Don’t Mind the Tree in the

Don’t mind the tree in the kitchen, the curtains will be done soon and then I will wash the floor. Well, let me back up a bit. In the kitchen I have three large windows, one of which is the door to the deck, all lined up for a great view of the deck, trees and lake. The problem with them is its winter and winter here means cold. Very, very cold. These windows let a little of the cold in.  Hence the curtains.

I knew I wanted a medium weight fabric of neutral color that would add a bit of texture to the room as well. ( Before we got rid of cable TV, we watched a little HGTV some evenings). I also knew I’m broke and these needed to last a long time and be relatively cheap at the same time. My genius ideas struck again…Painting drop cloth! (and most of my genius ideas are accidents gone good 🙂 ) It was everything I was looking for; neutral, texture, medium weight, durable and best of all cheap! For about $30 I had enough fabric to do all three large windows and make a matching valance for the window above the sink.

After some thought I decided to make a shade style window cover rather than draw back curtains which allowed me to use a little less fabric and still fully cover the window when needed.

I’m not going to go into great detail of how to make these shade right now. That can be explained in a future post.

The shades were cut and ready to hang to be finished, however I was lacking a curtain rod to hang them. Needing a rod approximately 10 feet long and having nothing around here of that length, I grabbed my axe and headed down the driveway. There is the perfect patch of young trees about half way between the house and the road and in that patch a tree I deemed straight (enough) to use. So I chopped it down and drug it to the house.

There is not much besides chopping and hauling firewood  that I find has to be done when its below 0. So as anyone in my shoes would do, I pulled the tree onto the back deck and into the kitchen. I’m not about to limb this tree in the yard!

So limbs off and I’m ready to cut to length. My wood saw is not anywhere to be found. So here I sit,  shades ready to be hung and finished, tree and limbs in the kitchen and no saw.

I did find a few things to do with the little branches before the remains will go to the stove.  Those pictures will come soon.

The rest of the shades will be “To Be Continued” after Thanksgiving, when I can borrow a saw from dad.

For now I will scrub the floor around the tree because in my stroke of genius I forgot those great little buds are sticky when the fall off the branch and get stepped on.  🙁IMG_0884

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Lace on the Walls

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On piece of charm that came in our little farmhouse is a built-in china hutch in the dining room. I love built-in cabinets for some reason. This one is no different; old dark stained exterior and lighter painted interior.

I had planned to paint the inside before loading it with heirloom pieces but by the time we painted two bedrooms, the dining room, the living room and a few of the old panel doors I had had enough paint for a while.  I still wanted to “dress up” the inside of the cabinet though. Lace was the perfect way to go! (and it will match the dining room light, which is a piece of work all it’s own).

I’ve put fabric on the walls like wallpaper using spray starch before. It didn’t work real great for me, kinda. It was more work than it was worth really. So I knew I didn’t want to go that route but I still needed a way to keep the lace on the wall with the option to remove it someday without too much hassle.

Elmer’s Glue! You know the kind you were taught not to eat in kindergarten. Yep! That’s the stuff. It doesn’t stain, it’s non-toxic (as glue can get anyway) and it will wash off the wall when I need to remove it!

Here’s what I did:

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First I washed the whole cabinet out, walls, shelves everything.

I then measured the height and width of each wall I wanted lace on.  I cut the lace to fit with about an extra inch or so on all sides.

I used thumb tacks starting in the middle of the wall and tacked the lace on the top. I worked my way to the outside. When you do this be sure not to pull it tight. When the glue dries it will shrink the lace a bit.

I mixed my glue with water; roughly 50/50 ratio.

Using a sponge I applied the glue to the lace on the wall. Giving a good, thick coat. Too thick and it will run, too thin and the lace sometimes pulls away from the wall.

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After letting everything dry over night, I took out the tacks and with a sharp angled scissors I trimmed the excess lace. I had planned to use a sharp razor blade to do the trimming but I didn’t have one sharp enough. Even my best fillet knife didn’t do the trick.

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There you have it! Lace wallpaper! Looks nice and easily removed with warm water and soap when the time comes!

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The High Chair Restoration (part 2)

If you missed part 1 it can be found here.

Ok, Let’s talk Gorilla Glue. It’s great stuff, it holds things together better than any glue I’ve used before. I don’t want a wobbly chair, so between the glue and screws nothing should move. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem with Gorilla Glue is it can be a stringy, foamy, sloppy mess! Which is what I ended up with. Not to mention the pieces of the chair were not going together very smoothly.

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I had absolutely had it for the day when Dad and the Mister came to the rescue. I don’t know how they did it, ( I went to the house ) but they got it together. Dad got out his clamps and it’s looking good again.

I used an oil based stain, which I put on before we started to assemble. I was sure to not get the stain on the ends of the spindles or in the corresponding holes. This worked very much to my advantage. Once my sloppy Gorilla Glue dried and foamed it was very easy to lightly scrape off the stained wood.

Then a few coats of varnish and done! Well almost, the little mister will need to be buckled in or he will most likely slip out. So next step is to get the leather out and make some straps with snaps.

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Here comes…

There’s a lot going on at the farm right now be sure to watch for the up coming posts!

The sheep have been sheered and it’s time to turn the fleece to a sweater. (Ok not our sheep, that will come later. But I do have a few fleece to tend to)

The pigs have been butchered. I should talk about the butchering, bacon making, ham curing, chop cutting pig processing,  but then what would I talk about next fall. Fat is being rendered and soap being made this time.

We are also going to talk about hide tanning too! But for now I have some steer hide ready to be tooled.

Cheese is in the works to start aging.

There’s some lace being put into a “built in” in the dining room. (I know it doesn’t sound to interesting but it’s actually kinda neat.)

The barn needs some help and repair.

The summer kitchen plans are getting close and will hopefully be in use by next year.

There’s more to come in the kitchen, the craft room, the garden and the barn yard.  Some things we are starting in the middle of the process, but don’t worry we will circle back to the beginning too!

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The Art of the Wood Pile

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Growing up in northern Minnesota we spent time each fall cutting, splitting, hauling and stacking firewood to heat the house for the upcoming winter. After college I moved to North Dakota for a while. There’s no trees to speak of there, thus no firewood for winter.

We joke about the Dakota chain saws. The ones we saw used there were, well, tiny. They looked like something the kids would have used to help dad cut wood. Something just big enough to cut a fence post. But I s’pose there’s no need for anything bigger out there. The other thing I noticed was that how to properly stack a wood pile was not common knowledge. The few that I saw were a mess to say the least.

Being back in the North Country and again stacking firewood in the fall, there are a few things I would like to share.

The wood that will be burned this winter needs to be cut, split and stacked before last winter. This gives it time to dry. If the wood isn’t dry when it’s time to burn you’ll have a heck of a time getting a fire lit and keeping it going will be frustrating as well.

The wood that is nice and light, and easy to carry is crap. It will be like burning paper and you will spend your day stoking the fire and go through a ton more wood. Hard woods are what your looking for; oak and maple are common examples. They are also more work to move because they are much heavier. But the extra weight is definitely worth it.

When your cutting logs make sure they are a uniform length . We tend to use the bar of the chain saw as a guide. Keep in mind that these pieces need to fit in the stove at some point. Having them cut to a uniform length will also keep your pile looking neat and tidy.

Stacking the wood should be done with the split side down and the fattest end in the front. By stacking this way you will end up with a pretty sturdy pile and in the event it does topple it will fall away from you and not on you. You don’t want a leaning stack, but by putting the fat end towards you your stack will lean away from you, should it lean at all.

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