Getting Crafty with Canvas

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Sometimes you just need to get away from it all.  A few weeks ago after a particularly long week we packed up the car and headed to the ocean on a very spur of the moment trip.  We woke up to a clear, sunny day (for those of you who live in Washington a clear day at the ocean rarely happens in the summer let alone in October!).   Feeling incredibly blessed by the beautiful day we spent the day walking along the water, playing in the sand, and, of course, taking lots of pictures!  We finished off the day with ice cream cones and talking about what we are grateful for.  Our lives get so busy sometimes its hard to remember what’s important.  Taking a day to unplug, getting away from our hectic schedules, and spending some time enjoying a beautiful day with good company helps put life into perspective. 

When we got back I was really excited to see how well all of our pictures turned out.  Since all of my picture frames are currently in storage I decided to get crafty!

I found this post by Girl. Inspired and thought it looked easy enough even I could do it – turns out I was right!

Since I am not always the best at following directions I made a few modifications to her project.  Instead of using scrapbook paper I painted the sides of the canvas with black acrylic paint and I chose not to paint the edges of my picture – both of these ideas are great but I wanted to keep it simple for my first time around. 

For this project you will need:

  • A blank canvas
  • A photograph the same size as your canvas
  • Acrylic paint (I chose black but you can use any color)
  • Modge Podge (matte not glossy)
  • A paint brush for the paint
  • A spongy paint brush for the modge podge
  • An exacto knife (maybe)

I chose to do a 16×20 canvas.  At first I was afraid it was going to be too big but it turned out to work well for the wall I hung it on.

First, you are going to paint the edges of your canvas going up on to the canvas to make sure the white canvas wont be visible.  Use long brush strokes to avoid white spots or streaks on your canvas.  I actually recommend doing this the day before you put your picture down to make sure it dries completely – or at least be more patient than I was!

After the paint is completely dry you are going to cover the top of the canvas with modge podge.  While the modge podge is still wet you are going to carefully place your picture on top of it.  You will want to press your picture down starting in one corner and  working your way up.  To make sure my picture was not going to bubble up when it was drying I took a soft towel and rubbed very lightly over the whole thing.  I also turned my canvas picture side down to dry.

After you picture is dried you may notice that one or more edges of your picture are slightly bigger than your canvas.  If this happens take an exacto knife and cut the excess picture off – you will want to make sure your knife is very sharp to avoid ripping the picture.

Now you are ready to seal your picture.  I will admit this part made me the most nervous – I wasn’t 100% sure the modge podge would dry nicely.  This is where using a wide spongy brush comes in handy – you want to  make sure you don’t have a lot of  streak lines.  Here is what it looks like at first (insert panicking because I just ruined my picture!!):

but wait 15-30 minutes (without touching it!) and it will dry and look like this:

Once your picture is dry you are ready to show it off! 

Tips and Tricks:
-  Make sure your hands are clean and dry when working with your picture (aka make sure the black paint is completely off of your hands before you touch your picture… oops!) 
-  Paint your canvas the night before do the project – that way it will have time to dry completely before you put your picture on it.
-  Get artsy with your picture – make it black and white or sepia, blur the edges, make the colors bolder.  Any of these are easy to do with PicMonkey, Picasa (free download) or iPhoto if you have a Mac.
-  Canvas can be expensive – art stores usually have a pack of canvases that may actually be the same price (or cheaper) than buying just one – I have no idea why but there ya go!

Question of the day:  If you could get away from it all for a day where would you go and who would you take with you??

I suppose I’ll admit fall is here now

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It’s a very sad day when you have to trade your flip flops for rain boots.  We were incredibly lucky that summer decided to stick around a few weeks longer than normal.  But alas, all good things must come to an end so bring on the hoodies and mud puddles!  While I wish summer would stay around a bit longer say 11 months out of the year with snow for Christmas… fall does get me in the mood to do some baking.  When I think fall I automatically think pumpkins – pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, pumpkin bread (yum!).  I have tried a lot of pumpkin bread recipes in search of one that rivals the pumpkin bread at Starbucks but so far I have not succeeded.  In fact, my attempts have all failed rather miserably.  So for now we will skip the pumpkin bread and in the meantime if anybody has a good recipe they want to share please feel free to send it to me! :)

So on to another fall treat – apples!

My mom has a huge apple tree in her backyard so we have been busy making all things apple – the crowd favorite is apple cobbler.  My mom is famous for her fruit cobblers and she has been nice enough to share her recipe with me.  This recipe is wonderful because its easy, you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed, you can switch from a fall cobbler with apples to a summer cobbler with berries, and its easy to freeze and save for another day!

This recipes makes a 13x 9 sized cobbler or two 9×9 sized cobblers.   Today we chose to do two 9×9 pans using disposable pans because we are freezing them for later.

For the filling you will need:
8 cups of apples

For the syrup:
1.5 cup of sugar
1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch
1.5 cup of water
1.5 teaspoon of vanilla
.5 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the crumble topping:
1 cups of flour
3/4 cups of rolled oats
1 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the topping melt the butter in a large bowl and then add all of your dry ingredients.

Mix until all of the ingredients are combined but still crumbly.  Set that aside for later (but I do recommend taking a quick taste test – its my favorite part!)

Then slice your apples (you can peel them first but we don’t) and arrange them in your pan:

Next comes the syrup that the apples bake in.  This is the trickiest part of the cobbler so pay real close attention to it.

In a  sauce pan you will mix the sugar, water, cornstarch, vanilla cinnamon, nutmeg Stir constantly until it becomes thick and clear.  As soon as it starts to get clear take it off the stove and pour it over the top of your apples.  Then sprinkle the crumble topping over the entire pan.

Now you have two options – you can stop here, wrap it in foil (I recommend using at least two layers of foil), and stick your cobbler in the freezer or you can bake it and enjoy it now!  You will bake your cobbler in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the top is browned. Its best served fresh out of the oven (or warmed up in the microwave later).

Variations:
Use smaller ramikins instead of a large pan for individual sized cobblers.
Want berries instead of apples?  Omit the cinnamon and nutmeg from the syrup and use 8 cups of berries.
Don’t have fresh apples or berries?  Canned apples (not pie filling) or unthawed and drained frozen berries both work great!
 
Now that I have shared one of my favorite fall treats what do you look forward to most during the fall??
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