Liquid Gilding A Mirror

I love the look of Louis Philippe-style mirrors with their rounded top corners and gilded finish. I’d been looking for one of these mirror to go on the mantle of our living room for a long time, but nothing was the right size or price. I finally came across this mirror, which is actually meant for a dresser, but I still really liked its shape. It happened to be the perfect size and came at a very decent price tag, the only problem was I didn’t like the color. Luckily, there are so many options available for painting these kinds of things now!

At first I decided to gold leaf the mirror…but that didn’t turn out since I’m terrible at it and it would have taken me forever to finish. So I decided to try out Martha Stewart’s Liquid Gilding, which turned out great! It’s incredibly easy to use and the end results were all that I wanted.

Here’s what the mirror originally looked like. (It’s 35″ x 37.8″)

I used Martha Stewart’s Liquid Gilding in the Brass color and 2 ratty paintbrushes. Don’t use your nice brushes with this stuff, it’s really hard to wash off!

It was a nice sunny day so I brought the mirror on to the deck to paint it. I didn’t want any gilding fumes in the house..

At first I used the gilding too sparingly as you can see in the picture above. This is 1 coat.

This is also just 1 coat, but I learned it was better to use a generous amount of it. The little bottle of Liquid Gilding goes a long way, I still have over half of it after this mirror.

This is with the 2nd (and final) coat.

I let the mirror dry for around 4 hours.

And it was ready to go on the mantle! Overall, I love how the Liquid Gilding worked out. It’s not as reflective as real gold leaf, but it still has a very nice sheen. There are some blotchy parts that you can see, but I like how those look. A 3rd coat would definitely even it out if that’s what you’re going for.

Speculaas Cookies

Ever since Josh’s grandma gave us some speculaas to go with our tea one afternoon, I’ve been hooked on them. These are the ones I first tried and that’s what I’m used to in terms of flavor. So when I tried making my own batch of speculaas with an old Dutch recipe, both Josh and I weren’t keen on how it tasted. The blend of spices made it taste almost like eggnog, but not in a way that we enjoyed.

I stumbled on this recipe from House on a Hill that I adjusted a bit and ended up loving. It tastes similar to the store-bought speculaas, but we like it even more since the cookies turned out nice and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Below is the recipe I used:

- 3/4 cup softened butter, unsalted
- 2 cups brown sugar (spooned, not packed)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ground almonds (I grounded blanched skinless almonds)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cloves, and ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon each of cardamom and allspice
- 2 teaspoons cocoa
- grated rind of one lemon
- 3 cups flour (Plus a 1/2 cup extra for dusting your mold)
- 1-2 tablespoons milk

Mix your spices together in a small bowl and set to the side. (The cinnamon, salt, cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cocoa)

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer using the flat beater attachment. Add the egg followed by the grated lemon rind, ground almonds, and spice mixture. When everything is nicely combined, slowly add in the flour. Lastly, pour in 1-3 tablespoons of milk little by little. When your dough is able to be packed into a ball without crumbling, that’s enough milk (I used about 2 tablespoons).

*In the original recipe it tells you to refrigerate the dough for 30-60 minutes to prevent any sticking to the mold. I put my dough in the fridge for 1 hour, but found that it still stuck to the inside of the flour-dusted mold. I ended up working flour into the dough by hand until it was dry enough (but not crumbly) to use the molds without sticking. Next time I’ll just skip the pre-refrigeration step.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Make sure you dust the mold with flour and tap out any excess before placing your dough inside it. Form your dough into little clumps, make sure there are no cracks or seams on the side that will go into the mold or these might show after baking (You can see this happened to some of my fish below). Push the dough firmly into the mold, I used a rolling pin to help pack it in. Trim away the excess dough with a knife flat against the mold using a saw-like motion. If you’ve got a dry enough dough, it should come out of the mold with some hard taps against your table. Place your formed dough into the freezer for around 10 minutes (or fridge for 15-20 minutes) before putting them into the oven, this will help the cookies keep their detail. After they’ve been chilled, place your dough in the oven for 12 minutes.

*For dough using the leaf mold, I placed it in at 400ºF for 15 minutes since it was a much larger/thicker cookie. Bake similar-sized cookies at the same time.

I’m really happy with how these speculaas cookies turned out; they did a great job retaining their detail and tasted great. Now I’m a little obsessed with finding beautiful wooden molds! The above are vintage ones purchased on etsy. The leaf is actually a kashigata mold for Japanese sugar cakes, but it still worked really well with these cookies. You can also find a lot of wonderful cookie molds at this store.

Watering and Maintaining Your Kokedama

I made a post earlier on how to make a kokedama, now I’ll be going through the steps on how you can water and maintain them. It’s not too much work!

- Container large enough to hold most, if not all, of the moss ball portion of your kokedama
- Water
- Towel or Cloth

Step 1: Place your kokedama inside the container and fill it with water. It’s best to have enough water to completely cover the moss ball portion (the tinier ones may float). My container was too small for the largest kokedama, but it wasn’t a big deal, I just poured water on top of it. Leave them in there for a 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Once they’ve properly soaked in the water, remove your kokedama and gently squeeze the liquid out. It might lose its shape a little bit, but you can just form it back into it’s original self.

Step 3: Place your damp kokedama on a towel until it’s dry enough to put it back into its bowl/planter.

I’ve been watering my kokedama about every 10 days and then misting them a few times in between. When I mist, I do it just by the base of the plant where it meets the moss ball. Keep in mind that I’d chosen hardy plants (A curly spider plant, craw craw vine, and a peperomia sp), so they’re a bit more forgiving if I under or over water them. I’ve had my 3 kokedamas for a month now and they’ve all been growing nicely with this routine!

turning sweatpants in to a planter

I was browsing Yarnfreak, when I came across a post involving jersey/T-shirt yarn. I really liked how it looked, so I tried to find places online to purchase it. Instead, I found some great tutorials on how to make it yourself from old shirts. However, since I didn’t have any shirts I wanted to get rid of, I used some old sweatpants instead.

- A large shirt or pants made of stretchy material
- Large crochet hook – I used a size 00/15/N
- Fabric scissors
- Small plant
- Saran wrap

Step 1: Make your yarn. I watched this video tutorial, which was really easy to follow. I used both legs of my pants and ended up cutting 1 inch strips to make the yarn.  It was exactly enough for a little planter.

Step 2: Start crocheting!

Here’s a simple pattern for the planter I made:

• sc: single crochet
• sl st: slip stitch
• rnd: round
• st: stitch

Rnd 1: Make a magic ring and place 6 sc into it.
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st. Join with sl st. (12 sc)
Rnd 3: 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st. Repeat 6x. 2 sc in next st. (20 sc)
Rnds 4-8: sc in each st. Join with sl st. (20 sc)

Tip: The pattern above worked with the yarn I’d created, however, results may vary depending on the thickness and material of your t-shirt yarn. My sweatpants were made of a heavy jersey fabric.

Step 3: Wrap the base of your plant’s plastic pot with saran wrap so that dirt and water won’t come out of the holes. I plan on removing the plant from the crocheted planter and taking off the saran wrap whenever I want to water it, that way the water can properly drain (I’ll just do it over a sink). Then I’ll put the saran wrap back on and the plant back in to its planter. I chose a bird’s snake plant since they don’t need to be watered very frequently.

Step 4: Put your plant in to your crocheted planter and you’re done!

This was a fun and quick project, it only took about an hour total to make the yarn and crochet the planter. Hope you enjoyed this!

Tea Bag Shower Invites (with drinkable tea)

It was such a pleasure being able to design and create these invitations for my cousin’s bridal shower last year. It had an Alice in Wonderland tea party theme, and that’s how I came up with the idea of making the invites look like tea bags that held actual tea leaves for the guests to brew and drink.

After a couple of prototypes, I created these invitations by printing on vellum paper, which allowed the tea leaves to show through. I then assembled the invitations similarly to how you would with an actual tea bag, using the tag at the end of the string as instructions for brewing the leaves. This was such an enjoyable project to work on and I’m so glad I was able to make it for my cousin and her shower!

Thank you, Nole, for sharing this on Oh So Beautiful Paper!