DIY

Harvest your own Aloe from an Aloe Vera Plant!

Aloe Vera plants are hardy and an adorable addition to any container garden. However, they are also incredibly useful! I purchased a tiny little aloe vera plant years ago and named him Octo. He began to flourish and grow like crazy so I began to research how I could make use of the wonderful aloe inside each leaf. After pouring over tons of online material, I came up with this method which is a mishmash of lots of what I read! To remove the leaves, you can either slice them off close to the stalk with a sharp knife or just tear or snap them off! I have tried both methods and they both work, so I believe it is personal preference. The plant heals fine either way! Once you get the leaves inside, take them to your sink and rinse them off! I then use scissors to clip off the ends that were very close to the stalk! It makes it a lot easier to get to the actual harvesting process. Snipping the ends also allows the leaves to drain of a yellow liquid called aloin. It is stinky and from what I’ve read, not very good for you. It can make you sick if ingested. I do suggest you do your own research. Let the aloe vera drain vertically for about 10-15 minutes! Then you should be in the all clear. I just prop the leaves up in a cup and let them drain that way! Here is what a result of the draining looks like! It is gross and smells even worse! I go ahead and rinse the leaves again because, eww, and then I transfer them to the cutting mat! If you’re sensitive to pokey things, it can be best to…

The Burrow’s Basement Craft Zone

Craft rooms. Doesn’t every girl dream of having one? Well…. I did! I know my sister dreams of a dedicated craft zone, too. In the same section of The Burrow’s basement as the laundry room, there was a dead space along a wall with some amazing shiplap. The Burrow was built in 1929 in northern Indiana so, it is plaster and lath, but there is a single wall of pretty shiplap in the basement. This side of the wall  had already been painted white and the vertical studs were visible as well. I decided to go to town and make this the start of a little craft area! Even though it was pretty awkward, I had ideas to make some creative storage options work! I did the first stages of this project pretty much as soon as I moved in, so I don’t have before photos. But… we can all picture a blank wall, right? Haha! Here is the first stage of finishing the project:  Okay, so in this photo there is a lot to see. I purchased the dark lockers for about $35 from someone in my sweet little town. They were even delivered to my house for me! They fit perfectly in this area. Once I had my basic plan in mind, I built the legs opposite the lockers out of scrap lumber… actually, this entire project was created from scrap wood I had lying around from closet demolition and wood I found in The Burrow’s garage. To finish up the work surface, I laid a sturdy piece of plywood down on top and secured it! Now, the fun bits are the shelves! See the vertical wall studs in front of the shiplap? What I did was…

Easy Cheesy Pizza Bread

One of my sister’s and my favorite meals growing up was our mom’s famous pizza bread. When I finally got my own kitchen, she gave me the recipe and I began to make it for myself! It really is such an easy meal, and you can make it to your personal pizza topping preferences! The first thing you do buy frozen loaves of white bread. I find them in the frozen section in Wal-mart or Kroger.  Once you let it thaw and rise to about the size of a football, and you’ve sprayed the cookie sheet with Pam, you grab a rolling-pin and flatten’er out. Then you crack an egg into a bowl and whisk it up. You paint it on to the dough using a pastry brush. After it’s all coated in egg, I just use the Great Value pizza sauce, dump it out and spread it around with a fork! YUM. Once you are satisfied with your with your sauce coverage, it is time for the CHEESE! I always just use the store brand, in this case Kroger’s Pizza Blend! Now, I just wanted plain old cheese pizza bread this time, but you can add whatever your beautiful, pizza-lovin’ heart desires. Although, I still don’t understand the pineapple thing…… Now it is time to construct the bread roll! You begin to roll the dough and as you roll, you brush the egg on the underside of the dough! Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’….. Taadaa!!! Isn’t it cute! Kind of looks like a pizza slug! What I do for the edges changes every time. This time, I twisted them and then stabbed them with the…

DIY

Pipe Based Unit with Boxed Shelves

As the nerd cave comes together in the basement, I wanted something along a blank section of wall between two windows. I had been dreaming up a small shelving unit for some time before FINALLY putting pencil to paper and coming up with a rough plan for this pipe based shelving unit. I came up with a rough sketch – I have ZERO skill when it comes to drawing to scale, mind you… and planned out some basic measurements. Then on a Saturday when I had some free time, I took a trip to my trusty Lowe’s. All of my supplies were black iron piping in a 1/2 inch size. I was able to get away with using pre-cut long pieces (by adjusting my pre-planned measurements a bit) and shorter pre-cut nipples. I purchased: (all are 1/2 inch in diameter) 4 floor flanges 4 10 in. long pieces 4 8 in. long pieces 8 10 in. long pieces 12 24 in. long pieces 4 elbow connectors 16 tee connectors If you look CLOSELY at my original sketch, these measurements are different. That is because I didn’t want to have to pay for extra cutting. I figured I’d make it work, and I did! I was lucky enough to have the lumber required on hand at The Burrow to make the shelves. At home, I took everything down to the basement and assembled the pipe bases. This aspect took some time as all of the threads go in one direction – so as I tightened one pipe it would loosen in another connector! I eventually worked it out enough to be stable. Once I was pleased with the width the bases were apart, I took some measurements and went…