19 December 2016

Clothing Count Challenge #2

I counted up my clothing (after washing it all) and this is what I have. All of these things are in rotation in my closet or were in storage and have been handled and gone through this year. I know I could do another sweep, but I'm trying to get more intentional about it.

I did not count costume pieces, in progress pieces, planned or anything from the mending pile. One of my goals for 2017 is to get all of those things out of the sewing room and either to my closet or out of the house.
I also didn't include my workout gear. Since I did a capsule specifically for those things. They all fit in one drawer and as long as it stays that way(and it should) I will not need to address it again.

Here are the totals of each item and a bit about them or why I have that number. 

Underwear- 21
I feel like this number is OK. I always have more than I use in a week, but if I don't get to the laundry one week (rarely happens) then I'm still going to have underwear. There are a few lacy ones that I don't really like to wear because they are polyester lace and itchy. I need to get them out of there.

Bras-5 in use 8 waiting. Total 13
I loved the fit of a specific bra I bought and when I found out it wasn't being made anymore I ordered 10 of them. I still have 8 in packaging for when I need them. I hate to even think of the day when I will have to go look for a new favorite bra. :(

A lot of these socks are from when I lived in SC so I have so many pairs of thin summer socks, which I don't really even wear that often up here. Maybe I should just let them go so that drawer isn't so packed.

I use these occasionally and I feel it's a good number. I have one full slip, one skirt only and one camisole.

Both of these are going to wear out this year probably and will find their way to the trash. So, nothing to worry about here.

These all fit nicely in a shoe box that I have in my sock drawer, but I don't wear them often as I have better things to keep me warm and in the summer I'm in the garden most of the time. Again...maybe I should be more ruthless with these.

Thermal tops- 5
Thermal bottoms-3
I have been flirting with the idea of releasing the cotton long johns that don't actually keep me warm in the tundra that I live in. They were great for occasional wet cold rainy days in SC. That would get rid of 2 tops and 1 bottom.

one of these is wearing out and in need of replacement. I would like to loose a bit more weight around my middle, but wishful thinking won't do it.

These are Tees I wear on their own around the farm/gardening and working. I don't worry if they get messed up.

I have to admit that I was really surprised by this one. I thought I had done well with the tops.

These are always worn under a shirt for modesty or warmth.

Pull over Sweaters-14
I LOVE wool things and cashmere so I have invested in a few (too many?) sweaters. I might be willing to let a few go though that don't match the direction my closet is going or are too thin to bother with up here.

Cardigan Sweaters-6
These are great for layering. I think I have a bit of crossover in the pink section of my closet and I could figure out which one to keep.

I do have plans to make a pair of leggings to replace a pair that I wore a hole through in the thigh(nobody knows it's there 'sept me and Jesus...and now you.) and one more pair in addition. Most of these I wasn't sure whether to put them in the thermals bottoms section or here. I wear them pretty much the same. I only have 1 pair of thermals that are only over pants because they have odd seams on the sides.

Yay pants!
You can see that I don't think leggings are pants. I do not wear them alone. For me, it's a modesty and comfort issue.

Not sure why I have so many of these as I don't really wear them that often. Most of them were packed away and are, like the dresses, light gauzy material that is waiting for warmer days.

I LOVE dresses when it's warm and I am still learning how to wear dresses in the cooler weather. A lot of these are sheer-like or silk and are strictly summer-wear. As my needs change I will release them to my closet or out of the house.

Special Occassion Dresses-5
These only get worn occasionally, but they are classic and do get some wear a few times a year.

I am acclimating more and more to the weather here. Right now this is a good number for me. I may require more later, but I will sew some when I need them.

I actually forgot all about this. Its a wool roving vest that I used to wear to the office. Its a bit fancy for anything I would wear now. I may have to let it go or start wearing it again.

I have 2 blanket scarves and I love those. You can wear them in so many ways. I never got that whole infinity scarf thing, but I'm not a huge scarf person. I keep trying to make it happen because I see fashion bloggers talking about how it can "draw your outfit together." I only remember to grab one when it's cold outside and it stays with my coat most of the time-unless it's chilly indoors too.

I seem to wear one in particular over and over and over and...well you get the picture. Yet, I have 7 more? One only goes with one dress. And I can't remember the last time I wore that dress. Maybe I should get it out and spin. I made it to go swing dancing with my husband (then BF) and it's fun, but we have no where to go dancing up here.

I feel like a broken record-SC=hot MN=not hot. My clothes haven't caught up quite yet. I'm closer though. Oh so close. Some of these are from when we got married. *Newlyweds!*

Jewelry- ??
I meant to count these but then I just didn't. I don't wear a lot of jewelry and I don't have a lot. Earlier this year I went thorough my big jewelry box and donated all the things I wasn't wearing because it was all old costume stuff I'd been holding onto since HS or someone had given it to me long ago and blah, blah. None of it was worth anything anyways. Mostly a box of junk I've been carrying around  in each move. I'm sure I have more stuff around here that would qualify for the same treatment, but I haven't reached that layer of it yet. I feel OK with where I am with the jewelry. What I decided to keep is classic pieces that aren't gaudy and I actually will wear from time to time.

I can still remember when I had an old dishwasher box FULL of shoes when I moved after I left college. I think all my shoes could fit in a copy box now. I sold a lot of my designer shoes. I think I have maybe 2 pairs. I've had the one pair repaired so many times I'm not sure that it even looks the same anymore and definitely is not worth anything to anyone but me now. I could stand a little more running here too.

Strangely enough I could probably get rid of a few of these, but I won't/don't want to do that.

Seems like they hide from me when I'm looking for them, but really I wear the same one all the time. IT is starting to get a bit thin. I doesn't help that my #declutterdog ate the little ball of one of my hats last year.  Most of these are winter hats/caps

I might make one more. Maybe...

Painting Outfit-1
You have no idea how often I'm painting something around here. These aren't going anywhere unless it suddenly develops a huge hole in the butt.

So what do I need? Probably nothing. All of my clothes are different colors and I've been trying to get a cohesive wardrobe going on here. I wore a lot of purple, but it's not striking me now.  And as I get a bit older my style has changed a little bit.

I'm trying to figure out the holes in my wardrobe, but that will be the next installment after I decide what I don't need anymore.

16 December 2016

Sorbetto shirts.

I feel like I'm always late to the sewing party. I'm making some Sorbetto tops. The pattern is free from Colette, one of my favorite pattern companies. I love their classic style and lady like patterns. They actually help you learn so that you can sew more! What an awesome service to people who want to sew. If you get frustrated with it you might quit.

I'm making a regular Sorbetto in a pink flower print, but I'm adding sleeves to it.

I'm also working on a black linen version. I'm thinking of inverting the pleat or removing it all together so I can have a clean black tank as a layering piece. I might make one in white too without the pleat as I always need a nice comfy tank to wear. What better than a custom fitted one that you made yourself? It's not a show piece, but everything can't always be amazing. Also, I've found that people are just amazed if you wear anything that you didn't go to the store and make. When did that happen to our society? I Digress.

This is my first muslin. I didn't like the large opening that it gave for the armholes in the size I used. I ended up sizing down and doing a larger FBA than normal to get the sleeve opening comfortable. Every blog I read about the tops said that they thought they were too short so I added length to them (quite a lot actually!) There is a hack for making this into a dress as well, but I don't think it would look too great on my body shape.  More updates and pictures to come as I straighten out the fit and whip a few of these up.

 Download 'Sorbetto' here and make your own. I'd love to see your creations. There are so many people on the Sorbetto kick. Some have made changes to this basic pattern and made some amazingly beautiful things. Even if you make it as written it's a fun and easy pattern to make.

There is also a link to show you how to make your own bias tape!!

A zero waste sewing win!!

Happy Sewing!!

12 December 2016

Counting Clothing Challenge #1

I'm always reading different blogs. I do subscribe to a few, but then I get bored when they only talk about one topic. Which is why I'm always switching gears on my blog. I'm sure it makes a few people   crazy that I can't stay on topic. But, that's just the way my brain works. I can't concentrate on one thing for prolonged periods of time.

I've been really getting into organizing my closet and minimizing it more so that I only have what I need.
I'm going to execute this challenge and count up all of my clothing and try to figure out what I have and what holes I might need to fill. Or what I need to get rid of too.
I want to sew up a few new pieces, but I don't want to over clutter my closet again. It's a problem that I have trying to be a minimalistic seamstress. How do I know what to make?

I'm really hoping that I can figure out how to keep things under control all while adding some new favorites to my wardrobe. I know my winter capsule is really lacking in dressier things.

I'm going to follow this and this blog's example and make categories to add up what I have currently.

The categories I plan on using are these:


I can't think of any other categories, but I may add a few more if I feel I need them.

01 December 2016

Surviving winter in Minnesota

Since winter is coming, I decided to do a winter post to get us all ready. Maybe you need to change your mindset about winter. Or maybe you need some supplies to get your through it?

I've been in Minnesota two years now and although my first winter was a mild one, or so I'm told, I learned a few things to keep warm during those chilly winter months.

Here is my top ten tips. 
  1. I love wool socks and blankets. I need to get some more of them. A lot of people find them "scratchy" but I don't. If you do look for a wool blend instead. 
  2. Always wear socks, inside you an wear the socks with the rubber on the soles so you can have a little traction on linoleum, tile  or hardwood floors.
  3. Try to keep the heat at a constant temperature. I kept mine at about 68 most of the time. It helps the heater by not having to get the house up to a new temperature. 
  4. If you are chilly in your constant temperature house, put on a sweater or even a hat if you need it. Remember in the stories from last century, people wore stocking caps to bed? It holds in more of your heat. 
  5. Bake something yummy and leave the oven open after you finish and turn it off to let the warm air seep into the house. 
  6. Remember that the cold can dry you out just as much as the heat. You need to drink water or liquids. I like to make hot tea to get my liquids and have some honey. 
  7. If you have a pet, snuggle with them. It's amazing how much heat they can create. I trained my husky mix dog to sleep on my feet. That may not work for everyone, but it does for us. 
  8. If a dog laying on you doesn't appeal to you, and it doesn't to my DH, get a rubber water bottle and fill it with hot/boiling water and stick it in the foot area of your bed to warm it up. (be careful not to touch it with bare feet as it could burn you.) You can also knit/crochet/sew a cover for your water bottle to insulate the heat and so it doesn't burn sensitive feet. 
  9. Go outside and get some exercise. It will help your body to adjust to the changing season and you will feel better. 
  10. Wool Merino everything. This stuff keeps me toasty warm all winter long. A lot of people think that wool is itchy. This stuff isn't. Go to the store and touch it and you will see what I mean. It isn't thick and bulky under things so you don't look bigger than you are, a plus when you are wearing the long underwear versions. 

I love that Minnesota has four seasons. I can't wait to go through them all again. 
Each season has it's own beauty and faults, much like people. 

I love spring for the rebirth of the earth, yet the work cycle begins again. 
I love summer for the fresh fruits and warm sunshine, yet the sun can get overbearing and the mosquitos swarm all around. 
I love fall for the respite from the cool and the harvest time, yet colder weather brings an end to the fresh foods. 
I love winter for the quiet and serenity, yet it can be brutally cold in it's own way. 

I think if you learn to see the joy in every situation, life can be so much more enjoyable. 

Just a few thoughts from me today. 

28 November 2016

Some winter outfits

Winter 2015 

I tried the leggings with a sweater overtop. I didn't feel comfortable in this. I guess I'm not a leggings as pants type of girl. I'm all about wearing them with a skirt or a dress like they are tights or under pants. (So, I won't be wearing this look anymore.)  Second photo is just me in a wool sweater, jeans and my winter coat. I got this big scarf in 2015 and I LOVE it. I can use it like a scarf or wrap it over my head when I go outside. It's a versatile  piece. Then I have my favorite hat, because it matches everything and covers my ears, and a bright red cashmere sweater. I love cashmere. DH bought me this for my birthday a few years back. I get a lot of use out of it now that we are in MN. 


23 November 2016

No buy day vs. black Friday madness

The day after Thanksgiving has become completely crazy. 


People are trampling, beating, cutting, pepper spraying and killing one another-for stuff. 

It's all just stuff! 
As Americans our homes are full of stuff, over flowing with stuff, junk, trinkets, things, moments from everywhere. Our closets are jam packed and over flowing. 
We have a show about people who have too much stuff, they even have a special name for them-Hoarders. 
But, what about "normal people" who have too much stuff, but it's all put away and organized neatly?

Who are these people fighting over things at stores and hurting others? 
I can't even believe that we as a society have gotten bad enough that we can't even stop to help someone who is clearly having a heart attack or trapped in a car in a lake. 
It's IDIOCRARCY! (side note: amazing movie made in the early 2000's. I see it happening all around us.)
 People have lost the sense that God gave them! 

So what is the answer? 

  1.  Realize that there is nothing that you can buy that will make you (or anyone else) happy. 
  2. Know when enough is enough. 
  3. Value people over things.

This video shows the real cost of Black Friday and our wasteful ways. At the end of this post I will post some alternatives you can start this year. 

For this year on Black Friday I refuse to be a part of the madness, craziness or traffic. I don't want to stand in line to get a 90" TV for $200 if there is a chance that I will die over it, or someone else will. 
I do not need another TV. We have one that works just fine. (This is just an example. There is nothing that I need this badly, that I would even CONSIDER putting someone else at risk for it.) 

As a Christian, why would I ever want to do this? Why would I trade who God has made me to be for a TV, or a 90% off discount? (again, example.) 
God made me to love people, to lead them to Him. To the only freedom that we can ever know. 
How can I do that if I am bashing them over the head one day and then greeting them in church a few days later? What does that say to the unbeliever? It says that I'm a hypocrite. That I only say that I care about people. That's not what I want people to think of me and it's definitely not what I want people to see when they look at Jesus. 
Jesus said, 'put down your cross and follow me.' 
Put it down. Put down the discounted TV, put down your sorrow and loneliness that you think can only be filled up by material goods. 
Seek the one that made you. He waits for you. 

"Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?  
If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”
                   -Mark 8:34-38 (The Message Translation) 

This year, lets spend the time with our family,  friends and people. Make it a day to buy nothing. Focus on what is important to you. If you think that things are important you are going to go shopping no matter what.  But, just ponder these words in your heart. 
That thing that you just have to have, will it save you or make you free?

Buying things isn't wrong. We are all human and have needs. Even Jesus, when he was on Earth had needs. Just keep them in their proper place. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!

Want to make a difference?

  1. Sponser a child who has nothing. Give them food, education and the chance to grow up healthy. For $38 a month you can give a child a better life. 
  2. Learn more about zero waste.
  3. Invite someone to your Thanksgiving that you know can't go home to their family this year or will be alone. It is a hard time of year and no one should have to be alone. 
  4. Come up with a shopping-free tradition for your family this year. 

14 November 2016

Zero Waste-October

I feel like I've maintained everything really well so this will be the last of these I do an update for ZW.  Which is probably why I didn't think about doing it before now.

We are working through some bottles in the bathroom, but we are not bringing anything new that has trash in it or packaged in trash so I feel I can finish that up by the end of the year. I've also noticed that my hair has gotten healthier and I have no actual need for conditioner. It is available in bulk at the co-op I shop at, but I just use what I have as a monthly conditioning and it has lasted almost 2 years.
I've been taking a lot of things to the thrift store that we don't use or need anymore. It's freeing up space in the house and in my mind. It's really strange how peaceful you can be when you actually give yourself space in your own home.

If you have any questions about this process let me know I'd be happy to answer them for you.

Goal #1-Switch every family member over to using reusable bags

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #2- Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section.

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #3 Stop junk from coming into the house

Will this ever happen? Junk mail is still coming, but less of it and I am not buying as much. DH hardly brings anything in-he never was the problem...

Goal #4 Compost all paper that does come into the house.

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #5 Shop at the Co-op in town for bulk items

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #6 Switch to "ReUsies" instead of plastic storage bags. 

Goal Obtained.

Goal #7 Stop using disposable head razors.

No Change.

Goal #8 Get more serious about composting.

Goal Obtained.

 Goal #9 Switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissue.

No Change.
I am composting the tissues I am using.
Trying to finish up the boxes that are left in the house. Seriously, we don't even use them that often. We are still on the same box in November that were were on in April.

Goal #10 Stop my trash service.

In July, we got a smaller trash can. We are saving $5 a month. 
In November, we switched trash companies (same service, less cost)

Still not feasible yet.
This may never be feasible for use because I cannot find a drop off recycle place in our area.
But, we are sending less and less to the landfill. :)

Goal #11 Make our own bread from scratch. 

DH's bread!! I'm doing sourdough.

Goal #12 Replace freezer bags with jars.

No change

I am using less bags and I'm considering giving what I have left to a friend.

Goal #13 Compost cat poop in a separate area

Goal Obtained.

Total we sent out 1 bag for recycling and 1 bag for the landfill. We are getting better at this ZW stuff.

11 November 2016

Adaline velvet dress-part 2--pattern selection

Well, the cruise came and went and I didn't get this finished. I didn't even have time to finish start the muslin for it. I am still going to work on this, but zero waste change and getting my garden in this past spring and summer were/are just more of a priority at the moment life got in the way. (I started this as soon as I got back from the cruise, but honestly, I was a little bummed at myself for not having time to do it. We had a great time and then I forgot about it for awhile.)
Sewing and quilting is more of a winter activity for me anyways. 

Now that it is getting colder, I'm really thinking about finishing this up. Also, holiday parties are coming and how awesome would it be to rock this dress at a Christmas or New Year's party? 
Oh yeah, DH better start planning to take me somewhere AWESOME!!

In case you haven't read the first part of this on going series. It's here.

This is part 2 of the making of 'The age of Adeline' Wine Velvet party dress. I posted pictures of the original dress in the previous post, if you need to refer back, I provided a link above. 
This took quite awhile to do and in the end, I already had everything I needed...go figure. *eye roll at self*

I looked through current pattern books at the store and nothing jumped out at me. Blah, I'm hating the new styles coming out right now. Retro all the way! 
So, I dug through my pattern stash and found 2 that I can frankenpattern together to make the dress.

First up is a 1970's era empire waist dress. This is practically perfect. It already has darts in the bottom where I need them, but I think I'm just going to use the puff sleeves and the skirt part on this one. I would have to redraw the entire bodice if I used this whole thing. 
This is a better picture of the one I'm talking about above. Aren't those sleeves perfect?

This pattern top is perfect for this application. I'm really only looking at version 'A/B' here and he gathering at the collar could be very easily changed to a couple darts (who wants to try and gather velvet? Because this dress requires actual velvet, not stretch velvet. 

Here is a closer shot of version 'A.' Do you see what I mean? It will be easy to slash the front to make that low dip and change the gathers to a dart or a tuck even. (It's really hard to tell from the movie and pictures whether it is a tuck or a dart, so I suppose it's up to my own interpretation here.) Since I don't need anything but the top-that's all I'm looking for in the pattern department. 

The same thing goes for the back. There is really only the one picture of the back and it's a long ways away in the shot that you cannot see where the zipper placement is in the dress. I'm thinking it should go in the back over the bum for ease of dressing. Which would put zipper in the back and a hook and eye in the front making this a difficult dress to get on and off really. But, I want it to look seamless once I have it on my body. I think part of the all of the dress is wondering how it's made and how she even got it on. Right? Or is that just me?

Looking at that plunge Im nervous. I dont have an adequite bra for that and I dont think my girls would do in a sewn in bra, but maybe...boob tape?
So I'm looking into that still. I'm willing to take suggestions here too. (hint, hint) 

I will not be able to complete this in the original time frame as I had hoped. I have been working on baby quilts for some people and obviously the cruise is over.  So, I have to put aside my plans for a fancy dress...for now. Once it is completed I can wear it for years. (assuming that I can keep my shape after having children) *crosses fingers*

We are trying to have a baby now, so it might not be the best time for me to be working on a fancy dress anyways. I still wanted to do an update on my thoughts for the dress. I am going to work on it, but don't expect this to be done quickly. I have a few other things on the sewing table that need to be finished up before this really gets underway. 
But, having a solid plan for it makes me feel that much better. 

Have you ever frankenpatterned something like this? What do you think of this massive project? Are you excited to see it finished?  As far as I know nobody else has made one yet (or at least it's not online anyways.) So, I'm really excited to make it perfect and perfectly tailored to my shape. 

Next up for part 3 is the making of the muslin. 

09 November 2016

Are you the Luke 13 woman too?

Yeah, I know...you cringed when you read that. Wait, who? What woman? Is she important? What was her name again...?

Do you remember the woman in Luke 13?
No? Neither did I. I had always read over it thinking it wasn't important...because, yeah I'll be honest, I wanted to get to the good stuff. But, this IS the good stuff. 

I mean here is this woman who had probably been in the synagogue for a long time. The rabbis know her, they have seen her every week, maybe every day. Yet, no one had healed her or been able yet. 
Then there is the woman in Luke 8 who just touched Jesus' clothing(look her up later. Powerful stuff!) 
Doesn't really seem like a big deal at first. But...then I went to a women's retreat this past weekend. WOW!! I feel like these stories were explained to me in terms I could understand. And it was SO powerful in my life. I'll explain(a bit.) 

You see...I'm the secret keeper. No, it's not an official title. Some of you may know what I mean and I hurt for you, I pray the healing power of Jesus name over you. 
The secret keeper isn't told (usually) to keep it. They just do, they feel unworthy, unimportant and sometimes even unloved. Have you ever felt that way? I've always heard we all feel like this, so I thought it wasn't a big deal. *HINT* I was wrong. Really wrong. You see, Jesus cares for us-deeply, passionately and honestly. It's a love that we cannot understand. We just aren't wired to understand it. (Ephesians 3:19)

Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here.  

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” 17 As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
-Luke 13:10-17 

Did you get that? Cause just reading it, I admit...I didn't get it. 

It seems like I was focusing on the wrong part of the story. He's telling these guys that they are hypocrites because they do work and unbind their animals on the sabbath, yet they cannot even see that this woman is worthy of the same treatment.  Yet, I didn't see it. 

She has probably been in the church/synagogue a long time. Jesus says 'She's one of ours, a daughter of Abraham.' She's been bent over for EIGHTEEN YEARS!! Can you imagine? The Bible doesn't say exactly how she was bent over, but she may have been looking at the floor for years. Maybe she heard about this Jesus and was there like the woman in Luke 8. Maybe it was just chance. Maybe she had nowhere else to go having spent all her money on healers and physicans.   Maybe she knew all the feet and voices that passed her by, never seeing a kind face look her way. These are a lot of maybes, but we really don't know and it's not for us to know. But, it does say that she had an infirmity, some translations say demon. 
Satan wants to bend us over ourselves. So that we cannot do God's kingdom work. 

Are you bound and bent over? Does satan have you fooled into thinking that you can't be healed? That you aren't worthy? That you don't matter? That nobody loves you and you aren't important to anyone??


Don't listen to Him. 

I was bent over thinking it was my fault, that I somehow was to blame for someone else's abuse. 
I'm not. 
That I was some how responsible for someone's actions toward me. 
I'm not. 
 I was fooled and tricked and bent over myself with hatred, guilt, shame and regret. I don't have the power to change the past (There are a few things I'd like to fix in my life...) But, Jesus has the power, and wants to, heal us for the future. He wants to give us a future and a hope.
I'm not claiming that for my future anymore. 

See, Jesus, in His mercy calls this woman by name. We don't know it, but He does. We don't need to know everything. We just need to let him do a healing work in us. Maybe it's physical, maybe it's spiritual, or maybe, like mine, it's emotional. These chains keep us from seeing Jesus' face. 
When this woman is healed the very first thing that she sees is Jesus face. How amazing is that? Can you imagine? I can't even. I mean, you are bent over for 18 years! Nobody has healed you, then this man calls you over to him by your name. And heals you, just like that. And you look up into his sweet, sweet face. We need to seek His face. 
All things are for the Glory of the one who made us. All things are for the Glory of God, The most high, He who is worthy to be praised, He who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 
He cares deeply about YOU!

In the same way he calls this woman by name. He calls you, He wants to know you, wants you to come to Him. But, He always lets us choose. 

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.
-Ephesians 3:19

Versions stated in this post are Revised Standard Version. I encourage you to read more than one translation and find one that makes sense to you. Read your Bible and check that these things I say (or anyone says) about Jesus are true. Don't just believe something because someone tells you to believe. Investigate, pray, read, and speak to Our Father. He longs to hear from you. He longs to know you. He longs to have a relationship with you. If you don't know what this means. I will be glad to talk to you or find someone that you know in your community to speak with about Jesus. 

He loves us, Oh how He loves us. How He loves us ALL. 

22 September 2016

Cleaning beeswax

 I LOVE having bees on site. They are amazing creatures. They pollenate my vegetables, fruits, and flowers. All for the sake of making beautiful amber honey for themselves- that I steal. HA! You can see some of my butternut squash that I've over wintered here in this first photo as well. So yummy.

So what do you do with the weird over growths of burr comb? I had to scrape a lot off when I put my packages in and they went crazy before I got another box on. I used quite a lot of it when I caught a swarm this summer. I rub the beeswax on empty frames so that the bees can get going faster and just move the wax around. It's worth it. 

I put a folded over piece of (market) cheesecloth into my double boiler. All the junk stays in the cheese cloth and most* of the wax will leak through. I think I will try another method for getting the beeswax next year though. This works, but it takes awhile.

When I poured the liquid in the silicone trays I noticed it was an odd color. I let them cool and it separated the wax to the top and the pollen on the bottom. So, now I have a bit of pollen in this as well. I poured the pollen into an old salsa jar and froze it to use in the spring for the bees to get started into brooding faster.

I'm going to use this to make some cosmetics later, so look for those posts at a later date. Zero Waste cosmetics, well as close as I can get to it anyways. One step at a time towards a better life! 

10 June 2016

Seasonal Eating

I've been working on a lot of areas in our lives and sharing them with you. Today I want to talk about our food. Do you know where the food you eat comes from? Are you eating something in a plastic bag that is filled with yucky chemicals? I really hope that you aren't.
We started on this crazy journey by eliminating High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diets, then I eliminated palm oil (We only had one slip up there, DH bought PB with palm oil in it. I talked to him about it and he understands.) I'm not going to go into why these are bad for your body and there is conflicting thoughts here, but I think that the less processed food we eat, as a whole, we are better off.
Then I starting doing a whole foods diet. Where everything was whole before I processed it in my kitchen. For example, if we want potato fries I use a potato, chop it up and bake it in the oven in some oil. Sometimes I make them spicy or add a flavoring to them to change it up. Sort of at the same time we began making the switch from boxed foods that were being marketed as healthy, to foods that I make from scratch. They are always fresher and taste much better, in our opinion anyways.
I realize that not everyone has the time to do all of these things, but if you could just do a little bit to make your diet better you would feel better, sleep better, even have better sex because your body will be getting energy and oxygen to the blood that you can use. (Trust me...)

Now the next thing that I want to tackle in our kitchen is seasonal eating.

Here is a link to a site that explains a little bit about why you should eat seasonally.

Below, this is taken from the site mentioned above and I did NOT create this list, but it is a good starting point to think about. Just because something isn't on this list doesn't mean you can't eat it. But you will figure out what is in season in your area and what isn't as you go along. I've been trying to do this a little bit, but DH doesn't want to give up certain things. I'm working on alternatives for things right now. Since we are no longer by the ocean, sea food is old and really expensive by the time it gets to us. That's not acceptable in my book. So, I'm purchasing lake fish that are native to the area, like crappie, bass, catfish, perch, sunfish, walleye and trout.For replacing something like oysters I'm growing salsify, which tastes like oysters but doesn't have the texture or consistency so it's good in soups and stews.

On to the list!
  • In spring, focus on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of this season. The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate, including Swiss chardspinachRomaine lettuce, fresh parsley, and basil.
  • In summer, stick with light, cooling foods in the tradition of traditional Chinese medicine. These foods include fruits like strawberriesapplepear, and plum; vegetables like summer squashbroccolicauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro.
  • In fall, turn toward the more warming, autumn harvest foods, including carrotsweet potatoonions, and garlic. Also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including gingerpeppercorns, and mustard seeds.
  • In winter, turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Remember the principle that foods taking longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the warming category including fishchickenbeef, and lamb. So do most of the root vegetables, including carrotpotatoonions and garlicEggs also fit in here, as do corn and nuts.

This is a helpful list, but not all inclusive as I stated. But if you start growing your own garden you will soon learn when the seasons are around you. There are different regions and zones within the United States. So whats in season in the South isn't in season in the upper midwest. So, I've learned to adjust my eating. Certain things are never going to be in season in your location though. For example,  rice isn't grown in my area. Wild rice is and I try to eat that in the fall, winter and early spring as it is gathered in the fall. But, I buy a large bag of rice from the store in town when I need it. I'm still looking for someone local who collects it. 

For me I love being able to walk out to my garden and pick my salad greens in early May before most people have even started planting yet. 

It's a journey, but one I would love for you to join me on. 

06 June 2016

Cat waste part 2

Starting off Here are my little poopers. To the left is Grayson and to the right is Calypso (We call her Caly for short.) 

I wanted to add some visual aids to the zero waste cats. The hardest part about having zero waste cats is dealing with the litter, poo and the packaging it all comes in to you. 

We can't do anything about the poo, that's a natural process. The liter and the packaging we can change!
This is a picture of the litter I used to use. I bought it in these big buckets because at least I could use the buckets for something, until they broke. Now I put the spent liter and the poo in this empty bucket. When it gets full(or close enough) I take it outside, dig a hole and cover it back up so it can compost. 

This is the liter we are using now. It's in a compostable cardboard container. I've already put one in my compost pile. I rip off the stickers and add them to the landfill waste, because it's plastic based and I try to keep that out of my gardens.

This is a picture of the compost inside. Its made from cedar and corn. It actually smells pretty good, but not like the chemical laden stuff. This is also widely available at Petsmart. (which is where I've been buying it.) It comes in 2 sizes. I buy the bigger size so I don't have to go as often. But, if I only had 1 cat I might just get the smaller one. 

That's about all there is to it. It's simple, and not too much different than what I was doing. 
We're working on going to a different food that I can recycle the bags for as well. I'm still on the search. Right now we're using Blue, because it doesn't have corn and soy products in it. 
Are you zero wasting your pets? I'd love to hear any tips that you might have for us. 

01 June 2016

Zero Waste-Month #3-May

Goal #1-Switch every family member over to using reusable bags

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #2- Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section.

Goal Obtained. 
I thought this would be easy, and for me it is easy. DH goes to the grocery store so infrequently. But seems to keep bringing these bags home. I take them to the recycling container when I go shopping the next time and I don't say anything about it. But, he brought 3 home this month. Although he's using his reusable bag! :) 

Goal #3 Stop junk from coming into the house

Will this ever happen?

Goal #4 Compost all paper that does come into the house.

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #5 Shop at the Co-op in town for bulk items

Goal Obtained. 

Goal #6 Switch to "ReUsies" instead of plastic storage bags. 

Goal Obtained.
What do I do with these zipper plastic bags I have now is the issue??

Goal #7 Stop using disposable head razors.

No Change.

Goal #8 Get more serious about composting.

Goal Obtained.

 Goal #9 Switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissue.

No Change.
I am composting the tissues I am using.
Trying to finish up the boxes that are left in the house. I still need to buy DH a hankie to use.

Goal #10 Stop my trash service.

Still not feasible yet.
This may never be feasible for use because I cannot find a drop off recycle place in our area.
But, we are sending less and less to the landfill. :)

Goal #11 Make our own bread from scratch. 

DH's bread!! I'm doing sourdough.

Goal #12 Replace freezer bags with jars.

Trying to get all my jars in one place is difficult. I have some upstairs to use, but more things that I want to freeze are cooked meat (ham that I cooked and diced for something else. It's hard to break up in the jar.) and soup. The soup does well in the ice cream containers. ButI can't seem to get anymore of those. I really want to make sorbets in the summer with the extra fruits. 
I'm not freezing as much as I thought I would be though. Maybe I just don't need this as much and the jars I have will work just fine with this? 
Although, I do occasionally cut up bits of ham and freeze them. I'll probably need to freeze them on a sheet pan and then put them in the jar so I can get them out. 

Goal #13 Compost cat poop in a separate area

Goal Obtained.

Total we sent out 2 bags for recycling and 1 bag for the landfill. 

23 May 2016

Jack of all trades or homesteader?

Yesterday I gave my neighbor a small pot of delphiniums that I had grown this spring. She was so suprised and called me a jack of all trades. At the time I laughed and said 'not really', but then I went home and really starting thinking about it. 

I’m a homesteader which at it’s core is to be a jack of all trades. So you learn to do what is needed in each season as it’s needed. 
I grow my own vegetables, fruits, herbs and I nourish my sense of beautiy with homegrown, usually perennial, flowers. 
She gives me excess bulbs or overgrowth from her garden all the time. (She’s been living here for over 20 years and has the most beautiful yard!) So, when I grew flowers this year, from seed I decided to pot one up and give it to her. Maybe she was suprised that I grew it from seed, or that I thought of her, I’m not really sure. But the thing that stuck with me is that as a homesteader you learn so many more skills than you would being a commercial farmer of, say only corn or soy. 
Your washer is broken? Well, you could call someone to look at it or you could go get a how to repair washers or a plumbing book from the library or look it up online and do it yourself. I can’t see paying someone to come out and fix it when I have all the tools and resources to fix it myself. As a married couple, DH and I split up the tasks based on what we like to do around the homestead, and of course what we have time for also. He likes to tinker so he usually fixes the washer and those things. Just last week he moved our washer drain hose from the draining into the utility sink to going directly into the drain line. Once he had the right tools and parts it was easy. He also does the electrical, which I wouldn’t touch anyways, and has plans to move our gutter system soon so that the ice slick won’t be right on the walkway in the winter and we will be able to utilize some rain barrels in the summertime. He helps me engineer new buildings and with getting them up. He does so much around here and I don’t get to brag on him very often, but he is really a crucial member of our homestead. Especially since it’s just the two of us right now. 
I on the other hand like to garden for, as I said above, vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and I’m really into the perennial vegetable garden right now. (I’ll do another post on that later.) 
I also do most of the cooking, baking and cleaning. Not that he doesn’t help, but I usually have the time to complete these chores. 
I like to sew and quilt to ensure the warmth of my family and I do a fair bet of mending on our clothing so that we can get the most use out of it. 
I really love raising animals and getting new animals or birthing new ones on the homestead is the highlight of my day. I try to give them the best lives that I can so that when the day comes that they die, I know they lived well. 
I also am the one butchering our animals. DH is slightly interested in this and will watch or hold something, like a knife or a bowl, for me. But, he’s not going to go doing it all on his own anytime soon I don’t think. He did assist with deer and hog skinning and cleaning when we were at my Mom’s house in SC. He is more fascinated by the larger animals that the small ones that I am doing right now. 
Homesteading, by it’s very nature is to be a jack of all trades. And I’m so glad that I read fast and absorb the knowledge of my forefathers so that I can continue on in the human tradition of caring for my family as much as I can on the homestead.