Month: October 2015

Picking Your Poison

I just finished knitting these mitts over the weekend:


…and as I tried them on and admired them, my first thought was, “Ooooooh! I should get a deep wine or black nail polish and that would look SO COOL!”

I swear — just a few hours later these tweets started arriving in my feed:

Needless to say, I did not purchase any nail polish. Win for me, win for the environment I’d say.

Things are a bit scary; not only are we surrounded with environmental poisons, but chemicals that are not good for us are secretly and not so secretly in our food, on/in our new clothes, and in the products we clean and adorn ourselves and our homes with. It’s not just that a or b or c or d is “bad” but when you COMBINE a, b, c, and d on your skin/in your body every day, it can result in a real threat to your well-being. As the nail painting story exemplifies, sometimes I feel I am at war with having some fun with my appearance (and trying to keep up my appearance!) and being a good steward of my health and the earth.

I don’t know the answer, but the little mantra I’m repeating as I decide what to let in to my life is “Pick Your Poison!” For example, I really (really, really) love lipstick. So, I’ve picked one that contains low harm ingredients, and ditched the face powder, blush, eye stuff, etc. OK, I still like to dust my face with a little French Green Clay (no I don’t look green!). I save perfume for special occasions. I’ve gotten used to the alum stone deodorant that works well enough. Recently, I ran out of my body butter concoction and I just used oil after my bath. Not only was it fine, it was very nice! No need to make a recipe when a simple, single thing works. I use soap on my hair and body and face. I’ve picked my poison, so to speak, and I will let the others go.

I’m curious to see how this will work in the rest of my life! When I’m buying fabric and yarn, or at the grocery, or drugstore, or…! Like rationing (being able to buy, but buy less), picking my poison (white flour? rayon?) whilst keeping the rest of what I’m letting in to my world on the up and up might help me feel less powerless, less confused, less at war with those very human impulses to hunt and gather, adorn and enjoy.

Margarine Coupons

During WWII, unused margarine coupons were used for clothing. I’m bringing that back!

See, I only have one winter nightgown. For my second one, I was using David’s winter nightshirt. Well, it’s an awfully warm and comfy thing, and David asked for it back. This left me with only one winter nightgown — which means that when it needed to be washed then air-dried (as I do with my clothing to make it last longer), I was nightgownless! So, I got out those margarine coupons, aka my tea coupons. Remember, using coupons from other categories means that the cost gets doubled!

Let me present to you my 12 (!) coupon nightgown! Purchased nightgowns are 6 coupons.


Mine is a dark cranberry color, though. It’s from L.L. Bean, and it’s real hotsy totsy, huh? 😉 Seriously, I love these flannel nightgowns — looking like I have sprung from the pages of one of the Little House on the Prairie books is a Good Thing in my opinion! The pin tucks, ticked fabric, and just above ankle length let me live out my pioneer love within the privacy of my own home (and porch. My neighbors have seen me looking real colonial as I put things into the recycling bin). So soft. So warm. So comfortable. I wore it for the first time this morning after a bath and it was nice in every way. A great use for my tea coupons which I have barely used this year.


Clothing: 0 out of 66
Soap: 7 out of 12
Tea: 13 out of 30

Every Day This ‘n That


Just a quick note to let you know that I embedded my twitter feed on the right of this blog. It’s where I post my every day makings, recipes, things I’m doing, seeing. Some days (weeks) might not contain a Life During Wartime Challenge-esque experience (especially now that I’m out of clothing coupons!), but you can see what I’m up to on twitter.

image: I had a piece in a show! You can see a closeup of my particular work on – you guessed it – twitter!

Viewing Life During Wartime

Two recommendations for your viewing pleasure!



First, I recently viewed The Wartime Kitchen & Garden (gathered here at The 1940s Experiment!) and I found it so educational. I liked the low key vibe of the show and I thought it especially fascinating that Ruth Mott and Harry Dodson both had first hand accounts of experiencing WWII rationing. It was clear that their knowledge came from years of cooking and gardening, too. I also found Ruth’s no nonsense speech very entertaining and bit intimidating! I would be a little frightened to be her boarder during the war. I think I would have done better being a Land Girl with Harry. Although I wouldn’t want to have been a mole!

I gained many tips on stretching food and using alternate ingredients to make things such as a pastry crust. I also appreciated the sane approach to cakes, even wedding cakes! I am already a huge fan of the one layer cake and abhor fondant monstrosities. We do not need a war on to be sensible about such things!



Second, Home Fires just started on PBS if you’re in the USA. I’ve only watched the first show, but it’s about a rural English village right before WWII begins. It’s based on Jambusters, Julie Summers’ book about the Women’s Institute and the role it played on the home front during WWII. I’m loving the characters. The show is squishy and it already made me cry several times and I want to knit all. the. sweaters.

One of the things I like about PBS is that you can watch the shows after they air through their website. I’m usually in the middle of something when a program airs, and I’m loathe to stop for a television show, no matter how good it is. If something is on late at night, forget about it! Even if it’s riveting I fall asleep. With PBS, I can watch things when I want, and when I have the energy. This means it’s not too late for you to catch up on Home Fires!