DIY

How To Master Campfire Cooking

As summer winds down and our thoughts turn to fall, we can't seem to let go of the idea of cooking over an open flame. Even when our grille is safely packed away in the coming months, we'll still trudge outside with a thermos full of hot coffee and settle in for a night of fireside cooking. The only problem is that without a proper campfire cooking set up, you're pretty limited in your culinary options beyond marshmallows and hotdogs on sticks. Lately, we've been dreaming of cooking cowboy style: baking bread in a Dutch oven or simmering a pot of hearty stew over an open flame. Cue this DIY Campfire Cooking Station. We love this DIY because it's totally customizable for whatever you're cooking--as long as it has handles, you can hang it from the s-hooks. Dinner just got more fun!

Things You'll Need

-Three Pieces of 4' Rebar 

-11' of Thin Chain

-Small U-Bolt Clamp

-Two S-Hooks

-Pot w/Two Side Handles 

Directions

Position the tops of the poles so that they are splayed out with the tops touching as if forming a tripod. Position over an unlit fire. 

Unscrew the u-bar clamp and place the clamp over the top of the three pieces of rebar. Secure them in place by tightening the screw.

Take one end of the chain and loop the first link with the s-hook.

Loop the other end of the s-hook through the handle of the pot so that the s-hook is linking the chain and the pot. To do this, chain must be held very taught. 

Repeat on the other side so that both handles of the pot are connected to an s-hook.Gather up the slack in the middle and position the pot in the middle of the poles

Wrap the excess chain around the top of the pole "tripod."

Light fire and enjoy!

Via Poppytalk by Emily + Erick of Hello Home Shoppe

DIY Minimalist Clay Terrariums

Whites, straight lines and simple designs. These little, yet bold, clay terrariums add a touch of green to your home with a hint of Scandinavian design. The natural colour of the clay and almost childish lines work wonders without trying too hard (literally). An easy DIY for upcoming rainy fall Sundays. 

You will need:
- Knife
- Oven-bake clay
- Rolling pin
- Non-stick baking paper
- Ruler (optional)
- House template printed and cut out (optional). Click here to download the templates I used.
- Smoothing tool (or something with a long handle that can smooth the clay out)

Step 1.

Roll out your oven-bake clay on a piece of baking paper until it’s approximately approx. 1/8″ thick or a bit more.

Step 2.

If you are going to use a template, download it here, print it out onto cardboard and cut around it. Lay the pieces onto the clay and use the knife to carefully cut around the shapes.

Step3.

Once you have all the pieces cut out, take the base piece and press the two side pieces onto the ends. We want to make the pot watertight, so take a small piece of extra clay and roll it into a fairly thin snake shape. Place the ‘snake’ on the inside join (where the side meets the base). Using the smoothing tool, squash part of the ‘snake’ into the base of the pot and smooth it out. Then do the same to the top of the ‘snake’. I’ve tried to demonstrate in the photos above. Do the same to both sides.

Step 4.
Once both inside joins are sealed, carefully turn the pot over and smooth over the joins on the bottom of the pot.

Step 5.
Add each side of the house to the base structure (one at a time), and using the same ‘snake’ technique, seal all the joins. Keep in mind, it will depend on how thick your pieces are as to whether you will have some overhang (ie. the base structure is slightly narrower than the house pieces). I designed mine to be this way, however you can make adjustments as you go until it looks how you like it. Don’t forget to smooth out all the outside joins. As you’re smoothing out the joints, be sure to put one hand on the other side to where you’re working as support, so the clay isn’t warped/damaged from pushing on it.

Step 6.
Once you’re sure that all the joins and cracks have been sealed, bake your pot using the instructions on the packet. Keep an eye on it in the oven to make sure that it’s keeping its shape.

Step 7.
Once the pot is cooled, check that it’s sealed by filling it with water. Then go ahead and plant into your pot!

Shared by Say Yes via Claire of Fellow Fellow.

Why Not Grow Your Own Hops?

Atelier le Balto | Kunstwerke Hop Garden, Berlin 

Atelier le Balto | Kunstwerke Hop Garden, Berlin 

Let's face it: If you love craft beer chances are you fantasize about brewing your own. Luckily, it's not that hard. And growing your hops is even easier.

First thing? Buy hop rhizomes. Rhizomes are pieces of a hope plant that sprout into a new plant. Rhizomes are available early in the spring, when hop farmers dig them up and sell them to suppliers. You can order them online or check with your local brewer or specialty garden store. Like its relative (cannabis) you only get actually hop production from the female plant, which sprout cones, so if you're growing from seed be warned of the 50/50 chance you'll have nothing to brew your beer with.

Choose a place to plant the hops, which are best planted late spring, after the last frost. Scout out an area that gets the most sunlight per day (6-8 hours). In addition to sun, hops need just two other things to thrive: 

Plenty of vertical space. Hops grow on bines that stretch 10-25 feet or longer into the air. To grow you will need a trellis; be creative, as long as it's vertical, your hops will grow. Think, the taller, the more your plant can produce and expand. You can lean a tall trellis against the roof. If you'd rather not use your roof to prop up the bines, the trellis can instead be propped against a pole or another structure close to the garden - anything that the hops can wind on around and upwards. 

Well-drained soil; if you often see water standing over an area after a heavy rain, that means the soil there doesn't drain well.

Remember, you don't need to own a farm to grow hops, even two 6-8 foot plants will be able to produce enough for at home small batch beer production - use your garden, deck or patio (or borrow a friends garden).

Photo by Nicole Young

Photo by Nicole Young

Be creative; Your hop-growing trellis can be almost anything vertical. 

Be creative; Your hop-growing trellis can be almost anything vertical. 

To plant, first get the planting bed ready. Remove stones, sticks etc from your area and pull out any weeds. Fertilize the soil by raking in some manure, bone meal, blood meal or compost tea. These help plants grow healthy and strong by enriching soil with nutrients it lacks.

Make sure the soil is loose and fertilized to a depth of at least one foot. Now, set up your . Dig a four-inch hole spaced 3ft apart and plant the hops (rhizomes) horizontally with the root side downwards. When the hops begin to emerge, they need to be 'trained' around the trellis you are using to keep them vertical. This can be done when the plants are about 6 inches in height; gently wrap the plant around the base, it will take care of the rest.

Don't expect much more than a few ounces in the first year. In year two however, you'll be rewarded with half a pound - two pounds worth of cones. 

To harvest (towards late summer, early fall) give your cones a squeeze. You'll know they're ready if they give slightly. They'll have a paper-like feel and may be lighter in colour or slightly growing. Pick your hops, and leave the bines where they are. Some sap will drain down the plant and into the soil; and your plant will be ready for next summer's growing season. 

Dry your hops. It helps if you have a food dehydrator. Set at 110F and let dry until about 20% of it's 'wet' weight. You can alternatively set your oven on the lowest temperature (but this will require hours of monitoring) or set them outside out of direct sunlight for a couple of days. Move them around every 6 hours or so for even drying. When you split the cone it should be dry to the touch, with the petals breaking off easily. Now, they're ready for use. Your dried hops can be stored in the freezer until ready for use. Get brewing!



Iced Coffee Cubes

With spring comes iced lattes. Simple: Good coffee, fresh milk and ice cubes. But, if you don't gulp it down fast, you're left with one of the worst things possible - Diluted, watered down coffee. If you're anything like us, a good cup of coffee, whether hot or cold, is key to starting your day off right.

To remedy this situation? Coffee Ice Cubes. How:

Photo by Kirantarun 

Photo by Kirantarun 

Brew your favourite cup of coffee (we use the Aeropress for fast, quality espresso - find it here). Add in any flavourings (vanilla extract or coffee liquor, caramel etc.), as well as some sugar (if desired). Mix and let cool to room temperature. Pour your coffee into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. 

Photo by Kirantarun 

Photo by Kirantarun 

Next morning build your iced latte: Coffee Cubes topped with your favourite organic milk or cream.

Photo by Kirantarun 

Photo by Kirantarun 

Recipe inspired from Kirantarun 

Shade-Tolerant Small Space Herbs

 
Shade Tolerant Small Space Herbs
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Small space, or apartment living doesn't mean you can't grow fresh, organic herbs indoors. Many herbs, contrary to popular belief, require more shade than sunlight to grow and need relatively little space to grow in. The soft, 'leafy' herbs like chives, parsley, mint, cilantro, tarragon, oregano, and lemon balm can do quite well in slightly shadier spots (be cautious of basil and dill, they are soft-leaved but require full sun). All you need is a window ledge, or spot on the counter, floor, table - anywhere you can consider potting up a few plants. If done right, they add a beautiful aesthetic to your living space. 

Shade Tolerant Small Space Herbs
Shade Tolerant Small Space Herbs

Depending on your wood-working skills, you can choose to make, purchase or repurpose almost any container to plant in, simply drill in drainage holes if it does not already have them. Small rocks in the bottom of your planter are generally a good idea to prevent the soil from compacting and clogging up drainage holes. 

One planter (apx 4 inches wide by 20 inches) makes an ideal micro-garden. This size planter can host 4 different herbs. The plus side? Herbs are meant to be eaten, so harvest often. You can either start your herbs from organic seeds, or buy them pre-started from local garden stores.

Photography by Erin Boyle