tutorial

{Making a Home} : Beautiful Floors

We chose to use natural, non-toxic finishes in our house, including old fashioned milk paint and natural oiled and waxed floors from finishes we made ourselves. That means a bit more work, but no worries about chemicals out-gassing into our home and making everyone sick.

We were so blessed to have intact wood floors that needed only a sanding before refinishing, though we did have to pull some linoleum from the hallways.

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

After the floors were sanded and the dust removed, we applied a linseed oil finish that we made ourselves. No scary boiling, no nasty chemical solvents. You still have to be awfully careful because the orange oil is strong and doesn’t feel nice on bare skin in that concentration and quantity.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor oil {to cover up to 1400 sq ft}:
2 gal. Flax oil
2 gal.Orange oil
5 gallon bucket (or size appropriate to your project), with a gamma seal to close it up tightly.

All you need are equal parts of both oils mixed together in your bucket with a clean dowel. The orange oil helps to loosen the flax oil, which is very viscous. Thinner flax oil will spread, penetrate, and dry better.  Coverage depends upon the dryness of your wood.  If you don’t need as much as this, it’s easy to make smaller quantities.  Super simple.

Spill onto your floor and spread with a squeegee. Work quickly in sections and be careful to spread evenly – don’t leave any puddles. Blot the floor with a car or bar mop cloth. You may also wish to apply kraft or contractor paper after waiting 30 minutes. In 24 hours, check to see if your wood has fired or not (it shouldn’t in most cases). If it has (the grain pops up and makes the surface rough), do a light sanding and wipe-down before repeating the oiling process.

Then after another 24 hours, you are ready to wax! You don’t need to wax if you don’t want to, but it makes the finish much more durable, which is important with our big, busy family.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor Wax {Updated}:

1 lb beeswax
1 lb carnauba wax (makes a nice, hard finish. This is what is in Turtle wax)
3 quarts olive oil (increased from 1/2 gallon to make the wax easier to use and apply)
2 oz. essential oils of your choice (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our Essence of Chrism oil for this and it compliments the orange oil scent)

In a double boiler, candle pot over simmering water, or homemade Bain Marie, combine the waxes and olive oil together.  Stir, stir, stir until the waxes are melted.  Remove from heat and wipe the bowl.  Wait a couple of minutes and add the essential oil. Pour into large, clean disposable baking tins and let cool. You can use this wax on positively EVERYTHING. Wooden toys, floors, furniture. If you add oil soluble pigments, you can rub it on painted walls for a really beautiful, luminous finish.

This recipe makes enough for about 225 sq. ft. depending upon how dry your wood is.  {I made 6 times this recipe to start with for the first and second floors of the house}

Scoop out a handful (for floors) and spread it around. Work quickly in sections. Have a partner come behind with a buffer and buff the floors to a gorgeous sheen as you go. WEAR SOCKS, bare feet, or cover your shoes with scuffs. DO NOT wear your street shoes on the floor until the buffing is done. Apply a second coat if you’d like.

Wait 12 or more hours before putting your rugs back down to give the wax enough time out in the air to harden up.

 

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

Easy peasy! Well, OK… Simple. But hard work. Soooo worth it though.

You can buy your bulk supplies for a big oiling/waxing project at Jedward’s. They were crazy fast, but we’re not that far away.

Red Easter Applesauce

My attempts at charoset are legendary failures, at least in my book. I had my first taste of it {and subsequently fell in love} at a church seder in junior high school. I have never been able to replicate it at home. Ever. And I have tried several recipes. Every Easter. To go with our lamb. Because it is a perfect combination. Or should be.

This year, I have decided to deconstruct the recipe and modify a family favourite. And by happy circumstance {being that I am about 13 months pregnant}, I made it today to save myself a last minute kitchen rush while trying to run our family back and forth to Triduum services, or to prevent me from waking with the Marys to get it fixed before the lamb and fixings go on to cook.

It is a WINNER!

Red Easter Applesauce

Red Easter Applesauce:

  • 1/2 peck of apples, washed (preferably organic, I used MacIntosh)
  • 1/2 c. red wine (your favourite)
  • 1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Halve and core the apples, place them into a covered roasting pan. Add wine and cinnamon. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Cool slightly. Run through a fine sieve or food mill to remove skins. Serve!  You could even top your serving bowl with toasted or glazed walnuts.  Yummy!

Makes about 5 cups.

 

This is how I put up our 50 quarts of applesauce every autumn (minus the wine and cinnamon). It is the best applesauce you will ever have. It needs absolutely no sugar because the natural sugars are allowed to develop during baking. It is a totally different flavour and texture to the boiled type. Even with the same apples. Trust me.

 

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Tutorial:: Waldorf-style Pocket Doll

I had a yen to make a pocket-sized dolly for each of my small children.  James is particularly fond of having something to tote around in his hand.  I think he really likes it.

Materials:

  • Pattern
  • Scrap of soft fabric (chenille, flannel, recycled sweater)
  • Wool yarn
  • Wool suffing
  • Flesh coloured knit (scrap)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Thread

Cut 1 on the fold just as it is. This is the back of your dolly.

Now fold the hood part down and cut another piece on the fold. This is the front of your dolly.

Slit both pieces to the marking. This will form your dolly's legs.

With your wool yarn, make a ball. Make sure to wrap tightly and evenly.

Keep on winding until your ball measures 4 inches around.

Cover your yarn ball with a nice layer of wool batting in order to make the finished base smooth.

Just like this.

Tie off the batting with cotton string. Wind it 'round a few times first and you'll get a nice 'neck'.

Cut a 5 inch square of flesh coloured knit fabric.

See how many gorgeous colours it comes in?

Smooth the fabric over the head base and tie tightly in place with cotton string.

Choose the best side for the face. Embroider eyes and a mouth about halfway down the face.

Using some embroidery floss or cord in your desired hair colour, wind several times around two fingers.

Tie 'round the middle with sewing thread.

Fold loops over themselves so that all of them are facing you.

Sew securely to the dolly's head. ETA: For a more secure head of hair, you could sew the floss directly into the head, creating loops around a finger.

Snip loops to create a fringe.

 

Set your dolly head aside and take up your front and back pieces. With right sides together, sew arms and legs, leaving ends open. Fold the hood with right sides together and sew the top seam. Leave the face and neck open. Take small hand stitches and make narrow hems.

Sew up the ends of arms and legs like purse strings.

There's little dolly's body all sewn and turned out. Use a knitting needle to poke out the point of the hood and adjust the hands and feet.

 

Make four balls of wool batting - two slightly larger - for hands and feet.

 

Stuff the balls into hands and feet, gather up tightly with thread and bury your knots.

 

Now place the head into the remaining opening, turning the body fabric under slightly. Pin the center top of the hood to the center top of the head. Sew open portions of the arms, and across the neck edge, adjusting the fabric snugly around the chin area. Tack the hood to the head and bury your knots.

 

You're finished! Now your sweet dolly is ready for his or her first cuddle.

 

{Thanks to my daughter Cat for assisting with some of the photographs when I ran out of hands!}

Holy Week:: Selah

Holy Week is drawing to a close.  I’m in two minds about it.  It’s a shame to see my favourite week of the year speed by.  On the other hand, the crescendo of the Resurrection is so compelling, so exhilarating.

I was worried that this week would be full of stumbling blocks for our family, we had scheduled every possible thing to co-incide.  But we were wise and allowed things to fall away.  We slowed our pace and worked together to complete tasks, and enjoyed the journey through the days.  Yesterday was spent preparing the krashanky while James and Joséphine napped.

 

 

William, Louis, and Sophie begin peeling onions

 

… and Carrie

 

Happily working together.

 

There’s still time to make your own.  Here’s how::

 

Collect the peels of about 10 lb. of yellow onions into a bowl:

 

 

Place them in a pot. Ours has a handy basket insert, but you don’t need to have one of those.

Children (and grown-ups) love the crunch of the dry skins…

 

…and helping in the kitchen.

 

Add 8 c. water to the pot:

 

and 1/4c. white vinegar

 

Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.

 

You’ll need 12-18 clean, white eggs which have been left to come up to room temperature.

 

Place them into a stainless steel pot in a single layer.

 

Strain and cool your dye to room temperature. Then pour it in over your eggs.

 

Make sure your eggs are completely covered. Add more cool water, if needed. Bring to the boil again and allow to simmer 12-15 minutes.

 

If you haven’t achieved the colour you want after 15 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to sit until you’re happy with them.

 

When the eggs are completely cooled, rub them with olive oil and a soft cloth or paper towels.

 

Pack them up nice and safe in their carton to bring to church on Holy Saturday so that they can be blessed.

 

We’ll be bringing our krashanky to our new parish tomorrow morning for blessing, along with Father David’s holy water bottles for Vigil.  They’ll be eaten for breakfast before heading out to the 11:30 Easter Sunday Mass, where Brian will serve.  Later in the afternoon, we will return once more to church – this time to our old parish, St. Joseph’s, where William will serve on the altar for the first time!

And somewhere in there, we’ll make time to sit down to dinner together, and reflect on the myriad graces that come to us through Christ, and His Church.  The graces we celebrate this Holy Weekend and throughout the year.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Eastertide!

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