...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


"Oh Gnome You Di-in't!"

Accessories to Vera's Gnome Costume
I've officially entered the stage of creating homemade Halloween costumes.  And let me tell you, I could hardly wait.  I grew up with my mom making many costumes from an angel and bumble bee to Lady Liberty and a clown (which my brother and I actually shared, attending alternating Halloween parties.)  Last year we didn't Trick or Treat, but Vera wore the standard infant pumpkin costume that was given to us by a friend.  We stopped at a couple friends' houses then took her out to dinner.  This year we may try to pull her in the wagon and see how much fun she has climbing the stairs to each front door, granted she doesn't get trampled by the herds of kids that swarm our square block in Bay View, which is known as the Gold Coast for candy.  Vera's L.A. cousins, Ryan and Quinn, eyed this costume idea many months ago and Ben and I thought we'd go for it because it's really quite appropriate for our setting.  We'll attempt to dress her as a Garden Gnome.  I use the word "attempt" because so far she wants nothing to do with the beard, though she's giddy about the cone-shaped hat.  This is one reason I'm not spending a boatload on the costume, she may only wear it for a photo-op.  I found a pair of brown pants and a blue turtleneck at the thrift store.  I'm shortening a thrifted patent leather belt with a big buckle that matches her black patent leather shoes.  And I made the beard and hat out of supplies I had readily available in my fabric cabinet and craft stash.  Now if can just get her to sit long enough in the garden, it might actually work.  Ha!

Last night was the last of my cooking classes for 2010.  In a way, it felt like the last day of school afterwards.  It was a jam-packed season of preserving and vegetarian cooking classes, but in most ways, it was worth it.  Now I can exhale.  I have about three months until my next class, followed by some introductory preserving classes this winter as well as planning for next season's preservation series.  So begins my "summer vacation."  If I had to write a report on "What I Plan to Do on My Summer Vacation," which will actually be my winter vacation, it would include tackling multiple knitting projects; organizing files, closets, and pantries; planning my 2011 garden; baking; cooking; and reading as well as visiting with friends, having Sunday dinners, and RELAXING--a coveted idea in my current life.  Of course Vera will be hanging out on this winter vacation with me and we plan to get outside every day whether it's in the winter stroller, on the sled, or playing in the snow; go to library story hour and playgroups, and get crafty--when can a young child be introduced to glue and safety scissors (as you can tell, I'm eager to get her crafting as well.)

Ben's leaf, circa 2000
As the warm season truly draws to a close, I'm realizing that I may need to mostly or partially bring my clothesline inside.  Friends have told me I can dry clothes outside all year, but I anticipate having to at least use the dryer for finishing them.  With this cold, moist air by the lake I can't see things getting 100% dry out there all winter, though for our electric bill's sake I wish they could.  (The solar panels can't come soon enough.)  So I was outside yesterday morning--one of my weekly laundry days--before dawn (with the exterior garage and house lamps spotlighting my work) and it was so peaceful.  The only sound was the rustling of trees in the wind.  Ah!  That sigh is the feeling I want to maintain as I slowdown and relax this winter (which is NOT here yet!)


  1. Your last paragraph really struck a chord with me. I grew up in Racine, and my mother hung the laundry outside during the summer and fall. Winter and spring, though, she hung the laundry "down cellar" as we called it. Dad put up the same kind of clothesline brackets in the basement for that. It took longer for the clothes to dry, but being close to Lake Michigan, it was the only way to get them dry in the winter.

    I love your blog!


  2. Your sewing is out of control!!! Amazing!! When is your shop opening?? I need me a repurposed appliqued dress!!! XO Karen