Easter Is On Its Way!

Yes, Easter is on its way, but first we get Spring, glorious Spring. Many of us are counting the days to fair weather.

Easter makes me think of many things, one of which is coloring Easter eggs. Such wonderful memories I have of when my children were young and we would spend hours decorating eggs.

This is a newer version of the traditional egg.
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Do you remember how I had mentioned another way to use gold leaf a few posts back? Well, this is it.

The most difficult part to this is actually blowing the eggs clean of yolk and white. The only way that I have thought of that may make this a little easier is if you have a small air compressor, like those used for airbrushing. So how does one do it? You poke a whole at each end of the egg and you blow through them to empty the egg. By the way, the egg is certainly useable, I save them for scrambled eggs or for a recipe calling for eggs. Sound easy? Think again. Getting the hole large enough to get the contents out yet not crack the whole egg is the trick. I was able to make the majority of the holes about 1/8-1/4 of an inch. Rinse them thoroughly and let dry overnight. I patched the holes with a little drywall mud and lightly sanded them when dry.

Next step……chose your paint colors. Here I used not only an assortment of pastels, I used the Color of the Year from pantone called Radiant Orchid (and a shade lighter and darker). Once the paint is dry, I used 2 coats, you are ready for the next step.
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Remember the gold leaf sizing? Also called adhesive? You will want to get that out and a fine paint brush. (Try to find one at a reasonable price as you will be tossing it when done). As you can see from the pastel ones I painted on the adhesive in a couple of designs, stripes, curly cues, scrolls, hearts, etc. The Radiant Orchid ones I used curly cues (you basically make a “c” and continue wrapping it around itself).

After the adhesive dries clear, you can lay a sheet of gold leaf over the egg, rub it down thoroughly and with a soft brush, scruff off the excess.

The solid gold leaf eggs I painted the eggs red and black and then applied adhesive to one side, let it dry, apply gold leaf, turn it over and repeat. Why red and black? They are traditional color bases for gold leaf.
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Have fun with them if you are going to give them a try. Maybe use an accent color that you have used in your home. If you prefer, the eggs may be purchased at my Etsy shop, which is –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/dcartwork
Have a good day,
Doris

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Easy French Onion Soup

I can honestly say this is an original. I was inspired by a couple of other recipes and it was fun experimenting until it turned out the way I liked it. It is a good soup for these winter days. And if you are lucky enough to be having fair weather, well then, maybe you just want to go French for a change!
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French Onion Soup
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Cook 4 med/large onions (sliced thin) in 3T butter until soft.

Add 8C of water and 11 bouillon cubes. Season with pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer until onions are very soft and break apart. (Almost mushy)
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In individual bowls, put a thick slice of French bread and lavishly sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese. (I used shaved)
Pour soup over it. Make sure the soup is hot enough to melt the cheese.
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Serve immediately and enjoy!

Take time out to give someone a hug. The rewards are great.

2014 Color of The Year

“Radiant Orchid” was chosen the Color Of the Year by Pantone. It is number 18-3224 shown as:
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I have found several brands choosing this color, but each one has their own variation of it. One may have a little more blue in it, another may have more red. As long as you stay within this family of color you will be right in step with the times.

It is a glorious color, but one, I think, to be careful of just how much you use it in your home. Used as an accent is the way to go. Whether it be by throw pillows made in this color, maybe one wall in a dining room, or possibly using it in a powder room. I can picture a powder room in this color with some metallic freehand artwork on it. I think that would be outstanding.

Benjamin Moore is calling their Color Of The Year “Breath of fresh Air”, number 806. It is a very relaxing soft blue. Excellent I think if you are looking for a spa feel in your master bath. I think it would be great in a childs room as well.
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The Color Of The Year chosen by Pittsburgh Paints is “Turning Oakleaf” number PPG 1107-3. A delightfully warm and inviting soft yellow. Definitely could be used in a baby’s room, but how about the kitchen? And I have had 2 clients that have used a yellow in their Great Rooms. It depends on your color scheme, of course, and, importantly, the lighting in your home. This true no matter what color you are interested in.
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Maybe this is inspiring you to do a little decorating? Changing even one room can make an amazing difference. I say “Go For It”. I have always said that this is the perfect time of year to decorate. The winter can be so blah sometimes and what better way to perk things up than with color?

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Mom’s Chili Recipe

There are many chili recipes out there. My mother created this one to feed a crowd. People say that my mother was amazing. You see, I am the youngest of 12. Yes, 12. The first child died as an infant and my mother went on to have 11 more. So you see where the crowd came from. She was inventive in making meals that were cost effective, could feed alot, and, of course, healthy. Although sometimes the focus was just on feeding a crowd. I cannot imagine having so many mouths to feed. A picture comes to my mind of a robin with 11 babies in a nest and how it must keep her so busy just feeding them all.

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My mother was tough. Not so much in the way that a woman today would be called tough. Our father wasn’t around much so it was up to her to keep things running and keep us kids in line. She always said that none of us ever had a broken bone.Some of her other sayings that have stayed with me are:

“Children are like butterflies. If you let them go they will return to you.”

‘If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.”

“It is easier to catch bees with honey than with vinegar.”

And of, of course, I can remember hearing this on more than one occasion:

“If you slam that screen door one more time you will have to close it quietly 20 times.” LOL

Back to the chili……I hope that if you try it, you enjoy it. It is by no means difficult and it can easily be doubled (or tripled).
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Mom’s Chili Recipe

1lb. ground beef
1 small can tomato paste
1 can tomatoes (I use the crushed kind)
2 cans kidney beans
½ onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
Brown the ground beef and add the onion. Cook until tender. In another pan cook tomatoes, tomato paste, and three small cans of water. Add the browned beef and the chili powder. Simmer for one hour.
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And sometimes Mom would add macaroni to stretch it,
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I hope you all have a great day!

Faux Finishing 102

Basecoating

Whether you are going to do a faux finish or if you are just planning on painting your walls, you will need a good basecoat on the surface.

For faux finishing the best type of paint that I have found for a base is latex in an eggshell finish. When I say eggshell I am not talking about the color eggshell, I am talking about the sheen of the paint. An eggshell finish is in between a flat and a satin. Satin can be good to use, but not necessary, and you can save your pennies to be used elsewhere. There are the matte finish paints out now, but they are too close to a flat finish. The reason that you need a bit of a sheen is so that the paint can move easily. However it doesn’t mean that the more sheen the better. If you try using a semigloss or more you will find your faux to be a little “slippery”.

Some painting tips that I have used over the years is, number one….have a good paintbrush. A fellow contractor had told me about the kind to use and I seldom use anything else. It is a 2 1/2″ angled brush. I believe it is also called a sash brush. Most brush companies make this size. I go with a nylon/polyester one for use with all paints. I am picky, though, about whoich 2 1/2′ brush I choose. I want one with a more slender handle. Maybe it’s just because I am a woman, but I find it to be more comfortable to use, especially if I have alot of painting to do.
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Tape is another important item. Tape sure isn’t what it once was. You go to buy a roll of tape and you may find a whole aisle of just different types of tape. Yes, the blue tape is best to use when taping off for a paint job. For me, I have found the regular blue tape to work the best. The ones that I have tried that are especially for painting just don’t stick well for me and the paint then goes under the tape and onto the moulding or cabinet or whatever. Defeats the purpose.

As far as rollers and roller covers go, I tend to go for the lighter weight. The rollers themselves have lasted me a long time. I know that when it comes to the roller covers some people use specific ones. I tend to go for the less expensive and then just throw them out after I have finished a room. They are usually only good for one coat. The more expensive ones can be washed out and reused.

Along with the rollers come the paint trays. I use the liners with the trays and discard them after each use. They will keep your trays in good shape and longer lasting. I have found that repeated washing of the trays causes them to rust.

Dropcloths are another important material item as well. Here again there is such a variety. I find the cloth ones to be way too heavy and then you have to go to a laundromat to wash them in their larger washing machines. The plastic ones are a pain if you ask me. To me they are only good for covering furniture. The dropcloths I have found to work the best for me are the paper ones that have a nonabsorbent backing. They can last a long time when treated right. They are relatively lightweight too.

If you were to ask 5 different painters/decorative painters you would probably get several different answers and solutions. To be honest I would like to suggest that if you are hiring a professional let them do their job. They most likely have found what works best for them. And this is what they do, they are going to me more knowledgeable on the subject.

So does this officially fit under the Faux Finishing category? Yes, indeed. If you aren’t doing the basecoating yourself you have to make sure that whoever does do it used the right kind of paint. And learning about the materials involved may lead you to have a new respect for the people in the trade.

Good luck to you if you have a project in the works or are thinking of one in the future!

Gold Leafing

Hello there!

I thought I would give a lesson in gold leafing. This is something that can have spectacular results, and, surprisingly, is not that difficult to do. It can be a little messy but in a good way. I’ll explain that later.

The materials that you will need are an older paint brush (you will end up throwing this one away) or purchase a small spongebrush. You will also need sizing adhesive and the gold leaf itself. This is a synthetic gold leaf, which is more common and alot less costly. I would suggest you find a piece to work on on the smaller rather than larger side. When you are comfortable with that you can move onward to something larger. Maybe you would like to practice on a foamcore board as I am showing here. Or have you been wanting to jazz up a frame? That is a good project with easy results.

You also will need paint in a color that you would like to have show through in areas. Black and red are the most common, but any color will work. Don’t go to any great expense with this for starters. A small bottle of acrylic craft paint will do just fine. I am using black.
Basecoat the piece or sample with 2 coats of the craft paint. When thoroughly dry, using your old brush, apply the sizing adhesive. it will be white in color but dries clear. I will tell you that when it dries it is quite sticky, so beware.

After your adhesive has become clear, you are ready to start the fun. The gold leafing comes in 4″x4″ sheets. Remove one and apply it to the adhesive. Here I have kept them in a straight order but you may choose to angle them or tear them into pieces. Now, this is where the little messy part starts. the sheets of gold leaaf are quite thin and fragile. When clients have asked about it I tell them to think of butterfly wings and you almost have the delicacy of gold leaf. It will tend to float around in pieces if allowed to. The sheets will invariably tear somewhat, don’t worry about that. If you notice in the one photo you can see straight lines of black showing through. In the next photo not so much. That is because I went back in with the broken pieces and filled in some of the area. I like to leave small background areas to show through. it breaks up the straight lines and also can give it more character, I think. A good thing to use to help put it down is a small brush. Here I have used a mop brush, but an inexpensive chipwood brush will work just fine. After you have applied as much gold leafing as you want you will need to burnish it. All that is is taking a rag (old tshirt is good, or soft paper towel, or even kleenex), bunch it up a little , and rub the surface, ideally in circular motions. You will be able to see the difference even though it is subtle.
Here are photos to get an idea of what the process would look like, and then I added an elaborate vestibule ceiling that I completed.
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KCB vestibule,scrolls 001
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Behold! Your own gold leafing!

In a few weeks I will be using gold leaf in another project that is for Easter. I think that you will like it!

Banana Split Cake

Did the name catch your eye?

With good reason!

This is a delicious and fun recipe to serve. My mind must be on sweets because of Valentine’s Day coming up. At any rate, I haven’t made this recipe in a long time. I was first given it by a friend when my children were young and I was a member of the West Chicago Mother’s Club. We would all exchange recipes and childrearing ideas. We also had put on a yearly Halloween parade and run a well-child clinic once a month. It was a good group and I have alot of fond memories from that time.

Enjoy the recipe! I have also found it to be a good conversation starter.

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Banana Split Cake

2C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2C. butter, melted
1/2C. chocolate syrup
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2C. powdered sugar
1/2C. butter, softened
2 eggs
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3 bananas, sliced
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1-9oz container Cool Whip
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Combine first 2 ingredients, pat into a 9x13pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Drizzle chocolate over it when cooled.
Combine next 3 ingredients and beat until fluffy. Spread this evenly over the chocolate syrup.
Arrange bananas over the butter mixture. Top with pineapple. Cover with Cool Whip.
Sprinkle with nuts, drizzle chocolate syrup over it and add maraschino cherries,
Cool and serve.

I am not very tech savvy, although, to my credit, I have come a long way since starting this blog. It is being a fun and challenging journey. If I am ever late in getting a blog out it is either because I am having technical difficulties (which is really the biggest reason) or I am sick in bed.

Have a great day and by all means, Stay Warm!