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Friday, July 27, 2012

Silver Star, Montana

After our family reunion in Phillisburg, Montana in 2011, my Sis and I stopped to see her Daughter/My Niece who lives in Silver Star, Montana. Renee has a store/US Post Office called Granny's Country Store..
This is Silver Star, Montana. Beautiful.
A river runs behind her house too....
Granny's Country Store
Notice the hollyhocks on the side of the store....
Oh, and the neat old Post Office inside...
While we were walking up to the front door of the store, I commented to my Sis that the exterior walls sure looked plain...they needed something...she agreed. Then we remembered we had paints in the car! (We had originally taken all of these paints to the family reunion, but alas! we never got around to doing any painting).
So we did what any crazy creative artist would do....Paint! But what were we going to paint???
Why Hollyhocks, of course! Now I have to give my Sister most of the credit. She has been an artist for many years and I'm always amazed at her abilities. She knew that we would have to paint BIG and in a large graphic fashion in order for the flowers to be seen from the highway as people drove by...So we painted big HUGE!
And a little bit of Blue Flax...
And butterflies...
More hollyhocks...
And more hollyhocks!
Hollyhocks Everywhere!
My Niece decided to contribute too....
And her son added his special touch...
Oh and did I mention that a news reporter from neighboring Butte, Montana just happened to come by and snap a picture of us...we were in the newspaper! Click here to see it!

Peaches & Ice Cream

I love peaches! I thought I was going to make a peach pie like I usually do, but kind of ran out of time to do the crust. So I decided to try baking the peaches in the oven instead.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up, take 3 ripe peaches, wash them and cut each one in half with a sharp knife. Gently twist the 2 halves apart and discard the pit. Place in a baking dish.
Sprinkle 1/3 - 1/2 cup of light brown sugar on top of the peaches. You could add a few blueberries on top as well.
I baked in the oven for 20 minutes or until the peaches were real hot.
Enjoy your Peaches & Ice Cream!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mini Berry Pie

I saw a very similiar recipe like this on Pinerest, Click Here, but I decided that I just didn't want to use Phyllo Dough and all of those berries. I like simple so why not pie crust and just 2 of my favorite berries? So that is what I did! First I made that wonderful Pastry Cream mentioned in the original recipe, Click Here.
I waited until the next day so the pastry cream could set up according to the directions.
I used my favorite pie crust recipe for a 2 crust pie crust, rolled out and cut into large 4" cirlces. I gently pressed into a muffin pan. 2 cups flour, 1 teas salt, 3/4 cup Crisco, 8 tbl (1/2 cup) milk. Use your hand mixer and blend all together. Shape into a ball before rolling out onto a floured surface.
I prebaked the pastry for about 5 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
I scooped the pastry cream into each muffin. Topped with blueberries and raspberries.
Bake for about 7 more minutes in the oven.

I cooled slightly in the pan before removing to the cooling rack. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar! Let cool and refrigerate.  TaDa!

PLEASE leave any comments below.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Venetian Plaster

Okay people, I admit it, I'm crazy to do venetian plaster, but if you saw the two bathrooms that my niece just did, you would know why I've got to do this! Her venetian plaster is BEAUTIFUL!!!! So here we go, I decided documenting is a good thing just in case I get crazy again and decide to do the downstairs bathroom!


PREP. This is by far the hardest thing for me to do, because I really don't have a lot of patience. I just wanted to skip the whole thing and start my plaster! But I was good and taped off everything. Really I did! :)

My favorite tool! Its called 5-in-1. I use it mostly to open a can of paint or plaster and whenever something needs scraped! I did use it a few times while applying new coats of plaster or whenever I saw an uneven "ridge" during the 3rd coat of venetian plaster.
I'm using Behr Venetian Plaster (I had it tinted LAZIO, which is a beautiful blue/green though my turned out to be more blue.) The directions say to not worry if you don't cover all of the wall the first go around and to hold your 4" putty knife at a 10-15 degree angle when putting on the first coat. On the first coat, also known as the “float coat,” trowel on the plaster, keeping the trowel or spackle knife almost flat to the surface. This coat should be “floated” on with light pressure, applying the material at 1/16” or so. This is kind of a skip trowel type of application. Try to apply the plaster smoothly, avoiding leaving ridges and scratches behind. Keep your spackle knives or trowel clean to avoid dry grit from forming on them, which will scratch the plaster. Click HERE for he link to the Behr website on how to apply venetian plaster.

Use about this much plaster on your trowel.

I started at an inconspicuous place above the door so that if I do it wrong, then it won't be so noticeable! In this picture, It has already started to dry.

I used these 2 trowels to apply the plaster.

And here it is again. Notice it is partially dry. The directions say to let it dry 4 hours before applying the next coat.

I have read that it is best to finish one wall before going onto the next one. I thought all I was going to need was one gallon! Silly me. I do have very rough walls and after only 2 walls, I had already gone through a gallon of plaster! The directions on the can say it will cover 150 sq ft and should do 2 coats. My bathroom is roughly 175 sq ft. In hindsight, I should have sanded all of the walls first. This way you will not have to use so much plaster! You can buy a inexpensive SKIL sander at Lowes for only $29.99 and it works great for this and it is fast! Make sure it is the rectangle type so you can get into the corners. And I found that you really need 3 coats of plaster to make it look really good.

As I worked I tried to keep the lid on the can at all times. When that wasn't possible a moist rag covering the top of the can will work too.

Here it is with the 2nd coat of plaster. Because my walls were so rough, I had to hold the trowel at a 10 - 15 degree angle again to get move coverage.

I had to sand the walls after applying the first 2 coats of plaster. (Again, my mistake was that my walls were rough to begin with. If I would had sanded the walls first, then I don't think I would have had to do this step.)  The wall really needs to be fairly smooth!

Here it is with the 3rd coat of venetian plaster. This time I was able to hold trowel at a 60 - 90 degree angle. It went on fast and my walls are as smooth as glass!

After all of the walls got three coats of venetian plaster, I took off the blue tape around the ceiling (which was semi buried in plaster).At first I wasn't going to do the ceiling, but after seeing how bad it looked I had to do it! I used my power sander to take off the rough parts on the ceiling. Then I put on the first coat of venetian plaster.

2nd coat of venetian plaster on the ceiling :)

3rd coat of venetian plaster. Woohoo! TIP: Allow the second (or third) coat of Venetian plaster to dry 24 hours before burnishing the surface or applying a topcoat. VENETIAN PLASTER TOPCOAT is recommended over Venetian plaster surfaces in areas of high-moisture or high traffic. Do not burnish/polish if you are putting on a topcoat. I followed the directions on Behr's website to do the Venetian plaster and it says to burnish before applying a topcoat which is incorrect. I found out that the can clearly says not to burnish if applying a topcoat.

Now BURNISH BABY! (If you are not using in high moisture areas like bathrooms) Burnishing will give the plaster more depth. Make sure plaster has 24 hrs to dry before burnishing. Use your trowel to burnish. Burnish in all diirections and in a circular motion to get a good shine. Just be careful not to gouge the wall with the trowel.

When burnishing, hold your trowel like this.

VENETIAN PLASTER TOPCOAT Because I did venetian plaster in my bathroom, Behr recommends that you do not burnish and just apply a topcoat. It looks great! This is how much topcoat I put on the trowel. It only take minutes to cover all of your walls with a thin coat. It will bring out the depth of the plaster too. Now have at it! You WILL enjoy the results!