Monday, October 27, 2014

Sneak Preview: Chalk Paint Ornaments

My church holds an annual Christmas bazaar that is kind of a big deal.  All year long, scores of church members make hand-crafted gifts and decorations to be gathered and sold on a single day.  Everything is lovely, creative, and crafted with love.

As for Granny?  Well, I was asked to refurbish a motley collection of thrift store and garage sale finds -- in other words, MY SPECIALTY -- into attractive gifts.  Using chalk paint, of course.  To see the full transformation, click here, but let me give you a little sneak preview of what I had to work with:

Meet  "The Befores"

If I may be permitted to brag just a little, I think I did a pretty nice job of turning this motley group of misfit tchotchkes into a cohesive Christmas collection.  No, really, I mean it!  But like I said, if you want to see more, click here.

While I was working on the above sundry, I had a great idea for making the collection more Christmas-themed:  hand-painted ornaments using the same Annie Sloan chalk paint colors as my refurbished items.  Arles, Antibes Green, Duck Egg Blue, Primer Red, and Aubusson Blue are the colors of my Christmas rainbow.

I started with a dozen or so paper mache forms I purchased for about a dollar apiece from a local craft store.

I chalk painted each ornament a different color, and then lightly brushed over the molded edges with a contrasting color or two.  (The sloppier, the better.  For this project, smudges and spots only add more beauty!)  Once all the paint was dry, I gave the ornaments an aged appearance by brushing on, then immediately wiping off, a 75/25 mixture of clear and dark wax.

I finished by "burnishing" the edges with a gold Sharpie marker.

This was some ridiculously fun and easy stuff, folks, but the results were spectacular!

I went one further step with the ornaments shaped like Christmas trees by adding colorful detail using...'re not going to believe this, but it's true...
... ordinary Crayola crayons!

And then I embellished each little crayon "ornament" with a gold Sharpie marker dot. 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Time to Cook

"We love your recipes, Granny, but we work and have kids and we don't always have time to cook.  Do you have any recipes for busy working moms like us?"

But of course!  Let me help you by showing you how to make...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Retro Fabulous Chicken Divan

If you live long enough, you learn that nothing goes out of style.  No food, no fashion, no philosophy -- no matter how fabulous, funky or even ill-advised -- ever goes away for good.

To paraphrase Heidi Klum, "One day you're in, the next day you're out," and twenty years later you're in again!

So today I'm sharing a recipe that was all the rage in the early 80's and is still relevant today.  It's tasty, economical, healthy and easy to make, often using leftovers.  Guys like it, kids like it... Well, I guess I've sold it enough.  Let's see how it's made.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One-Skillet Leftovers Breakfast

This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers, especially leftover sauce from making my famous Homestead Company Chicken dinner.  All that is required is one skillet and whatever scraps of stuff you have in your fridge from previous meals.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fun in Frankenmuth

From time to time, GrandDad Fabulosa and I like to forget for a while that we are grandparents... homeowners... responsible adults... and sneak out of town for a little one-on-one time.  Where we go matters far less than just being alone together and having a little fun. This past weekend we hopped into the car and found ourselves heading up to Michigan.  Frankenmuth, Michigan, to be precise.

The town was founded in 1845 by a group of Lutheran missionaries from what was then the kingdom of Bavaria.  Their mission was "to bring the word of God" to the Chippewa tribal people.  Their settlement in the new world became Frankenmuth.

I've been to Bavaria, people, and if that's too far to travel, this little town is a pretty nice alternative.  Charming, colorful, and family-friendly.  What a super place to spend a weekend!

For starters, this is a great place to indulge in a little "retail therapy."  Everywhere you look are interesting shops:  quality woolen and leather goods, wines and spirits, jewelry, health foods, artisan candies and fudge, clothing, craft beers, toys... you name it.

Frankenmuth also boasts the world's largest year-round Christmas shop.

Like German food?  I do!  But Frankenmuth also has a long tradition of family-style chicken dinners.

As for GrandDad and myself, we enjoyed a hearty meal at the Bavarian Inn, established in 1888 as the Union House Hotel, now a Michigan historic site.  Our dinner included Frankenmuth's famous chicken along with sauerbraten, schnitzel, sauerkraut, potato puffs and stollen bread.  Es war himmlisch!

And the fact that it was served to us by a friendly, handsome young waiter wearing lederhosen was just a bonus.  For me, anyway.

We also attended a wine and chocolate tasting at a local winery.  Our favorite was the Peach and Honey wine.

And yes, it came home with us.  But not that waiter, more's the pity.  (Ach du lieber!)

Are there other things to do in Frankenmuth besides eat, drink and shop?  Ja, auf jeden Fall!

You could visit the local historical museum...

... or the brewery museum.

Take a ride through town in a horse-drawn carriage...

... or along the river aboard the Bavarian Belle.

My love and I had a wonderful getaway weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  I recommend you check it out for yourself.  But before you do, heed this one bit of Granny's advice:

This post can also be seen at some great parties!
Check them out:
Link It or Lump It Party
Making Monday
Inspiration Monday
What'd You Do This Weekend?
Plucky's Second Thought
Twirl and Take a Bow
The Gathering Spot
Wednesday Whatsits
The Wednesday Roundup
Work It Wednesday
The Style Sisters Centerpiece Wednesday
Wow Me Wednesday
The Project Stash
Mommy Needs a Time Out
Paula's No Rules Weekend Blog Party
Fridays Unfolded
Family Fun Friday
Saturday Sharefest

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Homestead Company Supper or How Old-Timers Cooked Chicken

Back in the days of old, dear children... before the internets, before the Food Network, and EVEN before Julia Child dropped that turkey on PBS, recipes were passed from hand to hand by people who prepared food from memory, from experience, and from their hearts... and then tried to reduce all that to a 3x5 index card for their pals.

I remember one sweet, little old lady who knew how to bake the world's greatest sweet potato pie but didn't know how to read or write.  Although we begged her for the recipe, well... she couldn't oblige because there just wasn't one.  So one of us had the bright idea to invite her over to bake one of her pies while eagerly recording her every move.  It started out something like this:
"First you git y'self a saucer and you dip out about 3 saucers of flour..."
Yeah, that was the end of that idea.  I've never forgotten those glorious pies, though...

But I digress.  The reason I bring up old recipes is because I have one to share.