This time of year isn’t the prettiest in Alaska. Snow is waiting to melt, everything is brown and dusty, and there’s a certain stale odor in the air. But there is LIGHT – so much daylight.
Erin of Blomma Designs, photographer Anne Marie Moran and I decided to take advantage of our ever-increasing sunlight last weekend.I brought my sister, Farra, along too. We all met at Erin’s studio to create modern floral wreaths. It was the perfect respite from Alaska breakup season.
I thought we should share this crafting experience with a step-by-step tutorial. The luscious photos are by the talented and delightful Anne Marie of Anne Marie Moran Photography.
The other day as I was making my thrift store rounds I saw an old table sitting outside of Bishop’s Attic. It had lots of stains on it as though someone was raised in a non-coaster family (oh, the shame!)
It was only $5 so what was there to lose by buying it?
I could tell it was a solid construction made with nice wood. Maybe teak, cherry and walnut in there? I’m not sure. But when I asked my husband if he’d help me refinish it I was surprised to find how easy it was. All we did was refinish the top of the table as the legs were still in good shape. We now have a gorgeous wooden table and all we really paid for was the wood finish.
Remove the top from the legs. Using 80 grade sandpaper sand down the tabletop with the orbital sander. Use circular motions and sand the top evenly all over. Sand the sides of the tabletop too, if you’re able to.
Repeat this step with the next finest grade of sandpaper until you’ve reached 220.
Hand sand any bits or corners you weren’t able to get with the orbital sander. I just eyeballed it.
Use a piece of tack cloth to remove all sawdust from the tabletop.
Pour a big glug of wood finish onto the tabletop and spread out evenly with a shop paper towel. Get all over and around the sides. Get it underneath the edge of the table. No need to finish the whole bottom part, but get some around the underneath edge. It should instantly look amazing.
Make sure the finish is evenly distributed and not applied so heavily that it drips or gloops.
After 3 minutes use a dry paper towel to wipe the table with the grain to remove any excess oil. If you go against the grain it might look streaky.
Wait four hours and repeat steps 5-7.
You could stop here or apply another coat if you’d like. I only did two coats.
Screw the top back onto the legs and presto! New table!
Spring has sprung (hopefully) and nothing makes your home feel “spring fresh” more than a fresh flower arrangement. Recently I had a coffee meeting with Rachel Christy, owner of Alaska Blooms Peony Farms, and she pointed out that I’m a DIY bride’s florist. Indeed, many of the brides who hire me order the main floral pieces from me and then save money by creating centerpieces themselves. Since I’m a business of one person, I am completely fine with this arrangement. When a bride orders centerpieces I usually hire an assistant.
During a phone consultation with a Kentucky bride, she told me my floral business reminds her of small-batch whiskey makers. These are folks in Kentucky who make whiskey on the side of their normal jobs that are different from the standard whiskeys. I love that comparison.
Anyway, since Mother’s Day is the next floral holiday on the calendar (and often the busiest day for florists) I thought I would share a step-by-step tutorial on how you can make your own flower arrangement. Whether you’re a son, a daughter or a DIY bride, this should be helpful for anyone who is looking to be florally frugal.
If you’re in Anchorage, you can purchase beautiful greenery by the stem at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market. They range from $1.89-2.99 a stem. They also have gorgeous blooms there, but in an effort to save money I purchased grocery store flowers using a buy one, get one half off coupon.
There’s no other time that I feel as though I’ve failed at life as when I hard boil eggs. It seems like a simple endeavor: boil eggs, cool them, peel them. But usually my eggs are impossible to peel.
When I asked my friends on social media why I can’t seem to successfully peel an egg, I got all sorts of egg-cellent suggestions from running them under water as I peeled them, to shaking them vigorously in a jar of water (totally didn’t work). The most frequent response I got was I was using too-fresh eggs.
I dutifully tried every suggestion but got no closer to a peelable egg. Finally, I heard a new one: steam the eggs.
I tried it. It worked. Here’s how to make the perfect hard-cooked egg. *note: after trying this method three times, the only successful batch was when I steamed 4 eggs. When I tried to steam 12 they didn’t get cooked through enough — but they were incredibly easy to peel!
What you’ll need:
A steamer basket
Fill your pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Place your eggs in a steamer basket and lower them into the pot. Cover, turn the heat to medium and steam for 13 minutes.
A couple of minutes before the eggs are done, fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Transfer the eggs to the bowl and let them cool for 15 minutes.
They peeled perfectly!
Yay for life hacks.
Looking for a good egg salad recipe? Try my chicken salad but substitute eggs!
The kitchen is the heart of our family. My dad would spend the weekends making vats of marinara sauce and in the late summer my mom would be canning blueberry jam. Back when apples were cheap we’d make gallons of applesauce with the food mill and mix in low-bush cranberries for color. Most of my childhood memories are centered around cooking.
One staple in our family is sausage. I remember waking up early on Saturday morning to the loud humming of my dad’s homemade motorized sausage grinder. I was thrilled to stuff hog intestines with meat — I was the best sausage stuffer in the family thanks to my deft, friendship bracelet-making hands.
My dad owns one of the most popular sausage-making sites on the Internet, sausagemania.com (yes, that is really the name). People from all over the world come to his site for his detailed recipes and tutorials.
When we decided to make 100 pounds of Italian and breakfast sausage this morning at 7:30 I thought it would be the perfect time to make my own tutorial for my little DIY audience.
I worked in retail for six years and by this time during the holiday season our gift wrapping supplies were usually low. Only birthday paper and giant boxes left. When I had a customer wanting a small item wrapped, I came up with this simple hack to make a small box out of the lid of a bigger box.
Sewing is by no means my greatest talent. My mom taught me to sew at a young age, but that doesn’t mean I like it. It’s time consuming to cut out a pattern, cut out the fabric and take out the sewing machine. If I’m going to sew something it’s got to be a two-hour-or-less project.
I love the concept of refashioning clothes; i.e., taking an article of clothing and turning into a different article of clothing. Refashionista is pretty much my sewing/thrifting idol and she’s incredibly cute.
Lately I’ve been noticing gigantic church-lady linen dresses at the thrift shops. My mother loves linen dish towels because they are lightweight and absorbent. I thought about purchasing a linen dress and cutting it into dish-towel rectangles, but the concept didn’t really excite me much.
Last week I saw a lovely linen apron at Anthropologie. I had an “I can make that” moment. I figured an apron was a great way to refashion an old dress.
Years ago I made an apron for my sister and managed to write down the pattern measurements. I have included that pattern in this tutorial. Keep in mind my sewing skills are far from elegant so I’m sure some of you could come up with a prettier apron, but I’m satisfied with what I ended up with and it only took two hours from start to finish.
Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for more clothing refashion tutorials I’ve done over the years.