Archive for the ‘purchase’ Category

This week I’m participating in the No Impact Week Experiment – a one-week carbon cleanse. It is a chance to see what a difference no-impact living can have on one’s quality of life.

It’s not about giving up creature comforts, but an opportunity to test whether the modern “conveniences” one takes for granted are actually making one happier or just eating away at one’s time and money. 

If you’d like to participate as well, click HERE and you’ll be taken to a page where you can register for free and receive an online book that gives lots of great ideas and links.

Today’s challenge is doing more with less.  There’s a video called The Story of Stuff which is an interesting look at how to live a lower-impact life.

In the online book, there’s a series of activities that are suggested for each day.  The first activity was to list the things I need to buy this week. Here’s what comes to mind:

– Classes and enrichment activities for Sophia and Olivia.
– Gasoline for the car.
– Movie tickets for Mom, Dad, and me to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday.
– Gift and card for Dad’s birthday.
– Milk.
– Dog food for Gretel.
– Hay for Bailey and Hoss.
– Bark chips for Bailey and Hoss.
– Washer and dryer.
– Homeschool conference fee and hotel reservation.

The next step was to list the things that I can wait a week to buy.  Here’s what I can wait on:

Classes and enrichment activities for Sophia and Olivia – the classes don’t begin until next month, so I can wait a bit longer before enrolling them.  Who knows…perhaps by waiting, I’ll change my mind and decide that we could do something else together that is equally as fun and educational.

Washer and dryer – I can wait until January 15th when a coupon expires that would save quite a bit of money. In the long-run, a new washer and dryer will use less water and propane since they will be more energy-efficient and have a larger capacity than the small washer and dryer I’m currently using (and have since 1996).

Homeschool conference fee and hotel reservation – I can fill out the registration form and book the hotel, but wait to pay for both until closer to the conference time.

Milk – I don’t have a cow to milk. I have some powdered milk in the cupboard that Olivia will drink. I’ll use that for the week.

The third step was to look at the list of things that I will need to get this week. The challenge of the No Impact Week Experiment is to figure out how to get the items second-hand, borrow, or make them myself. 

Movie tickets for Mom, Dad, and me to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday. I have a gift card that my mom and dad gave me for the movie theater. I’ll use that instead of paying with cash.

Gift and card for Dad’s birthday – Perhaps I can make a gift and card for him rather than purchasing something he doesn’t need. He loves to watch the birds, so I could easily make some batches of suet for the birds and put them in his feeders when I visit on Thursday.  He also loves music, so I could play some songs on the piano for him (he and my mom gave me ten years of piano lessons when I was growing up).  I’d like to make something else…but I’m not sure what yet.

Out of the list of things that I need to get this week, some things I must purchase:

Dog food for Gretel – Changing her food abruptly to homemade dog food could result in stomach and digestion issues. This would be something that could be transitioned to if I felt it would be cost-effective and healthier for she and Montague.

Hay for Bailey and Hoss – Hay is a consumable product, so there’s no purchasing it second-hand or borrowing it. Making bales of hay is something I don’t have the land or equipment to do. I can purchase it from my neighbor, though, which saves money and transportation costs since He lives right next door.

Bark chips for Bailey and Hoss – Same thing as hay…it’s a consumable product. What I can do is purchase the bark chips when I’m on my way to do other errands and from a local small business. In that way, I save money and transportation costs by grouping errands together.

Gasoline for the car – Wish I didn’t have to purchase gasoline this week. However, I’m going to be taking my parents out to celebrate my dad’s birthday. They live 50 miles away, so it does take a good amount of gasoline to visit them.

Other activities and ideas that the No Impact Week Experiment suggested for today include:

Shop Less, Live More

One idea was that instead of shopping to do something enjoyable or clean a closet. Today, I started putting away the Christmas decorations. Although I like the holidays and Christmas decorations, I also enjoy seeing counter-tops, bookcases, and shelves cleared off. Honestly, I rather have them bare than cluttered with things.

I also worked a lot in the kitchen; and washed and put away the dishes. Throughout the month of December, it seemed like I couldn’t keep up with things because of the activities I was doing with the girls. Taking a block of time and cleaning was good for me today. Seeing things put away and the counters clean is less stressful…and much more peaceful for me to look at.

Make Your Own Body and Cleaning Products

It’s interesting this was suggested because Sophia, Olivia, and I started making bath salts this weekend. A line of bath products will be introduced through Harvest Moon by Hand (my shop) within the week. I’m excited about this because it is aligned with what I enjoy doing, what I have been trained to do (I’m a certified aromatherapist), and something that is fun to do with my daughters.

Use Hand-Me-Downs

Yesterday, Sophia, Olivia, and I went through their rooms and collected a huge trash bag of items that can be donated to the local second-hand shop. Today, we went through a closet and found another trash bag of clothing to donate. The items that are sold at the second-hand shop fund a non-profit organization’s programs that help support families and individuals in need.

Just as I donate to the store, I also shop there and have found some great deals on clothing (most recently a beautiful Liz Claiborne sweater for only $4), clothing for the girls’ dolls (often times only $1-$2 compared to $5-10), and books (only 25-50 cents).

For Must-Have Purchases, Buy Locally

For a couple of the items on the list (the hay and bark chips), I plan to purchase them locally as I normally do. The hay is from my next door neighbor who is a farmer. The bark chips are from a small, local business that provides feed and agricultural needs to farms and families in the area.


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One of the Etsy teams that I’m on is The Daily Sweets. The group was formed when it accepted Chrissy of Bittersweeets.etsy.com ‘s challenge to create an item a day beginning April 15th, 2008, to May 15th, 2008 with the of improving activity in shops.

At the end of the challenge, the group decided to continue. While each person may not always list an item a day, the goal is to create every day.

So, keeping this challenge in mind, I took a few vintage children’s books I had and transformed them into gift bags with my sewing machine. This particular set of bags is from a book about Aesop’s Fables.

I hand-cut the top of the bags, and used a paper cutter to trim the edges evenly. I machine sewed along 3 edges to create the bags.

After listing the bags in my shop on Etsy, two (out of 3) sets were immediately sold. Then I received a request for a custom order of 45 bags from a customer in Australia! Needless to say, I was happy with the positive response to this new product.

Between these bags made from vintage children’s books and the fabric gift bags that I also offer in my shop, I plan to continue making eco-friendly items that creatively reuse items that may be destined for landfills…and reduce the impact we have on the environment.

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I signed up to be a part of the Sampler Village. Starting in March, I’m going to be sending the Sampler Village 30 samples from my Etsy shop. These items will go into a box along with other samples from Etsy shops.

Each month, anyone can buy a box of samples from the Sampler Village and receive a box packed full of samples.

This was in the January Sampler Village box. It’s a great way to see a variety of items from Etsy shops. Many of the items I would use.

For those I wouldn’t use, I can pass them on as little gifts for the holidays and/or tuck them in with orders from my own shop (I like to include a little gift with orders, and cross-promote other Etsy shops).

For more information about Sampler Village and/or to order a box, please click on the box on the right hand side of this blog.

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This trio of blue snowflakes are some of the more recent Christmas tree ornaments I’ve made. The idea was from a tutorial I saw on another blog (wish I could remember which one it was so I could provide the link).

Basically there are 2 layers of felt cut into circles. In my case, I used blue and white (to represent water and ice). On the white felt, I drew a snowflake pattern.

Then I sewed along the snowflake pattern on a sewing machine. I had the white felt facing up (to see the pattern). White thread was in the bobbin and blue thread was on the top (so there would be a contrast on each side).

After I was done, I took a scissor and cut the hanging threads. Then I trimmed close to the sewn lines to reveal the snowflake pattern.

They were fun to make. I’m going to make more snowflakes in a variety of sizes so the patterns could be a bit more elaborate…and that there’s some variation in size.

My goal this year for Christmas is to have it be more of a homemade one…one filled with special memories that will sustain my daughters not only this year, but for many years to come.

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Made these two pumpkins for a swap on Swap-Bot. They are made with six pieces of cotton fabric that are machine-sewn together.

They are stuffed with wool from sheep I raised. The stem is felt that is hand-embroidered together and stuffed with wool.

I have other fall and winter items for the home in my shop (Harvest Moon by Hand). Please visit the shop at http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com/.

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This is a Sandman doll that I made recently. It is made with fleece and felt and is incredibly soft to the touch.

He wants to help a young child fall asleep at home; be a travel companion in the car; or comfort someone who is sick or at a doctor or dentist appointment.

Every part of the toy is hand-embroidered – there are no loose parts. The face, stars, hands, and moon are all blanket-stitched onto the doll. The Sandman is then hand-sewn together using the blanket-stitch around all the edges.
He is stuffed with sheep wool – from sheep that I raised on my organic farm. The Sandman measures about 7 3/4″ x 4″ wide – a perfect size for small hands to hold.

The Sandman doll is availabe in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand at http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com.

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4 Pink Stars
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

These are four of the stars I made recently. They are made for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (in October).

I make the stars by hand-folding small squares of paper, overlaying the folded paper, and then gluing them together to create different patterns. One star, for example, is folded 11 times per point. With 16 points that 176 folds to make the star.)

The stars measure approximately 7 1/2″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ in diameter. They look wonderful in groups or individually.

The stars are available at Harvest Moon by Hand at http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com.

I also entered this set of stars in HandmadeMN’s October challenge that is in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please take a moment and vote this item at: http://etsymn.blogspot.com/2009/09/october-challenge-save-ta-tas.html. Thanks for your support!

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