Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Real Furniture!

Corey & I have bought some furniture before, mostly off Craigslist.  Almost all of what we have is free hand-me-downs.  Up until this point what we've bought has always been something I knew we'd resell/repurpose/relegate to the basement in a few years. I didn't want to spend lots of money on furniture while we lived in an apartment. For example we bought a used futon & a kitchen cart.  Both will probably end up in the basement once we redo the kitchen and buy a real couch. 

Besides our king sized bed & matching nightstands, this is our first piece of Real Furniture.  It is a buffet that will go in the dining room once we redo the kitchen, but for now is in the living room (where I'd like a fireplace to go one day).

It is made of real wood and was refinished locally. I do need to sand down the tops of the doors though because they keep getting stuck.
Underneath are frames for a gallery wall I want to do in the living room

Right now it is overloaded with decorate-y details, but once we get the hooks & bench built all that stuff will spread out.  The giant silver thing is our ice maker.

I love the wood top the best! It stands out against the painted bottom and is so gorgeous.  With our unpainted wood trim and future wood floors I have to be careful with wood furniture. I don't want the house to start feeling too dark & heavy. I'd rather showcase some wood and have it stand out.

As for how we filled it, I'll show you. The top left drawer has plastic kid dishes for when my nieces & nephews come over:

 The middle drawer has cloth napkins, placemats, & dish towels:

The right drawer has serving silverware and extra regular silverware:

The bottom left cabinet has a drink dispenser & some raspberry jam (our pantry didn't have enough room for the double batch).  The door was stuck so I couldn't get a shot.

The bottom middle cabinet has serving platters & bowls and extra glassware (I can't wait to have a bigger kitchen!):

The bottom right cabinet has a coffee dispenser for parties & a wine holder for picnics. Again the door was stuck so no picture.

It is so much fun to furnish & organize the house!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dreaming & Scheming: The Entryway

The big projects are on the back burner for awhile and I've been thinking about smaller projects to make the house feel more home-y.

I want to create an entryway area in the living room.  This involves three projects, two I will do myself and the third I am hoping I will feel I can do myself after I do the first two.

First up is putting up a mirror by the door.  My parents gave us one that they didn't need anymore and I am going to repaint it soon so we can hang it up.

Second is building a coat rack that will go under the mirror.  It is driving me nuts not having anywhere to put my fleece and raincoat.  Plus it's nice for guests, too.  I am working off of this picture I saw on Pinterest:
DIY shelf with hooks - instructions for building    we could just hang mirror above it

Third is building a bench (for sitting on & putting on shoes) that will help physically divide the entryway area from the living room.  I want it to double as a piece of living room furniture that would run behind the back of the (future) couch for people to put their drinks on and have lamps and other decorate-y stuff on.  Here, see if you can make sense of my sketch:

And over by the kitchen door I want to put up a chalkboard (for the grocery list etc).  Again I was inspired by Pinterest.  I am switching things around a bit and doing a thicker trim.
Chalkboard mail station and key holder all in one. We need to do this!

Hopefully after building the hooks and chalkboard (with my Dad supervising and telling me what to do) I will feel like I can build the much bigger bench project (also with my Dad supervising and telling me what to do).

I have been plotting out these ideas for months now and hopefully in the next couple of weeks they will finally be executed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


A hill!
The seed garlic came!  I ordered them from an online seed company called High Mowing Organic Seeds.  They were pretty expensive, but hopefully if they grow well we will be able to save our own seed garlic next year.  They came in whole bulbs which surprised me.  They are chesnook red variety.

Mr. Pup wanted to eat some:

Then I split up all the bulbs into the cloves for planting.  68 cloves in all which if they turn into 68 bulbs is way more than we could eat in a year.  We are hoping to have enough left for seed for next year and then we won't have to buy them again.

The paper came off those 2 cloves so I'm going to use those now because the online guide I found said to plant them with the paper on.

Oliver was really helpful while we planted. Not. He kept rubbing his head on the hands that were busy planting trying to get petted.

But before we could plant Corey had to clear out the garden which looked like this:
Dead & weed-filled much?

And after, all cleaned up & clove-filled:

That whole square is filled with garlic believe it or not!

Now we just need to cover it with some sort of mulch/straw/leaves for winter.

Hopefully this crop will be successful and we won't be out $$$ for organic garlic or have to buy more seed again next year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Before We Move In - An Update

So now that we have been fully moved in for over 4 months I thought this list needed an update to see how we did.  The results aren't too shabby. The red ones are what we've done since I first posted this list at the end of last September.

"Update electrical" is only half crossed off because we are only half done at this point. I'm glad to be revisiting this list because it's reminding me of what still needs to be done.

Before We Move In:
  • fix grading around the house
  • trim South tree
  • trim back tree
  • remove bush from that tree
  • weed everywhere
  • trim front bush
  • plant a privacy fence between us and the trailer
  • replace trim/weatherstripping around back doors
  • replace trim/weatherstripping around garage door
  • replace gutter elbows 
  • add another gutter downspout
  • clean out gutters
  • patch & fix siding
  • silicone around nails on roof by chimney
  • replace the basement windows
  • epoxy in foundation cracks
  • replace fire alarms with smoke alarms
  • replace water heater
  • replace furnace
  • replace air conditioner
  • replace water softener
  • have our well water more thoroughly tested
  • get the septic system cleaned out
  • fix all leaky faucets/valves
  • fix bathroom sink drain
  • insulate pipes
  • replace screws in electrical panel
  • fix crawlspace support post?
  • soffit venting in attic?
  • update electrical
  • fix up porch
  • replace broken living room window
  • replace missing screens and fix the hole-y ones
  • replace locks
  • replace shower head
  • put handles on the linen closet drawers
  • put handles on kitchen cabinets & drawers that need them
  • take down bifold doors
  • take down kitchen door
  • take down front door screen door
  • replace porch screen door
  • refinish the front door
  • install a door knocker
  • get a garage door opener for the car
  • make nice looking landscaping beds on either side of the porch
  • add window boxes
  • paint all the rooms in the house
  • remove the shower doors & make a few other bathroom fixes
Current To Do List (all of these are ASAP items. PRESSURE!):
  • call furnace companies to set up estimates
  • call water heater companies to set up estimates
  • call a septic clean-out company
  • call Pella about replacement screens & the broken window
  • call a plumber about various plumbing fixes
  • call about getting the water tested more extensively
  • buy a fridge
  • buy a dehumidifier
  • buy an ice maker
  • pick out a new stove
  • decide how we want to change the locks and doors situation so Dad can do it
  • order the replacement garage door opener for the car
  • go to a local nursery about the plants for the privacy fence
  • plant the bulbs
  • find out how close to the property lines we can plant

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple Pie!

I had a different post planned for today, but then I went to my mom's house and made an apple pie with her today so all plans changed.  On my way home I stopped off to get a bag of Jonathon apples and a box of crust mix so I could have my own pie.  This is the first time I have made an apple pie without my parents.  Crust is not my friend, so it doesn't look pretty.  You have been warned.

Mom's Perfect Apple Pie
recipe from Betty Crocker Pie & Pastry Cookbook
for a 10 inch pie
  • 10-ish Jonathon apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3-1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 2 crusts
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples.
3. Taste an apple slice to see how tart/sweet they are.  If they are sweeter use 2/3 cup sugar instead of the full cup.
4. Mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt.
5. Make your bottom crust and lay it in your pie pan.
6. Sprinkle a layer of the flour mixture on the bottom of the crust.
7. Put down 1 layer of apples & sprinkle more of the flour mixture on them.  Continue until the pie pan is filled (go a little higher than the pan because it'll sink down).
8. Sprinkle the last of the flour mixture on the top layer and dot it with the butter.
9. Make your top crust and lay it on top of the pie.
10. Go around the crust and make the pretty edging.
11. Add vent holes evenly around the pie.
12. Sprinkle cinnamon around the top of the crust for prettiness.
13. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the crust is browned and the juice is bubbling.  (I took mine out after 30 minutes)

We recently got a really, really cool thing called a Victorio Apple Peeler.  It made prepping the apples a BREEZE.  I took a video on my phone.  It is so cool!  I can't wait for our upcoming apple canning weekend because it will be so much easier now!

Here they are all ready to go:

Here is the crust mix my mom always uses:

Not pictured is the rolling out process aka my nemesis.

Mix up the flour mixture:

Sprinkle it on the crust:

Lay your apples.  It is imperative to do it super OCD-like like I do.

Sprinkle more of the mixture:

And keep doing that:

Start breaking apple slices into little bits that you can sneak into tiny spaces to made this as solidly apple-filled as you can.  This helps stop the pie filling from sinking far below the crust during cooking.

 When you are done dot the top of the pie with butter:

Lay on your badly rolled out pie crust:

Turn up the excess:

Do the pretty edging which is hard for me for some reason and then use a sharp knife to put in vent holes.  It's more fun if you make a picture or put letters in as vents:

Voila!  The first Crafty Homestead apple pie!

I'm sorry mom, but it was the best apple pie I've ever had in my life!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Garlic Knots, Rolls, & Pizza Crust

We still have roses and it's October.  I love knockout roses!

I finally found the perfect dough recipe!  I made 3 wonderous things from the batch and they are all pictured here.  I love the short rising time and the flavor of the dough.  Here's a link to the original recipe from the Cooking Channel.  I didn't change any of the ingredients, I just didn't make all of the dough into just rolls.


  • (.25-ounce) packets active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
  • teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • large eggs, beaten
  • to 6 cups flour, plus more if needed


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the instant yeast, and warm water. Let it activate for 5 minutes until bubbly. Stir in the honey. 

    3. On low speed, add 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, and eggs. Slowly add the flour cup-by-cup until fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add more flour if it is too sticky. 

    4. Portion the dough into 24 even servings. Form the rolls into desired shape and place in a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet spaced evenly apart. Set aside and allow to rise approximately 20 minutes, or until doubled in size. 

    5. Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with more melted butter, and sprinkle with a little salt. 
    6. You don't have to use the whole batch for rolls if you don't want to.  It also makes great pizza crust and fancy things like garlic knots.  I might even try using it for cinnamon rolls.

    1. Weigh out your .75 ounces of yeast or use 3 packets:

    2. Add water & let it get all bubbly:

    3. Add honey:

    4. This how I melt butter without a microwave: a tiny little metal thingy from Ikea.  It is also how Corey heats up coffee and he gets mad when I melt butter in it. Ahem.

    5. Add eggs, salt, flour and such and mix to finish up.  I've always needed all 6 cups of flour plus more for dealing with stickiness.

    6. Have a puppy to lick up your spilled flour:

     7. Make garlic knots.  I used Penzeys Spices Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle with a bit of extra garlic powder:

    8. I still had quite a bit of dough left:

    9. So I pulled off little pieces and rolled them a bit in my hands.  Baking rolls in a cast iron pan makes them look fancier:

    10. Let them rise:

    11. Bake!  Mine went a bit crazy in the oven:

    12. And still there was dough left.  So I put it in a bag and in the fridge.

    13. And a few days later there was pizza! 

    Well actually, I roasted a bunch of grape tomatoes & some broccoli in the oven, used up the last of the store bought alfredo sauce, shredded some havarti & smoked gouda, caramelized some onions, sprinkled some sandwich sprinkle (also from Penzeys Spices), and then there was pizza!