Oh, Fudge

This morning, I saw this fudge post by the Pintester sitting in my inbox.  She was testing this recipe.  It looked pretty easy, and I thought I should try it.  (Especially since I’m trying to avoid opening another box of Girl Scout Cookies.)  The one problem is that we didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk (SCM).  We had evaporated milk and dry milk, but no SCM.  😦

Not one to be daunted, I turned to my pal,  It came through for me, as usual.  The first recipe I found at used eggs.  I wasn’t sure that was a great idea since fudge doesn’t involve baking and the eggs would likely be half-cooked during the melting process, and that might not work out so well.  The next one used dry milk.  Yay!  So, I went to work making my SCM.

First of all, let me tell you that the smell of dry milk mixed with water is YUCK.  And it didn’t look like much, at first.

Dry milk and water.  Doesn't look like much.

Dry milk and water. Doesn’t look like much.

However, after I added the sugar and did some stirring, it started to look how I wanted it to look.

Looks like sweetened condensed milk...

Looks like sweetened condensed milk…

So, I put it into the refrigerator, per the instructions.  When it was ready, it was fudge time!

Being that I do not like milk chocolate chips and do not keep them around, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I got everything ready to go into the microwave and set the timer for 3 minutes, figuring I’d want to stir it by then.  When I took it out and stirred it, it was not blending well.  😦  It had the funny dry milk smell and I was worried by the texture of the chips that they might have gotten too much heat and were starting to scorch inside.

My much mixed but not still needs more heat mess.

My much mixed but not still needs more heat mess.

So, I decided to put it back into the double boiler where I could stir as it melted.  It never got as smooth as I wanted it, and I needed to run some errands, so I deemed it “good enough” and poured it into the pan.

Back in the double boiler.

Back in the double boiler.



Overall, the fudge isn’t bad.  However, when you first bite into it, there is a dry milk flavor that you eventually get past.  Overall, I think the fudge recipe is probably good, but I wouldn’t try it again without having real SCM on hand!


Experimenting with Painting Plastic

Having young children, I frequently wind up with these plastic boxes from various foods that I would like to find some way to make pretty and re-use.  As my go-to thing for making things pretty is paint, I have tried in the past to just paint them, but the paint always peels off.  This time I tried something new:  a few layers of gesso.

The above shows my box with several coats of gesso.  Unfortunately, as I added additional layers of gesso, some of the older layer would come up in places, so I did not get completely even coverage.  When I got them as well-covered as I thought I could, added paint.  I chose colors my daughter would appreciate.  I also used a layer of Delta Ceramcoat varnish to make it glossy.

 I noticed, however, that the inside showed my uneven gesso coverage.  Oh, well.  I figured if this box stood up to the test of use and time, I would figure out how to fix that problem later.

Inside of box–you can see uneven white and even some pink coming through.

So, after it was all dry and ready to go, I gave it to my daughter with instructions to tell me when/if the paint started to chip.  Within two weeks, the paint was chipping, and I don’t think she opened it that often.  Here’s what it looked like:

So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board as far as how to make plastic boxes pretty for storage.   Have any of you found a good way to make your plastic pretty?

A Post-Beading Mess

I previously posted about a trinket box that I had worked on for a friend, put aside, then picked up again.  It seems that I forgot one part of my prior attempt at making this box:  the beads.

Back when we had cable TV, I saw a show on HGTV where a woman had strung beads on thread and glued them to the box.  I wanted to do the top of my friend’s box in this way.  I was using two blues and two neutrals: clear and silver.

Beautiful, right?  The problem was that when I was trying to apply them, I had trouble keeping them in straight lines.  They wound up going all over the place, and I eventually stripped them all off and repainted the top of the box.  Then, I removed any paint and glue stuck to them, and wound up with this mess:

Now, I am stuck trying to figure out which beads are light blue and which are dark blue.  Which beads are clear and which are silver.  They look somewhat different in the tray, but when I start sorting them, they start to all look alike.  I have learned my lesson:  until I get good at pasting beads to boxes, I will only use very different colors.  This way, if things go wrong, I can sort them with ease.

Does anyone out there have any tips for gluing beads to boxes?  If so, I would love to hear them, as I would like to be able to do this successfully some time.