Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random projects crossed off the to-do list! ...and how to save time making tortillas!

It has been a busy time around our house, but it is wonderful to see what we have accomplished in this time as well. School is fully in swing (but it has been for several months now),  and we are still trying to tweak our studies to align more with what God’s Word says about discipleship (but that is a whole topic within itself).  In the midst of the every day, I have been able to complete a few projects that have been on my “to do” list for quite awhile and wanted to share them!

WHAT TO DO WITH AN OLD SPARE WINDOW:  When we redid the house out here, I immediately had some projects in mind for old windows. One project was to make a chalkboard (or two). I chose the windows that were the appropriate size for my space and painted them with a fresh coat of paint. I wasn’t too concerned about being perfect, because I wanted the rustic look.  I then primed (right on the glass) them with a magnetic primer. My hope was to get a magnetic chalkboard… however, I shouldn’t have wasted my $$ on that part because even after 3 coats of the primer, the ability for a magnetic to stick to it is sub-par.  Anyway, I then painted 3 coats of chalkboard paint onto the glass and that was done! My hubby lovingly hung them for me and I’m very pleased with the outcome. So, for the cost of the chalkboard paint I have two great chalkboards!
WHAT TO DO WITH AN OLD BOARD:  I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time. I love having scripture posted all around my house… it is a great way for us all to memorize it as well as great reminders of God’s truth each time we read it.  I found an appropriate board lying around in our barn. I painted it with some leftover paint (again, I wanted a rustic look). Then I used chalk to draw my words on the board. When I had the right size and shape, I painted right over the chalk with some other left over paint. I love how it turned out. This picture was taken before we got it hung on the wall (about 4 inches higher than where it was sitting for the photo op.  I have another board I am doing for my girls’ room, but I wanted to use pink paint for the letters and didn’t have any. So that continues to be on my to do list!

WHAT TO DO WITH AN OLD DECK: We have an old redwood deck on the east side of our house that really is an eye sore. It seemed wasteful to just junk it and start over. Sure, the boards were shabby and a bit splintery… but they weren’t warped at all.  I found a product called Restore at Lowes and it promised to coat and fill in gaps up to ¼ inch wide while providing a non slip surface. It is supposed to be good for 12 years. We decided to give it a shot. It was a bit pricey ($1.35/sq. foot) but that was much cheaper than buying a new deck.  I first powerwashed off the deck, let it dry, swept it, and then decided it was time to apply the product.  The stuff is much thicker than paint and you are supposed to use their roller to apply 2 coats to the surface. I brushed the edges and used a brush to fill in the bigger gaps and holes. Then I rolled the rest on. We are very pleased with how it turned out! So far, it seems really durable and has stood up to dog claws and a bunch of kids. We will see what the future brings!
The next project is to replace the windows and doors!

HOW TO SAVE TIME MAKING TORTILLAS: I have a tip for anyone who makes tortillas! I love homemade tortillas. They are cheap to make and taste great.  The problem is that I spend a LOT of time rolling each one out with my antique roller that keeps losing one of its handles. Plus, when I’m going to the trouble of making tortillas, I make a bunch of them while I’m at it. Really, I spend an hour or more just ROLLING them out!  Then I got to thinking… why can’t I use my kitchen aid pasta maker attachment on my mixer to flatten them out? Sure, they may be “oval” in their shape, but it isn’t like I get perfect circles when I do it manually anyway. So I gave it a shot and what takes me more than an hour to do manually, I was able to do in 15 minutes!  I ran them through the “roller” at the widest setting (1) the first time, then squished them at the 5 setting the second time. I then cooked them as I normally do in my cast iron skillet and the job was soon done! A quadruple batch of tortillas!! Woo Hoo!! So if you happen to have the pasta attachment for your kitchen aid… put it to use for rolling out tortillas too!

LABELS, LABELS, LABELS: I’ve always imagined a pantry that was organized and labeled. Since we have been buying more things in bulk (accommodating our growing family) it now has become a necessity to repackage, store, organize, and label!  I bought some vinyl chalkboard rolls from Hobby Lobby and my good friend was kind enough to put her “Cricut” to use and cut some fancy labels for me. I used a chalk “marker” to write on the labels, which proved to be neater and longer lasting than regular chalk. I love how everything is coming together… even though it isn’t complete yet. What is your favorite method for labeling and organizing???

Sorry, this isn't the most thought provoking blog entry... just a bunch or random thoughts! But I did want to share some of these easy, low cost projects that have been keeping me busy!

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