Make This Tonight! Super Easy Pasta Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce, quick sauce

Here’s what you need. Does it look easy? It is! It’s the…

Super Cinchy Pasta Sauce that is Awesome

adapted from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Italian Cooking

5 minutes of prep, 40 minutes simmering, serves about 4-5 with pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 Tbs butter (We use unsalted but doubt it matters)
  • One 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

The short directions:

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the onion, let it cook 2-3 minutes
  • Add the diced tomatoes
  • Simmer for 35-40 min, stirring occasionally
  • Remove the onion, add salt and pepper to taste, serve.

The long directions:

  • Melt the butter over medium heat, (a heavy bottom pot is best).
  • Place the peeled onion cut side down into the pot.
  • Allow the onion to begin to cook in the butter – approx 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes
  • Stir occasionally to mix in the butter and to keep the sauce from burning to the bottom of the pot. (Hint: if it does burn a bit, just stir without scraping up the burned bits into the remaining sauce and call it “smoky tomato sauce”).
  • Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn down the burner to simmer gently for another 30-35 minutes.
  • Taste. Add salt or pepper if you like. Or not.
  • Remove the onion.
  • Serve the sauce over pasta, vegetables, potatoes, polenta etc.

Enjoy! Feed the people real food! Go paint the basement!

 

 

Upcycled Awesomeness in Kauai – KIKO simple goods

Kauai, Kapa'a, Recycled, Upcycled, Crafts

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka (that’s Hawaiian for Merry Christmas – a tad late, but still –) We’ve just returned from a very fun trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. In between the (muddy & fun!) hiking, beaches, and dodging wild roosters, we explored the lovely low-key town of Kapa’a. This was one of our favorite finds, KIKO simple goods*, specializing in unique local art, upcycled goods and clever environmental products. It just made us happy (plus it doesn’t hurt to be located in paradise…). Be inspired, visit the web links and if in Kauai, visit the store!

 

 

* KIKO’s has opened recently and they don’t have a website yet, but when they do I will update this post with a link – because they really are awesome. This is NOT a sponsored post, just love from an admirer.

 

Pendant Light With Pulley

My sister hinted that she wanted me to make her a pendant light using a pulley she found. Actually it wasn’t a hint so much as a demand. My sister isn’t known for her subtlety. She also doesn’t read this blog, so I’m safe. 🙂

I’ve had the pulley for quite some time and I just now finished in time for her birthday.

diy light, how to make a light fixture, interior design, salvage design, up cycle, green design

The parts:

I found the bracket on Etsy, from a cool shop based in Wisconsin (Gizmo and Hoo Ha) with all sorts of vintage odds and ends. It was listed as a holder for horse bridles and tack, which is special because my sister used to be a big horse-back rider.

The lamp parts (wire, socket, plug, cage) I bought online through Sundial Wire. A big plug for them here (pun intended) – not only do they have very nice lamp parts, they also give very detailed instructions on how to wire a plug and socket.

(Side note: Unfortunately, I lost the photos I took of the individual parts before I put the lamp together. My memory card went kaput after I took the pictures and could not be recognized by the computer or the camera. The good news is the store exchanged the damaged card for a new card, but the bad news is all the photos were lost. Has this ever happened to you?)

Happy Birthday to my sister!

 

 

DIY Halloween Tombstones!

IMG_3014

Here’s what my son ( and his amazing assistants, mom and dad ) have been up to most of the month of October. Tombstones. Realistic, detailed and creepy Halloween decorations. Check it out:

DIY Halloween decoration, DIY Halloween gravestone, Halloween cemetery

My initial plan was to write a “how to” post with these – but it’s so complicated and detailed that I think a simple slide show is far more fun, so here you go:

Add a little moss from Home Depot and a couple crows from Display and Costume   and you are all done!

DIY Halloween decorations, Halloween decor, How to make Halloween  tombstones

Happy Halloween from all of us at Hammer Like A Girl 🙂

More Functional Art

I’ve been working on some more functional art for Matter Gallery in Olympia. It was fun working on the pieces and a little hard to hand them off  – like saying good-bye to your children. Check out their shop either online or in person, Olympia is full of interesting places to visit!

You can see more functional art here.

Vintage Railroad Crossing Sign

I’ve always coveted those big old Railroad Crossing signs. I’ve seen them at a couple antique stores here in Seattle, but they’ve always been super expensive. We were in Door County, Wisconsin, by Sturgeon Bay this summer for our annual family trip and I stopped by one of my favorite antique stores there – Richard’s Antiques. I wanted to back a truck up to the store and take everything with me, but settled on 2 sets of railroad signs (and some other things too numerous to mention here).

RailRoadCrossing

RailRoadCrossing_detail

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Farmer’s Market Booth Display

This is a little side project that I did for our friends who own a blueberry farm (Hunter’s Moon Organics). They are going to participate in local farmers’ markets and were in need of a display table, shelves and pricing sign for their booth. Using salvaged materials, this is what I made:

Table:

This is very similar to the tabletop we covered with dictionary pages. See that post here.

This table needed to be portable and easily dismantled, so to keep it light, the table top was made with a hollow core door from Second Use Building Materials. The legs are old metal saw horses, with glue-laminated beams uses as the supports. It all comes apart easily.

The top of the table is covered with cut-up brown re-enforced mailing envelopes and are glued them down with Mod Podge. The farm’s logo was printed large (in sections) onto the brown paper and positioned so only part of it appears on the top of the table. The outer edges are framed with flat bar metal and secured with galvanized lag bolts/washers. The top is coated with 2 coats of exterior Verathane, for easy cleanup.

Tiered Blueberry Display:

The tiered displays are made from old fence wood, sanded, and finished with Profin.

Pricing Chalkboard:

This will display the pricing and upcoming events at the farm. It’s made from an old school chalkboard, found at a yard sale. The “Local Harvest” type is printed on old magazine paper and Mod Podged onto a yardstick and secured with nails top/bottom.

These pieces will be used in combination with a canopy with banners with the farm logo. Can’t wait to see how it all looks together – we will keep you posted!

 

 

 

Functional Art

Lately I’ve been spending all my free time in our basement making functional art from recycled/salvaged materials. Sometimes I even come up and make my family dinner. (They would beg to differ – they’d at least question the quality.)

I dropped off the new work at Matter Gallery in Olympia. They feature artists who work with recycled/sustainable materials. Visit their website to see lots of cool art.

Olympia is not that far from Seattle – I love exploring all the galleries, shops and cafes. To make it easy, Matter has great recommendations on their site of interesting places to visit – check it out!

Our Class at Second Use Building Materials

We had our class a couple of weeks ago at Second Use Building Materials and it was so much fun to meet other people who are excited about using salvaged materials. There was a good turn-out and we only saw one person in the back row drifting off to sleep. So, we consider our first class a success.

At the end of the class, we had a little “participatory exercise” where we invited folks to go out into the store and pick out cool things that were priced under $30. The idea was that we would review, examine, and select one item that we’d take home and use for a salvaged project of some sort.

This is what people brought back:

We had to make a choice and pick ONE THING. What would you have chosen? We deliberated and debated – the blow torch was super cool, but we felt it was already art and tough to improve on. The light fixture was very affordable at $1.00, but the 1970’s vibe was a little challenging. The old drill was awesome, it sort of fell into the same category as the blow torch – don’t need to do much to it, it’s already cool. The porcelain knobs and the little lock plate were very nice, those were very strong contenders.

But in the end, we went for…

(wait for it)

…the big “e”.

So now our job is to use the “e” in some sort of project. Stay tuned and check back to see what we come up with. Hopefully it will be soon, although sometimes we have been known to mull over things for months. Hey, beauty and quality can take time! 🙂

 

Recycled Art Show Field Trip

We stopped by the Laura Frost Fine Arts Gallery in Ballard to check out the Recycled Art Show sponsored by RE Store. It’s a great show – lots of local artists using a variety of salvaged materials. Check it out if you are out and about. It runs through May 7, so you don’t have much time.

The details:

5805 14th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
206-783-5314
Open Tue-Fri 11-5, Sat 10-6,  Sun 12-5

Here’s a preview: