DIY: repainting a frame

posted on: Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy Friday! 

I wanted to share a spur-of-the-moment craft I did a few weeks ago to spruce up one of our framed artwork pieces. By framed artwork, I mean it is a reproduction piece I got for $40 at a secondhand shop, but it's of the beach at sunset - one of my favorite places in the world to be. 

It reminds me of Florida panhandle trips with my family, they were and still are some of my favorite memories!

So this particular art piece came with an odd tan, plastic frame that did nothing for the art inside - it made the whole thing dull. It also looked faded hanging over the white couch. I decided to do quick fix and spray paint the thing much darker to liven up its presence in the living room. 

I found that there was no way to remove the art from the frame since it's stapled in (quality work there) so I just used painters tape and newsprint to protect the inner gilded edge and print itself. I would NOT do this with anything more expensive!
Here's the painting over the couch BEFORE, pretty bland. not bringing any punch. 

Taping up the edges
Using a drop cloth will save the ground from the inevitable reach of spray paint

I used the edge of a ring box to scrape the edges for a less-flat, more distressed look on the frame
I used a dark walnut color, plus it was already on hand :)

AFTER! Lovely phone picture eh? I think I prefer the contrast to the tan, though it may be too dark now. Good thing I can always try something else :)

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

posted on: Sunday, January 11, 2015

I love simple food that packs big taste.
Maybe it's my southern flavor palette influenced from years of salty biscuits, spicy potatoes and deep-fried-you-name-it, but I adore food with flavor even more when it's h-e-a-l-t-h-y (SHHHH don't let the state fair funnel cake know!)

This post is on a simple, delicious, flavorful miracle food called Butternut Squash Soup - a nutritious and filling winter staple for us every year :). It's actually based on a baby food recipe I found years ago when trying to figure out how to cut this some what awkward gourd in half safely, and figure out how to cook it in general.  

One of the nice things here is that measurements aren't too important - the end result is always good, but here are some anyway:

You will need:

1 organic butternut squash, medium in size

1-2 cups organic apple sauce

2-3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth depending on your diet (either works great)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinch of curry powder (optional)

Baking pan large enough for 2 squash halves to fit in

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Sit the gourd up right and begin to cut the gourd in half with a strong sturdy knife. Those good chef knives give you great leverage to power through it. Start at the top and split down the middle. The glorious orange color tells you this plant is packed with good-for-you nutrients!

Scoop out the seeds and save for planting later if you want an endless supply for the next several years (they can grow prolifically).

Place gourds face down in a baking pan filled with 1-2 inches of water.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork pierces the skin easily and the water is bubbling around the sides of the gourd. The skin may be a little browned in places too.

Now comes the other gnarly part besides cutting the gourd - scooping out the flesh. I'm impatient and just go for it moments after removing from the oven, but be warned, that squash flesh is 400 degrees when it comes out of the oven.  I use an ice cream scoop and wear an oven kit on the hand that steadies the squash, or you can let it cool for 30 minutes or so.

Drop scoops into a deep and heavy pot on medium heat. Add apple sauce, and around 2-3 cups of broth depending on the consistency of soup you like.

Using an immersion blender, blend the squash chunks into a smooth soup. Add pinch of curry, salt and pepper to taste.

This is great main dish served with a side salad of arugala and baby spinach. Pop a piece of toast in  and grate some asiago over your soup, and finish with some pepper. ENJOY!

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