Sunday, March 3, 2013

Slow Living 2013 - February

I've been following the Slow Living series over at Slow Living Essentials for several months now - mostly just looking and longing, wishing I was able to do some of the things mentioned. Some of the limitations were due to our tiny flat, but also some were linked to opportunities I was missing in the local community. No where to store jars, so no opportunity to preserve things. No access to sewing machine, so limited opportunities for making clothes or things for the home. No regular knitting or crafting group, so I tended to let things slide.

In the last few weeks, several small changes are making a big difference and extended my sense of the possible considerably. I can't really kid myself that I can't do these things any longer, so it's about time I set about challenging myself to have a go. 

{NOURISH} I have completely switched my lunches in the last two weeks. Previously, I would try to bring a sandwich made from homemade bread, but honestly I didn't always have the time to bake bread twice a week, which meant that in practice I was buying in my lunch at least one day per week. Now I take in a salad made fresh in the morning, with some kind of grain to bulk it out (quinoa and bulgur wheat are both brilliant) and a homemade dressing to bulk out the flavour. I haven't bought a sandwich in the two weeks I've been doing this. I'm looking forward to experimenting with other additions and ingredients.

{PREPARE} This month has seen my first attempt at preserving in a loooong time. A trip to the local market reminded me that I haven't eaten beetroot in years - but I love it. And it's the end of the beetroot season. Perfect excuse to have a go at pickling. I opened the first jar last week - it kept well, but there was still a harsh vinegar-y taste so I will leave the other jars for a few more weeks to see if it mellows.

{REDUCE}I've started my first paper piecing project - using the off-cuts from previous crafting projects. The plan is to make a bag for holding my knitting, or a rag bag perhaps? I love the symmetry of a rag bag made of scraps. Plus my project for this afternoon must be the very definition of frugal - I'm going to try to darn the holes in my knitted washcloth! Also, when I have baked bread, I am using the leftovers to make croutons for my salads.

{GREEN} I improvised a homemade polish for the lovely old wooden chest of drawers we found for the kitchen. With a tablecloth over the top, this is serving as the main work surface in the kitchen and thoroughly deserves some love and attention.

{GROW} No growing as yet. I need to get organised with my balcony. The main thing holding me back is the money and back-break involved in buying and carrying back a huge bag of potting compost from the nearest garden centre. I did this once before and it was horrific. The alternative is building a worm farm, or joining a local compost cooperative.

{CREATE} Oh boy is there creating! I'm half-way through the second handwarmer I'm knitting, in alpaca (so soft!!). Two pairs of curtains are hanging, and the third is just waiting for some curtain tape along the top which I should be able to do this week. A tea cosy is keeping our tea warm for us (button taken from an old coat).

{DISCOVER} I think I've neglected this aspect recently. I've been reading as escapism rather than reading as discovery. Perhaps my month without youtube will encourage me to read more?

{ENHANCE} I'm enjoying the local knitting group, but this is also an aspect I should perhaps focus on more.

{ENJOY} Well, celebrating a birthday counts, I think! This is the amazing cake my boyfriend made me.


  1. What a beautiful month you've had, Nickie! So nice to have you joining in. Your beetroot should mellow nicely in a few weeks, yum. Loving those handwarmers..are you using a pattern? And that cake, wow, your boyfriend can really bake! Happy belated birthday. :D

    1. Thanks for dropping by! It has been a rather lovely month, so I'm not expecting the karma to last. The handwarmers are from this pattern:

      And yes, he can really bake! He even made the raspberry jam filling from scratch. A rare find, I think.

  2. That cake looks delicious - I hope you enjoyed your birthday. The wristlets look great too. It's been a while since I tried cables, but I should give it a go again. They look so perfect.

    1. Thanks - it was delicious, the taste matched only by the smell while baking.

      This is my first attempt at cables and I'm finding this pattern really easy and knits up surprisingly fast, so I can recommend it!

  3. Just getting around to reading everyone's March posts...

    Pickling Beets is on my list of things to try this year. I had some made by a friend a couple of years ago and I could not believe how delicious they were... so much better than the commercially canned ones my mom bought when I was a kid.

    Last year all of our beets went directly from the garden to our plates... this year I am planting more!

    1. I'm a definite convert - my first time pickling anything but it's been so easy and so tasty! Much better than the shop-bought varieties.

      Another potential use of beetroot that I have not tried but have heard is good is chocolate and beetroot cake... Not sure what you might think of that one!



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