Friday, May 22, 2015

Freebies Galore From The Cherry On Top

Welcome to a scrappy edition of The Cherry On Top.

There is so much going on right now, I can hardly keep my head straight!  Hehehe...So I figured I'll blow off some steam by offering our lovely fans some fabulous freebies using my designers super, gorgeous goodies.

We'll be looking at designs from Paty Greif Digital Designer, LouCee Creations and PattyB Scraps as well as my layout inspiration and some freebies I've made using some beautiful kits.  I've also got a few other freebie links for you.

Grab a cup of jo or whatever you like to sip on and take a look at all of these wonderful, creative projects.

Here's my doggie, Bichon.  He can look like a bear when his fur grows out.  So, darn cute!  I used Paty Greif's absolutely terrific kit, Let's Play Doctor.  The colours are so warm and inviting and they have a very textural and luxurious feel, too.  I layered like crazy for this layout and added a lot of depth with those heart shaped balloons.  (This will be a free template in the near future.)

 PGDD Pinterest

Here's a closer look at the collection.  It's a big one.  The bears are so adorable.

 dsb

 DSB


Here is a paper stacker I designed for you, using Let's Play Doctor.  I've linked the image up to Photo Booth.  Look to the right, when you get there, for the download button.


 free download

Here's a look at a fabulously fresh kit from PattyB Scraps.  Summer Fun was full of so many beautiful colours and I zoomed in those pinks, purples and blues.  Wow!  Talk about impact.

 PBS Pinterest

Summer Fun is also offered in a collection.  Get a closer look at all of the parts by clicking on the image preview to get to the Digital Scrapbooking Studio.  Check out the many challenges at the Studio and play along with us there.  It's really fun!

 DSS

I turned my layout into a nice, paper stacker for you.  Those papers are just so gorgeous.  I couldn't leave them out.

 free download

Next, I've got a really pretty kit from LouCee Creations, En Pointe.  Magically mastered and super sweet.  I had to steal my friend's beautiful ballerina for this page.  The flowers and bling are so scrumptiously fabulous.

 Pinterest LCC

I took out my favourite embellishment cluster from this layout and present it to you.  The image s linked up. Oh!  The bling and beauty is just a knock out!  Enjoy it!

 free download

This collection is a must have!


Here's a layout I made using all free stuff.  A free template from Mscraps challenge as well as Mscraps' newsletter freebie.  My silly boy and his camera face.  Hehehe...


For even more freebies, check out previous blogs, our Facebook Page and our Pinterest.  We Pin and post, freebies daily.

Ok, my sweet cherry blossoms, you are totally set with some deliciousness to get scrappy this weekend.

Have a super, super scrappy day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Delicious, Rich and Ready in 10 Minutes

Welcome to a Foodie Edition of The Cherry On Top.

Have you got picky eaters in the house?  I've got two!  My oldest is so picky.  His list of foods he likes is tiny and it makes meal time a real challenge.

Lately, he is on a bacon kick.  It was towards the end of the week.  Ingredients were low and I had to use whatever was left in the fridge to come up with something the family would like.  Here are the ingredients for this creamy bacon pasta recipe.  This meal is seriously ready in under 10 minutes and it's fresh!

fresh pasta 
diced scallion (tiny)
dice garlic (one clove)
bacon (full pack)
cream cheese (one pack)
1/2 cup of shredded cheese
pepper
milk or cream

Tip:  Puree those veggies if the kids don't like them.  If peas are acceptable add those.


As your water is boiling for your fresh pasta, prep the sauce.  Use a touch of oil or butter just to coat your pan a bit and add the onion and garlic.  Don't let them brown.  (If they start to brown, check to see you have a low fire and just go ahead and add your bacon.) Let them cook for just a minute and add your bacon and some pepper.  Check your water and add the fresh pasta.  Tip:  If you are making dry pasta it will take double the amount of time or more.  Don't start your sauce until your pasta is already in the boiling water.


When the bacon is cooked to your liking, add the cream cheese.  


Once it is all melted through, add your cheese and if it is too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency.  You can use sour cream or cream as well.  Empty out that fridge!


There we go!  Much better.


Add a bit of dry parsley if you like.  Take a taste and see if it could use another dash of pepper.


Strain your pasta and serve!  Liam absolutely loved this meal and told me I needed to make it again.  Try it and see if your picky eater feels the same.

Here's your recipe card.



If you need some more meal inspiration check out these tips for picky eaters and check here and here for lunch ideas.

Thanks for checking out The Cherry!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fabulous Paper Top Hat Tutorial and Free Template

Welcome to a crafty edition of The Cherry On Top.

I've got that top hat I promised and this one was designed totally in a traditional scrap fashion.  I'm providing you with a step by step tutorial, a hit up of the hybrid hat and the free template so you can make one yourself.


Let's take a look at the materials you will need.

rigid paper
template
scissors
glue/glue dots
double sided tape
tape
embellishments


Cut out your template as shown below.  There are a couple methods of applying the top of the hat. If you want to just use the circle, then you don't have to cut out all of the squares around it.  The same goes for the bottom of the hat, but using the teeth for the bottom/brim will add stability and strength.


Here's one of the methods to apply the top of the hat to the middle of the hat.  I had difficulty doing it this way when it came to adding it to the bottom of the hat.  I couldn't always get it just right.


I traced around my templates on to my paper.

 Then cut them out.


Put the teeth in place by popping them up then fit the middle of the hat so it lines up nicely with the teeth.  I used tape on the inside to hold it in place where it fit.


Then used double sided tape on the seem to close it up.


If you are going to use rigid paper, then you might want to consider using tiny glue dots on your teeth, like shown below.  Glue is more forgiving, but it takes a while to dry and you might find your teeth popping off the inside of the hat.


I used a scissors to get in there and apply each tooth.  It isn't a huge deal if a few teeth don't stick.  I found the glue dots to work really well and I didn't have to go back and keep applying the teeth to the inside of the hat.  However, if you are using regular, light weight paper, I would consider glue.  It works easier and there is more room for mistakes.  Otherwise, you might tear your paper.


Some of the time, my teeth on the top of the hat just didn't fit right.  If you are using riding paper and you fin that you also can't get the fit just right, simply use the inside circle of the hat.  I used glue around the outside edge of the inside of the top of the hat and dropped it on the middle of the hat.


Then I placed this very light ribbon spool on the top until the glue dried.


The top was just a tad bit too big so I snipped around the edges slowly and carefully with small, precise scissors.


Choose a band for your hat.  I went with the antique looking gold and inked around the edges in black. Take a look at your band and make sure none of the white around the edges is showing from where you cut.  I didn't do that!  Apply the band with double sided tape, glue gun or glue if yu are working with light weight paper.


I had this awesome embellishing from Webster's Moments, but it was a bit too long, so I snipped off a bit at the tips.


To fix my problem with the white exposed around the edge of my band, I used some black eyeshadow.  The effect was even better than the ink!


I used a really narrow glue edge type of double sided tape to adhere my ribbon.  That way I didn't have to wait for the glue to try.  I get so darn impatient with this part.  Hehehe...I just want to decorate it and make it pretty, ASAP!  Hehehe...


To cover up the line going down the back of the hat, I used these tiny gold dots with tiny glue dots on the back to adhere.  It adds a nice touch to your look.


Add a couple of flowers, greenery, beads, pearls, pins whatever you choose.  I used this beaded pin and three paper flowers, twirled the green wire into this shape.  That's it!  This is the back of the hat.  I left the front plain.  With the band and the ribbon it looked great. I do display it this way, though.


Here's another paper hat I made.  I used a cereal box for some serous rigidity and papered over it with Graphic 45 lovelies.  I pimped this sucker way up!  Hehehe...Click on the image to see more about this project.

 G45 Top Hat

If you are more into hybrid crafts.  I've got a hybrid version of this top hat, too.  Click on the image to get to the blog and to grab the free template for both styles of crafting.

 top hat tutorial/hybrid top hat tutorial

I've got other free templates for you, too.  Here are a few recent ones.  A diamond inspired, digital template for your digital scrapbooking projects and our really popular, paper apron template!


 free template free template




Thank you for hanging out with The Cherries!  Enjoy all of the free goodies we have.  Please, do not claim them as your own nor resell any of the templates.  Sharing our links for the blog is a great way to say thanks and we love your nice comments, too. 

Happy crafting!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Part 3 of The Laundry Series, Stain Removing and Pre Wash

Welcome to another edition of the Dirty Laundry Series.

We're going in order of the entire wash process.  From gathering the dirty duds, getting them to the space where you launder and now how to prep your clothes for the wash.  Did you even know there are several things you should do before putting your clothes in the wash?

Of course, sorting the laundry is very important. Let's get into detail about prepping your clothes for the machine, while sorting as well as stain treatment, soaking and delicates.

 more laundry ideas


There are many different ways to sort wash.  I must admit, I use the most basic method.  I mix and match, use hot, cold...I just want to do as much wash at one time as possible to get it over with faster.

I always start with the darks because we have twice as many darks as lights and whites.  As you put the darks directly into your machine or another bin (I go right for the machine.) empty pockets, zip up zippers and unbutton buttons.  Make sure your red clothes go in with the darks as well.  Some folks also sub sort by weight.  I do not do this for the washing process, but for the drying, I do.


For environmental as well as economical purposes, I wash nearly all of my laundry in a cold cycle.  It saves a whole heck of a lot of energy and money.  Washing in cold preserves colour,  prevents bleeding and of course, helps shrinkage.  Keeping up a cold cycle allows you to mix the colours a bit more, too.  We don't have that many white items, so I just chuck them right in with my lightest coloured wash.

 AES
Click on this image to read more tips on how to save energy.


All machines, clothes and detergents are created differently so you may have to experience and see just how far over the boundaries you can go with your clothing in regards to stuffing your machine, weight and temperature.

Over stuffing your machine will not lend the cleanest wash.  It will create more wrinkles and smell less fresh.

Every other month, I might wash a white load with bleach and hot water.  Bleach and the hot cycle is terrible for the environment and I use it as little as possible.  Our wash just isn't all that bad and the regular process on cold, seems to do well enough.  

Wool, silk, satin, leather...any fragile garment should be scrutinisingly considered to even enter your washing machine.  Wash by hand. If you really love your clothes or a particular garment, take it to the cleaners.

I've hooked up this image below, for alternatives to dry cleaning.  We don't do dry cleaning.  It's ridiculously expensive, environmentally harmful and our life styles don't require this type of clothes.

 Don't Dry Clean


At the very least, sort darks and lights and wash on a cold cycle.

I rarely stain treat, but if you do here are some tips.

For underarm stains, check out this link.  If ring around the collar is a problem, click here.

OxiClean seems to be the big brand to treat strains. Harsh products are not good for fabrics, our skin or the environment.  So, I'm also hooking you up with a couple of home made stain treatments.  Check out this one from the Wellness Mama.  You may even already have these ingredients in your home.  Here's another one.

 wellnessmama


I also found this assortment of ways to fix some clothing and shoe problems.  There are a lot of good tips here.  I use a lot of these methods.

 clothes hacks

So, now we are actually ready to wash.  We'll look at the different kinds of wash machines that are out there and cover a couple more basics of washing in the next Dirty Laundry edition.

I'll leave ya with this free printable of a clothing care guide.  Click on the image to get to the blog to download and read more about the care symbols.

 care guide

Feel free to share your favourite stain treatments.

Thanks for joining us!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Insanely Fast, Easy and No Cost Piñata

Welcome to a DIY edition of The Cherry On Top.

Piñatas are not popular in Europe, so I'm finding.  I want to bring it to life here.  One of the best things about a party is the piñata.  I have childhood memories of them and they are very fond.  My kid saw the concept on a TV show and said he wanted one for his birthday.  Since he is a fan of Minecraft, I had to go for the Creeper Piñata.

Hit up the Party Ideas board on Pinterest for more piñata ideas.  Here are just a couple more.  I've already made a template for this one!  Be looking for a future blog.

 party ideas

 Pinterets

I fist checked out to see if I could purchase one here, in Belgium and found a store in the area that sold them for 25 Euros, unfilled.  So at least another 15 Euros or so to fill it and I'm talking about 40 Euros or just under $45 for something that was going to battered and broken and I really don't think the kids care all that much is in the piñata besides the candy.  Hmmm...

Hitting up Pinterest first, I found some cool ideas, researched the basic construction, glue recipe and came up with a much easier, faster an cheaper way to make this Creeper (from Minecraft) piñata.  I want to credit The Coupon Closet for the spark.  I took their idea and made it a heck of a lot easier.

This piñata took me under two hours to make from start to finish and with a lot of interruptions in-between.



Here is what you will need:

2 paper bags, whatever size you want. 
coloured paper (greens and black for a creeper) for the outside
paper cutter or scissors
light weight candy
light weight toys or other stuffers if you choose
balloons and confetti
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup water
pastry brush

I keep all of these lovely paper bags from retailers.  They come in so handy.  I found two nice sized, bigger bags that fit perfectly into one another.  They really were not all that rigid as you can tell from the image.  They were not coated and there was no plastic in any component.  In the beginning I was worried that it wasn't going to hold the stuff inside. I simply folded inward, the handles for the inside bag.


Then I did a forehead slap and thought, I'll put all kinds of light stuff in there to keep the weight of the piñata down.  Take a look at all of the light weight goodies I put in there.  I took all of the packaging off that I could as well.

I recycled stuff that my boys didn't like or use or things we had doubles of.  FYI, those little parachute dudes were a huge hit for the boys of this party.  They were between the ages of 7-11. Glow bracelets, whoopee cushions (always a hit), Pez dispenser filled...Think light as possible.

Here's a link to a blog that has a list of non candy ideas for piñatas.


I never buy candy.  I don't have to because everyone else does.  I used candy that we already had in the cabinet.  I chose the lightest candy from the bunch and still had a ton left over. There was a sweet variety of spek which are those pink marshmallows you see, chocolate cents, a few lollies and just a couple of other small, light candy to help fill up the bag, balloons and confetti.  All seriously light things.  You could always put in coupons, gift cards even a couple of dollars or paper money.  I thought a 5 Euro bill would be cool or a coupon for a night's stay at our place.


After filling it, I checked to make sure the bag still fit nicely inside each other.  No problem!  Lift up your piñata by the handles and make sure they are going to hold all of your goodies.  You could consider extra reinforcement on them.  I didn't need any.


I hit up my coloured paper stash and grabbed green and black as well as my paper cutter and scissors.  I folded standard a4 sized paper in fours and cut, but the size really doesn't matter because you have to overlap anyway.  


Then made the glue of flour of water.  I used a half a cup of flour and 3/4 cup water.  I just blended until I had a decent consistency having no idea at all of just what a decent consistency was.  Hehehe...Not too thick. Not too thin.  I still had left over.


I grabbed my ever trusty, silicone brush and started the work of applying the paper.  The bottom is where I started.  It also probably doesn't matter where you start.  This dried really fast.  I made this piñata on our granite island and nothing stuck, but just keep that in mind as your gluing.


Over lapping is important.  Just about a half an inch is ideal.  You'll see as you go what is best.  Try not to let it get too wet either.  Remember, your bags are also from paper.



Work your way around the bag until all of the outside is covered.  I continually checked to make sure my piñata was not sticking to the counter top and the spaz I am, kept wiping off the area where I was applying the glue so the clean up was a breeze.


I used two square for the eyes, a longer rectangle for the...the mouth thingy and then two more skinnier rectangles for those side bits.  There he was in his green glory.  Mama's creeper!

Now, for the big day.  Would I be able to blog about this piñata or was it going to be a bust?

The guy jumping there is my oldest and the birthday boy.  He was just a little excited.  As you can see, we started off with this plastic golf club because I really thought this thing wasn't going to last.


After over a dozen strikes and still no wreckage, we went for a bamboo stick. Hmmm...Still no breakage.


We got an even bigger stick AND took the blind fold off! Funny how one of the boys had on a creeper T-shirt!


Finally!  LOL!  I could not believe how rigid my piñata was!  I may have only needed the one bag or maybe because the boys were still kind of small, but keep this in your thoughts, too.


It took them a while to break it and they had an absolute blast with the entire event.  Tip: I had bags for them to put their goodies in. Think about doing this at one of your parties and remember, piñatas are not just for kids.


I hope this blog has helped.  We've got plenty more party ideas on our Pinterest.  This blog also contains ideas for Lego parties.  Head up to the top of the blog and look for the search window on the right because we've got a few blogs over Lego.

Thanks for your visit and good luck with that piñata!