Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Enamel Tree Pendants...

I have been working on a series of enameled tree pendants for almost 2 years now (I don't enamel very often when it is hot outside).  Here are some of the pendants.  I hope to get some more enameling time in the studio once the weather cools off in the fall.  I also plan to teach an enameling class at my studio this winter.  What do you think of them?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pickles, anyone?

We have had an abundance of cucumbers this year, so we finally decided to make pickles!!  I used a recipe from one of my Facebook friends who does cooking videos on YouTube on everything from pickles to making your own tortilla chips.  It was a really easy recipe!  Can't wait to pop these jars open and give them a try.  Just opened them up.  BEST PICKLES EVER! We ate a whole jar!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butterfly weed, balloon flower...

I thought I would share two of my favorite perennial plants.  They are some you don't see everyday and in every garden and I like that.  The balloon flower, also known as Chinese Bellflower comes in a dark purple variety as well.  The butterfly weed attracts butterflies and bees.  I think it's a new hybrid of some kind of milkweed because the leaves and pods that form look similar, but it doesn't create a mess like milkweed.  It is available in several colors.

Butterfly weed in white. 

Pink butterfly weed.

Balloon flower

Balloon flower ready to "pop".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bathroom vanity redo...

Although I really liked our bathroom vanity (made from an old dresser) when we bought our house, it proved rather useless for storage because the humidity of the bathroom caused the drawers to swell and not open and close well.  A few months ago, I found some old bead board cabinet doors on the side of the road, and they were just what we needed to make a new vanity.  K made a frame out of 2 x 4's that were left over from other projects.  We used the top from the old vanity so we didn't even have to cut a hole for the sink.  We used extra plywood that we had for the shelves inside and the salvaged doors.  The small shelf on the back was made with extra trim we had from our bedroom addition and barn wood we salvaged when my in-laws barn collapsed.  The only thing we bought was some sponge brushes and poly-acrylic to seal the trim and vanity top.  Total cost = approximately $10.  I didn't even have to paint the salvaged doors because they were a perfect worn out white, I just cleaned them really well.  What do you think of our vanity redo?


Sorry for the bad angle. This was the only before picture I had.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Rustic garden fence...

We needed a fence for our vegetable garden to keep the dogs out (they think it's their playground, and love to dig in it).  We couldn't see spending a lot of time and money to do a fancy fence because we plan to possibly expand the garden next year.   We wanted something that was free and that wouldn't be wasted if we took it down later.  So, we looked through the wood we had left over from the big tree we cut down last fall.  K plans to use the big pieces for firewood, but there were lots of small but longish pieces that he hadn't cut or split yet.  They make the prefect rustic, simple, temporary garden fence.  If we decide to take it down next year we will just use it as firewood.  It took us about 2 hours (during the girls nap time) to get this done.  I love it, I just wish it could keep the bunnies out too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daylilies, oh how I love thee...

I have many different types of daylilies in my garden.  I got all of them from gardener friends or family. Most of these I only planted 2 summers ago and they have filled in quite abundantly.  I might even have to thin them out next summer.  Anyone want to do a lily/flower trade?

These ones I just transplanted this year, from some that I originally planted at my parents house probably 17 years ago.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Homemade cleaning solutions.....

About  year and a half ago I quit buying cleaning products and I searched online for some recipes to make my own.  I thought I would share some with you.  I have saved tons of money and I like that the stuff I am making is safer to use around dogs and kids.  After all, I don't really think clean smells like "pine forest" or "fresh lemon scent" or "spring rain" ... clean just smells like no scent at all.  Recipes below.

(works so well I couldn't believe it when I first tried this...now I will never use anything else.  Found this one via Pinterest).

1 c. Blue Dawn dishsoap
1 c. HOT white vinegar (heated to almost boiling in the microwave, about 1.5 min)

Pour dawn into a clean empty spray bottle and add heated vinegar.  Spray on shower/tub and leave for 15 minutes.  Wipe gently and rinse with warm water.  It will make the shower sparkle!

1 c. white vinegar
1 c. water

Mix together in a clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray on and wipe clean.  Great for the countertops and highchair, etc.  Smells like vinegar (of course) but the smell disappears as soon as it dries.

1 tbsp. clear, non-sudsing ammonia (available at the grocery or hardware store, one bottle has lasted me over 2 years and it still has a lot in it).
1 tbsp. dye free (clear) laundry detergent (I use Seventh Generation, because I also use it for the laundry).
2 cups water

Mix all 3 ingredients in clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray on soiled surfaces and wipe clean.  I use this one on the stove and bathroom sink and when the counters, etc are really dirty.

1 c. isopropyl alchohol (rubbing alchohol)
1 c. water
1 tbsp. clear non-sudsing ammonia

Mix in clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray windows and wipe off with newspaper (or paper towels, however, I think newspaper works even better and it saves $).

1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. bleach

Make a paste and apply to sink. Let sit 10 minutes and rub gently with sponge.  Rinse clean with warm water.  The baking soda is abrasive but won't scratch and the bleach disinfects.  This makes our white porcelain sink sparkle, which is great since it gets pretty dirty and stained.  This is the only time I really use bleach around the house, except for the occasional load of laundry.

*Update - I no longer use bleach to clean my kitchen sink.  See my new method here.

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice

Shake well and apply a small amount to a clean rag.  Spread evenly over furniture surface.  Flip cloth over to dry side and polish dry.

Try these recipes out and let me know what you think!  They work great and save money.  Plus, you will feel like you are in Chemistry class again!
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