Now that I’ve gone through the process, I can say that moving one’s blog is akin to a physical move. You can’t help but see your posts in a fresh light as you export and import them, and make sure they’ve survived the move. I was surprised to look back and see the variety of posts on sustainable living, clean beauty, and food. While my love for sewing has really taken over Crab & Bee (and I’m not fighting it), I still spend a lot of time thinking about how to live healthfully, happily, and more thoughtfully. So in the spirit of Crab & Bee’s beginnings, here’s a smattering of updates on what I’ve been up to!
I was feeling pretty happy about my eating habits – lots of cooking and bringing my lunch in – until school started this September. My consumption of packaged foods has definitely been up because I have less time to cook. And while I’m good about buying lunch at places I know have compostable containers, but my snacks – and I snack often – come in crinkly plastic that goes into the garbage. (Do any of you have good tips on how to eat home-cooked food given my time limitations, or favorite snacks with responsible or no packaging?) The other complicating factor is that I’m eliminating wheat because of potential allergy issues. Because of that, I’ve integrated an occasional (maybe once a week) serving of fish back into my diet after being strictly veggie for over a year.
On the food waste front, we’ve been composting our food waste for a few years now, but I’m still amazed to see how much it cuts down on garbage!
As I explained in one of my Wayback Machine posts, my career path has been all over the place (although mostly in creative fields). I’ve been working at the same job for the past year and a half now, which has been a much-needed break from freelancing and self-insuring. That said, I work for an online retailer. Considering how interested I am in handmade and thrifted clothing, I have some cognitive dissonance around that fact! There’s a lot to like about my company; they hire locally, they sell higher-quality items, they treat their employees ethically, my team is made of awesome and genuine people, and I’m not sure how I would have survived this year without health insurance. I also feel really fortunate to have a job when many people are having difficulties finding anything, let alone fulfilling work. But ideally, my personal convictions would match my work life.
Cleanin’ and Beautifyin’
Really exciting developments in cleaning department! My main goals have been to keep the same level of cleanliness while using safer products and reducing packaging. This includes:
- Making my own re-fillable surface cleaning spray from water, baking soda, Borax and tea tree oil. (Just a warning about essential oils – they can be toxic to pets at their full concentration, so dilute them. I couldn’t find a consensus on a safe concentration, but I used 10-15 drops per 12 fluid oz. of water for my cleaning spray and wiped it up as I cleaned.)
- Based on a tip from No More Dirty Looks via Readymade, I’ve been making my own eyeshadow and brow powder from activated charcoal tabs. (Another warning, The granules are bigger than the ones in makeup powder and can scratch your eyes more easily.)
- Continuing to make my own laundry detergent, recipe here!
- Continuing to buy bulk shampoos and soaps
Next up, I’m going to try and make some blush from beet powder and starch, as well as look for a bulk dishwashing soap solution!
Clothes and sewing
Here’s some familiar territory! In my Top 5 Reflections on 2012, I talked about my interest in both new and thrifted fabric. After some extra fabric purchases in 2011, I tried to stick to buying fabric only for the project I was currently working on this year. This was both good (my tiny fabric closet stayed about the same level of crammed throughout 2012) and bad (I bought expensive fabric in a pinch.) Still, this year I’m planning on staying the course, buying fabric on a per-project basis and also spending more time looking for environmentally responsible fabric as well as thrifted fabric sources.
As for what I bought retail, I was able to keep my clothing purchases down through a mixture of thrift shopping and sewing. I bought two sweaters (I have little luck at thrift stores with sweaters and am super jealous of So, Zo’s thrifted beauties), leggings, a dress and… designer sweatpants off of ebay, for a total of 5 items. I did, however, purchase way more shoes than I had intended! I was planning on keeping it to 0-2 pairs, but ended up at 5. They all met my requirements (durable, repair-able, walkable) and 4/5 of them have seen a lot of use, but hopefully I’m set for 2013.
I’ve also decided to do the Seamless pledge, during which I would create or thrift any new clothes for a given period of time. I’m super excited that Gillian is both joining in and helping to re-vamp it.
What are you up to?
I was going to get into transportation, but as this post has run a bit long and I’m pretty much keeping to my bus/walk to work, drive-occasionally routine, I’ll table that topic! But, I’m interested in hearing some of your favorite ways to maximize your resources and reduce waste, so please share! I’m also interested in hearing how these sorts of practices vary by location.