Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Trip to the Local Apple Orchard

Last week we went to a local apple orchard (the same place we picked peaches at earlier this summer). We picked 34 pounds of apples and bought some cider.

LMS picked a few apples, but mostly just held my purse

When we got home, I spent a couple days cooking the apples down into applesauce.
Most of the applesauce is chunky, flavored with cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg (yum!).
The rest is chunky peach applesauce, also flavored with cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg (double yum!).
The peaches were some I had frozen this summer, but never got around to doing anything with. So I cooked them down, pureed them, then added them to the chunky applesauce.

On the left: regular applesauce, on the right: peach applesauce

I also used some of the cider to make apple cider muffins.
We couldn't eat the apple cider doughnuts that were for sale at the orchard, but they sure smelled good.
When we got home, I looked through my cookbooks and my favorite gluten free vegan baking sites, and found a recipe that looked good and called for ingredients I had on hand.

The price of the apples was fairly comparable to what we see in the grocery store, but tasted better! I picked two varieties, but I can't remember what they were right off- one was sweeter, the other more tart, so they combined for a good flavor and didn't need added sugar. As with the fruit we picked this summer, it's a good experience to pick your own fruit, but I don't think I saved any money by making my own applesauce. However, there's nothing like the taste of warm homemade applesauce.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coffee Table Re-do

The finished table, sitting on a recent craigslist find.

Like the cabinet, I lightly sanded the edges of the legs. It'll get kicked and scuffed up, so why not give it a head start?

I like the contrast of the painted base and the stained top. I've seen others do it, and I like the look.

What my $15 craigslist started out looking like:

What it looks like now:

I like the results!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inside the cabinet

On the outside, it looks nice and neat.

But when you open it up, you can see all the stuff it's hiding:

What exactly is all of this stuff?

The unfortunate thing is that there's no room for fabric, so after I finish sorting it all (not quite done yet), I'll put baskets-full of fabric on top of the cabinet.

Want to see my quick and easy way to keep the door panels in place?
Those two red dots are red plastic push pins.
I put two in the top and two in the bottom,  and the panels aren't going anywhere.
It will be very easy to switch them out.

The cut edges of the fabric do show, but only when the doors are open  :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My new craft cabinet is finally finished

We got back from our road trip a week and a half ago. After the usual unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping (our frig was completely empty), and trying to get back onto a schedule, I managed to finally finish my cabinet. 

After putting the top back on the base, I put all the doors and knobs back on. Then I lightly sanded all the edges and corners. Nothing super-noticeable, just enough to cover up any future dings. Because let's face it, I'm a klutz, and I will be banging things into the edges. The top coat of paint is a really light blue/gray- it looks almost white, but you can see the difference where the white primer peeks out. I like the two-tone (three-tone if you count the dark wood under the primer) look.

I then cut thin plywood (leftover from replacing the backing on the cabinet) to replace the glass that was originally in the doors. Since the cabinet is full of sewing and craft supplies I wanted the cabinet completely closed in- I'm not a fan of open cupboards. I prefer to close the doors and hide the mess. Not that there's a mess right now, it's all still organized, but things don't always stay that way.

Then I covered each panel with fabric I bought on sale at JoAnns. I just hot glued the fabric on the back, and it will be easy to switch it out. LMS actually wanted a different fabric and was disappointed that I went with this one- I like it though. 

 I liked the one on the left, but it's a little dark for the room, which really doesn't get very good light.

LMS liked the one on the right, but it's a little too bright for now. Come spring, though, I think it'll be a nice change.

A couple of the panels ended up a little crooked, but I'm ignoring it. (squash that OCD, squash that OCD)

I left the medallions in place on the base cabinet doors, and used the original knobs on all the doors. I didn't replace the original magnetic closures. The doors stay closed without them, and I was too lazy :)

I spray painted the knobs, but that was all I did to them before putting them back on. They were kind of brassy black before, now they're all black/brown.

Love the detail!

What my $50 craigslist find used to look like:

What it looks like now:
I'm happy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Road Tripping across the US

Road trips aren't super conducive to saving money- there's expenses like gas, food, motel/hotel, etc.

However, I think we did pretty good.

Driving on the highway really helps our gas mileage, so we fill up a lot less often than when we're driving around town.

We only ate one meal a day in a restaurant while on the road. This was primarily due to our current dietary restrictions, but it also meant we didn't spend much on food. I did have to do a lot of planning: I made gluten free granola before we left and we brought little boxes of rice milk (cooled in a bucket of ice the nights we didn't have an in-room frig) to eat it with. I was able to search online ahead of time and find restaurants we could eat at for a late lunch/early dinner every day, and we ate snacks the rest of the time: fruit, veggies, rice crackers, peanut butter packets, nuts, etc.

I'm a bit cheap when it comes to staying in motels while traveling. They're not the destination, they're the stopover on the way to the destination. We're only there long enough to sleep, so I don't need a super-fancy (and expensive) hotel. Motel 6, reserved ahead of time, works for me.

We had a great time, and we spent less than we could have. Always a good thing!