Market Bags / Stashbuster

Market Bags

To say I have a large crafting stash would be an understatement. This is my contribution to Earth Day 2019.

Glass, handcrafted, porcelain, Swarovski and Czech beads. Fabric, not just any fabric but 100% organic cotton flannel, bamboo fleece, organic cotton quilting prints, silks of varying mm and styles. Dyes, I have EVERY color of FRD and Acid dye Dharma Trading had in their catalog in the 1st 10 years of the 2000’s. Yarn, OMG my yarn collections: bamboo cottons, organic cottons, silks, yak, soy, Merino, sock, bulky, DK, sport, imported german sock yarn and special recycled shell fish yarns that feel so supple you would wonder if they spoon fed exotic moths to spin gossamer webs that are SO LUXURIOUS to the skin. I even have a modest collection of cross stitch supplies/patterns and spinning fibers and supplies (from my son’s sheep and a few alpaca’s I made trades for.)

It all takes up a room of about 8′ by 16′ with project desk, sewing machine, shelving and totes galore and a few personal office supplies. This does not include the HUGE lingerie business that I had to shut down 17 years ago with enough fine fabrics and finished product to cloth all of Manhattan in gossamer unmentionables for every day of the week. So after working 50 hours a week in my 30’s and 40’s to feed my teenage girls crafting desires I am left with all of this when their energy petered out and they fled home for the big city.

So….. I have been tackling my yarn stash lately. My recent passion is socks. I am justifying my sock yarn purchases by killing 100g of yarn for every 50g I purchase ready to go or to dye. AND I am using my newly acquired yarn within 6 months of purchase! Yea me!!!! The project of 2019 seams to be the market bag.

I HATE PLASTIC. Just peek into some of my previous and up and coming health and wellness ramblings and you will discover my issues with plastic and synthetic, petroleum based anything. So naturally I started bying the market bags in my Organic store that were made from recycled materials. Fine and good but riding around for 53 miles, full of supplies, in the open bed of a pickup, followed by getting carried, by hand, 600 feet down a wooded trail ,by kids who didn’t pay for the…… To say they were being trashed fast would be an understatement. My bags were soon held together by duck tape after a few uses.

I have been toying with the idea to make market bags for a while. They are real cute, sturdy, I can personalize them, make them from recycled yarn or organic cotton or even my supple bamboo cotton. I finally took the leap and I have made more than 4 of them in the past month in between all my other spring chores.

I can finish one in about a day. They knit up quick and kill about 300 gms of yarn per bag. I use two strands of sport or 3 to 4 strands of sock weight yarn. I start with a size 5 40 or 60 inch cable. After the base I stick with the 5 or change to a 14 to speed the process up. They are knit in Magic Loop. If you prefer DPN’s, go for it. Then back to a 5 after the body is done to make a tight rim and the handle.

As a quick note!!!! I am not a pattern writing pro! This is more of a how to, fly with it as you will this is my basic “recipe.” Feel free to message me or comment if you see flaws. This is my 1st official posting and sharing of a knitting project.

  • You will need 300gms total of yarn
  • 1 size 5 40″ or bigger cable
  • If you would like also a size 14 40″ or bigger cable.
  • A tapestry needle to tuck in ends.

IF you are using sport or heavier use 2 strands at a time. If you are using fingering use 4 strands at a time. When I connect I Russian join or just knot. With a project like this it is easy to hide knots and tuck ends.

I start by CO 8 stitches, 4 per needle with Judy’s magic cast on

Then knit all 8 stitches the 1st round

2nd round I K1, yo, K2, yo, K1 on each needle

3rd round and all odd rounds of bottom K

4th round k1, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, k1, yo, k1 on each needle (if you want lacy, knit in the fron of the yarn over. If you want tight knit in the back of the yarn over.)

6th round K1, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo k1 on each needle.

8th round k1, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k1 on each needle.

Can you see the growth here? You are setting up 4 growing wedges for the base and will keep increasing the 2nd gap of knit and the 4th gap of knit by 2 every row until you have 50 stitches on each row.

Once you reach 50 stitches on each of your 2 needles you want to knit 2 rounds, then I Pearl every other round for 4 rows and knit 2 top rows on the last.

This is where you will keep the smaller needles or switch to the bigger. If you switch to the bigger do a foundation row to K2tog every other stitch reducing to 75 stitches.

Now you will k2tog, yo all the way across the row.

K the next row.

K2tog, yo all the way across,


Keep this going until you have about 10 to 12 inches of bag.

If you used the big needles K an extra row than pick up your size 5’s again.

You will K, Kfb, K, kfb all the way across the row to create 100 stitches again.

Now with your 5’s K 2 rows, pearl every other row to create 4 total pearl rows.

Knit 2 rows

For the handle I K3 cast off 40 stitches. K 10 stitches, cast off 40, K7 stitches.

Make the handle as long as you want by just knitting every row of that 10 you are currently on. I make the handle as long as the bag. I like to let it stretch and knot excess for me and my girls wear them as messenger bags.

Once you have your length Kitchener or 3 needle bind off with the 10 stitches left on the other side.

Tuck in your ends and you are done. I hope you like them! I am debating lining them with gusseted cotton or flannel fabric and selling them. We’ll see when and how I get to that project. I can’t see making a profit in time and supplies to sell a bunch, but maybe lined I can find a niche. If you get to it before me, let me know how you do.

~Life~ and it’s challenges

So…. We woke up one morning to no supplemental power!

It’s been a L~O~N~G time!
We went through maintenance of the generator, A Honda eu2000i master. It was running great. The only problem was we noticed some problem with air flow in the exhaust. It is a $200+ part. So we cleaned it as best we could and put that on the list for next season.
MISTAKE! No more than a few months later we were without power again. We had solar power and battery bank for normal daily issues, lights, electronics, for basic communication and kids school, running my fridge enough hours to keep things cold. BUT we could not run the chest freezer, Rob could not use power tools, I couldn’t run my 5 incubators or brooders with electicity, all my grow lights were put on stand buy for the brightest of days, our big screen TV and good Bluray player could not be used in the evening….. AND the list of “luxuries” goes on.
My Convenient life has been on hold! My business plans have been on hold! My sharing of my growth and development with all my long distance family and followers…. you guessed it, ON HOLD!!! So FRUSTRATING!!!
Today, we were able to get the good genny up and running, it works! 18 LONG months later.

We have all our ducks in a row for this year! We have plans, we have ability, we have time and we have funds….
The best laid plans of mice and men…… God only knows, but I hope to share more starting Monday.
All you loyal followers, don’t hold your breath. Please knock on wood and cross your fingers. I have been here before. I have a good feeling this time.
I am optimistic and I have a family blessing in the arena of empathy. I hope to see you on Monday.
Thank you for sticking with us! WE ARE BACK!

Knitted Glove, Fingering Weight, In Process

This is a pattern I learned during a bible study group over 10 years ago.  Handed down for ages hand written on scraps of tattered paper. I never could find a version I like either in print or on line.

It is all knit.  Done short row to shape.  It hugs and insulates and fits much better than an in the round cuff to finger tip style.  Being all knit it is easier for new knitters, counting is the only challenge.  Plus it is better insulating with the ribbing. I normally stay away from anything that is entirely ribbed, but in a fingering it is not obnoxious.

So, I found my original sport weight pattern and am taking the time this week to put it on paper and with a photo diary to get something to share out there.  This pair is in a generic variegated no name fingering wool. 

I normally finish a glove a day, easy.  Having to write down the steps and finalize all my personal tweaks into a pattern is slowing me down.  At it for a few hours and I only have the thumb and 1st of the pointer.

We’ll see what I get done in the few days. I plan to build the 1st writing as I go.  Do the 2nd following the pattern I create.  Then post the entire project as a pattern.  “Of mice and men.”  We’ll see how this progresses.  Watch for updates.

Thank you for the visit.

Starting a Journey to Health

20160415_195059Many years ago, in the early 90’s I was working 50 hour weeks.  My hubby was working as much, if not more.  We had 3 kiddos by then and lived in town.  In the previous 5 years we had buried both my grandmothers, my uncle, my mother and my grandfather. 3 of those deaths were cancer.  My Mom knew the connection between living right, eating well and environment but had no tools to stay or get well.  Her death cemented in me a need to give my family the tools and knowledge to do better than Mom could.

It’s hard to look at all modern day offers us and tells us we need and walk away from that with healthy choices.  We all know Twinkies and fast food are not healthy, plastics are bad for us and our environment and that activity helps keep us fit.  Where do you start if you are living in town, have no garden and a kitchen full of redneck Tupperware ( used margarine tubs for food storage?)

1st, don’t sweat the big picture.  You will loose your mind and develop an eating disorder. Pick a small part to focus on.  If money is an issue, who doesn’t have budget issues, start with something easy for you.  Probably the best way to start is with getting your digestion on track.  Get your body digesting food properly.  I read a wonderful book once, The Hot Belly Diet, it gives you a great one month plan for resetting your digestive system.

I started introducing cultures, living food, to our families diet.  Kombucha, yogurt, keifer, kimchi.  Any food that is a probiotic and you can make yourself to get your system processing the foods you eat properly.  Get that homeostasis functioning above par.

Getting on Track Pt 1



This is a great drink made from sweet tea with a Scooby, mushroom, culture that grows, ages and feeds on the sugars leaving you with a healthy fizzy drink.  Look up scooby, bucha or kombucha in your favorite market and you can easily purchase all the stuff you need in a kit for $25 to $50.  I did it on the cheep.

Went to the local store and bought a plain kombucha drink.  It needs to be plain, flavor will prevent the culture from feeding.  I looked for one that had sediment on the bottom of the bottle and strands in the tea.

I made a quart of sweet tea with organic green tea and 1/3 C sugar.  Then I poured it into 2 quart glass jars and topped that off with the kombucha I purchased. It needs to set still in a dark area at about 60 to 70 degrees.  You need to let it breath.  I used flour stack at first.  That only attracted fruit flies, not good.  So I eventually used the standard lid intended for the container, I never tighten them, only set them on the jar strait.  It lets the bucha breath and keeps bugs away.

Leave it be for 10 days.  Depending on the process the bottle you purchased went through you should see a film on top, sediment on the bottom and a tangy nearly fizzy drink.  Go ahead and drink some, if one looks or tastes better than the other, keep your culture and starter from that batch.

Make more sweet tea, add the culture and liquid you saved and set up again for 10 more days. It took me 4 cycles like this to get to a full proper culture growing.  This is what you are looking for.growingscooby

After so many batches you will have mushrooms to share.  We give excess to the chickens, dogs, compost…. Scooby.jpg

If you like flavor wait util you have some good fizz going for you.  Then when you take you finished bucha down you can add flavor in the form of juice, dried powders, or whatever tickles you and bottle it for a few days to let the fizz build and flavors marinate.  You’ll be making your own healthy probiotic pop.

We’ll call this “Getting on Track” Part 1.  Next in this series I will post a few options for making your own yogurt. 

Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate/Cabernet Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Cooked Cab/Cacao Frosting

YUMMY!  I am not much of a “by the book” cook.  I am a fistful of this, pinch of that, in the mood for this or that spice today kind of cook.  When I find a recipe I like, I will try to follow the recipe the 1st time.  Then my family is subjected to altered versions to tweak to our taste for weeks after.

This cake recipe is a morph from the original Hersheys Cocoa tin back in the 40’s.  We like to keep things as raw and organic as we can so instead of Cocoa, Cacao.  To replace milk and a portion of the butter I have used butter milk or yogurt (our own culture from non pasteurized milk.)

The icing comes from many different favorites all hybridized to develop a not too sweet, clean rich frosting. I have always hated confectioners sugar.  It seems like a cheep, stretched GMO loaded cheat to me.  After doing some gourmet baking research I came across a stove top recipe with flour and regular sugar.  Simply delectable!  Then I combined it with my favorite rich moose recipe and thought, as with all things, a splash of wine can only make things better.

Now, please forgive the minimal photos and lack of quality.  My phone was “lost” months ago and I am trying to get by borrowing my hubbies phone when he is around.  Lousy lighting, no prep ready, rushed to just get it done……..

So, here is my newest creation.

Moist Chocolate Cake


  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 C sugar
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 2/3 C Cacao or Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C milk or buttermilk or yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 deg.  Grease and flour a 13X9 or 2 square/round layer cake pans, or line your cupcake tins with papers.

  1. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time blending well after each addition.
  2. Mix the rest of your dry ingredients thoroughly.  Alternately adding portions of your dry and wet to the creamed.  Start with 1/2 to 1/3 or the dry, mixing thoroughly. Then 1/2 to 1/3 wet, thoroughly. Then more dry.  Keep going until all ingredients are fully blended, no lumps, a nice creamy batter.
  3. Pour into your pans(s.) Bake for 35-40 min until knife inserted comes out clean.  Cool on rack.


Cabernet Chocolate Custard Frosting


  • 2 Tbsp butter softened to room temp
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C cacao or cocoa
  • 2 heaping tsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 C cabernet
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Blend all the dry.  Cream with your softened butter. in a medium thick bottomed sauce pan.  When thoroughly blended slowly add your beaten eggs util well mixed.  Add milk and cab beating until smooth.
  2. Put over low to medium heat (temp depends on thickness of your pan, you do not want to scald the milk or curdle the egg by fast rising and uneven temps.) Constantly whisk as heating.  As it starts to steam, get hot, it will start tracing and ribbon for you.  Just before it reaches a boil it should be thick pudding consistency.
  3. Pour over your cake. You have a few minutes while cooling to spread before it sets.  Do not let it sit too long before shaping and covering your cake.  You have minutes.

What’s nice is this icing sets up pretty and holds it place and shape. Plus it is rich and flavorful with out the excessive sweet pasty feel of a butter cream frosting.

Let’s start this day right; my intentions for the next 14 hours.




The family.  Taken about 5 years ago.

Today’s goals….

Finish hubbies glove liners, knit, short row style, variegated wool. Pattern will post soon.  Just a few tweaks left. I am new to this felting thing.  I always snubbed it before, but my lovers likes thinsulate and I try to stay all natural and hand crafted.  My thought process was to slowly ease him into felted wool hats and liners.

Start 2nd pair of gloves/liners testing a 2 color reversible style.  I can finish one glove a day with all my other chores.  So hopefully not biting off more than I can chew.

Fill up my quota in my to shops.  Don’t get excited and look for links.  I have no less than 15 huge rubbermaid totes filled with dye, glass and stone beads, fibers and yarn packed in all the nooks and crevices in my house.  I am attempting to move beyond my pack rat tendencies and release my excess.  It will be 10 listings, as that is my max allowed currently.  Nothing exciting or dramatic.  I am embarrassed by my slim start and will share sale pages as I get farther along.

Correct all the kids school work as they finish!  Let’s make this a good Monday and not blow off that lesson you know they always do correctly because they live and breathe and that damned glove will be no better or worse off for being ignored for a few minutes!

Walk The Bruce for an hour before dark with the baby.  The Bruce is a very young hybrid male.  The poor guy has been depressed lately, not winter wolf disorder! One of his pack reached an age of senility and degeneration so she needed to be put down a few days ago.  AND “the baby” hit 10 this year and they grow to fast, as her 7 other siblings are proof of, we need one on one time.

Make a healthy fulfilling dinner at a descent proper hour.  The plan for tonight is Panbagna.  Not sure about the spelling, but I found this recipe over 20 years ago and LOVE it.  Basically a veggie loaded meat loaf baked in a 2 day old fat loaf of bread. Yes, I will post the recipe in a future post.

Get to bed before 8:30, for tomorrow starts at 3:30 and I am a bitch without proper sleep.

In this media driven world, picture are key.  Well, we lost everything during the fires this year. No, no fire at my house.  We do have new residents in our neck of the woods and they enrich their lives by making yours simpler. I came home from an evacuation to find broken glass, cut up fencing, missing tools, electronics, etc.  So I sit here with my hubbies lap top and no phone or camera.  I’ll replace it soon, I hope.  I apologize for the lack of current images.  I’ll figure something out.

I get side tracked by tangents easily.  All things contained I will elaborate on in the future, from this summers fires to the bread I use to make the Panbagna.  I could carry on for the entire day, but things to do…..

Hey You

Here we go…

It’s been a process.  Getting from point A to here.  Where was point A?!?  So many crosses in the road to pick from.

Raised with enough challenges to make life interesting, by 2 intelligent, wise individuals.  Some would call them crazy, and did.  Some would look and them and just keep going not paying any attention.  I mean really, Jim and Carole Smith.  NO JOKE!

But they instilled the desire to learn, with the basic common knowledge a person should have to exist and the ability to find and absorb the info I may not have but would want to acquire.  The 3 R’s ( does anyone teach that any more?)  Basic fundamentals of daily life.  An ability to discern, assess and live with the golden rule and defensive confrontation techniques (again, not taught any more!)

3 of 5 family deaths in the early 90’s were all quality of life, pollution, contaminated food and water supply issues.  CANCER.  All went for traditional treatment.  All expired in a horrible, degrading, painful manner.  The other 2 deaths, I believed were brought on by stress and a lack of will to survive after the 1st 3 deaths.

So, in the 90’s, in my early 20’s losing so much,  I made a choice to find a better way.  Exist and form my world around health.  Make good choices for home, hearth, diet, entertainment, family activities and hobbies all centered around achieving quality and longevity not comfort and fast entertainment.

1st was research, next was planning, then action.  By the early 2000’s we had a home in the country and researched and applied many homestead and holistic lifestyles and incorporated much of what we have learned. It’s a process, not a destination.  🙂  We are not there yet.  We are farther along that more than we meet, but have so much to learn from others.

I have my venting days, I have my plodding days and every once in a while I have an epiphany.  I am here to share and spread what we have learned.  AGAIN, I am no expert.  React, exchange, help me and I would like to help you.  We cook all our own food from scratch.  We make many fiber items needed in our home from raw ingredients we find, harvest, dye and knit/sew ourselves.  We grow and hunt much of our meat.  We garden, we do our own repairs and construction.

So much info…. This is intended to be an intro so I will let it go there.

Thank you for stopping in and welcome.  We’ll see what my mood brings next time.