15 February 2016

Valentines day (2015) quilt and dress.

This is from Valentine's Day 2015. I am still not finished with it, but I am so close. Since we will not be in MN on Valentine's day I haven't had the motivation to finish it all the way. I'm hoping that you will see it on 'Me Made 2016' this year!

Hi friends!

It's been crazy this month. I'm making a quilt for the valentine's day silent auction at our church. All the money goes to the youth group on their mission trips this year. I'm happy to help them out. Although I wish I wouldn't have taken on such a big project. Oh, well too late now. I'm enjoying making it. I'm playing with triangles a lot lately. I love how you can turn them different ways with different patterns and you get some different designs in the quilt. Like the 'X' that showed up in the Block of the Month pattern a friend and I are doing, the triangles in the 'Wild Rose' pattern that I'm working on from the quilting retreat. It's a simple idea and doesn't take a lot of fabric. Pinwheels are another thing that is just triangles together. (I'm working on one of those too, but still working on cutting out the fabric for it. I will post on it later too.)

These are the colors that I'm doing. I made up a pattern that comes out looking like a heart on a different background. I'm sure that someone had made it up before me as it is not terribly hard, but I don't know who and I'm not looking it up.

Here are some in progress shots. I wasn't too concerned with this since I was trying to finish it up fairly quickly. But, this gives you some idea of how involved this project was/is and how stupid I can be sometimes. 


As of Feb 9th I have 4 more days to finish it up and give it to the church and I'm about half way done with the squares. 
I am making 46 heart blocks and 4 corner blocks with some of the leftover blocks. 

All the squares laid out, before sewing them together. I know some of the whiter blocks look like they are running together here. But they look better in person. 

 Here are a few of the heart blocks and my corner block. 

Getting ready to go out on Valentine's Day. It was cold! 9F.

We had a great time. Even though I didn't get the quilt finished. Or the dress. 
I'll get to them. But, I'm trying not to stress out about little things like this anymore. 

I'm very excited to finish both of these projects. I've stayed up late into the night working on the quilt so far. And I'm sure that I will have the same issue with the dress. But, Valentine's day was a great night. 

08 February 2016

Buying Clothing that lasts

I know I just posted about replacing some clothing, but I want to talk a moment about quality.
I hope by now you have all purged yourself of unnecessary clothing and shoes. But what do you do when your things wear out on you? Do you have a favorite brand that you go to when you need something or do you find yourself wandering aimlessly around a crowded mall looking for that perfect thing? I don't know about you, but I hardly ever find what I'm looking for at a mall. I end up stressed out, hungry, irritated by battling all the people inside and looking for a parking place is a nightmare. Oh, and my personal favorite? Traffic! UGH, it makes me just want to stay home. Well, since we are reading this on a computer, I'm going to assume we all have access to the internet.

I shared that I recently purchased my new clothing from L.L. Bean. They have a guarantee program for all their products. The jeans that I bought fit me almost perfectly. I find it harder to find clothing that fits me since I'm high waisted and my waist to hip difference is about 9".  I think most companies make clothing for ladies with larger hips and thighs.  I have a slightly larger waist and smaller hips and thighs, it makes buying pants harder. These are SO close that I actually feel comfortable.

I digress, there IS a brand out there that is going to fit you better or make you feel better about yourself. You just have to take the time to find it. I read a lot of online reviews about clothing and looked at some other people's blogs about how clothing fit them. Then I looked at their pictures and tried to decide if they had a similar body shape to mine. That is how I decided to go with L.L Bean. Yes, it took a bit of time, but short of making your own clothing (Which I do as well sometimes.) You aren't going to find a great fit on the first try unless you get really lucky.

Even if you find something that is close to fitting, it might not fit you comfortably or the way it was designed to fit. With certain clothing items you can take them to a tailor and get them fitted for your body. You will feel better in those items and you will really notice a difference. I bought a pink dress from modcloth.com and I had to tailor the shoulders so that it stayed on me and didn't expose too much of me. But, now it fits a lot better and I love wearing it. (It's the long pink dress in my spring/summer capsule. You can see it in this photo, but I was wearing a cardi since it was a chilly valentine's day.

About shoes- Most shoes are disposable products. I took my black malibrans to the shoe repair store (cobbler) only to be told that they are not repairable. I'm looking for shoes now that I can buy once and repair over and over. These particular shoes I have had for 5 years and I wore them a lot when I worked in the office. The soles are cracked and crumbling rubber. It's turned hard and the cobbler said that he could replace the soles but it would just come right off because of the way they were made. This makes me so sad. I have a few more pairs of shoes with the exact type of soles and I know that their days are numbered as well. I paid a lot for these shoes, but I don't think I will be buying another pair. (*UPDATE* I went to the Fluevog store and they have a special cobbler they use. They are taking my shoes to be repaired and I have high hopes for them.) I did have them repaired when I ripped the leather on the side. My cobbler in SC fixed them and I went right on wearing them.

Most people don't know that they can get their shoes repaired. It seems like mostly men's styles are repairable. I do have a few pair of shoes that I know I can take to get repaired if something happens to them. But, these *might*(hopefully not though) headed to a trash heap. I'm just happy that I bought them used and still got 5 (almost 6) years out of them.

Now I am searching for a pair of repairable shoes. I'm thinking about some I found on etsy.com or a par of doc martens. I'm not sure which one I would get the most wear out of though. I need something dressier for date nights, vacations, and church. But, comfort is HUGE to me. Plus, if you think about it you want to make sure that you can get the best shoes that you can afford. Your entire body depends on your feet.

I hope that you will think about upgrading your shoes and clothes as the time comes. Quality over quantity.

To me part of being a minimalist is having good quality things that I can depend on for a lot longer than cheap disposable things. I eschew plastic anything, I buy repairable if at all possible, I try to keep as much out of the landfills as possible,  and I look for companies that treat their employees right, overseas and here in the USA, when I need to replace something.
These are my reasons for doing a capsule wardrobe and trying to have quality pieces. Yours may look different. Maybe you have lots of children so plastic is easier to clean or to keep from breaking, or maybe you can only afford to buy a piece at a time. Whatever it is make it fit your life and make sure that you know why you are doing what you do.

05 February 2016

Putting a stop to junk mail

Today I'm going to talk a little about how you can live a zero waste (or close to it) a little easier.

I don't know if you've heard of Bea Johnson, of 'zero waste home', blog and book. (I suggest reading her book, it's really insightful.)

You can find more information about a zero waste life at her blog here.

She talks about zero waste in 5 steps, all to be done in order. The first is refuse. She talks about refusing what you don't need. Junk mail is something we don't need and most of us don't want. You can get off a lot of those lists!

There are 2 ways to get rid of, or at least lessen, your junk mail. 

1. You can stop receiving credit based or 'pre-approved' credit cards and insurance offers. 

A lot of companies will use your credit information to decide if you would be a good candidate for their services. My issue with this is that more people are looking at my information, and that I don't want their services. You do have the option to opt-in after you opt-out, if you do decide that you are interested in their services. 

You have he option to keep those pesky insurance and credit card offers out of your mailbox!
You can choose 2 options with this opt-out. You can fill out the online form and be off the list for 5 years. Or you can fill out the form and print the paperwork to send in and be off the list permanently. 

If you choose permanently, you still get put on the list for 5 years once you fill out the paperwork, until they receive your form in the mail. 
No more insurance letters in my mailbox! 

2. You can opt-out of direct marketing 

The website is pretty easy to navigate and you can opt out or opt back in at anytime. (although, I never want to see that wasted paper again!) You do have to register your mailbox(address) to use this service, but I have seen a great reduction in my junk mail from signing up for this.


This is not strictly junk mail, but junk calls are just as annoying. I can remember sitting at dinner when I was younger only to have the telephone ring and it was someone trying to sell something! So annoying, but now you can put a stop to that!

3. You can get on the 'Do Not Call Registry'

This website is for the United States only, but some other states have  a separate registry. With a little bit of searching you can locate those too. While the service will reduce unsolicited calls it does not stop solicited calls, market research calls, silent calls or overseas calls. It will still greatly decrease the number of junk calls that you receive. 

I hope that you are thinking about how much trash we are creating, especially here in the USA. The resources that it requires to make more plastic bags, bottles or even to recycle them is more than we should be paying. There are limited resources on Earth and we have been using more of them in the past 100 years than the whole of humanity. This insanity must stop if we expect to leave our children and the next generations anything!