Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cookies and a Recipe

Thought you might like to see what the cookies looked like going out the door. This was about 1/2 the cookie trays I made up for my sweet neighbors and friends

I wish I had taken a picture BEFORE I wrapped them but this next one is as close as I could get so you could get an idea of how they looked. You can click on the picture to see how big the Gingerbread Snowflakes (and stars!) are in relation the rest of the tray. I use them as the topper for the trays.

I added some reindeer food to this one for the kids next door...they're just the right age for it.
And, finally, what they look like going back into the freezer for the next round of trays!

Pam said she'd like to see Martha's recipe for the Gingerbread Snowflakes. They are really yummy and make a beautiful presentation when frosted with Royal Icing. These are wonderful for Valentine's day hearts as well.
Gingerbread Snowflakes
6 c. all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
4 t. ground ginger
4 t. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t. finely ground black pepper
1-1/2 t. coarse salt (I used kosher salt)
2 large eggs
1 c. unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Coarse sugar and/or edible glitter for sprinkling
1. Sift together flour, bakind soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. (Sometimes I just measure it all in and use a whisk to blend and lighten the mixture. The whisk adds air just like sifting)
2. Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix on medium speed until fluffy.
Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least an hour or until cold. (Overnight is ok, too)
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4" thick. Cut using a 7" snowflake cutter (if using this large size, you will get approximately 16 giant cookies. If you use smaller cutters, you will get more)
I actually roll my dough directly onto my silicone pan liners so I don't have to move them from the counter to the cookie sheet and risk breaking or altering the shape. You could also roll them onto parchment paper and lift that to your cookie sheet for baking.
4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, about 12-14 minutes. Cool about 1 minute on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can store covered if you don't have time to decorate right away.
5. Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip ( I use Wilton #2 or #3). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sugar or glitter and allow to dry completely at room temperature (several hours) before storing. Layer each cookie with waxed paper in an airtight container up to 5 days at room temperature.
Royal Icing (Snowflakes will use 1/2 this amount)
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
5 T. meringue powder (you can get this at Michael's or Walmart)
a scant 1/2 c. warm water
Put sugar, powder, and water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water a little at a time; if too thin, mix icing 2-3 minutes more.
Enjoy!
Happy New Year!
Charlene
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread and Chocolate!

Edited: I added another photo of several more of the boots I made as gifts. Added hot chocolate with the Lindt chocolates.
Sorry, I haven't had a chance to post for awhile. The "bakery" has been in full gear making up for lost time. I managed to finish 19 kinds of cookies and 2 batches of candy.

Yesterday, I decorated my Martha Stewart gingerbread snowflakes. This is Martha's recipe and it's absolutely delicious. The snowflakes are 7 inches across. My favorite part is decorating them with Royal Icing and sprinkling with coarse sugar or edible glitter....you know how much I love glitter and now I can eat it too. Not much flavor but oh so pretty.

If you'd like to see the recipe for the gingerbread, let me know and I'll post it.



I did manage a few of these for gifts. Aren't they just the cutest? The template was designed by Lauren Meader for Papertrey. The boot is actually quite large so I filled it partially with paper shreds before adding the Lindt chocolates. I used my Janome Sew Mini to zig-zag stitch the toes and heels of my boot with some scraps of Basic Grey Dasher paper. The cute tag was made using Papertrey's Holiday Tag collection. I punched the white layer with SU's 1-3/4 inch punch and the Basic Grey layer with the scalloped circle punch. A sweet gift in no time at all. BTW, the download for the boot is absolutely FREE.




Thanks for visiting and may you have a blessed Christmas remembering that Jesus is the reason we can celebrate with such joy.



Merry Christmas and Blessings for a healthy New Year.

Charlene

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Cards in 10 minutes or less

I think it was a couple of weeks ago or so that Tammy Hershberger posted a challenge on Paper Craft Planet to mass produce some cards. Well what better time than Christmas to get some done especially when Sharon Johnson also posted a 10 Minute Tuesday challenge for simple cards some time ago. I combined the two with some K & Co. snowflakes that I bought last year (I know, I know...but I AM using them!), Papertrey's Snowflake Serenade, a SU snowflake and my snowflake punch, just two colors of ink per card and some Martha Stewart clear gem stickers.


The picture shows the outside of the card on the left and the inside on the right.


Each card takes LESS THAN 10 minutes!! For me, that qualifies as a minor miracle!!


Here's a partial look at the 20 cards I made in under an hour.

What fun and each just a bit different because the focal snowflakes are just a bit different just like real snowflakes. . I removed the gem from the center of a few solid white ones and added a punched snowflake to pull in my color but most had some color in them. Each snowflake came already glittered so IRL these really have some neat sparkle and they already had a dimensional on the back.



Ok, now let me see what you can do in an hour....no layers, no ribbon, but as much sparkle as you want!



Supplies: Cardstock: SU Whisper White


Ink: SU Bashful Blue, Mellow Moss, Cool Caribbean


Accessories: Snowflake punch, MS clear gems, K&Co. Snowflakes



Merry Christmas and Happy Stamping!




Charlene


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Friday, December 12, 2008

Joy, Love and Peace be to You!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile.  I was laid low with whatever virus it is that the snowbirds brought to Florida.  I rarely get sick but this one sent me running to the doctor.  After a week on antibiotics, I'm still all nasally...is that a word?  HBP prevents me from taking any decongestants so I just sound like I'm in a tunnel coughing and blowing.

I didn't even feel like stamping so I KNOW I was sick.  Bad timing, huh?

I made these blocks last year so thought I'd get them out and display them with my Santa elves.  I love making them too.  I can pose them any way and they're happy to oblige.  I painted the blocks with white acrylic then Mod Podged with Dasher DP from Basic Grey, sanded, sprayed with clear acrylic sealer and then Glitter Mist.  I used Making Memories Rub-Ons for the wording.  A labor of love but so cute on a shelf or here on one of the cut-out windows looking into my dining room. 

The elf pattern came from a magazine many years ago.  It called for some kind of cottony batting for the beard but I had some maribou feathers in my stash so I used those and loved them so much, I use them all the time.  The noses are Femo clay...yes, I roll and bake each one.  The arms and legs are bendable and they sit by themselves.  I think each one has its own personality. 

I have TONS of baking to do so not sure how much I'll be able to post but will try as I get some things finished.

Christmas Blessings and Happy Stamping New Year!

Charlene
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SSC08 - Mass Produced

Quick post for a bunch of quick cards.  Tammy Hershberger  is hosting day 3 of Sharon Johnson's Stamp Simply Celebration of her blog anniversary.

The challenge was to mass produce cards for any occasion.  These are getting tucked into presents as  stocking stuffesr for family members who are also stampers.  I left a space at the top so they can stamp a greeting of choice....or not.  I thought this design would be perfect for thank yous especially after the holiday parties but also fitting for birthdays or almost any other occasion.

The base of my cards are gorgeous Fabriano Mediovalis notecards.  These are handmade Italian paper that is super lush, take color beautifully and have an elegant deckle edge on all sides.  The stamps come from Papertrey Ink's First Fruits.

I first stamped the elegant leaf design in Palette Dark Chocolate on all the cards.  Then I inked up the pineapple base in More Mustard, then rock and rolled it in Close to Cocoa.   I stamped the top leaf in Spring Moss adding the side leaves lastly.  I will tie these together with the envelopes in that great dark chocolate satin ribbon from the Target wedding department and done.  Simply elegant, simply fast, simply mass produced. 

Thanks Tammy for the challenge.  You just proved we do have time to stamp!

Blessings and Happy Stamping!
Charlene
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Lily's going to a Party!

Don't you just love Lily?  She's a cutie from Pink Cat Studio.
Her friend, Billy is a sweetheart too but he wasn't invited to this party.  Girly girls, only.  :-)

Tomorrow is my granddaughter, Ann's 6th birthday.  She is definitely a girly girl and so is Lily.  I fell in love with this paper from Imaginisce.  It's called "Fairest of Them All".  Pure girl.

I saw a challenge on Paper Craft Planet and used that as my inspiration.  The original challenge called for only two embellishments on the right side but Lily insisted on three.  She just didn't think two were enough. 

Lily is cut out and popped up on dimensionals with her balloon stamped on the SU Pretty in Pink behind her.  I paper pieced her dress and her balloon.  Her skin and hair are colored with Prismacolor markers.  I used a Martha Stewart white marker to add the dots.  Stickles make her sash and hair bands really sparkle IRL.  I just love how she turned out...I hope Ann does, too.

Happy Birthday, Miss Ann!!

Supplies:  Stamps - Pink Cat Studio, Papertrey Ink
Paper - SU Pretty in Pink, Old Olive, Papertrey white, Imaginisce DP
Accessories - Organza flowers (Michael's), MS pearls (Michael's), MS white marker, dimensionals, Stickles

Blessings and Happy Stamping,

Charlene
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