We found this old pine bench on the side of the road a number of years ago and have had it in various rooms including the cottage just for a convenient place to sit things (basically a moveable shelf).
You’ll notice it has a crack in the seat but other than that it’s in good shape. With a little protective coating I thought it might make a convenient place to sit in the garden.
Originally I thought I could just sand it and stain it.
I took the bench apart and Charlie reattached one of the small leg supports while I sanded and stained the bottom trestle with the same exterior stain as the shed.
Previously I had printed out on the computer the words “The Glade” in a large outlined font.
I scribbled with pencil on the back to create a kind of carbon paper.
Tape the letters to the bench and trace over them with a pen which will transfer the graphite to the wood as well as give a shallow indentation in the wood.
Remove the paper and paint in the logo. I used Minwax Deep Ocean stain which went on very smoothly with a small brush.
After painting on all the lettering . . .
Cover the bench seat with brown, oily stain using a rag.
Finally, I outlined the letters with black Sharpie and lightly sanded the top. Charlie prefers the letters outlined; I do not.
After the stain is fully dry cover the seat with a coat of protective polyurethane finish. (The bottom of the bench has exterior stain and needs no further protection.)
Have you started thinking about Spring? Can it come fast enough? Or are you content with winter?
I told you we were planning a Soup Swap here. Because this party requires preparation from the participants, a printed invitation is in order.
In a Word file on the Landscape setting I set 2 columns. In the left-hand column I entered the basic invitation and in the right-hand column the details of how a soup swap works. I used Executive size paper but you can use whatever you have, just be sure to make the correct setting.
(Our address and telephone number go right under “Location”.) To get soup graphics Google “soup” and click on images. You’ll have plenty of possible art for your invitation.
The cover which is printed on the reverse side of the same sheet of paper needs to be set up with the back on the left and the front on the right as below.
Make sure the cover side is printed so that the inside reads left to right when opened. If you’re like me you’ll make a few tries before it lines up correctly.
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!