Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello Day off

Today I was supposed to go to jury duty. Thank the Lord when I called in the night before I didn't have to report! So what's a girl to do on a day off? All the projects in her dreams! Or on her to-do list :)

Today I "glazed" a dresser I've been painting to go in my craft room. It was actually very simple to do. I unfortunately don't have any before/ pictures of that. The dresser was a garage sale gem I found last week for a whopping $30. I already had the paint and I bought some glaze for $5. I was going to buy new hardware but decided I liked what was already on it, score! So, that project was finished by 9am.

After that, I found myself being called to Hobby Lobby. It really is a calling. What can I say? $100 later I had enough stuff to occupy me for the rest of the day.

First, I finally picked out some curtains for the craft room. We've been in this house for over a year now and I am still working on ''finishing" rooms. This feels like a forever project, though. I LOVE nesting in my home.

Then, I worked on some letters I want above our bed. Our bedroom is not very decorated. I have had lots of ideas but today I finally decided. I bought some cardboard letters at Hobby Lobby for $1.99 each. I already had spray paint and the glaze that I used to make them look like metal, sorta an anthropologie look.

They started off looking like this.

This was the empty space above our bed. 

This is what they looked like after I painted and distressed them.

And this is the finished project.
Then I moved into the dining area. I found these awesome jumbo silverware at Hobby Lobby of course and fell in love with them.



The "new" dresser in my sewing room. I'll store my fabric and craft supplies in it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've got the project itch

This next project of mine is no small undertaking. Chair re-upholstery. Yep, it's crazy. I might fail. I might not finish it. I might have to buy the really cute chairs I see at World Market or Pier 1. Ha ha, never mind, I will finish it because I don't want to spend $$$ on a new chair.

You might be wondering why I want to get a new chair in the first place. Our roommate Kaitlin will be moving out soon and we have been using her chair in our living room. I'm assuming she wants to take it with her, since it is a lovely chair, it's comfy, and well, hers.

So, I've been looking on craigslist for some cheap wing back chairs that I could re-upholster. Than I thought to myself, "hey that's a lot of chair and you've never done this before." Right! Then, I remembered that Erin brought a chair home a few months ago and stashed it in our basement. Where everything else gets stashed and doesn't come out. Like the couch that's also down there, and the extra fridge, and the extra stove, and the extra little cute vintage furnace, and the other extra stove, and the old cast iron bathtub, and the buried bodies. Whoa, just kidding. Anyways, it's slowly becoming a man cave/junk yard, which is fine for Erin's man cave since he is a big fan of junk yards. I'm not kidding.

Alas, I am going to re-upholster this little beauty.

I've already started ripping out hundreds of nails, getting a few new calluses and a sunburn on my feet. It's really fun! Actually, I'm not really kidding. It's hard work for sure, but I enjoy spending time working on it. I spent 2 hours on it and I only took apart the bottom cushion/seat. Yikes. This is no 1 day project. Especially since the fabric I picked out won't be in the store for at least 3 weeks. Boo.

You might be thinking, why does it need to be re-upholstered? You're right, it is a cute little chair. And it is totally my color, don't get me wrong. But, it's vinyl...

And it has a few little tears in it.
 And I really want to strip, sand and re-finish the wood, too!

Doesn't it sound fun!??!

I started off with my tools. 2 flat head screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, a bowl and a Starbucks coffee, most important tool of all. The bowl was also found in the basement, holla.

I ripped out so many nails. SO many. Then, at one point, I got down to this.

I realized the stripes fabric was the original fabric. Yay for surprises. And more fabric to have to rip off.

 Yes folks, this is straw/hay. This is the seat cushion. It is folded inside the batting. Straw/hay was used a long time ago. Pretty sure I need to buy a new foam cushion for it. And pretty sure this chair might be as old as our house, so cool!

See?? Hundreds of nails! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it's more like 73. I counted.

So far this project cost me $50. The fabric is SO expensive. And I had to pay $8 just in shipping. Boo. But, the chair was free. I'm planning on also having to buy new foam cushion, and new batting, and possibly some Dacron. So, it could easily be over $100. But, not nearly as expensive as paying a professional. We're talking well over $300. Stay tuned!

p.s. Here is the limencello I made! It tastes okay. Just okay. It's not as tart as I was hoping. It's pretty sweet. So, I'm planning on adding fresh lemon juice to it and making a cocktail with sparkling water, limencello, and fresh blueberries. MMM.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday project

This morning, my sister and I, (hey Colleen!) went to Denio's flea market. I really wanted to get a desk/table to use for my future sewing room. She wanted to look for a dresser. We left empty handed. I'm still shocked! But, luckily for me, we stopped at the Goodwill outlet on the way back to Sacramento and I found a desk. It was also probably so much cheaper than what we would have paid at the flea market.

I'm not making it up. It was $5.50. That's my kind of deal!

It started off looking like this

It was in pretty decent condition. I ended up giving it a little sanding and removed the keyboard tray. My sewing machine does not have a keyboard. 

I used some teal paint I had left over from painting my potato bin. So that was a plus. Then, I bought some super cute hardware for the drawer and a wood stain for the top of the desk, making my grand total just under $15. Hey!

And this is the finished project! The hardware ended up being the wrong size, after I cut open the plastic container and everything! But, I'm okay with it. Maybe I could order a super cute pair of scissors drawer pull or something.

It is also distressed. This was my first time really distressing a piece of furniture and I'm pretty happy with it. Next time I'll really ding up the piece before I paint it, so that when I paint it and stain it the imperfections stand out more and it will look more shabby chic. I'm super excited to use this as my sewing table. My sewing room will be put together in just a few weeks!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My other awesome bread recipe I found!

This bread will blow your socks off! If you're wearing socks, that is. I have made this a few times and every time it amazes me that I made something so delicious and beautiful. I'm not a pro bread maker, but this makes me look good :)

I love this bread because 1) It's soaked and 2) It makes 3 loaves, which means I don't have to make the bread as often, about every other week. Have I mentioned that this girl hasn't bought bread for over a month!?! Okay, okay, one time I bought hamburger buns. But it was a last minute BBQ sort of night, and hot, and I'm not allowed to use my oven when it's hot in the house. Erin will make me cook with the stove in the basement, yikes!

The recipe is here! You need to make this bread! And you need to follow it exactly, because the recipe is spot on. Buy some vital wheat gluten, one of the ingredients, and you will be glad you did. It really makes the bread. And, heads up, the recipe calls for large quantities of ingredients, such as:

-1 cup of honey
-11 cups of whole wheat flour
-1 cup of kefir
-2 cups of oats
-3/4 butter or coconut oil (I like butter)

I make sure I have about 4 lbs of flour on hand and 1 lb of honey before I make this. But, when you think about it, you are getting 3 BIG delicious and nutricious loaves out of it (which also freeze wonderfully!)

You soak this bread overnight, which allows the phytates to break down and they are more easy to digest. I don't mean take the loaf and soak it in water. I mean, you take most of the ingredients, mix them all, and leave them be for 12-24 hours. So, usually at night when I am not doing much, like watching an episode of Seinfeld or looking at pinterest, I think to myself, I'll make bread tomorrow! And I do this
Throw the ingredients into the kitchen aid. This is why you have a kitchen aid, to make it work for you!

After it is all mixed, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight, or for 12-24 hours.

I forgot I was making bread until hour 22, which was about 7:30 at night. Oops. That was a close one. I was trying to figure out the binding on my quilt, which consumed most of my day. So, I added some more ingredients, kneaded it for 10 minutes and let it rise for 1 hour. It looked like this

I knead this by hand. My secret: I wear heels. Haha, Bet you didn't think I was going to say that! Seriously though, my counter is just an inch or two too tall for me when I am kneading bread and I have to stand on my tip-toes. So I put on some heels and its perfect. Try it! 
After 1 hour of rising. Whoa!

Then you punch it down, flip it over and it will rise again in just 30 minutes. Then, you make the loaves and plop them into their pans and let them rise again, for 30 minutes. Bake them and viola!

Oh baby! They taste amazing and it makes so much bread! I hope this makes you want to make some bread. And if you need a taste-tester, me me me! I'm selfless like that :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where do I start?

I have too many things going on right now, mostly in my kitchen. I'm really getting adventurous in what I make and eat. I am trying knew things, getting new appliances and then realizing, "where am I going to store all this stuff?" I'll figure that out later.

This week I have going:
-Kombucha (This has been my "go to" drink during this heat and I am it continuously brewing on my counter)
-Limoncello (When life hands you lemons, thanks Faith!, make....liquor? :))
-Yogurt in the crock-pot
-sourdough english muffins (They turned out okay, next time they will look better)
-fruit skins in my dehydrator
-that's enough, it's only Wednesday

This girl got a dehydrator for her birthday!!! Thanks mom and dad!

The first thing I made was fruit skins! My house smelled like strawberry fruit roll ups all day. Heavenly!

This is my limoncello. I found the recipe here. And my mouth is watering already!
It took me, oh, I don't know, an hour!!! to peel 10 lemons, carefully cutting away any white bitter pith.

I hear in Nevada they sell over a 100% proof everclear, hopefully the measly 75% will do. :)

And here they go, in the jar for 2 weeks! I will keep you all posted on the next steps.  

 And, I made yogurt yesterday/overnight. I haven't tried it yet. If you don't hear from me for a few days, send in help. I can't try it now, you'll put me on the spot! But I pay about $4.99 for greek yogurt at the store, for a quart. And I made almost 2 quarts of yogurt for $3. Holla! And its homemade and I know what the ingredients are: milk and a little bit of yogurt culture. Bam, yogurt!

Yum! Maybe next time I'll experiment with raw milk, but I don't want to waste it, so I started with whole milk. And I'll let you know if I die, I mean if I like it!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Do you have a "go to" meatball recipe? I do, and I'll share it with you. I love the good ole' ground beef in the spaghetti sauce, but meatballs just spice it up a bit! And they are fun. And they can be slightly messy. And they might roll off the table. But they are easy to make and can impress your dinner guests, in my case, my husband. 

I use 1 lb ground beef and it yields 12 good sized meatballs. I don't care for sausage, so I only use beef. If you want to get crazy, use half beef and half sausage or turkey. 

Here is what you need:
-1 lb organic ground beef (I think I used 80/20. You don't want them to be too lean or they won't hold together)
-1 egg, beaten
-1/4 cup chopped parsley
-1/4 cup shredded parmasaen cheese
-1/4 cup bread crumbs
-1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mix of rosemary, oregano, basil, ect.)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking sheet, one with a lip around the edges, with foil. Spray a light coat of Pam or something similar on the foil. Do this step before your hands get all dirty. Set the pan next to the bowl you'll be using. I'm teaching you my short cuts people!

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork. And the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix in the ground beef. Break it up with a fork. Then add the parsley, bread crumbs and cheese. If you can't get it all incorporated with the fork, use those hands!

 If you haven't used your hands yet, now is the time. Roll about 2-3 tbsp of meat mixture into a ball. Place on the lined baking sheet. Sorry, no photo. Just use your judgment on how big of a meatball you want. Do you want 30 small ones, or a couple big ones per serving? Your call.When your done making the meatballs, throw them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until done in the center. 

Add them to spaghetti sauce and viola!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Good bread

This morning, I am making some bread and thought, hey self, let's take pictures and blog about it! I feel like I run out of things to talk about on my blog, and therefore, don't do it consistently. But, what an opportunity this morning!

This bread I found here and I love it. I have made it about 3 or 4 times and have loved every loaf. I made it with whole wheat flour, with cheese and lemon and rosemary, or just plain. And it's just plain good! And easy, hey!

I love this recipe because technically the bread is soaked. I want to experiment with soaking it with part water and part kefir, just not sure how it will taste. And since I am sharing this bread with dinner guests, I thought now is not the time to try it, in case I kill them or something.

And, I get to use my awesome and fabulous cast iron dutch oven. Which I seriously use with every meal. Seriously! :) It's huge and heavy and well seasoned and just awesome. I make stock, soup, pot pies, braised meat, and bread in it! It's perfect for those "one pot meals." If you don't have one, get one man! I envy those who have the bright colored, beautiful Le Cruset ones, but I don't feel like dropping $300 on one right now. I bought mine a few years ago from HomeGoods for $60 and it is a Wolfgang Puck brand. It is 7qt. Dang! What a deal :)

Why am I talking about cast iron? I thought I was talking about bread. Okay, okay, here is the recipe.

-3 cups flour (White, wheat, spelt, rye, whatever your heart desires. I mix mine sometimes for fun)
-1 3/4 tsp salt ( I used celtic sea salt, mmm)
-1/2 tsp yeast
-1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and shape into a ball, cover and leave will the pot warms up. When the oven is hot, place pot inside and heat for 30 minutes. Place bread inside pot and place lid on;bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid;bake for another 15 minutes. Remove bread and cool on wire rack.

While soaking the bread overnight, I used to set mine on the carpet by the heater, since my kitchen counters are granite and cold! But last night I left it in the microwave and it turned out fine. It looked like this.

When you are ready to bake it the next day, turn on the oven to 450. While the oven is warming up, take the dough and dump it onto a floured surface. It will be sticky, like this.
You can flour your hands too, because it's stick-aay.

Form the dough gently into a ball. Then use the same plastic wrap and cover the dough while the oven is warming up. No need to be particular on the time.

When the oven is hot, place your pan in there for 30 minutes to get it nice and hot! Please ignore the fact that my oven looks horribly dirty. Thanks flash for exposing my dirty oven. It looks cleaner when the light isn't on :)

When its nice and hot, CAREFULLY take out the pot, which seriously weighs 30 pounds and drop the dough into the pot. I sprinkle just the tiniest bit of cornmeal on the bottom first, just in case it sticks, which it hasn't yet.

I clearly wasn't looking as I dropped the dough, heheh. It landed on one side of my pan. Ah man! But it is too sticky and hot to mess with it, so I'm going to call this bread artistic artisan. ha!

Place the lid carefully on the pot and put in the oven for 30 minutes. You must use a pot/pan with a lid so it can steam bake. After 30 minutes, take it out. Remove the lid. It will look like this

Just imagine it centered and prettier. That's what it should look like. This is art, remember?

Leave the lid off and bake for another 15 minutes. When it's done, remove the bread and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

What a beauty! Golden and crusty bread.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I realize I am blogging twice in one day. Whoa, now. I know, it's really crazy. However, this subject deserves a post all to itself.


Remember I started brewing it? Since my first try was a flop, I tried again with a new scoby. And it was a success! It was wonderfully sweet. A little too sweet, but I will get it down soon. And it's lovely to drink when you want something fizzy and sweet, instead of a soda. I can see myself drinking this all summer, sitting on our porch and enjoying a cool summer breeze. It will be much classier than last summer when Erin and I sat on our porch drinking a cold beer after tiling some of our kitchen floor, and by sitting I mean we were sitting on metal chairs we found in our basement next to our toilet and stove/oven. Because naturally everyone has those on their back porch. hehehe. We were tiling our bathroom and kitchen at the same time and it looked like a dump yard. So, kombucha=classy :)

I started this time with a new scoby. I used a gallon of filtered water I bought at the store. I used organic black tea bags. I sanitized my jar with vinegar, no soap. Soap is bad for the scoby. I also added a splash of vinegar to the tea mixture to give it a little "Umph"

If you have looked at kombucha recipes online, you will find there are roughly, I don't know, 6,479. Just kidding. But seriously, no 2 are the same. So I will just let you know what I did.

What you need:

-1 gallon size glass jar. Just use glass, don't risk metal or plastic not working right. ( I bought mine from Target for $18 and it has a spout at the end which is PERFECT for bottling the tea).
-8 organic black tea (don't use Earl Grey)
-1 cup organic white sugar  (the yeast with work best with the plain, bad for you sugar)
-cloth and rubber band
- almost forgot this one, the SCOBY! (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)
-100% pure juice of some sort, I used pomegranate 

Here is where I bought mine.

Step 1.
Pour the filtered water into a stock pot and bring to just below a boil. Turn off the water and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve. Then, add the tea bags. I hang all the tags by the handle so they don't float around. 

Step 2.
After an hour, take out the bags. Let the tea come to room temperature. I leave mine overnight and in the morning I pour the tea into the glass jar. Make sure the spout is turned off. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. Really make sure the tea isn't hot or it will kill the good bacteria of the scoby, be patient people!

Step 3.
Add the scoby to the tea. It will sink to the bottom. Add any liquid that was being stored with the scoby. If you don't have at least a cup of the liquid, you can add a teaspoon or two of vinegar. That's what I did. It just helps it get going. A little somethin somethin.

Step 4.
I place one of my homemade napkins over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. You want it to breath but don't want any nasties to get inside. That is the mistake I made the first time I brewed. I used cheesecloth and a few days later I had fruit flies floating on top. Then mold. Yikes!

Step 5.
Leave it alone. Give it some space man. Let it work it's magic! This was hard for me. I would sit in front of the jar each day and use my flashlight app on my phone to look inside it, without really touching it of course. Kombucha can take 7-14 days to be ready. Do your own research and see what you think. Day 7 might be super sweet and day 14 could be super sour. So, taste it often after day 7 and see if you want to stop.

Now here is where you just experiment with it. After 8 days, I tasted it. It was a little scary, since it looked like this. Don't worry, this is only the top. I poured some out of the spout.

I could see lots of teeny tiny bubbles floating to the top and boy was I excited! It was carbonating all on its own! The scoby was at the top and had formed another film at the surface ( a baby scoby). So i bottled it. I filled the bottles about 80% and added 100% pomegranate juice to flavor it. Then, I placed them in a container in my pantry and covered them with a towel (in case they explode) for 3 days. Then, refrigerate, and drink! Be classy :)

Before juice
After juice, you don't need to add very much.

I placed them in this tub and threw a towel over the top, just to be safe.

I feel like I could have let them sit out another day or 2, since my pantry is a little cool. And this batch I'm doing now, I let it sit for 10 days before I bottled it. Now they will sit in my pantry for 4 days. We shall see.

What do you do with the scoby and tea left in the jar? I'll tell you! I have been doing a continuous brew. There is less risk for contamination that way. So, I leave a cup or two of the tea and scoby in the jar. Then, start over with brewing more tea, letting it cool and add it back to the jar. Start over with brewing it for a week or so. If you want to stop, save a cup of the tea and the scoby in a glass jar. Just make sure your hands are clean before transferring the scoby.

Want a scoby so you can make your own?? I got one for ya!