Making a Healthier Cranberry Chutney

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Another reason for me to fall for autumn is…..(drum roll please)…. cranberries! Little packets of them are in the markets now! Get them while you can because, I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but they disappear around here FAST after they hit the market shelves. Every autumn I stock up on a couple of bags of the berries. Both the raw berries and the cooked chutney freeze well so you can have this delicious topping all year round.cranberries

When people ask me if I use apricots, apple or raisins in my cranberry chutney, my answer is always “Yes!!” Yes to all off it. I like a huge burst of flavor in my chutney.

Forget the yucky can of gelatinous goo that is commonly known as cranberry sauce. It is so easy and fast to make your own sauce. Once you do that, I guarantee that you will never go back to the substandard stuff. Ooooh… (wince)… “guarantee” is such a strong word, but, yep. I guarantee it! Simple sauces can be found all over the internet, so go for it. You won’t be sorry. If you want a recipe for a fabulous chutney, read on.vinegar and spices

Cranberry chutney is a taste bonanza of sweet, tangy and spicy. It generally contains fruit such as apples, apricots and /or raisins plus vinegar. I did quite a few experiments to come up with my own favorite recipe. I like it so much that I double the recipe so that I can have chutney in many other dishes as well as a condiment at Thanksgiving.

Continue reading “Making a Healthier Cranberry Chutney”

Inspiring Paper Mâché

It’s very early morning and I’m surfing the web again. I ran across a couple of REALLY fantastic paper mâché art pieces. I have to tell you, right off, that not one piece of art in this post is my own (I WISH!)  I just wanted to share it with you because it is so darned inspiring. Of course, all links to the original artwork are included in my post.

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http://www.annwoodhandmade.com/paper-mache-teacup-pattern/

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Time to make another miniature chandelier!

Are you hooked on rustic French country style? I am too! I just can’t get enough of it, so when a gorgeous antique, wooden French chandelier jumped off the page of my home decor magazine… well,  I just knew that I  had to try to make it. NO! Not full sized, silly.  In 1/12 scale miniature for my little shabby chic cottage.

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Here is the chandelier taped up to the bedroom ceiling of my old English Tudor cottage just to show you how cute it is when lit. The walls and timbers that you see in the background are not finished yet, so no judging. 😉

Continue reading “Time to make another miniature chandelier!”

How to make resin elements with glue-stick molds

This is such an exciting discovery for me that I cannot wait to show you! I wanted to take the time to make better “after” pieces, but this idea won’t be patient. Seriously!

Back when I was heavy into rubber stamping, I used to make medallions and little elements for books, cards, assemblage (you get the idea) by stamping into hot glue-stick. Let the glue cool down, pull your stamp out and you have a really cool little art piece after you paint all over it.

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Run forward a few years and I am now heavily into scale miniatures. I’ve been scouring the internet for architectural elements that I can use to add to my French dollhouse walls, ceilings, pediments, etc. and, BOY! They are kind of expensive if you need a lot of them for your project. Hmmm…. I started to wonder if my glue-stick elements would make good molds for resin pours. After a messy, quick pour, voila! It works! (picture a crazy miniaturist jumping up and down here)headboard-on-miniature-bed

When I buy mixed lots of minis off E-bay there are always a few pieces of broken furniture included. And that’s OK, I can usually use them in some way. This is a junky little bed after super glued a resin piece to the headboard and painted it white. It turned out so cute that I will actually put some legs onto the bed and use it in my shabby chic cottage.

So, here is a run down on the how to’s.

Supplies:

  1. hot glue gun and glue sticks,
  2. black permanent ink
  3. rubber stamps (either clear or rubber, either mounted or unmounted)
  4. two part resin (get small boxes of two part resin in craft stores)
  5. a small piece of mat board (to hold your molds)
  6. paper towels, a small mixing cup and a Popsicle stick
  7. sandpaper, scissors and a craft knife
  8. Dremel moto-tool (optional)

Steps:

1. Select rubber stamps that will fit your need. If they are unmounted stamps, you will want to mount them onto something so that you do not burn your fingers while stamping into the hot glue.

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I chose these two stamps because the round one will make a perfect ceiling medallion and the other will be a furniture element. I used a piece of double stick tape to mount the stamp on the right onto a little piece of scrap wood.

2. Use black permanent ink to stamp the image onto a piece of mat board. This is so that you will know where to put the hot glue.

3. Use the glue gun to deposit hot glue onto the stamped image, going over the edges just a bit. My first “mold” had too much glue on it as you will see in the following photos. It isn’t a bad thing, but it looks sloppy and wastes glue.

4. Stamp lightly into the glue just up to the edge of the rubber stamp. Don’t push so hard that the glue gets onto the block or the foam rubber cushion (if you are using that kind of stamp). If you do, the glue will adhere to that part and mess up your stamp.

5. Wait until the glue has cooled down and peel your rubber stamp out of it. Now you have a mold!

6. Mix resin according to manufactures directions. Pour carefully into the glue stick mold. Try not to overflow the mold. If you do, wipe up excess with a paper towel. The more carefully you pour, the less clean up on the resin element you will have to do later.

7. Lightly tap the resin filled mold onto your work surface. This will allow any bubbles to rise to the top. Blow gently onto the resin and the bubbles will pop. This step is very important.

8. Let cure according to manufacturers directions. These little elements usually take only about 10-15 minutes. When solid, peel your resin piece out of the mold.

resin-right-out-of-the-mold
The top two pieces are the glue-stick mold and the bottom two are the resin pieces. You can see in the photo that I overflowed my molds the first time that I poured. If you do this, just wipe up the excess with a paper towel and toss. The nicer you pour, the less cleanup on the resin after it’s out of the mold.

9. While the resin is still softish, you can use scissors or a knife to whittle away overflow or little sprus. If the piece is too thick, use sandpaper to sand down the back of the piece.

scale-resin-elements
You can see that the permanent ink transferred to my little element which was great because I wanted to sand the piece after painting to give it that shabby look. I was glad that there was black underneath. If it did not transfer, I would just paint the piece the color of the wood, let dry and then paint with white to get the dark to show after the sanding.

I used super glue to adhere the little element to a junky bed headboard.miniature-resin-element

When the glue was dry, I got out the Dremel with a sanding bit and cleaned up my resin piece a little more.Dremel-cleanup

A white coat of acrylic paint transformed the bed and her new element. After sanding the whole thing, it began to look very shabby chic. What I thought would be a throw away bed is actually now going to be used in my little cottage.

DIY-shabby-chic-mini-bed

If you want to see how I made the “rusted” lamp above the bed, click on this link .

I hope that you will find this project useful in ways that apply to your own favorite craft. Happy experimenting!

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Easy DIY dollhouse lamp

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Looking for a cute and easy tutorial on a dollhouse lamp? And shabby chic too? Then you have landed on the right spot! I’m excited to share this 1/12 scale project with you because it was so easy, unique and FAST. Seriously, instant-gratification is my middle name when it comes to crafts. Maybe because every little step takes me so darned long that I get REALLY excited about a project that I can complete in one day.

Below is my step-by-step tutorial on a shabby chic hanging lamp for a 1:12 scale dollhouse. Naturally, it would work in other scales as well. I can totally see it in Barbie’s or Blythe’s house too.

LOL, ignore the dry hands that always have paint caked all over them. (grin)

light-tutorial

  1. The first step was to find something that would be cute in a dollhouse. This pendant is perfect! I got it at Jo-Ann’s fabric store.
  2. Next, I disassembled the pendant.
  3. Then I spray painted the little metal star shape with this kind of rusty looking paint.
  4.  When that was dry I was ready to assemble. In figure 4, you can see my components that I used for the light. I have a 3 volt battery and cell holder with an on-off switch, a 3 volt nano light, several beads, two jump rings and a chain.

Assembly: Thread the beads onto the nano light, insert into the star shape and close up with a jump ring and chain on top. Attach a little drop bead at the bottom of the fixture with a jump ring.  Thread the light wires through the chain and hook up as per manufacturers instructions.

I don’t have my lamp permanently wired yet because I’m not sure if it will go into this kind of modern house with a shabby chic bedroom or into my old English Tudor cottage. The little shabby chic bed is one that I am refurbishing. I often get broken junk in with my Ebay “lot” buys and that’s OK. I can always use parts. The fun thing about this bed is a secret that I will let you in on with the next post. Be sure to come back for the bed tutorial.

You can get the chip battery holders, lights and a whole lot of dollhouse lighting info at True 2 Scale. Check out their little kits too. They are adorable. I especially love the little glitter house kits.

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Miniature blogs for inspiration or just eye candy if you like

I’ve been surfing again! There are so many fabulous miniature blogs on the internet that I can’t even begin to cover them all. Miniaturists are a very giving group who readily share their knowledge and, boy, am I GLAD! It has saved me a ton of wasted time trying to figure out much on my own. Believe me when I say that I feel like I need to catch up in the mini world FAST! Hmmm… it may have something to do with age. 🤔 (grin)

Here are a few artists that inspire me to new mini heights (and sometimes lows when I wonder why I even bother with my own puny attempts. LOL, no pun intended on the “puny”.) Mostly though, I LOVE looking at the work of these amazing artisans and I hope that you do too. Continue reading “Miniature blogs for inspiration or just eye candy if you like”

Dollhouse build: second floor

The second floor of my dollhouse is coming along. I did get a little distracted from it and it’s all Les’ fault. He found a completed dollhouse in Hobby Lobby for an amazing price in the clearance section. The store was shipped two of the same display models so they wanted to dump one of them. Les excitedly brought it home for me. THEN, a couple days later, he was at the thrift store when he spotted another house. So he brought it home. YIKES! We have little room for all these houses, but what fun.

I’ve already stripped the thrift store house right down to the studs and will rebuild it into an old English Tudor cottage. The other house is a three story Victorian that I’m going to rebuild into a French Creole type house that you would find in New Orleans. Ah yes, big plans  – but I need to focus on this first house for now.

Soooo, the second floor bedrooms have already gone through several coats of paint in several different colors. I have finally made a decision as to which direction that I want to go with these rooms. The girl’s room will be this kind of pink-peachy blush color. The “wallpaper” is scrapbook paper. I made that patterned area a little high because I am envisioning some really cool artwork above the rail on the solid part of the room.

girl's-roomI won these two little unfinished chests in an E-BAY auction. Yes, I know that I said that I would build all of my own furniture, but I just cannot pass up a deal. Anyway, I think that I’ll paint them in the ombre style with the darkest color on the bottom drawer. I’ll leave the body of the chest natural with only a light, clear gloss coat on them. The bed will go between the chests. (As of right now, that is.  LOL  It’s all subject to change.)

On a side note of thriftiness: I found two brand new, in box,  4 foot wide x 2″, wood blinds for only $15.00 total at my local Restore. I cut them apart and now I have all kinds of strips of building material for my minis. Yay!recycled-blinds

For the master, I’ve decided to use the blinds, cut into little pieces, to make raised panel wainscoting. The wainscoting will be painted gloss white and the top part of the room will be painted a very pale grey. I also cut up the blinds to make a little window seat in what will be the reading nook.recycled-blinds-panels

You will probably remember that I was in the process of partitioning off the master bedroom to add a closet. For a while there I could not decide between a closet or a bathroom, but the closet won because I wanted a fairly large area to display tiny shoes, luggage, jewelry, toiletries, clothes and so on. I’m happy with the final shelving and think that it will work out well. A wall mirror will go into that open, middle space in the shelving.closet

Today, I will continue the work on the bedroom and get it painted and ready to install lighting.

Here’s to you and my wish that you have a happy, imaginative day as well.

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1/12 scale miniature French sewing kit

One of the Facebook groups that I’m in is The French Dollhouse. A recent challenge for the group was to make a French sewing box so, of course, I turned to Google to see exactly what a French sewing box would look like. What came up was several antique French kits for children. They were intended as gifts and were completely captivating. The kits were loaded with a child sized sewing machine, a dolly to dress, tools and several bits of fabric, lace, trims and notions. I would have LOVED one of those when I was a kid. Who am I kidding? I would LOVE to have one now!

antique-sewing-boxAnyway, this is my version of a miniature kit. I made everything myself except the tools and the sewing machine. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything with miniatures (about 20 years) so it was a challenge to get my fingers to do what I wanted.  I did try to make the tools myself. THAT was a disaster! 😜 Ah well, maybe next time.

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