Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday: DIY Clothing?

One of my many goals (fantasies?) is to start making, altering, upcycling my own clothing. I really don't believe that I have great fashion sense, but there is plenty of inspiration out there to help me along the way. Of course I'd like to express my creativity, but this goal of mine is also environmentally and financially motivated.

My first project: Rosa's Sleeveless Cardi (Ravelry link) from Emma Fassio Knitting (there's a pdf link to the pattern on the right sidebar). I did have to make some adjustments since my gauge is different, but hopefully it will work out in the end! I'm using a bamboo/wool blend yarn, so this little top should be a great layering piece this spring. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it before July! :)

Do you have any favorite clothing patterns/tutorials/ideas? I remember seeing diy-clothing challenges before, but can't seem to find them now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Great Finds

Elderberry syrup recipe and testimonial
The elderberry syrup tastes much better than cough syrup!
Felt Valentine's hearts
I'm planning on making these for the boys for Valentine's Day. They love putting items in little pockets.
February Simple Living Challenge: Pick 5
I'm proud to admit that I got a head-start this weekend when I cleaned out the boys' rooms!
Creative Play for Your Toddler
This is my new favorite book. It has the best of both worlds of theory and projects. I can't wait to get started!
Wee Folk Art's Preschool/Kindergarten Spring Curriculum
Looking ahead to the spring... Wee Folk Art also has some great tutorials. I am grateful for the sharing of ideas in this free curriculum e-book.

Have you stumbled across any great finds lately? Please share!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Baby, it's Cold Outside!

(This is actually a picture from a year ago, but it gets the point across!)

This past week has been a difficult one for us, but we've also been able to count our blessings through it all. Much of the state has experienced record lows over the last couple of days; yesterday our high here in Los Alamos was 7 degrees F. We've been without hot water for several days and will continue to be without for several more since we discovered a broken pipe this afternoon. As mentioned above, however, we do have much to be thankful for:

Our natural gas has remained on (much of northern New Mexico will be without natural gas--our main heating source--through Sunday)

Our wood stove has helped keep us toasty, and we have plenty of fire wood *just in case*

We have cold water

We have family and friends who have offered us their showers and washing machines

The plumber who was here yesterday installed two valves on our pipes to turn off in case of an emergency--we used them today when we discovered the broken pipe in the attic

I've been heating all of our water on the stove. As I fill sinks for dish-washing and bathing, I feel a bit like Ma from the Little House books (ok, so I know that I still have far more luxuries and conveniences than Ma!) Within two days I've already changed the amount of dishes and clothes we use. We've also been bathing far less frequently. All of this really has me thinking about our luxuries and conveniences. How much do we really need, and what can we do without? How long can one pair of jeans last? How many times a day can I reuse the same cup? How long can I go without a shower? :)

I've also been thinking about worst-case-scenario situations, including all of the "what ifs" of life: what if our electricity went out for a week? What if we had no water? What if we needed to live off of what was in our pantry for several months?

I do not want to live in fear, but I also want to be prepared. I've been interested in self-sufficiency for a while now, but now I want to kick it up a notch.

I once read in a survivalist-type book that the first part of being prepared is living in a clutter-free and organized home. That way, if disaster strikes, you know exactly where everything is and don't have to waste time searching around. So, our first family mission: de-clutter, reduce and organize (my husband loves this)!

I hope all are well and warm,

P.s. If you know of any homesteading/survivalist/self-sufficiency blogs or websites, I would love for you to share them!