Home » Off the Grid Household

Category: Off the Grid Household

Elegant China Replacements Found in Antique Stores


FullSizeRender (17)  FullSizeRender (18)

Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.


Heirloom China is a classy and well loved addition to your home from generations prior! About a decade ago I inherited my paternal grandmother’s China from her engagement almost 80 years ago, and it is still stunning. The problem is replacing the broken and missing pieces for a complete set. At obtaining the set it only had 8 plates and random amounts of bowls and smaller plates.

Since our family is growing exponentially a China set of 12 seems to be needed: yet where to find additions to this old set? As you know I frequent yard sales, estate sales and antique stores every weekend and this was the first item to find in my treasure hunt. After 2 months of scouring second hand resources I decided to also look into new retail choices. The new China sets are $100.00 average per place setting which would be $400.00 plus tax to make a set of mismatched but same quality set of 12, with existing 8.

Read more

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap



“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.” E.B. White

As promised, here is my recipe for Homemade Dry Laundry Soap. I’ve been using this for about 20 years now ever since my baby, at the time, had bad skin allergies to all commercial detergents.    The ingredients are simple and can be bought in any food store. The Mule Team Borax was 3.84 box (11 cups) and the Baking Soda was 2.64 box for 8 cups and the Fels-Naptha bar of soap was .97. The total cost for a batch of powder laundry is $1.65 for 48 loads. This comes to 3.4 cents per load compared with commercial laundry soaps at 10-14 cents per load.

This Homemade Laundry powder is low suds so I do use it in my HE washer and it cleans great! Remember to use only one rounded Tablespoon as it’s concentrated.

Read more

Maple Water is Delicious and Nutritious

2878579167_75e7661440 10693890545_7f2012df43_m



My newest winter season fascination has been with Fresh Maple Water. My son Brian came up with the collection system design to eliminate contamination while collecting.

He drilled a 2 inch long hole in the Maple tree which is widened at the end to allow the hose and a cork to set in there tightly. Then sealing the edges with a hot glue gun to avoid leakage of the water from the tree. Next he assembled a shelf to hold the mason jar which has a hole in the cap for the tube: also hot glue gunned on the cap to seal off any contaminants from entering the jar. My Maple trees are all over 33 inches in diameter so I can put two taps in them, it’s recommended to tap the tree from 3 – 5 feet above the ground.

This system works great and has been giving us half to a full jar each day this week. Maple water is collected each year during the mid winter months for about 3-4 weeks time: depending on the demographic area you live in. The Maple tree takes up water from the ground when its very cold to protect the branches, then releases the water back to the ground when it starts to warm up. The temperatures in which it will flow out is from 26.5 degrees F to 44.6 degrees F. The sap starts to flow after each cold freeze when the air starts warming up again.

Personally, I keep a jar or two in my refrigerator to prepare my coffee or tea each day adding a slight sugary maple flavor to it. I’ve also used it in cooking soup and muffins for just a touch of added maple sweetness. For Maple Syrup you would need 40 gallons of maple water to produce 1 quart of Maple Syrup: I know people here in the mountain do use theirs for that but I enjoy simply the maple water. Read more

Winter Yard Art


During this week of below freezing temperatures here’s a fun project of Yard Art!

Take water and food coloring and add to either a balloon or latex medical glove: tie off at end. Leave outside to freeze then remove the latex covering for a great ice sculpture of either a hand or colorful ice ball.

I added these great Blue Hands Yard Art in my flower boxes and a blue ice ball in the front entry way for cool Yard Art for these winter months. Since it’s only 3 degrees today this project is done in no time at all.


“Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities.”
~Edward Flaherty~

Smiles and Friendly Chat – Pay it Forward

doctor R2073873940_e470e1b8cd 4988849599_e560a6a5725053455077_e97dd1661f
Written by Meg Price
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in others than you can in two years trying to get others interested in you.
Dale Carnegie 

Dale Carnegie’s theories have taught me exquisitely on the importance of showing attention to others and interpersonal skills to enhance communication and outcome.

In the Cities and small communities there is much hustle during the holidays, but things aren’t always as they seem.  In small communities families tend to stick together and have many opportunities for social interaction, but not so much in the larger areas.  I have found that many professionals have moved to more urban areas for their careers but left behind their support systems and points of social interactions.   At first impression many others seem to have it all with great jobs, great cars, and respect of their peers but what is not noted is that they are often lonely. Their demanding work comes first with little or no time to socialize or make strong bonds with others around.   This situation does not only affect those who are busy with their work life but others who are left feeling lonely for various other life circumstances such as divorce, poverty, illness, health or age.

About 5 years ago I started working from home to be with my homebound daughter: as she was suffering from heart issues unable to physically go to school. It was an emotional challenge for me to make this transition as I tended to rely on the social connection of my peers, but have learned a lot from this experience. She is doing better now, with her conditions, but I’ve grown my consulting business to where I actually love working from home: just need to always keep tabs on social interactions so I don’t get too removed from others myself.  With every trip to the store I would talk to people behind me and in front of me including the cashier, and in restaurants I  would engage the staff in friendly conversations.  Sounds simple or possibly annoying to some but the effects were amazing on not only my life but theirs: as with each person I engaged their vibrational demeanor was instantly raised as they shared a bit of themselves.   The topics, these random meetings revealed, have been thought provoking at minimum. The imperative situations they spontaneously talked about seemed to be on their shoulders needing someone to just ask.

Read more

Falcon Bowse – True Artisan of the Times


2013-05-25-22.58.52 Photo-Oct-23-9-46-15-PM


“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Wherever Brian is you’ll find the sights & sounds of an old industrial oil sewing machine humming away melodically,  among piles of natural fabrics: alongside a rainbow of colorful tubes of paints & multi- sized canvases. In Brian’s home office the room boasts many different types of sewing machines from old industrial to embroidery versions of a few kinds, depending on the job: his office space also includes his guitars as he strums his elaborate  hand written songs at break time.  Brian Downey is a true modern day artisan with such creativity and artistic talent, continually traveling from coast to coast grabbing opportunities to work his craft.. Last summer Brian opened up a pop up store in Brooklyn for a few months with much enthusiasm a buzz! His talents include the title of skateboard pro (and  has numerous magazine covers & interviews in the last decade), a painter who has shown his work in many major cities around the country, took on the complete interior design of a unique store in San Francisco –  incorporating elements of his sculptured items and installations, and owner of clothing business, Falcon Bowse LLC  based in North Carolina.

Snapseed (52)  photo (66)  photo (67)  photo (68)

Looking to the past, Brian probably gained some of his talent from his relative Giacomo Raggi from Italy. Giacomo was also an Italian artisan who created stone sculptures on many buildings, including the University of Virginia in 1824. It was work commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in which he traveled from Italy to the US for this opportunity. Like Giacomo, Brian works in the artistic field doing what he does best: Creating with uniqueness and unsurpassed quality.

Snapseed (51) Snapseed (50) IMG_2139  IMG_2150 IMG_2141

( note : above image is a self portrait, that Brian painted on a pizza box, while standing in front of a mirror with the shower curtain behind him).

While watching Brain at work, One can sense a feeling of  calmness and complete dedication to the quality of his handmade products. Whether he is working on a wall mural, a long run of quality fabric 6 panel hats or a large surrealistic painting but range from realism to impressionistic cubism, he puts all his energy into making the product that he is proud to sell. Last year he used kickstarter.com to launch a creative unique idea of turning old/new T-shirts into your very own 5 panel hat. It was a success and on his website boasts a few of the hundreds of hats created. This option is still available on his website falconbowse.com

Photo-Oct-23-9-45-05-PM Photo-Oct-23-9-47-59-PMPhoto-Oct-23-9-45-38-PM Photo-Oct-23-10-53-16-PM

His 6 panel hats are of such amazing quality that exceeds anything made in a manufacturing setting. Brian uses both reclaimed fabrics as well as new ones found around the country including the garment district for unique ones such as alpaca fur. He sews on an older model industrial sewing machine to be able to sew through many of the dense fabrics used. The eyelets and top buttons are all hand sewn to perfection. These items can be found in skate stores around the country as he does sell wholesale but items can also be found for retail on his website along with other items. One item that will be going up on the site is an amazing sturdy all leather/suede hat with alpaca lining for the ears. (Shown below).

IMG_4089 IMG_4088    IMG_3145  IMG_7775


As an artist, the works are so plentiful ranging from 2 story murals to small intimate pieces of genius. He very rarely sells his artwork but does show in galleries from time to time. If a piece is commissioned to paint, then the decision is made ahead of time for the sale. This young man is actually my all time favorite artist and you can know from the 3 original paintings displayed in my home. Whether a series of realistic pen and ink drawings to large scale paintings,they exude emotion. As with many other artists, he has integrity and passion. I once asked him what he was doing in San Francisco that night, and he said, ” in the city there are so many homeless people freezing so I’m walking around & passing out Falcon Bowse beanies to all of them,”. :-)

On a side note: The Brian Downey Skateboards and wheels are available in the US major cities & internationally. The photo above includes a few of his new boards which sold out in stores just after a few days. The original artwork on them is designed by Brian himself.

Congrat’s to Brian for his recently attained Pro Skateboard Status. Whoo Hoo to a great guy~~

To reach this amazing artist please email him at falconbowse@me.com




Read more

Walk Among the Details of Nature.

13194417554_d4649479f0     12795722994_754c7d7bf6


It’s almost the weekend ; what a superb time to take a walk!  Get away from the electronics of today’s lifestyles and breathe in the delightful air while grounding yourself with “Mother Nature”. While reading Letters of an American Farmer by Crevecouer, I found a perfect quote; “Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the particular soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but the air we breathe and the climate we inhabit..”.

Many of the old books, by the famous authors, revel in the exploration of nature as a centering tool for daily life. Walden is a great example, of the author, living remotely by Walden Lake while authenticating his experiences to utmost detail. Henry David Thoreau’s book of Walden is developed into passages of the four seasons symbolizing human development intertwined with concepts of nature. In the Age of Romanticism there was a great desire to escape from busy society life, still existing today, & return to nature with all its distinctive grandeur. This became a constant expression of American writers in the 19th century.

Read more

Soothing Sounds of The Countryside


2168510069_f8bd0082c8_m     15428159895_1cedeed140_m    7070016013_54f01cf08d_m

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tzu

As with many my age, I would spend a few weeks each summer in the remote countryside with grandparents. The vibrations with interpretations of  feel, smell, sound and sight are ingrained in my inner being.  The soft warm breezes upon my face along with the smells of the grasses and wildflowers woke up my senses. The tranquilizing music of different species of birds playing out their morning symphony of sound, and the sights of calmness in the softening views of nature; with the daisies swaying back and forth alongside the tall grasses; Encompassed all my senses. The experiences of this serene environment was peacefulness to my centered core.

8693060435_07224ec119    7170104717_311fdd2873    7460183118_2bba64e24a  nature trails


In today’s world many travel to busy vacation spots to take in the excitement and thrills in many popular crowded destinations. That is all fine but can leave you with needing a vacation from your vacation, due to lack of relaxation and necessary quiet time to regroup your mind and body. Traveling to the countryside is not a desired destination for the younger generation as it may not hold the memories of remedying and rejuvenation; plus there are not readily available hotels or rentals in that type of environment. While searching, you can find houses for rent in many rental sites online but the question would be, ” What will we do there to avoid boredom”? The answer might be to wake up to roosters crowing, drinking coffee on the dirt path along the wildflowers and swaying tree branches. Watch the butterflies flit back and forth, notice the birds of many colors hosting their unique sounds, converse with the roaming dogs, cows and horses, inhale the freshest air while having wonderful conversations with each other, swim in the river, or simply meditate in the experience of nature. Read more

Hobbies for the Mind, Body & Soul

3567615703_b8fa51b9bb_m   8668094068_ec75d6ed2e_m   SONY DSC  2630466183_a4e2bb9b0a

 My personal hobby/ interest list runs wild like pumpkin vines in fertile soil; at times needing to be pruned down.

Meg Price


Someone said something to me last week that I found interesting, she said “I’m afraid I will have nothing to do once I’m retired”. There are many of us who are experiencing a change in life style patterns; not only retirement but staying at home with children too. These are times when our  job related self identity is removed, leaving a gap of valuable time to fill. Hobbies are a wonderful way to achieve pleasurable quality time, alone or with others; and will furnish a new enthusiasm & purposeful accomplishment during these times.  Many Americans are now working from a home office & lack the daily social interactions of peers; but a group activity hobby fills that gap of non-physical connection with an activity of choice!

The process of participating in a hobby is gratifying in itself , with means of creation, relaxation, motivation, contentedness & fulfillment. Even though I work full time, most of my kids are in their own homes now, creating the free time I once didn’t have. My personal hobby/ interest list runs wild like pumpkin vines in fertile soil; at times needing to be pruned down. My love for reading has me involved with three books at a time, yet writing is my passion. Read more

Vintage Steel Gliders

9608265771_cf8a0cfd2c_m (1)   4894885470_56cec58f1a_m (2)  photo (27)

There have been many manufacturers of the antique steel glider and chairs.  In the 1920’s Mr. Bunting started to make  a steel framed glider with cushions as the company he now owned est in 1827, had originally made only steel heaters. After WWII an Arkansas company named The Warmack Co. , started to also create steel framed gliders for the post-war families. This was a high demand item so they started to create outdoor chairs and tables to match. The Warmack Co.  became the largest steel lawn furniture manufacturer in the U.S..  The Alabama Stove company manufactured  hundreds of the vintage steel gliders but were not in business very long.

Many other smaller companies came and left with the economy; but many of these steel framed 60-90 yr. old outdoor items reside in antique stores and homes around the country, both new and old. After the boom of Steel Framed Gliders, a less durable version, using softer metals, were created. Read more