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Friday Favorite: Tiny Notebooks

February 21st, 2014

I always have a tiny notebook and a pen in my purse.  Mostly, I use it to jot down notes, lists of things I need and other important information.
field notes 1
In this little notebook I also keep pertinent information that I might need while out and about.  This particular notebook is filled it information on local farms and sources for local food.
field notes 2
I’m not particular to brand of notebook, I’ve had a wide variety. This past time I needed new ones I got Field Notes“>Field Notes brand and I really love them. They’re the perfect size and not too thick. I’m also a HUGE fan of quadrille paper so that makes me really love these!

Are you in the habit of carrying a notebook with you all the time? 

So Long Christmas

January 18th, 2014

I finally took down the Christmas tree yesterday. We figured we’d leave it up as long as it was still fresh. I noticed a few dropped needles, so we decided it was time.
So Long Christmas 2
So Long Christmas 1
This year I decided to minimize my Christmas things and only keep the things that have been used the past few years. This is pretty much it for my Christmas decor, it fits in two small boxes.  One strand of big white lights, about 25 etched glass bulbs, a few tiny glass teardrops and a metal star. There is one other box of extra Christmas lights that I save for the extra bulbs and in case I decide to put lights up outside some year. There are also 3 small nativity sets that are in a different box. The remaining 4 totes of Christmas things are all going into the giveaway pile.
So Long Christmas 3
It’s very liberating to get rid of so many things.  This year, I’m hoping to slowly weed through all the extra stuff we have accumulated.  I’ll be painting the indoor rooms, and as I move from room to room I’m planning on being ruthless about paring down to only the things I need or love.

Do you have any goals to minimize this year?

The Organized Gardener

January 29th, 2013

The longer I garden, the more I realize the need to be organized and to keep good records. If you only have a small garden, it’s not as important as if you plant a wide variety of vegetables and try to incorporate succession planting along with fall/winter gardening. As I sit down and spend time planning out the 2013 edible gardens, I realize there’s a lot of organization that needs to take place.
organized garden planning 1
I’ve been working on coming up with a year-long calendar to make sure I know when to seed all my various crops for production throughout the year. Not only do I need to think about the spring/summer garden, I’m trying to plan my garden so I have greens to harvest in winter and roots in the cellar as well. There are also cover crops to think about, that need to be worked into the crop rotation to improve soil and mitigate disease/pest issues. It’s all getting very complex.
organized garden planning 2
Each evening, I spend time with books and charts planning the entire gardening year. My next step will be drawing out a big garden plan and figuring out where everything will be planted. I must say, I don’t mind this side of it, I rather enjoy that it gives me something to do during the winter months.

What’s your biggest organizational challenge when it comes to gardening?

Plant Labels

September 1st, 2012

Whenever I buy plants, the little markers that come in the pots are thrown into a bowl on my potting bench in the garage. Of course, there’s always a plan to do something with them, or to start a database of all the plants in the garden, but that never really materializes.

They are handy to have around, I find myself occasionally forgetting the name of a specific plants and sorting through the labels to find the tag. I also like to look through the bowl every now and then to see what plants haven’t survived.

The previous owners of this house often planted the tags along with the plants in the garden. They usually blew away, or got buried. Sometimes, when I’m planting something or working in the garden I’ll find one for a plant I didn’t purchase and it makes me smile. Kind of like a relic unearthed in excavation. It gives me a small glimpse into the previous gardeners that lived here.

What do you do with the tags that come with plants?

Keeping Track

March 15th, 2012

Along with all the garden chores, I’ve also been busy doing a few things around the house. Since the weather has been so nice, I’ve been staining a few of the doors that need a fresh coat and a few that have never been stained (in rooms without hardwood floors). When doing projects where you’re taking down doors or removing blinds, it’s easy to misplace screws and hardware. After this happened once, I started saving a few yogurt containers for such occasions. Now, whenever doors and other things come down, all the hardware goes right into a container so nothing is ever lost. It works like a charm!

You could also put all the hardware into zippered storage bags and tape/attach them to the item as well, this is especially handy if you’re planning on storing them for a while. We have blinds that are removed in winter and stored in the attic. In summer they get put back up to help block the sun/heat from coming in the front windows. All the hardware is kept in labeled bags attached to the blinds.

We love our house, but as with most, it came with it’s share of things we didn’t love. The good thing is that the basics were solid, good windows, lots of insulations. etc. The decorative features were all as cheap as they could be, including faucets, doors, trim, etc. The doors and moulding in the house were paint grade and were stained by the original owner to a very less than inspiring “natural” wood tone. Since we installed lovely dark hardwood flooring throughout the house, it made the moulding/doors look even worse than they had with pink and blue carpet. We toyed with the idea of changing them out but it was too expensive. Then we thought about painting them but didn’t think that would look good with the dark floors.

Instead of replacing them, we decided to try to stain what was here. I mixed a can of Minwax Wood Finish in Walnut and Red Mahogany together and set to staining. The results are nothing less than amazing. The color of the doors and trim now almost perfectly match the color of our floors.

It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of a time and a few dollars to make something you already have look great! I was so glad I came up with this plan instead of replacing or painting our exciting moulding & doors. They look great and they match the floors and it saved me a ton of money!

Any great tips for making those home improvement projects go more smoothly? What about tips for taking what you already have and making it look better?

Reading & Watching

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.