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...

Sep 26, 2018

DIY Framing Poster Kit, Chicken And Pea Tray Bake, Autumn Day Trip

DIY Framing Poster Kit-
After buying my lovely $5 wildflower poster from the University of Utah Science Museum I wanted to frame it. After getting sticker shock looking at regular frames I decided to go with this $15 version. It's two dowels made of oak and one of the dowels has a cord across the top. The dowels are actually half dowels, with a very sticky double-sided strip on the back. When I got it in the mail I read the simple directions and got to work. Basically I turned the poster upside down and lined up the half dowels I made sure they were centered and did the bottom first. I basically rolled the dowel sticky side down on to the bottom of the poster. Then I did the same thing on the top. I had the dowel on the top of the paper a little bit below the edge and then rolled it on to the edge sticky side down-

I pushed really hard on both side and gave it a really good push. It stuck really well and I love the way it looks, so for $15 I'm happy!

Chicken And Pea Tray Bake-
I was watching Nigella Lawson's cooking show on PBS a while back and saw this recipe. Basically you use a cookie sheet, poor 2 lb of frozen peas on it, mix the other ingredients and pour over the peas and the sliced leeks. Toss well, then you put the chicken thighs on top skin side up. Next to drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and roast everything. Dave and I both found the dish a little bit too salty so I would cut back on that next time, but it was great otherwise! The peas still had a little bit of bite and the chicken was super moist with a very crispy skin. The idea is that the frozen peas release some steam/liquid and helps keep the chicken super moist. You could also try try this with other kinds of vegetables. It's a keeper!

Payette Lake

Autumn Day Trip-
Dave had really been wanting to go up to McCall recently and so Friday I told him let's go. We went up for the day Saturday and it was cool and windy and gorgeous. We went to our favorite brewery restaurant for lunch, hit our favorite thrift store where I found a new pair of Born Shoes for $5. I also found something fun for a blogger's son that will ship that to him soon. We stopped at a park and watched the lake and a lone sail boat -


We drove all the way around the lake and on the North side the wind was really strong and the waves looked dark and angry-

It was about 68 degrees and partly sunny but that wind was cold. We hit a nice pastry store on the way out, no need for dinner when we got home! It was really a great way to spend an autumn day up in the mountains, seeing the leaves changing and people bundled up a bit. We're going to go back for anniversary in November to spend the night, looking forward to that.

Sep 19, 2018

Dry Brush Blanket Striped Step Stool, Traditional Italian Zucchini in Tomato Sauce, More Harvest!

Dry Brush Blanket Striped Step Stool-
I recently purchased a painted white step stool from Ikea that I decided to do something fun with. They are super heavy duty and great design! There were tons of images online of fun ways people hacked their step stools. If there's no Ikea near you you can buy one on Amazon!

I was really afraid of making a mess painting it, so I decided to go for some simple blanket stripes. After reading a few articles about dry brushing I thought that might be a good technique to use on this. It's very forgiving, so if you make a mistake it's pretty simple to dry brush over it. So here's the basics...

Top step

DO NOT ASSEMBLE!  It's much easier to do the paint technique before you put the step stool together. I started with the square to mark where I wanted the stripes with pencil. I had both the top and bottom steps of the step stool. I taped both of them off after measuring. It's hard to see in the photo but the white paint was actually fairly thin on the top and didn't cover very well in the center of the top step.

 Taped off-

Basically after placement of the tape I came back with some French blue acrylic craft paint, 1st coat of paint-

I did have to do two coats for full coverage, then I let dry overnight. I think you can see from the photo that the tape did not seal very well on to the wood and the edges were a little bit rough. Next time I'll use a different brand. I should add this was a no-cost project, except for the stool.

I came back with a very wide putty knife and cleaned up the edges a little bit.  It was a good thing I was going to dry brush over it, which softened the flaws. I came back the next day with a very dry old brush and white acrylic paint. I test drove it on an old paint stick-

When they say dry brush they really mean it! I use very, very little paint. I brushed a tiny bit onto a used paint stick to get an idea of what it would look like. I went over both steps twice and just kept going until I thought it looked good-

Dave and I put it together last night and it is sturdy, very solid wood. I think it came out great and I really like the look! So don't be afraid to dry brush, it's really easy but just use very very little paint! I am going to use a little clear, brush on sealer over the stripes. I love it and may buy the dark wood if we go back. Great for kids, an end table, displays, as a stool. They are very multipurpose!

Traditional Italian Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-
Too much zucchini? Yes, that's me, so what to do? I remembered years ago buying canned Italian zucchini to try. Mushy but good flavor. I looked up recipes online and decided to try this one Pretty simple and you can adjust as needed. It was great served with roasted chicken and topped with a little Romano cheese.

More Harvest!
I think we're in what's traditionally called high summer although it's also getting cooler. We have lots of tomatoes coming in, so I froze some last weekend and we'll be doing more this weekend-

We've harvested most of the ripe tomatoes and peppers. I froze 2 quarts of mixed tomatoes and they are nestled into the freezer. I'm planning on making some pasta sauce this weekend if I have enough ripe one. I will wait another week or two if not. The weather is getting cooler with the low forties forecast in a couple of nights. I'm hoping things will keep ripening before we get our first hard freeze.

Sep 15, 2018

September Is National Preparedness Month, Styling A Glass Dome

September Is National Preparedness Month-
With hurricane Florence on the East coast it's a good reminder that September is National Preparedness Month! It's getting cooler here and wearing my first flannel blouse of the season. October tends to bring our first big storms. Interestingly enough the Farmer's Almanac has predicted our first SNOW will be in October! I'll be prepping the coop soon and getting ready for winter. Yep, WINTER! I have several links with really great information on what kinds of things you may want to have on hand. There's also tons more online. There's also a link below about how to save money while prepping. Don't forget one of the main things you need to have on hand is water as you may not have access to some depending on what kind of emergency you might have. Extra food, fuel, pet foods, baby/child items, OTC and prescription medications are always a must. We just stocked up on canned goods, batteries and I am storing more water. While we have a 55 gallon rain barrel it would need to be filtered (we have a filter) but we have to empty it for the winter. I can buy a gallon of water for $1.00 each, so it's easy to buy a few at a time. I personally don't favor reusing milk jugs, etc. for water storage. Some folks can also use alternative methods for heat, woodstove (still want one) or have a generator. We have a camping stove and several Kero heaters, but not for indoor use. We could use in the garage for cooking in a vented area. 


This display had a really great group of items on the shelf as far as preparedness. Bleach is a really great disinfectant either straight or diluted. Things like paper plates, buckets, garbage bags, TP, protein bars, first aid items, etc. Tips to save money here Budget Friendly Preparedness Kit

It's great to think about your neighbors too and how you could help each other. Great post here Climate Change and Building Our Community  Thanks Wendy!

Styling A Glass Dome
The photo below of the Ikea painted step stool on Pinterest (couldn't find original link) gave me the idea about buying this glass dome. I had wanted one for a long time but they tend to be more than what I wanted to spend. I ordered hand towels from Ikea online and saw they had a great deal for $9.00. It has a nice, solid wood base and is 4" x 8" high. The ones in the store had a shiny gold base, not my thing. When I saw the little printed card inside below I thought what a great idea! After mine arrived I printed my own with a free printable off of Google. For winter I may put a small snowman or something else inside. Inspiration-

My version below. I tried multiple time to get a good shot, but glass is shiny! Best I could do-

The great thing about these is you can put anything inside them! I saw Star Wars toys, sea shells, feathers, Lavender, you name it! You can stack on top of books, and use multiples in different sizes.  Ikea sells two, mine's the smaller one. Here's something very similar-


From Ikea

From Ikea

Sep 12, 2018

Poster Frame Dowel Kits, Installing Ikea Medicine Cabinet, Independence Days Challenge, Pear Crumble

Poster Frame Dowel Kits-
After I got my wonderful 20 x 28" poster at U Of Utah museum gift store above I started pricing frames. Ouch! I went to the manufacturer's website and found these-

Oak Dowel hanging kit, $15.00

The poster website has gorgeous bags, prints and more, check it out! No, they're not reimbursing me, just nice stuff! I should have in a week or so and will post a photo.

Installing Ikea Medicine Cabinet-
We installed our new Ikea bathroom cabinet this weekend and it looks great! I have a very white blue I painted on the walls originally. The directions were pretty clear that came with it, and took us about 2 1/2 hours to install. You want to take the time to do it correctly. When I looked at the tag I was interested to see where the cabinet was actually manufactured, it was in Italy!

Has a really nice finish and is very roomy. The first thing we did was basically lay everything out on a card table with the towel since the two of us were going to put it together simultaneously. 

It was much easier to sit down to do this. They even supplied a little short screwdriver but we used our own. Basically we laid out the directions and started counting all the hardware which is included, then laid out the pieces. Since you use the mirror door last we set it aside. Basically you attach all the hardware as you go to create the box of the cabinet. Which we did. Then you had the back piece which two slides into the slot. Make the box into a cabinet, put on the back-

We didn't use the cheap plastic anchors, that they included, since they're not really heavy duty. Dave bought 3/4" L brackets and we used those. Bolt them into the studs.

Then we mounted the cabinet on the wall, adding the door last. We tried to add the door per the directions but that was tricky. Basically they say to add the hardware to the door, then attach that hardware to the cabinet. We found it was much easier to reverse the process, by adding the hardware to the cabinet and then attaching it to the door. So we got it up, it's level and it looks great. I have 3 shelves and tons of storage. The old one will go to free Craigslist. Love the new one! 

Independence Days Challenge-
This time of year is definitely a busy time so here's a review of what we've been up to recently. Last weekend there was fruit all over the counters and dining table, not a bad thing!

1. Plant Something- No, it's harvest time! We don't do fall/winter gardens here, too much erratic weather. 

2. Harvest Something- No eggs, both girls molting, but the younger ones should start in a month or so. Herbs, tomatoes, cukes, pears, peppers, beans, and squash have been really coming in steadily and it was time to start freezing somethings. We'll dig up the 3 bins of potatoes soon too! 

Our organic pears

3. Preserve/Store Something- Freezing veggies and fruits. We were gifted by one of Dave's co-workers with some huge, ripe peaches! That was great since our peach tree did not have a large harvest this year. I decided to freeze all of them except a few to eat. We have lots of fresh pears that I baked. More are on the tree, but not that much. Too little to can IMO. I found a great deal on fresh Blackberries and local gourmet Italian breads. Pesto is coming soon with my 2' high Basil, to freeze in little jars. One of the things I like to do is to add some of the sweet Gypsy peppers and Italian peppers to the frozen tomatoes. Since I will primarily use frozen tomatoes to make pasta sauces in the winter or soups that's always a good addition. I'll be freezing kale soon too. This weekend will be food preservation as a top priority.It's always nice to be able to fill up your freezer! 


Off to the freezer, 4 gallon bags

More to eat fresh

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Dave and I cleaned out our bedroom pantry closet of some older items, creating more room. There were some dry mixes and some canned goods that were past their prime. It's a good reminder not to buy odd foods just because they're on sale and then not use them! The good news- it freed up some room to move things around and open up some space for canned goods that we do use on a regular basis. I always keep things like canned beans on hand to make quick soups. I always love to make homemade soups and pasta sauces on the weekends when I have time. Love to let them really simmer and reach full flavor. I do used dried beans as well. Sometimes on a work night though it's nice to have things like canned beans to just be able to chop up some vegetables and throw it in a pot for an hour. It's a fairly instant dinner. I know there's a big thing about the instant pot but sometimes it's just another thing to buy and store. And it's just the two of us I don't really see the need for that. 

Got a $10.00 coupon for a nice sale shirt at L.L. Bean, scored for $12.00, free shipping. Perfect for work! Got a $50.00 Amazon gift card from a business acquaintance and Dave and I split it. I got a new wireless weather station, was $85.00 for $17.00 and some teas. I'm a weather geek, what can I say? My old weather station died. Dave got a wireless headset and a new CD. Both happy. I do want to say we also get rid of things on a regular basis.  Dave gets batteries wholesale sat work so we stock up on 3 lantern ones. Winter is coming...

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Ate peaches and pears oh my! Bought the new book Little Swedish Kitchen by Rachel Khoo She started off  her books on French food, then married a Swedish man, equals a new book! I did break down and bought an actual paper one! I like to actually sit down with a cookbook and read it, turn the pages, etc.  I bought several of her used French cooking books and really like her cooking style. When I looked online at some of her recipes they looked great. I like some Swedish cooking, so I thought it would be good to try. Ironically the paper copy of the book I ordered through Amazon was shipped from the UK. The only thing available in the US was electronic, oh well a sign of the digital times. I'll post some photos after I try some of the recipes.

6. Build Community Food Systems- Got the free peaches. Will give our neighbor some free eggs for her rhubarb when the girls start laying.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Gifting our old medicine cabinet, old towels. I was gifted a heavy, steel file folder rack. I used it for all of my food preservation books to keep them together.

8. Skill Up- Learned all about installing a shower faucet cartridge after Dave's attempt!

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-  Another home improvement was getting a new cartridge installed into her shower faucet control. Since it was still under warranty we got a free cartridge from Moen to replace the old one. Dave did have good directions but was unable to remove the cartridge dou to a lot of hard water build up, so we had a plumber do it. The old cartridge caused the shower faucet to drip a bit. Having the new cartridge in made a huge difference! Not only did it make the handle on the shower faucet move really easily, it actually increased the water flow. Dave thought from the sound of things that the mix probably was not correct due to the cartridge being jammed. Anyway the main thing is is it works great now! The plumber said due to hard water there was just a lot of gunk in there over the years. We're talking now about potentially adding a water softener system to the house, but don't know if we really want to spend the money for that. There's also environmental issues with all of the salt used in that. We will do more research and think about it. Will be touching up the paint on the coop soon, before the cold weather hits and reinforce a couple areas. Need to keep the girls cozy!

Pear Crumble-
With lots of fresh organic pears it was time to bake! I made this last year but subbed Puff Pastry this time, and used nutmeg instead of cinnamon. Oh my, almost silky! 

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