Thursday, October 10, 2013

Holiday Countdown

When I was working at Michaels Arts and Crafts, I would get so excited as I discovered new and cool products that were on the shelf.  Some things were so cool, I would brainstorm up a project that I could make just so I could buy this super, awesome thing.  I gave a lot of my paychecks back to that company...almost like I was working for free.  One such product was Magic Wall Magnetic Paint.  So cool!  I bought it with the next 50% off coupon I could get my hands on!  And then it sat and sat waiting to be used.  Until I got this idea...

I have been wanting to make a Holiday/Event Countdown for my home ever since I got married.  My mom had them for different holidays when I was growing up (mostly Christmas) and I remember being so excited as I changed the number each day and felt the excitement build and build.  That excitement and anticipation hasn't dulled as I have gotten older.  I love to celebrate anything, any chance I get!  I thought it would be fun to make something that I can have as part of my every day decor so I could celebrate and look forward to whatever was happening.

I started out with one of those finish-it-yourself picture frames from Michaels and painted a good thick layer of my magical magnetic paint.  After it was good and dry, I carefully and lightly sanded it smooth-ish.  I was super paranoid I was going to sand too much off, that I didn't sand it enough.  You can still see bumps and ridges from the paint. Next, I painted it black to go along with my pictures and other things hanging on my walls.

While my paint was drying I pulled out my Cricut and cut out "More Days" using contact paper.  I used the contact paper as a stencil and painted my lettering with white paint.

I wanted my frame to have a high gloss/acrylic look to it.  So I painted the entire frame with Triple Thick Gloss.  If I could go back and do it again, I think I would have gotten the spray instead of the brush on.  It was kind of hard to brush it on smooth before it started to dry.

While my Triple Thick was drying (which took a few hours) I worked on my ghosts.  Once again using the Cricut and contact paper to make number stencils.  Once they were all painted I put a thin layer of the Triple Thick to seal and make the ghosts shiny and smooth.  Once that was dry (which didn't take near as long as the frame, since I did such a thin layer) I cut small pieces of my adhesive magnetic sheeting and stuck them to the back of my ghosts.

Now for the finishing touch.  I got on my computer and put together the sign thingy for Halloween.  I was planning to have Jason design it but I decided to do it myself, and I think it turned out really cute!

And there you have it!  The base for a cute, year round events countdown.  Now I just need to finish the numbers for all the other holidays.

I would love to hear if you try this out and how you made it your own!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Babies and Banana Bread

Happy Day!  My oldest sister just had her baby and we are so excited for them!!  I am already trying to decide what yummy treat to take down for them (sadly it probably wont be for another few weeks).  My first thought was banana bread, but I got my banana bread recipe from her.  Plus I know she already has a ton in her freezer, so that's kind of pointless.  I will have to think of something, but in the meantime I thought I would post the recipe here, this way it's like I made and shared it with somebody.

*Just a piece of fun family trivia...Annali has a cousin 8 months older than her, and now, with this baby she has one 8 months younger than her.  So just like me, she's a lucky girl who will have a few cousins as her best friends.*

Here it is, Banana Bread...yummy, delicious and easy Banana Bread!

Serves: 1 Bread Loaf or 5 Mini Loaves

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
2-4 very ripe Bananas, mashed
2 Eggs
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Allspice
1 cup Chocolate Chips (optional...but not really)

Preheat oven to 315 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add the mashed bananas and eggs and mix well.  Add the allspice.  Then add the dry ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased bread pan and bake for at least 1 1/2 hours, or divide into 5 mini pans (fill about half way) and bake 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes.

*My Notes*
~First of all, the only way to eat banana bread, is with chocolate chips. I never measure my chocolate chips, but I use about half a bag.  I like to taste the chocolate.  Do what works for you.
~You can use 2 bananas in this recipe, but it makes a weak banana bread.  Three is pretty perfect for us.  Four is kind of BAM! BANANA! But if you like that, then go for it!
~I don't like this recipe in the large loaf.  It always takes WAY longer to bake and it ends up with a really heavy, cake like texture.  I stick with the mini pans.  They don't take as long to bake and it has a really good banana bread texture and consistency.
~So far I have been too poor/cheap to buy real mini pans.  I just use the disposable pans, and just wash them good and reuse...and reuse.  They work great...Someday I will spend the money.

And that's it!  Let me know what you think.  Do you have a favorite Banana Bread secret or tip?  I'd love to hear it!