Dye-ing for a Change!

Back in 2006, when my kids were still in college and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind, Coach and I decided we needed a new couch for our family room. After much deliberation and shopping at various furniture stores, we went with our then-college-age-daughter as a tie-breaker in tow and together we decided on this slip-covered, floral cotton sofa, which was (and still is) super comfy and sturdy with it’s foam and goose down cushions. After a while, as my tastes evolved and the room became more “rustic countrified”, the floral slipcover wasn’t working for me.

Dyed Sofa Before Floral PrintSomewhere along the way, I purchased a second slipcover in a brick red color at a discount (a mere $200!) but that became so drab and faded as well.

Dyed Sofa Red SlipcoverBack to the furniture store to have a new slipcover made, only to find that $700 price tag (that’s just for the cover, folks, NOT the sofa!) a bit too steep. At that point, I realized that my choices were to 1. Bite the bullet and have the new slipcover made or 2. Bite a bigger bullet and buy a new sofa, but Coach wasn’t buying either of those options. He suggested that I dye the red cover white (Oh, Coach…). So, I decided to try a third option: dyeing the floral sofa blue! What did I have to lose except a faded, floral slipcover? First, I washed the old slipcover in hot water and bleach to remove any stains and sizing in the fabric. You can see how they don’t quite match-over the years, the covers and cushions were washed a lot more than the main slipcover.

Dyed Sofa Slipcover Before Bleached PillowGrabbed a couple of bottles of Rit Dye in Denim Blue @ $2.67 each,

Dyed Sofa Rit Dye Denim Blueplus 2 cups of salt (I guess that helps the fabric accept the dye.)

Dyed Sofa Slipcover Salt AdditiveI threw all of the cushion and pillow covers in the first load, then the main cover in the second load. I was a little nervous when I opened the machine top and saw a sea of indigo blue-the room is dark enough-I was looking for light and bright. But once they came out of the dryer, they were exactly what I had hoped for: a soft, washed-denim blue with a hint of the floral design.

Dyed Sofa Slipcover Denim BlueSo I redressed the sofa which looked great. BUT, that meant I needed some new throw pillows… and some new lighter drapery panels for the window directly behind the sofa. And a new throw to hang on the back of the sofa. And to paint the side table next to the sofa because that was blue too. Oh, and a new lamp for the table next to the sofa. After all that change, I was so excited about the new look! (You’ll have to excuse the “after” pic. I dropped my phone on the concrete floor while painting some wooden pumpkins this past weekend and am waiting for the replacement to arrive. In the meantime, the photos I’m taking are a bit off kilter and color : (

Dyed Sofa After EditedThen Coach came home and didn’t even notice. And then our daughter (the one who helped us choose the original sofa so many years ago) didn’t notice either. That’s OK- I notice, and the change makes the old sofa look fresh and new(ish), and for $6 (plus a trip to HomeGoods for all the new accessories), that’s a good deal! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone- make one change for the better today-even if no one notices-you’ll be glad you did! Susan

Wall Decals Pop!

In the midst of all of the DIY’ing for the shop, I decided to “freshen up” my daughter’s old bedroom, which now serves as a guest room/ironing board room. (doesn’t everyone have one of those?) Since her high school days, when we added white wainscoting and painted the walls sage green, her favorite color,

Wall Decal Green Wall AlcoveI have always thought that someday, after she “flew the coop” I would paint it something a little ” softer and prettier”. Although I am a lover of mother nature, I am not necessarily a “green” person and prefer lighter, brighter colors for my walls. PINK, I can live with that, and since there is already a fun pink floral area carpet in place,

Daisy RugI mixed up a can of bright, light pink for the walls. I had a can of flat white on hand, to which I mixed some bright pink and soft gray to avoid that “bubble gum” tone.

Wall Decal Soft Pink Wall PaintThe room is a square shape, with a small alcove at one end where there is a day bed tucked under the eaves. Which leaves an oddly-shaped, off-center wall for hanging pictures or mirrors. So when I was contacted by the folks at www.vinylwallartdecal.com

DecDecals

to sample their product, I knew this would be the perfect solution! The graphic I chose was “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”, which is such a powerful statement, especially in a little girl’s room.

Beautiful CloseupThe graphic is stunning, was very easy to apply and looks amazing. I like that it was actually in smaller pieces once I cut it apart, making it much easier to handle than one large graphic.

Wall Decal Closeup DetailHere is the “how-to apply the graphics” instruction sheet, included in the package,

Wall Decal Instruction Sheetwhich I have enhanced with some additional instruction and illustrations, as it was just a bit unclear. Also, the package did not include a pic of the original graphic, so I had to go online to make sure I had it right, since I had to cut it apart and re-align it prior to hanging on the wall. Here we go:

Step 1: “Take the transfer film out”, which initially I took to mean you remove it from the mailing package. There are two separate sheets in the package, both on white paper backing. One is the transfer film and one is the graphic. The instructions don’t say to actually remove the transfer film from the backing and place the tacky side on to the graphic, but that is what you do. Here is the graphic sheet with the shiny transfer film on top of it.
Wall Decal with Transfer Film Applied
Step 2: Then step 2 makes more sense, that you rub the clear transfer film with a towel to adhere it to the graphic, removing any wrinkles or bubbles.
Wall Decal Rubbing Transfer Film with Soft Cloth
Note: the included clear transfer film wasn’t quite as large as the actual graphic, so I had to do a bit of cutting and pasting for that. But that didn’t matter because it is removed once the graphic is transferred anyway.
Wall Decal Cutting And Pasting Film Transfer
Step 3: Cut out the images and clear transfer film together, leaving room around the edges of the graphic for handling.
Wall Decal Cutting Out Pieces
Since I now had a pile of cut-apart sections,
Wall Decal Cut Pieces
at that point I actually taped the entire graphic to the wall to make sure I had it positioned correctly.
Wall Decal Taped Design on Wall
Step 4: Peel off clear transfer film from the white paper graphic backing with the graphic attached and press that onto wall or dry surface in the position you’d like it to be.Wall Decal Peeling off White Backing Paper
Step 5: Rub clear transfer all over with your fingertop, making sure you rub the edges of the graphic for full adhesion onto the wall.
Wall Decal Rubbing on With Fingertip
I did one section at a time and left the others taped to the wall until it was completed. Wall Decal Applied with Taped Sections
Step 6: Peel off the clear transfer film from graphic on wall. If it starts to pull graphic with it, just rub again to adhere graphic to wall.
Wall Decal Peeling Off Transfer Film
Step 7: Step back and admire : ) I know it sounds like quite a few steps, but the final product is just lovely and in this room, creates a statement next to a B&W photo of the iconic Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who was the epitome of being her own kind of beautiful.
Wall Decal Completed Wall & Bed
So thank you to Vinyl Wall Art, who provided the graphic sample for me to review. You can check out their website here: where you will find so many thoughtful quotes and adorable graphics for your home! Loving this Cute Owls and Cute Tree– so whimsical!
Cute Owls in Tree Wall Decal
They even offer large black board stickers-brilliant!!
Wall Decal Blackboard Stickers
If you have any questions, you can check out their blog Notepad Corner, which provides you with lots of information about their products. So, if you do get a chance to shop their beautiful website please tell them that Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Hope you have you’re own kind of beautiful Monday, eveyone!! Susan
PS: Although I was provided with the sample from the company Vinyl Wall Art, the written opinions are strictly my own.

 

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard DIY Makeover

Blogger’s note: NO REAL WOOD WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS CUPBOARD**

This past weekend, I completed a few more projects while awaiting the granite guy’s countertop installation at mom’s house. I have been working on this piece in my kitchen for quite awhile, and am happy to finally have it done! This is the before:

Coastal Kitchen Cabinet Beforea red cupboard (made of MDF) we purchased a few years back at Jordan’s Furniture Colossal Clearance Center in Avon, Mass (if you haven’t been there, it is so definitely worth the trip! Lots of great furniture at significantly discounted prices!) This piece fits nicely in the narrow passageway between our kitchen and dining room and holds a ton of stuff like paper towels, napkins and several pieces of kitchen equipment that just won’t fit anywhere else. The problem is, since it’s in the highest traffic point of our home, it had been scratched and worn-the finish was like a plastic veneer and scratched off quite easily (and I was tired of the dark red anyway…). Time for a fix, so this is the after: a pretty, light coastal cabinet with a top created from reclaimed window shutters!

Coastal Kitchen CupboardHere is the how-I-did-it: Sanded everything down to rough up the shiny veneer plasticy surface, and sanded the edges to round them off a bit.

Sanding the edges Nothing says “mass-produced” more than sharp, clean edges on furniture. Primed with my go-to primer: Glidden Gripper (you can find this at Home Depot in the paint dept)

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Glidden Gripper Primer

The Americana Chalky paint I planned on using says it doesn’t need a primer, but the before color was so dark, and the new color was so light, I figured I had better just to be safe.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Chalky Paint Palette DecoArt

Before I painted the entire piece, I accented the frames around the door panel inserts with the Americana Chalky Paint Called Vintage. It is a soft blue/green color that ties in beautifully with the shutter slats on the top.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Framed Cabinet Doors with Chalky Paint

Then I applied some wallpaper wainscoting (LOVE this stuff too!) to the inside of the panels to give a more country feel to the piece. (For the DIY  how-to on using the wallpaper, click here.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard with Wainscoting Wallpaper Panel Inserts

I then painted the entire cupboard, including the inside panels, with two coats of Americana Chalky paint in the color Everlasting-so soft and pretty white.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Chalky Paint for Knob Americana

The more I used this paint, the more I love it. No brush strokes, so easy to apply and clean up. I then sanded the edges to give it a bit of character and contrast.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Wainscoting Wallpaper Doors

The final coat was the Americana Ultra Matte Varnish from DecoArt. No shine, protects the white paint from fingerprints.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Ultra Matte Varnish Americana

For the star of this show, the top, I used some old shutter slats that Coach and I had picked up off the side of the road on a drive to Cape Cod. That was one of my very first blog posts, and also one of the first times we trash picked on the side of the road. What a score! The colors are all the original ones-so coastal pretty!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Arranging Shutter Slats

I have been using parts of them for several projects, including some little hanging chalkboards which I decided to reclaim for this project. As I was arranging the slats on the top, my original plan was to flip the chalkboard ones over and use the reverse side. But then I thought, why not just leave them so I could write cute little sayings on the surface? Fun!

Coastal Cupboard Makeover Chalkboard

Once I had placed all of the slats, there were a few that hung over the edges, which I quickly remedied with a few jigsaw cuts.

Cutting Shutter slats with jigsawThen sanded the edge smooth with my Black & Decker Mouse sander, which I also picked up at my local Home Depot.  Honestly, I spend more time at Home Depot and Home Goods than I do at home!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Cut Shutter Slat Edges

While I was sanding, I made sure that I sanded the top edge just a bit so that the cut pieces had the same worn edge as the rest. (this is the area that fits into the frame of the shutters when they are whole).

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Mouse Sander Edges

Once they were cut and sanded, I glued them into place with this strong sticky stuff-didn’t even require any nailing!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Wood Glue

The original knobs were a nice heavy iron, but I wanted something lighter so there wasn’t as much of a contrast. These mercury glass knobs I found at (where else) HomeGoods, but I couldn’t find handles for the doors that I really liked.

Home Goods Mercury KnobsSo, I grabbed a pair of stainless ones I kept from my old kitchen and painted them with the chalk paint. What, you say?! Painted knobs? But, of course! This week’s Tuesday DIY Tip: you can paint any hardware quickly and easily, especially with this chalk paint! You just paint it on, Painting knobs with chalk paintmaking sure you get in all the tiny holes and crevices, then wipe it off,

Wiping off Chalk Paintallow to dry and done. Wipe away as much or as little depending on the look you are going for.

Painted knobs with chalky paintThe finished cupboard now stands in the space under my incredible driftwood mirror I purchased at (where else) HomeGoods a few months back, along with some other coastal-inspired decor.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard After Shutter Slat Top PM

Which will all go so nicely in my coastal dream home (if I ever get a coast dream home…) In the meantime, have a dreamy Tuesday, everyone!! Susan

**PS: That disclaimer at the top of this article is for all the wood enthusiasts who think that no wood furniture should ever be painted…

 

Yard/Barn Saturday Sale? Finally, yes!

Last week, I read a great blog post from Kelly of Eclectically Vintage, who wrote the do’s and don’ts of having a killer yard sale. Lots of great tips and pointers, including “Enlist Friends-the more hoarders the better!” and “Purge-be ruthless”. You can read the blog post in its entirety here:

Ecelctically Vintage Killer Yard SaleThis past weekend, I made sure we followed all the pointers as we prepped for our barn sale. As you know, I’ve been bugging Coach to clean out the junk which has now spilled out of the barn, into the yard, onto the porch and into my dining room…which is starting to drive me just a little bonkers.

Dining Room EphemeraBut, I am giving him a pass for now because we are starting an exciting new venture very shortly-for which we need mucho stuff-more about that soon!!! So, over the past couple of months, Coach has been hosting barn sales on intermittent Fridays and Sundays, with some good success, but I kept asking him why he didn’t want to do Saturdays, like all the other thousands of people in our town. Misery loves company, right? Lots of our friends kept saying they wanted to come, but couldn’t because they were working. (Of course, Coach, being a teacher, has a little more spare time to hang out and sell stuff.) He kept saying that it was because he wanted to sell on a day when no one else was, so there was less competition. Hmmm. This past weekend, it finally dawned on me that the real reason he didn’t want to open up shop on Saturdays was so that he could go pickin’ at the thousands of other yard sales to replenish the stuff he sold on Fridays! This past week, when he said he wanted to do another Friday yard sale, I told him I wasn’t going to help because it was dumb. But of course, I did. And he did OK, but the traffic just wasn’t there like it normally is. So, he begrudgingly decided to forgo his Saturday pickin’ and keep selling stuff for another day. FINALLY, I figured that would show him that Saturdays were definitely the way to go when you want to do some serious selling!! Signs in place all over the neighborhood, postings on Craigslist and Facebook (just to let all our friends who said they always wanted to come but couldn’t because they were working…) Up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, we dragged everything back out into the driveway and waited for the hoards of shoppers.

Wooden Crates at Yard SaleAnd waited. Typically, when you post an 8 am start for a yard sale, the serious shoppers start showing up around 6:45-7am (which is what Coach would have been doing if he wasn’t sitting in our driveway awaiting the rush of pickers). And waited. By 8:15, when only ONE person had stopped, I began to notice that not only was there no yard sale traffic, there was actually no street traffic! We live on kind of a busy street, where usually only Sunday mornings are quiet. And waited. Where was everybody?!? Ah…the Saturday of the week of the 4th of July would be a great time to take a family vacation, am I right? Which means that the folks who are normally browsing through junk on a Saturday morning were actually sitting on a beach on the Cape or Maine, enjoying the gorgeous sunny weather and having their first BBQ of the summer.

Beach

Woops, didn’t count on that. Well, the good news is that we still managed to sell quite a bit of stuff, and I managed to get in about three hours of gardening to clear the path to the barn that was almost jungle-like. The bad news is that Coach went out on Sunday and found some sales and came home with more stuff. Just can’t win. So, if you’re in the market for a cute kid’s Red Sox table and chairs,

Red Sox Tableor a vintage robin’s-egg-blue-chalk-painted cabinet with a tin paneled door (painted by me, of course : )

Tin Paneled Painted Cabinetlet me know-they’re still available. And, if you’re one of the lucky ones to be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a margarita, have a great vacation week! And no worries, we will be back in August with yet another yard sale-but most likely on a Friday… Have a sunny Monday, everyone! Susan 

Antiqued Mirror on the Wall

Antiqued Mirror Completed PM

Who’s the fairest (and most rustic, vintage and gorgeous!) of them all? This mirror was another “throw-away” Coach found “somewhere”. I don’t ask anymore. It’s like a magic cupboard-I need something, I open up the barn door and voila! Instant DIY subject! Today’s project was this old, dirty, chipping and peeling dark brown mahogany mirror. Despite it’s sorry, drab exterior in dire need of some TLC, the actual structure itself was totally solid and quite heavy, I might add. I transformed it from this in a few simple, easy steps.

Antiqued Mirror BeforeHere is the How-I-Did-It: 1. Cleaned the mirror and frame thoroughly with heavy duty cleanser. The mirror is not in perfect condition, but that’s fine by me. Adds to the charm, and it stills reflects the light, which is most important. Lightly sanded the frame just to remove any loose particles of old varnish.

2. Primed with Gripper by Glidden. LOVE this stuff. Seals in stains, odors, evens the color and preps the wood to accept the topcoat.

Glidden Gripper Primer3. Painted with one coat of Glidden Antique Beige

Glidden Antique Beige Can

that I added my “chalk-like-paint” mixture to. It is a nice, soft, matte finish that accepts glazes and waxes very well. That recipe here:

Antiqued Mirror Painted

4. Added the unfinished medallion to the top for detail.

Antique Mirror Unfinished MedallionI purchased this one at Michaels for a couple of bucks. Just glued it on with Gorilla Glue . You have to brush it on, then weight it down

Antiqued Mirror Glueing Downand wait until it’s dry to ensure a good solid bond. Then I painted it with the same Glidden top coat and allowed to dry.

Antiqued Mirror Medallion Primed5. Lightly sanded the whole mirror frame and detail to expose some of the dark wood beneath.

Antiqued Mirror Detail Sanded 26. Painted on this Antique Wax in Scrub Pine from General Finishes. I like this one because you don’t have to work it in with a rag. You literally paint it on!

Antiqued Mirror Scrub Pine Antique WaxBrushed it on with a foam brush, then wiped off with a rag, leaving the dark wax in places to enhance all of the crevices and lines and detail.

Antiqued Mirror Glazed and Sanded

It leaves some color, but it also adds a nice matte finish to the entire piece. Allowed to dry.

7. Scraped off the excess paint and stain insdie the frame of the mirror. Cleaned the mirror.

Antiqued Mirror Scraping Glass8. Here is the finished closeup of my antiqued mirror. I love it, but what do you think? Should I have left it alone or did I give this piece some love? (BTW, if anyone knows the trick to photographing mirrors without me being in the shot, I would love to hear it!!!)

Antiqued Mirror Top Details

This is a very simple DIY project, it just takes some time and a little patience to allow each layer to dry before adding the next. If you are thinking of trying this process, test it out on a sample piece of wood before taking on a big, detailed mirror or frame. But remember, it’s supposed to look old and messy, so perfection is not an option! Sometimes a little messy is a good thing… Hope you have a reflective Thursday, everyone! Susan

Wax On, Wax Off

Winter. Cold outside. Cold inside. (with oil at $3.99 per gallon, our home doesn’t reach much higher than 62 degrees-EVER). Forced hot air furnace. Dry. Dusty. Dry. I am continually washing my hands, both at work (in the medical field, sterile is key) and at home. All of the painting, sanding, cleaning and woodworking I am doing has left my hands incredibly cracked and painful and bloody.

Cracked, Dy and Bleeding HandThe other day I looked down and saw the hands of a longshoreman, not a creative DIY blogger! I have tried all kinds of creams and potions and lotions and goops, but nothing has any lasting effects that have soothed my aching and crackling digits. So, I went on Amazon.com and ordered a Dr. Scholl’s for Her (I am not sure why guys can’t use this…) Quick Heat Thermal Therapy Paraffin Bath.

Dr. Scholls Bath and Supplies

Only took a couple of days to get here, and I was anxious to give it a try. The kit, for $29.95 came complete with the unit that has adjustable heat settings, 3 pounds of scented paraffin wax, 2 thermal mitts & 30 plastic glove liners. Now, one word of caution: the included paraffin was very heavily scented. so if you have allergies, this may not be the one for you! Once it was plugged in and warming up, the entire upstairs of our home had the strong scent of orchids. Which kind of made me feel like I was in Hawaii…OK, well, maybe not. But be forewarned. Unpacked the unit, followed the basic instructions.

Dr. Scholls Instructions

Placed it on a flat surface. I would also say that you need to place it somewhere where a little splattering wax won’t harm the surface. The three pounds of wax were packaged in three separately sealed bags.

Dr. Scholls Paraffin in Bag

The instructions were to open each one, then break the wax brick into quarters. Really?! Unless you are the Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk Mitts(and he wouldn’t be using this anyway because it’s for HER), I don’t see how this is possible without some sort of large, sharp implement. In this case, some old, heavy Fiskar shears did the trick-don’t use your good scissors unless you want them to be waxed and slippery!

Waxed ScissorsI used the stab and split method.

Paraffin Bath Wax CuttingPlaced the wax pieces into the unit and turned it to high. The red light indicates it is heating.

Dr. Scholls Paraffin Bath LightsThere is also a flat plastic plate with holes in it that is to rest inside on the bottom of the unit once the wax is melted. This is clearly to keep you from resting your hands on the hot elements. Smart move, Dr. Scholl.

Bottom Surface PlateNow, I realize that the name on the box says “Quick Heat Paraffin Bath“, but if you were in a hurry to smooth your rough edges before a night on the town, I’m afraid you would be sorely disappointed. The warming time is 2 hours! (the instructions say 120 minutes, I think to throw you off, but I can do the math…) So I plugged it in and went off to do more stuff in my workshop and get ready for the football game, which I determined would coincide with the precise melting point time. Fast forward…green light on…dipping time! You place your hand into the warm pretty hot wax, fingers slightly apart, dipping for just a couple of seconds, then pulling your hand out.

Dipping hand in wax bathWait a few seconds until the wax starts to harden, then dip again, each time adding another coat of wax to your hand. They recommended 5 coats, and that was just about right to create a waxy, sealed glove.

Re-dipping to for wax glove

Placed my hand in one of the baggies,

Plastic bag covering wax

then donned the terry mitt.

One Mitt OnClearly, at this point, I could not longer take pics, so I came downstairs at the start of the game and asked Coach to help me out. He had no clue why I was wearing pastel blue oven mitts, nor why I was asking him to take my photo-lol!

Mitts onDuring the first quarter, the wax slowly cooled off (as did the Colts), so after approx. 15 minutes I removed the mitts and the plastic baggies to uncover this-

Waxed hand afterthe wax had cooled but stayed somewhat soft, so I pulled that off too and I was left with a baggie full of cooled wax.

Remainder Wax After The instructions recommend discarding the wax, (you know, germs and all) but I figured, since I am the only one using it, why not recycle? What was left on my hands was a layer of lotion that I then massaged into my hands, per the instructions. Which felt great, but the scent was still quite heavy, so I ended up washing them a couple of times and then creaming them up.

Hand after wax bath

The verdict? Overall, I love this Dr. Scholl’s paraffin bath! My hands felt instantly smoother and less cracked and my knuckles were less achy too! For the time being, I am planning on making this a nightly ritual until my hands start looking less like a lumberjack’s, or until the warm weather arrives, whichever comes first. However, I am planning on purchasing some new, unscented wax to replace the orchids-if I can’t be in Hawaii, then I don’t want to be reminded of tropical breezes while the wind is howling outside here in New England.

Holiday Palm Trees

Hopefully it’s warm where you are, and just remember to do a bit of pampering for yourself today…Susan

Sweet & Easy Sopapillas

Here is a recipe for a simple and sweet dessert-Sopapillas!

Sweet 'n Easy Sopapillas Framed

These are a traditional Mexican dessert typically made with dough, but we are skipping the rising dough part and using store-bought flour tortillas instead. Perfect for a quick sweet treat, dessert or brunch. They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, and require just a few ingredients you would most likely have in your pantry. Here is the how-to-do-it:

1.Ingredients you will need: Vegetable Oil, Honey, Sugar and Cinnamon, 6 inch Flour Tortillas.

Sopapilla Ingredients

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 6 inch flour tortillas into quarters. Set aside.

Sopapilla Tortilla Triangles

3. Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat until at “water sizzling” temp. (This is when you drop a tiny bit of water into the hot oil and it bubbles and sizzles.)  Don’t overheat as you will burn the oil and the Sopapillas!

Sopapilla Oil in Pan

4. Drop the tortilla quarters into the hot pan, one at a time and not overlapping. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom. This only takes about 15 seconds so watch carefully!! Flip over and brown the other side. They will puff up in the middle too, similar to a piece of fried dough.

Sopapilla Golden Brown

5. Once golden brown, remove from heat with tongs (careful, this is hot stuff!)

Sopapilla Using Tongs

or slotted spatula and place on paper towel to drain.

Sopapilla Draining on Paper Towel

Once drained, place all of the chips into a large roasting pan.

Sopapilla In Roasting Pan

6. Once all of the tortillas are done and in the roasting pan, melt a stick of butter in a clean skillet.

Sopapilla Melting Butter for Topping

Add 1 TBLSP of honey and 2 tsp. cinnamon and sugar mix and stir just until melted and mixed. Do not overcook!

Sopapilla Butter & Honey Topping

7. Drizzle the honey butter mixture over the tortilla chips in the pan.

Sopapilla Drizzling Honey Mixture

Toss to coat thoroughly.

Tossing Sopapilla in Pan with Topping

Place in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, tossing mid-way through, just until warmed and all the pieces are coated.

8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon to desired taste.

Sopapilla Sugar and Cinnamon Topping

You can also sprinkle with a dusting of sifted confectioner’s sugar.

Sopapilla Sprinkled with Confectioners Sugar

9. Cool slightly and serve with drizzled honey or caramel sauce.

Sopapilla Drizzled with Caramel Sauce

Of course, serve them plain as well,  but I usually have a jar of Hot Fudge and Caramel Sauce in my fridge (in case of a sweet tooth emergency : )

Sopapillas with Hot fudge and Caramel Sauce

A quick, delish dessert for little $$ and time. Perfect for a light dessert. Hope you all had a sweet weekend… Susan

PS: I have a very sweet announcement to kick off the New Year! Check back 12/31 for details…

Snowflakes and Sopapillas

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I was finishing one project after another in record time, but with no time to actually blog about them! Snowflake Blocks and Sopapillas+++ were two of my favorite projects. The blocks were a fun DIY project I had seen on The Cottage Market Blog. The Sopapillas were a yummy treat! But blocks first before dessert. This past summer Coach had dug up a basket full of old kids’ wooden building blocks.

Blocks Before

They were pretty dirty and looked like they may have had more than a few knock-downs. After a thorough cleaning with some bleach and soap, I came up with a new purpose: snowflake blocks! Each one hand-painted, no two alike-they are snowflakes, after all. But easy enough for even a novice painter to try. They are small, portable and stackable, perfect for a windowsill or mantel. Oh, and you can add some twine and make them into ornaments or gift tags. Here is the how-I-did-it:

1.Found some pen and ink style snowflakes online. The Graphic Fairy  supplied the images, thank you very much.

Black Chevron Black Squares

BLack HexagonsBlue Star

2. Painted the blocks with two coats of the base color.

CDH Paris Grey Paint

My choice was a deep grey that I have made into a chalk-like paint using some flat latex paint. I discovered the recipe on a blog called “In My Own Style”. You can transform any can of paint into a matte, chalk-like finish. Recipe here:

DIY Chalk Paint from In My Own Style

3. I printed out pen and ink snowflakes of various shapes and styles onto regular printer paper. Cut them each out so they were the size of the blocks.

Printed Snowflake Pattern

4. Using my chalk-it-up technique, I rubbed the chalk all over the back of the snowflake prints.

Chalking the pattern

Then placed the snowflake pattern on the block, chalked side down. Drew along the lines with a pen using a little pressure.

Drawing over Chalk pattern

5. Lifted the paper pattern to reveal the chalk outline image.

Chalk Pattern on Block

6. Followed along the line images with a small paintbrush and paints of various colors. I used a #3 which is pretty fine. The finer the brush tips, the thinner the lines, the more delicate the snowflake. I was going for a pastel look so it was white and pastel blues.

Snowflake Block Painting Lines

7. For the dots, I simply used the other end of the paint brush, dipping the tip into the paint

Dipping Paintbrush end in paint

and then dotting it wherever I wanted a dimensional dot along the lines.

Adding Paint Drops to Snowflake Outlines

8. After they were dried, first I coated them with the matte finish Decou-page and allowed to try. Then I added a bit of glitter by dotting the snowflakes with Americana Decoupage

Americana Decou-Page

and then shaking on the glitter. Allowed to dry. Cute!

Snowflake Blocks

9. For the oblong blocks, I painted over the grey with some pastel aqua, then added the snowflakes. For the words, I initially attempted to hand paint them, but that was a big FAIL. Nothing worse than attempting to paint something very fine when you are stressed and hurried. So I used some adhesive scrapbooking stickers that said HOPE, FAITH, JOY, etc. I affixed them, then added a coat of matte varnish to the entire block.

Snowflake Blocks HOPE JOY SNOW

10. For the ornaments/tags, I drilled a small hole in the tops of the snowflakes,

Snowflake Block Drilling Hole

then added a drop of hot glue.

Snowflake Block Hot Glue

Using a pencil tip, I inserted the ends of a cut piece of twine into the hole. Allowed to dry.

Snowflake Block Pencil Pushing

11. For a finishing touch, I brushed the tops of the blocks with the Americana Decou-page glue,

Snowflake Block Glueing Glitter

then sprinkled them with some colored glitter. Instant bling!

Snowflake Block Glitter on Top

The finished blocks looked great as tags for the Jelly Jar Soy Candles I presented as gifts this holiday season.

Snowflake Blocks with Candles.png

So if you have some old blocks laying around, or anything you can cut into blocks, this is an easy-peasy project (even for kids!) that will add some sparkle to your winter landscape. Hope you are all finally recovering from the crazy holiday week! Susan 

+++Oh, right, I was supposed to give you a recipe for Sopapillas too! Well, that project will have to wait another day : )

Rustic Wooden Wreath

Ok, so I realize that most of you don’t have an old small green barrel hanging around in your barn, but you could definitely re-use or recycle any other type of old wood like shutter slats, shims or lathing to create this rustic wooden wreath.

Country Wreath on Door PM

This is my kind of greenery-the kind that will last forever-despite my desperate lack of a green thumb. Case in point: this woeful poinsettia has been in my house for just a few days…

Dead Poinsettia This small barrel was in pieces, and short of tossing it in the trash, I needed to come up with some useful way to use the wood.

Old Barrel Staves for Wreath

Since it was green anyway, I figured “what the heck, I’ll make a wreath!” Here’s the how I did it:

1. The iron ring that was holding the barrel together (until it wasn’t holding the barrel together) was the perfect circular form for the wreath base. The staves had little slits at the bottom that the ring fit into. I laid them out in the circle pattern that I liked.

Barrel Staves with Wire Hoop

2. Used my trusty electric stapler to secure the ring into the slots all the way around on the back side of the wreath to form the circle.

Wreath Fixation with Staples

3. Filled in the slits with hot glue all the way around, securing the iron ring into place in the slits. If your wood pieces don’t have slits, just glue into place.

Barrel Stave Wreath Adding Glue to Slots

4. To neaten the appearance, I cut small pieces of black foam core board and glued them into place over the glue-filled slits.

Barrel Wreath Fiberboard Backing

5. Since the wood pieces did not entirely cover the iron ring, I needed something to cover the gaps. Cut some burlap into small pieces and knotted in between each stave all the way around.

Barrel Wreath Burlap Bows

6. Created a bow with some more burlap cut into strips, along with a swag of greens and bright red berries to contrast the green wood.

Rustic Wreath Burlap Bow

7. Added a wire ring on the back for hanging.

Rustic Wreath Wire Hanger

8. Hung the wreath on the front door. Took a photo of the wreath on my front door.

Country Wreath on Door PM

Took the wreath to the Vintage Thymes Market, sadly leaving my front door blank. Sold the wreath at the market.

Barrel Wreath At Vintage Thymes Market PMNow I have to make a new wreath. Sigh. Susan

Country Christmas Santa-scape

This holiday season has been flying by! So much to do, so little time. Because I had been spending so much time decorating my booth for the Christmas market,

Cupboard Stocked Open DoorsI have not had much of a chance to decorate my own home for Christmas! So what I am doing, I am doing in bits and pieces. Open a storage bin, pull out some stuff, set it up-decorating on the fly. Tablescapes are a quick, simple way to add some holiday cheer to a tabletop, cupboard or hutch. The trick is in the layering. This is my little storage cupboard in the kitchen. Before…

Red Hutch Before

After…

Jingle All The Way Tablescape

Here is the how-I-did-it: Started with a base. In this case, a white sparkly runner from HomeGoods to brighten up the top of the cabinet, which is dark red.

White Snowflake Runner on tablescape

Added a backdrop. I had this aged, chippy piece of wood (I believe it is an old cabinet door, sans cabinet, so I painted the raised panels with chalkboard paint so I can write whatever I want, depending on the season or holiday.) I just stood it up against the wall, no need to hang it.

Santa Tablescape Door BackgroundAdded the swag-this sparkling BELIEVE sign on a jute rope was the perfect size to hang from each corner.

Santa Tablescape Believe SignNext comes the plant or flower. I like to have something flowering on one side and then a candle or lantern on the opposite side to create a full vignette with the background. The heights don’t need to be the exact same size, but you should have some balance between the two sides. In this one, I used a poinsettia in an old raspberry jam bucket we picked up at a consignment shop over the summer. Loving the bright red colors!

Raspberry Pail with Poinsettia

Added an old Santa and the red lantern on the opposite side, which provides the height and color balance I was looking for.

Santa Tablescape Santa and LanternPlaced the reindeer next to the poinsettia in the bucket.

Rustic ReindeerSince I was going with a Santa-themed vignette, I decided to write some fun Christmas lyrics on my chalk board. Very simple process: go to Avery.com and find whatever size template fits the space you are going to write on with chalk (in this case, I used an 81/2 x 11) Choose your words, choose your font and print. (My printer is just about out of ink, so the print was very faint, but I only needed the outline so no worries there!)

Santa Tablescape Tracing DesignFlip over the paper to the reverse side and “chalk it up” rubbing the entire paper with the side of a piece of chalk.

Santa Tablescape Chalking Paper DesignFlip it over, tape to the chalkboard, then trace the edges of your design with a pencil.

Santa Tablescape Design OutlineRemove the paper and voila-you have a chalking template in place!

Jingle All The Way ChalkboardNow you just fill it in with your sharpened chalk and you are done.

Santa Tablescape Sharpening Chalk++TIP++ keep a damp Q-tip nearby as you chalk so that you can easily clean up any edges or marks.

Chalking the outline Jingle All The Way

Looks so festive, right?! Added the greens, just weaving them in and around the items on the tabletop.

Santa Tablescape Rustic Reindeer and SantaSprinkled on a bit of fake snow for some sparkle

Santa Tablescape Fake Snow Sprinkles

and some twinkle lights to give it that holiday glow. Done. 30 minutes from start to finish. Really gives the kitchen a holiday feel.

Country Design Santa DisplayNow its time to start baking for our cookie swap! Only 9 days left everyone! Keep HoHoHoing! Susan

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