Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Berries ~ A Fantastic Country Raspberry Pie

*This is my actual pie--Isn't she purdy :-)
With fall underway, I find myself missing the fresh berries of summer. There is one berry, however, that is harvested into October and continues to be readily and deliciously available at the grocery store-- The Raspberry.

My mom and I both enjoy a gem of a magazine titled COUNTRY. Not to be confused with COUNTRY LIVING and other decorator magazines, COUNTRY magazine is simply an organic look at true country living. Real people on real farms send in their stories, photography and recipes and I study each page like a kid reading a holiday toy catalog!

I enjoyed some farm fresh raspberries on my parents farm in August. I also enjoyed one of the best raspberries pies I've ever tasted.  I came across this Very Raspberry Pie recipe in a summer issue of COUNTRY, and the moment I saw it, I knew this pie was going to be special. Kathy Jones of West Winfield, New York submitted her Very Raspberry Pie recipe made from the raspberries she picks along a 130-year-old train track. The flavors in this easy pie are pure, fresh and delicious.

Quite frankly, this one knocked my socks off! Hope you love it to.

Very Raspberry Pie
by Kathy Jones

Raspberry Topping:
6 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Cream Filling:
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipped topping
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 graham cracker crust (9 in.) *I use the recipe on the graham cracker box.

1. Mash about 2 cups raspberries to measure 1 cup; place in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Strain to remove berry seeds if desired. (I skipped this step). Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

2. For the filling, beat the cream cheese, whipped topping and confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Spread in bottom of crust.

3. Top with remaining raspberries. Pour cooled raspberry sauce over top. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

4.  Store in the refrigerator. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

~The Lemonista

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shades of Grey ~ French Farmhouse Chalkboard Tutorial

Don'tcha just love chalkboards? There's something so vintage and nostalgic about them. Chalkboards have lovely shades of grey that fit the rustic elegant farmhouse style popping up in so many magazines and catalogs. You can reinvent your chalkboard design daily, so no worries getting tired of the look. And with the new chalkboard paints on the market, they're an inexpensive way to decorate just about any wall. . So if you have wall space that you'd like to give that vintage feel for cheap, listen up, cuz I've got the project for you!

This chalkboard is made from a slab hollow closet door bought at the Home Depot for $28.  I had a large wall to fill so I bought the largest closet door available. It measures 80" x 36". Like I said--BIG.
Since I used a slab door, there were no pre-drilled holes to worry about, so this door was purchased prepped and ready to paint! Yay! Here are the paints I used:

The paints cost $10 each. I used three coats of magnetic paint and then two coats of chalkboard paint.
I found the magnetic paint difficult to work with, and honestly, I wouldn't bother with it again. The chalkboard paint, however, went on like a dream!

Working in my art studio, aka the garage, I elevated the closet door on a couple of drink coolers (yes folks, it's pretty high tech around here). I used a foam roller to paint and I followed the directions on the cans for drying times between coats.

Once the paint had dried I brought my new chalkboard into the entry hall. It had to cure for a couple of days (per directions on the paint can) then I needed to rub the entire chalkboard surface with white chalk . Now my chalkboard was ready to rock!

Using a stud finder I screwed two large wood screws (about 3" long)
into studs on either side of the wall. Then I mounted D-rings on the back of the chalkboard, using plastic anchors, since the door is hollow and I didn't want the little screws pulling through from the weight.
Finally, I hung the D-rings on the back of the chalkboard on the screw heads mounted into the studs.

The chalkboard looked nice just like this but I couldn't resist a little more flair.

I added two antique reproduction cast iron Fleur De Lis soap dishes found on etsy by Alacartcreations. Aren't they the cutest chalk holders you've ever seen! Since my chalkboard is made of wood, I just screwed them right into the board. Grin.

Better, but it still needed more pizazz.
I thought about topping the chalkboard with some type of molding, sort of like a crown, and came across the perfect wall plaque at Ballard Designs.

The Pruvost Plaque was exactly the shape I had in mind and it even came in an 80" width! But at $269 plus shipping, the price was a little more than I wanted to spend, so I did the only thing a girl could do--I searched the net for knock-off blog tutorials to make my own plaque.

Here is the best tutorial I found:
Ballard Wall Plaque Knock Off Tutorial

Then I drew a pattern on brown craft paper. Once I had the design I wanted, and my instructions in hand, I knew it was time to solicit my retired father for help. Grin.

I printed up the knock-off tutorial above and shipped Dad my pattern. Next, I explained to my Dad that I wanted the wood to have a weathered grey look, so he stole a few of my mom's boards from the horse pasture fence, tee-hee (sorry Mom).
*Weathered boards from old wood pallets would also work well to achieve this look, or you could just stain some new boards. Wink.

When I got my wall plaque back from Dad, I was almost speechless (almost). It turned out even more fabulous than I could have imagined and added the perfect finishing touch to my new chalkboard.

I am in LOVE with my chalkboard wall!

I find myself doodling new pictures and messages all the time.

The best part is you can re-create this chalkboard and decorate a LARGE wall on a budget!
Slab closet door: $28
Chalk board paint: $10
Mounting hardware: $6
Cast iron soap dish: $21 each

Wood plaque: Cost of materials (which was free for me since we used boards from an old fence).

Hope this post inspires you to give a chalkboard project a try.

~The Lemonista

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