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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hello Kitty Hugs!

Hello, my sweet friends! Happy Tuesday! :o)

I am so thankful I was able to squeeze in my last card for this month's I Feel the Love Project recipients! We've been creating this month for a grieving young family who recently lost their father/husband to cancer.

This card is for sweet Mady, who is 3 years old. :o)
I wanted to make her a colorful card of happiness. :o) The Bouquet Hello Kitty is a fabulous free cut file from Ruthie at September Ninth. To add extra oomph to her bouquet, I layered three Prima flowers in place of the ones in the cut file. Each bloom is centered with a tiny yellow button to coordinate with the background.

Since she's on her way to a very special little girl, I made her a hair accessory in place of the one in the file. I layered a fun polka dot Prima flower with a solid one and secured them with a super sparkly brad. The gorgeous brad was part of a prize pack I won from my dear friend Sherrie.
The cheery papers are freebies from a Papercraft magazine that my sweetheart bought me on Friday at Barnes and Noble. Talk about divine timing! These are just perfect. I centered a few of the daisies with rhinestones for extra sparkle. I didn't have any yellow ones, so I colored clear stones with my Y15 Copic marker. The gingham paper is trimmed with the Martha Stewart Doily Heart border punch. Sunshiny hearts were a must for this creation.

For the sentiment, I once again turned to my beloved Tiny Tags 2 and matching metal dies from My Craft Spot. I'm sending her so many hugs! :o) The card base is from a nested shapes set from the Silhouette Store, which I remembered to actually nest this time! ;) I used a sunshiny yellow for the base to engulf Mady with the warmth of my and God's love.
I pray this card brings a smile to this beautiful child. Since Hello Kitty is so wildly popular, I hope she sometimes remembers this card when she sees the plethora of HK items in the stores... and maybe her heart will once again fill with the love I've packed into this. :o) It's been a joy to create for her and her family.

Thank you for fluttering on by! I wish you a day of all things beautiful. :o)

Challenges entered:
 *Charisma Cardz~ Polka Dots
 *Crafty Ribbons~ Anything Goes with Ribbon
 *Little Scrap Pieces~ Buttons and Bows
 *Love to Create~ Punches and/or Dies (Border punch and Tag dies)
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Simon Says Stamp~ Anything Goes
 *The Cutie Pie Challenge Blog~ Lots of Layers

Monday, April 29, 2013

Surf's Up!

Happy Monday, my dear friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. :o)

Continuing with my contribution to this month's I Feel the Love Project recipients, my new card is for 11-year-old Ryan. He, his three younger siblings, and his amazing Mom are dealing with the recent loss of their father/husband to cancer.

As was the case with the sand pail card I made for Kyle, I created this card to honor the cherished memories the family made during frequent trips to the beach. Since Ryan is older, I tried to make a beachy card that wasn't quite so kid-like. I created a fun little summer scene for him. :o)

Surf's Up! (And hopefully spirits will be up, too.)
The middle surfboard is a foiled green:
I took my patterned paper cue from these beautiful family pictures:

I chose fun Hawaiian-type papers from Kaisercraft's Chapter One collection, which reminded me of Debbie and Ed's swimwear and the family's summery adventures.

The card base is a nested shapes set from the Silhouette Store... which I forgot to actually nest. (Sigh!) The sunshine is a cut file from Bird's Cards, which I set atop an embossed blue pattern. I like to think of it as sun rays shining through the pretty blue sky, with a touch of embossed whimsy. :o) The edges of the rays are heavily inked with Mustard Seed distress ink for extra sunshiny warmth. I used Hawaiian Shores ribbon from Papertrey Ink as a divider, with the dots serving as little whitecaps dancing atop the ocean.

I thought Ryan might enjoy surfboards, so I used the Surf's Up collection from Spellbinders. The solid one was used as a stencil, in which I inked the embossed areas with Tumbled Glass and Mustard Seed distress inks. I nestled them beneath some popped-up sand to make them 'stand up.' The sand is embossed with Swiss Dots for a sandy texture.

I used Spellbinders Nested Lacey Pennants to make a little flag for my computer-generated sentiment. I inked it with Tumbled Glass and made a yellow pole to coordinate with the sunny sky and inked surfboard. And about those few little sparkles on this boy's card... it's not my fault! A few sunbeams danced down from the heavens. :o)

I love this family with my whole heart. It's my last day to create for them and I still have one card left to do. I'm tempted to panic, but I know God will help me make a sweet little card for 3-year-old Mady so she knows how loved she is. I need to give her a piece of my heart, too.

Thank you for surfin' on by! Have a sparkly day. :o)

Challenges entered:
 *Card Crafter's Circle~ Boys to Men
 *Crafty Ribbons~ Anything Goes with Ribbon
 *Cupcake Craft~ All at Sea
 *Love to Create~ Punches and/or Dies (Surfboards and Flag/Banner are dies)
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Paper Playtime~ Emboss (Sand and surfboard are embossed)
 *Papertake Weekly~ Weather With You
 *Simon Says Stamp~ Anything Goes

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sweet Saturday: Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes

Happy Saturday, my dear friends! :o)

Despite the recent shortage of new sweet treats, I've done a little baking this month! I'm ecstatic, as I adore the entire process of transforming simple ingredients into marvelous confections. Since the sporadic Sweet Saturdays due to busy weeks were bothering me, I opted to get a wee bit ahead before posting. No more unsweetened Saturdays in the near future! :o)

This week I'm sharing with you a dessert I made for Easter. :o) Shortly before the holiday I was blessed with a mini cheesecake pan, so I eagerly put it to good use for our celebration. I love the removable bottoms in each well! I had a plethora of recipes already bookmarked, but in the end I decided upon one that my mom and sweetheart would especially love.

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes! Aren't they cute?! :o)
For anyone who loves the classic chocolate-peanut butter combination, this is positively dreamy. An Oreo crust is topped with a creamy peanut butter cheesecake, which is scrumptious all on its own... but when there's an opportunity for a ganache topping, I always take it. ;) I used a french star tip to pipe it on all pretty. (I'm pretending I intentionally piped the front one off-center.)

The cheesecake portion is slightly dense and perfectly peanut buttery, which was enjoyed by my entire family. I love these as a mini dessert because it is the ideal portion for this indulgent treat. :o) I'm looking forward to using my pan for all sorts of cheesecake varieties! I suppose it's only natural for me that chocolate needed to be involved with my first use. ;) If you're a cheesecake or peanut butter lover, or know someone who is, I hope you'll make and enjoy these bites of joy!

Thank you for fluttering on by! I wish you a sweet and sunshiny weekend! :o)

Note: Based on comparisons with recipes that were written specifically for mini cheesecake pans, I only baked the crust for 5 minutes.

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes
Yield: 24 mini cheesecakes if using a muffin pan OR 12 mini cheesecakes if using a mini cheesecake pan

For the crust:
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreos)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

For the cheesecake:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup peanut butter
⅔ cup sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
Dash of vanilla extract
Pinch of coarse salt

For the ganache:
4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray a 24-well mini muffin pan (or 12-well mini cheesecake pan) with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the crust, combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until evenly blended. Divide the crust mixture between the wells of the prepared pan, about 2-3 teaspoons each. Press the crumb mixture into a flat layer on the bottom of the well. (The bottom of a shot glass or flat utensil is great for this.) Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well-blended. Add in the sugar and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the egg and egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until the mixture is complete smooth. Divide the mixture evenly over the cookie crumb crusts and slightly smooth the tops.

Bake just until set, about 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Once completely cool, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 3 hours.

Once the cheesecakes are well-chilled, carefully remove them from the pan. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand 1-2 minutes.

Whisk in small circular motions until a smooth ganache has formed. Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until slightly thickened for piping onto cheesecakes. (Speed this process in the refrigerator or freezer, but be sure to whisk every 10 minutes or so.) Once the ganache has thickened, transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe onto the cheesecakes. (I used a french star tip.) Cover and refrigerate until the ganache is set.

When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator for a few minutes to let the chill subside a bit. Ten minutes was perfect for me.

**If using mini muffin pans, the silicone variety lends themselves to the easiest removal of cheesecakes. If you don't have a silicone pan, you may want to consider using mini cupcake liners for easy removal.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sand Pail Card

Hello, my crafty friends! I hope everyone had a sparkly week! :o)

Today I have another card to share for this month's I Feel the Love Project recipients. I'm racing against the clock, but am trying to create a card for each grieving family member. If all goes as planned, you'll be tired of me by Tuesday. ;)

I made this card for 9-year-old Kyle. Upon remembering that their late father loved taking his family to the beach, I opted to create a fun little sand pail card for him. :o)
The sand pail card base is from a cute beach collection from the Silhouette Online Store. I used sparkly paper for the sand, which is embossed with the Swiss Dots folder for a sandy texture. All of the patterned papers are from the Kaisercraft Chapter One collection. I wanted to make the shovel a pattern for extra fun, so I chose a coordinating striped design. The papers are inked with Tumbled Glass distress ink.
The ocean goodies are from Lettering Delights' She Sells Seashells collection. (A different shell is an interior surprise.) I used sparkly green paper for the bases, which looks nice in person but was hard to properly capture via photograph. And even though this is a boy card, I added a few pearls because they work so well for ocean-themed projects. I liked the added textural element, too.

The cute crab is a Miss Kate Cuttables design, purchased at the Silhouette Store. I gave him a sweet Peachy Keen face for some character, faux-stitched around him to help him stand out, and tucked a double-dose of love in one of his pincers. :o) He's so excited to deliver all of our love to Kyle. The tiny heart is an old punch and the larger is a die cut.

For the sentiment, I once again turned to my beloved Tiny Tags 2 and matching metal dies from My Craft Spot. :o) The happy message is stamped atop the same striped paper as the shovel and is backed with the same green as the oceanic treasures. I secured them with a My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie button and sky twine from My Craft Spot. Everything on top of the sand pail is popped up with foam tape for dimension.

I hope this card brings a smile to Kyle's heart... I made it to honor the memories they made during their sunny beach adventures.
Thank you for visiting me! I wish you a beautiful weekend of love and blessings. :o)

Challenges entered:
 *Card Crafter's Circle~ Boys to Men
 *Craftin' Desert Divas~ Linky Party: Photo Inspiration
 *Created with Love~ Call of the Wild (I hope crabs are wild enough)
 *Divas by Design~ Inspired by a Movie (The Little Mermaid. Under the sea... under the sea!)
 *DL.Art~ Thankful Thursday Linky Party: Anything Goes
 *Love to Create~ Bingo (Stitching-Die Cuts/Punches-Tag)
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *Papertake Weekly~ Weather With You
 *Simon Says Stamp~ Anything Goes

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sympathy Card (and BlogLovin' news!)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Happy Monday, my crafty friends! I hope your week is off to a sunshiny start. :o)

Before I share my new project with you, I have some BlogLovin' news! With Google Reader ending in July, I've taken the advice of many and signed up with BlogLovin' for those interested in following me in that manner. :o) I'm still learning my way around it, but I already love the streamlined design. It's easy to see all of your marvelous creations and I appreciate the nightly email that contains them. :o)

Now, let's get crafty! My new card is another creation for this month's I Feel the Love Project recipients. As you know, we are crafting for a young family that lost their father/husband in February. My hope is to make something for everyone, despite my very late start this month. I will try my hardest. :o)

This one is for Debbie, who has certainly gone through a lot since the loss of her husband to cancer.

"May you find Peace and Comfort."
I had it on my heart to make her a card of serene blues and greens, filled with nature's beauty and a bit of elegance. I hope it brings peace to her broken heart. All of the papers are from a Susan Winget K & Company collection, which I inked with Faded Jeans distress ink. 

A closer look at the focal point:
The Samantha Walker Doily Floral Scallop cut file was cut with my Cameo and accented with pearls for the flower centers. The Cheery Lynn Designs butterfly (from the Exotic Butterflies Small #2 set) is coated in crystalline glitter, which you'll probably only see if enlarged. I wanted to send Debbie all of my sparkling love. :o) I centered my glittery messenger with a Wild Orchid Crafts rose and gave her a pearly trail for her special journey.

The center panel base is a Martha Stewart Doily Lace punch, which I paired with WOC Guipure lace and a pearl strand on the bottom. The metal corner is also from WOC, which I topped with another flower. The sentiment is from the Whimsical Designs Everyday Sentiments set, stamped with faith that Debbie and her children will flourish in every aspect of their lives. I finished off the card by creating a simple flourish with Recollections pearls.
The interior base is the same paper as the middle panel, which has touches of sparkle throughout. It's kind of like opening up a bouquet of flowers on the inside. :o) I added a blue Spellbinders Picot Edge Circle to coordinate with the doily.

Hopefully our contributions this month will encourage Debbie's brilliant smile that she so often had with her husband.
Thank you for fluttering on by today! I pray your day is bursting with blessings. :o)

Challenges entered:
 *A Gem of a Challenge~ Distress It
 *Craftin' Desert Diva's~ Linky Party (Photo Inspiration)
 *Creative Creations Challenges~ Photo Inspiration
 *Divas by Design~ Butterflies and Birds
 *DL.Art~ Thankful Thursday April Linky Party
 *Docerela Creations~ Use Flowers
 *Love to Create~ Bingo! (Lace/Floweres/Doily and Doily/Dies/Sentiment)
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes

Friday, April 19, 2013

Scoops of Love

Hello, my crafty friends! It's been a little while. Thank you for the sweet emails checking on me to see if I was okay. I'm happy to be back to Blogger and crafting after a long few weeks!

Given how deep it is into April, the moment I was able to craft I got to work for this month's I Feel the Love Project recipients. Each month, the amazing Madison of Funky Cards highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of extra love and sunshine. In turn, we have the honor of creating for them to show them how much we care. It's a blessing for which I am forever thankful. 

This month we are crafting for a family who has recently suffered a loss. The father and husband passed away from cancer in February, leaving behind four young children and a wonderful wife (who is also a crafter). The pain is deep, but I hope our contributions bring a glimmer of sunshine to their days.

My first card is for 5-year-old Ally. She is wearing pink in each picture I saw of her, so I included lots of pink in her little gift. :o)

Scoops of Love: 
I decided to treat her to a triple scoop ice cream cone! :o) Since I can't to it in person, I made her one. :o) The waffle cone and scoops are cut files from the Silhouette Online Store, in a fun collection titled You're So Sweet Ice Cream Treats Set. The drippy toppings are from a Bowl of Ice Cream set. I cut out sparkly sprinkles to make it extra happy. I won the beautiful crinkle ribbon atop the ice cream from the marvelous Karen of Little Scrap Pieces. It's gorgeous and perfect for Ally! I centered it with a sweet flower button from Bella Blvd, which is threaded with Strawberry Cupcake twine from My Craft Spot

The chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream scoops are embossed with the D'vine Swirls folder. The polka dot background paper is from Doodlebug Designs. The sparkly green paper is Core Couture from Core'dinations, which is embossed with the Baby's Breath folder.

A wee bit closer:
The plaid ruffle ribbon is from May Arts, which I've been saving for just the right occasion! I hope Ally loves it as much as I think she will. :o) My love is ruffling through every sparkly inch of this card.

The computer-generated sentiment is cut out with the tiny tag metals dies from My Craft Spot, which is threaded with more Strawberry Cupcake twine and secured with a generously Star Dusted Wild Orchid Crafts rose. Two glittery butterflies were a final addition, along with sporadically placed rhinestones to center some of the embossed flowers. I just wanted to squeeze in as much love and happiness as I could, despite the small crafting window available this month.

The interior, bursting with pink and green, and a surprise Cheery Lynn Designs heart (from the Two of Hearts set). This is called scoops of love, after all. :o) I had to tuck my heart inside.
And here is sweet little Ally, who inspired this creation... I pray she is engulfed in sparkling, healing, sunshiny love when she opens the envelope. :o)
Thank you for fluttering on by! I am thrilled to be back. Thank you for always sticking with me, my dear friends!

Challenges entered:
 *Crafty Ribbons~ Pink and Green
 *Creative Creations~ Photo Inspiration
 *Delightful Challenges~ Color My World (Colorful)
 *DL.Art~ Thankful Thursday Linky Party
 *Little Miss Muffet~ Food, Glorious Food
 *Little Scrap Pieces~ Fun Friday: May Flowers  (On tag and embossed background)
 *Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 *My Craft Spot~ Anything Goes
 *Papertake Weekly~ One Patterned Paper

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