Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers

These don't take long to make and they taste remarkably similar to the commercial Wheat Thin crackers.  The bonus is that they're preservative free.

Today, I used 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour.  I grind my own wheat berries in my Vitamix for whole wheat flour.  Adding the home ground flour added just a little extra texture to the crackers.  The crackers are not as sweet as the commercially made ones, so if you really like that taste, I'd add just a little more sugar.

If you are lucky enough to have King Arthur flour available in your area, give their white whole wheat flour a try.  It's got all the good nutrients of traditional whole wheat flour but it's made from white wheat and doesn't have the a strong taste of traditional whole wheat flour.  I also think bread made with it turns out less dense and heavy.

You definitely want to roll the dough out extremely thin.  The thinner the dough, the crisper the crackers will be.

Homemade Wheat Thins
from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook

1 1/4 cups (5 oz) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for topping
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add the flour, sugar, salt and paprika to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl.  Then, using a pastry blender, mix the butter into the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Combine the water and vanilla in a small measuring cup.  Add to the butter/flour mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms.  (My dough was still pretty dry so I added slightly more water before it came together.)

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others covered with a towel so they don't dry out.  Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle.  Lift the dough and turn it as you roll to ensure it's not sticking.  You want to roll the dough as thin as possible, try to make sure it's 1/16-inch thick at most.  If you want all of your crackers to be perfect, trim the edges of the dough so you have a rectangle with even sides.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the rectangle into squares about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.

Transfer the dough squares to the prepared baking sheets.  You don't need to leave much space in between the crackers - they don't spread at all in the oven.  Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt.  Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining 3 pieces of dough.  Save all of your scraps under the towel; reroll them all at once to create a final batch of crackers.  (I covered the baking sheets with towels while I rolled the rest of the dough so the cut crackers wouldn't dry out.)

Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, about 5-10 minutes.  Check the crackers at 5 minutes, and if some of the thinner ones are browning too quickly, remove them to a plate and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking.  The crackers can burn quickly so you want to keep a close eye on them.  Once brown and crisp, transfer to a plate to cool.  Store the crackers in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SU Punch Card

Both the heart and the bird were done with Stampin' Up punches.  I added some Pearl Pen accents. a Prima Flower and some pen stitching.  Very fast and simple!

Monday, September 26, 2011

All Blue Birthday Card

The October issue of Cards magazine inspired me to do this card.  The background sentiment is multiple rows of the words "happy birthday to you", printed using Hallmark card making software.  I used a SU punch for the flower and attached a button with some baker's twine.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Versions of One Christmas Card

Original idea with vellum overlay

Rounded corners, added Inka-Gold paint to the edges and omitted the vellum

I like this one the best, using the green background. 
All the flowers are from the bridal department in Michael's.  They come in pastel colors and I colored them red and green with Promarkers to make poinsettias.  The flower centers were done with Pearl Pens.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Latest Recipe Pages

Several weeks ago, I posted some squash pickle recipes on my blog and just now got around to doing the pages for my recipe album.

 Preserves was used to cut the word "canning"  and the jar came from Doodlecharms.  That's an older cartridge but it will surprise you at how many useful cuts are on it!
Both word "squash" and the squash images were cut using the Freshly Picked cartridge.

I also did a page for the wonderful English Muffin recipe that I posted this week but the recipe was so long there wasn't much room left for any type of embellishment.  That page just has the recipe and a photo of the finished muffins on it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Punched Butterfly Card

I've had some questions about how I'm assembling these cards so I'll try and explain my process to you.

These are A2 sized cards (5.5 x 4.25")

1.  Print your sentiment four times on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardstock.  I used my card making software to  position the wording where I wanted it but you can do it in any word processing program too.

2.  Cut the cardstock into four rectangles that measure 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 " and place these onto the cutting mat.     Line the upper right hand corner of each rectangle up onto the grid on the mat.

3.  Using Design Studio, place four rectangles the same size on the cutting mat to match up to the placement  of your cardstock.   Place your butterflies where you want them on the rectangles, leaving a portion of the  butterfly wings hanging over the edge of the rectangle.  You do not have to weld the shapes together.

4.  Now that you have the cardstock attached to your cutting mat and the butterflies where you want them to  cut, delete off the rectangles in Design Studio so they won't cut.  Cut out the butterflies.

5.  Remove the cardstock from the cutting mat and then trim 1/4" off one side and 1/4" off one end. This will allow the paper on the card front to show around the edges.

6.  Apply the cut out piece onto your card front and then do the pen stitching around the edges and cutouts.

I've made some cards similar to these by just attaching the butterflies to the card front and trimming off one edge of the wings but they don't have the same kind of dimension as these with the cutouts.

It's even faster if you have a sentiment stamp that you'd like to use.  Then you don't need to figure out where to place your wording with a word processor.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Christmas Tree Cutout Card

Using Design Studio, I cut three different sized trees from Very Merry Tags so the card base would show through.  The tree is on a tag shape so I just used the hide contour feature so that only the tree shape would cut out.  The sentiment stamp is a Studio G and I added some pen work and tiny buttons.

The vintage notebook paper is from a pack I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby. 

Homemade English Muffins - 4 Smart Points

English Muffins

    8 to 10 muffins


    1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon shortening
    1 cup hot water
    1 envelope dry yeast
    1/8 teaspoon sugar
    1/3 cup warm water
    2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    Non-stick vegetable spray
    Special equipment: electric griddle, 3-inch metal rings, see Cook's Note*


In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using #20 ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

*Cook's Note: Small tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed work well for metal rings.

I used wide mouth fruit jar rings.  Put them in the pan and sprayed them with Pam before adding batter.  This recipe makes 10 muffins if you use the #20 scoop and put two scoops in each ring.

Smart Points
Milk      4.5
Sugar   3
Flour   24
Shortening  5

I didn't have tuna cans or egg rings so I used wide mouth canning rings sprayed with Pam and used 1/4 cup measure for the batter.  It's almost too much to fit into the ring, so I'd suggest using slightly less than 1/4 cup.
On our trip to Sam's yesterday, I picked up a 25 pound sack of flour and told Fred I was ready to start doing some fall baking.  I forgot that there was already almost that much flour in the garage freezer so I had to get busy and start using some of it!

An online recipe for homemade Egg McMuffins was what inspired me to try my hand at making my own English Muffins.  Commercially made English Muffins are okay, but they're a little too dry for my taste.  This recipe is from Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats on Food Network.  I love to watch his show because he explains the science behind why a recipe works.

From start to finish, you can have these done in under an hour.  As soon as I pulled the first ones out of the pan I split it an put some Amish butter on it.  It's about ten times better than any purchased English Muffin I've ever eaten.  This recipe definitely deserves a page in my recipe album.  The muffins turned out really moist and just the perfect size and shape using the fruit jar rings.

If you enjoy having a muffin for your breakfast, it's worth making these!  I'm not sure why he classified this as an "intermediate" level recipe. There's nothing tricky about it at all.  Just be certain that your skillet/griddle isn't too hot unless you enjoy really dark brown muffins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Christmas Tree Cutout

Very Merry tags was the source for the oval with the Christmas tree cutout.  Using Design Studio, I cut it out at  4.75 inches and then stretched it a little wider to make the tree opening large enough for the sentiment.  The stamps I used are from CTMH and are part of their Art Philosophy bundle.

My picture quality is pretty bad.  So, if you can't tell, the light green paper with the words stamped on it is actually sitting inside a cutout of a Christmas tree.

This one has brads in the corners, gold Pearl Pen dots and white Signo pen stitching on the oval and around the tree cutout.  The star is punched from shiny gold metallic paper.

I used gold Pearl Pen dots instead of brads on this one; made white Pearl Pen dots around the oval and filled in with a Signo pen.

This is my favorite of all the ones I tried out.  Just brads, white Signo pen work and a metallic gold star.  It's one that I can make multiples of really quickly to send to Operation Write Home and Cards for Soldiers.
White embossing powder was used for the words, I added gold Stickles as well as white pen work around the oval and the tree cut out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Well, it seemed like a good layout....

Fred, Shirley (aka Okieladybug) and my friend, Anita will all back me up on this:  I don't visualize things very well.

I can find a picture and copy the layout or follow written instructions and do well, but when it comes to me seeing something in my head and then translating it into a physical shape---it just doesn't work out well! 

This is what I started out with:

Seemed like a good idea---but the background was just too "blah".  I picked a lighter color for the background and ran it through the Cuttlebug.

 It's still just "okay".  The texture helped a little but it's still no where close to what I was trying for.

The next attempt, I changed the orientation of the card front and tried using a larger cut out for the sentiment.  Hmmmm..... still okay, but not what I wanted.

I decided to utilize the background image of the tree on this one.  I like it but do not care for how I treated the sentiment at all.  Plus, I really thought, for once, I could apply Stickles and not wind up getting my fingers in it. 

Then I had the idea to use my Gelly Roll Stardust pen to add some glitter to the blue background swirls.......yep, smeared the Stickles and had to re-do those!

So, I just gave up.  This is the final version of the card and, you know, I think I like it just fine! I added some drops of Cinnamon Stickles onto the shiny ornament and placed the card about 4 feet away from my work surface for them to dry.  Ta-da!  No smears. And, no where near the image I originally had in my head!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Easy to Duplicate Christmas Cards

Since I do cards for charity, I need layouts that are easy to duplicate. Out of a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock, I can get six card fronts for most layouts I decide to make and it's a good way to use up scraps from other projects too.

The Santa and little girl images are free clip art images I found online and resized.  The poinsettia on the striped card is made using a floral punch by Stampin' Up. 

 Got to use up some of the baker's twine I got a while ago.  Now I think there's probably only a couple of thousand yards left.....

Inside this card:  Wishing you sweet treats and all good things in this joyous holiday season."

The poinsettia has Inka-gold ink on it for some added bling.  The sentiment stamp is from the CTMH Art Philosophy bundle.  I added some Pearl Pen to the brad in the center of the flower and a little pen work on the cutout.

Feeling Really Cut Off From the Outside World!

Our phone service, along with internet, has been unavailable for the past two days.  I have not been a happy camper!  Recently, I dropped AT&T as our phone provider and signed up with the local cable company for both services.  Our phones have gone out twice this past week---and it took over 24 hours to get a repair technician out here to fix the problem. 

The cable phone service was about 1/3 the cost of AT&T but now I'm wondering if the old saying "you get what you pay for" may apply! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reindeer Made With Stampin' Up Owl Punch

I just saw this on Pinterest and quickly assembled it so I wouldn't forget how to do the reindeer.  The one I saw online used a snowflake punch for the antlers, and had stick on googlie eyes;  these antlers are a Martha Stewart branch punch and punched circles for the eyes and nose.

Tomorrow, I'll try to find a snowflake cut on a Cricut cartridge to use.  I don't really like the way the branches look on mine.

Christmas Card a la Okie

Shirley, aka Okieladybug, is doing a card series on her blog.  Her card for today featured the overlapping triangles and so I had to steal her idea, of course!

The subject for her card is at the opposite end of the spectrum from mine; you can check her blog out and see what I mean!  (WARNING:  her card series may contain material that may be offensive to some viewers.)

I followed her instructions and shaped the triangles to fit the card front using Design Studio.  The sentiment was computer generated; the bird is from a SU stamp and punch set and I colored it using Promarkers.

The bird is pop dotted off the card surface for dimension.  The paper is from a Paper Studio stack named Ornamental Christmas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sophie Christmas Card

This card is one that will be given to charity this year.  The tree was cut at 3 7/8".  Sentiment was computer generated and punched out with a SU punch.  I added some Stickles for bling.

This type of card is one that you can do multiples of very quickly.  It would be a good design for a group activity..  Adhesive pearls could be used on the tree branches so that you wouldn't need to allow for drying time on the Stickles.

Final Episode of 30 Minute Cards - #10

This will be the last post in the 30 Minute Card series---by now, I'm sure, you've figured out that the majority of my cards are truly 30 minute cards! LOL!

This is one of the Christmas cards that I'm going to take to Creative Women's meeting as an example of cards that are done simply, but look great.

I spent more time deciding which piece of vintage Christmas clip art than I did constructing the card itself.

A Martha Stewart edge punch was used for the lace piece, and I ran it and the solid green through my Cuttlebug for texture.  There's Clear Star Gelly Roll pen work on the snowflakes to add some bling to those.

The images are free clip art that I found online and resized in my card making software.

Hope everyone's enjoyed the quick card series and maybe got a little inspiration from them too! Thanks for stopping by and checking them out!

Birthday Cards

These are totally self-explanatory.  I used some paper with music printed on it, added a stamped sentiment, some music note stickers, ribbon and some Pearl Pen dots. 

Sophie Cricut Cartridge Birthday Card

Not a very complicated card at all.  The background is chocolate brown and mint green and even though it's not evident in the photo, the floral oval is cut from mint green mica paper.

My Sophie cartridge arrived today and I just had to get it out and give it a try.  There are so many good cuts on this one for cards that I know I'll get a lot of use out of it.

The sentiment was printed using the technique for printing on Cricut cut out shapes that I mentioned a few days ago.  The cardstock is textured so I knew that a stamp wouldn't work well on it.  Running it through the printer did a great job.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sophie Cricut Cartridge---Cricut Circle Exclusive

My friend, Carrie Elmore, who I jokingly refer to as "the biker chick", wound up with two extra copies of the Sophie cartridge.  It's currently a Cricut Circle exclusive cartridge and the only other place you can get it is if you're willing to pay big bucks for it on Ebay!

Some folks on the Cricut message board weren't very nice to her when she mentioned on there that she'd like to sell one copy so I told her I'd mention it on here.

If you're interested in buying the cartridge----and not going to just flame me and or Carrie----leave a message and I'll get you in contact with her.

The cartridge is new, of course and has not been linked to a Gypsy.

30 Minute Card - Post - #9

I've agreed to help a local women's group make around 200 Christmas cards to be distributed to local nursing homes so I've been searching for some good Christmas paper and simple card ideas.

Stampin' Up has a set of stamps, Language of Friendship, that coordinates with their Two Step Bird Extra Large punch.  The stamps are aligned perfectly for the punch.  You just stamp them, color them and punch all three pieces out at one time.

I recommend that you color outside the lines of the stamps, just a little, so you don't have any white edges showing after you punch them out.  The images were colored with Promarkers and the sentiment is a Studio G stamp.

Since this card is so easily duplicated, I can do multiples of it quickly.

Monday, September 12, 2011          This is a link for the manufacturer of the pens I used. 

Pearl Pens are similar to Liquid Pearls.  They are in a larger container and the solution is thinner than Liquid Pearls so you need to practice using it until you figure out how fast it comes out of the tip.

I have never seen them in Hobby Lobby, Michael's or JoAnn's.  The ones I have were picked up at CKC in Tulsa last month.  Given a choice, I prefer the Liquid Pearls but I can't find them in any of the craft stores in Oklahoma unless I buy sets with colors in them that I don't use.

I believe the pens are $5 and they probably hold over twice the amount of product that's in Liquid Pearls.  You may need to do an online search to find a supplier.

30 Minute Card - Post - #8

Today's card looks like it took a long time to make but I'll promise you, it can be done in 30 minutes.

Shirley, aka Okieladybug, explained to me a long time ago how I could print onto shapes I cut out using a Cricut by attaching the cutouts onto a sheet of paper and feeding them through a printer. 

First, go into your word processing program and print the sentiment.  I did mine in card making software so half of them are upside down.   Then, measure the printed words and use that dimension to cut the shape you want it printed onto.

Blue painter's tape works great for this since it's removable--and a whole lot cheaper than buying repositionable scrapbooking tape!

I used Design Studio and placed a rectangle the size of the printed words on the mat.  Then I sized a heart to fit around the words and then enlarged the heart and cut it  for the bottom layer.  If you don't use Design Studio, just grab a punch and work with that instead.

I inked the edges of the hearts and used some pop dots for dimension.  Added a bow and some of the cool twine my friend, Anita, gave me, a couple of Prima flowers and some dots with a Pearl Pen.  It will take a lot longer for the Pearl Pen dots to dry than it did to make the card! LOL!

It's easy, simple and can be completed in less than thirty minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

30 Minute Card - Post - #7

I'll bet we all have some "what was I thinking" paper in our stash!  The zebra striped paper is from a Paper Studio stack that includes the same print in multiple colors.  (Have you ever seen  a yellow or hot pink zebra at your local zoo?)

Hot pink and black is a favorite color combination of mine.  This card was inspired by one I saw online.  I had saved the jpg image into my Ideas folder and ran across it this morning.

 Two punches and a couple of flowers cur from Forever Young, a little ribbon and this one was done.
 I thought the flower centers could be jazzed up some so I grabbed a tiny EK Success punch and then added a white doodledot and some doodling along the borders too.

This one just has some drawn on stitch lines added to it.

So, I say take another look at some of the papers in your stash that you keep taking out, looking at, and putting back.  Using smaller pieces of it on a card is a great way to use it up.

These are just super simple cards.  Not a thing wrong with them; they're just not elaborate because they're 30 Minute Cards.

And, each one of them takes less than thirty minutes!  So next time you need a card, you can't use the excuse that there's not enough time to make one!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

30 Minute Card - Post #6

Adding embossing is a fast, easy way to add some real interest to a plain card front.  I used a tiny heart Cuttlebug folder for the card background and a larger heart for the center strip.

I was able to cut 3 of the center strips from one piece of embossed cardstock so I will have multiples of this card.

A Stampin' Up border punch was used on each edge of a 2" strip of blue cardstock and then I added colored brads into the embossed strip.

I didn't have six different colors of brads so I took a Promarker and just colored a white one to make it purple.  Shirley, aka Okieladybug uses glue dots on brads then dips them into glitter or embossing powder to customize them for her layouts.

It's a pretty card and it was completed in less than thirty minutes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

30 Minute Card - Post #5

For this card I used a Cuttlebug folder and cut it into squares.  Then I cut another plain square and embossed a line on each edge and mounted the Cuttlebug piece onto it.  I added some drops with a Pearl Pen for some bling and was pretty much finished.

It's been fun to challenge myself to come up with a card idea and have it finished within thirty minutes!  They definitely fit onto my blog "Nothin' Fancy", but I like the ideas I've come up with so far!  And it was completed in less than thirty minutes!

Girl's Night Out

Last night was spent with my friends, Shirley and Carrie in Ada.  This is the first time that the three of us have been in the same place at the same time!  We communicate a lot online but Carrie lives in Oklahoma City,  Shirley in Ada and I'm in Seminole so the distance as well as their work schedules makes it difficult to plan a get together.  (I, on the other hand, am totally retired and can pretty much do what I want when I darned well want! LOL!)

We met at the LSS and then headed over to Applebee's for dinner, conversation and a lot of laughs.  Then we headed over to Shirley's house to sit on her patio and enjoy the cool fall weather we're having.

Another of my friends, Anita White, who I went shopping with yesterday, made Shirley the cutest pillow case from some ladybug fabric we found on our excursion.  I had to get a couple of photos of her as she unfolded it and admired it. 

Great job, Anita!  Shirley, aka Okieladybug loved it!  The three of us had a good laugh about the captions around the ladybugs too!  So very "Shirley"!

 Okieladybug herself on the patio at Ladybug Manor.

Carrie Elmore just kickin' back after a hard day at work.  (Yeah, right, Carrie!)

As the evening drew to a close, Carrie drew a design that she's been trying to figure out how to cut with her E2.  She and Shirley put their heads together, literally, in the dark and got the file designed in Shirley's Gypsy.

Now as soon as Carrie figures out how to download it.........  LOL!

We all felt extremely safe while sitting outdoors in the dark because the intrepid guard dog. Lucy was there to be certain that no ornery creatures would sneak up on us and nibble on our toes!

I certainly hope that Carrie and Shirley enjoyed the evening as much as I did!  It's great to spend some "down time" with good friends!