a pinterest win – removing wine labels

While I’m on the subject of Pinterest and things that work (or not), thought I’d share one trick that actually works.

See, I bought some solar powered cork fairy lights off ebay cause I was picturing myself sitting on my patio, surrounded by fairy light filled wine bottles, having a drink while cuddling my poodle… So I began collecting white wine bottles.

Of course, removing the labels is not easy… So I did what every self respecting crafty person does: I looked it up on Pinterest to see if I could find an easy, fail proof way to do it.

I found tons of links. Some I knew didn’t work, but one link suggested something I hadn’t tried – a combination of methods in fact: hot water, vinegar and bicarb soda for the paper label, then peanut butter for the gooey glue residue.

Greek peanut butter… crunchy too! I think you’re meant to use smooth, but hey, you use what you have!

I admit. I was skeptical at first… I mean, I’d heard of it before… but peanut butter to remove sticky gunky stuff?

Yet it works!

So, after spending years of my life trying to remove labels by soaking them in boiling water (or running them through the dishwasher) then trying steel wool and eucalyptus oil or lemon oil or anything I could think of to remove the sticky goop, I have a method that works every time!

Its so easy. I ran hot hot water into the sink. I added 1/2 a cup of vinegar and 2-3 tbs of bicarb, watched it fizz a bit then added the bottles making sure to sink them. I let them soak overnight.

Next morning I used a butter knife to scrape off the labels. They came off really easy. Leaving behind the obligatory gloop.

Then comes the peanut butter. Using the same butter knife, I spread the peanut butter over the goopy areas and let the bottles sit on the sink while I was at work (or overnight).

After that, a paper towel will wipe off the peanut butter AND the glue residue. A good wash and you have sparkling clean, glue, goo and peanut butter free bottles!

Yippee!

On the down side, not all my fairy lights work, and some only work when they feel like it. The wind blows the bottles over so I can’t keep them on the table on my patio till I fill them with small stones to keep them standing… But hey, I’ll sort it out. At least I have label free bottles now!

z

bowls… a pinterest almost fail

Have you ever surfed Pinterest and thought “I want to do that!”… Go on. You know you have!

Well I’ve always looked at those doodle mugs and bowls, made using sharpies and a hot oven, and lusted after them. So last night I decided it was time to try it. I had my sharpie, some bowls and Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

I’ve always doodled lines and curls, so I decided to follow some of the examples I saw on Pinterest that I liked, combining some of my own elements and some I saw on other’s projects.

The good: It was easy to do. The sharpie glides on easily, its really pleasant to draw on the ceramic surface.

The bad: baking them discoloured areas of the bowls and trying to get the brown bits off rubbed off the drawing too.

I wasn’t overly fussed about perfection, I wanted them to look handsketched and imperfect. I achieved that….

What I learned: Probably best to use new bowls/mugs etc. The bowls I used had been used, mainly for breakfast cereal, and they discoloured in areas I suspect there were traces of milk left. A bit around the inner rim, a bit on the side where it might have dribbled…

I did what the Pinterest links suggested: I baked them in a high oven for 1 hour then let them cool before removing them.

And before you ask, YES, I do wash my dishes… they LOOKED clean… Maybe I should have wiped them over with pure alcohol before drawing on them… something to try next time.

The tiny bowl which had had olives in it did not discolour… interesting…

I’m not really happy about the rubbed off and discoloured bits… Still, they look pretty on my little kitchen shelf. I just wouldn’t recommend doing this on a plate which will need to be scrubbed to clean, I don’t think the drawings will last well enough on those.

I have 2 more of the white bowls to do, I’ll try alcohol on them and see if it makes a difference.

Another link suggested using a clear varnish as an alternative to baking. I might give that a try too… I was just concerned about putting food in a bowl I’d sprayed with varnish… but its the inside you put the food in… as long as the varnish doesn’t go yellow with time that might be an option to try later on.

Note: make sure you get all residue of labels off the bottom. That tends to burn and create more brown stains around the bottom of the bowl…

a bunny ear-phone holder

Have you seen the cutest little bunny ear-phone holder on Pinterest?

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Well. I had to try it. Its just so darn cute! (I’m not the only one who tried it. You can see other examples here.)

So, meet my bunny. I made him out of extra thick felt and put stiffener between the front and back on the body to make him stronger. The ears and tongue are made from  regular thickness felt squares.

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Pretend you don’t notice where I went off kilter with the sewing machine on the ear…

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I gave him a little something extra… a pom pom tail!

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And, I couldn’t make him without making him more ‘mine’… hence the button eye and the X eye. My little imperfect bunny.

Since I finished him I’ve also added a little clip to his side so I can now clip him to my bag. That keeps him from getting lost (falling out of the bag or falling to the bottom of the bag requiring me to empty to entire bag to find him), and keeps him handy.

I’m happy with my little bunny.

z

apple bread – a pinterest recipe test run

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve been AWOL for ages, then I finally come back and share a recipe! Not a craft project, not a home improvement project, not artwork, no furniture makeovers…

I have the nerve to come back after a long absence with a recipe!

Geez.

I feel your frustration.

But I have an excuse. I’ve been busy! I ran out of gas! I had a flat tyre! I didn’t have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! It wasn’t my fault! I swear!

(must be channeling John Belushi)

But we all have to eat, right? So I made cake.

This is the cake I decided to try (click image for original recipe).

Holly from Spend with Pennies calls it Apple Bread with Cinnamon.

This is what mine looked like the day after. I was too busy eating it the day I made it.

You’ll notice two things: mine is darker brown (I took the photo under artificial light without flash) and its drier. I probably cooked it a bit longer than I should have…

But its still yummy!

This is her recipe with comments, I didn’t change it:

Apple Bread with Cinnamon
 
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon (me, I like cinnamon, I’d use more… its not enough!)
⅓ cup white sugar
⅔ cup brown sugar, divided
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup applesauce (Holly said you can skip this if you double the butter… I used applesauce. Too much apple is not possible.)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or, like me, just pour it into the bowl and guess what a teaspoon is)
1½ cups all-purpose flour (or plain flour if you prefer, or live in Australia)
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅓ cup milk
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped obviously (I used 2 smaller apples but I think I’ll go for broke and use 3 next time, just cause I can.)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
 
Instructions – the way I did it
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or approx 200 degrees C. Grease and flour a loaf pan. I skipped that and just lined the loaf pan with baking paper. Why scrub if you don’t have to? 
Combine ⅓ cup of the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Next time I’m going to put in a bit more cinnamon. Or maybe I have defective cinnamon.
With mixer on medium, beat white sugar, remaining brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Mix in applesauce. Add well beaten eggs and vanilla. Yeah. I did that, in that order. My sugar and butter refused to go fluffy cause there wasn’t enough moisture. So added eggs and it went fluffy. And vanilla and applesauce and it was a bit curdled looking… Eh. What the heck… I was going to cook anyway, right?
Stir together flour and baking powder. I sifted them together and then mixed. Can’t hurt to be careful they mix well. Add flour to egg mixture and stir just until combined. Do not overmix!! Add milk. Ok… now this bit I didn’t understand. Add milk after you’ve mixed the flour into the batter… after?

Ok. I mixed the flour in and didn’t overmix. I didn’t want the world to end. Even though I was worried I’d have some floury unmixed bits of batter in my cake… And I might have added the milk before I’d totally combined, not overmixed, the mixture….
Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Sprinkle with ½ of the apples and ½ of the brown sugar mix. 

Stir the remaining apples into the remaining batter and pour into the pan. Top with remaining brown sugar mixture.

I see the theory of this. However, in my endeavour to improve every recipe I come across, I think that next time I’ll do it this way: Pour half the mixture into the baking paper lined pan you don’t have to scrub later, top with half the apples and less than half of the brown sugar mix. Do as she says for the top, but put more of the sugar and cinnamon mix on top cause its what gives you the caramelised crunchy bits you’ll want more of!
Bake approx. 40 minutes. Remove from oven, brush topping with melted butter. Brush? The crumbly sugar mix? I think not… I poured the melted butter over. I think it got the idea. 
Continue baking an additional 5-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t know about you, but I use a slightly longer skewer when testing a cake. About 10 inches longer. I already burned my finger when melting the butter!

Let cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Agreed. But about that baking time. I did the 45min thing, the butter thing, then put it back in… but every time I tested it, my skewer came out coated in batter. I’d give it another 5 min, then another 5. In the end I think I overcooked it a bit. 
All in all, I think this was a success. A great cake and I’m definitely making it again. I like it even better than banana cake or carrot cake!
And one day I might even work out how to use an oven properly.
z