Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Winter June

Have you ever been inspired to create something? Inspired to the point that you suddenly wake up from a sound sleep thinking "I've got it! I have to make this NOW!" Well, that's the story with this card and let me tell you, that sort of inspiration is tiring. (I'm never crazy about being woken from a sound sleep - even by a creative muse. :P)

The mentors of my church's Career small group/fellowship (we've grown to be a fair size) recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. During one of our more recent discussions on dating and marriage, one of the mentors mentioned that a winter wedding would have been lovely with fur lined dresses and sleighs carrying the wedding party (Her husband didn't look convinced.) As a thank you gesture to the couple for their years of mentorship, we thought to give them a card signed by everyone in the group wishing them all the best. I couldn't recreate her dream of a winter wedding but I could make a sleigh which is why this Happy Anniversary card looks so much like a Christmas card. :)

Pop-up cards are really cool but they do require some experimentation in paper engineering. I'm quite proud of myself for this card because the entire sleigh was designed from scratch. I literally just woke up one Sunday morning and knew exactly how to put the whole thing together. Unfortunately, it was only an hour before church that morning so I ended up running a little close in terms of time. 

No fancy punches this time - just some imagination and an exacto knife. Pretty cool, eh?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's Cherry Season!

I have a sour cherry tree in my backyard and there is also one at my uncle's place. Each summer, the trees produce a bumper crop of fruit. Two years ago, I picked over 40 pounds of cherries from my uncle's tree alone! There is something beautifully tempting about those glistening red fruits gleaming in the summer sun. Although it is a fair bit of work, I really enjoy the harvest. Of my family, I'm probably the one who spends the most time perched on a ladder filling bucket after bucket. My grandfather was the one who planted the cherry tree over at my uncle's place many years ago and although he has since passed away, every time I pick cherries I feel as if he is smiling down from heaven. Even a suburban girl like me can understand and appreciate how harvest time is a blessing from God. :)

This is what 10 lbs of cherries look like. Yes, I weighed them. :)

So what does one do with 40 pounds of cherries? I give most of them away to friends and family who either eat them straight, bake with them or make sauces, jams or gelatos (yum!) with them. My sister and I have made our share of pies, jams and dried fruit. One of my favorite things to make is a cherry crisp. I am not much of a baker so this easy recipe appealed to me when I first found it. (Okay, the tempting pictures accompanying the recipe also had something to do with it.)

Recently, I made one to bring to a friend's BBQ. I was actually feeling a bit nervous as I was preparing the ingredients because I hadn't baked this in two years and wasn't sure how it would turn out.

A lovely golden brown. 

I should have taken it out about a minute earlier because there were a few crumbs that were burnt but all in all, looking pretty good.

As I wrote to a friend in an email: "Baking is an act of faith. You mix all the ingredients, pour it in a pan, say a prayer over it and then put it in the oven. You can't do anything to fix it while it bakes. Then when it comes out, you have to trust that it tastes okay because you can't really cut a piece out to try it before taking it over to someone else's BBQ." Did I actually pray over this while it was baking? You better believe I did. And it ended up tasting great! ;)

Here's the recipe (I found it on by ARANDYGAIL):

Ingredients for the filling:
4 cups pitted sour cherries
1.5 cups white sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the crust:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
0.5 cup butter
0.5 cup shortening

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. In a large bowl, combine cherries, white sugar, and 4 tablespoons of flour. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the 1.5 cups of flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over cherry filling.
4. Bake in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Showers, showers and more showers...

The advantage to being a crafting pack rat is that if you need to throw something together at the last minute, you almost always have everything you need right on hand. (Provided that you organize your supplies of course - which I do.) 

My co-worker had a baby shower last Sunday and I was in charge of purchasing and packaging the gift. Unfortunately, I didn't have time for the packaging part until just before the shower. The only wrapping paper designs I had on hand were Christmas ones and I thought that Santas and reindeer would look a little odd on a gift given in July. That's when punches and stickers came to the rescue! And newsprint. Oh, by the way, did you know that the Ottawa Citizen gives away the end rolls for free? Yep. All you need to do is call them and ask. I carted away three:

That's probably a good few hundred feet of paper right there. They are pretty heavy - I had to use a trolley to get them to my car. 

I wrapped the present in newsprint (it was The Original Baby Bullet in case you were wondering) and then pulled out my gel pens and coloured papers and got to work. As part of the Sizzix set I bought at that garage sale a few months back, I got die of a foot. I punched a whole bunch of them in bright printer paper and glued them in pairs on the corners of the present. I had thought of making a more random scattering of feet all over but I just couldn't arrange them to my satisfaction. 

Okay, not my best pictures but I was in a rush.

The card was just a strip of cardstock with a sticker on it and piece of white paper inside. The bow was made of strips of white paper with "Congratulations Tugce & Yener!" written over and over on them. A little tape, a little glue and I was done and ready to go!