Thursday, May 19, 2011


Bound and Determined , watching endless youtube video's,I taught myself how to crochet. This insanity actually started 2 winters ago, when I wanted a sweater with a skull on it. So I started searching "Skull Sweater" on google. Low and behold I found a website with a knitting pattern of a skull sweater. My first reaction was "YES!!!" then it was..." Oh shit I have to learn how to do that. "

So , like I always do, I jumped in before testing the water. I started with learning the basics of knitting. And I learned that I suck at knitting. Then I remembered that seeing an infomercial from a few years back for a machine called "The Ultimate Sweater Machine". Shortly after that I purchaced one and started with the basics of "getting to know" the machine. My first real useable item ended up being a pillow case because I couldnt quite understand how to do a lot of the crappy patterns that were given with the machine. It really took me an entire winter of messing around with the machine to figure out the tricks of it. Once I got the hang of it I started looking for patterns.

FYI: Finding patterns for the USM is not an easy task. You can convert most patterns from books to it but its a pain in the ass. When you have kids running around you all the time it makes for some hard concentration. Then I found a few youtube video "How-to's" to make some easy projects (Mittens, Scarfs, Hats). I made a few pairs of mittens and a bunch of scarfs, it was fun. Then one day I thought, "What the Hell are you doing.... Our Family Doesn't Knit... They Crochet!!!"

And when I say "Our Family" I mean seriously.

Dad,Grandma(Mom's mom)My Aunt's on both sides, and so many others. My Mom is the only rogue knitter out of the group. My Grandmother can do both , and from what I've learned, most people do one or the other its rare if you can do both well.

My Father.. yes I said my FATHER, is a fabu crocheter or as I like to refer to it as "A member of the Happy Hooker Club". I am still in the "Prospect" stage (S.O.A. reference). But I'm turning out pretty decent stuff.

Below are two items my Father has made, The Butterfly table cloth was a wedding gift to My Husband and Me.

And this was my Brother and His Wife's Christmas Gift.

Let me get sidetracked for a moment because that's what I do.. Back in the early 1970's when my Grandfather was in the hospital (Mom's Dad) dieing of brain cancer. They would all go to visit, and most of the down time would be spent crocheting to pass the time/keep them busy/keep thier minds off the fact that Grandpa was in so much pain. Finally after being so completely driven crazy with boredom my Father said to my Mom and Aunt and Grandma and my Great Aunt Ella.

" FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, Someone Teach me !"

Little to everyone's surprise my Dad happend to be the only one out of ALL of them who could read a pattern.

And when I say read a pattern I mean he could understand the foreign language that is crochet patterns. (Google one, you'll be freaked out at first... Promise.)

As soon as my Great Aunt Ella found out he could read patterns she would buy them and have him make a sample and she would take it apart so then she could make what ever the item was. This is actually very common in my family,we are visual learners. Its only been the last few years that I have been able to read a book and comprehend how to do something with out pictures to dumb it down for me.

I live in a house that is filled with hand made blankets, so many infact that I have called cousin's asking if anyone DOESN'T have one to let me know, so I can pass one down thier way.

Skills like this are slowly disapearing because everyone is getting so disconnected from the old ways. If you don't have someone to teach you how to do this then teach yourself! Its really not that hard. Its a great skill to learn because you now have endless ways of making gifts or things for you house. At times it can get a little out of hand because you find yourself asking " hmmm should I really make this? Do I really need a toilet bowl cozy?" Know your limits! hahaha..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Play in the Dirt... ITS GOOD FOR YOU!

Photo is from June of 2010

As far back as I can remember, I've had a garden at my house. Its been easy to slack this year in gardening due to the crappy ass weather we've had.

Honestly I don't EVER remember EVER it snowing in May. Well Its happend more then once this year/month and frankly.... This weather just sucks.

So to my suprise my sister in law Amanda, brought me some plants a few days ago.

A cute little flat of pansies and the perfect amount of strawberries to fill my strawberry pot!

And So it shall Begin!!!!

The Theme for Today's Blog is to keep Gardening Simple, and Gardening will keep your Sanity :)

A few years ago The Hubz and I started doing "Square Foot Gardening" after reading about it in Mother Earth News---- Yeah, its a magazine that is just as hippy sounding as the name. BUT... Don't fear the hippies... I secretly am one myself!

And now your asking.. "What is Square foot gardening??

To put it simply, Raised Bed gardening . Instead of using the Row method, use one foot squares. You grid out your garden and plant within the square. You can plant/grow according to how many people are in your household too. I highly recomend getting this book if you are a gardener.

Remember those days of it taking hours to weed a huge garden. That won't happen anymore when you SFG. Your only weeding a 4x4 box . The soil is so light that a few pinches and the weeds are gone.

The soil is a mix of Organic Composted Manure,Pearlite, and Peat Moss. You don't walk on it like you would a regular garden so the soil is always light and moisture rich.

The only fertilzer you need is Blood meal or Bone meal. This way your keeping it chemical free.

I still do a standard garden for things like corn (You can do them in the SFG, but I dont want to use up that kind of space for a few stalks of corn)

I grow potatos in huge plastic buckets that you would get at Target,Menards,Home depot . I use light potting soil for them so I can use my hands to dig them out.

I have started calling my gardening hobby "Dirt Therapy". On the days that I'm feeling especially disconnected with things and I need a reality check. I head out to the back yard and cram my hand in the dirt and start planting, plucking, seeding, sifting , digging, searching sometimes eating what is growing. It helps a lot. Some people meditate, I play in the dirt.

How to make your Dyson work like its brand new!

I wanted to originally try to post things that EVERYONE can do. This post happends to be a special exception.

I have a Dyson Vaccum. I love it, sometimes more then most people should love a vaccum. After about 6 months of regular use, I began to notice that it wasnt quite getting as good of a job done.

I use this thing sometimes in upwards of 3-5 times a day.

I have kids... I have cats... I have a Minnesota winter that brings the beach indoors every winter.

I realize that not everyone has a spiffy vaccume like this, but if you do this will help keep it running like its brand new!

What you will need :

  • Torx 15 Screw Driver

    Looks like this

  • Paper towels

  • Baby bottle Brush

  • Possbily a Hair Dryer if you want to do a speed cleaning.

Step One : Remove canister from the vaccum

Step Two: Open and remove two filters from the top of the canister

Step Three: Remove the screws with the Torx 15 screwdriver.

Step Four: Remove the White Plastic top of the cyclone canister.

Underneath the white plastic top there is black rubber washer type thingy, I dont know what its called. Shown in the next photo

Pull this piece out too.

Now your left with the cyclone assembly ready to be cleaned.

Here's a shot from the bottom of the canister, Look how nasty mine was before I rinsed it out... BARF!!

Step 5: Rinse, and Rinse and Rinse till you think you can't rinse no more through the top of the cyclone part, Then... Flip it over and rinse it again and again from the bottom. Yes, This is gross, but it will be worth it. Then take the baby bottle brush and scrub out each of the cyclone tubes then rinse again. I use the kitchen sink because of the sprayer blasts all the dust and crud out.
Once you have thoroughly washed out the cyclone part of the canister, then rinse and clean out the clear can part of the canister. Lay out paper towels and let them DRY OVER NIGHT!!!



But if you are the impatient type... THEN AT YOUR OWN RISK.... you can use a hair dryer on the setting with no heat to dry it. BUT..... and that's a BIG BUT..... I AM NOT RESPOCIBLE FOR YOU BREAKING YOUR VACCUM, or electricuting yourself! MKAY..... GOT IT... GOOD!

Now, Remember those two filters from the begining of this "How To". Rinse those out as well and let those air dry for at least 12 hours and or overnight.

When everything is dry, Re-assemble and Enjoy!

I recommend cleaning out the Dyson every few months. It keeps it running like its brand new.

Also if you happend to see one of these little lovely's at a Pawn Shop ( I've seen MANY !!)

SUPER CHEAP compaired to brand new retail price.

You now know how to properly clean it out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What the hell do I do with all this crap from my garden?

Let me introduce you to my friend Mason,

No, Not the boy across the street.

This Pretty Blue Jar!

Last summer , My husband came home with a box full of them. And said "Here, now we can keep all the tomatos,and Cucumbers and Beets, that you have no idea what to do with at the end of the season. "

My reaction was... Crap now I have to learn how to do this and NOT blow up the jars in the process.

First things First, The Fast and Easy/Cheating way to sanatize your jars.

Take Jars, Rings and Lids and throw them in the dish washer, NO SOAP. Put it on the Hottest/ Sanatizing setting, and KAPOW! Sanatized. Keep the dishwasher door shut inbetween canning, and pull the jar's out while still hot to fill them.

I started with making pickled Beets, We didnt have too many . So I wasn't worried I'd be stuffing tons of them in jars. I had lucked out because My Mom had found a recipe box at my Grandma's that contained TONS of recipes from a few generations back,Specifically My Great Aunt Ella. She was my Great Grandfather's Sister.

Tragicly she was murdered about a year before I was born. So I never met her. I do however have her name as One of my Middle Names. At times I wonder if when I'm Cooking or Crocheting if she's the one who takes over when my brain goes on Auto Pilot.

Anywho, while going through the box-o-recipe stash. I found a pickled beets recipe!! SCORE!!!

Your First Lesson in making Pickled Beets.......Cutting up Beets=Magenta fingers, Magenta EVERYTHING. Invest in some Gloves!

Aunt Ella's Pickled Beets

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 cups vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon all spice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Peel and slice the beets, bring recipe from above to a boil , add peeled beets and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then pour in the jar's and the heat will seal the lids.

The longer they sit the better. I just opened a jar this week from last year.

They were SOoooo Nummy!!!

Laundry Soap Recipe

A few months ago , my favoriote Pagan Podcast host Sparrow from the Wigglian Way posted on her Facebook that she was going to start selling home made laundry soap powder. This facinated me because I was getting into this whole "I wanna make EVERYTHING" kick. So I started looking up recipes for laundry powder online. Its so simple , But really most great secrets are that simple :)

Here's what you need:

  • BORAX(Found it/Got it at Target here in MN)

  • ARM AND HAMMER WASHING SODA (Found it/Got it at Cub )

  • BAR OF SOAP- Suggested , Ivory, Fels Naptha , The more basic/Natural the better( I used Dr.Bronner's Magic Soap- Found in Spa/Makeup isle at Target).

  • Cheese Grater to grind up the bar of soap

  • Plastic Cereal Container

Thats it. No seriously... that's it!

The original Recipe I found called for One Cup of Borax, One Cup of Washing Soda and a Bar of Soap gound up. Mix it in a bowl with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.

I made a double batch .

I use anywhere from 3TBSP per load to a 1/4 cup, It all depends on what I'm washing.

The first load I washed was white towels, and I DID NOT use any fabic softener and they came out fluffy and nice.

Lately I've really gotten tired of OVER PERFUMAGE ( yes I make up my own words) of things. Half the time I can't even smell what its supposed to smell like. All I smell are the chemicals and cheap additives they use to preserve the "FRESH SCENT". How about It just not smelling like arm pits and feet. Cause really that's all we are looking for when it comes to our clothes smelling fresh.

Now the real test will be when one of my kids comes inside covered in mud or grass stains. I guess time will tell.

In Praise of Hestia.... The trials and tribulations of being a stay at home Mom.

This particular Blog was inspired by a friend who told me I should share what I know, when it comes to being a domestic Momma :)

Everyone wants to be "Green" these days. Well screw that, I want to be Old Lady/Farmer-ish. There is something very satisfying about knowing how to do stuff yourself. I once told my Mother " You know, if the grid ever does go down and people are left with out technology, I WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY". I know this sounds very paranoid but there's nothing wrong with knowing how to survive.

One of the best things anybody can do is READ! I try to get my hands on as many books on Self sufficiency,Gardening, Homesteading and just getting back to the roots of LIVING.

It really came down to having a "Want" and turning it into a skill.

There are so many resources out there to teach you things. People just feel they don't have the time. MAKE THE TIME! If its something you really wish you knew how to do THEN DO IT! My Grandmother once said " Once you've learned how to do something Nobody can take that away from you".

Part of the reason why I've taken on doing a lot of this stuff the old way is because there's days when I feel I've lost touch with TRUE REALITY. When you spend as much time as the average person infront of a computer screen you lose touch with it.

In the last year or so I've really wanted to focus my energy on getting my household under control. Minimalising the amount of products that are used because there is nothing worse then opening a cabnet and finding 6 different types of the same product half to 3/4 full , staring you in the face.

Just because something is the "Greatest, Newest, and Best" doesnt mean you need to use it. That just means that thier Marketing department is trying to get you to spend your money on it to make profits for them. The first time I realised this was when I bought Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface cleaner..... After I bought it and used it I felt like the biggest fool when I read the ingredieants! ITS JUST A 10% BLEACH WATER SOLUTION, that they charged me $3.99 for. I can get a whole jug of bleach for less than a dollar!

After that I started looking up Old ways to Clean:

Vinegar can be used to Clean Damn Near ANYTHING... Just don't use it to clean Pearls... THEY WILL DESLOVE!

Bleach isnt always what its cracked up to be so I don't use it as much.

I actually made my first batch of Laundry Powder yesterday and to my complete surprise , ITS AMAZING! I didn't even use any fabric softener.

The Hubz and I are in the process of getting a house, so once that all starts then I'm going to attempt to start making soap, and Yes I will share all the wonders of that mess when it starts.