Etsy: Handcarved Leaf Love

Once upon a time, approximately a month ago, there was a girl sitting around in sweatpants, with a ponytail on top of her head and no makeup a beautiful young princess who was oggling Etsy (just go with me on it, even Princesses must like Etsy) She came across a handcarved leaf bowl from an estate sale at A Garden Cottage. It was beautiful and unique. It was $10.00. She bought it, slayed an evil dragon, fell in love with a handsome prince, rode away on a perfectly white horse and lived happily ever after.

Good story, right? Okay, that’s pretty much how it happened.  I saw this and knew it would fit into our house perfectly. You know, the house I have pictured in my head that is completely renovated and beautiful (the house without mail all over the table, laundry to finish and dog hair e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  Hah, like that will ever happen). I’m trying not to buy too many things but if I see something that I *know* will work, I make it happen. No regrets. It will work perfect, dog hair, daily life mail on the table and all.

On that note, I hear Mr. A and powertools, I’m going to guess a planer. This must mean bookshelf progress. *super nerd jump in the air*. I must go sneak a peak.

Happy Etsy’ing,

Heather

 

 

Poplar + Cherry Bookshelf With A Side of Martini

flickr *0ne*

With the acquisition of the new bandsaw and jointer, the very talented Mr. A has set out to make us a nice curly poplar (aspen) and cherry bookshelf. I am very excited about this as it is a win-win situation. I love when he makes furniture and we will be able to toss two other shoddy bookshelves. I also love cherry wood, it’s absolutely beautiful. My relationship with poplar is slightly different though. It’s not poplars fault, really.

Get in your Delorean, we’re going back in time.

Mr. A and I were living together in a rented house and decided to have dinner with our friends. Long story short, I made the mistake of trying a dirty martini. What possessed me to drink vodka tainted with olive juice I will never know remember.  It was a rough night.  I learned from my mistake and have not touched a martini since (and it took a good year before I could eat another olive).

A few months later we bought our house and realized we had a lot of poplar trees around us, thus constituting some of our firewood that first winter. We (Mr. A) chopped down and stacked the green (i.e. moist) wood on our deck to dry, poplar included. Did you know moist poplar smells like a roughed up dirty martini? I didn’t.  I clearly remember an Elaine – Seinfeld-esque dance and gagging when I first placed foot on that deck after the stacking had finished. Just. Too. Soon.

Delorean back to 2011.

Thus I forever associate the smell of wet poplar with a very long not so awesome night. Thankfully poplar has no smell when dried leading me to be very thankful the bookshelf poplar is bone dry. It is also absolutely gorgeous.

He took the wood from looking like the board on the left, to the board on the right.

Here’s a better photo of the “curly” grain.

In a rare, sasquatch like sighting, here is a photo of Mr. A himself putting the frame together.

I can’t wait to see what this looks like when finished. He gave me a sneak peak of the cherry moulding and I have to admit this thing is going to be incredible. Yes, bookshelves can be incredible (nerd shout out).  Since I do this blog in real time, I’ll post more on this later!

Happy Building,

Heather

DIY Blue Mason Jars

A few weeks ago I turned mason jars into lanterns. If you’re going to paint these and frost them like I am, save the lantern part for very last. You’ll need to cook these on low heat. Heat plus metal = hot. If you’ve already made the lanterns be careful and keep them out of reach of little paws/hands/curiousness while they cool. Or, just turn the oven of and let them cool in there once you’re done.

That being said this all started at the flea market a few weekends ago. There’s something about vintage blue mason jars that are charming and sweet and….expensive?  Holy smokes.  Mr. A and I went to the flea market a few weekends ago. We found all sorts of cool things – none of which we bought. Mr. A found some really rusty old lathe tools. At the same vendor I found some vintage blue mason jars. They were beautiful. They were original. They were $11 dollars, PER JAR?

I came home and scoured the internet. That had to be highway flea market robbery. No luck.  I came across blog after blog on different ways of making them but nothing appealed to me more than Creative Little Daisy.  A perfect excuse to use that 40% off coupon at AC Moore to try Mod Podge.

Directions:

UPDATE: After writing this yesterday I kept thinking about it, and decided I needed to do a few more jars, and update you with a completed project, correctly. This really does work beautifully. So, I’ve changed things below to show you what does work, and what doesn’t.

1.) Put something protective down like a piece of cardboard or layers of newspaper. You’ll be dumping these over to drain – use something thick or else you will stain your surface. Get your mason jars (preferably without the lantern part already attached like super smart me) and pour about an 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of Luster Mod Podge into one of them. This did about 4 pint jars for me.

2.) In a container you don’t care about staining, put in about two teaspoons of water. Add food coloring and mix well until dissolved. Pour into Mod Podge and mix well. While my first batch was blue, my second batch dried much more green than I imagined and I adored it.

3.) Swirl until completely coated and then pour into your next jar. Repeat on all jars. Once completed and drained well, turn over so you don’t end up with a puddle in the bottom. This is why you want a thick piece of protection beneath them.

4.) Once fully drained, place jars in the cold oven and heat to the lowest setting. This will reduce chance of breakage. Bake for about 20 minutes to set the MP mixture. As long as your MP mixture was thick enough, you should turn out with a nice evenly coated jar that is gorgeous.  If you’re cautious, let them dry about 50% and then place in the oven. As Mod Podge is also used for glue, make sure to turn them right side up to dry or they will stick to your draining surface.

My “green” batch turned out great. I decided to let this batch dry without putting in the oven first. Now that they are 90% dry I will bake them to set the mixture. It’s unnecessary to wait this long though. I wish you could really see how emerald green these are in person.

If you don’t get it the first time, try try again.

Happy Crafting,

Heather

P.S.) Don’t use these for preserving, drinking, or any sort of any kind of any food. Decoration only.

Etsy: Mug Love

When we first moved into our house, I couldn’t decide what dishware to get. A big part this had to do with the house being un-renovated. Another part had to do with me having no idea what my style was. 3 years later, much of the house is still undone (but man you should see how good the yard and new garage look). I ended up with all white from target. It was clean. It was crisp. It would go with anything. It was, in a word, boring.

Over the last few months pottery has taken a real hold on me. I love that it’s handmade, I love that each piece is completely it’s own, and I love that pieces of different types can somehow look cohesive together. In particular I’ve taken a special liking to rustic stoneware. I like the look of the unglazed rougher items. I also like the glazed ones, but the ones where the paint isn’t perfect. It’s just so darn expensive though.

Last year Etsy came into my life and I took to it like a fish to water.  I love all the artists. I love the variety. I love the inspirations. I love helping small businesses or hobby crafters. I love everything about it. I also love being able to put things on my wedding registry that are completely and totally unique.

Ever since I started noticing how beautiful the pottery and ceramics on there are, I’ve been smitten. Multiple items have already been put on our registry to build out our rustic, eclectic mix of dishware.  While looking I found the mug below that screamed “my style”. It was aesthetically great for me, it’s the perfect size and it makes me feel “like a cup of tea”. It’s cozy, it’s warm, it’s cute and I can literally have tea out of it. Perfecto.

Stop. Drop. Back it up.

It’s $10.00 plus shipping?!

I got so excited I couldn’t even wait. I bought it on the spot. I picked it up from the post office today and I am completely taken with it. I love it even more in person. If you love it too, go check out The Potters Studio. It’s okay if you buy something on my wedding registry, I won’t be mad.

First, the details:

and of course, the whole thing:

Today it has hosted coffee. Hot water. Cold Water and now my favorite wine – Sutter Home Moscato. I’m classy. True story.

Now, get off of here and go scour Etsy for hours and hours on end. Want a challenge? See if you can find my “Like A Cup of Tea” treasury list!

-Heather

Delicious Preserved Meyers Lemons

Though there are about 100 things to do today, one of them had to be preserved lemons. Whether I’m putting them into my most favorite ever pasta dish or making some Lemon Poppy-seed Cake, I simple love the taste, texture and smell of them.

All said – I had to try this recipe when I stumbled upon it.  What I didn’t realize is that preserved lemons are Meyers lemons, not the typical ones you think about. They really do smell different, a little more flowery, and the rind is thinner.  I can see why they are the preferred chef’s lemon for chicken, cheesecake and more.

They are incredibly easy to make, and cost effective.  A quick google search shows that tiny jars can go as high as $13.00. I picked up 2 bags of 5 lemons each at Shaws for $2.50 a bag. Regular lemons were .59 cents each. I was already ahead. The only other items you need are canning jars and canning salt which are both cheap.  These would be great to make in pint jars and give as gifts, or do as an experiment with kids.

Delicious Preserved Meyers Lemons

  • For liter jar – approximately 10-14 lemons packed tight (there will be room at the top)
  • A couple cups of canning salt do not use table salt
  • Large bowl for salt
  • Knife
  • Large canning jar (liter)

Cut your lemons in half, and then in half again and remove as many seeds as you can easily.

Put a heap of salt in the bowl, a cup or two. Put the lemons in, one at a time, and pack with salt. Be gentle, you don’t want to break the skins and release juices.

Finally, pack them tightly, but not enough to break them the juices out (too much, you want a little) of them, into the jar. Over time they will start to break down. Every day you’ll want to gently turn the jar over, and then back again. This allows movement. Don’t shake it – you don’t want to create air bubbles. They will be ready once the juices have completely covered the lemons – most recipes say about 3 weeks. Keep on the counter for a few days and then put into the fridge.

Make sure to keep these in the fridge, and enjoy in any lemon dish your heart desires.  You can use just the juices when in need, or, pull a whole lemon piece out and dice it up – rind and all. Just follow whatever recipe you’re using them in. Most likely you’ll need to rinse these off pretty good though!  These should keep for up to a year in the fridge, but in my house they won’t last that long.

Happy Preserving!

-Heather