Spring Has Froze

Greetings from cold and snowy Indiana!  Spring is struggling to get going this year and our spring projects are a bit slower than we had planned.  In my cup this morning is regular old coffee with stevia and almond milk.

DSCN3224-webreadyOne of our projects was to build a backyard chicken coop for the chickie babies.  Not so much babies anymore…they are all feathered in now and getting big.  But they are growing fast and outgrowing the dog cage they are in.  We have all the supplies for the coop…just waiting for the weather to cooperate.  So far our diva dog Pepper has been very good with them, so we are hoping she will turn out to be a good protector and not an antagonist.
I had hoped to get the early spring garden in but again, trying to work around the weather has made it a
challenge.  pantryMy seed starting indoors was a
big failure and I haven’t had a chance to redo the heirloom tomatoes and peppers I wanted to start. Are you seeing a pattern?  lol  Even so, God is in control so in His capable hands I will leave it all and just take things one day at a time.

One of the indoor projects that we did finish turning a spare closet into pantry.  Hubby and son work hard and got it finished and I got it filled it up.  It is so nice being able to have everything in one place now…and fairly organized.  They did a great job!  Our washer also sprung a leak and thankfully hubby and son were able to fix that as well saving us from having to buy a new washer.  We are also waiting for better weather to finish the roof.
Another things I’ve been up to is I have been slowly working on restarting my craft business.  I had it going successfully for a long time, then decided to pull the plug grayshawl1when it (and other things) started taking a toll on my health.  Things have changed a lot in the short few years since I stopped and since I want to do this right I am not rushing things.  The most time consuming part for me is taking pictures of everything and listing them.  I have lots to list so taking pictures, editing and listing is a slow process.  Despite that I find myself enjoying this much more than I ever have.

That’s it for now.   I hope all is well where you are, I’d love to hear how your spring is going.   Until next time, grace and peace!

Psalm 51:1-2
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

 

Happy New Year!

Wow, it’s been a little while since my last post. After my laptop died and then my tablet shattered, my online activities were greatly diminished.  They still are to a point, but thanks to a new tablet some things are a bit easier.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Years.  We didn’t go anywhere and didn’t have anyone over (everyone seemed to have their own plans already) so ours was nice quiet time at home.

Now that it’s the new year, I’m already thinking about the gardens.  I am making lists of seeds that I’d like to order and starting to draw out where everything is going to go.  I am also shopping for clearance garden supplies…you can get some great buys this time of year.  Tomatoes and peppers will be started here soon so I need to inventory my supplies to see what I’ll be needing.

I am also re-launching my craft business.  I was doing quite well but a few years ago I with everything that was going on at that time, depression set in and I quickly got burned out trying to keep up with it.  I thought it best to step back from it and focus on myself and my family.  The time seemed right to revive it and I’m excited.  While I will have a link to my business, this blog isn’t for selling anything.

I am still committed to minimizing my home and life.  I did quite a bit of decluttering in 2015, not as much as I wanted.  Being a borderline hoarder I think I did pretty good.  I found a book online by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I am hoping to get it. I think one of the biggest roadblocks I have to decluttering is letting go. If I can change this mind set I will be on my way.

I am off to start planning our sons birthday day. He wants to start the morning off with French toast and bacon, ending with dinner at his favorite restaurant.  He is growing into a fine young man.  I adore him!

Until next time…grace and peace.

Frugal Friday: Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

15-06-26liquidsoap1One of my favorite bar soaps is a goats milk soap I get from a local store.  When they get down to a sliver, instead of throwing them away I’ve been saving in a zip bag.  There are also a few Ivory soap bar slivers in the bag as well.  Now I’m making a very easy and frugal liquid hand soap.  You don’t have to wait until you have a bag of soap slivers saved up, you can buy your favorite bar soap to shred to make the liquid soap.  Castile is one of the more popular soaps to use, however Dove is one of the few bar soaps that doesn’t really work well with this recipe.

15-06-26liquidsoap2The basic recipe I’m using is 8 ounces of bar soap to 1 gallon of water.  I made mine today with 4 ounces of shredded bar soap and 2 quarts of water.  There are lots of recipes out there and the amounts are generally the same.

The instructions are simple.  Bring your water to a boil.  Shred your soap, remove water from heat and add soap.  Stir until all the soap is melted.  Let cool 12-24 hours.  Once the soap is all melted in the water you can add lotion, vitamin E, coconut oil, essential oil…what ever you like.  I added a tbsp. of coconut oil.  I like to wait until the soap mixtu15-06-26liquidsoap3re is cooled some before adding anything like that because I want to preserve all as much of the health benefits of the ingredients as I can.  Some people also like to add glycerine to the mixture (2 tbsp. per gallon.) That’s up to you, it works just fine without it.   Once the soap is completely cooled it should gel.  Just mix it with a whisk or use a blender to loosen it up enough to pour.  Pour into your waiting recycled pump dispensers and the soap is ready to use.  Use a pretty soap dispenser and homemade label and you have a great gift!

Have you tried making your own liqu15-06-26liquidsoap4id soap?  What is your favorite bar soap to use?

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Favorite Finds Friday, June 12

Here are a few of the most interesting, fun, practical, weird, frivolous, informative, creative, yummy, etc. finds I have found on the internet this week. Let me know what you think!

glutenfreedumpcakeGluten Free Blueberry Dump Cake from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

While I don’t need to be gluten free, my sister-in-law and her two daughters do.  So for holidays and family gatherings, this has to be taken into consideration.  It is nice that we can still have yummy treats and everyone can partake.  And we all love blueberries!  Although this recipe is not dairy free, I would think that using non-dairy milk and oil, and fresh whipped coconut milk whipped cream would work.  This recipe also links a recipe for gluten free vanilla cake mix, which is also not dairy free.   I don’t know a dairy alternative to cultured buttermilk blend powder or whey powder, but the Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix is dairy free.

Achillea_millefolium__Common_YarrowUses for Yarrow from Urban Prepper Chicks Herb of the Week

I have yarrow growing in my garden.  I got it a few years ago because it was an herb and I thought the flower was pretty.  To he honest, I had no idea about what it was or how to use it.  I’ve since researched it and have found that while it doesn’t have a lot of use as a cooking herb, it’s a very useful medicinal herb.

 

 

cucumbersaladGrandma’s Cucumber Salad from Lauren’s Latest

I TOTALLY understand this post.  I have several childhood favorites that my grandmother made and never wrote down the recipe.  I did convince her one time to give me one of her recipes and while she told me what she put in it, she had no idea about measurements because she did it.  Even with her directions I couldn’t make that recipe.  Anyway, I love cucumbers and I think my guys will LOVE this recipe.  I can’t wait to try it once my cucumber plants start producing…I hope.  Last year my cucumber vines grew really well…and not one cucumber.  Not one.

15HerbsforHeadaches15 Herbs for Headaches from The Homestead Garden

I suffer from frequent headaches.  While I used to suffer migraines, I am very thankful that I haven’t had one in several years.  What I mainly suffer from is sinus headaches.  And I’m always on the lookout for something natural that will help.  I am certainly going to check these out.

 Shabby-Chic Inspiration Crochet Doilies from Anabelia Craft Design

These are beautiful.  And the gift package idea is so elegant.  Everything on this blog is beautiful.  Such talent.  There is a link to the pattern toward the end where you can get the PDF.  I can’t wait to try a pattern or two, but I have really enjoyed browsing.  But these doilies are next in line on my project list.  Next after all the other projects that I have yet to finish.  Well, there is always room for one more….

That’s all my finds for this week. More next time! If you come across something you think I might be interested in (or maybe you posted it yourself), leave me a comment and I’ll check it out.

Colossians 3:23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Favorite Finds Friday

Here are a few of the most interesting, fun, practical, weird, frivolous, informative, creative, yummy, etc. finds I have found on the internet this week.  Let me know what you think!

woven-rag-rug-1Woven Rag Rug from Craft Passion

I’ve always been interested in rag rugs, but never had the patience to sit down and try to make one.  Which is funny because I do have the patience to sit and crochet a big afghan.  This project is a great way to recycle those old sheets into something useful other than rags.  It doesn’t look too hard and the finished product is really nice.  I’d love a couple of these for my kitchen!

Hidden-sources-of-BPA-and-why-alternatives-may-be-worseHidden Sources of BPA (And Why You Should Care) from Wellness Mama

A couple years ago Hubby and I made a concerted effort to remove sources of BPA in our home.  We’ve done a lot since then, replacing a lot of plastic with glass and metal.  That was actually the easy part.  There is a lot more BPA (and other junk) in our lives than we realize, like canned goods.  It is really hard to find canned good that don’t use it, it’s almost easier just to avoid buying canned goods when possible.

CreamOfMushroom-800x533Homemade Cream of Something Soup by Once A Month Meals

I find that so many recipes today start with a can of “cream of (fill in the blank) soup”.  Convenient, yes.  For most people.  But not so convenient if you need or want to avoid some of the ingredients they contain (especially dairy for me), if you are concerned about BPA inside the cans, or if you plain just run out.  This recipe for Homemade Cream of Something Soup is actually quite handy to have on hand for everyone and even has instructions for freezing.  I made a tuna casserole with this and it was great!

hot-process-soap-recipe-2Homemade Hot Process Soap Recipe in a Crock Pot by The Prairie Homestead

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making soap.  She mentions a fear of the lye, and that has always been why I hesitated.  I even have the lye, I just haven’t been brave enough to actually try it.  This article has given me a little encouragement in the direction of trying it, and maybe this weekend while the guys are fishing I can muster up enough courage to do it.

That’s all my finds for this week.  More next time! If you come across something you think I might be interested in (or maybe you posted it yourself), leave me a comment and I’ll check it out.

Colossians 3:23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

 

Being Frugal: Cloth Napkins

napkinsI grew up using paper napkins. Actually…we used paper towels as napkins. Quick, easy and no clean up.

But paper napkins just don’t seem very frugal to me. Cloth napkins are more environmentally friendly (if you’re concerned about that), last much longer (I haven’t had to replace any yet) and seem to work much better. And cloth napkins seem to add a special little something extra to our meals. It’s nothing to toss a couple napkins into a load of laundry that I was going to do anyway.

If you keep an eye out while you’re shopping many times you will find cloth napkins on clearance racks, especially after holidays. Cloth napkins are especially frugal when you recycle some old fabric to make them. Scrap fabrics from craft projects, old sheets, shirts, towels, table cloths or curtains etc. The fabric store I shop at always has a bargain bin of scrap fabrics that work wonderfully for napkins. And cloth napkins are easy to make, even with my limited sewing ability.  I think they would make great gifts!

So how do you make them? First cut your fabric into squares of your desired size. My store bought cloth napkins measure about 16″ but you can make them any size that works for you. I like mine to be about 12″. What ever size you want, add an inch to allow for your hems. Fold the edges over about 1/4″ and press with your iron, fold them again and press, then pin in place. Sew. I usually do one side at a time because my corners come out funny if I don’t (I’ve yet to learn how to sew pretty corners!) If you are blessed to have a serger, you don’t have to worry about adding the extra inch and hemming the edges. Now, if you are up for a bigger challenge…a table cloth would be made the same way only bigger.

What are you working on?

Crochet Project – Afghan

I love to do all sorts of hand crafts.  I especially love crochet.

One of the main problems I have is that I spend so much time making things for other people, I don’t always make things for myself.  I made the hat below for a relative that was just diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo.

20140627_100656

One day while I was making the bed, I starting thinking about all the afghans I had made as gifts. And I realized that I haven’t made any afghans for our home. Not for hubby, not for our son, not for me. None. Nada. The big zero. So I sat down and started playing with yarn to try and come up with something. I got nothing. Nada. The big zero. It wasn’t until I had come across a picture of a granny square sampler afghan that had started building my idea. At first I considered making a variety of granny squares, but as I was making them, I didn’t like how they came out. I frogged most of them except for one…the solid granny square.

I liked it. I made up a few more and set them together to see what they would look like. I liked it. But if I wasn’t going to make different squares, I wanted a little something to create a visual contrast. I added an off white border. I liked it.

I made more.  I liked it.

I measured it out, to make an afghan for my bed I need a total of 108 granny squares. I don’t know how I am going to put it all together yet, whether to sew the squares or crochet them.

But I will keep you updated on my progress.  I am also working on another hat for a good friend.  I love to do all sorts of hand crafts.  I especially love crochet.

Proverbs 31:13 – She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.