In one of my middle of the night computer sessions (when I sometimes have to go to bed with the little babe at 7:30pm, waking up around 2pm and feeling like I've been in bed for a long time isn't really that weird), I read this article by Ben Hewitt and this sentence jumped out at me: "In other words, we so often need so much less than we talk ourselves into." I happened to read this at 2 am on Christmas Day, a day when people all around the world would be receiving gifts that they "need", myself included. "Yes, I have this, but I could use another one because I like it so much." "Well, this one is pretty old, so I might as well get a new one." "If you'd like to get me something, this would be nice..."
So Ben's sentence hit home. Especially because it made me feel slightly hypocritical about myself and stuff. See, I have this habit and it is called purging. Not the serious food related binge/purge type of habit, but one in which I feel that we have too much STUFF and I feel a strong desire to get rid of it. The things that we have accumulated over 30 years of life - 60 years combined for my husband and I. Things from our childhood (really, do I still need that handmade pottery bell from 5th grade?), things from the newly married we-need-to-fill-our-home phase, things from the new-baby-needs-this-to-survive phase.
I can't get rid of it all at once; it would seem too drastic to give away all of my daughter's stuffed animals during one naptime. So on a weekly basis or when the mood strikes me, I put something in the Goodwill or Craigslist pile. My daughter herself has even gotten pretty good about it, telling me that certain things of hers that I mention are too small should be given to the "wah, wah" - our friend's new baby, who we have given some of my little babe's unneeded clothing and baby items.
Ben's sentence also gave me pause because my husband and I are currently in a "what is next?" stage of our life. After my husband finishes his degree in 2016, he will be looking for a job. That might mean that we stay right here in our quirky old farmhouse in a location that we really enjoy or it might mean that we take a big step and move somewhere else, like to another state somewhere else. And if that happens, then we have to think about where we will live. What type of home and land do we need. What type of home and land do we want. What type of home and land can we afford. Those three thoughts are connected - we shouldn't want more than we need and can afford.
As we enter this next phase in our life, I want to keep these thoughts in mind. Really, we have all that we need right now. Family, health, shelter, food, love, and so much more.
I am thankful for all of it.
What are you thankful for today?
I invite other bloggers to leave a link to their Thankful Tuesday post in the comment section below and I encourage everyone to share what they are thankful for.
I would love to be able to say that we do not use paper towels in our home, but with all of our pets, paper towels are a necessary evil. I know that almost everybody uses them for something and there is a bit of a joke in our family that involves my father and his paper towels. When my husband and I were at the Old House Parts store in Maine, I thought of an idea for a Christmas gift for my dad - a paper towel holder made from vintage house parts. I thought my brother would appreciate one also, so we bought the materials to make one for each of them. It was a great collaboration between my husband and I - I thought of the idea, he made it happen.
What we bought for each paper towel holder: one door knob and one base that is a piece from an old light. My husband then used copper pipe, a copper end piece, and a screw, washer, and nut. And of course a roll of paper towels to complete the gift. The knob is removed to place the paper towel onto the holder.
I apologize for the poor quality photos. We were in the garage late afternoon on Christmas Eve - not the best lighting. Here is how we made them.
1. Cut a 1/2" diameter copper pipe to a length that is about 9.5" inches or 1" shorter than a paper towel roll.
2. Our lamp base already had a hole in the center of it. If you are using something that doesn't, you'll have to drill the hole. Then determine what size screw you will need.
3. Solder a copper end cap, same diameter as the copper pipe, onto one end of the pipe.
4. Predrill a hole through the center of the cap. (This step is just to keep the next larger drill bit centered, so this should be smaller than the actual drill bit size needed.)
5. Using the appropriate sized drill bit for your lamp base hole and screw, drill a larger hole through the end cap.
6. Use a drill bit extension in order to place the screw inside the bottom of the end cap.
7. Push the end of the screw through the hole in the lamp base and secure with a washer and nut. The base is complete.
8. The only thing we had to do to the doorknob was wrap the end with a bit of electrical tape to increase the diameter so it fit more securely in the copper pipe.
If you have to use paper towels, best to do it in repurposed vintage style!
I thought maybe some of you would enjoy a break from all of the festive Christmas goodness everywhere, so I'm going to share some pictures of old house parts. Sounds like a treat for the eyes, doesn't it? The Old House Parts Company is located in Kennebunk, Maine in a huge building overflowing with parts salvaged from old homes. I was actually really excited to take my camera along - this place was amazing! We stopped in on our way home from Maine. We didn't really have anything in mind to buy, but we had a great time poking around. Stained glass windows, real wooden doors, vintage light fixtures, door fittings, salvaged wood for flooring, clawfoot bath tubs, ornate heating grates, and tons of other items. You know all of those ideas for cool repurposed projects that you've pinned? This is the place to buy the parts! (No Pinterest for me though; I do it the old fashioned way - cutting out pictures from magazines.)
There were bright colors in that stained glass window, so maybe that could count as being festive!
1. Don't be afraid to jump. You have a support network full of family and friends to catch you. So if you're feeling inspired, take that leap!
2. Play! It is good for your body and good for your brain.
3. Sometimes you need to break from the norm and look at things from a different perspective. You just might see something more interesting.
4. Give it a try - it just might work. If it doesn't, then at least you won't have regrets or doubts.
5. Find some light and shine! It doesn't take pink glitter shoes to make you sparkle, but if they make you smile, so be it.
Today I am thankful for...
needing to wait. Yes, to wait. According to this site, one of the definitions of wait is "to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon". In this instant, I-want-it-now, credit card dependent society, people don't have to wait for a lot of things. When people need something, they buy it. Now. They don't think about the time it took to make what they need, they don't understand the real process behind it, or appreciate the effort that it required of someone. In preparation for the holiday, my husband and I have been making things, things that I want to continue to make after the holiday season.
Canning and preserving food. The whole process of canning requires patience. Prepping the jars, then keeping them in the water bath for the required amount of time, then the biggest test of patience - waiting for the jars to cool. Oh, how I wanted to unscrew those rings so that I could put my cute little labels on the top! Yes, it is much easier to buy jam in the store, but the satisfaction of seeing those little jars filled with goodness that I made and that my husband canned - awesome.
Making soap. Soap making requires a LOT of patience - about 2-4 weeks worth! When you're making the soap, you have to wait for the hot lye to cool down and the cold oils to heat up. Then you have to keep the soap mixure warm for a period of time so that the saponification process occurs. THEN after you cut the bars and they look ready to use, you still have to wait several weeks for them to cure, to make sure that all of the lye has been converted.
Through the act of making things by hand - food, crafts, clothing - you learn patience. You don't have a choice - if you use the soap too soon, you may get a bad sensation in a place you don't really want to! Your prized strawberry jam would be gloopy glop that you wouldn't be able to enjoy months later, in the dead of winter when you need that sweet pick-me-up. I like the definition above because it talks about hope. "To hope that something will happen". There is an element of excitement. After you stood in the kitchen for several hours - waiting for the pizza dough to rise, roasting and then pureeing the butternut squash, making the ricotta cheese, sauteeing the onions - is the pizza even going to taste good?
I want my daughter to learn these crafts, these skills, these behaviors, along with many others that I don't know how to do (yet). I want her to learn patience. I want her to know that waiting is not a bad thing. Just like the waiting of a pregnant mother, waiting can be filled with hope and excitement also.*
What are you thankful for today?
I encourage other bloggers to leave a a link to their Thankful Tuesday post and I encourage everyone to share what they are thankful for.
(*No, I am not pregnant and not wanting to be.)
I took these pictures about a week ago. Corgis just LOVE snow! This last picture is of Lola. I wanted to share it just because it makes me laugh - she looks like such a beast, which she sounds like when she is charging around the yard yelling and chasing after Birkie (shown in the previous pictures) who just wants to have fun and play with her toy. The magic of snow makes even old dogs act like pups again. At least for a couple of minutes, then they can spend the rest of the day by the woodstove. How about your dog - do they love it or hate it?
With only five days to go until Christmas, I know that many people are rushing around in a holiday frenzy. Whether you are knitting your fingers raw, pushing your oven to its limit baking trays of holiday goodies, or still trying to hang Christmas decorations, remember to slow down and enjoy it. Some reports cite that the Saturday before Christmas is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States, with more sales than on Black Friday. It raises my blood pressure just thinking about entering a shopping mall, especially when everyone is stressed about finding that last minute gift because they feel they should buy just one more something for somebody. If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, I have some advice - relax! Enjoy the season, don't stress about it, otherwise it is not worth doing.
The saying is "happy as a clam", but maybe snails are blissfully happy too because they can hide away from the fast paced frenzy of this world.
We made soap! Well, actually my husband made the soap, but it was my idea and I found the recipe. We added ground oatmeal to make it better for the skin and peppermint essential oil to make it smell good. We have made soap in the past (okay, again it was him), but haven't done so for the past two years (somehow a baby crawling around and then a toddler running around doesn't really make me want to break out the lye). But we are so glad that we finally did and I am going to make sure that we keep it up. It feels good knowing that there is one less thing that we have to buy and depend on someone else for. Even with buying high end ingredients, like organic vegetable shortening instead of Crisco (I just could not slather TBHQ on my body), it still saves money to make your own soap, unless you are buying the $1 bar of cheap chemical filled soap. My business minded husband ran the numbers, but that isn't my thing, so I'm just going to show you the pretty pictures.
My husband did an awesome job! Note of caution - if you do make soap that looks and smells this good, do not leave it sitting on the counter where young children or perhaps even unsuspecting adults might think it is food. My brother walked into the house and said it looks like fudge!
I want to thank Christina over at A Colourful Life. She made a beautiful batch of soap and then replied to my comment with a nice email full of enouragement.
I shared this post on The Self Sufficient HomeAcre for The HomeAcre Hop.
Chrisy is taking a little break from her Reconnecting With Nature link-up, but we had such a great time enjoying the natural world in Maine this week that I wanted to share.
A sand dollar and a mysterious bone.
A large Canis familiaris print, seaweed attached to a mussel shell, and sometimes it's just black and white folks!
Inspecting the seaweed.
An abandoned beach-side bird's nest, the underside of a living sand dollar, bittersweet.
Natural, free, (wet) fun!
Atlantic Surfclam. They really do NOT look appetizing, but Maine is known for it's clam chowder.
Copyright 2013 - 2015 Katie Krahn Goble.