Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Mattress

Mattresses are funny things. They are critical to a good nights rest yet we choose them based on 5 minutes of weirdness laying atop them in a store. Or we order them online and hope for the best. At least the online versions now come with 100-night guarantees, right? Although the materials are typically non-sustainable, chemical-laden, and smelly. And the cost? Ouch. But what are you gonna do? You can't just accept back pain and poor sleep, right? You gotta get a new mattress when it's time.

When our mattress gave out we figured we'd do some research before spending a small fortune on a new one. Looked at both commercial mattresses and DIY mattresses (straw anyone?). And eventually found someone who sells - wait for it - buckwheat hull mattresses! And we decided, despite the cost (less than a commercial mattress but not cheap) and the risk (no return policy), to take the chance. Yes - that's right, we're officially hippies. We now have an organic mattress that we constructed ourselves. 

This is what it looked like when it arrived:

Our new bed
5 boxes, 37 pounds each, of washed organic buckwheat hulls. And one box of woven cotton sleeves for forming the pods. The UPS man thought it was hilarious.
Buckwheat hulls
 You fill the sleeve with 5 pounds of hulls and then tie it into a pod.

The first pod
Then you pile them up next to each other in a staggered pattern to form the mattress. We put them on the guest bed so we'd have a staging area. Chris couldn't resist giving them a try.

Testing it out
Doesn't look comfy, does it? We were having serious doubts at this point. But we persevered and filled at the pods. We then moved them into the permanent bed frame, covered them with a quilt for padding, and went to bed.
In their permanent configuration 
And here's the thing - they're not comfortable in the traditional mattress sense. You don't lie down and go "ahhhh". But you do a wiggle and a scrunch and your whole body is cradled perfectly and before you know it it's morning and you've slept better than you have in years. No waking up with a sore back. Or a sore knee. Or a sore anything.

We've had it for two months now and we love it. If the pods get a bit squished, you just poof them up when you make the bed in the morning. If sometime in the far future they fail to poof up, you order some more hulls at a very reasonable price and replace those pods, not the entire mattress. And when you're eventually ready for a whole new bed you take them out to your garden and compost them. No landfill waste.

We will wear the hippie label with pride showing in our well-rested eyes.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Merry Christmas to All

I confess I wasn't feeling very Christmassy this year.  In fact, this is the sum total of holiday decorating that I did:

No tree. No ceramic statues. No stockings. We bought a new bed in November and decided that would be our only gift this year, so no presents wrapped and waiting to be opened.

But despite having none of the trapping of the season, we still celebrated. We read Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" aloud over several weeks (if you haven't ever done this, I strongly recommend it. It's quite funny and you get more out of it hearing it out loud).  We spent time making gifts for family and friends. And Christmas morning we got up at 5:30AM, had waffles for breakfast, and went for a long walk in our woods. 

Woodpecker nest 
Armed and dangerous 
He missed
Hunting mice
Looking way up
However you may have celebrated the holiday, I hope it was as full of joy, wonder, and beauty; and here are best wishes for a happy 2017.

Preparing for Christmas

I spent most of December prepping Christmas gifts. I love this time of year - making stuff I think the family will use, having fun with new skills, experimenting on those I love.

In addition to the edible stuff I give I made veggie hods to serve as gift baskets. The whole family gardens to some extent or another so I figured it'd be functional as well as pretty. I've already been informed by some recipients that they're way too nice to put dirty potatoes in though so they'll be using them in the house for yarns, plant holders, etc. Mine? Out to the garden!

I love my project room
Veggie hod under construction
For my Grand-neice I got to practice my sewing skills. She needed clothes for her doll. She's too young to easy tie things yet so everything had to slide on or have snaps. I confess I learned a lot (which means I made mistakes, obviously) but I have high hopes for improvements in time for her birthday in March.

Lettuce-edge refashioned onesie
The outfits
I need to work on my tailoring...
 I also took some Pinterest inspiration and made button ornaments.

And for this year's special ornament I blew out the first chicken egg laid on the property and added some jewelry ornamentation. I thought about painting it or something but decided it was pretty just as it was - so I just labeled and dated it.
"The First Egg"
Now it's time to clean up the project room and start doing some of those items from the winter project list. Like making more doll stuff!

My first quilt project