June 30, 2015

How To Bake Bread In Under An Hour

I'm a little obsessed with fresh bread. So obsessed that I've been know to buy a loaf fresh from the bakery and eat most of it in an afternoon. There's nothing like fresh, chewy, yeasty bread. A little butter or, even better, a little brie and I am one happy gal. Chubby but happy.


I've had to trim the budget recently (quit my job and all) so I'm trying to use what we have in the pantry and still eat well. One of the things I've been doing is experimenting with baking bread. Because bread. I love it. That's all.

So on a rainy and cold summer afternoon (Oh hey, Canada! Thanks for another winter summer!) I was digging through my recipe box, downsizing my collection and came across this recipe that I copied from my grandmother before she passed away.

I vividly remember sitting in her kitchen when Emily was tiny (and she's 24 now) while she made this bread and she dictated the recipe to me. Dictated because, like everything she made, she kept the recipe in her head and just added a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Now when I do stuff like this it equals baking disaster. But for her, it always came out perfectly. I tried to make the bread a couple of times but I couldn't get it and I gave up.

I have a couple of decades of cooking under my belt now and I thought it might be time to attempt this again. The best part of this whole scheme is that Aiden was indulging in his daily three hour snooze and Liam likes to help in the kitchen.  He doesn't nap. That makes me sad sometimes but not today. I asked if he wanted to help bake some bread and we had a grand old time.

In tinkering with this recipe, I switched from using regular flour to bread flour. I'm not even sure we got bread flour in Canada all those years ago but I know from experience that it does make a difference. The recipe that I'm sharing here has my altered (and slightly more specific) directions and measurements. I also used my Kitchen-Aid instead of mixing my hand like my grandmother. Yeesh, women were tough back then.

Liam was pretty excited about getting to add ingredients and use the Kitchen Aid.

He had a seizure the day before and we spent most of the night at emerg. He has refused to take off his hospital bracelet. It's his ultimate fashion accessory. I don't argue over small stuff. I'm just planning to snip it off in his sleep tonight ;)

We were pretty pleased with ourselves when we actually turned out two delicious loaves of fresh white bread. Just like Grandma used to make.

Liam was so excited that he grabbed a hunk off the corner when I was putting the laundry in. I didn't even get mad. Just told him to wait until I could add some butter to the experience. And then I moved the loaves up high.

Here's the recipe from Grandma with the addition of my obsessive need for details and measurements.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to clean bread crumbs out of my keyboard. And pry the dough hook from Liam's grip. He thinks he's a pirate.

Sharing this recipe here and over at Serenity NowFinding Silver Pennies, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseFluster BusterCoastal Charm, Bloom DesignsFrom My Front Porch to YoursPieced Pastimes, Tabler for Two, A Life In Balance, and Savvy Southern Style.

June 28, 2015

Inspired By You - Weekend Features #2

Hey peeps! We've had a bit of a rough week around here. Another crazy battle with the agency who has guardianship of the boys. So incredibly tired of all the power and control games. And Liam had a seizure yesterday afternoon which resulted in our being in emerg until 2 AM. He's fine. I'm freaked out. And we're now headed for an EEG and a neurology consult. On the plus side, he slept until after noon today and he's perky and in good spirits :)

On to my favorite blogger projects of the week. Grab yourself a beverage and get comfy because there are some great projects to check out this week.
Since it's been a rough week and all I immediately latched onto this  Watermelon Martini from Lisa at Cooking with Curls. Is it 5 o'clock yet? Does it matter?

Only 4 ingredients in this peach cobbler recipe from Steph at Plain Chicken. I'm planning to try this out next weekend! My peach cobbler recipe is way too complicated for me these days.

Check out this awesome furniture makeover by Bre from Brepurposed.

Mandi at Moments With Mandi made a sugar scrub that looks good enough to eat.

Bharati at Techie's DIY Adventures already had a pretty good thing going with her blue dresser. She made it even better when she added a pop of orange to it.

Gilly at Color Saturated Live shared her project fail although for a fail, it is still pretty spectacular.

Shelley from Barnacle Butt (That blog name is the bomb!) shared tips for painting for clients and this gorgeous pink desk and gold side table. Timely information since I've just started painting for others again!

This is one adorable painted pillow cover from Amy at Delineate Your Dwelling. Love.

I loved this post from Nan at Granny Fabulousa about the benefits of a good clean up. I couldn't agree more.

How about some guilt free oven fried chicken from Tracie at Cleverly Inspired? I made a little drool in my mouth when I first saw those pictures.

Be sure to visit these clever gals for the full post and to pin from the original site.

What have you been up to this week?

Sharing these talented projects here and over at Serenity NowFinding Silver Pennies, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseFluster BusterCoastal Charm, Bloom DesignsFrom My Front Porch to YoursPieced Pastimes, Tabler for Two, A Life In Balance, and Savvy Southern Style.

June 26, 2015

Upcycled Dresser To Media Center

When I saw this solid dresser for sale on Craigslist, I couldn't pass it up even though I didn't have a project in mind or a buyer.

I pretty much have it's smaller twin in my living room and all. That baby was one of the first pieces I ever painted and I still love it. Even though the boys ripped the handle off the middle section. (I still have it...someday I'll put it back on. When they stop using it as a pirate ship wheel).

Back to the huge brown dresser.....It weighed a ton and I dragged it home all by myself. I'm only sharing this part of the story because the man who sold it to me told me I couldn't manage it on my own and to get someone to help me move it. Bam! Challenge accepted.

I immediately listed it on a local buy and sell page and a lovely lady wanted to know if I could paint it a cream color as she was hoping to use this in her living room as a media center. Second challenge accepted.

We chose Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee however, I had Sherwin Williams mix up the color. I just like how smooth their paint is (and they give me a discount!)

The dresser had been previously painted in a brown color (why???) and had some dings and scratches so I sanded it down before patching and sanding some more.

I used a spray primer for this baby that adheres to plastic just to be sure it took.  I think it was Krylon but I'd already pitched the empty can. I use both Krylon and Rustoleum and like them both.

And then.....dun dun dun.....I busted out my brand new Home Right Paint Sprayer (Affiliate Link). Oh emm gee, y'all! I ordered this a couple of weeks ago from Amazon and was too scared to use it. I'm clearly a ding-dong.

I'm not sponsored by Home Right or anything like that...I'm just really happy with how easy this is to use.

Initially, the plan was to remove the drawer fronts like I did with my own media center and then re-attach the frames to the drawer edges.

Except this.

Thick wood plus tons of glue. Nope.

We decided to use the interior cupboard to hold the cable box and DVD player. We kept the door attached so that it could be closed off when not in use. I heart tidy.

FYI- Painting the interior of cabinets or drawers is not my usual thing. Too much stretching and pretzel twisting on the driveway to get at the corners. Not a problem with the paint sprayer though! Ok. I still didn't like it but it was definitely easier.

The dresser only required two coats of paint because I used the sprayer and I had primed it thoroughly. Which is a darn good thing since it about killed me to drag it in and out of the garage.

The handles were just a brown metal with a red under tone.

We decided to keep them but they got a face lift with some primer and Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

Hello! We have a media center ready for pick up.

Huge difference!

Now that I know how easy it is to use a paint sprayer, I've barely put it down. I'm actually planning to give it a try in my bedroom at the trailer if it ever stops raining on the weekends.

Have you used a paint sprayer for any of your projects? It's ah maze ing!

Sharing this gorgeous dresser here and over at Serenity NowFinding Silver Pennies, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseFluster BusterCoastal Charm, Bloom DesignsFrom My Front Porch to YoursPieced Pastimes, Tabler for Two, A Life In Balance, and Savvy Southern Style.

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June 22, 2015

The Groovy Orange Dresser

This story starts with quitting my day job. The job quitting thing was a long and painful process and I'll probably chat about that decision in the near future. Lots of drama. And if you know me at all, I loathe drama.

Source unknown

In addition to all that job stuff, I keep hinting at some big changes coming down the pipe. Those are still under wraps because we're waiting for some decision making from the child welfare agency that has legal guardianship of the boys. It's only been three months since the plans were put forward but whatever. And the boys will be 3 and 4 this summer. But take your time, peeps. We'll just be over here waiting to move on with our lives.

Snarky intro officially over now.

Now y'all probably remember that I like to paint furniture now and then and have done a few custom pieces for others.

Well, while I've been hanging around, waiting for answers and clearing out the house, I started listing a few things for sale. One of the things I listed was Aiden's crib and bedding. Yes, my baby is actually in a big boy bed.

(Excuse me while I wipe my tears.)  

The bedding and crib eventually sold but people went kind of coo-coo for the dresser I painted to match his room when he was a baby. I hadn't intended to sell it but it kind of sold right out from under him. Who knew?

I probably had at least 20 people asking about that dresser. After it sold, I looked around and realized I had some other pieces that needed to be cleared out and could easily be painted for others. Because I'm a furniture hoarder and all.

So we're back in the furniture painting business. Within a week, I had 9 orders and had to start wait listing people. At that point, I really had to stop adding to the furniture hoard because I couldn't get to the second fridge in the garage. What?  Doesn't everyone have a second fridge?

One of the first pieces I finished up was this 9 drawer mid-century modern beauty. Love.

I have always wanted to paint something bright orange but I've lacked the....ummm....guts to go and really do it. Which is why I'm loving the custom furniture thing. I actually took two (!) orders for something orange within a couple of days of each other. The clients that I've started working with are so much braver than I am. I'm living a little vicariously through them.

Let the painting begin. Except it began to rain. For like over a month. When it wasn't raining, it was so ridiculously humid that the paint wouldn't dry on anything. Ugh! I finally dragged the 9 drawers into the house to start working on them.

It was a lot of fun making dinner those couple of days (#fastfood).

Orange is funny. It's one of those colors that seems to be kind of translucent when you start painting, if that makes since. I've worked with darker and lighter colors that took less coats. This dresser actually took four coats of paint. The top took five!!

Just sitting here, waiting for the last coat to dry.

How gorgeous is this color? I'm thrilled that it's going to a little boy who is having a woodland/hunting themed room. Thanks to his brave momma for letting me paint this for him.

Sharing this gorgeous dresser here and over at Serenity NowFinding Silver Pennies, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseFluster BusterCoastal Charm, Bloom DesignsFrom My Front Porch to YoursPieced Pastimes, Tabler for Two, A Life In Balance, and Savvy Southern Style.