Friday, May 27, 2011

Shirt and Tie - Father's Day Card Idea

I saw this card in a Paper Crafts magazine and thought it was a cute way to do a dress shirt card. I fused fabric on to interfacing to make it stiff and then I cut out the shapes. I machine stitched seams on the tie, collar and top of pocket. After gluing the tie and collar in place I stitched on the pocket - leaving the top edge open to put a mini picture of my daughter and I. On the inside of the card it says "Keep us close to your heart". 

Check out the other Father's Day ideas on my Dad's Day page.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

You are a Super Moto Dad - Father's Day Card Idea

My daughter and I made this card quite a few years ago - it was a "DAD" favorite. He is big time into motor bikes so of course this card went over well. What we did.... we found a toy truck in my daughters stash and dipped one of the wheels in black paint and ran it over paper. We repeated it a few times. I saw this idea in a magazine and thought it was a great idea. 

We personalized the inside of the card by adding pictures of dad and daughter on a day that we were out on a bike ride. So there you have it - a simple and cute idea for those bike loving dad's out there!

Check out my Dad's Day page for more Father's Day ideas.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Man Cake - Father's Day Breakfast Idea

I found this idea on the web last year and I knew I had to make it for Father's Day. Wouldn't you know it - I cannot find it to give credit to the brilliant creator of this. I have got to say that this was a BIG hit. My "man cake" was not as beautiful as the one I saw - but I think it took on itself its own unique personality and looked impressive nonetheless. My daughter and I could not stop laughing as we assembled it. It made us utterly giddy putting this thing together - good times, GOOD TIMES!
Then of course the serving of the "man cake" was a blast too. My hubbies eyes just about popped out of his head. He LOVED it !!!(see pic below)

He gave it a thumbs up!
This impressive mountain of a breakfast was pretty simple to make. The man cake that I got this idea from showed that they actually cut it like a cake. We didn't even attempt that on this one - it was too massive. We took pictures and then took it apart. My husband was able to eat the leftovers from this for a few days. The man cake is just layers of different breakfast ingredients.

The bottom three pancakes were the size of my large cast iron frying pan. The fourth and third pancakes I made smaller. You can use bacon instead of sausage ( that is what it had in the original one ).  I sliced the strawberries in half.
Tips: I have had some inquiries about the Man Cake, and have added the following suggestions:

When each item was cooked I put it in the oven to keep it warm. I was totally flying by the seat of my pants while making this, so if I do it again, this is what I would do to be better prepared....
1. Before I cook anything - do all the prep of stuff that doesn't need to be cooked because I learned I didn't have time to do it while things were cooking.  A couple examples - get the cake stand out, whip the cream, wash and cut strawberries, plates or pots to put food in to warm in the oven.
2. Prepare all the food for cooking - pancake batter, scramble eggs, layout bacon or sausage, etc.
3. I cooked the pancakes in three different sized pans. I basically spread the batter to cover the circumference of the pans to get the round shape. If you don't have different sized pans you could cook large pancakes and cut to the desired size. 
If you are doing this prepare a bowl before hand to be your template for the circle. The huge pancakes are hard to flip so be careful - I wrecked my first one. I realized I didn't cook it long enough. FYI - I made two batches of pancake batter. My recipe makes quite a few pancakes - so you will need at least two batches if not more, depending on the recipe you use. 
4. Cook the eggs last.
5. After everything is cooked, set up an assembly line of ingredients. If you have helpers set up a game plan of who is doing what before you start. You want to assemble as quick as possible so the food is still warm.
6. Make sure Dad knows he needs to come to breakfast/brunch at a certain time. We had a hard time finding dad last year. Basically when it is put together, you want to eat right away as it will have already cooled a bit with the assembly. 
7. Give yourself plenty of prep time. I thought I could do this in 30 minutes but it took more like an hour. 

This was a lot fun to make and the results were fabulous.

Check out my Dad's Day page for more Father's Day ideas.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Image Transfer Garden Picks - Tutorial

I love these garden sticks that I made. I have wanted to try image transferring with acrylic gel medium since my daughter asked me to buy it. She is an artist - and I love the ideas she brings home from art class. Here is how I made the garden sticks....

1. Make your transfer. Find images of the garden stuff you need and make labels on your computer. I found some of my images on the Graphics Fairy blog. I have links to the specific images below. Reverse all the printing. Take this to a copy place and get them to laser print the image. Cut out each transfer.

2. Prepare the wood - I put my transfers on basswood that I bought at Michael's. I wanted my garden picks to be vintage looking so I used wood. I originally was going to use tiles - and I might do that next year. I am not sure how these will fair out in the weather - but this is a creative trial so I guess I will find out. I did stain these so I am hoping that will protect them enough.

3. Cut the wood to fit each transfer. Sand the edges.

4. Now for the gel medium. I bought Liquitex Matte Gel medium. I went into Michael's to buy gel medium and there are so many different varieties that I didn't purchase it the first time around. The clerk at the store had no idea what to use so I went home to surf the internet and did some research on what to get. I decided on buying Liquitex matte gel medium.

5. Apply the gel medium to the transfer. In my studies I read that you can apply the medium with a brush or with your fingers. I opted for the fingers because it is less clean up. I only applied the medium on the image - but I did read with wood to apply it to both surfaces. I will try both surfaces next time.

6. Adhere the transfer on to the wood surface. Press out the bubbles and let dry over night.

7. Remove the paper. Wet the paper and remove it.

8. Wet the paper again and remove what you can. With the wood being very thin, it will curl up a bit - so try not to use an insane amount of water. Bits of the image came off during this process - which is okay for a vintage effect. I am thinking if I apply the medium to both surfaces in the future this won't happen - but it was okay for this project.

9. I used my fingernails to get some of the paper off - and then wiped again with a damp cloth. Getting the paper off took some time - but eventually it will come off. Let the wood completely dry before the next step.

10. Stain the wood. I did a couple of coats as these are going to be outside.

11. Collect and prepare stakes. I used some sticks from a broken lawn edge fence that I bought at a $store. I cut the ends to make a v shape.

12. Glue wood pieces on stakes. Let dry.

Here are three of my garden stakes with images I got from Graphics Fairy. Click on the words to 
go to the direct link....

 I added on some of these stakes "Ferguson Farms" to personalize it as that is my last name. 
This project was a lot of fun! I love trying new things.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barbecued Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

I discovered this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook and it has been a family favorite since. It is very easy and very yummy. A great recipe for summer!

1 tbsp brown sugar 
2 tsp. butter 1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 tbsp. soy sauce 
1 tbsp dijon mustard 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper 

1 salmon filet (2 1/2 lb)

In a small saucepan over med. heat, cook and stir brown sugar, butter and honey until melted. Remove from heat; whisk in the oil, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper. cool 5 min. Place salmon on a large foil sheet; brush with brown sugar glaze. Grill uncovered 10-15 minutes or bake placing fish and foil on a cookie sheet uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes  or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

I like to serve this with stir fried veggies and wild rice Sidekicks . 
Here's the recipe card...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stencil a Wood Planter

My neighbor asked me if I wanted a couple of wood hanging baskets that she wanted to get rid of. Of course I obliged! I took off the hanging accessories as I wanted them for a herb garden on my outside stairs. I also decided to stencil them with butterflies and dragonflies.

I cut a couple of dragonflies from the Home Decor Cricut cartridge, size 4 and 2.
I cut a couple of butterflies from the same cartridge, size 5 and 2.
I use cardstock that I have oodles of for my stencil.

1. Clean planter. I really just dusted mine off - I wasn't too fussy.
2. I cut the images so the stencil would fit where I wanted it to. I applied spray adhesive to the stencil.
3. Using a sponge dauber, I applied black acrylic paint. Wait a couple minutes and carefully take off stencil.
4. I applied the smaller stencil using the same technique in step 2. I used a scrap piece of paper to cover the wood planter along the edges of the stencil so I could fill in the stencil with black paint without getting the paint on the wood where I didn't want it. 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Make a Live Ivy Topiary

I have had this project on my "want to do list" for over a decade. It feels good to get this one off my list. I found this project in a book called "Creative Home Decorating". I do not have a green thumb - but I do try to have one. Making your own live topiaries has so many possibilities. Ivy topiaries I think would be the easiest - but I would also love to try making lavender and rosemary topiaries. One topiary down, two to go. Here are the instructions...

Plant ivy in desired pot. Make sure it is planted firmly. The ivy should have at least 2' long trails to begin creating a topiary form.

1. Make a wire form. Cut two 30" long pieces of galvanized wire or wire from a hanger. Make two lollipop shapes.

2. Join the two lollipop shapes by placing one inside the other to form a sphere. Twist the two stems together to secure. This can be reinforced by wrapping another piece of wire around the stems.

3. Place the topiary frame in the middle of the prepared pot. Working from the bottom to top, wind the ivy around the wire frame, covering as much of the wire as possible. The instructions from the book say to use galvanized wire pins to anchor the base firmly. I didn't have those - and I also found that my wire center was really flimsy, so I attached a steel skewer to the center. I am thinking next time I will use a wooden dowel when I make my lollipops.

I pinched off some of the ivy from the center stem and stuck them in the soil. I am not sure if they will take root and grow but I thought I might as well try it.

This is how the topiary looks at this point. The book has the following instructions for further care....

- keep the topiary in good shape by winding any new growth around the topiary form and pulling out dry leaves. 
- prune the plant regularly to maintain its unique shape. Pinch long shoots so the plant remains full and compact.
-with proper care, a beautiful ivy topiary can provide years of enjoyment.

Several different shapes can be made with the ivy. Try a star, a wreath, or even a spiral. There are so many creative possibilities!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Planter Makeover

We bought a couple of large plastic planters a few years back at Costco. We bought them because they were a really good price for the size. A lot of other people had the same idea. These pots are all over the place. I never really liked the color. We bought two of them and one was darker than the other. The dark brown didn't really match our house either. These pots had two strikes against them - they were all over the place, and the color - blah. It never occurred to me before I entered the world of blog land that I could paint them. All the spray painting projects I have seen motivated me to do this planter makeover. 

Doesn't it look so much better? Here is what I did. After cleaning and sanding the pots, I spray painted them with two light coats of "Prairie Grass" plastic spray paint. When the paint was dry, I rubbed on some grey acrylic paint with a cloth. I wiped the pot with a slightly wet cloth to reveal bits of the green underneath. After the pot was dry I sanded it lightly with steel wool to scuff it up a bit.

I love the way these pots turned out. They don't look like Costco pots any more. They also go with the sagebrush wreath I made for my front door. 

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Fiesta Panini Recipe

I borrowed a Panini cookbook from the library that had over 200 panini recipes in it. This was the first recipe I tried from that book because I had all the ingredients - and boy is it good. I made this again yesterday - mmmmm. I doubled the recipe and was able to cook up three large tortillas and three small ones. You should give it a try....
Here's the recipe:

Fiesta Panini
1/4 cup drained rinsed canned beans
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup sliced green bell pepper
1/4 cup cream cheese softened
1 tbsp salsa
2 - 6 inch flour tortillas
1 tbsp butter
4 slices bacon, diced and cooked crisp
1/2 c Montery Jack Cheese
In a bowl combine beans, corn and green pepper. Set aside. In another bowl, combine cream cheese and salsa. 
Brush one side of each tortilla with butter. Place on a work surface, butter side down, and spread with cream cheese mixture. Evenly layer with bean mixture, bacon and cheese on one half of the tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Fold tortillas over filling. Place sandwiches in a grill (panini grill, George Foreman, etc.) and cook until golden brown approx. 3-4 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes before eating.
Here's the recipe card....