Category Archives: Creativity

Update

The closet space has been taped, mudded, primed and painted. The vanity cabinet has been installed where it will go. The limestone top for it has been selected, paid for and is awaiting pick up. The now-obviously necessary drawer and cabinet hardware is under discussion. After that? We have to figure out finishing the sides and the shelves which are going above. We have to find something to fill the flooring gap, temporarily anyway. (The guy who built this house took every short cut he could. One of those was that most of the floor coverings end at the closet doors.

We’ve decided what we’ll probably do with the old closet door (and its frame). More on that later. At the moment, they’re in the living room kitchen,(2/14) NOT where it will stay.

The limestone top is in place. 2/10/18.

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Herbal Zero Waste

I grow herbs and spices here: parsley, sage, mint, oregano, chives, etc. I dry some every year. I do this because if you look at the price per lb. of spices at your local market, you’ll discover that they are among the most expensive, if not THE most expensive foods by weight.

The way I dry them is mostly in lunch bags, plain old brown paper lunch bags. I write on the bottom: the herb, date, and source. (The CSA grows herbs/spices too!) and hang them with rubber bands around the bag’s neck and a peg rack.

After about 2 months, I have dried leaves of whatever: parsley, sage, oregano, basil, etc.

I took down all but the last two of these today.

The spices/herb leaves were added to the appropriate containers, the stems were added to the kindling box, and the rubber bands were returned to the appropriate container as well. The bags? The bags got filled with the “trash” that sits in the bottom of the wood or kindling box (leaves, small twigs, dirt from the logs, pieces of bark, etc.). The bag’s neck was retwisted and

Shazaam! 

You get instant, free, zero waste all-natural fire starters and a clean wood or kindling box!

It makes the messy business of cleaning the wood box kind of fun.

I felt the same years ago: we put corn out for squirrels and I used the dried cobs as fire starters. I thought that idea was original! My MIL told me that one of her jobs on the farm, when she was growing up, was to get the cookstove’s fire going, with dried corn cobs saved for that. [I didn’t grow up on a farm in the midwest, but in L.A.; it was new to me!]

This idea, of stuffing the kindling “trash” into lunch bags will probably also be old to many, but it was a new idea for me again. I’m glad I thought of it, whether it’s a new, or not.

In Case You Haven’t Noticed

Rather than put up lists and get behind, I’m NOT putting up a new “to do” list until the old list is complete.

No backlog.

I have 2 items outstanding on Thursday’s list:

  • Clean the inside of a closet. Sat. 8:00 a.m., bathroom closet
  • Go through a new box. Sat 11:15 a.m.

Continue reading

Feeling Virtuous, but. . .

I probably shouldn’t.

I got 2 crates into the pantry on the pull out shelf today. The crates I’d used previously were too big to use with the pull out hardware. Without the hardware, however, the crates with sanitized sand and carrots were too heavy for me to move easily, so…

We had these other crates. Putting them in the pantry dislodged what had been there since we took out the other crates: an Elfa basket with gallon bottles and a few other things.

I have to go to the hardware store and buy 2 bags of sanitized sand (sold for sand boxes) and find one of the rolls of hardware cloth, to make “lids.” Finally, I have label holders I’ll add to one side of each crate, so I can remember when I put the veggies in.

I removed a small, round plastic bucket which had salted herbs in it. Used one of the available rectangular plastic bins. The bucket will go to the dump, tomorrow. I also removed the 2 dog biscuit canisters I’d been using for canning jar lids. The canisters will go away. The lids have a new home, in a Euro canning jar I also already owned.

(Seeing a pattern here?)

The result is that the hole where the shelf goes was cleaned, the shelf was cleaned, two cleaned crates are on the shelf, empty, with the step stool, and 3 rectangular bins, one has salted herbs in it, the others empty.

The water filters (which had also been on this shelf) are set aside to be put into the attic. I have no idea what to do with the Elfa basket, or the gallon jars, but I’ll figure it out.

So, 3 pieces out, 3 pieces to attic, 3 pieces pulled, nowhere to go, 2 containers used, and a lot less chaos in the pantry. All good!

In the General Direction Thereof…

We’ve been measuring. The candelabra won’t fit in the stairway. The rack I wanted to use for cups won’t fit where the current peg rack is, pooh!

Finagling is required: the table top *might* go into the staircase. The candelabra *might* go on the kitchen wall over where the marble table has been. If the pieces won’t fit in either place? Then I suppose the answer is really simple. We attach the table top to its original base and sell the coffee table, for one and sell the candelabra or put it back where it had been.

I have the following over large pieces: candelabra, coffee table top, candle cattail piece, and old shop signs. I like the shop signs (what’s currently in the stairwell) but that part of my life is over and I’d like to have something else in that location. Not to say that I won’t use the store signs anywhere, but I’m not sure where that would be! There’s one hanging on the outside of the woodshed that’s gotten really faded, so I hardly think I want to hang the other sign like that or the little sign outside. Maybe in my office? Maybe in the attic? Dunno, we’ll see!

Glass Door Knobs: the Problem

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about how we’ve gotten so much stuff and how hard it is to get rid of it. He was helping out at the gallery’s tag sale today and took donations with him. I donated a few more things to the swap shop and made 2 dump runs of recycles, yard waste, etc. today too.

The realization I came to a little while ago was this: I was raised by an engineer, who talked about design, how things worked or didn’t — all the time. Everything from chairs, to lights to airplanes, to street paving equipment was fodder for Dad’s design discourse. So I was taught to view almost everything with an eye to its design, good or bad.

Accordingly, I am attracted to things I think are designed well, WHETHER I NEED THEM or FIT MY PERSONAL TASTE, or not. And I am reluctant to get rid of things which fit that category, whether they are practical for my home or not. The candelabra (which hadn’t sold as of yesterday) is like that. Some thing else like this is two sets of glass door knobs I’ve had for 10+ years now. I like door knobs like these:

clear glass door knobs 2

(The image are new ones.) For years they were all but impossible to find or insanely expensive. Mine are old ones. I love them, and they won’t work, or won’t work easily in my home. Where I had anticipated using them was the closets: one in the hallway and one on the landing. But my knobs are so old they won’t work that way because there’s no provision for latches.

Anyway, both the candelabra and these knobs are the same type of thing. I love the design of them, love the objects, but I really have no practical way to use them in my home. That automatically makes them clutter, because they’re just being stored, unused. And so I should cull them and really, really do NOT want to.

DH is the child of an engineer too, but he’s also an artist. So we both have the “good design” problem. We get things because we admire the design of the object, without a clear need for it or any notion of where it will be used or put away. We know there’s no way we can get/keep/store/afford to buy all the things we like.

The first or second or third culling isn’t hard. Duplicated, broken objects, things you no longer remember why you bought or kept are easy. After that, for me, it gets down to things like the glass door knobs, which I still love and still want to use, and know that if I’m being an adult, I’ll need to shed more than a candelabra and 2 sets of door knobs, but it’s no longer easy.

This isn’t because I think the stuff is valuable. It isn’t because I have a sentimental attachment to them, both of which are the most common things people seem to think hoarding is about. Nope. I just plain love these as objects and I have nowhere to use them. Unless I find a way to use them (I have an idea which might work.) they need to go. DH was talking about wiring the candelabra and putting it in the stairway, the only place really big enough for it. . . . if it hasn’t sold . . . ? So, we may actually keep and use both the door knobs and the candelabra, but we also know we can’t keep that up. At some point, we’re going to be selling or giving away things we love.

I’ve gotten past the “I really like this and I’d like to keep it” things. In most cases, other people really like those things too — the stuff I pull from here which I had intended to keep usually sells before things I buy for resale. The last one was a small standing black metal crow. I’d kept it for a while and finally went, “Halloween is coming and I do not need this, although I like it quite a bit.” Yep, it sold in a week or so.

But I’d really like to use my glass door knobs!

 

 

Friday’s Five & Backlog

I did something which shows me how things are different these days. Yesterday I gave away brand new packages of lunch bags and staples, to two different businesses. The lunch bags were given to an antique store who uses them to wrap china and glassware. The staples were given to the antique store where I have a booth.

In both cases, I have more than I think I’ll use in a reasonable time, without them.

I use about 1/2 package of lunch bags a year for drying herbs/spices. (And I reuse them sometimes too.) I had come to the end of a package and bought some, thinking I was out. When I went to put it away, there was another new package! I sure didn’t need another 50!

The box of staples came from a box of shop office supplies. I thought I’d folded in or deleted extras from the shop’s supplies long ago, but I found a box a few months back filled with labels (mostly tossed), the box of staples, and a few miscellaneous pieces. When I cleaned office shelves last week or so, I realized we had 2 complete boxes of staples, more than we’d likely need until oh 2050. I don’t expect to be alive or wanting staples by then anyway!

Previously, I would have kept them; in fact I did. These days? They’re clutter I can get rid of easily, and that’s great!

Friday’s Five:

  1. Find something to do with the extra eggs.
  2. Make pepper jelly.
  3. Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  4. Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  5. Make cookies with the frozen oatmeal.

Much of this is dealing with food, obviously. Partly because farm day was yesterday. But it’s partly because the other chores in/out are so far behind. I have to cook no matter what else happens most of the time, so this is an “easy” way to get the list pared down. If it’s a cheat, it is — sue me!

BACKLOG:

Thursday:

  • Empty my desk, again.
  • Cut more sage and other such from the garden. Kale Fri. 10/13, most of the rest of it 10/15. Need to pull some tarragon and that’s it.
  • Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish.

Wednesday:

  1. Clean off DH’s desk.
  2. Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Finish laundry room clean up.

Tuesday:

  • Weed the brick path around the veggie garden, edge it. in process, 1st quarter done 1:30 Fri., 2nd quarter and 1/2 the 3rd done Sunday.
  • Move the lumber which needs it from the shed so it can be put away in the loft.
  • Work on grading the last pile of dirt.Fri. 1 p.m.

Monday:

  • Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing! 

Friday:

  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc.
  • Do the last gather of flea market materials, last market is Saturday 10/14 date changed to 10/21

Thursday:

  • Put ice scrapers in the cars, examine and see if they need replacement?
  • Ship the box to the BIL, make up more boxes of things which should be shipped and get them sent! I think I did this, although I’m not sure. I cannot find the box anywhere!!! Refound and shipped, sometime later. He got it mid/late Oct.

Monday’s Backlog:

  • Clear stuff from my car and run a vac through at least part of it!.