Monthly Archives: July 2015

Yummy summer Pasta Salad

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Yummy summer Pasta Salad

it is our first year planting the garden in cedar boxes on the pool deck. Although we have a lot of space in our backyard, the pool deck is the only place where there is sun in the afternoon, and the only spot where the rabbits haven’t seem to have figured out yet….

So as you can see, most of the seeds I planted in the spring are doing really well… We will have a lot of tomatoes, cucucumbers and zucchini…

 

Every time I go out, we have a whole bunch of snow peas, ready to go! We have been eating them right off of the plant and steaming them, but sometimes they are a little tough or stringy. So, one of my favourite ways to eat them is in a pasta salad. Plus, we have so many visitors over the summer, I always keep a couple salads in the fridge just in case! 

 Start by cutting off the tops and bottoms, and getting rid of any of the stringy bits you can, then, cut them into smaller pieces, 4 or 5 pieces each. I love adding them to pasta salad because I find that even if they are a little stringy or chewy, the smaller pieces, in combination with the pasta makes it barely noticeable..

 One of my favourite herbs is dill, and I am lucky that is seems to really grow well in our garden. So I picked a handful and chopped it into little pieces too…  I didn’t do such a great job of taking photos, but this isn’t an incredibly complicated recipe. I cooked a couple cups of pasta, added a couple tablespoons of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, and tossed it all together with the snow peas.  

Then, I thought it needed some colour, so I added some red pepper…     

That’s it. I find that it makes the best pasta salad when you mix everything together when the pasta is still warm, and put it in the fridge to cool. But, I always taste it before serving, as it may need a little more oil and vinegar added before serving. Enjoy! 

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My day was just peachy!

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My day was just peachy!

We were lucky enough to be invited up to a cottage at the end of last week, and while we were up there, I found a flyer for a truckload delivery of Georgia peaches. They had scheduled deliveries in the area where you could buy a freshly picked box of peaches right off the truck… Sounds perfect, right? I know!

Anyways, I showed up at 10:00, picked up my peaches, and the woman said to leave them at room temperature for two days, then they would be ready to eat. So that’s exactly what I did… We got home from the cottage, unpacked, and had people over Saturday and Sunday, then yesterday, I suddenly realized that I had this huge box of ripe peaches that needed to be used….immediately. Just peachy! But check them out, these were some beautiful peaches!

   

So I peeled, and cut up a whole bunch to freeze to make smoothies with….

   
I made two batches of peach jam…

  

And, I made banana and peach muffins…. 

I was pretty pleased with myself, until I took a closer look in the box…seriously? That barely made a dent! 

  
So I made three batches of canned peaches…

   

And, two more batches of jam, this time peach & cherry, and peach & strawberry… (Btw…starting to get a little tired of peaches, at this point I called in for some back up…lol… Couldn’t help posting this pic on facebook) 

   

And still lots of peaches left! So, I made two peach pies…
  
And still had some leftover for eating!

  
So, inbetween all of my peach baking, and preserving, we had workers in and out of our house working on our fireplaces, and company over! But I managed to use almost the entire box without throwing out an entire peach! 

Oh, I almost forgot, I also sold our diningroom set yesterday, so I am pretty committed now to finishing 8 more chairs, and a table I am picking up today…here is our diningroom now… 

 

Can’t wait to show you the updates…

I also took some detailed pics of making the canned peaches, and peach pie, so I will post recipes soon…you know, in all my free time lol. 

  
  

Yes!! More chairs!!

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Hi! I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. I really meant to post about the other 5 projects I have been working on, but I dropped my iPad and couldn’t access most of my photos.. so I have some blogging to do in the next couple of weeks!

As I posted a couple weeks ago, I found a great deal on some chairs. I ended up buying 14, and I already had 2 to start, so that is 16 chairs! I have finished and sold 4, and have finished but not sold 1 more, and 3 more are pretty close to being done. So, I have 8 left that I haven’t started. I am having a really hard time trying to decide if I should keep them or continue to sell them. The issue is that they don’t fit under my dining room table, the arms are too high! So, my options are to a) refinish and sell all of the chairs and keep my current dining room set b) buy a new black table and refinish the chairs to match the hutch and buffet, which are already black….. Or…. C) buy and refinish a dining room table and paint the buffet, hutch and chairs to match. Decisions, decisions.

Anyways, I am getting pretty good at the refinishing part, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks with you that I have learned through my 8 chairs of experience! I will walk you through the upholstery part, as the sanding and painting part is just as tedious, but doesn’t require as much skill.

By the way, part of what I love about these chairs is how versatile they are… Here are three of my finished chairs lined up so you can see how different the same chair can look… 

Here is a before shot of the chairs. To start the upholstery/refinishing process, I used a pair of pliers to pull out all of the trim around the seat back, arms and seat. Then, I picked out any staples that were poking out, and hammered in the ones that I couldn’t be bothered pulling.  (Come on, I have to cut some time somewhere… 16 chairs!)
Here is a close up of what the arm looked like after the wood was sanded and stained…

  To get the right size of fabric cut for each  part, I simply laid the fabric on the chair and cut around. If you are a little more cautious than me, and you love to measure, you could lay a large sheet of paper and draw a template or pattern…. But I tend to just wing it, and it has worked ok for me so far….

  So after roughly cutting out the fabric for the front and back, and seat of the chair, I started with reupholstering the back. The first few chairs I did, I pulled out all of the staples, and took apart the entire chair back, but then I figured out that you can also just tuck in the ends of the fabric into the back of the chair, and secure it by gluing trim on top.

  So I took the fabric and gently tucked it into the back of the chair, and as you can see in the below picture, I trimmed it all the way around, starting at the bottom.

  Believe it or not, I tried a few different things, and a butter knife worked perfectly to tuck in all of the ends.

  Then, I trimmed again, and tried to tuck in all of the loose edges….

  It’s not perfect, but that’s what the trim is for… I will show pictures later of the trim…

  The arms are probably one of the easier parts to recover. I started by adding a staple at either end to secure the fabric…  Then, I stapled around the perimeter, and trimmed off the extra fabric…

  Now for the back of the chair! I started by tacking the fabric down by adding a staple in the middle of each side, then stretching the fabric, and working my way out to the corners…After a while I could tell by the feel where I needed to staple, but I definitely pulled up the fabric and peeked every few staples to make sure I was stapling in the right place.

  Then, I trimmed off all of the excess fabric. Note -I did have a few close calls while trimming, and I trimmed too much off, had to pull out staples, stretch the fabric and restaple. I would recommend frequent peeking under before you trim to make sure your staples are in the right spot… 

  Now for the seat! I would say the seats of these chairs were the most challenging because the armrests and seat backs intersect the seat, so you have to pull the fabric around them to cover, which is a little tricky. I started the same way as the seat back, I added a staple at the center of each side, then stretched the fabric as I staples towards the corners.

Here is how I did around the arms. I folded the fabric back and cut a Y shape like this….

  Then, I kept laying it down, cutting a few millimeters at a time, then laid it down again until it fit.

  This is what it should look like when the middle of the Y is tucked in and the edges are folded under…

  And here it is looking from the outside of the chair…

  Once I got it sitting flat, with no wrinkles, I added a couple staples…

  I did the other corners almost the same way except the angle was a little different, so I only had to cut a slit, instead of a Y…

  But, I cut a tiny bit more each time then folded it down until it looked right again…

  Then I stapled it down (which I forgot to take a picture of, but I think you get the idea…

The last part of stapling was around the corners of the seat. The trick is to keep pulling and working your way out to the very corner…In this particular chair, the front corner had a bit of a tricky angle that I had to be careful of when stapling…

  As you can see, I had to be careful where each staple went. This would be a pretty obvious boo boo, on the front center of the chair, so once again, I peeked under the fabric often and stapled carefully. Once all of my staples were in, then I trimmed all of the the excess fabric off.

  So, here is the upholstering done! Whew…

 So I still have the trim left to glue on, but no time to glue it and write about it now, so I’ll have to post  later. Also, I will post pics of my next few chairs….. or my dining room makeover… haven’t decided yet!

Our new swing! 

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Our new swing! 

We are now on summer holidays! Yahoo! So, now I am going down my list of things to do and trying to get some jobs done as well as clear some clutter from around the house. I have been busy posting a whole bunch of things on Kijiji, and facebook.

And, I will admit, I have also bought a few things too… For some reason one day I mentioned to my friend that I wanted a swing for the backyard, and she sent me an email for this chair on kijiji… I absolutely love the design… But wasn’t sure about the colours…but I bought it anyways, because it was a great price, and…. paint exists for a reason, right?   

As you can see from the photo below, it was brand new, it took us 1/2 hour just to unwrap all of the packaging…  

So obviously, it isn’t real wicker, but here is a close up of the colours….love the design of the chair, but not really my choice in colours…

A couple years ago, I bought this old wicker set from our neighbours and refinished it…. Here is what it looked like when I bought it…

And here is part of the set finished…

  

There is actually 6 chairs, a love seat, and two tables. So, after refinishing that whole set, I feel pretty confident in my ability to refinish wicker, and…I still had some leftover fabric and spray paint.  So I thought, why not make them matching?

I started by giving the swing a very quick sanding, with a very fine sandpaper, just to scratch off the shiny surface. Then I used a spray primer as a first coat. I really like the Rustoleum brand. Here is a pic…

  
Here is what the chair looked like after a coat of primer…

Btw, the frame made it so easy to spray paint, I could do all sides at once!    
I let it dry for a couple hours, then sprayed it with the actual colour. It took two light coats to cover up all of the primer. I did also spray all of the edges with a bit of clear varnish. I have found that with the other set, the paint does tend to chip off in places where it is frequently bumped. But, I just get out my spraypaint and touch it up a couple times a season. 

I forgot to take pictures of the making of the cushions, but I just laid out the cushions on the leftover fabric and cut out a square and circle, sewed around three sides, put them on, and hand stitched them closed…

Here is what the swing looks like finished. Big improvement, I think!

  

And here it is with the rest of my set… The only problem is that I didn’t realize how much the other fabric has faded… I am sure after a couple months in the sun, it will all look the same.    

It looks great with our new fire table! Time to start roasting some marshmallows! 
Btw, forgot to wish everyone a belated Happy Canada Day from July 1st, Go Canada!