Friday, October 26, 2012

Wow, look at this freebie from Craig's List!!!

This was free! My daughter, Sandy, saw this on Craig's List Saturday night and emailed me at once.

 I live an hour away, and I don't have a truck, but my daughter, Meg, lives in that area, and they do have a truck. I expected it to be gone already, but I emailed, and the man said he still had it, and he would be happy to meet Meg Sunday afternoon in the parking lot at Lowe's, which is near her house. I immediately contacted Meg, she agreed to get it for me, and keep it until she can get it out here to me. She and Joe went and got it, and it is safely tucked away in their garage.

 The man said he had taken the top off and used it for another project, and just wanted this part gone. I haven't seen it in person yet, but Meg said it is beautiful, very sturdy and well made. She said the top frame is very interesting, with some sort of pulley system she has never seen before, for extending the top to add leafs, apparently.

Woohoo! I have no clue what I will do with it, but I am thrilled to get it, already tossing around the possibilities!! I will keep you posted.

No, I didn't get a new camera, darn it. This is the picture that was posted on CL.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A small bench refresh

This small bench was a gift from my daughter, Meg, a few years ago. She bought it at a yard sale and knew I would love it. At some time, it must have been exposed to the weather, as there is no finish of any kind, and it had weathered to a natural gray-brown color. It is solid wood, very, very heavy. There is a small drawer, and on the underside of the drawer is the outline of a Maple leaf, and the words "American Homegrown Maple".

I love it, and have used it in my bedroom since she gave it to me. I decided it was time to freshen it up a bit. Since I already loved it, I chose not to paint it, but just wiped it with my DIY wood stain, then wiped it off right away, as I did not want it to be too dark, nor did I want to lose the wonderful patina and signs of its past life. I just wanted to add a bit more life to it.

I finished it with light wax, followed by a bit of dark wax for depth. After a good buffing, it is smooth as a baby's bottom!

             I just had to include this shot, that is Preacher checking it out!

            Have a great day! Hugs and blessings!

Monday, October 15, 2012

My "new" ironing board

I have been keeping my eyes open for a vintage ironing board, as I have seen so many great ones in blogland. And I found one! At my favorite little thrift store, for only $8.00. I suppose it was cheap because it has been altered, but I love it for that very reason. Somebody has cut it down, it is much shorter than normal. A base has been added, so it is very stable.

 I wonder who cut it, and why? Was it for a wife, who was no longer able to stand, and did her ironing from a chair? Perhaps for a young girl, left motherless, and required to take over the chores? I do not believe it was intended to be a toy, if it had been for a  toy, I think the dad, or whoever, would have built a miniature.  This is full-size, modified, surely a piece for work, not play. The changes make it impossible to fold, so it would have had to be set up all the time. It probably had a spot in the kitchen, where the person ironing could also tend to the cooking. There is an area on the end where the color is different, either from the heat of the iron, or from moisture in dampened clothes stacked there, waiting to be ironed.

 I wonder if the disabled woman, headstrong and determined to carry on, in spite of her problems, had a husband who lovingly did what he could to make it possible. Perhaps, she was able-bodied, and he simply wanted to make  it so she could sit whilst she ironed. I hope so. I do hope it was not for a child, too young to stand at a full-height ironing board, but who had to do the chores, anyway! I think we forget what hardships people faced in earlier times. The clothes ironed on this board would have had to be washed in a wringer washer, or on a scrub board, probably with water heated on a stove or even an open fire in the yard. Clothes hung up to dry, then brought in and ironed. I hope that did not fall to a young child.
In any case, the ironing board now has a place of honor in my home, as a sofa table. I will not change  it in any way, it is what it is. A symbol of hard work, from a bygone era. I love it. But, oh, how I wish it could talk!!

Thanks so much for coming by! I apoligize for the poor quality of my photos, hopefully you can kinda sorta make them out. Hugs and blessings!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homemade Biscuit Mix

This was inspired by a post on Live, Laugh, Rowe Kelly posted a great recipe for Coffee Cake, along with a sweet memory of how she used to make it when she was roomies with her sister. (She has an identical twin, isn't that fabulous?) Anyway, Kelly made her coffee cake with Bisquick, which prompted me to post this recipe for homemade biscuit mix that I have been making for more years than I care to tell you. It is  quick and easy, makes a bunch to keep on hand, is cheaper, can be used in  any recipe calling for Bisquick, and you can substitute water for milk!
By the way, here is a hint about how long I have had this recipe. I still have my original, written on a piece of paper, and I have a breakdown of the costs beside the list of ingredients: (Yes, this is to make the full recipe!!)
Flour .53
Dry Milk  .26
Baking Powder  .06
Cream of tartar  .01
Sugar .02
Shortening  .60
Total Cost for approx. 29 cups of mix---$1.48 (yep, that was awhile ago!)
Sorry about the crummy pictures, I am hoping for a new camera before too terribly long. Please hang in with me, it will get better.

Baking Mix

5 pounds all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Cups Dry Milk (dry mix)
3/4 Cup double acting baking powder
3 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 pounds solid shortening (such as Crisco)

Empty flour into very large bowl. Stir in baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, dry milk, and sugar.Mix well, then cut the shortening in until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

Divide into zip-lock storage bags, or air-tight plastic containers. Store at room temperature.

Use in any Bisquick recipe, or try the following

Biscuits:  3 cups mix, 3/4 water. Blend, knead, roll and cut.Bake at 450 for ten minutes. Makes about a dozen, depending on size.

Muffins: 3 cups mix, 2 tablespoons sugar, l egg. Mix water and egg. Blend into dry ingredients. Bake at 450 for  25 minutes. Makes about a dozen. Add other ingredients as desired, chocolate chips, lemon zest, spices, etc.

Coffee Cake: 3 cups mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2/3 cup water. Blend, put into 8-in pan. Sprinkle top with mixture of 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 tablespoons softened butter. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. May add chopped nuts to topping if desired.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vintage Potty Chair to FOOD DISH????

I saw this little, old, homemade potty chair at a yard sale. Yes, a potty chair. Homemade of wood, a hole cut into the seat, and pieces of wood  underneath where a little container would have been slid in, and out to clean. (That part was not there, but that's ok!)

 I immediately asked how much, as there was no price on it, and the lady said, "oh, how about a dollar?" And I about broke my wrist getting my money out. I would so love to know the story behind it. What daddy built it for his child? When? Did the baby's mother sit beside the chair and talk lovingly to her baby, while he/she learned the first of life's important skills? Did the child learn quickly? Was the chair passed down a line of babies, and where has it been in the years since it was last used? I so often wish the treasures I find could tell me their story!
When I bought it, my intention was to put a potted plant in it. Then, I had a better idea--it would be a perfect place for Marvin's food dish!! For those of you who do not know, Marvin is the biggest of my four "babies". He is a Great Pyrenees, and he is huge. He is also ten years old, which is really getting up there for a giant breed of dog. He doesn't get around as good as he used to. Plus, when he finishes eating, he uses his nose to scoot  his dish to a corner, dumps out the leftovers, and grabs the nearest throw rug to "bury" his extra food. So, this would be great, get his food up a bit higher so as to make it easier for him to eat,  and eliminate the mealtime mess. I built a simple box riser, then painted the riser and the chair with three coats of my DIY chalk paint, let it dry thoroughly,and waxed it with Trewax. The paint was all oops, a sort of Salmon, a beige, and then a top coat of a sage. Hard to see the colors in the pics, I really need a decent camera!! I put small pads on the bottom of the legs to keep it from sliding off the riser, added a stainless steel mixing bowl, and Marvin loves it! I "may" (!) have gotten carried away with the destressing, especially on the front, but I wanted it to be really chippy.

The dog in the background is Sunshine, my yellow lab.
It meets with Marvin's approval!
Yes, Mommy, this works great!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My trash is out of sight!!!!

I live in an old house, and the kitchen is very--unique, shall I say. A decent size, but it had only one counter top and no upper cabinets when I bought it. No shelves. Nothing. I have added an upper cabinet, found discarded when somebody remodeled. And open shelves, so I have a place to put things, as I am one of those people who love to cook. Mainly because I love to eat.  Anyway, there was nowhere in this kitchen for a trash can. Underneath the sink is a jumble of strange plumbing configurations. Since I moved here eight years ago, I have had the trash can sitting exposed, which was ugly, and a temptation to the dogs. Now, I would like to pretend that my dogs are beautifully behaved, perfectly trained, and would never dream of sticking a nose in the trash. But the truth is, they are spoiled rotten, pampered, over-indulged, much-loved brats free spirits. Hey, they are dogs, and dogs do doggie things.
Annnyway, I found this cabinet thingy at a yard sale (7.50). I am not sure what it was intended to be, as it is very sturdy, but has this huge open area underneath, with no evidence of ever having had shelves. Maybe it was intended for a trash can from the start? No idea.(oh, my goodness, these pics are horrible, especially the before shots. Note to self: check before shots BEFORE I change anything!!!!)

But it is perfect, I stuck it in the middle of the room as an island, which is very handy. I built a pull-out contraption with casters, so I can put the trash can inside, and it rolls out at the touch of a finger. Bear in mind that I am not a woodworker. I had never touched a saw before I bought this house. I have no clue about the "right" way to build anything. I just picture what I want in my head, and go for it. 

 I wanted a big, easy to grasp pull. I had this oval cork from an old jar candle, so I put lots of glue so it wouldn't fall apart (although it is a very hard cork, not the crumbly kind), then attached it with one screw in the center. I glued a shiny penny over the screw, just for fun. Put a cheapo towel rack from the Dollar Store on the end. I had this slab of some sort of granite-type stuff, which is oddly shaped, but just the right size to put on the top. (My son-in-law got that someplace a few years ago, and knew I would like it. Thanks, Joe). Some leftover  bead board that I took down from the living room, and a piece of trim (cost, 2.00 at the local lumberyard), and I have a covered trash can. Plus a handy surface, and a place to hang a towel.And there is space at the back, behind the trash can, for cartons of trash bags. The bead board was somewhat lighter in color than the original cabinet, so I stained it with homemade stain, then waxed it with Trewax clear wax. The trim isn't right, I may, or may not, redo it. I attached the cork before the trim, and neglected to take into consideration that there would not be room to trim across the top. Duh. With aallll that glue I put on the cork, no taking it off and then putting it back lower!
This is not the place the cabinet belongs, which is in the middle of the kitchen, with the open side toward the stove, but when I took pictures with it there, my cluttered shelves showed,the light was bad.

In any case, it serves my needs quite well. As a friend says, "it is plenty good enough for who it's for". 
The dogs don't think much of it, but mommy is happy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I went thrifting!

I found some cool things. Sorry about the quality of these pictures, I simply have to get a better camera! And learn to use it--it could be that it is not the camera I have, but operator problems. But I hope you can get the idea.
This is an old school desk. It was probably originally an oak color, but not one speck of stain or varnish remains. I can make this pretty! Only $5.00!

Can you see how dirty these are?? Must have been in somebody's garage, they look like the backs have been grasped with greasy hands. And don't you just love the double cushion effect?? But they are very sturdy, and I only paid two dollars each, so well worth it.
I paid a dollar for the little, old step stool. It is rickety, but I can repair it. Do you know what that is sitting on the stool? I will post better pics of it later, but it is the precursor to the Thermos bottle--it  is metal, with a bake lite screw on lid, and a small top that comes off to allow one to drink from the jug. Inside, is a glass jar, like a Mason jar. I have another one that is very similar but is yellow. Only three dollars for this one, and I love it. It will make a pretty vignette, with a vintage picnic basket, and tablecloth,  don't you think?

I really have to stop spending so much time looking for things to transform, and get my backside busy transforming the things I already have. I hope to have a project finished to post within the next couple of days. I would finish it now, but there is a yard sale in town today----