Merchant Kitty

Crafting resources, classes, and merchandise

Category: Party

Gentiva Hospice

Gentiva Hospice Valentine Craft Day

Gentiva Hospice Volunteers

All the card making projects were ready to go when we arrived Thanks to Sharon

I recently attended an activity with the Gentiva Hospice volunteers.  These volunteers minister to Hospice patients in the Clovis area.  They get together about 4 times a year for team building and do something special for their patients.

Gentiva Hospice making Valentines

They gathered at Unique Creations, a local crafting mall and studio, to make valentine cards.  In a few hours, 15 guys and gals were able to crank out almost 100 cards. Their leader, Sharon Null had everything ready to go ahead of time.

20150131_152214

Gentiva Hospice Volunteer Group

Volunteers busy creating valentines

Gentiva Hospice Volunteer Group

Snacks!

Volunteering with Gentiva Hospice benefits both giver and recipient.

Card making and any craft is a great tool for bonding and team building. There is the added benefit of having something to show for your team work!  People may not realize it, but art actually releases endorphins which not only feel good, but are good for your immune system!  Bonus!

Gentiva Hospice is a great way to serve the community. You can help people and make lasting friendships.  If you would like to become a volunteer or just get together with the group for their next project to help out, contact Sharon Null at 575-749-2086 or send her an email.

Gentiva Hospice Volunteer Group

Gentiva Hospice Volunteer Group gathered to make valentines for the Hospice Patients

Princess Invitations

Here are a few invitations and tags that I made up for the Princess Party.  I was excited to get to use my Prima Doll stamp.  I just colored her in with colored pencil and stamped her dress on craft paper!

princess invitations

Prima doll stamps were used to create these invitations

princess invitation

Scraps of paper create the folds in this princess invitation

princess invitations

Fancy dress invitations with scrapbook embellishments

Bread Bowls

For some reason I simply cannot break bread.  There are just too many variables and it takes too long and by the time the bread is ready for the next phase I have long lost interest and moved on.  I did try though.  And After I made a successful batch of paper weights I went to Walmart and looked for a solution.  No bread bowls of course, but I did find some large round rolls that were about the right size.

So here’s how I made them “soup-able”:

I cut off a lid and scooped out the insides.

Then I replaced the lid and painted a mixture of egg white and 1 tbl. water on the outside of the rolls (top and bottom)

After that I sprinkled a bit of garlic salt on the tops and sides

I baked them until the goo had crisped up and I was left with a beautiful bowl.  I changed temperatures several times with different rolls as I was multi-tasking, so temperature doesn’t matter.  Anywhere from 200 to 400, they didn’t seem to mind.

bread bowls

Transform store bought bread rounds into decadent bread bowls

Aren’t they pretty?

 

The egg helps firm up the bread so it can stand up to the soup, and the garlic just makes it taste awesome!  I baked these on a bare rack, by the way, and they do stick a bit so just gently move them around after they have been in there a few minutes.

Now, don’t make the mistake I did.  I put potato soup in them and practically sent myself into a diabetic coma!  WAAAAAY too much starch for one week!  Also, my soup was thick and you could practically eat it like a sandwich!

Fancy meal without the fuss, and a bargain as I spent about 3 bucks for 12 rolls!  That’s what I’m talking about!

bread bowls

Transform store bought bread rounds into decadent bread bowls

Bon Appetit!

Meringues

I have to admit, they are a little weird if you are not familiar with meringues.  They are made only with egg.  Not even the yolk, just the whites.  How good could it be right?  We were looking for some gluten free cookie options (not for me – I have no problem with gluten.  You can give all your extra gluten to me!  This was for the gluten haters.)  We saw quite a few recommendations for these meringues.

They are kindof like cotton candy.  They literally melt in your mouth when you bite into them, and they are very sweet.  I had a very low heat long cook time recipe which called for 2 hours cooking time at 200 degrees.  The results were “commercial style” meringues that were crisp all the way through.  I did however try some throughout the cooking time out of sheer impatience.  Lesser cooked meringues are somewhat chewy, but either way, they quickly dissolve like cotton candy once they are in your mouth.

They were a huge hit with the kids (keep in mind they are much more like candy than cookies).  I did discover getting the meringue to peak is a gamble.  There are unlimited reasons why people think egg whites will fail to “peak”.    Old eggs vs. fresh eggs, warm mixing bowl vs. cool mixing bowl, humidity, accidentally contaminating with egg yolk or some other oily substance.  Too many variables for an impatient have-to-have-it-now person like me.  I can’t wait the two hours to taste them!  The first time I tried, I knew none of these “rules”.  I was on the phone and not even paying attention.  I piped them out and they were perfect.  The second time was a flop.  That’s when I turned to the internet to try to save them.  I ended up throwing them out and starting over.  3rd batch were not as fluffy, so I just piped them out anyways.  They tasted fine, but weren’t as perfect looking.

The next  day, I got good peaks, but I wanted to try coffee flavored (YUM) and the coffee killed some of the fluff.  Who cares!  Did I say YUM?  So if you are going to try to make meringues and can’t decide what flavor to go with, try coffee instead of the flavor listed and add a little vanilla.  Also, they are best fresh, as in still warm in the oven when you are supposed to be leaving them alone to cook! ;)

I didn’t get pictures of the coffee ones – not because they were ugly- they actually looked ok, but because we were in a big hurry for our party.  I decided to write off non-peaking egg whites to “cranky chickens”.  So watch out!

coconut meringues coconut meringues cocunut meringuesSee the missing cookies?  “I’m sorry kids, there just aren’t enough!  I’ll have to make more”

One more cool thing, I didn’t know that you can pipe out meringue into shapes and use it for cake decorating.  You can pipe out letters and flowers and anything you can do with cake frosting and get crunchy little sugary cake decorations.   AAAAAhh some!

1/4 tsp flavoring (orange, coconut, almond, cherry, vanilla, whatever floats your boat extract)  for coffee you need about a Tbl strong coffee and 1/4 tsp vanilla and fold the coffee in right before piping

3 egg whites

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (this helps the eggs peak – unless the chickens who laid them were cranky, in which case it gives you a good excuse buy cream of tartar and look like you are a smart chef)

3/4 c. granulated sugar (supposedly the sugar is an aid in getting the eggs to peak, although I find I can get eggs to peak just fine until I add sugar so I am sticking with the cranky chicken theory)

Add egg whites, flavoring and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl and whip egg whites to soft peaks.  Slowly add sugar and whip to stiff peaks.  If you over whip they fall back down so watch out.

To get that little two tone pinwheel, drop food coloring down the sides of your piping bag.  Pretty heavy if you want vibrant stripes.  Spoon meringue into piping bag.  Pipe meringue onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours.  Let the meringues cool in the oven to avoid cracking.  I skipped this step 3 times and  never got a crack so follow at your own peril.  Store in an air tight container.

For all those “don’t eat that it has raw egg in it” people, remember, meringue pies are put right onto the pie and only browned before serving.  These are edible at any time from the mixing bowl to the 3 hour cure time and basically taste the same other than texture changes.

Pennant Banners

I have been turning my nose up at pennant banners wondering what was the big deal.  Everybody seems to be doing them, and I just couldn’t see the point.  But we had a celebration come up and I was looking for decorating ideas and it seemed like a quick solution.  But soon I was hooked.  Banners are cute!  And they are so easy to make and give a big punch in a short time.  Plus, if you get a good deal on a coordinated scrapbook paper tablet, they are very economical.  Here are our results

patriotic pennant banner patriotic pennant banner patriotic pennant banner patriotic pennant banner patriotic party patriotic pennant banner patriotic pennant banner patriotic pennant bannerOh, I’ll be repeating this craft!  way too much fun.  Can’t wait to do more!

Covered Pretzels

Almond bark and sprinkles!  This is a favorite at our house.  I am wondering why we would ever bake anything without stopping to immortalize it in pictures.  All that hard work down the gullet and no one ever knows how pretty it was.  I am taking pictures of all my baking (that looks good ha ha) this year!  Maybe that would make awesome Christmas cards.  What a concept.  Art from your own kitchen!  Plus I can put it in my recipe book!

covered pretzels!