Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving and I'm enjoying time with family and later with friends so this won't an in depth tutorial. 

 Last year I made an autumn wreath.  When I put it up this year my son mentioned that it was "not really thanksgiving-ish".

I thought of all the different ways I could make it reminiscent of  gratitude: some scrap pieces of wood in the garage with "give thanks" stenciled on it, then attached to the wreath; using some of the burlap which is used to hang the wreath to make a banner;  but in the end, for time purposes and laziness, I decided that I'd type the word "thankful" on some tan card-stock, print it off, cut it into triangles and sew the triangles together with my sewing machine - yes, even on paper!

So, here is the finished product: 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Easy Remake of an Entry Table

I've needed another table in my entryway, but the space is narrow and pretty small.  Luckily, I found the three-drawer table at the Habitat Restore for $40. This is waaay more than I usually spend, but when comparing it to the prices I was finding at "real" stores, it was a bargain!  But red cherry wood is just not my favorite - so paint again, in my favorite sea green/blue color.

I still needed more storage and discovered that the little table (found in someone's garbage pile) fit under it.

Steps I took:
Found tables at Habitat Restore and in a garbage pile
Used sanding de-glosser on both tables; this was especially essential on the small tiered table underneath.  It was a little weathered on the top and very old, unless I wanted to sand it clear to the wood or completely take off the varnish, I saved myself lots of time and work because I used the de-glosser. 

Sprayed with white primer

Spray painted with Krylon, Catalina Mist (I think it's my favorite color right now)

Done! No protective top coat because the spray paint stands up pretty well against every day use - including my husbands keys that get dropped there every day.

This is an easy and fast project!  I finished it in just a few hours.

Here's how it looked for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and January/Winter:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just an observation about using homemade laundry detergent in place of dishwasher detergent

We've been out of dishwasher detergent since Friday night.  I had hopes of going to Costco and getting their huge container of my favorite brand, but Friday was too busy and Saturday slipped away quickly too.  Sunday, because it's the Sabbath and my family likes to support the idea that it is a day of rest, was not an option for purchasing any either.  And of course, I couldn't waste my money on a small box of dishwasher soap at my local grocery store!  At least that's the crazy talk I'd been giving myself.

Come Sunday morning, with lots and lots of dirty dishes piled up and the wish that I didn't have to wash them by hand, I think "Hmm, there's lots of dishwasher soaps on Pinterest, I'll just find one and mix it real quick and try it out."  Unfortunately I seemed to be missing one ingredient out of every recipe that was on there!

I was just about to give up hope that I may need to just live with the dirty dishes, plan better next time, and buy the detergent Monday, when I remembered that I had just made a lot of laundry soap.

AND I remember that homemade laundry detergent has many of the same ingredients as homemade dishwasher detergent.

Of course they aren't exactly the same - in fact there are only three ingredients that are similar in most of the recipes I'd found: borax, super washing soda, and baking soda; but could I use it in a pinch?  Well, I was certainly going to give it a try.

Here's what I did and how it turned out:

I grabbed about two tablespoons of  laundry detergent

sifted the Castille soap out of it

placed it in both allotted portions of the dishwasher

put in around 1/8 tsp. citric acid (leftover from canning my tomatoes this summer)
 added my JetDry (I've tried vinegar in a pinch too and it works - ok) but I figured I really needed this in case I didn't get all of the Castille soap out and it left a residue.

then for good measure, I put in just one drop of Dawn dish soap (going against anything I'd ever heard about putting dish soap in your dishwasher - I had day visions of the dishwasher spewing suds all over my kitchen floor).
Here's a picture of my dishes:
See how there is a residue on some of the measuring spoons.   Those were the ones I measured the soap with, but there was still a little bit of chalkiness on some of the glass. 

After two loads, here's my opinion:  Sifted laundry soap works in a pinch!  But truthfully, it's probably best to actually make your own dishwasher detergent or just go buy some; leave the laundry detergent separate! 

Please tell me I'm not the only one who stalls about going to buy things at the grocery store because I can get a better deal somewhere else - even if it means taking drastic measures later!  I seem to be doing this more and more lately.
Have you ever waited so long to buy something that you have to "make do" with something else around your house?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cast Iron Cookbook Stand

Last year, I saw a brightly colored cast iron cookbook stand at Target.  I so wanted to get it but my budget wouldn't let me, so imagine my excitement when I found this one (below) for $4.00 at my local thrift store! 

Of course I wanted it "brightly colored" like the one I'd seen at the store, so I primed it with 2xs Rustoleum Spray paint (it's my favorite so far) and then painted it to coordinate with colors in my kitchen (again with the 2xs Rustoleum).

I LOVE how easy it was, how inexpensive and that I get to use it often!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

charging station from the thrift store

We've reached the point where there are so many electronic devises crowding the counter top, that I decided it was time for some kind of charging station.  The mess of cords and trying to find where we had charged our devices the last time was getting annoying and sometimes wasting time (looking for the right cord).

I perused Pinterest and found lots of great ideas, but shortly afterward found this beauty (see below) at my local Salvation Army.

It was already made for me, just waiting for the colors that would fit my home.  So, here's how I changed it:

First, I unscrewed the hinged part to take off the three compartmentalized slanted portion.

 Then, I took off all the black felt.

Spray painted the entire thing. The primer turned it pink.
Then I chose some fun fabric that would match the colors in my kitchen and mod-podged them onto the wood.  It liked to come up at the seams but since there were hinges and I couldn't just glue the fabric into place against the wooden sides, I found some craft sticks, sprayed them to match the rest, and glued them onto the compartmentalized portion.

Then I re-attached the hinges and voila! Ready to be used.