Friday, June 14, 2013

How to get 10,000 page views, Salmon berry jelly, dirty little secret, fabric hoarder

I hit a milestone this week.  10,000 page views on this blog.  It took 5 years and 254 posts but I made it. 10,000 page views.  It probably would have happened sooner but I lost a lot of readers when I changed URL's.

Nuff bragging..
Jimmys Mom was here for a week.  It was  a delightful visit. We spent most of our time eating good food and just chatting. DD's Pico was a big hit as usual.  Maybe she will give me permission to post her super secret  recipe here.... someday.  I doubt it  though. She guards it  like Precious cuz it always makes her the most popular person in the room.  I wouldnt give that up either!   We stopped eating and talking long enough to make 2 batches of salmon berry jelly and one batch of blackberry/ cranberry jelly.  Jimmy and I have been  diligently gathering salmon berries  for the last month.  They are a delicate berry that look like raspberries  but taste very citrus-y.  They are also sparse, so we had about 10  sandwich bags in the freezer. One for each berry picking walk we took.   While I was digging through the freezer  to make sure I didn't miss any, I found  two 1 gallon bags of black berries from last year that had somehow been overlooked.  I also found a  bag of  frozen cranberries left over from the holidays.  I have 2 dozen or so jars of jelly now ... and a big plus?....I now have room in the freezer.
When it comes to berries I always make jelly instead of jam.  Those tiny little seeds wreak havoc with my dental work.  I put them in the blender and then  run them through  a super fine strainer.  What I have left is more than juice.  Its very thick and pulpy and makes a rich flavorful jelly with lots of body.  The season is upon us.  In WA state the salmon berries come in  in late May/early June.  The raspberries  and strawberries  get here in late June/early July.  When the raspberries finish in early August the blackberries  suddenly ripen and they are everywhere  until the end of September.  My plan this year is to have a jelly making day at least once a weak until all the berries, plums,apples,and cherries are completely harvested.

More home decorating.  The day after Jimmy's Mom left , I made two giant floor pillows  to add to my 1920's (ish) living room.  These were cost effective because I used three yards of fabric that Jimmy  bought for a Halloween costume three years ago and the two big fabric stores in town  are having competing sales, so I got a 5 pound box of fiberfill on the way cheap.  I still have half of it left so I will probably be making a few more cushions.  You can never have too many  throw cushions.

With all the sewing I have been doing, my fabric stash is getting really low!    I almost panicked when I saw how low it was getting.  Now you know my dirty little secret. I hoard  fabric!  I think everyone who sews does this though because fabric is so expensive.  When I find a piece that I like, at a price that I like, I always buy a length, even if I have no immediate plans for it.  I take any and all give-aways as well.  It pays off.  I might not go near the sewing machine for a couple of years at a time but, when I do it becomes compulsive behavior.  I cant just make one apron, I HAVE to make five. I cant just make two  cushions, I have to make ten. One skirt becomes three.  Maybe it is because sewing is so messy.  If I already have the machine out and the fabric stash is all over the room ..........I might as well make everything  right now before I put it all away for another year..... 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Artisan lifestyle living room design, redesign using what you have on hand, It's amazing what a little paint can do

My furniture painting frenzy might be over for a little while.   I painted the  tables in the living room room, the rocking chair, the dining room table and chairs and the  'media' cart.  I dug  DD's old dresser out of the barn (I braved an army of spiders  to retrieve this piece).  This antique dresser was in DD's room during her teen years and it was covered with  wax, fingernail polish and stickers.  It had  stains from years of   god-knows-what being spilled on it.  I thought to just throw a coat of paint on it and put it in the kitchen to hold plants up to the sun in the window.  Jimmy said that it really needed to be refinished because it was such a nice piece of furniture (minus the abuse).  I thought about it for  10 minutes and decided he was right.  I got out the electric sander and was amazed at how fast it cleaned up.  It took three days  to get it sanded,stained and polyurethaned.  It's beautiful and sits in a place of honor  under the 1970's swag lamp.  We put the cd player on it and filled the drawers with cd's. After finishing all the painting and refinishing, I made  seat cushions  and tablecloths for the kitchen table. I had to put away the painting and sewing mess because Jimmys Mom flew in for a visit last night.  It was fun getting everything cleaned up and ready for company.  We had the entire house put back together and completely clean  early in the afternoon yesterday.  I couldn't stop myself from wandering from room to room admiring my own handy work. I also marveled at what one can do with a can of paint, some surplus fabric and a few pieces of well made , beat up  furniture.  I loved  digging through my fabric stash and deciding which lengths to use.  At one point Jimmy suggested a trip to the fabric store to get a bigger selection.  I explained to him that this whole process was about using what we have on hand.  He finally agreed with me when I said that a trip to the fabric store would push the cost of my home makeover to well over the $100 price tag I allotted myself when I started.

Refinished dresser. Top view
(No DD, You cant have it back)

Refinished antique dresser in place and being used.

Painted rocking chair.
Painted vintage telephone table
Handmade cushion from fabric stash.

Painted vintage dining table
(I moved the other two chairs for the photo)
The photo is crap because the table is actually bright white.

Hand made seat cushions
the buttons are different  for each of the four cushions  because I used what I had handy

Artisan lifestyle living room

Artist's living room