Hand Sewn

tiny quilt

handsewn coasters

the sewing basket

Eloise is going through some sort of growth spurt these days and is needing to nurse more and more frequently. This however is a good thing, because my hand sewing abilities are getting lots of practice. I was inspired by this lovely lady’s embroidery and this always inspirational lady’s mini quilts and finally finished my own little wall hanging. It was my first time ever free hand embroidering. I’m kind of hooked. It’s like drawing with thread and needle. I think I will iron it, frame it and get it hung on the wall this weekend. It gives me a spring time feeling and reminds me of the little birds who come visit our feeder outside. I have also made a couple new springtime coasters and there are some other hand sewn projects in the works as well. The basket you see in the last picture, comes with me while I nurse, as well as to the park and in the car (when I’m not driving of course). Since sewing on a machine is not in the cards yet while baby girl is still needing my every moment, these hand sewing projects give me some creative time but also allow me to be right there when Ellie needs me. The best of both worlds if I do say so myself.  What are you working on?

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I Want to be an Urban Homesteader

hanging on the line

I grew up in suburbia. Tree lined streets of very nice houses that were all too similar in construction. I’ve spent the majority of my adulthood in suburbia as well. The last five plus years, my husband and I spent living in the concrete jungle of Irvine. I loved my childhood and wouldn’t trade anything for it. And the concrete suburbia that is Orange County also had it’s lovely places, and many a good memory was made there. But when Jeff and I started changing our eating habits to more local, more organic, more simple food, we started wanting a more organic, closer to nature, maybe even farmesque lifestyle for ourselves. I started reading books by Barbra Kingsolver, Mark Bittman and Shannon Hayes. We devoured documentaries like this one, this and this. We started growing more vegetables on our tiny balconies, we tried and failed at our worm bin on the balcony, we tried making a point to ride our bikes more instead of driving. Jeff embarked on his journey into homebrew and I tried sewing more instead of buying more. It has been an incredibly fun journey, this journey of eating healthier, living more sustainably and tiptoeing ever closer to homesteading.

Actual homesteading seems a far away dream but looking back to how we used to buy, eat and  spend our days, I say we have come a long way from the people we were when Jeff and I met. Now we have a daughter and we have moved into a small house and out of Orange County. We are still in suburbia, but a crunchier town to say the least and a lot more space for us to grow things, make things and try our hand at urban homesteading. I’m feeling closer to being an urban homesteader these days. A line to air dry clothes, an actual space and sun to garden in, homemade granola and bread. A whole room I can dedicate to sewing and making things in (although with a six month old- sewing anything is difficult). A compost bin that actually seems to be working,  home brewing back in action and a plethora of other things we want to try in the coming months.

urban garden box

urban compost

I think of the word homestead and it brings up all sorts of images and thoughts. I came across this definition of urban homestead  and it spoke to me clearly. “the creation of an urban homestead with the goal of reducing one’s environmental impact and returning to a home-based, family-centered, self-sufficient way of life.” I think we are striving for this definition. This self-sufficiency that I think we both crave. We are enjoying learning how to make the staples like our own granola and canning apple butter. We would love to grow all our own vegetables and not have to visit the farmers market (although we do enjoy this weekly outing and supporting the local farmers). I dream of egg laying chickens and being able to knit my baby girl a sweater. It makes me feel like a stronger woman to be able to make and do. I want to get closer to this simpler way of life. My husband and I enjoy making our breakfasts, lunches and dinners from scratch and sitting down to enjoy a meal around the table with family and friends. I love spending time creating a home, thrifting what I can’t make and making what I can.

I also want to do my part to help the earth. Even as a kid growing up in suburbia, I found myself drawn to wanting to do more for the planet. I created my own Save The Earth Club. I got my parents to recycle and tried my best to reuse things in different ways. Now, I really find myself making things stretch; patching up that good pair of worn pants, making baby dresses from old pillowcases, reusing glass jars to store bulk goods instead of tossing them. I want to watch my carbon footprint and teach my daughter to tread lightly too.

one day id like to have chickens

My husband and I are still beginning our homesteading journey. My hopes are that we both learn to do more through reading and workshops and the people we meet in this new town we are living in. I want to show my daughter that a little bit of creativity can go a long way. I want to show her where the food that she eats comes from and that you can help things grow with good compost you helped create by not throwing out scraps but by reusing them. I want to be able to teach her how to cook and bake. I want her to grow up knowing that smell of rising bread well. I know my husband would like to instill in her a love for creating with your hands. She has seen him build a raised bed for our vegetables and she has helped on brew day already.

baby brewing

We want her to have a connection to the things that grow around her and we want her to enjoy the simple things as we are doing now. We want to sow these seeds of sustainability for our daughter and for ourselves. We have a long way to go to become true urban homesteaders but oh, we are having so much fun learning this way of life.

Just Write: Letter to My Husband

Dear Husband,

I rarely get flowers from you anymore.

Special occasions come and go.

I have to poke and prod and flat out tell you what I want for my birthday.

But, those dishes get done every evening. And the dinners you have been making since I was pregnant just keep getting better and better.

This past weekend you rearranged your schedule so that I didn’t have to drive with  Ellie alone (carseat+ellie= very stressful drive anywhere). You never whined, or complained. You just figured out a way to be there for me. I keep seeing that in you. You are always there for me. You are there in the kitchen, brining sustenance to your family. You are there after we have all gone to sleep, cleaning up so I don’t have to the next morning. You are there every night holding me close and there in the morning giving sweet kisses to your baby girl while I shower.  You are there quietly helping sustain this family and bring peace to an often overtired Mama.

You are there with a smile on your face or a silly song or a witty remark or a kiss or a hug or a listening ear. When I need comforting, you are there. All I need to do is ask and you are there.

I am so lucky to have you husband. You are always there and I am forever grateful.

your wife.

 

linking up over at EO  today for Just Write!

Weekending!

international banana bread day

fooling around with daddy

signs of spring

with gramma napping

pizza!

making the owlbottling the beer

beach walk with ellie

the inlaws on the beach

sun is lowering

avery present

the shower gals

It was another busy, lovely weekend. Beginning with homemade banana bread for National Banana Bread Day, lots of silly time with Daddy, springtime flowers blooming all over the place, naps in the carrier with happy Gramma’s, homemade pizza, bottling of the home-brew, making handmade baby toys for a good friend’s shower, beautiful walks on the beach with the in-laws and to end the weekend, a wonderful “baby  sprinkle” and a day of joy and reminiscing with old, dear friends. How was your weekend?

 

linking up with Amanda!

Portrait Project

8/52

that tongue

eloise: oh that tongue! You are doing all sorts of interesting things with your tongue these days. Rolling it around in your mouth, over your little toothless gums, making raspberry noises with it, touching it to the roof of your mouth, twirling it into spiral shapes. You are having a grand ol’ time figuring out that tongue of yours.  

joining Jodi for the lovely 52 project!

He Brews Again!

brew haha

My husband has finally gotten out and started brewing again since Ellie was born. He is a budding brewer and before Ellie was born had been brewing almost every other weekend. And coming from a very scientific background, he means business when he brews. Of course I know nothing about brewing beer and happily nod my head whenever he starts talking beer. I’m happy enough just to drink it. But he loves getting out there for a full day and brewing. I captured the process this time so we could have a bit of documentation and thought I would share it here today.

hops and barley

grinding it down

brewing water

turning the brew

pouring

twisting and turning

measurement

baby brew

He built all of the brewing equipment from scratch and brews with hops he gets at a local homebrew store. He is wanting to one day brew with hops he, himself has grown. We had success growing hops on our balcony in Orange County so he’s very optimistic we can grow them even better here in Ventura County. He gets a sparkle in his eye anytime he talks about brewing. I know this is a little more than just a hobby for him. It takes time to brew and I recall getting a little resentful when he would claim a sunday as a brewing day in the past, but I know how much this brewing means to him and I’ve been trying to be a little more accepting of the hours he needs to complete a brew. It’s an exciting science experiment for this man of mine and every time he talks about it or shows me his process (which I still don’t understand) I see a dreaming, smart young man. It’s neat to watch him in his element- science. It’s one of the reasons why I married him. He loves a good puzzle and figuring things out. That’s what brewing is to him. And I love that he wants to bring Ellie with him sometimes to check on the brew. He wants her to see and learn what he’s doing, what he’s into. Mama is just a spectator when it comes to science and brewing. But, Ellie… she may have already been bitten by the science bug. And that’s certainly okay with me.