Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

The Easiest & Quickest Way to Make Lace Crowns {Tutorial}

Lace crowns are utterly enchanting.
But they can be time consuming to make.
Not these.

Whether you plan to adorn one royal head
or a whole party of princesses,
this new shortcut method for making
lace crowns from crochet lace
are royalty-ready in just a few hours.

In early 2012 I fell head-over-crafty-heels for the lace crowns I had seen online (at Bitter Betty Blogs, Girl Inspired and Joyfolie to name a few).  The crowns were sensational and the technique was simple.  Yet the fabric stiffener used in the projects often needs 24 hours to completely dry.  I'll admit it -- I'm an impatient crafter.  So I immediately started experimenting to find a quicker way to make lace crowns.  In February, I published my "Lace Crowns: Quick Microwave Method".  Using the same materials as the other tutorials, I was able to shorten the time by using a microwave oven.  The method is quicker, but has a few quirks, so I've been longing to come up with an even quicker and easier way to get the same beautiful results.

The solution came from a reader comment.  The Brewster family asked, "I am curious why you did not use spray paint for the crown."  The comment got me thinking that spray paint is not only a better way to add metallic color to the crown, but it would probably stiffen the lace at the same time, making the fabric stiffener unnecessary.

To celebrate my second year of turning 40 this past weekend, I decided it was high time to try out the spray paint crown method and make myself  a birthday tiara.  The experiment was an absolute success! I made two:  One to keep and one to give away.  You can enter to win the crown of your choice at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Lace Crowns
Approx Cost:  Less than $5 (when making multiple crowns*)
Approx Time (active):  1/2 hour
Approx Time (drying):  4 hours
Yield: Makes ONE 18" crown

  • A piece of posterboard, 19" long and 4" high
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • 1/2 yard crocheted lace
    (Also look for "Cluny Lace" or "Dyeable Cotton Lace".  You can find a lace similar to the type I used for these crowns HERE)
  • A straight pin
  • Rubber gloves
  • Newspaper to cover your work area
  • Metallic Spray Paint (I recommend Premium Metals One Coat Metallic Finish from Design Master, sold at Michael's stores. For this project I used "Super Silver" and "24KT Pure Gold)
  • Clear enamel, poly or glaze spray (I recommend Folk Art Clearcote Hi-Shine Glaze (785) by PLAID)
  • E6000
  • scissors
  • Vintage jewelry, rhinestones, jeweled scrapbook trim, etc...

Step 1:  Start by rolling the strip of poster board into a tube that is 17" in circumference.  Use tape to hold in place.  Wrap tube in plastic wrap.  This will prevent the lace from sticking to the form.  Wrap lace around the form and use straight pin to pin ends together where they overlap.  Tip: If making multiple crowns, make a form for each crown so that you can spray paint all at once. 

On my first attempt, I used this cute little can of gold paint.  I wasn't happy with the tone of the gold, and there wasn't enough paint in the can to do an entire crown.  Please see the materials list for a recommendation for a paint that will cover several crowns.
Step 2:  Working in a warm, well-venthilated area and wearing rubber gloves, spray entire surface of crown with one layer of the clear glaze.  Allow to dry, in a warm area, for 15-20 minutes (or until dry to the touch).

Step 3:  Now spray entire surface of crown with one layer of the metallic paint.  Allow to dry, in a warm area, for 20-30 minutes (or until dry to the touch).

Step 4:  Remove pin, then gently peel lace off of the form.  Now wrap the lace back around the form, but with the painted side facing in.  Pin back into place.

Step 5:  Spray with clear glaze, then allow to dry.  

Step 6:  Now spray entire surface of crown with a coat of metallic paint.   Dry for 20-30 minutes.  If you want the tips of the crown to flare out, now is the time to bend them outward with a gloved hand.

Step 7:   Spray with a final coat of metallic paint.  Allow to dry and harden in a warm place.

Step 8:  Remove the pin and gently loosen the lace from the form.   Allow crown to dry for an additional hour.  

Step 9:  Trim any frayed ends from the lace and decide which way you want to overlap the ends to make the cleanest seam.  Use E6000 to glue in place.

Step 10:  Now it's time to embellish the crown!  Use E6000 to attach a decorative border and accents.  I like to use a combination of old costume jewelry and new findings from the craft store.   


*The $5/crown price was calculated based on using a fraction of can of paint, glaze, and E6000, and making multiple crowns).  The more supplies you already have on hand, the lower the cost.   If purchasing all of the supplies for a single crown, the cost will be much higher, but you'll have everything you need on hand for the next time you need to whip up a sparkling diadem.

I originally posted this tutorial on 1/19/13 when my blog was named Rook No. 17.  All content is original and under my copyright.

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