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Monday, May 4, 2015

The Trunk Company - Rexburg, Idaho

I truly have to laugh when I read the title to my post. So far, I have only built two storage trunks--one for me and one to sell. My idea of selling my trunks is very far from being a "company," but I like the way it sounds. I enjoy coming up with catchy names for the businesses I will own and run in the future--like Fabric Crush, or Top-Notch Upholstery. Nothing wrong with dreaming big, right?

As I said in my previous post, I love to work with wood. After having some experience with reupholstery, I can honestly say I will make another trunk before I have to reupholster a sofa. I still love reupholstery, but with woodworking you can go straight into creating--there is no prepping stage. With reupholstery, the prepping stage cannot be avoided. Removing old, dirty, stained fabric and dealing with a million staples adds another step--and not an easy one-- before I can get to the fun part and start transforming a furniture piece. I guess I am just a little impatient, and woodworking gets me to the end much faster than I can with reupholstery.


If you are on the look out for a storage chest/trunk that will serve as a coffee table, or just storage for the end of your bed, stay tuned for a new store in town that will open at the end of this month. My trunks will be sold at this unique store, and I cannot wait for you to see them in person.  
This trunk was built with maple hardwoods and pine. 


Every trunk will be beautiful and different. I will be trying different stains, colors, and hardware to make them special and not the cookie cutter type.  On this particular one I used a custom finish for the stain--dark walnut with some other hand applied colors to give the finish some depth. 


I paid special attention to the handles, back hinges, and front latch. 
It is a beautiful piece.
I almost do not want to get rid of it, but you can only have so many storage trunks in a house 
before it starts to look ridiculous. Lol!


This is a BRAND-NEW item and up for grabs. Nothing old or refurbished was used on this baby. I carefully selected all the wood and hardware to build it just for you. 

So, what are you waiting for? =-)






Woodworking and Plantains

Woodworking has always had a place in my heart. I like the simplicity of just measuring and cutting pieces of wood and how really beautiful things can be created from just assembling those pieces together. Many years ago, Melody Hancock, a good friend of mine from Arizona, shared her woodworking passion with me. We made about 30 plantain smashers (or"tostoneras" for those that are familiar with this term) to give away to family and friends for Christmas. I drew the design and she showed me how to cut, sand and assemble these cute things. If you have never seen one,  I will enlighten you right at this moment:

It is quite the gadget let me tell you. =-) 



This is what you can make with this wooden tool. In Puerto Rico, they are called "tostones." And they are absolutely delicious! Yes, they are fried. There is no going around that my friends. If you want to experience heaven in just one bite, you gotta fry these babies. Yumm!

Now, this is what plantains look like before they are fried. To make tostones, they have to be completely green. If they have a bit of yellow is totally fine- you will just end up with a toston that tastes a bit sweet. 



Use a sharp knife to cut off the tips and then slice the tough skin open. With the same knife, push the skin away from the goodness inside until the plantain is uncovered. You would think that these beauties peel just like a ripe banana would. Nope. The skin actually sticks to the inside a bit and you need the knife to separate it. But it is not a hard process at all!


Then you cut them into rounds of about 1/2 inch. Some people cut them a little thicker to end up with a bigger toston. If you do that you may have to use more oil and fry them a bit longer to get them to soften up before smashing. 

As I said before, they need to be partially fried before the smashing step. I cook them for a few minutes on both sides at medium temperature. Some people use a sauce pan and add plenty oil to cover them. I try to avoid using too much oil, so I just use a regular skillet with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, then I let them cook on both sides until they soften up a bit. Do not let them 
crisp up at this stage.

When a fork can be inserted into them, they are ready to be flattened! Put a bit of oil in the center of the circle (just use a spoon a get some from the skillet) and on the lid, then smash away. Remove the toston with a fork and throw back in the oil. Continue with the same process until finished. When they look crisp and golden (use a spatula to turn them half way), remove from the oil and have a plate prepared with a couple paper towels to drain the tostones. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Serve with rice and beans or eat them as a snack. Enjoy!

I honestly had no intentions to write a post about plantains. Lol! I am glad that I did, though. 



Monday, April 6, 2015

Padded Headboards

These gorgeous padded headboards I put together for my boys. They are very simple to make. There are a lot of tutorials online that do a good job with the step by step instructions. If you still have questions about this let me know!

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Rebecca Trunk - Finally finished!

Hello friends! For the longest time I was wanting to build a blanket storage trunk. I was getting tired of seeing all my blankets piled up in a corner on this half broken basket! 

 Thanks to the free plans provided by Ana White and many other DIYers I adjusted the measurements and made a copy cat version of the Rebecca Trunk from Pottery Barn. Here is a picture of the original trunk:


 So, what do you think? Are you tempted to build your own? You may find the free plans through the Shanty2Chic website or the Ana White website.

Please contact me if you have any questions about this project!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Are you ready for this?

Hello friends! Christmas is just around the corner, and so are my Simply Wheat Bread Baskets! 




 If you need to come up with a unique gift to treat a special teacher, employee, boss, mother in law, friend, or just for yourself, this is a great gift option. The basket will include:

1 Loaf of Bread - 100% freshly ground Whole Wheat
1 small canning jar with Homemade Honey-Butter
1 block of Cranberry Manwaring Cheese
1 Christmas Ornament
1 Basket
Tissue paper
Cellophane
Festive Bow
Gift tag

All for $25.00! 


 I will take orders until November 30th. If you would like me to include a cutting board with a bread knife, I can do that for an extra $10.00. Another option would be to not include the cheese and make it $30.00. I can customize it to your needs, so just call me and we can talk about it. 


 This next one is I did for Valentines. Cute, right?





Anyway, all the decorative items, including the ornament, will vary depending on what I have available. One thing will not change--how gorgeous it will turn out. =-) To order call/text me at 602-684-4009.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Valentine Baskets reveal -- Check out what I have for you!

 Yesterday I decided to finally get my Valentines baskets put together for pictures. Natalia was there with me--and I love it because she is the only one in the family who cares to give me her honest opinion about anything that I do, wear, cook, or change around the house. I guess all of my kids are pretty honest when it comes to my cooking, but Natalia is the one who pays attention to detail and notices all the little things--if I moved a picture to a different wall, changed the curtains, made a new wreath for my front door, or bought a new vase. She is also the one who warns me  NOT to show up at school without make-up, or to put on a different pair of earrings because the ones I have on "just don't go". She even asked me one time if anyone has ever asked if I am Nathan's grandma! So yeah, she is pretty honest, and her opinion is very valuable to me, even when it hurts. Ouch!


Yesterday Natalia asked me, "So why do all of your baskets have to have bread? Can you make something different?" For a moment I thought, yeah, she is right, I am going to bore my customers to death with the same ol' bread in those baskets! But then I quickly replied, "What would you think if Chick-Fil-A all of a sudden started selling burgers?" "That would be soo weird!", she replied. And so that was my teaching moment with Natalia. lol! This is what I do, and it would be weird if all of a sudden I started selling...I don't know...black beans. But...Natalia still got me thinking, and that is how I came up with the bread you see on the picture above. It is the Simply Wheat version of Cinnaburst Bread, sold at Great Harvest here in town!

 I know, I know, it is still bread, but a different kind of bread! I have always loved the cinnaburst bread from my local competitor :), and while on the internet looking for that perfect recipe, I found one that I was able to tweak here and there to make a very tasty loaf of cinnamon bread! First of all, I eliminated the sugar and added honey. Then, instead of using fresh milk I tried it with nonfat dry milk. And last, but not least, I added a good amount of 100% whole wheat flour to cut back on the white flour! I am sorry to say that this tasty bread is NOT 100% whole wheat--but maybe in the near future I will experiment with the recipe a little further. =-) I think it still has a wonderful texture, it is very nutritious, and it tastes delicious, especially when toasted with some butter, or used to make french toast. mmmmm!


 My plan is to offer two options on the baskets:

1. Forget me not gift basket - This basket will include your choice of a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread OR cinnamon-honey bread, a honey bear, a bag of chocolates, and the cutest chocolate scented bear you have ever seen! I will arrange all the items in a cute wicker basket, wrap it in cellophane, and tie it with some valentine garland and a gift tag. This one goes for $20.00!
I found these adorable bears and I could not resist. They come in beige and dark brown. You may choose which one you prefer (quantities limited).

 The honey is just perfect to pair it up with the bread, especially for this fun holiday.
 The basket should look something like this on the right--take a peek at the dark brown bear that I used on this basket sample.

The pictures don't do justice to how cute this basket is!



2. Hugs and Kisses gift basket - It is my pride and joy! This basket includes a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, a loaf of cinnamon-honey bread, a honey bear, a bag of chocolates, a valentine treat, and of course, one chocolate scented bear. This basket will go for $30.00! It will be all wrapped in cellophane with a red bow and some valentine garland with a gift tag.



 Like I said before, my camera does not do it justice. The baskets turned out very beautiful and if you choose to let me worry about your gift giving, your friends/family will not be disappointed!


 So here they are. I finally got this done. Now let's move on to my next project. =-) If you have any questions please call me, message me, or text me! My goal is to sell about 25 of these--if you know of anyone who would be interested feel free to forward this to anyone on your mailing list. As I have said before, thank you for supporting my little "business". I enjoy it so much and love helping you with your gift giving needs!! 


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Busy Christmas - Bread baskets coming along!

Yesterday, we started once again our yearly tradition during the Christmas season--The twelve days of Christmas. We chose a family whose son is friends with my oldest two children. He is the funniest kid, and we know his family struggles a little bit financially, so we thought it would be fun to add a little bit of wonder and mystery to his life during this time. =-) 

This is how we do it: We leave treats, starting on the 12th of December, on his porch, and the best part is that one of my kids gets to ring the doorbell, the other one gets to place the treats on the floor, and then they both run like maniacs back to the car, as the driver (me!) takes off with the lights off in the middle of the night trying not to get caught (well, it was only 9pm, but it sounded more dramatic that way!). We do the same thing every night until the 24th, and on that night we leave something more meaningful, with a Christmas message and anything we may think of adding at the last minute. But the fun part of it all is this: they will never know it was us!! My kids love this tradition, and I kind of wanted to, mmm, skip this year, since I have sooo many baskets to put together and my life is a little caotic right now. But as the 12th day approached, my daughter Sofia was kind enough to remind me: "we need to think of what family we are doing this year and what we are making". Of course I could say no to that, which means I will be baking more than 40 loaves of bread in less than two weeks, plus coming up with ideas every night to surprise our chosen family! Yikes! Just thinking about it makes me tired! But it is a good tired, if there is such a thing!
 Here is a sneak peak to what I have been up to lately. Pumpkin chocolate chip breads ready to be taken to my neighbors. I used disposable paper/cardboard pans (from Amazon). You bake in the paper pans, decorate, place inside a clear treat bag and done! There is no need to oil the pans either. You should try them out.
 Honey butter for my Christmas bread baskets!
 My assembly line for the baskets. OMG'sh that's a lot of baskets!

 And the final result! Lovely.


I am out of bread knives right now, but if you want me to put something together with just bread and honey butter, let me know! I will be happy to do that for you Rexburg procrastinators. =-) Until next time!