Venison Souvlaki

My Atkins Journey

Leave out the pita bread and this would be a fantastic meal (and wonderful way to serve venison)!

Venison Souvlaki

MARINADE

1 1/2 pounds venison backstrap or leg meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons black pepper

TZATZIKI SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 ounces of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup diced cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon dill
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste

OTHER STUFF

Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Red onions
Lemon wedges
Pita breads
Skewers

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Live and Learn – New Hot Water Heater

So, yesterday morning, I sent hubby off with a kiss. When I came back inside, I noticed a very small drop of something liquid on the floor. I thought that I might have dripped with emptying the coffee grounds, so I just wiped it up and went about my morning routine. Ten minutes later, there was more liquid, in the same spot. So, I moved the garbage can, opened the door to the hot water heater closet and there it was … water all over the floor. I threw down some towels, quickly checked the hoses, then went to You Tube. This was the first video I saw:

So, since I checked the hoses already (and the pressure relief pipe was sticking through a hole in the floor) I cut out a piece of cabinet wall and searched around to see if I could find where it was leaking from. I did … the water was coming through the control panel area. So, we needed a new water heater. O.k. What do I do now? First, I wanted to double check, so I called the former owner of the house. He couldn’t remember when he put it in but while we were chatting, he mentioned “we had one heck of a time getting it in there 20 years ago”. So, with that confirmed, back to You Tube. First, I found this one:

Then this one (figured I should immediately NOT make any mistakes so I better learn what they are):

And finally this one:

So, since we don’t have cell phones and I figured it would take a while to drain the hot water heater, I waited and priced some. I decided to go with a Rheem that was 10 gallons larger than the one we were replacing. I measured, and it was about the same height. So, I measured the pipes (for those who don’t know, the width of the pipe itself is NOT the width of the threads. My pipes are just over an inch in diameter but are technically 3/4 in pipe), made the list of things we’d need, wrote down the Model number, and went to let hubby know (I REALLY didn’t want him to show up from work, thinking he was going to relax, and be hit with this).

We went down to Home Depot, bought everything thanks to OPCC (Other People’s Credit Card … we had the cash but that is for property taxes), came home, and began. Well, I may have taken into account the height of the water heater but did not take into account the width (or weight). I ended up having to cut out more of the cabinet and ALMOST had to make a run to Ace Hardware for gas piping (it was in the way but we managed to make it work) all due to the increased width. Another thing about the width is: when I removed the old one, I just gave it a bear hug and walked it out the back door. The new one? My fingers wouldn’t even touch. AND it was heavier. So, once again, our old, free-from-a-neighbor dolly saved our bacon (and backs). I can’t tell you how many times that dolly has come in handy over the years. If anything happened to it, I would immediately go out and buy another one.

It took us 5 hours from purchase to hot water (plus a few hours today to tear out the rest of the cabinet). I still don’t know if I’m going to put a door up in front of the hot water heater (the framing would bring it out about 4 inches from the rest of the cabinets) or just spackle, paint, and call it good. So, what are the lessons I took away from this experience?

  1. Always have at least $1,000 in cash or available on a credit card for emergencies such as this.
  2. Measure everything (especially if this is a replacement) and even if you don’t think you will need a part, buy it.
  3. Unless you always have a group of big strong men (or women) around you at all times, have a dolly.

Macrame Belt

I started this project and, once realizing how long it was going to take me, my A.D.D. brain wouldn’t let me finish.  BUT I wanted to share this with everyone because I love the way it looks and how it will turn out.  The problem I had with it was the video.  There are no written instructions and no audio describing what is being done.  So, I ended up downloading the video to my computer (since, for some reason, my internet connection and/or You Tube have been buggers and decide not to cooperate a couple of times per day).  Watching it on my computer allowed me to pause so I could count how many times to macrame this section or that one and how many times to repeat a sequence.  I will post the notes I made once I am finished. Once you watch the video, if you see any errors with what I noted, please let me know.

First, here’s the video:

Now for the notes I’ve taken so far (for definitions and pictures of knots, check out this web page: http://www.stonebrashcreative.com/MacrameTutorial.html):

The following knots are used in this pattern:

For the flat area just after the buckle:
Lark’s Head Knot (for attaching your cord to the belt buckle)
Square Knots
Half Hitch

For the design:
Square Knots

And, my results so far (one thing I didn’t take into account when starting was the different weight of the yarns.  The white yard is thinner, so I had to adjust by adding how many macrame stitches I did to maintain the proper look):

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Basic Pork or Wild Boar Salami

http://honest-food.net/2014/08/07/basic-salami-recipe/

And one more I’m posting to both blogs. I have always preferred making things from scratch. I love learning new techniques and, if I like them, I keep doing them. If not, well, at least I know how to do it. This is one thing I have not done yet: make my own salami but would love to. I have recipes (if I recall correctly) for bear and elk sausage, also (I’m pretty sure they are here on my Sustainablehome blog). If not, I will find some to share.

Essence of Tomato – ‘Strattu, Estratto, Conserva

http://honest-food.net/2009/09/14/essence-of-tomato-strattu-estratto-conserva/

This one I am actually cross-posting on both blogs (not just sharing). This is not only a fantastic way to preserve tomatoes but also a way to add an intense tomato flavor to any dish (as Hank says, “Think of it as the black hole of the tomato world: It is said that a teaspoon of black hole matter would weigh millions of tons. Similarly, a mere teaspoon of ‘strattu in a soup is the equivalent of adding possibly a dozen tomatoes”) without all of the carbohydrates naturally present in tomatoes.

What is Art?

I’ve been making an inner journey.  It’s a journey that I am willing to share the basics of, soon.  This journey has led me to let go of so many of my doubts when it comes to exploring my abilities.  That is now in the past.

Yesterday morning, I stumbled onto a set of You Tube videos.  These videos were, “How to Paint a Sunflower in Watercolor”.  Here’s the first video:

I sat there, watching, and thought, “I can do that.  No, I will!”  So, I grabbed my child’s art set, my sketch paper (you know, those large pads of paper that you can get in just about any store), and I started.  No, first, I snagged a photo from my prolific photo-taking friend, Melana Hiatt (she takes some of the best photos).  Then, I got started.

AND here’s my result.  My first painting:

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I love it!  I made mistakes but they are lessons for what to do next time.  I can’t wait to do another one (thinking maybe something about Montana).  I loved the freedom of watercolors.  You just put some paint on the brush and let the brush do its magic.  So, what do you want to do?  Don’t let anything stop you.  If you love it, it’s art!

Dremel Wood Carving … So Far

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tim Vande Sluis of http://carvingonwood.com/ is correct. You can’t really do fine, detailed work with a Dremel (or any other basic rotary tool). I’m not sure if it’s just my lack of experience really working with wood, my lack of experience really working with my Dremel, or what but I’m just not able to get the detail that I was hoping for. See, my first practice piece was on a chunk of redwood 4X4 (leftover fencing material) and I was just doing Celtic knots (I wanted to learn how to properly draw them AND carve them). Even though I didn’t quite finish it, it’s not half bad (if I do say so myself).

First attempt with 2 dremel bits and a wood burner
First attempt with 2 dremel bits and a wood burner
MUCH better.
MUCH better with a few more bits in hand.


UPDATE: I was mistaken (well, the person that gave me these scraps of wood was mistaken). The wood in the two photos below is NOT mahogany. It is Jarrah, which is a type of eucalyptus. Due to the grains, it is not good for carving/machining (so it wasn’t just me). I guess I get to find another use for the rest of the scraps I have (http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/jarrah/).

The second piece I used some scrap mahogany that was going to go in a trash bin. Well, that wood is very difficult to work with. All I kept thinking was, “It’s so dry! It needs lotion!” LOL! I sanded a block on my belt sander and it was just beautiful! Then, I pulled out my Dremel (well, first I drew a design). OMG! The wood was splitting (or trying to) every which way you can imagine! Even using a sharp hand chisel was making it split! So, I just stumbled through the best I could and called it good.

LOOK at the splitting!
LOOK at that splitting! I thought, “How hard can straight lines be?”
Much better, flipped over, going with the grain but still had to use a hand chisel.
Much better, flipped over, going with the grain but still had to use a hand chisel.

 

The next piece (the one I’m currently working on) is another piece of leftover building materials but this time it’s a block of 2X4 pine. MUCH easier to work with BUT the Dremel keeps getting hot and the bits are burning my wood (and these are fresh bits). I have to keep stopping after 30 minutes or so to let the thing cool down (and, yes, I’ve lubricated it). It doesn’t matter what speed I use, either. This piece is much more detailed, also (an actual picture I printed up and transferred to the wood with carbon paper). I’m just not able to do what I envision in my head with the Dremel. I’m really disappointed but I’m determined. There is no way we can financially purchase an engraver at this time, so if I end up having to use a pocket knife to get the look that I want, I will!

I saw this picture online and thought it was cute.  It's much harder to get the fine details I want.
I saw this picture online and thought it was cute. It’s much harder to get the fine details I want.

 

I don’t have any linseed oil yet (need to run to Lowe’s and see what they have, whether they have it, and the determine the costs) so I’m making do. I have water-soluble glaze (you paint it on), spray-on finishes in Matte and Gloss (can be used on everything from ceramics to wood), and clear Rustoleum. I have water-color paints (like you buy for little kids), ceramic paints, and these things called oil crayons … no idea how to use that but all I can say is thank goodness I’m not doing this as a business! LOL!

I’m Weaving!

Well, after much trial and error (mostly me thinking I was smarter than most others and not having it work at all) I am finally weaving something!

I think I posted this link before but this was basically what I did:

http://www.theloomybin.com/doc/cwloom/

And, of course, I can’t choose something simple for my first project.  This is the pattern (well, it’s supposed to be … now that I have pictures, I’m not sure I’m doing it right but I don’t care!):

http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/birkarcp.html

I’m using just yarn … normal Red Heart (still don’t know the difference between the yarns) and it’s really wide … don’t know what the heck I’ll do with it but I don’t care!  I’m weaving!

And here’s the result:

See the cards on the left?  I made those!  I had an old accordion file and the stiff cardboard on either end was about the same width as the cards I was given.  To make the holes, I made a punch out of the metal nozzle off a large rodent water bottle (we used it when we had a rabbit) like this: I just pulled the metal part out and sharpened it with some files used to sharpen chain saws.  Then, hit it against the cardboard with a hammer and poof!  Perfectly round holes!  🙂

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That is a door to a small cabinet that we removed, 2 C-clamps, 1 Knitting needle, a TV tray, a chair, a large bottle of 409, a paint stirrer, bungee cord and paper clamps.  🙂

2014-03-18_09-35-36_595

Macrame

Well, I promised a post on macrame.  Since I ended up NOT doing this with my plant hangers (I ended up just knotting the cords), I’ll just post a blog I found.  It’s ALL about macrame!  If you know nothing about it, go ahead and start on this page:

http://www.macramelovers.com/blog/how-to-macrame/macrame-2/

If you know a little, here’s a pretty basic plant hanger design I was going to use:

http://www.macramelovers.com/blog/macrame-patterns/macrame-patterns-plant-hanger-2-tiers/

There are many, many (too many to list) resources out there (including some You Tube videos … my favorite) to list.  Just do a search and you will spend days looking through all there is to know (and learn) about macrame!

 

Cordage

So, I’m “THIS CLOSE” to finishing my woman cave (well, as finished as it can be until I can make some looms and such).  The last thing I need to do is make some plant hangers so I have room on the desk.  I have two skeins of some funky, fuzzy yarn and thought that would be fantastic, macramed into some plant hangers (yes, think 1970’s child here).  My problem is this isn’t the strongest yarn.  Although the pots aren’t huge and heavy, I don’t want to take the chance of them snapping and raining dirt all over my work.  So, while trying to figure that out, I thought, “Well, I’ll just read up on card weaving.”  That’s when I stumbled onto Lucets.  Take a look at this:

That tool … aside from the sanding, I could whip one of those up really quick.  What do you think about making cordage with that, THEN macrameing that into a plant hanger?

Then, I have a friend.  She scares me sometimes.  I hadn’t posted anything about lucets at all yesterday.  That’s when she posts this:

http://www.historicum.eu/product/flettehjul-3045/

Of course, I don’t speak (nor read) Danish but did a search for “flettehjul”.

That’s when this page pops up (with a lucet on it)!

It’s all about cordage!

And, here’s how to use that handy little gadget:

I found this pattern for making the lucet forks:

lucethttp://lildog-blog.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/lucet-patterns.html?m=1

All I have to say is, thank goodness I’m not doing this to make money!  They are ugly but they work!  I used a Rotozip (because I couldn’t find the blades to my scroll saw) and boy oh boy, does that thing like to go everywhere!  But they are sanded and I’m finally making my cordage.  So, perhaps some time tomorrow, I can make my plant hangers?

Basic Weaving (101)

I’m back on my weaving tangent, though I’m not even finished with my woman cave yet. This is how my Attention Deficit works. I was given a link quite a while ago (http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/index.html). That tab has been sitting there, open, this entire time. I finally decided to go through all the links, download what I wanted, then finally close it.

Well, imagine my surprise when I found these .pdfs! It’s Weaving 101, with instructions for building a full-sized loom, tablets, board looms, and table top looms! Not just that but exactly how to use them! I’m thrilled (and properly distracted from finishing my cave). Actually, I have hung my embroidery hoops on the wall and thought, “You know, I could do the same for the tablets I was given and even make some small frames and store them on the walls, too.” That one thought gave me permission to embrace this tangent again. 🙂

These were all written by Luther Hooper and are a fantastic resource for anyone to have (who is interested in this or think they may be in the future).  To save these to your computer, right-click on the links below, click “Save Link As” and choose where you would like it saved on your computer.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I am!

Weaving For Beginners

Weaving With Small Appliances Book 1

Weaving With Small Appliances Book 2

Weaving With Small Appliances Book 3

Hand-Loom Weaving Plain & Ornamental Part 1

Hand-Loom Weaving Plain & Ornamental Part 2

Kinda: What To Do With An Entertainment Center

Operation Woman Cave commences today!

My Atkins Journey

So, today is the day.  My son is moving out and I get to transform his room into my woman cave!  My new weight machine and all my weights will be moved in there (not sure if I should get those mats for the floor, since it’s a wood floor).  But before I can do that, I have an entertainment center, a long dresser, and a small-ish desk to deal with.  Aside from my training equipment, all my sewing/crochet/weaving (hopefully get started on learning that) and any other non-messy crafty things will be moved in there also (the wood carving will remain in the garage).  So, storage is a necessity. 

I found these links and need to share on both blogs.  I had initially thought of mounting the entertainment center on top of the dresser but I think that may end up being too tall (kinda making a china cabinet).

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Grind Your Own Meat In Minutes: Use A Food Processor!

After the last food recall (which was hamburger made from diseased cows … yeah, like cutting out the cancerous eye before slaughter was good enough AND all that meat was stamped “Approved” prior to grinding), this really is the way to go. The only problem I’ve had is getting the meat/fat ratios right for burgers. I use a clamp to the counter manual grinder (quite a workout when grinding a lot of meat) but I never thought about using a food processor!

http://tipnut.com/grinding-meat/

Breads Made With Lard

These came into my inbox and I just had to share.  I don’t see too many recipes out there that specifically call for the use of lard.

Pueblo Oven Bread

Approximately 9 cups of white flour

1 Package of Dry Yeast

2 Tablespoons of Salt

2 Tablespoons of Lard (you can substitute with butter)

2 Cups of Water

AND

Native American Bread

1/2 -ounce active dry yeast (2 (1/4-ounce) packets)
1 1/4 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup salt
1 cup lard

Power Wood Carving Info (and links)

One more week and I can go play in the garage again! Until then, I’m watching videos and dreaming … I mean learning.

I made a playlist on You Tube for Wood Carving (Power and a few manual).

AND I have to thank Tim Vande Sluis of http://carvingonwood.com/. Since I’m such a total noob, I sent him a total noob question and he sent me a wonderful, detailed reply that I must share for anyone who is thinking about getting into power wood carving. Like I said, I have a Dremel and a Craftsman rotary tools. I know virtually nothing about them except go to the tool section, look for Dremel, buy a bit. I didn’t even realize there were different shaft sizes.

So, without further ado, here is Mr. Vande Sluis’ response to my question about bits/burrs:

The Dremel

There are many people who contact me with questions regarding using a Dremel for doing power relief carving. It can be done, but the burr selection is a little bit different from what you see me use.

The shaft size for the burrs used in the Dremel is 3/32″ to 1/8″. This all depends on the version of Dremel that you have, and the mechanism that it uses to secure the burrs with.

Dremel offers some burrs that would work for relief power carving, and it looks like you have them listed on your post. You have also realized that you will be needing other burrs to really be able to enjoy power relief carving.

Understanding Burrs

I wrote an article explaining the general principles of burrs and burr selection. If you have not read that article yet, here it is: http://carvingonwood.com/burrbasics

For use with the Dremel you will be looking for the same shapes of burrs that you see me use in my Power Relief 101 – Daisy carving video series, but with an emphasis on 3/32″ shafted burrs.

I like to purchase all of my 1/8″, 3/32″, and 1/4″ burrs from Woodcarvers Supply. http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/home.asp

You will find a very large selection of burrs in diamond, carbide (with stump cutters), and ruby compounds with the 1/8″ shaft. There website is a little bit difficult to navigate, but they have what you are looking for. (Make sure the rpm rating of the burr matches the maximum rpm rating of the Dremel.)

Here is an article I wrote specifically about the Dremel: http://carvingonwood.com/power-relief-carving-with-a-dremel/

Dremel Burrs

Here is the a link to Dremels burr selection. http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Accessories/Pages/SubCategories.aspx?catid=2026

Look at the “High Speed Cutters”, “Engraving Cutters”, and “Diamond Wheel Points”. There are a few more burrs that Dremel offers that can be used for power relief carving in these categories.

**The size of the burr itself determines how large or small a design and detail that you can carve.**

If the design you are wanting to carve is relatively small, like the carvings you see me do, you will want to purchase the smallest sizes of heads on the burrs you can. I see that your intentions are to one day carve similar designs to those on the gun stocks in your post. These are smaller designs, so smaller burrs.

If you find yourself wanting to carve larger designs and panels you will want to select a larger burr for the initial rough out and detailing stages. This helps you complete your carvings quicker and with less hassle. You will still use the smaller burrs for the finishing details and small areas of the carving.

Let me know if you have any additional questions. I am happy to answer them. Keep up the great work, and having fun with power relief carving. Remember that this is a journey and not a race. Enjoy Yourself!

Cheers,

Tim

Loomette Weaving

Well, a friend mentioned that she weaves on potholder looms and then said something about getting a 3-pin loom. I, obviously, had no idea what she was talking about so I looked it up and thought I should share this with you. I like how small these are, you could use leftover yarns, and it takes no time to finish each square. When I get my woman cave (son’s moving out and his room will become my woman cave with my weights, new weight machine and all my sewing/yarn/crafty items … no wood working, though. That stays in the garage).

http://amywilson.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/experiments-on-the-martha-stewart-loom-part-two-revenge-of-the-weavette/

http://www.eloomanation.com/weaving/patterned_weaves.php

And this video is how to weave with yarn on a potholder loom:

Overdose from Kidney Cleanses?

So, I’m on day 5 of my parsley tea regimen and I’m feeling much better, though the pain is more localized now (movement of another stone?). So, I went to Google and am just wondering if I could overdue it with cleanses. I actually found some Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar on sale, so I’ve started that also (just downed a Tablespoon in some water, then added 2 Tablespoons to 8 cups water and that will replace my water for the next few days). via http://www.examiner.com/article/apple-cider-vinegar-kidney-stone-remedy

Then I see this (which I have a lot of celery seed):

http://curezone.org/cleanse/kidney/Celery-seeds.asp

And this (which I don’t have a lot of watermelon seeds but good to know I can save them for something like this):

http://curezone.org/cleanse/kidney/Watermelon-Seed-Tea.asp

So, if I started another one, it would be the celery seed tea. Does anyone know if that would be overdoing it?

Basic Liver Tonic

Well, today is day 4 of my parsley tea and it’s working!  I feel much better (and think it may be a small kidney stone … sure hurts and moves like one).  So, I can’t do much moving around.  I’ve decided to finally finish cleaning up my website and found this little tidbit hiding amongst the huge numbers of text files I have stored on my server.  I do not know who originally shared it nor who wrote it (if you do, please let me know).

Liver Tonic

* 2 T Wild Yam root
* 2 T Milk Thistle Globes
* 2 T Oregon Grape root
* 2 T Dandelion root
* 2 T Chicory root
* 2 T Goldenseal Root (optional)

Simmer in water 20 min, Golden seal may lower blood sugar and may be deleted from this remedy.

Parsley Tea – Kidneys

My Atkins Journey

Well, I don’t know if what is going on is solely kidney related or not but I decided to find something I could do about it now (I typically down unsweetened, natural cranberry juice for all things urinary-related but don’t have any).  So, I’m sitting here yesterday with pain in my back.  I’ve had it for about a week but assumed it had something to do with my weight training (did something wrong).  It’s right around my bra line and has mostly been dull, getting worse when I completely hunch over while at my desk (I decided to post my weekly menus so anyone new doesn’t have to join MyFitnessPal or become my friend there in order to see what kinds of foods I’ve been eating since I started again, which is all cut-and-paste).  Well, I thought it was muscular until yesterday when it became a bright, burning, tender pain…

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My Power Wood Carving

I’ve added a new page (and what a pain it was to add the list of posts at the bottom of it).  It’s up there (finger pointing up).  I’d like you to take a look at it and see my new passion.  I’m really enjoying it and I wanted to have one place where I can talk specifically about it (and not have to hunt for the post).  When I do add little tidbits, I’ll update that page, also.

https://thesustainablehome.wordpress.com/my-power-wood-carving/

I have also added a few other links up there.  Recipes and Crafts will display all posts under those two categories and there is a link to my main website (I swear, it’s still ugly and old but I will get to it eventually.  Heck, I only have a couple of things to do then just upload it but I just don’t feel like it at the moment).

Radically Cheap: The Story of Pat Delany, Open Source Machine Tools Advocate

Well, this is not only a story after my own heart but the main site?  I could get lost in it for days (if not months)!

http://makezine.com/magazine/make-37/patdelany/

The MultiMachine

About 13 years ago, Delany decided to build himself a horizontal milling machine on the cheap.”

Transferring Images to Wood

So, I’m on a major tangent (as I stated in my last post).  The majority of wood carvings I have seen either employ hand drawing the designs onto wood (I’m not that good) or buying special transparent adhesive papers to just carve through.  I figured there had to be a simpler (and more cost effective way) to transfer an image onto wood.  So, I’ve been searching and found two options that may work.

This first one is for transferring inkjet printed images onto wood (and leaving it) as art.  This one is the most cost efficient, if it would work for me (but I can see this being awesome for painted signs, artwork, putting onto furniture, etc.):

http://upcycledtreasures.com/2013/05/diy-wood-sign-using-your-printer/

This second one, she is using for pyromancy (wood burning) but could be fantastic for power carving also!  I just have to make sure (with both of these methods) that the wood is sanded smooth.

http://allthingsbelle.blogspot.com/2013/03/diy-tutorial-transfer-inkjet-image-to.html

And here’s one that uses duct tape!  How sweet is that?

http://www.microjivvy.com/duct-tape-image-transfer-inkjet

Welding and Wood Carving

I have found two You Tube channels (actually, hubby found one) that are fantastic and I need to share them!

The first one is what has been occupying my time.  I’ve always ‘dreamed’ of working with wood.  I have chisels, a scroll saw, band saw, router, drill press, plans, two Dremels, etc. but never quite got around to it.  That is, until I finally committed my brain to learning something.  This guy is one of the few channels that teaches how to do wood carving with power tools.  So, on the days when I’m supposed to be doing cardio (cough, cough) I’ve been in the garage playing.

And this guy hubby found last night.  The way we both see it, no matter how long you’ve been doing something, it can’t hurt to continue to learn and perhaps learn techniques that will make your work better.  Welding.  I’ve done a good job splattering molten metal (and burning myself) but like the idea of learning to do this more (take a look at the plasma cutter … I want one!).

California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses

I had no idea this state (California) actually did something that makes sense!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/01/29/california-legalized-selling-food-made-at-home-and-created-over-a-thousand-local-businesses/

PVC Pipe Soaker “Hose” Systems

So, I was sent the first link via email and I just think it’s brilliant! This will save us tons of water while watering deep enough to keep the plants in the raised beds we’re going to build happy throughout our hot summers. The first one is for row crops:

http://thewrinkleddollar.com/garden/drip-irrigation.html

And this video lays out how to do this for raised beds!

This guy did this setup but for his containers:

How Did I Knit My Jute Shoulder Bag?

Jute Shoulder Bag – Knitting (this is beyond my basic “I can cast on” knitting abilities but I love it!)

Tantu

Hi!

How are you? Today I have something to show you 🙂 Yes, it is my favourite casual jute bag.  Below is the picture of my jute bag.

8T 1 First look

Hmm, I hope you liked it! OK, let me illustrate how I made it.

Requirements:

Single-point knitting needles

Coarse Jute yarn              about 750g

Metal beads (large)          about 20

Pattern

I chose a lace insert pattern for my bag (Pictured below, reference: A Reader’s Digest Step-by-step Guide to Sewing and Knitting. All the drawings are taken from the same book). For hands, I decided to use garter stitch. For the flap also I finalised garter stitch.

8T Desired Pattern

Starting to knit

I threaded the metal beads through the jute yarn. These beads were to place in the bag body.

I started to knit with single cast-on (44 stitches).

8T Single Cast-on

Bag body

Written direction of selected lace insert pattern is as follows:

Multiple of…

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Homemade Corned Beef

I can’t believe I didn’t post about this!  I made homemade corned beef last year, leaving out the sugar and the pink salt, and it was fantastic!  I thought, well, I could make this, then can it so I know exactly where it came from and what was in it.  I haven’t gotten around to canning this because it usually doesn’t last that long!

Anyway, if you are interested (I wanted to see if I could and I did), here is how I did it:

http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/home_made_corned_beef.html

And here is how to can it (ever since I canned that chicken, I prefer raw canning meats):

http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/2011/05/canning-corned-beef-brisket.html

There you go!  Give it a shot (even if you only do one).  It really wasn’t as difficult as my brain said it would be!

Product Review – Lowrey’s Bacon Curls

LOOK! Low Carb Food Storage Item! These are so tasty!

My Atkins Journey

My mom is a Dollar Store fanatic.  She’s always shopping at this one or that one and gets all excited when a new one shows up.  We eat very specific foods (as you can imagine) so I don’t really shop at those stores (if we ate nothing but cereal and crackers, we’d save tons of money at those stores).  Anyway, she insisted I try Dollar General (a whole mess of them have popped up all over town).  So I went and look what I found!  I had no idea these things even existed!  It’s pork rinds that you cook in the microwave, like pop corn.  For $1/bag, it couldn’t hurt to try one.

So, after sitting there for about a week, hubby decides it’s time to try them.  He puts it in the microwave (which has always been too small for all things cooked in bags like this) and they…

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How To Make High Grade Natural Beeswax Leather Polish and Conditioner

This is GREAT!  I’m always running out and what better way to save money (since I have tons of stuff for soap making and haven’t made soap in YEARS) than to be able to make my own!  I hope it won’t make hubby’s work boots catch on fire easier (he’s a welder)!  lol

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-High-Grade-Natural-Beeswax-Leather-Pol/?ALLSTEPS

Tools:
Measuring spoons
Tins for your polish (I’m not a fan of plastic bottles but you can use them)
Pyrex measuring cup
Small pot
Small aluminum pie plate
Wooden spoon
Bamboo skewers (optional)

Supplies;
Beeswax – solid; Protection for leather. Creates a barrier for environmental influences
Coconut butter – semi solid; Conditions the leather surface.
Sweet Almond oil – liquid; Softens the leather internally and replaces the natural oils lost through dying
Castor oil – liquid; Heavier oil that provides the ‘shine’. Can be replaced with mineral oil if necessary.

**Optional**
Pure Ammonia or Alcohol – liquid; Cleans and degreases the surface before polishing. As I mentioned before, the old recipes called for human urine.

Have a Small Space? Grow Vertical!

A friend mentioned that she has a tiny little area to grow any food, so I suggested she grow vertically. I don’t really do this now but may have to since I will be using raised beds this year. I’ve seen so many neat ideas over the past few months that I’m trying to find all the links to share with you (and her). Well, I was going to find a single picture to post here but when I did my Google search (“vertical gardening”) and clicked images I was in awe! There are so many creative ideas out there that I just can’t list them all (so check out the photos yourself here).

This is pretty much what I did when I was growing in containers (I posted pictures of my truck garden in 2011).

And here’s a video with several ideas (that’ pretty much the way the rest of these links are going to be … several ideas in one article):

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/8639243-green-expert-nick-federoffs-tips-on-vertical-gardening/

This one demonstrates how to build a growing “wall” (I love links with pictures or video) AND it’s Popular Mechanics!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to-start-a-vertical-garden#slide-1

Here are two ways to reuse soda bottles:

DIY: Hanging Plastic Bottle Planter

DIY Vertical Gardening

Here are two ways to use shoe hangers:

VERTICAL VEGETABLES: “Grow up” in a small garden and confound the cats!

Turn a Shoe Organizer Into a Vertical Planter

And two ways to reuse pallets:

diy project: recycled pallet vertical garden

Pot hangers (third example down)

This one has a lot of different ideas (and if you look at the bottom of the second link, she has a few more articles about vertical gardening:

Small Garden Design Idea: Maximize Vertical Spaces

How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens

There are several projects on the DIY Network’s website but this one I particularly like, since you can change it around easier:

How to Grow a Vertical Vegetable Garden

Here are their top 10 vertical gardening projects:

http://www.diynetwork.com/topics/vertical-gardening/index.html

And now, for some eye candy! This looks like Pinterest specifically for Home and Garden:

http://happyhouseandgarden.com/categories/12265/vertical-gardening-ideas

Water Storage

I can’t believe I never made a post about water storage (unless I did and just can’t find it).  I will include several links from various sources describing the various methods of water storage and how to ensure the safety of the water.   Of everything we think we “need” to survive in the event of some sort of event, too many do not include water as their number 1 priority.  It’s always food, shelter, clothing, etc. but with all of that, if we do not have access to water (either already clean or have the ability to clean it) we will not survive long enough to enjoy that food and the other supplies we have stored.

The first link I will share is to a water filter that looks like it is by far the best one out there.  It’s to a forum (disclosure here) that I am a moderator/administrator for (you can view this post without being a member) and my dear friend has researched the heck out of this filter. It’s for the water filters made by www.justwater.me.

Survivalistssite Forum: Water filter comparison

There are other links/discussions on the survivalistssite forum discussing water treatment options. Please check them out.

And here’s how to make a *Home Made Berkey Water Filter* which is helpful for those people like me (if there are any others out there because California is so whacky) who are unable to purchase the Big Berkeys due to state regulations. I don’t see why, if you account for flow rate, this setup can’t be used for other brands of large water filters.

Here’s an article from the CDC:

Personal Preparation and Storage of Safe Water

Here’s a simple article from the University of Colorado Extension:

Water Storage

And here’s an even more basic article from the LDS church:

Drinking Water Guidelines

Now, for cisterns, which I think is ultimately be best way to go, if you have the space for them:

This first article is from the University of Florida extension (there’s a link to a .pdf of this article on the upper left side of their web page):

Cisterns To Collect Non-Potable Water For Domestic Use

And this one, by far, is my favorite, since I truly love Mother Earth News:

The Homestead Cistern

So, if you haven’t already begun you water storage project, you have some reading to do. It’s never too late to get started, even if the positive results may not be seen this year (since I do not expect California to get anywhere near the rain that is needed this year).

Safe Use of Household Greywater

Here is my post from 2008 on Greywater usage.

Brenda's Sustainable Home

>Here’s another item submitted to Preparedsurvivalistsunite2:

http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_m/m-106.html

Safe Use of Household Greywater

Guide M-106

Revised by Marsha Duttle, Extension Research Assistant

College of Agriculture and Home Economics New Mexico State University

Greywater is water that has been used for washing dishes, laundering clothes, or bathing. Essentially, any water, other than toilet wastes, draining from a household is greywater. Although this used water may contain grease, food particles, hair, and any number of other impurities, it may still be suitable for reuse. Reusing greywater serves two purposes: it reduces the amount of freshwater needed to supply a household, and reduces the amount of waste water entering sewer or septic systems.

The New Mexico Environment Department and the Construction Industries Division govern liquid waste disposal in New Mexico, and issue permits for approved systems. Greywater use is restricted by the Liquid Waste Disposal Regulations (LWDR), but the Environment Department can grant a…

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Lemon Whey Pie

Yes, you read that right. It’s a lemon meringue pie that calls for whey!

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/06/lemon-whey-pie.html

1 pre-baked 9″ pie pastry shell (Get my super-simple recipe that uses healthy fats here.)

Filling:

1 1/2 cups whey (it must be fresh whey, any sort of powdered whey stuff will not work. Here’s my post that explains more about real whey.)
1 cup organic sugar (or if you must, regular white sugar will work in a pinch)
3 1/2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue topping below)
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice (I like the 100% real organic stuff like this kind)

Meringue Topping:

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons organic sugar

How Anyone Can Be More Self Sufficient

I have always felt this way. As much as I dream about it, you don’t have to live completely off-grid and make all of your own items, to be self sufficient (or live a sustainable life). Just do whatever you can to not HAVE to rely so much on the outside world.

http://www.littlehouseliving.com/how-anyone-can-be-more-self-sufficient.html

Core Motivation

I am posting this on both blogs because I think this is one of the most profound videos I have seen.  Frank Kern gave this address back in 2008(?) at an Internet Marketing seminar.  It’s roughly 2 hours long (that’s my disclosure, there) but the first hour and a half is spent on you and how you can learn who you truly want to be (what you truly want out of life).  Well, at least that’s how I saw it.

Video pulled for copyright infringement.

So, you want to lose weight?  Why?  Do you think you’ll be happy once you lose the weight?  That’s what a lot of people think: I’ll be happy if or when.  Those are the people who, once they reach their goal and find out they are still the same person, just in a skinny body, end up putting on not only the weight they had originally lost but more!  Those are the people who win the lottery (literally) yet wind up penniless and miserable, with no friends or family.

Before we begin any journey in life, we need to really take a look at who we really are and what we truly want out of life.  The exercise that Frank walks them (us) through is: What would be your perfect average day?  Not a day when you are doing something special (like taking a trip) but your perfect normal average day.  What time would you wake up?  Who would you be with?  What would you have for breakfast?  That sort of thing.

Think about it.  If your dream is to never have to work again, what would you do to occupy your time?  If your dream is to lose 100 pounds, what would you do next?  How would that change your life?  Let’s say you want to run marathons.  O.k.  So, how would you spend your day if you were snowed in?

Once you do this exercise per Frank’s description, take a good honest look at it.  You need to take action now to become happy with your life.  After watching this video, I realized that I’ve been doing this for a number of years without consciously realizing it.  I have let friends go (some of my oldest friends) because they were not conducive with my happiness.  I’ve done the same thing with family members.  My attitude about life and circumstances has changed dramatically, all for the better.  I used to be angry and ready for a fight.  I was very active in the political arena (you can see some of that on my sustainablehome blog and especially on my You Tube channel) with my primary focus on the injustices of this or that.  While that is alright, I never truly focused on how I could turn that around to make my (or anyone else’s) life better.  I was extremely negative, spending the majority of my time just bitching, ranting, and buying more ammunition (it’s like food or money or air … or happiness.  You can never have enough). 🙂

Now, I’m doing my best to improve my life and sharing it with you along the way, in the hope that it may help you, too.  I haven’t sat down and officially done the exercise mentioned above yet (I will in a little bit) but I have been thinking about it a lot.  My perfect, average day would pretty much be my life now (just in a location where I can smell pine trees when I open the front door and not hear sirens and police helicopters for hours at a time, like this morning … 4 hours!).  I would have the strength to split wood or hand-turn soil all day long if need be.  I wouldn’t have neighbors that I can hear cough (it’s not that bad but you know what I mean) and I can raise any animal I damn well please!

So, what about you?

Border Collie is Ready to Herd! – Spinning Wheels

Take a look at these spinning wheels!

Olympic Spinning Wheels

collie wheelcollie wheel detailOur latest wheel is about ready for testing once the varnish dries a bit more.  I like the way things turned out, even though it kept me alert all the time as so many things were new with this one.  Because Jan requested a border collie in classic pose for the handle, I needed to make it removable and it turned out fine.  I will add this option to my bag of tricks when people request delicate handle embellishment.   It is held in place over the regular handle by two rare earth magnets.  Just pop it off and pack it carefully for travel. I felt it was necessary to keep the woodwork simple so as not to compete with the art.  Sorry for the indoor photos.  Usually we haul the new wheels to some place interesting to photograph them but today we have rain.  The  dusty shop had to double…

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Homemade Healing & Antibacterial Cream: Like Homemade Neosporin®

Although this one calls for more ingredients, this one I’m “drawn to”. Due to my slightly impaired immune system (type 2 diabetes), EVERYTHING gets infected if I don’t immediately clean/treat it. It’s irritating! Well, I have just discovered what I’ve done wrong with ointments. It is lack of stirring. I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes, stirring continuously, and it’s finally looking like ointment. My patience is limited, so I’ll have to choose wisely and not make too many of these! 🙂

http://livesimply.me/2014/01/20/homemade-neosporin-four-simple-steps-healing-salve-recipe/

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup dried lavender (where to buy)
1/3 cup dried calendula (where to buy)
4 TB beeswax (where to buy) equals 2-3 oz. if using bars
1 TB raw honey
10 drops tea tree oil (where to buy)
5 drops lavender essential oil (where to buy)
glass jars (I use these)