Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting, vintage stuff, and more...
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Jan 8, 2019

Independence Days Challenge

Independence Days Challenge-
For a variety of reasons I decided not to do the "year in review" post. It's labor intensive, although educational for me. We didn't do any huge home improvements, more little things. We will do a major front yard re-do next spring. The county is widening our front street in December and we will dig up as much as we can this fall to relocate until spring. We're losing about 2' - 3' of our front yard
 garden. Luckily since most are perennials they should be okay. So here's a list of recent things we've been up to! I watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo's Netflix series. It inspired me to get rid of more stuff. She's the author of 

She really does have some great ideas especially around "sentimental items".  So here we go...

1. Plant Something- Frozen ground here, nope!

2. Harvest Something- Lots of eggs, happy dance!!! Averaging about 2-4 per day. Hens are doing great this winter, with the "sun room" up-

Sarah left and Ellie right

Rosie left, Annie right, her head was on the ground for bird food!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Have been freezing various foods/breads/etc.  Need to make some fermented foods soon.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Have been using some coupons for wild bird food, bought some meats on sale, doing flexible cooking based on availability. Buying groceries with a open mind is a great way to save money. Look and see what's a great deal and cook around that. I got a great deal on chicken quarters so I bought those instead of breasts w/ribs. Roasted those with some homemade pesto from the freezer-

Got this fun farm item from a store going out of business, $5.00, I think I'll do a little dry brush paint on it...

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Will get into freezer more and do some baking with frozen fruits. Have homegrown tomatoes, local peaches, rhubarb and organic blueberries/strawberries. Also need to work on my own canned apple slices-

6. Build Community Food Systems- Had a co-worker inquire about buying extra eggs, so will talk to her about that soon. I used to sell my extra eggs for $3.00 dz. May have to boost that?

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Donating a bit of my "work wardrobe" and other clothes this week. Total- four garbage bags. I changed jobs from an office setting with patients to a setting where everyone wears jeans, no public in-person interactions. I bought two new pair of jeans this weekend as mine were a bit too ratty for work. Great for around the house (thrifted) but needed some actual NEW ones! Got a good deal locally. Fun reminder on good aspects of de-cluttering/donating-

Keyboard at work too small for me so taking an old one from here to work. Free fix. 
I cleaned out 2 of my kitchen desk "junk" drawer of misc. stuff for donations and trash-





Anya reused some hot air coming out of the space heater-

8. Skill Up- Bought some heavy denim needles for my sewing machine. Since it's a "heavy duty" machine I forgot to add needles to the equation. Duh. Broken needles and a tune-up later, lesson learned. 

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Dave built the new coop ramp on the left as the other one was falling apart, used recycled cedar boards-

Jan 6, 2019

Easy Decor Using Log Slices, Winter Indoors After the Holidays

Easy Decor Using Log Slices-
I first saw wood slices years ago, used primarily for wood burning. Two years ago I saw really beautiful, natural centerpieces, mostly from Germany, for Advent on Pinterest. Here's a few examples, no links sadly-

Lots of layering, love it

Simple and sweet

What fun!

Lots of colors and texture

Recently I saw this-

It got me thinking I could use wood slices for all kinds of decor! Here's some things I put together, with a wood slice from Michael's for $10.00-

Topiary and Swedish ivy

Little oil lamp

Red pips and birds

 I added this to my little winter bench, using a thicker slice for $5.00, adding more texture-

If you need something different go buy a slice and play with it!!! I can see all kinds of possibilities using what I already have!

Winter Indoors After the Holidays-
I'm hoping for real snow tonite!!! Storm on the way, sick of the brown frozen city. Snow please. I always start in early December putting out fun winter decor. My daughter gave me a nice compliment recently. She said "you always do a great job bringing nature inside". I loved it! I start with winter, my Yule shelf and the Advent ring. Closer to mid December I add Santa's and the Christmas tree. Around New Years we take down the tree and the rest of Christmas stuff. I like to leave up winter items until closer to the end of January. Here's our transitional goodies we have out now-

Snowmen with sparkly cotton balls and min swag

Snowman and birch wreath

Winter pick with chickens

Kitchen window

Winter birds in entryway

More snowmen

Light on the two topiaries with sparkly birds

Pine cone pots in living room

Side table living room


Back hallway

Apples over kitchen window

More apples over dining room sliding door

Dining room "window"

Coffee table, put away red runner for my DIY burlap runner

Dome by my computer

Snowman mug 

Jan 5, 2019

DIY Lemon Topiary, Cubicle Reveal

DIY Lemon Topiary-
It was 18 degrees and gray this morning, yuck! A snow storm on the way tonite, but sounds like it will probably hit the foothills and mountains more. I love the snow, sure beats the look of the cold frozen brown ground! Driving is not that hard, when you take your time. With that grayness in mind I was thinking I should add some pops of yellow to the house in the winter. I already had a few things in the house, as well as for my new desk area at work. I had made this fun topiary a few years ago and decided to make another-

I used the blue pot I already had, post here Lemon Topiary  with directions here  I did use hot glue on the twigs however, not wire. You could use any kind of pot, but last summer I bought two of these Ikea metal pots-

I used the larger one for this little tree-

When I put away the tree I thought I could re-use it for a topiary! Easy enough to remove the insides later if I wanted to. I did the same basic directions, took about 15 minutes. I already had everything except the lemons, $5.00 at Michael's. Fun thing to do when you need a little change!

I decided to use the mini-lemon garland I bought for work at home-

I put them on my little kitchen shelf-

They looked like this when I bought them-

I removed the "limes" and re-strung this since they were an odd brown color. I bought them at I first saw them here, and fell in love, in this blog post-

I loved the way she created a little tea shelf/area. I also bought the little Scottish Tea Time Recipes book. The mini-lemon garland was one of those little things I really liked, but couldn't find. A few years later I found them! Happy dance. More yellow to come, thinking about a lemon wreath on our front door in the summer...

Cubicle Reveal-
Speaking of yellow,  the cubical decor is more minimal than I was thinking I'd do, but I like it! I printed/framed the little sign and hung the mini wreath.

Lavender in the corner (I may move) and yellow appreciation gift from my former boss. I decided to use the little plant stool at home-

It's odd I have no papers for the rack! I'm working in an almost 100% digital environment. I may see if I can just remove the shelf and store. It's funny, I found out there are rules as to how much you can put up on your desk. Apparently there may have been a few people who really overdid it in this area. Anyway I like it and can add some seasonal things over time to swap out. I LOVE my sit/stand station! Nice to be able to stand up at work...