Friday, July 14, 2017

Spending Time With my Dad ...

I've spent quite a bit of time with my Dad over the past month.  It's been such a joy but I've also felt great sorrow.  We have been going through my Mom's "collections" and trying to decide what to keep, what to give away and what to throw away.  Mom was an avid collector of many things, mostly fabric (she had enough fabric to make quilts for a century) but also lovely tea cups and saucers, little dolls, photos, greeting cards, etc.  With the fabric, she made the most beautiful, award winning quilts I've ever seen. Designing and hand-quilting each one personally, stitch by tiny stitch, putting her heart in to each and every quilt (click here for a link to a slideshow I made a few years ago featuring some of her quilts).

My Mom was born in the first year of the Great Depression, she was a 1929 baby who grew up learning the value of hard work and saving for the things she wanted.  She left Ohio when she was only 17 years old and moved to Detroit, Michigan.  She found employment with Sander's Bakery and earned a living decorating cakes.  Working hard but never losing the joy in her heart.  I came across a little poem she had written and though I don't remember the exact words, I do remember the gist.  It said to do your job well, even if you don't like what you're doing.  Pretend you are a Princess while you are working and it will make you smile and the job won't be so bad!  It sounded so much like her, always one to find the bright side!  Everything she did, she did with a grateful, joyful heart.

 As my Dad and I were working together, he brought me a little jar with some bags inside.  He said "your mother saved these .50 cent pieces and I want you to have them".   I gratefully took them, not because of the monetary value but because of the reminder of the life lessons she taught us children, the reminder all neatly wrapped up in those little bags.   Each bag was handmade and had a little fabric tie around it with a rolled up paper stating how many half dollars were inside.  I can just picture her putting these little bags of coins together with the intent of sharing them with her children one day.

 A Great Depression Baby who worked hard, with joy in her heart, for everything she had.  She taught her children to appreciate even the smallest of blessings.  For that, I am forever grateful.  I love spending time with you Dad, I'm sure your values, ethics and sense of humor are what kept you and Mom together for 60 years.  Mom,  I miss you with my whole heart.  Wish you were here.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

My New "Craft"! Making Dog Treats!

I've been experimenting making treats for our puppy and decided to share my latest treat recipe!



Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter (pure - no sugar or added ingredients - peanuts only)
3/4 cup loose, leafy kale (optional)
1 peeled and cored apple
2 medium size bananas
1/3 cup blueberries
1 medium carrot
2 tbsp. water
3/4 cup of oat flour (more if needed for consistency)

* Please note:
I've read conflicting reviews on feeding kale to your dog.  Some say it's difficult for them to digest. I've pureed the kale for these treats and am not feeding her the leafy greens.  My dog doesn't have an issue with digesting kale. You may decide to leave the kale out of the recipe for your dog, though.
Directions:
Puree all of the ingredients except the flour.  Place pureed ingredients in bowl and add flour.  Mix thoroughly with a large spoon.  When it's all mixed and is not gooey (add more flour if it's gooey), use your hands to make a ball.  With a rolling pin, roll to about 1/4" thickness and cut with cookie cutters (I purchased dog treat cookie cutters on Amazon).  Using a fork, make holes in the center of the bone shaped treats.  Set oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cut treats on the parchment paper. Bake for 8 minutes on each side (total 16 minutes).  After removing from oven, place in a dehydrator.  I'm still playing with the timing and temperature on the dehydrator.  The thinner treats were perfectly crisp after 2 hours at 125 degrees in the dehydrator.  The thicker treats took about 2-1/2 hours at 125 degrees. Dehydrating after baking makes them crispier and will preserve them longer.

My taste tester, Luna, loves them ... I tried them, too, and they aren't too bad!


The pureed ingredients look disgusting but they taste really good!

Cookie cutters can be found on Amazon.com

Roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut with cookie cutters
Use a fork to make holes in bone shaped treats.

Place on parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes.
8 minutes on each side.

Remove from oven and place in a dehydrator.
Time varies depending on thickness.
The thinner treats took 2 hours at 125 degrees.
The thicker treats took approximately 2-1/2 hours at 125 degrees.
The dehydrator makes them crispier and preserves them longer.

They make cute gifts for friends with dogs!
I always include the recipe when I give as gifts.

Hoping the next post will be a new bear!
Hugs & Blessings,
Janice

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cardstock Flower Tutorial

One of my crafty friends asked if I would show her how I make the flowers for my cards.  I've shared other flower making tutorials here on my blog but this is a new way!  I hope you will give these flowers a try, they are easy and turn out so pretty!  If you don't have a Sizzix die cutting machine or any of the dies I've used (Floral Dies used for the flowers on my card), you can substitute hand cut flowers (there are templates on Pinterest here: Free Paper Flower Templates).  If you don't have Susan's Garden Tool Set for shaping the flowers, you can purchase a Fondant Ball Tool set on ebay that works the same way. (After searching, I don't think Susan's Garden Tool Set is available anymore but there is a similar set on eBay: McGill Paper Blossom Tool Kit and here is the fondant set I use: 4-Pcs-Fondant-Cake-Flower-Metal-Ball Tool) Oftentimes, I paint 90 lb. watercolor paper and use that for my flowers but for this tutorial, I used Recollections reddish/pink and green cardstock.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Hugs & Blessings,
Janice
















Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Christmas come and gone ...

Well, at the beginning of December, I had so many things I wanted to share on my blog and for some reason, my blog disappeared! All I could find was an old cache snapshot when I did a google search.  I was heartbroken because even though I don't update the blog often, I come back often to read past posts and I update when I really feel the need to share something that I used to share with my Mom.  After sharing my dilemma on facebook, I received a lot of advice and finally was able to get my blog up and running again.  I'm happy now!  Since the beginning of December when I had so much to say, I have forgotten all those things.  I made it through another Christmas without Mom.  It still hurts, and the hurt does not subside.  Everyone always says that it gets better with time, I'm not sure about others but this isn't true for me.  Each and every hummingbird that flitters my way sends me in to memories of my Mom and even though I cherish those memories, I would love to have a real hug from her.  I would love to hear her voice.  I would love to share my joys and sorrows and listen to her joys and sorrows.  I would love to love her in person rather than in memories.  I look forward to the day when we will be reunited in eternity.  Until that day, I will hang on to my lovely memories.  Happy New Year!  xoxo

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Puppy ... New Life!

So much has happened here in the past month!  We adopted a precious little puppy who is a handful, to say the least! Luna was one of a litter of sweet puppies  (and their Australian Shepherd Mom) who were turned over to a local rescue. Being part Australian Shepherd, she has an overabundance of energy and my every waking moment is spent trying to contain her excitement and rowdiness!  We knew what we were getting in to (but forgot most of the fun stuff) because the only other dog we have ever had was a Shetland Sheepdog ... another herding breed that has way too much energy! Luna requires a lot of play time, a lot of time running and getting that energy out in a safe manner. Our house has some chew spots (doors and cupboards are her favorite ... wood must taste yummy) from the times when I haven't been able to divert her attention.   She also finds a way to get in to the litter box (if I forget to shut the bathroom door ... argh!  That's NOT fun!) She also jumps all over us and nips ... all things that herding breeds do and need to be stopped before they get out of hand.  It's not too bad when a sweet little 13 pound puppy jumps on you and nips but what about when she's a 40 pound dog?!  Yikes!  Not a good scenario, at all!   I'm trying to use the Victoria Stilwell Positively Training methods and Luna catches on quickly.  She has sit and lie down mastered perfectly (unless she's excited, then it all goes out the window).   Does anyone out there in blog land have some tips on training a puppy to stay down?  She jumps all over us and the furniture out of sheer excitement.  I also have not been able to introduce her to the two cats because they are too afraid.  As it is now, they are out in the main part of the house at separate times.  So, any advice on introducing a puppy to the resident cats is much appreciated, too! I do not believe in screaming, hitting, holding down or any of those other Dog Whisperer training methods.  Only positive reinforcement ideas, please!   Thanks so much!    On a bear related note, I am trying to finish up an Autumn bear.  She's a lovely pumpkin color.  If I can contain Luna's enthusiasm, I should be able to finish before Winter arrives!
Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Hugs & Blessings,
Janice

 Here's Luna when we first brought her home!  Look at that little face!  Love her little bent down ears!

And look at those precious little white eyelashes!  Oh my goodness, she's so beautiful!
Here she is now at about 4-1/2 months old, about a month after we adopted her, one ear up and one ear down!  She's beginning to look more like an Australian Shepherd!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

More paper crafting!

One more paper crafting post before I promise another "Booh Bear" post!   This latest wall hanging was made from a pre-cut, whitewashed, wooden plaque.  I dyed several colors of 90 lb. watercolor paper using different mixes of Dylusions Inks.  After the paper has dried, the flower cutting begins!  I really enjoy flower making ... it borders on therapeutic for me!  I guess that is how I end up spending hours upon hours making flowers!   After die cutting the flowers, I tipped the petals in color box inks, dampened them slightly and curled the petals using fondant ball tools.  I know there are some fancy flower making ball tools out there (with a fancy price to match) but you will get the same effect using fondant ball tools and they are a lot less expensive.  The dies used on this piece were Sizzix Tattered Florals, Garden Greens, and Fancy Flourishes ... along with the butterfly die that came with the Sizzix Big Shot Plus Starter Kit.  The smaller flowers were die cut using 5 different JoyCrafts!  Florals dies.   I hope you like my latest paper craft!   Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!
Hugs & Blessings,
Janice

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I'm keeping my promise! :o)

Okay, last time when I went 4 months in between posts to my blog, I promised to show my latest creation here and I am keeping my word!  My latest is a puppy who is made from long, beautiful, white mohair.  She is made to resemble a Maltese.  Her name is Gabriella - named after a friend of mine's sweet little Gabby, whom crossed the rainbow bridge way before her time.   I am really trying to spend more time on bears and hopefully will be able to do that now more than ever.  I miss working on these little fabric sculptures!  They bring me so much joy!  I hope they bring you joy in seeing them, too!  Here is Gabriella's link if you are interested in visiting her auction today.  She is only listed for one day!  Gabriella on eBay Have a blessed weekend.  Many hugs,   Janice