Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dyed Yellow Curtains

Now that Hubby and I are lightening up the living room, we decided that our original curtains were too dark for the space.  We bought inexpensive curtains from Ikea (can't beat $10 for the pair!) and dyed them ourselves.  We figured if we hated it, we didn't have a huge investment put into the curtains.  I bought a bottle of rit dye from Joanns.  I filled a plastic tub with warm water, and the yellow dye.  I then dyed the curtains by immersing the bottom half of the curtain into the dye bath.  Every 15 minutes I would raise a little more out of the dye bath.  When all was said and done, this procedure gave the curtains an ombre look.  I love how they turned out!
The ends are in the bucket of dye.
Drying on the clothesline
 See how dark these are?  And this is during daylight!

And these are so light even when its dark outside!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yellow Doors

I thought I would show you some of the yellow doors around here. 
 The door to the knitting room
 The interior of the front door (the exterior is the same color but in special exterior paint)
Looking down at the front door

The pantry door in the kitchen (you might remember that Hubby and I built this door completely from scratch!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Very Yellow TV Stand

Until recently our living room was a bit underwhelming.  We had a sofa set that we bought to fit in our previous place, that didn't really match our house style.  Our tv was set on top of an ikea bookshelf and looked very cluttered.  I was originally looking for a large dresser on craigslist, but found this cutie for $60.  I wasn't sure if it would stay wood or be painted so for a while it just sat there the same as when we bought it.  I finally decided the dresser was meant to be yellow (and this is what started the whole entire yellow escapade).  So off to Home Depot I went and returned with a gallon of yellow paint.  Now a gallon is a heck of a lot of paint when you are just painting one dresser... A quart would have given me leftovers!  Once I painted the dresser, since I had extra paint and might as well use it, I painted the front door, the knitting room door, the pantry door, stool legs, dog food chairs and I still have a ton left!   But back to the dresser- I sanded it using Hubby's mouse sander, then rubbed candle wax where I wanted to distress it (the candle wax helps the paint NOT to stick in certain places).  I gave it quite a few coats of yellow, waited for it to dry and distressed it.  I covered the whole dresser in a wood coating to help it shine.  I love having a bright and fun entertainment stand now.  All our accessories are tucked away in the drawers and cabinet.  It looks so much cleaner now!  I am still trying to figure out what else I can paint yellow...

The original piece

In between coats

The stand before... pretty cluttered looking

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Healthy Cookies

I was browsing on Pinterest recently (seems to be a reoccurring incident) and Hubby came by.  He noticed a cookie recipe on the page and mentioned he would like to try those.  The recipe used only bananas and oats.  It also mentioned you could add chocolate chips.  So when I was at Safeway this week I picked up some reduced bananas (did you know you can buy "almost mushy" bananas for a discounted price?).  I peeled 4 mushy bananas and mashed them up.  I then added 2 cups oats, 1 cup coconut and 1 cup chocolate chips.  Bake that for 15 minutes in a 350 oven and wa-la! cookies!  healthy cookies at that.  They have a banana-y taste but yet satisfy that "i-need-a-cookie" craving.  Hubby gave them a thumbs up.  We will be making this again for sure.  I might even make them with the kids.  J loves helping in the kitchen and Goober loves bananas.  I would probably leave out the chips for Goober.  I texted my mom and turns out she had already discovered and tried this recipe!  So simple, yummy and (mostly) healthy!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Using The Library to Save Mulah

I have never used the library as much as I have since moving back (well other than during school).  Each week you can find me at the library at some point.  Often more than once!  Hubby and I watch most of our movies and shows through the library.  Its so easy to request them online and stop by to pick them up when I am in town.  I try to take the kiddos once a week or every other.  During summer the library offers many kid programs.  Last week we stopped by and story time just happened to be starting.  The 3 year old and 11 year old enjoyed it.  The baby lasted about halfway through the program before I had to take him out and walk around in the stroller.  Story time at our library involves reading books, crafts and singing.  And its free.  The kids love it!  I think our librarians do an awesome job with the kid programs.  There is a large kids area with kid friendly computers and train playsets.  The real train tracks go right by a huge window in the kids area.  J (the 3 year old) gets excited every time the train rumbles by.  We usually check out books to read and have a special library basket.  The 11 year old can check out books and movies.  We try to have some special time for just us during the boys naps.  Usually this involves reading, movies and/or knitting.  I enjoy checking out books and movies for Hubby and I.  I can monitor my account online so I know when items are due.  That means there is less of a risk of overdue items, which is always a plus.  Utilizing our library has saved us so much money.  They typically have the same movies as a redbox (you might have to wait a little while) and I like not spending over a dollar per movie.  There are so many homesteading books that I can't wait to read.  Right now Hubby has some woodcarving books checked out.  His grandpa used to carve wood and Hubby really wants to try too.  I have a dvd "Homestead Blessings" about making dairy products.  I just requested the rest of the dvds in the Homestead Blessings series.  Each dvd covers a different homestead topic.  I am excited to watch them.  Next time I am in town I have to stop by since I have items on hold.  Do you use the library? 
Last week's story time was all about rhyming and Humpty Dumpty. 
The 11 year old loves helping the 3 year old.
Goober loves playing on the train. I love that its carpeted and the stairs are not too high.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Its too darn hot...

This week I have had a song stuck in my head.  "Its too darn hot" by Cole Porter.  They chorus goes like this
"cause it's too darn hot
It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot"
The song talks about all the things he wants to do but can't because, you guessed it, its too hot.  This week temperatures have held in the high 90s.  Add humidity into the mix and you have a pretty miserable week.  The humidity is so thick it feels like you can cut it with a knife.  I am doing everything possible to stay indoors.  Hubby doesn't seem phased by it (maybe because he is from Texas?).  As I type he is managing the burn pile outside.  Yuck!  I would rather be inside at the computer sipping on ice tea.  I am so thankful that Family Z prefers to have the air conditioning on all day.  I am thankful my truck has working air.  I am thankful for ice tea.  And Slurpees.  And cold showers.  I am thankful for a husband who doesn't mind that I am a heat-wimp and cowering inside.  I will do the minimal amount of outside work needed right now.  I sweat like crazy during both the morning and evening milkings.  There is no respite from the heat.  Even at midnight its hot and humid.  This all guarantees we will get some good thunderstorms.  Even the kids don't want to play outside in this weather.  Hopefully next week it will cool down enough to be tolerable... Lets hope!

(Obviously not the true temp.  This is what my car read when I first got in.  Feels about right)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yet Another Painted Dresser

Last week I showed you Hubby's dresser re-do. This week I would like to share my dresser. I bought my dresser off craigslist for $50. Both of the dressers are in the same bedroom so I wanted the style to match without being matchy-matchy. I kept the same idea of white, wood and green accents. This dresser was a bit more of a challenge because even after sanding it down quite a bit, the original stain kept showing through. I eventually made my own chalk paint by using 1 cup paint to 1/2 cup baking soda. So easy! It is definitely a more rough paint but it uses less coats and after two coats the original red stain stopped coming through. I stained the top in the same stain as Hubby's dresser and proceeded to paint a flower on the front. This dresser seems more girlie than Hubbys striped dresser. I am done painting dressers for a while. I have a gorgeous oak dresser in the other bedroom, but am not going to touch it. After having dressers in the middle of the living room while I was working on them, its super nice to have the floor space back. I am working on making the bedroom more retreat like. The painted dressers help tremendously!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Canning Peaches

On Sunday I was in town running errands and stopped by the local farm market. The day before I had bought some amazingly juicy peaches at Safeway and I wanted to see the prices for local peaches. The local peaches were about $.50 cheaper per pound, and I know exactly where they were picked! Note to self to check farm market first. I was browsing around and found a 1/2 bushel of 2nd grade peaches. A full bushel typically weighs close to 50 pounds. I got over 20 pounds of peaches for...wait for it... $12! Made my little frugal heart skip a beat. Now 2nd grade peaches taste just the same as regular ones. It just means they have some bruises or cuts. Nothing that I can't cut out. Maybe these aren't the best if you want to eat them whole. But they work splendidly for canning and pies!

As soon as I got home I started peeling them. Since they are already 2nd grade I knew I had to do something with them right away before they spoiled. When I had enough peeled, I made two peach pies. One for dessert that night, and one was destined for the freezer. I looked back at my box and it seemed like I had barely touched the pile of peaches. The rest I peeled, sliced and then canned to save for later.

One of my main issues with canning is that as soon as I am done I want to try it, which totally defeats the purpose of canning. Luckily for me, one of the jars looks like it didn't seal correctly. Since I don't want to take any chances, I guess I will eat it now. Oh darn! Twelve dollars turned into two pies, 8 quarts and 1 pint of peaches. Pretty frugal, fun and farm friendly if you ask me!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Amazing Luck at Goodwill

I am a Goodwill-a-holic! Hubby and I both are. Typically when we go to town, we will pop into Goodwill once a week. We usually have specific items we are looking for, but we also have a general list of things we want/need. I have been wanting an antique sewing machine for a while. What I really want is a working treadle machine but those cost a pretty penny so it will have to wait. Can you imagine my delight when I uncovered this treasure? It is electric and not a treadle (I might be able to turn it into one later) and I not sure if it works. It can be used by hand and everything appears to work smoothly (just haven't plugged it in yet). I was even more please that it was only $20! Hubby said "you have to get that!" as he shares my love of antiques. Just as I would be super excited if he found an antique rifle that we could afford. Right now the machine is sitting on my desk waiting for its permanent home and to see if it works. Ill let you know when I try it out. Regardless, it looks pretty awesome!

Monday, July 15, 2013

DIY Dog Food Bowl Chairs

We have two big dogs who eat a lot! They each have their own bowl and space in the kitchen. Sounds good right? Only problem is that the bowls "travel" through the kitchen when Whiskey pushes them making sure all the food has been devoured. I am constantly tripping or kicking the bowls and was extremely frustrated. I tried feeding them in other rooms, but the bowls still got under foot. So I turned to Pinterest to solve the problem. I bought two mismatched chairs from Craigslist for $10. I painted them yellow to match the other accents in the house. While Hubby was at work, I got out his jigsaw and cut holes in each of the chair's seats. I had to keep cutting as my hole had to be big enough for the food bowls. I realized a bit too late that I should have done all this outside, as my living room was then covered in a thin layer of dust. Oh well, now I know for next time. Each dog now has a specific "chair bowl" as we had to shorten the legs on Whiskey's chair. It took them a few meals to get used to the new eating areas but now they know exactly where to go. I love how their bowls look right at home in the house, even if they do look like "potty chairs" as one of my Aunts commented...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Goober

Today is Goober's birthday! I have been taking care of him for a few months now and can't believe he is one already! Since I have been with Family Z, Goober has cut 8 teeth and learned to walk! I can't wait to see what this next year brings. Have an incredibly Happy Birthday Goober!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Farm Update

Big news here at Victory Garden Farm!  We found a wonderful family who wants to buy 2 gallons of milk each week.  Our fridge has been busting at its seams with milk.   If you remember, it got to the point I was taking milk baths and feeding it to the chickens because we had so much milk.  Such a waste!  It is illegal to sell raw milk in Maryland for human consumption.  So why am I so excited to tell everyone that I have a buyer?  Because this family has a wildlife animal rescue and needs the milk for the abandoned animals.  Completely legal sale.  They have everything from baby deer to alpacas. 

We get about 3 gallons of milk a week from Mocha so after giving them 2 gallons we have a gallon for our personal use. Hubby and I really dont need much more than that, so this arrangement is perfect! Mocha has her own savings account now. All the money that we receive from the rescue center goes towards buying fence panels for the goat pen. So Mocha is really earning her larger pen. I can't tell you how much this helps! We are incredibly blessed to have hooked up with this rescue center. Its a win-win for everyone

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thrifty Thursday Dresser Re-do

It seems that recently I have been pouring my creative output into redecorating and fixing up the house.  I find delight in taking something ugly, or even just so-so, and sprucing it up into something beautiful. I have been sanding, priming, painting, hammering, drilling and so much more.  If there is a paintable/changeable/drillable piece of wood nearby I can not guarantee its safety.  Today I want to show you Hubbys bedroom dresser that I recently repainted.  This dresser used to hold yarn in the knitting room but has since been allocated to the bedroom for Hubby.  The dresser was just kind of "blah". 
Oh sure, I loved that it was an antique, and had super cute drawer pulls and a good overall shape. However the wood was water damaged and nothing to write home about.

  I emptied all the drawers out and dragged the entire dresser into the living room.  I had been browsing Pinterest for inspiration and knew I didn't want to paint the entire dresser.  This is for Hubby after all and a dresser needs to have a little exposed wood to be masculine.  I painted the frame white and stained the drawers and top with a dark stain.  I like how the white pulls out the white in the drawer handles.  Not being completely satisfied with the dresser, I decided to paint a herringbone pattern on either end of the dresser just for kicks.

   After painting I rubbed it with a wood polish from Home Depot.  Now that its back in the bedroom I can say that I absolutely love it!  So does Hubby (but I think he doesnt really care one way or another, as long as he has a dresser for his socks and whatnots) even though this was more a project for me.  What do you think? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Using What You Got- In the Basement

As you may already know, last year our basement flooded and we had to rip everything out down to the studs.  We are waiting until we can save up enough to fix it, so for now we are just living with it as is.  We use it mainly for storage since we don't have a garage.  Our house is a split level house, so as soon as you walk in the front door you can go up or down.  Until now we didn't have a door to separate the downstairs, so as soon as you walked in you could smell the basement-y smell.  It didn't smell horrible but it did smell basement-y.  And when you looked down the steps you could see the hot mess we call our basement.  I had contacted a couple contractors to see if they could put up a new door, but bids were crazy high.  We had saved the doors from the bedrooms (which we had replaced with french doors) and I was hopeful they would work.  They ended up being too small and I was resigning myself to just live with the basement no-door situation.  Until I remembered we had an antique door as a decor item in the spare bedroom. Guess what?  It just happened to be the perfect size.  The. Perfect. Size!  Hubby installed it and I just need to add a doorknob.  For now we can pull it open without a knob.  So we solved our door problem without spending a dime.  Its amazing what you find when you actually take the time to look!  We still have to pull up the vinyl flooring directly at the bottom of the stairs, but as of right now its looking a world better.