Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

Month: February 2012 (Page 1 of 3)

My Mittens Are Done!


Remember the single felted wool mitten I showed you a couple weeks ago? Well now there are two! They’re finished and I love them. (Just in time for… Spring. Hah! Oh well.)

I still might embellish them a little using the pretty nordic ribbon and buttons from the original sweater they were made from, but I also might just leave them as is. I like their simplicity. Actually, I’m really proud of these mittens. I’ve never made anything like them before so it was a slow project, and one I wouldn’t necessarily care to repeat, but I’m really happy with how they came out. They fit beautifully and they’re so warm! Apart from my time, they cost next to nothing since all the materials came from the thrift store.

They have three layers made from two different felted sweaters plus an inner lining of really soft white fleece. They’re so cozy and luxurious; I wish you could feel them!

They’re made from the sleeves of these sweaters:


Do you ever make stuff from felted wool sweaters? I really like the concept — it’s so easy and cheap — the knitting has been done for you already, and you can so easily get used sweaters from the thrift store for such little money!

If you’ve ever done something like this before, please leave a comment and tell me what you made! I’d love to get some other project ideas — maybe something that’s a little simpler than 3-layer mittens. 😉


No-Cost DIY Art Marker Holder

I recently expanded my art marker collection and needed something to keep them all organized within a compact space. So I made a holder using materials I had on hand, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. It’s not beautiful, but it does the job perfectly.

Here’s how to make your own without spending a cent!



A small cardboard box (my 10″ x 6.5″ cardboard box fits 140 Prismacolor art markers)

More cardboard, for the dividers

Duct tape or packing tape



 1. Measure your outer box so that you know how big to make the dividers. Measure and cut out one divider and insert it into your box. Trim if necessary. When it’s the right size, use it as a template to cut more dividers.

2. Put a row of markers in place at one end of the box. (Putting the markers in helps you know exactly how wide to make the rows.) It helps to prop up the opposite end of the box so the markers stay in place. Insert the divider up against your row of markers to see if it needs trimming. Then put a strip of duct tape on either side of the divider, as in the photo.

Insert your divider to make sure it fits right; remove and trim if necessary, then apply tape.

3. Tape the divider into place, flush against your markers.

Tip up one end of the box so the markers stay in place.

4. When the divider is taped into place, add another piece of tape to the bottom:

5. Keep adding rows of markers and dividers until you’re finished.



Gratitude Sunday * February 26, 2012

~ I’m once again joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday tradition. ~

Gratitude Sunday is a time to slow down and remember those thankful moments that graced our week. One reason I love keeping a daily gratitude journal is because it helps keep things in perspective for me. Each Sunday, I open my journal and share some of those moments with you here. If you’d like to join in, just leave a comment!

Gratitude is powerful energy. I love hearing others’ gratitudes!


– So many delicious fresh vegetables in our fridge right now, like the asparagus above. I just love vegetables.

– A fantastic back rub from my hubby!

– Having a great week. Feeling so normal and non-sick!!!

– Getting my first round of seeds started in the flat on the heating mat.

– Planting some things outside.

– Mixing a batch of Russian Caravan tea at the sunny table this morning; that felt really homey.

– The warm wind yesterday that melted all the snow off my garden beds in record time, allowing me to pull back all the mulch so that the soil can start warming up. I didn’t think that task would be able to happen for a while yet… so, yay!

– Feeling excited for Spring.

– A wonderful day yesterday; I loved it.

– Eating a favorite snack — chopped mushrooms braised in a little soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar… and then topped with homemade raw sauerkraut and Dijon mustard.

– Watching snowfall with a mug of steaming tea in my hands.


What gratitudes have graced your week?



On This February Day…

This (snowy) morning...

It was a true February day today — gray and humid and chilly and snowy. But it was a spring snow — drippy and slushy! Over the weekend it just began feeling more like spring here. The quality and angle of the sunlight, the buds on the trees, the tulips pushing through the ground, and definitely the particular birdsongs that we’re hearing outside our window of late.

I was up and at the kitchen table by the window fairly early this morning with a steaming mug of tea, watching the snowflakes falling gently. I’ve rediscovered a CD I have called The Tranquil Harp by Paul Baker. It was perfect for this peaceful, snowy morning.

The streets were still warm from yesterday’s balmy temperatures, and so this afternoon most of the snow was gone from them, making my quick trip to the health food store a much easier proposition. Much as I love the snow, clear streets really are very nice.

Okay, so remember how yesterday I told you all about my great restraint in not buying more varieties of tomato seed? Well to demonstrate that iron will, I suppose I should show you what I bought today:


So anyway, I thought I’d also show you a great seed catalog I picked up yesterday for Southern Exposure. I’ve never ordered from them but I like their philosophy: “Our mission is to ensure that people retain control of their food supply, that genetic resources are conserved and that gardeners have the option of saving their own seed.”

Looks like they sell almost all heirloom or open-pollinated stuff (I really like that), and have some pretty interesting offerings. Their catalog also gives detailed growing info for each type of vegetable. It looks like a company worth ordering from.

Well it’s dusk now, and time for some tea I think.

It’s been a good day. Hope it was for you, too…


In Garden Mode!

Man, these past few days have flown! I’ve been in almost an altered state, with a one-track mind focused solely on this year’s vegetable garden. There are big bags of dirt in our kitchen, and open seed catalogs have littered the living room floor like banana peels waiting to snag unsuspecting passerby (sorry honey!).

There’s been much reading, researching, figuring, dreaming, decision making, studying of past garden notes, and starting of seeds. The energy, enthusiasm, and time that seemed absent last year are all right here in front of me to be feasted upon — and I am feasting.

Yesterday I bought seeds for a couple fun last-minute additions to the garden plan — leeks and romanesco cauliflower — and today my mom & I got seeds for a few more things that’ll be new to the garden this year too — tarragon, bok choy, and onion seed (I’ve always grown my storage onions from sets in the past).

I also counted up that I have 37 different varieties of tomato seed. Lest you think that’s excessive, let me tell you that it takes great and continuous restraint to not buy more! But it’s already hard enough choosing only 16 varieties for the garden…

Yesterday I started all my wall-o-water tomatoes as well as my cabbage, romanesco cauliflower, regular cauliflower, yellow bell peppers, and leeks in their seed tray over a heat mat. That was a good accomplishment.

And today, even though my main spring planting time is still a few weeks away, I planted some radishes in the wall-o-water I had set up a couple weeks ago, along with some arugula in the open space next to that. I’ve found that walls-o-water are a great way to sneak in an early crop of radishes, which are in and out before it’s time to put the tomatoes in.

It felt great to get my hands into that cold, fragrant Earth.

They’re calling for snow tomorrow, and I think it’ll be a good day to get the broad beans started, and then come back down to earth a bit by going over my moneymaking work and preparing for a Friday meeting.

I hope you’re all having a nice week. And tell me — what’s currently going on in your own garden??


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