Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, thrifting,
cookery, organic gardening, crafts, DIYing, vintage stuff, and more...

Apr 23, 2017

DIY Shelf With Hooks Reveal, We Lost A Tree, Carpeting Cleaning Choices? Garage Cleanup



DIY Shelf With Hooks Reveal-
I was going to finish our DIY Shelf With Hooks project in the last 2 weeks. I couldn't spray paint outside due to weather. It was 70 yesterday, with gusting winds to 45 mph. No outside spraying, so I switched to indoors. I have sprayed inside our garage with the side door and garage door open a bit. Warm and good ventilation. I spray on the bottom of an upside down laundry basket. Works great!

1st coat

I knew it would take several coats to really seal the wood since it was new wood. Going into a high traffic area I also wanted it to be durable! I did 2 coats and let sit overnight to cure. I did one more early today, after a light sanding, now it's all done! Thanks Dave!







Sumac on the left last week
We Lost A Tree-
After my husband's beloved Mother Bette passed away he planted to tree in honor of her. He wanted to plant a Sumac tree, since she'd had one. It's been here 11 years and has been healthy. What I didn't know was that they tend to lean. In a high wind area that might not have been the best choice. I wasn't aware of this. Today we had another high wind blowing thru and Dave found the tree on the ground when he went out to mow. There was no way to salvage it. He went ahead and was able to cut a major root with his sawz all and remove the tree-



Major trunk on the ground

The rest of the tree is in pieces in our garbage can. Sad. I'm trying to think of what to plant now that's a not a big tree? Maybe a large shrub, like a vine Maple. I am doing do some research now on what might be a smaller tree to plant. Maybe a small Oak tree? I could use this 5 Ways To Eat Acorns if I do! I also like the American Mountain Ash tree, very pretty-




Carpeting Cleaning Choices?
We had new carpeting installed in our 3 bedrooms about 7 years ago. While we wanted to do hardwood thru the entire house we couldn't afford it. We tore up all the old the household carpeting ourselves, and had the the bedrooms re-carpeted. We did a nice sage green. The living room and halls Dave and I re-floored with a nice Costco wood-look laminate. It still looks pretty good! We had our carpet shampooed about 18 months ago by a company that did a damp clean with soap, pads, and was a coupon deal. Looked good, at first. Later dirty track marks showed from the left over soapy reside :( Needing to be more deep cleaned this time I went online and checked Consumer Reports. You can join online for $5.00 per month, a great deal for a quick research project! I quickly rules out a rented machine, to much soap and wettness. For a deep cleaning we decided to go with Stanley Steamer after looking at CS. I like the no-chemical route, and it sucks up the leftover soap. Having asthma and allergies, removing dust mites, etc. is awesome!




I also had them do our 4-year old area rug in the living room (from Ross), now it looks like new. It is rubber backed, but was too big for a commercial laundry mat. $ well spent,after 4 years of spot cleaning. We did the 3 bedrooms for $99.00 and $35.00 for the area rug (Boise prices). I could have used a $20.00 off coupon but I accidentally deleted the email. We're good for a few years now.  

Super clean!


After

Garage Cleanup-
Last weekend Dave and I both took a vacation day for a 3 day weekend. I started a new job inside my hospital organization (excellent transfer!) and we wanted to wrap some things up. On the top of the list was cleaning the garage area below-

Before, what a mess!

Too many garden things (destined for a new shed this fall) and misc stuff stored. It was organized at one point. We started sorting first, using sawhorses for the small things-


We had- trash, donations, small amount of hazardous waste for the local pickup area, a bike "trunk bag" selling on Craigslist, and the rest to keep. We decided to build a new shed this fall. We'll use as much recycled materials as possible (as usual). We tore down the old one, as it was too small and narrow. The garden items will live out there.  In the "after" picture you can see the empty shelves! We also cleaned a smaller area where we store our paints for the house. I pitched a few things and organized the rest. We now have some empty space! 





Apr 15, 2017

Snow??? Garden Fundraiser Jewelry, Repair Cafes, The Creepy Side of Technology



Snow???
I always think of April as being one of the most unstable months weather-wise. We have gone from 70 this week to snowing yesterday! It was cold, snowing and blowing. I ran an errand with my parka on in the morning about 9:30. Before I headed home I stopped and got some Starbuck's to take home. Snow was blowing in the car! By 2:00 p.m. the sun was out, with gorgeous blue skies. Today was chilly but sunny, 65 forecast for tomorrow. Crazy! At least everything is green and gorgeous!


Yesterday about 11:00 a.m.



Garden Fundraiser Jewelry-
I was checking out Mary's Heirloom Seeds for some pepper seeds and saw this Garden Fundraiser I was curious and read a bit more. I TOTALLY support having school gardens. They're a great way for kids to learn about gardening, where food comes from and more. Info here Marysheirloomseeds.com Why Are We Fundraising?  I ordered the Ladybug necklace above ($12.00) and it is so cute! Great piece, good cause, check it out!



Repair Cafes-
I had heard of these before, but didn't remember what they were called. I saw this on the national news a few nights ago, what a great piece!!!


There's lots of great ideas out there and here's a few websites- Repaircafe.org and Resilience.org



The Creepy Side of Technology-
This can be filed under the "creepy side of Technology". Hubby and I were having dinner out last night in a small little diner and there was a really pretty young woman standing over by the window waiting for her to-go order. She was really busy texting while she was waiting and I noticed a nice looking man across the restaurant from her also texting. They were only about 15 feet apart since the place is very narrow. I noticed at one point he appeared to have taken a surreptitious cellphone photo of her. He barely tilted his text phone to snap a photo and he did this two more times, with him texting right afterwards. At that point it was apparent to me he was taking her photo without her knowledge. I decided to quietly go over to her and let her know what was happening and her response was "that's very creepy", I agreed. I suggested that she move over to a different part of the restaurant. I didn't make eye contact with him and she totally ignored him. She left very quickly when she got her order. It was a really good reminder that you need to pay attention to your surroundings when you are out and about. The funny thing about it was the man who was taking the photos was pretty oblivious to the fact that someone else might be watching HIM, ha! While it's not against the law to take photos of someone out in public it certainly makes you wonder what he was going to DO with the photos? Post them online with some gross, disgusting comments, or?

Apr 9, 2017

DIY Shelf with Hooks Progress, Homemade Beignets, Slow Decorating, Simple Tin Planter



DIY Shelf with Hooks Progress-
Dave spent some time last weekend building our new DIY shelf with hooks! He loved his new battery-powered nail gun, perfect for these kinds of projects. The unit has been sanded and puttied. Dave added the holes before painting. He also hid the screws for the wall under the hook brackets. Clever idea! If there's a small mistake you can fill the holes if you do it before painting. I've never liked painting then drilling anyway. I like to paint, then be done.  He used a 1" x 6" and a 1" x 8" poplar board, and crown molding. Unlike the design that inspired me we didn't add the 1/2 round on the top shelf on the front edge-

My inspiration

We did the width to match our mirror hanging above it (last weeks post). I chose three matte nickle heavy duty coat/hat hooks. I found Liberty brand at Home Depot, the "value pack" was $8.99 for three. I bought a fresh can of Rustomleum white satin spray paint. I'm shooting for painting outside next weekend, too cold today (low 50's). Dave thinks the whole project was about $25.00 using all new wood. It will be a good use of our space.

Outside work area last weekend, with thrifted table saw

Close up of hooks

Side view

My next request is for Dave was to build these floating shelves into our main back hall corner, another good use of space- 

DIY directions from 4men1lady.com

And spring has certainly sprung!

Lilacs

The fruit trees are loaded with blossoms, hoping for some great canning and eating this year!



Homemade Beignets-
I finally got around to making some Cafe Du Monde mix Beignets last weekend. The dough is super sticky-


It was hard to get the squares into the hot oil in a square. They were very light and fluffy, great texture!!! Next time I will put them on wax paper before transferring to the hot oil. I also read you can just do them as balls. Tasty either way!

Mix from Cost Plus



Slow Decorating-
I stumbled on a few posts about slow decorating the other day-  GeoffreyandGrace.com  and Theinspiredroom.net.  I got the basic premise, buy/make things slowly that you love. Take your time, be thoughtful. I've always been a big proponent of negative space as well. Give your eyes something empty to rest on. I appreciate this more as I'm older. When I see a post of a room filled with every square inch of too much stuff it gives me claustrophobia!  Anyway interesting trend and a good one I think. My shelf above is a good example, things collected slowly over time.



Simple Tin Planter-
I've always loved Katie Brown's shows! She's been on PBS and network channels as well over the years. I stumbled on her episode last night with this project- Katiebrown.com  Perfect timing, right before planting season. Personally I would skip the tacks and use construction adhesive, liquid nails, etc., but that's me. They will rust over time and look very rustic, great idea!

Apr 1, 2017

Flooding-Rain-Flooding, DIY Wall Shelf with Hooks

From Ktvb.com

Flooding-Rain-Flooding-
After near record snows this winter, flooding came along. The local rivers has been rising steadily the last month. Thursday we had nearly 2" of rain in one day!!! It was mixed with snow, about 36 degrees. I had to get out my parka (and umbrella) for my work commute. That's a lot of water, which had to go somewhere. The Boise River is the main river in town. It is running at a near record high. We are fine in the part town we're in, but others aren't so lucky. Home owners near the river are shoring up their banks and the City/County is keeping a good eye on things. Salmon at a local hatchery had to be re-located as their facility may flood-


 I've seen lots of temporary "ponds" across town full of ducks and geese. Atleast they're enjoying it! The sun came out yesterday, around 55 and gorgeous clear blue skies. And new snow in the foothills. Today is partly cloudy and about 55, still cool. I'm very grateful that this hasn't really affected us. I watch the river rise daily as I drive to and from work. The irrigation ditches here are opening soon, so that should help the water level. Everything is certainly green, and tree/shrubs are budding. We just need things to dry out. Luckily it supposed to be pushing 70 degrees next week, but that may cause more flooding, sigh...


DIY Wall Shelf with Hooks-
Our front entryway is a high traffic area. A few years back I added a set of country wood hooks (thrifted) and a small shelf (also thrifted) under my favorite Pier One mirror-


I wanted something to hang my purse, winter work tote bag, hats and other things on. The shelf is for something seasonal-




It has worked pretty well. Now the hooks are sagging, shelf is getting loose and we need up upgrade. Dave has his new/used table saw, and is buying a mini-nail gun. I looked a lot for something online we could build and found this- Twopurplecouches.com (see photo at top). I loved the nice molding and silver nickel hooks. Dave will build it about the same width as the mirror. It will be sturdier and pretty simple. I will go for white paint as well. Looking forward to getting it completed soon! Dave is out shopping for lumber. It won't cost much, but we decided to go with new wood. I may turn the hooks into a herb drying rack somewhere, we'll see...  Stay tuned!!!




Mar 26, 2017

Spring Clean Up Has Begun, Frugal Beef Roast, Bye Bye Homegrown Apples!


Spring Clean Up Has Begun-
With the warmer weather and rain things are really greening up and growing! Time to ditch the flannel sheets, move the heavy winter clothes out of the closet, and more mild clothing in. There's always debris from all the winter storms, dead branches, etc. We had some damage from the heavy snow, but I don't see any big losses. I'm getting over a bronchitis bug, that I was able to manage reasonably well. Only 9 days from onset and about done! I did lots of essential oils, homeopathic cough stuff, etc. Dave started on the yard work yesterday, mowing and getting debris out in the front. I've had to force myself to say inside and do other things, but I did pull a few weeds for the hens! My cough is almost gone, but my stamina isn't quite 100% yet.  Dave trimmed the berries for me today and did some pruning in the backyard. The berries above look much better! My poor chicken sign took a major hit, and the resin disc on the right-


I will bring it in, reassemble, repair and repaint. Glue the disc back together. 

Lots of perennials are coming up, looking good-





Frugal Beef Roast-
On a certain level I've never been a big fan of crock pot cooking for big cuts of meat. Sometimes things look mushy or don't have good color. No baby food looking meat for me, with added canned stuff and high salt. This is my second bottom beef roast for $10.00 on sale! I thawed it for this weekend. I liked the idea of searing the meat in the skillet FIRST. I did that on my last Italian style beef roast and it worked great! I tried this recipe today- Slow Cooker Roast Beef W/Red Wine Sauce  Ditto the browning first-


Then in the crock pot with the liquids. I used a dry Chianti we had. I did add a little Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor.

In the pool

Almost done!

 I added some Yukon Gold potatoes in the last hour. I sauteed about 3 cups of fresh mushrooms with a little butter and flour. I added that to the pot once the meat was done. I did not remove the veggies per the recipe. We ate all that healthy goodness! Reruns will include French dip sandwiches later in the week, yum! For the $10.00 beef I basically just bought beef broth, a baguette and cheese. Lots of food there! The house smells great too. Perfect dinner on a cooler, sprinkly/rainy day like this afternoon.



Bye, Bye Homegrown Apples!
I was down to my last three jars of home canned apples slices from 2015. SAD. What to do? A cobbler with apples and blueberries! I have made this several times and is a great go-to recipe. From TheCupboard.net  Love it!

Double batch!

My pantry rack is basically pretty empty this year. I'm hoping for a good apple harvest this year. Maybe some peaches to can as well? Lots of empty jars to fill...

Mar 19, 2017

More Thrifting Scores! Spring Has Sprung Indoors, Smothered Pork Chops with Mushrooms


More Thrifting Scores!
While out and about I hit Target and the Goodwill store again, score! I got the two 10" round galvanized signs for $3.00 at Target. Will add the colored one to to my yard art, the other for inside. I got the Apples sign at Goodwill for $3.00. Perfect for my Autumn decor. I also found this new galvanized tub for a flowers/herbs on my deck, $7.00. Just need to drill some holes for drainage, and spray with some poly-


I had been looking on eBay for a used L.L. Bean canvas tote for my stuff I take to work. Way too high and not washable. In the winter I take a big tote with heavy gloves, scarf, hat, and shoes (when I'm wearing snow boots).  I needed something smaller for warmer weather, and this fit the bill at $3.00. Light canvas, and sturdy- 

Love the almost batik print



Dave got an off-brand, small table saw, was $80.00 at a thrift store, got it for $47.00! He was wearing green, discount! We had $20.00 on our rewards card, double score!! Work great. Now we can do some wood projects without Dave cutting his arm off using the skill saw...


I spotted the goodies above while at Target. The bunny with the gold inner ears is about identical to my thrifted, chalk-painted one from last year-

I like my ears plain thank you!



My Mama Pea Giveaway Quilt Win!

Spring Has Sprung Indoors-
It has been very mild this last week, pushing 70 degrees! Dave trimmed back our ornamental grasses since things are sprouting up. Chickens are loving the weather! It's been raining off and on the last few days, brings lots of worms up. Dave deep cleaned the coop today, and back filled with some soil to level off the bottom. We thought about putting in a wood floor, but in this climate the heavy clay soil works fine. The girls can dust bathe in even the snowiest of weather. We put about 5" of pine shavings on top, the "deep litter" method. Shavings were recycled into the garden. After Dave dug up the dirt the hens were in hog heaven out in the garden. Freshly turned soil!!!

While things are greening up outdoors, it was time to put away my St. Patrick's day decor. I brought out some of my Spring things, not time for Easter yet...



My mini greenhouse with the flower pot/bird and driftwood on our coffee table




Smothered Pork Chops with Mushrooms-
We had pork chops for dinner tonite, with asparagus and buttermilk biscuits. I wish I'd had some mushrooms to do this- Epicurious.com Looks great!!! I like to try new recipes so I don't get so bored.
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