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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday Challenge: Anything Goes!

Happy Whimsical Wednesday, my dear friends! :o)

The Whimsical Wednesday challenge this week is "Anything Goes!" Whatever is on your heart (or To Craft list) is appropriate! How fun is that? So get crafting and link up with us so we can see your fantastic creations. :o)

I am extra excited about a certain aspect of this card. I am truly honored to have used a digi image created by one of my fellow design team members: Cindy of Cindy's Little Creations. She is so talented on countless levels, including digi stamp design. (She is also one of TWO sponsors this week donating prizes!) With her fabulous image as my inspiration, I came up with this card:

"Witch way to the candy?"

Isn't the star of this card unbelievably sweet? I love her little face and adorable expression. She wanted to sparkle for this festive occasion, so I covered the coat's interior, collar, and hat stripe in purple Stickles. I was disappointed that I didn't have buttons small enough to use on her coat, but thankfully I had teeny tiny rhinestones. I'm a huge fan of rhinestone buttons, so it worked out. ;) Her broom has a purple rhinestone to coordinate with her attire, as well as a broomstick coated in Stardust. Since I used a moon on this card, I tried my hand at a new light-source direction for my Copic coloring... it hurt my brain, but I mostly prevailed.

Now for the rest of the scene! I wanted to incorporate a couple of fun elements into this card to celebrate our dear Cindy's amazingness. First is the cauldron... I wanted to amp up the poignancy of the bubbling contents, so I coiled sheer green ribbon upward to enhance the sparkling brew's potency. The brew and its bubbles are layered with iridescent green glitter glue and Glossy Accents.

My other favorite element is the swing. I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, so I used twine and a toothpick. I adhered a cat silhouette to the swing and positioned it over the moon, which I thought would be perfectly scene-setting. :o)

Sidenote: The Trendy Twine, which I just received on Saturday from My Craft Spot, is exquisite. Five bundles in the new collection have THREE colors twisted together: white and two coordinating shades. I should have taken a close-up picture of the swing, but I was rushing during a rare burst of sunshine. This one has a bright blue and a lighter blue with the white. I cannot wait to use all the shades in a more dominant fashion. :o)

I think our little witch here is stashing some candy... see the piece of candy corn her sweet little self is trying to hide? She left a revealing trail on the return jaunt to her cauldron. Maybe she made it so poignant to distract us from her candy corn addiction. (Why is that stuff so good?!) I embossed the tree for texture, inked the moon's edges a brick-crimson shade, and cut some grass for dimension. Most of this card is pop-dotted above the moon and 'starry' backdrop. The gorgeous ribbon layered beneath the grass is crinkle ribbon from the Prairie Bird Boutique. The colors are as beautiful as the sweet owner's heart, who is our second sponsor this week. This is my first time using crinkle ribbon and it is lovely and versatile. Next time I'll keep it more crinkly. :o)

I hope you'll play along with us this week by linking up your projects at the Whimsical Wednesday Weekly Challenge post! I'm looking forward to seeing your creations. :o) Our two marvelous sponsors have provided prizes for a few lucky winners who play along with us this week:

1. Prairie Bird Boutique is generously donating a beautiful bundle of crinkle ribbon, chosen by the random winner. Thank you!
2. Cindy from Cindy's Little Creations is generously donating three of her digital stamps to one random winner. Thank you, Cindy!

Be sure to frolic on over to the rest of the Design Team's blogs to see their incredible projects. :o) I'm so happy you stopped by today... each visit makes my blog sparkle even brighter. :o) Have a blessed day, my friends!

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Cindy Loo (tree and cat)
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink
 * Stamp: Digi image designed by Cindy at Cindy's Little Creations
 * Copics: E00, E000, E0000, RV10 (skin); E25, E31, E50 (hair); V12, V15, V17, YG11, YG13, YR01, YR12, YR18 (clothing); YR31, E31 (broom); YG11 (brew)
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Ribbon: Crinkle ribbon from Prairie Bird Boutique; Sheer Dots from Hobby Lobby
 * Twine: Trendy Twine from My Craft Spot
 * Miscellaneous: Glitter glue, Glossy Accents, iRock, Stickles


Saturday, September 24, 2011

You're My Favorite Cookie and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my sweet friends! I hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start. :o)

After a far more willy nilly week than anticipated, I have a couple of treats to share with you today. :o) First up is a card that combines two of my favorite aspects of the season: Autumn colors and baking.

"You're My Favorite Cookie"

Isn't she sweet? This is one of my very favorite stamps (Elisabeth Bell~ Willow with Cookies). I was thrilled (and nervous) to color her. This card was designed with a child, best friend, or sweetheart in mind... the one who is your favorite cookie, ice cream flavor, chocolate, etc. Such a high compliment, really. ;)

You just can't bake in the fall without fuzzy slippers, so I cut up a pom pom and adhered fuzzies to her slippers with Glossy Accents. I coated her bow, belt, and the hearts on her pants with Diamond Stickles to give her an autumn sparkle. I lined up the sentiment circle to match the design of the paper so there's no break in the lovely textured quilt pattern and secured it with a heart button and bow. :o) The upper part of the frame is decorated with branches and a sparkly pinecone. I embossed the leaves and interior of the frame for more texture... and like how the dots somewhat resemble chocolate chips. The frame cut-outs remind me of chocolate fragments, too.. but that could just be my chocoholic mind. ;) I hope this sweet little card makes you smile. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * A Gem of a Challenge~ Sketch (my first challenge of this nature, which was quite hard for me)
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Autumn colors
 * My Craft Spot~ Fall Leaves

Dessert makes me smile... and thankfully it's time for another Sweet Saturday! It would have been appropriate to bake a batch of the best chocolate chip cookies in the world as part of this gift, but I couldn't wait any longer to try a new autumny recipe. A seasonal delight with a dose of chocolate: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake!

I turned this amazing bread recipe into a bundt cake yesterday because I just love the simple beauty of bundts. I was a bit skeptical of chocolate chips with pumpkin, but it is delicious! My loved ones enjoyed it immensely. The cake is super moist, with a taste of autumn in every bite. The pumpkin and spices meld together beautiful, while the dollops of melted chocolate provide another fun level of flavor. This is fabulous on its own, but I can never resist a light topping of some kind on my bundts, so I dusted it with confectioners' sugar. (It makes a great breakfast treat, too. I'm just saying.)

The recipe as written makes three loaves of bread, so if you go that route be prepared to freeze a loaf... or better yet, share with your friends and family. Whether in cake or bread form, make it soon and enjoy one of autumn's delights. :o) Thank you for visiting me today, my friends. You make me happy. :o)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Yield: One bundt cake (or three loaves of bread: simply divide batter between three 9x5 loaf pans)

3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
⅔ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Generously spray a bundt pan with Pam with Flour, being careful to get all nooks and crannies.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Slowly blend in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 60 minutes or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Lightly dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter, Elegant Edges, Storybook
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: Swiss Dots, Victoria
 * Stamp: Elisabeth Bell~ Willow with Cookies
 * Copics: E000, E00, R20 (skin); E25, E31, E50 (hair, pants, cookies); YR 01, YR12, YR18 (shirt); Y13, Y19, YR31 (apron); YG11, YG13 (plate)
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Paper: Core'dinations, Creative Imaginations, DCWV, SEI
 * Self-adhesive Ribbon: K & Company
 * Button: My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie
 * Twine: Sew Easy (limeade)
 * Miscellaneous: rhinestones, Stickles


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sing Unto the Lord Christmas Card

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

Two posts in two days... this is truly magical! ;) For a couple of days I've had an idea for a very special card inspired by a few challenges. Against all odds, I'm ecstatic that it came together last night to beat the first deadline. :o) I had a particular vision for this card and I'm happy to say it mostly came to pass as intended. On the surface, it's a rich purple Christmas card (my first handmade Christmas card!)... but it's truly so much more.

"Sing unto the Lord, all the earth" (Psalm 96:1)

While purple Christmas cards aren't the norm, I went this route because it's a personal card that required my favorite color. Celebrating Christmas with songs of love and praise... while also honoring my grandparents. As some of you know, I lost my grandpa this summer. So I made this card especially with him in mind, and also my other grandparents who have been gone for a long time. My vision is singing praises up above to my Lord, where my sweet grandpa now resides. Looking upward to see him and keep him closer. I used those particular Elegant Edges cuts to make it like the angel is nestled amongst fluffy clouds. When I first saw this stamp, I thought it was a dancer. While technically she's a fairy, to me she's a dancing angel... dancing her heart out for the Lord and her loved ones on a purple Christmas morning. It's too new to elaborate beyond that right now, but I'm sure you understand the inspiration (despite my poor wording).

It's so windy outside that I had a hard time getting a picture, which is unfortunate. Unseen are details such as the tiny yellow glow I put around the angel because she's glowing with the inner light of faith. The ribbon separating the colors is sheer glitter, adding a gorgeous shimmer along the top half of the embossed pearlescent cardstock. I made the rosette with sheet music patterned paper, so in person you can see music notes tucked all along the scallops and folds. I centered it with a fabric flower inked with a Copic, then added a butterfly punched out of the same purple paper as the background. (And of course lined the body with tiny rhinestones.)

The angel's hair has silver stars, her wings are completely coated in Stardust, and the entire card was given a spritz (or three) of Sparkle Shimmer Spritz because everything sparkles in the heavenlies.. especially with my grandpa there.

Challenges entered:
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Heritage/Grandparents
 * Fantabulous Cricut~ Make Some Music (instruments or musical notes)
 * Frosted Designs~ Punches
 * Jingle Belles~ Hybrid Holidays (incorporate at least one digital stamp or element)

Thank you for dancing on over to see me today! Have a gorgeous rest of the weekend. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Elegant Edges, Gypsy Wanderings
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Victoria
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, stash
 * Stamp: Tiddly Inks~ Fairy Fae Catches a Star (I removed the stars so I could use music notes)
 * Copics: E000, E00 (skin); E25, E31, E50 (hair); V12, V15, V17 (dress); BV0000 (wing accents beneath Stardust)
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Punches: Fiskars butterfly, Martha Stewart Small Monarch
 * Flower: Paperbilities
 * Miscellaneous: Fiskars Seagull paper edgers, iRock, Shimmer Spritz, Stickles


Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Feel the Love and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my sweet friends! I hope you're having a sparkly weekend. :o)

I have an extra special card and a pumpkin delight to share with you today. Madison of Funky Cards is not only extremely talented, but she also has a heart of gold. She spreads her (and our) love via a project entitled I Feel the Love. Every month she highlights a child or organization in need of some extra sunshine and we all have the incredible opportunity to be a blessing by making them cards. Isn't that so beautiful? This month cute Halloween cards will be sent to medically fragile children at Pediatric Specialty Care. (No scary cards!) Penguins make for a happy card... especially when engulfed in lollipops.

"Pumpkin Love"

Our sprightly penguin is essentially burrowing her way through an abundance of colorful lollipops. With one in each hand, we speak the same language. ;) I used Core Couture cardstock for the penguin to make her sparkle. Notice the sparkly heart on the pumpkin? He wears his heart on his sleeve... or skin. He's bursting with love, just waiting to lure a few smiles from the child who will soon be holding him. That's why his smile is so sparkly, after all. There are few things as beautiful as a child's heart and our sweet characters here are excited for their destination.

I drew each one a Peachy Keen Face for some character and coated the sentiment in Glossy Accents to make it a shiny, durable epoxy brad. I wanted to make my beloved twine lollipops for the occasion, but decided it might not be best for this project. I'd feel horrible if they were loosened and unwound by happy kiddo hands... it would be such a sad sight. Thankfully I had cute sparkling lollipops to cut out from one of the papers in the DCWV Sweet Stack. :o) A nice alternative. I embossed the scarf, inked over it to make it pink/green, and coated it in Stardust for the festivities. I also had added a couple of glitter hearts to the sentiment for an extra dose of love. I hope this card delivers a ray of sunshine. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Die Cuttin Divas~ Zoo Crazy
 * Getting Cricky~ Halloween

Now it's time for one of my favorite parts of the week: Sweet Saturday! For the second time in a row, I changed up my Sweet Saturday dessert. It originally was going to be last weekend's intended recipe... but when Tuesday came along and I finally had pumpkin on hand, I decided I couldn't wait any longer for this particular treat. I first saw it last autumn and had been craving it ever since. At long last, I made these treats... and they were every bit of perfection that countless readers proclaimed. A new seasonal staple in my repertoire: Pumpkin Muffins with Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling.

(Don't mind the photographs... the skies were messing with me all the way up until I was done trying. Fickle!)

These are AMAZING. The muffins encompass all the pumpkin and spicy love of autumn, while the dollop of filling adds a burst of creamy oomph. Much of the topping sort of melts into the muffin while baking, leaving only a light coating on top... which is divine. (And it sparkles.) The scent lingered for hours in the kitchen, making it even better. Want to know how incredible these are? I made a double batch (knowing they would be fabulous) and since my boyfriend was visiting that day before work, I sent some with him for his coworkers. Everyone loved them and one even asked if I would make some for her family gathering next weekend. These are truly magical. In fact, my mom did her part in devouring the quantity and she doesn't even like cream cheese. These will certainly be making another few appearances in my home before season's end... and I hope you give them a try, too! You won't be disappointed.

Note: These are a bit more involved than your typical muffin, but it is worth it. Make the filling in advance so it's ready when you want to bake. :o) Also, if you love vanilla, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the muffins. It's a popular variation, but I chose to go strictly pumpkin with mine this time.

Thank you for visiting me today! You make me sparkle like a star. I was going to post my long overdue Butterfly Award thanks and love.. but this is long already. It is coming with my next post! Just know until then that each one shared with me has meant a ton. :o) Thank you, my dear friends!

Pumpkin Muffins with Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling
Yield: 24 muffins

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log. Reinforce with aluminum foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350º F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda; whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and oil.

Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently combine the batter, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and spring back lightly when touched. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature before serving or warm briefly in the microwave.

Source: Muffins and topping: Annie's Eats; Filling: Brown Eyed Baker

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Polka Dots
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink
 * Twine: Sew Easy (limeade)
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Miscellaneous: Dew Drop Brilliance Ink (for blush), Glossy Accents, Stickles


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday Challenge: Just Because

Happy Whimsical Wednesday, sweet friends! :o)

The Whimsical Wednesday challenge this week is "Just Because." The requirements are to create a card or project to let someone know that you are thinking of them and that they're special. Blessing someone with a handmade creation "just because" as opposed to a specific occasion/celebration is one of my favorite things, so I was pretty excited about this challenge. :o)

The design team had the wonderful opportunity to select an image of our choice provided by this week's sponsor, Bugaboo Stamps. She and her store are positively delightful! The options seemed endless, but my heart gravitated to sweet little Ava, the Mistletoe Fairy:

"With Love"... (my first shaker card!)

At first glance this might seem like a Christmas or New Year's card, but it is a regular "thinking of you" card. I used the mistletoe fairy to incorporate a recognizable romantic spin for a sweetheart across the miles. The idea is to use her year-round with changing seasonal backdrops as a loving reminder that your honey is close in heart. In this case, she's fluttering along with snowflakes. Ava provides the lovey-dovey aspect all on her own with her glittery mistletoe. :o) I colored her with pinks and frosty blue since it's not for the holidays... she's somewhat undercover. ;)

Now for the story on this wintery love note. Not seen well unless you make it bigger is how super sparkly it is.... everywhere. That is Ava's doing. One touch of her ultra-glittery mistletoe has sparklified the card, beginning with the two sets of rhinestones on the heart frame of my shaker. Once her pure love is felt, the entire heart is filled with glittery joy. The small beads (used here as snow) are iridescent, so they are actually several hues despite looking clear in the pictures. I added a few glitter shapes, which are brightly glowing in love. They're circular like bubbles to reflect love bubbling up within our hearts. There are three because God is always with us. :o) So now the beautiful love grows and reaches out to others, evidenced by the sparklified flourishes whimsically bursting forth from the heart-shaped shaker.

I loved the pink and blue elements together, so I made the shimmery snowflakes two layers. I separated the pink and blue-edged flakes with a pop-dot, making them dimensional and letting both colors show up a little better. The white cardstock is pearlescent, making the snowflake-embossed center glisten like winter. I welded together two scallop borders on my Gypsy (flipping one of them) and coated the scallops in Stardust to resemble little mountains of fluffy snow. Lastly, I sprayed the card with Shimmer Spritz to seal the sparkling winter scene.

I had such a great time making this shaker card! It's a great interactive element, plus it amps up the fun and beauty. There are so many ways to fill it. I opted for beads instead of simply glitter so it would make a nice amount of noise when shaken. There are several wonderful tutorials available, including this one that I followed:

I hope you'll play along with us this week by linking up your projects at the Whimsical Wednesday Weekly Challenge post! I'm excited to see what you create. :o) Our sponsor for this challenge is Bugaboo Stamps, who is generously donating seven digital stamps to one random winner who enters our challenge. Thank you very much, Bugaboo! :o) To learn more about this wonderful company, please visit their Catch The Bug Challenge Blog. :o)

I'm thrilled that we have two guest designers from the Bugaboo Design Team joining us this week. Be sure to check them out on the Whimsical Wednesday blog. :o) Then flutter on over to the rest of the Design Team's blogs to see their fabulous projects. :o) Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a spectacular (and sparkly) day!

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Cindy Loo, Elegant Edges, Gypsy Wanderings
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Winter Wonderland
 * Paper: Core'dinations, K & Company Peppermint Twist, Papertrey Ink
 * Sentiment Stamp: Hampton Art
 * Copics: E000, E00 (skin); E25, E31 (hair); RV10, RV13, RV14 (dress, holly berries); BG11 (mistletoe)
 * Miscellaneous: Dew Drop Brilliance ink, Glossy Accents (on berries), iRock, Marvy snowflake stamp, Recollections Glitter Shapes, Shimmer Spritz, Stickles, TOHO treasure beads 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Love you a Latte Friendship Card and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, sweet friends!

Today I have a coordinating friendship card and treat. How fun is that? :o) For starters, a happy little card bursting with autumn and caffeinated love:

"Love you a Latte"

More Copics practice! How I adore our sweet Kiki and her beloved latte. In my exhaustive admiring of Copic-users over the past few months, I would guess 99% of them leave these types of stamps as is. However, I have a feeling that by the end of the day I'll be adding a tiny expression to her face. Just personal preference. :o) One of the challenges I had in mind for this card required the use of Gypsy Wanderings, so I decided to exclusively use this cartridge for all my cuts. I welded together two shadows of the jack-o-lantern (which keeps making me think of an apple) and added a couple layers to the vintage cream base. I was going to faux-stitch around the cream, but then decided to do a fun whip-stitch trim instead! It's my first time sewing on a card and it was such fun. For a touch of elegance I used the Victoria cuttlebug folder and covered the card in Shimmer Spritz. (As well as everything within a few feet radius since I didn't know it spritzed so powerfully. Fun!) The large heart extends beyond the base because the love of a friend transcends boundaries. :o) The sentiment-carrying heart and Kiki are pop-dotted. As a last-minute touch after sparklifying Kiki's shoelaces, I outlined the latte cup with Stardust because special beverages like Pumpkin Spice Lattes are magical. ;)

There's usually a little something extra sappy on my cards, and this one can be found at the very bottom. On the path, I sprinkled yellow, light green, and orange rhinestones within the two-toned autumn leaves to portray one of the most beautiful aspects of friendship: how friends help you find the buried treasures even on the toughest of journeys. :o) (Side note: I'm officially considering this a pumpkin/apple card. It looks like both, thanks to the shape and the super deep terracotta shade. That makes me laugh.)

Challenges entered:
 * More Than Favors CCCC~ Gypsy Wanderings
 * My Craft Spot~ Friends are the best!

This week's Sweet Saturday treat was thrown a curve late last night. To go along with this spicy-colored pumpkin latte card was going to be the beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte concoction in dessert form. How cute of a duo would that have been for a friend?! Alas, my city is out of pumpkin puree. I was shocked! The shelves were cleared at both main grocery stores, with sad signs like, "Libby's Pumpkin Temporarily Unavailable." I only had a few minutes at that point since it was so late, so my mind frantically went through every caffeine treat I've tried and loved that could still pair well with our Kiki. Naturally my mind went to chocolate, even though the original treat (which will be made later) was not. A nice consolation, I'd say... Cappuccino Fudge!

I was going to make and post this closer to the holidays because they make great little treats for goodie bags and festive gatherings. Plus, it's fun and easy! I do not like coffee except the super sugary "girly" kind like lattes and frappuccinos, and yet I love this fudge. It's a beautiful blend of rich, creamy chocolate and coffee. I highly recommend using espresso powder, as it seems to amp up the coffee component nicely. Any coffee lover would certainly appreciate this tiny gesture with a special handmade card. :o)

Thank you for visiting me today! I hope you have a sparkly weekend of love, joy, and chocolate. :o)

Cappuccino Fudge

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil. Set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, heavy whipping cream, butter, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Place on cutting board and cut into 36 squares.

Source: Annie's Eats

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridge: Gypsy Wanderings
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Victoria
 * Stamp: C.C. Designs Latte Kiki La Rue
 * Copics: E000, E00 (skin); E25, E31, E37 (hair); V12, V17(dress, shoes); YG11, YG13, RV13 (latte cup)
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Paper: Papertrey Ink
 * Ribbon: Papertrey Ink
 * Miscellaneous: iRock, Shimmer Spritz (sparkle), Stickles


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You're My Sweet Pumpkin

Happy Tuesday, my sweet crafty friends! I hope those in the US had a wonderful long weekend. :o)

With a couple of challenges in mind, I made my very first Autumn/Halloweeny card! The colors of the season are stunning so I was excited to create with them. I decided upon a theme that could work for either a child or a sweetheart. :o)

You're My Sweet Pumpkin:

Isn't she sweet? I wanted to depict a swirling Autumn scene, so I ran my makeshift "sunset" paper through the Cuttlebug and adhered a few leaves to the swirls. (My willy nilly bow kind of fits that theme! Hehe.) A few details not quite picked up by the camera: Her shoes and lollipop are sparkly, the sentiment-holding pumpkin is filled with Glossy Accents to make it like an epoxy brad, and I used my Spica glitter Copic to add sparkly accents to the leaves and pumpkins. The big pumpkin and sweet girl are pop-dotted for dimension. I used my SEI Alpine Frost paper on the bottom to make it look like she's walking along a pine cone-studded path. :o) I love this paper! (And it has tiny splashes of sparkles throughout it.) I finished the card off by drawing a couple Peachy Keen faces to give some character to the pumpkins nestled beneath the tree. (Maybe they're on a date.)

I will admit to one frustration with this card. My second Copics attempt on a sweet stamp did not go as smoothly as the first. I was hoping for improvement! I will certainly make time to practice this week. I think perhaps my limited colors played a bit of a role.. I was trying to blend colors that are pretty far apart in the spectrum. Technique was still a factor, of course. But I still love our Pumpkin Marci. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Bitten by the Bug 2~ Use a tree (My first time playing here! I visited it over the weekend and am super excited.)
 * More Than Favors Wacky Wednesday~ Halloween

Thank you for stopping by today! I wish you a sparkling week of love and beauty. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Critter, Cindy Loo, Simply Charmed
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: D'vine Swirls, Swiss Dots
 * Stamp: La-La Land Crafts Pumpkin Marci
 * Copics: E00, E000, R13 (skin); E25, E25, E31 (hair); YG13, YG17, YR12, YR18, YR31 (costume); V12, V17 (shoes and lollipop); Spica (in clear) for twinkling accents
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Paper: Basic Grey, DCWV, Papertrey Ink, SEI
 * Ribbon: Hobby Lobby
 * Miscellaneous: Brenda Walton rhinestones, Glossy Accents, Stickles


Saturday, September 3, 2011

You Make My Heart Happy and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, sweet friends! I hope your September is already filled with tons of happy memories. :o)

Yesterday was amazing! I crafted and baked, which means my heart was happy dancing. I made a card for a few challenges (although it now appears I missed My Craft Spot), which will be going to a coworker of my sweetheart. I knew all week what I wanted to do, which is one of the reasons I love participating in challenges... one minute you don't know what to design, then the next you check a favorite challenge blog and your mind is racing with possibilities. They are such a blessing!

"You make my heart happy!"

The instant I saw the "Winged Things" challenge, I knew I wanted this butterfly to take center stage. The following day when I saw the yellow challenge, these papers were my first thought. The finishing touch came to pass when my sweet boyfriend surprised me with a bouquet of new ribbon... the very ribbon I've been longing for! Color me excited. He lives near a Hobby Lobby, so he zipped in and picked out several colors of the pretty ribbon he knew I liked. :o)

Butterfly elegance was my goal, so I wanted to make a fairly streamlined card... which doesn't come easy to me. I'm so accustomed to adding a million elements, most often of the cute variety. It was nice to revisit this side of me! ;) All three sparkly patterned papers are from the gorgeous DCWV Lemon Flower stack, which I completely love. I used the silhouette of the butterfly to ensure ample room for the paper's beauty to shine, then simply added a sprinkling of yellow rhinestones for the body and gave her a sparkly black shadow. I envision the pops of yellow to be sundrops, while the ribbon signifies being wrapped in sunshiny warmth. (Essentially a giant, fluttery hug.) I pop-dotted two of the layers, so there's a lovely amount of dimension. :o)

Challenges entered:
Fantabulous Cricut~ A splash of color (yellow)
Getting Cricky~ Winged Things

You know what also makes my heart happy? Chocolate. Cue Sweet Saturday! Ironically, my treat for you this week sort of matches this card... both are dark with pops of color. If you are enamored with rich chocolatey goodness, then we speak the same language and you really need to make these cookies. Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk cookies, to be exact.

Oh my. I knew this was going to be delicious... four forms of chocolate in one cookie? How could it not make my heart flutter? The super dark parts you see are Oreo pieces. These are rich and chewy, an explosion of chocolate in every bite. If anything is troubling you, these surely will make it all better. I confess to eating two of these last night while I finished my card... but in between I had steamed veggies, so I think that nullifies one of them. Right? ;) Make and enjoy these drops of chocolate decadence as soon as possible. :o)

Note: This makes a *ton* of batter. Certainly not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind. If you make smaller cookies, you'll have over three dozen. I prefer huge cookies and it still made a ton. I think I know what I'll be snacking on while watching football today.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, my friends! Thank you for brightening my days. :o)

Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk Cookies
Yield: (at least) 18 jumbo cookies

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup dutch processed cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped white chocolate (or chips)
1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chips)
1 cup chopped Oreos

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

With a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract. Mix until blended well, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until the flour disappears. Stir in the chocolate and Oreos. Drop cookie dough by scant ¼ cups onto baking sheets.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake~ when they start to crack and are set around the outside but still soft in the middle, they are ready to come out. They will set up on the baking sheets. Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridges: Elegant Edges, Florals Embellished, Gypsy Wanderings (tag)
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV
 * Stamp: Scrappy Moms Stamps Quirky Quotes
 * Ribbon: Hobby Lobby
 * Miscellaneous: iRock

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