Category Archives: Making Home

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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Productive Monday Morning

I haven’t made up my 6 list today. But here’s what I’ve done this morning:

  1. Washed dishes
  2. Washed rags
  3. Swept the hearth, entry, living room, and hall.
  4. Polished the fire screen.
  5. Depilled my muffler. (wonderfully soft/fuzzy, wants to pill!)
  6. “Mopped” the hearth. (Spray bottle and rag on my knees, no mop.)
  7. Gotten down a block of soap to be cut into bars.
  8. Went through a stack of mail, cull/shred/file.

It’s 10:15 a.m., I think this counts!!!

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.

Zero Waste Idea

On my long-term goal list is the idea of buying shelf-stable foods in bulk. I want to do this for several reason: to reduce trips to the market, reduce the waste we create (and thereby trips to the dump) and stress reduction too. I think I have a great resource for figuring out what to use other than plastic or the consumer packaging to store things in my home: my old housekeeping books.

One of the best for this is a book published in 1921. She has what she calls “marketing charts” which are mostly useless as they tell you to do things like buy “washed raisins,” but there’s a column of how to store foods too. Here’s the information I pulled (my comments are in italic).

Buckets or Cans: Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour

Cool, Dry Place: Buckwheat, Canned Goods, Chocolate, Salts (table, cooking & ice cream)Tea, Vinegar

Cool, not Too Dry Place: Nuts

Dry Place: Bar Soaps, Sugar

Tight Container: Cooking Fats (in cool place), Cornstarch (in dry place), Macaroni (pasta)Olive Oil (in dark, cool place), Soap Powder, Spices, Syrup

Jar: Shelled Almonds, Dried Cereal, Cream of Tartar, Currants & Raisins

Glass Jar, Covered or Stoppered: Bay Leaves, Citron, Cocoa, Coconut, Molasses

Rack 2″ from Floor: Flour, white & pastry (One assumes in a barrel or at least a cloth bag? Certainly NOT the paper bags flour comes in today!)

Tight Container: Dried Beans, Crackers, Extracts (in dark place)

Tin*: Baking Powder, Coffee, Cornmeal (covered), Matches

*Any foods stored in a tin I’ll put inside a food safe plastic bag or container which I will reuse.

 

barrel

Image from fixturescloseup.com via google images.

My other observation is that this isn’t likely to be very useful unless I start buying  shelf-stable foods in bulk. Many ideas here are reflected in supermarket packaging: extracts in brown glass and olive oil in green glass bottles, for example. But if you buy them in bulk? Extracts come in white plastic bottles (or at least the commercial packages I’ve seen) but you can purchase olive oil in any bottle you wish.

Now that I’ve created this list, I’m not sure how much I’ll use it? But the idea of it made me stop and think about what I’d need to store household consumables, purchased in bulk. I consider that valuable, even if I don’t actually use the chart!

Monday 1/29/18

My jobs today are pretty much determined by the closet rehab. I have wallboard to clean and trim. I need to dig the knot sealer/primer out of the attic so it can be used up as appropriate and the paint we decided to use for the bathroom as well. (A slightly glossier version of the paint used in the living room.) The paint samples for the baseboard paint (living room and elsewhere) are here (We ordered them last week.).

DH decided he wanted to use a dark blue paint, I’d pretty much decided I wanted black. The compromise is two blues, both really dark. We’re planning to paint one of the baseboard scraps from the closet with both so we can decide.

I’m not sure what ELSE will be on my list today, but of the 6 things I should get done, as many of the above chores will be counted!

  1. Arrange some of the “out books” in the new 12 x 12 x 12 boxes. Either they’re getting shipped, donated, taken to the booth for possible sale, or put aside for later shelving. Space needs to be made in the attic for that last category!
  2. Find the holes to caulk in the bath closet and do so. Also  — there are two holes from the old monitor mount, over your desk in the office, which need to be filled. DH caulked the bathroom holes a day or so ago. Thurs. a.m.
  3. Keep culling the bathroom supplies. Despite what you thought, there are a lot of out of date products in there! Not only finish the cull of the items removed from the closet, but go through again the items under the sink.7:30 p.m.
  4. Paint retrieval from the attic for the bathroom closet project! Weds.3:30 p.m.
  5. Undo/remove extra insulating foam as it’s set now. I was all prepared to do this, every time I mentioned it, DH had a reason to wait. He did it. Weds. a.m.
  6. (fill in) Clean the bathroom closet’s walls. 3:30

DH took a pic or two of the closet nuked, I think. I’ll enjoy putting up an image when it’s done, although I’m not so sure about sharing images of it between nuked and finished? We’ll see!

 

Destroy!

Well we demolished the bathroom closet. It was a floor to ceiling closet, but located in such a way that its door and the bathroom door could bang into each other in the doorway. There is also a cabinet door and a drawer which open into or block the door way.

We bought a fawncy bath vanity at the Habitat Re-Store. But, it won’t work as a replacement for our current vanity. However, it has more storage than the vanity we’ve got. So? We demo’ed the closet to put the new vanity (without a sink) into the closet space as useful storage. Removed the closet door. Vanity is in the closet “niche” which was primed and painted, first. Feb. 10

We have talked about for years putting in a pedestal sink or wall-mounted sink because of the space crunch in the room. That’s likely what we’ll do, because the vanity as built-in storage solves the biggest problem with that idea: loss of storage.

We haven’t decided what sink we’ll get or what we’re going to do with the floor (which will have to be redone), and so:

the new vanity cabinet will get a temporary plywood top [We bought a fancy piece of limestone for the top.]

while we figure out the rest of the closet configuration [We know what we want, the vanity’s top is higher than we expected, so it may change?]

…and then the sink, mirror and then the floor. I’d love to nuke the bath/shower too, but that’s another whole order of magnitude money wise. What we’ve bit off we can do in chunks. A tub/shower tear out and replacement isn’t a small chunk….

That’s what’s going on here!

Tuesday 1/16/18

  1. Strip the bed and wash the sheets.Top sheet done Mon. 1/22.
  2. Cull/organize the computer label stock.
  3. (fill in). Go through another box. Tues. 1/23 2:00 p.m.
  4. Research mini greenhouses. Sunday 9:50 p.m.
  5. (fill in). Get rid of the milk bottles. Monday, finally got the 2 to the state capital I’d had bagged up to go for over a month!