Friday, June 25, 2010

Bookcase - Finished!

The bookcase is finished! Don't look too closely or you may question my use of the term "finished"... But it looks complete enough and is fully functional so I'm done!

Note to self: Do NOT let the guy who made the wrong cuts pick out new pieces for you. He has shown his incompetence in cutting and it may carry over to his 1x4 choosing - and you might get several pieces of curvy, crooked, junk wood. Which you cannot make straight by trying to nail the heck out of it. Please don't look at the side of my bookcase.

That unstained piece there? Was supposed to be the bottom shelf. You can't
see the other side, but it
is stained - and facing this way, would be against
the floor. Had to pull
apart and redo it.

I did like making this, though! I learned several things (see above), including a lot about staining, drilling, and following your plans! I had to make a few adjustments due to my own forgetfulness. I forgot to attach two pieces in the right order, and unless I was going to try to pull them back out I had to just go with it. I didn't realize until later that that meant I had to alter several other pieces also, but hey - it holds books.

Staining the wood. I used Minwax gel stain in Cherrywood. This was
pine, so I used the pre-stain conditioner, too, which worked well.

I also made some fabric baskets to hold our bits of stuff that didn't have a home. It added some nice color to our beige rental. The blue and green vases I got from Cost Plus when they were giving away gift cards for helping review their website - they've been boxed up for over a year, waiting for a place to belong. The little owl was something my Dad brought me from a trip to Italy, and it sat on my desk in college. His beak is broken, but I think it just gives him character. :) I made sure the bottom shelf could hold binders, since we have several and they're kind of hard to store. It was really nice to be able to customize everything.

I realized we have way too many books for one bookcase, though. I actually suspected that already, since this is what we had in our old apartment:

Two bookcases. But this being my first building project, my hubby thought one would be more practical than two. I'm sure one got completed much more quickly than two, and even that took plennnnty of time. So, it turns out he was right (shhhh...).

Also - this bookcase was practically free because we bought it with a gift card we got with our credit card rewards. Score! Can't wait to try something else from Knock-Off Wood. I'm thinking some nightstands are in order... Perhaps something like this?

One item checked off the list, another one added.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Puppy Pillow

I've been busy working on several different projects - including trying to figure out my little camera. The following pictures are not great, but hey, it's a work in progress (well, I'm hoping there will be progress).

A few weeks ago I made a pillow for Giuseppe, our dog. He loves laying on blankets, throw pillows, etc. I wanted him to have his own because I didn't like sharing, haha.

This puppy pillow cost me about $4. I bought the center pieces at Joann's as discontinued samples. They're a tough, stain resistant/water resistant/who-knows-what-else material, which is nice because, well, our dog lays on it. The red fabric is recycled, although I can't remember where it came from. The stuffing is from an old pillow that had been replaced. (And why I still had it, I don't know.)

I had my first try making mitered corners and boxed edges with this pillow. It wasn't too hard. I looked online to figure out the mitering, and there were several different methods people seemed to be using. I did basically a combination of this and this. I started by sewing red strips of fabric to the center panel, overlapping at the corners, and folding one strip at an an angle to get a crease where the mitered edge would be. Then I just sewed along that line. I didn't topstitch like the sham example, and I didn't mess with all the marking and line drawing on the BHG example. It worked pretty well. The only problem was one strip that I had to redo because I didn't line it up to overlap with one of the other sides.

Giuseppe's verdict? He likes it. Most of the time.

When I started writing this, he was laying next to the pillow. Now he's actually on it. Works for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Salsa Makes it Better

It's taken me 5 years (well, to be fair, about 3 yr) to make tacos that my husband actually liked. The problem has been with the ground beef mixture. I started out making them the exact same way my mom does, then revised that, then re-revised that, then made him tacos with plain ground beef (gross), then something else, on and on, until I made this, and he liked it. This post has been just a saved recipe for... I don't know, months. I keep looking it up to make sure I'm making my own tacos the right way, haha. Now I'm finally finishing it.

Brown a package of ground beef (how much? I don't know, a pound? We bought a bunch of beef that my uncle raised, so we have all these little packages of ground beef...)
Add chopped onion (about 1/3-1/2 of a white onion)
Slice 1 clove garlic, add to beef
Chop some oregano (2 small stems?), throw it in
Add salt & pepper
Add red salsa and a little bit of water; cook until water is evaporated

Just add everything to taste. Sometimes I add other stuff; tonight I used a little cumin and 2 cloves of garlic. I'm sure it would be great with homemade salsa, but I just use medium Pace chunky salsa.

Salsa is also the secret to my guacamole. My husband makes better guacamole, but he takes forever and sometimes he just doesn't feel like making it. I just smush up an avocado, add some lime juice (1/2 a lime? if we have fresh), a little garlic salt, green salsa (not too much), and Cholula. Mix it all together, add salsa if needed. Or anything else if needed.

Apparently, tacos also taste better when I actually put them together for him... suspicious, yes?

PS - Costco sells raw tortillas that you cook at home - LOVE.them.