So, this one is an oldie, from my first apartment.
DIY hanging ladder shelf. Takes less than two hours to make.
I needed a shelving unit for my porch, so I can up with this easy ladder shelf.
To make it, you need need 1 by 4 boards cut to the width you want (have the people at the store cut it to size for you if you don’t have a saw), clothes line, an o shaped ring that is fit to hold weight, a hook for the ceiling that can hold weight and a drill.
First, paint or stain the wood the color you want. If you are going to keep it outside, I recommend treating the wood in some ways.
Then, at the corners — one inch from each edge — drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the clothes line you are using. You want to be able to still get the line through, but you want it to be tight so there is friction to help keep everything in place later.
Next, cut the clothes line into two lengths that are double the height you want the shelf to be plus two feet. Use a larks head knot to tie center of the string to the o-ring. You should have four strings hanging down from it. From there, thread them through the four holes on what will become your highest shelf. When the shelf is at the height you want, tie and overhand knot under it to keep the shelf in place. Repeat until all the shelves are in place. Then cut away the excess string or leave it. Your choice.
A few weeks ago, I was out on assignment at a road striping business (you never know where aa day in job will take you) when I spied this giant pile of pallets out back.
Now, Eryn and I had been scheming the about the past way to get out hands on pallets for about a week. We tried Home Depot, that didn’t work out. We had scoped out the parking lot at the newspaper, they were all plastic or broken. So, when I saw them sitting by a dumpster I got excited.
At the end of the interview, I casually asked the owner if I could have some pallets. Well, he, the News Herald photographer and a crew member ended up going through the whole pile of pallets to pick out the best ones for me, and then loaded them into my car for me.
Now, that’s Southern hospitality.
At the end of the table project, which I will should you later, Eryn and I had a lot of extra boards from the pallet, and we worked hard to pry every board off the pallet. Pro tip: buy a crow bar. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can do it with a hammer. There’s no efficient way to do it with a hammer. There just isn’t. Invest.
Once we got the boards off, we quickly stained them a deep brown to match Eryn’s table.
Then, we measured out enough room for nine hooks on the two pieces of wood we took, and drilled pilots holes … in my dining room. No workshop for us.
After that we screwed in some hooks I had picked up at Walmart.
Then a quick test to make sure everything was fitting okay at my place. It’s not actually on the wall hence the crookedness of it.
Then at Eryn’s we attached it to the wall with just two screws. I think the dark wood looks really nice against the light blue wall. She had wanted to paint her kitchen almost a navy blue, but I talked her into a lighter (and I think more liveable) color.
I think it helps to elevate what is otherwise a pretty ordinary kitchen.
For the second installment of our fancy Tupelo honey series, I bring you honey, strawberries and cream crepes. They are so good. The tupelo honey has this very light flavor that really compliments the strawberries. It’s way better than you standard bottle of honey.
So it was Eryn who made the crepes, so I am going to pass this over to her to tell you how it is done.
First off, these aren’t like, real crepes. At least I don’t think. I’ve only had ~real crepes once in my life. They’re a little thicker than the real ones all fancy and cooked on a stone. We didn’t have crepe stones growing up because we are not fancy, and I’m still not fancy now so you can do this fine in your standard, large size skillet or frying pan.
Growing up we always had these (we called them big pancakes because again, not fancy) with butter and brown sugar slathered on the inside. Then we rolled them up and poured maple syrup on them because my family wanted to set us up for a lifetime of diabetes. We then cut them into slices and you could see the little rings of sugar and butter.
The crepe recipe is super simple. Don’t be fooled by anything that says you have to whip out a beater or put the batter in the fridge. Sure you could do that but you’re just delaying your meal of sweet sweet crepes.
Start with two eggs and a cup of flour in a bowl. Whisk them together until they’re all mixed. Then extract all the batter that inevitably gets stuck inside the whisk (it should be just about all of it). I hate whisks for this exact reason but I haven’t found a better way to do it so I’m dragging you all down with me.
Then add in a half cup of milk and a half cup of water. The recipes online say whisk them in gradually but I only have two hands so it just gets dumped in. Whisk whisk whisk until it’s all mixed, then pour in two tablespoons of melted butter and a quarter teaspoon of salt. You can add up to another half teaspoon of butter if you want like, really smooth buttery crepes or hate your arteries (I am both) but any more will change the consistency and consistency is important with these guys.
From here you can get a little creative. I usually add a splash of vanilla, some cinnamon because Katie is a cinnamon freak (don’t tell her I said that) but DON’T add honey because, as I learned today, it will make the consistency a little weird.
So at this point your batter should be kind of watery. The online recipes say this is good but it looks a little shifty to me. I don’t trust it. So I add a little more flour, very gradually, to thicken it up just a little bit. Enough that it’s not just straight water, but not like pancake batter. Thin enough that it will spread easily in the pan. I think tonight I added maybe a little less than a quarter of a cup of flour. So like, small amounts, very gradually because you can always add more but you can’t take it back (a great life lesson found in cooking. someone should write those down)
Lightly grease your frying pan with vegetable oil and set it on a medium high heat. I tried greasing with butter for tonight’s dinner and it just wasn’t the same and they stuck a little more than normal. This is also one of those times I would say let the pan warm up a little before you put the batter in. Once it has a little heat, you’re ready to get your crepe on.
The batter should make three or four crepes, depending on how much batter you use per crepe (obviously). I use between two thirds of a cup to a cup of batter for each one, using a half cup measuring cup to pour. So dip your cup in and pour it into the center of the pan. Then, pour another scoop right after it, before it has time to heat up. Now comes the part that always reminds me of that game Cooking Mama for the Wii Pick the pan up off the burner and tilt it around to spread the batter out to the edges of the pan. It looks thin, especially around the edge, but trust me. Trust me. Then just sit back and watch things heat up. Unlike a pancake, you’ll be able to watch the whole thing solidify and once it cooks enough, you should be able to slide the whole thing around the pan pretty easily. It should flip easily too, once its done. I usually wait until the bottom gets just a little bit brown before flipping them. Literally just a little bit. Like spot of browning here or there, don’t burn them. So once you get that, just flip them, let them cool a little longer, then slide them off the pan into the plate like a pro because you are now officially ~fancy my friend.
You can put literally whatever you want into them. Go the brown sugar route. Throw some strawberries in there. Try nutella and whipped cream. Go crazy. Just enjoy.
This was a long week. I swear Tuesday felt like Thursday and the week just sort of dragged on from there. It wasn’t that any part of it was bad, just tedious. But, that’s okay. Not every week had to be super exciting.
Anyways, I wanted to try a new thing called “this week I’m” to recap my week. So here’s the rundown.
These week I’m…
Eryn and I ran 20 minutes without stopping!!!! We’ve been doing the “Get Running” app on my phone, and this week we reached out first nonstop run. It was hard, but worth it. I did a 5K once, but I didn’t do it without stopping. This, I did without stopping. It’s a big deal to me.
I got a new set of gouache paints, which are an opaque watercolors and completely new to me. I don’t quite get how they work yet, but I did do this painting to remember New Orleans.
Pinterest meals. Eryn and I started a thing where we cook one meal off a Pinterest meal every week. This week we did a potato dish and we made a turkey burgers with a tzaztiki sauce, It’s been a lot of fun and it forces us to try new recipes. I don’t know what we are going to do this week yet.
The Chef’s Table. It’s a series of Netflix documentaries about some of the top chefs in the world. One of the chefs operates out of Hudson, New York, which is the region of New York my family is from so that was really cool. The particular chef also has really interesting ideas about food and farming.
The St. Andrews Mardi Gras parade. It’s a big event they do in Panama City every year with so many beads. I’m not normally a parade person, but catching beads made it so much fun. We brought Addie to the parade, and she was so well behaved. I only had to pick her up when the cannons went of. Treats are her biggest motivator.
St. Andrews State Park! Mom got Eryn and I passes to the Florida state parks, so we headed out to the beaches today. It was in the 60s, which was a little chilly, but it was worth it to wade out in the water and look for shells. We were the only people out in the water, everyone else on the beach was in winter coats.
So awhile ago I showed up my rental cottage in its early days, which it what beautiful then but it is even more beautiful now. I would say just about every space is 90 percent done, but the kitchen is the closest to 100 percent. Therefore, I figured it was time to share some pictures of it.
When I first moved in, the kitchen was painted a deep red and there was a big rust stain in the sink. However, I loved the sink, the window over the sink and the black and white checkered floor. The floor was a bit of a #lifegoal as I told the landlord when I pleaded for the cottage.
I set up a little garden over the sink. The ledge was too small for some of the pots, so I used a piece of pink twine looped through some hooks in the window frames to hold them in place. It’s worked really well.
I picked up the apron when I was in Savannah, because I liked the idea of a Southern apron.
I use a peg board to keep a lot of the kitchen supplies organized. All the utensils with the pink handles are wooden utensils from my grandparents house that I just painted the handles pink on. The wood wasn’t in great shape, so I think the pink was an improvement.
The built in next to the stove has been a lot of fun to style. I change it around all the time. The trick was adding some tall vertical items to balance out all the short stuff.
Then we have the main workspace. It’s usually pretty messy over here.
I spray painted the toaster oven pink. I just like it better this way The hardest part was taping everything off.
Then there is the fridge. I “made” all of the magnets, meaning I glued the stones to magnets. They look pretty cool though, in my opinion.
Guys, great news! There is a way of cutting open a pomegranate without your kitchen and clothes looking like a murder scene.
It’s actually really easy and doesn’t involves bowls of water special knives of anything like that, just a basic paring knife and a cutting board
The inside of a pomegranate is divided into a lot of little sections of seeds. Think of it sort of like the wedges of an orange. The trick to not making a mess is to lightly cut along the natural edges of those sections so that you aren’t slicing open the juicy seeds. The edges will create raised bumps on the outside of the fruit. I outlined them for you on this one.
Then lightly cut the edges, just enough to get through the thick outer layer.
Once you get a few sections scored, you can pretty easily pull them away from the rest of the fruit.
Please note how little juice is on the cutting board. That’s magic. Magic and less clean up/laundry.
I love pomegranate. My Dad brought it home when I was a little kid one day being like “let’s try this weird fruit I found at the grocery store” (he spends a disproportionate amount of time in the produce section), and I’ve been hooked ever since. My favorite is to eat is plain, but this recipe is also super good.
I’ve also found out Addie really likes the seeds, and that they are safe for cocker spaniels.
I love flowers. One of the best parts about moving to Florida is that they bloom sooner and longer. I can still find morning glories and roses when I walk my dog around the block, and it’s January. In New England, January means a foot of snow. This is way nicer.
Here are some of my favorite flower photos I took over the last year or so, just because I am in that kind of a mood.
These guys ^ are from Trader Joes. I used to live within walking distance, and they always had a great assortment of flowers.
These ones are pictures I took while hanging out at a nursery. The greenhouse was amazingly colorful. Sometimes, I go to plant stores just to hang out for a little bit.
I was really lucky at my last apartment to have a wildflower patch tucked away in a field about a mile away. I had daisies, blacked eyed susans, lupine, and once I even found a wild peony blooming. I made sure to always leave at least a few blooms to go to seed so the patch would keep growing. Sustainable flower harvesting.
It doesn’t matter that I have seen every episode of the Great British Bake Off twice. It’s still on in the background while I am writing that post. And I still keep taking breaks from typing, so I can watch the contestants present their baked goods that I have already seen. It’s that good. Weirdly.
In the show, 12 contestants compete in a tent in the English countryside to win an engraved cake stand and recognition. They don’t even get money.
It’s tame compared to American cooking competitions. While the recipes get fancy, there are no weird ingredients thrown at them. They have a reasonable amount of time to finish. Heck, sometimes a contestant finished early. There is no trash talking. In fact, sometimes they help each other.
Kate helps Martha out
It’s positively socialist. Everyone knows how to be polite and how to help each other out; however, they don’t sacrifice their own quality of work. Kate, as seen above, wasn’t throwing the competition when she helped Martha out. She was being kind and giving Martha that extra hand she needed to pull it off, while trusting her work to stand on its own. She didn’t lose anything from the exchange. It’s just super refreshing to watch.
Also, Martha is only 17 and is a doll. Baking like her is a #lifegoal Totally love her. Absolutely team Martha. It’s more fun when you have someone to root for after all.
Most of the episodes are fairly mellow. There are shots of flowers blooming, baby animals, friendly banter in the kitchen, lots of dialogue from the amazing hosts. However, ever now and again, something goes wrong.
The prime example is #bingate. I won’t spoil it for you but the British tabloids wrote about it for weeks. And I kind of don’t blame them.
I could try to explain how great this show is, but it’s not going to work. On paper, it makes no sense. On paper, it should not be this popular. But it’s fantastic. The best, and you should watch it on Netflix. And bake something to eat while you watch. It’s more festive that way.
So I’m going to leave you with this, and a gentle push to watch it.
So little did I know when I accepted this job in Florida that I have moved to the homeland of one of the fanciest honey flavors in the world: Tupelo honey. Heck, little did I know when I accepted this job in Florida that honey has different flavors.
Tupelo honey is made from the nectar of the White Gum Tupelo tree, which only grows in swamplands in the Florida Panhandle and a wetland in Georgia. The blooms last for about two week in April, and the bees love them. Love them. You can read more about it in this article I wrote for work.
Anyways, I heard so much about this honey, that I had to go buy a bottle (see the “research” at the end of the article, totally self-serving). Note: It is that good.
But honey isn’t something I use a lot and this is FANCY honey, so Eryn and I are coming up with some equally fancy recipes or at least modifying the recipes found here at Savannah Bee Company (basically the queen bee company of the honey world.
So here you have it, our first fancy recipe.
For these you will need:
A little butter
This is not an exact science. Basically, cut the baguette to a manageable size and brush a little bit of butter on (you could also substitute with olive oil), add Rosemary to taste and then add a dollop of Ricotta cheese. Toast it until the edges of the bread brown.
Once you take it out of the over, sprinkle on the pomegranate seeds and then drizzly on the honey.
From there, it is just about snacking away.
Hope you like them and that you get a chance to try some Tupelo Honey one day.
This past year, I’ve been really into watercolor paintings. I find the act of creating something nice (well, hopefully nice) soothing when I am stressed out. I was looking back, and I think there has been significant improvement over the past year.
Here are some of the sort of early ones. The really early ones I am not going to share. They have some issues/don’t really look like much.
These ones I turned into labels for some candles I did as a diy.
These these little prints I use as scrapbook fillers. It’s way cheaper than Project Life.
This is one I did a couple months in that I ended up giving to my dad for Father’s Day. I like it because I have step by step photos. It’s a little sloppy, but I was starting to tackle slightly harder designs.
I even started to bring my watercolors down to the beach. I was using these really cheap paints you can get at Michaels, because they are easy to carry around with you. I think they work okay, as long as you do not use the paint brush in the kit.