GIVING A DRESSER A NEW LIFE

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GIVING A DRESSER A NEW LIFE

 

TV Console 2

So my latest project was to re-vamp an Antique dresser I bought, into a new TV console.

I picked up the dresser for around $30 last fall, with the plans to work on it over the winter, obviously that did not happen!

TV Console 12

Before I got to the fun part … painting it, I had to do some prep work. First things first, I gave it a good cleaning inside and out. Then I had to test what kind of paint was on it. A good trick, is to use Acetone-Free nail polish remover on a cotton swab, and rub the paint. If it comes off, it is latex paint, if not, it is oil paint. Why do I need to know this? Well, to know what type of paint I need to paint over it with, and if I need a primer. Lucky for me, it was latex. As there was some of the prior color paint peeking through as well, I tested that one too, to make sure it was latex paint as well. It was!

TV Console 14

My next challenge was the wood veneer that was bubbled up on a few spots on the top of the dresser. I was hoping it would be an easy fix. I first tried a hairdryer to heat up the area, with the hopes to re-activate the glue … no good. Next I tried putting a wet cloth over the bubbled area and then used an iron. This was in hopes to re-activate the glue with heat and moisture … no go again. Finally I tried to use some wood glue, squeezing it in, then taking a thin blade and spread the glue under the bubbled area. To make sure the glue set properly, I put some weights on it for 24 hours. Bam, it worked!!

TV Console 13

Okay, so now with the prep work done, I finally got to paint! I pondered on the color, but finally decided on Hidden Sea Glass (Behr). I kinda have a thing for sea glass!! After a few coats, it was looking good.

TV Console 15

After letting the paint cure for a few days, I decided I loved the color, but felt it was too stark for my style. So I took my sander to it, to give it more of a destressed look to it. Sanding edges and where the handles are gave it more of an aged look to it. The previous paint colors came through (white, mint and raw wood) and it really looks nice!!

TV Console 8

 

TV Console 10

 

TV Console 6

Then, I just had a few more finishing touches to complete the project. Getting some shelves installed was next on the list. I decided with everything we needed to put in the TV console, that I would do two open shelves, and then one drawer to hide the odds and ends. I used a laminated pine board for the shelves. I cut them to size (I left a bit of an overhang on the front), then gave them a good sanding and slide them in. That was easy!

For the finishing touch, I added some cool handles that I picked up. Last minute I remembered I had some scented drawer liner, so put that in the bottom of the drawer (I think it looks cute, and smells nice too).

TV Console 11

Now, in its new place, and the TV mounted on the wall above it, we are very happy with the final project! It serves its purpose, and looks good doing it!!

TV Console 1

Wine Slushie

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There are many Recipes and ways to make wine slushies. For me I like simple and quick! So my recipe is easy with only a few ingredients. 

In blender, add:
– 1 cup wine (white or blush)

– 1.5 cups frozen fruit (any kind you like)

– sweetener (to taste)

– juice of a quarter lemon (or lime)

Blend until smooth. Pour into glass, top off with a little soda for a bit of fizz (also gives a creaminess to it). Add a straw, and there you have it. Depending on size of glass, 2-3 servings. 
  
It will melt, so put in fridge or freezer what is left in blender. You can make bigger batches, but I prefer to make smaller batches, it blends better, and you don’t have to worry about it melting. 
  
Cheers and enjoy on a hot summer day! You can even share if you are feeling so generous!!

Black Currants – My First Harvest of The Summer

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Black Currants – My First Harvest of The Summer

  

I’ve been busy picking black currants from the bushes on my acreage. 

So far I have had four pickings with about 10 cups in the freezer now. The bushes were loaded with currants, but as I have discovered they don’t all ripen at the same time. So I go out and pick every couple of days. Each time getting a little more. I think I will still get one or two more pickings before I’m done. Probably just in time for my raspberries to be ready!

  
I’m not familiar with black currants as they were not really accessible growing up. From the reading I’ve done on them, they seem to be plentiful in the UK. At some point they were banned for sale in Canada as they were thought the carried some type of disease they thought could affect the agriculture industry. I think now they are more available. 
  
Any ways … they are easy to freeze. Just pick, wash them, remove the stems, dry and put in freezer bag and pop into freezer. I plan to make some jam and/or jelly this fall or winter. 
  
If any one has some other ideas what I can do with them, please share!

The Unity Tray

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The Unity Tray

  Just wanted to share one of my latest creations, the Unity Tray. Made special as a wedding gift. 

I wanted to make something that would take my love for carving and my new found love for pyrography (wood burning). I also wanted to add some type of symbol with meaning. 

Put it all together and you get The Unity Tray. The symbol I chose was the Celtic Heart Knot. The Celtic heart is among the most romantic of symbols, formed from one continuous line, representing the union of souls in a visual continuity, of continuing faith and love as one travels through the journey of life.

I tried to take lots of pictures as I’m giving it away, but wanted to be able to make more in the future. 

   
   

MY JOURNEY TO THE “DIRT” SIDE!

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Garden Plot

 

It is so true that everything takes longer than you think!  So here is my latest escapade.

We were starting from scratch for our garden area this year. I did some research and figured, “no problem” we can totally do this!  Wow was I delusional!!

I thought the easiest solution to removing the sod was to rent a sod cutter. So we rented one (once the garden area was dry enough)!  Let it be noted that it looked like a garden may have been in this area many years ago, as you could see an outline.  The ground was just left to grow over the years. So it was a mix of grass, weeds and moss. The ground was also uneven, and had two large areas planted with small oak trees.

Before we could remove the sod we had to dig out the trees (3-4 foot tall and about 20 + trees clumped together like a hedge). Even at that size, the roots were insane!  I left that job to my husband. In the end we saved about a dozen trees which we replanted elsewhere. The rest were too twisted.

While my husband dug, I started with the sod cutter.  It seemed to go pretty good other than it really gave me a good upper body workout!  I was a little nervous as I read that they are hard to control, but this seemed to go good.  After a full day, I was done.

The next day we went out to “roll up” the chunks of sod.  Okay, it did not exactly work out so perfect.  Remember I said how the area was uneven and a mix of grass, etc … well those pictures of sod “rolling up”, are of the perfect ground with the perfect sod growing on it, in the perfect soil!  Needless to say, I had none of the above.

So what happened?  We were left with chunky, lumpy bits.  To top it off, we seem to have a fairly high clay content, so they were very heavy too (yeah! ).  I took the edger tool and started cutting every foot and a half so we were left with about 18” x 18” pieces.  After many many many days of prying this stuff out of my future garden we finished.  Now that was a good workout!  You can see in the picture there is still some sod sitting around the edge (will get to removing that … eventually)!

Oh, and did I mention this was all happening at the peak of black fly season!  I remembered my mom talking about them and how one year she ended up having to buy mosquito netting hats for her and Dad.  So my husband and I went into town and bought a few (and a few for the kids too).  What a life saver.  We may have looked like aliens, but the bugs weren’t eating us.

As the last piece of sod was removed we stood back and admired our hard work, thinking holy shit was that hard work!  Who needs a gym, just start gardening!!  Now, all we had to do was till up the soil and plant the garden, no problem, we can be done in a couple of days.  Ha, ha, joke was on us!

So the tilling took a while, as the ground was very compacted and with the high clay content, hard.  My husband did get the whole garden tilled eventually and my two kids and I picked out the rocks.  The kids even had a chart on the blackboard in the kitchen keeping track of how many buckets they picked (mind you they were motivated by money as we were paying them per bucket).  We even found an old leather boot, or at least what was left of it, an old brown glass medicine bottle (not sure how old), and an empty shot gun shell.  Oh an a billion rocks, and a few bolders too!

I initially thought a 20’ x 20’ garden would be lots, it ended up being 25’ x 35’, and still was not big enough.  A few items did not make it in the garden, like my herbs (I did get the dill planted though, need that for my pickles).  I think next year I may reconsider planting in rows, and go for the square foot planting and see how that goes.

After a few weeks and all the work, we finally got the garden planted, a little late, but it got done!

What did I learn, well a few things.  First maybe on the first year plan the garden space, remove sod, and till.  Just get the space ready.  Then on the second year you are ready to go.  Now we had a really late Spring here due to the amount of snow we got, so if you have an early Spring, go for it.  Removing sod is a lot of work, if you can get extra help, get it!  The planting part is the easiest part of all, it is all the prep work that is the killer!

I hope you learned something, or maybe just had a good laugh at my newbie experience!

P.S.  So far I have the tomatoes and onions I transplanted, potatoes, lettuce, beets, multiplier onions, corn and sunflowers up so far.  They are little but mighty!

CARVED SPOONS – A Labor of Love

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CARVED SPOONS – A Labor of Love

spoon 6

 

I have not been posting as many recipes, as I have been busy working on something else.  Almost a year ago, I started a hobby which I have been interested in for some time, but just never pursued … Carving!

Carving is something that has been around for thousands of years and in cultures all around the world.  I myself have a Norwegian background, and they are some of the best carvers in the world.  With their heritage linking back to the Vikings, it seems to be in their blood … and ultimately in mine too!

Last summer, I finally decided to give it a go.  After a lot of research, I thought that I would like to do Power Carving.  This is basically carving with power tools, such as a rotary tool (Dremel), drills, chainsaws, and other power tools that can be used to shape wood.  I started with getting a rotary tool, I really wanted a Dremel, but instead I started with a Mastercraft rotary tool from Canadian Tire.  It is similar, and fits a lot of the Dremel tips, but a whole lot more economical.

I went to our back shed and found an interesting piece of firewood, which turned out to be Oak.  I grabbed our small hatchet and started by squaring off the piece of wood.  From there I drew on my spoon, and continued to use the hatchet until I got the ruff shape.  Then I started with my rotary tool, until I ultimately got my spoon.  It was a lot of work, but really gratifying when I got the final product.

 

Spoon 3

 

I really enjoyed the hand shaping, so I ended up buying some carving knives.  Since then I have gotten many more tools, both for hand carving and power carving.  In the end, I decided I wanted to do a combination of the two.

Here are some of the spoons I have carved since.

 

Spoon 1

 

Spoon 2

 

Spoon 4

 

Spoon 5

 

I am continuing to learn, and experiment with different techniques.  I have also been working on carving some bowls (I will talk about this in another post).  I have lots of ideas (probably too many), and will eventually get to making at least some of these.  I am a person who likes to do things the most efficient way, and so I am ever changing how I am doing things, with the hope that I will perfect my techniques over time.

I do hope to sell some of my carvings in the future, so watch for when I set up shop!

GARDENING UPDATE – MAY 2nd, 2015

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Front yard May 1 2015

 

Happy May!  Hard to believe if you look out my living room window.  With Prince Edward Island receiving a historic record amount of snow this year, I guess it takes a while for 18 feet of snow to melt (we actually got just over 18 feet, with the last “sprinkle” a few days ago)!!

It’s been a while since I last reported about my gardening plans.  Check out my previous posts from March 21st and February 15th.  I was hoping the snow would have been gone by now, and that I would have a lot more to report.  But alas, it is what it is!  So what have I been up to … well I received all my seeds in the mail, and have started some of my seeds.

I figured with the amount of snow that we received, that I was planning to plant my garden the first weekend in June (6th / 7th).  With the hope that all the snow would be gone and the soil would be warm enough!!  Here is a picture I took yesterday of where my garden will be!

 

Garden space May 1 2015

 

I started with my onions, by planting them on April 3rd.  Onions started by seed are to be started about 10 weeks before you plan on planting your garden (I planted mine 9 weeks in advance).  The variety that I chose was Yellow of Parma onions.  I have never started onions by seed, but did a lot of reading about it.  I figured either they would work out or not, so gave it a go!  I decided to use some containers from my recycling, and found some salad/greens containers.  They were a good size and had the plastic dome already!  I started by washing out the containers good to make sure there was no bacteria in there.  I took some organic seed starter mix and added warm water and mixed.  You want it to be moist, but not a sloppy mess!  I filled two containers about 2/3 full.  Then sprinkled the onion seed on top spreading it out as evenly as I could.  I then sprinkled on about ¼ inch of dry soil on top of the seeds.  I gave it a good spraying of warm water with a spray bottle, and put on the lid.  I kept in a warm area, and gave it a mist of water every couple of days.  At this point they did not actually need sunlight yet.

 

Onions 17 days

Onions 17 days 2

 

Within 7-10 days most of the seeds started to sprout.  I was pretty happy with the germination of the seeds.  I planted approximately 60 seeds in each tray, and about 55 germinated.  I took off the plastic dome off at this point, and placed in front of a window.  I also drilled a half a dozen holes in the bottom at this point, and took the plastic covers and put underneath them as a drainage tray.  I found as long as I gave it a good spraying every day or two that I really didn’t have to water it too heavily.  The seedling are pretty tender at this point and did not want to drown them!  I found they grew pretty quickly, and I kept them trimmed to about 1-2”.  You want them to put their energy into growing the bulb under the soil, not into growing tops.  At this point, four weeks in, they are growing their first sprout off the main stem.  Once they have two sprouts off the main stem, they will be ready to transplant.  At that point I will take them from their trays, and plant into individual pods.  I will post an update when I do this.

 

Onions 4 weeks

 

I then started my tomatoes on April 10th.  The varieties I chose were Brandywine tomatoes and Opalka tomatoes.  I also got some free Mary Unger tomato seeds in my order so started those as well.  I was not sure how many to start, so decided to do a dozen of both the Opalka and Mary Unger, and 18 of the Brandy Wine.  I started the soil as I described above, and filled 3” pots and some small yogurt containers.  I put three seeds in each pot, and covered with ¼” soil.  This time I did not have a plastic dome big enough, so I covered each with a sheet of wax paper as recommended by my mom.  It worked really good as it keeps in the moisture but can breathe enough as well so you don’t have to worry about any mildew forming.

 

Tomatoes 10 days 2

 

Tomatoes 10 days

 

Within the first week they had all sprouted and I took off the wax paper.  I watered daily or every second day as needed.  Again the seedlings are super tender at this point.  Once they reached about 1.5 inches in height, it was time to snip off some of the plants.  Instead of having three fighting for all the nutrients, you keep the strongest and snip the other two off.  This way the roots do not get disturbed!  It was hard as I wanted to save them all, but I did cut them off in the end.  They are now almost 3” tall, and I will need to transplant them into a 4” pot.  You know they are to be transplanted when they get their second set of “true” leaves.  The first two leaves you get are just from the germination process from the seed.  The next set of leaves are the “true” leaves.

 

Tomatoes 3 weeks 3

 

Tomatoes 3 weeks

 

Tomatoes 3 weeks 2

 

Tomatoes can be transplanted two times before they actually get planted in the garden.  The next size container would be a gallon size container.  I hope to have enough 4L milk jugs to use for mine!

This weekend, I will also be starting my cucumbers, zucchini, melons (musk/cantaloupe and watermelon), and pumpkins.  All of these are to be started 3-4 weeks before your garden planting date.

I’m looking forward to continuing to grow my little seedlings, and eventually being able to plant them in my garden!  As things progress, I will post more updates, and hope to do a full post of each category of vegetable I am growing from start to end.  That will be in the fall, and over next winter.