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Archive for August, 2007

First, some FOs and progress shots:

  1. Another tie shirt from Girly Style Wardrobe:
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  3. Swing Smock from Bend the Rules Sewing:
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  5. A new skirt for me for work (made another last week, Simplicity pattern):
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  7. Father and Son Socks (father version), for L1, approaching the toe of sock #2:
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  9. Cables and Os sweater, achingly close to being able to divide and do arm hole shaping:
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  11. Pom Pom Table Runner for ELH and husband for wedding gift (almost 2 years late!):
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And now for a rant as per the post’s title. If you don’t want to hear about it, stop now! (more…)

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That was the title of the article in the most recent BJ’s flier we received yesterday. Here is an excerpt that made me excited and happy:

BJ’s understands that, as a major retailer, it has a responsibility to look at how Club operations affect the communities it serves as well as the environment at large. BJ’s is concerned about global warming and its impact on our Members today and in the future. The company is committed to helping preserve the environment and has instituted an innovative energy management system that makes Clubs more energy efficient. To date, energy consumption has decreased an average of 100 million kilowatt-hours–enough electricity to power 11,000 residential homes for a year.

I have been wondering for a little while how BJ’s did environmentally. I was happy they discussed some of the information in this magazine. The Club began carrying more organic products over the past few months as well. The next article in the magazine was about teaching kids how to be environmentally friendly. Here is an excerpt from it:

‘Going green’ isn’t an all-or-none proposition. Where you overhaul your family’s habits all at once or you take it a step at a time, the efforts will accumulate to make a positive change in the environment–and will teach children important lessons in caring for the environment.

Of course, something the magazine doesn’t address, probably because BJ’s is a retailer, is the idea of consuming less to decrease one’s impact. Of course I feel somewhat hypocritical as I just bought a bunch of fabric this week, but I am making clothes rather than buying (trying to stay with the Refashion thing even though I didn’t do another formal pledge. Haven’t bought anything manufactured since mid-May. Scratch that, bought short and a fleece today at EMS for 40% off of sale prices. Sigh, I fell off the wagon!). I have to remind myself that clothing isn’t superfluous since it is illegal to go naked outside of one’s home! And when I have things that I wear from my 16th birthday (the t-shirt you gave me, TN, navy blue v-neck), I guess that my clothes last.

But now for my guilty non-green secret: I love disposable cleaning wipes. I know–horrible!! I do buy the Method brand wipes, but still. I have pledged that when the current batch is done, I won’t purchase any more of them. They are all about convenience, and Gaia is worth more than that to me. Do any of you have things you know you should give up but haven’t?

Finally, I am completely inspired by Katie’s holiday planning! Though I have some ideas for our parents, I haven’t made a list yet. We do gift exchanges with our siblings, but the parents have drawn names yet. Time to ask them to do it! Also, we’re planning on sending either a link to this post about toys to our relatives after all of the toy recalls recently. We tried to ask people not to get L3 toys when he was very little, but they ignored us. *sigh* The holidays could lead into another discussion about consumption. So many things to consider!

Reply to comment: Justin, you can get rid of junk mail for free, it just takes some effort.  I did it a few months ago and have seen a dramatic decrease in junk mail.  Here is the link for those who are interested.  Other areas of this site have some great actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.  Enjoy!

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I bought this book early this summer and made L4’s snail shirt from one of the patterns in it. (The book link is to an ebay listing, only place I could find said book.) For those of you not familiar with Japanese craft books (heh, what am I saying, I only have one!), they have beautiful patterns, wonderful diagrams, but the actual directions are in Japanese. I do not speak or read the language, so I have to rely on diagrams and these tips. Last night (or early this morning…) I finished another project from the book:

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I’m pretty happy with how it came out, though it is a little shorter than I would like. I’ll be making another one soon. How soon? Possibly today. 🙂 This morning I also made a pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. I used the technique from the above shirt to do the bias tape edging and ties (homemade bias tape!!). L4 hasn’t tried this one on yet, but I hope she likes it.IMG_1801.JPG

Finally, I went fabric shopping with KAB last night so I could make L4 some new clothes for her growing body. I also got a couple of pieces of fabric for me to make some clothes to fit my smaller size.IMG_1799.JPG

I love, love, love the pear & apple fabric.  It reminds me of things you’d find a Superbuzzy, which I just can’t afford or justify.   All the fabric was washed this morning and hanging on the line to dry by 8:30am.  I’m sure I’ll be back with more pictures of FOs over the next few days.  It’s a welcome break from all the knitting I’ve been doing (but not showing).  Heh, maybe I’ll get some pictures of my knitting stuff, too.  To end, a quote that I need to remember when I sew!

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you’re happy with it.”

–Susan Branch, artist and author

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My boy learned to ride his bike without training wheels tonight!! Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures. My heart swelled, and was fit to burst with happiness and pride. He loved it–huge smile, shouting, “woo-hoo!” He didn’t want to come in, but it was getting dark and L1 was getting tired and sweaty from running along side him.

It was a far cry from the end of our outing with KAB and kids this afternoon for geocaching. L3 had a complete meltdown because we wouldn’t let him have more Reese’s Pieces (I know, not a healthy snack! I’m not perfect!). Before that it was the geocache from h*ll. It was a two-part one, where we had a hard time even finding the coordinates to get to the second one because we didn’t realize it was a two-parter. To get to the second set of coordinates you had to cross through a thicket field! (KAB and I declined that adventure, thank you.) When the camera is downloaded, I’ll update with some pictures of the woodland adventure and maybe some of my FOs, like my embroidered bag (so happy with how it came out)!

Update: L1 uploaded some new pics, including ones promised from above, to our flickr page.

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What is the cost of crunchy living?

  • Is it the higher grocery bills, or is it less trips to the doctor?
  • Is it looking “different” with huge piles of recycling out front and a lawn a bit longer than everyone else’s, or the knowledge of trying to live up to one’s ideals?
  • Is it the extra time to walk, to have multi-functional car trips, or is it the reduced fuel bill and healthier bodies?
  • Is it the “burden” of making most meals from scratch and the associated time that goes with it or the knowledge of what is actually in one’s meal?
  • Is it the tediousness and emotional baggage that goes with purging one’s belongings, or the lightness of heart when there are less “things” to care for and worry about (and clean!)?

Green living, crunchy living, environmentally friendly living, whatever you want to call it, it has a cost. Some of those costs are economic, some are social. We can’t necessarily put a dollar sign on all that goes with it. Ironically, it reminds me of the Mastercard commercials where there are “priceless” moments. There are many things about a crunchy life that are priceless, from feeling less guilty to feeling like I am raising my children to live a life that will tread more lightly on Gaia (most of the time–just had to talk with L3 about water as a resource like electricity. He was “experimenting” in the bathroom, wanting to make mini-oceans and try blowing gentle versus hard wind on them!!).

These thoughts are just part of our daily living now, but I am writing about them today because of a thread from Shannon’s recent post. L1 and I talked about it, then posted a joint reply. I encourage you to go read it, not because we posted, but because it is food for thought. I’d also love to hear people’s thoughts on these various issues, or how you see them in your own lives.

“The personal is political.” (can’t remember who said this, sorry!!)

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Do you ever have days where just being around other people makes such a positive difference? I’m sure we’ve all had days where we just don’t want to be around anyone. But there are times where just the opposite happens as well.

Today was my first official day at work for the fall semester, kicked off with a day long meeting for one of the classes I teach. Ugh, you might think. But the conversations about teaching, about a liberal arts education, and connecting with my LC partner were really satisfying. It was a good reminder of why I love my job and do like the college at which I teach. I even had some lovely conversations with my department chair and another department member. They were talking about possibilities for me in the future. I feel like I have to be guarded with the way in which I answer their questions. Isn’t it sad that we have to not seem to eager about things? Or maybe it’s just that I am a bit jaded and don’t trust. Or maybe that I just don’t know what the h*ll I want!! Regardless, all of that left me with a peaceful sort of glow about me.

So where did this “happy glow” originate, then? I had a knitting meet up with Katie, Amy, Kate, and Alana (who is blogless as far as I know) this evening. I went to high school with the first three, so part of the night was playing catch up (what have you been doing for the past 13 years?) but it was also just good times. There was knitting, there was spinning, there was talk ranging all sorts of topics. It was so satisfying and happy. I got to spend time with adults and I enjoyed it! Now I’m home, the kids had a good time with L1 while I was out, I met all of my to-do list objectives for the day, and I just feel so light and at peace with the world.

When you like being with others (I know we all have our introverted moments), what do you like best?  I’d like to know what connects other people in the world.

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Honest and true, most of the time. 🙂 Though you can probably hear any teacher complain about his or her students at some point in time, I do enjoy my students for the most part. I love teaching college-level students. This fall I am teaching a specialty course of sorts, Psychology of Gender. I just looked at my roster for the course and was so excited to see so many familiar names. Teaching at a small liberal arts college has the benefit (again, most of the time!) of getting to know and see students in multiple courses. This course is supposed to be discussion-based (though we’ll see with 37 students!) and it should be great with those who are in the course. Hearing students’ ideas, watching their minds open to new possibilities and ways of seeing the world, it is truly joyful. In some ways it is like being a parent. What’s more, I learn from them, too, and I love it. Whether it be a new way of looking at something, a movie or book recommendation, or learning some new bit about technology out there, I am kept on my toes. So far, I have been able to hold off stagnation in my job because I change things in my courses and my students change and change me. I truly mean it when I say that I love my job and feel lucky that I am able to do it.

If you want to end with that happy note, don’t keep reading. If you want to read about some injustice in the Ivory Towers of the US, read on! (more…)

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