Simple Living, Writing

Why we need the “clean slate” rituals of the New Year

It’s mid-morning on the first day of the new year. I’m sitting in my living room, which is still scattered with gift wrapping, almost-stale cookies, and boxes of holiday decorations. My life hasn’t changed much since yesterday, aside from the vaguely shameful memory of going to bed at 10:30 after a night of card games… Continue reading Why we need the “clean slate” rituals of the New Year

Crafts & DIY, Crochet, Simple Living, Writing

Upcycling vs. creative reuse: what’s the difference?

Upcycling is fun, en vogue, and arguably a good practice for the planet. The popularity of this form of creative reuse has exploded over the past decade, even making its way into luxury brands. It's got a little problem, though—we can't seem to agree on what it actually is, and which items qualify as "upcycled"… Continue reading Upcycling vs. creative reuse: what’s the difference?

Nature and Science, Simple Living, Writing

One thing you can do to reduce plastic pollution right now

Before you launch into the rest of this blog post, I want you to sit back, take a deep breath, and say these words to yourself: I won't let plastic pollution drag me down or overwhelm me. No, you don't need to fit all of your trash for the year into a mason jar. You… Continue reading One thing you can do to reduce plastic pollution right now

Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Writing

Color Block Market Bag Pattern

String bags and mesh shopping bags are popping up everywhere, which probably feels like déjà vu for people who grew up in a time or place where they were the norm. For those who enjoy the occasional nugget of history, you might be surprised to know that Wikipedia actually has an entire (albeit brief) page… Continue reading Color Block Market Bag Pattern

Crafts & DIY, Nature and Science, Simple Living, Writing

13 Natural Autumn Decor Ideas

Every year, I see a new way of turning simple seasonal decor from something that looks beautiful on its own—and could be composted—into something that will end up in the trash by November and won't break down for a really long time. Metallic painted pumpkins come to mind: Yes, they look pretty fab, and I… Continue reading 13 Natural Autumn Decor Ideas

Simple Living, Writing

Local product love: Just Soap in Ashfield, MA

There are a lot of local soap-makers in the Pioneer Valley, and most have their own unique take on this basic staple of our daily lives. Despite there being many proverbial fish to choose from in this sudsy sea, my heart belongs to the makers of Just Soap, a savonnier (hey, it sounds better than… Continue reading Local product love: Just Soap in Ashfield, MA

Crafts & DIY, Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Writing

Cedar Top Crochet Pattern

Sometimes, the simplest things end up being so satisfying. I've crocheted complicated garments before and felt pleased with the results. It's always been simple, classic designs, however, that make me happiest and produce clothes that I wear over and over again. The added bonus? They are easy to make, easy to modify, and even beginners… Continue reading Cedar Top Crochet Pattern

Simple Living, Writing

A different kind of materialism

I'll admit it: I like stuff. I love pouring through sweaters on the rack at local thrift stores, trying to guess what they're made of. I love richly-colored natural fibers, old wood, and handmade pottery. I love a $1 basket from a yard sale that I can give new life toting vegetables. Every time I… Continue reading A different kind of materialism

Chronic Illness, Writing

Lesson 10: Treat yourself like a child

Before I started getting really sick, I was lucky enough to serve as a teaching assistant and student teacher in an elementary/middle school for two years. That period of my life sometimes feels like a strange detour from what I started doing after college and what I've done off and on for the past four… Continue reading Lesson 10: Treat yourself like a child

Chronic Illness, Writing

Lesson 9: Whatever it Takes

When I fully recover from what ails me, I will credit at least 10% of my recovery to Japanese pop music. J-pop is the aggressively upbeat artificial sweetener of the music world. I was in college the first time I heard it, and there was something about it that stuck with me. You know, like candy.… Continue reading Lesson 9: Whatever it Takes