Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cedar Raised Beds: I'm finally posting about those uber cheap ones I made

I've been meaning to post about the cedar beds I made out of those crazy cheap cedar fence pickets. I would have built them and posted about it sooner, but I had to rip some of the boards to create the trim pieces. The crazy cheap person in me wasn't willing to buy a table saw just yet and it took me a week or so to sucker someone into letting me use theirs.

 It only took me two weeks to get them done including the delay, and a whole week to take pictures and post. In my defense it's been rather grey and gloomy out and I wanted to wait for a slightly sunnier day when the flash didn't go off outside in the afternoon.

I built them according to Ana White's instructions except I made them bigger (4'x8'). Since my boards were 5' long I couldn't span the entire length and went with a brickwork style overlap so there wasn't one seam in the center or a weird off-center seam. It would look like this without the trim (if it would stay together).
I used trim to cover the joints and hold the horizontal boards together. I added purely decorative ones in the center of the ends to keep the trim spacing consistent. Since my boards were actually 5/8"x6" I ripped the trim pieces to 1 1/2" and the beds are 12" high. Cutting the boards from 5' to 4' meant the leftovers were already the perfect length for the trim pieces.

Sadly, I haven't gotten a load of compost to fill them in yet so they're barren at the moment, but I'll try to update once there are actual plants in them. So far I'm quite satisfied with myself. I spent $30 on 44 5' pickets and another $15 or so on exterior wood glue and outdoor screws so they ended up around $15 a piece. I'm thrilled with that for a 4'x8' bed. I eventually want a total of 12, but three is a pretty serious amount of bed making in my book.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My husband may ban me from reading The Lettered Cottage on Tuesday.

Layla and Kevin had this great idea to have a how-to linky party on Tuesday called How To's Day.

The Lettered Cottage

Awesome, right?

Not if you're concerned about the fact that your wife has a bit of an issue with finishing projects, but is super good about starting them.

Guess whose wife just happens to have that issue?

My husband's.

He has every right to recognize this behavioral flaw and request that I finish projects before I move on to new ones so that our house doesn't become a scrap yard of unfulfilled craftiness. I'm pretty sure as soon as he knows about this linky party thing he will recognize what an imminent risk it poses to my project completion stats.

Unfortunately for him, I made some great finds for myself as well as some special friends I just had to forward ideas to. However, I was able to whittle down over 250 how to's to just 3 I actually want to take on as projects.

I think that's pretty impressive.

He might not.

He might also hate them.

Let's hope he doesn't.

First up, remake/do the wreath for the door so we have one, but it's not so girly (like the bad kind of girly, not the powerful awesome kind of girly). I'm thinking something in the range of Layla's spring wreath or Pretty Handy Girl's paper flower spring wreath.

Next, make several of Sweet Little Smoothie's Elegant Hydrangea Eggs. I LOVE them. Somehow I'm thinking my husband may not.

This one requires possession of a hot glue gun so it may not happen for a while, but Easter season is only so long so it may just be a dream.Or maybe I'll buy eggs on clearance after Easter and just not observe the end of the traditional season.

This one is an ongoing search type project. Finding and painting a cloche à la Alexis Brooke Lane. She sells them and other fabulous things on Etsy.

See. That's not so bad. Just three little additional, maybe thinking about doing sometime, might not ever even start projects.

I'm wearing my favorite shirt under it too.

You know those mornings when you drink two glasses of water, chug some coffee, eat some eggs and have a piece of fruit all in the hopes that hydration, caffeine, protein, or sugar will make you feel less exhausted before giving up and putting on a hoodie to ride out the day?

I'm  having one.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Projects: check. Well, sort of.

I wanted to finish up several projects this weekend. Here's what actually happened.

1. decide I should read Centsational Girl's commentary on blog photography again and actually attempt it when I work on these projects

2. clean house in mad furry after work just in case people came over after we go to the bar

3. hang pictures that have been leaning against the wall since we moved in so we look less like crazy people even though our porch makes that obvious before anyone walks in

4. eat huge order of queso blanco at bar

5. sleep

6. finish the raised beds, but don't take pictures for blog

7. send picture message to parents and life coach - Feel free to note how ludicrous this is to yourself.

8. tidy porch

9. make wreath for front door, debate with myself about whether or not it's too girly. It is.

10. make pizza

11. hang out with my cousin, his lovely wife, and their two adorable children

12. sleep

13. read up on strawberry patches

14. adjust placement of raised beds and level them - still no photos

15. bake spent grain bread

16. laundry

17. switch out flourescent light in the media room for the ceiling fan we took out of the dining room months ago

18. more laundry -A load counts as a project in my book.

19. watch KU game

20. plan training regimine for time remaining before 5k

21. attempt run with dogs, become frustrated with snow and head home

22. hang out with baby MaKenna and family

23. watch multiple episodes of An Idiot Abroad - Watch it. It's funny.

24. unload the dishwasher

25. even more laundry

26. blog about weekend achievements

Projects completed: 26. Tasks on original list completed: 3 out of 4.

I think that's pretty good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Projects for the weekend.

1. raised beds
2. paint rain barrels
3. clean house
4. tidy porch
5. read as much as possible (or at least check out the pictures) in the latest fabulous blog Layla found for me. It's absolutely fabulous.

I'll try to be a good blogger and take pictures of the first two. I've been meaning to post about them for a while. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I don't believe in coincidence.

You meet people and run into others for a reason. I can't wait to see what The Universe has planned for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Put a bird on it.

Austin and I have been watching Portlandia a lot lately. They had a little segment called Put a Bird on It.

I read The Lettered Cottage pretty much every single day.

Layla put a bird on it.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Authentic Self: She rocks out.

I got the official word on "THE JOB" yesterday.

It was NO.

Shockingly, or not so shockingly (to me and apparently still shocking to everyone else), I wasn't that upset. I'd known for months what the lack of correspondence with the search committee meant and I'd known for even more months than Me (that's my Authentic Self's name) didn't want it. I felt like I should want it and it would make financial sense and mean quite a bit of security on that front, but I didn't Want it.

I still like the idea of doing some teaching, but I really want to focus on teaching about food and where it comes from and how to make it and other awesome traditional skills. And I have this idea about creating a way to access information about secondhand establishments that I think would be amazing if I can figure out how to do it. And I want to work with some of the sustainable agriculture organizations in Kansas...

Basically, I want to do all those things I posted about and more. I feel like I'm free to do anything and everything my little heart desires and I'm about to rock out at all of them with every bit of energy I have.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm starting to think that between craigslist and I can have everything I've ever wanted.

Or at least all the really cool and useful stuff.

I've been wanting to put in raised beds in the backyard for my vegetable garden this summer. I have big plans for the long run thanks to The Backyard Homestead. I'm also realistic about my tendency to overestimate my energy. It's hard to think it's too much when it sounds like so much fun, but easy to when you're exhausted and over worked. As a result, I planned on making and planting four of the 12 raised beds I eventually want in the yard.

I remembered Ana White having a post about raised beds on the cheap. She built them out of cedar pickets that were on sale at just 10 bucks a 72"x18" bed. Not shabby.Of course, one had to be able to find 1"x6"x6' cedar pickets for $1.59 to make that happen.

When I checked the price they were $2.59 at Home Depot. A bit more, but still significantly cheaper per foot than the almost 13 dollars it would cost for a single eight foot 1"x6".

Then the universe smiled down upon me and delivered a craigslist posting for 44 five foot cedar pickets for just 30 bucks. That's enough to build 3 4'x8' beds. I borrowed my uncle's truck and picked them up yesterday along with 175 four foot pickets. I'm debating between making more beds out of them or actually using them to build the fence we also need.

I'm leaning towards fence.

Now all I need is a table saw I can borrow to rip some of the boards.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Coincidence? I think not.

My husband sent me a link to The Frecklewonder Blog yesterday because the author is a friend of his cousin Kerry and he thought I might like it.

Funny story, I found it independently a couple of months ago while doing some research on vintage cookbooks, but had failed to add it to my Reader feed and, hence, failed to read it in the interim. I did and now I'm hooked. She's fabulous and I think I'll try and finagle a way to meet her in person or at least become blog buddies. Chalk another one up for the blogs I love.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mmmm. Bacon.

Austin and I watched Bacon Paradise on the Travel Channel a couple of weeks ago (if you're surprised at all you obviously don't know us that well).

Result? I am now a religious bacon baker and I want to make my own (like buy pork belly, cure and smoke it). I know it probably sounds extreme (or rather over-involved), but I think it sounds like a whole lot of fun and a great source of bragging rights.

I had heard of baking bacon before (with brown sugar no less), but I hadn't ever actually attempted it. I used to be a microwave it on some paper towels kind of girl, but a week later I baked it just for kicks (on a cookie cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet at 350 in case you're curious). It was A-MAZING. It literally melts in your mouth. I had a full on foodgasm.

And the best part? Austin and I both like it best this way. Since it's less effort and I get for feel good about not using all those paper towels there is no reason not to bake it.

I baked some a couple weekends ago to go in breakfast burritos. It was the first time in my life I wished I had left the bacon out of something.

The burritos detracted from the awesome of the bacon. The bacon by itself is even better.

The making of bacon from scratch is still just an idea, but there is a spot being reserved in the backyard for the smokehouse and I plan to try it out as soon as we get it built. Once Austin and I can produce beer and bacon ourselves I'm pretty sure we're officially prepared for an apocalypse or at least soon to be the most popular couple on the block.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Some observations from yesterday.

1. Your husband doing most of the work to make dinner while you're out for a jog is awesome.

2. If your dog appears a little on the tubby side, he's also out of shape and will look at you with a sad little face when you try to keep him jogging for more than the 100 foot sprint he was all excited about.

3. If you're applying for a job, remember that potential employers have to listen to your ringback if they try to call you. You might want to rethink that song selection.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sacred spaces

I'm once again on the simple abundance path (i.e. I read yesterday and today's passage in it and I plan to try to do so regularly for a while). Sarah always seems to know just what I need whenever I read it. Yesterday's was about creating a sacred space.

You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so where you do not know what was in the morning paper.. a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are, and what you might be.
Who doesn't need that? I pretty much never know what's in the morning paper, but lately I haven't felt I had a place to experience and bring forth what I might be. You're probably thinking to yourself, "doesn't she have a room specifically for this purpose?" Why yes, I do, but unfortunately it can't serve that purpose in its current state.

I need my space to be in order for it to act as my sacred spot. It directly influences my ability to honor my core values like sensory enjoyment and creating. It's important on a spiritual/psychological level much more so than an anal retentive one. Really. I swear. I'm more on the anal expulsive end of the spectrum anyway.

I ask you, does this space appear to be sacred to it's owner?

Me neither. Not functional either. As in if you wanted to work on your blog in a space that didn't make your chest want to implode, it wouldn't work for that.

I worked on it for a couple hours last night and got it to it's current state.

It took longer than you might think because all those papers on the floor are actually important and had to be organized rather than thrown away.

It's not there yet, but I think if I work on it a couple of nights this week I might actually get it to a state that is workable and still be able to use the weekend to finish the kitchen cabinets and maybe, just maybe, make a plan for the backsplash.


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