How to repaint your filing cabinet

We made it!

So we moved into our new house but had no budget left to change all the furniture to finally “match”.  We are still carrying a lot of hand-me-downs and student furniture. We didn’t really buy new anyway as, let’s face reality, we have three rambunctious boys and now 2 dogs that would destroy any good lucking furniture in 2 seconds flat.

So, what is a girl to do?

I don’t know what others would have done. I can only tell you about what I did.  I stacked almost all the furniture in MY garage; I don’t need a She-shed thank you very much 😉 What furniture made it into the house you may ask? Well, the boys had their beds (no headboard though), the living room had a couch and one old falling apart TV corner stand, our kitchen had a table and chairs, and my one splurge, a brand new desk set in my office. I also moved a shelving unit into the living room as we just needed that extra space for the boys books and DVDs.

Remember my love for Fusion?

That when I started my fun adventure with Fusion paint. After the success of my doors, I just had to keep on going (yes, I had to – don’t question it). So, how do you choose which piece comes first? The one that is the most needed to empty all those boxes and get life back on track that is.  In our case, a filing cabinet for the office.  It was such a mess in my office that I don’t think I have a before pic of it. I knew that in order to keep hubby’s business afloat, I had to organize it a bit.

The beginning of my Office Make-Over

Before

We did have one bigger filing cabinet that an ugly beige/grey color, you know the one, the one standard from the store. Hubby didn’t think it could be painted as it was metal, but Ariel from the Happy Little Paint Shop here in Rossburn suggested Fusion. So, that what I went with.

First, the prep

The first thing that I did was to sand it down lightly.  Just enough so that the original paint was slightly scuffed.  This allows for the next layer of paint to adhere very well. I then washed it with TSP and let it dry.

Primer

Sanded, washed and primed

I applied my first layer: Ultragrip by Fusion Paint. This is like a primer.  It is the “glue” between the material and the paint. On metal, I would not skip this step. This is what takes the longest really as the Ultragrip needs to cure for 12 hours before you apply your next coat.

My lights aren’t the greatest in my garage. It looks like the color changed but it barely did.  The Ultragrip goes on whiteish but dries to clear.

Now, the fun part: Color!

First coat of Fusion Chocolate

This picture shows the cabinet drying after the first layer of Fusion in Chocolate was applied. The first coat always comes through as really spotty, but trust the process, it comes out gorgeous.

*A quick tip before you start painting: dip your paint brush in water.  You want the bristle wet but not dripping. It helps get the paint on smoother*

Finish

I waited until the first coat was dry and then went ahead with the second one.  I finished it with one layer of Fusion ToughCoat to seal it. It protects the paint and allows for easier dusting. Once that was all dry and had cured for 3 weeks, I applied one small silver band of Washi tape to add a little something to it.  It then went into my office and it was put to good use. See picture below for a side by side before and after!

What I learnt

I can do this! If I would do this again, I wouldn’t paint the inside edge of the drawers.  I keep forgetting that paint adds a layer and that it will stick.  So my bottom drawer is a bit sticky, but otherwise, I love my project.  It is easy to dust and looks so much better than before! Eventually, I will be adding some vinyl deco to it, now that I have my Cricut 😉

What about you?

Have you done any cabinet upgrade? Show me in the comments below!
Haven’t done one? Show me your piece of furniture that could use a boost.

 

When I fell in love with paint

My first Fusion project

A new shop opened a few years back in our small town called My Happy Little Paint Shop. I couldn’t wait to take a look especially since we were in the midst of building a brand new house. I will warn you now, I LOVE that shop. Ariel and Adam are such nice people and so are the kids. I honestly love their paint too… especially the Fusion paint line.  I do not get compensated to talk/use their paint, so this is truly my own opinion.

What was my first project?

As I mentioned we were building a new house.  Our outside is grey so nothing extraordinary there.  I knew that I wanted to do something that would make my front door pop out a bit.  I had attended a few of her workshops before and asked about Fusion for the door. And I am so happy that I did!! It was so simple to do and it is tough!

Prep and paint

That was it.  I didn’t wash my door as it was brand new.  Now, if I were to repaint it, I would just wash it with TSP before prepping.  Fusion is great as you don’t need to prep all the time, but I knew that my doors would take a beating and that I needed them to last, so I chose to apply the Fusion Ultra Grip (their primer) first.  One layer of that and wait 12 hours for it to dry properly.  Then I used Fusion Renfrew to paint. I did 2 layers. And that was it.  I didn’t apply any finisher on it as I ran out of time before winter…. and I still haven’t as both doors are still looking great.  One (my front door) is very protected from the outside elements but my back door isn’t.  Both still look great.


Front door

Back door

And that was just a start…

Tool of the day: pruning shears

Nowadays, more people are planting their own gardens in order to make the healthiest, freshest and tastiest food for their families. That’s why Pampered Chef offers a range of gardening tools that make growing your own produce fun and easy.

The Pruning Shears are ideal for maintaining a garden of any size. Ours are made with corrosion-resistant, durable, sharp stainless forged blades that cut through branches, twigs and stems easily. Plus, the handles are really comfortable to hold and use with or without gardening gloves. Other great features, like a wire-cutting notch, sap groove, shock absorber and plated spring, make these shears as good and possibly better than more expensive versions you’ll find in stores.

3-year guarantee (excluding blades and spring).

You can get yours by contacting me. (I am a independent consultant for Pampered Chef.  Buying this product will not cost you more but you will help me support my family.  *In Canada only, sorry, not in Quebec*)

Homemade butter recipe

Deal on whipping cream

I went grocery shopping today and noticed that the whipping cream was on sale at 2 liters for $5.  Score! (at least here… not sure how much it is elsewhere). So I bought all they had. I now have 8 liters of whipping cream in the fridge.

What does one do with that quantity of cream you may wonder?

We make homemade butter

Here is a quick and easy way to make your own unsalted homemade fresh butter. (I do realize that using bought (read with added stuff) cream isn’t quite all homemade, but I don’t have a cow/goat yet).

You will need

A mixer with a big bowl (pour cold water over the bowl, makes whipping the cream easier)
A medium bowl
1 litre of cold whipping cream (I use the 33%)
Sieve
Cold water
Wax paper
And something to store the butter in the freezer – Ziploc bag or container – whatever works for you.

How to

Pour the cold cream into your big cold bowl. Start the mixer. Beat it as fast as you can without making it splatter. Once it starts thickening, accelerate the mixer.

Keep beating until you notice little beads of moisture forming on the edge of the cream. Stop the mixer, scrape anything stuck to the bowl down and restart the mixer at a slower speed otherwise it will splash.

You will notice the volume going down and eventually the cream will separate.

Slow down as slow as you can so that the butter gets stuck in the beater.

Butter in the makingOnce it is all done, put the sieve over the medium bowl and empty everything in it.  The solid that stays in the sieve is your butter.  The liquid is buttermilk.

The last step is to rinse the butter under cold water.  Put the butter back into the bowl.  Add cold water to cover butter.  You will need to knead it as you would bread dough.  Drain water and repeat this process until water stays clear. Once that is done, I make little 1/2 cup balls that I wrap in wax paper and then freeze.

As there are no additive or preservatives, the butter doesn’t keep as long as the one you would get in the store. I usually keep a little quantity in my cupboard and one more ball in the fridge.

Voilà! You made butter.

What about the buttermilk?

I found that it isn’t as thick as the store bought buttermilk but it is still very nice to bake with.  I use it to make my artisan bread.  I use one cup of hot water and two cups of room temperature buttermilk instead of just water.  I also make waffles with it. You can also freeze buttermilk for later use.

How to pick your seeds 101

Spring seems to be here!

Yesterday, I had a great visit with a friend. As we were sipping our tea, she was looking at a seed catalog and trying to choose what to grow in her garden this summer. And if you follow me on Facebook (and you should be.. if not, do it now!), you have seen that I have just ordered my own seeds. All this got me thinking…

With the overwhelming selection available, how does one choose what to grow?

You can find all kinds of articles online about it, you can find a lot of information on Pinterest (you can follow me there too!), but really, how does one choose?

Step one

For me, the first thing to do is this: Ask yourself, what do you eat? What does your family eat? Write down what veggies you and your family ate in the last week or two. Also write down anything that you really can’t stomach (for some, it’s beets, for others it’s squash). Now, put that list down somewhere safe and go outside!

Step two

The next step is assessing what kind of space do you have to work with? Do you get a lot of sun? Most veggies need 6 to 8 hours of full sun in order to do well, some need less. How is the drainage? Any other factors that could affect your garden? Do you want to grow in containers, straw, dirt, greenhouse, square foot? What is your growing zone?

Step three

Now, take your list from step one. If you are new to this or restarting (as I am), those are the things that you should start with.  For us, that means carrots, beans, beets, tomatoes, pickles, peas, lettuce, potatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.

If you add in all the other factors, cross out what doesn’t work for you. This year, I can’t do broccoli, or cauliflower as I don’t have room to start seedlings. 🙁 It also means that instead of starting my own tomatoes and onions, I will have to buy the plants later on, but I can grow everything else.

Have fun!

Once you have the basics covered and you feel like you can add more, try something new! It could be a new vegetable or fruit, a different variety, something that you have never tried before.

As you now know what kind of seeds are out there, if not, read this post; you should be able to narrow it down. I personally love ordering my seeds online through Heritage Harvest Seeds (not affiliated), but you can also buy your seeds in your local store.

I hope this helped a bit. I know there is so much more that can be said, but I will keep it short for today.

Tell me, what are you planning on growing this year?

You can leave a comment here, join the conversation on Facebook or send me an email! That’s it for now! Good night!

Seeds are seeds right?

Or how becoming a mom changed my outlook on gardening.

I had never really paid attention to what kind of seed I would use in my garden until I became a mom in 2007… all of a sudden, I was responsible for another human being and that said human being relies on me to keep it healthy and protect it from the big bad world! Yikes right?  That is when I started paying attention to the GMO debate, organic vs non organic debate and frankly, the more I learnt, the more it scared me. What am I giving my family to eat? How can it affect my health and theirs?

It starts with a seed

January/February is that time of the year where all the seed and plant catalogs come in… time where one daydreams about this year’s garden, what to grow, what to try… This year’s crop, its success or failure, will depend on the seeds that you buy now. Is that enough pressure for you yet??

Don’t worry, let us break it down a bit and take some stress out of the seed picking game!

What kind of seeds are out there?

GMO

As previously mentioned, some seeds are labelled GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).  These seeds have been genetically changed using molecular genetics techniques (as in gene cloning and protein engineering).  Basically, these plants have been modified by mankind to be more resistant to certain diseases or to produce more.

Hybrids

Then, you have the Hybrids – not necessarily GMO by the way!  To create a hybrid, two strains of the same plant are inbred and then crossbred to give you a F1 (sometimes F2) generation of plants. Hybrids were created to highlight a certain greatness in the plant (be it a very good producer, great quality, reliability), but you cannot reuse its seeds the following year.  The seeds produced by a hybrid plant won’t be true the next generation, which just means that a dominant trait from one of the parents may take over and that you may not get the same great plant/vegetable/crop again. So, if you want to save your seeds, avoid the hybrids.

Open Pollinated

Another type of seed is the Open Pollinated (OP).  These seeds come from plants that are pollinated by nature (animals, wind, and insects) and have been for a long time.  These seeds produce plants true to its parents so are ideal for those that would like to save seeds.

Now that we have that sorted, the next thing is the difference between a modern and heirloom (or heritage) seed.

Modern vs Heirloom

Modern

The modern seed is the one that you see in the grocery store, hardware store, wherever you buy your seeds.  They are the popular ones and are picked by the company as they may produce more and may be more resistant to disease.

Heirloom (or heritage)

Now, the heirloom (heritage) seeds, they are the ones that you find in special catalogues. There is such a selection of seeds in the heirloom world!  You will most likely find something “new to you” to try and discover new tastes, textures and colors. Heritage vegetables often taste better than modern ones. Although heirloom doesn’t mean organic, it often is or grow as is – being certified as organic is a big process that not every producer is willing to go through.

Ok, that was a lot of technical stuff!  So, what should you get?

Ask yourself some basic questions?

Do you need to produce lots but don’t care about saving seeds? Then, the hybrids could be a good match.

Do you want to keep seeds? The, Open pollinated it has to be.

Do you want to keep seeds, have an awesome selection and great tasting produce? Heirloom all the way baby!

Guess what I am growing now?

In 2012, I tried both the modern and heirloom vegetables to see if there was a difference. I grew peas and green beans as a trial.  I still remember eating a few modern peas and then the heirloom ones… and the difference in taste was incredible!

By now, I am at about 90% heirloom.  I haven’t found a source of neither heirloom potatoes nor fruits yet (if you have, please share in the comments!!).  If you live in Canada, I strongly recommend Heritage Harvest Seeds! Check out their website at www.heritageharvestseed.com #notaffiliated

My question to you: What kind of seed are you picking for this year’s crop?