, but was still able to make a sweet treat for everyone to enjoy. And enjoy they did! The Funfetti doughnut not only provides an explosion of color throughout, but the cake itself is fluffy and flavorful. It had been quite a while since I made a white batter, so it was a nice change of pace having the vanilla flavor shine through so perfectly.

Naturally, chocolate makes everything even better. :o) I almost felt bad covering up the rainbow-dotted doughnuts as I dunked them head-first into the pool of chocolate glaze... but I did permit the bottom half to stay plain. It's all about compromise! ;) A flurry of sprinkles before the glaze sets completes a treat that delights both young and old. :o) My mom has already requested a batch for her to bring to work, which is exciting. The only thing better than baking a sprinkle-laden confection is sharing it. :o)

Thank you for pirouetting on by today! I hope your weekend is sprinkled with love and cheer. :o)

Chocolate-Glazed Funfetti Doughnuts
Yield: 10 doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
1 cup flour
½ cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup milk
⅓ cup rainbow sprinkles

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Preheat the oven to 425º F. Spray two doughnut pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cake flour, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in the egg whites and vanilla, beating 1-2 minutes longer.

Add in half of the dry ingredients, beating until combined. Add in the milk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

Spoon the batter into the doughnut tins ⅔ full. (Or spoon into a resealable plastic bag, cutting off the corner to squeeze the batter into doughnut pans.)

Bake for 7-8 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a doughnut comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper beneath the cooling rack. To make the glaze, whisk together all of the glaze ingredients into a bowl. If the glaze is too thick for dipping, add a little more milk as needed.

Dip each doughnut into the glaze (or spoon over the tops). Place on the wire rack, topping each doughnut with addtional sprinkles before moving to the next. Otherwise, the glaze will set on the first ones and the sprinkles will not properly adhere.

Makes 10 doughnuts. Serve with a tall glass of milk!

Source: Sugarcrafter

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thinking of You Card (and where I've been)

Happy Monday night, my crafty friends! I've missed you!

I apologize for not being around to visit you since my last post. Sadly, my sweet mom wound up in the hospital. It was a trying time, but thankfully she is back home now and doing much better. I am looking forward to catching up on your inspiring projects over the next couple of days. :o)

Shortly before my mom's incident, I happened upon a post that broke my heart. I instantly knew festive creations would take a break so I could reach out to a mother in need of love and comfort. Flowers that never fade entice smiles from a downcast heart, right?
Just as I peruse (and adore) crafty sites, I also frequent baking blogs. I'm sure this doesn't surprise you! Last week I was scrolling through a collection of new treats from various bakers and fell in love with the sweetest pink cupcakes, topped with beautiful hearts. I eagerly clicked on the picture to visit the corresponding post, expecting everything happy. Instead, I was brought to tears. Those lovely cupcakes were baked to honor a birthday that should have been.

Four-year-old Rowan passed away earlier this year. I was going to share her sweet picture, but realized I shouldn't without permission. Her mom's cousin is the baker who made the cupcakes and shared the heartbreak. I'll soon be baking cupcakes in Rowan's honor, too. After reading the story, I wanted to reach out... no, I needed to. I am so thankful that after only a day or two of comments and emails, she had spoken to her cousin and I was trusted with an address.

My card's creation was delayed because of my mom's situation, so when things returned to normal, the first thing I did was get to work on this. Normally I would have caught up with you guys first, but this little card is urgent.

The pretty flowers, sparkling with love:
I hope she likes it. My mind was all over the place, but I tried to settle it enough to focus. The base is from Art Philosophy, with the frame popped up for dimension. The lovely My Mind's Eye papers are from their Sweetest Thing-Lavender collection, which I am crazy about. The Kate's ABCs vase was cut with opalescent SEI paper, which is so pretty in person. I trimmed it in pearls for additional elegance. Amidst the bouquet of Wild Orchid Crafts roses are pearl sprays, added to saturate Megan with all things beautiful.

A Cheery Lynn Designs butterfly flutters nearby, delivering my love via the pearly heart in the center. The sparkling Core Couture paper is trimmed in Victorian Velvet, as she has so much love to share that she's positively glowing. WOC Guipure lace was a must, and I hope she loves it as much as I. For a pop of color I layered it with ruffly American Crafts ribbon... I pray that faith, hope, and sunshine ruffle through her heart when she receives this.

The interior, which inadvertently has the sentiment cut off in this picture. The top of the circle includes a Whimsical Designs "Thinking of You" stamp. At least you can see the pretty polka dots and Picot Edge circle. :o)
Please say a prayer for Megan when you read this... and all parents who have lost a child.

Challenges entered:
 *A Gem of a Challenge~ Spots/Polka Dots
 *Crafts With Cutters~ Bingo (Die-Cut/Ribbon/Ink.. the butterfly is inked)
 *Crafty Catz~ Add Texture
 *Fab 'n' Funky~ Die Cuts/Punches
 *Fussy and Fancy~ Pearls and Flowers
 *Little Scrap Pieces~ Anything Goes
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Out of a Hat Creations~ Nature
 *Simon Says Stamp~ Shaped Cards
 *The Crafty Pad~ Anything Goes

 Thank you for fluttering on by! I wish you a day that sparkles with love and light. :o)

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