Friday, September 7, 2012

Shelf Liner Dilemma

 Have you ever been overwhelmed by so many projects that you just don't want to do any of them?  That's how this "little" project started.  It seemed so simple, such a no brainer.  Something that would make me feel that I've accomplished something, which would then make me want to continue with a more difficult task.   

  You simply measure and cut the paper and install it. Sounds easy, doesn't it?  I have no idea why I would think that, since hardly anything goes as planned.

Here's how it went.  This weeks "challenge" in my minimalist group is the kitchen, second time around.  This is still the beginning of my journey, in pretending I'm going to someday become somewhat minimalistic.  Living with less.  But that's a different story I'll be sharing with you.  Let's get back to my shelf paper. 

I emptied out the cupboard, checked to see if there was anything I no longer used or needed.  Then of course, it was dusty, so I started washing it.  Then, I noticed the contact paper was yucky, so proceeded to rip out that old sticky contact paper.  I noticed it was one of the cupboards that never did get painted on the inside.  Painting and lining cupboards was always at the bottom of the priority list.   Thinking this would be easy, I dug some paint out and then I realized why it never got painted.  I had to angle myself in all different positions to get that cupboard painted.

 I even at some points had to put my head inside just to reach the back.  Then, I had to let it dry, then apply some semi-gloss to make it washable.  And that takes a few days to dry, so it's not tacky to the touch. 

In the meantime, going to the hardware store for other things, I checked out the shelf liner there.  I was thinking of all the different patterns that must be out now, and whether I should just get a solid color. 

Then I saw the price of it.  Wow, I just could not wrap my brain around spending so much just to line a shelf.  It comes on a roll, listing the square feet so when I multiplied the length times the width I realized it would cost around $5 a shelf to cover.  I thought it a bit ridiculous just to make my cupboard look nice. I wanted to do this as cheaply inexpensively as possible.  I mean, it's just a shelf, behind a closed door isn't it?  Even the paint, if you shop the "oops" rack can be bought for as little as $5 a gallon. 

   I left the store pondering what other options may be out there.  I know many, many years ago people actually used, well, paper.  Butcher paper, newspaper and other reasonably priced papers.  I also know that some people use trays for things such as oils and syrups that can leak.  I searched the internet for viable options and finally found a few.  I really liked the idea of making my own oilcloth but decided that in itself would be another project. 

I had quite a few vinyl tablecloths in the drawer that I hadn't used in a very long time so that is what I decided to try.  We had recently used one to cover some cement work.  They are handy to have for picnics also.  I went through and picked one out.  Okay, so it's not organic bamboo, but we can say it's recycling and repurposing something already in your home.  Plus, I had a drawer full of them that had been taking up space.  In addition, I really don't think the shelf paper in the store is all that eco friendly either or healthy. 

Now, if you want every drawer and cupboard in your kitchen to be the same, then you will have to do the math, and go out and pick out the amount of square feet you will need.  Or the amount of table cloths to buy.   I didn't care if it matched, so hence just used the supplies in my home. 

The first thing I did was toss the vinyl tablecloth into the dryer on low to get the fold lines out.  

You will notice that some of the tablecloths have rounded corners.

To take care of that problem, you need to find a straight edge.

 From that edge I measured an equal distance along the length of the cloth.  I did this along the length, putting a dot.  I then laid my ruler along those dots, and drew a line along them to make a straight line.

 I then cut along the line, thus eliminating the rounded corners. 

From there it's easy, measure your cupboard, measure your square of cloth and cut it out.  I made mine about 1/8th to 1/16th shorter to allow for stretching.  Yep vinyl can stretch.

From there, put it onto your shelf until it is straight and flat.  If you need to,  retrim if it's too big.  I then took upholstery tacks, or just plain regular thumbtacks, and well, tacked them down with a
hammer.  If you rent, and cannot put tacks, then I think the two way poster tape would be fine. 

And that's it,  The two shelves are done.  Plus I did the drawers above that shelf.  Now, if I can find time to do some more shelves.  Until then, I'll just admire these two shelves.

Other materials that can be used.  Freezer paper, butcher paper, scrapbooking paper, oil cloth, fabric, wax paper, newspaper, newsprint plain, plastic trays, upholstery vinyl/fabric.  This job can be as elaborate as you want.  I wanted it to be as easy and quick as possible, and to be able to use materials already in my home.

References and Helpful Websites:

Go Gingham-Stylishly Frugal Living

marthastewart-oilcloth basket liners

creativejewishmom-lining shelves with a decorative edge


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's In Your Food? Watch Food, Inc. It Will Open Your Eyes

     When I first started questioning what was in the food our family was eating I came across a movie that changed the way I not only think about our food, but the way I shop and what I buy.  In one respect, it did seem to make life a bit more difficult.  You see, I couldn't just run into the store anymore and grab something.  I actually had to "think" about it.  Since then I've learned so much more, and it has become a more natural way of life for me.  I don't think twice now about reading labels, and making sure I can identify each and every ingredient in the product I am buying.  Even with my produce, where you obviously can see what you are getting, or can you, I check whether it is organic, local, or says nothing.  I check for where the produce was grown. 

I don't think I'd ever really put a lot of thought into where the food actually came from.  You know how it is, you go into the grocery store, see nicely wrapped packages on the shelf, with your biggest concern at the moment being that the wrapper doesn't have any holes and is sealed up.  Even if it did have a couple of questionable ingredients you thought it couldn't be too bad could it?  After all, why would our government allow food to be sold that is poisonous or filled with bacteria, or worse?

  Were we all in denial or did all these corporations just subtly sneak in on us while we were enjoying our food?  Probably a little bit of both.  Little by little I've been learning more about the ingredients that most people don't even think about, just like I used to do. 
 Food, Inc. is a great documentary that will really have you shuddering at times.  Most of all you will feel lied to and downright angry.  Our denial of what's really in our food is making us unhealthy, making our children unhealthy and making farmers lose their livelihoods, and fattening the bank accounts of large food industry and even more. 

     Many people are becoming aware of the deception in the food industry and realizing that if we don't change the way we eat, and shop we are compromising our health.  That may sound a bit over the edge, but it doesn't take too much digging on the internet to find out just how much we have been deceived.  Of course most people know that the government is not perfect, but this documentary will open your eyes to just a fraction of what really goes on in our nation.

Facts From Food, Inc.  will also show you a lot of things that you might never have thought about or considered when you run to the store. 


Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hype On Vitamin D

           I'm sure you all have heard or read the talk about vitamin D deficiencies in the U.S.   Have you ever given it any thought that you may be one of those who may be deficient?  I didn't either, after all, I am in sunny California. 
      In my research, it seems that there are arguments on both sides of whether it is an epidemic. The facts are that a lot of people are deficient and that it can be fixed.  Are you one of those that needs vitamin D?
     It has been proven that having a deficiency over time will lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a lot of other ailments.  Some believe that we get enough in the sunshine and our food.  The arguments don't really matter though if they would just test routinely for this and take care of the problem.  In my case, after three different blood tests, not one of them tested for this.  It was just this last blood test that it was revealed.

     What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?  Well, for the most part, nothing.  It is so subtle that most people will be asymptomatic.  Although, a deficiency can cause bone pain, asthma in children, muscle weakness, cognitive impairment in adults and other types of symptoms.  Some research has suggested that it can play a role in multiple sclerosis, cancer, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

     Another way to maybe think about if you could be deficient is your lifestyle.  Do you always stay out of the sun?  Do you heavily use sunscreens?  Sun is one of the best ways to get your vitamin D.  When you are in the sun, your body makes vitamin D for you, probably one of the easiest ways to get vitamin D.  For so many years we were all told to stay out of the sun and always wear sunblock.  Turns out that wasn't the greatest advice, plus factoring in all the chemicals in sunblocks.  Just make sure to not get burned, and if you are going to be out in the hottest time of day, wear a mineral sunblock that has a safe rating.

      Other factors that could possibly make you susceptible to vitamin A deficiency is if you are a vegetarian.  The foods that contain the most Vitamin D are usually animal based.  Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fish oils and fish,  egg yolks, cheese and beef liver.  Also if you have dark skin you do not absorb as much vitamin D from the sun.  If you are older your kidneys lose some of their ability to convert the vitamin D to it's active form.  Certain diseases can effect the ability of your digestive tract to absorb vitamin D, and if you are obese the bodies ability to extract vitamin D can be inhibited. 

   There are various forms of vitamin D supplements.  The main ones are Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)  and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol )   From my research most experts agree that Vitamin D3 is the best form to take.  Vitamin D2 is less potent and doesn't last as long in your body.  It also seems to not get absorbed quite as well.  It used to be believed that both were the same, but studies have proven that is not the case.  Vitamin D3 is from the oils in sheep's wool, lanolin, since it is the same as what the sun gives us.

    What is the recommended daily amount to take?  Well, I have an opinion based on my own research and my own doctor so I recommend you do the same.  What the government recommends is way below what I believe is right.  My doctor started me on 5,000 IU a day.  She takes 10,000 IU herself since she is inside for most of the day.  You can always start out low and work up to a higher dose.  Can you get too much vitamin D?  From the sun and food it would be very rare.  With supplements though you could, and it could cause joint and muscle pain.  That's why I stress very much to get your blood level checked to see if you need to take it at all.

   This has been a very unscientific post, and I leave it up to you to find out more on Vitamin D.  My main goal was to let you know that maybe what you are hearing or reading about Vitamin D deficiency in America may really be true and may be you. 

     By the way, just merely getting into the sun isn't always enough, you have to actually try to get most of your body exposed, like in a bathing suit.  Or at least your arms, legs and face for at least 20 minutes. 

   As for vitamin D fortified milk and other dairy products, some companies still use the D2.  Raw milk has it naturally, but only about 38 IU.  I drink some raw milk every single day, both for the vitamins and minerals it gives me.  Pasteurization kills so many of the vital nutrients in milk, and also makes it rancid.  All the good cultures are killed also, but that's a different topic. 

References: D