03 January 2015

Slow Living

It is always lovely to look back and reflect on what you have done over the previous weeks or months, taking stock, observing changes and celebrating achievements.  Even better if you can join together and see hat others have been doing too in their part of the world, blogging is a wonderful way of making the world a smaller place.  Christine over a Slow Living Essentials started this wonderful reflection and has now passed the baton onto Linda at Greenhaven for the monthly link up here are mine for December...

...nourish December can be a month of overeating.  When I worked in a supermarket in my late teens and early twenties I was always amazed at the quantity of food people would buy at that time of year. I know that many people do so because they are cooking for many more people than they usually would but I can't help wandering how much more food waste there is at this time of year compared to the other eleven months.  I have tried to keep our diet simple this month as I know that the potential for upset tummies is higher.  I am not, and never have been, a fan of the rich foods such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake that are traditional so I am looking forward to getting that back on track in January.

...prepare it is the season for parties and sharing food with friends.  I have made quite a bit of food that we have added to buffets and Jacobs join meals with friends.  Simple dishes such as dips and vegetable sticks, homemade bread sticks, hummus and falafel are what I tend to make to share.

...reduce December is the time of year when consumption and spending can be excessive.  The scenes we have seen from Black Friday were thoroughly depressing to me.  I had an idea for a present I could make for a few of the children I give presents too and realised that I could make them from bits I had already.  These charming little baskets are a great way to use up small pieces of material, I had to buy a small amount of interfacing (used to stiffen them slightly) but the rest I found in my stash.  My husband also made two presents out of pieces of wood he had in the workshop, a saw horse and a lee board (for use on a canoe when sailing).

...green last month I mentioned my uses of bicarb including as a carpet deodoriser and one commenter asked for the recipe so I thought I would share it here.  I have used this successfully in our bathroom which is not a room I would choose to have a carpet in but we inherited it with the house.  We have yet to refurbish the bathroom, and will definitely be installing a different flooring when we do, small children and carpeted bathrooms do not a good combination make!  Now back to the deodoriser.....here is my recipe I adapted it from one which makes a very large quantity, I did not want/need to make that much:
4 tbs bicarb
1 tsp borax
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinamon

You can also add 1 tsp of finely chopped dried mint, rosemary, lavender and thyme I didnt have all of these so I just added rosemary and thyme.

Mix all the ingredients together and sprinkle on the carpet where you need it, leave on the carpet as long as possible and Hoover up.  I do this last thing at night and Hoover up in the morning.

...grow we are in the middle of our coldest weather now, it is too cold for anything edible to grow.  This time of year is all about tidying, weeding and fertilising.  I have managed to get into the garden a few times to deadhead, tidy, and spread our own compost and horse manure that we collect from a neighbours family farm.  It is good to give the soil a rest for a bit making it ready for the growing months.

...create I try to make as many presents as I can as gifts for Christmas and Birthdays.  In years past I have knitted most of these but I was finding it took up about six months of the year which was just too long.  This year I knitted a few and sewed many which actually meant I made many more presents in less time, five people were not given anything handmade at all, they were all given a book instead.  The rest (eighteen) got one sometimes two handmade things and my husband made two presents too, maybe in the not too distant future we can make and give at least one homemade present to each person?

...discover I have been trying to focus more on festivals in the last few months of this year, finding a way to either observe them or to enhance our learning and knowledge about other cultures, religions and countries. As Advent drew nearer I halfheartedly thought about ways we could observe the four weeks leading up to Christmas.  I have read about different ways that people do this and I wanted something simple that would work as a focus for the weeks which we could work into what we do.  I settle on a focus for each week using the four festivals adopted by steiner/waldorf methodsof learning and it worked so well for us that I know we will use this again.  I kept it simple this year but I know that we can use this as the focus of our learning at this time of year for many years to come and am looking forward to planning more activities in the future.

...enhance I had a knock on the door early in the month from our local councillor.  Here in the UK some local services are run at a fairly local level with some money trickling down from central government and some paid locally.  Every four years we get a chance to elect who we would like to represent us on the council to ensure our local taxes are being spent wisely, our local councillor wishes to stand down before the next election and asked me if I would like to stand in his place.  I was rather taken aback, it is not something I had even considered.  I have mulled it over and decided it is not for me but I was very flattered to be asked.

...enjoy this month has to be about celebrating Christmas with family and New Year with friends.  Knowing that this will happen and does so every year is reassuring and comfortable.  It is a very busy, bustley (is that a word?) time of year and it is easy to lose focus which for me is about family and friends.  It should be a time of coming together and enjoying each other's company and that is exactly what we had this year, a perfect end to another good year.


  1. That scarf is beautiful! It's wonderful that you're able to make so many of your gifts. I love how you keep it simple, from food to gift giving. It's nice to have the focus on family and friends, rather than on gross consumerism.

  2. Oh this is beautifully written - and echoes so many of my own thoughts about this time of year, especially the temptation to buy enough food to sink a battleship! I loved your advent weeks this year so I think I might have to try it out with my three next year 😄

  3. I agree that knitting so many gifts can take a long time. Like you, I cut down on my knitted gifts this year but as I can't sew there wasn't an alternative. If only I could knit a bit faster.

  4. that scarf yarn is delicious. i enjoyed trying out little baskets and will give them another go again soon.
    you guys did great on the handmade and mindful gifts.
    and well done on being string to say no, even to what appears as an amazing opportunity. you know who you are.
    2015, onwards and upwards....

  5. I like to make presents for people, too. I noticed that unfortunately not everybody appreciates something handmade. Some re-education would be good! I have never worked in a supermarket but have wondered myself how much people buy for Christmas food. We did our usual weekly shop and added a few bits and pieces to it and that was that. Less wasteful and less stressful I find. And yes, please, to the sock ends. Will email you shortly. Thank you. Have a lovey January!

  6. Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope 2015 brings many blessings xx

  7. I do love your retrospective posts x

  8. Such lovely creating in your home. Love the little baskets, and that scarf is lovely. What a knock to receive at your door, I am sure that was a lovely, flattering surprise.

    Happy New Year!

  9. That scarf is just beautiful and those little bowls are perfect for kids. My little packrat babe is always putting things in little containers - she'd love those! The homemade deoderizer sounds so much better than the chemicals like Febreeze.

  10. Love the colors and yarn in that scarf. We started handmade Christmas gifts a couple of years ago and now we get requests! Sewing is definitely faster than crochet or knit. I know what you mean when you say bustley so if it is not a word it should be as it describes the season so well. A certain amount of bustle is fun, the trick is keeping it in line! Lovely post!

  11. Sounds like you had a wonderful month. Well done on making all those presents. I think my two favorite things to receive are handmade things or a book.
    Thanks for sharing the carpet deodorant recipe - I wonder what I could use in place of borax? It's very difficult to get here, last time I ordered it online and ended up paying more for the postage than for the borax!
    We had carpet in the bathroom when I was growing up, I agree that in many ways it's not very practical but at least it's not slippery when wet!!
    Have a lovely January.

  12. Thanks for sharing the carpet deodoriser. I make one with essential oils but I love the idea of just using the spices themselves. How lovely to know someone thought you would be a great candidate for council yet have the sense to recognise your limitations. It's something I struggle with. I often take on more than I should!

  13. Sounds like a month filled with the things you really enjoy. Understand you not wanting to take on council positions...but fabulous to be asked ! Have a great New Year.

  14. so happy to hear you enjoyed a perfect ending to the year! LOVE your scarf, it turned out beautifully :) xo

  15. I do so love to read about your handmade Christmas! I manage to make a lot of creative things throughout the year but sadly always fall in a heap when it comes to those end of year gifts! I'm thinking perhaps when all my children are grown and I have no disruptions…..? But, then again, I am aiming to do some travelling…….!!!!
    I am very taken with your cute little fabric baskets though and am putting them on my list for this year - thanks for sharing. Have a great January!!


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