Built-in Library for (most of) Our Books

We have a serious book problem at our house. We both came into our marriage with large collections and an obsession with books. We stop at every bookstore and library sale we pass. Add to that an inability to get rid of any (I have so many college textbooks and anthologies that I just can’t bear to part with. What if I NEED them later?) and we quickly filled several bookcases and still had more in boxes.

Gordon decided that for my birthday last year, he would build a bookcase into an entire wall in our front room. He said it was boring once it was four feet tall, so he got distracted. But with my birthday this year fast approaching, he figured he’d better finish it so I couldn’t accuse him of stretching it out just to avoid picking a gift this year. It took late nights, many trips to Lowe’s, and the whole house smelling like stain for awhile, but our little library is now my favorite part of the house. Continue reading

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Eat Masters Food without Going to Augusta

I think Augusta National must be the Narnia of golf courses. First of all, Augusta  manages to make golf exciting at least once a year. Second, and more important to someone as terrible at golf as I am, their food is legendary. This is impressive because the sandwiches are made on white wonder bread and there is nothing on the menu that anyone with even rudimentary cooking skills couldn’t just make at home. But somehow, pair it all with the biggest golf tournament of the year and price the food like its 1969, and you’ve got magic. Continue reading

Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs)

Pysanky sculpture in downtown Kyiv

If you’re ever in Eastern Europe around Orthodox Easter, you should stop by Kyiv, Ukraine for the festivities. The whole city is full of flowers, people wear their tradition embroidered shirts, and everywhere you look you see pysanky (Easter eggs) and Easter bread (honestly, you should go to Ukraine for the bread alone). I have always wanted to make pysanky, but they seemed so much more difficult than the typical American version with stickers and cheap tablet dye.

This year, we decided to go for it. Gordon ordered a kit from bestpysanky.com that included the wax pens (kistki), wax, and dye in several different colors. Continue reading

Powder Horn Scrimshaw

If all you really care about is how to make a powder horn, go read the other post. If you want to learn the word “scrimshander” and find out pretty useless trivia about Nova Scotia, while seeing more pictures of the powder horn with designs etched into it, you’re in the right place.

Thanks to the Reader’s Digest Back to Basics book, Gordon decided his powder horn wouldn’t be finished until he did some scrimshaw.  Continue reading

Powder Horn

After Gordon finished building his black powder rifle, he decided he wouldn’t be able to look actual mountain men and reenactors in the eye unless he also had a powder horn. So naturally, he made one.

We have a local leather store that also sells cow horns. Making a functional powder horn is pretty straightforward. If you want a pretty/fancy/impressive powder horn, you will need to put some more work into it.  Continue reading

Blackout Cooking

To be fair, cooking during a power outage really isn’t that difficult. You can use any camp stove, a solar oven, your barbecue, or anything else that starts on fire (like a fire). But if you have a lantern and a pot, you can cook and light the house at the same time.

We used our lantern to cook Myzithra cheese spaghetti because all you need is enough heat to boil water. And it is made entirely out of ingredients that can last for a while outside of refrigeration. And we really like it.  Continue reading