Accomplishments of the Week (or two) - Nov 5, 2018
I had been intending to put together a blog post with some of my recent accomplishments last week, but life got in the way as it sometimes does, in the form of an injured foot this time. What with trips to the clinic for x-rays (it's thankfully not broken!) and a few other such distractions I never got around to posting this. And of course in the meantime I finished off a few other things that I'm excited about sharing, so you're getting a bit more than a week's worth of accomplishments this time.
Home-made bread! I really love baking bread at home, and I actually rarely buy any bread products except bagels (and croissants when I'm feeling indulgent). But with the crazy heat we had all summer I got out of the habit of baking, and until last week I hadn't made bread since last spring. I like using the method from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook. In reality it does take a few more than five minutes, but once you've got a routine going and have the dough stored in your fridge it really is pretty easy to whip up a fresh loaf whenever you feel like it. I like to make small loaves so that we can use them up while they're fresh, and I've baked three already this week.
As Elizabeth mentioned in her last blog post, we went apple picking together in early October, and wound up bringing home a few more apples than we'd really intended to! It took me a while to get to processing mine, and when I did I wanted to do something different from Elizabeth so that we could trade preserves. I ended up borrowing a food dehydrator and making a whole bunch of dried apples, and some fruit leather. These took quite a bit of work to do, and we had apples all over the kitchen for about a week, but they turned out super tasty!
Other than the apples, I haven't done much food preservation at all this year. One of my challenges to myself since having mono last year has been to be okay with letting go of the things that I don't have the time and energy for – even when they're things I really enjoy, like making jam and pickles. However, I did let myself get sucked in by the giant bowl of green tomatoes that I brought it from the garden a few weeks ago.
They sat in the fridge for a while before I found the time to deal with them, but I managed to spend a few hours last week turning them into Green Tomato Mincemeat. This consists of disguising the tomatoes by chopping them up and cooking them down with apples, raisins, currants, spices, and sugar until the mixture is thickens.
I decided to freeze my mincemeat instead of canning it, since I had enough room in the freezer and that simplified the whole process quite a bit. I ended up with quite a few jars, and it will be more than enough for our family's traditional Christmas tarts, so I think I'll be on the lookout for some new recipes to use this in over the coming winter!
When I was putting away my winter gear last spring I noticed that my Lanark gloves were starting to get some holes in the finger tips. Which honestly is hardly surprising, given that I've been wearing them every year since I first designed them in 2012... And actually, other than those few spots and bit of discolouration on the palms, they're showing very little wear-and-tear considering how much I've used them.
The holes were starting to get bigger though, and there was a chance that if I continued wearing them they'd really begin to unravel, so I haven't worn them at all this fall, and I've been missing them.
So, I hunted down some matching yarn from our scrap bin, and made myself sit down and mend them. (Mending is one of those things that I really don't mind doing once I've started, but I have a hard time getting to.) I managed to pick up all the loose stitches and close up the holes, and even secured a few other spots where the yarn was getting a bit thin but hadn't actually broken through yet. They feel good as new, and will hopefully last me many more winters!
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Lately a lot of my crafting inspiration has come from my son, who is growing and needs things, and from my goal to live more gently on this earth and think twice before buying and using things.
My values of living frugally and buying ethically-produced clothing that is not damaging to the environment sometimes feel completely at odds with each other. For me, this is where mending, crafting, and buying second-hand come in. Can I mend something to extend its useful life? Can I knit or sew more of our everyday wardrobe basics? Is it something I can trade or buy second-hand rather than purchasing new?