My sister, Kirstin, is back on the podcast for this episode. We do a little reflecting on this strange year of 2020 and then talk about focusing on what we can do—at home. Listen to the end for directions on how to make a simple ornament to brighten up the holiday season. All you need is an orange, a cinnamon stick, a sprig of rosemary, something red, like a cranberry, and some twine or thread to hold it all together.
Kirstin is Kate’s youngest sister. She lives on a farm in rural Minnesota about three hours from where we grew up. Her time is spent caring for her husband, who is a stroke survivor, raising chickens, gardening, and restoring the old farmhouse, its contents, and outbuildings including a classic barn.
She joined Kate in the first podcast episodes back in 2018. Our conversations cover a wide range of topics and are peppered with Kirstin’s wit and wisdom, including things she’s learned in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).
“I have been really reflecting on what it is that I can do, rather than what I cannot do. . . .
So staying home is this wonderful opportunity to look around my space and my environment, and see how I can be productive. . . .”
– Kirstin Jacques
- cleaning the house
- cleaning out under the appliances
- painting the house
- restoring furniture
- making things from things on hand (available at home)
“It’s not really lashing out at normalcy but it just felt really good to do something just for me, and that was inspiring to me. . . I just don’t care for colors that don’t lift me. . . It’s not a restoration. It’s a transformation.
I so, so enjoy this other level of quarantine living, of making do with what you have and realizing that what you have is plenty. And we don’t have to go out and see if we can get happier by buying more stuff. . . It’s really been lovely to think about the things that we can do without and . . . environmentally it’s so important to just restore what we have.
I’m doing more homespun-y make do, or do without, kind of stuff. . . . using what I have.”
- a blank slate – starting over with something that is clear or empty
- a new skin – a new coat of paint
- thrift shopping – buying things second-hand (used clothing, furniture, etc.)
- mending – repairing socks or other pieces of clothing
- visible mending – repairing and then adding embroidery or other color and decorative work to clothing
- garland – a decoration made by stringing natural items together
- homespun – something simple, made at home.
To make an orange garland to hang in your window:
- Slice oranges into thin slices, 1/4 inch or 0.5 cm.
- Dry in the oven or a dehydrator at 135 degrees F or 57 degrees C (until they are no longer sticky).
- Loop a piece of string or twine through the center of the orange to hold a stick of cinnamon and a sprig of rosemary.
- Glue or sew something red like a cranberry on top.
- Hang as individual ornaments in a window for a stained glass effect.
- Option: String them together to make a garland for the window or Christmas tree.
- Another option: Use star anise instead of a cinnamon stick.