Mother Earth News Fair

Today, we are off on an adventure.

We are road-tripping to Belton, Texas for the Mother Earth News Fair!

I am super excited that is so close (close is relative in Texas).

It almost seems epiphanous in light of the changes I am working on: zero-waste, a vegetable garden, healthier eating, a more minimalist lifestyle…

…trying to be more comfortable with who I am and working to worry less about what others think and more about being true to what I believe

Plus, a road trip!

But no junk food.

That’ll be a challenge.

Challenge is good…

Peace.

Big Can, Little Can

One of the things that happened during my time away from writing here was a step towards being a zero-waste home.

I’d always said that it wasn’t possible for us and then postponed working towards the goal because of that “perfection” thing again.  We’d recycle on and off, but never really committed to the ideal.

I guess you could say that my mantra for this year is:

Don’t let perfect get in the way of better, or good, or good enough.

Almost two months ago we got busy.  I researched recycling in our area and gathered information.  We don’t have curbside recycling, but do have a recycling center relatively close.  I typed up a detailed list of what can and can’t be recycled in our area. It’s attached to the top of our recycling can.

And speaking of our recycling can…

0214191608

The big can used to be our trash can and the little one our recycling.  They have now switched service.

Our big blue curbside trash can was always stuffed full on pick-up day with at least two more big black bags stacked alongside.

Since tackling our trash problem, we rarely have more than two small white trash bags of garbage each week.  And that’s for eight people living in the house (one in diapers).  I know, cloth diapers are a thing.  I’ve tried in the past and maybe we’ll try again.  Baby steps…

We’ve become more aware of what we are buying.  There have been times that we looked at a product and decided to find an alternative because there was too much packaging that needed to be dealt with.

Driving to the recycling center is kind of a pain, but we are working it into our schedule.  We store the recycling in big tubs (that we already had because of our decluttering efforts).  They stack in the hallways until they are full to cut down on trips.

Our compost pile is filling up and our chickens eat any food that isn’t suitable for the compost pile.  We have accomplished zero food waste.

We aren’t doing  it all perfectly, but we are doing better!

 

 

 

 

Live Today

So.

I’ve been depressed.  If you understand depression – that’s enough information.

If you don’t – a thousand words couldn’t explain it to you.

I’ve been getting up in the morning and doing the stuff that needed to be done.  I’ve had good days and not so good days.

Unless you know me well, you might not have even noticed that something was wrong.

I’m doing better.

I think I’m feeling free of the “blues”.

Life has more color.

So we shall start the blog with today.

Some of the yesterdays may find there way here in stories.  Maybe.

I’m just planning on living today.

A month or so ago, I bought a paper-making kit for my art classes.  It turns out that it was more for me than for them.  The paper-making classes turned out great, but the last few days have been even better.

I have become obsessed with making paper!

0518171157a

 

I’ve cleaned off my desk and shredded junk mail.

I cleaned out my studio and shredded scrap-booking paper and old artwork and leftovers from previous projects.

I’ve shredded all the scrap and left-behind artwork from school.

I’ve shredded old magazines and journals.

0518171158

 

And I’ve been making paper.  Lots and lots of paper.

0518171157

And I’m starting to have some ideas for how to incorporate it into an art project.

I’d tired of using other people’s artwork for my mixed media and collage projects and this is the next step.

I’m getting braver and am using confetti and glitter and grass and whatever else I can find.  Some of it works…some of it doesn’t.

I watched the starter video on how to make basic paper (so my class would think I knew what I was doing), but I haven’t done any other research.  I’m enjoying the process as much as the product.

It’s great fun to see how it turns out!

I hope that you are doing some living today and not worrying about yesterday and tomorrow too much.

And I hope that, today,  you make the time to spend at least a moment doing something that helps you smile.  The joy is there.  We just have to take the time to embrace it.

Peace…

 

 

Reveal

Are you ready.  Counter re-do number 1 is almost finished.  I still need to paint the bottom cabinets, but have not yet decided on a paint color for them.  By deciding on the color, I mean that the proper color(s) in the proper amounts has not yet hit the “Oops” counter at The Home Depot.  I’ll be patient for a while longer and then may actually have to pay full price.  That would be sad, but we have scavenged so much stuff already that it wouldn’t be a deal breaker.  I’m leaning towards a 50’s style Jadite green.  We’ll see.

On the scavenging front, let me explain where most of the wood we used came from.  On Saturdays, our IKEA sells carts full of pieces.  Broken, leftovers from displays, odd items – you name it.  A whole cart costs $10.00.  We’ve bought three.  Our purchase included perfectly good shelves, cabinet doors, partial dressers and beds, bed slats, and some stuff we couldn’t figure out the original intent of.  The cabinet top and trim  on this project came from that batch.

As much as possible, if we found ourselves saying, “We need to buy….”, we stopped and waited a bit and tried to brainstorm another way.  I’m pretty proud of how we did.

Of course, I can’t locate the before photos.  The shelves replaced upper cabinets that hung down very closely to the countertop.  The “brick” replaces painted vinyl wallcovering typically found in a manufactured home.  It was a “lovely” wheat pattern that I painted over a long time ago with a bright yellow.  The pattern had a tendency to show through no matter how many coats of paint were added.  The countertop used to be chipped formica in a riveting beige color.  Now wood slats covered in shiny poly.  My husband used galvanized pipe with copper accents for the shelf.  Very un-manufactured home and more us!

Tomorrow, I’ll post the cabinet I was in charge of and you can see how different our personalities really are.  I’m so excited that we are pitching out the rule book and doing our own thing!

 

a race vs. a steady pace

I shared that last week was crazy around here…like a race, with Sunday night being the finish line.  It isn’t a bad thing to live life like that once in awhile.  Especially if some of the running is with folks you like to be around and you’re doing stuff you want to be doing.

However, I draw the line at that fast pace being a regular occurrence.  There was a time in my life when that was the norm, but I don’t live there anymore.  I once read somewhere that some people are “rabbits” and some are “turtles”.  Some thrive on a hectic, event-filled life and others just like to go along at a steady pace.

I don’t mind being a turtle.  I’m giving up multi-tasking.  I feel like I miss out on too much detail and joy when I’m not giving something (or someone) my full attention.

I don’t enjoy moving towards a finish line and the next item on an agenda, instead of enjoying the progress along the way.  I am definitely evolving into a journey rather than the destination sort of individual.  It’s been a process (a journey), but I’m working on it with intention.

This week has been an event full, but uneventful time. I’ve been busy with part-time jobs and home-life.  There hasn’t been a lot of rest, but I’ve made sure to schedule some in.  I’m trying to maintain a marathoner’s steady pace that will result in long term change rather than the sprint of last week.

I’m taking a large load of clutter to share with our library thrift shop.  The trash can was full of discarded items, but an equal amount is going to the recycling center today.  It isn’t enough to save the world, but it’s a lot from one household that just started recycling again.  The new recycling center I set up is working out alright.  Not perfect, but adequate.

Our financial situation is looking up.  I’ve acquired some part-time income and we are trying a variation of Dave Ramsey’s Snowball plan to get out of debt.  I’m optimistic about working it all out for the first time in a looooong time.  Being out of debt would be such a relief.

We’ve simplified our lifestyle and spending quite a bit,  but there are still some things I’d like to do in the future.  Baby-steps…a steady pace…too much change, too fast is not a realistic solution.

Sometimes, it’s hard to trod along slowly when I see others racing past me. “Keeping up with the Jones” is one of the reasons I’m not where I’d like to be in life in the first place.

I dream of a simple, contented lifestyle.  A tidy, comfortable home that we can be a family in.  A steady income.  No debts.  The freedom to enjoy a few things…an occasional movie at the theater, art supplies, a steak for my husband now and again, and the things we need without doing without in other areas.

But overall, life is good around here.  I’m a pretty happy turtle…I mean person!

minutiae part 1- paper fasteners

IMAG0782Feel free to laugh at me…or with me following the reading of this post.

This pile of paper fasteners (paper clips, binder clips and rubber bands) have been sitting on my desk for over a week – okay, more like 3 weeks. They are the result of the massive paper de-cluttering I have been doing with our old business files.

The shredded paper has gone to recycling along with the boxes.  Dropped off regularly.  Out of the house…out of my life.  Moving on…

But these paper fasteners, along with 3 other zippy bags stuffed full, are still here.  On my desk.  Taking up space.  Falling to the floor.  Kicked all over the place.

Why?  Because I might need them someday?  I’ve had one paper clip in my drawer forever.  I never use it, but keep it just in case.  Why are these decisions so hard for me?  Aargh.

If I ever did find myself in the position to organize hundreds of reams of paper, I could surely get some more for very little money.

What the heck?  They are going today.  Going to the thrift store where someone who does need them can have them.

Going, going, gone!

It all depends on how you look at it…

Here’s some random observations (light bulb moments) from this weekend:

First, I participated in a fun “conversation” on facebook yesterday.  The thread was started by a friend.  She asked a seemingly random question which resulted in some honesty, some creativity, some “rabbit trails”, and some smart-ass banter.

Then she turned serious on us and revealed that what she was really talking about was habits.  The slow building of habits in our life as we seek self-improvement.  It can’t be done all at once (and shouldn’t be because that doesn’t result in true change).

When she first mentioned the word “habit” though, I have to admit that I first thought of “bad habits”.  Once she elaborated on her idea, I realized she was speaking of good habits.

Why did my thought process automatically turn towards the negative?  Am I truly a pessimist?  Do I look tend to look towards the “down” side of things?

I hope not and I will be watching for this trend in my thinking.  I’ve always thought I was a realist with naïve tendencies, but it’s probably an area I need to work on.  I’ll add that to my “bucket” list!

Next, I was taking out the trash this morning and was disturbed to see that the big can was almost full already.  We did have company over this weekend and I am clearing out some stuff, but trash pick-up isn’t until Thursday.

We used to recycle as best we could.  We don’t have curb-side pickup where we live so we have to transport it to another city near us.  I even bought nice bins from IKEA.  Then we couldn’t find a good spot for them in the kitchen.  We dropped down to one car and transportation was an issue.  The recycling started piling up in the kitchen and I just gave up.

I guess I saw it as an all-or-nothing proposition.  Solution:  This old white armoire in the dining room (awaiting a fresh coat of paint) has been repurposed.  The shelf is one my son found in someone’s discard pile.  The boxes are leftover from my business paper purge.  A spot for cardboard, paper, plastic, and metal recycling.  It’s not pretty, but it’s out of sight  and easily accessible.  I’ll recycle what I can and throw away what I can’t if transportation becomes an problem and the stuff outgrows the cabinet.IMAG0781

It doesn’t have to be perfect.  I can choose to look at it as “good enough”.

And finally –  Am I in this life for the journey or the destination?  I keep looking at the work to be done and thinking, “when this is done I’ll ______.”  (Fill in the blank with any number of plans)

When the house is de-cluttered?  When the laundry is done?  When the kitchen is clean?  When the garden is weeded?  When my inbox is empty.  When the canvas is completed. The work in my life doesn’t  get done.  I’m a homemaker (among other things).  When the work is done, it means I’m done (if you know what I mean).

Always looking towards the destination is a wasteful way to live.

I need to enjoy the journey.