(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Baked Apple Croissant Bread Pudding

If fall fairies are dancing above your head (cousins of those frosty sugar plum fairies) like they are mine; it's time for some delicious baking.
I bake most Sunday evenings at the station, and will try to remember and share what I churn out for the guys 'n' gals on duty.

Previous hits have included banana creme pie cupcakes, caramel-drizzled shortcake cookies, pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing, pineapple upside down cupcakes, chocolate cream pie, fresh fried doughnuts, fudge brownies, peach cobbler, etc.

lemon meringue pie

Pb, caramel, and chocolate pretzel bark.
Yeah, they really hated that one. 4 times.

This time, I'd grabbed a big bag of apples on my way to duty, as the Bf and I went apple picking recently and I was inspired to make something tasty; but not with our hard-earned fruit. A cobbler? Caramel apples? Baked apples over vanilla ice cream? Peanut butter/apple something or another?
When I arrived at the station, my mind was made up for me when I spotted a mound of bread someone had dropped off, and about 2 dozen croissants among the haul.

*Side Note - People love giving food to firefighters:
and let me tell you, we love them back! 
If you have have some sort of event with a bunch of leftovers:
please take them to your local fire station. 
We will gladly accept them and give you a heartfelt thank you. 
Bring your cute kid, he'll probably be able to worm out
a little station tour and sit in the fire engine if he asks nicely.

Anyway, with all those sweet sweet carbs sitting there; it was time for bread pudding. I love bread pudding because its easy, quick, and can be made from just about any variety of bread. Last Thanksgiving I made it with day old Krispy Kremes.....that went over REALLY WELL. But I digress again.

Bam: make yourself some happy friends.

My baking is generally not precise, and often influenced by what's available rather than going to the store with an exacting list. Just like my home improvements....I sense a theme. (Lindsay = fly by the seat of her pants)

Bread pudding is basically some milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Ie. all the important food groups.

A mythical food pyramid

My basic ratio is 1c milk: 1 egg: 1/3c sugar: 1/4 stick melted butter: a dash of vanilla: a pinch of salt. I also use a little cinnamon for good measure.
I scale up depending on the amount of ingredients and number of kitchen-stalkers.

With the inclusion of apples and the crowd of customers, I rounded up all the probies on duty and had them help me peel, core, and cube approximately one $%!+ load of apples. Thats 'boat' if you're reading this, Grandmother.

As common baking sense would dictate: I poured the mixture of wet/apple-y ingredients over the torn up bread (in a banking pan, not the counter, duh). I tossed it all around to make sure everything got coated with pudding goodness, then patted down the bread a little bit to make sure the custard liquid just covered the tops of the bread.
It baked in the oven at 350 for 45+ mins, while I fielded many polite and patient inquiries as to when desert would be ready. None of them even came over the intercom this time....how debonnaire.

Usually I make fresh caramel sauce to go with bread pudding, but I figured with the croissants and extra butter (a lot of recipes don't call for it) there was already enough artery-clogging goodness to take down an ox; so I'd keep it 'healthy' and go without. A light dusting of powdered sugar made it fancy enough for first impressions, but really; neither caramel nor powdered sugar mattered because the catering-sized pan full of it was gone in a flash anyway.

The bread pudding disappeared before I thought to take a picture.
But here is someone else's lovely Apple Croissant Bread Pudding for illustration purposes. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Home!

It's officially been one year of homeownership for me.
Wowzas! Time sure flies when you're spending money  cursing appliances  painting everything  craigslist hunting having FUN.

A quick list of things I've tackled in the past year, things in progress, and things to come:

Paint - living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom #1, bathroom #1, master bedroom, spare bedroom, front hall, front door, tile glazing.
Replace - dishwasher, stove.

Apparently the original dishwasher made me drink heavily and be wobbly.

Flooring - Redid main bathroom tile floor, remove carpet from porch (yuck)
Install - wainscoting, 3 sets of built in wall shelves, high heel storage, 2 sets of built in closet shelving
Refinish - 3 dressers, 1 bed, 1 entertainment center dresser, 2 tables, 2 shelves, 1 couch, 1 fan
Restore - 2 shelves, 1 trunk, 2 doors
Reupholster - 5 chairs
Build - kitchen island, plant stand, screen frames on porches, pallet table
Done - lots of little projects

storage boxes

Free/Cheap items - 2 trunks, 1 entertainment center, 1 big shelf, 2 dining room tables, 1 secretary-turned-bar, 1 wine rack, 3 dining room chairs, 3 couches (1 skinned), 2 love seats, 3 wooden arm chairs, 3 easy chairs (2 skinned), 2 ottomans, 2 lamps, 1 old science table, 1 sewing table, closet shelving, 1 big speaker, 1 cat tree, 1 side table, 2 lockers, 1 massage chair (later sold), 1 teachers desk (also sold), 1 first aid kit, several baskets/boxes/storage solutions, several canvases, and one dog (found and returned to owners).
Buy - too much (I'd like to thank Home Depot, Ikea, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and TjMAXX for this honor)

In progress
Organizing - 2nd bedroom/office needs to get organized. Built in wall shelves/extending floating shelves need to be leveled so I can put things on them. Storage boxes have been obtained but need recovered or painted.
Flooring - There is a HUGE beige wool rug I picked up for free off craigslist draped across a training prop at the firehouse. It's been scrubbed, and is hopefully dry enough for me to retrieve. It had a LOT of stains on it, and looked pretty good when I was done scrubbing, but was dark, so I'll see how it looks. If it is splotchy still, I'll probably dye it.


A quilt - From a haul of free decorator fabric samples I picked up recently. Because I'm insane.
Christmas presents - Materials have arrived for a big batch of bath products I'll be making for presents this year. Made two AWFUL batches of bath bombs last night, but the third one came out much better after I ditched the essential oils. They are just too smelly for my taste.

Orange, Honey & Shea Butter Bath Bomb Squares

Speaker - Partial deconstruction has happened. Repair is commencing. The BF tested out the speaker part and found it to be really good, so the shelf idea has gone away and now it will be a speaker again after some fixes and and reconstruction.
Grandmother's Trunk - It has been stripped of the old moldy interior, scrubbed, and replacement sides made. The humpback lid has proved challenging so I have to figure out how to reupholster it successfully with just a little bit of fabric left.

Porches - Winterizing furniture and figuring out what plants to keep vs. live and let die. Floating shelves need to be built inside for those plants which get to stay. Screening needs redone on both porches since I discovered I did it ever so slightly, but importantly, really wrong. Booooo
Other winterizing - Assembling warm weather stuff to move to my storage unit: coolers, portable grill, plant items, saw horses that live in my coat closet so I can actually get to coats, etc.
Backsplash - Started ~8 months ago. Abandoned/forgotten about 7 months ago. I just need to get a couple small cuts around the outlets done and I can cross this one off. Easier said than done, clearly.
Walls - I still have wall projects half completed, mirrors, and framed items that need to find homes.
Cleaning - HA!

To do's
Seating updates - Making slipcovers for both love seats, dying the white couch cushion covers grey.
Walls - Walls in the 2nd bathroom need art'd up. Walls in my bedroom need worked on. Bedroom TV needs to get mounted.
Windows - Make galvanized pipe curtain rods for dining and bedroom. The cheap-o ORB painted curtain rods I put up a year ago to be able to change clothes have fulfilled their purpose but now crash down on occasion.

ala this pin

Furniture - Bed will probably get rotated in my room. Would like to build some under-bed storage and find a better home for the other furniture in there. Grandmother's antique sewing table needs refinished. Dining room table to be concrete-topped. Find a better home for a random but epically comfy mushroom chair chilling in a corner of my bedroom. Find a home for the new (to me) trunk and grandmother's old trunk.
Refinish - A small old fan, similar to one I've already done, is up on deck. One antique wooden side chair is also waiting for some love. An old filing cabinet compliments of my grandparents needs some restore a finish.
Random stuff - figuring out what to do with all the trunks, antique doors, pillows, etc. I'd also like to do a clothes purge because I never get rid of anything (even when it has every reason to go: stain/fit/falling apart), and my drawers runneth over.


So, just a couple of things on the lists, and I'm sure there's several things missing that will pop into my head at random times over the next week. Filling up gas? Perfect time to remember a random rug someone gave me. Eating lunch? Bam, there's a memory of refinishing a nightstand. And so on.

First thing I will be doing after work today though is having some girlfriends over. Hope they like breakfast for dinner; as the only things in my fridge are eggs, croissants, cheese, Oj, and fruit.
Oh and booze, you can't forget the booze.

Goooood boooy.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Adventures in Leather Gathering

Mandi is a blogger at Vintage Revivals who is a girl after my own heart; in so much that she thinks outside of the box, and always is coming up with new and unusual ways to do things.
When I read her posts on skinning a couch for it's leather: I knew I needed to follow suit. Not to straight up copy her: I've always wanted to work with leather, but gag at the super high prices for raw leather from fabric stores.

After getting this bug in my brain, I stalked Craigslist and found a couple leather beauties. The below pictures are not the exact ones I got, but VERY close.

1 white leather couch
The 1984 special.

1 turquoise/dark green chair and ottoman
More floppy 80's styling.
The one I picked up was a bit darker.

1 dark tan chair
This chair is actually attractive.
The one I got for free was NOT.
It was half vinyl and one arm was broken off.

I did not have the chance to take pictures of the real items, because they were picked up and quickly skinned before they ever got home.
The couch especially was a ridiculous operation:
I grabbed it from way across town using my dad's truck one night after dark, then found a secluded parking lot with a light under which to disassemble the thing (in a good part of town). The cushions were my friends; I could just unzip and rip the leather off of those suckers.
The body took a bit more work.
I hopped up into the bed of the truck and onto the couch itself to cut around the edges of each side with an exacto knife. A couple people driving past slowed down and stared at the crazy girl attacking a couch, but hey, thats life in the big city.....or the burbs. Crazy does not acknowledge socio-geographic boundaries, and I take this show on the road. Anyway.....I was able to get 90%+ of the leather off the couch.
With the cab full of white, wrinkly (slightly smelly) leather; I went to my condo cluster and backed up to the most secluded dumpster enclosure on the property. This also happened to be the dumpster that I'd repeatedly seen large furniture left beside (even though you are not supposed to leave furniture outside the dumpster), so I didn't feel too bad about abandoning the couch frame there. I still wrestled it into the enclosure fast as I could, and promptly drove away like I'd stolen something.
A short time later, the chairs were both able to be shoehorned into the back of my Subaru Outback. This happened on separate trips, as each chair by itself caused me to scoot the seat waaay up and practice some 'old lady' driving skills. They got skinned inside a different enclosure (since the first was full o couch) and tossed in the dumpster, which my sticker-for-the-rules-self felt better about than the couch.

Most of the time. Kinda.

I now had a big pile of funky smelling leather that needed to be cleaned and conditioned. It REALLY needed to be cleaned since after being left on the floor for 20 mins, a cat uncharastically decided it was a better place to pee than the litter box. Yum. Thanks jerk face.

I'm taking to you, cat.

I asked Dr.Google if I could wash leather, but he did not give me a solid answer. So, I went ahead and did it anyway; with regular detergent and white vinegar for good measure. After the first wash, the pieces seemed much cleaner, but I ran them through again just to make darn sure I'd done all I could to address the weird leather smell (not to mention the cat pee).
I tossed em in the dryer after this for 10 mins or so on high heat to get rid of the dripping-wet excess moisture. When they were damp to the touch I turned down the temperature and threw in a bunch of liquid fabric softener with a little vegetable oil to prevent any drying out and cracking. They came out smelling purdy and feeling soft, having soaked up all the softener and oil.

The pieces from the brown chair looked dryer than the rest after this so I re-oiled them with a little bit of vegetable oil.

Beans wanted to lick every inch of those suckers during ze oiling.
Wierdo #1 could not control himself and got relegated to the office behind a closed door.

Using an iron on medium heat (with a linen dish towel barrier) flattened out any wrinkles or waviness. I did this for a couple pieces with good results and will do the others as I use them.

And viola. A big pile of clean, cheap leather for future projects. I've already made a purse for my mister's sister, and have lots of other ideas in mind (see pinterest board here).

Those are clearly not my hands.
I can only dream of having long nails and a well kept manicure.

She requested a flap style similar to this, but as a purse, with additional specifications of: "foldy, inconspicuous, and big enough to fit a phone, wallet, and keys." Also to have a shoulder strap long enough so the purse would fit snugly under her arm, just above the waist.
I used a coral pink linen napkin on sale from Anthro ($3) for a needed pop of color on the inside, since the outside would be simple and unadorned. A few lines of stitching held it securely to the leather separator piece and provided the inside some texture. Two straight seams up the sides to close the ends like an envelope, one handle later; and it was complete. I waxed the edges and made a little tag from scraps (imprinted with a heated metal spoon handle) to finish it off.

She was SUPER pleased and has now offered to help me create and run an Etsy store. I really should take her up on it.