Simple Wreath Greetings to ya!

There’s always time in each season to update my front door wreath.  I find it motivating and inspiring!  I had found these DARLING vintage lady bugs at an estate sale, which is a convenient place to find all those darling vintage somethings.  When you find these simple nothings that would seem so unimportant and make them a highlight to something important, such as a wreath on my front door, they become not nothing.  But something.

lady bug wreath

Trace a plate, guestimate how many leaves you’ve made up for how big a plate you should go for.  The plate I started with was 7 1/2 inches across and the wreath ended up being 10 1/2 inches across.   When placing the leaves on the cardboard, put a thick layer of hot glue so the leaves can sit more upright and not laying flat down.  I let the glue harden just a tiny bit, so when the paper was pressed in, they’d stand up without much babysitting.

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When making the leaves, tear out a leaf type shape (mine are 1×2″), fold in the middle, then scrunch the fold.  It’s a good project to pull out when the TV’s on to make up the amount you’ll want (mine has 76 leaves but I could have used a few more to make it fuller).  The lady bugs, I just clipped the wires off, dab on hot glue and stick it on a leaf where it’s most visible and most charming.
paper leaf

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Our Waldorf School

 

My kids are an inspiration to me!  Every step in this exhausting parenthood process is so full of inspiration, it’s exhausting!

Waldorf chalk boards

I’m so very thankful to our school.  It’s a Waldorf Inspired Public Charter (which there are not enough of them in this world) and it’s influence in our home was a perfect match.  Granted not all families are able to enjoy all the benefits of the Waldorf curriculum, but our family does.

bread and challah

The school requires so much art and enjoyment of natural learning from our girls that when they come home, it just oozes out of them.  In the form of paper scraps, and yard balls, and inventions, and rocks/mud/bugs/grass/stick life.

Oh the ooze!

Such a great community

I Need Color In My Home.

I’m in love with color!

embroidery     Nothing quite pushes all those happy buttons like the color wheel.  You get a perfect combination of blues, pinks, greens, yellows, and reds together and I know the Lord delights in it just as I.  The home made of mature beige and ivory is only a background in this house.  The life that bright happy colors breathe is the kinds of air I want close.  I’ll have that air in my home.

pillow wheels

And so I made a pillow.  And I will make more to come.

Because I NEED color in my home.

hand embroidery

Pillow

Repurposed Sheets and Fort Kits

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Our home is small.  Back in the 40’s when it was built, I’m sure it was considered a decent size.  And even after a bedroom and larger bathroom addition, I bet they thought it was grand.  But when you put three kids and their parents, a dog, and two home businesses into 700 square feet, you get some very tight moments.  I’ve tried to section off the house when I’m working.  The kids can play in this area, and as long as they clean up, they can do pretty much any crazy imaginational play they want.  The routine has been to play school time, craft time, snack time, ninja sneaking/ballerina dancing time, and fort time in that order.

fort play

And almost always forts are the hardest thing to clean up.  Tears!  Tears ensue because of all the work putting it up and their expectations of sleeping in it for the night.  I never said they could sleep in it, mind you, it’s just those high hopes.

fort kit bag

So my high hopes this year was to make them a fort kit.  It was such an easy process to sew Tshirt yarn ties to the ends of sheets, I started making more and using up my vintage fabric stash.  I’ve got an etsy shop and I thought I’d test the waters to see if they’d sell (which they’re selling wonderfully).  So here’s my shameless plug for my shop, or if you’re so inclined, inspiration to put a kit together yourself.  It’s been very worth it for our tiny home.

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The idea of repurposing sheets to be used in kid play makes my heart happy!

Make un-awesome shoes awesome.

fabric painted shoes  If you’re got a pair of un-awesome shoes, perhaps consider this:

Making them awesome!

My daughter had a pair of worn out fabric shoes that had paint stains all over them.  The tips were separating from the rubber sole and they looked so shabby.  So this project wasn’t much of a risk, ‘cuz if we didn’t like it, they’d just get thrown away anyhow.  But thankfully we’re both quite happy with the end results.  The red makes them pop and the hand drawn details make it personal.

Needs:

fabric paint

paint brush

Sharpie

Un-awesome fabric shoes

un-awesome shoesHow to:

Paint the entire shoe with fabric paint.  Tape off any of the shoe where you don’t want paint.  Or run the risk, like I did, and just paint very carefully.  You can always sharpie over mistakes later.  Let it dry and put on one or two more coats.  Allow to dry completely.  Once dry, begin the best part, doodling!!  The sharpie works wonderfully.  Make sure whatever your create can be re-created on the other shoe as well.  Have fun being awesome!

red shoes waiting to be doodled on

This idea was inspired by The Hidden Seed.  Thank you Elsita!

 

 

Fall Front Door

acorn front door

My front door decor for the fall consists of a sporadic amount of pumpkins and this simple piece of chalkboard I found at a school supply store.  It costs me about $3 and all I added was a strip of ribbon taped to the back.  I sketched the anatomy of an acorn I found off of pinterest.   It’s been a fun thing to come home to!

acorn anatomy

Peach Canning Adventure

canned peachesI love to can peaches!  In fact, I love to can most anything!  “Can, can, can you do the can can?” goes through my head this time of the year constantly… and gets stuck up in there bouncing around and driving me crazy.  Canning is one of the reasons I haven’t post in two weeks.  I find it very hard to do everything I want to.  So I’ve decided I will do only a few things and do them well.  And choosing which ones need to be quality work and which (like “folded” towels) are not so much quality… more quantity!  But carrying out that objective when you add all the very basic household responsibilities is a very heavy load.  Expectations of your home and yourself have to change.  I am my biggest critique.  But being a gentle, not lazy, but gentle critique helps me not get too tired or too worked up when the To-Do list gets long.  Fruit flies are my nemesis!  Jars and rings are my game!  I am Julie… hear me…  hum.   “Can, can, can you do the can can?”

It’s just a season!

I was hoping to show you all the in’s and out’s of canning but I’ve found I’m not a very meticulous canner.  So I’ll show you my strategy in a very tiny kitchen.  What’s worked over the years and what hasn’t.  How you can involve your kids but still get work done around them.  I’ve researched a couple gals that I feel do a wonderful job.  This gal and this gal, who’s a new canner, and this article on canning without sugar, are all a similar approach to how I’ve canned for years.

And it’s very simple even if you’ve never boiled a jar before.  Start with a small batch of 6 or 7 jars.  Don’t try and do it all but start small.  Especially if you have babies.  Back when my kiddos were babies, I would pace myself and do two batches.  The next day do two batches.  And then the next… ’till the fruit was all done.  It did require more clean up time but I felt it was less stressful and therefore less of a difficult impact on the home and my very patient husband.

utensils for blanchingThe night before, stash your dishwasher with jars, rings and lids so they’re all washed and ready to go the next day.  In this photo I have as many pots as I can to get the peaches going.  You need to pull the skins off with the hot water, then plunge into your cold water so it stops the cooking process.  As you get more peaches done, the process can slow down (especially if you’re boiling the jars and not using a pressure canner).  So as the process slows down I remove a pan or two, to free up the other burner for the big water canner or pressure canner.  The slotted spoon helps with the removing of hot peaches from hot water and I use it to plunge the peaches in the hot water so I won’t burn my hands from the splash.

box of peaches to canI’ll set the box of peaches up close with a tall chair.  My sink is across the kitchen, so this square is my sacred space.  That’s why God made baby gates!  I’ll put a rug down between the oven and sink to help with the water spillage so no one slips and it’s really easy to throw in the wash afterwards.

kids can help canI set my older helpers up at the sink with hair pulled back and aprons on.  Keep them up high so the juices don’t run down their arms too much and get them all wet.  We watch something simple, like Fiddler on the Roof, and they go to town pulling the peach skins off.  It’s really a very soothing process and something my little girls love to help with.  I take the peeled peaches, slice them up and straight into the jars.  I’ll put about 2 Tbs of sugar in each jar, 1/4 vanilla bean, fill with peach slices, pour hot water to fill, slide my lid and ring on and set aside to boil.  Once boiled, they get stacked in a safe place to set up for 24 hrs.  That “pop” of the pressured lid is the only thing that breaks up my “can can” song.  Happy feelings!!

the Style of a Blackberry Picker

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Harvest season is at my house and I’ve been picking, canning, and “playing” in the kitchen.  Currently I’ve got 307 pounds of peaches waiting for me to can in my garage.  Our local business sells them for super cheap and it’s a mad rush to box them and get in line.  It’s a huge blessing for us canners who can for very practical reasons.  Besides, home canned peaches are better than ANY store bought such.  I hope to show y’all the very basic of canned peaches in a later post.  There’s so much joy in preserving your own food.  But here’s what I did last week with black berries….

Here in the Pacific North West we’ve got an over abundance of blackberries.  They grow everywhere and fast.  Quite a nuisance if they get in your yard, but out in the wild they’re such a treat to harvest.  I’ve found if hard to pick with kids, as the season is hot and the bushes are pokey.  If you’ve got great aspirations to pick enough to jam or freeze, then you’ll need a few hours.  So my kids stay home ’till they’ve got the patience to pick.  I went out this year and picked with my mom.  We had such a great time!

We find a spot near water.  If the bushes are in dry fields the berries tend to be small and too much time for too little bounty.  So go near a river or lake.  The shadier the better.  Most of the big plump berries were on the north side of the bushes, where the sun doesn’t come down so hot.

Your attire really helps in how comfortable and fast you can pick.  I wear a bandana on my head ‘cuz it’s not in my way like a hat and won’t get caught in the bushes.  I go later in the evenings, so sunglasses make it hard to spot the black berries.  Bring a big stick or find one as you go out.  It helps tremendously with your need to grab branches up high or push the branches out of the way.  I even take two if I need.  Also, long plank boards are great for getting inside a bush where the berries might be more plentiful.  Ladders can be helpful but it’s gotta really be worth it to get up high and they usually grow low enough, it’s not fun to lug around a ladder.  My personal preference is to wear no sleeves.  They get snagged on everything and I’m much more careful if it’s my own skin at risk… or I really don’t care if I’m all scratched up… that berry bunch was worth it!  Another personal preference, keeping my ladies natural.  When you’re so HOT and out in the middle of nowhere, who cares if they’re perky.  Comfort and casual is my game.  Having a good pair of jeans and a heavy duty belt are essential.  DO NOT PICK IN SHORTS!  Yes it’s hot, but not worth your legs looking like zombie bait.  The belt is helpful to loop your bucket handle on so you can have hands free picking.  Save those ice cream buckets or go buy one at a feed store.  It’s no fun to pick with one hand, especially when you’ve got the other hand holding the stick, holding very thorny branches back.  And last but MOST important, good shoes.  A nice pair of hiking boots or tennis shoes are so important.  A couple times I’ve gone out ready to pick, forgetting that I had flip flops on… BIG MISTAKE!  I didn’t get very far.  Shoes with good souls are important ‘cuz many times you have to step down the branches to get to that sweet spot.  And there are many SWEET SPOTS!

Happy picking!

Master Mix

My shelves are full of cook books.  But the one book that I'm always reaching for is this little humble book called, More-with-Less.  It's written by mostly Mennonite women and FULL of suggestions and tips, not just a wide range of recipes.

My shelves are full of cook books. But the one book that I’m always reaching for is this little humble book called, More-with-Less Cookbook. It’s written by mostly Mennonite women and FULL of suggestions and tips, along with a wide range of recipes.  The Mennonites ladies know how to fill a family’s stomach’s and on a budget.  I grew up on this cook book and inherited my Aunt Julia’s version when she past.  My mom constantly pulls out her’s and is still unwilling to part with it. 

Every kitchen and home cook should be supplied with a master mix.  There's so many store bought kinds but this far exceeds anything you could buy at the store.

Every kitchen and home cook should be supplied with a master mix. There’s so many store bought kinds but this far exceeds anything you could buy.  This is made with the kind of luuuuve that Bisquick companies know nothing about.  And it only takes me 10 minutes.  No REALLY, 10 minutes!

mix  It goes a little like this:

Master Mix, Jubug style

10 C. flour (usually half wheat and half white)

6 Tbs. Baking Powder

1 1/2 Tbs. Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1/4 C. Sugar

2 C. Dry Milk Powder

2 C. Butter

Mix for 5 to 8 minutes making sure all the butter is evenly dispersed.

mix container

Make sure to store it in the fridge.  If you don’t want to store in the fridge, just add shortening in place of the butter.  I use a commercial kitchen container like this to keep it ready to use in the fridge.

Recipes for the Master Baking Mix:

Pancakes or Waffles

1 C. Milk

1 Egg

1 1/2 C. Master Mix

Bake on hot griddle or waffle iron.

Quick Bread or Muffins

1/3 C. Milk

1 Egg

1 banana or 1 C. Pumpkin or 2 Tbs. Poppy seeds & lemon zest or ….

1/4 C. Sugar

2 1/4 C. Master Mix

Stir until well blended.  Pour into greased bread pan or muffin tin.

Set oven at 350 degrees

Muffins bake 20 to 25 minutes.  For bread bake 40 to 45 minutes

There are more Master Mix recipes from the More-With-Less Cookbook.  So I would consider investing in this little treasure!

Jubug Jar Rack

jar rack  These jars are such a great space saver. I’ve got all my bulk pantry put into a small overhang separating the kitchen and living room. Such an amazing space saver. We looked at building a shelf to place the jars into, but the overhang wasn’t big enough.  Thus, this invention was born.  These are all 1/2 gallon jars filled with things such as popcorn seeds, dried lemons, oats, lavender, chili peppers, chickpeas, dried milk, pinto beans, pink beans, etc, etc, etc.jar rack

The jars rea quite sturdy.  We’ve had it up there for three years and have never dropped a jar or had one fall.  I’ve had a couple close calls but nothing to worry me about them dropping down.  The first year they were up, it made me nervous to stand underneath them but over the test of time, it continually surprises me how sturdy they are.

 

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The ends of the shelf are structured as such.  It’s not beautiful in a “hand craft” kind of way.  But once you fill those jars up… beauty is in the eye of the owner-of-a-small-kitchen!ring and screws

We used two 1/2″ screws to screw in the lid cap.  And to keep the ring from turning, we superglued the lids to the rings.  They help up their end of the bargain!under shot

It is really tripy to sit under a jar of chick peas… so stay here a few moments and get comfortable… once you can handle that, you’re half way there to building one for yourself.