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

Aug 28, 2016

The Death of Dependability, Mystery Tomato Solved, Thrifting Scores, Free Coffee Sign

The Death of Dependability-
I like things (and people) that are dependable. We bought a new front loading washer and a year and a 1/2 ago. After having 2 new control panels installed (under warranty) it started to go wonky again last week. No warranty now, and another defective replacement control panel, AGAIN, and we decided we're done. I did some research on Consumer Reports online. I wasn't aware that the technology on top loaders had changed a lot. They use less water and more gentle on clothes. We bought a new washer, with KNOBS, top loading, water saving, with no standard agitator to beat up the clothes. It also spins more water out of the clothes,  coming out dryer, reducing drying time. It has a small raised area in the center and is a large capacity-

 We bought a 5 year warranty as well. All in all I'm happy with the new washer, but pissed that we got stuck with a piece of crap. We went thru this with our last glass-topped range. The control panel died. It was $500.00 to replace OR buy a new range for less. We opted for a new range. When our current one dies I want a gas range with KNOBS. No more control panels EVER. At least I can see what's in the washer easily, no more bending and twisting to see if I got the last sock! 

Mystery Tomato Solved-
I was really scratching my head when I started finding BIG orange tomatoes in the garden. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they were! After looking at it and slicing it open it turned out to be a Persimmon Tomato.  Dave remembered the name when I mentioned it. I had never tried these before, a heritage variety. I will say this variety is amazing! Large, ripens early and very, very  sweet-

blurry, sorry

This weekend's veggie harvest was good! We have raspberries, and  jalapenos too, but forgot to pick them-

 Time to make salsa!!!

Thrifting Scores-
I found a great little gray speckled teapot, like new for $3.00-

 and this new set of 3 prints for $10.00 I loved the cow and chicken! They're 12" x 12"-

I will put the sheep in the nursery and put the other 2 in our bedroom. The artist is Kimberly Grant and she seems to specialize in kids wall art. I LOVE them!

Free Coffee Sign-
Speaking of wall art... After spending some time looking for an easy, DIY coffee sign for my back splash, I finally gave up. I made the sign above with a simple word doc, adding a background color. I put it into my chalk paint style frame (thrifted) and hung it up. I like it!!! It was free, printed on our color printer and I already had the frame-

Not perfect but I like it!

Aug 21, 2016

Shed To Food Makeover, Next New Garden Bed, Antique/Thrifting Annex Mall Find! Apple Harvest

Shed To Food Makeover-
Sorry I haven't posted anything for 2 weeks. Life has been crazy with a back issue I have been dealing with for 2 months :( Dave has been great picking up the slack, but it was mentally exhausting. The good news is now things are getting much better! Happy dance!  So moving on.... 

This is our "bean garden" area we created last year when we down-sized our shed and decided to use the space for more food production. My beans pooped out last year, but did great this year! I planted Blue Lake Bush beans (I think)  no trellis needed. We used a soaker hose and they've done really well! They're loaded and last night I picked enough for 2 big dinner portions- 

I cooked 3 strips of bacon, with a diced small purple onion. I added the beans when that was cooked and added a little boiling water, excellent! The onion turned a bit sweet and combined with the bacon we wiped it out :) More on the plants to come! 

Sorry for the blur

Note my huge lemon tomato! Weird!

We're also getting a goof harvest of lemon cukes, tomatoes, basil, peppers and squash.

My fave summer salad- cukes, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil

We're also getting a steady, small supply of raspberries

Before shot, soil turned

Next New Garden Bed-
After Dave cleaned out our garden "junk drawer" corner, we decided to plant something on the L shaped section. On the right chicken wire side we will plant a nice Ouachita Thornless Blackberry we found locally for $8.99, with 2 big long branches. We held off planting this week, with temps pushing 100. We'll plant it in a few days, since it will be cooler. I'll plant a shrub in the fall that we need to relocate in front of the fence to finish it off. Maybe some annuals next spring? I asked Dave to add compost and  move some extra river stones from our little pond area to create a border. It looks more finished and ready to plant-

I may plant another pollinator in front of the vines like this one-

Poesy the neighbor cat cooling off in the heat :)

Antique/Thrifting Annex Mall Find!
I received an email from Yelp with the title Thrifting Finds, and  thought... what? Where? So I read it. It turns our what I thought was a small store is a 30,000 sq. foot warehouse, the Antique World Mall It has lots of different vendors, with large furniture to small items. While we didn't make it all the way through here are some shots of some of what I saw. Good prices and lots of variety!

Nice dishes

Fiesta ware 

Farmy fun stuff

Love the display!!!

I bought the vintage green spoon, $6.00 to go with my other green collection. I will go back again when we have more time, as it was a huge place!

Apple Harvest-
Our apples are getting ripe so I made am lasagna-pan sized cobbler with blueberries. I'll be canning soon! We gave our kids bags of apples (organic Pippins) but there' are more on the tree. I took a extra day off over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, so I'll have 4 days off. Looking forward to that, and processing all the apples. Pears are still not quite ripe but BIG!

Aug 7, 2016

Reclaim Paint Review & Chalk Paint Table Makeover, Micro Urban Homesteading Garden, New Grandbaby Gender!

Reclaim Paint Review & Chalk Paint Table Makeover-
Last year I was asked to review Reclaim Paint (now re-named to Beyond Paint) and was gifted with paint, glaze and sealer. I chose Bright White and was sent one Qt.-


I had plans to paint two tables last fall then I changed jobs. I put it on the back burner for warmer weather. Now, time to paint! Reclaim paint is advertised as an ultra thick, gorgeous, low prep paint. What's not to love? It comes in a wide range of colors. I had two tables to do and a couple of craft projects. I did table #1 today, will do #2 on upcoming Labor Day weekend. The first thing I noticed when it came in the mail was how HEAVY is is! I test drove it first this winter on my cardboard box turned to a Faux French Country Planter Box -


and my little soap crate

my medium sheep crate

 So, here's how it went today, with my little side table to be made over...

"Before" picture

This was my Mom's table, who passed away years ago, and while I love the lines it was dark and didn't go with anything else. I started thinking of Scandinavian country with the curvy lines. White it is! I washed the table down with some Dawn and finished with a white vinegar/water wipe. Nice and clean, I set up my paint area on my deck, plastic on the table. The area outside was warm and breezy today, and with our dry weather a good time to paint-

Since the table has such long legs I decided to paint it upside down to start, and paint the top last-

I removed the knob and saved it to re-use, see the big scratch on the drawer?

First coat, I knew it would need atleast two with the dark finish

I flipped it over after the second coat, then did the top and lower shelf. A few touch ups later I put the knob back on and took inside, back to my living room-

  I thought about some grain sack striping on the top and on the drawer like this-

I have decided to live with the simple white for a while. It would be easy enough to add stripes later.
I just tend to shy away from anything too "trendy" and grain sack stripes are a big trend. A lot of people may be repainting to get rid of those in a few years! Here's the other small craft painting items I did as well- 

"Before" picture,  my .69 cent thrifted bunny

2 coats of Reclaim paint later, loving it!

I also painted a small frame, blond wood before, now ready for a botanical print-

All in all I'm really impressed with the paint and coverage! I used 2 sponge craft brushes and a small craft bristle brush. It was a lot of leg painting, so I was fine with a not-perfect surface. The top came out super smooth. Less strokes is better. It's almost a bit of a cross between chalk paint and low sheen/satin flat finish. I was going to glaze the table but I want to think about it. I will also seal the top with a sealer I was given, to protect from any water damage etc. Since it's a sturdy wood table I want to protect the finish. With the one qt. I still have about 1/3 to 1/2 left, plenty for my other table. With that flat table I would use a roller. All in all great stuff!

Corn, squash beets and beans

Micro Urban Homesteading Garden-
My daughter Angie and her husband Chris are both gardeners and real DIYers. They're renting a tiny house with a micro backyard, but have done a tone of work with it. The results have paid off! I wish I had "before" pictures. Just visualize a dirt back yard! They added a small amount of turf for a sitting/dog area, gravel path/border, then veggies and even a peach tree! I'm so proud of them!!!

They used pallets to go vertical on the back fence, with herbs and flowers, tons of tomatoes in front, 
 Angie used chalk paint on the pallets, cute!

Flowers, tomatoes, beans, peppers, going vertical!

Chris built a wishing well from pallets as well

cold frame of strawberries

We had a baby gender reveal party there Friday so I couldn't get more shots of their yard, with lots of people there. It's extremely productive garden for the small space they have. They served a beet salad and amazing corn from their garden at their party, yum!!!

New Grand Baby Gender!-
At the party Friday night it was revealed that our next Grand baby (due in December) will be a BOY! His name will be Oliver, for my hubby's old family name, sweet. Grand baby River is doing great and we baby sat for 4 hours last night, what fun!!! 

Last week River he was thinking- Should I wake up or sleep, I'm so confused!

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