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Category Archives: DIY Dos and Don’ts

Hey there, its been a while.

I know, I know, I have not been consistent in this whole posting thing.  My sister informed yesterday that I may have a mild, yet healthy, form of ADD.  No, I am not making fun of people with ADD or ADHD, nor am I making light of the disease.  I very easily get distracted by other projects and shiny objects.  Like yesterday, I started to instal the new-used microwave and realized that all of the parts were dirty.  I loaded them into the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen and sought out more things to put in the load (e.g. light fixtures, flower pots, etc).  While that was running I decided that one of my cupboards needed two pull-out shelves instead of one.  I built those then realized that the rollers were, unfortunately installed by the home’s previous owner ( Read: And Finally When to Call a Pro).  Because he had built the previous shelf crooked, he just put in the rails crooked.  Problem solved!  So, I fixed one roller mechanism.  Then, I installed the microwave.  By the way, instaling an over the stove microwave is one of those times a person should ask for help (Read: When to Pull-Up Your Under-Roos and Do It Yourself).  The microwave is installed and one of the roller shelves is firmly in place.

As for the garden, I have completed one section of fence and I finally got the gate installed.  Now… about the gate.  I like to reuse items that have been cast away.  Items that people no longer see any use in.  I find many of this items at Pak-It, the local junk store.  Half of the time I go to Pak-It to find items I can use around my home the rest of the time I go there just to walk around.  The place is like my Dad’s shop and it reminds me of being a kid.  Anyway, I had been eyeing this fantastic old bed frame.  You know the kind with the mesh that looks like fencing and the small springs around the side that hold it to the steel frame?  It is a beautiful color of rust and was just begging to be incorporated into my  home.  I finally decided that it would be my garden fence.  Awesome!

The bed frame itself is a bit wobbly, so I set to work cutting some braces for it out of some scrap lumber that I had laying around.  I found some cool little l-brackets that would hole the wood in place.  Then came time to put the hinges on.  Now I am not an idiot.  Sometimes I do idiotic things or say idiotic stuff, but I am not an idiot.  So, when I get treated like an idiot my temper flares; but being a girl that spends A LOT of time at hardware stores I get treated like an idiot pretty regularly.  I went to a home store whose name I shall not mention.  Lets just call them the Depot of Home.  Whilst at the Depot of Home I wanted to pick up some drill bits that I could use on metal, more specifically steel.  I looked at all of the bits and found the ones that claimed to work on metal and had little pictures of steel beams on them.  Still, I like to talk to the hardware guys and find out what they recommend.  That was a mistake.  Hardware Man #1 Pointed at the little picture of the steel beam and said, “Well, the picture says these will work,” looking at me like I couldn’t possibly be dumber for asking him such a DUMB question.  Okee dokee.  I bought the ones that Hardware Man #1 recommended.  Upon returning home it took me about 3.5 minutes to destroy the bits he sent me home with.  (And yes, I was using oil.  How dare you doubt me.)  So back to the Depot of Home I went, destroyed bits and receipt in hand.  After the lovely woman at the return counter helped me I headed back to the drill bits.  I again called for assistance and after about 15 minutes of waiting Handy Man #2 arrived.  I explained to him that I had gotten Drill Bit Set A, but that I had destroyed them.  As he sighed loudly and rolled his eyes he explained that Drill Bit Set A was only coated and the coating easily comes off.  Once it comes off the bits are soft and easy to break.  “Okay, so what would you recommend?”  I say, giving him the opportunity to teach me about drill bits.  “Well, Drill Bit Set B is impregnated by blah blah blah.  Therefore, it can stand up to your, uh, what did you say you were working on?”

“A steel bed frame,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Ya, these are the bits you want.  Oh, and don’t forget to use oil.”

“Got it!”  I said as I strolled to the register.

Upon returning home with Drill Bit Set B it took me about 10 minutes to destroy this set, but I was not going back until I had finished putting the hinges on my gate.  Even if it meant destroying all of the bits on the set before I returned them.  So, that is what I did.  The gate is hanging perfectly and looks fantastic.

Look at that Awesome Gate!!!

Look at that Awesome Gate!!!

The next day it snowed and I spent the day in the kitchen moping and cooking.  I made pickled strawberries, blueberries and peaches, sriracha and the most amazing lunch ever.  I made a salad out of celery, onions, homemade arugula pesto, lemon juice and smoked sardines.  I ate it on sweet potato chips and topped with sriracha.  OMG it was amazing!

Pickled Strawberries with Cumquats!!!

Pickled Strawberries with Cumquats!!!

Making Sriracha

Making Sriracha

Best Lunch Ever

Best Lunch Ever

After the gate fiasco I decided to take a trip.  My summer job does not allow me the time to travel and see my family so I decided I should make one last trip to see them.  My road trip through Idaho involved finding out that my favorite restaurant/brew pub in Boise was closed for remodel and the new one would open the day after I left.  My sister and I finally found a place that had decent beer and some food which was on the top of my list.  One little not to restaurants: If your burger (meaning the meat) cannot stand alone and needs the bun and the sauce and the cheese and the bacon and all of the other crap you slather on it in order for it to taste good; then, it is not a good burger.  Just like you can’t dip a horse turd in chocolate and make it taste like a truffle (but it is one of the funniest April Fools jokes I have ever heard of).  Needles to say, the burger was no bueno.  We continued on to Pengille’s and enjoyed some amazing music by Hill Folk Noir.  Check them out, they are awesome: .  The next day included watching my 7 year old nephew play an intense game of flag football, running in the Boise foothills, eating half a pizza at Flying Pie and spending over and hour trying-on and testing running shoes at Shu’s Idaho Running Company.  (Note to self: do not test running shoes after eating half of a pizza.)  Tasha rocked it and got me into a great pair of running shoes that are ugly as sin.  At least I know that no one will steal them.  I finished off my day with dinner with my Mom and a soak in the hot tub.

I left Boise and traveled on to the Main Salmon to visit my surrogate parents, Mama and Papa D, at my home away from home, Shepp Ranch.  While there I napped, ate, hiked and went mushroom hunting.

Look at the size of this mushroom!

Look at the size of this mushroom!

I finished my trip with a visit to Grangeville and, as always, left with a truck full of stuff.  Mostly metal cans and fencing for my garden.  My Dad always makes sure to hook me up.

Now, I’m back home and all of the trees are covered with buds, the hops has emerged and all of my bulbs are in full bloom.

Now my summer begins.  This is a bitter-sweet time.  The bitter part being that I will not be around much to write for all of you, but the sweet part is that I am hoping to have some contributing writers keep you entertained while I am away rapelling out of helicopters.  I will still write when I can and throw you a recipe or sewing pattern or gardening tip every once in a while.  I just won’t be able to do it very often.

Do you have any ideas for blog posts?  Would you like to contribute?  Let me know.

And Finally…When To Call A Pro

Lets talk about my day, shall we?

I got up early to go to the 6:00am crossfit class.  Every other week I take a friends kiddo to school and pick them up after.  This really only leaves open a couple of time slots for me to go to crossfit.

Option 1- I can go to the 9:00am.  Although I have yet to go, the 9:00am classes at most gyms are typically full of ladies.  Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I love knowing that women are crossfitting.  Strong, tough women ROCK!  But I get really nervous around large groups of women.  It is my problem and has a little to do with self-esteem, but it’s the truth and I am glad that I can identify my anxiety triggers.

Option 2- I could go to the 12:00pm class, but if you remember in my last post, I said I would never go to that class again.

Solution- The only solution was to get up at 5:00am and go in early.  I don’t mind the early wake-ups.  I am quite the morning person and enjoy the quiet time.  I don’t think my roommate likes my early mornings when they get to listen to me putter around making breakfast and trying to find a sports bra in the dark.  (Underwear look and feel surprisingly like sports bras in the dark.  They just don’t fit the same.  I usually get one arm and my head in before I realize that there is no hole for my other arm.)  Anyway, as I stumbled out the door, I had to stop to clean my glasses.  They were completely fogged-up and I couldn’t even see the road.  When I put them back on something terrible happened.  I realized that my glasses weren’t dirty…it was snowing.  Yuppers, snow.  And it’s my fault.  I just finished my garden beds yesterday.  They all are free of weeds, needles, leaves, and dead plants.  I tucked them all in with a fresh layer of steamy compost and sang them to sleep.  The Garden Gods decided that I had worked too hard and that I was getting way too much done.  They decided to unleash their fury in what is now an inch and a half of snow (and it is still coming down).  If it weren’t for the fact that my gym posts the workouts the day before, and I really wanted to do today’s workout, I would have turned around and gone back to bed.

Hello April 15th!

Hello April 15th!

So, may day went from being all about putting up fences and finishing cold-frames to being all about cooking, eating and taking pictures of it all.  Right now I am eating a warm from the oven brownie.  Yes, it is Paleo and I used the recipe for Fudgy Brownies, which I found on PaleOMG.  They are amazing and you should make them and follow her blog.  Here’s the link: She also just put out a cookbook that I am really excited about.  There is info on her website as well as a link to Amazon to research the book before you skip on down to your local bookstore and order it.  Before I shoveled a brownie into my face I was good and ate the most wonderful lunch ever.  I will post a photo of it below.  The first person that can correctly identify all three elements in the photo will get a prize.  In honor of the current weather here in the Northwest, the prize will be a vintage sweater from my collection.  Lucky you!  You thought it was going to be something like OMG That’s Paleo by Julie Bauer.  Unfortunately, my blog is not famous enough for me to get free-shtuff (yes, shtuff, the perfect combination of words).  So, you get to benefit from my Thrift-Whoriness!!!

What ever could it be?  The first person to correctly identify all elements of this fantastic meal wins a sweater!!!

What ever could it be? The first person to correctly identify all elements of this fantastic meal wins a sweater!!!

Remember the lists I have been working on?  Well, we have made it to the final list in the series of DIY Dos and Don’ts, When To Call A Professional.  Now I love to do things myself.  I will teach myself, read about it in a book, magazine or online and I will take a class, but I have learned through much trial and error, that there are times when you will save money and maintain your sanity if you refer to a pro.  Some of these are practical and revolve around safety and laws; others are more about tucking away the ego and ponying-up the cash.  Here we go…

When To Call A Professional

  • Salon Services- We can all wash our faces, shave, trim nose hair and pull the occasional out of place uni-brow hair, but there are a few things we should never assume to have the skills to attempt at home.
    • Massage- A sensual massage from your lover (I have always wanted to use that word) feels nice, but will accomplish little more than getting your libido revved-up.  That’s nice and all, but if you are an athlete, sufferer of regular headaches and back pain or if you just don’t carry your stress well, finding the right massage therapist is absolutely necessary.  You may have to test a couple out before you find the one that can help you out, but it is worth every penny they charge when you find the right one.  You will walk out of there feeling like you just got hit by a garbage truck, but your headache will be gone and that weird knot between your shoulders will be no-more.  Just remember to drink lots of water.
    • Hair Cut- Here’s the scene:  You decide you want to try bangs.  But because you’re just testing them out, you don’t want to have to pay somebody to cut them for you.  You get your hair wet and comb forward the right amount and start snipping away with some dull kitchen scissors.  Snip.  Snip.  The bangs are a little lopsided.  That’s okay, I’ll just snip a little more off of the long side.  Snip.  Snip.  Ooh, now they’re lopsided the other way.  Snip.  Snip.  Well, now they’re a little skinny.  So you comb a bit more forward and snip away.  Snip.  Snip.  Before you know it, you have given yourself a 2 inch bowl cut half way around your head and you don’t remember the last time you owned a barrette to pin them back.  Moral of the story, unless you can cut your hair using the same guard on a pair of electric clippers, leave it to someone whose job relies on you looking good.
    • Waxing- Danger!  Danger!  Those kits you see at the store claiming, “You too can wax your own nether regions, at home!!”  are lying.  What it should say is, “You too can burn yourself with hot wax and rip off the first five layers of skin, leaving you crying and bleeding to death whilst curled-up in the fetal position on your bathroom floor, at home!!”  I will continue to fight for truth in advertising.  Leave this one to the folks at the waxing salon.  They went to school for this stuff.  Remember one thing, if you want your waxer to love you and enjoy having you as a client, for Pete’s Sake take a damn shower before you go in.
  • Falling A Precarious Tree- Is it leaning over your house?  Will it take out your neighbor’s fence?  Will you effectively eliminate the power supply for your neighbor hood if you fall it?  If so, hire someone with insurance.  If you cannot KNOW that you will safely fall a tree without hitting anything, have a pro do it.  An arborist deals with situations such as this all of the time, but you are the weekend warrior of chainsaws and that is not good enough for your insurance company.  They aren’t too keen on covering stupid.  They’ll do it, but your premium may go up.  Plus, you do not want to ruin your relationship with your neighbor by destroying their property.  That will take away the joy of ruining that relationship in more creative and juvenile ways like dressing their cat up every time you catch it crapping in your garden and sending it home with a note around its neck saying, “I’ve been a bad kitty today.”
  • Chipping- The chippers rented to the general public have been adjusted so that jackasses cannot try to shove an entire juniper into the damn thing, clogging it with rocks, dirt and the occasional chunk of metal.  Therefore, any chipper you try to rent won’t chip more than a twig and will leave you throwing a fit and kicking the chipper as it lags over a 1-inch branch.  Save yourself the frustration.  Hire a landscape company to clean up your mess.  I know, it is stupid how much they charge and then they turn around and sell the chips that they just charged you to take, but it is totally worth it.
  • Accounting- If you want to start a business or have to itemize your taxes hire a professional.  Before you even decide on a name for your endeavor make sure that you have a certified accountant that will do your bookkeeping for you.  Some will teach you how to do the basics so that when it comes time for the monthly books they only have to spend a couple of hours working on it and therefore can charge you less.  That is what I like to call an “Awesome Accountant”.  This will save you a ton of time, a ton of money and ten tons of sanity.  Do it.
  • Cleaning Wool- A tear comes to my eye every time I see a crinkled Pendleton Snap-Up Shirt on the rack at a thrift store or a fantastic sweater that was once my size but would now be perfect for a Cabbage Patch Kid.  The great thing about 100% wool is that if you hang it up and allow it to air out, any B.O. that you have left on it will no longer exist on the garment.  You can wear wool several times before you need to have it cleaned.  I have a couple of shirts and sweaters that I have been wearing for years that have never been washed.  Please, please, please have a professional clean your wool garments.

Wow!  I bet you glad that is over.  Now you’re wondering, “What ever is she going to discuss next?”  Here is a hint:  There are soon to be three movies with this subject as the main title.  Do you know what it is?

Don’t forget to check out the photo of what I ate today and see if you can figure out what it is.  You know you want a sweater!!!

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