Well, I’ve discovered that perhaps right before you head into holiday season it might not be the best time to start up a blog. Things got crazy busy and although I completed several projects, I… More
Just a Little Light
A few weeks ago, I pinned this adorable idea.
As soon as I saw it I was so excited to make some. Over the past several years,the kids have given me cute little painted terra cotta pots with little flowers planted in them. The flowers are long gone ( I really don’t have much of a green thumb despite what I’d like to believe to the contrary), but I still have all these hand painted pots that I can’t bring myself to throw away. So when I saw this project I immediately thought it would be a perfect way to use those Mother’s Day gift pots.
As soon as I had a chance, I went out to Michael’s to get some candle making supplies. The wax (I used soy) was more expensive then I thought it would be but I used a 50% off coupon which made it feel much more affordable. I spent a total of about $22 for supplies.
This was so super easy. I think I made them in about 30 minutes. I cleaned out the pots and let them dry while I went outside and got some sticks and set out the supplies. I used the sticks to tie the wick to so it would hold it center in the pot.(for the larger pots, I used two wicks).
I put a penny in the bottom of each pot to cover the drainage hole as directed in the original pin. I wasn’t sure this was really gonna work but I tried it anyway. I used a 2 cup measuring cup and filled it all the way to the top with soy wax flakes, stuck it in the microwave for about 4 minutes until the wax was completely liquefied and then poured it into the pots. I also added several drops of vanilla scented oil to make them scented candles. Because I wasn’t so sure about the penny doing it’s job of keeping the liquid wax from leaking out, I put the pots on parchment paper so I wouldn’t get wax all over my counter.
Sure enough, some of the wax did leak out but not too badly and it didn’t take long for the wax to harden. I think when I actually use these, I’ll need to keep them on their little terra cotta plates in case the wax melts through again. And next time I make these, I’ll find a better way to plug the drainage holes.
I love how these turned out.
They would make such cute and easy Christmas gifts for teachers or friends. And when you think about how much a candle in the store costs, making several of these for just $22 dollars is pretty cheap. I only used about half the bag of wax flakes so I can still make plenty more.
Well, there you have it, another project done. Time to move on to the next one.
Homemade is Best?
This week I decided to try my hand at baking bread. When I was a young wife and mother, I used to make bread on occasion and was pretty good at it as I recall. Then there was a long period of time when I never made bread. I just did not have the time and store bought bread was so much easier to acquire. Eventually I tried my hand at it again but with much more disappointing results. I couldn’t get it to rise enough and often the loaves came out looking more like a brick (and sometimes they were just as heavy too). Truly disappointing.
Recently the desire to make homemade bread has overtaken me. There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking in your house or the taste of warm bread right out of the oven. I’ve pinned several recipes to my pinterest board that looked so delicious that I think I’ve gained weight just looking at them. I love the idea that I know what the ingredients are in homemade bread so it seems much healthier. Not to mention it just tastes better than the store bought stuff. And then to add to this already budding desire to make homemade bread my oldest daughter sent me a picture of a beautiful loaf of honey oatmeal bread that she had made. That was it! I was determined now!
So yesterday I pulled out all the ingredients for this recipe I decided to make. I could just taste the soft yumminess already! You can find the instructions for the recipe I used here at this website. It was pretty simple. Of course right off the bat, I ran into trouble. My yeast didn’t rise as much as it should have. I let it sit for more than twice as long as it indicated in the recipe but still it didn’t double in volume like it said it would. But I wasn’t going to let that bother me cause it was still more than I have sometimes had. So I pressed on with certainty that it would still turn out okay.
Now the recipe calls for using a dough hook on a mixer, but I don’t have one of those so I mixed by hand and kneaded the dough myself. So far things were going well. It seemed a little smaller than I expected but I chalked that up to this being a recipe for just 1 loaf. Most recipes are for 2 loaves.
So I left the dough in a greased bowl (I sprayed it with cooking spray) and covered it as directed for 1 hour. Meanwhile, I went off for a 3 mile walk while I waited for the dough to rise (double in volume). It was super hot outside for October and I was melting but pushed on by the thought of all that kitchen chemistry doing it’s magic while I was gone. I returned after a little more than an hour. Hmmmm. It was not doubled in size. In fact I wasn’t even sure it had risen at all.
Sooo, I decided to help it a bit. I stuck it in the oven on warm for 5 minutes. It worked! It rose! Although still not as much as I had hoped. I punched it down shaped it into a loaf, put it in my bread pan, covered it and waited for it to rise again.
Again, it took a lot of extra time for it to rise but it finally did rise a bit. Unfortunately, I should have sprayed the plastic wrap so it wouldn’t stick to the dough when I pulled it off. The process messed up the smooth top a bit.
In the oven it went for 30 minutes. Yum, yum, yum. My house smelled so good. I was so excited to see how it was going to look and taste. Finally the buzzer went off. I pulled the loaf out of the oven to see that once again, it looked more like a brick than a loaf of bread. Dang it. At least it still tasted good.
So there you have it. Projects don’t always turn out the way we hope they will. But I’m not giving up. I will learn how to make bread! Next time will be better!
For now, this project is done! Time to move on to another one!
Quick and easy
So this week I had to do something quick and easy. We spent most of the last week in New York doing our annual apple picking. It was a beautiful weekend and we had a great time. (I’ll post some pictures at the end of this) Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of time to put something together so I searched through my pinterest boards to find some inspiration. This is the little number I came across.
How-To: Felt Crayon Notebook Cover
You can click here for a great tutorial on how to make these. I thought these would be a great gift for little ones. They were super easy. It only took me about an hour to make one and now that I know how to do it, I could probably get several done in an hour.
In the tutorial they mention that they used real wool felt. Since I had a stack of synthetic felt, that is what I used.
I ran to the dollar store and picked up some cute little top spiral bound notebooks and some crayons. Then I set out to make these puppies. I must admit here that I am not always good at reading through instructions. Especially if there are pictures and it seems pretty straight forward and easy. So….there are a few differences in my project and the one in the tutorial. Because I didn’t read through everything first, I had to make this a tad bigger because of the size of the notebooks I got but it was no big deal. (Also, I didn’t realize until I got home that the crayons I bought were slightly larger than regular crayons…in the end I was okay with that since I was making it for little fingers) Also, in the tutorial, they only use one layer of felt for the tab. I decided to use double thickness using the inside and outside felt. Felt can tear after repeated pulling and wear so I wanted it to be a little sturdier.
And the finished product…..
Rather than machine stitch the star on the front, I decided to give it a more primitive look so I used a running stitch with 6 strands of embroidery thread. I thought this would be a great Christmas present for the little 5 year olds I teach at church. I wanted to embroider there names on them but decided that might not be a good idea if I make these in different colors. I’m sure they would be upset if they didn’t get a color they wanted and they wouldn’t be able to trade if their names were on it. I’ll leave the personalization for the grandkids. Shhh ….don’t tell them.
Another project done! Time to move on to another one!
(And as promised, some pictures from apple picking in New York)
And then there were four….
Several years ago a friend gave me what looked like 4 antique dining chairs that she wanted to get rid of. They still seemed pretty sturdy but definitely needed a little bit of a makeover. The cushions were pretty grungy and needed immediate removal. Which I did. (Wish I had a picture of what they looked like) And then those cute little chairs sat in my garage for several years. I had every intention of finishing them but I just never got around to it. Plus I think I was a little afraid. I’d never redone chairs before and although it didn’t look like it would be too hard, I didn’t want to do the wrong thing. My husband threatened to get rid of them if I wasn’t going to do anything with them. He was getting tired of them taking up space in the garage. I promised that I would get them done within 4 months just don’t get rid of them yet. Another few years passed and still I let them sit there. Finally, several years ago I decided to jump in and get them done. It wasn’t that hard. A lot of elbow grease and voila! I finished one of them and it turned out pretty well. But that was it. The other three continued to sit there for another few years. Finally, FINALLY, last week I determined that I would finish those chairs by the end of the week. I pushed through to get them done and in the end it only took me a couple days! What was I so hesitant about?
I love to find a story behind things like this so after finding a sticker on the bottom from Tell City Chair Company, I did a little research. The Tell City Chair Company was founded in 1865 in southwest Indiana. It made nothing but chairs for 80 years. After 146 years in business, the company closed it’s doors in 2011. As far as I can tell, my little chairs are from the 1930’s – 1940’s.
So, once I got down to it, this project was pretty easy. The finish had become tacky and grimy to the touch. To clean them up I used 0000 steel wool (super fine) to sand down the grit. In a few spots I ended up using a really fine sand paper. This resulted in a nice smooth finish although it did leave the color looking a bit mottled in places. I wasn’t sure if I could even out the look without restaining which I didn’t want to do.
Once I had it all smoothed out, I rubbed the whole chair down with boiled linseed oil. The result was beautiful. It just gave life back to the wood. The mottled look disappeared and the beautiful wood tones came through with a smooth satin touch.
Now that I had the finish cleaned up and restored, I had to decide on the cushion. I decided to keep it simple and use a linen look. Actually I used a drop cloth from Home Depot. I used four chair cushion pads I bought from JoAnn’s, topped them with some batting and then covered the whole stack with the drop cloth cut to fit around the whole thing. Pulling it tight and stapling it on the bottom of the wood seat made a perfect cushion for the chairs.
Now where to put these cute gems. At last this project is done! Time to move on to another one!