- plastic animals
- plastic candle holders
- drill with 1/8″ drill bit
- gold spray paint
For the plastic animals, you can use any kind you can find. Keep in mind the size of the cake or cupcake you are sticking it on. I used the animals with a flat back, so it is easier to stick in the candle holder.
Hold the animal with the pliers and drill a hole straight down, being careful not to pop out the other side. The hole just has to be deep enough for the holder to fit.
Spray paint the animals in a few light coats, rotating them to cover all sides. Note: I used gold (w/o primer) and it worked fine for both the nicer plastic animals and the dollar store ones. I wanted a pop of color but some of the animals didn’t take to regular spray paint, be sure to use a plastic spray paint or a primer for plastic and always test one first.
I also painted the candle holders to match. Let dry.
That’s it. Party on like an animal! Rawr.
- 1 1/4” x 3’ oak dowel (oak is a hard wood and considered safer than poplar for supporting weight. Also, I had mine cut to 3’)
- 3/8” x 16’ braided polypropylene (get this by the foot)
- 2 yards of plain canvas
- 80mm stainless steel spring snap link (holds up to 220 lbs)
- 3/16” stainless steel quick link (holds up to 660 lbs)
- black fabric paint (my acrylic paint is fabric friendly)
- paint brush
- drill and 3/8” drill bit
- sewing machine
- iron and ironing board
Step One: Fold your two yards of canvas in half and lay flat with the fold on the left as shown. Measure in about 7” from the top right edge and mark. I cut mine about 12” in, and it was a bit too much, so I’m suggesting 7”. Using a yard stick or ruler, draw a line from that top mark to the bottom right corner, and cut through both pieces. Open your canvas.
Step Two: Fold your top edge down 1/2” and iron flat. Then fold it in again 1/2” and iron flat. Pin and stitch the bottom of the fold as shown above. Repeat with the long bottom edge.
Step Three: Flip your canvas 90 degrees to the left so that the longest edge is on the right. You’re going to create pockets for the rope to slide through on each side. Fold each corner in about 1 1/2” and iron flat. Then fold the unhemmed top edge in 1/2” and iron flat.
Step Four: Fold again 1 1/2” and iron flat.
Step Five: Stitch two lines along the bottom folded edge as shown. Reinforce your beginning and ending with back stitches. Repeat with other side.
Step Six: Make a mark 2” and 4” in from both ends of your dowel, and drill through. Sand your rough edges and stain if you’d like. I chose to leave mine natural.
Step Seven: Place your canvas on a large sheet of cardboard, and paint your design on one side. Let it dry, and then paint a design on the other side (optional). If you’re using printed fabric, be sure it’s upholstery weight or outdoor fabric to ensure its strength.
Step Eight: Tie a knot at one end of your 16’ rope so that there is about 3” of a tail. Melt the end so it won’t fray. Thread it down through the outer hole of your oak dowel and up from the widest corner of one side of your canvas seat to the narrow corner of the top. Then tie a knot about 3’ from your first knot, and thread it up into the oak dowel. Continue to thread it down into the hole 4” from the other edge, and measure 3’ from the loose end, and tie a loose knot. Thread it down through the other canvas pocket and back up through the last hole before tying a knot with a 3” tail. If your two sides aren’t even, adjust your knots before pulling them tight.
Step Nine: Find the center of the rope above your dowel, and tie a knot with about 8”-10” of room above it. Attach your spring link, and then your quick link, and finally hang it on a hook screwed safely into a ceiling beam or large tree branch. Be sure to adjust all of your knots to make sure the seat sits evenly. Test it out by hanging on it before sitting in it to make sure everything is secure.
A soft, round pillow in the bottom of the seat can be added for extra cushioning for smaller sitters. Height can be adjusted depending on the height of your ceiling. Our porch ceiling is lower than the inside of our house, so you can add another loop of knotted rope, or just cut your rope to be about 2’-4’ longer depending on the height of your ceiling. I hope your chair gets as much use as ours is getting!
Marshmallows and caramel are two of my favorite ingredients. And Oreos aren’t too shabby either. Plus, I have a thing for s’mores and five ingredient recipes.
I was having a craving for something with an Oreo crust, and although I could have made a pie, these bars seemed more fun. They’re what I envision S’mores Bars that took a bath in caramel and that are made with an Oreo-crust rather then a graham cracker crust would taste like. Only five ingredients are used and they’re ready in thirty minutes. My kind of recipe.
I combined 32 ground chocolate sandwich cookies with melted butter. I used 32 because that’s what remained in the package after certain family members discovered my baking stash in the cupboard.
I used generic storebrand chocolate sandwich cookies rather than real Oreos.
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and it’s an absolute must. Then press the buttery crumbs down firmly with the back of a spatula. A little trick is to use the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass for packing them, facilitating a tight pack-job that’s utterly smooth.
This crust holds together very well, thanks to a generous butter-to-crumbs ratio, and some tight packing.
Bake the crust for about ten minutes, or just until set. It’s hard to determine if it’s set or not because the black buttery cookie crumbs look like wet tar, and it’s hard to tell set from not. But 10-12 minutes should do the trick. Plus, the pan is going back into the oven anyway.
Sprinkle marshmallows over the crust, and then sprinkle quartered caramels over the marshmallows. Make sure to do it in that order.
The biggest PITA of this recipe is unwrapping fifteen caramels and quartering them. You could likely use Kraft Caramel Bits instead of caramels.
Return the pan to the oven for about 5-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven when the caramels have melted and marshmallows are just barely starting to brown.
Immediately upon removing the pan from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, lightly pressing them down. The carryover heat from the pan will melt the chocolate chips, ever-so-slightly.
Allow the bars to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing through the layers. I really enjoy contrasting flavors and textures and these bars are full of both. The chocolaty, buttery, crisp, cookie-crumb-crust contrasted with soft, fluffy, airy, white marshmallows made each bite a dichotomy. The sprinkled chocolate chips add a pop of texture, and of boost the chocolate intensity.
For the Crust
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (3/4 of one stick)
32 Oreo Cookies, ground
For the Topping
2 cups mini marshmallows
15 caramels, unwrapped and quartered (total of 60 small pieces)
3 to 4 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang (you must line your pan), spray with cooking spray; set aside.
For the Crust - In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on high power, about 1 minute; set aside. Add the ground cookies and stir to combine (grind cookies with a food processor or place them in a sealed plastic ziptop bag and gently mash the outside of the bag with a drinking glass or roll over the bag with a rolling pin). Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan and pack it down firmly with a spatula or the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until set; don’t worry if it’s a bit underbaked as pan will be going back into the oven in the next step.
For the Topping - Evenly sprinkle the marshmallows over the crust. Evenly sprinkle the caramels, making sure to do it in that order. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes or until marshmallows and caramel have begun to melt and remove pan before marshmallows start browning or developing color. Immediately upon removing pan from oven, evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips, pressing them down very lightly with a spatula if desired. The carryover heat will melt the chocolate just slightly and embed them into the melted marshmallows and caramel. Allow bars to set up for at least 2 hours before slicing; pan can be placed in the refrigerator to expedite.
- 1/4 cup(s) agave nectar
- 6 ounce(s) raspberries
- 3 Medium peaches, sliced
- 1 cup(s) freshly squeeze lemon juice
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water and agave over medium heat until the agave has dissolved, about 1 minute. Add raspberries and peaches, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until raspberries have broken down, about 5 minutes.
- With the top cap removed, combine raspberry peach mixture in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute; let cool completely before straining through a cheesecloth or fine sieve.
- In a large pitcher, whisk together raspberry peach mixture, lemon juice and 5 cups water. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
- Serve over ice and raspberries, if desired.
Hosting an outdoor gathering this weekend or this summer? If you live in the south especially, you know the mosquitoes are already out in full force. Burning citronella torches or candles seems to be a common way at attempting to keep them away from your porch, backyard, or deck. So here’s a quick and easy solution.
I reused some old jelly jars that are actual mason jars and used tiki torch wicks. You will also need a lid.
Use a hammer and nail to punch a hole in the lid and then keep punching holes to enlarge that hole until you have a hole big enough for the wick to go through. Or you can use a drill and a large drill bit.
Your holes may not be completely round or smooth and that is ok. They will be hidden by the wick and you want them to be tight enough so that the hole “holds” the wick and it doesn’t fall back into the jar.
Thread the wicks through the hole.
Clean the labels off the jars if you are reusing jars. Fill with oil 1/2 – 3/4 full and screw the lid back on. Wait a few minutes for the oil to soak up the wick and light!
You can use these anywhere you need them. I used them on our deck rail in areas where people weren’t sitting. But these could be used on tables or pretty much anywhere!
Not sure the oil is diffferent colors? It took that whole bottle of oil to fill 4 jars and it was a light blue color.
So fun and yet functional to provide light/ambiance and hopefully keep the mosquitoes at bay too.
Would you have ever thought to use mason jars as tiki torches?
I love watermelon. This popular and easy to make Mexican drink is a great way to enjoy fresh sweet watermelon anytime in a non-messy way, so you don’t have to go outside, stand over the sink or wait for a picnic.
Agua Fresca is a simple Mexican beverage made out of fruit. Agua Fresca literally means water refreshment, or fruit water. Throughout Mexico, they make several agua frescas with different fruits, however this watermelon version is my favorite.
Watermelon Agua Fresca Recipe
4 cups chilled, chopped and seeded watermelon (I use seedless watermelon to make things easier)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon or more honey, optional (if your watermelon isn’t sweet enough)
1. Add chopped watermelon, 1 cup water and lime juice to blender. Blend on high until smooth. Strain through a mesh colander, if desired.
2. Chill and serve over ice.
- For the cookie dough, in a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the brown and granulated sugar. Stir to combine. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in the flour until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool completely (so the chocolate chips don’t melt) then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Line an 8X8-inch baking pan (preferably with very straight sides) with two pieces ofparchment paper (cut into 8-inch strips) so they extend well beyond the edges of the pan on all four sides; this will help to lift up and easily remove the frozen sandwiches.
- Scatter half of the dough into the pan and use your hands to press it into an even layer.
- Top with a second set of parchment strips that extend over each side. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter the remaining dough over the top and press into an even layer.
- Fold the overhanging parchment over the dough and freeze for at least an hour (can be frozen for several days in advance.)
- Use the parchment strips hanging over the edge to lift out the top layer of cookie dough. Then remove the second layer.
- Place another set of parchment slings (I know, enough with the parchment already!) in the pan. Peel the parchment from one square of cookie dough and set it inside the pan with the smoothest side down.
- Spread the softened ice cream over the top into an even layer. Peel the parchment from the remaining square of cookie dough and place it, smoothest side up, on the ice cream. Gently press it into the ice cream.
- Cover the pan (with the parchment overhangs, if desired) and freeze for at least 2-3 hours but preferably 6-8. Using a long, sharp knife, run it under hot water, wipe dry, and slice the cookie dough ice cream sandwiches into squares, repeating with hot water after each slice (you can lift up on the handles to remove it from the pan before slicing - I found I had to run a knife around the edges to loosen any ice cream that had stuck to the pan corners). Eat fast so they don’t melt!
This beach inspired mason jar craft is perfect for a beach wedding, Summer tablescape, or mantle.
Broken seashells or faux rock vase filler
painters tape (optional)
I made two versions of this craft, one fully covered with the broken seashells and one partially covered. To make the partially covered jar, I used painters tape to section off the part that I wanted exposed. This isn’t necessary but it helped make sure I had an even line.
To make the jars, apply a generous amount of decoupage glue on the mason jar, working in sections. Allow glue to fully dry before turning to another section or else the rocks will slide off. It takes about 20-30 minutes for each side to dry. Another tip is to make sure you have a single layer of the shells so that they adhere to the jar well.
Once the mason jars were covered, I tied twine around the mouth of the jar and added a tea light inside.
I have to say that I was really impressed with how well the American decoupage glue held the shells in place. Plus I like that it’s see through so you can see glimmers of light peeking through the shells.