May 24, 2013

CTMH and Oklahoma Tornado Relief Effort

As most of the world knows a devastating Tornado ripped through the heart of Oklahoma on Monday.

The tornado was 3 miles from our home and while I am beyond grateful that my family is safe and sound my heart is breaking for the community that I call home.

While I have been helping in ways that I can, I am proud to say that Close to my Heart is making a new Autumn/Winter 2013 stamp set, A True Thank You M1029 ($2.95 retail), available immediately and will donate 100% of the profits from sales of the set from May 23 through June 30 to the American Red Cross.

If anyone would like to order this set please let me know.  You can also go to my website Shop here. Click on Shop and then look under Special Promotions for the set.

A little will go along way.


April 30, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Tuesday: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I love pumpkin and this past Fall there must have been hundreds if not thousands of pins with pumpkin in them showing up in my daily feed on Pinterest.

I pinned a few and this is the first one that I tried and not only was it easy, it was beyond delicious. In fact between my littles and hubby the first half dozen were gone as fast as I could ice them.

I got the recipe from here.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (if you have one, if not a mixing bowl and a hand mixer will do just fine), combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium until well combined. Slowly start to add the dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

And while she does provide a recipe for homemade caramel I chose to go with the alternative of using a favourite caramel sauce as I already had it on hand. Next time, I will try and make the Caramel Sauce from scratch.

Salted Caramel Buttercream


1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick salted butter

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups powdered sugar


In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Needless to say they were a tasty treat and I plan making them again.

April 23, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

While I am sure  most of you have a recipe for a go to Beef Stew (I know I do) I am always on the hunt for something new or just a little different from the tried, tested and true fail safe recipe when I stumbled on to this one. It is similar and just different enough that I thought I would try it out.

The recipe is from Movita Beaucoup. I aspire to be able to take food pictures the way they did one day. For now, I guess I only took one picture!


2 lbs of stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium sized onions, chopped into large pieces

2 ribs celery, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

about 20 mini-potatoes, cut large ones in half, leave smallest ones as is (I like to
use a mix of yellow, red and blue, no need to peel)

1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I use plum tomatoes)

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

3 cups sodium-reduced beef broth, divided

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly brown the
meat in batches. Transfer browned beef to a plate and set aside.

Dump the tomatoes into the slow cooker (juice and all). Crush them with a potato
masher or the back of a spoon.

Add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the vegetables and then add the beef and any accumulated drippings.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth over the beef and vegetables.

Give the mixture a quick stir. Add the bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, add the peas (no need to defrost first), salt and

 In a small bowl whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth,
creating a smooth paste. Stir into the stew.

Replace the slow cooker cover and cook until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).

Remove the bay leaves before serving.

April 16, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Tuesday: Honey Beer Bread

Pinterest is a great tool on so many levels. I am able to procrastinate hours and hours away happily while pining away. I am sure you all know exactly what I am talking about!

So in attempt to make those idle hours useful I have started making some of the recipes taunting me from my boards and I plan on sharing those at least once a week...whether they turn out to be a culinary master piece or the scene from Aliens!

First up is this recipe for Honey Beer Bread that I found at (unfortunately the link seems to bring up an error 404 code).


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

1 can beer (I used a bottle)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted


Preheat over to 350F. Grease a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 
Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed.  (Microwave the honey for 5 to 10 seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in)
Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. Use a pastry brush to spread it around.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Everyone loved it! My husband thought it was more of a cake then a bread, I told him it was a heavy bread and not cake...regardless when paired with a thick and hearty stew fresh from the oven with some butter it was great.

Next week, the recipe for the Beef Stew pictured above.

April 9, 2013

Pinterest and Recipes

I am sure everyone can relate to this:

Starting next week, I am putting Pinterest and all those hundreds of recipes that I have pinned to work!

Stay tuned for Pinterest Tuesday Recipes!

April 8, 2013

A little Christmas in April

I have a few posts from December that I need to catch up on. Being sick starting right before Thanksgiving up until the start of the holidays made for a crazy time, on top of a trip back to Canada then back home just in time to start school again left me no time to update the blog.

So without further ado here is the Christmas Tree Cake that I made for Keegan's Grade One Class.

The cake pan that I used is made by Wilton and it is one of many that my Mom gave me when I moved away from home and they are old. In fact they are at least 30 plus years old. My Mom used to not only teach cake decorating classes but she and my Aunt Gail used to have a little cake business. They told me that they used to do Birthdays and cool! Mind you, I do remember having awesome cakes for my birthdays growing up and she gave me my first lesson in piping. Needless to say that one is still a work in progress, but I get by.

So I decided rather then just baking a plain tree cake I was going to add a bit of colour, which my 7 year old thought was the coolest thing. So I mixed up so green and brown and we decorated the cake together. He decided that M&M's were a good idea.

Items used:
Wilton Christmas Tree Cake pan
Wilton Gel Colours
White Cake
Buttercream Icing
Mini M&M's
Tube of Glitter Icing

It was a big hit!

February 14, 2013

Tic Tac Toe Valentine's

So I searched and searched for an idea for Valentine's for Keegan to hand out in class today, not to mention that it had to include my awesome buy of Heart Pencils that I got from Oriental Trading Company on sale, bought with a coupon, and free totally FREE!

As you might recall we made this Valentine inspired by Pinterest.

So this is what I came up with.
I started with a 5 x 4.5" template. I added a top and bottom border, a little To: tag and a Tic Tac Toe board. I also added two cut lines 1" to the right side to allow the pencil to be put in and held in place. I filled the top borders with 50's Large Circle Pattern that you can find here in the online Silhouette Store.

A close up of the lines cut for the pencil.

Ready to hand out to his friends.

One more post coming up. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Valentine Mailboxes

I found these great little mailboxes at Target for a $1 and thought that they would be perfect for some Valentine mail for the boys.

Cute, but a little plain. So out comes the Cameo, and some new vinyl that I had just ordered. I was most excited to try out the Silver as I have plans for a Rocket Ship wall design for my youngest and I thought this would be a great place to try it out.

I also choose some green and a little pink, I have boys, but it was for a Valentine's mailbox and I thought...why not!

Supply List:

Silhouette Cameo
Design Studio
Metal Mailboxes (Target)
Vinyl (Silver, Lime Green, and Pink)

Thanks for stopping by. Two more Valentine's Day posts still to follow!

A Valentine's Wreath

Well the original plan was to have all these projects posted individually over the last week or so and well, that didn't happen. So I will be sharing several Valentine projects throughout the day today!

The first is this quick and easy Valentine's Wreath that I made. I have seen tons of wreath showing up as of late all over Pinterest and the web varying from yarn, to felt, to burlap and everything in between and I just knew that I wanted to to try one using both felt and burlap together.

With a rough idea of what colours I wanted to use I headed off to Hobby Lobby to find what I needed.

Here are the results:

Supply List:

Straw Wreath
Burlap Ribbon of your choice
Felt sheets of your choice
Flower Staples
Silhouette Heat Transfer Fabric Interfacing Clean Cut (or another brand)
Silhouette Machine
Silhouette Design Studio

While I really wanted to find a grey burlap that wasn't meant to be, but I did find a really nice frayed burlap that I thought would give it the perfect rustic feel I was looking for. I also picked up a couple of sheets for grey and teal felt.

I wrapped the the straw wreath in the burlap and then proceeded to try something I had never done before, cut felt using my Silhouette Cameo.

First I set up the hearts that I wanted in the studio. The settings that I used to cut the felt were Speed 2, Thickness 33, Blade 10 and double cut was clicked on.

Next I decided to switch out my blade for the material blade as I had one from a promo and had not used it yet. The reason that I choose to do this was over the many pages I read on cutting felt, the one main things all posters had stated was the need for keeping their paper blade separate from that of their paper one, so I figured why not.

The next thing I did was to prep my felt for the machine and while some posters said that they had had great success in using freezer paper, I knew that I needed the felt to have a bit more weight to it. So I used the Silhouette Heat Transfer Fabric Interfacing Clean Cut, as I didn't have any Heat n Bond on hand (which was another poster favourite).

I followed the directions for ironing it onto the felt and here is what it looks like.

After I had the felt prepared I placed it on my mat shiny side down and proceeded to cut.

The moment of truth...

Needless to say it was a success!

So after some initial layout ideas here is the finished project. I decided that leaving the flower staples visible added a nice visual element, not to mention if down the road I decided to change the wreath the hearts would be easy to remove.

and one of it hanging outside

Thanks for stopping by.

Valentine's Card Swap

Well I joined a swap where we would be exchanging a Valentine's Card with a random person that joined the swap. I thought this was a great idea as it was only one card and at the time Valentine's Day was a couple weeks away.

Here is the card that I made for the swap, which I created in the Studio and cut out on the Cameo. I apologize in advance for the rather poor quality shots. I was dealing with bad lighting and a two year old who kept trying to get in the shots!

A close up

The main heart is filled with a dictionary page from a French Dictionary on the page many definitions of Amour.

The little hearts have been stamped with stamps from CTMH's Whooo's Your Valentine. The Ink colours are CTMH Grey Wool and Ruby. As well as some CTMH Opaques and Pop Dots.

Well needless to say, I didn't just stop at one that day!

Here is a close up of each one.

In case you hadn't noticed the abundant use of Washi Tape, I used a lot, but was having so much fun with a product that I had but hadn't ever really used.

I hope that gives you some inspiration to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Supplies Used:

Silhouette Cameo
Studio Designer
CTMH Daisy White Cardstock
CTMH Whooo's Your Valentine Stamp set
CTMH Grey Wool, Ruby, Black, Cotton Candy and Holiday Red Ink Pads
CTMH Opaques
Washi Tape (various suppliers)
Heart Brad
French Dictionary Image

A Valentine's Breakfast!

I knew that I wanted to have a little something special for the boys this morning and I was planning on making heart shaped toast and scrambled eggs.

When the other day I stumbled upon this idea of painting your bread before toasting it to add a little bit of fun to it.

So with a mixture of milk and food colouring I added just a bit more of fun to the boys breakfast this morning!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well here is the start to several Valentine themed posts that will be appearing here stay tuned!

and because I am a bit of a Dr Who fan...

Whooo's Your Valentine!

This month CTMH released a special package called Whooo's Your Valentine. It was a kit that contained a terrific stamp set, papers (including the new glitter sheet of Silver) and little test tubes to fill with treats.

Being the hoarder...err...umm, collector of all great products I purchased one and here are my little creations.

Supplies Used:

CTMH Whooo's Your Valentine Kit
CTMH Whooo's Your Valentine Stamp set
CTMH Daisy White Cardstock
CTMH Grey Wool, Ruby, Black, Cotton Candy and Holiday Red Ink Pads
CC Artiste CTMH (for the hearts and banners)
Washi Tape (various suppliers)
M&M's Valentine Edition

February 7, 2013

A few minor changes

Well I started out with one goal in mind and an hour an half later I have a new header and some changes to the blog and a whole bunch of posts that still need some tweaking before they will show up, but over all rather happy with all that I got done.

Now off to finish some mailboxes for the boys for Valentines Day.

January 25, 2013

Already a month into the new year...

I can't believe that it is already 2013! Or more to the point I am already a year older. Time sure flies when you are chasing kids around the house!

Let's see, 2012 was a long year. Full of many changes, many of which I made on my own while my husband was deployed. It was crazy, fun, sad, stressful and full of challenges that I feel for the most part I was able to raise to the occasion and succeed.

I have so many post sitting in the cue waiting to be finished and posted, I have so many projects on the go, like my posts waiting to be finished.

Sometimes I find myself lying awake trying to figure out where to start. Hopefully, with some of the changes I have made in our lives and routines I will have a chance to to finish my projects and get them posted, for my few, but very loyal followers.

Here's to the start of hopefully a more productive blog year which has been a goal for awhile.

January 15, 2013

Did someone say Washi Tape?

I love Washi Tape and today PYP has an awesome deal on Washi Tape just in time for Valentines or what ever your little heart wants to craft!

Take a peek and then go get some for yourself. You can use the link on the left.

Have fun!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover