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Jan 10, 2018

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art


I have been waiting anxiously to share this project with you but couldn't until after Christmas as it was a gift for my sister. She is part of a dog rescue group and I knew it would be perfect for her.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

We started with four 1x10x4ft pine shelf boards, and cut them down to 37" each. I wanted the sign to be square and 10" boards are actually only 9-1/4" wide, so four together are 37" total.

The boards would only be glued together (Oh, to have a biscuit joiner!), so we wanted to reinforce the sign to add strength. Tom clamped the 4 boards together and cut two channels down the back of the sign, crossing each of the boards. He then cut two pieces of scrap wood to the same size and length of the channels.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

Once the boards were glued and clamped together again, he glued and stapled the strips of wood into the channels. A couple of the shelf boards had a bit of a bow to them so they didn't line up perfectly.
While the glue was still wet we clamped them tightly together at the ends and they dried flat and level.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

I gave the glue a couple of days to really dry, then sanded the entire front and edges of the sign, first with 60 grit sandpaper, then with 150 grit paper to finish. A few knots also had to be touched up with wood filler and sanded once dry.

I stained the entire sign with Minwax's Jacobean brown, then brushed over it with watered-down white paint, to give a weathered look. I considered waxing the wood afterwards, but I was afraid that the paint for the letters wouldn't stick. Waxing also removes some of the whitewash - it was exactly the shade I wanted so I wasn't going to mess with it.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

I use a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to cut my stencils these days.  I used to cut them freehand, but it is slooooow. Here are a few projects I've done with stencils - fold-down patio bar, cottage sign, Christmas song sign, and personalized dog bowls.


Because of the size of the sign, I had to cut the words out in small sections. The font on all of the words except "Love" is Lucida Handwriting. Love is written in Times New Roman (except the paw of course.) Excuse the different vinyl colours - I ended up using all of the vinyl I had on hand.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

Once I got to the point where I was ready to lay down the stencil I started to get stressed about keeping the words lined up. Tom came up with a great trick: We have a small level with a laser at one end. He clamped the level to the rafter above my work area (I was working in the basement) so that the laser pointed down towards the floor. The laser beam can be either a point or a line, so he switched it to "line" and it made a perfectly straight line across my sign. I could then move the sign around as I worked, always having a reference line for the words.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

The letters are painted in Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray (i.e. my bedroom wall colour). The secret to sharp edges on your letters is to do multiple thin coats, brushing away from the stencil edge as much as you can. Once you have a few layers down, you should have a pretty good seal around the edges and you can brush all in one direction to keep a uniform look.
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art
DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

After peeling off the stencil I did some touch ups with a razor scraper and a tiny artist's brush.


The final step was to add a French cleat to the back for hanging. A French cleat is a wonderful way to hang items. It's made up of two horizontal pieces - one attached to the back of the item to be hung and one mounted directly to the wall. The two pieces hook into each other and keep the mounted item extremely secure. The cleat can be made from just about anything - pine, plywood, or metal. We bought a metal cleat - it also came with all of the necessary screws and a mini level.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art



French cleat

And so, the finished product! I'm really happy with this. I kind of want to keep it for myself.

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

DIY Dog Rescue Wall Art

Dec 14, 2017

Shortbread - 3 Ways

One of my goals this Christmas was to do more baking. Along with sugar cookies and dog cookies, I tried my hand at shortbread for the first time. They turned out so well that I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

I tried two different methods, rolled cookies and piped cookies. I'm partial to the piped ones, but only because of the chocolate chips.

Rolled Shortbread Cookies (2 flavours)

2 cups of butter, softened
1 cup of icing sugar (i.e. powdered sugar)
1 cup of cornstarch
1/4 tsp of salt
4 cups of flour
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Gummies or other candy to decorate
Granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl mix the icing sugar, corn starch, salt, and flour. Stir the mixture briskly with an egg whisk (or sift it if you have a sifter) to get it light and airy. Add the dry mixture to the butter, a little at a time, until all is combined. Split your dough into two parts and add the lemon zest and lemon juice to one portion, mixing it in evenly.
Cover each dough portion with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut your cookies into shapes. Place on a greased or parchment-covered cookie sheet.
-For the lemon cookies, sprinkle the tops with a bit of granulated sugar (coloured sugar would be fun!)
-For the plain cookies, slice your gummies in half lengthwise if they are thick and place a half in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly.

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. Let cool completely.

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip



Whipped Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

2 cups of butter
1 cup of icing sugar (i.e. powdered sugar)
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1 tsp of vanilla
3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of chocolate chips
Piping bag

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Mix in the cornstarch, vanilla, flour and salt. Beat until fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Let your dough warm back up and transfer to a piping bag. (You could also drop the cookie batter onto the cookie sheet by spoonful if you don't have a piping bag.) Pipe your cookie dough onto a greased or parchment-covered cookie sheet in swirls, flattening them slightly with a fork or spoon. I'm not afraid to admit that mine look a bit like poops. I know you were thinking it.


Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. Let cool completely.

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Thoughts: I found that piping the cookies was really difficult as the batter didn't want to stick to the sheet and  kept lifting up when I pulled the piping bag away. I would probably drop them by spoonful next time, but it was something I wanted to try.

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip
Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip

Just look at Little Miss Cookie Monster wanting to know which ones are hers. :-)

Shortbread cookie recipe - lemon gummie chocolate chip




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