Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How's School Going?

The majority of us in this household feel this way so far this week.

Picture was drawn by Sissy and posted on her door.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


An area of every kitchen that may be forgotten is under the sink. Is this the yuckiest place in your kitchen? In your house? It was in mine. Other than The Boy's toilet. But that's a subject for another time.

In my current, full-time occupation of re-doing my kitchen, I had to deal with this yucky place. I had already removed everything from all my cabinets and drawers, sorted through it all, threw out or gave away stuff not needed, and put new shelf liner in all of them. But under the sink was different. It didn't need shelf liner. It needed a bomb.

I entered the darkness cautiously, slowly. Who knows what had taken up residence under there. I was afraid. Possibly more afraid than I had ever been. I used a broom to slowly pull each item out from across the room. Something could jump out and kill me, you know. As each piece appeared and I didn't die I grew braver. Soon I inched closer, and by the end of removing things, I was actually using my bare hands.

I know what you must think of me. I think that way about myself. Yes, I am awesome.

Anyway, after removing all the junk and sorting through it, I got to work scrubbing. I scrubbed and I scrubbed. I scrubbed until my fingers were just bloody nubs. It looked considerably better, but I wasn't ready to put stuff back inside. I raced to the bathroom. I reached into the darkness under that sink and pulled out some leftover peel and stick floor tiles. They would make cleaning under the sink a joy. I would be able to look under there whenever I was having a bad day and be instantly cheered up. Clouds would part, angels would sing.

I ran back to the kitchen with my idea and my tiles. I started at one side and in the front so any cuts would be in the back. If you do this, make sure you check the back of each tile. They have arrows if there is any pattern to follow and you want to pay attention to that.

I stuck the first couple down quickly since they were full pieces. Then I had to measure and cut. A couple of tips here. Use a whiteboard marker to make your marks on the front of the tile. It's better to cut from the front rather than the back and the marker will wipe right off when you finish cutting. Next tip is to make sure you have something under your tile when you cut. Yes, that is common sense, but I'm sure I'd get a message that someone cut through to their brand new kitchen counter and destroyed it and it was all my fault they didn't use common sense.

Make your cut, using a ruler. It doesn't have to go all the way through. Then, carefully bend it back along that cut. It will finish cutting through to the paper backing. Now, turn it around to the back and slide your knife down the cut to finish cutting the paper.

This all goes pretty quickly as long as your cuts are simple, straight lines all the way across a side. But you will come to the pipes under there sooner or later. When you see that time approaching, dust off your cuss words. You may need them.

I'd like to give you instructions on how to best do this part, but it's a matter of holding your tile up there, making lines, cutting them out, cussing because you did it wrong, and starting over. I'll do my best. First, cut your length to the back. Now you need to hold your tile, face side up, and make marks on your tile to correspond to either side of each pipe. Then move your tile to the side of the pipe and make cross marks to show how far back to cut. Understand? Here's a pretty picture.

Carefully cut out your spaces. Now do a dry fit. Cuss again, Start over. You probably will get it someday. Each time you make a mistake you'll see what you did wrong and try to correct it the next time. I chose square cuts to go around and tube shape. If you really like cussing, go ahead and cut it out in a circle. I figured I would never see it once everything was put back inside, so I opted for the easier solution. This may be a good time to bring up centering your tiles in the space. If you want it to look professional, you know cuz professionals use peel and stick tiles, you'll want to find your front center point and lay the tiles out beginning on that line. I didn't care, because once again, I'll never see it after everything is back in and the doors are closed.

And there you have it. Easier to clean and all pretty-like. Now put your stuff back away neatly. Stand back and admire the beauty. The neatness. The organization. Say good-bye and close the doors. It will never look like this again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Court Is In Session

A while back I bought an old camcorder at an auction for a buck. I thought the kids would enjoy playing with it. They have. In fact, the other day I went back to one of the bedrooms where they were playing.

Court was in session. The Boy was the defendant. Baby was the judge, And Sissy was the prosecutor.

Sissy grilled the Boy about his whereabouts on a certain day and "exactly what were you doing at 1:15 when the bank was robbed?" And so forth. It was quite humorous to listen to what they think court proceedings sound like.

Then Sissy rested her case.

Notice the camcorder set up to record the proceedings.

At that angle, I'm not sure what it could see, but what do I know.

When Sissy rested her case, it was now up to the judge to proclaim her ruling. (A judge must wear glasses in order to demand the respect due her position). And this was the ruling.

"I don't believe a word you say! You are guilty and sentenced to 1000 years in jail."

Did you notice the glee on her face as she declared his sentence?

I hope I never come before her in court!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Make Cabinet Handles From Silverware

I have embarked on a big project. I am re-doing my kitchen. I'm refinishing my cabinets and furniture. Mr Farmer is building me a bigger island. And I'm redecorating.

I've chosen to go with a primitive/ rustic/ antique theme. I have always liked the look of antique silverware. You know, the kind from back when it was actually silver, or at least silver plated. They were beautiful and made sturdy-- made to last. Some have been used so much that parts of them are actually worn away.

I decided I wanted to incorporate some into my decorating. I wanted to make cabinet handles out of them. Buying handles made to look like silverware is insanely expensive and doesn't have near the character or beauty of the real thing.

First, we tried bending some in different ways in order to get a method down. Then one evening when we were out in the shop, I came across an old tool left over from our garage sale. It is a chain break. I'm glad it didn't sell. I took it inside and the next day I  started to experiment on some extra pieces of silverware. Almost immediately I had my method down. This is what I did.

First, I looked at the natural curve of the end of the spoon. I wanted to put a small bend that continued in that same direction. This is where the handle will be screwed into the cabinet.

Next, I wanted to create the area where my fingers will go into in order to open the door. To do this, I put the now-bent part of the spoon through another slot until it "hugged" around the tool. Then I set that part of the tool on the counter and bent the spoon back the other direction.

I like the slightly deeper end at the bottom of the handle. You could bend it to be more like a store-bought/even finger area, though, by adjusting where you bend it.

And there you have it. Now all that needs done is to take your spoon or fork or whatever and drill holes in them, top and bottom, and attach them to your cabinet.

And here they are on my cabinets.

I used the forks on the top cabinets just so no one would somehow catch a piece of clothing on them. This set of silverware was from 1917 that I picked up at an auction. I chose a fairly un-detailed set because I didn't want to have to try and clean food out of all the intricate carvings. That's always been an issue for me even with regular cabinet handles. The fancy ones are so pretty, but I cringe to think of the lurking ickiness.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Creepiness Has Begun

We are not fans of gruesome things, even at Halloween. It's just so evil. And icky. And it gives me nightmares.

Anyway, the girls wanted me to paint their fingernails with Halloween "things". We came up with several ideas and set out to paint them. They turned out so cute!

I painted jack-o-lantern faces, spiders, spider webs, ghosts, dripping green goop, Frankenstein's monster, and mummies.

Baby also insisted I do a black crackle on her toes.

You cannot imagine how difficult it is to paint such detail on such tiny little nails. But it was worth it. They're cute. The nails, not the kids. Just kidding. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pretty Morning

I took these photos the other morning. It was just so ethereal and calm and quiet. The photos don't do the color of things justice, though.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Want To Say Something


Now I've said it.

The end.

Not really.

This past year has been one of the worst of my life. I'm not going to go into why, but it has been awful.

But, one thing that has been better this year than any other since moving here, is the apple harvest. We have three little trees. Two of them are dwarf varieties--Cortland and Fugi, and one is a regular-sized Jonathan. They are all about ten years old, but it's only been about 8 since we planted them.

Last year was such a bad year for fruit around here due to a late freeze that killed all the blooms. The kids and I went out and picked the Cortland apples a couple of weeks ago as they ripen earlier than the others. I just made an apple pie with the last of them the night before we decided it was time to pick the last two trees.

Mr Farmer thought it would be a quick chore, so he offered to help do it. HA! He had no idea how many apples there were. We took the Ranger down and two boxes to put the apples in. HA again! It took quite awhile, with all of us picking, to finish both trees. We don't water, fertilize, or spray for bugs. There were a couple-literally- with bugs, but not many. I'm sure a few got included in our haul since the kids picked and loaded indiscriminately, but mostly they are gorgeous.

And here's what we got.

Now, what to do with all of them. Mr Farmer loaded the two boxes and filled the large bottom drawer in our garage fridge. It barely made a dent in the pile!

They shine up so nicely and taste delicious.

Apples anyone?