Morfydd St. Clair

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since Feb 09, 2015
Hamburg, Germany
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Recent posts by Morfydd St. Clair

I have a huge box of bulbs from that will be going in this weekend.  I'm boring and focused on edible bulbs, so mine are all tulips and camassia, but they seem to have a nice diverse selection.  I found them through a permie blog some time ago who was personal friends with them IIRC.  They are very nice and professional, and I'm sad that I won't be able to order from them again after this year because of Brexit.

ETA have you thought about alliums?
--They come in every shape and size, some quite striking
--Some will spread quite nicely
--Slugs will only eat them as a last resort
--Pollinators love them
and of course they're edible.
1 week ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Pretty sure Paul might not be too keen on plastic wristbands, but maybe cotton ones? (I keep getting mental visions of those knotted friendship bracelets I made as a kid, or macrame bracelets). You could even just cut up old t-shirts or pants to make into color-coded bracelets for events. PTJ gets strips of denim. PDC gets old black t-shirt, SKIP gets old red tshirt scraps.

Or have a bunch of wool and cotton yarn, and have it be a little "Ice Breaker" activity and everyone braids their own bracelet.

I think a bracelet is probably a lot easier to keep on than a necklace--maybe have both, so if they lose one, they have the other.

There are bazillions of companies selling cotton wristbands - I picked this one randomly but it shows what they look like:

They are held close to the wrist by a little metal clip that is crimped on.  You can't lose the bracelet, and cut it off after the event.  I believe you must buy a machine to crimp them, or have someone at the gate who is really strong armed with pliers.

I have quite a collection from festivals - they're a nice (small) memento.

For a more permie feel, I do like the idea of having participants make their own, or decorate their own.  However, if a problem is people actively freeloading (as opposed to innocently wandering in) then industrially made would be harder to counterfeit.  Maybe a handmade cloth band with a custom charm that hangs off the crimping clip?

Also, you can have different color wristbands and restrict access at a more granular level.  (A for participants, B for family who has also paid for meals but not classes, C for family who has not but is allowed on the property, D for staff allowed in the main house, E for vendors who will be loading things in and out to a market area but not attending classes...)
2 weeks ago

elle sagenev wrote:

denise ra wrote:I love the honesty of the posters in this thread. I have a problem with paper and books. They tend to cover all level surfaces. 6 years ago when I was selling my house my best friend helped me get rid of things I was keeping. it was motivational to have her come in and say nope that's trash, nope you don't need that,.... Sometimes she only came in for 5 minutes to give me a jump start. Unfortunately, I ended up with two storage units after selling the house which I've just spent the last 6 years decluttering.
    Clutter is not about stuff, it's about my emotional state. If I am hoarding, there is an emotional basis for this. As I have become more emotionally healthy, it has been much easier for me to part with things that no longer are useful in my life and the biggie for me is sentimental knick knacks from my great grandmother, great aunts and other deceased family.
    So perhaps the bigger question is how to become emotionally healthy so that hoarding and other associated behaviors fall away? For myself I like 12-step programs. Currently I am working the Adult Children of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families 12 step program. I am decluttering my internal landscape of messages I received as a child which caused me to hide in unhealthful behaviors like emotional shopping, overeating, binge TV watching, escapist reading,...
    Give yourself a big hug and acknowledgment for all that you have already done. Being aware and willing is a great first step.

I don't really see myself as a hoarder so much as someone too tired and busy with other stuff to handle these other things. I personally do not buy  a lot of stuff. I have other people who do that for me. I get a lot of stuff from family. Yesterday my neighbor brought over bags and bags of old clothes and toys from her kids. Normally I'd just shove it in a closet because it's exhausting to even think about. Yesterday, however, I went through it all immediately. Things my kids could wear I immediately put in laundry. Things that they could wear in the future were bagged and labeled as such and immediately put in the correct spot. Things that were ripped or dirty I immediately disposed of. So it helped to deal with it immediately. I do have some bags of stuff my MIL has given me just sitting in my closet though. I need to go through them and see if they're keep or dispose of stuff but blah! So, that's my problem. I get a lot of stuff from elsewhere and finding energy to deal with it is hard. My infant is 11 months and she was up 3 times last night. That's normal for her. I'm tired ya'll.

Wow, congratulations on going through it right away!

Kids are exhausting.  You have a lot going on, and you're doing more than you give yourself credit for, I think. :)

I would encourage you that you don't need to keep something just because it was given to you and isn't damaged.  Pick the most practical stuff and send the rest on to charity.  Obviously if there's still room in what you need/will need then ignore me. :)

On my side, my BF and I each took a bag of stuff* to the Umsonstladen (free shop) yesterday.  Then I came home with one bag full.  Sigh.

*we'd take more but everyone's been stuck at home decluttering so they've asked that people only bring one bag per person per visit
3 weeks ago

elle sagenev wrote:

Morfydd St. Clair wrote:
I kind of hate wire racks/bars, but I get that they're efficient.  Were it my space, I'd put in wood hanging rails and shelving/drawers down each side wall and a fab 3-way mirror against the back wall.  But you know, projects only add to stress sometimes.

If you have clothes in a dresser or something elsewhere, move it in, under a rack.  Everything in one place (unless like muck boots they obviously live in mud room or something).

My dresser is in that last pic you just can't see it because the bag of clothes I'm tossing is in front.

The closet came with the racks in it and I do love to put crap on them! lol

Cool!  I just mentioned it because I've seen big walk in closets on the web and then the owner says "and my dresser is in the bedroom" and I'm like, you walk into your fab dream closet and then have to turn around and walk out again to get underwear/T-shirts?

Of course, I dressed myself today 1/2 from my closet and 1/2 from the dryer rack in the kitchen, with jeans hanging on the door in between the 2, so my efficiency is somewhat suspect.
4 weeks ago
Because I have so many opinions (and yet my apartment is cluttered!), I was looking at your closet, and maybe some concrete suggestions?  Attention:  The below is me being bossy, as if I were the professional organizer going home to chaos I aspire to be!

You have (to me) a LOT of room in your closet!  Yay!

I kind of hate wire racks/bars, but I get that they're efficient.  Were it my space, I'd put in wood hanging rails and shelving/drawers down each side wall and a fab 3-way mirror against the back wall.  But you know, projects only add to stress sometimes.

If you have clothes in a dresser or something elsewhere, move it in, under a rack.  Everything in one place (unless like muck boots they obviously live in mud room or something).

I'm not sure how you break out your clothes.  Possibilities:
-- Office/Church
-- Casual
-- Grubby
-- Fancy

The above usually don't mix.  So I would give each one its own section of rack or dresser.  Then you can see what you have tons of, what goes/clashes with what, and even what you might be missing.

I worked in an upscale clothing store in college (and was terrible, but I digress) and each rack was organized into types, and then short-to-long, light-to-dark.  (Marie Kondo would go the other direction because she finds it cheerier.  I dunno which is correct, I do it the old way.)  So for me, where office=casual I have in order, and within that light to dark:
-- Blouses/knit shirts
-- Blazers
-- Pants
-- Skirts
-- Dresses

(Can you tell I'm an engineer?  If only I could break out my whiteboard!)

Frankly, I think you have enough room to leave one rack empty, and use that space for other storage, organized precisely for that stuff.

Above your hangers, you have fabric drooping down, getting in the way.  If that fabric is something like T-shirts or sweaters that shouldn't be hung, put them in a dresser, in the closet.  If it's something like comforters, obviously purge down to something you feel sensible.  1 per family member (assuming a 2nd is on the bed) + 2/3 for guests?  And then put them in space bags.  The cheap ones are fine, even if they lose the vacuum they will control the droop enough to not be interfering with your hangers.  Otherwise everything on that shelf should be clearly marked boxes.  (With a closet this size, maybe you have enough storage for unrelated stuff elsewhere.  If so, leave it empty and revel in the clear space!  If not, stack boxes neatly which will at least not drive you crazy visually.)

Uh, I think that's it.  Paint the walls a color you love and hang the prettiest and brightest light fixture you can find.  Also, 3-way mirror and a cute chair.  And maybe a lock for the door to read quietly at your leisure.
4 weeks ago

Anita Martin wrote:

Another big difference it made for us to not accept any more children's clothes.
Our kids were the youngest of the lot of the extended family so we received lots of hand-me-downs. I thought it was saving us money at that time but it also used massive space and energy. The things were often stained / with holes / buttons missing / out of fasion for about 15 years etc.
I discovered then that it made more sense to buy all the things second-hand (tidy, up-to-date, incredibly cheap and taking my children so they got to choose their own style) at the community market held in our school twice a year. Would have saved me some heartbreak! (same with toys btw).

I wanted to say, this is a great idea!

For people who don't have a nice predictable 2x/year source of clothes, I remember reading Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette (originally a newsletter for living cheap in the 80s and 90s, later organized into books).  She had A LOT of kids, and lived on almost no money (until she started the TWG and started raking it in! ;) ).  She had a stack of Rubbermaid tubs labeled "Boy - 4" or "Unisex - 7" and started filling them at her leisure from hand-me-downs and charity shops.  But ONLY filling them, no more, and only with nice stuff.  After the kid of corresponding size had moved on, she'd toss the ratty stuff and keep an eye out for refilling for the next one in line.  I assume when she had no more coming through the pipe, so to speak, she was able to donate the tub in entirety.  When I read this, I thought she was nuts.  Now I am in awe of her wisdom.
4 weeks ago
I come from a family of hoarders.  While my place is mostly under control now, I still wake up once a week from a nightmare about trying to clear out my parents' home.

My family is also big on organizational books, and I've read a lot of them.

I have found two super-trendy books actually very inspirational:  Marie Kondo's Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Margareta Magnusson's Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.  They will tell you to pull everything out and sort it at once.  This works!  (If you have a few hours free to work and work through your emotions about it.)

Flylady, who I adore and use to keep on track when I'm way off (I sort her thousands of emails to a folder and go through like 10 when I feel motivated), will tell you to get up, grab a couple bags, and find 27 things to give away, recycle, or throw away.  Also that "You can do anything for 15 minutes!"  Which also works!

There's another author whose book I can't cite, because Amazon sucks and won't let me organize my ebooks the way I obsessively organize my real books, who says:  Pick a container for a type of object that feels like a reasonable size for how many of that you should own, and then get rid of everything that doesn't fit (and fit does not mean crush in).  After that, the 20th T-shirt won't fit in your T-shirt drawer?  Either get rid of it or pick one you like less to get rid of.  Otherwise, if the items fit, be Zen about the actual numbers.  

I find this approach lets me take whole sections of the house off my worrying plate.  Like, my daily, working closet is tiny.  It's full - if I get something new, I have to get rid of something else or my daily life gets uncomfortable.  I also have a big Ikea PAX filled with my "I delude myself that I will fit in this again and/or that I will be invited to the next royal wedding" clothes.  They're not in boxes, because those just pile up full of mysteries that are too scary to open - I know that about myself.  They're hung to be used and someday I'll get that royal invite or I'll come to terms with it, but meanwhile it's not in my way and I don't beat myself up about it.

Since you have purged before, I agree with Teresa that keeping new stuff from coming in will help.  Someone brings it over?  Sort it on the porch and most/all of it stays there to be taken to the charity shop.  You're visiting someone and they give you something?  Into the car, to the charity shop.

Just so you know, I like your matching hangers!  That's like half the battle.  Knock the cattywumpus ones down so they make a nice soothing pattern and you'll feel better.

And finally, I think there's a big, BIG discussion to have about the difficulty of being someone who's into permaculture, or voluntary leaving-the-rat-race, or hobbies that generate tons of stuff, or farming! and drowning in clutter.  Because doing interesting things requires stuff.  And doing it with little money means scavenging what you can where you can, and holding on to it until it has a use, and...  I feel like that discussion is way too big for this thread and would probably get heated, but it may be something you want to poke at sometimes.  If you're doing lots of stuff, you'll accumulate a lot of stuff.  Maybe doing less stuff for a while will let you purge a section of stuff.  Like the pigs!

Ok, one final final thing.  Ben Hartman's book Lean Farming tackles farm organization, which may inspire you.  I know even though I don't have a farm, it pushed me to think about "how do I move around my space?  What gets in the way and keeps me from doing tasks?"  Hm.  I should read it again.
4 weeks ago

Anne Miller wrote:Skandi mentions Clafoutis.  I did not add it to the thread since to me this is not a cobbler-type dish, like the Bettie or the crisp.  I read that it is a french tart and I consider it an egg dish.  I thought it looks a lot like the Buckle.  I don't know since I never really had either in real life.

At Wheaton Lab they make a Clafoutis which sounded so yummy that I went out and found a recipe, then adapted that recipe so it was easy to remember.

Here is my recipe for Clafoutis:

Thank you - I will try your version!  Just to let you know that I posted another very simple one that I like very much in that thread.  I make it in a simple pie plate as opposed to cast iron, and it works nicely.
1 month ago
This looks wonderful!  For almost 10 years I've been using the super-simple recipe from - I can't find this simple version now on her site and sadly the version that made it into her physical book is very complicated.  So copied in her writing:

A whole bunch of pitted cherries (I use whatever fruit--pears are incredible)
6 eggs
3/4 c. flour
pinch of salt
1 c. milk (I use mostly heavy cream, topped off with water)
And some sugar to sprinkle over it after baked.

1. Mix flour and salt with eggs.
2. Carefully stir in the milk.
3. Put in the cherries.
4. Dump all that in a buttered dish.
5. Bake at 400F - 205C for 35 minutes.

And for the Clafoutis, if you want things a little sweeter, just toss the fruit in sugar. I think that's enough to give it some sweet sparkle.

The Clafoutis will work with just about any fruit. I don't like it a lot with apples, but that's probably just me. Blueberries are good, and so are strawberries, pears (my favorite), plums, super ripe apricots (like about to fall apart), etc. It's a dish to use with whatever is in season. Chocolate is also a good sweetening touch. Just sayin'.  


Edited to add that she says this comes from "I Know How to Cook" by Ginette Mathiot.

And my primitive French says that it's pronounced kla-FOO-tee
1 month ago
I actually used the "brick" this weekend.  The farmer's market had adorable little zucchini the size and shape of baseballs, so I used more-or-less the stuffed zucchini recipe in one of the clay pot cookbooks.  Two zucchini fit perfectly with new potatoes tucked in the corners, which also helped the squash stand up.  Very easy, very tasty small elegant dinner for 2.
1 month ago