Month: September 2015



Oh dear. I did it this time. I spent all of my clothing coupons for the year!

First, the strap on my black mary jane clogs broke – again. Not only did I feel that it was not the best use of my money to fix the strap – again – but I noticed my knees were achy after I wore them. After all their years of service, I believe the life was worn out of them!  I read somewhere that your shoes have something like 500 or 1.000 miles of walking in them, and I do believe that after over 5 years of use, I walked them out!

This time, I got a pair of brown clogs for the fall/winter. No more mary janes! I do not trust that strap with the hard wear I put on shoes!


5 coupons

You know how I used to stare at tea catalogs and websites last year? Well this year, I am finding myself staring longingly at dresses. I have 2 or 3 websites that I gaze dreamily at, wondering if I could get my sewing skills up to snuff to make something as pretty as what I was seeing.

One day, I was looking at the swoon-worthiest of sites for a Romantic gal, April Cornell (I’ve loved their offerings for decades but never purchased anything from them because they are a little pricey) and lo and behold, the magical dress I had been pining for since last year, a dress that not only has flowers on it, but birds, and two large pockets, was on sale. I thought it was a grand time to make my first April Cornell purchase.

It arrived yesterday, and not only does it look great and is everything I hoped it would be, but it has details I couldn’t even see on the website. The pin-tucks are exquisite. The fabric is glorious. The sleeves have tiny buttons at the elbow.  It arrived in a pretty floral tote bag that I already commandeered as a knitting bag.

I also admire the company’s ethics. Not only their hand up not hand out ethos, but the fact that they make quality clothing that is entirely in their own spirit. I’ve admired April Cornell clothing since the 1990s and the remarkable thing is that it hasn’t changed much over the decades! The clothing has always be whimsical and inspired by the past, and handwork, and imagination. You won’t see skin-tight silhouettes, short hemlines (unless they are paired with some of their embroidered leggings!), or sexxxy nonsense. She makes slips and nightgowns! Do you know how rare and special that is?

In short, I think I found a ready made clothier that I can feel at peace purchasing the occasional item from. I am already saving my pennies for the new year because the Shakespeare and Bronte dresses are my new stare-dreamily-at victims 🙂 not to mention I really, really, really want a pair of pantaloons.

7 coupons

…and there you have it:


Clothing: 0 out of 66
Soap: 7 out of 12
Tea: 25 out of 30

A Note: I cannot buy any more clothing this year, but I reserve the right to use soap and tea coupons, much like rationeers of the WWII era used margarine coupons, to buy yarn or fabric if necessary. This will be done at a penalty of two soap or tea coupons for every clothing coupon the item would have used.



An Addition to the Hand Made Wardrobe

Yesterday I put the finishing touches (buttons! 10 of them!) on the cardigan sweater I finished knitting and blocking last week. Ta da! My finished Garter Yoke sweater:


And a little detail shot of the buttons — I do love a fancy button!


Now I only need some chilly weather.

I am so glad I planned ahead this year and started knitting this at the end of July. I really needed a heavier weight sweater to act as a bridge between a winter coat and a light sweater, and I believe this will fit the bill. Last year I was layering shawls and scarves over a thin cardigan and not only was I not warm enough, I probably looked a sight (!) I can also use this sweater in the coldest months over my dresses indoors and in addition to my coat when I’m traipsing outside. I hear it’s going to be another cold one in these parts.

I already subtracted the coupons for this sweater over the summer. I’m thrilled that I have 8 balls of yarn left over! I’m thinking I can combine it with another yarn I have to make another sweater. We’ll see what I come up with 🙂

In additional knitting news, right now I’m a few repeats into Fika, and next month is known to most people as October, but for knitters it’s Socktober! I hope to start these dreamy knee high Barnim-Style Stockings for Socktober. I have the yarn (the one the pattern calls for, but in black) to knit the socks with and the pattern at the ready.

Happy Hand Made Wardrobe-ing!

Festival of Repair

Have you heard about the Festival of Repair going on this month? I have found I’m terrible at joining things (I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel… 😉 but consider me joined in spirit to this event!

I’ve mended two things recently which will make all of the difference in allowing me to keep to my ration coupons this year: my summer nightgowns. I have two summer nightgowns, and of course they both got holes within weeks of each other. Both are several years old and I wear them constantly. All summer, one is on, and the other is in the wash pretty much (I do the same thing with two flannel ones in the winter).

My woven cotton one got a big rip under the arm! I couldn’t darn it, but rather had to get some additional material (gleaned from a bed sheet that had torn) to make a patch. I wasn’t too worried about getting matching fabric since it’s under my arm, and a garment only worn in the house to sleep (ok, ok, there are those days where nothing is more appealing than staying in your nightgown — but those are few and far between).

It ain’t pretty, but it’s been holding up just fine over the last weeks:



Then, my other nightgown got a hole on the sheer part above the chest area. Sheer material is tricky, so I tried to darn it much like I would a sock. If this was something I wore outside, I would put an appliqué over it, but it’s fine for sleeping.


If I had to replace these two nightgowns, it would have cost me 12 coupons — much too much when I only have 12 left! Plus, 90% of each nightgown is perfectly fine, and still does the job 100%. When you look at it that way, it would be unconscionable replace it so early!

I say, let’s bring back the mending basket!

…and a little bit more about me!


These are my questions from the desert knitter! Thanks once again for acknowledging my blog!!!

What got you into blogging?

I’m getting off easy with this one, because I answered it in my last set of questions 🙂

What does your perfect day look like?

I have so many kinds of perfect days! Some involve staying home and knitting, working on other creative projects, reading, making and eating good food. Some of them have me wandering around in state parks, gardens, and other places where I can get to know Mother Nature a little better. Other times it’s in cities and museums and classrooms and other places of culture, learning more about being human.

What’s your favorite item to knit? Shawls, sweaters, socks or something else entirely?

I enjoy knitting most everything, but if I must pick, it would be shawls.  Not only are they beautiful, useful, and fun to knit, but you don’t have to worry as much about fit. I just finished a sweater and was constantly  worried about fit the entire time I was knitting!

What’s your favorite TV-show, movie or book?

Impossible to answer! I was just looking through my bookshelves and exclaiming over almost every title, “I loved that book! I want to read it again!” or “OH that’s a great book!” or something to that effect.

If I were to just talk about this year, though, I’ll say that I’ve been reading tons of A.S. Byatt and Emily Dickinson, having my mind blown on every page. The last movie I saw that I really loved was Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch. I am so crazy about the TV show Vicious right now!

What’s your favorite yarn / fibre?

I would have answered silk wool blends previously, but I’m gaining a fierce love of the more rustic, unabashedly wooly yarns these days.

Do you have a favorite go-to pattern? If so which is it?

I usually knit new patterns each time, but I’ve commented before how much I love this cloth pattern. I also adore the socks in Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks and have knit them more than once.

What’s your favorite podcast or vlog?

I don’t really listen to them. I always mean to start…

What’s your favorite Etsy shop?

I rarely shop on Etsy — I think the last thing I purchased was a pattern. As a person who loves to make stuff, I am my own Etsy — lol.

Do you have any children or pets? Names, age, pics and all the details.

Our Woody cat is just over 4 years old, we think. I met him one day 3 years ago on my back deck! He was a skinny little thing and clearly hungry so I fed him. He gobbled up his food then curled up and fell asleep in my lap. It was instant love.

We developed a relationship over the next few months – he had a great personality and was so affectionate. During this time our cat Marty passed away at the ripe old age of 22. We started letting this tiny guy in and out of the house after Marty died. Then, one day he came in with an injured leg — he was in a fight with the neighborhood bully cat, and the wound was infected. We took him to the vet, got him fixed up, and Woody never went outside again! He’s now the little love of our lives!

I continued to feed the neighborhood cats, and about 6 months ago an all black long-haired cat started coming around. Pretty soon, she started standing in front of our glass deck door and staring, staring, staring, wanting to come in. We started calling her Midnight. At first, Woody wanted none of this, and would puff out and growl and hiss at her through the glass, but things started getting calmer. You know where this is going, right?

Last week, we saw her almost get hit by a car. She was also getting harassed by that same neighborhood bully cat that bit Woody. We had to take a chance and let her in. Just yesterday, she came in and everything is going really well so far! Woody and Midnight stare at each other from across the room but no fights. She slept well and so did Woody — he was even calm enough to sleep on my lap with her on the next chair.

I’m going to call the Vet bright and early tomorrow so she can get checked out and vaccinated. I know it was chancy to take her in and not quarantine her, but I gave her flea medicine a few days before she came in, and … I’m hoping for the best.  I truly am. If you are so inclined, say a little good wish for Midnight and Woody!

What’s your favorite food?

Bread. Toasted with butter. Sometimes jam. Dipped in olive oil. Grilled with cheese. Prepared as a pizza! Sopping soup or gravy. I love to eat it and I love to make it.

A Little About Me…


I recently was acknowledged by two other bloggers for awards! Thank you! Part of the awards have a getting to know you set of questions at the end. I always like to answer these since my blog is so focused on my rationing project.

I’ll do each set of questions in their own post. These are from The Green Lips! Thanks again for letting me know you enjoy reading these little missives to the ether!

What motivated you to start blogging? Have your motivations changed over time, and if so, how and why?

I had a book blog before this one, and the thing that motivated me to start it was that I wanted to take part in The Classics Club. I had lots of fun reading and reviewing books, but once I started getting terribly upset about the environment and climate change, a sense of urgency to write about those issues took over.

At the time, I found Meg’s blog, and she had just completed her first year of clothing rationing using a modified system from WWII Britain. She invited interested people to join her, and there I was 🙂 I’m now 3/4 done my SECOND year of rationing.

I’m still a voracious reader, and I probably read even more now that I don’t review. I do miss it because I believe writing helps me think, and those little reviews helped my thoughts about the book come together in a way that only reading does not. I do try to post at least 140 characters about everything I read on twitter, and even just pulling that together helps things congeal. If I had all the time in the world I’d keep both blogs 🙂

What is one book that changed your life? (If you aren’t much of a reader then you could share a movie, life event or even blog that’s had a big impact on you.)

So, so many. But I’ve already written about one very important one.

What are some of the simple things in life that give you pleasure?

Sitting with my cat Woody on my lap.

Drinking a cup of coffee or tea and seeing where my thoughts lead, or talking over the day or what’s going on in the world, or what one of us is seeing or reading with my husband.


I walk home from the train (about a 30 minute walk) and I walk through our town’s park as a shortcut. I love observing the changes throughout the year. Even in the height of an individual season there are changes with what is blooming, what birds are visiting, what the trees are doing.

Making things. This can be simple AND complicated I know!

Reading. Ditto!

Enjoying gardens.



images: Woody on my lap, and a flower from a recent trip to Longwood Gardens.