Renewed Jacket for Honey

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Last year’s Honey’s jacket started to show signs of wear. It didn’t seem urgent last year but came to that point recently.

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Over the weekend, Honey and I visited our fabric stash looking for inspiration and she immediately pulled out a floral, paisley black and pink print. I’ve had this fabric in my stash for years (I also have a mumu on the same fabric that my mom made in the late 70s or early 80s) and never quite found the perfect project for it. It caught Honey’s eye and she said that it would look great with the beige. I was inspired by her enthusiasm and set to work. I trimmed the fraying areas, sewed a long patch onto the back and then recreated half of a cuff with the fabric.

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Since she got this jacket just as we began dating, it reminds me of our first fall and winter together and now love it even more with the vintage fabric added!

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Curtains

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A year after bringing these curtains back home from the US, they are hanging in our parlour and bedroom. The hook we needed was impossible to buy in the UK so it took another trip back to the states and my dad’s quick run to the store to pick up what we needed. These curtains are thickly lined, lovely orange, and are the ones that hung in our living room each winter when I was a child. 20141012-184245.jpg

20141012-184310.jpgI am thrilled to have them here in our home.

 

Married

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When Honey and I planned our trip to the US for the summer, we decided that we would get married in the nearby state of New Jersey. There will be equal marriage in Scotland soon and we will be able to exchange our Civil Partnership certificate for marriage, but we wanted legal recognition in the US, directly from the US now that it is a possibility. Two days after we booked our tickets, the announcement of equal marriage came in Pennsylvania, so we knew what our plans would be.

We got married by a judge five minutes from where I grew up, on the third anniversary of our civil partnership. Both of my parents, all of my sisters and 4/5 of my nieces and nephews and 1/2 of my brother in laws were present. It was so wonderful to be able to do our final legal step with my family members who have not been able to help us celebrate at either our legal CP signing or the wedding party. It was also exciting to be the judge’s first same-sex couple to marry!

Married in PA

Although we had a civil ceremony in both countries, there were interesting cultural differences. First of all, the registrar in Scotland was not allowed to use any religious words and had to check our vows and music to ensure that there were no vaguely religious references at all. The judge in the US didn’t check that with us and said God several times in the ceremony. We were fine with that but I can imagine it could bother many.

A procedural difference was that the ceremony was complete in Scotland once we and our witnesses had signed the paperwork and in the US only the judge signed the paper. Apparently, our signatures at the time of application were the official record of our confirmation. We even left with an interim certificate that day, which I promptly used to update my name on my American documents.

The final difference that stands out in my mind is one of social space. In Scotland, the registrar stood behind a table (where the papers would be signed) and legally bound us to one another. In the US, there was no physical barrier between us and the judge and he placed his hand on ours as he legally bound us.

It was so interesting, but most of all it was a relief. I am finally, officially, really, truly, my wife’s wife and we are married. For real.

My Blue Suede Boots are Made for Walkin’

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As my black vegan boots are still out of commission while I figure out how to bring them back to a wearable standard, I have been pondering what to wear with skirts as the weather turns cold. A trip to the charity shop showed me that I just needed to pick up another pair. While they are suede and therefore not a material I would ever encourage the production of, my £8.99 went to a charity and kept the boots out of the landfill. When I almost adopted a pair of my mom’s old leather shoes in the summer, I realised that I am okay with second hand leather (aka ‘meat products’) because the leather industry does not benefit in any way and I keep the item in use. The original sticker was still on the sole and besides the small dirt spot you see prior to treatment, they appear almost new.

second hand blue suede boots second hand blue suede bootsYou should know that I searched high and low online for a Blue Sued Shoes/Boots Are Made For Walking but, sadly, I could not find one.

 

Tiny Table

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We’ve had this table for about six months now, but the organiser and historian in me needs it to be posted! I like the idea of being able to look back over the years and see how we began to build our home together.
Our friends moved to a larger home and had space to fill. We exchanged our large table for their small one. They also passed on four folding chairs and we purchased two more to match. It works great folded up as an ‘altar’ area, unfolded halfway when I work from home or we have a meal for two, or moved away from the wall and open on both sides to seat guests. I love that our chairs fold neatly next to the table as well. Our living room now feels much more spacious.

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First Batch of Kefir

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A few months ago, before a yoga class, I was talking with classmates about fermented food and how to make kim chi. My teacher asked if I had ever made kefir and when I said no but I have wanted to, she said that she would share some grains when they were ready.

Last month, she brought me about a tablespoon of the ‘grains’ in milk and a container and I added them to a jar (with more milk, effectively staring the ferment again). I let it sit on the counter for 24 hours but it didn’t seem to be done in that amount of time, so I let it sit another day. That time, it looked ready. It didn’t thicken like I’ve read sometimes happens, but it definitely begun to look right and smelled sort of like fresh bread and yogurt. Two days in my cold kitchen is what it seems to take.

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I carefully poured the kefir into another jar, using a picnic fork to keep the grains separate. I then started a new batch and popped the fermented kefir into the fridge. When I tried it later, I was surprised to discover that although it didn’t look bubbly, it felt bubbly! Until that taste there had been lingering doubt that it had worked! Since there is tons more probiotics (and beneficial yeasts) in kefir than yogurt, I’m only going to make small amounts until I’ve weaned myself on and my grains have increased.

I’m so excited about having received the grains (reading our cheese book, I didn’t wonder where on earth I would even acquire them), how easy it was to make, and look forward to sharing grains when I begin to have extra.

Life Changing: Deodorant Recipe

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I have now tested a homemade deodorant recipe during regular work days, rushing around stress, training delivery, a full day exploring 80 degree Bordeaux with a backpack, and dancing at a wedding until 3am. It works and is life changing. Something simple, chemical free, cheap, and reliable.

About a month ago, I admitted that the natural deodorants that I had used had either been discontinued in the UK, changed to include gross chemicals, or had stopped working for me. I was basically reapplying with another ‘rescue’ deodorant in the afternoon on most days. Since I had nothing to lose by trying a recipe that didn’t work, I looked online for a few homemade recipes.

My original plan was to try one with what we had on hand (ruling out anything complicated like infusing flowers or ordering and melting beeswax) then try an arrowroot recipe. Arrowroot is meant to be stronger than baking soda recipes so I thought that I might need that.

I made half a batch of this recipe from Becoming Peculiar and accidentally used twice the amount of essential oils. I kept this ratio in my second batch. For a standard batch, this means 10 drops each of tea tree and lavender. I also used the full 4 Tbs of coconut oil.

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The first time I used it, I put it on for a work day and…didn’t smell anything by midday or in the evening. I even asked Honey to check. On my third day or so, I used far too much; I was used to using a lot of deodorant before switching to this recipe. Using too much meant that the oil soaked through my shirt once I warmed up quickly due to stress. It washed out fine and I learned my lesson to just spread a thin layer on my skin.

When I apply the deodorant, I start with a small pea size and warm it up in my fingers until it is the consistency of putty then rub it into place.

After I raved disbelievingly about the deodorant for a week, Honey started using it and hasn’t looked back. A friend has now tried it and it also did the trick for her!

Because this is such a precious find, I’m recording our ‘house version’ of this recipe here:

1/4 C each of corn starch and baking soda
4 Tbs coconut oil (melted briefly in microwave)
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops lavender oil

We have a share pot for the bathroom and a travel pot for each of us.

Apron

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I often think about kitchen aprons- when washing dishes, cooking with oil, or gathering from the garden. I have thought about wanting an apron since we had this place that feels like a home. I have no idea why it took me so long to finally think of actually making one for us, other than the fact that I thought of it as a luxury and generally only take the time to make things that we ‘need’. This time around, I also remembered to use fabric that we like rather than just saving that for gifts.
I used an adjustable apron tutorial for some of the measurements, but modified the top width and the length. It was designed for women who share their homes with taller men. As two short women, we don’t need that.

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I made it double sided, added a top pocket, and made the neck band an adjustable length by making one side button-on. I kinda love it. I wear it every day to do dishes, have used it for cooking and gathering aprons full of produce…exactly as I imagined I would.

My learning:
1. Make ‘unnecessary’ luxuries for us too
2. Use fabric we will like
3. Sew slowly enough to do in well, even if it is not a gift (do you see a theme here?)
4. Take the time to modify it to match how we will wear or use it. Before tucking in the second side of the neck strap, I decided on a button. I had to unpick about two inches (big deal!) before finishing that top. I also shortened the bottom by about 4 inches. It feels right like this so we’re more likely to use it.

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