Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crafty Girls #6 - Chalkboards!


It's taken awhile for the Crafty Girls to have time in their busy schedules to create, but we finally set a date and made it happen!  We decided to do chalkboards with a new technique that was a lot of fun.  With each crafty day, we have a theme, but we also enjoy having the freedom to work on whatever we like as well.  Seems like we always learn something new from one another!

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Emily S. made a cute plaque out of pages from a vintage book for the school media center where she works, Emily P. made a chalkboard for a friend, I completed a project for a wedding, Wendy and Kimber made framed pieces.  Not shown is Noelle, who had a beautiful mirror that she turned into a chalkboard for her daughter.  She used a pink paint, which was very cool!




The technique we used for the chalkboards is quite simple.  Draw or print up a design on regular paper and enlarge as needed.  Rub chalk on the back of the paper.  Tape the paper to the front of your surface, and then transfer the design (either chalkboard spray painted glass or an artist's canvas) by tracing over it with a pencil.  "Season" the item by rubbing chalk over it and wipe the excess off with a soft cloth.  Pop it in a frame (and add a bow like Kimber did) and voila!  

Wendy paints her design, while Emily S. ModPodges her surface.  Emily P works on transferring her design.

Noelle painted words in each corner of that great mirror and Kimber works on her glass frame project.

 
Some of the materials we used - an array of inexpensive supplies


A closer look at a  project in process


We added a ribbon and a small bundle of chalk to the finished project since it was going to be given as a gift shortly after our get-together. This chalkboard was meant to be written on - "Keep Calm and Keep On Crafting" perhaps?


Instructions and step by step pictures can be found on the Craft Instructions page.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Revisiting Biscoff Cupcakes

I originally posted this cupcake recipe back in July and have made several batches.  If you haven't tried these cupcakes yet, it's a definite must-do!  I think the most challenging thing is to find the Biscoff spread and the cookies, but other than that it's easy!

I made these last week for my husband to take to a company that he does business with.  They aren't overly sweet (the frosting is not the typical buttercream that I use) so they're a bit more low key.  Please check out the original website here.



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Slutty Brownies

We are a family of chocolate freaks.  I like milk chocolate, my husband likes dark chocolate, my son-in-law likes exotic chocolate and my daughter likes Entemann's Chocolate Chip cookies that can no longer be purchased in So Cal and can only be enjoyed when David brings them home when he returns from business trips from the midwest.

I saw this recipe Super Bowl Sunday, but since we aren't really a sport-loving family, I had no reason to make them.  But, since this is a three-day weekend for me, I thought it would be a perfect time to try the recipe.  Could there be anything better than a recipe that combined chocolate chip cookie dough (with a bit of mint extract), mint Oreos, and brownie mix topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkes???  


All I can say is wow. 

To find the original post, click on  the link here.  


If you decide to make these treats, allow quite a bit of time since there are quite a few steps.  I baked them a bit longer than described in the recipe, and I didn't have a 9x9 pan, so I improvised.  But I'd say give it a shot.  It's worth the effort!



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Start with the chocolate chip cookie recipe - with a bit of Peppermint extract

Layer mint Oreos on top


Make a brownie mix (or make homemade brownies)


Gotta have M&Ms and sprinkles!

The finished product!



Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Place Where We Keep Memories

Many many years ago, while working as an Activities Director at a middle school in my district, I became friends with the gentleman who ran our fundraisers.  He was always upbeat and pleasant to be around and I appreciated his help and advice as I struggled through learning my job (and running fundraisers in the tens of thousands of dollars).  I was so flattered when, one Christmas, he invited my husband and me to his home for his annual Christmas get together for clients and friends.
Oh my gosh his home was GORGEOUS!  Set in a beautiful neighborhood in a nearby city, it was immaculate.  In addition to the two story home, it had a beautiful guest house in the back amidst lush lawns and gardens.  The guest home was set up as a quilting space for his then wife.  I was in awe.  When we were given the tour of the main house, I was so impressed by his Christmas decorating.  It was as if he took out the contents of the house and replaced everything with the holiday decor.  I'm sure hours and hours were put into making it look so festive! 

One thing that did catch my eye was this antique looking curio cabinet in the foyer.  We had one too and I never knew what to put in it.  It sat in our living room for years and years and it really was like an extra piece of furniture that didn't belong.  I had tried filling it with various knicknacks over the years, but it was never right.  But looking at Dennis' cabinet, I saw exactly what I wanted to do.  His was filled with old photos and mementos of his childhood - things that, in my world, were probably stuffed in a box in the closet somewhere.  I was inspired to go home and re-look at that orphan cabinet.





Since that time it has become a place to put really important things... treasured things... things that are irreplaceable or that bring back a memory or two.  Ours is the home for my brass baby shoes, a picture of my parents and me when I was a baby, my daughter's high school diploma (until she wants to take it back) and her honor cords from graduation.  On a shelf is the letter from my song "pom pom" uniform from junior high school and a picture of the first dog of my own - a red doberman named "Aja".  The plaster of paris hand and footprints of our daughter and my husband's high school tassel from graduation.  Things that really have no other place but to be together in that orphan curio cabinet that is now their home.