Saturday, December 22, 2012

Making a Chalkboard Serving Tray

Our daughter, Jill and husband, Brad recently moved into a new home.
Well, their home was built in 1917 making it a 95 year-old new home.
She wants a serving tray for an ottoman she is using as a coffee table.
 I made a list of the materials I would need to make one as well as items for a framed chalkboard to display above a buffet Jamie painted for her as a housewarming gift.  John and I headed off to Lowe's.
Next to Lowe's is an AC Moore and we ran in first.  I noticed unfinished framed mirrors in various sizes and thought they would be just right for these projects. 
With a 40%-off coupon and not needing to cut and build the frames, we happily bought a large one for the chalkboard and a smaller one for the serving tray.

  1. After removing the mirrors from the frames, I sanded the wood and painted each frame with two similar shades of silver acrylic craft paint, applying them at the same time to achieve the metal look I wanted.
  2. When the paint dried, I painted on a water-based satin varnish to seal. (I had Liquitex on hand) Then allowed it to dry
  3. I then brushed on black acrylic paint and rubbed off with a rag until I had a brushed metal look.
  4. I finished with a couple more coats of the satin varnish
  1.  I applied a coat of primer to the back of the mirrors and waited for it to dry
  2. Using a sponge roller, I gave the mirror back three coats of chalkboard paint waiting for each coat to dry before re-applying.
  3. John attached handles to the sides of the smaller frame for the serving tray.
  4. The painted mirror/chalkboard was then attached to the frame and reinforced with additional tacks to ensure it will hold the weight of whatever Jill might set on it.
  5. I finished by covering the back with brown paper using double-sided tape. The larger chalkboard was finished in the same manner but without the handles. A saw-tooth hanger was nailed to the back.

I am liking this chalkboard right here in my foyer and think I just might make one for me.
Linking to Christmas in July @Knick of Time

Friday, December 21, 2012

Frosted Sugar Cookies

my grandson's favorite

  Jared would't care if I just spread the frosting on with a knife but the cookies are extra special when the frosting is piped on.  He likes the taste of the cookie and the frosting. Almond extract flavors both.
Deluxe Sugar Cookies
from Betty Crockers Best of Baking page 368 copyright 1997
About 5 dozen 2-inch cookies


1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Decorator Frosting

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl.(I used my mixer)  In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and stir into butter mixture.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets lightly.  Divide dough in half.  Roll each half 1/4-inch thick on lightly floured surface.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place on cookie sheet.

Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.  Frost as desired.
I have to admit, when getting toward the end of a large batch, the cookies get less fancy. 
Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.

Divide into separate bowls, and add food coloring to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush. (I used a decorator bad with a writing tip and also squeeze bottles)

I think Jared must had been thinking about cookies all day in school.
Here is the text message I received the moment he got in from school.
A few years ago, I splurged on a set of letter cookie cutters. Here are a couple of ways I have used them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Treats

  Chocolate Peppermint Bark
 source: all Recipes

Servings: 50

2 (12 ounce) packages milk chocolate chips
2 (12 ounce) packages white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons peppermint extract (I used 1 tsp.)
8 peppermint candy canes, crushed, divided

  • Line a 12x18 inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
  • Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, for 1 to 5 minutes (depending on your microwave). Do not overheat or chocolate will scorch. Stir in the peppermint extract. Spread the chocolate evenly in the prepared pan; chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, for 1 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the crushed candy canes. Spread the white chocolate mixture evenly over the milk chocolate. Sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces evenly over the white chocolate layer. Chill until set, about 1 hour. Break into small pieces to serve.
What I used
  • Wilton Dark Chocolate Wafers mixed with chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand.
  • Substituted Almond Bark for the white chocolate chips
  • My pan size was 15 1/2 x 10 1/2".  I think next time I will try a larger pan that makes thinner bark that would make breaking easier.
  • Do not attempt to break the bark into pieces right from the refrigerator as I found that the dark and light layers separated.  When allowed to come to room temperature before breaking, I did not a this problem.
Mint Chocolate & Cheesecake Parfait
recipe from My Baking Addiction
YIELD: 8-10 servings (I filled 12 mini dessert dishes)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
12 Andes Creme de Menthe Cookies, finely chopped OR Mint Oreo Cookies)

1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add  the extracts and mix until well combined. Fold in the whipped topping and then the mint chocolate cookies.

2. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag or large zip top bag. Snip enough of the end off the bag to allow you pipe the mixture into your desired serving glasses. Alternated layers of cookies and cream cheese mixture with chopped cookies.

3. Garnish with additional whipped topping and chopped cookies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies and Hat

for our littlest grandbaby...

Gingerbread Girl hat pattern found on a delightful blog called Repeat Crafter Me by Sarah,  who is most creative, talented and generous to share her adorable patterns.  Thank you so much, Sarah!


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