Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fruit Basket Organization

I started off this year with lots of good intentions {aka New Years Resolutions}. I wanted to get my house organized, and I wanted myself and my family to start eating more healthy foods. It can sometimes be really easy to plan these kind of things...but the follow through is often really difficult! One of the first places that I wanted to start my organizing was the kitchen, specifically our fruit bowl! For years we kept a medium sized bowl on our counter where all of our various fruits mingled together. The bowl worked pretty good for the first few years when the boys were really little and it was mostly Jason and I eating fruit {other than the enormous amount of bananas that the boys ate when they were babies}. But as the boys got bigger they started eating WAY more fruit which meant our fruit supply started to outgrow the bowl. Plus Jason hated that the bowl took up half of the island, and I hated that when the bananas and apples hung out together the bananas always got brown faster!
I considered a few different ways to organize our fruit. I had seen a cute under cabinet storage idea on Pinterest, and I even thought about those retro hanging wire fruit baskets. But neither of those really worked with our space. I came across these baskets one day as I was browsing the aisles of Target, and I knew they would be perfect for holding our fruit!
I picked up three baskets, brought them home, and got Jason to figure out a way to hang them on the side of the cabinet {these are actually meant to be stacked up, but they work perfectly hanging too as long as you can rig up a way for them to hang because they don't come with hanging hardware}. I love that I took a basically wasted space and added storage to it. Our fruit baskets also look great right across from the boys Magnet Board that I added to the end of one of our cabinets a few years ago too.

So far the new baskets are working perfectly! Our counter tops are clear of fruit {though I can't say the same about dirty dishes and various papers}, and the different fruits don't have to mingle and make each other go bad too soon! 
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Pallet Chicken Coop: Part One

For about a year Jason and I have been talking about getting chickens. With a house full of growing boys, we needed to find some easy ways to cut down on our grocery bill. A garden is on our list of to do's for this spring, and I figured if we were going to be farmers we might as well add a little livestock into the mix too! I did a lot of research online, and I feel in love with the idea of a pallet chicken coop. One because pallets make the cutest stuff....and two because pallets are free which means our project would be way cheaper than if we bought all new supplies at the hardware store.
We started our adventure with a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Our original intention in going to the ReStore was to look for electrical fixtures and old kitchen cabinet doors. I had seen a suggestion online to use glass front cabinet doors as window for the coop, and I figured the ReStore was the best place to look for something like that. We ended up with a couple of glass front kitchen cabinet doors and a truck load of FREE pallets! Jason picked up some extra lumber at the hardware store and then we headed home to start building.
We decided on a layout and measured how big the base for the coop needed to be. Jason started the base with four 4X4 posts for the corners. Then he attached them together with 2X6's to make a rectangle.
 We used some scrap plywood from another project as the floor...and we got a little help from the kiddos!
 After the base was made, Jason dug holes for the four posts to sit in. We picked up the base and sat it down into the holes, and then let the kids fill in the holes with the extra dirt.
 The next step was to build the walls. Our coop ended up being three pallets across. Jason just laid them down and attached the three pallets together with extra wood strips from other pallets.
 We had plenty of pallets, so some of them {the ones with broken slates or missing nails} got used for parts.
The design we decided on was a back wall that was one pallet high and a front wall that was one and a half pallets high. After we had the front wall put together, the top edge of the pallets were trimmed so that they could be stacked.

 After the walls were trimmed, we put the walls into place and attached them to the base with lots and lots of nails. Here is a picture of the back wall in place:
 It turns out that pallet wood is actually really good quality...which means it is HARD! Which means you need a lot of muscle and a little bit of patience to get nails to actually go into the wood! We had quite a few bent nails laying around during this project:)
 And here is a picture with the partial front wall in place:
 Here is a side view of the coop with the base and walls up:
Check back next week for part two...we get the rest of the walls up, add doors and nesting boxes, and I paint the whole thing!

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