25 March 2016

How to wear a dress multiple ways.

Continuing with the capsule wardrobe ideas. I thought back to when I looked at capsule wardrobes and thought, "How can someone only wear one dress?"  It really boggled my mind because I love dresses. But then I started looking at the capsule dress(es) that other people picked and realized all of my dresses were statement pieces. (Ive never covered this but the idea of basics, mid range pieces(read:colors)and statement pieces in a wardrobe should be a good mix.) To get a better idea of what I mean here, read this article.

I was wearing no basics, in my wardrobe. All my clothing was mid range or colorful pieces and statement pieces all the time.
No wonder nothing matched and I never had anything to wear! 

Its taken a long time, but I finally get how someone could have only one dress in their capsule. 
I have more than one dress in my capsule, but if I only had one this would be the one.

This is my favorite dress! The one I get more complements on when I wear it and its a heavy hitter in my closet. It looks plain, except for the bright pink color. But, the cut of it is perfect on me. Your perfect dress may look different than mine. And that is OK. Your body and style are probably different than mine. (Differences are great, if we were all the same the world would be SO boring! Celebrate your uniqueness!!) 

Here is why I think that this is the perfect dress for me. 

1. You can wear it in the summer just as it is, or with a scarf to jazz it up. 

2. You can use it like a skirt and layer over it. 

3. You can layer under it with longer sleeves, short sleeves and/or tights. 

Just by looking at my hair in these photos you can tell that this dress has been with me for awhile. I don't know what I'm going to do when I have to replace this dress. I might just use it as a template to make another one in another fun color.
You can see how I used basics with each different way I wore it. Those black Malibrans are also heavy hitters in my closet. I wear them with jeans, skirts and this dress  a lot. The brown boots are gone now. They wore out. I bought a pair to replace them that are leather and I hope to have them for some time. I say this since the other boots were a plastic that just tore up quickly.
The chambray shirt and the turtleneck are classic pieces that match almost everything. The tights are great for colder days that you still want to dress up for some reason.

For clothing to be allowed to be in my wardrobe (and ultimately to stay) they have to match at least 3 (5 is better) things I already own. You can see that this dress easily meets my criterion there.

I hope that this helps you see just another reason you don't need to have a closet full of clothes to have something to wear.

Happy capsuling!!

14 March 2016

External nest box-day 1

It was always the plan to have this external nest box on our coop for the girls, but last year was tough. I had to work by myself on most things sine my DH was working so much overtime. (Side note, he loves his job and we know this would happen every so often, but it makes homesteading harder on me.)

I found this plan for external nest boxes and I just lengthened it to make it work for the space we had already planned. You could do this as you build your coop a whole lot easier, but it wasn't a bad day's work with what we did get done.

I did try and get started a few weeks ago when DH was at work, but all the batteries were dead for the power tools. I made a few cuts(which actually made putting it together go a bit faster.) 
After we figured out our plan, we cut the remaining pieces and I primed them while DH made some more cuts. 

Then we cut the hole out of the coop. We had to stop and go get a hand saw for that last little bit in the top right corner. It was shaking too much with the circular saw. 

Oh NO! Now were really committed to this project since I cant leave a big hole in the coop overnight. (You can sven see my winter waterer, which Im going to leave up a bit longer.)

This part went together really fast...so I didnt take a picture until the sides and floor were up and then we secured the floor with the clamps.  Also here he is the DH himself!!
We used some old door hinges that we salvaged from our local habitat store. You should find out if your town has a local habitat for humanity restore. We find so much there, it's like a thrift store for building materials and some furniture. 

Sine my husband is a genius, he got it to only open part way, that way I wont get smacked with the door. (Cause he knows I would find a way to do it.)
Then I got the top piece attached and the handle secured. Granted Im going to have to take it off to paint again, but oh well. 

The roof was a few extra cuts to secure it and DH is a wonder with the woodworking. 

The board that seals the gap at the top (you can see it in the picture just barely, its the only one not painted) we waited to measure until the roof was secured. We are planning on putting some flashing on the outside when I shingle the roof. But we wanted to secure the chickens for the night at least. 

All thats left to do is put the dividers in for 4 nestboxes, prime the inside again, caulk the outside, paint the outside, shingle the roof, put up the bar in front of the next boxes, fill with hay and wait for more eggs. And hopefully this year at least one hen will go broody and I will get some Dominique chicks. If not I will just order more after I finish up the chicken run/pen.

I'll be updating you on those steps above on day 2 of the external nest box build. Stay tuned for that. Also, you'll get to see the inside view. 

11 March 2016

Gym/Workout Capsule Wardrobe

I love my capsule wardrobe and I've begun to notice that I'm wearing stretched out sweatpants and stained tee shirts when I go to the gym. YUCK!
I didn't want to be that girl in stretch pants. You know the one. So, some of my gym clothes had gotten tight and I hadn't been wearing them.

I bought a few new things last year when we really started going to the gym more. I love wearing those things. And I got rid of those old stretched out things and stained things.

My husband has been telling me that he could really tell that I was tightening up in some areas. So, I tried on a shirt that I thought was too tight and he thought it looked great. So, I have to include that in this as well, even though the color is different. It's Navy, so it still works.  There is one more shirt to add to this.

Gym Capsule Wardrobe

3 Sports bras
2 pairs of capris
1 pair of volleyball shorts
1 pair of regular shorts
2 pairs of sweatpants
3 shirts
1 sweatshirt
1 pair of shoes

Except for the shoes, this all fits in one dresser drawer. I hope this helps you see how you can capsule anything that you use. Get out there and be active in your life!

07 March 2016

Spreading the news of less.

There have been several times that I have had the opportunity to talk to others about living a life with less consumerism and making life better. 
I am always happy to tell someone why I do what I do. Some people ask, and sometimes when people give me strange looks I volunteer the information. 
Here are some examples. Maybe you can talk to people you know easier than you think. Heck, I'm ever talking to strangers. But, I think a stranger is just a friend I haven't made yet. :)

  1. While on the cruise, I saw a lady reading "the life changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. We talked about how decluttering has changed my life I asked her how she was liking the book and told her that it would become addictive.  She laughed but then she had some questions about how my life changed. I explained to her abut the capsule wardrobe that I do. She said she needs that in her life, but didn't ever know how to start it before.  She was excited about starting when she got home.  We talked about the book and she asked me if anything else in it was helpful. I told her that I can clean faster, because I got of all the unnecessary things hanging around and that life is more peaceful. And that alone is worth it to me. She was really encouraged to start but she didn't want to start with clothing. I urged her to start with clothing. I told her that I know it seems hard, but you don't have to give it away if you aren't ready to. I told her to just pack it up for awhile and go through it later. I told her about project 333 and she was interested in that. She might be a believer when she gets home. I really hope that she sticks to it.  We talked a bit longer about her personal situation (which I won't go into here) and I offered her some advise and websites to look at if she did happen to get stuck. She was all smiles as I left to get into the hot tub. Hey, this was a cruise after all!!
  2. Almost every single time that I go to buy groceries, whether I am at the farmer's market or the grocery store, people ask about my bag I'm carrying. I made a reusable bag from a dog food bag. I tell them how I made it if they want to know. Or I show them the material,Duraflex is woven plastic, and how strong it is. I fill it up and it holds up to the weight of it without being too much of a strain for me to carry. If I were making one for someone else I might make it smaller though. Occasionally, someone will ask if I will make one for them. I'm thinking about making extras and taking them with me and leaving them in my truck so I can do this or even sell them. It might be a nice extra source of income. Since most people aren't into or don't know how to sew. 
  3. I am a part of a ladies bunco group(It's a dice game.) and after the game we have a yankee swap. I've been slowly switching over to eco friendly wrapping paper. Most ladies use the paper bags, so I've been thinking of making a few fabric bags to give out as well. I think they might hold up better. I made a furoshiki, for February's spring theme, and added instructions a few seed packets and an African Violet. I'm really hoping to increase awareness in my circle of friends. I just don't want to be pushy about it. 

So, three examples of how I am spreading the zero waste lifestyle. 
I just don't want people to be stuck in their consumer driven lives and not realize that there are other (better, in my opinion) options. I hope that this encourages you to talk to other people. 

01 March 2016

My zero waste goals

I've always been a weirdly eco viking hippy. (I really meant to type vibe-ing, but strangely viking works...) I've always thought that just recycling my plastics, cardboards and a lot of composting would be fine. Enter the work of Bea Johnson's "Zero Waste Home." This book was surprisingly easy to read and I learned quite a bit from just the first chapter. I've been seeing 'zero waste' on a few of my minimalist boards that I read and contribute to, but I hadn't fully researched it.  Now, I've read it and I'm a believer. My life is totally changed (for the better I think, and for the betterment of the planet)

My DH is not convinced about some of it. He doesn't understand why we can't just keep recycling everything. But, if I implement a new plan with enough information he goes with it. I do have to give him time to adjust to the new idea but I think that's understandable. Don't we all need time to adjust to a new habit or idea in life?

I want to waste less resources, time, money, and leave a healthy planet behind for the next generation. Plastic is just bad news all around. It doesn't bio-degrade into useable compost or soil like most things do. It photo-degrades, which means that it will break down into particles in the soil, water or air and make it more and more toxic as more particles are accumulated. Why did we make this stuff??  I do think that people are starting to see that using so many plastic things and throwing them away (Where is away?) is just not sustainable. So many companies are now charging for plastic bags or giving a discount if you bring your own reusable bag(s.) Some cities in the US are talking about banning plastic bags.

"...[Plastic bags] sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They line bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutter landfills. They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside drains. They drift on the high seas. They fill sea turtle bellies. 
"The numbers are absolutely staggering," said Vincent Cobb, an entrepreneur in Chicago, Illinois, who recently launched the Web site http://Reusablebags.com to educate the public about what he terms the "true costs" associated with the spread of "free" bags. He sells reusable bags as a viable solution." (Source)
So plastic bags are banned from my house. This is just one of many reasons I'm changing our life. 

Zero Waste Goals

  1. Switch every family member over to using reusable bags. By keeping the bag/bags in the car we can just grab them when we go to the store. My DH doesn't go to the grocery store very often, but I want him to have a bag to use if he goes to the hardware store or picks something else up from town. I'm working on making a man appropriate bag for him. (More on that later)
  2. Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section. I have actually already instituted this one, but sometimes I forget to bring them with me. They are now kept in the truck with my reusable bags. 
  3. Stop junk from coming into the house. I already blogged about how I stopped the junk mail through different sources. This is the next step of that. I'm going paperless with our bills and bank statements. I don't really even use the bank statements. When we do the budget I use the computer, so why have I been wasting these resources? I'm also refusing things I don't need or want. 
  4. Compost all paper that does come into the house. This is me being realistic here. I know that I am not going to be able to stop ALL the paper from coming into the house. Just tax documents and old paperwork alone could give me an aneurysm. So, I have instituted a plan with my DH for him to spread all paper that he wants to "throw away" it will take some time, but I know he will get it. All the shred paper gets taken to the compost heap to rot. 
  5. Shop at the Co-op in town for bulk items. I'm still making my cloth bags for this and I want to go buy some things that I need there, but I'm putting it off for now until I finish the bags. Since this store is 20-30 miles away it's not a quick run over and get what I need every day kind of thing. It just requires a bit more planning on my part. 
  6. Switch to "ReUsies" instead of plastic storage bags. (In case you don't know what it is.) I have a set of 2 and one extra that I use, but I am going to get a few more that are zippered for small things like grapes that fall out of the velcro bags. 
  7. Stop using disposable head razors. My Step-Father gave us his old safety razor. I bought new blades for it, a badger shave brush and some fancy soap for my DH to try it. He has a lot of disposable heads to go through so it may be awhile before he tries it. I'm also hoping that he likes the closer shave it gives. I use an epilator and a hand held electric razor. 
  8. Get more serious about composting. I know that there are more things in this house that I've been "throwing away" that could be composted. The hair that gets caught in the shower. (I have a lot of hair, says my DH), the vacuumed hair and dirt from the rugs, and the paper I mentioned. 
  9. Switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissue. My DH is not so sure about this one. I seem to blow my nose a lot and how many do I need to carry and how do I carry it? This is the one that scares me the most and we have a few boxes of tissue to use up before it becomes an issue. I actually do have a vintage hankie that I bought at an antique store because I loved the embroidery on it. I need to get some for DH and a few extras for me, but it will be awhile. Since we have 6 boxes of tissue. (This is going to make more space under my bathroom sink too!) 
  10. Stop my trash service. This one step would save me $30 a month and it would force me to figure out other ways to recycle and be more proactive about our waste. 
These are goals and I plan to implement small changes to work towards them. Nothing is going to happen overnight. But, I want to be the change that I desire in the world. So, here I go.