Sunday, December 30, 2012

Real Danish Æbleskiver -- by popular demand!

A couple days ago I posted this Instagram picture of my æbleskiver, sizzling away in their cast iron skillet.  Oh, the deliciousness!  Æbleskiver are a traditional Danish Christmas treat, something a little bit like a pancake ball, but ever so much better tasting.  They are served with all kinds of dipping sides -- butter and a sugar/cinnamon mix, jam and powdered sugar, fruit or maple syrup, nutella, etc.  Several people asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd post it here to make it easy to find and use.  I got this recipe while serving as a missionary in Denmark about 13 years ago, and it makes the most moist and fluffy little balls of goodness you could imagine.

Real Danish Æbleskiver
4 eggs, separated
1 T sugar
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. melted shortening
2 c. milk

Beat egg yolks and add sugar.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg yolk mixture alternately with shortening and milk.  Fold this mixture into stiffly beaten egg whites.  Bake in æbleskiver pan (preheat pan over medium heat -- a good cast iron skillet generally doesn't need to be greased because there's already a lot of oil in the batter, but if you find them a little sticky you can baste the cups with butter).  Fill cups 3/4 full.  Allow to bake until bubbles form around edges.  Then flip each bubbling æbleskive over and finish baking.  Many Danes use a crochet hook to flip them.  Other favorite implements are metal skewers -- I just use a fork. :)

So if YOU have an æbleskiver pan just gathering dust because you don't really know what to do with it, try this out!  If you don't have one yet, here is a good one on Amazon.

PS - some recipes call for various fillings inside the æbleskive itself.  I'm sure that's lovely too, but I never had them that way in Denmark.  If you want to take up æbleskive-making, I'd start out with a recipe like this and get it figured out before moving on to something more complicated.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pom-Pom Fairies for the Tree

I was looking up an old pin on Pinterest the other day and my Eliza saw a picture of pom-pom clothespin fairies.  "Are those for me?" she asked, with such excitement -- how could I say no?  Especially when I have been wanting to make some so very much!  So we followed the excellent tutorial at that link, and here are the ornaments we created:

The clothespins I found at Hobby Lobby were a little different from the nice rounded heads I've seen elsewhere, and they just needed a little something extra.  I painted tiny wooden balls and hotglued them to the top to create the buns.  The wings are just made from scraps of white craft felt.

My kids (to varying degrees) loved learning how to make pom-poms out of yarn.  They all liked the concept, but only my 9-year-old had the patience to finish the whole thing without my help.  It IS pretty time-consuming.  But they all loved the finished product, and they loved that I wrote their name and the year on the back, so that when they grow up they can take it with them.  I think a new tradition has been born in our family!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season -- only a week left!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Naughty&Nice... for ScrapbookUSA Expo

I have another cute Aspen Frost by Basic Grey layout to show you, brought to you by ScrapbookUSA Expo! My earlier layout was fun and eclectic and pretty darn busy, so I thought I'd show you how well this collection also lends itself to the quick and simple. This layout came together very quickly, but it looks great!

I started by setting up my pictures to print onto a single 8 1/2x11 sheet, leaving that bottom middle space blank. Once I got that printed out, I just had to layer the various papers together, add a few stickers and tags, and it was done! I'm not generally a very quick scrapper, but with the awesome coordinated products Basic Grey sent me, I was able to get this done lickety-split and still feel like it has my own personal stamp. Love it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Little Bits of Christmas... for ScrapbookUSA Expo

Basic Grey sent me the most gorgeous box of goodies for my ScrapbookUSA Expo projects this month.  It was like having my own little early Christmas!  They sent me the "Aspen Frost" Christmas/winter collection, and I had a grand old time scrapping with it.  Here's my first layout:

As I looked through my pictures from this past Christmas, I had a lot of little moments but no great "this is Christmas" shots.  Then I realized -- all the little moments are what make up a wonderful Christmas!  And the Aspen Frost collection was perfect for that theme -- I was able to use the patterned paper, letter stickers, tags, pre-sewn pennant flags (how cool is that?), and mini-envelopes to put together a fun, eclectic layout highlighting all the little "bits" we enjoyed so much.

Basic Grey is definitely a favorite booth at the ScrapbookUSA Expo.  They sell their big collection packs, card kits, and tons of little bits and bobs that you don't often see, all for great prices.  (Psst -- they've always had a one-hour sale on their collection packs during the day on Friday that makes them only $5 each.  DEAL!)  I may or may not have bought at least 10 different packs in September... and a ton of adorable flower clips... and labels and rub-ons and alphabet flashcards and more.  Oh, the awesomeness.

Thanks for stopping by!

PS I also used red velvet chipboard letters from My Mind's Eye for the title.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The completed Thanksgiving Wall

At the beginning of November I wrote about my new chalkboard wall, and what I was doing for the month of November.  Each person in our family (as well as any guests who happened to be with us at the end of the day) chose something they were thankful for each day, and I added it to the wall.  It made me happy every time I walked by!  Here's what the finished project looked like:

And after I took this picture, I printed one out and put it in our "gratitude journal" that we always pass around at Thanksgiving, so we'll always have it.  Some of my favorites are when Sam (8 years old) was thankful for being funny and when Eliza (4) wanted to put up that she's thankful for playing with her brothers every single day.  My hubby also requested that Freddie Mercury get some prime real estate.  So fun!

I learned something very important, though -- although chalkboard markers look fantastic, they are NOT good for a homemade-chalkboard-paint wall.  It was almost impossible to get off.  I wiped it off with a wet cloth and it removed some of the markings, but not much.  I ended up scrubbing the whole thing with a magic eraser, and you can STILL see markings in some places.  Sigh.  Regular chalk works like a charm, though, so that's what I'll be sticking with from now on.

I'm planning out my Christmas wall and hope to get it up today -- it's going to be epic!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Thanksgiving Cards... for Apron Strings Designs

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, and I thought I'd take a break from my pie-making and such to show you a few more Thankskgiving-y thank you cards I created for Apron Strings Designs.  Hope you have a wonderful holiday and lots of time with family and loved ones!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving-y Thank You Card

November, with so much gratitude in the air, is a great time to catch up on all those thank you's you owe to the people who have lent a hand throughout the year. I created this warm and cozy thank you card with the lovely Autumn Melody stack from DCWV, one of the big sponsors for ScrapbookUSA Expo. If you've ever been to the Expo before, you know their booth is the one to hit early -- they have crazy deals on all their great paper and a ton of cute home decor.

I used a stamp set from Close to My Heart for the sentiment, embossing the leaves in gold.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time for Giving Thanks!

Ah, Thanksgiving!  I love this time of year -- all the warmth and love and gratitude we share with each other so freely.

I'm thankful today that I get to share a pretty layout with more pretty product from a great sponsor of the ScrapbookUSA Expo. I'm using more of the Autumn Melody stack from DCWV -- the same stack I used to make my banner for the blog hop.

For my first project, I got to play with the gorgeous Autumn Melody stack from DCWV.  I love these coordinating stacks -- they make it so easy to put together beautiful projects.  For this layout I cut a lot of hexagons from 8 different patterned papers, then used the coordinating cardstock matstack to create some photo mats.  The "Give Thanks" label is a cut out from the same stack.  I added a few buttons and some stamped leaves (using a Close to My Heart stamp), and finished off the layout with some ribbon and orange chipboard numbers from October Afternoon.  I can't wait to take some great pictures this Thanksgiving to fill up this layout!

Monday, November 5, 2012

ScrapbookUSA Expo Blog Hop!

I have some more exciting news to share!  I've been asked to join the Design Team for the ScrapbookUSA Expo.  Twice a year for the last 6 years, my crafty friends and I have gotten together at the ScrapbookUSA Expo for a day of awesome scrapbooking deals, silly games and prizes, and lots and lots of scrapbooking. I love it!  There are such good deals to be had that I end up getting nearly all my supplies during that twice a year spree.  So I was delighted when I was chosen for their first-ever design team.  To introduce all the great designers on the team and to the great ScrapbookUSA Expo blog, we're having a blog hop!


For my project, I created a simple banner to dress up my entry way.  A banner like this is so simple to make, but really makes an impact.  I just cut the 4.25"x6.25" sheets from the DCWV Autumn Melody matstack in half, then snipped a V shape into the bottom of each to create the pennant shape.  I sewed them end to end to create the banner, then embellished just a couple of the pennants.  The "Give Thanks" label is from the same DCWV stack, and the acorn and leaf shapes are from the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge.

So, here is the plan - between now and Wednesday November 7th at midnight, visit each of our blogs. Leave a comment at each blog, and each time you comment you will be entered to win 2 of DCWV’s brand spankin’ new Christmas 4X5 pads!  With Christmas just around the corner these would certainly come in handy! If you comment on each of their blogs (as well as here at our homebase) you will be entered 8 times!

So make sure you start at The Original Scrapbook USA Expo blog, and then visit each of these awesome designers!

Tomi Ann <--you are="are" here="here" p="p">

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Thanksgiving Chalkboard Wall

I am literally giddy over how this project turned out. I've been wanting to turn my entry wall into a big chalkboard for a long time -- I even bought the paint and supplies a year ago to do it -- but I was chicken. I didn't know if it would turn out well, or be too dark, or whatever. But I had this idea for what I wanted to do for Thanksgiving, so last weekend I just took a deep breath and went for it.

 And here's the result!

For Thanksgiving, everyone in our family (or even just visitors to our home) is listing one thing they're thankful for each day, for me to add to the wall.  This is just our list so far -- I can wait to see how it looks by Thanksgiving!

 I made dark grey chalkboard paint using this formula from Martha Stewart.  It was very easy, but it did use a LOT more paint than I expected -- I was scraping out every drop of my quart of paint to finish this little wall.

I also did a little reorganizing with the accessories for the season.

PS - If you'd like to see what this wall looked like by Thanksgiving, I've posted it here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun news and a free download!

Several months ago I attended a guinea pig class at the Creating Keepsakes headquarters here in Utah (they were trying out their new classes for this year's conventions and asked for volunteers.  Um, yes, please!).  I met a lot of the really lovely women who create the magazine, including Megan Hoeppner, who was teaching the class.  She saw my doodling and, to my extreme excitement, asked if I would create something for the magazine!  A couple of months after that I got my assignment:  use the Zentangle pens from Sakura to create some fun Christmas doodles that readers from the magazine can download.

Then I had to wait a looooooooooong time.  But the November/December issue of Creating Keepsakes came out today, which means I can share my cool doodles with you and send you over to their site to download the high res images.  I'm just going to show you one here, but head on over to the CK site because there are two whole pages of adorable Christmas doodles!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

As seen in the Nov/Dec 2012 of Creating Keepsakes magazine. Copyright Creative Crafts Group. Posted with prior permission from the publisher.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mixed Media -- I Am Not Afraid...

The last few months have been really difficult for me, but also a time of a lot of learning and really beautiful blessings.  I've had this quote from Louisa May Alcott in my mind quite a bit and decided to turn it into a visual reminder I could see every day.

Around the sides of the canvas I wrote some of the scriptures that have given me strength and courage.  This one is from Psalms 27:14.

I love how forgiving mixed media is.  I redid that bottom row of text three times in three very different ways, because it just was not coming out right, but I love the end result.  Now as I pass this little sign on my front hall table every morning, I'm reminded that God allows storms into our lives so that we can learn to "sail our ship."  And I try to trust that God is directing the winds to blow me right home to Him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eliza's Rainbow Princess Party

Actually, this post should properly be titled "Eliza's Pink and Purple Rainbow Princess and Puppy Birthday Party!"  My little Eliza turned four a bit ago, and this was the first birthday that she's been really excited about.  For months she asked "Is it my birthday yet?!"  She is such a funny girl, so full of fun and imagination, and we wanted to make this birthday extra special.  We waffled a little bit about themes -- she really loves dogs, and she loves princesses -- and then we found Princess Amerah, a perfectly delightful princess who brings her sweet little dog to the party!  Sold!  Eliza's favorite color is purple, but she couldn't settle on just that -- she had to have the whole rainbow.  And thus the theme was born!

I began with these invitations, which I made with the Sew Sweet and Cute kit from Sweet Shoppe Designs (this website has the most amazing digi-kits, seriously).  Eliza delivered them in her best princess dress.

When the big day of the party arrived, we started with a veritable puppy parade.  This was my husband's brilliant idea -- we asked several of our friends who have dogs to come by throughout the day, and bring their dogs to say happy birthday to Eliza.  When the first dog came to the door, and Eliza found out the dog was there to see her, she was ecstatic.

After the second dog came and was also for her, she just camped out by the front door, hoping another would come.  

And then it was finally party time!  (This is the part that, truth be told, was just as much or more fun for me as it was for Eliza.)  Oh, the rainbow deliciousness!

The rainbow on the ceiling was made from $1 tablecloths from Walmart, cut in half.  The poof balls are made from tissue paper.  I hit our local Winco's bulk candy section for all the rainbow goodies I could find, and filled my collection of apothecary jars with them.  I put my boys in charge of sorting out the taffies into rainbow order, too.

I thought candy magic wands would be so much fun -- I put marshmallows on candy sticks, then dipped them in pink candy melts and sprinkled candy pearls  on them.  The kids thought they were brilliant, and they even tasted good! 

And then of course the princesses needed real dancing wands as well, so I cut some 12" dowels and tied a few rainbow ribbons to each, then hot-glued on some little jingle bells.  These were a huge hit!

And then, one of my favorite parts -- the peg doll cupcake tower!

Eliza was dead set on chocolate cupcakes, which we made together and put in purple polka dot cupcake wrappers.  I painted a princess to match each of the little girls and knights for the boys (which they then got to take home as a favor), and then a selection of puppies just for Eliza for fun.  The purple princess in front is Eliza, of course!

  This next part was quite possibly my favorite.  I thought it would be kind of anti-climactic if we spent all this money hiring a lovely princess and had all these adorable girls dressed up as princesses, and then had the backdrop of all the pictures be our lame bookshelves and big ugly tv.  So my awesome long-suffering husband built me this fabulous cardboard castle backdrop.  My friend's mom donated the cardboard, and I painted it with leftover paints from various rooms in our house, so this part was freeeeeee.  Yay!  My favorite part is the rainbow banner -- I just raided my cardstock stash, found some happy colors, cut it into rectangles, then snipped out a V in each to make the pennant shape.  I sewed them end to end for a quick but super awesome banner.

We took pictures of all the little princesses in front of the castle.  I loved the frame idea, but only a couple of the little girls were interested.  But they ALL loved having their picture taken by the castle.  :)

Princess Amerah was wonderful!

The little girls were enchanted by her story.

But without a doubt, Eliza's favorite part was getting to meet Princess Amerah's sweet little dog Sadie and Sadie's new puppy Teeny.  They were the sweetest dogs I've ever seen.  Eliza was squealing with delight as Sadie licked her face all over.

Best. Day. Ever.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Check out this fun blog (pssst -- there are goodies!)...

My lovely friend Sonia at Scraps4fun has returned to the blogging world recently and is hosting a giveaway with some really fun summer goodies to celebrate!  You would love Sonia's blog -- gorgeous cards and scrapbook pages!  Check it out!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pretty happy cards :)

Hello, folks!   It's been a heck of a spring -- baby showers, church projects, school projects, work projects, a wedding, and even a kid who suddenly needed her tonsils out -- and one of the things that I couldn't squeeze in was posting on my blog.  Phew!  But I do have a bunch of fun projects to show you, so hopefully I'll be able to get them posted soon.

I want to start out with the last few months' of cards I've done for the marvelous Apron Stings Designs All-Year Cheer card kit club.  These first cards are from the March kit:

Don't you just love a little pinwheel?  I especially love to  make them with double-sided paper --  it's so much cuter!

And these are from April:

The kits always come with great embellishments that make things so much easier -- this lovely card took me a grand total of five minutes.  I just cut the card base and the grey scalloped-patterned paper, then stuck the frame over the top.  Added the frame stickers and the butterfly stickers, and I was done.  Yay!

This one is for my hubby, to celebrate a trip we're going on this summer.  I used the fabulous map paper  as a base and added the red brads in all the places we're going.

And here is the latest batch from May:

I did the background of this one with cute stamps from Maya Road and ties from  the Cricut Mini Monsters cartridge.   Festive but still masculine, right? :)

Love these little kraft envelopes -- perfect for a gift card.  The cuts on this one are from the  New Arrival cartridge.

Now I just need someone to get married!

I used this pretty scalloped crepe paper trim from Maya Road for this cute summer card, pleating it as  I went along.  Turned out so cute and summery!

Love the bookshelf paper from Basic Grey -- perfect for a teacher appreciation card.

This one's a little mini-tag that would be perfect for a new neighbor.

Each kit has so many fun embellishments and really great papers, and Lori (the owner) makes a great newsletter every month with instructions for all the example cards.  Check out the kit club for all the info!