How to Dye Yarn with Berries – Part 2

 
Ball of pale lavender yarn with knitting needle and end of knitted scarf

Dyeing yarn with berries is a fun way to create a unique homemade yarn for knitting scarves, hats, etc. and it’s a fairly simple process too. It takes more time than going to the store and just buying skeins of yarn, of course, but if you enjoy DIY and craft projects then natural dyeing is a fun activity and a way to experiment with different dye materials and colors. 

I choose to use berries for this experiment because I thought it would be fun to try dyeing with them, because I didn’t have to worry about anything toxic with them, and because they are so easily accessible. It’s important to note, though, that berries produce more of a stain than a natural dye, so the color may fade over time, especially if you wash the yarn or leave it exposed to light. Most natural dyes can have a tendency to fade over time, so you may find that you end up with a lighter color as time goes by, but if that happens you can always re-dye your yarn in the future as was commonly practiced by people before synthetic dyes were created.

Read MoreHow to Dye Yarn with Berries – Part 2

How to Dye Yarn with Berries – Part 1: Preparing the Yarn

 Ball of pale lavender colored yarn next to knitting needle and part of knitted scarf
 

After a couple of recent trips to living history museums and seeing examples of hand-dyed yarn, I was inspired to do some experimenting of my own with natural dyes.

I had heard before that it was possible to dye yarn with berries, so I decided to give them a try as a natural dye for my yarn. Once I did a little research to find out how to do everything, the process of dying the yarn actually wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be. There are a lot of steps involved, and it takes a little while to do it, but it was a lot of fun to try a new DIY project and to see what it’s like to dye yarn the old-fashioned way by hand.

Before you actually dye your yarn, though, there are steps you have to take to prepare the yarn for the dyeing process.These are the steps I used for preparing my yarn:

Read MoreHow to Dye Yarn with Berries – Part 1: Preparing the Yarn

Old-Fashioned Mincemeat Pie Recipe from 1798

 
Slice of mincemeat pie on plate

 

Up until just recently, I had always thought the idea of mincemeat pie sounded pretty unappetizing. I had never actually tried it until this year, but it just didn’t sound like something I would ever want to eat. I think part of my aversion to it was the fact that I had no idea what was actually in it. And those jars of processed mystery mincemeat filling that appear on the grocery store shelves around the holiday season have always looked pretty scary to me!

I had always wondered, though, what exactly was in mincemeat pie filling and if there was actually any real meat in an old-fashioned mincemeat pie recipe. Well, I found my answer by looking through old cookbooks – a great source for any questions about what people used to eat and how they prepared their food. I found out that mincemeat pie really did have meat in it along with fruit and spices.

Read MoreOld-Fashioned Mincemeat Pie Recipe from 1798

Vintage-Style Spice Bottles

 
 vintage-style cork-topped spiced bottles lined up in a row

 

I just found some really fun spice bottles online from a natural herbal store. They have all sorts of organic herbs and spices along with different kinds of teas and essential oils and even supplies if you want to make your own herbal products. The item they sell that I love the most, though, is their glass cork-topped spice bottles.

The website calls these bottles “historically correct spice jars as they were once used over 100 years ago.” Well, as a lover of history, of course that phrase immediately peaked my interest!

Read MoreVintage-Style Spice Bottles

Four Frugal Ways to Purify Indoor Air

Purple flowers in vase on windowsill

There are many benefits of going outside and taking a walk in the fresh air, but taking a walk outdoors is usually only a half hour or maybe an hour of our days, and the rest of the time we end up breathing stale, indoor air.  

So, the question is, how do we improve the quality of the air inside of our homes (without paying for any sort of expensive filters or air purifying systems)? The good news is that there are a couple of cheap or even free old-fashioned ways to purify indoor air and improve the quality of the air you breathe.

Read MoreFour Frugal Ways to Purify Indoor Air

Authentic Boston Baked Beans

 
Boston baked beans in bean pot with blue plate of beans on the side.

Boston baked beans are a delicious old-fashioned New England tradition, but most store-bought baked beans today are full of all sorts of questionable ingredients. Instead of store bought beans, I wanted to find a truly authentic recipe that used only real, natural ingredients that I could make myself at home.

The recipe I found came from the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer (published in 1896). This is the description of the recipe (or receipt if you want to use the period term) as printed in her book:

Read MoreAuthentic Boston Baked Beans