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News from the Nest, January 22

Well, hello there!

I am writing to you today from my VERY CLEAN AND ORGANIZED office/craft room. Like the shoemaker whose children have no shoes, my office/craft room has not been an example of a decluttered organization for a good four years since we moved. I can give you all the reasons/excuses if you want to hear them, but suffice it to say, it kept getting pushed down on the ‘to-do list,’ primarily because no one but me ever saw it.

In case you ever wonder, this is my fairly regular writing situation, complete with my assistant.

Cat on a lap in front of a computer.

But that’s a lousy reason; it implies I am not as important as a random person in my house! I don’t do well in clutter, and my craft space was clutter-defined. And I actually really like to declutter and organize! So, I buckled down this week, finished my blog work early, and rewarded myself with two full days of decluttering and organizing in my office/craft room.

New on the Blog

  • It had been forever since I made Split Pea Soup at home, but our trip to Amsterdam this past winter re-introduced us to this heart- and soul-warming, simple, but delicious soup. This Crock Pot Pea Soup with Ham recipe is my super simple version. Simply dump the ingredients in your Crock Pot in the morning, and you’ll have the heartiest meal come dinner.
pea soup with ham.
  • Try your hand at Block Printing on Fabric to make the most charming napkins or dish towels! I made these Valentine’s Day napkins using block print stamps and ink. Make them for yourself, give them as gifts, or invite friends over for a craft night! There are so many stamps to choose from; you won’t be limited to just hearts.
Heart Block Printing on Fabric Napkins.

From the Knit Studio

I love to see and share your creativity! I recently received this email from Ingrid,

I made a bunch of washcloths in different stitches (from your patterns) as Christmas presents.  I paired them with a scrubby crocheted from Red Heart scrubby yarn as per their instructions on the back of the wrapper, and a bar of soap made from very organic ingredients in the North West Territories.  The soap was from ‘Laughing Lichen’ with bits of lichen, moss, artic rose petals and sweetgrass incorporated.  Truly different! I printed the wrappers that you sent and added theme names like ‘Artic Meadow’ for the white and multi-coloured one with the Arctic Rose soap, and ‘Sonoma Sunrise’ for the natural washcloth with the red/yellow scrubby and Juniper & Lichen soap. The natural with blue scrubby and Mint & Fireweed soap was ‘By the Salish Sea’.  I don’t remember what I called the sweet grass set.  Bundled with natural ribbon and put in those pine-cone bags…


Wow! Can you even imagine being on the receiving end of her gifts?! So much thought went into them, and I know she enjoyed putting these gifts together. Such fun and creativity. She has prompted me to add crocheted facial rounds to my to-do list…she suggested that they would be a great addition to a spa gift package, and I agree.

Ingrid used a variety of our knit washcloth patterns and these wrappers.

Knit washcloths with wraps.

2024 Declutter Challenge

Who is doing the declutter challenge with me? As previously mentioned, I did a much needed, years overdue declutter of my craft space…whoa…talk about cathartic! I got rid of over 50 bottles of paint, most of them specialty paints that I had been given when I attended conferences. These were items I’ve never used, never opened and would never have purchased. There’s a lesson there…so often we get excited with ‘free stuff,’ only to discover that it really does come at a cost…our space!

I ended up getting rid of several bags of unused craft items; a little bit went into the trash, but most of it I posted on my city’s Buy Nothing Facebook page. The beauty of that organization is that you don’t have to take it anywhere! Once I know someone wants it, I put it on my front porch and bam…it disappears! Check for a Buy Nothing group in your area, check facebook as I think that is their only mode of communication.

On the right side of the ‘after’ photo, the second shelf down from the top and the bottom shelf both hold little doo dads that need better storage options. I ordered some bins that stack and that I can see inside of to better organize the stuff in those spaces. I think the stuff on the bottom shelf will also fit on the second shelf down once it is better organized.

What you can’t see in the above photo is that every shelf is labeled…so there won’t be any doubt what goes where and what I actually have! Such a novel concept.

From the Kitchen

  • This is the time of the year when I use a lot of stocks and broths in my kitchen, so I need to add to my inventory. I told Terry yesterday I must get chicken wings to put up a batch of chicken stock! I figure I make and can stock once or twice a year; typically I keep my crockpot and canning pot going all week and make a couple different types of stocks or broths. If you’ve never canned, I walk you through the entire process in this Chicken Stock post.
jars of canned chicken stock
  • Once you’ve made and canned chicken stock, try our ham stock recipe! It’s perfect for your favorite bean and pea soups! This canning procedure will work for any of your meat stocks.
Ham broth in jars.
Finished Jars of Vegetable Broth with fresh vegetables.
  • I’ve already told you I love a good review and comment! Here’s one from Jackie; I hope you have apples around! I’m thinking you’ll want to bake some Apple Spice Bread!

I just wanted to let you know that I made your Apple Spice Bread again today. It has become my go to quick bread!  I love a good Banana Bread and a good Date Loaf but this ASBread is just so tasty and so easy to make.  A beautiful, spicy, well packed loaf.

Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Apple spice bread with a bowl of apples in the background.

From the Arts + Crafts Studio

I shared one Valentine’s Day gift or home decor item earlier, but let’s talk about Galentine’s Day!

Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.

Leslie Knopes, character on Parks and Rec
Heart background with images of Galentine's Day ideas.
  • And, If you’d like to show a little love for your favorite friends this year, here are some ideas
Beeswax pellets in a glass jar and tins of hand balm.
Tubes of heel balm.
  • This easy goat milk soap recipe uses a melt-and-pour goat milk soap base, shea butter, and essential oils. This is an excellent recipe for first-time soap making.
BArs of soap standing on sides, one laying down.
  • An Herbal Bath Salt recipe that includes a combination of Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt,/baking soda, and dried herbs and flowers is a mind and body therapeutic, often recommended to soothe sore muscles and irritated skin and reduce stress.
A close up of herbal bath salts
3 Lavender Sachets

In the Home

  • Useful Tips: At the beginning of each year, we go through all our paid TV apps (Apple TV, Peacock, Paramount+, etc…) and delete them all. We will add back as necessary throughout the year, but this keeps us from mindlessly paying for services we don’t use.
  • I’ll show you how easy it is to restore an old wood cutting board. We’ll walk through how to clean a wooden cutting board, how to sanitize a wood cutting board, how to sand a wooden cutting board, and how to condition and refinish a wooden cutting board.  
Finished Cutting Boards
CuttCutting boards hanging from a rack.

A Few Favorites and Some Fun Finds

Some of these links may be Amazon affiliate links and I may earn a small commission off of the sale of these products to help defray the costs of operating this site, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

Door gift wrap organizer
  • This acrylic paint tube organizer saves so much space! You can see it on the left side of the ‘after’ photo above.
  • I ordered six of these, which arrived today. Four of them are for the little doo-dads that otherwise are occupying too much space on my craft room shelves. I can stack these for small things, using my space much more efficiently. The other two will go in my laundry room. And not for nothing, they have gone on sale since I bought them…of course.

Well, I’m on roll! I’m going to run to post office to get those stackable bins to finish my closet, then I’m going to start working on another fun project to share with you.

Have a great day!

Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. I too made washcloths (from my stash yarn) and added soap ends from The Hippie Farmer https://thehippiefarmer.com/– for my 13 co-workers. They were all pleased at the unexpected (affordable to me) gift. I used your patterns, I used other patterns. I would knit a couple from one pattern, then move onto another pattern, just so I could mix up the patterns. They were all quite pleased. If I really plan ahead for next year, I may be able to step it up to the standard of the other writer.

    1. Hi Jean,

      I’m sure your handmade gifts don’t take a back seat to anyone’s! And that Hippie Farmer soap looks fun! They have some great scents.

      But it is nice to get a head start on your gift giving. I need to keep my hands busy, so its easy to have a stash of washcloths at year’s end.

      Thanks for writing in.

      Hugs, Lynn

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