Friday, December 23, 2011

Gifts for the Neighbors

Hello! I hope all of your Christmas preparations are done and that you have been enjoying the season. There was a flurry of activity at our home for a few days: Christmas parties, Christmas concerts, caroling, baking, wrapping gifts, etc. but now we are done with the busyness and have been enjoying time with family.  One of the last things we did before leaving town for the holidays was to take small loafs of chocolate chip banana bread to our neighbors for a holiday treat. I dressed them up a bit with ribbon, baker's twine and a stamped tag to make them extra special.

This will be my last post until the new year and so I would like to end with the words from my favorite Christmas carol, and wish you all a very merry Christmas!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

November Publication

Hello and happy December! I wanted to share a card of mine that was included in the November issue of CARDS Magazine.  It is just a clean and simple little birthday card; I was so excited it was accepted! Hopefully I'll have some more cards and crafty projects to share soon.  Until then! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lovely as a Tree

Hello! Today I have two variations of the same card to share with you.   I received some new stamping toys for my birthday last week and have been having fun trying them out. These cards use my new Woodgrain Impression Plate by Papertrey Ink. 

I started with a piece of Crumb Cake card stock cut just smaller than the card base and rounded the corners.  Then, using both Versa Mark and white ink, I stamped the tree image and sentiment and embossed them in white.  Very carefully, I then lined up the impression plate so that it would impress the top portion only, leaving the bottom portion with the sentiment plain, and ran it through my Cuttle Bug.  I wasn't sure how the embossed trees would hold up being impressed over, but they came out just fine!  Some crochet trim hides the impression seam and is a nice balance to the wood texture. I love how soft and pretty this looks!

The second card is basically the reverse of the first.  I stamped the trees and sentiment in brown, no embossing this time, and again impressed the woodgrain only over the trees.  I did add some small speckles around the edges from Itty Bitty Backgrounds to this one.   The main panel on both cards is raised with foam tape.  Both cards are now up in my Etsy shop

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Stamps: Lovely as a Tree, Thank You Kindly, Itty Bitty Backgrounds (SU!)
Paper: Crumb Cake (SU!), Vintage Cream (PTI)
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake (SU!), Versa Mark, Frost White (Color Box), Vintage Tea Dye (PTI)
Embellishments: crochet trim (SU!), brown satin ribbon, white embossing powder
Tools: corner rounder punch, woodgrain impression plate (PTI), foam tape

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Happy Halloween! No tricks just treats for you today. I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on a few years ago and I've made them every fall since then. They smell heavenly while baking and taste just as good. The recipe is pretty much perfect as is.  All I changed was to use fresh pumpkin puree I made the night before and subbed walnuts for the pecans because that is what I had on hand. Also, while the recipe says it makes 18 muffins, I easily got 24.  They are wonderful with your morning cup of coffee or for an afternoon treat.

Enjoy and have fun tonight!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from 
makes 18 muffins


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

4 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp. white sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. chopped pecans

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. pumpkin puree
1/3 c. olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.

For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.

Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full.  Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter.  Sprinkle on streusel topping.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Trees

I have one last Halloween card to share with you today. This one was inspired by a card I saw on Splitcoast Stamper's by Lionsmane.  I changed up the pattern papers and simplified it a bit. 

The focal image was created using the emboss resist technique. The tree image was first inked up with Versa Mark and Basic Black, then embossed with black embossing powder.   I then sponged over top with Summer Sun ink at the center and Pumpkin Pie around the edges. I like the eerie sunset feel this created with the silhouetted trees.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree
Paper: Basic Black, Very Vanilla, dp by Graphic 45
Ink: Versa Mark, Basic Black, Pumpkin Pie, Summer Sun
Embellishments: orange satin ribbon, black embossing powder
Tools: large oval and scalloped oval nestabilities dies, sponge, foam tape

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Trio

Halloween is almost here and I have a few more cards to make and send out.  This one was inspired by a card Dawn McVey shared on her blog a while back.  I used a new toy for the background, SU's spider web embossing folder.  So fun!  The cute little Halloween images are from Spooky Bingo Bits.

The sentiment was stamped onto a piece of Pumpkin Pie card stock that had been punched out with the Designer Label punch.  I then trimmed off the bottom portion and sewed it onto the embossed layer.  

Similarly, I punched out a scallop border from Eggplant Envy card stock and sewed it along the bottom with a zig zag stitch.  The embossed panel, and each of the three circle pieces, were adhered with foam tape.

Enjoy your weekend!

Stamps: Spooky Bingo Bits, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: Whisper White, Pumpkin Pie, Eggplant Envy, Basic Black
Ink: Eggplant Envy, VersaFine Onyx Black, Pumpkin Pie
Tools: Spider Web embossing folder, scallop border punch, 1 1/4" circle punch, 1 3/8" circle punch, Designer Label punch, sewing machine, foam tape

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spooky Halloween

Perusing some other people's card blogs recently I came across an old sketch challenge.  I don't usually have much luck with card sketch challenges, maybe I'm trying to force things too much, but this particular one really inspired me.  I had been wanting to create a Halloween card now that it is October so that is the direction I went with. I really like how this one turned out!


Here is what the original sketch looked like, you can read more about it here.

I used Carved and Candlelit for the focal image, along with a punched out bat.  I don't own this particular SU! bat punch, but my mom does and she gave me a stack of punched out bats last time I visited. Thanks, Mom! :)  The background paper is a page from an old book I picked up at a used book store.  I used the spider and web images from Creepy Crawly to help it recede into the background.  All of the edges were antiqued with my PTI Tea Dye cubes.

And here is the inside, stamped with the sentiment from Creepy Crawly.  This card is now up in my shop so be sure to take a look!

Stamps: Carved and Candlelit (SU!), Creepy Crawly (Inkadinkado)
Paper: Vintage Cream (PTI), Basic Black (SU!), Bella Rose dp (SU!), Orange Small Dots dp (Recollections), vintage book print
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive (SU!), Versa Fine Onyx Black, Tea Dye Duo (PTI)
Embellishments: black satin ribbon, black embroidery thread, button
Tools: stamp-a-ma-jig, corner rounder punch, bat punch (SU!)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome to Your New Nest

The house next to ours sold several months ago and we've watched as the new owners have gone through the process of gutting and remodeling their new home.  But at long last our new neighbors have moved in so yesterday we walked over to meet them. I made them this house warming card along with a loaf of my favorite banana bread to welcome them to the neighborhood.

The sentiment was created on my computer and printed onto white card stock.  I actually printed it ages ago for this card, but as I ended up using a different layout for that one, this little sentiment strip has been sitting patiently on my desk waiting to be used. It worked out perfectly!

I also made the happy discovery that the nestabilities oval dies fit this bird image from Cavallini's Birds and Nests set exactly. The bird image is popped up with foam tape and then I tucked some ribbon loops underneath on either side.  I hope they like it!

Stamps: French Flair, Birds and Nests (Cavallini)
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Black, blue
Ink: Bliss Blue, Versa Fine Onyx Black
Embellishments: white satin ribbon
Tools: oval nestabilities

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fried Mozzarella Balls

Football season is in full swing and that means tailgate food!  My husband and I went to a Progressive Tailgate party (all day college football at three different houses) yesterday and we needed a culinary contribution to bring with us.  I'm a big fan of small bite sized appetizer food so this seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe for fried mozzarella balls.  The recipe is courtesy of the Curvy Carrot and other than cutting the quantity in half, I followed it to the letter.  The mozzarella balls themselves were delicious, but I think I'll use a more traditional marinara sauce to accompany them in the future.  How about you guys, have any favorite party food recipes? Now today we'll be kicking back and watching some NFL and I'll be getting some more baking and crafting in as well. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello, Fall

In honor of the first day of fall I thought I would share a pumpkin themed card.  Isn't this cute?  I stamped the tall pumpkin in the middle first, then masked it to stamp the shorter pumpkins on either side. The stems were stamped with the same technique I used on this card.

A little jute twine, a button, and some gingham scallops finished it off.

What are you doing to get ready for fall?  I'm keeping an eye out for when apples go on sale to make me a big ol' batch of apple butter. Yum!


Stamps: Carved and Candlelit, Cheesecloth
Paper: Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Parisan Summer dp
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive
Embellishments: jute twine, button
Tools: stamp-a-ma-jig, corner rounder punch

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Apple Crate Turns 1!

Hello! I have some exciting things to share today so get ready. I can hardly believe it but one year ago today I launched The Apple Crate with my very first blog post. So I thought we should have some fun and celebrate with a birthday party! And you can't have a birthday party without cake. In this case chocolate cheesecake. Doesn't this look delicious? I wish I could serve you up a slice but you'll have to settle for the recipe. :) You'll find it at the end of the post.

Since we're having a party we need party favors, right? So for you, dear readers, I am offering an exclusive 10% discount on everything in my Etsy shop! This is my first ever sale, and it is just for you. I wanted to thank all of you for coming to visit me here at The Apple Crate and for the sweet comments and support. Here's the deal:
  • Use coupon code TAC11 during checkout.
  • Discount applies to your entire purchase.
  • Sale valid through September 15th.
Visit my shop at Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I hope you enjoy!

Also, a funny thing about the day I started this blog is that it is also my Dad's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!! August 30th is definitely a day worth celebrating. *wink* Here is the card I made for him.

I stamped the presents twice. Once on the main white panel, and again on a separate piece of white paper so that I could color it in, cut it out, and pop it up. I stamped an oval in Crumb Cake underneath to ground the presents.

I picked out three coordinating pattern papers and cut them to resemble pennants for a festive look. A bit scallop trim hides the seam. Hurray for birthdays!

Stamps: Happy Moments (SU!), Small Oval (A Muse)
Paper: Crumb Cake, Only Orange, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White, Orange Small Dots dp by Recollections, Garden Grove dp by Scenic Route, Swimming Pool Daisy dp by Doodlebug Design

Ink: Versa Fine Onyx Black, Only Orange, Tempting Turquoise, Crumb Cake
Embellishments: orange satin ribbon

Tools: scallop border punch, Swiss Dots embossing folder, foam tape, aqua painter

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake
makes 16 servings


9 oz. chocolate wafer cookies
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 lb. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 lb. cream cheese
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. Amaretto liqueur
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. whipping cream


Whirl the chocolate cookies in a blender until they form crumbs. Mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom and sides of a buttered 10-inch spring form pan and refrigerate until you're ready to fill and bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the top of a double boiler over boiling water, melt the chocolate. Set aside to cool. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and sugar and beat until well incorporated. Stir a small amount of this mixture into the chocolate to loosen. Add the chocolate mixture to the cream cheese mixture and stir well. Stir in the Amaretto, vanilla and cream. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cheesecake is slightly puffed and no longer jiggles in the center. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving for ease of slicing. Remove the sides of pan and cut with a sharp knife.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby, Baby!

Today I have not one but two cards to share with you. A friend recently asked if I had any baby cards available when, to my dismay, I discovered I was rather short in that area. So I got right to work and made a baby boy card, and then next up is a girly version.

The sentiment and moon/star image is actually a single stamp but I used it three times with blue, green and brown ink then cut them out with various punches and paper snips. Then I paper pieced it all back together so that each element of the sentiment was a different color. There is a brown zig zag stitch at the borders between the different papers.

Inside I added a green scallop to mimic the scallop on the front and topped it with a strip of matching pattern paper.

And here is the girl version! Lots of pink and purple on this one. *grin*

I decided to only use two colors on the sentiment for this version, a light and dark purple. I was originally going to use pink as well, but it didn't show up because it was too light. Can you read what it says? "Sweet One. Dimples, giggles, cuddles divine, all come together, sweetness combined." Awww. :) The scallop circle is popped up with dimensionals both on this one and the boy card.

I did the inside a little differently on this one, opting for a simple frame and scallop.

I hope you enjoyed these cards! I certainly had fun making them. Both are now up in my shop so be sure to take a look. Also, there will be some fun things happening here on the blog next week, so be sure to stop on by!!



Baby Boy
Stamps: So Many Scallops
Paper: Chocolate Chip textured, Certainly Celery, Whisper White, Thrift Shop dp by October Afternoon, Scenic Route Paper Co. dp
Ink: Bliss Blue, Certainly Celery, Chocolate Chip
Embellishments: buttons
Tools: scallop circle punch, 1 3/8" circle punch, scallop border punch, sewing machine

Baby Girl
Stamps: So Many Scallops
Paper: Vintage Cream (PTI), Mauve Mist, Parisian Summer dp, Paige dp by Melissa Frances
Ink: Elegant Eggplant, Lavender Lace
Embellishments: buttons
Tools: scallop circle punch, 1 3/8" circle punch, scallop border punch, sewing machine

Monday, August 22, 2011

Butterfly Whimsy

Hello, friends! I wanted to share this butterfly card with you today. I love how light and happy it turned out. The butterflies were punched out with Martha Stewart punches. I then used an itty bitty dot of glue to attach the small butterflies to the larger ones. And another little dot to attach the layered butterflies to a panel of white card stock.

Then I got out my trusty sewing machine and stitched a line down each butterfly to secure them to the panel. This let me "fluff" up their wings a bit. I love that! I tied some red ribbon around the bottom then adhered the panel to a white card stock base, thus hiding the back side of the stitching and keeping the inside looking clean. Ta da! :)

Check it out in my Etsy shop. Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Airplane Birthday

Here is another card I made while out visiting with my mom and sister a few weeks ago. I don't have a lot of "guy" sets so I took the opportunity to borrow Plane and Simple from my mom and make this card.

I was aiming for it to look like the plane was towing the birthday banner behind it. All of the Crumb Cake layers were sponged with Early Espresso ink.

To fill the empty space at the bottom I pierced two wavy lines to mimic the flight trails a plane may leave behind.

Here's the inside!

Stamps: Plane & Simple
Paper: Early Espresso, Crumb Cake

Ink: Early Espresso, Crumb Cake, Versa Mark
Tools: rectangle and scallop rectangle nestabilities, paper piercer, sponge dauber

Monday, August 15, 2011

Painted Bottle Vases

Crafting is near and dear to my heart and I realize that it is shamefully under represented here at The Apple Crate. So today I bring you a project that has long been in the making, recycled jars and bottles as vases! I have Martha Stewart to thank for the idea. She has a great tutorial on her website that I followed to make these.

Lots of people are out there doing something similar, with either spray paint or acrylic paint. But what I appreciated about the Martha Stewart version is that the paint is actually on the inside of the bottle, so it won't chip as easily, and it uses enamel paint so I can actually fill the vases with water.

I started out by collecting old bottles and jars; things I went through in the kitchen and saved rather than recycled. I even enlisted the help of some friends to speed the process up. These bottles once held everything under the sun: jam, olive oil, soy sauce, wine, spaghetti sauce, salsa, spices, etc.

The hardest part of this was actually cleaning all of the labels and sticky residue off! I know there are products out there to remove sticky residue, but I don't own any and I didn't want to go buy one. Surely, I thought, there must be something in the house that can be used. After a brief internet search I discovered there was. Vegetable oil. After peeling and washing as much of the label off with hot soapy water as possible, go back over the sticky remains with a vegetable oil soaked cloth and it will dissolve the rest. It's true! It's amazing! Try it. :)

The tutorial was a little vague on what kind of paint to use. It did specify enamel, and offered that it would be readily available at craft stores. Hmph. After searching the usual craft store suspects I found spray on enamel, model paint enamel (available in .25 oz. bottles, not so helpful), and a kind of enamel that seemed more for decorative painting on the outside of glass and had to be baked on. I tried hardware stores, too, but nothing seemed quite right. Then I found this paint at a local art supply store. It is actually for sign painting but it was enamel, didn't require a baking process, and was specifically for outdoor use so I knew it could hold water. It worked perfectly!

And here are my lovely jars and bottles! I used about half of the 8 oz. can of paint to cover all of these. The painting method I found to work for me was to spoon the paint into the jar with a plastic spoon, then swirl it around inside. For the first few I drained the excess paint back into the can, then laid them on paper towels to drain the rest of the way like the tutorial recommended. But that was super messy. Many of my bottles have narrow mouths and were too unstable to be left upside down to drain the rest of the way. So I just drained as much as I could back into the can and then set them upright to dry. The paint may be a little thicker on the bottom of mine, but it sure was a lot easier. One thing I would recommend is having some paint thinner on hand. Inevitably you are going to get smudges on the outside of the bottle or need to clean up around the mouth of the jar. And paint thinner makes cleaning those spots a breeze.

I was so excited to finally put some fresh flowers in and see how they looked. Aren't they gorgeous?!

My smallest bottle makes a sweet bud vase in the windowsill.

One of the great things about this project is how economical it is. The glass was free so all I bought was the paint. And just one bunch of mums filled all of my new vases! It really gives a lot of bang to your flower buying buck. I think these would look fantastic in a line down a dining room table as a centerpiece. Or just dispersed around the house to add fresh flowers in many little places. They would also be a great way to continue a color theme for a party or event.

I have more bottles that haven't been painted yet, and I am tempted to get another paint color and go to town on those as well. White, perhaps? Something that could be used for any holiday or color scheme. The only problem is where to put them all! I hope you give this a try. It really is easy and a bit addicting, too. It was so fun to see the bottles transformed after they were painted that it was hard to stop! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Here is the second card I made with the Have a Seat set. Aren't these little chairs cute? The more I played with them the more I liked them. As I was thinking about the sentiment for this card, suddenly "cherish" popped into my head. Cherish. Chair-ish. Get it? Ha! Ok, maybe no one else thinks that is as cute and funny as I do but I really liked it. :) I also liked that everything worked out perfectly for there to be room for three chairs and to stack the sentiment three times in matching colors.

The inside has pattern paper in the same colors as the front. It's a simple detail but I think it is fun to open a card and find things like that inside. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Stamps: Have a Seat, Baroque Motifs
Paper: Riding Hood Red, Bordering Blue, Naturals Ivory, Print Pack Regals dp
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Bordering Blue, More Mustard
Tools: scallop border punch, stamp-a-ma-jig