Homemade Cheese Crackers

I finally got to bake something again! I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve baked anything for you guys, so it makes me feel so good to share with you a recipe from a gal named Ree Drummond. She’s the Pioneer Woman on Food Network and I love her cheese cracker recipe. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/homemade-cheddar-crackers-3141125 I also love her pie shell recipe, but that’s for another post.

These cheese crackers are pretty simple to make. Basically, you throw everything into a food processor and pulse until it’s combined. Form a ball with the dough, let it chill for an hour, roll it out, and bake it. I got to use one of my favorite, but under used, kitchen gadgets – my scale. Almost all of my recipes call for things I can easily measure with either dry measuring cups, spoons, or a glass Pyrex cup for liquid. When the recipe calls for 8 oz (225 grams) of shredded cheese, I get to use my scale. First, though, I had to zero it with a bowl so I could measure the cheese once it was shredded.

Yum! Cheese! Now, the recipe called for 8 oz of sharp cheddar, but all I had on hand was mild cheddar/mozzarella mix. The next step was to put everything into the mixer. That was the 8 oz of cheese, 1 cup of flower, 1/4 cup butter (half a stick), 1 tsp salt, and a pinch of paprika. I pulsed that until it looked a bit like sand.

Next, I added 3-4 tablespoons of ice water and pulsed that until combined. I had taken a small bowl of water and put it in the freezer to make sure it would be cold enough, and by the time I was ready for it, it had iced over!

The recipe said to add water until everything came together. I had a little trouble telling when that actually happened, so I added 4 tbsp of water instead of her recommended 3.

Next, I formed the dough into a ball, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

Once the dough had chilled, I rolled it out to about 1/4 inch thick and used a ruler to cut it into squares. Because my hands were a bit covered with flour, I asked my husband to take some pictures for me.

I used markings in the middle of the ruler to make sure I spaced everything evenly. Once the were all cut, I used the flat end of a skewer to poke holes in them. This allowed for the steam created by the water to escape and is called docking the dough. If you google search “pizza docker”, you’ll see something that looks like a medieval torture device, but it’s for docking your pizza dough. If you add more holes, more steam will escape and you’ll have crunchier crackers. Mine came out quite thick, as you’ll see. (Shout out to Alton Brown, another Food Network chef, and his book “I’m Just Here For More Food” for explaining the role of water in baked goods.)

Once docked, I transferred them to pans with silicon pads on them, but you could also just use parchment paper.

Some of the crackers looked a little funky before going in the oven (and after coming out), but I was trying to use edge scraps to make extra crackers.

And there we have it! Oh man, these things taste so good. I strongly recommend giving them a try. As long as you’ve got a food processor, half the work is done already. Honestly, I don’t know what to do if you don’t, perhaps using a pastry cutter? That would take a lot of elbow grease, but it could be doable. Bon appetit!

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Last Paper Flower

I have one more paper flower for you today, and this one was of my own creation.

I wanted to find a way to make realistically shaped daffodils, and an online image search just wasn’t cutting it. So, I studied the shape of each part of the flower, then dug through my punches and framelits and came up with a winning trio.

I realize the shape of the petals of the real flower is a little more pointed, but this was as close as I could get and I like how it turned out. With this flower, you’ll need six balloon/leaves (which I realized later), one of the Blossom Punch flowers, and one circle.

If you see a difference in the lighting of my photos today, it’s because the sun went behind a cloud and I didn’t have time to wait for it to come back out. It was a big cloud.

Anyway, once the shapes are punched, I cut the Blossom Punch flower just like I did for the paper roses (https://youcanmakeitcardsandbaking.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/flowers-for-work-2/ )and rolled the sides of each petal. Then, I glued them together, but not as closely as for a rose. Next, I rolled each balloon onto the skewer and then opened them up to give them just a little bit of a curl. I glued each balloon/petal onto the circle with some white Tombo glue.

The last step was to add the Blossom Punch center and the flower was complete. I hope you’re all ready for spring, because I certainly am! The kids were playing outside this past weekend and I have really been enjoying the steady sunshine. The only downside to spring is the cleaning. But it’s spring and the sun is shining. I think I can handle it. (See what I did there? I gave myself a little pep talk because I CAN do it and so can you!)

More Paper Flowers

I have another paper flower to show you today. These were called lilacs in the tutorial I found (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5DLSOyokOE) , but I think they look like something else and I can’t think of the name of them. To make these flowers, you’ll need a wooden skewer, floral tape, a paper trimmer, a piece of card stock that measures 3 x 11 1/2, and some strong glue. Think sticky strip (retired Stampin Up glue), Fast Fuse, or this time I used hot glue. I didn’t realize that when using hot glue on a delicate project like this, I should have prepared myself to get some hot glue on my fingers, but that’s ok. I’ll be prepared for next time.

To make these flowers, you’ll need to make a series of 1/4 inch cuts along the long side of the paper. I first scored a line 1/4 inch from one side to give me a guide. As long as I didn’t cut past that score line, my flower wouldn’t fall apart!

At first, it was easy to line up one side of the paper with each 1/4 mark on the ruler at the top of the paper trimmer, but eventually, the paper went past the ruler. Once that happened, I would line up the cuts in the paper to the lines coming out from under it. After each new cut, I would move an old cut from it’s current position, to 1/4 inch to the side.

Next, I used curled each 1/4 inch of paper around the skewer. It looked kind of funny when I was finished.

Next, I wrapped the floral tape around the skewer to make my green stem.

I wasn’t able to get pictures of how I twisted the curly paper around the skewer because it’s hard to hold the skewer, paper, and glue gun in one hand and the camera in the other. Perhaps I should look for a small, tabletop tripod for my camera. Anyway, I put a small glob of glue at the top to get started and began to twist the paper around the skewer. Once it was finished, I had my flower. Another glob of glue held the end of the paper.

While it’s a simple technique, it is a little time consuming to curl all the 1/4 inch strips. Don’t be afraid to give it a try, though. You’ll be surprised what you can do. Have a great day!

Flowers for Work 2

Last week I decided to bring some flowers to work to help brighten our back room. Today, I’m showing you one more flower I learned to make. The original site where I learned the technique is gone, but this one references it: http://www.welke.nl/photo/Ghoulsandfangs/leuk-idee-voor-bloemen.1355699974. Paper flowers can range from simple to complex, from quick to very time consuming. This one is a beautiful paper rose that is simple but a little time consuming. The first time I created these was back in January. I have a January birthday and since I don’t like to be cold or even think about the cold, I decided to have an indoor garden party this year. It’s tough to get affordable flowers in the middle of winter, so I just made my own. I was also given some large, paper wall hanging flowers and lots of silk flowers by my friends. I’ll include some pictures from the party at the bottom of the post.

This rose was made with a retired punch called Blossom Punch. You’ll need 4-5 flowers punched (depending on how full you want your flower, this one took 5), a skewer or thin dowel, scissors, and some glue.

I’ve chosen four shades of pink to make to bring to work. I started by punching four flowers from each color. I later decided I needed 5 and punched a few more.

Once the flowers are punched, you’ll need to snip up between the petals to give you room to curl them. If you don’t, the flowers will rip and won’t look as nice. Try to make sure that all the snips are the same length so your flower is semetrical.

The next step is to begin curling the edges of your petals. This is where you’ll need the skewer or dowel. I used my finger and thumb to curl the paper around the skewer. Once I had done all the petals on one side, I put the skewer in my other hand and did the other side of each petal. This is probably the most time consuming part of making these flowers.

Now it’s time to start building the flower, and we’re going to start with the center. Take two petals that are opposite each other and fold them up. Then, take another two petals across from each other and fold them up. Can you guess what you do with the last two petals? Points for you!

Sometimes it’s hard to glue the two petals across from each other, so I just end up gluing the last two to the four underneath, and it works. Next, we’ll glue this into the next layer of petals, making sure to offset the petals so they’re not completely overlapping.

Just a little glue on the bottom will be enough. With the next 2-3 layers, repeat the steps for the first layer where you fold up two petals across from each other. You can glue each petal down, or just the last two on that layer as long as they cover the other four petals.

For the final layers, you don’t have to glue the petals at all; just put the glue in the center like the picture above. This makes your flower look more open and fuller. Once you glue the layers onto your flower, use your fingers to uncurl the paper. You can fuss with it as much as you like until you get it just where you want it.

If you want a tighter flower, glue the petals on the first layer closer together. I just need to get some magnets for the back of these and they’ll be done. Can’t wait to decorate the stockroom some more. I just love spring! Here are some pictures from my garden party in January.

Maybe next time I can demonstrate how to make the curly flowers that look like hyacinth. There are lots of ways to use paper flowers, and they’ll never wilt! Hope you have a Happy Spring!

Birthday Wit Take 2

Today’s card features another stamp from the set Birthday Wit. This one pokes a little fun at card makers and I just can’t help but laugh at it! How would you feel if someone sent you this card?

I found inspiration for this layout from an old blog called Mojo Monday. Here’s the link: http://mojomonday.blogspot.com/2009/01/mojo-madness-winners-week-68.html. I like to browse through their inventory of layouts when I need help with a card. While looking at the layout, I decided I wanted to flip it upside down. It just seemed to work better in my head. Since the stamp was a little silly, I wanted to emphasize that by putting it on some pretty paper. I started by stamping the sentiment on a small piece of paper.

Next, I used the Balloon Bouquet to punch out a couple small balloons.

The designer paper is from an old package called Floral Boutique. Nothing coordinates with navy blue quite like a bright yellow, so I added a little at the top. Honestly, this card was so quick and simple to make. I knew which stamp I wanted to use, and once I found a layout, the rest fell together rather quickly. I probably could have participated in a speed stamping challenge if there had been one as this probably took less than 10 minutes to complete.

See if you can challenge yourself this week to do a quick card. It really stretches your imagination and flexes your brain muscle. Be sure to post a picture to the Facebook page so I can see what you did. Have a good weekend!

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Spring Break!

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Sorry there was no post Monday. I had more to do than I originally planned because it’s Spring Break and I wasn’t quite as prepared as I usually am. Today’s post will feature a project I did for work.

We have a very drab stock room at my job. It’s well lit, but there are no windows. One of my coworkers tried to bring in some potted flowers, but they died because they didn’t get any sunlight. I decided to make some paper flowers to bring in to brighten up the place.

These were made using a couple of retired punches – Blossom Punch (larger) and Boho Blossoms (smaller). I used a technique that makes the paper look like suede where you run the paper between your thumb and a bone folder to break the fibers in the paper. Not only did I curl the edges of the petals, but I also softened the middle of the flower.

The more I worked the paper with the bone folder, the more the edges started to separate. Once I saw this, I knew it was ready for me to carefully pull it apart. I punched two flowers and made a total of four layers for one complete flower. I did the same for the small yellow center. I used my foam pad and a paper piercing tool to poke a hole in the middle to insert a brad (the silver thing in the top picture).

The last step for these was to add a magnet to the back. Someone had given me a magnetic sheet, so I punched out a circle to glue on the back of the flower.

I also made a couple of Black-eyed Susans by stamping the Daisy Delight flower onto Crushed Curry using Soft Suede ink. I punched them with the coordinating punch and added a magnet to the back of them as well. I also added a touch of Wink of Stella to the centers to make them sparkle.

Just for the fun of it, I pulled out Papillon Potpourri and stamped the smallest butterfly on Pumpkin Pie card stock with Basic Black ink and punched them with the coordinating punch. I also did three of the larger butterflies from the set, but forgot to take a picture. To give the butterflies a little dimension, I used the bone folder to fold their wings back. I used the smallest snippets from the magnetic sheet for these guys, so their wings wouldn’t get stuck down.

Please excuse the blurry thumb; I was trying to do this before work yesterday morning and I was in a bit of a rush. I hope you’re ready for Spring, because I sure am! I’m so done with all this nasty snow. I’ve been wearing pastel nail polish to work for the past two weeks (you may not be able to tell, but I have an iridescent pink/purple color on my thumb) and now I have flowers in the stock room. I also hid a few up by the registers, but they are not in a place where customers would really notice as corporate doesn’t want anything on the counters. What are you doing to help bring in the Spring? Let me know what your favorite flower is in the comments here or on FB! I have lots of favorites, but I was always so excited to see my tulips coming up at my old house. I also love carnations, daisies, and ranunculus. Hope this inspires you to bring some spring to your work!

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I posted a card yesterday that featured the color green in preparation of St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s another green card that’s more focused on the holiday. As I was working on this card, I ended up changing it as I went and I like how it turned out.

I didn’t set out to make a shaker card, but that’s what it ended up being. I was inspired by the layout of a card by Renee Daley here: https://stampknowhow.com/2018/03/14/st-paddys-day-card-challenges/. I didn’t have gold glimmer paper, but I did have gold foil paper, and I think it worked just as well. I also moved the sentiment to make room for the pot of gold. It’s a strange story of how I found a pot of gold in my own stamp supplies.

I was originally looking for a die that might work as a similar shape as the one from the original card, and happened across the Everyday Jars framelits. I’m not exactly sure what the piece in the center is supposed to be, but it seemed to work as a pot.

Picture from Pinterest

So, I guess that’s how it’s supposed to act as a lid, but I’ve never seen a lid like that on a jar. Oh, well. Back to my card.

I wanted something like the beautiful embossing folder she had used, but the only thing I had that was anywhere near that intricate was a retired embossing folder called Square Lattice. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. I ran it through the Big Shot as well as a piece from the Petals and More framelits and started to assemble my card.

As I was looking at my little black pot, I thought about how it would be cute as a shaker and decided to try it. I attached a window sheet, some dimensionals, then realized I had a bit of a problem.

Can you see how the dimensionals stick out from behind the edges of the pot? I wasn’t thrilled with that, but I kept pressing forward, sure that I’d find a solution. You won’t believe what I did to fix it.

I started to assemble my card with the pieces that I had.

You can see the little sequins below the card there. They came from the sequin trim I had from a while back. I believe the size currently available is a bit smaller than this, but it’s a similar design. Each sequin is attached by a string, but is slit halfway through for easy removal. The sentiment was from another old stamp set called Teeny Tiny Wishes. I stamped it on a small piece of paper and attached it to the card front using two dimensionals.

So, how did I fix the problem of the dimensionals sticking out? I took the scrap of paper out of which I had cut the pot, and cut around the hole. It was easy to follow and it gave just enough paper to adhere to and cover the dimensionals that were showing. Here’s the before and after. What do you think? Did it work?

I know you can still see the ones in the middle, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that. Instead of thinking outside the box, I guess you could say I was thinking outside the pot! I hope this inspires you to do some creative thinking the next time you have a situation with one of your cards. You can do it!

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