Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coasting through life

Good day ya'll! I made coasters today with left over white tile, scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. It's easy and they make terrific gifts, which is exactly what I intend to do with these.

First gather your supplies; they do require a bit more than the three items I mentioned above.


4X4 tile (only 16 cents ea at Home Depot)
scrapbook paper
Mod Podge
a paint brush or foam brush works as well
either felt backs or bumpers (like I have); you can find these in the home section of your hardware store or even Fred Meyers, which is where I located mine.
sand paper, I used 150 grit
and Crystal Clear

Then cut your scrapbook paper to the size of the tile with a little bit of overhang. Sweep on your Mod Podge to the top of the tile and lay the paper on top. Smooth out the wrinkles but be careful not to move the paper too much or it will no longer cover your tile surface. Let these dry completely and then you will sweep Mod Podge on top of the paper as well.

Let these dry for a couple hours. Once they are dry then you will sand the edges a bit, not too hard because you don't want to run the risk of ripping your paper. I layed my tile on its side, gripped it in my left hand and went over the edge with the sandpaper, as if I were bending the paper down the side of the tile. Repeat on all four sides. Be sure to dust your tiles off when you are done before moving on to the next step.

Then in a very well ventilated area, lay down your tarp or newspaper (being sure that you take into account over spray). Then in a sweeping motion, starting off of the tile and then "sweeping" across cover your coasters with the Crystal Clear. This product creates a glossy effect and it will not yellow your paper, oh and the best part it is water resistant so it is perfect for coasters.

This will dry in about 10-15 minutes but you do not want to handle for about 2 hours, at least that is what my directions said on the can. Read your product and see what it says and then follow their guidelines.

Here is the really fun part. Place the felt back on the bottom of the tile so it doesn't scuff your furnitue and now that they are dry, completely, you can stack them and tie a pretty ribbon around them. I love them! I think the recepients will be very pleased.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's all about the herbs

Hi everyone! I know I eluded that I would complete a craft and a new recipe this week but life got in the way and in addition this tip was too awesome not to test out. My mom sent me home with a ton of herbs (and tomatoes, among other things) on my trip to Oregon last weekend. Since we had so much and there is only two of us in the home, I decided we needed to freeze the herbs for later use.

I found this great tip here. Our ice cube trays were already being used so I pulled out my mini muffin tin and it worked just as well. First I chopped up leftover cilantro from the pico de gallo I made; I will show you that recipe a bit later. Then I chopped the lemon basil and pulled the leaves off of the parsely. You do not want the stems.



lemon basil
(this stuff smells wonderful; I could sniff it all day long)

In my muffin tin, I put a tablespoon of cilantro in each section and labled it accordingly with masking tape.

Then I filled other sections with the parsely and labled it as well.

 Then the lemon basil was done the same way.

Then you fill the holes with water until they are covering the herbs and then pop it into the freezer. It's just that simple and now you have portion controlled herbs all year round and you don't have to worry about them getting moldy before you can consume them.

So I promised the recipe for pico de gallo I made with some of the cilantro from above. First rinse your tomatoes and then dice them up bite size. You will want about 1-2 cups of dices tomatoes. I used two different types; red (Romas) and I also used small orange heirlooms.

Then dice up a half of a small onion. You can use white or red; I chose white. This part inevitably makes me cry like a baby. I hate cutting onions but they add amazing flavor to almost any dish so I suck it up. To get my onions really small I use my Pampered Chef chopper. It works beautifully but you can achieve this with a knife as well. First you will want to cut off the end, then make a small cut on the side (to stabilize the onion from rolling on you), then cut diagonally through the onion, then make slices vertically through the onion (opposite of your diagonal cut). Now all you have to do is chop it like you were slicing rings; this will yeild you small pieces.
Now in a bowl I combine my my onion, tomato, three cloves of garlic (diced), 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of cilantro (chopped) and salt and pepper to taste. Let them sit in the fridge for a half an hour to marry the flavors and then serve with your choice of chips. If you like your salsa spicy, throw in some jalapeno's as well to kick it up a notch.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I fell down the rabbits hole and ended up in a wonderland, Pinterest. Have you heard of this amazing craze that is sweeping blogland. Well if not then you are in a for a real treat (like I was). It is this A-mazing online tool that can be used to store all of your online inspiration.

Lord knows (and so does The Hubs) that I have a heck of a time throwing away any magazine that comes my way and I have numerous papers that have links and ideas jotted down. Well, HA!, this is a way for me to keep everything in one place. I am irresponsibly mad for my Pinterest! I have neglected the laundry, the bathrooms need scrubbed, and I'm pretty sure The Hubs would like some attention but I just cannot get enough. I crave it, I dream about it, I love it (I really do!).

Let's say you are perusing the web and run across a cool mantle idea for Fall. Pin it!

Or maybe Martha tells you a neat household tip. Pin It!

Or you find an undeniably delicious looking recipe. Pin it and save it for later.

You can even pin hairstyles or clothing or accessories. All the images you pin are saved onto boards but the magical part is they are all in one place and they aren't taking up any space in a closet, a drawer or a corner of your house. It's pure beauty I tell ya'.

I know it sounds intimidating with "boards" and "pins" but it's a really simple tool and it is incredibly easy to use; I am not tech savvy AT ALL and I am rockin' and rollin'. And the best part is it is TOTALLY free to join. What are you waiting for; check out the first link above and request yourself an invite. You will not be sorry, well you may feel a bit guilty that all the rest of life goes to the wasteside as you navigate and enjoy this new exciting world. I hope to be back later this week with a new craft as well as a new cupcake recipe to try my mad piping skills on. : ) Have a terrific evening!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

German Chocolate (Surprise!) Cupcakes

I am CRAZY about baking. There is something so relaxing when you are whisking, whipping and stirring! The FIL (father in-law) is celebrating a birthday today and if memory serves me correct he loves German Chocolate cake. I am making cupcakes, Martha Stewart style so you know they will be good. Besides cupcakes travel easier. The "suprise" that I mention in the post title is my lil' somethin-somethin and I will show you shortly.

You can find the recipe here for the cake.

This picture of Martha's cupcake is beautiful but you see this wouldn't travel the 35-40 minutes into town so this is why I put my twist on this classic.

See that hole in the guessed it, I'm filling it with something. When I think of German Chocolate I think of the frosting, the coconut and pecan frosting. By the way, the link above also contains a link for the homemade coconut pecan prosting. This, to me, is what a German Chocolate cake is all about! Well suprise!!, this is what I am filling that hole with.

However, I didn't make my own (hangs head in shame) but I was already making caramel buttercream from scratch (oh yah, epic fail that I will discuss in a bit), so I don't think anyone will mind that this cupcake is semi-homemade.   

Something went terribly wrong with this and my saucepan may be ruined forever. I am chalking it up to the fact that caramel and I do not get along. If you want to know what I am talking about you can look here and here.

When I realized that the caramel buttercream was a bust I had already creamed 3 stickes of unsalted butter and to start over would mean I would need to go to the store for more butter. I flipped through my book and found a recipe for 'Fluffy Vanilla Frosting' and it called for 3 sticks of butter. What the heck, why not. Now I would have died to have made the caramel buttercream but I was running out of time so this was going to have to do in a pinch.

It definitely lives up to its name, it is for sure fluffy! I used my Wilson set and piped on some frosting to cover the holes in the cupcakes. Not bad for an amatuer. With a little more practice I bet I could master this! good, almost too much sugar with the frosting but hey if you can't go into a sugar coma with your family then who can you with. : )