Monday, July 12, 2010

No Pantry

Our kitchen does not have a pantry. I wish we had a pantry. Some day when I remodel this entire house, I'm adding one. Until then, I need a place to store my food. I think kitchens are the worst rooms for small house owners. How do you make a small kitchen work for a family?
We have a cabinet we bought from IKEA that we use as an island for frequently used items like cereal and baking powder and such. But I couldn't figure out a good place to put my cans and buckets of food. So I did what any resourceful woman would do and got out my saw and drill and made benches. First I got some help from my good friend Google and found a plan I could adapt easily. This one can be adapted by anyone with a drill and circular saw (and eventually a nail gun...). Most the other require special carpentry tools. If I could afford those I would probably have just hired a cabinetry shop...

I bought some 2x4's and cut them to size. Measuring correctly is so key! Remember, 2x4's are actually 1 1/2" x 3 1/2". I then used 2 1/2" screws and wood glue to secure them. Because they need to go through 3 1/2" of wood you have to predrill and counter-sink the screws. It's a pain, but the only way to do it.

The above picture is for the bottom of a bench.

Next you have to attach the legs. This gets tricky because you already have screws in the wood where you need to attach the legs. You see where I had to drill another hole because I hit metal. Once the legs are on it will look like this:

Notice that the bottom 2x4's are lying sideways while the top (pictured below) are vertical. This not only allows for lids with a larger circuference than the bottoms, but it also makes the seats more secure because it distributes the weight better. Each legs should have 2 studs resting on it. Once again you'll have to countersink to attach the top to the legs. I also chose to attach some metal l-brackets for more support.
And once your done, here is the outer shell! I am using 3/4" mdf for the seat and side pieces. I want to use a nail gun to attach the sides though and I don't have one :(. So for now there's just some mdf sitting on the top so the kids can sit on them.
The biggest mistake I made was in the height. I measured one of our chairs (16 1/2")and then the red bucket (15"). So I planned to make the benches 16" tall. Once the seat and cushion were added they would be about standard height. Then when I was getting ready to cut I remembered I wanted to include the taller wheat buckets which are 18" tall so I changed my measurements. I didn't even think about table height! So now it fits the kids nicely, but they are too tall for my husbands legs to fit under the table. To be perfectly honest, if it weren't for the wood glue and the side pieces being cut already, I'd take them apart and trim them down today and move the taller buckets back to the closet.
So if you choose to do this, please learn from my mistake.
I also wish I had used a square when attaching pieces. It's a little embarassing.
I hope I can attach the sides and some decorative trim soon and you'll see the finished product and be truly inspired! Meanwhile search the web for some better inspiration :)
Don't get discouraged about your small spaces. There are so many wonderful ideas for storage out there. A solution for every problem.
I have to believe that or I'd get really, really depressed.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Repurposed Sweaters

One of the things I have been busy with (besides my kids and garden) is repurposing fabric. I had/have a lot of projects I was meaning to start and never did. First I made some toddler sundresses out of 2 old sweaters that don't fit anymore.

I cut the sleeves off previously to make some pants. I would have liked to make longies for her cloth diapers, but this is an acrylic sweater, so pants it is!

Then I got one of her sleeveless dresses to use as a pattern for the arm holes.

Next I cut diagonally from the bottom to the arm hole. I don't know why this picture is smaller...
I removed the collar and spent about 15 minutes getting the length right and cutting and recutting the collar.
Next was folding over fabric in the arm holes and sewing that. Then I pinned the collar back on and sewed it. Finally I sewed up the sides. I didn't have to worry about hemming the bottom because I left it intact from the sweater.

She looks adorable in it and I was able to reuse something that didn't fit me right anymore.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

When was the last time you really read this?

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Happy July 4th!!
From the Small House Family

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Crazy June Days

Blogging has been low on the priority totem pole. I'm hoping to have a least one a week in July. Meanwhile, here's what we've been up to:

Plenty of swinging
Lots of playing in dirt!
It's mostly been the grownups, but kids don't get a pile like this very often and have taken full advantage of it.
Millions of baby kisses

Giving buffalo tongue stew a try at the Mountain Man Rendezvous. That's a once in a lifetime experience. Trust me. I have lots of projects I've been working on: repurposing fabrics, building food storage benches, and of course plenty of gardening! Stay tuned!