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!

 

 

The Big Albert Lee Appliance Sale is Coming!

Need new appliances for your home or rental? The Albert Lee Appliance Sale is coming this Nov 1 & 2nd.  We’ve seen everything from your standard kitchen appliances to Viking ranges, Miele vacuums, to outdoor BBQ’s and more. Check out this link as it also contains important hints for shopping. You may also want to bring a smartphone for research on the spot. Be sure to get there early – 3:55 am if you’re serious (and crazy like Monica) – they will have coffee…

Make a Home Office Pendant Light

I needed a light for my workspace. I wanted to find a really awesome Pendant Light. I poked around online and found some that were amazing, but a little too expensive for me to handle. I had a very basic $17.00 IKEA pendant light left over from my kitchen update. $17-40.00 was more like my budget. But, it was so small and lacked any funk at all. Plus it looked like it belonged in a kitchen.

Original Ikea Pendant Light

I was hoping to snag an inexpensive, awesome, retro light from Second Use Building Materials or RE Store. Continue reading

Modernized Armoire

HammerLikeAGirl_GrayCloset1

I have a cottage style home which means very little storage space. I purchased an armoire from a friend several years ago with the idea that one day I’d paint, stain, or at least change the door handles.

I wanted to modernize the whole room. It currently serves as a makeshift office, spare bedroom and a lazy catch-all storage space. The thought was to get rid of a lot of useless stuff and shift the room toward a contemporary office space that could quickly convert into a bedroom when guests arrive.

Continue reading

I’d like to buy a vowel for $65 please?

Everyone needs a really big letter in their house, don’t you agree?

Dave from Second Use agrees, look how excited he is. He had to climb a ladder AND stand on a refrigerator to get it down.

No, I don’t want the F.2ndUse_Dave

Continue reading

Using Salvaged Doors in a Remodel: Part 1

One way to get immediate character in a house remodel is to use salvaged doors. Old doors can be beautiful, with great quality and craftsmanship. Depending on availability, it can also save you money. On the downside, using salvaged doors can take patience, planning, and elbow grease. Other downsides include the possibility of lead paint and dings/imperfections (although one girl’s dings/imperfections are another girl’s patina). Second Use Building Materials has great information on using salvaged doors on their do it yourself page on their website. Update! We love old doors so much that we’ve written yet another post here.

Where to Find Salvaged Doors:

We got all these doors from Second Use Building Materials in Seattle. We were able to find 15 matching 4 panel painted doors to use for all the room and closet doors. For the other larger/unusual openings we found some natural wood (cedar? fir?) doors that someone salvaged out of an old building. They had them stripped of paint and had them stored for use in a future home that was never built. Somehow they ended up at Second Use and we were ecstatic to find them there. I wish I could say we installed all these doors ourselves, but we hired a carpenter for this project. (That is probably why it got done.)

There are several ways to use salvaged doors in a house, whether it’s a remodel or new construction. Continue reading

Patio Fire Pit: Re-purposed Scrap Metal Box

Roasted marshmallows, smores and warmth out the back door. SWEET!

I had a rusting scrap metal box that Heidi gave me when she and her husband decided to purge some of their….treasures. Lucky me! She originally got it at one of our favorite spots, ReStore. It sat in her garage for a couple of years and then literally sat up-ended in my back yard for another 6-7 years. Getting more and more beautiful with exposure all the while. Continue reading

Covering Lampshades

After taking a summer “hiatus” from house projects, we were finding it hard to get motivated to start tackling real projects on our houses – like caulking leaky gaps, repairing a broken window pane, sanding/cutting/sealing/finishing 30 pieces of window trim….. SO, we decided to ease into it with a totally just-for-fun project: designing and covering pendant lampshades. (It is our way of procrastination.)

An easy and inexpensive way to spice up some plain white lampshades – print a design onto dictionary pages and glue them to the shades.

I wanted some fun lampshades for the 3 pendant lights which hang at the top of the stairs. I bought 3 plain white Ikea shades, long ago, thinking that I would do something with them, so it was time to dig them out and actually follow through. Design-wise, I wanted something warm and funky. So…. I did what I always do in a situation like this: got out my Gramma’s old dictionary and called Mary Jean and Monica. (There are people in my house who are starting to fear that soon every surface will be covered with dictionary pages.)

I’ll show you how we covered the lampshades here, but you are going to have to find your own Mary Jean and Monica. ;o) Continue reading

Make Your Own Curtain Rod Finials

This is a really simple way to use those beautiful pine cones you probably have hanging around – make some curtain rod finials. Continue reading

Slipcover a Couch

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’m so grateful for friends, with sewing machines, and talent, and good humor, and sewing machines. Making slipcovers is not my thing – I am one avowed lousy seamstress. Heidi and Mary Jean weren’t fazed, they tackled it just like any other project, one step at a time – while I drug my feet, ordered fabric, wrote checks, and silently panicked. Looking back, I think I was afraid to put so much effort and $$$ towards something I wasn’t at all sure I would like. Wouldn’t it be easier/smarter to just buy a new couch? Ultimately, the retro shape, solid construction, and perfect scale of the two Salvation Army couches swayed me. I remember thinking of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous quote, “The physician can bury his mistakes, – but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” In my case vines = accent pillows and throws…OK then…thanks Frank.

Below is a basic outline of the steps for our slipcover. Our goal was never perfection (is it ever?). We were after a decent, fairly loose-fitting cover, that would change the color and update the feel of the living room. The take-away is hopefully this: it’s do-able, you can use things you already have (old sheets for patterns, re-purpose a bedspread or heavy curtains), friends lighten the load both emotionally and practically, and, if you don’t like it – well – there’s always pillows and throws! Continue reading