Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filter

Countertop reverse osmosis filter

Since we plan to be moving in the (hopefully) near future, we didn’t want to invest too much in a reverse osmosis filter for this house. That is something we will definitely do in our new home, but for now we found a portable countertop reverse osmosis filter that we can use both in this home and wherever we are living while the new house is being built. This particular filter removes chlorine and fluoride from the water along with a variety of other nasties our city water may contain. We have it installed at our laundry sink for now and plan to keep the purified water in glass pitchers. We are very happy with this purchase so far!


[EDITED 12/28/2014:  After a few weeks the water from this filter developed a fishy smell.  We DO NOT RECOMMEND this filter… great idea, but it just doesn’t work.]

Water Damage Update

Water Damage UpdateWater Damage Update







We decided that since insurance was not going to cover the water damage that occurred out at the other house we should add two bedrooms to help offset the cost. Those are in now, and most of the drywall is done (mostly by us since the contractor disappeared halfway through). The hardwood is in as well. We still have the trimwork, painting, and kitchen to install along with the carpeting. Despite having to fire our first contractor, we are almost there!

Off Grid Home Design 1

We have been thinking of the design for our next house and how we would like to be able to have things run there as self-sufficiently and sustainably as possible.  This family has taken off-grid living to another level.  Their home is absolutely beautiful!  While I am not generally a fan of modern architecture, I love the way that they married the modern elements of the house with the barnwood and the traditional stone structure.  This is modernism done well.  Beautiful, just beautiful.  As an architect in my “other” life, I give them many compliments.  They also inspire me to get my act together so we can create our own country oasis sooner, rather than later.

What To Do With Fragrance Discards?

All Natural Home FragrancesWe have been doing a great deal of fragrance testing for our upcoming natural perfumes, and as such had a bunch of duds and discards that didn’t quite make the cut.  I decided to put these in an oil burner instead of just tossing them.  With every scent known to the natural world burning all at once, it isn’t exactly the aroma I would choose, but it isn’t as horrible as I would have thought either.  Smells a bit like church incense, probably due to the frankincense.  This does get me thinking though, that we should add a line of home fragrance products to our product family!

Happy Spring!

Water DamageSpringtime brings with it warmth and flowers, but it can also bring bursting pipes and floods.  Such is the case with a family member’s home (pictured left).  Needless to say, everyone in our family has been quite busy trying to help put humpty dumpty back together.

A word of caution:  for anyone with American Family Insurance, be sure to have them fully explain to you all the things that they don’t cover (like bursting pipes), preferably in writing and in layman’s terms, so that you aren’t stuck footing the entire repair bill yourself.  Shutting off the water if you plan to be away for more than a few days would also be wise.

Enterprise Fruit Press

enterprise fruit pressWhile the “before” isn’t exactly gorgeous, here is the antique Enterprise press that I am restoring. I hope to use this as a fruit press, perhaps to make wine with sometime in the future! This one is a 6qt size. I did need to buy a few replacement parts for this, but hope to have it fully functional and re-seasoned very soon!

There is a fair amount of rust, but that should be fixable with a fair amount of elbow grease and a wire brush (perhaps some Whink rust remover as well to make my life easier).

image    Yikes!

How To Make An Olive Oil Candle

Ball Jar CandleOlive oil lamps are a beautiful alternative to a candle and can be quite easy to make.

While you can buy premade olive oil candle wicks, they can be somewhat expensive and it is really quite easy to make them yourself with materials you might already have on hand.

olive oil lamp
Thick glass container, such as a ball jar
Long piece of wire
Wick (can be made of string or any thin piece of cloth)
Olive Oil

Shape the wire into a circle with the pliers, bend one end upward toward the center and form a loop to hold the wick.

Olive oil candle tutorial
Slide the wick through the loop and wrap downward around the wire. The thicker the wick, the larger the flame you will have.

Place the wire and wick assembly into the jar and fill with olive oil until just below the bottom of the loop. Soak the wick completely with the oil and allow the oil to absorb into the fabric before lighting it.

Oil candles are a great alternative in an emergency if you don’t have any wax candles available.  They are also great for everyday use if you love candles, but want a more eco-friendly source of ambience.  Using a high quality olive oil burns with no noticeable scent or smoke and can last for quite a long time.

Remember to always use candles with caution and never leave burning unattended.