Friday, January 4, 2013

baker's dozen...

we started back to school after winter break yesterday.

silly, i know, to "go" for only 2 days out of the week.  BUT my sister & i are headed to nashville come monday & i didn't want to use 2 of our *free* days for the semester right off the bat.  so....we began working our way back into our previously familiar groove yesterday.

why nashville??  well, it's interesting that you should ask. ;) my mother is retiring after working @ the same hospital for *30 years* & one of the doctors is hosting an evening with friends & family in her honor.  thus, my sister & i are scooting over that way to attend.

@ any rate, i have missed it, our daily rhythm.  i am a creature of habit, as the saying goes & i do so enjoy our routine person.

but enough about that, i have some really neat things that i am itching to share with you & with 4 children lurking around the corner, time if definitely of the essence!! ;)

so...remember the other day when i was saying that i have more or less forgone new year's resolutions??  this is still true, in essence.  BUT that being said, there are certain things that i have been wanting to do & there is just something about the new year that just makes me crave something new...some sort of goal that needs achieving. 

thus, my theme for the year is "baker's dozen" (it is 2013 after all, right??)  it perfect!!

so, 13 things.  now, why do 13 when you could do 26??  please hear me out before you decided that i am reliving the infamous new year's resolution madness that was 2011.  the key here is that they are all completely & totally doable.  see...i have thought this through & am being totally & utterly realistic.

now for the 2 main headings/catergories for these "13  things":

1) food items, to be made from scratch (vs) bought.  things that we buy a lot of & that i could truly make @ home.  the catch is that these new concoctions will need to be successful to actually count, as in able to replace the ones that we are currently purchasing AND i will need to stick it out for the year, once i start.

(this goes along with the overall theme for my life this year, which is to working to be more of a locavore.  but more about that later...)

2) general household items, ones that we use, could use (or) need, to be made (vs) bought.

(this goes along with being green, doing a bit more here/there when & where we can)

now, you might be asking how i know that this is totally doeable.  well, i know this beause i have already done 2 of them!!  not bad, eh??

Food Item #1

last night i made homemade flour tortillas!  we eat a lot of rice, beans, eggs, etc & thus *a lot* of tortillas.  the were super easy & though they turned out a bit wonky, in shape, they were muy delicioso!! 

they didn't take that long to make either, obviously more time than opening a store bought package, but then where is the pride in that??  (i was sooo proud of my tortillas!!  *and* i was glad that lance wasn't here, he would have made fun of me for being so excited about them. ;)

Household Item #1

we also made some dryer balls.  have you heard about these??   they are apparently wonderful for many, many reasons....

What wool dryer balls do:
  • absorb moisture from the clothes in the dryer, cutting your dryer time by 25-50%!
  • help reduce static cling
  • soften clothes
  • can lightly scent clothing naturally with essential oils (optional)
  • save a lots of money–dryer balls can last 7+ years
  • dry and remove static naturally without chemicals
cool, right??

bonus, they are super simple to make!  there are loads of tutorials out there on the web, so i won't bother posting one here.

all you need though is 100% wool (either felted sweaters, roving, or yarn).  i did see one tutorial that said you could make them with upcycled cotton sweaters, if you are allergic to wool, but i think that wool works the best.

the kids & i made a couple of wet felted one, but i still need to get photos of those & these when they are finished. 

the top photo is of freshly wound dryer balls, the second photo (in the pantyhose) is before going into the wash.  i'll post photos of each after they are thoroughly felted.  for this lot, i  wound up some yarn that i was planning on passing on...

another sort of "resolution" my mind only...well, i guess not anymore since i am now posting it here (tee, hee) is to reduce the crafting stash.

i have *loads* of crafting bits & bobs, a healthy stash of yarn, but also roving, felt, & some fabric.  and then the tubs of randomness, beads, elastic, ribbons, gems, sequins, etc...

i am toying with the idea of 13 *new* crafts/crafting projects, but i need to think on this a bit more before i commit.  anyway, i don't think it counts as "destashing" if i just pawn my things of on someone else (or does it?? :)


the official posting of the baker's dozen for the world to see & already 2 projects down.  i feel good.  this is the sort of "challenge" that can help you do all the things that you have been meaning to do for who knows how long...

we actually did a couple other projects today, recycling both crayons & modeling beeswax.  they don't count towards the "13" because we have done them both before, but maybe you could count them towards yours??

we buy stockmar beeswax crayons for our lessons, both stick & block crayons.  they are gorgeous & have a really natural feel to them & smell, like beeswax!  lovely to work with & gorgeous colors & they last a long time...unless you have dog that really likes to chew on crayons.  but i digress...when the crayons wear down, i put the bits in a tub for our youngest to use (the "good" ones are reserved for lesson work *only*).  today, we melted them down to make new un-block crayons for shading (which, the old me, would previously buy each fall). 

we used mini muffins tins & "baked" them @ 275 degrees for ~7-8 min.  once thoroughly melted, place them in the freezer to cool.  they should pop out relatively easily, ours do.

we use our modeling beeswax a lot & the littles have really taken a liking to it this past fall, which means there are loads of little, tiny, crumb-ish sized pieces.  these are very tedious to work with when big brother sit down to do their modeling.  so, we melted them as well.  same temp & ~ the same time as well, but in *big*/regualar sized muffin tins.

here's the trick with the beeswax though, as the color will settle on the bottom when they melt.  you will need to *carefully* remove the pan from the over & let cool slightly.  scrape (yes, you'll need to literally scape the beeswax out of the muffin tin) & knead it thoroughly to reintegrate the color.

it feels amazing in your hands & the smell is divine...i LOVE it!!

we like to reshape it into somewhat thin (1/8") rectangular slabs, let cool the rest of the way & store.

alright, now i need to do my tidying...i have avoided it long enough, don't you think??  xo

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