Archive for the ‘Reduce’ Category

She’s Stylin’

Hey Fini-

These are for you!

More Cloth Grocery Bags

Sorry they’re like *weeks* late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Yes, I still have more presents to sew, but I’ve been lazy.

For the rest of you, these are cloth grocery bags but really they could be used for anything. I’ve used mine for zoo & beach trips, for clothes & toys, and for just about anything that I would normally grab a plastic bag for. The best use is for groceries. It’s nice to have something sturdy, totally stuff-able, and has easy carry handles. I have five of these myself, but only made Fini four. I didn’t buy enough fabric so could only make four plus this little cutie for me. The fabric is Alexander Henry and is the heavier home decor cotton. Fini likes the bright stuff so I thought this would be perfect for her.

Perfect Size!

Here’s a little on the bag’s specifications:

– They are cut from a 20 x 40 inch panel.
– The straps are 1.5 x 26 inches.
There are 2.5 inch guessets.
– I used french seams for the sides of the bag for a neat and clean finish. (Still no serger!)
– There’s a 1.5 inch hem at the top where the straps are tucked into.

That’s it. Really simple to sew-up and totally worth it. Yes, you need to make some and be stylin’ at the grocery store with us!

OR- you can buy some


New Ride

Eddie’s birthday is next week, but we gave him his present today:

Eddie's New Ride

And oh man are they having fun with this!

Taking it for a Spin

Neither one has mastered the spin-out yet, but I’m sure the day is coming soon. This is a Kettlercar and I’m impressed how well this car stays on all 4 wheels. It’s a sturdy one, but well used before we got it.

Yes people, it’s another Craigslist purchase. I love rescuing old things and giving them a purpose again. I mean, really- why buy new when there’s so much treasure out there already?

It’s What We Eat

I know that this is mainly a sewing blog, but really I haven’t been doing much of it lately due to my typing work. (The book is almost done. I only have 3 more chapters to type. Woohoo!)

I made my sister Mary 6 cloth grocery bags out of some more IKEA fabric. (You can’t beat their price or durability.) Yes, she now owes me big time, but I’m happy knowing that she’ll be using (and reusing!) my bags instead of adding more plastic to places like this.

I did more sewing yesterday trying to make cloth easter eggs and tried this wonderful idea, but stuffed eggs require hand stitching. I can’t do that to save my soul so that project didn’t make it far. I even tried to enlarge an egg pattern to see if a bigger egg would be easier to stitch. I wanted to make my kids and all the cousins one large egg with their name hand embroidered on them, but the first one I made turned into a mushy, squished, lopsided ball. UGLY. I gave it to Eleni anyway and she’s declared that it’s a ball for her doll. Great.

Did you know that you can’t just keep enlarging a pattern to the size you want even if it’s a simple pattern like an egg? Chris warned me about this when I was making all the kids’ slippers for Christmas, but I figured that it’s just an egg and what could go wrong. It turns out that you can’t simply enlarge and if you do, everything must be to proportion or else it turns out wacky.

So I’ve got another idea for Easter, but since it’s only a couple days away and I’ve still got 57 pages to type before Saturday, it’ll be a simple one. I’ll post it soon…

In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been eating:


Starting at the top, we have some chocolate shortbread mushrooms, a favorite Uwajimaya treat around here. (Ms O is sticking just to the chocolate and leaves the nubs for me.)

Next, whole wheat waffles with Daddy’s homemade blackberry syrup. This was last night’s dinner- Yummy!

Thirdly, we have the whole wheat artisan bread I promised to report about. What can I say? It was good, nutty and filling, but man, that white bread still rocks!

And lastly, tonight’s bedtime snack- steamed artichokes with your choice of butter or mayo for dipping. These were meant to go with dinner, of course, but since they take forever to steam, they weren’t done until 8pm. Bedtime snack it was and it was GOOD. (Yes, my kids really love these. Augie saw them while grocery shopping today and begged me to get them. I know I was a bad mom at first not allowing him to buy something that was $2 each, but we’re on a budget. So yes, he did have to beg for them! But really I think it’s the fun of scrapping the flesh from the leaves with your teeth. Even though Ms O and Eddie have trouble, they eat up what Daddy can get off for them.)

There you go, our eats so far this week. Tomorrow I’ll be on my own since I can’t stand duck!

Going Green

Chris took this picture in the newest building up at OHSU:

Bathroom Sign

It’s in one of those Green Buildings that I think are amazing. I guess it rescues, treats and recycles water on-site which allows it to use less than half of the amount of water that a conventional building it’s size would use and it flushes less than 300 gallons of water per day! Makes you stop and think how much water do you really need in your daily living and how much of it can you recycle…

So I looked up our water usage after hearing this and saw that in the Spring of this year, we used an average 176 gallons/day. Our water usage was rated “Poor” and that we need to learn to conserve. Well of course, I came up with excuses right away: we’re a family of 5!, we’re home all the time, I take care of other kids too!, we use cloth diapers that need to be washed all the time, etc, etc, etc… But in fact, I know we can improve by: turning the water off when brushing teeth, shortening shower time, putting away clothes instead of just tossing it into the laundry, hand washing more dishes,- oh, I could go on and on. (By the way, “excellent” is less than 80 gallons/day.) So, I’ve been reading and getting some great ideas and facts from this blog so hop on over and read a little please.

Here’s some other facts I’ve learned:
It takes 66 gallons of water to make one liter of Coke.
It takes 49 gallons of water to make one glass of milk.
A single serving of steak? 2,600 gallons!
And lastly, before you purchase that next bottled water, just think that it costs 10,000 times more than tap and it’s not any healthier.

And since I’m on the subject, have you switched to green power yet? Ever since that Enron thing, Chris has had bad, no make that very bad thoughts about power companies and has been very tentative to do anything with them. We finally made the plunge last month and it was made a little easier for him since we were guaranteed a price freeze for a number of years. I think we’re one of the last to switch over, but I feel a little better about the whole thing. Now, if I can only remember to not use as much– that would be the ultimate goal.

Summer Sewing

I have alot of sewing projects I would love to work on, but I’m finding it hard to keep my eyes open at night. I usually sew when the kids go to bed, but that hasn’t happened much this week. It’s the official first week of summer for us and we’ve been doing a ton of yard work and general cleaning up. I’ve also been sick with the terrible cold that the kids had earlier so that has put a damper on my projects. I did get this dress done which I can’t decide if I like it or not:

Summer Dress

(I hate taking pictures of myself, but this dress on a hanger looks like a huge sack!) I made it using Simplicity 3833 Retro Dress pattern. I adjusted a few things- the bust dart because I needed a little more room and I didn’t do the sleeves the way they instructed. I like sewing the sleeve onto the armhole, then sewing the underarm seam closed. I think it has a better fit that way. I added the bias tape on the bottom because otherwise, it would have been shorter than I like it. The dress has a huge 20″ zipper on the back which is a waste since I can easily get it on and off without unzipping it. I’m mad that I even put it in. The fabric is Robert Kaufman’s Primatex Basic’s line which is very lightweight and thin. I like the feel of it and it was under $5/yd so it worked out well.

I also started another dress for Ms O, but I’m having to do some major adjustments since the neck hole is huge and I don’t want to cut into my favorite fabric again. She’s lucky I made her a dress out of it as it is so I’m going to try to fix it… I hope it works out.

After this weekend, I’m planing some major cleaning out of all the toys, clothes and junk we’ve accumulated over the years. We’ve always thought, “oh, we might need that someday,” or “what if so and so wants to use that…”. Man, we’ve got ALOT of junk and I hope to clean it out this summer. I’m writing this so that I will be inspired to actually do it and not just talk about it.

So here’s to a summer of reducing and recycling and not buying!


Yesterday, Grandma watched the wee ones while I got two hours of alone time. I was going to use it to really try out my new tool in peace, but I had a graduation gift to sew and I needed some supplies. In trying to Reuse, I decided to check out a thrift store since I only needed some batting and any type of heavy weight material. This is what I found:

Thrifted Linens Thifted Curtain

Aren’t they gorgeous? I found over 30 table napkins that look as if they’ve never been used or washed. The best part if that they are just about the size of a Fat Quarter so they’re perfect for everything from quilts to pockets and cuffs on clothing. Maybe I’ll use some to make something like this for the kids since picnic table weather is here. I also found something for the boys:

Strummin' My Six String

They’ve been playing the it in the house, car and outside on the deck. It’s very cute to watch except when they fight over it. I guess I’ll have to find another…. and drive Chris over the edge!!!

No ‘Poo Works!

Okay, I lost some readers after my Reduce post and thought I’d not mention the “R” word for awhile, but I’ve got to share this:

No 'Poo

This is my hair after over 6 weeks without ANY hair products what-so-ever! Now, my hair has been frizzy, oily, dandruff-y, and just plain hard to manage ever since I can remember. When I read about this mom (and many others) who have stopped washing their hair as a step towards reducing consumption, I thought what do I have to loose?

I used to wash with tea tree shampoo in attempt to control dandruff and itch, condition with super conditioning stuff to try to tame the frizz, then add shine and straighting stuff. I would have to repeat this process every other day because my hair would look terrible.

Today, I rinse my hair with water every day, and wash with baking soda about once every few weeks. It feels healthier and fuller with my dandruff and itchy scalp just about gone. It feels liberating to not have to reach for a bottle or tube of something with every shower or bath. Interested? If so, check out this how to blog.

That’s all I have to say about the “R” word and thanks for reading!