Thursday, May 31, 2012

Light & Airy Curtains: My Memoiral Day Project

I can't believe that as of today, I have been in this Duplex for two years now! That just blows my mind.

This past Memorial Day weekend I got the project itch. (Does that happen to you?). For about 6 months now I have been wanting to make new curtains for my living room. One of the things we loved about this duplex when we looked at it was the large window in the front that let so much light in.


We loved it for the day time, but at night we wanted some privacy. So one of my first projects two years ago when I moved in was curtains. So I made these long beautiful curtains that were thick and heavy - sure to give privacy when we needed it.

Sorry for the horrible picture, this on a bad day and taken with my camera I bought in 2005 :-)

Two years later, I hate them. They are so bulky and big they make the room feel smaller and the windows less airy. With the sun up and light filtering in the windows from 6:45am to 9:00pm - I really wanted to make the room feel more airy, open, and welcome.

Curtains are expensive, especially when you have windows that are a unique shape and size like ours. So I decided that I would try to make them. I want them as minimalist as possible and I like the look of the tabbed curtains, too (IKEA style).

At Hancock Fabrics I found this thin 58" wide Voile for $3 a yard - my kind of price range when you need 8 yards!
Over the weekend I tackled this project. It didn't take very long. I just had to sew the top and bottom seams since my window was 56" and my fabric was 58" wide - yay!

And now I have an airy room!


What a huge difference! The only concern was at night, if people would be able to see through. I am happy to report  - that you can see the light and shapes- but you cannot not clearly see what goes on behind these curtains from the street.

Hey messy room! But what would you expect after a weekend of sewing?

Happy Memorial Week! (Yay for a 4-day work weekend!)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making the Most Out of Your CSA

Its that time again and I am excited!!!

CSA!


As I have mentioned before, I am participating in a local CSA this year (my second year). CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, basically a family buys a "share" of a farm each year and from that "share" gets a portion of crop each week. My family is using a local farm called Signal Mountain Farm, but there are many many others all over the country.  Most of these farms interact with shareholders through farmers markets, farms, or even through organic grocery stores. They cost around $500-$900 per season for a full share. Many families have half of share (usually half the price).

This year we paid for a full share $800, and split it with another couple. This has been a tremendous amount of food and difficult because a lot of the veggies I have never heard of. One of the many reasons people drop out from the program is because they don't know what to do with all food. If you are patient and are willing to put some extra time in- a CSA is great way to eat healthy and save money.

This was the produce of ONE full Share.



That's right. 50 Tomatoes, 15 ears of corn, 20 peppers, kale, turnip greens, collards, lettuce, apples, squash, and potatoes. YIKES! How do you use all of that before it goes bad? Here are some tips to help you out if you are struggling to use your CSA share of the week.

Tomatoes.

Can or freeze. Make some crock-pot tomatoes sauce, put into bags and freeze.  (I did this earlier this year see here and here for the results). Also if you want to learn how to can whole tomatoes, I recommend this site. This does take some time, but it will be worth the savings.

Corn.

If you have too many ears to eat in one week, cook the corn and cut off the kernels. Than place in a Ziploc and freeze. They keep a while and are great to add to salsa, stir fry, and tacos.

Peppers.

Peppers freeze so well. Wash the peppers, remove stem and seeds. Slice into strips and freeze. There are also amazing in stir fry and tacos! (Make sure you freeze according to kind of pepper, for example keep a bag of bell peppers and a separate bag of hot peppers).

Kale.

Kale is hard to find a use for. And for some people it is really bitter. If you don't like it steamed or in a stir fry, try this amazing Casserole. Kale works really well with scrambled eggs and cheese.

Kolrabbi.

I have never heard of this veggies until I placed it in my hand. Its so weird. But amazing. Make sure you PEEL it. That is the most important part. This year I enjoyed the Kolrabbi in Empanadas. They tasted amazing!

Chard.

Chard is amazing in stir fry and in anything with pasta. Like a lasagna and a marinara sauce.



It is challenging but totally worth it! For other tips and recipes checkout Signalmountainfarm.blogspot.com . And to find a farmshare in your area checkout: http://www.localharvest.org/

Where do you get your fresh veggies from?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roses are Pink And Our Duplex is Red

For a while now, I have been wanting to make the front of your duplex a little more beautiful. Even though we only use the back door - most of our guests and our  nice mailman always use the front door. We are so lucky to have a landlord that lets us do things like dig up grass and put in a bed. He also gave us some extra stones to go around the edge of the bed  (yay free!).

Here is the before of the front of the duplex.



After two hours of shoveling, shaking the grass (to get the most dirt out of the grass)and carrying the stones we headed to the local garden center to get some flowers. After talking to a knowledgeable associate about what type of plant we need (the front of the house gets heavy sun ALL DAY) we chose two knock-out roses - which apparently are as easy to keep as weeds (we'll see about that). And we chose some on sale petunias to fill in this year - we'll look into other perennial options later. This is what our front now look like:




My mom got me this really cool rain gauge that is just perfect for the front. (Thanks, mom!)

Happy summer time!


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