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September 11 Service Thanks – Cards

Hello Craft Friends,

I posted yesterday about a September 11 baking event that I did, and wanted to continue with the cards that I made to go with them for the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Offices.

thank you service members card american flag call of duty stars & stripes

Thank you cards!

Now, keep in mind that these were made by me for a work-sponsored volunteer opportunity, so not officially “my company” doing this at all. Also keep in mind that I wrote the messages mostly the same for all 8 locations that I provided thank you baked goods for, with differences only in the cards’ fronts!

Start with some blank card stock cards, like these from Hobby Lobby or Michaels:

card stock blank card envelope hobby lobby

Hobby Lobby Blank Cards

Then add a few stickers like these American Flags and Heroes Stickers:

hobby lobby american heroes stickers honor brave pride courage call of duty

hobby lobby american flag stickers

Stick one flag and one heroes sticker on the front of each card. Write “Thank You” in big letters in the middle of the stickers in a Calligraphy, Cursive, Block or Funky Script. On the inside of the card, write a little (or big) note with a normal pen, and sign it with a Calligraphy (or other fancy) pen – again using one of the script styles of your choice!

calligraphy pens fine point card making hobby lobby

Calligraphy Pens for Card Making

You can find inspiration from the heart or from quotes and other cards to make your inside design!

thank you service members card american flag call of duty stars stripes card front

Thank you cards – front!

thank you service members card american flag call of duty stars stripes inside message

Thank you cards – inside!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Bittersweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Hello Frosting Fans!

I made another frosting recently that I think you’ll enjoy! This one I used food coloring to dye a green, to go with my friend’s Birthday Cupcakes, since that is her favorite color. But that part is definitely optional!

Bittersweet Chocolate Buttercream – YUM!

To start, if you do want to use food coloring, I highly recommend you get this from Hobby Lobby, or this one from Michael’s, or something similar from whatever crafting store you frequent! I prefer the Wilton Icing Color Set, but the Duff’s will work just as well!

Wilton Green Icing Color

So to make this delicious and pretty confection, I started with the basics for any self-respecting buttercream frosting: creaming 1 cup of slightly softened unsalted butter with 2 tspn vanilla extract and 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder until nice and smooth. Once this is smoothed out, add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and another 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and mix on high speed until well blended. Once this gets to a smooth state, IF you need it a little thicker, then add in another 1/2 – 3/4 cup of powdered sugar by 1/4 cup increments, and blend until smooth.

To color: Take a fresh toothpick, swirl it in your food coloring until you have a pretty good and thick layer on your toothpick, and ‘wipe it off’ into your frosting. I basically took the lower half of a toothpick and got a gob of green on it, had the mixer still going and so swirled the green into the frosting as it mixed in, literally wiping off the frosting on the toothpick (with the extra coloring included) to keep mixing it. I ended up doing this process 3 times – I used one toothpick on either end, plus one side of another toothpick, to get the desired color which is pictured above. Store in a bag and let it cool for at least 2 hours, or overnight. If it’s solid, just let it sit for 5 minutes and come to room temp before putting onto your cupcakes or cakes!

Frosted and delicious!

NOTE: You don’t want to keep dipping your toothpick end you’re using into the color repeatedly, because it will leave behind the frosting residue, which could cause bacteria and contamination on future uses for other frostings!

The flavor of this frosting comes out very bittersweet, but still incredibly chocolate-deliciously. It is not overly chocolatey (though adding more chocolate would fix that), and it’s not overly sweet, but it’s just a perfect meld of bittersweet chocolate. I hope you enjoy this, and please let me know you’re

Craft You Later,
Beth

To Olive or to Vinegar…

Hey everyone!

I am taking a break from beer today to discuss a new cooking shop find, courtesy of my friend Mary. We went a long period of time without seeing each other so, as friends, decided to remedy that last night. We also decided to get productive for her pre-wedding craft preparations.

 

Please Note: Mary has 2 cats who are adorable but insane (as cats are prone to being). 😉 Love you Dom & Bob!!!! So she needed someone there who they are timid around so we could actually get the crafts done without them becoming cat toys!

So I agree to bring a bottle of wine and Mary says she’ll feed me for helping her out. Because I really need incentive to a) see my friend, or b) be crafty. Hah! Again, I say HA! 😉

So without spoiling the craft ideas that she came up with for her centerpieces, which we put together, let me just say that the stuff she found at Hobby Lobby is freaking perfect for her. They are doing a Rockabilly/Rocker style wedding, and not so surprisingly Hobby Lobby had a slew of great stuff for this color and pattern wise. So we had fun doing that. But no pictures or more details until later… 😛 Nice try, though friends.

No, this entry is about food. Yummy delicious food. And a new take-all-my-money-and-give-me-yummies website that I found. In her travels, Mary found this GREAT shop in Santa Cruz, California, called The True Olive Connection. I. Am. In. Love. And so is my tummy.

So Mary made a delicious chicken, melt-on-your-tongue delicious chicken. To accompany this chicken, she steamed cauliflower and topped it with a bit of Brummel & Brown’s Yogurt Spread. Delicious again.

Then she poured some Serrano Honey Vinegar into a saucepan and sautéed some spinach. This added a bit of a zing to the spinach that was tempered by the sweet. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too spicy – it was a perfect subtle balance of flavor. And delicious again.

Then we had the toasted bread and dipping sauce. You’ve seen many Italian restaurants (large and small) doing this – you combine olive oil with spices and sometimes balsamic vinegar, swirl it all together, and voilà – a dipping sauce that is heart healthy. This is even better. This is a dipping sauce to write home about. Truly. I did, twice, today.

Combine the following in a dish that has a lip around the edge – or a bowl: a few spoon-fulls of Blood Orange Olive Oil and half that amount of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Taste this and make sure you are sitting down. You will have a moment, I promise you. It’s like dessert but not. It’s bread with all the flavors of dessert and none of the calories of adding it in. It is heart healthy ambrosia. It is delicious. Oh, and I dipped my chicken in this wondrous concoction also – heaven! I love my dessert, but I didn’t need any after this. Just a nap. 🙂

To go with this awesomeness, I brought a 2009 3 Muses California Merlot (we had an accidental theme going here for Cali!), which was very yummy, slightly fruity with undertones of chocolate.

So yes this is Mary, not me, who is creating this wonderfulness, however we both love to cook. So when Mary saw my face, she had to show me the store name, and add in that they ship. So there goes part of a pay check, haha!

I am placing this order this week, and I plan to experiment weekly with these wonders – and have no fear, I will keep you in the loop on them! 😉
Medium Bottle Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
Medium Bottle Blood Orange Olive Oil
Medium Bottle Serrano Honey Vinegar
Sample Bottle Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (1/6)
Sample Bottle Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar (2/6)
Sample Bottle Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (3/6)
Sample Bottle Chipotle Olive Oil (4/6)
Sample Bottle Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil (5/6)
Sample Bottle Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil (6/6)

I am already imagining different pairings for chicken, pork, turkey and ham for these delicious options. So keep watching to see what I come up with. But in the meantime, check out this little shop in Santa Cruz and see what you can think of to try. Let me know if you come up with any good concoctions!

Craft you later,
Beth

Snowflakes falling in my globe!

So a friend of mine has a great blog with her sister, twodelighted, and a few entries ago they posted this great craft idea where they recreated the Anthropologie $45 Snow Globe (non-liquid). And not for $45. Yay for DIY genius!!!

I decided to attempt it, so I went to Hobby Lobby and spent a whopping $17.82. I bought a high-temp glue gun, glow-in-the-dark glue sticks, 2 mason jars with lids (one wide-mouth & one smaller), white glitter, a 4-pack of miniature evergreen trees, a pack of miniature light strands, and a pack of miniature white doves.

Gotta love trying to craft something and finding out that WHOOPS there was a dust bunny living there, or AYEYAYAY how does a grease splat appear there in the middle of my beautiful creation?!? So in the interest of avoiding the Home Alone face-slaps, I started off by wiping the jars down with a cottonball soaked with rubbing alcohol. Next I cut the light strand into 4 equal lengths, and hot-glued one length around each of 3 trees to look like a Christmas tree. Then I hot-glued a few doves on each of the trees. Taking the lids off the mason jars, I hot-glued the trees in the middle of the round inserts of the lids (not along the edges – give the tree space!). I spread a little extra hot glue around the base of the lids, and on the trees, then sprinkled the glitter all around – over a large bowl! Man that stuff spreads around like wildfire in a drought! Let this dry about 5 minutes, which lets you de-gunk your fingers from all that glue you have on you now (don’t lie, you know it’s there!).

I took the excess glitter, and about 1/4″ inch more, and dumped it into the actual mason jar. Then I took the tree-decked-out lid and carefully put it (upside down) into the jar, and screwed the lid on tight. Up-end the snow globe and watch the glitter fall all around your pretty trees – and not all over you! 🙂 Best part is that you can adjust whatever you need to as you go, just make sure that you shake the jar (upside down, lid-side-up) a few times to make sure no glitter is lying in wait, ready to scream FREEEEEDOM!!!! once you take the tree-lid out. 😉 That is my clean advice for you. Nice thing is that I have enough to make one more smaller jar, if I just pick up 1 more $1.29 jar from Hobby Lobby! So thanks to the girls of twodelighted, for under $20 I have 3 Snow Globe Jars that would have cost over double that each from Anthropologie! Take a peek and let me know what you think of my attempt!

Next up for the Snow Globe Project: figuring out how to make them with liquid and non-clumping glitter! 😉

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