The ranunculus are going crazy. Much stronger than last spring when they were newly planted. The girls did the actual planting labor, so they are thrilled at how gorgeous the flowers are this year, with dozens of buds still waiting to open.
The wrap dress was made last year from a vintage pattern found on eBay and a king sized flat sheet purchased at Savers in Redwood City for somewhere between $4 and $6. The vintage cardigan was purchased at a thrift store in Arizona about ten years ago; it was on the rack there next to an identical cardigan in red "Taralan", which I also bought and still have. The red one has a hole in the seam on one of the shoulders that I never seem to get around to repairing. Many nicer sweaters have come and gone in my wardrobe, these two synthetic cardies aren't going anywhere.
The waistband of the sweater hit right at the tie-waist of the dress and looked pretty bulky and unflattering, so rather than change sweaters, I just buttoned the bottom few buttons of the cardigan behind my back and wore it shrug-style. It worked so well I'll probably do it all the time now.
On the way into Daisy's preschool I reached into one of the giant patch pockets of the dress and thought I'd found a jelly bean; alas it was but the crumpled foil wrapper of one of the year's first Cadbury eggs.
Whooboy, how about that recession. My last few trips to the regular grocery store have nearly brought me to tears, and that was when I was actually trying to be careful and stick to my list.
I'm trying to see it as inspiration (more bluntly: the kick in the ass I need) to work harder toward simplification. Not so easy, if you're someone who really likes things complicated, but desperate times, etc. etc. I don't want to romanticize the last depression or the homefront struggles of World War II, but I'm sure as hell going to try to learn from the coping strategies of those times, and maybe if I'm lucky I'll grow into one of those old ladies who tut-tuts at Those Kids Today with their Waste and their Lack of Appreciation and Back In My Day We Lived In A Cardboard Box In The Middle Of The Road And We Liked It!
A while back I wrote about making my own cleaning spray. Back then it was a little more about doing it because I can, and because I like the smug satisfaction (and I'm not willing to give up television in order to achieve smug satisfaction). But now it's because it costs pennies an ounce, and store-bought products most emphatically do not. It is made out of things that you can buy in bulk and which will not spoil if you store them carefully, so you've got years' worth of cleaning product with only one trip to the store.
And, I said this before but I'll say it again, and it works. I keep one bottle under the kitchen sink, and a bottle in each bathroom, so I'm only mixing up refills every three or four months or so.
I've been adding a couple of drops of tea tree oil to each batch for the antiseptic properties--great stuff, and while it's upwards of $7 for a pretty small bottle, it goes a very long way. If you're concerned about chicken juice molecules on your kitchen counters or kids who can't aim in the bathroom, this will cover you.
So come on. Budget a little extra in your next shopping trip for vinegar, baking soda, and borax, and budget five minutes to mix it all together. Then spend that savings on something you can't just as easily make for yourself.