Winter arrived!?!

Here in the Appalachian mountains of Maryland, the snow arrived. Usually we will get a few dustings before a major storm, but not this year. We got over 10 inches between Thursday and Friday!

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Lots of snow and ice to clean up! 

And did I mention that the Mr. enjoyed using the tractor to clear the driveway? It was like watching a little boy play!

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Clearing lots more snow! 

Since we had school cancelled for 2 days, due to the snowstorm, I was able to put up the student’s artwork around town for the holiday season! Those are the Santas that my students made!

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Small town decor! 

And because I wanted to use my time well, I finished a lot of projects that had been needing finished! There were lots of patches that needed sewn on uniforms and hooded towels to finish up. And they are all completed!

On Facebook, I was tagged in a post about making a crown earwarmer. It was a quick project that was fun and easy! I don’t have a little girl, but it seems like many like this sort of thing!

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Crocheted crown earwarmer

I have also been wanting to learn how to do some brush calligraphy and just started with some crayola markers around here. I think I’m kind of getting it! I need something to do since the weather is so cold!

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Just reusing the back of my boy’s worksheets! 

While sitting on the couch yesterday, I noticed that the cactus that I received as a gift 4 years ago is back to blooming!

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Beautiful! 

Im not sure if it is a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus, so chime in if you know!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your families!

October Goals Update 2018

Adios October! And oh my goodness there are only 2 more months this year! However, I feel like we have made the most out of 2018! So, we are ready for November!

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! It has been cleaned out and the chickens and ducks have been enjoying getting to run through it! I loved the layout of it this year!

Our October Garden

2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! I catch myself thinking about the fun that we had this summer often!

Picnicking in Yellowstone!

3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! I loved hiking the trails and still think about how we packed a lunch, went on a long hike and then ate our lunch while watching buffalo and wild horses in the distance! 🌏💚

Old faithful!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature. So, we did! Everything has slowly died off, but I have saved so many seeds for next year! I’m hoping to add more native plants!

Milkweed that I saved from a lawnmower!
Seeds that I will be using next year!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are up to 4, so I think we have a good chance of making it!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I gave away an old Halloween costume and spent tons of time working on our composting program for school. Between phone calls, meetings and emails I have a lot of time wrapped up in it!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I participated in a seed swap to give out our seeds that we have a lot of and make room for new varieties! Oh, and the Mr. fixed my phone case that I accidentally broke. Yay for a resourceful spouse!

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They were repotted and put outside to get used to the weather. They are starting to lose their leaves now! They are preparing for winter!

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year! (We have an interesting plan for next year!)

10. Grow different produce- We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I just enjoyed some kale and broccoli from our garden just last week!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- October was also a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We sold our Blacksmithing and sewn crafts at a local craft show and had a great weekend!

I am pretty proud of the steps that we are making towards achieving our goals! And, I have a list of close to 30 different goals that are on the chopping block for 2019!

Are you thinking about next year already? Anything that you think we should give a try to?

Keep blooming friends! 🌱

No Spend March

We are chugging along with our no spend year. I have spent money on gifts this month (I bought my baby niece some food and not candy for Easter and gifts much deserved to 2 work friends,but that’s it!)

Our big money saver is that we sold our panel truck! It was a hard choice to make, but we were not using it. We are glad to have more money in our savings and one less vehicle to tag and insure!

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Bye bye to the blue beast!

I’m doing my best to keep gardening costs down by using what we have and starting everything from seed! I also save my own seeds and plant mostly heirloom varieties to help with the seeds saving.

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Garlic that came up on it’s own (30 free garlic plants!) all replanted! 
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Pepper plants started from seed
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Saved Roma tomato seeds 

I have also been mending so much around here! We are up to 3 pairs of paints that are hole free and a certain pup decided to tear a hole in his bed, but all are fixed!

The screen door to the garden was ripped and broken and we almost bought a new one, but we used some old paint that we had to fix it up and put some reused wire fencing on it. Good as new!

We also try to do as much as we can around here, instead of paying others to do it for us. I am the dog groomer:

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Our sweet Izzy after her spa day

And we have been doing all of the work on the camper ourselves!

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New seat covers! 

And the pollinator garden is slowly being completed by us mainly using materials that we have!

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Lots of labor, but we are doing it by ourselves 

Instead of buying eggs from the grocery store or an egg dying kit, we used food coloring that we already had and brown and white eggs.

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I ❤️ How they turned out! 

And instead of going out to eat or paying to go do something, the boy and I took a nice walk locally! We hadn’t walked on this trail in a few years!

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Always interested in the rock formations! 

Overall, I’m thinking we are doing well with our no spend year! I’m hoping to continue spending less and gettting this house paid off!

Blacksmithing and sewing weekend

Happy kids! Before I get to the weekend, I wanted to share that all of the students at the school that I teach at were so happy that I shoveled out the playground. Their thanks were the sweetest!

Onward to the weekend, the Mr. was on a little Blacksmithing kick. He made my Dad this hook for hanging whatever he hangs in his new garage.

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Railroad spike hook

Then he made me this little gardening trowel with inch markings on it. This is going to help me when I finally get to plant my onion sets!

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Gardening trowel

And I spent the weekend not doing a whole lot. But, I did get around to making a few hooded towels that will be Easter gifts and I need to finish hemming some curtains for someone else!

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I really like this hooded towels! 

We took the ruined bathroom cabinet door (someone allowed it to get water damaged!) from the camper off to my Dad to see if he could fix it on Monday. Since it was pressed wood, he used scraps that he already had (he does a lot of woodworking) and made us a new door by the next day! And it fits perfectly!

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He’s pretty amazing! 
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A perfect fit! 

So, I’m not sure that I have ever said this before, but I am so lucky to have talented people in my life! My Mr. is handy and blacksmiths, my brother is a whiz at electrical and making everything magically work and then there’s my Dad. He claims that when you are poor enough, you can teach yourself how to fix anything. And when we were kids, I remember him putting in a million boilers, fixing everything on his truck, working on engines, doing electrical, running parts to him on a coal mine to fix his own truck after working on bulldozers all day (darn u joints), laying tile, pretty much you name it! I’m blessed to have all of these people in my life. (And in case my mom reads this, that lady is who taught me how to sew, cook and I’m still trying to learn how to be as calm as her!)

So, hopefully you all have some talented people in your life! If not, skills are learned slowly over time! So, start learning!!

Snow days in March?!

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Mother Nature decides to spice up life and throw around 7 inches of snow our way! Just look at the difference between the pollinator area from Sunday to Wednesday!

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Top is Sunday, bottom is Wednesday! 

The chickens are not big fans of snowy days, so they decided to stayed tucked nicely in their house! But, their egg production is still increasing!

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The chickens discussing their disgust with snow!
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Nicely cleaned eggs! 

Every year around this time, I get tagged in the meme with the girl gardening in the snow! So, this year I recreated it! 😆

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I think I was pretty close! 

My good deed for the month of March is marked off! I went down to school (the one I teach at) and shoveled off as much of the playground area as I could for the kiddos. They really appreciated it today!

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Good deed for March! (It was a lot of shoveling!!) 

Im not going to lie and say that I was super productive on the days off from school/work because I wasn’t! I did manage to start making some curtains for the camper!

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Curtain for around the ceiling

And below, the Mr. upcycled some spoons into curtain rod holders for the door curtain that I quickly sewed up!

The indoor plants under the grow lights are looking pretty awesome! The only veggies that I have planted are peppers, but I have also started lots of perennials for the pollinator area!

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Pepper plants! 

And I will be doing a diy post on fermenting seeds to save them! I had leftover tomatoes in the freezer, so I fermented the seeds. That way I can plant the loads of tomatoes that I need to without spending so much money on plants!

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Roma tomato seeds! 

Did it snow where you are? And what do you have growing right now? Keep blooming friends!

 

DIY zipper-free camper cushion slipcover

Well that’s a mouthful title, isn’t it?!  The Mr. has been working so hard on the camper, so I have finally had a chance to work on the cushions in the camper!

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A little reminder of the before! (The after is at the end!)

They weren’t horrible, but they had some stains, a tiny tear and a lot of boring-ness. I decided to document my easy way of making some slip covers! Here are my supplies: upholstery fabric (got this stuff at Joann’s half off clearance, so $2 a yard! And I got 7 yards for 3 cushions and the back cushion!), and you’ll also need sewing pins, velcro, sewing machine and scissors. (I also used a serger, but it isn’t necessary!)

Step 1.: cut out your fabric to have about an inch overlap length wise, and I left about 6 inches of extra fabric on the ends. Then, I serged the shorter edges, but you can fold it over and sew it under if you don’t have a serger.

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Ends serged

Step 2: I sewed up the length of the fabric and it turned into a long tube! (I used the line of the fabric to keep it straight and about 1 inch seam)

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Pin up the edge and sew it into a tube (right sides together)

Step 3: put the long tube back on the cushion to check for fit. It should have overlapped fabric on both ends.

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The fabric on the end of the cushion

Step 4: This part is hard to explain, so I’ll just describe it like fold it like a present. (Make sure the bottom of the fabric and bottom of the cushion are facing you!) Fold down the outer piece (it will be the flap that attaches with velcro) about an inch and pin. Then, that pin on top of the cushion is where the velcro will hold the flap shut. Which I found where to put it by pulling the fabric up!

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Do this to both ends!

Step 5: Slowly pull the fabric back off of the cushion. It’s not easy, because you want to keep the pins in place! Be patient and realize the longer the cushion, the harder to pull it off!

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Slowly remove the fabric!

Step 6: Sew the perimeter of the trapezoid flap and cut velcro to fit. Then sew it on.

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Sew the flap then the velcro

Step 7: sew the opposite side of the velcro where you put the pin to match up the velcro. (See photo below tonunderstand placement!)

Step 8: Put the big tube of fabric back on the cushion, and then fold it like it was!

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Ready to attach the fabric!

Last step: attach the velcro and look at the beautiful cover that you created!

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Back of cushion!

And just last night I was able to recover the backing board and staple the fabric on.

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Backing board!

And now the finished project:

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I love it!!!  And check out that rooster towel!

How the cushion looks from the front:

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Total cost: $14 for all the fabric!

It was a lot of work, but I’m hoping to be able to report back after traveling this summer on how well everything is holding up! Happy sewing!

February update 2018

Hello March!! It definitely came in with crazy winds and some snow today! I am proud to say that we are getting a lot accomplished here!

1. Expand the garden- With the warm days last week, I was able to start taking down the fencing around the garden. It was a lot of work and I still have a lot more! But, that new area is going to looks great! (I hope!)

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A reminder of the plans! 

2. Fix the camper- The Mr.’s installed converter is working great! He also installed a new smoke detector and replaced the bulbs with leds. I made new curtains and he made a stove cover from some upcycked wood.

3.Travel out west- That camper is going to be making some trips this year! We have officially started reserving spots! We will be stopping at many Koa sites as well as mostly national parks!!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. I am stratifying 3 varieties of milkweed and gathered a bunch of my echinacea seeds. It’s going to be a mix of native plants and some non-native!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags. Just on March first, we had to take out our first bag! So, we are off to a good start!

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Yes, that’s some snow! 

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- Last month I learned how to crochet knitted knockers. They are a pillowy prosthesis for women who have had a mastectomy. And I attended a master gardener meeting and will be finishing my 40 hours to become official!

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Crocheted knitted knockers! 

And I signed up at the “be the match” program that matches you to patients that need marrow.

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7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- For Valentine’s Day, my Mr. upcycled some old  decking boards into a pollinator house! Now to add some bamboo and drilled wood!

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Pollinator house! 🐝🐞🐛🦋

8. Paw Paw trees- These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! I can’t wait to give it a try to grow them this year, and eventually (maybe) eat one!! The seeds were pulled from being cold stratified and now are in soil!

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Planted paw paw seeds! 

9. Build a pizza oven- this is the Mr.’s idea! He built his own Blacksmithing forge, so I’m sure he can do it! I’m definitely looking forward to having a delicious, out of the oven pizza! No real updates yet!

10. Grow different produce- I was able to pick up a majority of the seeds that I wanted online last month. And, I participated in a seed swap and got some Interesting varieties!!

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Dragon tongue beans, mayflower beans, flowering tobacco and so many more! 

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- It was a mixture of cold and warmer weather last month, but our electric bill was a whopping $0!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We will be doing some upcoming craft shows, but we won’t have any produce for sale for quite a while! However, we were able to harvest some honey (due to losing a hive) and will be using the money from the honey for some new bees!

Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all at the end of the year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚