Tag Archives: DIY

slow living update – april 2013


I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her categories to summarize my month and list some things I’d like to accomplish.



We’ve eaten a lot of large extended family meals this month. There has also been a few meals provided by friends and neighbours, for which we were very grateful. I wrote about Butter Chickpeas, since butter chicken is a quick dinner at our place and when I am out of ideas at the end of the workday, it’s an easy dinner to put together. We like to add peas or chopped spinach to ours for a little extra colour.


I’m not sure if this counts as food preparation, but the dad’s aunt and uncle gifted us the entire contents of their food cupboards and freezer because they were moving out of province and didn’t want to haul food. I guess that cut down on food needs for a while and filled the pantry (and then some!).



I made a few gift bags using worn out kid’s jeans and even the sleeve from an unwanted sweater. I’ve been accumulating quite a few items of clothing that I will keep using up in similar ways. Nothing else really to report here.

{Green – cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies}:

I also inherited the entire contents of the aunt and uncle’s cleaning closet, so in the interest of using up what we have, I will make my way through all of it before I make my own again. I know some of them might not be as environmentally friendly as I might otherwise use, but it seems wrong to waste anything.


The grass is growing quickly enough that the horses are being kept in the barnyard and out of the field to avoid getting colic and the dad is getting up early in the morning to pick up the lawn mower from the repair shop in order to mow the lawns before the weekend. There is a lot more lawn over here at the farm. I’m just happy that the tall hormonal kid learned to drive the lawn mower last year.

The garden isn’t planted yet, but we did place a seed order which should arrive any day. We will still have to buy a few plants for the peppers and tomatoes. There is a greenhouse here at the farm but some wildlife has been in and out of it over the last few years, so a clean-up this spring will be necessary to get it ready for use next year. In the meantime I don’t mind purchasing some plants that have already been started.


Nothing to write about here this month.



I read a few books this month while the dad was staying overnight at the hospital with his dad. Eighteen years must be the magic number of years that it takes to get used to the snoring, because I found that I missed him when he wasn’t here.

And who knew Pierre Berton wrote a cookbook? There’s a long-winded historical explanation of each recipe, but I guess that’s to be expected.

{Enhance – community}:

The tall hormonal kid has been babysitting at the school during Parent/Teacher council meetings. It has given her a little taste of the working life (she’ll get a bit more when she finds out that she is going to be picking stones for the neighbouring farmer who leases and plants land here at the farm).

We’ve also hired a friend’s 15-year-old son to help with the clean out of the flower gardens and general lawn raking. He has been an awesome help – he has the work ethic of the dad, but the back and arm strength of a 15-year-old. He makes some extra pocket-money and we get a lot of work done that we couldn’t accomplish otherwise. Everyone wins.

I’ve also hired a local woman to clean the house twice a month (her name is Dusty – I figured it was meant to be). She does a lot of work that it would exhaust me to do and I am able to spend some of my weekends resting. Again, everyone wins.



We had a lot of family around in April, we had mini-cousins, cousins and the dad’s aunt and uncle as house guests. We had many weekend meals together while my father-in-law was in hospital and family was down to visit. He passed away in April, but we will continue to remember him this weekend at a Tribute of Life that is being held at our local community hall.

Linked to Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugally Sustainable

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a 2-step, 2 minute wine gift bag


Since I finally managed to put some order to the sewing room, I did feel like I should actually use it at least once to prove its necessity. I have a stack of clothes to be mended or altered into something else stacking up beside the sewing machine and decided that this would be a quick project that I could do in minutes and feel like I accomplished something. And all told, photographs and everything, this was just minutes from beginning to end.

I used to make my own gift bags, but out of laziness lately I have slacked off. This Christmas we were given some gifts from a neighbour who always makes her own bags and the gifts seem more personal knowing that she made at least part of it herself. This is my shortcut to doing something similar.

The small kid is very hard on blue jeans, so there are always a few pair with no knees laying around to be mended or cut up for patches. One pair of kid’s jean would make two wine bottle gift bags (or other small gift bag, if you want). The process is quick:

wine bag

Step one:

Cut the leg below the knee (the finished bottom of the pants will be the finished top seam of the bag – saving some sewing) and sew a straight seam across.

Step two:

Flatten out the seam until you have two triangular corners at the ends. Sew a straight line across both corners, trim excess material and thread.

And that is it, unless you count turning it right side out and tying a bow on the top as another step.

Linked to Simple Lives Thursday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugally Sustainable

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While surfing and reading recently, I came across a blog where a woman had summarized her day and thought I could do something similar. I can’t now remember the headings that she used or what the blog was called, but this is what I came up with.

Outside my window: It’s snowing. The dog and the kids have been outside and there are tracks of varying sizes winding around the house and down to the barn. It’s also a little warmer today and the snow is good and sticky, as you can see by the snowman. At some point tonight I will have to go out and retrieve my scarf. The cat sits intently at the window (when he isn’t napping) hoping to catch another glimpse of the bunny that likes to take shelter at the side of the house.


In the kitchen: There is a chocolate chip cake baking in the oven and a roast to go in the oven later for dinner tonight. The grandparents are all coming for dinner and to see how we are settling into the house.


We are working on: I have unpacked my knitting again and am working on another pair of socks, using this super simple sock pattern, but I have added my own little design to the top. The girls have been in the workshop and have built some horse stalls for the small squeaky kid’s toy horses. The dad has fixed my footstool. The cat is napping.

I am reading: Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. I’ve had it sitting at work for a while and just started reading it again during lunch breaks. I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. I am also waiting my turn to read the new Harlan Coban book that the dad is working on right now and I keep looking at the William Dam seed catalogue that I have been waiting for a chance to read through.

Around the house: I am working my way up to vacuuming the main floor, I’ve done some laundry, cleaned the kitchen and am working on convincing the dad that he needs to clean the litter box. I’m having minimal success with the last item.


Quote for today: “Start off slowly and taper off.” I used to think a friend from highschool came up with that one until I saw an embroidered pillow with that same quote. I had that pillow sitting on my chesterfield for years.

One of my favorite things: Right now, the fuzzy fake fur blanket that my in-laws gave me for Christmas; it’s currently wrapped around my legs.

Plans for the week: Hockey practice, a new recipe to try, library books to return, piano practising to supervise, friends coming for dinner next weekend, horses to care for and at some point I should unpack and organize the sewing room, but I still haven’t been inspired to do anything but keep the door to the room firmly shut. And of course there is work. I’m trying to convince the dad that I should quit work and be a homemaker. Since I am the only one with a pension and benefits that pipe dream will likely never happen. But feel free to leave him a comment about how nice it would be to have one parent at home..

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