Thursday, January 31, 2013

Limey!

Ok. So for months I have been looking for lime recipes. I found a few recipes, not many are really useable. I failed and wasted lots of limes. But, one thing that is no fail, making lime juice and freezing it for future use. My problem has been using a hand squeeze juicer. Too many limes for these arthritic hands. So, Hubby let me order the attachment for the KitchenAid. Surprise, it isn't expensive, not from Amazon, and since I was ordering another attachment (the slicer/shredder seen in an earlier post) there wasn't shipping!
Yesterday I tried it out and with the gathered limes, I juiced six cups worth! They are in the freezer. Yay!
For the DIYer in the kitchen, it is a good thing to have tools that can help. I was skeptical about how well it would work, but no more. Since my KitchenAid is out 24/7, having the attachments for it made sense (and cents..LOL). Waste not, want not....right?
Take care,
Nancy

Monday, January 28, 2013

New detergent

Yesterday, I had to make a new batch of "detergent". It has been six months. Yes, I said 6 months!
My laundry soap/detergent lasts 6 months. I have a new washing machine and with it one uses less detergent. So, it goes even further!
Because getting the washing soda is difficult, I order it online. So, last time I ordered, I double ordered. That was six months ago....even I have a hard time believing it.
It bears repeating the recipe for those who are interested. It is a good one. I got the recipe online from different blogs....they all share it.

First, the hardest part....grate three bars of soap (Castile, Fels Naptha or Zapote)
 Here I am using my new Kitchen-aid shredder, which does an amazing job. But, the last couple of loads I have used other graters, one by hand and the other a Cuisinart. They give larger shreds, but they still work fine. This grater did give me a wonderful small fluffy grind....
After grating the soap, add...
4 lbs. of baking soda
1 box of borax (about 4 lbs.)
1 box of washing soda (just shy of 4 lbs.)
Mix in a Large container....it makes a large amount....
The mixing is the second hardest job. Getting it all stirred together.
For HE machines 1 TBS is all you need. Occasionally, I need a touch more and badly soiled items I throw in a little of Oxy clean.
Yup. That's it.
It makes things smell wonderfully clean without perfumes and additives.

How much did it cost you ask? Well, let's review. I had to order the Washing soda (drugstore.com) so for my ease, I ordered everything so it was less gas than driving to stores. Washing Soda is NOT available here in So. Cal. I tried and went everywhere.
You can get Castile or Fels Naptha or Zapote most places. I used Castile....I am not allergic to it.
So, all purchased, it cost $12 (even with shipping).
I lost count how many loads....even with just the two of us at home I do tons of laundry, especially at this time of year with two active often wet and dirty labrador retrievers.
It actually cost less than 10 cents per load. If you add a bit of Oxi clean it will go up a few cents more.
Seriously.
I used to buy the Arm & Hammer allergy detergent. It cost $10 for 60 loads. That detergent is still out there, but sometimes I would have to go to a couple of stores as it would be out of stock.
Oh, I should mention. I purchased the Borax 6 months ago, it sat in the garage waiting to be used....it became a giant clod with moisture. So, if you like to stock up....keep that in mind. Breaking it up wasn't hard to do, but it added to the chore a bit.
Well, off to do laundry.....
Have a great day!
Nancy


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday breakfast

As we were enjoying our coffee on this drizzly Sunday morning, I realized that breakfast was all homemade. That is a rarity in this suburban world. I figured I would share it with you. Something to be considered.....
First, last night's bread. I used a basic French bread recipe.
Second, yogurt cheese. This is so simple and so yummy!
Yogurt cheese, is yogurt (I used Greek yogurt) that has been drained of its whey. You can do this too! Use cheese cloth, lined in a strainer. Pour in your yogurt, preferably a plain yogurt with no sugar. Wrap it tightly and hang (I have used the kitchen faucet to hang it up over a bowl). These days I now have a cheese strainer.
I get the yogurt in a cheese cloth lined strainer, then drop it into this strainer, which I then set in a bowl. If I am not using it in a couple of hours, I will put it in the fridge, but I let it drain at room temp first.
Third, I put marmalade on top, that I made a little while ago with my daughter.
How bad is that?? Yummy homemade breakfast, that urge you to try sometime. Homemade is good for the soul as well as the body. No preservatives. No conditioners. No chemicals added. Just basic healthy ingredients.
Fourth, coffee, which we made in a coffee maker....My Hubby made a joke that we should grow our own coffee....LOL. Well, we didn't get it from a coffehouse......
Good fuel to get going. I think today I will do the laundry (with homemade laundry soap I might add), and make a table runner.
Have a great day!
Nancy

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bread baking

Ok, so for years I have made bread, lots of different breads, with different flours and different shapes.
I now have a favorite brand of flour that I found recently at a restaurant supply that also serves homemakers.
It is White Lily flour. It is ultra soft and yummy. The bread dough rises faster and bakes faster...no, it is just regular yeast...only the flour has changed.
These loaves were put in the oven and then I remembered I needed to brush it with egg wash, so the process of taking it out and then brushing it made it fall, a touch....but, the flavor and texture and overall yumminess, that didn't change.
I am also using two clay pans that I have....
This one is a Romertopf bottom (a two piece clay baker). These bakers are fantastic and if you see one at a thrift store (where I have found all mine, they cost $50 and up at Sur La Table) get it! There are clay cookery recipes online....you won't be disappointed.
The other clay pan,

is a glazed, clay loaf pan that I picked up at a thrift store, which says it is made in the USA. A very vintage piece that was barely used. It is also fabulous. 
I have also used the recipe and shaped it for French bread loaf, a free form on a cookie sheet...all have been excellent. The other thing that is interesting? I have a sensitivity to wheat, but apparently, when I make bread with wheat, I don't seem to be having the same trouble! Well, except that it is making me fat....homemade bread is delicious and irresistible. 
I hope your weekend is restful and full.
Nancy

going to Peinture

Last night was the Grand Opening of Peinture here in Costa Mesa, CA.
It was wonderful!
Debbie has done an awesome job with the store....simply amazing things. There is a whole wall of chairs, one with each Annie Sloan color (you will have to go see the wall of chairs, it was too hard to get in a picture).
There are huge pieces that hold all the paint....and with this huge store, with ceilings that are about 20 feet tall, they make the store feel like home.
Need a class to learn how to do techniques? She has those too. Amazing!!
 See these really tall bookcases?? Debbie painted those herself with Graphite. And that delightful chandelier? It is in Emperor's Silk. It is all simply yummy!

It was wonderful! Thanks Debbie for such wonderful evening! We are thrilled to have you here!
Nancy

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crafting

Lately, I have been working on table runners. I have one I finished that is patchwork and quilted, but because it is a gift, I am not going to show it....I don't want her to see it.
I also made a table runner from a piece of dropcloth. Yup, Dropcloth.



I have been using dropcloths since I read about them almost a year ago. I just made new drapes in the family room and most recently in the dining room. I was tired of dark brown shiny drapes, and even though they were lined, weren't all that warm. These are perfect! The dropcloth material that I bought several months ago was a different lot, and newer ones are more cotton duck cloth, but the color is good and they are durable. And at $10 for a 6 x 9 panel, who can complain? My daughter said yesterday, "...it is calming in here..."
I have been admiring other rooms where it is basically monochromatic in color and the soothing part is what I was going for. I am pleased that is what she said. It made my heart sing.
Making the drapes wasn't hard. Since the dropcloths are not seamed and they are finished edges, all I had to do was, measure and stitch two lines. I wanted a ruffle at the top, that is my personal taste. For others, a single stitch line will provide a rod pocket.

They do "puddle" on the floor by about 4", but I actually like that. So, someone else might want to either raise their curtain rod or hem them...but since I am actually lazy...I have learned to like "puddling" and it helps with cold that seeps in from windows.
Yesterday, I was sitting at my place at the table, and was looking at a decorative glazed ceramic piece that it an "artichoke". It was a creamy yellowy color and very shiny. I no longer liked it's color, and it seemed to grate at me. I have been wanting to do something with it. Then I thought....maybe ASCP.
So, before my Hubby knew what was happening while he was drinking coffee at the other end of the table, I pulled out French Linen and my brushes, put on my painting apron and painted. He remarked. "It looks more like an artichoke!" Ah Ha!
Two coats later, and some wax.....


The brown is a heavy coat of wax used to highlight....and this hasn't been "buffed" yet as I wanted to be sure the paint and wax stay put...but, to me it is so much better. It looks like more of a statement and more three D. (Sorry, I always forget the before picture).
So, that is what I have been up to the last few days.

I am off to get some more thread....my present project is mid sewing and I ran out! Yikes!
I hope you have a blessed day full of energy and creativity!
Nancy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making bread

Do you bake bread? From scratch?
I have loved to make it for years, but lately, I have this one recipe for French Bread (not sourdough) that is easy and fun and apparently quick. Really.
Yesterday, I made two loaves of bread in 2 hours. Of course, we had a very warm day and the dough was cooperating.
The first loaf, I tried to rush, feeling so confident....and poured in all the flour at the same time. It was good, but a bit tough.
The second loaf, I was more careful in the addition of the flour and then, at the end I was out of flour. So, looking in the cupboard I found with no more flour to spare, and I only needed a bit I added Old Fashioned Oats. Yup, I did.
And you know what? It was the best loaf! We ate it tonight with our stew....very yummy.
Let me know.
Do you bake bread?
Nancy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The rusty hook

Months ago I found a rusty hook. Not just any hook, but a very old hook that was just waiting for a job. So, I bought it. Then, the poor hook just sat in my craft room. I would see it, but nothing came to mind.
I played with the idea to have it with my chandelier in the kitchen, but the bottom part obviously attaches to another piece, which I don't have, and it is a bit too heavy in structure and weight. So, again, it sits.

The rusty patina is lovely, the shape is perfect, and it is charming. But, it just sits.
It is this "tail" that holds me back. And, the whole thing weighs 1.5 pounds.
I need someone to give this a home.
If you are interested, I posted it in the store, WildOakDesigns.etsy.com.
I would love to see what you do with it....
Nancy

Friday, January 18, 2013

Garden plans

My seeds are here and at the ready....
What are you planning for your garden?
This year we have two more boxes planned....
Those boxes are going to be out front, one on each side of the birdbath! Yup, my neighbors are going to be shocked I am sure.....but instead of a collection of pots, we are just going to do a couple of boxes! In the boxes, we are planning one tomato plant each held up with this obelisk.
 It stands 4 ft. tall, so it is a bit small, but I couldn't ignore that darling acorn finial! Where did I get it?? Why Lowe's of course! It was $16.48 and all I had to do was put the cross pieces in. They give you an option of course, and you can use a pot in the center to hold it open, but I want it in the center of the new box, one on each side.
We think at this point the boxes will be painted black as we have decorative shutters that are black and a bench out front that is also black, so we think the obelisks will also be painted black, what do you think?? Chime in and let us know!
Nancy

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making Wine

Our children gave us a give membership for Purple Feet which is a company that helps people make wine and you get 12 bottles of wine.
Ours was a Cabernet Sauvingnon, which we named after a red rose that grows in both our yards, Black Magic.
The wine is yummy and it was so much fun making it.
Here it is....


We let the kids take home 6, we kept six and 12 goes to the company for them to share at their annual party they throw every year and showcase the wines of the year. Ours was the last wine for the party which will be in July.
Our daughter designed the label which is taken from a picture she took of one of the roses that was recently cut. Yup, even with our frosts, the rose keeps blooming!
So, look for a Purple Feet near you, it is a lot of fun.
Nancy

Join the Club!

Are you a follower of WildOakDesigns??
Do you watch us on Facebook?
Have you looked at our store?
If so, you are in the Club!
What does that mean?
It means that you can save an additional 10% on purchases from the store! 10% off of our already low prices! Just use the Coupon code at checkout :ClubWildOak
That's right...join the club!
We have vintage items and lots of linens for sale...as well as handmade baby quilts, table runners and other items that would be perfect in your home or as gifts!
Spread the word and let's grow the Club!
ClubWildOak that is....




Monday, January 14, 2013

New ceiling fan and dinner

First, we had to replace the ceiling fan in the family room. We had an issue with a roof leak that went down into the old ceiling fan and onto the coffee table. It was a mess. So, we bought a fan and had our contractor Kobi put it in, minus the swag that was on the old one. Oh so nice!!

And while that was going on, I made a loaf of French bread and a stew. Yummmmmm

And the kids are coming to dinner and then we are off to cork our wine at Purple Feet....
Have a great evening....
Nancy

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New drapes

Ok, this is not my idea alone, but a great one to share.
I have been wanting different drapes, I no longer love these dark brown drapes in the family room. Yes, they are lined and help keep out the cold, but, the dark brown is too dark and heavy. So, with permission to look for new ones I went out on the hunt. Drapes are NOT cheap. Even the so called "cheap" ones are $20+ a panel. I need at least six just for the family room. Yup, do the math.
So, I remembered advice from Miss Mustard Seed and others....dropcloths. Yes, you read right. Dropcloths.
So, while I was out I went to Lowe's and bought the dropcloths. Now, the price has gone up a bit (what hasn't?), but still at $10 and a bit of sewing it is a steal!
Even if you didn't want to sew and just used clips, it would be fabulous!
I wanted a similar look to what I had, just softer and lighter. We tested one for several days to see if too much cold gets in through the windows. It wasn't significant.
If you did not know it was a dropcloth, it looks all the world like some expensive fabric...seriously. Which why so many bloggers are using them for upholstery and drapes!
The catch you ask? You need to wash them....in my case twice and use a fabric sheet in the dryer. And,  I am sewing them. But, they are already finished on the sides so all I have to do is measure and stitch a rod pocket!
Not bad on the pocket book!
 This is a short curtain I made from previous remnants I had for this old door. This window leaks air like crazy!!! (And this is the door to the garbage cans, who wants to see them???


The overall effect is calming. Not a bright white, a creamy natural color that just soothes. Even Hubby said so.
What did the other drapes look like?? Well, I haven't finished making the rest, so here they are....
 There is a great deal of sunlight coming in this morning, but you can still see how dark they are, especially next to a dark desk (which I am thinking about painting)....(oh, and I am taking down the little chandelier here, it isn't needed in this spot...)
Yup, that's me in the mirror....and my windows are dirty due to the weather...but again, you get the "gist" of it.
I will post again with the final finish when I am done....
These drapes are about 8 years old and have held up well, but it is time for a change....
Have a great day, I am off to the Farmer's Market....
Nancy

Friday, January 11, 2013

Soda bread

I was given a wonderful book for my birthday.
Homemade Winter by Yvette van Boven...
This is a book for the adventurous, the dreamers and the cooks....it is a delight for the eyes and the stomach.
Today, I followed her recipe for Brousse cheese and brown soda bread. Both of which will be on tomorrow morning's menu.
However, my Hubby cannot walk past any just out of the oven bread...so of course we had to cut into it. I served it to him with our fresh made two days ago orange marmalade. I had a taste....it was tres yummy....
I actually played with her recipe and plan to often...it is a fun and easy recipe...perfect for a cold day.
The buttermilk portion was replaced by the whey I got from the making of the Brousse cheese, which is in the fridge at this moment....
What fun!
This is the whey from the cheese, at least what is left...there was quite a bit....

 She recommends not overmixing it and making it tough....
I like to bake in clay cookware...it is fabulous! I recommend it!
This bread is made with oatmeal, regular flour and rye (I substituted the rye as I didn't want to use wheat germ)....and is a country hearty bread....
Have you played with Irish Soda Bread?? Usually, it is made with white flour and raisins...this was a nice switch.....Oh and the author has the regular recipe in her book too.
Oh, and the cheese you ask, well...it is a soft cheese somewhat similar to ricotta or goat cheese and is made with cow's milk and goat's milk. A great recipe bakes it and makes it hot and then serves it with bread and or fruit.....
Have a great evening...
Nancy

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Painting Furniture

Those of you who follow me, know that I garden, I sew and I paint.
Lately, with the weather I should have been gardening, it has been warm of late. But, I discovered the new store, Peinture, that was opened by Debbie. It was exciting to meet her, since I have only talked with her via internet. She has opened this store where you can learn how to paint with Chalk Paint or just go in and breathe the creativity!
Since I have been painting, getting the paint required going to Orange where she has a booth at Country Roads or emailing and getting paint via mail (I didn't want to drive to Anaheim Hills).
Now, her store is in my backyard (so to speak)! Easy for me to get inspiration and paint. How cool is that??
Anyway, I just needed to paint.
So, I bought some more French Linen and decided to paint our bedroom lamps. They are small lamps but years ago I painted them with a dark brown paint, which back then was an improvement. But since we painted our bedroom, they were just too dark and heavy feeling. So, with approval from Hubby, I painted them using a formula from Debbie. Just to see how that worked. The difference is amazing!
Sorry, I was so excited to paint, I forgot to take a before picture.
Then, I painted the chair in the family room. I have been dying to paint it, but wasn't at all sure what to paint. In fact, when I bought it at a garage sale, that is why I bought it....but then the wood and its scroll cuts and softness just made me want to live with it for a while. Until yesterday. Then, it hit me. Use the same formula for the chair. It turned out so well, my Hubby has given me permission to paint anything in the family room. Hummmmmm
 Here is the picture as I just started painting so you can see the before....
 Just finished....

 And here it is in its spot in the family room......

If you want the formula Debbie gave me, you will just have to visit her store. She is a wealth of information.
The upholstery is a grainsack that I purchased from Grainsack the store on Etsy. She has the most wonderful collection of grainsacks anywhere and most are ready to do your projects...beautiful and most are affordable, well more than most vendors I have to say.
This chair was a project. When I redid it, I removed all the old covering which was quite a task, and then used some leftover linen blend fabric for the bottom and the rest was the grainsack. The seat back is cut and then most of it is hand sewn (by myself) to the chair as staples wouldn't attach. The seat cushion is a down pillow. The back pillow is a remnant of the grainsack.
So, what do you think?
I am working on a couple of other things in this room, so I will show more later......
Nancy