Archive for May, 2011


Perhaps a photo can speak for itself. but, here, there’s a little explanation.

It’s not lost on me that I’m not one to stick around for long-term benefits. I can’t stand the promise of something to come. I’d much rather have the instant gratification. I know this. It doesn’t apply to family or other such major themes in life, but for the more trivial things. Which is why, when the chance arrives that I’m actually around for something to come to fruition, it’s a moment for pause.

I planted this clematis years ago. With a lick and a promise, I stuck it in the ground, unceremoniously, and thought I’d see towering beautiful flowers later that year. And the years went by. I thought the thing was dead, but every year, it would come back to life and push out the most beautiful, delicate foliage a girl could admire. But no blooms. 3 years later, it’s loaded with buds and the first one is about to burst.

I wouldn’t have been crushed not to witness the flowering of this slowpoke, but I’m stopping and thanking the Earth for her gift on this day: Promise.  Because, as I’m learning, the payoff of waiting for something so powerful to unfold, is priceless.


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Tutorial: Doll Sling

(note: I wrote this post last summer; it’s the one I became frustrated with and abandoned–along with this whole blog.  I’m posting it with all it’s warts in an effort to move forward, both blog-wise and universe-wise.)

It happens that my wee’est was two last week!   It seems just yesterday I was revelling at my HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) success and a brand-new baby girl.  Since she’s the second, she endures many hand-me-downs.  (Luckily she’s not a complainer about this–yet.)  But, coming up with a birthday gift for the second child who has everything and more was hard.  In the end, we decided to invest in a custom-made waldorf doll.  It is just beautiful and I hope she gets years of play.  Since I’ve been a little bit crafty these past couple of weeks, I thought maybe a doll sling would be in order as a complimentary, made-by-me, gift.  Turns out it was the easiest and quickest thing I have made in a long time!  Her elder sister gawked and swooned about it, so as a surprise, I made her a larger one.  And, because the first one was so easy, I put together a tutorial!

Baby Doll Sling
adapted from an Elizabeth Lee Designs pattern

*It should be noted that these slings are toys and are in no way appropriate for a living baby. Only a properly-made baby sling should be used for babies.*

Supplies: 1/2 yard for smaller size, 1 1/2 yards for larger size (makes 2); pair of 2″ craft rings

Cut your fabric: You’ll need a rectangle of fabric.  Cut a 18 x 44 piece for a small (2-4 yrs) child or 18 x 50 for a larger child (5-8 yrs).

 Hem the sides:  Fold a 1/4-1/2 hem over twice for a finished edge on each of 2 long sides and 1 short side.  Leave the remaining short side raw.  Iron in place (I also pin the folded corners down to help me keep them aligned).

Sew a basic stitch down both long sides and then on the short side, securing the corners in place.

Attach the rings: On the raw edge, fold the fabric in to the center twice so that the folded width is 1/4 the unfolded width.

Fold unfinished edge over once, and thread through both rings.  (I find it easiest to pin this edge in place while threading the rings.)

Attach to body of sling with a reinforced stitch straight across.

 Create sling: To make the sling operable, thread the body of the sling through both rings and the end through a single ring, as pictured.


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We’ve been struggling with random glasses all over the kitchen (and house as well), so, out of necessity comes invention:

A quick little whipped up place mat with a place for every person’s cup.

This way, we are limited to one cup each, and there’s no confusion about which cup belongs to each of us.  Sweet!

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Food for the Soul

I’ve been preoccupied with food as of late.  More specifically, food quality.

All of the horror stories about melamine-enhanced, petroleum-based and exploding food combined with my increasing discomfort with manipulating food into foodstuffs, makes me glad we switched, albeit gradually, to mostly organic and local foods in the past several years. It has been one-by-one: first fruits and veggies (like the dirty dozen), then, as our research unearthed more tangible health problems caused by horrendous industrial farming practices, CAFOs, additives, synthetic dyes, and other such manipulations, we switched to organic dairy and local and organic meat.

There are hundreds of reasons to switch to local and organic food.

The hard part: affording it.

I’ve said it before, and it hasn’t changed: we are a one (woman’s) income family of 4. Our grocery bill has expanded with everyone elses, and our income hasn’t caught up. There are a few ways we cope:

Buying in bulk doesn’t necessarily mean buying large quantities. So, I bring my jars to the local food coop and only get what I need, which is much cheaper and dramatically reduces the packaging required.

We cook more. Cooking at home brings meaning to mealtimes, consciousness and thoughtfulness to our food and provides a much healthier diet to our mouths. It’s also tremendously cheaper to cook than eating out.

We pack lunches for work and travel. We avoid the toxic fare at convenience stores and money-sucking habits of eating lunch out during the day. We’ve even committed to brewing our fair-trade, organic coffee at home for a fraction of the cost of conventional coffee out.

We grow food.  After the upheaval of last year’s attempt to sell our home, we’ve dug in full-force and committed to being here, now.  That means more investment in growing food.  We only use organic seeds and starts and compost.  We are looking forward to the season’s harvest of raspberries, strawberries, black raspberries, sugar snap and shelling peas, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, broccoli, dill, chives, chamomile, kale, spinach and more.  Now, that’s food security on a budget.

Menu plan.  I plan the week’s menu before the grocery trip so that I am only buying what I need and a couple of additional things.  The combination of menu planning and a reuseable grocery list (cardstock in a plastic sleeve and a dry-erase marker) makes meal planning and grocery list making easy, helping me avoid repeats, too much food rotting in the fridge–in other words, waste, waste, waste.

Stick to the perishables.  The farther down the shelf-stable isles you get, the less healthy the food is, anyway. 

Reduce meat consumption.  Being vegetarian is a worthy goal, but our family can’t do it for many reasons.  And  eating healthy meat is a priority.  So, we reduced our meat intake and increased our veggie and fruit intake.  Better health + lower bills=happy wallet.

Get over it.  We’ve finally come around to the belief that you pay one way or the other.  We choose to invest in quality, healthy food to avoid the illness and poor long-term health issues that can arise from an unhealthy diet.  Similar cash outlay, but we don’t have to go through feeling poorly and can support fair wages, local farmers and environmentally responsible food production in the meantime.

What do you do to increase the quality of your food without breaking your budget?

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Almost a year ago, I gave up. 

I gave up on this blog, because it was too frustrating to format the something I wanted to share and see in others’ blogs.  I was desperately trying to post a tutorial on how to make a doll sling, since I was making one for each of my two girls last summer.  The pictures were okay, but their placement was not.  I tried.  And, I tried.  After fiddling with it for about 3 weeks, I decided it wasn’t worth my time.  I had wasted so much time on that one post, I became frustrated and dropped it.

I didn’t ask for help.  I didn’t research it.  I figured either I could figure it out or it wasn’t  worth it.


Asking for help is perhaps the one thing I cannot very much hate to do.  It gives me great satisfaction to provide help to friends, family, neighbors, my community and even strangers.  But asking for help is, for me, the ultimate in admitting defeat. I realize that this is not fair participation if in fact something I strive for is to participate in community.  Therefore, I’m working on it.  And, I’m back on here.  I missed you.

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…stretch, scratch head, rub eyes…

Hello, there! It’s been too too long. I’m looking forward to getting back to this little project here, and hope you’ll come back to see what’s new!

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