A “SWEET” Ministry

Meet Virginia ~ my very talented friend and owner of Creative Sweets-n-Treats.

I love her.

She is a gourmet cook, a baker of incredible home made bread and delicious, decorative, absolutely beautiful cookies for ANY/ALL occasions.

She is funny, a mother of 4 boys, a faithful friend and my sister in Christ. And she uses her gifts and talents to honor the King.

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I caught up with Virginia at her home the other day. I walked in and could smell something wonderfully delicious baking in her oven (this is usual).

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And on this day, this busy mom/wife/baker/business women was pouring her heart and talent into someone else (again, usual).

You see, she chooses to invest in others and share her gifts. It’s not uncommon for her to have a couple girls over to teach them the art of baking or cooking or even sewing! Virginia has welcomed young girls into her home for years to learn these lost skills and mentoring young women is dear to her heart. It’s just one of the many ways she serves the Lord. By loving and teaching others.

This young girl was spending the afternoon learning how to make these delicious cookies. She came from Grace House in Birmingham, AL (a place where young women from abusive homes or in crisis situations can come and live and thrive in a safe environment.)

These hands….

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learning a skill……

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because she has dreams of opening her very own bakery one day.

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And with Virginia at her side encouraging her and teaching her, I watched her learn with excitement…and I was SO inspired!

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Pouring into others….using what God has gifted you with to give back. “Blessed to be a blessing.”

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She is the epitome of my tag line…..BE FABULOUS, BE INSPIRED, BE YOU.

It truly is a “SWEET” Ministry.

By the way…..see below for just a small sampling of some of the beautiful things Creative Sweets N Treats offers.

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If you need some cookies for a special occasion, or want to learn the art of baking or cooking, or just want to be encouraged in a zillion ways…Get in touch with this fabulous women!

Email: creativesweetsandtreats@gmail.com

Cost: $25/dozen

You can also follow her on instagram @creativesweetsntreats to see more of her wonderful creations.

And whatever your gift is…..may you find a way to use it for the Kingdom!

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

~Basik Thoughts~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting with CHALK paint

I’m a lover of paint and I’ll paint just about anything. I’ve painted walls, chandeliers, frames, canvas, furniture….any time I want to make something prettier, or different, I always consider painting it first.

Today, I’m going to share the art of using CHALK paint to paint furniture, specifically two chairs that I picked up at Chelsea Antiques in Birmingham, AL for $24.00 each.

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The beauty of Chalk paint (not to be confused with Chalk Board paint) is that is will adhere to just about anything. And there is no prep work. No priming, no sanding, you just paint it on and it sticks to just about any surface and gives a beautiful look.

Chalk paint can be purchased several places and I found mine at Lowes. This brand, Valspar can be tinted to 40 different colors. I used the color “Kid Gloves” which was basically an off white.

There are three products that are typically used when painting with chalk paint – the paint, the wax, and an antiquing wax that is dark for the cracks and crevices that you may want to use at the very end. I purchased all three products but for this project I only used the paint and the wax, not the antiquing wax.

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First we removed the seats.

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Next, I recovered the seats but first I added two thin layers of batting to give it some extra cushion. This step can be skipped if chairs are padded well. I wrapped the linen fabric around the batting and staple gunned it to the chair.

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Next I started painting using a paint brush that I already had on hand. No need for special brushes! (Even though some websites will tell you otherwise.)

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You can pretty much just slap it on. You don’t have to be careful about brush strokes at all with Chalk Paint. This is after one coat. It does take two coats but each coat dries in about 30 minutes so it’s a fast project.

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This is after two coats. Notice I purposely didn’t paint inside all the pretty detail of the flower on the top.

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The next step scares people. It’s time to use some sandpaper and distress the chairs. This is the part that gives the piece of furniture that real Antique look and you don’t want to be shy about it. Remember, if you over sand, you can always come back and paint over it again!

Fold up your sand paper or use sanding blocks which can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes, I just happen to have sand paper on hand. Course sandpaper gives a more distressed look while fine sandpaper gives a more subtle, weathered appearance. (Mine was fine.)  Begin to rub off the paint on the edges and over corners, just any place that seems right to you.

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Wipe off any dust. Next brush a thin layer of the wax over the chairs, wait 2 minutes then gently rub it off. You don’t have to rub hard. It’s just a quick wipe down. If you wanted to make some dark Antiquing lines or highlight crevices you would use the Antiquing Wax next. (I didn’t use the dark Antiquing Wax for this project.)

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Let the wax dry for one hour.

Next we put the seats back on the chairs.

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And here is the finished project! BEAUTIFUL!

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Here’s a quick tip. One small quart of chalk paint is around $30.00. I only used 1/4 of the can for these two chairs but that’s still pricey. Many people make their own Chalk Paint and after reviewing several recipes, this one is the one most people recommend!

Chalk-Finish Paint Recipe

Mix your own chalk-finish paint using the following supplies:

  • Flat latex paint
  • Plastic paint buckets
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Stir sticks
  • Plastic measuring cups
  • Water (cool, not warm)

Mix 1/3 cup of plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of cool water; stir until completely smooth. Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint and stir thoroughly. This will make enough chalk-finish paint for one coat on a six-drawer dresser. If you have a smaller project, mix smaller amounts of plaster, paint, and water in the same proportions.

Happy Painting!

~ Basik Thoughts ~

PS ~ Click HERE for more Chalk Paint ideas and tips on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in DIY.

Chocolate, Nail Polish and Simple Fall Decorating

The past two weeks have been pretty crazy for me and I’ve been all over the place….literally….first to Canada, then to Miami and then to DC and New Jersey!  As I arrive back at home I’m welcomed by a thousand or so leaves in the front yard and a slight weather change that is calling out my BOOTS! Yay Fall! It’s here!

And since I haven’t blogged for a few weeks, I thought I would get back into the swing of things by sharing a few fun Fall thoughts/decorating ideas, my new favorite beauty product and my FAVORITE treat in the entire world right now…..DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED ALMONDS with turbinado sugar and sea salt!

Let’s start with the almonds. I first discovered these wonderful treats last year at Costco and after a couple months of basically becoming totally addicted to them, they suddenly disappeared from the shelves. I had turned my mom and sisters onto them as well and we all scrambled around to our own Costcos in different cities, trying to find them. It was heartbreaking. GONE! Just like that. We couldn’t find them anymore.

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As it turns out it’s a seasonal item! And to my surprise a couple weeks ago my sister-in-law texted me and told me THEY WERE BACK!  I dare you to just eat a couple. I usually start with 3 just to give me something sweet after dinner, but 3 just doesn’t do it. More like 6….or 20. They are the perfect combination of salt and dark chocolate and of course there is the health benefit of the incredible almond. I plan on stocking up for the winter so if you go to buy them and they are all gone, I probably have the entire supply stashed in my basement. 🙂

They deserve fine china.

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Next, I want to tell you about this wonderful top coat for your nails. I wanted to find a clear gel top coat that would extend the life of my manicure so I gave this Essie Gel-setter top coat a try. And it’s AWESOME! It goes over any regular nail polish color, and makes my manicure beautiful, shiny and it lasts for 2 weeks. It also comes off easily with acetone nail polish remover. Love it.

You’re welcome!

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Now on to some FALL Decorating ideas.

For the life of me I could not remember where I had seen COTTON used as a decorating item but I knew I had and I was itching to give it a try in my kitchen. So I went on the hunt for cotton. I love the look of pure white cotton, maybe because it makes me feel so SOUTHERN. Anyway, I found it at one of our local Antique Stores here in Birmingham (Greystone Antiques) and made a simple table arrangement using my antique pitcher and I’m LOVING THE LOOK! As it turns out, Pinterest if FILLED with wonderful ideas on how to use cotton for decorating. Check it out.

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I dried white hydrangeas outside on my porch for a couple months, (which turned them brown) and then I added some fun dried flowers from Hobby Lobby  (always a 40% off coupon available!) to give my front door a touch of Fall.  Here is a great Blog on Front Door Decorating Ideas for all seasons. One is cuter than the next!

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And finally, I found these ceramic pumpkins at Hobby Lobby a few years ago and every year I just stack them next to my cook book in my kitchen. I love decorating for the Seasons but I really like to keep it simple. These add just the right “Fall touch” to the kitchen counter. Etsy is a great place to find adorable ceramic pumpkins of all shapes,  sizes and colors.

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And that’s all for now.

Enjoy the chocolate covered almonds, paint your nails and have fun decorating for FALL!

Until next time…..

XOXOXO

~ Basik Thoughts ~

 

Finland and Sweden ~ Final thoughts ~ Baltic Sea Cruise

Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” Author unknown

It’s almost October and I’m finally writing my final post sharing our incredible Baltic Cruise experience! I’ve had many of my readers ask what was my favorite part of the cruise and would I highly recommend it. Well I’m about to tell you about my two favorite Cities we visited and YES I would HIGHLY recommend a Viking Ocean Cruise!

You can read about some of the other cities/countries we visited by clicking on these previous posts: Berlin, Germany, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tallinn, Estonia, Gdansk, Poland

I’ll wrap things up by sharing a little about Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden….like I said, two of my favorite stops!

Helsinki’s magnificent Cathedral was just one of the many charming and beautiful sites to see. The day was gorgeous and the clean Baltic air made for a refreshing day of exploring with new friends Tae, Shaun, Ted and Cindy.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the open Market Square on the water front in Helsinki and by this time in the cruise I had decided on what my big purchase would be as far as a souvenir. I was in love with the reindeer furs that gracefully draped over the sofa’s on our wonderful ship the Viking Star. I was determined to find one and as we began our shopping experience in Helsinki, I discovered that Cindy was looking for the exact same thing! We were kindred spirits and excellent shoppers. I knew I liked her!

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Of course the men got stuck carrying the reindeer furs around for the afternoon! Sweet guys.

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As I have mentioned before, the local food is always on our radar and Helsinki did not disappoint. Ted enjoyed some reindeer meatballs (delicious!) while we couldn’t resist the Vendace, a type of fish known as Muikku in Finish. They are salty, crunchy fried little fish that pack a delicious flavor and I could have eaten an entire plate full! – oh wait – I did. 🙂

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The reindeer fur drapes the back of my leather sofa but when grandpa was visiting recently he could not resist using it as a blanket….so precious.

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Next stop was Stockholm, Sweden. The ship arrived via a four-hour scenic cruise through a breathtaking view of some 30,000 islands. Cruising into Stockholm was one of the most gorgeous memories I have of this fabulous cruise. Check out the real estate!

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We enjoyed a tour of the Royal Opera House with a sneak peak at the private entrance for Royalty.

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Next we spent the afternoon exploring the Old town of Stockholm with all it’s charming buildings and little alleyways, restaurants and shops.  My pictures don’t do it justice. Click on the link.

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By the time we reached day 4 and 5 of our cruise we had made some lovely new friends! That tends to happen when you are a part of a group and begin to run into the same people at dinner, at the pool and on excursions.  Meet a few of the fabulous people we were blessed to share this experience with!

Lonnie and Eric (Love these guys! Always entertaining and wonderful dinner companions!)

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Tae and Inja ( We shared our Russian Dining experience with these fabulous people and Inja and I found out we are basically the SAME person! Let’s start a business together Inja!)

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Claire and Allan (We laughed so much with this cute couple! She’s English (accent and all) and he’s a Southern boy. A match made in Heaven. Sweet memories.)

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Ted and Cindy (Our Helsinki reindeer fur hunting friends and such a delightful, fun couple to hang out with!)

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A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

Lovely people, new friends and rich rewarding experiences filled our days on this wonderful trip. Thanks again to Brownell Travel and Viking Ocean Cruises.

And to my readers, thanks for coming along the journey with me via the BLOG!

“I haven’t been everywhere. But it’s on my list.” Susan Sontag 🙂

~ Basik Thoughts ~

This entry was posted in Travel.