Do It Yourself & The Concept of Urban Homesteading

About a year ago I started becoming interested more in the concept of urban homesteading and just overall self-sufficiency. I had seen some videos on YouTube of a family in California who have become almost entirely self sufficient on their small plot of concrete just outside of Los Angeles and I envisioned being about to do something similar in my little next of the woods. Idealistic, right? But being self-sufficient and being self-sustaining are two completely different things, and being that I live in the heart of the fifth largest city in the U.S. in a home under 1,000 sq. ft. with almost no backyard space, no budget, no access to wild animals or trees and more city restrictions that one can express without becoming full of rage, it is not exactly possible to grow the majority of my own food and raise my own livestock. I can't walk outside and get fresh eggs from my own chickens. I don't have the nearly ten thousand dollars it would cost to put up solar panels on my home. And I don't have the ability to grow a fully-stocked 365-day-a-year garden to feed my family and survive through the brutal winter we have been having. There are things, though, that I have found that I can do quite easily without burdening my budget or sacrificing modern conveniences.
I have found that creative people come up with and execute the very best ideas in self sufficiency. We are, for the most part, open minded and can usually adapt and find new uses for old things. Sufficiency isn't limited to the ideas of growing food, raising chickens and collecting rain water. It's about non-consumerism and limiting the amount of "things" you buy from foreign places; it's about fixing something up before throwing it out; it's about making something instead of spending twice as much for the same product that is not nearly as good ( or full of preservatives if we are talking about food ).

I couldn't express in one blog post the ideas, recipes, pattern, tips and experiences I have read and / or tried out. But what I can do is try to take you on my journey into learning new things one day at a time, one post at a time - trying to learn new things and rely less on the pre-fab world.

Free Artwork Downloads for Your Home


Guess how much this adorable tree print was? If you guessed FREE then you are absolutely correct. A few years ago I discovered a site called where I found their Free Art Project. As a part of the project one free digital art print was uploaded monthly to share to the rest of world (as long as it was for personal use). Not only does it help those on tight budgets bring some color into their lives, but it also helps promote artists trying to make a name for themselves.
I had already downloaded a few of the prints to furnish my living room walls, so when I began switching around the artwork in the baby's room I remembered this site and began searching for something. This particular print is from Angela Vandenbogaard. I did some Googling and found her portfolio here. I mostly love how it mixes natural elements with a modern style.

I had already had frames from the artwork which had already hung on the wall, so all I had to do here is print the photo and remount it.

Although there haven't been any additions since 2011, the website still has lots of great art ready to print. The only downside is that they are .pdf images, so if you need to re-size make sure you adjust your printer settings.

Chalkboard Dresser Tags

Since I already had an abundance of chalkboard paint from my table and chair project I decided to do another project this past weekend (especially since there was a lovely break in the snow and the sun was shining!). I had seen SignificantOthers'chalkboard painted wood slices before and wanted to do something similar for my son's dresser baskets. My son's room was previously a craft studio of sorts and I already had an IKEA EXPEDIT shelf which I simply added eight of the BRANAS baskets to create a lovely baby dresser. Being that my son's clothes are still rather small the baskets suit my needs just fine and I was able to eliminate the purchase of a proper dresser.

DIY Chalkboard Table & Chairs

About a year ago we bought Eamon a table and chair set from IKEA for about $20. It was a great deal, but as with kids (and surfaces from IKEA), it took a beating since then. I had rearranged a few of his toys from our living room area and taken his chalkboard to his room, but since the boy loves to draw on absolutely EVERYTHING, I wanted to turn his table set into a place he can sit and color and I wouldn't have to sorry about constantly cleaning up! So, for a grand total of $5.79, I took his scribbled up table and chairs and made them into a surface ready for Picaso-junior himself. Here's how: