Category Archives: Tutorials

DIY Tillandsia Wreath

DIY Tillandsia Wreath by Farmhouse38

Oh, how I love tillandsias! After making off with a boatload of them from my recent trip to Reno (thanks again, Sierra Water Gardens!), I knew immediately that I wanted to make a wreath with some of them.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

You will need: raffia-covered craft wire, a length of craft store grapevine, thin craft wire, and a selection of your finest mosses and air plants. Oh, and scissors and a hot glue gun. And hot glue. And a little bit of patience.

It would be very easy to start with a craft store grapevine wreath. Very easy, indeed. But I feel like I have used too many of those lately–and I was thinking I wanted something a little less chunky. So I decided to build a more slender wreath form, using raffia-covered craft wire and a length of store-bought grapevine.

I began by measuring out three lengths of raffia wire (I measured approximately 54″ lengths, which by the time you twist and bend and shape, etc., gives you approximately a 17-18″ wreath form). Twist these together into a single piece, twist the ends together, and bend and shape the wire to create a circle. (The more lengths of wire you twist together, the sturdier the form will be–go ahead, do four, five–get crazy).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. Let’s be honest here; it probably won’t be.

Next, cut a length of grapevine to fit exactly on the form of the wreath.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Lay the grapevine cord along the wire form and cut it so that it fits perfectly on the form.

Every so often along the length of the grapevine, you will find little bits of wire lashing it together. One by one, undo these, and lash them back around the grapevine and the raffia wire to secure the whole thing.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Now we are ready to start attaching some air plants! There are a couple of ways of doing this: fishing line, thin wire, or non-toxic glue. I prefer (and happened to have on hand) wire. You want to carefully thread the wire (or fishing line works, too) through some of the base leaves the plant and then twist (not too tight, just enough to be secure).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

For the larger plants, you may need to slip a wire around the base, as well as another towards the top of the plant. They can be heavy.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

The smaller plants are fine just having one wire threaded through the base.

Now place the plant where you’d like it, wrapping the wire around the backside of the wreath form and twisting to secure. I also like to put a dab of hot glue on this back twist (being VERY careful not to get any on the plant itself), just to give it a little extra hold. Try to attach your plants so that they hang horizontally, as this is how they would attach themselves in nature, and this will help prevent water from collecting in their armpits (where the leaves join the plant–I’m so scientific), which is not good for them. If you must attach them so they sit upright (which a few of mine are), you may need to lay the wreath flat when you mist  or rinse the plants (this is how you should water them).

Add plants to your heart’s content! When you are happy with the arrangement, tuck some bits of moss in and around, securing with a bit of hot glue when necessary (again, being SO careful not to get it on the tillandsias).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Honestly? This looks pretty dang good. I almost stopped here. Almost.

For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted a couple of tiny floating air plants in this thing. So I selected some small specimens, threaded them with wire, and then attached them to the top of the wreath (twisting and securing with hot glue there). I then applied bits of sheet moss at random to the rest of the naked wreath using plenty of hot glue (also covering the spot where the hanging plants’ wires attached to the top of the wreath).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Ta-dah!!!

Hang your wreath in a protected area with bright, indirect sunlight, and be sure to water regularly by misting or running under water, depending on climate and plant type. For a great article on how to care for your tillandsias, check out this post on FloraGrubb.com.

Coffee Filter Peonies

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.comCoffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Making flowers out of coffee filters or tissue is nothing new, but I’ve been meaning to try my hand at it for quite sometime. And when I say ‘try my hand’, I mean ‘try my hand’:

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Wear gloves. Learn from my mistakes.

Of all the hundreds of tutorials out there on this, I landed on the one from Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow. I liked this one. So I did it. :-) Honestly, she does a really bang-up job of laying out the tutorial, so I highly recommend you head over and follow her instructions–but I will muddle through mine just the same! Because I am a professional muddler.

I began with pretty simple supplies: scissors, large white coffee filters, thin craft wire, floral tape, hot glue, and whatever color food coloring you are looking to do. I wanted RED. Super-saturated red. We’ll get to that later.

Supplies for making Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Simple enough!

Now settle in for some busywork…depending on how many flowers you want to make, there is quite a bit of coffee-filter cutting to be done. I obviously wanted a lot of flowers, so I kind of hunkered down a few nights in a row and cut filters while watching a lot of reality TV. It helps. I promise.

You’ll want to fold a single coffee filter in half, then in fourths, then again into eighths and cut the top of it into an arch (in order to make a scalloped edge). I even folded some to just fourths, and some as much as into sixteenths, because I wanted the ruffles of the flowers to be inconsistent (which feels more real to me).

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

For the center of every flower, I wanted some fringe, so I folded the coffee filters into eighths and then instead of just scalloping the top, I actually cut them down in length by about a quarter, and scalloped the edge. Then I cut the edge so that it had fringe.

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Magic! I suddenly have a manicure.

A typical flower is going to be assembled from various pieces of these different-shaped filters–you can use any combination or repetition of any of the scalloped-edged pieces, with one fringe piece in the center.

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

A typical blossom is made up of about four pieces, but to make larger ones, sometimes I would use up to six, and to make smaller ones, sometimes I would only use one scalloped-edge piece and one center piece. There is no right or wrong amount here, and I strongly encourage you to make them various sizes–much more realistic-looking that way!

Now, take a small length of wire for your stem. Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow suggested taking a pencil or a paintbrush or something of the sort and wrapping one end of the wire around this a few times to make a small circle as a sort of catch for the wire to not pull all the way through the coffee filters. I did this. Great idea. So once you have your wire loop, slide a fringed coffee filter piece on up the wire and mush it into a flower shape (again, look at the Rebecca’s tutorial, she did a better job of documenting this with the camera). I adhered it with a dot of hot glue. Then slide a scalloped coffee filter of your choosing up next. Mold it into a flower shape and adhere it with hot glue. Keep building until your flower makes you happy. If you want, at the end, you can wrap floral tape around the bottom to give it a finished look.

Now for the fun part…dyeing them! To get your desired color, you’re gonna have to mess around a little bit with your food coloring. Mix a few drops of food coloring with water in a bowl and test it out on your extra coffee filters. I wanted my flowers to be all varying shades of red, and so, to be honest, I hardly had any water mixed with mine at all–nearly straight food coloring. For some of them, I even added black food coloring to get that black-red color.

Coffee Filter Peonies from Farmhouse38.com

I recommend making several bowls full of varying shades of the same color, as this gives you a really realistic color scheme (flowers are gonna vary in color slightly from one to the next, right??). So play around with it! And…again…wear gloves.

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

I dipped my blooms fully into the mixture, making sure that every bit was soaked up with liquid. Then I set them, face down, on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet to dry. Once dry, I went through and fluffed them up into the proper shape.

I went around and around with what I actually wanted to use these for–my intention was to make a Valentine’s Day centerpiece using up-cycled tin cans as vases. Long story short, I wasn’t super pleased with how it turned out:

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Not the worst thing I’ve ever made, so I figured I’d share the photos anyways. Happy Valentine’s Day a week late!! LOL.

It was at this point that I realized what I really wanted out of these things was a big, lush centerpiece arrangement. So I dug out my big silver basin, and taped the top off into a grid (this is a great florist’s trick that helps support a mass of flowers-live or paper- in a wide-mouthed vessel. I used Scotch tape, which works fine, but clear floral tape works even better if you can get it because it is narrower, clearer, and has a stronger bond).

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Make sure your vessel is completely dry when you apply the tape. I dried it off, but just before I took this photo, my sparkling water bottle exploded everywhere. Perfect.

Be sure to run a length of tape around the circumference of the vessel to pin down the grid tape edges:

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

It ain’t too purty but it keeps things secure and theoretically will be covered by the lushness of your arrangement.

I started by inserting a bunch of branches:

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Next, I realized that the flimsy wire I made my peonies with was too flimsy, so I hot-glued each blossom to a piece of stiff, raffia-covered craft wire. Then I proceeded to shove them in amongst the branches.

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Once you’ve got quite a few flowers in there, add a few more branches, and then keep adding flowers until the thing is overflowing.

I even hot-glued a couple of smaller blossoms to some of the branches for a little more drama:

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.comCoffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.com

So as much as this was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day project, I bumbled it enough that it didn’t quite turn out to be that. But that’s just between you and me.

Happy Valentine’s Day next year!!!

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs (and a Bee Sting)

DIY Flower Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Today’s looking up for Phoebe.  Yesterday wasn’t so fun:

Bee Stung Puppyface from Farmhouse38.com

This is what it looks like when you take a bee stinger to the mouth.

Bee stung puppyface from Farmhouse38.com

Needless to say, poor puppyface was in a lot of pain, and had to go to the vet for a shot. Sad face.

But today, her face has returned to it’s normal level of goofy, and she is feeling quite fantastic. So we decided to celebrate with a puppy flower collar.

DIY Flower Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Who’s a pretty girl?!

This tutorial harkens back to my floral design days when we’d do floral collars for dogs who got to be in the wedding party (which is pretty much my favorite thing ever). They’re so simple to make, and as long as you have a tolerant dog, they’re pretty easy to wear (I should note here that not all dogs will be a fan of this, so proceed with caution.  Also, be sure to select flowers that are non-toxic–I cannot stress this enough. Roses, marigolds, daisies, snapdragons, small sunflowers, coneflowers, etc. are all choices that are non-toxic and also hold up well in this sort of application-ie, won’t get too floppy too soon. Also herbs–herbs are great for this).

Start off by measuring your pet’s neck, and then add about two inches to that measurement. Now cut that amount of thin craft wire, and twist a small loop at one end:

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Select your flowers and cut them right at the top of the stem so that the blossom has zero stem.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

No stem!!

Now, carefully poke the wire through the base of the bud and out the other side. Sometimes it’s helpful to use a pin to sort of ‘pre-drill’ through the flower before poking the wire through.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

DIY Floral Collar from Farmhouse38.com

Slide that wire on through.

Slide the blossom on down, and repeat until you have filled the length with about an inch to spare.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Now, place the collar on your victim and feed the loose wire end through the looped wire end and secure.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Oh, Phoebe…workin’ that collar!

I should also note that an optional and very pretty way to attach the collar is to start with a slightly shorter wire length, put a wire loop at each end of the wire, and then attach short lengths of ribbon to each end.  These can then easily be tied together to secure around your pet’s neck:

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Willie shows off this version.

This was, incidentally, the method I used to make Millie’s pretty little necklace last spring (some of you might remember):

DIY Floral Collars from Farmhouse38.com

I should note here that Miss Millie was not a fan of her necklace AT ALL. I do not recommend putting accessories on your chickens unless they are just really used to these sorts of shenanigans or are really just that fashionable.

But the Feebster didn’t seem to mind her collar too much. She knows it goes well with her non-swollen face.

DIY Floral Collars for Dogs from Farmhouse38.com

Candy Stripe Monogram

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

I truly feel that the paper straw is a highly underrated crafting material. As a functional straw, I kind of think they suck (see what I did there?!). There’s just something that I don’t like about drinking through paper. Kind of right up there with disposable wooden ice cream spoons. Blech. It might just be me. Nonetheless, they are cute as heck, am I right?

Quite some time ago I got this 20″ tall wooden R. I wish I could tell you why.

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

A mighty fine letter.

I just decided I needed it. And clearly I did, because it has been sitting around collecting cobwebs for a very long time. Until a couple of days ago when I decided to glue straws all over it.

Obviously, there are a plethora of fairly inexpensive craft store letters that could be used here (see here for an example). In fact, one could even cut a letter out of flat cardboard and achieve this same look without paying a dime. But I had a big wooden R that was calling my name.  I can’t quite remember, but I think I got it from here.  My paper straws came from Amazon.

I simply measured and cut the straws to fit, lining their patterns up and hot-gluing them one at a time. I decided that I wanted to have wide, alternating stripes of two differently-laid patterns, so I measured out five, four inch tall sections.

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

Measuring out my horizontal stripes with expert-level precision.

The sections would contrast between having the stripe pattern line up, and having it not line up (incidentally, I learned that the patterns on these straws are not uniform, therefore, it was nearly impossible to have them line up properly. Duly noted).

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

Ah, the chaos of crafting.

When every straw had been singularly glued in place, I then simply glued ribbon around the perimeter of the letter to hide the bare edges (as well as the open, not-so-pretty ends of the straws).

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

The ribbon is an easy, tailored finish for what were fairly gruesome edges.

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

A close up of the alternating patterns.  And of the way they really don’t line up very well.  But eh…good enough.

Candy Stripe Monogram from Farmhouse38

The R looks great hanging over our off-center temporary range. I may just leave it up until we get ourselves a grown-up range and hood.

The kitchen is starting to look rather Christmassy. I heart it.

Christmas Kitchen Decor from Farmhouse38

Miniature rosemary wreaths are a quick, adorable holiday accent, straight from the garden.

Christmas Kitchen Holiday Decor from Farmhouse38

More kitchen holiday cheer.

Candy Stripe Monogram (using paper straws) from Farmhouse38

Yep. I think I may just leave it all year round.

 

Caramel Bourbon Cake

Caramel Bourbon Cake from Farmhouse38In addition to the Cranberry-Lemon Squares, I went a little crazy and also made this cake for ‘First Thanksgiving’.  There is just really not much better than a cake with booze in it, is there?  No.  No there just isn’t.

The Caramel Bourbon Sauce is really quite insanely good.  This stuff would be so good in so many different applications, it makes my head hurt.  But that may also just be my bourbon hangover.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce from Farmhouse38

Jars of Caramel Bourbon Sauce: perfect holiday gift.  I’m just sayin’.

Sauce ingredients:

–1 cup sugar

–1/4 cup water

–1/2 cup heavy cream

–1-1/2 tablespoons bourbon (come on, you know you want to) (PS: we like Woodford Reserve, although the Texan about had a heart attack when I was ‘squandering’ it for cooking purposes.  It was worth it, I tell you.  No regrets.)

–1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

To make:

–Simmer the sugar and the water over medium heat, constantly swirling the pan for anywhere between 10-15 minutes, until your sugar mixture has reached a nice amber color.  Be real careful not to let it burn.  It’s easy to do.  Trust me.

–Remove from the heat and turn off the burner.

–Slowly add your cream, constantly stirring.

–Add bourbon and salt.

–Set the pan back on the turned-off burner and stir ingredients together for another minute or so.

–Transfer to a jar and let cool.  Keep it in your fridge until you’re ready for it.

Cake/frosting ingredients:

(instructions are for a two-layer cake.  I set out to make a four layer, so I doubled everything below…and then one of my layers bit the dust.  So three it is.  Three it is.)

For a two-layer cake:

–1-1/2 cups white sugar

–12 tablespoons softened butter

–3 eggs

–3 teaspoons vanilla extract

–2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

–2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

–1 teaspoon salt

–1-1/4 cups whole milk

–1 cup of Caramel Bourbon Sauce, cooled

–2 sticks softened unsalted butter

–4 cups powdered sugar

–2 tablespoons whole milk if your frosting is too dry

To make the cake:

–Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two (or four, whatevs) 8×8 round baking pans.  Set aside.

–In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.  Beat the eggs in, one at a time, and then keep beating on high speed for approximately 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and pale in color. Add the vanilla and stir.

–Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

–Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Try not to take out your pent-up aggressions on the batter by over-beating it.  It did nothing to you.

–Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon.

–Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the frosting:

–Cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time and beat until well-combined.  Add 1/3 cup of the Caramel Bourbon Sauce and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of whole milk if your frosting seems a bit dry (mine did not).

Caramel Bourbon Buttercream from Farmhouse38

Yep. That’s right. I stuck my finger right on in there.

Assembling the cake:

It all comes down to this.  Take a deep breath.

Take your Caramel Bourbon Sauce out of the fridge awhile before you start the assembly.  Warm the sauce a bit, if you need to, so that it isn’t too thick.

Place the first layer of the cake on a stand, and, using a fork, poke a whole buncha holes all over the top surface of the cake.  Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the sauce across the surface of the hole-y cake, just enough to coat it well and soak in a bit.  Top with a hefty layer of frosting.

Now place the second layer, and do the same with the poking and the pouring and the frosting-ing. Reserve the last little bit of sauce.  When you are ready to serve, drizzle the cake with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Dig the heck in.

**Cake recipe adapted from thebakerchick.com

Cranberry-Lemon Squares via Southern Pink Lemonade

Cranberry-Lemon Squares from Southern Pink Lemonade via Farmhouse38So I Pinterest-stumbled upon this yummy recipe from a darling blog called Southern Pink Lemonade (you know you want to go visit just from that name).  I was convinced that I had to make this dessert for ‘First Thanksgiving’ (because we are all going to be scattered for actual Thanksgiving this year, my immediate family gathered this past weekend for what was dubbed ‘First Thanksgiving’.  I mean, why have just one?!).  I’m thrilled to have happened onto SouthernPinkLemonade.com because it is chock full of tasties–go and drop by, tell Heather we said hi, and poke around her recipes…you will not be disappointed!

Here’s the recipe, as written by Heather:

Ingredients:
Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons-1/4 cup cold water
Filling:

  • 1- 12 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • juice of one lemon
Direction:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. 
 
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until dough is crumbled into small pieces.
 
Move the crumbles to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together (I only needed 2 tablespoons).
 
Press half of the dough in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Set the remaining dough aside for the topping.
 
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add cranberries and lemon juice. Stir to coat cranberries. Pour filling ingredients over the dough in the baking dish. Spread cranberries so that they are in a single layer. 
 
Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the cranberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top and the sides are golden brown.
 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, lift squares out of the baking dish using the parchment paper. Cut into squares.

- See more at: http://www.southernpinklemonade.com/2012/11/cranberry-lemon-squares.html

Cranberry-Lemon Squares from Southern Pink Lemonade via Farmhouse38

Mine didn’t turn out quite as purty as hers, but darn they taste good.

How Holiday Baking Looks at Farmhouse38

Everyone at our house was a big fan.

All-Natural Goo-Remover: I’m a Fan

All Natural Goo Remover from Farmhouse38I don’t know why it is, but it seems like I am having to remove an awful lot of sticky labels around here. Perhaps it is my obsession with recycling old jars (and thus, having to constantly remove their labels).  But anyway…I’ve been using a lot of Goo Gone.  It works.  It really works…but…oh wow, do I loathe that smell (and all the chemicals that go into making that smell).  No matter how many times you soap up and wash it off, it just really clings to everything…I mean, who doesn’t love smelling like an awkward blend of kerosene and orange peel?  For a week.

So when the Pinterest led me to 7th House on the Left’s Non-Toxic Goo-Remover , I heard angels singing.  Not only was this possibly my pass to never having to use the toxic orange slime again, this version was made with coconut oil.  So it smells like coconuts.  Which I am OB. SESSED. WITH.

It’s ridiculously simple to make: equal parts organic virgin coconut oil (I tend to favor the Trader Joe’s variety) and baking soda.  Sign me up.  You simply microwave the coconut oil (only a few seconds, depending on how much you use) until it liquifies, and then mix it with the baking soda.  For this little recycled jam jar I used a half cup of each.  Once it was all mixed and poured into the jar, I stuck mine in the fridge to solidify it, and shook it every so often as it cooled to a paste.  You don’t actually have to put it in the fridge at all, I just did this to hurry it up.  Because coconut oil has antibacterial properties, I just keep the jar under my sink with all my other cleaning supplies.

To use, you just glob the paste on any goo you want to remove, let it soak in, and then scrape to remove.  Most times, when I am removing old jar labels, I will smear this stuff on, then put the whole jar in the dishwasher (because I’m lazy).  The label comes off in the wash, and the jar gets cleaned: two birds, one stone.  Or two stones, one bird, as I like to say.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still keeping the orange stuff.  It has its place–and not for nothing, we have a long, long history together.  But I’m trying to move away from being so chemical co-dependent in my life…this is definitely one of those, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ situations.  I’m sure that at some point I will stumble across something that may defy the powers of the coconut miracle paste, but as of yet, I haven’t found it.

Thanks, 7th House on the Left!!

Apple Pie Crème Brûlée

Apple Pie Crème Brûlée from Farmhouse38Is it obvious that I have a thing for crème brûlée?  (Please refer to this and this for clarification.) I just can’t quit it.  The chickens are enablers; their diligent egg-laying forces my hand.

This recipe is a yummy seasonal departure with its shortbread crust and layer of apple butter added to a classic vanilla bean custard.

You will need:

-2-1/2 cups heavy cream

- 1 whole vanilla bean

-7 large egg yolks

-1/2 cup granulated sugar

-6 to 12 shortbread cookies, depending on how big they are and how much cookie crust you want

-6 to 12 tablespoons of your favorite apple butter

-approx. 6 extra tablespoons of sugar to brûlée the tops

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking dish with a dish towel (this keeps the ramekins from sliding around once you fill the baking dish with water).  Set this aside.

Split the vanilla bean and place it in a medium saucepan, along with the cream, and put this on your stovetop over medium heat.  Warm the cream mixture slowly, until bubbles form around the edge of the pot.  Remove it from the heat, and let it sit while you go about your other business.

In a ziplock baggy, crush your shortbread cookies, and then line the bottoms of each ramekin with just enough crumbs to be a solid layer.  Next, spoon about a tablespoon or so of apple butter over the top of the crumbs–again, just enough to make a solid layer.  Place your ramekins in your prepared baking dish so that their sides don’t touch each other.  Personal space; it’s important.

In a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture begins to thicken and turn slightly lighter in color.

Strain the cream mixture and then very, very, very slowly, add it in tiny bits to the sugar/egg mixture.  If you do this too fast, your eggs will scramble.  Scrambled eggs bad.  This process usually takes me a few minutes.  When everything is blended, divide the mixture evenly amongst your six prepared ramekins.  Carefully fill the baking dish with scalding hot water (either from the tap or from an already-boiled pot of water) so that the water line comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Put your baking dish on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 35-50 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges and wiggles only a tad in the very center.  Remove your baking dish from the oven, remove the ramekins from the the water bath, and let them cool a bit on the counter.  Refrigerate them for a few hours or up to three days.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar across the top of the custard so that there is a decent layer across the whole thing.  Fire up your brûlée torch, and holding your ramekin at a 45 degree angle, ease the flame across the sugar.  Once it starts to melt, start rotating your custard a bit so that the melted sugar rolls around and spreads nicely across the top.  Try not to catch anything other than the sugar on fire.  Especially your kitchen.  Don’t do that.

Let the sugar cool and serve immediately!

Apple Pie Crème Brûlée from Farmhouse38

Come to Mama.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

The kitchen renovation here at the Farmhouse has been a pretty long one.  And it is definitely far from done.  Last weekend, we decided to tackle the backsplash, which was something that we had left more or less undone since the bones of the kitchen went in several years ago.

You may recall that we had put a faux tin tile backsplash up along the sink wall of the kitchen:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

Cute and functional as it was, these ‘tins’ were just a temporary fix.

We put this up, mainly, so that the view from across the great room looked ‘finished’.  I didn’t want to be staring at unfinished drywall, and I certainly didn’t want to be splashing it with any overzealous sink usage.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38This temporary backsplash gave us a nice view from across the house, but of course, when you actually walked into the kitchen and looked at the opposite wall (the stove and fridge wall), it was still unfinished drywall.  Strangely, I never took any photos of this.  Sorry.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

I do love the look of the ‘tin’ (but kind of hate that it’s actually plastic), but as much as it was a reflective surface, it really made the kitchen feel dark.

However, the tin bought me time: time to ponder what I actually wanted as a backsplash.  And trust me, I took my sweet, sweet time.  Tile is the obvious answer, but I could never seem to find a tile that I was crazy enough about to justify the expense and the effort of putting it in.

After awhile, I started contemplating a beadboard backsplash, which is intrinsically ‘farmhousey’, easy to install, and pretty darned inexpensive.  The problem?  It was almost too easy.  And ‘done’.  I’ve seen it too many times before. So I began to think about how I could put a different spin on it.  Literally.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

In a moment of divine inspiration (read: cocktail-infused inspiration), I realized that if we could cut it at a 45 degree angle and piece it together, it would create a pretty nifty zigzag.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

The math was a pretty daunting hurdle–not gonna lie.  When we headed down from the house to our workspace, we were both doing the despondent Charlie Brown walk (please refer to these clips from Arrested Development for an accurate visual).

After much debate, and me repeating the phrase, “Stop over-thinking it!” about 657 times, we figured it out.

What you’ll need:

-Figure out how many square feet of backsplash you need to cover, then buy that amount of beadboard paneling.  But you’re going to have wasted square footage on each panel, so buy a few more.  Our total square feet of backsplash roughly equaled two 4×8 panels, but we wound up needing about one and a half more.  It’s an inexact science…so we bought exactly twice the amount of panels needed for our square footage–it was enough for the project, as well as enough to have a bit extra for the inevitable missteps.

-An angle square is a must (like this).

-A super-long straight-edge is also kind of important.  We have one like this.

-A skill saw

-A measuring tape

-A pencil, with a good eraser (trust me)

-Liquid Nails (to adhere the paneling to the wall–if your walls are as uneven as ours are, you may need to tack the corners with a nail gun, as well)

-Painter’s Caulk

-Painter’s tape

-Your semi-gloss or gloss paint of choice

Here’s what we did:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

With the 4×8 beadboard panel laid out horizontally (and though it is shown beadboard side up in this image, be sure to make your marks and cut on the BACKSIDE of the panel, as this will give you clean edges on the front side).

Now prepare yourself, because I am about to drop some math on you: the ‘triangle’ that this first cut forms is a 45-45-90 Isosceles triangle.  There’s probably an app for this, but basically, if we want the cut line (the hypotenuse of the triangle) to be 19″, then we have to find the ‘legs’ of the triangle with this handy little equation straight out of the bowels of Hell: Hypotenuse divided by the square root of 2. Which gives us 13.4350288425.  Isn’t that a nice, sweet number?  Meh.  Round up to 14, make a mark along each leg of the triangle at 14, and connect those two points with a straightedge.  Mark the line with a pencil.  This will give you a cut line that is a little over 19″ long, but that works–you can trim it to fit later.

Sorry about the math.  Seriously.  I’m really sorry.

Now, you’ve got to continue marking all your cut lines across the whole board before doing any actual cutting.  Here’s where you want to figure out how big of a ‘repeat’ you want your pattern to have.  I decided that 12″ sounded good (so basically, each section of herringbone will be a foot wide–you may decide you want yours narrower or wider–do what feels right), so measuring out at a perpendicular angle to your first line, you want to make a couple of marks 12″ (or whatever length you decide) from that first line.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

Once you’ve made a couple of marks 12″ from the first line, connect them with a straightedge (and check that the angles are 45s with your trusty angle square), and mark your next line.

Repeat this process until you run out of board:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

Excellent.

Go ahead and carefully make your cuts, and set your newly-made strips of beadboard aside in a tidy pile.  Before we can start glueing these into place, you’ve got to cut your next board. Why?  Because you need to do exactly the same thing, only on the opposite angle:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

You need an equal amount of opposite beadboard sections.

Measure these out as you did on the first board, and cut these strips.  Place them into their own pile, so that you have one pile of strips with the bead running way, and another pile with the bead running the opposite way.  Don’t let the two piles mingle, for the love of all that is holy.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

The skeptic makes some careful measurements while I am entertained by his sawdust dandruff.

Now you are ready to cut and fit your first piece of backsplash.  It’s your choice which pile it comes from, but measure your backsplash area and cut the first piece to fit.  Before you glue it into place, you want to measure and cut your second piece *from the opposite pile*–this is a little tricky, as you need to cut it so that the pattern of the beads lines up like a chevron:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

Make sure you line the beads up as closely as possible, then measure and cut your #2 piece from there.

Once your #2 piece is cut, you can go ahead and glue your #1 piece to the wall (if you are only glueing, hold it in place with painter’s tape while it is drying.  If you are glueing and nailing, hit it with some nails right after you glue it to the wall).

Using your #2 piece, now select a piece of paneling from the first pile, line it up, mark, and cut your #3 piece.  And so on a million times until your backsplash is done.  I’m not gonna lie: it’s a time-consuming process.  But even the ever-dubious Texan believed it was well worth the final product.

And, guess what?  Once your beadboard pieces are all adhered?  You’re still not done.  Now you need to caulk the seams and paint.  Caulking beadboard is a tricky business.  The caulk wants to smear into the bead lines and look pretty generally messy.  But here’s a few tips: tape along your countertop to get a really clean edge there.  Lay your tape about an eighth of an inch away from where the beadboard meets the countertop.  Once it’s taped, run your line of caulk, and then, working quickly, go ahead and schmear it with a damp finger, wiping the excess onto a damp paper towel.  Once, you’ve flattened it out, go along and wipe it down excessively with a damp paper towel; the water will thin it out, which will make it blend into the beadboard beads better.  As soon as you’ve done this, before the caulk has a chance to dry at all, carefully pull the tape up off your counter.  It should leave you a nice clean line.  If your vertical seams between beadboard sections are a little gappy and you want to fill them, run a very thin line of caulk, wipe it with a damp finger, and then wipe it down with a wet cloth.  Thinning the caulk like this helps it not get stuck in the wrong grooves.

Once your caulk has dried, paint everything with a good couple of coats of paint; this helps seal things against water and food splashes.  BTW, painting beadboard isn’t the simplest either–I use a paint brush and paint in the direction of the zig or the zag.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

It’s amazing how much more light and bright this backsplash makes the kitchen.  Gotta coordinate with the white dog.

And now I am going to do something unprecedented: I am going to show you the stove wall.  That is missing our 48″ range, hood, and pot filler.  I have never shown this wall in the history of this blog.

Here you go:

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

You are jealous of our awkward little temporary range and the accompanying 18″ counter gap, known as ‘The Crevasse’.

DIY Herringbone Beadboard Backsplash from Farmhouse38

Despite its obvious missing links, this wall is pretty great with its extra-tall upper cabinets and schmancy new backsplash.

Someday, I will have my gleaming 48″ gas range, decorative hood, and long pined-for pot-filler. Until then, we have The Crevasse.  It is what it is.

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

So, remember the time, back a long, long while ago, before the chickens took over the yard and I had my sweet little secret garden?  Yeah, me neither.  But this sign hung over the entrance:

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

Rough translation: Little Garden of Weeds.

Yeah, well….now the chickens have laid claim to my pretty little garden….and….it isn’t so pretty anymore.  But, I digress.

A new sign is in order!

I decided to go ahead and use the same pre-made little slab of wood (purchased in the wood craft department of Michaels), and just knocked down the lettering and finish on it with a power sander.  You know, rough it up a bit.

Now–time for the sign-painting magic.  As I’ve demonstrated before, all you need for this transfer method is some sort of basic computer design program, a regular old printer, and a china marker.

Design up your lettering and print it out–depending on the layout, I print it out in sections, or one word at a time.  This one was printed in sections:

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

I spliced this into three parts, but as it turned out, I only needed the two end print-outs.

Cut your words out and and make sure they fit properly on your ‘canvas’:

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

Fits like un gant.

Now, flip your print-outs over and color the backside of the letters liberally with your china marker:

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

Scribble like you mean it.

Now, replace your print-outs properly onto your sign, and tape them down in one or two spots just to keep them in place.  Use a pencil to trace your letters.

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

Clearly, I can’t seem to keep it within the lines.

Now remove your print-outs, and you should have yourself a nice little transfer!

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

Oh, yesssss.  C’est si bon.

Now, carefully paint (or frankly, paint-pen) your letters in:

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

For this sign, I started with dark brown for the letters….

Next, I stained the exposed wood with a weathered grey stain, and at this point, I decided I hated the dark brown letters and went and painted over them in white.  It’s what I do.  Then I did a faint white-washing over the top of the entire sign.

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial from Farmhouse38

All nice and finished, hung on the garden door/gate.  I originally thought that this phrase roughly translated to ‘Little Chicken Garden’ (a ‘potager’ being a little garden off of a main garden, usually of the kitchen variety).  I was wrong.  It should probably read ‘Potager des Poulets’.  It was pointed out to me that the term ‘de poulet’ is more of a reference to chicken as an ingredient in a recipe, not an actual, living chicken.  Gah!  Woops.  But I think I’m going to leave it because I kind of think it’s a funny mistake.

Why the French?  Je ne sais pas.  I’m just kinda fancy like that (despite the fact that I have gone and bastardized this beautiful language almost beyond recognition.  **Sigh**).

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