Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet T's Bistro Set

Vacation is over, and I've brought home such sweet memories, and even several post ideas that I hope my readers will enjoy.
My sister, "Sweet T", is one of the first women I've known to reuse, repurpose, and upcycle everyday objects into one of a kind useful items, bringing them back to life, and giving them new beauty at the same time.
This sweet little metal bistro table and chairs was originally purchased second-hand by our mom back in the mid-80s. (Mom called it her "ice cream parlor" set.)


The "Ice Cream Parlor" set in the store window, when Mom first saw it.
Over the years, it was used indoors, outdoors and as a prop for a church play a time or two. It was white, then gold, then chippy and a bit rusty.  

I think this was supposed to be a globe, made from chicken wire.
When T inherited it, she painted it black and it has been lovingly cared for. When the welds would break, a friend would repair them, but the welding material would build up and make sitting uncomfortable.
Sweet T loves "thrifting" and had purchased some natural jute rope a while back, not knowing exactly where she'd use it. She worked out the the final look of the table in her mind, then set out performing the tedious task of wrapping the rope around each chair seat to cover the welds. She then wrapped the table top to match, and the finished look is nothing short of designer!  Burlap, macramé and all things natural-looking are "in", aren't they? Well, here is the bistro set that I now covet, haha!






This project is not for an impatient person, and it took her three days to complete the chairs alone. It's a labor of love, and when Sweet T and I sat down to enjoy a glass of her famous sweet tea, it made the moment even sweeter to enjoy it at this sweet bistro set.

As a bonus, here's a picture of a regular, old plastic chair that she also saved from going into the dumpster. Creatively salvaged into a work of art, its even sturdier and more comfortable, and everyone races to sit in it!
It's gone from "ready for the garbage"
to the most requested, comfy chair in the yard!
My Beautiful Sis, Sweet T
{ I'm lonely for you already! }




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mom's Potato Salad - {Small Batch}

Yesterday, I made a small batch of Mom's Potato Salad, just for Hubs and I.  Of course, there's still some for leftovers, since it actually gets better as the flavors meld and marry.  Yummm!




This is one of the recipes that I'm asked for quite often.  It's called "Mom's" since she taught me the basic recipe.  Mom and I differed on putting onions in, and about how much mustard was correct.  I also added the black olives and red pimentos for extra flavor and color.  This is the side dish that my family and friends really seem to love!

Number of Servings: 6  {Each serving is a generous 1/2 cup.}

4-5 baseball-sized Potatoes, raw
4 Large Eggs {in shell}
1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup chopped Dill Pickles
3.8 oz can sliced Black Olives
2 heaping Tablespoons Pimentos, diced or sliced


1. Peel & cube potatoes. Boil in water until soft, but not mushy. Drain well, and cool.
2. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. (TIP: pierce the large end of the egg first, this helps prevent the shell cracking.) Bring to a boil; boil 2 minutes. Shut off the heat and let them sit for 15 minutes. Pour off the hot water and add very cold {ice} water and let the eggs cool. After the eggs are cooled, crack & peel the shells, and rinse the hard boiled eggs. Cut eggs into medium-sized chunks and set aside.
3. While potatoes and eggs are cooking, place remaining ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix. Keep chilled. After the potatoes and eggs are cooked and cooled, add them to the mixture, and fold gently.
Chill about an hour {or overnight} and enjoy!


If you feel that the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of pickle juice or vinegar. Mom loved it with a splash of vinegar on hers! And of course, green onions and extra mustard. To each their own!


Be sure to let me know in the comments section below how you like this recipe.  Did you add your own flair by tossing in some diced ham or bacon bits? Or maybe peas or diced cheddar cheese?  The possibilities are all up to you!






Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie

Forgotten fruit.  Have you ever brought home fruit and then forgotten to eat it?  Yeah me, too.  Right now I have 3 bananas in my freezer because they became too ripe to eat. {I see banana bread in my future!}
A few days ago, there was a watermelon just sitting unnoticed in the back of our fridge...and then it became the star in a creamy and refreshing 3-ingredient drink!

Ingredients:

1 personal-sized watermelon {you'll need only 1/2}
1 cup unsweetened, frozen strawberries
1 cup vanilla ice cream {I used the no-sugar added kind}

Instructions:

Cut up 1/2 of the watermelon, remove the rind and cut into large chunks.
Remove any black seeds that you can see.
Using a blender, puree the watermelon.
{At this point I like to remove that little clear top on the blender lid for the next step.}
Add one frozen strawberry at a time through the hole in the lid, and wait until each berry is pureed.
Now add the vanilla ice cream. It just takes a few seconds to blend it all in.


Pour into glasses and enjoy.  {If you have extra, you can put it in the freezer, but don't freeze it solid. It actually becomes sweeter once it's kind of "icy". Yum! You can eat it with a spoon!}

This made 6 cups (about 2 cups per serving) and on the plus side, it's got healthy, natural fiber and there was no need to add any kind of sweetener.  What a great summertime smoothie!

So you see, sometimes you can come up with a really great new recipe from "forgotten" foods....  I think it might be time to look up Mom's Best Banana Bread recipe!

My readers are important to me, and I love to know how you like this creamy smoothie, so please leave me a comment below!

 Blessings, Juju

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tiny Table gets a Chalk Paint & Stain Makeover

A few days ago, Hubs and I happened to be driving past the Thrift Shop on Hickam Air Force Base, here on Oahu.  Since it's only open a few days a week, I casually asked if we could stop in. He said Yes!
Whoo Hoo! {This rarely happens without a lot of heavy sighs on his part.}

We found a few little treasures that day, including this sturdy, tiny table:
Hubs actually was the one that suggested we get a little table to use for our Dyson tabletop fan. We are constantly shuffling things on and off of the wooden tray we currently use for the fan, and it's a hassle.
{My secret plan was to give it a little makeover first!}

Step 1:  Sanding.

{I should have taken a "before" picture, however the photo above shows step 1 completed.}  I sanded down the top...first using medium grit sandpaper in our palm sander, and then using very fine sandpaper, until it was silky smooth...I needed to take this area down to bare wood for the stain to adhere.  The legs were lightly sanded by Hubs, since I read that when using chalk paint, it wouldn't require sanding or priming.  We wiped down all the dust from the entire table before moving on.

Step 2: Staining.

Using Minwax Wood Finish in Provincial, I applied the first of 2 coats using a cheap foam brush, following the directions on the can and website, and allowing at least 4-6 hours drying time between coats.  {I actually waited a full day.} Once you've brushed on the stain, you wait 5-15 minutes and then wipe off the excess stain with a clean, lint free rag. I used a clean, old white sheet that I cut up into cloths.
The directions said "do not sand between coats of stain", however, I noticed that the edges didn't absorb the stain evenly {probably due to the old lacquer on the wood}, so I re-sanded the edges with medium grit sandpaper and gave a light sanding with the very fine sandpaper to the top, just for good measure.  After wiping it thoroughly, I applied the second coat of stain, waited 15 minutes and wiped off the excess. The top is exactly the rich, dark color I was hoping for!



Step 3: Mixing the DIY Chalk Paint.

I've really been wanting to try out CeCe Caldwell's Paints, however, I was also intrigued about all the Pins I'd seen about DIY chalk paint.  I did a bit of research, reading blogs of others who had experimented with the various "recipes" out there, and I chose to make the Plaster of Paris version I found here.
{Thanks to Sharon at Elizabeth & Co. for the recipe and also for answering some of my questions regarding how many coats, etc.}  The color I mixed has no name, since I just dumped in about 4 colors of paint that I had on hand that I wanted to use! If you want a close match, try Embellished Blue by Behr {Home Depot}.

Step 4: Applying 2 Coats of DIY Chalk Paint.

Up to this point, everything had been going pretty smoothly.  Since I live in Hawaii, I kept watching for rain showers {humidity will change the way paint goes on and how it dries}, and all was good.  But, then wouldn't you know that as soon as I started applying the paint, the wind picked up, making the paint begin to dry RAPIDLY! {I moved it quickly indoors as soon as I had the paint applied, but kept the patio door and windows open for ventilation.}
The first coat was applied using an inexpensive bristle brush, and yes, it left brush marks. I wasn't too worried about that, since I kind of figured it would need 2 coats anyway.  I might suggest trying a foam roller to get a smoother look.



After it had dried for about 4 hours, I applied the second coat with a cheap foam brush, moved it back indoors to the well-ventilated area, and then waited until morning to check the results.

Step 5: Finishing.

Deciding not to heavily distress the finish, I checked out the amount of brush streaks, and did a very light sanding on the painted parts, with 220 very fine grit sandpaper. I was only looking to smooth things down just a bit, not remove a lot of the chalk paint. Afterward, I carefully wiped down all of the dust on the entire table.
Next, I took another piece of the clean, ripped up sheet, and applied a thin layer of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural, starting with the top. {It says it's for light woods, but it's the only paste wax I could find at our nearby Home Depot.}
After allowing it to dry for 10-15 minutes, I buffed the top by hand to a nice sheen.

The Reveal!



I liked working on this project because it gave me the chance to try out DIY Chalk Paint, and to really change the personality of this tiny table.  I'm so pleased with the results!
{The "Aloha Y'all" sign was made by Robin at Creative Moonlighting.}

How about you?  What project have you tried chalk paint on? Did you use the DIY recipe, or purchase pre-made chalk paint?
Or maybe you've been inspired to tackle a project on your own?  Please let me know in the comments section below!

   Blessings, Juju