Archive for March, 2008

So, instead of calling it “housekeeping geekery”, I figured I’d call it a simple pleasure. 😉 But it’s true. I LOVE the laundry. I used to hate it, mostly because the perfumes in the detergent made my nose hurt, but since I started making my own, that problem is virtually gone.  And since it’s warmed up a bit here (only a bit, but it’s coming,  I’m ever hopeful!) I’ve been hanging the laundry out on the line- I LOVE the smell of line dried sheets! And diapers! *sigh* Since I’ve been able to completely “eco-fy” my laundry routine, I thought I’d share it.

I make my own detergent from washing soda, borax, baking soda, and grated castile soap. I use Dr Bronners Lavender soap, and it smells great- the smell doesn’t really linger past the rinse cycle, which is good, it tells me all the soap is leaving the clothes, but I do like the lavender scent- I’ll have to figure out how to make it linger without using a dryer- If I had a dryer, I’d just toss a lavender sachet in, but I don’t, so I need to figure something else out. Anyway, I put in a small amount of the soap, maybe a quarter of a cup, and add the clothes- I put vinegar in the fabric softener spot, and it works really well with the diapers, but I haven’t noticed any difference with our regular clothes. I turn on the water- I use cold water for everything but diapers and kitchen linens, which I wash on hot. I believe that hot water DOES kill germs, though I”ve heard it said in some “green” circles that it makes no difference- for my regular clothes I don’t mind, but the diapers and the kitchen linens (which include my cloth “paper” towels) can get REALLY gross, so I figure they need all the help they can get.  When they’re done, I either hang them on drying racks or on hangers in the shower (we live in a small apt, so space is at a premium)- and lately, I’ve been able to hang them out on the line too, which means instead of one load a day, I can do 2-3 loads a day, and have a couple days off! Yay! Right now, they’re still taking all day to dry, but once it warms up a bit more, and we get sunshine all day, they’ll be dry before the day is through (the stuff that dries inside takes overnight to dry- it’s not as horrific as it sounds), which means less time looking at laundry hanging up too!

Then I sort it into piles of which ones belong to whom, and I fold them and put them away- I really hate to look at piles of laundry, clean or dirty, so I try to do that before we have to go to bed that night- again, there is NO SPACE to have piles of laundry about, without having to see it, and that would make me very depressed (like, clinically, not just sad), so I like to keep it out of sight and in the drawers where it belongs.

I really thought I had more to say on laundry, because I just love it so much, but it’s pretty simple and straightforward. I’ve noticed that about myself lately- I’d like to write about how I discovered my “crunchy” ways, and what made me decide to do various things, but the answer to most of them is very simple, I just think it’s better that way- usually it involves either saving money, being healthier, or being better for the environment, and most often is all three. I don’t have a lot of complicated reasons for doing things how I do them.


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Coming Full Circle

I’m reading this book called Everyday Sacred. It’s a book about- well, it’s hard to describe. It’s not the kind of book that flows, it’s more like a collection of short stories- I mean, short real stories, not “short stories”, like you were sitting at a table having tea with the author. In it, she tells a story about Helen, who lost everything in a fire- in unexpected ways, what she lost comes back to her- recipes, patterns- she believes something good will come out of it.

Other people find that what they give away is what people give back to them when they lose their possessions in the fire- one woman gets back something precious she nearly didn’t give away in the first place, one woman gets back things she gave away because she didn’t want them.

I pause to contemplate this, and catch a bit of the music that’s playing: “You’ve got to know that all you give away will come circling back to you…”

Maybe I should try being more selfless, more loving. I get mad when I think The Boy isn’t being selfless enough to me- isn’t that totally selfish of me?? Pot/kettle anyone? I just have to laugh at myself. I wonder if he’d notice if I started treating him the way I wish he’d treat me. I try for a while, but then I get impatient when he doesn’t do what he’s “supposed” to, but part of the whole activity is to not be attached to an outcome.

I feel inspired to give away $80- $20 to 4 people, just for the heck of it. If I give away money, maybe I won’t feel the lack of it. After all, who gives away money unless they have enough to give away in the first place? Will The Boy go along with this? Not likely- I have to do it anyway, with my money, not his. I think it will bring more money back to us, but that’s not why you do it- you do it because you will bless someone with your generosity.

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Gratitude List

I have been keeping a short list of things I’m thankful for on a little chalkboard on my dining room wall. I change it whenever I feel inspired. I keep it to three or four things- that’s all that will fit on it, and I don’t pressure myself to do it daily, because then it would just become another thing to do, and not an opportunity for real gratitude. But I realized today that I like having the lists to look back on, so I think I’ll keep them in my journal.

This one is from the day we had our Valentine’s Tea:





This one is from The Boy’s Birthday:

The Boy
The moon


This one is from a day spent in a state park from a warm spell a week or two ago:

Nature (that’s shorthand for the ineffable grandeur and wonder of it all)


Maple Syrup


And today:


A full fruit bowl in winter



I’m just going to keep adding…








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Personal Style

It’s 1:30 am here, and I have just gotten the baby to sleep. So, at this point in time, this blog post seems like a good idea. That may change, but for now, I think I’ll continue- it will help me organize my thoughts.

I have recently learned that my personal style doesn’t really match my actual style. I wear a denim skirt and black tops mostly- I like the look of black with denim, it’s classic, but it’s also really boring if overdone- and believe me, it’s overdone in my wardrobe. My favorite blue broomstick skirt got torn beyond repair, so I really only have the denim skirt that I like to wear- and a couple others that are tolerable. For my weight loss group, we are focusing on outer beauty this week, and clothes in particular. I have been saving clothes that I love that I find here and there around the web for years, in the hopes that someday (who knows when someday is?) I will be able to get them. I described my personal style to my weight loss group as 2 parts hippie, 1 part goth girl, and 1 part romantic (historically romantic, actually).

When I get down to the weight I want to be, I intend to start building a new wardrobe for myself. I have done the planning for it already- a lot of it will be handmade by me, and hopefully several pieces will be bought too, because there are several pieces I love.

Here’s the breakdown of the brainstorming I did about my wardrobe:

First, I thought about all the things I do in a week, and all the clothing that would be appropriate for that activity. I took into account season and weather. I analyzed my personal style. I listed the kinds of fabrics I love, and the colors I like to wear (and that look good on me). I also took into account the fact that I intend to be pregnant again, and therefore in need of maternity and transitional wear. I thought about shoes, accessories, outdoor wear, swimwear, nightwear, and underwear. I figured the bare minimum I would need based on activities and season. And that formed the basis for this future wardrobe of mine.

Now, for the fun stuff:

Here are some pieces that I think define my personal style, and that I particularly lust after, and would either like to buy, or replicate.

This first one is an African kanga, a large piece of cloth that is worn in a number of different styles- I would wear it as a skirt, primarily. It has an African saying on it, this particular one says, “One’s fortunes are planned by God”

I am really interested in ethnic fashions. I would love to have a collection of pieces from many places around the world.

Like this kebaya. I learned about this Asian group years ago, but haven’t been able to find much information on them. The clothing style is a fusion of Eastern and Western influences- a beautiful western inspired blouse worn with a sarong.

I also really like these Romanian blouses- especially this blackwork! It would look so nice with any peasant skirt I could make:

I love skirts. I only wear ankle length ones, partially for modesty reasons, and partially because I think it’s the most flattering length on me. But I’m particularly interested in skirts that allow for more activity. I have not encountered anything that I can’t do in a skirt, besides Pilates. And I will get to that later. 🙂

I like this skirt, divided for horse riding– I doubt I will be doing much horseback riding, but I’m sure this skirt has more uses than that. 🙂

This is the other “active” skirt I want- this skirt has traveled all around the world, to the most exotic locations- and it can become pants or shorts too. This is definitely at the top of my list:

Among the many patterns I wish to sew, are these designed by independent WAHMs (that’s work at home moms, a group I choose to support over large corporations whenever I can) which mostly fall into the “Romantic” category. 🙂

I’m particularly interested in maternity/nursing dresses. And the thing I love about dresses is that you don’t have to coordinate them! They just ARE.

This one is from Baker Lane.

I also want the Regency dress pattern from Sensibility.com, along with pretty much all the rest of her patterns, but I figured I’d start with that one (maternity/nursing variation, of course!) Here’s a great example of the maternity/nursing variation!

Though I love skirts, I have also found some pants that I really like. I actually really like a stretchy pair of boot legged jeans, but I don’t find them as comfortable as I used to before baby. (Boo!) But in college, I saw a girl wearing wrap pants similar to these, and ever since I have wanted a pair:

And I like these pairs too (great for yoga/pilates!)

(drool drool drool)

Thai fisherman’s pants, inspired by a good friend I met when we were both pregnant, and she told me how comfortable they are with a growing belly.

Yoga pants from Girl Skirt Mission

See? I’d wear pants, if I just had the right ones! 🙂

I said earlier that I was 2 parts hippie- actually, I only meant in clothing- in personality, I’m probably more like 98% hippie. 🙂 I don’t remember when I first saw them, but I fell in love with the patchwork hippie skirts and dresses, and have vowed to learn to make my own. So far, I’ve made one strip skirt. I aspire to the artistry here. I tried really hard to only pick the best of the best:

For some reason I”m really a sucker for pictures in snow. And look! Matching shirt, and separate pocket!

I’m also a sucker for really romantic white nightgowns I found a bunch at April Cornell, but it looks like she’s branching out into pjs and colors now. Too bad.

Nursing nightie from Elizabeth Lee (I have GOT to learn to sew from a pattern!)

Other stuff I don’t have the time to talk about (because I’ve been at this an hour!)

It occurred to me that I need to provide links for everything, so I will do that tomorrow as linking didn’t occur to me until I was half way done, and I was closing windows as I went.

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