stripping my FURNITURE, that is, let me show you what I've been up to today.
I started the day trying to build this gorgeous chair, plans courtesy of Ana White. The back legs proved to be more difficult to cut than we could manage (our circular saw doesn't turn and the jigsaw blade wasn't long enough to get through the wood -- I think I need the bandsaw I used in 7th grade wood shop). After wasting a good hour sanding the legs to try to get them into the right shape, I gave up and threw the chair in the trash. Instead of building, I cleaned the inches of sawdust from the garage floor and then ran to the Goodwill store where I found these little gems:
When it's clear you can't build a chair, buy one. For $11.99, it doesn't matter if it isn't what you were imagining or if it's a bit too big. Just strip it, paint it, re-upholster the seat, and forget about the first chair. The paint/stain stripper is working its magic as I type.
At Goodwill I also found lavender linens for about $3 each. These will come in handy as I sew cushions, pillows, and window treatments. Pre-shrunk and soft.
A big corkboard. That's a good thing to have in an adolescent's room, yes? Thinking about ways to dress it up.
And these...as you'll see in a minute, I kind of have a problem with jars. I couldn't resist these old mason jars. Even though I have no idea what I'll do with them. Ideas are welcome. :) They're so old, they even have a few bubbles in the glass.
And, a cool frame. I don't know what I'm going to put in it, or what I'm going to do with it (paint it? leave it? something else?), but at $3, I couldn't resist.
And here's some building I've been doing.
First, a small book rack to hang on the wall above Brynn's reading nook.
And this fun shelf to hang near the desk. These re-purposed jars will store pencils, markers, crayons, erasers...but they're not even close to as cool as those old mason jars.
While I was at Goodwill I also scored two Crate & Barrel serving bowls and a matching serving tray. For $4 each. Love that.
As I've been typing, the paint stripper has been working. Here is that chair now:
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Clearly, this structure is on its way to being a lofted reading nook, though. I'm sure you can see that, right? The frame is done. It needs cleats and a platform on top and the desk and chair underneath. Oh, and a ladder, of course. And it is disassemble-able for easy in and out of the house. Hopefully this will satisfy Brynn's desire to cozy up in a nest while she reads.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
When we moved to the Springs about six years ago, I started shopping at Whole Foods. I love Whole Foods. I love their 365 products. I love that their owner is a Libertarian. I love their concentration on local food. I love that I can get organic, local milk there. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I don't think that Whole Foods is too expensive (don't buy cheap, just buy less, right?). I guess that if you shop at Whole Foods regularly, it is important to stay out of the prepared foods section. That could bankrupt you, but ooooooh, does it taste good!
One of my very favorite parts of shopping at Whole Foods is their bulk section. Quinoa, honey, maple syrup, barley, whole wheat flour, pastry flour, oat flour, rice flour, pasta, veggie chips, chocolate chips, carob chips, dried fruit...if it is available in bulk, Whole Foods probably sells it. Compared to buying prepackaged pantry items, the bulk stuff is usually cheaper. And, best of all, Whole Foods sells spices in bulk and they are cheeeeaaaap. When I discovered bulk spices, my shopping habits changed.
I don't go through a ton of spices, but I do use a wide variety of spices and I can't stomach paying $2.50-$6.00 per bottle of spices when I only use a few tablespoons per year. Not to mention the waste involved in packaging spices. Glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic tops. The packaging itself is wasteful and the weight of the packaging leads to more burning of fossil fuels for transporting the spices.
The waste from bulk spices -- small ziplock bags. I've been known to wash them and reuse them in my kids' lunches. This works with everything but curry powder and tumeric. The kids don't appreciate having their rasins packaged in a bag that previously held curry powder. :)So, when we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, my spice solution was to get a very wide, shallow spice drawer where I could put lots of shallow, flat containers of spices. I bought round tin containers with clear tops from Specialty Bottle online and clear printable labels from Online Labels and filled the containers with my bulk spices. This system worked perfectly...until we moved to Mexico. There, the humid air penetrated the tins and made most of the spices moldy. Blech. So I tossed the spices, washed the rusting tins and left them at the girls' school to use in the classroom.
Today I finally replaced all those spices, and the containers, too. This time I chose clear glass jars with plastic screwtops. If we ever live in a humid climate again (please, no more humidity!), my spices should be safe, yes?
While I waited for new tires to be installed on my car today, I picked up a new stash of bulk spices. I still can't get over how cheap spices are when you buy in bulk. Here is what I paid to fill each of my four ounce spice jars today:
Fennel whole -- $0.54
Cumin whole -- 0.47
Curry powder -- 0.98
Coriander seed -- 0.54
Caraway seed -- 0.57
Lemon pepper -- 1.92
Cumin ground -- 0.40
Applewood Smoked Sea Salt -- 3.24 ($18.39/lb)
Allspice ground -- 1.84
Peppercorns whole -- 2.25
Mustard seed -- 1.08
Tumeric -- 0.55
Chipotle powder -- 1.66
Rosemary -- 0.28
Paprika -- 2.15
Pepper ground -- 1.40
I would estimate that I saved an average of $3 per spice today, which adds up to a whopping $48. If you look at the list closely, you'll notice some of the "normal" spices are missing. I've got thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, home-mixed pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, ground ginger etc. in my drawer already. Today was a day for rounding out my spice collection.
So, it turns out that waiting for my tires to be installed was more fruitful than I thought it would be. Now I've got two new tires AND a drawer full of fresh spices.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I'm still working on Brynn's new floor (tung oil finishes are not known for being fast), but I'm also getting back to building. Yesterday I cut the wood for these two new bookcases, and today I put them together. It took me about two hours to cut the wood and five hours to build them. Tomorrow I'm going to try to figure out a solution for making the tops look prettier (cove molding and an overhanging edge?) and I'll start sanding and filling the holes. Then these babies will sit in the garage until all the rest of the furniture is ready for paint!
The design for these bookcases came from Ana White's website. The thing I love about them is the dividers -- I love the idea of having cubes for Brynn's books instead of just straight shelves. She has a hard time keeping her books looking decent, and I think this will help. Plus, I can fill a few of the empty cubbies with canvas baskets to hide some of her...er...stuff.