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Friday, March 27, 2015

Now for some Smoking Fun!


My husband called me from Costco a few weeks ago and said, "I think I'm buying a smoker."

That's not usually how the conversation goes when you send your hubby on a grocery run. When he called, I was expecting him to ask me if I needed anything like milk, bread or eggs...not a smoker.

However, the idea intrigued me tremendously--though it most certainly had not been on the shopping list...but I do admit, the idea was at least 1000 times more glamorous.
Can you hear the angels singing a high pitched...Ahhhhh! Hallelujah!

I can hardly blame my husband, as he had been tackled by the Traeger rep there; who sweet-talked him into buying a pellet grill/smoker. Jonathan called home to just "run it by me" first...Truthfully, I think he had it half-loaded into the Jeep at the point when he had an "oh crap" moment, that he should probably get my approval first.


Well...I appreciated that...but...I paused...

You see, his timing couldn't have been better for me to side with his case. We had just been invited over to a neighbors home a few Sundays prior to eat dinner with them. (Thank you Andersen's...we loved it!!! We need to have you over next time!) They had smoked some pork and it was amazing! ( I drool just thinking about it.) The meat was juicy beyond compare, and had a deep rustic smokiness about it that I had only come to know from places like "Famous Dave's" and "Dicky's BBQ" or the BBQ truck on the street. I think I complimented them on the meat at least 10 times throughout the meal, and made a pig of myself. My behavior was slightly embarrassing, now that I think about it.

I realized that the smokey flavor that the neighbors had achieved with their meat was within my reach because my husband was about to bring one home in his Jeep. So without really thinking too much, and only letting my emotions take over, I said, "Sure, we should get one."

Do know, I backed up that thought with ones of justification, since our current BBQ had blown over in the wind one too many times last year, and was on it's last leg--literally, standing sadly crooked in the yard. Thank you winds of North Lehi, you sure are kind to blow us over each Spring.

After he got his Traeger home, he then started researching smokers. He actually decided to return the Traeger (which is a great smoker) and go for a Yoder Smoker instead. Now that's how we usually shop...comparing products, reviews, and then coming to a sensible decision. We just put the horse before the cart a little bit. Oooops...smiling awkwardly, with a shoulder shrug.

Little did I know that the word, "sure"...would turn my husband and I onto a new hobby in a big way.  The meat that I craved fort-nightly, was about to become somewhat of a regular, on our dinner menu.

Since bringing this big thing home, he's been cooking up a storm, and watching youtube videos to get him started on methods and seasonings. Here's a link to his new favorite "TV channel" featuring Malcom Reed: https://www.youtube.com/user/howtobbqright

We've truly been spoiled by smoked hole chicken, beef ribs, italian sausages, pork loin roast, shredded pork butt roast, more beef ribs (because they are amazing), and tri-tip thrice. Best part, I haven't had to think what's for dinner in a loooong time, as it's already been cooking in the yard for half the day thanks to my hubby. I can make a mean potato salad and mighty tangy coleslaw.

But then I realized...he's been hogging the smoker.

I haven't had a turn yet.

Independent as I am, I didn't want him to tell me how to do it. I wanted to discover my own way of using it. So I broke my smoker virginity on March 17th and decided to toss on a corned beef roast, potato wedges, Apples and Cabbage.


Could I find a recipe for it online? No. Did I want one...not necessarily, though I wouldn't have minded some pictures to give me some ideas.

I can't say I know if people smoke a corned beef, but that is what I happened to have. I also knew that no one would appreciate me cooking cabbage indoors...so it all went outside--all stinky cabbage smells masked by hickory smoke.

Excuse the cellphone photos...they are a little blown out and the corned beef looks blurry. It doesn't look too appetizing in this photo...but trust me...it was delish.

In the end...it sure tasted good. However, Jonathan wasn't home to enjoy it, and the kids haven't acquired a taste for corned beef yet.

Long of the short of it...I loved my St. Patty's meal. My kids would have preferred Lucky Charms.
You know...because they are magically delicious.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Paper Cuckoo Clock Assembly Tutorial

I just finished cuckoo clock #2. 
It took a little longer to finish up, as some other things crept in and took precedence...that's how life happens though, right? We have plans to do one thing, then another thing screams out that it's now on top of the priority list. I'm learning that the trick is to just roll with it, and take it as it comes.

This clock goes together much like the last one at this link here:
It will also use the same basic instruction for fitting it with a clock kit, found here:

If you haven't seen those two posts, then they will be where you want to stop first.

Alrighty then...ready for this one...

You'll need at cutting machine, like a Cricut Explore or a Silhouette

The file is available at the Silhouette Online store (for silhouette users only) at this link here:
and at Digiplayground (for all other machines that use SVG files) at this link here: http://digiplayground.com/3D-SVG-Cut-Cuckoo-Clock-with-Leaves-SKU18987.html

Supplies: 
3 12x12 sheets Aqua cover stock (or thick card stock)
1 sheet any color cover stock for the part that will hold the clock on the inside.
2 12x12 sheets Red cardstock
1 12x12 sheet dark aqua card stock
1 12x12 sheet cream card stock
1 12x12 sheet brown card stock
1 sheet white card stock for clock face (optional if making decorative non-working clock)

You will need a really strong, non-warping paper glue like Tombow Mono Adhesive (I like to buy it in bulk packs...I go through a lot of this stuff and hate running out.)

Size:
When made at given size, this clock measures approximately: 18 1/2 inches tall by 10 wide, by 3 1/4 deep. Without the pinecone weights the house part measures approximately 10 1/2 tall. 
1-6. Fold chimney, attach tab to close box. Fold bottom flaps out. Slide through rectangular hole in the roof and fold the bottom flaps out and attach to the backside of the roof.

7. Fold decorative chimney topper, then glue. 

Attach both rectangular roof rectangles together so the single tab joins them at the top, leaving the other two fold lines at the ends. 
REFER to the pictures in the previous cuckoo clock tutorial for attaching roof strips together. 

8. Find the rectangular roof pieces, and the wavy roof shingle pieces that have the fold lines on them. Fold these roof shingle pieces then attach one of them so that the fold line of the shingle lines up with the second fold of the rectangular roof piece. Do this to both sides.

9. In the file I have a few roof shingle pieces that have a section removed from them so that they can go around the chimney. I have provided this piece two times, once for the darker pink, one for the lighter pink to leave you with options on spacing.  Depending upon how closely you space your shingles, you may end up needing the lighter pink or the darker pink when you come to the base of the chimney. 

10. Find the side shingle pieces that will go on the sides of the chimney. Alternate the dark pink and light pink pieces until you come to the top of the chimney.

11. Place the appropriate shingle piece at the top of the chimney. Once again, I've provided this piece twice, once for the dark pink paper, and once for the light pink. This way you have them both so you can choose your spacing.

12. Keep alternating shingle strips until you come to the peak. Fold the center shingle strip in half and straddle it over both halves of the roof.

13. Apply your decorative pieces to the clock, then follow the clock kit instructions here: http://samanthaleewalker.blogspot.com/2015/03/part-2-cuckoo-clock-tutorial.html Now line up your pieces and we'll start to assemble according to the instructions here: 

14-16. I took a close up photo of the trickiest part of assembling the clock, and that is the part where you fold the roof around the eaves. The end tab of the roof goes inside the cuckoo clock. The small tabs in the picture go on the inside of the eaves. 

17-18. Fold the tabs from the front and back of the cuckoo clock inwards, apply glue, then bring the roof up and around the roofline. You will end at the roof eaves on the other side of the clock. You will insert the end of the roof tab into the slot that is formed, so that the little tabs go on the inside of the clock. You will be able to put you hand inside the clock from the back if you choose the open back design, to make it much easier to smooth these parts together. 

19. When finished with the eaves (underside of roof), it should look like this picture.

If you make one of these...I want to see your clocks! Please share them with me! 
Keep on crafting!

Studio Remodel...The Floors

Continuing my studio remodel project...Let's talk about the floors.
Remember how I said that this remodel project took blood, sweat and tears...

Well...picking the floors may seem like a simple task...but it took me weeks and weeks to decide what kind of flooring I would put in my studio. Bamboo? Hardwood, Laminate...what would it be. It was almost agonizing. I wanted to pick something that would last, and that I'd love forever.

We searched at Lumber Liquidators (was so disappointed in them...they advertised great prices, but things didn't seem quite right when we were there...too many house brands that I couldn't compare.) 

We tried Costco, they had awesome bamboo flooring. We ended up getting some, and redid the office floors upstairs. But I wasn't sold on it for my studio. My floors needed a little more character.

We shopped the flooring isles at Lowes, and Home Depot...and finally, my husband pointed out a very unusual laminate. It was called Maui Whitewash. 

At first, I couldn't imagine it in my studio as I had a picture of a medium/light wood with rustic finish in my head. It wasn't that I didn't like it...it was probably more due to the sample being so small, and I thought it might look better in a commercial setting. 

We left the store...still undecided. I swear at least 8 weeks passed before I could commit to a flooring.

We eventually came back later...and then, I pictured it. 

I could see how this was the perfect floor for my studio. I couldn't picture another after that...and so, the floor installation began.

And I loved how it turned out!
Isn't it unusual?
I like that it has a rustic crafty feel to it.
It makes me want to go in there and be creative.
I've been in my studio for 9 months or so now...(yes, this is a very delayed blog-post...probably something to do with me building a website this last year...) 
And I still love my floors.

To be continued...next up...the lighting...

--Sam
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