Friday, December 07, 2012

Caramel Shortbread

Well, it's that time of year again! Time to start baking for Christmas. The first thing I'm going to bake is Caramel Shortbread. This is adapted from Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares. The original recipe calls for unflavored gelatin, but I don't like bothering with that and they turn out perfectly every time.

Caramel Shortbread Squares

Bottom Layer:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar

Middle Layer:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Top Layer:
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).

In a bowl, mix together 1 cup butter, 1 cup icing sugar and 2 cups flour until evenly crumbly. Use a pastry blender. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper to aid in removing the squares from the pan later. Press mixture into the pan. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 tbsp corn syrup and 1 can sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes over low heat. Don't take your eyes off it! Remove from heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Pour over baked crust (warm or cool). Cool until it begins to firm.

Melt chocolate with whipping cream and pour over caramel layer. Let cool on the counter. Cut into squares. Try not to eat them all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Live a Colorful Life :: Feature, Review and Giveaway

Good Morning!

Cindy, from the wonderful blog Live a Colorful Life has so kindly reviewed my Chevron Accent Throw pattern and blogged about it today along with featuring my blog in "The Name Game". Plus, we're giving away a pattern! While you're over there be sure to look around there blog... there's so much inspiration, especially for quilters! There are many great tutorials, too. Very helpful!

Thanks,Cindy, for testing my pattern. Your quilt looks amazing! I love how you used the great colors in a sweater for inspiration and carried that through with perfectly laid out chevron stripes!

Here's a little peek at her gorgeous quilt!
See her full post here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Pattern is being Featured!


Well, this is exciting... my Chevron Accent Throw Quilt pattern is being featured on the home page right now over at You Can Make! So fun. :) One of the reasons my pattern was chosen was because of the awesome photography. Thanks, Madelyn!


Monday, October 01, 2012

Vintage Hardware

Now that my dresser is painted, waxed and distressed it's time to deal with the hardware! I quite like the original hardware, in this case, so it just needs a little tweaking to make it perfect.

Here's what I did!

1. Soak in hot water with a little bleach for 30 minutes. Rinse well and wash with dish soap.
2. Soak in cider vinegar with a bit of water, only because I didn't have enough vinegar to totally cover all of the drawer pulls. I left it in there for about 30 minutes.
3. Rinse and scrub each piece thoroughly with dish soap and a scrub brush. Dry with a tea towel.
4. Paint with CeCe Caldwell's Santa Fe Turquoise.
5. Immediately wipe off some of the paint using a paper towel so the original brass shows through in the raised areas.

This is how they look after steps 1,2,3.

Freshly painted.

After some paint has been wiped off with a paper towel.

... the finished result!

PS. This may not be the proper way to do it, but it's how I did it and I like the results. :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Still Painting ... etc

This morning I was at Spruce Collective's grand opening and seeing their beautiful store and their lovely paint display reminded me... I've got to get my dresser finished! It now has two coats of paint. I'm still debating about distressing it and would love your opinions on that if you've painted and distressed furniture before. Keep in mind it's fake wood that was primed with white primer before I painted it. I picked up a wax brush today that will hopefully help get the dark wax into all the grooves really well.

Santa Fe Turquoise by CeCe Caldwell's
The owners at Spruce Collective are so warm and welcoming and inspiring with all of their helpful tips and great ideas. They even let me buy part of a display that wasn't technically for sale. So kind of them! If you're wondering, it was a couple of birch logs! Madelyn and I have a great Christmas craft planned for these.

Birch log display that I just couldn't leave alone.
Those logs were too cute.

What else did I buy? Another knob! One I don't even have a piece of furniture for. How's that for backwards... buy the knob first, then scout out furniture that it will go on. Sounds fine to me. I also got 3 different vintagey posters and a small can of orange paint! Now I need a quick (ya right) trip to Ikea to pick up frames for the posters.

My growing knob collection. The top 2 are from
Handmade by Amanda and the bottom 4 are from Spruce Collective.
You see, on my way out of town this morning I drove by (then immediately slammed on the brakes) a free chair! Of course, I had to stop and make my daughter run back and grab it. It's ugly now, but it's sturdy wood with neat details and an upholstered seat. I knew when I saw it that it would have to be orange. Bright orange.

Sneak peak of ugly-soon-to-be-orange-and-pretty chair.

Even the refreshment station is cute.
I brought 3 14 year old girls to the grand opening this morning,
as you can imagine the candy buffet was a big hit!
They even had cello bags and twine for the diy candy bags!
The grand opening was a fun, relaxing stop on the way to spend the afternoon
with one of the girls' friends who is in children's hospital. For those of you who know me, yes *I* drove and yes we *did* get lost. More than once. But we survived and finished the day with a nice dinner at Montanna's and now a 4 kid sleepover with sewing and mario party. This mom is wiped, but it was a good and full day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Painted Furniture - Dresser in Progress

Happy Monday :)

Even though I have painted quite a bit of furniture (everything in our house except the piano), I have yet to use chalk and clay paint or any type of chalk paint for that matter. Well, today that all changes! On the weekend I made another trip to Spruce Collective to get a can of paint. They carry CeCe Caldwell's line of chalk and clay paint.

When I schemed up the new d├ęcor for our bedroom I was going to go all grey and white, but when I saw this gorgeous Santa Fe Turquoise hutch I decided the bedroom could stand a pop of beautiful colour, so I bought a can of this paint and also some Aging Wax (dark) to go with it.

Inspiration piece (ie why I chose turquoise!)
via Spruce Collective in Abbotsford.

Now to look around online for a tutorial on how to best use this paint. At $46 for a small can, I don't want to mess it up. I hear this paint goes a long way, though. Hopefully I'll have enough left over after painting the dresser to paint a little side table for the living room.

$40 Craigslist dresser - not real wood! Yes, it came with drawers.
I sanded then primed it because I was thinking of painting
it with  white latex paint.  For chalk and clay paint you don't
 need to use primer.
I wonder if I should distress the dresser after painting it. If I distress it, the white primer will show... not sure how that would look. What do you think? I'll also be searching for a "how to distress painted furniture" tutorial! If you know of a good one, please leave the link in comments. Thanks! Enjoy your week.
I can't wait to show you my finished dresser! You can see a few sneak peeks on my instagram feed (at the top of the blog).

Edited to add a cute video:

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Favourite Store - Spruce Collective

There's a new store in the Fraser Valley and this one instantly became a favourite! When I first heard about it, I thought it would be sort of like Miss Mustard Seed's Lucketts. While it's not exactly that idea (there are no vendor booths), it is a cool cool store! When I walked in I thought, hey this reminds me of the Fieldstone Vintage Market! Sure enough, Spruce Collective is owned by 5 of the vendors from that market.

This store is sensory overload for vintage lovers. They also have a rental section, so you can rent vintage furniture and wares for your wedding or other event. There's a lovely, pretty classroom in the back with wall to wall windows for lots of natural light and a sweet little kitchen, too. There will be a full line up of classes starting soon including a felt wreath (hello, pinterest!), furniture painting, making slipcovers and more.

What did I buy? Well, I had to show a lot of constraint since I didn't bring my U-haul or my no-limit credit card. ;-) But, I went away with an adorable owl planter/vase? Either way, its got a hole in its head so I might plant a succulent in it. Then I found their knobs! All different beautiful vintagey glass knobs. I picked up 4 small ones for the sewing machine cabinet I showed you the other day. They were only $3 each! And, I got birthday cards for my sisters. They are cute, and of course... vintage.

I love how they take the time to wrap your purchases in tissue and put them in an adorable brown bag tied with twine. They even put the knobs in a cute little muslin draw string bag.

There's even a neat play room for the kiddies! Look at that floor to ceiling chalk board. How fun.

I know you're dying to check out this store, so I better let you know where it's located! They've taken over what used to be Quilt Essentials on Montrose in Abbotsford.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Painted Furniture - Armoire

Day 2 of my Painted Furniture Series!

We bought this armoire/tv cabinet in 1995. It was one of my first furniture purchases for the house we had just bought (gorgeous house and it was so cheap, I wish we could have that house now, but alas it was in the wrong town). Anyway, we bought the cabinet at Costco. It's always been kinda flimsy, but it's real wood and I liked the look of it. It was unfinished when we bought it and we instantly stained it with, what was supposed to be, clear stain. Over the years it went from light knotty pine to a horrifical, not at all nice orange. Good riddance to that colour! It's now been painted with Halcyon Green, inside and out. Now that we have a "proper" tv, the armoire is used as a linen closet. It currently resides in the corner of the living room, but I'm sure it'll end up somewhere else soon. Maybe our bedroom.

Again, I didn't distress the paint... but I could still. Or I might re-paint this with chalk paint, then distress, then finish it off with an ageing wax. I plan to get new knobs for this one, too! There are so many cool products out now for painting furniture! There's a furniture painting class coming up at Spruce Collective (awesome, awesome new store. More on that later). I think I might take the class! They also carry a line of chalk paint.
One day I will take better pictures of my furniture,
but that day... is not today. :)

If you've enjoyed what you just read, make sure you don't miss a post by subscribing to my blog's feed! I'd also love it if you'd follow along with Google Friend Connect... over there on the right!  Any questions? Please leave me a comment! Thanks so much.

Craft Racks!
Do you need help organizing your craft supplies?
Craft Racks can do the job!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Can Make

I wonder what's new over at You Can Make! I see something a little familiar there...

My Chevron Accent Throw pattern!

If you've enjoyed what you just read, make sure you don't miss a post by subscribing to my blog's feed! I'd also love it if you'd follow along with Google Friend Connect... over there on the right!  Any questions? Please leave me a comment! Thanks so much.

Craft Racks!
Do you need help organizing your craft supplies?
Craft Racks can do the job!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Painted Furniture - Sewing Machine


Over the past couple years I've been really inspired by friends and bloggers who paint furniture. Now nearly everything in my house has been painted and many things more than once! I thought I'd share a different piece everyday for awhile. I'm no expert and this isn't going to be a "How to Paint Furniture like a Professional" series or any such thing, but I'll link up to posts that have helped and encouraged me in this fun little adventure.
This piece is a solid wood antique sewing machine cabinet. It originally belonged to my Great Aunt Orla, who was my Grandma's (Dad's Mom) sister. I've had it for many years. For the longest time the original sewing machine was in it, but awhile ago I removed it and put it in storage so the cabinet would be easier to move around. Nothing stays in the same place for very long in my house.

So, for this re-do I simply used a paint brush to apply a coat of primer then a few coats of Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green (I actually got Rona to colour match it since there's no Sherwin Williams here), which is one of the colours The Nester uses in her home. I love it!! It's like a subtle, soft turquoise. So lovely. I didn't distress it at all, but I still might.

I removed the original hardware because the knobs were just little wooden rectangles and I replaced them with Home Depot burnished bronze knobs. Now I'm sick of those and will be looking for vintagey clear glass knobs!