Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Minimalism is just another word for....




I don't really like the word Minimalism (apart from that I think it looks quite nice as a word itself). I don't really consider myself a Minimalist either. It doesn't really describe what I am doing. Or does it?

I was thinking about what it is, that I am actually doing. I am trying to be "rational" when it comes to purchases and ways of life. Unfortunately the term Rationalism has already been taken. I am trying to "economise" to balance finances reasonably. Which doesn't make me an "Economist". I am trying to apply "common sense" - would that make me a common senser? ;) I am striving for a way of "Simple living". But is my life really simple? Am I living in a simple way? I doubt that. I don't want to be part of the Consumerist World. Am I an Anti-Consumerist? No, not really.

I am trying to be satisfied with what I have rather than concentrating on what I want. Contentment.

I will continue to use the word Minimalism. Because it reminds me, with how little earthly possessions we can live and what other qualities count in life.

Maybe it is best decribed as WIP. :)


Saturday, 3 December 2016

6 Months "Make and Mend Challenge"


This is not me, but I can sort of relate, when I rummage through our attic...


So, I'm 6 Months down the Make and Mend Challenge. I've been quite alright so far, only a few temptations and I resisted ok. Part of why that worked so well is because my wardrobe is so well stacked from years before of uninhibited shopping tours. And that's nothing to be proud of really.

Has something changed so far? Yes. Quite a lot. We have saved money. I should have stopped consuming for its own sake ages ago. :) Actually sometimes I looked at items and thought "this is so poor quality, I don't want it anymore, and I can't give this to charity, it's to shabby - WHY did I get this in the first place?!" and then "I could have just taken my money and put it in the bin straight away". Very annoying.

The general "Make and Mend" theme influenced our household in a way, that I didn't anticipate. Although I stated in the beginning (and I still stick to that) that the rest of the family is not active part of my 365 days consume-abstinence, it did have an influence on the family. I didn't just do "pleasure shopping" for the children, either. What they get is what they need and sometimes a little extra. Which then stands out. Sometimes that "extra" is self-made, sometimes store-bought. I choose clothes (for the whole family) far more carefully now.  I see the quality of a garment clearer and I am more willing to pay its price for it.
I also am a lot less impulsive with purchases (because even if this jacket is sold out, there will be another one that is as good, no worries). Sales and special offers don't get to me any more. In fact, bargains make me suspicious. :)

I now clearly determine whether I need something or not and then set a budget. Then I try to find the best cost/performance ratio. I even make lists of things that I think we might need. And then I sleep over it. And sleep over it again. And then usually take stuff off that list again.

Sometimes it's little things, e.g. a new perfume bottle. I love the perfume I am using at the moment. But by coincidence I found one, that smells like one that I had when I was 18 years old (just a little more grown up, it's not the same perfume after all) and as I promised to myself, that I can't buy it unless the other one is empty, I am using the other one more frequently (and love the scent) AND am looking forward to getting the new one after that. I have learnt to wait for things, e.g. save up for something that I really like instead of getting something similar or second-best immediately. 

So, that's 6 months gone and 6 months to go! Yay! :)

And here is some cookie monster wisdom "Good things come to those who wait" ::)



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

I am not vegetarian. But I like vegetables.


As a German I think I grew up thinking that meat dishes should be part of my diet several times a week, if not daily. I never once questioned my conviction until I was a mother of 2 little girls and we were on our parental time challenge

We started rethinking our cooking entirely because we wanted to save money but at the same time provide healthy food for our children (and ourselves...). We looked into lots of cookbooks and recipes, read about nutrition and obviously checked all that against our budget. So what happened was, that we ate more and more vegetarian dishes, because it was cheaper. My natural minimalist sort of told me all of the time that he had told me all of the time that it was much better to go more vegetarian for various other reasons anyway (having been vegetarian and even co-vegan for some time of his life before he was enticed to move to meat-loving Germany). 
As the cooking is mostly done by him, we took a big turn and our routine since our parental time is, that we have meat or fish once a week (I am talking about the "grown up" diet here) and the rest of the week vegetarian dishes. And I LOVE it.  

We have italian inspired dishes, "veggie  bolognese" (tomato+red lentil sauce, in fact one of our all time favourites) and more mediterranean cuisine, oriental cuisine and use recipes for indian curries or dishes from other asian countries. In fact I think our meal plan has become a lot more exciting since we started to concentrate a bit more on veggies recipes. 

So, what are the advantages? I obviously like to eat meat and fish and have no intention of going full-time vegetarian. But eating more vegetable also has an influence that can stretch beyond just eating differently. 

1. If you eat less meat, you can choose the meat you DO eat more carefully - e.g. from  local butchers/farmers and not from the supermarket discounter with meat from industrial livestock farming (I am not discussing this here, but obviously if less people buy meat from mass production farms there will be less of that). Also by reducing the amount of meat generally means, that you reduce your personal carbon footprint. 

2.  You can get vegetable/fruit from the region when it is in season and support your local producers. Also good for carbon footprint. Or if you have a garden, you can grow your own vegetable! And if it is only a tiny little bit. :)

3. You will get to know a LOT of new recipes if you start making your own veggie dishes from scratch and that means you might cut down on processed food, which is really not healthy. We know that. ;)

4. You will probably eat more vitamins. :) 

5. It is cheaper. At least in my experience.

6. It is much nice to cut a piece of pumpkin than to dice a chicken fillet (again, that is my personal opinion...)

Last but not least, I've found a picture of the food pyramid for you, that I think is good. I know, it's in German, but I am sure everybody can read pictures. :) What I also really like about is that it includes drinks and sports(!).





If you think just water or tea is a bit boring, try some of these alternatives to water:

(If you live in a country where water that comes from the tab has drinking quality, then you can also jsut drink tab water or get a little fizzy water maker, to get bubbles, instead of buying bottled water!)

You can go to your local bookshop and enquire about books on veggie dishes that might suit you. 
As a family of 4 we don't really have the time to spend hours and hours in the kitchen. But others do and love it. Try it out!

I don't really like pictures of mass food production, but these are remarkable, esthetic in a weird way and give food for thought. A lot.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/09/magazine/big-food-photo-essay.html?_r=2&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_term=industrial+agriculture&utm_campaign=Food&__surl__=IgOVY&__ots__=1476165015779&__step__=1

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Have you been Outdoors today?



Today, I just would like to share this post about spending time outdoors.
I have absolutely nothing to add. :)

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/outdoors/

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Saving electricity for freedom!





Saving money makes you free.

By saving money you free yourself from debts, from pressures, from owing sombody something.

And also you care for the environment and resources and make this planet a better place to live.

One biggy is electricity.

To save energy you can try and do the following things (and of course search the internet for more information)

  • Replace regular light bulbs with LED or special energy saving light bulbs, use the right light bulbs for the right purpose (do they have to stay on long or just quickly be turned on and off?)
  • Only switch on the  light when and where you need it (e.g. why have the bathroom light on when you are in the garden?)
  • Check which electrical appliances really have to be switched on/on standby the entire day and maybe attach some to a master/slave switch
  • invest into energy saving electrical appliances (washing machine, dishwasher,...) and assess, whether you really need all of those electrical appliances. 

 Make a difference! Be free!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Moving house!





Today we are moving house! Yes! So instead of a  big long blogpost I am giving you a simple link. :) It's a small article on "becoming minimalist" and it is just a small piece of inspiration. :)
 
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-if-i-dont/

So long!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Kira the kangaroo - Lalylala patterns


She's been carrying around the baby all night... that's why she looks tired!

 Just in time I've finished the Kira Kangaroo with baby Crochet Pattern by lalylala - a dear friend of mine had her first baby and I made a few bodies, shirts and a patchwork blanket for the little one (totally got carried away...! and of course didn't take a single picture of the things...), and then I saw the Kira pattern and though i MUST make this for her. It's so irresistably cute! :)

But you just have to cuddle them all of the time, because they are SO cute, no matter how tired you are! ;)
The pattern is really well described, good pictures, it was easy to follow the instructions. I am a real beginner with crocheting and the technique of making the "belly bag" for the baby and the ears in this bubbly pattern was really difficult... it was all about just the right tension of the thread - but after about 5 ears that didn't quite look right it suddenly worked... (the instructions are fine, it was me...)

slight counting issues on the tail... nothing to worry about though, who needs balance when they've got a baby?!

No trace of ear issues any more...

It was so fun to make this pattern and I am really pleased with the outcome. It's  a clear recommendation! (I think her pattern might me addictive additive!)


Check out her patterns on her Hompage : http://www.lalylala.com/

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Cost
Total: 20 Euros
Pattern about 5-6Euros
Wool: had to get all of the wool apart from the scarf material. About 14 Euros all in all. But I've got plenty left... Maybe I could make another Kira? Or anoher Bina? 

Things learnt: Sort of lacy, bubbly pattern. Counting. Reading a crochet chart.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

If - Rudyard Kipling




Today I would like to share with you a poem by Rudyard Kipling. The page below also has it as an audible version, very well read and also some information on Kiplings interesting biography.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46473


Enjoy! 

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

South Korea Suicide Watch

Today I would like to share with you a video on the South Korean Suicide Watch. 

Since the Korean War South Korea has develloped rapidly economically. Society changed drastically. 
This is one side effect.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jYBWBlEd0U


!Take care of yourself!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Dirk/Eugene the Dragon - Lalylala Crochet Pattern

New family member: Eugene Dragon. He's totally not liking having his picture taken.


I've made another Lalylala Pattern, this time it is Dirk the Dragon. Only he's called Eugene in our house. :)

The pattern is really good, good detailed descriptions, photographs and all. They are available in several languages (check out her homepage lalylala.com), I've used the German one.

I had slight trouble finding the yarn she recommended, so I ended up using a completely different one  (6ply instead of 4 ply) and also a lot darker, but I like him anyway, even though he is a lot bigger than planned. Also I didn't attach the hood "deep" enough in the face, but I DO like that little fellow anyway. He has a certain look about him that reminds me of my children...

For the scarf I used a big "Strickliesl" (= knitting jenny), which was good fun, loved making endless strings as a child... :)

The pattern is a CLEAR recommendation.

(Just in case you wondered why I am crocheting so much and not sewing much at the moment: In preparation of the move I had to box my sewing stuff, crocheting is a great alternative because you can store the things you need in a tiny box. I also start to enjoy the madness of crocheting (one needle and you twist and sling and pull that thread back and forth and you crochet in spirals and back and forth and up and down and all directions,... whoever invented crocheting techniques must have been so creative!)

_______________________
Cost: Pattern about 6 Euros (available on several platforms, check her homepage for more details), 3  green balls of wool 6-ply tweed (12 Euros), white cotton 1 ball (2 Euros), 1 red speckled yarn I still had in my stash. Total: 20 Euros

Things learnt:
Halbes Stäbchen, Doppeltes Stäbchen, 3 fach Stäbchen, Mäusezähnchen (no idea what those are in English...)