Wednesday, 31 July 2013

DIY eco-friendly packaging

 I needed some packaging for the next "craft" show I am doing.  This one is kind of a pioneer fair/old-fashioned mercantile kind of show.  The hostess has asked that we do not have any plastic packaging materials...which suits me just fine.  It's an eco-friendly show, so what better material to use than my huge pile of cereal boxes?
To get the biggest packages possible, I cut right along the seams of the cereal boxes.  If you need tiny packages, you could use cracker boxes.
 Mark a "tab" at 5/8" from one edge.  Measure the rest of the rectangle and mark it lightly with a pencil along the halfway line.  This line will be visible on the outside of the box if it is too dark.
 Use a compass, a plate, a lid...anything round to mark an arch across each of the four sections.  Note: a small plate will give you a deep (height), narrow box.  A big plate will give you a box shorter in height, but it will be wider across.
 Cut along the arches, and taper off your "tab".
 Use the same "circle" to trace 4 arches that are mirror images to the outside of the box.
 Using a straight edge and scissors, or a knife, or a sharp tool, score the middle line of the box as well as the "tab" line.  You will also need to lightly score the 4 interior arches.  Note:  You need to score the OUTSIDE of the box.
 Fold the box.  Spread a bit of glue on the tab (I found hot glue did not work for favourite for this project is actually carpenter's glue, but white glue works).
Apply pressure to the glue - use clothes pins, alligator clips, paper clips...whatever works for you - and let it dry completely.
 Tuck in the flaps one by one by pinching along the score line.
You can glue one end shut as well if you choose, but mine need to flat-pack, so I am not gluing them.  The ribbon will hold everything nice and snug.  For my show, I am leaving them pretty plain, but I might whip up several of these for tiny gift boxes that can be embellished with yarn, ribbons, pompoms, etc.
I also wanted to make sure I could add a handle to these for people who are walking around the show, viewing other booths, eating, petting alpacas...whatever.  Rearranging the ribbon and tying it in a snug know actually makes a really sturdy handle.  I am also adding a sticker which matches my sign to help people remember me....yep, even though they will likely recycle the package the minute they get home...cuz that's how I roll.  So there you have it, pillow box packaging made from upcycled cereal boxes for an eco-friendly show.

Linking up with:  Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole because what better way is there to save money and resources than to make it yourself, upcycled from what you have on hand?
                          Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

This is where I live

About a five minute drive from my house, we have the opportunity to enjoy this:
 We could bike there for crying out loud (well, maybe next year when N doesn't give me a heart attack in traffic...they have graduated to "adult" bikes and can no longer ride on the sidewalk according to bylaws).
 We are learning to take advantage of what our city has to offer.
I am learning to loosen up and take time to just enjoy life.  
All those unfinished jobs will still be waiting for me when the weather is not quite so nice, right?
Totally unrelated:  the last hurrah for some of the garden produce.  Much of the garden has been a disappointment this year, but the rhubarb...oh, we have had a bumper crop of rhubarb and there is much of it in the freezer to enjoy this winter.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Homemade Frozen Treats For Summer

It's berry season.  What better way to use up an abundance of berries than some simple homemade frozen treats to get you through the heat wave?  On the left, currant sorbet.  On the right, frozen gooseberry yogurt.

First up:  Sorbet.  We had an abundance of red currants, so that's what we used this time around.

Bring to a boil: 4 pounds of red currants (stems removed) with 3 cups of water in a large pot until the skins crack, mashing if necessary.  Reduce heat to medium and continue at a low boil until most of the colour is gone from the berries and the juice is dark red.
Pass the berries through a food mill or sieve.  Discard the seeds and skins.
Add honey to taste.  We added 1/2 cup of honey to this batch because the boys like it super tart.  For myself, I would add about a cup.  Yields about 9 cups.
Pour into freezer safe containers.  Cool, then freeze for at least 6 hours.

Gooseberry Frozen yogurt.

Bring to a boil: 2 pints gooseberries (stems removed) with 4 tbsp water.  Mash them, and boil for about 5 minutes longer, or until they are starting to thicken up.  
Excuse the nasty picture, but it sure is difficult to capture the consistency on camera.
Pass the berries through a food mill or sieve.  Add 4 tbsp cane sugar and stir until dissolved.  Stir in 2 cups of vanilla yogurt.  Pour into small mason jars.

 Add the lid after they have frozen.  Enjoy!

In the next week and a half, my oldest has to have 5 teeth pulled AND get braces.  Hopefully these frozen goodies will go a long way to helping with the comfort level.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Back from Holidays

We have returned from our "long awaited" holidays and are back into our regular routine as of this morning.

Hard to come back when the view from your campsite looks like this:

 Can't wait to go back!