Watercolor and Gold Sugar Cookies

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Flood cookies are hard… Seriously. These cookies are far from perfect but I learned SOOO much in the process.

What you need

  • Sugar cookies -I used this Alton Brown Recipe
  • Royal Icing- I used the recipe on the wilton meringue powder container which used meringue powder, Icing sugar, and water which I substituted with lemon juice for a better flavor
  • Piping bag and thin piping tip
  • Almond extract, or any other clear alcohol-based extract
  • Gold luster dust- You can get this at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn

Instructions

I stated by baking round cookies about 4 inches in diameter. While letting my cookies cool, I started making my royal icing. I watched a ton of youtube videos and searched other blogs to get an idea about that the consistency should be…. Ultimately I did my best, but trial and error was my best friend. Before you thin the icing down too much for the flooding, set aside some thicker icing to pipe on your cookies later.fullsizeoutput_3b62.jpeg

Frosting the cookies was next. I originally tried piping a border on each of the cookies that I could fill with a thinner flooding icing, but I did not like the way this was looked and it was taking a long time, so eventually I resorted to using a spatula to apply an even layer of royal icing on the cookies without the piped boarder. *I piped this border on later after I had painted the cookies to give it a more finished look.

Before you move on, make sure your royal icing completely dries. This make take several hours. I left mine overnight to ensure well dried cookies.

Now to the fun part. Painting the cookies! Use gel food coloring in the colors you choose like you would a watercolor, but instead of using water to dilute it, use your alcohol-based extract. The reason you use this instead of water is water may start to break down your icing, whereas the extract evaporates very quickly. I used a regular paintbrush to paint flowers on my cookies. Wash your paintbrush thoroughly because any residue from previous paint may contain inedible components.

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Instead of explaining how I painted the flowers, watch this

Use the thicker icing you set aside to pipe what will be your gold design on the top. I was using my cookies as place settings, so I piped the names of my friends on the cookies. This is also when I piped around the cookie to give it a more finished look.

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Again, make sure that this icing completely dries before moving on. Once the icing is try, mix almond extract with the peal powder (luster dust). Because the extract evaporates quickly, I mixed it up a little at a time. The consistency should be like paint. Using a fine paintbrush, paint over the white piped icing. I have seen videos where people use yellow or brown icing to help give a richer gold color. I found the white looked fine, but I had to do 3 separate layers.

I absolutely loved this part of the process because it combined my love for art, my love for food, and my love for handlettering together. To take things one step further, I also had a hallmark movie playing while I did this. I was a very happy girl.

And thats it! These cookies are definitely a labor of love, but I loved every moment. I can’t wait until I have another excuse to make them… next time they will look even better!fullsizeoutput_3b71

 

DIY Pegboard

Moving into my new apartment, I needed to minimize clutter and with it the feeling that all my things reside in the 8X10 room I live in (which they do).  With my loft ceilings, I have a lot of wall space and hanging shelves seemed like the way to go.

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Urban Outfitters Shelf

… has anyone been in the market for wall shelves? They are SO expensive. For instance, this one little 18″ Peaks Shelf from Urban outfitters is on sale for $59. I would definitely need more than one, which is the graduate school equivalent too much money.

I looked at a lot of different options, but a children’s book (Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room) I used to have gave me the idea to put up a peg board. This was super easy and ended up costing around $30 total.

What you need

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Instructions

The pegboards at Lowes come in white and brown, but you can easily paint them any color. Also, a great tip is that  most hardware stores do curtesy cuts. The board I got was 4X4 but I needed 3X4 so they cut it down to size a no extra cost (and I have a bonus 1×4 pegboard for a future project).

There are a lot of different ways to get the pegs for your pegboard, but I just went for the (easy) option of buying an assorted kit. All the pieces were steel, so I decided to spraypaint them a pinkish gold color.

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Assorted pegboard hooks

Next, I hit up the Target dollar bins, or as I like to call them, trouble. I was able to find some really inexpensive metal mesh locker containers in neon colors. I brought them in line with my color scheme by spraying them with the same paint I used on the pegs. There were a few that were a pale pink, which I decided to leave for a pop of color.

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Locker mesh containers being spray painted

After the paint dried, I poked a hole just big enough to hang them on a hook. These made great storage containers for my art supplies, journals, and books.

After that, it was easy. The pegboard hook came with screws to attach the pegboard to the wall. Make sure that you put the rubber spacers on the screw between the peg board and the wall so that there is space to insert the hooks.

I was able to jazz up my pegboard by hooking a lightbulb from a longer hook so I could have light right above my workspace, and added three pails with succulents, cactus, and greenery for a fresh, happy feeling. I love that this ‘hides’ all my clutter in plain sight! With a pegboard, you can get creative and personalize it, making it a feature wall! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Quilting Project

I decided to take a stab at quilting. Naturally, I didn’t use a pattern and I just figured it out as I went. I made my own binding and somehow ended up with like 60 feet of black binding… oops.  This project took a whole week, which is much longer than I expected, but all-in-all I was very happy with how it turned out.

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DIY Vertical Pallet Garden

 

This last spring, fresh herbs and fresh flowers were needed on the balcony of my apartment. This 5′ X 6′ space was not big enough for a horizontal garden, so I decided to use the wooden pallet I already had to build a vertical garden.

Most of the work was done at night, so many apologies for the bad photo quality.

What you need

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Heat Treated symbol

  • Wooden Pallet- Make sure that it is heat treated to know it hasn’t been treated with pesticides
  • Staple gun/ Staples
  • Hammer
  • Newspaper
  • Landscaping fabic/ weed block ($5.66 @ Walmart)
  • Potting soil
  • Paint (I used $1 wood stain from Ikea and chalkboard paint from target $1 bins)

Instructions

Start by removing every other wood plank on one side using a hammer. This helps define the garden boxes and allows for more sunlight. Depending on the wooden pallet, you may need to remove more or less panels.

*I did not paint the pallet at this point, but I would recommend doing it now so you don’t have to paint around the landscaping fabric. Since my memory fails me, using chalkboard paint on the front panels allowed me to write what I had planted in each box.

Double the the  landscaping fabric over and use it to create pockets in between the front and back panels. These pockets will be your individual flower boxes. Staple around the top edges using your staple gun. Landscaping fabric will allow the roots to breathe and let extra water drain off without the soil and plants coming through.

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I painted the pallet at this point, but if you already have you’re ready to move on.

Line the bottom of each flower box with crumpled or shredded newspaper to prevent root rot. Cover the news paper with potting soil and Voila, your garden is ready to be planted.

fullsizeoutput_3b22.jpeg*Confession… I started my seedlings inside, replanted them in my pallet garden, and then proceeded to travel to Africa for 3 weeks, over which time all my plants died.  That’s why there is no picture of a luscious green garden in my vertical garden.

You Are Enough

This is my favorite  idea from Brené Brown’s, Daring Greatly. I forget ALL the time that I am enough, just the way I am, so I made a reminder on a GIANT 18″ x 24″ piece of paper.

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Painting the world

There are so many things in this world that are scary, sad, upsetting, or a combination. I find that if I am not careful I can easily get bogged down by all the unhappy things in the world. In order to keep myself sane and remember all the goodness, I need to seek out the beauty that is there, but I just can’t see.

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I don’t know what it is, but there is nothing like creating something beautiful out of a blank sheet of paper, something old and ugly, or just completely from your mind.

I hope that this will be a place where I can post things that I make/see/do that I think are beautiful, and maybe your world will become a little prettier.

Paint the World Pretty

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My name is Erika and I love to create and share things that make me happy. I am by no means a professional artist, but I love to find/create beauty in ordinary, everyday things. This will probably be a smattering of all kinds of projects, pictures, how-to’s, and whatever else my imagination thinks up that I want to share with you to make your world a little prettier.