Friday Faves, 2/7

Today is my daughter-in-laws birthday, a day I have spent with her every year for the last ten.  Today I won’t be spending that day with her as the weather is simply too bad to consider trying to wait outside for a bus.  I feel badly but will talk to her over the phone.  I had anticipated this and sent a gift to her.  My son Skyped me this evening to let me watch her open her gift.  My granddaughter kept taking the phone to tell me she pooed on the potty. :-)  It will be nice to have one child out of diapers before the second is born. 


I have finally had an afternoon to finish the cloth napkins I was making.  The above is the only fabric that didn’t come from the bag I bought for $3.  My daughter-in-law bought it at a yard sale thinking I would like it. Once she got it home she loved it so much she asked if I would share it with her and make her a set of napkins from it.  Promise kept.

One of my favorite fabrics from the bag of fabric.  I'm still trying to convince myself to send these to my daughter-in-law.

One of my favorite fabrics from the bag of fabric. I’m still trying to convince myself to send these to my daughter-in-law.

Well, it’s Friday so I won’t keep you from my favorites collected this week.


Welcome to all the new readers who have visited or joined this past week.

  • EmmaSouthLondon shared a simple, so easy it feels wrong, Marmalade Muffin recipe. It’s not vegan as it contains eggs and butter and has a bit of sugar in it but oh it sounds so good.
  • Jules Frusher, share her opinion on the power of imagination and how that makes her rich. 
  • This is the winter that just won’t end. While I may be getting very close to cabin fever, I found a lovely post at Larglea Confidential on the beauty of winter.  Larglea Confidential is a blog about living on the south-west coast of Scotland if you want to browse around a bit while you are there.
  • Melissa and a Mug is a blog about Melissa’s Christian faith and her cups of coffee (or tea). In this post Melissa talks about her plans to simplify her life as a way to” to change the way things are on the outside to better reflect who I am on the inside.”


Thoughts on home and family

  • I spotted an interesting article which tries to connect the practice of having large families as being green and having a smaller ecological footprint. See what you think. My opinion? I think there were a lot of things glossed over to make this point.
  • When my oldest son was a teen I felt as if we had outgrown our 846 sq ft home.  But when he left for a week with a friend’s family I realized it wasn’t the home it was his energy which drained the energy making the home feel small.  During that one week my youngest son and I wandered through the house feeling that we were living in a mansion. It was too big for us.  I didn’t understand it at first.  Gone were the toys having been replaced with computer and musical instruments. So it’s no surprise that I found this post on outgrowing a home interesting.
  • The one thing most fear when winter is at its coldest( -8) is a power outage, but Floyd seemed to enjoy his twelve hours without power. 
  • Want to know how the size of your home compares to those in other countries?  I have to say this short list surprised me, no not the average size of the homes in my country as I am well aware of those, but just how small the average home is in comparison.

I could spend hours looking through a table like this.

I could spend hours looking through a table like this.


  • Why are we, as a society, materialistic?  Are American’s the only ones to use retail therapy?  You might be surprised by some of the studies cited in this article.  While I found this very informative, I couldn’t help thinking how weird I must be to hate shopping. 
  • Yes, I watched the Super Bowl with my family but after years of ridiculous commercials we didn’t bother to pay attention to them.  On Becoming Minimalist, you can find the 7 Life Inaccuracies portrayed by the Super Bowl ads.  Did you know these companies spent upwards of $4 million per 30 second ad?  If they have that kind of money to spend on one commercial spot just think of the profits they must be making.  Think they could afford to pay medical for their employees?



  • When I was young, we had a local restaurant which was the hang out.  We bought a cup of coffee (in my case tea) and sat there most of the evening on cold nights.  We would take up a couple of tables and while not being disruptive in any way would spend a few hours there.  It was our home away from home.  No, I didn’t stay hours sitting there, but the coming and going of people did cover the span of several hours.  Those who enjoyed coffee had free refills too.  This story of an older couple who have had the police called on them repeatedly for taking up space beyond the restaurant’s 20 minute rule when only buying a coffee really bothered me.  Where are the spaces we are allowed to visit without a clock watching us?
  • I stumbled upon the Fancy Eco blog purely by accident but once I read why the blog was created I wanted to read more.  Fancy eco “differs from other eco blogs quite widely: I wont guilt you to buy a Prius, in fact I would say that if you are really eco driven it is the last thing you should do! I will rant about Greenpeace shitty eco-terrorism and the kind of activism I really don’t admire.”  This is a new blog and if this article is any indication of what I will find here I want more.


There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. ~Ruth Stout


Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm.

48 thoughts on “Friday Faves, 2/7

  1. Hi Lois! More great links…thank you…but I really have to protest that one about having tons of children being such a green and sustainable way to go!!!! OMG….I realize that I come from the exact opposite perspective but I don’t think she was even thinking about what she was saying….Lots of whole in her argument from my perspective…I normally applaud just about anyone’s steps toward greening their life but that one threw me. I’ll see if she comments on my comment???? :-)


    • Kathy, I thought of you when I read that one. :-) I didn’t comment on the post because I couldn’t organize my thoughts well enough. I believed she was trying to justify her decisions by working around reality. I look at my own life. I had only two children but look what has come from that. We now live in three homes between us. These need heat, water, food, transportation to and from work not to mention the other needs for transportation. You can’t say your large family, because you travel less or buy in bulk won’t have a larger impact when you project it into the future.

      I went to read your comment but it isn’t there yet. I will check back in a few days. I need to thank you for commenting there as I couldn’t.


    • Elaine, I love the beginning of winter, or winter when I have a few days break every couple of weeks. In the summer months I often have to hide to have any uninterrupted solitude moments, but once winter arrives I have more time for contemplation and my guests normally call first. So yes, this quote was helpful to me this week while I deal with cabin fever to remind myself of what I do like about winter, glad you enjoyed it.


  2. well, it is something how living space changes, and how some folks live well in less..

    when my Mom was older, she bought a very small house from a very old couple who were moving into a home. it was about (not at all sure) 450 sq feet. one small bedroom, one tiny room, kitchen/lving room/outhouse. they raised ten or eleven children in it.

    my cousin (now this is back about thirty five yrs), married a man with 26 brothers and sisters. his parents managed on a tiny farm (and odd jobs), and a tiny house. a two story, with two rooms upstairs, kitchen / living room main floor. gosh, I was there once and bet it was about 700 sq feet total. (my cousin and husband moved into the “homestead”, and they raised six kids in it too).


    • Lynn, that is truly amazing that a home not much larger than mine would accommodate 10-11 children. And your cousin’s husband must have learned very early on how to share in a home that size and 27 children. Oh my I’m thinking about being pregnant that many times. Um, no not for me.

      Yes, it is something how we now need master bathrooms and a separate room for each child. Game rooms and the like. I think we were better off in smaller homes where we were always in each others way.


        • yes, the whole thing is mind boggling..(being pregnant 27 times and that many in such a small house)…

          re the cousin/ her husband with all the siblings..myself, well, I always had thought that , wow, they must all be so close, etc..and I asked him once. seem to recall, that he said not really… The ones close to him in age (he was the youngest) were fairly close, but the older ones were so much older, to him it felt more like aunts and uncles, and he did not feel close to them.


  3. Love the thought of imagination making me richer. I believe it does! I found the comments on defending large families as interesting as the article. I have four children, and while I wouldn’t give one up for the world, I now agree that a smaller family is more responsible.

    You had me measuring my house with a tape measure! I’ve lived here for over 5 years, and never really knew how big the place was. Well, it is somewhere between France and Denmark, a little closer to Denmark (in size, that is). The people before me raised their 4 children in the 1400 square feet, and it suits me, Bubba and a dog or two just fine.

    I hope I don’t outstay my welcome at my favorite coffee shops. I always make sure there are plenty of spaces open while I sip, write and read for the hours I stay. Oh, and I always make sure I have a cup of something to sip from. I would hate to see a time limit posted anytime soon!

    Good reading! I hope it warms up for you soon . .


    • Jean, I can’t believe you measured your home this week because of this post. I’d say you have a good sized home that works for you. You are very far under the norm for the US too. My youngest son’s first home was a small 2 bedroom home with one very tiny bathroom. Picture being able to sit on the toilet and brush your teeth in the sink while shaving your legs over the tub. Yep that was his bathroom. The family who sold him the house raised 4 children in that house and I couldn’t figure out how except to set one room up with double bunk beds, but even that would have been tight.

      I didn’t realize you had four children. No I couldn’t imagine my life without my boys and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but if I were to make the decision today I wouldn’t have any any.

      Jean, I hope that 20 minute rule disappears because any place I intend to visit for a meal or cup of tea will not be one that tells me how long I can be there.

      I hope it warms up for all of us, Jean. I’m sure you are just as cold up there as I am down here.


      • Your posts always evoke good conversation and much thought. I love my little (not so little in the grand scheme) home. If I won a million dollars I don’t think I would move. I think I would renovate.


        • Jean, I don’t know what I would do if I won millions (although I never play the lottery). I love my little apartment and the friends I have made here, but then maybe I would build a tiny place similar to this place right on the lake (instead of across the street) with a work room and maybe a small place for guests on the land. One thing I do know is I would use the money to help others. So many individuals with Muscular Dystrophy live out of one floor in their homes, they can’t get up the stairs to tuck their children in bed or to play with siblings and it’s hard on the family as a whole. If I had a large amount of money I would retrofit these homes to make the entire home accessible as the families can’t afford that or moving with the medical bills that pile up.


  4. Some good reading here Lois. We purchased our home knowing it was way too big and we often comment on the fact it IS too big for us. We bought this for the same price We got for my 2 bedroom flat in town. It seemed a good swap and we bought it for it’s potential – if the shit ever did hit the fan we could accommodate all our kids under one roof and grow and store our own food. If that never happens when we are old we can live downstairs and rent out upstairs. But for now we are uncomfortable with the fact we live in 2 rooms and families in other countries live in one room smaller than our lounge. We have Pacific Island friends who feel we are very rich but don’t understand we live on the bones of our behinds just have a big house bought cheap. And we feel terribly embarrassed by the fact they live in tiny shacks and we sit on this space. We have looked into buying more land and living in a garage or bus (something!) but we can’t afford to start over now and the land would cost more than we would get for our property.
    I love the site on “Ecoism” thanks for the link. And also the post on Imagination, I simply loved it.
    And I can’t believe there is a 20 minute time limit on coffee! I rue the day that ever happens here.


    • Wendy, don’t ever be embarrassed about your home or your life. Things are different from one geographic and geopolitical area. If your friends in the Pacific know they are welcome in your home and you are a true friend then the size of your home shouldn’t matter.

      I think you did well to buy a home with the insight to plan for the future. I love where I live but worry about my son who may need help. If his family had to live with me would be a very tight fit in my apartment. I struggled with that very issue when I wanted to downsize and talked to my children before I did.

      Glad you enjoyed the links this week. Have a good weekend, Wendy.


      • Just feel humbled I guess when I hear of how they live, but they are a happy people with few complications and no mortgages, rates, insurances…They aspire to our way of life when we would swap in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for family here.

        You have a nice weekend too :)


        • That’s one of the problems we face now with global warming is that many societies feel it’s their turn to live like we do/did just when we are faced with having to change.

          Thanks, you have a nice weekend too.


  5. I can totally relate to your comment about your home feeling like a mansion when your son wasn’t there. Since Sputty left, I just keep feeling like the house is getting bigger and bigger. Some of it is because I’ve been able to get rid of a bunch of accommodations that were made for him (extra litter boxes, drinking fountains, towels on every piece of furniture, food near his bed, boxes and pillows stuffed into places to block his access so he couldn’t get behind furniture and pee, cases of kitty junk food used to bribe him to eat, etc, etc.)

    It leaves me with such mixed emotions. On the one hand I feel like I can finally take a deep breath… but it also just feels a bit empty and lonely too. To everything there is a season. Sigh.


    • Cat, that must have been such an adjustment to make to kitty proof the house, take care of Sputty when really sick and I’m sure you had a lot of extra cleaning to do as well. I’m sure your entire life has been turned around with his loss.

      Time to make a few changes to get past this period. I’ll be over as soon as it’s warm. :-)


    • Live and Learn, I have found in recent years that the commercials are geared to a younger audience than me and in addition are pretty dumbed down from what they used to be. That said I always look for the new Budweiser commercial ( I cheated and watched it online before the game) and this year’s didn’t disappoint. The funny thing is while I love their commercial I would never buy the product as I don’t drink any more and when I did I couldn’t drink beer (or like it)


  6. Lois, you and your wonderful Friday Faves help make Fridays even more wonderful! First off, what gorgeous fabrics! I’m always drawn to botanical and nature inspired prints myself so I’m ooo’ing and ahhh’ing over here. ;) Also thanks for always sharing about great posts out there worth checking out. Such a nice thing to share as we can get visiting with others we might not otherwise meet! Imagine though… a senior couple not being allowed (let alone encouraged!) to sit a while and visit while they have their cuppa joe or tea. Good Lord. Yes, let’s bring awareness to the need to slow down and just BE. Especially over a cuppa tea! Hoping you have a great weekend! Hugs, Gina


    • Gina, aren’t those fabrics gorgeous? I love autumn (minus the fact it means winter is just around the corner) and all the colors so I was really drawn to that fabric. I finally convinced myself to send it to my daughter-in-law with the provision that if she doesn’t want them I would take them back. I told her about it and she laughed because this is the first time I ever said anything like that. I tell my kids that when I give them a gift it’s theirs to do what they want with it. The last thing I want them to do is keep something they don’t want out of fear of hurting my feelings.

      Slowing down! That’s exactly what is missing today. First, this is a McDonald’s we’re talking about. Leave an elderly couple visit in peace. Just another reason for me to dislike McDonald’s.

      Take care this weekend, Gina.


  7. Hi Lois! Nice to meet you, and thank you for including my little corner of the blogosphere in your Friday favourites! I’m so honoured!

    I really enjoyed looking around your blog, we have similar hopes and dreams for a more sustainable, simpler world.

    I too had a cafe where I would sit for hours when I was in high school. It’s the preface to my blog even! Those hours were spent chatting with friends, meeting new people, finishing up homework, drawing & deep thinking. I swear my rag tag friends & I were going to change the world from inside that place! Even now as a university student, my husband and I spend much more than 20 minutes in our nearest coffee spot. We’ve befriended the staff and have met some great people all while not disturbing others. At both of these cafés I’ve been offered jobs because of the reputation I had :)

    I understand the 20 minute rule (both these cafés didn’t have one) because some times it’s just so busy that you want to make sure everyone gets a chance to sit. Or other times there would be some disruptive people and it was an easy way to kick them out, but it’s sad when people can’t extend grace to an older couple just looking to have a nice coffee together!

    This past week I started volunteering at a cafe downtown in my city. The ethos of the cafe is sustainable living and loving communities. One way this place encourages that is by suggesting people to stay! In grabbing a seat, they use a washable mug instead of paper, and open themselves up for conversations with people they otherwise would not meet. This cafe is run completely by volunteers so the food & drinks are less than cost. And even if someone is unable to afford something, they’re still able, and encouraged, to grab a seat. They can sit as long as they’d like providing nothing gets out of hand. This is a great way to help out those who find themselves homeless, especially come winter!

    I hope this elderly couple finds a cafe that will let them enjoy themselves and the people around them. Who knew having a coffee would be a felony! Maybe I should rethink my blog after all haha

    Thanks again!


    • Melissa, you are welcome. I think many of us had a local place we called our home away from home, although not too many of the youth around my area have the same which is very sad.

      A coffee shop is a great place to meet up with a friend I may not have seen in a while, so when I do I want to sit and visit definitely beyond 20 minutes.

      Your cafe sounds really interesting and I love that it’s staffed by all volunteers who are making decisions based on sustainability first and as a result a welcoming place for people to visit. I too hope the elderly couple find another place near enough for them to go to that will welcome them.


  8. Great reading, as always, Lois. I’ve noticed a difference between the American mindset towards commercialism and out mindset up here over the years. When we watch American tv, the ads are very different than ours. Its hard to explain, even. But I am finding that the mindset is creeping up here more and more too. Hopefully we are keeping our kids a bit more grounded, but it’s hard with the constant media bombardment of commercialism.


    • Heidi, I believe your girls are very grounded and will do fine. That said I hate that our style of commercials are now creeping into your lives. I’ve watched some British television and noticed how different their commercials are from ours but other than a few specific examples I can’t really put it into words so I understand what you meant.


  9. Gosh, what a lot of interesting subjects today!
    Well, size of homes: here in Switzerland there has always been a high proportion of rentals, mostly apartments, because we are a small country with mountains and little building land. It used to be very prestigious to own a house, unless you came from a farm. However, when farming began to reduce and cities to grow, a lot of farmland became building land and after building a lot of apartments, people began to clamour for a house and they discovered that you can squeeze a lot more row houses onto the same land, so now people have got used to the idea of the row house (since the late 80s) and more families buy a house these days. There are still lots of rental apartments, though. Our house prices are a lot more stable than in other countries, used to be relatively expensive but now are more affordable. The houses and apartments they are building now have large living-dining-kitchen areas and huge windows, but tiny bedrooms, so the overall square footage isn’t really that much bigger than in older row houses or individual houses with more individual rooms. En suite bathrooms are still quite rare, more a family bathroom plus a smaller showerroom downstairs. Average is about 1600 sq ft I would say, though if you have more money, 2150 sq ft would be considered large. We are considered strange for moving to an historic house of only about 1200 sq ft with small bedrooms – an electrician said to me last week why would you move here? I was amazed, our house is a dream (to me!), it looks like something out of a fairy tale, a gingerbread house!! We fit in fine as a 4-person family and now we are 3 it’s still fine and when we are 2 it will not be too big and too much to clean… ;) The neighbour said, how do you fit all of you in, which is very funny – our daughters had the whole attic, one big room of 600 sq ft with sloping ceilings and beams, to call their own… We have an adequate bedroom and my husband has an office-cum-guestroom for single guests (there is a double-bedsofa upstairs for couples!), otherwise we just have a cosy living/dining room with adjacent small kitchen. What more could we want?!!!
    My granny’s UK rowhouse is tiny, but she has 3 bedrooms, used to rent 2 of them out and has always had visitors and parties galore – there is a 3-seater sofa and 3 armchairs stuffed in the living room, no coffee table, but room for plenty (we sit on the arms, too!), and in the dining room there is another long sofa as well as a table for as many as we can find chairs, plus a small rocking armchair… each of these rooms is about 130 sq ft. The more the merrier!
    I also really understand about family members’ energy and outgrowing (or not!) a home!! Although I am a private person and need personal space, it doesn’t always have to be a whole room. Sharing should be obligatory for kids, in my view – they learn so much by having to adapt to somebody else.
    In my experience, those who have large families tend to be more ecologically aware. This means they automatically have a smaller footprint than a non-eco family, however small. So despite some issues, overall I don’t really disagree with the article. I am far more suspicious of families with 1-2 kids who are totally spoilt with modern conveniences, travel and every toy and gadget available… they then live in an enormous home! Balance, really.
    And finally (sorry for the hijack!), my mouth fell open in shock that a café or restaurant would only allow you 20 min for a coffee!!!! I have seen that kind of limitation only once in my life in a crowded café in East Germany (yes, behind the Iron Curtain) in the 70s. Otherwise, everywhere in Europe I know you can sit as long as you like, no matter how little you consume. Obviously, if it is a mealtime you will not occupy a table for 4 or 6 alone, but as long as you consume something, there is never a limit to how long you can sit somewhere. I have had a waiter ask me to pay because his or her shift is over, but always with apologies and assurances that I don’t have to leave just because I am paying for my consummation so far… and we sit on…!!


    • Wonderful reading for this weekend. We have the same policy here. It is posted on the wall for a 20 min . only for coffee time-no loitering. I do not know anyone who has had the police called on them. They make our coffee houses so inviting, they actually have electric fireplaces in them, so who only wants to stay 20 min. I believe there is more stress in buying a bigger home than people actually think about when purchasing one. My home for me and 3 girls is around 1000 sq. feet. Upstairs bedrooms, basement is storage and laundry, closets, etc. I also work out of the home. When it comes to cleaning it is alot. What I have noticed over the last years is trying to pay for the bills. Heating the house has gotten harder. I used to budget $150.00 amonth, now it is around $180.00 and this month $205.00 because of the extreme cold we have been getting. I know all the ways to knock it down, and do it, but this is the lowest it gets to. We have a smartmeter in everyones home, they are not currently hooked up, but they will be soon and that is another increase. I think big homes and to more stress when this happens. Always scrambling to pay more with no more money coming in. My kids and I know we live differently than most people but we are okay with that. We have cloth toilet paper. I cook from scratch. I have ordered the washing machine with no electricity and a hand crank. Other than knowing websites about being frugal I know no friends who are the same. I am also a person who hates running errands and shopping. I save those for the weekend and do them all in one day. I love to stay home during the week unless my girls have a school project we have to work on.Spending is kept to a minimum unless needed.Our priorities are eating healthy, walking all summer where we can,using second hand clothing, keeping life simple. Not to many of their friends are the same either. They are at the mall hanging out. That one word–MALL is enough to get my skin crawling.–great post have a great weekend.-Carolin


      • Carolin, I feel for you with your heating bill and would hate to see the heating bills for some of these really big houses around my area this winter, or any winter for that matter.

        What a shame you have a cafe with a 20 minute rule for being there. Especially with the fireplace, what a nice place to visit to get out of the house once in a while during the winter months. We have no rules like that around here. College students will sit in the coffee and the bagel shops with their laptops and study, some have study groups there. Senior citizens have weekly get-togethers at a few of them where they can sit and visit for a few hours.

        I feel the same about the mall. Recently cabin fever has set in for me as winter has dragged too long without a break to allow me to get out. I was trying to think of where I could go, my favorite is to simply sit in nature but can’t do that. It was suggested I go to the mall. Now why would I want to go there? I don’t shop it holds no attraction for me.

        I do have a question. Where did you find your cloth toilet paper? Do you use rags? I know it’s a personal question so feel free not to answer, it’s just that I am trying to figure out how to eliminate the toilet paper which is the last paper product I need to find a replacement for.

        Carolin, your girls are so lucky to have you teach them these things and to be able to spend quality time with you.


    • Swiss Rose, I always enjoy hearing about your country. The US has always had the belief that renting is bad and home ownership is the goal we should strive for. Of course finding a small home here is hard. If you looked at the chart you know our average home size is over 2,000 sq ft. The smallest homes are between 1,400 and 1,800 but most homes now start at 2,000. We have homes that range between 4,000 to 6,000 all over. Of course the very rich buy homes that start at 12,0000.

      I love row houses. You get to own your home and therefore do what you want inside, but being so close you tend to form friendships with your neighbors. Plus, having two walls protected from the elements by other units it saves on utilities. Your grandmother’s home sounds lovely. The home I raised my boys in had a larger living room and kitchen and small bedrooms. It made more sense to me to have the space where we congregated than in the bedrooms.

      As for larger families. I do see the ways they conserve and know families through home schooling that have 14 and 15 children. Buying in bulk and being more home bodies does cut down on their impact. I also agree it doesn’t cost any more to heat a home no matter how many children you have in that home. But then I look to things like water usage, there is no way to match the use of a smaller family. When you compare a small family who is environmentally conscious with a large family of the same values the larger family still uses more.

      Wasn’t that story horrible? 20 minutes is all you are allowed to sit in their restaurant. I get it’s a fast food establishment but still I wouldn’t want to support any place that tells me how long I can be there. And to call the police on this couple is ridiculous.

      I’ve had to use a table that is larger than my needs at times because it was the only one open. But when I see someone else looking around for a place to sit I will happily invite them to sit with me, the advantage is that I can meet some really interesting people this way.


I enjoy hearing from you, please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s