Refresh Your Shelf

Kitchen Shelf 28

So this isn’t really a how-to, more of a what-I-did-when-quarantined kind of thing. This little shelf used to belong to my mother as a child. I think her dad or her grandfather built it for her. It used to be white, and she painted it red some time before I was born. Then it was mine for a long time (well it’s still mine). When the Pie and I moved in together I painted it black because it needed a new coat and that was what I had on hand. Since I painted it, it’s always been in my kitchen. I always keep my oils and vinegars on the top shelf, and the other spaces serve whatever needs they serve at any given time, no matter what the kitchen it’s in.

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But it needed a new coat of paint (a lighter one, I thought), and Gen. Zod has developed a weird tendency to bite chunks out of my cork trivets when he comes over so I wanted to make them a little less accessible to tiny sticky hands.

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So. You may remember that I told you that while I was quarantined I made little wire baskets for stuff. Well, I also made BIG wire baskets.

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I custom sized them to fit each shelf (because it’s handmade, each shelf is at a totally different height). They ended up being bigger than the mesh I had so I had to put three sides together first and then attach a back as a separate piece.

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Which involved a tremendous amount of wire winding. My hands were quite tired and sore the next day.

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I made the baskets so they were a snug fit into the shelf so that they couldn’t be pulled out easily.

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All the baskets complete. But that’s not all I’m gonna do.

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The shelf is in dire need of a re-do. Years of glass bottles filled with oils and vinegars have stripped away some of the paint on the top. And in order to get paint to stick to that it’s going to need a serious cleaning.

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So a scrubbing was in order. If you don’t get all that oil gone it will come up through the paint. Like magic. Really annoying magic.

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While it dried I quickly spray-painted all the baskets I made.

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I’d previously been using the Krylon ColorMaster and Indoor/Outdoor because someone recommended it for use on plastic and metal. I’d always had a bit of difficulty with adhesion but I thought I was just doing it wrong or something. But when I was looking for green spray paint I found this Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch stuff that goes on like a double coat AND LET ME TELL YOU IT’S AMAZING.

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So amazing that for the shelf I bought it in a white primer, gloss coat, and sealant.

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The shelf needed a good sanding down from top to bottom. This is the bottom. The underside of that bottom shelf was never painted. Then I clearly forgot to spray the second-from-bottom shelf.

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Gren watched through the garage door.

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All sanded. Then it needed another good cleaning. As did I. I was covered in black paint dust.

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Shelf all painted.

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And in situ.

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And with the basketry in place.

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The General is going to have a hard time eating my trivets now.

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Put a Lid on It!

Put a Lid on It!

Like my mother, containers are my passion.  Bowls.  Vases.  Tins.  Boxes.  Jars.  I love them all, vintage ones especially.

I used to have a number of vintage jars to store various items in my pantry.  The Pie has broken two of them (*I* only break things that are new and expensive), but I’ve got some left.

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The lids are a little finicky, though, I guess from years of denting and twisting and probably a faint patina of rust and grime on the lid itself.  It’s hard to get everything to thread properly sometimes.

So my trick is pretty simple.  I take a piece of paper towel and I put a drop or two of vegetable oil on it.

Put a Lid on It!

Then I rub it on the inside edge of the threaded part of the lid, making sure that it doesn’t come into contact with anything that might touch the contents of the jar.

Put a Lid on It!

It’s the same sort of logic as spritzing cooking spray on a recalcitrant zipper.  A little lubrication goes a long way.

Put a Lid on It!

Handy Items Week: Pantry

Cait and her fiancé  iPM will be on a whirlwind tour of St. John’s this week, so the Pie and I will be playing host and tour guide while they’re here.

To keep you entertained until they get out of our hair and I can give you your own personal tour of my city, I’m giving you eight days of gadgets that I cannot live without.

Today’s entry is the Rubbermaid pantry that the Pie gave me for my birthday two years ago.

Because we have so many kitchen gadgets all the built-in cupboards in our kitchen are full.

This is the solution we slapped together when we moved in.

It leaned forward in a menacing manner and I lived in fear that it would topple on me some day when I was alone in the house.

So the Pie managed to sneak out one day to Canadian Tire and bring home this pantry, unassembled, and HIDE it from me in our tiny apartment until my birthday.  It was very sweet.

This is the Pie constructing the thing.  I bought him the Spongebob pyjamas.

This is it today, chock full of things I need to turn into food.  Chaos, I know.  But I know where everything is, to within a few inches.

I love it.

Laundry Loft Part One

My entryway is a mite crowded.  You have to stand up on the bottom step in order to open the door without interference.  I’m still amazed that we moved in all our furniture up that narrow flight of stairs.

This is also my laundry room, and I’m definitely feeling the lack of space.  You can see how the washing machine comes right to the door jamb.  I like to keep my potting soil and grass seed on top of the dryer.  That box of kleenex has been there since my parents visited in October 2008.

But if you look up, there’s so much space that I could be using.  Of course, I’m not ten feet tall so I’ll be limited in what I can do, but at the very least there needs to be a shelf up there.  I tried storing things like laundry detergent on top of the dryer, but the vibrations knock it to the floor within a day.  The potting soil has stayed there simply because it’s flat and heavy.  Anything else would be on the ground.

I’ll have to be careful of the fuse box, which you can see on the right side of the above picture.  The door of the box doesn’t open all the way because of the laundry.  Again, it’s a tight space.

The point of this particular project is to see if I can do it through scavenging alone.  I have a huge shed where my landlord’s contractor stores all his stuff.  I am determined that there are scraps in there good enough for what I’m intent on doing.

You’ll notice that the paint job in the entry way is the same horrible beige we eradicated throughout the rest of the house.   The ceilings are just too high for us to get the job done.

The plan is to lay a piece of wood so it sits about 6 inches above the top of the dryer and can be removed easily for maintenance purposes.  Because I don’t want large brackets to interfere with the dryer space I am going to prop the shelf on two pieces of wood that will be attached to the wall and will run flush to the wall along the depth of the shelf.  These will save me the space I need and will mean that I can just pop the shelf down whenever I need to.  I’ll put some small scraps running perpendicular to the wall-wood, just at the back, to prevent me from pushing the shelf backwards off its runner.

The shelf itself needn’t be super heavy duty.  All I plan to use it for is a repository for my one jug of detergent and maybe a box of Borax.  No biggie.

I need a piece of wood that is no less than 34″ (the width of the entryway).  This could be tricky.

Fortunately, Kª has volunteered the destruction of this changing table which is taking up space in the garage.As the both of us are of the school that the lower to the ground you change your baby the smaller the distance he can fall, this changing table is only gathering dust and mildew and Kª is thrilled that it can be repurposed to something else.

It looks like it’s a basic IKEA-style construction, so dismantling won’t be a big deal.  I measured and the long horizontal pieces of fibreboard are just barely 34″.  The vertical end pieces, however, are about 36″, so if I can cut the fibreboard carefully enough so it doesn’t splinter, then I can use those as well.  At least I have four different pieces of wood to screw up.

As for the ‘brackets’ that will hold up the shelf itself, I need two lengths of small-gauge board, preferably of a 2″ thickness, and about 14″ long.  There is a ton of that in the garage, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be missed.

These pieces are about twelve feet long.  The middle one is probably the ideal size for my job.  I’ll make use of it if my conscience doesn’t smite me.  I’m sure no one would miss it if I took two feet off it.  I had to unearth it from a dusty pile in order to put it on that rafter so I don’t think anyone will notice.

These pieces are less ideal.  They’re a bit narrow, thickness-wise.  I need something that the shelf can balance on securely that will distribute some of the weight.

These pieces are ones that I know nobody would mind me using, as they’re obviously remainders from other things (I used one of these to create the reinforcement on my fireplace door to keep out the mouse).  They’re even less ideal, being of varying lengths and thicknesses.  They are a last resort, for sure.  Although that little stack of squares might be useful to me.  I hadn’t seen those before in the scrap pile.  I’ll have to think about it.

Now I’m just being silly.  Though it might be interesting to see if I can make some outdoor pot stands and things from this stuff.  It’s not like any of the fireplaces in our house actually work.  What use is a whole wall of firewood?

Anyway, that’s the plan.  If I can get two days running of good weather I’ll start working on it.  In the mean time I need to pick myself up a stud finder and some nice long wood screws.  I will keep you posted.