Wednesday, March 30, 2011

French Macaroons!

After stumbling across this blog post yesterday claiming french macaroons aren't nearly as hard to make as people think they are, I decided to give it a shot, using the base recipe posted (I saved about 8 bucks making my own almond flour in the food processor instead of buying the $13 bag of it at whole foods).

About 3 hours later, I had this box of macaroons. The blog post was right, I guess.. it wasn't really difficult.. it just took FOREVER! I split the batter and icing up to make some variations, from top to bottom:

  • Orange colored vanilla cookie with orange extract in the buttercream filling.

  • Lavender colored vanilla cookie with cassis liquor in the buttercream filling, bonus small dollop of Trader Joe's boysenberry jam in the middle too!

  • Pink cookie flavored with rose water. Champagne flavored buttercream. To make the buttercream, I cooked down 1 cup of Trader Joe's finest $4.99 prosecco until about only 3 tablespoons remained. Let it cool, then whip it into the buttercream.

When I finished, I told myself I'd never make these again, but I keep munching on them. They're good! My favorite is the pink rose/champagne ones. I could probably shave an hour off the cooking time by just making the whole batch that one flavor. Separating everything out and making sure it was all colored and flavored correctly was a big time suck. No wonder my local whole foods sells these things for $3 each!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kids art table, ikea style

I was inspired by this project on Martha Stewart's website to make a kids art table. On my recent trip to Ikea to get materials for the Lego table I made, I began eyeing the Lack coffee table. Using that as my base table, I wanted to refinish the top with chalkboard paint to make the art table even more useful.


  • Ikea Lack coffee table

  • painter's tape

  • sandpaper

  • spray on primer, gray or black

  • chalkboard spray paint

  • length of scrap wood for paper tearing edge

  • 6 washers

  • 2 wood screws

  • 7/8 in dowel rod

  • roll of art paper (picked up a few at Ikea)

  • Levolor universal drapery mount (cheapest I found was at Amazon)


  1. Before assembling the coffee table, I took the top outside and taped the sides with blue painter's tape to protect it from the spray paint.

  2. I got out the power sander and sanded the top of the table with 150 grit sandpaper.

  3. After removing all the dust from sanding, I spray painted 3 coats of gray primer to the top of the table. The primer dried pretty fast. I waited about 15 minutes between coats.

  4. Now for the chalkboard paint! The brand I bought didn't spray on as well as the primer, and I had a couple mishaps with some drips, but I was able to clean them up without too much trouble. I applied 3 coats of the chalkboard paint, waiting about an hour between coats.

  5. While waiting for the paint to dry, I took my scrap of wood from home depot for the tearing edge and the dowel and cut them to the depth of the table, then sanded the edges.

  6. After the paint was dry, I took off the painter's tape and screwed the 4 legs on the coffee table.

  7. I then attached the paper tearing guide to the table with a wood screw at each end. I mounted it so the edge was flush with the edge of the table. In order to ensure I could thread the paper between the table and the guide, I placed 3 washers on each screw in between the guide and the table.

  8. Next, I started working on how to get the roll of paper attached to the table. Martha's idea using eyelet screws wouldn't work because the screws were too short, and my roll of paper was wider than the opening between the two legs of the table. Luckily, I found some drapery mounts that ended up working great. I screwed them onto the end of the table opposite the paper tearing guide using the hardware that came with the mounts.

  9. Almost done! Just thread the roll of paper through the dowel and drapery mounts, then thread the paper through the paper tearing guide.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easy Ikea Lego Table

I looked around on the web for a Lego table for my boyfriend's son. I wasn't too happy with the options. Most were around a hundred bucks. I decided to take matters into my own hands and made a lego table for a whopping $30, and it was rediculously simple to make.

I started off with a Lack side table from Ikea ($9.99), then I got 4 Lego base plates from the local Lego store ($4.99 each, also available here). I just used heavy duty double sided tape I already had to adhere the base plates to the table. Make sure you place some Legos along the seams of the base plates to ensure the grids line up once they're on the table.