Category Archives: life

Hello Ebay!

Life has been so strange lately.  Have you ever had that feeling that things are about to change but you don’t know how?  I had that feeling a few months ago, and boy have things changed since then.

I used to sell a lot of my products, mostly Suncatcher Craft Eyes, on Amazon.  That changed recently when Amazon changed some of their policies.  It is no longer worth it for me to send products in to Amazon’s warehouse and have them sell and ship them for me.  It was costing me twice what it would cost on my own website or even Ebay.  So I switched to merchant fulfilled, which means my products are still on Amazon, but I’m shipping them myself.  More on that in this video:

To cover the lost income from Amazon, I started selling on Ebay, both my own products and vintage items.  It’s been a journey and a really fun one at that!  I’ve learned a lot over the last couple months, and I want to share some tips and tricks for selling on Ebay, so my new hobby is making videos while I list on Ebay.  Most of these have information I wish I’d known when I started.

Of course my Suncatcher Craft Eyes  website is still going strong, and so is Etsy.  I can’t wait to see what this new journey brings!

Take care, stay warm, and let’s hope this snow lets up sometime soon!

Michelle

Our strange holidays with autism

I hope everyone had a good holiday. Some of you may celebrate with friends and family, some of you may not. We don’t. When my kids were probably around 11 or 12, we realized that their autism made change almost intolerable to them.  That’s any change:  Change in season, change in daylight savings time, changes in our daily schedule, someone getting sick, plans changing, holidays … any little change.  So in order to minimize the stress of change as much as possible, we stopped celebrating holidays and even birthdays.  We still recognize the person on their birthday and have a cake, but that’s it.  There’s no singing or big fuss.  Instead of a big party with presents, presents are given through the year “just because” instead of for a specific holiday.  I like it better that way anyway.  It feels more special to me instead of being forced to buy tons of presents for one day.

This Thanksgiving is a little different.  Both of my sons have their own apartments (I’m so proud of them!).  So I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for everyone and delivered it to each of their homes. We visited for a few minutes, and that was it. Easy and stress-free for everyone. That’s also the way we’ll be celebrating Christmas.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that we couldn’t have a big holiday get-together and be “normal,” but now I’ve realized that every family is different and that’s okay.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to let go of all that stress.  It’s awesome being different!

Here’s a little video I made on the holidays and school and how it’s okay to be different:

Hope you all have a good holiday in your own way.

Michelle

Why I don’t mow my lawn anymore

I used to mow my lawn at least once a week.  It was really pretty.  Then I decided that functionality is better than pretty.  Now my lawn is full of wild birds flying around looking for bugs and bees buzzing from flower to flower.  I don’t have to worry about watering it because the ground is shaded and stays fairly moist.  It has wild chamomile, plantain, and dandelion.  I give my chickens 2 big buckets full of it a day.  This fall I’ll be cutting it down and making haystacks to use for my chickens this winter.

Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

This week’s orders & Steven King

These are a few of the Suncatcher Craft Eyes orders that shipped this week:

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Follow me on Instagram to see more.

When I was out running errands yesterday, I stopped at a red light and looked over to see this:

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Yes, I was in Bangor, Maine (what Steven King calls Derry in his books).  This is a Steven King tour van that takes people around to all the famous places in his books.

Homestead-wise this week I’m playing with the vintage scythe I got to cut my lawn and field.  It’s so much fun to use.  I’m also taking extra special care of my chickens since temperatures are getting into the 90s this week.  There’s watermelon in the freezer that I’ll be giving them later as a nice cold treat.

Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

Making cream cheese & freezing eggs

My oldest son has moved out of the house to his own apartment, and I finally have the house to myself.  This comes after having my friend and her family living with me for 6 months.  I am so ready to be alone, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

This week I experimented with making my own cream cheese.  I was reading a recipe that seemed almost identical to making yogurt.  Since I make yogurt in my programmable rice cooker, how hard could it be to make cream cheese?  Not hard at all it turns out:

All of the recipes I read said that the leftover liquid would be whey.  Maybe it’s because I’m using cream from my local dairy, but the liquid I got is more like creme fraiche, which is fine with me!

On the chicken front, my oldest chickens are almost 1-1/2 years old.  That means they should be moulting soon.  When chickens moult they either slow down or stop laying altogether.  Since this is the first time these chickens will be moulting, I have no idea if they will keep laying or stop completely, or how long they will moult.  It could be a month, it could be 3 months.  That’s why I’m freezing eggs now in case there aren’t enough once they moult.  I have an herb freezing tray that I’m using to freeze raw eggs for baking.  Today I started frying eggs to freeze.  I’m flash freezing them and then putting them in freezer bags with parchment paper in between.

Suncatcher Craft Eyes updates soon!

Today’s project: Bottling kombucha!

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My very first batch of kombucha was made without a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) using my homemade apple cider vinegar, and it took about 3 weeks to do its thing.  Now that my SCOBY  is big enough, the kombucha only takes about a week to make.  I think I’ve found the perfect recipe because each bottle usually makes it’s own little SCOBY.  Those baby SCOBY are great chicken snacks.

I reuse these kombucha bottles that I’ve been saving.  One gallon of kombucha makes 7 bottles plus a little extra to keep with the SCOBY in the refrigerator between batches.  This time I added diced strawberries in most of them and a bit of minced ginger in the other.  They will sit on my counter to ferment a bit and get bubbly before going in the refrigerator.

Each batch only requires 8 organic black teabags and 1 cup of organic sugar plus the gallon of water.  Much more cost-effective than paying $4 a bottle at the grocery store.

My kombucha recipe:

1 gallon of water

8 organic black teabags

1 cup of organic sugar

Bring the water to a boil and add the teabags.  Remove from heat and steep for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.  If your SCOBY (mother) has been in the refrigerator, take it out and let it come up to room temperature.

Once the tea mixture has cooled, add it to a clean gallon-size glass jar.  Add your SCOBY and the liquid from the SCOBY container.  Cover with cheesecloth secured with a tie or rubber band.  Set it out of the way out of direct sunlight (I put mine in an open cupboard above the stove because my house is on the cool side … this way it gets a bit of heat).  Check your kombucha every few days.  You’ll know it is ready when it has a slight vinegary smell.  You can also pour a bit into a glass and taste it.  If there is no sweetness left from the sugar, it’s done.  How long you leave it is completely up to you.  You can determine how strong it is by how long you leave it to sit.

Bottle the kombucha in clean bottles.  If you want a bit of fizz, leave the bottles at room temperature until they have the amount of fizz you want.  After that they can go in the refrigerator.  I’ve kept mine easily for a couple of weeks with no problems.