It’s 2017 and I’m Back!

This post is being updated from 2015 when it was initially written.  That was the day that I flipped the switch and started blogging on a self-hosted site with a paid domain.  And now for the good news…  I’m back!  Blogging back here at my old stamping grounds – yay!

Please continue to stay with me as I share my new recipes, DIY projects, photographs, and my simple country life back here where it all began.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

What Do You Get When You Cross A Paper Napkin With Decoupage? Spring Chickens…

 

Are you like me?  Do you go into quaint little boutiques and ooh and ah over everything but then leave without spending a dime?   I bet those shop owners just love to see people like us walk in the door.  But seriously, how can a girl who loves to shop at second hand stores ever in her right mind spend a wad of money on cute little home décor items that she knows she can make herself for pennies?

This project will require you to search out a few inexpensive items but I think you’ll have fun doing so.

First, you will need small piece of wood.  I used a 5 1/2” x 4 1/2” piece of pine (3/4” thick).  You will also need a fun or pretty paper napkin.   I happened to have these  funky chicken napkins on hand that I absolutely love.  You will also need a small bottle of acrylic paint (I used ivory) and a small paint brush,  a piece of fine grit sandpaper, a pair of scissors, and  bottle of Mod Podge

Paint the front side of your piece of wood with your paint and let it dry.  Once the front side is dry, paint the back side and edges.  Remember to rinse your paintbrush because you will need it later in the project. When all paint has completely dried, lightly sand the edges with the small piece of sandpaper to give it a weathered look.

Cut out the portion of the napkin that you want to use for your project.  I cut the napkin and then separate the layers once I’m done cutting.  This makes it easier. 

With that previously rinsed out paint brush, now apply a coat of Mod Podge on the front of your painted piece of wood.  Carefully lay the colorful top piece of your cut out napkin in place and apply a thin coat of Mod Podge over it.  I like to use a slightly wet brush while doing this so I keep a little dish of water nearby.  You have to be very careful not to over wet the brush though. I work the bubbles out with the brush and I go.   Once the first layer of Mod Podge has been applied let it dry thoroughly.  Proceed to apply three more coats (drying completely) between each application.

This particular project can be displayed on a table, shelf, or window sill.  And if you’re looking for a piece of inexpensive wall art just add a small picture hanger on the back and there you have it!

Imagine the possibilities.  Monogramed letters, quotes, shabby chic floral designs, and yes, funky spring chickens!

Looking for another clever decoupage project by The Joy of Caking?  Click here

Table for Two in The Pink Paradise

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Pink Paradise this year – as usual.  And while she hasn’t actually seen the pavement yet, she has come in quite handy.  I love to spend time in her reading, napping, and hosting cozy dinner’s.  This table for two is my idea of a perfect picnic.  No bugs, a nice summer breeze coming in through the window, keeping undercover in case of rain, and of course electric if we need it.

Sometimes I wonder if I should sell her and move on to my next project, while other times I think that is an insanely crazy idea.  Especially after enjoying a nice dinner and playing cards in her like we did tonight.  If I do decide to rehab another camper I’ve already made up my mind that I’ll pick a completely different theme, different colors, and select one that has a little more lounging around space.  

If you were going to restore a camper what would you want it to look like?

DIY – Victorian Style Earrings

While I was out shopping this last holiday season I ogled over all of the pretty earrings that sparkled at me in just about every store I visited.  I fought hard to ward off the urge to buy myself a few pairs.  After all, I wasn’t shopping for myself, I was buying gifts for others.  And in the back of my mind, a little voice (coming from the frugal shopper in me) told me that they were too expensive.  You see, I have a hard time spending money on myself.  You might even think that I was reincarnated from the Great Depression if you watch me shop.

That little voice also reminded me that after the holidays blew over and things settled down that I could make my own unique sparkly earrings.  I completely embraced the idea of finding a DIY project to keep me busy and save me money.

This week I finally ventured into one of our local craft stores to check out their jewelry making supplies.  I happily settled on some pretty charms to use in my earring making adventure.  I also made the pretty little cards to hook the earrings to.  That was just as fun as making the earrings.

I’m not big chunky earring kind of girl;  I like drop earrings, not too long, not too big.  Pretty, but subtle.  These earrings fit the bill.  I really love how they remind me of the Victorian era.  Romantic, elegant, and pink.

I’ve decided I’m going to keep one pair of these for myself and give the other pair away as a Valentines Day gift.   I’ve also decided to take orders for these earrings.  If you’d like your own pair(s), in your own custom colors, please email me for details.

So, would you consider yourself more of a shopper, or a do it yourselfer?

Share Your Vintage Camper Story

Pink Paradise 2014

Since hubby and I remodeled the Pink Paradise I’ve gotten several emails from other vintage camper enthusiasts.  Let me just say how much that I love hearing from people that share my passion for these old beauties like I do.

My camper is about 90% finished and I’m already looking forward to warm spring days when I can get back to working on her. 

In the meantime, it’s going to be quite some time before spring arrives here in the Finger Lakes, so I’m looking for other vintage camper stories to feature here at The Joy of Caking.

If you have a great vintage camper story that you’d like to share then I’d love to hear it! 

Holiday Ornaments – Personalize Your Gifts

I love making my own ornaments to use on packages and boxes of cookies that I share each holiday season.  This year I was looking for a new idea and I decided that these little glitter deer were the perfect answer.

I found a couple deer patterns and morphed them into a deer figure that I liked.  Then I drew and cut out my template, traced them onto a  thin piece of 1/4” Luan plywood, and had hubby cut them out on his jigsaw.  After he cut them out I took back over.  I painted them white, sprinkled a multi-colored gold, white and silver glitter on top, and I finished them off with cute little gingham bows and hangers.

If you make these ornaments and don’t want to share, I can relate!  Just go ahead and decorate your tree with them.

Are you gearing up for the holidays?  What is your favorite thing to do to prepare for them?  Are you most happy shopping, baking, decorating your house, crafting, or none of the above.

Thanksgiving Day Favors

Although I’m oddly fixated on making Christmas cookies, decorations, and gifts right now, I had to throw myself in full throttle reverse to make sure I stopped and focused on Thanksgiving.  After all, it is fast approaching.  I know, can you believe it?  Honestly, where does the time go?

Over the years, I’ve gotten in the habit of making little favors or place cards to place in front of each place setting on the Thanksgiving dinner table.  These little decorations are far from sophisticated, but they are always brightly colored and fun, and nearly everyone remembers to take theirs home with them. 

Here is a quick look at some of my past projects.  Check out my 2011project here.

Thanksgiving Placecards 010

This year I decided to make favors that I’m sure that no one will leave behind.  If they do forget and leave them behind, I’m just warning them now, it’s fair game!

These little foiled turkeys are actually disguised Niagara Chocolates – 100% all natural goodness.  If you haven’t had Niagara Chocolates then you MUST try them.  They are insanely delicious!  What else would you expect from a chocolate that has been in production for over 50 years?  If you’re like me, and you’re thinking ahead towards Christmas, make sure you check out all of Niagara’s other delicious holiday themed chocolates too.

Although these cute little guys came with gift tags already attached to them, I took them off, taped them to the bottom of their feet, and made my own personalized tag for each turkey.  Why?  Because I enjoy fiddling in my craft room. 

These tags are easy to make.  If you’re looking for a quick evening, or Sunday afternoon project, this fits the bill.   Or, hand the project over to your kids –  I’m sure they would love to help. 

Simply cut out or purchase some plain gift tags (I used my Cricut), stamp a cute Thanksgiving Day theme or word on them, glue on a little rick rack, string a colorful ribbon through them, and that’s it.  It’s as simple as eating this whole chocolate turkey in one setting.

Do you make favors for your dinner guests?  What’s your Thanksgiving Day tradition?

The chocolates for this post were provided by SweetWorks Candy.  I was not compensated for my work, and the opinions are sincerely my own.

Madagascar Vanilla Made with Vodka–A Special Homemade Holiday Gift

A couple of years ago, I won a bottle of homemade Madagascar Vanilla in a giveaway hosted by another blogger.  I have to tell you, I squeaked every last drop of vanilla out of that bottle.  For baking, there is nothing as good as pure vanilla extract; nothing…

Making homemade vanilla is a simple DIY project.  And if you get started right now, you’ll have a great holiday gift to give those bakers on your list.  And did I mention how delicious homemade vanilla extract tastes in French toast?

What you will need:

(8) 6 oz. Bottles & Corks, or Caps

(1) bottle 1.75 Liter of Vodka  (I used Barton’s Vodka)

(12) Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Sharp Pairing Knife

Cutting Board

Funnel

Wash all bottles with hot soapy water and let air dry.  Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise; then cut in half.  Place 1 1/2 beans in each bottle.  Fill each bottle with vodka.  Wipe edge of bottles with warm clean cloth and place a cork in each one.   Store in dark place; uncork in 3 months.

This picture above was taken right after making the extract.

Once you make the extract you will need to decide how you want to label it.  I opted to keep it simple, and made my tags out of cardstock.  I used my Cricut cutter to make my tags, and then I stamped the word Vanilla on each tag using my alphabet stamps and maroon ink.  On the back, I printed the date that the vanilla may be opened.  To finish them off, I punched a star hole in the top of each tag so it could accommodate a ribbon.

Tell me, what baker wouldn’t want a bottle of this in their stocking?

My vanilla now 10 days old.  It will get darker and stronger as time passes.  I can’t wait to pop the cork and use this in a batch of my favorite sugar cookies.

What kind of treat would you make using homemade vanilla extract?

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Holiday Shopping at The Mercantile – Handcrafted Rustic Cedar Cheese Boards

Can you believe that it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays?  I can’t either!  Parties, guests, food, gifts, etc.  I decided to start easing into the holidays at The Mercantile this month by focusing on them.

Last spring I made some handcrafted rustic cedar cheese boards. My intention was to sell them, until, I showed them to my daughter and my sister in-law who absolutely loved them.  When I asked them if they’d like one, they eagerly said yes.  And need I say more?

Since I am already lining up projects to keep me occupied this winter, I decided to make some more cheese boards.  I’m hoping to sell these before I show them to anyone else in the family!

Each board is unique, and each varies in size, color, and yes, even in their imperfections.  These are made from aged cedar which has been milled and hand rubbed with a food grade oil to help preserve them (by me).

These would make the PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT for the FOODIES in your life.  Or, you could always splurge on yourself too!

The description and prices of each board are outlined below.

Rectangular Cheese board #1 (small) is approximately 10 1/2” long x 7 1/4” wide and is about 9/16” thick.  This board is $20.00, plus shipping. SOLD

Rectangular Cheese board  #2 (medium) is approximately 14 3/4” long x 7 1/4” wide and is about 5/8” thick.  This board is $25.00, plus shipping. SOLD

Rectangular Cheese board # 3 (large) is approximately 16 1/2” long x 7 1/2” wide and is about 9/16” thick.  This board is $30.00, plus shipping.  SOLD

If you’re interested in purchasing one of my handcrafted cheese boards then please EMAIL me with the size that you’d like to purchase.  Since I only have three boards finished at this time, orders will be filled first come, first serve.  Once a board has sold I will contact the buyer with a grand total (including the shipping charges).  I will also note on my blog if a board is no longer available.  Payment will be accepted via PayPal.

If you have any questions about the sale please contact me prior to making your purchase.

Other sale terms

* Seller has the right to cancel this sale at any time without prior notice – but will probably never have to do that because only civilized people come to my blog Smile

* All items sold as is.  These cheese boards have natural imperfections.

* All sales final

* Props not included

Please not that the picture below is of the underside of the medium cheese board.  Each underside board has knot holes and similar characteristics.  Also, these photos have been edited and the color may appear slightly different from the actual board.

Pair one of these boards with a nice piece of cheese and a good bottle of wine and you’ve got one gift down!  How many people do you have to buy for this holiday season?

Treat Your Ghouls with Easy to Make Halloween Goody Bags

This weekend I made some trick or treat goody bags that I’m going to surprise some little ghouls that I know with.

I used my Cricut to cut out the gift tags, and I used my Halloween stamps to decorate both the bags and the tags.  I added a little orange ribbon as a finishing touch.

Once the bags were decorated, I filled them with Spooky Eyes Wrapped Gumballs and Sixlets from SweetWorks Candy

It was a little hard slipping the candy past this guy, but I managed, and it was well worth the risk!  

What kind of candy are you passing out this year for Halloween?

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