j + j + j
i am so grateful to karen templer for conceiving of and organizing slow fashion october. it has been an incredible month of inspiration and conversation. it motivated me to set a few goals for the month based around mindful crafting. i chose to focus on taking three items of clothing already in my minimal october wardrobe and making them more "cherishable". i was able to dye my cream dress indigo, embroider my olive button-down, and alter my see-sun top slightly.
i also wanted to knit hats and/or cowls for people who would appreciate them. i hoped to make 10 of them. with this goal "out there", i was able to stay motivated and accomplish it! i actually have 11 hats finished and ready to go! i really am thankful for the accountability all of you provided me. :)
crafting gives me so much…creative exercise, sense of purpose, something to do with my hands, mental space to think, and a sense of accomplishment. what i did not need it to give me this month was more stuff. i am grateful to have found a way to receive all the benefits of crafting while simply making the clothing i already own better and making for others.
i love making hats. i had yarn. i had time…time waiting at cello lessons, time between teaching school lessons, time to sit in the afternoons listening to podcasts, time in the evenings chatting or watching a show, and plenty of time riding in the car to and from a special wedding three states away. it was fun trying out two new patterns, putting colors together, and figuring out a simple pattern that i really like.
these hats were made with the intention of being given away, and here they all are…ready to go to the christmas bureau in our community. low-income neighbors will be able to shop for christmas clothing, toys, food and other gifts at the bureau. i hope that someone picks up each one of these hats and feels like it was made especially for them. it was. :)
"pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry." ~leonard koren
i'm not sure there is poetry in this space, but i love the october light in here... so i thought i'd give you a peek at our simple dining room. :)
we moved into this house after spending a couple years overseas. some boxes came with us, but no furniture. i feel blessed to have been able to find everything here either on craigslist or by thrifting. it is definitely not what our suburban friends and neighbors are used to, but we love it.
the poster was found on etsy, the basket is from baskets from africa, and the dream catcher was made by me.
this space isn't huge, but it has plenty of room for the four of us. the table with an extra leaf was an exciting find as it can expand to accommodate friends. chairs are simply brought in from other rooms for additional seating.
this is the sunniest place in our house, so the plants thrive here. there's usually a plate or two of ripening tomatoes and peppers in front of those doors as well.
all of the green makes me happy!
not much else to say! just what we need and love here…nothing extra. thanks for visiting! :)
"there are only two lives we might live: our dream or our destiny. sometimes they are one and the same, and sometimes they're not. often our dreams are just a path to our destinies. my destiny is to remind you to look up from the castles you're building in the sand long enough to notice the cathedrals that God's building all around you-without you, without your sweat, without your tears, without your consent. while you build your dreams, He's busy building your destiny. and there is as much beauty in your destiny as there was in your dream. ~ glennon doyle melton in carry on, warrior
+ listening to:
the source of creativity here
an interesting perspective here
our choice of lifestyle has necessitated my keen awareness of how much i am spending on food (and everything else) in order to make it to the end of the month within budget. interestingly, many of the same principles that move us toward zero-waste and health also apply toward fewer ends. that would have surprised me in the past.
here are some of the ways we make fewer ends in the food category:
~we have a budget. i list the weeks of the month + the amount of money allotted to each... and then i write down each purchase. this lets me know exactly how much i am spending and when to hold back. in my budget, all food purchases go here including: coffee date with mr. tribe, ice cream on the weekend, dinner out as a tribe, etc. writing it down and seeing it all together has helped me be so much more mindful of spending. i can adjust along the way.
~we love our garden. our suburban lot provides plenty of room for growing food. we started small and have just added a bit each year. i grow things we like to eat a lot of…potatoes, snap peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, chives, carrots. our tomatoes alone provide us with enough sauce to last until spring.
~i make a menu and a list. it keeps my focus on what we really need and keeps me from second guessing if we will have enough (so i don't throw random things into the cart as we go). it also makes it so much easier to know what's for dinner and what i need to do in preparation. i plan meals according to how much time i'll have for preparation as well.
~we only grocery shop once per week. this cuts down on the chances to lose focus.
~we shop the outer aisles of the grocery store. vegetables, fruit, dairy, beans, and bulk are the main things that end up in our cart. i send the girls into the inner aisles, if we need a specific thing or two there (less temptation to add things not on the list- and less chance for them to ask). :)
~we shop the farmer's market when it is running. it is much cheaper for most vegetables.
~we make it from scratch. granola bars, yogurt, popcorn, cookies, popsicles, smoothies, dinner.
~i am convinced that less packaging is best for us, the earth, and the future. this conviction reinforces my focus.
~i took the time to get comfortable and confident with some healthy, simple recipes. i know they taste good. i don't feel that i need to have a million spice jars in my cabinet. i don't feel the pressure to make something different every day of the year.
~we use everything we have. my menu + list begin with what's left in our fridge and cupboards at the end of the week. we don't waste food. we eat what we buy…and get creative when we need to. those leftover veggies pictured up there came home with us from my nephew's wedding and became soup at our house.
~we talk about where our food came from and who grew it. it makes simple food taste incredible. we love our garden and our farmers. we love to be able to say that we are eating multiple super foods in one meal or that there is nothing really unhealthy for us on our plates.
i feel almost silly posting this, since these ideas are so simple, but it took me a surprisingly long time to actually implement all these things at once and consistently. how do you make fewer ends in the food category? i'd love to hear!
this post is one of a series originating here.
p.s. K kindly commented that taking reusable bags and containers shopping will often earn a discount at check out. yes! thanks for that reminder, K! here's a post about what we take to the grocery store, just in case it might be of interest. :)
slow fashion october is in its final week and the prompt is to share favorite books, films and videos in the realm of sustainable fashion and also favorite sustainable and traceable garment sources. these topics aren't new here, but i thought i'd put a condensed list together here. :)
i remember reading natalie chanin's very first book in 2008, alabama stitch book, and being surprised to find how interested i was in reading about organic cotton. it sparked a real interest in origins.
patagonia catalogs and website provide a lot of insight into what can and is being done better in the clothing industry.
naked fashion by safia minney highlights issues and work being done to change the existing broken fashion industry.
where am i wearing by kelsey timmerman gives a great peek into the origins of everyday clothing.
overdressed by elizabeth cline exposes fast fashion's dark side.
wear no evil by greta egan delves into areas of ethical focus and outlines a plan for shopping more responsibly.
the true cost is an amazing movie and must-watch on this topic.
this video with a look at where our donated clothing ends up is enlightening. i think we understand the consequences of our excess about as little as they understand why we create so much waste. via karen/fringe
some of my personal, very favorite traceable garment sources right now are:
taylor stitch women's
ace & jig
as far as craft supplies go, alabama chain's organic cotton is amazing to sew with, and quince & co. american wool is satisfying to knit with.
can't wait to read other's favorites! if you'd like to follow along as well, check out the comments on karen's slow fashion october posts and the instagram#.
honestly, putting together this little collection of items for julia was tough. her requests were simple enough: comfy knit dresses, leggings, and cardigan sweaters. i wanted our purchases to be fair (second hand, mama-made, or fairly made). we began with two dresses, a skirt, a cardigan, and shoes that fit her, so we had a few blanks to fill.
in an effort to make this as painless as possible to read, i'll list my failed attempts to fill in those blanks:
~more local thrifting
~a couple dresses sewn in different sizes
~this cute pact dress
all of that yielded one dress (a preowned dress from ebay), lots of postage, spent time, and frustration. julia is right in between girls' and women's sizing. she is perfectly right for her age, but clothing is just not made to accommodate this size much that i can find (particularly dresses), fair or otherwise. it would be most beneficial to try dresses on prior to purchasing, but the only ones we found thrifting were ratty fast fashion ones that don't have enough wear left in them to bother with…not to mention that the styles were not what we were looking for.
ok…so what did we end up with? i have to admit that i somewhat feel like a failure in the end. i ended up buying 3 new pieces from crewcuts. while they do have a social responsibility statement, i am not sure how trustworthy and thorough it is. on the other hand, i am grateful to this company for extending their sizing to accommodate julia. the items we bought are lovely, and i know they will sell as second hand items when we are finished with them.
julia wanted to keep the number of items minimal, so that really helped my budget and makes this a tight little collection. it does add pressure to have the layers match multiple items, however, which proved tricky. we ended up with 15 main pieces + 3 jackets…all of which we both like. there are plenty of combinations to mix + match, so we know there will be plenty of variety for the next six months or so. in the end, i will call this simple wardrobe a success! :)
julia's simple a/w wardrobe pieces:
~1 second hand
~2 from last year
~2 new crewcuts
2 3/4 sleeve tees:
~both second hand from a friend
~from the summer
~1 second hand cardigan
~1 pullover from last year
~1 new crewcuts cardigan
~from pact, may need to add one more
flats + boots from last year
~1 lightweight from last year
~1 new patagonia mid weight found on sale
~1 heavyweight from last year
hope your fair endeavors go more smoothly than these! :)
i set the goal of having 10 hats knit by the end of this month. i have the yarn and the desire, so here we go.
both of these hats were knit from the city pattern by mari lynn patrick. it's a slouchy beanie style with a little fancy ribbing thrown in. i really like it a lot.
the green yarn is recycled from a poncho that i made years ago. it has a soft silky touch and a lovely drape. the clay colored yarn is quince & co. osprey in sedum. it is soft, squishy, american wool.
back to knitting!
i don't think i'll ever grow out of mac and cheese. it's one of the girls' favorites, and i don't have a problem with that. :) i do like to think that this version has a wee bit more nutritional value, though.
a different kind of mac & cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
somewhat heaping wooden spoonful of flour (mine is a half/half mix of white bread and whole wheat)
around 1 1/4 cups milk (i use skim, but any will work)
about 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, any kind (this time was cheddar)
noodles (buy in bulk, if possible. otherwise in a cardboard box)
this time: tomatoes + peppers from the garden + basil, chopped (also good with steamed broccoli…)
as usual, this is a loose recipe. put the water on to boil for the noodles…and then boil according to package. meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat. stir in flour and then add milk. stir gently until it thickens…about maybe 10 minutes. remove from heat and stir in cheese. assemble, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time