Author Archives: Taylor-Made Homestead

About Taylor-Made Homestead

Taylor-Made Homestead is located in Northeast Texas. This blog reflects our desire to live gently on the land - gardening, home cooking, food preservation, solar cooking, saving money, etc.

Homestead Hack: Reusing Potato Bags In The Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

I.  Hate.  Plastic.  Now in our area of NE Texas, plastic bags are not recyclable.  Actually from what I hear, even much of the plastic bags that are sent for recycling end up int he landfill anyway.  There’s just not enough demand for the recycled material from plastic bags. I personally think recycling is only a tool, not the answer anyway. To me, the answer is to eliminate as much waste as possible in the first place.

Let’s take a bag of potatoes for example.  Buying individual potatoes is the way to go for environmental reasons of course.  But our tiny budget and the limited shopping avenues we have available out here in the boonies means we have to take what we can get.  Sometimes that involves a bag of potatoes.  Now that bag is purposely made with holes to allow the potatoes to breathe. So I can’t even reuse them for dividing servings of Cook-Once, Eat-Twice entrees for the freezer.  But when they’re empty they still don’t go to the trash.  Nope, I’ve got another use for them.  You know my battle cry: Use Whatcha Got!

Homestead Hack: Rusing Plastic Bags In The Garden! Sometimes we buy a bag of potatoes. I've got another use for the bag. My battle cry: Use Whatcha Got! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Make A Raised Planter Using A Small Tire

by Tammy Taylor~

A few months ago RancherMan & I joined my parents for a quick dinner at a local restaurant.  On the sidewalk outside the restaurant was a cute planter.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like a small, thick tire that was painted & planted.  RancherMan said it was probably a riding lawn mower or golf cart tire.  I loved it!  Heck you always wonder what to do with an old tire anyway.  And their disposal is always an issue.  Plus I often worry that planters that you buy just can’t hold up to the rough Texas weather year after year.

These repurposed-tire planters seemed to be the best of both worlds – pretty, very durable and using something previously wasted.  I decided to give it a try.  But I didn’t have an old lawn mower tire and I really didn’t want to buy a new one.  It seems like such a waste of resources to buy a perfectly good usable tire & paint it up!

A cute nearly indestructible planter that can endure year after year in the challenging Texas weather. A repurposed tire to the rescue! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

by Tammy Taylor~

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I’d never heard of plastic-Free July before, but I’m willing to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate as much extra plastic from our lives as possible.  Now I hate plastic and I shun it every day anyway.  But for me, it’s all about balance.  If I stumble I don’t obsess about it, life’s just too short.  But I’m usually pretty successful in eliminating lots of plastic with super-easy changes.  Come see ways I’ve been able to stop lots of plastic from coming into our home.  Maybe you can pick up a few tips.  We’d love to hear your tips too, be sure to share in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Repurposing An Empty Coffee Canister: Dried Herbs

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we love our coffee.  We prefer Folgers to other brands of coffee.  Although I hate that it’s sold in plastic, at least the plastic canisters are convenient.  I’ve used them for simplifying Garden Weeding Chores.  And we’ve stored chicken feed and dog food in them too.  I’ve Painted Canisters for a cute planter for our back porch. (and also a cute way to share plants with friends).  And I even FINALLY figured out how to Remove The Print from canisters so I can use them for cute decorative pieces in my kitchen (more on that later).  But since this canister is food-grade plastic, I’m able to do even more with it.  I can store large quantities of dried herbs in them.

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How To Repurpose A Canning Jar For Rustic Flower Vase

by Tammy Taylor~

Most of the decor in our home is rustic country themed.  Although I’m not a minimalist, I really enjoy our living space to be simple and uncluttered, uncomplicated.  And since most of my actions are done with the environment in mind, I love to use items for more than one purpose.  Y’all know my battle cry: “Use Whatcha Got!”

One day RancherMan & I enjoyed a little exploring time in an area on our property where previous homesteaders took their ‘trash’ decades ago.  I love to catch a little glimpse into the past when I see what those homesteaders long ago discarded.  Several glass jars and a few household items have withstood the ravages of time.  I found some intact canning jars and of course I’ll never use them for food preservation.  But I love bringing parts of those past lives into our home. Come see how I used them!

Using old canning jars I found, I repurposed a canning jar to make an adorable rustic country flower vase.  I love it, and it's so easy to do!  #TaylorMadeHomestead

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GO GREEN – Compostable Utensils & Wooden Plates!

by Tammy Taylor~

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Did y’all know there’s such a thing as ‘Plastic-Free July’? Me neither! But you know I hate plastic so I’m loving anything that has to do with eliminating more of it.  And it’s perfect timing since recent buying decisions had me looking for disposable utensils.

Wait a minute, WHAT Tammy??!  I thought you hated disposable things!

Yes, you’re correct… But we were hosting an outdoor family reunion I didn’t want my good flatware going outside & being lost or thrown away accidentally.  And you KNOW I’m not gonna use anything plastic!  So I went online searching for options.  I was intrigued to find compostable forks, knives and spoons.  There are many manufacturers out there but PerfectWare utensils by Perfect Stix were actually WAXED.  I knew right then & there that I’d be buying those!

Compostable Waxed Flatware? YES! These waxed utensils are inexpensive and fully compostable. Used for backyard BBQ's & weddings! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homemade Cold-Process Soap: Morning Motivation MINT!

by Tammy Taylor~

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I was recently asked to give a talk to a delightful women’s group about the procedures of homemade cold-process soap.  Of course there’s no way for me to actually make the soap as part of the presentation.  Not only would mixing lye not be wise in an unknown setting but start to finish it takes about 2 hours to make the soap.  (although once the lye & oils are combined it comes together in only about 20 minutes)  What??!  You don’t think I could be entertaining enough to engage a group of strangers for 2 whole hours??  LOL

So RancherMan & I decided to make the soap in advance.  That way the soap could cure for 6 weeks before the presentation.  We would be able to send everyone home with a sample of the finished soap all ready to use.  But what soap shall we make??  After pondering a bit I decided to put that rambunctious mint to good use and make a mint-scented soap.  I think I’ll call it “Morning-Motivation Mint”!  Come see how we did it.

This is a very easy recipe for a good homemade cold process soap. Morning-Motivation Mint Cold-Process Soap - Refreshing! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Vegetable Garden Update: July

by Tammy Taylor~

Whelp, we made it to July, y’all!  As is typical, it’s feast or famine with the rain.  Although much rain has fallen in the area it always seemed to miss us.  But then?  Oh then my friends, the rain fell!  We got almost 3 glorious inches while we were away visiting relatives.  The garden responded with a hearty rebound.  Now I know here in NE Texas the rain taps will typically turn off about now and will stay off for the rest of the summer.  So we may get a little ole 1/4″ inch or so every now & then, but we can count on manually irrigating the garden from here on out.  But let’s stroll through the garden and see how it’s doing, shall we?

NE Texas Zone 8 Garden. Summer is here, y'all. July promises to be hot & dry here in NE Texas. But the garden has provided quite nicely. Come check it out! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Using My Handmade Basket When Traveling

by Tammy Taylor~

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I wrote recently about a basket.  A handmade basket.  A beautiful basket.  MY basket.  You see, I’d wanted an open-top basket for a long time and I was really trying to find one at a thrift store.  Not only would it be less expensive but I wanted it to be used instead of new.  I always prefer to buy used whenever possible.  It’s just an environmental thing for me.

But for months I was patient and searched for one.  Alas, a suitable basket was nowhere to be found.  Then one fateful day as RancherMan & I were strolling through an outdoor fair I saw her.  Oh she was a beauty!  A handmade woven basket with leather handles.  Deep sage greens and vibrant pink accents.  “How much?” I timidly asked.  “Forty Dollars” came the reply.

Wow.  Forty dollars?  That’s more than I was planning on spending.  But oh how I loved her!  And it was certainly worth that much, having been sturdily made.  And I love to support artists whenever possible.  So I bought that beautiful basket with the bright pink accents, hoping I’d use it as much as I thought I would.  And I’m pleased to say I have!

Handmade Basket Used When Traveling. I love my handmade basket but will I use it as much as I think I would? Recently we took a traveling day-trip & it was used once again #TaylorMadeHomestead

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