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DIY Wood Square Photo Wall Art

 

DIY Wood Square Photo Art

Kind of a dumb project title, I know … but I wasn’t quite sure what to call these … they’re kind of like pop art, but not quite. I did use wood squares, and added photos … and I did it myself … so “DIY Wood Square Photo Wall Art” works, right?!?!?!

I might also add that my daughter is horrified by the pink one. Her exact words? “Now everyone will know how crazy I am!” Apparently I am not allowed to hang it anywhere in the house….which kind of defeats the purpose of this project. I may just have to replace it. The irony, of course, is that the pink one is actually my favorite – it’s just so….her!

Anyway, this idea was heavily inspired by some nursery art that I saw floating around Pinterest. I can’t find it now, but basically they had used cute animal pictures and mod podged them to brightly colored wood blocks. I just wanted personalized versions, so I whipped these up. Seriously one of the easiest and cheapest projects I’ve done in a long time.

Supplies

diy wood square photo art

3 6.5×6.5 wood squares (I cut mine to size, but you can order some smaller pre-cut ones here on Amazon if you don’t have the tools, or inclination!)

3 different complementary color craft paints (I used pink, teal and purple)

Black craft paint

Mod Podge

Foam brush

Artist brush

3 black and white pictures of your choice (printed out on white cardstock or professionally developed)

Directions

First, cut your wood pieces to size.  I actually used 3/8″ MDF, just because I had it on hand, and I knew I’d be painting (v. staining) it. Mine ended up being about 7″x7″. Sizes are definitely flexible! If you’re using pre-cut squares, skip this step!

diy wood square photo art

Paint the fronts of each of the squares the colors of your choosing. Don’t paint the edges yet. Allow to dry and then do a second coat.

diy wood square photo art

Prepare your photos. Carefully cut your subject out of your printed pictures, as neatly and as closely as you can.

diy wood square photo art

Once the squares are dry, mod podge the back of each cut photo, being careful to get the mod podge all over the entire area of the photo backing. Apply to the square. I chose to do one center-justified, one left-justified and one right-justified, just for some added interest/variety. Press down to ensure that picture will adhere fully. Allow to dry for at least 15 minutes.

diy wood square photo art

Next, mod podge over the whole front of each square using even strokes.  Allow to dry for 20 minutes. *Note* If you’ve printed your picture off on white cardstock, be gentle with this step. Too much rubbing of the brush will damage your image.

diy wood square photo art

 

Finally, tackle the edges. You can either do this free-hand or use painter’s tape to ensure that the black doesn’t bleed onto the front of the square. I liked the dimension that the black edge added to the art. Paint each edge with the black craft paint and allow to dry.

diy wood square photo art

I mounted these with the Command velcro strips so that they would stay flush to the wall, but you could use regular mounting hardware as well if you choose.

DIY wood square photos

 

Capital Grille-Inspired Coconut Cream Pie

capital grille coconut cream pie

Right or wrong, my husband and I are waaaaay past the getting-each-other-something-special-for -Valentine’s-Day stage. We had been growing more and more apathetic each year about our V Day gifts for one another and then a couple years ago, my husband put the final nail in the coffin when he came home with an arrangement that included featured fluorescent dip-dyed carnations. I about lost it and BEGGED him not to buy me anything for Valentine’s Day ever again. He has complied and I am happy to report that our marriage has recovered from the incident.

Anyway, while we don’t buy gifts for one another, I do try to go out of my way a little bit to show the guy that I love him, and usually that takes the form of cooking for him. His all time favorite dessert is the coconut cream pie at the Capital Grille. He loves it so much that we’ll sometimes make a special stop there after dining elsewhere to pick up this decadent dessert to take home. We’ll sit in bed, put on some crap show and chow down on the most coconutty pie you’ll ever taste. That’s romance right there.

I could have made the trip uptown to our local Capital Grille to pick up one of the aforementioned pies. But uptown isn’t exactly close, plus I’d have to find a parking spot, plus I’d have to drag my 3-year old along for the ride. And, since I was going more for “make an effort” v. “blow his socks off”, I decided the pie was not worth that kind of logistical challenge and sacrifice. So I decided to DIY it.

I found bits and pieces of the recipe on the web, but ultimately devised my own recipe based on a couple of ingredients I had on hand that I wanted to use. I had incidentally just picked up some Voortman’s Coconut Cookies and knew that I could use those to make my crust. And I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand, but did have some cream of coconut that we buy to make the occasional pina coladas (don’t judge…they are delicious).

Capital Grille – Inspired Coconut Cream Pie

Makes 4 tarts

capital-grille-coconut-cream-pie-4

Ingredients

Crust

8 oz. Voortman’s Coconut Cookies

3 tbsp melted butter

 

Filling

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cream of coconut (available at most groceries, or on Amazon)

1 tbsp Malibu rum

1 1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt

 

Whipped topping

6 oz. heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tbsp Malibu rum

1/4 cup toasted coconut

Directions

Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

capital grille coconut cream pie

In a food processor, process cookies until crumbly.

capital grille coconut cream pie capital grille coconut cream pie

 

Melt butter and incorporate into cookie crumbs. Press mixture into 4 small tart pans.

capital grille coconut cream pie

Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Filling

Beat egg, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour in a medium bowl.

capital grille coconut cream pie

Beat the egg and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch and flour.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, cream of coconut and the Malibu rum. Heat to a slow boil and then remove from heat.

capital grille coconut cream pie

Now, you’ll need to temper the egg mixture with the hot milk mixture. Slowly add the milk mixture into the bowl containing the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once they are incorporated, return the mixture to the saucepan over low to medium heat and, continuing to stir constantly, cook for 4-5 minutes, until mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour warm custard mixture into prepared tarts. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

capital grille coconut cream pie

Whipped topping

Chill a metal bowl in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes prior to starting this step. Then combine the heavy whipping cream with the powdered sugar and Malibu Rum and beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge.

Next, toast some shredded coconut. I used sweetened, because it’s what I had on hand but you could really use either. I melted a little bit of butter (1-2 tsp) in a small skillet, added the shredded coconut and toasted until lightly browned.

capital grille coconut cream pie

To assemble, top the filled tarts with a generous dollop of the whipped cream, then sprinkle generously with the toasted coconut.

So stinkin’ good. Enjoy!

Capital Grille - inspired coconut cream pie - copycat recipe

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

It’s embarrassing how long it’s been since I last posted… Where did the holidays go and why does November + December always feel like they happened in the matter of a week!? We battled through terrible colds, coughs, and other yucky stuff in between throughout the two months and feel like we’re finally all back above water and healthy *knock on wood*.

Over the long MLK weekend I did a quick project that I’m in love with. It was so easy and can be done for only a couple of bucks! I found this beautiful piece of scrap or “value” wood at Menards.

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

At most home improvement stores, they sell great pre-cut pieces of wood for a dollar or two, scraps from wood cut from other customers. These “scraps” are usually perfect for me because I love all the knots, bruises, and cracks I can find, and these are usually pieces that are not wanted by those buying lumber for home improvement projects. Of course if you prefer a less rustic look, you can buy cleaner looking pieces for full price. To each his own!

The piece of wood I used measured 1″x6″x4′ and it was the perfect size! I sanded the wood down, only lightly sanding the edges where the wood looked naturally worn (and super cool).

After sanding, I stained the wood with Minwax Dark Walnut. Once the stain dried, I painted the top with a rough coat of black paint – this doesn’t need to be perfect since you’ll sand some more after this step! With the black paint, I avoided the inside of the knots and the edges of where the wood was worn so these would be very visible parts of the finished product.

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

Once the black paint completely dried, I lightly sanded over the black paint to achieve the below worn, almost burnt look.

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

Using my Silhouette Cameo machine, I printed 3.5″ number / letter stencils on vinyl. Honestly, getting the letters aligned and spaced correctly with this sticky stuff was the longest step in the process, but the vinyl prevents paint from sneaking through the edges.

I used white paint to fill in the numbers / letters. Clearly I took advantage of the vinyl since my painting wasn’t the neatest :).

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

I peeled the vinyl off shortly after and had clean, crisp figures.

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

To mount, I used two no-nail sawtooth hanger hooks. These hooks are the best. Just a couple hits with the hammer and you’re good to go.

Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

Right above our front door was the perfect place for me to mount the sign (though admittedly, a terrible place to be able to get a great picture of it…!).
Home Coordinates Latitude & Longitude Sign

Clementine & Thyme Gin Cocktail (Vermont-Inspired)

 

Clementine and Thyme Gin Cocktail

Ahhhh….Vermont. It never gets old. For such a tiny state, it’s amazing how much Vermont has to offer. Countless outdoor adventuring opportunities, a food and drink scene in Burlington (and elsewhere in VT) that rivals cities ten or twenty times its size, culture, history, you name it. We just took our fourth trip up there  (in less than 16 months – eek!) and this time hit the ski area of Jay Peak (more on that another day) and then spent the tail end of our trip in Burlington and ate our way through the city. Read More

Glamping….in January…with kids

glamping with kids

Camping – or, should I say, looking at pictures of tents and campers on Pinterest – has become my daughter’s obsession lately. After her bedtime story, she begs to look at pictures of tents, camper renovations and pretty campsites on my phone. I have to admit, I’ve gotten pretty into it too … and my daughter and I are currently trying to talk my husband into getting a camper. He reminds me, of course, that we’ve never been camping. I acknowledge this truth in that but remind him that I am from Canada, and so camping is something that will come quite naturally to me.  He wasn’t so sure, so I knew my daughter and I needed to prove ourselves.

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