I hope it’s filled with plenty of fun-size Laffy Taffy and Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups!
All posts in category Projects & DIY
Posted by Erin on October 31, 2012
Ever since the first cucumber seed went in the earth this past spring, Mr. Thirdrow has been looking forward to homemade pickles. The summer harvest came and went. We had a bounty of tomatoes, but only four cucumbers. There were lovely on our salads and spared from the pickle jar.
Even though I couldn’t deliver on my straight-from-the-garden pickles, Mr. Thirdrow has graciously settled for straight-from-the-store-bought-cucumber pickles. These were amazingly easy and I’m certain this won’t be the last veggie pickled in our kitchen in the weeks to come.
Easy Refrigerator Pickles
adapted from allrecipes.com
3 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 lbs pickling cucumbers, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
Bring the vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil over medium heat. Stir until sugar is fully disolved. Distribute veggies evenly between glass jars. Fill jars 3/4 full with pickling liquid. Allow to cool, refrigerate, and enjoy!
Posted by Erin on September 11, 2012
Our beautiful wedding album arrived in the mail yesterday. I barely did anything else before I tore open the package and went through it page by page. It’s only been seven months since that wonderful day and looking through the pictures helped me remember the moments I’ve already forgotten. I’m such a blessed girl.
A huge thank you to our photographers, Jim and Matt Britton, who did such a great job capturing our special day.
I designed our wedding album using mixbook.com and have been incredibly pleased with the experience. I’m sure I’ll use them again!
Posted by Erin on June 6, 2012
Just a few weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of a hand-me-down sewing machine. It’s beautiful. I love it. I think I’ve told my best friend at least four times since that we are now unstoppable as far as crafts are concerned. I feel like I can tackle any DIY project. Sewing machine in tow we can make curtains! napkins! table cloths! dresses! and pillows! Yay for pillows.
Last summer I bought fabric to recover some blah brown throw pillows in the living room, but being without a sewing machine, the project never really got off the ground. Well, last weekend Mr. Thirdrow was out of town so I set up shop in the living room and went to town. Here’s how I took our throw pillows from blah brown to beautiful. Keep in mind, this isn’t a fancy tutorial and I’m just a beginner, but I believe in you. Give it a try!
You’ll need some pretty fabric. The pillows I was covering were about 18″ square. I used about 1/2 yard of fabric, a 12″ (or appropriate size) invisible zipper, scissors, iron, thread, sewing machine. I found that Jo-Ann‘s fabrics and crafts was a great store for all of my supplies. They were friendly and helpful. They even have an iPhone app with coupons!
I have been in love with this patterned fabric for ages, but thought that it might be a little much for the entire front of my pillow cover. So, I decided to go with stripes on the front and then a solid green square for the reverse side. There was no complicated math involved here. I simply decided how many stripes I wanted, adjusted for the 1/4″ seam on each side, and sliced up the fabric. All you need is the calculator app on your phone for these calculations. Promise.
Once you’ve sewn all of your pieces together, take a few minutes and iron the underside of your pillow square to ensure that all of your seams are nicely flattened in the same direction. This will help it look nicer when it’s stuffed and on your sofa and also makes the next sewing steps a little easier.
When you have your two sides of the pillow cover sewn up and ready to assemble, it’s time to tackle the zipper. Zipper installation is all new to me. I’ve never done one before and it was surprisingly simple – although most of the credit goes to the zipper foot on the sewing machine! I fumbled my way through the first zipper by guessing at each step, but then, after a little googling, found a super helpful video tutorial. You should definitely take the time to watch this before you attempt your first zipper (also the ladies have British accents which makes them even more awesome).
Once the zipper is in you’re basically finished! Turn your pillow cover right side out and insert your old pillow or pillow form. That’s it! New pillows for less than $20. I think the new colors really changed our living space. I am a happy girl!
Happy pillow making!
Posted by Erin on April 25, 2012
Spring will officially begin in less than two weeks! Eek! Last weekend we spent some time getting ready to plant our garden. We’ve been planning like crazy and this was our first project day of the season – building our raised beds for the garden. Truth be told the project day really took two days….but we had a lot of unplanned for interruptions. If you are planning to build your own raised beds I would say that you could do it in a long afternoon. Once we got into the groove we were able to build one box in about 45 minutes with two people working.
We are putting our raised-beds on our parking pad because that’s where we have extra space. As a result, our garen beds will have bottoms which isn’t traditional, but we’ve read that it can work. They will also be 12″ deep since they won’t be going into our yard. To make a box like ours you will need:
2″x12″s cut into four pieces
A sheet of plywood cut into two 2′x4′ pieces (we used two total sheets for four boxes)
Many 2 and 3 inch deck screws
One 2″x4″ about seven feet long
Step 1: Measure and cut all of the 2″x12″ pieces so that you have four sides of your box ready to screw together. For one of our boxes we cut them into two pieces that were 45″ long and 2 pieces that were 48″ long. For the other we cut all four pieces 46.5″ long. Either way, when fitted together both mixes make a 48″ or 4′ square which is what we wanted.
Step 2: Line up the four sides to make a square. Drill guiding holes for the screws into each seam – 3 per side. Evenly spread wood glue along the seams and press together. Using 3″ deck screws, screw the four sides together.
Step 3: Lay the two pieces of plywood over the top of the square. This will make the bottom of your box. Use 3″ deck screws to attach the plywood to the square base around the perimeter – don’t be stingy with those screws you want this to be firmly attached.
Step 4: Apply the 2″x4″ piece cut into chunks – 1 48″ piece across the center and 4 other chunks for the corners – to the bottom of the box. This will slightly raise your box off the ground which will be important for good drainage. The long piece is also meant to provide extra support along the plywood seam on the bottom of the box.
Step 5: Using a large drill bit, drill drainage holes in the bottom of your box. We drilled in a zig zag pattern with holes about 4-6″ apart.
Posted by Erin on March 8, 2012
A new month, a fresh start. I love seeing our budget categories set back to zero. This month, I’m doing my best to cook out of our pantry and make recipes that use things we already have around the kitchen. I’m also trying to cook things that use some of the same ingredients so that I don’t have to buy too many new specialty items and can those that I do purchase I can get in bulk and use more than once.
Here’s what’s in the line up this week.
Posted by Erin on February 5, 2012
Our dear friend is celebrating a special birthday this month. She has requested that there be no parties or hoop-la to celebrate the big 5-0. She is a busy lady, most generous with her time and talents, and I would imagine that a party may be more stressful than fun. So, her husband had to get a little sneaky in order to honor her on her special day and is having her friends send in birthday cards early. He hopes to amass a whole pile of them to present to her on her birthday. What a lovely idea!
Since we are on a tight budget and birthday cards tend to be kind of pricey (at least for the cute ones), I decided to use up some odds and ends in my craft box and make a unique card to send. I saw this card on Pinterest.com a while back and thought it looked festive and also simple to make.
I used some leftover ribbon, craft paper scraps, and an orphaned envelope to create my own version. It was pretty easy and I had a cute, unique card to send off to my friend that took less time than a trip to the store and no money!
Posted by Erin on January 25, 2012
This year for Christmas our family decided to do a home-made Christmas. So exciting! So overwhelming! After a wedding at the end of October, it seemed like the holidays really snuck up on us this year, but we were up to the challenge and right away knew we wanted to try our hand at home-made soaps. Mr. ThirdRow gave me soap-making supplies for my 30th birthday last summer and I’d been distracted by wedding planning ever since. This was the perfect time to give it a go!
It was an intense process. Using lye meant rubber gloves, safety goggles, and aprons – not a very glamorous process it turns out. Mr. ThirdRow was in on the action when we brought out the drill and paint-stirring attachment to mix the melted fats with the lye.
We made three different batches of soap this time around – lemongrass, spanish sage, and lavender. Next time, I’ll be sure to do a better job of documenting the process for those of you who might like to give it a try. Until then, you should check out some of the different resources that we used for inspiration (below)
. Soap making can be dangerous if you’re not careful with the lye, so be sure to read up before you jump in.
We had a great time and I think our final product was a huge hit. More soap coming soon!
Smart Soapmaking; Anne L. Watson
Basic Soap Making; Elizabeth Letcavage
Posted by Erin on January 8, 2012