September 2009


My sister-in-law sent me these links about applying fabric to walls as an alternative to paint or wallpaper.  Very cute idea, even for smaller objects that you want to dress up like this toy box—very cute!  Here are the goods from Sew Can Do:

Toy Box Redo: Plain to Punchy


I had this really great vintage toy box from my childhood nursery, but the stark white seemed too blah. I thought about painting it, but they don’t make no-VOC spray paint, so that was kind of out. Then I remembered reading about applying fabric to walls with liquid starch and thought why not try it on the toy box?


It worked like a dream! Super easy to apply and virtually goof-proof, since it’s easy to adjust when wet.

Here’s how to do it:

– Get some liquid starch (available at any grocery store)
– Apply with a paintbrush directly to the fabric and then apply wet fabric to hard surface.
– Smooth it out with your hands to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles and adjust position if needed
– Do another layer of starch over it with the brush again.

The best part is that it’s easy to remove without damaging either the fabric or the item underneath.


I loved how it worked out so much I took the leftover scraps and carefully cut out the shapes and applied them to the wall to add some design to my new peach paintjob. I didn’t like the positions of a few of the shapes on the wall, so I just peeled them off and reapplied the same way – no mess or damage at all! You can even wash the fabric to reuse for something else later. The ultimate recycling project;) I wish I’d have learned about this trick years ago when I fiddled around with messy stencils and stamps as wall art – they never turned out half as nice either.

And here is the nitty-gritty from Rental Decorating Digest:

If being budget conscious is necessary for you, understand that fabric prices vary and could actually run into quite a bit of money depending on your tastes – this can be easily remedied by discount fabric stores and clearance sales.

The good news is when you remove the fabric from the wall, all you will need to do is wash it. It can be easily re-used for another craft project, good as new!

Keeping all that in mind – let’s get busy.  These simple instructions will help you apply and remove your fabric.


Materials:

  • LINIT® Starch OR LINIT® Starch-n-Crafts™ Stiffener
  • Fabric
  • Clean sponge or paint roller
  • Pan

Process:

  1. Wash the wall to remove any dirt or film.

  2. Lightweight fabrics, such as polished cottons, ginghams, and chintzes, are easiest to use. Measure from the floor to the ceiling and add a couple extra inches.

  3. Cut the fabric accordingly. If fabric has a design, be sure to match the design before cutting the next panel as when using wallpaper.

  4. Pour starch into a clean pan or paint pan or spray on if using stiffener (see Tip section if using spray stiffener). Apply starch to the top half of the wall with a sponge, paint roller or spray on if using spray stiffener.

  5. Smooth fabric into place at the top of the wall, leaving about one inch to be trimmed later. Use push pins to hold the fabric temporarily in place. Apply more starch going down the wall as needed until you get to the floor, leave approximately one inch overlap at floor level.

  6. Apply starch to the top of the fabric, brushing and smoothing the fabric in place to remove bubbles and wrinkles. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.

  7. Work your way down the panel, continuing to sponge or spray starch onto the wall, smoothing the fabric, and applying more starch.

  8. Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge. Repeat steps.

  9. Around windows and doors, leave a one inch overlap as with the ceiling and floor.

  10. Fabric overlap should be cut when the fabric is completely dry. It will then cut clean and easily and any shrinkage will have occurred before you trim.

When Using Stiffener in Spray Bottle: Be sure to mask edges of ceiling & floor to avoid over spray. To Remove Fabric From Wall: Peel one corner loose, then gently begin to peel the fabric off of the wall panel by panel. If the fabric does not peel easily, dampen the fabric with water using a wet sponge and it should come right off.

Whether you choose to cover your entire wall or only a portion, you will enjoy the look of a professionally decorated room, without the permanence of paint or wallpaper!




I found a great blog from The Whole Child: An Integrative Pediatrics Blog today and LOVE this idea.  With cinnamon having natural antibacterial properties (see Care2 for even more details), and the cold and flu season coming, our family needs all the help we can get.  I will definitely try this out.  See an excerpt from the blog below:

The Secret of Thieves

The NY Times “Really?” column today profiles cinnamon oil as a natural antibacterial, part of my home-made essential oil hand sanitizer recipe modeled on the infamous “Thieves” blend.  What is this “Secret of Thieves”?

Props to Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO), the company that has popularized “Thieves” as a natural alternative to chemical alcohol-based sanitizers.  Their blend is a patented mixture of cinnamon bark, clove, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oils.  I have adapted this blend of oils for use as a DIY hand sanitizer, adding 1-2 drops of each oil (but 5 drops of the lemon oil – or grapefruit or orange, if you prefer) to a small dispenser bottle filled with filtered water and 1 tsp aloe vera gel.  We use it at the Whole Child Center and it’s been the feature of my last 2 Earth Day presentations at my children’s school.   We even made a cute how-to video.

I was looking at sandwich recipes (uninentionally) and saw one with a croissant—my WEAKNESS!  I am trying to try out the gluten-free diet to see if it helps my son and myself, however it is SO difficult and life changing.  Well, I started to wonder if there was such a thing as a gluten-free croissant and I came across this AMAZING blog, I’m sure I will be using a lot.  Below was her post—great photos!  Thank you so much Gluten Free Gobsmacked!

Gluten Free Homemade Croissants!

with 50 comments

Dear reader or fellow gluten-free lifestyler,

Do you know what I ate two nights ago for the first time in eight years? Something so delicious and delectable that I practically made myself ill because I couldn’t resist and I ate THREE of them! I’m talking about homemade gluten-free chocolate-filled Croissants. Yeap. Catch you breath. I said the magic word – CROISSANT and GLUTEN FREE in the same sentence.

Last December, I was emailed a recipe that I just wrote about for Crescent Rolls. I had been wondering for VERY long time how I could make croissants to eat with my morning latte filled with chocolate (or not) or fill with turkey and cheese or whatnot for lunches. Typical croissant recipes require yeast, milk, the gluten of flour to create the flaky layers, and resting/rising time that most gluten free recipes cannot duplicate. However, with super slight modifications from the recipe I posted for crescent rolls, I have been able to make croissants the last few nights that I have been enjoying for breakfast and lunch.

Homemade Croissants

It is a welcome change of pace for my taste buds.

The beauty is that this same technique (the rolling, turning, frozen grated butter) that has made the most tender and flaky pastry can also be used for filo dough. In fact, I have a little part of my mind planning to make some more baklava this weekend – oh babee! I’ve made baklava before following Rebecca Reilly’s recipes (Delish, by the way. This is a cookbook to own if you like to bake and also have to bake gluten-free. However, I was truly missing the flaky and tender pieces of filo dough that you normally have in baklava. I was curious about whether this dough would work for that – but was only convinced after my can-eat-gluten-but-doesn’t husband gobbled up a couple mini-croissants and exclaimed “Wow, Katie, you could make the best filo dough and baklava with this stuff.” Done. That’s *so* next on this baker’s agenda.

In the meantime, if you have some time on your hands and plenty of butter on hand, please make some croissants! You won’t regret it, I promise. You can fill them with whatever your heart desire. And trust me, you will want more of these buttery, flaky, tender croissants. I wish I could tell you what they are like on Day Three, but the ones I’ve made have yet to make it past Day Two!

In fact, for the first time ever, I’m rather bummed that my colleagues aren’t wondering what I’m eating for lunch because it looks so “normal” to them. It surprised my last night when that thought crossed my mind. Then I realized, they are usually curious about what I’m eating because they haven’t often seen quinoa salads or eaten homemade risotto or rice balls with smoked salmon. For once, when I want them to jump up and down with me on the desks at lunch, they are painfully unaware of my triumphant, scrumptious lunch. Meh. It’s for the better. They would all just want a bite anyway. LOL

My lunch today includes a croissant filled with turkey/white cheddar and one filled with broccoli/white cheddar cheese. I’m in heaven, don’t ya know. In fact, breakfast? Yeap. A croissant dunked into my coffee. Man, I’m bad! I have definitely had my butter intake for the next – oh – month or so, lol. But that’s okay. I am enjoying exploring the kitchen again.

This recipe takes time to prepare (more like time to roll out repeatedly and refrigerate), but after reviewing many gluten recipes for croissants over the last several years, the time is actually less involved than for traditional croissants.

I’m not good at rolling them up to look perfect, and have decided to stick with the mass-rolling technique of keeping them straight. Or, in the case of the ones filled with cheesy goodness or chocolate, I actually rolled them up a bit more like an egg roll + crescent to keep the filling within the croissant and not all over the baking pan. You can even seal in the goodness by filling, rolling over one flap over the top of the filling and brushing the edge with some beaten egg and folding up a *bit* (like 1/4″). Once you’ve done that, you can roll it like a crescent/croissant.

I do hope you try this recipe, please tell me if do! I’d love for us to keep this one on the exploration front – it’s worth it! Here are the basic steps I followed. Keep in mind that the croissants will NOT puff up/rise (there’s no yeast here) nor will they be as large as the ones you see at the market.

First, prepare batch of the crescent dough with the modifications I used plus a few others. I have retyped the recipe here because I have added a bit more of a few ingredients like cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda, sugar and an additional flour (sweet rice flour).

I have also uploaded pictures of the steps (rolling) for you if they will help as well. Although, let me just say this, photography + massive amounts of sweet rice flour….. well, they just don’t always mix. LOL

Here’s the overall step-by-step picture. You can find details that explain each image on Flickr too. Just click on the big picture and it will take you to the Flickr page where you can read more.

Making Croissants

GF Croissants
Recipe makes 14 small-medium croissants.

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, (8 Tablespoons) slightly softened
1 stick of butter, frozen
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cottage cheese
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF cream cheese
1 cup GF Flour Mix (rice-based or sorghum-based)
2 Tablespoons of sweet rice flour + 1 ½ cups sweet rice flour for rolling
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 eggs, beaten (to seal the croissants closed and brush on the croissants before baking)

Directions:

  1. Cream together softened butter, cream cheese, and cottage cheese until whipped, creamy and semi-yellow in color (about 3-4 minutes)
  2. Add GF Flour mix, 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and sugar. Mix together until the dough comes together – mostly away from the sides and begins to form a ball or lump in the middle of the mixer (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Shape into a disk and place into a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least two hours, overnight preferred.
  4. Grate the frozen butter (I used my food processor) and put it into a freezer-safe storage container/bag. Return grated butter to the freezer until you are ready to use. (By the way, it will store indefinitely like this.)
  5. Work in a cool place or consider refrigerating the dough after Step 9). Place parchment paper, sweet rice, grated frozen butter, and the rolling pin on a large surface that you can easily reach to roll the dough thinly.
  6. Remove dough from the fridge and divide into fourths. Return 3 of the 4 to the Ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator.
  7. Reshape this ¼ piece into a disk quickly. (Try to touch the dough as little as possible in order to keep it as cold/cool as possible.)
  8. Generously dust the top of the parchment paper. Place the dough disk into the center on a generous amount of sweet rice flour. Generous dust the top and side of the dough. Cover with another piece of floured parchment paper. Roll the dough as thinly as possible (about 1/8 of an inch or so). You should be able to see through the dough partially. I was able to roll the dough about 22” long and about 15” wide.
  9. Turn the dough lengthwise. Generously sprinkle the middle 1/3 of the dough with the grated, still-frozen butter. Fold up the bottom third of the pastry over the top of the middle third. Sprinkle the grated, still-frozen butter over the top of the part you just folded on top. Fold down the top third of the dough to cover the center/butter again.
  10. Turn the dough and fold in any edges that are thin or not part of the folded center. Generously dust the top, sides, and bottom (lift the dough gently to push flour underneath) of the dough. Repeat the rolling and butter sprinkling (Steps 8 and 9) one more time. You will sprinkle the butter on twice and roll out three times.
  11. After the second sprinkling of butter and folding, turn the dough again and roll the dough out for it’s final time, once again rolling it as thinly as possible. Work quickly at this point as the dough is beginning to warm up again.
  12. Lift off the top parchment paper and divide the dough in half with a pizza cutter. Leave the dough lying flat along the parchment paper.
  13. Divide each half into long triangles with the pizza cutter. You will end up with 4 large triangles for each ¼ of the dough. At this point you may fill your croissants with pieces of dark chocolate or turkey/cheese, etc by placing your filling on the wide end of the triangle.
  14. Roll the croissant up from the wide end carefully (as the layers are thin). Seal the end (to keep it together during baking) by brushing beaten egg onto top ½ inch before finishing the roll. Shape into a crescent moon shape or leave in a roll.
  15. Brush the completed croissants with beaten egg (this provides them with a golden brown or they will turn a dark brown while baking).
  16. Lay the complete croissants on parchment paper and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Repeat steps 7 through 15 with the remaining dough. OR bake the first batch, see what you need to adjust and then bake the others. The dough will keep refrigerated for two days.
  17. Bake the croissants at 375F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!
-Kate

I love these ideas, I wish I had known about the vellum idea for my wedding—how beautiful!!!!  Also, the accordian idea I LOVE—I am putting it on my craft list now.  Thank you Martha and the crafs dept. for this!

I love this idea for using your photos (printed on vellum) as a glowing summer centerpiece. Get the full how to here.—–

If you’re throwing a party for someone’s anniversary or birthday, the guest of honor will shine with a set of photo frame lanterns. They consist of three hinged photo frames set around votive candles. The black-and-white photos are printed onto ecru-colored vellum paper, which is translucent enough for the images to be visible by candlelight.

Photo Centerpiece How-To
Disassemble three like-sized frames, setting aside their fronts and discarding their backings. Paint or stain wooden frames desired color; let dry. Upload or scan photographs into a computer. With editing software, make the images black and white, and resize them to fit your frames. Print them onto vellum paper with an ink-jet printer. Slip the images into the frames. Using cloth tape, hinge frames together to form a triangle. Stand frames around a candle in a protective glass holder.

Sources
Colored bookbinding tape; $1.75 per foot; NY Central Art Supply; 800-950-6111 or nycentralart.com.—-

I’ve always loved the sophisticated look of this accordion frame. The photos are printed out on matte inkjet paper and glued to art boards. It’s so simple, but looks like a real work of art. See the how-to for attaching the hinges and mounting the photos here.—-

These frameless photographs are mounted on sturdy art boards and linked by small hinges for an accordion structure. Color and black-and-white snapshots, portraits, and still lifes add to the effect.

Tools and Materials
Small craft brushes
Acrylic craft paint
Precut 5 3/4-by-7 3/4-inch art boards
Decoupage glue
Ruler and pencil
T pin
Screwdriver
Small hinges and screws

Accordion Gallery How-To
Use as many art boards as you like, applying pictures to one or both sides of each panel.

1. On a computer, resize photographs to 5 3/4 by 7 3/4 inches, and print them.

2. Using a small craft brush and the acrylic paint, paint the edges of each board. Let dry.

3. Position one picture on one face of each board. Using another small craft brush, apply decoupage glue to back of each photograph. Attach to a board; let dry. Glue images to reverse sides of boards if desired.

4. Decide upon an order for the photos. Use pencil to mark the placement of the hinges. (Ours were 1 3/4 inches from the top and the bottom of each board and aligned with one edge).

5. With the T pin, bore small holes through the boards where screws will go (this will make it easier to insert the screws). Using a screwdriver, attach the hinges, and link the boards to one another.