Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where does food come from??


Another book on the free shelf at the library the other day was called How We Get Things, a 1976 edition of the Childcraft How and Why Library. I actually had a whole set of these books once before but they only sat in a box for a couple years so I decided to pass them on. Still though I was curious enough to pick this one up again.

I do realize that it is somewhat outdated edition, several decades old, but still, I'm cutting them no slack.

(And now I am coming back towards the beginning, having already finished writing this post, to warn you that I totally go off on a tangent here. I don't even make my real point. There wasn't an end to the story. Thanks if you at all attempt to follow along!)

So, on the page entitled Fields of Food, the first paragraph says...

"Some foods are grown in fields. Usually, they cannot be eaten right away. First, they must be harvested or gathered. Then, the crops are sent to factories to be made into food."

Oh my gosh. I'm nearly speechless. I don't understand. I'm totally distressed.

And the year of print actually doesn't even matter because it has only become more and more true.

Thinking about food can get me feeling very political. But feeling political can be such a frustrating experience sometimes.

We obviously had very strong reasons for living a vegan lifestyle for more than a decade and a half. Treatment of animals being the original factor, factory farming being a gigantic part of it, and manipulation of food, farms, and families being likely the most horrifying part of it.

We of course still greatly oppose all of those things! And so much more really. Because we made the decision to no longer be vegan we were faced with many more serious decisions regarding where our food would be coming from. We would never consume conventional meats or dairy products. Actually we do not even ever purchase conventional (meaning not organic) vegetables or fruits. (Oh please please know this is not meant to criticize anyone who does!) And I know that it can be hard to afford to buy only organic, but trust me, we do it on a very, very small grocery budget.

To me personally a label of organic doesn't even necessarily means much when it comes to products such as eggs, dairy, or meat. There are still plenty of usda organic farms out there that we would never feel comfortable supporting. Most important to us is that many of these farms are meeting only the minimum standards for what can be considered humane living conditions.

So we make other choices. And lucky for us we live in an area with an abundance of local farms to support. (Though remember, we are super particular, so really there aren't too many we feel completely comfortable with, but at least there are a few, and we are grateful for that...)

These are animals. They have instincts and basic natural needs. We need to honor that. They give us so much. We need to care for them with respect. And how about some common sense too?

I don't even know why I am talking about animals and factory farming when this page in the book really had me more upset about the craziness of the processed food industry. I guess I better not let myself get into that one now...

Why can't food just be a common sense issue? How could such a simple thing have gotten so incredibly messed up?

I realize this is lots of rambling that might not even make much sense! I wasn't even intending to write much (for this very reason really, I knew I would I would just go on and on)... I just wanted to show you that almost humorous but really very sad page in the book...

Clearly I wasn't really speechless.

Sorry not such a cheery post.

Really though, sometimes I think the most important thing in the world is to Grow Your Own Food!

Have you noticed I almost started rambling again?

Really I just wanted to let you know that despite the non-cheeriness of this post there is no need to worry.. We are still our usual happy selves! I promise to post something pretty next time...


Friday, January 28, 2011

recent creating, sewing love


I would really like to post here more than the barely once a week I have been managing. We'll see, I may become quite chatty...

More sewing love with my vintage feedsack scraps. The natural/white fabric I use is an organic poplin, which is my current substitute for linen.

First I made this little piece. (Patchwork trivet? Sure, let's call it that...) The colors feel nice and warm to me, wishful thinking...

And then I made this piece, the coming Valentine's holiday offering a nice excuse to create with one of my most favorite colors, pink! Both of these little pieces are being sent off to some very sweet friends. I hope they bring some cheer to the recipients.

And here is the bigger piece that I recently finished. I mostly love it, but not completely. I tried to be a bit carefree and do some random stitching on the white part. Well to me it just looks like I can't sew a straight line. I think I would like this look if someone else did it, I guess I am just too particular/critical about my own work. And clearly still need to work on letting go of some of my perfectionist tendencies. (Let's not even mention that upper left-hand corner...)

I wanted to show some of the girls recent creating too, mostly in the form of artwork, but the pictures are on the camera and the battery is dead so maybe next time.

Wishing all a creative and inspiring weekend!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

yarn along and library luck


Once again joining my friend Ginny in her Yarn Along... (though I totally break the rules, sorry Ginny, too many photos, lots of books...) And the only thing I made from yarn this past week was a pink crocheted dish scrubber. A granny square dish scrubber actually. Yes, I love granny squares that much. And you see I am about to make a cheery orange one too.

Lots of excitement at the library yesterday when Jason discovered a wonderful stack of hardcover National Geographic books on the free shelf! We did our best to think of others and left more than half of them behind, still bringing home enough for us to have quite a collection.

Such neat old books with all kinds of wonderfulness to them.

The cover on the right here totally reminds me of our farm friends!

Beautiful hardcovers underneath their pretty paper jackets.

Jason had just chosen a John Muir book in the library and now we have this great book too.

Simpler times. How we long for them!

So really it was a crazy library adventure, cause we brought home 15 of these new/old hardcovers, 28 books checked out of the library, and then realized that our home is literally piled up with books at the moment! Jason is finishing up some house painting and so most of our books have been relocated to various stacks around the house.

Random books piled on and around shelves.

Old paperbacks, all collected used when I was about 20 years old. I am noticing a great lack of fiction in my life these days.

Books even stacked on the nature table, which is actually kinda sad. The table has been empty the past couple weeks, waiting for some kind of seasonal inspiration. I look forward to getting things back in order and making this space special again.

I have also been thinking about doing some posts on children's books. Books, books, books, we love all kinds. But our children's storybooks are especially dear to us. Sometimes I'm surprised at how infrequently I share book love here, since it's such a part of our lives.. So yes, perhaps a little series on that.

I have some sewing creations to share next time, I have been much busier with fabric than with yarn these days.

Happy well wishes to all!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

works in progress, yarn along, & a bit of homeschool too...


I thought I would join in with Ginny's yarn along this week. Then I realized that most of my reading this past week has been homeschool related.

We have been slowly beginning our Norse mythology block, using the very beautiful D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.

The three fays of destiny who spin the thread of life for all at the foot of the world tree.

(It seems like soon would be a good time to get caught up with a homeschool post...)

And then I realized that I am not knitting anything at the moment either. But there is this granny square that I have been crocheting. Some of you might remember that I had some kind of granny square doll blanket on the list of possibilities for christmas gifts. I was working on them a little bit but then I didn't like one of them very much, and it didn't look like I was going to be able to finish them in time anyway. This is the one I was making for Chessa, I like it mostly, though I'm not sure if it's a little dull. I will do more yellow as I continue to try to brighten it up. And suddenly I have a really good start on Chessa's birthday gifts, (end of May,) I like that.

But actually I haven't worked on the granny square for a while. Mostly the past couple of weeks I have been enjoying embroidery during any handwork time I have.

And some special sewing too. With vintage feedsack scraps that just make me so so happy.

So, it is feeling like the new year is getting off to a pretty good creative start. Though it does seem like we sometimes need to try extra hard for the inspiration during these still dark winter days. What are you creating or being inspired by these days?


Monday, January 10, 2011

belated handmade holiday post


Eagerly awaiting present opening time. I still had to get the cinnamon rolls into the oven. It seems that what we have here is a lot of christmas "action shots"...

The girls started with their stockings. And of course Santa's gift was right on top. Each year they receive a "Santa Claus gift". Always something wooden and handmade, cause we know the elves don't make that plastic stuff from the stores. (I originally had a word other than "stuff" there, but it sounded pretty harsh, even if it is true...) For a few years now Tonya (Plain and Joyful Living) and her family have been the ones to make the Santa Claus gift. Simple wooden pieces, from wood that does not grow around here, so obviously these were not made by us..

These legwarmers took a lot longer to knit then I thought they would, I barely got them done in time! I was so afraid they wouldn't fit, all I thought about when I cast on was my girls super skinny legs, I forgot they would still need to be able to pull them over their feet to get them on! So I was really happy that they fit, and the girls really like them. Right now though I know that at least one of Chessa's is being used folded up as a little doll bed in her doll's house.

And here is a little doll that Chloe made for Chessa, which Chessa loves very much. There were lots of sweet handmade gifts from the girls, mostly pretty little pictures on little squares of paper from Chessa, beautiful needle felted pictures for both Jason and I from Chloe (which I am only just now realizing I don't have pictures of yet).

New skirts for the girls. I have always made the girls new dresses for winter solstice, this is the first year that for some reason I felt like I wanted to include them at Christmas. And skirts, not dresses. Only because I was so incredibly indecisive as to what I wanted to make for them, and having not too many fabric options. (So much fabric, not so many big enough pieces to make dresses for my getting so big girls..) It may look like Chessa got the fancier skirt, but Chloe got the super special vintage fabric. (More pictures of the skirts in a moment, and you will see that they soon have them on, and they have also worn them just about every day since then.)

Their other handmade gift from me was little wool babies, to go along with the dolls that I made them last year for Christmas. And oh I just love the look on Chessa's face in this picture!

There were lots of big smiles as they opened their handmade gifts from daddy too.

Jason is not always able to spend as much time on handmade gifts. Though a few years ago he did make them their beautiful playstands. This year he made them all kinds of neat pieces to add to their tree block sets.

The girls loved it all, but most exciting for them and Jason are the fence pieces he made for them. Cause the horses, and chickens and sheep and cows, need good fenced pasture of course.

The only gifts the girls received from Jason and I that weren't handmade were books, as usual. Some special ones that had been slowly collected over the past year, mostly second hand, a couple really wonderful vintage ones! I could not resist this beautiful copy of Snow White and Rose Red, a favorite story of ours.

And for Chloe to open (though the books are to be shared with the family) a beautiful old copy of The Five Little Peppers Midway, which is of course the second book to one of our most favorites ever, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. It was especially exciting because until last year I never even knew that there was a second book, and actually there are 5 altogether! So this one has been hiding secretly in the closet for about 6 months now, waiting to delight Chloe with the continuing story of their dear little family.

The girls also got wool socks and wool coats, gifts from grandparents. Playsilks and books from my sister. It felt like a lot but also simple at the same time.

Really, the girls have worn these every day! I'm sure I will be making a lot more of these skirts, I think I have the pattern just right now, and of course I so love love all the pleats! Chloe's also has horizontal tucks near the bottom.

Chessa's has pretty pink vintage bias tape at the bottom above her stripes, with this orange fabric I have been treasuring, saving, for a long time!

The girls wasted no time at all getting those fences and farm people to work.

This has been their play for many, many days already.

We took our tree down on Thursday. Actually, Jason took our tree out just this morning.. but we undecorated the tree on Thursday, along with the rest of the holiday decorations in the house. Handmade ornaments from my childhood, tucked away into a box.

We have always celebrated our holidays in a handmade way, the girls so look forward to their handmade gifts each year. It was so nice this year to be joined by so many others creating for their families also!

Now, has your making list suddenly become much longer? There is everything from early December's list that never even got started. I love how the creating just goes on and on and on...


Friday, January 7, 2011

this moment ~ sweetness with daddy


~inspired by the wonderful Soules

(What they are actually doing is daydreaming about future dollhouse building plans, a project that has been ongoing in the girls minds for about a year now...)

And by the way... Happy New Year to all!!!

I am feeling a bit out of touch, and really missing all of my sweet blog friends! I even still owe that handmade holiday post, but it gets tricky cause we really greatly limit computer time during the holidays.

Except for this year, the week after Christmas, I became oddly motivated (crazy) and undertook a very, very, (very!!) large project. I will have the results of that to share soon also!

I hope you have all had a wonderful beginning to this new year. I am feeling hopeful about so many things. Blessings to all!!!