About Cyndi Johnson

Paper crafter

Places Please

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Before I start with today’s post, I thought I would show you that I finished making all of my bunny napkin rings, and they are ready and waiting for Easter Sunday. These were a labor of love, and I can’t wait to use them!

These napkin rings set the bar pretty high for my place cards, which is quite unnerving, considering that I have no idea how I want them to look.  Most of the time I start out with a basic picture in my mind of what I want the project to end up looking like, but for times like this, where I have no idea at all,  I start by choosing the color combination and the basic design elements.

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Choosing the color combination was relatively easy, as I based it off of our Spring flag, which will greet people when they drive up to the house. I will keep the navy and white as the primary colors, and bring in some of the other colors with the design elements.

The only design elements I was sure of at this point were that I wanted to continue the bunny theme and I wanted the place cards to be oval, to mimic the shape of an Easter egg.

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I started by die cutting the two different ovals and the bunnies, and, after some trial and error with several color combinations, this is the basic design I came up with:

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The navy and white ovals coordinate with the dishes and the napkin rings, and the navy and pink bunnies really pop against the white background. This bunny die cut is my favorite, and when you add the pom pom for the tail, it’s just the cutest thing ever!

As I was putting the basic design together, I began to picture the bunnies sitting in grass. Making grass was easier said than done, but I finally figured it out–I used a green scalloped oval and made the blades of grass by using my fringe scissors. I cut the blades a little deeper in the middle for the cottontails.

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What a difference the grass made! The green really brightens up each card and I love how sweet the little cottontails look peeking out of the grass. I’m so pleased with how these place cards are beginning to take shape, but they need much more color and pizzazz.

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I stamped some sweet yellow flowers and a tiny Easter sentiment at the top, and now we’re getting somewhere. The addition of the grass and flowers make sense, and give so much life and personality to the overall appearance of the cards. There is still just too much white space for my liking, however, so I wanted to bring in one more color and design element. I thought about  writing the names on the white oval as that would take up some of the white space, but it also would mean that I would have to make a whole new place card if I needed to change a name. I decided to stick with my original idea of writing the names on the grass, as the grass could easily be replaced if a name needed to be changed. I finally settled on adding in a tiny orange butterfly, and that did the trick for me–these cards are now complete.

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The design process never ceases to amaze me, as an hour ago all I had was a color combination and a few basic design elements in mind. I couldn’t have predicted that these cards were what I was going to end up with, but that’s what makes paper crafting so exciting–you are never 100% sure what your final product is going to look like. These place cards are exactly what I wanted; they are bright and colorful like our Spring flag, and they just exude charm and personality, which makes me happy. I definitely think they will hold their own against the napkin rings.

I made a simple stand:

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and this next picture will give you an idea of how they will look on the table:

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I saw this napkin fold on Pier 1 Imports’ website, and decided to give it a try. The bunny ears fit in with my bunny theme, and the plastic eggs bring in even more color. Here’s the link in case you want to give it a try. Just keep scrolling down through the post; the napkin fold is right after the floral chandelier. I plan to fill the Easter eggs with Bunny Chow, in case our guests get hungry in-between the salad and main courses. It’s never good to have a hungry crowd!

I can’t wait for Easter Sunday–I am so excited to set the tables and see how everything looks together. I want these tables to be colorful and charming; to bring a smile to peoples’ faces; and, ok, to produce a few goosebumps. Just a few!

And now I need to put some time and effort into the meal…..

Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Embroidery Hoop Napkin Rings

We are hosting Easter dinner this year, and it has been many years since we have hosted the meal for this particular holiday. I spent some time over the weekend searching for table decoration ideas, as I will be starting from scratch. I am going to need napkin rings, place cards, centerpieces–the works!

During my search, I discovered this napkin ring from Pier 1, and the minute I saw it I knew I had found the inspiration for our napkin rings. It wasn’t the embellishment that caught my eye; it was the basic bunny shape wrapped in twine that intrigued me. The twine added so much texture and gave the napkin ring a nautical look, which I’m sure is why I was so attracted to it in the first place. I printed out the picture and turned my attention to my supplies, hoping that I would have something that would help me make the basic bunny shape.

As luck would have it, I discovered that I had just the thing to make the bunny shape– embroidery hoops. Stampin’ Up! released these mini embroidery hoops in their Occasions 2018 (Spring) catalog:

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They come in 2 sizes: 1 1/2″ and 1 3/4″, and the variation in size is exactly what I need for my bunny body. Timing really is everything, because without these hoops, I wouldn’t have had a chance to try and replicate the napkin rings! I had ordered some of these hoops when the catalog came out, so I spent the rest of the weekend coming up with my design. I’m really excited about how these napkin rings turned out, and I’m ready to show you what I came up with.

I chose a navy and white color combination, which will coordinate with our dishes. Yes, I know that this doesn’t fit the traditional pastel color scheme used for Easter, but the glorious thing about paper crafting is that it’s not bound by rules or limitations; it’s about letting your creative juices flow and enjoying every step of the process.

Here is a look at all of the supplies I used:

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The hoops have a dark stain on them, and I was concerned that the stain might show through the loops of twine. Luckily that wasn’t the case, as needing to spray paint the hoops would certainly slow down production considerably. The hoops and twine create the basic bunny body; the rest of the supplies are used to create the embellishments.

Start by wrapping both of the embroidery hoops with the twine. I found that it took about 55″ of twine for the large hoop, and 45″ of twine for the smaller hoop. I left a tail at the beginning and the end and tied it behind the closure in a knot. I hot glued the knot before trimming off the ends.

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Once both hoops are wrapped in twine, I glued both closure ends to a white button that was a little wider than the closures. While the glue is drying, it’s a good time to start working on the embellishments.

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Cut two 2 1/2″ pieces of a white pipe cleaner for the ears. Fold each piece into ear shapes and glue one end over the other. Cut a 2 x 2 piece of patterned paper–I am using a pattern from Stampin’ Up’s new Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper. The polka dots are oval shaped and they remind me of eggs. Score the paper every 1/4″ and fan fold starting and ending with a mountain fold. Make into a bow tie by placing a glue dot in each of the 3 valley folds on top as close to the middle as possible. Turn the paper over and put glue dots in the 2 valley folds and then squeeze the paper in the middle. Fan out the ends and it should look something like this:

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Finish up the embellishments by punching a 7/8″ scalloped circle with the solid color card stock. Make a bow with the gingham ribbon. And now comes the fun part; let’s turn these hoops into a bunny!

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Glue the ears on and attach the scalloped circle over the hoop closures with glue dots. Attach a white pom pom in the middle of the bow tie and the bow. Attach either the bow tie or bow onto the scalloped circle, and your bunny is complete.

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Allow me to introduce you to The Cottontails! I dressed them in their Easter finest, and they are almost ready to help me set my table for Easter dinner! All that is left to do is to create the rings and these bunnies will be ready to hop on over to my table.

I cut two 7″ pieces of the navy saddle stitch ribbon and attached glue dots to each end. Using the ribbon for the ring minimizes the chance that my cloth napkins will get snagged by the roughness of the inside of the ring. I then attached the bunny to the ribbon with velcro dots. I chose to use velcro dots instead of hot glue to allow for some extra stretch and movement of the ribbon.

And now for the moment we’ve all be waiting for– let’s see how the napkin rings look on the table:

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These napkin rings add so much charm and personality to the table, and I just can’t help but smile every time I look at them. The white pom poms add a touch of bunny fluff, and they really amp up the cuteness factor for sure! These napkin rings turned out better than I imagined and I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks for dropping in today and for enduring such a long post! I’m really proud of these napkin rings and I couldn’t wait to show them to you! Take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

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Pumpkin of Twine

I have been enjoying changing the color palette of some of the fall decorations I made several years ago to reflect the coastal theme of this house. I have kept the traditional fall colors for the outside decorations:

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but wanted more grays and blue-greens for the inside decorations. I have been able to buy some pumpkins and floral sprays in blues and greens, but I wanted to add in some of my own decorations as well. One of the best parts about handmade decorations is that you can make them in any color you want, and today, I am going to do just that!

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I saw twine pumpkins similar to this on Pinterest several years ago, and I knew I had to make one. This pumpkin is right up my alley with it’s rustic, vintage charm. I have several areas that would be perfect for this pumpkin, but it needs to be updated before it can be put on display. Let’s go up to my studio and I’ll show you my process, so that you can make one too.

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Besides the ball of twine, you will need some stuffing material, patterned paper for the leaves, ribbon, buttons, and something for the stem. I am going to be using a wooden spool, but you could also use a wine cork, twigs or cinnamon sticks.

I started by filling in the hole with my stuffing, and laying out and attaching the buttons to the dark gray ribbon with glue dots.

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I attached the ribbon to the twine with straight pins. I loved the lace band I used on my original pumpkin, but this house isn’t a doily and lace kind of house. The satin, dark gray ribbon is more fitting for this house, and the cream buttons help tone down the strong color and bring in the vintage charm I like.

The next stamp is to die cut the leaves from the patterned paper I chose. Once I was happy with the arrangement, I adhered the leaves together with glue dots and attached them to the ball of twine with straight pins. The pumpkin just wasn’t full enough with the three leaves, so I added in a couple of copper foil leaves I had left over from another project. What a difference that made!

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I am pretty sure that on my own I wouldn’t have chosen to mix copper with gray, but I’m so glad I took a chance and added the foil leaves in because they add some much needed bling and pizazz.

While I was pleased with the addition of the copper leaves, I wasn’t happy with the gray patterned paper I had chosen. It certainly fit in with the other two patterns in that there was a white pattern on a colored background, but it just wasn’t dark and rustic enough for my liking. Back to my paper stash! I ended up finding a wood-textured pattern in gray and die-cut another leaf from that to try.

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That did the trick for me. The other gray paper was too feminine and just didn’t command enough presence and have enough weight to it. This paper is much better. Creating anything handmade is all about trial and error, and it’s worth the time it takes to try different options to ensure you’re happy with the end result.

The only thing missing is the stem. I tied a bow around the wooden spool with the gray gingham ribbon, attached a button to the bow with a glue dot, and hot glued the spool to the stuffing in the center. I also added a small tag to bring in a little more charm, and my pumpkin is now updated and ready to report to duty.

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Here are the two pumpkins side by side, and the comparison really highlights how I have grown and expanded as a crafter.

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There was a time that the old pumpkin would have been enough for me, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the updated version. I am so happy with the way this turned out–the colors work well together and the additional leaves just take the whole project up a notch. The cream buttons and gray gingham ribbon add some much needed softness and vintage charm that I love. Isn’t it amazing how some leaf die-cuts, patterned paper, ribbon, and buttons can transform a ball of twine into a rustic but charming pumpkin!

Let me show you the two spots I was thinking about putting this pumpkin, and you can help me decide where it looks better.

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The first option is on this table at the bottom of the stairs, or

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on top of the dishes in the pantry. I’m open to suggestions, so leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Well, we did it my friends–a job well done! Thank you for keeping me company this afternoon as I have missed our time together. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

Mason Monday–Lids and Cork Sheets

Hi everyone! I am back today with another “Mason Monday” project, and this one involves using wide mouth lids and bands. No jars; just the lids. I have been working on this idea for almost a week now, and it really started out as an experiment.

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I have a set of these coasters, and I love the combination of the galvanized metal and the cork and how striking the embossed white seashell looks against the cork background. I have always been curious as to whether I could duplicate this design using mason jar lids as the base, and, since I could use some coasters for our outdoor seating area, I decided it was time to find out.

Before I could even start this project, I needed to make sure that I had stamp images that were proportional to the size of the cork circles, and that I could emboss these images on to the cork. I would have loved to use seashells, but all of my shell stamps were way too small. I did find a set of chair images that looked like they might be large enough, so now it was time to see if the detailed images would emboss well on the cork. I am happy to report that the embossing went well, and here is what the chair images looked like on the cork circles:

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I really thought that the uneven surface of the cork would make it difficult to pick up the fine details of each of these chairs, but that wasn’t the case at all! You can see each image very clearly. I’m so excited! This project was dependent on being able to emboss on cork, and now that I have accomplished that, I can start working on the jar lids.

Here is a picture of the adhesives and paints I used on the mason jar lids:

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I started by gluing the lids to the bands with E6000 adhesive. I tried hot glue first, but it was too thick and bulky. Once the lids were secure, I whitewashed each lid with the white chalk paint.

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I then applied a thin coat of the vintage chalk paint, making sure to leave areas of the white paint exposed. I wanted the lids to have a distressed, worn look. Once the paint was dry, I adhered a plain cork circle to the bottoms of the lids for furniture protection.

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I couldn’t wait to put the embossed cork circles inside the jar lids to see how they would look!

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I liked the contrast of the embossed cork against the paint color, but these coasters needed something else; they lacked personality and charm. I turned my room upside down and tried all kinds of things, and here is what I finally came up with:

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All it took was some lace and tiny, satin roses to take these coasters from “bland to grand”, and now they have the personality and charm that they were lacking. I used the fine-tip glue pen pictured above to attach the lace to the lids.

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I finally have coasters for our outdoor seating area, and they couldn’t be more sweet and charming! They are ready for some sittin’ and sippin’, and I can’t wait to use them.

This has been a fun experiment and project to work on, and I’m glad you could join me to see how these coasters turned out. Have a great couple of weeks, and I will see you back here after vacation. Take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mobile App”

I hope you are enjoying your area’s Fourth of July festivities, as well as some time with  family and friends. This is the third and final post for “Barbecue Week” here on my blog, and  I have an idea for a healthy appetizer. I have also created a to-go box to serve it in; hence the title “Mobile App”!

I have been following The Pioneer Woman–Ree Drummond–for a long time. Having grown up in western Nebraska, I felt an instant connection to this woman who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma. I own all of her cookbooks, and, in fact, I stood in line at the Tattered Cover Book Store in downtown Denver, CO to have her sign my copy of her first cookbook.

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I think her recipe for Watermelon Pico De Gallo makes one of the best summer appetizers around, and what’s not to love–it’s colorful, refreshing, and healthy to boot. Just look how vibrant all of the ingredients look together:

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It’s a labor of love, for sure, as it takes some extra time and effort to dice everything up, but you will not be disappointed with the end result. People appreciate having a healthy option, and you can’t get more guilt-free than this–especially when you serve it with vegetable tortilla chips!

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Doesn’t this look incredible? The best part is, it tastes as good as it looks! It’s cool and crunchy, and the sweetness of the watermelon balances out the flavor of all of the peppers.

The hard work is done; the pico de gallo is ready. Now let’s talk about serving it.  This is an appetizer that works well when it’s served in individual portions, so that people can just “grab and go”. Let me show you two ideas I have:

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I found these treat cups at my local dollar store, and I filled each one of them with the pico de gallo. This would be an easy way to allow guests to take the appetizer to anywhere in the backyard, but there’s no place for the chips. They would have to go on a separate plate.

So I challenged myself to design a box that could hold both the treat cup and the chips, similar to the boxes your food comes in at sporting events.

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I found these treat liners at Michaels this week at 50% off, and I used the gingham and stars patterns to line the inside of my simple box design. I started with a 12″ x 9″ inch piece of paper, scored each side at 2 1/2″, and put the box together.

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There isn’t anything complicated or fancy about the boxes, but the treat liners make the boxes food safe and they are the perfect size to hold both the pico de gallo and some chips. Now this appetizer truly is portable and mobile, and guests can take it anywhere they want to be.

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Mission accomplished! After I had taken all of the pictures, my husband and I each took a box and enjoyed our “mobile app” out on the deck with a glass of wine. The box helped brace the cup as you tried to get some pico de gallo onto a chip, which is an added bonus!

Thanks for joining me for “Barbecue Week”–I’ve enjoyed sharing my ideas and designs with you. Have a happy Fourth of July tomorrow, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

P.S. Did you happen to notice the watermelon towel in some of my pictures? My nephew’s wife, Jodi Kostelnik, made it. She creates and screen prints food-themed designs onto hand towels, onesies, tote bags, etc., and the watermelon print is one of her newest additions to her shop. Visit her website here and enjoy looking at all of her clever designs and gift items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Pies and Diaper Folds

Welcome back to Part II of “Barbecue Week”! It’s Friday, and the long Fourth of July weekend is about to begin. I can’t believe that tomorrow is July 1st–where did June go?!

In keeping with the focus on barbecues, today I have a fun dessert idea that would be perfect to serve at or take to a cook-out–hand pies. Sweet, round, fruit-filled miniature pies. The concept is brilliant, and I can’t think of anything more American, or better suited for a Fourth of July barbecue than hand pies. They require no cutting or serving; guests can just grab them and eat them on the go.

My vision was to make both strawberry and blueberry filled hand pies with star cut -outs in the middle of the top crusts to carry out the Fourth of July theme. I had picked up this recipe card at Stonewall Kitchen recently, which I thought would be perfect for the blueberry hand pies.

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After a little more research, I found a strawberry hand pie recipe that I liked, so all that was left was for me to put on my apron and get to work. I will share the links for both recipes at the end of this post.

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Both recipes provided instructions on how to make hand-made crusts, but I used prepared pie crusts instead.  I wanted my hand pies to be round, although they can be made in all kinds of shapes–half moon, triangular, rectangular, etc. I did make each of the fillings, and the blueberry filling consisted of both blueberry-rhubarb jam and a cream cheese mixture.

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The blueberry fillings were pretty liquidy–how’s that for a technical cooking term! Because I didn’t want all of the filling to escape out the star-shaped hole, I followed the recipe exactly and just cut a slit in the middle of the top crusts. The strawberry filling, on the other hand, was very congealed, so I did use the star cookie cutter on those top crusts.

Here’s what my pies looked like just out of the oven:

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the blueberry,

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and the strawberry. Look how sweet my little pies look with the star cut-out. In the end, I could have used the star cut-out on the blueberry pies, as the filling didn’t seep out of the slits at all.

While the pies were cooling, I started working on a packaging idea, which is where the diaper fold comes in. The diaper fold has been around for a long, long time and when all of the folding is done, you end up with a pouch. The best part about the diaper fold is that you only need a square piece of paper; no special tools or adhesive is needed. Just a square piece of paper.

Let me show you:

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I chose to use parchment paper, as it is food-safe and I really like how crisp and white it is. After some trial and error, I determined that I needed to start out with a 9 1/2″ square in order to fit the hand pies.

Start by folding the paper corner to corner to form a triangle:

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Next, fold one of the bottom corners over to the other side, making sure that you have a straight line across the middle of the triangle.

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Repeat with the other bottom corner.

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Fold down the top flap, and you’re done. The flap keeps everything closed together–as I said, no adhesive is needed.

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Here’s what the pouch looks like inside. This is going to be a perfect for the hand pies! Now it’s time to dress these pouches up–I can’t serve my cute hand pies in plain white pouches!

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I ended up making some paper rosettes and decorating them with layers of stars. The rosettes reminded me of the buntings you see everywhere, and they also mirror the round shape of the pies. My plan was to tie some baker’s twine around each of the pouches, and then tie the rosettes onto the twine.

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I didn’t like how this looked, however, so I went back to the drawing board. I ended up making double baker’s twine bows and I tied the rosettes to the bows.

 

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And there you have it–really cute, food-safe diaper fold pouches for my sweet, round, fruit-filled miniature pies! Wouldn’t you just love to serve or take these cutie pies to a get-together?! Better yet, wouldn’t you just love to sink your teeth into one of these cutie pies?!

Speaking of taste, I know you’re dying to see the inside of the pies, and I’m not going to disappoint you:Blueberry on plate_1.jpg

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It’s hard to see in the close-up picture of the blueberry pie, but the two different fillings really didn’t mix together during the baking. If I were to make these again, I would add the cream cheese filling first, and put the blueberry-rhubarb jam on top, so that the blueberry filling showed through the star cut-out. And, how did it taste, you ask? It’s not bad–you definitely need the cream cheese mixture, as it tones down the tartness of the jam. I don’t think I would make the recipe again, however. I think I’d be happier with a blueberry filling similar to the strawberry one.

Now on to the strawberry:

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The strawberry pie gets my vote, hands down! This is exactly what I wanted–a round hand pie with a star cut-out in the middle of the top crust. The filling was congealed enough that it didn’t ooze out during baking, nor did it ooze out when you broke it in half. And the taste–simply divine! I would definitely make this recipe again–the filling isn’t complicated to make, and the whole process goes pretty quickly if you use prepared pie crusts.

Before I go, I just have one more thing to show you:

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Look how cute this diaper fold pouch is as a silverware holder! I’m telling you, these pouches couldn’t be any easier to make, and they are so versatile. The sky is the limit!

Here are the recipe links:

http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/jam-filled-hand-pies-R2219.html

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/strawberry-hand-pies/

That’s it for today, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again on Monday for Part III of “Barbecue Week”. Enjoy your weekend, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Charming” Wine Bottle Tag

It’s “Barbecue Week” here at Made by the C. With summer in full swing, and Fourth of July just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to design some projects with backyard barbecues in mind. Between today and next Tuesday, I will be featuring three different ideas of what to make and/or bring to a barbecue, and how to package it up. Whether you are hosting or traveling to a get-together, I hope that you will find some inspiration during this 3-part series.

It’s always nice to bring a hostess gift in addition to your food contribution to a get-together, and you can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of wine. So, for my first project, I designed a unique wine bottle tag that will set your bottle apart from others. After all, you know what they say, “It’s all in the packaging”!

I’m going to be using the very first stamp set I ever bought on this tag. I know I’m going to be dating myself, but I purchased this set back in 2005. It’s long since been retired, but it is still one of my favorite sets and I look forward to using it every summer.

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The images are perfect for barbecue- themed projects, and I have never seen another set with images as versatile as these since then.

As you can see in the picture above, I chose a red, white, and blue color scheme, and I made 4 different oven mitts, which will become the stars of this tag.

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With the top part of the tag completed, it’s now time to focus on turning these 4 oven mitts into wine charms, which will get attached to the middle part of the tag. I took hoop earring wires that I purchased at my local craft store, along with a few additional supplies, and turned them into wine charms.

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The one thing that I discovered is that you need to use a jump ring to attach the oven mitt to the hoop earring wire, in order to get the mitt to lay flat.

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Once all four wine charms were completed, it was time to finish up the tag. I added more gingham paper to the bottom of the tag, and threaded some white baker’s twine through some punched holes. I tied the wine charms on to the tag with the twine, wrapped some coordinating paper around the wine bottle, and my project was done.

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I am in love with how this turned out! The tag with the wine charms would make a great gift by itself, but put it on a bottle of wine, and you are sure to impress your hostess! This tag would make even a cheap bottle of wine look like a million bucks. It truly is all in the packaging!

Thanks for stopping by today, and make sure that you come by on Friday for part two of this series. Enjoy the rest of your week, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C