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Decluttering with a Cause

January 10th, 2017

Every year I minimize more and more things around the house. It’s like a breath of fresh air to get rid of things that are no longer needed or used. One space that I want to focus on this year is my sewing room. Over the years I’ve collected lots of fabric, people give it to me, I purchase some, some is from old pieces of clothing, some from scraps of past projects. I want to get rid of a lot of this fabric, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
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Then I remembered the zipper pouches I made to send to an orphanage last summer and decided to start making lots more of these to send down to the school I work with in Colombia. The only problem is that if I want to send them to the school, I’ll need around 400 – yes FOUR HUNDRED!
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With that in mind, I set a goal to sew one pouch each day this year. So far I’ve managed to do 2-4 per day, which is great because in the summer I won’t have as much time to sew. It’s proving to be the perfect project to reach my goal. I get to sew and be creative, while using up fabric from my stash. I’m even using up all the random spools of thread that I got from my grandmother’s sewing supplies. My scrap jar is overflowing with all the tiny scraps of fabric that are too small for using (these make perfect stuffing for various projects). One thing I will need to buy is more zippers, I only had about 50 in my stash (many came from my grandmother’s sewing supplies). I’ll purchase more from Zip-It on Etsy.
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If I end up making four hundred of these pencil cases I’ll use up most of my unwanted fabric, which will be just perfect. Last time I counted I had made 25 zipper pouches as of the first of the year. Each pouch is unique, I want no two to be the same, partly because each child is unique and partly because it makes it more difficult for them to be stolen by another kid.

What charitable goals do you have for 2017?

So Long

January 4th, 2017

Yesterday my grandpa passed away. He was a nature lover, an outdoorsman, a hunter, a fisherman, a lover of trees, and a gardener. I remember many trips into the woods with him teaching us how to identify trees by their bark and their leaves. I remember him peeling apples with his pocket knife after plucking them from the tree. Of course this was the same pocket knife he used to clean fish, simply wiping in on his sock before putting it back in his pocket.
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He’s been in declining health for quite a while. It’s sad for him to be gone, but we’re thankful he’s once again able to wander through the trees doing what he loves.

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

January 3rd, 2017

It’s that time of the year when I’m looking through all my seeds and making my orders for this summer. Some seeds I keep from year to year, if they have a loner shelf life, others need ordered fresh each season. Onions, leeks, lettuce, and spinach are among the ones that need ordered yearly for proper germination.
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I used to wait until after I was finished with my taxes or order seeds, now I order them first thing in January. A few years I wasn’t able to get the varieties of onion seeds I wanted because they were sold out by the end of January. That means seed buying in now a first of the year activity for me. I’m still making up my list, figuring out what my favorites were from last year and what new things I want to grow in 2017. Exciting times indeed!

When do you typically order seeds?

Baking up Christmas

December 20th, 2016

With all the travel, we’re doing a more minimal Christmas this year. We put up a small tree, but the rest of the decorations stayed in their boxes in the closet. We’ll burn candles to add brightness.
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Yesterday I spent some time making a few batches of Christmas cookies: butter cookies, gingerbread men, and date pinwheel cookies. These are some of my favorites. With only two of us in the household, they’re bound to be frozen in batches so we can enjoy them over a longer season before they go stale.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

Quote of the Day: Happy Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2016

“All of our guests enjoyed the running commentary on each dish – the history of the garden and seeds, how everything was harvested, the process of canning and preserving it all. It was different from most Thanksgivings I’d been a part of. It was less about stuffing ourselves to excess, and more about how miraculous it was that there was a full table of food in the first place. I couldn’t help but think that was supposed to be the point of the holiday all along. I also couldn’t help but think that my role as an advertiser contributed to the misperception of food as a commodity whose value was distinguished mainly by calorie count and serving size. Boasting about the size of one’s holiday turkey is really only genuine when one had something to do with feeding it.”

Josh Kilmer-Purcell (The Bucolic Plague)

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chiot’s Run!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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