Sunday, August 29, 2010

Watermelon Wonder

Here in IL, our gardening season is coming to an end, at least for tomatoes. So i thought you might like to have a peek at how things are turning out.

There are a few stranglers hanging on to the vine still. But mostly it is dying for the excessive August heat. One lil guy is hanging in for all his might though.

My watermelon thinks he's a tomato.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Baked Alaska

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

So i was all on board for this, I mean what's not to like, homemade ice cream, cake and some meringue. Unfortunately this dish, at least for me, wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Firstly the ice cream... tasted like ice cream. YEAY i did that right. I was however a little disappointing because of how much people brag on home made ice cream over store bought. I really couldn't taste a difference. Still it turned out perfect so its a good recipe.

My big problems were with the cake and the meringue. The cake was very dry, and would have been awful on it's own. The meringue was in my opinion, yucky to the taste. I may have made it wrong and in retrospect I certainly didn't whip it long enough, but either way it tasted like eggs.

On top of everything, The ice cream wouldn't harden all the way. It made putting it together very hard, and everything kinda just slopped around. But i persevered and we ate this sucker for my birthday. Captain liked it just fine, but for the work that was involved I will not be making this again... or if i do something similar I'm coating the sucker with marshmallows and not meringue.

Recipe here

I did however LOVE July's challenge which I finished this month also.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.-

The cake was spongy and tasty and very easy to make.

The whole thing turned out very pretty as well.

We had a melting incident during transport so the layers kinda combined a bit, but still i think it turned out nicely.

Recipe here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harvey's Shoe Fetish

Harvey likes grownup shoes and clothing. I have seen his put on his dad's shirts and my pants and then fall down on his face when he trips over the extra length. But the funniest thing for me is when he puts on our shoes and tries to walk around.

Putting on my old soccer cleats.
Trying the cleats out.
His dad's dirty sock from the laundry bin.
And of course, Dad's boots.

Sorry about the various stages of undress in these photos, Harvey is very messy and it is easier to clean him than his clothes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New High Chair Cover

Harvey's former highchair cover was a cheap plastic thing that finally broke after about a years worth of abuse. You can see his old one here.

I had fun making him a new one. All i did was trace the old one onto some fabric, it was pretty easy actually.

New cover in action. Check out those colors!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mom.... can't you tell I'm busy? Sheesh.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fresh Cut Flowers: A Poem That Does Not Rhyme

When I see a vase of fresh cut flowers from my garden,

I can't help but think,

man that girl needs to take a flower arranging class.

And then I remember to go take my Zyrtec.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kitchen Island/Bar

We finally finished our kitchen island, and it is beautiful. I really wanted something where I could store my baking supplies (i.e. jumbo rolling pin & slipat mats). Also, for some reason chairs in the kitchen is one of my biggest pet peeves, so the bar side of the island was a must.

I won't way this was easy to build, but it is definitely doable. All you need is a saw, (table, miter, skill; it doesn't matter) drill, and a hammer (or a nail gun).

Okay so let's get on to the plans.
Obligatory google sketchup image

The first thing you need to realize is you can't cut all your pieces at once for this sucker. Due to the fact that the doors and back are pieced together everyone's island will be slightly different. Sorry folks, but I can't fix that. I will give you the measurements it *should* be in a perfect world, and then the measurement i actually needed. Oh but I can tell you how much wood to get.

(7) 1x4 16' long
(1) 1x6 8' long
(3) 1x12 16' long
(7) 1x2 6' long
(1) 4" post 8' long OR (2) turned stair banisters
(1) 2'x5' butcher block
(2) Sets door hinges
whatever other hardware you want, I used 2 handles for the top drawer.

Remember, always double check measurements before cutting
  1. cut (16) 33.25" segments from 1x4
  2. Lay the (16) segments end to end to for the back of the island & measure. In an ideal world this should be 56", mine actually turned out to be 56.75".
  3. Cut (2) back length segments MINUS 1.5" (mine was 55.25) from 1x12 (these become the top and bottom of the shelves in the island, referred to as BOARD A)
  4. Draw lines across boards 18" from each end
  5. Cut (2) 33.25" segments from 1x12 (These become the island sides) Draw lines across island sides 1.25" from bottom and 5.25 from top.
  6. Align top of BOARD A.1 to top line on sides, and bottom of BOARD A.2 to bottom line on sides. Attach together. This is the island frame

  7. Cut (2) 25.25" segments from 1x12
  8. Set inside the island frame, keeping exactly 18" space between. Attach together
  9. Cut (1-2) segments 18" from 1x12" board (these are the side shelves, I only used one, but you might want two)
  10. Set side shelve(s) in side cubby(s) and attach
  11. Measure center space (this will vary from island to island mine was 17.38"... I know weird)
  12. Cut (2) segments, center space length from 1x12" boards
  13. Insert in center space 1st board 8" from top, second board 16" from top and attach together.

  14. Lay island face down and attach back boards ( I used glue & nails) Draw guidelines if necessary

  15. Cut (2) segments back length from 1x4" boards.
  16. Align with top and bottom of back and attach.
  17. Cut (2) segments 31.75" from 1x2 boards
  18. Align flush with front edges of island, make sure to take trim to the floor, & attach (there will be a gap on the top for more trim)
  19. Cut (2) segments 21" from 1x2 board
  20. Align with center dividers, Keep center edges flush with the dividers, make sure to take trim to the floor.

  21. Cut (4) segments 16.5" from 1x2" boards. These are the trim for the door-ed cabinets
  22. For each side, align one segment flush with drawer shelf, and one segment flush with underside of island. Attach together

  23. Measure center space (mine was 17.5") Cut(4) segments center space length from 1x2 boards. These are the center shelves trim
  24. Lay all trim except bottom most flush with top of shelf. Lay bottom most trim flush with underside of island. Attach together

  25. Measure top distance and Cut (1) segment (mine was 56.75) from 1x2 board.
  26. Align edges flush and attach.

  27. Cut (4) segments 21" from 1x4" boards.
  28. Attach (2) to each side of island, one on top and one on bottom, Lay edges flush with the front of the island. There will be extra hanging out the back.

  29. Cut (2) 4" posts (or stair banisters) 33.25"
  30. Align & attach to side skirting.

  31. Measure distance from side to side on skirting & cut (1) segment from 1x4 board
  32. Attach to island
  33. Cut (2) segments 7.25" from 1x4" board
  34. Set next to insides of posts and back of island. Attach together, edge touching island will have to be glued.
  35. Cut (2) segments 5.5" from 1x4 board.
  36. Set in front of posts & attach

  37. Cut (2) segments 59" AND (2) segments 16" from 1x4 board
  38. Lay on top of Island, center boards and attach together.

  39. Measure across center of island, Cut (1) segment that length from 1x2" board
  40. Align flush with island back and attach.
Island Doors
I will give instructions for one door, just remember to do it twice
  1. Cut (5) segments 25.75" from 1x4 boards.
  2. lay one nest to each other & measure.
  3. Use this measurement to cut (2) segments from 1x2 boards.
  4. Lay 1x2 boards across the 1x4 boards 3" from ends and attach.

EXTRA: to get the "z" look shown in my photo take a 1x2 and cut one end at a 45 degree angle. Place it across the door and mark the other end. Cut at 45 degree angle and attach.

Island Drawer
This Drawer doesn't fit quite right... feel free to make adjustments. It is also meant to be used without slides.
  1. Cut (1) segment 50" from 1x12" board
  2. Cut (1) segment 50" from 1x4" board
  3. Attach 1x4 to 1x12 so that the 1x4 stets next to, not on top of, 1x12 board.
  4. Measure distance from front to back (mine was 12.25 and cut (2) segments from 1x4board
  5. Attach to sides
  6. Measure distance across front of island you want the drawer to cover, mine was 54.5"
  7. Cut (1) segment that length from 1x6 board
  8. Put drawer in island and center drawer front, Mark where front goes and remove. Attach together.
Finish whole island as desired. Paint, stain, crayons, whatever floats your boat. Once it is done attach the butcher block to the island.

If you have any questions leave it in the comments, or if you notice that I left something out please tell me and I will fix it.

Answers to Questions:

Anonymous said...

Where did you get your banisters-- I LOVE how chunky they are!

We purchased those specific banisters at Menards. But I imagine any lumber/ home improvement store will have something similar.
Anonymous said...

Thinking about helping my husband build this for our kitchen but could you please tell me the exact measurements? Thanks!

Well, as I wrote in the post, everyone's measurements will be slightly different due to the natural variations in finished lumber. My over all dimensions are 24" wide, 60" long, and35.5" tall.

Anonymous said...

How did you get the amazing "dirty" finish?

Sabrina said...

What color is this painted, its beautiful!

Thanks guys, I don't have the exact shade at the moment, but I will get it for you. It is walmart brand in a semi gloss. Then I brushed a minwax stain in Ebony 2718. Let it sit for a few minutes (you have to do this in sections) and then rub the excess off with a rag. I covered the whole thing in polyurethane.

Let me tell you this is NOT the right way to achieve this finish. If you want to try and recreate it get a GLAZE in a dark brown color. Stain doesn't every dry and gets on everything. You can find gllaze in the faux finish section in the paint department. I even have some, I just assumed stain would work... but it doesn't.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kitchen Reveal

Captain and I are finally done with our kitchen, well for the most part. There are a few things that missed the final inspection, but it is close enough to show you the pics. Please note that some of these pics are really 2 photos shoved together, so some of the edges may be ... odd.


Installed pegboard backslash & in nook, painted it lightest blue.
New oven
Installed trim & Added curtains


After (different angle)
Painted trim & doors white
Painted walls 2 shades lighter than hallway. It is... taupe?


Painted Fridge & dishwasher with chalkboard paint, & let the kiddos go to town on it.
Raised cabinets as high as we could, we do plan on adding oak molding around the top to the ceiling.


Replaced ALL outlets & covers. I finally don't shock myself when turning the garbage disposal on.


Designed & built kitchen Island.
Plans & Instructions to come in the next post.