Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making Good on Mother’s Day: Great Grandma’s Cast Iron Waffle Maker

 

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For those celebrating in North America, Happy Mother’s Day!

I was invited by my blog friend Agy of Green Issues to participate in her Making Good Repair Blog Train.  The train took off on May 1st and you can find a list of the bloggers here. Each blogger picks a challenge to repair. Yesterday, Karen of Rude Record, an inspiring blogger in Australia who documents who she reuses, recycles, and refashions textile waste, posted about repairing slippers.

For my repair challenge, I chose to repair/restore my Great Grandma’s cast iron waffle maker.  Over the past two years, my husband and I have started to learn about seasoning and cooking on cast iron (the mister was converted to cast iron when he saw a steak cooked by Bobby Flay on Jimmy Fallon)!  My aunt has been downsizing and offered me my great grandma’s cast iron waffle maker (my great grandmother was of Norwegian ancestry and enjoyed waffles).  The iron was in very rough shape; however, I have read about how these pieces can be saved.

The message of this post is if you find a cast iron pan at a charity / thrift shop please consider it a diamond in the rough.

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To restore the cast iron, I consulted an extremely useful site for cast iron collectors.

The rust was severe and I was unable to remove it with a vinegar solution. The situation called for a cleaning compound with lye (specifically Easy Off Heavy Duty – not all oven cleaners contain lye, but this particular one does).  I sprayed waffle iron with Easy Off and put it in a plastic bag and bubble wrap for a few days.  Fortunately, I was able to use the spray outside – this is preferable as there are fumes.

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After a few days, the rust had broken down (you can see the stains on the bubble wrap).

IMG_8379 IMG_8380  IMG_8382 Next came the elbow grease. I used a sponge and old toothbrush. As I am not going to be using the waffle iron at this point in my life, but keeping it for display I wanted to preserve it. I heated the waffle iron in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 F and then applied food grade mineral oil.  This will protect the iron from rusting. If I plan to use it, the mineral oil can be removed and the iron seasoned with shortening prior to use.   After all the rust was removed, I discovered that the waffle iron was a Griswold Manufacturing No. 8 The “New” American patented May 14, 1901 (116 years ago this week!).

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Here is the restored waffle iron. It was very hard to remove every speck of rust, but I am satisfied with the restoration and I will continue to preserve if needed as it has been in my family for about 100 years.  The feed sack quilt was made by my grandmother (likely in the 1930-40s).

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I can’t wait to find my next diamond in the rough! Thanks for stopping by and to those celebrating, wishing you a happy Mother’s Day.

Tomorrow, the Making Good train will travel around the world to Singapore to Lapis Williams who has a beautiful blog documenting her interests in urban farming, upcycling, and jewelry design.

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This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "Making Good". What is repair, and why do we even bother to repair the things we have?  Some see repair as a way of reconnecting with our possessions as we extend their lives. Others see it as a form of creative potential and an avenue to express their craft.  The rewards for mending varies from feeling immense satisfaction to prolonging the life of the product. Follow the “Making Good” blog train this month and see what we have repaired and reconnected with. Have you mended anything today?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sakura Hanami 2015

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I woke up at the crack of dawn so that I could travel across town to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at High Park.  It was absolutely beautiful.   The crowds started at about 7 am and I estimate there were at least a hundred photographers setting up their equipment.  Many couples were taking advantage of the blossoms for engagement photo shoots.  Here are a few shots of my cherry blossom viewing.

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The cherry blossoms bloom for about 4-10 days every year – if you blink you might miss them. These trees were a gift from Japan to the City of Toronto and such a treasure for the Torontonians to enjoy. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015: Bee Hotels

 

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“Bee Hotel: a sustainable resting space for solitary pollinator bees.”

Recently, I have seen a number of bee hotels pop up throughout my neighbourhood.  Below are examples using mostly hollow bamboo stakes gathered in cans or boxes.

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The next photos are examples of bee hotels made from natural materials such as logs, twigs and pine cones.  These bee hotels are on display at a Toronto Botanical Gardens pollinator exhibit in First Canadian Place.

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A few years ago, I saw this cedar bee hotel at the Royal Winter Fair.  I snapped a photo of it because I thought it would be easy to replicate the concept using cedar scraps.

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For this year’s Earth Day project, we made our own bee hotel using scraps of 4X4 cedar left over from our deck project.

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The holes are about three inches deep using at long 1/2 inch wide drill bit. The unit is affixed the fence with a small L bracket. It is an easy project and we will likely make more.

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Happy Earth Day and thanks for stopping by!