Monthly Archives: January 2016

Past Projects: Cards and Little Foil Tape Houses

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Just after Christmas, Rem and I went up to Sea Ranch with my mom. Although I planned a marathon of crafting and bought a bunch of supplies, the actual crafting that took place was more modest in scope. Sitting and gazing out the window interrupted by the occasional nap seemed to be the best use of my time.

I did manage to create a batch of cards, making sets of similar cards with variations in the paper and stamps.

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I make cards for my mom that she can use whenever the occasion calls for it. I try to give her some cards that will work for guys – with a color scheme or designs that aren’t too frilly or feminine.

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Several of the cards had illustrations from a vintage style alphabet poster, printed on scrapbook paper. The picture below was for “W – wave.”

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This “Wish” card is one of my favorites.

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I made these cards before the end of last year and it has taken me a month to post them! Since I’m catching up, here’s another project from last year.

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These little houses were primarily made as Christmas ornaments, but with a pin-back glued on the back, they were also very cute on a lapel. Made from thin cardboard recycled from cereal and cookie boxes, they’re covered with aluminum foil duct tape and copper tape (used to repel snails in the garden) – two great craft supplies from the hardware store.

These ones were made at a holiday party on the campus where I work, that included a few craft tables. I brought the supplies and gave a hand if needed.  A little something layered under the foil tape, or covered with the copper tape and glued to the front of the houses adds interest.  I also like to press tape over corrugated cardboard for the roof.  The tip of your finger is a great tool to start, but for getting all the details, I used a bone folder.

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You can find directions here at Mich L. in L.A.

They are also quite similar to these projects: Pumpkins, Charms, and Leaves.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

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Five Years of Blogging

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Yesterday marked my 5-year blogging anniversary. Five years! I also recently posted my 500th blog post. In that time, I’ve shared much more than I anticipated when I first started out. I thought it would be primarily crafts with a few recipes. In reality, it has also been about life, with all the heartbreaks and blessings.

I decided to scroll back through my blogs and pick out some favorites. It was the perfect activity to indulge in on a rainy day, nursing a cold.

It wasn’t easy choosing my best-loved posts. On another day I might come up with a different list. But I jotted down ones that were dear to me for one reason or another and then went back and selected these.

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I’ll start with these Heart Strings. I made them in 2012 and we still have them in our apartment. They’re an easy project and timely as well with Valentine’s Day a little less than a month away.

Chocolate is a winner for me, and so is Chocolate Nutella Fudge and Truffles.

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Art journaling is one of my favorite creative endeavors. I could have picked any one of my Art Journal posts, but I think this one, Art Journal: Home, is the one that deserves a spot here. It includes this quote by artist Darlene Maciuba-Koppel which is so true for me.

Art Journaling is a gift I give to myself.  After a few pleasurable hours of choosing images, painting, cutting scraps of paper, and pasting, I feel a sense of calm envelope me.

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Looking at the different crafts I chose, I’m putting these Little Clothespin Dolls next. I’m imagining that they could live in these little houses.

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A certain pasta recipe has made it’s way into two posts and been mentioned in at least a third. You really should make this pasta! It’s easy to put together and it is delicious.

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Some things don’t go as swimmingly as this pasta recipe; see the photo at the top of the post. I attempted to make chocolate bowls by painting melted chocolate on small balloons. Big, messy fail! I think we’re still finding splatters of chocolate on improbably far reaches of the kitchen ceiling.

Other times the rug is pulled out from under you in unexpected ways and you learn to exist in the new reality: Sometimes Life Just Piles Up.

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Sometimes, it’s just the desk piling up.

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Something I come back to in my posts is taking care of myself; to be gentle with myself and with others. With that in mind, I think I will make a new batch of Take What You Need flyers and post them on campus for the start of the new semester.

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Sometimes what I need is a treat. And though I adore chocolate, a savory snack is often just the thing. Here are two: I’ve made these Cheese Wafers for a family holiday potluck and there was some disappointment this year when I brought something else.

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The other, Corn Dog Mini Muffins, are perhaps more lowbrow, but so good, especially with mustard, when you want a big ol’ deep fried corn dog and they’re a healthier choice too.

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So, there you have it: my favorite posts.

What I love most of all is sharing all of it with you. Having a blog means I am putting ideas and projects out there and readers all over the world are seeing them. That is amazing and wonderful.

Thank you for being on this adventure with me. Let’s see what 2016 brings.

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Really Good Granola

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Happy New Year! Thanks for reading this, even though I don’t post as often as I’d like.

I had the idea of making granola as a Christmas gift for some friends and family.  I wanted something that would be a bit of a treat, but not quite the guilty pleasure of  cracker toffee. I read a few recipes and set out to make a toasty granola that would have lots of clusters, be a little but not too sweet and have plenty of nuts.

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My Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has a recipe for Big Cluster Maple Granola that seemed like a good place to start. I was also inspired by Nigella Lawson and the olive oil granola she made on Simply Nigella with lots of seeds and nuts.

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I fiddled around and made two batches, each slightly different than the other. I didn’t achieve the big clusters I was seeking, but I also didn’t follow Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman’s recipe to the letter. I was kind of disappointed, but with the holiday hustle and bustle I just shrugged it off and went on to the next project. I didn’t have the time or energy to fiddle around with granola. I didn’t give away as much as I’d originally planned, but that was ok too.

In fact, I tossed the notes and didn’t have any photos of the granola. I wouldn’t be sharing it here now except my friend, Lisa, wrote to say it was some of the best granola she’d ever had! In my focusing on the lack of clusters, I hadn’t been paying as much attention to the flavor. She was right, it was really good granola. And, good news, I still had ingredients enough for another batch.

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This recipe uses golden syrup: I’ve seen this ingredient mentioned in some British recipes but I’d never tried it. Than I happened to notice a bottle at Cost Plus World Market and decided to give it a try. It is an amber syrup that is made in the process of refining cane or sugar beets into sugar. It has a delicious sweet flavor that reminds me of toasted marshmallows and is worth seeking out. I’ve already gone back to purchase more.  However, you can use maple syrup or honey instead.

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Really Good Granola

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 cup rolled oats

1 cup nuts or combination nuts and seeds – I used whole and sliced almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds for this batch. Walnuts and sunflower seeds would also be good choices.

1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut

1/4 cup chia and/or flax seeds – Trader Joe’s sells Ancient Grains Seed Mixture that has both of those as well as millet, buckwheat, hemp, quinoa and amaranth. I used this mixture.  In the Smitten Kitchen recipe, she uses 1/4 cup of wheat germ here, so feel free to use that in place of the seeds. Maybe you will reach granola cluster nirvana if you do.

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup golden syrup – maple syrup or honey would also work, each adding a different flavor and level of sweetness. If you like it sweeter, go to 2/3 cup.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

1 large egg white

1 1/2 cup dried fruit such as cherries, cranberries, golden raisins, or goji berries

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Instructions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, salt, olive oil, vanilla and golden syrup and toss together. Beat the egg white until foamy and combine with the mixture until coated.

Spread on a parchment covered rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 50 minutes. Turn with a spatula about halfway through the baking for more even browning.

Granola will be moist while warm, but will become more crisp as it cools.

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When cool, add dried fruit.

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This is a delicious snack alone or I like it with coconut Greek yogurt. It is also a great bowl of cereal for breakfast.

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Thanks for the visit.

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