Busy Winter : Worms, kombuca, and a new sewing machine

It seems that I am often surprised by how much activity there is going on around me, especially in the winter season. When I think of winter, my mind is filled with knitting, coffee, cozy days inside tidying and reading to Julian. While, a few (very few) of this winter's days have been spent this way, more than not they have been spent busy! I find myself rushing to finish this or that, teaching myself new skills like stranded knitting using both hands, often worrying about things that I have no control over, preparing for the spring. I thought I would share what we have been up to lately. 

There a lot of new and exciting things coming our way. Last year I dabbled in gardening, with pleasant results (a.k.a a forest of kale that I could never try to eat my way out of so I was begging friends to come and take some before it took over my whole yard. ) This year I have bigger plans for our little back yard, and a new appreciation for the apartment we rent because of it. My friend Melissa and I are trading seed catalogs back and forth, drooling over heirloom tomatoes and beets, discussing which we seeds we should order and which we should try to find locally. This Saturday we are going to an "Urban Livestock Fair". I know this sounds ridiculous. I really never saw myself going down this road, but I have desperately fallen for the idea of being sustainable, of growing the food our family eats, and living an altogether simpler life, especially in an urban setting. Producing, giving, instead of just taking. It just seems like the right thing to do, on a lot of levels. I think a lot of people see this sort of thing as a little too "crunchy" or maybe they think it's too difficult, I'm not sure, but for me, it just seems like the responsible thing to do as an informed and compassionate person. 

We have started a little kitchen worm bin, since our land lord wont let us go for a full on compost pile in the back yard. So far it has been delightful having our little "baby sweepy woms" as Julian calls them. He likes to feed them kitchen scraps, and uncover them from their hiding places under the cardboard and paper piles. I love putting one in his little hand and watching his reaction, sometimes he is utterly disgusted, sometimes amused and other times he just makes little hissing sounds like a snake, to which I reply, "yes they look a little like snakes, but they are just baby worms, no need to be afraid!". I honestly thought it would smell badly, but it actually smells amazing, like a forest floor after a good rain, like rich soil. I actually take a good whiff every time I feed them, it's alright if you think thats weird.   

Malissa just gave me a huge gallon jar of kombucha she brewed from some tea that Xavier gave her, I am so excited about it. If you have never heard of it, here is an interesting article that talks a little bit about how it has recently been gaining popularity. She also sent me home with a lovely jar of home made lotion, made of african shea butter, almond oil, coconut oil, peppermint and rosemary. The recipe is here.This stuff is amazing, thick and wonderfully light at the same time? If that is possible...you should really make some for yourself to see.  

Did I tell you all that I got a new sewing machine?! The one I had been teaching myself on was from my great grand mother, my mom remembers seeing it around when she was little, so that should explain the condition. It was a good start, but I found it hard to manage once I wanted to move on to more exciting things. My mother seems to be a magnet for sewing machines, and someone just dropped of a brand spanking new one to her front porch because they heard she "likes that stuff". She gave it to me, and now Im always itching to use it. My most recent project has been a little baby swaddle, waiting to be sent off to California to friends expecting a little one soon. I have plans for a wedding quilt for some friends getting married in March, and of course, a few linen and cotton dresses for summer time. My friend Ann gifted me with a lovely pattern from the talented Jenny Gordy of Wiksten, I can't wait to pick a fabric to use with it. I was thinking of using this amazing indigo spotted  Nani Iro, I've been eyeing since last summer. Have any other ideas for a nice summer dress?

So, as you can see I have been quite oddly busy, and on top of it all, we are trying to potty train. 
That is a totally separate post, and frankly I don't want to talk about it right now. 

Thanks for reading. 


  1. wow. you have not been idle. i often think of winter in the same way - cozy and slow. but times have changed for me, for the better.
    your kitchen worm bin sounds intriguing. my husband is not keen on a compost pile in our yard because our dog likes to drag stuff around at times...so i will have to look into the worm bin. thanks for that! i love how you say julian has various responses to the worms. :)

  2. It was so great running into you today!

  3. You know, I've never had kombuca... something about the fermentedness of it all! Haha. PS- if you have any potty training tips, make sure you let me know! We are still struggling in that department :)

    1. Kate,

      Im super into fermented stuff hah! I think it's so interesting. And the potty training, its not so easy...so when I find some tips, Ill share them indeed.

  4. how many times were you shocked by that wire taped in masking tape machine? :)ha!! i know how many times i was!!!

  5. Your worm bin sounds wonderful. Chris and I have gardened for the past two years (I'm totally on the crunchy, self-sustainable bandwagon) but we never got around to having a worm bin. I hear you have to be careful when the weather warms: prime breeding spot for gnats and flies.

    I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough to try kombucha... something about that yeasty mother mushroom throws me off every time :)

    Hooray for a new sewing machine!

    1. my friend malissa did tell me she had a few problems with gnats and flies. Im hoping to put some vinegar out in a dish if we develop that problem to trap the little buggers.

      Ive tried the kombucha with my eastern european friend Polina, she said its considered a tonic and she's been drinking it for most of her life, its good! Interesting, but good!

  6. What a lovely colourwork pattern--and that lotion looks scrumptious.

  7. Hey pretty lady, nice to hear your voice again in these parts, and glad to you know are well (albeit busy!), and my what magnificent knitting, lotion, baby swaddle! I have never tried kombucha but its on my list of things to get around to one of these days. Sending love across the seas, Em xx

  8. I really like your photos! And I wish I had the guts to try to brew homemade kombucha. That stuff is expensive to buy in the store but it's just SO good!

    Also, I hope you don't mind but I nominated you for something called a "Liebster Award". It really isn't an award at all, but despite the fact that it is all just a lie I had a lot of fun writing it and hope you will too! But don't feel any pressure to do so. :)

    The Brayn of Chalayn

  9. I've been meaning to comment on this post for a while now, and I'm just now getting around to it! I was curious...what exactly is your worm bin? I've been wanting to come up with a way to have a small compost myself, but I haven't quite figured out how to do it. Your method sounds quite intriguing!

    Also, thank you for sharing the recipe to for the lotion...I've saved it and can't wait to make a batch.
    Have a lovely Tuesday!

    1. Hi Allie!

      You can get all sorts of information on worm bins online. Mine is just coming along so its not exactly "efficient" yet. Essentially, you get some worms and a bin. Drill lots of holes near the top of the bin. Fill it with damp cardboard, paper free of dies (or wholefoods bags), egg cartons and things like that. I only have to "feed" my worms about once a week, and they still don't eat it all yet. I usually give them some kitchen scraps, peelings and what not. Once they start making babies and eating a little more Ill be able to give them more and throw less away, I hope that helps!

      I just checked out your blog too! Its great!