Mother’s Day & Fur Babies

In our opinion, May is one of the most exciting months of the year. Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, National Pet Week is the first full week of the month, and school is almost out for summer. Plus, it’s finally warm every day and the outside world is lively again! It’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with parents, children, and pets.
Sometimes, we often wonder if Mother’s Day was strategically placed in the month of May. When moms realize that the school year is almost over, they realize just how quickly their little ones are growing up. Even the new moms, whose children are still so tiny, will see the older kids getting out for summer and will imagine their children among them. It can be stressful and worrisome thinking about their babies growing up. But when we see that dads are ordering moms a Baby Block or our Personalized Block Photo Holder, we can’t be more excited here at CEF – especially if it’s a week or two in advance! We love to see how great dads are, especially when it comes to taking care of moms. They all deserve to know they’re appreciated. The Baby Block is perfect for new moms, and for moms that are more familiar with the job, the Personalized Block Photo Holder is great for displaying photos of what moms do best – loving their children. You can have the blocks engraved with “I ♥ Mommy,” “Love,” or any other phrase to show your appreciation. Then, while we make the frame for you, all you need to do is find the perfect picture. If your mom is a little camera shy or loves to decorate for all occasions, we also have the wonderful Holiday Blocks that spell out Happy Mother’s Day, along with 100 other sayings.

As for the furry ones in our lives, we must remember to cherish them too! We have been running some sample blocks and are so excited to unveil our new Fur Baby Blocks. This block will have an actual picture of your special fur baby on it – all you need to do is email a photo to us. We’ll do all the tweaking to make sure your pet still looks just as cuddly when his picture is printed on the block with our color printer. About 20 years ago we did some pet blocks, but we had problems getting images of the breeds we needed when they were not on the American Kennel Club website. However now, we can put your fur baby on it! There are 3 versions: one for rescues, one for pedigree (you know the DOB and where they are from), and one for a memorial. I personally love this block so much that I’ve already gone through my scrapbooks to find pictures of our previous Dalmatians. Now I can upgrade their blocks from the ones 20 years ago!  PS the samples are my birthday present to my wonderful Sister-In-Law this year!!!  Her kitty and puppy 🙂

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

House Warming Gift Ideas

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, spring brings lots of adorable babies. But if we’re being honest, they also come with a lot of extra stuff that takes a lot of extra room. They need cribs, diapers, toys – the list just keeps going. We have found during our time of making baby blocks, that the gifts are most often returned by the post office within the first 3 months of the little one arriving since people tend to move houses to make room for the extras. Even we moved 6 months after LeeLoo came home with us. With all of this in mind, we feel that something special is needed to commemorate the family’s new abode. By tweaking a couple of our products, we have come up with the perfect housewarming gifts. And let’s face it: after the baby comes, mom and dad lose a lot of the attention.

The first product we tweaked was the family name coaster. Now, you can order it with the family name in the center and the address around the edges rather than the names of the family members.

 

 

 

We also have the bubble frame. With this, you can have the name of the family put on the front, then sneak over to snap a picture of the new house so you have a picture to put in it! Imagine how elated they will be when they see the amount of thought and work you put into what could have been a simple gift.

The last product we have is actually a block design that a customer had us create. On the top, the family’s initial is encircled by their new address. The front has their family name along with the first name of each member listed below it. The next side has a compass rose with the GPS coordinates of the house, (a cool website to use for obtaining coordinates is notated on the order form). On the third side, the established month and year are printed above a picture of a house, and there is a blessing for the house on the fourth side. Of course, we stuck to our tradition to let you place who it is from on the bottom. This block is probably my favorite, and, being the geeky nerd, I love the incorporation of the coordinates. It’s a mathematical secret formula!

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

Spring & Easter

Spring is the season of birth and renewal, making it a special time for religious holidays and private family holidays. With the beginning of April now upon us, we are busy decorating our house for Easter! Our favorite Holiday Blocks are front and center in the living room, giving a warm Hoppy Easter to all those who enter, and LeeLoo’s Baby’s First Easter Block is just beside them.

These baby blocks are perfect for commemorating the little one’s first Easter! Complete with images of a cross, an Easter bunny, and a basket filled with eggs, the inscription of the date and the baby’s name make for an absolutely adorable gift to add to their first Easter basket – plus, the block comes in color or our standard engraved if you prefer!

To add some additional spring colors to our house, we love to do the traditional decoration of Easter eggs. We found our favorite way on Pinterest, and it makes the annoying egg cracks useful! Rather than being extremely careful to not crack the egg shells, you gently crack them from the get-go so you don’t have to worry about it later. Plus, when you peel off the shell, the egg has an awesome marble design! We love to spice up holiday traditions – I think this year LeeLoo will be trying an egg dye that involves shaving cream since she has some left over from the slime recipe she found. Looking at it, I often wonder if kids are just as addicted to Pinterest as their moms!

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

A New Member in the Family!!!!!!

— Block Family That Is! 🙂

March also brings spring with it (finally!) which means BABY SEASON is upon us. Not just for animals, but also for us humans! Although, with cute babies coming there is also the pressure of gifts, but thankfully our number one best seller is the Personalized Baby Block. At the shop, we often hear about heated debates on who in a friend group gets the first shot at sending a block. But this year, you can be the first to give a color block with our new upgraded baby block! This project has been in the works for about a year, and we’re now able to show it to you. The blocks are the same as our standard ones, only they now come in color. A poly-whey finish is used instead of beeswax, and rather than being engraved, they are printed – which means it’s all still kid safe! So when those babies start toddling around, they won’t be in harm’s way if they get a hold of their colorful block.

 

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

St. Patrick’s Day

It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating New Years, and now today it’s March! This means our favorite Irish holiday is coming up quickly this year, and we cannot wait for the food. Since Saint Patrick’s Day can sometimes be an underappreciated holiday, we feel the need to make up for this by cooking our favorite dishes. Irish Stew made with Guinness, Guinness Chocolate Pudding, and Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes are recipes that definitely top our Irish list. We also cannot resist adding an Asian twist to corned beef and cabbage with cabbage rolls! We love our food around here, especially Guinness (of course the beer is Irish!) and Asian foods, and we can never celebrate a holiday without special food! If any one of these dishes interests you, I’ve added a link for recipes below. We’re also open to any suggestions! We love to spread ideas for celebrating. To celebrate with us even more, our Holiday Blocks spelling out St. Patrick’s Day are great for decoration! You could create a beautiful dinner table with our Irish recipes (or your own) with these blocks as center pieces, or you could even just set them up in a room to add a little festivity. Just make sure you remember to wear green!

 

Also don’t forget you can get the little ones their own personalized St. Patrick’s Day Blocks 🙂

 

   

Click Here for Irish Stew Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Stew Beef
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 6 Garlic Cloves Chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Bottle Guinness
  • 5 Cups Beef Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Russet Potatoes Cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 Red Potatoes Cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 Stalks Celery Chopped
  • 2 Cups Carrots Cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch + 1 Tbsp water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in large skillet, medium-high heat.

Salt and pepper beef, dust with flour and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to dutch oven or heated crockpot. May have to do in several batches (don’t crowd pan when browning).

Add garlic and sauté another minute, until fragrant.

Deglaze pan with red wine, add Guinness, beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves.

Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer, then transfer to beef.

In skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the potatoes, celery, onion and carrots, sautéing until golden, about 10 minutes.

Add vegetables to beef mixture.

Bake in oven 350 degrees for about 1 hour until vegetables and beef are tender.

If juices need to be thickened add (mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water until combined). Slowly stir into the stew.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

   

Click Here for Guinness Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Bottle Guinness Stout
  • 3 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 7 oz Chocolate, Bittersweet 70-72% chopped (I use 60% Ghirardelli Chips)

Directions

In large mixing bowl whisk together the egg yokes and sugar. Open a can of chilled Guinness from the refrigerator and slowly pour into 4-cup measuring cup, pouring down side of cup to reduce foaming. Pour half of Guinness (about 7/8 cup) into heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan.

Add 2 1/4 cups cream and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and heat, whisking occasionally, until bubbles just begin to form at edges. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour hot chocolate mixture into eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Return mixture to saucepan and set over moderately low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon, about 15 minutes. (The pudding will look separated.) Pour into blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Divide the pudding among the six old fashioned glasses, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top of each. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining Guinness into small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 20 minutes. Pour syrup into small bowl and let cool.

Beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Add Guinness syrup and beat until combined. Divide cream among 6 glasses of pudding.

 

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!