DIY – Ceramic Project

20130610-133827.jpg

SOURCE
Hi Ya, I have been wanting to paint over some of my ceramic plates, jugs and huge platters. I’m thinking of painting them mainly white with grey and orange accents. Perhaps using a grey and orange chevron pattern would look good on the large platters? I love orange & grey! We have received some beautiful ceramic gifts and I would love to display them. Some of our wedding presents are gorgeous but I am not in love with some of the colours on them. But I don’t want to paint them with a toxic paint and be unable to use them. I have been looking for a way to paint them and still reuse them on occasion and I think this might work I found it at Martha Stewart Living. What doesn’t Martha know? I hope you enjoy this DIY project.
~ Sarah xxx

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On its own, a dot looks very lonely indeed. But group several together and they make a striking impression. Consider, for example, the patterned wings of a ladybug or monarch butterfly. Luckily, Mother Nature doesn’t have a monopoly on making things beautiful with spots — you can do the same with ceramic or porcelain dishes, basic art supplies, and a little imagination.

Putting paint to porcelain is easier than you think. Uncomplicated designs can be done freehand; for others, use our templates or create your own. You’ll trace the shapes using transfer paper and a ballpoint pen, then cover those marks with painted dots — paint applicator makes it a cinch to do this neatly. The delightful freckles lend themselves to a variety of motifs, from organic florals to monograms to geometric patterns. If you can bear to part with them, dot-painted ceramics make wonderful gifts. Arrange the ones you keep on open shelves or behind glass cabinet doors-they are, after all, works of art. We suggest only painting across the surface of plates that are decorative, not for eating.

Tools and Materials
Baby wipes
Scissors
Red transfer paper
Clear tape
Ceramic plate or other item
Ballpoint pen
Food-safe ceramic paint (such as Porcelaine 150)
Paper muffin cups
Wooden coffee stirrers
Paint applicator bottles
Straight pin

Dot-Painting How-To
If you make a mistake, remove errant paint with a baby wipe.

1. Photocopy or print templates and enlarge or reduce as desired; cut out. Cut transfer paper slightly larger than template. Place it under template, and tape both to plate. Firmly trace template with a ballpoint pen.

2. Mix paint colors (we added white to make lighter shades), then pour into applicator bottle.

3. Practice making dots on scrap paper: Squeeze bottle gently for small dots and harder for larger ones. Make dots on traced design (use pin to unclog bottle tip as necessary). Let dry 2 hours; remove transfer lines with baby wipe. Heat in 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. To store extra paint, insert pin into bottle tip.

20130610-133819.jpg

20130610-133810.jpg
SOURCE

A Good Cup Of Tea

A Good Cup Of Tea…

I definitely love coffee especially to kick start the morning. I have a yummy Fair Trade Organic Coffee that my Husband and I love. BUT I also like to have a good cup of tea too. It has taken me a long time to find Tea that I love. If I don’t love it then I won’t drink it. Maybe you are the same?

Below is a few general tips on how to make a good cup of tea.

My favourite tea at the moment is Japanese Green and Mint Sencha Tea. Brewing loose leaf tea produces a yummy cup of tea. I prefer to use loose leaf tea because I can always taste a slight paper taste if I use tea bags especially in Green Tea. Some stronger Black Tea you may not notice any paper taste. I think brewing loose tea leaves captures more of the tea’s flavour. Typically I use individual stainless steel tea infusers but a pot of tea is always lovely when you have more than two friends over for morning or afternoon tea.

Best advice is to make tea the way you like it. And if you don’t know how you like it, try making teas lots of different ways until you find a tea you love.

General Rules for Tea making: Use 1 teaspoon per cup. If using a teapot add an extra spoon for the pot. Well that is what my Grandma always did so I do it too.

Warm your Cup and/or Teapot. This only takes a minute and really does make a difference.

You want to use good clean fresh water. Tap water is ok if you have fantastic water. I use filtered water.

Do not over boil the water. It drains the water of oxygen.

Brew Time:
Do not brew your tea for too long. Over brewing will leave a bitter aftertaste. Larger leaf teas can be brewed for longer than the small cut leaf.

Brew large leaf teas for around 3-5 mins and finer cuts teas between 2-4 mins.

Black teas that will be served with milk or lemon should be brewed a little longer, 4-5 mins for large leaf and 3-4mins for finer cut teas.

Green Tea should be brewed in water that is below boiling point. Try using 1/4 cold and 3/4 boiling water. Green Tea can be brewed several times.

White Tea should be brewed in water that is below boiling point.
Try using 1/4 cold and 3/4 boiling water. White Tea can be brewed for up to 10 minutes and brewed several times over. Each brew reveals a new layer to the tea.

Rooibos tea can be brewed as long as you like without ever going bitter in taste, unlike other tea there is no tannin in Rooibos tea.

Herbal tea: Use one teaspoon of herbs for each cup. Add boiling water to plunger/teaball or teapot. Let the herbs infuse for at least 5 minutes to ensure all the goodness is released. Add honey or lemon as desired.

Recommended water temperatures for different Teas.

Black Tea
Around 88°C to 94°C
3 to 4 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

Green Tea
Around 65°C to 77°C
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 mins
Column of steam just begins to rise.

Oolong Tea
Around 82°C to 94°C
5 to 6 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

Red Tea
Around 88°C to 99°C
3 to 4 mins
Just under a full boil.

White Tea
Around 77°C
5 to 7 mins
Column of steam just begins to rise.

Herbal
Around 82°C to 94°C
5 to 15 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

What about adding milk to your tea?
It’s all about individual taste. Milk is acceptable in most Black teas. It can however mask some of the delicate flavours. I add milk and sugar because that is the way I like to drink my Black tea.

Green tea, White tea, Oolong and Herb tea don’t taste very nice with milk. These teas are normally made black.

Rooibos: In South Africa it is more usual to drink rooibos with milk and sugar, but elsewhere it is usually served without and is served black.

To sweeten or Not to sweeten?
Honey is recommended as a sweetener, sugar is also fine in most tea. I use honey or white sugar in tea. I use raw brown sugar in my coffee. Remember it is your tea and you should make it the way you like it.

Fruit Blend Teas are the most recommended for an Iced Tea Infusion, however most teas can be used.

Iced Infusion:
Use cold water and mix approx 1 tablespoon / litre.
Leave in the fridge for 4-8 hours.
For the best result, leave overnight.
Then serve over ice.
Add lemon or fruit to bring out the fruity flavour.
Add honey or sugar syrup as a sweetener.
To make sugar syrup – combine equal parts sugar & boiling water, stir until dissolved.