Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saving basil seeds.

How to save basil seeds. Homesteading in suburbia from seed to seed. Basil start to finish. Most people take a leaf here and there from their basil. If they are ambitious pesto is in the cards. But the relationship ends there.
This is year 4 of growing basil. Each year I have gotten more and more involved with the plant itself. Here is what I've learned. 

When your basil goes to flower, pinch it off. You want the resources of the plant to go into making new leaves not seeds and flowers. They will keep producing flowers and I just to through and pick them all again. 

This promotes healthy growth.

When it flowers, some people loose interest in the plant at this point. Either letting it go calling it done or even ::gasp:: tossing the whole plant ! 

I'll admit I was tossing the flowers and seeds before. This year I'm really into drying herbs and saving seeds. 




Here's the trick. Dry everything for at least a week. It might have gone to two. Then just roll the bits you saved in your fingers. It crushes up the driers flower bits and the seeds come out! There are typically 4 seeds per pod and the pods looks like this on their own. 


You get really good at identifying the seed pods. They look like this. Typically found on the stem below the flowers (which are also edible) ! 


Fully dried and ready to store for next year ! I use an airtight little tiny jar then envelope them to protect from light deterioration. Handy to label year and plant origin! 

Any leaves that dried are saved for winter use and soups. All the crushed up basil bits that came from harvesting seeds just went into the dried jar too for later use! Great flavor!

It's obviously a time consuming and not at all "cost effecient" to the rich mans eyes. But not only is it free to save seeds but some day someone might control all the worlds seeds and have all of the fruit and produce "trademarked" and breed to have seeds that will not produce fruit. Even if that was not a worry, why not stockpile and ensure that you yourself have independence and a different gratitude for the food you create! 

What are your favorite things to do with basil ? 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Painted rocks. Strawberry

Last nights random project. 

Painted rocks to mimic strawberries
Hoping to dissuade the birdies and teach them our food is no good. I'll let you know how it ends up at the end of the season !  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

4 Steps to Creating a Chalkboard Cabinet Door with Measuring Cups and Measurement Conversions




 Chalkboard Craze! I absolutely LOVE the idea of making surfaces multi-purpose. On top of that there are also other benefits to having my measuring cups all have a home and always in an order. Baking is just that much more fun when I can leave my cabinet door open and have every spice and measuring cup at hand! The measurement conversions come in handy too! Most of the materials I already had on hand too!

Cost : $3.67 for the Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalkboard Flat-Black Spray Paint

Materials:
Chalkboard spray paint
Piece of wood
Cup Hooks
Drill 
Masking Tape
Chalk

 




 4 Steps to creating this:

1.) Get a slim piece of scrap wood to add to the middle of the inside of the door. I attached this using wood glue and used a heavy object to hold it in place overnight while the glue dried. 
TIP: Make sure that when you are opening and closing your cabinet door that the extra wood and what will be hanging off of them do not interfere with the existing interior shelves.

2.) Line up all of the utensils in the order you want them to hang. Using a Sharpie color in the holes to mark where you will be drilling. 

3.) Pre-Drill the holes slightly smaller then the coffee cup hooks you will be screwing them into. Screw in cup hooks.

4.) Mask the edges of the wood you do NOT want paint on and then spray away! Following the instructions on the can, it is important to prep the chalkboard with chalk then erase once its dry. 





Voila ! And a Beautiful addition to our home! Though I do have to warn you... this cabinet door is noisy if you find you swing cabinet doors open fiercely. Which apparently I used to do but no longer as the clanking of Stainless Steel is enough to make me have a new softer approach !


Friday, March 7, 2014

5 Tips to building an AWESOME Cat Shelf

Cat shelf!

Yes we built a shelf for the cat. 

Just think of all the possibilities! One a little above you by the bed to keep them off you! An unused nook in the room you notice them in the most! 

Cost: Free! 


We had all the supplies lying around. 

2 metal braces we had up in our garage not doing anything and were there when we moved in.

1 Some extra carpet that also came with the house 
1 Piece of wood, cat sized
1 Staple gun and lots of staples

 Drill and a Few Screws

2 Dry Wall Anchors (got ones rated to 70lbs. We have a DENSE kittie)

I am AWESOME at stapling carpet to the wood apparently.

5 TIPS :

1.) Make sure staples are all the way in. I pushed the carpet away and got in real close. Then if I felt it at all I Hammered it in. 

2.) To get it tight around the corners I snipped away some of the carpet, stapled it and then did the actual wrap around and stapled some more and more and more and more. Remember the kitties have claws and like to use them.

3.) If you can use a stud, DO! Kitties jump and I like the idea of it NOT EVER ripping out of the wall.

4.) How to find a Stud the easy way. Take the strongest magnet you have. Run it up and down the wall till it sticks. That means its a nail and that means its a stud so you know its running up and down from there.

5.) Use a corner to stick the cat shelf in. That way there is a place for curling up in.  




See the dog trying to figure out how to get there!


Yes we have now made a Kittie Highway for the stairway. 
Puppy Proof ! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

4 Steps to DIY Photo or Word Magnets

Cost: Free!


“This is too nice to throw away.” That’s our phrase. And a lot of things really are, or take up microscopic space like this next project !

We live in new construction suburbia. Lots of old school “door to door” sales men. The one’s that I enjoy are the ones that just leave their flyers. Some have gotten smart and leave a magnet on your garage door. This company that was promoting their services gave me the inspiration to tear off the sticker. Use it as a Label and Magnify that with these flat glass marbles or gems.
Enjoy!


Supplies: 


Magnet 
Hot glue
Scissors


Flat Glass Marbles or Gems

(I encourage you to get a large bag of ones that speak to your color scheme for other projects. Clear ones work best for this one. I scored a half gallon size bag of these at goodwill for .99 for other things and it has paid off)

Imagination of what you want to "magnify"

(You can always glue card stock to it to write on them if the sticker doesn't peel off nice or you bought one)






These magnets are so easy to cut up into any shape and size !

1.) Write directly on the white!

2.) Trace a "gem".

3.) Cut the magnet.

4.) Hot Glue word side on bottom of the gem.

(Tip: If you are doing this with photos to magnify them you can use photo glue ) 

FREE!!!!
Used here to label the steel lids of my canisters on my island! 



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

6 Steps to your own Arrowroot (cornstarch) and baking soda ornaments


"Their" cost : $9.99

Our cost : Free ?! 
Ok so the supplies are usually already in your home. 
If not, the amount I used versus the amount this stuff costs equaled about .18 cents.


Ingredients:

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup arrowroot (or cornstarch, we have arrowroot)
3/4 cup water

Plastic wrap
Saucepan

Optional: Straw or something to poke out hole for string and cookie cutters to make a shape around the impression. 

Steps:

1: Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir consistently over low heat.  About five mins in mine started clumping so we mixed faster. At about ten mins in it started thickening up. Almost feeling like glue. Once it's so thick it's difficult to bring your spoon through take it off the heat and let cool for a few mins or until it's cool to the touch. It took us 15 mins of stirring over low heat to get to that point. Cook yours out longer ours was not even close and could have been less sticky.

2: Remove. Let cool

I tired rolling it before it was all cooled and it didn't want to do that. Just kept sticking. So be patient and wait until it is not sticky. 

Mine may have wanted to be over heat longer. It's still sticky to the touch.

Hours hours later it was dried enough to roll

3: Roll out.

4: Place paw (key to first home, child's foot etc) in it firmly

4.5: Embellish the print (if you couldn't get a deep enough impression. We were gentle because I wanted to be able to wipe it off the animals easy. Tip: Have a wet warm soapy rag on hand). We used a chopstick.

5: Let completely dry before painting

Then the weekend ended. Allowing the imprints to dry thoroughly for a whole week. (really only recommended 24 hours but things got busy).

Advice: Really really cook out all the moisture you possibly can. make it so very difficult for you to drag that spoon through. It's a weird liquid / solid gak type substance ( delicious in my beef and broccoli, I swear secret ingredient type stuff).  

6: Paint! Some cracks started showing so first coat of paint I recommend is a white latex paint. After that dried we then decorated. Painters Tip: Wait until the first two contrasting colors dry before painting any trim or embellishments for best results.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

2 Steps to a Winter craft Snow Flake Wreath and Bonus Ideas

Cost: Free !
Ok well I had these snowflakes for a while and they just lacked umph. You can get them in a pack for $2 

Snowflake Wreath

I have been trying to reuse and reinvigorate old Xmas items. In today's post you see that I made a wreath ornament out of cheap plastic snowflake ornaments that I hot glued the ends together of and found a pretty bow from last years bag of gift bags! (They are too nice to throw away and look that bow is gorgeous!) Those plastic snowflakes last year were on each of my cabinet doors dangling down on a ribbon. Have to say I am in love with the wreath though!

Supplies: 
Plastic Snowflakes
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Bow or ribbon to hang

Steps:

1.) Arrange snowflakes in a circle where a point can overlap and Hot Glue that
2.) Tie a ribbon around it

DONE

Day time view
Close up. You can see better they are just a cheap set of plastic snowflakes. Once Hot glued together ! Wreath!
Even at night it is still so beautiful. (Yes that is a troll picking his nose! Gift from mom!)

All in all a success. 

Bonus: I added some Christmas ornaments to my existing candle holders to spruce that up.
 Bonus: My favorite add on though may be the elf hat and ears I bought for my dog one year. It now dons our kitchenaid !



Operation get ready for Christmas is under way !