thewheelandspindle

Quality crocheted products for home and lifestyle

How to make Farmer’s Cheese without Cheesecloth!  — March 23, 2017

How to make Farmer’s Cheese without Cheesecloth! 

My husband brought home a ton of milk the other night so after straining it all through a towel into various mason jars I decided to try my hand at making cheese the next day. 

We made our cheese with raw milk from our cow and some from one of our goats. 

What you need: 

1 gallon of milk 

2 large lemons 

Dish towel 

Cotton yarn 

A pinch of non-iodized salt. (I used sea salt) 

The first thing I did was find something that held a gallon of milk and I poured all the milk into it until I had a gallon. 


My almost-three-year old was a very willing helper. 


Here is the gallon jug full of milk. 

I poured the milk into a large pot to boil and added a pinch of salt. 


Next we cut up our lemons and squeezed their juice into a bowl. 

Make sure to occasionally stir your milk and once the little bubbles start to form around the outside, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. 


Once the lemon juice has been added, the milk will begin to curdle. Gently stir in the lemon juice and let it sit for 15 minutes. 


Set a stainless steel bowl under a knob on one of your kitchen cupboards and set your colander on top. Put your dish towel over the colander and start to ladle the cheese curds and whey into the towel. 


Once most of the whey has drained through the colander, tie the dish towel to the cupboard knob and leave the bowl underneath it to drain for another hour or two. 


Once mine had stopped dropping I squeezed out as much whey as I could while it was still tied there and let it sit for another 1/2 hour. 

I squeezed it out again and then opened up the towel on my counter. After picking off a few bits of cheese stuck to the towel and rolling it all into a ball, I had cheese! 

Store your cheese in the fridge. You can make all sorts of combinations of herbs and jams with your cheese to make a delicious spread for a party. I’m looking forward to trying a bunch of different ideas. 

Have you ever made cheese? Share a photo or tell me what extras you added to your cheese. 

Reduce your Grocery Bill by Making your own Cleaning Products — March 18, 2017

Reduce your Grocery Bill by Making your own Cleaning Products

Have you ever thought about the cost of your cleaning products that you purchase at the grocery store? Or how many unneeded and harmful chemicals are in them? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I decided to make my own cleaning products. 

This morning I gathered all the ingredients that I purchased yesterday and began to make three cleaning recipes that resulted in zero waste! I made Dishwasher detergent tabs, lemon essential oil and citrus vinegar all-purpose cleaner. 


The coat of all my ingredients was: 

Baking soda=$1.32 

White vinegar =$3.77 ($0.37 per 16 oz mason jar) 

Lemons=$2.97 

Coconut oil=$8.99 

Kosher salt=$3.29 ($0.82 per batch of detergent tabs) 

The white vinegar and kosher salt can be used to make 5-6 batches total. 


To make the dishwasher detergent tabs you need: 

1 cup kosher salt 

2 cups baking soda 

3/4 cup lemon juice (I squeezed my own lemons it takes approximately 3 lemons) 

Mix the salt and soda together in a stainless steel bowl 


and then add the lemon juice. It will fizz for about a minute. Once it has stopped fizzing, mix everything well until there are no clumps. 


Then spoon into silicone moulds or ice cube trays. Allow the detergent tabs to harden completely before you remove them (this will probably take 24 hours). 


This recipe makes roughly 30-33 dishwasher detergent tabs. 


Next, I made citrus vinegar cleaner. What you will need: 

The peels from 1 lemon (one that you used for the detergent tabs) and 1 orange. (I fed my 17 month old an orange for a snack while I made the detergent tabs) 

White vinegar 

One 16-32 oz mason jar 

Start by cutting the lemon and orange peels into quarters and throw them in the mason jar. Then pour the white vinegar into the jar until it is nearly at the top. Set aside for 1 week to let the citrus infuse the vinegar. Then strain. 


I painted my mason jars with chalk board paint and I use a white pencil crayon to write on them instead of chalk. 
The last thing I made was lemon essential oil. I used coconut oil and the last two lemon peels from the detergent tabs. But after making this, I think I will use olive oil next time because it doesn’t harden. 

What you need: 

Olive oil (or liquid coconut oil) 

2 lemon peels 

Cut the lemon peels very small and put them into a 16 oz mason jar. Add the oil and put in a dark spot. Allow Thai to sit for two months then strain through a cheese cloth. 


This diy lemon essential oil will fill 21 15ml bottles (The size that doterra sells), for only $0.42 per 15ml rather than spending $13 for each. 

So there you go, rather than spending $24.50 a month on cleaning supplies you can spend $5.90 to make your own. 

What other products would you like to see recipes for? 

12 Ways to get Started with the Zero Waste Movement — March 10, 2017

12 Ways to get Started with the Zero Waste Movement

Have you ever wondered how to start your journey to zero waste? How is it even possible? Well, there are a few simple things you can do to get started and some tips on how to replace your disposable plastic products with ones that will last and biodegrade when you are done with them.

  1. Go find all your reusable grocery bags. (I know you have some hidden away somewhere….everyone does)
  2. Don’t throw out your plastic bags right away. The point of zero waste is not to make your house a zero waste zone right away and just throw out everything disposable, but to start by using up the disposable items you already have (cling wrap, ziplock bags, plastic grocery bags, plastic toothbrushes, individually packaged dishwasher detergent etc.) Just use it all up and instead of replacing it with what you would normally buy, look for a sustainable option. (the best part is, sustainable options are almost always cheaper, especially in the long run.)
  3. I don’t know about you, but when I started to live more sustainably, I didn’t have the money to go out and purchase a bunch of new glass and metal containers for food, laundry detergent and shampoo. I had some mason jars and a few nice glass jars. If you want to get rid of all your plastic tupperware and make money at the same time, host a yard sale (or garage sale if it is still cold out) and sell all the plastic items you no longer want to make money for the sustainable items that you do want. You kill two birds with one stone.
  4. Start making things for yourself instead of buying them. (toothpaste, laundry soap, spaghetti sauce, pasta noodles, reusable bags, dish detergent, shampoo bars, deodorant, baby powder and household cleaners) There are hundreds of recipes for each of these items on Pinterest. I want to start with laundry soap as soon as my last bit of store-bought detergent is used up.
  5. Plant a garden. This is the best way to get your own fresh produce but if you don’t have the space, farmers markets are the next best option. Grocery stores put plastic zip ties on lettuce and stickers on fruit so this contributes to your waste.
  6. Start composting. Find a metal container with a lid to keep your compost in. About once a week you can empty it into a large compost bin in your yard. My husband built ours out of scrap wood from renovating our house, but you can just dig a hole and start putting it in there or purchase a compost bin from a garden store.
  7. Install a wood stove. This is the best alternative heat source because it does not rely on fossil fuels or electricity (and with the way electricity rates are soaring in Canada, you might have to find a replacement.) This works best if you live where wood is cheap (or free if you have your own bush). It does release carbon dioxide into the air but carbon dioxide does the ozone layer much less harm than its cousin carbon monoxide which is what is produced from natural gas and trees are a sustainable resource. If you don’t feel good about cutting down trees (even dead ones) just think about how the forest also needs to regenerate. If all the trees are large old ones, they will eventually perish and younger ones will need to take their place, but in large old forests, there is not enough sunlight for the small trees near the ground to grow. You are doing the forest a favour by cutting down a few trees to heat your home each year.
  8. Purchase in bulk. If you have nowhere to buy unpackaged bulk food items that you can store in your own containers, check out the largest grocery store near you. They often have a bulk food section which, though small, is better than nothing. Look for foods that come in paper or cardboard packaging rather than plastic and if you can’t find an alternative to a plastic wrapped item, buy it in larger amounts because that will use less packaging. We use the junk mail and cardboard packaging from the products we buy to start fires in our wood stove.
  9. Unsubscribe from junk mail. This will create less waste if you have no fire in which to burn your junk mail.
  10. Stop accepting disposable packaging from anyone. Bring your own container to restraints to bring home your leftovers. If you go to a family reunion where you know people will give you gifts or leftovers, bring your own reusable bags and containers.
  11. Tell other people about the zero waste movement. They will think you’re crazy at first but eventually the idea will rub off on them.
  12. Go to your library and check out books on sustainability, homesteading and zero waste. a few of my favourites are: Plastic Free by Beth Terry, Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (She has also done several TED talks on living zero waste) and Homesteading  in the 21st Century by George Nash and Jane Waterman. You can also check out podcasts right from your phone. I have a few favourites: Cohesive Home Podcast and The Sustainable Living Podcast.

So get started today and don’t push it off. I made the decision one night and I have not regretted a moment of it. Do you have a favourite book or podcast pertaining to zero waste, sustainability or homesteading?

Going Plastic Free — March 7, 2017

Going Plastic Free

Week one of our journey to zero waste went really well. I sewed a bunch of produce bags, slowly started getting rid of plastic items in my kitchen, started using up my stash of plastic bags to line my garbage pails, cleaned out my spice drawer and actually made my first trip to the grocery store as a zero waste shopper!

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Here are a few of my most used spices in little glass jars. The jars do have plastic lids but it is hard to find all-glass jars for your spices. In the future when I purchase more spices, I want to do so in the bulk section of the grocery store and store them in small canvas bags until the jars need to be refilled

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Here is a photo of my metal fruit basket. I bought this at the dollar store (it was originally being sold as a hanging plant basket). I just bought my fruit at the grocery store this time, but as summer grows closer and the snow starts to melt, I would like to shop for all my fruits and veggies at the mennonite farmer’s market down the road as well as use the veggies that I plant in my garden this year.

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Here are my glass/metal containers for pasta and baking needs. I do have a pasta maker for my kitchen aid that I have never used but I plan on making my own pasta from here on. So this is the last of the grocery store wanna-be pasta.

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These are my babies. My lettuce is regrowing from it’s roots and will be transplanted in the garden this spring. The other glass jar contains apple and lemon seeds that i am trying to start inside a wet kleenex (since we ran out of paper towel, I have not bought any more!). I hope to plant these future fruit trees at the back of my backyard this summer.

Lastly, if you are interested in starting your zero waste journey, these are two really great books to check out! Although, I’m going to state right now that I enjoy meat and I have no plans to become a vegan. We raise and butcher our own pigs, cows and chickens, and don’t worry, they are humanely raised as well humanely killed. We don’t waste any part of the animals and we do respect them for the food they provide for us. I won’t post pictures of that process (As interesting as it is, and a good biology lesson for my kids) because people get very heated about the process even when it is done correctly.

Comment below what you think your biggest struggle would be in going zero waste. Maybe we can up with a helpful solution. But in the end, remember that the goal is to reduce your waste, not everyone can live zero waste all the time. It’s alright to keep using disposable diapers if you hate the idea of washing reusable ones.

The start of my journey to zero waste — February 28, 2017

The start of my journey to zero waste

This past week I made the decision to go zero waste/sustainable living. Obviously with two little kids and a farming husband, it will be a bit difficult (especially since I just cannot give up disposable diapers. They’re my kryponite.)

We want to start with getting rid of plastic in our kitchen. No more cling wrap, no more Tupperware, no more ziploc bags. We are using up the last of our cling wrap and sandwich bags and once we have our annual yard sale in June we will be getting rid of our plastic containers and purchasing reusable silicone sandwich bags, metal lunch containers and glass containers.  We have some now that we are using but we would like to have a few more. 

We also got rid of our tassimo which uses a ridiculous amount of plastic and cannot even be fixed when it breaks. We have a French press for when we make coffee for the two of us and a stainless steel coffee maker for when we have people over (and our family are huge coffee drinkers!) I keep my coffee in the freezer and pour it into this ceramic container from dear nana who passed away last spring. Our sugar goes into the glass container beside it (because my husband cannot live without sugar). 


We don’t have a bulk barn anywhere near us so we have to make due with what we can find at the grocery store and online. For fancy spices, we buy epicure because they taste amazing and they come in some pretty cute reusable glass containers. 


I have begun to use up our hord of plastic bags as garbage can liners for the bathroom and bedrooms and then we will start composting more and buying items with less to no packaging. When we moved into our house there was no recycling bin and even after being here for a year we still haven’t gone to get one. We will be going very soon to the municipal office to find one! 

We are always forgetting our reusable grocery bags at home when we go grocery shopping but we need to get into the habit of bringing them along. I also started sewing drawstring bags for produce and baking goods etc. You can even bring along your glass containers with you to the store. If you weigh them all ahead of time you can write the tare on the bottom in permanent marker so the cashier knows how much weight to subtract when they weigh your flour and sugar etc. To make my drawstring bags I rooted through my scrap fabric box and found some old curtains that I cut into squares with the part where the curtain rod goes through at the top so I could lace my drawstring through there. It was super simple (especially since I don’t have a sewing machine). 


My next big step is sourcing sustainable quality fibres for my business. If I am doing sustainable living at home I want it to extend to my business as well to really show everyone my goals and why I have them. 

If you are interested in sustainable living and how to do it when you work from home or if you have little kids running around like I do, subscribe to my blog and follow along our journey with us. We would love to hear about how you are making the move to live sustainably. 

Maple Syrup Season — February 16, 2017

Maple Syrup Season

Well, it’s almost that time of year again; the time of year where the farmers with hard sugar maples start getting ready to tap their trees. Every year my husband and I and the kids go to his grandparent’s farm (only 30 seconds down the road from us) and we spend the month of March tapping trees, collecting sap in buckets and lugging them back to the sugar shack on the four wheelers. We can usually take off 1-2 batches a day depending on how many people are there to help.

My grandfather-in-law plies everyone with a concoction of maple wine and hot boiled syrup every few minutes and my grandmother-in-law is always busy cooking up pancakes and sausages on the propane stove for everyone to eat. Basically, the only thing we eat in March is sausage or bacon with a side of pancakes and doused in maple syrup. (The experts say that maple syrup actually has more antioxidants than blueberries so I’m not too worried about a rounded diet for the kids for that month and I’ve got to say, we’ve never been sick in March).

This afternoon my husband and my two-and-a-half year-old took off with great-grandpa to the mennonite store that sells maple syrup supplies. We need a new filter and some extra buckets for this Saturday because the sap is coming early this year! Check out some of our photos from previous years and keep your eyes out for the ones yet to come!

Video Course Launch! — February 12, 2017

Video Course Launch!

I have officially filmed and edited the first video for my Beginner’s Guide to Crocheting Video Course! I had a pretty serious mom bun going on in the video but that’s just my life right now. I’m going to upload the video shortly so you can all gather your supplies together for the video course that begins on March 1! I will be hosting a live Q&A that day based on the info from the first video. You can ask me all your burning questions about crocheting, how I started my Etsy shop, etc. I am an open book!

Here is the link to the video: https://youtu.be/yXnM8qdOCFw I can’t wait to get to know all of you and chat with you about my passion: crocheting. I hope you are all becoming as excited as I am!

Finding the Balance — February 11, 2017

Finding the Balance

It’s a hard thing, running a business while two toddlers run around getting into everything. Just last night I was working on some marketing when I noticed it had become very quiet, so I went to investigate. The two of them had found chairs and dragged them into my bedroom to reach the top of my dresser and get my nail polish. Somehow toddlers can open the tightest screwed on lids (Kind of like husbands) and they had started painting their own fingernails (and when I say fingernails I mean, the nail, the cuticle, the finger, the hand, the arm and the bed). So much for marketing.

It is a fine balance between house work, crocheting, marketing, running my Etsy shop, feeding the children, bathing the children, spending time with my husband and still finding a tiny corner of “me time.” Me time is usually locking the door to shower alone while the kids watch Magic School Bus with goldfish crackers or taking 1/2 an hour of business time to read a chapter of my book. With another baby on the way, I don’t know what this will look like come August. But I do know that I need to accept it with grace and know that there will again be a season for my business.

Right now I’m working on starting a free video course on crocheting for beginners. I’m really excited for it! I have another awesome Etsy Shop working with me. Here is a link to the shop https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SpindleandRose?ref=l2-shopheader-name She is giving my video customers a coupon code for 10% off her fabrics! One of the projects we will be learning to make is a crochet hook holder/makeup brush holder and to make it, you need to have a bit of fabric to line it with. I will soon be posting an introductory video with a list of items you need to take the course and in this video I will list the coupon code! Hit subscribe on my blog if you want to be added to email list for the video course!

I can’t wait to get to know you and show you how easy it can be to crochet some awesome things!

My Favourite Fibre Book — February 10, 2017

My Favourite Fibre Book

If ever I had a favourite book, this is it.9781590308233.png

It is the story of a family that purchased a farm and began raising sheep without ever having farmed before in their lives. The book is told as a year-in-the-life, divided up by the four seasons. It was so informative and interesting with lots of fun photos and knitting patterns.

It took me two days to read this entire book. If you are interesting in purchasing it for yourselves, you can find it at this website: http://www.foxfirefiber.com/book.html You can even ask for an autographed copy!

If you are thinking of getting into fibre and all it entails, this book will definitely whet your appetite.

Happy Reading!

How I Became a Crafter — February 1, 2017

How I Became a Crafter

My mother is a very type-A personality. She kept up straight A’s in school (other than PE). She is very organized and she stays-on-task in nearly everything she does. My father was a creative. He played dungeons and dragons, He always listened to music while he worked, He created his own Bible Study and eventually started his own business doing locates. (While you may not think locating is an especially creative job, he was known in his field for the perfect locate maps he drew.) I am their first-born. I am both type-A and creative. I can be both organized and extremely messy. I love organization, I love IKEA, I made the Dean’s list in college and yet I also love creative chaos, bullet journaling and being a small business owner (of my own design).

When I was little (maybe 6 or 7), my mom taught me how to knit. I started off small with scarves and dishcloths and eventually forgot all about it. My mom would crochet and knit occasionally but I never paid much attention until she bought me a corker when I was 12. I paid for my own yarn and corked literally hundreds of feet. It was my childhood goal to make it in the Guiness World Record book for longest strand of corked yarn. For those of you have no idea what this is check out this link: https://georginagiles.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/tutorial-french-knitting/

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were overjoyed and one of the first things I made for my baby was a crocheted blanket. Now, I had no idea how to crochet and no crocheting equipment so I took a trip to the store and bought a 10 mm hook and some chunky baby yarn. I looked up video after video on YouTube and finally taught myself how to crochet a basic baby blanket with the single and double crochet stitches. I probably undid the project a dozen times before I finally got the edges straight and the look I wanted.

After my baby girl was born, I needed a creative outlet, something to do during her naps and in the evening when I was alone and my farmer husband was working long hours. I met a wonderful and very creative lady who has an Etsy shop where she sells her beautiful handmade dolls. This is her Facebook Business page: https://www.facebook.com/humblehome/ I became curious about Etsy and what exactly people sold on this platform so I did a lot of browsing and then I decided that maybe I could have an Etsy shop too. After a lot of thinking and planning, I decided to sell my crocheted creations. I taught myself more stitches, I learned about yarn types and hooks and how to read patterns. I spent hours searching Pinterest for ideas, which I would then modify to suit my  needs.

2017 is the 4th year I will have my shop running on Etsy. I’ve made both online sales, offline sales and craft show sales. If you are interested in starting up a shop on Etsy, I will be starting a FREE course on this topic sometime this spring/summer on my YouTube channel. Email me: thewheelandspindle@gmail.com to reserve a spot and receive updates and more freebies!

Now go out and get crafting!