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!

Now You Know! Order “Off The Menu” Items With Craft-E-Family

If you’ve been around Craft-E-Family long, you know that we try to stay current. We try to stay with the times when it comes to product development. We aim to out-do ourselves in terms of customer service with every order we receive.

One of the ways we are able to achieve such high scores on customer service is by going out of our way to offer customizable or personalized options that other companies do not. We know that our customers have creative vision and we want that vision to be a part of the products you order or gift to others. These products and/or gifts are an extension of you and they reflect it!

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Many people are unaware that we have a large audience and customer base outside of the United States. If you would like translation services for you or for a gift you’re ordering for someone else, we’re happy to accommodate that request. We may run words or phrases by you to ensure we’ve done the translation appropriately – but that’s only because we want you and your family and friends to only have the best when it comes to our products. We’re also able to add special characters such as accents or umlauts at no additional charge. We also add a special touch for our military families. If you request and provide us with the artwork we can replace one side of the block with your squadron patch.

custom-coasters

When orders come in, we proofread all orders instead of simply completing the order as it was submitted. We know that we’re human and we’ve ordered (and received) some pretty ridiculous gifts. It was our fault – we spelled things wrong when we ordered it, but the company we ordered it from didn’t proof anything. That’s the downside to ordering from big businesses sometimes. They don’t have the time – or they just lack the small personal touches – that small, family run businesses take the time to do. After we receive an order, if we have any questions about the order before we make it, we will reach out to you first to ensure there were no mistakes made when submitting your order.

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Have a special occasion coming up and want a personalized gift, but don’t see exactly what you’re looking for on our website? We can do custom orders any time! We often do custom personalized blocks for special occasions and/or situations, which cost $35. If you ever have a question as to what products we can customize or even create a product just for you – simply email us and we’ll respond in a timely manner so we can start creating your item.

 

 

saw-blade-coaster

One of the services that we offer that works very well for businesses is the ability to add your company’s logo to any item at no additional charge. Realtors use this when ordering our Personalized Family Coasters for new homeowners. Other businesses that use this offer are photographers – be it wedding photographers or baby photographers. Many such businesses purchase Personalized Baby Block Picture Frames or Personalized Bubble Name Picture Frame from us as a gift to the new couple or new parents. They personalize it for their clients, but leave a lasting impression by putting their logo on the back so they’ll always remember whom they used. Doulas also use this service when they gift new moms and dads with our Personalized Baby Block.

When we say we take on some really unique projects, we aren’t kidding. To give you an idea of some work we’ve done:

  • We were asked to do custom work for FedEx. We did a custom project for them that they used for a company wide training seminar.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. asked us to make custom blocks to give away as training awards.
  • IMS Radio asked us to make custom blocks for the sales team to hand out to clients.
  • United Advisors had us make custom blocks for new clients.
  • Black Sheep Gifts have asked us to make multiple items from Irvington related coasters to Christmas Ornaments & earrings.
  • DTE Energy asked us for custom blocks.
  • Parker’s Place Foundation had us make custom color blocks for their launch party.

flip-flop-coasters

We love seeing new orders from clients. We love it even more when it’s a custom project because it presents us with a challenge and gives us just one more opportunity to exceed the expectations of our customers. The next time you have a special occasion or have a random crafty idea, let us bring it to life for you.

 

We look forward to seeing how we can wow you with those projects so send them our way! Until next time – Keep It Craft E!