Stenciled glass projects and free-hand painting

It all started with an issue of Canadian House and Home.  One of the editor DIY projects was a stenciled table runner.  I thought to myself “that looks nice and easy!”  And then the Martha Stewart stencils and paints were on sale at Michael’s.

That was June, I believe.  And they’ve been sitting in the basement until this weekend.  I finally broke them out, and decided to try them.  Here are the results:

Obviously, the two on the right are stenciled, and the three on the left are done freehand.  And there is a reason why there is no closeup of the candy corn candle holder.  My candy corn isn’t that great yet.  Anyway, here’s a close up of the two that are stenciled:

Once they were done, I actually was pleased with how they turned out.  The stencils worked great once I figured out how to use them.  You adhere them to the surface that you are working on, and then paint.  Peel them off while the paint is still wet.  I used a toothpick to clean up any little bleeding, and it worked pretty good.  I tried re-sticking the stencil, but no dice.  Paint got everywhere.  I needed to wash it, dry it, and then stick it on again.  It is a little time-consuming if you are going to be doing a lot of repeats.  I must say that they stuck to the glass again wonderfully.  I had been a little worried that the stickiness would go, but they were fine.

Then I decided to try a little free-hand painting:

I needed probably at least three layers (if not four) for the orange to be thick enough over the glass.  You can almost see the candy corn in the background, and it does look ok from a distance.  Free-hand was more fun, and a lot less tricky than the stencils, but I need more practice with it.  I haven’t really painted a lot.

Hope you enjoy my candy dishes and candle holders, and try some glass painting yourself!

PS – I hope to make some fall-themed jewellery this week (tonight, fingers crossed), and I’ll show you how that turns out!

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Pumpkin Rosee Pasta Sauce

Another post with pumpkin without a picture.  It’s too bad they don’t last long enough, but I don’t consider it a bad thing.  I had some pumpkin left over after making muffins, and I wanted something different from the lasagna last week, so here’s what I cooked up:

Pumpkin Rosee Pasta Sauce

  • 1/4 c tomato soup or sauce (the hubby had tomato soup for lunch, and there was some left over, which led to the inspiration)
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c alfredo sauce

This was all mixed together.  I added some milk to it to thin it out, because the pumpkin was thick.  I then poured it over some cheese tortellini.  Hubby thought that I should have mixed the sauce with the tortellini, added some roasted red peppers, covered it with mozzarella, and then baked it.  I didn’t have time, so we just had the sauce with the pasta.  It also could have used some pesto, but we were all out.  Hope you enjoy, and you experiment with pumpkin this fall!

Wedding Cake Pop Adventures

Wedding Cake Pops

These are probably the best ones that I have ever done.  They were made with white cake and chocolate cake, and were dipped mostly in white chocolate and a combination of dark/milk chocolate (I like about half and half, not too rich and not too sweet).  There are a few dipped in purple chocolate.  They’re decorated with purple sprinkles/jimmies, purple coarse sugar, and purple chocolate.  And now time for a disclaimer…

Beware of bulk chocolate.  I should have known when I scooped them out of the bin.  Old chocolate will not melt nicely.  It gets all lumpy, and it’s hard to dip.  It worked fine for putting into a squeeze bottle and drizzling over the top, but to dip… not so much.  Next time I’m using colours like this I will fork out the extra and get the packages from the craft store, at least you’re guaranteed to have quality chocolate.  The white and regular chocolate always works excellent for me, as well as the other colours that are in season.

And just a word on the decorations, the coarse sugar on the chocolate looked amazingly good.  It’s my new favourite decoration!

Cake Pops

  • cake
  • frosting
  • sticks
  • moulding chocolate (it hardens much better than melted chocolate chips)
  • decorations, if desired

Directions:

  1. Cook your cake and crumble it with your hands.  You can use any cake, from scratch, from a box, doesn’t matter.  Crumble it as much as you can.  You may need to take out any parts that have browned and hardened, but you’ll be able to tell by the feel.
  2. Mix in some frosting.  Start with a few spoonfuls, and add gradually until the consistency allows you to roll a ball, and the shape holds.  Pick a frosting that complements your cake.  I had made some boiled icing for my mother’s birthday, and it was a delicious addition to my ball this week!
  3. Chill your balls in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  4. Take a stick, and dip it about 1/2″ in the melted chocolate, then insert the stick into the ball.
  5. Return the cake balls with the sticks into the fridge for 5-10 mins for the chocolate to harden.
  6. Dip the balls into your melted chocolate, using a spoon to help you completely coat them.  You will need to tap the stick against the edge of your bowl to get rid of any excess chocolate.
  7. Insert your completed pop upright into a styrofoam block, or anything that will allow them to remain upright.  You can put them stick up on wax paper, but it will give you a flat top.
  8. Decorate immediately before the chocolate hardens, unless you are using another coulour to squiggle over top, then you will let this coat harden.
  9. Enjoy!

I used to have trouble with pops falling off my sticks, but with the addition of step #5, they’ve been perfect every time.  Always allow yourself a few extra just in case something happens… or you have a more than willing helper who likes to sample.

Two Pumpkin Pasta Recipes!

“Necessity, who is the mother of invention.”  Plato, The Republic
Inspiration comes in many forms.  Monday night it came in the form of semi-soft oven-ready lasagna noodles.

I had made some pumpkin muffins over the weekend, and as always, there was a little bit of pumpkin puree left over (before you ask, this was the canned pumpkin, the kind that you just need to add an egg to to make pie, there were already spices in it… local pumpkins aren’t quite ready yet).  With my leftover pumpkin, I was ready for my pumpkin rolls.  I had gone to the grocery store and bought the ricotta cheese, and came home from work ready to cook, and all I found was oven-ready lasagna noodles.  I normally use regular noodles, boil them, and then roll.  It wasn’t going to work.  So off to google I went.  “Can I boil oven-ready lasagna noodles?” was my query.  In short, no.  Oven-ready noodles will fall apart if you boil them, but one of the chefs online suggested soaking them in warm water to soften them.  I tried that, and it worked, but I was a little impatient, so most of them broke.  I then conceded that I needed to make a lasagna instead.  And it turned out beautifully!  I would have a picture for you, but we needed to eat in a hurry Monday night, and then the leftovers disappeared surprisingly fast.

Pumpkin Rolls

  • Pumpkin puree
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Cooked lasagna noodles
  • Pumpkin pie spices, if desired
  • Sauce (pesto or Alfredo is nice)
  • Mozzarella cheese, if desired
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Mix together your puree and the cheese.  You may like more pumpkin and less cheese, or vice versa.  Add spices if your puree isn’t already spiced.
  3. Lay your noodles out flat, and cover with the cheese mixture.  Roll them up and place in a baking pan.
  4. Cover with desired sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Bake until cheese bubbles.

Pumpkin-Spinach Lasagna

  • lasagna noodles
  • Alfredo sauce
  • pumpkin puree
  • spinach
  • ricotta cheese – 1tub
  • cheese for top
  • pumpkin pie spices, if desired
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, and pumpkin in a bowl.  You may need to add some pumpkin pie spices, if desired.
  3. Layer your lasagna in this order: Alfredo, noodles, pumpkin, Alfredo, noodles, pumpkin, noodles, sauce, cheese.
  4. Bake until cheese on the top is melted, and the centre is cooked.