Dickey's Decor

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cheap to Chic

A few weeks ago my good friend called me and said her mother-in-law had some furniture she wanted to get rid of. Did I want it?
I jumped in the Volvo and rolled over. They gave me a few things including a particle boardish cabinet. I am sure this piece came from K-Mart (he worked there for years) and it wasn't something they spent a lot of money on. It was utilitarian and in immaculate condition like everything they own. It had served it's purpose and now was moving on...to me.

At first I envisioned this piece in a creamy white with some blue accents of some kind. However, lately I have been digging the turquoise/sea blue look that is popping up. I had a can of Beyond Blue (Sherwin Williams of course) and decided to go for it. I mixed up my secret concoction of chalk paint to see if it would work on faux wood. It did!

I painted it with two coats and let it sit overnight. I also sanded a few spots off to make it look distressed. Today I wiped a coat of acrylic teak stain I watered down over the entire thing. I thought this toned down the blue a little and made it a bit more rustic. Finally I put a coat of Annie Sloan soft wax on it and buffed it out. I love how it turned out and hope plan on selling it at my trunk show. Speaking of my sale. I am now storing furniture on my front porch because I have not room for it. Our house is beginning to look like a furniture store. YIKES!

I did take some time today to stop and smell the roses...

I Hate Homework

I snatched this up on Craigslist last week.

 I LOVE navy blue and this desk was right up my alley. It was in decent shape. The drawers work, the keyboard tray slides and there was no major damage. The body has a navy blue stain on it and other than a few spots where someone had stuck stickers some white smudges it was in great shape. I took my handy dandy Goof Off to it and away it went. The top on the other hand was a bit rough. I am not a blonde wood fan. I think the light wood dated this piece a bit and to me it seemed to scream for a dark stained top. I could visualize it in my mind. First I used a stripper to get the varnish off. Not a lot came off. Mmmm. Next I got out the belt sander and began to sand. It was tough work. Finally, I got out my paint eater. Opps. There went the veneer and now I was onto faux wood of some kind.

My plan to stain the top wasn't going to work with this piece. I tried it and it simply wouldn't soak into the "wood". I decided to paint it with my new chalk paint concoction. I mixed up a batch using Sherwin William's Jubilee and began to paint. I liked the grey with the navy. It reminded me of baseball...specifically the Red Socks. Can you tell I have baseball on the brain?
An hour later my paint had dried and my secret recipe chalk paint worked. It was stuck on like glue. I busted out some sand paper to distress it and I actually had to work a little. Wahoo. I have created an awesome substitute for good old Annie Sloan (I will be writing a lot about this chalk paint don't worry).

The back is perfect for storage. Originally I was going to sell this piece, but we decided it was perfect for Drexler's "room". Hopefully we move it downstairs this week. I am sure the Red Sox swag will look perfect on it.

When Not to Sew

It has been a crazy few weeks. With the end of the school year festivities and Drexler on an All Star team I haven't had time for anything. The house is a mess, the garage is full of projects, the yard is crazy and I am tired.
My pool laundry table is covered in various projects in different states of completion. Last night after a practice baseball game, and pizza with some members of the team, I sat  down at 10:00 to watch a little tele with Drex. I figured while watching I could also sew a flag on a pillow for the 4th of July decorations. Bad decision.
Do not sew when you have stared at a computer for six hours, watched baseball in the rain and have drank a beer. When I was sewing the flag on it looked even...

Oh well. I could take it off and start over again, but if I did that it wouldn't be done until next 4th of July. I thought about adding a red rosette to even it out a bit, but at this point it will have to wait. By the way I picked up the pillow at IKEA on clearance for $3. I really wish I would have bought more.

Today I have been a painting fool. I am excited to share some posts about those projects soon. I have also been smoking some ribs for my brother-in-laws graduation party tonight.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Traegerized Bacon

I had several questions and comments about bacon and my Traeger. I am not lying when I say this is the best bacon ever. If you really want to go big buy butcher bacon, you know the thick kind that has the perfect amount of fat? Opps, had to wipe off my keyboard from the drool. I don't get to the butcher as often as I like (and I can't afford to buy from there all the time) and cheap pre packaged bacon comes out awesome as well. Let's just say you can't go wrong with bacon. Traegers have a way of making even the cheapest mean good.

Butcher Bacon
 Cheap Bacon
*Google images for the pictures.

Now I firmly believe a Traeger is way safer than any other grill/smoker etc., because it does not have a direct flame. When I used gas I cringed every time I hit the ignite button because I was scared something would happen. It doesn't help that my brother is a fire fighter and tells me all kinds of stories about BBQ fires. Guess what he uses to grill? Yep. A Traeger. In fact, his station buys a pallet of pellets every summer to split up amongst themselves because most of them own Traegers. The station even has one. I am pretty sure they are the outdoor cooking implement of choice when it comes to this group.
Anyway, you can put bacon directly on the grate of your Traeger. This is how I used to do it. The only problem with it is sometimes if falls through to the cover dealy thing below. If you ask me that is a waste of bacon. HOWEVER, I am no longer a fan of this because I have had a fire on my Traeger. I'm not going to lie it was scary.
I knew I needed to clean my Traeger. The fire box was most likely full of ashes, the grill grate had a lot of build up on it and the chimney was pretty gunky too. I figured bacon can make a mess so I would do the bacon THEN clean it really well. It was a hotter than Hades that day at 104 degrees and while I can't prove it I think this played a part in the fire.
I placed the bacon directly on the grate. This was cheap bacon and full of fat. The smoker was on high and the temp was around 475. The next thing I knew I had fire coming out my smoke stack. Because my grill was covered in gunk it quickly caught fire as well. Luckily I had a ton of baking soda on hand and I was able to put it out quickly. My Traeger was cleaned thoroughly and is no worse for the wear. It was scary and I don't want it to happen again which is why I now put my bacon on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil. This is pretty simple to clean in that you simply wait for the grease to harden and throw away the tin foil. I admit I liked it better when the grease ran into my bucket...now that was easy!

The bottom line is you can grill bacon directly on your Traeger. I would make sure your grill is clean and that you don't walk away from it. As with any outdoor cooking always be prepared with a fire extinguisher, baking soda, etc. Just ask the firemen they will tell you the same.

Steps to Perfect Traeger Bacon

1. Fire up your grill to high. A good temp is 350 or more.
2. Place your bacon on the grill or on a tin foil lined cookie sheet.
3. Shut the lid and wait for 15 minutes. Check progress after ten minutes. It is important to note opening and closing your lid messes up your temperature so you want to avoid doing it as much as possible.
4. Pull your bacon when it is to your liking.You know how some people love wiggly bacon? Some like it crispy?  I can't give you exact times because conditions vary with weather as well as thickness of bacon, etc.

Once your bacon is finished serve it up. Here is a list of what I do with my bacon.

BLTs     Crumbled up for salads     Put it in baggies and pull out for breakfast sandwiches     Just eat it    
Taking it camping (so much easier than trying to do it in the wild)     For pizza      For hamburgers
Dipped in chocolate (yep I said it)     Added to any sandwich    

Summer Steak Salad

Salad greens (I like Romaine)
Grated cheddar cheese
Dice Tomatoes
Traegerized bacon cut in pieces
Chopped red onions (I put these on the side since some people don't eat em')
Steak cut into bite sized pieces (Traegerized of course)
Ranch dressing (I use Greg's available at Costco)

I serve this with bread or rolls and that is it. Simple summer salad. We could eat it almost every day. You can use chicken too, but we tend to be big red meat eaters around my house.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Garden Glory

It has been an odd spring here in Oregon. We have had some 90 degree weather and then we have had rain. Not our normal rain, but torrential downpours and several thunder storms. As a result I haven't been able to get my normal spring yard cleaning in. The "jungle" is looking more jungly than ever. Today I spent forty five minutes cutting a trail through ivy that had taken over a path. It is hard sometimes to see the beauty of a garden when all you notice are the weeds. I tried really hard to notice the beauty today.

An awesome Hosta. Not sure of the name, but I love the color.

The lime green Hosta in this pot is called Cracked Corn I believe. It really likes the pot (I am really bothered by the hose running through this picture).

The first clematis bloom of the season.

These pansies are volunteers. I plant purple pansies in my porch planters every spring and this is what I get in the beds beneath.

Holy Hostas! I just finished telling my friend my Hostas weren't that big. Sorry Denise, I lied. I think I need to divide these in the fall.

I rescued this peony from a vacant lot. I LOVE the way it looks next to my purple Pentstomon.

I don't put cages around my peonies and as a result they flop. I am forced to cut a lot of them. I think I might do it on purpose.

Aren't they delicious?

I like to have one day during the summer where I can say the yard is perfect. Maybe it will happen, or maybe not.

Almost Here...

For some Memorial Day is the beginning of summer. For my family and most of my friends it is the last bell of the school year. School is out on Wednesday. The next few days will be CRAZY. There is 8th grade promotion, a big dance, my own kid's school parties and getting my room cleaned up. This year to add a cherry on top my son made the All Star team for baseball. I am to the moon and so excited, but summer isn't here yet.
The proof is my garage...

Project anyone? I have a few I am itching to start such as this one:

 Isn't she a beauty? The ideas are all over the place!

This one is very simple, but with some paint will be sure sell! Great small size too.

This one was given to me. It is press board, but I have some ideas to make it look like the real deal.

I started painting this little bench tonight with Annie Sloan Paris Grey.

Here is one thing I finished. This table is Annie Sloan Antoinette and Paris Grey. I envision it as a sweet little nursing table for a new mama. The lighting didn't cooperate with me for these pictures.

When the final bell rings on Wednesday I am going to take an evening off and relax with some of the greatest people on earth (my co-workers) and then it will be a blissful three weeks of nothing but projects!

A Pinch to Grow An Inch

Do you remember saying this to people after you sang Happy Birthday to them? My beautiful niece Olivia recently turned one. She is a doll face and I have to admit she looks an awful lot like Ms.Delia when she was the same age.
My brother and his wife recently bought their "forever" house. It doubled their space and has given Sarah a blank slate to work with.
She decided to do the downstairs playroom in a vintage school room theme. Since she is a teacher this seems appropriate. (Random fact- My mom was an elementary school secretary for twenty five years. The last part of that was for my husband's best friend who was her principal. I teach, my husband teaches, my sister teaches, my sister-in law teaches. My grandpa was a teacher and I have two aunts that are teachers. How do you like them apples)
She used gutters for book trays, etc., vintage school desks, old wooden theater seats and more to make this room adorable.
Any how when I saw this ruler on Pintrest I knew I had to make it for Olivia's birthday. After all, it has the perfect room to live in!

I bought the board from Home Depot for about $7. I stained it with some walnut stain I had on hand. After that I used transfer paper and traced the letters and lines onto it. Then, I simply used my handy dandy paint pen to color in the letters. Finally, I used soft wax as a protective layer.

I love how it turned out and hope to make a few more to sell at my Trunk Show in July. Methinks they will be popular.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Doing It!

I mentioned a few posts back about doing a sale of some sort. I know I hem and haw over things and they never end up getting done. Vistaprint sent me an email (one of hundreds they send) that caught my eye. Postcards at 50% off. I decided to check it out and half an hour, and $20 later,  I had ordered post cards for my trunk show. I guess now I am doing it.

This one is a little blurry and I am hoping it prints out alright.

Guess I better tell Mr.Dickey

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just Me and My Traeger

Four years ago I was drug to a fight at my sister's friend's house. That sounds bad doesn't it? By fight I mean a boxing match or UFC fight of some kind. I am not into these types of things, but my husband is and I recall it was a Saturday night and we had nothing better to do. There was food and drinks and the kids were running around the neighborhood so I was able to relax and chat with the women folk. I walked out on the deck and there was a couple of guys grilling on a weird looking contraption. I started asking questions. It was a Traeger. They had an assortment of meats they were grilling and I watched with interest. I was more interested in trying the meat.
The telling moment came when I tasted the chicken. D.Licious. I was a chicken burner. No matter what I did my chicken always came out a little burnt or at the very least with char marks. This chicken was tender, juicy and amazing. My life changed at that moment.
A week later I purchased a Traeger. They aren't cheap. I got a good deal for $500.

A Traeger is a wood pellet smoker/grill. You put pellets into the hopper (at the left), plug in your machine (it takes electricity), switch it to high and hit on. The temperature can get up to 450 (maybe a bit higher) and down to about 150. This allows you to slowly smoke your meat or to grill it. Since there is no direct flame meat never gets burnt.

I have smoked/grilled the most amazing turkeys on this baby. Ribs, pulled pork, carne asada, Fillet Mignon, whole chickens, salmon and any other meat you can think of. All of them come out perfect. They make me look like I am an amazing griller. When we first bought the Traeger I kept my gas grill because I thought I might use it. It sat an entire summer untouched. I gave it away that fall and never looked back.

One of my favorite things to grill on my Traeger is bacon. The grease rolls into the waste bucket and my house doesn't smell like a breakfast joint. The bacon turns out crispy and delicious. I like to grill up a big batch and save it in the fridge for sandwiches, burgers and salads.

(Google Images)

I also like to make "wood fired" pizza. All you need is a Papa Murphy's Pizza and you can make it swanky on the Traeger.

(Google Images)

I also have a cast iron pot I grill my veggies, especially onions, in. Another favorite is potatoes. Lets put it this way you can't go wrong with this a Traeger. A friend of mine even smokes cheese and chocolate. I have yet to try this, but I will someday.

Maintenance on the Traeger is much like any other grill. You keep the grate clean and empty the grease bucket occasionally. Every eight hours or so you have to vacuum out the ashes. This takes about ten minutes and isn't a big deal. It is important to do because if you don't do it your machine will stop firing the pellets and your won't have any heat. This happened to me once in the middle of the night while I was smoking pulled pork for a big party. Ugh. I also will do a major cleaning job about every six months. This is a little more daunting, but is no different than a regular BBQ. I have had mine for four years (it could be five) and it is still going strong with no issues.

I use my Traeger year round. It came with a nice cover, but to be honest I rarely put it on. Father's Day is coming up and I know a lot of Dads who grill and smoke (meat that is). I am not getting paid to say this, but if it is in your budget you might think about it. I mean it might be his "toy", but you will enjoy it too.

Last night I grilled prime rib for my Mom's birthday. Wow. It rivaled our favorite steak house. My friends and family will tell you I like to pick apart my meals and am too critical. I honestly can say I would not have done anything different to last night's meal.  I am only sad there were no leftovers.