Saturday, July 26, 2008

They Think It's Garbage, I think it's treasure

Thrifty is one thing but free..... is another.

Thrift stores are full of undiscovered treasures but people's garbage can yield some wonderful finds. What some people consider garbage can be perceived by others to be useful artwork. Consider the item below. Someone threw this cabinet away.

My friends husband found this in the garbage. This beautiful little cabinet would have made it's way into a landfill. Instead it has found a home in the corner of their den.

Below is an old umbrella/coat rack that was also found in the garbage. My friend's hubby was kind enough to give it to me!! Thanks Joe!

It's made of solid Oak and has carved pieces on the face. It also has a small box on the front for hidden items....

I have it in a long hallway that joins the garage. It's very handy to have for someone coming through the garage door.

I'm so glad someone thought this was junk, it's a beautiful and functional piece.

I have to admit that I'm a bit shy about pulling in front of someone's house and going through their garbage....ok.....I really won't do that, but if there is something I see and like, I'm stopping.

Here is the problem.......I may be running out of room!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What You Can Do With Summer Herbs

Last year a friend of mine gave me a great suggestion on how to store basil for the winter. I grow this herb in my garden in the summer. At the end of the season I cut the plant down, place it in zip locks and freeze them. During the winter months I take the basil out and add to various dishes. Unfortunately, it looks wilted and unhappy when it comes out of the zip lock.

My friend suggested that I cut the plant, chop it up, add it to an ice cube try and fill with water. I tried this last year and it worked great! I now freeze them and then empty them into a zip lock and do it again and again until I have a good winter supply. When I am making sauce I just go out to my freezer and pop a couple of cubes into my sauce. Guess what-the basil stays very fresh, full of flavor and smells just like it does when I pull it from the garden.

This photo just shows the basil before I chop in up.

This method works well for other herbs too. Below I've chopped up mint to add to my favorite drink, the Mojito.

Just in case you want to indulge:

  • 3 fresh mint sprigs
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice
    1 1/2 oz light rum
  • club soda

In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lime slice and the remaining mint, and serve. Add some of your minty ice cubes and you are all set.

While I'm on the subject, this also works well with your left over coffee in the morning. Pour it into ice cube trays for later use. Never waste your coffee when you can freeze it and make some iced coffee later in the day. Yum!!
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ideas You Get From Summer Vacation

At the beginning of the summer my family and I traveled to the beach in South Carolina. During that time we visited the local flea market to look around and see what little bargains we could find. I noticed some very cute bottles there that were probably meant for keeping olive oil. The bottles had spouts on the top for pouring and were all hand painted. Each bottle was priced at $15.00. It was tempting to buy one but I new I could probably make it myself.

I was pretty sure I knew exactly what I would need to make it but wasn't sure where I would find that particular type of bottle. A couple of weeks later I happened to find the bottle I needed in Walmart in the kitchen gadgets department, priced at $2.98-so I bought two. One for olive oil and one for vegetable oil. How handy! Keep them right next to the stove and they are always at hand and ready to use. I like that idea because I use lots of olive oil when I cook.

Here is what I needed to make my bottles.

  1. Glass paint

  2. paint brushes

  3. clear gloss black sharpie paint marker

Notice that both bottles have the spouts on the top?

Thinking about what I wanted to paint onto the bottles I decided that a pile of small olives on each side of the bottle would work for the olive oil. I also thought that would look cute. The other bottle was going to hold vegetable oil so I painted a hot red pepper on it (yeah, I have a thing for painted red peppers). One pepper on two sides and a small vine on the other two. I applied a gloss over both to preserve them. Here's the result.

They actually look very much like the original ones I fell in love with at the beach. Tomorrow I'll add vegetable oil and olive oil to both. Just for some added flavor I'll be adding some garden herbs to the olive oil.

Lucky for me I had several colors of glass paint in the house so the total cost for both bottles was about $6.00.

For those of you that signed up for the Lowe's free quarterly magazine, you will enjoy seeing the great ideas they have this month. They have a segment on chalkboard paint and also whiteboard paint (which I didn't even know existed). What a great idea for the back of a teenager's door or even in the kitchen! They can write all their "stuff" on the whiteboard right behind their door. Check it out and sign up. It's free!

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Decorative Thermometer Covers

Just another way to make certain objects in your home match your decor. This was an idea I found years ago in a Stained Glass magazine. A thermometer cover that you can make to cover an inexpensive thermometer. I made this one and keep it outside on the screened in porch.

This cover shows the various weather elements including the sun, snowflakes, icicles, thunder bolts and clouds. Years ago I put several of these on Ebay and did pretty well with them. People really seem to like them because they are fun and unique.

I understand that not everyone can do stained glass, but it occurred to me that these could be done very easily using thin hobby wood. Here is what you would need:

  • A piece of hobby wood large enough to frame the thermometer (can be found at Home Depot or Lowe's, sometimes in the craft stores and any hardware store that carries lumber.
  • A cheap thermometer. I've find these for around $1.50 or so in discount stores.
  • A drill.
  • glue
  • a hook and chain to hang
  • A piece of sandpaper
  • A saw for cutting an opening. I suggest a jigsaw (easy to use and very flexable).

Here is how to construct your thermometer frame.

  • Cut your hobby wood large enough so it frames the thermometer. It really could be any size but you can get a good idea by viewing the photograph at the top of the page.
  • Center the thermometer onto the wood and trace it out. You should now be looking at the long drawn out rectangle. Drill one hole in each corner.
  • Use you saw and start cutting the rectangle out beginning in the first drilled hole and continuing until you have completely cut it out.
  • You will mount the thermometer on the BACK of the frame. Glue will work fine to fasten it to the back of the frame.
  • Sand lightly. Be creative! ....maybe rounding or angling the corners.
  • Attach a hook on the back for hanging.

Now the fun starts. Use your imagination and decoupage with paper or tissue, hand paint, glue seashells on it, glue beads on it, spray glue and cover with fabric. You can make these covers to coordinate in any room.

This happens to be a great craft for teenagers as well. Although they may not appreciate the thermometer, they sure will have fun making them. I currently have four, very bored teens at home for the summer. I have planned out the photo CD coasters project for them to do and I'm now adding this. When they are all done you will be the first to see them.

Sounds like fun!

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