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Making Old Things New

March 9th, 2018

I’ve been dying indigo shibori flour sack towels for Seeds & Sundries, and while I had an indigo vat going, I decided to try to give new life to an old L.L. Bean Boat & Tote bag. It worked beautifully. These bags last forever, but being natural colored canvas, they stain and start looking a little rough around the edges. I simply dipped mine into the indigo vat twice, then rinsed and washed (by hand). The handles were originally black. I also have another one with pink handles (you can see it in the background) that I’m doing to dye and a few larger ones as well.

I used the same indigo kit that I used last summer with my nieces, this one from Jacquard is a great one for beginners. While you can (and I have) purchased the indigo supplies separately from Pro Chemical & Dye, this kit is a great way to get started. Overall, I’d call this project a success. I should have taken before photos so you can see just how dingy and dirty the original bag was. Perhaps I’ll remember when I do the next few.

What fun projects have you been doing lately? Have you been trying to find ways to make old things new again?

Grow Light Garden

March 5th, 2018

Now that it’s almost time to start planting things directly in the ground outside, I have my indoor winter grow light garden going in full swing.

I’ve been harvesting greens for salads each evening, along with lots of cilantro and arugula for breakfast.

I water every Sunday with a diluted liquid kelp fertilizer, it seems to be keeping the greens growing nicely and producing lots of fresh leaves each week.

Grow light space will become quite limited soon, this past weekend I started four flats of onions and three half flats of other things (celery, fennel, and flowers).

What’s under your grow lights this week?

Back Up Again

February 28th, 2018

Years ago, my mom gave me this stitched clock. She made it when she was pregnant with me and living in the Amazon jungle in San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia, S.A. (perhaps some of you don’t know I was born in Colombia). I believe it was a kit that she purchased.

I’ve always loved it, for a lot of reasons. It’s quaint, it’s cute, it’s handmade. My dad made the frame/box. It has a very questionably attached piece of glass in the front, the wire is held on by small nails. I would like to figure out how to clean it, though I’m not sure if I can. It seems to have been glued to a piece of plywood before being mounted.

In our home in Ohio, it had a special spot in our living room. When we moved to Maine, I wasn’t sure where to hang it, so it was stored in the spare bedroom. This past weekend I finally decided to hang it in the dining room. It’s not the perfect spot, but it’s better than nothing. I love being able to see it as I walk by. Because of the placement I see it about 50 times a day and it makes me smile. Reminds me of my mom.

Do you have any family treasures that you keep in prominent places so you can see them frequently?

Fresh Cilantro

February 27th, 2018

I’m finally harvesting my own homegrown cilantro from under the grow lights and it’s AMAZING!!! I made a large batch of both corn salsa and guacamole the other evening for dinner. Freshly harvested cilantro is always much tastier than the stuff from the grocery store, much cheaper too.

I have the plants growing in soil blocks and this harvest was a thinning. I’ll let one plant continue growing in each block. In the past, I’ve grow in in a deeper windowbox style container. It did OK, but eventually got aphids. I’m thinking this method may work better, especially if I seed in succession.

Are you harvesting anything for your plate?

Filing, Filing, Filing

February 26th, 2018

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my filing cleanup, a few of you wanted to know about the filing system I use. It all starts with these plastic file boxes and the regular green hanging file folders (and a package of colored ones for me, but those are not necessary). I keep records for both myself personally (personal and my small business), for my dad, and for the business I manage in one plastic file box. I print labels for each file folder, including one for each month of the year, one for taxes, accounting printouts, taxes, and any other categories I need to track. (often I use a red folder for taxes, a yellow for important documents, etc., something to easily set it apart from other files so I can quickly add documents).

The box lives right by my desk and as I need to file something, it goes right into the correct file. Typically, the current month is at the front and I move the months back as they are over. Filing things instantly is the best way to do it, there’s never any stack that needs filing. In some cases, I have files within the files. For my blog, I keep a regular file folder (non-hanging) inside the current month’s folder. Any necessary receipt for it gets put directly in this folder, it is then moved into the following month’s folder when that month starts. When the year is over, the box goes into the garage and a new one is started. When taxes need to be done, I simply have to grab my tax folder and all the necessary information is in that folder. It’s very rare that I have to search for an important paper or receipt that my accountant needs for my taxes.

I also keep a set of files that get moved from last years box to this year, things like insurance, car files, medical files, retirement accounts, etc. I also keep the previous year’s tax folder with return as well, in case I need to reference it.

After spending a day cleaning up old files, I decided that starting this year I was going to ruthless about what things I saved. My personal files are organized in such a way that I can simply empty out the monthly file folders after a few years, all important information is kept in the tax folder or the files that get moved each year.

Even though I keep very little nowadays in the way of filed papers, I’m hoping to cut down on it even more. This system makes it easy to deal with papers after a few years, anything that’s important is set aside throughout the year. When I didn’t have to keep business records, I used a pocket file box for each year. It worked beautifully, I even colored my labels to match.

Do you have a good filing system in place? What’s your biggest struggle with filing & paperwork? For those of you wondering about my system, do you have any specific questions?

Seeds and Sundries
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Berkey Water Filter

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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.