Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Small Change: Clothes Mending and Staples from Scratch

My One Small Change for March was to learn a few clothes mending techniques...
Darning Socks:

These socks weren't very far gone but I love them and want them to be around for a long time.  So I thought they would be a good place to start with learning how to darn.

I used a spent incandescent light bulb as a darning egg, a straight needle and thread from my stash that matched surprisingly well.

Essentially darning is weaving, so I absolutely enjoyed doing it.  However next time I think better light, an actual darning needle (the one with the bent tip) and some serious magnification so I can see what I'm doing would be very helpful.

I didn't do a great job, but I can now say that I have darned a pair of socks.  :-)

Mending scissor holes in a Sweater:

I have no idea how these holes got there.  This is a new wool t-shirt and one of my favorites, so I wanted to keep the holes from getting bigger.

I just stitched the hole together.  Again, not great execution on my part.  The aforementioned bright light and magnification would have been of great help in this case as well.  :-)

Zipper Replacement:

When I wrote my post last month I thought Hubba's zipper was completely demolished.  But it turns out the zipper tape and teeth are in good shape and only the slider needs replacing.  I've found that many different sizes of replacement sliders can be purchased but I have not been able to figure out what size I need.  So now that I realize there are intact zippers on Hubba's vest, I plan to take it to a local sewing shop to determine what size to buy.

I like being able to mend clothes.  I'm definitely not a good enough seamstress to allow my worn out clothes a longer life at the office.  But now that we have a farm, a lot of clothes can have an extended life as farm and gardening clothes.

Perhaps one day my One Small Change will be to improve my sewing skills so that I can wear home made clothes to the office.

For the Summer:  Making Beans and Broth from Scratch

I have started a new project with my client that will have me travelling a bit more than usual.  So I've decided to focus on a couple of things that I want to do better.  I am making it a goal for the summer rather than by month.

We use canned beans and boxed chicken broth a lot.  My versions of these items leaves a lot to be desired.  Being able to make beans and broth from scratch should save us a lot on packaging waste and cost.

Beans: I've tried to make beans from scratch a few times over the years, but my results have always been dismal... hard, mushy and/or flavorless.  Blech.  It drives me crazy because I think I'm a pretty good cook otherwise. In fact, I make awesome baked beans when starting with canned beans.

So, since there's nothing quite like a good batch of beans and I would love to have them at the ready without having to resort to the can.  My goal is to learn how to make good beans from scratch.

Broth:  My chicken and turkey broth is also just not right.  I dream of making a clear, flavorful broth that is worthy of matzo-ball soup.

So since we roast a whole turkey every 4-6 weeks, I think I should be able to make a flavorful broth.  It shouldn't really cost anything extra and could save us a lot in boxed broth packaging.

If you're interested in seeing what others are doing to improve their affect on our environment or would like to participate, please head over to the One Small Change blog, new folks are always welcome.

One Small Change


Vivian said...

I've always made beans and broth from scratch, super easy! Best broth comes from good beef or pork bones, and toss in some noodles and wonton, you got a nice dish there! (sorry, can't stop myself ;-))

Kathryn Ray said...

Hi Vivian - I think you're right, that does sound tasty.

I have this feeling that beans and broth should be easy, but they just haven't worked out for me. So I'm looking for some recipes that will hopefully turn into my own version. :-)

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I'm not great at mending - well, mending that looks good.

For beans, I've really liked cooking them in our pressure cooker. We have a Lorna Sass vegetarian cookbook on pressure cooking that has really good instructions on cooking beans.

My biggest problem is that I don't often plan far enough out in advance though to soak the beans and whatnot.

Vivian said... has a very simple, very good beef stock recipe:
I'm addicted to his videos.

Kathryn Ray said...

@Vivian - thank you so much for that recipe. That beef stock will make some awesome Pho. Which is also on my list of things to learn how to do. :-D

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