DIY Chalk

I was so excited to see this on the Martha Stewart show, especially since I have a whole carton of plaster paris sitting around waiting to be used. It very easy all you need is:

plaster of paris

acrylic paint

cold water

molds (I used water bottle ice cube trays from Ikea)

plastic cups

plastic spoons

Silicon molds release really well, but if your ice cube tray is well used and looks like mine its not a very good shape so heres what I did:

I cut 1/2 inch strip of cardboard and stuffed it in between on the backside

not perfect… but much better

mix 2 parts plaster with one part water in a plastic cup. I like to add water a little bit at a time until I get the right consistency. I should be like thick pancake batter, like the original bisquick recipe before you go ahead and add more milk than it calls for.

If you want white chalk you can go ahead and pour now.

if you want colored chalk add enough pain to get the desired color. Blues, greens, and purples will dry slightly lighter, whereas yellows and oranges are true to color.

fill molds and allow to dry 1 hour to overnight. If you are using silicon molds you can leave them in as long as you like, other molds have a hard time releasing after the plaster is dried. The more paint you use the longer it will take to dry. My white dried in 30 minutes, my blue green and red in 1 hour, my yellow and purple took overnight. Carefully unmold when dry, they should be cold and still damp.

due to shrinkage while drying, the edges will be probably be slightly raised and sharp. break off as much as you can with your fingers then take and knife and carve the edges flat.

Set them out to “cure” for 2-3 days so they will dry out and become chalky. This is when the lightening occurs as all of the water is evaporating out of the plaster. Then they are ready to use.

happy chalking!

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Wild California Plum Jam

My grandmother makes the best jam, and a few summers ago I had her teach me how to can. My all time favorite is the wild plum jam. They live on the northern ridge of california and they have these bushes that put out these tiny bright red plums every fall. So, when my parents just went up there last week and they brought home a bunch of plums (red and purple) and some apples.

So here it goes, Im going to teach you all how to make jam. Although since it is such a time sensitive process, it is really quite hard to stop and photograph for you.

Look at those plums, so gorgeous right?

Slice and pit…

Food process

At this point you need to get your canner on to boil with enough water that will cover your jars with one inch of water.

So cook your plum puree with almost equal amounts of sugar. taste your plums as you go, if needs sugar add sugar. if it tastes sweet don’t add any more. I like a squirt of lemon juice, it just brightens up the flavor.

cook, while stirring continuously, until it hits a roiling boil. This means when you stir, it continues to boil.

Note: This is not a roiling boil:

I would’ve gotten a picture of a roiling boil for you, but like I said I was busy canning…

Jars, rings, and funnels can be sanitized in the dishwasher, but the lids themselves cannot as it will breakdown the rubber seal. Lids also need to be replaced every time you can so that you have a fresh seal. Lids go into a small pot of boiling water until needed.

Pour into the jars using the funnel, leaving a 1/2″ air space at the top. If you have a canning funnel, pour to the lip of the funnel.

Wipe off the rim of the can and place a lid on it, careful not to touch the rubber seal. I have this nifty magnet thing that grabs them. Screw the ring on, you don’t have to do it super tight, If you put the lids on when everything’s still hot it will seal.

Place cans on the rack and lower the rack into the canner of boiling water. They sit in the water for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of jars you used.

Remove from the canner and let sit, they should begin to seal immediately, but could take up to an hour. If they don’t seal in an hour, they wont, put that jar in the fridge and eat within a month.

so heres some science for you. canning works because the jam is hot, the jar is hot, the lid is hot and the water is hot. this makes really hot air inside the can. The sealing doesn’t actually happen until it comes out of the water. As the air cools it decompresses sucking the lid onto the can like a tupperware lid. Thats why when you push the little button on the top and it moves that means it didn’t seal properly.

Happy canning!

Cheesecake pops

What could be better than cheesecake on a stick right? And its the perfect thing for your leftover cheesecake, I know what you’re thinking; Leftover cheesecake? thats just cheesecake you haven’t eaten yet. But hear me out, what if you have people coming over or you’re going somewhere but all you have left is a couple slices and you really want to give them cheesecake, then this is the solution for you.

So the first time I made these I was in such a hurry I had no time to photograph them, and a friend of mine was devastated because he wanted to know how to make them. So for his going away party I made them again and this time spent the time to document it.

So you start with a cheesecake (homemade or bought, theres no shame in cheesecake right?) you scoop 1″ balls of the cheesecake and roll it in your hands, then roll in crushed graham crackers so that its easier to shape and tastes more like cheesecake in the end. I put them on sticks because its cute for parties and easier to dip, but you don’t have to.

into the freezer they go to get hard.

Next melt some white chocolate/candy melts. I’ve been a long time disbeliever of candy melts, they’re waxy and taste waxy, but Wilton has recently put out premium candy melts which are of a chocolatier quality, but I don’t have to pay 10 dollars or go to AJs or sur la table. So I tried them for this, and I must admit, I am a convert. It comes out hard and shiny, and tastes like creamy vanilla.

And I made some colored sugars. remember these?

Clear some space in your fridge and get some cheap craft foam. I used an extra stick to poke holes in it, now its my cheesecake pop holder. One at a time take a pop out of the freezer and dip in the candy. Make sure you shake off the excess or it will drip all over later. Quick tip, if your cheesecake is not sticking to the stick dip the stick in chocolate, then place it back in the freezer. Dip the top in the sugar (completely optional, but without it you wont get nearly as many “oooo, so pretty”‘s) and place in the fridge.

They set up really fast, if you use white chocolate it will take longer to set up, about the time I ran out of room on the foam half were set up and I could lay them down on a plate.

So cute, all rainbowy and summery

I put them in a stemless wine glass as a sort of vase just because they take up less room when they’re vertical than horizontal.

So there you have it, a little time consuming, but very easy, and a huge wow factor. I normally leave you with a nice bite into picture, but these too were eaten to fast to get it. Good sign, I guess?

Portal keychains

Been holding on to this one for a while until I could post it. For me and boyfriends anniversary I found these adorable portal necklaces from LiketyCut. So I made them into matching keychains for us. Sadly since then mine fell of the key ring due to the inferior jump ring the portal came on. Luckily, I replaced the jump ring on his with a bigger one so it should be safe. I’ll just have to order a new one for me, or make something stronger.

pretty nerdy I know, but also cute.

Magic Cookie bars

So this is your standard grandmas magic cookie bars recipe, but Im going to try to impart some little bits of wisdom to you. We did ours in muffin pans, because its cuter, and it discourages cutting large pieces, but you could also use a 13×9 pan.

Start with 2 cups of graham crackers and a stick of melted butter. Your crust never sets up in your oven? bake it for 5-10 minutes before you fill it. Crust is always crumbly and the butter separates? Don’t melt the butter before hand, just mix the crumbs into very softened butter.

Next a layer of stuff. Stuff can be various chips, nuts dried fruit, whatever you like. My favorite is peanut butter, white, semisweet, and milk chocolate chips.

 

 

 

 

Next layer is coconut, you could skip it, but that would be quite tragic.

Next pour on a can of sweetened condensed milk and let it soak down into the layers about 10 minutes

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown

they take a little finesse, to get out, but they’re so sticky you can reshape them when they get out.

Heres the last bite for you in all its gooey chocolatey goodness.

Happy baking!

Reindeer belly buttons

So this is classic christmas recipe, which I think tastes just as good during the summer.

Set your oven to 170, line a cookie sheet with little waffle pretzels salt side down (trust me it worth the effort). unwrap Hershey’s kisses (or hugs) and place one on each pretzel, bake for 6-10 minutes (6-8 for hugs, white chocolate melts faster) until completely softened.

When you pull them out of the oven drop an m&m on one and push it in, if it stops half way you need to melt your chocolate more. If it gives completely and puckers then continue to push the candies into all of them. Chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes or until set.

I like the hugs, there kinda zebra-y. but you can make them holiday candies by using whatever seasonal m&ms are for that holiday.