Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Cocktail Inspired by a Sugar Scrub

Sugar Scrub Cocktail from Farmhouse38So…..because this idea formed in my pea brain while I was concocting a fun little sugar scrub, we are going to go ahead and name this cocktail….you guessed it!–The Sugar Scrub.

Allrighty then.

You will need:

–2 oz. fresh squeezed and strained grapefruit juice

–1 oz. coconut-flavored rum

–1/2 oz. dark rum

–3/4 oz. simple syrup

–1 teaspoon rosewater

–granulated sugar for the rim (or sugar crystal sprinkles, like I used)

–grapefruit peel for garnish

Rim your glass with sugar or sprinkles, then fill it with ice.  Mix all wet ingredients together well in a shaker, pour over your ice, then garnish with a bit of grapefruit peel.  Enjoy your bathtub cocktail.

P.S.  Don’t you love my adorable chicken napkins!?  A sweet little gift from a friend (thanks, Susan!!) 🙂

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs

Bath Tubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

She was running a couple of weeks behind schedule, but the Birthday Fairy got it done.  She Got.  It.  Done.  After five excruciating years, I finally have my bathtub.

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Master Bath Before from Farmhouse38

How the master bathroom looked when we bought our house. I don’t even want to talk about what we found in the cabinets.  So I won’t.

Master Bath After from Farmhouse38

The sink side of the master bath after our renovation.

Master Bath After from Farmhouse38

Sadly, the space for the intended tub sat vacant for a couple of years….taunting me mercilessly with what should be.

And finally….FINALLY!  Behold:

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

My long-awaited, much anticipated, official favorite spot in the house.

Due to some pretty tight space constraints, we wound up choosing a tub that is pretty modern in design (despite heavily considering a clawfoot, and at one point even a metal horse trough), but with that antique-looking faucet, I think it works pretty seamlessly in our ‘modern farmhouse’.  It’s a good, deep soak….existentially deep, which makes up for the fact that it isn’t the longest tub in the world (ah, tiny bathrooms).  But, yes….yes, I think I will keep it.

So in honor of our newest, most cherished family member, I decided to post a lovely little recipe for a homemade sugar scrub (something I have been dying to make, but refused, like a petulant child, to make it to use in the shower).

With so much grapefruit in the yard right now, you know it had to be a bit grapefruit-y:

Fresh Grapefruit, Coconut, Rose Scrub:

–1 cup superfine sugar

–2 tablespoons heated virgin organic coconut oil

–1 tablespoon rose water

–1/4 teaspoon fresh grapefruit zest

Start by zesting your grapefruit.  The ones from my tree are the yellow variety (Oro Blanco), but this would work just as well with Ruby Red or something good and pink.

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Next, you want to scoop your hardened coconut oil into a microwave-safe dish.

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Microwave it for approx. 30 seconds or until it looks like this:

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Now mix your sugar, oil, rosewater, and zest all into a paste–you want it moist, but not soupy.  If it’s too moist, add a bit more sugar to dry it up.  It should look a little something like this:

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Find a pretty jar to put it in and fill-er-up.

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

FYI: not really sure how long this might be good for because of the grapefruit peel. Use your best judgment. If it smells funny or turns wonky colors, don’t use it. To make a version of this that probably lasts a bit longer, substitute a drop or two of grapefruit essential oil in place of the grapefruit zest.


Okay, so as I was making this….I got to thinking….this would make a really interesting cocktail.  So, yes….this happened:

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

See the recipe here.

So I ask you this?  How bad is it, on a scale from one to awesome, that I was mixing cocktails at 10:30 am on a Tuesday?  Just wondering.

An Early Start to Seed-Starting

Seed Starting at Farmhouse38

Shame on me if I don’t seize the opportunities that this temperate Southern California climate bestows.  I know it’s probably painful for some of my frozen-over friends out there watching me start my seeds (outside!) right now, but–how much worse would I be if I wasn’t taking advantage of this???  It’s okay if you need to look away….I understand.

I am always looking for new ways to go about my seed-planting; in previous years I have started them in egg cartons, pots, commercial starting trays, straight in the ground (gasp!), and multiple other methods that have had varying degrees of success and failure.  Lots and lots of failure, people.  This year, the experimentation continues….with toilet paper rolls (in addition to a few traditional seed-starting trays leftover from last year).  Ooooh yeah!  I get real excited when I can re-use something (especially ‘trash’) that I already have.  Especially because, allegedly, you can just pop these suckers into the ground whole, and they will biodegrade.  So, like a hyper chipmunk, I have been scavenging and hoarding TP and paper towel rolls beyond the bounds of proper decorum.  But that is only part of the experiment.  The other?  Starting my seeds in large plastic bins.  I first saw this idea here, and knew immediately that I must have it for my very own!  Not only do the bins help protect the fragile little babies, they make it easy to move all those itty-bitty pots around to your heart’s content.  Too cold at night?  Bring them inside.  Not enough sun?  Move them to a warm spot.  BRILLIANT.

I may have gone a little bit overboard at Baker Creek Heirlooms when I ordered, and those crafty, wonderful people throw in freebies, too:

An Early Start on Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

I make no apologies!!!

Because of this raging mass of seeds, it is extremely important to me to be able to mark them accurately, once they go into their ‘pots’.  But the markers?  They must be cute.  See how I made these weather-resistant seed flags over here.

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

And so begins this year’s experimentation….(and let it be stated for the record that I’m not claiming that any of this is gonna work!  Let’s find out, shall we?)

After purchasing several clear-ish Rubbermaid storage bins from the HD (Home Depot, that is), it was time to get crackin’.

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

Miniature greenhouse? Who’da thunk it?

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

A single bag of my foraged rolls.

The toilet paper roll prep was fairly simple.  Typically, I see this done where you fold the bottom of the roll up to create a little pot, but I wanted to make my rolls go as far as possible, and it seems like that wastes a perfectly good half of a roll.  So I cut mine in half (or in 5ths for the paper towel rolls) instead.

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

But how then, does one keep the soil inside the roll?  With a tiny square of paper towel, that’s how (1/16th of a single piece of paper towel, to be exact).  Cut (or rip, as I did) your small piece of paper towel and stuff it inside the TP roll so that it pretty neatly fills the inside of the ‘pot’.

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

With two fingers push the paper towel fragment down to the bottom of the TP roll.

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

With the bottom of the ‘pot’ sitting on a flat surface, fill it with seed-starting mix and tamp it gently down.

Now plant your seed of choice according to the seed-packet instructions, and line ’em up military-style inside your bins.  Be sure to mark them as you go!

An Early Start to Seed-Starting from Farmhouse38

With a working combination of toilet paper rolls, seed trays, and storage bins…. I haven’t even come close to planting all the varieties I bought.  ARG!!  Back to Home Depot with me.

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Here we go again with my pennant/bunting obsession in life!  These are an off-shoot of last year’s Weatherproof Seed Banners made from duct tape.  Don’t get me wrong, those worked great, and there is an endless supply of super cute designer duct tapes available these days–but this year, I decided I wanted something a little less duct-tapey.

The supplies are simple: bamboo skewers, clear packing tape, and some sort of craft paper (I used Martha Stewart’s rolls of craft paper–I have no idea what this stuff is for, Martha–but I am using it for seed flags, a-thankya-very-much).

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

I love Martha’s craft paper rolls for this because they are kind of water-resistant to begin with, are printed on both sides, and are about the right width for this specific project. But probably any other scrap-booking or craft paper would work just as well.

Start by cutting your chosen paper to whatever length you want your little flag to be–I went with about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long.  Write whatever info you want on it with a permanent marker.

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Next, pull out a length of clear packing tape that is slightly longer than your piece of craft paper, and apply it to the front side of the paper making sure to leave about a quarter of an inch overhang on the left side (there will be overhang on ALL sides, but the left side is the important one).

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Next, apply another length of tape to the back side, justifying it slightly so that that left overhang of the front piece of tape still has it’s sticky side exposed.  This effectively laminates the piece of craft paper, but leaves a flap of sticky tape on the end that will be affixed to the bamboo ‘flagpole’.  Now trim all edges of the excess tape except that over-hanging left side.

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Trim all excess tape and swallowtail the ends by cutting into the craft paper.

Now, take that exposed sticky tab and wrap it around your bamboo skewer and back against the backside of the flag.  For extra insurance, you can cut another little length of tape and just stick it along the backside to hold the flap in place.  Or, if this is all too complicated (and I didn’t articulate well!), don’t leave a left-side flap and just use a separate piece of tape to tape the flag to the pole.  It all looks pretty much the same!

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

Repeat with multiple colors and patterns of craft paper.

Allow your chickens to check your work.

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38

***Millie Approved***

Mark away!

Weather-Resistant Seed Flags from Farmhouse38I must say that I doubt these things would stand up to really serious weather–but they do hold up quite nicely to the gentle watering that goes along with starting seeds.  And they’d make great cocktail stirrers, for the record.  Cheers!

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

With Valentine’s over and done with (sniff), it is officially time for greener things.  Here’s a little tutorial on how to make this fun (and fragrant) coffee ground wreath.

Ingredient #1 is, of course, a foam wreath form from the craft store.  Foam form from the craft store–got that?  🙂

DIY Coffee Ground Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Plaster all four sides with two healthy coats of black or dark brown spray paint (I used Satin, but any finish would work), and let dry thoroughly between coats and afterwards.

DIY Coffee Ground Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Next, slather the front and sides with a pretty thick layer of Modge-Podge or white glue of some sort.  I used a sponge ‘paintbrush’ and kind of dabbed it on so that the MP really seeped down into the crevices of the foam.  Put it on thick, and work quick so it doesn’t start to dry out on you.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

While the MP is good and wet, dump coffee grounds on the wreath form, sprinkling and rolling it so that all the ‘podged’ surfaces get completely covered by grounds.  Leave this to dry thoroughly.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Abbie enjoys watching the podge dry.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Okay, crazy lady, your podge is dry now, let’s get on with it.

Once it’s nice and set, gently tap and shake off the excess coffee grounds.  Now give the coffee grounds two decent coats of clear spray gloss (I actually used satin again so things weren’t too shiny).  Let this dry thoroughly.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Oh yes, it still smells wonderful!

Now you are ready for the fun part.  Choose your embellishments.  I went with a branch of small leaves from the craft store, some greenish baker’s twine, and various grosgrain ribbons in shades of green.  Green, green, green!  You’ll also need bamboo skewers from the market, and a small, thin piece of craft wood (from the craft store).  And don’t forget to pack some heat….glue gun, of course.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Cut the craft branches into small segments of varying heights.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38


Carefully begin to place your ‘seedlings’ into the wreath by piercing the coffee crust with the wire of the pieces.  No glue should be necessary to hold them, but if you feel you need it, put a little dab at the base of each stem before punching them through the form.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Once you have your seedlings placed, cut two bamboo skewers to your desired length (I cut mine about 5 inches in length).

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Gently slide these into place in the wreath at an angle that will leave them upright when the wreath is hung.

DIY Coffee Grounds Wreath from Farmhouse38

I never like things to be perfectly symmetrical, so I intentionally placed the skewers at different heights on the wreath.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Now, cut a length of twine about 24 inches long (to allow for some excess to work with), and cut varying sized pieces of your ribbons–I cut mine roughly around 1 inch long each, without being too meticulous about it.  Swallowtail one end of each ribbon piece.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Using your glue gun, run the tiniest bead of glue along the top of each piece of ribbon, one at a time, and gently press them each onto the bakers twine.  Let set, and then trim away any errant cobwebs or glue blobs.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Yay for miniature bunting! I will never be sick of it. NEVER, I tell you!

Now tie each end of the bunting to your bamboo skewers with a simple slip knot.  Trim the excess twine right up to the knot, and then seal the knot in place with a dab of hot glue.  Cut two new small lengths of twine and tie a bow over each knot on each skewer.

To create the little sign, I used a small square of thin craft wood (it was about 2×3 inches originally).  Using a Dremel tool, I actually cut the wood in half, and then roughed up the edges so it looked a little less perfect.  I brushed brown acrylic paint onto small alphabet stamps and stamped my message.  Then, using the same brown paint watered down on a rag, I rubbed the edges of the sign for a little bit of an aged effect.  I finally hot-glued the sign onto a bamboo skewer and placed it in the wreath.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

To hang the wreath, I used a segment of the craft leaf wire leftover from the seedlings (it was about 10 inches in length with a few leaves on one end of it).  From the backside, top of the wreath, I poked the non-leafy end of the wire through.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Backside of wreath.

Let about two inches of wire stick through the front face of the wreath, and then bend it into a spiral knot of some sort so that the wire doesn’t slip back out.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

Front side of wreath.

Next, fashion a bow out of some of your ribbon, and then glue this securely over the top of the wire knot to conceal it.  Glue the backsides of the bow ears and tails to the wreath, also, for extra security.

DIY Coffee Grounds Spring Wreath from Farmhouse38

The hanging wire had a lot of excess length to it, and this I just spiraled around the nail for a final bit of fun.

And there you have it!  A hint of spring for your front door.

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38.comJust in the nick of time for Valentine’s Day, am I right?  Rose flavoring in food is not everyone’s cup of tea, but let me tell you something….I adore it.  I love roses, I love the smell of roses, and I am quite content to put all of that loveliness in my mouth.  And then, of course, this is crème brûleé, which is something that I do not possess the will or desire to say ‘no’ to, ever.

For this recipe, you will need:

-2-1/2 cups heavy cream

-1 whole vanilla bean

-2 tablespoons rose water

-7 large egg yolks

-1/2 cup granulated sugar

-approx. 6 additional tablespoons of granulated sugar for the brûleé-ing

-fresh rose petals for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees (F).  Put six ramekins (6oz size) into a roasting pan.  Set this aside.  If you intend to heat water on the stove to use for the ramekins’ hot water bath, do that now (I usually just use hot water straight out of the tap).

Split your vanilla bean and place it in a medium saucepan, along with the cream and the rose water, and turn the heat on medium.  Warm the cream mixture slowly, until bubbles form around the edge of the pot.  Remove it from the heat and let it ponder life while you go to your 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 slowly, add it in bits to the egg/sugar mixture.  If you do this too fast, your eggs will scramble and it will all be for naught.  When everything is blended, divide the mixture evenly amongst your six ramekins.  Fill the baking dish about halfway with scalding, hot water from the tap (or from your pot of boiled water).

Carefully place the baking dish on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges and just wiggles a little in the center.  Remove them from the oven, remove the ramekins from the water bath, and let them cool to room temp.  Refrigerate them for a couple of hours (or up to three days).

When you are ready to serve them, remove them from the fridge and immediately coat the entire surface of each custard with a good layer of granulated sugar (about 1 tbs.).  Using a kitchen torch, gently melt the sugar, rolling it around a bit to coat the whole surface.  Let it cool and harden, embellish with rose petals, and then serve.


Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

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