Jun 3, 2008
What I've Been Working On

Hello everyone,

I've been extremely busy for the past few months. I just got back from a conference in Boston, Massachusetts and I've been adding cards to my greeting card site on Greeting Card Universe.

I've got TWO pregnant friends; so, I've got to put 2 baby quilts together over the next few months. I've started on one. Some day I will make the time to post some photos. Also, I've been coordinating my church's vacation bible school. We have a B.O.O.T. CAMP theme this year - Biblical Outlook and Outreach Training. It's going to be a lot of fun, but I will be glad to wrap it up on next week so that I can focus on some of the other things I need to take care of this summer.

If you are in need of paper greeting cards, check out the site below. The cards are able to be customized and you can mail them from the comfort of your home.


http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/community/store.asp?store_id=1081&gcu=41822416886


Have a great day and until next time ...
Happy Crafting!



Posted at 03:48 pm by JanieE
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Feb 1, 2008
Busy, Busy, Busy

I've been extremely busy. Besides working and dealing with life, I've managed to find time to  design cards, make quilts and volunteer.


Here's some of what I've been doing:
http://imani-art.blogspot.com/2008/01/what-ive-been-up-to.html


Have a great weekend!

Happy Crafting,

- Janie

Posted at 02:55 pm by JanieE
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Aug 20, 2007
Craft Trends

2008 craft trends according to the Craft Association:

- Handmade crafting is still in, but people are looking for items that are simple and elegant.

- If crafting for the home, try pink and very bright colors.

- Simple and conservative is the way to go. Embellish with small simple motifs, ribbon, embroidery and monograms.

- The distressed look is out.

- Beading is in.

- Paper crafting is taking on a simple, elegant look. Less is more.

- Scrapbooking products are a hot ticket item. Handmade greeting cards are elegant, upscale with attention to detail.

- Metal crafting is in.

- New offerings in elegant yarns is giving needle crafting a boost in popularity.

- Mixed Media Collage is in. A mixture of crafting and fine art. (I am excited about this one,)

- Themes: self indulgence, self esteem, spirituality, communication, positive energy, beauty and everything women hold dear,

- One of a kinds are appealing to this population,

- Art Quilting is in. (I have been afraid to try this but I'm really fascinated.)

- Faux painting on any and everything is in.

- Urban culture is influencing crafting more and more.

- Stripes and polka dots are in.

- The safari look is out.

- The new modern look includes a mixture of nature and texture.


Wow, I can't believe it has been a year since my last post. I've been doing a little here and there. And now that I can add photos, I will go back and post a few of my projects. Until next time ... Happy Crafting!


Posted at 08:16 am by JanieE
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Aug 8, 2006
August Update

I still haven't done anything on my Christmas list yet. Although I did purchase a couple of gifts this weekend to give to friends and coworkers. I have to start and finish a miniature painting this month for a group that I am a part of. I've found one of my old sketches that I wanted to do in watercolor - so, I guess I will do that.

ABOUT MINIATURE PAINTING:
A miniature is a very small painting; usually no more than 5x7 inches. Historically, miniatures were painted on vellum for use on greeting cards. These are also easily framed and displayed. Miniature artists, Holbein the Younger, Isaac Oliver and Samuel Cooper, were known for the incredible details in their miniatures.

I've got some pictures of past and present crafts that I would like to share and I will post them soon. I recently stumbled onto this Learn How to Paint site of Darrell Crow. He offer a free DVD on painting water themes in oil.

http://www.darrellcrow.biz/

Just click on the FREE DVD link and enter your mailing information to receive it. I've found it very informative but I still haven't made time to sit down with it and use it.

Well, until next time ...

Happy Crafting!

Posted at 11:07 am by JanieE
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Jul 31, 2006
Christmas in July?



Every year I tell myself that "next year I am going to start my Christmas shopping/gift making in July." Well, it's technically still July!  ; )

This year I would like to:

- complete at least one painting that I will use for Christmas cards
- complete at least one baby quilt/blanket (I would really like to be able to give one to a family friend and one to the local Save-A-Life organization
- pour and paint plastercraft to give to the members of a women's ministry at church
- make my traditional fabric gift bags (I fill these with small gifts like teas, lotions, handmade ornaments, etc.  for family and friends)

These are the things I'd really like to complete this year. Anyone else use their creative talents for gift giving? Who has actually started on things for Christmas? Please feel free to share your tips and ideas.

I see that this site has been updated so that I may be able to post photos of my crafts as I complete them. I hope to try that out! I have been extremely busy this year editing a book and volunteering. I am going to try to set aside some time for my crafts and get a headstart on Christmas this year.

Until next time ... Happy Crafting



(P.S. Hello to the Hugs and Hope group from Dabbles and Doodles!)

Posted at 04:19 pm by JanieE
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Aug 23, 2005
Home and Beauty Recipes

Recently, I came across some really simple home and beauty recipes that I want to share with you. I am still making cards and quilts (I have one quilt almost finished). I've been a little distracted the past few months with other things but plan to get back to my crafting in time for the holidays.

Foot Scrub

2 Tablespoons Canola oil
2 Tablespoons sand
3-5 drops rosemary oil

Combine and mix into a paste.

TO USE: Massage scrub onto feet. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply moisturizer.



Green Tea Toner

1/2 c water
2 t green tea leaves

Boil water. Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves in a clean heat resistant container. Let steep for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and allow the liquid to cool.

TO USE: Use a clean cotton ball to apply liquid to face. Do not rinse.



Wrinkle Release
(I haven't tried this - use with caution)

Fill a spray bottle, half with tap water and the other half with white alcohol. Spray onto wrinkled clothing to release wrinkles.




Shower Cleanser

Fill spray bottle with two tablespoons (it's okay to guess) of the Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Add two teaspoons of the white vinegar (again, it's okay to guess) then fill the rest with tap water. Shake mixture. Use to clean bathroom and showers as needed. I hope that you will find some of these useful. Until next time ... Happy Crafting

Posted at 03:38 pm by JanieE
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Feb 28, 2005
Farewell, February!

Hello everyone,




I tried to sew a last minute baby quilt over the weekend only to have my sewing machine lock up. I am certain that I could have completed the project if everything cooperated. Now I will go to the local jeweler and pick up a silver rattle or something like that. I hope to make a couple of quilts BEFORE I need them next time. Something always goes wrong when you are rushing.



MOCK STAINED GLASS



Now I need to turn my attention to Easter. I've got cards to make and crafting to do. I need to come up with some ideas for my sister's Sunday School class (ages 2-6) that she teaches. I am sure that I want to try mock stain-glass cards. The stained glass portion is made with coffee filters and water-based markers. (Draw a pattern on the coffee filter with water-based markers then spritz with water. Let dry.) I will use these as backgrounds for various shaped templates that I cut out for cards. Example - Cut out the shape of a cross on a rectangular piece of paper. Place and glue the color-stained coffee filter behind it. Trim away excess. I am going to experiment with watercolor pencils and paint for this task. I will let you know how it goes.




CHOCOLATE LIP BALM



INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons Cocoa Butter (available in the pharmacy)

1/2 tsp. cocoa powder

1 Vitamin E capsule

1/4 teaspoon almond oil (or cooking oil)



DIRECTIONS:

Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave. Add the chocolate and stir. Add Vitamin E and Oil. Vitamin E is a natural preservative. Stir until extremely smooth. Pour into a small container. Experiment a little with the oils and remember to be careful when using the microwave - don't burn yourself.



(I haven't tried this one)








I got this recipe from a Gift in a Jar group that I belong to. It sounds delicious, but, I haven't tried it yet.



Rice Pilaf Mix



1 cup long-grain, converted rice

Flavor Packet

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups hot water



Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Saute the rice,
stirring constantly, until it takes on a translucent quality; do not let the
kernels pop. Slowly stir in the water, then the Flavor Packet; bring to a
full boil; cover and lower heat. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until nearly
all of liquid is absorbed and the rice looks just a bit too moist to serve.
Turn off heat and let stand for 10 minutes before uncovering and serving.
Each recipe makes one flavor packet. Also, these recipes are meant for
bouillon cubes that mix with 8 oz. of water. If you prefer to substitute
bouillon cubes that mix with 6 oz. of water, or powder, you will need to
figure the differences accordingly. Three 8 oz. cubes equal four 6 oz. cubes




Chicken

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes

3 dashes pepper




Beef

3 beef bouillon cubes, crushed

3 dashes pepper

Onion

3 onion or beef bouillon cubes, crushed

2 teaspoons dried minced or chopped onion

3 dashes pepper



Mushroom

3 chicken or beef bouillon cubes, crushed

2 tablespoons dried mushroom slices, in bits

3 dashes pepper




Celery

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

3 tablespoons dried celery flakes

3 dashes pepper



Curry

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

1 teaspoon curry powder



Saffron

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

1 pinch saffron

1 pinch turmeric




Oriental

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

1 onion bouillon cube, crushed

2 teaspoons dried celery flakes

2 teaspoons dried mushroom slices, in bits

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

dash of powdered ginger

* add several dashes soy sauce to cooking water




Spanish

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

2 tablespoons dried green pepper flakes

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

dash of chili powder

* add 2 tablespoons tomato paste to cooking water



I thought that these might be nice to try for Easter:



JELLO COOKIES



Cookie mix -


1/2 cup sugar

1 (3 oz.) package Jello -- any flavor (orange, lemon, cherry)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups flour

Mix ingredients well (makes about 4 cups).




Attach directions for baking the cookies:



Jello Cookie Mix

Mix 3/4 cup shortening, 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla together in a bowl. Add mix. Stir. Roll cookies into small balls. Place them on greased cookie sheets, then dip the bottom of a glass in sugar and press onto dough until flat. Bake at 350ƒ for 7-10 minutes until done but not browned. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.



CRAFTY TIPS:



- Water your house plants with ice cubes instead of water.

- Use paper tablecloths as gift wrap.




Until next time ...


Happy Crafting



- Janie


Posted at 03:43 pm by JanieE
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Feb 22, 2005
Recipe Exchange Results

I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of the recipes I received from the Recipe Exchange in January. Although I didn't receive 35 recipes, I did get some really nice ones to try. I am happy to share them with you all. Here they are:

RECIPE EXCHANGE

Carrot Cake Cookies

   1/2 cup butter, softened
   1 cup brown sugar
   2 eggs
   1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
   3/4 cup shredded carrots
   1 cup raisins
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
   1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stir in the crushed pineapple, carrots and raisins. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into the carrot mixture. Mix in the walnuts if desired. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottoms begin to brown and cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe. Oh, well - back to work.

submitted by Janie Brown

Lemon Pepper Crock Pot Chicken

Ingredients

2-4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 whole lemon
Lemon Pepper seasoning
non stick cooking spray
Directions

Spray crock with non stick cooking spray. Lay 2-4 frozen chicken breasts in bottom of crock. Wash lemon and slice in half. Squeeze juice over chicken and set rest of lemon in crockpot. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper seasoning. Cover, cook on low for 8-10 hrs.

submitted by Heather Clark

I originally got a version of this recipe from my mom who made the cookie crust from "scratch".  This version is from the Food Network - Semi Homemade.  I've used all sorts of fruit and jam with good results, but I usually don't cook them quite as long as they suggest below.  They are a lot like Fig Newtons.

Raspberry Cookie Bars

Ingredients

1 package (18-ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup chopped pecans


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square glass baking dish with enough foil so there is an overhang on 2 sides. Mix cookie dough with lemon extract, kneading to combine. With damp fingers, press 2/3 of dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Spread jam over dough. Crumble remaining dough evenly over top of jam. Scatter pecans over top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned around edges and cooked through in center. Let cool in pan. Lift edges of foil to remove bars. Cut into 2-inch squares or diagonally into pennant shapes.

submitted by Maria Folmar

Pecan Brittle

1 1/2 Cups pecan Halves or pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon butter


Sprinkle nuts with sugar & warm them in a low oven.  Mix the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat slowly, stirring until sugar is dissolve.  Continue cooking over moderate heat. Mixture is ready when a small amount dropped in a cup of cold water becomes brittle (260 degrees on a candy thermometer).  Remove from heat and stir in butter and warm nuts.  Pour immediately onto a buttered cookie sheet.  As soon as the brittle is cool enough to handle, cut into squares, and wrap in wax paper.  Or wait until completely cooled & break into irregular pieces.

submitted by Sarah Burney

Rum Cake

1 c. chopped pecans
1 box golden butter recipe cake mix (Duncan hines)
1 small instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c light rum
1/2 c water
1/2 c oil


mix together & put in tube pan or bundt - 1 hour at 350

Glaze:

1 stick butter
1 c sugar
1/4 c rum
1/4 c water


Bring to boil for 3 minutes, pour over hot cake (in pan) and leave in pan 1 hour before removing. Keeps 5 days in refrigerator.

submitted by Carolyn Link

Pork Chops & Rice One Dish Meal

6 med. chops (seasoned to taste)
1 medium can of stewed tomatoes
1-1 ½ cups of rice uncooked
1 tsp margarine or baking spray (whichever you prefer)

Prepare a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish with the margarine or baking spray.  Place the uncooked  rice in the bottom of the Pyrex dish, then your seasoned chops and topped with the medium can of stewed tomatoes.  Cover with plastic wrap and foil.  Make sure the foil is turned shiny side inwards and tucked edges.  Cook for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.  

This is so good.  My play mother gave me this recipe years ago when she started keeping my little girl.  She said it was a dish every working mother should know about.  Everything in one dish.

submitted by Ernestine Morris

Quick and Easy Lasagne  

1 lb of ground beef
3-4 layers of Lasagne noodles (which is about12-16 noodles)
4 tsp of your favorite seasonings(I use: seasoned salt, blck pepper, creole seasoning,)total of 4tsp
1/2 onion chipped
1/2 green bell pepper chipped
1 clove of fresh garlic
4 bags of your favorite shredded cheese (I use: mozarella, parmesan, cheddar, Italian mix)
1 tblspn of ricotta cheese
16-24oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu)
 

*preheat your oven to 400 degrees
*cook meat, once meat is half way done mix in: seasonings, bell pepper, onion, garlic
*once meat and above ingredients are cooked; drain meat
*in a large saucepan mix meat, spaghetti sauce, and ricotta cheese
*now layer your pan with noodles, then add meat mixture, and then 1 bag of shredded cheese
*follow the above routine until meat mixture is used up
*SAVE THE ITALIAN MIX OR MOZARELLA CHEESE FOR YOUR TOP LAYER
*Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, then DINNER IS READY
*I use Kraft cheeses as well

*GOOD LUCK

submitted by Yolanda Felton

Cornbread Salad

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 ounce) package corn bread mix
10 slices bacon
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (11 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DIRECTIONS:

Prepare corn bread according to package directions. Cool, crumble, and set aside. Place bacon in a large deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Whisk together the dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Crumble half the corn bread in the bottom of a large serving dish. Top with half the beans. Layer the beans with half of the tomatoes, green bell pepper, and green onions. Sprinkle with half the cheese, corn, bacon, and the salad dressing mixture. Repeat the layers. Cover, and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

submitted by Nakia Levett

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
2 large eggs
½ cup all -purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) Nestle' Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped nuts
sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)


Preheat: oven to 325 degrees F

Beat: eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.

Bake: for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between outside edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream.  (Makes 8 servings)

* if using frozen pie shell, use deep-dish style, thawed completely. Bake on baking sheet increase baking time slightly.   

Enjoy... it's really good, and easy too!

submitted by Cheryl Forrester

Excellent Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients: 1 1/4 pounds cooked cubed chicken
1 package (8 oz.) Mexican cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cumin
1 package (12) tortillas
19 oz. enchiladas sauce
3/4 cup half & half


Preparation:

Heat oven to 350.

Mix chicken, 1/2 Mexican cheese, all cheddar cheese, and spices. Whisk together enchiladas sauce and half and half.

Dip one side of tortillas into sauce and put chicken mixture onto wet side. Roll up and place in casserole dish, continue till done.

Pour left over sauce onto roll ups and cover with remaining cheese. Cover with tinfoil or lid and cook for 15 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

submitted by Donna Keebler-Bylsma

Carrot Bread

 1-1/2 cups flour
 1 tsp. baking soda
 2 tsp. baking powder
 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
 1/2 tsp. salt
 1 cup oil
 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
 3 eggs
 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
 1/2 cup raisins
 1 cup finely shredded carrots

 1. Sift first five ingredients into a mixing bowl.
 2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, and eggs.
 3.. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture; mix well.
 4. Add the next 4 ingredients, stir again.
 5. Grease and flour a 9" square pan or 5 mini loaf pans. (Fill the pans 2.3 full with batter).
 6. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. (Mini loaves about 30-35 minutes).

submitted by Janie Brown

SWEDISH APPLE PIE

1 egg
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. raw apple (chopped or sliced)
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts


Mix together. Put into an 8 inch pie pan, well buttered. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves six.
Great recipe for last minute desserts, because you have the incredients!

submitted by Mary Burkhart

Taco Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans (16oz ea) Mexican style chili beans, undrained
1 can (16oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (16oz) chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (4 1/2 oz) chopped green chilies
1 pkg (1 1/4oz) taco seasoning mix
1 pkg (1oz) dry Ranch style salad dressing mix


Cook ground beef and onion in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat is browned, stirring until it crumbles; drain. Stir in beans and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

submitted by Lydia Walls

Thanks to everyone who participated in the recipe exchange.

I've been busy making cards and I even squeezed in enough time to make a crib-sized quilt for a friend. I machine sewed the basic quilt together and finished it off with intricate hand stitching (clouds). This one was a baby blue, bear/cloud quilt with 100% cotton batting and a 100% white cotton backing. I've noticed that the more hand stitching I do, the better I get at it and the more consistent the stitching becomes.

Until next time ...

Happy Crafting!


Posted at 09:48 am by JanieE
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Jan 25, 2005
A New Year

I hope that everyone had a nice time during the holidays. I certainly did.

My handmade Christmas gifts were quite popular this year. Everyone liked the fabric gift bags that I used for most of my wrapping. I will include some of the more popular items below.

Now it is time to prepare for Valentine's Day. This year I purchased small valentine gift bags to give to my daughter's class of 18 students, her teachers, her Sunday School class and her cousins that she sees often. (I considered making V-Day bags - white lunch bags with red heart-shaped doilies glued or stapled to them.) And, if I have enough bags left over, I will even include my co-workers on the list. This year I am also observing "Random Acts of Kindness" week (Feb. 14-20). I have made a small list of people who I would like to give a gift to for absolutely no reason. This should be alot of fun. I plan to give/make gift baskets, special treats, fruit baskets, etc. I have lots of work to do, so, until next time ...

Happy Crafting!



MY MOST POPULAR GIFT ITEMS FOR CHRISTMAS 2004

Fabric bags

I put everything in my fabric bags:

candy treats

movie packs which included hot chocolate packs, snack size microwave popcorn, Dove chocolates, and peppermint - the teenagers on my list loved these

apple cider, sparkling grape and cranberry juices

candles with glass votive holders - I added small embellishments to these with stickers and/or paint

homemade peanut brittle (microwave)

homemade gourmet cookies

FABRIC BAGS

First I determined what size I needed for the majority of my fabric bags. Then I added an inch to this measurement (double this). I folded and ironed the fabric in half and sewed two sides (leaving the folded edge on the bottom). Sew on the wrong side and then turn fabric inside out. To finish the gift bag I used a nice complimentary color ribbon and tied it in a bow. I found that fat quarters made three bags (holds a quart size storage bag nicely). I used fleece and cotton fabrics in Christmas colors and fabrics. I received so many compliments on this that I used up all of my leftover Christmas fabric to make bags for next year.

I absolutely will have to share my recipe for the Peanut Brittle. It was delicious! Also, for those of you who are interested please feel free to join in on this Recipe Swap that I am involved with. I will be sure to share all of the recipes that I collect from this. (See below)

This is an invitation to try a recipe exchange.  Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in the number 1 position below.  Then copy this letter to a new e-mail and move my name to the number 1 position and put your name in the number 2 position.  Only your name and my name should appear in the body of the e-mail when you mail it out.  You should e-mail it to 10 or more people.  If you cannot do this within 5 days please let me know so it will be fair to those participating.  You should receive 36 recipes.  It is also fun to see where they come from.

 1. Diane Clifton cliftsh@auburn.edu
2. Janie Brown echolja@auburn.edu



Posted at 03:42 pm by JanieE
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Nov 23, 2004
Happy Crafting!

The holidays are creeping up on us. I am definitely making photo cards (featuring a photo of my daughter from last christmas) this year for friends and family. I needed 60 last year and expect to need at least 75 this year. The hardest part is selecting which photo from last year to use. I try to have the Christmas cards ready to go on Thanksgiving Day and I include a message from my family on each card so that I don't have to sign each one and I can include a personal message only if I choose to.

Next on my agenda is to select a menu for Thanksgiving dinner. Traditionally, my family serves Turkey, gravy, cornbread dressing, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, collard greens or green beans, corn on the cob, candied yams or a sweet potato souffle and a cobbler or cake for dessert. If I serve turkey for Thanksgiving, I will serve a ham for Christmas. I love the holidays. This year I am going to try extra hard to get things done in advance and not get overwhelmed at the last minute with gift buying and housework. I will start tonight.



Here are some more ideas that I am considering using this year for holiday treats and/or gifts: ORNAMENT DOUGH RECIPES

BAKER'S CLAY

Dough art can be cut, shaped, etc. It doesn't usually crack and can be painted or used in it's natural state. I have made this dough in the past and found it acceptable. However, during the baking process, my angels became a bit puffy. Turned out really cute though.

When the baked piece is cool, paint with acrylics as desired. Brush or spray on a finishing coat of polyurethane to seal and protect piece.

Recipe

4 cups white flour

1 cup salt

1 1/2 cups water

Paste food coloring (optional)



Mix flour and salt in bowl until well blended and smooth. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to mix for a few minutes. Slowly add remaining water while turning the dough in the bowl. Gather the dough in a ball, working in any dry flour and salt left at the bottom of the bowl. Knead dough for about five minutes. Knead in food coloring if desired.

Shape dough, as desired, and place on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Bake in a 250-300 degree F (120-150 degree C) oven until hard (about five minutes for 1"-2" pieces).



BREAD DOUGH

I haven't used this recipe but have heard lots about it. It can be pinched, rolled, ruffled, and stamped. It is a delicate dough, ideal for jewelry and other small pieces. Bread dough will keep for weeks when tightly sealed and refrigerated.

Bread dough does not need a protective finish; unsealed, it resembles bisque. For a soft sheen, brush the piece with a mixture of equal amounts of water and glue. For a high gloss, brush with the glue-water mixture and let dry. Then give the pieces several coats of lacquer, letting dry between coats.

2 slices white bread

4 Tbs. white glue

Tempera paint (optional)

Remove crusts from bread and discard. Tear remaining bread into tiny pieces. Place in a bowl and add glue. Stir with a spoon until the mixture forms a ball. Knead until smooth, adding paint as desired. Shape piece; place on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry.



SALT DOUGH

(taken off of a website - I really want to try this one)

Salt dough has a sparkly texture. It is heavy and strong and is especially suited for large or standing pieces, such as plaques or trivets, or as foundations for other, more delicate craft doughs. Salt dough keeps indefinitely when covered and refrigerated.

2 cups salt

2/3 cup water

1 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

Food coloring, tempera, or other water-base paint

Mix salt and 2/3 cup water in a pan. Heat until quite warm. Remove from heat. Mix cornstarch and cold water together and add to mix in the pan, stirring constantly. Return pan to stove and keep stirring until mixture forms a smooth mass. Turn out on a plate and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Work in coloring if desired.

Shape on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry thoroughly - several hours in a warm oven or several days at room temperature. Smooth away rough edges with a nail file.

3 cups flour

3/4 cup salt

3/4 tsp alum

1 1/4 cups water



Mix and knead until smooth. Coat rolling pin with spray oil and roll dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Spray cutters with spray oil before cutting shapes and use a straw to cut hole for hanging.



CORNSTARCH DOUGH

(taken off of a website)

This chalk-white dough is extremely malleable and is not subject to distortion or puffing. Because it is more brittle than baker's clay, it is best suited for projects that will not be subject to a lot of handling. Cornstarch dough keeps indefinitely when refrigerated in a plastic bag.

When cornstarch dough has hardened, it can be painted with markers, tempera, or acrylic paints. To protect, glaze with a thin coat of white glue.

2 cups baking soda

1 cup cornstarch

1 1/4 cups water

Food coloring



Mix baking soda and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat while dough is still easy to stir. Do not overcook. Turn out on platter and cover with a damp cloth. When cool enough to handle, knead until smooth, adding water if dough crumbles. If desired, knead in food coloring.

Shape dough on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Let dry until dough is very hard. Drying time will vary, depending on humidity, taking as long as three to four days. You can shorten the time by placing the shaped dough in a very slow oven (200 degrees F or 95 degrees C) for an hour or two. Smooth away rough edges with sandpaper.

CINNAMON-APPLESAUCE DOUGH

(taken off of a website)

3/4 cup smooth, very thick applesauce (not watery)

1 to 2 cups ground cinnamon (buy in bulk as high quality is not necessary)

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

**Spices are optional. Add others if you prefer.**

2 tablespoons white craft glue (such as Elmer's)

Drinking straw

Combine 1 cup cinnamon and any spices you want to use in small mixing bowl. Add the applesauce and glue and mix until thoroughly blended. Mix until smooth, firm, pliable, and no longer sticky. If too wet, add a little more cinnamon. Shape the dough as desired on a cinnamon dusted surface. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. And cut with cookie cutters or use cookie molds. Dust molds with ground cinnamon. Firmly press small balls of dough into the mold until it is firmly packed with dough. The thicker the shapes are, the less likely they are to curl when drying. Use straw to cut hole for hanging. Air dry, dry in oven, or food dehydrator.

{I have made ornaments with this recipe. This was a lot of fun to make and smelled wonderfully. My daughter and I decorated the ornaments with plastic "jewels" and beads. I haven't checked for this year but they still smelled good in the spring after the holidays. UPDATE: I am currently making new ornaments with this recipe. It has my whole house scented up and the ornaments look great!}





MORE COOKIE RECIPES



Snow Drop Cookies

Ingredients:



1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar plus 1 cup for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped almonds or pecans

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour



  1.   Cream butter in a mixing bowl.

2.   Gradually add sugar (1/2 cup) and salt.

3.   Continue creaming until light and fluffy.

4.   Add nuts and vanilla extract.

5.   Blend in flour gradually. Mix thoroughly.

6.   Shape into teaspoonful balls.

7.   Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

8.   Bake at 325° F. for 15-20 minutes.

9.   Sprinkle some of the confectioner's sugar over cookies while still on the sheet. Cool before removing from cookie sheet.

10.   Place some confectioner's sugar in a bag and place some of the cookies inside. Gently shake well so the sugar completely coats the cookies.



This one sounds yummy! I am going to continue "experimenting with the cookie recipes and will use my co-workers as tasters.

Happy Holidays... and until next time, Happy Crafting!

Posted at 03:40 pm by JanieE
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