Monday, September 1, 2014

Q's Creative Cruise: Eastern Caribbean 2015!


Announcing my 3rd Creative Card Cruise!

We've been to Mexico and Alaska...now it's time to enjoy Caribbean blue waters, sun, breezes and culture.

I am super excited about this cruise...I found the perfect itinerary, the perfect ship and the perfect classroom.

It's simply hard to top our last 2 cruises, we have had such a blast...the pressure is on!

Here's a quick look...



*Royal Caribbean - Navigator of the Seas.

*Cabins.  2 choices; Promenade & Balcony  

*Nov. 14 - 22nd, 2015 (eight-day cruise!) 
 
*Departure port: Fort Lauderdale 

*4 Ports; Labadee (private beach resort), San Juan, Puerto Rico, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. 

*3 at-sea days with six creative classes!
 
·        Here are the details...

  Promenade Cabin
This is an awesome alternative to an interior cabin, and was only $40 more, so I only went with this kind.  It is larger than the interior cabins, plus, it has a window overlooking the promenade.  It is not noisy, I've been assured, but gives the room a more open feel.   My brother stayed in one of the cabins on a recent cruise and said it's a big improvement over an interior cabin.
Price $607.00 + $119.46 Taxes = $726.46

·         Balcony Cabin
There are very few 'ocean view' cabins on this ship, most have balconies.  These will be across from all our promenade cabins.  I've reserved a couple of triples (where 3 can stay in a room) and one handicap room.
Price $959.00 + $119.46 Taxes = $1078.46

Deposit due upon reservation: $250.   (balance due about Sept. 1/15)
Pay by check (email me for address) or for convenience, here is an online credit card option that reflects the fees incurred.
 
 

Deposit
(Use the drop-down menu to pay for a couple.)

Gratuities are $96 for the 8 days.

Approx. cost (promenade cabin)            *Flight, cruise, gratuity, Transport & classes $1650.
Approx. cost (Balcony cabin)                   *Flight, cruise, gratuity, Transport & classes $2000.

*price based on higher end.  You could probably save a little on a cheaper flight.




This is why I love cruising!  The math equals to about $200 a day.  For lodging, amazing food (all-day-long), service, entertainment, tropical ports of call, fun people and of course, a myriad of crafting classes!



Dates

Nov. 14 - 22, 2015.  This gives everyone a year+ to plan & save.  This is also a safer (hurricane season ending) time of year to travel and slightly cooler temps.




The good thing about our dates is that it is the week BEFORE Thanksgiving.  Generally, people will not want to travel that week, since they will likely travel the following week.  This should translate to better flight for us.  It is, I'm sure, a large part of why our rates on the cruise are so good.



Departure Port
 Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  This will be a nice & easy to navigate, as the dock (Port Everglades) is right next to the airport!  Despite being only a few minutes from each other, they still recommend planning on 45 minutes to allow for claim luggage and fill out forms at the terminal.  Fare from airport to dock will be between $15 and $18.

Optionally, you could also fly into Miami.  It is 30 minutes south.



The one tricky thing about Florida is finding a flight that gets you in before the ship leaves (5:30 pm, but they want you there 2 hours before, 3:30 pm).  I couldn't find any for 2014.  They haven't listed 2015 November flights yet.
Your options are getting in the day before and staying overnight in a hotel OR red-eye.

There are usually several red-eye flights, which will leave you tired, but this way you don't have to pay for a night's stay in a hotel.
Prices range from $350 - $500.  As to the best time to book flights, I found this article that explains it well. 

Ports of Call
Besides the typical (and fun) days of shopping and beaching, I've listed some other unique things to do in each port.

Labadee.  



I have been here before!  It's a beach day like no other!  White sand beaches, lots of fun and/or relaxation in Labadee.  Privately leased by Royal Caribbean, we have it all to ourselves!






San Juan, Puerto Rico


 Explore Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Ride to San Felipe El Morro, the most dramatic of all the city's military fortifications. Visit the Casa Blanca Museum & Gardens, the Ballaja Barracks, Quincentennial Square, San Jose Church, San Juan Cathedral, and Cristo Chapel.
OR
See BaƱo Grande, a natural swimming pool. Then take a walk on Camitillo Trail and look for the artificial nest of the Puerto Rican parrot and the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest.

Basseterre, St. Kitts  


 Whether you're a history buff or just want to take in the scenery, be sure to visit the 350-year-old estate, Romney Manor, once owned by a British earl. The beautiful grounds include magnificent gardens, exotic plants and an amazing African Saman tree, which covers half an acre and is believed to be as old as the estate itself.
OR
  • Explore Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. Climb to the top of the main hill to take in amazing views of St. Eustatius and Sandy Point Town.
  • Walk through Independence Square. Now a small public park, it was built in 1790 for slave auctions and council meetings.
  • Visit St. George's Cathedral. While originally christened Notre Dame in 1670 by the French, it was destroyed more than once and was most recently rebuilt in 1869 in typical Georgian style.
When the Spanish closed their colonial fort on St. Maarten in 1648, a few Dutch and French soldiers hid on the island and decided to share it. Soon after, the Netherlands and France signed a formal agreement to split St. Maarten in half, as it is today. Philipsburg displays its Dutch heritage in its architecture and landscaping. The island offers endless stretches of beach, beautiful landscapes and great shopping.
Admire the delicate nature and dazzling colors of hundreds of butterflies as you tour St. Maarten's popular Butterfly Farm
Tour the saltwater lagoons by kayak, and discover egrets, plovers, heron and pelicans.
Discover the undersea world of coral reefs and exotic fish as you take a snorkeling expedition through Shipwreck Cove.

Classes!
I'm happy to report we have a great BIG (1800 square feet, almost 3 times bigger than our ship in Alaska) classroom with desks aplenty.  I have it booked for the entire 8 days, so we can leave our work station and our supplies there!  You can access the classroom in the evening for catch up crafting, playing cards and games and whatever else you want.

We have 3 full days at seas, so we will have classes from 9-noon and 1-4.  That give us time to sleep in, have a nice breakfast, lunch and time to get ready for dinner at 5pm.

I've already been planning my classes and we have some fun surprises and new things to share with you all. 
Of course, we will have goodies bags, lots of prizes and a Grand prize or a Cricut expression and a 2nd prize of a Cricut Mini!
And of course, plan on our traditional Card swap on our last night together.

Much more info on this later!





Classes $300



Creative Cruise Class Package
Because I have to start planning, buying etc... far in advance, I must ask for a nonrefundable $50 deposit.  If you have to cancel at some point, you will still get a goodie bag and one class kit.
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Ok, that's it for now!  I'm not sure how I'm even going to wait a whole year before all this fun!  Hope you can join us!

To reserve your spot, just email me. 
You can mail the deposit, bring to class, or use the shopping cart here on my blog.
$250 (cruise deposit) + $50 (class deposit) = $300












 




 


 
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Q's Creative Classes: Quilting Bee Cards

I've made one quilt in my life.  28 years ago!  For my son who moved into a 'real' bed.  I stenciled rocking horses on squares and put that baby together, it was quite a job, which is probably why I've never made another one.  I have several friends and lots of students who quilt and I so admire the patience and exactness it requires.

I love the tradition of it all and wanted to capture that look on cards.  I have some fun new techniques to share with you, lace and ribbon, new charms and beautiful sentiments!  Everything is pre-cut and ready to assemble with basic supplies.

Each kit includes a slideshow (use on computer, tablet or even your phone!) that makes putting these five cards together super easy!  It also includes all the printables for future card making.


Quilting Bee Card Kit
Kits will begin shipping August 25th.  After you add the kit to the shopping cart, go back and add shipping as well.  

Class Schedule (will bring kit to class if you're attending one, do not add shipping).

Tuesday, Sept. 2nd         South Jordan Hobby Lobby    10am - noon
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd         South Jordan Hobby Lobby     5:30 - 7:30 pm
Wed., Sept. 3rd              South Jordan Hobby Lobby    10am - noon
Wed., Sept. 3rd              West Jordan Armory              6 - 8 pm
Thurs., Sept. 4th             American Fork Senior Center  6 - 8 pm
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             10am - noon
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             2 - 4pm
Friday, Sept. 5th             Layton Hobby Lobby             5:30 - 7:30 pm
Monday, Sept. 8th           Sandy Hobby Lobby              2 - 4 pm



What you'll need:

Adhesives: Your favorite tape to put cards together, foam squares and glue dots (mini, micro and craft) and scotch tape.

 
Tools: Scissors (long & fine-tipped), micro hole & 1/8" punch and Corner Rounder.  Paper piercer. 


Misc: Distress "Frayed Burlap" Ink pad & Sponge.  Craft Mat (to work on), lid (to keep small pieces in), pencil.

Any questions?  Just email me




 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Studio 5: Classic Fresh Fruit Tart

Video was divided into two parts, as we had a commercial in between.

I was able to share a wonderful summer dessert on Studio 5 this week.  I love chocolate as much as the rest of the world, but when it comes to desserts, I'm a light-is-best, fruity kind of gal.

Just the sight of a fresh fruit tart makes me happy, even better is when I get to eat it!  One little tart is kind of pricey though, so it's been on my list to learn how to make it at home.

Finally got around to it and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.  And yet, when I look at the finished product, I feel like a pastry chef!

So, pick a date this summer; a family gathering, birthday, dinner party, or just a romantic dinner at home and make it!  Would love to hear how it turns out!
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A jaw-dropping dessert to impress the eye and the taste buds ... and perfect for mid-summer ripe berries and fruit. 


Spotted in almost all European style bakeries, fresh fruit tart is classically French, and now American!  Dividing this dessert into 4 components takes away the intimidation factor.  In addition you can make each part ahead of time and then assemble the day you'll be serving it.



This is a great dessert to get creative with, depending on the tart pan you use and how you arrange your fruit.  Jumble all the fruit together or use concentric circles or rows.  Use all one color or fruit, or mix it up.



Fresh Fruit Tart

1.      Sweet Tart Shell

2.      Pastry Cream

3.      Fresh Fruit

4.      Glaze


Sweet Tart Shell

Using a food processor makes this super speedy.  If you don't have one, use a pastry blender or two knives to criss-cross through the mixture.  Do not use your hands or a spoon. 



1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick plus 1 Tbsp very cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1 large egg white, beaten




Directions: 
Place Flour, sugar and salt in food processor (or bowl).  Pulse a bit to mix.  Distribute the cubed butter evenly over the top of the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter looks like course sand.  Add 1/2 of the egg to mixture and pulse just long enough for dough to stick together and pull away from the walls of the bowl.



If after you've added the egg, the dough is still crumbly, add the rest of the egg.  
Sometimes, depending on the size of your eggs you may have to add more, so add the beaten egg white, a Tbsp at a time, until the dough sticks together.



Handling dough as little as possible, remove from processor (or bowl) and place countertop on piece of plastic wrap.  Form into a 6" or so disc.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.   You can store dough in refrigerator for a few days as well. 



Roll chilled dough on a plastic wrap (I layer 2 pieces of plastic wrap on counter to so I have more room to roll and keep dough off the counter, then place more wrap on top of dough.  The dough is very soft and will stick easily.  Plastic wrap makes the job much easier.)  Roll out to a little larger than the size of your tart pan.  Remove the top plastic wrap and carefully place over tart pan.  carefully nudge edges of dough towards inside of pan so it doesn't stretch into corners.  press down lightly into corners.  Use a knife or rolling pin to trim off dough from the top of tart pan.



Option:  This is the trickiest part of this dessert; getting the dough into the tart pan.  If it's just not working for you, simply press dough into pan.  It may not look as perfect as if rolled, but it will do.



My mistake and hopefully not yours.  The 2nd time I made this, I had this perfectly prepared pan, lifted it and placed my hand underneath and in the center... since the center is removable, it popped right out!  Had to start over again!



Prick bottom of crust with fork (this will help steam to escape while cooking so the crust doesn't bubble up).

Important*  Place pan on baking sheet.  Freeze prepared tart shell for 20-30 minutes before you bake.  This also helps the dough from rising too much.



Cover frozen shell lightly with tin foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes for a 9" tart pan.  20 minutes for a 4" tart pan and less for smaller tart shells.



You can freeze your tart shells for a couple of weeks.  Wrap lightly with tin foil to freeze.



Pastry Cream

This is a great recipe (I've tried many).  It comes together quickly and is nice an thick, which you need for a nice cut on this tart.  BTW: This make a lovely hot 'pudding', I may know that because I licked the spoon after I was done!



2 cups half & half

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

5 egg yolks

3 Tbsp cornstarch

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla




Directions: 
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the half & half and half of the sugar and the salt.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.



meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and rest of sugar together until light and fluffy (about 20 seconds).  Add the cornstarch and whisk some more until thoroughly combined.

Gradually whisk some of the half & half into the egg mixture.  When you have added about a third of the half & half to eggs, pour everything back into the pot and continue to whisk and bring to another simmer.  This goes quickly, so don't leave the stove!  Keep whisking until mixture thickens and looks glossy.  If you notice scorch marks from bottom of pan, lower the heat a bit. 



Turn heat off and add butter and vanilla.  Whisk until well combined.  Place in container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over top of cream (this will avoid a skin to form).  Let cool on counter top for 30 minutes then place in refrigerator until ready to use.  You can store this for a few days.



Once ready to assemble tart, let pastry cream warm on the counter for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Fill tart shell, just a bit below the top.



Option:  Once tart is assembled you need to eat it within a few hours, otherwise the crust can get soggy.  To lengthen the time it can sit you can either brush a thin coat of melted chocolate on tart shell.  You can also brush on some of the glaze (same as what you will put on top of fruit.)



Fresh fruit


Use any fruit that makes you happy, but here are a few suggestions that work well...
Strawberries

Raspberries

Blackberries

Blueberries

Grapes

Kiwi

Mandarin oranges (canned)

Peaches

Plums

You can use just one fruit, or multiple...form them in concentric circles, lines or free form.  This is definitely the fun part!






Glaze



Bring a jar of Apricot jam to a boil in a small pot, add a Tbsp of water to thin a bit.  Place in fine sieve so your end product is a lump-free apricot glaze.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  When ready, heat back up, just until it loosens up.  Let cool to room temperature. (you don't want warm glaze on your fruit).  If it's too thick, add a bit of warm water to thin it out.



Gently brush on fruit.  This helps to keep fruit fresh and makes it pretty!













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