Beeswax Candles: Why I no longer make them

Bee-on-New-England-Aster

One of the most profound changes for me was becoming a vegan rather than only vegetarian. Learning more about the dairy, chicken egg and bee product industries was the impetus. Isn’t it interesting that when one searches for information rather than accepting what you grew up with, one’s thinking often changes?

Springing forward as the good life continues

Sourdough Bread

It’s Spring, finally. It was actually over 20°C yesterday and the sunshine was glorious – a reminder that simple living really is as simple as enjoying a warm and sunny day! There are Loons on the lake and ‘our’ Pileated Woodpecker has been visiting. Both of these birds will disappear from this area when all the weekend visitors arrive, with their increased activity and noise. But for now it’s lovely to see and hear them.

Hand-made Soap: What does saponification mean?

Smallbones Pure Castile Soap

Do you use lye-based products to clear clogged drains? Would you put it on your skin? Of course not! You probably remember references from days gone by that lye soap is scary stuff. This is the reason soap-makers use the term “saponification” for our natural, hand-made soaps. Most people think of lye as only a strong caustic chemical that can burn your skin, or worse. Actually, through the process of saponification and curing, the lye becomes inert and you’re left with a beautiful bar of soap. You can’t make soap without using lye!

Chair Caning: Who would have thunk it?

My rescued rocker "before" (fabric & nails removed)

What we human beings have sat ourselves on throughout history would make an interesting dissertation. From hunkering down on our haunches to ornate palanquins and thrones to humble hand-hewn cottage seats, we’ve strived through the ages to be comfortable when not out doing the daily hunting and gathering. Who would have thought that there would be such demand today for the craft of weaving chair seats?

Rug Hooking: Creativity Meets Simple Frugality

We learn a lot from the early Canadian settlers who were very creative in adapting to life in North America. Log cabin building, while seen as cozy and picturesque now, was a necessity then. And it wasn’t very cozy in the beginning — often no windows and a hole in the roof for the stovepipe — tad chilly and dark that first winter! Women who later had sheep for wool were very lucky. Spinning, knitting, weaving and sewing all started with those sheep. And when the woollen clothing was too worn to patch any more, it could be turned into winter quilts and later, mats to warm the floor.

What’s a Sally Garden? Basket Willows!

basket willow colours

I get excited about old-time crafts very easily, especially if they require no cash outlay and my own two hands are the tools. I’ve been known to bite off more than I can chew, but sometimes the excitement leads to marvellous new adventures in sufficiency! A sally garden is a willow (salix) garden. Next to growing food, I think growing basket willows is about the smartest thing you can do with a bit of soil. Chair caning led me to basketry, and weaving baskets led to wanting to grow my own basket willows.