Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crafty Thoughts and Things I Want To Do

These are some things that have been jumbling around in my mind that I would either like to learn how to do or get back into doing it. Do you know how to do one of these things or do you know someone or can direct me in the right direction? I could surely use some knowledge on some of it or a few pointers. I'd love if you left info in the comments!

1. Learn how to make soap. (I can take a soap-making class at Mr. Green Beans. Just need $35 and time!)

2. Learn how to make candles (soy or beeswax).

3. Learn how to can.

4. Obtain a stainless steel pot so I can make continue cheese, beer, etc. and not have to borrow other people's pots. (They're on CraigsList all the time, for around $40. Just need extra moolah to spend on my own pot!)

5. Sometimes I want to roast my own coffee beans, but then I remember I work for a coffee shop and will always have awesome coffee. ;o) But it would be neat!

6. Get a sourdough starter and work on making bread - DONE(ish). I have a sourdough starter, but I haven't had time to figure out what to do with it yet.

7. Buy a used kayak and explore the rivers.

8. Learn to make yogurt (and maybe butter, although we really don't use butter hardly at all. Still, it would be neat.) - Since initially thinking about this, Kim has told me of a yogurt maker she has and makes yogurt with! Must acquire!

9. Eventually making enough beer from recipes that I feel comfortable making up my own recipes and knowing what would taste good together.

10. Get seeds to sprout and actually eat the sprouts.

11. Grow mushrooms with a mushroom kit. ($20 at the Urban Farm Store.)

12. Get back into photography. I have a Diana, a Holga, and an Argoflex and I haven't had much time to play around with them. Sad!

13. I did join the Nature Printing Society, as mentioned previously, but now I just need to get out there, get some specimens, and print!

14. Work on making more cheese.

15. Start taking Russian and/or Spanish classes again. I used to know quite a bit of each language, enough to get me around Russia for two weeks, but it's pretty much lost now, except for random words. I want to speak Ruskey y Espanol again!

I know there are other things I want to do, but I just need time to do a lot of them. Hopefully sooner, rather than later. So much adventuring I want to do still.......

(I did do this yesterday, though! Whoo hoo!)


  1. Wow! what a wonderful list. my friend Haley wrote about making farmer's cheese: http://thefieldandtable.wordpress.com/projects/making-homemade-cheese/

  2. I'd be happy to teach you how to can (maybe this fall when you're back?). I also have a yogurt maker that I haven't used in way too long- it works great though, and I can tell you the brand if you want.

    I have two giant pots that I've bought at Goodwill/Value Village for a few dollars each. Both are damn near brand new- keep an eye out if you have time to stop by thrift shops during your normal week. I never find things when I'm looking for them specifically, but I go by thrift stores fairly often, just to check!

    I also need to start my sourdough, brew a new batch of kombucha, make cheese, start our beer, get some yogurt going, and sprout some things! I decided that I need to overhaul our messy cluttered apartment before I start on any projects. Every room is full of crap and it's incredibly uninspiring!

  3. Krista, thanks for the link! I'll check it out later when I'm not at work. I have a cheese-making kit and I've made some cheese, but I think I would also like to take a class to see how other people do it, you know? I'm looking forward to reading what your friend wrote!

    Renai, not to get my hopes up, but are you offering me the yogurt maker? It kinda sounds like it, but I can't tell. I'm just confused because then you mention needing to get some yogurt going. I am a dork. ;o) Yeah, there are pots on CraigsList, but I just need some extra money to spend on a pot, you know? I have a pot I'm borrowing from a friend but I'd like my own at some point.

    I emailed a gal on CL about a bread maker last night, so hopefully I hear back today.

  4. Wow you might have well been reading my mind when you made this list! There are so many things on it that are on it that I want to accomplish. Especially the Holga. It was the love of my life in college and I have recently gotten back into it, but I'm so lazy when it comes to developing the film.

  5. Hahaha, wow I rule. I was indeed offering it to you! As much as I want to start using it again I most likely won't for a long while. Too many other things I'd like to do first. So if you want to borrow it for an extended amount of time I'd be okay with that! I just want it back someday.

  6. If you make bread won't you need butter? :) I love making butter! it's fun! I will be acquiring some raw milk soon and will make some butter. We also made some rosemary butter the other day for our grilled cheese. I have a giant rosemary bush!

  7. Samantha, I have only used one roll of film in my Holga! Pathetic! I bought the back that I can use 35mm film with, so I really have no excuse.

    Serena, that is so neat! See, I need to learn how to make it. Rosemary is one of my favorite flavors. I'm jealous of everyone else's wild rosemary bushes in Portland. SOMEDAY. Someday I will have my own!

  8. I have a EuroCuisine to make yogurt and love it. I also make kefir and kombucha but really want to start brewing my own beer, sewing, making cheese regularly, and get back to hand spinning!

  9. Oh man! Such a great list!! I do several of these things already and would be happy to offer any tips (I'd offer to straight up teach you if we were closer!) :-)

    Canning is super fun, and actually really easy. It just seems intimidating at first.

    Sprouting is also SUPER easy! I couldn't even believe how easy when I first started. I learned from her: http://meghantelpnerblog.com/2009/09/24/sprout-sprout-let-it-all-out/

    Learning how to make soap & candles are pretty high on my list too. I've been making my own laundry detergent for a few years, but I still rely on commercial prepared castille soap as the base. (Yay! For Dr. Bronner's. :-)

    I also REALLY want to learn how to knit and/or crochet. I've constantly got lots of crafty ideas in my head, but outside of the kitchen, I don't tend to be very good at putting any of my desires into practice. I think it's because my mom is an uber-crafter and is really good at it...but I'm a perfectionist and always measure up my first craft attempts against my mom's products and then get discouraged. :-/

  10. Amanda, good to know about the EuroCuisine! I'm looking forward to owning one someday, definitely, but for now it's nice to know I will soon be long-term borrowing my friend Renai's. Hand spinning would be pretty neat!

    Kim, thank you for the page on sprouting! I'm not able to look at it right now, since I'm at work, but will definitely check it out when I'm able. I know it's SO easy and I've actually looked into it before, but I needed to figure out where in town to get the seeds from. I have jars and have seen those sprouting lids at our co-op.

    Do you have a recipe for your laundry detergent? We use BioKlean and found out at the co-op we can buy it in bulk, so when our jug runs out we can refill it. I don't know how much that will end up being, so I'm curious what the price break is. I have been wanting to learn how to make laundry detergent, though!

    P.S. I saw one of the new Alaska plates at lunch. I see plates almost daily right now. Whenever we see them Jonathan and I go, "Alaska plate!!" and point. :o)

  11. Don't waste your money on the special sprouting jars. Get regular mason jars and some cheese-cloth. Works brilliantly and it's quite a bit cheaper. Also, I'd be REALLY surprised if you couldn't get seeds to sprout in the bulk bins at your co-op. If not there, then some other place w/ bulk bins should do you well. Also, you can (and totally should) sprout things like black beans and lentils too! Love them! (I've read you shouldn't sprout kidney beans though because raw kidney beans can have a toxin in them.)

    I'm SOOO jealous that you have a co-op that sells cleaning supplies in bulk bins. I would love-love-love it if I could find liquid things (like dr. bronner's in a bulk bin somewhere!) Not having that as an option and wanting to save both lots of money and lots of packaging (plus, just really like having control over the ingredients) making my own detergent has been awesomely cheap and very garbage reduced!

    My laundry detergent recipe is:

    Hey! I was just coming here to send it, I SWEAR! And then I opened this message and saw that you just sent a new message. :-)

    1/4 bar Castile soap
    ½ cup washing soda
    ½ cup borax powder

    Put 8 cups of water and the finely grated soap in a large pot and boil, stirring frequently. Once the soap is dissolved add the washing soda, borax and about 12/3 gallons (20 cups) of water and stir. Mix well and heat until all ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer to containers of your choice. (I just use two empty laundry detergent containers from store bought detergent. But really, you could use anything. Sometimes when I make larger batches I put the extra in old Nalgene bottles that I don’t drink out of anymore.) I use about ½ a cup per load of laundry.

    You may have to make adjustments based on how hard or soft your water is. If you don't like the consistency of one batch, it should still work OK (although if you have really hard water you might need to make bigger adjustments) but when you make the next batch adjust the liquid or solid ratios to adjust for whatever consistency problems you had w/ the first batch.

    Also, I'm currently looking for a good borax-free recipe because I've started feeling really uncomfortable about the health and green cred of it on many levels. When I find one I'm happy with, I can let you know if you're interested!

    Travis and I do the same thing when we see AK plates...but I bet there much more rare over here. :-) (Although, we were in Fayetteville last month, which is right by Ft. Bragg...and HOLY COW! SO MANY AK plates there!)

  12. P.S. Sometimes when I look over things I write, I think "holy cow! Is it really necessary to use that many exclamation points?" Then I remember than I am a generally loud and excited person, so it's probably a fairly accurate representation. Ha! ;-)

  13. I have to tell you first off that I read your last comment to Jonathan and he rolled his eyes and said, "You are like two peas in a pod." :oD

    Oh, yeah, no, I was just going to use a mason jar to sprout in. They have the lids at the co-op. I didn't even think about the fact that the co-op would actually HAVE the seeds, but that totally makes sense. Duh.

    They have Dr. B's in bulk at the co-op! Man, I wish they had something like that over there for you, too. Not that I know anything about NC, but I would think they would have something like that. (Stereotypically I think that, but I don't know why.)

    Cool, thanks for the soap recipe, too! I am thinking that I might hold off on that for now, as I think I have enough going on on my plate as far as "I'm going to learn new things!" but I am going to keep that in mind. I didn't realize you were making liquid soap. It seems like most recipes are for dry soap. Neat!

  14. Hehehe. At least I know that means my excessive exclamations will not annoy. :0)

    I'm sure there are probably places in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) that have awesome bulk bins in the like. But where we are (Greenville,) there's not a lot going on and the Triangle is 100 miles away. Really, as an Alaskan I shouldn't complain so much. But as an Alaskan who mostly lived in Anchorage, I got used to living in the town where everyone drove to stock up-- I'm less used to having to drive to stock up. :-)

    We've made several trips to the Triangle to stock up and it's actually kind of fun. But it would be nice to not have to plan so much. Grocery shopping in Greenville is just large markets with everything in SOOOO much packaging. I'm so used to Fred Meyer that I was shocked when not a single store had any bulk bins at all!

    Anyway. If I could get biokleen in bulk, I probably wouldn't make my own detergent...so I don't blame you for holding off. I make liquid, even though it's a bit more labor intensive, just because I don't residue dry soaps seem to leave.

  15. Let's make soap when you get here!! I will start growing fragrant herbs immediately.