Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another Option for Vacuum Sealing Mylar Bags....

Mylar Bags....Sealing with a Vacuum Sealer...

I have used Mylar Bags for years and just love them.  I have written 2 posts dealing with using them. You can find these posts here and here.

However, I came across this video with a really unique idea.  The difference between this gentleman's device and mine is that you gasket area is much wider. I plan to experiment to see if my Food Saver device can work as well.  No matter, this is worth your time to view.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

So Much Yarn.....So Little Time....

If you have been following this blog for the past few weeks, you will know that we are in the process of "Reclaiming our Domain".  We have adult children coming and going.....and it's a fun time of life. However, I need to put things in order for my husband and myself....and we are.  

I have donated a double bed to a couple that was in need of one.....which left an entire room for me to take over. I am turning it into a sewing room. I will show it all to you as soon as I put the finishing touches on it. Just know that I love it already.

Making Sensible Yarn Storage from a Moving Box:

When trying to decide how to organize my yarn, I looked at several options.  I have seen fun wine racks used and liked that look. However, I didn't like the price!  I have stored my yarn in clear tubs, but for me there was always frustration because the different yarns eventually would get tangled...I really hate that!

So, here is my little brain storm.  Let me show you how I did this for very little money.

I found Moving Boxes online at Home Depot.  The box was under $2.00 and the dividers were under $7.00.  This is a Medium size box and the dividers are for 2 levels of glass storage if you were going to actually use this as a moving box.  I asked Rooster Senior to cut off the flaps of the box on one end.

I then asked him to open up the seam with his Exacto Knife....he was very willing to help!  I opened the box because I want to spray-paint the decorated side of the box.

I laid the box and the dividers on my lawn (yes, I know it is February, but it is unusually warm this year).  I used a can of black spray paint that Rooster Senior had in the Garage.

I used my hot glue gun and glued the box back together...with the black being on the inside.

This is what the seam looked like after it was glued together. It's not lovely, but it is very functional.

I then put the bottom of the box together and glued it with hot glue.  Note how the black will show on the inside of the box.  

I had measured the length of the open box before I glued it together.  I also measured the 'height' of the box from the cut edge to about 8" down on to the bottom flaps.  I cut a piece of fabric according to those dimensions and surged the cut edges.  I then brought the two short sides of the fabric together and sewed one seam.

I slid the fabric sleeve over the exterior of the box.  Now, here is why I put the box together in an "inside-out" fashion.  There is now no decoration to show through my fabric.  It is a blank slate.  This is a  tight fit, which I was glad about. 

This is the bottom of the box.  I wrapped and hot-glued the fabric to the bottom.

I then finished the bottom of the box with a piece of $.99 black poster board. I measure, cut, and glued it on.  I like how it looks and it slides easily on surfaces with the smooth finish of the poster board.  

I like the fact that the color of the yarn plays well off the black surfaces.  A skein fits just fine in a slot. I even put some of my crochet skeins of 'thread' that I used to edge baby blankets.

I can even fit balls of yarn down into a compartment. Notice that I wrapped the upper edge of the box with about 4 inches and glued it to the box before inserting the dividers.  

I attached a rope handle by punching  2 holes/side with sharp scissors.  I had cording from a former upholstery project.  So, I threaded the cording through and tied double knots on the inside of the box.  I now have 2 handles to carry the box. I am not worried about reinforcing the holes, the yarn is very light weight. This box is prepared solely to be used for my yarn storage.  

So, What is the Take-Home Message?

  • I spent under $10.00 for this entire project as I already had the fabric, the cording, and the spray paint.  I am trying very hard (as we reorganize) to use items that we already have. I just like to be wise with the things we have been blessed with.  I am guessing that you may find items around your house that you can re-purpose into something usable like we have. 
  • This project took about 1 hour total (not including drying times) to complete.
  • I can easily find the yarn I am looking for without undoing a tangled mess! 
  • This container is out-of-the-way, but is easily retrieved when it is needed as it is so lightweight. It can be stored up high.
  • I have a friend with an entire room of yarn.  I think the slogan "She who dies with the most yarn...wins" applies to her.  I am not there yet, but I admire folks who are so wildly talented that they can create clothing and bedding, etc from a hook (or a couple of needles).  I am still at the dishcloth, afghan stage...and am quite happy to be there.

Reclaiming our Domain is proving to be really fun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting Ready For Valentine's Day.....Making "Heart" Rolls

It's only days away, you know....Valentine's Day.  Here is something fun to do that does not cost big bucks, but makes a special meal fun.

How To Make Heart-Shaped Rolls for Valentine's Day.

I wanted to do something fun for our dinner.  So, here we go. This was more simple that I realized.

I used my favorite white bread dough recipe and let my Breadmaker do all the work!  Roll your dough into the shape above... wide at one end and pointed at the other end.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the wide end in long-side down about 1/3 of the shape.

After cutting, attempt to soften the sharp edges with your fingers.

Shape them into a 'heart' and place them on your baking sheet in this manner. You can fit more on the baking sheet by placing them in this alternating pattern.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with a cooking spray and cover your rolls while they raise.

After they raise (according to your recipe), the sharp edges should be softened and rounded.  Bake according to your bread recipe directions.  I baked my for 20 minutes, but next time I think I will try 18 minutes as 2 of them were harder on the bottom than the others. 

Here is the delicious result!  These are a fun and easy addition to any special meal with your sweetheart!  I made these Valentine Rolls totally from my Food Storage ingredients. 

And you thought Food Storage was boring!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reclaiming Our Domain.....Function from something "Free"!

In our family, our adult children have  been in a bit of a transition.  Some coming and others going.  It has been a very fun roller coaster over the past few months. Sometimes we would come home to some type of surprise.  In this case....it was a really big surprise.

Our Son saw this Armoire sitting on the side of the road with a "Free" sign attached to it. He was pretty excited about this find, so he got it into the back of his truck.....and of course brought it home.  He was planning to move out and move on to the next chapter of his life.  His plan was to 'fix it up' and take it with him.  Alas, he married, moved and left this very large piece of furniture here. When we asked what he planned to do with it, he told us he didn't want it and we could do whatever we wanted with it.  Translation...."I don't want it Mom and Dad, you can figure out what you are going to do about it".  I have to admit, this abandoned item was easier to care for than the little dog that was left behind by another child.....alas, that is another story for another time.

When our son left, he wanted the desk that I had been using while he was gone on his mission.  I packed up everything into bags/boxes and off the desk went.  It was really fun having everything you are used to finding in a drawer....now in a bag.

So, I started look at this monstrosity and it had good bones.  The doors slide back into the unit and essentially disappear. There was a lot of room in this section of the unit.

This is the bottom section, and yes that door kept falling through...a lot.  I was excited to see the lock....but alas it had no key.  I need to remember that this unit was "Free".  When the doors were opened, it had a lot of space in there as well.

I happened to be married to the most talented Trim Carpenter on the planet.  I told him that I had this wild idea.  To his credit, he only blinked once.  What was the crazy idea?  I wanted to turn this Armoire into my desk.

Transforming an Armoire into a Desk....

My sweet husband looked at it as I described what I wanted to do.  Initially, I wanted him to remove the area that most likely housed the VCR or DVD player. As he looked at the unit, he said it would have been a structural problem to remove it.  However, he said he still could insert a shelf to hold all the binders that I use on a regular basis.  So, using scraps from the garage (I love that part), he built and attached this shelf to the upper shelf.

I asked him to build a flat surface that could be slid out to be used as a working surface.  I also asked him to put a board at a 90 degree angle at the back of the sliding surface. He said no problem and made it happen.  He stated that the hardware to do this cost about $20.00.  He also attached a powerstrip on the side to plug in all my devices.  I had this powerstrip already. The amount of money spent for that was 0 dollars.

I also had this file cabinet that was also free from a neighbor who had to move quickly.  Unfortunately, when I used to try to fill my own printer cartridges....you can see I had an accident!  I used the sanding block to sand all the surfaces, and that dark spot was still very prominent.

I started painting the file cabinet and the new pieces within the Armoire. The cost of the amount of paint I used was about $10.00.

The outcome.....

Here is the Armoire and the File Cabinet. Don't they look great!!!!! This is how the Armoire looks when it is closed.  I like the fact that I can just shut the doors and hide whatever project I am working on.

Looking inside, you can see my laptop, and my files behind it.  These units keep the files I am using in a standing position.  The black unit has boxes in the front of it where I put pens/pencils, scissors, lotion, White-Out, etc.  The other unit on the left behind my computer just holds files.  The cost for these was....0 dollars!

Here is the other file unit.  I put my Ipad in there to recharge.  It saves valuable real-estate.

Here is another view.  Even with the items I have placed in there, I still have a space for things I am working on that is to the right of the computer. I have put open binders there, papers, etc.

See how nice this sliding surface is?  Having that perpendicular piece of wood keeps my file units secure when the surface is moving.  This slider also lets me work while being seated.

See this little light?  It was something I already had as well.  I have used it to light up my Nativity sets on a certain shelf....but I haven't used it really in a couple of years.  So, it now has a new home.  The cost of having a lighted surface?  As before  0 dollars!

Here is how I am using the former VCR/DVD space and the new shelf.  I am so thrilled that all of my binders fit on this shelf....I could fit every one of them in. In the former VCR/DVD space, I have two organizers.  One holds card-stock and the other the myriad of labels that I use.  In the middle, I have blank greeting cards (thanks to the suggestion of my daughter) and behind them I have blank CD's  and DVD stacks.

I asked Rooster Senior to install these sheets of metal inside both doors.  I have included little containers that hold staples, paperclips, etc.  I also have a magnetic clip to hold the notes of 'to-do' items that I need to take care.  On the other side, I have put photos of my family.  If you recall, these doors can slide back inside of the unit so that they are out of the way if I want.  

The cost of 2 metal sheets was $8.00, the cost of the small metal storage containers ($12.25 for 6 of them).  My husband had magnetic stripping that could have been adhered to them to hold them on the door.  However, I had a Magnetic strip I had purchased for another project.  However,  I decided to use it for this project at a cost of $13.99.  I want to point out I could have done this for free, but decided not to.  

Here is a more global view of the upper part of the Armoire.  I cannot stress enough how roomy this unit is.  However, there is more to show in the bottom of the unit.  

Here is the bottom unit.  It holds A LOT!

I put nearly a whole box of paper paper in here initially.  Yea, I got rid of that ugly box that was an eyesore in the office!

This is opposite from the paper on the bottom shelf.  I have boxes of file folders, envelopes, Stationary, etc.  In the white container (which actually says 'popcorn' on one side of it) I have small some eclectic and odd shaped items that needed a home.  I purchased all 3 of these 'popcorn' containers (now stacked together) from the Dollar Store.  A whopping $3.00 invested.

On the upper shelf (in the bottom of the Armoire), I have containers that hold many things. Items such as my labeler, glue/gluestick, ink cartridges, index cards and the red container holds pens/pencils.  I also got these containers at the Dollar Store.  Total investment here $10.00.

Opposite of the containers noted above, I have 3 organizers that hold items like glossy paper, CD covers, and the little bit of scrap book paper that I have.  I also have a box of plastic sleeves.  I had the organizers already, so the cost for those is 0 dollars again.  

Can you see how much I was able to store in this unit?

So here you see the Armoire and part of the File Cabinet that I painted.  Guess what is behind the photos on the File Cabinet? The Router and Modem.  Next to the photos is my printer.

Take Home Message for "Reclaiming my Domain"....

  • Up until a couple of weeks ago, my daughter was using this space as a Beauty Salon.  I'm not kidding.  She is in the process of purchasing a home and is no longer needing to use our 'Domain'.  I now have an office, a real office for all my needs.  Please understand that I was glad to share with her, but I like the thought of having a place for everything. Had I finished this unit while she was here (just know it would have been hard for a variety of reasons), both of us would have been able to work in there. 
  • It cost me $77.24 to create this beautiful office space.  I could have done it for $63.25 if I chose not to use the Magnetic Strip.  
  • I love that I had most of the items needed to transform this unit.  I love the styling of it and with the matching file cabinet it looks really great in my office.
  • I have a great deal of storage and can also close it all away if I need to as my office is located by my front door.
  • I "Upcycled" this unit. It went from being unwanted to being a beautiful and functional piece of furniture.  Because of the size of the TV it used to house, it is large and spacious.  I can see myself using this for a long time to come.
As our journey to reorganize and 'upcycle' continues, I will share our finished projects as when we complete them.

Don't you just love it?

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