Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gutter Shelves for our Homeschool Room

I decided to try a new system for organizing the books for the kids this year. Since I'm schooling three now, plus I have a toddler, I was kind of freaking out for a few weeks, er months about the upcoming school year. Adding another child to the mix means of course, more resources and definitely figuring out how to organize those books, Cds, magazines, etc.  I saw quite a few photos out there about gutter shelves. I wasn't sure how it would work out, but I am SO incredibly pleased with the look of them, with the small amount of space they take up for what they actually do and with how practical they really are.
We bought two vinyl rain gutters and 4 pairs of the end pieces. It was about $20 for the gutters, total and about $4 per pair of ends. My husband did go back to the store and get the brackets. If you don't use the brackets, the gutters will look misshapen and warped. The brackets actually support the gutter and cause it to be straight throughout the length of it.

My husband pre-drilled holes and fastened the gutters into the studs with screws and I'm glad he did. I ended up putting a lot of books on them and I don't think they would have been supported had he not.

Since we put the brackets on after securing the shelves to the wall, we had to cut the long flap on the back of the brackets so they would slide from the side and into the center of the gutter. If you decide to use the bracket prior to, you could fasten the shelves to the wall with the bracket. We used the bracket simply as reinforcement. Luckily, my husband figured out how to manipulate the bracket (cutting off the long flap) to make it work. Phew.

Have a look to see how we are using ours. I have designated one shelf per child. Our shared resources are on the regular bookshelf. Since we use, our family studies the same core subjects and therefore shares many resources. More to come about the rest of the room.

 You can see the brackets about halfway across. We split the 10 ft gutter in half by sawing it with a simple hacksaw. Then, sanded the edges. Some other blogs say to glue on the end caps, but we didn't do that since the ones we purchased were a snap-fit that had foam that created a good seal. 
 You can fit at least 3 books from front to back. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


This great pesto recipe is from a good friend, Carol who said she got it from the Moosewood Cookbook.
When I made it I wasn't sure if by 3 cups of basil, it meant jam-packed cups or loosely packed. So, I played it by ear and used 6 loosely packed cups. I like how mine came out. Carol had served her pesto over a spread out block of cream cheese to be used as a cracker dip. Ay May Zing!
I put about half of mine in a ziploc and froze it for another time. With it being BASIL season, I feel like this recipe is going to be a staple for me! You can put pesto over pasta, veggies, potatoes, chicken, etc.

This photo was taken after the fact. Grrrr. I hadn't thought to photograph it until we had almost demolished the bowl. It doesn't look like the most appetizing thing, but it is very savory!


3 c. cleaned basil leaves(no stems)
5 large cloves of garlic( or to taste)
3/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. butter, melted
salt to taste

Place all above ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse or blend till creamy to your desired consistency.