2016 Tea Towel Calendar

2016 Tea Towel Calendar

My 2016 tea towel calendar is now available over in my Etsy shop, and this time it’s all about pie. Six tasty slices of pie all plated up and waiting to tempt your taste buds.

The first order went to New Zealand, and another is headed to California today. I’d love to send one your way.

Cherry Pie Closeup

They’re printed on a heavy, cotton-linen canvas, so these are hard-working, made-to-last towels.

Pie Closeup

And they make truly top-rate holiday gifts. I gift several of these each year.

Garden Journals .

If you decide to pop over to my shop to check out the towels, be sure to check out my garden journals, too. They’re made from recycled Reader’s Digests. I just sent the green one to France!

What We Accomplished in 2013

Before you get wrapped up in your resolutions for next year, set aside some time to reflect on everything that you accomplished this year.

Here’s a look at some of the things that my family accomplished over the last year:

My husband quit his job in February to come work with me. It’s been great to have the extra help and to have him home during the day, and I know he’s enjoyed having time to run our daughters to and from their after-school activities. My hope is that someday they’ll look back and realize how lucky they were to have both parents at home.
What We Accomplished in 2013

After thinking about getting chickens for years, we finally took the plunge and ordered five chicks. My husband turned a curb-shopped dog house into a coop, and we’ve been enjoying our hens and their eggs ever since.

Mason Bee House

With more control over how we spent our time, we built a bat house, a butterfly house and two mason bees houses for the garden. We also took our first ever two-week vacation – a road trip to New England to attend my sisters wedding and the July Brimfield Show. So much fun!

Damaged Window Screen

When things broke around the house, we learned how to fix them ourselves. That included two HVAC repairs, a dryer repair, replacing a bunch of hail-damaged window screens and probably several other fix-it projects that I’ve forgotten about (or blocked from my memory). I’m happy to report that we didn’t have to make a single service call all year.

Homemade Bug Repellent

And when we needed something, we rolled up our sleeves and made it ourselves whenever we could. This year, I made peppermint, orange and lemon extract for the first time, and I developed a recipe for bug repellent bars and homemade hair conditioner.

But best of all, we’re ending another year with a healthy family, all of our needs met and enough room in our budget for the occasional want, too. The fact that we’ve been able to achieve all of that, while working at a job that we love, makes me feel both accomplished and blessed. I hope you feel the same way, when you look back over your year.

Cloth Napkins

Cloth Napkins

A few years ago I decided I was done with paper napkins. Done with buying them, and done with using them. I started picking up cloth napkins at yard sales and thrift stores, and soon had more than enough. Here’s what I’ve discovered since making the switch:

  • Cloth napkins are really cheap and easy to come by on the second-hand market
  • It doesn’t make any real difference in the amount of laundry that we’re doing
  • The kids don’t mind folding them, and if they do it while they’re hot, the napkins come out relatively wrinkle-free (ironing = not my thing)
  • We use less napkins. One cloth napkin takes the place of several paper napkins because they’re bigger and more absorbent
  • Cloth napkins are just nicer. They make everyday meals seem special
  • It gives me the perfect excuse to buy lots of vintage linens :)

Do you use cloth napkins in your home? Have you thought about making the switch? I’d love to hear your thoughts.