Monthly Archives: March 2011

And He Can Build Things Too!

So my hubby and I have taken up a new hobby (as if I need another)… we started building furniture!  Well, he is doing the actual building, I would love to say that we* are building furniture but that day will come someday soon.  I am having him show me the ropes with the power tools and helping him a little, but I enjoy finishing the pieces… sanding, priming, and painting.

This winter I came across this cool website by Ana White and found all these lovely plans and pictures for making everything from shelves and benches to nightstands and headboards, even coffee tables and dining tables.  Ana White lives in Alaska and started doing some woodworking, building furniture for her own home (how’s that for an Alaska-tough DIY home maker!) a few years ago.  Meanwhile, she started a blog that was called Knock Off Wood so she could share her projects and post plans, making them available to others.  …For free!  After a few years the blog got so big and popular, she soon had thousands of fans and people jumping on board …ha ha (no pun intended), so she created a great big website.  There you can search and print building plans, and even create your own account to keep a ‘To-Do List’, share your own projects, and chat with other DIY builders.

So I got excited when I found all these wood-working possibilities at our fingertips, showed it to the hubby, printed off a few plans and he got right to work!  He’s pretty handy, and is enjoying the wood working projects.

He has actually built a couple things for our house before we discovered Ana’s website.  One of them being this awesome wall ledge for our photos in the hallway…

Isn’t it perfect for our wedding photos??  🙂

With plan in hand, he picked up all the materials and started making a ladder shelf for our bathroom…

Soon enough it was time for me to get sanding, priming, and painting!

And so, I present to you our first lovely piece of DIY furniture…

We originally intended it to be for our master bathroom, but even though it fit in the intended space it just looked too crowded and big there.  So, it has found a home in the guest bath and makes the guest bath feel a little more home-y.

We’re pretty happy about it, considering Pottery Barn has the same thing:  Floor Standing Ladder for $199!  I love that a lot of Ana’s furniture building is inspired by Pottery Barn.  I think she has great taste.

If you’d like to see the building plan and details on the materials, time, and dollars that were used to do this project you can see all that here: Our New Ladder Shelf.

There’s more furniture building projects in the works right now and you’ll see them featured here soon. 🙂

Tell us what you think!

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Hooked on Little Baby Loafers

Earlier this winter I held a baby shower for my friend Ashley and made a pair of these little baby button loafers for her baby boy who arrived in February…

Little Button Loafers for Ashley's baby boy

I love them, so little.  This crochet pattern is from Hook Candy and these little red ones are the size 1.  So then I made another pair, which I had in mind for a friend who had a baby girl…

baby girl button loafers

But they’re a little too small already for the babe before I even send them off, should have made the next size up.  So I just posted a picture of them on facebook and right away got requests from two friends of mine, asking if I could make a pair for them.  They both want to give them as a baby shower gift.  So another little pair of these pink loafers have been made up, just like the first pink ones but I added the tan edging around the button flap too, even cuter don’t you think?

more little button loafers

So now I’m starting on the second order, which is for a baby boy and I’m making them with a beautiful blue color that I am loving right now.  I’ve got quite the collection of this Berroco Vintage yarn building up, as I’ve bought five skeins of different colors for making these little gems of baby cuteness 🙂  So after I get unhooked from this hook candy, I’ll have to make myself something with all of this great yarn. 🙂

Are these not the cutest little baby booties you’ve ever seen??

***

::Details on Ravelry:: Baby boy loafers and Baby girl loafers

::Yarn:Berroco Vintage

Perfect Comfort Food for a Chilly Spring Weekend

I’m kicking off with my Lemon-Herb Roast Chicken I made last weekend, who doesn’t love some good comfort food for a weekend of chilly spring weather?  I got a 5.5 lb. free-range chicken, raised by the local Sage Creek hutterite colony, roasted it with all the vegetables, and the day after I did a pot of homemade chicken stock with the leftover carcass and pieces.  The next day I made a pot of Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Dumplings, using the stock, and had my family over for dinner.  I love that you can make it last about a week and get a lot out of it.  So good!

Easy Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

5-6 lb. roasting chicken
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 large yellow onion, halved.  cut one half in half again, thickly slice other half for roast veg
1 bunch fresh thyme
handful of fresh parsley
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp

Vegetables for tossing in:
4-6 large carrots, cut 1″ pieces
1 bulb fennel, tops and core removed, then halved and sliced thickly
whole garlic cloves, from 1 whole head, no need to peel
6-7 red potatoes, halve small ones, quarter large ones

Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Keep half the herb bunches whole, finely chop the other half.  Mix the chopped herbs into the softened butter.  Remove chicken giblets and rinse the bird inside and out, remove any leftover fat or pin feathers.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Season outside and inside cavity with s + p.  Stuff the cavity with the whole sprigs of thyme and parsley, lemon pieces, garlic, and onion half pieces.  Brush or rub the outside of the chicken with the herb butter, work your fingers between the skin and breasts and rub the butter under skin.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings under.  Season the outside w/ s + p again.

Toss vegetables in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat, season with s + p.  Spread around in the roasting pan and place the chicken on top (breast-side up).  Lay any remaining whole sprigs of thyme on top of veg.

In she goes

Roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.  You can tell that it’s done when the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 deg F, the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh, and the legs can be wiggled and moved easily.  When done, take the chicken out of the pan and place on a platter or cutting board, let rest 15 min. covered with foil.  Serve with the delicious vegetables and bon appetit!

While roasting, if the pan drippings and veg start getting too brown and crisp, add a little liquid to the pan.  (If you loaded it with vegetables to roast in there like I did, you won’t have this problem).  The roasted vegetables got to be super caramelized and sweet, my hubby loved it that way!!

Here’s a pic of my first roasted chicken I did, a while ago.  Pretty delicious for my first one!  Pic of this one is better too…

***What I will try the next time: I roasted my potatoes on a separate sheet pan this time, but next time will toss in the roasting pan with the rest of the vegetables and chicken.  Try 375 deg. for first 1/2 hour, then up to 425 deg., til the breast meat reaches 160 degrees, and thigh meat reaches 165-170 (about 45-ish min. longer?).  Baste after the first half hour.

Well there you have it folks!  It will be great for me to refer back to this post next time I go to make this again, and hopefully some of you who stumble upon this recipe will be inspired and can get some use out of it!  It’s really pretty easy, and after you do it a couple times then you can whip out a big, special, comforting roast chicken dinner in no time 🙂  Cheers!


Jumping on the Blogwagon

Hello world,  I am working on starting my own new blog!

I have had mixed feelings about blogging, and starting one myself, because it sometimes seems like this trend of blogging, tweeting, social networking, and being an exhibitionist has gone crazy.  There’s really enough things to do online already, and enough little hobbies to sink some time into, so I just wasn’t sure I needed to jump on the popular blog wagon.  But I have always loved to journal, take pictures, and share whatever projects I am working on or some delicious dish I just cooked up, with family and friends.

So I am starting this for the purpose of sharing my crafty home and garden projects, recipes, stories, and any new exciting updates in our lives, with our family and whatever friends find their way here.  I think this will be a better online place for me to show and tell than on any social networking site.

I am also starting this for the reason of having a good place to document and log all of my progress as a cook, baker, gardener, and knitter.  And hopefully as the time passes I can look back on here and see my growth and progress and that I’m challenging myself to try new things, and at the same time sharing what I learn.

And hopefully I’ll get to meet a lot of fellow crafty bloggers and chat with whoever clicks their way over here!

Well that’s all for now, for a little introduction and getting my blog-typing fingers wet.  I’ll post some more exciting stuff soon…

Cheers 🙂