Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan - Book Notes

As I'm looking for ways to save money, I came across the book The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan - Discover the Joy of Spending Less, Sharing More, and Living Generously by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller. They are the founders of the Buy Nothing Project. 

Some ideas that I liked from the book: 

- Give creatively and often. Give freely, without any strings attached, for the pure joy of it. 

- Create a gift economy group. Announce your intention and invite people to join. Host a monthly gifts-and-food potluck. Gather together a core group of givers and receivers. Have a free box at the end of your driveway. Encourage farmers' markets to do a weekly share group as well.

- Gift an item that has a simple story. Then gift yourself - something you've made (e.g., baked good with the recipe, a craft, sewn item, a trip to a museum, playing cards). Then gift an item that has a meaningful story that you no longer want.

- See

- For every 10,000 tons of waste handled in a year, reuse creates 28 jobs (wooden pallet repair, for example) to 296 jobs (computer reuse). Landfills and incinerators create 1 job for every 10,000 tons of annual waste. 

- Reuse trumps Recycling. 

- The clothing industry is the second-biggest polluter in the world behind the oil industry. We are buying more clothing and wearing it for shorter amounts of time.

- Coffee grounds can be sprinkled at the base of blueberry plants.

- Make beeswax cloth wrap instead of cling wrap.

- Garden Share - invite people to come to your house once a month and bring with them perennials, cuttings, and veggie starts from their gardens to share with the group. It is like a garden plant potluck. 

- Really Really Free Market in Minneapolis. There's one at East Phillips Park that's popular. People take back with them anything that they have brought that nobody has taken. (Signed up on their Facebook page.)

- Share fabric scraps for quilting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - Book Notes

 A few months ago, a local pastor wrote an article about a book he read - The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. 

The author talked about the importance of keeping an orderly home while still living. She said that hunting for misplaced things is never an effective use of one's time. 

However, the main focus of the book was going through one's home and all the possessions within it - keeping what is necessary and letting everything else go. The goal is to make the job easier for those who will be left behind after you die. There will be substantially fewer things that need to be gone through, saving one's children or other family members time. 

The other take-away from this book is the importance of sharing items while you are still alive. You can choose items that no longer serve a purpose for you and gift them to someone else who may need them. 

Of all the things that will need to be gone through, photos should come last. They don't take up much space and, generally, children don't resent going through photos since they bring back memories - hopefully, good ones.

Other ideas from the book:

- Scan slides and download them onto your computer. Create a USB memory stick for family members who would appreciate the images.

- Take photos and sort them into envelopes for different people. Present them at a family gathering so everyone can take a look at them and reminisce. By doing this, "You do not have to carry the weight of all those memories by yourself, and you are less likely to get stuck in the past." 

- Put in a shoe-size box small things that are important to you and have meaning and good memories of special days and happenings associated with them, but that would not mean anything to anyone else. Label it "Throw Away" - there's no need for anyone to go through the box after you die.

- Keep a small book with all your passwords in it so you can get access to everything you want on your computer. Eventually, this is also for family members to find what they need on your computer.

- Write down the story behind things - like desks, other pieces of furniture, or special dishes. This takes the item from being ordinary to extraordinary.

- Ask yourself, "Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?" If not, then let it go.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning had many valuable ideas and insights. It is a good reminder that doing this is "so that your children and other loved ones will not have to deal with all your stuff...And if you start early, at say 65, it won't seem like such a huge task." 

The author concluded her book by saying, "One's own pleasure, and the chance to find meaning and memory, is the most important thing. It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth." 

Monday, April 11, 2022

ABCs of Me

The ABCs of Me is an idea that is from Swap-Bot. The goal is to include at least one thing you like for each letter. 

A - Aspen (dog), Autumn, Art


Autumn Leaves

B - Butterflies, Baking, Bird Watching

Bird Watching 
(Yellow-Rumped Warbler - 2008 was the first and only time I saw this type of bird)

Two Monarch Butterflies that We Raised

C - Cooper (dog), Coloring, Constellations, Cardinals

Coloring - mandala I did in 2012.

Cooper looking at the birds at the bird feeder.

D - Danny (dog), Deviled Eggs, Deer, Desserts

Danny by the woodstove

Deviled eggs and Jello eggs for Easter one year.

E - Elephants, Eastern Chipmunks, Eagle

Chipmunk on the Gunflint Trail.

Eagle in Seward, Alaska.

F - Family, Farm, Fruit, Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice

This is the last family picture we had before my dad died.
It was taken on October 9, 2011, at the nursing home. 
My sister, brother, and me - plus all our children are here
along with my parents. 

Although you can't see the house and garage, this is part of our farm.
The back part has a nature trail (pathway), and the 
west side has a pond. It's almost 10 acres.

G - Grapes, Grass - especially freshly mown, Gardens, Geese, Grand Marais

Freshly-mown grass and the backyard butterfly garden.
Olivia is standing behind it since she and I worked 
a lot on this garden together in 2020.

Grand Marais harbor with the lighthouse and a sailboat.

H - Handbell Choirs, Harp, Home

Our home is tucked behind the pine trees.

Sophia played in the handbell choir recital in December 2021.

I - Ice Cream, Ice Cream Cake, Ice Cream Sandwich

On my dad's birthday many years ago.
I made an ice cream dessert that my mom used to make with
bananas, ice cream, and homemade chocolate sauce.  

Homemade ice cream that Sophia made.

J - Jim (brother), Journaling

A couple of entries from my nature journal.

Jim with his new puppy, Bear.

K - Kayaking, Kangaroo, Koala

Holding a koala in Australia in the 1990s.

Feeding kangaroos in Australia in the 1990s.

L - Learning, Lions, Land, Lions Club, Lavender

Lion that the girls and I saw.

Some of the Lions (including me) who volunteered at the Breakfast with 
the Easter Bunny this past Saturday, April 9th.

M - Mary (sister), Musk Ox

Musk Ox in Palmer, Alaska.

Mary at the Portland Rose Garden in 2016.

N - Nature, Northern Minnesota, North Shore, Nostalgia 

Somewhere along the North Shore in Northern Minnesota. 
This is part of Lake Superior.

I love being out in nature. 
This is on one of my afternoon walks with the dogs.

O - Olivia (daughter), Origami, Orange-ade

My grandma used to make orange-ade with 
fresh-squeezed oranges and lemons.
Every so often, I will make it. 

This is when Olivia was four years old.
She and Sophia used to love to dress up in costumes and play.

P - Paige (husband), Parents, Photography, Piano Music, Patchouli

This is one of my favorite photos of my parents.
It was taken on my mom's 80th birthday. My dad was 78 years old.

Paige in Seward, Alaska. 

Q - Quilting

This is a quilt top that I made in 2019. 
I still need to do the backing so I can get it quilted.

R - Reading, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Roses

Hummingbird at the front yard feeder.

Rose in our front yard garden.

S - Sophia (daughter), Scooby (dog), Sheep, Sandhill Cranes, Spring

Sophia when she was 7 years old. 
She and Olivia loved to climb trees.

Two sandhill cranes who returned early to Minnesota.

Scooby enjoying the view from a dock on a walk at a state park.

T - Trumpeter Swans, Traveling

Travel to Pella, Iowa.

Traveling from Seattle to Portland.
This is the train station in Seattle.

A trumpeter swan at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge 
in Minnesota in June 2020.

U - Unicorns, Upside Down Cake

An upside-down cake. My favorite kind is pineapple.

A "unicorn" in the Taco Daze parade in 2012. 

V - Vegetable Soup, Vanilla, Volunteering

Volunteering at Northwoods Humane Society a few years ago.
Sophia played the harp while Olivia and I pet the dogs and cats.

Homemade vegetable soup.

W - Window Stars, Whales

Some of the many window stars I've made.

Saw a pod of about 25-30 beluga whales in Alaska.

X - x-rays, Xerox Machines, xanthophyll (the yellow color on or part of autumn leaves)

A Xerox copy of Olivia's hand with quilling glued onto it.

An x-ray of Sophia's right foot. The image on the right is before surgery 
and the image on the left is after surgery.

Y - Yoga, Ylang Ylang, Yaks

Olivia and Sophia with a yak at 
the Shepherd's Harvest in 2018.

Z - Ziplining, Zebra

Zebras at the Como Zoo.
I would rather see them in the wild than at a zoo, though.

Sophia and I went ziplining at Gunflint Lodge in July 2014. 
The view of the treetops and Gunflint Lake were 
phenomenal from that height.