Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Who knew that trying to create a capsule wardrobe could take all day? Well, it has taken just about that, but I am done now and here are the results for my Project 333 undertaking:



Aaaaand... it's 32 items pictured here. Lol. I am NOT going to try to figure out which thing is missing; I am just going with this for now. You get the idea! :)

I have been a long-time proponent of voluntary simplicity and have written here about my own attempts at living lightly over the years (hence the name of my blog). So, when I started hearing more about capsule wardrobes, I was intrigued.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe has been niggling at my brain for at least the last 18 months or so. Jennifer Scott writes about it on her blog and in her books. There is plenty of capsule wardrobe information on Pinterest and on the internet in general and I have also watched a number of YouTubers discussing and sharing their capsule wardrobes.

I love clothes. I love the way they can make you feel and the things you can say with your clothing. But, as I mentioned in my prior post, I am not alone in my love for clothing and we here on planet Earth have developed a pretty big problem with the amount of waste that our excessive production of clothing (as well as many, many other things!) has produced. As with most things, it is best to practice moderation.

I thought that I already had a pretty small wardrobe, so I wasn't going to try making it any smaller. But then I started counting my things and they added up surprisingly quickly!

Before:


This is my half of the closet I share with my husband. It's more like 3/4; he takes up less room! This is nearly everything I have except for a partially filled bin with some summer clothes and pajamas. But upon beginning to count my things, I decided that Project 333 might be the starting place for me to begin to minimize my wardrobe and make it into something that has fewer things, but more of what I actually love. I don't know that the clothes that I have selected are just that, but they are a place to start.

I'm not going to end up doing the project quite as strictly as the rules say, but it is a beginning. I have selected 33 items which include my shoes. These 33 items are to be my working wardrobe for 3 months - a season, hence the "333." Now, with the original project rules, you are supposed to include jewelry, outer wear and accessories in your 33 count, but I am just not there yet and I may never be. I have about a dozen scarves and a collection of jewelry that I weeded out this past spring. I plan to use these pieces to add color and variety to my very neutral wardrobe. Maybe I will find I am not using them. As I learn, I will let things go, but I a not going to do that in one fell swoop.

I also have two winter coats and a pair of outdoor boots, shawls, and scarves and hats that I have knit. I won't be giving those things up. Knitting is one of my passions and this is about joy, not deprivation. I did, however, get the items down to those you see at the beginning of the post.

Undergarments, pajamas, and workout clothes do not count toward your count. I don't know if tights would have counted in the original project, but I have 4 pair: black, brown, navy blue, and gray and I am not counting them, just as I am not counting my socks.

So, from the work I did today, I had these to donate:



these to store:


and this is the final closet:



I covered up the shoe rack in the picture, because I am just leaving the other shoes on the shelf to be considered when spring rolls around (I won't leave the towel there; it's just for the picture!). Courtney Carver suggests you box and tape things up and while I would like that affect visually, I don't want to move my shoes to another part of the house right now. Hopefully, this exercise will show me just what I really need and use and the shoe shelf itself can be minimized. For now, it's staying. I plan to take this wardrobe to the end of March and then transition to a spring wardrobe.

I can say I almost did not finish this set up. The first part of the exercise was easy; I had favorite pieces and I knew how I wore them. But the fewer choices that remained, the harder things got! I have a couple of things put away right now that I didn't want to have to choose and there are a couple of things I kept in that I'm not sure about either. But we shall see!

I like being pushed to be creative with what I have and see how much I can enjoy my things. I think for this first quarter, I will post an outfit-of-the-day with the #Project333 on Instagram and I'll try to post a weekly round-up here. Also, I may be on the lookout for a pair of new-to-me brown boots. As I mentioned, I am purchasing all second-hand this year, so it may take a while. I love the brown boots I have, which were bought 4 years ago at a thrift store, but they are wearing out in areas. They are not leather (which, being vegetarian, I prefer that they are not) and some of the vinyl has peeled away in areas. I did find this post on repairing peeling vinyl boots, so I'm going to give it a try first and see if they end up looking acceptable to me.

My goal is to try this throughout the year, though I'm going to check in with myself at the end of each season and see if and how I want to continue. Well, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

SSASS in the New Year: Thrifty Goodness and Second-Hand Style

I love this time of year. It's not just because Christmas is an important holiday in the Christian calendar, but also because it never fails to give me pause for reflection and think about ideas for the coming twelve months. I know that not everyone gets into goal setting and resolutions, but I have learned - after trying to go without setting intentions - that it makes me pretty miserable to skip out and call January 1 just another day.

Christmas has become such an interesting cultural phenomenon. I wonder if we'll ever be able to stop this crazy train? There are so many emotions packed into this season: joy, wonder, idealism, excitement, sadness, loneliness, nostalgia, frustration, stress, anger. Plus, its the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a new one. It's this huge culmination of feeling, consumption, history, and the future all wrapped into one. It has impact whether or not you are even a believer.

So the other day, while we were between the last co-op classes for the semester for Eve, we were looking around at some shops and trying to find something for Eve to give to Maia. We grew ever more frustrated as we just couldn't find something that, within her limited budget, Eve wanted to give her sister.

There's a lot that goes into this, of course:

Eve doesn't have a job yet and as a teen, doesn't always budget ahead for Christmas with her small allowance, so when December rolls around, she doesn't have a great deal of money to spend. Not a big deal, and totally understandable, but she's been frustrated as she's gotten older and wants to give gifts herself. She'll have a job by next Christmas, though, so this shouldn't be a problem for her next year.

Maia does have a job and, as she lives at home and doesn't own a car, she doesn't have a lot of costly expenses yet. She'll actually be paying for health insurance for herself this year and will have some other school expenses coming up, but these past couple of years have left her with a good deal of "disposable income," and she pretty much can afford whatever it is that she wants.

So, the idea that because it is this time of year, Eve is expected to essentially find something to give to the "girl who has everything," just doesn't feel right. Don't get me wrong. Eve and I love Christmas. It's not that Eve doesn't want to give her sister a gift, but its just that the messages are so loaded against her if she doesn't or if she can't. And it's also that it's supposed to be "special," you know? Because it's a Christmas gift, the cultural message is that it's supposed to be kind of remarkable in some way. No Little House on the Prairie penny candy, or hand-monogrammed handkerchief is acceptable (though I'd take the hankie any day).

But a note of thanksgiving here: my girls adore each other and if one couldn't give the other a gift for the holiday, it would be fine - as it would be with the rest of my extended family. I really am blessed with a great bunch. But it's the message - that mad, ad-machine that just drives me crazy.

So here we were, looking around and I suggested we go into the nearby mall to walk around to see if anything struck her fancy. Eve reluctantly agreed saying, "But there's nothing but clothes in there, Mom." And she was right! Here in Minnesota, we have the famed, "Mall of America" which has quite an assortment of stores (but still TONS) of clothes. But the smaller malls seem to have lost a lot of their variety. Now, I'm not nostalgic at ALL about malls of yesteryear, but I do remember that there used to be book stores, toy stores, game stores, hair salons, movie theaters, etc. in malls. This mall, though, has very little of variety now. There is an Apple store, cosmetic/bath stores (Bath and Body Works, Sephora, Lush), Claire's jewelry, but most of the rest were store after store of clothes.

Most of my clothing is second hand. I would have to say 85 to 90% of the clothing I own is thrifted and I have been doing this happily for years. I haven't ever issued myself a challenge to make sure that I don't shop elsewhere, but I had been thinking about it for the upcoming year just to stretch myself and my creativity. But there are so many more reasons why this is a good idea and some of these were illuminated for me when Eve made the point about all the clothes in the mall.

First of all, as we walked around, I wondered, "What if all the clothes in this mall were piled up? How high would that pile be? How much would it weigh? How many people could it clothe and do we even need that much?" And this wasn't even the Mall of America! It boggles the mind to think of all the clothing and other merchandise that is in that place!

And then I did just a tiny bit of research. From one webpage, The Council for Textile Recycling, I learned these statistics


The U.S. EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space.



While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills.


The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.

 From The Atlantic, I learned that, "Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980."

That is truly bizarre to me.

There are so many reasons why we are where we are with this issue, and a lot more has been written about it than I can touch. But it's enough for me to take a step back and at least think about what I am doing. There are various movements happening in response to over-consumption and a number of them deal with clothing specifically. Minimalism is a growing movement. Capsule wardrobes are very popular. And many, many people know about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Even if we aren't all doing something about it, many of us know we just have too much.

Given my proclivity for reflection this time of year, I have often come up with a word-of-the-year. It's even a tag in my sidebar! :) A friend of mine asked me if I was going to have a word this year and at that point I had been mulling over some of these ideas and challenges in my mind. We have some expenses coming up. Like I have over the many years that I have been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I am prepared, once again, to make cuts to our budget in order to attempt to stay debt-free on our one income. I am so close to finishing school and in the spring, job hunting will begin in earnest. But in the meantime, I still have an internship and a second semester of both homeschooling and my own schooling to complete. So, partly out of necessity, I am practicing more creative, frugal habits.

But I also find that I enjoy things so much more when they have meaning behind them. So, when I knit a garment, it has memories and lessons attached to it. When I make an item of clothing or alter a piece I wouldn't otherwise use, I like it more. I like when I can mend something and I like when I think of a new way to figure out a problem without buying something to solve it for me right away. And I like practicing contentment.

My word-of-the-year is actually going to be an acronym: SSASS - "Simple, Sustainable, and Significantly Slow," because these are the habits I aim to cultivate in this new year. And I plan to have fun with it, so that's where the sass comes in. :)

I hope I'll have and take the time to blog about this too. It always helps to have company along the way any time you face a challenge. Yes, it's a way to be accountable, but writing also helps me clarify my thoughts and telling a story often enhances the journey. I hope to be able to do that. Thankfully, there is a great support network out there online: YouTube channels, Facebook groups, bloggers. Others doing things a little differently and telling their stories. It's all pretty fascinating and a great group of creative people. I'm all for creativity and a little bit of sass too! It should prove to be an interesting and fun challenge and year!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hiatus

Gee, could you tell?

:)

Wow; I am finding there's really only so much social media a person can handle! I'm just loaded down with school assignments - my own and home school stuff. No time for blogging right now. I am spending the little bits of free time I get usually knitting. I am spending more time over on Instagram because it's quick. That's what fits for now. I'm mrspivec on Instagram, so pop on over there if you want to stay connected that way. I know that I would regret pulling this blog down once my life settles back into a better rhythm of normalcy, so I'm keeping this here and hopefully in a few months I'll be back!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Abundance

















On the "Cousin Pile-Up Chair!"












People always talk about "the lazy days of summer," but that honestly has not been my experience of late. Yes, we do not do the same things we do during the rest of the year, but it feels like a whirlwind nonetheless. Grandma just returned home to Florida (taking one of the little cousins with her!) and so after a week of lots of family dinners, train rides, and thrift store shopping, we are settling back into a regular rhythm for a couple of weeks.

The garden and our CSA farm share have kept me busy in the kitchen too. I love having the fresh food and my grocery trips have diminished quite a bit. But keeping up with lots of fresh produce is a bit daunting! I don't want to waste anything and that forces me to be creative... even when I may not want to be! So far, I'm keeping up pretty well and frankly, there have been some delicious things coming out of my kitchen: pesto, sourdough breads (plain and fancy, as above with the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, and garlic), bread pudding, strawberry jam, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry pie, cucumber salad, potato salads, kale salad, sugar snap peas, smoothies and more! It definitely feels like an abundant season! We have enjoyed a remarkable growing season this year so far too, so that has contributed to the size of our single farm share. I purchased both a summer and an autumn share; I hope I can keep up once school begins next month!

I was thinking about all the time I've spent with food lately and wondered if I would do the share again next year or would just have my garden and visit the farmers markets in the area? I could say that is a viable option, but if history proves correct, I often miss the market days and just supplement the garden with grocery produce or frozen foods that are available year round. I know myself. The CSA pushes me. Maybe more than I feel like being pushed on a Thursday evening when I pick up my weekly box at the music store where one daughter takes lessons, one daughter works, and our farm delivers. But right now it kind of feels a little like exercise: I don't always want to deal with it, but it makes me feel really good, both mentally and physically.

I am feeling thankful for full days. More than my pantry feels abundant right now. My window is open as I type here upstairs and I can hear Mexican music playing from a house down from and behind us. I hear birds singing, a dog barking, and a baby was fussing a bit, but is quiet now. The regular rain has not only kept me from having to water my well-growing garden very often, but also has made the grass so soft. After a day of walks, playing, crafting, and making good things to eat in my kitchen to share with my family and my neighbors, it feels so nice to take the trip barefoot across the yard to empty the kitchen compost into the bin and turn around to see my little home settling in for the night.

I hope you are enjoying an abundant summer as well! Thanks for stopping by and I'll talk with you again soon!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Falling Behind!


Hello Friends! I thought I'd better throw this speedy post out there before I fall any further behind in this space! My Dottie Angel frock is actually almost done! I should be putting the finishing touches on it this morning.

I head kitty-corner across the street to my friend, Kim's, house where she - expert sewer - has everything waiting on her great great grandmother's dining room table and we work.


We sip our coffee or tea, munch on sourdough toast I brought with jam from her son-in-law's farm stand, or snack on bowls of summer fruit to sustain us in our arduous task! :) She is fostering a Boston terrier/chihuahua mix named Chino that her own chihuahua, Bambi, tolerates. They click around on the floor underneath us, watching us as we work. And - here's the funniest thing - she has a little finch that flies freely in the house. He... (she?)... collects all of our thread. We just let our trimmings float to the floor and little birdie is there thanking us moments later. He picks up the thread and is off. He has quite the collection of nesting material in a basket in the bathroom!



I am falling behind here, though, because I have had such a surge of creative...output. I guess you could call it that. It's like everything was dammed up while I was in school and now it is a bit of a raging river.

I keep getting new ideas for projects! Every time a new idea comes, I feel a bit desperate, because I know that the new school year is just around the corner. So I am trying to go for it and do as much as I can.

I changed the fabric on our dining room chairs. This pattern was stained. It looked better in our Florida home, but the new, floral pattern works so nicely in our northern cottage.


This photo doesn't show the color very well, but I just don't have time to color correct at the moment (have to get to sewing soon!).



This is one of the last photos of our Luna. I didn't say anything here... we have been so bowled over by the loss of 3 pets in 9 weeks. This is another reason I have not been here. I don't like to bring too many sad tales to this place. It's not that I don't wish to tell the truth. Frankly, it's that I don't like having to relive it in the telling.

But there she is, in one of her favorite spots - any of the chairs under the table. She loved to be tucked in under her little "cave." And whichever chair she was on during meals, she would just sit up next to the person trying to sit in the chair and check out whatever it was we were eating. She never got on the table or messed with the food, she was always just curious. I do miss her.


It's our first year of a bountiful strawberry harvest and that has been keeping me busy as well. I don't know how the rest of the summer weather will fare, but June has been about as perfect as it could be this year! The rains have arrived every few days with flawless timing. I think I've watered the garden twice all season so far other than little bits when I put in a new row of radishes or something like that. The lawns throughout he neighborhoods are green, green, green! Often by this time of year, you can tell those who aren't watering their grass (we're included) by the patchy nature of the yellow vs. green lawns. But this year, so far, we all match!



















Eve enjoyed some strawberry shortcake while hanging outside with her bunny, Maple.


Then the lush green, shady spot was just too much and everyone joined in. You can see Maia's kitty, Tessa, just to the left of Maia's head. She's camouflaged, but she is always in on the action as you can tell from the various photos (strawberries, above, and checking out Maple in her cage when we first brought her out, below).




I'm off! I have more crafty ideas for the week ahead, so I'd best get to them! Hopefully I'll have some time to check in here on Wednesday to share some of the goings-on. I hope you are enjoying your summer too and keeping cozy if you're in the southern hemisphere. We like it cozy here. Yes, we're all about the cozy. Have a terrific day! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Magic Cake and a Blue Thread

Craving color, I've added a third project to my summer knitting. I made myself knit to a certain part of my navy blue (Taking) Forever Birthday Sweater and then I purchased Paula Emons-Fuessle's Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. It's a simple pattern that uses up your yarn leftovers. I've known about it for some time, but it wasn't until I saw Susan B. Anderson wearing hers on her video podcast and found it so cute, that I thought I'd give it a try.


It was fun selecting and weighing out which yarns I wanted to use and then balling everything up into one, big, colorful ball (though I like that a caked yarn will sit flat while you knit, I find that they tangle often enough that I'm back to winding balls instead). Now, however, I'm not sure how much I'm going to like the results. It is quite addicting getting from one color to another and I don't exactly remember just how the color order goes. I suppose I could have written it down, but I am enjoying the element of surprise. I am hoping I will like it when it is finished. Right now, I'm kind of meh with the colors. I hope there will be a more uniform, overall effect in the end.


Other than that, my socks and birthday sweater are slow, but steady. The construction of my birthday sweater is one I have never knit before, and right now, honestly, I can't totally see where it's going. But, I am just trusting the pattern and am moving forward. I don't know what I will do if I mess this up again. But let's not go there just now!

In other needle news, I have finished my cross stitch and have it hung in my new, little craft space. I love the way it turned out and love how it looks in the room! In fact, my new little space has quickly become a favorite spot for me.


I found this valance of mine when I was looking through linens that I was deciding over whether or not to purge. I bought and used this in our eat-in space in our kitchen when we lived in Florida. I've always loved this cheery fabric combination, but it definitely demands a particular decor. The rest of my house is more muted in shades (other than my happy, yellow bedroom) and I didn't know if I would ever use this again. But now, as things have developed in this space, I think it fits quite brilliantly.












Finally, I am trying to finish up Anne Tyler's, A Spool of Blue Thread. I've only had two weeks to read this one and it's due tomorrow on the 18th. I am awfully close to finishing; I'm sure I'll get it done.


I am enjoying the story and am interested to see how it will end. Right now it feels like somewhat of an ordinary story, meaning a rather gentle moving plot and pace. It actually reminds me a good deal of the television series, Parenthood: stories of a family. I have never read Anne Tyler's work before, despite the fact that she is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I find her to be extremely observant and her characters are very vivid, very real. There is an exploration of aging parents and the relationships they have with their kids and the ways they feel about getting older. I wonder if this is new insight that Tyler has gained over the years; the observations are intimate and real. Right now, I would recommend this to those who enjoy family stories. I will have to wait until I'm finished to decide if I would recommend it to others.

That's what's going on in my crafty life these days. I'm linking up with Ginny again so that I can see what everyone else has been up to too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Knits, New, True Knitter

Our library lets you check out materials for three weeks at a time, and you can renew materials twice. This is why I had better finally finish Susan Maushart's, The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale, because I will have had nine weeks to read it! True, I began reading it amidst others I was reading for school, but those are gone now and I should be able to focus!


I do like the book, which is why I'm trying to stick with it. It is another "year in the life" book - or in this case, "six-months-in-the-life." The trouble for me, I think, is that Maushart will share her experiences, but then she also brings in a lot of research and philosophical thoughts on the nature of her family's experiment. Sometimes she will even take the reader backwards, chronologically, to pre-experiment time to discuss a topic there. It's relevant, but I do find myself getting frustrated, feeling a, "Let's get on with it!" attitude. Perhaps this is why it was something I kept putting down while I had other reading material. Her statistics and other information bog down the speed of my reading and when I had real deadlines with other material, I didn't have time to ruminate. I guess I didn't expect that from this book when I picked it up. Now I know, however. I will give it one more shot and try to be monogamous with it, because though she writes with a humorous voice, for me, I feel like this book demands my whole attention. With other books around I found myself skimming the more philosophical parts, but I didn't really want to because she does bring up some interesting points on this very relevant topic. Hopefully, I won't feel the need to skim anymore and will get to the end more properly!

I am delighted with all of my knitting (and my little cross stitch project)! But I don't really have anything interesting to show you all just yet. I'm still working on my Rivercat sock and still working on the endless stockinette in navy blue for my sweater. The cross stitch really helps because I can see so much more progress with it.

Eve, however, has some instant-gratification knitting to share. She loved the Shroom hat that I made and wanted one for herself. She whipped this one up in two days. In true knitterly fashion, she had to stop herself at 2 a.m. and resign herself to finishing in the morning.









Didn't she do an amazing job?! This is her first completed project she is really, really proud of: no mistakes, even tension, good fit! She has confidence to complete a shawl now. She is excited to do it and is saving up money to find just the perfect gradient yarn. The pattern she wants to try is pretty complex, but with patience, I know she can do it!


Linking up with Ginny again today for Yarn Along. Looking forward to seeing what you all are knitting and reading in your part of the world!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Imagining June 2015::A Month Map

Oh, this is going to be fun!

Summer break is here, though it's still very much spring in these parts: kind of cool and lots of rain! May was a wet one this year; we'll have to see what June brings.

In Internet Land, June brings Daisy Yellow's, "Index Card a Day (ICAD)" challenge. This will be my first year participating and I am excited! As I mentioned in this post, knitting has been planned, dyeing has been planned, fermenting food has been planned, but creating a little piece of art on an index card a day was not planned! I'm sure there are many of you for whom doing just that was planned as this is the fourth year of ICAD. But, somehow it has escaped my attention in the past. Perhaps because last summer I was taking a class. This year, I say, why not? The "create" button seems to have been pressed and I'm just going to ride this train as far as it will take me.

And why not add stitching to the mix too?



I haven't done a cross stitch in ages. Molly at "A Homespun House" shared this set of patterns she had been working on and I just loved the whole set! It's by Wee Wonderfuls and is an inexpensive little download. As I mentioned in this post, I have plenty of embroidery thread that I inherited from my grandmother, so I've only had to purchase the pattern and the fabric. So fun and instantly gratifying with all the colors to play with! The picture forms so quickly on these small projects. I'm planning to hang it in my little craft space when I am done with it. I think I'll find spots for the other patterns around my kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen, I also bought these amazing, little embroidery patterns from the same shop: Kitchen Gnomes!!! I LOVE gnomes. Gosh, put a pointy hat on anything and I just adore it!

Before I get ahead of myself though, let's see how I did in May.

  • As much as possible, choose to bike or walk over using the car (my car-free week may have to happen in June; I already have commitments that will take me beyond public transit this month)
  • Purchase a bus pass
  • Finish final projects for school and OFF for the summer - yay!
  • Finish our home school year! ~ Only two remain... 
  • Sabbatical from Facebook
  • Visit the MN Landscape Arboretum for a picnic under the flowering crab apple trees!
  • Clean out the van - Oops. Missed this one. Gee, and it seemed so fun too; how could I have overlooked it? ;)
  • Celebrate and enjoy Mother's Day
  • Date Night - Too much garden and other springtime spending for this one, though we have taken some nice walks together.
  • Continue cooking from my cookbooks
  • Participate in home school co-op book sale
  • Write at least one letter - Nope. Missed this too. I'm adding it to June!
  • Prepare list for and attend the annual Friends Plant Sale!
  • LOTS of gardening!
    • Plant pansies in the front bed for springtime cheer; replace with summer annuals later
    • Extend flower bed around vegetable garden
    • Plant annuals around base of front bird feeder and along yard edges where grass is not growing
    • Plant veggies
    • Fill flower baskets on deck

Well yes! Things have been quite busy and productive; thank you for asking!

Now that much of the gardens are in order, I can just work on keeping up with the weeds and move on to other plans for June:

  • Participate in ICAD
  • Get at least 6 inches knit on my sweater, so that I can buy this pattern that will use up a lot of my yarn leftovers (I have to force some restraint on myself, so I don't get carried away! It's just that my sweater is straight stockinette in navy blue and I need something with COLOR)
  • Finish my wee cross stitch
  • Begin work on embroidery
  • Clean the van (whoopee! See what happens when you didn't get it done last month?)
  • Host a friend of the girls for a week
  • Attend grad parties
  • Frugal date night (saving our pennies for vacation!)
  • Improve upon sour dough bread (the first loaves were reminiscent of my first whole wheat bread attempts years ago: very nice door stops)
  • Learn to make kombucha (now or in July?)
  • Make some dollhouse food and furniture with niece
  • Continue: biking, yoga, running, studying Spanish, cooking from my cookbooks
  • Also continue: spring cleaning/purging/giving things away, blogging, and searching for a new church home
  • Read a book - this will slow down with all the crafting, but I think I can manage at least one
  • Write a letter
  • Don't forget to RELAX
AND that's a wrap! This should definitely keep things interesting. I always take June off from thinking at all about homeschooling plans for next year. It's my mental break; I'll tackle that in July.

I'm feeling really good about all of this as we head into "official" summer. What are your summer plans? If you're in the southern hemisphere, you must be thinking of lots of indoor activities to get you through the winter. Wherever you are, welcome to June and all that it brings. Don't forget to enjoy this life God gave you ~ have a blessed month!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Quick Dollar Tree Craft Cubby!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?

So, my birdie, Pistachio has been sick. She will be 17 years old in a couple of weeks, but her potential life span is nearly twice that. She is on antibiotics and many days she seems that she is getting better, but others, she seems to be winded. I had her downstairs here in the living room in her little travel cage when I first began giving her the medicine. I kept feeling like her symptoms were worse when she was upstairs where her regular cage is and I still feel that way. I don't know if she is actually allergic to something up there or not, but I got tired of trying to figure it out, so I have moved her regular cage down to the living room. I didn't really want it in here, but I've got it in a pretty good place and it works for now. She likes being down here where more of the action is anyway and it may be my imagination, but she seems to be improving.

So, then I had quite a bit more space on the landing upstairs where her cage was before. That space is right next to my desk; the whole area is my office area really. We had decided that the shoe shelves we had set by the back door actually took up more room in our wee, back entry than they were worth and they had been sitting in the upper hallway for a few weeks until we decided what to do with them.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. Despite the window, it's a rather dark part of the house and these are taken with my camera, as usual.



Then it occurred to me that I might be able to use these shelves to house my small yarn stash. Most of my yarn stash is leftovers from projects I have done or a handful of random - but great quality - skeins I scored at a Goodwill a number of years ago.

I honestly think it would make me uncomfortable to own a plethora of yarn. I know some people are comfortable with it, but it doesn't match my simple living tendencies. I don't want so much yarn that I may never knit with it in my lifetime. That said, I did think it would be nice to have it out from the bin under my bed.


I spent $10 at the Dollar tree for 8 bins, a package of labels, and twine and changed my shoe shelf into a "craft cubby" where I store my yarn (generally organized according to size), and some embroidery/cross stitch supplies.


The tins on top belonged to my granny. She has them filled with all the colors of the rainbow of embroidery floss. She was very much like I am now: she embroidered, knit, sewed, and painted. I wish I would have lived closer to her when I was growing up that she might have had the opportunity to teach me what she knew. As it is, I learned anyway and now use some of her supplies to embellish my own projects.





I moved two of my dolls into the space. The doll on the right is officially vintage, as I got him when I was two years old! The little girl doll on the left, I bought 5 or 6 years ago. I don't actually collect dolls (the few that I have were mostly from my childhood - one I bought replaced a favorite I lost when I was a little girl too), but I thought she was completely charming and I bought her. I rarely buy anything so frivolous, but I have loved dolls all my life and so bought her one year with some Christmas money. :)

So, now I happily have a little space dedicated to my fiber hobbies. To the right of this space, as I mentioned, is my desk where I'll also begin working on my index cards for ICAD - the Index Card a Day Challenge for 2015. There's still time to join up (for free and for FUN!), because it doesn't start until tomorrow! Oh, it's going to be a fun and crafty June!
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