Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Old Friends~ New Tradition

At the end of last week I received a surprise in the mail. It was a card from a very dear friend of mine. We've been friends since 2nd grade (about 20 years as she put it) and have gradually grown apart over time due to distance and separate life paths. But the good thing about always remaining friends and staying in touch from time to time is that you always stay connected some how, and although it's far and few between, when you get together it's almost like yesterday and no time has past at all. That is how I feel around her...she is my special long distance friend. The funny part is that I've been thinking about her lately and how we've been  needing to catch up, which was exactly when I received her card. Life is funny like that.

In response to her thoughtful card, I of course had to make one to send back. The sentiment is so fitting- I miss you. To create this card I used part of my July Studio Calico kit- Continental. I love Studio Calico coordinated kits, they are always so fun and have such great color combos/embellis! I also LOVE to incorporate stitching (whether by hand or on the sewing machine) and also some kind of fabric or ribbon. That must be due to my fashion/apparel background. I spend my days around clothing, fabric/swatches, ribbon, buttons and fasteners. It always spurs up some kind of creative ideas! Here is the outcome;

Supplies; Textured Cardstock- DCWV(matchmakers); Patterned Paper- Studio Calico;
Flower- Studio Calico; Textured Fabric- K&Company;
Distress Ink- Tim Holtz(pumice stone);
Rhinestones- Other; Sentiment Stamp- Other.

I love the color palette for this card. Its sweet yet sophisticated with a little bit of distressing to produce a worn look. For the flower design on the top left, I cut it out of a Studio Calico advertisement card that was patterned on the back side, and I couldn't resist using the pattern, it's so beautiful and adds a great focal point to this card! I definitely think my friend will enjoy receiving this in the mail. It's worth saving! I would like this card-giving to become a tradition, almost like a pen pal, a new way to stay in touch more. Since we live far apart, I'm hoping that we are able to constantly write to eachother to stay connected and keep our friendship strong, afterall...who has time to sit on the phone for hours anymore! And being a memory preserver, having everything in writing and documented makes it so much better for future keepsakes (which reminds me, I still have all of her letters from Middle School!!!) :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Excitement in the Air!

Today is the BIG day! It's the start of the Summer 2010 CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) Trade Show!!!! I'm so excited, you would think that I was going to be there!! (Not quite, but wish I were, for sure!) I look forward to reading/seeing all the new products that are coming out from other bloggers that will be there. For now, I have to live vicariously through all of them, but hey, it's better than nothing!

There are many sites that have already been posting updates on the show for weeks, building our suspense even more! A couple in particular are; Studio Calico, Scrapbook Update and CHA's very own blog. Check into these sites for continuous updates throughout the duration of the show. This year its in Rosemont, IL at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, July 27th-July 29th.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Breakfast Heaven

Blueberry pancakes with blueberry compote, a sprinkle of confectioners sugar &
a side of maple butter.

Happy Monday!!

Hopefully everyone is rested from a relaxing weekend and ready to hit the grind again! I had a pretty good weekend, was able to clean the whole apartment and the hubby helped without me even asking, which is ALWAYS a plus (I love him for that)! I was also able to clean and organize my craft space a little, and I'm loving it, makes me want to create all day and all night (if only time would allow!). I will have pictures to follow shortly.

We had a couple visitors this weekend, my husband's sister and cousin, which was a nice welcome. They are always a pleasure and easy to please so I had already decided I wanted to try making the famous blueberry pancakes as served at the Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant (in the lower east side of Manhattan). Chris and I heard about it while watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown on the Food Network on day, we were impressed and wanted to try them out for ourselves and after an hour and 1/2 wait one Sunday afternoon we both came to the conclusion that it was well worth it!  I searched online for the recipe, thinking that I probably wouldn't find it, but luckily I came across a blog which features all things baked by Hilary and she actually had the recipe! I couldn't believe it! Now, the pancake recipe I believe is from her own personal archive, but the recipe for the blueberry compote and maple butter (the two most secret ingredients) were all there! I was so excited, I went straight to the grocery story after work on Friday and bought all the necessary ingredients that I didn't already have. It was my mission to make these delicious blueberry pancakes and I sure did!

Of course I got up a little later than planned on Saturday morning, but nonetheless, I started right away on the recipe. With a little help from Mr. Man, breakfast was a big success! We included a side of scrambled eggs with cheese and some Portuguese linguica (aka-sausage). I will definitely have to make them again soon, especially since I had to buy buttermilk for the first time EVER and the store didn't sell it in a small container, of course so there's plenty more of that! Anyway, enough ranting, I wanted to share this recipe with all of you (see below) and please be sure to check out Hilary's blog, she has many more goodies to share, I know I will be visiting again!

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberries

Serves 3-4. This is adapted from Let Her Bake Cake's basic pancake recipe.

2 eggs

220 ml (1 scant cup) buttermilk

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

190g (scant 1 1/3 cups) plain or all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup blueberries

Separate the eggs so that the yolks go into a large bowl and the whites go into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl large enough to fit a hand held electric mixer.

Add the buttermilk and melted butter to the yolks in the bowl and beat together. In another bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

With a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip the egg whites to hold soft peaks.

Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir lightly until just combined. Some lumps are OK. Fold in the egg whites until just combined. It's OK if some of the whites aren't fully incorporated.

Rub a non-stick frying pan with a bit of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add batter to pan to make whatever size pancake you want (I like small ones made with a heaping tablespoon of batter - my pan fits about 5 of these at a time). Pancakes are ready to flip once a few bubbles appear on the surface and and the tops are starting to go dull. Just before they are ready to flip, sprinkle a few blueberries on top of each pancake. Flip and cook another minute or two.

If you wish you can keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven while you cook the remaining batter.

Blueberry Compote

Serves 3-4.

1 cup blueberries (preferably wild blueberries, if available)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 strip lemon peel

1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer very gently until mixture is thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking time. Spoon compote over pancakes while still warm.

Maple Butter

Serves 3-4. You can adjust the amount of maple syrup to make it more or less pronounced, depending on your tastes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

In a small saucepan, melt together butter and maple syrup over low heat until melted. Serve immediately over pancakes.


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