one of the vintage appliqued diapers that will be available. the embroidery was taken from a vintage tea towel. cuteness.
now, if you'll excuse me, i have to get back to my snap press. :)
the name of the shop will be revealed very soon... we're working out a few final details.
well, that's it for tonight. i cut my finger on my brand-new rotary cutter, and have it all wrapped up, so typing is kinda slow right now. the good news? i have a brand-new rotary cutter! a brand-new rotary cutter = more diapers, faster (thanks again, mom!). the shop is opening soon!
here's the recipe:
baked oatmeal (makes 12 servings)
2 1/2 cups steel cut oats (rolled/instant oats will not work, but i had success with the quick cook steel cut oats that trader joe's now carries)
3 1/4 cups milk
1 tbsp vanilla (we just switched to real vanilla extract instead of imitation--the difference is amazing)
1/2 brown sugar (trader joe's sells organic)
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup dates, raisins, chopped/diced fruit, craisins, etc. (i found organic raisins at costco!)
1/2 cups chopped/sliced nuts (we left these out since lucy hasn't been exposed to nuts yet and jeremy is not really a fan of them anyway)
preheat oven to 350. combine ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes. pour mixture into an 8" greased round baking pan or rectangular baking dish. bake for 45 min or until set. cut into wedges/ squares. serve warm with milk (we topped with an extra sprinkling of sugar, too). individual servings can be frozen after they have cooled.
next time i think i'll add some frozen blueberries. the original poster of the recipe said her favorite variation is with diced pears--i'll be giving this a try, too. and maybe apples would be good...
now i'm looking forward to tomorrow's breakfast--bonus points for the fact that it's already made!
lemon juice: when coupled with enough cream of tartar to make a paste, is supposed to cut/bleach out grout stains. i'm wondering if it'll work on mildew--i've got some stubborn stuff shower that baking soda/castille soap isn't helping with. i'm *thisclose* to breaking out the bleach. but i'll give the lemon juice/cream of tartar a try & report back on effectiveness.
castile soap: while washing the car. (1/4 cup soap to large bucket of warm water). i haven't washed my car in a loooooong time (drought drought drought) but next time i do, i'm forgoing the regular car wash liquid in place of dr. bronner's.
cooking oil: to prevent rattan and wicker from getting dry/brittle from sun exposure. i don't happen to have any wicker, but i did work as a copywriter for a gardening company and was given the task of writing the warning label packaging for bottles of wicker care liquid. let's just say the font size ended up needing to be smaller to fit all of the multiple health warnings. anyway, if you want to try this, warm oil over low heat on the stove to thin and brush with a soft cloth onto furniture. sunflower oil is recommended. cooking oil can also be used to polish shoes.
vinegar: use it to wash windows & mirrors. i can vouch for this. vinegar is better than windex. real simple's recommended ratio is 1/4 cup vinegar to 2 cups water, with a squirt of dr. bronner's thrown in. i just use straight up vinegar.
toothpaste: to clean chrome fixtures in the bathroom (what convenient placement!). rub on a small dollop and buff until shiny.
white bread: to remove dust from oil paintings. i have no oil paintings, but hope that one of you readers does, just so someone will do this. make sure to compost the used bread!
rubbing alcohol: to erase permanent marker from finished wood and other solid surfaces. very timely, as lucy just made pretty artwork on my kitchen table with a hot pink pen (my fault).
oatmeal: to clean very dirty hands. make a paste with water and scrub. sounds exfoliating! i'm going to have jeremy try this--he uses gojo after working on the cars and it smells horrible.
there were lots more neat ideas in the magazine! definitely worth a flip-though while standing in line at the market!
consumers have less disposable cash and less access to credit, and therefore buy less stuff that contributes to landfill waste via packaging. packaging makes up roughly 1/3 of landfill waste--which means that america's recent thriftiness correlates directly with the amount of trash we produce. if we aren't out emptying our pockets for new things, there's less packaging to deal with.
people are fixing rather than buying new. i, myself, am included in this category. remember awhile back when i said my laptop was on the fritz? well, it still is. do i have a new one yet? no. i've found a way to make my old one work--the only caveat is that it can NEVER turn off. i have to leave it in standby mode when i'm not using it--otherwise much turmoil and clacking ensues in the inner depths of what i can only guess is my hard drive. the sound on this thing? no longer. but hey, i'm writing this blog, right? which means i am getting by. along with many other people, apparently, who are either doing without, making due, or paying for repairs on broken items. which means that there are no new items, so the old ones get to stay instead of getting tossed. cars, appliances and computers are the biggest fix it items.
donating is cool again. since we're all in this together, we're thinking about those less fortunate. sites like freecycle.com has 70,000 people per week trading and giving away their goods. "freecycle d.c. has seen requests for items such as expired meat for people who can't afford pet food and a boom in posts offering free furniture from homes that have gone into foreclosure."
we're eating out less. from fast food wrappers to take-out boxes to starbucks cups (who can afford a $4 latte now???), garbage adds up quickly. bringing leftovers for lunch and brewing coffee at home makes a big impact as far as our daily trash is concerned--which, by the way, was estimated at 4.6 pounds per person in 2007. seriously? i feel like i don't even make that in a week! (that number, multiplied per capita = 254.1 million tons of trash put into american landfills in 2007.)
people are letting their yards go. a tighter wallet = less cash for paying for yard maintenance. the result is less clippings going into landfills.
the only real dark spot in this trend (besides the fact that, you know, the economy has tanked) is that garbage men are facing furloughs and unemployment due to the trash decline.
sorry i can't link to the article itself (which originally appeared in the washington post), but googling "recession can be seen in landfills" will bring up similar articles from other newspapers. it's certainly an interesting sign of the times!
oh, and some quick interesting tidbits taken directly from the article--
there are 1,794 landfills in the u.s., down from 2,000 in the early 1970's. the environmental protection agency estimates that they will be full in 20 years. hmmm. lucy will be 21. i will be 48.
100 million cellphones wind up in the landfills each year. hmmm. has nobody heard of e-cycling? who throws a cellphone in the garbage?
between thanksgiving and the new year, environmentalists say that americans typically throw away as much as 5 million extra tons of trash, thought to be mainly wrapping paper and shopping bags. hmmm. exactly why i should get started on handmade holiday 2009.
"Back in the 1930's, a smear campaign was created by competing industries including Paper, Petrochemical, and Cotton in order to destroy the hemp industry. A PR campaign was created to lump hemp in with marijuana and the "reefer madness" wave sweeping the nation at the time. In 1937, this pressure led the U.S. government to ban growing industrial hemp. Even though it has been proven that THC levels are far too low for a person to get high on, over 60 years later the US Government maintains a ludicrous position against growing industrial hemp to continue to benefit the powerful economic interests of these competing industries."
hemp is an awesome natural fiber--just ask any cloth-diapering mama who's ever looked to add absorbency without adding bulk. in fact the diapers that will soon be in the etsy shop will feature (in addition to organic bamboo fleece) a hidden layer of organic hemp fleece, along with 2 extra layers of OHF in the soakers--great for babies who pee lots.... like lucy!
here are some more great facts about hemp--proving why it's light years better for the earth than cotton, all taken from the reusablebags.com article:
Unlike cotton, hemp is naturally hardy and drought tolerant and grows well without herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used in the U.S. are applied to cotton.
Its growth rate is so rapid, it is ready for harvest in only 4 months- reaching a height of 6-12 feet, and producing 3-6 tons of dry fiber per acre.
Industrial hemp is not a drug. Unlike its cousin marijuana, industrial hemp has only trace amounts of THC - the chemical that produces the high. Unfortunately, the U.S. government refuses to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp and clings to the obsolete myth that it is a drug.
Hemp fibers are one of Earth's longest, strongest and most durable fibers and several times stronger than cotton.
Hemp fibers yield superior paper with far more recycling lives than wood-based paper or cotton fibers.
Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not yellow with age when an acid-free process is used. Hemp paper more than 1,500 years old has been found.
Growing Hemp can save trees. According to the US Dept of Agriculture, one acre of hemp yields the same amount of paper pulp as four acres of trees on an annual basis.
Hemp has been shown to "eat" radioactivity at Chernobyl. Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants in the world. These plants have the ability to decontaminate soil by absorbing and/or trapping pollutants ranging from radiation and pesticides to solvents and toxins leaching from landfills.
sheet #03: has been folded into a neat square and is sitting beneath 2 bottles of olive oil, to catch drips. the old sheet was starting to get kinda funky, with dust sticking to all of the oil it had absorbed over time...
and yes, i do realize that i am probably the only person who cares where each sheet of my last roll of paper towels is going... :)
something about having the slide out, and watching lucy crawl around in the grass, gives me the eager feeling that spring is truly here. and, if not truly here, than truly on its way very soon. we're ready. ready to keep off the heat in the mornings. ready to leave the doors open all day. ready to get some laundry up on the line.
the main qualm that i have with buying trader joe's produce (besides the fact that it very rarely local) is the insane amount of packaging when it comes to their fruits and veggies. does everything have to be sitting in a plastic container and wrapped in plastic? apparently so. most everything, that is, except the bananas. i find it completely mind-boggling that a company as forward thinking as trader joe's (with their biodegradable balloons) hasn't yet figured a way to make their buy-in-a-pack produce a little more earth-friendly.
well, it seems they just might be starting to wise up. over my last few trips to tj's, i've purchased multiple produce items in compostable packaging. i even spoke to my store manager about my findings, and he confirmed that trader joe's is beginning to make an eco-conscious shift. of course, compostable does no good if people don't know what to do with it--educating customers will hopefully be on their to-do list when it comes to this new stuff. i was very surprised today when examining the bottom of a tj's container holding tomatoes--i was looking for a recycling # and didn't see one. further inspection led me to make out the barely visible word "compostable" molded into the container. the container looked very much like plastic, and not at all like the papery/cardboardy stuff that "looks" compostable. i'll have to keep my eye out for more.
now, i know what you're thinking. what the heck is valley girl doing buying her produce at the grocery store? i thought she only buys local produce! yeah, well. general laziness and lots of playdates have made it tough to schedule in trips to my local market. but guess what? i went today and it was wonderful--tossed into my bag were the following--arugula, salad mix, spinach, garlic, carrots, a huge bunch of cilantro, tomatoes (i'm thinking these were hothouse grown), and 2 big jars of honey (one for cooking, one for facewash). all local, some certified organic and the rest uncertified organic. $25 (the honey was $14). not a bad deal. and it felt really, really good. and there was no excessive packaging, compostable or otherwise.
we have decided to join a csa beginning in april. we'll get a weekly box filled will all organic, all local produce from a nearby famr. more on that in a later post--i'm headed to bed. but i am interested in your trader joe's--has compostable packaging been spotted there too?
i've partnered with my wonderful friend molly (who also happens to be a very talented diaper-maker), and we are extremely excited to be in the works of building up a nice inventory of super cute, super fluffy diapers to stock in our shop. our estimated first stocking date is april 01!
check back here for previews and announcements--and if posting becomes a little slow over the next few weeks, just know that it's because i'm hard at work serging and snapping up a ton of diapers! the most difficult part, of course, is having the willpower to add them to the "etsy" pile, and not to the "lucy" pile. my poor daughter's diaper stash--soon to be severely neglected!
always a sign that spring is on the way--a little brown egg left for us beneath our chicken coop. our yard has been recently been filled with none-to-subtle sounds of 3 cackling hens. only one is laying at the moment, but hopefully we'll get another season of fresh (almost free) eggs out of our girls before they go into hen-opause and stop laying for good. after a long winter of buying cage-free organic eggs, gifts such as these are certainly welcome!
When prices get high, we get inventive. Take our Maple Syrup selection. We carry 100% Maple Syrup, but due to forces out of our control (nature), the price of this sweet sap has been steadily increasing. So we set to work on creating an all natural alternative that’s just as sweet and pure tasting, but not as pricey. Our new Organic Maple Agave Syrup Blend is a mixture of organic maple syrup, organic agave nectar and organic evaporated cane juice. That’s it. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet, and it’s an excellent match for breakfast classics like pancakes and waffles. And, as promised, it’s a great price – we’re selling each 8 fl. oz. bottle for $3.29.
i attempted doing actual the cost-per-ounce math of this stuff vs. pure maple syrup in my head while standing in the aisle with lucy on my hip. we checked out, got our (biodegradable) balloon, loaded the car, drove home, unpacked the groceries, had a snack, and by the time i thought about syrup again, all of the numbers had been magically released from my head. probably for the best--this valley girl happens to be a writer and not a mathematician, anyway. but this syrup blend is significantly cheaper than tj's non-organic grade a maple syrup.
of course, the real issue is how it tastes. we eat a LOT of pancakes around these parts (they're lucy's favorite, and mine, too). i kind of have this rule that anything we eat in mass quantities should be organic if possible, or at the very least, without artificial flavors or colors, which means that the fake syrup i grew up on is no longer cutting it. (um, high fructose corn syrup, anyone?) i switched us to the whole foods 365 organic syrup, but at $18 for a (good-sized) bottle, we were having to treat it like liquid gold.
this new stuff is good! nice and sweet, with real maple flavor, though not as rich as the pure stuff. it's almost like a diluted version of the real deal... oh, wait. it IS a diluted version of the real deal. but it works. we're down to the bottom of our first bottle, and i've already purchased a second. fully recommended by your loyal blogger!
recently acquired talents include: