Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tick, Tock! Time For Another Makeover! This Time A Clock!

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This little project I'm going to feature today is actually from a couple of years ago.  

I was bored one day and needed a project to do.  (Like Snoopy and his "It was a dark and stormy night" preface, you will see "I was bored one day" is a common refrain of yours truly.)   My eye wandered over to a wall in my house where there hung a sorely outdated Circa 1992 wall clock.  I remember when I bought that clock.  I purchased it from Spiegel Catalogue.  Are they even still in business?  Hhmm, I'm not sure.  I'll have to Google that later and find out.  

So, here she is in all her outdated glory.  Please excuse the poor picture.  The lighting is bad in our house and quite frankly so is my camera taking skills.  Plus, at the time I was just snapping the pic to show my Hardscrabble Home gang.
Don't you LOVE the hearts and vinesOh, and the Hunter Green.  Don't judge me too harshly.  Who didn't decorate with Hunter Green back then, right?  Hey, it could be worse.  At least you aren't looking at a ceramic white goose wearing a blue scarf in this picture!  You have to admit I had progressed a little bit in my decorating skills from the goose era.

Ok, so back to this project.  I scraped off the hearts and vines with a razor blade.  Then I removed the glass inserts and the clock face.  I reached into my paint stash and painted her black.  Then I sanded her edges and applied a gel stain over the whole shebang.  

The clock face needed a makeover, too.  That was no problem.  I created a new one on my computer using Microsoft Picture It!  Please don't laugh.  I'm sure there are better and newer programs out there I could use, but I am all for going "old school" on things as my husband likes to say.  I like Picture It! and why change what works.  

I found a roman numeral clock face I liked and added the initial D, for our family name.  I used the font Castellar for the D.  It has an old look to it, which I love.
I printed the clock face onto heavy Kraft Brown card stock.  I had that paper left over from my pillow business days when I would make my own tags, business cards and advertising stuff.  My philosophy is why buy when you can make it yourself!  That should be your philosophy, too!  As this blog shows you, it's really not that hard to do. 

After printing the new clock face, I cut it down to size and just put her right over the board the old clock face had been on.  

I then put the clock back together, stood back and marveled at the beauty which was now this clock.  The picture below was taken sans glass because I kept seeing my reflection in the glass each time I snapped away.  I really, really, really need to replace my broken camera.  My pictures won't win any awards, that's for certain.

I love this clock and it holds some very special momentos.  My daddy's name plate from his desk and the Bible he would carry when he visited his parishioners either at home or in a hospital.  Today marks one year since our Dad's been gone and not a day passes that we don't miss him terribly. 

Here is our handsome Dad reading The Night Before Christmas to us girls.  From left to right, Lee Ann, Rebecca, Dad, and me, Stephanie.  This was before my little brother Michael was born or he'd be in the picture, too.   This was an annual Christmas Eve tradition.  We would attend Church services first with Dad at the pulpit.  Sweet memories.

(Thank you for indulging me as I wandered down Memory Lane for a moment.)

One more time with the before and after shots.

There you have it!  A simple and easy clock transformation.  Do you want to know what it cost?  It cost NADA.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  It just cost me a little bit of time and energy.  

What's so great about most of these projects is that you can remake it again and again.  I'm sure like the goose decor and the Hunter Green/Hearts era, that sometime the road I will be sick of this look and a change will be in order.  My husband hopes it'll be at least a decade away and I am pretty sure it will be.

Now that you've seen my attempt at turning back the clock on time, go clean your own clock and make it over.  Then come back here and let us know how you did.  

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Completely FREE Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

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Oh, we've been so busy here at The Hardscrabble Home and I can't wait to show you what we have been working on!

There is a bank of cabinets on one wall of our house.  This particular section is not used for food prep.  So, one day I was looking at it and thought why not change it, make it look more custom.  

Here it was just a few months ago...

Now, three years ago my friend Katalin and I painted the kitchen cabinets.  They had been oak.  Actually, the front of them had been oak, the sides were covered with some paper that looks like oak.  (Read: NOT OAK.At that time we added beadboard to the ends of the cabinets, then painted the whole thing black, sanded it for an aged worn look, then applied a stain over the whole thing.  We swapped out the circa 1990 knobs and pulls with new ones bought on Ebay.  It turned out beautifully. 

Here's the before picture from that project.  Don't judge me too harshly with was over 20 years ago.  
Fast forward to last week. I'm eyeing that cabinet and the makeover idea was born.  I remembered that I had two 100 year old cabinets in the garage that I had last used when my friend Julie and I had a shop...named....The Hardscrabble Home, of courseI miss that little shop. 

The cabinets had seen better days.  They were missing their glass doors.  One of the cabinets was missing it's bottom doors, too.  I chose to use that one in this makeover.  My goal was to reuse the wood from this cabinet to make my formerly stock cabinets look custom. 

My handsome carpenter (Read: Husband) was more than willing to help me with this undertaking.  I promised to do the demoHe would do the sawing.  I would do the application of the beadboard.  He would install the counter top.  He would putty.  I would sand and stain.  Fair deal!  We work well together.  

Remember, this project didn't cost us a single penny.  We are repurposing and using what we have on hand.  Love that!

We dragged the cabinet outside and set to work, hoping to not get caught in the rain last weekend.  I snapped this pic as it was laying on its side.  That explains the screwdriver on the side of the cabinet, it's not a magic one, it's a regular screwdriver. 
Oops, I'm jumping ahead.  The demo.  That tile was harder to get off than I thought.  I went to work on it with a hammer, a wonder bar, and a flat screwdriver.  I was sore for two days afterward
Back to work on the old cupboard.

Dear husband measured and cut the beadboard to size.
Then I carried them inside and laid them out.  There were variations in the finish so we wanted to lay them out and pick the best boards to use.  This was just a few days after Valentine's Day and you can see a little glimpse of the roses I received from my honey.  They are still looking good today, ten days later.  Amazing.   Remember last year's vase I used to make a candle centerpiece at a cost of ZERO.  Here's that little project, lest you forget.  Valentine's Vase to Candle Centerpiece
Whenever a project is done at home, as is customary with our family, we write a message to the future owners of our house.  Our house has quite a history to it.  It once was used as a speak easy during prohibition.  We like to add our chapter to its history by leaving our story within its walls.  Here you can see part of the message on the wall as I am figuring out what way I want the boards to go up.  In this case, the message pretty much just says that we took an old 100 year old cabinet, used the wood from it for this project and the date.
I applied the beadboard with construction adhesive that we had on hand.

Then my better half cut down the side of the cabinet to make the counter top.  Here it is, waiting to be puttied, sanded and for the trim (also coming from that cabinet) to be installed. 
For the next few days I was busy adding more putty and sanding it.  Then the weekend arrived and we tag-teamed it again.  Love of my life applied the trim he had saved from the old cupboard.  Then he puttied it some more and we left it to dry overnight.

Our final day on it...well, it didn't go as planned.  The putty would not take stain.  Then we tried a different wood filler we had on hand.  That stuff was horrible.  We ended up sanding it all back down to the old putty.  I was determined not to let that putty win.  I grabbed some paint from my stash and a brush.  I went to work blending in that putty.  By the time I was finished you couldn't even see it.  Which is what you want, right?  After that, I added my stain to it.  I was going to use a mahogany gel stain but it turned out much too red.  The beadboard and wood has a red tint to it, but the mahogany did not match it.  I then turned to my aged oak gel stain.  That was it.  It matched perfectly.  I completed the counter top and it is beautiful.   

We had thought about adding a corbel to the left side under the upper cabinet.  We even cut the top of the cabinet off to use that piece as the corbel.  It was the perfect shape already.  It looked terrible.  So, we scrapped that idea.  

Want to see the finished product?
 ...and her close-up.
  Isn't she pretty??  See the different variations in the color?  The old cabinet had belonged to my stepdad Kevin's aunt.  It had been in her house.  Kevin ended up with it.  Then when we bought my mom and Kevin's house from them, the cabinet stayed behind.  I like that it has a history to it.   Kevin would have loved this projectHe was a wonderful furniture maker.  He would be proud of us.

Here is the before and after view.
We love it!  It definitely doesn't look stock anymore!  It's so much fun to work on projects like this together.   I come up with the ideas and my handsome carpenter has the know how.   Teamwork.  

We hope that we have inspired you with this project and that you can find a new use for an old object like we did.     Pin It

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This Is Not The Store Bought Cookie Eater Cheater's Favorite Cookie

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That's a weird title to a post about one of my all-time favorite cookies, isn't it?  Allow me to explain...

As you know by now, I love to bake and usually do so once a week.  For awhile I was on a Banana Bread kick.  I'd bake bunches of it and give them away.  I have a top secret for now banana bread recipe that is so good, but I don't eat the stuff myself.  I'm a pusher, not a user except when it comes to cookies and those Dangerously Delicious Peaches and Cream Cheese Cookie Bars.    Then I'm a user, too.

Which brings us back around to today's topic.  A couple of years ago I was making a different cookie each week or so.  Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter, and today's recipe Steffie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie.   

After weeks of baking every cookie recipe known to mankind, I ask my dear husband, "What's your favorite cookie?"   I am fully expecting him to name something I've baked.  Wouldn't you be, too?  Well...

He replies, "Oreos."

WHAT!?!? Did he just say OREOS???  OREOS??  Really?

I allowed my heart to resume to it's normal heartbeat before responding.

"So, YOU are a store bought cookie eater cheater, huh?", I say in the most accusatory tone that I can muster. 

Had he been eating an Oreo at that moment, I think he would have choked on it from laughing.  From there on, when it comes to cookies he has been known as The Store Bought Cookie Eater Cheater.*

Today's recipe isn't for a homemade version of Oreos, though I've seen them out there on the big World Wide Web.   Rather, it is for Steffie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.  These are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.  Easy, too.  Ready?  Let's get baking...

I'm not going to bore you with pictures of the ingredients.  There is nothing you don't already have in your cupboards in this recipe.  Nor, am I going to insult your intelligence by posting step by step photos.  There is nothing difficult about making these cookies.  Plus, since Mother Robin tried to kill me last year by dive bombing me when I snapped a photo of the babies in her nest on MY FRONT PORCH, causing me to jump, scream, run and drop my camera resulting in its demise, well, the photos I get with my cell phone just aren't worth the time it takes to edit them enough to look decent.   Plus, like I mentioned two sentences prior to my extremely long run on sentence, you are a smart person.  You have probably made cookies successfully at some time in your life. 

Steffie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Hardscrabble Home


1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter, Chunky OR Smooth (It's your choice)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 Egg
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together.  Add the egg and mix until light & fluffy.  Blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together well.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop cookies by tsp. onto non stick baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Allow to cool before removing.

Devour them with a glass of milk.  Preferably in the middle of the night because between midnight and 6am, calories don't count.  (Don't quote me on that.)

*Back to the * I placed earlier in a sentence about the Store Bought Cookie Eater Cheater.  The way you break your husband from carrying on with a store bought cookie is to buy him his Oreos.  Make them the Double Stuffed ones, too.  Always repackage them into a plastic lidded container "to keep them fresh".  After awhile of supporting his habit with the real stuff, the NAME BRAND stuff, switch it out with the generic ones.  They are NOT AS GOOD.  He won't notice they aren't real Oreos.  Before you know it, the day will come when you are preparing the grocery list.  You'll say, "Honey, do you want me to pick up some Oreos?"  He'll reply no, because he has lost his taste for them.  hehehe.  You have just won your battle and now YOUR homemade cookies reign supreme once again.  

Enjoy your cookies!  I always double the recipe above when I make them.  I could have listed those measurements but I didn't want to seem like the gluttonous pig we revealed ourselves to be last week with the cookie bar recipe.   Pin It