You must begin at the beginning

molly preturbed

This is molly being perturbed, I think it’s a funny face she makes!

 

When I write about the projects we’ve been doing to our home, the Casa de Paz y Amor,(depending on the week, sometimes it’s the casa de chaos!) I normally have the after picture. However, in this case it will take too long to reach the after picture! I’m talking about the garden spaces, the outdoor spaces. When you work on a garden, there really isn’t a finished product. It’s an ever growing, ever changing process, which I find comforting. This means, we must begin at the beginning and as things develop, I’ll write more. I was searching in my archives for the earliest photos of the back yard and only came across a few of them. At the time, I was so focused on doing the work needed on the inside of the house.

Casa de Paz y Amor has four distinct outdoor areas. It took a little while to build the structures to complete the boundaries of each one of these. The first, is the front yard. Actually, we haven’t begun the structures for the front yard, but the house defines that space for now. The second, is the backyard. The third, is the courtyard we built on the side of the house, where the bathroom has a sliding glass door, that went to the side driveway. Since it was a confusing space,  I decided to turn a negative into a positive. The fourth, is the courtyard for the kiddos side of the house. Later on, I’ll share about how the other spaces are coming along. Today, I’ll share how the back yard is going. The goal in the back yard up until now, was to get it cleaned up and to put up a privacy fence so the kiddo could have his own courtyard. It’s been a challenge. Here’s what we started with…

You can see the back yard thru the room that has become my studio. There’s a cement fence that surrounds the yard, but in addition there was a strange wood and metal fence that I think was used as a dog run.

 

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It went three quarters of the way around the backyard.

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First we started to take apart the fence.

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Molly helped of course.

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It took a lot of muscle, it was well cemented in place and the wire was buried deeply.

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We worked at it

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piece by piece for months. On one side of the yard is a cemented area and a storage barn.

I of course, decided that color was needed, but couldn’t decide on the color.

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then… I painted the cement wall, with outdoor porch paint in this greyish blue color. We hung our kayaks on the wall. There’s an odd circular, fake stone thing in the cement walkway. I think it might have at one time, been a pond that they covered up. I decided that, it would make a good fire pit area in the future.

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This is how it looked most of last summer. I wasn’t ready to do any planting, so I began adding potted plants.

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Next, I think I’ve decided on the color for the barn, but we’ll see… Isn’t molly pretty with that color behind her though? She thought so.

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We live in a semi arid desert, however my husband is from where you have lawns and he missed having grass so much, that I shoveled several inches of gravel from this small patch and put in some grass. It’s struggling now, because the dogs love it also. However, it’s pretty tough and is coming back without a lot of help and not much watering. We got the sod from a local sod farm, so it’s more suited to our area.

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Last month, we started putting up the fencing to mark off a courtyard, for the kiddos side. This way he has outdoor space, that’s his own. I really think that, having outdoor space is good for anyone’s health. I’m happy that, not only does he have his own apartment, but he also has some yard space. That’s his courtyard area behind the gate. I’ll share pictures of his courtyard project another time.

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Next< I stained it and added fencing to an area of the cement wall that was short. Molly was yelling at the neighbors too much. Molly’s very unhappy about the new fence…. but, I explained to her, that one must be polite, in order to share a short fence with a neighbor. Since she isn’t polite we had to put up a taller fence, and now she’ll just have to find other things to do. (she’s chasing leaves now)

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My goal in this corner, is to eventually put a pergola over the hammock. In the meantime, it’s still a nice spot to hang out. I’ve planted some clematis vines in the wine barrel planters. The fencing to the right of the hammock, is the back of the fence for the kiddos courtyard. Since he and I both love roses, I planted climbing roses on my side  of the fence, so that they will climb up to where he will see them as well. Currently, his health isn’t good enough for him to take care of too many plants.hammock corner beginning 1

The latest thing we added this spring, are a couple of evergreen trees.

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Growing things here in New Mexico is a little tricky. It’s always about the right plant. The ground here is different, we have little precipitation, the sun and wind are harsh. It’s important to provide structure to help trees along. Then, once they’re established they help with fighting ground erosion, and provide shade for other plants, which means less watering for the plants. That makes all of us happy here in New Mexico. Also, it’s best to plant trees now, so that they can get their roots in the ground before the hot sun comes along. While, I’ve had some experience growing things here in New Mexico, I’m of course no expert, so sometimes it’s just trial and error for me. It’s always a learning experience. I’m excited to be at the point, where I can begin to plant. However, there is still so much more work to do! I’ll keep you updated as we go along. I wish you happy gardening this year!

trees, fences, molly’s not impressed…hee hee

molly preturbed

 

 

Bosque del Apache New Mexico

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The past few weeks have been full of adventure! My sweet sister came to visit us. We had so much fun. I’m really grateful to my family for coming to visit us, since my son can’t travel. His health problems prevent him from, flying in a plane, staying in hotels and traveling long distances in cars, so we’ve decided to accept those limitations and focus on having fun right where we are. However, my family lives  far away  and I try to go see them once a year but they come here to see the kiddo. While my sister was here, we visited with old friends, went to see Star Wars! (It was so much fun!), we worked on a sewing project, were really silly and we took a day trip to a very unique spot in New Mexico. It’s called Bosque del Apache. As New Mexicans, we are somewhat obsessed with any body of water, since they are so few and far between for us. This is a little resting spot for migrating birds. There are a wide variety of birds that stop here. This day we didn’t find birds.  It’s so beautiful any time of year. We happened to stop by when the water was like glass. The reflections were amazing! Here are a few pictures I took of our day trip. I hope you enjoy!

 

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All of these scenes made me think of Monet and Van Gogh paintings. It was a beautiful day.

 

 

 

 

Shoji style sliding screens, my way

 

In the process of renovating for the kiddo to have his own apartment space on one side of our house, we needed to create a hallway for him thru the utility room. I didn’t want it to feel like you were walking thru the utility room to get to the rest of his apartment. To do that I ended up making these shoji style sliding screens my way.

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First I had a great handyman closet in the furnace and hot water heater, this is the before picture.

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Here it is all framed in.

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Here it is all closed in….waalah!

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It just disappears! On the other end is the washer and dryer that we share the use of with the kiddo, but I wanted to hide the laundry area.

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Sorry about the blurry picture! No one wants a laundry room in their hallway. I decided to try to hide it in the most economical way possible and that’s when I thought of shoji type sliding screens, but how to implement them? First I bought those $20 wood framed screen doors from lowes.

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Then I removed the screen from the door and bought some fabric for one side.

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Which I stapled on, then I bought one more painting drop cloth from lowes and stapled that on the other side.

 

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Next I took some burlap ribbon and stapled that all around the edges on both sides.

 

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The next thing was to add wheels to the bottom of the two screens.

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Molly got really bored in the middle of this project.

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We added big hooks to the top of the screens. Then we took two galvanized plumbers pipe(like we did on our other sliding doors) but ran them from wall to wall. like this.. They are attached to the wall with connector plates (which are with all the plumbing supplies).  When you purchase these pipes at lowes or home depot, they will cut and thread them for you there.

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Here they are.

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They slide back and forth easily and they make the laundry room go away like this!

Laundry room…..

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No laundry room!

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The doorway that goes to the rest of the kiddos apartment is in the middle of the laundry room and the closeted furnace/hot water heater.

 

We finished off the closeted furnace/hotwater heater with hobby boards and tongue and groove boards to make it look  like this. (and then of course painted it.)

 

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Behind the door is where his library is.

I love making all the utilities disappear! TA DA! It’s a hallway!

 

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The materials were,

2 wood framed screen doors

4 wheels

4 large hook eye hooks

2 galvanized plumber pipes

4  connector plates to screw the pipes into

Burlap ribbon

a couple yards of fabric

1 painters drop cloth

and some staples

I hope you enjoyed my shoji screen trick!

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Fabric Softener

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Homemade, beautiful, fantastic, the best ever laundry detergent! Ok, so you’re going to think I’m weird. Wait a minute, if you’re still following my blog you’ve probably already figured out that I’m a little weird and evidently you’re ok with that, since you’re still here! lol! Since it was time for me to make my all natural home made laundry/fabric softener detergent, that I love, I thought I’d share with you how I do it. Just in case you wanted to give it a try.

I’ve studied how to make your own laundry detergent for about 8 years now and after many trials and errors this is the one I love the best. I found the basic recipe sometime ago, but I’ve changed it quite a bit and discovered some tricks that makes it work really well. As you know my grown up kiddo has severe reactions to petro based chemicals which meant we had to remove these products from our daily lives. This included laundry detergents and fabric softeners. When I went to buy products that were fragrance free I found that they were both costly and not very effective so I went on this journey of trying to figure out how to do it myself. The first thing I thought of was my grandmothers generation and wondered how did they do laundry without purchasing the already made product? I went about researching that. It turns out that most laundry detergents are based on a very simple product that has been used for a great many  years. Those products are borax and super washing soda, but to mass produce laundry detergent, to make it really cheap to produce and to make it appealing to be purchased, a large amount of petro based chemicals were added to make the laundry detergents we find today on the grocery shelves.

IMG_0982    The other amazing thing I discovered is that it only takes 1 hour every 6-9 months to make this stuff along with the products needed, it costs my family of 3 adults, 2 dogs and 1 cat about $1.00 a month. Wow! I was amazed. Next, I found it to be the best laundry detergent I’ve ever used, so we’ve been hooked ever since. I hope you enjoy my tutorial on how to make your own laundry/fabric softener! Are you ready? Here goes.

First, here’s what you’ll need ( a full list in order is at the bottom of this page)

IMG_0985 borax (found at most stores)

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Super washing soda ( normally found in the cleaning or laundry aisle, I’ve found it at walmart and kroger or smiths)

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Clear glycerine soap, this is very important, I’ve tried all sorts of other soaps and nothing works well like this. It needs to be clear glycerine soap. I find mine at hobby lobby and Michaels,(always use a 40% off coupon!) I use half of this per batch of laundry detergent.

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Shea butter 1/2 cup, yes, I know it sounds weird but it really works!

IMG_0988 Cocoa butter, 1/2 cup, yes I know another weird ingredient but it’s fantastic.

I found both these products online thru Dr Adorable inc.( I do not receive any promotional anything from any company, I’m just sharing what I know)

IMG_0991 This size soup pan.

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A canning pot, 4 cup liquid measuring cup, a spoon a mixing bowl.

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Dry measuring cups, and essential oil, I love orange for this.

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It’s absolutely imperative you have a submersible blender for this project.

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Lastly, you’ll need containers that will hold about 40 cups of liquid. I know these containers seem odd for laundry detergent, however I don’t like to pour it out, I prefer to just get a scoop out to place in the washing machine. Like this

IMG_0995 It only takes 1/4 cup per large load. (do you like the black paint on my pinky? seems like I always have paint on me somewhere!)

Ok so now, how to make this!

Here’s the recipe,

!/2 package(16 ounces) clear glycerine soap

1/2 cup shea butter

1/2 cup cocoa butter

2 cups borax

2 cups super washing soda

30 or so drops essential oil

40 cups of water

How to make it, here we go..

First take the soup pan and put 4 cups water, the glycerine soap, the shea butter and the cocoa butter on the stove and bring to a boil(this is important to get the final product, it needs to boil in this stage) cook until the oils and soap have dissolved. then take it off of the heat and stir in your essential oil. Next put the 2 cups borax and the 2 cups of super washing soda into the mixing bowl. Then take the hot soap/shea butter/cocoa butter and water mixture and pour it into the large canning pot. Plug in your submersible mixer, pour the borax/super washing soda into the large canning pot and start blending, blend well, then you begin adding the rest of the water, I do this 4 cups at a time, each time I add the 4 cups I blend like crazy, (don’t let it splash in your eyes)  I do this until I reach the total of 40 cups of water (which will be 36 cups) and it’s finished! Lastly, transfer this  fabulous laundry detergent/fabric softener to your containers!

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The shea butter and cocoa butter acts as the fabric softener. I’ve used this for 5 years, in old washing machines and for 3 years in the new fancy ones as well. The only drawback I’ve noticed is that over time sometimes the whites don’t stay super white. It doesn’t bother me but it does bother my husband so, I use a fragrance free bought laundry detergent for his whites, but I add a bit of my detergent along with the bought product just so his clothes stay soft( and it does a better job cleaning the clothes as well).

AS ALWAYS, keep these products out of reach from children., they are natural but not good for anyone to ingest or get in their eyes, so please be careful.

I started out by saying this is weird, because it hits me as funny that in my art studio, you never know what I might blog about! Have a happy time making the best and most inexpensive laundry detergent! Remember to only use 1/4 cup per load!

Gothic Victorian Library Project

 

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This library project for the kiddo is my favorite, period. I’ll be sharing more projects that we’ve done and have shared other projects, but this library will remain my favorite. It’s quite a transformation and was the most work but, it turned out perfect. This was a gift of love from us to our boyo. Let me take you on a journey thru the process of building this and a few secrets on how I cheated, to make it look very Sherlock.

We started with this room, that’s in the middle of his apartment.

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The first thing that needed done, was the carpet had to come out. The kiddo has serious reactions to carpeting and all that gets trapped in carpet. (he stops breathing) We took it out before we moved in. No matter how a carpet gets cleaned or how often, it still traps an amazing amount of dirt. Every carpet I’ve ever pulled out (and there have been quite a few) I’ve always swept up at least one large black trash bag of left over dirt from underneath it. It also took 3 weeks to air out the remaining carpet powders, sprays, and cleaning products from this room before we could move the kiddo in.

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Once the carpet was pulled  and the room was aired out, I painted the cement floor as a temporary fix, since we needed to wait a bit before we could purchase the flooring. Next the kiddo chose this green color for the walls. Honestly, I thought it was a disaster but it was his choice so…. On a side note, if you’ve wondered what kind of paint I use because of the kiddo’s chemical sensitivities,….I’ve found that the valspar from lowes is non v.o.c. (v.o.c. means volatile offgassing compounds) Of course there are still chemicals in it, but it doesn’t irritate the kiddo as long as we allow it to air out a couple days after painting before he goes into the space.

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Next the flooring went down. Whew! It’s so great to have flooring, we don’t enjoy living on cement floors. Molly and dad worked on the floor for us. Oops! no, this was the flooring being put into the kiddos bedroom, hee, hee. I don’t seem to have a picture of the flooring going into the library so, just imagine this is what happened in the library!

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Another step that had to be made was, we needed to put a hole in the wall on the other side of the library so the kiddo could have access to both ends of his apartment. My dad was happy to oblige, by knocking out this hole in the wall. It’s really his favorite thing to do. (Growing up,I don’t remember a house he didn’t put a hole in some wall for) The kiddo chose the area rug, it looks really good. He doesn’t get sick from a really good quality wool area rug.

IMG_20170328_152825_353 The green walls are starting to grow on me at this point. Marshmallow the cat patiently waits on construction, in a box, for what else is a cat to do?

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Here’s one of my cheating tricks. We installed this paneling, because we wanted the library to look like it was very old and built in. Paneling costs can add up, so what I used was craft board that I found at home depot, in  4×2 sheets. I’m very thankful for a great friend who helped me with the rest of this project.

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We screwed these pieces to the wall, knowing that we would be covering the seams with shelving boards.

We also used the same paneling for the wainscoting around the rest of the room.

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Back to the bookshelf area. I used 1×6’s for the bookshelves. Most books will easily set on a 6 inch shelf. We basically made a box and put it up on the wall, securing them to the ceiling and floor.

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After the boxes went up we installed the shelves. which we supported with 1×2’s on each side of the shelf, again I knew these would be hidden by the trim that we would add as the last step before painting.

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This is Molly being bored with the construction.

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The trim is another cheat here. Trim can be rather expensive, especially when there’s a lot needed. What I used was tongue and groove boards. Yes, they are quite thin, so when you’re installing them, you need to be careful, but once they’re installed and attached to the wall they’re solid.

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The last step was paint! The kiddo wanted black. I wasn’t so sure about that, but he wanted a gothic victorian library so I acquiesced. It turned out perfect.

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Once the painting was done, we added a door to the doorway and metal pieces that added to the gothic feel. I purchased all the metal pieces and door knobs on sale at 50% off over at Hobby Lobby.

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The kiddo added his pieces that he’s been collecting over the years.

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His books and other collections look really good up on the shelves. We had fun finding the antique chairs at a local antique store. (the century square building, on central in nob hill, in Albuquerque)

 

We also found this amazing little antique tea cabinet(found at the century square building). It holds his tea set, he purchased at the St James tea place in Albuquerque.

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Isn’t it clever? and perfect for small spaces too.

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On the other side, we found a little couch that fits well. (we found that on Amazon)

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Lastly he found curtains and the lamp on Amazon. I reused the curtain rods that were here when we moved in but were on a different window.

IMG_0895 (2) This project has been a true joy. When we began searching for the right house, we didn’t expect to find one that would have an extra space for him like this. I’m not exaggerating  when I say we searched for a year, looked at about 50 houses and drove by hundreds more. It’s very tricky trying to find the right location, right foot print for multiple family living and the right price. When we found this house, we were thrilled. I feel very blessed that we’re able to give the kiddo this space. He lives with pain every single day, that we can’t take away for him, so it’s wonderful to be able to give him this place, that gives him a bit of peace and comfort. I hope you enjoyed my favorite project!

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Marshmallow the cat approves.

Yummy Raspberry Freezer Jam

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I love fall! Don’t you? It’s my favorite season and I always wish it would last so much longer! Fall in New Mexico is fabulous. We get some much needed precipitation and relief from the unrelenting summer heat. Then, there are the raspberries! And don’t forget about Balloon Fiesta, or all New Mexicans favorite, chili roasting time! It’s all so wonderful!

A couple weeks ago, a friend and I made the trek to my all time favorite raspberry ranch in Mora, up in the northern part of New Mexico. A wondrous place called Salmon Raspberry Ranch. www.salmonraspberryranch.com  It’s one of the highlights of my year. This year, the day we chose to go was cold, rainy and misty and we loved it! I did a bad job of remembering to take photos, so I only have a few and most of them I borrowed from my sweet friend, who went along with me. We had such a good time, stopping for coffee along the way, picking raspberries in the mud and rain, then topping it off by a lovely lunch there at the ranch. It was a fantabulous!(I choose to believe that this is a real word) Here are a few pictures. Then I will share what I did with my treasure the next day!

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Beautiful raspberry fields!

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The fall colors had just begun.

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The beautiful view from the cafe.

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Storrie Lake, near Las Vegas N.M.

Now on with what I did with all my treasure!

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This is treasure we enjoy all year round, (that is if I pick enough!)

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Time to make the easiest jam in the world! (and in my opinion, the best)

Of course it all depends on the quality of the raspberries and these are really good.

I’ll show you how I make it.

It’s super simple.

First, gently rinse your berries.

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Then you need to mash them all up. (about 2 pounds)

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Here they are all mashed, don’t use anything electric, they need to be mashed by hand I use a little masher I have.

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Isn’t it pretty? Next in a separate bowl combine 1 and 1/3 cups of sugar and 4 tablespoons of pectin. Then add the sugar mix to the mashed berries and stir well.

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Once it’s well stirred, it’s ready to be put into containers. I’m an old fashioned gal, so I like my jars. If you use jars make sure you have new tops for them and they’re clean. You can use plastic storage containers too if you like.

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I use a funnel and a soup ladle to fill my jars about 3/4’s of the way full. (You can’t fill them to the top or when you put them in the freezer the glass will break.)

Now, isn’t that a pretty sight?

IMG_0687 This is 8 pounds worth of berries. Lastly, put them in the freezer! We use quite a bit of raspberry jam, it’s a great treat on toast, ice cream topping, scones, pancakes, biscuits and so on!

IMG_0688   I couldn’t help myself I just had to make some scones to go with the raspberry jam!

Hope you enjoyed my raspberry fun!

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Molly and I wish you a happy day out there!

Recipe

2lbs rasperries

1&1/3 cup sugar

4 tblsp pectin

rinse raspberries

hand mash raspberries with a masher

add sugar mix to raspberries and stir until combined

place jam in containers to 3/4’s full and then freeze , good for about a year in the freezer.

once thawed, keep refrigerated

Garden Goals

Last week all the renovations became a little too much to live with. It has been about 9 months of work so far, which means, we’re beginning to wear out a bit. I’m looking forward to the stage where I just have projects around, instead of renovations. When things get a little overwhelming, we like to sneak off to our favorite quiet zone.  Ojo Caliente hot springs resort. We couldn’t stay long, just a quick day trip, but it was restorative and beautiful. I love the drive up. There’s something about a road trip that clears the mind!

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The gardens at Ojo are amazing this time of year and of course I was taking notes! Now, I have some serious garden goals!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    The entrance….I might not be able to achieve that…. but maybe something else.

 

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Russian Olive tree hanging over the beautiful beam.

 

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I love the rock lined pathways, thru the gardens.

 

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The little rustic covered areas, for relief from the hot sun.

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A lovely bench with a vine hanging above.

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I love all the drought tolerant grasses and plants and who wouldn’t want a hammock station in their garden?!

 

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We had a grand time! Can’t wait for the next get away! (I have so much gardening to do!)

 

 

Too Many Painting Projects!

I realized last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I just have too many painting projects going on at one time!  Paint, paint, paint! Currently, I’m working on our cement block fence, which is too ugly for words, but paint always helps! Then, I’m working on the mural in my studio, a hallway in the kiddos apartment and his large room, that we’re turning into his living/dining/kitchenette space. Oh, also just cause, I’m evidently a little nuts, I decided to change the color in my kitchen and dining! The further I get into this renovation, the further behind I feel! I know that there’s an end of the tunnel somewhere! To make myself feel better, I decided to share with you one of the four finished corners in my house! (finished.., living room corner, front entrance, back bedroom wall and coffee bar wall. Oh, I forgot that we have one completely finished room in the kiddos apartment, his bedroom is finished!)

 

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This corner is finished! It’s very comfy. I wrote a blog a little while ago about how I refinished the doors. Later I added a fabric map that I found on Amazon, I hung the antique birdcage I’ve had for many years. The fan that’s been kicking around a long time, the trunk, tv cabinet,  the container of dried eucalyptus under the tv cabinet (to hide cords) and coffee table (that’s actually a bench) I picked up at hobby lobby. The antique cabinet against the couch, I picked up at a garage sale many years ago. (I even used it in our camper when we were living in it)

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Under the tv cabinet there’s also a bucket of cool rocks that we collected with the kiddo and grandparents in Arizona quite a few years ago. (yes I move rocks and yes this bothers my husband every time we move!) The carpet I found on amazon. The couch, chair and ottoman, I got a great deal on at my local Habitat for Humanity store ($125).

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Then I purchased several drop cloths that I turned into covers for the sofa, my mom kindly made very saggy loose pillow covers with the drop cloths. She’s been a professional upholsterer my whole life and it goes against all of her training to make something saggy, but she did it just for me! I love saggy and loose fitting. I love it, it’s perfect. The shelves are not quite finished, but I ordered those from Walmart, it was really nice to have them shipped to my house since they are very heavy! The driftwood and shells we’ve collected from our many travels and the wood art I picked up at hobby lobby. The doors to my studio aren’t quite finished yet either, I will be adding two more to complete it. The antique lamp I found at goodwill for $10, I painted it, then added the cloche as a lampshade and my handy dandy mom fixed the wiring! (moms are awesome)

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Yesterday, I took a break from all the renovation work and focused on this painting for a little while. It’s my goal to start doing some video to share, of the painting process, but I need to work on the video technique before I start posting. I practiced a little yesterday and learned a few things about how the back of my hair looked! I must admit, I’m slightly vain so, I will fix the back of my head before trying to video tape again! Hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be posting some brief videos.  Today, I’m heading off to see if one of my paintings will print out on canvas properly. If it does, I’ll be holding a celebration giveaway over on facebook and instagram! Stay tuned for the announcement!

Projects

I call them projects, but what’s really going on in my life, is renovation. We’ve entered the final phase, at least for this year of the construction, on my kiddos side of the house that we’re turning into an apartment for him. It’s been a whole lot of hard work, dust, muss and so on… While doing all of this, I broke my ankle, bizarrely enough not while working on the project, but while stepping off of a curb! I also took a week to go visit my family in South Carolina. It was a very pleasant trip. Now, I’ve healed up and am back at the construction. At the moment I don’t have photo’s to share. As soon as the projects are complete, I’ll start blogging about them.

In the meantime, here are two paintings that I’ve completed and have been sent off to their new homes. I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer so far!

This is a 16×20  commission piece named “Traveler on the Backroads”

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This is an 11×14 commission piece for an anniversary!

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I’m still buried in the dust and the muss, when I come up for air again I’ll update on our projects! Have a happy day out there lovelies!

 

Another Barn Door Project

Yesterday, I was walking out of the CVS pharmacy minding my own business, when out of nowhere, I slipped, tripped and fell off of a curb of all things! Resulting in an avulsion fracture in my old injured right foot, so I’m laid up in a splint for 6-8 weeks.

Thirty four years ago, when I was a teenager and was the same as every other teenager who, as we all know think they can do anything, went out riding a friends pregnant horse, bareback, without boots, to bring back a couple of wayward cows. Unbeknownst to me, the very brilliant teenager, this mare had a special talent. She was an experienced cattle cutting horse, as well as an expert at stealing the bit from her rider.   As we were returning with our mischievous, wandering cowlings, I relaxed, which was exactly the right moment our sneaky mare had been awaiting. She grabbed hold of the bit and took off, chasing those cows every which way, not caring about the fate of her rider. Now, I’m a very short person with very short legs, trying to hang onto a pregnant mares belly. I made it thru a few twists and turns but in the end she left me in the air, running out from underneath of me. As I gracefully floated to the earth, for some odd reason that I’ll never understand, I landed on my right foot, crushing my ankle. That injury required 3 surgeries, 9 months in a cast, a year on crutches and 2 years in physical therapy. I’d also like to mention that much to my mothers chagrin, I began riding my own horse again while still in a cast! (it’s one of my proudest moments)

My point? The first time I broke my ankle, I had a great story. The second time? I was walking…..and then I fell……lol

The only bright spot, is that I’m now forced to slow down, to put my foot up, write a few blogs and hopefully paint some. Today, I’m still in too much pain to paint, but I can blog. Last week, I finished the last set of barn doors in our house and I’m so in love with them. I’m excited to share the process with you. These doors are in the living room. We installed them to close off the final opening, for the kiddo to have his own apartment.

First, here’s the finished piece, then I’ll go thru how it got to this point.

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My goal was for the doors to look like antique doors I found somewhere, but we started with plain, inexpensive, interior doors from Home Depot. I began with black paint.

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Once  there was a coat of black on them I roughed them up a bit. Doesn’t it look awful?! I call this stage in every project the Ugly Duckling stage. Looks terrible at the moment, but it’s going to be beautiful!

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Then I put a blue wash over this. The wash was made from my art paint supply of ocean blue mixed with half water and half paint, I rubbed down the wash with a rag as I brushed it on.

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Next went on a wash of white paint the same way I applied the blue paint, then another layer of black wash paint, another layer of blue wash paint and lastly another layer of white wash paint.  I also wanted some more depth so I picked up these gate hinges at Lowes.

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For the final touches, I went to hobby lobby, when they had the 50% off metals sale and picked up the decorative metal as well as the handles. The handles were a rust, which I like but I wanted them to match the rest of the metal, so I painted them black.

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There you go! All finished!

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We have several more projects going on.  Thankfully, I have help for them, or everything would have to stop for a few months!  There are a couple more that are finished, so I’ll tell you all about them a little later.

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I’m afraid my silly molly doesn’t approve of the crutches. She seems to think that I’ve been overtaken by some sort of Dr. Wholike alien! However, we both wish you a happy day out there and watch out for evil curbs! They are plotting against us!