Tuesday, February 7, 2012

365 Challenge- January In Review & Tuesday Night Quick Craft

The Challenge

So, January has come and gone and I am well settled into my challenge. I have been over-eager these past few weeks finding things to get rid of. I've done my best to stop myself from piling things up. With the prospect of my moving in the near future, I've found it hard not to do. To recap the last few weeks- I've decided to separate with eight strings of icicle lights (that work), but that I didn't even bother to hang this past December. The last week of the month I ended up with a random assortment of items that I found very easy to part with. With that said, one month (and 31 days) down, and eleven months (and 334 days) to go!


Tuesday Night (Not So Quick) Quick Craft

For the past several weeks my sister, M and I have been trying to implement a new craft night - Make-It Mondays- where we get together, eat dinner and do a fun craft. Well - last week she came over and ended up cooking me dinner (at my house) and nothing was crafted. Last night was an obvious bust (M was feeling under the weather and had grad school work to do). So the Make-It Monday craft turned into a Tuesday Night Quick Craft - although it wasn't as quick as I thought it would be.

Since I made the dinner tonight (meatloaf, green beans and butternut squash), M picked the craft. We decided on making t-shirt tote/produce bags. M found the idea online on another super awesome craft blog (all thanks to Stumble).

We picked out a few t-shirts and went to work.

We turned the t-shirts inside and used a fabric marker to outline our bags. We decided that we would each make three bags of different sizes and styles.

                                                       Bag number one cut out and pinned.

Next came sewing.

After they were sewn we drew lines where we planned to cut slits.

After cutting the slits we went back and sewed over the seam (on the outside) for extra durability.
 The result, some great all -purpose bags made out of unwanted t-shirts!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Night Quick Craft

Project materials
I've started to set aside items that I think could be used in random crafts. On this rainy Tuesday evening I went ahead and picked up the orange mesh from the top of a clementine box. I had been eye-ing them for several days and had an idea.

I had bought some small basic wooden frames from Joann's this past summer. I had taken the time to paint the frames, but had never got around to using them.

Using a staple gun I attached the mesh to the frame.

 After trying to organize my earrings "neatly" on the edge of the bathroom sink for weeks on end (unsuccessfully I might add), I decided I needed a better system. Using the wooden frames and the orange clementine mesh I made cute and practical frames for all my earrings.

This project took less than 15 minutes, keeps plastic out of the landfill, looks great, is functional and should last me a good long time!


First one done!
I never said I was concerned about hanging things evenly!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

365 Challenge - the first two weeks

With the second week of 2012 coming to a close, I thought I would give an update on how my 365 Challenge was going. To recap the project: I plan to find one item in my home everyday to get rid of. At the end of the year, I will have gotten rid of 365 items! Quick recap of the rules:

1) If something got replaced, it didn’t count.

2) Every item counted as one item. No extra points for big stuff or expensive stuff: whether it was a pair of earrings or a moped, it counted as one.

3) To keep my honest, I’d take a picture of each item. At the end of the year, I should have 365 pictures.

From the beginning I did have a bit of an advantage. While unpacking holiday decorations I had been eying several items, thinking that I really didn't need them at all. So, I was off to a perfect start. Also, I will admit that I have already broken rule number 3. I haven't been taking a picture of each item each day (in most cases), but rather putting the in a box, then taking the picture at the end of the week.

Week 1
Week 1 - I parted easily with some Christmas candles that weren't lit once this season, a vase that had come with flowers, a Christmas themed coffee mug I bought at Starbucks, two snowflakes bowls and a snowflake plate.

Week 2 - I was able to sell my Nintendo DS and three games to a friend (never used it, didn't need it), a 3-foot tall artificial Christmas tree (never came out of the box this year), Directv (yes, I cancelled my service and will now be saving $95.00 per month and have loads of free time on my hands!), lastly I pass along one of my old pair of alpine skis to my Mom- hopefully she will use them more than me (which was pretty much never).

Nintendo DS (along with 3 games- not pictured)
So far, I feel like this challenge has been a definite success. I've have found it fairly easy to find things to part with and am actually finding it hard not to just pile things up all at once. I anticipate though, that as the months roll by I may find it harder to find things to get rid of or harder to part with items. I hope this isn't the case, I hope that I am strong enough willed to know that the stuff I own doesn't own me.

Bye Bye Directv!
As for my other resolutions, I would say that I am doing quite well. Amazingly I am sticking to my healthy eating plan and have had great success in cutting down on added sugar and uber processed foods. My goal for the coming month is to become a member the local food co-op and begin buying what foods I can in bulk. I am also going to start baking more bread and rolls at home and plan to continue to cut out added sugar and processed foods from my diet.

With snow finally on the ground, I am able to get out and snowshoe, x-c ski and to play with the pups. I am starting to use my bike trainer more and prep for my 100 mile ride this summer. There is also a good possibility that I may be part of a 2 person team in the KeyBank Marathon in Burlington in May. So, I have plenty of reasons to get up and get moving this winter and coming Spring.

As for the tote bags- I've stuck to that one completely (and even had to deal with carrying an armload of groceries after leaving my bag in the car). I have been very good with the to-go cup resolution as well. I will admit, not perfect, as I did forget my to-go mug on a recent trip to Boston and was in much need of coffee. The giving up added sugar and cutting back on caffeine has helped when I am out and about, especially without my mug. No mug, no latte. Aside from all that I really haven't had the need to purchase much stuff, so have done well sticking to the other resolutions. Of course, it is only the end of week two of the new year, guess we'll have to see how I'm doing at month eight!

More Pictures from Week 2:

I would rather use a live tree than a plastic one that was made in China!

Alpine skis- not used in years

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out With the Old..

As the holiday season and the year 2011 comes to an end and new year is beginning I (along with most people) have made some new years resolutions. Now yes, I have made the "usual" resolutions - exercise more, eat healthier, watch less TV, etc. but this year I am adding a few more to the list and challenging myself to take my goal of living a sustainable zero waste life to the next level.

The Resolutions

1. If I truly feel that I need to buy something I will look for a used option before buying new. This goes for clothes, gifts and household goods (definitely not food!).

2. If I do buy something new, I will make a huge effort to buy local and buy American. 

3. At the grocery store, whenever possible I will buy in bulk and look for other products that come in packaging that can either be recycled or reused.

4. I will only buy a to-go drink if I have a reusable mug with me.

5. I will refuse plastic bags at the store. If I forget my reusable bag I will carry whatever I've bought.

The Challenge

I will admit up front that this challenge is not an original idea. Last week my sister sent me an email of a blog posting by a friend of hers. At the beginning of 2011, this friend (who had recently moved) decided that she had too much stuff and really wondered if every item in her home had a purpose, or was it just meaningless clutter. So, decided that she would challenge herself to find one item every day to get rid of, 365 items in total.

Here are a few of the rules she gave herself:
1) If something got replaced, it didn’t count.

2) Every item counted as one item. No extra points for big stuff or expensive stuff: whether it was a pair of earrings or a moped, it counted as one.

3) To keep my honest, I’d take a picture of each item. At the end of the year, I should have 365 pictures.

Although I have "purged" a lot of clutter from my home in last year, I know there is still more I can get rid of.  Starting today I am taking on the challenge of getting rid of 365 items during 2012. I am planning to follow the same rules listed above. I will take pictures of all the items before they leave the house so I can keep track of what I decided to get rid of. At the end of the year I will be able to look back and reflect on what I got rid of and what the experience was like.

So, here is to 2012, the year of "out with the old and in with, well, nothing".

Happy New Year!