Saturday, July 30, 2016


A funny thing happened this month since declaring a No Buy July. Nothing came in, but a lot went (and is still going) out!

I suppose being more careful not to bring in unnecessary items caused me to start looking around more carefully at what was already in my home. Last year around this time, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (I highly recommend it!) and followed her direction which resulted in a much less cluttered home and a decent credit on my income taxes from the donations so I was a little surprised how easy it was to fill the back of my Jeep again this month. Some items were ones I'd set aside previously to try and sell, but didn't have any luck with... I didn't try all that hard. lol  No more waiting! Out they went.

Happily, all kitchen-related items now fit easily in my kitchen cabinets aside from my dehydrator that is simply too big to fit into any of my cabinets. No more basement overflow! I even moved the holiday plates I keep an eye out for throughout the year (secondhand of course!) to use for cookie plates for friends/neighbors at Christmas to a newly-emptied cabinet. That will make it quick to check to see if I need more or not. So far, I've gone through my kitchen and also shredded old paperwork, keeping only what's absolutely necessary.

This time around, I'm not following the konmari order, but I am sorting all of each category at one time. I also did a major overhaul if my yarn stash. It feels good to let go! It's interesting though how or minds adjust to the new level of stuff in our lives and suddenly what once felt like an acceptable amount is now too much. Enough is a constantly shifting goal. 😊

Monday, July 4, 2016

seeking personal independence

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday! For my non-US residents reading this, happy Monday! ;-)

If you've been here long, you know I love challenging myself and this month is no different. Along with my yearlong goals, I decided to up the ante this month with a:

Well, not entirely NO buy. I'll still be buying necessities like food (it's cherry season!) and gas and Reilly is getting his teeth cleaned in a couple weeks (totally counts as necessity in my book) which won't be cheap, but outside of that and regular monthly bills, there shall be no spending! Not only will I be paying a significant amount to the vet (health is always more important than money!), but I'm still saving for a few home repairs (ugh, always) and my budget needs a tune up. We're now halfway through the year. (How did that happen?!) It's a good time to reexamine that budget and be sure I'm still on track to getting where I want to be. Where do I want to be? I want more freedom! Good time of year to take a closer look at this, being the month the US celebrates our independence! I'll be busier with work too so why not take full advantage of that extra income by socking away as much as possible? :-)

This means no thrift store browsing this month! I've been finding plenty of secondhand clothing to repurpose and have a stack to work with. Any crafting time I carve out certainly won't be lacking in supplies. I'm still planning a trip or two to my favorite thrift store, but only for dropping off donations. ;-) Time to clear out the few items that made it to the basement the past year. I have an urge to clean out cabinets and closets as well, to cull the extraneous and no longer loved. Funny how not bringing things in gives me an urge to move things out. lol I'm hoping to make some real progress this month! My first goal is earning enough at my second job to cover Reilly's upcoming vet visit. :-)

Totally worth it. :-)

Friday, July 1, 2016

June craftiness

Are you looking for yarny crafts? Move along, nothing to see here...

This lazy guy? He turned 14 this month. Happy birthday, Xander!

Seriously, I don't think I've even touched any yarn this month. I have been sewing though and made another fun project bag using a thrifted skirt and man's shirt. No before pic on this one. You'll have to use your imagination. ;-)

There was plenty more sewing in June, but first, how about a little craftiness in the kitchen?

My black raspberry plants have been producing  an incredible amount of berries! I even got to pick most of them myself. I had some furry helpers after a few days. ;-)

One day's bounty!

Combined with some overripe organic nectarines.

The BEST cobbler I've ever made!
With the help in picking (and eating), it took me a few days, but I finally have enough for another cobbler. I hope the yellow raspberry canes I planted this year do as well as these in year two!

Early in June, we got a short heat wave. Gus handles heat about as well as I do so I tried my hand at some remedies without having to crank the a/c. First, I tried a damp washcloth. That worked pretty well, but we needed something for walks once it really heats up.

I picked up a package of SoilMoist from my local feed & seed store and got to work with my sewing machine. =) I'd seen plenty of neck coolers for people, why not for dogs?

I tried out the standard collar type first.Then ventured out with a bib style that would provide more surface contact. After searching, I saw some commercial ones of this style, but even using barely any crystals in mine, it still seemed too heavy for my little guy. A bigger dog would likely do very well with this style though. I'll stick with the collars for Gus. I always bring cold water on our walks (in a doggie-friendly water bottle of course) and he gets multiple opportunities to cool off, but I'm hoping these will make him more comfortable. He loves his walks so much, I'd hate to have to keep him in when it heats up.

These are super simple to make! When I make some more, I'll take some pictures for a quick tutorial if anyone is interested in making some for their own furry kids. Just let me know in the comments and I'll write one up. =) I keep a couple in a container with water in the fridge so they're ready to go when needed. DO NOT leave these on your dog unattended. The crystals, if ingested, can cause problems and no one wants that!

That wasn't all my sewing though! I pulled another shirt and skirt (in this case two skirts) combo from my thrifted clothing and got to work on a new library tote.

The white cotton skirt was originally cut and sewn on the bias. This was my first project with such a light bias cut fabric and boy is there a learning curve! I figured it out though and I LOVE the result!

What else has come off my sewing table this month? Another baby gift! The first was so fun (the pink/purple one I shared last month), I headed back to the stash for some greys and yellows and made a second:

This time, I used a solid piece for the back since I wasn't using pre-cut strips. I liked the grey/yellow combo so much...

I made a wall hanging for my little dinette. =) I'll likely make a couple of place mats to match.

That wasn't all my sewing though! With the heat upon us, Gus wasn't the only one getting hot on walks. Ashley Nickels also has the Sew a Reversible Sun Hat class on creativebug. Both the bib class and this one come with printable patterns. I dug around in the stash and found a couple of fabrics I wanted to use and got to work on my first ever fabric hat:

Cutting was easy, the piecing together of curves less so. LOL With a bit more practice, that'll get easier. I already want to make another!

I LOVE it!! I usually wear it reversed to the lighter side so it reflects more of the sun, but I wear it almost every morning on our walks so it's getting a ton of use. Works great for keeping the sun (and sweat) out of my eyes and so far it's washing up nicely. I just wash and hang it on my clothesline to dry, giving the brim a quick press to smooth things back out before putting it back to use the next morning.

So that's it for this month. Until next month, craft what makes you happy!