Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vegan strawberry sandwich cookies

Our daughter really loves baking (you've probably noticed!) - our house is often filled with tantalizing warm fragrances of vanilla and spices wafting from the kitchen. This week she started with a recipe for Linzer Cookies, made a few changes and came up with these delightful little heart sandwiches. Her little brother came by while she was baking and got to press out the heart shapes. I love it when they work together!
   
Not only do her creations always smell and taste wonderful, they are always displayed in a very pretty manner. These cookies were quite easy to make and if you don't want vegan, you can substitute the margarine for soft butter. The original recipe suggests cooling the cookies on the baking for 30 minutes: she skipped this step but you may need to do it when using butter.
Vegan strawberry sandwich cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegan margarine
1/2 sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry jam

Cream the sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer. Blend in vanillla. Blend in the flour and salt until a dough forms. Roll the dough onto a floured surface, roll into a disk. Wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. 

Roll out dough onto a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. 

Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350° for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges. Let cookies cool completely before assembling the sandwiches. Spread a little jam on one cookie and then top with another. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Share with someone you love! 
Have fun baking and Happy Easter!
xoxo 
Karen

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a sweet little village

I'm going to charm you with some images of the lovely little village where I spent last weekend. The town is called Bacharach and is located in the Rhine river gorge - the nearest largest city is Frankfurt, about an hour south-east.

Most of the time I was at the market with my wares but as I had a few wonderful helpers I was able to sneak out now and then for a little walk and fresh air. Saturday was gray with a few snowflakes in the frosty air - not at all conducive for a spring market. Fortunately Sunday the sun came out. By the time I was out with my camera the village was starting to fall into the shade of the steep vineyard hills.There is still no real sign of spring flowers or budding greens. But the age-old half-timbered houses snuggled together, castle on the hill, tiny alleys between buildings and a little rushing creek are all lovely anyway. Enjoy!
 
 
 
If this has piqued your curiosity, then take a look at this summary of Bacharach and enjoy many more beautiful images.
Have a lovely day! 
xoxo 
Karen

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Market Impressions

Hello! I've recovered from my busy busy weekend at the spring/Easter market and I'm back with some impressions for my readers from near and far to enjoy!

There were so many beautiful products and stands set up and I only took a few photos - after all, I was busy at my own stand! There were many special things that I wasn't able to get photographed - but these are some of the items that caught my eye. I felt like a reporter asking people for permission to photograph and blog about their wares! Most people were absolutely thrilled. And if they have a website, I promised I would add the link.
 
So without further ado....
...let's start with one of my favorite things...
chocolate!
These beautiful organic and handmade chocolates were from a charming young woman with her own local business - Nina's Pralinen Manufaktur - of course we were not able to leave the market without purchasing some of these on behalf of the Easter Bunny! If you know some German, spend some time at her webpage, she has a lovely video showing her making her pralines!

Moving on...there were gorgeous glossy ceramics and delicate floral arrangements.
I was grateful for the lively Irish and folky Medieval music provided by a talented young man who seemed to have stepped out of another century. He spent hours entertaining the crowd. Find him here.
There was Limoncello and other delicacies from Italy and local gourmet cheeses from here. Delicious, believe me!
I felt quite humbled to have my little creations at the market and pleased with my sales and the experience I gained. I do enjoy chatting with the other vendors and customers and met some really lovely people!
At one point, Bacchus (also known by his Greek name Dionysos) appeared with two lovely maidens. Yes, he has a glass of sparkling wine in one hand and an oversized glass of wine in the other! At one point, while his maiden was having the hardest time deciding which floral pouch of mine she liked better, I was convinced he was going to spill the huge glass of wine all over my products! It was just precariously tipping closer and closer while he tried to advise her. Luckily, all was well in the end and I'm sure she'll love the pouch she finally selected.
The townspeople of Bacharach have been producing wine forever. It's nestled right between the Rhine river and the steep vineyards.  I managed a quick walk through town Sunday and took some photos - I'll share my snapshots tomorrow.

Hope you enjoyed my impressions of this little market. See you tomorrow! 

xoxo
Karen

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter market: spring decor

Hello! Here's a little look at some of the springtime-type items I'll have up for sale at the market this weekend.
Let's start with these little cuties....small sweet one-of-a-kind bunnies just the size to hold in your hand or decorate a basket of eggs.
A trio of cute rabbits in their dresses and pinafores.

 
Pretty Easter cards, Mother's day cards and just blank cards for any occasion.
Pastel patchwork hearts to hang anywhere.
I prepared lots of wreaths with hearts in all different color combinations. One is already hanging in our living room! But the rest are for market. 
Big heart pillows! All in all, I did sew quite a few hearts!
 
Thanks for looking & have a lovely day! 
xoxo
Karen

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter market: things for kids

Hi! I hope you all are having a lovely March that's been filled with sunshine and flowers. We've just had one snowy gray day after the other. But there are a few brave flowers breaking out of the earth and every glimpse of blue sky is a treat. 

I have lots of cute things ready for my market this weekend. Today I'm going to show you some of the things I've created especially for kids.
 
I used lots of bright lovely colors and fabrics. I've made enough little elephant to create a small herd - they won't even all fit in my basket!
Loving those tiny white stars on bold colors and the pretty fabrics from Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler.
These large softie cubes are just perfect for toddlers but older kids as well. My eight-year old son was so excited with these he begged me to help him make one for himself. He sewed most of it all by himself and I was really inspired by the fabrics he picked out. (He inspired me too!) Every night I see his cube nestled in among his pillows and favorite stuffed animals in his bed. Makes me so happy! Every day he plays toss with his cube - favorite place is on the staircase. This simple soft toy is not just for babies!

I  made a small collection of cheerful greeting cards.
Some sweet ornaments for a girl's bedroom decor.
Tissue huggers in this fabulous, fabulous UK print. I love it!

Here is a link to the market. Tomorrow I'll be back with a peek of the spring/Easter items I've made.

Thanks for looking! 
xoxo 
Karen

Monday, March 4, 2013

hope

Last night I made a simple page for my scrapbook with some of my favorite spring photos from last year.
I wanted to write some journaling about spring...hope...angels...faith....but wasn't really inspired in a certain way. I was stamping the birds and had just put down a white feather as an embellishment when the lines from Emily Dickenson came to mind -

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune, without the words,
And never stops  at all"

The poem continues but the first verse was enough for my page. 
You might recognize my photos from here and here :)
I mixed and matched papers from various collections  - I believe the small pink pattern from an autumn Crate Paper collection and the floral is from Basic Grey. The background delicate floral print paper is one of the first scrapbook papers I ever bought AGES ago and never knew what to do with it. I was happy to see how perfect it worked here.
The birdcage stamp is so sweet, I have used it on many pages already. I added a clear plastic button and a bit of handwriting around the frame.
Would you believe as I was putting this page together I suddenly heard the loud honking of geese and ran outside to see an enormous line of birds flying back north directly over our house? What a welcome sign!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We were so lucky to have a Saturday of gorgeous pure blue sky and sun. The sun has been so rare this year that everyone just seemed to be outside soaking it up with gratitude, despite the chilly temperatures. I also can't begin to put into words how uplifting & inspiring my weekend of singing was, just beautiful!  "Music is well said to be the speech of angels." - Thomas Carlyle. And i like this quote, too: "Music can change the world because it can change people."  - Bono

Sweet wishes!
xoxo
Karen

Friday, March 1, 2013

March treats

Hello March!
Let's celebrate this new day in this new month with a few little treats for you today!
Treat Number 1:
For the month of March I have a very special offer for my readers and fans in Germany - I am offering free domestic shipping at my Etsy shop this month!

All orders going to Germany will be shipped for free - please visit my Etsy shop here for details.

If you want, regardless of where you live, please like my facebook page and help me spread the word!

Treat number 2:
mmm....brownies with frosting and m&m's ....no this time it wasn't me giving into a sugar craving but for one of my children to take to school and share with his classmates as he is celebrating a birthday this week. Sweet little guy growing up so fast!
(ok, he and I shared a nibble to make sure they were okay before he took them to school! They were absolutely okay or "in Ordnung" as they say here!)
Treat number 3: 
Look at this cute package! This is an order from my shop that went out yesterday. How can you not adore this pretty wrapping paper? (I can't resist! I even went back to the store and bought some more.) Wrapping gifts is something I just love to do and I gift-wrap all of my on-line orders before packing them up and taking them down to the post office. I want the person finding the package in their mailbox to have a joyful little moment to enjoy and savor. I also always pop in a free little hand-made extra as a small thank you.
What treats are in store for you this month?

I personally hope the weather predictions are on track this weekend and we will get a few glimpses of sun. We have seen the birds flying north again, what a wonderful sign that is!

This month is going to be busy and fun. I'm very excited about a singing workshop with my Taize choir which is going to be nothing short of awesome - our director is so energetic and sweet and all the people in the choir are super nice. As I mentioned, we have a birthday to celebrate this month, actually two, because one person has been waiting patiently to have his friends over and celebrate a belated party. I have a crafts show coming up and I'm really busy getting ready for that. I'm also thinking about starting a simple version of Project Life as a way to keep my scrapbooking/family journal keeping a weekly routine. It's still a consideration but I find myself thinking about it all the time so if I do decide to take that challenge, I will post about my thoughts and plans for that very soon :) But everything one step at a time! 

Have a lovely weekend!
xoxo
Karen