The making of a scoby

We moved into our apartment mid-February. I’ve been telling myself that “when we get settled I’ll…” do whatever…

Four (4) months later and I still haven’t done what I have set out to do. So many plans. So little time. 

Fred and I have been working a steady seven (yes 7) days per week. Trying to make ends meet. We are doing pretty well, but we cannot slow down quite yet.  We need to get a cushion put away for when things slow down, and they will. That is the nature of the business. 

Fred has been out of town this week and today is the very first day that I have taken a day off, meaning, I made NO plans to do anything with, or for, anyone else. I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do today (other than laundry) and I did manage to put together the ingredients to make my own Scoby for a new Kombucha brew.

Being that I do not have a scoby handy and really didn’t want to order one, or beg/borrow/steal one, I conducted some research to see how to grow my own. In about four weeks, we’ll see if I have been successful. 

I found a recipe on the Kitchn web site for how to make a scoby. I followed the instructions and we’ll see where it goes from there. If I am successful, I will take that new scoby and some starter Kombucha a brew my first batch. 

I made a batch of sweet tea, added some raw unfiltered Kombucha that I bought at the store, put a hat on the container (hopefully it will work), and placed it up in the corner of the cupboard that doesn’t get used.

Baby steps, right? Have to start somewhere!

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Time Flies…

when you are having fun AND working hard!

I cannot believe that I have not posted anything in nearly a year. Where has the time gone?

Well, let me tell you.

This last year has been a whorl wind. It flew by so quickly that I cannot believe that I will be graduating in just a few weeks from a program I started in January. Come December 11, 2015, I will have earned my third academic degree… An AAS in Environmental Horticulture from Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

I am already using my education working in a local nursery and as a small business owner. It is awesome!

The learning opprtunities have been fantastic and I have yet to meet anyone that is not genuinely happy to be alive and working in horticulture. I mean who wouldn’t be? You get to work with plant material, work with people who like doing what they do, work with customers who want to be at your business AND I am able to help solve problems and educate clients. It’s perfect!

Oh, and did I mention the hours are awesome too?

The program that I am in is fantastic. Very hands on, which is how I learn best, and I am applying what I am learning constantly. I learn new things everyday. I get to be creative. I get to explore. I don’t have to get dressed up and best of all I am evaluated on my performance. Wow! What a concept! I get to be me, I mean ME…

So, big things are happening… I am including links below to my social networking sites. If you would be so inclined, please “like” my FaceBook page (the link is in the side bar along with some of my latest posts and pictures), check out my Thumbtack and LinkedIn profiles and if you are in the greater Seattle area please spread the word… I’m accepting new clients and thankfully have been keeping busy.

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Michelle (aka Molly)

 

Playing with clay… Week 2

Fred and I continue to work on our projects. Making progress.

We started a business here in Washington that we plan on moving back up to Alaska when we go. Lovebirds Art & Design. That is why our work carries the ©LBAD2015 mark. Thought I would start practicing. 😉

Molly & Fred's Excellent Adventures

Fred and I worked on our projects from the previous week… I need to be better about taking pictures, I don’t have even one of Fred playing with clay.

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I’m slightly disappointed with the class. We have a very good instructor, I am just more of a structured learner and the class we chose is more of a free-for-all.

It is a mixed class. Lots of different levels and experiences and Fred and I are the novices in the class. I keep looking for specific instruction but get a more relaxed approach.

It’s okay, I’ll keep asking questions and learning via reading and practice. I like to know the why’s in addition to the how’s so this is a bit hard for me.

We have some really great classmates though. All pretty experienced and happy to share what they have learned. Two folks brought us books this past weekend. One…

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Playing with clay

Learning new skills …

Molly & Fred's Excellent Adventures

Fred and I are playing with clay.

We thought it would be fun to take a class together so we signed up for a ceramic class and are going to be learning different clay techniques.

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Today was our first day of class and we started with learning about clay and tools and pinching pots.

We had three assignments for today. Three different pot shapes. Flat bowl, rounded bowl, and cylinder bowl. I did okay on the first two… Not so good on my third bowl.

I also have to get over my “perfectionist” tendencies. It bugs me that my bowls were not perfectly symmetrical… Even if they were my first ones. 😜

Fred says “everything’s just ducky – quack, quack, quack, quack” when asked how he liked the class… 🐥🐥🐥🐥

I’m already looking forward to next week.
~ Molly

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Trial and error.. mostly error

I am doing a lot of exploring and experimenting. My plan is to share my successes and failures, so here it goes.

So far I have made homemade facial wipes/cloths, kitchen spray (disinfectant) and shampoo.

Today I was running low on my facial cloths so I decided to try a new recipe.

I have gotten really used to the standard facial cloths now being sold in the stores.  They are very convenient.  Open the package, pull out a wipe, wash your face and BAM you are done! What can be easier than that?! Am I right?

I have never been very fond of wash cloths, I think that they are dirty and gross.  I really dislike washing my face with a cleanser and then trying to rinse my face without ending up with wet sleeves or water running down my arms.

The first recipe I used I didn’t like at all, I immediately threw out the cotton rounds, rinsed out my jar and started over again. The second one I used, I liked but it smelled… well, medicinal, and I broke out for the first time in years..

Facial Cleansing Rounds v.2
Facial Cleansing Rounds v.2

Actually it smelled a lot like the Burt’s Bees product that I tried last year and immediately threw away because it smelled like the all natural bug spray I used while hiking the Chilkoot Trail. The bug spray stunk to high heaven but it worked great.  Since we were stinky anyway we didn’t do anything about it but that is not what I want to smell like everyday, in the presence of others.

Burt's Bees - Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract
Burt’s Bees – Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract

The following recipe I found on The Busy B Homemaker.

The Recipe:
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Castile Soap
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
1 ½ teaspoons Sweet Almond Oil (or other oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon Guar Gum (optional)
10 drops Lavender EO
5 drops Frankinsense EO
5 drops Lemon EO
Directions: Mix all ingredients thoroughly. I used the blender, but a simple bowl and wire whisk will do just fine. If using the guar gum, keep in mind that the longer you blend/mix, the thicker your solution will be. Pour into a container for use. Note: This recipe makes approximately 12 ounces of facial cleanser; however, it needs to sit for a little while so that all of the bubbles release. I poured about half of my solution into an empty foaming hand soap bottle, which I keep in the shower, and saved the other half for the following…..

Copyright © 2014 – The Busy B Homemaker- Read more at: http://www.thebusybhomemaker.com/diy-facial-cleansing-wipes/

Overall I like it. I didn’t use the Guar Gum and I mixed it all by hand. Other than that I followed the recipe.

It smells decent but I need some other folks to try it out.  In all fairness, I am not using it as directed on the site… remember, I don’t like wash cloths. I used the liquid and added it to my jar with my cotton rounds.

I am going to need to make some adjustments.

My baby "medicine" cabinet... growing daily...
My baby “medicine” cabinet… growing daily…

Issues: The liquid is a bit too thick for the cotton rounds and when I used them they created quite a bit of suds requiring me to rinse my face with water.  See the issue there?  Rinsing face with water… Ugh, hate that! And yes, my sleeves were soaked. I like having something that is light enough that I can wipe my face, know it is clean and not have to rinse it.

Initially my face felt good after use but now, a couple of hours later, my face feels dry and tight.

Trial and error: I will try using these for the next few days but if I get too annoyed by the whole rinsing my face with water issue these will most likely end up in the garbage too. :/

Request: I would love to hear what other people are doing. What recipes do you like.

My goal is to find a recipe that is light enough to soak cotton rounds in and be able to use those to cleanse my skin without requiring that I rinse my face after.

I am looking forward to your thoughts.

~ Molly

Putting my money (and my resources) where my mouth is…

I’m doing it… Finally!  Putting my money (resources) where my mouth is.

I have dreamed for many years about starting my own business and selling my wares.

There are so many things I like to do, and for so long I felt that I had to pick just one thing.

I’m here to tell you that I don’t have to pick one thing that I like to do.  I don’t have to focus on ONE type of item to put out there. And neither do you!

Trying out my own home remedies
Trying out my own home remedies – facial cloths (wipes) and shampoo for starters.

My husband and I are planning on moving back to Alaska in the next couple of years. Not just anyplace in Alaska, a small village in SE Alaska. A small and remote village of under 500 people. Accessible by boat or small plane.

Income opportunities are limited, as are access to stores and basic supplies.

Why are we doing this? Why not stay in the comfort of our current location, where we have “everything” (and nothing).

We are moving back to Alaska to Fred’s ancestral home. We are going to revitalize his families clan house – (see related post here).

Our ultimate goal is to become self-sufficient. We are preparing now for that transition and learning everything we can about homesteading and permaculture. Sure, we’ll be able to travel to larger communities for major items, but it’s not as easy as hopping in your car on a whim and going to the local big box store, or even a convenience store.

Our big box store will be our garden, the forest, and the ocean.

My business is named “Every Bit Handcrafted” because I will be using every bit of the resources I have available to me and crafting those into items for sale that we can use as income or for barter.

What really makes all of this possible is the internet. On-line shopping, virtual store fronts, mobile banking. Now is the time.

I’m starting with soaps, lotions and salves. Why? Because that is what I have always been fascinated with. In my quest to become more self-sufficient I am learning how to make things for myself, the bonus is that I know and have total control over what goes into what I am making.

I’ll be starting small… So please let me know if you are interested in what I am offering. My plan is to share my successes and my not so successful experiences. There is always room to learn and grow.

~ Molly