Friday, April 17, 2015

My Great Grandmother's Sister's Desk

 I'll eventually post a picture of this desk sitting in it's new home...I'm just taking my time finding the perfect items for the innards.  I do a lot of crafts....thus the blog, but this one was really personal.  I loved this desk when it sat in my Mom's room.  It had been her desk when she was a little girl.  At that time it was already 50 years old.  Now....it's working on more than 100 years of surviving and thriving in our family.
 Before it was her desk, it was her Mom's, and before that it was her Mom's mother's sister's desk.  Her sister died when she was just 24 years old.  Once upon a time this desk was red.  At some point it was stained white and antiqued.  It's had several hinges, and was down to one hinge....that then broke, and the outside shelf fell off...and split in two.  Age wasn't kind to the coloring.  I found little pieces of tape that petrified to the wood....I have a feeling I was responsible for that.
 I enlisted my brother to fix the desk portion and I then I made my first foray into chalk paint.  I realize, I'm late to the party.  I was told by my friend that I missed the party completely and chalk paint was 'out.'  I don't believe that-I still see chalk painted items-real and fake in every store I visit.  I also found some for sale at JoAnne's.  I used a coupon to make it even cheaper.  I bought some the color of 'sheepskin' and some brown and clear wax.
 The deal is you aren't supposed to have to sand old paint off-it's supposed to cover it up completely.  I'm not so sure if it's this particular paint, but mine did not dry smooth.  It crackled a little.  In the end-that was the look I was going for-so it saved me some sanding etc to make it look more aged.  All that to say-if you want a smooth coat-don't paint over fifty year old paint...if you wanted crackle-use this.
 I then took some of the brown paint and rubbed it along the edges and made some streaks across the white panels.
 I took a wet paper towel and started streaking the paint around so that it looked more 'aged' and uneven.
 Once the brown wax dried I covered the whole thing with a thin coat of clear wax.
 I let is rest for 6 days-per the instructions.
 There were a few things I bought new-one were these little glass handles (from Hobby Lobby-half off-so 4 bucks total).  The original handles were long gone.
 The old hinges were missing pieces...I decided to leave the indention b/c I kind of like the stories they tell.  The priciest part of these projects were these new old hinges I bought on ebay.  I wanted them to be authentic to the time.  I found two antique 'butterfly' hinges.
I decided the arms were just not worth finding antique-since I'm keeping it-I think it's fine.  I had my brother attach these pieces.  I love that it folds out to become a desk you can write on.  My FAVORITE part are the little cubbies at the top.  The little drawer in the middles pull is actually a little nail.  I spent hours messing with these cubbies when I was little....and I have the crayon remnants to prove it on the bottom of the drawer.  
I also repainted the chair.  These have now found a home in my room.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

I'm the fan of the casserole...especially when it comes to morning meals.  I am NOT a morning person.  Don't get me wrong, my whole life requires that I get up early every morning, but I don't like it, and the last thing I feel like thinking about is breakfast.  As gourmet as I get-sometimes I swap out a granola bar for instant oatmeal.  So...when it comes to an easy, hearty casserole-count me in.
I originally saw this recipe at just a pinch.  If you need a hearty meal, don't like mornings, or just want to try out a little something different for breakfast....
Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
Ingredients:  10 oz tube biscuits, 6 eggs, 1 lb sausage, 1 c cheese (shredded), 1/2 c. milk, salt and pepper to taste, gravy packet.
Instructions:
1.   Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray.
2.  Cut biscuits into 4ths.  Line bottom of the ban.
3.  Brown and drain sausage.  Scatter on top of the biscuit pieces.  Top with shredded cheese.
4.  Whisk eggs and milk and salt and pepper and pour over the pan.
5.  Make gravy according to the pkg instructions.  Pour over the pan.
6.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350.
7.  Cut and serve warm from the oven.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

White Chocolate Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

This is one of those recipes....that's name pretty much covers what you are going to find.  If you like white chocolate, blueberries, and oatmeal...oh, and sugar-then....try these!  These were even better than I even thought they'd be....and....I pretend it pretty much covers the whole food pyramid, therefor, totally find to also knock that word cookie off the end and call it a breakfast bar.  ;o)
White Chocolate Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies
Ingredients: 1 1/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. old fashioned oats,1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. baking powder, 1/8 t. baking soda, 1/8 t. salt, 1/2 c. unsalted butter (softened), 2/3 c. sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1 t. vanilla, 1 large egg, 1/2 c. white chocolate chips, 1/2 c. blueberries
Instructions:
1.  In one bowl mix all the dry ingredients except for the sugar.
2.  In a second bowl mix butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add the vanilla and eggs until mixed well.  Slowly add the flour mix.
3.  Fold in the chips and blueberries.
4.  Drop onto lined baking sheet.
5.  Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.  Cool and serve.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Let's Go Fly a Kite

 On Good Morning, Texas I'll be sharing a 'how to' on kites.  I'll post the video later on facebook.   My goal was to use the cheapest supplies I could find.  You could use a garbage bag or butcher paper to put together these kites, but I splurged and bought a table cloth for a dollar....which makes 6+ kites.
 I glued together two sticks together.  I found some thin sticks for less than a buck at the craft store.
 The glue was just to hold them in place.  I went back over the center with some string to hold it tightly.
I then took the same string and wrapped it around each arm.  I taped it to the sticks to hold it's shape.  
I measured out the plastic tablecloth so it was about 11/2 inch extra around each side.  
 I taped it down. I also added two piece of tape in the middle on the back...
...and front.  
I punched a hole and strung another string through this, tied it off, leaving it a little loose.  This is what I attached the kite string too.  
I added a string with a tail.  I used some ribbon.  This helps weight down the bottom so that it's heavier on the bottom and can catch some wind.  
 I also made some mini kites that I dangled from dowel rods and covered in some vintage looking fabric.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wise Ol' Gal Owl Party

 Not too long ago I helped my pal, Paige out with a birthday party for her sister.  She was hosting it at a really swanky restaurant downtown, but she wanted a few thoughtful pieces of table decor to add meaning to the evening.  Her sister is quite the scholar, who loves owl (a sorority thing)-so we went with a vintage books and owl theme.
I bought these tags from Hobby Lobby and found a quote I loved to print on them as favors to mark each table setting.
In order to print on the tag, I first printed off the quote to see where it lay on the paper.  I then taped the bookmark over the printed quote...
I ran it through the machine and it printed in the same spot....but on the bookmarks this time.  
I carefully pulled off the tape and added ribbon.  
Next up, I took books from significant years of her life (birth, family memories, graduation, marriage, birth of her children etc).  I found books that were published the same year, and quotes in the book for each person to read.  We put pencils on the table and each guest then added a message.  I used the same process as the bookmarks and printed the tags (with the name of the guest/year/book title/quote). I found the library cards and envelopes on Amazon. 
 I placed the name cards (to let people know where to sit) in the pockets, and the bookmarks behind the cards.
 The back of the envelopes were sticky.
 The guest got to keep their bookmarks, but Paige bought her sister a leather journal she gave her on her actual birthday (and told her to bring).  I printed off a title page and table of contents.  I also printed off the year on labels.  Paige glued these down in her book.  She read each year/they shared memories from that year. The person with that assigned year at the table read the book title and quote, and then they gave her the envelope and their name tag.  These were pasted down into her book (with the personal message on the back).  The idea is for her to later add pictures and poems (her sister loves to write poems) to fill in the rest of these chapters in the book.
 Here's the table (with my fuzzy iphone) of what the finished table looks like.
 Paige bought some vintage books (20 dollars for a full box from half price books).  I stacked them in various levels on the table and added lace ribbon
 These lined up and down the table. I also bought different size owls.  I found one already in gold (the colors were golds and browns), and those that weren't already brown or gold I just sprayed gold.
 I added burlap ribbon down the middle of the table as well and some wooden L's for Laura's name.
 It was fun to add some personal touches to an already beautiful room, and I think it set a pretty class, but fun theme.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Oven Fried Bacon

Bacn and I have never been good friends.  It likes to burn up on me, splatter everywhere, and leave a greasy residue all over my kitchen.  We broke up years ago and only see each other at the occastional restaurant.  The problem is, I miss it.  I recently went to a retreat and saw one of the gals bake our bacon in the oven....which also freed up space on the burners and had the added bonus of letting be better time my dishes.  Assuming bacon is a 'dish.'  Anyway, if...I may be the last person to know this, but....when wanting to cook the perfect/no messy peice of bacon....
Line a tray with foil, I rolled up the four sides as well so the grease wouldn't escape and I was just able to toss this when I pull the bacon off (didn't even have to clean my pan).
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Place on paper towels to blot grease.  Eat. Repeat.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

No-Knead 3 Ingredient Bread

I definitely consider myself a bread expert.  I recently had a friend on facebook post this picture of a recipe she found via the NY Times, BUT it only had three ingredients.  I'm all about short cuts to short cuts.  Plus, all three of these ingredients are safe for vegans (which my brother is...it's hard to find recipes to make when he's around, and it can be made with any flour (wheat?).It reminds me of a sour dough bread, and it's good.
I've made it three times in a month, and it's not because I have lots of time, but rather-it's that good and that easy!
No-Knead 3 Ingredient Bread
Ingredients: 3 c bread flour (+more for dusting), 1/4 t instant yeast (one pkg), 1 1/4 t salt
Instructions:
1.  Combine flour, yeast, salt in a bowl.
2.  Add 1 5/8 c warm water (follow yeast instructions for temperature).  Stir until dough is shaggy and sticky.
3.  Let the dough rise for 12-18 hours (the longer the better) in a 70 degree room.  (I put mine in the fridge for 24 hours and set it out a few hours before using it).   It is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
4.  Flour a work surface.  Gently roll the dough into a ball.  Place more flour on a cotton cloth covered in more flour (seam side down), cover with another towel and let it rise 2 more hours.  It should be double the size and not readily spring back when touched.
5.  Half an hour before the bread is ready to bake, heat oven to 450 and place a 6-8 qt dish in the oven to heat (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, ceramic).
6.  When dough is risen, pull out the heated dish, turn the dough into the dish.  It may not look perfect, but shake it a bit to settle it evenly and then place it in the oven.
7.  Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Duck Gift

 I made this little duck gift for my friend, Nicole.  I threw her a tea in celebration of her newest family member.  Gender to be revealed upon birth...so....neutral baby gifts.  She had registered for quite a few duck things and I pulled those off her list to give her, but I wanted to add a few little homemade things as well.
 I've seen little jars like this, but this is my version.  I sewed a little onsie and burp clothe and found a few little goodies all mom's need, including the hot/cold bath duck.
I stuck it all inside the jar and included them with my gift.