June 20th, 2012
In my quest to improve my hand lettering skills I purchased a copy of Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico. It’s filled with page after page of gorgeous lettering from the sketchbooks of over 90 talented designers. I’m so glad I added this amazing inspirational resource to my bookshelf. I don’t think it will be gathering dust anytime soon!
June 18th, 2012
For the past 2 or 3 years I’ve kept an eye out for the perfect Jenny Lind bed for our guest bedroom. Last week craigslist finally came through for me! What’s your favorite craigslist/flea market/ebay find? My new-to-me bed is definitely one of my top five favorites.
The bed needed a good polishing, but furniture polish isn’t something I keep on hand. I searched the internet and found a bunch of furniture polish recipes. I combined several to make my own blend, and it’s surprisingly similar to salad dressing…
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (use white vinegar for light wood)
2 tablespoons jojoba oil (you could substitute olive oil, but jojoba doesn’t turn rancid)
3–5 drops of lavender essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a jar and shake well to blend. Dip the corner of a rag in the polish and rub it into the wood. Test a small section of the wood before polishing the whole piece of furniture, just to make sure it doesn’t stain. After you’ve applied the polish, rub everything down with a clean dry rag to remove any excess.
June 14th, 2012
Do you remember the chalkboard mug and chalkboard platter I made last year with Pébéo’s porcelain chalkboard paint?
Well, the folks at Pébéo got in touch with me. They kindly sent me 3 bottles of their Porcelaine 150 chalkboard paint to share with you lucky people!
This is super special paint. It’s not regular chalkboard paint, and you can’t make it yourself with one of those “make your own chalkboard paint” DIY tutorials. This paint is specifically for use on porcelain (or other slick, non-porous surface like china, ceramic, or metal). After painting you bake the item according to the instructions on the paint bottle. Once baked the paint will not chip off, and it’s even microwave and dishwasher safe. I love it, and my mug and platter have held up well.
There will be three winners, and I will ship these worldwide. Enter the giveaway by commenting below before next Friday (June 22). Make sure to provide your correct email address (in the comment form, not in your actual comment), so I can notify you of your winnings. Good luck!
FYI, here’s Pébéo’s official statement concerning toxicity and food safety:
Porcelaine 150 paints have been given the ASTM D-4236 seal of approval by Duke University, they are completely free of any hazardous materials. They hold the AP Seal of non-toxicity from ACMI and they conform to toy standard 71.3, and are deemed safe for use by children. The Porcelaine 150 paints, outliners and markers contain NO lead or cadmium, they are water based and contain only NON-TOXIC materials. Inadvertent contact with food or drink is not a health hazard. Any decorative or utilitarian pieces may be painted. Paint the exterior of a drink container, and on a dinner plate, it is
recommended that you paint around the perimeter of the plate. If you paint the center of the plate, a steak knife or other utensil could damage your design. If a painted design becomes damaged by a sharp object, rough edges may be left on the surface. It is not approved for food or drink containers.
June 12th, 2012
I came across this recipe on Pinterest recently, and since lately I’ve been a dessert making fiend I had to try it. These bars are so good that they rival the s’mores bars I posted last month! When I was photographing them I said to myself, “How about a photo with a bite taken out of the bar? That might look good!” I tried to take just one bite, but I accidentally ate the whole bar. Three bars later I decided I better scrap the photo-with-a-bite-taken-out idea, or I was going to eat the whole pan. Seriously, you have to try these.
1 box strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lime zest
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix crust ingredients and press into 9×13 pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Mix together topping ingredients and pour over crust. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, until set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while warm. Cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
June 8th, 2012
I’ve always considered hydrangeas to be old lady flowers. I don’t know why. Let the record show that I’ve changed my mind. That either means that I was wrong, or I am now an old lady. Our neighborhood is bursting with big fluffy hydrangea blossoms right now! I love how just one bush can produce so many shades of pink, blue, and purple. Our yard is too shady to grow hydrangeas, but I get my fix every afternoon when I walk the dogs, and today I brought my camera along. Taking photos while manning two tangled leashes was trickier than I expected, but luckily the pups were patient with me.
How cute is our neighbor’s house? It’s one of my favorites in the neighborhood for sure.
June 7th, 2012
If you’re looking for an excuse to start collecting those adorable vintage jello molds, I’ve got one for you. They are ridiculously easy to turn into candles. Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, you can make these in 15 minutes or less!
microwavable soy candle wax (available here)
lavender essential oil (available here)
candle wicks (wicks with the metal anchors work best—available here)
vintage tin jello molds
Clean and dry your tins. Follow the instructions on the soy wax packaging to melt the desired amount of wax in the microwave. Stir the lavender essential oil (1 ounce of oil per 1 pound of wax) into the melted wax. Add a little extra oil if you prefer more strongly scented candles. Pour the wax into your tins. Carefully center the wicks in each tin of hot wax. Allow the candles to cool. Then, trim the wicks if necessary. Enjoy and remember not to leave burning candles unattended! As the candles burn down the tins can get quite hot, so it’s best to burn these on a heat resistant surface.
June 5th, 2012
Craziness has been going on at Daniel’s office this week, so he took the day off. Considering that it was 75 degrees today (In June! That never happens here!) we packed a picnic lunch, and went hiking at Eno River State Park in Durham, NC. It was beautiful and deserted on a Tuesday afternoon. I think nature is about 100 times prettier when no one else is around, don’t you agree?
May 31st, 2012
I found this recipe for White Chocolate Lemon Truffles a few months ago, and I was waiting for a special occasion to try them. Today I decided that a Thursday afternoon was occasion enough. I mostly wanted to make them because they’re so stinking pretty, but it turns out they’re delicious too. Lately I’ve been on a lemon kick, but lemon desserts are usually too light to satisfy my insane sweet tooth. Not these! The rich white chocolate pairs perfectly with the light lemon flavor to quiet the ravenous dessert monster inside me.
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
9 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
2 tsp. freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
granulated Sugar, for coating
In small, heavy, non-aluminum saucepan, combine the heavy cream and lemon zest. Over low heat, heat until cream comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover tightly and let sit for 20 minutes.
Combine the white chocolate, salt, and butter in medium heatproof bowl. Remove the cover from the cream and reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat. Strain through fine-meshed strainer into white chocolate mixture. Press down on the lemon zest left in the strainer to extract all the liquid from it.
Place white chocolate mixture over a pot of warm water on low heat* (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir the chocolate frequently just until almost melted. Remove the bowl from the warm pot. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (Note: White chocolate can be difficult when melting. If there are small lumps of white chocolate use a food processor and process the mixture at high speed just until smooth.) Stir in lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Chill at least 4 hours, covering tightly when cold.
To make truffles: Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, form balls of about 1 inch diameter from the cold truffle base. Roll in sugar until well-coated. (If you’re having trouble, drop the small spoonful of white chocolate into the sugar, using the sugar to help roll it into a ball. Once a ball is formed, re-roll it in the sugar until coated.) Store truffles airtight in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for longer storage. To serve, remove from refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving time. Let stand at room temperature, covered, until serving time.
* Or just use a double boiler if you have one.
Recipe from What Megan’s Making
May 29th, 2012
Here are some sketchbook pages from when I was working on this year’s Father’s Day cards. I love hand lettering, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I really have to work for each letter, and I usually mess up a bazillion times before I get something that looks decent.
In early elementary school I remember getting an “N” on my report card for “not satisfactory” in handwriting. I cried. After that I tried harder, and for one of my handwriting exercises I even drew tiny curls on the ends of each letter in an attempt to go above and beyond “satisfactory.” My teacher gave me a check minus because I didn’t copy the letters exactly as they appeared in the handbook. Then she made me erase all the curls. Then she hit me with a ruler (not really, but the rest is true).
I’ve been making a point to incorporate more hand lettering into my designs. Practice makes perfect, right? I’ve also collected a lot of great examples of hand lettering on my Pinterest Typography board. If I really want to motivate myself I visit Molly Jacques’ website. I feel a little sick every time I look at her work because I’m
so jealous of so inspired by her lettering skills.
May 23rd, 2012
Number 11 on my 28 by 29 list is to find a new hobby that Daniel and I both enjoy. To accomplish this I made a list of all the hobbies I could think of/find on the internet. I printed them out and asked Daniel to mark all the hobbies he enjoys or would be interested in trying, and I did the same. Then I highlighted the ones we both marked to see where our common interests lie. Stop motion animation, pottery, visiting a shooting range, making stained glass, skydiving, film making, and building birdhouses are just a few of the hobbies I would have never imagined we’d both be interested in. Now we can kiss boring movie date nights goodbye!
If any of you want to try this with your significant others I’ve made a little worksheet of my list. You can download the pdf here. I’m calling it the “hobby compatibility quiz & creative dating guide”. Daniel thoroughly mocked me for that title, but I’ll have the last laugh when we make our first film!