Saturday, July 30, 2016


It seems that most of my summer postings have been about food.  Today I am going to share with you a project I have completed this summer.

I have had a vintage luggage rack hanging in the garage since we moved here.  While sitting in my reading chair in the bedroom, I looked at the stack of wicker baskets that I have been using as a side table.  What about if I redid the luggage rack and placed a willow tray on it?

I took a trip to Home Goods and found the type of tray I was looking for.  The was half the battle....and what a price!

 I brought the tray home and placed it on top of the scruffy rack.  The size worked well.

 My thought was to use a French ribbon to use as the straps.  After looking on the Internet, I found this beautiful ribbon.  It was a bit more costly than I would have wanted, but it was in the exact color family that I was looking for. Now the ribbon was not going to be as strong as the burlap, but I wasn't planning on putting anything much heavier on the tray, so I thought it would be fine.

I went ahead and purchased two yards and waited for it to arrive.

Once the ribbon arrived, I had to come up with a color that complimented the ribbon.

The color I had in mind was a soft periwinkle. I had some Waverly white chalk paint and a bright latex periwinkle in the paint box.  I decided to mix the two to lighten up to a light blue.  The baby food jar shown below is the new mixed color. 

I had never mixed chalk paint with latex, so I didn't know what the results would be, but what the heck?  After all, it mixed well.

Here is the close up of the blue. 
 Before proceeding, I wanted to do a paint test to see if the color when dried would still be a good match for the ribbon.  Well, it wasn't.  It had too much purple in it.  So I went back to the garage and found the Annie Sloan Louis Blue paint.  Now that would work. I mixed the blue with the white chalk paint.

It did.

 The first step was to remove the two worn straps on the existing luggage rack.

A pliers did the trick removing the three worn straps.

 After laying a large piece of cardboard out, I placed the luggage rack down and gave the whole piece a once over with 200 grit sandpaper.  I then wiped down the entire piece with a damp rag to get rid of any of the sanding dust. Remember that chalk paint is very forgiving so you don't have to sand until the wood is raw...just scuff it up.

  It dried quickly, so I was ready to paint. 

See my loyal friend napping in the background.

I gave it one coat and let it dry.

 After 30 minutes, I gave it one more coat of paint.

When dried, I lightly sanded the rack and distressed the edges in a few places.

 A side note here...I store my Annie Sloan clear soft wax in a cabinet above my dryer.  If I stored it in the garage, it would become too soft and runny.

 I keep the brush in a zip lock bag to keep the wax from getting on any other items.

 I gave the entire surface a coat of wax and then buffed it off with a soft terry cloth rag.

I propped up the finished rack in the sun and let the wax bake in.  I came up with this idea.  The buffed wax is very dry after a few hours in the Alabama sun.

 The tools I used to complete this project were a staple gun, a hammer and pinking shears.

Using the pinking shears, I cut 3 pieces of fabric that measured the same as the old strap taken off the rack. The reason I used pinking shears is that the tendency to fray is diminished.
As you notice in the next picture, the wood was so old that the hand held staple gun did not shoot directly into the wood.  Using my hammer, the staples were driven in more.  It isn't the prettiest but since it wouldn't show, I proceeded.  I could have used the electric staple gun, but I would have had to have gotten the compressor out.  I decided to forge ahead with the hand held staple gun.

I did fold under about a 1/4 inch of fabric under to make sure that the fabric stayed taunt.

I completed the middle strap first and then the two end straps.

 This process of attaching the straps took about 15 minutes.  Just make sure that all your straps have the same tightness.

 I love the look of the wicker tray on the finished luggage rack.

 I could also switch the tray out for the mosaic oval tray.

 But for now, I decided to go with the willow tray for the summer.  Because it was raining outside when I was writing the post, I didn't get to cut some fresh flowers from the garden to adorn the tray.

But for now, I am pleased with this latest transformation.

Monday, July 25, 2016


I wanted to share with you one of those ideas that didn't quite come out ok.  This posting was written at the end of softball season.

I know most of you have seen the sites on Pinterest that show what a customer orders and what they receive.  Well, I can now join that club.

I was preparing a Senior night for the softball team and a lot of planning had gone into making the gifts, having team pictures made, creating a special gift wrapped presentation and ordering a cake.

I found this beautiful cupcake cake on Pinterest.  I took a picture and headed off to the bakery, which shall remain unnamed.

After showing the baker the picture, she wrote down, 24 cupcakes with neon yellow rosettes in a circle with red baseball lacings.

Of course, the day I picked the cake up was unseasonably hot.  I bought a ten lb. bag of ice and loaded it into a plastic tub.  I was ready to keep this cake on ice.

When I walked up to the counter to pick up my cake, this was the site I viewed.  Absolute horror on my part......

This was a BASEBALL cake with 3 yellow roses on it!!  I was devastated.  It was too late to make another one. When the counter clerk asked me if I would take it for $10.00 instead of $25.00, I didn't have much choice.

I took the cake to the car and put it on ice.  On the way to school to pick up the softball players, I was on the verge of tears.  I had wanted this Senior Night to be so special for the softball players.  Once I got to the park, I showed the coach and she smiled and something to the effect of 'the girls will love it!'

In the midst of getting the cake out, I forgot to place the miniature banner with the seniors name on the cake.  It was time for a do-over.

We still had the tournament game and I decided to try to make it myself.  I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes and placed them in my round Tupperware container.

I got out my Wilton cake decorating tips and piped the frosting on in a rosette pattern.  Not bad.

Using red frosting gel, I piped the lacings onto the cake.  That was a bit more challenging.

The banner was placed amongst the cupcakes and the cake was complete.

This cupcake design was so easy to create.  I will be using this design again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


A great make-ahead summer desserts that is cool on the palate is on the plate for today.

I got this idea from a great friend of mine back home.  You can make a twist and change the flavor very easily.

Today we are making a strawberry cream freezer cake.

The ingredients I will be using are the following:  one angel food cake, one lb. of fresh whole strawberries, 3 c. half & half.(I had it in the fridge, otherwise I would have used heavy whipping cream.) This dessert will have fewer calories using the half & half. Two containers of prepared whipped topping and a 1/4 c. of sugar.

Using the food processor, I cleaned and hulled the strawberries and pureed them with the sugar.

Using the immersion blender, whip the half and half.  It will not whip like whipping cream, but it will thicken after a few minutes.

Place in plastic container and put in freezer until the liquid becomes more solid.

Don't worry about separation of the liquid.

Meanwhile, take your store bought angel food cake and cut the top third off horizontally.

Tunnel out the bottom piece of the cake being careful not to tear a hole in the base.

Sorry about the next blurry picture.  Here is the filling removed from the freezer.

Fill the tunnel with the filling.

Sorry, another blurry picture.

Place the top back on.

Take three pieces of foil and lay them out on the counter.  Place the cake in the middle.

Begin frosting the cake with the whipped topping making sure to cover the hole in the middle.

This is the crazy part.   Carefully, wrap the cake in the foil.  I promise you it won't smush the frosting whipped topping. Place in the freezer.

A side note on the filling.  It wasn't very sweet with 1/3 cup of sugar.  If you want it sweeter, I would add a 1/2 cup of sugar the next time.  But Mr. Thrifty doesn't like desserts too sweet, so I am sure he will like it just the way I made it.

Place the cake in the freezer.

I wanted to make a strawberry sauce to serve with the cake.  I took my remaining strawberries and smashed them with a potato masher.

Add a 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Then cook on stove until the sauce becomes a light syrup.  Place in container and freeze.

When ready to serve, take the cake and syrup out of the freezer.  
 Thaw the strawberry sauce and place in a sandwich bag.

 Snip a small corner out of the bag and drizzle the sauce over the cake.

What a refreshing dessert!

This is an awesome make ahead dessert to serve on those hot days of summer.