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January 30th, 2019

Every winter, I order a case or two of grapefruit. It’s probably my favorite citrus, with lime coming in very close in the race. I’m always trying to find ways to make use of the peel as well, since I’m buying organic fruit, I want to make sure I can capture and use every bit of it. As I said last week, I’ve been making candied grapefruit peel and grapefruit peel vinegar for cleaning. I also decided to dry some of the peel to make grapefruit peel infused jojoba.

So far, I have the peels of one grapefruit fully dried and 6 more are drying under the woodstove. Later this week I’ll crumble them a bit, put them in this jar, then top up with jojoba. In 6-8 weeks I should have a lovely grapefruit peel infused jojoba, which I plan on using in a variety of skincare products, one being a hair oil that is also infused with rosemary. If the infused jojoba smells half as good as the dried peel does I’m going to very pleased.

What fun things are you doing to make the winter more interesting?

Jojoba Fields

January 18th, 2019

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that Mr Chiots manages The Jojoba Company . In November, the main reason for our trip to Israel, was for him to meet with the growers/processors and for me to take some photos of the jojoba fields and processing. These are jojoba fields, jojoba is a large shrub, similar to a hazelnut in growth. I found the shrubs very beautiful in growth, the trunks are particularly spectacular. I found the foliage reminiscent of olive foliage, in color and shape. The shrubs grown in an agricultural setting, in neat rows on the rolling hills of southern Israel definitely played to my love of organized vegetable gardens.

Jojoba is technically not a nut, but a seed, which is why it’s non-allergenic for people with nut allergies. The liquid extracted from the seed is also not an oil, but a liquid wax ester, which is why it doesn’t go rancid, has a long shelf life, and is great for the skin (it’s the closest thing in nature to the sebum that your skin produces).

Gardens in Israel

January 10th, 2019

When Mr Chiots and I were in Israel back in November, we visited a few different kibbutzes. The one we spent the most time at (Gal-On) had lovely plantings fill with lush tropical plants. Here are a few photos from a walk I took around the grounds.

The gardens and plants reminded me a lot of Colombia (where I grew up), in fact there were many of the same plants. It was much different than Maine, that difference was highlighted since we traveled after the gardens had gone dormant here. There was a definite tropical feel to the plants and gardens. I also was able to tour one of the larger agricultural kibbutzes with citrus groves, avocados, pomegranates, and so many other wonderful things. I’ll share photos of that next week.

Do you try to get out into the non-tourist places when you travel?

New Quilt in the Works

January 7th, 2019

I have this lovely old feedbag quilt, from what I can find, the quilt blocks are ‘Rocky Road to California’ or ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ (or one of other names/variations). It’s old and beautiful, but was made when beds were smaller. We currently use it on our bed, but our house is cold and the quilt doesn’t cover up our feet, thus I have plans to make another one with the same pattern.

I’ve been studying the quilt blocks, fabric choices, and construction. I’ve even gone so far as to make a sample block and will make a few more (most likely and entire quilt) to find the best way to cut/construct the quilt.

My plan is to use Rifle Paper Company fabrics that I purchased a few years ago (see below). I’ve been waiting to come up with just the right project to use these favorites in. I figure if I make a bedspread for our bed, it will be something I see and enjoy daily. I plan on using a dark charcoal linen as the fabric between the squares, it will be the same fabric used for the curtains in the bedroom as well.

Hopefully it comes out as I plan, it’s always a bit nerve-racking to cut up favorite fabrics to make something. You always hope you’re making the right decision!

What fun things are you doing as the garden sleeps?

Friday Favorite: New Patterns

January 4th, 2019

Last Fall, I purchased Noodlehead’s new pattern for the Fika Tote. My plan is to make one for a camera bag, since it’s a large bag lined with foam and has large pockets inside. I didn’t want to make my camera bag straight away, because I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to change the interior of the bag to fit lenses & cameras. I made this version per the pattern, it turned out quite nicely. I don’t really need it though, so I’ll be adding it to Seeds & Sundries to sell it. Hopefully it will be useful for someone else.

Now I need to get on making myself one just for my camera equipment. I’m thinking of making foam lined inserts that can easily be lifted out of the bag instead of pockets sewn into the bag. I’ve been sewing up a storm now that my sewing room is all moved and set up. Stay tuned for more of my makes.

What creative outlets have you been pursuing lately?

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.