Saving the planet …

… my way.

This is going to be about the things we do to live a bit more eco-friendly. Note: I strongly believe that everyone should try to find what works best for them. Our way might not be suitable for everybody else, and also we’re still improving.

Now that is out of the way, let’s dive in.

1. Consumption

In recent years I found that I dislike the clothes of H&M and the likes. This developed into me getting curious about slow fashion and fair fashion. I also did several small purges and got rid of unloved stuff (which was donated). Currently I am on a „buy one, get rid of one“ shopping motto. When I bought a new jacket last weekend, an old one that looked a bit shabby and was more than 5 years old got donated.

Apropos: I wear my clothes as long as possible. I fix them when they get small holes or I replace buttons. If they aren’t appropriate for work anymore, they become either sleep wear or I wear them at home on weekends. And then they either get tossed or turned to rags. I still wear items that are easily older than 5 years. And I won’t need to look long for things that I got when I moved out of my parent’s in 2008.

We also try to not buy unnecessary things or only replace broken stuff. My cell phone is a bit over 2 years old now, but even though I could’ve replaced it with a newer one when my contract was up, I didn’t. It still works, and after buying a new battery and downloading a cleaning app it’s as good as new.

If we need some special stuff, we try to got for quality. I needed hiking boots, and I got good ones that will last longer than cheap ones. I am really grateful that with a bit of saving, if needed, I can afford good quality now. I know not everyone can manage that.

In terms of fair fashion, I also switched to buying from ethical brands. I cannot fulfill all my needs from these brands, but I try to use them as much as possible. Again, they are more pricey but I hope they will last longer.

Also with me knitting I have a different perspective on how long it takes to make clothing. I also want to get a sewing machine and start making my own clothes. It will also help with fixing / altering clothes.

Final fun fact: Today I over dyed an old faded skirt. Good as new, yay!

2. Waste

Food waste is something I still think we need to improve on. We are pretty good with leftovers from the weekend – in fact, every weekend lunch leftover is my Monday lunch. Yet we still toss too much. I’m not easily squished out by things past their expiration dates, if it looks okay I’ll eat it, but sometimes we just toss cold cuts because no one ate them in 3 days. That’s bad. Also we need to rethink buying apples – we buy them with good intentions but neither of us eats them.

Since Germans are masters of recycling, that really works. Nothing to improve. We also reuse things, see rags, but also boxes or similar things.

In terms of tossing things in general – I talked about it above. The rule mentioned there also applies to electronics and any goods an average household needs.

We also do not shy away from used things. If there was a good thrift store anywhere close, I’d be there. When my in-laws heard our new flat had a balcony, they gave us their old set of table and chairs. When they got a new kitchen table, we got the old one. After his Grandparents died, we kinda inherited the kitchen furniture. It was partially due to us being broke students, but also because it would be a shame to toss a still good wooden table.

I also have dug through the public clothes exchange in my work town and got many a book from bulk trash in the streets.

Friends gave me unloved clothes and even shoes (thank you, M.!)

Our new car already was a year old and used when we bought it. Yes, it was cheaper, but also it was already driven in and every possible „teen sickness“ found out.

3. Commute

Since I already wrote in length about my commute, you know that I take the trains to work. Better than a car. We also walk a lot (the joys of small town life) if the weather isn’t horrible.

4. Miscellaneous

Not yet a vegetarian, but I only eat meat on the weekend and sometimes on my sandwich. If there was lab grown meat already, I’d totally switch to that.

I am trying to use less and less plastic. That’s a hard one.

We switched to drinking tap water only half a year ago. Each one of us has a reusable metal bottle. I take mine everywhere. I also only drink tap water at work. Or tea. Or coffee.

If I need a coffee to go, I have it poured into my personal fake-porcelain to-go mug. No paper cups for me!

Our balcony will be a mini garden! Additionally to having flowers, we will be growing herbs, tomatoes, peas, salad, garlic and strawberries. It’s amazing to see what can be possible on few square metres!

Fun fact: My wedding dress was on clearance and the last dress the bridal store sold. It closed for good after we walked out. Still the greatest dress possible!

 

That’s it. This is only a snapshot. We try to improve and there is so much more to do as one household.

Let me know what you do personally to be eco-friendly and a bit more easy on the planet?

Relocation and how to bond to the new place

Hi there!

This post is exactly what it says on the tin – how I dealt with moving and connecting to my new home. I don’t know if some of you mght face a move soon, but maybe my tips help you as well.

As some of you might know, in October we moved to a new place. Taking in consideration our workplaces, we made a completely rational decision to go to a town which was conveniently located in the middle between the town towns my husband and I work in.

I used to live in my worktown, and he had just gotten his gig in his town. Now we have about the same distance to cover to get to our jobs.

I went from a quick bike ride to an hour-long commute (as detailed before). So with me getting up early in the morning and being home late (think 7 to 7), I spend more time on the train or away than at home. And most of that time I was asleep!

The short weekends didn’t help, and I felt dislocated and really not at home.

Worktown (where I used to live) has about 230,000 inhabitants, but now we have only 27,000 other people here. That’s quite a drop, and naturally you see it in infrastructure and size. (Still so glad I have a small cinema here! Couldn’t live without.)

Then I got sick and was on sick leave for a week. I ran errands or had a walk everyday, and actually being around town helped a bit.

During the holiday break, I got to spend even more time in town. We went to the Christmas market several times, shopped in the local stores and I signed up for the gym.

This really made me feel at home. We participated in a guided tour around town, hearing some interesting bits about its history, discovered more favourite walk routes and got really settled.

To me, it was a gradual shift. At the end of my holidays, I realized that I was „home“, that I felt comfortable in my new place.

Still some challenges remain: Making friends and acquaintances, which is difficult where you’re working away. I’ll try.

A look back & a look forward

Hello 2017!

I hope you all had a great start into the new year. We had a quiet evening, just the two of us, boardgames, homebrew wine from my FIL and our little traditions.

The latter half of 2016 was a busy one: Mr Charming had finished his teaching internship and looked for a new place. He found one only to get a better one starting two months later. This meant having two small and one big move within a few months. I’m not going to move for some time again, thank you very much.

In knitting terms, I was moderately successful. I knit 6 gifts, 1 shawl, 1 cowl, 1 pair of mittens, and half a cardigan. I also started fingerless mittens.
More selfish knitting this year, I guess? Or less procreating coworkers, because half of the gifts were for adorable coworker sprogs. The other half went to my Mum 🙂

***

Okay, so what’s in store for 2017?

First off, now that we’ve settled into our new life with me commuting, I want to tweak some things. I still buy too much food in my lunch break, which often leads to unhealthy stuff. So I want to bring more healthy lunches to work or at least avoid the ready-made meals when shopping for food. I also eat too many carbs in general – the main station bakery is too tempting. Alternatives could be prepared snacks that I munch on the train ride home. Or a change in eating habits at work, so that I can skip that entirely.

I also want to continue my workouts. Despite me having colds the last month, we managed to keep up the weekly swimming dates. I want to introduce a second sporting thing in the week. We’ll see if that takes too much time from my evenings, which are already short.

Once the weather gets warmer, I’ll take my bike on the train and go back to riding to work. It’s only a short distance, but I have a feeling that I need the extra bit of biking up that hill. It’ll also cut time in the tram, another potential infection spot and will make me arrive faster at work. Bonus.

In knitting, I want to finish my green cardigan (preferably in January) and start another one. I also haven’t knit a single pair of socks in 2016, and they make great commute projects, so there will be socks.

My knitting group decided on a hap-KAL for our trip to Edinburgh (more on that later, but SQUEEE!!!), so the shawl will be my first portable project. Judging by how fast the last one went, getting it done before March should be easy-peasy.

That’s it for now!

Let me know – what are your plans for the fresh year? Have a great 20017!

5 weeks after

It’s been almost 5 weeks since we moved. Time to step back and see what’s different, what’s better and what’s worse.

  1. Routine. We both now have a completely new routine. I get up almost an hour earlier than I used to. My commute is now by train and not by foot/tram/bike, which also means I’m home much later. Recently it means leaving in the dark and arriving in the dark, but that will change after midwinter.
  2. More time. I can use my commute for knitting, listening to podcasts or reading. I got so much done in terms of knitting progress and I burn through 2-3 episodes one way, it’s insane. It’s also great to snooze about in the mornings and take my time to get properly awake, and after a stressful day it’s nice to unwind and calm down. The landscape is nice to watch, and I’ve seen a few roes already!
  3. Dependency on public transport. If the train fails, I’m screwed. If it’s during break, I can take our car, but if it’s on regular school days, well, as I said. Screwed.
  4. Evenings with Mr Charming. This is the biggest pro and just so great. After being in a long-distance-relationship for a looooooong time (7+ years), spending the evening together is da bomb. I enjoy talking about how our days went and the cuddling is hard to beat 😉 Though I kinda miss my alone evenings with Netflix and knitting – some shows I watch just aren’t his pair of shoes, but that’s okay. There will be enough nights when he’s holed up in his room grading tests.
  5. So much stuff. Combining two households creates so many duplicates. I keep telling myself I have to go on a big purge in the holiday break. Maybe I’ll do it.
  6. More space! Yay! We now have a two-bedroom apartment (three-room-flat for the Germans reading this) and it feels great. Though as mentioned in 4., we have lots of stuff, so it’s not that any room is empty …
  7. Smaller kitchen. Oh yeah, that took us some time to get used to. Our old kitchen was really spacious compared to the new one. But the lack of counter space leads to less clutter on them, so it’s blessing in disguise?
  8. Having upstairs neighbors. We used to live right below the attic (which only we used for drying our laundry), so there was no sound from above ever. But now a family lives upstairs, and I chuckle at 9 p.m. when I hear the kid running around, trying to invade bedtime!
  9. A balcony! This was an absolute must on our shopping list, and very nice to have. I can’t wait for the first breakfast in the sun – it even faces east, perfect!

Yeah, that’s it so far. What about you? Any novelty in your life that changed your habits? Got a puppy? Tell me!

Lost & found and NaKniSweMo

In the first week of October, we moved to another town. Before the move, with all the organisation and box-packing going on, I completely lost my knitting mojo. I either was too tired or simply not in the right mindset to pick up my needles. It felt kinda weird, because on the one hand it was unusual to not knit while watching tv or Netflix, but on the other hand it was … interesting to see how I dealt with not knitting. It didn’t feel good per se, but it was like I needed a break from it. Does that make sense?
But my knitting mojo is slowly coming back – yesterday I even started my first colourwork project. I know it’s going to look terrible, but practise makes perfect, right?
Since I now have a commute, I can also use it and knit on the train. The only downside is that I don’t have space for more complex patterns that require a print-out. But that’s not a big problem. I just need to take projects that are small and have an easy to memorize pattern, and I’m set!

Remember this sweater? According to Ravelry, I started it in … February. Holy moly. Did not expect it to be this early. Anyway, as you may know, November is the National Knit a Sweater Month in which a lot of knitters produce a garment within a month.
For me and the upcoming November, I’ve decided I want to finish my Lipstick Cardigan.
It’s intended to be worn in my office, which can get quite chilly (one wall is an outside wall and that cools the whole room down). So in order to get to wear the cardigan at least a few times before spring, I want to finish the majority in November.
That means I want to finish knitting what is left of the body (two rows plus cast-off), the arms and the buttonband. Sewing in ends and blocking can happen in December, that’s okay. But 90% should be done within the month.
It’s also allowed to knit other stuff, which is a no-brainer because I can’t take it on my commute. So I need at least one other project for my commute and my lunch break.
We’ll see how it pans out. I’m fairly hopeful it’ll work.

And now you: Do you have plans for NaKniSweMo? If so, what plans?

What I learned from working out

For about three years (or maybe two and a half) I more of less regulary go the gym. Once a week, that’s the goal. Most weeks, I manage that.

It’s not the typical gym you might picture, with lots of workout machinery, it only has spinning bikes and those gymnastic balls and the small accessories. The gym is women-only, and focuses on courses rather than machines. The family-like vibe is something I liked instantly.

When I went to the first few lessons, I was really aware of how little I knew about the routines and things to do. Sports were never my strongest subject in school, and I still throw balls like the typical girl.

But slowly I found that I go better. More and more, the transitions in the step aerobic classes went smooth, the number of repeats I could do increased, and I started to feel better in my body. It’s the little things you notice: stamina, a flexed arm, enjoying some stretching after a long walk.

I also realised that nobody cared how much I sweat or if my head gets all red when doing push-ups. We are too busy getting those remaining 8 repeats done while continuing to breathe to care. It’s freeing.

The group of ladies there is really nice. They mostly are a bit older than I, but they are funny and helpful. And interesting, too! Really diverse backgrounds, and some go to the gym since it opened 15 years or so ago.

The owners helped me with my recovery during some back problems (the joy of sitting in an office all day).

Since we will move soon and I’ll need to find a new gym, I want to say thank you for making sports fun for me. Never forgetting that.

So yeah, I’m a bit sad about leaving this place. What about you? What have you learned recently through something unexpected?

Praxistest

Dieser Tage habe ich mein erstes komplett selbst gestricktes Kleidungsstück, den „Old Romance Cardigan“ (Ravelry-Link) den ganzen Tag über getragen. Das heißt: Während des Arbeitstages und nach Feierabend auf einer Veranstaltung. Ich habe ihn schon während einer Feier angehabt, aber das waren nur zwei Stunden, bevor mir zu warm wurde und ich ihn ausziehen musste 🙂
Vorab hatte ich ein wenig Bedenken wegen des Lochmusterteils, dass ich da frieren würde und andererseits, dass es unterwegs unter der Jacke zu warm werden würde. Beides hat sich nicht bewahrheitet; ich hatte ein T-Shirt drunter, was witterungsbedingt und büroklimatisch genau richtig war. Ein Langarm-Shirt wäre wohl zu warm gewesen.
Der Schnitt hat sich auch als unkompliziert erwiesen, die Jacke ist mir nicht einmal von den Schultern gerutscht. Ich musste zwar manchmal ein bisschen „zuppeln“, aber nur, um den Sitz zu korrigieren und den Lochmusterstreifen gerade zu ziehen. Die Ärmel musste ich wegen der 3/4-Länge auch nicht hochschieben, gute Entscheidung, die nur so lang zu machen. Die offene Front kommt mir sehr entgegen, da ich Strickjacken selten geschlossen trage. Ich hatte überlegt, da noch einen Knopf und eine Schlaufe dranzuzaubern, habe mich aber erstmal dagegen entschieden. Zur Not tut’s eine Brosche.
Von hinten gefällt mir der Ausschnitt übrigens sehr, der ist genau richtig von der Höhe her.
Das Holst-Garn ist auch nach längerem Tragen auf den blanken Unterarmen angenehm, ich bin da aber sowieso recht schmerzfrei.
Ich habe auch (nach dezentem Hinweis auf das Teil, ahem) viele Komplimente bekommen. Ein Kommentar war der Klassiker „Sieht ja aus wie gekauft!”, was ich mal dahingehend interpretiere, dass das Teil nicht dem Öko-Strickpulli-Klischee entspricht und offenbar tragbar und nach Mode aussieht 😉
Die Jacke wanderte auch daheim nach dem Auslüften nicht zurück in den Schrank, sondern wurde noch für einen Kurzurlaub am Wochenende eingepackt. Dazu gibt es aber noch kein Fazit 😉

Der Tag hat mir jedenfalls zwei Erkenntnisse gebracht:
1) Ich brauche mehr Strickoberteile!
2) Den Old Romance werde ich definitiv öfter tragen!

Welche Erfahrungen habt ihr mit euren gestrickten Sachen im Alltag gemacht?

PS: Letztes Jahr zu Pfingsten, da war das Stück gerade in Arbeit, bin ich mit dem Zug an Leipzig vorbeigefahren. Leipzig + Pfingsten = Wave Gotik Treffen. Es stiegen zwei Besucher zu, wir kamen ins Gespräch und das hier passierte:

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