This weekend, in addition to visiting our favorite Cider Mill, I'm thinking through updating my zero-waste shopping kit. I'm estimating that each of our old (falling apart) bags have saved around 300 plastic bags- not bad- but an even better solution is necessary this time. I'm letting the old tattered bags go by using them to transport donations. My present collection of Baggu bags can be recycled when they no longer serve their present purpose. More soon.
Falafel is most traditionally eaten with pita bread, + homemade (zero-waste) pita would be a delicious treat. Since moving away from gluten for one of our tribe, we've tried falafel with rice instead. The consensus is that we actually like it best this way. By making the rice ahead of time, this became a plate that was quite quick to put together on a busy evening. Instead of taking the extra time to make + bake the falafel (which is not too time consuming either), this shortcut uses all of the same spices + tastes just as good!
How is it zero-waste? We are blessed to live in an area where we have access to bulk rice, dried chickpeas, + spices. We grew this cucumber in our garden, but other organic produce is placed into a reusable bag all together at the super market or farmer's market...no flimsy plastic bags necessary. I make our yogurt from milk that comes in glass bottles that are returned + reused. The olive oil is bought from the bulk section + put into my own container when available...and bought in a recyclable glass bottle otherwise.
Zero-waste Deconstructed Falafel
half an avocado, sliced
half a lemon, squeezed
cayenne pepper or pepper flakes
Tear spinach + top with rice. Add cucumber + avocado. Mix chickpeas with olive oil, salt, cumin, + cayenne. Mix lemon juice, yogurt, salt, + dill. Assemble + enjoy!
This + lots of other zero-waste meal inspiration can be found easily by clicking the zero-waste meals tab up top.
I recently completed my second pair of saroulles. These sarouelles are making me really happy right now. I know that they are not conventionally stylish, but they just work for me. I like how the gathers come not from the waist (where I need no extra poofiness), but lay closer to the top of the thigh. I like the interesting construction that brings the side seam around further toward the front + across the leg as it moves toward the ankle. I am so happy that I was able to find this rayon + also the voile fabric, both light + drapey enough to pull this pattern off.
This second pair of sarouelles was less of a gamble, since I know that I love my first pair. I know how to make them fit the way I want them to...a bit of length added to the top to make them hit at my waist + a little length off the bottom for a cropped length. I also feel that the fabric choices make each pair different enough to earn a space in my simple wardrobe.
This summer I sewed five versions of the same tank pattern. With fewer items in my closet, I've really been focusing in on shapes that I like to wear, that flatter (to my taste), and that work with the way I wear clothing. I didn't feel the need to try other tank patterns once I'd found the one that worked well. Linen, voile, block print, + Liberty fabrics in addition to varied hem lengths (from cropped to dress) made each iteration unique.
I know that my inspiration will convince noone that sarouelles are particularly stylish or a wardrobe staple meant for everyone, but here is a little of what these pants feel like to me...and also a few ways they can be worn...
Plus this little sneaky peek...seen just hours after the completion of my pants...put a smile on my face. Not identical by any means...but the spirit has something in common. :)
I loved reading these words from Adrienne at State :
"Is it just us, or does style seem so guided these days? Some days it feels like we've all been anesthetized to our own tastes and predilections in favor of a more widespread and sanitized look. STATE believes, at its core, that dressing communicates something about the internal world of a person, speaks to the world on our behalf, and should not be negotiated."
While I have always felt quite free to express myself through clothing, these words stuck with me. Whether we choose to dress in the prescribed way of the group we are trying to fit in with...or march to the beat of our very own drum...or wear a personal uniform...or dress with a small number of pieces...we get to choose. It is just so freeing.
So, two lessons learned/reaffirmed while stitching these pants:
1. There is great satisfaction in finding a sewing pattern to love + sewing on repeat.
2. Style is up to each one of us + there is joy to be found in wearing it.
Pattern :: Folkwear 119
Fabric :: rayon from Blackbird Fabrics
All images, except the first, via links provided.
Over half of October has passed + I am feeling more than content with my wardrobe. I have to say that I have gotten more out of the practice of recording my outfits than I thought I would. It's been a fun little exercise in noticing + appreciating. I haven't felt the need to shop at all. Sure I have come across lovely pieces that would be fun to wear, but at the same time it has felt unnecessary to add them to what I already have. And that was the whole point! :)
This week's extra appreciation award goes to :: those Veja trainers. I can hardly believe how much love + care went into the production of those shoes! Just a taste of the thoughtfulness follows. Rubber for the soles is harvested by rubber tappers who live under the trees + process the rubber into sheets to sell directly to Veja in order to increase their profits. Organic cotton is grown on small farms + bought under fair-trade rules. Advertising is nonexistent in order to focus on compensating farmers + manufacturers fairly. In addition, these are some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. I love how they look too. This is a company I am happy to support!
Dressing with less, learned :: It's been 16 days, + I haven't repeated an outfit yet. I am actually pretty surprised by that, because I honestly haven't even been trying to make that happen. This has a lot to do with the weather...because I know that I often wear the same things over + over...but still. I'm drawing from 29 pieces of clothing + I haven't even touched a bunch of them. No wonder more often feels like too much.
It may be a bit easier to appreciate everything about life when the sun is shining + the temperature is just right for a sweatshirt + bare ankles...this is true. What I'm hoping is that this exercise + its lessons will take deep root in my mind...because...
Contentedness feels so good.
Find part one + two here.
Driving home at the end of a long day with questions about dinner hanging in the air = stress for me. Zero-waste means there is no frozen pizza in the freezer. Thinking ahead is truly the best defense. I am not one who loves to spend a day cooking for the week ahead (though it would be really nice to have those meals ready). I have, however, found a few ways to be nice to myself ahead of time + without much (if any) extra work.
After a few shriveled spinach leaves found themselves left in the bottom of the fridge, I knew that I needed a way to eat our greens without the added chore of daily washing + drying. In the past I've washed the leaves of kale or lettuce ahead + wrapped them in a towel. That works great...when I do it. I'm now on week two of putting washed snipped spinach leaves into this lidded glass dish (still a bit damp) ensuring that we have readily available greens all week long. They are easily torn + plopped onto just about every meal we eat. (And not a plastic bag in sight.)
Another simple way to have some pre-prepped food for each meal is to make a double batch of some element of whatever we are having for dinner...rice or lentil stew...saving the rest for another meal. With each meal that I make lately, I just consider if there is anything that I can make a larger batch of...to save time later. Not having to cook rice (or scrub the pot) is a nice little gift on busy nights.
Last evening we topped some baked potatoes with pre-made (sounds better than left over, right?) lentil stew + yogurt...yum! This was the third meal we got out of one batch of lentil stew. If I had really thought ahead + shopped for them, I could have made a couple extra baked potatoes for later. Luxury fast food! :)
I know this is just plain common sense, but for some reason I wasn't doing it. Now I'm so happy that I am. :)
This week I sewed the button back on one of Mr. Tribe's pants five pairs of pants (smiling at the thought of him standing in front of church...pants held together with the help of a scavenged binder clip). In looking these over, I was happy to find that they still have a lot of life left in them even though they are years old + have sustained a ton of wear.
I read Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki in two days this week. I'm also browsing the library's collection of Japanese sewing books in search of some inspiration for Julia's cold weather wardrobe.
Restoring ecosystem health with regional fashion.
First there were smocks + now there are frocks!
A handmade uniform. (Those pants in the very top photo are the ultimate!)
Culture. Joy. Movement. Pride. I want some. (thanks Jo!)
Sweetness to knit.
Hope you have a lovely October weekend, friends!
I think we all know the difference between making excuses + truly trying our best. Maybe that's the statement I needed to believe as I tried to write this post over + over for the past few months.
This spring I continued my search for fair flats. It's a search that is a holdover from my pre-fairdare days. Ever since a pair of leopard print flats from Target, found on clearance for less than $10, that I had worn happily for at least a decade + went with everything...died...I just could not find the right replacement.
Sometimes the fairdare makes my mind feel like it is contorting + weighing + flipping + balancing in rapid succession. It can be exhausting + frustrating. There is just so much to consider:
1. Garment workers, farmers, + the environment. Responsibility + compassion.
2. Clothing needs. A warm coat. Pants that fit. Shoes. Necessity.
3. Budget. Responsibility + limits.
4. Self-expression + style.
5. Choosing pieces that will last in quality + in my allegiance. Longevity.
For the most part there are enough choices to meet all of these considerations. There are pieces of clothing already in my closet. I can mend + repair. There are thrift stores. I can sew + knit. There are brands offering fair + sustainable choices. And yet, sometimes the intersection of all the above considerations just feels endlessly elusive.
Years ago, I bought a pair of natural leather flats that were made in Spain. They were stiff, but I thought that they would soften up over time. Over the next few years, they did not soften and were only worn to church...gingerly. I could bear them no longer, so they were sold. Next I found a cute pair of vintage, leather flats on Etsy that seemed to be my size. I had the little heel plates replaced + the cobbler reglued them together nice + tight. I wore them for a few years, but they were always just a bit too tight + didn't stretch...so they too were worn only for short, mostly seated trips to church. I found a pair of fair beauties a couple years ago, but their $300 price tag kept me from taking the plunge. I couldn't take the plunge this spring either, so...
This spring, after lots of consideration, I bought a pair of shoes that I could not confirm as fair. I delved as far as the internet would take me into the production of this brand...no transparency. The shape was just what I wanted. The leather looked soft + sturdy...and the heels were made of wood...natural materials. The style would elevate jeans + a t-shirt...but would also be nice enough for dressier occasions. The price seemed appropriate for both my wallet + production (but I couldn't confirm that).
I shared a picture of the flats here, but not the post that I first wrote to go along with it. This purchase felt like failure. I didn't want the explanation to seem like a list of excuses. I didn't want to write a post about simply doing our best. That just didn't seem good enough. It didn't seem inspiring enough.
And then, a friend told me about how she'd made a similar decision and seemed to feel some guilt over it. She'd made a commitment to the fairdare + felt like this purchase had failed it. My immediate feeling was that I wanted to throw a heavy blanket of grace over the whole story. Making a commitment to the fairdare involves knowing...and trying...and lots of success...and then sometimes...doing the best we can. I needed to extend myself the same grace that I desperately wanted her to feel + that I knew she deserved.
The fairdare, zero-waste, and any other endeavor we undertake to live our values...they are all about the successes...small as they may be! A list of five purchases that involves one not quite perfect purchase...that list is more about the four...four successful attempts to buy fair! Bravo! Happy dance! Amazing! I'm not a perfectionist, so I've never quite understood those who abandon a habit (new year's resolutions) once they've failed once. Of course we are going to fail! This is all about the learning + observing + trying again. My lesson learned from the flats is that I probably should have waited. I found a handmade brand that I love just a few months after my purchase. I'm learning.
Doing our best is not about making excuses. It is about truly making informed efforts + then choosing the best option. We are learning, + learning is not failure. (Oh how often I say this to my perfectionist daughter over her schoolwork!) Often, choosing to do without is the best option...but when it is not...there is grace.
October is one of my favorite months where we currently live. We still have leaves on the trees, but some are turning yellow + red. We can walk + work outside a little more comfortably. There are lots of warmly lit, sunny days...a few moody, rainy days...and a couple of days that give us a taste of what's to come. The temperatures this week have swung from the 80s F to the 40s F! I could feasibly have worn any + all of the clothes from my wardrobe just this week. As shown above, I guess that I didn't. :) I like to save back some clothes just for the coldest days...and put away some clothes that served me well during the hottest days. Right now, though, these are the best of days. :)
In celebration of Slow Fashion October, I thought I'd keep track of the outfits I wear in order to highlight the enoughness of the clothes already in my closet. I want to focus on contentedness + appreciating what I already own...this month + every day.
This week's stand-out :: my vintage army pants. They are taking the place of jeans in my closet (at least until I find some jeans that are this comfortable). I've been loving high waisted pants again for a while + these are super high. :) They make belts obsolete + ensure that everything is always securely covered. They are soft + have comfortable straight legs. I think they look cooly casual with everything from tees to cashmere. I hemmed mine at the ankle baring length that I think looks best on me.
Dressing with less, learned :: Having thought through each piece + having just what I love makes getting dressed satisfying + pleasurable. I truly love having just what I need + not too much extra. Enough is so good.
Disclaimer :: Again, these are not style posts (maybe that's obvious). :) I'm not making any special effort to wear every piece that I own or have made (for Slow Fashion October). This is just what I'd be wearing anyway. :) This is not a boast about how fair my wardrobe is...I just added those notes because that's what we're talking about this month. I want to share (with myself too) that a simple, mostly fair/slow fashion wardrobe slowly put together over time (+ with a budget) is possible. And that less is enough.
To find more + to participate, check out #slowfashionoctober on Instagram.
daring to choose fair one choice at a time