This project was a bit more involved than I had anticipated. It started out as walk down memory lane with my childhood Lolly Doll and my coworker preparing for her first child. I am certainly not a seamstress but I figured doll making couldn't be that difficult...or can it? I am convinced that with a pattern, I could have eliminated a lot of extra steps, ripping out of stitches, and do-overs. I made two heads because the first one was a disaster, but alas! I got back on the horse and finished it! I am quite proud of my first doll and plan to make two more as "spares" for the next baby shower or birthday party.
How is this being resourceful you may ask? I am expanding my repertoire of skills, not just in doll-making, but in the ability to look at something and replicate it through problem solving, trial & error, etc. My sewing skills are improving. I am also not supporting the China economy and/or a large big box store (e.g. Target). I think more and more people are appreciating homemade gifts. I am making the gift more personal because it took my time and will be unique from all of the other gifts. It is a gift of my time more than anything.
I attended a laundry class a few months ago hosted by a friend who makes soap. The class sounds silly, but it felt like I was re-connecting with my roots. The class took place in a small boutique clothing store and a handful of women attended. The instructed had her laundry products displayed on a large cutting table and stood under a row of spot lights. We all sat on the edge of seat, listening with earnest as the teacher talked about laundry. It made me think of the movie, "Calendar Girls" and the Women's Institute Chapter meetings.
I was absolutely stunned that I didn't know very much about laundry. At the class, I learned about spin cycles, detergents, water temperature, sorting clothes properly, and how to make my own laundry detergent. I decided to finally make some homemade laundry detergent today! When looking at the "ingredients" for the detergent, I was a bit skeptical that not much is used to make 1 gallon of detergent! If this is all it takes, then WOW! I'll never spend big $$ on the phosphate free Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, or BioKleen stuff!!
1 cup hot tap water
1.5 oz grated bar soap
1/4 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
2 T 20 Mule Team Borax
essential oils (optional)
Do your towels, and washcloths ever emit that stinky smell that never goes away despite continuous washing? This moldy, musty smell has mystified me for years and I finally decided to find out why they smell, and most importantly, how to get rid of the smell. I contacted my Busy Bea soapmaking friend and asked for her advice. Here is her response:
Taking Kristina's advice, I decided to try Borax because that is what I have on-hand. I put a 1/2 cup Borax in the washing machine with my towels and washcloths. I used the Deep Clean Sanitary Cycle which uses super hot water for both washing and rinsing. The entire cycle takes 2 hours!
The results: NO SMELL! I couldn't believe it! By finding a solution to the smell, I have increased the longevity of my towels, and therefore, fewer have to be cut up and used as rags. Thank you Kristina & thank you Borax!
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day---my second favorite holiday of the year! I love the act of giving valentines, chocolates, heart cookies, and flowers to friends. Sending store-bought valentines to Paul's grandparents just doesn't relay the virtual hug that I would like. Paul only sees his grandparents a few times each year. : ( Encouraging art creations with young children is very important to me so I decided to make valentines with Paul.
I keep cards that we receive and cut out the pictures & words for use as gift labels and card making throughout the years. To make the valentines, I cut the hearts and words off valentine cards from years past that I saved, along with some glitter, glue, and a piece of pink paper. Paul's little fingers knew instantly what to do. Using his fine motor skills, he squeezed glue on the back of hearts and pasted them to the paper. Paul especially enjoyed shaking the glitter! When the glue had dried, I cut three valentines from the piece of paper and placed them in extra envelopes that we had. Simple, thoughtful, and creative. Happy Valentine's Day!!
Tonight we had tuna sandwiches with sprouts. Yum! Sprouts are ridiculously expensive in the grocery store and also have unnecessary chemicals on them to keep them looking "fresh" and green. Making sprouts at home is so simple and affordable. All you need is a mason jar, a sprouting lid, and seeds. Sprouts are also very high in nutrition and good for you!
After several summers of keeping careful track of all my food canning adventures, I decided to organize them properly into a binder. In the past, they were on the computer which is not conveniently located in my kitchen where it is most needed.
I don't consider myself super artistic but consider this worthy to brag about! I created a unique page for each fruit, meat, and vegetable that I preserve. Each of these pages has hand-drawn food on a piece of cardstock paper. I even reserved a space for my husband's soda making experiments and my someday mead making adventures. Each section (or chapter) contains recipes, specific canning instructions for that particular fruit or vegetable, and notes from each year's crop production, price per pound, and suggestions for the following year. I typed this information up so it was a little more organized; but in the future, I will just hand-write my notes. This project seems a little tedious, but I've been meaning to get it finished for years. It took several evenings to complete the binder with 14 separate sections; but it looks beautiful and it's one more random project checked off my "to do list!" I was so inspired with the canning log that I decided to make one for cleaning recipes & soap making!
Every summer we pack our freezer full of berries and vegetables; and every spring, I purge the freezer of all these fruits and vegetables in preparation for the coming season. Contrary to what most people think, freezing food doesn't preserve it indefinitely. Food looses its nutrition, flavor, and freshness while frozen. It is recommended that food is consumed within a year after being frozen.
It is February, and strawberry season is only 4 months away. I have a gallon-size freezer bag full of strawberries. I can only make so many jars of jam, smoothies, and muffins with strawberries, so I decided to make fruit leather, which is commonly known as Fruit Roll-Ups. Making fruit leather requires heat because you are basically drawing the moisture out of the food. My options are: an electric food dehydrator, oven, or the sun. Living in the northwest completely rules out using the sun, and using the oven seems complicated, so I decided to use our electric food dehydrator which only gets used about once each year.
Some may say that using an electric food dehydrator isn't sustainable, which I agree, isn't. I am getting the added benefit of the heat it produces by using it in the winter when it's cold outside. I plan to create a solar dehydrator/oven this summer. More about that in the coming months...
The house smelled heavenly of strawberries! It smelled like I was canning jam which makes the home feel so cozy. After 7 hours the fruit leather was finished!! My little bear cub couldn't contain himself while I rolled the leather. He ravenously ate 2 rolls.