Monday, August 11, 2014

International Pallet Art

My pallet flags have always been American until now. I was excited to make my first non-American flag recently for a very sweet pair of newly-weds. The groom is from the UK while the bride is from the US and they asked me to make them each a flag from their own country. I love what they represent and think they will look so nice paired up with each other in the couple's new apartment. What a fun way to celebrate their new life together! I painted them in vintage tones at their request and might have to use the colors again in future projects. I think the color really adds to the feel of the flags. 

Follow this link to see this flag in purple.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Making Goals Toward a Self Sufficient Life

When we bought our house three years ago we bought it with the intentions of becoming homesteaders and living a more self sufficient lifestyle. After looking back at our ideas then and the reality now we still have a VERY VERY long way to go. When my hubby and I were talking about our progress we began to wonder where we went wrong...we both felt that we should be further along at reaching our dreams. We are both hard workers with a lot of ideas, we are both determined and feel that what we are trying to do is in the best interest for our kiddos so why are we still behind? 

Then we began to look at  everything we intended to have done by now....
  • We wanted an established fruit orchard
  • We wanted to raise bees for honey and pollination
  • We also wanted established berry patches throughout the yard
  • We planned on multiple gardens large enough for our family and for us to sell our extras
  • We imagined a pantry full of an assortment of canned vegetables, salsa, jams etc...
  • A freezer full of home grown vegetables, fruits, raised and hunted meat
  • A long range of groomed concord grapevines
  • A pasture full of chickens raised for both eggs and meat with enough of each to sell extra
  • A pasture full of sheep and a couple hogs for the same reason
  • We imagined having sheared our own sheep and utilized the wool
  • We wanted to be selling our products at farmers markets by now
  • Chris is working a full time job with crazy hours usually over 50 a week we were hoping this would have been minimized  by now so he could be home more to homestead and farm
  • I work in a restaurant part time as well as work on free lance art work out of the home, we were hoping I would be just working on my art by now
  • We also wanted to make more energy efficient updates like a wood burning stove, new doors, windows and a grey water system this we imagined would take years to accomplish.
  • We thought we would have our kitchen and bathroom updated by now. 
The list could go on and on but needless to say we both had big plans for this place. We began to feel discouraged after discussing our failed plans.... 
  • The fruit trees and berry patches have yet to be planted 
  • Along with our gardens
  • No bees yet 
  • Our canned goods are from the store and so are most of our frozen vegetables 
  • The grapes still need pruning
  • We do have the chickens and 1 sheep at least along with an unplanned alpaca
  • The wool though is still sitting in the garage
  • We do have the windows we are happy to say...
  • We were still working outside of the home and Chris is still gone over 50 hours a week 
  • The kitchen looks the same even though we bought a dishwasher that has been sitting in our garage for the past three years because we can't fit it in our kitchen until we move around our cabinets. 
  • The bathroom ... still the same 
After looking at our list of ideas we began to realize that we were looking at the big picture rather than taking it one step at a time and making mini goals to lead us where we want to be. After breaking it down and prioritizing our plans began to seem much more manageable, and our goals much more reachable.  
  • We didn't get a garden in this year and that stinks but we were also imagining a very large garden with a very pregnant me so... maybe we weren't realistic but now that I have had our baby we will plant a smaller cold weather garden just for the household with some greens, radishes and other cold hardy crops. 
  • Everything else we will buy from the farmers at local markets so we can have fresh produce and support their businesses. 
  • We will plant a pair of trees and berry bushes each year rather than all at once. 
  • The grapes will just have to get done as soon as we can... we we lucky enough to get a house with a grapevine so we just can't procrastinate on that one anymore. 
  • The house will just have to wait. Right now managing our animals and produce we already have need to be a priority because that will help the health of our family and our health comes first.
  • Our jobs will have to wait too. We will start with replacing my shifts in the restaurant with my art jobs one shift at a time until I can do art from home full time. Then we will work on getting Chris home more often and on a schedule similar to the rest of the family.
Tackling one project at a time one day at a time and staying organized with our plans should help us to stay on track without becoming overwhelmed. While making mini plans to bring us closer to a long range goal we will also be more likely to stay focused. I will share our plans as we work them out and also share our success and failures along the way too because I am sure there will be plenty of both.

We would love to hear your homesteading stories as well so if you have a tale to tell leave it in our comment box!


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