Vintage Steno Chair Update

A few years ago, we were at an outdoor antique market looking at these funky metal lamps wondering if we could find space for them. As the story goes, they were originally from a psychiatric hospital. What we loved about them were the curvy lines and retro look.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Unfortunately we didn’t have space for them in our small house, so we turned to leave. But then we spied a vintage steno chair that was also metal and sported curvy lines! And I had the perfect place for it too: my future craft studio! With a place for it in mind, we bought it and stored it away for a few years until the basement was finished.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

The chair had a beige vinyl floral-patterned seat and back. The metal looked like it had been re-painted a rich forest green. Although we don’t have natural light in our hallway, the vinyl was pretty drab (and busy) no matter what the lighting conditions!Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

When the basement was complete, although I finally had somewhere to use it, before I could put it into its rightful place in my studio, I had to update it first. As you can see, the vinyl itself was in excellent shape; no wear or tear which is pretty rare for a retro piecel! I thought about reupholstering it.  I’ve reupholstered a few chairs, which you can see here and here, so it wouldn’t be beyond my skillset, but it seemed a shame to rip apart something in such great condition.

I even thought about respraying the metal a different colour. However, for some reason, I really loved the green paint; it reminded me of a European sports car with its curvy lines, like this one I found on Pinterest:

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a FeatherWith the green paint staying as-is, I decided to try something new with the vinyl upholstery: paint it!

The paint has to be a product that will stand up to the challenge. It needs to flex because with all the use the seat and back will get, a standard paint would just crack. I researched and found a local paint shop that carried specialty paint made for vinyl. We bought a product call SEM Color Coat in a colour called ‘super white’.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Hubs removed the seat and back and sprayed a few thin coats of the paint. Then we put it back together again.

Here’s a closeup look of the before and after of the vinyl:

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Sometimes you don’t have to go whole-hog and every project: a small change can make a big difference. With the pattern neutralized, you can really notice those beautiful curvy lines now!

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

The off-white paint really compliments both the chair and my craft studio.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

My desk area gets a lot of use; it’s where I plan my projects for Birdz of a Feather and film my YouTube videos for Craft Rehab so it’s great to have a chair that’s both stylish and functional! The chair is a great addition to the vintage feel I have going on in my craft studio (along with my upcycled VW desk, which you can see a peek of below).

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

To see what else I’ve been up to in my craft studio, check out my Craft Rehab category for clickable thumbnails of each project. Here’s a few craft projects you may have missed:

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Follow my blog here (link in footer) or on Bloglovin’ (click button below) to see upcoming DIY and craft projects – in and around the home.

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

Vintage Steno Chair Update | Birdz of a Feather

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Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Since posting my chicken soup recipe last month, we’ve been inspired to explore cooking techniques that we’ve never tried. I’m going to occasionally post these culinary learnings here on Birdz of a Feather under a category I’m calling ‘The Unknown Chef’ (I’ve even created a new banner that you’ll see whenever you’re in the recipe category).

The Unknown Chef has always been my husband’s moniker; he coined it after graduating from culinary school many years ago when he was thinking about changing careers. The career change never happened, but I guess that’s only fitting because he’s still The Unknown Chef – lol. I hope our DIY culinary adventures are of interest to you too (everyone has to eat, right?).

There’s nothing more delicious than rotisserie barbecue chicken, but up until now we’ve never attempted it.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

When my husband and I were married 12 years ago my parents gave us a barbecue with a rotisserie attachment as a wedding present. Since we never used the rotisserie, it subsequently got moved to their basement when we cleared out our own basement to build my craft studio and the mancave.

It almost went forgotten and we hardly gave the rotisserie a second thought. That is, until my brother-in-law mused at a mid-summer family BBQ about how he missed his old rotisserie (his former barbecue went to BBQ heaven and he doesn’t own a rotisserie now). It got my husband thinking that we should give our rotisserie a try; the only catch was that he had to find where it got buried in my parent’s basement. Lucky for us he found it!

I don’t know why it took us so long try the rotisserie: nothing could be simpler! The prep time is negligible and it only take two ingredients – chicken and spice rub – to make a roasted chicken better than any restaurant. Yes, you can get fancy with herb butters, basting and injecting, but a straight up spice rub is just as delectable. More importantly, it’s fast – giving you more time to enjoy the summer weather – and of course whoever you share your chicken with 🙂

Spice It Up

The chicken we purchased came prepped with twine tied around the legs and wings, but if it didn’t we would have trussed it ourselves.

If your bird doesn’t come pre-trussed, watch the Martha Stewart video below to learn how to do it yourself to get it ready for cooking; it’s a handy thing to learn whether you’re cooking a bird indoors or out! Before you truss though, make sure you remove any giblets that may be in the cavity.

The only thing we did was shake on a ready made (and gluten free!) spice blend all over the chicken and rub it in. Then we skewered the chicken onto the rod, secured the two prongs into either end of the chicken (tightening the thumbscrews to keep them in place) and added the counter-weight (which also gets tightened on the rod). I don’t know if it was necessary to use the counter weight for our bird; next time we’ll experiment to see if we really need it.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Because it was our first time using the rotisserie, we didn’t think to get a video of attaching the rod, but I found a video on YouTube using the exact same one we have – YouTube to the rescue!

While we didn’t inject our bird, we followed all the other steps shown in the video. One other thing to note: they cooked their chicken to 180 degrees fahrenheit; anything ranging from 165 – 180 is fine and safe to eat.

Onto the Barbecue – Crisp Up That Skin!

We fired up the infrared burner that runs along the back of our barbecue, then slid the rod onto the brackets on either side (wear BBQ mitts for this).

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Be sure to place an empty drip tray directly underneath the chicken to catch all the fat (if you skip this step you’ll end up with a greasy mess on your barbecue!).

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

We plugged the rotisserie motor into our outdoor outlet and took it and our chicken for an inaugural spin (as you can see in the GIF below!).

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather At this point, you can pull down the cover and leave it for 15 minutes so the chicken skin crisps up.

After 15 Minutes…

After 15 minutes, open the BBQ lid and check the chicken. If it looks like the skin is crisping up, turn the barbecue down to medium heat to let it finish cooking on a lower setting. Then close the lid again. As you can see below, I’m having fun with a newly acquired skill – making GIFs (this is the last one, I promise)!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Since I was taking pictures of the chicken with the lid open for this post, our chicken needed another 6 minutes. If it’s not quite to your liking, set a timer so you don’t forget it and check it again after another few minutes.

If you prep the rest of your meal in advance, or have some leftover side dishes, you can sit in your backyard and enjoy the fine weather while the chicken cooks. We already had some leftover rice and veggies that we just needed to heat up, so that’s exactly what we did! Take advantage of every opportunity to bask in the sunshine – especially if you live in a cold climate like we do!

Timing – How Long to Cook

For every pound of chicken, you should cook it for 20 minutes. Our chicken weighed 4 pounds so it needed an hour of cook time.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Set a timer for 45 minutes (since you already spent 15 minutes crisping up the skin) and then check back again when the timer goes off. In the next step, we’ll use a foolproof way to tell if the chicken is done.

Take the Temperature of That Bird!

After the allotted cook time, the chicken should register at least 165 on a grill thermometer (ours was 180 which is perfect too). We always use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness; nothing spoils a delicious dinner more than the possibility of getting food poisoning if any of the chicken is still raw. Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter can survive in chicken that is not cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so I think a thermometer is a must!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

When it’s done, remove the rotisserie from the barbecue and put it onto a pan. The rod, prongs and counterweight are all too hot to remove at this point so leave them alone for now.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Take the pan inside where you’ll tent the chicken for another 10 minutes.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Tent the Chicken

We bought extra wide, heavy duty foil just for this step but you can use two pieces of smaller foil overlapped if you don’t have it.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

We tented the chicken loosely with a piece of foil for 10 minutes so the juices could get reabsorbed into the chicken and not run out when cut. This is an important step for succulent juicy chicken, so give it a try if you haven’t tented before!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

After 10 minutes, we donned oven gloves, loosened everything holding the chicken onto the rod and then disassembled it. Lay all the pieces on a metal tray at the back of the stove to cool so no one accidentally gets burned if it’s still hot.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

The Key to a Happy Marriage…

I firmly believe that one of the keys to a happy marriage is having a partner who loves the dark meat when you prefer the white!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Carve up that chicken and enjoy 🙂 Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Mmmm, Leftovers…. BBQ It Now and Still Enjoy It Later!

We only used half the bird for dinner so had plenty of leftovers. It was so juicy, we barely had to cut it apart – we were able to pull the leg from the carcass with ease.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

We removed as much of the meat as we could, put it into a glass dish, covered it and into the fridge it went for the next day. The leftovers make a great no-cook meal when the weather is too hot to cook indoors or out; just add the cold chicken into a tossed salad and add some dressing!

We popped the remaining carcass into a zip-lock bag and removed all the air. We’ll store it in the freezer and use it later for soup.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

The carcass will keep several months in the freezer; we’ll pull it out again when we have a penchant for chicken soup in the fall. The roasted meat and bones will add incredible depth of flavour to the stock. For a great chicken soup (with matzo balls!), check out my recipe here.

You really can’t beat getting three meals-for-one!

Pin and Share!

I don’t know what took us so long to try barbecued chicken on our rotisserie, but now that we have the first one under our belts (and in our tummy) I have a feeling it’s going to be a mainstay. You literally just set it and practically forget it, but end up with a juicy, succulent and crisp-skinned bird. Nothing could be closer to perfection 🙂

Next up on The Unknown Chef, we’re making sauerkraut for the very first time! Our very first batch is fermenting away and we’ll have the results for you in the next few weeks.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share – and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already! You can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below this post) for more great home and garden DIY, craft projects, recipes and hacks.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Before you go, here are a few of the things in the Craft Rehab category you may have missed if you haven’t yet subscribed to Birdz of a Feather:

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Main Page to explore more….

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner | Birdz of a Feather

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Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk!

Today marks the first official post under my new Birdz of a Feather domain (if you don’t count the old post that accidentally republished a few days ago). Moving to a new domain is not without its challenges, but things will hopefully run smoothly from here-on-out!

The only real change you might notice is that Birdz of a Feather Home and Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab are now roosting together in the same nest – so to speak.There’s nothing I love more than sharing my tutorials with you, so making the decision to combine my DIY and craft blogs under one roof allows me to spend more time doing just that!

If you were subscribed to both blogs, you should only receive one email from me when I post. If for some reason that’s not the case, just let me know through the contact form on the home page and I’ll get it resolved 🙂

There’s a separate tab for Craft Rehab projects on the Home page so if you’re only familiar with my DIY projects, I hope you’ll check them out (and vice versa if you originally found me through Craft Rehab)!

Now on to today’s tutorial!

When we renovated our kitchen I saved two sets of drawers because I knew I could upcycle them into something super useful again. You know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention? This upcycle is a prime example. After the kitchen, next on our list of renovations was my craft room so storage and a desk area was at the top of my list of needs. The bank of drawers was just what I needed to create a one-of-a-kind desk for the office area!

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

A friend of ours originally built the cabinets for us as temporary storage until we could renovate our kitchen but we never did get around to making fronts for the drawers (as you can see above). For my new desk, we were going to have to get around to it because I had something exciting planned for the drawer fronts – as you’ll see later in the reveal!

The first step was to measure each drawer so we could draw up a cut plan. We used it to cut pieces of MDF (medium density fibreboard) for the drawer fronts. Removing all the drawers made it easier to carry the shell into the basement so we could reassemble it.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We located the studs on the wall with a stud finder and used green tape to mark them. When we positioned the cabinets where I wanted them we noticed that we were going to cover up an electrical outlet. We decided to cut away the backing to leave it exposed behind a drawer just in case I ever want to put a charging station into one of the drawers (better to do it now before everything is attached to the wall)! By the way, if you’re wondering what the hole is in the bottom of the left unit, it was for a broom sweep that we tied into our vacuum system when it was in our kitchen. I thought about installing it again in my craft room but decided against it so we just covered the hole up.

Wood screws were used to connect the cabinets to each other (side to side) and then we put a few screws through the back, hitting the studs. This secures them to the wall and keeps them from tipping once they’re loaded up with stuff – and believe me when I say, they will be loaded up!

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We put the drawers back in place so we could attach the MDF fronts to them. Along with the MDF, we also cut some long plastic strips to use as spacers (more on how we used those a bit further down).

On each piece of MDF, we applied double-faced tape onto one side, removed the backing and then pressed them into place. The tape allowed us the flexibility to remove the faces if we wanted to adjust the spacing, but we were careful to position them right the first time. The tape gets removed later.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We started with the bottom pieces of MDF first. We placed a level on the ground, then a piece of plywood and several spacers on top of that to bring it up to the height we wanted to start at. We worked our way up to the top, making sure the drawer fronts were level and plum as we went.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We used two of the spacers on the edge of each piece of MDF so we could leave a decent gap between each one. This gap is necessary so the drawers don’t rub against each other when they’re opened and closed.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

With the spacers in place, you can lean the bottom of the MDF on top, line it up and then push it onto the drawer so the tape holds it in place.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s a view from the side, showing the double-faced tape before the MDF is pressed into place:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We used the spacers to leave a gap both horizontally and vertically too.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Once each drawer front is temporarily taped to its respective drawer, you can remove the spacers and move onto the next repeating the process.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

When all the MDF is in place, open one of the drawers and then evenly measure several spots on the inside of the drawers where you’ll drill to add screws to hold the MDF in place. On the small drawer shown here we measured for three screws but on the larger drawers, you’ll measure for six screws instead.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Add clamps to hold the MDF to the drawer. Be sure to put some green tape on your drill bit to mark the depth so you don’t go through the front of the MDF – you definitely don’t want any holes in the front! Pre drill the holes from the back into the MDF.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

You can vacuum as you go or when you’ve finished drilling all the holes:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

The drawer shown below is one of the larger ones, so it gets six screws. Screw through the back of the drawer into MDF with wood screws, then remove the clamps. We removed our clamps first to get a better picture, but it’s better to keep them in place until you’re done.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

This is what you’ll end up with once all the drawers faces are screwed into place and a new black kick plate is added. You may think you’re just about done, but the finishing touches are just beginning: now you’re going to undo everything you just did!

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Starting from the upper left and working clockwise, unscrew each piece of MDF (leave the screws in the drawers to re-use for later.) Use a pencil to consecutively number the back of the MDF as you remove each one. We usually place the number in the middle and then cover it with a piece of green tape so it won’t get covered when it’s painted (and won’t show when it’s screwed back into the drawer).

As you remove the MDF, remember that you’ve got double-face tape on the back, so you may need to pry them to get them to lift off. Remove the double-faced tape from the drawers. As you can see, some of the MDF stuck to the tape; if you pry carefully you should be able to remove them cleanly.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We primed all sides of the MDF and then painted just the edges and back with a durable white paint (it’s not necessary to paint the front with the top coat because it will be covered in the next step).

Now for the Fun Part!

With all the prep work done on the drawers, it’s time to get creative. I took a high res picture of our VW (taken on our wedding day before this happened!) and scaled it in illustrator to fit the total length and width of the MDF drawer faces.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

The VW was printed and laminated onto an adhesive backing by a company that specializes in large format printing. Each piece was then cut and attached to its respective MDF drawer front (paying attention to the numbers put on the back of the MDF!). Here are all the individual drawer fronts layed out on the floor, ready to get reattached.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Insert the screws through the previously drilled holes and reattach the drawer fronts to their respective drawers.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Below is a closeup of the painted edge of the MDF.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Hardware

Instead of screwing hardware through the face of the drawers – which would ruin the effect of the car – I reused some chrome drawer pulls I had. I strategically placed only one on each drawer where the chrome is on the car. I forwent two pulls so the hardware would blend into the picture and not be noticed. The drawers still work perfectly and the chrome fits right in!

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s how it looks from the other side; it just wraps right around the top of the drawer and is screwed in from the back:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Desk

Right beside the bank of drawers, I wanted to add a surface area where l could photograph some of the step-by-steps for my craft posts. However, I didn’t want any support legs showing so it would look like it was floating.

To determine the best height (I’m vertically challenged so it’s great to be able to customize it specifically for me!), Hubs nailed together some temporary brackets out of 2 x 4’s as a starting point so we could place the work surface on top to test it with me seated at the countertop.

Testing out the comfort of the counter height before you install ledger boards will save you a lot of aggravation in the end (otherwise you could end up with screw holes you have to patch if you need to reposition). Here you can see the brackets holding up the counter as we test the height with a chair. You can shim the under the brackets to raise the counter until you find the height that’s best for you.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Once the height was worked out, Hubs marked the studs in the wall with green tape and used a level to draw a line along the back and sides. He used 1×2’s for the ledgers and installed them into the studs to permanently support the counter.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

He painted the ledgers along the back and the right side the same colour as the wall.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

On the left side however, he painted the ledger the same colour as the side of the cabinet to blend in better. Even though we were picky about painting the ledgers, once the counter top is in place, you really don’t see them.

Hubs pre drilled and screwed the ledger into the side of the cabinet (again, make sure your screw length is less than the depth of the materials you’re screwing together so the screw doesn’t poke out the other side).

As you’ll notice below, we ended up installing the ledger boards higher than the brackets and it worked out perfectly.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

For the counter top itself, we used a door. The kitchen cabinets weren’t the only thing we upcycled for this project: the counter started out life as the door to our cold room, then we used it during our basement renovation to stage materials. Below we’re using it to tile our laundry room backspash (if you’re planning any tiling projects, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to tiling a backsplash).

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

We simply cut the door it to the width and length we needed, primed, painted it and then set it on top of the ledgers. Below you can see how the counter looks in place.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

I not only love the look of the floating counter but it’s also practical too because now I can tuck away a filing cabinet and even my air compressor (both of which are on wheels and easily moveable).

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

The VW desk not only looks great but it does the trick in providing a ton of storage!

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s the desk area with my newly upholstered chair (you can find the step-by-step tutorial here).

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

The desk is quite the conversation starter when I show people our newly built basement! The vintage VW that inspired this project is a car that my husband lovingly restored and only drives in the summer; how lucky am I to enjoy it year round in my now-finished craft studio?

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

The picture leaning against the wall is a portrait I made of my husband – completely out of paint chips!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

To see what else I’ve been up to in my craft studio, check out my Craft Rehab category for clickable thumbnails of each project. Here’s a few craft projects  you may have missed:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Follow my blog here (link in footer) or on Bloglovin’ (click button below) to see upcoming DIY and craft projects – in and around the home.

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

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Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet

You may have seen the powder room makeover we posted last year. Today we’re focusing on one of the elements: the unique medicine cabinet. At Birdz of a Feather, we’re all about upcycling so when it came time to renovate our small powder room, we wanted to do it as sustainably as possible.

Since hubs was going to use the bathroom to get ready in the morning, he needed storage space for his toiletries. A cabinet door we found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for only $2 was the starting point,  like the one shown below.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

With a bit of creativity and some recycled materials (plywood, 1×4’s and free calendar pages) we built a box and turned it into a one-of-a-kind piece that added much needed storage. You can’t get more sustainable than that!

Step 1: You Will NeedDecoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Refer to the table above for the material cut list we used; however if you build your own you’ll likely need to adjust your cut list according to the size of the door you use. You will need:

  • 1 x 4’s(frame)
  • 1 x 2’s (face frame)
  • Plywood for backing (3/4″ thickness)
  • Plywood for shelves (3/8″ thickness)
  • Plastic edging (to fit edges of 3/8″ shelves)
  • Pin nailer + pin nails
  • Wood glue
  • Old calendar with interesting pictures
  • Craquelure crackle medium (2 part)
  • Tinted glaze
  • Paint brush (I used a foam brush for this project)
  • Decoupage medium such as Mod Podge
  • Clear water based varnish (we used low sheen for the interior wood but high gloss on the door)
  • Paint
  • Wood putty
  • Recycled Cabinet Door (ours was 29 3/4″ long by 13 1/2″ wide)
  • Knob
  • Hinges (2)
  • Narrow wood trim
  • Primer
  • Wood screws

Step 2: The Frame and Shelves

Cut your top, bottom and side pieces for the frame of the box to the dimensions on your own cut list (yours will vary according to the size of your door). Our cabinet door was 29 3/4″ long by 13 1/2″ wide so we built our box (the frame) 31″ long by 14″ wide (exterior dimensions) – some of which would be covered by the face frame (which was 32″ long x 15″ wide; also exterior dimension).

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Since we don’t have too many fancy tools, we simply glued and pin nailed our box together. However, if you have carpentry skills, you can dovetail the joints.

We spaced the two shelves 9″ apart, glued along the edges, clamped and then pin nailed them through the sides of the frame through the centre edge of the each shelf. You have to have a steady hand when the shelves are so thin!

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Cap off the shelves with the plastic edging by slipping it over the ends.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a FeatherDecoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Step 3: Add the Backing and Face Frame

On the plywood backing, transfer the position of the shelves onto the wood with pencil so you’ll be able to pin nail through the centre. If you own a plunge router, you can create a recess around the frame and drop the backing in flush with the frame.

We glued along the edges of the box and shelves, then positioned the plywood backing in place. Then we pin nailed around the perimeter and along the lines marked for the shelves. Keep the nailer dead straight or the pins make poke through the front of your box! The inside of the box was clear coated with a few coats of low sheen water based varnish.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

The exterior dimension of our finished face frame was 32″ long by 15″wide to fit over our box (see picture below). We built it by butting the edges together and gluing and pinning as we did previously. Before we attached the face frame to the box, we primed it.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Once the backing was on, we attached the face frame (shown below). If you have a pocket jig, such as a Kreg, you can position the face frame, clamp it together and drill pocket holes – then fasten together with screws. Again, we didn’t have a pocket jig so simply glued and pin nailed through the top of the face frame. We puttied and sanded any indentations then touched up with spot primer.

On the cabinet door itself we filled all previous holes with wood filler (our handle and hinges were going to be placed in different positions). We primed the entire door and then painted the perimeter of the front and the back with grey paint (the same colour we used for our walls. We also applied the same grey paint to the face frame of the box and some narrow wood trim that I used in the next step. Once all the paint was dry we positioned and predrilled holes for the hinges and door knob.

 

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Step 4: Add Some Unique Flair

I could have left the cabinet door plain but I wanted to add a one-of-a-kind touch, so I cut up some old calendars and decoupaged four of the pictures onto the front of the door using a brush to apply the Mod Podge. I wasn’t too fussed about the cut edges because I covered them up in the last step with trim.

The calendar I used for this project was one I happened to get free when I purchased my Benjamin Moore paint for the bathroom! Ever since then, I’m always on the lookout at thrift stores for new or out-of-date calendars with interesting images that can be used for decoupage, like shown below.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

To further embellish the decoupage, I pressed some leftover venetian plaster I already had on hand through an assortment of nautical and nature-inspired stencils and let it dry thoroughly. I used some fine sandpaper to knock back any rough spots on the plaster.

I used a two step craquelure finish over the decoupage, tinting the second part so the original colour of the calendar would show through the cracks, as shown below. Follow the steps on the particular brand you purchase and apply both coats evenly allowing them to dry between coats.

Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of each step of the crackle process, but I’m sure I’ll do another project at some point which I’ll be sure to detail for you and I’ll link it back to here!

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Once dry, I put two coats of high gloss varnish over the decoupage/crackle finish.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

The final step is to glue on the previously painted pieces of wood trim to cover the edges of the four calendar scenes. I carefully clamped the trim pieces in place while they dried, taking care not to mar the decoupage.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Step 5: Install Hinges and Mount Door

Before installing the cabinet, it’s easier to mount the hinges onto the door and face frame first so you don’t have to work vertically.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Spread the hinges out evenly then measure and mark and door. Drill pilot holes and screw in place. Place the door evenly onto the face frame (it’s easier if you have someone to help!) then transfer the hinge holes with a pencil. Predrill the holes in the face frame and complete mounting the hinges by screwing in place.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Remove the door again for the next step so the cabinet box will be lighter to maneuver.

Step 6: Mount the Cabinet

To mount the cabinet, we used a stud finder to find the studs. We lined our markings up with a stud on the right side of the cabinet. We marked the dimensions of our hole on the drywall making sure our lines were level and plumb then cut a hole in our drywall. We added some additional framing for support along the left side and the bottom since the cabinet was narrower than the distance between our studs (which should be 16″ on centre).

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

We mounted our box – now a full fledged cabinet – into the drywall between the studs, flush with the drywall opening.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

One thing to note: our cabinet was mounted in an interior wall. If you are placing the cabinet on an exterior wall however, just make sure that you replace and seal up any insulation removed when you cut into the wall.

We drilled some pilot holes through the side frame and into the studs and used small head wood screws to fasten the box into the opening.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Step 7: Load Up Your New Medicine Cabinet

Reattach the door and it’s now ready for all your stuff to be placed on the shelves!

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Step 8: Final Reveal

In the picture below you can see the final outcome of the cabinet reflected in a vintage mirror we rescued from our own basement.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Drill a hole to add a small door pull on the outside, then and a rubber bumper on the inside of the door and you’re done!

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

By making a box to accommodate an old door, you too can add some personality into any bathroom space with a medicine cabinet.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share!

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

For more crafty ideas, check out my Craft Rehab category. You can subscribe to Birdz of a Feather either via Bloglovin or the link in the footer. Here’s a few craft projects  you may have missed:

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Soon, I’ll be merging my craft and diy blogs into one site so I won’t be posting for a while. In the meantime, go ahead and check all the oldies, but goodies, on Birdz of a Feather for home and garden DIY ideas.

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

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Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box

What do you get a Mom who has reached an 80th milestone? That’s a rhetorical question of course, but if you’re crafty and love to upcycle, like me, you make a little something at the very least!

Earlier in the summer, we were at a massive street sale –  held in the golden triangle in downtown Toronto – when I came across this bag of scrabble tiles:

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

I didn’t have a clue what I’d ever need them for – but I never do when the urge hits to buy something for the craft stash! Inspiration almost always hits later.  I often find that when I fail to purchase an item I spy it’s always a regret. Luckily I purchased the bag of tiles, because Mom’s birthday eventually provided the inspiration 🙂

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

In lieu of making a birthday card, I’m  embellishing the envelope instead and putting it into this shadowbox as a keepsake for Mom.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Gather your Items

For this quick and easy shadowbox project, you’ll need:

  • Shadow box
  • Word processing software such as Microsoft Word
  • Printer
  • Ruler
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scrabble letters
  • Envelope (purchased with the birthday card)
  • 2 weights (I used my vintage irons)

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

It’s fairly easy to design and print an envelope with a home printer and Microsoft Word; it just requires a bit of customization for the margins and page setup. (I still use the old Word 2003).

For the page setup, I measured the size of the envelope ( I included the height of the opened flap). In word (file/page setup) I clicked on the paper tab and typed in the measurements for the width and height. Envelopes have to be fed through the rear paper slot of your printer since they are a custom size, so don’t forget to change the paper source to ‘rear paper feed slot‘ while you’re at it.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Next, set the margins. The envelope flap I was 2.5″ high so I set my top margin to 2.5″ so nothing could print above that margin (represented by the dotted line shown below). I then set the rest of the margin settings to .12.

Once the settings are done, go ahead and type/format the message. Choose a size and style of font that looks good to you (I used Aardvark). I designed my envelope in black and white, but you could choose to do yours in colour if you prefer.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Insert the envelope into the rear feed slot: be mindful of which end goes in first and whether the paper needs to face up or down. For my Epson printer, the flap went in first and the paper was face up.

Click on print, then choose properties. Choose ‘envelope’ for paper type and select rear paper feed slot as the paper source (sometimes you have to change it here too).

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s the printed envelope:

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Now for the finishing touch – the scrabble tiles; place a ruler over the envelope to act as a straight edge where you want to place them. I used antique irons as weights on either end to keep the ruler from shifting as I worked.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

I centred the word ‘eighty’ and spaced out each letter leaving 1/4″ gape between letters (I ended up with 3/4″ on either end).

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

I lifted each tile and placed a piece of clear double-sided tape on the back, then pressed it into place on the envelope.

Note that not all scrabble tiles are made alike; some of them have a nice varnished finish and others are still pretty rough. I would suggest using a stronger double-sided tape than the one I used if your tiles are raw wood (I couldn’t find my better roll of tape and Mom’s birthday is tomorrow)! I was able to make it work because I chose tiles that were varnished and the flimsier tape gripped perfectly to them.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s the finished envelope.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

The shadow box I used has a magnetic catch so I just popped it in and fastened it to the background with the pins provided. Mom can just reach in and grab the envelope to open it up and read the card (leave the flap unsealed if you don’t want Mom to accidentally tear your hard work).

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Mom has always loved puzzles and word games, but we’ve never actually played a game of scrabble with her. Maybe once the season changes, we’ll settle in for a game or too 🙂

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Don’t forget to pin and share 🙂

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

By the way, this idea would work for any milestone birthday and could easily be adapted for anyone – like the ’50’ example below!

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

If you have parents that have reached a milestone birthday, I’d love to hear how you celebrated them. Let me know in the comments.

Other projects we’ve done for Mom include the renovation of her bathroom

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

and this bathroom vanity makeover….

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

Subscribe to Birdz of a Feather for more creative and sustainable craft projects (link to Bloglovin’ below the post or direct link in the footer).

Here’s some links to a few things you may have missed under the Craft Rehab category (pictured below):

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

You’ll find home and garden DIY ideas on the home page too.

Mom Turns 80! Make Her a Shadow Box | Birdz of a Feather

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Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls – Gluten Free!

Today, for the first time, I’m posting a recipe to my blog! It’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. I grew up watching my grandmother make chicken soup every week but sadly I didn’t attempt to make it myself until after she was gone. What I wouldn’t give now to ask her a few questions about all her ‘recipes’! The fact is though, my grandmother never wrote down a recipe; she cooked by intuition; a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Matzo balls are delicious dumplings my grandmother always made to embellish her chicken soup but before we get to the matzo ball recipe, we’re going to need some chicken stock! Just thinking about her soup brings back the best childhood memories 🙂 No one makes better chicken soup than my grandmother did, but I think this recipe will come pretty close!

Chicken soup isn’t just a winter favourite; we enjoy it year round by freezing big batches. Nothing could be better than a steaming bowl of soup with matzo balls; chicken soup for the soul, as they say!

Step 1: You Will Need (for Chicken Broth)

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

  • Large stock pot
  • Three packages of chicken bones (totalling about 3+ pounds)
  • 1 breast or leg with skin (about a pound)
  • Two small onions, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 3 sprigs rosemary or two cubes of frozen from the garden (optional)
  • 2 celery stocks, cut in pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut in pieces
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and cut in half (or a piece of a large one)
  • Small parsnip, cut in pieces
  • 1 large bay leaf (or 2 small ones)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper – or you can use whole black peppercorns (easily removed when strained). If you use ground black pepper, just be aware that it will leave black specs in the soup.
  • Bowl of cold water with large spoon
  • Approximately 18 – 20 cups of water (enough to cover all the ingredients in the pot)

Start cooking early in the morning; the soup takes 4 – 6 hours to develop flavour.

We use 3 packages of chicken bones (ours weighed almost 3.4 pounds) and one breast or leg (another pound) for our soup.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Because a package of chicken comes with at least two pieces, we froze the other leg for our next batch.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Buy organic vegetables where possible. I like to prep the veggies first before handling the chicken to avoid cross contamination (and also to have them ready to go).

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

At our grocery store, both bones and chicken often go on sale the day before their best before date; when that happens we buy as much as we can and store it in the freezer until we’re ready to use it. Using chicken bones is an economical way to make the broth. The chicken and bones for our soup cost us just over $4 – which works out to less than .25 a bowl and worth every penny! The bones retain a lot of the actual meat and you’ll find the outcome is just as flavourful as spending a ton of money on chicken pieces!

You’re just a few steps away from rich golden broth!

Step 2: Grandmother Knows Best

Cut all the veggies and gather your seasonings.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Place the bones in the pot.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

My grandmother always removed the skin from the breast or leg first but still added it to the pot. I think she did that to make it easier to remove and cut up the chicken after the first two hours of cooking.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY after handling chicken and wash anything that came into contact with it too (i.e. counter, faucet handle) to avoid contamination.

Pour cold water into the pot until it’s just covering everything (I usually use about 18 – 20 cups for the size of the pot and ingredients I’m using). Note that at any time during the cooking, if the liquid evaporates too much you can add a cup or two of water back in, which my grandmother often did (but don’t overdo it or you’ll dilute the flavour!)

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Bring the water to a boil over high heat and move onto the next step to skim the soup.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 3: Skim the Scum

Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and then skim off the solids and foam that floats on the surface using a spoon dipped in water.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Keep a bowl of water on the side to transfer all the particulates to. It takes about 20 minutes or so of skimming before the soup is clear and the rest of the ingredients can be added.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

If you don’t remove the scum, it will not affect the flavour in the least however, it does affect the look of the broth. As you can see below, on the left is a beautiful clear broth while on the right the stock is cloudy. Which would you prefer to eat? I’d rather take the extra time to end up with a professional looking broth!

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

The next picture shows all the stuff that was skimmed from the soup. Don’t be tempted to dump it down the drain; it can clog your plumbing. You can pour this through a coffee filter to catch the particulates and dispose of the solids in your green bin – then you can put the filtered water down the sink.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 4: Add Other Ingredients

Once the liquid is clear, the aromatics go into the pot along with the seasonings. Adjust the water if necessary so everything is still covered.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Cover the pot with a lid, but leave it slightly open.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

There’s nothing better than the aroma of chicken soup bubbling away on the stove! Make sure at this point that the bubbles are just barely breaking at the surface; turn the heat down further if necessary and check the soup every once in a while to make sure it’s not cooking too rapidly or over-evaporating.

After two hours, take out the chicken breast, or leg, and remove the meat from the bones. Put the bones back into the soup. Once the chicken has cooled, you can cut it into pieces or shred it to put back into the soup the next day (or use in a salad). You can store the meat in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Simmer the soup for a total of 4 – 6 hours; I find that the longer and slower it cooks, the more collagen-rich the broth gets. As I mentioned before, if you notice the liquid over-reducing during that time you can add a few cups of water back in.

Step 5: Strain the Soup

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

When the soup is done cooking, get a clean pot and set it on a cork pad (because the bottom will heat up quickly once the liquid is strained into it).

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Strain the liquid through a fine meshed strainer into the empty pot. Allow the broth and solids to cool down to room temperature and then discard the solids in the green bin. We sometimes put the pot into an ice bath in the sink to cool the liquid faster if we’re short on time.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

There’s usually some decent chicken meat still left on the bones which I eat it as a snack (the chef should always get a snack for his/her effort!)

Once the broth has cooled down, cover it. Sometimes the bottom of the pan is still warm, so I set the pan onto a cork pad on the fridge shelf.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Leave it in the fridge overnight so the fat solidifies on the surface.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 6: Skim the Fat – Watch the Video

Watch this quick video of skimming the fat from the soup after it’s been refrigerated overnight and heating up a bowl with matzo balls and other goodies (subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re at it)!

When reheating the chicken soup, it’s nice to add back in some fresh vegetables (such as sliced carrots, celery or even frozen peas near the end) – and cooked chicken – as you’ll see in the video! Keep the lid covered until the raw veggies are tender, and the is meat heated through, or your delicious broth may evaporate into thin air before it’s ready to eat!

Step 7: Skim the Fat to Prepare to Make the Matzo Balls

The next morning, take the soup out of the fridge and remove the solidified chicken fat from the top. You need to reserve this fat to make the Matzo balls.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

We divide the fat up into small containers with 1/4 cup in each one. We often freeze one batch of fat (called ‘schmaltz’) so we can we make fresh matzo balls at a later date when we want them.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Alternatively, you can use all the fat to make a few batches and cook the matzo balls all at once. They can then be frozen in Ziploc bags. We use the medium ziplocks and freeze about 4 – 6 at a time – as you’ll see when you get to the matzo ball recipe.

We also divvy up the chicken stock and freeze most of it for later using Ziploc screw top containers. It’s the perfect amount for the two of us for one or two meals. A note about freezing the broth: don’t be tempted to add in cooked chicken pieces or veggies or even matzo balls; it can all tend to go mushy and cloud the broth if you freeze it together with the soup.

Below you can see the towering results; well worth the effort for liquid gold!

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 8: Gluten Free Matzo Balls – What You Will Need

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Until gluten free matzo was available, I was unable to make decent matzo balls for the soup; thank goodness it’s available now!

The secret to a delicious matzo ball is using the chicken fat; you could substitute plain ‘ol oil, but why would you want to?

You will need:

  • ¾ cup matzo meal (grind Manischewitz GF Matzo-Style Squares in food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for the water)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) chicken fat (called schmaltz) or oil if you don’t have fat
  • (1/4 cup ground almonds + a tablespoon broth to moisten – optional)

This recipe will make a fairly firm matzo ball with some bite. My grandmother always included the ground almonds, which I love, but when I’m going to be serving them to guests I leave that extra ingredient out (due to potential nut allergies).

Step 9: Preparing GF Matzo Balls

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Mix eggs with the ‘schmaltz’, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into the dry mixture and gently mix with a fork. Don’t over mix or they may be tough.

Cover the mixture and place it in the fridge for ½ – 1 hour. Don’t skip this step as the liquid needs to get absorbed to achieve the proper consistency before cooking.

Step 10: Cooking the Matzo Balls

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil on the stove.

After the matzo ball mix has chilled, lightly roll teaspoon fulls into 1″ balls. You may need to keep your hands damp to prevent the mixture from sticking.

I roll and lay them out on waxed paper all at once, but you could also drop them directly into the water if you roll fast. Gently separate them in the water if necessary to prevent sticking.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

When all the balls are in the water and they float to the top, lower the temperature to low. Cover tightly and simmer for 25 minutes at a rolling simmer. DO NOT STIR. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and transfer the matzo balls with a slotted spoon to already heated broth. Simmer 15 minutes more in the soup.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 11: They Freeze Well Too!

When I freeze the matzo balls, I never leave them in the broth. I put them on a tray and pop them into the freezer for an hour. Then I pile them into portioned out ziplock bags (I used the medium size) – about 4 to 6 to a bag so my husband and I can share them when we heat up the soup.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Don’t forget to add the date for both the matzo balls and broth! Using painters tape and a marker, you can make removable lables so you can re-use the containers again and again.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Step 12: Reheating From Frozen

Thaw both the matzo balls along with the frozen soup in the fridge. Reheat the chicken broth first on medium heat and keep covered so the chicken soup doesn’t evaporate. I’ve forgotten to cover it on occasion and it can disappear fast into thin air!

After the broth is hot, add the matzo balls and cook it together for another 15 minutes (keep the pot covered) and serve.

If you’re adding carrots, put them in right away as they take longer to cook. Add the matzo balls after 10 minutes and let them cook in the soup for about 15 minutes more. Add cooked chicken during the last 10 minutes and thawed frozen peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Enjoy (and Subscribe)!

If you keep the freezer well ‘stocked’ (pun intended) you can enjoy chicken soup with matzo balls whenever you have a hankering for some good ‘ol comfort food.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

This is my very first recipe on Birdz of a Feather! Up until now, I’ve only written about sustainable crafts (under the Craft Rehab category) and home and garden renos, but maybe I’ll have to expand to include gluten free recipes too now that I’ve gotten this first one under my belt.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

If you’d like to see more recipes, leave a comment and let me know; I’d appreciate the feedback!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share – and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already! You can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below) for more great crafty projects and hacks.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Here are a few of the things in the Craft Rehab category you may have missed if you haven’t yet subscribed:

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Main Page to explore more….

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls - Gluten Free! | Birdz of a Feather

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Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop!

Our laundry room started out like so many other builder spaces; dark, dank and in the basement. There was nothing much we could do about the location (our house is too small to move it), but we could certainly remodel it with beautiful finishes to make it a pleasant space to do laundry in!

One day I’ll write about the full laundry room remodel, but today we’re focusing on the countertop update.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherWe ended up purchasing the cabinets, sink and original countertop from Habit for Humanity’s Restore (hubs loved the huge, deep stainless steel single sink). We firmly believe in supporting the Restore because the proceeds of sales help build homes for disadvantaged families. Of course, we’re all about upcycling too and are big proponents of keeping things from going into landfill if they can still be put to good use!

Unfortunately, the counter that came with the cabinets had seen better days and had a backsplash that covered up our beautiful new tile work.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherWe were happy to use laminate again, but wanted our replacement counter to be perfectly flat – without that little bit at the back that acts as a quasi-backsplash – so we laid our tile work to just meet the top level of the cabinets taking into account the additional height of a new counter. By the end of the build, our budget was feeling stretched and when we finally looked into a replacement, we were shocked to learn that a new laminate counter without a backsplash would have to be special ordered (and because of that was pretty pricey). Who knew that leaving something off an item was actually going to cost more?Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherWe lived with the old countertop for a while until one day we stumble upon a big box store we had never been in. Actually, we thought our car was breaking down and got off the highway to check things out –  and that’s how we ended up in the parking lot of the store. It turned out the car was fine, so we popped into the store to check it out since we were already there.

Here comes a stroke of serendipity:  they had a whole pile of laminate countertops that had been brought in as a special offer. They were not only sans the backsplash, but also sans the inflated price tag. They were exactly what we were looking for! Unless you looked really close, you would swear they were quartz!Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherDon’t you just love it when good things happen unexpectedly? We loaded the counter into the car and went on our merry way.

When we got it home, we cut the piece down to fit our cabinets. Hubs then used the old counter to measure the sink opening and he made a template out of a scrap piece of plywood (since we were reusing the old sink), but cardboard or even paper would work too. Cut out the template and make sure it fits the sink.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHubs added masking tape on the new counter so he could see his pencil lines when he traced the shape of the sink cutout onto the counter.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHe added several holes just inside the line of the sink. Typically, you’d only need one to get a jigsaw blade into to start the cut, but he wanted to make it easy on himself so he cut a few more for good reason. Having the additional holes along the way allowed him to stop and reposition himself instead of having to contort himself and the jigsaw to cut around in one go.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHe used the holes in the middle to make a cut right through the centre. Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHe went back to his starting position then he cut from the large hole to the one on the left (the large hole you see at the bottom is bigger to accommodate the tube for the overflow).

He walked around the counter to the other side and ran the jigsaw to the corner. Then he stopped to add a 2×4 underneath the waste piece fastened with clamps. He finished cutting the perimeter until he was back to the second hole. Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherBelow you can see the 2 x 4 clamped under the left side of the cutout.  With the 2×4 support, he didn’t have to struggle to try to hold the waste piece from underneath as he cut.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherWith the cut complete, he simply lifted the waste piece up and out.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHe removed the 2×4 and started the process again on the other side to cut the rest in the same manner….Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a Feather… and remove the second piece.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherBefore we set the counter in place, we capped off both raw ends with the supplied laminate using contact cement to join them. You might not think it’s necessary to cap the side that’s against the wall, but if you leave it exposed and it comes in contact with water, it could eventually rot so you might as well do it too!

We dry fit the sink to make sure it fit and marked the hole for the faucet. Remove the masking tape from under the sink but apply painters tape around the perimeter of the sink (on the counter) to catch any excess caulking.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherDrill the hole for the faucet.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherThen attach the counter to the base cabinets with screws from underneath (measure to make sure the screws aren’t longer than the material so they don’t poke through the countertop!).

We applied water proof caulk rated specifically for sink areas to both the counter, as well as underneath the rim of the sink itself.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a Feather

Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherHubs donned some gloves just in case and lifted the sink from the sides to avoid the caulk. He lowered it into the gap and made sure the caulking was seated well. Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherUnderneath the sink, there are mounting clamps that get tightened against the counter; use some wood blocks if necessary to bridge any gaps. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, because that’s what will keep the sink tight to the counter and seal the caulk.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherBefore the caulk dries, smooth any excess caulk that squishes out with a wet finger then lift up the painters tape leaving a clean surface.

Now that the clamps are in place and the caulk is finessed, you can reconnected the faucet. The faucet we used was saved from when we renovated our old kitchen.

We finished off the gap between the counter and tile with clear silicone.Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherWe’re happy with the new countertop: it helps modernize the space and shows off every inch of the tile.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share! Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherBelow is a sampling of a few of our most popular posts:

Replacing a Bathroom FanRemodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherRemoving an Interior Wall (Dining Room Transformation); andRemodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherMaximizing Bathroom SpaceRemodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a FeatherFollow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link to Bloglovin’ below or direct link in the footer) for more DIY home & garden ideas and sustainable craft projects (some of which are shown below).

Remodel a Laundry Room by Adding a New Countertop! | Birdz of a Feather

Projects Found on BOF ~ Craft Rehab

 

  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Main Page to explore more….

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Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap

Today I have some planting tips for container gardens and how we find garden supplies on the cheap.

When we’re looking to add some charm to our garden, we look for large organized yard sales where we can find both plants and planters. A few weeks ago, we attended one such sale that was raising money for a seniors association. We found BRAND NEW planters for only $1 – and because we got there early in the morning, I spied a plant stand hiding behind the table (which you’ll see later in the reveal). I scored 3 pots and the stand for only $6.00! At retail I think it would easily have cost well over $40 to purchase!Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherWe didn’t find any plants that we liked  at this particular sale but we did find some succulents a week earlier at a street festival. I used them in the hypertufa planter I made last year. It looks scant now, but before long the succulents will spread, fill in and the chair we found curbside will look lush!Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherAnother tip for finding plants on the cheap is to look at your local big box or even grocery stores. They often have seasonal displays outside the store in summer – that sometimes even spill into the parking lot – for very reasonable prices. We found three stunning plants at our local Canadian Tire for only $2.15 each – a fraction of what we would pay at a nursery. They were tiny at the time of purchase but soon grew huge while they were waiting for me to decide where to plant them (if you didn’t get a lot of rain like we did, you might have to water them often to keep them alive in their tiny pots)!

I find that the trade-off with buying on the cheap at big box stores is that they often don’t provide tags indicating the name of the plant and how to grow them, but I was confident they’d be perfect for the front yard. These were all marked generically as ivy trailers but the one on the left looks like coleus to me and then two of my readers confirmed that the second one is Persian Shield and the third one is Tradescantia or Wandering Jew. I love it when my readers teach me a thing or two!Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherWe moved everything into the garage because the clouds opened up and pelted rain on us. That’s what I love about container gardening; you can do it anywhere!

Before you plant anything into a container, make sure that there are holes in the bottom for drainage so your plants don’t suffer root rot. Our bargain pots had indications for the holes, but on close inspection we did need to drill them.Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherWe had some leftover landscape cloth so cut out some circles using a lid as our template.Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherThen we inserted the cloth into the bottom of each container before adding soil; this will keep the soil from leeching away with the water and staining your patio beneath.Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherWe use a potting mix recommended for outdoor containers; it contains some perlite to retain moisture (which you can see as white ‘dots’ in the soil).

Create an indentation in the centre of the soil; ensure the soil is flat at the bottom so there are no air pockets when you add the plant (any gaps will dry out the roots).

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherWhen you remove the plant from the container it will likely be tightly wound or ‘root bound’. Tease away some of the soil so the roots can spread once planted – but don’t remove too much. Make sure the soil doesn’t come any higher than the original level of the unpotted plant. If it does, remove the plant and make the hole a little deeper. Gently fill in with additional soil to close in the hole – but firmly pack the soil down to prevent air gaps.Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherOnce all three containers were planted, I watered them and  placed them into our new plant stand where they are now on display in front of the house.Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherI love how the black stand and taupe containers tie into our neutral walkway and the plants add a hit of colour. The plant stand folds compactly for storing in the winter – an added bonus!

Looks like there’s no rest for the weary; it’s time to cut the grass again 🙂Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherOther budget friendly container gardens we’ve planted over the years include a cedar box we built ourselves out of scraps to hide a drainage pipe in our backyard…

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherA concrete planter we found on clearance at a garden centre at the end of the season….

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a FeatherA vintage enamel pot we found at a flea market (we’re growing a hosta in this one)…Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a Feather

… and lastly some planters found at a big box store. These weren’t a cheap buy per se, but they last year-to-year so are good investment when averaged out. My best advice would be to buy bigger ticket items like this at the end of the season when the stores are clearing their seasonal goods. You can also find good buys on larger planters at content sales or online when people are moving out of state or province. Keep your eyes open for online garage sales also; you can sometimes reserve an item before the day of the actual garage sale and nab it before anyone else has a chance to.

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a Feather

One of my readers, Lucy, (you’ll see her comments below) just got me thinking about propagating plants so I’m going to give it a try on the three plants that are featured in this post; after all, there’s nothing cheaper than free! And of course, I’ll post about that here to let you know how it all turns out 🙂

If you enjoy gardening, or have plans to landscape this summer, check out some of our other garden posts on how-to:

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a Feather

Beautify Your Yard with a Container Garden on the Cheap | Birdz of a Feather

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Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle

Today, I’m re-sharing an updated post that I originally wrote last year. It’s the most dramatic furniture transformation we’ve done and since we’re all about upcycling garbage finds, I had to bring it over to craft rehab readers too!

If we find something in the garbage that inspires us (or even just challenges our common sense to leave it there), we don’t hesitate to try to find another use for it. The worst that can happen is that the project is an epic fail that ends up back in the garage again…. luckily that’s never happened!

When hubs found this old tool cabinet in the garbage, it was so beat up I thought it may be beyond repair. He thought it might be a good little cabinet to keep my craft stash in, but I had a better idea for it since he assured me there wasn’t anything about it that he couldn’t beautify!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

I needed somewhere to store my silver jewellery and wanted to try out an idea I had to keep it from tarnishing before I had a chance to wear it (more about that solution later). This cabinet provided the perfect home for my jewellery – and purses, once we added a shelf. With a lot work, we were able to breathe new life into it and upcycle it for a new (and prettier) purpose. One less thing for the landfill!

In the Beginning…

Here’s how the cabinet looked before – on both the inside and outside. It took quite a bit of body filler, sanding, some primer and a few coats of paint to transform it – which all goes to prove that you CAN turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse afterall.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

You Will Need…

  • 3 long handles (two for the drawers and one for the side to act as a grab bar)
  • Hinges sized to the same as the old ones (if still in good working order they don’t need to be replaced)
  • Locking mechanism and catch (if still in good working order they don’t need to be replaced if you can order a new key)
  • Rolling casters (2)
  • Metal legs (2, we got ours at Ikea)
  • Sand paper – various grits (we used a range from 180 to 120)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint sprayer if available (or brush and roller)
  • Body filler such as Bondo or wood filler
  • Sheet metal or metal mesh (make sure it’s magnetic)
  • Screws
  • Earth magnets
  • Small and large plastic zip bags

For the Shelf:

  • Melamine board
  • Iron-on edge tape
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Painters tape
  • Rubber roller
  • File
  • Shelf pins (4)

To Start

Start by removing all the drawers, doors and hardware. We removed the wooden knobs, hinges and also the locking mechanism. Give everything a good sand on all surfaces – both inside and out.

Hubs used auto body filler to smooth out all the deep dings and fill them in, but wood filler would probably work too. Use according to directions, then sand the filler absolutely flat and add a coat of primer to all pieces, inside and out. We used an off-white paint we had on hand as a top coat and applied it with a sprayer for a professional finish; hubs did two coats. If you don’t have a sprayer, a brush to get into the corners and a foam roller works well to achieve a smooth finish.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Working a Little Magic With a Lot of Elbow Grease

After the piece was puttied, sanded and painted, we replaced most of the hardware: long metal handles instead of the wood knobs, hinges and also the door locking mechanism so we had a key. The picture below shows a closer look at the detail of the updated handles, legs and and caster wheels added to the drawers.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

It’s handy to have a cabinet that can be locked when storing jewellery. When we occasionally have strangers in the house, it’s a bit of added peace of mind to secure the doors to protect items that aren’t necessarily worth a lot but have great sentimental value!

To get the cabinet open, you have to use the key to release the right side of the door. The left side can then be opened by reaching in and squeezing the catch to release it (the picture below shows the door locking mechanism and its components).

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

We turned the cabinet into a rolling cart of sorts by mounting wheels onto the right side for mobility while legs on the left side help keep it stationary when it’s in place. We also added another handle on the opposite side to act as a grab bar so it could be lifted and re-positioned. The trick to keeping the cart level is in making sure that the legs and wheels are exactly the same height. I like the looked of combining them, but if you can’t find legs and casters that are the same height, you could use four casters or legs instead.

Before and After Transformation of the Exterior

Here’s the before and after transformation of the outside of the cabinet, but there is more to be done on the inside!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Inside Transformation – How to Store Jewellery and Keep It Tarnish Free!

The inside of the two doors is where the transformation really gets smart. Hubs cut metal panels to fit the inside dimension of the doors; make sure there’s room all around so it still closes easily! He spray painted the metal panels with a durable car paint and then installed them with screws to the insides of each door.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

We then added a bunch of high quality earth magnets.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

I used resealable plastic pouches in two sizes to organize my jewellery. Large pieces such as necklaces go into the larger plastic bags and then small pieces, such as earrings, in the smaller ones. If I have a matching set, I just double up by inserting the small bag of earrings into the bag holding the larger item to keep them all together!

For silver jewellery, this resealable bag system is ideal. Who wants to spend time polishing? Not me. If you squeeze the air out of the bag before it’s closed, your silver pieces will stay tarnish free – just be sure to close the bag tight and they will always look great!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

While the beauty of this system is that my jewellery no longer tarnished between wearings, I can also easily see what I have when I open up the doors. The magnets make it a cinch to keep it all organized.

Add a Shelf for More Storage Space

Adding a shelf makes the transformation even more useful; who doesn’t want more storage space? Making your own melamine shelf is easy.

Start by measuring and marking the inside of the cabinet where you want the shelf on each side; green tape helps to make your marks and can be removed when done.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a FeatherHubs prefers to drill the holes in two stages, starting with a pilot and then finishing the hole with a larger sized bit. Before drilling the four pilot holes, add some green tape to the drill bit to mark the depth to ensure you don’t drill too deep (determine the depth of the hole by holding the drill bit against the shelf support pin).

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Switch to a wider bit (to match the circumference of the shelf support pin). Apply some green tape to the new bit to mark the depth to drill (as you did with the pilot hole).

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Test it out first by drilling a left over piece of scrap board to make sure the shelf supports are going to fit properly into the hole.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Proceed to make your final holes in the cabinet and insert a shelf support into each one.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Apply Edging to Shelf

Mark the melamine board to the depth you want (ours was 10 3/8″) and length. Deduct 1/8″ from the length measurement for clearance on the sides and cut out the shelf. We used a circular saw with a straight edge clamped to the board to get a straight cut. At this point, you’ll have raw press board on the outside edges and will need to apply some iron-on tape to give it a finished look. We only taped the front edge, but you could also do the sides if you choose. Since you don’t see the back, it isn’t necessary to edge it with the tape.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Heat up an iron to a high setting.

To apply the edging, clamp the shelf into a workbench (if you don’t have one, find a ‘partner in grime’ who will offer up a second set of hands to hold it as you work). Cut a piece of iron-on edge tape slightly longer than the length of the shelf (you’ll file all the excess off later).

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Test it for fit, then place the tape glue side down over the edge; centre it so that it overlaps slightly along all edges. Apply the iron to the tape and keep it moving to melt the glue. Make sure you get all the edges and don’t stay too long in any one area or you’ll run the risk of burning or melting it!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

When ironing is complete, apply pressure along the length with a roller to ensure good adherence.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Let it cool completely before moving onto the next step. The picture below shows how it will look before the extra material is filed away. There are power tools you could use to trim away the extra material, but hubs went ‘old school’.

File the Edge

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Take a fine file or rasp and run it at an angle in a downward/forward motion along the edge of the tape.Continue filing off the extra material along all edges until the tape is totally flush with the shelf. Be cautious when filing at the ends; ours wasn’t quite glued down and we had to iron it again to reactivate the glue before proceeding.If it’s not glued down properly you could accidentally rip a chunk off and expose the fibreboard underneath, which would be difficult to disguise. Take the shelf out of the clamp and then you’re ready to install!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Install the Shelf

Rest the left side of the shelf onto the shelf supports with the other end angled upward. Then slide the right side over the supports until it drops into place. If the shelf is too tight to lower into place, you forgot to leave the 1/8″ clearance – that’s what gives it enough play to install it. You’ll have to shave a bit off and try again.

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Before and After Transformation of the Inside and Final Reveal

As you can see, the shelf now provides more storage space for anything you like. I initially added some linens and magazines, but then realized it was perfect for my purses and a few shoes stored in boxes!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

The before and after transformation is quite dramatic when you consider the piece was found in the garbage and looked like it should have stayed there!

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share! Follow right here on Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below) for more great crafty projects and hacks.

Here are a few of the things you may have missed if you haven’t yet subscribed:

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Craft Rebab category to explore more….

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

Tarnish Free Jewellery Cabinet Upcycle | Birdz of a Feather

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How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer

We inherited the clematis that is growing in our front yard when I bought the house, but it was obvious that the structure wasn’t allowing the plant to reach its full potential. You may have seen that we built a new trellis out of cedar to give the plant more structure to grow width and height-wise (more about trellises and privacy screens here and here).How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

The one thing that I didn’t touch on in those posts was the best way we found to train the clematis onto the trellis. Left without proper support, clematis can tend to flop onto the ground and grow out from the sides leaving it in unattractive lumps – and sometimes even lopsided when left to its own devices.

Each spring when the new growth reaches about a foot, I cut short and long lengths of a velcro product made just for the purpose of tying and supporting plants. I loop and fasten them onto the trellis when it’s still bare so it’s ready-to-go. You may think it looks ugly to have loops of velcro hanging from an empty trellis, but trust me – the plant grows so fast, it doesn’t stay this way for long and the green blends right in once it’s covered.

Note that once you’ve cut your lengths of plant tie velcro initially, you can reuse them again next year!

In the past, I find if I don’t prepare the trellis in advance by adding the ties to the empty trellis, then I won’t be  likely to get out the scissors, roll of velcro and maintain the clematis every time it needs support… which ultimately leads to a messy outcome.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s how the bottom of the plant looks in the spring when the bottom growth is fastened onto the trellis with the velcro. It’s neatly arranged and tied off so that the trellis will get full coverage once the plant grows further.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

I make sure to have a variety of velcro lengths because I use the shorter ones to attach initial growth and the longer ones to corral all the offshoots (these get looped through the plant itself and not the trellis).

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

In the blink of an eye, the clematis can grow several feet in a day so if the velcro is already there and waiting, it’s just a matter of arranging the new growth into columns and fastening it into place by unlooping the velcro from the trellis, placing the vines in between and then re-fastening it. It literally takes a few minutes whenever I’m coming or going to finesse the plant for greatness. It couldn’t be easier!

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a FeatherHow to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

Once established after just a few days, you can see that new growth tends to flop outward as shown in the next two pictures.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a FeatherHow to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

This is where you’ll use some of the longer loops to reel in the plant and fasten it onto previous growth – where there’s no exposed trellis left to attach to as shown below.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

Just bundle it up and secure it on by looping the velcro through the plant and around the new growth. Don’t worry that it looks too clumped together. The velcro will be completely hidden as it continues to grow.

Continue to utilize the shorter pieces of velcro to secure clematis onto the sides and interior of the trellis where there’s still exposed wood.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

Before you know it, your clematis will reach the top  (this pic is from a previous year as it’s not currently at that point yet!).

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

When the clematis runs out of trellis, it will fold over on itself and start to bloom.

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

Since mine hasn’t reached the point this year where it’s fully grown yet, here’s how it looks once it’s trained and blooming (again, from a previous year):

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

The blooms are so pretty and add beautiful curb appeal to the front entry. At the end of the season, don’t forget to remove all the velcro ties to re-use for next year! Our particular clematis gets cut down to about a foot or so to overwinter and always comes back like a trouper every spring 🙂

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How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a FeatherAnd don’t forget to follow us here at Birdz of a Feather Home (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (link at the end) if you’re interested in seeing other DIY home and garden projects. Also check out my new craft category, Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab, dedicated to sustainable crafting. At Craft Rehab, you’ll find ideas and videos for unique craft projects such as this cool Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait and more!

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer | Birdz of a Feather

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Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait

At Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab, I’m all about crafting sustainably. I’ve been playing around with ideas on how to utilize pictures and decided to try a portrait cut into cardboard. What could be more sustainable than upcycling a piece of cardboard from a box? It’s easy on the pocketbook too because the cardboard is free!

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

I found this picture of Austin Powers on the internet and sized it to print 8 1/2″ x 11″. However, you could utilize the same technique and use your own photograph by converting a colour picture to black and white using the threshold settings in photoshop (see ‘Working with Your Own Headshot Photo” further ahead).

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

The corrugation adds to the contrast, so decide whether you want the lines running vertically or horizontally (I chose vertical for mine).

I first changed the grey in the internet picture to white in photoshop because I wanted a two-tone effect.

Watch the groovy video (and subscribe while you’re at it!) then continue reading to get your craft mojo on!

What you Will Need

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Painters tape
  • Printer
  • X-acto knife
  • Sculpting tools (as shown below)
  • Pencil
  • Curved scissors

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Print Black and White Image

Print your picture. I mirror-imaged it first because I initially thought I could flip it upside down on the cardboard and use a pencil to trace the image onto the background. I thought the printer ink would show up if I pressed hard enough but unfortunately that didn’t work out.

I thought of using carbon paper, but couldn’t find it. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t because it would inevitably show up on the finished piece if I didn’t cut accurately. I even tried rubbing pencil on the back and then tracing, but the pencil just smudged everywhere!

Instead, I cut out some of the white areas with a curved pair of scissors, then taped the image to the cardboard with painters tape. I cut right around and through the paper with an X-acto knife. Even though I ended up using the mirror image of the original picture, I wasn’t too fussed about it.

When you place your image on the cardboard, don’t forget to position it so it lines up either horizontally or vertically with the corrugated lines. When done, remove the paper. The image below shows the faint image you’ll get after cutting. It doesn’t look like much now, but it will!

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Go Over Again

Ensure that all your cuts have pierced through the top layer. Go over any areas that didn’t get cut through with the X-acto knife, paying particular attention to the corners and small details so you won’t have any problems lifting the top layer.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Remove Top Layer of Cardboard

Start with large areas first and then do the details. Insert the sculpting tool underneath an edge and use it to help lift the top layer of cardboard, exposing the corrugation beneath.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

When trying to lift around areas you want to keep, bridge across the area with the sculpting tool, as shown, and slide it along to prevent breakout.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

My sculpting tool had a double end (flat and offset). The offset end shown below comes in handy for running along the corrugated lines to remove the glue and help lift the top layer.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Take Your Time

Go slow and work on each area at a time; you may need to use the X-acto knife on occasion too so keep it handy.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Add Text if Desired

A picture of Austin Powers wouldn’t be complete without a catch phrase! I printed out the text on white paper, cut the letters out and arranged them.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

I use a pencil to lightly trace around each letter and then cut them with the X-acto knife. I used a ruler to help with the straight lines, then free-handed the rest.

Consider the font style when making your selection; a non-serif font such as Arial would probably be more legible, but I wanted to experiment.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Yeah Baby, You’re Done!

Clean up any stray bits of cardboard and you’re done!

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Now onto using your own photograph!

Working with Your Own Headshot Photo

This would be a fun project to do if you have photos of members of the family that you want to use instead of pulling something off the internet. It’s just like making a stencil!

You’ll need a high res photo and graphic software program, such as Photoshop. Note that I’m using Photoshop CS5.5; the whereabouts of each feature in your version may be slightly different.

If your picture is not a headshot, just crop it close and make it into one.

Because I couldn’t find a high res shot of Austin, I’m going to demonstrate how to do this with a picture of Kiera Knightly. Here’s the step-by-step:.

Step 1. Open your colour picture in Photoshop. Use the lasso tool (or any other tool you’re comfortable with) to outline the headshot.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 2. Go up to the toolbar and click Select / Inverse.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 3. Delete the Background.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 4. Copy the layer (Ctrl J on a PC or Command J on a Mac). I like to keep the original as-is just so I can always refer back to it if I have to.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 5. Click on Image / Adjustments / Threshold in the toolbar.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 6. Adjust threshold so you have a good balance of detail. Mine ended up being 103, but yours might differ.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 7. On the toolbar, click Filter / Filter Gallery / Cutout.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 8. Soften the lines in Cutout by sliding the bars for Number of Levels, Edge Simplicity and Edge Fidelity. I used 2, 0 and 1 for my settings but yours may differ.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Step 9. Finished ‘stencil’ is ready to print.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Next up on Craft Rehab, I’ll be showing you how to do a Pop Art Portrait and turn it into a one-of-a-kind serving tray, so subscribe if you don’t want to miss it!

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Here are a few of the things you may have missed if you haven’t yet subscribed:

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Craft Rebab category to explore more….

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share!

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below) for more great crafty projects and home & garden DIYs.

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait | Birdz of a Feather

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Front Porch Privacy Screen

Today I’m bringing back a popular post from last year, but showing you more detail of the process.

When our neighbours decided to store their garbage bins at the side of their house we had more than just a curb appeal problem. Every time we came and went out the front door we were met with an unappealing view of their trash.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Even after we installed a new walkway, screen door, painted the front door red, and added flower pots, although it was a big improvement, it still wasn’t enough.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s what the view looked like from our front door – yuck.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Our solution was to build a custom privacy screen. Privacy screens are a fun weekend build and a great way to use up scrap wood. Hubs ripped wider pieces of cedar left over from a fence project for me to work with.

I set up a cutting station on the driveway to cut the pieces to length with our mitre saw.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

I came up with a quick sketch of what I had in mind so I could lay it out and visualize it. I set up sawhorses and then laid out my pattern according to my plan, starting with the side pieces, then filling in the cross pieces and lastly the lattice. I built the lattice section in the centre piece-by-piece, but you could also add pre-made lattice and save yourself some work.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Once I had my design finalized and figured out, I moved it all over to the garage floor because it was easier to glue and pin-nail on the ground (below I’m working on a different screen).

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Once everything was complete, here’s how the privacy screen for the front porch turned out (with hubs doing his best Vanna White impression).

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

 

Hubs then built a planter box so we could train vines up the lattice and further hide the unsightly view.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

We used L-brackets screwed into the brick to support the screen on the top and bottom. and the planter box just sits right in front of it on the porch itself.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

The vines start out sparse but by summer we have a lush wall of green 🙂

For more ideas on how to add privacy screens around your property, see this post.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Another great idea to camouflage the view by the front door, if you have the same situation as us, would be to plant an entire vertical garden using soda bottles and aircraft cable. I did the one shown below indoors for my kitchen, but it would look fantastic as a privacy screen outdoors too! You could stagger 3 or more columns side-by-side for better privacy. Click here for the full tutorial on make a vertical garden using soda bottles.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

Here’s a quick video of just how easy a vertical garden is to make:

Just before we finished our front yard, hubs and I transformed our backyard too. It went from this sad bit of landscaping done by the previous owners:

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

…to this lush oasis (thankfully by the time we were done, our neighbour in the back removed the gargantuan satellite dish!).

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

For tips and tricks on how to plan a full-blown small backyard makeover, be sure to check out my post ‘How Does Your Garden Grow‘. It will break down the steps we took to achieve our dream garden – from planning the space to laying a patio to even installing a pond – and show you how you can do it too! You’ll find individual links to all our backyard projects!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. Follow right here on Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below) for more great crafty projects and hacks.

Front Porch Privacy Screen | Birdz of a Feather

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