Mug Shots

If you haunt Pinterest or DIY blogs, I’m sure you’ve seen this project. I was first introduced to it when one of my  roommates started personalizing dishes using a Sharpie paint pen and dollar store plates. Seeing her lovely artwork on our bookshelf inspired me to try it for myself, especially when I learned that baking the dishes made them usable.

A week before a friend’s wedding, I realized that I still needed a gift. Giving is one of my favorite things to do. I love imagining the perfect present for an individual…and then making it.

Unfortunately, this process involves a lot of questions. At some point I’m almost certain that the person will wonder what Hannah was thinking when she made this. And of course there’s always the chance that it will flop. But in the end, I usually reassure myself and can give it without my knees shaking. 🙂 Actually, that’s probably why I love to give. I know what I’m giving is part of myself, so even though it’s a bit terrifying, it’s also fulfilling. Besides, I know it’s highly unlikely that someone else will give the same gift.

When I bought these mugs from Dollar Tree they were not married. I printed Mr. and Mrs. in the font and size I wanted and cut out the printed part to make a stencil. I almost did them freehand, but I the curve of the mug made me nervous. Even with a stencil it was hard to get it straight.

After filling in the letters, I baked them for half an hour at 350 degrees. I ended up giving them a second coat and baking them again because the fat parts of the letters weren’t black enough the first time.

Since making these, I’ve learned that oil-based Sharpies work better. After the 14-hour drive to the wedding, these mugs did show signs of wear, much to my disappointment. Next time I’ll try oil-based Sharpies instead of the normal kind.

I love the versatility of this project. I hope you try it, too!

January calendar: :free printable

I know January is almost over, but I’ve been having some fun with my pictures and I wanted to share this little calendar with you!

When printed as a 5×7 photo this calendar is perfect as a small desk calendar, and after the month is over you can cut off the picture and use it however you wish!

I’ll be sharing a printable calendar each month so if you like this come back again! And if you’d like to see more pictures like this stop by over here at my photo blog .

To download the printable just right-click on the image above and click “save image as”. Enjoy!

Christmas cookies…swapped

Here’s another holiday post almost a month after Christmas. We hosted a cookie exchange. I sent the girls digital invitations I made with stuff from Shabby Shoppe, a digital scrapbooking store with beautiful graphics.

cookie-exchange-invite

The evening was a lot of fun! I made fudge on sticks that we dunked in hot milk to make a really rich, creamy hot chocolate.

I was really curious about the kinds of cookies the girls would bring. Most of them brought two kinds and they were all different!

We had chewy molasses cookies,

Mexican wedding cakes & lemon tea cookies,

the original chocolate chip cookie,

chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter frosting,

white chocolate oatmeal cookies with cranberries,

beautiful sugar cookies by Keturah,

blackberry thumbprint cookies,

peppermint meringues dipped in chocolate,

and cappuccino-chocolate bites.

So, you can see we did have a variety! Keturah and I made a plate for each of the girls with dollar store plates, Sharpies, and Christmas sayings, but unfortunately I don’t have those pictures.

In case all those cookies made you want to try something new, here’s the recipe for cappuccino-chocolate bites from Martha Stewart.

Cappuccino-Chocolate Bites

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions

  1. Whisk flour, espresso, and salt in a bowl. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, and mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix on medium-low until dough comes together. Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Roll between sheets of parchment to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 1 1/8-inch cutter; space 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Reroll scraps; cut out. Freeze 10 minutes.
  3. Bake until set but not browned, about 9 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. Bring cream to a simmer. Pour over chocolate; stir until smooth. Press plastic wrap onto surface; refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Whisk to soft peaks; transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe about 1 teaspoon filling on bottoms of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with cocoa and confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen small cookies. (They really are bites. 🙂 )

All in White

A bit of decorating inspiration. . .

I think it started with these. I found them securely taped inside a bag on a cluttered shelf at Salvation Army. Keturah’s painting and sanding craze hit me, too, so imagining them in white, I paid a few dollars for them and tossed them in the drawer with the rest of my crafting supplies. There they remained until I came home for Thanksgiving.

Being out of the kitchen for a few months always inspires me to cook when I’m home. In the week before Thanksgiving, whenever I couldn’t sleep I tweaked the Thanksgiving menu. Strange? Probably, but more profitable than counting sheep, and more relaxing than thinking about upcoming psychology and world history tests.

Wednesday evening, I wrote out the menu. Following a tradition my mom started a few years ago, I delegated dishes to my siblings. Jonathan took care of the salad. David was in charge of the pumpkin pie. I turned the decorations over to Keturah. She agreed that we should do lots of white.

So…menu first, decorations second. Actually, the food became a big part of the decor.

…creamy chai lattes

…crusty artisan bread with tart cranberry curd

…spinach salad with candied pecans, mozzarella cheese, and lemon vinaigrette dressing

…roast turkey with stuffing

…and spicy pumpkin pie.

Napkin rings in white. Keturah used homemade chalk paint and Johnson’s wax and sandpaper, of course. 🙂

The mossy pine cone combination was my favorite! She found these ready made under the spruce trees.

Keturah made these cake stands out of candlesticks and plates.

I know the holidays are over now, but I love white paired with God’s beautiful green and brown creations anytime!