Monthly Archives: February 2014

Baked Kale Chips

Crispy Baked Kale Chips

I think these crispy seasoned Baked Kale Chips are my response to all the Thin Mint cookies I’ve been snarfing down.  As soon as I open one of those sleeves, it is really only a matter of time before I consume all the cookies in it.

I’ve tasted some commercial kale chips before and they were really good. I tried making them myself and had really uneven results.  The mixture to coat the chips was too heavy, the chips were too crowded on the baking sheet so some were soggy and limp. The ones that were crisp were good, but I was disappointed and didn’t want to share the recipe.

After reading a few different recipes (many use a dehydrator, but I don’t have one), I blended two for my hybrid recipe and made a batch of blog-worthy Baked Kale Chips.  They aren’t very beautiful, but they are crisp and tasty.

Kale Chip Ingredients

Baked Kale Chips

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective, and Oh She Glows.

Ingredients

1 large bunch Tuscan (or Lacinto) Kale (I think curly Kale would work too but might be a little more difficult to dry and then to coat with the cashew butter/olive oil and spice mixtures.

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons Cashew Butter

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the kale and dry it well. I don’t have a salad spinner but that would be a great way to get as much moisture off the leaves as possible.  I rolled the leaves between two dish towels and still blotted some water off with paper towels.

Pull the thick stems from each kale leaf.  If you fold the leaf in half along the length of the rib or stem and hold the leaf with one hand, you can pull the stem with the other hand and zip it right out of the leaf.

Zip stems from leaves

The leaves will shrink, so you can tear them into pieces, but keep them fairly large. Put the pieces of kale in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine cashew butter, olive oil and lemon juice.

Scrape the cashew butter mixture over the leaves and massage the leaves so all the leaves become well coated.

In another small bowl, combine the nutritional yeast flakes, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin.  Sprinkle this mixture over the kale leaves and toss together to coat.

Arrange leaves on two large baking sheets so they are not overlapping or wadded up and stuck together with the cashew butter mixture.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, checking after about 10 minutes.  If leaves aren’t completely crisp but still seem limp or soggy, bake another minute or two.

When kale leaves are finished baking, let them cool than carefully remove from baking sheets and store in an airtight container.  I found my metal dough scraper to be an excellent stand-in for a spatula when I was removing them from the pan.  They will crumble and shatter fairly easily so use care.

Baked Kale Chips

I served them when crafting with friends and got some nice compliments but I admit that when someone brought out the guacamole and tortilla chips, the Kale Chips were relegated to second place.  Guacamole is hard to compete with.  I did feel better about snacking on Baked Kale Chips and managed to avoid the Thin Mint cookies for an afternoon.

Bowl O' Kale Chips

Thank you for visiting.

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Valentine’s Day Wrap-Up

Vintage Valenine Tag

Valentine’s Day 2014 has come and gone but I’m still feelin’ the love.

As you may recall, I participated in a Handmade Valentine Card swap from my friend Carson’s blog, Pine & Plum. Here are cards I received from the swap, plus a few other sweet missives I was lucky enough to get.  The cute vintage style tag at the top of the post was used for a note with one of the swap cards.  It was fun doing the swap and seeing all the creative cards.

2014 Swap Cards

My friend Shook gave me a beautiful pair of Valentine collages that she made:

Shook's Collages

I made her a green Valentine (look here for the post with the picture from her green Valentine last year) because she loves green.

Green Valentine

Rem and I exchanged cards.  He did paper strip hearts on the one he made for me (and he didn’t even look at my blog post with the instructions!)

Our Cards

Last weekend I brought a bunch of crafting supplies over to my sister Kathleen’s house so her little sister Ariel could work on a batch of Valentine’s.  We’ve been doing this for quite a few years now and I’m always glad when she still wants to do it.

Valentines with Ariel 2.14

Someone else wanted to see what we were doing. Kathleen’s cat, Xander, was cranky because it was raining out and he wanted to go outside but didn’t like getting wet.

Xander Looking

He decided he wanted up to be up on the table where we were crafting.

Xander  on the table

I didn’t find time to write posts for some of the projects I made, so I have to be content that I have more to share with you when Valentine’s Day rolls around again.

Rem and I usually exchange a project that we create and over the years we have accumulated quite a little gallery of Art from the Heart items.  This year I suggested we work on one together.  I’d seen something I wanted to try (yes, on Pinterest, of course) and so we did it together.

Light of My Life

It was fun working on this together (you can find the DIY here on Design Sponge) and we’re both happy with the result.

Art Projects Gallery

Here it is on the wall with some of the other projects from over the years.

Thank you for the visit. ♥

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Confetti Heart Cake Topper

Confetti Cupcake Toppers

I love how these little confetti hearts look!  Yes, ISTOP (I saw them on Pinterest) and followed the link back to the awesome Aunt Peaches: “Messy. Sparkly. More fun than a bag of possums.”

You need some tissue paper and scissors to make the confetti. Than you need hot glue, the confetti and a toothpick or skewer.  Oh, and parchment paper to work on.

One behind the other

I cut up two batches of confetti but only took pictures of the multicolor one, not the red and pink Valentine one.   Stack up some tissue paper and cut one end of it into a fringe.

Cutting Confetti

Then cut across the fringe to make little confetti bits.

Confetti Cutting

For some reason this technique reminded me of chopping onions. Without the tears.

Tissue Paper and Scissors

With multiple sheets of tissue paper, this goes surprisingly fast.  Aunt Peaches suggests adding metallic bits by giving some Christmas tinsel a haircut.  Without Christmas tinsel, I cut up some shiny silver ribbon but later realized it was dull grey on the reverse side.

The basic process is: create a shape with hot glue, quickly put a toothpick in the glue and add another layer of hot glue.  Quickly dump confetti on the hot glue shape. Once it is set, turn it over and add another layer of hot glue, again retracing the original shape, and dump more confetti on it.

So, from the top:

Trace your shape on parchment paper (or, if you feel brave, go ahead and draw it freehand).

Trace shape

Use hot glue to draw the heart shape.  Quickly put a toothpick into glue.

Stick in pick

Trace over the heart with more hot glue and dump confetti on it.

Dump on confetti

Let it cool off then flip it over (shake off the extra confetti), retrace the shape with more hot glue and scatter on another handful of confetti.

Back - more glue, more confetti

It is really pretty fast and easy and don’t they look cute?  I thought cake toppers really needed cake to be shown to their best advantage so credit goes to SusieCakes in Greenbrae for the lovely and delicious cupcakes and the adorable, tiny heart-shaped sprinkles.

Two confetti hearts

Thanks for your visit!

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Valentine Swap Cards

Pretty Pink & Turquoise Valentine

My friend, Carson, has a lovely blog: Pine & Plum. You should check it out.  She organized a Handmade Valentine Swap where you make and send Valentine’s to other crafters and get them back in return.

I mailed mine last night.

Into the Mailbox

I had just recently made and sold two special Valentine’s for a friend and colleague to give to his lady love and her daughter.  The first one has a little vellum pocket with a sweet tag tucked inside. The tag has a retro design of a little boy with a pot of honey that I filled in with water colors and decorated with glitter, a red button, a tiny “love” tag and an embossed key embellishment.  The card has hearts, flowers, washi tape, lacy doilies and a silver embossed greetings.  The whole Valentine enchilada!

Be My Honey

The second was less elaborate but still very cute.

Whooo will be my Valentine?

Inside it says:

Owl Be...

Of course!  (See more owl cards below).

They both turned out well and I ended up making cards for the swap based on the pocket and tag card.

Vellum Pocket & Lace Doilies

I’d found little key embellishments at Michaels in their dollar bins, and loved how the pocket cut from vellum lets you get a glimpse of the tag.  Doodles in white gel pen, lace doilies, and a paper-strip heart are all part of the final card.

Vellum Pocket

The five cards I made for the swap are all very similar but not identical, each tag is unique.

Five Tags

Each tag had a snippet of poetry and artwork out of a used book I picked up for my Art Journaling.  There were several different key designs.

Do I Love Thee?

I was finishing the last of the cards when I had a call from Carson, would I be willing to make a few more cards for the swap to round out the numbers?  Well, I didn’t have the keys to make more of the vellum pocket and tag cards,  but I’d seen another card technique I wanted to try using double masking.

My first attempt was a little frustrating.  In the site I visited, Belle Papier, Julie Stainton uses a die-cut bird stencil with Eclipse Tape.  I don’t know what Eclipse Tape is and I didn’t have the stencil or a die cutting gadget.  But I found a bird picture, carefully cut it with an X-Acto knife and adhered it to my paper.  But I did two things wrong: my paper for the stencil was too thick so when I tried to stamp over the stencil, none of my design ended up on the card!  And the adhesive I used was too sticky and ended up pulling up part of the paper.

I carefully cut another stencil out with thinner paper, used an adhesive that when dry is tacky but removable and tried again.

Bird King Love

I’m thrilled with the results! I also found using smaller stamps and a sponge scrubbed on an ink pad worked well to fill in the bird design. After completing the bird, I took the cut out shape of the bird and carefully masked the stamped bird on the card, covering  it before using my air spritzer tool to spray turquoise ink around the bird for the background.

Inside:

IMG_0031 or Tweet Heart

This card is less elaborate than the first one, but it still took a number of steps and included another paper-strip-heart, washi tape, an embossed greeting and my favorite “Dianne Dots.”

Bird Close Up

I picked up the little crowns at Michaels on the same shopping trip (and in the same dollar bins) as the little keys.

When it doesn’t work the first time around, it is extra satisfying to create something and have it turn out well.   Although these cards don’t look like the beautiful ones that inspired them, I’m still really happy with the results.

The owl card also inspired a big batch of mini Valentine’s that I gave to out at my choir rehearsal last night.

Whooo? Two!

I found several sheets of scrap-booking paper printed with cute owls that I cut out and layered onto punched hearts, bits of old sheet music and a few cute embellishments.  The little cards were from that same visit to Michaels!  Ten plain little cards with envelopes for a dollar – a perfect base for little Valentine’s.

A hoot of owls

I made a whole flock of them, complete with googly eyes.

With all the stuff on my swap cards, I decided that padded mailers would help them arrive damage-free. I added some stickers and tape to jazz up the boring Post Office design.

Decorated Envelopes

Now I’m happily anticipating the cards I’ll be getting back in the swap.

Heart Made of Cards

Thank you for your visit!

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Coat Hanger Heart

Coat Hanger Heart

Here is the second Heart Wreath project I mentioned (this is the first one here).  I started it at the free Tuesday night “Craft Gym” at Once Around in Mill Valley and finished it at home.

I like projects that don’t take a lot of time or skill and use supplies I have on hand.  In this case: a wire coat hanger, some fabric left from a previous project (clothespin dolls), ribbon and some adhesive.  The small heart is made from floral wire that a friend in the craft class gave me.

First you need to bend the hanger into a heart shape.  Some people in the class chose to do the heart with the hook at the bottom.  The idea being you can hang the heart on the wall with the hook at the bottom and use the hook to hang your coat or hat or car keys.  Here’s a link to a yarn-wrapped Heart Wall Hook.

Since I’m hanging the heart on the door for decoration, I wanted the hook at the top.  Pliers are helpful for shaping the heart.  Don’t worry about creating a perfect shape.  Part of the appeal of this heart is the whimsical, folk-art vibe.

Next, you need strips of fabric to wrap around the coat hanger heart.  The narrow strips are better when you are navigating the corners and hook but wider strips are great on the other parts.  I tore the fabric because I wanted the texture from the torn edge.  You could also use pinking shears or regular scissors to cut it.  While wrapping the torn strips, I sometimes trimmed off some loose threads that got tangled up with each other.

Coat Hanger & Fabric

A bit of double-sided adhesive strips or dots are helpful for getting started.  Put a little strip of adhesive on one end of a strip of fabric and start wrapping it around the coat hanger.  I started at the hook but I don’t see why you couldn’t start where every you want.  I tied off the last strip and trimmed the end.  Some adhesive or hot glue would also be a good way to make sure the last strips is snugly in place.

You can also use ribbon for this heart.  Keep in mind, if you use narrow ribbon, it will take more work to wrap the coat hanger.

Trim for Coat Hanger Heart

I am still liking my 2014 Valentine Color Scheme of red, black and turquoise so I used that for this Coat Hanger Heart.

An extra strip of fabric tied at the base of the hook was the only embellishment, though I thought an old skeleton key hanging from the little heart would look cute, but I don’t have one.  I tried a button and I tried a little felt heart with a button and decided I liked it best plain and simple, just the little heart hanging inside the big heart.

Heart on the Door of #4

I love how the little heart looks.

little wire heart

I bent the hooks around until I was satisfied with how they hung together.

I’m still working away at my Valentine cards and should post another photo soon.  The other thing I made today (Rem and I made it together) was this delicious Cheesy Garlic Bread from this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.  We don’t have a TV and aren’t watching the Superbowl, but we didn’t want to miss out on the yummy snacks.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Leftover sausage and some sauteed greens and dinner is ready!

2 hearts are better than one

Thanks for stopping by.

Update: Here is another Coat Hanger Heart Wreath that is completely different from one of my readers and fellow WordPress bloggers, Cathy at nanacathydotcom.

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