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