Archive for the ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ Category

“Sort sock drawer” has been on my to-do-list for MONTHS. It was so full, that there was a risk of socks jumping out, every time I opened the drawer. Today, I finally took on the task =0}

I’m trying, my hardest, to reduce-reuse-recycle-repurpose those things I normally just toss. This was no exception. I had an idea in my head…

You see, a few weeks back, my elbow was so dry, that it would crack and bleed, when I bent my arm.  I had the salve, needed to heal it, but no way to protect my clothes, from the oil-based salve. Band-Aids were too small, and we won’t even discuss the glitch with the adhesive =0}, and Ace bandages were simply over the top.

I happened to have a sock, with its toe cut off (I had been using it for sock bun curls, but had since, cut my hair). I cut the sock at the heel, and had two perfect tubes to slip over my elbow. It worked wonders. I could slather on the healing salve, slip on the sock band, and go on with my day. I wanted to make more… here was my chance!

Since using the sock bands, with the salve, I realized that they could also be used to hold ice-packs and poultices.

fold over longer socks, to make a pocket for the ice-pack

when done, toss in the wash, to be used again

my basket of new healing bands : 0}

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Can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long… I post my pictures to my Facebook Page, and think I have posted the pictures to here, as well. Perhaps I need to do that the other way around ;0}

I returned to Seattle’s NW Flower and Garden Show, and was once again torn between loving it and hating it. I LOVE the gardens, but HATE the crowds. I pay $20 for the tickets and another $10+ for parking. I would gladly pay $40, if I could get in and look at the gardens, with a couple hundred people, instead of the thousands I had to navigate around! It just drives me insane!!

Here’s what I loved:

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I’ve been on a new kick: seeking the kitchen tools of days gone by!

It’s quite fun, wandering through antique shops, and seeing what those that have gone before, have left behind. I’m not looking for the ordinary tools. I want the ones that are forgotten, or not often seen. And here is the tricky part, I want a bargain ;0}

Here are my latest finds:

I see egg beaters all the time. Most are pretty beaten up (no pun intended). When I saw this one, I had to keep myself from squealing with delight. Not only is the mechanism in great shape, doesn’t stick when you use the crank, but it comes with a cover/shield and a crock, with no cracks or chips. I think it’s pretty amazing.

This, believe it or not, is a mayonnaise maker, created by Wesson Oil. The recipe is right on the bottle. As far as I can figure, the egg, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt, go in the jar, and are mixed/whisked together. Then the oil is slowly added, through the lid, and everything is whisked together. Can you see the hole in the lid, and the cupping of the grooved lid, that allows the oil to be added slowly. I am going to have to play with this one, but then again, that is the point =0}

This one isn’t so unusual, except that it has the owner’s manual, and it’s in fantastic shape. I actually want to go out and buy some meat, just to try it… I suppose I could try it on carrots ;0} But first I need to prime it, as the directions recommend.

Now if only I could get additional parts, at the prices listed in the manual ;0}

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I started the year with Andrea’s 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge. I thought it would be a great way to jumpstart my year. I wanted to change the way I live… the way I spend… the way I consume. I wanted to be a “prosumer” (have you watched Radically Simple – it’s on Netflix-Instant).

So the adventure begins. I was looking for ways to cut my expenses and to use what I already have. I looked to my food scraps.

Stock:

I’ve made vegetable stock for years now… on those days, where I had more veggies than I knew what to do with, from my CSA. But I hadn’t been saving scraps and peels from the veggies I used in my day-to-day cooking. They had been going to my compost pile. I started saving them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.

This time, the bag was filled with onion butts and peels, leek ends, and carrot butts and peels. I added peppercorns, 5 garlic cloves and some dried mushrooms. I fill my crock pot pretty full (ignoring the direction to only fill it 3/4 – I figure it cooks down). I added 16 cups of water to the crock pot. I leave it on HI for a few hours and then drop it to LOW overnight.

Half way trough, the following day, I add half a bunch of parsley, and let it cook a couple more hours. I want the flavor to be concentrated, so I put the lid on crooked, allowing for evaporation. At this point, it has been cooking for close to 24 hours. I have been known to let it go longer… I let my taste buds tell me when time is up ;0} When it tastes, the way I like it, I remove the veggies (now they can go to the compost pile) and start filling sterile quart jars.

This time, I filled two quart jars and two ice cube trays… remember I added 16 cups of water, so nicely concentrated flavor. I don’t have a pressure canner yet, so I store the jars in the freezer… leaving room for the stock to expand, as it freezes. The ice cubes I add to the cooking water for rice and pasta… adds a little something. I pop them out of the trays and keep them in a baggie. Keep in mind, you may want to have a dedicated ice cube tray, for savory things. You don’t want your lemon ice cubes tasting like vegetable stock ;0}

Enzyme Cleaner:

We have a lot of orange peels around our house. My husband loves to eat oranges… the chickens do not like the peels… and they stink up the compost pile. So imagine my delight, when I learned that I could make a cleaner out of the stinky waste =0} I found Happyhomemaker88’s Enzyme Cleaner Recipe (be sure to read all the way through her recipe – she made some adjustments, based on the experience of others). It only requires 3 ingredients: orange peels, brown sugar, and water… oh, and THREE MONTHS! Apparently I am also getting a lesson in patience ;0}

So far it has been brewing for a week. I plan to start another batch in a few more weeks… it has so many uses, that I think I will go trough one bottle, in a month. You can add it to laundry, as well as, use it to clean the bathroom… including the drains. I’ll post again, after I have actually used it.

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As some of you know, I have two hens. I allow them to roam my garden… I can’t stand to see them locked up in their coop/run… even though it is quite large for just two hens. There is something about watching them roam freely… following the sun or a bug.

As some of you also know, I have a garden filled with plants. Sometimes my girls… actually just one of my hens, Goldie, gets a little aggressive with her worm/bug search. She has been known to uproot plants. So I have begun to block her from my plants. Here is my newest creation… I love being able to use discarded things for new purposes.

IKEA crib base and trimmings from my hazelnut hedge

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the stars

I did it! I crossed one of the things off my list. My kitchen cabinets and pantry are now purged and reorganized. And to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. There was a lot to be purged. There was whole wheat pasta from ’05 and sweetened condensed milk from ’07. Needless to say, a lot of things just got tossed. There were other things that I had lost interest in, or couldn’t remember why in the world I had bought them in the first place. Those all went into a box for the food bank.

My cookbooks are grouped by subjects. My pickled green beans are on a shelf where I can see them (they have been in a box, in the basement, since this summer). There are various herbs and roots macerating in apple cider vinegar for future tinctures. My grains, pasta and legumes our in jars so I can visualize my choices. Oils and vinegars are organized for easy access. And then there is the Wassail spice-blend for Christmas cider… the spices I use year-round in warmed fruit juice, tea and hot chocolate… in a jar, on the shelf along side my teas and drinking chocolate. All in all, a very heart-pleasing site! Should have done this a long time ago =D

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