With our children heading back to school, this season brings with it the perfect opportunity to seize some "grown-up" time ~  to reconnect with good friends, to reflect, laugh and share, and to establish some new traditions.  Regularly sharing a cup of coffee or tea with a friend or friends can be a wonderful way to ease the hectic pace we often find ourselves caught up in during the school year.  For a simple hour each week, time slows down, and you can talk ~ really talk and be listened to.  You can listen, and really hear without the distractions of home, family, and work.  

The get-together needn't be formal or even strictly scheduled.  It's simply nice to know that there's some special time for just "YOU" each week, and that there's a door that's always open and a friend you can count on.

So, in this spirit, I've put together the "FRIENDSHIP CUP" DIY.  It features a new spin on the Lazertran waterslide decal paper that I've been so enamored with lately.  Using this versatile transfer paper, you can turn nearly any plain object into a customized, professional-looking treasure. Nowhere is this technique simpler or more satisfying than in the creation of custom dishes, cups, and other serving pieces.

Using images purchased from Olive Rue, I created these teacups for my two friends with whom I'll be sharing some special time this Friday.  While practical, the gift also serves another purpose.  The Olive Rue image on the mug reads, "SIT LONG, TALK MUCH" and the custom tag attached to the handle reads, "My door is always open, you'll always have my ear, and I'll gladly put the kettle on, whenever you are here". It's a token of friendship, as well as an invitation to make our teatime/coffeetalk/cocktailhour a regular happening.  To "sweeten" the deal, I'm filling the delicate porcelain mugs with some of my homemade BROWN BUTTER PECAN BISCOTTI.  You'll find the recipe below.

Here is a gift tag download similar to the one seen above, using an image I created in order to be able to share it with my readers.  If you would like to purchase the beautiful "Journal de Paris" image designed by Olive Rue, visit HERE.

Following is a tutorial on how to make your own "Friendship Cup".  You can use the technique to design your own unique "line" of custom ceramics, stoneware or porcelain pieces.

(I made some hors d'oeuvre plates too)


--Lazertran  (NOT Lazertran Inkjet...more about that later...)

--A soft sponge, cloth, or small squeegee 

--A bowl of warm water

--Mugs, plates, bowls, etc on which to transfer your image

Step 1:  Select your image.  You can purchase one of the amazing readymade images from Olive Rue, or browse Karen's library of free graphics at The Graphics Fairy. You can scan images from your home or office.  Anything's game!


Step 2:  Size your image in a PDF or word processing document to fit the piece you'll be applying it to.  Reverse the image(s) (mirror image) prior to printing.

Step 3:  Print.  VERY IMPORTANT ~ regular Lazertran can NOT be used in an inkjet printer.  It must be printed with a Laser printer or copier machine.  For many of us, who do not have a laser printer at home, this adds an extra step, but it is necessary if you desire the effect of a clear background for your image.      If you don' mind an antiqued finish to your image, you can use Inkjet Lazertran, and can try my tutorial using that medium HERE.  There's a definite learning curve when using these specialty papers, and I've found that not all copiers and laser printers will work with Lazertran.  For a full list of printers and copiers know to work with the product, visit HERE.

Step 4:  Once sheet is printed, place in the oven at lowest setting for two minutes to set the toner.  This will help you avoid small air bubbles later.

Step 5:  Cut out your image(s).

Step 6:  Soak image in a bowl of warm water for 30-60 seconds.  Image will begin to loosen from the paper backing.  

Step 7:  Apply image face down and slide off the paper backing.

Step 8:  Gently work out wrinkles and air bubbles.  You can lightly dab with a soft cloth or sponge, or use a small squeegee.

Step 9:  Place in your oven at the lowest setting for 1 hour.

Step 10:  Slowly increase the temperature over the next two hours until your reach between 350 and 400 degrees F.  You will know that the image has set when it becomes shiny like a glaze.

Step 11:  Turn off oven and allow piece(s) to cool.

Note:  Oven temperatures can vary, and there are sometimes differences in outcomes from various models of gas and electric ovens.  Similarly, some dishwashers, like mine (a Jenn-Air Ultimate Quiet) will not damage the finished pieces, while other models will.  Some experimentation with your oven and dishwasher should be expected as part of the fine-tuning process for your Lazertran project.  

I'm so please to share my new recipe for Brown Butter Pecan Biscotti with you.  I created it especially for this occasion!  This is one of those recipes that makes your house smell heavenly from the moment you start browning the butter and toasting the pecans.  The richness and nuttiness of both ingredients are the perfect complement to the dark chocolate dunk!  Enjoy!

Here's a version of the "Friendship Tags" made to tie on to bags of extra biscotti...

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