Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A peek

I've been busy lately at the sewing machine and in the kitchen working on items for the shop. I'm really excited about the projects... I just wish there were more hours in the day!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

So sweet

I was checking out Etsy last night and found this adorable print from theblackapple. Wouldn't it be perfect for a nursery? You can find it here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Natural Laundry Detergent

We've been using this homemade laundry detergent mix for about a month now, and I love it so. Clothes smell so good and fresh and not chemically fragranced. SO nice.
It's a super simple recipe:

-1 bar grated castile soap (any pure vegetable soap works - we've used Dr. Bronner's and Carter's so far - both are great. I'll hopefully be making my own soon. Can't wait!). Grate it on your cheese grater. It works out to be about 2 cups.
-1 cup borax
-1 cup washing soda

Mix it all together and store in a glass jar. Just use 1 tablespoon for a light load and 2 tablespoons for a large or really dirty load. It's not going to suds up a lot, but don't worry, it's cleaning!

And as an alternative to fabric softener, I've been dumping about 1/4 cup of vinegar in the liquid fabric softener cup in the washer. Once your clothes are dry the vinegar smell goes away. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fairy Tale Illustrations

Here's that book I found last weekend. I love the simple line illustrations.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Halloween crafts

Felt like sharing a little Halloween fun today. I found these invitations in the October issue of Living. You can download and print them out here and here. Aren't they great? I can't decide which one I love more.
And even if you're not having a party, these Halloween crackers would be fun to give to your favorite little goblins.

Unrelated to Halloween.. the other night I found a Flickr group called "How I knit, purl, crochet, or spin!" I started watching the videos of how people knit and was completely surprised to learn that people knit differently. ha! I never thought about it until I saw those videos.
Now I know that I knit in an English style, but the continental style seems much, much faster. Check out this video in particular. There are other videos that are slower demos so you can see what's going on.

So since then I've been stubbornly knitting continental style.. it's slow going but I may be getting the hang of it. That bag I've been working on is the perfect thing to practice on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flea Market Finds

We had a nice morning at the flea market on Sunday. There didn't seem to be a whole lot there at first, but I managed to spend $14. :)

I got 10 of these red napkins! (I think they're napkins..)
A little Santa dish. Don't you love his eyes?

Wallpaper borders. The small one is only 2 inches wide.

Old puzzles.. the one with the girl has a date of 1941!

I found two quilts.. actually the first one is a quilt top. I almost passed on the second one - it's in bad shape - but I couldn't leave that purple fabric behind! I can't bear to cut into it so I don't really know what I'm going to do with it yet.

I also found a few children's books including a Grimm's Fairy Tales book. It has some nice line drawings in it, great for embroidery. I'll share soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Happy Equinox! Hope you all had a great weekend. We had beautiful weather here.. so I didn't do the tomatoes yet.. but I knitted and read outside, went to the flea market, and Brian and I walked the dogs down a favorite trail of ours. I found a few neat things at the flea market, I'll share those tomorrow. :)

My mom spent most of last week making pesto. Now the freezer is stocked and we have enough to last us until next year.. probably longer! I've seen several recipes online for pesto but not the one she uses, so I figured I'd share it here.

-2 c. basil
-3 cloves garlic
-1/2 c. parmesan cheese
-3/4 c. olive oil
-1/2 c. pine nuts
-1 tsp. salt

She just blends it all up in a blender (we don't have a large enough food processor, but I'm sure it would work much better then the blender). She saves some of the 1/2 c. of pine nuts and mixes them in after everything else is blended, leaving them whole. This is optional, but very good!

And because she just puts the jars in the freezer, she saves old jars from stuff like salsa throughout the year and uses those. When we want some for pasta or whatever, we just scrape off what we need, put it in a mug and microwave it for about 10 seconds and it's ready to use.

We eat it on pasta mostly, but I LOVE making pizza with it. We use the pesto instead of pizza sauce, then add the cheese, pieces of chicken, cut up tomato, green peppers, whatever. It's SO good.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bees and Gourds

I'm really feeling the shift of seasons here in Michigan. The sun is noticeably lower in the sky, the shadows are different. I've been having to close my window at night (so sad! I miss hearing the crickets). I was out wandering around the yard yesterday and my little prairie was completely alive with all sorts of bees and other insects, busy getting ready for winter.

That big one there is a carpenter bee. They live in the telephone pole back by my vegetable garden. I love that they're back there.. whenever I go to the garden I peek in on them to see what's going on.

And the honey bees! Isn't she just the most beautiful creature? I could watch them all day. I can't wait to get my own hives.

And because autumn's in the air, I thought I'd share a fun craft I found on Martha's site using gourds. Isn't it cute? Find it here.

Enjoy the last couple of days of summer.. I'll be busy putting up tomatoes and hopefully do some thrifting. I'm itching to find some treasures. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Netflix Origami

I was over checking out the Craftzine and I came across a site dedicated to Netflix origami. Awesome!

We just joined Netflix a couple weeks ago because we want to see all of the Academy Award winners for Best Picture, so I was excited to find this site. I immediately grabbed the flaps that were in the recycling bin and made the box and the bullet plane. I'm going to make a few envelopes for love notes for B. Would that be tacky? lol

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


For the past few weeks I've been busy reading, researching, sketching, planning, dreaming, brainstorming, driving the boyfriend crazy, designing, writing and creating so I can open an Etsy shop. And finally, today, I listed my first item!

It may seem odd that the first thing I listed is a set of drop spindles, but there you have it. I find them fun to make, and back when I wanted to learn to spin I didn't see the reason why I should buy a spindle when I could make my own. Hopefully not everyone thinks this way! ha!
I have lots of plans for this little shop - fabric items, graphic design stuff, photography maybe, knitting (but I may need to get faster first!), baby items, bath and body stuff, paper items.. I just hope I'll eventually narrow it down a bit and have some sort of focus. I have a lot of passions... :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rainy weekend knitting

Two days of non-stop rain over the weekend encouraged me to start three different knitting projects. I don’t really know why I do that when I could have actually finished something if I had just stuck with one. I guess I just get too excited and inspired to limit myself to one project? Oh well! The upside is I do tend to finish things!

Here's what I started:

-"Maine Morning Mitts" in the softest yellow cotton ever. I got the pattern from here. It was over in the "For You" section, but I don't see it there now! It's originally from this book.

-A little teddy bear from this book. I'm borrowing it from the library but I might just buy it - lots of cute stuff in here.

-The drawstring pouch from this book. I plan to make a few to use as nicer (and environmentally friendly!) alternatives to wrapping paper this Christmas.

What are you knitting right now?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Best cookies ever

Here's a little fact about me: I love cookies. Like really love them. I'd pick cookies over pretty much anything. And the classic chocolate chip cookie (homemade of course - always homemade) is my favorite.
The recipe I use is right on the back of the Toll House bag. I've tried other recipes and they're just not good to me. The only change I make is instead of 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, I do 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour and 1 c. all-purpose. It makes them SO much better. Chewier and better. Oh and no nuts. My dad loves them with walnuts.. crazy! :)
So whip up a batch of homemade cookies and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hello Autumn

Asters blooming in the native prairie garden.

Apples in the old orchard next door.

A baby blanket ready to quilt. I made the top in the early summer and saved the quilting part for the fall.

Delicious vegetable barley soup from here. We add whatever's in the house or out in the garden. This batch had corn, green beans and potatoes in addition to the stuff in the recipe. Pair it with fresh homemade bread.. yum!

Some goldenrod and grasses also in the prairie garden.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I want to live here.

Isn't this just the perfect house? I want to curl up on that couch and knit while a snow storm blows outside. Not that I want it to snow or anything. I'm just sayin' if it were it would be nice to be in that house.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homemade Lip Balm

I've been making my own lip balm for a few years now, and I love the recipe I use so I thought I'd share it here. It's very, very simple. This makes about 3 tubes.

-2 tsp. beeswax (chop or grate it, then measure)
-2 1/4 tsp. jojoba oil (you can use any oil you like, but for me jojoba's the only way to go)
-about 6 drops of peppermint essential oil (again, you can use anything you like. Grapefruit would be good!)

Melt wax and jojoba oil together in the top of a double boiler, or you could probably put it in the microwave for a bit. Stir to combine. Then remove it from the heat and add the essential oil. Pour into your containers, but don't fill up completely yet. Wait a minute or two, keeping the reserved mixture melted, then top the containers with the rest of the mixture. This gives you a nice looking top. Let cool for about 20 minutes and enjoy!
I like a bit of a waxier lip balm, so if you want it glossier just add a bit more jojoba oil.. maybe 3 tsp? Experiment to get it how you like it, that's half the fun!


Edited to add:
There's been a few questions, so I thought I'd add my answers here so they're all in one place.

-Where do you get those screw bottom containers?
I get them from a variety of places but the prices on ebay are the best I've found. Just do a search for "lip balm tube." I also save old ones I've used up and reuse those (only for myself of course!)

-How do you pour the balm in the tube? Do you just pour it from the pot?
I used to use a plastic pipette to get the melted balm into the tubes, but I found a little enamel pot at the flea market and I use that now. The pipettes work fine but the balm will harden in it if you're not fast enough. You can also find these on ebay. Search for "plastic pipette."

-Where do you get your beeswax? Online? Or can I use the left over wax from my honey and just try to remove the remaining honey?
I buy my beeswax from Mountain Rose Herbs or from local beekeepers (check farmers markets). Often they will have little chunks of wax by their displays of honey. I don't see why you couldn't use the wax that's in honey.. I've seen other lip balm recipes calling for honey but whenever I try it the honey separates from the balm, but if you get most off it should work!

-Any suggestions for what type of beeswax to use or where to get it? I noticed "pure," "unfiltered," "pellets," and all other sorts online. What's the difference?
I would take the term "pure" to mean it's just beeswax, no other ingredients are added (also look for 100% beeswax).

Filtered would mean that it's been strained of any other matter that may be in the wax (dirt, dead bees, etc). For use in lip balm I would look for filtered.

The pellets are just beeswax that is formed into little pellets. The pellets would be very easy to use, but I've never bought it because it's a bit more expensive, and, well, I can be sort of cheap sometimes. :)

One type of beeswax I would avoid is the "white" beeswax. The whiteness is obtained by bleaching the wax and I would think some of the many good, healing qualities of the wax would be lost when it's bleached. And I would be worried that some of the bleaching residue would remain on the wax.

I buy everything from Mountain Rose Herbs and I'm always impressed. They're the best company I've found that sells this type of supplies and I love that most everything is organic. They also supply lots of information. You can find the jojoba oil and the peppermint essential oil there as well.

-What sort of other oils would be nice in the lip balm?
I’ve seen different lip balm recipes calling for different carrier oils, including: olive oil, safflower oil, almond oil, castor oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil. Sometimes they’re combined in one recipe; like castor and coconut oils; or almond, olive, and castor oils. I’ve never tried any of them because I love the jojoba oil.

And as for essential oils, I would think the citrus oils, like grapefruit, lemon, lime, or tangerine would be nice. Stick with edible stuff.. I don’t think lip balm scented with fir needle essential oil would be good, for example. Also be careful which oils you choose, some need to be avoided if you’re pregnant and others can’t be used on your lips or other sensitive areas. Mountain Rose Herbs has all of this information with their essential oils.

-Do you know about any laws in selling lip balm to say a local co-op?
No, I’m not familiar with the laws regarding selling products you’ve made. I would think some sort of preservative would be necessary, like vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract but I could be wrong.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Good Old Days

Enjoyed a much loved tradition this weekend. :)