Tag: repurposing

getting back to it...

i have been away for a long time but even before that i had lost the original purpose of this blog.

as a family we are trying hard to reduce our footprint. often times i am asked how i do this. i chose to start this blog to share some of the tricks that i have learned and share the journey of so much more that i plan to learn.

we have been more focused lately on reducing and i am trying to get back to finding more ways to repurpose and recycle.

so much has changed this year in and out of our home that we are reassessing how we consume and what is really important to us.

{this moment}

{this moment}

{this moment}

7-15-2010 n 057

a photo~an extraordinary moment~no words~pause~savor~remember...

another thoughtful idea from soulemama

creating at squam 2010

i know that many that attended last year were wondering if it was going to live up to our previous experience. my thought was it "is" going to live up to last year. in reality i was very nervous again because i don't see myself as an artist. i was very overwhelmed by how creative and talented people are. it was very interesting when i sat down for my first class painting in a day with the marvelous marisa haedike creator of creative thursday - marisa went around the room and asked everyone to share why they were taking the class. many said that they were not confident painting. that they had fear! here are the painting results from her class.

needless to say these artists need not fear. when we went around the class at the end everyone expressed an ease and expressed their joy in their finished paintings. thank you marisa.

am discovering (happily) that i enjoy trying new things (clearly the case with the number of barely used tools in our creative space)

i actually

clever mobiles taught by the lovely lizzy house

the class that got away... reinvention with the magnificent maya donenfeld creator of mayamade

exterior house painting prep

exterior house painting prep

we closed on our house three years ago in march. we spent several months stripping wallpaper, pulling up carpet and flooring, cleaning, painting and stripping out some of the kitchen. then last summer we finally decided that we were ready to begin the structural work that needed to be done. we hired our amazingly talented friend tom johnson to design our new kitchen and he hired his fabulous builders to do the construction.

9-12-2009 n 102

we finished construction last october. i began some of the painting/priming on the new exterior last fall and I have begun again now that the weather is more consistent here.

5-20-2010 n 004
our entire house and garage have been waiting to be painted since before we moved in. last week i began power washing the garage. my husband and i have had great concerns about lead paint. when we were living in our last house which was 100 years old we had a lead expert come and do an evaluation for us. he was a wealth of knowledge and he was very generous with his time and expertise. we are still a little over the top when it comes to the lead paint removal and containment.

5-7-2010 n 590

when i first began the power wash we were concerned with all the paint coming off the garage. my husband suggested that I put down a canvas to catch the paint chips. i thought that might be a disaster given that we are still working on growing a lawn since we did the re-grading in our back yard. i thought maybe if i bought some screen material that might work to catch the paint and let the water through. it really did a great job. i bought a 25b x 72b roll of synthetic screen and laid it under where i was to spray. it caught most of the paint. i then i folded it over a few times and laid it on the driveway with a few rocks to hold the ends down so that it would dry. i dumped the paint flakes in a bag after a few hours and wow! this was very effective. please be sure to wear a hepa mask when dumping the paint and/or try to cover it as you dump the best you can, adults can get lead poisoning too. also wash clothing separate from family laundry.

5-7-2010 n 594

~sunshine and happiness

getting the lead out of your home safely

getting the lead out of your home safely

i love all these photos that i see on so many blogs and in magazines with the beautiful distressed paint on old or old looking furniture but it makes me very concerned. i'm all about saving the old but want to make sure that it is done safely. i worry so much about kids and adults being around potential chipping and dusting lead paint. lead poisoning is too common and very scary.

5-17-2010 n 040
if you live in a house built before 1978 or purchase painted furniture that you believe has been painted before 1978 you should assume that it has lead paint and take these precautions.

5-7-2010 n 579

first try to find someone to come and test your house for lead paint. It costs a few hundred dollars but it's so worth the money. the man that came to our house did swab testing and sent the dust samples to a lab. he also took some paint chips and also sent them to a lab. he did soil samples, sent them to a lab and water samples also to make sure there was no lead in our pipes. he also had this gun that he could point at painted areas and tell us if they had lead paint. this was amazing. i had him check several of our dressers that i was unsure of their age. he was really a wealth of information. we were really lucky to have someone who was so passionate about helping people find all the lead in their house and help them control the impact.

this website seems to have very good information. self help, inc. lead abatement program this website also seems to have good information on home lead testing from the minnesota department of healthhere are the risk factors for lead poisoning from the mayo clinic here are some of the complications that can arise from lead poisoning from the mayo clinic

here are some other tips that our lead inspector gave us:

lead is usually released in location where you have chipping paint or where to painted surfaces rub. so windows and doors and painted drawers are especially vulnerable. we had some windows in our old house that were near where are daughter played that we chose to never open for this reason.

have your children tested annually. our inspector has been working very closely with a pediatrician in our area and he told us that the government acceptable level is anything under 10 micrograms (a microgram is one-millionth of a gram) in a deciliter (1/2 cup) of blood b can cause damage over time, especially in children. he let us know that they keep moving the number down, he believes that very soon it will be moved to 5 and his belief is that is where it really should be.

he also let us know that when having kids tested it was best to have the blood sample come from their arm if possible. sometimes it is hard to get a clear reading from a blood draw from a finger.

children and pregnant women should not be in the house when you are working on the lead abatement.

you must always do the cleanup with soap and water. we would often clean our work space several times with soap and water (changing the soap and water often) to make sure that we were getting all of the lead dust.

never dry sand any paint that has lead or chance of lead, always wet sand there are these great sanding sponges that we use all the time and wear a hepa filtered mask~we purchased a few respriators they weren't real expensive, considering we have been working on the house for 3 years we would have spent a fortune in dust masks without the same protection or comfort.

always vacuum with a hepa filter.

lead dust is heavy and falls rather quickly. this is good to know that it isn't like drywall dust that takes a long time to settle. i'm not sure how long you need to wait to do clean up, but not as long as with drywall dust.

we had a window seat where are daughter played that had lead paint on it, our inspector suggested that we paint over it again to cover the lead and then also cover that with contact paper so that we would not have any paint chipping.

our inspector noted that we had paint in our basement. His suggestion was that we never have our daughter down there and that we have specific shoes that we wore down there and left them out of our living space.

one thing that our pediatrician suggested is that you should never use hot water from the tap for cooking because if you do have any lead in your pipes it would come out with the hot water vs. the cold.

sorry to welcome some of you to our world of lead neuroses. i really felt that i needed to share my information. i am not a lead specialist. please contact a professional and/or consult the links that i have included for more information. my list is just a suggestion of some additional precautions that you might take when considering lead abatement in your home. lead poisoning is very scary and serious. please take time to make sure that your family is safe.

hope this helps raise your awareness.

be well.

creating matching daughter's apron

creating matching daughter's apron

I made my first apron to bring to out neighborhood holiday auction for charity and this is an apron to match for a little girl. Loved the first one so much.

image from

Sent from my iPhone

books to inspire creativity

we spend so much time at the library and on-line looking for new books. as i have mentioned before we love to read. lately we have been looking at books to help us find new things to create and some of our favorite books from the past. here are a few.

joseph had a little overcoat by simms tabak

our dear friends gave this book to helen for her 2nd or 3rd birthday. it has beautiful, colorful illustrations that make you want to find all the colored pencils and print intensive magazines and collage all day. the story also reminds to continue to of my favorite lessons to share.

the quiltmaker's gift by jeff brumbeau and gail de marcken

also a christmas gift when she was very small. this book has beautiful illustrations a great story of a woman who makes the most beautiful quilts for those in need and how a king in his desire for the one possession that he cannot acquire learns where true happiness comes from.

the paper princess by elisa kleven

we found this book at the library it was our first introduction to elisa kleven. we have given this book for countless gifts. we love the illustrations and collage. the story is very sweet to. a girl creates a doll out of paper and it flies away and the paper princess tries through her adventures to return to the girl who created her.

the apple doll also by elisa kleven

story about a little girl who makes a doll out of an apple to come with her on her first day of school. the kids at school make fun of her, but in the end they all learn how to make the doll. very sweet story. directions to make the doll included.

the wheat doll by alison l. randall ; illustrated by bill farnsworth

we found this book at the library. sweet story about a pioneer girl that loses her best friend, a doll made from wheat in a storm. the mud near where she lost the doll begins to sprout wheat, she cares for the wheat and makes another doll. we read this over the summer and plan to use some of the cedar chip stash that we have from the addition to make a doll. we have also been wanting to make some sachets for valentine's day (given that the moth's think my sweaters are the tastiest in the house) the cedar just smells so yummy and looks so pretty most of it was from the plainer so it is shaved post to follow soon.

plaidypus lost by janet stevens and susan stevens crummel

this is one of those books that we read endlessly when helen was very small and i did not mind. the cadence still continues in my head whenever i hear platypus. this story was one of the reasons that i really wanted to take the create a character class from marisa haedike creator of creative thursday last year at the squam art workshop. we have wanted to create a sweet "plaidpus" from a few of the many plaid shirts that belonged to my father-in-law who helen sadly never had the chance to meet, but shares a birthday with.

mirabelle by astrid lindgren and pija lindenbaum

i feel so redundant but here is another great book about doll, this one grows from a seed (scary that the seed came to the little girl from a stranger when her parents were not home, i have always altered this while reading the book).

quick crochet huge hooks by sally harding - i have been taking this book out of the library every few months for over a year; i really want to make the rag rug out of fulled (the word used for repurposed wool sweaters that have been "felted" per my class at squam last year with the amazing betz white). i have been putting off the rug because i wanted to make it round and i was having trouble finding a book with good instructions on how to crochet in the round...i think that i finally found a few...details in another post. i decided to try to just crochet a rectangle or square rug for the first try.

a few cooking books too.

sweet pea loves her historic american girl dolls...i try not to do things that are typically so commercially driven, but i have found these dolls have much to offer in peaking greater interest in handmade and history. we now have molly from 1944 and kirsten from 1854, she is also fond of felicity from 1774. we have been getting many books from the library and the bookstore on these three characters. the most fun i think are the cookbooks, they offer recipes and history of how these girls would have cooked, what they would have cooked and how the family would share in the meal together.

last week we made a recipe from felicity's cookbook: a peek at dining in the past with meals you can cook today (american girls pastimes) we made almond tarts. it was fun to make, we both think that the recipe would be better with almond paste instead of the chopped almonds. also overload on the butter and i am typically with julia child when it comes to butter.

for christmas helen received molly's cooking studio. i think that we are going to try the applesauce cupcakes, the victory garden soup and the nut and raisin bread which seems similar to a recipe that my mother made at christmas time when i was a kid. she backed them in coffee cans then wrapped them in colored cellophane. i just always remembered how tasty they were and how pretty they looked.

she also received salad people by mollie katzen for her birthday and we did not have a kitchen at the time and now we do so we need to start some recipes from there. we have tried the recipe for chewy energy circles a few years ago when she took a food science course. they are quite yummy.

sun bread another book by elisa kleven i think that santa brought this book a year ago, but we did not have an oven, there were many gray days last winter when i thought a little sunshine bread would brighten up our day...we will be trying this on the next gray day. recipe for bread included.

one last book for today is everything on a waffle by polly horvath.

this is about a girl named primrose whose parents are lost at sea and everyone thinks that they have perished but primrose is certain they are trying to return to her. she befriends a women who owns the local restaurant called the girl in the swing (is that the greatest name for a restaurant) and she serves all of her meals on a waffle. very fun story with recipes interspersed in the story.

soulemama had a great post a few days ago about books her family loves to read in the winter, i am going to be spending some time looking them up tonight and i am sure having some that i cannot find at my library transferred over.

my first apron!!!

my first apron!!!

i have been wanting to make an apron for a very long time. i wear them a lot, but have had other priorities since i learned to sew.

i'm going to an auction tomorrow night and needed to bring something to auction. so i thought this was the perfect excuse to try.

this apron is made from re-purposed fabric. the base is a sheet, the bottom embellishment is a curtain valance, the waistband is the top of the fabric that holds the rod from the valance, the pockets are fabric samples from a design center, the rick rack i did purchase last year, just because i've always loved rick-rack. my grandmother used it often when she made us clothes. rick-rack and that ball fringe reminds me so much of the 70's as does this apron, the colors and the fringe.

sorry the picture is so dark. i couldn't wait to upload it. helen would like to model it again tomorrow when it is lighter out.

Apron for auction

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2009


It looked like we should rake this morning but it was so beautiful and what is Halloween without leaves to slosh through?

We had a really great day. We decided with all that we have been doing on the house that we should take the day off right after we took a trip to historic house parts annual tent sale. Sweetpea did not want to join us but that was the plan. In the end we did not get anything big for the house, we did find twist locks for the spice cupboards. Yippee!

But the real winner was helen. i have been casually looking for a manual typewriter for her for a while now and we found one there. she was beside herself. we came home and she typed her little heart out. daddy was very excited too. he spent a long time online trying to figure out what type it was and looking to order some fresh typewriter ribbon for her. so it is a royal 10 he thinks from 1935. we all love it whatever it is!


we also had not been to the movies in ages. we decided to surprise our girl so we blindfolded her and put her in the car. she kept peaking with just the bandanna on so i had to put my scarf over that too. this was fun. we took her to our favorite local independent theater, the little to see where the wild things are. i am sure that many of you have also heard that maybe not the best movie for smaller children. there were some intensely emotional scenes and some frightening scenes and some very sad scenes too. we all really enjoyed it. we think also not so great for younger kids we did have some discussions with our daughter after the movie to talk about all the emotional issues. i think she understood some and not others. i think that maybe she could relate to many of the emotions too. this was a very well done movie. i can't stop thinking about it 3 days later.

Where the wild things are

so this day did not seem to want to end. we had our neighborhood halloween parade then mexican buffet at our friends then finally trick or treating.

11-1-2009 n 073

it was such a beautiful night here. it was a little crisp, clear and still. the moon was just perfect too. hope that you enjoy your day as much as we did.

11-1-2009 n 076

here is our hermoine granger.

10-30-2009 153

time management

every day i think this is the day to catch up.

what does that mean?

is this the unattainable goal?

i am trying to set my goals more realistically so that i can meet them. i keep thinking after i pass this event that i will be able to catch up. it never seems to happen.

my latest thought (not the first time i have had it) is that if you have less; there is less to be responsible for. i have the habit of saving things because i may need it some time in the future.

i have 3 new goals

#1 to only make things with what i have for a while and if it requires something new i will need to modify the design.

#2 to start selling some things and/or giving them away.

#3 my plan is to produce at least one thing a day to either use in the house now, sell it or give it away.