{FSC Community} DIY Projects 2011

{pine paneling from my childhood room = raised garden beds}

We were so blown away by the insightful, inspiring and enthusiastic responses we got from our Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking book giveaway question–What DIY Project are you most excited to tackle this summer?– that we are posting all responses, plus our own d.i.y. dreams. I’m hoping their projects inspire creativity in your kitchen, your closets & living rooms, at your sewing machine, on your patio, through your knitting needles or in your potted containers or raised beds. -Christina

{Pop Pop at work with the paneling he’s kept for 20+ years}

Our Extremely Inspiring Readers

My DIY projects for this summer include growing vegetables and herbs in pots on my 3-season porch and re-paiting my bathroom. -Sarah H

I’m going to be doing a LOT of canning this summer. Peaches, tomatoes, pickles… I’ll be a canning machine.  -Celia, On Cardamom & Cast Iron (AMAZING GF recipes and money-saving tips and more!)

I am most excited about growing my own hops for brewing fall beer! Yum! -David & Christina, The Hoppy Garden (Follow their veggie & hops gardening ups & downs)

Oh I am so excited for Kate and for the new book! The DIY project I want to tackle this summer? Chicken coop, BABY! Woop Woop! Let’s hear it for the CHICKENS! -Paige, Canning with Kids (P.S. She has an amazing Canning Jar Chandelier DIY on the blog right now!!!!)

My house is on the market, so it’s hard to take on big DIY projects right now. However, I am going to attempt to reconcile with my black thumb and grow some herbs in pots in my kitchen this summer. -Sara

We desperately need to put some cabinets and/or shelving in our dining room. -Amy, A Little Nosh

DIY project this summer: Tearing down the 20 year old ‘fruit themed’ wallpaper in the kitchen and putting a glass tile back splash behind the stove. The steam generated from all of my recent canning is pulling all of the paper off of the walls!  -Karen

My husband and I are sharing a garden with some folks I work with…I’m SO excited to get into the soil! Lauren, The Spiced Plate (She’s got a recipe for avocado chocolate chip almond cookies on the blog right now- gluten free & vegan!)

My garden! We moved in last July, too late to start a garden last year. I’ve tried gardens in other places, with mediocre success. – Kris

I’m working on a vegetable and flower garden on my little condo patio. Not much space, but I’m going to make it work! – Rachel, Food Pearl (Um, hello… gorgeous blog with some yum-yum recipes!)

“Two new projects this summer. We are expanding our vegetable garden to include POTATOES!! Our other new project is raising chickens. We currently have 6 chicks in a box in our garage. As soon as it warms up we have an awesome moveable coop in the back yard all ready for them!” -Ann P

I’m eager to pull a repeat of last year’s fabulously successful strawberry rhubarb champagne compote! It’s been a rainy, dreary Oregon spring, and I’m ready for strawberry season to get its groove on! -Bethany from Sustainable Food for Thought (PDX Swappers just had their latest food swap- what a treasure trove of AMAZING items! check it out!)

Redecorating our sun room…new paint, curtains and upholstery, and a few new plants I think. It needs a facelift! -Nik

Lots of new projects for us. A giant garden (my husband is obsessed), composting, canning, maple syruping (already done and AMAZING!), cooking more from scratch, and having a blast with our kiddos (nothing new but worth mentioning!) -Kate

We bought a little farm in January. I am looking forward to growing enough produce and herbs to sell at the farmers markets. -Kimberly, Kimberly’s Cup (So glad you’re mom is coming to visit Kimberly! I’ve linked to her DIY Vapor Rub- awesome!)

We’re preparing to put down hardwood flooring throughout our house. We’ve already redone our kitchen, so the next step there is to paint. -Cee

WINNING COMMENT (chosen by Random.Org) Everything! I am hoping to put our house on the market this spring so in addition to the garden, this year I am tackling the hardwood floors and lots and lots of paint! -Kim

My DIY project for the summer will include drying herbs for homemade teas, canning, making jelly, and refashioning my son’s summer wardrobe from my old clothes. – Claire

I’m so eager to put my sewing skills (basic) to the test and make some awesome room accessories using Michael Miller Jam Session (brown) fabric and something coordinating for my son’s room. Thinking pillows, valance, wall hangings and maybe even applique for a shirt. We’ll see how far I get! -Colleen, Malta Mama (If you’re an Upstate NY mama, you must follow Colleen’s blog. Its a great resource!)

Aside from studying for the GRE this summer I am going to try my hand at herb gardening in my kitchen. – Kathleen

Purging and organizing ALL my closets!! -Mary

I plan on canning tomatoes for the first time. I am so, so excited! -Gina

Getting an herb garden started! 
Oh, and I need to paint my baseboards, but I’m not excited about that… -Irish Jen

lots and lots of jam! -AJ

I want to organize and create a nice oasis by my pool! Someplace for relaxing! -Kelly

Working in my first garden and learning to can! I’m so excited! -Amanda

I will be putting up as much as I can out of our garden this year! -MaryAlice

Drafting a sewing pattern! – Leah W.

I joined the Kilpatrick Family Farm CSA, so my first DIY of the season will be pickling beets and golden carrots. Thanks, Christina, for the tips and quick-pickle recipe! Also on my DIY list is to start composting. -Meredith (You’re welcome Meredith! See you on Wednesday!)

DIY Project: I have a TON I’m going to be working on, but the first one I’m going to start is making some more reusable sandwich bags out of old bags of chips, fabric, and elastic!! The 13-page tutorial is here if you’d like to try this yourself…It’s super easy and not too time consuming either! I’m just trying to save the world one plastic bag at a time. -Sarah P

I am most excited to be trying to tackle my own vegetable garden this summer. I have always wanted to do this! -Susie

I finally want to learn how to turn a heel in all the half-finished socks I’m trying to knit! And I also want to learn how to darn properly! – Suzanne, Pink Slip Jam (OMG- check out her gorgeous site & lovely concoctions for sale: Blueberry Ginger Chutney? 21st Century Mincemeat? Hello Yes!)

{Our Temporary Rainwater System}


The project I’m most excited for is building a fence at our house. It’s going to be exhausting and expensive but I’ll be so thankful when it’s done. Plus doing it ourselves will be considerably cheaper than paying someone to come in and do it. I think my husband’s most excited to build a smoker in the yard though. I fear once it is complete I may never see him again. -Erika T.

I am going to finally finish writing my novel. Canning be damned. OK, and I am going to pay more attention to my herb garden. -Dianna

I am VERY excited to be doing my first ever vegetable garden. I am hoping D and I will be able to get some vegetables to grow in our backyard (not just in pots but a real garden!) I am not much of a green thumb but we are going to do our best. -Erica G.

My project is making a backyard sandbox for my daughter, among any other homemade backyard entertainment structures I can craft, maybe a fort or a teepee?! -Alexis

This summer I plan to expand my vegetable garden to include my daughter’s favorites (which I’ve failed miserably at in previous years): watermelon and cucumbers. I also plan to can a massive amount of dill pickles, like my mom used to when I was a kid. -Leslie

DIY doesn’t come to easy to me.  I have to admit I much rather hire someone to work on projects for me and just take advantage of the lovely outcome. DIY makes me nervous and sometimes I feel like so much time, money and effort is lost if it is a failure.  This year I am looking at our DIY garden differently.  I am not looking at its failure as a waste of time or effort, but rather as a learning experience.  Last spring the entire family was really into creating a garden in our backyard and we didn’t start small. Eric constructed a very large raised bed and turned the dining room into a temporary green house.  The outcome, well…… the garden did not create the bounty we were hoping for.  After a little more research, watching the sun all summer we made some changes to the garden this year.  We are hoping for a better return on our efforts, but so far we forgot about the seeds in our little heat wave sitting out in our $40.00 portable greenhouse and looks like we may have killed the plants before they even went in the ground.  Our DIY garden needs a little more professional help.   As the girls said last year, “Don’t worry Mom, Michael (as in Michael Kilpatrick from Kilpatrick Family Farm, my girls think he is their personal famer) grows great vegtables.  We will just get them from him.”  The girls are right.  Each year I am sure we will get better and better but when it fails we have great farmers to fall back on.  -Amanda

This summer, I hope to really hone my new found love of canning things! I’m amazed at how good the veggies from last summer still taste when preserved this way!  So my goal is to really utilize this skill and see just how much of my previously unused CSA share I can “put up.” -Sarah

Charles & I bought and moved into our teeny townhome 3 weeks before Miles was born, so we’ve done almost no improvements especially with the landscaping. This spring we will (or already have semi-tackled) planting berry bushes, building raised garden beds, starting a compost pile and installing a rainwater system. In the kitchen, I’m hoping to solidify my passion for food preservation with more water-bath canning that you can shake a stick at. I’m going for the gold medal in All-Things-Tomato-Into-A-Ball-Jar-Please-And-Thank-You Olympic event. 2011 Canning Gold Baby! -Christina


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael K says:

    @ Christina- if you are looking for raspberry plants let me know- we’re about to do the annual thinning.

    1. Christina says:

      YES!!! I would love whatever you can give me 🙂 Thank you MK!

  2. Thanks so much for the great shout-out! Today’s Special: Rose City Jam (strawberries, rhubarb, & rose petals) – pretty romantic! Still working on those socks, too!

    1. Christina says:

      Strawberries, Rhubarb Rose Petals…. I want it! I need to know more about you & your goodies 🙂

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