My Dream for the Maker’s Marketplace

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Sometimes I wish I had giant gobs of money. On a normal day I don’t spend much, if any time, dreaming about having large amounts of money, but every once in a while, the desire comes up. For instance a month ago we had to pick up a quick birthday present for a soon to be eight year old girl. We were in the next town over and stopped at a new shopping center to see what they had. After parking and looking all around I decided that Target was our best option. Actually I knew it wasn’t a good option at all, but it was our only option that afternoon. I wanted to get this little girl something crafty and something she could make. Choosing Target to find that object was going to be tough. In fact as we walked closer to the front entrance I realized that I felt a little repulsed by the entire shopping center full of cheaply made goods. This center is filled with cheap (made overseas) home goods stores and fast (environmentally unfriendly) fashion. Things you’ll buy today and grow tired of in a year, if not sooner. Things that ultimately will end up in a landfill. Satisfying our immediate urge to buy, yet ending up cluttering up our homes and making us feel even more empty inside. Its a dismal feeling to look around and see that all of this land was covered by concrete and asphalt, with millions of dollars of resources only to fulfill our consumerist desire to get the buzz of instant gratification shopping.

I’m not against shopping. In the right setting I enjoy it actually. But I don’t enjoy big box shopping at all.

Right then the thought came to me of an entirely new sort of shopping center. And that’s where the need for giant gobs of money came in. I want to build a Maker’s Marketplace. Imagine a shopping center full of stores where you can buy quality ‘ingredients’ to turn into your own creations. I suppose back before industrialization all shopping hubs would look similar to what I’m about to describe. A place where you could buy simple, useful items with the intent to transform them into things you need. They already have these stores scattered around your towns, but I want to bring them all together into one shopping center.

What if we combined a quality fabric store and placed that next to a craft store. Put a fully stocked hobby store next to that. Of course a yarn store. Probably in the middle of the center I’d put a good natural grocery store. On the other side of that a kitchen & cooking supply store. On the far side I’d invite a hardware store to move in with a large lumber yard. I might even make room for an auto parts store. And of course a gardening shop with a plant nursery that extended out far and wide. Across the parking lot I’d have a materials yard were you could pick up a load of gravel, flagstone, compost or whatever you needed that day.

In between these larger stores I’d imagine smaller, independently owned shops such as an herb/apothecary store. A coffee shop or two. A few small quick and healthy restaurants. Even a few boutiques where people have handmade items to sell. Of course a stop off for an ice cream cone. A music store with instruments and lessons. What about a shop selling fermentation items for making wine and beer? An amazingly stocked seed store. A shop that carried high quality gardening tools. A few places for local clothing designers to sell their creations. I wouldn’t be against a quality shoe store, should the right vendor come along.

Scattered amongst all of this would be spaces for classes and workshops. I would encourage each store to host weekly or monthly classes on how to make things. We could host Maker’s Birthday Parties for adults and children. There could be farmers markets hosted in the parking lot once or twice a week. Maybe on Friday evenings we could host all the food trucks in the area with musicians playing for all.

What do you think? What else do we need in our shopping center? Do you like the idea? This, at least, is the type of shopping center I’d love to go spend time and money at. A place where you feel good leaving your money. A shopping experience that would fill us up and get our hands and minds busy creating something new. What if the end result of our shopping trip left us more satisfied and proud of ourselves for taking on a new skill. Wouldn’t it be a good day if we left that shopping center, not only with the happy buzz of a new purchase but that we could come home and satisfy our minds and hands with our innate desire to create something new? We are hard wired to want to use our brains and bodies to make new things, not just to passively buy and come home and mindlessly sit on the couch.

Well anyway, that’s my dream for now. The Makers Marketplace.

(And as for the photos? Well a few weeks ago some friends came over with 50lbs of apples and we had a fun and festive friday night making apple cider. about our press.)

(p.s. If you haven’t already signed up for it, go ahead and sign up for the Ultimate Bundles a FREE mini-course called “The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families”.)

Knitting and Reading August Edition

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Boy, it’s been over a month since I’ve checked in with you regarding knitting and reading and wouldn’t you know, the same project is on the needles! Scott’s sweater is a big project and you’ll be seeing it lots as I hopefully check in with you more often these days. Luckily it’s very enjoyable knitting to do and with a little drama and interest added with the cables, it feels like it’s going pretty fast.

I’ve been reading a lot this summer. Light reads like ‘The Power of Habit‘, ‘The Vacationers‘ and most recently ‘The Big Tiny‘ & ‘You Can Buy Happiness‘. The Big Tiny I found to be a really interesting read. It’s written by Dee Williams who is a pioneer of sorts in the tiny house movement. I really enjoyed her comedic and thoughful take on why her heart health issues changed her outlook on life and why she downsized so radically into living in a teeny tiny life. I highly recommend it. It gets you thinking. And purging. Two things I always welcome in my life.

You Can Buy Happiness is a good read, but since I’ve read a lot of things like this (simplify your life, downsize, get involved with the community, get out of debt etc) I just skimmed it.

In other exciting book news, my ebooklet Simple Handcrafted Body Care has been included in the upcoming Healthy Living Bundle. I bought this collection of ebooks last fall and I was thrilled that I was asked to participate in this years offering! The bundle isn’t for sale yet, but as a pre-sale offer the folks at Ultimate Bundles have put together a FREE mini-course called “The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families”.

The course contains a collection of quick and easy-to-follow lessons from trusted bloggers:

  • Essential Habit #1: “Nurturing your Best Self” (with Heather from Mommypotamus)
  • Essential Habit #2: “Staying Fit as a Family (Gym Membership Not Required)” (with Crystal from Money Saving Mom)
  • Essential Habit #3: “From Scratch Meal-Making” (with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship)
  • Essential Habit #4: “Using Natural Remedies” (with Katie from Wellness Mama)

Each lesson comes with a 25-minute audio lesson, PDF transcript, and a practical “Take Action” guide.

If you want to get your family on the road to real health, it’s simple to get started: sign up for your FREE mini-course now!

Hurry because this mini course is only available until Sunday, September 6th. Don’t miss your chance to access this exclusive content! Grab it now.

I’m certainly signing up because I really could use a kick in the rear this fall. This summer was sort of a hum-drum one, seriously lacking in drive and goals and positive motivation. I could really use some advise to make fall a better season.

How has this summer been going for you?

Knitting and Dyeing

IMG_0019 IMG_0022 Being that it’s the warmer summer months, a lot of knitting has been going on around here. The moment I cast off from my cardigan, I started swatching to knit Scott a sweater. Yes, the first sweater I’ve ever knit for him. When we were first together together I had read in Stitch n’ Bitch that it was the knitting curse that if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, you would inevitably break up. Turns out, I’m a fairly superstitious person because I took that quite seriously. It was only about a year ago that I finally even knit him a hat. But we made it through that, so I knit him a second. Now that we’ve been together for 14 years, I’m ready to brave a sweater. Many other knitters have tried this and still seem to be with their husbands. After our 14 years together, in which we’ve overcome plenty of hardship, if a sweater is going to be the thing that breaks us up, then I don’t know what to say.

All that said, I picked a fairly complicated cabled sweater pattern. In fact it was seeing this pattern come out in Brooklyn Tweed that inspired me to knit him a sweater in the first place. It’s going to take a lot of time to knit this and a fair amount of brain energy to keep these cables straight, so after all of this, if he doesn’t wear this thing, I might just divorce him. Of course I’m completely kidding, it’s been really fun to knit. Not only does it have interesting cable patterns going on it’s full of tiny little details which I love. And I feel that it’s a knitting challenge to make this such a perfectly fitting and comfortable sweater that he’ll love putting it on. And if I achieve such a feat and if he still doesn’t wear it, well then….

In other knitting related news, I’m hooked back into natural dyeing. You remember I challenged myself to make a fair isle sweater out of yarn that I dyed from plants on our property. I sort of dyed myself out with that project. But this spring I’m starting to get hooked again. I watched this video of Sasha Duerr the other day, which is really inspiring. I have her book and Rebecca Burgess’ book as well. Both are really good books if you want to learn more yourself. Anyway, I watched her video in the middle of a sort of ‘down and out’ kind of day and I walked straight out into the garden and picked a large jar worth of marigolds, filled it with water and let it sit in the sun.


I was hoping that just sitting in the sun would be enough to extract the color, but it wasn’t, so I brought it in the house and poured it all into a pot and let it simmer on low for almost and hour. At the same time I simmered the yarn in alum, which is a mordant that helps the wool absorb and keep the color of the dye.

Now I’m not a scientific person by any means, so I can’t tell you the calculated weight of the marigolds nor did I set timers on any of this. I go about all of this in a very intuitive manner. So after simmering a jar full of marigolds for about an hour and then letting that sit for maybe another hour or two until I felt like all the color was extracted from the flowers, I strained it and added the yarn and turned the heat slowly back up to just below a simmer. I did that for about an hour then turned it all off, went to bed and woke up to this beautiful mustard yellow yarn.


It was so magical, I’m already planning on my next venture, which should be the niger hollyhocks. I think I’ve almost collected enough to give it a go. I just wanted to add, that natural dyeing isn’t hard. You don’t need complicated materials. If you are interested in trying this out, you can totally do it. All you need is 100% white wool or silk and alum, which can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. Believe me, if you are having a hum drum day, and have access to any flowering marigold plants, which are abundant this time of year, you too can try this.

Try it and tell me how it goes, alright?



Knitting & Gardening

Typically, on weeks that I join up with Ginny’s yarn along and Nicole’s Keep Calm, Craft On, I write about knitting and reading. But it’s hard with the children at home to find enough time to read so I hope you don’t mind that I pair knitting with gardening this week. These pictures seems so…

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How to Support Your Tomato Plants

Today I asked my husband, Scott, to give us a little write up on how he’s learned to support our tomatoes. After 14+ summers of tomato gardening together, we’ve gotten it down to a fine science. Since tomato support is his task, I asked him to give us the low down on how to do…

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In the Garden

I cut this hydrangea back hard over a year ago. Really hard, because it was somewhat overgrown and never bloomed very well. This receives laundry grey water as it’s only source of water and this year it’s blooming brilliantly! We’ve made a couple changes to how we garden due to the drought, one of which…

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Garlic, Onions and Artichokes

We pulled our garlic two weeks ago. We wish we had saved the name of this garlic because, oh my! It’s beautiful and it’s huge. We’d love to grow this every year. We need to bring some back to our nursery and ask them what varieties they carried last fall to see if we can…

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The Bounty of May

The garden is slaying me with beauty this year. The end of this month marks four years in this house and it’s our first growing season feeling like we’re…well not quite ‘on top of it’. Nor do we have the beast tamed. But we’re the least overwhelmed of the previous years. And I think that’s…

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Knitting & Reading & Unknitting

You won’t believe what happened to me last week. We’ve been planning our school fundraiser. We haven’t had a big party like fundraiser in a few years and since it’s the school’s 20th anniversary, we’re even going so far as to call this a ‘gala’. All of us who got suckered onto the planning committee…

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