...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.


Spring Clean(s)ing

Re-alphabetized spice cabinet
Grain and bean pantry
Ben's been home all week on staycation and he lovingly chose to spent the time doing a deep spring cleaning with me.  We looked at our weekly chore list with its less frequent (monthly, bi-monthly, six-monthly) tasks and built a list of our cleaning goals for the week.  He tackled window, screens, and floors early in the week (yes, I know he's a dream!) and I managed to vacuum the (unfinished) basement, clean inside cabinets, reorganize shelves, and pare down.  We make a great cleaning team.  Though we've been getting rid of more things in the last year or so it never ceases to amaze me what we're still hanging on to.  I was busy Freecycling, donating, and recycling at the dump this week.  I can confidently say that the flow of possessions going out of the house now far outweighs what's coming in.  It feels great; there's more room to think and live.  Now let's keep it that way.

Last night was to be the kick-off of our regular Craft Night at a girlfriend's house.  She recently got a sewing machine and is excited to work on reconstructing some thrifted clothing.  I simply wanted to knit.  We were joined by one other friend who is in town for the week and spent most of the evening sipping vino, eating, and chatting.  The extent of our "crafting" was an attempt to give my friend a demo on her new sewing machine.  Upon closer examination, I realized it was the type of machine I remember using in junior high Home Ec.  It's a sturdy machine, but I've been spoiled by my extremely user friendly version.  If you'll recall, technical manuals and I don't mix so I referred my friend to her godmother who is scheduled to give her a demo soon.  Instead we went over the basic anatomy and physiology of her machine and skimmed the surface of pattern language and symbols.  Perhaps as our craft nights develop we'll actually make some progress though sipping wine and catching up with girlfriends isn't a bad way to pass the time either.

On a crafting note, I finally delved into my pile of upcycled materials last weekend and crossed an item off my list.  I had a fish bowl full of metal canning lids that are not reusable.  As of last year I am using reusable lids so I shouldn't have this stockpile in the future.  I'd been wanting to make a "Memory" game--one of my favorites from childhood--though I wasn't sure how I would go about getting two of every image for the game pieces.  I wasn't about to hand draw them, though I didn't want to print something from the internet and use up all that colored ink.  I finally got the idea--though I cannot for the life of me remember which fellow craft blogger inspired me--to cut out images from magazines or colorful paper.  On my craft shelf, I have a stash of interesting pages and papers that I save for bookmaking purposes.  I raided this box and found all kinds of cool pieces to use for my game as well as some circles cut out from paperboard food boxes.  As long as enough of both images are the same to indicate a match, they don't have to be identical.  I used glue to attach them to the indented side of the canning lids and stacked them inside a fancy reusable (plastic) gelato container--a perfect fit.  Until Vera understands the concept of "Memory" we can play it as a matching game.

Colorful "Memory" game pieces
Looks like I need a few more pieces to complete the set.

Perfect storage container

Who's winning?
French bread fresh from the oven
Aside from cleaning, I've had time to do a bit of baking this week--gluten-free buckwheat chocolate chip cookies, French bread, GF/vegan Banana Chocolate Cream Pie.  Just getting warmed up for the next food holiday this coming weekend--Easter.  We celebrate Easter for it's pagan roots of fertility--I'm hoping to explain the eggs and rabbits thing to Vera this week--or at least read a book or two depicting these symbols.  We were on the fence about putting together an Easter basket for V, but I decided that if I forgo all the unnecessary candy then I can probably handle giving her a basket.  I've included a small pair of gardening gloves, a tomato growing kit, some local honey sticks (her favorite), a butterfly bubble wand and homemade bubble solution, and some felt pieces to make a bunny face (an idea I got from our Tuesday library story hour group--felt boards are awesome!)  I'm hoping to do some natural egg dying on Saturday and hide her basket on Sunday.  We're talking about making a day trip to some sort of nature preserve then we'll cap it off with a quiet Easter dinner at home Sunday night.
Vera's alternative Easter basket

Cutout bunny on felt board


  1. I came across your blog recently. I'm not sure where, since I read so many of them! Anyway. I love what you've done with the lids! Very cute and clever.

  2. Thanks. I'm always looking for ideas to reuse and upcycle, especially things that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Thanks for reading!