Scotch Corner – Faux Fireplace

This was a little project inspired by Nick Offerman’s Christmas video, intended to warm up a cold office corner at work.

I started with Ana White’s beloved tutorial and adjusted to get the look I wanted. Following Ana’s cutting guide I had the guy at the hardware store cut all the piece for me when I bought them.

Shopping/equipment List: 

1 – 1×12 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×10 @ 6 feet long
1 – 1×8 @ 6 feet long
1 – 1×6 @ 10 feet long
1 – 1×4 @ 4 feet long
3 – 1×3 @ 8 feet long

1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
1 48″ square of plywood – This is an addition I made to Ana’s list to create the hearth.
White and black acrylic paint
Small can of dark wood stain
paint roller
paint tray or plate
painters tape
feather
sponge
wet rag
nail gun (you can use a hammer but this was way faster!)
I skipped the molding pieces Ana used for a harder look.
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Cut List:

1 – 1×12 @ 48″
2 – 1×10 @ 32 3/4″
2 – 1×6 @ 44″
4 – 1×3 @ 44″
1 – 1×4 @ 33 1/4″
1 – 1×3 @ 33 1/4″
1 – 1×8 @ 51″
4 – 1×6 @ 3/4″
2 – 1×6 @ 7″

I added a 34″ square cut from a 48″ piece of plywood which left me with a perfect 14″x 48″ remanent I used for the bottom to make more of a hearth.

 

Assembly

Following the Ana White instructions we just started nailing the pieces together. It went very fast from there. Nailing the back and bottom on it was important to measure where the 1×2 were behind it to make sure we centered the nails on them to avoid splitting or having the nails show through.

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we also took the risk on the bottom smaller pieces and nailed rather than gluing them and did not have any issues with splitting.

If your boards are bowed, you may want to grab some screws to press the board in flat, as the nails will not be strong enough for that.

Painting

This was the fun part!

I started with two coats of of a very dark brown stain. It took less than 5oz of stain for both coats. I used a cheap bristled stain brush.

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I wish I had more photos for the marble part but I will walk you through my steps. I watched several tutorials and then went with the following process:

First I prepared the area. Once the stain was dry I used painters tape to tape news paper around the edges and made sure my plywood was clean of dust and such.

For each of the paint mixing steps I started with white and added black little by little until I got the shades of gray I was looking for.

I started painting by adding just a couple drops of black to a good bit of white and using a foam roller to do a base coat all over the back and base. I did the few drops of black because I wanted the base color to be just a tad on the grey side. If you like the bright white you can skip that step.

Next I mixed my darkest grey – about 2/3 white and 1/3 black – and used the feather to draw the veins. I used the feather because it give the lines a lighter natural look than a paint brush. It is important your veins all move in the same general direction as this is how real marble would form. if you look I my photo you can see I went from top Left to bottom right generally.

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next I mixed a slightly lighter gray – maybe 1/4 or less black and 3/4 white. I got the sponge wet to help thin the paint and lightly sponged around the outsides of the veins. If it got too thick, I would use the wet rag and lightly dab or work in circular motions to lighten and add wispiness to the sponge paint.

The sponge part was the hardest part and I worked in layers, sponging on the original white base coat layer and then more of the lighter gray until I got the look I wanted.

Logs

For the logs I tried to follow this tutorial.

I used a box cutter and made random cuts in cardboard and then rolled the cardboard several times in both directions to add some wear and tear. I then took them outside and spray painted them with some leftover dark metallic spray paint, letting some of the brown show through to look like a smolder. I then taped two together and filled them with orange halloween lights. Finally, I used a couple remnants of wood from the cut pieces to prop them up in the hearth.

If I had thought of this earlier, I would have cut a notch for the light cord in the center back of my plywood before connecting it to the rest of the fireplace.

Finishing Touches

Once dry, I carried the fireplace upstairs and adorned it with some scotch glasses and a gold side table from goodwill and found a nice leather chair and some books from around other parts of the office to make it cozy.

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I really like the way it turned out. Skipping the moulding gave it that masculine Nick Offerman look and the lights, however costume-y actually make it feel warmer! I am on the lookout for something that will crackly and flicker a bit more but for now I think this is pretty good!

Happy Crafting!

Scrabble Cookies

This is less of a tutorial and more of an add on (courtesy of my sister) to the Bra and Pantie Cookies post from a while back.

Scrabble cookies

 

1. Naturally, we start with the basic sugar cookie recipe. When you roll them out, instead of using a cookie cutter, use a pizza roller, or knife to cut the dough into 120 1″ squares,  bake and let cool. I suggest doing this a day before decorating.

2. For the icing, you will need to make stiff meringue icing, adding water and sugar to meringue powder until it reaches a stiff consistency that you can pipe through a small round tip. Make sure to taste it first, you will know quickly if you have not added enough sugar. Separate into three bowls and dye one bowl black, cover and move to the side.  For the second batch you will pick your outline color. my sister decided to outline some cookies in pink to write me a message and some in white, but you can use whatever color you like!

Happy Birthday cookies

3. Make the same icing recipe, but with more water so that it will spread nicely between the outlines, and set aside. This is the background color so it is best left white.

4. Put the white thick outline frosting in a piping bag with a small round nozzle and carefully pipe around the edge of each cookie. This can be seen in the Bra and Panties tutorial. Let dry completely.

5. Once dry, use a larger round piping nozzle to pipe the softer icing into the middle. You may want a knife to help spread it to the edges so it completely fills in between the outline.  Let dry completely.

6. Now we add the letters and values. Use the picture below to carefully hand pipe each letter and number value. I suggest using the small round piping nozzle so you can get fine detail and more easily fix/hide shaky hands or mistakes. Let the black dry completely.

scrabble tiles

 

7. This step is optional. If you decided to make a colored outline, carefully outline each tile you want. My sister outlined my name and a “Happy Birthday” message, outlining the blanks between words and adding a pink heart in the center as well. This is where you can get creative though and do whatever you like! (or nothing if you prefer more authentic scrabble cookies).

full set of scrabble cookies

Et Voila! The best part is sugar cookies are better with age, especially if you are like me and eat them for breakfast dipped in your coffee. They also turn whatever area they are displayed in, into an ongoing scrabble game! Enjoy!

coffee and cookies

Edible Body Lotion

Oook, the title is a bit misleading. You do not actually want to eat this lotion, BUT it is all natural and safe in case the delectable cinnamon cocoa smell entices your infant to take a lick.  It is hydrating for skin and hair, goes on a bit oily but dries beautifully. The mica adds a little glow too, which I adore.

Home made lotionWhat you need:

1/2c Cocoa butter

1/2c Shea butter

1/2c Coconut butter

1/4c Almond oil

1/4c Cinnamon infused Almond Oil*

Mica Powder to your liking (or not at all. this is just for shimmer)

Jars with air tight lids to store it in

*To infuse just let the oil sit with a few cinnamon sticks for at least a week before making the lotion.

**For a stronger sent you could also infuse the whole 1/2c or skip the infusion and  add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix.

Infused Almond Oil

Directions:

1. Set up a double boiler on your stove and keep at a simmer.

2. Add Cocoa, Shea, Coconut and the non-infused Almond oil to the bowl.

3. Stir constantly until combined.

4. Remove from heat and let sit on the counter until it returns to room temperature.

5. Whisk in essential oils or infused oil.

Whipped lotion

6. Whisk in mica. START SMALL. A little goes a long way and you can always add more. I suggest testing it on your skin to see how much is shimmers as it drys on your skin before adding more.

Mica

7. Place in jars. I thought I was being clever and I used a pastry piping bag, but as there are not additives in this to keep the texture consistent, it becomes almost liquid when it gets too warm and solid when it gets too cold. Piping it falls under the too warm category and its a bit messy, plus you loose some of your “whip.”

piping lotion

8. Again, because it is temperature sensitive, I suggest keeping it in a consistently 65 degree-ish location. Mine is in the bathroom so its loose after showers and in the summer but hard in the winter, but still lovely to use.

These make amazing gifts – especially for hostess or party favors – Enjoy!

P.S.

These tutorials I found online for salt bath/foot soaks, lip and body scrubs go great with this lotion for gifts or if you just feel like pampering yourself. And for more awesome inspiration you can always check out my Pinterest page.

Pintastic Super Bowl Party

Sadly, the Broncos were massacred and our house of orange and blue turned to heavy drinking quickly, but I like to think the following recipes and printables kept spirits a little higher. I will definitely be turning these into party staples especially as we get closer to March Madness.

It all started when I came across this colored caramel corn recipe. I did not use koolaid, I simply mixed 15 drops of food coloring in with the baking soda on the side before mixing the soda into the caramel corn. Mixing the popcorn in the oven after it is coated is ESSENTIAL. I forgot about it and it was chewy. In hindsight, if you forget to stir just turn them into popcorn balls, don’t try and serve it loose.

The first caramel corn recipe is pretty, but not the best flavor, a little bland.  I mixed my blue caramel corn with the best caramel corn recipe ever (the darker corn pictured). This recipe has brown sugar instead of white and molasses which makes it a very dark caramel that is impossible to dye, but tastes oh so perfect.

mixed caramel corn

If there is a giant bowl of caramel corn there has to be a way for people to carry personal servings around and accidentally throw in the air when the Broncos score. Enter these perfect cone printable! Just roll and close with washi or clear tape and there you go. I printed them on blue and orange paper for the broncos, but you could do this with any team colors or no color at all.  The link also has a printable for cup labels. I used these for my party but found that people were not that into using them so I say don’t bother with that one.

http://snapcreativity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/printable_party_superbowl.pdf

 

Another fun food dying project that was perfect for orange and blue (but again works with any color) were these swirled sugar cookies. I made the dough a few days in advance and just left them in the freezer until the day of. This is a great time saver for when you know you have a ton to do the day of and just want to throw them in the oven. Plus you still get the house smelling like cookies when everyone arrives.swirl cookies

I wanted to make wings because they are the quintessential football food, but I really don’t like the process so I made this buffalo dip instead. It has shredded chicken, franks, cream cheese and sour cream in it and everyone that ate it couldn’t stop talking about it. Some people even added it to their salad. YUM!

rolling out crackersThe dip suggests using carrots, celery and ritz, but instead of ritz crackers I decided to make my own jalapeno Cheeze-its.

I doubled this recipe and added 3 roasted jalapenos chopped up into tiny pieces. For extra fun I used a round cookie cutter twice on each piece to make them the shape of footballs and instead of a toothpick to poke air holes, I used a three prong fork so it was more like laces.  

My big note on the crackers is that I had to bake them longer than the recipe called for and after they cooled I baked them again to make sure they were nice and crispy. Two days later, the leftovers are stale so I am going to bake them again and see if I can get another round of crisp out of them. Another plus, their orange for the UNITED IN ORANGE theme!

cracker footballs

For decorations I found this blog and went all out with their free printables.  I used the water bottle labels around  blue dixie cups and scattered the other around the living room and food. Then I took this football field buffet table idea and spun it with butcher paper and paint pens. I made one end zone the vintage Broncos end zone and the other a more modern version with the current logo.

football table cover

 

Broncos Flags

vintage broncosHAPPY PARTYING! (and pinning)

 

Jams

Its been a while. The world got crazy. But here I am again with a few good recipes made with apples, rose hips and grapes after a few frosts that lead to some pretty amazing Apple Butter and Grape Jam.

The secret here is that every jam follows a basic recipe of a few pounds of fruit, a package of pectin to give it the right texture, and a few cups of sugar to make sure it’s sweet. It all gets boiled down together into a delicious, sticky mess.

Lucky for me and my friends, apples, rose hips and citrus all have pectin naturally, and if you use enough, you can forego the store bought pectin. Even better, after the first frost (or the first few) all that freezing and thawing creates more sugar in the fruit, which means less refined sugar needed when you boil it all down.

The first recipe is more of a process for making grape jam than a recipe and it is specific to grapes that can be picked off the vine late, store bought will require more sugar.

Rose Hip & Grape Jam

Unfortunately, we did not take a ton of good photos of the process so you will have to rely on my descriptive writing skills to follow along 😉

Rose hips are a great source of pectin and the flavor is actually really nice, but they are a PAIN IN THE ASS to work with. The seeds are tiny and spiky, they fill the whole center of the rose hip and getting them out can lead to the total destruction of the tiny bit of fruit you are after.  These were free to us as we have a serious wild rose bush problem and were able to pick two pounds in an hour, but honestly, I am not sure they are worth the effort.

We washed all the grapes and removed the larger stems before pressing the grapes to get out all the delicious juice. After pressing we saved about two gallon ziplocks worth of pulp, not quite the whole two pounds.

Next we boiled the juice, pulp and a cup of rose hips (seeds removed) in a big pot with only 1/2c of added sugar. The real hard part was constantly stirring so that it wouldn’t burn (ok, we may have let it burn a little, oops). We did this for over an hour until a dollop on a frozen plate kept it shape. 

As someone who does not usually love grape jelly – this may be my new favorite.

Now apple butter. Also one of the easiest things ever. Again, this process is specific to apples that can be picked after the first frost or two, as store bought require more sugar which creates a different flavor, not bad just different.

apple butterWe boiled down as many apples as we could fit in our biggest pot with 3/4c apple cider vinegar. We did not add any sugar or pectin to this because late season apples have it all.

Luckily you do not have to sit and stir this, the apples will create plenty of juice to keep them rolling for an hour as they break down.

Once they are mash-able go to town (I used a potato masher) and then pressed the mash through a fine metal sieve (use whatever you might have in your kitchen, get creative! No need to buy a sieve) to get out all the seeds and weird bits that don’t break down.

Finally we boiled it all down again, this time stirring constantly for up to an hour until it passes the frozen plate test.

voila, delicioso!

Window Wallpaper

finished windows

I live on a busy downtown street with a busy alley running by my back door so I invested in pretty curtains early on.  However, I am sick of not being able to open the curtains without curious walkers by staring into my house – especially because I often forget to close the curtains until AFTER I get out of the shower.

The previous tenants had used diamond pattern frosted shelf lining on one of the windows in the kitchen.  It is only $8 a roll for sizable chunk but it looks old, has a sticky back which make removal an involved process and the tiny grooves make cleaning it a bit more difficult.

After a Pinterest search and a horrendous home depot experience I pulled my head out of my ass and zoomed over to McGuckin’s, my local hardware/we have everything store and discovered Etch Arts Wallpaper for windows! This will run you quite a bit more than the shelf lining, $20-$45 depending on how wide you need, but it is worth every penny.  Goes on with water, no adhesive, so while its wet you can easily move your pieces into place, no worries about bubbles or wasting sheets. 

This project ended up being SUPER easy – even those who consider themselves to have no crafting or artistic abilities should go for it!

I tried two different techniques for my windows, a stencil approach and a geometric shapes approach.

The stencils were really easy. I set my computer screen as bright as possible and was able to see right through and trace with pencil. I traced the utensils out on the paper side so there wouldn’t be any marks on the film, but then I didn’t want my words to be backwards so I traced those onto the film side.  After cutting the pieces out with an exact-o knife, the pencil erased right off with no marks so you can go either way. 

cut outs

What is awesome about this, is that anything you cut out can be used on other windows, as a computer or mirror decal – What?! AWESOME!

negatives

The geometric ones I went with because I wanted to see how far I could stretch the smaller sheets (ie spend as little money as possible) – the results were less privacy than the stencil technique, but work really well in the living room where we don’t need as much privacy.

I used my clear quilting ruler again and made a ton of pieces out of the scraps.

cut-outsThis is where it was really helpful to get the window really wet before placing the pieces. If there was plenty of water on the window I could easily slide the small pieces into place and play with how they fit in the frame.

triangles

The end result was better than expected!

Geometric

Mixer Cozy

My kitchen aid lives on the counter (as you may have seen in my second post) and with all the day-to-day cooking going on around it, the mixer often gets dirty between uses forcing me to clean it before every use.  I had the afternoon off and I came up with this awesome cover.

final

A few weeks ago when I was making a pair of short for my hubby’s Muddy Buddy team I found this awesome cupcake fabric on sale so I bought it for the stash knowing it would come in handy soon enough.  I also had left over quilt batting from a baby quit i made a few months back.  Looking up at my awesome filed fabric stash I saw the two and knew exactly what I wanted to do!

What you need:

measurementsCut the three pieces each out of your cover fabric, your lining fabric and your batting. My fabric has a clear direction so I made sure to cut all pieces keeping the cupcakes going top to bottom.

I wanted a little detail on the bottom of mine so I cut my long cover piece at 30×15 instead and then cut two 3.5×15″ yellow pieces and sewed them to the bottom before staring.

Next, you need to add the curve to the tops of your side pieces. I used a turned over 8″ bowl to get matching curves.

round

 

After your pieces are all cut, it is time to quilt them. Layer them so that the lining is wrong side up, then put the batting down and then layer the top fabric right side up – pin together and quilt.  I went with straight lines, but feel free to get creative here.

Once all of your pieces are quilted, pin the sides to the main piece rights sides together around the curve. I like to start in the center and work down to the ends. This way if your cutting was off you will be equally short on both sides and can fix the length at the end. Next sew the side in using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat on the other side.

Next, take your ribbon and hand sew it to the center top in a loop. I used a 1/2″ ribbon, but you could create a loop from extra fabric, or larger ribbon or even leave it out if you don’t want one.

ribbonOnce your pieces are all together, if the bottom is uneven, cut the fabric so that it is straight all the way around.

Then press the bottom in a half inch deep, roll over so the raw edges are hidden, and press again.  Then sew around the bottom to finish.  Another option here is to cut an inch off the bottom and use bias tape to finish.

photo

Other variations could be to add piping around the sides, or add pockets – make it your own and have fun!