Grow Your Own. Life on the Ranch.

Living on a ranch has it’s down sides.

The Generator.

The Genorator

Whenever I we drive up to it, I see this…

Remember this furnace in Home Alone? Kevin is a child left behind (on accident) to fend for himself while his family goes on a Christmas vacation. His arch enemy in the house is the basement furnace that periodically laughs and heckles him. It’s quite scary. Until finally Kevin gets fed up with his childish fear of the furnace and yells, “Shut-uuuup!”. Immediately the furnace becomes inanimate and Kevin nods his head approvingly as he calmly walks back upstairs.

That’s how I feel whenever I’m in the presence of the generator.

It’s really loud.

It’s really smelly.

It’s basically the equivalent of a semi-truck engine and you have to start it with a little switch located on the generator. Yikes! The worst part is that starting it is the only way I can run my space heater and come summer, the AC. Fortunately, we installed a propane heater for the time being, but there are times when it needs to be started. Most of the time the ranch operates on a battery bank. Think 10 car batteries. A few hours in the morning and a few hours at night my father-in-law starts up the generator to charge the batteries and to provide more electricity so we can do things like the laundry and vacuum. The batteries just aren’t strong enough to power those things without being completely drained. It’s happened a few times so far, where I’ve been home on a Saturday and left the lights in the shop on and the batteries were drained. The lights in the house start to pulse on and off to let us know that they are low. Only thing to do is either turn off all the lights… or start the generator. Which one do you think I do? Someday I will have to face my fears, but that day is not today. But I promise to get video if it ever happens.

***

Now onto the sunnier side of ranch life. We are finally starting to get projects done, even during tax season. With Phillip working 6 days a week (CPA), it’s hard for me to get any projects done around here alone. I do as much as I can without the muscles and the know-how, but I don’t get very far. I’d like to say that I’m the brains and he’s the braun of this whole operation, but that’s not true, he’s really both.

We accomplished two raised beds in our front yard for easy access, because we have no door out to the back yard. We planted 2 types of tomatoes, 3 types of onions, 5 types of lettuce, bell peppers and herbs. I wanted to make cinder block raised beds, because I’m a little obsessed with cinder blocks at the moment, but we still had a lot of broken concrete available. It’s free, so we went with that. Normally raised beds are made with wood, but cinder block is $.80 a piece. Wood is expensive.

Here’s are examples:

Instead of going to buy cinder blocks, we decided to use up the rest of the concrete pieces that we used to make our patio. We didn’t use any mortar, just piled them and filled it with dirt. We threw a railroad tie on their for good measure. We also used the bathtub that housed the kegs for our wedding, as our herb bed. We used regular soil from around the ranch, but we put mulch on top. I’ve done a small amount of gardening in my life, mostly herbs, so I’m planting this garden while asking as many questions as possible and consulting a garden book. Phillip, on the other hand has been gardening for a while and knows way more than I do. He explained that Mulch helps keep the moisture in, especially with raised beds because they tend to dry out quickly. Make sure to use mulch that has been sanitized, because you don’t want to plant veggies in cow manure. Ew.

Inspired by a recent article in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, where a garden was featured with a small raised bed of different types of lettuce. So we planted six different types of lettuce, from Kale to Radicchio! They are a cold weather crop, so we are taking advantage of whatever cool weather we have left here in SoCal. It usually stays pretty moderate until June/May.They can be planted pretty close together and will look really neat when they are all full and different shades of green and purple.

Herbs in a tub. I’m going to add to this, but these basil and cilantro plants will become big bushes soon. I’m going to continue to plant around the tub to make it look good. Right now it just looks like a tub, in the dirt.

While at the local nursery, I also caught a glimpse of something we could make for our garden area. Bird houses!

Raised beds

I also began making concrete planters. First it started with a pin on Pinterest… it always does. Then Phillip told me how to do it. Then I did it and it came out perfect. Now I want more. I recently bought a big bucket from Target and I’m going to make a huge planter with it. The equivalent of this in a ceramic or terra cotta pot is over $100. Cement is cheap, easy and you can dye it colors! I’ll show you what I have so far, keep your eyes pealed, I’ll post on how to make them soon. I’m trying to find fun and creative things to use as molds, to pour the concrete in. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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DIY concrete pots.

On another note, we bought more chickens! We are now up to eight! Our neighbor gave us an old chicken coup so we are in the process of fixing it up a bit. As soon as the little chicks are big enough, we’ll put them outside with the rest. Our goal is to be able to have an abundance of eggs to give away and/or sell. These chickens get to run around and eat grass and bugs all day… don’t they sound delightful? Really, they produce some of the richest colored egg yolks I’ve ever seen! See the comparison between store bought yolks and ours. The egg on the far left is from one of Phil’s mom’s chickens.

A local feed shop had a “chick” day, where they sold 1,000 chicks on a single Saturday! Tis the season!

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We have also started construction on our climbing wall for the inside of our garage. Yes, it seems disjointed to have a rock climbing wall on a ranch, but that’s the way it goes. We are urban dwellers living in the sticks remember? Going to the climbing gym all the time is a good way to work out, but it gets expensive and time consuming. We plan to put up a “traverse” wall in the garage so we can get a quick work out in. We can also arrange the climbing holds in various ways so we can work on particular movements/weak areas. We don’t know how much we are going to put into the wall, but for now the plan is just a short traverse wall so we can climb back and forth to get a good workout. I can’t wait to post pictures.

Climbing wall construction begins!

I’ve got so much more to talk about, but it’s best in small doses, no? I’ve got a ton more lined up and many projects underway!

***

Update: I did it!!

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Repurposed. Worth it?

I must admit, “re-purposing” or “DIYing” stuff sounds like a ton of work and not worth the outcome. However, we’ve recently finished a couple of projects and it has reinforced my opinion that it’s totally worth it! Sometimes it’s hard to navigate what tools to use, how to use them and when to use them if you are unfamiliar with the medium with which you are working. The good news is there are so many resources online that make it possible to pick a project, do a little research and come out the other side pleased with your project. You’ll have the joy of creating and might even spend less money than buying your project new.

Remember the old door head board we wanted to do? Well, we finished it and we think it looks great! Before the wedding, as we were cleaning out the shop, we scored an old closet door. It came complete with an old door knob and key hole! We set it aside to use as our headboard way back in October and finally finished it last month.

How about you? Have you recently begun or finished a DIY project? I’d like to see what you’re working on. Show me your DIY project photos on Twitter or Instagram. Tag them with ‘#mydiylife‘ in the comment or caption section. Look for this hashtag if you wanna see what other people are doing too. It’s just getting started, so be sure to tag your pictures.

If you have an iPhone, you have to check out Instagram. It’s a free, photo sharing app that is a lot of fun. You can create your own “page” of Instagram photos: http://Instagrid.me. Here are all my Instagram photos: http://instagrid.me/tumedianaranja/. Once you tag your photos in Instagram, check out the album http://instagrid.me/tag/mydiylife/. Fatmumslim has created a cheat sheet for Instagram. Fun. You can also participate in her March Photo-a-day project on Instagram. I just learned about it and I’m excited to start! Today is “a smile”, so keep your eyes pealed for a good shot. :D

Old Door Headboard
Old Door Headboard

Old Door Headboard
Old Door Headboard

How to make the door headboard:

Project time: 3-4 hours.

Cost: $50-90

Door. See my old post for tips on how to get a great old door cheap or free.

Electric sander $35

Primer $10-15

Paint $10-15 (see below for tips on how to get paint for cheap)

Sanding sponge $5

Mounting hardware $15

1. Sand. We used this electric sander. It’s one of the cheapest sanders you can buy at Home Depot, but it works to lightly sand surfaces in order to prepare them to be repainted or stained. Down side is you have to buy special Velcro sandpaper pads made for the shape of this sander. Other more expensive sanders have clips so you can attach regular sandpaper. One project blows through one or two of these pads, so buyer be aware. We also used a sanding sponge for harder to maneuver areas, such as grooves, holes, etc. It’s a very handy tool that works better than trying to do the same job with a flimsy piece of sandpaper.You don’t need an electric sander, you can just use 100 grit sandpaper. It will double or triple the time it takes to sand the surface. Sanding took about 1 hour for the whole front side of the door. I left the back as is, because no one will see it up against the wall. We wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust from sanding.

Old Door Headboard

2. Primer. You must paint your surface with primer for a number of reasons, some of them outlined here. Use a quality latex primer. They also have spray primers available that make the job a little quicker, just spray light and even so it doesn’t drip. Let it dry for maybe an hour or two, depending upon how dry and hot it is where you are, it may take longer in wetter areas.

Old Door Headboard

3. Paint. Use a semi-gloss paint if you want it a little glossy and a flat paint if you want it to have a more matte finish. We used a semi-gloss interior latex paint (left over from a bathroom I painted years ago). Check garage sales, Craigslist and “Oops” paint at home improvement stores for used paint. Once we picked up 5 cans of paint in an assortment of great colors off of someone’s lawn (it had a “free” sign on it, FYI). You can’t simply throw away paint, so many people try to give it away to avoid dealing with it. My experience with oil based paint is minimal, because it smells bad so I stick with latex.Let it dry and attach your mounting hardware.

4. Mount. Now here’s where you have to decide if you want it to attach to the wall or the bed frame. I decided that the wall was a better option, because it’s a heavy door and would probably be more stable attached to the wall (and it’s easier). We purchased 2 wall mounts to secure the door to the wall centered above our bed.  You can probably use just one of these mounts with some stick on bumpers to prevent the door from wobbling.  Done! Take a picture and make sure to show me how it turns out! :D

Old Door Headboard
Old Door Headboard

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A friend and I also started a couple wood spool coffee tables that are just about complete. It was really easy to do, but took a lot of sanding. I’ve always wanted to make a wood spool coffee table and one of the first project questions I ever asked Phillip was whether his dad could get a wood spool for me. Recently a friend of mine pinned a really clever spool coffee table/bookshelf idea on Pinterest and I got the bug again. A friend of ours is an electrician and knew of a local business that deals with heavy cable and wire. We name dropped and got access to a whole back alley full of these industrial spools. There were spools of all sizes, some coffee table size and some dinner table size. I imagine that if you are looking for a spool, ask around and see if you can’t find an electrician in the area that can locate some for you.

Here is a sneak preview of the project. I’ll post the complete how-to in a week or so.

Table 1: Stained.

Spool Coffee Table

Table 2: Painted (just primer in this shot, it still needs paint).

Wood Spool Table

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Last but not least, I have some plans to re-purpose some thrift store finds. I have a few things already, but I’ll be making a thrift store trip soon. I’m crossing my fingers that I find either some flowy dresses or skirts. Keiko Lynn’s got the idea here (also notice the abundance of rings). Love it.

Thakoon Addition skirt(see more long skirts)

Here’s my latest thrift store find that I’ll be altering soon.

Blue Dotted Dress

Phillip looked at me like I was crazy when I bought this, but I have big plans for it. The buttons on the back are my favorite part.

Dotted Blue Dress

Sourdoughs.

Sourdough Starter

The nickname for Alaskan homesteaders. Do you know why? Because supplies only came to these settlers once or twice a year and bread was a staple. The solution was to carry with them a sourdough starter to keep the yeast going for their bread. Either that (my recipe explains) or these old timers resembled the “indomitable sourdough starter…” That part made me laugh, because I can’t see myself calling a rough and tough homesteader a sourdough, because dough is too squishy.

There’s a tradition here out on the ranch, pancakes every Saturday. Rain or shine. Mom makes pancakes. Really good buttermilk pancakes. Since Phillip has been raised with this fantastic tradition, it’s just a way of life on Saturday morning to make pancakes. Recently, however, his mom gave me a whole packet of information on how to make a sourdough starter, pancakes, muffins, etc.

I’ve always wanted to make sourdough. When I was young, my parents owned a pizza parlor in Fallbrook, a small town up the road from where we live now. It was called Sourdough Pizza and they got their starters on a regular basis from bakery in San Fran. The pizza was delicious and everyone in Fallbrook loved it. I recently learned that it closed down, which is sad. My parents sold it a while back, but it had a good run.

Have you ever wanted to make fresh sourdough at home? Sourdough is unlike regular bread where you can just dump yeast in warm water, add salt and flour and go. Sourdough needs to be made from a starter that has been soured. I always thought you had to get a little batch from a very long standing strain of sourdough, but that’s not true. It’s nice to get a starter from a strain of sourdough that goes back 100 years, but if you’re like me, you don’t have any connections that good.

Actually, sourdough starters are easy! Not only are they easy, but when I made a starter, then next morning I had enough left over “sponge” to make sourdough pancakes. I didn’t know that you could make sourdough pancakes and it’s a shame because they are fantastic both in texture and flavor! Here’s a website that describes how to naturally start a sourdough starter and it’s a little more involved. We’ve started two starters, one using the method below and one using the method from this site. They use natural yeast that is always in the air, making the bread more resilient to mold and probably has a more sour taste (which I think was missing from the starter below, but it might need time to acquire that sour taste). If you’ve ever had a sour ale or brewed your own beer, you are well acquainted with this kind of yeast and probably try to stay far away from it because it tends to contaminate your brewing gear.

Here’s how to make your starter from a package of yeast. The starter itself will only be 1/2 cup of this stuff, the left over mixture will be enough to make a batch of pancakes or bread…

In a bowl mix well:

2 cups flour

2 cups warm water & 1 package dry yeast

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

It will look like this.

Sourdough Starter

Put this into a container (I used a corning-ware dish and plastic wrap to cover). Leave this at room temperature over night. This is now your “sponge.”

Side note: It’s important not to use anything metal in this process. (Stainless is probably OK for mixing.)

In the morning, put boiling water in a clean glass or ceramic container (mason jars work great) to make sure the container is sterilized and dump it out. Take 1/2 cup from the “sponge” and put it into your clean mason jar or container. Cover either with plastic wrap or the mason jar lid, but don’t tighten it. The starter will let off gas and expand. Put it in the fridge. This is your starter!

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Now make pancakes with everything that is left!

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Here’s the sourdough pancake recipe:

Serves 3.

The left over sponge, after you have removed your starter (should be about 2 cups)

1 or 2 eggs

1 Tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon soda dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

Beat with a fork and blend in all ingredients, except soda and water mixture. If you like, add a Tablespoon of milk to the recipe as well. Add the soda and water mixture right before baking. Bake on a hot griddle and only turn once (like any other pancake, but it’s worth repeating).

You can also add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, cornmeal, wheat germ or branflakes to the batter (two eggs will provide the liquid for this addition).

Sourdough Pancakes

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To use your starter later:

Create another sponge, by adding the starter to 2 cups flour and 2 cups warm water (just like the starter recipe, but no need for yeast now). Let this sit out, covered over night.  Then save a 1/2 cup of this sponge as your starter, just like before. Use the rest (should be about 2 cups) just as you did before in the recipe above.

Enjoy!

I hope to make a few loaves of sourdough bread this week and to experiment with muffins, sourdough wheat bread, sourdough french bread, etc. I’ll keep you posted if I find some good recipes.

We love joe.

We love coffee. 

Our most recent love affair has been with pour over coffee. Some call it “slow coffee”, some call it “by the cup” coffee. Whatever you call it, it’s the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. There is a whole subculture exploding around this coffee and for good reason.

Between the two of us, we can finish off about 3 pots of coffee in a day. Easy. He’s Dutch and I’ve been drinking coffee since I was like 9.  Actually, Phillip never drank coffee until he took a trip to Costa Rica in college. There he admired the coffee bushes everywhere. Then he split his time between drinking cafe con leche and rock climbing during his 2 year stint in Spain. I spent some time in Italy back in 2001 and really grew to appreciate delicious $1.00 cappuccinos at every gas station and one stove top cappuccino every hour when you were in someone’s home. I fell in love with Illy coffee and when I returned to the states, searched high and low for cafes that served it. I attempted to buy it, but at $15 a pound, it’s not really affordable. Together, we’ve learned to appreciate all sorts of coffee.

Phillip and I made it a point to stop by the best coffee shops in San Fran when we were there on our honeymoon. What we encountered was hipster heaven and super snobby coffee drinkers. All that aside, we discovered a whole world of pour over coffee and it’s science. You may ask, “What is pour over coffee?” Here’s a great article from the New York Times about the Japanese ancestry of pour over coffee and how it made its way to San Francisco. In Escondido, our town and a small suburb of San Diego, there’s a coffee shop called Blue Mug (El Norte location) that does pour over. They have a small brew bar set up and their coffee is pretty decent.

At home Phillip and I use a Chemex (a gift we registered for at William Sonoma and someone who loves us bought for us). The Chemex, featured above, claim to fame is that it makes the best cup of coffee in the world. This method proves convenient up at the ranch as it is “off the grid” compatible.  All our methods are simple with easy cleanup, beside the grinder, you don’t plug it in and they don’t take up much counter space in our economy size flat.  Another perk is you can take it with you (our Chemex just served 20+ breakfast in Joshua Tree National Park).  We usually buy Starbucks or Pete’s coffee, with occasional beans from boutique roasters (check out Escondido’s local). We use a burr grinder.

Put simply, burr grinder differs from other grinders because they grind coffee more uniformly, “Devices with rapidly rotating blades which chop repeatedly (see food processor) are often described as grinders, but are not burr grinders. Burr mills do not heat the ground product by friction as much as blade grinders, and produce particles of a uniform size determined by the separation between the grinding surfaces.” We pretty much follow the steps of the Chemex video below and every cup is phenomenal. The last piece of equipment that we are in need of is the Hario Buono Kettle. It looks a lot easier to pour than my water kettle at home.

I’m a fan of bold, dark roast coffee. Phillip loves medium roast. This was a problem when we visited Four Barrel where the server said they they “don’t do” dark roast coffee. That’s what they said. Whatever… your coffee doesn’t taste any better than Folgers to me.

:)

Like I said, I like dark roast. Luckily, there are people who still believe that you can do dark roast without ruining the flavor or burning the bean. Ritual Coffee was a much more down to earth coffee bar where the gentleman took 10 minutes to describe the process of brewing and tasting coffee properly. These two coffee spots are the most well known pour over coffee shops in the city.

We’ve been trying to share the love, buy giving a ceramic pour over funnel called a V60 to a friend in return for emceeing our wedding. He loves it, down to weighing his coffee and timing his pour. Awesome.

We also enjoy espresso at home from time to time.  Our preferred method is the stove top stainless steel espresso maker.  Everyone is familiar with the aluminum ones, but the stainless ones have risen in popularity after the aluminum cooking scare.  Phillip admired these stainless steel ones in the windows of the hardware stores in Spain, but could not sacrifice bus fare to climbing destinations to buy one.  Luckily, this too was a thoughtful wedding gift from a Lone Star coffee fan.

I just wanted to share our love for good coffee.

Enjoy these helpful and informative videos from Intelligentsia, one of the local pour over coffee joints in SoCal (Venice, CA). They have a video demonstrating how to use a V60 and a Chemex.

Chemex

Monadnock from Intelligentsia Coffee on Vimeo.

V60

Intelligentsia Chemex Brewing Guide from Intelligentsia Coffee on Vimeo.

Espresso

Espresso, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

Cappuccino

Cappuccino, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

Home Sweet Home

We’ve been married for a month and a half and one of the biggest surprises being married has been how quickly the time we have together passes by.  I always look forward to spending the evening doing projects and cooking dinner, but before you know it, it’s 10 and time for bed. We’re trying to settle in to our apartment slowly but surely and still have quite a bit of work to do.

After we returned from our honeymoon in San Francisco, Phillip immediately began working on installing our floors. Living on concrete was just not my thing. Once the dance floor at our reception in the shop, this beautiful laminate is now our kitchen floor. Phillip first put down the underlayment (the red stuff), which is pretty expensive stuff, and piece by piece put the floor together like a puzzle. I found out later that cardboard can be used as underlayment and it’s what most housing developments use!

After the kitchen floor was done, we began playing Tetris with our kitchen cabinets and decorating. A friend of mine recently inspired me to put up a rack for pots and pans. It’s something I’ve always admired in magazines and blogs, but those were designer kitchens with islands and high ceilings. Unfortunately, our ceilings are low on the bottom story so I didn’t think it was possible. Then it dawned on me to put up a coat rack, since we have a few laying around in the Shop. We slipped a few pots and pans on it and bingo, a wall rack for our pots and pans. A good solution to free up space!

To save even more space, we put up a wine glass rack that we got as a wedding gift from Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s perfect above the sink because A) there was space for it and B) you can wash and hang the glasses to drip dry. It works great and looks good, saving us a whole shelf or more in our cabinets! See that 3 drawer bread box thing? That was yet another treasure found in the Shop during clean up! It’s got a space for bread, potatoes and onions. I love it. Since we plan on having a big garden, this will come in handy. I think it would be rather easy to build something similar with shelves or cubbyholes for storing veggies and bread. Project idea?

I spotted this copper rack at a local antique consignment shop for only $125. I can’t use it because my ceilings are too low, but it was a beauty. Just had to share…  This is the ultimate rack.

Many of the cards we received from our wedding were hand made or very creative, so we wanted to show them off a bit. I strung them up in our dining room. Not sure when I’ll take them down. For now, it works well in place of actual art.

Remember one of Phillip and I’s first projects, the cork board? I’d collected corks over a long period of time working as a cocktail waitress during my undergrad and acquired an old, glassless, gold frame from a friend. We painted it with crackle medium from JoAnn’s and white paint. Phillip’s sister used it to display pictures at her wedding reception and so did we.  Now it’s in our hallway.

We also got started on our patio. Rather than pay top dollar for pavers or a wood deck, we used a stack of broken concrete that Phillip’s dad had been storing. It’s usually pretty easy to come by, because people are always demolishing concrete. Not only is it super cheap, but it’s also a good way to reuse material that would typically end up going to waste.

This is my official before picture. Notice the dirt and aimless plants.

Patio construction

Patio construction

We put pavers around the perimeter and then filled the center with sand so we could adjust the height of the concrete pieces. We used a level to make sure they were all on the same plane and pitch (sloping down away from the front door a hair). Then we pour concrete and smoothed it out a bit, giving it a quick brush with an old broom to give it the classic broom finish.

Patio construction

We also added some broken tile pieces (lovely landfill that’s spread all over the place out here).

Patio construction

We also had some help. :)

Patio Construction

My brother threw together a planter box for me in like 5 minutes. He used the chop saw to cut the ends and just nailed these 1.5″ x 11″ boards together. I desperately needed a place to plant some of the plants from the reception, because they weren’t doing so hot stuck in their plastic pots.

Planter box

We are still working on getting the patio finished and the plants planted. It turned out to be a little time consuming to make sure all the pieces were level and to spread the concrete, but two weeks (really only about 3-4 days of actually working on it here and there) is not too bad.  I’ll give an update as soon as we are done.

Chick Moment

For starters, here’s a great clip. Do you know people like this? I hope it’s not me. It is isn’t it?

So Polyvore says for Spring 2012, “With the warm season approaching, we’re taking cues from the spring 2012 runways for fresh makeup trends to try. Classic red lips, cat eyes, sun-kissed cheeks, strong brows and smokey eyes are all on the horizon.”

Yeah! These are a few of my favorite things!

Also, I’m in love with chunky rings and bright colors. You can kind see the bright color trend in shoes and even furniture! I can see where the neon trend is going, but I think the farthest I can go is neon purple, which never gets that bright.

Baggu.

These Baggu leather bags and pouches are kinda awesome. Now I’m not wealthy enough to own one of these, but they aren’t terribly priced. I’m going to make my own out of fabric, because I think the design is cute. And I will just dream of the real leather one.

Fork Rings.

This tutorial on More Design Please shows you how to make these. I’ve got a few old forks and spoons laying around and I can’t wait to try it. Two birds with one stone: chunky ring and DIY craft I’ve been wanting to try. Also, the bright furniture I’ve featured here I found on their blog. They incorporate a few neon colored pieces into rooms with relatively neutral colors and simple clean design. I really enjoy the look!

But, I digress…

So, when I said “chick moment”, what I really wanted to tell you about wasn’t shoes and trends. As much as I love exploring current trends and finding a  way to incorporate repurposed products into those current trends… I was actually going to tell you about our newest addition to our household–our chicks! We bought chickens! Yes, just a month ago I was living in a condo in town, now I have chickens.

Phillip and I headed over to the feed store and purchased 3 chickens last Saturday afternoon. They are three different breeds: an Astrolorp, an Americana, and a Dominique. We actually named the Americana and the Dominique after their breed names. I know, really original. The Astrolorp is a tiny little thing, a couple weeks younger than the other two. She is adorable and wont stop peeping. We’re building a coup and a little chicken run behind the shop in what use to be Phillip’s brother’s soccer field when he was a kid. For now, they are in a cardboard box in our dining room. Lovely.

In a few months we will have fresh, free-range, (insert all sorts of other foodie terms) farm eggs. They are super easy. Food + water = chickens that will one day give you a daily supply of eggs.

The youngest is always trying to hide under the other two. We shall call her “Chiquita”.

 “Americana” (on the left) and “Dominique” (on the right).

Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse… on the Ranch.

Before I begin, doesn’t this lamp now at Target…

look just like this?

Here’s the tutorial of how to do it. Turn an old brass lamp from a thrift store into a beauty like this.

Home projects again.  Here are some practical and not so practical projects that I’ve been saving up and we hope to tackle this month. The projects are stacking up and I can’t wait to start actually accomplishing them.

Old Door Headboard

Old doors are not terribly hard to come by, but at first glance you may ask, “Where in the world do I find an old door?” Check out Craigslist and consider putting out an add on Craigslist for old doors. Another option for finding old doors, windows, etc. is Architectural Salvage or Builders Trading Co if you are in the San Diego area. Phillip’s dad got a few from a remodel he did, so we snagged it when we were cleaning out the shop.

Here are some other woodworks in the works:

Salvaged wood coffee table

Wood Spool coffee table and bookshelf.

Pallet wood flooring? Here is an article about it.

Have you ever heard of reclaimed wood? There are companies in the area that supply reclaimed wood from buildings that have been remodeled or deconstructed. This is a great way to be conserve and to get a great vintage look for your wood floors and other wood projects!
Here’s an example: Stone Brewery used reclaimed wood for their bar and tables. Personally, I want to do reclaimed wood floors like these.

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Record Clock

This record project would be more for classic records you actually want to display, but are not playable.

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Room divider

This is a generic picture, but I have some old closet doors that look just like these that we are going to turn into a room divider. In 500 of square feet (the total for our apartment), we have to transform our bedroom into a living space for company as well. We’re going to try this. We’re also going to use it in the Shop to fence off our makeshift dining room. I would like to make it a chevron pattern (AKA Charlie Brown’s t-shirt pattern)! OoooOOOoo. The bed in the picture above has a Chevron comforter pattern. This pattern has totally gone viral over the past year and I just saw Chevron pillows at Target. Finally, I’m going to get on the bandwagon. I’ll post pictures when they are done.

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Rake Jewelry Hanger

I think I’m going to put one of these on the inside of the closet door of our wardrobe. We’ll see. Since we live on a ranch, old rakes aren’t hard to come by. They are pretty common in antique stores as well. You might even be able to find some vintage looking ones.

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Burlap Picture Matt

So we have a lot of burlap left over from the wedding… this will be the first of many burlap projects to come. Addicted to Decorating gives a tutorial, which says she got the key from Michaels and she painted cheap frames. In addition to this project, she lists 45 other ways to use Jute and Burlap for projects! Personally, I chose about 5 that I think would be really cool to do.

Burlap picture matts

Apartment Therapy does it again, burlap table runners.

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Tin Can Candle Lamp

I wanted to make these for the wedding reception, but I didn’t have time. They are so cute! Think of all the canned beans, fruit, or tomato sauce you’ve used in the past year and how awesome your lanterns would be strung up along your back patio.

I’ll post pictures as we actually accomplish this stuff…

Have any cool repurposing projects that you’ve done lately?