Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Inspirations

Today, I’d like to share a mini-DIY project plus excerpts from my devotional this morning. Sound good? Good.

PS: make sure you’ve got a cup of coffee in hand. It’s always easier to be inspired that way :)

This DIY project was inspired by a set of cards I recently gave to Valerie as a birthday present, and following is a step-by-step process of how you can make something similar. I think that these make perfect hostess gifts and Christmas presents, but you should probably make a set for yourself, too! You know, for all the thank-yous you’ll be writing post holiday season.

SATUR-DIY: Personalized Greeting Cards and Stationary Sets

1. Think about the person you’re creating the cards for. What do they like? What images remind you of them? Sketch ‘em out!

2. Throw away your mess-ups and cut out the images that you like best. Scan them onto your computer and adjust the light and contrast as needed. (tip: you can add color in on easy programs like Paint, too).

Here is a sample set of 8 images that I selected for Valerie:



3. Load your printer with a paper of medium weight. Traditional computer paper will look cheap, so I suggest buying something like cardstock or a thicker recycled paper. Any craft store should have a great selection!

4. On a Word document, set up the image to look like this:

This enables the image to be “right side up” when you fold and cut the cards.

5. Print each design on a separate sheet of paper and allow the ink to fully dry.

6. Using an existing card as a guide, cut the paper with the printed image until it is the size you desire. Minis are cute, traditional is easy, and oversized cards can be fun too (just make sure they fit into an envelope!)


7. Keep the packaging simple: pair the cards with store bought envelopes and tie the two up in twine or raffia.

8. Give the set away along with some festively wrapped candies or a tin of homemade baked goods. And then go ahead and print another for yourself.

Because they’re just so darn cute!

And now, for the real inspiration. A little Saturday morning devo! I hope it blesses you in the same way it blessed me this morning.

1. Afraid of making mistakes? Of choosing the wrong thing? Relax into the adventure—it’s all part of the journey.

“Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.”  Jesus Calling

2. Have no idea where the road you’re on is going? You’re in good company!

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

3. Stressed out by the demands and expectations of this world? Find freedom by asking yourself this question:

“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules?” Colossians 2:20

4. Paul prayed this over the Ephesians. Let’s make this our prayer today, for those we love and for ourselves:

“I pray out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

Take a deep breath. Finish that last drop of coffee. Don’t you just feel inspired?

Have a wonderful Saturday, mes amis! And if you make any greeting cards of your own…please, let me know. I’d love to see what you come up with!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Just Because

My favorite days to bake are just because days.

I had one of those three days ago. It all started after I returned to the house after a trip to Carrefour.

Oh, Carrefour. Quick aside. Even if I have thusfar survived the almost-one-way-but-not-quite streets of Southern France, my life will still almost assuredly come to an early end somewhere along the jam-packed aisles of Carrefour. Being impaled by a French baguette during a struggle for the pain-du-jour or run clean over by a herd of French people driving grocery carts like they’re on the freeway are equally likely scenarios.

It’s just SO CRAZY. People pushing and shoving, grabbing things, ramming their carts into your back (excusez-moi) and then glaring at you like it’s your fault. I literally think I will kiss the ground the second my ballet flats hit the Target parking lot in the Motherland (that’s Texas, for all you who didn’t know).

But anyways. As I was putting my hard-won groceries away upon my return to the maison, I noticed that we had 4 granny smith apples starting to sour in the bottom of the produce drawer.

Personally, I am not a big fan of granny smith apples, so I wasn’t surprised that they’d been forgotten. But while they’re not the best snack tout seul, everybody knows they’re undeniably the best for baking. It’s like something magical happens in the oven—the tartness melts away, the sugars are drawn out, and those sour apples soften right up to make your baked goods perfectly moist and delicious.

Like this baked good, par example.

For whatever reason, I’ve been craving scones lately. Maybe because I’ve overloaded myself on macaroons and dark chocolate since living in France, and my stomach (and heart) are begging me to switch it up a little.

Who knows? Regardless, these scones answered the call on all counts—taste and health, if you can believe it! I reworked this original recipe, reducing the sugar even further (you don’t need all that), almost doubling the amount of apples called for and amping up the cinnamon, too. Plus, I threw in the cranberries. Just for kicks (and flavor and color).

So, is it a rainy day? Got nothing better to do? Make these scones. Just because.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt 

Dash of ground nutmeg

Dash of all spice

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces 

1 1/2 cups shredded peeled Granny Smith apple 

1/4 cup dried cranberries

splash apple juice

1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray 


For Topping

2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk 

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (I used 1…it was plenty!)



Preheat oven to 425°.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups and tablespoons; level with a knife. Combine flours, 1/4 cup sugar, and next 6 ingredients (through all spice) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in cold butter with a knife until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pour the dried cranberries into a bowl. Pour apple juice over the top, until cranberries are just covered with liquid. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Add thinly sliced apple pieces, stirring to combine. Sprinkle a little additional cinnamon until apples and cranberries are lightly coated.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and vanilla extract. Stir milk mixture and apple mixture into flour mixture until just moist (dough will be slightly sticky).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Divide dough in half; pat each portion into a 6-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut each circle into 5 wedges, cutting into but not through, dough. Brush tops of wedges with 2 tablespoons milk, and sprinkle evenly with 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (use turbinado for extra crunch).

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden. The scones should sound hollow when you tap the center.

Serve warm…with a cup of decaf, of course.


Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.