Fabric: black papyrus linen from Joann
Pattern: vintage Mccalls 3738
When I found this amazing linen at Joann, all that was left to decide was what I would make with it. This piece is one of those sort of in-between...not quite essential...definately not useless pieces. I don't use a robe for it's usual purposes. But this kimono...it works just right for the not-so-often, lazy, pajama mornings during spring + autumn when a sweatshirt is too much and bare arms too little for comfort. That's the purpose for which it was made.
My new favorite way to wear it is on a day like today, + yesterday, + probably tomorrow...when I know that I will want to bare my arms eventually...but not quite yet. I'll wear it over my tank + jeans for a few hours in the morning. Images like this make me feel like it is completely fine to wear a kimono after I am dressed...although I haven't worn it out of the house yet...fearing I'll just look like I'm wearing my robe. :)
Fabric: black papyrus linen from Joann
Pattern: vintage Mccalls 3738
This seems like the weirdest of combinations, but it was oh so good. At my disposal were fresh, juicy, Colorado peaches that I want to eat at every meal...piles of cucumbers from the garden... + mint from the farmer's market. All together? Why not.
Peaches, Cucumbers + Lentils
1 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup lentils (uncooked)
ginger, peeled + grated
Bring rice, lentils, ginger, cayenne, salt, + 4 cups water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice and lentils are tender, stirring periodically, and adding more water if necessary. Place the rest of the ingredients on top + enjoy! (The four of us had enough of the lentil/rice mixture left over to use as "taco meat" later in the week.)
P.S. This + more zero-waste recipe inspiration can be found with ease by clicking on the "zero-waste meals" tab under the header. :)
I want an easy life. I want to spend a minimum amount of time doing things things that I don't like doing (cleaning, sweating, being hungry, arguing) and a maximum amount of time doing things that I do like doing (relaxing, smiling, laughing). Much of what we consider progress today involves a move toward greater convenience + efficiency. Refrigeration, electricity, central heating, air-conditioning, microwave ovens, one-stop shopping, automobiles, drive-thru, computers, cell phones...all convenient + amazing!
Moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle, however, can involve stepping outside of convenience. It is a direction in which we are not often inclined to move...we are used to looking for tips + tricks that move us toward convenience. It will take motivation to move in the other direction. My motivation is caring for God's creation, leaving it better than I found it, promoting its flourishing so that it can in turn nurture my children and all human, creature, and plant life today + tomorrow. With this motivation at the forefront of my mind, it is easier to align my actions.
One place I see this principle at work is in my relationship to food. In order to move toward zero-waste, we have to examine this relationship. The Slow Food movement promotes enhancing our relationship with our food by stepping outside the convenience of the supermarket and stepping into relationship with farmers at the farmer's market + stepping into our own growing spaces. We might grow herbs on a windowsill, join a community garden, or devote our own patches of dirt to food production.
Specifically, I am willing to step outside the convenience of buying a plastic bag of frozen french fries + to get chopping on some organically grown potatoes...and even to grow some organic potatoes of my own (this year's crop shown above). :) My motivation proves stronger than the pull of convenience. As convenience falls away, the connections between soil, sunshine, rain, shovel, my own back + hands, cutting board, + plate deepens.
I want an easy life...but more than that, I want a meaningful life. One choice at a time.
It's that time of year...with school starting + seasons changing...that we start to look at our wardrobes to see what we have + what we might need for the season to come. We might start to pull out some of the pieces we packed away for a few months...or a few years, in the case of children's hand-me-downs. Stains have a way of appearing, especially on children's clothing that we know we packed away clean. Dye might be the perfect camouflage for any discoloration or revival that is needed.
Natural dyes are all the rage, so I'm sure they are new to no one here. I just thought that a little dye inspiration might be a fun (+ pretty) reminder of a fix that could help some of our clothing have a little bit longer life. Fabric can often take a darker dye, even if it is already colored. Surprising fabrics (even sweater knit + velvet) can be dyed. Try a dip dye or a folding technique + pale dye, if something more dramatic is not the desired look. And of course, no stains are necessary! :)
For a little more dye inspiration, check out:
Last summer we had the fantastically good fortune of being near San Fransisco at the exact moment West Coast Craft occurred. It was amazing...a highlight of our trip for me. My favorite discovery (among so many) was easily Aliya Wanek. The shapes of her pieces struck me as interesting + new...while her limited choice of fabrics felt so smart to me. Aliya and her team make their beautiful pieces in Oakland, California. The fabrics this season are dyed locally as well.
This fall collection is full of inspiring colors and shapes. The combination of colors manages to feel fresh + recognizably autumn-like at the same time. I love the Yamina Skirt's perfect cocoon shape, and that the clever (and beautiful) construction allows enough volume to walk. Any one of these pieces could mix seamlessly into just about any wardrobe...and the collection as a whole would provide enough possibility to keep me happy well into next spring. Aliya Wanek...so, so good!
All beautiful images via Aliya Wanek.
There are a lot of blogs, articles, instagram accounts out there (including this one) touting the ways to go zero-waste. While all of that is inspiring + educational + wonderful...none of it will mean anything until we find the motivation to begin + to stick with our efforts over time.
It doesn't take much for most of us to conjure images of birds full of plastic, polar bears in trouble, plastic-filled beaches, devastating heatwaves and drought, or melting polar ice. The mental gymnastics comes in when we connect those pictures to our own actions...and allow ourselves to believe that our habits contribute to those horrors.
The task of finding just the right links to connect each human to a motivation that will induce action is too large for this space. If moving toward zero-waste is something that appeals, however, I encourage taking the time to find + articulate the motivation. In order to keep moving toward the goal, I have found my expressed motivation crucial. A few factors that are influential in my own journey are:
Here are a few of the sources that educated + informed my worldview and helped me form my motivation as I moved into this journey toward zero-waste:
Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes
Matthew Sleeth's Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action
Planet Earth (DVD)
Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma (kid's version too) + In Defense of Food
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food (for teens) by Wilson + Schlosser
Bea Johnson's Zero-Waste Home
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
No Impact Man by Colin Beavan + DVD (though I was reading his blog at the time)
Urban Homestead by Kelly + Erik Coyne
Little House in the Suburbs by Caswell, Siskins, + Musser
Garbology by Edward Humes
Even though I have kept reading on this topic, these books remain some of my favorites.
I am going to save my own concise motivation for another day...so as not to eclipse anyone's thought process in coming to an authentic + meaningful conclusion.
Happy thinking! :)
I've heard from friends who visit this space from time to time + from comments that don't get posted in this space that there are readers who are considering whether or not to begin the zero-waste lifestyle. I understand that it can seem pretty extreme or even impossible.
I want to reiterate that there is no truly "zero"-waste lifestyle...at least not for most of us living today. Even bulk bins are stocked from plastic lined boxes that arrived on a truck that traveled miles from a facility that used power to process the contents in some way. What we are attempting is to move toward zero-waste. This distinction offers every individual + family an onramp to simply start decreasing their waste. Any improvement is an improvement for our environment and our future. One by one, each change will make a bigger + bigger difference. There is no failure...other than not trying at all.
My hope is that this space offers a number of onramps to thoughtful, compassionate, simple living. I try to keep the posts here focused on small things...homemade pickles or toilet paper or thrifted jeans...small things that move us in the direction of fair...less waste...compassion. My favorite part of the Martha Stewart magazine, whenever I'd flip through it, was always the section entitled, "Good Things". They are/were small projects or modifications that could make a difference in the beauty or functionality of things. That has been one focusing idea behind this space.
So I'm going back to my beginnings with zero-waste, as my memory serves. My experience is what I have to offer + my hope is that it creates some sparks for further thought in the reader. Our stories will all be personal...but we move toward a common goal that serves not only us + our families, but our neighbors, our communities, + our world. A common goal for the common good.
This is the last week of summer vacation for us. Summer is surely not over, but I want to squeeze as much of it into this week as possible! Here's what's on my simple summer list:
-strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, plums, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, corn on-the-cob, ice-cream, smoothies, s'mores, iced tea, ginger lemonade, tomatoes, greens...all as close to the source as possible
-grow a garden + eat its harvest
-marvel at sunsets
-look for shooting stars
-go for lots of morning walks
-visit the farmer's market
-make pickles + tomato sauce from the garden
-sit outside at cafes
-read lots of books
-flowers on the table
-sand between toes
-wind in wild hair
-dirt under fingernails
What's on your summer list?
daring to choose fair one choice at a time