Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Project: Buy Local Flyer

I intend to be going to Pansies this weekend to discuss Project: Buy Local.  I'm bringing Andy because I have some severe social anxiety just thinking about it.  I don't know what to say or where to start really.  Andy will be my rock to initially break the ice and open lines for communication.

All of the input and feedback you guys gave me was INCREDIBLE.  It really helped me think about things I didn't think of on my own.  I have laid out a course of actions (I sound so businessy here) to take.  First things first, I will be discussing the details with Pansies and hoping they will take this project with open arms.  I will also discuss possible specials and offers they could do for that day.  If all goes as planned with Pansies, I will than be contacting the local newspaper in hopes that they will want to do a story on this and get the word out to more people than I ever could on my own.  Next, I will be ordering postcards/flyers to distribute.  I don't want to spend a fortune on this, so I will be getting my exercise on and delivering a couple hundred postcards by hand (Most of you probably think I'm crazy, but oh well).  I know the whole city won't get the flyer, but I'm hoping with the help of family and friends the postcards will be spread out pretty far.  Oh also, I have changed the date to Saturday, May 12th to coordinate with Mothers Day Weekend.

Some input I received was about redesigning the flyer.  I have been working on it tonight.  I wanted to design something totally different that can correlate with this blog and I will provide the link on the back of the flyer.  On the back of the flyer I will also go into detail about what Project: Buy Local is, who I am, what my goal is and also why I picked Pansies and why they are so deserving of this.  So far this is what I have come up with on the front.  I worry there is too much writing that the details will get lost, but I'm hoping you all will have some feedback for me.  I want to get the flyer done soon because if I order it online it will take a couple weeks for it to get printed and mailed to me.

Sooooo...  what do you guys think?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Garden Dreams

Garden dreams in middle of a snowstorm.  Well, the weather station says "snowstorm" but we are really only supposed to get 1-3" of snow with some rain which really isn't a snowstorm in my book.  So while the rest of the community freaks out over how much snow we will get, I will take pleasure in day dreaming about my garden... again.

Last year we only had 2 raised bed and did next to zero planning which luckily turned into a successful year,  but this year we decided to do square foot gardening in addition to building 5 more beds.  In preperation for this change I wanted to do some serious planning on what we would specifically grow this year.  So I grabbed my graph paper, ruler, pen and crayons (Finley's of course) and went to work.

A blank canvas.

A slight embarrassment, but American Idol on in the background.

Drawing up the raised beds

The completed detailed plans

Up close of what two of our beds will include
 I spent my entire evening working on this.  Seems silly to some, but I know this visual will be BIG help for when we start planting things and start seeds here in a couple weeks. 

According to these plans this is what we will be growing this year:
  • 44 Tomato Plants
  • 28 Pepper Plants
  • 24 Broccoli Plants
  • 16 Cabbage Plants
  • 192 Onions
  • 32 Green Onions
  • 4 Cucumber Plants
  • 16 Celery Plants
  • 28 Lettuce Plants
  • 336 Carrots
  • An entire 4x8 bed devoted to Zucchini
  • 16 Potato Plants
  • 32 Sugar Pea Plants
  • 32 Snap Bean Plants
  • 2 Blueberry Bushes
  • Raspberry Bush
  • Garlic
Things that we plan on doing that do not incorporate raised bed will be growing sweet corn, more tomato plants, swiss chard, rhubarb, strawberries, many herbs, and 2 apple trees.

Think that we can handle all that?  Now that I see the numbers here, I'm freaking out a bit.  Whew...breath, Lindsay.  I can do it, I can do it, I can do it! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project: Buy Local

I'm currently working on a personal project that my husband inspired me to do and I'm sure he will be helping me out big time once the date gets nearer.  I wanted to share with you what I have been doing on it so far.  And if you have any feedback, I want to hear it! 

The city I live in, Neenah, is a tight knit community and I think most of the citizens strive to make Neenah the best it can be.  But sometimes people need a little push to do something they've been wanting to do for some time, but never find themselves doing it.  That "thing" is buying locally.  I understand that it is so easy to just go to the big box stores to get the things you need-  prices are cheaper, they are close by and they probably have everything you need, but these big box stores have major faults.  They put so much strain on the small mom & pop shops that are scattered around the city that many are forced to close their doors.  What people don't understand is that if you SPEND locally, the money STAYS local.  Isn't that something we all should strive for?  I don't want to lecture, but I think it is important to support our community by shopping local even if that means spending a couple extra bucks. 

The local mom & pop shop I have selected is Pansies Garden Centre.  I have always lived near this shop and now I have the pleasure of living across the street from it.  It is a lovely store that has made it able for me to simply walk across the street and buy any garden thing I need (blueberry bushes, garden pots, dirt) and I believe that they deserve the communities support.  And this is what I plan to do:

I have (with my amateur graphic designing skills) created this flyer that I hope to put in hundreds of mailboxes as well as hang up at local businesses and just simply strewn it across the city to reach as many people as I can.  I'm hoping it will inspire the city to go to this lovely shop on Saturday, April 28th and spend at least $20.

Now my questions to you are:

1.  Do you think I should contact the owner of the store and let them know about the project? Or should it just be a surprise?

2.  How does the flyer look?  Should I include some facts or history about the store? Also, should I state on the flyer that it is not Pansies who is doing this project, but simply an individual?

3.  What do you think  in general about the whole idea?  Think it will work??

If all goes well, I might just make this a yearly thing involving a different store each year.  Soooooo, your input would be greatly appreciated! :)  Thanks!

Here is the Link to the source of inspiration.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Heading to the Library

 Another post about the library??? Yup!  Why not?

So, the Neenah Public Library is hosting a series that is really cool.  And if you live in Neenah or are within 15-20 minutes from Neenah, YOU NEED TO GO!  Heck, I'll even give you a ride and bake you cookies if you go... any takers?

It's called the Suburban Homesteading Series and during spring the library will be hosting numerous events on various homesteading subjects.  The first event is tomorrow night (Monday, February 20th) and the subject is Moving Towards Sustainability: Understanding the Basics.  I'm super excited about what I can learn.  I am clearly not an expert and any learning opportunity is a HUGE bonus for me. 

This series couldn't come at a better time.  My brain has been overtaken by gardening and homesteading.  Perhaps it is the shining sun or lack of snow, but I have spent my entire weekend daydreaming about veggies and dirt.  Like today, I just spent the whole day planning in the calender the dates to start seeds, transplant and plant all of our vegetables we plan on having this year.  I even coordinated all the dates to go in line with the zodiac dates via the Farmers Almanac.  I'm feeling really good about how our garden is going to do this year.

Speaking of seed the very near future I'll be posting about our makeshift seed starting station.  Andy was working on it yesterday and I think it looks awesome!  I may be biased, but anything he builds or puts together is pretty kick ass.  Warning though, I failed to get pictures of him hard at work putting it all together. :(

Now, back to the library... just go.  Period.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frugal Crafting

I have a few projects on my to do list from my Pinterest post; however, I haven't been able to start on those projects because I want to find all the supplies at thrift stores and avoid buying anything new.  This has proven to be quite challenging.  I want to find a foam wreath for that yarn wreath and seriously, they are no where to be found!  Soon though, I'm determined.

In the mean time I was at the thrift store earlier this week and I found some things for a DIY project I have seen on pinterest but never actually pinned it to my board.

Fabric Wall Hangings

 I envisioned this for Finley's room, so when I saw the cross stitch rings at the thrift store for $0.25 a piece, I snagged them up and knew it was fate that I had to do this project.

What you need:  Scrap fabric, and cross stitch rings- any amount, any size

I already had the fabric at home- so this was no additional cost to me.
I bought 2- 8", 2- 10" and 1-12" rings
The process is crazy easy, I think this whole project took 20 minutes out of my day.  This is great when you have a toddler constantly trying to steal the scissors and chase the dog with them (ahhhh!)

Place the scrap fabric over the inner ring

Put the outer ring over the fabric and pull the fabric as tight as you can

Cut excess fabric in the back

I quickly hung them up in Finley's room and I just love them.  And the great thing is that I can change out the fabric anytime I want.

Total cost of this frugal craft- $1.25!  Can you believe it?

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Obsession

I have a new obsession!  So much so I just spent the last hour and half devoted to it (with the Bachelor on in the background, of course).  What's my new obsession, you ask?

Pinterest.  Need I say more??

Not a huge shocker to you, I'm sure, as it seems Pinterest has put the entire female population in a trance, but this site seriously rocks.  I only wish I would have known about this for previous events, oh I don't know... such as my WEDDING! 

I have about 8 "boards" thus far, but I've noticed that 2 boards are just overflowing in pure gold:  My creative DIY board and my Gardening board.  Ahhhh, the ideas and pretty pictures that decorate my computer screen giving me hopes and dreams for the future.  I honestly just hope I have enough time to do even half of the things I've "pinned".

I wanted to just share a few things that I will be doing in the very near future (with blog posts included):

Yarn Wreath

"I love you because..."  Frame

And last but not least... to support those rough days/nights with a toddler and my love for wine:

Rustic Rake Wine Rack

Are you obsessed with Pinterest too?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DIY Garden Journal

Lately I've been wanting a garden journal, but I've been too cheap/frugal to pay the big bucks at the store for one.  I know I could just grab an empty notebook and call it that, but that would just be too easy and boring for me!  As most of you know, I am all about the Do It Yourself projects, so I took it upon myself to build my own 5 year garden journal with little expense. 

To start off I went down the street to the local thrift store to find supplies.  I was in luck because they had pretty much everything I needed.  It's strange to find exactly what you need at the very first thrift store you go to, so I was beyond ecstatic!  This is what I found:

1.  An old (probably 1980s) 3-ring binder- $0.50
     ***Included in the binder were 5 dividers with pockets in them***
2.  2 folders- $0.50
3.  Paper- $0.50
4.  A ruler- $0.50

Unfortunately the thrift store did not have graph paper for garden planning, so I went to Shopko and bought a pad.  The price literally made me queasy after the deals I just got on all the other supplies.

5. Graph Paper- $4.50

Total Cost:  $6.50  (Pretty inexpensive, right??)

Putting together your 5 year Garden Journal:

The Supplies
I simply just layered it all.  I put a divider in first and titled it oh so creatively "2012".  I than put in a section of the paper for my garden notes.  Continue that for the next four dividers.  At the end I added the two folders which I will be using for magazine articles I want to keep or even canning recipes, etc...  At the very end I added the planning/graph pad where I can just tear out a sheet, plan my garden and add it to the appropriate year. The dividers with the pockets work out perfect because I can store all my seed packets so I know exactly what I grew that year.  It's pretty easy and simple.

All put together
In other news:  Finley has been battling a fever all weekend long.  It's been pretty miserable for all of us here.  The only plus side to this misery is watching Finley prance around in just a diaper and snow boots(?).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hooray For Me!

Last month Andy and I went to our first monthly meeting of the Sustainable Neenah Committee.  It's a great committee that discusses actions the city of Neenah needs to take in order to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly community.  Needless to say I was hooked once I heard all the great ideas they were hoping to do for this year, not to mention all the great things they have already done.  I went outside of my comfort zone and typical socially anxious self and immediately applied to join the committee.

Well, tonight I found out that I will soon be appointed a member of the Sustainable Neenah Committee.  Hooray for me!!

I was worried they would say I have no significant impact for the committee and I would go home with sadness written all over my face.  But perhaps they see the potential that I see.  I'm excited to join the forces and help make my community a better place.  I'm hoping my learning experiences in this homesteading journey will help in my role as a committee member and vice-versa.

I have so many ideas running through my head and just pure excitement that I'm sure it will be difficult to sleep tonight.  For once in my life I actually feel like I can have a significant impact on something... and that is just something I can't avoid to celebrate (too bad it's too late for some chocolate)!

Hooray for me!

Check out the Sustainable Neenah website here!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Starting a Homestead

Ever wonder what the first step is to starting a homestead? 

For me, the first step is a visit to the library!  Research, people, research.

Pretty much every Friday, my lovely mother will watch Finley for a few hours so I can go to my dad's shop (he owns an auto shop) and do some paper work for him.  Well this past Friday, I dropped Finley off and took the route to the shop as I always do.  As I past my towns library I thought to myself how nice it would be to actually go to the "grown up" section that didn't involve chasing a 2 year old as she pulls all the books off the shelf and then being embarrassed while everyone is looking at me sweating profusely as I try to tame a screaming child.  Then I realized, I was toddler free!  I quickly dodged into the parking lot.

I went straight to the gardening section since I am pretty much obsessed with planning my garden right now and I found some really great books.  I was in heaven!  Child free with 15 minutes of peace to run my fingers across the books on the shelves and sit on the floor and flip through the pages, are you serious?!

This is the lot I came home with:

I have spent the day perusing each and every book, and I'm so excited.  So far my favorites of this group of books are: 
Talking Dirt by Annie Spiegelman- This book seems to be a woman to woman guide to organic gardening.
All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew-  This one is great!  It has great pictures and tons of inexpensive diy projects for raised beds... right up my alley.
Growing a Garden City by Jeremy N. Smith-  This book I could barely put down, it's about a town in Montana that the whole community pretty much participates on various farms to provide food for the needy while at the same time teaching others the importance of gardening and sustainability.
Mini Farming by Brett L. Markham-  This book is about farming on a 1/4 acre.  I don't have a quarter acre, but this book provides hope for those who wish to farm on a small amount of land.  It talks about everything from vegetables & fruit trees to raising chickens.

I truly believe that research should be the first step to starting a garden, let alone a homestead.  And these books will be a tremendous help in regards to when to plant, how to care, and even what to plant.  My goal is to have my entire front yard and back yard producing yummy organic food of some sort.  This dream won't happen this year or even the next- I have to start with baby steps.  Clearly my first baby step is 15 minutes of bliss at the library :)  This homestead is off to a good start already!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Breaking the Ice

I haven't done a post in 3 months!  It started out as a week, then two weeks and as time kept passing by, the harder it was to post something just out of pure awkwardness.  I abandoned my blog, I felt guilty, I got over it and now I'm back!

Like the new design?  I felt like a fresh start would be nice and I wanted to better name my blog to gear it towards what most of my posts will be about.  Of course, there will be the typical posts about my family and those random rants or whining posts, but most of them will be about the craziness my family has taken on with homesteading.

But..... to break the ice I thought I would do a tag for my first post.  I got this from fellow blogger Sarah at Sweet and Savory by Sarah, I went to high school with her and she's pretty awesome- Check her out!

Eleven things about me:

1.  There is a 13 ½ year age difference between my husband and I.  Most would never know unless they try to figure out how I have a 16 year old step son!  4 years of marriage and I’m hoping for 40+ more.

2.  I feel guilty to say I am vegan because there is a 99% chance I will break down and eat dairy at some point during the week.  Last night it was a mini musketeers. 

3.  I used to be a flight attendant and totally rocked it until I met a boy, moved out of state, and got married (I don't regret leaving for one minute).  My uniform hangs in my closet still to this day.

4.  Prior to a year ago, I never gardened a day in my life.  Besides a brief garden 10 years ago that I claimed was mine, but really had my father do all the hard work.

5.  I am a stay at home mother (which I love) but I also have my bachelors degree in Business Administration.  My degree certificate collects dust amongst a pile of old vinyls in my bedroom.

6.  I hate Brussels sprouts even though I have never tried them.

7.  I have two weird habits: I say “ouch” to things that don’t necessarily hurt.  Say I’m writing with a pencil and the lead breaks… I say “ouch” even though it didn’t hurt me in any shape or form.  Also, I have a fear of calling people.  I can barely call to order Chinese food without having a near panic attack.

8.  I own a 1985 VW Vanagon and I treat it like it’s my baby.  I told my husband that for our 10 year anniversary I want to get an older VW Camper.  I know this will happen, because I will make it happen.

9.  Besides our very affordable home and my very non-affordable school loan,  my husband and I are debt free.

10.  I am addicted to Disney World.  I don’t know how many times I have been there (dozen+?), but I am already counting down the years until Finley is old enough to go without a stroller.  Last time I was there was in 2009, but I was 8 months pregnant and couldn’t go on any of the cool rides.  The food was phenomenal though!

11.  I am a very indecisive person.  Examples:  I changed colleges 4 times, changed my major 4 times, and when it is my turn to pick a movie for movie night, I have to dwindle my choices to 3 and then make my husband choose. 

Okay- Ice has been broken!  Lets just hope I don't go three  months again with out another post ;)