How to Make Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and Skyr

yogurt-small-jarsThere’s almost nothing easier than making your own yogurt! With the back to school and back-to-serious season now in swing, you may be tempted to stock up on the Go-gurt style tubes for kids or even some of those new, beautiful little artisan yogurt tubs for you, to appease your healthy-slash-convenient sensibilities.  But nay nay!  Here’s a fun project for your weekend.

You can make your very own super delicious and wholesome regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, and even Icelandic-style Skyr Scandinavian yogurt right at home.  It’s not only less expensive and more holistic, but good for the environment, too, producing far less waste.  Let me walk you through the traditional stovetop method for making your very own homemade yogurt.   Continue reading

A Return to Listening

light under waterTomorrow is the first day of my birth month, and also the day I will embark on 40 days of Listening as I complete my 40th year. When we come into this world, we cannot speak. We can only express our needs through the most primal of means… crying, smiling, nursing, nestling, hugging, sleep. And most of the time – simply listening, watching, learning. As babies, we embody pure self-expression, observation, love, and compassion in one.

We begin to recognize ourselves as individuals so very gradually after our emergence from the One, the Source. In the meantime, we tune in so absolutely to the energy around us, as we still understand ourselves as part of that Source, One with everything around us. We relate to ourselves as part of the whole – and especially that which nurtures us. Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment, Part 2

Gardening Mid SummerA couple months now into our Spring seeding and sprouting, and we are officially in the midst of Summer gardening… and it is OM!  Much of the garden this year was grown from seed and some fruit roots, with a few small berry shrubs thrown in for good measure.  We did see some returning plants from our first year, and things are coming along quite nicely – however, just a little slowly.

Everyone here says it’s been a wet season thus far, though even moving as we did from Texas last year, I find it has been very hot as well.  I will say, 85 degrees with 80% humidity really DOES feel like 105!  Now I understand why the farmers get up so early.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Stars, an Angel Wing and Whitewashed Beadboard

Beadboard Hallway Wall Stars Beadboard After CloseupOne long, dark hallway, yards of knotty pine beadboard with chair rail, plus a few of the most frequently used rooms in the house… and Houston, we have a project!  So what’s a DIY girl to do?  Gather up lots of white paint, an angel wing or two, and bunches of stars… of course!

My everlasting kitchen cabinet painting endeavor changed course and became more intensive since I first started, so I’ve been taking a break by finishing up this space instead, which is basically the super highway of the house.   It was so dark and claustrophobic, I loathed to even run to the powder room, so I knew it had to be brighter and more inviting, especially for guests.  I also wanted to incorporate some whimsy, to give this ol’ gal some flavor and personality in an unexpected way. Continue reading

Soothe Eyes Naturally with Chamomile & Honey

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

And the allergy season is upon us!  Seasonal allergies definitely throw us for a loop around here – and we need a solution to soothe eyes STAT!   Whether irritated from pollen, cedar, or baby bunny fur (a story for another time ;), Mother Nature is here to help.

An easy, homemade natural remedy can be a saving grace to soothe eyes, and often works better than over-the-counter and prescription eye drops…

And believe you me, I have tried them AWwwwLlll, honeychile. Continue reading

Easy Peasy Cranberry Citrus Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp with Cranberries and OrangeThere’s almost nothing I like better than apple crisp.  It’s been a favorite since childhood, which I will happily eat any time of day or night, as a dessert, breakfast, or snack.  Plus – it’s so easy,  even the little chefs of the house can practically make it themselves!

Traditional apple crisp is OMmmazing, though I’m also  a big fan of tangy, so I try to work this flavor profile in wherever I can.

What better twist on an age-old classic than to toss in fresh cranberries, and even a little citrus?  Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

Repurpose an Old Wine Rack <--> Organize the Things

Repurposed Wine Rack Close ViewIn my new era of DIY-ing, I’ve come to realize there are so many things I’ve given away or otherwise replaced in the past that I now know could have simply been repurposed – saving time, money, and energy all around – as well as adding a certain homey charm and truly unique decor to our home.

This cute little wine rack was always a fave, so I never got rid of it, though just haven’t been able to find the right place for it for a few years now.  It’s a lightweight wrought-iron with an inset resin wood-grain top that, a couple rounds ago, I painted white, with a metallic champagne for the inset. Continue reading

Organization on the Run: 1000% Better Under the Kitchen Sink

Organization Kitchen Sink Tension RodIt’s been a busy time here, with projects large and small under way every which way you look, and nary a moment to post about any of them!  Needless to say, I’ll have a lot of catch up in the WOILA! department to come… though in the meantime, thought I’d at least keep the good juju flowing by sharing my latest life-changing, super-easy, why-didn’t-I-do-this-10-years-ago quick and dirty organization revelation. Continue reading