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I have been busy working on a number of projects for myself and for others.  However, I'm not quite ready to share any of them right now.  So instead, I will send you over to Christina Montemurro Photography to see what I got to be a part of over the weekend.  My dear friend, who was showered with an Up Theme party, got married.  From my vantage point, the day was perfect.  From Christina Montemurro's vantage point, it also seemed perfect. 

Rachel, was the complete opposite of a bridezilla.  Christina, was an extremely humble and unobtrusive photographer.  The wedding, was one of the best I have been to.

I woke up a bit to early to meet up with Rachel and the other ladies of the wedding party at 8am.  Three ladies with trunks and suitcases stuffed with make-up, beauty products, and tools spent the next 5 hours making two Moms, two bridesmaids, a matron of honor, a flower girl, and a bride look beautiful.  We got to wear fake eyelashes, and it was so much fun!  Of course, I decided that I wasn't hungry for the array of fruits and pastries provided until after I got my make-up done.  I'm pretty sure I managed to lose all the crumbs stuck to my lip gloss by the time the ceremony started.  Good thing the bride was the main attraction.

The ceremony was in a beautiful church with a high ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows, and an incredible pipe organ.  The bride and groom wrote their own vows.  I love that.  They were personal and sweet.

The reception was filled with personal touches.  The Father of the Bride is amongst the nicest people I know.  But at the reception, he was totally mean!  First, there was a traditional Father of the Bride toast.  Later, there was a slideshow of the Bride and Groom through the years.  Instead of just plugging any old song in, the Father, and the Bride's two Brothers put on hats and sang, "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story.  It was the sweetest thing, especially knowing that this is a Disney-loving family.  I do not mean Disney-loving in the way everybody loves Disney.  I mean, Disney loving, in that I suspect they were all born with Mickey ears.
In case that wasn't mean enough...before the Father-Daughter dance, Dad played this little tear-jerking gem from The Little Mermaid.

AND read a heartfelt letter he wrote shortly after Rachel was born.  AND broke out an ukulele and serenaded Rachel again.  See?  I told you he was mean.  They should have handed out tissues at the door.  But really, it was all so very beautiful.  Everything about the day felt personal and thoughtful, without being over-the-top or trying-too-hard.

What a privilege it was to be a part of such a truly special day.  Go look at photos and be blown away.
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blue girl presents
blue girl presents: praise report
blue girl presents
Hello darlings. I hope you have found ways to be thankful this week. Hubby and I took another lovely walk on another perfect day. It is so nice to see everything so lush and green. Soon it will be fun to see the leaves changing colors!

In my Raspberry Short Whips post I mentioned attending a BBQ over the weekend and hanging out with some ladies at the beginning of the week. It is always a treat to spend time with people I may not see often. I really appreciate those who make get-togethers happen. I enjoy time with friends, but I am not usually good at initiating those times.

We had a dinner outing with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their kids. Even though we see each other often, we don't always have time to just relax and hang out. It is a gift to live close to them and enjoy their company.

Our dear friends are getting married tomorrow. This means seeing lots of people I love and getting pretty. Hooray! The bride and groom are so special to us and we have created some pretty fun memories. Once, we were attending the same wedding. At some point, they said, "we're going to Disneyland the week of 4th of July! Hey, you should come!" We laughed the way people laugh at ridiculous invitations. Then Hubby was curious and discovered he had time off that week, and we had enough frequent flier miles to cover the trip. At the reception, we leaned over and asked our friends, "soooooo...were you serious when you asked us to go to Disneyland with you?" And just like that, we planned our next vacation...while on vacation. (Not usually how we do things, but we like to pretend!)

Thanks for visiting. I super appreciate my readers. You are so sweet.

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blue girl presents: confetti hello greeting card
Sometimes, simple is best.
blue girl presents: simply diy greeting card
These cards were nothing more than cut, fold, cut, paste.
blue girl presents: simple diy greeting cards
I used my nifty Cricut, from my nifty Sister-in-Law
blue girl presents: hello greeting cards
But I have been known to find a good movie and cut letters out by hand.
blue girl presents: hello greeting cards
So a fancy machine is not required.
blue girl presents: simply diy greeting cards
Enjoy your day!
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blue girl presents: raspberry short whip bites
Growing up, my parents were part of a monthly Bible study.  Each family would take turns hosting.  Dinner would be potluck, but the host was always responsible for making extra dishes, drinks, and desserts.  Naturally, my Mom was the best cook. (I'm not biased.  Yes I am.  But, she really was!)  So when it was my parents' turn to host, I knew that dinner would be especially yummy.

Although an amazing cook, my Mom didn't do much baking unless it was from a box.  A friend shared a recipe with her once for "cheesecake."  It became my Mom's go-to dessert for Bible study.  Turns out it became my most favorite dessert.  Also turns out, it wasn't really cheesecake.  The first time I had real cheesecake, I was SO disappointed because it wasn't the light, fluffy, creamy dessert I was always told was cheesecake.  (Hubby's family has since reformed me.)

We went to a BBQ over the weekend with tons of yummy food.  I was asked to bring dessert.  I knew that the burgers and hot dogs would be amazing and filling. (They were.)  I knew there would be tons of other yummy food. (There was.)  I knew there would be a fire for roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. (There was.  I always burn my marshmallow, but it was still great.)  With all of that in mind, I wanted to bring a dessert that felt light.  My Mom's cheesecake seemed like a winner.

The original recipe layers all of the ingredients in a 9x13 pan.  There is a shortbread crust. Smelling it baking in the oven always made me swoon.  (Actually, it still makes me swoon.)  There is a layer of cool whip, powdered sugar, and cream cheese.  Sweet, fluffy, goodness!  Then there is a layer of vanilla pudding and  a top layer of cool whip.  I am pretty sure that many families have a variation of this dessert in their recipe box.  My Mother-in-Law makes a pistachio dessert that is similar-ish.

For fun, I decided to create mini cups instead.  I also decided to replace the cool whip in the original recipe with fresh whipped cream.

Hubby's family believes that all good recipes need a good name.  I let Hubby name these little treats, and he came up with Raspberry Short Whips.  I like it.
blue girl presents: raspberry short whip bites
Here's how I made them.

Prepare Whipped Cream.
1 pint of heavy Cream
1/2 powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Beat the cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beater.  Slowly add sugar and vanilla until fluffy and thick enough to spread.

First Layer: Shortbread crust.
2 sticks unsalted butter (if using salted butter, do not add additional salt.)
2 C. flour
1/2 t. salt
Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour and salt, and mix to create a soft dough.
When cool enough, scoop a tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball, and then flatten into a disk.  Place disc in the bottom of a foil mini cupcake liner.  You should be able to make 30-35 cups.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. 
(If you underbake the crust and decide to check one of the may or may not end up with a kitchen floor covered with crumbs...)
Cool crusts.

Second Layer: 
1 block Cream Cheese
1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 C. whipped cream

Blend Cream Cheese and sugar until smooth.  Fold in whipped cream.
Pipe a layer of mixture into each cup.

Third Layer:
1 package instant vanilla pudding.

Follow instruction on box for pie filling.  Pipe a layer of pudding into each cup.

Fourth Layer:
Pipe remaining whipped cream on top of each cup.

Top with fresh raspberries for a Raspberry Short Whip, or choose another favorite garnish!

blue girl presents: chocolate raspberry short whip pie
I met up with some lovely ladies last night.  Since I had extra ingredients, I decided to turn them into a Chocolate Raspberry Short Whip Pie.  I only used one stick of butter and one cup of flour for the crust, pressing the mixture into an 8 inch square pan.

I had always been curious what the dessert would be like with chocolate pudding, so I finally tried it.  I love chocolate, but in my opinion, the vanilla pudding wins hands down.  There is just something about how it combines with the cream cheese layer and the shortbread crust for the ultimate flavor combination. 

At some point, I would like to try this dessert with homemade pudding!
blue girl presents: chocolate raspberry short whip pie
Did you grow up with a dessert like this?  It is so versatile.  You can change the type of crust, the pudding flavor, and the garnish to create all different flavor combinations.  Let me know if you try my versions or another version!
blue girl presents: raspberry short whip
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blue girl presents: nature
What a beautiful week.  Aside from a crazy downpour on Tuesday morning, the weather has been amazing.  Another week with plenty to be thankful for.

* We visited Uncle last weekend to celebrate his 91st birthday.  We had good weather, good food, and good company.

* While visiting Uncle, we were able to pick fresh blueberries!  Apparently, he has always had the blueberry bushes (trees?), but the birds always got to the berries first.  It was my first time picking fresh blueberries, and hopefully not my last.  It was so much fun!
blue girl presents: fresh blueberries
* I super duper like kielbasa, and Hubby's family likes to tease me about it.  But I know they love me, because they planned a dinner with burgers and KIELBASA at Uncle's, and didn't tell me so that I would be surprised.  Hooray!

* It is pretty common knowledge that I super duper like striped socks.  They make my feet happy.  That's a fact.  I hadn't realized how much I like stripes in general until this week.  I went on a spontaneous shopping trip, and everything I brought into the dressing room had stripes!  Nice to know that something that makes me happy is so popular right now.  As I was folding clean laundry this week, I realized that I have several striped pieces in my current wardrobe.  Yay for stripes!

* On Hubby's day off this week, the weather was so lovely we were able to take a leisurely walk.  We were adventurous and walked a part of our neighborhood we hadn't walked to before. 

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thank you so much for visiting!
blue girl presents: bridge at sunset
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blue girl presents: suit greeting card
Today, I have a confession, a bit of history, and my latest card.

My confession: This is the third time that I have started a craft style blog.  Third time is the charm, isn't that right?  The first two times never felt quite right because I constantly felt like I was trying to do too much, or I was not being true to myself.  I knew it too, so I rarely told people that I blogged. 

This time around, I am having tons of fun.  I am enjoying the process and not trying to be anyone but me.  If you are one of the few people who encountered one of my former blogs, you may see some familiar photos if they relate to a current post.

Today, I'm sharing some old photos so that you can see the progression to today's card.

I have loved origami for as long as I can remember.  My Dad taught me how to fold a lily and a fishing boat when I was a kid.  Then he gave me some books to learn on my own.  My Maternal Grandparents lived in Japan until they retired, and visits to see them always meant purchasing packs and packs of origami paper.  In 6th grade, one of our projects was to teach the class how to do something.  Anything.  I taught my classmates how to make origami containers.  When Hubby and I got married, I folded dozens and dozens of cranes to hang from our arch.  (Not much compared to the 1000 my Cousin folded one year and mailed to me from Taiwan!  I think she folded them all in a month.)  So yeah, I love origami.
blue girl presents: wedding arch photo taken by cherished in hawaii weddings
In 2010, while trying to figure out what kind of card to create for all the important Dads in my life, I decided that adding a touch of origami made the most sense.  I found directions for an origami tie, and started having fun.
blue girl presents: origami tie cards 2010
In 2011, I couldn't stop thinking about how much fun I had creating the necktie cards.  So I made them again. 
blue girl presents: origami tie greeting cards 2011
But this time, I added vests.
blue girl presents: vested origami tie greeting cards 2011
In 2012, I decided to be a bit different and created origami shirts and pants for my cards.
blue girl presents: father's day cards with origami shirt and pants 2012
They coordinated with that year's origami dress Mother's Day cards.
blue girl presents: origami dress mother's day cards 2012
This year's cards had nothing to do with origami...  :)

In one of my Friday Praise Reports, I mentioned that we got Hubby a new suit.  The alterations were finished over the weekend, and we were able to bring the suit home.  Hubby looks FINE.  Mario is the gentleman who fitted Hubby for his new suit as well as the two other suits he owns.  Mario worked with one of Hubby's Aunts for many years, so he is essentially family.  Hubby asked me if I would make one of my tie cards for Mario to thank him.  Hooray for a great excuse to make one of my favorite cards!
blue girl presents: origami tie greeting card
Mario is a suit man, so I couldn't stop with just a shirt and tie.   I had to create a jacket too!
blue girl presents: suit & tie greeting card
blue girl presents: suit & tie greeting card
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blue girl presents: black forest cake
Over the weekend, we went on a mini road trip to visit Hubby's Great Uncle.  Everyone in the family simply calls him Uncle.  Uncle turned 91 last month, which most definitely warranted a celebration.

My Mother-in-Law asked if I could make a Black Forest Cake, because Uncle is a fan.  I had never made one before, but I love an excuse to try new things.
blue girl presents: black forest cake
I used Brown Eyed Baker's Black Forest Cake recipe with a few changes.

For the cake: I threw in a tsp of espresso powder for kicks.  Recipe books and television bakers always say coffee or espresso enhances the flavor of a chocolate cake.  I had some, so why not?

For the cherries: I bought a bag of fresh cherries (which I sadly can not eat fresh due to allergies.)  I pitted them by hand.  (It was very difficult to resist licking my fingers.)  I had about 18oz after reserving a dozen for the top and a handful for Hubby.  I put them in a pot with 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 C water and stirred them around for several minutes.  Then I thickened the syrup with a bit of cornstarch.  I brushed the syrup on each cooled cake layer before assembling.
I tend to be conservative when adding sugar.  If you like things sweet, more sugar would have been fine.  Also, at Uncle's I learned what fresh sour cherries look like.  If I could get my hands on those, I'm sure that the cherry filling would have had even more pronounced cherry flavor.

For the whipped cream:  I doubled the recipe.  Also, in an effort to ensure the cake would survive a three hour car ride, I stabilized the whipped cream with gelatin.
blue girl presents: black forest cake
It survived!!!!!
blue girl presents: black forest cake
The cherry flavor was not especially pronounced.  I am sure it would be more pronounced with the canned cherries and/or addition of cherry Kirsch used in Brown Eyed Baker's recipe.  However, I really liked the idea of using fresh cherries, and using alcohol didn't make sense for this particular family gathering.   If I can find them, I would like to try fresh sour cherries next time.  Perhaps soaking the cherries in juice would also help bring out the favor.
Still, the cake was delightful, and everyone gobbled it down.  The chocolate cake was wonderful and paired beautifully with the whipped cream frosting.

We were also spoiled with a super tasty Berry Crumble from my Sister-in-Law.
berry crumble
Topped with ice cream, it was one amazing treat.
berry crumble with ice cream
Our bellies were full, full full.  They were also happy, happy, happy!
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Hello! Our power went out today. It eventually came back on, but I never turned my computer back on, so no photo today. I have a lot of praises though!

* I play piano in church a couple times each month. This past Sunday, I was going through my music before the service started, when my niece and the Pastor's daughter came prancing down the aisle to visit with me. Hugs from a five year old and a four year old are a definite praise!

My niece told me that she likes the LOW notes on the piano. The Pastor's daughter told me she likes the twinkly notes. Then the organist sat down to practice some of the hymns. For one of the hymns, I decided to play along. When I did, my niece turned to her friend and said, "listen to my Aunt Karen! She's the best pianist!" So cute. Those little girls are such a blessing in my life.

* I made it through all four shows of South Pacific and had an absolute blast! I still can't stop humming the music.

* Monday, my little brother came to visit. We ate yummy stinky Asian food. We made dumplings from scratch. It was my first time dumplings completely from scratch (bad Asian!), and we totally winged it. They didn't turn out too bad though.

We played music together too. My brother is better at piano, and I'm better at violin, so he always accompanies me. But at some point when we play, we like to switch instruments. Then we laugh our socks off because we sound so awful. I love that!

* Tuesday I got to hang out with a bunch ladies from church. One of the members of our ladies bible study owns a lake house (although we learned that the "lake" is actually a pond). She graciously invites our group over each year. We had a lovely time enjoying the beauty of the pond, good fellowship, and yummy food.

* In two weeks I get to be a bridesmaid. I took my dress to be altered and it is finished. Woohoooo! I am so excited.

* This weekend we get to celebrate another family birthday. This one means a mini road trip and lots of good food. Hooray!

Hope you are having an amazing weekend.

blue girl presents
Roly Poly Me in an outfit made by my Dad!
Why, hello there!

i hope that you have been having a wonderful week.  I spent my week enjoying time with family and friends.  The weather has been so perfect for play and fun.

Today is Taiwanese Father's Day - the perfect opportunity to brag about my Dad for a little bit.

There is no doubt that I am my Mother's child, because I look just like her.  However, my personality and all of my craftiness comes from my Dad.  My Mom is a fierce cook, but crafting is just not her thing.  She has created lovely things in the past, but usually under coercion from a craft-loving friend.

My Dad is goofy, laughs a lot, and always has a camera with him.  That's me!  Friends who meet my Dad for the first time always say, "so that's where you get it from."

My Dad is crafty and talented.  When he was young he led a church youth group.  He has these memory books that he created for each member back when mimeographs were high tech.  Every page was handwritten and included his own illustrations.  It's pretty crazy. 

When I was in 7th grade, I had to make an Egyptian headdress and collar for school.  It was my Dad's idea to use a carpet-y toilet bowl cover as a base for the collar.  Are you old enough to remember when it was cool to decorate the toilet to match the floor mats?  Even though we bought a brand new cover from Hills, I was initially mortified by the idea.  But of course it was a genius idea, and I got an 'A' after adorning the cover with a bunch of gold trim.

One of my Dad's funniest creations was a window knocker.  While eating lunch, my Dad's seat offers a perfect view of a bird feeder he set up outside the large picture windows in an adjacent room.  One year, he was frustrated that squirrels and large black birds were eating up the seeds and scaring off the smaller birds.  My Dad set up other feeding areas for the larger birds and squirrels, but they loved the feeder right by the window.  My Dad created spiked rings from plastic containers to deter the squirrels.  But the squirrels loved the fancy new obstacle course they felt was created just for them.  He tried to create slippery covers for the bird feeder that would make it too difficult for the larger birds and squirrels to reach the food.  It only helped temporarily.  Finally, my Dad created a window knocker.  He had a pull string next to his seat that traveled up and across the ceilings over to a ball that would bang the window.  That worked.  It only stayed up for a month or two, but it sure gave us a laugh while it lasted.

My Dad also sews.  He doesn't sew regularly - only when inspiration strikes.  However, it makes me proud that he sewed me an outfit when I was a roly poly  baby.  It gives me hope that I will master a sewing machine one day! 

I could tell a gazillion other stories about my Dad's talents, craftiness, and goofiness, but with Father's Day twice a year it's best to share a few at a time.

I love you, Dad!  Happy Taiwanese Father's Day!

P.S.  My Dad's nickname is Blue.  That is part of the reason why I'm bluegirl.  :)
Happy Friday!  Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?  Did you have a good week?  I have so much to be thankful for this week.

*  I visited the preschool where I will running a couple music groups in the fall.  It reminded me how much I enjoyed working with little kids in the past.  The kids warmed up to me very quickly which was exciting.  I am so thankful to my friend for offering me this opportunity.  My friend also spoiled me with a delicious lunch afterwards which was a nice surprise.

* Two of my dear Cousins have been in the states for the past few years doing dental fellowships.  One of them left to return to Taiwan yesterday.  :(  Before he left, Hubby, "baby" Brother, and I were able to enjoy dinner and dessert with him.  It was a really great time.  We saw each other far too little while my Cousin was in the states, but I'm thankful for the times we did see each other. 

* My Hubby has been asked to be an usher for two weddings in the next few months.  I told him that it was because he is so tall and handsome.  (Go ahead and roll your eyes, but I know what's true!)  He has been needing a new suit, and this was the perfect excuse to get one.  I was going nuts while we were shopping because he just looked so handsome in everything.  We were good and only chose one suit, but it was a good one!

*  Last night I had my first of four performances of "South Pacific".  I had such a blast playing in the pit with the rest of the orchestra.  It is a small group with only one of each instrument, but it's a really fun and friendly group.  I'm super thankful to Hubby's friend for giving me the chance to sub for him.  Hooray!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.  No matter what you may be going through, I hope that you feel loved and blessed.