I have been saving these tea tins for years (more than a dozen years) with no idea how to use them.
Then I saw these candles on good old Pinterest (the link is now gone but I’m sure there are others).
And Charlie had brought home these old candles (which should have gone into the dumpster) when he was cleaning out a house for an elderly woman’s estate.
Here’s where inspiration meets know-how. Apparently when Charlie was a boy he made candles first with his father and then on his own. His candles were so nice that he sold them.
I was just going to pour melted wax around a candle and call ‘er done. It didn’t work. But Charlie cut the tall candles to fit the tins leaving a long piece of wick extended to tie onto short pieces of wire (which he clipped from a clothes hanger).
We melted the bits of wax that were left over from cutting the candles to size in an old coffee can in a pot of boiling water.
Let the pot simmer until the wax is totally melted.
Once the wax is melted pour it into the tins being careful not to get burnt.
And let the whole project cool.
And the next morning you’ll have tea tin candles. Oh, no, wait a minute. What happened? The wax shrank in the tin.
So we heated up a little more wax and topped off the candles.
And so that’s why I’m calling Charlie the Tin Man. I think that’s nicer than the moniker for the third man in the rub-a-dub-dub tub.*
Are you working on a totally frugal project? Do you save things waiting for inspiration? Are these candles nice enough to give as token gifts? I like to give candles as a gift because if it’s not the recipient’s “cup of tea” he/she can just burn it.
The title of this post is a mouthful in itself but all I’m trying to say is I have a favorite sandwich and I like to make it my way.
First off, caprese is a dish which features freshly sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil. You can have a caprese salad, hot or cold caprese pasta, etc. I make a caprese grilled sandwich.
Swiss cheese (I prefer this to mozarella which is also delish)
and pesto (see comments in Pesto post for the recipe)
Spread a generous helping of pesto on one slice of bread.
Cut 6-10 Sungold cherry tomatoes in half
and secure them cut side down in the pesto.
Lay a slice of cheese on top.
Top with a second piece of bread on which a splash of olive oil is added on the outside.
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in a hot pan and lay the unoiled side of the sandwich in the pan.
When the bottom is golden, flip the sandwich and cook until the other side is golden and crispy.
Cut in half and enjoy.
If you have a sandwich grill or panini maker you don’t need to flip the sandwich which is preferable because sometimes the little tomatoes roll out. If that happens stuff them back in because every bite is delicious.
And I said you can use any cheese in the directions: I personally would never, ever use cheese in a can (but I know those who would).
What’s your favorite cheese for a grilled sandwich?
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Peaches are bountiful now. And we have a connection at a local produce stand that allows us (by way of Charlie) to have all the peaches they can’t sell. They sort through their produce every morning and remove the ones that are bruised or blemished in any way. We, on the other hand, are not that picky and gladly receive these soon-to-be-thrown-away fruits.
When the peaches come home, Charlie peels them, cuts them up and bags the pieces in zip-lock sandwich bags. This size bag allows for quick partial thawing.
These bags of peach pieces are then frozen.
To make a peach smoothie the following utensils are helpful:
tall container in which to mix
blending wand (or a blender)
serving glasses or cups (we’re using old-fashioned punch cups for a party but a goblet is great too)
And I use the following ingredients:
frozen peach pieces (or cut-up peaches and ice cubes)
low-fat milk or juice (I use cran-raspberry and call it Peach Melba)
Splenda or sugar
Add partially thawed peaches (you want them to be very cold or you’ll need to add ice cubes) to tall container.
Cover with milk or juice.
Add dash of vanilla and sweetener to taste.
Blend with wand to a think and creamy consistency.
Pour into cups and serve. This is both healthy and refreshing. Appreciated by children and adults. A great reason to party. And, because we get the peaches free, extremely frugal.
We have about 50 punch cups and every one was used and refilled. The only drawback to this kind of party is the smoothie making really can’t be done ahead of time but they’re oh sooooo good and refreshing on a warm night.
Our son would like to trade out the peaches for strawberries. What’s your favorite summer cooler? Isn’t now a great time to whip up a batch?
Sidebar: The above post is my recipe meaning low-cal and low-fat. Charlie’s recipe involves vanilla ice cream in lieu of the milk and sugar in place of Splenda .
I was determined to dye turquoise the unbleached-muslin-colored cotton curtains I had made many years ago for the Cottage since I was painting the interior pale aqua.
(They were slightly stained but would certainly do for now.)
In addition, there were sheer cotton voile panels at the front door window .
I had been given 2 linen panels that could be used for the two additional windows in the main room. Why not dye them all?!!
I bought a packet of turquoise iDye for natural materials.
I read the directions on the back which instructed to either dye in a washing machine or in a pot on the stove using 2 pounds of fabric per pack of dye.
Here are the problems I had with those instructions:
1. I wasn’t about to use my washing machine to dye fabric.
2. I had way too much fabric to put in a pot on the stove.
3. How do you figure what 2 pounds of fabric is?
I decided to use the bathtub in the cottage to dye the curtains. I ran some hot water into the tub.
And it did dissolve and the water started to turn blue.
But even when the water was deep blue clumps of dry dye kept coming to the surface.
Add non-iodized salt to the water and thoroughly dissolve. (I had to run over to the house to get my neti pot salt.)
I had rubber gloves on so I could swish all the fabric around with my hands until everything was well-saturated. I held each clump of fabric under cool running water to rinse much of the dye from it.
Then I took each panel out and wrung it lightly so I could put it in the clothes basket and carry it over to the house.
Once in the house I washed the fabric in the washing machine with mild detergent and cold water, then partially dryed the curtains in the dryer and ironed them.
Mistakes and how to fix them:
1. The clumps of dry dye could have been avoided by putting the dye packet in a pot of boiling water and dissolving it completely before adding it to the tub.
2. Dying a huge amount of fabric at one time could have been avoided by doing each different type of fabric separately and one at a time. (What a thought! Genius! Wished I’d have thought of it then.)
3. Running to the house for salt could have been avoided by amassing all the ingredients for the project BEFORE starting. Mise en place as my chef friend says.
4. I forgot to wet the fabric while it was in the tub before I started so I had to try and wet these huge pieces of fabric in the bathroom sink. Wet them FIRST next time.
5. Different colors of finished product could be managed by using all the same fabric. I did not know this would happen and it’s not necessarily a bad thing except I don’t really care for the pale green.
Well, friends, that’s my how-not-to- tutorial.
Oh, yeah, I have a few spots that are overly saturated with dye.
To minimize this while in the dye bath I rubbed the fabric against itself. I could have totally avoided it by practicing #1 in the how to fix mistakes section.
Here’s a little before and after.
Four panels of cotton voile for privacy and light filtering.
Lovely mint green. Hmm?!
I’m glad to have had this practice for the time when I’ll be using more expensive fabric and absolutely need a perfect result. What’s your tale of a learning experience? Did it go horribly awry? What could you salvage?
When we started scraping the trim on the cottage so it could be repainted, to our horror we discovered all the putty holding in the window panes was dry, cracked and dislodged. No problem, we’ll just reputty the windows, all 24 of them. Yikes!
First problem, getting the putty. We went to Home Depot and started in the “Window and Door” area. No putty there. Then we asked a fellow and he said, “Try paint”. OK, so in the paint area there are all kinds of caulk, spackle, putty, etc. but no window putty. Oh, yes there is. In its own special area within the paint department they have (da-da-da-daah) Glazing Compound. (Don’t bother asking the paint mixing guy because he won’t know.)
Before we could actually begin to putty, Charlie had to scrape and chip away as much of the old putty as possible with his 14-in-1 tool. I’m pretty sure a 5-in-1 will work just as well.
Dip the end of your impeccably clean narrow putty knife in mineral spirits and cut a 45 degree angle between the window frame and the glass. Scrape away excess putty and return to tub because it can be reused.
Clean your putty knife after each pass.
Go over it again if you need to. Remember to dip the putty knife in the mineral spirits.
According to “This Old House” don’t clean up the windows for a couple of weeks until the glazing compound dries and sets a bit.
A BIG job. Now that we know how AND have all the tools, maybe we would tackle it again (but I doubt it). This is the kind of project that makes a house a better place to live but it’s time consuming and has minimal aesthetic value.
Do you have an unlovely but necessary job hanging over your head? We encourage you to git ‘er done!
We showed you our garden support system made wholly of bamboo trellises that we fashion from bamboo and jute twine.
Perhaps a tutorial is in order. When I first started making these trellises I got the idea from a story many years ago in Martha Stewart Living magazine. Who else but Martha would have something like this?
First we get out bamboo from a neighbor who is happy to have the dead wood from his bamboo forest thinned each year.
Then we cut six (or eight) poles per trellis to approximately the same length (somewhere betwen 8 and 12 feet depending on the poles we have). Accurate measuring is not necessary.
Tie pairs or triads together by winding twine around them.
We used to be much more precise but have realized over the past few years that lots of twine and fancy lashing just aren’t necessary.
Stick the untied ends of the bamboo in the dirt and lash crossbars across the top and bottoms.
It’s not necessary for the bamboo poles to be uniform in diameter or even totally straight.
After the basic shape is erect, string the entire form with 6-8 verticle twine climbers. Tie at the bottom and go over the top bar and tie on the oppposite side.
This basic A-shape trellis is great for cucumbers, pole beans or any vining vegetable (or flower, if you’re into that sort of thing. I am, but Charlie is certainly not going to waste time or energy on trellising flowers.)
Hmmm . . .
What’s your totally frugal but extravagant secret? C’mon, let us in on it, we won’t tell.
I introduced you to a charming bistro set here. And it was pretty cute then.
The problem beyond the chipping paint is that it had begun to rust. Our favorite method of stripping paint from metal is a wire wheel on a drill and just a few days ago I purchased a whole set of wire wheels to help refinish this bell.
Get it? A whole set of wire wheels to refinish A BELL! Really I was getting someone (Hi, Charlie) prepared to strip the entire bistro set so I could repaint it.
Last night Charlie got started with his new wheel set. (He loves a new tool and a whole set is even better.)
There are a lot of little curlicue places on the chairbacks so Charlie also used our Dremel tool with a little coarse wire brush to get into the tight spaces. That worked well but is very time consuming as in “Don’t try to Dremel the entire chair or you’ll be here six months from now”.
Here’s one of the chairs after being wired.
Once the metal is stripped fairly clean (it need not be totally devoid of paint, but everything chipping or flaking must be removed) I sprayed dark grey primer onto the chairs and table. I started with the underside. (I stuck circles of painters’ tape on the bottom of the feet so the plastic slides would not have paint on them.)
Then I flipped everything over and gave it a couple of good coats on the top. I could have stopped here because I really like the color of the primer, a medium dark grey with a slight greenish cast.
After letting the primer dry for 24 hours, I pulled out my new favorite color of spray paint: Metallic Charcoal by Rustoleum. It has just a hint of sparkle and more depth than traditional black. I coated everything with 3-5 light layers of the finish color.
Again I started on the underside. Then flipped everything over making sure every nook and cranny was painted. (This took about a can and a half of paint.)
In a couple places the paint started to drip a little bit so, while it was still wet, I touched is lightly with a rag which removed the excess paint. Then I sprayed it lightly in those spots to restore the sheen. The photos show the lovely, restrained sheen of this paint: akin to gun-metal.
Everything dried for at least 24 12 hours before we replaced the glass on the table and the pale green cushions. (Not sure we’re going to stick with the pale green but for now that’s what we have.) Of course, it also rained all night on the newly painted set!
Ta -dah! Voila!
From another angle
Detail of chair . . .
When the house renovation is complete, this set will move to the east side of the house onto a second-story porch where it will get the dappled morning sun.
Now it’s time to enjoy!
Have you finished a satisfying project recently? Or has it been way too long?