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!

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A Super First Birthday

I have been dying to host a Super Hero themed birthday, so when my favorite little one turned one I jumped on the opportunity!

I started with the decorations. We have a chalk wall in the dinning room so I decided to show off some of Emerson’s big milestones:

fullsizerenderI have a little ways to go but I plan to fill in the diamond with favotire things to do, and in the section under teeth I write down favorite foods. It is the perfect focal poit to base the rest of the decorations around and will doubled as a photo backdrop!

Next my sister revisited the bra and pantie cookie tutorial to make some super cookies! She bought these comic thought bubble cookie cutters and then mixed up the frosting in primary colors. In the next round I think we will try more with contrasting outlines and some different polka dot techniques for more variety.

img_3231They turned out pretty cool looking and were delicious!

For the rest of dessert we decided to go with a home made Ice Cream Cake  but instead of chocolate we went with this Funfetti Cake from scratch recipe and then covered the whole thing in whipped cream that we died a bright comic blue to stay with the color theme. It was such a delicious combination I forgot to take a picture!

Finally I found some free printables on pinterest (and these) and use them to make a cute birthday banner, post comic thought bubbles around the house and make cute little cupcake toppers. Because we went with cake we just used the toppers for home made mini corn dogs instead that were a huge hit! We taped the Thank you banners to cellophane bags with the cookies in them for guests to take home as little thank you gifts.

Overall I was quite pleased with the outcome and I think the guests enjoyed it too!

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!

S’moregasm brownies

This was not actually my idea, but rather a glamping (glamorous camping) kitchen mash-up miracle created by the one and only Caitlin McKenna!

All you need is butter, brownie mix, vanilla, graham crackers and marshmallows. 

brownie prep

You could get a pre-made graham cracker crust but who wants to pass up the opportunity to break out the culinary hammer and a ziplock.  Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs while mixing (4-8tbs) and then press into the bottom of a greased 9×9″ brownie pan.

In the meantime, make your box brownies as instructed (Caitlin adds some extra magic in the form of a dash of vanilla) and pour the brownies into the crust.

smore pie

Then, grab your mallows and push into the brownie mix leaving the top quarter or so exposed.  We used the really big mallows and it worked really well but I imagine minis would be delicious as well.
cooked smoresWe baked at 8000ft of elevation so you may have to experiment, but we baked according to box brownie instructions and removed them a little early using the darkness of the mallows as a guide.  

They came out gooey and the mallows had melted into the brownie batter – sinfully delicious s’more variation. Enjoy!

And thank you to Caitlin again for the post!

Radish Refrigerator Pickles

Radishes are so delicious especially in the summer and they flood the farmers market just begging to be saved for the winter.  The more pickles I make the more I value vegetables that don’t require too much pre-prep and have a brine that doubles as a salad dressing – these definitely fit the mold.

radish boiling

This is based off a Pinterest find that I tweaked after finding there was not quite enough liquid and to add a bit more spice to make the brine more flavorful as a salad dressing.

I grabbed 3 large bunches of radishes from the farmers market – cut the greens off and save for radish green pesto 

Cut radishes in quarters (halves if they are small) and mix with the salt in a large bowl and cover with ice. Set aside.

In a medium size pot bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil.

Rinse off radishes and add to liquid. Bring back to a boil and then remove from heat and add to jars.

You can sterilize and process the cans or throw them into the fridge – your choice.

So beautiful, so delicious!

radishes done

Ingredients:

3 radish bunches

1/4 c salt

2 c  Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 c sugar

1.5 tsp Coriander Seeds Whole

1tsp Peppercorns

Bookworm A-Z

The crafts have been taking over, and I only have so much time before school books take over my brain again, so I have been re-focusing my would be craft energy into reading.  This change in focus caused me to peruse a different set of blogs than usual and I found myself looking for reading suggestions in other bloggers reviews and A-Z Book Surveys.  As much as I like to think I could write book reviews I thought better of it and followed the survey instead.

I hope it helps you find reading inspiration – Now hit the books!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

I have read an equal number of books by Terry Goodkind and Charlaine Harris – 12 in each series. However, Terry Goodkind is done with the Sword of Truth Series while Charlaine Harris continues to write Sookie Stackhouse novels.  I have also read a few Terry Pratchett books so who knows, Discworld could take the book count soon.

 SwordOfTruthSeries

Best Sequel Ever:

“Speaker for the Dead” Sequel to “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.

 speakerforthedead

Currently Reading:

“Milagro Beanfield War” and loving it.

 Milagro Beanfield War

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Coffee on Sunday mornings, tea in the winter, wine in the summer and water when I’m on the farm.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I’m definitely a physical book girl, even when it means a heavy bag while backpacking or traveling.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

In high school? Man. I was into brooding and athletic in high school (who am I kidding, that’s my type in adulthood too) – Tomas from “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Maybe or Oliver Wood, and Cedric Diggory from HP.

 Tomas

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

“Enders Game” – It taught me that I am a fantasy novel geek.

Enders Game

Hidden Gem Book:

“ Lamb” Christopher Moore

 lamb

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Junior year of high school, IB English Lit Reading List. Isabel Allende and Toni Morrison. Opened my eyes.

 the-house-of-the-spirits

Just Finished:

Grad school makes me boring – “Getting to Yes” by Fisher and Ury for the third time.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’ll read anything, but erotica generally bores me as do technical books.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

No clue. “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett was close to 1000 pages though, printed on an 8”x5” binding…

Pillars of the Earth

Major book hangover because of:

Wally Lamb’s “She’s Come Undone” and “Glamorama” by Brett Easton Ellis. Both were intense.

 Glamorama

Number of Bookcases You Own:

2.  I have overflow from my 6’x5’ bookshelf though, even after going two deep on a few rows, and the second one is full as well.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I have read all the HP books multiple times and will continue to pick them up again and again.  I deliberately pick up “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee periodically as well as a few other favorites.

 to-kill-a-mockingbird

Preferred Place To Read:

On the grass, in the sun or on the couch under a blanket.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

Reading Regret:

Not getting into fantasy novels until after college. I could have enjoyed myself so much more!

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Does Discworld count as a series? I read about five of those and would like to read more.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

“Half Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling. “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamont.

 The Red Tent

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Harry Potter. Always.

 HP Always

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Right now there are no books I am waiting on however “Ender’s Game” is FINALLY a movie!

 

Worst Bookish Habit:

The world becomes dead to me. I get totally engrossed and ignore anything and anyone around me until I’m done.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

“Cadillac Dessert” – Started it, but things got in the way. It is high on the list for next reads though!

Cadillac Desert

Your latest book purchase:

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.

 American Gods

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Every time I read “Deathly Hallows.”

Deathly Hallows

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!