Cottage Craft Works, LLC

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sustainable Living Homestead Products | Self-sufficient Homesteading

Featuring brand new old fashioned vintage products used in the sustainable living Amish communities for the sustainable home, farm, garden, ranch and hunter.

Cottage Craft Works offers an emporium of old fashioned non-electric human powered products that were being used in almost every household at the turn of the century.
The online general store is like thumbing through an early 1900 Sears and Roebuck catalog. You will be amazed at the old time products that are still being made like butane clothes irons, oil lamps, treadle sewing machines, push garden cultivators, to hand crank kitchen appliances. You will find almost every item you will need for the homestead or for an off-grid self-sufficient lifestyle.  You will even find such things USA hand turned old fashioned blue stripe pottery bowls and crocks made using no lead or cadmium.

A large selection of hunting gear including hunting calls, USA made hunting apparel and even replacement gun stocks have been gathered here all in one place.

The folks at Cottage Craft Works have spent over 30 years exploring the various Amish communities going deep into the back roads mostly frequented by horse and buggies. They have found these old time products still being manufactured and used in the Amish communities. In many cases they are the only place online that you will be able to find some of the products they feature like a hand crank conversion Kitchen Aid Mixer, or a hand crank mini pie maker.

Many of the Amish products fall right into place for the sustainable homestead since the Amish follow such a simple back to basics sustainable lifestyle themselves.  Because the Amish have such large families you will find canning and kitchen wares made to process and produce small to large batches of food quickly. An all stainless steel water bath canner will process up to 15 quart mason jars at one time. Outdoor wood fired canners are capable for canning up to 30 quarts at one time.

In earlier times it was very common for families and neighbors to come together and share in the harvest.  The Amish still use this resource in canning and butchering.  The modern homesteader can do the same sharing in the cost of some of these Amish made products.

Cottage Craft Works provides an important economic impact to over 100 Amish owned shops across the Midwest. While 90% of the products come from small Amish shops and factories, other small American cottage based products are also featured hence, the company name Cottage Craft Works.

These are small American businesses where the owner(s) still touch the products they sale.

Not only are the majority of the products USA Amish made, they are made for a lifetime of use. The Amish just make things to last and have never tried to figure out how to make things that will break so that you have to come back and buy another one in a few years.  They also don’t make frequent model changes so that you can still get parts long down the road.  Cottage Craft Works also has parts available for the old Even Heat clothes irons, Heller Aller water well pumps, Coleman lanterns and White Mountain ice cream freezers just to name a few.

For the backyard homestead you will want to check out the popular heavy duty roller egg chicken nesting boxes.  These Amish made nesting boxes provide a protected compartment for the eggs to roll into as soon as the chicken lays them  resulting in fewer damaged eggs and much less labor in cleaning them.  If you have an egg eater in the flock these nesting boxes will likely take care of that.

One of the issues a new homesteader faces is copycat duplicate products being cheaply made overseas. The common hand crank egg beater is a great example.  You can purchase an imported egg beater for under $20 take it home and after the first time of use wonder how anyone could have survived using one of these. The gears don’t mesh well making them hard to crank.  In contrast the Amish made Country Egg Beater is a reproduction from the old fashioned Dazey Egg Beaters. They crank smoothly and are easy to use and clean. They will cost close to four times of one of the imported ones but they will provide a lifetime of daily use instead of cluttering up the kitchen drawers with unused items.

Hand push garden cultivators are another great example. You can purchase an imported copy of the high wheel garden cultivator.  While they might work fine for a small back yard garden, the serious homesteader depending on harvesting fresh food for the family table will soon find out that they are made light weight and take a lot of effort to push down to cultivate the garden.  The imported steel cutters are not as sharp and they use cheaper metals making them harder to keep a good cutting edge.  In contrast the Hoss Wheel Hoe garden cultivators are reproductions of the famous Planet Junior Cultivators widely used at the turn of the Century. They are USA made and also built to last a lifetime of use for the large homestead garden.

Many ladies are purchasing the reproduction treadle sewing machine cabinets along with the newer Janome 712T treadle sewing machine.  For many they learned to sew from their mothers or grandmother on these old fashioned treadle sewing machines and feel they can better control the speed of the sewing machine.  Many still have the old Singer Class 15 sewing machine passed down to them but the cabinet was long destroyed. Those will just purchase a new Amish treadle cabinet from Cottage Craft Works to put the machine back into service.

Cottage Craft Works in one of the remaining places where you can still purchase old fashioned USA made pottery water coolers and water bottle dispensing crocks. A petty important item as we face the uncertainties in the quality of domestic water supplies.

Many people are turning back into time to become more sustainable and self-sufficient.  The desire is being driven by many different factors. While many are turning backyard lawns into vegetable gardens and chicken coops fearing the safety of the Nations food change, others are preparing for a time where the vulnerable electric grid may be taken out by a man made or storm disaster. Others just want to get out of the economic rat race and return the family to a more wholesome simpler time as they grew up in. Some just want to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

Then there’s the unsettling world economy and threats of terrorism bringing uncertainties of being able to continue the modern lifestyle that so many have become so dependent on. If a minor short term electrical outage is any indication of just how dependent we have become on computers and the grid; perhaps preparing to be less dependable on the gird does makes a great deal of sense.

One thing is for sure our environment along with the grid is becoming more unstable with wide spread devastating storms hitting our country leaving people without power for weeks into months.

Whatever you define sustainable self-sufficient living as Cottage Craft Works unique gathering of products will fill most any sustainable living need. 

Unlike stockpiling items with a shelf life these are products that can be used every day and keep on using them for years to come regardless what may be in the future. Many of these products even work better and quicker than their cheapened down electrical counterparts.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Self Sufficient Kitchen | Food | Tomato strainer stand for the Victorio and other strainers

We love our Victorio tomato strainer, we’ve had it now for over 25 years, but after our first big batch of tomatoes, we got really tired of shuffling the pots around every few minutes.
The problem is the strainer just does not sit up high enough to slide a tall pot under the discard end or the juice tray.
Solution my husband built a custom designed stand made of sturdy oak that extends the strainer up enough to slide a large pan on the discard end and then has a lower shelf for a large stock pot to go under the juice tray.
Now we can process a large batch of juice from start to finish without ever having to change pots.
The oak strainer stand mounts on a saw horse or metal bench stand where it can be bolted down to the top.
We have this one mounted on a metal stand. It has a wide enough base so it will not tip over when the side pot becomes full.
This is just at the right height to comfortably process the juice without lifting up to a table or counter height; this was another problem we had on our first batch.
My husband made the stand out of oak and finished in clear exterior grade marine varnish for years of service.
The one in the picture has been in use for over 25 years and has processed many gallons of tomato and grape juices.
We just started with the pots that we were using and took our measurements from those. 
This idea was brought to you by Cottage Craft Works. a self-sufficient sustainable living back-to-basics general store.

Sparrow & Starling Humane Bird Trap

If you're tired of cleaning bird droppings from your expensive RV, Boat, Equipment, or ridding your porch of sparrows we have the answer for you. Our Deluxe Sparrow & Starling Trap works to eradicate your property of these nasty pests. Starlings are also a natural predator to a Purple Martin Colony. 
This trap has been made and used in the Amish communities for decades. Simply place a small amount of cracked corn or cheap bird seed on the bait platform. When your pest sees a potential feast, they will enter and quickly ride the counterbalanced elevator down to the holding chamber before they realize what happened to their greedy quest. The trap is made of heavy gauge mesh, measures 16" x 17" x 7". We have used this trap for years to rid these pests from our property, it works amazingly well.
These traps can be purchased at Cottage Craft Works .com

Cottage Craft Works offers a full line of home and garden back to basic products, be sure to check out our old fashioned general store at

Budget Friendly Small Hobby Maple Syrup Wood Fired Cookers/Evaporators

These simple basic maple syrup evaporators will fill a long needed void for the small backyard maple syrup hobbyist. While you will find plenty factory built maple syrup evaporators for the larger maple syrup processors, the small hobbyist or single family who can’t justify shelling out a couple thousand dollars or more has been basically stuck with making their own evaporators or using makeshift pans and kettles over fire pits.  

Some of these homemade setups can be very dangerous to use, are not very efficient and cook the syrup unevenly with hot spots.

Many companies have hobby sized evaporators but are priced out of the market for the really small operator. One company does make a small wood fired evaporator unit geared toward the small backyard hobbyist. It is rated to do 4 GPH but it’s still priced well over a thousand dollars. In comparison you can purchase an Amish built basic unit with a three channel stainless pan from Cottage Craft Works that will do 5 GPH for well under a thousand dollars. 

Cottage Craft Works also carries a budget friendly 12 GPH basic unit with a 26” x 46” four channel divided pan. Larger Amish built hobby units are also available for up to 35 GPH. 

The small basic evaporator’s uses a heavy gauge welded steel fire box and then it is topped with a 20 gauge 6 “deep divided stainless steel cooking pan. It is all factory made to fit and function together in a nice compact unit capable of being moved and stored in a shed for the off season.

They won’t have all the bells and whistles of the larger units but they are made solid to last for years.  They come unpainted without, the stove pipe, fire brick, or insulation. But you know a good solid fire box with a large factory made divided pan to sit squarely on top is a far cry from trying to cook maple syrup in open kettles over an open fire pit.

Customers can use some cement board along the sides to make things a bit more comfortable, stack some used brick in to make the Arch, purchase some fire brick (about 10), a valve and plug for the pan and you’re ready to make maple syrup.

Custom options include adding a lid and an open 8” tall pan on the smaller hobby unit allowing the cooker to double duty as an outdoor canner that will hold mason canning jars, or heat water for other self sufficient living needs.

Cottage Craft Works is a full line back-to-basics general store featuring all kinds of products for self-sufficient sustainable lifestyles. 

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