Painted wooden serving boards: a tutorial

small aqua ended cheese board gold knife on angle

Last Christmas my brother gave me Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook: ” Jamie’s 15 minute meals”.  It both inspired and perplexed me.

Blue cheese platter close up

I was  inspired by the painted serving boards in the book but perplexed by the notion that anyone could complete some of the recipes in there in 15 minutes.

Edge of red edge cheese platter

Achievability of the food within aforementioned time limit aside, I’m here to tell you these painted wooden boards (if not Jamie’s recipes) whip up in under 15 minutes. Well, the first coat, anyway. Okay, so maybe don’t start these at a quarter to I’ve-got-to-be-somewhere.  Twenty to should be plenty though!

Pile of 3 wooden cheese boards

Once again, I’ve employed my very favourite masking tape and paper punch stencil method…

Wooden cheese platter board painters tape stencil

with much success.

Painted wooden cheese board blue dots

I hesitated to call this a tutorial as (with so many of my thangs) it really is criminally simple but I’m going to go ahead and do that anyway because I’m badass like that.

Small aqua edged cheese platter gold knife below

What you need:

  • Wooden serving board, cheese board, platter. Whatever takes your fancy. Do ensure it is not treated ie, safe to serve food on.
  • Food safe paint.
  • Painter’s tape or good quality masking tape

I got my food safe paint from ecolour paints.  I highly recommend them. They were lovely to deal with on the phone and very helpful despite the fact I was only ordering sample-sized quantities of paint. You  only need a small amount for this project and 0.5 litre typically costs AUS$13. Pretty decent I think.

Eco colour paint pots

I’m sorry I can’t give you international suppliers but I’m sure a google search in your area would lead you to what you want.

Blue cheese platter with walnuts, olives, quince paste, brieThe other thing I truly LOVE about this company is they can mix up any colour at all. You just choose the paint swatch you want and let them know the brand and name of the colour.

Aqua stripe cheese platter

What to do:

1. Paint your wood.

You can use steel wool to rough it up for a distressed look once it’s dry. Or use painter’s masking tape to create stripes and perfect straight lines. And use your paper punch to make templates. Endless possibilities.

Painted wooden platter in progress masking tape

I am making some of these for Christmas gifts this year. I think a board along with a beautiful cheese knife or even a round of cheese and some quince paste makes a beautiful Christmas present.

Red edged cheese platter closer

I collected my boards from various spots including IKEA and the local supermarket. The olives, however, are our backyard 2013 crop. Salty little bastards but I love ’em. Quince paste is mine too. Satisfying to have two homemade comestibles on the one platter.

Homemade olives

And don’t feel limited to cheese. I had a party last night and served a pile of homemade brownies on some of these boards. If you can put it on a platter, you can put it on one of these.

Red-edged painted wooden cheese board

Acqua stripe cheese board close up

PS: I’ve updated the look of my blog. I struggled to let go of my twirling chick on horseback but I’m much happier with the cleaner feel of this new design. Also, for a long time I’ve wanted a theme that  showcases my photographs better. They’re now bigger (in the horizontal view) and, I hope, better for that fact. Whaddya think?

Butterfly hoop decorations

Gold paint touches on butterfly art

I made these hoop decorations as little take-home gifts from Olive’s butterfly birthday party.

Butterfly hoop art

I printed this ethereal image onto fabric.

After that I framed each butterfly in a small embroidery hoop. They look best framed slightly off-centre.

Butterfly hoops

As a final touch, I added a few tiny flecks of gold paint here and there – just to give the slightest glimmer.

I was really pleased with the way these turned out.

Butterfly hoop_edited-1

They’re not, perhaps, the usual garish gewgaw that appeals to a 4 year-old, but I like to think, for that very reason, they might not be discarded quite as quickly.

But I’m not entirely oblivious to the needs of 4 year old party attendees: I sent ’em home with a big fistful of sweets as well.

Olive’s butterfly party


Having done one butterfly party already, I gently tried to persuade Olive to go with an ice-cream theme. But to no avail. The child loves “blutterflies”.  So blutterflies it was.

Butterflies on Urbio

As a special treat for Olive and her friends, we arranged a butterfly adventure.

Butterflies on a branch

A butterfly-lovin’ lady came to the house and gave the girls a little talk about the life cycle of butterflies. The kids were fascinated.

She showed them a caterpillar, a chrysalis and even dressed Olive up as what looked like a butterfly on crack but was actually (I took her word for it)  an accurate representation of a butterfly with its 6 legs, lots of eyes and 2 noses!

Olive dressed as butterfly

She also brought a box of dead butterflies.

Box of butterflies

Because what’s a party without a stark reminder of the fragility of life and finality of death?

Box of dead butterflies

It was a good idea though because it gave the kids an opportunity to feel butterfly wings. At the same time it was explained to them why they couldn’t touch or pat the live butterflies they were about to meet.

There were varied reactions to the live butterflies. The birthday girl started out strongly but when one flew near her head she went into screaming hysterics. Other kids were completely mesmerised.

Butterfly drinking Powerade

The butterflies were exquisite. These are monarch butterflies and their tipple of choice? Cotton wool balls soaked in Powerade. Of course.

Butterflies on my hand

There was, unsurprisingly, a butterfly cake. I popped a rabble  (which Google tells me is, with “swarm”, the collective noun for a group of butterflies) of these lovely rice-paper butterflies atop the cake.

Butterfly cake

For those of you that are religious, the taste of these butterflies will be very familiar. My girls expected them to be sweet so there was a bit of the old “pegheugh” and rapid expulsion of the offending butterflies, but if they’re going to try to eat them without being dipped in red wine, then what do they expect?

All in all there was a surfeit of blutterflies and a happy little 4 year old. A good outcome I think.

Flock of butterflies on wall

As always, happy to provide details of where I bought stuff, the butterfly company etc if anyone wants. Just leave a question in the comments.

Cake as canvas: some cakes I’ve stamped recently

I am a leetle bit obsessed with the stamping on cakes thing. You might recall a while back that this was my first go.

This is the first of my most recent experiments.

The beautiful stamp set comes from Yellow Owl Workshop.

It worked okay but wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked. That said the smudgy edges grew on me and put me in mind, in the end, of the lazy hazy blurriness of a long, hot summer.

This one was for my dad’s birthday – he’s a dead-keen sailor. And we both agree that Moby Dick is probably the best novel we’ve ever read.

I had the stamp custom carved for this project by my friend and stamp-carver extraordinare Holly from Two Cheese Please. She did this beautiful olive one for me a while back. She’s outdone herself with my whale I think.

You know the most time-consuming bit of this? Making the cakes to ice.

Oh yeah, except for this one which is actually a delicious book.

My 7 year old was horrified when she saw me taking these photos. “You can’t give away our secrets” she said. We had a long talk about which secrets are worth keeping.

PS: The cake under Moby Dick was a genuinely edible fruit cake made to a time-honoured and treasured family recipe. By my mother. I wanted to ice a book for him.

Under the Ocean Party

The child has gone ahead and turned 7. Selfish.

Despite her failure to cease this ridiculous growing up thing, we celebrated.

Really and truly I had grand plans NOT to have grand plans this year.

I was tired. I was over-stretched. I was not in the mood.

But it was one of those rare situations where every idea  you think of and everything you try works and not only that, it all comes together like a dream. So  it was all just a total pleasure.

I certainly had no intention of making individual mermaid tails. But then I got started and…well, they whipped up like a softserve.

The birthday mermaid requested a full costume and after seeing the most scintillating fish-scale-esque fabric at my local store, her costume also came together in about 20 minutes.

It’s just a  tube with tail sewed on at back and front and some straps.

My view that the costume ended up looking a bit more like something one of Donna Summer’s backup singers (or indeed the Donna herself) might have worn in the 80s was not conveyed to the birthday mermaid.

These sweet little merbabes

are fishing for the elusive and little-known paperclip-nosed button fish. A very rare creature.

Got one!

In the background I had a recording of underwater sounds playing. It was all watery trickles and swooshes and bubbly sounds. Great for creating the mood but the downside was an inordinate number of trips to the toilet.

As well as fishing, we also had a couple of  hilarious games of Dead Fish which is Musical Statues only fishy. I also enlisted my handsome husband to hold the fish pinata. He’s a risk taker from way back.

As it turns out, he’s also a dab hand at carving blow fish from rock melons.

We started the food with some Seaweed Juice ( a horribly healthy smoothie concoction of spirulina and fruit)

And then served the blow fish, Octo-dip, fish fingers and sushi.

Dessert was the cake.

As well as creating all the sea creatures we used to decorate the walls, Sophia and Olive also made most of the invitations themselves. We went with messages in a bottle.

The take-home party bags were also really simple. The fish came from this great free printable.

Inside each were just a few little ocean-themed treats.

Can you imagine the squeals when I told the merbabes they each got to take their tail home?

The only time we were similarly deafened was when a shark swam into the proceedings.

(I cracked myself up by playing the Jaws theme to a sea of hushed, expectant merbabes prior to the shark coming in).

All in all, we had a whale of a time (sorry – I can’t help myself) and the birthday girl was proper delighted.

I got lots of ideas for this party from Pinterest. Check out my inspiration and the sources on my Under the Sea Party Board.

The mermaid tails and cake are all twirling betty and I’ll be doing a quick  tutorial for the tales in a little bit. And happy to answer any questions about the cake which, if I do say so myself, packed a big punch for very little effort.

Final installment in the jewel birthday party chronicles

If I don’t post this now, time is going to slip away and Sophia will be 15 at this rate. And I don’t think she’ll be half as impressed at 15 as she was at 6.

The cake was a jewellery box.

There was gem-shaped food. Diamond fairy bread

And white choc fudge with edible shimmery glittery stuff on top. The little girls LOVED it.

I am actually very proud of my diamond pinata (if I do  say so myself). Turns out, innumeracy is no barrier to constructing 3D geometric shapes. Thank goodness.

The pinata turned out to be just a tad too robust so we had to call in this bruiser with a metal bar. Barefoot and beads slung back, she’s grinning at all the big girls laughing at/with her

The gorgeous be-jewelled gals who attended on the day took home these little favour bags with a jewel-shaped  chocolate (in the sewn pouch), some little glittery gems and an extraordinarily large diamond ring. Real, of course.

I also made these plates for each kid using ceramic pens.

They were a big hit.

And I wish you could have seen their little eyes widen when I told them they got to take those home with them too. Awfully sweet.

I tell ya, if you’re going to have a party, I can highly recommend 10 little 6 year-old girls as guests. They were an utter delight. Sweet, polite, excited, funny, natural, friendly. Just divine. Could have eaten every last one of ’em.

And the birthday girl? Tired.

But so happy.