diy wine barrel bar/side table

barrel2I am posting this wine barrel project to help anyone out there who might one day decide to make something like a wine barrel side table. I am here to offer advice, tips and tricks for how to make this project go smoothly.

It was a 4 month long love-hate relationship with this wine barrel. I learned so many things about how to properly clean it and how to roll it around my driveway without scraping the wood (thank goodness for my husband’s muscles… I borrowed them muscles a lot!).

acquiring the wine barrel:
Check your local wineries for used wine barrels. After a few years, some of them will sell the barrels to the public. The wineries in Woodinville are great for picking up used barrels. We picked up our wine barrel for $50 at Chatter Creek Winery.

When going to pick up your barrel, bring a truck, some thick towels/blankets and rope. You can use the thick towels/blankets as padding between the barrel and the car. The barrel will slightly roll/bump around in the truck/trunk of your car as you drive. Without the towels/padding, you can dent the wood on the barrel. We were lucky to be able to fit the barrel in the trunk of our SUV.

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cleaning the barrel:
Ideally, you want to clean the barrel during a series of hot/sunny days. (To let the barrel dry out in between cleaning/rinsing.) If you let the barrel sit out in the rain, the wood can mold/begin to rot.

Begin by deciding which side you want the table top to be. Turn the barrel on its side. On the bottom part of the barrel, using a hole saw, drill a large hole. Large enough for you to fit your arm in the barrel. Too large of a hole will make the barrel unstable.

Stick a garden hose inside this large hole and rinse out the inside of the barrel. If your barrel was used for red wine, continue to rinse until the water drains clear.

Use a medium bristled brush to scrub the outside of the barrel. Get the dirt and gunk off!

Gently roll your barrel to a safe spot where it can stand evenly. Stand the barrel so that the bottom of the barrel is up (the barrel should be upside down).

Pour in all 3 pounds of powdered Oxiclean into the barrel. You can buy the powdered Oxiclean at any large, major grocery store in the laundry aisle.

Seal the front hole of your barrel to keep water from leaking out. We used a paint bottle.

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Using the garden hose, fill the barrel to the brim with water. You will see bubbles forming. This is okay!

Leave the barrel soaking like this for about 3-4 days. On the 4th day, pull out the plug on the front hole to drain the barrel. Gently roll the barrel around until it is fully drained. Thoroughly rinse the barrel. Rinse and drain, rinse and drain. Leave the barrel empty and dry.

Once the inside of the barrel is dry, begin your Oxiclean soak again. You will soak, rinse, drain and dry three times. Your Oxiclean soaking will end once the water starts to run clear after. If the water continues to be dark in color after an Oxiclean soak, you must keep going until this water runs clear.

Failing to do this will attract fruit flies in the barrel once you get the barrel in your house!

staining the barrel:
We decided to stain our barrel using Minwax: dark walnut oil stain.

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After staining, leave the barrel out to dry. Gently find a way to carry/lift the barrel into the house/wherever you want it.

adding the glass top:
Walmart sells these 20-inch round glass table toppers. Bed Bath and Beyond sells them too! They cost about $10.00 for one glass top. You can buy it online from Bed Bath and Beyond here.

I had pieces of craft cork leftover. I cut out small squares of cork and using adhesive, placed them between the glass top and the barrel (place the cork pieces evenly around the glass top). The cork squares help keep the glass in place and from being scratched.

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We filled the space between the glass top and the barrel with corks from all the wine we’ve had!

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baked one bite nachos: easy, flavorful game-day snack

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This is the easiest snack to put together! It’s also really versatile. You can add all the types of toppings you want: meat, different types of cheese, salsa or dip. If you’re having an “appetizer” party, these can be whipped up in minutes and will go fast! It’s also a simple and filling snack for the little kiddos!

ingredients:
large, round tortilla chips (the best chips I’ve found were from Trader Joe’s)
salsa of your choice: it can be from a jar, or whatever liquid dip you like
bag of shredded cheese: your choice!

directions:
1.) Use the largest cookie sheet you have. This will allow you to fit more chips in one baking session.
2.) Line your cookie sheet with foil.
3.) Individually lay out your chips on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Do not overlap the chips.

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4.) Using a spoon, scoop your liquid (salsa or dip) on each chip.

salsa
5.) Top with shredded cheese.

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6.) Bake uncovered on the middle rack at 400°F until the cheese is melted. Cool for a few minutes. You don’t want to burn yourself on the hot cheese!

 

$30 wine glass racks

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I was stuck. I wanted a wine glass rack that matched the wood in our dining room wall. After the sticker shock of what a simple, basic glass rack was going to cost us, I decided we would be better off making it on our own. It was so worth it and so easy to make!

materials:
1.)  
2 cedar fence pickets from Home Depot. I had them cut down; each one was a tad too long. They were $2.00 each.

2.) 2 leather straps from Hobby Lobby. These were the most expensive parts at $8.00 each.

3.) 4 mending plates. I bought 2 of these; each package came with two plates at $3.00 per package.

4.) Corner brackets: 2 packages with 2 brackets each. $2.00 per pack from Home Depot.

5.) Varying lengths of wood screws we had on hand.

6.) Wood stain and seal. Stuff we had in the garage.

power tools needed:
1.) A jig- saw with a blade for cutting wood.

2.) A sander (I used an orbital sander). You can also just sand the wood by hand.

3.) A drill to drill in all those mending plates and screws.

other materials used:
1.) Paper for your template.

2.) Pencil to trace your template.

3.) A ruler AND  a bubble leveler.

4.) Spray paint (I spray painted the mending plates and screws an oil rubbed bronze color).

step #1:
Sand down your boards. Sand all the sides. You don’t want to get any splinters while working on your project.

step #2:
Determine the wine glasses you want to hang.  Find the wine glass with the largest base. Trace the base of this wine glass onto a sheet of paper. Cut the base tracing out; this is your circle template.

step #3:
Depending on how wide your cedar board is, use a pencil to draw the width of your “track” on the board. Do not go all the way to the end of the board. Leave about an inch of space for your mending plates to attach.

step #4:
Measure the middle of your board and trace your circle template onto the board using a pencil.

step #5:
Use a jig saw and cut out the circle and your track. Repeat for the second board.

step #6:
Sand and stain and seal your boards. Dry overnight.

step #7:
Attach your mending plates. Picture1

step #8:
Attach your corner brackets and the leather. Screw the leather into the wood shelf for extra support. IMG_20150530_132247069_HDR

step #9:
Using a bubble leveler, figure out where you want to hang your rack. Screw the shelf onto the wall using the corner brackets.

step #10:
Screw the leather into the wall for shelf support. IMG_20150530_144749676_HDR
step #11:
Hang your wine glasses and admire your  $ 30.00 handy work!

 

an alternative to sriracha: harissa

20150531_114407~2Meet harissa. It’s a wonderful substitute for any hot sauce. It’s a dark red chilly paste that is typically used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.

It is much thicker in consistency than sriracha. You can spread it on bread for a little extra kick or add it to dishes that you want to liven up. Mix it with hummus or use it as a rub on meats. I recently added it to an enchilada dish!

A 5.3oz tube online, is about $7.00. You can purchase it here.

If you live in the Seattle area, Big John’s PFI carries it for much less ($3.00 for a 5.3oz. tube). You can visit their website here.

 

cream cheese and chive blossom spread

chive1We have a small herb garden and our chives have begun to bloom! What does one do with these beautiful, purple flowers?

Chives are wonderful in salads, soups and baked potatoes. They impart a subtle onion flavor in dishes. The purple flowers are edible and are just as flavorful! I decided to make a tasty spread using these blooms!

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ingredients:
– soft, spreadable cheese of your choice ( I used light cream cheese)
– a handful of chive blossoms with stems attached (if you want your spread to have a stronger onion flavor, you can use more blossoms

directions:
1.) Pull apart the chive flowers and snip the green stems into small pieces.
2.) Add the flowers and the stems to your spreadable cheese.

chive2
3.) Mix well to thoroughly incorporate the flowers and stems into the cheese.
4.) Spread on crackers, bread or even on a bagel for breakfast!

cracker
5.) Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since I’m obsessed with Weck jars, I am storing my flavored cheese in it!

weck

I am loving all those green and purple flecks of color!

ahmazing blueberry scones

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Scones tend to divide people in two camps. Some like their scones hard and crumbly (almost like a biscotti) and others like their scones moist (like a really dense muffin). I like my scones to be in between: a moist, fluffy center with a crumbly crumb.

This recipe is pretty simple to make! The scones pair well with a cup of coffee!

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you will need:
baking pan (I used a 10 in. cast iron skillet)

ingredients:
– 2 cups of all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
-2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I freshly grated mine and used less)
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) of frozen butter

– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
– 1 full cup of fresh blueberries or whatever berry you want to use

– sparkling sugar/coarse sugar for topping

directions:
1.) Pre-heat the oven to 400F degrees.
2.) If you’re using a baking pan, grease the entire inside of the pan with butter. Since I used a cast iron skillet, I didn’t need to grease anything.
3.) Place your frozen butter on a chopping board and cut into small pieces the size of nickels. Set aside.
4.) In a large bowl combine your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
5.) In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients: heavy cream, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
6.) Add the butter pieces to the dry mixture. The mixture will be dry and some parts might be clumpy. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients.
7.) Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Use your hands and work quickly. Knead the dough until all the wet ingredients are absorbed into the dry ingredients. Your dough will be very sticky.
8.) Carefully fold in the blueberries.
9.) Gather your dough into a ball and place the dough in the middle of your baking pan. Use your fingers to push the dough out towards the sides of the pan. Make sure to have an even layer of dough throughout the entire pan.
10.) Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the dough.
11.) Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the scone pan; if uncooked batter is clinging to the toothpick, bake for 10 more minutes.
12.) Remove from oven, cool, cut and serve!

*this was slightly altered from the recipe found here.

 

 

my favorite table knives

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I am obsessed with these knives! Why? These knives have history, they handle well and are beautiful with their unique shape and style.

The name, “Laguiole” (pronounced: layol) is not a knife company, but rather a location of where the knife was made. Laguiole knives were/are made in a small village called, Laguiole in the Aveyron region of France.

The village first began making pocket knives with a bee emblem used as a blade stop and to protect the edge of the knife when the knife was being closed. Legend says that Napoleon Bonaparte’s seal was a bee; he offered his seal to the village of Laguiole to thank the town’s men for their courage during battle. 20150216_105005-2

Today, table knives, flatware and cheese knives are also made.

The quality and workmanship of these knives are excellent. The handle is curved and feels great in the hand. These knives are stainless steel, are super sharp and are washed by hand. They are a unique gift to give to friends. You can’t go wrong with a Laguiole knife!

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