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artparent 12-18-2009 10:11 AM

welcome all mamas! this is our continuing discussion of traditional homemaking. join us to talk about things we're making and learning, and share good old fashioned ideas and homemade solutions.

The original long and very helpful thread can be found here- Traditional Homemaking Skills
The summer thread can be found here- Traditional Homemaking Summer 2009!


1jooj 12-18-2009 11:10 AM

Thanks for starting the new thread, artparent!

My dh is home sick today. I am hoping he is well enough to go in to work late. If he stays home all day, it will make me crazy. I don't have a lot of empathy for him when he is ill, and he is the type who walks around the house moaning. And I really value the space and time I get alone when everyone else is at work/school. Oh, well.

So, my big task today is making dd's bday cake. We have a family party tomorrow, and I want her to have a nice cake. But I have never really made a decorated birthday cake, and I am just not sure I can pull this off. She wants it to be pink; I'd like to decorate it with a pony or something. I'd love to do something 3D, but...*sigh* also needs to be very inexpensive. So we shall see.

Beyond that, it's a Friday. I hope to get in my workout and get to Friday prayers. I finished up my second arm warmer, just need to stitch it shut, and then I can start a new knitting project! I want a cowl!

sunnylady303 12-18-2009 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post
I finished up my second arm warmer, just need to stitch it shut, and then I can start a new knitting project! I want a cowl!
LOL. I read this and thought, "a cow would be a really big knitting project and also kind of strange." I figured it out though. We also really want a cow too but it's going to be at least spring 2011.

I'm baking today. And wrapping. And finished up gifts. Feeling a little more positive and energetic - although slightly paranoid from all the CPS stuff.

I really want to just knit!!

HeatherAtHome 12-18-2009 01:28 PM

Hello! I've been lurking on here now and then but with a new thread starting, I thought it would be a great time to jump in.

My name is Heather, I'm 28 with no kids. My husband and I just bought our first house this past fall. It's a fixer upper and we've been working on it this whole time. Once it's to the point that we feel happy with it, we'll call to become foster parents. I'm fixing up the place to be kid friendly from the start.

Trying to go for a natural, warm, cozy, handmade look that's close to nature. I had family over yesterday and my sister couldn't get over how much she loves all the little details we've done.

This week I've been focusing on winterizing our home (it's super drafty!) by making thick curtains for our windows, draft stoppers at the door etc. I'm going to keep my eyes open for cheap rugs.

And I'm knitting fingerless gloves for when I'm sitting at the computer in the evenings or reading a book.

Our bathroom reno is dragging out longer and costing more than expected. We realized we won't have a ton of $$$ for presents so decided to bake cookies and other goodies to give out to family. It's ok, they'll love it.

happiehart 12-18-2009 01:42 PM

I'd like to jump in too! I saw this in the new posts, and thought yay for me, a homemaking thread

1jooj 12-18-2009 01:54 PM

Welcome, new homemakers!

heather, renovations always take longer and cost more. We're in a 100yo fixer-upper, so we will be working on it for the rest of our lives. So it goes, right?

Yeah, I'd like a cow, too, but not until we do something about our fences. They are not cow-proof. Just ask the sheriff.

We mucked out a pen in the barn today. I am so stinky. Going to clean up and head into town for a couple things while I have the chance.

_ktg_ 12-18-2009 01:57 PM

Thanks artparent for the new thread! I can't believe its winter already... wait let me look out the window again. *sigh*

1jooj - holy cakemaking batman! That sounds like a great cake, I don't think I'd be up for tackling anything 3d or frosting wise. Frosting is my enemy

Sunny - I read cow too! and thought hmmmm well again that's wow... I didn't think cows needed knit items. I kept picturing a sweater in my mind. Yay for baking and some serenity.

I went to the dr yesterday and yes got the dx of sinus infection, as apparently battling whatever I've had for 3 weeks is not good. My dr is nice and appreciates that I'm not a crazed individual needing to have a drug to treat every little thing, but reminded me gently even western medicine has it's benefits. Luckily its just amoxicillin bid 10 days, so I'm also stocking up on yogurt too to keep my gut intact while I'm on this stuff.

This weekend I'm giddy as the GP have agreed to take DSx2 on Saturday for the day. This lets us finish xmas shopping and winterizing the house (more thermal curtains) and have some alone time. Then granola making and more attempts at bread.... mmmm bread.

Theloose 12-18-2009 01:59 PM

I'll introduce myself too, since I've been lurking

dd is 3 today (happy birthday!) and I'm due with #2 late march. I've always loved homemade stuff more than other stuff, and love, love, LOVE creating . But then dd showed up with multiple food sensitivities and I started researching nutrition and deficiencies, and she clearly didn't like me crafting, and I totally stopped (aside from food, of course). I've been lurking, trying to get inspired again (it's working, thanks!) and in the past week, made a sink mat from old tshirts/towels, and last night made a bathrobe for dd from more old towels

I'm hoping to fall into a groove where I can keep making stuff, cause that keeps me happy/sane, and happier mama makes for a happier dd

artparent 12-18-2009 03:14 PM

welcome mamas!!

cowl - planning one; cow - maybe someday, chickens are next in line after a successful vegetable garden. renovations - how great, heather! i'd love to renovate my own home. i'm a persuasive renter and i am so pleased that our floors are looking GORGEOUS so far, i cannot wait to live with the good, bright wood, so easy to clean, so light in the london grey; continuing crafts with a 3 year old (and a new baby soon!!) - wow, i have spent much of the last 10 years dealing with food sensitivities, it takes a ton of creativity; time alone in the house - i love it too, ijooj, and rarely have that pleasure.

how do you find time for homemade things? do you do everything else quickly? let everything else go? do you find the homemade stuff goes quickly? or do you include your children? do you make things at the same time as you do other things? or are you just really good at this stuff? did someone you grew up with or lived with inspire you to make things yourself? have you always made things by hand, or is this very new to you?

i'd also love to hear about goals for the coming year, what you want to make or learn how to do.


MamaFern 12-18-2009 04:12 PM

peeking in, willm post more when im not nak a wriggly toddler

FillingMyQuiver 12-18-2009 04:51 PM

Hi, I'm Jenn. I posted once on the other thread, but mostly lurk. I'm under the gun to finish a bunch of Christmas gifts up in time for the holiday. Knitting, sewing, wood working, needle and wet felting I apparently took on too much this year

I'm trying to make a plan for 2010 as far as having a direction for my crafting. I already have a few ideas of gifts I want to get done and some crafts I want to try or improve upon. I'd like to get some beeswax and continue making candles for my home and for family members, I'd also like to try my hand at soapmaking, but DH has a whole bunch of Lever2000 we bought in bulk that I'm waiting for him to finish and the kids and I have about 1/4gal of California Baby Wash to finish up, too.

My real goal for 2010 is to get my garden going. We have quite a big patch in the yard to use, but we need to get a delivery of topsoil in b/c it's the footprint left by the previous homeowner's above ground pool. The earth is pretty compacted and there's a thick layer of gravel that we've tried moving, but it' just is taking so long. So our plan is to topsoil it all and build lasagna garden beds on top. No tilling, no moving gravel.

I'm hoping to have more time to post to this thread, too.

artparent 12-18-2009 05:01 PM

hi jenn! what are you woodworking? i used to do this as a kid and at artschool, i was just thinking about learning to use a lathe

hi fern!

i'm also hoping to get my garden producing food. i know i'll get lots of sun in the front garden, so should focus there, but this will be my second round of compost + i'm hoping that i can prune back a tree to let in light. i'm planning to start seeds quite early this year, and try using cloches over seedlings to keep the snails at bay for awhile.

i want to participate in quilting + knitting groups in london, very exciting and make lots of things for home + gifts.

i want to preserve food, i started learning this year and now i have what i need to do it, and a few skills, i'm hoping to put up a solid pantry

i'd like to learn more about sewing, i may take a dressmaking course and start making more of my children's clothing, and mine!

i also hope to learn soapmaking, i have a dear friend in london who has a soap company. and i'd love to make candles!

would that this thread were a village we all lived in!

lastly (or probably not) i'd like to start doing all of the above + cooking with my children, since we are homeschoolers, it will be wonderful. my children will be 5 + 10 this coming year, and i think the time is ripe for homemade everything.

if i can finish my animation this year, i will have more time for starting my website again, i have big ideas. i'm tweeting, easing in...


FillingMyQuiver 12-18-2009 05:24 PM

LOL, well artparent, my wood working is just a simple house like the Kinderkram one As much as I would love to do more, we don't have the space for any real wood working tools.

I was also just thinking that one of my goals for 2010 is to get organized. We, too, are homeschoolers. We lean slightly to Waldorf inspired in that we follow and celebrate the seasons, try to work w/ natural materials, follow some delayed academics, etc. I have 4 children (3 who are of crafting age 5.5, 4, and 2), so I have a large dresser repurposed as a sideboard in my dining room for art "stuff". Unfortunately, it's a "hot spot" for clutter right now. Everything that doesn't have an immediate home gets put up there. My poor kids can't easily access their art supplies, paperwork gets lost in the shuffle, it's a disaster and I want it fixed NOW. So it's going on the list for January to focus on, along w/ my studio. All I have to say about that room is :

1jooj 12-18-2009 08:45 PM

Well, I ended up doing something similar to this cake for dd...but I made it a two-layer cake, making a white cake with pureed strawberries for the liquid. Between the layers is strawberry preserves. I surrounded it with flowers made of cupcakes and the birthday message is on some leaves beneath the butterfly. It looks pretty good for a first go at such a project. Dd decorated two flowers herself. Oh, and I didn't have candy for those decorations.

Dh hijacked my day. We wasted an hour and a half driving to see a goat that was already sold. He apparently doesn't understand everything he hears or something. Anyway, at least we came back alive and I got the cake made. And I stitched the arm warmers in the car, so now I can cast on something new.

sunnylady303 12-18-2009 09:52 PM

Why don't I ever get as much done as I plan to? I got one batch of cookies made for holiday giving and open house and I think we ate half of them. I wrapped presents with 6YO DD. DH rearranged the living room and I helped with that and arranging our computer to be more helpful to us. Then he wanted to go into the small town that is close by (20 minutes) which just happens to be where the knitting store is so...

I bought three more skeins of yarn. I let each of my DD's pick one for me to make them a scarf with and my DH picked one too. I also had the owner show me one more time how to cast on. It still feels tricky to me. The yarn my 3YO DD picked is giving me fits! I have about 6 inches done, but it's this bumpy, tight, 100% cotton yarn that is very not stretchy and is a challenge. I hope after these four scarves, I'll be ready for a step up in the form of a different sort of project. Suggestions?

My goals for this year are to really focus on caring for the house and making it our home. We are homeschoolers but haven't done much other than normal life. Older DD just turned 6, so I need to figure out a rhythm - are we unschoolers, or do we need a bit more structure? Are we Waldorf-y or just plain eclectic? I want to really prepare for a crazy spring and summer as we start our CSA this year while DH continues to work full time-ish as a pastor.

Also I think I am getting a sewing machine for Christmas. I know nothing about sewing now but I have visions of homey touches around the house and home sewn clothes and quilts. We'll see. I want to really progress with knitting. I want to try some soap making and candle making. I pretty much cook from scratch but I want to be better this coming year at putting up food. We still have potatoes (we grew SO many potatoes), frozen edamame, frozen peas, and some canned tomatoes. And chicken, of course. But we should have much more. It was a crazy summer though with younger DD in the hospital so much. Also I think we are also getting a mandolin from DH's parents and I would like to learn that. We have to this year, also, get a firm plan for how we are going to develop the farm for meat and milk cows, pigs, turkeys, sheep, and honey bees. And how we are going to pay for it.

That's a lot of goals. Mostly I want our CSA to go well (we got our favorite seed catalog this week ) and to find a rhythm to our home life.

And, I have to say as I listen to them scurry, to get rid of the &^*$ #$@%* @#$* MICE IN MY HOUSE!!!!!!

HeatherAtHome 12-18-2009 10:44 PM

Hey Sunnylady! I've picked up handmade quilts and things at thrift shops. Another way to get the handmade touch without having to do all the work.

We have a squirrel in our house. He mainly sticks to the attic and outer walls, but some days I wish I had the dainty pitter patter of mice. (Although I hate how they get *everywhere* so... )

ETA: I just finished one fingerless glove and am trying it out on my mouse hand. I think it's a keeper.

PNCTink 12-18-2009 10:59 PM

I will introduce myself as well! I am another lurker. I am working on organization as well, and so far it's going well. I'm doing little bits at a time. I'm also working on spending less time on the computer researching "better" ways to do x, y, z and then never doing them because I'm still on the computer. I'd like to start a garden in the spring, but it will have to be above ground as our soil is very rough to work with. So much clay. We also just bought our first house so we'll be working on it come spring. I do sew already, but I would like to learn how to knit this year. My birthday is in February and I'm hoping for some needles and yarn. That's about all for now.

1jooj 12-18-2009 11:04 PM

My fingerless gloves go up past the elbows. I am wearing them now. Cozy!

I am frankly uncertain about our goals for next year. Depends on so much. For example, whether dh gets a big raise. If he does, it takes away pressure for me to go back to work, and I can really focus here. If not, well...I don't know. Then it's just a matter of organizing and being ready for the seasons as they come.

But if I wear my optimist hat, next year, we will focus on organizing both gardens for efficient production and easy rotation. We will also fix up fences and section our pasture for more intensive grazing and better management.

In addition, I want to get some flower beds established. Things that the bees like. I want to set up a nice bed with a birdbath for them to drink water, and also brighten up our very spartan farmyard. Ideally, we'll add a few more hives, too.

I want to keep learning re: knitting, and I'd like to learn to sew, too. My trouble is that I like to design, and it makes me always want to change things...Anyway, I want to learn to sew next year, as soon I will need to be able to at least modify clothes for dd for modesty.

I hope to be milking a goat next spring, and I would like to learn to make simple cheeses if the opportunity arises.

I hope to establish some sort of educational routine for the kids in summer. I am not altogether pleased with school. I mean, I think the teachers are doing what they are asked, and it is not necessarily the best fit. But I don't believe I am a homeschooler.

And on top of all that, we're hoping for a family trip to North Africa next year to visit the ILs.

Who knows? Anything can happen...

jillyofthevalley 12-18-2009 11:07 PM

Hi everyone! I've been lurking on the other thread but it was so darn long it was a little intimidating to jump in near the end there. I was big into traditional homemaking a few years ago but this past year I've sort of fallen off the wagon and done a lot of cheating. We've had a very busy and stressful year but I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.

The kids had their last day of school for the year today so I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off. Next week I need to finish up a few Christmas/Yule presents for the kids (sewing pj's for the boys and making them a bunch of playdough) and get to work on my holiday baking. I also need to sort through the clutter on my computer desk and through a very large rubbermaid tote of computer stuff and paperwork that I haven't looked at in over 6 months.

My big plan for the year is to get my vegetable garden started. We moved last year and our new yard has the perfect spot for a garden. We cleared it out last summer, got rid of the weeds and grass in that corner, and this spring we need to get it ready for planting. I'm so excited: I also need to work on sewing up all the projects I have sitting in my sewing room.

Hi Fern, it's nice to see you here. I don't know if you remember me but we had a couple of playdates way back when our boys were babies.

MommaLura 12-18-2009 11:32 PM

Hi everyone, I'm going to come out of lurking too I have a 2 yo ds and due with #2 in August : My ds has a billion food sensitivities/intolerances and it has taken its toll on my homemaking. I cook from scratch, sew, knit among other house "stuff". I'm enjoying the inspiration and the ideas! I'd like to do a container garden, but we'll see. I am busy decluttering and organizing, I've really struggled in doing everything I want and need to do

MamaFern 12-19-2009 12:54 AM

ok.. maybe i have a minute between nursings and other child needs!

im busily sewing this as part of my middle ones Christmas gift. i actually bought the pattern over a year ago, cut out the pieces last winter and planned it to be her gift then, but it never happened. i have since moved to the town where the pattern maker lives, and we live only a few houses from each other on the same street, completely unknowing when we moved!.. so its kind of funny, but also wonderful because she is so skilled and knowledgeable and also has all of the supplies on hand! she actually bought one of my toadstool dolls for her nature table. i was pretty honored. her shop is bear dance crafts btw

so yeah, im sewing and sewing and knitting.. on the side grinding flour and getting organized for Solstice/Christmas. we made pizza for supper tonight and my daughter helped grind the grains. it feels SO GOOD to make our own flour. i just absolutely love it.

tomorrow we go to visit our farmers folk friends where we will cut out Christmas tree and visit the sheepies & children. then we have a community potluck dinner (put on by the food security network), with all local meat & veggies..and everyone else brings the deserts. it should be a huge, wonderful feast!
then sunday im having some friends over for a breakfast feast and monday is a solstice busy days & nights!! its a really full & heartwarming time..especially since it is our first winter here and i feel so welcomed. when we moved here in july i knew 2 my friends are countless!

we are so wintery here that im having a hard time thinking about spring at all yet, but of course its in the back of my mind. we plan to food garden at the community garden, just half a block from our house, and grown some larger crops like potatoes and squash at our friends farm (mentioned above)
i have done lots of gardening in the past, but never in this region, so it should be a fun experience! sand do herbs and flowers here at our house

also on the de-cluttering bandwagon. i was putting away clothes this afternoon and being ruthless with what im throwing into the free store bag. we have too much! most of it is thrift shop stuff, some hand-me-downs, but i get overwhelmed by the stuff and im ready to clear it out! new years resolutions to simplify even more!

i think that my moment is over, but im enjoying reading about all of the new posters to the group, and hearing about everyone's wintery season..

jillyofthevalley 12-19-2009 02:07 AM

Fern, did you get your grinder from a Canadian store? I've been wanting to get one for some time now. I did have a link saved but when I updated Firefox it erased all my bookmarks and I can't remember the name of the store.

MamaFern 12-19-2009 02:16 AM

yes, its from a little shop in trail. there are lots of mills out there but the family grain mill (this is the one that i wanted) is hard to find here and just so happens they are the only ones in canada that i could find that carried all of the components.. i ordered it and got it the next day. they are really great people.

jillyofthevalley 12-19-2009 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by MamaFern View Post
yes, its from a little shop in trail. there are lots of mills out there but the family grain mill (this is the one that i wanted) is hard to find here and just so happens they are the only ones in canada that i could find that carried all of the components.. i ordered it and got it the next day. they are really great people.
That's perfect, thank you! I have a kitchen aid so I can use it on that as well as get the hand crank.

MamaFern 12-19-2009 02:48 AM

Originally Posted by SunflowerMommy View Post
That's perfect, thank you! I have a kitchen aid so I can use it on that as well as get the hand crank.
you have to make sure that you have the right voltage on your KA. i thought that too, but it happens that mine doesn't have enough, and after reading many reviews people who do have a KA with the family grain mill have said that it burns out the motor really fast. the hand crank is actually pretty efficient.. we have made bread and pancakes, and baked goods and pizza dough all hand ground. we have an old bosh motorbase to power ours if need be, but i have yet to use it.

jillyofthevalley 12-19-2009 03:10 AM

Good to know! I guess I'll stick with the hand crank for the time being. It's not like I plan on cranking out pounds of flour at a time. I think my arms can handle it.

MamaFern 12-19-2009 01:05 PM

Originally Posted by SunflowerMommy View Post
Good to know! I guess I'll stick with the hand crank for the time being. It's not like I plan on cranking out pounds of flour at a time. I think my arms can handle it.
even on the finest grind setting my older children can do it.

artparent 12-19-2009 01:11 PM

oh, i exchanged the fine yarn i had for a heavier weight, and started socks last night, thick warm house socks, so yummy! handpainted, beautiful. i must hurry now! and i've picked up some off-sale tea towels to do a bit of patchwork onto, presents/wrapping paper. i was also compelled to get a raspberry mohair yarn, it was impossible to resist. i've no idea what i will make with it, mind you naughty creature. so wonderful to be able to leave my children happily with my parents, and spend some time looking through patterns and touching all the yarn.


marimara 12-19-2009 01:22 PM

Hi everyone! I've been MIA from traditional homemaking for a while but I've been reading what you all have been posting. I'm still doing my crocheting, getting better but still a beginner. I made several Christmas presents including a scarf, 2 pairs of fingerless gloves, another scarf for a man, a baby blanket, and several scarflettes/neckwarmers for my Etsy shop.

Now I'm working on a cute blanket for cuddling on the couch, it's in organic fluffy cotton and made doing alternating rows of sc w/bobbles and dc on the next row. Really cute.

I made homemade biscuits the other weekend using a Depression Era recipe, from 1933, they were good, hubby and dd loved them with honey and butter.

I've been making lots of chicken stock while cooking chicken in the crockpot. I made 2 loaves of honey wheat bread a couple of weekends ago too, dh scarfed those down real quick.

What else? Well dd has had 3 colds all in a row and I caught 2 of them, so a lot of what I've been doing is trying to get us better w/garlic, honey, zinc, echinacea, and astragalus. I'm battling one right now.

Oh yeah, I taught dd (with the help of Starfall) how to read! She wanted to learn so she's learning. We plan on homeschooling her too.

We are going to try to sell our house again in Feb, let's hope it goes well this time!
I've been decluttering like a mad woman and the house is looking good.

I'm glad to see this thread has taken on a life of its own, you guys are great!!!!! I'm consistently amazed at what you ladies are able to do on a regular basis! I go in waves, some weeks I'm really homey and crafty then weeks go by without anything.

artparent 12-19-2009 01:56 PM

1930's recipe please!

we had an early christmas present in london before we left, river cottage family cookbook, and another written by hugh, on preserving. i cannot wait to use. i love that it is completely local, and seasonal but i would love to also get my hands on some old books about homemaking + food.

your house sounds good, best of luck with a sale!

if you eat fish, may i once again highly, highly recommend cod liver oil to keep the illness away. carlson's lemon is good, i've heard twinlab is also good.


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