2015 Microadventures

I happened across a tweet about microadventures the other day.  I’m not entirely sure who retweeted it, but I just had to check it out.  My last couple of years has been stressful on my whole family, so I wanted to find things we could all do together to create happy memories.  And so I’m thinking we will put our own spin on this microadventure idea.  Let me give you more details about what I’m talking about.  Check out the full website if you’d like to know even more.

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So what do you think?  Are you going to give it a try?

I’m not at all a seasoned camper, nor is anyone else in my house.  So for the super-cold months we may figure out how to have a camp out or some sort of adventure either in our house or a friend’s house.  Somewhere we wouldn’t normally sleep or visit perhaps.  Or if our budget is right, perhaps even just an overnight in a hotel with a pool.  Just some sort of escape.  We’ll figure it out, and definitely make a point of getting away and having some fun once a month.

Natural Fabric Dyes

Reposted from DIY Natural | Original Post

Not all natural materials will produce a dye, and some produce colors that are nothing like the original plant it came from. Here’s a list of colors and the plant material that will give you shades in that color.

– Orange: carrots, gold lichen, onion skins
– Brown: dandelion roots, oak bark, walnut hulls, tea, coffee, acorns
– Pink: berries, cherries, red and pink roses, avocado skins and seeds (really!)
berry-stain-590– Blue: indigo, woad, red cabbage, elderberries, red mulberries, blueberries, purple grapes, dogwood bark
– Red-brown: pomegranates, beets, bamboo, hibiscus (reddish color flowers), bloodroot
– Grey-black: Blackberries, walnut hulls, iris root
– Red-purple: red sumac berries, basil leaves, day lilies, pokeweed berries, huckleberries
– Green: artichokes, sorrel roots, spinach, peppermint leaves, snapdragons, lilacs, grass, nettles, plantain, peach leaves
– Yellow: bay leaves, marigolds, sunflower petals, St John’s Wort, dandelion flowers, paprika, turmeric, celery leaves, lilac twigs, Queen Anne’s Lace roots, mahonia roots, barberry roots, yellowroot roots, yellow dock roots

Note: You want to be sure to use ripe, mature plant material and always use fresh, not dried. Dried plant material will usually give you muted colors and sometimes no color at all. Chop the plant material very small to give you more surface area. If the plant is tough, like yellow dock roots, smash the root with a hammer to make it fiberous. This will also give you more exposed surface area. If you know you won’t need it for a while, but the plant is at its peak, like nettle, you can chop it up and freeze it for a few months. Just be sure to label it.

Types of fabric to use

Not all fabric can be easily dyed with natural materials. The best ones to use are those made from natural materials themselves. Cotton, silk, wool and linen will take the dye the best. Synthetic blends will take some dye, but will usually be lighter in color. If you’re not sure and can risk the item you’re planning to dye, go ahead and do it. If it’s something valuable, try to find a similar scrap of fabric and try that first. I use a piece of muslin to gauge my color saturation before I dye my clothes. You can find muslin at any fabric store or online here.

Prepare your fabric

Before you start the dyeing process, you’ll want to get your fabric ready. First, wash the fabric. Don’t dry it though – it needs to be wet. Then prepare your fixative or “mordant.” This is to help the fabric take up the dye more easily. For berries you’ll want to use salt and for any other plant material, you’ll want to use vinegar. Here are the measurements:

– Salt: dissolve ½ cup salt in 8 cups cold water
– Vinegar: blend 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts cold water

Place your damp fabric in the fixative solution for an hour. Rinse with cool water when done. Then, it’s time to dye the fabric.
The dyeing process

Before you start, cover the surface of your work area with newspaper. I use plastic sheeting too, because I don’t want to dye my counter tops. Be sure to wear gloves so you only color the fabric, not your hands. Then, prepare your dye.

– Place the plant material in a large non-reactive pot (like stainless steel or glass). Remember the dye could stain some pots and spoons, so use these only for dyeing.
– Fill pot with twice as much water as plant material.
– Simmer for an hour or so, until you get a nice dark color.
– Strain out the plant material and return the liquid to the pot.
– Carefully place the fabric in the dye bath and bring to a slow boil. Simmer for an hour or so, stirring once in a while.
– Check your fabric. Remember, it will be lighter when it dries. An hour should produce nice color, but darker hues can be achieved by allowing to sit longer, even overnight. Turn the pot off after an hour and allow fabric to sit in the warm water as long as needed.
– When you get the color you want, take the fabric out and wash in cold water. Expect the color to run some as the excess dye is washed out
– Dry as usual.

That’s all there is to dying your own fabrics!

Reposted from DIY Natural | Original Post

Acceptance

Acceptance.  It seems to have a few different meanings.  For the most part, what I hear is that acceptance of something is taking it into your life and using it as a part of your own philosophy.  For instance, if you accept Christianity, you begin going to church and studying the bible.  Or if you accept that your neighbor is a thief, you are okay with stealing.  However, this is not the way I view acceptance.

To me, acceptance means simply acknowledging that something or someone is the way they are.  No judgement, no thoughts of how they should change in one way or another. Just being aware and letting it be.  I have always considered myself an accepting person.  I have had friends from many walks of life, from being high-class and spoiled, to trailer-park born and desperately poor, from fanatically religious, to completely Godless, from totally self-centered to the most generous, and everything in between.

Over the last few years, as I’ve gotten older and more set in my own ways of doing things, I have become a little more judgmental and picky about the company I keep.  I have become more particular about the way I believe things should be done.  And I must say, it has increased my anxiety and irritability.  Not too long ago during a therapy session, my therapist brought up Radical Acceptance.

09d600e429231a90eec9ee63f2ba416fRadical Acceptance is accepting the world around you for exactly what it is, and what is happening.  Whether you like what is happening or not, it’s still happening.  If there are things you can change, then change them.  But for the things you cannot change, you just have to accept them.  Fighting it, or saying things such as “it can’t be true,” or “its not fair” are just going to make you more and more upset.  More information here.

So I’ve been practicing accepting the world around me more and more.  I accept that I have anxiety that keeps me from working outside the home.  But I can change that, and I am allowing myself time to work on fixing my issues, and setting small goals to push myself.  I accept that I barely have enough money to make ends meet right now.  But I know that once I start working it will slowly improve.  And in the meantime, I know that I just have to enjoy what I do have and let go of the frustration.  I accept that I have a lot of limits living in an apartment.  But I know that I am working towards my goal of finding a house, and my limitations are temporary.  Its all a matter of not stressing myself out by fighting real situations and circumstances in my reality.

The point to all of this: acceptance is crucial to live a happy life.  Just because you accept it, doesn’t mean you have to like it or keep it or make it permanent.  It just means that you are aware of a situation or trait or event, and you acknowledge it exists.

Beautify Project

On Facebook I started an event to beautify your neighborhood.  Here’s the details:

Let’s make our world a little more beautiful this April!

Instructions:
1. Go to your local dollar or retail store.
2. Purchase one or few packets of wildflower seeds.
3. Find places that seem ugly – either no grass, overly industrial, or just too plain.
4. Sprinkle the seeds by hand…. or even toss out your car window into a place they will take root (on a day with gentle rain is best).
5. For the hard-to-reach areas: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Seed-Bomb/
6. Watch your surroundings become a little more beautiful in the coming weeks!

Other ideas to help beautify your area: refrain from littering, pick up and dispose of trash when you see it, and volunteer to help neighbors plant their flowers or tend to their gardens or yards. SHARE THIS EVENT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW! If everyone pitches in, our world will be a much cleaner, safer, more attractive place to live!

You can find it and join HERE.

I’d love to see this get at least 100 real participants.  With the world seeing a shortage of bees, and neighborhoods becoming more and more industrialized, its time to take steps and make a stand for nature!  And for more info on things you can plant around your neighborhood and in your own yard specifically for the purpose of helping the bees, I’ve shared the following infographic.  Spread the word, reblog, tell your friends, and lets get this movement going!!

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Technology Challenge

Every so often I’ll forget my phone at home when I go to an appointment or just out running errands.  This short video is what I have been observing lately when I don’t have a phone in hand.

I find myself a lot more attentive without my phone, much more aware of my surroundings and happenings around me.  I feel slightly more at ease, because I know I won’t miss important details that I would normally miss due to looking at my phone.

I hope that my share of this video will be a wake up call to even just a couple of people out there, but hopefully more.  Our society is so polluted with technology that we don’t often take the time to connect one-on-one anymore.  People don’t smile and chat in waiting rooms.  People don’t say excuse me or even make eye contact much anymore.  Its all about the distraction of whatever is on that handheld screen.

I challenge anyone who reads this to take ONE DAY to refrain from using their cell phone in public.  Either leave it at home or in your pocket all day long.  Take notice of your surroundings, see faces you would normally not look upon.  Chat with people, smile, interact, notice the sunrise or the sunset live and not in your newsfeed photos.  Take a moment to smell flowers, or feel the grass on your feet, or the rain in your hair.  LIVE!