Monthly Archives: March 2012

on the inside…


I apologize about the silence around these parts. The days around here have been full. Full of all the beautiful and complex things life can bring.

We’ve been enjoying the longer days, having this soft light after dinner has been nice. Evening light and early morning light are my favorite times to take pictures.

The ebb and flow of my bread making has hit it’s ebb period when all of my loaves fall flat. I don’t know why this always happens. Even in a period of using the same bag of flour, same block of yeast, I’ll bake loaf after loaf of bread that I’m proud of and then loaf after loaf of disappointments. The good news is that I’ve baked so many flops in a row, that a good loaf is bound to happen any day now.

The house is very slowly starting to come together on the inside. I’m a very slow decorator. I’m always amazed at people who can move into a new house and have it looking just perfect in a few short weeks. For me it takes me forever to be happy with how it looks, but then I won’t want to change a thing for years. This old couch gained new life with a denim slipcover. I heard that you should decorate your house the way you dress and being that I wear jeans most days, and denim is very durable when paired with little boys and muddy gardening parents, I went with denim. Next to be refreshed are the curtains. Although I’d love belgium linen, my budget is thinking burlap or painters drop cloths. It’s hopeful to see little corners of our house coming together in pleasing patches of order.


Especially when so much of my house is in complete disorder.


Filed under Uncategorized

Winners and body care questions for you

The random number generator pulled numbers 6 & 30 this morning. Congratulations to Patricia and Harriet, I’ve already contacted you! You will be getting a great package in the mail from Mountain Rose Herbs soon so you can try making your own homemade lotion!
Thank you to all who entered and suggested homemade body care things they’d like to learn how to make. Although I didn’t do an official count it looked like body butter and shampoo where some of the top items. Now tell me, is body butter like a thick lotion? I don’t think I’ve used a body butter before. And lip balm was a popular suggestion too. What do you think, is lip balm the same as chapstick, but in a little tin rather than in a tube? Maybe lip balm should have a little colorful tint, I want to work on that. As you can tell I stick to the basics when it comes to body care, soap, lotion, chapstick.  I guess this warrants a trip to a body care store for a little research, doesn’t it? That may be the perfect thing to do on this rainy weekend.

I think it would be fun to learn how to make an actual shampoo, rather than a baking soda wash, too. I’ll be your guinea pig, how’s that? I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes.

One of the best suggestions on things to make came from two people: Mascara! I don’t know if it’s even possible to make your own. For me, if I could only pick one item of make up to wear, it would probably be mascara. The cheap stuff is gross and the ‘natural’ seeming kinds are so very expensive for something you really should replace every couple of months.

Another suggestion that popped up often was how to make soap. I’ve made soap a handful of times and I need to make another batch, so I’ll photograph the process for you. I’m far from an expert in the subject, but as with everything else, I try and make it simple for myself and if I can make it look simple for you, it will be motivation enough to try. Soap leads me to another thing many of you wanted to try, which was body wash. Unless you can tell me an honest benefit of body wash, I say don’t use the stuff. About three years ago, maybe four, I read an article on npr (can’t find it now!) that talked about how body wash is so highly popular these days and asked what happened to good ol’ soap. Turns out the big soap companies realized that they could make body wash, which is mainly water, for so much less than they could make soap and could also market it for a much higher price tag, which meant a lot higher profit margin for them. So body wash got pushed out there big time. They market body wash as being a sexy thing, which is totally true when you watch the commercials, right? But it’s just watered down soap! There are plenty of moisturizing, good for the skin soaps, just use those. Soap is sexy.

Above is a new lotion/salve concoction I’ve been working on with calendula/rose petal/nettle/helichrysum flower infused oil and with sea buckthorn oil. Very fun! Still needs to be perfected, but its luscious. Almost as sexy as soap. Have a great weekend!


Filed under Body Care

Inspiring way to store your produce

Wow, I’m so inspired by this video, look at the incredibly beautiful way she stores her vegetables. We have a fairly small fridge for American standards and I know as these boys grow older and hungrier, I’m going to have to get creative with food storage. Why aren’t these containers being sold yet?

I love how the basis behind her project is about saving traditional oral knowledge passed down generation by generation. You can read more at her website here.

More food storage suggestions.


Filed under Preserving

Hand Lotion Ingredient Giveaway – 2 Winners ~ Closed

How to Make Hand Lotion
Today I’m excited to bring you a great giveaway by Mountain Rose Herbs in celebration of my fourth year blogging. Two lucky readers will win all three ingredients to make their own hand lotion: olive oil, emulsifying wax and lavender essential oil. This is a great opportunity to give lotion making a try if you’ve been curious about it. Three and a half years later this is still my favorite lotion to make and use. It’s consistency is creamy smooth and it’s so incredibly easy and economical to make that there really is no need to buy lotion ever again.

Mountain Rose Herbs is a company that I’m proud to promote. If you can believe it, I first heard about them by winning a nettle themed giveaway from a blog four years ago. Scott and I have been regular customers ever since. We always relish receiving their catalogs in the mail and circle and dog ear it up with all our culinary and cosmetic desires. Not only do they carry fine products but they are based out of Eugene, Oregon where I used to go to college, so I feel a special kinship with them.
How to Make Hand Lotion
More about them: Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices, and a steadfast focus on the pure aesthetics and freshness of botanical products. Their wide range of certified organic product offerings includes bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures by employees who care. From fragrant and beyond-fresh organic herbs and spices, to soothing essential oils and delicious herbal teas, the quality and integrity of Mountain Rose Herbs is unparalleled – with smiles guaranteed.
How to Make Hand Lotion
To win, leave a comment noting which homemade cosmetic you’d be most interested in learning how to make. (Contest closed) Please note that Mountain Rose Herbs can only ship to winners within the United States. I’ll close comments at midnight pacific time on Thursday, March 15th and draw two winners at random on Friday.

Good luck to all of you!


Filed under Body Care

Weekend in the kitchen


Since we moved into this house we’ve used a small round patio table as our kitchen table. It’s a table meant for two, however we have a family of five, so it’s been a tight fit. I complained for months that I could never find the right table for that spot, and then on our way home from our wooly field trip I hit the brakes hard when I saw a colorful consignment store I hadn’t seen before and there was the perfect table!

Our kitchen has been an inspiring place for me to be in, I think because of the new table. Daffodils are drying for dying someday, the picnic ham got roasted, two loaves of bread are being made at once, some fermenting is going on, and asparagus is almost ever present these days.

Hope you are having a great weekend. I have a fun thing coming up next week just for you! Stay tuned.



Filed under In the Kitchen

Slow but steady progress

Spring is here in full force, whether the calendar agrees or not. Every time I look outside at the garden I feel like I’m in a marathon race with the ever growing weeds. The soil around here is clay, so there is a small window of opportunity to easily pull weeds after a rain shower. Our window was late last week and on Saturday. By Sunday our window was up. It feels overwhelming, this big vegetable garden full of weeks. Sometimes I feel defeated already, that the weeds have already won this marathon, but as Scott reminded me the other day, we just need to work at it little by little everyday and we’ll get rid of them.

Meanwhile, let’s turn our heads away from the weed filled veggie garden down to the weed filled narcissus and daffodils that popped up this late winter. There are about four rows at the front of the vegetable garden that popped up and many large clumps that appeared all over the yard. I wasn’t all that familiar with narcissus before now, but their smell is out of this world! So fragrant! Put them on your must plant list!

The asparagus is also shooting up, everyday we go out and pick a thick handful. This is only one of two large, long rows. We’re spoiled. We planted three meager asparagus plants at our last house, now I have learned that it’s best to plant more than you’ll think you’ll ever need. You can always share with friends, right?

Above is a sign of progress that makes me a very, very happy woman. Drip tubing! Installed in two flower beds with a thick layer of mulch over the top.


Filed under Flowers, just picked, Sprouting

Four Years of Marches

(daffodils are a constant on our table now as they are abundant in this garden, what an incredible surprise!)
This month marks a full four years that I’ve been blogging about our garden. A lot has happened in that four years. Many harvest, many successes, even more failures, a new baby and moving to a garden 6 times larger than our previous one. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring back those old posts so they don’t get lost in the archives and I’ve decided to start each month with a list of what I blogged about that month in previous years. It will be a good way for me to re-read and re-categorize them, fix broken links etc.






(finally using my walnut dyed yarn!)


Filed under four year archives