old shelf – new shelf

We’ve been in need of some shelving for Finn’s reading nook… It’s a very small nook at the top of the stairs (it used to be my office) and while its been his ‘space’ for the past year, it was in need of a little re-do. It needed shelves and it needed white paint on the floor (it had been a dark red not a nice red).

So I re-painted the floors (with floor paint we already had) and then hoped for some type of shelving or bookcase – something to keep books and toys on, while keeping things organized and easily accessible…and as luck happens, I found one. In the wood pile. At the dump. The very next day…

shelf - before

shelf – before

Now, this was certainly no beauty – obviously… Oh no. Typically I wouldn’t even had noticed it, but as I was walking past the wood pile – I thought, “I wonder what a coat of paint will do for that?” Then I thought, “I do need shelving for Finn’s reading nook…” My next thought was, “If it fits in the back of my car, I’m taking it.” And it did.

As I was unloading it and hauling it across the lawn, Michael says, “Wow, that’s nice…” Can you hear the sarcasm…? My immediate response was, “I know, I know – it’s not my style (at all) but just wait and see!”

So I got right to it. I scrubbed it, bleached it, lightly sanded it and then asked Finn to help me paint it and he was so excited to help, that we finished both coats, in one day (don’t worry, we were outside and it was a VOC free paint).

finn painting

finn painting 2

So two coats later and some gingham contact paper ($2.00 for the roll) and we now have a (useful and sturdy) ‘new’ shelf in the space.

shelf - after

shelf – after

Too bad it didn’t fit next to the window, instead of being slightly over the frame…

reading nook

Oh well, things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely…and in the end, it was free, useful and needed.  It didn’t end up in the wood chipper (see here for the other shelf I saved from the wood chipper). I didn’t drive all over looking for the ‘right’ shelving and I’m going to use the rest of the contact paper to re-cover the interior shelves in my pantry; money (and time) well spent I’d say.

contact paper

Added bonus, the shelf is not only useful now, but it could (at some point) be used elsewhere in the house (thinking laundry room), or we could add more shelves to allow for varied storage abilities or even paint the sides with chalkboard paint or magnetic paint and Finn could play away…free, versatile and useful, what’s not to love?

What have you turned into treasure lately?

enjoy

life these days

We’re still in the ‘re-adjusting stage’ of being back home and have been busy catching-up with the business and getting back into our daily routine, slowly that is … I haven’t had much time to cook anything different (the ease of preparing meals which I’ve done a dozen times before is much more inviting at the moment than experimenting – though this will pass, I know), thus no new recipes and not much else to comment on – though I have started more seeds and am getting excited about the warmer (warmer for here that is) weather which seems to be coming in – though a daily (and nightly) fire is still needed…

Here’s a few photos of life around here – at the moment of course – everything changes…

red beans

pears on plate

planting seeds

lilies

seeds to start

sheets drying in the wind

snow dropsbulbs pushing throughhelping

moving wood

Happy Easter everyone!

Enjoy

planes, trains and automobiles

I had planned posting as usual last week, though after being bumped from our flight (who bumps a family traveling with a three year old? American Airlines does), after waiting in line for three hours to check in, then told (rudely) there are no more flights until the following day (what?) – didn’t plan for that expense (complaint letter being written soon!), then delayed the following day (in Miami) due to a snow storm and then, finally, we arrive in Connecticut, to visit with Michaels’ sister and niece, and there is no internet connection for five days. Life seemed to say, no posting for you…so here I am, now…

We returned last week from our epic trip and stopped off in Connecticut for a few days to visit with family and attend the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC. This is a big show and an expensive one.  We’d been invited to participate for the past few years (it’s a juried show), though wanted to check it out first, in person, to see if it’s a good match for us (get a sense of the overall ‘vibe’), this is NYC and a very HIGH end show after all, so before investing lots of money and time we thought it best to to do our research, first, and I’m so glad we did.  We loved it!

They have a ‘MADE’ section which is a perfect fit for Michaels’ work and our business (Designs Adrift).  We spoke with a few exhibitors (artists) and not only were they friendly, encouraging and talented, they suggested we take the plunge and exhibit next year. Each person we spoke with said it was worth the investment and their business grew as a result…grew enough to continue coming back year after year.

We were placed on the guest list, so the entrance fee was waived and Michaels sister babysat (family rate = free) Finn all day while we traveled in and out of the city… we ate a delicious lunch for only $8.50 (for the two of us) and walked to the show. No cabs for me. I love walking in NYC, it’s the best way to be ‘in the city’ – especially as we were only there for a few hours… why spend for a cab when walking is not only free, but great for the body too.

The train and parking fees were money well spent. We look forward to the prospect of exhibiting next year and I am beginning to plan accordingly – who knows where it may lead?

But, for now, I’m settling back into being ‘home’ and have already started a few seeds, despite my garden still covered in snow…

Planes, trains and automobiles.

There’s nothing quite like being ‘home’…

enjoy.

too many ripe bananas?

We had a bowlful of super ripe bananas and quite a few kids wanting a sweet treat – so what did we do? We baked some delicious banana bread! Who doesn’t like banana bread?

bananas in bowl

It’s easy to prepare, it can be frozen and enjoyed on another day or eaten right away.  It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack. Serve with freshly whipped cream, butter or simply on its’ own. Banana bread is also great for picnics, traveling (think muffins or thick slabs) or given as a gift – who wouldn’t love to receive a loaf of freshly baked banana bread?

Also, if your short on time, but have some overly ripe bananas – don’t throw them away, simply peel and freeze. Frozen ripe bananas work great for banana bread too!

Here’s what you’ll need;

4-5 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (or less if you’d prefer)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

dash of cinnamon and raw can sugar (if desired)

Here’s what to do;

Smash bananas.

Beat the egg.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

dry ingrediants

Using a wooden spoon mix melted butter and vanilla with bananas, then add to dry ingredients just until moistened.

wet + dry ingrediants

That’s it for mixing then,

pouring batter

pour into buttered loaf pan.

sugar sprinkle

and, if desired, sprinkle with raw can sugar and a dash of cinnamon for added texture, crunch and flavor. Serving a crowd? Double recipe (as we did) and use a sheet pan…

Bake at 350F for one hour.

slice and enjoy

Cool on rack. Slice and serve.

Enjoy.

PS. Apologies to those of you wanting to print without all the photos. While I’ve learned it’s possible, I’m still needing to learn how, so until then, my apologies…

transfer station treasures

Dump shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. To be factual, my town transfer station is my favorite shopping destination. A big part of the transfer station is the ‘freebie barn.’  It’s a trailer set aside to house free (but good) stuff that residents no longer want/need…Who doesn’t like a deal? And a free deal, is the best deal around, right? Added bonus, this stuff isn’t ending up in the landfill or worse…why don’t more towns and cities incorporate this into their budgets? It boggles my mind – if my little town can do it, surely others can too…it’s another form of freecycle – but centrally located versus driving all over – what’s not to love about that? Extra added bonus – the savings. Childrens books and toys add up (everything adds up doesn’t it?), money saved is money available for other things, or simply more time to do more things…money equals time, the less money you need, the more time you can have (sort of – everything has its trade-offs) to do what it is you want to do. We’ve chosen to live on a much tighter budget than most, though these past years spent raising my son are worth so much more than money could ever buy…and shopping is so much more fun this way.

Here’s a few recent finds…amazing huh? It’s nothing, yet so much, all at the same time…

glassware

I just love these little etched vintage glasses – a whole set of 12 – perfect for little man. Estimated savings, at least $20.

childrens booksMore books. We read a lot around here, so new books are always welcome – estimated savings, easily $40.

childrens illustrations

These are the first two illustrations of ‘Animal Stories’ seen above – they are beautiful in person and will look great framed. Free art – estimated savings, $40.

childs puzzle

Finn is getting into puzzles and he LOVES trains, so when I found this (new, still in box!) I had to pick it up. Estimated savings – $12.

kitchen tools

Finn is also really into cooking, so when I found a bunch of kitchen tools (some even kid sized!) I had to take them too! Here’s Finn enjoying his latest treasures. Bonus they were all metal or wood (spatula, spoons, pie server, tongs, ice cream scooper (vintage), whisk, honey spoon)! Even the little people joining him were found at the dump (of course!). Estimated savings – $25.

play barn yard

Yet another plastic toy saved from landfill – even the batteries still work as do the sounds and songs which are played when the doors open and close…little animals were free too. So much plastic in the world – it’s frightening…estimated savings – $35.

file sorter

File sorter. I can always use something like this, but I won’t buy this type because they are plastic, but I’ll use it and then recycle it when I’m done. And when I say recycle, I mean I’ll give them away to someone who wants them or return them to the ‘freebie barn.’ Estimated savings – $15.

sea shell book

And finally, this cool (vintage) book about shells. I love shells, I always have. I had to pick it up, the illustrations were too cool…estimated savings – $8.

Total estimated savings  – $195.

Savings to the planet, priceless.

Other ways to save money and resources -check out flea markets, freecycle, craigslist, consignment shops, stay out of the mall and big box stores, trade with friends, shop for big items during annual sales, check your local newspaper… you just never know what you may find.

Also, visit your local library. Books, music, newspapers, magazines, movies – are all available for you to use (and borrow) for free…ok, not ‘free’ the town has to pay for all those books, movies, newspapers, etc. and the library itself, but then, its’ citizens (including and most importantly, children) get to enjoy all those ‘free’ treasures…money and time well spent I’d say.

enjoy.