The first project for the tree decorations this year are pine and spruce cone “ornaments”. I feel these are appropriate because they are part of a tree (obviously) and they bring the outdoors inside without make much of a mess. They are already dry, don’t fall apart and can be used year after year.
All you need are pine and/or spruce cones, (the ones I have here are Norway spruce), and some thread or if you want to use something fancier, you can use ribbon or glittery gift tying ribbon. I am using sewing thread because it is not too noticeable when hanging on the tree, and also because I will not be spending anything on this project and I don’t have any ribbon I can use.
All you do is tie a piece of thread or ribbon around one of the cone “branches” near the top. Try to make it balanced by placing the thread closer to the centre of the cone. Tie the end into a loop and hang on the tree.
The other ornaments are crocheted snowflakes that my mom made about 30 years ago. They were hidden away in an attic in a relative’s home and we finally found them. They are a little yellowed but look great on the tree.
This is truly an homestead craft project as it costs nothing to make, if you get your cones from your own trees or some that you find.
I decided to make our own Christmas tree so that we have a unique looking tree as well as be able to celebrate the beauty of nature in our home all year round. Yes, green trees are beautiful too, but this one lasts for years and is also super earth friendly.
It also cost nothing to make.
I found the branch on our 2 acre property which was deadfall from an old wild plum tree. Ernie made the stand out of scrap wood, 1X2’s and 3/4 inch plywood. You don’t have to be a woodworker to make this base or one like it. He used Philips head screws to attach the wood braces to the tree and the base. The important part is that the wood is quite light so it doesn’t need much in the way of strength for braces. Obviously, a live tree will be much heavier in weight and will also not last more than one season.
This was our main reason for choosing this type of tree – it is totally eco-friendly.
I covered the base with fabric that we already had. You could use anything that goes with your decor and I’ll bet you already have something in your house for this. Be creative.
This tree could even be made with a small branches from any tree that has fallen onto the ground. You can likely find branches like this anywhere, even in the city.
In fact I think a tiny tree made in this way could look extra cool for an apartment.
We keep our tree in the house year round and leave small lights on it for fun.
So I had a bit of a break from the blogging and now I’m back. This fall and all the work we did made us unbelievably busy, and I slacked off on enjoyable things, like this blog.
There will be one small change here. This blog is dedicated to urban homesteading and now also reusing junk to make things you need, something I call “junk crafting”. Basically, it will mostly the same stuff only more intensive on the crafting part. But don’t worry, we are still homesteaders.
We are going to be putting a lot more effort into our YouTube channel as well. Those of you who need or want to work from home will understand that things like this could be one of the ways to make extra money. If you are working at home and able to do something you enjoy to make money, so much the better.
One of the things we did this summer that took up so much time was fencing in our entire 2 acre property for the dogs. We did reuse about half of the fencing that we found or had used somewhere else and took down. The rest had to be new purchases. The fence posts were mostly reused and found. You can see the fence on the right in the picture. Not only will this fence keep the dogs in but it keeps other animals and stray vehicles out! Happy Homesteading!
We really enjoy making our own stuff. This is especially true when it comes to the garden. It is so simple to go out and buy what you need – which usually promptly breaks because of the poor quality found in most things made nowadays.
This spring we made a hot house for our peppers which has really turned out to be amazing. I also included pictures of a hand trowel that Ernie found lying around here and fixed with a nail because not surprisingly it broke after a small amount of use. As well, we use an old barrel to destroy personal papers – the lid is from an old fridge, and the milk jugs are used to protect plants in the spring from frost, all piled up on a metal pole found at the garbage dump.
In other words, buying new isn’t all what its seems. Making your own stuff is creative and stimulates the mind, and it is easier on the earth.
A few weeks ago the dryer quit working properly. It would still tumble but not heat. So we bought a new one and the old one got put out to wait to be picked apart. On a nice day Ernie (and the dogs) worked on salvaging some parts. The part that he figured was broken was way in the interior and the whole thing would have to be taken apart to get at it. That is why we opted for a new one instead of fixing this one. We normally don’t do that but did this one time. Ernie suggested we use the tub for a bonfire barrel which I think we will because we have been looking for one for awhile.
My husband likes to shop at the dump – I’m sure most of us have at one time or another. Not long ago, he found two heaters like this one in the metal pile. The only thing that is wrong with them is that the plastic dials are broken off. You can see the dial sitting on top of the heater.
They work fine and are not starting fires. This one is in our dog room. It is likely that a local contractor decided they weren’t worth fixing and that he couldn’t use them so he dumped them. Thank you.
So much stuff goes in the garbage. Sure there is some stuff that is actually unusable, but the majority of items are reusable or recyclable. I’m sure most people have a story of something they have saved from another person’s garbage, from the garbage dump or from a family member.
To make a point, I am really interested in vintage decor. We have two vintage clocks. The first one was in this house when I moved in. It was my mother-in-law’s and was an electric clock with a cord and was not being used. We took the cord out and put in a battery mechanism. Sorry about the dust – it is in the dog room.
The second clock is even more spectacular. We found it at a flea market for 50 cents. The mechanism in it was original but didn’t work, so again we changed it and now have the most gorgeous clock.
Both clocks are made of plastic and both are made in the USA.
We don’t have a bed frame. Our bed sits on the floor and has for almost 8 years. A few weeks ago my hubby’s sister got rid of her waterbed and didn’t want the wood frame. We took took it and now it will be made into our new bed frame after it has been dissected and put back together. Nothing like a beautiful free hardwood bed frame even if you do have to put in sweat equity.
We have a small house because it is:
1. less to clean
2. an interesting older building (almost 100 years old) that has been renovated
3. saves us money because we own the house
4. reduces waste because we aren’t tearing it down to build a new one
Our decor is rustic/vintage. I will be discussing this in the next several blog posts.
The most important point here for homesteaders is that they use what they have. We didn’t tear down what we have to build something new to make it was more stylish or more impressive.
For example, we will start with the business. I groom, train and board dogs for a living. Most people who do this build new and make it as fancy as they can, usually a modern look. I decided to make the grooming and boarding area in a small section of the garage which is also the workshop. The whole garage is about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long. Because of the small size we have to make use of every but of space in a way that maximizes the storage capacity.
This is the boarding room or “dog room” as we call it. It is certainly not new, but it really works and instead in of tearing the whole thing down and re-building we are simply making changes with what we have. Everything that is in this room is made with recycled materials with the exception of the wood that goes up the wall.
The cupboards above the kennel were taken from a house I used to own and found a use here. The owner of that house actually MADE those cupboards himself out of plywood several decades ago.
You can see the large green fan on top of the kennels. This is an old fan but works perfectly and you can’t buy fans that are this sturdy that are made in North America anymore.
The sliding glass door that you can see on the far right was also salvaged from a relatives home as it was being thrown out. Works perfectly.
Sure the cement floor has a few divots in it but that is only cosmetic. It does not need to be replaced.
The only thing in this room that is not my favourite and needs some adjustments is the door. This is the only door we could find because the roof is low and the door had to be cut down to fit so a metal door which would be preferable will not fit. We are keeping our eyes open. For now this will do.