March 14, 2012

Decoupage as Art - Easy How To


We are going to decoupage an art panel with colorful scrapbook paper and a laser printed image like you see above.

My children do not have the most interesting art on their walls, especially in my boy's room, so I got a little clever and decided to create some decoupaged artwork for their walls.

You will need:

Art Board or Unprimed Wood Panel
Background Scrapbooking Paper
Art Image Printed on Heavy Paper in Laser Printer
Mod Podge Gloss Lustre Finish
Craft Paint Brush
Rubber Craft Brayer
Paper Towels 


Step 1: Trim your background paper to cover the front of the art board.


Step 2: Print your image off on a laser printer so that it will fit on your art board.  My son, Matthew, found an image of a painting of football players that he liked, so I printed it off on our laser printer and then trimmed it to size.  

NOTE: You cannot use images printed from an officejet or inkjet printer because the Mod Podge will smear the ink.  Only images printed from a laser printer can be used with Mod Podge.


Step 3: Apply a coat of Mod Podge to your art board.  


Step 4: Lay the background paper over the board and, using your brayer, roll the paper back and forth in both directions making sure there are no bubbles in the paper.  Remove the excess mod podge glue from the edges with a paper towel or your brush. (Yes, this is green scrapbook paper you see above.  I do not paint like that ... ha ha)


Step 5: Mod Podge the center of the background paper that is on the art board.  Don't worry about extra Mod Podge on the background paper because you will be covering the entire image in the next step.

Place your artwork image in the center of the board over the area where you brushed the Mod Podge glue and after you have placed it correctly, use your brayer to work out the bubbles and make sure it lies flat.  


Step 6: Using your brush, cover the entire board and image with Mod Podge.  Remove excess on the sides with a paper towel or the brush.


Step 7:  Let the board dry for about 30 minutes then add another coat of Mod Podge to the entire surface in the other direction.



Step 8: Let dry for another 30 minutes and your picture is ready to hang!

Pretty easy, ay?  I made a set of 3 for the boy's room and hung them on their wall.  They love them and they were so easy to make.  Now, go make some of your own!  Be creative!  There is so much you can do with Mod Podge ... the creative choices are endless.


May 19, 2011

The Smell Of Fresh Cut Grass


This is what I love about Spring!  The smell of fresh cut grass.  What I can't believe is that my son is now doing the mowing. 


Wasn't he crawling around just yesterday? 


Playing with his hot-wheels cars? Building towers with legos? Putting together train sets and playing army in the back yard?


He is as tall as I am now, having gone through a series of growth spurts over the last 6 months.  He's all legs and outgrowing his jeans too.


Matthew will be starting high school this September.  I can remember posting right here the day Sarah started high school.  Now she'll be a senior in September. 


Yep, the years just fly by.  Now he's flyin' around on a zero-turn Kabota, and I think he has his eyes set on a Hummer and Nascar now.


Nascar - let's not go there.  I don't know if I could handle having my son race around a track at 180 with a smile on his face.


Maybe if he keeps mowing the lawn, he'll have enough of his driving fix that he won't want to race anyone.  What do ya think?  Will that work?




May 09, 2011

Singer Is Sew Very Easy - And A Gift For You Too!


Did you have a good Mother's Day weekend?  I sure did and I want to share it with you.  First of all, my son, Matthew, helped me clean the whole house before the weekend.  That was his Mother's Day gift to me. 


It all began Saturday.  I invited some friends and neighbors over for a sewing party courtesy of Singer Sewing Machines, Simplicity Patterns, JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts, BurdaStyle, and Martha Stewart.  They asked if I would hostess a Houseparty and demonstrate the new Singer Confidence sewing machine and they would provide all the party favors and goodies - including the sewing machine!


The party box was filled to the brim with goodies.  I had streamers and pom-poms from Martha Stewart.  I had patterns from Simplicity, measuring cards from BurdaStyle, 4 yards of colorful fabric, project instructions, thread, and more - all for 16 guests. 


I had to have the party on Mother's Day weekend, so I was a bit concerned that not many of my friends would be able to show up, but fortunately, I had a good turnout and we all had a blast.


I added extensions to my dining table in our eat-in kitchen area and set it up with the new Singer Confidence sewing machine, my 5 y/o Pfaff 2124, and my 19 y/o Kenmore 150, that way everyone would have a chance to sew and share the machines and try out the new Singer Confidence.


I had prepared all the fabric for our project before the party and everyone brought goodies to munch on.  Big Bear also prepared a shrimp platter and cucumber salad and other delectibles for the ladies.  He's such a good bear.


We all made the same project, a roll up organizer for makeup, pencils, whatever you want!  It was easy and fun and everyone went home with a goodie bag, patterns, coupons, and more.  It was wonderful girl-time - something that I needed desperately.


I don't get enough girl-time, and having a few hours to laugh, converse, share, sew, and eat was definitely what I needed to start my Mother's Day weekend off with a bang.


This is Elaine - I couldn't drag her from that new Singer Confidence sewing machine if I wanted to.  She loved it and was quick to figure out all the decorative stitches it offered - 69 including button holes. 


I have to admit that I was very impressed with the size and quality of the machine.  I was also impressed with the ease of use and the quality of the presser feet and accessories. 


I don't know about you, but I like presser feet that are solid, shiny, and heavy.  There is just something about them that speaks of quality.  This machine has it all.


It does not do embroidery, but that's not the point.  What it does is provide you with a great machine to quilt or make clothes or draperies or work with upholstery.  You can make anything you want - dolls and handbags too!  It has a nice sturdy engine and I was impressed with the ease at which it sewed through heavier fabric.


By the time the party was winding down, not only had we all enjoyed the conversation and time together, but I had sold the machine to my friend - can you guess who?


You got it - Elaine.  I was so happy for her.  I passed on my hostess discount to her gladly and she got the machine for a song.  She was in love with it from the get-go and I can't blame her, it is a beautiful machine.  Everyone loved it!


I told her, of course, that this means she is going to have to bring it over regularly to sew with me.  I had so much fun that I've decided to put together a quilting circle.  Maybe a monthly get together.  I think we all need time with friends, don't you?


As for Mother's Day, I had a clean house, happy kids, a happy hubby, and a nice long afternoon nap.  Hugs and kisses from family, good wishes from friends, calls from my older daughters, and a special gift of a n.a.p. blanket from Brookstone and 2 Nicholas Sparks books from my daughter, Kimberly, in Arkansas.  I wished my own mother a Happy Mother's Day and praised God I still have her in my life.  All in all it was a perfect weekend. - and Elaine was still sewing :)


Would you like the goodie bag I shared with all my friends who attended my party?  Simply answer the questions below in the comments and you could win the goodie bag that all my guests received at my Singer Sew Very Easy Party!  I had a number of them left over and I want to share them with my readers!

How was your Mother's Day weekend? 

Did you do anything special? 

Do you sew and have a sewing machine?

What brand of sewing machine is your favorite?

I'd love to hear from you!  This is my Mother's Day Gift to you - my readers - for making my year and my life so remarkable. 

By the end of this week I will contact everyone who has won a goodie bag filled with patterns, thread, coupons, and more!

"By the way, the goodies are provided by Singer, Simplicity, JoAnn Fabrics, BurdaStyle, Martha Stewart, and Me!"

* * * * *

And the winners are:

(1) Willa; (4) Thadia; (5) Sandra Davidson; (6) Barbara - and you'll have to get yourself a machine!; (8) Kim - it's time to pull out that Janome Sweetie!; (9) Kayla; (10) Sara

Thank you everyone!  Please email me at [email protected] with your mailing address so that I can get your goodie bag in the mail!


March 07, 2011

Fresh Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread


By Beth Sollars - singingirl cooks

Want to make friends and influence people? How about just impress your dinner guests? Or how about just treat yourself to a really easy to make and very elegant little appetizer?  


I ordered something like this at a restaurant in West Palm Beach the other day just around the corner from the salon where my son works as a color specialist.  It was so good.  I knew I just had to make this at home. Yet, as delicious as it was, I decided (of course, not being able to leave well enough alone) to kick it up two more notches.

The dish I was served was sliced pears and blue cheese on flatbread, heated and then topped with a balsamic reduction. The flatbread I'm making includes the addition of chopped walnuts, and the balsamic reduction is a raspberry infused balsamic vinegar.... and I made it myself!   I also used one of my new faves, Bosc pears.  But you could use a very good canned pear IF you had to!  So easy.  Here's the easy assembly.




At a glance, these are the simple ingredients for this dish:


  • Flatbread
  • Fresh pears
  • Walnuts
  • Blue cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar



First, make your vinegar reduction ahead of time.  Buy a bottle of good aged raspberry balsamic vinegar.  You don't have to go crazy and buy the most expensive one of the shelf, just something decent.  If you want to have a small supply of it around, use the entire bottle.

Pour it all into a saucepan, bring it to a boil gently, then reduce the heat. Keep it simmering and bubbling slowly, stirring often, until it reduces by half.  

It will start to become thick and coat your spoon.  The whole process will probably take twenty minutes or so, but it's worth it.  After it has reduced, it will be thick and kind of syrupy but will thicken up even more when it cools. (See Singingirl's note below.) It should be the consistency of a syrup, and I'm sure you've seen this in restaurants, so you know what you're looking for.  

When it has cooled completely, you can store it in one of those little plastic squeeze bottles that you can get at the dollar store.  You will use this not only for this flatbread recipe but for many other dishes like vanilla ice cream (yep), fruit salads, etc.   If you buy an unflavored balsamic and use this method, you can use the reduction for drizzling over roasted turkey, chicken, pork, etc.  Delish and very gourmet!


Okay.  Now that you have the reduction made, you can make your flatbread any time.  I bought a nice, soft wheat flatbread.  Peel and slice a ripe pear, one pear per flatbread, and arrange it over the flatbread in a spiral looking design.  Sprinkle the top of the pear slices with a few chopped walnuts, then scatter a liberal amount of good chunky blue cheese over the top of everything.

Pop this under your broiler and broil until warmed and the cheese is softening.  You don't need to get this so hot that you can't eat it, just heat it through until soft and melty looking. Remove to your serving dish.  Drizzle with your special raspberry balsamic reduction, slice with a pizza wheel into four triangles, and prepare to be totally impressed with your culinary panache!!!

Let me know how it turned out for you below in the "comments."  Thanks for stopping by!




Singingirl's note - After assembling and preparing this for the photo, I quickly realized why my end result does not look like what I had in the restaurant.  My reduction was not thick enough, and my blue cheese was more crumbly than large chunky pieces.  Next one I make I will make sure to correct these two things that really only made a cosmetic difference. The taste was still awesome!

- Beth

Would you like to print this recipe and add it to your favorites?  Simply click the recipe box below.





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