Monday, February 28, 2011

Be Nice

My friend Caroline runs a sideline business with her husband. While he's at work, she takes care of the customers.
She was telling me the other day that some of the customers aren't very nice to her. Some of them are just plain rude. Which I don't get at all, since she's about the nicest person on the planet.
So I made her a sign to put up next to the cash register, if she wants to.
 I tried a new method with this one.
I found this
At Hobby Lobby,(I had a coupon, so I didn't pay that much) and decided to give it a whirl.
I got a board
which is really the back of a piece of scrap paneling.
I painted it white with craft paint. I brushed the paint on vertically, then horizontally. I did several coats that way.
(I'll tell you why in a minute.)
Then I printed out the words in a typewriter font. This is a pretty forgiving font. If you mess up a little, it's OK. You don't need perfection with this font.
Then I put a strip of painters tape where I wanted the letters to go. 
I could see the tape through the paper, and just lined the letters up on top of the tape. (Somehow, even though I was careful, I did still get one wonky letter. That usually happens. If you don't point it out to people, they almost never notice. So here I am telling you there's a wonky letter. I should just shut up.)
I taped them in place only on the top.
That way I could slip the transfer paper under the printer paper.
Then I traced each letter with a ball point pen using some firm pressure.
This is what I ended up with. The marks the transfer paper make are erasable, so I didn't sweat the mistakes too much.
Then I used a paint pen
And started filling things in.
(can you see the brush marks in the white paint? This next part is where they come in handy.)
I took a razor blade and scraped across the letters when they were dry. The brush marks from the white paint helped leave a nice texture and grunged the letters up a little. 
Then all I had to do was add a border around the edge of the sign. I just used this.
 And then I grunged it up more with some of this.
 And a wet paper towel.
It was kind of like sponge painting.
Now I'm wondering if I should have left off the exclamation mark.
Should I cut that part off?

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crock Pot Cake

This is a really good, fairly easy cake recipe that you can double or even quadruple.
(I even forgot the baking powder once and it was still good. My husband forgot the sugar once, and it was NOT good.) 
It's my go-to recipe when we have a lot of people over.

Crock Pot Cake
(serves 4-6)
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
6 T. butter
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate(I use chocolate chips)
2/3 cup sugar
3 T. dutch processed cocoa powder
1 T. vanilla (I use less~about 1/2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
1 egg yolk

Hot Fudge ingredients

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup hot water

Coat the inside of a 2 1/2 quart to 5 quart slow cooker or crock pot with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.

Whisk the 2/3 cup of sugar, 3 T of cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, milk and egg yolk into the melted butter and chocolate. 

Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the batter in the slow cooker and spread it evenly. It will be thick. It's OK. You didn't do anything wrong. Just spread it out.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the hot fudge ingredients. Pour over the batter in the slow cooker. It will be very thin. Don't sweat it. It will still turn out. I promise.

Cover and cook on high for 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 hours, depending on the size of your cooker. (Try not to lift the lid to peek. Every time you take the lid off, you increase the cooking time by almost 15 minutes. It's hard, because this looks really interesting when it cooks. But try not to.) When the cake is done, it will be very moist and floating on the hot fudge. You'll know it's ready when the edges of the cake are pulling away from the sides of the cooker.  When it's done, turn off the cooker and let the cake set for about 25 minutes. 

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flea Market Stuff

I know. I was going to take time off. I still am. I just wanted to show you what I found at a flea market Saturday.
 It wasn't the best flea market I've been to, but there were still some fun things. I got a roll of twill tape (I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure it will come in handy), an old cast iron hole punch, and a canvas bank bag. I usually shop the dollar tables.
 I like that the bank bag is from an Idaho bank~and the little stamp is still crisp. I'd love to find some big canvas bank bags. They make good pillows. You just stuff a pillow form in them and zip them shut.
 The hole punch is really heavy for it's size, and it's heavy duty, too.
 It can punch through fabric (and twill tape).
Mostly, I just thought it was cute.
Did you find anything good last weekend?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flour Sack Pillows

Somehow I ended up with a small collection of flour sacks. I'm not sure how that happened~I don't remember buying them. They're just here, taking up space.
This is the best one. I really like the Pillsbury logo. It has a few rips in it, but it's still fairly sturdy.
 I decided to make two of the sacks into pillows.
They're not glamorous, but we're not really into glamor at our house. They have character, so I like them.
I didn't cut the sack I used for the big pillow. I kept thinking "What if I want to do something else with it later?" It was just the right size for a king size bed pillow. I left it whole, and now it looks like a sack of flour. But it's a very comfy sack of flour!
 On the big pillow, I just folded the top down, tacked it in a few places and sewed an old button on. That way I didn't have to cut the fabric.
(see the paint on my hand? It's from the milk can. That thing is fast becoming my arch enemy.) 
This is what the top looks like.
The others are made from one sack that was kind of a mess. 
It had extra seams and some of the printing was backwards or smeared. Plus, it was just one big wrinkle. (I forgot to take a picture of it before I cut it up.) The ones I made from the wonky bag are just stitched shut with my sewing machine. 
(Which is hard to do with the pillow form inside, I found out.)
I thought the graphics still looked kind of cool even if they are wonky.
 The wonky bag came from, or was supposed to go to Shawnee Mission.
 Both bags have some Arabic on them and I thought it looked interesting.

I'd love to find some old White Satin sugar sacks. That brand of sugar is made here, and I think it would be fun to upholster an ottoman or something with one of them.

  I have a very busy week next week, so I'm taking a break for a few days. Maybe even all week. I'll have to see how things go. I'll be here if I can.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Take a Look!

This is a picture of my big brother and I.
Can you see a little hero worship there?
(or is my somewhat ENORMOUS purse taking up too much visual space and obscuring your view? I think I might have my little brother in that thing.)
 He's pretty cool. 
(He's the brother of the free gray drawers.)
 He recently won an award for a project he designed. You can see the winning project if
you go here.
He's named as the designer in the article.
It's kind of a big deal. :)

I'm still working on that stupid milk can. I'm about ready to take it outside and leave it there. Let the elements do their thing. Because my thing is not working.
It's always the things that I think will be simple that give me grief. 

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Decorating With Books

Or, Decorating Your Books.
I like to use books when I decorate.
I have a few old books with some cool covers, like these
 and some really old books with destroyed covers, like these.
 When Knock Off Decor did a post on fabric covered books by the DIY Maven, something pinged on my heart's radar.
So yesterday I took some books like these
(plus some others that I forgot to photograph in their pre-covered states.)
and turned them into this.
 Hello, pretty!
I followed the DIY Maven's tutorial almost to the letter, with a few exceptions. 
 I cut a notch in the fabric by the spine, so that the book would fit inside the cover better, and
 I added a grosgrain ribbon bookmark to the  larger books. I also used cotton canvas instead of duck cloth. 
(I really think any heavy fabric would be fine. And you could go with something colorful and patterned~whatever pings your heart's radar)
 It took maybe 10 minutes per book.
I have more canvas, and I'm on a quest to find more books. I used books I didn't care about, because I knew the first ones I did wouldn't be the best ones. But if you're careful, you could do this to books you actually read.

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Windowsill Gardening

When I was little, I could always tell when spring was coming. Not from the weather.
(Eastern Idaho weather has always been something of an enigma. And that's saying it nicely.)
But because all our windowsills would look like this.
Lots and lots of little plants, sprouting on nearly every windowsill. They were mostly pepper and tomato plants. My mom is a great gardener. I, however, hate raising a garden. With a capitol "H".
But I am incredibly antsy for spring.
I picked this up at the store the other day.
I think some little blue flowers would be pretty in some of my planters this year.
So I took some enamelware bowls that I got last year at The Farm Chick's show, and planted the seeds.
And gave them very explicit instructions with the help of my Cricut.  
(I'm not sure if my demanding tone is one that Chinese forget-me-nots will respond to. But at least I didn't say "GROW, DAM**IT!" I tell you, this winter business is wreaking havoc with my moods. I'm more than a little bit cranky. And I think a lot of my posts lately have a lot of "I hate winter weather, I wish spring would come" gritchiness. Sorry about that.)
That sticky plastic wrap is perfect for the top.
We'll see how they do.
I did get a little bit of spring yesterday.
How pretty is that? I wanted to shrink my self and roll around in the middle of it.
And this white one looks good enough to eat.
This one is from Mr. Meridian. It's just about perfect.

Are you seeing any signs of spring where you live yet?

Monday, February 14, 2011

And I'm Back

Sort of.
We didn't have internet service the last three days. Things are still slow enough that loading pictures is completely aggravating, and I'm done trying that for the day.

So I just want to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you all can spend what's left of the day with someone you love.
I'll be back tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rice Krispy Treat Kisses

I started making these for my kids on Valentine's day a loooong time ago.
Now even my grown kids still want one every year.  
(I haven't seen these on blogland before, so either everybody and their dog knows about them and it's too boring to post about, or it's not a widespread thing. I'm hoping for the latter.)
They're really simple and really easy to make.
Start with a basic recipe for Rice Krispy Treats.
(I added a recipe at the end of the post, just in case you've never made these. Just in case you live in, I don't know, Outer Mongolia and have never heard of Rice Krispy Treats before.)
I doubled the batch.
Then take a funnel
like this one, and butter the inside. Butter your hands, too.
Then you just smoosh the Rice Krispy Treats into the funnel. Don't pack it too tight or you'll have something so hard it will be almost inedible. Almost. Just make them firm enough that when you take the treats out of the funnel that you'll have a shape like this.
I pinch the top and press down a little, to make the sides a little curvier.
You can fill the funnel all the way to the rim, or just half way, to make smaller ones.
These are some small ones.
Wait for them to set up.
Then melt a bag of chocolate chips and dip the tips of the kisses 
in the melted chocolate.
One bag is enough for 6 large and 12 smaller kisses.
Then you have to wait for the chocolate to set up. 
While I was waiting, I printed out sheets of paper that said "I Love You" in a light blue font and cut them into strips. You can say whatever you want on yours. 
(Clean your room, stop teasing your sister, buy me a house and a car when you grow up...whatever you want.)
 Then you just wrap them all up in tin foil!
It's so easy.
Kids love them.
And did I mention that they're easy?

Thanks for reading!

Rice Krispy Treats

Melt 3Tbs of butter in a large bowl. Add 40 large marshmallows. Microwave on high until the marshmallows start to puff up. Stir until smooth. You may have to microwave a little longer. 
Add 6 cups of Rice Krispies, stir until thoroughly blended. Pat into a buttered pan, or shape into kisses.
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