Friday, July 30, 2010

Wall Display How To

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

I found these amazing shelves at a garage sale over a year ago. They are made from old wood and vintage hardware, and I just couldn't pass them up.

Then, months later, I found these Monet prints at another garage sale (I am MADLY in love with Monet!), and I knew I they would be great with those darling shelves.

When I finally decided where I wanted them - in my bedroom, I was pretty intimidated about just how to go about hanging them.

I finally got up the courage a few weeks ago to tackle the project. First, I placed each shelf on butcher paper and marked around in to create a pattern, and cut it out. I also carefully marked where each shelf hanger was (they were in different places on each shelf) so I would know just where to drill the holes. I also made paper patterns for the 3 Monet prints that I wanted to have on the shelves.

Then, using a level and some painters tape I arranged and rearranged the paper patterns on the wall until I had the perfect arrangement. It was just too easy to drill the holes, right through the paper, in the exact right spots. Then I just hung the shelves. And although it looks like the prints are just sitting on the shelves, they are actually hung on the wall to keep them securely in place (this is earthquake country after all).

(This picture does not really do it justice since the lighting in my bedroom is bad, but it really does look great.)

I am really happy with how it turned out, and I am so glad I took the time to pre-plan my wall display because it saved me a lot of hassle and heartbreak.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going Buggy with the Crafts at Girls Camp

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

I got to be the gal in charge of the crafts at our church's girls camp a few weeks ago. That meant I got to spend a week up in the beautiful mountains, instead of in the sweltering desert heat, with a bunch of darling girls who just load on the hugs and complements and happy vibes. How could I say no?

The theme this year was B.U.G.S (which stood for Bringing Upright Girls to the Savior) and so everything at camp had something to do with bugs. I had fun trying to come up with some bug-themed crafts that the girls would have a ball with.

First, being the Stampinnut that I am, I decided to have a card making table out at all times so that they could make cards whenever they had some free time. I had all kinds of bug stamps and bug punches, and bug papers for them to play with. There are mailboxes at camp, so the girls really enjoyed making cards for their friends and leaders. I cut and folded an entire ream of white card stock into blank cards, and they used every last one of them.

Another craft that was a huge hit were the fabric flowers that I love so much! I had a ton of fabric scraps and big buttons, and the girls had so much fun picking out fabric, running them through the Big Shot with the huge flower die, and then sewing them together. They were very creative, and there were some fabulous flowers blooming all over camp to attract all those bugs!

Another project that I came up with for the girls were washer necklaces. The girls could stamp on them with StazOn, or hammer their name into them with the iron letter stamps, or both. Then they hung them them on narrow ribbon and slipped a silver bead on them. They were a real hit with the girls.

Finally I came up with a whole bunch of fun bug magnets for the girls to make - butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, ladybugs, and worms.

We made them out of everything from mini clothespins, glass beads, and beads, to pearl pins, paper, and wire. I went a little crazy. I just kept thinking of other bugs we could make! Someone call the exterminator!!!

Here is how we made the easiest of them, the glass button butterfly magnets. Punch the images from card stock with a 1 inch round punch. Then set it on the table, face up. Put a nice pea-sized glob of E6000 on the flat side of the glass and press it down firmly onto the picture until you can see that all of the glue has spread to the edge. Turn it over and let it dry. Then use the same glue to add a round magnet to the back. Done. Very easy!

You can also punch your circles out of decorative paper, or even small photographs. Or, you can use the smaller glass stones, and glue thumb tacks on the back instead to make decorative tacks. The possibilities are endless!

I know I went a bit buggy with the crafts at girls camp. It was a ton of work, and I don't know if I will do it again, but I know the girls, and leaders, for that matter, had a great time making all of these fun buggy projects!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oh My Darlin' Clementine!

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

I found my new happy place!

Yesterday I was running around doing errands, returning some unused craft supplies to our local Michael's with my 4 year old, and I happened to glance over and see a new shop that I had never seen before tucked into the corner between the Michael's and the Trader Joe's in Palm Desert. Intrigued by a big white Eiffel Tower in front, I ventured toward the shop rather than heading straight to my car as I was planning, due to the 115 degree desert heat.

I'm so glad I ventured! I discovered this place - Clementine Patisserie & Boulangerie! When I read the word patisserie, a little bell started ringing in my mind! Ding, ding, ding! FRANCE! Ever since my trip to France last summer I have been dreaming about the dazzling and delectable displays of pastries, and the inviting Parisian shops. Could I have possibly found a place like that right here in my own backyard?

When I stepped through the door into the cool of the shop a friendly French voice said "Bon Jour!" and that bell in my mind started ringing again. I knew I had found it! Oui!

Clementine is tiny, but visually so full! So many pretty and delicious things to look at that if it was any larger it would simply be overwhelming. It is not overwhelming - it is simply, well, whelming. It is perfect!

It is just hard to know what to look at first? The absolutely fabulous decor? The boutique selection of pretty European products? The beautiful baguettes, croissants, and boules? Or the pastries?

It's the pastries!

Oh, the pastries! Did I mention FRENCH pastries? Ooh la la!

Tea cakes, tarts, and hot lava cake. Since my little guy, Luke, was with me, I let him choose one for us to share. He picked a chocolate caramel crunch cake - the size of a cupcake, but denser and richer than a brownie with a large dallop of caramel on top. Luke chose well! Really wonderful!

Since we were on a bit of a schedule, we had to run, but I found myself smiling the whole drive home, charmed by this little spot of wonderful right in the middle of the scorched desert. I felt like I had had a little taste of Paris - a mini vacation in all of about 20 minutes.

I called my mom and told her I had something I wanted to show her, and made a date to pick her up the next afternoon. We shared trips to Italy and France together and I knew she would love it.

Mom had no idea where I was taking her, but she is always up for something wonderful, so she was in. When we drove into the Michael's parking lot she was a bit bewildered, I think, since I am no fan of Michael's. "Are they carrying a new line of craft supplies or something?" But then I directed her away from the craft giant to the little shop in the corner... Clementine!

Mom went straight to the pastries too... after taking it all in and catching her breath, that is!

We tried samples of the Fleur de Lys bar - a cookie bar piled with EVERYTHING! Really. Yummy! There were also the darlingest little petit fours, and something entirely new and fabulous - cheesecake pops! Cheesecake on a stick! Can it get any better?

Oh, and then there were the cupcakes!!!

If you know anything about me, you know I am a huge fan of cupcakes. Huge!

It happened to be Bastille Day, so they had some fantastic red, white, and blue - um, I mean blue, white, and red cupcakes to celebrate the French holiday. Vive la France!

But even if you don't celebrate Bastille Day, there are still plenty of other cupcakes to devour, like the one on the bottom left. Yep. Those really are chocolate dipped potato chips!!!

(Can I just say that I LOVE taking pictures of food!?! I mean, really, is there anything more beautiful than food?)

Of course, there were some lovely baguettes, boules, croissants, and biscotti. I couldn't walk out the door on my first visit without a baguette under my arm like I saw so many Parisians doing.

Besides the baked goods, they also served tea and coffee, and for me, a Pellegrino Limonata- an Italian sparkling lemonade - to cool me off! A man from Italy popped into the shop. He had spied the Pellegrino Limonata in the window, and had to have one. He said it reminded him of his childhood. Lucky kid.

One corner of the shop is set up as a pretty little French boutique with European food products and such, like this tub of honey - so pretty I'd by it just for the tin!

The trays and dishes look just like French and Italian pottery, but are really melamine, and very affordable!

There was just so much to look at, and so much that I wanted to taste!

In time.

The owners, Christophe and Jennifer are delightful!

His was the friendly voice of greeting wishing us "bon jour" when we arrived, just like they do in every shop in Paris. He is from France and a European trained chef. Jennifer is an American who lived much of her childhood in Italy. They married, had two beautiful sons, and Christophe decided that the restaurant business was no place for a family man, so he hung up his apron, and together they opened Clementine. They both agree they are the perfect team. Christof is not just a chef but has a head for business, and Jennifer is the creative genius behind it. She decorated the place! I think I want to live there!!!

Clementine has only been open less than 2 months, and it doing well, which is particularly amazing considering not only the economy we are in where businesses are closing left and right, but that it is the dead of summer here, and most definitely the off season. Christof said that they decided to open in the off season, because they knew that if they could make it in the off season when all the seasonal visitors are away, than they would be a success. They want to focus on the locals - get them to become regulars! So wise. As a local, I am happy to help with that!

They were so fun to talk to. They told us of some of their plans for the shop, and their ideas, and their family, and, of course, France. The other customers who were there were also involved in the conversation - just like neighbors do!

If you are a local, drop in for a visit! You'll become a regular too. If your not, you have two options: visit Palm Desert (I would suggest sometime between November and April if you can't take the heat) or else go directly to Paris.

After much mouthwatering deliberation, mom and I decided to share a pear tart - so Parisian, and an Italian cannoli. Christof was so good to heat up the tart in the oven for just a few minutes for us - just enough for the center to get soft and warm - every bit as delicious as the ones we had in France. It was amazing, as was the cannoli! And we heard similar reviews from the lady at the other table devouring her berry tart.

It all reminded us of France and made us both want to go back!

Someday. But until then, at least we will have Clementine - my new happy place!

Clementine Patisserie & Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Help for Our Book Club

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

Last month, it was my turn to host our book club. I chose The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I'm so glad I did! It was one of the best book I have read in a long, long time! If you are going to treat yourself to a great summer read, make sure it is this book!

But this is not a literary review, it is a creative blog, so let me show you how I got creative with the book club.

An important part of the book was the Jackson Junior League Annual Ball and Benefit for the Poor Starving Children of Africa.

The Benefit, as they call it, included a silent auction, so I made the table look like the silent auction at the Benefit. There were things like silver candle sticks, embroidered hankies, a Tiffany collectible plate, an antique lace runner, and some embroidered pillow cases - just the kinds of things those ladies of Jackson would have bid on. I made bid sheets for each item, and even signed them in different handwriting by different characters in the book.

At the Benefit, some of the hottest items up for bid were the baked goods handmade by the help - especially this; Minny's Chocolate Custard Pie! If you read the book, you might be gasping right now. The ladies in my book club were actually brave enough to taste this one, though a few of them looked a bit hesitant. Don't worry. I didn't use Minny's secret ingredient this time.

Yes, Miss Hilly Holbrook. This one is for you!

I got the recipe on this blog. It was yummy.

And I also HAD to make Minny's famous Caramel Cake. The recipe for the frosting came from the author herself and it is INCREDIBLE!!! Basically, it is candy spread on top of a cake. Yum! No wonder it got top bids at the Benefit!

Never Fail Creamy Caramel Icing - from The Help

2 1/2 c. sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1 stick of butter
3/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla

Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in iron skillet slowly, until brown and runny. Mix egg, butter, remaining sugar, and milk in a saucepan and cook over a low flame until butter melts. Turn the heat up to medium and add the browned sugar. Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage or until mixture leaves sides of pan. This takes about 10 minutes. Remove from fire, let cool slightly, and add vanilla. Beat until right consistency to spread. If it gets too thick add a little cream. This will ice a 2 layer cake.

Reprinted by permission from The Junior League of Memphis, Inc. from “The Memphis Cookbook” © 1952; recipe submitted by Mrs. Phil Thornton, Jr.

It was so fun to be able to throw a fancy ladies' shindig and use just a little bit of my huge milk glass collection (thank you garage sales!) That punch bowl is my favorite piece! In it I had my favorite pretty party punch. It is so light and yummy! Here is the recipe:

Raspberry Lime Punch

1 can frozen concentrated apple juice
1 can frozen concentrated white grape juice
2 bottles ginger ale
1 pkg frozen raspberries
1/2 bottle sweetened lime juice (in the liquor section) - This is the secret ingredient!

And then, as a surprise, my friend Elizabeth brought us a little southern comfort - fried green tomatoes! It was kind of exciting, as I have never tried them before. The Help is set in the South, and it even mentioned fried green tomatoes, but I wasn't about to attempt them. Thanks for the treat, Elizabeth! They were delicious!

The food was good, and the book discussion was great. What a lovely evening with the ladies!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ric-Rac Rose Beads

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

Attic Gal Alysa, this post is for you! (which is good, since you might be our only reader - besides myself, of course.)

The other day I was flipping through some fun blogs and I came across this great idea. Later I was at Wal-Mart, and saw some ric-rac and remembered it, so I grabbed the stuff I needed to make this darling necklace. It was really, really easy!

Unfortunately, I can remember what blog I saw it on, so sorry for not giving credit where credit was due. :( She said that a member of her family had returned from a mission to Brazil with gifts of necklaces like these for them. The ladies looked carefully at the fun necklaces and realized that the rose beads were made simply with ric-rac, so they tried it for themselves. Well. I had to try it too!

All you do is string beads with a needle and strong beading thread. When you get to the place in the necklace where you want a roses bead, you simply roll up a length of ric-rac, as tightly as possible until you get the rose to the size you want, then cut the rest of the ric-rac off. I would recommend uncoiling the first one so that you can use it to measure all the others strands of ric-rac so they will all be the same size, then roll it back up again. For a nice medium sized rose with medium sized ric rac, I cut mine to 12 inches.

Then simply stick the needle of the beaded strand right through all the layers of ric-rac. Be sure that you poke the needle into the rose close to the cut end of the ric-rac, that it goes through the middle of the rose, and that it catches the outside layer of ric-rac on the way out, so that nothing comes unraveled. Then continue beading and adding ric-rac roses until the necklace is done. You can add a clasp, but if it is long enough to slip over you head you don't need to bother. Just ties if off. Easy.

I did find that medium ric-rac worked best. Wide ric-rac made a rose that is too deep, and the tiny ric-rac is hard to handle (but you might be more dexterous than me.)

This sweet necklace cost me less than 5 bucks! The ric-rac was $2, and the beads were less than $3. They were already strung like this. I just had to re-string them in the same order, replacing some of the large beads with roses. It really came out darling!

Then Saturday night, about 11pm, I decided I needed a patriotic necklace for the 4th of July, so I found some scraps of red, white, and blue ric-rac in the Attic (well, the garage) and some patriotic beads from an old broken bracelet, and my cute sister-in-law Elizabeth helped me put this one together. The ladies at church, including Attic Gal Alysa, just loved it!

My cute and very creative sister Mindy is visiting and she saw my necklaces and had to run out and buy some beads and ric-rac of her own. She made a giant ric-rac rose. So clever! She had to add a few stitches with a matching thread here and there to keep it together. It is chunky and fun and perfect. Genius, Mindy!

So that's it. Clever, quick, and cute! Try it. You just might get hooked on ric-rac roses too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Decoration of Independence!

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

It is no secret. I am a fan of the flag and the Fourth, and this great and glorious nation as a whole! One of my very favorite holidays is Independence Day, for many important reasons. And I love, love, love to decorate for it!

I do tend to get a bit carried away. Come the first day of July my house looks pretty much like a flag factory exploded - inside and out. Red white and blue EVERYWHERE!

Click here to see last year's post about my Independence Day decor. Really do check it out. There is SO much more on that post!

This year is even better!!!

I have put together some new vignettes, for your (well, mine, actually) viewing pleasure.

If you haven't seen my previous post about my tin stars click here.

My favorite new addition is this absolutely amazing comb-back Windsor writing arm chair that I scored recently at a garage sale! It just screams 1776! In fact, in my research I discovered that Thomas Jefferson wrote part of the Deceleration of Independence on a chair just like this one! How cool is that?

Here is a super fun fabric banner I made last year with my Big Shot! I absolutely LOVE it, and think it contrasts nicely with the pencil drawing done by my 4 year old all over the wall, don't you think?

I also go all out decorating the back yard, and a lot of Independence Day celebrations (namely our annual family breakfast and water fight - kids vs. grown-ups) take place out there.

Have a wonderful, star-spangled Independence Day!

God Bless America!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Star of Independence!

Attic Gal Rachelle says:

As I was decking my halls with flags and buntings this morning (more on that in a later post), I got an itch to make something new for the 4th. And when I get the itch to create, I will keep itching and itching, and there is no cure but to sit down and make something.

I had some tin stars that I had collected super-duper cheap after Christmas. I can't pass up cool stuff like that - I know I can come up with something cool to do with them. I wanted to decoupage them with something patriotic, and what better for the Independence Day than the document that started it all, The Declaration of Independence. My kids happened to have a life-size copy in one of their books, so I took it to the copier and copied parts of it on some off white paper.

Then I made a template of one of the rays of the tin star, and used it to strategically cut 5 out of the copies.

Then I decoupaged it onto the tin star. I found that the decoupage glue was spearing the copier ink on the papers, so I figured out to put the decoupage glue on the tin star, and then on the back of the paper, but not the front. Then, to protect the front, I sprayed it with an acrylic sealer.

Then I ran glue along the edges, and finished each star with vintage-looking glitter.

The smaller star was originally a tree topper, but we don't need a tree anymore!

I just set the larger one in a vignette among some delicious apothecary jars.

Thank goodness for that darn creative itch!

I hope you a lucky enough to be afflicted with that same condition. If you are, the only cure is a good creative project, believe me!

Now pop on over to the Shabby Nest to see some other Frugal Friday posts, to Tidy Mom to see some I'm Lovin' It - Patriotic Style, and to Fingerprints on the Fridge. (Careful, it just might make you itch!)