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Monday, January 14, 2019

CORNER TABLE

This little table is seeing its second re-design.  I don't really know how long I've had this table...it's been awhile.  It's such a cute little design that I moved it with us to our new house and painted it a color scheme that would match the new color palette.   Now that we've been in here 3+ years, it's time to let go.   You women know exactly what I mean.
This time, since it's moving to a "new home",  I re-painted it once again in the color scheme of that location.   I actually went with chalk paint this time around......and I love this color that I chose from the Behr collection.

I found a "before/after" photo of the original table as I purchased it, along with the first time I re-painted it.  It's fun looking at the transformations!

Typical of paint projects, I sanded off a good portion of the old paint scheme before I started painting it.   I used a variety of foam brushes to get the job done.

After three coats of paint, I added some off-white stenciling and a prussian blue accent at the base of the table legs.  I added a few prussian blue touches in/around the stenciling to tie the color in to the overall look.
The prussian
blue was one of the 2 oz. craft paint varieties that you find at Hobby Lobby.   I also opted to ditch the original knob and found a cute little white/grey knob at Hobby Lobby and brushed on a touch of the chalk paint to coordinate with the table color.   That's it!  I'm so glad that it will have a new home.  It's really in great shape, and the corner shape makes it truly unique!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

AGATE COASTERS

Agates have stolen my heart.....so this Christmas I decided to gift some agate coasters to my daughter.  You can find these online; shop around since you'll find a wide range of prices, sizes, colors and quality out there.

I knew that I wanted to add a gold rim as a finishing touch and despite the fact you can find them out there with the finished rim,  I opted to DIY.  After all, I had several gold paint pens from another project and they would work just great.
When you shop around be sure to find the size that would work well for a coaster.  The 3-4" variety work really well.  Be aware since these are natural stones, they will be uniquely different.   To me that's what gives them so much character. 

As for adding the gold rim, there are several varieties of gold paint pens out there.  I got mine at Hobby Lobby.  I held the agate at the center of the stone, between my forefinger and thumb and spun the stone around slowly as I painted it.  Super easy! 

The color scheme is perfect for her house since her accent colors are navy and gold.  They look so pretty!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

SALMON PHYLLO CUP APPETIZERS

As part of my Christmas brunch buffet this year, I made some cute and tasty salmon appetizers.  I put together the salmon mousse filling myself and thought I'd share it with you!
I found the pre-made phyllo shells in my local Safeway.  This particular brand came in a box of 15 which was the perfect size.  Some of the brands show FILLO on the front of their packaging.

As for the ingredients, here's what you'll need and how I put them together........

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. package sliced smoked salmon
2-3 Tbsp. capers (divided)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp. dill seasoning
salt/pepper to taste
splash of lemon juice
fresh dill

DIRECTIONS:

Bake cups in the oven as directed.

Separate the salmon slices and using a fork, break apart approximately 3/4 of the slices with a fork.  This portion will be added to the other ingredients to make the filling.  The other remaining slices will be used as the pieces which stand up inside the cup, so slice those into narrow pieces. 

In a small bowl blend together the cream cheese and sour cream using a fork.  Add the Old Bay seasoning, salt/pepper, 1-2 Tbsp. of capers, and the lemon juice.  Continue mixing with the fork breaking up the capers in the process. 

To assemble, add a slice of the salmon half the circumference of the perimeter of the shell.  Using a pastry bag with a large circular tip (remember there are pieces of salmon and capers that need to pass through the opening), fill the cups to the rim with the mixture.  

Once the cups are filled. Garnish with capers (3-5) and fresh dill.  Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes prior to serving.

NOTE:  I ended up with a small amount of leftover filling.  Enough to top 5-6 triscuit crackers for lunch the next day!    

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

BAGEL BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Oh man!!!!  This has become my new favorite breakfast casserole recipe.  It is loaded with flavor, is light and fluffy and can be made the night before....oh, and it bakes up so pretty.  What more can you ask for?
I just made this for our Christmas brunch (yes, we celebrated on the 22nd) and it was devoured.  When the recipe indicated it serves 8-10, it was right on.  I served 8 adults, and we literally had 2 portions left.

Think of a bagel breakfast sandwich in a casserole, and that's exactly what you get with this yummy dish.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup half and half
8 large eggs
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/3 cups crumbled cooked breakfast sausage
1 1/3 cups packed baby spinach
2 large plain bagels, split and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/3 cups shredded provolone
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
*2 Tbsp. "everything" bagel seasoning


DIRECTIONS:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with either butter or cooking spray.

Whisk together the milk, half and half, eggs, dry mustard. 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl.  Fold in the sausage, spinach, bagels and 3/4 cup of the provolone.   Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Dot the top with the cream cheese and sprinkle all over with the bagel seasoning and remaining provolone.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the casserole is puffed, golden brown at the edges and set in the center, about 45 minutes more.  Let cool 15 minutes before serving.  

NOTE:  You can assemble the entire dish the night before, refrigerate and bake the following morning.  Let the chilled casserole sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before baking.

ENJOY!

*Everything bagel seasoning can be purchased online, or you can make it yourself.  Turns out I had all but one of the spices I needed, so I opted to purchase that one and make my own. (2 Tbsp. poppy seeds, 1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. dried minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. dried minced onion, 2 tsp. flaked sea salt or coarse salt)

recipe adapted from:  www.foodnetwork.com

Thursday, December 20, 2018

WINE GLASS NAME TAGS

This was my first attempt at these, so needless to say I learned a lot for the next time......and I would like there to be a next time so I can improve on these.
Anyway, I thought they'd be fun for the holidays.  After all, how many times have you set down your drink and then nobody can remember whose is whose?

I made these with my Silhouette machine.  For those of you who know Silhouette or Cricket, you know lettering can take some time.  Especially when you have letters with a "counter".  A counter is is the center of a letter which is totally enclosed like an "e", "g", "a", etc.  Before you can cut those you first have to work on each individual letter to create a cut so the entire counter isn't removed.  Complicated?, I wouldn't call it complicated, but definitely tedious.   And then, when you're a perfectionist like I am, it can take a bit of time (to be hones, I'm still not completely satisfied with these....but, they'll work)!

I knew I liked my name!  No counters; so mine was one of the easy ones!  Of the family names I needed to create, five of them had counters....whew!!!
I already have plans for next years and they involve snowflakes!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

MUSHROOM SPINACH BAKED EGGS

I love to try breakfast casserole recipes.  This one that I'm sharing I just tried today and I have to say, I thought it was pretty darn good! 
The prep wasn't too terribly difficult, and the baking time was just about 25 minutes.  So from start to finish I would say it was just about an hour.

This would be great for when you have houseguests, or maybe a special brunch! 

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ lb. white musrooms, sliced
6 cups baby spinach (about 6 oz.)
6 slices potato bread, lightly toasted
6 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Heat approximately 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden; approx. 8 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes.   Add ½ tsp. salt, and pepper to taste; continue cooking, stirring occasionally until soft....about 4 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Arrange the bread in the dish in a single layer with the edges slightly overlapping.  Spoon the mushroom/spinach mixture on top.  

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Crack an egg onto each piece of bread; season with salt and pepper.  Pour the milk evenly over the top and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake until the egg whites are set, approximately 25-30 minutes.   My eggs ended up a bit overcooked....or let's say, I was wanting my eggs to break open when I sliced into them....I'm going to have to experiment with the time to find just the right cooking time to achieve what I'm looking for - 28 minutes was too long.

Note:  The recipe mentioned you can make this ahead and refrigerate overnight.....add the eggs just before you pop it in the oven. 

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.foodnetwork.com


Saturday, November 10, 2018

CEDAR CHEST REFINISH

This Lane Cedar Chest belonged to my Dad's parents and has been a part of my household as long as I've lived on my own.   I'm estimating it's age to be from the 1920's or 30's at best.  So, she's going on close to 100 years old.

I don't know how long I've been wanting to refinish this piece.  I just knew that over the years it had lost its lustre and I wanted to restore its beauty.

Below is a picture of it before I began the restoration.  It's made of a mahogany wood and has beautiful lines and details, including those gorgeous legs....but not only was the finish dull, there were plenty of scratches, gouges and dings that had happened over the years.
This is the piece after the restoration.  Isn't she a beauty!?  I decided not to go quite as dark with the stain.  I actually think that you can see more of the character of the wood with the lighter color.
This truly was a tag team effort between my husband and I.  Before I began I read a lot of information on restoration, watched videos, you name it.  The last thing I wanted was to damage it along the way.  It took us several weeks to finish (we also had a couple of weather delays due to some unexpected cool weather that moved through), since there are lots of steps along the way, but it was definitely worth the effort.

You can see the scratches on the leg (original) on the left and look how pretty that new leg looks with a fresh coat of stain and finish!  
Let me take you through the steps.....                                                                                                                                                                  The first step was to remove the old finish.  After doing lots of research I opted to use Blue Bear stripping gel.  I liked that I could use it indoors, it was a gel and was a more natural product (made of 100% American grown soy beans).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This took some time since you actually need to let it sit after applying the gel.  The finish actually turns into a molasses like consistency.  I used rubber gloves, plastic scrapers and about a roll of paper towel.  I had purchased a canvas tarp and placed that under the chest to catch any drips.  I didn't end up with too much on the tarp, but was glad I had taken the extra precautionary step.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Since I didn't want to touch the wood inlay medallion on the front of the chest, I covered that using wax paper and double sided tape.  It worked like a charm.  If you look closely at the chest, you'll see lots of grooves, deep decorative cuts and of course the spindle legs.....these areas took lots of time!  After the finish was removed, I used mineral spirits to get at any leftover residue.  I used a brush to put it on and a rag to remove it.  
Next up....sanding.  Lots of sanding! We used the electric sander first, followed by a lot of hand sanding.  This took a good deal of time too...again, the legs and grooves took the most time.   Little pieces of sandpaper and all sorts of experiemental techniques in order to get at those tough areas.  My cuticles were an absolute mess afterwards!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After the sanding came the staining.  Followed by the finish.   We used the Varathane brand for both the stain and polyurethane.  I chose American Walnut with a clear satin finish.  
               

And there they are side-by-side the true "before" and "after".  I'm confident this piece is going to stay in the family long after I'm gone.  Hopefully, our efforts will keep it looking good for the next 100 years!