i put off getting a wall calendar. the one i wanted was quite pricey, and every time i got it into my "bag"...i just couldn't go through with the purchase.
today, i was looking at calendars again, hoping that eleven days into the year was time to put calendars on sale....when an idea came to me. now i'm glad i waited. i have a project and a calendar...and it won't cost a thing!
i thought it would be fun to come up with a new carved stamp to make a print for each month. then i wondered what to stamp on...and i thought of my 2015 calendar. the back of each page is blank, so i could just flip it over and have a new blank space to print!
i had some other ideas for how to reuse my old calendar... they may have to wait for next year for me, but maybe they could be useful to you... :)
~wrap small gifts
~make gift tags
~fold them into envelopes
~fold them into gift boxes
~hand them on the wall (cut off the calendar part)
~cover a notebook
~make a bookmark or 50 :)
writing about my simple warmest layers got me thinking of the stories that accompany those pieces and gave me the push to let an extra coat and scarf go. when we bought those layers on our camping trip a couple summers ago, i already had a warmest coat. i like each coat for slightly different reasons, but even so, i never wore my original coat last year...and haven't worn it yet this year. i kept it thinking that i might shift my liking one way or the other, but i always knew that i didn't need two warmest coats.
i hear these words in my head and feel prompted to act:
“if you have two coats, give one away,” he [john the baptist] said. luke 3:11
"if you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor." dorothy day
it has gotten really cold here, and while i wish i had acted sooner, i am picturing the person who will now have a warm coat! that is one more person who will not be as cold at the bus stop or on the walk to school with her child. the coat was not accomplishing that sitting in my closet. i'm not at all advocating for guilt. just again noting how faith and love can work seamlessly into a simple closet, a decluttered home, a simple, fearless life.
just like most things, moving toward zero-waste requires periodic reevaluation. i want to go room by room and check-in with my zero-waste efforts to see how i'm doing and how i can improve. i've started with an overview of my kitchen, since it's where the most waste comes from.
while writing about the food related parts of the kitchen in that post, i decided to go through my recipes to see if i could get two tins of recipes combined into one. yay! i don't know why i didn't think of this before. i was just saying that i never pick the right box first when looking for a recipe. :) i don't actually use these recipes very often, so i don't need a ton of them. i don't really need measurements for a lot of recipes... often i'm just looking for inspiration. i have a little moleskine notebook that i was able to combine much of this content into. some recipes were discarded, because they don't fit the way i cook presently. simple, fresh, zero-waste and of course, healthy are my priorities. pinterest holds some recipes/inspiration now too. one of the best parts of working on this project was being reminded of some old favorites...and finding a few recipes i'd like to test. i was able to fit all the of the remaining recipes into one box, and should probably sort them again in time.
a second project i tackled this week was going through my kitchen towels and washcloths. i found a couple of each to add to the rag pile. the towels were cut in half and hemmed (i've not hemmed in the past and would rather not deal with the fraying edge in the future). the washcloths were marked with a bit of ribbon, so that it is clear which are rags ( i really don't want to wash dishes with a rag that has cleaned, well, certain parts of other rooms, ahem). :) i'm going to see how i feel about getting by with the towels that are left. i may keep my eye out for a new towel by an independent designer...fun.
what projects are you tackling in this fresh new year?
when i was little, the sears christmas catalog was the source of lots of fun dreaming each year. i would flip to the toy section and circle all the toys i'd like to receive. i'd play a little game with myself and pretend someone told me i had to pick one thing from each spread.
in much the same way...one night, just for fun, i put together a dream simple wardrobe. i let myself pick whatever dreamy pieces i'd love to have (with no regard for price), while keeping them minimal and functional... and i believe each piece is ethically and fairly made. :)
in columns from left to right, they are as follows:
1. white jumpsuit by no6
2. blue lauren manoogian tunic sweater from mille
3. pullover by han starnes
4. navy caron callahan shirt dress from oroboro
5. tan leather baggu from general store
6. blue floral tunic by bsbee from mille
7. striped kowtow tees (+ a couple in white too)
8. bright blue sabahs
9. blue (or maybe cream) lauren manoogian sweater coat from general store
10. vintage levis (sorry, i can't find the source for this photo)
11. plaid ace & jig jumpsuit via oroboro
12. black pact leggings (not pictured)
(i'm trying to give photo credit with the links, so they've taken a bit of a wonky direction.) :)
i was surprised to recognize in the end that i actually have a very loosely similar wardrobe going on right now: tees, 3 sweaters, jeans, a knee length dress, a tan leather purse and something else i've been working on (hint, hint). i did not set out to do that, but it was quite satisfying. :)
thanks for the polyvore work, jo! i love + appreciate you!!
any kitchen can be a zero-waste kitchen.
most of us already have what it takes to get started...what we could often use is...less. that's a relief, really. no need to wait for more money to buy a list of things. all that is necessary is a little time to go through the cupboards, the determination to let a few things go, and using some things differently. having a place for each item and space for it to breathe really helps me feel more at ease in my kitchen.
there are a lot of things that we do not have in our kitchen...and probably a few that others would not find necessary. i try to use what i have...and find multiple uses for those items.
here's what we do have (in the food related department):
dishes: 8 medium sized plates, 7 large plates, 8 bowls, lots of jars for drinking glasses, 7 mugs, 4 enamel bowls, creamer
silverware: one set
cooking: large pot, small pot (+ lids), skillet, cookie sheet, cutting board, large dish, medium dish, small dish (+ lids), mixing bowl, colander, cooling rack
utensils: ladle, spatula, 2 wooden spoons, measuring spoons, measuring cup, funnel, thermometer, small spatula, grater/zester, can opener, tea strainer, knife
linens: tea towels, potholders, washcloths
appliances: blender, microwave, toaster, kettle, coffee press (no need for filters), hand-cranked coffee grinder
various jars for bulk, small cooler
2 tea tins of recipe cards (maybe i could get this down to one tin)
your list will undoubtedly be different. i just like getting a little peak into what others find necessary, so i thought i'd share what i have in my kitchen. if after your clear out there are items to donate, look out for kitchen item drives or shelters to donate to. aged out foster kids, those who were previously homeless, and resettled refugees will greatly appreciate your excess!
when starting to move toward zero-waste, jars are the thing to collect. as spaghetti sauce, jam, or apple sauce gets eaten, wash out the jar, take it to the store and fill it with bulk oatmeal, flour, honey or beans. i like to use jarred concentrate bullion. the jars it comes in are perfect for spices, and i'm collecting them slowly. bonne-mama jam jars make great drinking glasses or jars in which to freeze your own jam or tomato sauce. use what you have already. grow your collection slowly and switch to bulk + homemade as new ingredients are needed. skip the middle aisles + frozen section at the store and build your meals around what is fresh and in season. bring a few extra tote bags you've got laying around to carry the groceries home. soon there will be no more (or at least a lot less) packaging waste.
if we have left overs, i put them in an appropriately sized jar for an individual portable lunch...or in one of my glass dishes + lid...or in my mixing bowl (or smaller bowl) + plate on top...or on a plate + bowl on top. i haven't come across anything that this did not work for. leafy greens can be washed and wrapped in the towel they were set to dry on...and then placed in the fridge, they keep longer. no more saran wrap, aluminum foil, ziploc bags, plastic containers, or even bee's wax wraps necessary.
i love my water bottle! it comes everywhere with me...to the couch, on a hike, on a trip, or to a restaurant. most of us have a water bottle already, but if not...use one of those jars + lid. no more plastic water bottles or take-out cups.
we don't use napkins. we eat right in the kitchen, so the sink is right there if we need it. if you like, cloth napkins can be made out of extra tea towels, a cut up table cloth, or spare fabric.
when friends come over, we use our dishes as usual and wash them afterward. no need for paper plates, disposable napkins or plastic cups.
washcloths work as well as sponges and can be thrown in the wash with the kitchen towels (+ napkins, if you've got 'em). no more sponges.
notice any past their prime dishtowels? these can be cut in half (+ hemmed, if you like) and are the start to the rag collection. soon worn out t-shirts will join their ranks. when these are too holey to use, they can be composted (not true of microfiber). no more paper towels.
once the old cleaning supplies are used up, rinse out that spray bottle, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar, fill the bottle with water, and let the cleaning begin. it works in the bathroom as well as the kitchen. sprinkle a little baking soda on areas that need a bit more help (like the tub floor). no more toxic chemicals in their endless plastic bottles.
we're well on our way to zero-waste...and it didn't cost a thing! :)
i don't count my warmest layers into my simple monthly wardrobes, but i keep them minimal as well. i have three coats. the lightest jacket is this army-style jacket from howies, a small british company striving to make quality clothing while impacting the environment as little as possible. it was a treat to be able to pick this up at the hometown howies shop in cardigan bay, wales. it is 100% organic cotton, water resistant + layers nicely over a wool sweater or a wool scarf.
currently, my most worn layer is this boiled wool blanket coat. i've had it for a few years and still love it as much as when i first bought it. this coat is cozy and yet leaves me feeling like i can move. i don't like that stuffed feeling that often comes with heavier coats, so i avoid it as long as possible. have you ever seen the christmas story? no thanks. :)
when it gets really cold (or when we go for winter walks), i wear this down-filled parka. we found it at an rei scratch and dent sale...in california...in june. we had nearly frozen camping in durango, colorado and were headed to big sur, afraid of a repeat. each of us found a super warm layer and wore it inside our sleeping bag every night (until we reached moab, utah...where we roasted). this coat was bought used, but in perfect condition.
my accessories include these gloves that i found at anthropologie. they are wool and were made in spain (which i hope means that the maker was paid fairly). i love that the fingers are short enough to fit perfectly. i knit my hats from misti alpaca hand paint chunky and quince & co. osprey, i don't usually wear a hat at the same time as my red plaid scarf (so they don't need to match).
i look forward to having the opportunity to wear my wellies. i got them before a camping trip in wales (the same one on which i bought my howies jacket). it rains a lot and mud is an expected part of camping there. i was thankful to have them then, and thankful for them now in rain or snow. i love them.
this simple collection of outerwear sees me through all the colder weather i encounter. i like the way they look and feel...and they keep me warm and dry! :)
hope you are keeping warm these days! :)
i mentioned making two gifts for christmas...so here is jo's. the bag is noodlehead's sidekick. for the fabric, i used the lining of jo's thrifted army jacket (which she cut out) + some leftover indian block print fabric. it should prove to be adequately durable in addition to being quite cute. :)
i've made this pattern a couple of times before, and i really like it. i loved being able to put this together with pieces i already had. all i needed was a metal zipper and a snap. i don't have a huge stash, so i'm always happy to see what loveliness can come from it. the next sidekick i make might be for me for me!
moving into 2016, i want to take a look back at 2015 and look ahead as well. my "word" for 2015 was health. i feel like i made some real progress, especially in the area of making time spent with God in the mornings a habit. i read many books, and enjoyed processing and evaluating how i want to move forward with the knowledge i found in them. as for physical health, i am still striving for simple fitness. i still need to make health a priority and will continue to consciously work on it in the year to come.
as 2015 came to a close, i read the following verse that really stuck out to me:
"the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love" galations 5:6
i felt it would to be the right focus for this new year.
this is most importantly true in regards to my tribe. i want all my interactions to be colored by my faith expressing itself through loving words and actions. i want love to be an umbrella over my thoughts and views of my place in the world. it can be hard to constantly give toward the elevation and achievements of those around me, while feeling that i am not achieving...but this is the place where love is at work...and where i believe i am called to be now.
i want to also focus on my faith being expressed in love towards those in need of hope and action... refugees, farmers, those who grow, dye, and sew our clothing, the poor in our city and those far away.
in a very small way, i want to focus on expressing my faith through love/appreciation of the things in my possession. excessive consumption can stem from a manifestation of fear of not having. i have faith that God provides. it is not always the amount i'd like, but it is always enough. :) i want to focus on extending the life of my things and therefor my capacity to love/appreciate them and use them.
extending more love toward my things in order to hold off consumption and waste...extending more love toward my people in order to fill my relationships with a warm glow of affection and a strength that can not be shaken...extending more love toward those who need to experience faith in action in order to live. i'm ready to try.
have you chosen a word or focus for 2016? i'd love to hear!
first a little look back at december's simple wardrobe: i really liked the pieces and found them totally adequate and satisfying. i love a pale color palette for the winter months. a pale tan or pale grey sweater with faded denim feels cozy, calm and happy. i didn't wear my short brown boots, but instead continued to wear my silver tennies (they are leather converse type shoes). i think i may sell the boots. i bought them thinking they would be quite versatile to wear with both pants and dresses, but i haven't worn them as much as i'd like. i didn't wear my red plaid scarf, since december wasn't very cold. that has changed!
january and february are the really cold months here. i only have 3 warm sweaters, so those will remain in this collection. the dresses and tops that i wore this month are the best i have for layering under these sweaters, so those will stay the same as well. i think i will switch my vintage levis out for a darker pair that i like to wear with a wide cuff...just for a change.
there aren't many changes, but here are the pieces for my january simple wardrobe:
~blue/black plaid shirt
~cream striped tee
~navy striped tee
~wide cuff jeans
~tan wool pullover
~grey wool/cashmere cardigan
~marl wool cardigan
~silver tennies or mid-calf brown boots (we'll see)
~tall caramel boots
total: 15 pieces
above is a view of what my closet looks like from day to day. a few things are being worn or are in the laundry...as usual. sorry, i didn't tidy it up at all- so those are my pajamas roughly folded there to the right. :)
no new pieces yet, but we'll see. i have a sewing project in the works. and...i'll show you my warmer layers soon. :) i definitely need them now!
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time