Happy Birthday Rake and Make… and Goals for 2013!

Well, I did it. My first post was on February 19th, 2012, so Rake and Make is one year old as of today. This will be my 53rd post, which means I met my goal of posting an average of once a week!

I recapped 2012 in another post, so I won’t go into that again. Instead, I’d like to take this time to talk about my goals for 2013. Since Rake and Make is a gardening, cooking and crafts blog, I have goals in all three areas and a few overall goals for blogging in general.

GARDENING

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Grow more blueberries– I really need to work on my blueberries. A couple of years ago, when I bought my blueberry plant, I was told I could just buy one plant and get blueberries. I have found that to be totally untrue. If I am lucky and the birds don’t get them first, I get about 5 sad little blueberries a year. I am going to buy a couple more blueberry plants this year and then move that sad little blueberry bush and plant it next to it’s new friends. The ultimate goal is for blueberry waffles on Vinyl and Waffles day!

Seed saving– I’ve been saying I would do this for a few years now. I even bought a book on the subject called Seed to Seed, so I have no excuse!

I also need to take better care to preserve the seeds I do buy, so that I can use them for at least a couple of years, rather than buying brand new ones every year. I spent a lot of money on seeds last year and have a lot leftover. They were stored in a cool place, but not in an air tight container, so I will be doing some germination tests this year.

COOKING

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Cook the Books Cookbook Challenge– For those of you that haven’t already heard about Cook the Books, it’s a year long cooking challenge hosted by my blogging buddies Meg of Grow and Resist  and Oh Briggsy. These two lovely ladies (and my new blogging BFFs, according to me), have picked a cook book a month to cook from for the whole year. January was a French cookbook, called Around my French Table. My  post from January is here. This month is Asian Dumplings and we had a dumpling making party last weekend, that I will be posting about soon, so be on the look out.

Participating in this challenge has been great already, because it has broadened my cooking horizons and allowed me to be way more creative with my cooking. It’s also been a nice distraction from the sadness of my mother being sick. Meg’s father also has liver disease and she has blogged about it openly as well. We have joked about getting “solace through Cook the Books”, but it’s kind of not a joke. Maintaining some level of normalcy has been very important lately. I find cooking to be very comforting and it’s nice to feel like I can still wrap my brain around something and accomplish it. Getting together with friends, and their kids, and cooking (and ultimately laughing) is even more awesome, because it reminds that I have support and so much to celebrate still.

Cheese Making- I have been interested in making my own cheese, ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  In it, Barbara Kingsolver writes about her family being lactose intolerant and that driving her to make cheese they could eat (by removing the lactose during the process). I can tolerate goat cheese and have heard that it is one of the easiest cheeses to make, so it sounds like good way to start experimenting with cheese making. I have seen cheese making kits at my local home brew store, so I will probably start there, but if anyone has any tips or resource suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Master Preserver’s class at Seattle Tilth- Seattle Tilth offered a Master Food Preserver’s class last year and I am hoping they do again this year, because I want to take it! Last year at the Harvest Fair, I met a graduate of that program, Stacy Brewer of Seattle Seedling (I have been following her blog ever since). We spoke that day about the program and it sounds like exactly what I want. I want to be able to alter canning recipes and be comfortable that I won’t poison anybody and she said the class is perfect for that. Plus, upon completion of the class, I will be certified to teach other people how to can, so I will be able to confidently post canning recipes and tutorials.

CRAFTING

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Knit sweaters!- Rachel at Seattle Yarn, who taught my beginning knitting class, has also been helping me since then by giving me advice on future projects and helping me pick out supplies for those projects. I read somewhere (sorry can’t remember where now, I think it was a comment on Lladybird‘s blog, but I can’t find it now), that Andi of Untangling Knot‘s Miette cardigan pattern is an “ambitious beginner’s sweater”. Sarah from Rhinestone’s and Telephones, was it you who said that? Anyway, I read that and thought “I am an ambitious beginner”! I ran it by Rachel and she agreed. I also had a gift certificate to Seattle Yarn from my sister, so I bought the supplies for my first sweater and will be starting it as soon as I finish the scarf I am working on. If all goes well, I am hoping that 2013 can include a few hand knit sweaters.

Use up my fabric stash– I now understand why it is called a fabric stash. I went a little crazy buying fabric last year and have enough materials for several dresses, aprons, oven mitts and potholders, so my goal is to not buy any more fabric until I finish all the projects I have already bought fabric for.

BLOGGING

Attend Blogcademy workshop in Portland!– While my scholarship entry was not the winner (it went to another very lovely and talented lady), Matt and I have decided that it is important for me to still attend, so we are going to make it work financially. I guess you could considerate it my gift to Rake and Make for turning one. So next month, I will be Blogcademy bound! This is very exciting and I think it’s going to make a huge difference for me. I have a few things going for me, like a great logo (thanks Chip) and I already know how to take pictures so I feel like I have that covered, but there are other things I need help with on my blog. I realize that Rake and Make is a relatively young blog, but I feel like my readership numbers could definitely use improvement. I feel like there is an audience out there that would enjoy Rake and Make, and that I just need help figuring out how to reach them. Plus, they cover working on content, design, branding and more. I’ll also get a personalized assessment of my blog and a strategy for how to make improvements. Not to mention all the other cool bloggers, that will be there, that I will get to meet. It’s going to be an amazing weekend and I can’t even believe I get to go. I’m going to be looking forward to it everyday until then and plan on giving a full report when I get back. I won’t be giving away their curriculum of course, but a recap of the weekend will definitely be in order!

Whoo! That’s a long post. Kudos to you, if you stayed with me this whole time. This post is mostly for me, so I can look back next year and see how much of it I actually accomplished. It’s a lot of stuff, but some of these goals are smaller than others, so I think it’s all totally doable. I have a whole year after all!

Big thanks to all of you, who do read and comment. It’s your engagement and encouragement that keeps me blogging. It’s an exciting time for Rake and Make, so here’s to a great second year!

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Rake and Make… and Goals for 2013!

  1. Hey Lilly, I was at the homebrew store this past week pre-ordering hop rhizomes, and the guy said he should have chevre starting cultures in a few days (he’s going to email me when they come in). You’re right chev is super easy to make, I think the hardest part is finding really good goat’s milk. My cheese book says 1 gallon of milk will give you a little over a pound of cheese after everything is said and done. Give me a call, (Matt has my ph. #) lets make some cheese!!

    1. Hey Julian, good to hear from you! Thanks for reading this and yeah, let’s totally make cheese! Will you let me know when you hear from the homebrew store? In the meantime, I will ask my friend Sheri (the cheesemonger) if she knows where to get good goat’s milk. Oh and we made a soup with your bratwurst last night. It was amazing and so tasty! Thank you for giving us some of that!

  2. Hey Lilly! I took a phenominal cheese making class from a woman who teaches around the country. She teaches once a year in the spring at South Seattle Community College and has incredible tips and tricks and substitutions and is a supporter of organic milk,goat and raw milk. she has her own cow now!

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