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11 May 2007

Summer projects So, I usually get more crafty and nesting over the summer, and always make these grand plans once the temperature creeps closer to 80.[More:]

The kitchen redecoration is done (WWII bomber girls theme), so I need new Projects.

I'd like to learn how to do home canning. I love the idea of making GALLONS of my homemade spaghetti sauce and putting it in jars with a cute cartoon of me on the front. Then I can give them away, always have them on hand, that sort of thing.
Problem is, I've never canned a damn thing in my life and have zero idea where to start.

I also want to paint my table and chairs. They were once brown finished wood. They're now wood with brown flecks of paint clinging for dear life. I'm thinking shades of blue, or blue and white.

So what are your summer projects? (and hey, any good advice for mine?)
I have taken up the craft of handmade journals. As for canning, don't skimp on your pressure cooker; get the biggest one that your stove can reasonably heat. Also, the best gifts of home canned food are pint-sized.
posted by mischief 11 May | 11:09
Can you show us your kitchen, kellydamnit? The theme sounds fun! I've never seen anything decorated in WWII bomber girl before.
posted by iconomy 11 May | 11:20
I need to recover the dining room chairs, and add a thick layer of foam. Recovering is a snap, but the foam adds an element of unfamiliarity to the task, so, y'know, eek. But I have the fabric all picked out: four different upholstery remnants in various shades of toasty browns, cream, and ecru. Very pleased at that prospect.

I've been making a lot of simple jewelry (beading only! No smithing!) and (though I say it myself) lately I've been more and more pleased with the results. Anytime we settle down with a movie, the bead boxes are likely to make an appearance.

Photos of the kitchen? Crazy to see it!

(and hey, any good advice for mine?)

Only one: I vastly prefer sanding sponges to sanding blocks for projects like this.
posted by Elsa 11 May | 11:23
Thirding the photos of the kitchen. This has always been a secret fetish of mine and I'm dying to see what you did!

I find I like to knit in the summer. I've also joined a scuba club and am going to try for my AWD and maybe a couple small things, like maintenance as well.
posted by LunaticFringe 11 May | 11:42
OK, just texted the roommate to see if there are batteries in the camera, so I should be able to take pictures of the kitchen tonight.
posted by kellydamnit 11 May | 12:10
I want to repaint our main living area. It's a project that's been on the back burner for a while. It's a dull khaki color now, and it's dreary and just not right. I'm going to paint it a buttery yellow again.

I made very pretty curtains that cover a large set of sliding glass doors two years ago. Reality has kicked in and I need something more practical. The kids constantly use the doors to go to the backyard.
posted by LoriFLA 11 May | 12:20
I can a lot in the summer, mostly jellies & stuff, although I did do tomato sauce one time. I just do it with a big stockpot of boiling water; I've never had a canner or a pressure cooker. Buy a box of jars from the supermarket - they have a handy booklet explaining how to do it. Or I guess it's probably very googleable.

I like making mosaics in the summer because you can do it outside - they're way too messy to do in the house. This year, though, of course I'm moving and as soon as I've moved I'm going to put in a big veggie garden. Busy! Yay!
posted by mygothlaundry 11 May | 12:24
Does "working out more" count as a project?

Aside from that, I want to spend this summer learning more about how to work on my bicycles by taking them apart and cleaning everything and putting them back together. I've got a giant book on bikes that my mother gave me this Christmas, and it's about time I put it to use.

I also want to see how feasible painting my bike bright yellow would be, ie, do I need to sand all the original paint off, if I can paint it myself, how expensive the whole ordeal would be, etc.

And I also want to see how your kitchen looks!
posted by CitrusFreak12 11 May | 13:31
Kelly - canning is really pretty simple if you follow the rules, especially water-bath canning. But since you want to make spag. sauce, water-bath canning probably won't work since it's only safe with high-acid foods (tomatoes are acidic, yes, but when I can salsa I have to add lots and lots of vinegar or lemon juice). I know (mgl) people do otherwise, but you are risking botulism and spoilage.

So, if sauce is your goal, you'll need a pressure canner, and they can get pretty pricey. But if you buy one, most come with a cookbook and instructions. Before you know it, you'll be canning everything.

I make a killer sweet zuke relish every summer from our garden, yummy sweet pickles, salsa, hot peppers, pickled green beans, beets . . . we eat all winter off the stuff, and I still have lots to share. Canning is the shit, yo.
posted by tr33hggr 11 May | 13:35
This is a good place to start, though it is a commercial site.
posted by tr33hggr 11 May | 13:36
Yay photos!

I'll be canning fruit this summer when the trees start bearing. I'd also like to do pickles again, although I'll have to buy the cukes.
posted by deborah 11 May | 13:40
Anyway, my summer projects, save one, are fairly boring. Install a cat door, Dry-Loc the basement, clean and panel the storage space. The fun project though is making a baby!
posted by tr33hggr 11 May | 13:49
The juniper bush on the left corner is gone now, and I am going to put in a deck that wraps around the corner of the house a bit from the kitchen door.

We have decks in back but this way we'll be able to hang out and be neighborly.
posted by danf 11 May | 13:52
Ah, with rental property, the projects are never done. Here's a broad list:
* TOP PROJECT all summer, rebuilding the barn (it's a real 150-year-old stable, you know, a garage for the horse, with an upstairs even, but one side is falling apart because of water damage and needs repairs to the foundation, the joists, and the wall structure, and then residing)
* Rescreen the screened porch (even though it faces the street that 30 years later has become a noisy pedestrian thruway)
* Major tree trimming (at least three branches bigger than 6" need to come down, to raise the tree's crown)
* Open up another bedroom in this apartment that I'm using so my nephew can move in, and complete the bathroom

That's the big stuff. The little stuff list is longer.
posted by stilicho 11 May | 22:49
Belarusian Movie Posters. || Can't Trust The History Channel