42 Things

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Tag Archives: do it yourself

Satisfying? yes. Picturesque? no.

Many of the things I’ve learned over the years had a romantic haze of Ingalls/Wilder fog obscuring the reality of the thing.   I read and dreamed about a pioneer life and thinking how wonderful it would have been to live on this continent when things were untainted and undeveloped.   Each time I learn a new thing I realize that it was a pile of non-stop hard work (which I knew in theory) the resources of energy and the drive of need just aren’t there to sustain.  I think we have devolved from these strong minded women who did what needed to be done with no other options to ones who run to the store for a frozen pizza when we just don’t feel like cooking.   I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s a far cry from our pioneer and immigrated ancestors.

Where did all our strength go?  Is it mostly in our thought process?  Our plethora of inundating paralyzing yet useless information and news?  Too many issues and not enough real life?

Anyway, this post started because I’m rendering pig fat into lard.   While most of you might think “YUCK”  I had a rosy wholesome glow in my mind about it.   It hasn’t been hard work, but it’s not been a “have to” it’s only been a “want to”.  I’m thinking about the women who HAD to to this in order to have soap to wash their family and their clothes, house, dishes.  They didn’t have the luxury of running to the store for detergents and/or even handmade artisan goats milk soaps that smell so lovely.   They had a pig, fed it the slops, and used every part of it in the fall when they butchered it.   They didn’t even buy feed.   Sometimes they would just let it go in the woods and eventually find it in the fall.  But if they couldn’t find it, they were out their lard for soap, and much of their fat for cooking.

With the lack of fridges, freezers and trucks making daily trips from Mexico and California, the fat was a very, very important and necessary source of calories, vitamins and minerals.   There’s a passage in Farley Mowat’s  “People of the Deer” where one of the guys is so sick from eating so much lean meat (ie. NO FAT as there was nothing for the elk and rabbits to eat except twigs) and no veg that the only thing that helps him is to drink a pound of melted butter or lard ( I can’t rightly remember).  The settlers had to have that fat to survive.  We have no such feeling of need.   Well, I don’t anyway.  My need is mitigated by the ease of running to the store.

While I love all of this pioneer, make-it-from-scratch, do-it-yourself stuff, sometimes it’s just not pretty and romantic (okay, 90 % of the time it’s really not romantic and pretty).  I’m driven to learn it though, so I keep trying.

so, here’s a pot of rendering pig fat… nice hey?



DIY Garden or Craft String Dispenser

If you are like me, you hate it when your twine or string jumps off it’s nice clean surface and finds the dirtiest corner to roll in when you are unraveling it in long lengths.  Or in the garden when you are tying up your vines it seems to always find the mud puddle to roll in.

So today I’m going to show you how I make my string dispensers that I can not dispense with or without *groan*

You will need:

A skein or ball of string or twine

A jar that your string fits into easily with a two part canning lid

mod podge or even white glue will work (not tacky glue)

a foam brush

a crop a dile big bite or other clean hole punching device (no burrs allowed)

a bit of fabric you love, a thin tip sharpie or other marker

a pair of fabric scissors

First trace the size of your canning lid insert onto the wrong side of your cloth and cut it out:

Generously coat your canning lid insert with your glue of choice:

And then place your circle of fabric over the canning lid insert and press it down with your gluey foam brush to get it all gluey and stuck.

The edges might be a bit of a challenge to get completely stuck down but, not to worry too much as the edges will be hidden by your canning jar ring in the end anyway.

let it dry for at least 30 minutes, and then punch your hole(s) in the fabric covered canning jar lid.  The key here is to not make your hole too much bigger than the string or it will always fall back down into the jar making it annoying to retrieve it every time.  For bakers twine I use a 1/8″ hole and for jute I use a 3/16″ hole.

String your thread through from the bottom of the canning jar insert

insert your string into the jar, place the insert on and tighten the ring… VOILA!

now you can get really creative!  use all kinds of different jar sizes and amounts of different string.  in one I have 4 different colors of twine wrapped around clothespins and 4 holes on the top … looks adorable, uses up the canning jar lid inserts you can’t reuse and is fun to make.

Thanks for reading!

If you would prefer to purchase instead of buying all the materials please contact me through either of my etsy shops noJOisaverage or 42things or through my Facebook Fanpage.