Sunday, July 26, 2015

Preserving Peaches

I was about to title this post canning peaches, but it has never made sense to me why it is called canning when we are using jars! Maybe we should call it jarring peaches?

Jeff and I went off on an unscheduled adventure with friends yesterday to Sauvie Island. Sauvie Island is where Portlanders go when they want to buy locally-grown fresh produce in bulk quantities. We came home with 40 pounds of peaches, 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, 25 pounds of red beets and a few other vegetables in smaller quantities.
Today, Jeff decided he wanted to start off the day by defrosting the freezer before we made a bunch of new containers to go into it. In the process, he rediscovered a bunch of food he wants to use right away. Let's just say I'm going to be happy about having pie and baked ham for the next several weeks. :D

We processed two batches of jars of sliced peaches, which was more than one box of fruit. I don't normally talk about how to can. With so many excellent websites out there, I don't see the point of adding my meager skills to the pack. But I will point out a website I frequently visit when I do set about doing some preserving, called It's a great resource for general recipes and photos about how to preserve food. I've been visiting the website for years, as I mostly learned these skills after I was an adult and my family lived too far away to teach me.
The other box, we've sliced and Jeff is making Peach Salsa again. We're big fans of Trader Joe's Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa and we're trying to come up with a recipe we can make ourselves. Jeff found a recipe a couple years ago that was pretty close, but it was just a little too hot, so we're going to give it a try this year with a little less HOT. This year he is trying this recipe, mostly. (He never follows recipes exactly.)
Update: We tried the salsa with our dinner tonight and it's really good. I think we found our recipe. :D
We're going to do another batch of the salsa. It's really good and it will be nice to have it through the winter.

Wunderful List

I found a new To Do list application, called Wunderlist, that I've only been using for a couple days but I'm already a big fan. While I don't really like that it's online (and therefore unusable without internet), the ability to share the To Do list with Jeff makes up for it.

Even though we could build task lists on our MacBooks, I was never happy with how to deal with recurring tasks. Wunderlist makes them super easy. Once you finish a task, it automatically reenters the next occurrence on your list. Now we just need to go through and enter all the recurring tasks in our lives. :D

I've also been digging through all my assorted lists and consolidating them in this one place. After such a long break from house projects, you can be sure we had a lot of projects go astray. I'm now getting my projects back on track.

For the three days I've been using Wunderlist, it has already helped. When I have a little bit of time to kill, I can just go look at my list and see if there is any quick task I can fit in. This morning, I had about half an hour before we went off on our day's adventure; just enough time to finish painting the basement window frame.
Or, if I don't feel like doing a task (like staining the fence) having the huge list helps me get off my ass to do it. I see how many things I have coming up and know I can't afford to not finish today's project. So, I am now making pretty steady progress on projects.
The next big project in our plan is the master bathroom. I am currently trying to find reproduction period tile, which will surely be the most expensive part of the project. Once we have tile figured out, we'll probably prepare for demo. Especially now that the basement bathroom is nearly operational. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Projects

Jeff has been working on digging out the floor of the pergola when the weather is cool enough.
I've finished staining the door for the sewing room. Once it finishes drying I'll start putting on the shellac.
I painted the basement bathroom again, but when I removed the masking tape I discovered one of the rolls of blue tape I used was not a good roll; it didn't have good adhesion. There was some bleed through on the woodwork so I'm going to have to do a little bit of paint clean up, which really sucks. It's not my highest priority right now.
I'm hoping now Jeff will hire his friend and they'll install the cabinet and marmoleum flooring. I still need to stain some shoe molding for both the basement and sewing room.

If we want to install the sink and faucet in this bathroom, we will have to cut a temporary plywood top for the sink cabinet because I'm planning to have the soapstone cut for it when we have the soapstone cut for the master bathroom remodel. It won't be pretty, but at least we'll have another operational bathroom during the remodel of the master bathroom.

Basement Bath Painted

After it dries (and I get some sleep) I'm going to put on another coat. This feels great to get another project done. :) And for those who want to know, the color is Hubbard Squash from Sherwin Williams Arts & Crafts color palette.
I'm going to paint the window frame with the rust color, but I need to clean it up first. It's pretty filthy.

I've got so many projects in flight, it's hard to keep track of all of them. :D
I also did the first coat of stain on the sewing room door. I'll put on the second later today.

I still need to apply a second coat of stain on the fence, but we've had rain threatening this week so I haven't finished that yet.

We're probably going to hire the mason who repaired and repointed our brickwork back in 2010 to remodel the brick wall around our front porch. Jeff wants to remove the unsafe step that is just floating over 2' off the ground and extend the bricks to the house. Once that is finished, we'll install his charging station for his car.
Finding bricks that even sort of closely match is going to be a challenge though. I guess modern bricks are not this size or color. With any luck, we'll find some salvaged brick that will work and we'll be able to proceed on the job.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I stained the door to my sewing room too dark. :( I stained it at the same time as the closet and it also ended up being too dark.

I left it hanging in the doorway since I finished that room to see if I could live with it. Nope, I can't. It will bother me every time I see it during the next 15 years we plan to live here. So, I figured this was a problem easily solved by 80 grit sandpaper.

It doesn't look so dark in the sunlight, but trust me, it looked very dark in that closed hallway.
As expected, sanding the profile was a pain, but luckily we have lots of handy contour sanding bits. I think this is good enough to stain now. I don't believe I have to get it back to pristine douglas fir.

Update on Friday: It's still a little darker, but it's better than it was.