Cool tags for your gifts – Easter!

 Tags or Place cards

It’s all in the technique …

 

The technique I want to show you is called “Heat embossing” and when I first became interested in papercrafts this fascinated me and still does.   The design you stamp is raised off the surface of the paper and has a glossy shine to it.   The only drawback to this method is that you do have to purchase special supplies – a heat tool, embossing powder and Perfect Medium stamping solution.

Choose your paper be it a card, tag or a design for framing.   Stamp the design using the Perfect Medium and then sprinkle embossing powder onto that. 

I used a copper color which gives it a nice antique look.   Shake off the excess powder and return it to the container for future use (don’t discard).   Then take the heat tool and heat up the powder which will transform before your eyes.    

Something that adds a dramatic look to the tags or card is taking an ink pad and going around the edge and brushing it with color.    You can see that on the lower flower tags here.   I then took a swan design and using my sewing machine slowly attached the swan to a doily – I emphasize slowly since we are working with paper and you don’t want to tear it by sewing too quickly.

You can further attach this design to a box lid or use as a place card with an added little treat for your guests adding the date and their name so they can save as a treasured keepsake.

Pretty sweet, huh?

Which type of Chocolate do you prefer – Dark or Milk Chocolate?  Vote here!

Added to the “Get your Craft On” blog linkup…Thanks!

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Take Home Treat Surprises!

Tradition in our family calls for everyone bringing a dish to share at gatherings.   It may be a holiday event, birthday or graduation or maybe even a Superbowl Party!   Some bring along appetizers or salads or parts of the main course; whatever it may be, we all eat and Eat Well!   Recently we even had the addition of homemade Baileys Irish Cream…..what a treat that was!

True to tradition we will all gather tomorrow for the big football event of the year.   We will be bringing along a layered taco dip – fashioned after the 7 layer salad, but eaten with chips like a dip.   Most times I also bring cookies and candies

… and we munch all day long.   This time I decided to make Treat Surprises that everyone can take home with them.   This way they can enjoy them without that stuffed feeling and space out the enjoyment throughout the week!   Last night I made some Hard Caramel Candies to include in the packages and it is Yummmmy!

I scanned through my Cricut cartridges and found a few I can use to put all the sweets in – not sure which to use or if I will just opt for little plastic bags which might be easier to grab and take.

We also will be celebrating another birthday … look’s like I have my work cut out for me!   Whatever your plans for the weekend … Eat well and Enjoy!!

Potted Herbs as Gifts

Earlier this week I talked about my herbs which I have growing indoors and they are doing Great!   I planted them back in November so give or take 3 months and you have a good crop to harvest for spicing up your meals!   Then I got to thinking about the upcoming holidays and since I am big on homemade gifts…I thought potted herbs are the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or any Birthday!   I have recently acquired the Cricut cartridge “Freshly Picked” and haven’t had time to delve into what it can do.

What I really like about this cartridge is it’s all about Gardening…one of my favorite things in the world.   So today I took some time and made a few seed packets and little paper signs.   This is only a start … I can do so many creative things with this!

I had the herbs growing in the standard black plastic pots so I transplanted them into nicer terra-cotta pots.   You can decorate the pots any way you desire, any color and even personalize them with names, dates, etc.

Add a packet of those saved seeds you kept from your garden last year and you have a spectacular homemade gift!   You can even include some garden themed chocolates…..Yum!         Perfect!!

I Love to Bake!

I could bake all day long, day after day, and never get bored!   I try to bake healthy using whole wheat flour and adding flaxseed or applesauce as substitutes for higher calorie ingredients.   With our current empty-nester status it is not as common to find me baking away in the kitchen these days, but you can bet I am always searching for a new recipe or two to try out.   This weekend I have a family birthday to celebrate and I plan to bake up a bunch of goodies.   The main attraction will be the birthday cake of course and chocolate candies which has been my latest fascination.

I do have some different flavors I will be experimenting with this week – these are filled with a peppermint ganache and melt in your mouth!   I have also decided to explore decorating the candies and cake with a bit more fancy details.   In the past, I normally would just use store-bought frosting mix and tube icing to decorate.   Researching a bit I have discovered two different homemade frosting or icing I am anxious to try.   Having often wondered about the two but falling short of actually looking into them I would just grab the store-bought can of mix.   Buttercream frosting and Royal icing are the star players I am referring to here.   Buttercream is more creamy and has more flavor whereas the royal icing dries hard and can be used to make flowers and other decorations.

You want to keep the Buttercream Frosting in the refrigerator when not using and it will keep for 2 weeks but must be whipped again before using.   The Royal Icing sets quickly, so keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times to prevent drying.

                                                    and Speaking of Snow……

Here is a cute recipe that is perfect for this time of year.    I am sure young and old alike would enjoy it!

Candy in the Snow – Only one ingredient and a generous snowfall needed.   Gently boil 1/2 cup of maple syrup until it has thickened, for about 5 minutes.   Fill a bowl with clean snow and drizzle the hot syrup over it.  The syrup will harden into “candy” you can eat with your fingers.

Press those Flowers!

~ Now is the  time to bring a little summer sunshine into your surroundings ~  and I will show you how!

With temperatures dipping well below zero and winds gusting outside with a high pitch screech and lasting echo, it’s hardly time to think hot summer days.   Let’s … for a moment … forget the current outdoor conditions and relish in the past … the hot days spent lounging poolside, gathering flowers to adorn the table and taking a few sprigs here and there and “pressing them” to save for later.   As we gaze into the fire as we sip our hot cocoa, we can envision the swaying sunflowers dancing in the breeze.     Let’s talk flowers!

Using pressed flowers is not a new idea … earlier this year I created this post and it is an easy art to conquer.   I think we simply overlook all the possibilities to save those moments of celebration.   Saving our corsages, bouquets or even a bundle of  flowers picked up from the market will extend the memory and bring joy long after the event has passed.

My stash of saved pressed foliage has a variety of flowers, ferns and even herbs that were picked and pressed in heavy phone books for several weeks to several months.   I always thought the flower had to be small and flat to press successfully, but I have had great success with bigger and thicker flowers as well.   The trick is using heavier weights and longer drying time.

Working out your design and what you intend to create using your pressed flowers should be fun and care taken to handle the flowers carefully since they are now rather fragile.   Tweezers are ideal for handling and if petals or stems break off, you can glue right back into place.   The recommended glue to use for placement and also sealing is a product called Mod Podge.   It can be found at craft stores – most supermarkets also carry this product.

A favorite design I enjoy is using the flowers on cards for special occasions and special people.   There are many ways to use your precious flowers and there is no limit on what your imagination can create.

As you browse through the gardening catalogs on these cold snowy days, envision the colorful, fragrant fields of flowers you can grow or better yet… Jump in the car and head to the store for a bundle of beauty!   Enjoy them now and save some for later!

Chocolate Candy Making is No Easy Task!

For years I have made homemade chocolate candies for the holidays!   I would simply buy the candy wafers at the hobby store, melt them down and pour them into the candy molds.   I have been creative at different times and added swirls or peanut butter inside and even made turtles one year with pecans and caramel.   Everyone  loved the creations and I was always proud!  

I rarely indulged in the creations since I found the candy wafers too sweet for my liking.   So this year I got to thinking ….. maybe I should make some good “gourmet” chocolate and I started researching.

This candy book I had picked up some time ago and never really looked at it.   Now I find it listed as a collector item ….. and it has my attention!   I also ordered these books recently and realized that working with chocolate is an art and takes quite a bit of skill!!

The chocolate wafers I have been using are actually a coating and not the real stuff.   The good gourmet chocolate can be purchased over the internet and does cost quite a bit more than the wafer coatings.   I also learned a very important major difference ….. a process called tempering.   This is where you melt down the good chocolate to a specific temperature, let it cool to a specific temperature and then heat it back up slightly in order to work with it and give it that gloss and crunch that goes along with a good chocolate bar.   There are also various fillings and caramels and techniques that need to be mastered and I fully realize that Chocolate Candy Making is No Easy Task!

There are truffles and fudge and candy molds to fill ….. but to be very honest, I think if I have even one more tiny teeny piece of any kind of sweet stuff right now I will lapse into a shivering blob of sugar.   What I really, really want to do is create the ultimate healthy gourmet candy and infuse it with basils, lavenders and all things that remind me of the flavors from gardening!   I do miss my garden once again ………..

Hoping everyone enjoyed the first round of holiday festivities and Wishing you all a  ………  Happy New Year!!!

FIVE Winners!

I had so much fun making these labels and really like how they look so I decided to have five winners instead of  just one!   Thank you to everyone that left a comment – I sincerely appreciate your time and kind words.   The winners are –

Cheryl Delaney BarbraJenn Tidwell Kathleen and Rebecca!

All you have to do is send your mailing address to mailbox@therunninggarlic.com and I will send your packette along to you!

Thanks again to everyone!