About Me

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User of little pieces -- of time, fabric, food, land, even trash. I am fascinated with the mighty power of the Small and Bypassed to transform into usefulness and beauty. As a mother of seven, living for decades on one income, I have practice using up Every Little Bit of Every Little Thing. My treasures have grown now and I have the joy of teaching preschool. I find this gift for making practical use of the Small and Bypassed, PLUS the gift of time to create, has channeled into simple, artistic expressions of small things.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fair to middlin' piddlin' considering the oranges . . .

Piddling.  I did a lot of that today.   Wandered around the house looking for something to do that I actually wanted to do.  I am not blessed, as some are, with a love for house cleaning, so when I have time on my hands, that's not where my mind wanders.  

Bill and I ran some errands in town, I had a nice trip to Wendy's farm store with friend Kathy and picked up some frozen peaches and blueberries, did a load of laundry, made us all fruity smoothies and made supper, but other than that . . . I wasted a good bit of time. 

I don't enjoy wasting time.   It's just not fun for me.  I'm working on working that out during this season of my life. It's a wonderful and weird decade for me.  My children need me less, I have far more freedom than I've ever had, and am getting to spread my artistic wings, but I have a need to use my time well and purposefully, to bless my family and help my sweet husband who has worked his little butt off for 37 years for his loves. I'm praying and looking for opportunities to do that, but . . . I digress.  (I ALWAYS DIGRESS!  And will you look at that!  I just digressed in the middle of my digressing :-(  )

One of my "piddles" was not actually a waste.  It was creative and fun and useful.  Smallish sort of oranges have been 6 for $1 for a couple of weeks at Newman's Country Mart, and we have availed ourselves of dozens of them.  Today Eli and I washed and peeled several, splitting the fruit into segments and freezing them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  When they were frozen, I put them in an airtight container in the freezer for smoothies.  

I tore the peelings into small pieces and created a lot of zest, which was spread into a thin layer on parchment paper and frozen, then poured into an airtight container and returned to the freezer.  This will make extracts, add spice to tea and coffee, and be available for recipes calling for zest as long as the flavor is fresh.

You may have seen recipes for making your own orange cleaner.  I found a very simple one -- just peels and white vinegar.  I filled a pretty little jelly jar with fresh zest and poured white vinegar over it,
There it is, all pretty and capped and waiting for me to strain out the zest in a couple of weeks.  I'll pour the resulting orange vinegar back in the jar and top it off with water to dilute it. Then it will be ready for use.  I have never made it before, so I don't know how well it works, but I'm excited to find out!

I suspect the orange flavored vinegar might be really good in homemade salad dressing.  I hope I remember to try it!

Middle, piddle, fiddle a little -- there's an opportunity for some Ogden Nash or Shel Silversten style verse right there!  What you got?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snapshots from my kitchen -- might as well be pretty!

Bill cut the sheetrock out from between the studs in our kitchen and built little shelves in for more storage space.  We needed it! 

I can't help but use them as frames for little vignettes or to store little collections -- birds, zinc lids . . .

I dearly love antique canning jars and the old kitchen tools. They are practical and a beautiful thing!

Home canned foods and nifty little bottles, which will be used for vanilla or other extracts as needed, provide a little stained glass feel to the shelves. 

Little shelves call out to little things . . .
"Come little birdies and baskets and all
Come you who are tiny and you who are small.
Come home to my kitchen and find a dear nest.
Bring joy to my kitchen; it's what you do best!"

More "stained glass" and little things:  a tiny wrench and oil can, an old rusted ceiling or wall hook.  I'll put it to work someday, maybe.  For now it's busy being decorative.

This little enamel pitcher holds maybe three cups.  When we six Vanderberg kids were growing up back in the 40's through the 70's, our dad would make maple syrup in it for Sunday morning pancakes.  I believe he used brown sugar, water, and maple flavoring and simmered it together.  I know we used it warm and it was delicious.   My oldest sister recently sacrificially passed it down to me.  It's a treasure!

Little miscellaneous vintage silver-plate waiting to be turned into hooks to hang things on.  And a cue ball rescued from a fire. I don't know why, but there it is, and I like it.

Some small bottles with bits of extracts or waiting to have new extracts made in them.   I love the teeny-tiny one with the feather from our yard.  Actually from a bird . . . .
For real, my kitchen is small and usually in use and therefore messy, but these little shelves stay busy and neat and keep their hands to themselves, so I am pleased with them.

Finding value in the Bypassed and the Small . . .