DIY Gold Leaf Painted Acorns

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com

Here in the Bay Area we’ve been experiencing disgustingly hot weather almost every day for weeks. I took advantage of the first day with temperatures in the 70s to cross my fingers that Fall might finally be on the way, and tackled a quick and easy craft project – gold leaf painted acorns!

For this project you’ll need:

  • Gold Leaf Paint (I bought mine at Michael’s craft store.)
  • Small paintbrush (foam ones work best, though I didn’t have any on hand and used a soft bristled brush.)
  • Acorn caps
  • Acorn nuts – either acorn nuts already attached .. or able to be re-attached to the caps, or polymer clay to make your own acorn nuts.
  • Protective gloves
  • Respirator mask (strongly recommended! The gold leaf paint is pretty potent, and even the bottle label is loaded with warnings about adequate ventilation.)
  • Something to cover your work surface, preferably plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Glue (to make sure your acorn nuts stay attached to the caps. I used two part epoxy because that’s what I had handy.)

This project is so easy that it probably doesn’t even need visuals, but if you’re anything like me, photos are always encouraged!

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com If you already have acorns with the cap and the nut attached, you can skip this part. The first thing I did was to make faux acorn nuts with polymer clay, as I’d only collected these cute little caps while out for a walk.

I used the Sculpey “lightweight” clay since it’s really soft easy to mold for this type of project. I baked the clay acorns according to the package directions and let them cool before moving forward.

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.comOnce cooled, I fitted a clay nut to each cap, to make sure I had a match for each one. They’re pretty cute as is, aren’t they? I debated leaving some white, but I can always  make more later if I feel the need to change up the decor.

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com

Once I’d matched the nuts to the caps, I separated them – but kept the nut close to each cap – and then I got to work painting! I found it was easiest to start at the bottom of the clay nut, and then sort of “stick” it to the plastic while I painted the rest of it – from the bottom/widest part up towards the small point at the top. You can see here why the gloves are necessary for this! Some of them required a second coat/touch up after the first layer was dry.

If you have real acorns, make sure you’ve properly dried them out before using them for any craft projects. Acorns fresh off the ground will get moldy, and could also be harboring insects.

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com

Here’s the group of painted clay acorns drying! They dry fairly quickly in low humidity. You could also paint and leave them outside to dry if you don’t have proper indoor ventilation.

Once the paint was dry, I mixed up my two-part epoxy glue and re-attached each cap. As mentioned earlier, you could use other types of glue, whatever your preference is. I like the epoxy because it has a really strong bond with most any material.

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com

So pretty, and so very easy!

DIY Gold Acorns - victoriaallison.wordpress.com

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with them, but I’m sure they’ll make a nice accent to my other Fall decor.

Happy Crafting!

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Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

I love pumpkin! (Unless it’s in pie, that is.) Pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, and even pumpkin marshmallows, but pumpkin pie? Blech. No thanks. You can keep it!

 

Once July rolls around, I start thinking about fall, and pumpkin recipes. I saved this one on Pinterest a while ago, and have already made it twice this season. Actually, the first time was probably in July. Or maybe August. Either way, Fall was not on most people’s minds, but I needed a pumpkin fix. The recipe was amazing, and we ate the entire thing before I had time to take a few photos.

 

Naturally, I wanted this recipe documented here, so what better excuse to make it yet again?

 

I have a tendency to make slight modifications to my baked goods. The first time I made this, I used half whole wheat flour, and half white flour. The second time, I was out of whole wheat flour so I just used all white flour, and used pecans in the streusel topping instead of walnuts. I also used vegetable oil instead of butter for the cake part, both times. (Butter for the topping, of course!)

 

 

Honestly, this recipe is super easy. I make a half batch, which fills up a single 8 or 9-inch cake pan. Plenty for two people. Or more, if you like sharing.

 

 

I had to include my favorite Pumpkin Jar in this shot. Isn’t it adorable? I never put anything inside of it, because I can’t decide on what. It’s handmade by Bauman Stoneware. (Their Etsy shop looks pretty much sold out at the moment, but you can click on their sold items page to see more of their amazing designs. I want one of their fabulous teapots!)

 

 

Onto the recipe! I originally found it posted on the blog Not So Humble Pie, who made theirs with a icing glaze.

 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
From Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
1/2 cup butter, softened (*I substituted equal amounts vegetable oil.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 oz can pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (*I used pecans this time.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of a tube or bundt pan with nonstick spray; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, melted butter and walnuts. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the pan so the cake doesn’t stick when removing it. Invert the cake onto a plate. Then invert the cake onto another plate, so that the streusel is on the top. Cool completely. Cover and store at room temperature.

(For two round cakes: coat two 8-inch rounds with non-stick spray and place a circle of parchment in the bottom. Divide the batter between the two pans, top with the streusel (x3) and bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.)

 

*As also mentioned, I made half of this recipe, in an 8-inch cake pan. (Or maybe it was 9-inches? I can’t remember offhand.) I baked it for 30 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

Fall Cranberry Apple Crisp

This is one of my all time favorite recipes for fall; it’s quick, easy, and surprisingly healthy! Aside from that, it’s delicious.. Sweet apples combined with tart cranberries, crunchy granola, and autumn spices make for a prefect introduction to fall.

Cranberry Apple CrispFresh out of the oven!

Cranberry Apple Crisp ServingThis is probably a serving size.. but, uh.. I probably eat two servings in a sitting.

This post wouldn’t be complete without the recipe, of course!

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Serves 8 to 10

Top this comforting autumn crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of a dollop of yogurt before serving, if you like.

Ingredients

3 to 4 medium to large crisp red apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 cups granola

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine apples and cranberries and pour into an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together apple juice, flour and pumpkin pie spice. Pour over the fruit. Sprinkle granola evenly over the fruit and lightly press down. Bake until hot and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Nutrition

Per serving: 100 calories (20 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 10g sugar), 2g protein

(Recipe source: Wholefoods.com)