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Friday, June 25, 2010

Coughing and wheezing be gone!

Have you ever had the experience of going to the paint store, picking out your favorite color of paint JUST for this one room and (knowing it will match perfectly and all the people in the paint store are envious of your dream room with its dream color) getting home and popping off the lid only to be greeted with a fit of nausea from the toxic smell?

Maybe not, but think hard about the contents of paint...why do you have to dispose of oil paints in a special way? Why does it smell so terrible?? You think there must be something not natural in the mixture, you say? Hey, we must be twins because you just thought the same thought that I did only days ago! Instead of choosing to suck it up and stomach the fumes, I experimented with natural paint recipes with ingredients I could count on one hand and pronounce! The first (and only) that I tried is casein paint. Basically all you do is leave milk in the sun to curdle, combine it with some clay, water and lime (not the fruit) and voila! Oh, and add some pigment if you don't want the whole house to be a brown color. Maura and I were really afraid of the results, thinking it would smell of spoiled milk and stay the odd puke-yellow that it started out as...but no need to worry, there is NO smell and the puke yellow turned to a beautiful/bright earthy yellow! I experimented with my own ratios, but I generally followed the recipe at Mother Earth News.

Casein Paint with Lime (Yields about 1 quart)

1 gallon nonfat milk
2 1/2 ounces “Type S” lime (dry powder available at hardware stores)
2 1/2 cups water
Natural earth pigment (more or less depending on desired color)
6 cups filler (usually whiting, I used clay because it's free)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Countertops and Orange Sinks

Because the kitchen is a priority for Maura to be able to teach baking workshops in during stormy weather, we have been working on finishing the cabinets and countertops. Speaking of workshops, the baking workshop on prefermenting went really well. See photos here. We even were audience to a great accordion performance!

For the countertop we chose is an oversized door. We wandered Buffalo ReUse, looking for something that was countertop-like. Originally, we thought we might just get the corian that they had hidden in the back, but why go boring? The door used to be a swinging door, presumably in a kitchen somewhere. What better reuse than restoring it to its original location? Perhaps it won’t serve as an entranceway, but it will serve an equally (if not more) important role in the kitchen.

Like a normal countertop, we had to cut the sink hole with a jigsaw, and then we threw the crazy orange-red sink into the mix! The two problems that remained were: a) it was a paneled door and b) wood + water = icky combination. The first problem was addressed by adding tiling in the middle of the panels, raising the level of the panels to be even with the thicker part of the door. The second problem was solved using a product suggested by my friend Carrie. She told me about this super effective polyurethane that is used on boats that keeps all moisture from entering into the wood. Now, I admit polyurethane should be avoided in most cases, but when it is a countertop that encounters water CONSTANTLY…I think it is ok to use. Perhaps not, but anyone know any other solution to using the polyurethane that keeps the wood from getting ruined?

This week we will be working on shelving and cabinets, maybe starting work on the flooring in the side entrance, installing a bathroom cabinet, etc. If you’re interested in learning any of these things or other things, let me know! We can always set up a last minute workshop. For now, I am taking a day off. Swimming at the beach in Canada, enjoying Father’s Day with my Dad and both of my grandfathers!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baking Workshops and Tiling Kitchens

Now offering baking workshops!
Ok, so they're not home repair workshops, BUT Fancy & Delicious is offering baking workshops at the house! If you want to learn, please RSVP and come to the baking workshop on Sunday June 13th, 12 to 5pm. There is still no serious workshop schedule because I'll be leaving mid July, but we are furthering the vision by continuing to experiment with reused items and setting up the kitchen so that Fancy & Delicious will be able to offer baking workshops inside during the cold, winter months! If you are interested in learning to build cabinets or install a kitchen sink, stop by the house sometime this week.

Yes, a lot of progress has been made in the kitchen. Namely, a frame for the cabinets and sink...AND tiling. An example of reuse: we used electrical outlet covers as tiles! It's hard to see in the photo, but they turned out looking super cool. I'll report on how they hold up...

Good news: Despite my leaving, Maura has been talking of inviting others to teach an increased range of workshops. We all have our talents and we all should share our knowledge with others! Whether it be gutter replacement or bee keeping or playing the sousaphone! Keep this in mind if you'd like to share your talent with others...