Monday, October 22, 2012

Library Update

It's been a while since my last update on the library redo. The bookcases were built by the last homeowners, but never quite finished off. I was not crazy about the stain finish, and the big empty spot between the shelves which is the return air intake for the AC really bothered me. I wanted to make it look more dressed up. So here is the large mirror purchased at the thrift store, installed all by me.

Since the mirror is very heavy, I first installed a temporary piece of wood on the bottom to use as a ledge while I was installing the mirror so it will not fall off and break into a million pieces. I used up a whole can of construction adhesive on the backside, then heaved it up onto the ledge with a lot of grunting on my part.  

Then I used my pneumatic nail gun to stabilize it into place, squishing the adhesive as best I could. After which I went to town installing about 20 screws through the frame into the wood wall underneath to make certain the whole thing will never fall off.  This thing is not going ANYWHERE!  I will give it a few days for the adhesive to dry completely, then I will fill in the holes for the screws that I drilled with a countersink bit. I still need to put some painter's caulk all the way around the frame because there is a gap between the wall and the mirror frame that's about a quarter inch wide.  Then I will get on with the painting. I can't wait! 

Oh, minor detail. . . I still need to finish doing the trim on the shelves. . . We need to have someone come in to finish off the upper portions because my husband has absolutely forbidden me to get up there to do it. He says I'm accident prone. . . But it WILL get done!

New (To Me) Bread Machine

I've been wanting a bread machine for a while now. . . A loaf of whole wheat bread sells for between $$2.99 and $4.00 at my grocery stores. Regular purchases over time add up, you know? Our family is not big on breads, but still goes through a loaf a week. So I've been dreaming of a bread machine, especially since the reviews I've been reading were mostly raving about how easy it is to use and how delicious the bread turns out.  But the catch was that the machine I wanted cost almost $300! Not exactly frugal. . . So I've been holding out and keeping an eye out on Amazon in the hope that maybe it will show up as one of their daily deals. No such luck.

On Thursday, I had an errand to run across town, and hit some thrift stores I never go to, and got lucky. I found this Zojirushi bread machine for $15.00 (with tax). Zojirushi is the brand of bread machine I had been looking at. Granted, the one I was coveting was the most recent model, but I figured this older model can't be all that bad, can it? It had a small dent on the front, but otherwise looked as if it had been used only a few times, and came with the measuring cup and spoon and the recipe booklet. It was missing an owner's manual, but that was quickly found online after Googling the model number. What sealed the deal for me to purchase it was the sticker on front of the machine indicating that this model was fully capable of baking 100% whole wheat bread.

I baked three loaves so far, and still tweaking the recipe. The first loaf was baked following a recipe for a regular white loaf using all purpose flour, so the bread turned out a bit hard (but passsable).  The second loaf was baked with the same recipe with the addition of some vital wheat gluten and was given to a neighbor to try out. The third loaf was baked from a whole wheat recipe after I downloaded the owner's manual. The loaf used half a cup more flour than the other two loaves, and turned out too tall. The recipe needs to be tweaked a bit to get a loaf of bread slightly shorter so it doesn't overflow out of the baking pan, but the texture of the bread was superb! It was very fluffy, considering it was whole wheat. I'm sold! No more grocery store bread for me!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thrift Store Jackpot!

I fully intended to give up buying any more new dishes, but I had to get this lot of 10 Villeroy & Boch "French Garden" porcelain china for $10.99! I got an oval casserole, a round casserole/souffle bowl, two dinner plates two salad plates and two cups and saucers. From what I can discern, they have never been used (the oval dish still has the bar code sticker on it). A quick look on eBay leads me to believe I can resell them for a very conservative guesstimate of $150 or more.  Not sure if I will, I may just keep these because they are so pretty, but what a steal!