A Great Project to Start Off the New Year – Chalk Painted Furniture!

It’s been very popular for a few years….have you tried it? Chalk Paint? You see so many vintage shops selling old furniture that has been redone in chalk paint; and pop-up weekend shops carry many chalk painted pieces. I have bought a few and love them. Purchasing the finished product always seemed the easiest to me.

BUT……I have a vintage round coffee table with caster feet that I love and when I purchased it almost 20 years ago it was the very popular sage color. 

 

I have been so tired of that color (besides it being a bit dated) but I never wanted to get rid of my favorite coffee table. It is complete with raw wood nicks and dings and I love the imperfection of it. 

So I FINALLY decided to do something about it when I saw a dining room table done in chalk paint at a client’s home. It was stunning!

There are many brands of chalk paint and I am not pushing one over the other and will tell you only what I used. I visited a local store that carries vintage finds already re-done but that is also is a leader in teaching people the technique of chalk painting. This store carries the Annie Sloan brand of chalk paints and accessories which is one of the most well known and original chalk paints.

The first decision I had was what my base color would be….that was easy enough. Old World White. Not a bright white but rather a soft white but not cream.

The next decision was a bit tougher, deciding the wax color. All chalk paint needs to be wax protected and sealed and a clear wax will keep your paint color true to the original. I however wanted a worn rustic timber look but in gray rather than brown.

So I selected black wax. SCARY!

The nice thing about chalk paint is that you don’t have to do anything to the surface you are painting. NO  SANDING NEEDED! I never paint anything I have to sand down first, that is why I have always been a Spray Paint Queen, just point and press the button.

I must say Chalk Paint is just as easy. Just paint it right on.

 

 

The wax was a bit trickier but all in all WAY easier than I expected. The wax goes on a little tougher in that it really is a wax…..like shoe wax. Not like polyurethane which is what I was expecting. The wax needs to be worked into the wood a bit.

HUGE TIP: Don’t over apply the wax. When they say less is more they really mean it. The wax should feel dry almost immediately and I didn’t get that part. Mine was tacky to the touch even an hour after applying it so I had to go back and wipe some off. No big deal but still, you can save yourself some work.

 

 

Next was the most challenging part which was applying the black wax over the white to just give it a very soft appearance of a gray wood grain. It went so much better than I expected! It took me a few tries with the brush to get it exactly how I wanted it to look but then it clicked right along.

Tip #2: Buy the brushes, at least the wax brush. I felt like I needed to take out a home equity loan to buy them but they really are worth it.

The nice thing is if you get too much wax on your piece you can wipe it right off and try again. I did end up getting too much on one area and not getting it off as quickly as I should have but it’s where my tray goes anyway so who cares. 🙂

 

 

To keep it short and sweet……I LOVE MY TABLE! It turned out better than I imagined and on my first try! I thought I would be repainting it 3 times for sure.

So try Chalk Painting….I think you will like it!

 

 

 

 

Have Yourself a Merry ‘Little’ Christmas

Christmas morning is just over a week away.  For many of us Christmas morning as kids was so magical. Waking up perhaps to all the toys left by Santa. The smells of amazing food to be eaten soon.

Lately the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” has been playing over and over in my head yet I don’t know much more of the lyrics then the opening line. So I looked them up….

 

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest place

So have yourself a merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
So have yourself a merry little Christmas.”

 

Such a relaxing and feel good song, yet do our troubles ever really go away? Sometimes the fates are that we aren’t able to gather together anymore. Yet in the turmoil and/or grief I believe we can find some calm and maybe that is what the song was getting at.

What I love is the word ‘little’. Christmas isn’t the big hupla for me that it used to be. I don’t spend three days decorating with twenty-seven bins of decorations. My decorations are now simple yet meaningful.

 

 

I still appreciate people who do go all out at Christmas but it seems each year my decorations get smaller and smaller in amount and I just soak up the season with relaxation. For me that means reading, knitting and Hallmark movies. 🙂

My husband and I don’t have kids, both of us have lost our parents, nieces and nephews are grown and have their own lives. Christmas now is enjoying each other, volunteering for those less fortunate, spending quiet dinners with close friends, church and lots of music.

It is so much more relaxed and I am okay with that. I cherish the ‘olden days’ of hectic shopping,  hours of baking, early mornings ripping into gifts and late nights of ‘waiting’ for Santa.

But, I am liking the word ‘LITTLE’. It is a calming word to me and one that makes me smile. So my wish for you this Christmas season is that wherever you are in your Christmas season journey of life, that you can enjoy the moments and breath in all your experiences.

Have a very Merry ‘Little’ and Blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

 

A Yummy Cookie Recipe with my Least Favorite (Hated) Ingredient! :-)

I just want to go on the record and say I hate coconut. And this includes anything with coconut in it. Almond Joy candy bars. Coconut Cream Chocolates. Just not for me.

Now fresh coconut is another story but how often do you really eat fresh coconut unless you are on a Caribbean Island. LOL

I love to bake and it would never have crossed my mind to ever make Coconut Macaroons. Until now!

I took a baking class at Kitchen Window in Minneapolis to learn how to make French Macaroons. Fabulous! Since it was a holiday baking class they also taught us how to make a few other classics of which Coconut Macaroons was one of them. I thought okay, I will make them in class and never make them again. I WAS SO WRONG.  

The secret is the coconut. Don’t use the sweetened shredded stuff you find in grocery stores that’s all sugar coated and doesn’t actually taste like fresh coconut. Use real Unsweetened Coconut Flakes or Chips. I used the Chips which are bigger and I think creamier.

 

 

 

I bought my chips online as I couldn’t find them even in the premium high end grocery stores. I bought dried chips and also Organic. FYI…..they make a super healthy snack.

 

 

Here is the recipe:

Coconut Macaroons

Yield

36 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Butter, unsalted
  • 1 pound Sugar, granulated
  • 6 eggs
  • 18 ounces coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Dark coating chocolate, melted (optional)

Method

  1. Place the butter and sugar in a sauce pan and heat to 150 degrees F while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and beat in eggs a few at a time. Stir in Coconut.
  2. Return to the stove and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the plan (this happens around the 170 degree F range).
  3. Let the batter cool to room temperature. (I googled this and room temp is around 70 degrees).
  4. Scoop the batter onto the baking mat, using an ice cream scoop.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Brush simple syrup over the cookies as soon as they come out of oven. (See Simple Syrup recipe below).
  7. If you would like to add chocolate to your macaroons, wait until the cookies have completely cooked, dip half of each cookie in chocolate and return to the baking mat to set.

Simple Syrup:

Equal parts sugar and water, brought to a boil and allowed to cool. Could be infused with a flavor as well.

My Tips:

  • I used chips not flakes
  • I would not advise using an ice cream scoop. The cookies would be huge and they are so rich. I used the smallest cookie dough scoop from Pampered Chef.
  • I made a double batch so with the smaller scoop I ended up with 150 cookies!! A single batch next time will be best. 🙂
  • If you press them together when forming them it will help in them not falling apart and being so fragile.
  • I baked mine 12-13 minutes. Watch your oven because if it runs hot the cookies may burn.

 

 

 

 

*Recipe by Kitchen Window~3001 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN ~ www.KitchenWindow.com

 

If you like Coconut you will love these!! If you hate Coconut like me I think you will LOVE these!

Enjoy!