Thursday, February 25, 2010

catching up, work at home woes, sewing love, etc...

Greeting friends! Quite a bit of catching up to do... Thank you so much for visiting here. If any of you have thoughts to share on my work at home woes I would be most interested in hearing them! Always striving for balance....

Sickness has decided to visit our home. We are on day five now! Not complaining too much though, can't remember the last time everyone was sick, probably at least a year ago. So, there has been lots of resting, cuddling, staring out the windows. Fortunately the view is nice. We got two more feet of snow over the weekend! Seems it has mostly passed, and now we have a bit of blue sky to cheer us. And plenty of books to pass the time. Farmer Boy, Milly-Molly-Mandy, Tiptoes Lightly... this is the first time Chloe has been sick since she has been reading well on her own. Makes it feel kinda special. Besides, we are pretty sure the sickness came from little miss Ila, it is totally worth it, we had a wonderful visit with our dear farm friends last week!

Where have I been? Sitting right here working. (Except for the day I was sick enough to join the girls on the couch.) I realize though that I have probably never mentioned here that I have a job. Two jobs actually. (Obviously I am not counting such jobs as mother, wife, teacher, homemaker... my favorite jobs!) Now I know that at least some of you have caught on to the fact that I have my own small business, an online cloth diaper/natural baby shop. That one makes me pretty happy too. But yes, there is another job. And while I am so grateful to have it, so grateful to be working at home, always with my children... it is so very hard!!! Details are complicated... I work for my mom, (she lives in los angeles, she is the best), I have done this job for about 5 years now. I work on the computer, I do not like working on the computer, we prefer to never have the computer on during the day, only after the girls are in bed, I try to do most of my work at night, I used to work only at night, but that can get very tiring, especially after years of it, so I am always trying to find a balance. Sometimes I have to surrender and spend one or two days a week working. Sometimes I feel like I am always working!! Sometimes I feel like I am just sitting here with my back turned to my children, sometimes managing homeschooling at the same time seems impossible, sometimes I break down in tears. Like yesterday, and last week.

Now would I sound totally crazy if I told you that I want a third job? (But it would replace the computer job.) Some of you may also know that during my first years as a mother my only job was the part time sewing I did at home. (Yes, I am so very fortunate, I have always been home with my girls.) It only provided a bit of extra income, bit it is of course something I LOVE TO DO. After Chessa was born I started working with my mom, and soon after that I stopped sewing clothing for sale, I did not have the time, I preferred to sew for my family only, and it was hard to do anyhow, there was nothing like etsy, we didn't even have a computer at first, we are in a small isolated town. Now though, I am ready to be sewing professionally again! Because like I said, it is what I LOVE TO DO! Not only is there etsy, (I have had shop plans for several years), but hey! I own my own online shop! I can sell my own organic children's clothing right there on my own website! So what am I waiting for? I bet it's not hard to guess that the answer is time! But I don't want to have to wait much longer, cause at the sewing machine not many days end up in tears, and it is something I can feel good about, stitching away in the space that shares my sewing area along with the girls play area. And of course these days they are often stitching away too. My dream, and it will come true, I just need to stay strong and make it happen!

(Some random pictures just for fun. Both taken on the same day about 3 years ago.)

Little Chessa, in a dress originally made for Chloe several years before, out of some favorite fabrics that I still have quite a bit of, somewhere...

mother/daughter sewing moment... happiness!

So I guess I should go ahead and let anyone who is interested know that our online shop is Little Sprouts. It is also something that I would like to be able to put more time into. Hopefully Jason will even be rebuilding our entire website soon. (And if any of you happen to know of some good logo design resources, something that we could do ourselves, preferably very inexpensive or even free, please let me know.)

The girls are doing much better today. Enjoying a morning snack of fresh baked bread and honey. And then their dolls are going to get up and have breakfast. They have been sick in bed for many days too!

This is the first time I have ever written a blog post during the day. (Though it was started last night.) Guess I just needed to take a bit of time for myself. And perhaps now you will forgive for some of my slow posting here. I really do intend to get back to my vegan posts soon. I think in the next one I will share a bit about our experiences raising vegan children. You may have to wait another week or so though!

Many of my friends have been posting their lists of ten things that make them happy. I would like to return this weekend and share my list too. See you soon! Now back to work....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WIP Wednesday ~ aprons and fairies and pinkness

Along with all the handmade valentines waiting in Sparrow Post, including many, many doll valentines, the girls found new aprons waiting for them.

A bit wrinkled already, they are being worn often, but not for cooking, because they are afraid to get them dirty. So I guess we still need some new kitchen aprons. Sounds like fun sewing to me.

I have had this fabric since last spring, really love it, happy I have more of it.

I also really love french seams.

I'm working on another special apron project already, but it's a bit of secret... I will share a little more soon though.

(and yes, I know it's not really wednesday yet...)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

one small change update

I finally have an update on our first one small change project. I had made some bags right away, and then made a few more this weekend to make sure we were ready for our big grocery shopping today. (We only do one big grocery trip each month, then maybe a couple other very small trips.) I also spent time this morning making sure all of our glass jars were ready to go, because I am using those for a lot of the smaller grains, nuts, beans, etc... It was certainly a bit of extra work, but so so worth it. Look how many bags I saved! Now there were some things I already used our own containers for, but this time I really did every single bit of our bulk shopping, and it's a lot!, without grabbing a single plastic bag! (Wait, does this count... I used little plastic bags for a few bulk herbs, but I re-used empty bags from the cupboard at home. Some spices I was able to put into their own jars because they were already empty.)

My bags are nowhere near as pretty as Sara's. (Though actually the white floral fabric was a gift from her. I'm not saying it's not pretty, just not as pretty.) And I still am not sure what I am going to do about plu numbers. I did come across this lovely blog and saw that she has a great bulk bag tutorial. I thought I was crazy for considering embroidering on the plu's, but that's what she does, I think it is most likely what I will do too. I also really like how she sewed in the ties... wish I had thought of that.

I did purchase a few packaged foods, though not without some guilt. Three bags of pasta... I was surprised they didn't have any whole wheat pasta in bulk. We don't eat much pasta anyhow, someday we will definitely just make our own, but I felt like we needed it on hand for quick emergency dinners. Sounds silly, why would dinner be an emergency... I bought peanut butter in a jar, but those will of course get used for more bulk shopping later on. Olive oil. Three bags of frozen broccoli... I'm now sitting here sighing thinking of the plastic bags that will just go right into the trash. I bought a jar of artichoke hearts and a can of black olives. At least those can be recycled when they are empty. They are not even things I usually buy, but I am having a kind of "what to cook for dinner" crisis, mostly because of the great vegan dilemma going on in our heads!

Phooey, the carrots came in a plastic bag too. Imagine though what we will be able to accomplish in the summer when fresh produce abounds in our community, including our own backyard.

My February small change thoughts have a lot to do with food choices, but I am not ready to share all those thoughts yet. That is where the "vegan journey" posts come in. I hope to spend some time writing another vegan/food post over the weekend. Thank you for sharing your comments, I look forward to continuing the conversation soon.

We visited the library today also. I was about to say that we broke our record for number of books stuffed (gently) into our bag, but I just went back and saw that I am wrong, it's a tie, 21 books again, all in one bag. (I made it as a diaper bag many years ago. Now it is used mostly for library trips and picnics.)

This is the second time we have seen these deer in the same place on the way to the library. Glad we had the camera this time. They did not seem at all concerned that we were there, these pictures are taken from the car, not zoomed in at all, this is how close we were. One peed right in front of us, and I did get a picture of it, but I feel kinda bad about it, so I'm not posting it. I think these are the same deer that Sara posted pictures of the other day.

These two started rubbing noses and being oh so sweet!

And my goodness, what a lot a writing I have done tonight! Thanks for visiting :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Vegan Journey... part one

I call it a journey because it really has been a very long time. Nearly 17 years I believe. I was around 18 years old when I became a vegetarian. I had one other friend who was also. I hadn't learned anything in particular about vegetarianism, I just decided that I was not okay with eating animals. I eventually sought out more information. I remember sitting on the floor of the library with several of the books that I had found. And so I guess you could say that my real first reasons for becoming vegetarian, and then vegan, were all about the animals. The undeniable reality of what factory farming is made it impossible for me to be anything other than vegan.

I was 21 when I met Jason, he was almost 20, we had both already been vegan for a couple years at that point. As sympathetic as I was towards the animals, Jason was probably 100 times more. Or even more than that. His great caring can cause him much suffering.

A year or so later we were living our happy vegan life together. We learned more along the way, we became more committed along the way. We dreamed of having our own farm animal sanctuary. We did not wear leather shoes or wool, we did not eat honey or refined sugar. These things were always very easy for us, we were just living in a way that was common sense to us. We never felt like we were making a great sacrifice, we were certainly did not feel deprived of anything.

In addition to the obvious reasons regarding animal welfare, it was not long before we learned of many other reasons to continue our vegan lifestyle. There seemed to be so much illness and disease associated with the typical American diet, which is of course high in dairy and meat products. Antibiotics, hormones, chemicals in our foods... these issues are of great importance to us. Sometimes we would wonder why no one else seemed to care.

Now for a moment here I will jump ahead and share with you just part of my feelings on the subject today. As far as the unhealthiness of meat and dairy products goes, I realize now that there is a big difference between conventionally raised/factory farmed meat and highly processed dairy products, and animals that are humanely raised, organic, pastured, perhaps right in your own backyard. (And I am of course well aware that most vegans out there will completely disagree with the idea of an animal being raised humanely for food.) Remember though, this was back in the mid 90's (oh so long ago...) and there were not really any alternatives. So vegan we were!

We knew we would be vegan forever. I think everyone else believed it too.
But there is now a second part to this story...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright...

Well, it was partly cloudy, and perhaps you could call it fair, if by fair you mean not super freezing... I am certain that winter has not gone yet, but I am feeling very hopeful for the return of spring.

We actually celebrate February 2nd as "Brigid's Day", as that is what Chloe likes to call it. She has quite a fondness for Brigid, as do I. I love the image of her as keeper of the hearth, as midwife, I see her as protector of the home, bringer of strength, and peace... I am so grateful to say I have felt a lot of peace in our days this past month. (Much more than in December, a month for which I had such high hopes, and at the end was left quite drained.) I am feeling more strength as we head towards warmer and brighter days.

Our nature table is reflecting the calmness I am enjoying these days, as well as the paleness of color that is surrounding us outdoors. There will surely be some pinkness joining the picture soon though.

We ended our day yesterday at our fire circle. (Successful winter bow drill fire.) Brought out the last of our fir branches from the holidays, laid them across the flames, and said goodbye to the darkest days of winter.