In the days of World War One and World War Two, food shortages were a big problem. With a majority of the food grown on American farms being sent to the front, the rest was rationed. A family was only allowed so much of things like meat, sugar, flour, and other staples a month or a week. To supplement these rations, the government, the USDA, and civil groups encouraged everyone to plant Victory Gardens.
A Victory Garden was an idea for Americans to provide needed produce for themselves and their neighbors. Guidebooks were provided to community leaders and householders to make the best of what land they had to grow healthy vegetables and fruits to make their rations stretch further. Victory Gardens were also a way for those on the homefront to fight the helplessness they felt seeing their loved ones going off to fight a war so far away and to learn valuable life skills in the process.
Children and teens were especially encouraged to join in the effort. Educators and other community leaders were concerned with the fact that so many people lack and understanding of how to produce their own food and how nutrition worked, so they took it upon themselves to fix the problem.
Common vegetables like snap beans, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, spinach, and carrots were encouraged for their versatility, vitamin content, and ease of growth. Not to mention, these vegetables can be grown in a small space, so that even people in apartments in the cities could grow even a little. In fact, in the bigger cities like New York, Victory Garden Committees were formed to turn vacant lots into miniature farms to feed the residents and the people who worked in the factories. People could rent a space and were responsible to maintain the space and their own produce. In some places, the gardens were owned by companies, who allowed people who worked there to grow food, and in return, they signed contracts to follow good husbandry practice and share with others who had less.
In schools, children were enlisted to grow food for the school, and older teens could volunteer to work on farms. Educators pointed out that children were more likely to eat what they had a hand in growing themselves. Then, as now, kids were reluctant to eat their veggies :)
Now, what does this have to do with today? Well, as the coronavirus crisis drags on, it's clear that we're again at war; except our enemy doesn't have a face. It's an invisible enemy, but fortunately, the same elements that made the Victory Gardens a success are still our allies: fresh air, vitamins, and the sun! If you're worried about having enough to eat in the days of Corona, you can plant a new Victory Garden to provide for yourself and your neighbors and learn important skills along the way.
If you want to learn more about Victory Gardening, check out these wonderful period books:
Victory Garden Handbook from the Pennsylvania Council of Defense
Victory Garden Leader's Handbook from the USDA.
What if I told you you could grow new vegetables from cuttings from vegetables from the grocery store? That’s right, it’s true! There are multiple common vegetables you can grow just from cuttings! All you need are some cuttings, a bowl of water and a sunny window. Here are my top five favorites.
You can take unused lettuce leaves and place them in a little bit of water- just enough to cover the base of the leaf. Mist them every few days, and transplant them to the soil when they’ve grown roots.
Simply cut the base of the celery head off, and put it in a little bit of water and wait. Once roots grow, transfer it to the soil.
Green onions can be re-grown by placing the roots in some water and waiting until they start to grow. You can also plant onion bulbs directly into the soil.
Place some leaves in a bowl of water and wait for roots to form. Easy as pie!
And last, but not least, potatoes! Simply wait for your potatoes to grow eyes and bury them deep in the soil.
So we're all stuck at home, everything's closed and the kids are climbing the walls. What're you gonna do? Plant a garden.
In Northern New York and New England, it's too early to plant most garden vegetables outdoors, but there are several plants you can start inside before moving them out. Planting seeds inside is a fun, easy activity for adults and children alike. Get some good garden soil and some seeds, and you're ready to roll!
Well, folks, there's no getting around it. It's on the news, it's on Social Media, it's everywhere; the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm. I could spend several paragraphs discussing the virus and its ramifications, but I'm just going to focus on one.
The vast majority of the folks reading this will be in a state where self-isolation has been instituted; meaning a lot of you can't go to work, and the kids are home from school. You're probably trying to homeschool for the first time in your life, and you're at your wit's end as to how it should be done. I've been a homeschooled kid, I can offer a few suggestions.
There are a number of crafts one can do with your kids only involve a few simple tools and supplies you might have in your home or garage. Just for starters, here are some improvised instruments you can build that sound great!
Here's a Native American flute you can make from plumbing pipe!
And here are some videos on how to make a diddly bow! A diddly bow is an instrument used in the traditional music of the USA. At it's simplest, it's just a stick, a string, and something to resonate. You can literally make it from junk!
And you can't play a diddly bow without a bottle-neck slide, so here's instructions on how to make one of those.
T.K. here with some picks of my own! Being not nearly so mechanically minded as my brother, my choices are of the crafty variety, but don't be fooled! There is a bit of technical know-how involved.
First off is my gal Tonya at My Froggy Stuff. Her detailed crafts do take a lot of time and attention to detail, as well as some pretty fine scissor-work, so not for the littlest kids, but all the same, there's a lot of great fun to be had: https://www.youtube.com/user/MyFroggyStuff
Here's Tonya's Blogspot where you can find all the printables she's designed: http://myfroggystuff.blogspot.com/
Another great way I found to pass the time as a kid was playing with paper dolls. They are in fact something I collect, when I can find some good ones. An excellent artist actively making paper dolls today is Corey Jansen, who has made dozens of beautiful paper dolls available for printing right from home. Here is his collection of print and color-your-own paper dolls:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PaperDollsByCory/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3534290959977416 (Save the images to your computer and print in landscape mode for best results.)
If there was one publishing house we couldn't do without at our house it was Dover Publications. Dover specializes in art, craft, and fine out-of-print or public domain works, and the best part is you can get FREE samples every week in your email! All you have to do is sign up here:
https://www.doverpublications.com/ds014/index.html?s1=Dover-Yahoo%20Store&s2=NewSite-Various&s5=sampler10 (They never spam you, and will send you free shipping offers and coupons with regularity. Bonus!)
I went out into my yard the other day and noticed that some of my perennial plants are starting to peek out of the soil. So if you’re going to plant a garden this year, it’s time you started planning.
One of the main challenges to beginning gardeners and even seasoned gardeners is finding good seeds. You receive these free catalogs from various companies, all bright-colored and shiny, and you have no idea which company is really worth dealing with. Well here are my top 5 seed companies that I’ve worked with.
I think Gurney’s was the first seed company I ever ordered from; of course, I didn’t know of any other seed company, so there was really no contest. Their inventory is pretty fair. They’re not as diverse as they used to, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any heirloom varieties. I don’t know much about their customer service; I’ve never had a problem with them.
Early in my gardening career, I discovered Jung’s. They’re a fine, family-owned company, and I’ve never had a problem with their seeds. Their customer service is spot on. My only complaints are that sometimes the seeds I bought didn’t sprout (they did replace the product I complained about, however) and they’re lacking in variety.
Agway is a well-known and well-liked company in the Eastern US. They are a wholesale product distribution company, specializing in the agricultural industry. Each Agway store is locally owned and operated, featuring products specifically tailored to the needs of the community; including sees. I’ve bought Agway seeds at the country store several times, and have always had good results. Variety may be limited based on where you live.
2. Everwilde Farms
Everwilde Farms is a family-owned company that prides itself on offering high quality, environmentally sustainable, Non-GMO, organic seeds for a fair price. I have never had a problem with them or the seeds they offer, they are certified organic and non-GMO. I was very pleased with the seeds I bought.
1. R.H. Shumway
Probably the best company I’ve bought seeds from was R.H. Shumway. They have the widest variety and the best prices on vegetable seeds. You can order small packets, you can order in bulk. Almost any vegetable you can think of, they have seeds for it. If you’re a repeat customer, they will even send you free seeds! I’ve gotten lots of free vegetable seeds from them, with mixed success. You can’t pick and choose which free seeds they send, but come on, free seeds!
Welcome to today's blog, TK here with a very special interview!
Though I am not a visual artist myself, I find great inspiration in the visual medium, particularly in the illustrative and animation fields. It was to this end that I discovered the work of Zeragii, a young artist whose body of work reaches thousands of readers a week with messages of love and encouragement through her fan-comic "DeeperDown." I was privileged to be able to interview her by email and gain some insight to how she works and how her faith impacts her art.
TK: When did you start drawing?
Zeragii: Hmmm. This is a good question. I can remember way back, when I was four or five years old, that I was given this draw Barbie kit that came with tracing paper. Basically it was a trace-to-make-Barbie-new-outfits deal, and I remember LOVING it. It wasn't until I was nine years old though that I really started to draw and realized that I liked it. I even remember where I was and what I drew. I was at our home school group, all of us kids down in a church basement playing together while the adults had a quick meeting. I'd had enough of the other activities and had set myself down at a table to draw in a sketchbook I had recently been given. Being in a church, I thought I'd draw Jesus. But, um. Let me tell you. While at the time I thought it was amazing, it stands, to this day, one of the ugliest things I have ever drawn. But it sparked what eventually became my passion!
By T.K. Wilson
My mother’s own doll collection was a curiosity to me as a child. She had such interesting and lovely dolls, crafted with much more care and ingenuity than many of the ones I had! Best of all was Beautiful Crissy, the famous doll with the growing hair.
Manufactured by the Ideal Toy Company starting in 1969, Beautiful Crissy stands at 18 inches tall, and was one of the first doll lines to offer African American dolls. (Barbie’s African American friend Christie hit the market in 1968, by comparison. “Black Barbie” herself wouldn’t arrive until 1980!)
Crissy was an instant hit in the USA and around the world. Crissy came in a box emblazoned with mod art and adorable mod fashions were available for purchase. Ideal improved on Crissy with every passing year, adding new gimmicks and gadgets, not to mention several family members and friends, including Kerry, a friend from Ireland (I believe that she was inspired by Twiggy, the popular British supermodel) and cousins Brandi, Velvet, and Cinnamon.
Recognizing the popularity of the Crissy family, enterprising crafters sought out patterns for making Crissy’s mod wardrobe. Official patterns from McCalls and Simplicity were produced by 1969, crochet and knit fashions for the “it” dolls were especially popular in Australia, where many Crissy dolls were made.
Below, you can see my mom’s original Crissy and a Velvet I purchased off Ebay. The halter top dresses are ones I made from an original pattern.
What about Crissy today? Crissy collectors are still very much around and Crissy dolls are actually quite easy and fairly inexpensive to come by on Ebay. Less easy to come by are authentic Crissy fashions, which is where crafters can come in. There are resources where the enterprising craftsperson can find period produced patterns for both 18 inch Crissy and 15 inch Velvet. First, many libraries may have vintage pattern books for doll clothes, so you should always check there. Online, the tireless efforts of collector Beth Colvin have brought forth a treasure trove of patterns for sewing, crochet, and knitting. You can check that out here: http://crissyandbeth.com/Sew.html
You may be asking yourself: Why would you bother with a doll that was made literal decades before you were born? For the simple reason that I hate to think of toys ending up in landfills when they could still be saved and loved. Plastics take YEARS to decompose into the environment, and quite frankly, it’s a shameful waste. Crissy dolls are so well made they could easily make another generation of children happy, if the right artisan tends to them. That’s why I’m here. Doll dress and restoration is an art, one I’m happy to do for all who ask.
Cabin fever is going around on Facebook. Those of us still dealing with the Winter cold, snow, and ice need a bit of cheering. So T.k. Wilson and I thought we’d share some spring patterns for home and family. Just to remind us that Spring is coming. :)
Kids Spring clothes are super cute. As a mom I looked forward to being able to put my kids in fresh, crisp spring styles.
Free Crochet Pattern: Summer Cheer Dress and Kerchief Set
One of my favorite Spring/Summer activities when I was a kid. A trip to the fishing pond! https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-school-of-fish-blanket/RHC0202-019483M.html?cgid=rh-20150420-57-knit-and-crochet-patterns-for-boys#sz=12&start=27
How about a fishing hat to match?
This little knit baby dress is WAY too cute for words and it’s FREE!
No Spring collection would be complete without a pattern or two from Marianna’s Lazy Daisy Days: The All in one dress is among my favorite knit dress patterns https://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.com/2016/03/lazy-daisy-all-in-one-baby-dress_
Also from Marianna’s Lazy Daisy Days a unisex sweater. Perfect for chilly Spring days.
Sweet pattern for a boy in multiple sizes. An easy knit pattern
Looking for a crochet blanket pattern for the Spring baby?
https://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.com/2018/01/little-hexagon-blanket.html I really love this!
Fantastic unisex baby blanket pattern with a lovely texture
I love the light, airy look of a dressy Spring scarf, shawl or Hat. Knitters and crocheters have the benefit of being able to make beautiful accent accessories!
One of my very favorite designers is the very lovely Olga Poltava. I’ve been following her blog for a few years now and her work has done nothing but improve spectacularly.
Some of her designs are paid patterns. Worth every penny. You can find her women’s designs here: https://www.olgapoltava.com/home?category=Crochet+for+Women
Free patterns include:
http://lacycrochet.blogspot.com/2017/11/simply-caron-lace-scarf-free-crochet.html Lovely soft scarf made with Caron Simply Soft yarn.
“April showers bring May flowers”, says the old adage. With this scarf you can have flowers any time you want! Olga Poltava’s tutorial for the flowers scarf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBd3yC1Wb2I&feature=youtu.be
I absolutely could not choose between the knit scarf patterns collected by In the Loop Knitting.
Check out these amazing patterns for yourself! https://intheloopknitting.com/easy-fashion-scarf-knitting-patterns/
Spring touches to the home sweep away the cabin fever feeling. I’m looking forward to March. I’m rather hoping that the whole month is meek as a lamb.
From the nursery to the living room, baskets brighten up the look of a room. Not to mention the added benefit of helping to organize the room! https://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns?prefn1=patternSkillTypeString&prefn2=patternProjectType&prefv1=Knit&prefv2=Baskets Yarnspirations has a lot of great knit basket patterns from which to choose.
Out with the old and in with the fresh new look of spring with these blanket patterns from All Free Knitting. https://www.allfreeknitting.com/Knit-Afghans-and-Blankets/Year-Round-Comfort-Knitted-Blanket-Patterns-for-Every-Season
TK, here everyone! When I think of spring one of the first things that comes to mind is Easter, one of my favorite holidays in the year. And what’s one animal to come to mind when we’re talking about Easter? Bunnies?
This is my all time favorite Bunny amigurumi pattern: https://www.allaboutami.com/springbunnies/
This one’s great if you’re in a hurry: https://thegreendragonfly.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/nibble-nibble-hop-hop/
And then, just for fun. I found this “Tokidoki” inspired Unicorn: https://www.redtedart.com/crochet-unicorn-pattern/
Lovely, airy crochet scarves and wraps abound for the spring season. I especially love spring accessories, all the soft lines and bright colors make me happy.
I just finished one of these and it’s BRILLIANT: https://crochetdreamz.com/one-skein-crochet-shawl-pattern/
Olga Poltava strikes again! https://lacycrochet.blogspot.com/2019/03/lacy-leaves-spring-scarf-free-crochet.html?fbclid=IwAR2vN6ll18ghuqNJarIPzYCPwLh0_iKiOQhVjNu2RVfBDIZdvCW2t3vjwVU
Sweet Softies (whose amigurumis live up to the name for sure) offers this GORGEOUS scarf: https://www.sweetsofties.com/2019/03/jade-pool-scarf.html
And this lovely kimono top. https://www.sweetsofties.com/2019/04/beach-breeze-kimono-top.html
We hope you enjoy this link Spring link share-o-rama! What fun T.k. and I had looking through these patterns. I know I’m looking forward to Spring knitting and crocheting! Stay tuned this month for more link sharing blog posts. Yes, these round-up type blogs are very popular in our circles however we hope we’ve shared some links you have not yet seen!
Good day to everyone reading this week’s blog! T.K. here to talk about Yarnspiration’s Pattern Round Ups. Since Yarnspiration’s acquisition of Red Heart, they have been drawing on the latter’s pattern archive to bring out only the very best for their customers. Part of this has been their “Round Ups”, a way of categorising projects into sections to make searching easier. For instance, under kids and baby you can find:
This little monkeys blanket: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-monkey-around-baby-blanket/RHC0202-019747M.html?cgid=rh-20150420-57-knit-and-crochet-patterns-for-boys
Flower power makes a comeback: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-stripes-flowers-throw/RHC0502-019722M.html?cgid=rh-20150506-57-patterns-for-girls
A Manly sweater: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-rugby-pullover/RHC0329-021318M.html?cgid=rh-20150420-57-knit-and-crochet-patterns-for-boys
OH MY BUG, I love this dress: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-childs-chevron-dress/RHC0314-019094M.html?cgid=rh-20150506-57-patterns-for-girls
The classic newsie hat: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-surplus-hat/RHC0316-021987M.html?cgid=rh-20150420-57-knit-and-crochet-patterns-for-boys
Owls have been big for a while now: https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-hootin-owl-hat/RHC0316-018373M.html?cgid=rh-20150506-57-patterns-for-girls
In home decor, we have a variety of lovely throws and decorations.
These handy baskets are great for the desk: https://www.yarnspirations.com/lily-sugarn-cream-crochet-nesting-baskets/SCC0504-001845M.html?cgid=071519-jonhas-faves-patterns
Another handy BIG basket: https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-bulky-crochet-basket/BRC0504-010145M.html?cgid=071519-jonhas-faves-patterns
So pretty and lacy! https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-bulky-crochet-basket/BRC0504-010145M.html?cgid=071519-jonhas-faves-patterns
A very easy throw in a bulky yarn https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-easy-vee-sy-crochet-throw/BRC0502-012613M.html?cgid=021419-texture-mix
We’ve all been there… a friend lets you know in passing that you are invited to a baby shower on Saturday, leaving you 5 days to put together that one of a kind gift. The pattern round-ups at Yarnspirations.com should be one of your first stops on your quest for that perfect gift. Whether you are a customer or a maker, round ups are a curated life preserver on the sea of the urgent.
T.k. Wilson has covered crocheting patterns in her portion of the blog today. I’ll be discussing knitting pattern round-ups.
The Yarnspirations pattern round-ups are divided into various categories then pared down into
smaller collections. Some of the collections have both knit and crochet patterns, others are specific to each craft. Since I both knit and crochet, I find this system particularly handy.
I love knitting for babies and kids as most of our readers know from past blog posts. It’s always fun to surf through patterns to find JUST the right project choice for my customers or a gift for a friend! Here are some of my favorite knit patterns for infants whether you are working for a charity or gifting these patterns are great.
Blankets are a lovely keepsake. It is always a privilege to knit a blanket for a child that will be used to decorate their first nursery or used at their christening. This blanket would be perfect as a thoughtful gift. https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-rocking-waves-blanket/RHK0502-016840M.html?cgid=rh-20170419-15-crochet-and-knit-patterns-for-bouncing-babies#sz=12&start=15
Hat and sweater sets are popular gifts but babies grow quickly. This set from Red Heart yarns is sized 3 months. Always good to have room to grow. https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-star-bright-baby-cardigan-and-hat/RHK0238-020387M.html?cgid=rh-20170419-15-crochet-and-knit-patterns-for-bouncing-babies#sz=12&start=13
This sweater is so cute. I love the mixture of stitches! (and it’s one piece!) https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-quick-stitch-cardigan/BRK0229-003943M.html?cgid=061019-quick-and-easy-patterns#sz=12&start=14
No matter what style of home decor is popular, knitting offers a plethora of projects to create a cozy look. Yarnspirations is the parent company of several major yarn brands including Bernat, Caron and Patons. They’ve been helping people create cozy for years!
This blanket is knit in squares to make it a perfect take along project.
Nothing like a couple of throw pillows to brighten up a room. This pillow is made with bulky weight yarn so it’s quick to knit up. https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-down-the-line-knit-pillow/BRK0520-011914M.html?cgid=061019-quick-and-easy-patterns#start=11
I like placemats (well I like glassware and it follows that I’d like placemats) Anything that makes a table look inviting and keeps the cleanup to a minimum is alright by me! These placemats are knit with bulky weight Bernat “Maker” yarn. https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-easy-life-knit-placemats/BRK0537-002216M.html?cgid=061019-quick-and-easy-patterns#prefn1=patternSkillTypeString&prefv1=Knit&start=2
Now for a little random miscellaneous. I’m usually in need of small gifts for my husband’s workmates, stocking stuffers at Christmas, or the gift of thanks for kindness shown. I thought I’d share some small, quick, knit gifts.
This mason jar cover is beautiful! I think it would add an attractive touch to any room https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-snowdrop-mason-jar-cover/RHK0518-024493M.html?cgid=rh-20160811-15-quick-projects-to-crochet-and-knit#prefn1=patternSkillTypeString&prefv1=Knit&start=5
Cup cozies are fast, easy gifts that are fun to knit up in team colors or birthstone shades. They also keep your cup clean and your fingers from getting burned! https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-lacy-knit-cup-cozy/RHK0511-024534M.html?cgid=rh-20160811-15-quick-projects-to-crochet-and-knit#prefn1=patternSkillTypeString&prefv1=Knit&start=3
This is a cute gift with a serious meaning. This is the mustache mug hug… a gift to give during “Movember” (my husband participates). Movember brings attention to men’s health. This little gift may truly be a lifesaver in every sense of the word. https://www.yarnspirations.com/red-heart-mustache-mug-hug/RHC0111-020198M.html?cgid=rh-20150206-quick-projects-for-a-quick-month#start=2
Yarnspirations has created a real boon for makers with their round ups. As Mom mentioned, this should be a first stop for anyone with that last minute gift that they need as well as anyone who wants to make something new for themselves, the home, the kids, whatever! I am very pleased with the selection of very different items, so many, we had a tough time choosing what to do. I hope this has given you a little look into this new resource and I hope to see more like it in the future.
Saffron spice is harvested from the threadlike growths of crocus flowers known as stigmas. It blooms for one week of the year and must be harvested by hand. This means that saffron is quite rare and hard to find, even in this day and age when you can find almost anything. Saffron was much too valuable to be used for dying garments, so it’s unlikely that my ancestors used actual saffron, and more likely they used safflower, as it is more common.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.