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 theapplecrate.etsy.com. 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

Monday, August 8, 2011

Have a Seat

Recently I was home visiting my family for a week and one of the many highlights of the trip was getting in some stamping time with my mom and sister. Hurray for girl crafting time! Also fun was getting to play with some different stamp sets, like the one with this cute vintagey bench image from SU!'s Have a Seat. Keep an eye out for this set again. *wink*

I used an oldie but a goodie technique to stamp the bench, the rock 'n roll technique. First I inked the stamp up with Daffodil Delight ink, then I rolled just the edges in Crumb Cake. I like the nice subtle dimension this gives it. I also sponged the edges of the oval and ivory panel with Crumb Cake to soften it and keep with the vintage look I was going for. The French Script stamped at the bottom was done with a stamp-a-ma-jig, as the background stamp wasn't quite wide enough to cover the entire panel in one pass.

Simple and sweet and now available in my Etsy shop! :)

Stamps: Have a Seat, French Script
Paper: Daffodil Delight, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Daffodil Delight, Crumb Cake
Embellishments: Chocolate Chip taffeta ribbon
Tools: oval nestabilities, stamp-a-ma-jig, dimensionals, sponge dauber

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jam Session

Isn't summer wonderful? I love all of the fresh produce that is available this time of year, especially berries! I took advantage of strawberries being on sale not too long ago to stock up and make a big batch of jam.

I don't know about you, but we are constantly on the move during summer time. Often we're out of town visiting family or getting together for a casual night of dinner and games with friends. With all of the traveling and social activity, I thought it would be nice to have small thank you gifts on hand for the gracious hostess or the friends that cat sit for us while we're gone. So for this batch of jam I used 4 oz. canning jars, the perfect size for a small gift.

The small jars are cute enough on their own, but I couldn't resist dressing them up a bit more for an extra special touch. I stamped some simple tags with a "thank you" sentiment and layered them on a kraft card stock base then tied them on with jute twine. A little bit of pretty fabric finished them off!

How sweet are these? A small taste of summer to share and express your thanks. You could also dress up some store bought jam, but homemade always tastes better, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by! :)