Posted in Crafty madness!, Homesteading, Joy: 2017 Word Meditation

On the home-front

I recently had some off time that was lavished on the home-front. Now, I’m just as excited as anyone to take vacations to exciting places, don’t get me wrong. But how often do we truly have energy & time to spend within the walls of the places we call home? With work at the bookstore and other “less professional” jobs keeping me busy outside the home-front, time slips away from me and my home becomes “that place I sleep sometimes.” How sad to pay a mortgage or rent on a space you don’t enjoy or even use for the majority of your waking hours!

The to-do list for home-front related chores is often steep and overwhelming. I picked at a couple nagging ones this week:

Exhibit A: a draft blocker for our housemate’s room, cheerily created from the legs of some jeans I cut off into shorts this year!


Exhibit B: a custom pincushion from a hand-embroidered hankie my Aunt Greer made me, I am so pleased with how this turned out!


Exhibit C: an autumnal wreath to replace the springy one I made earlier this year, cause it’s Fall now! (squee!!!!)


I also “Marie Kondo”ed my dresser drawers, which was fun. Never heard of Marie Kondo? OH MAN, she is the absolute guru of minimalist thinking. I read her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2015 and it only gave me more impetus toward reducing how much stuff I surround myself with on a daily basis. I am nowhere near “done” in this area of my life, but I have enjoyed owning less and redefining the word “necessary”.

Anywho, I also had the great pleasure of hosting a sewing circle in my home yesterday. More details on that to come later, for sure. I’m a beginner sewer (is that a word?), but I have greatly enjoyed taking classes at Treadle Yard Goods here in the Twin Cities. I also benefit in the amazing local support, encouragement & instruction from my friend Amanda who makes her own clothes (among other impressive feats). And as I surround myself with people who are comfortable playing with fabric, I have become less harsh on myself. Instead of getting anxious about messing things up, I’m learning to treat sewing like playtime. If I mess up a project, it’s just part of learning this skill.*

I greatly enjoyed my stay-cation. It was full of my home, among many other things, and I didn’t realize how lucky I am to have such a beautiful space within which to be. It is so lovely to invite others into a space you intentionally design and set apart to welcome others. It’s so lovely to get those proverbial ducks in a row. And to quote Charlotte Lucas in the P&P version most true Austenites shun for its departure from the text, “{Oh Lizzy} it is SUCH a pleasure to run my own home.” Well said, Charlotte. It is a pleasure indeed.






*big breaths everyone and maybe don’t throw the bobbin at the wall when it snags the underside of your project to oblivion…

Posted in Crafty madness!, Culinary adventures, Homesteading

Hard-boiled joy

Easter is upon us: a time to reflect & remember that the God I worship literally died so I’d be free. Yet while all that heart-heavy stuff is marinating, windows are opening, the sun is shining and Spring is upon us. It’s as if the world is asking us to shake off our heaviness and come play a little. “Weeping may last the night but joy comes with the morning.” –Psalm 30:5

And over here at the Brookes’ homestead, we’ve been boiling our own joy: naturally dyed Easter eggs! This tradition dates back thousands of years, and I’ve long wanted to experiment for myself. With some help from Mama (who’s in town for a visit), we boiled eggs and made dye baths. Science is fun!

So, without further ado, here are the results:

Top photo: Dye baths -top row: curry, spinach, red cabbage, beets -bottom row: onion skin, green tea, beets. Bottom left photo: turmeric with string. Bottom right photo: red cabbage with string. Loved this process! Definitely repeating!
My favorite dye bath was the onion skin. Super cool (and really cheap!!!)
Dye bath processing. Next time, I’ll double the vinegar.
This year, we did canned beets and a mix of canned and fresh spinach. Fresh is for SURE the way to go. Now I know for next year. Beets are supposed to dye eggs brilliant pink.
Super appreciate my local Co-op making these great reference sheets available! Definitely will try the red cabbage and onion skins again. Stunning color!
Posted in Crafty madness!

Happy Spring!

Last week, I wandered around the silk florals section of Hobby Lobby and picked up a few stems for a springy project. Usually, I’m not a fan of the artificial floral selection in craft stores. I think it’s hard to get plastic & fabric to look like real flowers, and I’m not a fan of unnatural colors. But if you seek, you will find! And I found some stems that looked so realistic, I was delighted to take them home. A half hour’s work turned a bare grapevine wreath into some spring happiness. And our front door (which had stood empty of the dead Christmas wreath for less than 24 hours…) now looks ready to welcome the season of growth.

Spring on our stoop
Happy Spring!
Posted in Crafty madness!


Last week, my friend Ann and I went to a wreath making class at the Northeast MPLS Mother Earth Gardens. I’m a newbie at floral arranging and crafting with foliage, so this class was AWESOME. At the end, I had sap covered hands that smelled of Christmas trees and a beautiful, tailored-to-my-style wreath. I will absolutely do everything in my power to make this a new Christmas tradition. Playing with branches is fun!!!

One thing I dislike about most options in ready-made wreaths is gaudiness. I like subtle green-on-green & was really pleased with how my concept was executed!


It’s actually quite time consuming to wire in all the posies, and I had 6 different sections! Super worth it as I love how it turned out!


Ann’s choice of pine cones and the huge green leaves looks awesome. So glad we went to this class together!


The wreath in all its glory on our front door. Welcome Christmas every day!