Green Day in the FLX

I woke at 6:38 in the morning, just 22 minutes before my alarm would go off. I’ve been waking before my alarm most days this spring, but lie there hoping I can get just a little more sleep.

After driving my daughter to school and eating breakfast with Alan, I decided to dedicate my day to working on making un-paper towels. One of the many ways we need to change our habits is to stop using, or at least drastically cut down on our use of, paper towels.

I’ve been scrutinizing the family’s paper towel use and notice most of the time we are using them to wipe up a minor spill, dry hands, or dry a cup or dish. It’s true that I use them to clean, but I have microfiber cloths, rags, and sponges, so I just need to stop reaching for paper towels.

With fabric I had, I sewed up a dozen towels that are flannel on one side and muslin on the other, and another half dozen with linen on one side and muslin on the other.

The pattern was a 13″ x 12″ rectangle, that, when sewn with a 1/2″ seam on each side, made 12″ x 11″ un-paper towels, which is the same size as the brand of paper towels I’ve been buying. I drew a pencil line across at the 6″ mark, and then sewed along the line, so they easily fold in half. And then I folded them in thirds, Kon-Mari style. Since I have a vertical paper towel holder, I couldn’t roll my new towels, so I removed the roller and stacked them in the space.

Now that I’ve successfully made my first un-paper towels, we have to form the habit of using them. Keeping a fresh supply next to the sink will help. Of course, I’ll keep a couple rolls of paper towels in the house for really dirty jobs, but if they’re out-of-sight, I hope they’ll be out-of-mind too.

This was a tiny step toward a more planet-friendly daily life, but it felt like a positive one. Alan and I have been increasingly saddened by the continuous photos of plastic waste in the oceans, on beaches, and harming and killing sea birds and animals. We are examining our habits and purchases and asking ourselves: Is this necessary? Is there another way? What can we do right now?

And, in fact, there are so many practical actions each one of us can take right now to honor and protect the planet we call home. Because, as the slogan I’ve seen on Instagram a lot lately says, “There is no Planet B.”

I’d love to be inspired by how you are finding ways to live in a planet-healthy fashion. Here are a few places where you can go to learn about plastic waste in the oceans and to explore ways you can reduce your plastic usage.

My Plastic Free Life

How to Reduce Plastic Use in Your Home

Green Education Foundation

Oceanic Society

Day 21: Doing All the Things

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I woke up at 6:40 yesterday morning, ready to say hello to the day. That’s rare. Especially since I went to bed close to 1AM. The sun sparkled over the lake and hillside as I put all my craft stuff into the car, kissed Alan goodbye, entered the address in my phone GPS and headed toward Searsburg.

(FYI: The night before, Alan had offered to help me, but since I had nothing heavy, I didn’t bother to wake him. When he came downstairs right before I left, he asked, “Why didn’t you wake me? I said I would help you.” I assured him he could help me unload the car when I returned home. And of course, he did.)

I arrived at the Grange first and asked if I was setting up there. They said they were full and I must have a table at the church. So I drove around the corner, parked and descended a short flight of stairs to the basement.

If you’ve been in church as often I have, you know the familiar church basement smell. Damp, but not unpleasant, with the cozy memory of many potlucks lingering in the air. The ladies had soup and sandwiches available for sale, so the smell of several delicious soups filled the room, as did sound of pleasant and comfortable conversations as women and a few men set up their table displays and chatted.

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I had a whole table and a half for myself, which provided ample room for my pillows and wreaths, as well as the natural body care products, felt dolls and ornaments I displayed. The people were very friendly and helpful and I felt immediately at home. My cousin, Erica, and her daughter were there, selling floral arrangements and jewelry. It was great having family there!

The day passed by fairly quickly. It wasn’t very busy, but people came steadily, two or three at a time, and walked around the tables. My friends, Laurie and Grace and Kathy and Dawn came, as well as my Aunt Judy and cousins, Jayna and Kaylee. Seeing them was the high points of my time at the sale.

At 2pm, I packed up and was just about to go, when Erica’s daughter came over and held out flowers in a cute Halloween vase. They were for me, she said. Isn’t so humbling and wonderful when someone does something so sweet and unexpected? I thanked them both and drove home feeling grateful for the generous-hearted people in my life.

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After lunch and a nap, Alan and I finished getting the kitchen set up, prepared food and started applying our makeup. It took an hour and a half! Oh my goodness, I was so ready to be done. Alan’s makeup came out looking better than mine because he was more patient and careful, (story of my life), but we finished, cleaned up and threw on our costumes just as our first guests arrived.

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Lights were on, decorations lit, Alan’s Halloween playlist going and we talked, danced, ate and drank until 2AM. Each guest raved about the spooky and fun atmosphere and our costumes and had a great time being here. We went to bed happy and satisfied we took the time to make this party happen.

 

 

Play, fun and celebration are important to the human experience and make us healthier and happier. Our days may be full, but we need to make time for the kid in us.

What are you planning in your life that is purely for enjoyment? I’d love you to share in the comments.

Day 20: Showing Up

It’s officially day 21, but whatever. I just finished packing up my craft things for the sale in Searsburg tomorrow morning. Today was just full. I made two Pierre dolls, finished three ornaments, made four pillows, two wreaths and I took photos of five of Alan’s mini canvases so he could list them on eBay and can post on social media about them tomorrow. Oh, and I went to the gym and made dinner too: quinoa, roasted vegetables and Gado-Gado Sauce.

So I’m posting no pictures and I’m going straight to bed. But tomorrow, I’ll take plenty at the craft fair and at our Halloween party tomorrow night and post them so that will make up for the lack of visuals tonight.

Goodnight!

Day 19: Flow and NaNoWriMo

 

1CBABC93-BDCF-4020-B2F9-85382DB7E6CEAccording to Wikipedia, “In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.” ( Read more at wikipedia about Flow. )

And that’s what I got into today. Four or five solid, uninterrupted hours of totally absorbing, fulfilling and satisfying work throughout the afternoon gave me such a sense of accomplishment. Mostly because I haven’t had this lately and have felt frustrated about it, it felt particularly great. I sewed continuously and everything worked. or once, no stitches to pick out, no epic fails. I just made lots of cute things and cut out shapes for more.

Although I haven’t read his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World yet, I’ve heard Cal Newport interviewed on Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative Podcast and know I struggle with focus and steering clear of distractions. This book is on my Kindle and I need to read it ASAP.

Here is a blog post by Srini Rao about Flow and Deep Work and ways he has oriented his own life toward this way of working.

Speaking of Flow and Deep Work, I am gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I need to announce my novel on their site soon and am petrified. Has anyone ever participated in this or attempted it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on flow and deep work experiences and anything you know about NaNoWriMo.

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Day 16: Pierre and Co.

 

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This Saturday I’ll be have a vendor table at the Searsburg Community Church and Grange Fall Craft Sale. It’s from 9-2pm. As usual, I feel like I’m not ready and have so many things I want to make if I can find the time.

Today I cut out and sewed little felt dolls. The original is named Pierre. He’s cute and a little creepy and he likes to hide.

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It’s fun to hide him and let someone discover him in a cupboard, their dresser drawer, the refrigerator, the shower, etc. Alan and I hide him on each other and it’s just a little way to say, ” I was thinking about you today”.

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Anyway, I’m making more of these little people and they’ll be available on Saturday at the craft sale or through Facebook and eventually Etsy.

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If you craft, what are you making this time of year?

 

Day 14: Order and Beauty

9c50a14f-319f-453f-a8ae-7a94fd42fc4e.jpegEver since I moved here, I’ve been wanting to tackle the tiny back room off the kitchen. It’s kind of like a screened-in porch because it isn’t heated, but it has four windows and a large closet, wooden floors and cute wooden steps leading up to it.

It was filled up with boxes and packing material Alan saves for when he has to ship his paintings somewhere. And it had random things his kids had outgrown or he no longer had use for.

I’ve always thought it would be great to have a writing desk, chair and an arm chair or two with a few lamps, a small table and a stack of books. Oh, and an area rug as well.

Sometimes when Alan’s working in his office, which is the room next to the library, with his music on, and his son is in his room overhead with his music on, the library feels sandwiched between cacophony. If I’m trying to think, I need a quiet place to do that in.

So today, we pulled everything out of the room and closet. Alan decided what needed to be saved, what could go up into the attic, what was junk, what should be recycled and what could go to goodwill. I dusted, sprayed, wiped, swept, vacuumed and mopped. Most likely, that was just the first few layers that I removed because he hasn’t used the room all the years he’s lived there. (Over 13.) But it is much cleaner now.

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I set up a diffuser with lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils to freshen up the room, sprayed the chair with an essential oil spray I made and tacked up some fairy lights around the windows. Sage from the garden is drying on the window sill, a stack of books sits on the side table and the change is amazing. Every time I walk by I can’t believe how inviting it feels already.

 

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I still need to paint the room, the steps and railing in the spring, pull all the weeds around the steps, plant some tulips and daffodils and some perennials, etc. But we did it! We made it a space that fosters relaxation and creativity. I’ll be sure to show the progress here on the blog as it happens.

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